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30 Things Springtime Challenge

While the first day of spring is in March, nature’s full expression of the season largely comes in April. A grand scale burst of colorful renewal pierces the muted, dreary gray of winter. Warmth and light and new life emerge, as flora and fauna offer up a fresh generation, suggesting encouragement, hope and better days ahead. The world is made new, once again.

As far as I know, all cultures value and celebrate the coming of spring. Manifestations of these celebrations and the evidence of how we value all things “new,” extend across the entire spectrum of human experience. We see it in terms the spiritual, as in the Christian celebration of Easter, all the way to the commercial, where we are drawn materially to anything described as “new and improved.” New is attractive—almost addictive—as anyone considering the purchase of just about any device manufactured by Apple, can attest.

I think this is one of the secrets of great teachers. Effective educators know, instinctively perhaps, that we all are naturally drawn to whatever is “new,” and if they are able to reframe a subject in such a way that it appears so, it becomes much easier for students to learn.

Certainly, one of the greatest joys in life is learning something new. This is true regardless of whether we’re talking about a major, long-term project, like learning a new language, or something relatively quick and simple, like learning how to tie a knot for the first time. We’re hard wired to value and enjoy the “new stuff” of life.

For example, the other day, I stumbled upon a children’s book that was, of all thinglists, about learning. It was entitled Memory, by Herbie Brennan, published by Scholastic in 1997. The first page captured my attention immediately—on it was a list of thirty completely unrelated items (see inset list). The page ended with the challenge: “If you can’t close your eyes and remember every item inside five minutes, you need this book!”

In intrigued, I accepted the mental challenge tried to memorize what I could in five minutes. When I tested myself, I could barely come up with fewer than half (less than 15) of the items. I then read through chapter two and learned how to apply a right brain “loci” technique of associating words with images and locations. After re-reading the entire list again just once, only this time using this new technique, I was able to recall the entire list, in order, on the first try, only missing five items (25 correct).

Now, you may have learned all about this technique long ago, so you’re way ahead of me. But, the point is, it was new to me, and the joy I felt in discovering it felt just like springtime—fresh, new and exciting!

So, this year, make spring even better. Learn something new and share what you’ve learned with someone else. Let’s make it our goal to help nature in her mission of making life “new and improved.”

April Showers

Come on! Where is the rain? I am old enough to remember many rainy Aprils, so let’s go…

1. One of the great entertainers of the early 20th century had a huge hit with “April Showers.” Who was he?

2. A famous Saturday Evening Post cover of the 1940s showed managers and umpires gathered around in rain gear trying to decide whether to start the game. Who was the illustrator?

3. A famous story called “Rain” has been made into a movie more than once. Who was the author?

4. Same story, who was the main character, a South Seas woman who with a shady past?

5. In what show did we hear “Don’t Let it Rain on my Parade?”

6. The final play of the 2012 World Series featured the SF Giants 2nd baseman holding his hand out in the rain, praying the game would be over. Who was he?

He Said / She Said with Robin and Shawn

Dear HSSS,
I saw a good friend’s husband out with another woman. It sure didn’t look like business and it definitely didn’t look like family. He did not see me. Should I go to my friend with this information, or should I mind my own business?
~ TMI in Danville

He Said: From a man’s perspective, I just want to be sure you aren’t making a mountain out of a molehill. So, did you see anything inappropriate, or is this just a hunch? If it’s just a hunch then absolutely MYOB. If there’s more to it, then you should first bring it up to the husband and see if he can offer an explanation. If he admits to something or has a bogus explanation, then you owe it to your friend to tell her everything you know, guide her through the discovery process and be there as her rock for whatever she needs.

She Said: Old school would say MYOB, but we’ve graduated and it’s time for an advanced degree. If you’re sure of what you saw, go directly to the husband and tell him either he can tell his wife or you will. That should do it. But, if you do end up being the messenger, break it to your friend gently. Tell her what you saw and then offer to drive as the two of you stealthily follow him next time he has to “head back to the office” after hours. Best to rip the band-aid off quickly but circle the wagons for a lot of emotional support.

Dear SSHS,
We just built our dream cabin in Tahoe. It sleeps 16 comfortably, so not surprisingly, we’re hosting many friends. I love entertaining, but it takes a lot of work to prepare the place for guests and even more work after they all go home. Any thoughts on how I might make this as much fun for me as it is for them?
~ Exhausted in Pleasanton

She Said: Time for a little lesson in “house rules.” When everyone’s seated at your beautiful table, enjoying the delicious meal you undoubtedly prepared the evening of their arrival, simply bring up the fact that you are so glad everyone’s here and to ensure a good time is had by all, you’ll need the following: All guests strip their beds the morning of departure, put sheets and used towels in the washer, remake their bed with the second set of sheets in each closet, and return the freshly washed and folded sheets to closet backup position and towels to linen cupboards. Non-participants are not invited back.

He Said: Personally, I think hosting guests is more work than payoff, but if it’s something you enjoy, then let’s add the food ground rules. Guests staying for more than one night should help out with meal costs and prep. A good rule of thumb is to bring enough food and drink for everyone in the cabin for at least one or two full meals, so assign these meals to your guests well in advance. Cleanup afterwards should involve everyone who partook of the meal, bringing the kitchen back to pre-meal condition. Using biodegradable paper plates makes cleanup a whole lot easier too! Advance notice of cabin requirements is totally appropriate and will be appreciated by those who want to enjoy your place but just need a little guidance.

Robin Fahr is a public relations specialist and co-host with Shawn Shizzo on Conversations and He Said/She Said seen daily on Tri-Valley TV, Channel 30 and online at www.trivalleytv.org. Send your questions to AskHeSaidSheSaid.com.HeSaidSheSaidgraphic

Railroad Station Bar and Grill

This is one of those stories that requires some divination, as the events that led to this discovery quickly surpassed the mental fortitude of both parents on duty at the time.

We have dear friends in Eureka that we visit a couple of times every year (quick shout out to Nate and Jen Padula). This pilgrimage up north, with children in tow of course, has been happening since our son was a few months old, so needless to say, we are battle-tested and proven.

As most trips, the hardest part is the journey home—284 miles back to responsibility. The furthest distance from this Northern reprieve, that we will ever be, until the next time we do it again. The motions this day were no different from before, suffice two minor details. Load the car, get the kids their necessary accouterments and complacently head home. The two differences were 1. My son’s cargo included milk (that’s a first) and 2. It was a much warmer day than we realized.

Bring on the twists and turns of mountain driving.

Somewhere between Ukiah and Geyserville and upon asking how our oddly quiet boy was doing, we saw that look. Parents know it all too well. The 100-yard stare and a skin tone more closely the palette of gray than pink. No sooner had we determined that he wasn’t “well” than he let go with decorating the whole backseat and himself in car snacks and milk.

Panic set in as we quickly found a safe place to pull over and do damage control. Loading us all back into the car, he in fresh pajamas and all windows open, did we determine that we would need to stop somewhere to regroup (and get my wife a beer).

Next stop, Cloverdale!

Once off the 101 we pulled into the first place with a neon “OPEN” sign. This place was the Railroad Station Bar and Grill. I went in to scope it out prior to unbuckling our brood or causing any further disappointment to my wife. It was clean (check), sparsely populated (check), had a full menu (check) and the Monday Night Football Game was on (bonus). I waved the troops to advance to the front.

Immediately, a most jovial, but not overly happy, server greeted us. She seemed very pleased to see us and even more excited that we had not been there before, acting almost like she had been expecting us and would show us to our favorite table. Without asking she brought a highchair and a wonderful bottle with three glasses (the baby was still “on the boob”) of fresh spring water, then retreated to give us the necessary space to regroup.

Such an oddly identified place, it is in an old, virtually untouched from the outside, train station on the corner where once-great steel steam machines would stop, and but for a few train pictures or model engines, the likeness stopped there. Instead, there are pictures and homage to the owners’ clear Nepalese decent, and oddly again, it just worked!

The food was unexpected at best. Hand made veggie burgers made with bulgur wheat, black beans, mushrooms, mirepoix, pickled onions and Monterey jack cheese, and all meat burgers grass fed. Stuffed tomatoes, hand cut fries and clam fettuccini. Seventy craft beers available and wines from nearby Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. We had found our oasis.

Best of all, nobody cared or mentioned my son in pajamas. The Chef brought our food and later returned to see if we approved and the bartender stopped by just to say “hi.”

By the time we left, we were ready for whatever the road and the approaching week had in store, and now, every time we go and visit our friends in Eureka, we visit our new friends in Cloverdale on the way home.

114 Railroad Avenue, Cloverdale, CA 95425

Beauty Buzz: Springtime Transformations

Springtime is a marvelous season to make a change to your make-up wardrobe. It is positive, energizing and uplifting. It encourages you to shift gears, wearing different lip shades, radiant blushes and softer eye palates. As sumptuous sweaters get traded for lightweight silks and cottons, the same texture transformation should be happening in your make-up bag.

This spring, textures brilliantly straddle the line between extraordinarily silky and luxuriously velvety. High-pigment color feels shockingly light and the shades of the season are effortlessly wearable in subdued nudes that are softer and more sophisticated than ever before.

Spring Protocol 2015

Lipstick Attitude
There is a Nude Attitude this season, giving you that effortless, natural lip look. Lipsticks are silky and sheer; they soften and soothe, all while hydrating your lips. Try a soft-nude or a silky-mauve tone to give the lips a fuller, on-trend, plumping sophistication.

Lip Gloss Manners
New this season is the all-in-one plumping-gloss. New technologies in cosmetics make life so much easier and efficient. Look for lip glosses that have these key ingredients such as: Plumping action, peptides to hydrate, ultra shine and sheer color. Your lips will look smoother and more youthful than ever!

Lip Liner Etiquette
Lips are supposed to look smooth, full and defined. The new technologies in lip liners are phenomenal. Try a new, waterproof lip-stain to define and add fullness to the lip. Using a gel stain liner not only makes the lips look fuller, but also holds lipstick on for hours longer. If you don’t want to use a lipstick, find a lip liner that is close to the same color as your lips and apply all over your pout for a beautiful effortless, full-lip look.

With every change there comes a season, and with every season there comes a change. This spring we are not only changing colors in our cosmetics, but we are doing some changes in our business. The Rouge Cosmetics is moving to the heart of beautiful downtown Danville—to 145 East Prospect Avenue, Suite #100. With constant change in life, they say change is good; it is positive and challenging for the soul.
Drop by and tell us what you think of our new location at 145 East Prospect Avenue Suite #100, opening April 1st! We would love to see you and hear your comments on your new shopping experience.