Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 04-18-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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2 AT HOME / ENTERTAINMENT APRIL 18-24, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE LIVING EDITION sure why. Probably for the first time in the 30 years I have lived here, I actually put down the first step in the weed and feed procession of products – the one with the crabgrass deterrent – before the crabgrass has emerged, and drunk with power now that I have begun the fight, I have my grub killing agent all set to spring into action as soon as the right time for action comes along (reading the instructions on the bag would be a good first step). So much for the easy stuff, and believe me, dumping a bag of what- ever-it-may-be into the spreader and taking a quick trot around the "estate" really is the easy part. The tough part, which I have also already started, is the hands-on, down-and-dirty, sweat- producing physical labor aspect of gardening that I really hate and dread. The beds in my front yard (the but- terfly garden under the kitchen win- dow and the herb garden directly in front of it, the little triangular "Nora's Garden" so named since it is filled with birthday flowers from my friend from Texas, and the big bed that holds pride of place on the front lawn) are all filled with easy-to-care-for perennials, and for years that's what they were, needing minimal cleanup and fussing. And then two years ago, right after spring cleanup and with everything looking great, I broke both legs and it all went to hell in a handbasket, pointing out the fact that although "minimal," some regular upkeep still needs to be done. With no one keep- ing an eye on things, invasive plants soon took over, necessitating a major overhaul last fall. My friend Al and his rototiller cleared swaths of grass and weeds. I dug up, washed, separated, and replanted three different varieties of irises in three different areas and, unable to bear the thought of tossing out expensive plants, I called around and managed to re-home every last scrap of the excess. I relocated some plants and added new ones, being mindful the whole time of the fact that somewhere beneath the very ground I was working on were roots and bulbs of other plants whose time of the year had come and gone and of which all traces were now gone except for what existed in my memory and that I real- ly did not want to disturb. That done, I put down layers of newspaper to keep new grass and weeds from grow- ing, covered it all with mulch, put my tools away and took the winter off. That brings us to the present and I can't wait to see what will come up and where. Will the butterfly weed from my neighbor Sue grow and help feed the pretty butterflies? And how about the bee balm, also from Sue who got some of my lamb's ears in exchange? Will the beautiful yel- low and pale blue irises that failed to thrive where they had been planted finally be able to achieve their full potential in their new spot? And will the purple coneflower I planted with such care last spring come back again this year or will it fail to take, as did its expensive predecessor (I think it was called a raspberry coneflower) the year before? The miniature daffodils, the purple hyacinths, and the tiny blue flowers called Glory of the Snow are all in full bloom, and a few other early perenni- als are also starting to grow. Spears of irises, most of which were thinned out last fall, are looking good, too. The lilacs are filled with buds that look almost ready to burst, and the chives are as perky and green as I have ever seen them. Unfortunately, so, too, are the sprigs of mint that have begun poking up here and there at the far end of the herb garden. Planted almost 30 years ago in a pot sunken into the ground to prevent it from spreading, it eventually busted loose and escaped, infiltrating every- thing around it. Two years ago it was all dug out. It returned. Last fall I did another major dig out and promised myself that this time I would stay right on top of things, and I have. For the last two weeks I have been digging them up, not pulling out, every time I spot them. The "Battle of the Mint" has been engaged and like old Elmer Fudd with his "wascally wabbit," and armed with shovel rather than shotgun, I will not relax until the wascally weed has been "ewadicated." Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland. Julie Jargon is a reporter with the Wall Street Journal. Heretofore, she has written about food companies like Starbucks and McDonald's. As of April 2, however, Ms. Jargon is writ- ing a WSJ column titled "Family and Tech," described as dealing with "the impact of technology on family life." In her inaugural column (April 2, 2019), which could have been writ- ten by public relations folks at Sony and the American Psychological Association, Ms. Jargon strives to convince her audience that simply because a child has difficulty putting down the game controller and finding creative, productive things to do does not mean he's a video game addict. Given that addiction is defined as being obsessed with and having great difficulty ceasing the use of a harmful substance or involvement in a non- productive or pathological activity, I fail to see anything but contradiction in Ms. Jargon's thesis. We're talking about kids who will not stop playing video games unless a parent or the imminence of a bodily function forces them to stop. How's that not an addic- tion? The manager of a large west coast convention hotel once told me that when his property hosted a "gamers" convention, his staff had to threaten attendees with pulling the plug on their devices to get them to drink water or eat even a cracker. Many of the attendees wore adult diapers so they wouldn't have to stop playing. That, by any other name, is addiction. It's also sick. It's also where a child or teen's obsession with video games may lead if parents don't pull the plug before some hotel manager has no choice … that or risk a lawsuit from a gamer who becomes dehydrated and suffers a cardiac episode. Ms. Jargon seems loathe to call a spade a spade. After relating two hor- ror stories that clearly describe addic- tion, she refers to psychologists who advise parents to stop worrying about whether their kids are addicted and figure out instead if they're using video games to cope with depression, anxi- ety or stress. She cites a study finding that teens who played video games four or more hours a day on average showed more signs of depression than kids who played less than four hours a day. Note that the psychologists in ques- tion (unidentified) posit that depres- sion and other mental health issues cause obsession with/addiction to video games as opposed to the other way around. That's a clever means of covering ineptitude while at the same time claiming rights to treatment (keep in mind, dear reader, I am a psycholo- gist). Besides, it's so much easier to tell parents their child needs a daily dose of a drug than it is to get them to do something that will cause their child to hate them and act deranged until cured, not to mention something that may cause them to never make another appointment. I once persuaded parents to "disap- pear" their 15-year-old son's console while he was at school. He was so "into" video games he would not come down to dinner or participate in any family activity and was usually up well past midnight every night. When he discovered that his supply of "videopioid" had been terminated, he went nuts. He all but destroyed his room, for example. Two weeks of silence and self-imposed seclusion later, he admitted to his parents that he felt much, much better and was going to try and help other boys con- quer their addictions. To prevent an addiction from developing, Ms. Jargon passes along such hackneyed tips as creating rules around playing and following them consistently. OK, but that assumes parents have no difficulty establishing limits that cause their kids distress. The problem is that all too many of today's parents have an abundance of said difficulty, meaning Jargon's advice is moot out of the gate. Thankfully, there are still parents who will stand up to child-rearing challenges and face them head-on; parents who are not trying to be their kids' friends; parents who understand that children, including most teens, know only what they want, which is precisely why they require adults in their lives who know what they need. Family psychologist John Rosemond: johnrosemond.com, parentguru.com. Teens and video game addiction Traditional Parenting JOHN ROSEMOND RHEA From Page One Eat Drink RI Festival set for April 24-27 The 8th annual Eat Drink RI Festival, taking place Wednesday, April 24 through Saturday, April 27, will showcase farmers, chefs, bartenders and food and drink artisans from across Rhode Island. This year's festival features the second Sommelier Punchdown on April 24 where a handful of the state's best certified sommeliers are pitted against each other in a wine theory quiz, a blind wine tasting, and a collaboration with a local chef. A new women-prepared din- ing event, Rhody Women's Feast, will be on April 25 at the Revival Foodworks & Brewery in Cranston. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Women's Fund of Rhode Island. April 26 will be the 7th annual Truck Stop to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, taking place in the food bank's parking lot in Providence. There will be more than 20 food trucks, drinks, and local musicians. The festival closes with a Grand Tasting featuring samples and sales from local food artisans, locally produced beers, wines and spir- its in the Rotunda and Ballroom of the Rhode Island Convention Center. For more information and tick- ets, visit eatdrinkri.com/festival .

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