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You won’t want to go through this looking glass

Jan Miles was bred to captain Maryland’s ­historic clipper ship

We have food pantries all over the state. Why not furniture pantries?

Three years in, I’m planning ahead for optimal success

See them again this year on the Osprey Cam

Hunger and adventure bring seals to our warm waters

Seals aren’t an everyday sighting in Chesapeake Country. So if you happen to spot one lounging on a regional beach, you’ve reason to be impressed.     If you haven’t seen one yet, keep looking, the experts say.     “Seals are natural visitors,” reports Jennifer Dittmar, manager of animal rescue at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.     From December through May when waters are cool, they pass through Chesapeake...

Whole Foods’ confectioners compete to become Top Cake

Cutthroat Kitchen, Cupcake Wars and Top Chef: We’ve grown to love televised cooking competitions.     Whole Foods Market’s Top Cake competition skipped television for an on-location reality show. To crown the Mid-Atlantic Region’s best cake decorator, Whole Foods invited real people to its Annapolis store to taste and admire. If you showed up early enough, you could even get a ticket to choose a cake to take home.     I got even closer as the...

Donations to the Wig Room strike a blow for self-esteem

“Speaking on behalf of women, I know how it feels to lose one’s hair,” says two-time cancer survivor Pam Sherbia of Odenton.     After her first diagnosis in 2006, Sherbia learned how formidable an opponent cancer is.     “Cancer has a way to take away everything: your self-esteem, self-image. It alters your role in life and changes the way you live, think and feel if you allow it to,” she says. When cancer struck again in 2012,...

Out of Battle of the Bands, ­Severna Park teen group is going big

The Anne Arundel County Battle of the Bands means music, which is serious business for Annapolis area youth.     For one Saturday in January — January 25 this year — young music lovers converge to show off their skills in a professional environment, witness their peers’ latest creative efforts and meet fellow music enthusiasts. The top bands of each Anne Arundel County high school play off in the heavily anticipated competition. There are first-, second- and...

Snowstorm memories from long ago bring a real tingle

Sending out school buses to pick up kids at the usual early hour on the slick morning of Friday, January 10, has Anne Arundel and Calvert school administrators groveling and parents howling.     When I was a kid, we’d walk miles to school in the worst weather winter could throw at us.     Okay, I’m exaggerating a generation or two. The only time I walked miles in the worst weather winter could throw at us was to get away from school.   ...

Get help, for free, from techies smarter than you

As soon as I purchased my new skiff some three years ago, I had to have the latest and greatest fish-finder/GPS machine. I got it installed, but once I turned it on, problems followed. The software on my machine had some initial problems that were later corrected. Still, I needed to load a new version of the operating software.     That simple operation involved downloading the updated system from the manufacturer’s Internet site onto a computer, transfering it to a...

Give plants the right lights, and they’ll grow in any season

Plants don’t like freezing temperatures any more than we do. But many will be perfectly happy to grow indoors, encouraged by fluorescent lights.     Under lights, you can grow plants, including vegetables, up to 10 inches tall.     Success depends on choosing the right setup. Many systems are on the market, but not all are of equal quality. Beware of those made entirely of chrome-plated steel. They are susceptible to rusting from the fertilizers used for...

Libra’s Zubeneschamali is unique

If you’re up before the sun, you can’t miss Venus, which rises in the southeast by 6am. A half-hour later, this Morning Star is ablaze a good 30 degrees above the horizon, brighter than anything but the moon and the coming sun. As the horizon brightens, Venus climbs higher, growing dimmer until blinking out of view by 7:30am. Wednesday morning, January 29, look for Venus just four degrees above a thin, waning crescent moon before dawn.     Earlier in the week,...

Is the theft of your story a crime?

In Dignity Players’ long list of morality plays, Collected Stories is the crowning achievement. When a writing student mines her teacher’s private life for material, artistic license crosses the line from inspiration to confiscation. So says acclaimed author Ruth Steiner (played by Carol Cohen) of the transgression of heretofore-beloved student Lisa Morrison (Sarah Wade). Lisa claims she did only what her mentor taught her.     Seasoned director Lois Evans’...

Bad Dates is a good night out

In theater terms, when an actor talks directly to the audience, it’s known as breaking the fourth wall. When Janet Luby does it in Bay Theatre Company’s latest, she’s not so much breaking a wall as she is opening a door. Through that door we join her as she shares her life, her attempts at love and a lot of laughs.     Bad Dates is a one-woman show written by playwright, screenwriter and novelist Theresa Rebeck about Haley Walker, a 40-something single mom and...