By Jared Richards, Adult & Teen Services Assistant Supervisor
My theme for 2018 has been resolutions. To say my New Year’s resolution to write a short story each month never really took flight would be an understatement. It never even taxied to the runway, but that’s okay. Resolutions are a long-con, and sometimes you just need to throw a bunch at the wall and see which ones stick.
To that end, I am always looking for a good opportunity to resolve myself to something, and following a recent vacation, I was introduced to the idea of vacation resolutions. These are resolutions that you make while on vacation, for things you want to do after a vacation. When you find yourself on vacation, away from the stress of daily life, it is easier to put things in perspective, and vacation resolutions can help maintain that perspective, keeping you focused on the things that are important to you. Those things that have a tendency to be buried beneath bills, work, and just maintaining the illusion that you are an adult and know what’s going on (Spoiler: We’re all making it up as we go).
My first resolution is to make things out of wood. I have tools, the plans for a workbench that I will build someday, and access to a large selection of woodworking books at the Manhattan Public Library. We have books about small projects, like “How to Build Birdhouses and Feeders” by Stephen Moss or “Woodworking from the Scrap Pile” by Derek Jones, and bigger projects, like “Illustrated Cabinetmaking” by Bill Hylton or “Shaker Furniture Projects” by Glen Huey. We even have “Dream Treehouses” by Alain Laurens, for those of us who aspire to the level of housing featured in the Disney classic “Swiss Family Robinson” but maybe don’t need all of the pirates.
My second resolution is to ride my bicycle more. After a twenty year hiatus, it turns out that riding a bike is just like riding a bike, although it’s a bit more wobbly than I remember. To help build my confidence, I’ve been doing a lot of research, which includes reading library books, because I’m a librarian. The two standouts so far have been “The Ultimate Bicycle Owner’s Manual” by Eben Weiss and “Just Ride” by Grant Petersen. Both are quick reads that cover a broad range of information with humor and plain language. “The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair” is a good start for those interested in performing their own repairs, and if you’re interested in the history of bicycles, there is the aptly titled “Bicycle: The History.”
My final resolution is to get better at meal prep, the practice of preparing most of your meals for the week at one time and then storing them in the freezer or fridge until you need them. According to Google Trends, “meal prep” had a surge in popularity at the end of 2017, so I’m a little late to the party, but it’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon. The library has hundreds of cookbooks that can be useful for achieving my meal prep dreams. “The Casserole Queens Cookbook” has several good recipes, and they note which ones are good for freezing, and tell you to freeze them right before the baking step in the recipe.
I’m always a bit wary of bringing a cookbook into the kitchen, however, especially a borrowed one, because cooking can be a messy endeavor. Flour can find all the nooks and crannies, and I have yet to sauté something without oil going everywhere. One solution to this is to use an ebook instead. Pull up an ebook on your smartphone or tablet, open a cabinet, and prop your device up against your dishes. This will free up some counter space and keep the book at eye level so you won’t spend half your time in the kitchen bent over a book. I recently used Hoopla, one of the library’s free online resources for digital books, movies, music, and comics, to check out “Fix, Freeze, Feast,” which is filled with great recipes and instructions on how to freeze each one.
The best part of picking a resolution, is all of the potential that a resolution holds. The hardest part, is sticking to it. And the worst part, is writing about it in a public forum, and then not following through. So this time, I’ll enjoy the potential of my resolutions, revel in the challenge of sticking to my resolve, and then I’ll definitely follow through.