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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Columns & Editorials

Home Columns & Editorials

Return of the Prodigal Cat

I started with a dog, you know. Her name was Samantha, which rapidly became “Sammie”; her mother was a purebred apricot poodle   and her father was a traveling salesman of some sort...whatever he was selling, she bought it.  Anyway, Sammie was a nice dog, a good dog...and not much more discreet than her mama—had three puppies under the couch...

Will You Avoid These Estate Planning Mistakes?

Will You Avoid These Estate Planning Mistakes?

Many people plan their estates diligently, with input from legal, tax, and financial professionals. Others plan earnestly, but make mistakes that can potentially affect both the transfer and destiny of family wealth. Here are some common and not-so-common errors to avoid. Doing it all yourself. While you could write your own will or create a will or trust from a...

Minks and Otters

As promised, we will continue up the family tree of the toughest family on the block, the Mustelids.

As promised, we will continue up the family tree of the toughest family on the block, the Mustelids. This week we will be discussing the “middle “children of the family. But make no mistake, they are just as tough, fearless, and bloodthirsty as their siblings. Next time we will discuss the big boys, the Martens, Fishers, and Wolverines. Now...

“I have two Labradors and they’re always licking each other’s ears. Why do they do that?”

“I have two Labradors and they’re always licking each other’s ears. Why do they do that?”

According to What Dogs Want  by Arden Moore,  Caring for Your Dog  by Bruce Fogle, and the article Why Do My Dogs Lick Each Other’s Ears? by Lisa McQuerry, there are a few possible reasons. Dogs lick to relive stress or just for something to do, so they could be anxious or bored. It’s also a way to show...

Making and Keeping Financial Resolutions

How will your money habits change in 2016? What decisions or behaviors might help your personal finances, your retirement prospects, or your net worth? Each year presents a “clean slate,” so as one year ebbs into another, it is natural to think about what you might do (or do differently) in the 12 months ahead. Financially speaking, what New Year’s resolutions...

“Respect is earned; not given.”

While Marlon Brando in The Godfather usually gets the credit for this quote, he was actually borrowing a bit of wisdom from  the Pakistani Beggar King Hussein Nishah (1538–1599), who wrote, “Treat people the way you want to be treated. Talk to people the way you want to be talked to. Respect is earned, not given.” My father often drove...

The Name Game

Speaking of winter storms....  This whole naming thing apparently started with the Weather Channel and a Latin class somewhere.  This was apparently so that the on-screen prognosticators could get us all to focus on a particular weather event at a particular time and to nudge us toward acknowledging the fact that all of this weather stuff is related rather...

From Grandma Tr’ybl’s Table

This was one of our favorites that my father’s mother served in the early 60’s.  It was a wonderful meal served on potato dumplings, a mound of mashed potatoes or on freshly-made egg noodles. But most of a time, it was on Grandma’s very tasty potato dumplings (we will visit that recipe on a future visit.) As wonderful as this...

It’s All About The Home

Welcome to “It’s all about the Home”.  Please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Jane Ulmer and I am the co-owner of The Wayside Workshop in Aurora.  The Wayside Workshop is our family business that my dad started in 1976 in Willoughby, Ohio.  We spent about 6 years in Chardon before moving to Aurora Farms where we...

The Old Farmer’s Almanac revisited.

What Dave Barry always calls “an alert reader” stopped me the other day in the PCDL and asked if I wasn’t going to write  some more stuff drawing on the abovementioned publication and it seemed like a good idea, so here we are.  The Old Farmer speaks : (Freely translated by yours truly) What is it that everyone quotes the...

The Pros & Cons of Roth IRA Conversions

If you own a traditional IRA, perhaps you have thought about converting it to a Roth IRA. Going Roth makes sense for some traditional IRA owners, but not all. Why go Roth? There is an assumption behind every Roth IRA conversion – a belief that income tax rates will be higher in future years than they are today. If you...

Welcome to 2016 — Need a Calendar??

Well, here we go again.  ”Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme.” As you, no doubt recognized, the above aphorism attributed to Jean-Baptist Alphonse Karr, means “the more things change, the more they remain the same.”  (You might also be aware that albums by the groups Cinderella, Machine Head and Bon Jovi used the phrase, either as album or song...

Not my fault!

Working at Garrettsville’s Precinct A  for thirteen hours on Election Day—with a fairly steady stream of citizens exercising their rights, good for them—was enough to occupy my time; I had no occasion to commit mayhem on the Portage County Board of Elections computer system, though I’m sure there are those who probably think that I could do it by...

Pumpkin & Wine

Pumpkin latte, pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, pumpkin pasta… the list of pumpkin items goes on and on. Recently I’ve had a couple of guests ask me for some wine recommendations to pair with their pumpkin dishes since the spices in some dishes can greatly alter the taste of the wine. So if you’re not tired of pumpkin yet keep...

“Don’t stir up the hornet’s nest!”

“Why go looking for trouble?” Dad would ask. “Some trouble is sure to find you at some point in life, but only a fool makes himself a target by intentionally causing a commotion.” Don’t stir up the hornet’s nest is a familiar idiom, likening hornets to angry humans, dating back to the first half of the 1700s. In case you...

The Long Ascent of the S&P 500

No one knows what will happen tomorrow on Wall Street. Even the most esteemed analysts can only make educated guesses. As the old saying goes: past performance is not indicative of future results. All that said, the market has had many more positive years than negative years. The history of the S&P 500 is worth considering in light of recent...

Turnpike Proud!

Well, that was interesting...and informative...and fun too. The Ohio Turnpike had an Open House on Saturday, October 24, celebrating its 60th Anniversary; it officially opened on October 1, 1955, all 241 miles of it.  The construction took 38 months, in sections, employed some 10,000 workers—and 2300 bulldozers—at a cost of some $326 million, give or take.  It connected to the...

Trick-or-Treat

As the moon goes to bed, the sun comes up And here we meet a sleepy pup, Who was walking through G-ville one bright sunny day, Then saw The Villager and decided to stay OOoooo! Uhhhh! Ooooo! Doodle Dog stretched out on what should have been a very cozy cushion, soft and squishy and usually perfect for relaxing. On most days he could...

Riding Out This Volatile Market

PixaBay https://pixabay.com/en/piggy-bank-save-money-finance-coin-661969/

When will the stock market stabilize? As the last trading week of August began, worried investors wondered just that. Gains for the major indices were hard to imagine at Monday’s opening bell, but few imagined the Dow Jones Industrial Average would drop 1,089 points as trading began – a new record, as the blue chips had never before sunk...

Halloween Candy and Wine Pairs

Last year I didn’t get a chance to write about the Halloween Candy and Wine pairing so this year a few faithful readers reminded me that I needed to get tasting! So, armed with a few bags of candy and a few bottles of wine I set out to come up with the best Halloween candy and wine pairing...

Memorial Trash

Another Trick-or-Treat for adults? I am referring, of course, to the semi-annual trash pick-up in the village—not to be confused with the weekly services provided (paid for on an individual residence basis) to dispose of our pitch-worthy household detritus and garbage.  Garbage Eve is observed every Wednesday night; no carol-singing or candles in the windows that I know of. The Trash...

Stuck in Ohio…And Proud Of It!!

During my lifetime I have been blessed with many opportunities to experience nature and our natural world. I have been to National Parks from Maine to California, talked to God in a grove of Redwoods, touched sequoias, climbed to 14,000 feet in the Rockies to sooth my feet in a cold alpine lake, hiked part of the Appalachian Trail...

Forget the Memoir

Everybody is writing memoirs lately.   It’s the literary style du jour in all of the magazines and reviews.  So I’m thinking, hey, my memories are as good as anybody’s, why not hop to it and make the big bucks? One reason may be that my memories are certainly just fine, but getting them to show up on cue is...

Whadda Prize

It’s awards season just about all of the time now.  There are awards in television, for the theatre, for movies, for sports of every stripe and description, for just about every genre of music that one can think of( and some that I don’t really classify as music, but, rather as “entertainment”)—country, pop, rap, classical, you name it.  But...

Collecting Fossils in Thermopiles, Wyoming

Perfect silence.  It is 10:15 in the morning and I am on a hill twenty miles north of Thermopolis and a half a mile off the highway. We got here at 9:30 AM and the temperature was about 70 degrees. It was 49 just before dawn at the motel.  By 11 AM it is at 85 degrees.  Yes there...

Pretty Fair Fairs

Well, I seem to have hit my quota again this year.  A little shy, perhaps, but got the basics done.  I am speaking, of course, of fair attendance.  I really like going to fairs.  It’s the food, mostly.  Nothing like hot grease wafting through the air to set the rustic mood and a culinary challenge. I got to the Portage...

Puppy Tails

https://pixabay.com/en/grass-blades-of-grass-nature-meadow-383284/

Wandering along the tree line at the very point where the edge of the meadow meets the edge of the forest, Doodle Dog sniffed the grassy ground, taking in all the woodsy scents from the earthy bark to the sweet, airy wildflowers to the sharp tangy note of moss gathering in deep green patches and carpeting the area under...

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

When many people hear the word “parents,” they picture a couple in their forties... not a couple in their seventies. The reality is that 6% of kids today live in households headed up by grandparents – a parenting situation that may lead to significant financial stress.1 How can grandparents protect their retirement savings? This should be a high priority, even...

Skin In The Game

Ever since  that piece about plastic surgery and the aestheticians who keep having the gall to send me email about how they can get me a “Facelift Miracle”(as if I needed such a thing), I’ve been noticing a number of items in the news about occasions where the focus is on skin and the display thereof. The first one to...

Getting It All Together for Retirement

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Before retirement begins, gather what you need. Put as much documentation as you can in one place, for you and those you love. It could be a password-protected online vault; it could be a file cabinet; it could be a file folder. Regardless of what it is, by centralizing the location of important papers you are saving yourself from...

Organic Wines

https://pixabay.com/en/purple-grapes-vineyard-napa-valley-553463/

As we prepare for the start of harvest season, I have received a lot of questions around if or how you make an organic wine? Organic wines have really jumped in popularity now with the “Green” movement and having people become more and more earth friendly or earth conscience. While we do everything possible to be green, unfortunately we...

Puppy Tails: The Ongoing Adventures of Doodle Dog

https://pixabay.com/en/grass-blades-of-grass-nature-meadow-383284/

  Chirp, chirp, cheep, chirp! Doodle Dog poked his nose into the open window, pressing against the tight wire screen. He thought he could hear a bird talking to him, but he couldn’t quite see it from this angle. A little twist to the left and a little scootch to the right and the frame of the window seemed to jump...

Cat-astrophe!

https://pixabay.com/en/animal-cat-kitten-funny-yawning-339400/

At one time, there were, give or take, six—yes, six—cats in this house.  That was, so to speak, the high water mark, but the tide seems to have receded rather precipitously lately. See, I started out, innocently enough, with just one, chosen from a litter just out of town advertised with a sign that said, “Free Kittens”.  He was orange...

Are Your Kids Delaying Your Retirement?

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Are you providing some financial support to your adult children? Has that hurt your retirement prospects? It seems that the wealthier you are, the greater your chances of lending a helping hand to your kids. Pew Research Center data compiled in late 2014 revealed that 38% of American parents had given financial assistance to their grown children in the past...

Strawberry Fields Forever

If John Lennon hadn’t written it, Roger Monroe would have had to.  Maybe with a Pochedly on vocals or bass.  Who better to whip up a little ditty about the most quintessential of spring/summer fruit?  The fact that the song was written about a Salvation Army orphanage near Liverpool (U.K.) doesn’t disqualify it from being a fruit-growers anthem of...

Smooth As Silk

Within the natural world there are many spectacular things. But none more spectacular than to find the ethereal Luna moth or the massive Cecrcopia or Polyphemus moth. Theses giant moths can have a wing span of up to six inches or more. Not only are the adults spectacular, but so are the caterpillars. Some get to be the size...

Missing Brains…

I knew that I misplaced something. The Associated Press recently reported that nine—count ‘em, NINE—brains had been found alongside a railroad track near Gouverneur, northern New York state.  Authorities said not to worry. Well, I won’t but it seems like there might be someone out there who is not ABLE to worry because the mechanism is missing. Anyway, the found objects...

Putting Your Tax Refund to Work

Should your refund be spent? In 2014, more than 109 million tax filers received federal tax refunds, with the average refund at $2,792. What happens to that money?1 According to H&R Block’s Tax Institute, little of it is saved or invested: last year, more people used their refunds to settle debts or pay for cars or vacations than anything else.2 As...

Tell You What – An Editorial

Tell you what….  Let’s have everyone who says, “Why don’t they…(whatever it is about the rebuilding needed on Garrettsville’s Main St.) or “They need to…(suggestions for operations to be carried out to restore Main St.) or “They ought to…(directions on how to accomplish the rebuilding of half of Garrettsville’s business district), everyone who utters one of these or similar...

Wine and the California Drought

As we finally start to experience Spring in Northeast Ohio, I can’t help but keep my focus on the drought situation in California. From talking to family and friends on the west coast it is amazing to see what they are experiencing and how they are reacting to limited water usage and just having to deal with no rain in the forecast.

A Stitch In Time!

Here’s one for the Village Piece Makers, you know, the dedicated quilt-makers who every two years come up with a lovely handmade spread to be raffled off at the Christmas Walk. I don’t know how they come up with the patterns—maybe they make them up themselves—but recently the AB-J ran a cartoon (It’s a regular series called Non Sequitur, usually pretty apt for what they put out there) that might get a rise from out local needlewomen, even Ellie Foster Monroe who does “Quilts for Causes”, contributing to efforts that she supports.

The Psychology of Saving Money

Financially speaking, saving is winning. Sometimes that lesson is lost, however. To some people, saving feels like losing – “losing” money that could be spent. So assert Ellen Rogin and Lisa Kueng, authors of a recently published book entitled Picture Your Prosperity: Smart Money Moves to Turn Your Vision into Reality. They cite a perceptual difference. If people are asked if they can save 20% of their income, the answer may be a resounding “no” – but if they are asked if they can live on 80% of their income, that may seem reasonable.

12 Tips for Spring Home Buying in a Seller’s Market

With spring finally here for most of the nation, prospective homebuyers can look at houses and condos without traipsing through snow and ice. Better weather, plus the traditional belief that families search for homes so they can move in between school years, makes spring a major homebuying season in much of the country.

What should you bring to your preparer?

IRS filing season will start right on time in 2015, and there is wisdom in filing your 1040 well before April 15. You can get it out of the way earlier, and if you e-file, you can put yourself in position for an earlier refund.1 What should you gather up for your CPA? If you want to save time and...

Like A Frog Trying To Ride A Bicycle

“Hey Dad, why don’t you think about taking some courses at Kent State.  You are a senior citizen so you could take them free.  You would meet some people and you might just like it.” So said my daughter Carrie who is also a Professor at Kent.  Yeah, but I’ll be far older than anyone else in that classroom,...

What’s Your Financial Health Score?

In the future, will you become wealthier or poorer? Who knows, right? It seems like you would need a crystal ball to really answer that question given life’s up and downs. What if the answer is right in front of you? What if you can determine it from your present financial behaviors? Two economists present a brief questionnaire – and...

Wineries

I am amazed at  how many wineries have opened the past few years – especially the number that have opened in Northeast Ohio. When we opened almost 11 years ago there were almost 125 wineries in the state. We are expecting to pass 200 wineries by the end of this year. Sure, we have a lot of people that stop...

“I don’t understand everything that goes into Ohio’s school ranking system. Could you help?”

Up until the 2013-2013 school year, Ohio public schools and school districts were given one of six ratings: Excellent with Distinction, Excellent, Effective, Continuous Improvement, Academic Watch, and Academic Emergency. The ratings were based on attendance, high school graduation rates, how many students passed the state tests and how well they scored, and the value-added calculation, which is meant...

Thinking Spring!

Another weekend, another home & garden show! Getting to the John S. and James L. Knight Center in downtown Akron is not real tough, although the predominance of one-way streets does sometimes make it a little tricky if you should happen to miss a turn.  There’s a parking garage nearby too but I won’t even tell you how many turns...

Begin the Beguine

My dad may have been an absent-minded professor, but he was a very intentional father. He never missed the opportunity to instill in us five children the high virtues of hard work, family honor, ethnic pride, honesty as the best policy, academic excellence, fair play, healthy habits, moderation in all things, perseverance… the list was endless. And he had a saying for every occasion, just to reinforce his point and imprint his ethics upon our souls.

“Begin the Beguine”  was a popular song written by Cole Porter in 1934. To my father, it was yet another one-liner he’d toss into conversation for dramatic effect. My dad may have been an absent-minded professor, but he was a very intentional father. He never missed the opportunity to instill in us five children the high virtues of hard work,...

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