Category Archives: Columns

@bruceontheloose: Parenting

Way back in the old days (when you got up to change the channel on the television and asked for directions at the local gas station), I found out my wife at the time was expecting a child.  One of the first presents I ever remember her getting was the book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”  I’m pretty sure that book still exists and women still get it early in their pregnancy. 

While I never read it myself, I did skim it, then watched and learned.  As I observed, I saw there were all kinds of tips, ideas, concepts and everything you need to know about pregnancy and upcoming childbirth.  A section followed that shared information about what your child will do at three months, six months, a year old, etc.

What they never told you – probably because they knew you wouldn’t be ready for it – was that all kids are different.  The authors also never seemed to fess up and be honest about the stages of a growing child as they enter the teen years and their twenties.  It’s a conspiracy.

The tricks that worked so well on child number one or even on number two don’t seem to play out with the third one.  No matter how many books you read, you are never fully prepared for those specific personality traits that make a child so different from their siblings.  Ultimately, we love our children the best we can, do the best we can for them, throw our hands up, and then hope for the best.  Anyone who says they do much more is probably not being completely honest with you.

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Bruce, Maddy, and Tee

Recently, when thinking about how much I love my children, I reflected on the humorous and completely different exchanges that I frequently seem to have with them.  Then, like any humorous situation that happens to me, I told my friends.  When I realized they all laughed out loud (today, “LOL”), it hit me this might just be a thought to share with each of you. 

I tell my children I love them on a regular basis.  I want them to hear it, know it, and experience it.

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Bruce and Dan

What the books didn’t print and share with me was the lifecycle of responses from them.  To my 25 year old son, Dan, I say, “I love you” and he replies, “I love you too, Dad.”  When I tell my 17 year old daughter, Maddy, “I love you,” she answers, “Thanks, Dad.”  The best is when I tell my 12 year old son, Tee, that I love him.  I get a half smile and a grunt as a response.  Not a mean one, but a baseline acknowledgement one.

I smile—no matter what response I get, because I know it is all part of a cycle they are going through as their personalities grow and develop. 

Although I’m looking forward to their next stages, I’m enjoying being with them right where they are.

 

For this and other great stories, pick up the March issue of Bella Magazine!

Posh Pad: Wild Illumination

Written By Caitlin Cheatham

I have been hoarding away this massive hull of a tree trunk for three years.  The wood is beautiful, heavy, and richly textured.  I have been carefully assessing it, and trying to figure out what to do with it because it is too beautiful to throw out.  I acquired it when I worked at Anthropolgie in visual merchandising.  At the end of every installment, the “found” materials were always discarded.  I was surprised when I was the only one that jumped at the opportunity to snag this log. Ha!wildillum1

It really is beautiful enough to be hung alone, but I thought that, with a little candle light, it could be even more enchanting.  Candle light is an easy way to upgrade a room from ordinary to sultry and soothing.  My next step was to find the vessels to hold the candles and figure out how to suspend them.  Naturally, I went to the one place that makes all projects make sense–the hardware store.

With a little help from the sales associate, I found some brass wire and brass colored screws.  He had a lot of great ideas that hadn’t even crossed my mind.  He suggested that instead of mounting the handle holders right up against the wood, maybe I should dangle them and show the brass wire.  That way, it would appear more whimsical and not so “placed.”  I took his advice and bought a couple packs of brass wire and eight brass screws. 

Next, I was off to JoAnn Fabric’s, the one place that has almost everything.  I found votive candle holders in a set for around $8.00 and some votive candles.  The materials errands were finished and now it was time to put them to the test. The hard part.

I cut my wire into the desired lengths with wire cutters and wrapped each votive, securing them by twisting the wire on either side.  The twists also created loops for easy hanging.  Then, I evenly spaced my screws with a drill and hung each votive. wildillum3

Wallah!

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  The hardest part is finding the perfect place to mount it. 

 

@BruceontheLoose

The music people choose to love is an interesting thing to observe.

Some folks want you to know how cool they are by the musical groups they promote.  Others let their musical preferences reflect their lifestyle – which is why there is such a large range of genres from Americana to Country to Hard Rock to Rap and more.  Then there are people that don’t push their musical preferences to the front of a conversation, but are known to weigh in with an “I hate that group” or a quick “have you heard of such and such?”

When you’re looking for a common ground conversation at a mixer, music is an interesting topic.  Really listening to what a person says can give you a deeper look into their life approach.  It becomes a springboard to further conversation.

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Try this fun question, sure to incite a variety of responses: What are five songs you never get tired of hearing on the radio?

First of all, the tendency is to choose obscure music from dusty LPs that others reviewed and decided are classics.  You know– that fifth cut from the Police’s Syncronicity II album, or the live version of a Rihanna song that no one has ever heard.  Other responses include bands from New Orleans or central Tennessee that you must hear.   Naturally some music snobs will say, “I never listen to the radio.”  That’s how they can stay above The Fray (get it?) and not have to pay attention to pop music at all.

I like music.  It transports us to another place or another time.  It reminds us or propels us.

That means I can always pick out my favorites, but still appreciate and enjoy a wide range of things including show tunes, Eminem, and American Authors (who?).  With two teenagers, I try to keep up with newer music as well– I even saw the One Direction Documentary last fall.  That doesn’t make me hip – in fact I’ve probably lost some gravitas with a few of you – but at least I am somewhat current.  Not a bad trait for a 49 year old.

Now, since this is my question, I have a running start on answering it.  However, you can start thinking of your own answers and have fun discussing them with your friends and family.  Try to include songs that most everyone would have heard at some point – even if it was while walking through a shopping center or eating at a restaurant.  Here are my five in no particular order:

  • Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
  • Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows
  • Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
  • Viva La Vida by Coldplay
  • The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby

No matter how many times I’ve heard these particular songs, I’ll tune in, perk up, or hit replay.  There isn’t always a reason.  I just like them.  How about you?  What songs catch your ear every single time?  Talk amongst yourselves.

@Bruceontheloose: Try Something New

It’s so easy to listen to other people and catch where they are wrong.  Sometimes when we take a deep breath and think, the next thought is the recognition we’re saying (or doing) the same thing.

Let me explain.

In the past few weeks I have had different Roanoke folks tell me they’ve never visited Black Dog Salvage, eaten at Lucky Restaurant, been to a show at the Kirk Avenue Music Hall or even heard there was a new hamburger place down on Market Street.  Respected business people said they didn’t come downtown because it was too big a hassle or they didn’t know how to park.  Active citizens didn’t know about the Roanoke Food Tour or hadn’t been to the renovated Center in the Square.

I was shocked.  These are all opportunities easily accessible and mostly not too expensive.  Interesting diversions for people in the area – some of whom may be wondering what they could do to have some fun or experience something different.

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The next part wasn’t as fun.

I’ve never been to AmRhein’s Wine Cellar.  It’s been years since I have hiked in the area and I’ve never visited the Cascades.  I haven’t been to the updated Mountain Lake Resort.  I just learned Foggy Ridge Cider is about 20 minutes from Floyd and they are open for tastings on Friday- Sunday.  I’ve only eaten at The Blue Apron one time (and loved it).  And so on…

I decided recently it was time for me to do some more exploring in my own (adopted) home town and 2014 will be the year I chip away at my list.  When someone visits our area it means business.  The Virginia Blue Ridge branding and marketing will bring more visitors through the coming years, but if they come across someone who hasn’t experienced a lot of these great things I wonder if they’ll come back.  Will they have fun and experience all we have to offer?

What about you?

Watch Salvage Dawgs on TV (yes Roanoke has its own real life TV stars), drink a cocktail at Lucky (or grab an amazing dinner or both), listen to live music on Kirk Avenue, or eat a burger at Jack Brown’s.  You can find parking downtown – make it a game or pay your two bucks and pull in.  Google the Roanoke Food Tours then go on one.  Visit the top of the Center in the Square.  Find things not on this list and make your own fun.  Then tell others about it – that’s how a community grows and a region is built.  Virginia’s Blue Ridge has so much to offer.

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Sometimes we just need a reminder our own patterns are just as set as the “odd” ones of someone else.

I can’t wait to make 2014 the year to start some new local tourist stops.

Posh Pad: The Perfect Bar Cart

Bar carts have made a huge come back within the last few years.  Call it the “Mad Men Movement” or whatever you like, but they are back in a HUGE way.  Guarantee that if you surf any home improvement website or creative home blogs, you’ll see a slew of bar carts.

Whether you like to have guests over or you enjoy the after work cocktail, having the perfectly stocked bar cart helps you entertain with ease.

Written by Caitlin Cheatham

To find out how to stock the perfect bar cart, pick up our latest issue, on stands today!