Tag Archives: Food

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017


On our way back to Connecticut, my husband and I stopped off in Pennsylvania to spend a week with my parents.  To add to the mix, my oldest brother, who lives in Texas, is also visiting.  This time he’s not in PA because of a funeral (as he was the last two times he was here) so our time is being filled with all kinds of activities.

One of the activities is eating since my Mom, like many moms out there, shows love with food.  Since we’ve been here, there’s been a cake from Costco, two dozen cookies from Costco, an apple pie from Costco, and two gallons of Turkey Hill ice cream (all of which I said NO to), lots of sweet potato tater tots (which I said YES to), and some delicious grass-fed NY Strip Steaks (also a big YES).

We’ve gone to Hersheypark a few times

Hershey Park

and even though I was tempted with lots of chocolate goodies, I managed to say NO to everything except a hand-dipped milkshake.  My oldest brother, on the other hand, said YES to everything he could, in part to reap the benefits of an all-you-can-eat meal pass, with one of the stipulations being you must wait 90 minutes between meals.  Here’s his status report throughout the day:

Cropped 1

Cropped 2

Cropped Food 3

I wasn’t at the park with them, so this way I could live vicariously through their eating.  I’d had enough Hersheypark Happy by that point and, truthfully, the park is expensive.  Since my favorite parts on my visits there were attending the Sea Lion show

Sea lion

and walking through Zoo America,

Porcupine ZA

I didn’t think it a worthwhile use of money for me to go back to the park one more time.

We had also planned to go to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and since they offered a substantial Labor Day discount, we took advantage of it.  The Faire is expansive and there’s always a historically-based storyline that is woven throughout the entertainment, including a human chess match in the afternoon and a live-action joust at the end of the day, so it’s a pretty fancy affair.

Ren Faire

But for some reason, I just wasn’t into it this year.

I did, however, get a kick out of seeing all the dogs at the faire.  This past weekend was one of their “Royal Hound Weekends,” where dogs are encouraged to attend.  I saw this royal pupper

Royal Doggo

A fluffy unicorn


And a service dog who had to wear dog muffs during the Royal Chess Match so as not to become agitated by the whips used during some of the combat scenes,

Dog muffs

in addition to many other dogs that I did not manage to get a photo of because I felt a little self-conscious sneaking around trying to take pictures of people’s dogs.

These dog experiences remind of the time I was sorely disappointed with how commercialized the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios is and instead found absolute delight with a service puppy I met there.

Service Puppy

And as I’m typing this, my family is discussing visiting the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg.  In response to finding out the admission price is $22, I asked, “Will there be dogs there?”  When my mom laughed, “no,” I replied, “then I probably shouldn’t go.

We say good-bye to Pennsylvania tomorrow and then we’ll be back in Norfolk.  There, I’ll be reunited with three dogs whom I’m absolutely crazy about.

Three dogs

I haven’t seen them since July 1st and even though I sing Somewhere Out There to them at night while staring at the moon (seriously), it’s not the same as being around them.

I know some people still think it’s crazy that I quit my job as an associate professor to write children’s stories and play with dogs all day long, but as I reflect on how I’ve spent my time this past week, my only regret is that I didn’t quit sooner.

Fox Through the Forest — Chapter 2


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

For the first several hours of his journey, Malcolm felt good about his choice.  He kept thinking about the mountain and the waterfall and all those beautiful flowers.  But then his stomach started to growl and his pace began to slow.  He wasn’t thinking about the mountain at all now – what he really wanted was some food.  In his eagerness to start his journey, he completely forgot to eat breakfast and he certainly didn’t have any food with him now.

Malcolm looked around the forest.  This area was entirely new to him and he wasn’t sure what to do.  Then he noticed a big oak tree up ahead.  It looked warm and inviting so he decided to stop there and get his bearings.

As Malcolm sat beneath it, he leaned back against the trunk.  He wiggled back and forth, it felt so good on his tired body.  He suddenly didn’t feel so worried, so he closed his eyes just for a moment to rest.

RAWR!  Malcolm’s stomach had other ideas, though, and it let him know just what exactly that was.

“Oh my goodness,” said a chipper, squeaky voice from above.  “Was that you?”

Malcolm opened his eyes and looked up into the branches of the tree.  There high above, was a silver gray squirrel watching him.

“Yes,” Malcolm admitted.  “I’m on my way to see Nana Owl, but I left so quickly I didn’t bring anything to eat with me.”  He felt kind of embarrassed about his poor lack of planning, but as his stomach growled again he knew he needed help.  Now was not the time for pride.

“You poor dear,” said the squirrel.  “I only have these acorns.  They’re not much, but you’re welcome to have them.”

Malcolm saw that the squirrel was pointing to an opening in the trunk of the oak tree and it was filled with a stash of acorns.  Acorns were not Malcolm’s favorite, but in that moment he felt enormously relieved and so he told the squirrel, “Oh, yes, please.  Thank you so much.”

The squirrel tossed a bunch of the acorns down to Malcolm.  As he began nibbling on them, she scampered down the tree trunk.  When he seemed to be finished she asked him, “Is there anything else I can do to help you?”

“Tell me your name,” Malcolm replied.  The squirrel smiled at him.  “It’s Jersey,” she said.

“Thank you, Jersey,” Malcolm told her.  “Your kindness means so much.  I hope someday we can meet again,” and with his belly full and his eyes bright, Malcolm again headed off to the west.  He didn’t know what adventure lay in store for him next, but he now felt better prepared.

To be continued….