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Micki Bare

Tea party has potential to save fort

Beginning with just a card table and some blankets, an elaborate fort can be built. My brother and I used folding chairs and afghans to expand our play dwelling. Pillows, blocks and other toys were eventually worked into our elaborate architecture. These card table forts were typically built inside on rainy days.

Metallic mac and cheese disruptive to frugal family meals

A box of macaroni and cheese is extremely inexpensive, especially if you have a coupon and the store is running a double or triple coupon value special. Such a scenario could provide you several free boxes of the food staple. As a protein-accessorized carbohydrate, it makes for a good side dish. Throw in a vegetable, such as broccoli, and you have a full meal.

Write way to Maine, million-dollar estate

My cousin posted a contest on my Facebook wall. A smile as I scrolled past would be my typical reaction. Except, it was a writing contest. And the grand prize was Center Lovell Inn, a bed and breakfast with views of the picturesque White Mountains.

Thanks to silly unicorns, I had gold fish friends

Always the obsessively realistic child who colored cows brown and the sky blue, I was never all that into unicorns. They were not “for real,” so I did not give them much attention. When I went to the carnival, I wanted to win a real live gold fish, not a stuffed unicorn that made no sense to my overly rational brain.

Diamond fantasy crushed by sea snail teeth

Each of you who recently received sparkly, expensive diamonds that compelled you to say “YES!!!” might want to rethink your decision to accept that particular rock. I, too, grew up under the delusion that diamonds were a symbol of love’s strength — a solid foundation upon which eternal love can be built.

Practical celebrations of typical, everyday love

Thanks to the heart-shaped cardboard displays tripping us during our shopping excursions, Valentine’s Day is often considered a romantic holiday. But there is more to love than romance. I know, because I am married. And I have been for the millions of years it has taken us to mark our thirteenth anniversary.

Writing is easy; querying is the hard part

In addition to columns and articles, I like to write books. Drafting a 100- to 200-page or longer manuscript is a challenge. Editing the draft is another tedious hurdle. Updating the manuscript with all of the edits, if you edit a hard copy like I do, is labor intensive.

The pain of cellular upgrading

One of the most frustrating chores of the technological age is upgrading cellular phones and service. I put it off for months past the viability of our phones just to keep my blood pressure down and my bank account intact. But alas, there comes that day when the device that has been obsolete for the past six months can no longer be salvaged.

Football fare works for historical soaps, book clubs too

The teams are selected. Well, that is assuming by the time you read this, the Patriots have not been eliminated due to lack of inflation or lackflation, if you will. Regardless of how the lackflation scandal pans out — I simply refuse to use “Deflatriots,” as it is a team-specific slur and I prefer to create a word that can be interchangeably used to put down any team that fails to pump its balls appropriately — I am quite certain two professional football teams will play a game on Feb. 1.

Internet of things could alleviate pesky thinking

That I can click a print icon on my laptop while sitting in the sunroom and then hear my printer, situated in my office upstairs, wake up and print a document, is impressive. Wireless connectivity is a modern convenience those addicted to tech gadgets have come to rely upon for work and entertainment.

Filling boxes puts aunt, uncle on nice list

This year’s box overflowed into a bag. Two bags, actually. After a flurry of wrapping and tagging, during which my dining room was temporarily transformed into a Santa’s workshop satellite office, the box and bags were filled to capacity. That’s the kind of day that puts me in the holiday spirit.

Ditching lucky rooster unnerves neighbors

Some friends recently bought a house and moved. They shared their good fortune on Facebook. One of the pictures showed a rooster in the kitchen, I suppose it was ceramic, left behind by the former owners. My immediate reaction was, “good luck.” Then I found out they ditched the gaudy statue and replaced it with a pig.

Turkey hunts require preparation, patience

It takes a lot of legwork and focus to hunt down big game. But the holidays are approaching and my family deserves the biggest, most tender, juiciest entrée my abilities can provide. After decades of practice, I have become quite adept at the hunt, especially for a turkey.

The reality of holiday decorating

My cousin’s wife already has two Christmas trees up and decorated. She also began stringing outdoor lights along the railing on their deck. Her personalized photo Christmas cards arrived in a package weeks ago. She will have them tucked into addressed and stamped envelopes ready to toss in a blue post box on her way to Black Friday sales.

A Novel Time to Write

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, while men start growing out their facial hair and neighbors work on outdoing each other with their holiday light displays synchronized to music, aspiring novelists write. Word-loving writer nerds will do their best to pound out an average of 1,667 words a day for 30 days. The ultimate goal is to reach 50,000 by the end of the month.