FROM STOOD UP TO BLOWN AWAY HOW I MET MY WONDERFUL HUSBAND W ith Valentine’s Day this month, I thought it would be cool to share the story of how I met my wonderful husband, Dave. Ours is not your typical “boy meets girl” tale, and it serves to illustrate that sometimes the best things begin with a letdown.
but he had spotted me right away. We talked the night away, and by the time the party wrapped up, getting stood up was the last thing on my mind.
Dave and I began dating, and three years later, we were married. In a lot of ways, we’re total opposites. He’s a dedicated fitness freak; I’m a world- class couch potato. But I’ve learned a lot from him, and I hope
In my case, that letdown was being stood up — twice! A date had no-showed once, which was a bad sign, I know, but I decided to give him a second chance. The day we rescheduled for was also the day of my friend Lisa’s Mardi Gras party. I regretfully told her I wouldn’t be able to attend. “Bring him along,” she said. I didn’t think it would be an ideal first date, so I made no promises. Turns out, I got stood up again. A little disappointed, I decided to head to the party. I must’ve been there for 30 minutes or so when somebody caught my eye. I called over my friend, Lisa, to ask, “Who is that guy?” She replied, “Oh, that’s just Dave.” Lisa and I had met in a divorce support group — I was three or four years divorced at that time — so I asked a few questions about Dave. Was he divorced? No. Well, was he married? No, again.
he’d say the same about me. I’ve even completed a few half-marathons with his encouragement. Now, I don’t run them. I walk because I’m built for comfort, not speed. Nevertheless, I would’ve never even considered I could it, if not for Dave. He’s an incredible man, and I’m a better person because of him. We celebrated our fifth anniversary in December, and thoughts of both our proposal and our wedding flooded back to my mind. Dave used to cycle at Long Run Park all the time, and that’s where he chose to propose. We were sitting right by the lake, and I’ll never forget it. On our wedding day, I walked down the aisle to “When I Say I Do” by Matthew West. Dave thought my dad would be singing it, but I was. After the ceremony and reception, we went to a local bed-and-breakfast. We were so elated that we were jumping on the bed. I don’t think the proprietors would’ve liked that, but we couldn’t have cared less.
I hope this Valentine’s Day you’re able to spend time with a special someone. I know I’ll be spending mine with Dave and feeling like the luckiest woman in the world. ––-Melissa Emery WWW.EMERYLAWOFFICE.COM | 1
At that point, I knew I needed to talk to him. I propositioned another friend, Carey, to introduce us and get the conversation going. I think Carey realized pretty quickly he wasn’t needed. It may have taken me 30 minutes to spot Dave,
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EDUCATION IN THE KITCHEN
What Your Child Can Learn From Baking
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you’re probably wracking your brain for the perfect recipe to bake for your loved one. There’s nothing wrong with store-bought chocolate, but there’s no topping the personal touch of some homemade baked goods. If you have kids, baking alongside them can be just as rewarding as enjoying the fruits of your labor. As an added bonus, baking is a hands-on opportunity where your child can learn all sorts of important concepts. Here is a short list of some of the educational lessons hiding in your kitchen. Math Baking is a numbers game. Just take a look at any recipe, and you’ll recognize the importance of math in building a beautiful cake. Having children measure out ingredients helps them learn about fractions and ratios. You can also test your kids by doubling or halving a recipe for multiplication and division practice. With older kids, practice unit conversions by asking, for example, how many pints are in half a gallon. Following Directions Not unlike computer science, baking requires a strict order of operations. The wet and dry ingredients often need to be mixed separately and then When you’re dealing with the aftermath of an auto accident, you have a ton on your mind. From getting the medical care you need to trying to return some normalcy to your life, you’re probably not concerned with remembering the exact details of your accident. In fact, it may even be traumatic to dwell on the accident. These preoccupations are precisely why you shouldn’t talk to a representative from an insurance company without first speaking to a lawyer. Simply put, insurance companies make money by figuring out ways to deny claims, and they’ll use any tactic they can to achieve this goal. I’ve even seen cases where adjusters show up to a victim’s house the day they return from the hospital. More often than not, they disguise their intentions as a friendly conversation with the aim of “checking up” on you and “learning about your situation.” Don’t be fooled. Politely decline their request to speak until you contact a lawyer first. Speak to somebody who has dealt with these cases so you don’t end up accidentally hurting your claim. Talking is ill-advised, but providing a written statement is far worse. Even if you’re 100 percent innocent, there’s no benefit in providing information to your adversary — and make no mistake, that’s what they are. There’s a fun YouTube video on this topic by Texas attorneys Hutson & Harris. They’ve created a catchy little tune on the matter, and its title tells you everything you need to know. It’s called “Please, Shut Up!”
folded together. It only takes one deviation from the instructions for a pastry to go from delicious to disgusting. Spending time in the kitchen, then, is a great way for kids to learn the importance of reading directions carefully
and comprehending what they’ve just read. Cultural Understanding
Cuisine is a fundamental part of every culture. Introducing your child to dishes from around the world will expand their horizons. Want your child to be a less picky eater? Involving them in the cooking process is the surest way to get them excited about trying new flavors and ingredients. Nutrition Now, you might not think that baking cookies will encourage greater nutritional awareness, but hear us out. Sugar is often buried within packaged foods. When you bake something at home, a child gets to see, firsthand, just how much sugar goes into certain sweets. Meanwhile, cooking savory dishes also allows them to learn what constitutes a balanced, healthy diet.
DON’T TALK TO AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER WITHOUT CALLING A LAWYER FIRST
I’m not saying people who work for the insurance companies are evil. Most of them are good, honest folks who are just doing their job. But their job is to provide the court a reason to deny your claim. No matter how friendly a representative seems, don’t forget that. I hope I would be the attorney you call in a situation like this, but speaking to any lawyer is better than trying to navigate the process for yourself. I’ve seen this situation play out time and again, and I can help you handle the insurance companies. That way, you can focus on getting better.
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HAVE A LAUGH!
HOW TO HAVE A MAGICAL VALENTINE’S WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK ROMANCE ON A BUDGET
Everybody wants to make Valentine’s Day special for their significant other. Advertisers would have you believe the only way to achieve this goal is to make a reservation at the fanciest restaurant in town and present your date with a diamond necklace. In reality, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to create an evening neither of you will ever forget. Here are a few ways to make Valentine’s magical without crying about the bill the next day. Dine Out With a Discount Ask any restaurant employee and they’ll tell you Valentine’s Day menus are a racket. Because places know they’ll be inundated with reservations, they jack up prices and decrease portion sizes. If you want to go out to celebrate, you’re much better off doing it around Feb. 14 rather than on the exact date. You can also use services like Groupon to score discounted rates at restaurants. Better Yet, Dine In Forgoing a restaurant entirely will save you even more money. The markup on restaurant food is so much that you can even do a trial run on your romantic meal without coming close to the cost of going out. Another great tip is to use less expensive cuts of meat. Skirt steak costs a fraction of the price of filet mignon, but prepared well, it’s just as delicious. Repurpose Decorations Every February, the stores fill up with Valentine’s-themed decorations. Why spend extra for something you’ll get one use out of? Instead, opt for Christmas lights, cheap votive candles, and other affordable options. They may not say “Be Mine” on them, but they’ll set the mood all the same. Remember, Love Doesn’t Have a Price Tag Spending as much as you can is no way to show your affection for a significant other. A little gesture makes just as much of an impact as an expensive purchase. Show your love in a personal, touching way. You can’t put a price on that!
BARBECUE PULLED PORK SHEPHERD’S PIE Start to finish: 35 minutes Servings: 8–10
Ingredients For the ranch mashed potatoes: • 2 pounds red potatoes • 1/2 packet ranch seasoning mix • 2/3 cup sour cream For the filling: • 1 pound pulled pork • 1 bottle barbecue sauce
• 1 can corn,
juices drained • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese • 1 bunch scallions, diced
Directions 1. Heat oven to 400 F.
2. Make the ranch mashed potatoes: Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces, then place pieces in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. 3. Add ranch seasoning and sour cream and mash potatoes until the mixture is thoroughly combined and most of the lumps are gone. Set aside. 4. Make the rest of the dish: Toss pulled pork with barbecue sauce (as much or as little as you’d like to use). Add it to a large casserole dish, smoothing it to create one even layer. Top with corn, then add a layer of
mashed potatoes. Cover with shredded cheese and scallions. 5. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 14–16 minutes.
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A MARDI GRAS TO REMEMBER 1 COOK YOUR WAY TO BETTER GRADES THE INSURANCE COMPANY ISN’T YOUR FRIEND 2 WAYS TO SAVE ON A MAGICAL VALENTINE’S BARBECUE PULLED PORK SHEPHERD’S PIE 3 PRESIDENTS DAY OR WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY 4
THE TANGLED HISTORY OF
O n the third Monday in February, the entire nation celebrates Presidents Day … sort of. While the holiday is known colloquially as Presidents Day, its official federal name is still Washington’s Birthday. If that wasn’t confusing enough, different states officially know it as “Presidents Day,” “Lincoln/Washington/Presidents Day,” “Washington-Lincoln Day,” “George Washington Day,” and more. Let’s untangle how all these variant names came about and delve into the fascinating history of the holiday. Washington was born on February 22, 1731. Given his incredible contribution to the founding of the United States, it’s understandable that a national holiday would be established to commemorate his legacy. The holiday was first established
This allowed for three-day weekends and, hopefully, encouraged retail sales with an extra day of shopping. But this, unintentionally, moved Washington’s birthday celebration to a day between his actual birthday and the birthday of another venerated president, Abraham Lincoln. By the late 20th century, Lincoln’s reputation and legacy were as titanic as Washington’s. Because Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, many states found it appropriate to make the day a commemoration of two great presidents rather than just one. By the 1980s, “Presidents Day” was the more widely acknowledged name, if not the official designation.
in 1879 for employees in Washington, D.C. Six years later, it was expanded to include all federal offices nationwide. And for the next century or so, nothing changed. However, in 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This bill officially moved holidays that were once celebrated on specific dates, like Memorial Day and Columbus Day, to a particular Monday in a given month.
Why it hasn’t received a uniform federal name is anyone’s guess, but at least when you say “Presidents Day,” everyone knows what you’re talking about. No matter what you call it, the day is a chance to celebrate some of the people who’ve made lasting contributions to our nation’s history. If you look at any presidential ranking, Washington and Lincoln are probably No. 1 and No. 2. It’s fitting, then, that we celebrate their birthdays in tandem.
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