Out and About – Week of January 20th

January 21, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

The Three Rivers area Snowman Making Contest is back. If I remember correctly, this contest was cancelled last year due to lack of snow. It seems that we won’t have that problem this year.

The contest will be held this Saturday, January 25, from noon until 2 PM. The site is the west side parking lot, located on the west side of Main Street, on Railroad Drive. Check-in time is 11:30 AM, with the competition beginning at high noon. They are looking for teams of at least five members to compete against teams from Douglas, Zeeland, Saline, and St. Clair. There is a $10 team fee. Applications and contest rules are available at various merchants in downtown Three Rivers, and are also available at the Three Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce office, 57 North Main Street. Immediately following the competition, a fashion show decorating contest will be held for the “Snow People”. Entrants are reminded to take home all non-biodegradable items after the show. Carrots, berries, etc., are welcome to stay. For warmth, campfires will be available from noon until 3 PM, hosted by local Boy Scouts. A final note: the judges are looking for quantity, not quality. The last winning town made 400 snowpeople. Kudos to the Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority for hosting this family event.

As I look out my office window, and see the snow building up on the already accumulated drifts, I remind myself that spring is just around the corner. Evidence of this is the notice that Little League sign-ups are happening tomorrow, Wednesday, January 22, and Saturday, January 25, at The Cage, located on North Main Street, just off Enterprise Drive. The sign-up hours for tomorrow, are from 6 to 8 PM, and the hours for signing-up on Saturday, are from 8 to 11 AM. These are for both softball and baseball. The cost for tee-ball is $50, and for all other divisions, the cost is $60. It would be a great idea for all parents to accompany their future Hall of Famers, in case there are any questions. It’s time to get ready to “PLAY BALL”.

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I would really like to return as an indoor cat. Our cat has it made. Dixie sleeps most of the day, has plenty to eat and drink, and has no responsibility whatsoever. One of her favorite places to relax is my chair. When I come home, she reluctantly gives up her spot and seeks out my wife for sympathy. Seems to work every time.

Cats are extremely independent. Dogs not independent at all. There are pros and cons as far as having a dog or cat, but that’s a column in itself.

There’s a lot we can learn from dogs. A dog-friend of mine, named Mr. Canine, is a teacher, and he gave me a list of things we, as humans, should learn and remember, if we want to get along better with other humans, and enjoy life in a better way. There are sixteen things altogether, so for the next four weeks, I’ll share four of them with you each week. Here are the first four:

Always run to greet loved ones when they come home.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Recognize the ecstasy of fresh air and wind in your face.

Take naps.

Four more next week.

All of you bargain hunters might want to check out the “dollar” stores that are abundant in just about every community. They can make shopping fun, especially if you like bargains that really help you save a buck or two. They sell very basic items like toiletries, greeting cards, household goods, and even clothes at very low prices. I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t rather have more money in their pocket rather than in the larger stores.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of January 13th

January 14, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

Last week was sort of a flashback to 1978. I was working at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, and was living in Schaumburg at the time. The airport was closed, and I couldn’t get out of my subdivision anyway. It was a memorable experience, and one I didn’t care to experience anytime in the future. Last week was another one of those experiences. Like most of you, we didn’t venture out, because we were informed that if caught, we would be fined $100. There were people Out and About, because they didn’t catch the warning on the radio or on television. Oh yes, Facebook notified everyone, but as we all know, you must be selective as to what you read on Facebook. The city and the county have Facebook pages, so these would be the most reliable. I wouldn’t advise that you pay too much attention as to what Lucy Lu, down the street, advises you to do. I doubt seriously that the authorities are going to impound your vehicle, strip you naked, shoot your dog, and sell your children into slavery. My suggestion, and I suggest it strongly, is to keep your radio tuned into WLKM-FM, 95.9,or WRCI, 97.1. They will keep you advised as to school and business closings, plus much more. Their advice is reliable and FREE.

A big “Thank You” goes out to all the Department of Public Services employees. You people did a fantastic job of clearing the streets of the white stuff. I was smart enough to wait until you plowed our street before I attempted to clear my driveway.

I mentioned a week or so ago, that it’s a very good idea to keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full during the winter. I’ve discussed this topic with the “guys” at our daily coffee klatch, and the general consensus is to keep an extra container of gasoline on hand for the snow blower. I came very close to running out, and was not able to get to the gas station for a refill. That won’t happen again. It was also suggested to use premium gasoline for those small engines. I guess you might compare it to having prime rib over a hot dog. Now, that makes sense to me. Enough about our winter conditions.

Christmas is in the history books, which means that our pocketbooks can take a break for a while. There always seems to be something we need, and I’m very much an impulse shopper. If I see something I want, I want it now. I try very hard to wait until the appropriate time to make certain purchases. If you are the same way, here’s something you might want to make note of for future shopping. Winter is the best time to buy homes, exercise equipment, and TVs; spring is best for computers, digital cameras, and carpeting; summer for indoor furniture, camcorders, and snow blowers; and fall for lawn mowers, gas grills, and GPS navigators. I’m cutting this part of the column out and sticking to our refrigerator door. On second thought, the refrigerator door already has too much stuff on it already. I wonder when it might be a good time to purchase a refrigerator.

It seems that I’ve made quite a few suggestions, this week, on what you might do to make life more enjoyable. I might as well wrap this up by offering a few more suggestions:

Take a vacation from your cell phone, internet, and TV, once a year.

Never get your hair cut on the day of a special event.

Never eat lunch at your desk, if you can avoid it.

When you marry someone, remember you marry her/his entire family.

Invest in good luggage.

If you have to fight, punch first and punch hard.

Remember, this is Michigan, so we’re going to get more snow. The days are getting longer, which is a very good thing. If you are warm and not hungry, please think about your outside pets. Are they as comfortable and as happy as you are? If you love your outside dog, spend the night with her/him out in the doghouse.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of January 6th

January 7, 2014 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

Welcome to the first Out and About column for 2014. If this is your first time reading this column, thank you for taking the time to do so. I’ll try my best to provide you with some useful information, and, of course, a bit of humor along the way. There’s so much depressing news out there these days, so I’d like to do what I can to remind you that everything out there is not all that bad, and that the community of Three Rivers is a pretty neat place to live.

My motto for over eight years has been, “Volunteer….the world is run by those who show up.” My wife is a constant source of quotes and memorable thoughts. Here’s one that is appropriate for this, the first of my columns for 2014: “Dare to live out loud in 2014! Life is waiting for you to show up.” In my mind, this quote is a keeper and one that should be read on a regular basis. I’ll try to remember to add a quote to this column from time to time.

My family gets together once a year at Christmas time. We keep in touch through e-mails, but physically seeing each other is really special. I always feel a bit out of place during these gatherings, because I’m the only one who doesn’t have a college degree, and I’m not as up-to-date as I should be when it comes to current events. I guess I’ve never really grown up. I was a bit nervous about our latest get together, which happened the weekend between Christmas and New Year. Everything turned out just fine, and as I mentioned in last week’s column, a good time was had by all. My brother thinks that I have a pretty good sense of humor and, along with my wife, feels that not having a college degree is nothing worth worrying about. I love spreading a little humor and making people laugh, so I guess that’s okay. There are a lot of college graduates out of work like me, but I’m retired, so I guess they should be the ones worrying.

I’ve been told by several people in the know that, during the winter months, it’s a good idea to not let your fuel tank drop below the halfway mark. It’s getting more and more difficult to know when to fill your tank or top it off. I like to do it when the gas prices are at a low, but even that is difficult to predict. I’ve heard that a bad time to get gasoline is when a tanker truck is delivering that precious commodity. The reason being is that the tanker drops the fuel into the tank, which stirs up the fuel already there. This also stirs up the dirty residue at the bottom of the storage tank. This residue finds its way into your car’s fuel system, and even though it is supposedly filtered, it is still not a good thing.

Periodically, I will slip in a couple of items that just seem to be the right thing to do. This is one of those times. Please keep these in mind as you travel along life’s highway:

If a street performer makes you stop while walking, you owe her/him a buck.

Never park in front of a bar.

All guns are loaded.

Now that 2013 is in the history books, it’s time to prepare yourself for the annual meeting with the tax man. It might be too late for this year, but it’s never too late to plan ahead for next year. Think about this and give it some serious thought. When you charge charitable donations to your credit card, the bank “swipe fee” may be three percent. Debit cards and PayPal take a smaller cut. You might be better off to just send a check.

You’ve heard it many times, but very few of us follow through on the suggestion. With the weather being a bit unpredictable, you never know when you might become stranded when you’re Out and About. Take a backpack and fill it with a container of water, clean socks, gloves, warning flares, and any other items that you think might come in handy should you become stranded. A blanket and a first aid kit are also recommended. Having a fully-charged cell phone is a given. Make sure your car’s “blue liquid” container is topped off. Most importantly, never leave your common sense at home.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of December 30th

December 31, 2013 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

This is my final column for the year. It’s been a great year so far, so I really don’t have anything to complain about. Tomorrow is a new day and a new year, and like many of you, I’ve made a few resolutions that, hopefully, I’ll follow through on. Time will tell. One thing I will attempt to do is make this column something that you readers will look forward to reading every week. Writing this column is something I really enjoy doing, so I guess you might consider it a labor of love. I thank you all for the kind words of appreciation.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday. We traveled up to Cedar Springs on Christmas Day and celebrated with family. I was dreading the drive up there, because of the forecasted weather. I was really worried that we’d end up in a ditch somewhere, and not be found until the spring thaw. The roads were pretty much clear, and everyone drove with some common sense, so my worry was for naught. My wife is an excellent driver, but I still stayed awake, watching for Bambi to cross the highway. This past weekend, we gathered with family out at Fisher Lake. This time, the gathering consisted of descendants from my mom and dad. This group totaled around twenty people, so a few members of the family ended up sitting out on the deck. Oh, the benefits of being a senior citizen. Just joking, of course, everyone stayed warm, as we consumed way too much food. Talk about getting Out and About.

The big shopping days are over for a while, but I’d like to offer four more hints about what you might seriously consider doing, should your wallet come up missing:

File a report with your local police department, as well as the department where you think your wallet, or purse, went missing. Make sure to get several copies of these reports and send them to your bank and credit-reporting bureaus.

Alert your bank to change any PINs, cancel your missing ATM card, and send you a new one. If your checkbook is missing, get a new checking account number.

Contact your DMV about a replacement driver’s license, and ask that a stolen/lost warning be placed in your file.

Please don’t forget to replace that library card.

These are but a few ideas worth remembering. The main thing is to always know where your wallet, or purse is at all times. Even at home, don’t keep them out in the open. Thank you, Anna, for your positive contribution this week.

The Kellogg Community Federal Credit Union, located on West Michigan Avenue, in Three Rivers is hosting a fundraiser for DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. All you need to do to be a part of this very worthwhile event is to purchase a paper ornament for one dollar. That’s less than what you might pay for a cup of coffee. This fundraiser will continue through Thursday, January 2.

Even though Christmas is over, you may still continue to give. You do this by donating blood, and the American Red Cross will help by hosting a blood drive on Wednesday, January 8, at Three Rivers Health, 701 South Health Parkway, in Three Rivers. The drive will run from 1:30 to 7:15 PM. This donation is FREE, and they’ll even offer you a FREE cup of juice for your donation.

To close out this week’s column, here are four of “Life’s Little Instructions”:

Sing in the shower.

Watch a sunrise at least once a year.

Leave the toilet seat in the down position.

Never refuse homemade brownies.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of December 23rd

December 24, 2013 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

I find it very interesting how life works out. We are born without any teeth and we wear diapers for a while. The final days of our life here on earth, some of us don’t have our teeth anymore, and some of us wear diapers. I’m sure there are a few more similarities, but I won’t go into them at this time. I do, however, want to touch on the topic of napping.

As an infant, naps happen a several times a day. Babies need naps, because their little bodies are developing, and that can wear one out. If babies don’t get their naps, they get quite cranky, and that is not a good thing.

I can’t remember when I stopped taking naps, but I do remember that, in Kindergarten, all of us would place our little rugs on the floor and take maybe a ten-minute nap. This gave Mrs. King, our teacher, a chance to regain her composure. I don’t know if Kindergarteners do this anymore or not. I’ve been told that many high school students take frequent naps during their classes. A cure for this latter action, might be to have the high schooler lie down on a little rug in front of the class.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve found that an afternoon nap can be quite satisfying. I’ve taken a few power naps in my day, and they seemed to do the trick.\

Here is some information for your reading pleasure. Perhaps, after reading it, you won’t feel the least bit guilty about taking that afternoon snooze.

10-20 minute nap: The power nap is ideal for a boost in alertness and energy. The length usually limits one to the lighter stages of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, making it easier to hit the ground running after waking up.

30-minute nap: Sleeping this long may cause sleep inertia, a hangover-like groggy feeling that lasts for up to thirty minutes after waking up, before the nap’s restorative benefits become apparent.

60-minute nap: This nap is better for improvement in remembering facts, faces, and names. It includes slow-wave sleep, the deepest type. The downside might include some grogginess upon waking up.

90-minute nap: This would be a full cycle of sleep, meaning the lighter and deeper stage, including REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, typically likened to the dreaming stage. This leads to improved emotional and procedural memory and creativity. A nap of this length typically avoids sleep inertia, making it easier to wake up.

I’m a big fan of naps, especially on a dark and gloomy winter day. My naps usually lasts about 120 minutes. My source didn’t talk that much about naps of that length. I usually wake up feeling pretty good and rested. I justify my nap by reminding myself that a nap wouldn’t happen if my body didn’t need it. With that said, I’ll finish the column, find my little rug, and hit the floor.

This being Christmas Eve, we have only hours to come up with a gift for that special someone for Christmas. Here are my final ideas, if you want to get something that wasn’t made in China:

If you know someone whose computer could use a tune-up, and you know a computer geek, who is struggling to get his repair business up and running, give her/him a call.

Local crafts people would love to do business with you. You’d be amazed at what kind of clever gifts they would love to sell you.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner-operated restaurants, and leave your server a nice tip.

Please give generously to the mail carrier, trash guy, or your babysitter.


See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of December 16th

December 17, 2013 by Administrator · Leave a Comment 

With Christmas just a week away, your time to mail your parcels, has just about run out. If you’re a procrastinator, you still have seven days. If you still need to make that trip to the post office, please note that you may have to wait in line for a few minutes. It may seem longer than that, but I have yet to hear of someone waiting for a half-hour, as they might state, when they finally make it to the clerk’s window. Also keep in mind that the postal clerks don’t have a stool to sit on, as they handle each customer, so their feet and backs might ache. Yet they seem to be always attentive and concerned to your needs. Finally, before you start complaining to the clerks about the high cost of postage, you might want to know that the postage here in the United States is about the lowest in the world.

I’ve dedicated the first paragraph to the postal clerks, so I feel it’s only fair that I write a few words, and dedicate some time to those postal carriers out there. Every day they walk the same route and deliver the same mail to the same people. They must do this in a timely fashion. They have several check points along their route, where they must check in. They shouldn’t be late or early, because that might upset you, the customer. Working for the US Postal Service is a great job, with decent pay, but I don’t think I could handle the walking, even though it would do me some good. When it comes time to thank the garbage man and the paper boy, please don’t forget your postal carrier. A cookie can taste pretty good about mid-morning.

A special thank you to those public service people who installed the Christmas lights downtown and along Michigan Avenue. They really help spread the Christmas spirit.

On Friday, December 6, we had the pleasure to attend a Christmas concert at Miller Auditorium, in Kalamazoo. It featured the Kalamazoo Concert Band, with special guest Tom Wopat. The first half of the evening’s performance featured the KCB. Members of the band, include many musicians from the Three Rivers area. The assistant conductor is Brian Shetterly, who also knows how to work a slide trombone. Band members don’t receive any money. The only pay they receive is the applause you give them after a performance. They do what they do for the love of music. The second act featured Tom Wopat, one who knows his way around a stage, whether it’s on Broadway, or the Barn Theater, in Augusta. He loves to sing, with his favorite style being that of Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme. If you’ve never experienced Miller Auditorium, you have no idea how much talent can be seen just twenty some miles north.

Several more ideas for gifts not made in China:

A round of golf at a local golf course.

An oil change for someone’s car, truck, or motorcycle.

A house cleaning for some lucky homemaker.

My final ideas next week.

With the days left for your holiday shopping dwindling down, you might want to make note of a few suggestions on how to protect your wallet. I mentioned this topic a couple of weeks ago, and received some very positive feedback. T1hus, a few more suggestions, thanks to my friend Anna:

Make photos of the front and back of every card you keep in your wallet or purse. These might include your driver’s license, credit and insurance cards, and even your library card. Yes, there are crooks who like to read, and would think nothing of using your library card, and running up some high fines. This might seriously affect your credit score. Keep these copies in a secure place in your home.

If your credit cards are stolen, along with your wallet, call your credit card issuers and request an account number change. Don’t say you want to cancel the account; that may be understood as meaning you want to close it, which could inconvenience you, plus hurt your credit score.

More information coming your way soon.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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