I don’t really have much to report on the delights front this week. I am temporarily sidelined from my daily walks because I screwed up my foot, so I’m trying to be good and rest it for a couple of weeks. I hate not exercising, but better to get it under control now rather than injuring it worse and dragging it out longer. I realize that a lot of my delights come from things I observe on my walks, so without walks I’m a little short.
It was nice to have a three day weekend. All weekends should be three day weekends.
My favorite podcast, Make Me Smart came back from their winter break last week. It was nice to have some new episodes after they were off for almost a month.
January 11 was the two year anniversary of my #FlamingoADay project on Instagram. Back in January of 2021 I needed a little motivation to go out into the cold and dark to take walks, so I decided to start posting a photo a day of the flamingos I found in my neighborhood because there are a lot. I figured I would be able to do it for a couple of months, long enough to get me to spring. Little did I know that I would be able to post photos for just over two years. I posted my last flamingo today. There were several other times I thought I was running out of flamingos to post and more would always show up, especially when a decorating holiday like Halloween or Christmas came around. I even found 3 more new ones literally on the afternoon that I had already posted what I told people was my final post. I finished posting those photos today, and now I am officially out of flamingo photos. It was a fun little project that made me walk around streets in my neighborhood that I probably never would have bothered to walk on. And it seemed to bring joy to people. I’m going to miss it.
Gentlemen, take a seat. Ladies, let’s talk bras. For years and years I’ve been getting Facebook ads for Third Love bras. I absolutely do not trust any products I’m being advertised on social media, so I always just sort of ignored them. Plus they are more money than I generally want to spend on bras. Given I wear them more than almost any other clothing that I own, I probably shouldn’t be so chintzy, but why does a tiny piece of cloth cost so much? Anyway, I have rarely found bras that I feel like fit me well. The straps are always falling down, or they are just slightly too small, or slightly too big. Third Love finally got me to give them a try with a sale and selling me on their 1/2 sizes. I thought might as well give it a try. I can return them if they don’t fit. Turns out the 1/2 size was the key to my problem. They fit like everyone says a bra should. They clasp for me on the last hook. The cup covers my whole breast. The little piece of cloth between my breasts actually rests of my chest. The straps don’t fall down. I am not super in love with the fluted look of the straps on the t-shirt bra, which is what I bought. But no one else really sees them but me and my husband, and I can guarantee he does not care and would have no idea what I was talking about. So I should probably start throwing out some of my old ratty bras and upgrading them when I can snag these bras on sale.
And now for your musical delights
My husband got me a gift certificate to a local record store for Christmas so I can feed my new vinyl hobby. I’ve been enjoying finding cheap copies of old albums from the 70s and 80s. I popped over there after church last Sunday and managed to add a couple of Lionel Richie albums, a Steve Winwood album, a Loggins and Messina album, and an Expose album to my collection for not very much money. I feel like Expose weirdly got lost in the 80s and rarely shows up even in 80s music mixes despite having a double platinum album that had 4 top 10 hits including one that went to number one. I had the Exposure album on cassette as a child and loved it. I’m happy to have it again on vinyl this time.
My husband and I have been watching an old BBC show called the Detectorists. I’ll have more to say about the show whenever I write my next TV Diary post, but today I have the theme song for you because I have very much been enjoying hearing it every episode.
Happy Monday y’all. I know I’m going to hate that it gets dark so early now (it was so cloudy here yesterday it was hard to tell), but I did very much enjoy having light for my morning walk again this morning. For the past month or so my walk has been almost entirely in the dark. I know it won’t be long before we’re back to that. January is particularly bleak in that regard as some date in mid-January is the latest sunrise in Baltimore, but for now I’ll enjoy the light again. And let’s get into the rest of our delights.
The weather has been unseasonably warm in Baltimore since last Friday. I have very much been enjoying it and trying to take advantage of it because I think today is the last day it’s really warm, then we get a few middling days, and the long range forecast looks downright cold which I am not looking forward to.
There were a few days earlier last week that were also warm, so I suggested to my husband that we grab dinner at Blue Pit BBQ and eat outside at their picnic tables. Too bad I didn’t realize they were closed on Tuesdays, so we got there and no one was there to feed us. We wound up at Wicked Sisters instead since we know they have a nice big patio. In addition to the traditional Smith Island cake they always have a special flavor too. That night it was chocolate Oreo Smith Island cake, which I could not turn down. It was delicious.
I was out for a quick walk after work one day last week. There was a guy in front of me walking his dog. At the end of my block is a small warehouse type building for a company that makes industrial type paint coatings for things like vehicles and planes. Anyway, some guy was standing outside taking a break and I noticed that as the dog went by he gave him the one finger wave with his index finger that people do to animals sometimes. I thought it was sweet.
I had jury duty on Friday, which decidedly did not make me happy. Jury duty in Baltimore is a miserable experience. I hated being jam packed in the jury waiting rooms before COVID and I was especially not keen on it now. In Baltimore jury service is for one day if you don’t get picked for a trial or for however long your trial lasts if you do. I have heard tales from many people of just going to sit in the waiting room and then being let go for the day. I have in all the times I’ve gone to jury duty ever gotten to do that. I haven’t always been placed on the jury, but I have always at least had to go into a court room to go through the voir dire process where they pick the jury, which is so boring because you’re not allowed to do anything while they screen all the other potential jurors. This was the first time I have ever gotten dismissed without having to go into a court room. We even got let out early. We came back from lunch and they let us go like 10 minutes later. It was also a really nice day, so it was nice to walk from the courthouse down to the harbor and grab lunch and eat outside.
Speaking of that lunch. I went to Shake Shack and while I was there I saw lots of people wearing name tags and many of them had book related tote bags and just looked like librarians to me. So I looked up what was happening at the convention center and it turns out it was some combined conference for various agricultural and soil societies. So I was like guess I was wrong. Then later that night a friend shared photos taken at the Renaissance hotel right down the block from the Shake Shack, where there was apparently a symposium for the Young Adult Library Services Association happening. I knew it! Glad to know I can still spot a librarian in the wild.
It’s always a good weekend when blacksauce kitchen has their fried chicken with spicy honey biscuit on the menu. They have a stand at the farmer’s market we go to every weekend, but they also have a storefront that is open on Thursdays and Saturdays. Usually I just grab a biscuit sandwich at the market because we’re already there picking up food, but the fried chicken biscuit was at the storefront this week and not the market. So I skipped the line at the market and we stopped at the storefront on our way home.
I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather this weekend, so I dragged my husband up the fall festival happening at Star Bright Farm. They apparently have different events and concerts there. I’ve been getting Facebook ads for them for quite some time, but have never gone. I was hoping we could find some friends to go with us, but everyone was either out of town or sick. We still had a good time, though we just pretty much went for the music. They were having a beer release with a locally brewery for a blueberry sour beer that was made with blueberries from the farm. I can’t drink and that is not a beer my husband would drink, so we didn’t participate in that. There were some activities for small children, which we don’t have so we didn’t take advantage of that either nor did we get food from any of the vendors there. I did buy a couple of things from the farm store, but for the most part we just sat in the middle of a lavender field and listened to some music and people watched. I found it to be an enjoyable afternoon and would definitely go back for future events.
And for your musical delight this week we have the song “Stockholm” by Jason Isbell. It was the song that made me fall in love with him. Although he had several solo albums after he left the Drive-by-Truckers, Southeastern, which this song is from, was his first album after getting sober and the one that really started his career trajectory to where it is now. He’s apparently on a European tour right now, and his first show was in Stockholm this past week. He posted a photo from Stockholm on Instagram with the caption, Stockholm- you know the rest. It delighted me.
My luck was apparently strong last week because I won all the things. I had entered a contest to win Courtney Marie Andrews new album, Loose Future. She painted the image that appears as the album cover. As part of my winnings I got a handpainted alternate version of the cover to store my record in. They also sent me the album on CD and cassette, which I don’t know what to do with. I need someone in Gen Z to explain to me why they have decided to adopt the worst audio format ever invented save for maybe the 8-track. So if anyone wants a copy of the album on CD or cassette let me know.
I also won tickets to my choice of shows from the Shriver Hall Concert Series. I entered to win tickets at RemFest, a local neighborhood street festival, a few weeks ago and I just got an email this week telling me I won tickets to either the October 24 or November 6 concert. We’re going on November 6 to see someone named Davóne Tines, who apparently interweaves Bach with contemporary settings that draw on the traditions of art song, spirituals, and gospel according to the website.
I went to see The Killers in concert at Capital One Arena. I already wrote about it, so I won’t both rehashing it, but it did bring me great joy so I’m noting it here.
Some people a few blocks over from me have skeletons on their porch that they dress in different costumes every week. I love seeing what they change into. So far they’ve been pirates, bananas, a hot dog, ketchup, and mustard, and Luigi and Mario. Presumably we should get a few more costume changes before the season is over. I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Today is actually my 14th wedding anniversary, so that’s a delight. We’re not really doing anything today to celebrate though. We are still outdoor dining only people and tonight is going to be too chilly. Saturday was very pleasant though, so we made a last minute decision to go out and celebrate then instead. We wound up having to eat at 5:45 because I could only find reservations at like 5 or 9 anywhere by the time we decided to go. We went to the Black Olive and had some delicious Greek food. They have a really nice courtyard in the back that we got to sit in, which was much nicer than the more plentiful outdoor dining they have set up on the sidewalk and street out front. There was another couple that came in shortly after us and she was asking him where he wanted to sit and he said doesn’t matter to me. I’m going to have the best view in the city no matter what. It was super cheesy, but really sweet and it made me smile.
We had indoor, in-person meeting for one of my book clubs for the first time since COVID. It was nice to get to see everyone in person. I still wore my mask because I’m trying to figure out how to balance keeping my immunocompromised self safe while not spending yet another winter locked away.
I drove home from book club on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and noticed a new sign entering the city. There’s an old wooden sign that says Welcome to Baltimore, which has been there forever, but someone tacked some additional signs to it. Someone has been creating these signs that say Be Kind on them in the shape of crayons that have all kinds of different designs on them. They are tacked up all over the city and are plentiful in my neighborhood. One of those signs was tacked to the Welcome to Baltimore sign alongside just a square piece of wood that said Hon on it. Hon is also a very old school Baltimore term of endearment. It was probably the same person who tacked both of them up at the same time, but in my head I like to imagine that someone put up the Be Kind sign and then someone else came along behind them and added the Hon.
For your musical delight this week I have the song “Worn Me Down” by Rachael Yamagata, which is a song from 2004 that I still really love. I usually listen to WXPN while I’m working, but they’ve been in membership drive mode since last week, so I’ve been listening to a playlist I put together in 2016 where I added one song a day that I heard and liked, so it’s a wide range of songs. This song was on it, and it was the first time I had heard it in awhile.
I am forcing myself to write this today. It’s the last thing I want to do because I’m feeling whatever the opposite of delight is. But let’s do it.
After 6 days of gloom and rain thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Ian lingering over the mid-Atlantic, the sun finally came back out at the end of the week and led to the perfect fall weather weekend. I am decidedly not made for living with so little sunshine. I would shrivel up and die in the Pacific Northwest.
Thursday was the first really nice day in almost a week, so my husband I went out to dinner at Tapas Teatro. The weather is starting to get a little chilly to eat outside, so it may have been our last meal at an actual restaurant for who knows how long. I usually get the salmon when I go there, but I’ve been craving lamb chops recently, so got those instead. They did not disappoint. They were perfectly seasoned and extremely juicy. Also, after my husband tossed most of our order of croquettes on the ground trying to pick up the plate, the waiter kindly replaced them without charging us even though we offered to pay for the replacement order since it was our fault.
Our plans were delayed a week because of the weather, but I went with my friend and her godson (his mom was also supposed to join, but wasn’t feeling great) to Weber’s Cider Mill Farm for some fall fun. I had been a number of years ago with another friend when her kid was little, but since it’s really aimed at children I hadn’t been any time recently. They had lots of little kid activities. He got to feed goats, mine for gems, ride in a barrel around a field, and go on a hay ride. We also got cider and apple cider donuts and picked out some decorative gourds. There were other activities to do as well, but we were working with a toddler here and he was ready to go, so he did not enjoy things like the hay bale maze, the boo barn or various climbing and sliding activities. Most importantly I got a dozen apple cider donuts and some pumpkin butter to take home with me.
Sunday afternoon I went to the viewing and musical tribute for the woman who has been the worship leader at my church for years, who as I previously mentioned passed away the other week. It started with an Omega Omega service with her Delta Sigma Theta sorority. It was not something I was familiar with previously as I was never part of Greek life and know even less about Black sororities. It was a tribute and induction for her into Omega Omega chapter, with Omega obviously signifying the end. After that there were lots of friends and musical colleagues sharing stories and providing musical tributes to her. It was a beautiful service that honored what a wonderful person she was and how many people’s lives she influenced.
While at the service I got to see a friend who moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland last year after she got married. We only got to chat for like a minute because there were lots of people she was trying to say hello to, but it was nice to see her even for a brief second.
Driving home from the service my GPS took me a way I normally wouldn’t drive to help me avoid the traffic heading to the Ravens game. At one point I was driving east of downtown over a bridge that gave me a clear view of the city and last night’s incredible moon over it. I really wish it had been a spot I could have hopped out and taken a photo. After I turned off that street and started driving east the moon felt like it was huge and right in front of my car window. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it so big.
There’s a house I walk by that has two flat metal dinosaurs stuck in their yard. They used to take little hats that they made out of paper and laminated to them to celebrate various holidays. The dinosaurs had been sadly hatless all of this year though, but this week they got some Halloween hats. It made me happy.
And now for your musical delights.
One of my favorite hymns is “It Is Well with My Soul”. I first remember hearing it when we moved to Dallas and the church we attended sang it frequently. It’s been on my mind a lot in the last few weeks because of Paula saying “all shall be well” until the very end of her life. It was the first song they sang at her service last night, which seemed very fitting. There are lots of versions of this song on YouTube. I went with this one because it gave the appropriate emphasis to the final verse of the song, which is one of the things that I have always loved about the song. Not all the versions I tried out did that.
One of the very few good things to come out of the pandemic was that due to church moving online for many months at the beginning of the pandemic and then remaining as an online option after it restarted in person is that we now have lots of videos of Paula leading us in worship that wouldn’t exist if not for COVID. So I’m sharing one of those early online services cued up to her sharing her wonderful gift with us.
I’ve got a lot of delights to share this week, so let’s get right to it.
I was walking to book club last week and passed a back hoe that someone had put giant googly eyes on. The back hoe part looked like a big nose or trunk. It really animated this piece of construction equipment. Thanks to whoever made something that most people would just walk by without a second glance into something that brings a smile to people’s faces.
Speaking of book club, I appreciate that we’ve been able to meet outside with the warmer weather. We might get one more in during October, but after that we’ll have to decide how we’re going to meet. I’m definitely not ready to go back to restaurants, but maybe meeting at someone’s house would be okay? Or we go back to virtual for the winter? I don’t now. Right now I’m just trying to enjoy being able to do things outside without trying to get too anxious about what the impending cold means for my social life.
Maybe 5 or so years ago (who knows how long it’s been with COVID time) I was heavily involved in a project at work purchasing new furniture for our library. In retrospect a lot of the chairs students said were their favorites they never actually use because while they are very comfortable, most of the times students want something more task oriented at the library. Thus no one ever sits in my favorite of all the chairs we bought. They have my favorite fabric. They’re comfy. They spin. But there’s three chairs clustered around a small circular coffee table type thing. Ideal maybe for having coffee, but not studying or working on a group project. I was delighted to walk out of my office the other day and see three students sitting in them all huddled over laptops and books piled on that tiny table. It didn’t look like the most comfortable spot to be doing what they were doing, but I was really happy that someone finally used those chairs.
Coming home on my morning walk recently there have been a couple days where I’ve seen a father and a daughter sitting on metal folding chairs on the sidewalk in front of their house with trays in their laps eating breakfast together. I guess they were getting out to enjoy some of the nice weather. I thought it was very sweet.
I walk by this house every morning on my morning walk. When it’s the time of year where it’s dark when I walk by it and they have a light on in the house, the way it glows through their shade into the dark sky totally reminds me of a Thomas Kinkade painting. You know the painter of light. He was very big in the 90s. They sold his paintings in malls. My parents have several of his paintings. He eventually became the butt of a lot of jokes I think, but the style of this house and that glowing light just scream Thomas Kinkade to me. This photo I took doesn’t do it justice because the camera picked up way more ambient light than I experienced when I was taking it diluting the effect you can see here. Does this photo not remind you of the painting at the top of this article?
Someone in my neighborhood put up this really cute hand drawn missing cat poster that their kid made. There was a regular missing poster with an actual photo of the cat right next to it. I hope they got their cat back.
I love a good black and white cookie. I used to always get one at Zaro in Penn Station to eat on the train home from NYC. Well I haven’t taken the train to or from NYC in at least three years thanks to COVID, so I haven’t eaten one of those cookies in a long time. My husband had to go up to New York for work on Friday. He drove up and his office is nowhere near mid-town, so he couldn’t get me a Zaro cookie. He did however seek a black and white cookie out for me and grabbed one from a diner near his office. It was actually not a very good black and white cookie. It was very dry, but it was the thought that counts.
Saturday was a beautiful fall day. I was desperately trying to find a friend to do something with me outside, but was having no success. Either people were out of town, had COVID in their houses, or otherwise already had plans. I also feel like my social circle is way smaller than it was before COVID and given all the limitations I have placed on my social life because of COVID it’s hard to reignite some of those more peripheral relationships from the before times. Anyway, I finally decided that I was going to walk over to RemFest, which is the neighborhood festival for the neighborhood just south of mine, by myself. Then it occurred to me that my coworker lives there, so I texted her and wound up meeting up with her and her husband at the festival and then going back and hanging out at her house afterwards. Normally I would have given up way sooner in my quest to find a friend, so I’m proud of me.
I feel like half my delights every week come from my daily walks, but hey a little reminder to get out into the world and try and find the little joys. Anyway, I was walking home the other morning and was coming up off of this little brick path that is canopied in trees that connects the upper and lower parts of this one road. It’s a very beautiful little spot. I’m not sure if she was new to Baltimore or just the neighborhood, but this woman came up to me and asked me if it went to Druid Hill Park. I told her no that is the complete opposite direction. So she asked me where that path went and I said just up north into a neighborhood. She very excitedly told me she was going to go explore it and went on her merry way. I appreciated the vibe.
Yesterday I went to the Orioles game with a bunch of friends most of whom I had not seen since before COVID as even in the before times it was mostly people I would see at parties but who I mostly didn’t hang out with on an individual basis. It was nice to see everyone again. It was quite the bizarre weather day. It was warm, but with a very stiff cold wind at times that eventually brought into some thunderstorms that caused a rain delay but that blew through very quickly. Then it alternated between cloudy and sunny. The O’s lost in 11 innings. It was a very long game. I appreciated the older woman in the next section over who was obviously humoring her husband who wanted to come to the game while she sat there and read a book.
And finally your musical delight for the week is a song by the 80s band Expose. I heard this on the radio the other day. I do feel like Expose is an 80s band that you don’t hear very much anymore and I don’t think every properly got their due. I still enjoy Expose’s music whenever I hear it.
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.