Husband needs gentle guidance

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/21/2012 - 00:00
Baggage Check

Q: My husband doesn't take good care of his health, so he's always getting sick. And he is such a baby when he is sick. I used to be sympathetic, but now I'm just annoyed. Yes, you will get a cold if you're not good about washing your hands while commuting during flu season. How do I handle this?

A: There's a middle ground here between "Get your own darn soup - it's your fault you're sick!" and "Oh, honey, please continue licking those subway walls - I'll take care of you no matter what!" Arriving at the sick-spouse sweet spot involves getting your points across without increasing his agony when he's already sick. The next time he's recovered, tell him that you worry he's got a couple of habits that are going to keep making him miserable. Being specific and respectful should encourage him to make some small changes.

Categories: Concord News

Plan spring color now

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/21/2012 - 00:00
It may be fall, but you can plant bulbs until the ground freezes

Between cleaning up the garden and raking leaves, there just doesn't seem to be enough time in the fall for anything else. If you can find the time though, a few extra hours of work can pay off by giving you months of colorful surprises in your garden next spring. Can you possibly squeeze a few more spring flowering bulbs into your landscape?

I add a big bag of odd colored daffodils every fall and love the unique bouquets I can pick from them each spring. By planting early, mid-season, and late blooming varieties of bulbs you can stretch the show into summer, so put down your rake and pick up a trowel. Local garden centers have been promoting bulbs front and center since August and hopefully they have some interesting ones left.

Categories: Concord News

What's really scary about Halloween

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/21/2012 - 00:00
Holiday's true risks aren't the ones parents usually focus on

Hey mom and dad: Halloween's not really all that scary - except when it comes to traffic safety.

Despite warnings about tainted candy, candle fires and even child abductions, real Halloween headlines are rarely about any of those things. Instead, tragedies related to the holiday typically involve trick-or-treaters hit by cars. Fortunately even those accidents are relatively few in number.

And here's something that might surprise you. A study published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the most emergency room visits involving children around Halloween are related to sports.

The report stated nearly 18 percent of injuries on Halloween were to the finger and hand, and a third of those were lacerations, with some likely resulting from pumpkin-carving.

Categories: Concord News

It's time to make the BAGELS

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/21/2012 - 00:00
It was a tough choice, but someone had to make it; forgoing donuts to head to The Works

It's time to choose. I've thought about it, weighed my options and considered the differences. Time's up. This decision I make may be the most important of my lifetime. My future hinges in the balance, and its importance cannot be overstated. What's it gonna be? Bagels or donuts?

I choose bagels. I know - everyone loves donuts! Donuts are fun! Donuts are frosted! Donuts come in round and stick shapes! But just like that first kiss with your sixth-grade girlfriend in your neighbor's basement, the first bite of a jelly donut is a brief moment of bliss followed by hours of guilt, regret and lies.

Bagels are more like your college girlfriend who writes in a journal, throws a Frisbee with skill and has friends with goatees who don't own sneakers. Bagels will fill you up with lots of things, but regret isn't one of them.

Categories: Concord News

Exhibits unite to do good

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 10/18/2012 - 00:00
Meredith New England scenes join images from India

Virtually anybody who lives in New England can relate to Noboru Murakami's painting titled "Snow Blower and Me." The blurred figure who's all but engulfed in great blotchy swirls of snow is emblematic not just of anyone who's wrestled with this particular piece of machinery - though that alone describes a significant portion of the population - but anyone who's done battle with winter.

In the adjoining room of the Lakes Gallery at Chi-Lin in Meredith, paintings, photographs and textiles from the other side of the globe provide a striking contrast to Murakami's everyday New England scenes. And yet, just as there are hints of the exotic in Murakami's choice of color and in the descriptions he's written to accompany the pieces, there are universal human emotions embedded in the faraway scenes and unfamiliar styles of this exhibit.

Categories: Concord News

No asylum from fright in 'Horror'

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 10/18/2012 - 00:00
TV Review

The first season of American Horror Story gave us men in rubber bondage suits, teenage murderers, ghost housekeepers with extremely active libidos, very creepy pregnancies and nosy neighbor Jessica Lange repeatedly gnawing on every corner of crown-molded scenery in the haunted house next door. Along with AMC's The Walking Dead, it confirmed that TV audiences crave a quality, borderline-R-rated fright.

But after the American Horror Story finale aired last December, something really weird happened: Executive producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk announced that Season 2 would be a complete reboot. The setting would change. The narrative would be new. And while some of the actors might return, the characters would be completely different.

Categories: Concord News

Better baking

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 10/17/2012 - 00:00
Cookbook author's latest focuses on gluten-free, sugar free baked goods

After years building his career and credibility on carbs, award-winning baking instructor and bread cookbook author Peter Reinhart was an unlikely candidate to become an ambassador for low-carb, gluten-free living.

And yet his just-released The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking puts him squarely at the top of the heap of writers, bloggers, bakers and chefs clamoring to satiate America's hunger for a life - or at least a dinner or two - lived with fewer carbohydrates and less of that pesky, yet ubiquitous wheat protein known as gluten.

He has his carb-derived cred to thank for it.

Reinhart has long been considered one of the nation's premier bakers. His gorgeous, painstakingly researched books blend textbook-worthy detail with a gentle voice that masterfully leads readers through the science and romance of transforming carbs and gluten into deliciousness.

So why change?

Categories: Concord News

Kids are living the sweet life

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 10/17/2012 - 00:00
The heavy presence of dessert in children's diets is troubling; but there are ways to make treats healthier

My oldest son started at a new school where every single day he is offered a sugar-laden dessert with lunch. I have a beef with this. Kids shouldn't be taught that every meal, dinner or lunch ends with something sweet. This creates a habit and a craving that can be challenging to break later in life.

So how often should kids be given dessert?

There really isn't one right answer, because not all children are the same. Some are more susceptible to a sugar addiction, some eat healthfully throughout the day while others do not, and a toddler is a different creature than a teenager.

Categories: Concord News

'Wimpy Kid' e-books coming

Concord Monitor Living - Tue, 10/16/2012 - 00:00

The Wimpy Kid is returning to his digital roots.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid creator Jeff Kinney, a major e-holdout among children's authors, has agreed to make his illustrated, top-selling series about the trials of middle-schooler Greg Heffley available electronically.

"The decision came after a lot of thought and deliberation," Kinney said during a recent telephone interview. "I am very excited about this. It feels like the time is right."

The first six volumes of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid will be out Oct. 30 as e-books. The new novel, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel, comes out simultaneously as a hardcover and an e-book Nov. 13.

Categories: Concord News

Mysterious Easter Island

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/14/2012 - 00:00
Don't expect any answers to your inevitable questions

From its famed giant stone statues to finding a good, affordable hotel, Easter Island is full of mysteries.

There are ancient questions, like how the statues were transported, and why the island lost its trees. And there are modern puzzles, like what $1,600 a night will get you in a hotel and why roads aren't better marked for visitors touring the island.

Perhaps it's fitting that riddles still exist on the most remote inhabited island on earth: a Chilean territory in the South Pacific, 2,300 miles to the west of the South American continent.

Yet I hoped for answers. After flying nearly 20 hours from New York, and having one of our group shaken down for a bribe by a customs agent, I wanted to not only see the sites, but understand them.

Categories: Concord News

The reason why your tabby is getting flabby

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/14/2012 - 00:00

I don't think any of you would be shocked to hear that we have an obesity problem here in the United States. We are getting fatter and fatter, our kids are fatter and our pets are getting fatter. We can eat all the junk food that we eat, and it's our own fault, but we don't need to do it to our pets, too.

The problem of obesity has become especially common in our cats. Approximately 70 percent of adult pet cats are overweight; some of them are morbidly obese (i.e. 20-plus pounds). This leads to a number of problems, including arthritis, liver disease, diabetes and heart disease. It certainly isn't their own doing, it is ours - we are the ones who provide them with all the extra calories, usually in the form of free-choice dry food (all you can eat).

Here is a little explanation of the reasons our cats are so rotund. If it seems boring or depressing to you, please hang in there until the end because I have some very good news.

Categories: Concord News

Wedding bar wrist bands are super tacky

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/14/2012 - 00:00
Ask Carley

Q: We're only paying for guests who drink. Our venue suggested they wear bracelets, but that's tacky. Any ideas?

A: Your instincts are right - you can't ask guests to wear wristbands all night, but there is another solution: See if your reception venue will let you pay by consumption instead. So if you only open 13 bottles of wine, that's all you'll be charged for. Another option is to have a beer-and-wine-only bar. Skipping the hard liquor alone could cut your bar bill by 25 percent, plus you won't need as many bartenders if they'll just be pouring, not mixing, drinks.

Q: We want to have our wedding in D.C., where we live, but most of our guests have to travel. What should we do?

A: Have your wedding in D.C. Don't feel bad about asking guests to travel - your situation is pretty common, actually, and most couples find that no matter where they decide to get married, some of their guests will have to travel to get there.

Categories: Concord News

Husband's age jokes getting old

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/14/2012 - 00:00
Baggage Check

Q: Ever since my husband and I met 18 years ago, we've joked about how I'm older than him (by three years). Now that I'm approaching 50, this joking gets to me. I know it shouldn't. I've talked to him, and he's tried to be sensitive about it, but he feels like since we've always joked this way, we shouldn't give in to my stress about getting older. Is it reasonable for him to "retire" these jokes?

A: Both sides are valid here, and it sounds like you're being respectful to each other - a great start. But you're still so young. If you're this sensitive about aging now, you need to ask yourself whether it's a bigger issue that needs taking care of.

Q: My husband and I have been together 10 years and recently had a baby. Right before the baby was born, he said he had fallen out of love with me and flip-flops on wanting to be with other women.

But he's never cheated, and he also says he doesn't want to lose me and he wants to work this out.

Categories: Concord News

When life gets hum drum, try something new

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/14/2012 - 00:00

A few weeks ago, I went on a hawk watch. What is a hawk watch? It's an event during which avid birdwatchers find a height from which they can observe migrating hawks wend their way south at this time of year.

Now, I am not an avid birdwatcher. I like to know who's singing to me when I'm out for a walk in the woods, and I can identify the white-throated sparrow by his song, but that's about my limit. So, what was I doing on the hawk watch?

Categories: Concord News

Starting over

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/14/2012 - 00:00
Bariatric surgery and a lifestyle overhaul have led to a whole new me Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Eric Merriman loses 197 pounds Eric Merriam

In January 2011, I was 36 years old, 6-foot-2 and 462 pounds. I was hardly exercising because any activity left me short of breath and my joints aching. I'd been battling high blood pressure for about five years and obstructive sleep apnea for three years. At my annual physical that year, my doctor told me he was increasing the dosage of my blood-pressure medicine.

I knew if I didn't do something for myself soon, it was only a matter of time before I was resting in my casket.

So I did do something - a lot of things, actually.

I had bariatric surgery and sweated through a few months of Jazzercise. And, finally, I found a gym I look forward to going to. Now, less than two years later, I no longer suffer high blood pressure or sleep apnea. My joints don't hurt when I exercise, and I don't get out of breath just going up my stairs.

Today, I'm nearly 200 pounds lighter than when I started. At 265 pounds, I'm just 5 pounds from my goal.

Categories: Concord News

Find deals during 'shoulder season'

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 10/14/2012 - 00:00
Small window for savings opens up

Just in case I'd forgotten (I hadn't), promotions in this week's mail reminded me that we're smack in the middle of "shoulder season" for many popular destinations and vacation activities. In other words, summer cruises and land tours in Europe are about done. Summer vacation for school-bound families is over. The winter season in the Caribbean hasn't started yet. In fact, we're edging toward the end of the dreaded hurricane season. We're in the middle. So what deals are out there?

Categories: Concord News

One Spookyvillage

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 10/11/2012 - 00:00
Canterbury 'Ghost Encounters' a historical haunting

They weren't much for tomfoolery, those Shakers. They worked hard, they lived simply, and they steered clear of the entanglements of carnal love.

But let's not forget that the folks who invented the flat broom and the clothespin, who spent their days making no-frills furniture and their nights sleeping in separate beds, were also highly spiritual people, perfectly comfortable with dancing and clapping in the church pews on Sunday.

A good ghost tale, it would seem, was not beneath them.

"They had several stories that had been passed on through oral tradition," said Maisie Keith Daly, education manager at Canterbury Shaker Village. "As far as the people who experienced them were concerned, they were all true."

Categories: Concord News

Are teens too old for trick-or-treat?

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 10/11/2012 - 00:00

Patti Woods-LaVoie loves Halloween and all things candy, but she has a hard and fast rule when it comes to teens and trick-or-treating.

Show up at her door in Trumbull, Conn., with a costume - and she means something more than a baseball hat and jersey - and her candy bowl is your candy bowl.

Ring her bell in street clothes and you'll get teabags, ramen noodles, shampoo samples or some other discard from her pantry or closets.

"Some come in cars," she said. "They park and go from neighborhood to neighborhood. My husband is just waiting for the day our house gets egged by someone who got a teabag."

When it comes to big kids with pillow cases begging for candy on Halloween, there seem to be three camps.

Categories: Concord News

Cemetery walk digs up history

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 10/11/2012 - 00:00

The Hopkinton Historical Society plans a not-quite-frightful stroll this weekend with its third annual Cemetery Walk, through the New Hopkinton Cemetery.

Participants will visit former residents' graves, where they will be met by actors in period costumes playing the departed. This isn't a haunted house; instead, it's a chance for visitors to learn about the history of Hopkinton in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The walk starts at the cemetery, which is close to the intersection of Hopkinton Road and Main Street (Route 202/9) and Exit 4 of Interstate 89. Visitors should wear comfy shoes and can bring chairs.

Tickets, which are $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers, can be purchased at the event or the society during normal business hours today and tomorrow.

For information about the walk or society, call 746-3825, email or visit

Categories: Concord News

What are you doing on 10-11-12?

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 10/11/2012 - 00:00

So what are you doing today? Not you, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan - we already know you're a little busy with that debate thing. But others may be marking, in some way, the fact that today is a special day, numerically speaking: It's 10-11-12.

Nice, but how significant? Those who study numbers say, well, not too much. Or perhaps it's better to say that it's as significant as you want it to be.

Significant enough to influence your wedding date? At one wedding chapel in Las Vegas, Forever Grand at the MGM Resorts, there's a special numerology package, including a chapel, a pianist, a minister, and a limo to the courthouse, among other things. (And if you're just finding out about this, it isn't too late: There's another special at Forever Grand for 12-12-12.)

Categories: Concord News
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