12 December 2010

12 December - Geminids; Pennsylvania

Astronomy: Meteors from the Gemind Meteor Shower have already been spotted, but according to EarthSky, the best time for watching will be late tomorrow evening through dawn on the 14th, with optimum viewing after the moon sets at midnight [in the smallest state, moon-set will be at 12:18 Tuesday morning.  See The Old Farmer's Almanac for moon-set times in your area].  And check out EarthSky's ten tips for watching the Geminids.
Today is the Third Sunday in Advent - Gaudete Sunday, when we set aside our penitential preparation and rejoice that Our Lord is coming to us.  Light the rose-colored candle tonight.

[And the color is Rose - not Pink.  Pink is not a liturgical color.  Some people get away with using pink candles, because rose is not that easy to find.  So be it.  Just don't call it a pink candle - or pink vestments - or pink anything having to do with liturgy.  For more information, see this article from EWTN's library.]

In 1787, the former Province of Pennsylvania ratified the Constitution of the United States, the second state to do so (after Delaware).

If you are studying our nation's beginnings, there are few finer places to do it.  Visit Independence Hall, where delegates from the colonies met first to hammer out a Declaration of Independence and then a Constitution [and if, like me, you loved '1776', try hard not to start singing "Sit Down, John!"].  Then go see Valley Forge National Historic Park, where the Continental Army spent the harsh winter of 1777-1778. 

Move up in time and wander through Gettysburg, where Lee's Confederate Army nearly took the Civil War permanently into the lap of the North.  If you prefer your history spiced with a touch of the unknown, there are Ghost Tours everywhere.

Right now, there is a Christkindl Market in Bethlehem and 'A Dickens of a Christmas' in Manheim.  Or take your chances at one of the many casinos.   Relax on a Wine Tour, or enjoy your favorite winter sport at the ski resorts (some of the western resorts are looking to receive another couple of inches this week).

You can find any number of things to do at Visit PA; currently, they are focusing on winter activities. [And while you are there, have a real Cheesesteak for me.  I've never found one to match it anywhere, and the one I had is a delightful memory.]
From Life in the Breakdown Lane: the Widow had a really bad case of stomach flu and was out of commission for a couple of days.  We now return to our previous schedule.