Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The final face-off: the Championship Round

After a brief intermission, four teams took the stage for the Championship Round: Just The Neighbors (no strangers to the Bees’ Championship Rounds); the Crack o’ Dawn Bee-Cyclists; the Church Belles; and the Three Stewges. The Championship Round seldom sees such a challenging mix of spellers—this year’s players were especially strong.

Since the Church Belles were missing a member, and there had been a large number of clearly qualified and undeniably eager teenage spellers who wanted to play on our walk-on team, I waved over to the group and suggested that they send a speller up to join the Church Belles. I’m sure I was not the only one surprised to see young Robert Lordi take the stage! True to their Youth Ministry, the Church Belles welcomed Robert to their table. One can only suppose that he proved an asset to their team, as you will soon see.

I probably overthink the composition of the rounds—OK, OK, I confess—I DEFINITELY overthink the composition of the rounds. It is so important to give the players some entertainment as well as some challenge, though—after all, they are our champion volunteers and playing for a good cause. At the same time, I cannot resist teasing some of the players with words that have stumped them in the past. It was with this in mind that we launched the Championship round with the word kohlrabi—it has tripped up many teams in prior Bees. This year, however, it merely drew some knowing chuckles from the players who recognized it from years past.

The four Champion teams easily took on prosciutto, backstein (a kind of cheese—also a word that has stumped past Bee players) and yclept (an archaic word for “named”, as in By what name art thou yclept? shouted Sir Gawain to the Green Knight). The hairshirt, or cilice, gave some teams trouble, as did laetrile (by mentioning the 1970s miracle cancer cure derived from apricot pits, I am dating myself). Finally, the word THALWEG produced a clear victor: the Church Belles.

A thalweg is an imaginary line formed by connecting the lowest points in a valley or riverbed. The “thal” part is similar to that of the word “Neanderthal”, and means “valley”. It's not a word we see often, but it was published in the Marco Polo section of the 2010 word list (copyright 2010 Friends of the Dover Library). With all the rain we’ve been having, though, it may find itself in wider use, along with some other words from the Bee Night list, like antediluvian and gaiters.

I secretly (and not-so-secretly) cheer for every team playing; although sometimes I’m biting my nails to see when the rounds will end, every one of the spellers has my sincere admiration—both for their erudition and for their community spirit. That said, it was particularly nice to see the Dover Church team win, since they have historically been great Library supporters. The Friends often hold Children’s Programs in Kraft Hall, and the Dover Church has had teams in nearly every Bee we’ve held, including the very first (when pastor John Nelson enjoyed a moment of fame as the only person in the room who could spell pharaoh).

Congratulations, Church Belles, on a job well done, and enjoy your well-earned and truly--given the stature and skill of the teams playing this year--ENORMOUS Bragging Rights!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What a night!

My goodness, what a night! The Bee was AMAZING. I hope you saw it in person, or at least on Channel 8—DCTV is running reruns starting Monday evening.

Check out Paul Keleher’s photo/video stream in the sidebar to the left of this entry. You will see the fabulous set, designed by local artist Jane Bleakley: bees zooming everywhere, and a Bee Tree to top any ever seen before. You will also see some terrific “candids” of teams and crowd.

A little recap:

Round 1 brought us veteran spellers Tom Dixon, Nancy Simms and new player Jamie Simms, in a reprisal of the long-standing Just the Neighbors team, and pitched them against Peter Lert, Carolyn Ringel and James Stuart of School Committee Team (the A Bee Cs) and the Dover Social Club (Rob Lordi, Diane Russo and Beth Webb). We must stop and acknowledge the FABULOUS PROPS brought by the Social Club (voted, I believe, the team Most Likely to Require a Designated Driver). This group started the evening off on a very festive note! This round went quickly through my “published 10” list, including the audience’s favorite word, borborygmus (the sound your stomach makes when it growls).

Round 2 was fielded by the Clerical Errers [sic], composed of Saint Dunstan’s Rector Mark McKone-Sweet, Grace Church priest Peter DiSanto (whose daughter Catherine competed in our very first Bee), and Fiona Vidal-White, MSM (that’s Masters in Sacred Music). The Church of the Most Precious Blood sent a Mulligan for this team, so we had representation from three of Dover’s churches on stage. Bee Veteran Sara Muckstadt, Dick Greene and Laura Rinaldi, a team of parents of children in Michelle Wood’s 3rd grade at Chickering, joined forces as Wood’s Word Wizards—winners (no surprise) of the Spirit Award—or maybe we called it the Loudest Cheering Section Award.

Rounding out the contestants were the AMAZING, ELEEMOSYNARY, Crack o’ Dawn Bee-cyclists (Cliff Brown, Bruce Cohen and Karen Rednor). This is the team that joined the Bee in order to thank Dover for hosting their early morning rides through our town. (Tell me, how often do you think of thanking the towns you drive through? This occurred to me as I swore at a pothole in one of our neighboring villages...Dover does have the best roads around, and I'm glad that the Beecyclists are enjoying them.) The Crack o’ Dawn riders have raised close to $2 million dollars for cancer research through their Pan-Mass participation, and by playing in the Bee, they raised over $400 for our library. The Bee Committee had been wondering if this team might show up in their riding gear, and they did not disappoint. We would have given them the Best Costume award, were it not for our deep-seated suspicion that they dress like this all the time (including the antennae), under their street clothes. This was a very competitive round—both the Wizards and the Beecyclists had been studying, you could tell—and they flew through published words like rhopalic and psittaceous (it means “parrot-like”) into the non-published expansion round words. After a mighty struggle (and a few beads of sweat from those of us running the words), the round ended on the non-published word cantaloupe.

I should talk for a minute about the non-published list. We have seen, over the years, that Dover Bee participants have an almost frightening capacity for memorization—either that, or they have vocabularies that would make ordinary mortals quail. We’d also heard a bit of feedback from past players about the off-putting aspect of feeling responsible for every single word in the published word list. In an effort to make the Bee challenging and even out the playing field between mere memorizers and genuine good spellers, I made a separate list of words that might seem easy to spell but aren’t, and held them in reserve. (These are, I will confess, words that I myself have trouble spelling—the things that always trip up my SpellCheck. It was not difficult to find a good long list of them!) I'm curious to hear what the players thought of this approach; it certainly made for a very different Bee from where I sat.

Round 3 gave us another ferocious bout of competition. The extremely cerebral Bee List Celebrities (Will Bleakley, Paul Fiore and Greg Kahoun), last year’s runners-up, faced off against one-time Bee veteran Sarah Shoemaker and Carine Tarazi of the Church Belles, a group of Dover Church Youth Group Advisors. The Cool Bees (Laura Bevilacqua, Vicky Cartsos and Imad Khan) put up a grand fight and won Best Costume Award for their exceptionally creative and undeniably cool Bee slickers and goggles. (As an aside, I would LOVE to see this group design a line of bridesmaid’s dresses. Really. The world needs this.) Team Kara, sponsored by ScrubADub, represented the Library’s Teen Advisory Board with Danielle Hall, Sharon Holiner and Nichole Huang. This round exhausted the pre-published set of words, including beauties like tintinnabulation, bdelloid and eructation (the scientific name for “burp”), blasted through the expansion list trick words like Fahrenheit and bayonet and finally crashed to a close on baksheesh (money used as a kind of tip or bribe). We were only a few words away from Panic Mode at that point—the players in this round must read the dictionary for fun.

The program announced that Round 4 had room for a walk-on team. We’d had one last year, and it was a huge hit with the audience (and the team, the Replacements, did extremely well—especially when you consider that the word list is only made available to players who register and pay in advance). This year, we were approached by a herd of teenage boys, many of whose parents were playing in the Bee, who were keen (dare I say chomping at the bit?) to challenge the older generation. There were several willing players, but we had to ask them to select only three from their pod. So, Riq Lert (son of Peter, of the A Bee Cs), Evan Wood (son of ’09 champion Pamela Mok) and Max Handler (son of Jonathan, of the Three Stewges) formed a team that they named “Insert Pun About a Bee [Here]”. They held up admirably against Perfect Attendance Winners Coldwell Banker, Wellesley (Betsy Breziner, Jean McDonnell and Laura Talmud)—Coldwell Banker has sponsored a Bee team every year, and has made over $1500 for the Library—and they even edged out the defending champions the Spellunkers (Tod Dimmick, Lori Krusell and Pamela Mok). However, despite the vaguely Oedipal overtones of their challenge, the Insert Pun About a Bee [Here] fell to Andy Epstein, Jonathan Handler and Bob Litle of the Three Stewges. Tell you what, guys: if you all come back and play again, I’ll make sure you’re not challenging your parents in the same round. You’ll probably have to face off in the championship round, especially if you all get the words in advance next time. Meanwhile, Insert Pun About a Bee [Here] won the Cleverest Name superlative, and The Three Stewges, winners of the Funniest Name category, moved into the Championship Round.

Since we took an intermission before the Championship Round at the Bee, I’m taking one here. Back in a bit.

Friday, March 26, 2010

THALWEG. Why not?

It was quite a night! The winning word was "THALWEG".
I have a sick kid so running out to the pharmacy now...more later!

Thanks to all who came !

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bring Your Appetite to the Bee Cafe

We also have new the full menu of what will be at the Bee Cafe ... it'll be pizza, pizza and more pizza! Dover's own Dover Cafe is donating pizzas, which we'll sell by the slice. And in addition to the gift card they donated, California Pizza Kitchen in Wellesley is also donating pizza for the Cafe to sell. Save A Lot has donated chips and snacks as well as bottled water, and we'll have some cookies for those with a sweet tooth. And as you may have read in an earlier post, Whole Foods in Dedham donated its chocolate bars, cheese crackers and fruit strips to the Bee. So bring your appetites and your cash! The Bee is cash and check only.

More Corporate Donations to Report

We have more businesses that have come in and made contributions in support of the Bee. They are:

Coldwell Banker, Wellesley - The office has had and sponsored a team each year since the Bee's inception. A big thanks for their continued support (as a "Honey Bee") and kudos to them for perfect attendance! www.nemoves.com.

ScrubaDub is also a longtime bee supporter. They are "Honey Bee" supporters and are sponsoring Team Kara, the team made up of high school students on the library's Teen Advisory Board. www.scrubadub.com.

Bridgewater Credit Union has signed on as a "Worker Bee" donor. With an office right here in Dover, they are a great local business that is a longtime Bee supporters - thank you! www.bridgewatercu.com.

Middlesex Savings Bank in Needham has provided the Bee with the tote bags we give to the players, as well as pens and other tchotchkes such as chip clips and stress pyramids. www.middlesexbank.com.

Latest Additions to Bee Tree

We have a few more Bee Tree to announce:

Dover Parks and Rec has donated $50 off of a program. So if you have not yet signed up for a sport, this is a way to support the library and get your kids in a program at a discount. Check out what's offered at www.doverrec.com.

Discovery Club, an afternoon program offered by two Dover moms at Caryl School, has donated a free, drop in afternoon to the Bee. A great drop off program, it offers kids an educational afternoon. Thanks to Gina Saltonstall and Cathy Thompson for providing this. Discovery Club operates through Dover Parks and Rec, so go to www.doverrec.com for more info.

Emily's Brownies is giving the Bee Tree a gift card for these yummy treats! Read all about the at www.emilysbrownies.net.

So bring your cash and checks to shop in support of the library!

Repeat after me: technology is your friend (and the Friends' friend)

After several days of cross-checking lists, pronunciations, powerpoint slides and emergency go-to lists, I needed to take a break and use the other half of my brain.  At the same time, I am pretty sure I have driven our fearless MC George Doherty insane with my frantic revisions.

Time to take a break and do something different.

I could not get my spreadsheet program to find double words in the rounds, but I did find one good use for technology this week:  iPhone's video technology helped me create and e-mail sound clips to George with most of the words pronounced.  I imagine him sitting in his office at Corcoran and Havlin, door closed, playing the recordings and speaking along with them...his co-workers probably think he is studying some weird foreign language. 

It is an enormous job to put together the Bee, but once the cameras start rolling at 7 p.m. on Thursday, George is the one doing the heavy lifting.  He knows the word list, he knows the players, he improvises sentences, he keeps the game together, and he makes it fun for everyone.  George does a lot of volunteering in the community, but his work for the Friends of the Library makes him King Bee in our books.

See Well and Look Good

A couple of years back, we received the disturbing news that one of our kids would have to wear glasses...or else.  I was fine with the Must Wear Glasses part, it was the Or Else that scared me.

The pediatric opthamologist who handed us the diagnosis gave us one excellent practical piece of advice: fill the prescription locally.

Off we went to Linda Wirth at Dover Eyes, cranky toddler in tow.  It did not seem possible that we would ever get a pair of glasses onto our little wiggleworm--at least, not without velcro or tranquilizing darts--but Dr. Wirth turned out to be more than equal to the challenge.  Before long, we had special bifocals, with the curly around-the-ears frames and a kind of modified "croakie" to make sure the glasses stayed put, and a special "glasses bed" for nighttime storage.  And we suddenly found ourselves in the presence of a child who loves wearing glasses so much that he sleeps in them!

Soon we had another pair, and another, and finally some fabulous rec specs for sports. Other family members required glasses, contact lenses, (dare I admit to this?) bifocals...and Dover Eyes has everything we need, right over on Whiting Road.  And Dr. Wirth is as careful and meticulous with us older people as she is with the youngster.

If I could donate a dollar to the Friends of the Library for every emergency visit we made for glasses repair or adjustment, or contact lens issues, we probably wouldn't need a Bee, but that's another story.  Let's just say that having a quality optometrist in the neighborhood is worth more than you might imagine.

In addition to taking excellent care of our vision needs, Dover Eyes is a great library supporter.  Our inaugural Bee had a team from Dover Eyes, and they came up with the excellent idea of Mulligans. Dover Eyes has given generously to every Bee we've had.  We can add that to the long list of why we are grateful to have Dover Eyes right here in town!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Going off the grid: finding the right lexical mix

Every time we hold a spelling bee, we are faced with the task of blending the words in such a way that everyone has both challenge and fun.  This is harder than it sounds, because people play in the Bee for a variety of reasons: some play purely to give back to the Library and the community, some enter the Bee because they love words, some people (very, very few) are bullied and badgered by their friends on the Bee Committee, and some poor souls seem to play out of sheer masochism....Whatever brings a team to the Bee, our task is to send them home satisfied, if not completely overjoyed.

Over the years we have heard a lot of feedback about the word list. Many people think it is just too daunting to be responsible for a 900+ word list (AHEM!  As the person who puts together the list, I have no pity for you);  some are determined to memorize every single word. It has begun to look like the Bee should scale back its dedication to the word list, and wade in unchartered waters for a bit.

We have always reserved the right to go "off the grid" for new words, and have done so at least twice in the past (most memorably last year, when we had to call an emergency intermission to look up more words in the dictionary).  This year, we are trying something new: after 10 words, we WILL go "off the grid" and into what MC George Doherty euphemistically refers to as the "expansion round". 

What can you expect from the Expansion Round?  Well, first of all, if you make it there you can smile and take a big, deep bow.  You have crushed the list, at least for the moment.  (Savor that, while you can.)  George will then regale you with some off-the-list words, many of which you should recognize and may use in everyday speech.  For example, I recently removed the word "colicky" from an Expansion Round list.  Chances are you know what "colicky" means; chances are pretty good that someone you know well was colicky at some point in his or her young life.  But when you are basking in the glow of having made it through the preliminary round, you are going to hear the word "colicky" and start thinking to yourself, "Oh, no--is that one 'l' or two? A 'ck' or just a 'c'?" And you will begin to fret.  Yes, you will.

My goal for the beginning of the Expansion Rounds is that you will recognize the words and be very familiar with them...and maybe not so sure of how they are spelled.  Of course, given the fact that Dover has some of the best spellers in the Commonwealth, I'm going to have to ramp it up for you pretty quickly.  Soon you will be faced with words you might not know...or maybe with some words from the list that you might have neglected to study.  Once you get past the preliminary round, anything goes. 

Study session recap

5 Bee participants representing three teams met Amelia and me last night for a study session at the Dover Legion. It was quite a workout for the dictionary!

I promised to blog the words that came up, and here they are:

PROSOPAGNOSIA: (PRAH suh pag NO shuh) noun
literally “face blindness”—the inability to recognize faces

PROCELEUSMATIC (Prah suh loose MAT ick) adjective
inciting, exhorting, inspiring.
As a noun: a metrical foot of four short syllables, such as “COME TO THE BEE!”

YLEM (EE lem) noun
The original element from which all other elements were derived

CWM (KOOM) no, it is not a typo!
It’s a noun, meaning rounded valley.

The point of focus, or area of concentration, particularly in a military operation. I’m sorry, but I think last night I misspoke and confused Schwerpunkt with forswunke (which means tired out). I guess I was forswunke and missed the point (excuse the pun).

SCHAPPE (SHOP uh) noun
fabric trimmings, leftovers from cutting fabric

ULAE (OO lee) noun
We all thought this was a body part, but when I looked it up, we learned that it was a kind of Hawaiian “lizard fish”. I’m guessing the word derives from the sound you must make if you bump into one.

EPEOLATRY (ep pee AHL uh tree) noun
The worship of words. As if you Bee players had to ask.

KOINE (KOY knee) sometimes (KOY nay) noun
A language term: a dialect of one region that becomes the standard for a larger group. Think TV newscasters.

KAKISTOCRACY (ka ka STOCK ruh see) noun
Government by the worst possible people. Thankfully we don’t see that in Dover! Tom did have a funny sentence about another state, though…

DIERESIS (die UH ruhs sis) noun
A pronunciation mark. The double dot, sometimes called the umlaut, that goes above the second vowel in a series of two, reminding us to vocalize that second vowel as its own sound, and not as a diphthong. If you want to get picky, the umlaut is more general and tells us that the vowel is not pronounced the way it normally is. The dieresis is specific to that second vowel sound, like in naïve or Noël. If you ask me, the word should have a dieresis itself, over that first 'e'.

PLOCE (PLO see) noun
The repetition of a word to emphasize or complicate a statement.
I think the dictionary had something like “She was a wife, a wife indeed…” and you can see that the use of ploce suggests that maybe there was more to the Missus than met the eye.

YEDE (YEED) verb
Went. He yeed over the hills and far away. It’s archaic, but I do have to pick out some oddball words if I’m going to stump you people before midnight.

LITOTES (LITE uh TEASE) or (Lye TOE tease) noun
This is one of those words about writing technique: it means a deliberate understatement. My example sentence for you is “I am not unaware of the amount of time Bee players spend studying”.

ADSCITITIOUS (ad sit ISH us) adjective
Supplemental, not necessarily essential.

CHELP (chelp)
Noun: a chirping noise. Verb: to chatter or complain. Quit chelping about how hard the list is. It isn't--not for you!

BDELLOID (DELL oid) Yes, the B is silent
adjective, means leech-like. That will be a fun sentence to write!

WEHRLITE (WERE light) noun a kind of mineral

ORCHIDACEOUS (or kid A shus) adjective
Orchid-like or gaudy and ostentatious. Think Mother’s Day corsages.

YPONOMEUTIDAE (ee pahn uh MYOO tid ay) noun
A family of fruit-eating moths. And yes, we do read the dictionary from start to finish. :-)

PECCADILLO (peck uh DILL owe) noun
Minor offense. Greg and Paul beat me out on this; I was sure there was only one ‘c’.

Navel-gazing. During the Bee we will ask for both the spelled word and a demonstration.

ANADIPLOSIS (an uh duh PLOH sus) noun
Another word about writing—it means the repetition of a word. You know, like the ringing of the bells, of the bells in Poe.

HIPPOTOMONSTROSESQUIPEDALIAPHOBIA is off the list. Greg found that I spelled it wrong! The correct spelling is hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliaphobia and here is the link to pronouncing it: http://www.forvo.com/word/hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliaphobia/. Greg, however, can say it—even after a beer.

Thank you all for coming, and a huge thank you to Tom Dixon, who hosted the event.  If you are interested in supporting the Legion and its many public service activities, consider sending a donation or applying for booster membership. Here is their web address:
http://doverlegion.com/ .

Well, now that we’ve had the study night, I am more nervous than ever about the challenges of Bee Night. You see, the competition isn’t really team versus team, it’s team versus word list. You folks have me good and rattled. I’m bringing the dictionary on Thursday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Latest Bee News


On Thursday night, one team will rise above the others. Will the returning champs, the Spellunkers, be the first team to win back-to-back titles? Or will a challenger claim the Enormous Bragging Rights (and Whole Foods gift cards) in the 5th Annual Dover Town Library Spelling Bee? In order to find out who the top spellers are, join the community on March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Dover Town House for a night of fun and fellowship – all in support of the Dover Town Library.

The spring fundraiser for the Friends of the Dover Library, the Bee is free to attend and everyone is invited to come and cheer on the spellers. Thanks to monetary and in-kind donations from local businesses that cover all expenses, all monies raised from the Bee (team entry fees, Mulligans, Bee Tree and Bee Café) will go directly to the library though the Friends of the Dover Library.

In addition to watching the Bee itself, attendees may purchase gifts and gift cards at the Bee Tree (buy a word clue, get a prize) in the Town House lobby and buy snacks from the Bee Café in the lower level.

The Bee Café will be stocked with pizza donated by Dover Café and California Pizza Kitchen (Wellesley), as well as snacks and water from Whole Foods (Dedham) and Save A Lot. All food must remain downstairs but thanks to a live feed from Dover Cable that will be in the Council on Aging room, no one will miss any of the action.

Items for purchase on the Bee Tree include products and gift cards from: Aquitaine; Beauty and Main; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Blue on Highland; Boston Duck Tours; Boston Red Sox; California Pizza Kitchen; Chiara; Costco; Davis’ Farmland and Mega Maze; Discovery Club; Dover Market; Dover Parks and Recreation; Elizabeth Grady (Needham); Emily’s Brownies; Fisher Brook Farm; Higgins Wine & Spirits; Holly Cleaners; The Linden Store; Magic Beans; National Amusements; Nicholas Christies Day Spa; Pawtucket Red Sox; Portrait Simple; Putchka Pals; Santa’s Village; Sculpture Hair Studio & Day Spa; Sherborn Inn & The Out; Stellabella Toys; Story Land; Sweet Basil; Taylor’s Stationery; Trader Joe’s (Needham); Wellesley Booksmith; and Zoo New England.

The Bee Tree and Bee Café are cash and check only so Bee prepared! And if you can’t make it to the Town House on Thursday, Bee sure to watch the live broadcast on Dover Cable.

The Bee underwriters include: Dover Automotive; Coldwell Banker (Wellesley); Roche Bros. Supermarkets; ScrubaDub Car Wash; Dover Eyes; Bridgewater Credit Union; Chestnut Street Animal Hospital; Dr. Mark Manikian, DDS; Erin’s School of Dance; and Middlesex Savings Bank (Needham). Many anonymous donors have also contributed to the Bee.

For more information, please visit the Bee Blog at www.spellboundindover.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spelling is my NEMESIS ??!!

I am always mildly surprised to glean vocabulary hints from my children; I resigned myself long ago to the view that they don't really pay attention to me.  Imagine my astonishment, then, when my third-grader announced that spelling was his nemesis, and that he did not, after all, view himself as a philomath.

Oh, dear.  All this before the second cup of coffee.  What could this possibly mean?

It turns out that my son's incredibly erudite teacher, a philomath herself and possibly a disciple of epeolatry, has been assigning the class one "bonus" word a week from our spelling list.  Because there is a parent-based team bearing her name at the Bee, she has access to all the words (not from me, I hasten to add: I do my best to observe proper boundaries with people close to the Bee and me).

Well, I had about 53 seconds between this astonishing revelation and the need to run, fast, for the school bus.  I did two things: made sure that my little flibbertigibbet had a sweater so that he would not become a gymnosophist, and gave silent thanks to the other Word Wizard in his life, to whom he evidently pays closer attention.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bee Cafe - Bring Cash or Bee Hungry!

While the main event is upstairs, don't forget about the Bee Cafe downstairs. Thanks to Vicki Hadar and a team of volunteers, we'll have pizza, snacks and water for sale so players can recharge those brain cells and audience members can grab a quick dinner. It's cash only, so bring your money and your appetite. Everything is $1 - best deal in town!

The Bee Cafe will sell:
Pizza by the slice - donated by California Pizza Kitchen (Wellesley)
Pizza by the slice - donated by Dover Cafe
Fruit strips - donated by Whole Foods (Dedham)
Cracker packs - donated by Whole Foods (Dedham)
Chocolate bars - donated by Whole Foods (Dedham)
Potato chips - donated by Save A Lot
Water - donated by Save A Lot

The Bee Cafe will be downstairs in the Council on Aging room, and all food must remain in there. But thanks to Dover Cable and a live TV feed, you will not miss any of the action.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


We have some more corporate donations to report ...

Bridgewater Credit Union, right here in Dover, is donating $100 to the Bee, giving at the Worker Bee level. BCU gave to our Bee last year too, and it is so nice to have an in-town business supporting our library!

Coldwell Banker, Wellesley office has had a team play each year in the Bee, and they are continuing that tradition once more. By sponsoring a company team, they are giving at the Honey Bee level and showing that they believe in the community they serve.

Middlesex Savings Bank, Needham Branch, has donated tote bags to the Bee, as well as other tchotchkes (pens, clips, stress balls) for the players to have. Thank you for your support!

Scrub A Dub Car Wash has also contributed at the Honey Bee level, and their donation will be used to sponsor Team Kara, which is made up of high school students on the library's Youth Advisory Board. A long-time supporter of the library, we appreciate Scrub A Dub's continued support.


Wellesley Booksmith is one of the best book stores I have ever been in. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, the selection great, and if there is something they do not have, they will get it for you. When I went to pick up the donation they gave us for the Bee, I spent an hour there browsing the shelves and stocking my arms with books, cards and other things I just had to have (including some of the superlative prizes for the Bee). In addition to being a great shop, they are also long-time supporters of the Dover Library - whether doing the book sales at author's nights, or in this case, making a donation to a fundraiser. This year, they donated a $25 gift certificate and reusable tote bag to the Bee Tree. Thanks to Wellesley Booksmith for believing - and supporting - reading.


Sweet Basil in Needham is one of those places everyone seems to love. Whether taking out or dining in, it is always on the top of the list of places to go. So we are thrilled that they donated a $25 gift card to the Bee Tree this year. Sweet Basil is a long supporter of the Dover Library - they have even brought food to the library when their new cookbook came out! Whether lunch or dinner, you can't go wrong if you get this gift card.


Dover does not have many businesses in town so many of us frequent haunts in Needham, Wellesley and the like. While we consider these local, not all of the shops consider a donation to the Dover Library a "local" donation. Thank goodness there are many who do think we are local and support those of us one town over! One such place is Sculpture Hair Studio & Day Spa in Needham. The owner, Don, has been great about donating items to the Dover Library and this year is no different. This year, Sculpture donated a massage gift certificate ($90 value) to our Bee Tree. Start spring off without muscle tension - get the gift card and in spring, you'll have a spring in your step!


There are many talented Dover residents, and none more so than Jane Bleakely. A dedicated Friend of the Library (she coordinates the Artist of the Month program), Jane is an amazing artist. You may have seen her work in the library - she does the murals in the children's room - and on all those hand drawn Bees all over town. She also makes Putchka Pals - whimsical dolls and animals that each have their own name and unique look. They come in various colors and make great baby gifts - one of the few one-of-a-kind items you can still find these days. Jane sells these dolls at local events such as the Old Home Day craft fair and she also will do custom orders. No two are alike and she has graciously donated two dolls to the Bee Tree. So thanks to a Friend, you can buy a friend!


Thanks to the people at National Amusements, there will 2 movie passes on the Bee Tree. Good for Sunday - Thursday nights, get these from the tree and pair them with one the restaurant gift cards and head to Legacy Place for a nice night out!


A Bee Tree favorite is back! Thanks to the good folks at Blue on Highland, one lucky Bee Tree shopper will be getting a $25 gift card to the restaurant. Blue is a long supporter of the library, and we are grateful for their on-going support. A great local favorite, get to the tree early - this one will go fast! Check out the menu at http://www.blueonhighland.com/.


California Pizza Kitchen was the pioneer in the gourmet pizza restaurant. They have since grown to have restaurants nationwide and now there is one just up the road on Linden Street in Wellesley. CPK is a great neighbor and we have some plans with them for other events at the library down the road, but for now, they donated $40 in gift certificates to the Bee Tree. Inaddition to pizzas, pasta and the like, they also have a diverse kids menu that actually has healthy alternatives - roast chicken and veggies. If you have not been there yet, buy these off the Bee Tree and check them out!


Facials are a necessary luxury - can there be such a thing? If so, facials are it - especially in dry New England winters. One place I like to go is Elizabeth Grady in Needham. Two years running now, they have given a facial gift certificate (valued at $60) to the Bee Tree. If you buy this bee from the tree, it will not only be a great way to help the library, but it would be a way to say thank you to your skin - not to mention give a lucky lady (or man) a nice, relaxing hour of pampering.

Size isn't everything? Ask the NY Times

I was pleased to find this entertaining piece on the Times phone app: http://s.nyt.com/u/xQB 
In addition to being an enlightening read, the author has FABULOUS vocabulary words, which I am tempted to pillage for the "off the grid" Bee word list.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Study Night

We Bee folk would devolve into insanity if we did not constantly offer you something new and different. So, having finished ironing your future Bee-shirts, we now turn our attentions to a Study Night at the Dover Legion. This is for people over 21 only! Come between 8--9 next Thursday (the 18th) and ask questions. We'll have the dictionary, and, thanks to Tom Dixon, a wifi card that should connect the laptop with any word you desire. (Should my laptop fail to connect, I will have pad and paper on hand--we'll record your questions and your e-mail, and will publish the answer here.)

Bring your questions! Bring your money! You will want to buy yourself a beer--the Dover Legion has frozen glasses, and the BEST tap in town (I say this even though it is somewhat heretical to compare any beer-imbibing event with the Library's Oktoberfest).  Moreover, you will want to buy a Mulligan, to preserve your chances for dominating the '10 DTL Bee.

Besides that, it ought to be a fun night. And after an entire season (or, in my case, a year) of preparation, don't we all deserve a little bit of fun?

If you know you are going to attend, shoot us an email at Friends.of.Dover.Library@gmail.com, or append your reply to this post. We want to know how many glasses to chill....

Thanks to our friends at Dover Legion for their help in making this possible.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bee-ing silly...bring your wallet

The Bee committee has been incredibly busy, building teams, soliciting and managing donations, planning the nuts and bolts of the evening...and you undoubtedly remember from your years as a student that being way too busy can lead to a certain brand of silliness.  Yes, that would be us.

We got together for a Bee Supply meeting on Tuesday, and after we went through the goodies for the team superlative awards, we somehow wound up ironing Jane's bees onto t-shirts.  Blame it on the coffee...

We will be selling these masterpieces on Bee Night, and believe me--anyone you happen to know between the sizes of Youth 10 and Youth 20 will want one of these shirts.  The cost is $10 each or two for $15 (we're giving a break to siblings).  The cost of the shirts (not to mention the labor) has been donated, so anything we make on these masterpieces will go directly to support your Library.

Bring your wallet and get silly with us.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mulligans, Dover Style

Many communities raise money through spelling bees, but to my knowledge only Dover offers the Mulligan Option.

This excellent suggestion came to us from the Dover Eyes team, who played in the first Bee in 2006. One of the members of that team is an avid golfer, and suggested that we sell Mulligans to enable a team to "take another shot" at their round.  We know a good idea when we hear one, so we debuted the Mulligan concept in 2007.

Buying a Mulligan ($100) enables a team to stay in a round after having spelled a word incorrectly.  Here's how it works: you buy the Mulligan in advance--either sign up at the Library or you can buy them when you check in at the Bee (6.30 p.m. on the 25th).  You must pay for the Mulligan before you are given it--we will take checks at the Bee, but not IOUs!  At the start of the Bee, the MC will formally announce that Mulligan sales have ended.

The Mulligan itself is a little card on a stick. If your team has spelled a word incorrectly, you hold up your Mulligan, and someone from the Bee will retrieve it from you, and you may stay in the round.  (And yes--we do keep track of who has bought one, so bringing your homemade Mulligan to the Bee won't work.)

Mulligans are not valid in the Championship Round--if you make it to the very end, your team will have to relinquish its Mulligan for the final round.

Even the best teams use Mulligans. In Bee history, there have only been a couple of teams who have never used their Mulligan.  To my recollection, every winning team we've had since '07 has used a Mulligan prior to the Championship Round.

As of this writing, there is only ONE TEAM who has purchased a Mulligan....maybe the word list is too easy this year? 

Thursday, March 4, 2010


As the 5th Annual Dover Town Library Spelling Bee approaches, the Friends of the Dover Library has been abuzz as donations have swarmed in – all from local businesses that want to help support the Dover Library. The Bee is on March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Dover Town House.

In addition to watching the Bee itself, attendees may purchase gifts and gift cards at the Bee Tree (buy a word clue, get a prize) in the Town House lobby and buy snacks from the Bee Café in the lower level.

For the first time, the Friends also solicited corporate sponsors to underwrite the cost of the Bee. Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, all monies raised from the Bee will go directly to the library, through the Friends of the Library.

The Friends would like to acknowledge its corporate sponsors for their monetary support: Dover Automotive; Coldwell Banker, Wellesley; Roche Bros. Supermarkets; Scrub-A-Dub Car Wash; Chestnut Street Animal Hospital; Dr. Mark Manikian, DDS; Erin’s School of Dance; and Bridgewater Credit Union.

A special thanks also to the Bee’s in-kind donors. Whole Foods in Dedham and Save A Lot are providing snacks and water for the Bee Café, and Middlesex Saving Bank (Needham branch) has provided tote bags and other items for the spellers. Additionally, Whole Foods has donated gift cards to award to the Bee winners (in addition to the usual prize of Enormous Bragging Rights).

The Bee Tree will feature items donated by: Aquitaine; Beauty and Main; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Boston Duck Tours; Boston Red Sox; California Pizza Kitchen; Chiara; Costco; Davis’ Farmland and Mega Maze; Discovery Club; Dover Market; Dover Parks and Recreation; Fisher Brook Farm; Higgins Wine & Spirits; Holly Cleaners; The Linden Store; Magic Beans; Nicholas Christies Day Spa; Pawtucket Red Sox; Portrait Simple; Putchka Pals; Santa’s Village; Sculpture Hair Studio & Day Spa; Sherborn Inn & The Out; Stellabella Toys; Story Land; Sweet Basil; Taylor’s Stationery; Trader Joe’s, Needham; Wellesley Booksmith; and Zoo New England.

The teams are rolling in but it is also not too late to sign up – forms are available at the library.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Just the Neighbors

We are thrilled to welcome the Just the Neighbors team back to the Bee.  This team has been playing, in various compositions, for several years now. In fact, one of the members--Nancy Simms--has played in every single Bee we've had! (She's good, too--watch out!)

This year Nancy is joined by another veteran speller--Tom Dixon--and by her husband, Jamie Simms.

Don't be fooled by their folksy name:  based on what I know of them, I'd say that these three have a very strong chance in the Bee.  Just the Neighbors may be Just the Winning Team....

We're hoping to send some customers Tom's way by holding a Study Night at the Legion before the Bee (Tom "moonlights" there, and has been a strong and loyal supporter of the facility for ages).  Stay tuned!