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Neighbors: Take care of yourself, too

Hello, neighbor.

Last week I talked about taking care of our neighbors, but I’m hoping you don’t forget about taking care of yourself during the holiday season.

This time of year can be very trying and we don’t have a lot of time to ourselves.

Visit your local library and find that book you’ve been wanting to read, then get up a couple of minutes early each morning and read even just one chapter a day. Linger over your morning coffee, tea or hot cocoa.

One of my favorite things to do is to journal — big surprise. But, it can really help calm your mind. You get to say things you might not want to say out loud.

Health experts remind us to eat well during the holiday season – just don’t deprive yourself completely. I think even the experts would agree that a little treat here and there isn’t bad.

Try to get some sleep — I know that’s not always an easy task — just ask Christina and Oliver as they get up with 21∕2-month-old Owen and Travis some nights. They’re not getting the sleep they wish they were getting, but the twins are doing much better at night.

Use your shower time to think. I can tell you that I get some of my best ideas there.

Take a walk during lunch — you’ll burn calories and find it a little relaxing at the same time.

Spend time with your children or grandchildren. A few minutes with Justin or Owen and Travis and my worries are gone — nothing else matters.

Whatever you decide, take a deep breath and take care until next time.

THE MONTAGUE COMMUNITY BAND will hold its holiday concert at the First Congregational Church, 148 L St. in Turners Falls on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served after the concert. For more information, call 413-863-8669.

TURNERS FALLS HIGH SCHOOL RISE UP class is trying to put together a teacher team to participate in a dodge ball tournament on Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. that will benefit the Franklin County Sheriff’s Regional Animal Shelter. If you are willing to leave your “comfort zone,” organizers would like you to sign up — or at least talk to a member of the Rise Up class. Teams of five have a chance to win $100 and the cost is only $5 to play. General admission is $1, so bring the entire family.

There will also be a bake sale there and Rise Up is also accepting donations of fabric, which members will use to create dog beds.

POET’S SEAT HEALTH CARE CENTER will host its annual Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 15 from 9 to 11 a.m. at its facility at 359 High St. in Greenfield. The breakfast is open to the public. Breakfast will include pancakes and sausage, complete with a “decorate your own pancake” station that will include chocolate chips, sprinkles, whipped cream and other fun treats. There will be coffee, tea and juice available. Santa will arrive at 9 a.m. and will be available for photographs. Admission is $3 for children and $5 for adults. All proceeds will benefit the Poet’s Seat Health Care Center residents fund.

THE MARINE CORPS LEAGUE OAK RIDGE DETACHMENT will hold a Toys for Tots fundraiser on Dec. 16 at the Bernardston Veterans Club on Hartwell Street in Bernardston. The league is looking for new, unwrapped toys. The league will also be holding an all-you-can-eat breakfast, which will consist of pancakes, Texas-style French toast, eggs, sausage, wheat or white toast, orange juice, V-8 or apple juice, and coffee for $7 per person.

JOIN GREENFIELD ALLIANCE CHURCH on Chapman Street in Greenfield for a free Christmas community meal on Dec. 23 at 12:15 p.m. at the church. Everyone is welcome! The meal will consist of appetizers, ham, Christmas cookies and free gifts for young guests. For more information, contact Linda at 413-768-9868.

ANN BRAUER HAS ANNOUNCED that she has re-established her quilting studio in Shelburne Falls where it was destroyed after Tropical Storm Irene hit last year. The announcement, as well as an instructional article written by Ann, was recently published in the December-January 2013 issue of Quilting Arts magazine. Her studio is at 6 Bridge St. in Shelburne Falls and is open to the public when she is there.

THE SHELBURNE FALLS AREA WOMEN’S CLUB will present a festive evening of entertainment on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center in Shelburne Falls. The event will feature Marion Woodsome with pianist Janet Umphress and Janice Dompke with pianist Stephen Page, who will pay a variety of songs, ranging from classical to jazz and topped off with a holiday sing-along. The event is free and open to the public — men are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

THE AMERICAN LEGION AT 7 LEGION AVE. in Greenfield is holding a Christmas party on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. The night will start with a turkey dinner with all the fixings, and there will be dancing afterward to the music of Rachel Rachel and the Western Partners Band.

The price is a $13 donation per person or $25 per couple. There will be a 50-50 raffle and Santa will visit the post shortly after 7 p.m. Gifts will be exchanged — there is a $7 limit and all items should be marked male or female. The event is open to the public. To reserve tickets, call 413-772-0857.

I TOLD YOU ABOUT A CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATING CONTEST last week and there were a couple of inaccuracies: Yankee Candle Co. and Chandler’s Tavern in South Deerfield held a department tree-decorating contest where each Yankee Candle department chose a charity and then decorated a tree. The off-site building campus decorated a tree to sponsor the Montague Dog Shelter and won. That team will be donating $500 to the shelter. Yankee Candle also did a pet drive for the dogs and will be delivering items to the shelter this week.

THE BERNARDSTON 4-H TRAILBLAZERS recently collected 405 pounds of food during its annual 4-H food drive. The food was delivered to the Survival Center in Turners Falls. The Trailblazers will also be selling handmade holiday centerpieces for $10 today at the Greenfield Farmers Cooperative Exchange on High Street from noon to 6 p.m.

THE MOHAWK TRAIL CONCERTS, Pioneer Valley Symphony and Artspace Community Arts Center will all participate in Valley Gives on Dec. 12.

Valley Gives, a 24-hour e-philanthropy event is organized and hosted by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. The goal is to encourage residents of Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin counties to support their favorite nonprofit organizations. When donors visit the Valley Gives Web site on Dec. 12, they will be able to make gifts to those nonprofits. If you cannot access the Web site during those times, you can make a pledge before that day and your credit card will be charged on Dec. 12. Valley Gives plans to raise $1 million in that 24 hours. For more information, visit:

FOR YOUR INFORMATION, AL NORMAN of Greenfield, the executive director of Massachusetts Home Care, has been invited by Connecticut lawmakers to speak before the Aging in Place Task Force at the State Capitol in Hartford Thursday at 9 a.m. Norman has been the head of the statewide home care group since 1986 and is the author of several Massachusetts laws and programs designed to improve the care at home for individuals with disabilities. He will speak for a half-hour about how Massachusetts has cut the use of nursing homes by 30 percent over the past decade and how new programs are allowing elders to “age in place” and creating opportunities for those in institutions to return home.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to or 413-772-0261 ext. 280 or her cell at 413-388-6950. You can also reach her on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: the day before the Tuesday or Friday you want it to run.

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