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Spooky songs
The Codenames have released their third recording just in time for Halloween. The three guys from Greenville do Kentucky country kind of music specializing in humor horror, with tunes like Swamp Thang and Vampires of Dawson Springs. Their new CD, Spooka Lucha, includes the titles Bigfoot Magnet, I Want My Mummy, and The Green River Monster. The group has been recording and performing since 2001. More info is available at www.thecodenames.com.

The Almanac’s back
After nearly 150 years, the Kentucky Almanac is being revived and you can buy it at a $2 discount through Kentucky Living with a phone call or a visit to our Web site. The Clark Group is publishing what will be an annually updated Clark’s Kentucky Almanac and Book of Facts 2006. The book will include sports information, history, recipes, trivia, and the scoop on Kentucky celebrities. Orders will be taken beginning on October 1. The cost is $29.95 in hardback or $19.95 paperback. To get $2 off those prices, say you heard about it through Kentucky Living when you call (800) 944-3995 or go to www.kyalmanac.com/kentuckyliving.

Jack o’living
Kentucky Living graphic artist Hunter Oldham entered last year’s Louisville Ad Club pumpkin carving contest. For some reason her fabulously creative efforts didn’t win, but we thought her entry was by far the best. The event benefited the Frazier Rehab Institute.

Scaring Safely
Halloween activities are exciting and fun for children. However, the weather, darkness, and excitement can create dangerous situations for them.

Falls from tripping over unstable shoes or costumes that are too long are the leading cause of injuries. Other common causes include burns from flammable costumes, eye injuries from sharp objects, collisions with motor vehicles, and poisonings and other injuries from tainted treats, according to Larry Piercy, Extension agricultural health and safety specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Fortunately, many Halloween injuries are preventable, Piercy says. Parents can take simple precautions to ensure children’s safety.

  • Children should not wear poorly fitted costumes such as baggy pants, long hems, and oversized or high-heel shoes that could cause them to trip. Be sure masks, wigs, and floppy hats do not impair children’s vision, so they can see where they are going and watch out for cars.
  • Securely tie hats and scarves to keep them from slipping over children’s eyes.
  • Face paint or makeup is an alternative to a Halloween mask. Buy non-toxic, hypo-allergenic products. Always follow label directions and do not decorate the face with products not intended for the skin.
  • The Food and Drug Administration advises that people planning to decorate their skin with a product never used before to first put a dab on an arm for a few days to check for an allergic reaction, before putting it on the face.
  • Remind children to walk, not run, from house to house and avoid crossing yards and lawns where unseen objects or uneven terrain could cause tripping hazards.
  • “Turn on porch and other exterior lights to help people see, and remove objects from the steps, porch, and yard like tools, hoses, toys, bikes, and ornaments that could create hazardous conditions,” Piercy says. “Keep jack-o’-lanterns out of children’s way, especially those with lighted candles that could ignite costumes.”
  • Look for a Flame Resistant label when buying costumes and accessories such as masks, beards, and wigs.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets with special effects or lighting.
  • A recent addition to Halloween costumes is cosmetic contact lenses, such as those that give the appearance of scary cat eyes. Improperly used cosmetic contact lenses can lead to serious eye complications.
  • Be sure swords, knives, spears, wands, and other sharp costume accessories are made of soft, flexible materials and have dulled edges and points.
  • Do not give young children lollipops or similar treats because the sticks can cause eye injuries.

Children ages 5 through 14 are four times more likely to be involved in a pedestrian incident from 4 to 10 p.m. on Halloween than on other days of the year, according to an American Automobile Association analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

To make children more visible to drivers, choose bright costumes, accessories, and treat bags, or decorate these with reflective tape or patches. Carrying a bright flashlight also will improve visibility.

Instruct children to use sidewalks rather than walking in the street and to cross streets only at the corner—never at mid-block or between parked cars.

Drivers should watch for children darting out between parked cars and walking on roadways, medians, and curbs. Also, carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
—Ellen Brightwell, UK Extension

Guest Opinion
The joys of yoga

Yoga has influenced my life on a physical, mental, and spiritual level, and it can produce the same results for anyone.

A typical yoga practice involves postures to increase flexibility, strength, and balance. The practice may also include breathing techniques and meditation. During a yoga practice, one moves from pose to pose while coordinating the breath with the body’s movement. Focusing on the breath in this way can build great focus and quiet the mind.

Before listing all the glorious benefits of yoga, I would like to briefly clarify what yoga is and what it is not. Yoga means “union” in the Sanskrit language. It is a method that seeks to unite mind, body, and spirit. As with other forms of exercise, yoga is not about competition. It is not about how far one can move into a pose, or how long one can remain in the pose once there. Yoga is about self-exploration. It creates internal balance and promotes overall health. Also, yoga is not a religion. It is practiced by people of all faiths. It will enhance your spirituality, regardless of what that might be.

The benefits of yoga are numerous. Besides increasing flexibility, strength, and balance, and calming the mind, yoga can relieve a number of ailments, such as back pain, arthritis, headaches, digestive problems, symptoms of menopause and PMS, fatigue, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, and many others. However, it may take longer for some people to notice these benefits. Yoga is based on individualized practice. Once you start a yoga practice, your body will respond to the postures in incredible ways.

To receive the maximum benefits of yoga, one should practice at least three times a week. A frequent, short practice is most beneficial. A daily practice is ideal. If you are new to yoga, you may consider attending a weekly class to receive feedback from a qualified yoga teacher.

Regardless of whether you want an energizing practice or a gentle one, there is a style for everyone. If you are patient and continue to practice, yoga will initiate some wonderful changes within you. If you are interested in the philosophy of yoga, visit www.yogajournal.com for more information. If you would like to find a yoga class in your area, visit www.yogafinder.com.

Darlene Bink, R.Y.T., Alvaton, Kentucky, offers yoga classes, workshops, and a yoga DVD available online at www.yogafromthegroundup.com.

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