I spent last weekend in Baltimore, and I’m working on a post about that visit, but it will be a little bit. Sadly, the Wookiee’s yearlong fight with kidney disease ended this morning after a turn for the worse. He was my 16th birthday gift, and he’s the one who, after my first trip to Germany and spending a month away from home, welcomed me back by sitting on my head. A companion for half my life, he was a pet, a guard cat, a mascot, and an icon.
I’ll try to write my Baltimore post, but no guarantees when I’ll publish. Perhaps some would say he was just a cat, but all I can think of now are the times when he was so much more.
What do I have in common with Indiana Jones? Is it …
- Shocking good looks? I wish.
- Household name? Not … yet.
- Irrational fear of snakes? Bingo.
Today when I was out hiking, I encountered one of these little guys:
Eastern Ribbon Snake
Notice the picture is from Wikipedia. I didn’t take it. I was too busy FREAKING THE HECK OUT about the proximity of a snake to my open-toed sandals and ground-skimming pant cuffs. A SNAKE. Near my SKIN. Here’s how it went down. Continue reading
The other day, some friends and I were talking about where we say we’re from when we’re out of town. Those of us from small towns are used to no one ever hearing of Nowhere, PA, but if you’re from a city, you might have a little better luck.
For example, when I’m in this county, sometimes other parts of the state, I can usually tell people what town I’m from and they know what I mean. In the rest of the country, I usually say I’m from Pittsburgh. But the farthest away from home I’m ever from is when I’m in Europe. Then I just tell people I’m from Washington, DC.
So when you’re away from home, where do you tell people you’re from? Can you say your hometown and find it does the trick? Do you pick a nearby city and hope for the best? Or do you say you’re from the nation’s capitol and just let it rest?
It all began innocently enough. Just breakfast, we said. Catch up a bit, we said. I know a great place called Mugshots, my friend said, and we can get a bite there before I go to work.
So it always begins.
But Philly is a city of quick changes and big ideas—just look at what happened there in 1776—and what might begin as breakfast with a couple of friends can too easily end behind bars.
My BFF recently shared this conversation between herself and her 4-year-old daughter, E:
BFF: We’re having stir fry tonight.
E: Did you learn it from Aunt Becca?
BFF: No, why?
E: Well, you learn a lot from her.
E, I promise I’ve learned more from your mom than she has from me, but get ready for a few more Aunt Becca inspirations. Maybe I haven’t been writing about food lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating it. And despite all this, I have also been losing weight, albeit far, far more slowly than I was before autumn arrived and, with it, my taste for warm, heavy foods full of cheese (the other food of my people).
Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia, has bears everywhere. Every gift shop—from the Trading Post to the Lodge to Park Road Gallery Gifts—includes bears. T-shirts, shot glasses, key chains, postcards, books, coffee mugs: if you can put a bear on it, it’s at Blackwater Falls.
Sound advice from the experts.
Let’s be real. If you see a sign advertising something called a Rifle Frolic, you’re going to attend. Especially if you’re in a car with your mom, brother, sister-in-law, and 10-month-old nephew.
Mom: Man, I haven’t had a grape pie from Naples in a while, and now is the season for them.
Me: Let’s go to Naples next week and get a pie.
Mom: I have to stop saying these things.
And that’s how we ended up going to Naples, NY, for a grape pie.
I’m working on a post about my whirlwind visit to the Finger Lakes of New York last week, but today’s post is about Winterthur and the drive across PA last Sunday.
After Mom’s meetings in Harrisburg on Friday (during which I toured the capitol and state museum), and our foray into family history at the Conrad Weiser Homestead on Saturday, we sailed farther east and visited the Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Delaware.
Mom went to Winterthur a few years ago, and she knew I would love the house and gardens, so we scheduled a noon introductory tour. I had expected to learn a little more about the house than the items inside it, but for an introductory tour, it certainly gave me a lot to look at.
Along with a tour of the capitol building, I also wanted to visit St. Patrick’s, the State Museum, and the State Library. Unfortunately, I have now learned never to trust anything the internet claims about opening hours in the capital of the Commonwealth, because when I went to the library on Saturday morning, I couldn’t get in. But St. Patrick’s was beautiful, and the museum was well worth the price of admission (which was $6 with my AAA discount).
The lady at the desk told me to start at the top of the museum where the animals and dinosaurs are because they’re everyone’s favorites, and I smiled politely but thought, “That sounds kind of boring.” Instead, I turned absolutely 6 years old when I walked into the room, which was quiet, empty, and alive. I was sure everything I saw was going to follow me around and attack the moment I turned my back.
Augh! The dinosaur is going to get me! It’s aliiiiive!