Sunday, January 25, 2015

Turkey tail fungus one of many mushrooms after wet December

The wettest December in years and above average January temperatures unleashed the spread of mushrooms in parts of Northern California. These spore-bearing fruiting bodies are sprouting in lawns and along tree trunks. The word “mushroom” derives from the French mousseron referring to moss, or mousse. Mushrooms are a fungus with one of the most common […]

January 25, 2015 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Be heart smart all year long

The New Year often brings renewed commitments to health. Whether you plan to exercise more, eat better or stop smoking, now is the perfect time to examine your heart health. Lifestyle changes go a long way to preventing heart disease. Follow these guidelines to keep your heart healthy and strong, all year long: Heart healthy: Make […]

Horoscope Jan. 25, 2015

ARIES (March 21-April 19). Sometimes you do it out of a sense of joy, other times you do it out of a sense of duty. Mostly it’s a mix. The more joy you bring, the sweeter this will be. Of course, sometimes you don’t want it so sweet. TAURUS (April 20-May 20). Use your voice […]

My dad can’t get over the bad first impression of my boyfriend

Dear Annie: I am a female resident physician. In medical school, I fell in love with “Jay,” a classmate. We have been together for four years. Jay is currently a resident physician in another state. Two years ago, I brought Jay home to meet my father and stepmother. Some of Jay’s favorite topics of discussion […]

Don’t become a motor vehicle accident statistic

Did you know that for every person killed in a motor vehicle crash, eight people are hospitalized and 100 people are treated and discharged from the emergency department? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.5 million Americans went to the emergency department in 2012 for motor vehicle crash-related injuries. Americans […]

January 18, 2015 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

A ‘new’ old favorite

Do you remember your grandmother’s potted plants, especially any with long leaves that were constructed of segments? That probably would have been a Schlumbergera or Christmas cactus. Back in the day, the flowers would have been a bright red, and would be blooming from around Thanksgiving through Christmas and into January. This member of the […]

I caught my husband looking at nude photos. Should I be upset?

Dear Annie: I recently came home to find my husband looking at pictures of nude women on the computer. I didn’t know whether to be hurt, sad or furious. He defended himself, saying he is the same as any guy looking at girlie magazines. After a much-heated argument, I discovered he was also looking at […]

Horoscopes: Jan. 18, 2015

ARIES (March 21-April 19). Action alone won’t move things forward – it has to be the right action. You’ll be inspired this afternoon, so move while you are feeling strong and quite positive that the future you desire will come to pass. TAURUS (April 20-May 20). Friends and family will show their appreciation. As for the […]

Let’s have a flu-free year

The holidays are over but, unfortunately, the influenza (flu) season is not. We are currently in the midst of the flu season, which usually peaks between December and February and can last as late as May. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regularly monitors circulating influenza viruses in the United States. Testing of circulating flu viruses […]

Becoming a master gardener

When I used to look out the window at my garden I saw flowers, trees, lawn and weeds. However, my view was always impacted by what I felt – a sense of failure, confusion, and chaos. My gardening successes and failures were random at best. I had a hard time discerning the difference between a wild […]

Husband is a little too friendly with our aerobics instructor

Dear Annie: Several years ago, my husband of 45 years took an aerobics class composed of six students — four women and two men. The instructor, “Lynette,” is single and in her late 40s. Over time, the group became friendly and would socialize for an hour or so after workouts. Even when my husband stopped […]

Horoscope, Jan. 11, 2015

ARIES (March 21-April 19). You don’t get a rainbow without the rain. An inconvenient experience will prove necessary as the day goes on. Also, someone will admire how strong and able you are. TAURUS (April 20-May 20). Where there is an expectation, there is an opportunity for disappointment. Where there is no expectation, there are […]

Horoscope Jan. 4, 2015

It’s going to be hard, but steel yourself. A little less emotion and a little more logic will make exciting things possible. Anyone can win if they keep at it. The success formula is simple: Nothing is doomed. Everything is possible if you’re willing to work. There is no failure, only giving up. If you […]

Filtering indoor air with plants

Do you miss the smell of fresh air in your home during these winter days when it’s too cold to open the windows? Or do you wish the windows in your office building could be opened from time to time? If you miss the smell of fresh air at home or at work, consider purchasing […]

Preparing for your best year of fitness

Are you getting ready to make New Year’s diet and fitness resolutions? Are you healthier this year than last? Or are you once again thinking that this will be the year you finally lose weight and get active? Why not try something different this year? Design yourself a yearlong fitness plan to ensure that you […]

Not sure if husband has OCD or just a slob

Dear Annie: I am wondering whether my husband has OCD. Once he uses something, he cannot put it away. If he takes out a screwdriver, it stays on the counter. If he opens a package, the packaging sits until I throw it away. Every day he leaves an empty soda can on the coffee table. […]

Winter feeding of backyard birds

Each year over 350 species of birds travel the Pacific Flyway from the Bering Straight to South America. Many winter in California. From their vantage point, our backyards appear as rest and food stops. As days shorten, nights lengthen and temperatures cool, the avian food supply becomes scarce. Insects die off or are dormant. Seed sources […]

December 28, 2014 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Horoscopes: Dec. 28, 2014

The energetic Aries moon insists that we spend the last few days of the year in high-productivity mode. Also, this is the warrior moon, so if there’s anyone or anything you’d like to confront before the end of the year, you’ll have the courage of your convictions. The sun, Mercury, Venus and Pluto in Capricorn […]

My son’s cat is being neglected and I don’t know what to do

Dear Annie: My son and his wife have an elderly cat who scratches herself raw. One night, I noticed that the poor thing had bleeding scabs. I asked how long it had been going on, and they said, “Years.” I had no idea this cat was suffering. My son said they weren’t taking the cat […]

Coping with mental illness or loss during holiday season

MONROE, La. — For people dealing with mental illness or loss, the holidays can bring stress and loneliness rather than comfort and joy. People need to be aware of that, counselors and psychiatrists say. “Just because it’s the holiday doesn’t mean that people don’t feel stressed and depressed,” said Dr. Beatrice Tatem of Wellness Initiatives […]

Get tested, know your status

On Dec. 1, people throughout the world observed World AIDS Day, a day intended to honor those living with HIV/AIDS and to focus on efforts to control the epidemic and move closer to an AIDS-Free generation. This December also marks the observance of International AIDS Awareness Month. December is thus a great time to check […]

Horoscopes: Dec. 21, 2014

Older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, the prehistoric monument Newgrange was built to receive a flood of light with the rising sun on the winter solstice. Does your heart have a chamber such as this? Open up and let the love flood in as the sun enters Capricorn. May the long night be filled […]

Should I ask grandson why we weren’t included in wedding photos?

Dear Annie: Last month, I attended a bridal shower for my “new” granddaughter. The shower was lovely, and we all enjoyed ourselves. We took pictures of everyone with our friends and family and the new bride. My grandson’s wedding was last weekend. When my husband and I arrived, the bride and groom were off with […]

Celebrating the Italian way – with lots of olives

Christmastime, the time of year filled with family and family traditions. My husband grew up in a large Italian Family, where his mother cured olives every year. The olives were for the holidays to share with extended family at Thanksgiving dinner and the Christmas Eve feast. The tradition of curing olives was passed down from […]

Lots to do for the gardener who likes playing in the cold weather

A recent visit to my cousin’s beautiful suburban home during Thanksgiving weekend gave me cause to wonder if I’ve done enough in my garden. My cousin’s husband has cilantro (Coriandum sativum) patches everywhere that a flower border would be. Instead of grass, he has cilantro growing everywhere. His cilantro looked fabulous in the dark, rainy […]

December 14, 2014 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

The best New Year’s resolution

Late December is a time when many people give gifts to others. It is also a time for making New Year’s resolutions. I have a suggestion. Why not combine both activities, and resolve to give your family a very special present? It is a precious gift that can provide your loved ones, and yourself, much peace […]

Horoscopes: Dec. 14, 2014

The Sagittarius sun and Jupiter in Leo are in a favorable arrangement to promote bold action. The best part is that it’s rather obvious what must be done. Heart energies lock on to the thing that is certain to bring joy, and gut instincts confirm the choice. The nervy Virgo moon contributes, too, helping out […]

Girlfriend doesn’t like to be asked where she’s going, who’s she’s with

Dear Annie: I am in a 14-month-old relationship that is rapidly falling apart. I consider this relationship serious. ”Clara” is in her early 60s and several years younger than I am. After the first three months, we began discussing marriage. We talk on the phone every day and see each other twice a week. I […]

Horoscopes: Dec. 7, 2014

Things look different after a full moon, and adjustments will be made accordingly. Consider that reality will be reality. When it’s in line with our preferences, we assume it’s on our side. When it’s not, we assume it’s against us. What if reality has no preference at all? What if we order it to be […]

I’m afraid my sister-in-law’s behavior is harming my nieces

Dear Annie: My brother has been separated from his wife, “Sherrie,” for a year. They have three girls under the age of 5. Sherrie is crazy. She stalks him. She has gone to his job and caused a scene. She’s called every one of his female workers and accused them of sleeping with him. She […]