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Features

  • Holidays coming … and that means lots of tasty things to eat and drink. Time for cooks to start strutting their stuff in the kitchen. Of course, about the only thing that I know how to cook, though, is instant oatmeal in the microwave. I’ll leave holiday cooking to the experts.

  • By Linda Arnold

    Does it seem that everywhere you look you see images of happiness and glee, along with anticipation of close family gatherings and chestnuts roasting on an open fire?

    You’re not exactly feeling it, though, and you don’t know why. Holidays can do that to us. Internally, there are huge emotional triggers. And, externally, it’s hard to sustain that level of heartfelt awe in the Folgers coffee commercials or Hallmark movies.

  • Chloe was a beautiful, if occasionally blundering, bulldog puppy. Her only issue was she was growing too fast. Her pet parents plied her with an endless supply of “training treats,” leading to excess weight gain.

  • Another big holiday market, a new Christmas Village featuring more than 50 unique vendors, debuts from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, in Mulberry Park at 123 Mulberry St. in Shallotte.

    Celebrate with Santa Claus, hayrides, personnel from police and fire departments, children’s crafts and the Stardusters Big Band presenting a Christmas show.

    Other highlights include winter vegetables, artisans, jewelers, photos with Santa, hot cider and maybe even a few extra holiday surprises.

  • West Brunswick High School Theatre Arts classes will present the holiday classic, "It's a Wonderful Life."

    Performances are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 14, and Friday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. in the West Entertainment Student Theatre, Room 123 at the school.

    Admission is free, but donations are accepted to support the theatre arts program.

    For more information, email Jennifer Creighton-Negron atjcreighton@bcswan.net.

  • The annual Bolivia Fire Department Christmas Parade will be held under the lights this year, beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.

    The parade route will remain the same, proceeding from the Brunswick County Government Complex, 30 Government Center Drive, through Bolivia on Old Ocean Highway and ending at Bolivia Elementary School at 4036 U.S. 17 Business E.

    Lineup for parade participants begins 5 p.m. at the government complex.

    The road will be blocked off at 5:45 p.m. and will reopen at the end of the parade.

  • Commandant: Bruce Smith

    Meets: Second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Shallotte Town Hall

    Contact: Bruce Smith, shallotte2005@gmail.com

    For Toys for Tots gift assistance in Brunswick County, call Brunswick Family Assistance at 754-4766 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Last date of application this year is Friday, Dec. 15.

  • Blues & Beach Music Concert

    The Heavy Hitters of Soul present a Blues & Beach Music Concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at Odell Williamson Auditorium on the campus of Brunswick Community College in Bolivia.

    The concert will feature Jim Quick & Coastline, Clarence Carter, Theodis Ealey and Pat Cooley.

    Tickets are $35 general and $40 premiere and available through 5:15 p.m. Dec. 8.

    Go to bccowa.com or call the Odell Williamson Auditorium box office at 755-7416.

    ‘Restless Heart Christmas’

  • Visitors to Brunswick Town will once again be feted with an up-close look at how American colonists celebrated the yuletide as the state historic site stages its annual An 18th Century Christmas from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10.

    Highlights include costumed interpreters providing on-the-hour guided tours of St. Philips Anglican Church on the grounds of the pre-Revolutionary port site overlooking the Cape Fear River.

  • By Linda Arnold

     

    Sir Richard Branson says, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re too small.”

    That quote got me thinking about the risk/reward ratio of our behaviors. If there’s something that’s been tugging at you and you keep ignoring it, maybe you’re playing too safe in your life.

    Of course, there are lots of valid reasons to pull back. If you find you’re continually doing this, though, it may be time to redefine your dream. Or get off the fence. 

  • Each fall I usually get one or two phone calls concerning autumn foliage, with the callers wondering, invariably, if this season’s coloration will be better (or worse) than last fall.

    It’s a good question, but one that is basically impossible to answer, of course. There is no way of measuring beauty. That’s my normal response. And even in a drought period, you never know exactly how the resultant fall foliage may be affected. I think, also, that the amount of light available during the day has a real effect on autumnal foliage.

  • Ginny is the latest canine addition to the Ward family. As soon as she joined our pack, she became very attracted to the whole foods dished in her bowl. She’d been raised exclusively on kibble, and these fresh textures, tastes and smells were enticing. Carrots, apple slices and cooked beans quickly became some of her favorites.

  •  By John Nelson

    “… the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree …”

                King Henry IV, part 1; Act 4, Scene 2.

     

     Shakespeare would have made a fine plant taxonomist, as he understood the importance of fruits in identifying plants.

  • By Linda Arnold

     

    How much time do you spend turning things over in your mind — again and again? It’s hard to make a move because you keep second-guessing yourself.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we had personal fact checkers, like the political ones, to filter out those obsessive thoughts in our heads? You know … the ones that can often run rampant and build on top of each other. 

  • Here is a list of this week’s municipal and nonprofit holiday events to celebrate the spirit of Christmas.

    Calabash parade, tree lighting

    Come celebrate the 22nd annual Calabash Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade in downtown Calabash on Friday night, Dec. 1.

    Holiday fun includes local entertainment, candlelight caroling, hot cocoa and refreshments, children’s crafts and a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus.

  • Grissettown Longwood Fire & Rescue at 758 Longwood Road will host its 12th Annual Christmas Toy & Train Show from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2 and 3 and Dec. 9 and 10.

    Layouts run the gamut, from the smallest “Z” scale toted in a suitcase to larger G, O, HO, N-scale models in multiple layouts, in addition to 1/32-scale.

    Displays are highlighted with authentic train sounds, adding bells and whistles to an already popular pastime.

  • By Linda Arnold

     

    What a difference one letter makes! I like to think of ThanksLIVING as an endless season.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like the turkey and trimmings as much as anyone else. It’s just that the spirit of the season could have a much longer shelf life.

    Unlike other traditions, the season of ThanksLIVING has no beginning or end. It’s rooted in the spirit of gratitude that can occur all year long.

     

    Practice makes perfect

  • By John Nelson

     

  • Each Thanksgiving, Americans families and friends gather around tables, pile plates full of food, remember good times and those who left too soon or were unable to join, and toast another holiday season. In 68 percent of U.S. homes, a dog, cat or other furry, feathered or scaled companion will be eagerly anticipating dropped morsels, secret servings and leftovers.

    I encourage you to include your pet in celebrating the holidays whenever possible. Here are some tips for safely sharing Thanksgiving with your pets.