NEWS&VIEWS by Jacqueline Bennett

A Second Chance at Love? Send Lavender & White Roses

Posted on February 14, 2018

What is the “language of roses?”


By Jacqueline Bennett


Romance & roses go hand-in-hand, especially on Valentine’s Day when thoughts turn to matters of the heart.


The “alluring” scents, textures and colors of roses have made them the most popular flowers, notes Typically red roses are associated with love. However, there are all kinds of love, and as it turns out different color roses convey different messages, as do the number of roses selected. 



The old Frank Sinatra standard tells of love being “lovelier” the second time around, “just as wonderful with both feet on the ground.” If you have a second chance at love, you may want to consider sending a bouquet of lavender & white roses. In the language of roses says, lavender and white roses represent second chances. 


Burgundy roses are said to symbolize beauty, white ~ purity & spiritual love, yellow ~ friendship, coral ~ desire, orange ~ fascination, pink ~ admiration, and lavender on it own ~ love at first sight. Combinations of colors have added meanings. For example, the second chance lavender & white mix or yellow & red ~ love that has blossomed from friendship. 


Love by the numbers goes on to say, translates into: one ~ my one and only; two ~ we are a couple; three ~’I love you’; six ~ ‘I miss you’; twelve ~ true love; thirteen ~ secret admirer; and OMG! fifty – unconditional love.


Traditionally, men send women red rose(s) on Valentine’s Day. How far have we evolved in the 21st Century when it comes to women sending men roses? Flower Etiquette by Ode a la Rose suggests colors other than softer pastel shades, which are seen as feminine. Instead pick blue, brown, or burgundy. Nonetheless, it seems color selection should be a personal judgement call. Send him roses adds Flower Etiquette, if he already knows of your affections or, if you want to reveal your affections. Again – a personal judgement call.


Now that you have been schooled in the language of roses, what message will you send today?

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? … WALK

Posted on February 8, 2018

Our New England winters can pose a challenge to walking outdoors but if all else fails walk in place indoors. Once the snow removal folks arrive and the walkways get cleared, I like to get outside in the fresh air. (Check with a physician before embarking on a routine of physical activity.)

By: Jacqueline Bennett


How can you mend a broken heart? … WALK.


Walking is at the top of the American Heart Association’s recommendations to get and keep the ticker pumping. It is that time of year again, American Heart Month, and once again I am joining the call to get moving.


Let me reiterate from previous articles I’ve written an astounding fact; according to the AHA, “… 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle.”


That brings us to the famous Humpty Dumpty quote from Lewis Carroll’s The Looking Glass, “The question is, which is to be master – that’s all.” Literary scholars have debated its meaning for years so I’ll apply it in this case to mean  ~ which is to be master over your life? Will it be you by taking action to help yourself ?


Granted, it’s not always easy. There can be challenges, even obstacles to tackle, but do not give up ~ keep trying. And pat yourself on the back, literally pat yourself on the back, for each success no matter how small or large. Since walking is credited with lifting moods, perhaps its benefits can go beyond the physical, also helping to mend broken hearts of the romantic type.



Here’s a reminder bullet list of recommendations from heart health experts:

  • Walking can help maintain a healthy weight and can help prevent & manage conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type II diabetes. It can help strengthen bones, lift moods and improve balance and coordination.
  • Heart healthy eating ~ lean chicken and fish and limited lean red meat, whole grains, low fat dairy, skip the salt and enjoy plenty of vegetables and fruits
  • Take off some weight ~ if your weight is an issue, it is said that even dropping ten pounds can make a difference
  • Get moving ~ don’t limit physical activity to walking
  • Stress management ~ truly, try not to sweat the small stuff ~ and avoid blood pressure spikes
  • Count your blessings ~ keep a gratitude journal ~ the power of positive thinking can help you help yourself
  • Quit smoking ~ after all the years of information about how detrimental smoking can be, it is amazing to me that this still needs to noted.


Always check with a physician before starting a routine of physical activity. And as I’ve said before ~ forgive yourself. If you miss a day or fall off the heart healthy wagon, pick yourself up and keep going. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, you do not need “all the King’s horses and all the King’s men” to put you back on track. All you need to do that, is yourself.

Destination: The Lion’s Den – A Ratskeller with Winter Appeal As Snow Swirls

Posted on January 24, 2018

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett


Listening near the tavern bar one cold December day, tales could be heard of the ratskeller below. 

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett The Lion’s Den at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA.


“The Lion’s Den” in Stockbridge, Massachusetts is listed as one of New England’s coziest winter bars in an article  from “Yankee Magazine.” Located beneath the Red Lion Inn,  “The Den”, as it has been dubbed, can be reached through an exterior entrance and one inside the inn’s Widow Bingham’s Tavern.


During a luncheon at Widow Bingham’s Tavern, I overheard some staff express perplexity when a server described “The Den” as a ratskeller, sometimes spelled rathskeller. It is a term at the same time intriguing and off-putting. Any word that contains “rat” is cause for apprehension.


The term has its origin in 15th Century Germany, according to what I will call bar-scholars. It apparently combines the concept of wine cellars with, well …. The oldest one cited is Bremen Ratskeller, dating to 1405.


So, what the heck is a ratskeller? Quite simply it is a basement tavern. Early on they were found beneath, or nearby city halls. Guess politics could always be cause for a stiff drink. 


It was during the 1800’s that ratskellers made their way into the American vernacular. Visualize the fictional ‘Sam Malone’  pouring drinks as customers make their way down the stairs into ‘Cheers’, which was based on a real bar in Boston – the Bull & Finch, renamed Cheers after the television series reached iconic status.


Ratskellers seemingly became popular on American college campuses during the 1950’s “beatnik” era and into the 1960’s era of social revolution. Given their typically dark and reclusive aura, that fits, hideaways of sorts for folks planning to change the world. Even my Alma mater, the Univeristy of Connecticut, is included in a list of college campuses that had ratskellers during this socially and culturally turbulent period. (The “Sons of Liberty” often met in taverns to orchestrate the American Revolution, albeit they were above ground.)


Ratskellers are far from extinct and can still be found throughout the world. That brings us back to “The Lion’s Den” tucked beneath this New England inn made famous by a Norman Rockwell depiction of Christmas along Main Street in Stockbridge, a quaint town nestled in the beautiful Berkshires.


Yankee Mag makes note of the “half-flight down”, 80-year old pub’s promise of live entertainment 365 days a year, brick-red tin ceiling and rosy lighting. Add to that a key element for me, a fireplace. “The Den’s” promises too, “never a cover charge.” And thanks to the food served here, such as the ultimate chicken pot pie comfort food, it is a 2015 Open Table Diner’s Choice Winner.


Keep in mind that an underground pub does require one to navigate stairs despite having lifted a pint or two. With a hint of clandestine, clearly this ratskeller creates an atmosphere that makes it an appealing destination while outdoors snow swirls amidst the howl of winter winds.


Tavern bar.


Listening near the tavern bar to tales of the ratskeller below: The Lion’s Den at the Red Lion Inn, 30 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA 01262  413-298-5545


Why A Cheating Spouse May Be Less Upsetting Than a Rude Waitress

Posted on January 2, 2018

My New Years Day region-beta paradox cure ~ a find of seasonally decorated  fireplace matches.

By Jacqueline Bennett


The pleasure of my New Year’s Day luncheon out at a favorite restaurant yesterday was dampened by a rude waitress. Although the matter was tended to by the manager, the waitress’ rudeness was still bothering me this morning. I think sometimes we do ‘sweat the small stuff’ because it can represent more, offending our basic sensibilities of right and wrong. Nevertheless, I have other important things to ponder, and in the scheme of things this circumstance was small. So I took to the Internet for refresher tips on getting over small upsets.


Along the way, I came across a theory that was new to me called region-beta paradox. My degree is in a different area, but I began as a psychology major at UConn and the field remains fascinating to me. Thus I ended up reading five articles on this theory, including “The Peculiar Longevity of Things Not So Bad,” by the developers of the hypothesis, T.D.Gilbert et al. There’s a lot to the theory.


The crux however of region-beta paradox is that more intense upsets likely trigger the mind/body response to recovery, processes that reduce stress. Whereas less intense upsets do not. As such, we may find ourselves still fuming days, weeks later, over spilled milk.


Now we have a theoretical explanation. What’s to be done to get over small upsets?


In a Huff Post healthy living piece titled, “How To Stop Agonizing Over The Little Things (Because They Are Inevitable),” written by Kate Bratskeir, she states, “Many of us allow one sour moment to spoil what would have been a perfectly sweet day.” She goes on to suggest the following coping strategies.


  • Just.Stop.Thinking.About.It
  • Focus on your breathing ~ which can be done anywhere, anytime
  • Be mindful (my interpretation ~ take in your moments, surroundings ~ keep yourself in the here & now)
  • Do some positive visualization ~ maybe think about a favorite ski slope or beach

Here’s a biggie in my book ~

  • Document Your Wins ~ however minor, keep track of things that go well on any given day
  • Keep an overall balance sheet of wins and losses (my approach ~ from making a green light to a winning scratch-off lottery ticket of any amount, to having a door held open, to a friendly hello from a stranger * And may I add, “Pay It Forward.”


My win yesterday was finding the last box of seasonally decorated fireplace matches while shopping after lunch. Small – but no less a win. I plan to think about my win.

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

Posted on December 25, 2017

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett A White Christmas in Connecticut – photo taken about 5 a.m. Christmas morning 2017.

By: Jacqueline Bennett


I watched “White Christmas” starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney three times this season on the AMC channel. I never tire of it. Oh that Vermont lodge! The train ride to New England. The late night scene with Bing and Rosemary by the fire -“when I get weary and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep.” The scene when the retired general arrives in uniform. Of course the story culiminates with the singing of “White Christmas”, and at last – the beautiful snowfall! Oh, old Hollywood – thank you for this classic.


Sending Merry Christmas wishes to the readers of newsandviewsjb! “May your days be merry and all your Christmases be white.”

Mom’s Recipe Box: Kathleen Shares “Grandpa Frank’s Spaghetti Sauce”

Posted on December 24, 2017







Courtesy photo: Her great-niece Kathleen, has shared “Grandpa Frank’s Spaghetti Sauce” and it has been added to Mom’s Recipe Box.




In Time For the Holidays – “Grandpa Franks’s Spaghetti Sauce” from Kathleen


It has been awhile since I’ve made an addition to  “Mom’s Recipe Box” and this is one I know my mother would love. It comes from Kathleen Pope, who is married to my second cousin Brad on my dad’s side  (my cousin Betty-Jane’s son). Thus Kathleen is Mom’s great-niece. As I’ve said before, Mom was all about family. She adored hearing about what was going on with each family member. Looking forward to every new recipe, I know Mom would have been so pleased to learn about Kathleen’s blog “The Fresh Cooky” 


Kathleen noted that years back her grandfather had, at different times, owned several Italian restaurants in the Denver, Colorado area. Here’s a bit of what she wrote on her post about “Grandpa’s Frank’s Spaghetti Sauce, ” “Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I’m sharing one of our treasured family recipes. Ohh are you in for a treat….” She went on to say that she grew up on this “robust” red sauce which her mother often made.  To read the post


After the turkey and all the fixings are gobbled up on Christmas Day, and leftovers have been turned into turkey sandwiches or turkey soup, it will be time for a change. Seems like a perfect chance to try this special recipe.  Thanks Kathleen! – Jackie


Kathleen has shared …


For the complete recipe click on this link.

… a treasured family recipe            


Grandpa Frank’s Spaghetti Sauce














Mom’s Recipe Box began on as a temporary weekly series each Friday, and is now published occasionally, adding to the Cecelia G. Bennett Collection. 

Donation Weary? Here’s An Idea

Posted on December 9, 2017

My sister’s downstairs workshop where she creates holiday pine sprays adding ribbons and small decorations.

Article & Photo By Jacqueline Bennett


Recently, I overheard a conversation while at McDonalds about donation fatigue. The exchange was about the seemingly constant request for donations – so much so that it had negatively affected the desire for these folks to toss coins into the Salvation Army buckets, that are a part of the Christmas season landscape.


Granted it does seem as if the requests are endless – everywhere one goes – from the grocery store (where any number of families may be putting nickels together to place food on their own tables) to newscasts asking viewers to help with collection drives. Last year near where I live, an enormous and certainly costly light display by a private resident, added a request for donations of  non-perishables for those who came by to look at the set-up.


With the number of natural disasters that have plagued folks all over the United States through 2017, the needs keep growing – far  beyond the annual holiday toy drives, coat drives and red bucket drives. There are many worthy causes and much genuine need.


With that in mind, here’s a simple idea to help avoid donation weariness. Wish those in a position to do more well. Then pick one or two charities and make a small donation of money or items. Or, give the most precious gift there is – give of yourself. Bake cookies to send to our troops or volunteer to read to children. Each Christmas my sister Candy creates her own holiday sprays to place on family member’s graves, as well as, a few graves of strangers that would otherwise go unnoticed. She turns her downstairs into a holiday workshop – it has a wonderful pine scent aroma -then puts together her own sprays with ribbons & small decorations. It is a beautiful gift of love – done quietly without fanfare.


Rather than allowing yourself to become donation weary, do something meaningful to you. Consider making it part of your holiday traditions.