Making flowers bloom during the winter

By: Lela Martin

Avoid going to the Dark Side in the dead of winter. Brighten your home by forcing branches to awaken indoors and flower now before spring. “Forcing” describes the process of coaxing flowers into bloom indoors, after they have completed their winter dormancy requirement. Materials cut after January 15 usually open well indoors. You may have experience forcing bulbs such as paperwhites ... READ MORE

Love stories from five Virginia presidents

By: Martha Steger

With Valentine’s and Presidents’ Days approaching, curiosity turns to what U.S. presidents were like as sweethearts and husbands. Readers and travelers can gain insight into five “romantics in chief” from Virginia — birthplace of eight U.S. presidents — by visiting the related presidential sites in the Commonwealth. We’ve also listed some nearby romantic inns if you’d... READ MORE

Premiere brings Matisse to life

By: Robert Friedman

After more than 100 years, the art collecting Cone sisters of Baltimore, the great French artist Henri Matisse, and the modernist literary icon Gertrude Stein are together again — on stage, at least, at the Howard County Community College in Columbia. They are the leading characters in All She Must Possess, a world premiere play by Baltimorean Susan McCully, being presented at the Rep... READ MORE

Safely using over-the-counter pain meds

By: Priscilla Harrison

Q: Are over-the-counter acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications safe for older adults? A: Yes, non-prescription over-the-counter (OTC) medications are generally safe for older adults, but should still be used cautiously in some individuals. Options for OTC pain management can be broken down into two categories: acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory... READ MORE

Facing violence and guilt in relationships

By: Helen Oxenberg

Dear Solutions: I’m very concerned about my granddaughter, who is considering marrying her boyfriend. She is confiding in me and asked me, “Can someone love you and still hit you at the same time?” She says she knows her boyfriend loves her and wants to marry her, but when he gets very angry he lashes out at her physically. They’re making wedding plans, but she says that... READ MORE

Why tall = small, and other conundrums

By: Bob Levey

Sometimes, dear friends, we are plunged into modern-day situations that are so absurd, so illogical, so incomprehensible, so inexplicable, that all we can do is throw up our hands. So it went with me one recent morning at my neighborhood Starbucks. I had agreed to meet a friend there to give her some career advice. I was early. She wasn’t there yet. So I decided to buy a cup of... READ MORE