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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Columns & Editorials

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May You Live In Interesting Times

There is , allegedly, an ancient Chinese curse, which says, “May you live in ‘interesting’ times”. Last week was really interesting. First off....  I have been  waiting for and keeping an eye on the paw paws on the finally-mature paw paw bush on the east side of the house.  There are only two bushes and only one of them had fruit...

Just When All Hope Was Lost… Part II

Along with renewed health came new love for Brenda Reiner. The following July after the bone marrow transplant, she met Michael Formberg, a fellow divorcee searching for true love after a painful marriage. Following three years of dating, they got engaged while vacationing in Kauai, under a rainbow of promise. “Meanwhile, in July of 2013, my donor and I were...

Sounds of Summer

This edition of Nearby Nature marks the one hundredth article in our nature series. It is hard to believe that when Matt Sorrick and I started this endeavor it would have lasted this long.  It was our intent to inform our readers about our natural world and hopefully motivate them to venture out and experience the wonder and majesty...

“Why are Gone with the Wind and The Lovely Bones on the banned books display?”

The American Library Association launched Banned Books Week in 1982. It typically runs the last week of September, with the aim of educating Americans about censorship. Many libraries, including the Newton Falls Public Library, mark the occasion with displays that highlight famously banned or challenged books in their collections. We used lists such as “Frequently Challenged Classics,” “Top Ten...

How Women Have Assumed a Larger Role in Family Finance

More women have become the primary wage earners in their households. Generations ago, life and financial roles were cut and dried according to gender. Man: breadwinner. Woman: homemaker. Those stereotypes have, thankfully, shattered. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 38% of women in heterosexual marriages now earn more than their husbands. Thirty years ago, less than one-quarter did.1 The...

Pumpkin Pizza

I think we are officially in “that” season… Pumpkin Everything!! Pumpkin latte, pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, pumpkin pasta… the list of pumpkin items goes on and on. I know in last week’s column I said I would talk about the fermentation process that the grapes are going through but I had many guests this past week ask for some...

North to Canada Following the St. Lawrence River

We are whale watching in Tadoussac on the St Lawrence but staying 30 miles inland in Petit Saguenay. You will need to look on the map/world atlas to see exactly where we were. It’s about a hundred miles northeast of Quebec City up where the St. Lawrence River widens out and meets the Atlantic salt water influx and tidal...

Just When All Hope Was Lost…

Imagine a dried-out sponge… no moisture, no spring or flexibility, just a hole-y husk capable of little else besides absorbing something new. That was the condition of Brenda Reiner’s bone marrow before she received a life-saving bone marrow infusion from an anonymous donor five years ago. Unfortunately, that was also the condition of her life: She had received two different...

North to Canada Following the St. Lawrence River

We are in the Baie De Laval area south and east of Montreal. It is a shallow lake area caused by the river widening out and slowing down which in turn caused many sediment islands to form. This excursion was represented to be a boat tour of the St. Lawrence and its many islands south of Montreal.  “See the...

Bats & The Queen

The season is on!  Which season?  Football, Volleyball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer...you name it; the sticks and the balls and the nets, the helmets, the hitting, the sweat—all ramping up for participants and  fans alike.  And others.... Came home after the football game the other night—which, by the way, could have been played on top of the hinges of hell,...

Signs of the Zodiac…Part I

This is the last of our foray into astronomy, discussing the signs of the Zodiac. I will divide the 12 signs into two parts.  What we, who live in the 21st century, must realize is that people from many different cultures have been looking at the heavens for thousands of year without the aid of telescopes, computer simulations, orbiting...

“Why have I been seeing apparently healthy trees with random patches of dead leaves?”

This is called flagging! It can be caused by a variety of things, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation website, from weather-damage to insects to fungus and other diseases. At this time of year in this area, the flagging was probably caused by the periodical cicadas. We checked www.cicadamania.com and In Ohio’s Backyard: Periodical Cicadas by Gene Kritsky for...

How Millennials Can Get a Good Start on Retirement Planning

If you are younger than 35, saving for retirement may not feel like a priority. After all, retirement may be 30 years away; if your employer does not sponsor a retirement plan, there may be less incentive for you to start. Even so, you must save and invest for retirement as soon as you can. Time is your greatest ally....

Farm to Table

I have always been proud of our little town, from the people, to the businesses to the support from all of our guests, we have a pretty amazing town! So a few months ago we were approached by the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard to host a fundraiser. We tossed around a couple of ideas and I mentioned I have...

Apocalypse?

Latest signs of the Apocalypse : O.K., so I’m listening to the radio, some story on economics and financial trends and I hear the money guru on there talking about the latest thing in supermarkets is  cupholders in the supermarket carts, sometimes known as “buggies”.  And I’m thinking, “What?  We need cupholders to circulate around the grocery aisles?  Refreshment is...

You Retire, But Your Spouse Still Works

Your significant other may retire later than you do. Sometimes that reality reflects an age difference, other times one person wants to keep working for income or health coverage reasons. If you retire years before your spouse or partner does, you may want to consider how your lifestyle might change as well as your household finances. How will retiring affect...

Protecting Your Wine While on Tour

Usually this is the time of year when people start complaining about how hot it is outside and how they’ve had wine ruined because it was so hot. Thankfully this summer has been relatively cool but I know that someday we will see temperatures in the high 90’s. Before we get to enjoy those temperatures, I figured now would...

Cat Contest

Well, I’m certainly put out... disappointed... chagrined (Not you, Falls ites).  Whilst the Garrettsville SummerFest was tootling along its merry way, I was missing the grand convocation of the Great Lakes Region of the Cat Fanciers Association at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron last Saturday and Sunday.  The tractors, fire engines, unicyclists and French fries won...

Outdoor Living Spaces

Now that summer is finally here, it’s time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.  I hope that you are enjoying the warm weather and beginning to utilize your outdoor living space.  With that in mind, I thought it would be a good time to discuss outdoor furniture.  So, let’s take a look at some common materials used...

Constellations of the Summer Sky…Part II

Well, we sure have had several nights during the past couple of weeks to really get a nice look at the night sky. Hopefully, you were able to make out the various stars and constellations. Yes, I know, some imagination is needed as you try to connect the dots so to speak. Then you think: no way! How on...

Hug That Tree!

Awww, g’wan...hug the tree.  It deserves a little attention. After the bushwhacker weather situations we’ve had around here the last couple of weeks, maybe we’d ought to pay a bit more attention to  the greenery instead of taking it for granted all of the time.  Many real estate agents will tell you that one of the things that will sell...

News Flash!

Here’s a news flash : Tbilisi, Georgia (the former Soviet Union region, not the Peachtree State): “Sausage-wielding extremists” (There’s a phrase to ponder, right?) invade a vegan café –Café Kiwi--during a film festival in the neighborhood and proceeded to fling  meat and fish at the café patrons.  The ten to fifteen men, wearing sausages around their necks and waving skewers...

It’s All About The Home

The High Point Furniture Market is the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world.  More than 75,000 retailers, designers, exhibitors, press, manufacturers, and sales representatives descend on the city of High Point, NC for five days every April and October to attend the market.  A common saying in the home furnishings industry is, “if you can’t find...

Our First Wine Decanter

As I was spring cleaning this week I came across a gift that my husband bought me a few years ago – our first wine decanter. Since we love our dry red wines so much he figured we should enjoy them the best way possible – with the decanter. Now that we have a collection of great decanters our...

Money Concerns for Those Remarrying: What financial factors deserve attention?

Some of us will marry again in retirement. How many of us will thoroughly understand the financial implications that may come with tying the knot later in life? Many baby boomers and seniors will consider financial factors as they enter into marriage, but that consideration may be all too brief.  There are significant money issues to keep in mind when...

Aunt Ruth’s Potato Salad

Growing up we always knew summer was on its way when Aunt Ruth’s Potato Salad appeared. Aunt Ruth was Grandma Tr’ybls Granddaughter-in-law after marrying my Grandfathers brother. She would show up for the“Season”at graduations, wedding anniversaries (why did the “Greatest Generation” always get married in June?), Memorial Day Weekend, July 4th .. with her FAMOUS Potato Salad. This dish...

ZZZZzzzzzzz-zzz–zzzzz

Bob snores. I can hear him across a room or in my lap.  He has a sort of combination wheeze and whistle. I’m not bringing this up to clue anybody in on my—virtually non-existent--love-life, I’m calling it to the attention of the members of Bob’s Fan Club.  He has fans.  One of these days he’s going to stop just sitting on...

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: A multipart saga of dealing with the Medicare Part D Rx insurance industry

Previously I explained how the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) made the decision to stop offering supplemental medical insurance to us retirees and, to assuage that decision, hired a firm we’ll call Firm XXX to help us all get our own supplemental Medicare insurance.  Mind you, I am not blaming OPERS for getting out of the insurance management...

Puppy Tails

All of the lush green landscape surrounding him looked quite comfy indeed with plush pillows of grassy mounds piling up around Doodle Dog’s paws every which way he glanced. The blanket of patchwork posies reminded the puppy of his snuggly snoozes at home in the office and he couldn’t help but be just a little sleepy thinking of those...

5 Must-Do Summer “Adventures” in 2016

I am always looking for new adventures or new places to check out so my calendar for this summer is quickly filling up with some great wine related activities! There are so many great gems around Northeast Ohio that trying to get everything on the schedule for the summer has been challenging. But here are my top 5 places...

Amen for Jacks!

Can I get an “AMEN!” out there? Keep your fingers crossed; Spring may actually be here this time.  For the occasion, all of the Jack-in-the-Pulpits at my place have climbed up to their little green lecterns and are  giving us palefaces H-E-double toothpicks for all they’re worth.  They are in the front where the ferns are finally unfurling, they are...

The Investment Needs of Non-Profits

As non-profit organizations grow, they also need to grow and preserve wealth. In accepting donations to fund their operations and programs, they realize they cannot rely on fundraising alone. They decide to invest, and they turn to financial professionals for input. Because non-profits exist to carry out particular missions, their investment preferences may differ from those of individuals. A non-profit...

Meet Bob, he is a cool cat!

Bobcats, though seldom seen, are the most common wildcat in North America. The Bobcat, Lynx rufus, is named for its short, bobbed tail. They are medium-sized cats and are slightly smaller, but similar in appearance to their cousin, the lynx.  Rumors of Bobcats being seen on Headwaters Trail, in Pondbrook Conservation area west of Aurora, and several other areas...

“You’re your own worst enemy.”

As a professor and student advisor,  my father spent a lot of time listening to people’s goals and their struggles on their way to meet them. Most often, these people would be highly critical, either of others or of themselves. My father would analyze their motives, character flaws and excuses as they made their case. More often than not —...

Parks and Trees…

Well...isn’t April –now that we’ve finally got some weather that resemble Spring—just the greenest month! We’ve got Earth Day.  We’ve got Arbor Day.   We’ve got Happy Birthday for the National Park System (which will actually be running all year to mark the centennial of the founding of the NPS in 1916...by President Woodrow Wilson, no less—at the direction of...

Cicadas Back by Popular Demand… Not!

As we make the transition from spring into summer, the wildflowers are fading, flowering trees and shrubs are ablaze in color, and the mosquitoes, deer flies, and other insects are making their presence known in one way or the other. We are all too familiar with the biting and blood sucking insects that cause us so much irritation, but...

Boaty McBoatface

Always be careful of what you wish for; you may get it.  A warning nicely illustrated by a recent item on various news media. It seems that some British outfit called the National Environmental Research Council, preparing to launch a brand-new $287 million—aw, let’s call it $300 even, like all of those government project go—polar(south) research vessel, thought it would...

7 Quick Tips to Spruce Up Your Home

April is Keep America Beautiful Month-so let’s Keep America Beautiful by Making Your Home Beautiful.  Here are some quick tips to spruce up your home without breaking the bank. 1. Paint changes everything.  Obviously, the quickest and least expensive way to change a room is to paint the walls.  A fresh new color on your walls can totally transform your...

Events at Candlelight

I have lived in the Cleveland area  all my life and am still amazed to see the temperatures change from 20 degrees and snow to 75 degrees and sun in less than a week. So since it looks like Spring (or perhaps even Summer) is here, it’s time to open the patio, enjoy the outdoors and plan some great...

Retirement Now vs. Retirement Then

Decades ago, retirement was fairly predictable: Social Security and a pension provided much of your income, you moved to the Sun Belt, played tennis or golf, and you lived to age 70 or 75. To varying degrees, this was the American retirement experience during the last few decades of the previous century. Those days are gone; retirees must now assume...

Bean counters try to control us

This is the ongoing story of how the greedy medical prescription drug insurance companies prey on us older retired people, who they presume won’t fight back but will just lay down and get steam rolled by them.  No one seems to have our back! This is my story so I am here to tell you that it is true...

Home Aquariums

One of our patrons was concerned about their home aquarium. They had maintained it for many years, but their older fish were starting to die off. They had started to add new fish, but a few of those fish had disappeared. Was one of the older fish eating them? Was something wrong with the environment? Assuming that the tank was...

Six Reasons A Real Estate Deal Can Fall Apart

You fell deeply in love with an updated Victorian, knocked a few grand off the asking price, and maybe even bought a spiffy camelback sofa for your new living room. Sweet! Still, until you close and the keys are in hand, there’s a sliver of dread in your mind: What if your dream of homeownership falls apart at the...

Bean Counters: A multipart saga of dealing with the Medicare Part D Rx insurance industry

This is the ongoing story of how the greedy medical/ prescription insurance companies prey on us older retired people, who, they presume, won’t fight back but will just lie down and get steam rolled by them.  This is my story, my experience, so I am here to tell you that it is true and I tell it to...

“In the book I’m reading, other characters call the main character the Sagehen. Why do you think they call her that?”

One of our patrons was enjoying “The Last Midwife” by Sandra Dallas, a work of historical fiction set in nineteenth-century Colorado. Gracy Brookens, the main character, is a midwife in a small mining town. Other characters sometimes refer to her as “the Sagehen.” Our first guess was that it was akin to calling Gracy a mother hen or a mama...

Fiscal Fashions

So...I’m listening to a radio program called “Marketplace” and discovered an interesting idea from some economic guru—Michael Bloomburg or Warren Buffett or some such multimillionaire.  Whoever this dude was, he said that he frequently followed the MUI—the Men’s Underwear Index(not to be confused with the Modern University of Information and Technology or the Multilingual User Interface)—when deciding the type...

Prodigality

O.K., I can definitely understand the viewpoint of the older brother in the Prodigal Son scenario and I have to wonder if there might be a story to be told about how family life went on after the younger brother returned, all contrite and  grateful for a crust of bread, let alone the Fatted Calf.  The older brother, upon...

It’s All About The Home

Today I had a customer in the store looking at bar stools.  Before we could get to the fun stuff like style and color, we had a few “technical” issues to iron out.  Issues like what size and how many were going to fit at her kitchen island.  It was at this point that I realized I could turn...

Shysters Extraordinaire

Shyster: A person who uses unscrupulous,                                            fraudulent or deceptive methods in business. I am often contacted by individuals locally and from other states and asked to inspect a Model “A” Ford that they are considering purchasing.  I am not...

College Funding Options You can plan to meet the costs through a variety of methods

How can you cover your child’s future college costs? Saving early (and often) may be the key for most families. Here are some college savings vehicles to consider. 529 plans. Offered by states and some educational institutions, these plans let you save up to $14,000 per year for your child’s college costs without having to file an IRS gift tax...

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