Thursday, September 24, 2009

America Recycles Day November 15, 2009

November 15, 2009

America Recycles Day Poster and Essay Contest

About the Contest

In recognition of America Recycles Day on November 15, the Chelmsford Recycling Committee wants to get students thinking about key environmental issues, the ways ordinary people can have a positive impact on the environment, and messages today’s young people would like their leaders to hear about environmental protection.

Poster Contest: Grades K, 1-2, 3-4. Create a poster that encourages people to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Guidelines for Posters
(Grades k through 3)

The posters should be between 8-1/2” x 11” and 11” x 20” in size. Include your name, school and grade. Posters will be judged on how compelling and creative they are.

Essay Contest: Grades 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12. If you could be on TV for up to three minutes to convey a message about waste and Environmental Protection, what would you say.

Guidelines for Essays
(Grades 4 through 12)

While we refer to these submissions as “essays,” students are encouraged to be creative. Submissions may be in the form of a standard essay, a letter, a skit or short play, a poem or any written format the student thinks is most appropriate for the message. Please stay within the following limits:

Up to 250 words or fewer for grade 4-5
Up to 500 words or fewer for grades 6-8
Up to 750 words or fewer for grades 9-12

Eligibility and Submission Information

All students residing in Chelmsford and/or attending school in Chelmsford (public, private, homeschooled) are eligible. Essays and posters must be done by an individual student and may be submitted by that student or by a teacher, parent, guardian or group leader. Only one submission per student, please. Multiple entries from one class or school may be submitted simultaneously. Deliver posters to the Office of Recycling/Solid Waste, Chelmsford Town Offices, 50 Billerica Road, Chelmsford, MA 01824, or e-mail to

Entries should include: Student’s name, age grade, address, phone#, email if available. School name, troop# and adult contact information is required for group entries. All decisions of the judges are final.

Contest Dates

All essays and posters must be received by noon on October 30, 2009. Winners will be informed by November 10, 2009. Prizes will be awarded in November 2009. Submissions will be judged on how clear, concise, compelling they are, as well as on grammar and originality. Visit www.Chelmsford

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's Spooky Story Time, It's Spooky Story Time....

It's my favorite time of the year, the sun is shinning the breeze is blowing and spooky story season is just around the corner. I was wondering what on earth I was going to do with myself with the Library Budget cuts. The MacKay Library is down to two days. I haven't lost any time but they have me working Wednesday night and a every other Saturday at the Main Library, leaving me lots of time to do other things. The good news is I am still hosting the Spooky Story Contest. Click on the link below to find out more. I will also be telling spooky stories in Chelmsford, and Acton areas. Let me know if you are in need of a Spooky Story or two. Listen to Old Dry Fry, Black Gum, It Was a Dark and Stormy Night and many more.

The MacKay Spooky Story Contest was a big success! I had 117 children and youth write stories this year. Great job everyone! A special thanks goes out to The Chelmsford Friends of the Library and Sully's Ice Cream for sponsoring this event!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Going for the gold! Someday....

My Daughter just finished her first season on the Roudnebush Gymnastics team.
And what a year it was, up early for Saturday meets check in at 8 a.m. (she is not an early bird).
I can't tell you how many backhand spring she has done this year TNTC ( like bacteria it is Too Numerous To Count). I always joke that I am going to try it too. She had fun, won many metals and had a great time. Look out next year here we come.

Hanky Panky?

Got your attention didn't I.
Well it is not what you think, but don't stop reading.

Over many years I have come to be the proud owner of a very large number of handkerchiefs. I have many of my Grandmother's, my Aunt Ruth's and my Grandfather's handkerchiefs. My Grandparent's hankies have tucked away and out of site for many years. As I was cleaning at my Mom's, I bumped some more and I thought there should be something I could do with them...but what. Aunt Ruth's have come to me recently, so my hanky collection is growing. We all have mementos of those we love and the thought of hiding them away didn't seem right.

I have a good friend Kristy Medina who has a degree in Textiles and she has just started her own show on local cable call It's Easy Being Green, where she stresses the four R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Re-purpose. She asked me to be a guest and I knew right away that she could help me with my handkerchiefs. Check out her blog- textiles 4 you and a video clip of our show.

After a brief meeting with her to show her my hanky stash. I had some ideas... Valences, Tablecloths and Quilts... Oh My! Can I handle the pressure of getting some of these ideas in motion for the show. Well the first thing I did is to send all the hankies I might use through the wash, then I ironed them and pick out a few favorites.

My first idea was to choose 3 and turn them on point, I thought this would make a great valence.
I found one with a Red R on it and 2 that had lily of the valley on them and voila a few stitches and I have a new valence hanging in my kitchen window.

Now for Pappa's hankies what on earth can I do with these masculine plaid hankies. We'll Kristy suggested I lay them out on the floor in a pattern and take a photo of them and this is what I came up with after looking at many arrangements and an afternoon in front of my sewing machine TaDa a tablecloth! You have to be careful of how you sew the edges since the hankies edges are bound. I used and overlap method and a zigzag stitch. I am thinking of putting a border on it but haven't found the right fabric yet.

After looking at all the shapes the sizes, edges, and colors of the remaining hankies, I made a decision; I decided to find the biggest one and add 2" to each side (this came to a 20 1/2" square). While out shopping at a discount store I bought a queen size sheet for ~$6 this would be perfect for my project. I cut it into 20 1/2" squares and folded in in quarters to find the center. I chose a hanky and folded it in quarters as well. Then I pinned both centers together.

I will probably handstitch the hankies to the square.
I picked out a few of my favorites, but still have some decisions to make: how big is the quilt to be, what colors should I choose and should I add sashing?

On Friday I was a guest on Kristy's show, it went very well and it was a lot of fun.
What mementos do you have around the house you'd like to show off?

Story Box Program

Do you have a story you would like to share with your community or with the greater world?

I was able to bring this great program to the MacKay Library, The Story Box Project, was founded by Kevin Cordi an Academic Storyteller at Ohio State University.

We will be collecting your original stories, the MacKay Library. The stories can come from almost anywhere; it could be a folk tale, a fairy tale, a true story, or a childhood memory.
Here in Chelmsford we have had many ice storm stories that you could share.

If you have a story -

Write it down, type it up, or record your story then drop it off.

Click here submitt your story online.

Our Stories and the Story Box will be traveling around New England, the next stop the Amesbury Library.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Old Town Hall: What was can be again 2009

This is a short documentary about the North Town Hall in Chelmsford, MA.
Please join us for a breif tour, a bit of oral history of what it was, and the hopes and dreams of what it can be again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Must Read, Madapple by Christina Meldrum

This is a great book for older teens and adults alike.
If you like court room drama, botany, religon, and mythology you are going to love this book.
I am not going to tell you too much, because I want you to read it.

This is her first novel, I can't wait for the next.

World Storytelling Day 2009

We Celebrated World Storytelling Day, with the After School Storytelling Club

The Super Sonic Celtic Guinea Pigs of Awesomeness!

Ten storytellers ranging in age from 8 to 12 years old preformed 
Stories for All Ages
We have been working very hard and eating lots of popcorn while we explore the art of storytelling.  We spent about 8 weeks having fun learning about story.  This was the first public performance for about half of the kids who participated, the other half have been telling stories for ~ a year.  We heard everything from the "Shepherd and the Wolf" to the "Coffin That Wouldn't Stop".  Everyone did a fantastic job!  We had about 40 in the audience.  It was wonderful to have such a great turnout, of family,  friends and storytime kids.
Thank you all to a job well done!

Remember Friday March 20th is World Storytelling Day, have you told someone a story today?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We did it!

Community Center Here We Come!

Our campaign to save the old town hall was a success, they have given us till 2011 to create a viable community center.

I am currently working on collecting oral histories of our neighborhood and finding a treasure of stories. Hopefully I will be able to up load my movie when it is complete.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Saving North Town Hall

My Newest Project involves saving North Town Hall
I have been busy writing a pamphlet that our neighborhood is putting together to educate the community about the Hall's history.

For over 150 years the North Town Hall has been a part of our history, our town, and our community.  It is in jeopardy of being sold to the Housing Authority for $1 to create 17 studio apartments.  Once converted into housing it will be lost to the community forever.

North Chelmsford is a vibrant and bustling community and it has been since Pre-Revolutionary times. Wonderful neighborhoods, the MacKay Library, beautiful Varney Park and Freeman Lake are all within walking distance to this historic building.   Historic records show evidence of the communities' pride in the North Town Hall.  We would like to restore this building and return it to the community thus instilling this sense of history and pride in future generations.

Town meeting approved building a Town Hall in the North village in 1852.  The Town Meetings alternated between the Center and the North Town Hall for many years.  Prior to 1852 town meetings were held in various places in the center until the Center Town Hall was built in 1879.  In 1886 North Town Hall was renovated and a ground floor was added.

 The North Town Hall was once a lively community center hosting many groups over the years from the well respected and decorated Spaldings' Light Calvary Civil War Unit, Many theatrical performances organized by The North Congregational Church, Scouting meetings, children's movie night, to dance classes.  Chelmsford High School graduation ceremonies were held at the Town hall alternating between North and Center for many years.  Throughout the years the North Town hall housed town offices while the Center was being renovated and was used as the Chelmsford School Administration's Offices during the late 60's.

Many advances have been made to renovate this structure in the last decade.   The interior walls have been stripped to the studs creating the ideal condition for updating the wiring and plumbing .  The roof has also been stripped and replaced.

We are looking for support to stop this sale from happening. Please contact your local government officials and let them know you want to preserve our town's history for the next generations.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Going to the Hogs!

Now I have told you before I do things differently, as you can see I ment what I said.
This summer they made a documentary about the Chelmsford Libraries.  I held a program called Pig Out On Reading with Daisy and Farmer Minor that they filmed.  Daisy is a pot belly pig.  While the filming was going on I had to wear this pig nose and introduce the show.  Thankfully the pig nose ended up on the cutting room floor, but I will be forever remembered for kissing Daisy right on the snout.  She was actually very sweet.  
Hogs to you! Remember to pig out on reading!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things that go bump in the night....

The Birthday Party Sleepover, is it a rite of passage or an insane parental decision? I will let you make the call. Yes it is true I just survived our first birthday party sleepover. Six of my daughters closest friends ascended upon my houses donning all the important sleepover necessities: Sleeping bags, pillows, stuffed animals, nail polish, etc.... 

I had a very flexible set of plans, and I think we can all agree that the road to hell is paved with the best intentions.  My daughter on the other hand had no plans set aside other than the fact that they were going to stay up all night.   So we ushered the noisy bunch in and fed them (pizza of course) and fancy party punch with a floating ice ring, nothing but the best.  After polishing off 2 1/2 pizzas in record time, I served them my works of art...drum roll please... 
penguin cupcakes, no real penguins were used of course. (The cupcake idea was found in Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson).  It took them some time to devour these cute cupcakes, when they finished they had only been here for one hour, ...thirteen more hours to go.

We moved right on to presents, which was followed by making friendship bracelets, nail painting (mostly shades of blue with neon green racing strips), 2 hours down. Next we played a improv game where you have to pretend you speak a different language and have to act out the sentence that appears on the card.  Everyone loved this, except for my cranky party girl. After this lively game they were all asking for a story, which was immediately shot down by the crankster herself.  Absolutely not she said, you'll ruin my party.  I never thought I would say this but maybe she is wiser than her years, I just which we could loose the attitude

3 hours down, 11 to go.  

Next they played wii,  followed by American Idol using the mic and amp of course. That is when it happened... the girl who was being Randy Jackson suddenly found her self very sad and ready to go home.  Ahhh what to do, after a quick chat with her Mom, Randy Jackson was back on the couch sending people to Hollywood.  Whew disaster averted... how many hours to go?  
Will I make it?  Running out of things to do and energy ... and fading fast. 
...yes it is me we are talking about.  

In my nicest storyteller mommy tone, I said " Girls lets get our P.J.s on and watch a movie."  Ah a simple feat,  ha, ha, ha, not so fast you silly rabbit... have you ever tried to get 7 preteens to agree on something...sigh.  Hey girls I said "I have a movie I think you will love and I bet none of you have seen it, My Neighbor Totoro... the finest in Japanese animation." They loved it.  It is now about 12:30, mind you some of these girls have never been up past 12 and the other half were determined to stay up all night.  In my best big happy voice I said "it's time to settle down and go to bed."  Asking if anyone needed anything before retiring to my own bed, I quickly slunk away.   What was I thinking?

The next 45 minutes went something like this, whispering, giggling followed by screams... my husband would get up and go downstairs and politely ask them to keep it down.   After the third round of whisper, giggle, scream it was my turn, so I asked them... why all the noise?
"Miss Bonnie" they said  "your house is scary", just listen they said.  Phsssttt, paaah, tap, tap, tap, whoooooo is what I heard. After another round of screams I said "O.K., O.K.  our house is over 100 years old, so when the steam comes up you hear Phsssttt Paaah and the tap, tap, tap are the dogs toe nails tapping on the hardwood floors.  The whooooo is the winter wind blowing."  After a few minutes of listening to all the creaks and moans of an old house I had them convinced that there was nothing to fear.  I grabbed a yoga mat and a down comforter and laid down on the floor with the gang and after a few fabricated giant yawns, they all nodded off to sleep.  I fell fast asleep too.  Now I can tell you that it has been a very long time since I slept on the floor and other than being a bit sore and a bit sleep deprived I survived along with the rest of them.  I crept up to my own bed ~5:30 a.m., while the rest of the gang slept until 7:30 a.m.

Can you imagine what would have happened if I had told them a few spooky stories, ...I would have been up all night! Thanks for the sound advice kiddo! Would I do it again... yes I guess I would.  I like the low budget, family style feel the sleepover vs. the commercial birthday bash.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Great Kids Book

I just finished reading Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb and I loved it.  It is a great story of how the Great Smoky Mountains National Park came to be. It is a work of fiction, I would say for kids 4th grade and up.  The main character is quite a spunky young lady who has many adventures that leave you laughing out loud.  

It just goes to show you how a visit to a national park can plant the seed of story, which may grow into to something beautiful.

P.S. I like to think I do things different too.  

Monday, January 19, 2009

A New Year With Many New Beginnings

As we turn to the East to watch 
the sun grow brighter in the New Year,
We turn inward to hold our hopes and dreams,
and grow wiser from our failures and losses
We turn to each other in support, community and friendship
May the turning of the year and the coming of the new light 
surround, nourish, liberate and illuminate us in the year to come.
 - Bonnie

Mowed Labyrinth 2008

I led a summer service at our church last summer and as part of that service I mowed a labyrinth into the church yard.  As  Unitarian Universalists we are encouraged to follow our 4th principal: "A free and responsible  search for truth and meaning." 
We all have traveled different paths and have returned from different journeys to find ourselves connected in this time and space. Although the path of the labyrinth  is the same for everyone who steps into it,  it will hold a different meaning; a different experience for each and everyone of us... a different journey on our path for truth and meaning.

A bit about the labyrinth:
I chose this four coil labyrinth which is created like the one that stood in the village of Temple Crowley which is just outside of Oxford England, for its winding path and its ease to mow. 

If you have a chance to walk a labyrinth, do it in the open air and enjoy this form of worship in motion.

Spooky Story Contests!

Since 2002 I have hosted a Spooky Story Writing Contest at the library I work at.  Over the years it has become more and more popular. It is very easy to run and I encourage anyone who may want to run this program in their community to do so.  

This is a great way to get your community's creative juices flowing, not to mention your own.  As a lover of story, I like to practice what I preach and write a spooky story or two of my own to inspire the kids.  Two of my favorites are called Old William, which is about an old man who is haunted by his mother's ghost and Brian's Hike, which is about a hiker who encounters a group of gospel ghosts at the top of a mountain.

Here is the basic recipe for how I run the contest. I send out notices to the local school libraries and ask the librarians to promote the contest, which is usually how we get the bulk of our entries.   I also put it up on our library website and send a press release to the local paper. I try to keep it simple asking the children K-12 to write an original spooky story with a beginning, a middle, and an end.   Everyone gets a certificate of participation because I feel if the kids are willing to write outside of school they should be rewarded.  Everyone who enters also gets a gift certificate to my favorite ice cream stand Sully's.  Prizes are usually books or Halloween trinkets. You can break down the categories however you like. This year I had a Kindergarten group, then grades 1-2, 3-4, and middle school category which is 5, 6, 7,and 8th grade. I usually don't do the judging myself. In the past I have had a Teen Librarian, a Newspaper Editor and a High School Teacher as judges. This year for the Top Prize winner I tried something new, since she was also my top winner in 2006, I took both of her stories and had them published at and for ~$7 per copy.  Please let me know if you run a spooky story contest your own, I'd love to hear how it went .

Scarecrow Festival at Red Wing Farm 2008

Old Dry Fry and The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything are a few of the stories I told to the younger children. When the younger group was replaced by a group of teens I told them the tale of the Black Gum, which is a cautionary tale of listening to your parents when trick or treating.

Ben and I performed at the first annual Scarecrow Festival at the Red Wing Farm in Chelmsford.  We had a nice little crowd who hung on every word as I told them spooky stories.