A Roslindale house going all out for St. Patrick's Day, and other things making us smile this week

Editor's Note: This is a roundup of this week's moments of joy from WBUR's seasonal newsletter, The Pick Me Up. If you want a little bit of good news to help you get through the week and push through to spring, sign up here. 

From a chubby cat to a house that has us seeing green (in a good way), here are three moments bringing us joy this week.

1. A cat that’s drawing international crowds.

Gacek, a chubby black-and-white cat, has become the highest-rated tourist attraction in his home city of Szczecin, Poland. And of course, why wouldn’t he be? Just look at him. He’s cute, fluffy and, above all, super chill.

For more than 10 years, Gacek has hung out on a blanket in a small open-fronted wooden box on the street, slowing becoming something of an internet celebrity. Reuters reports he has grown so popular that he’s even beaten out the city’s Renaissance castle for the top spot on Google Maps’ list of tourist destinations in Szczecin.

Locals remain stunned by the public’s sudden love of Gacek, but welcome the tourism. Some shops even sell bags with his face on them. The only problem: He may be getting a little “chonky” from all the snacks.

2. A Girl Scout set on making her organization’s beloved cookies better for the Earth.

Eleven-year-old Sophia Hammond has been a Girl Scout for more than half of her life. But if there’s one thing about the group that the New Hampshire native isn’t loyal to, it’s the Girl Scouts’ use of palm oil in their irresistible cookies.

After learning about the multitude of harms associated with palm oil production (from deforestation to child labor), Sophia decided to go rogue. NHPR reports that she began selling her own homemade cookies (sans the palm oil) alongside the traditional ones.

Sophia hopes her advocacy will make an impact. And she’s willing to face the consequences if it doesn’t. “Really the worst that can happen is they can sue us, or kick me out of Girl Scouts,” she told NHPR.

Luckily, a lawsuit doesn’t seem to be on the horizon. NHPR reports that regional leadership is proud of Sophia for “being passionate about an issue that she strongly believes in.”

“That’s what Girl Scouting is all about,” said Tricia Mellor, the head of the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.

3. A Roslindale home with some jaw-dropping St. Patrick’s Day decor.

Jealousy might not be the most “joyful” emotion, but I’ve got to admit, Chris and Daisy Hugenberger’s St. Patty’s Day decorations have got me green with envy. reports that the Roslindale couple has illuminated their neighborhood with an incredible display of green lights — but not only that. The Hugenberger’s yard is also home to an inflatable green dinosaur, holding a mug of beer and wearing a leprechaun’s hat. To top it all off, the lights are set to the Dropkick Murphys’ quintessential Boston tune, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.”

The Hugenbergers reportedly go all out for most holidays. I know I’ll be keeping an eye peeled for what they might do next.


Headshot of Hanna Ali

Hanna Ali Associate Producer
Hanna Ali is an associate producer for newsletters at WBUR.



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