Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The agony of the codling moth, ecstasy of worm-free apples

Apples are an almost mythical part of world history, beginning with Adam and Eve. There are legendary stories like Johnny Appleseed or Sir Isaac Newton under the apple tree, and those idioms we all use – the apple of my eye, an apple a day, or as American as apple pie. It’s no accident that the […]

Horoscopes: March 1, 2015

If you find yourself crying during commercials featuring lost puppies or centenarians, chalk it up to effective marketing and a super-sentimental sky featuring the Pisces sun and the Cancer moon. This water-sign combo opens our hearts and tear ducts. It’s the perfect time to say “I love you” to the one who probably doesn’t hear […]

What you eat can affect your medications

You hear it everywhere, “You are what you eat.” In fact, food is often much more than nourishment – food is its own chemical cocktail. And sometimes, combining the wrong food with your medicine can change how a drug works in your body. Some food and drug combinations can prevent a medicine from working as it […]

Kidney Walk participation helped give me a positive outlook on life

Dear Annie: I was diagnosed with kidney disease as a child and started dialysis at age 11. Because I didn’t think I would live to adulthood, I adopted the philosophy of living each day like it was my last. In 2013, when I saw an ad for the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Walk, I figured […]

Babies are tuned in

During their first months of life, babies appear to focus only on eating, sleeping, crying, cooing and passing various forms of waste. Sure, they are cute and then they start smiling and snuggling up. But they seem blissfully unaffected by events taking place around them unless they are affected directly. Scientists are now finding out […]

Online resource is great place to find help with eating disorders

Dear Annie: By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I had already been diagnosed with an eating disorder and was recovering with support from my family and several health professionals, including a therapist and a nutritionist. We all thought I was doing very well. At college, however, I found myself without the […]

horoscopes 02/22/15

Some say that your reactions are the only things you can truly control in life. This doesn’t always feel true with Venus and Mars in passionate Aries. The heart’s dictates seem hard to overrule. A conjunction of these planets suggests that you take the reins where you can and let your warrior spirit powerfully meld […]

Papyrus relative looks good, and makes paper too.

Lee Reich Zoe, the young daughter of a friend of mine, finds my houseplants more interesting than beautiful. And I agree that some — my climbing onion, rabbit’s foot fern and staghorn fern, for example — are at least as interesting-looking as they are pretty. Zoe really perked up when she learned that a plant […]

Stopping the measles out break, the case for vaccines

The first case of measles in Solano County was reported just a few weeks ago. This occurred after the outbreak at Disneyland, which according to the California Department of Public Health, has resulted in a total of 99 confirmed cases since December 2014. Measles, a viral infection, is a highly contagious disease that can cause […]

Bare root time for fruit trees

Well, it’s that time of year for the “do it now or wait” decision. Do you plant bare root fruit trees now or wait until they are put in plastic cans and pay about 30 percent more for each tree? And do you run the risk that some of the varieties you want will be available later in […]

Horoscopes: Feb. 15, 2015

Like an older brother who got into an Ivy League school on a full scholarship while training for the Olympics and researching the cure for cancer, the Capricorn moon sets a standard that’s as inspiring as it is impossible to live up to. Don’t get discouraged by the success of others. Judge yourself by your […]

My husband never makes time to spend with our son

Dear Annie: I have been married to “Bob” for 11 years. Once we had our son, “Jack,” everything changed. Bob found excuses not to be home, worked all kinds of overtime or had to “go somewhere.” I can count on one hand the times he did anything with Jack or was even home on a […]

Carp, Chinese folklore, dragons, and loquats – a legendary fruit

The next time you decide to add a tree to your yard, you don’t have to make the difficult decision as to whether or not to select either a landscape tree or a fruit tree. Some fruit trees function as landscape trees as well. One of these is the loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica). According to […]

The latest on Covered California

The open enrollment period for Covered California is coming to an end on Feb. 15. This is the one time during the year that most consumers can enroll in Covered California health plans. Covered California is the state’s marketplace that provides subsidized health insurance plans to eligible California residents. Besides premium assistance, cost-sharing reductions that […]

My sister is great but I’m worried about her constant lying

Dear Annie: I am the youngest of three sisters. My oldest sister, “Betty,” lies about everything, from her relationships to her education. When Betty was younger, my mother thought she’d outgrow this phase, but it hasn’t happened. Betty is 48, and her stories have only become more detailed. Her specialty is claiming various college degrees. […]

Horoscopes: Feb. 8, 2015

On Wednesday, Mercury goes straight – wonderful! This retrograde has been hard on a few, but the direct movement of Mercury will set things right. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and if you are planning on sending anything, put it together now for a Monday send-off. Mystical Mercury will stop with the pranks and blunders […]

Banish dry skin this winter

For many people, cold weather causes dry skin and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis to flare up. Even healthy skin can be affected by changes in the weather due to shifts in temperature, humidity and ultraviolet exposure. Keep your skin healthy this winter and year-round by following these three simple steps: Practice gentle skin care […]

February 01, 2015 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Chocolate: A long journey to deliciousness

Given the big holiday coming up, that’s Valentine’s Day not the Super Bowl, I found myself thinking of chocolate. Now thoughts of chocolate are not restricted to just this time of year. The smooth, silky richness that is chocolate attracts fans year-round. I have actually met one person who does not care for chocolate, but […]

February 01, 2015 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Horoscopes: Feb. 1, 2015

Romantic Venus and dreamy Neptune connect in unpredictable Pisces to mixed results. Some will be fooled by their own expectations of what love should be, projecting onto potential mates an idealized personality that may have nothing to do with who the other person really is. Others will take a “wait and see” attitude, which is […]

February 01, 2015 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

Volunteer or visit because February is National Salute to Veteran Patients

Dear Annie: Each February, Americans participate in the National Salute to Veteran Patients by visiting and volunteering at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, and by sending valentines and letters of thanks to those who have protected our nation. This year’s National Salute is February 8-14, and we again encourage communities across the […]

February 01, 2015 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

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 ,

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 […]

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

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 […]

January 25, 2015 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

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 […]

January 25, 2015 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

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 ,

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 […]

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

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 […]

January 18, 2015 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

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 […]

January 18, 2015 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

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 […]

January 11, 2015 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,

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 […]

January 11, 2015 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged ,