Day: June 1, 2020

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

We’re Baaacckk…..

By Lani Gering We’re Baaacckk….. …..or at least we are getting prepared to be back in business on some level this month. I am getting so tired of seemingly focusing on the sad and depressing part of our day-to-day these last two and a half months, I decided to let you all in on what the Harbor is doing to keep all of you safe when the actual go ahead to open up to the public is announced. Keep a watch on your local news. Those of you who have experienced the Harbor know that it is kept pretty darn spiffed up at all times. It’s unusual it even see a cigarette butt on the street on a normal day. Milt Peterson is adamant that this is the norm. That being said, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had maintenance personnel roaming around the place with sanitizer spray and cloth wipes in hand cleaning all of the obvious handles, railings, and other places people commonly touch in addition to keeping up the regular maintenance. Looks like they got a jump on things.   While I was doing the research for this column aka walking around the place, Harbor personnel were putting some of the final elements in place. Hand sanitizer dispensers, the yellow “spacing circles”, “dots” or whatever they have been named, are in place on corners and in areas known to be gathering places and there are clever signs near the statues along American Way asking that you don’t “touch” as well as other signage letting you know what kind of behavior is acceptable. I have to say that whoever is heading up this project is pretty clever with the graphics and signage. It sends a much friendlier message than “DO NOT TOUCH, MASK REQUIRED”, etc. There…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

End of Life Decisions

By Carolyn Cockroft End of Life Decisions Thanks to advances in veterinary care and improved diets, pets are living longer. The pleasure of enjoying our pets for additional years, however, comes with age-related conditions. Cats and small dogs are considered geriatric at the age of 7, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Larger breed dogs are considered “seniors” when they turn 6 years of age. Senior pets have similar medical issues that face aging humans, such as diseases of the heart, liver, kidney, and urinary tract. Many suffer joint weakness or pain, diabetes, and senility. Consequently, they need additional care, including more visits to the veterinarian, dietary changes, or adjustments to their surroundings. Signs of Aging Common signs of aging in pets are increased anxiety, vocalizing or reaction to sounds, confusion, changes in sleep patterns, house soiling or reduced self-hygiene, and hearing loss. While these are not necessarily cause for immediate concern, no one knows your pet’s habits and patterns better than you do. Your daily interaction with each other offers you an essential role in spotting early signs of deteriorating health. If an older pet appears to be in pain, arthritis may be the cause. A veterinarian can offer treatments to ease discomfort and improve joint mobility: • Changes in diet, supplements and exercise to reduce extra weight on your pet’s limbs • Using orthopedic beds, stair steps for assisting access to higher places, and a raised feeding dish. • Over-the-counter medications, such as glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate or Omega fatty acids • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), similar to human pain relievers. Do not give human pain medications to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian, as these can be fatal for pets. When is it Serious? Contact your veterinarian if you see any of these changes,…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Richest Man

By Ron Powers Richest Man I’m delighted to spread the word about a great new song called “Richest Man”. It’s my favorite single off Brendan Benson’s recently released LP, and I’d go so far as to say it’s the best work we’ve seen from the Michigan born songwriter since he first entered the music scene back in 1995. The hip and stylish rock-n-roll attitude of The Velvet Underground comes to mind while listening to this bright and lively new track. And the ultra-positive and uplifting lyrics about family and fatherhood reveal “Richest Man” not just to be another feel-good hit but a happy reminder of what really matters in life. The most interesting and inspiring thing about this song is the turning point it marks in Benson’s life. This is an artist who has felt overlooked and left behind by the music industry at times. His life has had its share of thorns. But “Richest Man” reveals the evolution of a heart opened and filled with love. Benson sings with unabashed adoration for his kids and wife in a way that’s so honest it’s cool. “Richest Man” has a big rock-n-roll sound with a standard two guitars, bass, and drums setup along with a big full sounding brass section and piano. The sound of this song is like a sunny day. Yes, of course we’ve seen one before, but we’re always thrilled to see another. That sunshiny feeling was almost entirely brought to life by Benson’s hand alone. He self-recorded and produced “Richest Man” along with the rest of his outstanding new LP at his studio in Nashville. Benson also performed nearly all the instruments that appear on the new work. “Richest Man” begins with a bang that is reminiscent of a Phil Spector produced Ramones album. After the brief…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Manage Those Mosquitoes…..

Urban Garden By Melinda Myers Manage Those Mosquitoes….. Don’t let the buzz of mosquitoes keep you indoors. Most mosquitoes are a nuisance, causing rashes and itching but some species can transmit diseases that can make you sick.  Understanding how they breed and spread disease can help you gain the upper hand in the battle against these pesky insects. Mosquitoes serve as a carrier (vector) in the spread of certain diseases. It starts when they feed on an animal infected with heartworms or an animal or person with West Nile, Saint Louis Encephalitis, Zika or other mosquito-vectored disease. The young heartworm or virus is taken in with the mosquito’s blood meal. The heartworm larvae or virus is then transmitted to other organisms when the mosquito feeds on them. Always take precautions when traveling to other regions. Find out about the health risks of the area and come prepared. Consult with your doctor and be sure to pack repellent and the appropriate clothing. At home, start by eliminating mosquito breeding grounds. These insects need standing water to reproduce. The larvae hatch and feed on tiny organisms in the water. Once they morph into adults, they leave the water and look for animals and people to dine upon. Get rid of any standing water to eliminate breeding grounds in your landscape. Clean clogged gutters where water can collect and mosquitoes can breed. Empty water that collects in any items left outside. Change the water in your birdbath at least once a week or anytime you water your container gardens. Toss an organic mosquito control, like Mosquito Dunks and Mosquito Bits (, into your rain barrel, pond or other water feature. Mosquito Bits quickly knock down the mosquito larval population, while Mosquito Dunks provide 30 days of mosquito control. The active ingredient is Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, a…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

2020:  Year of the Pandemic?  For Me, It’s the Year of Dad

By Lori Welch Brown 2020:  Year of the Pandemic?  For Me, It’s the Year of Dad Pandemic, pandemic, pandemic.  I am tired of all the attention you are getting.  I’d say you are distracting us from what is really important, but in some sort of messed up way, perhaps you have helped us do just the opposite.  I already had an incredible appreciation for dear ol’ dad, but not being able to visit him since March has really put things into perspective. Dad relocated back to Virginia last April.  I was thrilled to be able to see him more than twice a year and not have to deal with connecting flights.  He was splitting his time between my home in Alexandria and my brother’s in Stafford.  For two week stretches, he and I would wake up, get our coffee and start our days together.  I’d get him some cereal, help him do some standing exercises, and tidy up until his caregiver arrived at which time I’d run off to do some ‘busy’ work.  Busy, busy, busy.  Always stuff to be done.  I’d circle back at 3:00 p.m. when his caregiver turned into a pumpkin, and Dad and I would settle in for an hour of Judge Judy.  It was my favorite time of day. I didn’t always do it with a smile on my face.  Some days I felt stressed and overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a high-fall risk 90 year old who hasn’t been able to regain his ability to walk since his hip transplant in early 2019. Helping him in and out of the bathroom was often a death defying undertaking.  Once the mission was completed safely, we would high five, and I’d say, “Good job.”  What I meant was, “Thanks for not falling and landing…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

June Pets of the Month

Virtual Adoptions at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria start with a Virtual Meet-and-Greet and end with you stopping by our shelter to pick up your new best friend. Every step of the process is completed remotely or at a safe physical distance while helping you welcome a new pet into your family. Learn more at Pets of the Month Shnookums, Adult, Female, Green Red-Eared Slider Hi, I’m Shnookums! I love taking a break from my daily laps to bask in warm sunlight or my heat lamp.  I’m an omnivorous health nut and have a passion for leafy greens — I can help you finish off that veggie box you ordered and couldn’t figure out what to do with! I like people, but am naturally introverted and don’t love being picked up and cuddled.  I’d thrive with a family that can respect my self-care time and admire me from outside my tank! I’m not one to self-promote, but if you are searching for a beautiful, chill, reptilian gal pal to eat bok choy with, I’m your girl. Learn more about meeting me at Adoption profile: Adoption information: Link, Adult, Neutered Male, Gray Tabby Domestic Shorthair Hi! My name is Link, and I’m a cat of action! My favorite things to do are play and nap. Some people say napping isn’t very active, but they’re just doing it wrong. With so many different bed options – covered, flat, blankets, towers – and an array of sun and shade combinations, I could talk endlessly about the planning that goes into taking my naps. Add a best friend to nap with to that combination and I’d never stop nap-strategizing! To learn more about meeting me, the expert napper, visit Adoption profile: Adoption information: Rambo, Adult, Neutered Male, Tan and Black Pit Bull…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

The Annual – Oh no, not another tie! – Column

By Steve Chaconas The Annual – Oh no, not another tie! – Column Dude, don’t get Dad another tie! He might wear it…only when you’re in town or when you mention it. He really dreads having to tie one on for you! It’s Father’s Day, put a bit of thought into the gift for the guy who was always thinking of you! Let Dad know he’s legendary. Looking for functional outdoors fishing clothing led longtime river guide John Simms to found his company in 1980. Ensuring clients were dry and comfortable, Simms utilized technology and functionality to create legendary fishing clothing. Dad can’t out-tough Simms Guide Pant. Perfect for wet wading, hiking or just looking good, the guide-caliber stretch woven gusseted pant allows mobility. The Guide Pant features quick-drying, wicking, anti-odor and UPF 50 machine washable material.  Two deep pockets are complimented with a zippered cargo pocket for secure storage. In time for the California Gold Rush in the early 1900s, C.C. Filson began making clothing as tough as those going west. Old fashioned American heritage never goes out of style. Filson’s Outdoorsman Shorts are perfect for an active dad. Rugged easy-care nylon fabric with built-in stretch for a full range of motion. Tricot-lined elastic waistband is super comfortable for everyday wear. Features front pockets with a bungee clip and an interior zippered security pocket. UPF rating of 50+is a bonus. Dad’s new favorite jacket is WALLS Angus Light Work Jacket. Walls has manufactured work wear, western wear and hunting gear for men and women since 1938. Lightweight, tough double and triple stitched, holds up under dad activities. Angus stretch adds comfort with fit with a classic stonewashed, sanded cotton duck material. Lined with stretch cotton flannel for added flexibility and warmth, dad’s favorite jacket doubles for work…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Water, Water Everywhere….

By Ryan Unverzagt Water, Water Everywhere…. This month officially marks the start of the summer season and I decided to dig out a previous column touching on hydration. For those of you who have missed going to the gym these last few months, I bet many of you have turned to outside activities. As the temperatures rise through the summer, it becomes extremely important to monitor when, where and how much exercise you should be doing along with hydrating properly. Did you know that water accounts for more than 60% of the human body’s volume? Water is so vital to life that we can survive only about three days without it depending upon climate conditions. The hotter and more humid the environment, the faster we become dehydrated. It takes as little as a two percent change in body weight to negatively affect exercise performance. For a 150 pound person, that equates to only 3 pounds! There are many factors that affect your hydration status such as: ♣ Ambient Air Temperature (Outside) ♣ Humidity ♣ Individual Sweat Rates ♣ Body Temperature (Internal) ♣ Exercise Intensity & Duration ♣ Fitness Level ♣ Individual Body Fat Percentage ♣ Existing Health Conditions such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes, kidney failure, etc. Dehydration can have several negative effects during exercise such as decreased muscle strength & endurance, coordination, mental acuity, and impaired thermoregulation. One of the most important functions of water within the body is to help regulate body heat. When the body is properly hydrated, exercise will feel easier and you will typically have a lower heart rate at the same intensity than you would if you were in a dehydrated state. This is due to optimal blood volume and cardiac output to deliver nutrients and oxygen to your working muscles. There is no single…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

My Gym Just Reopened – Now What?

My Gym Just Reopened – Now What? In the age of COVID-19, gyms have been forced to close around the country. Now, as many are reopening for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, gym staff have to make sure they’re following recommended guidelines for social distancing and ensuring proper cleaning and sanitization. If the situation is getting better in your area and your gym has just reopened, you’re probably wondering whether or not you should resume your previous workout schedule. We’re sharing some advice on how to stay safe, but bear in mind that the situation is always changing. The pandemic might be better or worse in your area. You should avoid going to the gym unless and until the situation is stable enough in your area and the local regulations tell you it’s safe. Do a Safety Check The most important thing is to verify that your gym is following the current guidelines and rules in your area. You’ll also want to see that they’re properly cleaning the equipment and allowing a limited number of people inside. If all of the above is in accordance with the rules, make sure you’re also careful with your own hygiene. Good Hygiene Habits for Gym Goers Lower your chances of contracting any bacterial, viral or fungal infections by doing the following: • Wash your hands properly before and after the workout. Use soap and warm running water, washing for at least 20 seconds and rinsing well afterward. Then dry with a clean towel or unused paper. • Don’t touch your face in the gym to avoid exposure to any germs you come in contact with during the workout. • Sanitize your hands if you can’t wash them. Rub your hands well and thoroughly and let them dry completely before doing anything. •…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events, Featured Post

A Father Figure

A Father Figure By: Caroline Simpson There is a myriad of females in my family.  Starting with my Mom; she has three sisters.  Out of my ten cousins, there are only two boys, and I am one of two daughters.  I love being from a female-full family.  The girl power factor is unbeatable.  There was always an opportunity for late night girl talks on the phone, not to mention the never-ending understanding associated with female companionship, and, of course, the ability to cathartically cry for absolutely no reason.  I am one very lucky girl, and during this time of year, I am forced to think…my poor father! I frequently wondered if the fathers of all these females: my dad, my uncles, and my grandfather, ever truly wished for sons.  Even if they never outright said it, isn’t it is common knowledge that a father wants a son?  Playing ball, burping, and getting dirty are all elements of that father-son relationship that my dad never experienced.  Does he regret it?  Is a prerequisite to feeling like a successful father the ability to share a love of bugs? I think not!  Sure, daughters are different, more challenging, even.  Playing ball was not my thing, but my dad made it a point to figure out what my thing was.  One of my favorite memories is our visit to the Museum of Natural History.  I loved rocks, and Dad spent a small fortune on a pre-organized rock collection from the gift shop that I still have.  Then there was the time when Mom had a morning meeting and Dad helped me get ready for school.  He was not prepared for the drama that was my hair, but he gave it his all.  Five barrettes and a can of hairspray later, I walked to the…

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