Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month – December 2022

By Gina Hardter Nyla What does Nyla want for the holidays?  Well, besides a brand new family to call her own, she’d also like toys – lots of toys.  Stuffed toys, squeaky toys, balls, exercise toys – she’s a fan of the whole lot.  And she’s happy to teach you how to play with her toys as well, like how to throw the ball, then get it, then throw it again.  But most of all, Nyla would just like a dedicated human lap (or two or three or four) to call her own.  Could it be yours?  Learn more about Nyla by emailing or calling 703.746.4774 (opt. 2). Meowy Cyrus Meowy Cyrus has her eyes on the prize: Superstardom in her brand new home!  Meowy is a talented feline soloist who thinks she can go all the way to the Big Show with the help of her new family.  Oft-requested hits include “If I Just Had Breakfast, When Is Lunch?” and “Couch Cuddles 4 Life!”  Meowy has made human fans – or friends – young and old, and can’t wait to make her most dedicated fan club out of her new family.  If you’d like a ticket to the Meowy Cyrus experience, email her bookers at or call 703.746.4774, opt. 2 (no service charges apply). Alaska and Moana Best buds Alaska and Moana aren’t shy about expanding their crew!  When you roll with this twosome, expect to live the life: all the leafy greens you can chew, a plastic castle for chilling and of course, guinea pig “wheeeeeees” all the way home.  These lovely ladies are cheerful and social, made especially confident by their time together, and they would make the perfect addition to any family this holiday season.  Schedule time to meet them at or 703.746.4774 (opt. 2).

On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road – December 2022

The OTC Headed Out to the Water!   Avid readers of the OTC, Lee and Jennifer (Moore) Meadows took the issue with them on their annual two week trek to the Outer Banks.  They took several pics but this was our favorite. Here is Lee in Duck, NC overlooking the Currituck Sound. Curtis and Teresa Dyer traveled with their copy of the OTC on their 19 day Chesapeake Bay trip. The photo was taken in August at Haven Harbour Marina in Rock Hall, Maryland. Teresa and Curtis are very familiar with our Maryland waters since they spent many years living in Flag Harbor. We are happy that they have chosen Alexandria as their home now. If you have submitted a photo and it hasn’t been published yet, rest assured that it will appear in a future issue. We have been inundated with submissions and appreciate each and every one that we receive. If you would like to see your photo in this space, email a high resolution image (along with a brief description of your locale and any other special information you would like included in the caption) to

Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

A Season of Giving, Healing, and Leaning In

Matt: This is a sobering column so let’s put an uplifting image(s) with it. By Lori Welch Brown I’m feeling a bit conflicted as we approach the holiday season.  Part of me is poised to go dashing through the snow, caroling and merrymaking, holding hands and spreading the Christmas spirit while the other part of me wants to lock my doors, bolt my windows and hunker down for eternity or at least until I run out of champagne and chocolate. I’ve just read about the shooting at the University of Virginia where three young athletes—Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry, and Lavel Davis, Jr.—were shot down in the prime of their lives.  I am heart broken.  How can this be?  How is it that someone would want to destroy the lives of these young men—not to mention their families and friends—and also traumatize everyone who has a child in college or pretty much all of us with access to a news outlet? Is it drugs? Mental illness? Childhood trauma? Bullying? Access to firearms?  D) All of the above? At this point, does it matter?  What matters is that Devin, D’Sean, and Lavel are gone from this earth, and those poor families will never be the same. I didn’t know any of these young men, and I do not have a child in college, and yet I feel immobilized.  What is there to celebrate? What about my friend who has a son at nearby JMU?  Is he safe?  Are any of us? How are we supposed to hang our mistletoe and stockings, hover over fragrance counters trying to select the perfect gift, and drag out our ugly sweaters in the midst of grief, turmoil, and utter chaos? Of course like most, I’m sending prayers and healing thoughts which in this moment, seems about…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Fishing for Holiday Gifts

By Steve Chaconas Shopping for anglers is frustrating. For people on the receiving end, there’s a guaranteed stint in return lines! Choose gifts for on and off the water! Quality, comfort, and durability in a variety of enhanced materials make for long lasting gifts. In 1897 people were tough and clothes were tougher. Filson became legendary to outdoor enthusiasts. Filson’s Lightweight Alaskan Guide Shirt, a multi-seasonal heavyweight, is comfortable with plenty of room for outdoors activities. Midweight 5-oz. cotton twill allows comfortable airflow during activities. Prewashed for shrinkage control, Filson’s Alaskan Guide Shirt feels broken in. Gusseted chest button-close flap pockets are secure. Perfectly placed pleats provide comfort and function. Give the boot to someone. Comfort and quality are sewn into Tecovas timeless Western footwear, clothing, and leather goods. Better quality and half the price of similar top-quality boots, Tecovas cuts retailer markups with direct-to-consumer pricing. Artisan teams in León, Mexico take over 200 steps by hand making a single boot, sitting on stacked leather heels with rubber end caps. Gift the right pair of boots to suit his or her style or color. They’ll look taller, feel taller and find comfort in their new favorite ultra-soft, hand-burnished calfskin, bovine, or goat leather boots. Fish are wet, you shouldn’t be. For 45 years, Gill has been perfecting outdoors gear for on and off the water. Features and function abound in 2 layers with Gill’s Aspect waterproof and breathable lightweight jacket. A soft touch mesh lining wicks moisture away. A unique hood adjusts securely for boat rides. A fastener pulls the hood away for better views. Gill’s 2-way Vortex Hood Technology streams airflow to keep the hood in place with ventilation. Covered zippers, double cuffs and a shock cord hem seal the deal.  Three outside pockets stay dry.  No…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Home for the Holidays 2022!

By Bob Tagert We have been writing Road Trip articles for at least 30 of the almost 35 years we’ve been in publication. They began as a story about a destination near Alexandria. Then we got into Day Tripping when I had my 1974 Fiat Spider which was perfect for a day’s excursion. As our publication grew we expanded our focus and ventured farther out. Most of these involved an overnight stay near the destination and in fact, sometimes the destination was the the place we stayed. Our recent visit to the beautiful Swanendele Inn in Southern Maryland is a good example. A number of years ago we decided to write about our beautiful Old Town Alexandria every December as this is a time to stay home with family and friends…Welcome Home. I will start with a brief history of what it was like when I arrived in 1977. Old Town was approximately six blocks long. It was King Street from the Potomac River to Washington Street. There were a few restaurants on the other side of Washington Street but only a few…the concentration was near the water in the old seaport town which was founded in 1749. Old Town, as we know it today, was in its infancy. The town’s daring merchants transformed a neglected area and gave it a heartbeat. When I arrived, there was live music in almost every restaurant, mostly local folks playing their own music while covering favorite songs for their dedicated customers. Parking was plentiful and pedestrian traffic was minimal…but what a good time! Today, over time and like the Old Town Crier, things have changed. The town is now one of the most vibrant waterfront cities on the east coast. Some of the places that provided music are now gone replaced by more…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Resolutions for a Happier, Healthier Pet

By Jaime Stephens December is the most festive time of year, with Hanukkah, Christmas and the promise of a new year ahead, but did you know that December is also National Cat Lover’s Month?  It’s an excellent time to think not only about your own health, but the health of your pets, and to get the New Year off to a good start. The number one most preventable health issue for both cats and dogs in the United States is obesity.  According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s 2018 clinical survey, 55.8% of dogs and 59.5% of cats were classified as clinically overweight or obese by their veterinary healthcare professional. Obesity is said to occur when an animal’s weight exceeds an additional 30% of their ideal weight. Forty to forty-five percent of dogs aged 5 – 11 years of age weigh in higher than they should. Only 39% of dog owners and 45% of cat owners, however, consider their pets overweight. Common conditions of both overweight dogs and cats include diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, lameness and limping and, in cats, kidney disease and congestive heart failure. Cats, in particular, are very adept at hiding their discomfort and pain. In addition to having a healthier pet, maintaining an acceptable average weight provides a higher quality of life, a longer life expectancy, and lower veterinary costs. As with humans, maintaining a healthy weight requires a commitment to both a healthier diet and an active lifestyle.  To help keep your pet trim, first consult with your vet about the best diet based on your pet’s particular needs. Before you visit your vet, there are a few ways to determine whether your pet may need to slim down. Does their stomach sag?  This is a clear indication that your dog is overweight,…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Seven Actions to Consider Before Leaving Your Job

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce Before you make the decision to move on from your job, review this checklist of important financial considerations. Some involve making sure your personal finances are in order, while others can help you explore all the implications of leaving your current job. Review your current retirement benefits. Check the schedule for your employer’s 401(k) and profit-sharing contributions to see how long you have to work to claim any matched funds. If you’re close to being fully vested (meaning you’re entitled not just to the dollars you contributed but also to the dollars your employer did), it may be worth sticking it out a little longer. Keep in mind that some plans require that you be employed on the last day of the plan year to get employer contributions for that year, even once you are vested. You may want to wait until after the plan year ends before you terminate employment so you don’t lose those contributions. Make a plan for your employer retirement account. If you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b), or governmental 457(b), understand your options for your account. You may decide to take your money out and pay the associated taxes. And if you are younger than age 59½, there may be additional tax penalties for early withdrawal. Another option is to roll over your account into your retirement account at your new employer (if they allow it) or into an individual retirement account (IRA) that you set up. Some company plans allow you to keep your money in their plan; however, you will continue to be subject to the rules of that plan regarding investment choices, distribution options, and loan availability. If you have any concerns about the future viability of the company you are…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Taking Care of Tannenbaum!

By Dr. Gary Chastagner and Dr. Eric Hinesley Use lots of water! When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your tree. Below are a number of tips on caring for your tree: -Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems. -To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand. -Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed. -Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don’t cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree. -Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake. -Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Invest More Confidently in Volatile Markets

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce When financial markets fluctuate, perhaps in reaction to world events, inflation, or a change in interest rates, even the calmest investors can start to question their financial strategies. But volatile markets can present opportunities to review and reaffirm investment strategies, says Tracie McMillion, head of global asset allocation strategy for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “Financial markets are frequently volatile — that’s their nature,” she says. “Even so, during periods of uncertainty, investors may start to question their investment decisions. Having a plan in place can provide the guard rails to help steer through and beyond the volatility.” In addition to reaffirming and focusing on your plan, here are some strategies you can use to help weather economically turbulent times. Match your investments to your time horizon The simplest way to feel more comfortable about your investments is to align them with your financial calendar, no matter what happens in the financial world this month or year. For example, do you need some of your money fairly soon or want it close at hand in case of an emergency? If so, McMillion says you should consider investments such as cash holdings and short-term bonds that shouldn’t lose much, if any, value over the short term. On the other hand, if you won’t need some of your investment money until you retire multiple years in the future, equities or longer-term bonds are worth a closer look. Those investments carry more risks but also offer potentially better returns. Know what to expect from your investments Some investors lose confidence because they don’t fully understand how their investments work. In that case, McMillion says, some knowledge of typical asset behavior is a good thing. Consider reading up on different types of investments and asking questions of your financial…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Angling for the Ages

By Steve Chaconas Whether a top level pro bass tournament or five boat bragging rights get-togethers, finding a winning pattern is tough. In single day events, it’s all or nothing. Catch as many fish as you can and bring back 5 big ones. However, multiple day top level pro events are much more complicated. There are another two hundred boats chasing the same five fish. To further complicate the process, fishing almost always varies day to day. You must save fish for the next day and learn as much as possible every day. It doesn’t get easier. A recent Bassmaster Open event added more intrigue. Big name pros, some legends, and top regional and local anglers piled into Chesapeake Bay tributaries. These are the toughest events in pro bass fishing. It’s nearly impossible to find a sweet spot all to yourself. Instead, many anglers are fishing the same massive grass beds, trying to find needles in grass edges where the secret bait with the unique presentation will perform for two consecutive fishing days enabling an appearance in the top ten to compete for the $100,000 prize. Winning pro level bass tournaments is nearly a once in a lifetime experience. Winning continues to excite 30 year veteran NJ BassCat pro Pete Gluszek, who has 3 wins under his championship belt. Legend has it that his lead on the final day on the 2007 Hudson River tournament was so insurmountable he returned to the boat launch early and ordered a pre weigh-in pizza! When he saw the Upper Chesapeake Bay scheduled for mid-September, Pete looked to work for another trophy. He considers the Upper Bay his home waters and has been guiding there for three decades. The late summer conditions were very tough, which worked Gluszek’s favor to dial in a particular pattern….

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