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When you look up the word “weenie” in the dictionary, you’ll find a smiling photo of me, hands up, with a “What can I say, you got me!” expression on my face. I have no problem jumping out of a plane or riding a motorbike in Vietnam, but sleeping alone in my own home gives me butterflies. Walking alone in the dark to my car parked just outside my house? Who do you think I am, Catwoman??
So you can only imagine the Depends I should’ve been wearing when I walked out of my house at dawn yesterday, dressed in my running clothes and bathing in my self-satisfied morning-person glory, to look across the street and see a hooded figure meandering in the exact direction of my jog. At 6:15 in the morning. In 70 degree weather. Without a dog or any other sane reason for being outside at that hour.
Our eyes met from across the street—or at least I think they did, considering the huge dark hood blocking his face—and I can only imagine that my expression resembled that of a squirrel caught with a nut. “Oh hey! I wasn’t doing anything here! I’m clearly sleepwalking (err, jogging?) and didn’t mean to disturb you violating my neighborhood with your terrifying early-morning hooded sulk! Please, continue on your way to frighten other neighbors!”
I crept back inside as nonchalantly as one can in that situation, then did what anyone would do: watched him ramble down the street until a safe distance away, then ran to my car holding my keys like a weapon, locked my doors immediately and held my breath until I got to the gym.
An hour later, I come back from the gym having nearly forgotten about the whole thing, until I see him. Standing in front of my neighbor’s house. Trying to look nonchalant while admiring her rose bush. Up close. For 15 minutes straight.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be huddled inside the closet, posing for Webster’s.
This weekend Scott and I met some friends for dinner at Wit and Wisdom inside the Four Seasons. It was a big splurge but totally worth it–the food was earthy and delicious, and the service was over-the-top. I can’t stop thinking about this floral arrangement in the lobby: very clean but not at all boring. If you were traveling, wouldn’t you love to come back after a day of sightseeing to something beautiful and inspiring like this? xo
This weekend, Scott and I went to Weber’s Farm.
We looked at baby pumpkins…
and papa pumpkins…
and teenaged pumpkins with bewitched-looking stems.
We picked honeycrisp apples (they’re the best!),
smelled mums (they’re not the best),
and contemplated getting a hayride.
We bought cider donuts instead.
It was the perfect fall day, kidnapping aside…
Didn’t his mother tell him not to go anywhere with strangers? It’s like he has no brain!!
The Baltimore Sun recently published a list of 100 Reasons Why We Love Baltimore, which features prominent Marylanders like John Waters and Cal Ripken Jr. divulging their favorite things about Charm City. It got me thinking about the things I love about my adopted hometown, so I thought I’d share my own (albeit abbreviated) list, in case you’re interested:
- The hubble telescope is run out of Baltimore, and some of the most revolutionary ideas about space science come out of the city.
- One of the busiest downtown streets is paved in a mix of recycled glass and asphalt. Glassphalt, as the locals call it, looks like a pretty mosaic and sparkles beautifully in the sun (you can see a photo of it here).
- We have a football team named after a poem. Beat that.
- Only in Baltimore can you witness the site that inspired our national anthem. What I love even more is that when that battle was pending, Baltimoreans from all walks of life gathered side by side to dig trenches to defend their city. That’s Baltimore.
- The “Hon” addition on the Welcome to Baltimore sign. Because we’re friendly like that.
- A lot of cities have marathons, but I’m pretty sure Baltimore’s is one of the only ones where hoards of people run through areas of town they’d never step foot in otherwise, only to be cheered on by admiring children and adults breaking it down to music while handing out gummi bears and water. Who needs an iPod when you’ve got a show on every block?
- The country’s largest free arts festival, and the only one where one of the food tent condiments is Old Bay.
- The Utz girl and Natty Boh guy – may they live happily ever after. Even if it’s only in Smyth ads.
- Goetz candies. Perfectly bite-sized and deliciously filling-inducing, there’s nothing quite like a caramel cream. My mom keeps a bowl of them in the living room year-round.
- The Domino Sugar sign. Old disco lighting perfection.
Tell me, what do you love about your hometown (or adopted hometown)? I’d love to hear. xo
Growing up, I never thought my grandparents had real names. To me and my sisters, they were Mommom and Poppop, and to each other, they were simply Hon. It was a term of endearment they used strictly with each other, and it was used in nearly all of their interactions.
“Hey hon, where’d you put the keys?”
“I don’t know hon, you had ’em last.”
“Well, hon, I don’t know what to tell you. They’re not here.”
“Alright hon, I’ll come help you look.”
They were, of course, from Baltimore, and when I moved here I learned exactly where they picked up the habit. Here, the word hon is not just reserved for husbands and wives but used liberally when referring to friends, family and strangers alike. But the most special use of the word “Hon” (in this case, with a capital H) is reserved for women whose appearance and demeanor personifies old Baltimore—sassy ladies like my grandmother who once wore cat-eye glasses and fashioned their hair into beehives. Every June, we celebrate these ladies and all things Baltimore with a little street fair called Honfest.
Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…
Young hons line up to compete for the crown and get ready to participate in pageant-like competitions including a Q&A where they demonstrate their ability to speak in Bawlmerese (Baltimore’s native language). Fluency requires liberal use of the word hon.
First lesson in Bawlmerese: turlits, aka toilets.
I’m already planning my costume for next year. In honor of grandma, of course.
Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year – the opening day of the local farmer’s market! I grabbed my sister and Scott and we walked around checking out all of the vendors. I wasn’t expecting many of the farms to be there this early in the season, but even though the market was only about half full, my favorite spring greens vendor was there, and I also scored some apples (who knew apples bloomed in spring? I always thought they were a fall fruit).
The market has expanded this year – Holliday street now gets closed off for vendors and pedestrians. When I walked by it was taken over by a group of hula hoopers, and since there were extra hoops all around, I couldn’t help but join in! There’s also a new vendor that makes smoothies by powering a blender with a bike. (You can pedal your own for $5, but it’s an extra buck if you want them to do the work).
The city looked gorgeous and people were out in full force. It made for prime people-watching, and I couldn’t help but take a picture of this cute old man in a bright green sweater and yellow pants! Oh, Baltimore, I love your preppy style.
There’s something about the market that makes me get so excited and happy (I’m guessing it has something to do with the food!). It’s one of my favorite places, and I was lucky that yesterday I got to go with my two favorite people. It was the perfect spring day. xo