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MARILYN HAGERTY: Red is good luck in Year of the Monkey

Dear Shirley,

Did you realize that if you were born in this Year of the Monkey, you would be able to ward off bad luck? At least, that is part of the lore surrounding Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival.

Wearing red is considered a must to bring good luck for those born in this or another Year of the Monkey. I know all this because my daughter-in-law is Chinese.

I doubt you are celebrating the Chinese New Year down there in Tucson. But if anyone asks, tell them the celebration ends with the Lantern Festival on Feb. 22.

Meanwhile, I have been reading a list of 10 ways to love North Dakota in February. For one thing, there's the ShiverFest over at Devils Lake running until Sunday. It includes kite-flying and going around a golf course on ice. Here in Grand Forks on Sunday we have the second Bikecicle fat tire bicycle race running 15 miles over the Greenway Trails and icy Red River trails to the north.

It begins and ends near the Rhombus Guys Brewing Co., down on South Third Street.

And this weekend, the annual parade of daughters and dads will begin for dinner and dancing at the Alerus Center. It's the 12th year of the dances. It will run Friday and Saturday and again next week.

Can you imagine us ever going to a dance with our Danish dad, Shirley?

We would never expect such frivolity. But he did give us nickels to take to the ballgames in the summertime. I just read anything you could buy with a nickel back in the 1930s would cost 71 cents today. That's according to the Inflation Calculator provided online by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Well, I guess we shouldn't worry about money and just enjoy each day—whether or not it's the dead cold of winter or the grueling heat of summer. Time marches relentlessly on. I can hardly believe our Arizona snowbirds already are making plans for their annual breakfast in the Golden Corral Restaurant in Mesa on March 3. The hosts are Bob and Pat Wood and Carol Anderson. And they are expecting more than 200 again this year.

I am still hanging on to a news story I clipped in November about the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center looking for higher-than-average temperatures in North Dakota through March. They said it was because of warm phase called El Nino. I like to think everything you read in your newspaper is true, Shirley. And you know, a promise is a promise!

Love from your sister Marilyn, watching squirrels scamper around the backyard.

P.S. A snowbird in Arizona has seen license plates MUMSCAR and LVSCATS.

P.P.S. A reader traveling in the South saw a sign on a church near Mobile, Ala., that says, "Open between Christmas and Easter."