Springtime at Spring Gap

South Fork Stanislaus River flowing rapidly into New Melones Lake! Photo credit: Maryann Curmi

South Fork Stanislaus River flowing rapidly into New Melones Lake! Photo credit: Maryann Curmi

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Left to right: Bella and Stella (aka: Little) Enjoy the So. Fork River weekly!

Left to right: Bella and Stella (aka: Little) Enjoy the So. Fork River weekly!

Consider The Coffee….Consider The Cup, Now Consider Life!


A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee. When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups… And then you began eyeing each other’s cups, to see who had the best one.
Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Great Bargains at Dollar Stores!!

Cleaning Supplies: The household cleaning products at the dollar store, like window cleaner, bleach, and dish soap, are just as effective as the pricier stuff. The ingredients are pretty much the same; they’ll just have silly names.

Tools: If you want to put together a basic toolbox containing: screwdrivers, hammers, tape measures, and other simple stuff for small, occasional projects, start at the dollar store.

Kitchen Utensils and Tableware: Spatulas, tongs, mixing bowls, and even tableware like plates and cereal bowls from the dollar store are affordable, and often just as sturdy as something you’d buy elsewhere.

Shampoo, Deodorant, and Other Bathroom Products: If you don’t mind using generic or off-brands, shampoo, deodorant, soap, and body wash are basically the same ingredients you pay more for elsewhere. Even first aid items like bandages and antiseptic cream are a good buy.

Storage Containers: Most dollar stores have everything from simple baskets to thick plastic containers to organize your bathroom, cleaning supplies, or your closet.

Hair Accessories: You can pick up brushes, combs, hair ties, hair elastics, and other accessories. They all get the job done and cost you less money.

Reading Glasses: If you can find them, reading glasses at dollar stores are basically the same thing you’d find at the drugstore or supermarket, only a lot cheaper.

Seasonal Decor: You can decorate your home or office for holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s for only few dollars.

Canned and Non-Perishable Food: Canned and shelf-stable boxed goods are the best bargains you can find at the dollar store.

Greeting Cards: Greeting cards are pricey…one can typically run $3-$5. So, check the card selection at the dollar stores.

Party Supplies: Look for paper plates, tablecloths, and balloons at dollar stores specifically. Also, keep an eye out for cheap cups, theater-sized or full bags of candy, and decorations like streamers, confetti, and other party products.

Gift Bags and Wrapping Paper: Dollar stores are a great place to pick up gift bags for those same parties or wrapping paper for birthdays or the holidays. Ultimately it’ll all get ripped off and thrown away, so save your money.

Pregnancy Tests: These can cost upwards of $12 somewhere else, but you can get the same thing at the dollar store for less. A pregnancy test has to do what it says on the package.

A lot of generic stuff at the Dollar Stores are just fine…But, keep an eye out for brand name products too!