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It’s the great conundrum of life: You don’t get to pick the genes you get, and you can’t pick the genes you give. How I wish I received my father’s near concert-level piano playing music skills. I had piano and lessons as a kid, took clarinet in late elementary school and early middle school…

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It started as a Christmas gift from a daughter, a 23andMe DNA kit. Open up a test tube, fill it with saliva, seal it, log the kit’s serial number on the website, send it in the prepaid envelope and away we go! My wife did the same procedure with her kit as well. A few weeks later, the report…

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Cabin fever happens every year in March. People have been all cooped up in the winter, many places close for the season, there are fewer outdoor activities, inclement weather limits travel and sometimes causes cancellations. We just can’t wait for spring. Spring is the time things come back …

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President’s Day and Valentine’s Day: One celebrates love for the country. The other, love for your special someone.

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Flying down Cub Hill Road’s long, steep, winding way down to the cool river at the bottom, wind in my hair, joy in my heart . . . it’s a memory I have of youthful days on my fancy state-of-the-art 10-speed bike, English Racer style. I worked hard to save up and buy it, and that bike was my t…

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Diversity. It comes in many forms. Many instantly think of race when the word diversity pops up, however, several other differences create as diverse a background as well. Some are obvious: diversity in skin color, ethnic background, country of origin, gender, age or religious affiliation. O…

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Opposites attract. This is true on many levels, from the north and south poles of a magnet to pairing wines with food. For example, salty foods pair well with wines that are acidic, fruity and crisp, like oysters with a Sauvignon Blanc. Happy couples often have one partner more outgoing, and…

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We were heading to Southern California to help a friend out in need and figured heck, airline tickets are cheap, cheap, cheap now and they aren’t selling the middle seats, so crowds are down and comfort is up. Even better, a cousin lives nearby, a cousin we love to travel with, so why not vi…

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Crazy title, huh? Let me explain. It was a bittersweet afternoon. I traveled to Annapolis, about an hour’s drive away to attend the funeral of the mother of an old friend and college roommate. I had not seen him face to face in perhaps 15 years. Circumstance has a way of altering one’s path,…

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Virtual events and virtual tourism. It’s been the rage during COVID-19 quarantine. With no guarantee of how this chapter of inconvenience and health concerns unrolls in the future, hedging bets can be a challenge. Let’s not cancel the festival, let’s make it virtual. Well, that does have a l…

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We are heading to the beach with our friend Nancy and she grabs her tote bag: A rope handled canvas bag with a Paris motif. I remember she bought it in Paris while with Michelle and me and several others on a getaway. The bag’s art was flowery script French words, icons such as the Eiffel To…

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It’s only natural. Uncertainty often leans to fear, after all, what you don’t know CAN hurt you. However, even if something is dangerous, if you know something about it you can protect yourself or at the very least improve your odds. During these times of pandemic fear persists at many level…

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A change of location and use of time are the fundamentals of vacation. We all need a break from routine to reset the mind, avoid becoming mundane, stimulate the soul, spend time together, shed some daily responsibilities and bathe yourself in things that please you rather than things that ar…

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Every stage in life has its pros and cons. One of the cool things people in their 50s or 60s know is what it was like to be in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. An honest introspective view will yield both victories and defeats, home runs as well as plays that could have been better. While yes, one i…

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We live in a disposable society. Think about it. Homes built in the mid-20th century typically had a three foot wide by two foot deep closet in each bedroom. Why? People didn’t have many clothes, it was all that was needed. A gift of a sweater was a big deal because you didn’t have many. 

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You think the past three years went by quickly? Well actually they did. All three. By about six hours each. Don’t worry, you didn’t get short changed. It all comes back this month in February 29th, leap day on the leap year. That’s one extra day in the month of love. One extra day in our cel…

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Why are you working? On the one hand, the answers vary by each individual; on the other hand, they are all variants of just a few themes. Most commonly stated ones are: “I need to work to earn money to survive,” “I love my job,” “I need to get a certain amount of years in for retirement,” “I…

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The holiday season is much like our nation, quite the melting pot. Consider our holidays — The season sort of begins with Thanksgiving, then the whole shebang that follows: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, etc. Most people are OK with putting up Christmas decorations once…

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Gliding through the scenic waterways of Canada, sights of Adirondack chairs dotted the shoreline. Every cottage had a pair, and larger vacation homes may have had half a dozen. All of them were strategically placed for optimum views of the water, the wilderness, sunsets or sunrises and perha…

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Technology is great. Consider navigation systems. Not only can they help you when you are lost, map out expedient routes, and guide you step by step, but they can help you drive in a foreign country where you don’t have to worry as much about differing signs like for one way streets or histo…

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Labor Day and 9-11. Two days in September with roots a century apart, yet both help define who we are as a nation; where we came from, where we are heading and how we can come together to advance the common good of our country.

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana famously wrote. This affects our lives everyday here in the USA. We are not likely to have another Three Mile Island or Tacoma bridge incident again, or at least any time soon. The Tacoma Bridge is worth a YouT…

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Freedom: It’s synonymous with our nation’s identity. And during our nation’s birthday, it’s a great time to focus on it. Freedom has several main avenues — freedom of speech, freedom to pursue your own career path, freedom of religion, freedom to live where you please, freedom to marry whom …

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Songs often tell the common stories of our lives. As a father, Father’s Day is a time of reflection and many of these songs come to mind. There’s the nostalgic feeling in John Cougar Mellencamp’s “I grew up like my daddy did, my grandpa cleared this land; When I was five I walked the fence w…

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At the stopover in Chicago, heading to Portland, after the Chicago-bound travelers deplaned, we were allowed to relocate our seats on Southwest Air. Moving up front, a flight attendant asked if it as all right if the third seat in our row went to an eight year old traveling alone under the s…

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It began with two simple words: “We’re in.” We were at the funeral for an old high school friend, so in many ways it was like a high school reunion — the somber nature of the passing of a friend balanced with the joy of reconnecting with friends we’ve not seen for many years, or in fact deca…

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We slept with the balcony windows open that night. It was southern Spain in late January so the temperature was pleasant and there weren’t any insects around. Two floors up, we felt secure. Initially, the sounds of the street below had a soothing background of white noise — friendly banter i…

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It began as Valentine’s Day. A holiday to celebrate love, built around the actions of a saint. Of course, as a fixed date, February 14, seven possible days of the week may be host to it. Nothing’s wrong with a midweek dinner out, but place the day on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday and it can b…

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2019. The last year of the second decade in the new millennium. Could it be this century has moved along this quickly? On the other hand, it’s just a number. Many people are obsessed with numbers. How old are you? How much money do you make or have? How many years married? Sometimes numbers …

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For some reason, I am really missing my mother this holiday season. It’s my third Christmas without her. Every year, she’d decorate for the holidays and invite everyone over, the kids and grandchildren, to see the Christmas décor. Admittedly, in my hectic life, I’d begrudgingly make time bec…

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Just prior to Christmas last year, I moved into a new home on the waterfront of the Chesapeake Bay. It was a lifetime dream that delivered on many expectations: spectacular sunrises, some interesting storms, boats gliding by, seagulls and osprey as they fly and hunt.

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All too often we are a nation divided. Love Trump or hate him, and have little respect for those in the opposite camp. Those who kneel during the NFL’s playing of the national anthem – disrespectful of the flag or respectful for standing for a cause?In the past, divides were often geographic…

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Create a wall with studs 16 inches apart, screw in sheetrock, apply tape and joint compound to the seams, spackle over counter-sunk screw heads, sand smooth, paint, and admire. Your wall is done. That’s the way you do it — if you live on the East Coast of the United States. In the West, you …

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It was about 10 inches long, 6 inches high, and 3 inches wide, wrapped in a black leatherette finish, and it was my prized possession from about age 8 through 12 — my AM radio.It could plug into the wall, or run on size D batteries, without a very long life. The telescopic antenna folded int…

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While the actual date of birth can be debated, the concept of celebration merits attention. We celebrate loved ones’ birthdays, not necessarily for the actual physical event of birth, but rather to celebrate what this person’s life represents to our lives.

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There was a time when I was a god, or at least in the eyes of a child. I became a parent, and given the limited knowledge of the world surrounding them, I seemed to know everything.

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An elevator rockets me up to the 24th floor of a condo in Ocean City, Md. I drop my bags on the floor, open the sliders for some fresh salt air, step out onto the balcony, and enjoy the view from 240 feet in the air. I can see for miles. I can see the ocean and the bay, all the way into Dela…

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Travel helps us understand the world better, and with better understanding come better decisions, better outcomes, fewer frustrations from mistakes, and a host of other beneficial effects. 

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Getting your tax returns ready. Getting ready to put away the winter stuff and get out the spring stuff. March can be a stressful month. Heck, most months have some elements of stress in them. In reality, it’s usually not the month, by and large, it’s your lifestyle and the collection of cho…

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In just four more years, Thanksgiving will be 400 years old. I love to host a big Thanksgiving feast for family and friends. Perhaps that’s because I am a descendant of Miles Standish, that fiery-tempered red-haired soldier who accompanied the pilgrims on the Mayflower, and who, of course, s…

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People are like water. No, I am not referring to the scientific percentage of water that makes up the human body, I am referring to the principle of physics — water takes the path of least resistance.

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Sitting around a table on a boat with friends and loved ones playing cards at night, laughing hysterically with a few cocktails flowing. That is the memory that prompts this note.

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It was an unconventional wedding. The bride entered the room to meet her groom and the officiant to the sound of the old Rolling Stones’ tune “She’s Like a Rainbow,” and the officiant provided a rather compelling and moving talk during the service quoting, among others, Jerry Garcia. The quo…

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It happens again and again. This time, we are sitting on a white sand Jamaican beach, cocktails in hand, bellies full from a romantic dinner at the resort, waves lapping at the shoreline. We are relaxed and feeling exactly the way we hoped as we planned the vacation. What could be wrong?

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It started out with Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, being a single-day observance. From a fixed date, it expanded to a broader range with people trying to incorporate it into a weekend event. When Valentine’s Day is situated on Wednesdays, it often creates a pair of weekend events, one before and …