Busy Weekend

I had an extremely busy, but mostly fun weekend. I need another weekend that is slightly more relaxing to make up for this one though.

I spent Saturday afternoon volunteering at an event my church holds 4 times per year called REST day. It is designed for parents in the community who have children with disabilities. They can drop off their kids for a few hours to have fun participating in all kinds of activities while they get a few free hours to do whatever they want, and then they are sent home with a pre-cooked dinner for their family. They have been doing this for several years, but this is the first time I’ve participated. This was the largest one they’ve done yet with about 90 kids and over 100 volunteers making everything run smoothly. There are a large range of kids with anyone under the age of 21 welcome and kids with all sorts of disabilities participating from the more obvious ones like cerebral palsy, Downs syndrome, hearing impairments, and autism and other ones that were not as obvious.

The kids were separated into 6 color coded groups and were assigned a group of volunteers to work with them. There were some activities designed for everyone to participate in at the same time and then there were also various rooms that the groups rotated through such as a music room, the “rumble room” where they could play on gym mats and in ball pits, the craft room, the movie/snack room, and the room I was in the painting room where kids could get their face painted or get a manicure. I was unsure what I wanted to do when I signed up so I just said I would work wherever they needed me. I am just about the least artistic person in the world so face painting was the last thing I should have been assigned to do. I mostly stuck to giving kids manicures, but since there was a couple of groups that were all boys there were times where I wasn’t doing a whole lot. Next time I’ll volunteer for something else.

As soon as I got home on Saturday evening my husband said he wanted to go grab dinner and then go see Gravity. I love living in my neighborhood because I was able to walk to all these activities. We grabbed dinner at a little Italian place called Daniela’s. It has about 3 tables inside and twice that many outside when the weather is nice so we have always just gotten food to go in the past, but it was a nice night so we stayed there and ate outside. We walked up to the movie theater after that. Apparently Gravity is not a movie that appeals to young people as we are ourselves are not that young anymore and aside from 1 or 2 teenaged couples everyone in the audience was firmly my parents age or older. The movie was ok. If you’re not planning on seeing it in the theater and in 3D you probably shouldn’t bother. There are some really cool special effects, but the plot is nothing to write home about. After the movie we stopped at The Charmery for ice cream. I am amused that now every time I meet someone and tell them I live in Hampden they ask me about this place. I tell them it is delicious and very dangerous to live within walking distance of. If it ever gets cold here in Baltimore I’ll be better off because I’m not so much of an ice cream person when it’s cold outside. They constantly have new flavors, so I have yet to eat the same flavor twice. Saturday I went with white peach and ginger, which was delicious.

Sunday I went straight from church to one of my book clubs. We read Nora Ephron’s book Heartburn. You can read my review of the book here. The food was all delicious and left me way too full for the final activity of my weekend which was our friends’ annual chili cookoff. Did I mention it’s been unusually hot in Baltimore? Well it has been with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Know what I don’t really want to do when it’s hot and humid outside? Eat a lot of chili. And a lot of chili there was. We brought butternut squash chili. Sadly it did not win the vegetarian category. I actually tried very little of the copious amounts of chili on offer as I as I mentioned was still full from book club, wasn’t really in the mood to eat chili, and also don’t really like chili that much. I came down with a stomach bug after eating chili once when I was 5th grade and even 25 years later have a hard time eating it. It was still a fun time hanging out with friends though.

Oh and one other fun, random thing that happened this weekend. When I came home after book club I was talking down the sidewalk to my house and heard someone say my name. When I looked up there was an old friend who I used to work with at Barnes and Noble. I probably haven’t seen him in 8 or 9 years. He no longer lives in Baltimore and was just in town visiting a friend from college. It was such a serendipitous encounter too as my husband asked me stop and pick up sour cream for the chili on my way home. If I had come straight home from book club I never would have seen him. I love chance encounters, and it was great to see an old friend even if only for a few minutes.

All in all a very good weekend even though there wasn’t much down time.

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