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Skinny, Skinnier, Skinniest...

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

If you’re a documentary fan, then check out Thin, an amazing little film from HBO. Thin explores the progression of several women who are residents in an eating disorder recovery centre in the United States. One resident is a wayward teen and another is a university educated psychiatric nurse; it quickly becomes apparent that anorexia doesn’t discriminate based on age or education. But, I wonder – given that nearly every one of the residents was Caucasian – if there are some patterns related to ethnicity...? But, I digress...

The women in the centre are each close to or under(!) a hundred pounds and still believe that they have weight to lose. They obsess over every morsel ingested, and then try their damndest to eliminate those morsels by either vomiting or using diuretics, or squeezing the food out of their feeding tubes (yuck!). Sometimes they hide food rather than eating it at all. It’s an enormous struggle – and a tearful event – when one woman is obliged to eat a whole cupcake. With psyches this complex, it’s no wonder that the women have to receive treatment from a whole team of practitioners: counselors, doctors, dieticians, and others.

The film is really well made. It definitely shows the women in an unvarnished light, and the viewer will at times feel both repulsed and sympathetic. But ultimately, this is not a film about anorexia. It does not explain how anorexia comes about or can be prevented; it does not speculate about why or how these particular women fell victim to such skewed views of body and food. Rather, this is a film about women; about feelings; about obsession. And like a lot of other HBO productions, there is no happy ending offered. Indeed, the fates that befall some of the women who are forced to leave the centre are quite saddening. But this isn’t suggary scripted TV; it’s real life. Er - I guess I should say: It’s not TV. It’s HBO. So be prepared for a bit of grit.

Browse some of our documentaries today! And if docs aren’t your thing, then check out HBO’s dramatic shows. Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and Rome are all fabulous!

Where art thou, BFF?

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Who is your best friend? I’m willing to guess that whoever he or she may be, you met each other more than a couple of years ago, not recently. In fact, it can be pretty hard to go from “newlymets” to best friends; building friendship takes time – an increasingly rare commodity in this busy, busy world of ours. And where to go, when searching for a new best friend? It’s not like you can date around, the way you would if you were looking for a significant other. Or can you?

I’m reading a great new book (with an unfortunately lame title) MWF seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend, by Rachel Bertsche, which is both an examination of what friendship is, and the chronicling of Bertsche’s social experiment: 52 friend dates in one year.

As I read through it, I’m discovering that Rachel sounds like a girl I’d like to have as a BFF. She loves books and brunch and good bad TV. She’s not yet ready for kids, but feels too old for some of the Gen Y’s she meets. She wants to be a full time writer. She even has curly hair, like me! How cute we’d be, brunching and book clubbing and writing together…

I’ll admit that keeping track of the litany of friends' names can get a bit tedious (see the appendix for a full listing!) but what I really appreciate about Bertsche's writing is that it is so frank and honest. Admitting that you would like to find a new or another best friend might make you feel insecure – after all, what kind of total loser would find herself in the friendship “market”, anyway? But that’s just your inner bully talking. The fact is that it’s easy for former friends to drift apart, and for a void in our social lives to appear. Why not learn how we can find and sustain new friendships, and then actively put those strategies into practice?

I’m not all the way through the book just yet, but I’m enjoying it so far. Check it out in print or electronic format!

Baby's first Audiobook

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Sure, I’d taken out books on CD before. But, I’d never downloaded one from Overdrive, our provider of free e-books and audiobooks.

Now that I’m finally(!) an iphone user, I’m anxious to download as much free content as I can – everything from university courses to music, movies and books.

The first title that I downloaded was The China Study, and I listened to it over the course of a few evenings, as I walked around my community. Next, I might check out fiction, or perhaps some cookbooks. Downloading these items was so easy! You really do not need to be tech savvy to click or tap your way to hundreds of new titles. Just download the free Overdrive app, and you’re off to the races.

If you need any assistance, just give us a call (403-260-2600) or strike up a chat with us, from our homepage.

And if you haven’t yet heard of The China Study, then may I suggest you make it your first download? Chock full of staggering epidemiological research into the effect of dietary protein on rates of disease in North America and China! I especially recommend it to those for whom a family history of cancer is a concern, and those who may be evaluating or re-evaluating their intake of meat.

On Pet Loss

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

During the last few months, four(!) of my friends have lost beloved pets. Which really means, of course, that they have lost members of their family. Pets give us unconditional love, and maybe even more importantly, they allow us to love them unconditionally – and it feels so good! Pets are witnesses to our lives; they give us free therapy and countless hours of entertainment. When I recently adopted a cat, my aunt told me to pay attention to how many times I would smile over the next few weeks, and it’s incredible. I am a much happier person with my sweet girl than I was without her.

If you’re grieving the loss of a pet, pop into your local library and check out some of our collections. This title (just one of many!) is suggested in memory of a very special rabbit named Marty. Available in paper and e-book format.

Going Home: Finding Peace when Pets Die, by Jon Katz

Getting Things Done, by David Allen

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I’m in the cult of productivity. Give me a prioritized to-do list (colour-coded, please!) and I’m a happy camper. I like to write in fountain ink, and do my crossing-out with a Sharpie. Nothing beats the satisfaction of striking a big, thick line through a list of niggling tasks. With a full-time job, a part-time job and both school and volunteer commitments, I have to find easy ways of staying on top of multiple projects and deadlines. But with more and more productivity tools, the job hasn’t necessarily gotten any easier.

If you’ve ever attempted to get your life in order and streamline your systems, you may have already encountered the work of David Allen, author of Getting Things Done and Making it all Work. I recently borrowed Getting Things Done on book CD, so that I could multi-task by listening to the book as I organized my desk, and filed my papers. What I really love about Allen’s approach is that it works for any sized project – whether it’s day-to-day workflow or planning large events. Those who follow his method (check the blogosphere – there are legions!) often swear by it, because it makes them feel so much more in control. Allen wants us to get every single thing down on paper. From dentist appointments, to light repair work, to thank-you notes that need to be sent, and so on. It sounds onerous, but really isn’t; once our have-to-do items are down on paper, they're no longer monopolizing our mental real estate or causing us stress.

If you think you could benefit from more elegant organization, give the GTD method a try! Get things done, and stop worrying about them!

(Now, don’t just make a mental note of the title – write it down!)

Congratulations, Class of 2012!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

My younger sister just graduated high school – a huge milestone in her young life. At this point, she can do almost anything: work for the summer and then go to college or university; travel the world and teach English or work on an organic farm; volunteer in some far-flung place...

Graduation and convocation both felt bittersweet to me. I wasn’t one of the students who desperately wanted to escape high school or undergraduate life. Actually, I quite enjoyed the days when “student” was my full-time occupation, and the only obligations in my world were essay deadlines. If I ever win the lottery, the first thing I’ll do (post-vacation, of course) is go straight back to school – just for the pure joy of learning.

It’s really no surprise that many students confront convocation with a mix of excitement and trepidation. After all, on the horizon is a broader range of freedoms and possibilities, but these come with risks and unknowns, and a lot of hard work. And without the label of “student” to provide parameters to your identity, it’s now up to you and you alone to craft the person who you’ll be. And that’s an ongoing project for which your old study buddy, Wikipedia, is useless.

Is there a recent graduate in your family? Have him or her check out this fabulous new book:

10 ½ Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said by Charles Wheelan.

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