•     You know the old saying: “Early to bed and owning a pet can make you healthier, wealthier and wise.” OK, maybe I added the pet part, but it’s true. We’ve known for decades that owning a pet can improve everything from high blood pressure, heart disease, stress and chronic pain. A new study concludes that pet ownership also saves us billions in health care costs. That’s news worth barking about.

  •  By Linda Arnold


    Happy spring! The rejuvenation of nature — and also ourselves. Ushered in by that fifth season on the calendar: March Madness.

    I’m not sure when bracketology became part of our vernacular, but it’s here to stay. And this years’ NCAA basketball tournament has given rise to lots of examples.

  •     By John Nelson

    Spring seems to be here now … for good? The other night we had a light frost in much of South Carolina , but we left some houseplants out on the front stoop and they don’t seem to be hurt by it. It’s that odd time of year after the daffodils, when crabapples and wisteria are just starting to show color. The birds in my neighborhood really seem to be stretching their vocal cords, too. I think it’s spring!

  • Now that spring has sprung, the Sea Notes Choral Society is wasting no time presenting its spring concert, “That’s What Friends Are For.”

    The popular Brunswick County vocal group has scheduled two performances, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 3, at Odell Williamson Auditorium on the campus of Brunswick Community College in Bolivia.

    Admission is free, but donations are always welcome at performances by the nonprofit organization.

  • One year after its debut, the Old Bridge Preservation Society is presenting another showing of its documentary, “The Heartbeat of Sunset Beach.”

    The showing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, at Ingram Planetarium at 7625 High Market St. in Sunset Beach. Cake and refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. as the OBPS celebrates its fifth birthday.

  • Easter is on its way.

    In keeping with that, area events are heralding the season.

    Aquatic Easter egg hunt

    An aquatic Easter egg hunt is once again scheduled at the Dinah E. Gore Fitness & Aquatics Center on the campus of Brunswick Community College in Bolivia.

    Kids are invited to bring their own waterproof bucket or sand pail, a swimsuit and towel for the swimming pool event scheduled from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 25.

  •     By John Nelson

    “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” — G. Santayana.


  • My cat loves me. Well, I’m pretty sure my cat at least likes me. OK, I know for certain my cat tolerates me. What is love, anyway? How can we tell if our cats share the same fondness for us we feel for them? I interviewed countless (OK, it was only a few) cat lovers to identify 10 ways cats demonstrate devotion and express affection for their human family members. While not a scientifically robust research study, I am a qualified scientist robust in researching. Without further ado, here are 10 signs your cat loves — or at least likes — you.

  •  By Linda Arnold


    We hear a lot these days about credit scores. “Find out your credit score.” “Monitor all three reporting services.” “How to raise your credit score.”

    It occurs to me, though, there’s an ongoing credit score that is totally internal – and within our control.  And we hold the key to this credit score, not some third-party institution.

  •  Each year, more than 7 million pets end up in U.S. animal shelters. That equals 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats desperate to find a new home and escape euthanasia. Nearly half of the pets relinquished to shelters aren’t adopted and are euthanized. For years, there’s been concern in the shelter and veterinary community black dogs were less likely to be adopted. Recently, a large U.S. study showed no evidence for this so-called “black dog syndrome.” This is great news to me personally and will help in ways you might not consider at first.

  •  It can happen in an instant.

    Everything is going along fine, and then you get that phone call. Or see that “breaking news” story. And your world gets rocked.

    Whether it’s a medical diagnosis, a financial crash or a divorce, you’re called to action. And, depending on your fortitude and support system, you may act (or react) differently at different times.

    Take a look at the following quiz to spotlight your natural tendencies — and provide insights for course corrections.

  •  By John Nelson

    There might be a monster in your back yard,King Kong of the garden. Be careful if you monkey around with it.

  • Celebrate the official arrival of spring (March 20) with the following local events.

    Arbor Day in Carolina Shores

    The town of Carolina Shores will have its eighth annual Arbor Day Celebration starting at 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 18, at Carolina Shores Town Hall at 200 Persimmon Road.

    Traditional highlights include a tree planting as well as visits from a class from Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary School and the Calabash Fire Department, which is supposed to bring its new fire engine.

    For more information, call town hall at 575-4877.

  • Country-rock duo Idlewheel headlines the next Listen Up Brunswick County concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 18, at Brunswick Community College’s Odell Williamson Auditorium event center.

    Craig Bickhardt and Jack Sundrud, who compose the duo, know the high road of their genre better than most. Bickhardt was a member of renowned Nashville group SKB (Schuyler, Knobloch and Bickhardt), which enjoyed country radio success with hits like Bickhardt and Thom Schuyler’s collaborative “This Old House.”

  •  It’s time for our twice-yearly clock adjustment to save energy and eliminate excuses to wake up earlier. Everyone in U.S., with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii, sets our clocks forward one hour at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of each March.

    This inevitably causes millions of Americans to miss worship the following morning and millions more to be sleepy for the next couple of weeks. While we pour an extra cup of coffee on Monday to shake off the lost sleep, what effect does daylight saving time have on our pets?

  •  By Linda Arnold

     “When you tell yourself your story over and over, it almost becomes part of your DNA.”


    Do you feel stuck? In the doldrums? Can’t seem to get any traction?

    Well, you’re not alone. And there’s a universal reason you’re feeling this way. It’s the story you keep telling yourself:

    ·      I can’t seem to finish this project, no matter how hard I try.

  •  By John Nelson

    “In an early spring we see the appearing buds; which to prove fruit, hope gives not so much warrant as despair that frosts will bite them.” King Henry IV, Part 2: I: 3.


    I’m just like Lord Bardolph, who was afraid that just as soon as the new buds start to show, a cold spell would come along and “nip” them.

  • With spring and Easter less than two weeks away, area events are starting to bloom.

    Following is a lineup of events scheduled this weekend.

    Brunswick County Chamber Home Show

    A variety of vendors showcasing landscaping, gardening, outdoor lighting, lawn equipment, pools and spas and home improvement will be at the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce Home Show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at Shallotte Middle School, 225 Village Road.

    Admission is $5, with children 8 and younger admitted free.

    Leland Bark in the Park

  • The Chicago Brass Quintet will perform in the next series concert at Odell Williamson Auditorium on the campus of Brunswick Community College at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3.

    The Chicago Brass Quintet was formed in 1964 to promote appreciation and enjoyment of brass chamber music through performances, educational workshops, broadcasts, recording and commissioning new works.

  •  By John Nelson

    “Happy, in my judgment, the wandering herbalist, who clear alike from vain, and that worse evil, vexing thoughts, peeps round for some rare flow’ret of the hills, or plant of craggy fountains.” Attributed to William Wordsworth.


    My office bookshelf offers a charming little book called, “How to Study Plants, or Introduction to Botany,” first published in 1879, although my copy was a reprint from 1882. This book is by professor Alphonso Wood, who was born in 1810.