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taygete

adventures, by accident

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baltimore

Real Domestic

I’ve been waiting a while to write this post, but I’m finally feeling confident enough to “announce” (to those of you who haven’t already heard me yammer on about it) that T and I have a house!

Although many people manage to do this every day, we found it to be pretty stressful and time-consuming, and we’re both super grateful it’s over. Perseverance paid off and we ended up with a house we think will be great.

I generally hate moving, probably because I own so many books and have very short arms, but I’m almost excited about this move. Since moving out of my parents’ house to go to college in 2001, I’ve almost always had a portion of my stuff in storage, whether in a storage locker over the summer, or left behind when I only took what I could fit in my car to move to Baltimore. I’m sure my mom will appreciate me not emailing her every few months asking if such-and-such thing is around and could she mail it to me. (Usually accompanied by a please, but let’s be real, not always.)

We’ve got movers scheduled for the end of the month. If you need me in the meantime, I will be grill shopping online.

Summertime

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again – I don’t know what genius landed in this benighted swamp and said, “Sure, let’s build a city here,” but I would like to have words with them. Strong, strong words.

Despite the fairly miserable weather, we are managing to survive. I’m hoping I’ve talked our landlord into putting a ceiling fan in the living room, and our tiny and ancient stove has been replaced with a tiny but new stove. Hoorah!

T and I appear to have started quite the 2015 wedding trend. After years of being confused by people inundated with wedding invitations, I’m now afraid to open our mailbox, and not just because our mail person jams things into the box all higgledy-piggledy. After my honeymoon, ten year college reunion, (pictures at the links) and then four weddings in about six weeks this fall, I may need a vacation to recuperate from all the travel.

Our CSA from One Straw Farm has started, and I’m enjoying it so far. The weather is so hot that giant heads of lettuce for salads are greatly appreciated, and the strawberries were amaaaaaazing.

A few other pictures from some of our recent exploits:

Baby angora at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival
Baby angora at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival
31 and finally experimenting with my hair color
31 and finally experimenting with my hair color
Annual spring tulip-palooza at Sherwood Garden
Annual spring tulip-palooza at Sherwood Garden

Needs Hashtag

As you may have heard on the news or basically anywhere, things in Baltimore are a bit intense at the moment. We are fine and so is our area, for the most part, but of course it’s been a stressful and upsetting few weeks. I’m not much one for writing about politics, but I was relieved by today’s announcement and hopeful that some semblance of justice will be served. I’m usually the first person on the bandwagon to criticize Baltimore because I am a semi-professional cynic, but I’ve found the recent news coverage enraging. In a city facing so many challenges, where so many people suffer from neglect and mistreatment, much of the news coverage from outside organizations has been racially-slanted fearmongering. Baltimore may be a pretty segregated city struggling to find its feet after decades of deindustrialization and white flight, but that’s far from all it is. Most of the people I’ve met here are friendly and among the most civically involved of places I’ve lived, people love dogs and the baseball fans are pretty dedicated, and there’s two free art museums. As with any city, there are many Baltimores — so keep that in mind when you turn on CNN.

Also, totally ignore Don Lemon. Most of what he says is almost guaranteed to be the opposite of what’s really going on.

Indulgence

I’m sorry my first post for a while will be a bit navel-gaze-y, but I’m luckily in thrall to my wedding photographs at the moment, and am so happy our photographer captured the happy moments (and not so much the stressful ones) of the day. Married life is treating us well, so far, and I think we’re just starting to reach our pre-wedding equilibrium. Or at least, we’re caught up on laundry.

You can can check out some photographs here, if you’re so inclined: http://chantallavinephotography.com/liz-tom-a-rainy-maryland-wedding/

Halloween

Anybody else out there not a huge fan of Halloween? I know for some people it’s their favorite holiday – costumes, candy, all that jazz. As an adult I am just not a huge costume person, I don’t have the endurance for too much candy (or partying) any more, and the prevalence of slutty costumes is headache-inducing. I find Thanksgiving to be much more my speed, though I’ll admit that’s largely because I’m lucky to get along with my family, who tend to be pretty talented in the kitchen, and it’s a day I don’t have to work and have often lucked into a long weekend. Food, sports, fall weather – all winners with me!

Penguin Parent

When I first moved to Baltimore, T and I were doing the long distance thing between here and his New England hometown. It was, as you can imagine, not a lot of fun – but there was one tiny bit of silver in that cloud. (Well, besides having the whole bed to myself.) Every time he came to visit, I would try to plan something fun or interesting, either an outing or a special meal or something with friends, in an attempt to lure him to the south.

The first Thanksgiving I was here, I had two coupon deals for admission to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, which we visited on an unusually warm day. Overall we had a nice visit, but we were a little sad at the penguin habitat. The birds seemed listless, the water was sort of mucky, and it was overall a little bit depressing. We didn’t hang out in that area very long, and it was an image that really stuck with us.

Penguins in an unnatural habitat (more so than normal)
Penguins in an unnatural habitat (more so)

About a year and a half ago, we heard that the Zoo was planning a major renovation of their penguin exhibit, and we were so happy and so curious how it would turn out. I don’t recall how we initially found out about it, but the Zoo offered the opportunity to “sponsor” a penguin; in exchange for a donation, you would get a little stuffed penguin, a certificate, and two tickets to a behind-the-scenes unveiling of the new exhibit. We were so excited and interested we did something very uncharacteristic and parted with money! We got our penguin in the mail last November (I named him Pickles, but talk about a face only a mother could love) and we eagerly awaited the event.

Our penguin parent package
Our penguin parent package

And last week it finally came! Alas, T had to work late, because of course. I luckily persuaded a friend to come out with me, and we had a lovely evening. The Zoo was full of hyper kids and really excited people, and the exhibit looked great! Much more spacious, lots of water and little coves for the penguins to hide in, company in the form of cormorants, and a new spot right near the entrance of the zoo. T and I are already making plans to go back so he can check it out for himself.

Look at all that space!
Look at all that space!

It was a really fun outing, and reminded me a lot of behind-the-scenes nights we used to do at museums when I was a kid. There’s just something extra-neat about feeling like you’re “in the know” and it was great to have this event to look forward to for so long. I even got myself a little gift to celebrate the occasion.

Cookie's not sold on the penguin slippers
Cookie’s not sold on the penguin slippers

Anniversary

Around this time marks two anniversaries for me: five years living in Maryland, and three years living in Baltimore and at my current job. Also the anniversary of my birth, or as I understand people refer to it, “birthday”. It seems sort of crazy to me that I’ve been here [in Baltimore] this long, but it also feels even longer than three-to-five years in some ways – a sensation I suspect is familiar to most readers.

I have to confess, I think some of the reason it seems like a long time is that I really still don’t feel very “settled” here in Baltimore. I’ve been here three years – longer than I lived in Boston, which seems insane to me – and I still rarely identify Baltimore as home in my words or in my mind. I’ve never dealt well with change or transitions, but I guess I’d hoped that after this length of time in one place, I would have adapted better.

Don’t get me wrong, things have improved in a lot of ways. My first few weeks in Maryland, I ended up lost and crying almost every time I left the house, so I’m happy to report that’s no longer the case. (As, I’m sure, are the other drivers on the road.) I’ve found that, to a certain degree, planning a wedding here in the Baltimore area has improved my relationship with the city, because I’m looking at things from a much different perspective.

I’m putting in a pretty good effort, too, in my opinion. I’ve got my book club(s), my bocce team, and a decent little apartment with a cute boy and a funny cat. I have a place I trust with my car, a favorite restaurant in walking distance, and definitely appreciate the low cost & abundance of baseball tickets for a team that’s been half-good since I got here. Something just has not clicked yet – but I’m hoping I’ll figure it out this year?

Summah

There’s no denying that summer is here – while it hasn’t gotten crazy hot yet, there have already been a few days where the cat won’t come out from under the bed, and T and I just lounge about fussing over the weather. A suitable job offer in Minnesota would be amazingly tempting right now.

Cookie and her rainbow ball
Cookie and her rainbow ball

I survived the end of classes and finals here, and managed to work in a co-presentation at the state library conference in May. I think it went well, or at least nobody left and I didn’t swear, so I can confidently call it a success. Other professional-type activities have been keeping me busy, and as it turns out, my 10-year college reunion is less than a year away. Yikes – guess it’s time to start planning!

The excitement for June is lots of days off, which is sort of a mixed blessing. It’s great to have time off, and I’m excited to head home to Chicago for my cousin’s wedding at the end of the month, but I always end up with a bunch of days to use in June and have to scramble to take time off. Maybe next year I’ll convince myself to take more time off during the year?

 

Rain

After a lovely few days here, it’s raining. I keep telling myself all the rain and snow this winter will make for an exceptionally vibrant, green spring … but that would mean spring would have to arrive, and we’re still sort of waiting.

It’s been a while, but honestly, not much has happened. In a mostly good way?

My parents visited this past weekend, and met Cookie for the first time. She behaved fairly well, and we had a nice trip to Annapolis on Sunday when the weather was so nice: https://www.flickr.com/photos/taygete05/. I’m co-teaching a Book Studies class this semester, and I’m enjoying the field trips to the area libraries. I guess just working in a library isn’t enough?

Cookie’s doing well; she says hi.

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