Category Archives: Manchester Love

The Time I Had a Pet Praying Mantis

About 4 years ago I was freshly graduated from college and living on my own.  We weren’t allowed to have any pets in our apartment, so you can only imagine my excitement when we discovered a praying mantis who hung out on our front porch regularly.  OK, so he wasn’t technically my pet, but like a pet, he was loyal and was waiting at the door for me every day.  Each morning when I would leave for work, Timothy (yes, we named him), would be on the porch looking at me.  I would try to get close to him and though he did not hop/fly away, he would ever so slowly move over the edge of the rail as to hide himself from me.

Timothy the Praying Mantis

Seriously, how cool is that??  Here’s a couple of lesser known facts about the Praying Mantis:

  • The European Praying Mantis is Connecticut’s State bug…if you already knew that, did you also know that the Carolina Praying Mantis is South Carolina’s State bug?  There are actually about 2,000 species of praying mantis.  No joke, look it up.
  • Contrary to popular belief, it is not illegal to kill a Praying Mantis?  But that being said, why would you want to?  Although their size can be frightening to a non-bug lover, they are a “good bug”.  In fact, many farmers purchase crates of Praying Mantis to unload on their fields to eat all the pests that destroy their crops.
  • The Praying Mantis is completely harmless.  They will not bite, sting, or claw you. You can actually pick them up and play with them if you’re quick enough.

Anyways, that’s enough science for today…it is Saturday after all!  Hope you enjoyed learning about CT’s state bug!  Keep a look out for them!

Monday Funday!

Ben had yesterday off, so I took a half day and we went to Stone Age Rock Climbing Gym for the day.  Ben’s been wanting to try rock climbing for a while now.  But of course he does, he’s a thrill seeker by nature, not to mention that he only weighs like 50 pounds and has a ton of upper body strength from lumberjacking.  Anyways, I’m afraid of heights, and although I work out frequently, I was not sure about how strong I’d really be.  But when I saw a groupon for $45 for two people  (which ifs over an.$80 savings) I thought, ehhh why not…should be fun.

We get there and our instructor Kevin, who I also gather is the owner, got us all hooked up and ready to go.  Kevin was awesome!  He was very nice and very knowledgable.  I kind of got a Johnny Depp from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vibe from him though.  You know what I mean, like if we climbed to the top of the wall without a harness, which is clearly breaking the rules, he wouldn’t get mad so much, but just allow us to fall to learn our lesson.  Can’t blame him though because his instructions were very clear, especially  because he speaks really, really loud.

Erin Climbing

Ben Climbing

After completely a belaying course, we were ready to climb.  Of course, Ben was a natural.  I got about half way up the first wall and basically demanded to be brought back to the ground, but after we warmed up a little bit, we both completed over 10 walls (including the first wall, which I went back and tried for a second time).  All in all, it was an amazing day!  We got to try something together that neither of us had done before, and had a great experience!  I can’t wait to go back – Kevin gave Ben and I each a certificate for another free climbing day!  Whoo!!

That is NOT My Northface

While we are talking about how great high school was, I want to bring up a fun party spot we used to dominate.  Back in the day (you know, like 8 – 10 years ago when I was in high school) We used to party it up big time down at the pits.  “The Pits” was this outdoor party spot that was used as a go to if we couldn’t meet up at anyone’s house.  It was really where they used to have an old drive in movie theater built in the 1950s on the Manchester/Bolton  line on route 6. There is little remnence of this besides the screen’s skeleton, which still stands.  Now, it’s nothing more than sand dunes with heavy tree cover.  Anyways, we used to go down there all the time and park in the commuter lot then hike through the pitch black woods to where we would build bon fires.  Hey, we live in CT – parties in the woods are NOT uncommon!

The Pits was a great party spot because it was basically open to all.  You never knew “which group” would be down there at any given time, and many times there was intermingling among a few different cliques, which was fun.  I will never, EVER, forget the time one of our friends, Jesse, “punked” another one of our friends, Liz.  Jesse and Liz had been friends for the majority of their lives, but had this antic been for real, that may have changed.  We were all hanging out, and Jesse threw a black jacket into the fire.  Liz, seeing the black jacket, assumed it was here’s and almost immediately flipped out.

“That is NOT my black Northface,” Liz said.  The rest of us (about  20 people) quickly quieted down and looked, but no one said anything.

“That is NOT my Northface” Liz repeated…still no one spoke up – to be honest, I think everyone DID think it was her Northface, and in our heads we were all making up escape routes…Liz seemed pretty pissed, and while normally she was a kind hearted and fun person to be around, I think we all knew that if we pissed her off enough she could probably ‘take’ any of us.  No really, she once punched a girl in the face so hard that all 5 of her acrillic nails popped off…

A third time Liz spoke up, “That is NOT my f*cking Northface”.  I was scared, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone there.

It was just then that Jesse came out from behind a tree with Liz’s actual Northface screaming “YOU GOT PUNKED!!”  Everyone started laughing and was relieved that no one had to run away.

From Left to right:
Stef, Shannon, Courtney, Brooke, Julie, Erin (me)

I’m not sure if this is a “you had to be there” story or not, but for me, it’s a memory that I’ll never forget, and will always bring a smile to my face!

An R Rated Walk

So, as you may know from our Bucket List, Ben and I are trying to complete every hike in this book we have called “50 Hikes in Connecticut” this year.  We decided to do a short hike yesterday evening in Manchester at the Oak Grove Nature Center.  I have been there dozens of times in my life; there was even a trail we used to use from my street right to the back of the nature center.  Last night, however, did not reflect the wholesome experiences I had there as a child.

We parked in the parking lot at the actual Nature Center on Oak Grove Street, and walked on the trail that brought us to the loop.  As soon as we got onto the loop I looked down at the covered bridge, which was also part of our loop.  That’s when I saw it.  A bare, black ass.  Yep, I did a double take, and the woman standing on the covered bridge was naked.  Don’t worry though, she was being photographed by the two creepy guys with her, so it’s probably fine.

Anyways, I thought for a minute that maybe I was going nuts, but then came to the conclusion that even I’m not that crazy.  I know what I saw.  My theory was soon enough proven as we came upon the other side of the bridge (this walk was only about 25 minutes long).  As we turned the corner, I saw the girl yanking up a skirt and tossing on a top.

Here’s the kicker:  As we were passing this trio, the girl starts posing like she was there the whole time clothed getting photographed. Unfortunately for her, the situation was way past the point of this being believable for the following reasons:

  1. I already saw her bare bum.
  2. I confirmed my initial thought when I saw her franticly putting on clothing as we turned the corner.
  3. Her skirt was on inside out…
  4. …and backwards



Two Fat Girls On A Walk

I was over at my mom’s earlier today and me, my mom, and my sister are all talking outside in the driveway.  I glance down the street and see these two obese girls, who appeared to be high school aged, walking down the street.  My first thought was “Good job.  Way to get some exercise in on this beautiful day.”  Then they got closer.  Both of these girls had on t-shirts, basketball shorts, and socks.  That’s it.  What are they missing?  Well, if you haven’t caught on yet, pedal a little faster.  They were wearing ONLY tshirts, shorts, and socks.  Where the f*ck are their shoes?  It wasn’t like they were walking out on the front porch to grab the mail!  These girls turned the corner at the end of the street (at least 300 meters from my mom’s house) and walked past the house…they were really on a stroll.  I asked my mom if she thought they were homeless; she said no (it was pretty obvious that they were not).  But, I thought I’d at least try to give them the benefit of the doubt!

It’s situations like these that makes me ask myself, “What is wrong with people these days?!”

Connecticut’s beloved groundhog Chuckles has had last laugh

A few  years ago, The Lutz Museum, where I personally spent many a childhood afternoon adopted an injured groundhog that was hit by a car.  Unfortunately, Molly, better known as “Chuckles”, was never able to fully recover from injuries sustained from that accident and passed away earlier today.  “She will be fondly remebered by staff at the museum, her friends at Bolton Veterinary Hospital, and her thousands of adoring fans,” according to the Lutz Museum’s Facebook Page.  About a month and a half ago, Chuckles declared winter over, whereas Punxsutawney Phil declared 6 more weeks of winter…and he’s supposed to be the expert…sheesh!

At any rate, although the Lutz Museum has already begun their search for a new groundhog, they will only accept animals who are unable to survive in the wild on their own.  So next year instead of a groundhog, we may be learning about winter vs. spring from Bounce the Chinchilla, Donald the Rooster or one the Lutz’s other animal friends!

If you have children or know children, and you haven’t taken them to the Lutz yet DOOOO ITTTT!  Although their amazing playscape was deconstructed a few years back because some jerk-off sued on account of his kid falling down (like all kids do 50 times a day), the inside of the museum is still a wonderfully interactive place for kids to be creative and learn about the nature and agriculture of the state they live in!

#CT Problems:

Uh oh….we could POSSIBLY get 1 – 3 inches of snow later today….CLOSE DOWN THE STATE! Living in Connecticut is interesting because we live in New England, but many people living here don’t really know how to act like New Englanders.  I am, knowingly, the worst New Englander ever in the sense that I HATE snow and cold, but where there is snow and cold, I at least know how to handle it.  While last year at this time, our state was blanketed with over 3 feet of snow, this year we have been much luckier and have had no  snow falls that left any lasting effects.  We’ve had only 2 “significant” snow falls and both were only a memory within 2-3 days after.  In fact, I think we have had at least 1 day a week that has been 50+ degree, and multiple days each week in the 40’s… now THAT’S my kind of winter!

Today, we are looking at the possibility of 1-3 inches and just about every school in the state has ALREADY planned for an early dissmissal.  For anyone that is reading this that is not in CT currently, as of right now it is SUNNY and 40 degrees…but it MIGHT snow later so lets all close up shop!  I just think this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen…seriously.

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