Archives by: Paris Wolfe

Paris Wolfe

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About the author

Paris Wolfe enjoys writing about interesting getaways as much as she does discovering them.

Paris Wolfe Posts

An Herb Experience from Blogger Paris Wolfe

Blogs

Sansho Pepper Experience is Startling

 

As the Blogmaster for The Herb Society of America, I seek herb experiences when I travel. I want to see what’s different, new or part of the local culture. The older I get the further I have to reach for new experiences; travel is a great way to find them.

A recent visit to the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal was a jackpot. It’s like Cleveland’s West Side Market, but local to the Canadian city.

My favorite store in the historic market was Epices de Cru, a colorful exotic vendor of herbs, tea, and spices. The husband and wife owners travel the world to bring home the best ingredients from the “ordinary” to the unusual. Think: Cinnamon leaf or avocado leaf (use like a bay leaf with a different accent.) I was so entranced I visited twice. The second time I spent an hour perusing shelves and deciding just what to carry home.

Feeling adventurous I asked for the most unusual product and was introduced to sansho pepper. I can’t decide if the person assisting liked me or hated me when I was allowed to sample the small “peppercorn” which comes from the berry of a deciduous shrub – prickly ash — cultivated in Asia.
It was like my first experience with wasabi. Intense nerve confusion. I wasn’t sure if I was going to live or die. I lived.

First, the tip of my tongue numbed. That electrified numbness spread. From cheek to cheek I sensed a citrus – lemon/lime, maybe – coolness. And, my mouth started to water. It wasn’t hot or spicy, but like something had a hold of the nerves in my mouth. It expanded beyond taste to a physical sensation. And, it lasted nearly 10 minutes.

Once I realized that anesthesia was the expected experience and the limit (I wasn’t succumbing to rare nerve poison), I was fascinated.  

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ADHD – Adults Can Have It, Too

Health & Wellness July/August 2017

ADHD

No Kidding — Adults Can Get It, Too

 

By Paris Wolfe

 

When Lisa, 55, of Cleveland was treated for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) this year, she felt like a new person. Her productivity improved, she slept better and life became more manageable.

“I couldn’t believe the difference,” she says. “(Medication) helped me focus instead of bouncing off walls. Before, I would be working on something and be distracted by the next shiny thing that came along. Then, I’d get anxious because I would get behind on the first project.”

That anxiety snowballed and may have caused depression. Once the ADHD was addressed, her depression and problems seemed to melt away.

An Adult Diagnosis

Before a comprehensive five-hour series of tests diagnosed Lisa, she didn’t realize adults could be affected. Like many, she thought ADHD was just for kids.

Not so. ADHD is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Research suggests it persists into adulthood for at least 50 percent of those diagnosed as a child. As many as 10 million adults may be affected.

People in their 50s and 60s fall into those numbers. ADHD didn’t suddenly appear with Generation X. Despite the lack of diagnoses, it has been around for a long time, spanning generations. While causes aren’t definitive, studies attribute ADHD to genetics as well as to smoking and drinking during pregnancy.

Symptoms may be less apparent in the over-50 population because they’ve had longer to learn coping skills and life hacks.

One of the most common ways adults realize they’re affected is during an exam of a child or grandchild.

“They sit in the room with the provider who asks questions about the child, and the adult starts to see the light.

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Lake Erie Islands

Featured July/August 2017 Travel

Island Time

Explore the Shore Among Lake Erie’s Jewels

 

By Paris Wolfe

 

Few places in Ohio combine history and nature — and, let’s face it, a bit of partying — as successfully as Lake Erie’s popular islands.

Summer is the best time to practice your island hopping in western Lake Erie’s collection of little land masses. The Ohio “Keys” are rife with activities from mid-April through late October when the weather is temperate and the lake is free of ice.

While the islands are a boater’s paradise, landlubbers have easy access to three of the four islands by ferry. And, once there, bikes and golf carts dominate the streets. Rentals are available at the ferry stop. Cars are welcome, but few folks opt to ferry them over.

 

Island Hopping

 

South Bass Island (1,588 acres) is home of the legendary Put-in-Bay. It draws perhaps the most enthusiastic crowds for playing and partying on weekends, and recovers on weekdays. It’s popular with college students and bridal parties on the weekends, with a mellower vibe during the week. Plan accordingly.

 

Middle Bass Island (805 acres) is less commercial than South Bass but offers a handful of shopping opportunities as well as a state park and 184-slip marina.

 

North Bass Island (593 acres) is a mostly unimproved state park open to primitive camping with a special permit, hiking, picnicking, biking, wildlife watching and fishing. It can be accessed only by airplane or personal watercraft.

 

Kelleys Island (2,888 acres) is home to more than 300 people, making it both residential and recreational. Biking, hiking and beaches make up its attractions.

 

The actual experience at the islands might depend on the timing and location of a visit. Weekend evenings are rowdier and “crowdier,” while weekdays are slow and leisurely.

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Hocking Hills

Get Away May/June 2017 Outdoors Things to do

Getaway

Hocking Hills

Find Romance, an Adrenaline Buzz or a Family Connection

Andrea Coats and Chad Gordon made their first trip to Hocking Hills the year they met. Both divorced with teenaged children, they needed a romantic escape to focus on each other. A few days in the woods worked — the Medina couple has been together five years.

From time to time, the two return to Hocking Hills in the southeast part of the state, and plan to return again this summer to enjoy the romance of the picturesque region.

“We get a cabin by ourselves with a hot tub and grill. We grill steaks, sit in the hot tub and watch the hummingbirds around us,” Coats says. “It has beautiful woodland scenery, which makes it romantic. It’s a holding-hands, walking-around, being-alone kind of place. That’s my idea of romance. I like to be alone together.”

Gordon says, “We like it as a couple because the seclusion allows us to give full attention to each other. With immersion into nature and escape from urban, suburban and digital routines, it sounds cliché, but it’s like going back in time.”

Choose Your Own Adventure

Coats and Gordon found — and have nurtured — their romance in Hocking Hills. But there are plenty of other things to discover just a short car ride from Northeast Ohio.

With only two hotels in the area — a Holiday Inn Express and a Baymont — most of the accommodations are cabins and lodges. These are convenient for anything from couples’ getaways to family gatherings. While most options include hot tubs, some larger properties offer in-ground pools for swimming or ponds for fishing.

When visitors venture into public, it’s usually to one of the six separate areas that make up the 2,356 acres of Hocking Hills State Park.

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Drive Time?

Caregiving Cars and Driving March/April 2017

Aging

 

A Key Decision

When a Loved One Shouldn’t Drive

 

By Paris Wolfe

 

The unexplained scratches and dents on Grandpa’s beige Crown Victoria made it obvious the time had come for him to give up driving. But he didn’t want to part with his independence and control. He resisted until back pain kept him from the steering wheel.

Grounding an adult isn’t easy. And with a large aging population — more than 2 million licensed drivers 85 years old and over — an increasing number of caretakers are facing that task.

A Decision with Dignity

“Chronological age isn’t a predictor of driving ability,” says Lori Cook, safety adviser for AAA East Central. “You don’t reach a magic age and stop. What counts is performance, physical and mental. I’ve seen people drive into their 90s.”

Many folks, she says, are self-regulating when they perceive diminished ability. “As we get older and wiser, we realize that speeding doesn’t get us anywhere faster,” Cook says. Other adaptations she sees are driving only during daylight as well as avoiding bad weather, heavy traffic and freeways.

“It’s not innate that people will know when to stop,” says Anne Vanderbilt, CNS, CNP, a clinical nurse specialist with the Cleveland Clinic Department of Geriatric Medicine. “Driving is complex because it’s so much of our independence and identity and autonomy.”

Signs that it’s time to minimize or stop driving include:

  • Experiencing frequent minor accidents or near misses
  • Being honked at frequently for being too slow or taking too long to turn
  • Having difficulty reading ordinary road signs
  • Being spoken to about your driving by the police, family or friends
  • Getting lost on familiar roads

An eye exam and new glasses or a wide-angled rear view mirror might help. But if dementia requires a GPS to navigate everyday destinations, it’s time to surrender the keys, Cook says.

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Curate Your Closet

Blogs Home & Garden

I couldn’t stand my closet. It was overflowing with coats, jackets, work dresses, sundresses, long skirts, short skirts, pants, sweaters, scarves … shoes, boots, sandals. Enough to dress the female population of small country.  

I had clothes for multiple roles mom, exercise enthusiast, media professional, friend, girlfriend and more. Let’s not even talk weight gain and loss. It’s no wonder my closet looked like several women lived there. They did.

Enter Jennifer Marks, a closet curator and stylist by trade, headquartered in St. Louis and Cleveland. She helps clients sort, purge and organize clothing. Marks has a Master’s in Public Health with a focus on social and behavioral sciences, something that has honed her skills for understanding human behavior.

She won me over with a few words:  “My goal is to get to know you and understand your lifestyle to ensure your outer appearance accurately depicts your true inner self.”

A curator of more than 100 closets, she assured me she wouldn’t run screaming into the night when she saw this manifestation of my psyche.  She didn’t.

Instead, she assessed my roles and goals, my aesthetic sensibilities and comfort zone.  Then, we determined who I want to be and what that “me” will wear.

In examining the shadows that shape my closet angst, I saw how my personal history informed my attire. I reflected on how my philosophy, friends, cultural background and daily activities move my fashion decisions.

Freud might suggest the abundance made up for the limitations of Catholic school uniforms. Or, perhaps, I had been trying to find myself after divorce. Or, maybe, I’m more like an actor, choosing completely different costumes for each and every role.

Whatever the case, we pruned my closet to express my unique, powerful self without fracturing into personas and costumes.

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Herbs for All

Blogs Fun Outdoors

Save Those Dandelions for Wine

By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster and Kelly Wilkinson, Dandelion Wine ExpertDandelion (2)

When I was a child my family of four bonded over dandelion hunting. We plunged narrow trowels into dry earth twisting and pleading with the dandelion roots to let go. We were removing these pests from my parent’s rural yard.

Today, I’m uncertain why. If you think about it they have cheery yellow faces and whimsical wishing poofs. But, I guess we’ve been cultured to think of them as unsightly.

If you’re going to remove them, why not repurpose them as food. (WARNING: Only use those from yards NOT treated with chemicals.) Young greens are good in salad or sautéed like spinach. Flowers are nutritional in baked goods.

In collecting and creating I was surprised by the short season, which varies by region. Their late spring  appearance in Northeast Ohio is not nearly enough to feed my culinary curiosity.

Quick before they disappear I want to share a conversation with Kelley Wilkinson from Asheville, North Carolina. Kelley writes:

I used to be a wine snob. I worked in a wine shop for a year, and was paid with wine, instead of a salary, and learned everything I could. We held weekly tastings and I even rubbed noses with Robert Parker at national events. I filled my cellar with the finest Bordeaux and California wines. 

But I’ve also been a long-time organic grower and gardener.

The two things didn’t quite jive, since I knew that grape production often involves tons of toxic chemicals. Plus I have been a wild-food aficionado and herbalist for many years. So making my own organic and/or wild alcohol seemed inevitable. I was a bit nervous to begin the journey, since I  have been cursed with a good palette. (I KNOW when I’m drinking awful wine.)

So when I made my first batch, I was not expecting much, to be honest.

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Sweet Stays – Grab a Winter Reset With These Local Inns

Get Away January/February 2017

You don’t have to go far to find the antidote to the winter doldrums. Here are three Northeast Ohio inns that pamper both body and soul. Gather with friends. Cuddle with a sweetheart. Indulge in a solo retreat. Any way you want to get away can be a luxurious respite. Close and cozy, consider a mini retreat at one (or all) of these terrific destinations and embrace winter — on your terms.

Red Maple Inn is a hybrid Inn/bed and breakfast, with a touch of Grandma’s house.

General Manager Gina Holk has everything covered. Drop your bags on the carpet and grab a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. You’re home, only better — you don’t have to clean your room. This 18-room rural getaway is like going to Grandma’s if she had rooms for all the cousins, local gifts to buy in her foyer and Jacuzzi tubs in each bathroom.

The Amish carpenter-built Red Maple Inn is warm and homey, yet refined and indulgent. You’ll feel comfortable cozying up in a tapestry chair in a sweater (dare we say Snuggie) in front of the fireplace and overlooking the snowy Amish countryside.

Don’t grow roots into the chair. You’ll want to tour the fourth-largest Amish settlement in the country. Call ahead for details and booking. Guide Robyn Morris loads guests into a white van, distributes a comfort package and trundles guests to a number of places, depending on the day.

Destinations may include an Amish schoolhouse, private homes, a cheese factory, interesting retail businesses and more. Dress warmly for cold days because heating tends to be primitive in Amish buildings. Bring cash because you’ll have an opportunity to purchase handcrafted goods such as cutting boards, jelly, cheese, quilted items and more. Venturing out on your own? Smaller shops may not take credit cards — no electricity, no cards.

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