Day: May 5, 2020

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, Take Photos Leave Footprints

4 Ways to Scratch the Travel Itch During the Covid-19 Pandemic

By Scott Dicken 4 Ways to Scratch the Travel Itch During the Covid-19 Pandemic It’s a strange time to be a travel writer. With most of us having cancelled travel plans, our focus has turned to things much closer to home, including the financial and personal safety of our loved ones. And yet, for many, the yearning for travel fails to abate. Travel is something to look forward to and forms a central component of our mental well-being. With that in mind, and in the absence of international travel for the foreseeable future, this month I focus on some of the things you can do to scratch that travel itch in these strange, Covid-19 dominating, times.  Sossusvlei.  1. Travel Planning If there’s one thing I’m sure of it’s that we’re all going to be deserving of a vacation at the end of the lock-down. Airlines, cruise lines, and hotels will be offering cut-price deals when the global travel restriction expires, and you should be ready to take advantage of the best of them at short notice. With time to burn while you telework from home, now is the perfect time to start planning that next trip. There’s no better way to begin than by ordering some travel guides to spark inspiration. The Take Photos Leave Footprints recommended guide brands are: ♣ Lonely Planet: Perhaps the best known of the big-brand guidebooks, Lonely Planet has earned its reputation as the go-to for budget travel. ♣ DK Eyewitness: In my opinion DK guidebooks are the best on the market for those seeking visual inspiration for trips to major world cities and countries. ♣ Fodor’s: If you’re planning a trip to Europe, and are hoping to visit the continent’s major landmarks, then look no further than Fodor’s; it’s what they’re best known for….

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Mother Knows Best

Points on Pets By Lisa Velenovsky In China, a new mother cradles her tiny baby constantly, giving her the care and attention a helpless newborn needs. Another mom, this one in Africa, gets a much-needed break when her women’s group watches over her baby while she rests. A hungry mom-to-be in the Pacific is fully focused on protecting her unborn children, oblivious to her own needs. And, in the U.S., a young mother nuzzles her baby, using touch to convey her love. As Mother’s Day approaches, we celebrate all the roles that these moms and moms like them fulfill: nurturer, food source, protector, and teacher. The only difference is that these amazing moms are not human. They are the panda, elephant, octopus, and dog. Mothers of the animal kingdom – no matter the species, no matter wild or domesticated – put their special skills and instincts toward the same goal as human mothers: to help their babies survive, thrive, and grow to adulthood well-prepared to face the world. They just approach things a little differently. Pandas are often considered the clowns of the animal kingdom, with their roly-poly bodies and their adorably ungainly antics. But, make no mistake, mother pandas are deadly serious about nurturing. Panda cubs are pink, blind, and helpless at birth. They are also tiny, weighing around 3-5 ounces (that’s a half stick of butter to you) compared to mom’s 300 pounds. For the first three months, mommas spend nearly all of their time caring for their cubs; an Atlanta Zoo study found panda moms hold their cubs nearly 80% of the time. They cradle them to their chest much like humans to feed and protect them because the teeny-tiny newborns can’t even hold themselves up. This non-stop mothering is crucial to a cub’s survival, but it…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Mother’s Day Gifts Sure to Please

Mother’s Day Gifts Sure to Please By Melinda Myers Each year we set aside one day to honor mothers.  And each year we struggle to find the perfect gift to show them we care. Cut flowers are one of the most popular gifts. No dusting and maintenance required, and they are sure to generate a smile.  Behavioral research at Rutgers University found the gift of flowers had immediate and long-term benefits no matter the age of the study participants. Participants demonstrated true or excited smiles as well as delight and gratitude when they received flowers. They also reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated long after receiving the gift of flowers.  Floral gifts also helped create connections between family and friends. A hanging basket or container garden is another way to give mom a season of flowers and more. Gardening helps improve health and well-being by reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility. If mom likes to cook, a potted tomato, container of greens or window box of herbs may be the perfect gift with increased benefits. Mom can grow and further boost her health with fresh nutrient-rich vegetables. A gift certificate to her favorite garden center, hobby store or retail location allows mom the freedom to select her own gift.  She can enjoy time shopping for something special she wouldn’t normally buy for herself. The gift of time is appreciated by many mothers.  Helping mom in her garden, working around her home or assisting her with another hobby is a great way to spend time together doing something mom loves. Update her garden tools if she is an avid gardener. Consider a tool caddy and fill it with her favorite hand tools such as a weed knife, hand pruner, sunscreen, and gloves. Add elegance and function…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

Chasing Happiness aka Not Freaking the F Out

By Lori Welch Brown Chasing Happiness aka Not Freaking the F Out Mom—I sure do miss you.  I can’t believe it’s been 14 years since I was able to hug you or pick up the phone to talk.  And, trust me, I have wanted to talk to you so badly.  This past year has been crazy—you wouldn’t believe.  Dad is finally back in Virginia.  He was living with us, but a few months ago, he went into assisted living.  It’s okay.  They’re taking good care of him, and you know Dad.  He is rolling with the punches. It’s been hard not being able to visit him due to this pandemic situation.  Ugh.  It’s crushing to know that he is so close and yet so far.  Being a senior citizen has never been so scary.  I’ve been trying to stay positive and not worry, but as you know, worrying is part of my DNA.  Thanks, Mom.  Funny, but I think I inherited all the bad parts of my parents.  I got Dad’s bad heart, and your propensity for depression.  Of course, we didn’t really call it that back then, and we never got a chance to talk about it.  I’m sorry for that.  It makes more sense to me now though.  How could you not have been depressed?  You lost your Mom at what 15 years old?  Then your baby brother is killed in a car accident some years later.  Did you have someone to talk to?  Did you give yourself time to grieve? Fortunately, depression doesn’t have me firmly in its grips like for some people.  I’ve learned a lot about managing down cycles over the years and can usually catch myself.  These days, however, you need to be Mary Poppins or Mr. Rogers not to be feeling some level…

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Events, Special Feature

Are You A Good Mother?

Are You A Good Mother?   What makes good mothers? It is a pertinent question whose answer cannot be contained within a few words. Mothers comprise of a bundle of emotions that sometimes defy reason. So this goes out to all the mothers who have kept awake all night with their sick toddlers in their arms, constantly uttering those compassionate words, “It’s OK honey, Mommy’s here.” For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who don’t. For those who show up at work with milk stains on their dress and diapers in their handbags. For those mothers who cannot restrain tears from trickling down their cheeks when they hold their babies for the first time in their arms; and for the mothers who give birth to babies they’ll never see. For the mothers who gave homes to babies and gifted them a family. For the mothers who yell at their kids who clamor for ice cream before dinner. For the mothers who defy all odds just to watch her kid perform and repeat to themselves “That’s my child!!” For all the mothers who read “Goodnight, Moon” twice a night for a year, and then read it again. “Just one more time.” For the mothers who taught their children to tie the shoelaces even before they started going to school. For the mothers who incontinently turn their heads when they hear the word “Mom” even though they know that their kids are nowhere around. For the mothers who silently shed tears for their children who have gone astray. For all those mothers whose heart aches to watch her son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time. For all the mothers of the victims…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

May Pets of the Month

Virtual adoptions are here at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria! To learn more about meeting your new best friend remotely and the other community services the AWLA is offering while observing best physical distancing practices, visit Valley Boy, Senior, Male Red-Eared Slider Turtle My shell is about 6 inches wide, and I have the cutest cheeks you will ever see. I am a social and active boy! I love to sun bathe on my basking rocks during the day. I am looking for a family to feed me when I am hungry, keep my tank clean and warm, not interrupt my basking time and treat me like the King I am. If you think your home has room for a King like me, sign up for a virtual meeting! Adoption profile: Adoption information: Valley Boy’s photo courtesy of Dirty Paw Photography Ariel, Senior, Spayed Female, Gray and White Domestic Shorthair Like her namesake, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, this beautiful gray and white princess longs to be a part of your human world! Ariel is a super sweet senior who purrs when petted and revels in your attention and affection. She can be a little shy as she gets her sea legs in a new environment, so she will swim best in the calm waters of a quiet home. Ariel is ready to sail away to new lands with you, snuggling up for cozy cat naps on deck; fishing for pipe cleaners, feathers, or strings; and offering you oceans of love. Are you in the market for a co-Captain to help you navigate the tides of life? Chart a course to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria today to meet Ariel, your new first mate! Adoption profile: Adoption information: Ariel’s photo courtesy of Alison Lane Photography Maya, Adult, Spayed Female, Black…

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