Random Dozen

Random Dozen:
If you play along, let me know so I can come see how you answered.

1.Candy corn: Your thoughts?
The brown bottoms are superior to the white bottoms.

2. Briefly, what was the first conversation you ever had with your spouse? (or best friend, if you're not married.) (Or someone significant, like your librarian.)
When Jack and I first met, I was 16 years old and at a party at my boyfriend-at-that-time's house. The "dreaded ex" as we'll call him, was proving to me that you could sit in your chair all night and never have to get up. We spent the night shouting orders for fresh beers and entertainment from our chair. When we tried it with Jack, he was totally on to our bullshit and giving orders right back. From then on, whenever Jack and I saw each other there was a lot of ball breaking going on. 

We have been dating for going on six years now, and we still joke and break balls just like we did back then.

3. Could you ever become a vegetarian?
I grew up "pescatarian," meaning the only "meat" I ate was seafood. I didn't enjoy a steak until I was 16 years old. I still rarely eat red meat, but when I do, I like it bloody!

4. Have you ever dressed up your pet in a costume?
No. No. NO! Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that my cat Papi sports a rhinestone studded collar and my cat Pie (aka Puss Cat) rocks a red studded one.

5. Name something about childhood that you miss (like Clark Bars, Tea berry Gum, Malibu Barbie, cracking fake eggs on people's heads with your fist and "It's the Great Pumpkin" airing only once a year).
What I miss most about my childhood is being able to spend my entire weekend playing--splashing in puddles, riding bikes and tromping through the woods has given way to running errands, cleaning the house and other boring adult things. Sigh.

6. Have you ever won a trophy? If not, what do you deserve a trophy for?
Pimp of the Year bitches! I have the trophy to prove it.

7. When do you think is the appropriate time to begin playing Christmas music each year?
After Thanksgiving--I find it really annoying that stores in my city already have Christmas displays up, and it's not even Halloween yet. I'm not just saying this because I'm Jewish...

8. What is your favorite board game?
Does Yahtzee count as a board game? Probably not since there's no board.

9. How do you feel about surprises (receiving, not giving)?
Being pleasantly surprised is nice, but I hate when someone says, "I have a surprise for you," and won't tell me what it is. Jack gets me like that all the time, because he knows it drives me nuts.

10. Is it easy for you to say "I'm sorry?"
Yes, but only if I'm actually sorry. No insincere apologies. When I'm right, I'm right. I won't apologize for that.

11. What is your favorite candle scent?

12. October is traditionally "open house" time in public schools. If you had a literal open house in your home (like a reception) what light snacks would you serve visitors and what would you show them (as in art projects, graded papers) that would uniquely represent you?
I would serve Belgian beers, robust red wines and a sampling of my favorite fruits and cheeses. (I'm classy like that.) I would show the art I've collected during my travels--I only decorate my house in original art--and my rocks and gems collection. For music, I would play some deep, soulful house music--maybe my new(ish) Terry Thompson CD. 


The Great Halloween Lantern Parade

If you know me at all, then you know that anytime I find myself with some spare time on my hands, I find some new project to fill it up. In the spring and summer, I spend at least one Saturday a month leading canoe trips and cleaning aquariums at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center near Annapolis, MD. Throughout the year, I serve as chairperson for the Smithsonian Institution Women's Council, an employee advocacy group. For the second year in a row, I am spending my fall helping with The Great Halloween Lantern Parade.

Held every year for the past decade in Baltimore's Patterson Park, The Great Halloween Lantern Parade is a truly unique event. The parade itself features stilt walkers, candle-lit bamboo and paper-mâché lanterns, giant floats, drums, costumed performers, and more. The parade is open to anyone who wants to be a part of it, and it's totally bilingual--English and Spanish. This year the parade will take place on October 24.

Nana Projects, a local nonprofit that specializes in community oriented, cultural performances, holds at least a dozen free lantern making workshops for families in the months leading up to the parade, not to mention the new "lantini" party for adults. Martinis, bamboo, paper mâché and flames--what fun! They also offer stilt walking classes and have a parade school to share their expertise with other local artists and community organizers.

Last weekend, I spent five hours at the Lantern Parade Studio on Eastern Ave., creating a shawl-like throw for a stilt walker to wear. Molly Ross, Nana Projects director, gave me a five-gallon bucket of strips of white Tyvec, a big piece of lightweight netting and a few instructions to work with. I cut the netting into an oval shape and cut a hole in the middle. I proceeded to tie the strips of Tyvec around the bottom and middle edges to create a "shawl" with white fringe around the collar and bottom edges. The costume will be worn by one of the stilt walkers and will look amazing, no doubt. The white will glow as light from the lanterns splashes against it and the "fringe" will sway and flow with the stilt walkers every move.

On the day of the parade--October 24--I will be lighting lanterns, providing logistical info to participants and helping students from a local charter school carry their float along the 45-minute parade route. The best part...I get to wear a fun costume! I will be dressed in an all-white jumpsuit with a hand-made, light-up "pagoda hat" on my head. The hat--which is an almost-14-inch-tall bamboo structure wrapped with paper mâché--is designed to look like Patterson Park's well-known pagoda.

I am seriously considering taking the stilt walking classes next year. After taking four lessons in stilt walking, newbie stilt walkers are ready (apparently) to brave the 45-minute parade route, up and down the hills of Patterson Park. According to Annie Howe, Nana Projects artist and professional stilt walker, the newbies bring up the back of the parade line. Apparently they don't move fast.

Patterson Park Pagoda


What's on my mind...

President Obama won the Nobel Prize.  His receiving the award is quite obviously a political move on the part of our European friends, but that's OK. The move shows support for the president's ideas and confidence in his ability to make those ideas a reality. Everything comes down to politics...

On NPR this morning a critic of the current administration faulted the President for not having made a lot of headway in bringing peace to the Middle East. What an unfair statement. The man has only been in office for 8 months! There has been fighting in the Middle East for thousands of years....

Enough about politics....

I am ready for the long weekend. I'm not big on the idea of commemorating Columbus, but the day off work is much appreciated.

I refuse to buy grocery store tomatoes. I'd rather go without than eat those things.

I also refuse to fall victim to the mass hysteria surrounding swine flu.

My Google Reader has well over 200 unread posts. I'm sorry for not stopping by your blogs this week, but I have been very busy with work. I promise to catch up on each and every one of your posts this weekend. Pinky swear!

Ahh Paris! In just over six weeks, I will spending my days visiting museums, wandering the streets of Paris, picnicking by the Seine, relaxing in Parisian cafes....By night I will be enjoying fine fromage and pain fraîche, and vin, lots of vin. I need to find out about Parisian DJs and best spots for EDM....

My lavender plant is blooming....that means gin time! I make the most delicious drink called a gin fizz, with Bombay Sapphire and lavender-infused simple syrup.

Jack and I go through 12 ounces of whole coffee beans a week. At $10 - $12 a pop, we are talking about a $600 a year coffee habit.

Tomorrow I am going to start my own little crash, refresher course in Spanish. I've been meaning to make time to practice my language skills for a while now.

Also on the agenda for this weekend is a bonfire party on the bay, a trip to the Baltimore Farmer's market, and helping at the Lantern Parade workshop. I plan to spend all day Monday in the kitchen, making ravioli, butternut squash soup, beef stew, tomato gravy and pesto to freeze for the winter.

Have a great weekend everyone! : )


Just when you thought I was an ungrateful little biznatch....

I have racked up numerous awards (aren't I fabulous!) on this blog over the past few months that I just keep putting off posting. Well no more! 

Here's how this is going to work....I am going to post each award that I have received, shower the person who gave it to me with compliments, and tell you about another blog that I absolutely love. Anyone I mention should feel free to accept and post the award on his or her own blog, or just smile, feel good about being loved and move on. 

Margarita, over at Ramblings of a Fab Burnette, gave me the MeMe award. For this award, the recipient has to share seven tidbits of information about his- or herself. But, before I start with the "me, me, me" I want to talk about "her, her, her." Margarita is a creative, independent, intelligent, confident woman. She is not afraid to follow her dreams; I admire that. Margarita is in the middle of a move to Vancouver and is plugging away on starting her own cupcakery. Stop by her blog and wish her luck!

Seven things you may or may not know about me:
  1. I used to have a belly button ring, but it was ripped out after being stuck to the netting of a catamaran while I was on a snorkeling trip in the Bahamas. I would have had to get rid of it by now anyway--I am too old to be rocking a bare midriff.

  2. I never, never, never-ever want to have children.

  3. I haven't dyed my hair since I was 15-years-old. I grew it out, long and natural, with the intentions of donating it to Locks for Love, but I became attached and never hacked it off. My hair has been flowing al naturale since.

  4. I always refer to myself as being a "shy person," but none of my friends seem to agree.

  5. Despite coming across as a cynic, I am a romantic deep down. Deep, deep, deeeep down.

  6. I am completely and totally addicted to my iPhone.

  7. When people discuss celebrity relationships as though they know the couple or otherwise have a vested interest, I want to choke them.
I am passing the MeMe award to Busty Satan. I started reading her blog just a couple months ago, and it has quickly become one of my favorites. Her posts are always insightful, and are generally short and to-the-point--perfect for a quick read. BS likes to laugh and drink tequila; I'm certain we would be friends in "real life" given the chance.

Travel & Dive Girl gave me the "Your Blog is Fabulous" award. Well, you know what? I think you're fabulous Travel & Dive Girl! When I'm having a tough day at work, I like to take a break and cruise on over to Journey & Adventure where I live vicariously through her. I can only dream of having the guts to scuba dive. (I tried getting certified and ended day 1 underwater with a panic attack and a resolution to spend the rest of the week on the beach...with beer.) Take a look at her amazing underwater photos. And, witness her unforgiving sense of humor. Seriously, check out her blog!

The recipient of this award is supposed to list 5 of his or her biggest obsessions. (And, pass the award to 5 other worthy bloggers, but I'm not doing that. Anyway!) 

I don't know how big they are, but here are five things I obsess over:
  1. Pockets--I can't stand pocket flaps that are folded, flipped or creased
  2. Cabinets--I will never walk past an open cabinet and not shut the door
  3. Discovering people's underlying motives--AKA paranoia
  4. Design projects, web, graphic, whatever
  5. Furniture placement--When I first moved in to my house and Jack refused to move the couches around the living room for the umpteenth time, I went and bought felt sliders so I could feed my obsession without his help. 
Another blog that I think is totally fabulous is Nicole Antoinette's blog, More is Better, because really it's true. More is better! More Nicole that is! I often laugh out loud when I read her posts--she is exactly as she describes, "Deliciously Vulgar." Not only is Nicole funny and charming, but she uses her popularity for good. Every month, Nicole gives a "shout out" to a fellow blogger she deems worthy. Also, she is compiling a collection of essays to publish in a book, Quarter Life Memoirs: Epic Essays by 20-Somethings. If you're a 20-something who has a knack for writing, please submit your work to be considered for publication! Details for submitting your essay are on Nicole's blog.

Nicole from My Teacups in Peony gave me the "My Blog is Awesome" award. Nicole is one of the sweetest, kindest, warmest people I have ever known. Nicole is not only a great writer, but also a fantastic photographer. One of her recent projects, "It's a love story," was so heart-warming that even I, a self-proclaimed cynic, couldn't help but feel touched by the love stories she posted. Nicole is also one of the many wonderful people responsible for the blog Diamond in the Rough, which gives "undiscovered gem-type blogs some publicity and get them the fame they deserve!" Nicole spreads love and positive energy across the internet--I love her for that!

Another blog that is awesome is Lora's Oh, the Urbanity! FACT. Lora and I have been friends for like a bazillion years, despite her aversion to bamboo earrings and "South-Philly tuxedos." Oh, the Urbanity! features funny-interesting-sad-entertaining pictures of the "real" Philadelphia, all taken on Lora's cell phone. Her stealth shots have made her famous (at least in the Urbanity circle) and she has acquired a cult following, me included. Her blog inspired me to create the Charm City version.

Dani from A Daily Dose of Dani gave me all of the awards below. Thanks Dani! Dani doesn't post to her blog too often, but when she does her posts are always well thought-out and succint. She and I hold similar views on the world, and I always enjoy reading her take on current events. Now don't get the wrong impression, Dani's writing is not always serious...she writes about dating, pretty things and fun times too. Dani is well-rounded and awesome like that!


The Lemonade Award is given to blogs that shine with positive energy (at least that's my interpretation :) I am passing this award to Magaly at Pagan Culture. On her blog, Magaly tackles such important issues as dating outside your faith, explaining your ideals to your family, social justice, sexuality...you know, life. Magaly is an excellent writer with a big heart and pure intentions. No matter what your religion, background, etc., I think everyone can find something to relate to in Magaly's words.


Hey Hannah at Taunt, I think "Your Blog is Fucking Fabulous!" What makes Hannah's blog so fabulous? Her posts drip with sarcasm (for me sarcasm is right up there with ice cream on list of of likes) and her writing perfectly reflects her mood--sometimes happy and ready to get funky, and sometimes angry, like when she quit smoking.

The Sexy Blogger Award goes to Mr. Condecending, my not-so-secret blogger crush. I have never actually seen a picture of Mr. C, but something about him turns me on. ;) Maybe it's the way he oozes confidence, or his smooth way with words, I'm not sure. I just know that Jack better watch out!

All though I appreciate being called the "Queen of Alll Things Awe-Summm," I know someone truly deserving of the crown--Chef Green of Sauce on the Side. Chef Green is truly and utterly fabulous. When he's not preparing delicious dishes or dealing with resturant drama, Chef Green is drinking fine wine and stealing kisses beneath the stars. His flare and style come through in every word he writes.

I also have an award to post at my other blog, but I just don't have it in me right now....


This week, I.....

...fasted in observance of Yom Kippur...
...decided what I want to do with my life and came up with an ad-hoc ten-year plan--all while in the shower....
...caught Jack acting utterly ridiculous on video....
...signed up to be a parade marshall at the upcoming Lantern Parade in Patterson Park...
...watched The Princess Bride....
...dealt with a whole lot of drama at work...
...received my custom-fit jeans from IndiDenim....
...read about Paris...
...had lunch with a childhood friend who I hadn't seen in years...
...organized a meeting for the SI Women's Council--I took over as chairwoman for this group earlier this year...
...completely ignored my to-do list...
...called to wish my mother happy birthday--she turned 54 yesterday...

Inspired by Jasmine at An Expirement in Poverty....