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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

Five heartfelt stories on how good neighbors help us summit life’s mountain

Finding the right gift is the preoccupying issue of all us Christmas shoppers. We scratch our heads and fret because we’re searching for what to give people who already have most everything. When your needs are satisfied, you’re a nightmare to shop for. But if your needs are as basic as a good meal or a warm coat or a dry and secure place to sleep — those take a special kind of Santa.  Caught between needs of too much and needs of too little, we scratched our heads and...

It’s not only what you give but how you wrap it

“It’s all about the presentation,” my mother told me. So she taught me how to wrap a gift. How to center a box on the paper, how to make sure the edges were even and no tape was visible. She used miles of ribbon. She taught me how to tie a proper bow. Those pre-made self-stick bows were, in her opinion, the epitome of laziness. It was meticulous work. On Christmas morning, it took seconds to destroy it all. Who was the genius — or maniac — behind gift wrap? Despite...

A moralistic adventure shines through evil fog in this allegorical fantasy.

Edmund and Lucy (Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley: the prior two Narnia movies) are feeling pretty miserable. While the rest of the Pevensie family is off in America, these two are hunkered down with insufferable cousin Eustace (Will Poulter: Son of Rambow) — a know-it-all, curmudgeonly, 10-year-old —  in wartime Oxford. The twerp’s about to get it when a painting floods the room and the three kids surface in Narnia before the bow of the royal ship Dawn Treader. Plucked...

A few ideas sure to please

Buying a special holiday present for an avid angler, hunter, canoeist or kayaker is fraught with difficulty. Most dedicated sportsmen and women already have the gear they need. Those who don’t have definite ideas of what they want — but it is almost impossible to divine just what. However, there are a few things this holiday season that can be counted on to give special joy to just about anyone who’s outdoor obsessed.   A Nifty Flashlight Flashlights are a great gift. I...

Gifts to bring the heavens into focus

While the day of commercial space flight has yet to dawn, a few choice astronomy-related gifts are enough to open up the heavens for anyone on your gift list. Who knows? You could be giving someone the start of a lifelong hobby or even a career. A telescope is a grand gesture. For around $100, the Orion SpaceProbe 3 Altazimuth Reflector is a great starter scope. For under $300, the motorized, Meade ETX-80BB telescope tracks objects once programmed and comes with an interactive LCD screen that...

Your evergreens will get a good pruning while you clip and snap

The tradition of bringing greens indoors comes from Europe and Scandinavia. The winters were long, and bringing greens in the house gave hope that spring would soon be coming. It must have worked, as we still do it today. If your evergreens are overgrown, now is the time to prune them back into shape and use the greens for decorations. Don’t be afraid to take the pruners and whack those evergreens. To be safe and to have a cleaner home, avoid using boughs of Norway spruce because they...
Dear Bay Weekly: I have been meaning to say thank you for all your work in producing the three Maryland Avenue pages that really turned out great in the Season’s Bounty Holiday Guide. I especially appreciate your initiative and patience. A very positive experience with Bay Weekly. I will want to work with you in the future. Happy Holidays to all. –Mary Jo Murray, Evergreen Antiques
Dear Bay Weekly: I love Diana Beechener’s Dec. 9 article on all the different calendars. However, the website link for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s calendar is incorrect. The correct url is www.cbf.org/store. Thanks! –Kim Ethridge, Electronic & Interactive Media Manager: Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Dear Bay Weekly: After my spring, 2009, internship at Bay Weekly, wanted to update you on my continuing post-retirement quest to keep myself off the streets of Annapolis and out of trouble. After my work as a Legacy Leadership program volunteer through the legislative session with Del. Mary Ann Love, I went back the next year and worked for Mary Christine Jackman, who is the investments manager in the Treasury. This was an extended stay and my responsibility was to reconcile some 14,000 paper...

Warm your heart over the stories of neighbors whose giving satisfies the ache of real need

All Elsa’s grandparents are stumped. What can Santa bring to a nine-year-old who already has two of everything and sometimes 22? She loves Webkinz, but her mother and father say their Webkinz population has already exploded. There are plenty of things I want to give this granddaughter, but few of them fit in a box that can be wrapped up with a bow. Ten-year-old grandson Jack, on the other hand, knows just what he wants. Jack wants an iPad.  Those real-world dilemmas played at the...