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Good Living

Neighbors joining neighbors to celebrate our independence

Is there anything more fun, more moving and more important than a hometown Fourth of July parade? Whether joining the parade or watching it, we celebrate our independence as a nation and as a people.     Across the land, communities large and small decorate themselves, their dogs and conveyances from baby buggies to trikes and bikes to convertibles, tractors, fire engines and floats. In a partnership of faith and delight, we join as one entity united by shared purpose.

The fun’s better when you stay safe

The Dream: You take family and friends out on your boat for an evening of spectacular fireworks. Your anchor sets on the first try. There is plenty of space between you and the other boats. You enjoy a picnic and a few cold ones. The weather is warm and clear; the kids enjoy taking a dip. Anticipation builds as the sky darkens; then the fireworks burst and boom. The colors are even more beautiful reflected in the water. Everyone oohs and ahs. After the big crescendo, you up anchor and head for home. Soon, you are tied up at the dock and saying your goodbyes.

After three years in Chesapeake waters, Pride of Baltimore II resumes her voyages of goodwill

How long can you stay at home before the urge to get out of the house overwhelms you? That restless feeling also afflicts one of our local treasures: the sailing ship Pride of Baltimore II. This year she is finally escaping her home waters of the Chesapeake Bay, off on the high seas to do what she was built to do: travel afar to represent Maryland and foster friendships and economic relations.     Since 1988, Pride II has been all over the world as Maryland’s ambassador. But she hadn’t left Chesapeake Bay in three years.

In a society dominated by technology and social media, what’s a 21st century father’s job?

Lance Garms and daughters Sofia, 15, Julia, 12 Lance, 46, of Annapolis, is an IT security ­consultant, sailor and single Dad.

Sort through hundreds of sunscreens rated from best to worst

As a fair-skinned mutt of European descent, I depend on sunscreen as my summer best friend. However, sunscreen has been found to contain harmful chemicals that make it inefficient and much more of a foe than the friend I need.     This year, I plan on winning the battle for sun protection. My weapon of choice is the Environmental Working Group’s extensively researched list of the most effective sunscreens.

Sometimes you need fertilizers

Am I an organic gardener? I’m often asked that question. I suspect that many who read this column conclude that my frequent reference to composting and compost in gardening means I must be an organic gardener. They seem shocked when I say that I use chemical fertilizers in addition to amending my soils with compost. My reasoning is that of a scientist.

Shady Side fifth-graders saving the Bay one handful of spat at a time

Some Southern Anne Arundel County students are taking the adage bloom where you’re planted more than a few steps further. Fifth-graders at Shady Side Elementary are planting oysters to help restore the Bay’s oyster population.     “We need oysters to clean the Bay,” said Lacey Wilde, 11, the daughter and granddaughter of working watermen.

National Aquarium answers marine life SOS

Stepping inside the National Aquarium in Baltimore is like diving into the ocean depths: amazing creatures swim by your face inches away.     In the Blacktip Reef exhibit, you meet Calypso, perhaps the aquarium’s most famous resident, a 500-pound green turtle with only three flippers.

How an Angel Tree saved our first Christmas

Editor’s Note: Traditions return at holiday time to knit our pasts and present into a ­garment we wear comfortably into the future. At Bay Weekly we’ve made it a ­holiday tradition to tell you a story of how the season’s memories are ­celebrated in our extended family. This year, as Melissa Driscoll Krol takes her turn, you’ll feel your reward for any gift you’ve made under an Angel Tree.

Trains live on in more than our memories and our hearts

Trains are just another form of transportation to some folks, no more interesting or glamorous than the bus that takes you from long-term parking to the airport terminal.     But if you’re one of the countless train lovers, like me, read on to discover three local ways to bring to life your train fantasies.