TLDR; Christmas Up North

I don’t publicize that I’m out of town until the vacation is over because I think I’m important enough to rob or something. However, I’m home in Alabama now, and I can give you a brief(?) tour of my Christmas in R’s hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania and in his grandparents’ town of Wilmington, Delaware.

I finally got to see R’s alma mater, Penn State University. Set aside the recent tragedies associated with the school, and you will be amazed by the beauty and integrity that remains with the institution. We started our tour with his collegiate swimming pools, residences, and – of course –  the FAMOUS Berkey Creamery. This is the part of school that the Food Science majors “own,” and where Ben & Jerry got their start before dropping out and kicking ice cream’s ass. R had the Cookie Dough & I had Coffee Break. DELICIOUS.

The Nittany Lion statue is a must for alumni and visitors.
DUDES. These squirrels LOVE people. This little guy is about a half-second away from swiping that peanut out of my hand. I felt like Snow White because he and about a dozen of his friends swarmed me with affection. Died. I heard about a time that R’s brother saw a squirrel emerge from a trash can with an entire slice of pizza. Those precocious little nuggets!

Old Main is gorgeous, and so is the rest of the campus. A+.

We found out that R’s sister-in-law, Steph, is totally terrified of nutcrackers. Of course we bought her one as a gift from Penn State (she’s also a grad), and we kept hiding it places to scare the shit out of her. It was magical.

We had a white Christmas!

Fun to watch R be a slave to shitty weather, but I’m very glad southern Alabama doesn’t get snow. I’d be late for everything, everyday, all the time, ever.

Drove over to Wilmington, Delaware for Christmas at R’s grandparents’ enormous, historical home. We got to see lots of family, and we had a great time playing pool, ping pong, poker, and more.

The ladies in R’s family threw me an extravagant bridal shower at their country club. So fancy pants. I felt like a loser in my 2009 Rodarte for Target dress, but it’s whatever. I was pretty nervous, but I had a great time and met a family friend who runs the Delaware SPCA, so I got to talk about rescue animals…always a plus.

R’s aunt Lelané is an amazing cake artist, and she made us this delicious and beautiful white chocolate almond cake. YUMMMM.

The brothers, their ladies, and their parents in front of their childhood home. Their parents are moving to Illinois this year after 24 years in this home, so we had to get a group shot in front of the house!

All I do is be pretty.


Things I appreciate about where I live:

(In no particular order)
1. Having back roads to drive down for miles with no one to disturb so I can sing at the top of my lungs and blast my indie music without disrupting anything.
2. Trees. From the first leaves of spring, to the last leaf of autumn. To the gorgeous snow covered branches or completely incased in ice. Evergreen trees that never lose their pines….Trees can be beautiful in so many different ways.
3. To combine the first two: wooded back roads.
4. The weather. I love being able to experience every season: scolding summers, breezy & wet autumns, bone-chillingly cold winters, rainy yet sunshiny springtimes.
5. Meadows. There are many pretty flower filled meadows around here that, even after losing all their flowers, look beautiful in the winter as well.
6. SNOW. I could not imagine a snowless winter. There’s nothing I love more in the natural world.
7. Animals. Deer, coyotes, cats, foxes, bears, ect.
8. The city. Harrisburg is nothing compared to Pittsburgh, where I’ll be living come August, however, it’s got potential.

Nearly a thousand times this year, an American police officer has shot and killed a civilian.

When the people hired to protect their communities end up killing someone, they can be called heroes or criminals — a judgment that has never come more quickly or searingly than in this era of viral video, body cameras and dash cams. A single bullet fired at the adrenaline-charged apex of a chase can end a life, wreck a career, spark a riot, spike racial tensions and alter the politics of the nation.

In a year-long study, The Washington Post found that the kind of incidents that have ignited protests in many U.S. communities — most often, white police officers killing unarmed black men — represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings. Meanwhile, The Post found that the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt.

The Post sought to compile a record of every fatal police shooting in the nation in 2015, something no government agency had done. The project began after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014, provoking several nights of fiery riots, weeks of protests and a national reckoning with the nexus of race, crime and police use of force.

Race remains the most volatile flash point in any accounting of police shootings. Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year, The Post’s database shows. In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white. But a hugely disproportionate number — 3 in 5 — of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic.

Regardless of race, in more than a quarter of cases, the fatal encounter involved officers pursuing someone on foot or by car — making chases one of the most common scenarios in the data. Some police chiefs and training experts say more restrictive rules on when to give chase could prevent unnecessary shootings.

Like a growing number of police shootings, the death of David Kassick on a snow-covered field near his sister’s house in Hummelstown, Pa., was captured on video — a technological shift that has dramatically altered how Americans perceive officers’ use of deadly force.

Art Drop Number 8!

City: Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
Hint: Grab a burger while you are there, unless you’re a “jerk.”

This one might be a little out of the way, but it’s a cool little town.


Officer shoots unarmed man while he is face-down on the ground

The Dauphin County district attorney’s office has released footage of a police officer fatally shooting an unarmed motorist in the back in February as he lay face-down on the ground. Lisa Mearkle, 37, of Hummelstown police, is seen shocking 59-year-old David Kassick with a Taser, before shooting him in the back. Mearkle, who was cleared of murder charges on Thursday, says she feared for her safety

Warning: this video may be disturbing to some viewers