I am way late with my delights post this week, but work and life have been really busy so I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write anything until like 9:30 at night and my brain is too tired to write anything coherent at that point in the day. I’m finally getting a little bit of time on my lunch break today, so let’s see if I can knock this out really quick even though I actually have a lot of delights this week.
Obviously if you read my previous post you already know about last weekend seeing Amos Lee in concert, going to the Xponential Music Festival, and getting to see an old friend, so I won’t say more about that now but it was definitely a delight.
Related to going to the festival, there were lots of families with small children there. That meant I got to see lots of babies and toddlers wearing big old noise canceling headphones, which I love. I like that they’re having their hearing protected, that they’re getting indoctrinated into live music early, and that they look adorable in giant headphones on their tiny heads.
I’ve seen several cars around the area recently with Seniors painted on the windows with shoe polish or whatever kids these days do that with. In my day it was shoe polish. It delights me that kids these days are still doing that.
I only go to Starbucks a couple times a year. I don’t drink coffee and all their drinks are sugar filled and expensive. I do like to enjoy a pumpkin spice creme frappucino once a year though. Since I don’t like coffee, I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. There’s also only a short window between when they release pumpkin flavored drinks and it gets cold enough that I don’t want to drink a frozen drink. So mid to late September I usually try and treat myself to what is essentially a pumpkin spice flavored milkshake. I did that on my way to work last week. Now I won’t drink another one until next year.
We’ve had some nice weather such that I’ve been driving home from work with my windows down a lot of days. I appreciate days where the temperature is just right to do that. Baltimore doesn’t have too many of them.
My neighbors have a bunch of sunflowers growing in their front yard. The other morning as I turned onto my block coming home from my morning walk I saw a guy taking a video of a squirrel running across the fence with a big old sunflower in his mouth. He told me his neighbor wanted to grow sunflowers and he warned him about the squirrels and now had video proof to share with him. It amused me.
I feel like I must have mentioned Maillard Patisserie here before. If not I have been remiss. It’s a fairly new bakery around the block from my house. I have already spent way too much money there, but everything is delicious. Sometimes if they don’t sell out they will have mystery bags of 4 items the next morning. I’ve never snagged one before, but last Friday I managed to get the last one. I was a little worried that I would wind up with a bunch of ham and cheese croissants because I don’t like ham and my husband is a vegetarian, but I appreciated that she had the bag labeled as veg so I knew that I was only getting items with no meat in them. I wound up with an almond croissant (my favorite thing there), an everything croissant, a fig and plum galette, and a maple walnut scone. A wonderful bag of mystery indeed.
And now for this week’s musical delights
For sure my musical highlight of last week was Allison Russell’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert. So much joy and love. I adore her and the wonderful band of women, the Rainbow Coalition of the Loving. If you need a pick me up and something that will put a smile on your face this is the best 22 minutes you’ll spend all week.
I heard the song “Shimmer” by Fuel on the radio the other day. We won’t talk about how it was playing on the Classic rock station and how old that made me feel. It’s a song I literally forget even existed and yet there I was singing all the words to it while driving to work. I always like when radio reminds me of music I didn’t remember even though it was obviously once something I heard all the time.
I was trying to listen to the new Marcus Mumford solo album last Friday and accidentally just put on some playlist of his songs on Spotify instead of actually just playing that album so all of a sudden I was listening to the Ted Lasso theme song. It took me a second to place it, but then it put a big smile on my face not because I particularly love that song but because I love Ted Lasso and the song reminded me of it.
Writing this post this week is real hard because I feel anything but delightful, so indulge my whining for a few moments until we actually get to some delights. It’s kind of weird to be writing a post about delights while crying, but here we are. If you know me at all, you know that the Newport Folk Festival is my favorite weekend of the entire year. It’s the thing I most look forward to doing and really fills my soul to get me through the next year until we go back and do it all over again. But it was all snatched away from me because of stupid COVID and the fact that I’m a responsible human. For the first time ever we had a friend with us driving up and sharing an AirBnB. Unfortunately, she tested positive for COVID on Saturday morning after only the first day of the festival. So we basically quickly packed up all of our stuff and drove home with N95 masks on and the windows open despite the 100 degree heat. Let me tell you that was a long, hot, unpleasant drive. We could have not cared about spreading it and sent her home on a plane and then gone to the festival ourselves knowing that we could be incubating COVID, but we are not those people so we missed out on two days of the festival. I’m just so annoyed because literally I can count on my fingers and tell you the exact times I have spent time with anyone besides my husband unmasked indoors since COVID started and one of the few times I attempt it, it blows up in my face. I’ve missed out on so much in the last two years while everyone else has just gone back to living their lives, and one of the few times I actually try and let myself live a little despite COVID and it gets destroyed. Saying it’s not fair is a really dumb thing to say, but well it’s not fair and I’m mad at the world right now.
I don’t know what is in store for the festival as I write this on Sunday and it’s probably better for my mental health if I never find out what awesome surprises I miss out during the closing Sunday night show (update: it was Joni Mitchell who hasn’t performed a full live set in decades. I’m devastated to have missed it), but I know a bunch of amazing things that I missed out on Saturday and my heart is already broken. Paul Simon showed up as a surprise set closing the festival on Saturday. When he announced his farewell tour a few years ago, knowing that he had somehow never played Newport, I was so sure he was going to be a surprise guest that year. Then he wasn’t and I figured well that’s it. It’s never going to happen. But it did happen and I missed it. Sob!
So I’m sitting at home instead of the festival today wallowing in self pity and wondering if I’m going to test positive for COVID in the next day or two and hiding away from my husband and wearing a mask in all common rooms lest one of us test positive while the other avoids it somehow. Of course I got a big reminder this morning that this self pity I’m sitting in is pretty mis-placed because there are people I know dealing with much bigger challenges than me missing some live music no matter how much I love it. So I’m sending some prayers up for her and giving myself a reality check. So let’s end this pity party and try and find what good we can.
First up a few delights from earlier in the week pre-festival.
We record Jeopardy on our DVR and then just watch an episode whenever we have time, thus we are weeks and weeks behind. So in relation to what’s happening on the show currently I don’t know, but two episodes in a row that we watched this past week I got the final Jeopardy answer and none of the contestants did. I always feel super smart when I know it and they all get it wrong and to have it happen two nights in a row made me feel even extra super smart.
Cicadas. I’m not talking about the crazy overwhelming number of 17 year cicadas that we experienced in Baltimore last year. I’m just talking about your run of the mill cicadas that come out every year during the heat of the summer. We’ve finally hit that part of summer when they’re out, and I love hearing their hum early in the morning on my walk or in the evening. It’s totally the sound of summer to me.
The Mark and Sarah Talk about Songs podcast is just starting a season where they rank 40 songs to determine the most Lilith Fair song of them all. They switched up their format to exclusively do these ranking seasons, and this is their second one. I miss the original format where they used to just talk about a random song each episode and then do a ranking of songs from a particular album every 10th episode and then in March do a larger ranking tournament on a topic, which is what they are doing all the time now. Even though I’m less into the new format, I still like the podcast and am particularly looking forward to this Lilith Fair season that starts for real on the day I’m posting this. They had one short intro episode to the season last week, but this week’s episode starts the actual rankings.
And now onto a few delights I experienced at the extremely short time I got to be at the Newport Folk Festival this year.
I made sure to get my lobster roll right away this year. Last year I missed out because the little sandwich shop/ice cream place right by the ferry we take to and from the festival where I used to grab a late dinner from some nights after we got back over on the ferry closed during the pandemic. There’s more like a real restaurant that just opened in that space this year. There was some temporary sandwich place in there last year that didn’t have a lobster roll. I refuse to eat a lobster roll at the actual festival because it seems too dicey to eat something like that in the hot sun. Anyway, this year after we got in on Thursday night, we got dinner from a place that is down the road from where my sister-in-law used to live because I know that they have a lobster roll I enjoy. So I checked that off my list right away.
Every year we have gone to the festival there has been this other couple that sets up their blanket and chairs in very near proximity to us. In the 10 years we’ve been going, we’ve never actually spoken with them, but I always see them and they have been my secret festival friends in my head all these years and it makes me happy whenever I see them. I spotted them for the first time this year waiting in the merch line where I made a beeline as soon as the gates opened while my husband went and snagged our normal spot. When I got there he told me the empty chairs in front of us were indeed those of our festival friends who apparently saw him setting up and were like oh it’s you. We sit by you every year. So then I chatted with them when they got back and told them they were my secret festival friends and it made me so happy to find out that we were their secret festival friends right back. She told me I’m always dancing with her at the end of the night even if no one else is. I’m sad I won’t be there to dance with her at the end of this festival. I hope they don’t think we ran away and sat somewhere else instead.
Speaking of merch, I’m very happy that I was smart enough to go ahead and wait in line for merch on Friday as well as make it over to the Newport Festival Foundation membership tent to renew our membership that guarantees us the ability to buy tickets for next year’s festival because it’s real hard to get tickets these days otherwise. I would have been devastated if we didn’t have that guarantee and then failed to get tickets next year. So I’m glad I didn’t put that off thinking I still had two more days to deal with it.
The festival is held on the grounds of Fort Adams State Park, so there is obviously an old fort there. My friend and I were at the stage that is set up inside the fort watching a set and were sitting up against the fort wall where there was a little bit of shade still. There was a family next to us with two little girls I’m guessing about 6 and 3. The older one came over to us first and gave us little rubber band bracelets that she made. Then her sister came over and gave my friend a sticker. I guess I wasn’t cool enough for a sticker. Then she started telling us all about the ghosts and skeletons that live in the fort, but that we shouldn’t be afraid because if they tried to come out and get us she would kick them for us. It was very adorable. I love that the festival is so family friendly and you see newborn babies to senior citizens.
We stayed at probably the best AirBnb I’ve ever stayed in. The property itself was great and really well stocked. And she was super awesome when I told her about having to leave early because of COVID. She refunded us a little bit of money right away and then said that if the guests who were supposed to check in after us on Monday said they wanted to come a day early now she would refund even more of our money, which she just did. So in total we got one of the two nights we didn’t stay refunded. Obviously, she was not required to do any of that, so that fact that she did was super awesome and above and beyond since it meant she lost some money on our booking on a prime weekend. There were some other details that I would mention that would let you connect this post to her booking if you went looking, and since she asked me not to mention the refund in my review I’m going to leave it at that here. But I’m definitely planning on rebooking her place for the festival next year.
Hey it’s been another week. Let’s see what good we can find in it.
Arabbers. Arabbers are a long Baltimore tradition and something that at least as far as I’m aware don’t exist anywhere else. I like things like that that are so specific to a place. If you’re not from Baltimore you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Arabbers are vendors who walk around the city selling fruits and vegetables from a horse drawn cart. They have a certain cry that has been passed down to try and draw people out from their houses. There is one that visits my neighborhood and my street seems to be on his route back to the stables. So often in the evening I hear him going by. I like hearing the cries and the jingle of the bells on the horse as he rolls down my street.
First images from the James Webb Telescope. NASA released the first images taken by the James Webb Telescope this week. They were very cool looking. I know nothing about space and have no idea what any of it means, but it’s remarkable feat of human achievement. Also, I know several people who have worked on the project over the years, so mostly I’m happy that they finally got to see their work come to fruition when there are so many things that could have gone wrong along the way.
Reunion video. My mom’s side of the family had a reunion last weekend with her three brothers and their kids and grandkids. My sister and I were the only slackers that weren’t there. She because she couldn’t get away from work and me because with COVID I was not prepared to fly across the country to Washington state and then hang out with a large group of people. Even though I wasn’t able to make it, my mom asked me to put together a video slide show with photos of everyone plus my deceased grandparents and great-grandparents. I was very pleased with how it turned out, so hopefully everyone who was actually at the reunion enjoyed it.
Krispy Kreme donuts. I love me some Krispy Kreme donuts, but there aren’t any particularly close to where I live and I’m not interested enough to drive a half hour just to get one. One of my co-workers brought a box into work this week, so that was a nice yummy surprise.
No storm damage. This one probably feels a little bit like rubbing it in to some people, but we had some nasty storms blow through last week. I don’t know anything about weather patterns, but there is obviously something that tends to send the worst of storms north or south of the city. There are many times I look at the radar and see nastiness north and south of us, but the city being in a hole in the middle where we get light rain or nothing at all. That was again the case this past week where we barely got anything in the city, but there were crazy storms all around us that caused a lot of people to lose power for days due to all the downed trees. I’m glad we got to escape it and didn’t have to live without power for any amount of time.
Found Charmery card. The Charmery is a local ice cream place in my neighborhood. They have a stamp card that once you get 10 stamps you spin a wheel and get some free item. Most of the spaces are for a free cone, but you can also win some of their more expensive items like milkshakes, sundaes, and floats too. I walk by it every morning on my daily walk and the other morning I found a stamp card that someone had dropped the night before. So free stamp card to me that already had six stamps on it. It was almost like finding money on the sidewalk.
Hopkins Farm Brewery. There have been several farms in one of the counties north of Baltimore that have partially or wholly turned into breweries. Hopkins Farm Brewery is in Havre de Grace and not that far for my friends that live up in Harford County, though it’s a trek for us from the city. My friend’s birthday was on Friday and she wanted to meet up there to celebrate, so we braved the rush hour traffic and went up. Luckily there are scenic back road ways to get up there, so we didn’t sit in much actual traffic, but it still took an hour and fifteen minutes to get up there. Luckily with no traffic and the ability to take the highway on the way home it was just over 45 minutes, which is still long but better. That’s all to say that I very much enjoyed the atmosphere, but won’t be making a regular habit of hanging out there. They have lots of tables set up in the field next to the bar where you can get drinks. They also usually have a food truck or two on site, though you’re also welcome to bring a picnic just not any outside alcoholic drinks. There was a pizza truck and an asian noodle/rice bowl truck the night we were there. They also had some live music, which was just what you want for this kind of setting. Someone playing cover songs loud enough to hear but not so loud that you have to shout to hear the people you’re with. I always think it must be a little demoralizing to be the musical performer in that kind of situation, but that’s how a lot of people play live music for money as background noise. It was a really pleasant evening and something I totally do more often if it weren’t so far away.
And for your musical delight this week I have the first listen of Delta Rae’s Southern gothic music, The Ninth Woman. Delta Rae is a band I love from Durham, North Carolina. They did a Kickstarter a few years ago that went way beyond their wildest imagination and became the highest grossing indie band Kickstarter in history. They met their initial goal in under an hour, so they kept adding stretch goals over the course of the month that the Kickstarter was live. Their biggest stretch goal was write what they called a Southern gothic musical. They did a live event last Thursday night to share 8 of the 26 songs that will eventually make up the musical. It takes place in the lost Roanoke colony where children have been disappearing and the townspeople have attributed it to witchcraft. They have already condemned 8 women to death for witchcraft and now the titular ninth woman has been accused and turned in by her brothers, but it turns out in this case she is in fact actually a witch. I very much enjoyed what they shared during this first listen and am definitely looking forward to hearing the full thing and hopefully one day actually seeing it performed as a theatrical piece. I expected the live event to just be live, but it looks like at least for now you can go back and watch a recording of the event. So go have a listen if you’re interested.
Time for my weekly roundup of things that delighted me in the past week. I can tell you it’s not this hangnail that developed today. Why are those things so freaking painful?
Ever since my cat got diagnosed with cancer I’ve been waiting for her to get really sick and eventually die. Luckily so far she’s been in pretty good shape since we started pumping her full of drugs to help with her symptoms and keep her comfortable. If you didn’t know her previous routines you would just think she was a healthy, normal old lady cat. But she has developed completely new routines from where she sleeps and spends her time. Every once in awhile she acts like her old self sleeping in our bed and doing stuff like demanding pets from me whenever I walk by her. She did both of those things last week, and I try to cherish them because I know they probably won’t last much longer.
I got a nice little ego boost last week when I got a recruitment email from another library asking me to apply to a position they had open. It fits very nicely with my skills, and is a job that I think I would be well qualified for and would probably enjoy. However, I do like my current job, and there’s no way I’m moving where this job is. So, it will just stay a little hit to my ego and nothing more.
It’s the time of year for lightning bugs. What a crazy miracle they are. So magical to watch. Like how do they even exist and why? I have many wonderful memories of trying to catch them as a kid. I don’t catch them anymore, but I find it no less fascinating to watch them twinkle.
We went on a work field trip to a local museum that is one of those old, rich people houses that is now a museum. It was fun to get out of the library for a few hours and have a little outing with my coworkers.
My church had a picnic after services on Sunday. I debated about whether or not to go. First off, now that I’m within the window of if I get COVID I probably don’t get to go to the Newport Folk Festival this year, I’m being even more paranoid about COVID than usual. Second, I just feel very disconnected from people at church these days. A lot of people I knew the best have either left the church completely since COVID or are just still doing services online, so while I recognize the same people there week after week now that I’ve gone back in person I don’t really know most of them. I’m not good at talking to people I don’t know in the best of times, and throw in paranoia about getting anywhere close to people and catching COVID and it does not really make for a situation where I’m getting to know new people. It was such a nice day out that I couldn’t say no to going, so I did and I talked to a bunch of people I didn’t know. So yay for me as long as I don’t have COVID in the next few days.
We went to the drive-in to see Thor: Love and Thunder on Thursday. I am a big fan of the Thor movies, even the first couple that everyone else hates and routinely rank at the bottom of the MCU. They’d show up in the top third of my list. I was not interested in it enough to go brave a movie theater again like I did for Maverick. I happened to look at the Bengie’s Drive-In schedule and noticed that for opening night they were going to be a doing a single showing of Thor. Usually they have Double or Triple features and the movie I want to see is one of the later ones, which I am too old to stay up that late for. Since you have to wait until it’s dark at the drive-in this didn’t start until 8:45, which was pushing my ability to stay awake. Going to the drive-in has long been on my list of things to do in Baltimore, but I never did it for one reason or another. I’m glad the pandemic finally pushed me into and that occasionally it’s an option for seeing a movie I want to see on the big screen even if I don’t want to go sit in a movie theater with a bunch of maskless people.
And now for your musical delights
Speaking of Thor: Love and Thunder. I very much appreciated the use of Guns ‘N’ Roses’ music in the film. It was pretty perfect. Though after pretty much solely relying on them to soundtrack the movie they threw a Dio song over the credits which annoyed me. Why not go with another Guns ‘N’ Roses song?
As I mentioned in my previous post WXPN is doing themed Throwback Thursdays programming during the summer. This past week they were playing songs from 1982 and one of the songs they played was Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out”. I have loved this song since I was a kid, but it’s not one I hear very often. I have a weird memory that may or may not be factual or something that I just made up. It involves me hearing this song in a K-Mart as a kid. That’s pretty much the memory, but I legit think of K-Mart every time I hear this song.
One day it might be a delight to start one of these posts without feeling the need to say something about what a week it’s been, but let’s see what delights I found it anyway. This unfortunately isn’t going to be that week, and I’m typing this while seeing stories about the shooting at the Independence Day Parade in Highland Park, Illinois so it sure as hell isn’t going to be next week either. But to keep from curling up in a permanent ball of despair, let’s see what good I was able to find in the world last week.
I had several joys going to the Baltimore Museum of Art last week.
I had a floating holiday to use up before the end of June, so I took off work on Thursday. I’ve been meaning to get to the Baltimore Museum of Art to see the Guarding the Art exhibit, and since it closes on July 10 I decided I better use my day off to get over there. The exhibit is a really cool idea that I’m sure a lot of other museums are destined to copy. They hired some of their security guards to curate an exhibit of artwork owned by the museum. It was interesting to see what people chose. Some were pieces of art that related to their lives or things going on in the world. Some were pieces they found humor in, especially as it related to their jobs as security guards. After being unable to find Puerto Rican artwork in the collection, one person selected three small ancient statues and left the fourth pedestal in the case empty as a statement to encourage museums to be more representative in their collections. I liked reading about why each person selected the art they chose for the exhibit and being able to see some of the museum’s artworks in a new light.
This was my first trip to any museum since COVID happened. Even though I can walk to the Baltimore Museum of Art from my house and they have free admission other than for special exhibits, I don’t get over there often enough and certainly not since I still barely do anything indoors. Anyway, I specifically went to see the Guarding the Art exhibit and the special Joan Mitchell exhibit, which is ticketed. My last time there was shortly before the pandemic started and didn’t expect that a whole lot would have changed in that time, but I found some new permanent pieces that I liked as well as a Salman Toor: No Ordinary Love exhibit I didn’t know about. I had never heard of him before. He is a contemporary artist who was born in Pakistan, but lives in New York. His artwork centers around South Asian queer people. I was very taken with it. He has a very specific painting technique that I was fascinated by and would definitely be able to pick out even though I don’t really know that much about art. The exhibit is there until October, so if you’re in Baltimore go check it out.
I also really enjoyed the sound of being back in a museum. It’s something I had never really thought about before, but there is a certain sound of walking around art galleries on their wooden floors that involves the echo of your steps and the creaking and popping of the wood floors that stands out in the space particularly when a gallery is not crowded. It’s consistent across so many museums and I realized is part of what I associate with the museum going experience even though until I was away from it for so long I never stopped to think about it.
I got an advanced reader’s copy of Mad Honey, the new book co-authored by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. I could not put this book down. I read it for like 5 hours straight and only stopped because I really needed to go to bed. Had I started it earlier in the day I would have finished it in one sitting. As much as I read it’s been a long time since I read a book that I couldn’t put down like that. Also, I encourage you to avoid reading anything about this book ahead of time because I fear that at some point people are inadvertently going to start giving away something that happens about halfway through that I did not at all see coming and made me say “holy shit” out loud as I was reading. It becomes very woven into the second half of the book, so I can see people start to give it away without even thinking about it. I would almost feel bad telling you there is a twist, but by now Jodi Picoult fans should expect that.
My friends had people over for a pool party and bbq to celebrate the Fourth of July, although we did it on the 3rd instead so that it wasn’t a work night. Their neighbors usually shoot off fireworks, but since we were doing the party not on the 4th I wasn’t sure if I would see any fireworks this year. They too seemed to have their party on Sunday and set off fireworks, so I was happy to get a fireworks fix in.
One of my other joys at the party was at one point I was the only adult in the pool with all the kids. I was playing with some of them. A couple of them were hanging on me and one of them said to the other you have to share the adult. It cracked me up.
This past Friday my New Music Friday post was about Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul”, and I mentioned hearing it first in the Switched on Pop podcast. I decided to save this tidbit for my delights post instead of writing about it in my music post. I was having such fun listening to it because there were so many times I was thinking something and then they would start talking about exactly that. For instance, how I already mentioned that as soon as I heard the first snippet I thought it sounded exactly like Robin S.’s “Show Me Love” and then they talked all about that and how the songwriters for that song were given credit on the Beyoncé song. Then they started talking about why they got credit even though it’s not actually sampling the song, and I was like Blurred Lines case. Then boom that’s what they were talking about. There was a lot of me shouting yes and pointing wildly at my phone while I was on my walk. I get way into podcasts sometimes. I feel like there must be people who drive by me on their commute every morning and think to themselves there’s that crazy woman again. Anyway, a podcast episode obviously about music given the podcast that also weaves in some copyright discussions is tailor made for me. I am such a nerd, but hey I love what I love. And now I can add this example to my arsenal the next time I teach a workshop to students on music copyright.
This post is a little later than normal. I usually try and write in the mornings because my brain is toast by the time I get home from work in the evening, and I almost never feel like writing then. Mornings this week have been busy, so I haven’t had a chance until now. But just cause I’m late talking about them doesn’t mean there weren’t delights to be had.
ALAL Presentation. Back in 2020 I had submitted a panel to the American Library Association on copyright myths and legends. Well we all know what happened in 2020, so that panel didn’t happen. Sometime this winter I got asked if I was interested in doing the panel for the conference this summer. That was back when everyone was predicting so many people would have had omicron over the winter that we’d get a nice lull in COVID until the fall like last summer. Ha, ha! Again we all know how that turned out. It’s no secret that I’m still super COVID cautious, so being on this panel turned into my nightmare a little bit. The only saving grace was that vaccines and masks were required for the conference. Most but not all people were wearing them properly in my session, which I am very thankful for given that room was jam packed full. Every seat was taken and people were standing in the aisles. I only went to the conference for my panel because I couldn’t make myself be around that many people inside for any longer than I had to be. It was really nice to be back at an in person conference for even that little bit. I wanted to stay and do more, but I didn’t. My panel went really well and a bunch of people stayed after to ask questions. They had to kick us out of the room for the next session in that space. So that was gratifying. The experience did confirm for me that I’m very much not ready to go back to in person concerts which would be even more crowded than that room and with no one else in masks. I’m still not out of the woods where I might test positive for COVID after this, so I might retract my delight if that happens.
Getting in a walk in between the rain. Last Thursday morning it was supposed to rain, so I wasn’t sure if I would get a morning walk in. When I woke up it was still raining, but I looked at the radar and it seemed like it was moving out, so I got up and figured by the time I fed the cat and got ready it would have cleared out. That’s mostly what happened. There were still a few sprinkles around. Though sometimes I couldn’t tell if it was actually raining or if it was water dripping off the trees. At any rate, whatever it was doing it was totally reasonable for me to walk in. I thought the rain had moved out for good, but when I opened the door to leave for work a little bit later it was pouring and kept raining for much of the day. Apparently I squeezed my walk into the tiny space in the morning when it wasn’t raining. I hate missing out on my walk, so I’m very happy I was able to sneak it in.
The rest of my delights are all music related this week.
WXPN’s Throwback Thursdays. Over the summer for the past many years now, WXPN has been doing Throwback Thursdays. When they originally started it was throwing back to the same digit year in earlier decades each week. Since they’ve done that, now they pick themes and play older songs that fit with the theme. Last week it was songs that reached number 2 on the Billboard charts, but never made it to number 1. So it was a really good week for hearing great songs that were once very popular, but that you may not have heard in a really long time. Sometimes with the themes the songs get a little obscure.
As I believe I have mentioned in a previous post, I have gotten into vinyl in the last year. I like to keep my eye out for cheap used vinyl, and this week I snagged used copies of Bridge Over Troubled Water and the Concert in Central Park by Simon and Garfunkel for $5.99 and $7.99 respectively. An excellent find!
My New Music Friday post for last week was about the new album by MUNA. The song “Anything But Me” has been out as a single since March, so Friday was not the first time I’d even heard it by far. I guess I never really listened to the lyrics before because listening to the whole album on Friday was the first time I at least paid attention to the opening lyrics of the song. They gave me a big, old smile.
You’re gonna say that I’m on a high horse
I think that my horse is regular-sized
Did you ever think maybe
You’re on a pony
Going in circles on a carousel ride?
We’ve been watching the new season of The Umbrella Academy. The first episode features this delightful dance off set to “Footloose”, which if I am not mistaken includes some of the choreography from the original movie and also perhaps from other movies like Dirty Dancing.
Perfect birthday weekend. This past Saturday was my birthday and I had a lot of plans for the weekend. I went to see Jason Isbell, Sheryl Crow, and Waxahatchee at Wolf Trap on Friday. I went to the Orioles game with a bunch of friends on Saturday. Then on Sunday I went to Merriweather Post Pavilion to see Tears for Fears and Garbage in concert. It was a weekend full of normal seeming things. Like this would have been the exact weekend I would have planned even without a pandemic. Aside from throwing on a mask to go to the bathroom at the venues, it felt completely normal to me. I know everyone else is living like the pandemic is over, but I’m not because it isn’t. It felt good to have a weekend that didn’t feel like it was planned around the pandemic for a change. Also, I could not have asked for more perfect weather. I was expecting it to be in the 90s with 100% humidity like it usually is by this time of year in Baltimore, but it was instead in the high 70s/low 80s with low humidity. A delightful weekend all around.
Birthday jumbotron. As I just mentioned I went to the Os game on Saturday for my birthday. You can submit someone’s name to be on the jumbotron for their birthday during the game. I would never submit it for myself, but one of my friends surprised me and submitted my name. And I luckily didn’t miss it because I literally had just returned from the bathroom right when they put it up.
Bramble London Fog cake. I love a local Baltimore bakery called Bramble Bakery. They used to sell at the farmer’s market we go to every Saturday, but then they opened a store front last year and quit selling at the market. Their store front is a 20-25 minute drive from my house, so I have never been because there are places in my neighborhood I can walk to, and I’m lazy. They posted on their social media last Tuesday that they were selling some mini London Fog cakes at the Hamilton/Lauraville farmer’s market, which is just down the road from their storefront. It was chocolate cake with salted caramel between the layers and an earl grey tea buttercream. I adore earl grey and this cake sounded amazing. Since I was off work I drove over and got one. It was as amazing as I imagined and totally worth the drive. I still haven’t been to their storefront though.
Speaking of cake, my husband with a little prodding from one of my friends got me a red velvet cake from Enchanted Cakes and Cupcakes. It’s actually on the same road as Bramble, but farther north and even longer to get to from my house. I had a slice of this cake there the Christmas before last because I went there to buy some hot chocolate bombs for my niece and nephew because they have a wide variety of flavors. I bought a slice of cake while I was there and have been thinking about it since. Despite me telling my husband that I always want cake on my birthday but don’t want to be the one to bake it or secure it, he never remembers. I was going to buy my own cake, but couldn’t pull the trigger on the cost and mentioned it to a friend, who told my husband to get it for me. Also, the cake says it serves 6-8 people on their websites, so I was expecting it to be smaller than it is. We’ve been eating it for Saturday and I took it to book club last night. At least 12 slices have been eaten and there’s over a quarter of the cake left still. I don’t know what size slices they expect people to eat. I guess we got our money’s worth.
Guy walking with his cat. I was out for a walk the other day and I saw a guy talking a walk and his cat was just trotting along beside him no leash or anything. I have no idea how he got the cat to do that. My cat would never.
And now for your musical delights for the week. Buckle in. There are quite a few.
When one of my friends got married she complained that her Tennessee relatives got the DJ to play the song “Rocky Top” because she hates it and didn’t think to put it on their do not play list. I happen to love that song. When she told me she couldn’t come to my birthday baseball game because she was going to Tennessee for her cousin’s wedding, I told her I would only accept it if she sent me a video of her dancing to “Rocky Top”, which was inevitably going to be played. Because she’s an awesome friend she did indeed take a video of herself dancing to the song and apparently had to run up a hill to get to the dance floor when she heard it starting. I would share it, but she would probably murder me so you’ll just have to imagine. What a good birthday present.
The thirteen year old that is going to be chasing the high she experienced at the Tears for Fears concert for the rest of her life. Read my post on the Tears for Fears concert for the full story.
I have written on this blog before about Nandi Bushell and Dave Grohl. It made me really happy that she is going to play at part of the tribute concert the Foo Fighters are doing for Taylor Hawkins.
I went to the dentists on Friday morning and the dental hygienist and I were chatting about my plans to go to a concert at Wolf Trap that night. She said she only ever went down there to see The Indigo Girls because that’s as close as they usually get. And I was like oh you know they’re opening for Brandi Carlile at Merriweather Post Pavilion in August, right? She did not and got all excited. She was like how did I not know this? I have to go buy tickets. I’m always happy to share my concert knowledge. Hopefully she got her tickets and will enjoy the show. I myself am looking forward to it.
Chvrches livestream from Bonnaroo. I had tickets to see Chvrches at both the Anthem and the 9:30 Club in the past 6 months both of which I just wound up eating because I’m still not ready to go back to indoor concerts and since they were artists pre-sale tickets I couldn’t resell them. I was at least happy that I could watch their set from Bonnaroo on Hulu on Saturday night (or most of it anyway since Hulu’s schedule was all screwed up with the start time listed earlier than the set actually started and then they still ended it at their listed time, so we missed the last few songs). I have zero interest in ever going to something like Bonnaroo or Coachella so I’m happy that a lot of these things are live streamed now and I can just enjoy them from the comfort of my own home instead of sweating to death in a field with a bunch of drunk and high people that I then have to camp next to as well. No thanks.
When I was a little kid my parents had some compilation cassette of the sort that they used to sell at gas stations and places like Big Lots. We had several of them in my house. There was one in particular that my sister and I used to listen to a lot. One of the songs on it was “Hitchin’ a Ride” by Vanity Fare. We had these tv trays that had as base that popped off from the top and you could fold the base open and form a sort of metal rectangle with it, which we would stand inside and pretend it was our car while we “drove” it around the basement listening to this song. I heard it on the radio this past week, and it made me think of that childhood memory.
This week’s delights feel pretty random, but I guess that’s the whole point of doing this is noticing even the weird, tiny things that bring you a moment of joy
My umbrella dress. I have a dress from eShakti that has umbrellas on it. It’s one of my most complimented dresses. What I love about it aside from the pockets of course is that it’s flowy in such a way that when I’m walking down my stairs it catches just enough of a breeze that it billows out in a delightful way. It makes me happy every time it happens.
Bubbles. Last weekend my friend and I were sitting outside in a park and a little girl and her mom were blowing bubbles and they kept blowing into us. They kept apologizing and eventually moved to the other side of us, but we didn’t mind. Then I was driving home from work a few days later and random bubble just floated in front of my car, obviously from someone playing with bubbles in a yard on the street. Bubbles are just inherently joy making. Who doesn’t love bubbles?
Puppy in a window. I live in a neighborhood of rowhouses, which means that a lot of people’s windows are right up on the sidewalk and their houses are easy to see into if they don’t have them covered in some way. There is a house that I walk by every morning that must not have central air because their front window is always open in the summer. Last summer they had a little kitten that used to hang out in the window and always seemed like it was trying to play with me through the screen when I walked by. This summer they have a new puppy and now he hangs out in the window and seems like he wants to play. The other day he was standing with his paws up on the window sill looking out the window with a toy in his mouth and he dropped it on the window sill as I was walking by like he wanted me to pick it up and play with him.
Filled pothole. There has been a pothole in one of the alleys I use to get to the parking pad behind my house. It was really quite the crater, and it was super annoying to drive through. I literally thought it was never going to get filled partly because it wasn’t clear who was responsible for it. Was it the city or the property owner of the building in front of it? There’s some weird stuff about who owns what for the alleys and sidewalks on your property, so I had no idea and figured that if it was the business who was responsible they would never realize and would do nothing about it. I have no idea who finally filled it, but I’m just glad it’s finally fixed. I was very excited the night I came home and realized that I didn’t have to drive through a giant hole to get home.
And speaking of driving, I got another delivery order of Taharka Brothers ice cream to split with my friend this week. We had to. It was for the children. Our local elementary/middle school was doing a fundraiser with them, so you see it would have been very wrong of us not to get it. Anyway, I was driving to her house to drop off her half of the ice cream and was thinking it was going to be terrible because of this one intersection I have to turn left at. There used to be a cut through to get to her house around this old brick water tower, but they closed it off to repair it and have never reopened it so now I have to make a left turn through this terrible intersection to get there. It was rush hour, so I figured it was really going to be bad, but then amazingly there were literally no cars going south on the road so I was able to easily turn left across it no problem! Miracle!
Salmon from Cypriana. My husband and I went out to dinner at Cypriana last week because the weather was nice and I figured we should take advantage of eating outside now because soon the weather will be hot and gross and we won’t want to anymore. There are lots of things on their menu that look good, but I will apparently never know how they taste because I have only ever ordered their salmon. It is the best salmon I have ever had and have never been able to make myself order anything else because I love it so much. It’s flavorful and perfectly cooked with a crispy outside and a moist, tender inside. Yum!
I have to get blood drawn every few months because of the medications I take. I have terrible veins. It’s lucky that I do not have an aversion to needles or blood because finding a usable vein to draw blood is always a drama. Usually it involves getting stuck multiple times in both arms, some digging around in there with the needle, and sometimes resorting to weird places like my wrist or the top of my hand. I even had someone do my foot once. It’s always a pleasant surprise when someone gets me in one stick. I had blood drawn last week and the phlebotomist not only got me in one stick, she did it with a regular needle instead of a butterfly needle. I told her I was impressed.
Cherry season. Cherries are my favorite fruit. Actual cherrries. Not fake cherry flavored things. That is actually one of my least favorite flavors. Tastes like medicine. Anyway I was excited when I went to the farmers’ market on Saturday and they had cherries. I love cherry season.
And now for your musical delight. We’re going way back to the 80s with the Survivor song “The Search is Over”. I loved this song when I was a kid. I was thinking about this, and how my friends and I were really into very earnest love ballads and deciding it was because those were the over top emotional songs we had to process our over the top pre-teen and teenage emotions. Kids after us had things like emo and pop punk. That’s what we had to work with. Anyway, I heard this song on the radio on my way to work last week, and I had honestly forgotten it even existed. Hearing it brought back a bunch of memories. Then apparently the song was stalking me because I believe I mentioned in one of these previous posts how my neighbors sit outside listening to music and wouldn’t you know it they were listening to this song this week. Crazy.
Perfect weather. Everything seems more delightful when the weather is gorgeous. This weekend was absolutely perfect. Warm weather in the high 70’s and low 80’s with low humidity. It’s the kind of weather that we usually only get for a few days a year in Maryland. The humidity is bound to kick into high gear any day now. If I could order this weather all summer long I would.
Soft shell crabs. I live in Maryland, so of course I like crabs. I love soft shell crab season when restaurant specials start featuring soft shell crab sandwiches and other dishes. It only lasts for a few weeks, so I like to take advantage of it when I can. I was stalking the Food Market for when soft shell crab would show up on their menu because a few years ago I had the most amazing soft shell crab dish there. Last year soft shell crab season happened before I was comfortable eating at restaurants even outside and they refused to sell that special as takeout, so I missed out. You would think my delight would be getting to eat that dish again, but alas you would be wrong. They switched it up this year and made some green curry dish that is not my thing. So I literally spent my lunch break on Thursday perusing online restaurant menus trying to find somewhere that would for sure serve me soft shell crab. I finally found a special listed at Silver Queen Cafe, so we went out to dinner and sat outside in the lovely weather and I got to have soft shell crab. It was not as good as that Food Market dish, but it was still delicious and fulfilled my requirement for the year.
Last week in my delights post I wrote about poetry and mentioned that I didn’t think I’d ever owned a book of poetry. I went to pick up a book club book at the library on Friday and they convinced me to sign up for the summer reading program. I got a free t-shirt and got to pick out a free book to keep from a selection they had. One of the choices was Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman. So now I do own a book a book of poetry.
Four square. I loved playing four square in gym when I was a kid. I was walking down the sidewalk the other day and saw in the blocks naturally created in the way the sidewalk is formed that some kids had written 1, 2, 3, 4 in the blocks like they were setting up a game of four square. I have no evidence that’s actually what was happening there, but it looked like a four square court to me and I’m just going to believe that is what was happening there because it makes me happy.
I was listening to the May 31st Listen to Sassy podcast episode on my walk last week. There is no way for me to adequately explain to you what they were talking about in any way that you would understand. You’ll just have to go listen for yourself, but they had a discussion that involved muffins and then one about eye drops that directly called back to the muffins that had me laughing so hard I was crying and was having a hard time walking because I was doubled over in laughter. Anyone driving by me probably thought I was insane.
And now for your musical delight. It’s the fact that Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” has gotten crazy popular, even more popular than during its original run thanks to it being featured in Stranger Things. Currently it’s charting at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It only reached 30 back in 1985. I have always loved that song. I have a Spotify playlist called Amazing Songs that is songs that have stood the test of time for me and “Running Up That Hill” is one of the first ones I ever put on it. It delights me that a whole new audience has found the song and that everyone’s excitement about it means I get to hear it more often.
Last week was a real rough week with the school shooting in Uvalde and the hopeless feeling that nothing is going to change because this country is more in love with guns than people. Rather than delights it was more like trying to find something, anything that just didn’t feel like the world is total and complete garbage. So here we are.
I love honeysuckle. It’s one of my favorite smells in the world. When I was a kid we had a bunch in our backyard and I would eat the little drop of nectar or whatever it is out of the blossoms. We would try to do it at school on the playground too, but the teachers would yell at us which makes sense. You don’t want kids eating plants and potentially getting sick. Anyway the honeysuckle is in bloom and there are a few places I walk by every day that have some and I’ve been loving it. Our neighbor across the street has some on their back fence which sit beside the sidewalk. I was walking the other day and it was breezy and before I even saw it I could smell it and was like yay it’s honeysuckle time!
Related to all that, I follow Katie Pruitt, who is a musical artist I like, on Instagram and she posted a story last week of showing everyone how to eat honeysuckle. Perfect.
Ever since my cat got sick she has been sleeping in somewhat odd places for her. At night instead of sleeping at the foot of our bed she has been sleeping on the couch in our bedroom. I said something about it to her the other night and was like are you never going to sleep with me again. And then she did! She started out on the couch, but I woke up in the middle of the night and she was curled up next to my legs. She did that two nights in a row, but now she’s just back to the couch.
Somebody Feed Phil is back for a new season! If you aren’t familiar with Somebody Feed Phil it’s a sort of travel food show on Netflex in which Phil Rosenthal travels around the world, meets people, and enjoys food. It’s such a delightful, joyful show. I really didn’t know when or if we would ever get new episodes because you know travel and eating in restaurants seem really difficult with COVID. They somehow managed to make it work and filmed both the fifth and sixth seasons back to back. So we’re going to get even more! You can tell some of the stuff they did to make it work. There is a lot of eating and meeting with people outside, and when they are inside they are meeting with the chefs while their restaurants are closed. Gone are the days where you feel like Phil is just dining there while all the tables around him are full of other diners. There is an episode set in Maine where it feels like there were fewer restrictions, but at least the two episodes I’ve watched so far that were shot abroad were definitely full of COVID protocols. I still have a couple more episodes of this season to enjoy. I’m trying to savor them because God knows I need a little injection of this joy. It could literally not have returned at a better time.
I made a lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting for my friend’s birthday last week. It was a delicious cake. I will definitely make it again. Also, I have to give a shout out to my awesome husband who went to three different grocery stores to find lemon extract for me. For some reason that one flavor seems to be hard to come by right now. He was like they have every other flavor of extract known to man, but the lemon is out. Luckily he finally found some and the cake was saved! My friend has a bunny, so I found some really cute bunny cake toppers to go on it. It was adorable, and she loved it so that made me happy.
As I believe I mentioned previously I had to find a new primary care physician because my current doctor is retiring. I just got the new patient paperwork in the mail from the new doctor’s office. One of the questions they asked on it was name three things that bring you joy. I refrained from just referring them to this blog, but I definitely thought about it.
Surprisingly I don’t really have a musical delight this week. Obviously going to The War on Drugs concert, but I have a whole long post on that already, so I won’t rehash it here. Instead I’m going to leave you with some poetry.
I have never been really much of a poetry person. I never just sit down to read some poetry. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book of poetry. Every once in awhile I’ll see someone share a poem that resonates with me, but I’ve just never connected with it that much probably because I’m not consuming it in the best way. When I sit down with a book I like to sit down and read it. I think with poetry it probably makes more sense to dole it out to yourself in little bits a poem or two here and there. I’m not good at that, but it’s probably why when I run across one shared on social media I can connect with it more. There have been a number of poems I’ve seen recently that have really hit home for me. Here are a couple of them.
I saw someone share just a fragment of a poem by Mary Oliver the other week and had to go look up what it was from. The whole poem is “Invitation“, but this is the part that made me need to go read all of it:
“it is a serious thing
just to be alive on this fresh morning in the broken world.”
Amanda Gorman is an incredible poet who I think has brought a whole bunch of people into poetry who never considered themselves poetry people before. I haven’t read a ton of her stuff because see above, but from what I can tell she uses her poetry to powerfully speak truth to power, to call things out, but also to encourage, to lift up, and to call people action to build the better future she sees. She shared this short poem on Instagram the day of the Uvalde shooting and then later “A Hymn for the Hurting” in the New York Times. What a powerful voice she has.