February is American Heart Month

Four years ago, at the age of 44, I had a heart attack. I was one of the lucky ones because women who have heart attacks are much less likely to survive.

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. – American Heart Association

41104077. sy475 A new book that came out last year called Invisible Women: Data Bias in A World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez talks about this and digs into the statistics in other areas where women are ignored. The symptoms a women can have when a heart attack takes place can often differ greatly than a man. I actually feel lucky that I had the traditional symptoms because my husband knew to call 911, but if I had the sore arm or back I would have ignored it, just writing it off as another one of my daily pains.

Heart disease does not run in my family, I did not have high blood pressure, and my cholesterol was slightly elevated, but not enough to be on medicine. Also, it is highly unusual for a women to have a heart attack before menopause, which at the time I wasn’t even pre-menopausal.

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When I can’t cope with something I read to try to understand it. One of the books, I read that helped me  is Saving Women’s Hearts: How You Can Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease with Natural and Conventional Strategies by Martha Gulati. It wasn’t able to give me an exact answer to why it happened to me, but it did answer and explain a lot of the things that were happening in layman’s terms. It also made me wish I had read it before I had the heart attack.

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Finally, because fiction is my way to escape everyday things, though still relatable, I read and enjoyed Leave Me by Gayle Forman, which is about a working mom and wife who is so busy she doesn’t realize that she had a heart attack. She decides to run away from it all and when she does she discovers inner secrets about herself.

 

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also has information about American Heart Month. Ways to get involved, to practice a healthy lifestyle, and a social media toolkit! Help spread the word about heart health! 

~posted by Pam H.

Weird Squirrel Behavior: A Reference Question

From the Ask a Librarian Reference Desk:

“The squirrels in my neighborhood are clipping little twigs off of ornamental trees and throwing them on the ground. So many twigs everywhere! Why are they doing this?”

Dear Patron,

Thank you for contacting The Seattle Public Library for assistance unraveling your squirrel-related mystery! Experts in squirrel behavior, such as the folks who work for University Extension programs and wildlife organizations, are not entirely sure why squirrels do this. They have two main theories:

  1. They’re eating parts of the tree — The cambium layer beneath the bark of trees is rich in minerals and other nutrients, which can be in short supply during winter. Squirrels may be trimming branches and peeling bark to gain access to this food supply. (See the University Extension Ask an Expert database and Michigan State University Extension.)
  2. They’re cutting clippings for nesting material – Some Squirrels build nests, called “dreys,” in tree branches using a combination of leaves, twigs, bark and other vegetation. Some even build two or three nests at one time, to create multiple avenues of shelter and escape.  It could be that your squirrels have a construction project and are throwing rejected building materials on the ground below. (West Virginia Wildlife Magazine speaks to this.)

Continue reading “Weird Squirrel Behavior: A Reference Question”

For the Love of Winter

Winter has always been the time for me to slow down, to cuddle up, to pause and recharge, especially after the holidays. But that slowing down doesn’t stop me from enjoying the season.

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Winterlust: Finding Beauty in the Fiercest Season by Bernd Brunner. In winter I’m not hiding out until the sun comes back–if anything I’m more present and taking full advantage of the season. This book offers essays on the meditative quality of winter and all that it has to offer us, such as the magic of snow and the activities it provides, as well as it’s ability to turn us back into children again. Winter is also the season of comfort, along the lines of the popular hygge movement of warmth and contentment. As you embrace the season, that in turn slows you down to be here and now–instead of the go, go, go. Continue reading “For the Love of Winter”

Upcoming Author Events for January

Check out these upcoming events with Native storyteller Roger Fernandes, Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, novelist Peter Curtis, and two open mic readings at Ballard and Columbia branches.

The free programs listed below are held at a variety of library locations in January; please check our online Author and Books Events calendar for complete details on these featured events and more.

Roger Fernandes: Native StorytellerRoger Fernandes: Native Storyteller
Sunday, January 5 at 1:30 p.m.
Greenwood Branch
Bring the whole family to enjoy storytelling with Roger Fernandes. Roger Fernandes is a story teller, tribal historian, educator and a member of Lower Elwha Band of the S’Klallam Indians from the Port Angeles area of the state of Washington.

It’s About Time Writers’ Reading Series
Thursday, January 9 at 6 p.m.
Ballard Branch
The Ballard Branch welcomes the 363rd meeting of the It’s About Time Writers’ Reading Series, featuring author readings and open mics. This month’s presentation features Sheila Bender, Stacey Levine, Kilam Tel Aviv, and Matilda Sycamore. Between the author readings, open mic time is available for three minutes per person.

Writers Read
Sunday, January 12 at 2 p.m.
Columbia Branch
Join us for a monthly reading series featuring an open mic and selected author readings from local writers. Local writers will read from their diverse repertoires of poetry, short stories, novels and essays. The event will end with a Q&A session, followed by an open mic session. Continue reading “Upcoming Author Events for January”

Upcoming Author Events for December

Laureen Nussbaum, Terry Tempest, Local broadcaster and historian Feliks Banel, and two open mic readings at Ballard and Columbia branches are in store this month.

The free programs listed below are held at a variety of locations in December; please check our online Author and Books Events calendar for complete details on these featured December events and more.

Laureen Nussbaum discusses 'Shedding Our Stars' Nussbaum discusses ‘Shedding Our Stars’
Sunday, December 8 at 2 p.m.
Wallingford Branch
Join us to hear Nussbaum talk about her personal experiences during World War Two, when her family was saved by Hans Calmeyer during World War Two, who was able to save over 3700 Jews from deportation. Nussbaum was recently honored as winner of two categories at the American Book Fest for Shedding Our Stars in the categories of Biography and History.

Writers Read
Sunday, December 8 at 2 p.m.
Columbia Branch
Join us for a monthly reading series featuring an open mic and selected author readings from local writers. Local writers will read from their diverse repertoires of poetry, short stories, novels and essays. The event will end with a Q&A session, followed by an open mic session. This program is presented in partnership with African-American Writers’ Alliance on the second Sunday of the month. Continue reading “Upcoming Author Events for December”