Special

The second Sunday in May comes every year with little fanfare. Many of us nearly forget it as Mother’s day one time or another. Mother’s Day can be a joy of sharing thoughtfulness, care, and consideration with Mother’s Day cards, flowers, and gift ideas.

But, the true gift is showing mom we love her and expressing it in a way that is meaningful to her.

Every year in America we celebrate Mother’s Day on the Second Sunday of May. Although we are only half way to Christmas, a special gift is due to a special endearing person, your mother. You can tell your mom, in a very special way, how much you love her and how much you appreciate her, but showing her that you love her is what truly counts.

A bouquet of flowers for her on Mother’s Day is certainly an appropriate and thoughtful gift idea. Mother’s Day flowers tend to express what words cannot say and fill the home with beauty and soft fragrance. Mother’s Day flowers convey tenderness and beauty to a mom who will remember moments of sweetness a bouquet of flowers will bring to mind.

We can show mom our love by taking time out of our busy lives to visit her, to call her, and to be with her. As children we experienced unconditional love from our mother. As adults we need to honor that love in reciprocation. This year, on the second Sunday in May, take time out to tell her how special she is. You may say it with a lovely Mother’s Day card or a Mother’s Day gift that is selected especially for her.

A Mother-in-law is also entitled to a sincere gesture of care and thoughtfulness on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day can help us to strengthen this special relationship. On Mother’s Day you can convey that she is truly an integral part of the family, and that you wish to give her a place in your family’s daily life. Mother’s Day offers an opportunity to share a few moments of consideration for your mother-in-law with caring thoughts, a Mother’s Day card and a unique Mother’s Day gift she would enjoy.

The ideal Mother’s Day gift would be a gift idea that she would find useful and practical. It would also be elegant and exquisite. A gourmet kitchen gift or selections of imported gourmet condiments make great gift ideas for a Mother’s Day.

An excellent gift idea would be to present her with a hand blown glass teapot for her kitchen. Perhaps an oil and vinegar set from Europe would be appropriate. A gourmet gift accentuates your appreciation of her cooking and taste, and adds flavor to a time of reflection, such as tea time. Today you will find all of these Mother’s Day gift ideas online. The perfect Mother’s Day gift is easily found in numerous gift shops and boutiques, but remember SHOWING your mother that you do indeed love her, means more than any item you could send her. Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May, halfway to Christmas, yet “a gift to give” well worth remembering.

Well, Mother’s Day is coming up on us again. Are you ready to “WOW” your mom with a show of thanks and gratitude? Will you honestly remember what motherhood is all about and what she did for you? To prepare you for adulthood, the stresses of life, teaching you how to make lemon-aide out of lemons.

Some say the Mother’s Day is too commercialized now, but what was it really for to begin with? Originally conceived by Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War as a day honoring (in her opinion) the inherent pacifism of mothers, Mother’s Day now simply celebrates motherhood and thanks mothers.

The first Mother’s Day as we would recognize it was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on May 10, 1908, in the church where the elder Anna Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Grafton is the home to the International Mother’s Day Shrine. From there, the custom caught on
Love and romance, mankind has paired into couples ever since Adam and Eve, but what makes some relationships sizzle and others fizzle? Some say it may well be the romantic nature of the individuals who make up the couple. However, whether you are single, searching or happily married, it is human nature to seek romance and love.

So why don’t you take my quiz and test your Cupid Quotient?!?

1. In what country would a man send a woman a Valentine letter containing a rhyme and signed with a series of dots to represent his name? According to this country’s tradition, if the woman guessed his identity correctly on Valentine’s Day he would reward her with a gift.

A. Denmark

B. Italy

C. England

D. America

A. Denmark

QQ. In Denmark, a man would send a woman a Valentine letter containing a rhyme and signed with a series of dots to represent his name. If the woman guessed his identity correctly on Valentine’s Day he would reward her with a gift.

2. In what country would young ladies awaken before sunrise and look out their window? According to tradition, the first man they saw would be either the man they would marry or someone who looked like their future husband.

A. Denmark

B. Italy

C. England

D. America

B. Italy

QQ. In Italy, young ladies would awaken before sunrise and look out their window. Tradition said the first man they saw would be either the man they would marry or look like their future husband.

3. In what country would a suitor leave a basket of gifts on his beloved’s doorstep and run off?

A. Denmark

B. Italy

C. England

D. America

C. England

QQ. In England, a suitor would leave a basket of gifts on his beloved’s doorstep and run off.

4. In what country would young ladies write their names on slips of paper and at Valentine’s Day party young men would draw names.

According to this country’s tradition, the young man would then wear the name of his lady on his sleeve for days to claim her as his valentine, originating the saying “wearing your heart on your sleeve.”

A. Denmark

B. Italy

C. England

D. America

D. America

QQ. In America, young ladies would write their names on slips of paper and at a Valentine’s Day party young men would draw names. A young man would wear the name of his lady on his sleeve for days to claim her as his valentine, originating the saying “wearing your heart on your sleeve.”

5. The tradition of pairing lovers in February comes from:

A. A pagan festival called Lupercalia when young men and women drew names to choose partners, exchanged gifts and often married after the festival pairing.

B. Geoffrey Chaucer who chose the date because the 14th of February was the day birds began to pair for the spring nesting season.

C. Pope Gelasius chose Feb. 14th as the day to honor St. Valentine.

D. The Romans once honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and Pan, the god of nature, during a festival on Feb. 15.

E. They are all true

E. They are all true

QQ: Interesting how many reasons there are to become a couple on a specific date!

6. Valentine’s Day-celebrated Feb. 14-is a festival of love and romance. Its history can be traced back to which civilization?

A. Rome

B. Greece

C. Celts

D. None of the above, it was created by the greedy card, chocolate and flower companies.

A. Rome

QQ: While admittedly the holiday has become excessively commercialized, it is not a manufactured holiday but one with a long tradition extending back to Rome

7. Why was Cupid chosen as the symbol of Valentine’s Day and lovers?

A. He was the Roman god of love.

B. A celebrated marksman from Greece, he won the hand of his beloved through an archery match.

C. According to Celtic tradition, Cupid was an unfortunate suitor killed by the arrow of an outraged father who refused to let his daughter wed for love.

D. There is no reason other than the fact greedy card, chocolate and flower moguls thought that was the cutest design created by their marketing staff.

E. All are correct

A. He was the Roman god of love.

QQ: Sometimes we get a little silly

8. The original Valentine, who was sainted after his death, was:

A. A Christian priest who lived in Rome and was jailed and later beheaded for aiding persecuted Christians in 270 AD

B. Was killed on the site of ancient altar to Juno (the Roman goddess of women and marriage).

C. A bishop of Terni who was persecuted for converted Romans to Christianity and performing Christian marriages.

D. Was actually two different Christian martyrs.

E. All are correct

E. All are correct

QQ: You couldn’t miss!

9. Deep red carnations tell your loved one that…

A. Your heart is broken.

B. Celibacy

C. Friendship

D. True Love

A. Your heart is broken.

QQ: Your heart is broken because they mean “alas, my poor heart”.

10. Roses are among the most popular flowers for lovers to give, but what does the gift mean?

A. Hopeless love

B. Be mine

C. Love

D. Farewell

C. Love

QQ: That one was easy, wasn’t it?

11. However, the combination of white and red roses sends what message?

A. Unity

B. Declaration of love

C. Farewell

D. Distrust

A. Unity

QQ: You could get bonus points for that!

12. If you hope to propose, what flowers should make up the bouquet you present to your intended?

A. Ivy

B. Blue violets

C. Globe amaranth

D. Rose

E. Any and All

QQ: I think combining all these flowers would make a beautiful gesture as: Ivy means fidelity and marriage, Blue violets mean faithfulness, Globe amaranth means unfading love, and Roses mean love

I love shopping. Online, that is. No crowds at the malls and certainly no jostling for a parking space. Why would anyone want to traverse crowded New Jersey streets only to go to an equally crowded mall staffed by rude sales staff?

Okay, I’m exaggerating. There are plenty of nice people working at the malls and the internet doesn’t give you the “touchy-feely” you can get at a store by examining a product up close and personal, but with so many nice downtown shopping areas in New Jersey why not visit one of these instead?

I grew up in Ridgewood and at that time it was a town with a real downtown. No slight against the village now, but there are a disproportionate amount of restaurants and not enough stores to choose from. At least give us guys a hardware store to browse in for crying out loud!

My Ridgewood memories bring me back to the time when Woolworth’s and The Big Store dominated East Ridgewood Avenue. Woolworth’s, as you know, was the nation’s chief “5 and 10″ store for many years in many American towns. By the time I was a kid growing up in the 1960s and 1970s there were precious few things selling for a nickel or even a dime. Except for goldfish, I think. What kid didn’t at some point have a fifty cent glass fishbowl lined with green rocks on the bottom and one or two goldfish floating around? I know that I did. Woolworth’s is gone, now just a memory.

Right next door to Woolworth’s was The Big Store. All I know about it was that the store was as large as Woolworth’s, it had wooden floors with fresh sawdust on it, and it seemed to sell mostly small appliances, tools, notions, linens, etc. Their stock seemed almost like what Woolworth’s carried, but different. In the eyes of an eight year old, the stock didn’t matter, what mattered was the sawdust on the floor. What mall today has sawdust on the floor? None that I have visited!

Without harping on Ridgewood or covering sketchy history, I still like certain downtowns. Montclair is my picture of an ideal shopping district. Maybe I should say, “districts” as the middle part of the township centered around Bloomfield Avenue isn’t the only place to shop. Other notable shopping areas in Montclair can be found in the Watchung Plaza area as well as along Valley Road in Upper Montclair. All three areas have plenty of stores to choose from and two have a feature that I like best: in-town movie theatres! Yes, there is something about attending a movie in a building that was built years before you were born, where the walls are fairly thick and you don’t hear the movie from the theatre next door while watching your movie. I particularly appreciate that once the movie is over I can visit art galleries nearby or go over to the coffee shop for something hot. Montclair offers all that and more.

Glen Rock’s downtown is special. Where else can you find a shopping district hemmed in by two railroad lines? In Glen Rock you can! The downtown area is a great place to walk around and they have some nice stores to boot, including hardware stores. While you are there, check out the rock in the glen just south of the business district located on Doremus Avenue at Rock Road. Cool, very cool.

Bloomfield’s downtown lacks parking, but it doesn’t lack potential. The townspeople are in the process of working on long term plans to build a parking garage and attract new businesses. My best guess is if they are successful in their efforts, Bloomfield will be a nice alternative to Montclair.

Over in Clifton is the Botany Village shopping district, near Passaic. Lots of nice little shops to visit and certainly a place that will remind old timers of shopping districts that have gone bye-bye!

I’m sure that I’ll catch “heck” for not naming other towns, but that isn’t the point of my short narrative. Rather, check out the shopping areas in nearby towns and see what they have to offer. It certainly beats being jammed in at the Willow-brook Mall or waiting in traffic on Route 4 in Paramus. Online shopping is a good alternative, but you still have to make your own coffee and, usually, what you can find downtown is a lot tastier.

This article originally appeared on Townstead.com, a defunct site managed by Matt Keegan. It was part of his “Life in New Jersey” series of articles.

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