Thursday, August 21, 2014

Safe routes to school starts students off safely on the right foot

It is back-to-school time and motorists need to be extra alert as more children are afoot. Solano Transportation Authority’s Safe Routes to School program works with local schools, parents, students, public health staff, engineers and law enforcement to promote safely walking to school. Families want their children to start off the year ready to learn. […]

Going on vacation? Prepare your garden first

We pamper our gardens all year, but then desert them to go on vacation during what’s often the hottest, driest time of the year. A little planning can soften the blow. Ideally, a neighbor or fellow gardener could handle watering and other tasks while you’re away. But if that’s not possible, here are some easy […]

Marketing magic in the plant world

I went to a garden shop recently just to browse. I wanted to see some plants that were not heat- and drought-stressed. I didn’t intend to buy anything. As I walked by the succulent area, I saw a plant I hadn’t seen before. It had short, chunky, wedge-shaped leaves that were wavy at the ends. These undulations […]

Horoscopes: Aug. 17, 2014

This connection of Jupiter and Venus in Leo may as well be a cupid in the sky – it’s pretty spectacular for lovers and potential lovers everywhere. Think of this day as a one-time deal. What are the things you could do now that you might never do again? What are the things you’ll only […]

My mother-in-law rarely comes around since we’ve had children

Dear Annie: My husband and I used to be close to my mother-in-law. We took trips together and enjoyed one another’s company. But since our oldest child was born, things have changed. Even though she has an open invitation, Mom rarely comes around. She often won’t return phone calls or respond to emails and texts. Mom […]

Service members with county ties complete training

Navy Fireman Apprentice Schenita L. Allen recently reported for duty aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, home ported in Norfolk, Va. She is the sister of Bruce A. Allen Jr. of Vallejo. Air Force Airman Andrew J. Custodio graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. Custodio is […]

Did leadership help spark vet wait-time crisis?

Until he resigned in May, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki led his department of more than 350,000 employees for five years by setting “bold goals” that looked impossible to achieve, but that he knew, from his Army years, could inspire better performance and, from Congress, bigger budgets. But did a goal to cut wait times in […]

Be on the watch for water waste in public spaces

I think everyone should be aware by now that there is a definite water shortage problem here in California. It’s the No. 1 topic in newspapers and gardening magazines; these articles tell us how and where we should be looking at home to find leaks and sprinklers that water home hardscapes and other concrete structures, as […]

My husband’s very controlling, but I can’t leave him permanently

Dear Annie: My husband has always been very controlling. I feel as though he puts me in a box and only lets me out when he decides it’s necessary. He always has to know who I am talking to and where I am every minute of every day. He is obsessive when it comes to texting […]

Horoscopes for Aug. 3, 2014

The Leo sun brings the action, and the brooding Scorpio moon contributes dramatic lighting to intensify the effect. Just as actors look one way on stage and another way if you meet them backstage, the people in your life may seem different to you in different settings. ARIES (March 21-April 19). You’ve an almost shamanistic […]

Don’t drive, call 911

Most of us will probably call 911 only once or twice in our lifetimes. Even then, some people hesitate. In an emergency, it may be tempting to pile the victim into your car and rush to the hospital, but doing so could actually prove harmful. In an emergency, make the 911 call. Here’s why. Calling 911 alerts […]

No ‘butts,’ secondhand smoke isn’t healthy for your unborn baby

Smoking is bad for you. It can cause serious health issues, as well as cancer, heart disease, stroke and eye disease that can lead to blindness. Smoking is bad for your unborn baby, too. When you are pregnant, the placenta grows in your womb and supplies your baby with food and oxygen. When you smoke […]

Horoscopes for July 27, 2014

Unlike some others in the animal kingdom, human babies come into the world so utterly helpless that they cannot live without a nurturer to feed, warm and protect them. To be human is to be dependent on other humans. The point is driven home today, as the opposition of Venus and Pluto highlights our vulnerability […]

Scientists unlock secrets to boost metabolism

What’s the best way to boost your metabolism and burn more fat? That’s the holy grail for metabolic researchers and for many Americans. Florida scientists are at the forefront of some of the most promising research in the field. A heart hormone, the “caveman diet” and cooler spaces are all potentially promising ways to burn more […]

What can I do to get my brother to keep in touch?

Dear Annie: Several months ago, my husband and I moved to the Ozarks after falling in love with the area. We left behind a lot of dear friends and the life we had known for 25 years, but we are quite happy here. The only sadness is my brother. He and his wife still live in […]

Health centers: Local engines for healthier communities

Ever visited a health center? Chances are that even if you haven’t, someone you know probably has and you’ve probably reaped the benefits of having one in your area. Across the country, there are 1,200 health centers, delivering care through more than 9,000 service delivery sites in every state and territory. In 2012, these health centers […]

July 20, 2014 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Controlling those pesky weeds

Weeds can seem hard to control because they have such a vigorous reproductive system. Many weeds can grow from root or other weed fragments. Other weeds that propagate primarily by seed can produce literally thousands of seeds per plant. For example, a single purslane plant (Portulaca oleracea) can produce 52,300 seeds. Weed seeds remain viable […]

I want my daughter to lose weight, but she won’t talk about it

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 30 years. We have four wonderful children, all college graduates with great jobs in their chosen careers. They are also involved in long-term relationships with people we like and respect. So what’s the problem? One of my daughters is at least 40 pounds overweight and doesn’t […]

Horoscopes for July 20, 2014

Saturn has been retrograde in Scorpio for four months, and that all changes this week. It may seem like the thing that was distracting you is no longer an issue, that the problems that were in your way are solving themselves and the reasons you had for not moving forward are vanishing into the mist. […]

The summer smell of lemon

Would you like a plant that has a wonderful lemon scent when it brushes up against something? Try adding the shrub lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla, to your landscape. If you prefer, this shrub can be pruned to resemble a tree, remove some of the bottom branches, leaving a main one as a trunk. This plant […]

Protect yourself against skin cancer

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five United States residents will get skin cancer during their lifetime. You’d think that statistic would lead to simple preventive actions being taken – but it often doesn’t. Perhaps that’s due to the fact that two of three types of skin cancer – basal and squamous cell carcinoma – are typically easy […]

Horoscopes for July 13, 2014

Venus in Gemini forms a coquettish angle to Mars in Libra, and interest between men and women is stirred. Men and women understand one another better. For a moment, it’s as though the natural differences between the sexes are cast in such a light that they are seen only as intriguing and endearing. Flaws transform […]

I’m a single mother who really wants to find my better half

Dear Annie: I am a single mother of a wonderful 5-year-old son and am expecting another baby in the winter. My son’s father cheated and lied and then left me for another woman. He briefly came back, and I thought he meant to stay, but it was only a one-night stand. I became pregnant, and he […]

Stay sun-safe this summer

It’s natural to want to get out in the sun once the weather warms up. It should also be second nature to take steps to protect your skin from the sun when you go outside. Ultraviolet rays – from the sun and other sources like tanning beds – are the primary cause of skin cancer. Too much […]

June 15, 2014 | Posted in Local lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Sago palm, a heat-loving landscape plant with longevity

The sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is a popular pick of residential gardeners and commercial landscapers in Solano County. Drought tolerant, it survives temperature extremes from 15 to 110 degrees and grows in sun or shade. With dark semi-glossy green leaves and shaggy trunk, this plant grows slowly reaching a height of only 20 feet in […]

June 15, 2014 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Thanks, kids, for another great year of fatherhood

Dear Annie: As a father of three, I always find Father’s Day a little misleading. Kids don’t have to purchase an overpriced card or tie to show their appreciation. I’d rather they simply keep doing what they are already doing: working hard in school. They don’t have to be scholars or make the honor roll every […]

Horoscopes for June 15, 2014

Saturn, the planet of patrimony, is traveling retrograde on this Father’s Day, casting a warm glow on the past. Whatever your feelings about the word “father,” they are likely to be enhanced by the soft light of retrospect. Many dads will be feeling sentimental, and tender gestures that highlight good memories will be deeply appreciated. […]

Getting rid of bad garden insects

They can be a gardener’s nightmare, damaging garden plants and – in worst cases – killing them. They are damaging garden insects. Your first instinct may be to reach for the container of pesticide. But before you do, remember that pesticides can also kill the good insects in your garden. These are the insects that […]

Horoscopes for June 8, 2014

The sun and moon form an air-sign trine of social reassurance. It will feel good to be in a group of like minds. And if you don’t know where the other people are coming from, conversation happens easily, and you’ll find out soon enough. Venus and Pluto also form a trine that brings luck for […]

My deceased husband’s sisters don’t invite us to family gatherings

Dear Annie: I was widowed five years ago when my husband of 23 years died after a long illness. My four kids (the oldest from a previous marriage) still grieve to this day. “George” always considered my eldest daughter to be his child. Two years after George died, I married a wonderful man who respects the […]