Sara's blog

Orchids: Wild, Weird & Wonderful

When the winter doldrums set in and I find myself longing for something alive and beautiful to brighten my home, an orchid is my first choice. Fortunately these once exotic and expensive plants are often priced less than a bouquet of fresh flowers. This coupled with the fact that they require little care, can bloom for up to four months, and can, with a little luck, bloom more than once make them a winner in my book.

 

With over 30,000 species and 100,000 hybrids, it's no wonder some of nature's strangest plant specimens are orchids. Although thought of as a tropical plant, they grow on every continent, in every climate, from the Arctic Circle to the Macquarie Islands near Antarctica. The smallest orchid is the size of a dime, while the largest weigh several hundred pounds. The vanilla orchid (and its vanilla bean) is the only commercially grown orchid crop. Some orchid flowers bloom for a few hours and others last up to half a year.

We Want to Help YOU (find a job)!!!

Did you know that one of Denver Public Library's Strategic Initiatives is job search assistance? "People's lives are improved by acquiring the resources and skills needed to prosper and contribute to Denver's economy." No doubt this is a goal worth pursuing, but let's talk about what this means, and what steps are being taken to be sure we are doing the best that we can to help our customers.

As part of this initiative, a decision was made to "beef up" the job-related materials in our collection. Over a thousand books, eBooks, audiobooks and DVDs were purchased to enhance career materials already in the collection. These cover a wide-range of topics from entering the job market, to starting a home-based business, to re-entering the job market, or just information about a variety of careers for people wondering what they might want to do. Here's just a sampling of recently purchased items that might be of interest:

Create a magical miniature garden space

Container gardening is the art of growing anything that would grow in a backyard garden in the confined space of a container. Miniature gardens take this to a new level with scale and perspective becoming essential elements. Many garden centers have taken notice of this popular hobby and regularly stock miniature plants and accessories.

A miniature garden can be created around the base of a tree or in any type of container, but something vintage or unusual can add to the charm. All it takes is some imagination and creativity. Miniature gardens take less time and money than real ones, but give similar satisfaction. You can utilize miniature arbors and fences, even tiny furniture and pots to "theme" your space or rely totally on miniature plants and herbs to create visual impact.

A long time coming - the Civil Rights Movement

Fifty years ago in the early 1960's, the Civil Rights Movement was gaining national attention. But unbeknownst to many, African Americans had been working to gain political and economic rights for almost a century. A growing sense of urgency fanned the fire, rooted in the belief that change could wait no longer. 

Laws enacted in many southern state legislatures known as Jim Crow laws continued to separate the races in restaurants, schools, theaters, parks and other public facilities. Outrage over poll taxes and the lack of voting rights for blacks brought waves of college students from the north in a massive push to register black voters particularly in Mississippi. Marches, protests, and interventions by the National Guard were becoming commonplace in the South.

If you're not rockin' it with Dick Clark on New Year's Eve...

Not everyone has glamorous plans for New Year's Eve and probably those of us who don't are perfectly content just to stay home. Here are some films that include memorable New Year's Eve moments. Eat, drink and be merry, for next week it will be time to suck it in and check out our yoga and fitness DVDs.

From chick flicks to bad adventure, and comedy to action, these DVDs will help you usher in 2012 with a smile, a tear, or amazement that they were even made:

Sweet, sweeter, gag...

Holiday Inn

I don't like to think of myself as a total sap, but when it comes to holiday movies I seem to like them syrupy sweet and starring Bing Crosby. What am I talking about?

I love those movies from the 1940's and 1950's that are my strange harbinger of the holiday season. The holiday movie genre pulls out all the stops when it comes to tugging at your heartstrings. These are tales of generals missing the war, elderly mothers from Ireland reuniting with their priestly sons, mistaken motives, unrequited love, all coupled with people bursting into songs often on elaborate Hollywood backlots. Here are my top three:

The Legacy of Rosa Parks

December 1st marks the 56th anniversary of Rosa Park's arrest for refusing to surrender her seat to a white male passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. She worked tirelessly side-by-side with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. launching him as a key figure in the struggle for equality. Her quiet and courageous act changed America and redirected the course of history.

When asked to explain her actions on that day she detailed her motivation in her autobiography, Rosa Parks: My Story:
“People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Putting your garden to bed

It's that time of the year for gardeners that is both bitter and sweet. It is sad to reflect on the end of the harvest of beautiful flowers, delicious fruits and vegetables. At the same time, it is wildly liberating to think that the endless weeding, watering and energy required to maintain that garden is drawing to a close. There's something almost cathartic about looking out on a snowy landscape knowing your gardening chores are mostly done.

All you have to do is remember these simple ABC's for end of the season gardening:

A - Amend the soil
Have your soil tested and make the necessary adjustments. If you do it in the fall, by spring your soil will be ready to plant. Contact your County Extension Office for soil testing laboratories.

B - Bring in the last of the fruits and vegetables that won't survive frost

"...I've got the Homework Blues"

It's the age old dilemma for parents. You are so ready for the kids to be back in school, but then there's that dreaded homework. How can the library turn homework headaches into homework heaven? Our mantra for you is "be prepared" and we're no Boy Scouts. Follow June Cleaver's lead and be ready when they say those dreaded words at 10 pm, "I have a paper due tomorrow..."

With only your library card in hand you are armed with an arsenal of homework help for all ages. Our database selection is available 24/7 so you can be the parental role model you've always wanted to be. Share this knowledge with "your" special student and then gleefully leave them to do their own work. Here are some favorites divided into age groups that are sure to please.

Elementary students:

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