Thursday, October 31
Henderson’s Bruins Beat Titans, lineman Clarke, linebacker Carney.
Lake Braddock defeated T.C. Williams, 44-0.
Last week, Elizabeth Berry wrote a letter expressing concern over a bill passed by the House of Representatives that would cut food aid for nearly 3.8 million people, and asked that I oppose this legislation. I strongly oppose it. The cuts recommended by the House would eliminate free school meals for 280,000 children and aggravate an already difficult situation for many families in Virginia struggling to put food on the table. We must protect nutrition assistance programs because it’s our responsibility to ensure the neediest among us have access to food when times are hardest.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.
For voters in Virginia, it is hard to overstate how important it is to go out and vote next week. All Virginia voters will see statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, plus one delegate race. In addition, there are a few local races in Alexandria and Arlington, a bond question in Fairfax County and a referendum question about the housing authority in Arlington.
If it wasn’t a coincidence, it was the next thing to being one. What it was, was the hiccups; occurring after chemotherapy infusion number one and again after chemotherapy number two. The first episode lasted only a few days and annoyed my wife, Dina, way more than it annoyed me. The first hiccuping episode was fairly constant; however it was not exhausting – and I wasn’t having any trouble sleeping because of them. Nor was I making any disturbing sounds or having any difficulty breathing – when caught in mid-hiccup, and/or eating because of the herky-jerky movements/spasms of my diaphragm. In general, it was a fairly benign effect. In the big picture, it didn’t seem particularly important that it was the hiccups I was having, so I never called my oncologist. It was the hiccups after all. It might as well have been a skinned knee. Jeez. And sure enough, within a couple of days, I was “hiccuped out.”
Hotly contested race for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Democrats have the wind at their backs heading into Election Day next week, as Republican gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli struggles to overcome a deficit in the polls.
Wednesday, October 30
Bringing a little taste of Hollywood to Old Town, the seventh annual Alexandria Film Festival kicks off Nov. 7.
It might be Patti North's favorite time of year, but it's certainly one of the most stressful. As chair of the Alexandria Film Festival, North has spent moths preparing for this year's event, pulling together movies ranging from a few minutes to an hour or more in length from around the world and helping to line up Q&A sessions with as many filmmakers as possible during the festivals' four-day run.
Four honored for volunteer service.
Volunteer Alexandria presented the 19th annual Evening in the Heart of Alexandria Awards Oct. 25 in a tribute honoring the exceptional volunteer service of four individuals.
Driving through Old Town Alexandria on my way to City Hall in the early evening or on my way home after a night of meetings, the quiet streets of Old Town always provide an enduring sense of calm. There is a lasting beauty; the scenery gives me pause. I tell myself I must never take our historic preservation for granted.
Elections Have Consequences
I write in reaction to an article published in the Alexandria Gazette October 24 edition title “Conflict of Interest?” by writer Michael Lee Pope. The article discusses the hiring of the McGuire Woods law firm by the City of Alexandria to provide legal services in connection with the waterfront development.
Beyond Conflict Of Interest
When the Virginia journalism awards come out, I hope Michael Pope’s exposé of city hall using the same law firm as the waterfront developers gets an award for investigative reporting. Michael’s feature [“Conflict of Interest,” Oct. 24] is on par for the local level with what major dailies do on a national scale.
Virginia's abortion laws are unlikely to be any different four years after the new governor's inauguration from what they are on the day of his inauguration, no matter who is elected. The Democratic Senate would not allow any additional restrictions, and the Republican House would not go along with the relaxation of current law.
I am a woman with daughters and a granddaughter. The very idea that they could have their lives, and decisions about their health care, restricted by a governor and an attorney general who, because of their personal beliefs, would effectively punish women of many backgrounds, situations and beliefs, makes me very afraid.
Thursday, October 24
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Make plans for a safe celebration; SoberRide safety net for those over 21.
Halloween is now a major holiday for adults, especially young adults, and also one of the major holidays each year that involve partying with alcohol and the risks of drinking and driving.
McGuireWoods defends city in zoning change as well as developers who seek to benefit from it.
Lawyers at McGuireWoods are on both sides of the controversy over the waterfront, defending Alexandria taxpayers in court while seeking approval from city officials on behalf of three separate developers at the same time.
Wednesday, October 23
Senior has 23 goals this season, 48 for career.
The St. Stephen's & St. Agnes boys' soccer team is one win from finishing first in the IAC.
City waives $1 million affordable housing contribution; council to consider restoring half next year.
Hidden in the margins of the incentive package Alexandria leaders offered to lure the National Science Foundation from Arlington was a million-dollar motivation. Officials at City Hall said they were willing to waive the $1 million contribution to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. City Council members later said they didn't know the incentive was part of the package until it was too late. Removing it might jeopardize the deal, putting City Council members in a difficult spot. "It was my oversight," said Deputy City Manager Mark Jinks. "I take full responsibility." Fixing the problem was difficult and divisive for council members. Some were willing to let the affordable-housing contribution go the way of floppy disk. Others wanted to see the full contribution. Councilman John Taylor Chapman offered a compromise motion to direct budget officials to earmark $500,000 worth of tax revenue from the property to affordable housing during the next budget cycle. Although he initially circulated a memorandum outlining a $1 million contribution, he ended up cutting it in half to make sure he had the necessary support. "To be honest, I didn't think I would the votes to pass it," explained Chapman of the million-dollar proposal. "Some folks were not behind that idea."
Deltek hosts “challenge breakfast” to turn $5 into $25,000.
Casual Friday got a twist on Friday, Oct. 18, as thousands of employees throughout Fairfax County became denim do-gooders by throwing on a pair of jeans to help prevent and end homelessness. Deltek, Inc., the Herndon-based global software and information solutions company, kicked off the third annual Jeans Day in Fairfax County by hosting a fundraising breakfast. The company, founded in 1983 by Don deLaski and his son Kenneth, hosted one of the first Jeans Day events in Fairfax County. “We were excited to see Deltek host this challenge breakfast that welcomed businesses, nonprofits and other community leaders interested in helping to make jeans day a huge success this year,” said Dean Klein, director of Fairfax County’s Office to Prevent and End Homelessness (OPEH). “Even though we continue to have great support from longtime supporters, we also saw so much energy and enthusiasm from new partners.”
New superintendent says School Board needs to brace for $100 million worth of cuts.
Should class sizes be increased? Should school employees be laid off? Should students have to pay to take Advanced Placement and International Baccalauresate tests? These are some of the difficult choices before members of the Fairfax County School Board for fiscal year 2015. This week, Superintendent Karen Garza laid out about 50 potential spending items that could be on the chopping block. School officials need to close a $140 million shortfall. That means even if the Board of Supervisors and the General Assembly kick in more money, School Board members are going to need to make significant cuts. "I think it's still yet to be determined what that number is, although we know it's going to be extraordinarily high," Garza told School Board members during a work session Monday. "I think it's going to be at least $100 million." Garza, who joined the school system over the summer, was quick to point out that she was not making any recommendations. She described the list as "menu items" that School Board members could order to balance the books.
Local experts offer their best tips for creating your jack-o-lantern.
Whether your goal is to carve and decorate the best pumpkin on the block or simply use this fall gourd for Halloween inspiration, local culinary experts offer pumpkin ideas that will keep the season festive. Before embarking on a pumpkin carving project, take a look at the condition of your knives. “Generally speaking, a dull knife is a dangerous knife,” said Christine Wisnewski, a culinary instructor at Culinaria Cooking School in Vienna. “And a pumpkin, because of its size and shape, can be a challenge, even if you have good knife skills. If you use a knife, make sure it is sharp and work slowly.” Wisnewski generally advises eschewing chef’s knives for a pumpkin carving kit, usually found in supermarkets and craft stores. “The cutting tools may look less impressive than your best kitchen knife, but they do work well,” she said. “The small blades are deeply serrated and make quick work getting through dense pumpkin flesh.” Pumpkin carving kits are also a solution to the safety issue. “If the kids do want to carve, no one’s fingers are at risk with these little carving tools,” she said. “Our family has managed to get many years of use out of the tools that came with our first kits.”
Tuesday, October 22
Local culinary experts offer ideas for turning an ordinary meal into a ghoulish adventure.
Halloween dinner in Christine Wisnewski’s Vienna home is often a balancing act between healthy and sugary. On the sweetest holiday of the year, for example, the mother and culinary instructor at Culinaria Cooking School, also in Vienna, prepares a wholesome dinner for her eager trick-or-treaters, managing candy-induced sugar highs and inevitable post-confection lows.
Friday, October 18
In September 2013, 181 Alexandria homes sold between $2,000,000-$84,000.
Alexandria Home Sales: September, 2013
Thursday, October 17
Memorial service is planned for Oct. 26.
There was never any doubt that Lois Walker cared about the City of Alexandria, a place she called home for over 40 years. On Sunday, Oct. 13, the former City Council woman died in Kayseri, Turkey after contracting pneumonia while on vacation. She was 73.
Choices are stark; think about what principles should guide governance in Virginia for the next four years.
Every Virginia voter will have the option to cast a ballot for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and their member of the Virginia House of Delegates. While much of the coverage and advertising at the top of the ticket has been negative in the extreme, it will still matter who is governor. Don’t turn up your nose, hold your nose if necessary, and go vote. You can vote on Nov. 5; most likely you can vote before that.
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First it was Fun Side. Then it was Charmville. Now Alexandria is extraordinary.
First Alexandria was the Fun Side of the Potomac. Then it was Charmville. Now Alexandria is being sold as "extraordinary" in a new $1.6 million destination advertising campaign that hopes to generate overnight stays by targeting people within a five-hour drive radius.
Wednesday, October 16
What role will the region play in the election?
For many years, Northern Virginia has been written off by both parties as a Democratic stronghold — a place where Republicans simply try to cut their losses while they focus on the rest of the commonwealth. But this election cycle may be different. All three of the gubernatorial candidates are from Fairfax County. And recent statewide candidates have not been able to win without picking off selected jurisdictions in Northern Virginia. "As you look at Northern Virginia that's further from Washington, you see a more Republican area — Prince William, western Fairfax, Fauquier," said Stephen Farnsworth, professor at University of Mary Washington. "That's where the real action is in Northern Virginia politics." As Election Day draws closer and television becomes a virtual battlefield for attention, a real battle is brewing on the ground here in Northern Virginia. Candidates and their advisors are looking at the path to victory back in 2009 for Republican Bob McDonnell, who won Prince William County, Fairfax County and Fauquier County. Although this race is likely to be closer than 2009, the importance of Northern Virginia is looming larger than ever.
Virginia legislators work with Korean American groups to push for “East Sea” in textbooks.
Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) may be light years apart on most issues, but on one issue they’ve reached a consensus. Last month, they both pledged support to Virginia’s growing population of Korean Americans to use the dual names of “East Sea” and “Sea of Japan” to denote the body of water between Korea and Japan in Virginia’s textbooks. Koreans view the “Sea of Japan” designation as a legacy of Japanese colonial rule. Currently, more than 2.5 million Korean-Americans reside in the U.S. and nearly 150,000 of them live in Virginia. “As governor, going forward, I will wholeheartedly support the effort … to have our textbooks and other teaching materials reflect the concurrent names as we pursue education excellence in Virginia,” Cuccinelli wrote in a Sept. 16 letter to the Korean Community of Virginia. “As governor, I will ensure that as new texts are purchased or downloaded, they reflect this important historical truth …,” McAuliffe wrote to the Korean Community of Virginia on Sept. 25. For the past year, state Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37) has been leading Virginia’s legislative efforts to add the “East Sea” in public school textbooks.
Sunday, October 13
Stallions improve to 5-1 with 44-37 victory
South County QB Symmes throws two touchdown passes to Quigley.
Friday, October 11
Getting a flu shot has never been easier.
Thursday, October 10
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The Center Hiking Club hosts this season’s final historic marker bicycle tour.
Now that last weekend's heat wave is over and things are back to feeling fall-like, it's time for the last historic marker bicycle tour of the season, led by Bernie Bern of the Center Hiking Club.
USO honors top corporate donors.
The USO of Metropolitan Washington honored its top corporate sponsors Oct. 4 at the 10th Annual Stars and Stripes Night gala, naming 37 corporate donors to its 2013 Circle of the Stars.
Wednesday, October 9
Nagel leads Spartans with 10 kills.
Spartans edge Titans in sets one and two, run away with set three.
Construction moves forward at The Exchange at Potomac Yard.
Mayor Bill Euille and U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) joined City of Alexandria officials as the JBG Companies and MidAtlantic Realty Partners held a ceremonial groundbreaking Oct. 9 to officially launch The Exchange at Potomac Yard, a mixed-use development along the Route 1 corridor in Alexandria and Arlington. “Unlike the folks on Capitol Hill, we are moving ahead and keeping people working,” said JGB managing partner Matt Kelly, referring to the federal government shutdown. The first phase of the 19-acre development will include two multi-family communities with a combined 65,000 square feet of retail and nearly 400,000 square feet of office space. The Alric, with 323 residential units, broke ground last February with occupancy expected in September of 2014. “This project is about a future generation of Alexandrians and Northern Virginians,” said Moran, who also made a reference to the lack of productivity on Capitol Hill. “This will be part of a new community where residents can live, work and shop without having to deal with extended traffic interruptions.”
Carol Leann Cleary, a well-known Realtor, local philanthropist and longtime resident of Alexandria, died Oct. 6 after a seven-week battle with pancreatic cancer. “Carol Cleary modeled a quiet dedication to children, family and community that inspired all of us who had the good fortune to know and interact with her,” said Sonia Qunionez, executive director of SCAN, a nationally-recognized nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of child abuse founded by Carol Cleary's husband David in the couple's basement 25 years ago. “She has been a force of generosity and compassion in this community for decades and believed in the power of individuals to make a difference in our community.”
DRA artists express spirit of Del Ray.
The Del Ray Artisans held an opening night reception Oct. 4 for its latest exhibit, “Del-Ray-Geous,” a members-only show of works that expresses each artist's impressions of the spirit of the Del Ray community. “I tried to capture the unique architecture and feel of the Del Ray community,” said artist Durell Hope, whose colored pencil drawing on display featured the Del Ray Café restaurant. “There is so much vibrancy to this community. It's a very special place and I hope my work reflects that.”
Senior Services of Alexandria
Last June, Senior Services of Alexandria ended our second annual Speaker Series with a discussion about local scams targeting seniors. Ever since, I seem to hear more and more stories from friends and neighbors about someone who has been the victim to this type of predatory behavior. So I guess it shouldn't have come as a surprise when we received one of those "too good to be true" calls at home last Saturday. The recorded message promised that the Affordable Health Care Act entitled anyone over 60 to receive a $3,000 cash food benefit and a free life alert system. All I had to do was "press 1" to get started! Fortunately, I remembered learning that just pressing "1" would send me into a maze of scam artists, waiting for someone to identify themselves as a senior willing to listen to their latest scheme.
Pam Baker’s attention to detail saves lives. As a nurse and quality consultant here at Inova Alexandria Hospital, Pam diligently ensures our staff follow evidence-based guidelines and practices that promote the best outcomes for our patients. She also practices what she preaches: Pam follows guidelines from the American Cancer Society, which recommend that women over 40 get a mammogram every year. Eight years ago, her annual mammogram detected a lump in one of her breasts. “I wasn’t worried about dying of breast cancer. [The lump] was small. Because of my yearly exams, I knew it wasn’t there the year before,” Baker said. Fortunately, her mammogram flagged her breast cancer at an early stage. Baker underwent a mastectomy and hormone treatment at Inova Alexandria Hospital. Today, she’s a survivor.
From ballerinas to Barbies.
Alexandria resident Virginia Britton has come up with a creative way to raise funds for the Metropolitan Arts Collaborate (MetroArts), a non-profit organization that she started in June 2012. The mission of MetroArts, which is currently in the process of becoming a 5019(C)(3), is to provide affordable fine arts education to local students. By taking classic Barbies and selling them as transformed, artfully-costumed custom dolls, Britton is using her own fine arts skills to raise money for the budding foundation. Currently, she sells her dolls at the gift store, A Show of Hands. She also takes requests. She will also be selling the dolls at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair at the Masonic Temple on Dec. 7 and 8. As a ballet director, she has designed her fair share of ballet costumes, so she had plenty of doll-sized costumes for different themes.
15 models highlight styles from Colonial and Federal periods, 1753 to 1760s.
Living historians modeled 18th-century clothing at an Historic Fashion Show at the Carlyle House on Saturday, Sept. 21 — clothing that would have been worn by society maverick John Carlyle and his family in Old Town Alexandria. This year’s show focused on the Colonial, Federal and Civil War-era (1753 to 1860s), as well as the mid-19th century. “Our goal was to share the history of fashion that the Carlyle family would have been wearing and encountering among their peers,” said Helen Wirka, curator and site specialist at Carlyle House. The Carlyle’s home was the center of Alexandria’s wealth and politics from 1741 to 1780, according to Wirka. John Carlyle was a town founder, surveyor, justice of the peace, and building contractor. He hosted the Bread and Butter Ball, and entertained the likes of George and Martha Washington, Gen. Edward Braddock and five governors at his mansion. He married Sara Fairfax in 1747, and the couple had seven children. After Sara died, he married Sybil West in 1761; and they had three children.
Local designers offer suggestions for bringing the harvest into your home.
The colors of autumn are all around as pumpkins and squash fill produce stands and leaves change from green to orange, red and yellow before falling from their branches. Local designers and tastemakers are unveiling home accents that bring the warm hues of the season into the home. Whether using pillows, throws or flowers, adding the colors and textures of fall requires less effort than one might expect. “Emerald green, orange and turquoise are three of the biggest color trends we’re seeing,” said Marcus Browning of European Country Living in Old Town Alexandria. “Throws and pillows are a given, but you can also tie in traditional and modern accessories with rugs, stained glass lamps with modern or intricate designs.” Small trays provide a canvas for highlighting color and adding functionality to a room, says Marika Meyer of Marika Meyer Interiors in Bethesda, Md. “Color and pattern are in right now,” she said. “I just purchased the C. Wonder (http://www.cwonder.com) navy and white chevron tray for my home. It adds a punch of color and freshness to a room. Preppy is back in a big way, too, offering lots of patterns.”
A local designer creates a stylish and functional master bathroom in an Alexandria home.
Once a modest room reserved for bathing, the bathroom has become a showcase for cutting-edge design and luxurious materials. One Alexandria family discovered this when they decided to remodel the long, narrow master bathroom in their colonial home. “Our old fixtures were wearing out,” said homeowner Pat Smith. “Also the bathroom layout was choppy and dark. There was plenty of square feet, but [the space] was inefficient.” The family hired Arlington designer Allie Mann of Case Design/Remodeling Inc. to transform the disjointed, utilitarian space into an oasis with a larger shower and additional areas for storage. “The client’s request for the bathroom remodel was a more open, connected plan,” said Mann. “Before the vanity space didn’t feel connected to the rest of the bathroom … and the [entire] space felt disconnected. The client wanted dual vanities … and a more modern feel.”
Friday, October 4
Alfred Street Baptist Church’s community fair offers screenings, immunizations and seminars.
More than 300 people turned out Sept. 28 for the 2013 Alfred Street Baptist Church Community Health Fair, where free health screenings, immunizations and seminars were offered as part of an effort to increase and promote health awareness.
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Thursday, October 3
A parent asks why background checks aren’t better.
How do you respond to a 7 year old when she comes home from school and says “we did our bad man drill today Mommy, but don’t worry it was just for practice, no one really came into our school to shoot us”?
Fifty percent of Mount Vernon RECenter’s volunteers are senior citizens.
The Mount Vernon RECenter is known for its ice skating rink, massive indoor swimming pool and fitness center with spa and sauna. It has 46 volunteers who help greet guests, clean up the fitness room, landscape the grounds and assist people with adapted swimming and ice-skating. Exactly half of them are retired senior citizens over 50 who want to stay active while giving back to the community.
Many options for retirement communities in the region.
Jim Harkin, 81, and his wife, Phyllis, 80, have little free time these days. Jim spends his days protecting and photographing wildlife on the 60-acre campus at The Fairfax, a Sunrise Senior Living Community, in Fort Belvoir. He helped build, refurbish and maintain more than 20 birdhouses on the grounds, including homes for tree swallows and purple martins.
fter 11 days of more than 50 events held Sept. 7-19, the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics finished with a golf event at Forest Greens Golf Course in Triangle, Va. Other events ranged from cycling, swimming and pickle ball to Mexican train dominos and Scrabble.
Seniors increasingly seek innovative plans that embrace both the present and the future.
Russ Glickman was a traditional full-service remodeler until the late 1990s when he abruptly added a host of accessibility certifications to a long list of building industry credentials. The service extension was less about opportunity than a personal call to apply what he’d learned from personal experience in helping his son, Michael, who was born with cerebral palsy.
Meaning, in my head anyway, the future and what there is left of it. More specifically, I mean life expectancy. When you’re given a “13-month to two-year” prognosis—at age 54 and a half, by a cancer doctor, your cancer doctor—the timeline between where you are and where you thought you’d be when becomes as clear as mud.
Supervisors establish committee, plan additional public outreach.
At the recommendation of Chairman Sharon Bulova (D-At-Large) and Supervisor Michael Frey (R-Sully), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday deferred its Nov. 20 public hearing on a proposed residential studios (RSUs) amendment to conduct additional community outreach.
Fairfax County braces for “domino effect” of federal government shutdown.
“We live in a ‘company town’ and the company is the federal government, so most of us have family and friends who are federal employees or contractors impacted by this shutdown,” Long said in a memo emailed to county employees Tuesday. Long said his biggest concern was the “domino effect” the shutdown will have on the local economy, and “the short-term uncertainty that will impact business decisions.”
SALT forum gives candidates a chance to tell voters where they stand on social justice issues.
But one group also thinks voters should know where candidates stand on social justice issues when they go to the polls Nov. 5. “Our elected officials have a great deal of influence on the common good, so it’s reasonable that we find out where candidates stand on these issues,” said John Horejsi, founder of SALT (Social Action Linking Together), a non-partisan, faith-based advocacy group started in 1983.
Leadership Fairfax (LFI) has chosen the 2013 Northern Virginia Leadership Awards (NVLA) recipients via a panel of community and business leaders evaluating nominations submitted by Leadership Fairfax alumni and the general public. The award recipients will be honored at the Northern Virginia Leadership Awards luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 7, at Westwood Country Club in Vienna.
The recently formed alliance of Northern Virginia Minority Chambers of Commerce will give members of the fast growing minority business community the opportunity to meet with the commonwealth’s gubernatorial and statewide candidates at the first-ever joint Candidates’ Forum, Sunday, Oct. 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus.
Finding people is fun for new, police bloodhound pups.
“We’ll get them out here and acclimate them to the noises — gunfire, [vehicle] brakes and birds,” said Masood. They’ll also be exposed to airplanes, wind, rain, heat, car horns honking, plus obstacles such as fences. And they’ll learn how it feels on their paws to walk in the woods, through brush, on cement, carpet, tile floors, etc. That way, said Clarke, “When they get out on the street, when they’re almost a year old, they’ll be ready.”
Parts of trail are barricaded;; parking lots closed/ Park Service Police issue parking tickets.
Woody Guthrie observed "This Land is Your Land." But that apparently does not apply to federal land during a government shutdown.
Chairman calls the project 'too much, too big.'
Last year, the Board of Architectural Review sent Carr Hospitality back to the drawing board on its proposal to build a 121-room hotel on the waterfront.
Wednesday, October 2
Titans improve to 3-1, Cavaliers drop to 0-4
The T.C. Williams football team is 3-1 for the first time since 2005.
Local chefs and nutritionists offer healthy recipes for tasty fall dishes using seasonal ingredients.
When the temperature starts to drop and leaves begin to turn red and orange, you can often find chef Susan Limb meandering through local farmers markets, sorting through rough-textured, knotty sweet potatoes; tough, waxy butternut squash; and dusty, rose-colored apples.