The Issue
From the winter holidays to the very edge of spring, we’ve come a long way—through short days and piles of snow, to sunsets that come later and later, and the first delicate white snowdrops in our flower boxes. And, so, in this issue, we move through the winter season and toward spring. We hear about an interesting and unlikely friendship that began at a Christmas sing-a-long and continues to this day. While raising her family, new contributor Kris Kelly cared for everyone by making healthy food and lifestyle choices, then founded a company to help others do the same—even over a distance. And she tells all in this issue.

What better way to beat the winter doldrums than to check out our kids’ Facebook pages, right? Maybe not! Humor columnist Kerry Peresta paints an amusing picture of her own escapades. Some Valentine’s Days are more romantic than others, but judge for yourself after reading “A Nuts-and-Bolts Kind of Valentine’s Day.” Finally, William Bedford’s tongue-in-cheek essay “The Vapor Menace” is sure to get everyone out there fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions by working off their winter pounds and readying their abs for spring.

Speaking of new beginnings, new contributor Phyllis Eckelmeyer has had several. In this issue, Phyllis shares some of her life changes and adventures—how she befriended the Maasai of Kenya one spring and where that chance meeting has taken her. Some transitions can begin in one season and carry forward to another, such as long-term projects like the re-purposing of your grown kid’s bedroom. In that vein, consider the writer’s musings in “Room to Spare.” Finally, in Real People Empty Nesting, we celebrate both winter and the first hints of spring with landscape artist and poet Julie Longacre—the joy she finds in life is contagious.

The Publication
The format of Empty Nest shows the editorial as the home page, where we put the articles into context for you. As always, you can reach the Features, Departments, and Editorial via the sidebar menu, but on page one, you also have the links to the articles andthe themes tying them together, right up front. And, notice that our masthead has had a “mini-facelift”!

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My Winter, Early Spring
Winter, like every season, is full of fun and surprises. To boost my spirits after the holidays, this year I decided to leave the Christmas decorations up until I was sick of them, which turned out to be February. And then, although Gary hauled the tree out to the deck, there were still some decorations I found it difficult to part with, so I left those peppering the house. Then, one day, I looked around (probably after those two days in early February when the temperature outdoors hit 65) and said, “What are these things still doing here?” So, I put them away. It was the most pleasant January and February I think I’d ever had!

I hit the new year with a vengeance, determined to (really) be organized. So far, so good! I find I’m better able to accomplish more (and important) things in a week by just keeping a Word doc “To Do” checklist open and adding new items at the top. Red ink means “Yikes! Gotta do it first!” (and bold means “TODAY!”). Black ink marks things that need to be done but are not yet crucial. A black check mark means “Done!” It’s rudimentary, but it works. Consequently, I never have to remember things—I just check the list. It frees my mind for more creative pursuits. (No more “Um, what was I supposed to do today/this week?” Kind of like my computer when it has too many programs open, remembering "To Do" lists slows me down.) I’ve also rid my desk, my office, and my house of all those Post-It notes! (Okay, so maybe not every single one of them . . .) Finally, I've given up the computer game "Free Cell." That's right—I haven't played a game since December 31st. It's amazing how creatively I now spend that time!

As always, we’ve been busy—daughter Sarah’s 25th birthday; a family trip to Lake Placid, NY; staying with Sarah for a “girls” weekend in NYC; visiting with daughter Amie at the National Gallery after her conference in Washington, DC; friend Clare coming from Boston for a weekend; and cross-country skiing with cousin Alyce and her husband Howard. And, the eternal FIRST Robotics season, which each year causes the disappearance of my husband, Gary, for long periods of time (during which Robin enjoys many lunches and dinners out with girlfriends). No teaching this spring: My section of “Basic Writing” at Montgomery County Community College was canceled for lack of registrants. So, I’ve been putting my resources into various organizational projects, to good effect. It’s been a long and eventful winter, but I’m ready for spring. How about you?

Finally, as always, because of our dedicated contributors, we have a wonderful issue. For more about Empty Nest magazine, visit About Us.


Robin C. Bonner
Editor, Empty Nest

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