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Neighbor to Neighbor: Relax after the holidays Ð and guard your gifts

After much thought, I decided it must be because the closer the date is, the more things we add to our list of things we must do. Time doesn't always stretch. You are forced to do the best you can, and that doesn't always meet the standards you might like to achieve. But life does go on É and, hopefully, get better É eventually. I hope you are smiling now, and all your energy situations have been happily resolved. Mine as well! It is especially difficult to find a substitute typewriter in these days of computerized everything.At Queens Colony Civic Association's December meeting, safety hints were given that could apply any time of the year, but are necessary particularly during holiday seasons when "the bad guys" are looking for easy marks. Once you have packages, if you stop to look at something else and set your purchases on the floor, don't be distracted, even for a second, from watching your things. One friend of mine noticed someone, "a nice looking young lady," also seemingly "shopping" near her unattended shopping bag, and when she reached home, discovered she had something valuable missing from that bag. Thieves are fast and they are slick. They would not hesitate to break into a car if something visible tempted them. Put packages in your car's trunk and, just to be as cautious as possible, move the car.When you purchase things that come in large cartons that indicate an expensive item may now be in your home, when you break the carton down for recycling, turn the carton inside out before trying it. "Put not temptations in anyone's path." Remember, although it's nice to be friendly and sociable, don't be too fast to invite strangers into your home.All that aside, this time of year there are wonderful breaks from stress. On Dec. 14, my friend Fred Kress treated me to a lovely concert at his old school, St. Francis Preparatory School. It was wonderful to see, and remember how excited and enthusiastic high-school performers can be. These students must have practiced long and hard, and they were raring to go, and the audience was anxious to appreciate them as well. Applause was very much deserved. There were five performing groups: String Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Honors Orchestra, Concert Chorus and Chamber Orchestra. All performed admirably and with great assurance. Many of the students have apparently mastered multiple instruments and the art of "changing hats" quickly.The music itself featured winter and Christmas themes, each piece more beautiful than the last. The students, teachers, directors and all the others who contributed the expertise to make the show the tremendous success that it was. They deserve a great deal of credit and Fred Kress surely gave me a terrific treat taking me there - for which I say "thank you."

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