#HoCoEvents

I love city life and I’m really lucky to live between Baltimore and Washington. We visit both regularly. Good times.

But here we are in Howard County. Just outside Columbia. You’ve probably heard me go on and on about how much I love the swimming pools and the golf courses and the gyms. Oh, and we love the trails and schools and access to everything.

I’ve been involved in the HoCo blogging world for many years. I blog a lot less now, but think that is about to change. But I digress.

I see events go by and am often too busy. Or put another way, I didn’t prioritize the events around here, much of the time. But, the winter events for Columbia Festival for The Arts look incredible. You have to go look – there’s a lot on there. But, I’ll tell you the events that I’m most excited about:

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We are planning to go to the lecture: “The Ground on Which He Stood – August Wilson and the Search for Black Identity” and are deciding if we can also go to Black Lives, Black Words: 6 Short Plays from a New Theatre Movement.

Also, there’s Sundance Audience and Grand Jury Prize-winning film: Fruitvale Station. And also, 20 Feet From Stardom.

While researching for this post, I also found that Columbia Association’s Columbia Art Center is partnering with Columbia Festival of the Arts to host “Beyond the Blues: African American Music and Culture” from Saturday, Feb. 6 through Sunday, Feb. 28.

I’m going to take advantage of what Columbia has to offer. It’s pretty exciting to have all this in our backyard.

Columbia Festival for the Arts will be providing me tickets to an event of my choice. All thoughts are my own; no one told me what to write or think. 

Nutmeg

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Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, Nutmeg was cuddled up next to me purring. I pet her gently. If you’re a cat person, you’ll understand this next part. She started climbing up my neck and onto my head with her claws digging into me. As I was ready to push her off, she stopped and lightly kissed my nose.

It was a sweet moment. And then it occurred to me that she was so close, and now so quiet, in the dark, with sharp teeth and (again, if you know how cats get kind of weird sometimes) she could attack at any second.

She didn’t. Of course. But what an odd thought to fall asleep to.

Ginger Snaps

FullSizeRender (1)I love these cookies. They’re easy to make and perfect every time. They’re crunchy, but not too crunchy.

Where did the recipe come from? Not sure anymore. I’m sure I started with an Internet recipe but it’s changed and morphed and handwritten these days. So… credit to the originator, but I don’t know who she/he is. Bummer, right?

Hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups King Arthur unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4-1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • sugar (for rolling)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer, combine the brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger; stir into the molasses mixture.
  4. Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Roll each ball in white sugar before placing 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. DO NOT SMASH THEM DOWN
  5. Bake for 10 minutes until center is firm and the tops are cracked and gorgeous… add a minute if needed
  6. Cool on wire racks.

Patchwork Quilt

holiday table
I loved the Jewish holiday dinners at my grandparents’ house. My great-grandfather would sit at the head of the table. Table. It wasn’t one table. It was 3 or 4 tables pieced together – all different shapes and sizes. Some tablecloths were big enough to cover 2 tables. Some, just one. And the last table – the table where I sat with my youngest cousins – had a tablecloth that was covered with plastic.

There were all sorts of chairs, several pieced together sets of dishes, flatware, and glasses.

It was like a beautiful patchwork quilt.

My first cousins and I would play hide and seek in the basement before the meal. We loved the back room where my grandparents and our mothers took painting lessons with Joe Hudson. There’d be paintings on easels all around the room. There was a storage cabinet big enough to hide in.

There was the room that my aunt used to live in when before she got married. That closet was a hider’s dream – you could go in one side and crawl through to the other side. She had clothes still there in some of the built-ins and I’d look through them in awe. There was the main room where the poker table was and all the records were. We’d play cards and tunes.

I just finished setting my table for tonight’s Rosh Hashanah dinner and I was struck by the memories as I admired my patchwork quilt table.

L’Shana Tova.

#PODPower

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I really don’t know where to start. So, I’ll just start.

Last Tuesday, Howard County Fire & Rescue Services hosted some bloggers (and such) for a 1/2 day of awesomeness.

When I got the invitation a month or so ago, I was pretty excited. I love our HoCo blogger community, so that was a draw, but also? The invitation promised some pretty great adventures like cutting metal and concrete and some behind-the-scenes info.

The day started out hot and humid beyond belief. In some of the photos that follow, you’ll see dark clouds and serious gloom. But, the weather got better and frankly, we never even noticed because it was so darn interesting.

What is PODPower, you ask? Well, Pods are what you think they are – they are portable, discrete containers for various purposes. They, along with the transporter system, are ready for anything you can imagine that HCDFRS responds to: building collapse, hazardous events, fires (of course), rescue operations like ditches that collapse, emergency sheltering. Each Pod has exactly what it needs – including generators for some.

Some of the Pods were designed and custom built by the HoCo teams, some bought the way they are. They are clever and remind me of those shows about little houses – every single inch is used in incredibly brilliant and efficient ways. It’s truly remarkable.

And you know what else is really cool? This system is very efficient budget-wise. Makes sense, because if you  have fewer trucks since you don’t need a special truck for each situation, but rather switch out pods, there’d be savings  while at the same time makes the preparedness way better for any situation.

These systems started in Europe and are few and far between in the US. Why don’t many departments in the US do this? I cannot imagine.

Now, to show you some photos and talk a little about what we did. The pix aren’t great, but it’s because I was way to engrossed to worry with the camera! Here goes:

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Truck #10
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The day did not look promising. Look at the clouds!
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When they took official photos & snapped one on my phone. #Posing
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The Collapse Pod has tools for breaking and cutting concrete and metal, holding up structures, and more. So fascinating.
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Another Collapse Pod photo.
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Just thought this was neat. This was with the Collapse Pod, I think!
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Peaking inside a pod.
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So organized & using every inch of space.
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Hey Jessie. (Jessie started HoCo Blogs and now also runs Totally HoCo http://totallyhoco.com/ a free HoCo event site. Check it out.
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I like tools.
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Another inside look.
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Cutting steel. (I got to do that. So awesome!)
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Hi Andrew!
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#12, the other Transport truck.
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Really just included this to show how engaged everyone was. It was really gripping!
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Hazmat suit (Hazmat Pod). We were allowed to try it on, but it was so hot out!
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I just can’t get over how every bit of space is used so efficiently. It was really impressive.

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This is a training building. Trying my hand at being arty. :)
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Crane operating skills! Yes, I did move that huge, honking concrete barrel. It was kind of like a video game!
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This is the crane.
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Check out the remote!
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Emergency medical pod.
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Andrew & I had such a wonderful morning learning and doing. Thank you to HCDFRS for having us.

Follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.

One more note: Another bonus was seeing Fadra Nally at the event – she does special projects for HCDFRS. I didn’t know she was local to me so this was lovely!

Victoria’s Secret

FreeImages.com/Phillip Collier
FreeImages.com/Phillip Collier
FreeImages.com/Phillip Collier

Just over 20 years ago, I gave birth to my first child.

Friends and family sent blankets and clothes and bouncy seats and lovely, lovely gifts to welcome our new son. It was truly an outpouring of love.

One friend (who shall remain nameless) sent me a novel to read during labor. I know, right? Yeah, I think I sent it back to her before her first child was born in case her labor was so relaxing that she felt like hunkering down with a war love story. She and I still laugh about it.

But aside from the novel, not many gifts were for me. They were for the baby. Except for the thing my sister sent me.

She sent me a dozen pairs of Victoria Secret underwear. These were not the lacy, racy types. No, they were cotton briefs – not too high cut, not too bikini cut – with a wide elastic, non-binding band. Some were solid, some patterned.

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know what that belly can do to some underthings. Am I right?

So, it was incredible and oh, so awesome to have some spanking new drawers.

Here’s the thing – and the reason I’m writing about this today. I just tossed the last of those panties. That means that they lasted TWENTY YEARS.

Do you have undies that made it in regular rotation for 20 years? That is some staying power. And it speaks to the quality of the goods.

So tomorrow, I’m headed to Victoria Secret to buy some more and I fully expect they’ll last until 2035.

ps: not a sponsored post. totally my own rambling….

Happy Birthday, Andrew

I’m waking up this morning in Vermont. It’s Andrew’s birthday and it’s the 24th of his birthdays we’ve celebrated as a couple, and the first one where we aren’t waking up in the same bed.

I’m headed home tonight, so I won’t miss it completely. But meantime, seems only right to send some birthday love across the Internet.sarahs wedding_3

This photo was not taken on his birthday, actually, but it’s the closest one I can find. It was about a week before he turned 34. Or was it 33. It doesn’t matter. We were young. So young. We were at Sarah & Marc’s wedding, witnessing the beginning of their life together – one that we were honored to see re-committed just a few years back. There we were, looking a bit like characters out of Pretty Woman and daydreaming about where we were headed and if our lives would be intertwined forever. I guess we know the answer to that now.

Happy birthday, Honey. I’ll be home soon.

Underwater.

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It’s been an emotional week.
Everything is fine. We’re good. Everyone is healthy. But there is a lot of change afoot.

  • Our middle son is graduating from high school in less than 48 hours.
  • Work is busy. Good, but busy.
  • Patience has been tested.
  • Cars have been in the shop and we’ve been juggling.
  • New jobs have been started.
  • Realizations of deadlines (college med forms!) have been realized & physicals scheduled.
  • Camp is coming and omg we are not prepared.
  • It’s complicated.

It’s all good, but it has all been a bit stressful. So I was wondering, did you know that it’s virtually impossible to cry underwater? Sure, you can have an emotional upheaval. And yes, the rhythmic breathing is interrupted. But there are no tears. Or the cathartic after cry relief. Or (on the positive side) no red nose.

It’s all going to be fine.