Category Archives: Life in General

Miscellaneous observtions on Life

Do Men Really Listen to Women?

Men’s Selective Auditory Problem (SAP)

If you are observant and even if you are not, you have to notice that men and women hear differently ~ which probably accounts for communication problems some of the time ~ well, much of the time ~ OK ~ most of the time.

This auditory malfunction may be triggered in childhood when little boys make all those whhrrrrrr and brrrrrrmmm truck noises when they are involved in the concentrated effort of maneuvering steel trucks bigger than they are. They are totally ‘engaged’ trance-like in what they are doing. They hear nothing but their own noises. It’s a male thing.

Little boys take longer to come when they are called. This happens when calling them from their rooms, the bathroom, playing outside, watching TV or playing video games or anything that is compartmentalized. They simply are working at ‘compartmentalizing – a trait that was handed drown from another male influence and is designed to drive their female companions crazy. Males are direct in what they are discussing and when a subject has been talked about for 5 minutes, they are done. When they don’t want to ‘go there’ at all — they simply don’t ~ and the auditory malfunction occurs – they simply didn’t hear it. They nod a lot and say hmm, hmm, but the words never made it through the ear canal.

Females rarely compartmentize but are very good at dramatization and compounding discussions and conversations leaping from one subject to another which can last hours, overnight or even a talking-marathon weekend. On some occasions, it can last months.

It is a fact that little girls, hear everything. They can hear their mother applying nail polish in the next room and join in pronto with out-stretched fingers. They listen to every word spoken in the house and love to repeat it verbatim to anyone who happens in their path or they will go out and find one. Little girls are why neighbors know everything that goes on in your home. They are communicators and can hear the lowest whispering, decipher voice tones and even interpret spelling intended for them not to understand.   No matter how young they are – they get it. They understand. And they like to talk about what they understand. Or analyze what they quite didn’t understand. It’s a pre-cursor to becoming a mother which is the peak of their best auditory performances. This magnified hearing lasts their whole life. Some hear things BEFORE someone actually says it.

Auditory malfunctions morph and become increasingly dysfunctional and create havoc in marriages. The longer the marriage, the more hearing loss impairment ~ I mean selection.

Here is a typical communication between husband and wife waking up on a weekend.

She: “Good morning honey, What a gorgeous day! Look the sun is shining ~ wonder what the temp is — check, can you? — and we have great weather to go over Pam & Joe’s to pick up the desk she is giving us.”    She gives a detailed description of the desk, its measurements, how each drawer will be used and in which room they could put it and adds what times would be best to pick it up.  She continues to list all the things they had to do that day – AND methods of how to bring the desk home unscathed.

He: “Yuh”. (Silence for 3 seconds)……then….

She: “I had the best dream last night” (goes into descriptive, expressive, and demonstrative description of dream with exclamations and laughter).

He: “Burp”.

She: “Are you hungry? I can make some eggs and bacon (lists 5 or 7 different options) – or wait, we could go out to breakfast with Pam & Joe – should I call them?”

He: (Is in the shower already). No answer.

She: Opens the door and repeats what she said.

He: “I can’t hear you”.

She goes downstairs to make breakfast. As he comes down the stairs (she starts hearing him approach while he dries himself with the towel and hears him cleaning his ears with Q-tips. From downstairs.

She: “Shall we take the dog for a run in the park this morning?”.

He: (Sitting down looking over the paper) “I parked the car in the driveway”.

She: “I wasn’t talking about the car”.

He (not looking up) “I can take it to the car wash . No problem.”

She: “What about Pam and Joe?”

He: “What happened to them?”

She: “I think you need a hearing aid”.

Of course, he doesn’t need a hearing aid.   When he is in the car with Joe and Steve driving to a baseball game, he has heard everything that Joe and Steve said, even if both of them are in the back seat, and it is hailing, raining and thundering outside from a sudden thunderstorm, and country music is blaring on the radio and a tractor-trailer is traveling alongside them. Every word is traveling smoothly through his ear canal.

It’s called “Selective Hearing” and there is no hearing aid that can fix it.

Marie Coppola  ©  November 2012

 

Our Fallen Heroes in Foreign Lands

It was on one of many trips to Siracusa, Sicily, that I noticed a wrought iron gate on the side of the busy road,  Behind the wrought iron gate were numerous uniform graves similar to the uniformity found at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. We tried to park to see what was in the cemetery as family cemeteries in Sicily are very different from this one. The parking was difficult, impossible that day, so we passed it by. We tried on subsequent jaunts to Siracusa to try to park and did once, but could not get into the gates. When we asked the Sicilians about it, they would call it the English Cemetery and said there were probably Americans buried there, too.

One May, appropriately nearing Memorial Day, the honoring of fallen heroes, we finally visited inside the gates.

The grounds are immaculately cared for and flowers and shrubs are well tended. These war cemeteries (CWGC) are distinctive in treating floriculture, or flower farming, which is a discipline of horticulture concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants as an integral part of the cemetery design.

Established by Royal Charter in 1917, the CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) pays tribute to the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars. It is a non-profit-making organization that was founded by Sir Fabian Ware, then commander of a mobile unit of the British Red Cross. This sensitive man, driven by the enormity of large-scale loss, felt compelled to provide a final resting place for fallen heroes on foreign soil. By 1918, some 587,000 graves had been identified and a further 559,000 casualties were registered as having no known graves. These graves sites, are all over the world, and are cared for by the Commonwealth. The dead come from many different countries and cultures, all social ranks, standings and faiths.

The Commission’s principles:

Each of the dead should be commemorated by name on the headstone or memorial

Headstones and memorials should be permanent

Headstones should be uniform

There should be no distinction made on account of military or civil rank, race or creed

Since its inception, the Commission has constructed 2,500 war cemeteries and plots, erecting headstones over graves and, in instances where the remains are missing, inscribing the names of the dead on permanent memorials. Over one million casualties are now commemorated at military and civil sites in some 150 countries. They build memorials for people who have no known grave and they keep records of the people who have died.

The grave headstones are uniform, similar to those in Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C. and there are no distinctions made on account of military or civil rank, race or creed. Some have names and branch of service and some have none. Some graves have remains of multiple persons with no name or country. Where the deceased is known, there may be a name, country, personal family message or religious affiliation. The majority of those who are buried in this cemetery fell July 10, 1941 when the Commonwealth forces landed in Sicily or in the early stages of the next campaign. Many were part of the Airborne troops who were killed when strong winds pushed their gliders away from their targets. And some who died here are unknown, both in name or where they were from.

The operating cost of the Commission are split amongst the organization members in proportion to the number of their war dead. The six current members are United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa.

We were the only ones in the cemetery that last Mother’s Day visit. I had a strong sense of separation from my own children across the waters on this day to honor mother’s and felt a kinship to the many graves around me also separated from their mothers across the waters. As I walked amongst the graves, reading the inscriptions therein, I felt a strong sense of respect and honor for these brave, fallen men, some not yet 20 and those in their prime of life.

The epitaphs, where the person was known were poignant. One merely said, “A Victim of the Second War World.” Others said, “Nine Soldiers of the Second World War” – Army Air Corps – Known Unto God; Another: “A Soldier of the 1939-1945 War”. And, “At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember him”. “Not till the Loom is silent; and Shuttles cease to fly; Shall God unroll the canvas, and explain the reason why.” “May some kind hand, in some foreign land, Place a flower just for me, “My Hero”.    May they rest in peace.

Marie Coppola © Revised 2017

October is Season for Spiders

 

In October around Halloween time, pumpkins and scarecrows appear on people’s doorsteps. Along with these welcome and festive decorations, another prospect of something appearing on your doorstep is something many have a phobia about. Arachnoids, commonly called ’spiders’. Since I, myself, have a horror of these eight-legged arthropods — it is said there are 40,000 different species — isn’t that enough to make a night terror?

Why am I writing about them while I have goose bumps on my arm just thinking about them?  Because I believe in ‘knowing thy enemy’. If you don’t know their habits, you may unexpectedly bump into them with unwanted results.

When we moved to South Carolina, everyone told us that there were a lot of bugs here. This is true. There are bugs here that not only have I never seen before, I still don’t know what some of them are. They are avoided at all costs. Don’t know what it is? — my motto — Don’t go near it and Go away from it.

But the spiders down here grow BIG. Super-size! Nightmare size. We had spiders up north where we lived all our lives, but they were the garden variety, and were seen mostly in the fall when it got cold and they wanted a winter retreat inside. Since the weather is warmer down south longer, the spiders have ample time and choice to pick where they will vacation for the winter. But there’s no room at THIS inn.

I researched spiders before we moved here. Especially southern ones. I wanted to know what was here and what to expect. There is such a thing as having too much knowledge. or too much information {TMI}. Sometimes, what you don’t know won’t hurt you. But there were some very interesting things I learned about spiders and how to live with them {goose bumps again and now I’m scratching}.

As much as I have trouble writing about them, spiders are actually good for the ecological balance – and especially as part of the garden. They help reduce the amount of caterpillars, moths who do damage to trees, and especially those pesty mosquitoes. All spiders are venomous, but most of them lack the fangs to inflict damaging venom to those who have the misfortune to be bitten. Those with fangs and venom are: Brown Recluse, Black Widow {BW} and the fairly new, Brown Widow.

The other thing about the south is that in the morning, you can clean off a porch, veranda or patio or anywhere – and go to the store. When you return, the zealous little octagon-fingered nightmare will have a new home all webbed out in its place. So, at some point, you have to know who are the enemies and whom you allow to be neighbors.

Recently, I almost went face-first into an enormous web in my flower garden. It was an orb web, similar to the web in ‘Charlotte’s Web’. Before my nose touched it, my heart started to pound, realizing that some mega Gigantra Spiderosis –my made-up name — probably made this giant web which was not there the day before. It was like the sci-fi movie kind of spider web. Lo and behold, my fear turned to reality and I was inches away from a ‘banana’ spider– more formally known as nephila clavipes, banana spider of North America. They possess venom similar in nature to the venom of the black widow, but far less potent, making it quite harmless to humans. A bite from a North American banana spider will not result in much more than a welt that will pass within 24 hours. Of course, I did not know this info that before the encounter. Here is a picture and the size compared to a human hand, which definitely and positively is not my hand.

 

banana spider

Needless to say, my heart pounded much more violently and I stood entranced in shock for a several seconds and then beat it into the house yelling and screaming — my M.O. for when I see a spider and everyone gets on red alert. Someone responded and was ready to kill it, and I said to catch it instead – I was totally, morbidly fascinated that something so scary lived right in my back yard. It was caught and put in a Tupperware bowl with lid and put in the garage so I could peruse it when my blood pressure resumed it’s normalcy.

The internet can be a wonderful thing or it can open doors where you’ve never been and I learned all about the banana spider. They are harmless, they are very helpful in gardens, they like to build their webs close to the house. {Great}. For those of you who prefer the book info: “N. clavipes banana spiders have elongated bodies that resemble a banana in shape and coloring, beautifully bright yellow and black. The males are about half the size of females, and dark colored. Females grow quite large with a body length of about 1.1 inches {33 cm}. North American banana spiders prefer sunny areas and tend to like tall plants or trees. They will often spin a web across a walkway or trail, spanning several feet. The web of the North American banana spider is orb-shaped, golden, and is stronger than most spiders’ webs. In fact its silk is stronger than comparable threads of Kevlar or steel.” They are unlikely to find themselves indoors either as adults or as hatchlings. 🙂

And then I read that they are so NOT aggressive; that you could even lean into them and press against them and they may not bite even then. Furthermore, if they do bite, it is very rare and quite harmless, and I relaxed. A little. Well, somewhat. Enough so, that I went into the garage to see the monster and this was about 5 hours later. She was still alive and sitting there so I told the spider-catcher to let her go back into the garden. He did just that. I was in the house behind locked doors, of course, and he said that when he let it go – the spider scurried away as fast as she could scamper, probably to tell the Banana Family that she just saw the biggest bugs ever and they captured her in a Tupperware bowl. She is still out there making more orb webs, which are quite spectacular if you don’t think about what’s on them.

Now, my family tells me that black widow spiders, too, are helpful in keeping bugs in your yard under control, but guess what? I would wipe one of those BW’s out as fast as I could. The banana spider {who now makes her orb web far enough from the house but still in view} is big enough that she will undoubtedly keep my yard and the yards on either side of our street free of pesty bugs.   And probably to the next street.

Marie Coppola © Revised October 2018

Stop Complaining – A Smile is the Lighting System of the Face.


Paul of Tarsus said: “Do you do all things without murmuring and disputing?”

Do you habitually complain, whine, argue and grumble? Do you know anyone who does not? It seems to have become a habit for many of us. By the way, the word “murmurings” refers to the complaints of the Israelites during their wanderings. You may know murmurings as being critical of others, bitterness, bickering, protesting or being unsociable. Pessimism. Negativity. In the New Testament, Paul said: “Do you do all things without murmuring (complaining) and disputing?” 

Have you noticed that people get caught up in heated and unending political discussions? — lots of murmurings going on there. Our change in government has caused new policies and procedures being enacted or offered – big time murmurings at home and the office. Don’t forget the economy or loss of jobs — just mention the price of gas — oh, big time grumble – every time they gas up. Many prices have gone up – layoffs are increasing – homes are foreclosed; there are countless things to whine and be bitter about and protest against. It hasn’t been easy for anyone.

St. Paul in his ministry while traveling and visiting many countries, cities in one of his directives, a Letter to the Philippians (2:14) — “Do all things without murmuring and disputing”.

If you are not a Christian, you may not be aware of Paul of Tarsus, also called Paul the Apostle, who really was a Hellenistic Jew who called himself the “Apostle to the Gentiles”. Along with Peter, the Rock of the Catholic Church and the first ‘Pope’, they were among the most notable of early Christian missionaries.

Paul’s conversion to a follower of Christ is a profound story of faith. He spread Christanity by accounts of his travels which are found as Letters in the New Testament of the Bible and are full of expositions of what Christians should believe and how they should live.

What do we do in answer to Paul’s instruction – not to complain in all things. Sometimes it’s hard not to vent. Sometimes it feels good to get it off your chest. It’s hard to comply with the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” How can we tweak that?

We could say, “If you can only say something negative, don’t say anything at all”. Negative begets negative. Positive begets positive. It’s difficult to be positive when things are looking bleak, but does it help to heap more negativity on the pile?

It can become a habit to view everything with a sour outlook which becomes a bitterness and creates more murmurings. There’s little worse than facing each day with doom and gloom. Becoming embittered won’t change the price of gasoline or bring the prices down. It won’t change the politics of the day or create a new healthcare plan.

Listen to yourself and see how you approach these subjects. Do you always say things, “I’m afraid that….” or “I know that things are going to get worse before they get better”…..or “I hate this or I hate that or I hate them or I hate him ….” or “That’s BS” or “they’re stupid” or “they are such a bunch of #&%$’s. And the beat goes on and the words become more heated and your murmurings may keep you from sleeping well at night. Your fear and hate will become self-fulfilling. You are what you think.

We can offset these complaints by offering words of kindness and compassion and hope. Change your heart and you will change your attitude. Kind thoughts and acts will replace your habits of negative thoughts. Negative and Positive thoughts cannot share the same space in your mind. Crowd out those negative ones. God is still in control and local, national and world events are not as hopeless as we make them. Many others before us have lived through challenging times; bad times seem to be cyclical and eventually change from bad to good.

Be an agent for change. They say if you force yourself to smile, you will feel uplifted. ‘A smile is the lighting system of the face’…it sure beats the frowns and growls. Smiles beget smiles. Maybe your co-worker or spouse or friend is tired of ‘murmuring’ or listening to yours, too, and you can make the difference to change that.

Don’t get bogged down by the signs of the times. If you are spiritual, try to maintain a cheerful, willing mind, as we do what God has instructed. “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Phil. 2:14-16a).

In a small village in a lovely setting in Sicily where we visited recently, there is a remembrance of Paul’s traveling through there and sharing his ministry. The church in the village is called Sao Paolo (St. Paul) and there is a marking along the road where it is said he slept. His spirit is still felt there.

Fill your spirit with Paul’s teaching: “Do all things without murmuring and disputing”. It can work and all you have to lose are your frown lines.

Marie Coppola © 2012   TBContinued…..Gombah’s Life Today ~ Chapter 10

YOLO vs. Saving for a Rainy Day ~ by Guest, Sharon Cece*

 Raleigh Frugal Family Examiner

Sharon Cece is a writer and columnist with a background in administrative management. Promoting thrift as an alternative to consumption, Sharon uses simple, common sense approaches to family budgeting and economizing. Her one-income saving solutions have appeared in a number of print and internet…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Outside this fine morning, the sun was shining brightly in a blue sky. There was no evidence whatsoever of clouds, rain or rumble. I deduced, therefore, that I did not need to drag along an umbrella or jacket, that I could spend the day – based on the information I was given sensorily – dry, warm and safe.

Thus, I left the house without aforementioned umbrella or coat, and planned my day with confidence that things would go according to plan.

Five hours later, as blue changed to gray then black, I – drenched and cold, shaking my fist at the sudden foul turn of events, plans ruined – couldn’t help but wonder how I could have prepared better for this bitter, unexpected atmospheric shake-up. Even the weatherman let me down!

Our financial skies tend to be as fickle – one day, you’re confident that you can pay all your bills into the unseen future, eat at restaurants comfortably a few times a week, buy the latest upgrade in technology (hey I work hard, I deserve it, and I need to keep up with my friends; after all, what will they think?), plan for retirement, put money away for the kids college, pay off my debt, savings…well, if I have money left over, sure, savings.

But life – often stormy and unpredictable – can take a sudden shift: a reduction in income, an equally unexpected increase in expenses, credit card debt, household repairs, childcare issues and medical expenses. Financial climates, like the weather, can change quickly and with little forewarning.

Metaphorically speaking, saving for a rainy day is always a good idea, but one the average American pushes to the back of the equally metaphoric closet. It’s the last thing on our growing list. The reason for this is what teens today refer to as “YOLO“, You Only Live Once. Most people agree that bills need to be paid, but the consensus gets a bit sketchy when it comes to what and how much. People want to live richly; the thought of being frugal and careful with spending is more frightening than saving for…well, what may not happen. What probably won’t happen. Live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow. We’ll worry about hard times if and when they hit…

Saving for a rainy day. No, not as much fun as living in the moment. Not as much fun, granted, as up-to-the-minute technology and nice cars and new furniture, and Starbucks coffee, loaded, with whipped cream (remember, I deserve it!).

Yet, saving for a rainy day provides a lot more relief when the rain starts to fall and you know you’re covered. Just like when you’re dragging that umbrella around – inconveniently, no doubt – until the moment you need it, and the drenched are standing there looking at a dry you, relief etched on your smiling face.

At some point, we all have to make tough financial decisions. By saying “No” to expensive items and frivolous purchases, we say “Yes” to our peace of mind and our security. We can’t stop rough times from coming, but by preparing financially, we can make those tougher times less stressful and still have good lives. What makes a good life anyway: is it “things”? Living just for today with little thought for tomorrow? Or is it living smart, prepared, comfortable but not excessively, content in the little things, joyful in those moments that don’t cost a single penny.

For frugal families, “YOLO” has a much different meaning. It doesn’t pertain to a day, a week or even a year. It’s a lifelong attitude. It means living within your means so you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to make mortgage payments (low payments, since you bought a small house with an equally small mortgage). How you’re going to get from point A to point B (you own all your cars and have no payments). How you’re going to eat (you eat at home, with inexpensive ingredients, learn to cook and bake, buy on sale, freeze, and don’t waste). How you’re going to make it during a stormy financial climate (you’ve put away money continuously, kept your debts and purchasing low, lived frugally, and you know you’ll be okay). YOLO = You Only Live One (Life), not One (Day)…

…for where will living it up for one day leave you in an unprepared tomorrow?

Sharon L. Cece © 2012

Gombah Becomes a Traveler………Chapter 2

 

Gombah thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors and Nello’s company. He loved prancing around outside and monitoring the garden, chasing chipmunks, squirrels and anything that moved. I would watch him from the deck running a marathon around the yard and dashing up a tree and down again – so high, I would imagine having to call the fire department. Occasionally, he would bring us a mouse dangling from his mouth or a bird flapping it’s wings but then he would meow and in doing so, would drop his prey which would run or fly away in much haste. Gombah was on the chase again.

 Gombah dropped & saved this poor bird when he meowed.

By the time that first winter approached, I was retired, too, from a downsizing and we decided to spend it in our condo in North Carolina by the beach. Gombah experienced his first travel venture which was 12 hours in the car. And he was a trooper.  It was in December and cooler that year than we expected.  We decided that instead of the expensive ‘house’ we bought for him to sleep on the screened porch, Gombah would be allowed in the condo.   “Temporarily”, added Nello. “And only when we are down here”.

At first, Gombah, was hesitant to do anything in the condo. He obviously knew that Nello was not comfortable having him inside. He didn’t know where to sit or lie down. Nello liked to take afternoon naps on the couch, so he patted his chest for the cat to join him – since he didn’t want him on the furniture. (Nello was still not sure if the condo was the same as our home and if the cat should be in it). The cat did not hesitate and so began the afternoon naps of the cat sleeping on Nello’s chest. And a strong bond was formed.

The ‘boys’ taking their afternoon siesta.  They became buddies that winter. I would remind Nello that although it was not our home, it was a home dwelling for us and the cat was in it. Nello said that we had no choice – “It is cold on the screened porch” and another milestone was reached.  He cared about the cat.   But, when we went home, I was reminded once again, “The cat goes back outside.”

After that, once we were home again, when the weather was bad, Gombah was allowed to come in through the breeze-way’s side door to sleep in the warm basement which we referred to as his ‘apartment.’ At first, Gombah was wary of going down in the basement, but became accustomed to his bed down there, and the nice warmness, but still avoided coming up into the house.  I’m suspicious that Nello reminded him from time to time in no uncertain terms that this was temporary. The cat was OK with this but as soon as it turned warm, he slept outside again at night. This cycle continued for a couple of years.  Summers in New Jersey and winters at the condo in North Carolina.

Gombah was getting to be a seasoned traveler. Every spring when we returned home from North Carolina , Gombah was happy to be in his outside element honing up on his predator skills and terrifying the smaller population. He was especially fond of chipmunks and we frequently spied him dangling one from his mouth in mother-cat fashion. The chipmunk’s heart could be seen pounding from his chest and we would say, “Let him go, Gombah.” Gombah would meow in return (probably in protest) and the chipmunk would escape with Gombah on his tail. He knew every chipmunk hole in the yard and would sit by them for hours waiting for them to come out to chase them. Gompah had a good two years in his beloved yard and woods. At heart, he loved being an outside cat.     (TBContinued.. Gombah the Cat is Attacked ~ Twice ~ Chapter 3)

© Marie Coppola, 2012; some rights reserved.

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Give a Little Love from your Heart

 

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them,and they bless you, the giver.” Barbara De Angelis

How do YOU communicate kindness and love?

No, we’re not talking about greeting cards here. Although, Hallmark makes a good profit on all those cards most of us send to loved ones. Just for the greeting card record, here is a list of the top 5 holidays, excluding Christmas, for sending greeting cards:

#1: Valentine’s Day -144 million greeting cards (It’s also the 2nd most celebrated holiday in the U.S. after Christmas)

#2: Mother’s Day – 133 million cards

#3: Father’s Day – 94  million cards

#4; Easter – 54 million cards

#5: Halloween – 20 million cards

Sending greeting cards can express the card’s sentiments for you – but you can communicate love and kindness in other ways. Here are some ways to give the best you have because you care.

1) Visit a friend in need, who could really use a visit and LISTEN to what he or she is telling you. Just listening, without interrupting, is one of the best ways to care about someone. Don’t offer advice or opinions. Just listen.

2) If someone tells you a juicy tidbit of gossip, don’t repeat it. Let it die with you. Gossip is hurtful and serves no purpose to repeat it. The old adage, ‘Don’t believe anything you hear and half of what you see’ is a good one.

3) Make a phone call to an ill, homebound person and just say hello. It will mean much to them and willl uplift them. Better yet, stop in and see them – and bring them a treat; a flower or a sweet. Or bring along some home-made chicken soup. The real treat is seeing you and having company.

4) Help out a frazzled mom and offer to take her kids to the library or some other function. It’s an hour or two out of your time; it will mean the world to her.

5) Visit one of the nursing homes and bring some travel toiletries or small gifts. Some of the live-ins there may not have had a visitor like you for years.

6) Listen patiently when your next-door senior neighbor complains yet again about barking dogs. It may be the only communication he has had all day.

7) Give the woman in church who is celebrating her 80th birthday – a hug. She may not have been hugged in a long time. It’s a gift she will remember. Elderly seniors who live alone are usually in need of affection and hugs.

8) Write a heartfelt letter to someone who has done a kindness for you. Don’t email or call your thank you. Write him or her a note or letter – hand-written messages are becoming a rarity – and are special to the receivers.

9) Invite a recent widow or widower over for dinner. They are not used to eating alone and will welcome the invitation.

10) Check your pantry for extra cans that may be expiring in the next months. Donate them to a Helping Hand or Outreach program. These organizations pass foodstuffs quicker than they will expire. You may end up throwing them away — and someone will be extremely grateful for them.

11) Surprise a special child or your own or grandchild and plan a drop-in lunch visit at their school. Watch their eyes light up when they see you walk in. Small children thrive when you show them special attention.

12) Valentines come in packages and contain just a happy greeting – no mushiness. Buy a couple of packs and send them to everyone you know who is alone, divorced or widowed. Valentine’s Day can be a lonely one for singles and unattached folks. It will uplift them. And you, too.

Small acts of kindness may be the best that you can give.  – it costs very little when you care and share your love.

© Marie Coppola,  January  2017 revised  

 


Come See For Yourself ~ The Good Life in Southport, NC

 

Nestled on the coast of North Carolina, between the bustling city of Wilmington and the golf oasis and cultural center of Myrtle Beach, is a small fishing village called Southport.

This lovely, historic town located on Cape Fear River, blends small-town charm with a tourist’s delight. The center of this picturesque town with its centuries-old live oak trees, with hanging moss, looks down upon the River, giving you a panoramic view not only of the River but also of Bald Head Island and its famous lighthouse as you shop or dine or stroll.

There is a large variety of boutiques, antiques and one-of-a-kind stores, and memorable lunches or dinners where culinary delights are offered. The Atlantic Ocean is minutes away on Caswell Beach and Oak Island and there are numerous attractions with which you can fill a day or week or more.    .

Southport is a great getaway from the winter doldrums or wintry weather; the average temperature in January and February ranges from the 40s to 60s requiring a light jacket or sweater. It is usually sunny. In all the time we’ve been coming here, there were snow flurries twice in 10 years. One time, it covered the lawns and by the time I grabbed my camera and drove to the beach to capture the beach covered with snow – it’s a 3 minute drive – it was all gone and the sun was out.

Having been a winter resident of Southport the past ten years and loving every minute of it, we have visited and dined in most of the local establishments. We love this area so much that we bought a house and moved close by. We’re 40 minutes south ~ the weather is the best thing ~ winter or summer.  Along with low taxes.

Southport offers many state-of-the-art golf facilities -4 top notch courses at St. James Plantation http://www.stjamesplantation.com/ – 2 miles away from Southport. There’s also golfing on Bald Head Island, a unique island lifestyle.

 can only reach Bald Head island by a 20-minute Ferry ride. Daytrip: Cost is $16 per person round trip. Children 12-under $8.00. Once there, since there are no automobiles allowed, you can rent a golf cart, which is the main means of transportation on the island. You can spend a lovely day discovering the island, which has many attractions, including North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse, Old Baldy, at the Smith Island Museum of History and climb to the top for a breathtaking view of the surrounding area’s outstanding natural environment. Best restaurants here: River Pilot Cafe (best salmon) http://www.southporttimes.com/riverpilotcafe.html or the Bald Head Island Club ~  http://www.bhiclub.net/Club/Scripts/Home/home.asp

A short ride from Southport is the Orton Plantation, an azalea delight in the spring; an old plantation where you can discover the grounds and marshlands – there may be alligators around, so do this in groups! I did see a baby alligator sunning one day.

Right outside of Wilmington – about a 20-25 minute ride from Southport, are the famous Battleships. The USS North Carolina, a WW2-era US Navy battleship, now rests near the mouth of the Cape Fear River where she serves as a floating museum and war memorial.

Also in Wilmington – you can tour the active EUE Screen Gems film studio where movies are made – many films are made here, including television’s Dawson’s Creek series. On November 12, 2009, Gov. Perdue signed an Executive Order that will help maintain North Carolina’s competitive edge in the global film industry. This Order reestablished the North Carolina Film Council, at a ceremony at EUE Screen Gems studios in Wilmington, home to the largest studio lot east of California. We’ve been to tour there several times and met actors and producers who show you around the sets. If you have film-acting or producer/director ambitions, or want to sign up for bit parts ~ or just tour the facilities, it is a fascinating place to be.

Recent major motion pictures filmed in the state include “Nights in Rodanthe,” (author Nicholas Sparks is from NC) “Leatherheads” and “The Secret Life of Bees.” The NC film industry is also home to the CW Network’s One Tree Hill TV series, as well as hundreds of commercial and industrial productions each year throughout the state.   http://euescreengems.com/

You can also take another ferry ride – Southport Ferry – to Fort Fisher (a great Civil War Museum and NC Aquarium are there) – the ferry departs from a dock located off Moore Street in Southport. Rates for the ferry are: Pedestrians – $1; motorcycles – $3; bicycles – $2; Vehicles depending on size – $5 to $15.

Back in Southport, along the Cape Fear River, there are many fresh seafood restaurants – fresh from the catch – which are picturesque and charming along the winding road of the marina. You can dine outside on the decks while pelicans are perched nearby.   Very close by.   Among our favorites  ~~~~

This restaurant was written up as the best restaurant in Southport.  It looks like an old warehouse on the water and it is called The Provision Company http://www.provisioncompany.com/ . Best shrimp just netted – (25 to a plate) and the best hamburgers. This place is casual and humming – the atmosphere is great and friendly. Don’t let the building fool you.  Pelicans like this place.

We like the Live Oak Cafe – intimate, quaint, separate candle-lit rooms, the food is delicious – not casual. Picture & Info: http://liveoakcafenc.com/

If you like New York style restaurants, this next place is for you – Joseph’s. The owners are from New York ,and Frank Sinatra sings lots of tunes here.  Make reservations, but if you have to wait, you will have a friendly time at the bar meeting all the people from NY, NJ, PA and Michigan – because that’s who all move down here!  This restaurant is on the water, great view inside and dining outside and the Italian food is New York style and delicious.   I recommend this place and it is moderately priced.   Picture & info: (put your sound on for this one. – Frankie’s singing) http://www.josephsitalianbistro.com/

Some more places:    http://www.insiderpages.com/s/NC/Southport/Restaurants

Can you tell we love it down here?   Come on down!   We’ll do lunch or dinner on the water.

© Marie Coppola,  Updated November 2011; some rights reserved.