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Mom’s greeting card is unreadable to young people

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A plaintive email posted on Yahoo Answers: A questioner says her mother gave her a beautiful Valentine’s Day card with a lovely written message.

She couldn’t read a word. It was written in cursive, a foreign language to young people, who were never taught the script used for a thousand years in their language, the script of their parents and grandparents. Was she missing something not learning cursive?

The answers from kids pointed out they were faced with cursive writing in letters and in school and they couldn’t read it either. Some urged the questioner to learn on his/her own.

Cursive writing was taken out of school curriculum in 2010, a dying, unnecessary art to be replaced by keyboarding.

Problem is people still use cursive. They send handwritten letters and cards to their children and grandchildren. Do they know their sentiments are in language foreign to the recipient?

Will it become, as some joke, a secret language?

Despite studies that show handwriting improves fine motor skills and enhanced the composition of ideas, schools have all but made cursive obsolete. Cut to June 2016, however, and Louisiana had passed a law requiring public and public charter schools to teach cursive writing to children from the 3rd to the12th grade. It joined 10 other states including Virginia, California and Texas where the teaching of cursive script is a state education requirement.

The fact is, cursive still exists and a generation of smart kids can’t read it.
According to Abigail Walthausen, in her article, “Learning Cursive is a Basic Right’, for instance, “running hand’ is tied to being able to sign one’s name and “the signature, the ability to sign one’s own name,” she says, “has long been an essential marker of society.” Walthausen says students understand the pedigree that it represents, “has become a status marker.”

Catherine Romano and Mike Ayers agree and in their December 2016 article in the Washington Post, “The New Status Symbol? Think Ink,’ they wrote that the disappearance of joined-up handwriting is a gentle reminder of “the status and class that being able to sign a document with more than an X” once represented.

After typewriters, handwriting became an intimate act of respect in letters and cards. Handwriting then became a choice, but now it is a choice older people can’t afford to make when communicating with the young.

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St. Patrick’s Day: Wearin’ the green brings us together

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People still say “everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.” Not that most people are really interested in whether or not their forbearers actually came from the emerald isle. We all just want to be part of the celebration.

The touch of the Irish positively spans the country with parades from New York to Louisiana. In Chicago, the river runs green for the day and everywhere people drink a lot of green beer.

Don’t forget that touch of green. Green socks or a green tie put people in the spirit.

And what would good old St. Pat think of the various revelry and green-wearing? Being a pretty serious type himself, he might be a little shocked by some of the partying. On the other hand, he did preach on love for one’s fellow man and would approve of the togetherness.

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Food

For St. Patrick’s Day: A familiar dish with a twist

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Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.

Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavored butter that your mother used to make?

Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I’m to cry.

Oh, wasn’t it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot.

One of Ireland’s more famous foods is the humble potato which, when abundant was the source of song, and when scarce, the source of suffering.

A potato blight touched off starvation and ignited the complicated events that devastated west and south Ireland between 1845 and 1849, the years of the great Potato Famine. In those years, more than one million people died and another million emigrated, many to Canada and the U.S.

The famine and the potato live together in folk memory of the Irish, along with this simple, and familiar dish: Colcannon, meaning white-headed cabbage.

Even non-Irish will know the dish well as mashed potatoes. The traditional Irish mash was an inexpensive daily main dish. It adds a little cabbage or kale, perhaps with scallion, leeks or chives. Bacon or ham pieces can also be added.

Leftovers are fried up in the morning for breakfast with pork slices.

Here is one recipe from Taste of Home.

Ingredients
1 medium head cabbage (about 2 pounds), shredded
4 pounds medium potatoes (about 8), peeled and quartered
2 cups whole milk
1 cup chopped green onions
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup butter, melted
Minced fresh parsley
Crumbled cooked bacon

Directions
Place cabbage and 2 cups water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid; keep cabbage warm in separate dish.

In same pan, combine potatoes and reserved cooking liquid. Add additional water to cover potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, place milk, green onions, salt and pepper in a small saucepan; bring just to a boil and remove from heat.

Drain potatoes; place in a large bowl and mash. Add milk mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in cabbage. To serve, drizzle with butter; top with parsley and bacon.

Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 168 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 14mg cholesterol, 361mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

A survival guide for Valentine’s Day

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How will I survive Valentine’s Day? It’s a question that many people ask themselves when the red hearts start to appear in stores at the beginning of February. For some of us, it can be hard to stop this Valentine’s Day anxiety from building up to alarming levels. If that’s how you feel, here are some tips to help you make the best of the festival of love and avoid all of Cupid’s traps.

Couples
Does your loved one claim that Valentine’s Day is not really all that important to her? Don’t fall into the trap of not doing anything for her on this special day! It’s quite possible that she’s calling your bluff. Despite her apparent indifference, she expects to receive a little something, even if it’s only a card. Yes, it’s a contradiction, but that’s the way it goes.

Do you have kids? It’s important to depart from your usual family routine for the day or at least plan a romantic evening together. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to renew the ties that bind you, to spend some quality time together. Reserve a table at your favorite restaurant well in advance, and don’t forget to organize a babysitter.

Singles
Are you single? For you, Valentine’s Day can be a heart-breaking day, especially if you’ve just broken up. But isolating yourself at home and succumbing to the dangerous trio of romantic movies, pajamas, and chocolate certainly won’t help you in any healthy way. All it does is guarantee depression.

Distract yourself instead. Plan a night out with friends, go out for a drink in a bar, or participate in a singles’ activity. Who knows, your new soul mate may be there as well. Remember that Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love in all its forms. Take the opportunity to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you; that includes your parents, siblings, children, and friends.

Do you dread Valentine’s Day? Follow the survival guide!

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Love, hormones, and chemistry

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This Valentine’s Day, you’re proud to celebrate the love that blossomed and matured between the two of you over the years. You also feel a little nostalgic thinking about where you met each other for the first time and all the emotions that characterized the beginning of your relationship. Remember that euphoria? The light-headedness, pounding heart, and butterflies in the stomach? Why did they eventually fade away?

The chemistry of love
What we commonly call love at first sight is largely a physiological occurrence. It is caused by the hormones secreted when two people are attracted to one another. In that sense, it really is all about chemistry. Here is a breakdown of what takes place:

• Phenylethylamine causes a state of euphoria, relaxation, and wellbeing.

• Adrenaline elevates the heart rate and blood pressure.

• Serotonin affects the nervous system.

• Oxytocin contributes to self-confidence, sensitivity to other people’s emotions, and feelings of attachment.

• Dopamine stimulates feelings of pleasure and motivation.

• Endorphins cause sensations of pleasure and relaxation.

But when it comes to mature love, why does the euphoria go away? Especially if you’re still very much in love with each other. According to scientists, the concentration of love-at-first-sight molecules begins to decline after about 18 months of being together, and they disappear completely after a relationship has existed for four years. However, it is possible to stimulate the secretion of small amounts of these molecules with regular physical activity, making love (orgasm), and by consuming certain so-called aphrodisiac foods with your partner.

Science and love are interrelated. That’s why when you meet someone the “chemistry” is so important.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for sweethearts

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Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show those you’re closest to how you feel, whether they’re your friends or family members.

Celebrating with friends
Why not use the holiday to celebrate the bonds of friendship? Avoid pricey, romantic restaurant options and instead consider:

• Throwing a potluck party at home
• Heading to a local diner for a down-to-earth dinner
• Hitting the town and dancing the night away
• Singing some tunes at a karaoke bar

When deciding what to do, make sure to choose something that will be fun for your entire group.

Celebrating with family
Valentine’s Day is also a great time to connect as a family. You could:

• Head to the cinema for a family movie night
• Have a delicious dinner at a nearby restaurant
• Go bowling
• Try out laser tag
• Work together to beat an escape room

Depending on the ages and interests of your family members, the right way to celebrate will vary.

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Cooking for love on Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is all about romance and seduction. Perhaps the old saying “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” has some truth to it, and just maybe the reverse is true as well. So, why not tantalize your loved one with a mouth-watering meal. Here are three succulent reasons to don your apron and get out the pots and pans.

Primo, there’s something rather alluring about watching your better half lovingly create a dish just for you. Add a bottle of good wine, some mellow background music, a beautifully set table, the soft glow of candlelight, and you’ve all the ingredients required for concocting a romantic evening.

Secondo, the kitchen is full of all sorts of tempting foods. Every sense is stimulated during a successful dining experience. So, when you plan your menu, go for intoxicating smells, exquisite flavors, unctuous textures, and appetizing colors. Even your hearing can get involved; think of the sound of sauces bubbling gently on the stove, juices sizzling in the pan, and roasts crackling in the oven. Conjure the mouth-watering sound of a lobster claw being cracked open. And don’t forget the aphrodisiac properties attributed to certain foods and spices.

Terzo, for a meaningful romantic interlude, there’s nothing like sharing a delicious meal while gazing into each other’s eyes over the candles’ soft glow. Share a bite from time to time, and don’t forget to save room for dessert.

You don’t have the skill of a Cordon Bleu chef? Don’t worry. A favorite restaurant will do just fine. Buon appetito!

A romantic meal is a wonderful way to savor good food and some precious time together.

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