Get Lost in a Good Book

My new article in The Country Register  – Jan/Feb 2018 Issue

There are times when life can be stressful and we just want to get away from it all. But jobs, families and other responsibilities cannot be left behind. However, there is a quick, easy way to get lost in another world and it’s right at our fingertips. And the best part is, it doesn’t have to cost a dime.
What is this escape, you ask? Why, books, of course! On a cold winter’s night, if you want to find yourself on a beach in Nantucket, pick up a book by Elin Hilderbrand. Or, would a murder mystery in front of a roaring fire pique your interest? Then delve into a Mary Higgins Clark novel.
One of my favorite pastimes is wandering the aisles of my local library. Since I’m such an avid reader, I depend on this free institution for much of my reading material, lest I go broke or fall into serious debt. I have always read a lot, but now that I take the train to work, I not only read a book at home every night before bed, I also read a different book on my commute to and from work. Yes, I have two different books going at the same time. Confusing, some may think. For me, not at all. I get so into the characters and plots that I have no problem keeping track of them all, just like people do with various television programs. While many of my friends are excited about a new season of the latest prime time shows, I’m anxiously awaiting my favorite authors’ new books. I would rather watch the story unfold in my mind than on a television screen.
I especially like continuing series, such as Patricia Cornwell’s saga about a medical examiner who helps the FBI and local police solve crimes, or Janet Evanovich’s tales involving a hapless female bounty hunter who tries and oftentimes fails to catch the fugitives she’s after. I have been reading certain series for years and have grown somewhat attached to my favorite characters.
Although fiction is my favorite genre, I am a fan of non-fiction as well. I am especially drawn to books that explore people’s strength and perseverance and show how they overcome many obstacles in their lives, such as The Last Sermon by Randy Pausch, or Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness by Richard M. Cohen. These kinds of true stories broaden my perspective and make the problems in my life seem somewhat trivial.
Whatever your interests are, there are books that will engage your mind and nourish your soul. If your budget is limited, libraries are wonderful resources, as are used book stores and various discounted websites. Or, if you choose to get a little fancier, buy yourself an e-reader and download to your heart’s content.
So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, get yourself a good book, curl up with a steamy mug of hot chocolate, and go on an adventure. When you return, you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle a new day.

http://www.countryregisteronline.com/Papers/FL%20CURRENT%20ISSUE.pdf

 

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Batteries Not Included

My new article in The Country Register – Jan/Feb 2018 Issue
Board Games Can Cure Cabin Fever

It always surprises people when they walk into my living room and see a half-finished jigsaw puzzle. They ask, “Wow, people still do those?” Yes, yes they do. They also play Monopoly, Clue, Connect 4 and other non-tech games.

As a matter of fact, board games are making a comeback. Go into the toy department of any store, and you will still see a large array of not only board games, but card games and jigsaw puzzles as well. According to ArticleBiz.com, “Games like Risk, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and The Game of Life are some of the classic games that are still very much in demand and well loved. And traditional games like chess, checkers, and backgammon will always be favorites.”

Who doesn’t remember sitting around with family and friends while laughing and arguing about who was going to win the game? Or hearing the cheers and boos of your fellow players as you push that round checker across the board or try to extricate that wooden piece during Jenga? That cannot be duplicated on a computer, phone or television screen. And no slick 3D video game can replace this live social interaction.

For most of us, it started out with Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, and now the choices are many. Board games like Scattergories and Pictionary to card games such as Uno or Phase 10; there is something for everyone, at any age.  Also, as stated on howandwhys.com, when it comes to kids, “Board games play a huge role in children’s health and brain development: different types of board games help to develop logic and reasoning skills, improve critical thinking, increase verbal and communication skills, develop attention skills and the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time.” Furthermore, if the power goes out or there are no batteries in the house, not to worry. You can still carry on with your game or puzzle. And besides, playing Twister in the dark may be a lot more fun and challenging.

So go into your closets, dust off those game boxes (or pick up some new ones), and make plans for a get-together with your favorite people. Whether you make dinner first, or just serve coffee and cake, it doesn’t much matter. Sit around and enjoy one another’s company while the televisions, phones and computers sit silent and lonely in the background. And remember, no cheating. Enjoy!

http://www.countryregisteronline.com/currentissueNJDE.html

Article written for the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad – published in local news outlets in January 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to not only trim our credit card bills, but to also trim our waistlines. It’s a fact that most of us gain some weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Being unhappy with the way we look and uncomfortable in our clothes are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the underlying problems, especially when it comes to obesity, which causes the most issues.

According to the American Heart Association, “Currently, one in three U.S. adults is obese, bringing forth a possible health toll, including high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Another third of Americans are overweight.” Therefore, it’s best to talk to your doctor and stick to the guidelines he or she recommends for your age, gender, height and weight.

In regards to your diet, eat foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fat, like fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and low-fat milk products. Get plenty of exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk around your neighborhood. If you have underlying health problems, speak with your doctor about devising an exercise program that’s right for you.

A healthy lifestyle will help you avoid many health issues, plus it will give you the energy and stamina to accomplish everything you want to do. Everybody knows that giving up our favorite foods and adopting a more active lifestyle are tough, but the benefits are worth it.

This year, when you make that resolution to lose weight and exercise, stick to it and you will feel the difference in your body sooner that you think. And instead of visiting the doctor or hospital, go out and enjoy life.

The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains, but also in surrounding towns when needed. Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green. We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and other groups. In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge. Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you. (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies or scotchplainsrescuesquad@gmail.com.
https://www.tapinto.net/towns/scotch-plains-slash-fanwood/categories/guest-column/articles/scotch-plains-rescue-squad-tip-of-the-month-have