Day: July 1, 2023

Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

By Lani Gering & Bob Tagert/ Game Photos by Joseph Noyes “Minor League Baseball throughout our country brings families together for an affordable family fun night out and we are so proud to be a piece of that puzzle in Bowie. You get to see the future of the game of baseball on the field while enjoying a night that has something for everyone in the family from the stands.” – Adam Pohl, Baysox Director of Marketing. As we pondered where to take a Road Trip in June that would be fitting for the July issue, our first inclination was to either head up to the Blue Ridge where temps will be cooler or to the Bay to be near the water. However, we went full circle right back home to concentrate on a bit of Americana that is in keeping with this month’s theme – Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet – in our own backyard! Baseball has always been my sport of choice due to my late father’s influence. He loved it and introduced me to names the likes of Willie Mays, Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax in my early years. I also ended up married to a big sports fan who put together a 3 week honeymoon trek that encompassed seeing the Rangers, the Red Sox, the Phillies, the Cardinals and the Royals! My friends thought I was crazy. While the marriage ended, my love of the sport has never waned. Bob is a dedicated rugby guy but baseball ranks right up there with his favorites as well. While we are big fans of the Nationals, we decided that catching a minor league game would be more affordable and convenient for our readers who are looking for something to do with the whole family. We picked…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

Apple Pie & Fourth of July

By Julie Reardon There’s nothing quite like the July 4th fireworks on the Mall in Washington D.C. But braving the crowds once every few years (or every few decades) is plenty for some, who might wish for smaller crowds and a more small town atmosphere. You don’t have to go far, most of these are within an hour’s drive of the Beltway and can be as simple as some fireworks at dusk, or a full day celebration with parades, picnics, and more. As the actual date is on a Tuesday this year, some celebrations will be held on weekend dates. Outside of Washington DC, the fireworks at Great Meadow in The Plains – 45 minutes southwest in Virginia’s Blue Ridge foothills – is probably the biggest display in the area, and the festivities include a full day of family fun. This year marks the return of its famous fireworks show and activities for the 34th year on Sunday, July 2. Gates open at 5 p.m., afternoon activities include family games—cornhole toss, sack races, face painting, tug-of war, additional games and entertainment. The Flying Circus will provide an exciting air show and there will be polo exhibitions and hat and tailgate competitions with prizes for the most creative. Bring a picnic or purchase food on site. There will be food trucks and a beer garden. The extraordinary fireworks display gets underway at dusk. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs (no umbrellas or tents, unless in reserved tailgate spaces.) Great Meadow, a beautiful 374-acre park is also known as the home of the Virginia Gold Cup races. General admission tickets are $50 per car (up to five passengers) in advance or $60 at the gate. Special tailgate packages, VIP passes and bus passes are also available. Go to for…

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Featured Post

The Birds, the Bees, the Butterflies & the Bugs!

By Melinda Myers A garden filled with flowers, birds, bees and butterflies is a sight to behold. These winged beauties add color, sound and motion to our gardens. Plus, they help maximize a garden’s productivity by pollinating plants and managing plant-damaging pests. But what about those unwanted visitors to the garden? The aphids, mites and cabbage worms that feed upon our plants or the mosquitoes that feed upon us.  There are ways to have a beautiful garden and at the same time enjoy the outdoors when we work with nature to manage our landscape. Add a birdbath, a few birdhouses and plants for the birds. They’ll repay you by eating many of the insects that feed upon your plants. Include seed-bearing plants like coneflowers, rudbeckias and cosmos as well as berry plants like juneberry, dogwood and firethorn. Add an evergreen and a few trees for shelter and nesting, if space allows. Include a hummingbird feeder and a few of their favorite flowers like columbine, salvia, penstemon, and phlox. Then watch as these fast flyers feed upon aphids, mites and mosquitoes in between sips of nectar. While watching the birds, bees and butterflies, examine your plants for garden pests. Catching insects early may mean the difference between a successful harvest and disappointment. Before reaching for the pesticides and destroying their food source, attract the good guys and manage unwanted pests with a few of these eco-friendly strategies. Tolerate a bit of damage and wait for the birds, lady beetles, praying mantis and other beneficial insects to move in and eat the bad bugs in the garden. Use barriers like row covers to keep cabbage worms off your cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Sink shallow containers filled with beer into the soil around hostas and some of the other favorite plants…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Embrace a Senior Pet, Bond for Life

By Carolyn Cockroft “If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is,” sings Grizabella, the aging feline in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical, Cats. I recall this lyric often when stroking an elderly cat at King Street Cats (KSC), the no-kill shelter where I volunteer weekly. Like Grizabella, the senior residents at KSC once had their days in the sun. Yet now, they are sometimes overlooked by prospective owners in favor of younger and “more adorable” adoptees. Many shelters are filled with aging cats and dogs. Yet, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, senior dogs have a 25% adoption rate, compared to a 60% rate for younger dogs and puppies. “Older shelter cats are just as loving, loyal, and delightful as young ones, but typically the last to be adopted,” ASPCA President Matthew Bershadker explains, “and result in senior cats being among the first shelter animals to be euthanized.” So why the hesitation to adopt older pets? While they may require special care because of their aging needs, the following are some misconceptions that prevent senior animals from being placed in a forever, loving home. Myth #1: They are in a shelter because they are undesirable, and nobody wants them. FALSE. Often an animal has been brought to a shelter because of conditions that have nothing to do with health, personality, or appeal. A new baby in the family, change in marital status, a move to a place that won’t accept pets—these are only a few reasons. The most heartbreaking cause is when the owner passed away or had to give up the pet due to a transition to assisted living. Such cases occur at our shelter; the poor creatures are afraid, lonely, and unable to understand why they are no longer with their human…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month

By Erin Shackleford Odin – Odin is a 7-year-old male dog whose personality far outweighs his 9 pounds. Let’s be honest. He’s not the life of the party, and he’s probably not scored himself any invitations to this summer’s barbecue. But what he lacks in extroverted social prowess, he makes up for with his deep love and affection for those he bonds with. Think of Odin as the old man in the movie “Up,” a little grumpy at first, but deep down a really good guy. Odin’s initially unwelcoming attitude is due to being a little unsure and scared with new people and situations. Once he’s comfortable with you, he wants nothing more than to sit on your lap, get snuggles and kisses, and be showered with love. Odin has a charming toothy under bite that adds to his charisma. Odin would make someone a loyal and loving companion and protector. Senorita – Senorita, on the other hand, is a social butterfly and hostess with the mostess! She’s not only the life of the party – she IS the paw-ty! Senorita is a 1-year-old dog who loves to play with toys and other friendly, active dogs. Her favorite party game – tug of war! She would make an excellent, steadfast partner for all of this season’s outdoor adventures – whether that’s hiking, running, or camping. Senorita loves to entertain and show off her tricks. She knows how to sit and will take treats gently from your hand. Senorita is ready to be your plus one to all of this summer’s pool parties! Pepper – Not into social gatherings at all? Pepper is your girl! This senior-aged black kitty much prefers her quiet time. Sadly, she’s a little stressed and scared at the shelter. Her previous owner reports that she was active and social…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

The Gift of Freedom

By Lori Welch Brown How did we get to July so soon? Holy cow. Feels like just yesterday we were putting away the Christmas tree and making New Year’s resolutions. I’d like to say time flies when you’re having fun, but I haven’t been having a lot of fun recently. That, however, is about to change. We have a crazy maker in our family. Maybe you have one too. My particular crazy maker doesn’t think he has a problem—everyone else has the problem. Even though his life is at ground zero all due to his own decisions (poor ones), everyone else is to blame. Recently he has been lashing out in horrendous, unacceptable ways. When you’re on the outside looking in, crazy is easy to spot. When you’ve been embroiled in the dysfunction and spend your days just dodging bombs, it’s more difficult to see. You’re just busy trying to survive. And, that is not freedom. Freedom takes many forms, including the freedom to be happy—even if it means releasing toxic family members and/or friends. Anyone above the age of 12 knows that life can be hard and isn’t always fair, but most of us do have some options. As we get older, our options increase.  We get to make decisions for ourselves. Regardless of our situation—rough childhood, divorced parents, absent parent, abusive parent, etc., we can do things to move forward instead of living in the past. We can get help, live in the present, and make our way in the world as best we can. With the proper help, we can free ourselves from past hurt and pain—even trauma. We get this one precious life and get to choose how to live it. So, this July, I’m giving my crazy maker a gift—the gift of freedom. I am…

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Arts & Entertainment, Personality Profile, Special Feature

Uncle Sam Wants You!

By ©Kathy Weiser-Alexander Although Uncle Sam (initials U.S.) is the most popular personification of the United States, many Americans have little or no concept of his origins. If pressed, the average American might point to the early 20th century and Sam’s frequent appearance on army recruitment posters. In reality, however, the figure of Uncle Sam dates back much further. Portraying the tradition of representative male icons in America, which can be traced well back into colonial times, the actual figure of Uncle Sam, dates from the War of 1812. At that point, most American icons had been geographically specific, centering most often on the New England area. However, the War of 1812 sparked a renewed interest in national identity which had faded since the American Revolution. The term Uncle Sam is said to have been derived from a man named Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied rations for the soldiers during the War of 1812. Samuel Wilson, who served in the American Revolution at the age of 15, was born in Massachusetts. After the war, he settled in the town of Troy, New York, where he and his brother, Ebenezer, began the firm of E. & S. Wilson, a meat packing facility. Samuel was a man of great fairness, reliability, and honesty, who was devoted to his country. Well liked, local residents began to refer to him as “Uncle Sam.” During the War of 1812, the demand for meat supply for the troops was badly needed. Secretary of War, William Eustis, made a contract with Elbert Anderson, Jr. of New York City to supply and issue all rations necessary for the United States forces in New York and New Jersey for one year. Anderson ran an advertisement on October 6, 1813 looking to fill the…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

Everybody is a comedian/comedienne these days! Ric Ruller and his daughter Chelsea “cutting up” in her kitchen and checking out the “Let’s Eat!” column in the June OTC. Ric and his wife, Annie, took a trip to San Diego from Denver to catch a Padres game with their daughter for Father’s Day with the idea in mind to take a photo at the game and they forgot to take the issue with them so….. If you would like to see your photo in this space, grab a copy of the OTC and take it with you on your next adventure. Take a pic with your communication device and email it to with “On the Road” in the subject line. Be sure to include information for the caption and your mailing address if you would like a hard copy sent directly to your home.

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Strolling Around the Harbor

By Lani Gering Man oh man…did I ever struggle with deciding on what the subject matter of this month’s column was going to be. Not that there is a lack of things to highlight in the Harbor, especially this time of year as summer is getting into full swing – concerts, movies, etc. Thankfully, my pal Bob suggested that we take a Sunday drive over the bridge to see if I could garner some inspiration. Well…it worked! It was a gorgeous sunny day and there was a bit of a breeze coming off of the water so we spent the afternoon just walking around and stopping into some old favorites along the way. After parking at the Fleet Street garage, we headed to Waterfront Street and landed at Bond 45 for a beverage and some nourishment to fuel up for the rest of the day. As always, the cocktails were great and the meatballs never disappoint. The best part of this visit is always the staff. John Alfy Edward is a great host. I always run into people that still live in my former condo building so it’s great to catch up with them. Leaving Bond we took a leisurely stroll over to the Gaylord along the waterfront path to see how things were going with the newly remodeled Old Hickory Steakhouse in the hopes that our longtime friend, Joseph, would be behind the bar. Our wish came true. He has been with the Gaylord staff almost since the first day they opened. Old Hickory has always been a special place for dinner but with the new model in place they are open for breakfast and lunch daily as well as brunch on Sundays. After seeing Joe, we stopped by the Belvedere Lobby Bar to see Carlos. I love this…

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Let's Get Crafty, Wining & Dining

When Old Guys Go on Golf Trips

By Timothy Long “Tonight, we’re going to party like it’s almost our bedtime.” I do enjoy writing destination pieces. I love experiencing someone else’s culture and exploring the different beers that they enjoy. The destination does not have to be exotic. Trust me, this one isn’t. And it doesn’t have to be outside of the country either. This place may sometimes feel like it is, but it isn’t.  The world of craft beer can be explored without traveling very far. So where am I writing about? Wild, wonderful West Virginia. I received an email a couple of months ago. A gathering of a bunch of 1980s relics, such as myself, who graduated from West Virginia University was being planned. My Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers were having an alumni golf outing in Morgantown, WV, the home of WVU. A handful of guys from my era had been hosting this event for 40 years, rotating it to different locations around the country. I started playing golf, or at least started trying to play golf, about nine years ago. And this was the first time my schedule allowed me to attend. Plus, it was going to be in the town of our college shenanigans. We have a lot of history there. I got there on Friday around 2 pm. My buddy Dave had texted me that he was already there. We met at the hotel and headed to a nearby local sports bar called Keglers. The nostalgia of being back at WVU was upon us. A sort of college fever if you will. We sit at the upstairs bar and are greeted by Lindsey, a very sweet bartender. Dave orders a Guinness. I look at him. “What?” He says. “Nothing” I reply. “I like Guinness.” He retorts. “So do I.” I state….

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