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By Liam O’Mahony In the early 2000s, I lived in Seattle, where snow is rare but winter adventures are a five-hour drive to the resorts of Whistler, British Columbia. This trip evolved into a Presidents Day weekend tradition for nine lifelong Emerald City friends who embraced me, the outsider from Western New York, among their ranks. On my first excursion “up the hill…

By Jeffrey M. Bowen Nearly every day we encounter things that just do not make sense.  We try to figure out an explanation and usually end up building our preconceptions into a rationale we can accept.  All seems to go well until a better explanation comes along, or perhaps disaster occurs, or perplexity hounds us enough to reinvestigate. Curious encounters can be wi…

By Nancy Jo Eckerson I know this sounds crazy, but ever since I can remember, I couldn’t wait to get older. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun being young. My youth wasn’t spent in a huge state of discontentment, but I had lots of dreams and desires that would not — could not — happen until I had a few years or even a number of decades under my belt. I admired my middle-a…

By Diane B. Hyzy This has been a crazy winter for our entire nation. With hurricanes, mudslides, forest fires, ice storms and blizzards, it seems as though everyone is dealing with some type of weather challenge.  All of these newsworthy stories got me thinking about everything that people who live in warm climates never get to experience that us lucky Western New Yorke…

By Shirley Palmerton I loved walking across the fields in the 30s to my grandfather’s farm. Sometimes he would sit in the old rocker in the kitchen with grandma’s apron across his knees. Braced between his legs was an old iron that was taken from the back of the stove. Using a hammer, he would crack hickory nuts against it. The shells fell into a pail between his fee…

By Lisa Barone My stars were feeling out of alignment. There was definitely a full moon rising in the south that was weighing me down. I also felt my chakras needed unclogging so I could develop a new vision.  With all these inner and outer forces surrounding me, I realized I needed to change. Still keeping true to my religion, I sought out trying different modalitie…

By Adele R. Haas Going to a funeral is not easy  for any of us. Deciding  to attend , starts with, are you a family member, is it in town, how well do you know the deceased or their family , will your absence/presence matter to anyone ?  Will driving be a problem?   Did you learn by phone , or after reading the obituary pages in the Buffalo News?  and then it's, "oh no,…

By Marge McMillen We all go through stages in our lives, don’t we?  I know from pics of myself that I was a cherubic baby and an adorable little girl, but by the age of nine, I had fully morphed into the ugly duckling stage.  My naturally curly hair was now a mass of brown frizz, and I had a nose that insisted on being the star of my face.  My body was much like that of…

By Barbara Burgett My grandfather was a very accepting person. I don’t know if it was because his family immigrated from Italy to America or that his wife was also an immigrant, who came from Poland. It could have been because he saw the atrocities humans did to other humans when he liberated concentration camps during World War II. After the war, he worked with an …

By Larry Fertel When I drive to work I pass by several popular coffee and doughnut shops that are endemic to our area. You all know the establishment I am talking about. You can see them at almost every exit of Route 219 and the Thruway. You can’t go more than a mile or two on any major street in this area without running into them. There cannot seem to be enough of the…

By Barbara E. Ochterski People tend to avoid cemeteries or seem uncomfortable, even fearful, when it comes to visiting final resting places. Not me. For the past several years, for my own enjoyment, I have photographed historic, endearing sometimes comic and thought-provoking gravestones. Often I find on the still legible older stones, lovely designs, chiseled images…

By Lynn Lombard Mindfulness: “Being conscious or aware of something; focusing one's awareness on the present moment, especially as part of a therapeutic or meditative technique.” On New Year’s Eve last year, a friend asked our group to come up with one word we wished for ourselves in 2017. Immediately, I heard the answer loud and clear: mindfulness. It was a term tha…

By Michael Scully What comes to mind when you think of the word "hero?" I'm guessing that for most of us, the names that come to mind might include a famous war legend, a skilled political leader, an inspiring religious figure, or a beloved actor/actress or athlete. Which leads to my next question: what is it that truly defines a hero/heroine? Some might point to awa…

By Kathleen Gurbacki Sometimes my kitchen smells soooo good. Especially when I have a brown sugar cake in the oven. Melanie, if you are reading this, I know you agree with me. She and I always enjoyed this recipe.  But, sometimes, my kitchen stinks. It is for a good cause though. The bucket under the sink is a catch-all for fruit and vegetable peelings. When it gets ful…

By Pratibha Bansal There are people who have deeply influenced me, unbeknownst to them, at critical points in my life. Robert Wilmers, whom I knew for 25 years, was one of them. I am a pain specialist in the Kensington-Eggert area. Over the years, my patients told stories about the innovative education at the Westminster Community Charter School for grades K-8. I dec…