These old dogs are special picks at sanctuary

NORTH VERSAILLES, Pa. - Eleven dogs greet visitors at the door of the lovely 115-year-old Victorian house. There's a lot of slow-motion tail wagging but very little barking and no jumping up and down. Most of the dogs have a lot of white around their muzzles, several limp a bit, and some have the rheumy eyes that come with great age.


Living with Children: Step-parenting rules of engagement

Q: In a recent column, you advise that stepparents have complete disciplinary authority over all children who live in or visit the home, but do you feel the same policy should apply when the stepparent joins the family when the kids are teenagers instead of younger children?


Ex-etiquette: Set clear boundaries for relationship with ex

Q: My ex has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and he's fine when he takes his meds, but when he doesn't, he's extremely unpredictable and he scares me a little. That's the reason we broke up - I never knew what to expect. Lately he's been contacting me again with a lot of "remember whens" and I sort of feel like he's stalking me. I don't want to go back to him, but I'm afraid to tell him. What's good ex-etiquette?


Lori Borgman: Give kids a break and start school later

There was a time you could tell when school was starting by the school supply aisles at the big box stores. They looked like the aftermath of a tornado - shell-shocked parents, binders strewn across floors, backpacks upended, and pencils driven straight through the display of crayons and markers. But now the school supply shelves are neat. There is no whirlwind rush for supplies, because there is no single "back-to-school" date.


Ask Mr. Dad: Stepping into a blended family

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm divorced and have three children from that marriage. I'm engaged to a great guy and we're very happy. The one trouble area is that he never seems quite comfortable around my kids (he doesn't have any of his own) and often tells me that he doesn't feel like he truly belongs. How can I help him feel like a real member of the family?


App review: INKS., irresistible, meditative take on classic pinball

Parents need to know that INKS. is an art- and music- driven minimalist pinball game by the makers of the exceptional Lumino City. The object is to get the ball to touch the colorful squares as it bounces around from flipper to flipper. It's great for calm, almost meditative play, but some levels require very high levels of skill, which might frustrate some kids. Watch out for in-app purchases for power-ups, as there's no parent gate. The developer doesn't list a privacy policy on their website, so be careful with sharing personal information via social network links within the game.

Home & Garden

Style at Home: Nostalgia is hot for fall centerpieces

There is something so nostalgic about fall for me. Maybe it comes from growing up in a small, Midwestern river town, where the trees turned spectacular shades of scarlet, amber and orange. Where apple orchards were bursting with juicy fruit ready for a snack or pie. Or maybe it was the excitement of football game days in our small college town. Fall just feels like home, familiar and friendly.


In the footsteps of the Bronte Sisters

Staring at the horizon, I might have been looking at a vast canvas where the technique of chiaroscuro, the interplay of light and dark, was used to create a specific mood. One minute sunshine dappled the landscape; the next misty rain enveloped it.

Home & Garden

8 great contemporary toiles

Toile de Jouy is named after the French town of Jouy-en-Josas, where it got its start in the 18th century. That explains all those pastoral scenes peopled by farmers in Colonial-era garb. Yet these toile designs also telegraphed the news of the world, whether it be balloon voyages, the American victory in a revolutionary war or the toppling of a king. You can still buy those designs as wallpaper or fabric.


Take a look inside the Woody home in Morro Bay

The Woody family home in Morro Bay is a study in small-space design, with maximized storage and features that visually enlarge the 1,980-square-foot home.
David Middlecamp
Take a look inside the Woody home in Morro Bay 1:06

Take a look inside the Woody home in Morro Bay

Meet Sunny, a Pomeranian mix at the SLO County shelter 1:17

Meet Sunny, a Pomeranian mix at the SLO County shelter

An up-close look at the Grosjean garden in Paso Robles 0:29

An up-close look at the Grosjean garden in Paso Robles

How to pick the perfect watermelon 1:21

How to pick the perfect watermelon