Author Archives: gpljennifer

Getting Out There

Meeting new people can be a daunting experience- in fact, for me, the first word that came to mind was “task” and not “experience”.  Meeting new people can be intimidating and sometimes dreadful; of course, it depends on the situation. I meet new people every day in my role as a librarian but these interactions rarely leave me feeling uncomfortable because usually there is a purpose to the interaction. No- what I dread the most is the small talk and the awkward silences that come with trying to find something to say in a new or social environment.   Whether you’re the plus one at a wedding, talking to an old acquaintance, or meeting a room full of new people it is often hard to start a conversation and keep it going.

Check out one of these items and get some pointers on how to make your next conversation more comfortable.

shyness shyness0 shyness2 shyness3 shyness5



It’s Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month!  In honor of this celebration I wrote my own poem about the Guelph Public Library:

Library is home

I lose myself in novels

Explore. Connect. Thrive.

The poem I wrote is an example of a haiku. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven, and the last line has five syllables again. I learned how to write a haiku and other styles of  poetry back in elementary school, however, I don’t really remember the technicalities of these poetry styles anymore. Luckily, I was looking through the many programs that the Guelph Public Library puts on and came across this program that runs on April 3rd:

Poetry as Play: Inspiration, Ideas, and Spontaneity program image

In this workshop, you can learn to play with words, participate in writing exercises, practice writing poems – plus try out different subjects and ideas. The event is hosted by author Marianne Micros who has written many books such as: Four women : Colleen Thibaudeau, Penn Kemp, Marianne Micros, Gloria Alvernaz Mulcahy, Seventeen Trees, and The Creative Circus Book all available at the University of Guelph’s Library or through interlibrary loan.





Spotlight On: Liane Moriarty

indexHave you ever read a book that you enjoyed so thoroughly that you just had to find more books written by that author? Last year I read the book The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty and let’s just say… the secret is GOOD! When I came down from my high after finishing that masterpiece of a book I immediately searched the Guelph Public Library for any other books written by the Australian wordsmith. To my pleasant discovery the good ol’ GPL had all six of her bestselling books, so naturally, I began my journey on what I like to call “I’m reading all of Liane Moriarty’s books”…succinct and to the point, I think.

So far I have read Big, Little Lies, The Husband’s Secret, and What Alice Forgot and these three books have all captured my attention – front cover to

The Husband's Secret

“Little kids, little problems. Wait till you’ve got drugs and sex and social media to worry about.” ― Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies

back. You’re probably wondering what I like so much about her work; there are a couple elements. To being with, I enjoy the way she effortlessly transitions from the present story being told, to glimpses of the past like in The Husband’s Secret or What Alice Forgot or to the future like Big, Little Lies.  Generally, I don’t enjoy this style of writing, but Moriarty writes the transition in such a way that the jumps between time act as clues to how the story develops, and thus the story naturally plays out like a mystery novel.


What Alice Forgot Cover AustraliaThat being said, the element that I truly enjoy about her writing is the way that Moriarty captures the tiny nuances of everyday life. I found her characters to have depth and to have relatable issues that many of us can relate to (moms… am I right?). She provides details about relationships, family logistics and introspection that make you want to snap your fingers and say “Preach!” without all those details feeling cumbersome.  I promise you’ll enjoy these novels and that you, too, will begin your “I’m reading all of Liane Moriarty’s books” journey.

Hypnotist's Love Story                  The Last Anniversary                        Three Wishes

February 14th a day for…Zombies?!

the-walking-dead-season-6-b-key-art-rick-lincoln-morgan-james-1200x707-v1For some, February 14th is a day of romance and chocolates but this year, it can also be a day of zombies and… more zombies! Bring your love life back  from the dead with a “ The Walking Dead” themed Valentine’s Day date.betty crocker

The Walking Dead resumes its 6th season on February 14th and I know there are many people just as excited for its return as I am. Will Glenn reunite with Maggie? How will Daryl, Sasha and Abraham survive Negan’s biker gang? Who is going to shut that kid, Sam, up? I don’t know! But I do know that I will find out while having the best zombie themed date a lady could ask for.

Now, this date could be truly amazing depending on how committed you are. You could dress up; you could decorate your place; you could even invite friends over for a “herd of zombies” date. It’s your date, so you choose. I, however, am going to help you plan your meal so you can WOW your significant other.


Channel your inner child and create these delightfully deadly appetizers. I recommend Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook which contains plenty of gruesome food like: Crusty Mummy Fingers (pg. 18) or Cheese-Filled Eyeballs (p.26).

Crusty Mummy Fingers     Cheese Filled Eyeballs

Main Course

Does anyone remember the water-logged zombie, from Season 2, that Glenn had to try to get out of the well, and then, to our horror was sliced by the rope around its gut? What am I saying? Of course you do! Well, (no pun intended), meet his food doppelganger:

Zombie Twins

This delicious looking cabbage roll zombie comes from the Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook, as well.  Take the presentation of this meal to the next level by wrapping the middle of it in a tiny piece of string.

Cabbage rolls not your thing? How about another trip down memory lane to season 4 and 5, to a little place called Terminus. If you remember, Terminus was a place of hope for The WalkingTerminus sribs Dead gang… until they found out that what they hoped would be a safe haven was actually a slaughter house. Hence, why I recommend barbequing this Vantines’s Day! Try making ribs, lamb chops, leg of pork- really any cut that combines bone with meat to make your meal look truly gruesome. For great recipe ideas try these fantastic bbq and grilling cookbooks found in the Guelph Public Library’s collection:



Oreo Dirt Cups - http://www.shariblogs.comFinish off your ghastly meal with one of my favourite nasty looking desserts. This dessert holds a special place in my heart as it’s one that I’ve enjoyed ever since I was a kid. A Cup of Worms is an easy way to infuse grubs into your grubby meal! For this recipe, along with other ghoulish recipes check out Ghoulish Goodies. For other great recipe ideas, come to any of the Guelph Public Library locations and take a look at the countless cookbooks for whatever meal you’d like to cook your loved one.

Not a The Walking Dead fan yet? The Guelph Public Library carries all five complete seasons of The Walking Dead, as well as, the graphic novel that inspired the hit show.


Holiday Fun

‘Tis the season to get together with friends and family, especially those you don’t get to see very often. Going out and having a good time can get expensive if you aren’t careful about where you are going and how much you are spending. I’ve put together some holiday activities that you can do in Guelph that are friendlier to your budget.


A winter scene from Speed River Trail 2014

There are lots of day-to-day activities around Guelph that cater to different age groups and many demographics.  Visit Guelph’s events calendar offers events information for Guelph and the surrounding area. Snap’d Guelph has a Calendar of Upcoming Events that shares events, big and small, around Guelph.  Finally, the Guelph Public Library has an events calendar that allows you to plan your activities 90 days ahead of time- there’s something for everyone!

Do you have a favourite activity you like to do during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

Managing Food Waste

I hate wasting food. Nothing makes me more sick to my stomach than when I have to throw out food that’s gone bad. I live with two other people and for a while we really struggled with wasting food.  Our problems? First of all, we have an enormous fridge; it’s wonderful for storing our favorite condiments, our variety of produce and our leftovers. It is not so great for trying to find the half-eaten bell pepper that has now somehow gone hiding into the abyss that is our fridge. Another problem we had is not taking the time to check our pantry/fridge before putting something on the grocery list. What three-person home needs two English cucumbers for one week? Not mine!  Our last problem that we struggled with was having too many leftovers or not eating the leftovers fast enough. We would eat our leftovers for lunch but by the next day we would start to get tired of eating them. One day passes and then another until that beautiful meal we made is now just a disgusting waste.  This is just my story, but I know there are lots of people out there who struggle with managing excess food.

A still life of food. (Photograph by Liam Mogan)

A still life of food. (Photograph by Liam Mogan)

Did you know that nearly half of all food produced worldwide is wasted through processing and transporting the food and then further more in supermarkets and kitchens ( That means that almost half of the food produced is lost before you even see the food on the shelves. The high demand for food to not only be affordable, but also to be aesthetically pleasing is one of the main reasons food is wasted during the processing stage. Would we be so nit-picky if our food wasn’t so plentiful and so cheap?

The Ugly Food” movement is making waves all over the world and has influenced a number of countries and companies to join the movement of selling ugly, but edible, produce. Earlier this year, France passed a law that bans supermarkets from throwing away ugly food and thus forcing them to sell the food at discount, to donate the food to charity or, if the food goes bad, they must give it LFHW-logoto farmers to use as animal feed or compost. Earlier this year, Vancouver introduced a food scraps ban which recognizes organic waste as a resource thus converting any un-used produce into green energy using an anaerobic composter. Even, Loblaws Canada has jumped on the bandwagon by carrying no name® Naturally Imperfect™ produce which makes healthy food more accessible to Canadians by selling less “photo ready” produce at a discounted price.

“The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimated that the cumulative cost of associated wastes (energy, water, land, labour, capital investment, infrastructure, machinery, transport, etc.) is approximately two and a half times greater than the “face value” of wasted food. Using FAO’s formula, the overall cost of annual food waste in Canada exceeds $100 billion”(Cut Waste, Grow Profit 2014 report).  I don’t know about you, but I could think of a lot of other things I would like to see that $100 billion used for.

My hope is that the citizens and leaders of our country will recognize the significance of food waste on our economy, our environment and our general attitude towards food standards and take action to help prevent the unnecessary loss of food, especially when there are those who do not have food to eat. Unfortunately, Canada doesn’t even have a food waste policy which could be the first step to nationally guiding citizens to be more conscientious about their food related behaviours. If you are finding that you are struggling with wasting food, I have listed ten helpful tips for reducing (hopefully eliminating) the amount of food that goes bad at your home.

Ten Ways To Manage Food Waste

  1. Always check what food you already have at your home before heading to the store.
  2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!
  3. Plan your meals. This may seem like a grueling task but it will help you to know exactly what you need to buy, how much to buy of it and you will know ahead of time what meals to make during the week. Extra benefit: no last minute, fast-food meals because, hey, you’ve planned your meals and are now set for the week.
  4. Go the grocery store as you need ingredients instead of one weekly trip. This is probably more feasible for those of us who are in close proximity to a grocery store/market, but if you can make every-other-day trips, then you really will only purchase what you need.
  5. Speak to the farmers at your local market. You may be able to arrange for you to buy ugly produce at a reduced price.
  6. Freeze your food! Soups, casseroles and baked goods are great for freezing. If possible, try to freeze your leftovers!

  7. Make smoothies, soups and crock-pot meals to quickly use up produce. This is one of my all-time go-to’s because it allows me to evaluate what is my fridge and when it needs to be used. If I have a bruised apple, I just cut away the bruised part and put the rest of it in a smoothie. If I see I a bunch of veggies that need to be used I puree them and make them into a healthy soup. It’s so fast and easy!
  8. Google recipes! If I have food (including meat) that needs to be used I just Google a recipe that includes all of those ingredients and voila! I have myself a meal. The benefits? My food gets used up and I get to try a new dish!
  9. Treat the expiration date on your food as a suggestion rather than a rule. I have had food that has gone bad before the expiration date and I have had food that has lasted longer than the expiration date. Give it a sniff, dab your pinky in it to try it, whatever works for you, just don’t automatically throw it away.
  10. Get a smaller fridge. Do you really need a fridge that could fit two small children in it?

These are just some suggestions on how manage your food waste at home. If you have any other suggestions please leave a comment on how you combat food waste in your home. For more information on food waste and food waste prevention try the books below available at the Guelph Public Library :

America Wasteland

Waste Not