February brings special observances

Tomorrow is the start of a month that is busy with special days or designations. February is Heart Month. If you haven’t started before this, start looking into clean eating. That means to eat plenty of veggies, less carbs, a serving of protein and something dairy. And for Valentine’s Day, you can eat some dark chocolate, too.

The American Heart Association has some warning signs for a heart attack that it would be good to engrave into your memory. Just remember that some are sudden and intense, like you see in the movies where they grab their chest and fall to the floor. But most start slowly with mild pain or discomfort.

Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath. This feeling often comes along with chest discomfort, but it may occur with or without this symptom.

Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light headedness.

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We have Clark Gable’s birthday on Monday in Cadiz. It is celebrated each year by the Clark Gable Foundation at the museum-home, with tours, cake and coffee.

This event is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors can take a guided tour of the re-created home where his parents lived when he was born in the upstairs quarters on Charleston Street.

Speaking of the King of Hollywood, back in 1988 when the Clark Gable celebrations in Cadiz were getting a good start, there was a very sweet lady who was a resident at the Carriage Inn of Cadiz – Corene Rose Elliott. She gave me a poem she had written to her favorite actor. It is called “Gable: The King.”

We don’t want to forget his birthday,

February first nineteen hundred and one.

He was the King of Hollywood

and everybody loved him as their son.

He was born in Cadiz, Ohio

and raised in nearby Hopedale.

As a boy he loved to joke

at school, he hardly ever did fail.

When he was old enough to date,

I think Marjorie was his very first girl.

He was always full of mischief

and his jokes would make your hair curl.

King of our hearts in Harrison County,

Learned to swim in Ohio water holes

from Hopedale and on to Akron.

There he gained the love of everyone’s soul.

Then he went from Akron to Hollywood,

starring in many shows.

When people went to see him,

they wished they would never close.

He passed away on a sunny day

and the nation lost a great star.

He was known and loved by everyone

close at hand and very far.

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Tuesday is Groundhog Day, a time when we don’t rely on the weather man to announce if the season will change six weeks early or not. A shadow is all that is needed rather than expensive weather equipment.

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Who can forget the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl set for Feb. 7. If you don’t like watching Cam Newton do his antics or Peyton Manning constantly looking grim, there are always the commercials and the half-time show.

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You can celebrate another New Year’s without the descending mirror ball for Chinese New Year, observed on Feb. 8, and Feb. 10 starts the Lenten season.

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The day that makes men cringe in deciding what to buy or make for their loved one is on the horizon for Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. It falls on a Sunday, so many will be going out to dinner the day before. A Good Housekeeping idea for Valentne’s Day favors was to buy the kind of plastic toy shovels that are used on the beach to throw sand everywhere. Use sandwich bags and add a handful of Hershey’s chocolate drops. They look like all chocolate M and M’s to make it resemble dirt and add gummy worms. Put the shovel inside and tie with burlap string, with a sign that reads “I dig you!”

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Feb. 24 is Flag Day, so remember to fly “Old Glory” to show your patriotism.

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Along with all the cooking and health issues magazines I read, I also read Lamont’s Sports Illustrated. I like the stories about past sports greats. And I even glance at the swimsuit issue.

A column by Steve Rushin called “On Time” impressed me greatly. I’m going to quote him from the story now.

“It flies, and it drags. It’s precious, and it’s wasted. It’s on my side, and it’s passing me by. We have too much of it on our hands and not enough of it in the day. It’s endless, and it runs out. It’s a gift, and it’s a thief. It heals all wounds, and we have it to kill.

“Time is a shape-shifter. Time can’t keep its story straight. The Kentucky Derby is the fastest two minutes in sports, and a two-minute penalty in the Stanley Cup playoffs lasts a century. But they are both 120 seconds.”

Thanks for that definition, Steve. I never saw it spelled out just that way.

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You can tell that I had lots of time on my hands during the snow storm. Here is something else that I saw. This was in the Good Housekeeping magazine.

A reader comments that meditation is not his thing and wants to know if there are any tricks to doing it.

The answer was to watch fish swim at an indoor aquarium or in a tank in someone’s home or the pet store. It can improve the mood and promote calm. Those who watched in earnest had lower heart rates and blood pressures and felt more relaxed, perhaps because the fish moving about in different configurations have a meditative aspect. It may take 10 minutes of fish gazing to feel swimmingly good, it was noted.

In that same Good Housekeeping magazine, it told of tried-and-tested treats that have less than 20 grams of sugar. One of those is a Snickers Ice Cream Bar with 15 grams of sugar, less than the recommended 20 grams a day. Sounds good to me.

Another point that caught my eye in that publication is a pillow keeps your head cool on one side and warm on the other. Both sides align your head to the proper support, too.

For those of you who still reach for the blue jar of Vicks VapoRub when you are stopped up from a cold or the flu, you will be pleased to know that the mentholated ointment has a Good Housekeeping seal of approval. It received this distinction 16 years ago, but had my seal of approval ever since my mother slathered my chest with the smelly stuff and tied a diaper around my neck, cowboy style, when I was a kid. I had a baby sister at that time, and diapers were in abundance.

My boys were introduced to Vicks as well and did not like it all. At least I didn’t put a diaper around their neck. I used one of Lamont’s handkerchiefs.

Speaking of those sniffing cloths, you don’t see many people using them anymore. Men tend to do it somewhat, and I saw a catalog that offered them for purchase. Ladies very seldom.