Why I’m Voting Yes on Maryland’s Question 6

I am what I sometimes feel like is a breed, a liberal Christian. As someone who really hates conflict I often find myself in uncomfortable situations as most of my family are conservative Christians as are many of my Christian friends. I also have a lot of non-Christian very liberal friends. Because I hate conflict I often just keep my mouth shut when things are said that I don’t agree with both sides. It’s super cowardly I know, and it’s not something I like about myself very much but my innate need to be liked, to not stir things up, to keep the peace, to not get into long heated discussions, etc. means I have a tendency to not speak my mind around these types of issues.

Maryland has a ballot measure during this election to approve marriage equality for gay people, which I will be voting for. I haven’t really specifically talked about it with any of my Christian friends in Maryland, but I’m guessing many of them are planning on voting no. When the polls were showing that the marriage equality was likely to pass by about 10 percentage points I was content to continue with my status quo of kind of staying out of the issue, but now that the anti-marriage equality people have been making their final push and polls are showing the issue in a dead heat I feel like I finally need to speak out on the issue.

I am not even going to touch on the theological issues of whether or not homosexuality is ok or not because I don’t think that is the issue at hand. I think Justin Lee from the Gay Christian Network, whom I have previously written about,  does a great job of addressing how Christians on both sides of the issue of homosexuality can and should still love homosexual people. This is what I am talking about…love. The Bible I read and the God I choose to follow has instructed me to love. It is his greatest commandment to love my neighbor has myself, which means I should be treating others as I would like to be treated. I would not want anyone discriminating against me because I am different from them, so I will not discriminate against them. So many people seem to act in hateful ways to gay people and it makes my heart hurt. God calls us to love not hate. Jesus hung around with the people who were considered the worst sinners in his day. He did not condemn them. He did not spew hate at them. So I don’t understand where that comes from in people professing to be Christians.

I had ended this post differently in my original writing of it, but someone just pointed out to me that instead of publishing my final post WordPress decided to publish some half written draft that ended with half of a sentence. I don’t remember what I actually said after this point in the post, so I’m just going to end it here.

I am a Christian who will be voting yes for Maryland Marriage Equality and hope you will consider doing the same.

Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch

I am so in love with this Calvin Harris song featuring Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine. I told you it wouldn’t be long before Florence showed up on this blog again. I was not wrong. Florence is just as dreamy, trippy as ever and the beat that Calvin Harris is putting out in this song is fantastic. Mark Blankenship (who I have previously written about) provides a great write up of the song, so that is all I’m going to say about it because you can just go read his much better analysis.

FYI, the video is pretty violent. Just wanted to give a heads up to anyone who is violence averse. If you are, you should still listen to the song, just don’t watch while you’re listening.

If you read Mark’s blog post you’ll see that Calvin Harris previously remixed Florence + the Machine’s song Spectrum, which I was not aware of until now. I looked it up out of curiosity. I definitely like the original better in this case, but here it is in case you’re curious too.

A Good Phlebotomist (A Good What Now?)

For anyone not familiar with the term a phlebotomist is a medical lab technician dedicated to drawing blood. As someone who has to give blood more frequently than most people and who has crap veins I really appreciate a phlebotomist who can do his or her job well. I was thinking of this today as I looked down at my wrist which is covered with a gigantic bruise from the blood draw I had on Thursday.

One of the medications I take to help control both my arthritis and Crohn’s disease is actually a low dose of a chemo drug. It is extremely hard on my liver. Thus I am required to have my liver enzyme levels checked every few months to make sure it is not in fact destroying my liver. This is also why I am not allowed to drink lest I tax my liver any more than it already is.

My current insurance allows for my rheumatologist’s office to draw the blood and send it away for testing. Their office does not have a dedicated phlebotomist so my blood is drawn by whatever nurse happens to be working with my doctor on the day of my appointment. As I have mentioned I am the veinless wonder. People consistently have difficulty finding veins on me when they want to draw blood. The one time that I tried to actually donate blood the person spent awhile looking at my arms for a vein, finally told me she couldn’t find one bigger than the needle they use, and sent me on my merry way. Last Thursday the first nurse took a look and couldn’t find any veins and gave up without even trying to stick me. This is not a rare occurrence. She went and got the infusion nurse, who presumably should be better at finding a vein. That nurse searched around the crook of both my arms, gave up there, looked at my hand, gave up, and finally settled on the top of my wrist where she proceeded to stick me multiple times and root around in there until she finally got in a vein. Sadly, again none of this is rare when I’m getting my blood drawn. I always hate when they go for the hand or wrist because it hurts a lot more. I always say it’s a good thing that I don’t have an issue with needles or blood. I also like to joke that I could never be a heroin addict because I would never be able to find a vein to shoot up in.

All this hoopla makes me really appreciate a good phlebotomist who can get me on the first stick, which is a rare thing. The insurance I had previously for some reason would not let my rheumatologist’s office actually draw the blood, but instead insisted that I go to the lab facility to have it drawn. That wasn’t convenient for me, so instead I would drop in to my primary care physician’s office and have my blood drawn and they would send it off to the lab for me. I haven’t had my blood drawn there in years, but the dedicated phlebotomist they had working was the best person I’ve ever had draw my blood. She never missed a single time.

Because I saw her quite frequently she knew that I was a hard stick. One time I went in to get my blood drawn and she was on a break or busy doing something else so one of the nurses in the office took me in and was about to draw my blood. The phlebotomist happened to look across the hall and see me sitting there. She leapt up, darted into the room waving her arms yelling don’t do it she’s a really hard stick. It was like one of those things you see in the movies where someone is trying to stop something and they’re flying through the air in slow motion screaming NOOOOoooo. So she rescued me from being stuck multiple times. It was one of my best experiences in a doctor’s office ever.

I definitely miss her skills with a needle every time someone else draws my blood. For now, I’ll just hope the next person who draws my blood has half the skills she has.

The Best Water Bottle Ever

I have finally, FINALLY found a water bottle that works for me. Seriously my house is a veritable graveyard of discarded water bottles that did not stand the test of time. I have tried many, many water bottles and they have all failed the leak test until now. I want a bottle that is both easy to drink out of, but that is also not going to leak all over my stuff. I have tried everything from generic cheap bottles I have come across, to store brands such as REI,  to more well-known and respected brands such as Nalgene and Camelbak. I have tried different designs. They have all failed because either the lid pops open to easily or something in the bottle design allows for leakage either around the opening or around where the bottle connects to the lid. About a month ago I finally found a bottle that seems like it is going to work for me. My friend Jenny had actually mentioned this particular bottle made by Contigo on her (maybe now defunct) blog quite some time ago, but I had never seen it in any stores when I had been on a hunt for a new water bottle. I actually have one of Contigo’s self-sealing insulated mugs for drinking my hot tea out of in the winter and am happy with it. That combined with Jenny’s recommendation made me decide to actively seek out this particular bottle after my recent water bottle fail. I am super happy with it so far. It’s easy to drink from. It doesn’t leak at all. It is fabulous. I definitely recommend it if you’re in the market for a new water bottle.



On the Fourth Anniversary of my Wedding

Four years ago today my husband and I got married. He’s still my favorite husband. I kid. I mean he still is my favorite, but he’s of course also my only. I know I am a lucky, lucky woman. I am married to a very thoughtful man who goes out of his way to take care of me. I’m pretty sure I get more than I give in this relationship. It’s a ratio I enjoy, but I will use this space to let everyone including my husband know that it does not go unnoticed. For example, just last week I was having a crappy day at work and it was late night working the reference desk. I complained via Twitter about having a headache and being mad at myself for forgetting to restock the Tylenol I carry in my purse. Without me even asking my husband drove to my office and dropped me off some Tylenol. What a sweetie. We have a great time together and he’s usually game to go along with my crazy schemes. I also can’t express how happy I am that he too does not care about football or baseball so I don’t have to spend every weekend plus at this point almost every other night of the week watching a bunch of sports I don’t care about. He may not be the perfect man, but he’s the perfect man for me. Happy anniversary Paul, I love you.

The Poebelack Wedding




Yesterday my husband and I went down to DC for our friends wedding.  I’ve been to a lot of weddings and all of them have some touches that reflect the personalities of the bride and groom. However, both this wedding and the last wedding we went to previous to this one were both memorable for how well they encompassed who the couple is. The two weddings could not have been more different in how they accomplished that feat because the couples themselves are very different, but I appreciate how much work they went to make their weddings truly unique for them.

Ed and Kate live in DC and very much love their adopted city, so it was only fitting that they got married in an historic DC hotel within shouting distance of the Capitol.

Ed is a friend my husband met online long before most of us probably knew what the internet even was, so you know there’s a lot of technology nerd there. Hence the fact that there was an official hashtag for the wedding and people were encouraged to live tweet the ceremony. Even the groom took part tweeting this picture right as the ceremony was starting.

It begins! #poebelacks

The tenor of the music for the entire evening was set from the very beginning with music for the ceremony. With Ed coming out to “Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails” from the Fred Astaire movie “Top Hat” and the rest of the wedding party processing to “Take the A Train” by Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. I have zero recollection of what the bride actually processed to or their recessional song, but I’m sure you get the drift. This was the type of music being played the entire night. None of your usual wedding music being pumped out by a DJ. Instead a playlist thoughtfully put together by the bride and groom that very much speaks to who they are.

The ceremony featured a reading from Sandol Stoddard Warburg’s “I Like You” performed by three of their nieces, which seemed very fitting. One of the most unique things about the ceremony though was their unity ceremony. A lot of people use unity candles. I got married on the beach so my husband and I did a sand ceremony. Ed and Kate, who are huge lovers of cocktails, actually did a unity ceremony featuring the creation of a cocktail. I suspect that is the first and only time I will see that at a wedding.

Their love of cocktails was also evident in their decorations. The table centerpieces were made using bitters bottles

and their cake toppers were little bottles of champagne.

One of the groomsmen gifted the bride and groom at bottle of Malort, which apparently some awful whisky(?) that is difficulty to find outside of Illinois and is preferred by bikers in the state. I was just amused by the label which read “It’s bitter taste is favored by two-fisted drinkers” including the erroneous apostrophe. Classy. Based on the faces the bride and groom made while tasting it, the label is definitely the best thing about it.


Speaking of the bride and groom here they are.









And here they are enjoying their last dance.


Wait you didn’t think the wedding festivities ended there did you? After the official wedding, the party moved over to The Passenger, which is a bar in DC and one of their regular haunts. There a second ceremony full of ridiculousness performed there.

It was complete with another cake this time featuring a Lego cake topper.


It was a lovely wedding that was a perfect reflection of the bride and groom.


John Cusack Gives Peter Gabriel a BoomBox

It’s been awhile since I’ve just posted a random simple pleasure thing here, but here’s one for you. Apparently during a Peter Gabriel concert at The Hollywood Bowl, as he was starting to play “In Your Eyes”, John Cusack popped out onto the stage and handed him a boom box. Peter Gabriel then proceeded to hold it above his head as John did during that iconic scene in “Say Anything”. As I have previously mentioned, “In Your Eyes” is one of my favorite songs and that scene is one of my favorite scenes from a film ever. The fact that all these many years later John Cusack and Peter Gabriel are having fun with it makes me happy to no end. Cameron Crowe was also at the concert which makes it even more awesome. I only wish it had happened when I saw Peter Gabriel in concert a number of years ago. If the fact that this happened does not fill you with complete and utter joy, then I don’t think we can be friends.

Virgin Mobile FreeFest

Yesterday my friend Tracie and I attended a small portion of the Virgin Mobile FreeFest. Virgin has sponsored music festivals in Canada and Europe for years. In 2006 for some reason they decided to add Baltimore to their list of sites. The first three years were held at Pimlico Race Course, which for those who don’t know is where the Preakness, the second horse race in the Triple Crown series is held. You had to pay to attend the festival those three years. My husband and I went the second year because The Police were headlining and I figured I was never going to get another chance to see them in concert. Despite the fact that the concert was all day long we only went for the last two acts, which were The Beastie Boys and The Police. It was something like 105 degrees in the shade that day and it was also during one of the times in my life when my arthritis was really bad and I could barely walk. Given the heat and how miserable I was we decided to just make it out for the bands we really wanted to see.

In 2009 the festival moved from Pimlico to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Colubmia, Maryland and instead of being a paid festival became free somehow in the name of charity. If I recall correctly, the first year in order to get tickets you had to volunteer somewhere for a certain number of hours, but I think they dropped that requirement after the first year. They do still release a certain number of tickets under that stipulation as well as another portion of tickets that you do pay for with the money going to charity. This year I believe they were supporting homeless youth. Many of the tickets though are just completely free. I saw a story in the Baltimore Sun where Richard Branson was quoted as saying the festival costs him $3 million dollars to put on every year. I don’t really understand why he continues to provide the money to do this every year or why Baltimore is the one city he continues to do this in, but good for him and us while he does I guess.

Even for free this is the first year there have been any bands playing at the festival that I was interested enough to make the effort to see. Even then there were only three that I really wanted to see: Trampled by Turtles, Ben Folds Five, and Alabama Shakes. Luckily when they released the stage schedule all three of them were scheduled back-to-back on the same stage. Trampled by Turtles was scheduled to start at 2:30 so Tracie and I decided to meet up at 1:15 at  shopping center just a few miles down the road from Merriweather to consolidate to one car and head into the festival. One would think that given this is the fourth year that the festival has been in this location that they would have figured out the traffic and parking better. They had so many roads blocked off around the area that traffic was a disaster. I would really like to ask someone in charge what the thinking was behind what they were doing because they were just forcing a ridiculous amount of traffic into many fewer lanes than exist to handle it. Lucky for us Tracie works down in that area and at the location they were using for off-site parking so although we had to sit in traffic for a little while Tracie knew how to take us in the back way instead of how they were directing all the traffic. So we got out of it much faster than most people. We didn’t know which lots were being used for shuttle parking so we just drove around until we found one with a sign on it. This apparently was not the main lot where people were parking though because the first shuttle we saw just drove right by us despite the fact that we were standing right in front of this sign.

We only had to wait for about 10 minutes for the next shuttle to come by and actually stop for us, so it wasn’t too bad but still annoying. I’m pretty sure the same driver who drove past us was the one who was driving the shuttle we took back because when we told him what lot we were parked in he had no idea what we were talking about. We wound up just getting off at shuttle stop #3 and walking because we decided it would be easier. This tells me they weren’t training the shuttle drivers very well. Also the shuttle stop actually at the festival entrance was not where the sign was. The sign was located maybe half a block away from the actual road into the festival, but they apparently decided just to drop people off at the road instead of the sign but not bother to move the sign so that we weren’t sure where to stand and wait when we were leaving. We left at 6:30 and there was still a shocking amount of traffic and people going into the festival. I heard one kid getting off the shuttle we were getting on say that they had sat in traffic for 3 hours. I can’t even imagine how insane things were going to be when the festival ended and everyone was leaving at once. I’m glad we didn’t stay for that. Also the Baltimore Sun story I read estimated that there were about 20,000 less people there this year than last, which I can’t even imagine given how crowded it seemed when we left.

Aside from the traffic issues it was a great day for the festival. As I mentioned given what I was seeing and hearing we lucked out with the traffic. We did wind up missing the first 15 minutes of Trampled by Turtles, which probably would not have been the case had the first shuttle driver not driven by us. We also would have heard a little bit more of them if we weren’t completely confused about where we were when we got into the festival. Merriweather is located in the middle of some woods and we entering from a location we don’t normally go through when go to concerts there so we didn’t immediately realize that they had put up a fence around the woods to encompass the festival and the two additional stages, which is where we came in. So we wandered a bit until we got our bearings and figured out how to get into the pavilion proper, which is where the stage we wanted was. I noticed that most of the people there didn’t even bring blankets or anything to sit on as I guess they were prepared to wander. We were definitely some of the older people in the crowd. It was mostly high school age through early twenty-something age people. I was happy that we just staked out our little section of the lawn with our blankets and sat. The weather was great for it. During the hour we were sitting in traffic it got really cloudy and windy and seemed like it was going to rain, but shortly after we got in the sky cleared up and it was gorgeous. It was starting to get a little cold as the sun was setting and we were leaving, which means we left at the perfect time. I was thinking all the girls we saw wearing barely anything were probably regretting their clothing choices at that point.

Despite the fact that we were slightly late for Trampled by Turtles we got there just in time to hear them play “Alone”, which is the song I was most looking forward to hearing.

Here’s a picture of them playing it on the big screen.


Next up was Ben Folds Five. I’ve seen Ben Folds solo before, but never Ben Folds Five so that was fun.

They played a mix of stuff from their new album and older stuff. I really like “Do It Anyway”, which is the first single from their new album. Though given the awesomeness of their video for the song I will be forever disappointed whenever I see them play the song and Fraggles don’t show up.

During the set change between Ben Folds Five and Alabama Shakes Richard Branson came out and stood on top of the Pavilion roof, thanked everyone for coming, and then sprayed the crowd with a bottle of champagne. I was surprised to see that he was actually there.


The last band we were there for was Alabama Shakes, who were great as usual. I love their old school rock and roll sound.


The festival was great for the three bands we came to see, but by then I was ready to go. It was getting cold and more crowded. People were getting drunker and higher as evidenced by these gentlemen who spent the Alabama Shakes set like this at my feet.


Tracie was incredulous that when we were getting ready to leave that some girl stopped her and asked her if she had any weed. Let me mention that Tracie is currently 7 months pregnant.

All in all it was a great day for a music festival, though I will definitely note for any future years that my sweet spot for this concert is definitely in the middle of the day.


Regina Spektor at The Lyric

Last night my friend Alison and I went on our first of three lady dates this week to see Regina Spektor in concert at The Lyric in Baltimore (we’re also seeing Enemy of the People at Centerstage tonight and Wicked at the Hippodrome on Sunday). The music was great, but it definitely doesn’t come anywhere near my list of excellent concerts. By now you should know that one of the things I value in a concert is a musician or band to really engage with the audience. How that plays out can come in a variety of forms, but I like to feel like I’m getting something out of the concert that I wouldn’t get just sitting at home listening to the CDs. In the case of this concert the only thing I got was some cool light effects and having to listen to obnoxious concert shouters trying to outdo each other (You know, the obnoxious people constantly shouting out I love you and various songs they want played. Dude, there’s a set list. You shouting out songs isn’t going to change that). Really the only time Regina Spektor said anything to the audience was to say thank you to the applause after each song. Her brief moment of engagement came during some technical problems when she invited the lead singer of the opening band back out to sing a song with her. She did vamp a little while it was being sorted out, but that was short and something I suspect wouldn’t have happened if there were no problems with the equipment. As I said, the music was wonderful, but essentially I want more out of a concert. I’m glad  I went, but there are tons of bands I would pay to see in concert every time they came anywhere near me and based on last night Regina Spektor is not one of them.

This is one my favorite songs that she played last night. All the Rowboats is the first single off her new album. I just love the dramatic undertones in the music of this song. They did some pretty cool (though sometimes blinding) stuff with lights when she played it last night.