Your Feel Good Video of the Day

Can today’s what’s making me happy post be about how glad I am February is over so that I no longer have to make sure and post on this blog every day? It was an interesting challenge to myself, but I’m not sure it accomplished what I wanted it to because some days I was scrambling to get a post in and that felt stressful not joyful, which was the opposite of what I was going for. So after today we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming in which I post something when I feel like it.

At any rate today’s real what’s making me happy is this heartwarming video. If this doesn’t make you tear up at least a little well I don’t even know. I’ve had a number of friends post a link to this on Facebook and Twitter in the past two days so there’s a good chance the handful of you who read this blog have already seen it. Doesn’t matter though because it’s still worth posting. Plus putting it here means I’ll be able to find it again easily when I need a pick me up and want to watch it again.

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

I needed an appetizer for tonight, so it needed to either be something I could make the night before or something I could make rather quickly after work. After much searching through the internets for something I thought looked tasty and feasible based on my criteria I settled on making mini corn dog muffins. There’s a number of different recipes for these out there. I wound up using this one. This particular one makes a semi-sweet cornbread, though it’s still less sweet tasting than actual store bought corndogs. I know some people are highly offended by sweet cornbread, so if you are one of those people skip this recipe and go find one of the ones that doesn’t use sugar in it.

The muffins were easy to make and quite delicious. If you’re looking for something quick but homemade to take to a party these are definitely a good choice. You’re certainly not going to impress anyone with your amazing culinary skills by bringing these, but really sometimes all anyone wants is something tasty like a mini corn dog muffin.

Songs I’m Enjoying Right Now (in Playlist Form)

I used to love making mix tapes when I was younger. In addition to making mix tapes for myself I loved making them for friends. I seriously used to dream about a way to just get the singles I wanted on a particular cassette tape in just the order I wanted. It used to take a lot of work to make mix tapes and unless you had unlimited money to buy every song you wanted or were lucky enough to catch it at just the right time to tape off the radio you were out of luck. Today it’s so easy it almost isn’t even fun anymore. It no longer feels that special to say hey I spent all this time making this thing for you when it can be as easy as just a click of a few buttons. Obviously if you want to make a special playlist for someone there is the thought that goes into it, but somehow that just doesn’t hold the same appeal for me. Thus I rarely spend my time curating playlists for myself or anyone else.

Yesterday though I was listening to WXPN at work as I often do and they played Marshall Crenshaw’s Someday, Someway. I tweeted that it is impossible to not be happy while listening to that song because it’s true. Then today I randomly came across a short list of songs I had created as the start of a playlist of other songs that reminded me of that song. The playlist is obviously no longer just songs that remind me of Someday, Someway. However, I used that to form the core of this playlist and built out from there including other songs that are currently making me happy for one reason or another. I played around a lot with the order, and I’m still not sure I got it quite right, but I built out from the 4 core songs (Someday, Someway, Wonder of Love, Cry Love, and Private Conversation) going what I felt like was more folk and country in one direction and then more pop/rock in the other direction.

At any rate I hope it will keep you entertained for an hour as it is me.

Sun, Sun Mr. Golden Sun

It is amazing what a little sunshine can do for the soul. It has been so gray and gloomy in Baltimore over the last several weeks leaving me feeling depressed for no good reason. I can’t even imagine living in one of those countries or states (hi Alaska!) where there is little to no sunlight this time of year. I think I would be certifiably insane.

I woke up anticipating that today was going to be a crappy day. First off it’s Monday, so that’s never a good thing with the beginning of a long work week and all that. Second I slept horribly last night, so I’m tired. Despite these things when I walked outside this morning the sun was shining (though it was still cold) and the birds were chirping. My mood was brightened immediately. It’s now many hours later and I’m still feeling pretty good about today. I completely credit the sunshine coming through my office window.

I have also been noticing that the daylight hours are getting longer. Now when I drive home from the gym around 6 each night there is still just the faintest whisper of sunlight hanging on. Technically the sun is setting shortly before I leave the gym, but it is no longer pitch black out. It’s giving me hope until the blessed day when we transition to daylight savings time in a few weeks. Until then I enjoy whatever little bit of sunshine the weather gods want to throw my way.

Random Saturday Fun

Despite having to real plans at the beginning of the day, yesterday wound up being a lot of fun. I started off the afternoon watching Wake Forest knock off number 2 Miami in basketball. I didn’t realize I was going to get to watch the game because they haven’t had a whole lot of televised games this season since they currently suck. Turns out that I did get the game though on Fox Sports Detroit…of course. Why wouldn’t a game between two ACC teams based in North Carolina and Florida be broadcast on a Detroit sports station. I’m sadly a little torn about the win because I want Jeff Bzdelik to get fired as their coach and every big win means less of a chance of that happening, but in my heart of hearts I can’t really cheer for my team to lose. So ultimately I’m happy that manage to pull off the upset. Now only if they could manage to not continuously lose by 25 points in every game on the road.

After the game was over I wandered over to the food truck gathering that was going on in my neighborhood. I met up with a bunch of my Baltimore librarian friends there. After getting some food and hanging around there for awhile we wound up back at our friends’ house to watch the Syracuse/Georgetown game. Sadly for the Syracuse fans in the room their game did not turn out as well as mine.

The rest of the night turned into an impromptu Wii Just Dance party. We started off playing Just Dance 3 or playing it as well as we could considering my friend’s dog bit into the disc and it would only play some songs as a consequence. Trips to Red Box while getting take out dinner resulted in procuring Just Dance Disney and Just Dance 4 to prolong the fun. The party was still going strong when I decided I should go home and see my husband around 9. It was a completely unplanned day of fun. I like it.

Friday Night Fun

Last night my friend Heather and I went out on the town. She works for one of the theaters in Baltimore and so can often come by comp tickets to other artsy events going on around the city. Last night she had two tickets to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra featuring Ashley Brown’s Broadway and invited me along to be her date. I had a $20 voucher for Tapas Teatro from donating to something through GiveCorps and since the Meyerhoff is within walking distance of there I thought it would be an excellent time to use it.

I like Tapas Teatro a lot, but don’t go very often because trying to eat there on a weekend can be impossible since it’s so tiny, especially during the winter when there is no outdoor seating. We got there right before 6 to make sure we had plenty of time to eat before the show. We were still told there would be a 20-25 minute wait, though we only wound up waiting for less than 10 minutes. We definitely beat the crowd though as we were the first ones on the waiting list and lots of people rolled in right behind us. The menu has actually changed quite a bit since the last time I was there. There is now an entire section devoted completely to cheeses and cured meats, which did not exist before. We split 6 dishes. We had a salad made out of endives, pomegranate seeds and Valdeon cheese. We also ordered the Valdeon as a cheese plate on its own in addition to a plate of manchego. There was some kind of chutney that came with both cheeses that neither of us could quite identify and neither of us liked either. The cheese was tasty though. We also had baby potatoes with some kind of garlic cream sauce. I stupidly stuffed a whole potato in my mouth and then immediately regretted it when I bit into it and it was insanely hot. Oops. Finally we finished off with some shellfish with an order of mussels and one of garlic shrimp. We were both lamenting that we were too full to even bother to ask for more bread to sop up the sauces in those bowls. I’ll look forward to when the weather is nicer and I can go back and dine al fresco before a movie at The Charles.

After our delicious dinner we headed over the Meyerhoff for the show. Ashley Brown is a Broadway actress probably most well known for originating the part of Mary Poppins on Broadway. Before that she was apparently the 15th person to play Belle in Beauty and Beast in its Broadway run. She sang a number of Broadway songs including ones from Mary Poppins, Victor/Victoria, Kiss Me, Kate, and Wicked. There were also two medleys one of Disney songs and one of love duets. The Disney one really made me want to go back and watch a bunch of Disney movies. Too bad all the ones I own are on VHS and I don’t even own some of the ones it really made me want to see like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

It had been a number of years since I’ve been to any orchestral concert and the first time I have seen the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra play at all (unless you count the nightmare 4th of July we went to their show at Oregon Ridge, heard 2 songs, got caught in a thunderstorm, had the concert canceled, then spent 2 wet hours trying to get a shuttle back to our car). It was an enjoyable show and I’m glad I got to go. Thanks to Heather for inviting me.

This One Goes Out to My Sister

I have been casting about trying to think of something to write about here today while I have the chance so I’m not scrambling just before midnight when I get home to get something up. Then I randomly heard Vanity Fair’s “Hitchin’ a Ride” and it brought a smile to my face thinking about listening to it with my sister when we were kids. I have no idea if she even remembers this, but I do. My parents had some random oldies compilation cassette tapes that they probably got for cheap at somewhere like K-Mart. My sister and I used to listen to them. I specifically remember us listening to this one in our basement and making up some little pseudo-dance to it that involved using the folded up frame/legs part of the TV trays we had disconnected from the top as a car that of course one of us was hitching a ride in. Ah goofy kid memories.


Newport Folk Festival Lineup Rollout

We’re starting to enter the time of year where summer concerts are being announced right and left including the big music festivals. This past week alone has seen lineup announcements for Bonnaroo and Firefly. Unlike past years instead of doing a big lineup announcement The Newport Folk Festival has been rolling out their lineup a band at a time over the past few weeks with many more to come. I’m not exactly sure the reasoning behind it. I follow them on Twitter and a few months ago they were holding a conversation there about various ways to announce bands that would allow them to play Newport and not violate clauses in contracts they had with other music festivals or something like that. I don’t know all the legal issues involved and as I said this was months ago so it’s all rather fuzzy at this point. At any rate I’m guessing this has something to do with the way the lineup is being rolled out.

Having purchased my tickets the day they went on sale before a single band was announced it doesn’t much matter to me how the lineup is announced. In fact it’s been kind of fun watching my Twitterfeed for the announcements which seem to be coming a couple times per week. I tweeted at one point that it was like getting a gift every few days when I find out another artist I love is going to be playing. Of course I know that eventually this is going to lead to some heartbreak unless I figure out how to clone myself before the festival so that I can see multiple bands play at once.

The other great thing about the slow roll out is that it gives me a chance to check out the artists I’m not familiar with on Spotify. I have a whole big Newport Folk Festival playlist going. I made one last year too, but since the whole lineup was announced at the same time last year and I already knew the people I was going to want to see I just wound up listening to them a lot and didn’t spend a great deal of time listening to the artists I didn’t already know. With the way things are going this year when a new artist is announced I go ahead and listen to them on Spotify because it’s easy to do this one artist at a time as opposed to feeling completely overwhelmed looking at a huge lineup list.  So far it turns out that even for most of the bands I didn’t think I knew, once I listened to them I was like oh hey I know that song. I had no idea this was who sings it. Even if I know I’m not going to get to see all these people play at the festival it’s still been a great way to get to know artists I didn’t know before or to get more familiar with ones I barely knew.

I’m looking forward to seeing what other bands get added to the lineup over the coming weeks. And of course I definitely can’t wait until the last weekend of July when the festival itself finally rolls around.

Wednesday Night Dinner

On Wednesday nights I meet up with some other people who live in my neighborhood and go to my church for a bible study. At the beginning of this year we decided to start sharing dinner together in addition to our study. It’s been great. Everyone has taken turns contributing food to the dinner. Everything has been super tasty. It’s also been nice to just have some informal time to hang out with friends and catch up with what’s been going on in our weeks while we eat. My husband and I never eat at a table when we’re at home. We eat on our couch in front of the tv (we at least watch the news while we eat), so it’s also nice to actually sit around a table and feel like I’m having a proper meal. There’s several kids in the group including 3 almost three year olds. They are always a source of great amusement as kids that age are. They were definitely keeping us all in stitches tonight. I’ve always enjoyed Wednesday nights, but now our Wednesday night dinners are making it even better.

Laura’s Birthday Pizza Night

I’m sneaking this one in under the wire. I totally almost forgot to write today’s post. Today was my friend Laura’s birthday. To celebrate she had a bunch of us ladies over for a pizza and movie night. I was happy that I got to go. I was originally supposed to be going to see The Mountaintop at Centerstage tonight, but for some reason they canceled the show and I wound up going this past Friday instead. That freed me up to attend the birthday fun. It was a fun evening hanging out with friends, eating pizza, and watching 10 Things I Hate About You. Plus it felt super indulgent on a Tuesday night. I rarely go out on weeknights in my old age. Happy birthday Laura!