Friday, June 30, 2006

Heaving Melons Virtual Happy Hour

I'd like to raise a toast to our first Heaving Melons happy hour! To the Balto-blogs! To the loners! To drinking! To, to.... I dunno... to the Baltimore non-elite! :)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

TGI-Thursdays Happy Hour

Quick post tonight, as I have to pack up for the long haul back to Ohio tomorrow night. I'll be blogging from Ohio from Friday night through Wednesday morning, so my entries could be either insanely boring or extremely fascinating. Honestly, it's a toss up.

Today was once again a long day at work, and once again I had a least favorite person. This person wasn't at happy hour, though... so I was able to experience some relief before coming home to an evening of packing. We all had a jolly old time talking about who was more gross, boys or girls. I'm still not sure who won...

Jill and Charissa

Richie and Dave

Attack of the Killer ______!!

I was microwaving my lunch at work yesterday, when I saw this bug on the outside of the window in our kitchen area. First of all, the bug was huge; but when I looked at the bug with I-95 in the background, it reminded me of those old Godzilla-type movies.... except this movie would be "Attack of the Killer ____!"

Is it a bird? A plane? I know it's not a grasshopper, because I looked. Does anyone know?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Great News Times Two

Today was a great day for great news.

First of all, this morning I received a call from the eye center. For those of you that aren't aware, I am nearing the end of a long journey on my quest for 20/20 vision. (Read more about what I have had done so far, here and here.) My third and (hopefully) final surgery will be July 12th, and today I found out that I DON'T have to have the insanely scary surgery that I thought I was going to have. Instead of EPI-LASIK, I will have Intralase or "bladeless" LASIK. What was going to be an entire day of pain will not exist, and what was supposed to be six solid days of healing will now be approximately 24 hours. I AM ECSTATIC.

Without getting into too much detail, the Intralase will use a laser to cut a thin flap on my cornea, rather than the blade used in traditional LASIK. The laser allows my surgeon to cut a thinner flap, which is necessary because I've now had previous corneal surgeries. With the Intralase, I should be able to drive the very next day. I am so happy and excited that I can hardly contain myself. :)

The second great news of that day is that the BAGS IN TREES blog is back up and running! If you recall, I discovered the site a while back, then complained when it wasn't being updated.

Well, Brian from Bags In Trees shot me a very friendly email explaining that they have been on vacation, and I swallowed my pride and offered a sincere apology for my snobbery. I think he and I have come to some sort of understanding (and likely friendship), so Bags In Trees will remain on my site for the long haul. Besides, he earned about 20 points by posting the photo I sent to him on his blog. Very, very clever, he is.

Mom at the Quad

If my mom had a blog, she'd post these pictures. But since she doesn't have one, I wanted to do it for her.

This is a picture of Katherine, Beverly, Carol, Nancy, and my mom (Pam) at the Quad, which this year was called Mix in '06. In short, it's a gathering/conference of the women from two Christian denominations which happens every four years (hence... "quad").

ANYWAY... I'm not going to get into any detail regarding what they learned or how great it was (and I am sure that it was), because, frankly, I wasn't there. But my mom took some pretty pictures of Indianapolis, so I thought I'd share. Love ya, mom!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Oh Beloved Printer

A certain person at work, who shall herein be known as JJ, would like to take my printer.

Now, I'd like to start off by saying that I realize how lucky I am to have a local printer in the first place. I share all of the network printers in our department as well as have my own personal printer. On top of that, I'm smart, so I can map to any printer that I want anyway. But that's not the point, is it? I received my printer back when I worked on the executive side of the building, and rather than print to their printer, which is dangerous if I'm printing anything questionable, I asked for my own and my wish was granted.

Since that time I have been promoted, and I moved from my cubicle on the executive side of the building to an actual office on the other side. I am very happy to have my real office with a real door and real walls, even if my carpet dates to 1955 and most likely hasn't been washed since then.

So anyway, back to the printer situation.

My current side of the building boasts a shared printer, and I use it! It is a beautiful black and white copier/printer that does amazing things like sort, staple and print front to back. I use it often, and I use it well. But I am in Marketing folks, and we use COLOR. We have one shared printer in my area that prints color, and it prints on paper more expensive than many of my meals (it belongs to our art department). Using this printer when I need everyday color copies does not seem economical to me, so at those times I resort to my local printer, which also does color.

So here lies the problem. I am refusing to give up my printer unless a color printer/copier is brought in. End of story. This JJ guy likes to threaten me (not in a scary stalker kind of way or anything... at least not yet), but I need to find a workaround.

So here it is.

My printer incognito.

My printer in hiding.

My printer disguised.

My printer under cover.

Bring it on, JJ. A few well placed folders and you'd never even know. God, I'm clever.

Tuesdays About Town

So I'm back after a few Tuesdays off (sorry, Missy), and 'Tuesdays About Town' are my time to share Baltimore's unique qualities with my out of town readers (and visa-versa).

Baltimore, Baltimore, Baltimore. I love this town. We are all packed like sardines within the radius of a few miles, and somehow we thrive. Each rowhouse land plot is about 1/50 of an acre (correct me if I'm wrong on this, anyone), so you pretty much have your house, your front stoop, and a small concrete patio in the back to call your own.

Some folks setup their patios with a grill and table and chairs, or plant small gardens or hang clean laundry, but in increasingly large numbers, city dwellers build decks above their patios, and the building doesn't stop there. This city is covered with roof top decks, and not in the New-York-City-apartment-building-roof kind of way, but actual wooden decks... built over the very small plots of land (and houses) that we call home.

Now for those of us that live here, this doesn't seem like that big of a deal; But I assure you that my friends in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, California and Arizona didn't know that people did this.

A few years back I lived in a rowhouse that had a roof top deck. On New Years Eve and on the Fourth of July, we'd stand out there in the cold or heat and watch the fireworks over the harbor. There is a whole community of roof top dwellers up there: large parties cheering the holidays with drinks and food, families holding their children up over the railing so that they can see (but not in the Michael Jackson sort of way), and couples, young or old, that use that space as an urban sanctuary.

Decks can be small or large, with staircases that are indoors or outdoors. Some have the same grills and tables and chairs as their concrete counterparts, but they have something even more special. A view. And air. And sun. And many, many things that make you forget, if even for a moment, that you don't have grass or trees or any significant amount of property.

I miss having that deck, and I hope to have one again someday. These decks are the urban interpretation of the backyard BBQ, the yards we all ran around in, fell down in, and stained our clothes in green. City kids don't have backyards. They have patios. And some of them have decks. And although I miss the green grass in the backyard of my youth, my inner child in Baltimore desperately wants her own roof top deck.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fifteen Things I Like About Living Alone

Okay, so I realize there are about a bazillion things to like about living with someone (i.e. a husband who will take out the trash, fix my car, etc.), but over the past week I've been creating a list in my head of things that I like about living by myself. I think they're reasonable...

Eating out of any food container with a spoon (or my hands)
Eating only three corn cobs for dinner
Rarely having to make the bed
Antonio sleeps beside me
Elliott is allowed to sleep on my head
Adjusting the heat/AC every five minutes as I like
I use half the bed for laundry & I have plenty of room to sleep
Staying in PJs as long as I want
My shoe pile grows throughout the week
I choose whether the window is open or closed
I decorate however I want & leave the paint supplies out for weeks
Leaving all of the lights on at night if a movie freaks me out
No one drinks my beer or wine
I am as loud or as noisy as I want to be
Total control of the remote

So other single-people-of-the-world, what else did I miss?

One Reason I Don't Get Much Sleep

I know you can't see it, but my pillow is under there. Nice to know that Elliott and Antonio are comfortable, though.... right?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Gin Mill

Last night we went to the Gin Mill. It was me, Jill, Jaclyn and Andy. Good times, good times.

Jaclyn and Jill

Andy and I

Jill and I

My Strip-ed Wall

I'm done, and I'm so happy. About three weeks ago I decided to paint a specific wall in my living room as an accent wall. I've lived here almost a year and a half, and could never find anything I liked to hang on this stupid wall. I asked my landlord (who loves me) for permission, and of course he had no problem with it at all. He even lent me a ladder, roller handles, tape, a paint tray, tray liners and a drop cloth.

It is relatively difficult to take pictures of the wall because this room is so small. There's no great place to stand to get a photo of the whole thing, so I had to get creative. Now after painting and a week's worth of touch ups with small brushes, I present.... My Strip-ed Wall.

From my bedroom door looking into the living room towards the kitchen in the back

Elliott admiring his mom's handiwork, now that he's allowed to get near it (I'm lucky not to have a blue and brown cat)

A view from the floor looking up towards the skylight

From floor level, looking at the kids who are happy to have their loving mom back

Isn't it beautiful??

Saturday, June 24, 2006

New Artist Alert!

So I was perusing my regular blogs, and at Epiphany in Baltimore found this video for a gal named Kristin Plater. You can also watch a quick video on her site to check her out.

I love finding new artists to obsess about, and this girl has a mega-powerful voice. I have downloaded her CD on iTunes... and I've listened to it a few times now and really like it. Songs to listen to are "Wonder Woman" and "Good for You."

Way cool.

Dead To Me

As a side note, the Bags In Trees blog is soon to be dead to me. Ever since I sung the praise of its coolness, they haven't updated the site. Not once! I even sent them the location of a bag in a tree, and soon after an accompanying photo. Did I mention that their site says "now with updates weekly?"

I give them until 6/30 before I remove their link from my blog. They should maintain their blog, pack it up, or pass on the blog to someone that is willing to make updates.

I am so disappointed.

Bayou Cafe

So there I was, sitting on my couch in PJs, when I get a call from Rob and Jason, begging me to come out to Bayou. Mostly convinced, I talk to Jill and that pushes me right over the edge. So at 8:10, I change back into some human clothes, and head back to White Marsh to meet some friends at the Bayou.

It was 80s night, and although the music was sung well by the cover band, they (too often) played 90s music, and they had no female vocalist. No Bangles, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper... nothing. Shame, shame.

Jill and Rob (I think she was inspired by some heavy metal from the band... either that or beers.)

Jacyln, Jason and Jill

Rob and Charissa

Friday, June 23, 2006

Flashback Friday

All the Antonio talk this week got me thinking about my little man as a puppy. He's 5 1/2 years old right now, and yes, he looks like a little old man with his gray hairs. But I love him uncontrollably!

He was such a CUTE puppy that you just wanted to eat him up. I remember that Lindsey was very unhappy about the prospect of having a dog in our house, but even she fell in love with him quickly. He was so adorable.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

New Highlights!

Okay, so it's not worth explaining why I had my hair cut one day and my highlights done another, but today I had my highlights done. The fun part was that I got an entirely different hair style! (Is this what it's like to have a personal stylist?) This time, Christopher went more "mod" with my hair do. No more Madonna.

Hairdo...... and highlights!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Longest Day of My Life

Today was the LOOOOOOOONGEEEESSSSTTTT day of my life. I slept horribly last night, woke up early this morning, and spent the whole day wondering why it wasn't Friday.

I just got home, and as I type 'tonio is content chomping away at a treat. I was just about to get ready to go walking (which I haven't done in nearly a week), and I remembered..... I GOT A NEW HAIRCUT.

So while it's nothing special, just shorter than my current cut, it had been a long time since my last trim, and my hair was looking a bit raggedy. This picture is of the Madonna-do. I asked for Farrah Fawcett, and Christopher (my stylist) gave me Madonna. I was fine with that. It'll never look this way again anyway. :)

And on a side note, Big Brother 7 starts tonight. I'm likely to blog about it because it's my favorite summertime show. It's on CBS at 8:00 EST if you want to understand anything I write about...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Good News, Bad News

Okay... so there's good news, and there's bad news.

The good news is that we have finally scheduled my last eye surgery. YAY!

The bad news is that we have finally scheduled my last eye surgery.

That's right folks. My excitement is quickly waning. I had another follow up appointment today, and they did all of the testing and measuring necessary to prep for the pending surgery in July. Am I excited to have this over? YES. Am I a bit terrified over what I've discovered will happen? Oh HELL yeah.

What I have determined is that I will have a procedure called EPI-LASIK. Essentially this involves removing the epithelial (top most) layer of my corneas and applying the laser procedure to the raw, exposed, fresh corneal cells beneath. Interesting, huh? I kind of thought I might just get the traditional LASIK procedure at this point, but I'm afraid that I am not that lucky.

According to the coordinator at the eye center, I'll be out of commission for at least four days. The first will be the procedure; the second will be a follow up; the third will be hell on Earth; and the fourth will be bearable. Post-surgery, the doctor will apply temporary contacts to my eyes to protect them, and those babies won't be removed until the sixth day. My God.

Soooo.... my surgery is schedule for July 12th. I'll be off work from 7/12-7/17 at the least, and my parents will be coming to Bawlmer to take care of my sad, pathetic self. I actually asked the coordinator how much it hurts, and since she had the procedure done just two weeks before, I believed her when she said "like someone is pouring acid on your eyes."


I have been instructed to take ONE extra strength Tylenol and THREE Advil every four hours the day of and the days after my surgery. If that is an indication of the level of pain I am destined for, then I am mighty afraid. I can't wait to see what my blood pressure is going to rise to (as of this post, it is 120/90, which is normal for me).

You all know me. I'm not a "beg" kind of a girl... but please, please send me love. I have a relatively low pain tolerance, and although I am glad I know what is coming, I must admit that I am not at all pleased.

Oy vey.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hot Dog In the City

I took Antonio for a walk today, and the song "Hot Child in the City" popped into my head. I couldn't help but start singing it, but I changed a few of the words...

Danger in the shape of somethin' wild
Stranger furry and red, he's a hungry child
No one knows who he is or what his name is
Don't know where he came from or what his game is

Hot dog in the city...
Hot dog in the city...
Runnin' wild and lookin' itty bitty...
Hot dog in the city...

So young to be loose and on his own
Puppy dog girls, they all want to take him home
He walks downtown, the girls all stop and stare
When he goes downtown, he walks like he just don't care

Sniff your way to my place, baby
My mom feeds me canned yummy dishes
Come on down to my place, puppy
I'll give you kisses...

Hot dog in the city...
Hot dog in the city...
He's kinda dangerous...
He's a hot dog in the city...

(Sorry mom, there was no place for 'ketchup' or 'mustard'. I really tried...)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day #2

My mom totally came through for me! This is a picture of my dad and I when I was about two. I'm sure you are all surprised to see that I was bossy even then... but just like a good dad, he laughed at me and obviously didn't take me seriously. I'm not sure that would work so well these days... :)

Happy Father's Day!

Today is my dad's 32nd Annual Father's Day (although I've only been around for 28 of them). I am very lucky that I have two of the most giving parents ever. They raised their daughters with self-esteem and strength of character, as well as empathy for others, and we have both turned out to be smart, strong women with good souls. Without question, my parents have always been there for me when I needed them... or even when I thought that I didn't.

The photo above is of my dad and I on the top of Seattle's Space Needle almost a year ago. This was one of the coolest trips of my life, and I have my mom and dad to thank for it.

Here we are standing at Snoqualmie Falls, WA, which was insanely gorgeous. I've always liked this picture of the two of us.

This is the photo most likely to get me into trouble. It's a picture of my dad after a few too many glasses of wine during a weekend trip the family took to PA. I know he looks fierce, but we all had the giggles (especially mom) and this documents the few seconds of "seriousness" we had that night. I think it's hilarious, but he may kill me for posting it. What other opportunity will I have to share it? :)

Happy Father's Day as well to my grandpas, my brother-in-law, and my extended family and friends. Thank you for everything that you do for your families.

I love you, Dad! Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

My Sister's Kids

Normally I don't call them that, but "niece and nephews" wasn't a catchy enough title for me today.

Yesterday my parents, my sister, and her kids went to Stan Hywet, an old mansion in Akron, Ohio. Stan Hywet was the home of F.A. Seiberling, the founder of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The hall and gardens include flower gardens, lagoons and all kinds of outdoor fun. Here are some shots of the kids being kids. Calista is 7, Zavier is soon to be 5, and Jude is 2. I can't wait to see them in a few weeks!

Apartment Garden

I planted some flowers a few weeks back in an IKEA planter on my balcony. I took a picture then, but they looked a bit awkward at the time, so I thought I'd wait a few weeks to let them settle in a bit. Aren't they pretty? It's my own little apartment garden!

Then & Now