Author Archives: winnipegpublibrary

Love it and List it

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The human animal differs from the lesser primates in his passion for lists.  H. Allen Smith

As I’ve said a time or two million before, I love lists. Long, short, alphabetical, chronological, or numerical, pro or con, to do or already completed. If it’s a series of words or concepts written in a column I’m all over it. The saying at my house is “If it’s not on the list it doesn’t exist.” This doesn’t just apply to shopping, packing and chores, it’s an all-encompassing motto that we use on a daily basis, often several times a day.

cd handmaids

handmaid's tale

 

 

 

 

Is it any wonder that I work in a place that’s built around lists? After all, what’s the library catalogue but a list of all of the items at the library? Take something like The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. When you look up the title you’ll see a list of the print books, audio books, book club kits and critical essays. But the fun doesn’t stop there. You can place a hold on any or all of these items, adding them to your holds list. Or you can create a temporary list, so that you can come back to it after you’ve done some more searching. As if that wasn’t enough, you could also add the title to your list of items you want to read or place on hold at some time in the future. For a list lover, life doesn’t get any better than this.

 

Capture

Sometimes it’s good to have a look at someone’s else list, too. When that moment arises, you can always turn to the WPL website. With a quick click on the search catalogue option, you can see what’s at the top of the Globe and Mail and McNally Robinson Bestseller lists. If you’re looking for award winners there are lists for that too, from the Governor General to the Prix littéraire, all connected to that handy list known as the library catalogue.

 

WPL info guidesJust when you thought you’d run out of library lists, we’ve come up with more! Info Guides are lists (there’s that lovely word again) of links created by library staff to library content and websites on all sorts of topics, from Adult Literacy to Science and Technology. The fun thing about the list of Info Guides is that you can search it or rearrange it according to your wishes – alphabetically, by popularity or by the most recent addition. LGBTTQ+ is one of the newest Info Guides in the collection, with a wide range of information, including recommended reads, local support groups and organizations, and online resources. All of the Info Guides are constantly being updated, so there are new things to check out all the time, and, dare I say, add to a list.

 

And, of course, for the truly dedicated list lovers out there, there are entire books dedicated to lists. Where to go, where not to go, best of, worst of, trivia, the selection is almost limitless. If you can think of it, odds are there’s a book out there somewhere listing it.

 

 

 

 

Lori

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What’s New in the Local History Room?

It’s time to take a look at some of the recent arrivals in the Local History Room.

 

Cover image for Riel's defence : perspectives on his speeches

 

 

Though the great waves of unidentified flying objects sightings is behind us, the phenomenon still intrigues to this day. Fifty years ago this year, Winnipegger Stefan Michalak claimed to have had an encounter with a mysterious aircraft that left him seriously injured.  When They appeared: Falcon Lake, 1967, The Inside Story of a Close Encounter was written by his son Stan and UFO researcher Chris Rutkowski. It includes Stefan’s original account of the encounter and relates how him and his family dealt with the government investigation and the extensive media coverage that followed. The book reviews the evidence left at the site, includes copies of transcripts of interviews and reports made at the time by the RCMP and other agencies, as well as tell Stan’s personal experiences and how the incident shaped his youth.

 

Cover image for From the outside in : Jewish Post & News columns, 2015-2016

From the Outside in: Jewish Post & News Columns, 2015-2016 is a collection of columns written by Joanne Seiff for Winnipeg’s Jewish Post and News. These cover a wide range of topics of interest from raising children, social justice to the keeping of religious practices.  The author also includes anecdotes about her personal experiences, notably about moving to unfamiliar Winnipeg from the States and how they adapted.

 

Cover image for The Seven Oaks reader
On June 19th, 1816 an event occurred that had a pivotal impact on the history of what would become Manitoba (even if it has somewhat receded from our collective memory). This was the of Battle of Seven Oaks that broke out between rival hunting parties of the fur trade companies (the Hudson Bay and North West) that were vying for control of the territory.  The Seven Oaks Reader by Myrna Kostash offers a comprehensive retelling of the Fur Trade Wars. The book incorporates period accounts and journals, histories, memoirs, songs and fictional retellings, from a wide range of sources.

 

And to conclude, in The Forks, a Meeting Place Transformed by Sheila Grover you can learn about the early history of The Forks, the fur trade and railway eras, and the transformation from an industrial site into one of Winnipeg’s most popular gathering places. The book also includes a self-guided tour of the historic and contemporary buildings and landscapes. This is an ideal title to learn about how much the Forks have changed, especially in the last decades.

 
Come to the Local History Room and check it out!
 
– Louis-Philippe

Winter is Coming…in July

 

To quote a common utterance in Game of Thrones, “winter is coming”, and from the looks of things, it won’t disappoint. Though many of you, like me, loves to sit on a warm beach, dip your toes in the sand or go swim in one of our many lovely lakes in Manitoba, I will also be glued to my TV screen on Sunday evenings ready to find out what happens to my favourite characters on HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 7. Based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, HBO’s Game of Thrones (GOT) has taken the world by storm. It has raised the bar for production value, being the most expensive series on television, and boasting epic twists and surprises that even the fans of the novels didn’t see coming. Though avid readers are waiting for Martin to finish the next book in the series, those who are also fans of the show have been fortunate to catch a glimpse past Martin’s published novels and see what may be in store through the TV series. As the next season airs, here are some read-alikes to whet your appetite of all things GOT and fantasy.

 

 A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

GOT

If you are a fan of the series, but haven’t read the books, or are wanting to start both the books and the TV series, sink your teeth into the tomes that Martin has written. Be prepared to devote time to these novels as each one clocks in at around 1,000 pages, but be sure to have a pen and paper on hand to keep track of whom is related to whom and how they fit into the grand scheme of things (it can get complicated!). Martin does a fantastic job of world-building and has created such wonderful and unique characters we can love and hate or love to hate. Hopefully, once you are done he will have released his next book in the series and we can all find out what happens next.

 

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

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A classic and game-changer in the fantasy genre, Tolkien’s masterful work contains intricate and vastly thought-out world-building (there are many other books compiled of his writing detailing the mythology and history of Middle-earth), that one would believe this place actually exists (and maybe it does in New Zealand!). This series is one of my personal favourites which I have re-read many times and continuously find something new to love and appreciate. If you’ve already read the series and enjoyed it, try The Silmarillion, it can be daunting but worth it in terms of learning more about the history of Middle-earth, how Sauron came to be and about the first dark lord Morgoth. When you’re finished reading, check out Peter Jackson’s Award Winning adaptation of the books (try and check out the extended edition, worth the almost 4 hour run-time).

 

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

This coming-of-age novel and first book in the series features a young protagonist who is forced to take the throne after his father and brother are murdered. Set in a Viking-like world, Yarvi is heir to the throne but loses it when his father is killed and must embark on a journey to win it back. This novel is also excellent for the young adult reader.

 

Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown

rising

Set in a futuristic society where Mars is colonized and all “people” are divided into colours and thus assigned their fate in life. “Red” miner (the lowest colour in the society) Darrow is tasked by the group Sons of Ares to infiltrate the “Golds” (the highest in the society) and cause a rebellion which could change the way of life for all and end the enslavement of the Reds. Though some might argue the series is more science-fiction than fantasy, there is world-building and characters are cultivated and explored, especially as the trilogy moves along, and there is much mythological inspiration. Brown’s series has the protagonist maneuver his way from lowly Red to transforming into a Gold. He must form alliances and betray those he considers friends all to help free his people from the slavery and cruel punishments they receive from those higher up. For those who liked The Hunger Games and Ender’s Game, this one is perfect for you too!

 

Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen

queentearling

If you are searching for a strong female character, look no further than Kelsea, a young woman who discovers that she is the heir to the Tearling throne though she has been raised away from the city and the palace. She must learn to rule in fairness and firmness, and contend with those around her who would use her to claim the throne for themselves. She must also deal with the powerful Red Queen who requires Tearling people in payment to her every year to maintain the peace, and discover the powers that she herself possesses. For fans of Daenerys Targaryen, read this series and be swept away.

 

nevernight

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

The first book in this new series where a young girl who witnesses her father’s execution and becomes an assassin is sure to please GOT fans (Arya Stark anyone?). This fast-paced read features a strong female character, political intrigue, humour, violence and wonderful world-building and will leave the reader hungry for the next book to come.

 

So get out and enjoy summer and the warm weather even if it is just in your backyard or on your balcony, because as we Winnipeggers know, winter is coming (though hopefully not for another few months).

 

-Aileen

Calling All Teens!

Summer is in full swing, and if you’ve got teenagers at home, they’re likely taking full advantage of their new found freedom.  Sleeping in, watching movies, hanging out with friends, and soaking up the sun!  Inevitably though, that wonderful sense of freedom quickly turns to boredom, and those same teenagers start looking for something to keep them busy.  A new challenge.  Something to inspire them.

Well, the library may just be the answer!  Our online Teen Summer Reading Club is a great way for teens to explore their creativity, with contests for writers, artists, photographers and book lovers.  Club membership is open to all teens in Grades 7 though 12, and in order to register, teens simply need to create an account on our teen website, Booked!  From there, members can post their creative work to our website, for all to enjoy, and at the end of the summer, the best of the best in each contest category will win an awesome prize!

If teens are looking for something to do with a few friends, the library also has a ton of really cool programs!  Like Scratch Programming!  Teens will learn the basics of the popular programming language Scratch, and spend the day creating, collaborating, and discovering endless possibilities while designing a video game or animated story.  Or our Words Out Loud program!  Teens will join local slam legend Steve Locke to explore tools of communication and creativity by writing new poems and practicing sharing them in their own unique, authentic voice.

And of course, as always, the library has an amazing collection of books for teens to explore.  Summer is the perfect opportunity for kicking back with a good book — no grueling book report required!  Check out these amazing books for some chill poolside reading!

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Avoiding relationships to protect her sensitive heart, plus-sized Molly supports her once-cynical twin, Cassie, when the latter has her own bout of lovesickness, a situation that is complicated by sibling dynamics and an unexpected romantic triangle.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place. She may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her twin brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands.

Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa
In a future defined by environmental devastation and the all-seeing EcoPanopticon, Rowan, an illegal second child, rebels against an impossible choice by escaping her home for a night of both friendship and tragedy.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win–unless her stepsisters get there first… Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake–until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Lindsay

 

 

 

So What’s New?

Well, we’ve got a list for that. Savvy library users know that finding the Library’s latest purchases is just a click away.  Head on over to the main page of our catalogue and visit the “New Titles” page where you will find our purchases from the previous 3 months – all ages and physical formats.  Scrolling through these lists is great fun and helps give an idea of the wide range of materials collected by the Library.

For example, in June 450 titles were added to our non-fiction collection for adults.  Here’s a sampling. Enjoy!

Beyond Trans : Does Gender Matter?
by Heath Fogg Davis

City on Edge: A Rebellious Century of Vancouver Protests, Riots, and Strikes
by Kate Bird


Billionaire at the Barricades: The Populist Revolution from Reagan to Trump
by Laura  Ingraham

Killer: My Life in Hockey
by Doug Gilmour

Lou Reed : A Life
by Anthony DeCurtis

Powerful Readers: Thinking Strategies to Guide Literacy Instruction in Secondary Classrooms
by Kyla Hadden and Adrienne Gear

Prairie Rising: Indigenous Youth, Decolonization, and the Politics of Intervention
by Jaskiran K. Dhillon

-Monique

Celebrate Canada 150 with Books

As a preface, I’d like to gratefully acknowledge that Winnipeg lies within Treaty No. 1 Territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene and Dakota peoples, and is the Birthplace of the Métis Nation and the Heart of the Métis Nation Homeland.

 

readtrip

 

 

You know what word I’m not hearing enough right now?

ses

 

How is this word not constantly repeated in any mention of Canada 150??? It’s pretty much the best word ever.

My love of big weird words aside, it is a pretty big deal for anything to reach it’s 150th anniversary. Though I do want to take the time to note that this anniversary evokes mixed emotions for many of us, I also believe that this country we’re a part of stands for a lot of noble things. At the same time, I know we can and should strive to do better in the future.

One of the ways in which we can try to understand where we came from and where we’re going is through — you guessed it — books! So to celebrate this amazing and diverse and huge and wonderful country of ours, WPL is encouraging you to embark on a journey to explore Canada through a cross-country Read Trip.

This may be the easiest and laziest road trip you’ll ever take. Just find a Canadian book (we make it simple as we’ve always put a maple leaf on the spine). For every Canadian book you read, enter a ballot in our August 18 prize draw for a bag of wicked Canadian lit.

 

And because we love making lists, a bunch of us have put one together that contains top suggestions for books set in each territory and province. Please peruse, pick, and/or print as desired!

 

rt list

 

Read on, Canada! And happy sesquicentennial.

— Erica

The Fort Garry Book Club Reading List

When it comes to what other people are reading, I’ll admit it – I’m nosey. If I see someone reading on the bus, I’ll try to get a look at the book cover. Or maybe take a quick glance at the page as I walk by a reader in a coffee shop. If you’re as much of a book snoop as I am, I invite you to take a peek over our metaphorical shoulders at what the Fort Garry Book Club read this year.

leftneglected    Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

After brain injury in a car crash steals her awareness of everything on her left side, working mom Sarah must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole. In doing so, she learns how to pay attention to the people and parts of her life that matter most.

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson hitmananders

Hitman Anders, recently out of prison, is doing small jobs for the big gangsters. Then his life takes an unexpected turn when he joins forces with three unlikely companions to concoct an unusual business plan based on his skills and fearsome reputation. The perfect plan – if it weren’t for Anders’ curiosity about the meaning of it all.

 

This year marks Canada’s 150th birthday. In a timely coincidence, our book club read several titles this year by local Manitoba authors. We’re lucky to live in a province that has such wonderful literary talent to choose from.

afterlight   After Light by Catherine Hunter

This novel follows four generations of the Garrison family through the 20th century. Despite all their tragedies, the creative fire that drives the family survives, burning more and more brightly as it’s passed from one generation to the next.

The Age of Hope by David Bergen      ageofhope

Born in 1930 in a small town outside Winnipeg, beautiful Hope appears destined to have a conventional life. But as the decades unfold, what seems to be a safe, predictable existence overwhelms her. This beautifully crafted and perceptive work of fiction spans some fifty years of Hope’s life in the second half of the 20th century, from traditionalism to feminism and beyond.

index  The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

When his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Winnipeg broadcaster and musician Wab Kinew decided to spend a year reconnecting with the accomplished but distant Aboriginal man who’d raised him. From his unique vantage point, he offers an inside view of what it means to be an educated Aboriginal living in a country that is just beginning to wake up to its Aboriginal history and living presence.

The Opening Sky by Joan Thomas    openingsky

Liz, Aiden, and Sylvie are an urban, urbane, progressive family. Then the present and the past collide in a crisis that shatters the complacency of all three. They are forced to confront a tragedy from years before, when four children went missing at an artists’ retreat. In the long shadow of that event, the family is drawn to a dangerous precipice.

ThisHiddenThing2  This Hidden Thing by Dora Dueck

The young woman standing outside the prosperous Winnipeg house that day in 1927 knew she must have work. Her family depended on it. But Maria had no idea that her new life as a domestic would mark her for the rest of her days. Her story reminds us how dangerous and powerful secrets can be.

I hope this gives you a few books to add to your own summer reading list!

  • Melanie

Literary Dinner and a Movie

In the remarkable 2010 BBC/PBS television series Sherlock, fictional Dr. John Watson writes his first blog, A Study in Pink, based on the 1887 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel A Study in Scarlet.  Benedict Cumberbatch, as a rather particular version of Holmes, has replaced the original dusty library with banks of laptops and a smartphone, and the thought-inducing meerschaum pipe with nicotine patches – a three-pipe problem has now become a three-patch problem.   Have you ever wondered what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would think of all this?  Brilliant, obsessed, and quite rude his detective has remained, but have these modern innovators stretched the original Sherlock Holmes too far?  The Thursday evening Charleswood Library Mystery Book Club had jolly good fun discussing this and other aspects of the whole affair after reading the novel in The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes and enjoying a delightful evening of movie-watching and popcorn.

sherlock   annotatedsherlock

 

Not to be outdone, the Saturday morning Charleswood Library Book club, which tends to steer away from mysteries, tried their hand with a Dinner and a Movie night out. After reading Paula Hawkins’ popular and engaging thriller The Girl on the Train, they had a rather enjoyable night out for a screening of Emily Blunt’s movie of the same name, and a dinner afterward.

Cover image for "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawins.

The two book clubs at The Charleswood Library seem to be engaged in a healthy competition with one another. If one has an author visit, the other does likewise.  If one goes out for dinner and a movie, the others will head out for a more civilized theatrical version of the book they’re reading, as they did with Simon Stephens’ MTC play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on the novel by Mark Haddon.

curiousincident

At year’s end, the competition culminates in a worlds-colliding Holiday Pot Luck Dinner, where the mystery lovers, the fiction lovers, and the cross-overs all bring the most delicious, warm, and satisfying book discussion of the year. This wonderful event brings to mind the 1942 Nabokov poem A Literary Dinner, which will be read at next December’s meeting:

Come here, said my hostess, her face making room
for one of those pink introductory smiles
that link, like a valley of fruit trees in bloom,
the slopes of two names.
I want you, she murmured, to eat Dr. James.

I was hungry. The Doctor looked good. He had read
the great book of the week and had liked it, he said,
because it was powerful. So I was brought
a generous helping. His mauve-bosomed wife
kept showing me, very politely, I thought,
the tenderest bits with the point of her knife.
I ate–and in Egypt the sunsets were swell;
The Russians were doing remarkably well;
had I met a Prince Poprinsky, whom he had known
in Caparabella, or was it Mentone?
They had traveled extensively, he and his wife;
her hobby was People, his hobby was Life.
All was good and well cooked, but the tastiest part
was his nut-flavored, crisp cerebellum. The heart
resembled a shiny brown date,
and I stowed all the studs on the edge of my plate.* 

 

~ Ian

*This poem can be found in Poems and Problems by Vladimir Nabokov, p. 152.

 

“Secret” Things the Library Can Do for You (Part 3)

Need a place to chill out (literally) as you run hither and yon this summer? I suggest you take a relaxing break at the nearest WPL branch. I’ll bet you drive or bus past one regularly. Why not drop in and get caught up with the daily paper or magazines? Or enjoy our air conditioning and free WiFi? And drink some water – you know you don’t drink enough water.

Here are some other things you might not know we offer, as part three of our “’Secret’ things the library can do for you” series.

Secrets

Obviously discussing the library

 

Free movie screenings

That’s right – free movies, just bring your own snack. Every month the Millennium Library hosts super popular movies that were adapted from books for both adults and kids. Coming soon, Lion, based on A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the series by Jeff Kinney.

Some branches also hold NFB Film clubs for both adults and kids. This summer three branches will be hosting special kids’ screenings of NFB short films on Indigenous Legends.

 

Art and sculpture

june9art

The art of Jennifer Sanderson is coming to the Millennium Library in July

The Millennium Library has so much art inside and out that it’s featured in the Winnipeg Arts Council walking tours. It also hosts rotating exhibits in its Blankstein Gallery, a feature that is so popular, it has been adapted into art walls for smaller branches, some of which have already begun showing exhibits by local groups and schools.

 

Let us look it up!

Ask Us

Ask us! Look how friendly we are.

Do you know what people did before Google? They called the library. Many people still do! We love it when you ask us to research things. We can find addresses and phone numbers, old newspaper articles, building codes, car prices… I once helped a gentleman find the right size hole to only allow the birds we wanted into the bird house he was building.

 

We ♥ WPG

 

Westwood

A West End literary walk

We love to highlight the history and beauty of our city with talks and walking tours and special collections online and in print (side point: have you seen the new Local History Room??). We’ll help you explore your city, neighbourhood, and even house. Yes, house. You can search for your address in our Henderson Directories going back to 1880 to see who used to live there!

And now that we have our book bike, we can bring the library with us wherever we go. Look for us the next time you’re at a festival, or, for that matter, the Goodwill Social Club (Wednesday, August 16).

 

Our love in action:

WPL at Pride 2017

WPL at Pride 2017

 

Happy summer!

 

Erica

 

 

 

Be Here Now

 

“In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being.” ~Eckhart Tolle

 

Now more than ever it seems that life is ridiculously busy.  The evolution of technology which was intended to make life easier has instead created more problems and accelerated the pace of our lives to a ridiculous, unsustainable velocity.  Just listen to someone yelling at Siri if you don’t believe me. We’ve gotten so advanced that we’re de-evolving in some ways. Instead of using the prefrontal cortex of our brains, which manages planning, emotional reactions and solving problems we’re in a continual state of overdrive on the amygdalla, which governs our fight or flight reactions and our sense of fear.

In the midst of all of this sound and fury seeking tranquility and calm can feel like another source of stress. Finding the perfect time and place to contemplate life is a very tall order, but meditation doesn’t have to be done sitting in the lotus position in an empty room for hours at a time. Meditative practices can be done anytime and anywhere, and the benefits are immediate and amazing.

 

Wherever You Go There You Are   wherever

Each chapter of this book offers a new insight into ways to bring more mindfulness and relaxation into everyday life, even when you’re washing dishes or driving to work. The mindfulness practices Jon Kabat-Zinn  writes about are easy and accessible techniques to bring a little meditation into your daily routine. With a little practice, it becomes as automatic as brushing your teeth, and can have as many health benefits.

 

Taming the Drunken Monkey           taming

Not only does this book have one of the top 10 non fiction book titles of all time (it’s number 8 on my list) it contains an intriguing mix of  Eastern medicine, Western therapies and ancient teachings. William Miklaus has brought these concepts together in a way that speaks to someone looking for physical benefits as well as to someone in search of a more creative way of living.

 

When Things Fall Apart         when

Pema Chordron is the first American woman to become a fully ordained Buddhist monk. She has written numerous books, and is the director of the Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia. This is a book to be read slowly and in stages, in order to begin to absorb the teachings. I found myself with more questions than answers by the end, but surprisingly it wasn’t frustrating, more like walking through a narrow gap in a hedge to find more beautiful gardens to explore.

 

A Boy Named Queen     

If you’re not looking to contemplate, but still feel flooded and overwhelmed, try checking out A Boy Named Queen. In this children’s book,  Queen teaches a classmate a great lesson about filtering out the cruel words of their schoolmates. Sara Cassidy wrote this book for children, but the message  works just as well for adults who need to take a step back from all of the unwanted input that is constantly bombarding us.

Even if just reading the word meditation immediately fills you with fear and loathing, you can still find some measure of calm and centeredness in our super saturated, super speedy world. Just take a moment, take a breath, and be here now.

-Lori