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It was a long time ago, say about 1960.  I would have been about 14 years old then and would have recently become very much interested in automobiles.  Back then age 14 was a magical time when you first really became aware that having a real car—as opposed to plastic model cars– was going to soon be a real possibility.  Some of us spent our lunch money buying the Reader’s Digest sized custom car magazines of the time and dreaming about what car we would soon have in just two more years. I also recall spending way too much time in study hall drawing hot rods and custom cars when I should have been studying school subjects.  About this time my family acquired a robin’s egg blue 1959 Mercury and for some reason it coincided with my unexpected introduction to Cream of Wheat cereal.  Talk about a weird association; forever afterward I associated Cream of Wheat with 1959 Mercurys.  

File under “Sorry we missed this one.”

New Years celebrators in London this New Year’s Eve were treated to  an interesting array of flavored fun-type  festivity-promoters.  Indeed! There was banana-flavored confetti, there were orange-scented bubbles, peach-flavored snow, for starters.  Mercy! 

January is always a great month for us at the winery. Since it is typically our quietest month of the year we get to take some time to prepare for the rest of the year. In past years we have worked on the addition at the winery, focused on new wine labels and created a new look to our website. 2014 is definitely not any different than past years. We’ve had a lot of time to focus on scheduling over 15 events at the winery this year and I can’t wait to tell you about them in future columns. However for this week’s column I wanted to focus on my favorite part about January at the winery – getting ready to release new wines.

The start of the New Year is a great motivation to make small changes to help make life run a little smoother. Since everyone must eat, one easy change to incorporate is in the area of meal preparation. This is where a little pre-planning can make your life a whole lot easier. Start by making modifications to recipes you already use. When making your usual soup, stew, meatloaf or sauce recipes, it doesn’t take much extra time to double the recipe and freeze the extra portion for an easy meal another day. Just remember to label and date the contents, and include any cooking instructions right on the freezer bag for a convenient future meal when time is short. And the Internet is full of prep ahead freezer meals and slow cooker recipes to make dinnertime less stressful.  Here’s a simple crock-pot recipe to use now, or prep for later, that’s simple, yet delicious.

How often do you tell your children to try something new? Whether it be a new sport, a new food or a new game – they should try it because they just might like it! Growing up, I heard that over and over again from my parents. As much as I hated hearing it back then, they made an excellent point.

So how many of you have tried a new wine recently? How many of you always get one kind of wine any time you order wine? Well, I really don’t want to sound like my mother, but you really should try something new at least once in a while. If you like sweet wines, then I suggest trying the next drier wine on a wine list once in a while.

The reason is, once you start drinking wine, your taste buds start to change, so as you continue to drink drier wines your taste buds start to adapt to liking drier wines. Now, granted, you are not going to instantly go from drinking a sweet wine like White Zinfandel to a dry wine like a Chardonnay but as you progress through your wine drinking stages you will eventually like the drier wines. However, until you try something different, you just never know what is out there.

Now for all you who already like the dry wines, I have the same advice for you! Every once in a while you should try a sweeter wine as well. Not only does this allow you to appreciate some other wines but it does give your taste buds something new to try. If you’ve been reading my articles you know that I would take a dry red wine any day. But recently I tried a Pinot Gris which was listed as a semi-sweet white wine. I am not a fan of Pinot Gris to begin with so it did take some prompting from my friends to try it but once we had it I was certainly amazed by how much flavor there was in this wine.

So as much as I don’t want to nag, your parents were right – you should try something new!

Here’s your chance to investigate the Mpemba Effect.  There’s a video of some Canadian dude on the internet performing this interesting experiment.  He takes a hard plastic water gun (A Nerf weapon would probably not work; you’ll see why)sucks up boiling water into it (That’s why you use hard plastic) and squirts  the water out into the air. The air, which is just as cold as ours has been, maybe colder, instantly froze the steam into an icy mist almost like snow—instantly.  There’s another one where somebody just flings cupfuls of boiling water out into frigid air.  Same thing happens.

Physicists  and scientists of every stripe, since Aristotle and Francis Bacon, have been arguing about whether and how and why warmer  water will sometimes freeze faster than colder water.  That’s the essence of the Mpemba Effect(Named for Erasto Mpemba of Tanzania, who was a school boy at the time he and a visiting  professor put forward their theory), the assertion that, in some circumstances, warmer water can freeze faster than colder water.  They still haven’t figured it out, though there are plenty of thoughts on the subject.

Fun to watch, in any case.

Who hasn’t felt like throwing their computer out the window?

Even the most tech-savvy computer owner has been tempted to take up a hammer in the face of blue screens, viruses, mysterious high pitched noises and files that suddenly “disappear”.

Don’t do it!

Who am I to tell you not to maim your computer? My name is Chris Cavalier.  I grew up in this area and run a local computer repair business.

My philosophy is pretty simple:

Technology should enrich your life. It should help you achieve your goals, whether business, personal or academic. It should allow you to play, connect, surf, input, research, and watch. It should not make you contemplate technological murder.

My goal is to help you find and use technology to make your life better, easier, and more fun.

Apple or PC? Laptop or tablet? Figuring out the right option for you can feel overwhelming. And choosing the wrong piece of equipment can teach you more about frustration than trying to feed a cross-eyed caterpillar spaghetti with a spoon.

Keeping up-to-date on new options is essential when trying to figure out the best solution for your home or your business.

With this new series of articles I want to help answer your most enraging computer questions and keep you up to date on new tech solutions.

So, send me your questions and most frustrating technological quandaries! I will answer a question or address a tech topic with each article. You can send your questions by email to cavalierpc@gmail.com. You can also find me on Facebook or on my website garrettsvillecomputersrepair.com.

Many of us here at the Newton Falls Public Library have seen therapy dogs at work, whether at hospitals, nursing homes, or even colleges. Therapy dogs are different from service dogs such as seeing-eye dogs and seizure-response dogs. While service dogs are specifically trained to assist a person with their documented disability, therapy dogs are pets with the training and temperament to volunteer at nursing homes, hospitals, and anywhere else that people would benefit from the comfort of a friendly dog.

Sports Illustrated reports that there is now a “Smart Sensor” basketball(94Fifty) full of God-only-knows what kind of sensors, nine of  ‘em, complete with circuit board, battery pack and Bluetooth relay—don’t ask—which will  do amazing things for your mastery of the game.  These sensors are processing whatever it is that’s happening with the ball, at your direction, of course, and they’re doing it in milliseconds…as opposed to your coach yelling from the sidelines, presumably.   The sensors recharge as the ball sits on its very own pedestal. This gizmo can  measure backspin and arc on the ball and analyze the ballhandling being utilized, then spit it out at you from your cell phone or other PDA( personal digital assistant).  The voice that does this is said to resemble that of the President of the U.S.   New applications  and programs are just waiting to be developed by some pointy-headed computer dudes.  

This time of year, Santa isn’t the only one who’s making lists and checking them twice. If you enjoy giving handmade gifts, here are some simple spice mixes that are sure to appeal to the foodies on your list. Individually, they make great stocking stuffers. Package them together with some kitchen tools for an even bigger impact. 

Now that the clock tower lights are lit, Santa has made the first of his (many) local appearances…for lunch, for breakfast, for pizza, etc….it’s time to get down to some serious shopping—preferably local, but wandering off into the exotic every so often.

So, in pursuit of exotica (Try looking that up on the internet some times; Sears & Roebuck , it ain’t), I looked in some recent publications for inspiration.  A couple of the items located were more likely to bring about palpitations than inspiration….  But I digress (and aren’t you surprised to find THAT out?).

At the Newton Falls Public Library, we understand how discouraging it can be when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Our patron remembered that the story was about a son going through his father’s belongings to discover that he had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam. She also remembered that her high school had used the Language of Literature textbooks.

By now you probably have had your share of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and desserts! But if your family is like mine, you also have enough leftovers from dinner to have a second Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you are serving turkey sandwiches, turkey chili, turkey soup, turkey frittatas or just plain turkey there are so many ways you can incorporate any leftover wine.

If you served a sparkling wine during your get together and have some left you only have about a day until the wine will go flat. So as you make turkey and egg sandwiches or turkey frittatas, be sure to make yourself a nice mimosa. Simply pour ½ glass of orange juice and ¼ glass of your sparkling wine into a glass and enjoy!

Or if you had some red wine left over, this is a great way to spice up a turkey chili dish. I usually allow 2 cups of red wine to simmer on the stove as I add pieces of turkey to the pan to be marinated in the wine. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then start adding your beans, vegetables, seasonings and a little water to the pan. If you are using a leftover Syrah, your turkey will have a slight ground pepper taste to it.

I usually have a lot of white wine leftover at our house and always have a problem pairing it with leftovers from dinner. Unless I am just drinking a glass with a turkey sandwich, the white wine usually sent home with family for them to enjoy the next day. However, last year I came across a recipe that has been a great addition to my leftover recipe book. I have started making a turkey stew bake:

Heat oven to 350°. Add 1 cup of white wine to the pan. Place leftover turkey and vegetables in pan. Cover with leftover mashed potatos. Bake uncovered at 350° for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese on top of potatoes, Garnish with parsley.

 

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

As we reflect on this past Thanksgiving holiday and get ready for the coming Christmas season, we want to begin this week’s segment with some reflections of our own; we are truly thankful for the opportunity to write Nearby Nature and the Weekly Villager for printing our articles. It is hard to believe that this is article #56. We are thankful for the opportunity to enlighten our readers, share hiking experiences, meet new friends, and most of all the ability to enjoy our natural world up close and personal. Finally we are thankful to our respective families, who at times think we are a bit “loony.” 

It’s hard to believe that six years ago we put together a small animated light show for families to enjoy during the summer. With only 10,000 lights synchronized to music it was something that left an impression on anyone who saw the show. Then the years continued and the Summer Light Show grew to over 70,000 lights this past year. More songs and more features were added but as the summer came to an end it was hard for us to see the light show come to an end.

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 disorganization and headaches in the future.

What should go in the vault, cabinet or folder(s)? Crucial financial information and more. You will want to include…

Those quarterly/annual statements. Recent performance paperwork for IRAs, 401(k)s, funds, brokerage accounts and so forth. Include the statements from the latest quarter and the statements from the end of the previous calendar year (that is, the last Q4 statement you received). You don’t get paper statements anymore? Print out the equivalent, or if you really want to minimize clutter, just print out the links to the online statements. (Someone is going to need your passwords, of course.) These documents can also become handy in figuring out a retirement income distribution strategy.

Healthcare benefit info. Are you enrolled in Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan? Are you in a group health plan? Do you pay for your own health coverage? Own a long term care policy? Gather the policies together in your new retirement command center and include related literature so you can study their benefit summaries, coverage options, and rules and regulations. Contact info for insurers, HMOs, your doctor(s) and the insurance agent who sold you a particular policy should also go in here.

Life insurance info. Do you have a straight term insurance policy, no potential for cash value whatsoever? Keep a record of when the level premiums end. If you have a whole life policy, you want to keep paperwork communicating the death benefit, the present cash value in the policy and the required monthly premiums in your file.

Beneficiary designation forms. Few pre-retirees realize that beneficiary designations often take priority over requests made in a will when it comes to 401(k)s, 403(b)s and IRAs. Hopefully, you have retained copies of these forms. If not, you can request them from the account custodians and review the choices you have made. Are they choices you would still make today? By reviewing them in the company of a retirement planner or an attorney, you can gauge the tax efficiency of the eventual transfer of assets.1

Social Security basics. If you haven’t claimed benefits yet, put your Social Security card, last year’s W-2 form, certified copies of your birth certificate, marriage license or divorce papers in one place, and military discharge paperwork or and a copy of your W-2 form for last year (or Schedule SE and Schedule C plus 1040 form, if you work for yourself), and military discharge papers or proof of citizenship if applicable. Social Security no longer mails people paper statements tracking their accrued benefits, but e-statements are available via its website. Take a look at yours and print it out.2

Pension matters. Will you receive a bona fide pension in retirement? If so, you want to collect any special letters or bulletins from your employer. You want your Individual Benefit Statement telling you about the benefits you have earned and for which you may become eligible; you also want the Summary Plan Description and contact info for someone at the employee benefits department where you worked.

Real estate documents. Gather up your deed, mortgage docs, property tax statements and homeowner insurance policy. Also, make a list of the contents of your home and their estimated value – you may be away from your home more in retirement, so those items may be more vulnerable as a consequence.

Estate planning paperwork. Put copies of your estate plan and any trust paperwork within the collection, and of course a will. In case of a crisis of mind or body, your loved ones may need to find a durable power of attorney or health care directive, so include those documents if you have them and let them know where to find them.

Tax returns. Should you only keep last year’s 1040 and state return? How about those for the past 7 years? At the very least, you should have a copy of last year’s returns in this collection.

A list of your digital assets. We all have them now, and they are far from trivial – the contents of a cloud, a photo library, or a Facebook page may be vital to your image or your business. Passwords must be compiled too, of course.

This will take a little work, but you will be glad you did it someday. Consider this a Saturday morning or weekend project. It may lead to some discoveries and possibly prompt some alterations to your financial picture as you prepare for retirement.

Christopher Perme may be reached at 330-527-9301 or cperme@financialguide.com.  www.permefinancialgroup.com

[hr]

Christopher Perme is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. (www.SIPC.org) Supervisory Office:  1660 West 2nd Street, Suite 850 Cleveland, OH  44113. 216-621-5680. Perme Financial Group is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC or its affiliated companies. CRN201511-178013

Citations:
1 – fpanet.org/ToolsResources/ArticlesBooksChecklists/Articles/Retirement/10EssentialDocumentsforRetirement/ [9/12/11]
2 – cbsnews.com/8301-505146_162-57573910/planning-for-retirement-take-inventory/ [3/18/13][hr] [related_posts limit=”5″ image=”0″]

What do you do when you’ve got a plethora of apples? That was the question this fall at the Turner house, where we’ve been buried in apples since autumn first began. Over the previous few years, our ancient apple orchard didn’t bear much fruit due to insect problems, overzealous pruning, or late frosts. That all changed this year, in a big way, as we’ve been fortunate enough to harvest several front-loader buckets full of apples this season. We’ve shared them with friends and neighbors. We’ve made countless jars of applesauce, apple pie filling and apple butter. We’ve pressed gallons and gallons of apple cider. Our apples even made it into an award-winning county fair pie.

I love the Old Farmer’s Almanac…I don’t necessarily take it as gospel but I do love the miscellany of STUFF that is in it.  It is a veritable FOUNT of KNOWLEDGE of various off-beat and semi-useful pieces of information.  I say semi-useful because some of the wisdom that this publication imparts, I would rather not have to actually have anything to do with like the advice on how to break up an animal fight (Cat-scratch fever is real, folks).  I have to admit that I really don’t understand all of the astronomical calculations and tables that are the basis for the weather predictions that It is known for.  I can grasp the hours of sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset; I can even determine what zodiac sign is being  highlighted as the location of these celestial travels but I’ll be dipped if I know what the declination of the sun is or whether I care much about the high tides in Boston(The whole thing was originally intended for the east coast; in fact, the front page says, ”Fitted for Boston and the New England states, with special corrections and calculations to answer for all the United States.” )

AND…just in case you’ve been obsessing about the Comet ISON(International Scientific Optical Network—used by some Russian astronomers to first locate this fast-moving wonder) the one thing that most astronomers actually agree on is that it is highly unlikely to slam into the Earth, smashing us all to smithereens…that and the fact that nobody around right now is likely to ever see it again, because it’s heading back out to the Oort Cloud from which it came, out on the fringes of the solar system.  It may or may not survive its perilously close elliptical path around the Sun; it may well be moving at a mind-boggling speed of 828,000 miles per hour.

For those of you that have followed my articles for the past six years you may already know that I love dry red wine and anything chocolate! So anytime I get the opportunity to enjoy the two I jump on it!

But this time I am going to share my excitement with you and invite you to the winery to join me for a dessert and wine pairing on Saturday, December 7th from 7:30 – 9:30pm. We are working with Presti’s Bakery located in Little Italy to serve a few of their amazing desserts with a selection of our wines.

We have carefully researched (ate way too many of their treats) and have finally selected this amazing pairing: Cassata Cake and Riesling, Tiramisu and Pirate Syrah, Blueberry Cheesecake and Blue Spark and we’ll finish the night with a selection of Canolis and Illumination. Granted, the menu may change if I keep sampling but I promise this is one event you will not be disappointed in!

Plus, sit back for the fantastic sounds of Denny & McKay at 7:30! This great duo will be playing your favorite hits from the Beatles, Chicago, Elton John and maybe even a few holiday tunes! Tickets for the dessert pairing are only $11.99 person (not including tax or gratuity). Reservations and pre-payment is required! Call the winery today to book your reservation – 330.527.4118.

Tickets are limited so don’t miss out on this awesome experience. We will be open to the public so even if you’re not in the mood for dessert – come on out for a great night of live music and wine!

 

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

There ARE drawbacks to having a warm spell this late in the year.  Yes, indeed.

So…I’m sitting in the living room reading the paper; it’s a breezy, balmy (for November, anyway)fifty-something, sixty-something outside.  The room is pleasantly warm enough.  It’s evening, getting dark, I’m thinking about getting to bed early after a day that started fairly early for a weekend.

Then I looked at the cat.  The cat was staring at something in back of me.  They do that.  No wonder some people frequently connect felines with messages from the Great Beyond.  The only thing in back of me was the bookcase adorned with family pictures, some of my wooden boxes–the better-looking ones–and  a few pieces of favorite memorabilia.  None of these things were moving.  What was the cat looking at?  Well, I’m sure I don’t know but that’s when I heard the noise.

Doodle Dog was glad he had the chance to deliver pumpkins while the weather was still being mostly friendly because today the gentle breeze had turned into something that blew and blew and howled and howled and huffed and puffed against the windows on every side of the office. The floppy-eared puppy curled up and listened to the noisy mutant gusts and figured they probably just sounded a lot worse than they really were – at least he hoped so!

To distract himself and not let his imagination get away from him, Doodle Dog directed his imagination to think of good things instead. He immediately thought of the holidays coming up and how much he looked forward to helping out with the shiny decorations again. That little tree looked so pretty in the middle of the park and Doodle Dog was glad he had a paw in making it happy! Maybe that little snowflake still glistened on the tippy top of it. Doodle Dog felt like one of Santa’s elves designing Christmas magic for the little tree. And then the best part was wrapping presents to tuck under it and surprise his furry friends around the forest and in town. The glittering packages reminded Doodle Dog of the flecks of snow and ice making intricate patterns on the window when the weather was really, really cold. The floppy-eared puppy glanced up to see if the invisible ice skater had returned to his clear canvas, but not yet – right now the wind still blew and blew menacingly against the windowpane. Ahh!

One of our Newton Falls Public Library patrons was being pestered by a  woodpecker, and was hoping to chase it away before it caused damage to their barn. Fortunately, there are several methods they can try.

According to the Audubon Society [http://birds.audubon.org/faq/why-woodpecker-damaging-my-house-and-how-do-i-stop-it], woodpeckers peck for three reasons: to mark territory, to search for insects, and to make a hole in which to nest. If it looks like the bird is making a hole big enough to go into, Audubon suggests covering the hole with netting or metal flashing, though that may not be enough to deter a woodpecker looking to make your house its home. If it persists, the best solution may be to install a nest box near the hole in the hopes that the bird will stop pecking and choose to nest there instead.

If the woodpecker doesn’t look like it’s drilling out a place to roost, then it might be looking for food. It’s important to make sure there aren’t any insects in the wood, such as carpenter bees or termites, that the bird might be noshing on. Otherwise, placing suet nearby may be enough to distract it.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology [http://www.birds.cornell.edu/wp_about/control.html] suggests attaching netting to the building, keeping at least three inches between the building and the net to keep birds from getting through.

Plastic owls may scare woodpeckers off for a few days, but the birds quickly get used to them. Instead, try auditory deterrents, such as playing the sound of a predator or a woodpecker in distress, or hanging wind chimes. Reflective strips, pie pans, streamers, wind socks, and flags can also be hung to scare away birds.

For more information on woodpeckers, Paul Bannick’s The Owl and the Woodpecker: Encounters with North America’s Most Iconic Birds is available through CLEVNET. If our patron is interested in identifying exactly what kind of woodpecker is drumming on their barn – or for anyone who’d like to identify the birds near their house – James S. McCormac and Gregory Kennedy’s Birds of Ohio is available for checkout here at the Newton Falls Public Library.

 

For answers to your questions, visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal Street, Newton Falls or phone 330-872-1282. For information about all the free library programs or hours, visit our website at www.newtonfalls.org or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NewtonFallsLibrary.

 

As I write, the full Beaver Moon is dancing brightly behind passing clouds on a blustery Sunday (November 17) evening. Known as the Beaver Moon because this is the best time to set traps prior to the marshes freezing and because beavers are actively making preparations for winter. To celebrate the November full moon, let’s learn a little about this interesting creature that has been remarkably important in our history. In fact, the Beaver has been so important to the development of Canada through fur trade, that the animal was designated the “national animal” in 1975. It also holds noble places on Canadian coins, stamps and was even the official Olympic mascot for the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal.

“Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with tenosynovitis in my hand. Could you find me some more information on it?” Though none of us here at the Newton Falls Public Library are doctors, and therefore aren’t qualified to give medical advice, we could certainly provide the resources to help answer our patron’s question.

My kids recently had to come up with a list of what makes this season feel like Fall. It was fun to think of this – leaves changing, cooler nights, watching football games, picking apples, carving pumpkins and, of course, going to as many clambakes that we can! We started to talk about hosting a clambake at the winery but wanted to do something unique and start our own tradition.

The computer strikes again!  Here I am typing away  at my keyboard-in-the-corner, writing  what I’m hoping will be more-or-less reproduced below and—WHAM!  It all disappeared.  Gone! Gone!  Nowhere to be found(Not that I could find it anyway, technological klutz that I am).  Nearly a page of deathless prose lost into the ether of cyberspace.  What’s REALLY irritating about it is that I had started the piece the night before—not something that I often do, being a world-class procrastinator—so that I could have a little “down time” and not be rushed into doing a bunch of the stuff that I suddenly find that I have to do that I had not planned for.  And now this! Grrrrr!  What follows is a reconstruction, to the best of my recollection, of my this-year entry for the Pulitzer Prize.  If the award does not come my way, I’m, blaming it on this glitch.

Syria is in the midst of a civil war and the United States wants to intervene. The question I have to ask is why? According to a recent report by the United Nations more than 100,000 people have been killed thus far and another 2 million people have fled the country. Based on those facts alone any reasonable person would be unable to fathom why we would send our troops, most of whom are my peers, to bully Syria’s President into treating his people with the rights that they deserve. Essentially, we will occupy their country, kill their men and suffer our own fatalities all so they can stop inflicting violence on their own people? None of that makes sense. 

All that hard work made Doodle Dog quite tired so he decided he wasn’t going to go too very far from home today, at least not for a little while. The impromptu detour had been fun and all, in its own way, but there is so much else to see and Doodle Dog didn’t want to be sidetracked for too long. That is, until something else interesting or intriguing happened to distract him along his path! Taking one step at a time, the floppy-eared puppy slowly made his way down the sidewalk, enjoying the light breeze fluttering over his nose, cooling his forehead and tickling his ears. He knew just where he could go to take several journeys and explore endlessly without moving his paws from one spot.

Soon Doodle Dog turned the corner to the library and slipped in the open door as a lady stepped outside. The little girl keeping pace beside her smiled brightly at the floppy-eared puppy from just over the tippy top of a stack of colorful books in her arms, so many piled up that she had to stretch a bit to peek out over the small slightly-wobbly tower. Following her mother, the little girl disappeared down the street as Doodle Dog quickly disappeared into the foyer of the library, a narrow hallway which soon opened up into an enormous cave of books. Seemingly endless rows of multihued bindings called out to the curious floppy-eared puppy, their pages protectively housing the everlasting stories between the covers. So many beautiful books to distract an explorer, but Doodle Dog knew exactly which one he wanted to find today.

There! Right near the bottom, perfectly kid-level and doggie-level too, the vibrant blue the color of the summer sky waved to him from the bookcase like an old friend gleeful at its visitor’s arrival. Doodle Dog gently nudged the soft book from its keeping-place and let it plop carefully to the carpet in front of him. The book opened to the first page and the story began, but Doodle Dog didn’t need the words to know what it said – he knew this tale by heart. Looking at the brilliant pictures, the floppy-eared puppy lightly pushed each page with his nose and listened in his mind as his memory told him the story:

“As the moon goes to bed, the sun wakes up And here we meet a sleepy pup  Looking forward to a bright fun day New places to see, new chances to play  Doodle Dog gets the morning news, Then sometimes takes an afternoon snooze  Lazily the clouds float by Fluffy white against blue sky  Hide and Seek count three-two-one Doodle Dog jumps and Doodle Dog runs  Until at the end of the sidewalk can be found Paw prints in the green, green grass and the dirt so brown  Doodle Dog loves to go for a walk And always makes sure to stop and talk  To the butterflies and the bees, To the flowers and all the trees  Then every night before it grows dark, Doodle Dog says a “goodnight” bark  As the sun goes to bed, the moon wakes up And tucks in safely a drowsy pup  Tomorrow is a bright new day With new places to see, new chances to play  This is the beginning, it’s not the end. Won’t you be Doodle Dog’s friend?”

The vivid sky blue of the back cover tucking the story closed, the floppy-eared puppy tilted the book upright and propped it against the bookcase. Perhaps he would leave it out for a bit in case someone else wanted to find it. There were more pictures to see and stories to read – Doodle Dog figured it would take his entire lifetime to explore even one section of the neverending collection. In fact, it was times like these that Doodle Dog nearly wished he was a cat… then he’d have nine lifetimes to read all those books!

But no matter how many other delicious choices his imagination would have a chance to happily devour, the floppy-eared puppy would always come back to his very favorite tale: the one about a curious floppy-eared puppy who loves to explore. And so, true to the legend set before him, Doodle Dog scampered off to the far reaches of the cavernous interior of the library, covered as distant as his eye, and imagination, could see with myths and fairytales and true stories, too, just waiting to whisk him away to another distant land and then another, all without ever leaving his cozy little spot!

 

Weeding and quite a number of other garden/lawn tasks are so essentially mindless that they offer “quality time” for pondering totally unrelated topics that  may have “gotten under my skin”, “stuck in my craw(What IS a craw, anyway?)”, “graveled my gizzard”, “frayed my last nerve”…whatever idiomatic expression you might prefer.  So I’ve been using the time, perhaps not wisely, but well enough.  To wit :

I love art festivals! I love walking around looking at some of the most interesting sculptures, still life drawing and “recycled” art. The last theme is one of my favorites. I will never understand how someone can take what I would consider garbage (old milk jugs, tires and plastic bags) and turn it into a work of art.

So imagine my excitement when we received a call to pour our wine at the Art in the Village – The Fall Art Fair at Legacy Village in Beachwood. We’ll be there on Saturday,September 21 and Sunday, September 22 to pour some of our fantastic wines while you browse through a great variety of artists.

Don’t miss an eclectic mix of the nation’s most talented artists who will collectively display millions of dollars in artwork. The artists, juried by an independent panel of expert judges, are hand selected based on quality and diversity.

Show Hours are Saturday, September 21 – 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, September 22 – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. but we’ll start pouring at 12pm each day. Plus enjoy live music, food vendors and more throughout the course of the weekend!

On Saturday, Cletus Black Revue (a Rock/Blues band) will be playing from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., followed by The Champagnes (60’s Rockabilly Blues) playing from 3-6 p.m. and finally one of my favorite groups, Cats on Holiday (Cajun/Blues) will wrap up the night from 7-10 p.m. Or join us on Sunday as Red Light Roxy (Jazz/Blues) starts the day from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Big Ship (Acoustic Funk) end the festival from 2-5 p.m.

Admission and parking are free and open to the public. Rain or shine! For more information, call 216.382.3871 or visit www.legacy-village.com. Be sure to stop by and say hi while you’re out enjoying the show!

 

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

If you ever walked into a wine bar or wine shop you may notice a variety of bottle shapes and sizes. Some bottles may even be in shapes such as a fish or a trombone, some bottles are made so they intertwine and some bottles are made to look like they are leaning. No matter what the shape or size is, there is usually an interesting characteristic with the bottle.

Please pass the rambutan.

Right.  I didn’t know what it was either but it was mentioned in a recent filler article in the R-C.  I’m not sure what’s behind it but there seems to be a rash of “record-setting” events and/or activities of all kinds that seem to be, basically, pointless.  I imagine that the folks down at Guiness must get a tad tired of it all when they get calls to come certify the biggest/tallest/shortest/heaviest/ugliest/ whatever ”est” you can imagine, so that somebody can get in the record books for having   built/grown/climbed/compiled/eaten/run/assembled/produced the item or event or group in question. The whole Guiness Book of World Records, after all, got its start as a means of settling barroom arguments between individuals neither qualified to nor capable of a whole lot of rational thought at the time.  They eventually had to restrict the kinds of items that they would include so as to NOT be involved in dangerous and/or illegal pursuits by those persons whose epitaphs might well read, ”Hey, guys, watch this!” or “Nah, it won’t hurt.”  Or ”Sure, it’s unloaded.”  Or other such feckless statements.

With school now well underway, this will be the last of our articles in our series of getting out and experiencing Nearby Nature. As Matt indicated in the last article when he took us north to Pictured Rocks, I will take us west to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Yes, we know they are both a little more than one tank trips, but in our estimation they are more than worthy places to visit and enjoy nature. For some they might be worthy of going on the bucket list, for others just an opportunity to go and relax. 

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I’m beginning to think that 40-something is the new 20-something. And no, it’s not because of medical miracles, cosmetic surgery or skin cream. Rather, it’s a strange convergence of rising college costs, a constricted job market and renewed outlooks as a result of the first two economic realities. 

Have another piece of cake, Chubby?

OMG!  New scientific research indicates that obesity is likely about three times as great a factor in mortality rates as had been previously believed, up from 5% to 18%.  Some 78 million people in the U.S. are struggling with the condition…or not.  Some twenty per cent of deaths in the 40-85 yr. age group can be attributed to the consequences–heart disease, stroke, diabetes, sleep disorders, et al. –of obesity.  Bad scene.

Perhaps it’s a quiet little secret of mine.  O.K., yes, I occasionally look at………sports cars.   Mia Culpa. I am guilty……of occasionally thinking about cars other than bona fide antiques.  Actually I have been quietly keeping an eye on Miatas for quite a while—they have been around for some 23 years now. 

The season of wine festivals is upon us and people all over the greater Cleveland area are celebrating. But during a recent festival, some new wine drinkers had some great questions that I have always taken for granted. So after thinking about their question, I figured of few of you may have similar questions.

I’m confused and I blame that on my education. While many of us (me included) cannot remember what it was like to be in kindergarten what I do remember is being told to use my imagination, be creative and think outside the box. Fast forward many years and we’re told that writing assignments must follow the dreaded five paragraph rule, must contain three quotes from a print material and must be stapled in the top left corner. What happened to the creativity? None of that looks like thinking outside the box to me. Understandably formal public education must have benchmarks on which to judge students and must create a level playing field (hence the restrictions and rules). But I can’t help but wonder if there’s a better way. Rules and stuffy regulations suppress student’s creativity and desire to be in the classroom. If we were afforded the responsibility and autonomy to carry out tasks that were completed with equal parts of both a conventional approach and creative thinking I think the classroom would have been a much better (read: beneficial) place.

I have attended so many wine and cheese parties since opening the winery that it has been very difficult to keep track of which cheeses I have tried and which wine I have tried. When I first started to attend these parties I would try to remember which wines and which cheeses I really liked so I could get them in the store. But unfortunately by the time I got home I had forgotten the name or label.
Pretty soon I started to keep a small notebook in my purse and would write down the wine or cheese variety as soon as I tried it. Of course my friends snickered at my notebook when I first started carrying it around but now they usually call me the day after a party asking what kind of wine we drank or where could they buy the cheese that was served.
So during a recent wine and cheese pairing someone asked me for my top three cheese recommendations and which Candlelight wines I would pair with them. After looking through all of my notes, here are my top three recommendations.
My third place cheese is Brie. I love the creamy texture of Brie and how versatile it can be. Since Brie can be served plain on crackers, placed on top of apple slices or even be used as a cracker dip there are so many ways to pair almost any wine with this cheese. However, one of my favorite combinations is to wrap a wheel of Brie in a puff pastry, top with honey and walnuts and bake it until the pastry is golden brown. I’ve tasted this combination with both our red and white wines and found that the Candlelight Red is a great compliment to this wine.
For second place, slices of Smoked Gouda rise to the top of my list. I love the smoky flavor of this cheese and how thick the texture is. While there are many recipes that call for a Smoked Gouda I am old fashioned when it comes to Smoked Gouda. Simply pairing a few slices of the Gouda with an oaked Chardonnay really make my day. If I am really hungry I will make a grilled ham and gouda sandwich and enjoy that with my wine, otherwise a few slices will do.
Finally, my favorite cheese is one that we feature quite often at the winery – Adams Reserve Sharp Cheddar. This aged cheddar is amazing. While many people get scared by the word “sharp” it is quite smooth for a cheddar cheese. We have made many recipes with this cheese so it is difficult to comment on just one recipe to feature, however, we have all agreed at the winery that this pairs the best with our Sangiovese wine. The combination of a dry red wine and the “sharpness” of the cheese really tantalizes your taste buds.
Next time you are shopping at your local grocery store, be sure to stop in the cheese section and pick up one of these cheeses. See what combinations work best for you!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com

Spell Check can’t do everything.
I was at the Farmers’ Market at Robinson the other day.  Small but interesting; an assortment of vendors with  good stuff.  Dave Stotler had Lodi apples, good for the first apple pies of the season.   A lady from Randolph was there with a food truck that had been featured on WKSU’s “Quick Bites”.  Great Harvest bakery from Stow had pepperoni rolls and breads—some on order—available.  A couple of tents had produce of various kinds( One had some plants labeled “Sweet Pea” tomatoes; I was tempted ) tomatoes, squash, the usual.  Mantua Gardens had offerings of their hydroponic lettuces, which looked fabulous, by the way.  Jo’s Kettle Corn was fresh, salty, sweet, crunchy, just what it should be and terribly addicting.  One young woman was working her way through cooking school by—what else—cooking…well, baking, actually.  She had some tasty cookies and I’m always in favor of education, so….  Another pair of entrepreneurs had offerings that they called  “Tiny Treats” or “Mini Munchies” or some such thing, implying that the items were small and tasty, which they were.

It seems, as of late, my Facebook and Twitter are nothing but wedding announcements, baby shower pictures and photo tours of nearly empty apartments sparsely decorated with Ikea’s finest. Don’t get me wrong, I too like to gloat about my latest accomplishment and achievements but are we all playing one big game of Keeping Up With The  Kardashians  Jones’? As most people know I am a Reality TV connoisseur and have discovered the gem that is Princesses: Long Island. For anyone unfamiliar with this program, it profiles a group of women in their late 20s/early 30s still living at home and looking to get married, start a business or find their own place to live…so basically where I hope not to be in 5 years. Not one episode goes by without tears and subsequent confessions of feeling inadequate generally brought on by another castmate’s engagement or a mother’s inquiry into a nonexistent love life. These tearful breakdowns used to elicit a good chuckle from me and thoughts that usually sound something like “what a loser. Who cares if your childhood bff is getting married?” until I wondered if we are all secretly throwing pity parties for ourselves every time someone posts their newest accomplishment for the world to see? Anyone will tell you no, but deep down we all feel a pang of defeat that we keep suppressed for fear of looking like a lunatic (although if that’s what it takes to become a Bravo star then sign me up for a few on-air meltdowns!). Whether or not we want to attain this same milestone as our friend at the exact same moment in our lives is moot. What matters here is that someone seems to be achieving something that you are not.
Let’s look, for example, at my friend Jackie who is 24, married one year and just closed on a new home with her new hubby. On one hand I’m thrilled that she is so happy and is well on her way to full fledged adulthood but on the other hand I’m sitting here wondering “what am I doing wrong that I’m not a homeowner and a married woman at 23?” and then on another hand (shoot…I don’t have three hands. Well, whatever) I don’t want to be tied down to a home and/or marriage right now so why the feelings of failure? Because we’re disproportionally inundated with these types of posts so naturally thoughts start to spiral out of control but rarely do we stop and think about the things we don’t see on social media that bring our seemingly perfect friends back to mortal status. When was the last time you saw someone bragging about overdrawing a checking account or being stood up on a date? Never, because no one wants to look like anything less than a perfect person living in a perfect world! If social media painted us a truly real picture of everyone’s lives I can’t help but think how differently we would all feel. No longer would we feel the pressure to hurry our lives along or live up to someone else’s expectations but rather we can feel truly happy for the people in our lives that are experiencing that is so great…for them.

In times like these, good decisions matter. And when you have a need for life insurance, you should consider whole life and its flexibility. To begin with, of course, there’s the guaranteed death benefit, which can help give you peace of mind by assuring a legacy for your heirs. But there are other benefits as well.
For example, the build-up of a policy’s cash value is also guaranteed, and can help to give you a reliable source of supplemental retirement income regardless of market conditions.1 And with all the volatility in investment markets and the economy, whole life can help make your retirement more secure. You can depend on your policy’s guaranteed cash value growing to a specified amount over time.
And you can customize your whole life policy to fit your needs with optional riders that provide even more features and benefits,2 and even increase your whole life insurance coverage with evidence of good health.3
To make sure you get the right solution for your needs, it’s a good idea to work with a trusted financial professional.
© 2011 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company 01111-0001
1Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit, increase the chance the policy will lapse, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured.  2. Riders are available at an additional cost.
3.  If you own a MassMutual term life insurance policy or certain riders, you may be able to convert your term coverage to whole life coverage without evidence of good health.
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I am amazed at  how quickly time flies when you’re having fun! So I am more amazed on how much fun we have had in the past 9 years! From the day we opened our doors on August 13, 2004,  every moment of having the winery has been exciting. Sure – some of those moment have been challenging (especially the moments Mother Nature has thrown at us), but nevertheless each moment has gotten us to where we are today.
As we have in years past, we will celebrate the 9th anniversary on Saturday, August 10th with a huge benefit for Ohio Pug Rescue. For those of you that do not know the story, our pug Mynde, passed away suddenly on the winery’s first anniversary. Shortly after her passing, our other pug Mork, needed a companion so we reached out to Ohio Pug Rescue and adopted two more pugs, Ellie and Truman. Every year since Mynde’s passing, we have celebrated with a benefit to Ohio Pug Rescue.
We will open the winery to all friendly dogs and their owners to enjoy wine (especially our Pink Pug wine and Pink Pug Sangria), live music by local favorite Steve Vanderink, food by two great food trucks – Stone Pelican Rolling Café and The Rolling Pig, shop over 15 vendors, enter to win some great raffle prizes and so much more! We will have everything set up outside by our pond so bring some lawn chairs or a blanket to enjoy the day with us.
The day is dedicated to all dogs (pugs especially!) with music, food, Pug Wine and of course plenty of dogs. So if you have a special dog, plan on joining us on August 10th from 2pm – 10pm. All friendly dogs are welcome!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other winery topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com