Monday, April 30, 2007

Where I Spent My Spring Break

By: Charissa Costa
Place: Florida

Sooo.... as I mentioned I am BURNT. I swear to high Heaven that I wore SPF 30 on my face and SPF 23 or 15 on my body. It didn't matter. I burned. It's weird because I hardly got any color Friday or Saturday, but the Sunday sun just burned me alive.

Anyway, the trip started poorly - the airline lost my luggage. I was so tired from going out the night before and then racing to the airport in torrential rain and thunder to get to my flight, that I was almost in tears when I found out. After filling out all the necessary paperwork, I jumped in a cab with nothing but me and a small carry-on and headed to the hotel. Luckily, my bag was on the next flight to Ft Myers, rather than in Salt Lake City, as the airline originally suspected... so although I landed at 11:30 AM, my luggage made it to me by 5:30 PM. Ho hum. There are worse things, right?

So Friday night was cocktails and a dinner party. Can you believe they had karaoke? Such luck! I haven't karaoke'd since the fall sometime, so I was ecstatic. I sang 'Dancing Queen' (surprise, surprise) and had so much fun. Joe sang karaoke for the first time ever and did a great job... we had a ball.

Saturday and Sunday we were off to Marco Island. I had only been there once before with Jill, and that was on the hotel strip. This time we stayed at a friend's private house on the island and spent all day, both days, out on the water in his speed boat. I have a partial (kind of long) video of a few minutes of our choppy, painful ride out to Ben's Barge to fish on Saturday, but I can't get it to upload for some reason. Ben's Barge is about 3 miles off of the beach. On the way out we hit so many waves we were groaning, but of course I still thoroughly enjoyed myself through the pain.

This was a crazy pelican that seriously stalked us while we fished. Anytime we cast our lines or reeled in, he came towards our lines at top speed trying to steal either the bait or our fish. It was the weirdest thing.

For the record, I caught a NUMBER of fish on the trip - mostly catfish (yum) and blue runners (see below for a short video of one catch). I was hell bent on catching a shark, but the water was so choppy both days that I uh... lost my breakfast on Sunday's trip out and gave up fishing for awhile trying to keep my cool. We were a good five miles out, and the water was ridiculous. It was hard enough to stand and fish... so I have an excuse for getting sick. Oh well.

OH! Then we spent time at this beach place where boaters just run their boats right onto the sand and hang out. It's not accessible by car or anything, so it's just all boats. There was a food boat, a beer boat and plenty of music, dogs, kids and fun. It's actually an outlet (versus an inlet), and we strapped on some life vests, walked a few miles up the beach, and floated down river ever-so-slowly with a beer. It's called lazy river.

Anyway, I don't want to write fifteen pages about my trip, nor can I post all of the photos because I want to respect some folks' privacy... but it was so much fun. It was a few of the best days that I've had in a long time, and although I am ready to get back to work (except for the dull pain I feel from my burn), that trip was enough fun to last me awhile. It was so awesome.

Oh... and here's my all-time fav photo. We're a little crispy (this was Sunday late afternoon), but it's a great photo regardless.


I'm home. Very very burnt, a bit sleepy, hungry... but home. Great trip. I'm going to spend some lazy time on the couch with my animals, but more to come later.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fly Away

I spent my evening packing, working and going out to meet Jess and Russ. We watched Wes play solo at Lager's, had a few beers there... and now I'm home getting ready for bed and for an early flight tomorrow. I'll be spending the weekend in sunny Florida and not blogging at all while gone. A true vacation. I can't even imagine.

I'm sure I'll have photos to share when I return, but until then - auf Wiedersehen!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bonfire Photos

Delayed, but here nonetheless. Thanks to Annie for forwarding them!

Here's Angie playing artist with our molten beer bottles. The end result was so very cool. Maybe we can ask Jess to take a picture of it?

Here's me warming my tush! It gets cold out there!

Annie and I kicked back and put up our feet - nice, warm and toasty.

Joe and I - we're a little blinky-eyed, but that flash was crazy bright!

Annie and Angie - would you believe it took them three shots to get this right? (SNAPshots, not liquor shots.) Haha!

Ten on Tuesday

1. My sunburn is drying regardless of how much I lotion. Yes, I'm using Aloe. Yes, I'm using the blue pain spray. It hurts anyway.
2. Did I mention I'm going to Florida for the weekend? Do I bring the laptop or not bring the laptop? I'm leaning towards no... but I'm addicted to being connected.
3. Public Service Announcement: Never buy from Cinderella Shoes. They are a specialty retailer for small shoes (I wear size 5/5.5). I placed an order a month ago and just now received a cancellation. Worse yet, I only received a cancellation after I inquired where my shoes were. I'm super disappointed because I liked their shoes. So freaking unprofessional.
4. I'm cranky.
5. My apartment is warm, warm, warm... but it's still too early for the A/C. At least I have the ceiling fans and cool night air.
6. I still need to pack for this weekend, and that will probably happen Thursday night. I hate packing, and since this is my first "warm weather" trip, packing this week will be even harder.
7. I'm thirsty, but I want cold milk and I'm all out.
8. Did I mention that I'm cranky?
9. I need to climb into bed. WORKOUT is on, at least. It's a good watch-from-bed show. Actually, reading might be better for me, right? Like my mom says, 'Reading is an escape.'
10. Ho-hum. Cranky.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Calista!

My niece turns EIGHT today. Eight. Eight years old. I am beside myself with shock and bewilderment that she is as old as she is. She has grown up so fast... and I am so proud and in love with her and her brothers. I'm a lucky girl to have such great kids in my life.

(Calista this last Christmas)

Dearest Calista,

Happy Birthday! I love you as much as the stars and the sky and the Earth and the planets and $1,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 million trillion dollars. You are as pretty as all of the prettiest coolest neatest funnest most beautiful people ever, ever, ever.

I love you! Happy Birthday!
Aunt Rissa

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ouch for the Animals

I meant, march. March for the animals. Problem is - I got sunburned.

A big group of us met up at Druid Hill Park for the annual March for the Animals event on Sunday. It's an SPCA walk that raises money through registration, donation, and sales for the good work of the SPCA. We had such a good time, but it was soooooo hot. The walk itself was only a mile and a half, but a few of our dogs have short little legs so it took longer to make it around the lake, and we also stopped often for water.

All of the dogs did well, including Penny who got to be carried part of the way, and Antonio who bailed on me at about a mile in. You should've seen him. He stopped in his tracks and laid down on the asphalt, belly-down. For those of you that don't know Antonio, he's not a lay-down-on-hard-surfaces kind of dog. He was beat, and his momma carried him the rest of the way (although I made him cross the finish line on foot).

We lounged a bit after our walk and saw some of the vendors (did you know that there's a "Baltimore Dog" magazine on the way?), but soon we headed to Russ and Jess' for some much deserved R&R (read: Panera Bread and Sangria). Antonio passed out on the way to their house... silly sleepy dog.

So OF COURSE I have photos....
Here is Antonio waiting in the shade for the walk to begin. He looks so rested, doesn't he?

Can you believe that Penny is PANTING here, not yawning? Look at that tongue!

Russ and Remy were waiting patiently with us.

It looks like Penny is ready to go! C'mon Penny-poo!

So here we go with Antonio leading the way. He had so much energy at the get-go!

Angie: our official substitute dog walker (and story teller).

(That Angie is also good for a little scratch or two.) This is one of our much needed rest breaks.

At a local watering hole, Remy and Penny share a little refreshment.

In case you missed it, this would be Antonio's way of saying, "Please pick me up, mom."

And this is my favorite photo of all. Antonio completely crashed on the car ride to the Ranch. Can you believe he was up to exploring once we got there? This must have been a nice little nap.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Saturday Night

I hung out with my girl, Angie, tonight at Kelsey's Pub in Ellicot City. Wes and Drew sounded great, and the bar wasn't very crowded, so we scored a table towards the front right off the bat. It's interesting to go out these days, because although tube tops and short shorts seem to be the norm, I feel that Angie and I might have classed the place up a bit in our jeans and short-sleeved tops. Or... maybe we're just old.

Now as I sit here typing I am listening to some drunk people out on the street sing "You Are My Sunshine." What a difference an hour makes...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Brief Book Review

So I slept in this morning and started reading right after waking. I finished Laura Lippman's Baltimore Blues which I had been working on chapter-by-chapter during the last two busy work weeks, and I really enjoyed it. I like that Tess, the main character, wasn't portrayed as an expert from the get-go. Because this was her first book, too, she made mistakes, accepted help, and was admittedly flawed. My mom hasn't read Baltimore Blues yet, but jumped right into a few later novels, so it's interesting how our views differ. She's more familiar with an experienced Tess, while my Tess is still learning.

One thing I can say it that I wasn't able to predict the storyline. There were plenty of angles and subplots (VOMA, Crow, the uncle, etc) that it's obvious that the author really made an effort to avoid an obvious ending. After reading Dan Brown's Deception Point and being rather unimpressed with its predictability, it was nice to read a book where I truly had no idea where the story was going. In a way, you can kind of tell it was an early book, so I am anxious to read more from Laura Lippman.

After finishing Baltimore Blues, I dove into a quick read - Such A Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess. It's along the same lines as The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, in that it is a very dark topic, but written with a tone that makes it mildly bearable. The disturbing topics are told rather flatly, so that the emotional side of your brain doesn't have to absorb what you are actually reading. Well told, and like The Lovely Bones, it had a very satisfying and clever ending.

So now... I have to clean up and shower (It's 4 PM - Ha!), and eventually I'll start into my next book, Every Secret Thing, another by Laura Lippman. This book isn't a Tess Monaghan novel, though, and it is more recently published (2003). Ever since I read the plot of this book I have wanted to read it, so I am very excited. Stay tuned until my next book review.

Slight Shock

We had a great bonfire last night with plenty of adult folk, kid folk and dog folk. I met Annie, which was tons of fun (Photos coming, soon... she wants to be on the blog. Yay!) As usual, I stayed until way too late (1 AM), and had a miserable time driving home because I was so tired. I know, I'm stupid. Anyway... I had to park around back because all of the street spots were taken, and since it was my own block, I let Antonio walk, sans lease, to the door.


Rat ran by.

Antonio chased.

I screamed 'Antonio, NO' in a very deep, VERY loud, authoritative voice.

Antonio froze.

Slight shock. Never would have thought that my command would have trumped instinct. Cool lesson learned.

(For the record, I picked him up when he froze and carried him the rest of the way.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Flashback & Happy Birthday

Today is my favorite sister's birthday. (I only have one.) We're only three years apart, and we seem to grow closer and closer the older we get. This is a photo from a summer or two ago... because we live so far apart, I don't have too many pics, so this is what you get. I like these though because it is SO my family. Smiley happy people and dorkiness extraordinaire. Haha.

I love you, Melanie. Sending lots of hugs your way.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Grey's Anatomy Musings

This episode should have been called "Holy Crap Where Has This Episode Been?" What a great show today.

First, good riddance to Dr. McSnotty, also known as Dr. Marlow. That character was just plain aggravating, and not in a charming way. I figure he was written in to soften Christina up (to the viewers and in the story), but how soft can they make her? The show doesn't need another emotional woman. So why, I wonder, because his presence only seemed to reinforce her feelings for Dr. Burke. Unless, of course the writers are planning something traumatic to split them apart. Maybe?

Second, that poor Eva. How is she not the missing girl? She looked just like her! Or a better question - how did the dad not know? You'd know, right? You'd know your own kid?

Her story is interesting because she's becoming a semi-permanent character. I'm not saying that she'll be staying around or anything, but she's definitely becoming a fixture on the show. It would have felt odd and abrupt if her story would have ended today. So... short of another family appearing and taking her home, how else can they proceed? Personally I'm not convinced that she is any sort of love interest for Alex, but yet there's a bond or understanding between them, isn't there? It feels like this may be another learning experience for him... much like the breakthrough we saw when he started enjoying obstetrics.

Maybe he will fall for her. You think? Or, or... maybe she'll take off after the baby is born, and he'll adopt the baby? Wouldn't that be crazy...

Lastly, Izzie and George. Oh me, oh my. What is is about them that makes you root for them? It was just a few months ago that Izzie told George that he married the wrong person, and at the time she was referring to Meredith. What a twist that they've become a couple that we/I can imagine together. It's an odd match - for the same reason that George told Callie a few weeks back: Izzie's gorgeous. And George is, well... such a (wait for it) nice guy. But the wheels are in motion. Drinks have been drunk, sex has been had, and emotions are out on the table. He's lied to Callie now and she knows it. There's no turning back.

This show is amazing. I can't wait for next week.

The Next Pussycat Doll

Yes, I hate myself for watching this show, but it's not like there's anything better on during that time slot! Geez!

I've admitted a major character flaw here - I like reality TV. All forms. All shows. Will you throw yourselves under the bus with me? Who do you want to win?

Confirmed Eye Slicing

It's official. My next eye procedure has been scheduled for May 15th. It will be a late afternoon surgery, so I can work most of the day, drive to the eye doctor's, get the RK procedure, and drive home. It should all be done in the matter of a few hours, and recovery should only last a few days.

Too bad it's still a month away.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Strangest Referral

Now this is one that I don't understand. How did my blog get a referral from a vasectomy reversal site? I went to the website and there isn't a link or advertisement or anything that looks like a link to my blog. What the #@*%?!

Update: For Russ...
"A visitor's referral lets you to see how people are finding your site. The referral is the page that contains a link to your site. The visitor clicked on the link and was sent to your web site. Referrals could be from other sites, e-mail messages (read in a browser), search engines, banner ads, or news groups. Clicking on the referral link will show you the site they were viewing or the keywords they typed into the search engine to find your site."

Ten on Tuesday

1. Antonio got a new ball yesterday. Watching him play with it made me happy. My poor, chubby, ball-addicted puppy dog.
2. Why can't even ONE vending machine at work have Dr. Pepper or rootbeer? I don't understand.
3. I am officially a poor judge of red pepper quantities. I added a bit to my pasta sauce on Sunday to spice it up, but due to the fact that I rarely cook with red pepper, I grossly misjudged how much I needed. Between the spicy tuna sushi that I had for lunch on Monday and this pasta sauce, my digestive system may never be the same again.
4. I miss the salon smell of my hair on Sunday.
5. Maybe 30 isn't so bad. The ten year old clerk at Petco called me "hun" today and I sorta wanted to beat her. Okay, she wasn't ten, but she looked ten... and she called ME "hun." I might have actually preferred "ma'am" from her.
6. Oh! I get to have my eye surgery! I had a voicemail from the doctor's office this afternoon giving me the go ahead to schedule it. I need to call for details, like surgery length and recovery time, but I am excited to kick this astigmatism.
7. Activities requiring scheduling: blogger happy hour, Coal Miner's Daughter night, March for the Animals, and karaoke.
8. Elliott is a strange, strange cat, but he loves his momma.

9. Non-work goals for today: get pants hemmed, deposit a check at the bank, and buy milk.
10. Antonio, the Destroyer. (40 minutes of playtime)

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Horrible Day in Virgina

I heard about the shooting while I was at work today, but never got a chance to get online and investigate what happened. Now I am sitting on my couch watching the press conference and totally creeped out. What the freakin' heck?

You know, I'm not sure if these types of things are worse when you are young and innocent or when you are older and wiser, but this is really, really bothering me. I haven't cried or anything (yet), but it's shocking. It's scary. It's absolutely unreal that people are capable of these things. I don't know why I am constantly surprised by evil. Every time something happens, whether it's Columbine, 9-11, or today, I am surprised. Am I naive? Is it naive to think that most people try to be fair and decent and good?

My heart is just breaking right now.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I'm Predictable

I'm creating another 'to do' list. Ah, well... it keeps me honest.

1. Laundry (done)
2. Cook for lunches (done)
3. Haircut at 2:30 (done - totally cute)
4. Finish book (in progress)
5. Do analysis for work tomorrow (in progress)
6. Shower (done)
7. Put away shopping purchases (done)
8. Start goodwill bag (done and dropped off)
9. Take out trash (collected, not taken out)
10. Dinner in Canton (done)
11. Pay taxes (done)

Shopped 'Til I Dropped

I spent today shopping with Jaclyn and Jill up in White Marsh, and OMG it was so much fun. In all honesty, we went shopping to keep Jill away from the house while Rob set up a surprise party, but we had an amazing time. I bought SO MUCH STUFF. From new pillows for the living room to work shirts and flips (that's the cool word for flip-flops), I went overboard. Hey - but that's what you do when one of your bestest friends has a girls birthday shopping trip.

We kept Jill out until near 8 PM. After that, drinking, snacking, Wii-ing (Rob bought her one), dancing and chatting ensued. I hope to have more pics to show in a day or so... but I am too tired now and have to go to bed. Jessica promised to email me photos, so I will post them soon.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A 4 Glass Week

Weeks should be summarized by how many wine glasses are in your dishwasher by the end of it. This week has been a four glass week. Five if you count the full one sitting in front of me.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Buy Me Love

I just bought Antonio's love with a dog bone. It's a crazy hard-to-chew bone, so it will buy me time to work sans licking and sad eyes.

I... am a horrible person.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Eye Appointment

So I finally had my follow up eye appointment today. For those of you who know me well, you know that I had three eye surgeries last year. For those that don't, you can read about the first two HERE and the third one HERE.

I hadn't seen the eye doctor in over 6 months, mostly because my new job is so far away from Bel Air, so my appointment was long overdue. So what is her diagnosis? I still have an astigmatism in my right eye that can be corrected, so she is making a recommendation to the surgeon for it to be fixed. Totally cool.

I've noticed for awhile that the vision in my right eye is off, so I figured this was coming. I'm really not surprised. Mostly, I'm just relieved to be moving forward - just one step closer to having this process completed. The procedure being recommended is called Radial Keratotomy. It's essentially a bunch of cuts into my cornea with a diamond knife, but it's an out patient procedure, and because it's just one eye, I can drive myself home.

So... that's that. Details forthcoming.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Few Absolute Truths

1. Coming home to cat puke is not the best way to end a day.
2. Once you've bitten the inside of your cheek, you are destined to bite it at least ten more times in that very same day.
3. Onion and garlic day at McCormick's is one of my least favorite days of the month.
4. I. Am out. Of snack food.
5. Sick moms make you miss them more.

Ten on Tuesdays

1. Antonio got into major amounts of trouble last night after he practically tried to climb into the cat box to, uh... snack. (I know, so gross.) For punishment (after throwing him the tub), he spent the night in his crate and locked in the bathroom (so I couldn't hear him whine). He hasn't spent the night in that crate since his first year alive.
2. We get free pizza at work again today. "Pitza. Iiii LIKE it!" Movie quote. Anyone?
3. I hate ironing.
4. I know I'll be tempted to go out and see Wes and Drew play tonight, but I need to stay in. This is such a busy week at work, and I was already at work until 7 PM last night. I need to play smart.
5. I had a weird dream that I was being held hostage last night by a crazy guy. I tried to escape twice, and I had to run through forests and fields and backyards. It was really freaky, and he was pretty scary. I hate dreams like that.
6. Is anyone else on here watching The Riches?
7. (Didn't I ask that once already?)
8. I bought two gallons of milk last week because they were on sale - 2 for $3.50. I will be out of milk by tonight. I can't believe I've had that much milk. Can it ever be bad for you? I already drink the fat free kind.
9. Lezlie - my friend on the west coast - if you're reading this - I know that I owe you a call. I'll try to call tonight. Sorry that I've been so busy/tired. I'll make it up to you.
10. How can you not love Lily Allen? Seriously.

Who Doesn't Just LOVE Lily Allen?



Vote now.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Sunday

Antonio and I spent the afternoon at Joe's house to "celebrate" Easter today. Neither of us have extended family in the area, so it just made sense to do something, rather than nothing. We had Omaha steaks for Easter dinner. Delicious!
Here are the steaks on the grill. You will notice they are wrapped in bacon. I'm not even a huge bacon person, but my goodness these were good.

Here's my guy cooking for me. (Yes, he cooked me dinner.) Now you can all stop bugging me for a picture of him. :)

Here are the steaks in their delicious cooked glory. I thought we'd each have two, but for how little they look, one each (plus sides) stuffed us. I've got one in the fridge for dinner tomorrow.
This is Lady, Joe's dog, who is as sweet as can be, but still very much a puppy. She is so lovable, but she simply cannot control her excitement and runs Antonio ragged.

That said, here's Antonio finding refuge on a Spiderman chair which belongs to Joe's son. Poor, Antonio dog.

We will all sleep fat and happy tonight, that's for sure. Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Productivity (prō'dŭk-tĭv'ĭ-tē) noun. the quality of being productive or having the power to produce

What I've done:
1. Picked up the running shoes that I ordered last weekend. These are the most comfortable shoes for my poor little flat feet. Joe is going to try to get me biking again. I don't enjoy it, and I haven't been on a bike since high school. Good luck, babe!
2. Vacuumed and washed car
3. Went in search of Saturday newspapers with my bag-in-tree photo - found them at Barnes & Noble in White Marsh
4. Bought Omaha Steaks for Easter dinner with Joe (because we can)
5. Vacuumed apartment
6. Dusted apartment
7. Took out trash
8. Made and devoured a delicious smoothie of strawberries, bananas and blueberries
9. Cleaned cat box
10. Loaded/ran/unloaded dishwasher
11. Cleaned bathroom
12. Swiffered floors
13. (In progress) Cooking lasagna for work lunches

What I plan to do:
1. Shower and get cleaned up
2. Pack up food/steak, newspapers, book, and dog for Easter at Joe's
3. Wipe down the interior of the car

What I have to get done this week:
1. Play computer games
2. Work on strategy presentation for work
3. Taxes

Saturday, April 07, 2007


I just bought this. I don't know why... I just sort of wanted it. I guess I have to have it hosted and stuff to get it to redirect to my blog. I don't want to get rid of the blogspot address, just redirect. That seems like too much work right now. But at least it's mine. :)

Friday's Bonfire & Saturday's Props

We had not done one of these in awhile. We all gathered (minus Joe, sadly) at Jess and Russ' house for a bonfire last night. Cj brought me beers, I brought me wine, and our hosts smoked an entire turkey. Yum, I tell you.

My friends rock though. The more I work, the more I absolutely have to make time for this group, because we just feed off each other. It's constant support with plenty of fun times and a dash of ex-bashing mixed in. Speaking of bashing, we're still planning the ex fire (and collecting items to burn), so stay tuned for that.

Before last night,I hadn't seen Cj in nearly two weeks. And although I saw Jess, Russ and Angie earlier this week, it had been weeks before that. Oh, and Donna? Well... it had been ages. Wes joined us, too - which was great. And his friend, M, was completely charming.

Probably the best photo that I've taken of beer bottles in the fire. Sweet pic, isn't it?

This is a killer photo of Jess and Russ. Love it.

This morning I slept in and made a smoothie as soon as I got up. Strawberry and banana. A good, healthy breakfast, which is pretty different than the Pringles I usually eat at 9:30 AM at work. Anyway, check out The Baltimore Sun again. Bags in Trees is mentioned in an article about San Francisco's recent plastic bag ban. Brian, as usual, gave a great quote, and I've heard that photos may be included in the hard copy. We'll see. It would be cool as hell to be a published photographer, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Now I'm going to go and try to finish Baltimore Blues. I'm on a book reading spree.

UPDATE: I am a published photographer. How freakin' cool is that?

Friday, April 06, 2007

A 7 Year Old's Book Report

Remember those book reports that we all had to write in elementary school? You pick the book about a famous person, read it, and write a report about what you read. Well, my niece picked a book about Calamity Jane, and as it turns out, the book she chose wasn't entirely written for kids. It didn't have that typical 'fluff' that describes why Calamity Jane wore slacks instead of dresses, and instead included more elements of fact (like her alcohol problem) than you'd expect from a book for kids this age.

So what happens when an incredibly smart and honest 7 year old reads a book like this? Here's my niece's report. And for the record - she earned an A.

Book report by Calista – age 7

Who’s who

Title: Calamity Jane
Author: Doris Faber
Name of person: Calamity Jane, Martha Canary
Lived from: May 1 1852 to August 1 1903
Place of birth: Princeton, Missouri

Why is this person famous: Because she was good at scouting, gun shooting and was a pony express rider.
Childhood: On a farm helping to raise her brothers and sisters
Education: She did not go to school
Married who?: Wild Bill Hicok and Clinton Burk and ten others whose names are not known.
Adult life: She was a sharp shooter and she was good at scouting. She also was a pony express rider.
Why did you choose this person: Because I love cowboys or cowgirls.

Calamity Jane was born on May 1st , 1852. She died on August 1, 1903. When she was little, she wanted to be someone and she probably didn’t go to school! She wrote a book of memories and loved horses. When she got older she smoked, went to jail, married about twelve men, got really sick and was in the hospital for fourteen days and got drunk. She was very, very drunk. She got a pony express rider job and had two talents, gun shooting and scouting and some people say she was a good hearted.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Did You Miss BIT in the Sun?

What a day! Bags in Trees made it into the Baltimore Sun today. Laura Vozzella, a columnist at the Sun, highlighted our little website in her column - complete with some of my witty commentary and a lot of Brian Sacawa hype!

We are absolutely beside ourselves with excitement! Looks like we've finally hit the big time!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

God Help Us Should We Ever Need To Evacuate


I'm sure I'm not the only reverse-commuter here. I live in East Baltimore, and I trek through the city and northbound on route 83 every weekday. Today... was horrible. Wait, I'm from Bawlmer. It was haarrible.

This morning there was an accident on the JFX. I usually hop on Fayette from the east side and drive downtown to Presidents where I turn onto 83. This morning Fayette was bumper to bumper. About halfway downtown, I turned north and tried to work my way up and over to 83 rather than fight my way down Fayette. It took me forever, but I made it to Mt Vernon, where police were blocking traffic from 83 completely. Discouraged, I headed up N Charles and towards Druid Hill Park, where I was finally able to get on 83 at 28th St.

What a freakin' mess!

Please don't get me wrong... I truly feel for the folks injured. It was a terrible accident, after all. I'm not even complaining about the fact that I was well over an hour late for work. It's the people. They were driving the wrong way down one way streets! Cars were stalling, drivers were cutting people off, and we were all practically parked at all times. It was ridiculous. Accidents happen. I get that. But if anything truly horrible happens in this city - we're all goners.

Ten on Tuesdays

1. I am tired again today, which doesn't make sense because I got a lot of sleep last night. I need to have a physical done and have my thyroid checked. Getting old stinks.
2. How is it that it was nearly 80 degrees yesterday, and it will be in the 40s tomorrow?
3. I am dropping off my car today to have my brakes done. I had my brakes done in Ohio in the Fall, but I think they scammed me because they've been squeaky ever since then. This is probably going to cost me a fortune.
4. Did anyone watch The Riches last night? Don't you just love Minnie Driver? (And Eddie, too, of course.)
5. I love sleeping with the window open. I can hear the bird chirping as I write this... which can be rare in the city because we don't have many trees. Luckily, we have a flowering tree a few houses down. LOTS of birds.
6. My refrigerator is insanely full right now. I have food for mac & cheese, a roast, smoothies, veggie snacks, and KFC (last night's dinner). I want it all, yet if I get sick it will all likely go bad. Nooooo...
7. I love cucumbers. They are the perfect snack. Zero calories.
8. I am wearing a suit today.
9. Is anyone checking Bags In trees anymore? Visits have declined, which is unfortunate.
10. I have to get to work.

Uh Oh

Joe's son was sick on Friday night... and now I think Joe's getting sick. I felt a little funny myself yesterday night and decided to stay in because of it, but I have to admit that I felt better today at work.

But is this virus lurking in me? Will I get it tomorrow if Joe's getting it now?

I'm just about the worst sick person on the planet. I'm a miserable mess, and I have zero pain tolerance. Not to mention that it sucks to be sick and live alone. Dammit.

God, help me.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

My New Books

Okay... so I went a little overboard. For the record, Politics of Human Rights in Argentina wasn't there; I'll have to order it online. Oh, and What the Dead Know is a signed copy. :)

Today's Errands

1. Shower
2. Laundry
3. Launder sheets (Because it takes more time, this gets it's own bullet.)
4. Buy Books
5. Vacuum car
6. (Maybe) stop by Ann Taylor Loft
7. Return shoes to Aerosoles (I've decided I don't like the color.)
8. Buy new sneakers
9. Go grocery shopping
10. Do my excess inventory report

Book Reviews & Commentary

I finished Deception Point by Dan Brown this morning. Instead of watching TV yesterday, or doing anything moderately constructive, I read. It felt good to devote quality time to reading again. On the trip to and from Orlando I finished listening to Magical Thinking by Augusten Burrows, so although that was an audio book and this was an actual book, I've managed to finish two books within one week - very respectable considering how much I work.

Deception Point was well-written, and very Dan Brown. One of the aspects of DaVinci Code that I liked so well was his high level of detail when it came to religious subjects and theology. That was very much the case in this book as well. It was very scientific, and it's obvious that the author does quite a bit of research before embarking on a novel.

The downside to this book is that his characters are very much like his characters in DaVinci Code. Although the main character in this book was female, the characters from DaVinci Code and Deception Point are nearly identical in their roles in the story as well as their strengths and weaknesses. The main character from each (Robert/Rachel) is highly intelligent and inquisitive with a strong sense of self and a healthy survival instinct, while the love interest (Sophie/Michael) is equally smart and spunky with some pain or tragedy in his/her past that makes opening up and/or loving extremely difficult. The obvious antagonist at the beginning (Saunière/Hearney) turns out to be an innocent bystander whose opposition exists only because of the limited truths that he has access to, and the villain (Teabing/Pickering) starts the story as an ally, only to have his ill intentions exposed towards the end.

All good writing, but I fear that another Dan Brown novel will be even more predictable than this one. This will make reading Digital Fortress a tough sell for me, even though I have heard quite a few good comments about the book.

Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs was funny and raw, like Running with Scissors, but less shocking. The book is a collection of short stories from the author's life, all with his same twisted point of view, but also with startling honesty. I enjoyed this immensely, and am considering reading his second collection of short stories, Possible Side Effects, except for the mediocre reviews that I've read claiming that his stories are becoming less original and humorous. Maybe I'll wait on this one. It's possible that I'll appreciate it more a few months from now and not immediately following this most recent read.

So now onto which book I should read next. Below is a very short list of books that have made it onto my "next" list. I have a feeling that a visit to Barnes and Noble is forthcoming today.

1. Laura Lippman - Baltimore Blues
2. Laura Lippman - Every Secret Thing
3. Alison Brysk - Politics of Human Rights in Argentina
4. John Irving - Until I Find You
5. Adeline Yen Mah - Falling Leaves