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Turning a pop phenomenon into challenging life lessons

Highway medians become home to the birds, bees, butterflies

My guests were not who I expected

Billed as a smart and energetic musical comedy with a pop rock score and immensely likable story, this show delivers

A waterspout may get you if you don’t watch out

Reflections on heroes and superheroes

It’s time we vow to take better care of one another

Bay Weekly’s 51st issue of the year celebrates family, the warm nest where we are born and nurtured.     For this is the season of birth, which we enter each year in hopes of renewal.     If it seems to you a little odd — as it does to me — that our cultural feasts of rebirth fall in the darkest time of the year, when in our cold clime is just setting in, there’s good reason.     This week’s solstice begins a new year...

For multi-family kids, the holidays mean more of a good thing

Serene, peaceful, harmonious — three words that do not describe Christmas in the life of a child of divorced parents. It’s more like hectic, crazy, running like a headless chicken.     I remember the day my parents sat me down on the couch to tell me the news. “Ashley, sweetie, Mommy and Daddy are going to live in two separate houses …” My six-year-old translation: Yes! Now I will have two houses like Elaine, the childhood friend whose vacation...

The most beautiful tree of all, yours

Every tree has a story. Whether it’s the tree, the trimmings or the decorator, you can bet your family, friends and neighbors would be happy to tell you why they chose their own special tree.     Live or artificial?     Thirty-four percent of Maryland households buy a real Christmas tree each year, according to the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.     That’s my family tradition.     I...

Christmas, like most holidays, has a lot to do with eating. We have our traditions, family recipes and occasional experiments. For as long as I can remember, my mother’s Christmas morning menu included a delicious egg casserole, sticky buns and fruit salad. The mimosas were reserved for the adults.     Now I’m the mother of two, and Christmas morning is at my house (Christmas Eve at my in-laws, Christmas dinner at my parents), where the tradition continues. These are...

Chris Swarth’s swan song gets you closer to nature

Jug Bay’s new wetlands boardwalk at the Glendening Preserve in Lothian is for nature enthusiasts, ecosystem exploring and kayakers and canoeists.     The new boardwalk extends out to Old Galloway Creek, a Patuxent River tributary. It’s an official site on the Patuxent River water trail.     “We needed a boardwalk in this part of the sanctuary to take advantage of it, both for park research and visitors,” said Chris Swarth, director of Jug...

Eagle Cove School reaches way downstream for environmental education

While we are getting last-minute gifts, hanging garlands and hitting every holiday party in the neighborhood, Tim Decker will be teaching kids in Costa Rica about environmental and community stewardship.     Decker teaches science at Eagle Cove School, a small, independent school for three-years-olds to fifth graders in Pasadena. Environmental education is the mission throughout the curriculum, and the Bay is a classroom. Eagle Cove is located on the Bay, and bags of oyster...
A fantastic concept gone horribly awry, Hyde Park on Hudson tells the story of the first time an English king visited America. It wasn’t a social call. In 1939, England was in grave danger from Nazi Germany and needed help.     President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray: Moonrise Kingdom) invited the king and queen to his New York estate, Hyde Park.     This tale of political turmoil and cultural understanding is only the B-plot of Hyde Park on Hudson...

Getting old isn’t for sissies.

From the outside, Debbie (Leslie Mann: ParaNorman) and Pete (Paul Rudd: The Perks of Being a Wallflower) have it made. A big house, two adorable kids and lots of luxury playthings. But look a little closer and you see the cracks.     Debbie is having trouble dealing with her fading youth. Turning 40 years old has made her a neurotic mess. She fights with Pete, worries about their daughters and constantly seeks validation.     Pete is head of a record label that...

If the world doesn’t end, winter begins

With any luck, Friday, December 21 will not mark the end of the world, but rather the usual beginning of winter for the Northern Hemisphere. The Mayans and their vanished civilization are a true mystery, made all the more poignant by their accomplishments, building great pyramids and devising an elaborate calendar. That calendar, like those of other civilizations throughout history and around the globe, recognizes December 21 as the end of the year — and the beginning of the new.  ...

This bright flowering holly was first found in a nearby bog

Winterberry shows at its best this season, inviting you to cut it for Christmas decorating. The native deciduous forms of holly grow as shrubs six to eight feet tall. At this time of year, the ends of the branches are filled with clusters of bright red berries.     Maryland has two native species, Ilex verticillata and Ilex serrata. It is not uncommon to see them planted along highways. They are increasingly being used because they can tolerate growing in boggy wet soil as well...