JUST THINKING: Champion picker

Just Thinking | Julie Stafford

I am not typically one to brag about my accomplishments, but am pretty darn proud of myself for where I ended up this year with my Final Four picks.

Ask folks in the newsroom and I’m sure they’d tell you they’re sick to death of hearing me crow — especially the part where I emphasize the fact that I’ve never done a bracket or paid much attention to college basketball before. Since I wrote about this a couple weeks ago, I felt an update for readers was appropriate, too.

Drum roll please.

At home, I ended up in first place out of five, which means not only do I not have to walk the dog at night or unload the dishwasher for a week, but I also get a date night of my choice. At work, a lot of us filled out forms for our first ever Daily News Bracket Busters competition and, surprisingly, I came in the top spot here, too – above those guys who sound like they know what they’re talking about. My self proclaimed prize is bragging rights.

Now that I’ve got a handle — sort of — on football and basketball, my next venture into learning the world of sports is going to be golf and baseball and the basics of bowling, too. I always thought my dad was a little nuts for lazing on the couch during weekends watching basketball and golf and baseball – really any sport that was playing. Who knew he was on to something kind of fun.


When I first looked at the house where my kids and I now are living, the woody area in our backyard was snowy and I didn’t think much about it. Last year, of course, was a dry winter and spring and since we moved in around May, nothing about our land really jumped out at me.

This year, however, with all the snow and rain we’ve had, I’ve got a virtual bog behind my house – great for my son when he’s in Survivor Man mode tromping around on the ice. Not so great when I think about all the mosquitoes that are likely to hatch because of the wet conditions.

I did an Outward Bound program when I was in high school during which I hiked and camped outside in the Colorado mountains for 30 days during the summer. When we were at lower altitudes, we suffered terrible mosquito invasions. Our guide was of a holistic mind and didn’t believe in using bug spray. Instead, he chewed on garlic cloves and swore that if you got enough of that in your system, it was 100 percent effective at keeping mosquitoes at bay. The problem was the odor he put off made it so none of us really wanted to be around him either.

We’re an outdoor family during the summer, especially during the evening, which can  be one of the worst time for these pesky pests. So this summer, I’ll be on the lookout for a suitable solution that maybe falls somewhere between spraying massive amounts of bug spray on our skin and chewing garlic all day long. Any suggestions? Let me know.

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