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May Day in Annapolis

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I can count the times I’ve been close to calling myself anything remotely close to a garden club member on two fingers. One when I watch Dennis the Menace and pretend like I’m an extra in the scene when that super rare, super old flower finally blooms for half a second. And, two, when one of my friends hosted a garden party, I baked my first pie, and then it rained so we sipped on our mint juleps inside. Needless to say, I’m still trying to grow grass, remember?

I do envy garden club members, though. It just looks like a jolly good time. In fact, the Garden Club of Old Annapolis started this tradition over half a century ago where residents, businesses and historic sites place baskets of flowers outside on May 1st and those garden club members take to the streets to pick out the best. It’s a beautiful tradition and it really does mark the turning of the year in town.

Yesterday I stole a few seconds of time (how, I still don’t know) to take some pictures. Really, you could (and should) spend an entire May Day in town, especially if you’ve never visited before. But, since May Day has come and gone and will be no more until next year, I figured it would only be fair of me to share some shots from around town this year.

You know what they say… April showers bring May flowers! (I know, I know….)

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If you’d like to check out more from around Annapolis, head here!

Where Are You, Christmas?

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My car alarm went off this morning. It wouldn’t stop ringing even when my husband went down to stop it. I’m not sure what triggered it, if anything, but it didn’t surprise me. In fact, that random alarm seemed like the only fitting way to begin closure to this wild week. Christmas spirit seems further away right now than perhaps ever before in our house. And despite a mid-week date to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra perform in D.C., things just don’t feel right around here lately.

We watched Jack Frost last night. I fell asleep with Misha about halfway through. Christmas movies aren’t keeping me up until the wee hours of the night like they used to. Maybe I need to bust out the big guns and tune into some It’s a Wonderful Life a bit earlier than usual. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Christmas spirit evolves right along with the candles on your birthday cake. And as quick as the magic of your childhood disappears  the realities of December steamroll in. The holidays are fleeting. The local radio station plays the same 50 Christmas carols in a continuous loop. And the James Taylor CD was overplayed so much last year that it won’t even play anymore. Christmas lights die and it is rather difficult to find cheer when you are going light by light through strand after strand to find that one, single light that is causing all of the chaos.

So this is why we congregate in large numbers around the holidays. To find the Christmas spirit. If at least for a few hours, last Saturday we watched the Annapolis Parade of Lights from the Severn Sailing Club with some friends. Food, wine, Christmas lights, music, and the masses. We had one of those chilly-but-nothing-worth-complaining-about sort of nights where you are just fine outside for hours as long as you’ve bundled up.

So if you can’t find Christmas hidden somewhere else, well, I am sure you will find a twinkle of spirit in here.

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(I do not support this next boat…)

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I think I found Christmas…..

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Christmastime in Annapolis {2}

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If there is one thing I can say about my hometown, it’s that Christmas looks good on Annapolis. Oh, she looks mighty fine on our streets and docks. So I last left you up at the top of Main Street, right? Quite a tease, really.

Here you have it. The rest of our chase-the-sunset-and-follow-the-storefront-decorators jaunt through town a few weekends ago. Best to be had with a piping mug of cocoa (extra marshmallows) and your favorite seasonal tune of choice cranked up to the loudest volume. 

From my home to yours, Happy Holidays!

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(Hehe. We are just getting started, my friends. We just had our Parade of Lights, where the boats circle around the harbor for two hours decked out in their Christmas decorations. You just wait. This is the stuff that Christmas spirit is made of….)

Did you miss Christmastime in Annapolis {1}?

In Which I Date…

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Friends. I went on a date with a super tall, handsome ginger who took me to a wine bar where we drank fancy blends under a heat lamp on a patio and discussed world peace.

Well, sort of. Alex and I have places. Vin 909 wasn’t one of them. Vin 909 actually belongs in the category of “my best friend places”. Ariel, Stephanie and I love a good Vin 909 date. And I kept telling myself I needed to take Alex.

Vin 909 isn’t really in downtown Annapolis which keeps the tourists away. I hate tourists. Lies. I don’t hate tourists. I just like that we have a few “secrets” that us locals can steel away to when tourist season gets out of hand.

I digress. Back to my date. Friday night Alex went all debaucherous on me and spent the night out at a bachelor party. I’m heading to bed at 1am after doing some major blogging (don’t judge, you’ve done it before, too) when I get a phone call. “Can you pick me up?” So with chattered teeth I jumped in the car wishing I had his car with its awesome heated seats and I made my way into town to pick his inebriated self up (along with a Jimmy Johns sandwich I come to find out). His friend’s apartment complex is around the corner from Vin 909. So it dawned on me.

Payback.

Hence my date to Vin 909. All because we had to go into town to pick up Alex’s car the next day. This place amazes me. Their wine list is awesome and it’s the one place I’d ever consider ordering by the glass instead of the bottle because their prices are fair and their selection is unbelievable.

As is their menu. We ordered their house salad (I’m a sucker for blue cheese) and The St. Nick pizza (appropriate, right?). The pizza was incredible. And this is coming from someone who is a craft pizza snob. I was nervous about eating pizza with honey drizzled over it but it was nothing short of perfection. Oh, and then we had ourselves a delicious french pressed dessert. We get all giddy over french pressed coffee. And the stronger the better.

I forgot to mention. My date was extremely understanding and let me practice my photography skills on an otherwise intimate occasion. :)

(after these first few courtesy of instagram!)

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(I’m getting so used to that receding hairline on him that I’m beginning to consider it sexy…)

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Jolly Ol’ Saint Nicholas…. Best pizza ever. I mean, look at Alex’s reaction.

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*sidenote: proof that I can scour through my closet and find a great outfit worthy of a great date out of clothes from season’s past. & proof that sticking to the classics and avoiding the fads is the ONLY way to go. so go thank Audrey (& J.Crew & Anthropologie… shame on my champagne taste) ;)*

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Christmastime in Annapolis {1}

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The weekends can be so daunting. They demand so much of your time and require you to focus on so many priorities at once. How am I supposed to catch up on sleep, relax, socialize, catch up on housework, and make it to a few awesome outings all in 2 days and three nights? It’s exhausting.

So something always gives. This weekend it was the housework. Didn’t do it. Nada. I started my first load of laundry at 8 pm on Sunday night. But what we did instead was make sure that we spent our Saturday sleeping in, making it to the gym, and dragging our showered and dressed selves out for the night.

Before the night, actually. Because I wanted to take pictures. (and this girl can’t take pictures at night yet). I gripe about where we live a little too often but I love Annapolis. I love that it is my hometown. I love the two years I lived there after college in an overpriced apartment. I love that I work in town. I love that we bought a house only a 15 minute’s drive from downtown. I love that it is home. And I forget that sometimes

Lucky us. They (Who’s they? I don’t know…) were decorating the streets for the holidays when we arrived. It smelled of wintertime crispness and fresh pine. I think the fact that they were knee deep in the process of decorating for the holidays made it feel more like Christmastime than if the decorations were finished. Needles scattered the sidewalks as they carried the strands of fresh cuttings from storefront to storefront. They shouted across the brick streets to one another, asking if this was centered or if that was hanging too low. Their radio played classics of the Nat King Cole variety. If this isn’t Christmastime than I don’t know what is.

So with the last few moments before sunset upon us and a piping hot white chocolate peppermint mocha to sip as we walked, we soaked in Christmastime in Annapolis. And completely forgot about that housework waiting to be done back at home.

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….. to be continued…..

Reset Button

She discovered her reset button early on & there were not many things that bothered her all the rest of her days just because of that. Story People

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I suppose you could say I’ve been restless. Yet in between life’s recent derailments, recent vacations away from the insanity of home, and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of our lives, Alex and I have made a great effort to begin living. (In whatever moments are left to live).

The comfort of the familiar shouldn’t be taken for granted. As exciting as we get at the idea of getting out of Dodge (ahem, DC Metro), we love our home. Annapolis turns out to be a pretty cool place to grow up and I forget that. Since both Alex and I have summer jobs right in Annapolis, we’ve had more opportunity to enjoy the town recently. We’ve had Happy Hours with our friends (or just us), we’ve done quite a bit of window shopping (sometimes it can be a bit painful for me), and we’ve eaten out way…. too… much. Ask my waistline. When we first lived together, we had a perfect little apartment downtown with a perfect little walk to everything we needed. The suburbs aren’t as cool. It’s harder to get downtown. I’m glad we’ve made the effort recently.

In the midst of all of our angst and unrest, it’s been good to hit reset. To look around and appreciate our home. This is our home, for now. Life’s too short to hate your home, wherever that is.

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*Filed under Personal Life*

Under the Wisteria by the Harmonica’s Buzz

April showers came late this year. Specifically, in a great deluge this week, threatening my sanity, my students’ intellect, and Alex’s birthday. With plans centered around “let’s figure it out after work”, I desperately tried to turn a swampy Wednesday into a special day for my husband. We were both exhausted, a biproduct of working late days with not even a midday glimmer of the sun for the first part of the week.

After honest effort to plan something unique and exceptional, Alex made up his mind. Nothing extraordinary, no new adventures. We’d go to Rams Head Tavern for beer and nachos…. like the good, ol’ days. Thus, I began thinking.

Humans are creatures of habit. I wasn’t surprised Alex wanted to go to Rams Head. When we’re tired, undecided and short on creative fuses, we turn to what we know best. I store my memories in files labeled by destination. This is not chronological. It is not genre induced. My memories survive by places. Ask me about my favorite memory. The response will always begin with “I was at the cottage on Lake Michigan…” or “We were wine tasting in the Blue Ridge Mountains…” or “It was when I was in Germany…” or “On the downstairs deck of my old house…”. Rams Head has its very own filing cabinet. Whether it’s with a group of friends or just the two of us, Alex and I have special memories at Rams Head. When we lived downtown Annapolis, it was our spot. Free happy hour grub, good beer straight from the tap, sipped under the blooming wisteria to the beat of local songs. The memories aren’t particularly special save being part of his proposal and a few birthdays, but the memories form a delicate moment in time. Rams Head represents the beginning of our relationship post-college.

It was a great Wednesday night. Seeing as it was Alex’s birthday, I humored him the entire time by letting him play his practical jokes and make me the brunt of his bad laughs toward the waitress. I even let him eat the last of the nachos. As the harmonica hummed the blues behind us, the beat of the drum easy and steady, it reminded me why I always go back. When you’re looking to make a trusting, new memory, a good rule of thumb is to return to what you know and love.

Happy Birthday, Feliz Cumpleanos, Joyeux Anniversaire.

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*Filed Under Social Life and Married Life*

The heat of the season

I sit here, mildly intoxicated off jokes and happy exchanges with friends and neighbors, sewn together by the frozen margaritas necessary to get through an 88 degree Monday in mid April, thankful for my little patch of grass, azaleas and backyard bliss in the middle of this crazy, anxious metro DC area we’ve decided to call home.

Today marks the beginning of my least favorite season- mosquito season.  It also marks the beginning of the “it’s official, I hate the humid, hot summers [and springs] and I refuse to live here the rest of my life" bitch-fest that I call my belief system.  Kept awake by a choppy six hours of sleep in solely my underwear beneath the ever spinning swirl of the ceiling fan, atop the thin white sheet and soft, over washed quilt on the bed, I woke to Monday morning’s songbirds with little more than angst, complaints and sweat from a night in the heat.  At least the bed was still made from the day before.

Yet, I have much to be thankful for on this horrible, humid, I can’t believe it’s only April and it’s too God-awful hot day.  I am thankful for our home, despite it’s inability to cool a second story, it is a good home filled with good things and good cats and I love it.  I am thankful for my husband, who knows how to turn any day into a positive day, even when his Monday made my Monday look like a cake walk (and trust me, today was not a cake walk).  I am thankful for neighbors who provide more than a cup of flour when I run out mid- cookie recipe.  Our neighbors are rich with smiles and limitless in company.  I am thankful for my best friends, whom I see rarely, but I can pick up with as if no time has passed and who can carry a text message conversation as if it we were side by side.

While I dread the still, thick months to come, I can’t forget that even today, weeks without any sign of rain, there was a breeze rushing through the windows, violently pushing the curtains horizontal, over the furniture and through the house.  Misha and Baci sit in the guest bedroom windows, crying out to us in the back yard as we play ladderball.  It’s getting dark and the heat is beginning to break, just barely.  Conversation has turned into that impossible to follow, sporadic, worthless talk that skips from one discussion to the next, filled with more excitement than ever thought possible.  I might hate the the heat, but I’ve learned how to handle it, and I’ve taken from it what truly burns in its’ presence- friendship.

*Filed under Social Life*