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Spring Cleaning – Yourself
By bernadette Ulsamer

I usually don’t go in for astrology and such, but when I happened upon my horoscope for April, it got me thinking:
Virgos love to transform chaos into order, and now might be a good time to do some spring cleaning. I'm not talking about your closets, but your internal worlds: taking stock of some behaviors, beliefs, and/or habits that no longer serve you, and if not willing to get rid of them quite yet, then maybe putting them away in storage.
Our lives and our internal selves can become cluttered and messy over time, just like our closets and cabinets. There are times when we find ourselves holding on to things, no matter how useless, or negative, they may have become, e.g. grudges. So, just as we do a thorough sweep of our houses around this time of year, it may do some good to spring clean ourselves as well.
Before diving into some self-care cleaning, it’s important to let go of the past. Resentments, regrets, and coulda/woulda/shouldas can weigh a person down, especially when you’re trying to reach for better things. You can’t change the past and the past can only hurt you if you let it. True, we’ve all made mistakes, some bigger than others, but hopefully we’ve learned from them and now is the time to move forward.
Once you’ve mentally rinsed off the past — look at your present. What behaviors are holding you back? Whether minor or major, now is the time to kick bad habits to the curb. Easier said than done, I know. But, by making a concerted effort to identify the problem you can start coming up with a plan to eliminate it. Also, don’t think you can quit cold turkey. It may take some time to truly change your negative tendencies, which is fine don’t get discouraged, instead try this trick. Flipping things from a negative to a positive.
Negative thoughts plague all of us to various degrees, and while you probably can’t stop those initial negatively charged thoughts and emotions from popping into your head, you don’t have to keep focusing on them. Instead, try thinking about something positive when negativity starts to approach. If it helps, have a go-to image, or song, or an excerpt from a poem or scripture that uplifts you. Use that positivity to stop the depressing and harmful thoughts before they take over your whole perspective. In terms of self-criticism, to keep from falling down the rabbit hole of negative self-talk remind yourself of all things that you do well, the positive impact you have on your loved ones, and all the things you are thankful for. Becoming an expert in flipping the script will give you a much rosier view of the world.
Speaking of the world, now is a good time to take stock of the relationships in your life that are no longer working. Friendships evolve over the years. If you find yourself feeling bad more often than good when you’re around a particular friend, it may be time to reevaluate things. Maybe taking a simple break from each other is all that is required to get your friendship back on track. Or, if things have become toxic, it could be time to end your friendship. If the latter, don’t beat around the bush, talk to your friend openly and tell them (don’t blame them) that you’re ending your friendship.
Of course, it would be great if we could ‘break up’ with everyone in our lives that causes us anguish, like angry bosses and nosey in-laws, but unfortunately, while you can choose your friends, you can’t choose your family or your supervisor. For those people in your life that can’t be avoided, keep thinking positive thoughts and try to limit the interactions you do have with them. I’m not suggesting you dodge co-workers or family members, but you can exert a bit of control in how and how often you interact with people.
Lastly, be kind to yourself and forgive yourself. Don’t let regrets and shame lead you down a negative, self-critical spiral. Accept that the past is the past and don’t beat yourself up over it. Most importantly, love yourself. If you can’t love yourself, how can you expect other people to love you? Practicing self-love is one of the added perks of spring self-care cleaning.

The Bookworm Sez
By Terri Schilichenmeyer

“Unlikely Companions: The Adventures of an Exotic Animal Doctor” by Laurie Hess, DVM
c.2016, Da Capo Press
$24.99 / $32.50 Canada
256 pages

Fluffy’s not feeling very well.
It’s terrible when a pet gets sick; they can’t exactly tell you what’s wrong but he’s your baby and you know when there’s a problem. You really need to get Fluffy to the vet – but not just any veterinarian. He needs a specialist because, as in the new book “Unlikely Companions” by Laurie Hess, DVM (with Samantha Rose), little Fluffy isn’t exactly fluffy.
Moving out of their apartment was the start of a dream.
When Laurie Hess and her husband, Peter, left Manhattan, they knew upstate New York was where they’d put down roots and raise a family. They’d found community there, and the perfect place for Hess to open her Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics.
Iguanas might not seem like your everyday pet, but Hess might see them in a normal workday. Pigs aren’t furry like dogs, but their owners love them all the same. Parrots might not pounce, but they play and can even purr. These are her patients but, says Hess, caring for their owners is half her practice.
Sleuthing is likewise an important part of what she does.
When car-tire-vs.-turtle happens, she discovered a way to repair the unfortunate victim’s shell. When an adorably tiny piglet grows into a full-bore boar, she knows how to keep that little piggy from going to market. When a dangerous “pet” comes to her clinic, she understands how to stay safe while caring for it. And when a whole herd of beloved area animals were in trouble, Hess leaped to find out why.
Comical, active, and popular with kids and adults, doe-eyed sugar gliders were in crisis in Hess’s area: she had five dead patients, no clues, and research showed that the animals were succumbing quickly in many areas of the country. Nothing added up, but in the midst of finding a solution, Hess also found herself immersed in controversy…
So you say your pet is unlike any other.
Really, really unlike any other, which is why you’ll enjoy “Unlikely Companions.”
Tipping the scales with a snake, catching a Nile monitor, boarding a bunny, and finding a “pet” that shouldn’t be a pet, they’re all in a days’ work for author Laurie Hess, as she writes in a memoir that’s part pet-lover, part personal.
That latter angle is great — we get to know Hess and her family well — but let’s face it: the former is why you’d want this book, and Hess doesn’t disappoint her readers. Get ready for stories of an autistic boy and his pets, taste-testing pet food, and a fussy cockatoo. Read about birdbrains, bird brains, and a pig who loves having his nails painted. You’ll laugh about four-footed escapees. You’ll cry for the husband whose wife hates his pets. And you’ll thrill at a mystery that weaves throughout.
That makes this perfect for animal lovers of all stripes and scales, fans of dogs to hogs. Furry, purry, or if you’ve got a Fluffy who really isn’t so much, “Unlikely Companions” is a book you’ll like very well.

O’ Say Can You Sing?
Anthem auditions May 5 at CAC during First Friday

The Williamsport Crosscutters will hold auditions for National Anthem performers on Friday, May 5 from 6-8pm at the Community Arts Center during May’s First Friday in downtown Williamsport.
All individuals and groups who are interested in performing the anthem prior to a 2017 home game must audition on this date, including those who have performed in previous years.
“We have so many great performers in our area and we can’t wait to hear them,” said Gabe Sinicropi, the Cutters Vice-President of Marketing and Public Relations. “We are pleased and proud to be able to hold our auditions in the great facilities of the CAC, especially on First Friday in downtown Williamsport”
The Crosscutters are looking for any and all types of performers including soloists, groups, and musicians, of any age. All vocal auditions must be 90 seconds or less in length, the traditional rendition and a cappella.
Performers will be heard on a first come, first served basis during the audition time. Those chosen to sing at a game will be notified and scheduled at a later date. All those who audition will receive a free gift from the Crosscutters. Any and all First Friday attendees are welcome to enter the Community Arts Center to view the auditions.
Community Arts Center, located at 220 W. Fourth St. in downtown Williamsport is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the community by providing exceptional arts and entertainment events and participatory activities while offering programming that is appropriate to the diverse interests and needs of a regional audience, priced fairly to assure accessibility to all. Learn more by visiting their official website,
For more information on Cutters Anthem Auditions call (570) 326-3389. The Crosscutters 2017 season opens on June 20 at newly renovated BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. The full schedule can be viewed online at

Uptown Music Collective:
Life in the Fast Lane

On April 29th six Uptown Music Collective students will take part in what has now become a yearly tradition on the stage at the Community Arts Center, “UMC Senior Night.” This moment, when UMC Executive Director Dave Brumbaugh, along with the Collective Staff and Students, recognize the school’s Special Performance Group seniors. It has become a bittersweet rite of passage that all of the young performers look forward to and simultaneously dread. This year’s spring show, Life in The Fast Lane: The Story of the Eagles, will take place at the Arts Center on April 28th & 29th, and will be the swan song for six seniors, Hailey Beck (Williamsport), Maya Caringi (Williamsport), Mitchell Gartner (Williamsport), Keely Krause (Hughesville), Patrick Newman (Loyalsock) and Bekki VanDort (Loyalsock).
“We raise these young musicians, often from a very young age, and they quickly become family to us,” says Brumbaugh. “While a few of the seniors will continue to be involved at various levels through either continuing in the program or participating in alumni performances. It’s definitely a line that is crossed and a step onto a new path that must be taken. This makes each year an emotional roller coaster, as we focus on the work, getting excited about sharing it with the public, but… alternatingly dreading the coming of the show and crossing that line.”
Reflecting on his senior night, UMC Alumnus, teacher, and leader of Gabe Stillman and the Billtown Giants said, “I was sad knowing that it could be my last time sharing the stage with so many of my friends who I grew up learning to play music with. But I also took comfort in knowing the experiences I had as a Collective student were one of a kind and they prepared me to take on whatever was coming next in my life.”
“Senior night was definitely such a bittersweet moment,” says UMC Alumna & teacher Kira Crissinger. “The thought of graduating from the Collective and it being my last show was really hard because performing alongside my friends and having these experiences was something I wish I could do forever. Our last night was one that I will never forget. It was an emotional night but it made for everyone to give a powerful performance and to leave everything they had on the stage which really showed.”
Nuria Hunter, a UMC Alumna who graduated in 2012, had this to say about her experience. “Leading up to that moment is a whirlwind, you get lost in the expression of music and don't really get a chance to step back and realize that you're a senior until the moments before the performance. When I finally got slammed by the reality that this was it, I was struck with a feeling of immense pride for the journey that the other seniors and I had gone on together.”
“It's a surreal feeling standing on stage for the last time with people who are more than your friends,” said Tess Marshall, a UMC Alumna who also graduated in 2012. “They're people you share your passion and soul with every time you rehearse, play and perform. They're your network of people who get it. I remember thinking; ‘will I ever get to experience this again?’
The graduating seniors are not the only ones in transition. The students behind them are also watching close friends move onward and upward. They know that with each succeeding generation in front of them moving on, the torch is passed to them and along with it the weight of the legacy of the school’s celebrated performance program. Of course, they also start watching the clock marking their own time in the program as it continues its relentless march forward.
“My experience at the Collective started when I was about thirteen years old,” says graduating senior Keely Krause. “I had never really sung in a band or performed in front of large crowds before. The very first thing I did was join the rock workshop and I sang Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin. Since then I've participated in six major shows and a lot of other workshops and performances, but no matter what I did I had a ton of people pushing me to be the best. The Collective is exactly what the word ‘collective’ means. It's a family where everyone works together to succeed. The people at this amazing music school help prepare you not only to be a good musician but they coach you in how to succeed in life as well. It's bittersweet to be a senior this year but I couldn't have asked for a better five years.”
Listening, playing, and performing music, like life itself, is about connection. At the Collective the students, the staff, and their audience connect on a deep level. When that connection changes, it’s a big transition for everyone involved. “My hope is that students who are part of this program have learned the life lessons that we strive to teach through our music education,” said Brumbaugh. “To strive for perfection in all they do, to create synergy with those with whom they work and for those they do that work for, and to have fun, enjoying the process as much if not more than achieving the goal.”
For more information on the Uptown Music Collective, or details on Life in The Fast Lane: The Story of the Eagles, please visit or call 570-329-0888

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