Spring is a good time to take a deep breath and recharge. Thinking light and breezy thoughts is a nice respite from the serious affairs of the day. 


For instance, April is a month in which the wind changes seemingly by the minute. “We are in our lake breeze time of year. There are some Michigan cities that are positioned just right for the wicked cold afternoon lake breeze.” 


You might guess that the usual suspects along the Lake Michigan shoreline would top the list. You would be correct. However, at the very top of the list is Bay City  on the east side of the state. “The city most prone to a wicked cold surprise from an April lake breeze is Bay City. Bay City sits at the southwest end of Saginaw Bay. Bay City is positioned perfectly for a cold northeast wind coming from Lake Huron. The temperature can drop from seventy degrees to forty-five degrees in just a matter of minutes.” (


Spring is a fine time to finally take your dog on a walk, even if it's windy. However, a dog that just set a record might get blown away. “A two-year-old female Chihuahua named Pearl is now officially the world’s shortest dog living. Pearl measures 3.59 inches in height, meaning she’s shorter than a popsicle stick. In length, Pearl measures 5.0 inches - around the same size as a dollar bill. She weighs1.22 pounds.” (


If Pearl's owner wants to add to the dog's ballast, perhaps adding a bit of pasta to Pearl's diet might help. It turns out, though, that pasta is more than a box of noodles covered in powdered cheese. “The whimsical array of pasta shapes is not just for show. Each type of pasta is best suited to a particular use due to its specific shape, size, and texture. Each nook and cranny, or lack thereof, is there for a reason — to best enhance the sauce, meat, or other ingredients that the pasta is meant to be paired with.” Thirty-five of these shapes are described and pictured at:


If you cook a pasta dish at home, the effort may leave a crusty baking sheet or oven. No problem. These are just two things you can clean with a dishwasher tablet. Tom's Guide explains: “Did you know that certain household products can be used in more ways than one to give you a helping hand? You can use dishwasher tablets all around the home to achieve the same gleaming results. There are seven surprising things you can clean with a dishwasher tablet.” (


After a big meal it's comforting to hunker down and watch some television. Many people enjoy watching reruns of old shows. There's now some research that posits that this involves more than nostalgia. “The definition of nostalgia is a yearning for the past. It’s a desire to go back to a previous time. It’s not so much [participants] were yearning for the past. It’s that the rewatching experience allowed them to appreciate how much they had grown. It wasn’t yearning for the past; it was an appreciation of the present.” 


Why do you watch endless reruns of the “Andy Griffith Show?” “No matter how many times people repeated watching the same TV series, they would always pick up on new things in it. We’re so distracted in modern life. This is actually a way of focusing your attention on something because you love it so much.” (


If you're not staying home because you're taking a vacation, travel experts cite seven things you should never wear on a plane. “Reasons for these recommendations range from cleanliness to comfort to convenience.”


One that caught my attention is to not wear open-toed shoes. “It might be tempting to wear sandals on the plane, but you might want to think twice about that decision. It's probably been a while since that carpet and under the seats were shampooed and deep cleaned. Also always wear shoes in the bathroom. Don't think it's just water on the floor — it probably isn't."


Another good tip is to dress in layers. “You can never tell what the temperature will be on a plane. Wear layers so you're prepared if it's cold, and remove layers if it's hot." (


Finally, if you're a home you may want to dash off a note or letter to a friend. If you're off on a jaunt, you may want to zap a message to your family members. In any scenario, it's fun to end the missive with a nifty sign-off. A recent article listed five hundred of these in several categories, including: positive, angry, apologetic, congratulatory,  romantic, and holidaying. (


So, I'm going to wrap up this column “With a dash of pizzazz.” I'm “Sending sunshine” along with “My gratitude and gusto.” 



Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and