Thursday, August 28, 2008


It is the week of random signs. This one marks the location of an emergency evacuation gathering point. It's in a parking lot. A parking lot of a grocery store. A parking lot of a grocery store in Northern Virginia. This isn't hurricane happy Florida or earthquakey California. What emergency could they possibly be preparing for? Sudden tax increases? A shortage of imported cheese? How alarming would it be to go buy broccoli and park under the SIGN OF DOOM?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I bought something on the internet over the weekend and at the end of the transaction the confirmation page came up just like you would expect. However, my confirmation number was 00120080819124208932. Really? I was ordering from Musician's Friend; you can not convince me that they have had 1.2 quintillion orders. Are ALL of those numbers really necessary? We need to simplify, people.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Really Random (even for us)

Walked out to my car last night after work and saw this in the bushes of the parking lot: Wait. Is that a sign in the bushes? A directional sign? One of the ones the city puts up for tourists? yes, yes it is Why? Is the city storing it there before installation? Did some punk pull it out and then try to hide it in our parking lot? (cause if so it is the worst hide-job since i played hide and seek with my 3-year old niece) Did a giant pterodactyl tear it from the ground to use in building its nest? Was there a tornado that i missed? How in the world did it end up here? I wonder if it is still there.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Right before the end of work today, team member AJ came over to my desk. You said you weren't very good at drawing and I thought this might help you, he said, holding out this black case (BTW, he has a BFA in illustration, which is how the subject came up in the van one day) : Obviously it is some promotional thing from the Adobe people, so i'm thinking computer stuff (if you can learn to do it on the screen, you can learn to do it on the paper) when he opens it up for me Surprise! It is a compact drawing kit with 12 colored pencils, a pencil sharpener and eraser. Don't understand why i am so excited? Did i forget to mention the scale? ADORABLE! Have you ever seen anything cuter than these tiny little pencils? Love them so much! They are perfect for tiny little drawings. Now, if only i could draw...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lab Cleaing Day

Once i get started with something I just kind of run with it. Cleaning my studio has launched a frenzy of tidying. Friday the mania came to work with me. My lab and storage area had to be cleaned top to bottom, which meant that some poor team member (in this case it was new team member AJ) had to climb to the ceiling to work on the third level of our deck. Don't worry, team member Alex was standing close by : it is safety first in our lab! I am also on hand, directing the cleaning and moving action. Where is he disappearing to? Things were cleaned, organized, inventoried, repurposed, throw away and pulled to give to other programs. It was very satisfying. In fact, if you look closely at this picture you will notice (despite the blurriness; sorry) that AJ is smiling even as he is scraping his back trying to get to the next task: Of course he might just be trying to decide if there is enough room for him to curl up and nap on top of those cases of straws!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Reasons to Love My Library

I recently found out that Mondays and Wednesdays are "2 for 1" DVD days at the Catonsville Library. You know how much i love Red Box, but with the deal at the library you get 2 DVDs for 2 days for $2.50 - that is only 19 cents more than Red Box and you get an extra day. Plus, DVDs of TV shows are a 7 day loan with no charge. At this point i think i could only love my library more if they started giving away food. Or puppies.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wow, that's purple

I tend to be verbose - which is the kind way that i refer to my own excessive chattiness. I love words, be they spoken or written. I have been known to seriously over-write things and use a lot of embellishments: i was a yearbook editor for goodness sakes; i know flowery language. But great mamba-jamba I have never seen prose like the stuff created by PR firms. Last night I needed to go shopping for tambourines so i did a little research on-line before i went to the store. Listen to this: In high volume situations, Rhythm Tech's upgraded stainless steel jingles are a quantum leap forward that will take you to a whole new level. The Pro is also available with brass jingles that create a warm, funky, chunkier sound. "... a quantum leap forward..." ? How far can you go with tambourines? Apparently to "... a whole new level." What level? you ask. Who knows. "...a warm, funky, chunkier sound." hmmmmm... i'm pretty sure tambourine sounds should never be described as "chunky" : rhythm guitars are chunky, bass guitars are chunky, horns are chunky, soup is chunky, my hips are chunky, but tambourines are NOT chunky. For Pete's sake they are called jingles : that pretty much describes the sound. It gets better: The Handle - ahh, no pain. Completely redesigned by two design firms that specialize in designing handles and grips for sporting goods, medical devices and tools to develop a uniquely easy-to-hold tambourine handle. The shape, width, length and circumference of this handle were designed using over 200 measurement points of eight different human hand sizes and proportions. The handle feels great, but also controls the instrument better so that less effort is required to play. 1. how painful are tambourines normally? 2. it took 2 firms to redesign a tambourine handle? 3. there are 200 measurement points on the human hand? 4. how can it take less effort to play? Don't you just hit it? Someone got paid a lot of money to write these descriptions. I bet it was a LOT of money. I am in the wrong profession.

Monday, August 18, 2008

So very clean

I've been busy. I've been sick. My studio looked like this: Yikes. Obviously I haven't really gotten anything done in there for a while; I was even LATE on several birthdays. This weekend i cleaned, purged and straightened. Now it looks like this: Wait... is that actual work space? ahhhhhhh... so much better... Look - supplies that are organized and in the correct places and a table top cutter that you can actually CUT ON! Watch out people, i'm crafting tonite!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eggplant revisited

The exploration of eggplant as an ingredient continues. Co-worker (and sometimes co-conspirator) Stacey went to a farmer's market and bought a bevy of fresh fruits and vegetables so she invited me over for a veggie dinner on Thursday. Having never seen the prep for eggplant I arrived early enough to see the whole process. She cut quarter inch pieces of two medium eggplants (which was an impressive feat in and of itself - there was blood involved, but i'm pretty sure none got into the final dish) and salted them to draw out some excess moisture. I have read that salting is always the first step with eggplant, but it was cool to see it. If you look closely you can actually beads of moisture on the surfaces - ohhhhhh, osmosis... you're awesome: After the prep and baking of the eggplant, she built a lovely lasagna with it that had both red and white sauces and triple cheeses. Like all great lasagnas there was so much cheesy goodness that the first pieces did not hold firm layers when served, but frankly i couldn't wait until it cooled to take the picture - eating needed to commence! The side dish (which nicely matched the plate - extra points for that) was blanched hericot verts (french green beans which are smaller and sweeter) with chuncked tomatoes (they were mid-sized; maybe Romas... i forgot to ask) dressed with a basalmic vinaigrette. It was all ridiculously yummy. Now that i've eaten eggplant several times, the next step will be to try to prepare it myself. I'm not sure i am quite ready; perhaps someone else needs to cook more eggplant for me... volunteers? For dessert Stacey made peach cobbler which we ate while it was piping hot, with vanilla ice cream. (there are no pictures cause my bowl was consumed far too quickly to be captured) It was very, very good. I am generally a big fan of cobbler, struesel, brown betty-type dishes; how can you go wrong with fresh fruit, hot sugar and crumbley topping? Interestingly, peaches are this season's fruit-that-i-am-experimenting-with and Stacey didn't even know it. Way to work in not one but two trial ingredients! THANKS!

Friday, August 15, 2008


I've finally done it. I am always really careful about my picture files; I am still a bit hesitant about them since there is no physical negative to store. But i also hate having 10 bajillion pictures on my memory card or my computer. So once something is on my computer I clear off my memory card. And once an image is on a blog or sent to Shutterfly i clear it from my computer. The system had worked for nearly 2 years. Until last night. I just realized that i thought the pictures from Rob's last day were on my computer so i cleared them from the memory card and they aren't on my computer. DANG! I really wanted those pictures; they were good pictures. They were the last pictures i had of Rob and the team. Dang, dang, dang. Stupid digital-no-negatives-too-easy-to-throw-away-images camera, stupid flawed system, stupid faulty memory. Is there any way to find images "erased" from memory cards, like things aren't really totally "gone" from your hard drive? Anyone?

Last Day

Today was the last day of summer programming. It is really different to perform in libraries instead of schools. Some stuff is better, some is worse, but it is all different : the age and attention span of the audience is different, there are a lot more adults, children's librarians tend to be really cool, but kinda high-strung (i think of them as the poodles of people), they almost always know you are coming and are prepared, often there is chilled water and/or treats. One thing i really like is being around all the books. If we have a few minutes before a show, i'll grab random things from shelves. A few weeks ago i grabbed May Bird and the Ever After cause i liked the picture on the spine; the next day i had to go to my library and check out all three books in the series cause i was so intrigued by the little bit i read before our show. I also enjoy the various art, murals, collections and such that you find in public places, like this reading pit next to a children's room: It was the perfect place to sit on a tiny chair and read Chickerella aloud to my team members and any kids who might have wandered past: [ i highly recommend looking at this book cause you have never SEEN pictures like the pictures in this book - hilarious and horrifying at the same time] As i was taking pictures of the reading pit i enjoyed how the artist had realistically created so many storybook creatures: leprechauns, fairies, pixies, knights, sprites, unicorns, princesses, dragons, giraffes... Wait... aren't giraffes real? What is this guy doing in this mural??? Are they confused or am I?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Downright Cheerful

Yesterday i came singing into the office. I greeted everyone individually with perhaps greater enthusiasm than normal. Logistics Coordinator Wendy looked at me and said, "What is with you? You're downright cheerful today." What does that mean? It sounded like a curse, like "you're downright mean." Have you ever heard the word "downright" used as a positive modifier? How can you be too cheerful? I'm sure that you can imagine that i am not particularly curmudgeonly; generally i am pretty upbeat. I'm friendly and outgoing, but yesterday apparently it was just too much for some people. What's wrong with cheerful? I realize that it is hip to be sarcastic and ironic, jaded by the world. Blech. I like cheerful. I like polite. I like nice. Besides, i feel extra cheerful. The last 3 weeks has been this: 3 different antibiotics; ingested, inhaled and snorted steroids (love those side effects); analgesics, decongestants, expectorants and a mucus thinner (man, i never thought i'd ever have a reason to type that phase). But i am feeling much better. Finally. I can hear. I can breath. The chest X-rays came back clear. It's all good, baby. No reason NOT to be cheerful!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

For Frack

Happy Birthday, Jonah! Despite your body's best concerted efforts to kick it over the years you've made it to this benchmark birthday. Who woulda thought it? It certainly proves that some people are just to ornery to die. Have a great one! Love, Frick

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Heart Freecycle

Have you used Freecycle? Man, i love it! As always, i am late to the game, only joining a few weeks ago. For those of you who don't know, on the Freecycle Network you enter your location and they hook you up with a local Freecycle group. The members post messages about things they want to get rid of or things they want to find. You reply by e-mail and get free stuff or get rid of your stuff. Did i mention the FREE part. You aren't supposed to barter, bargain or trade - just give stuff away. It is so wonderful. I don't have air conditioning and my floor fan died one night. Two days later someone on Freecycle posted about a box fan she didn't need any more. I went to pick it up and Voila, no more heat exhaustion. I got some books over the weekend and i'm waiting to hear back about some sari fabric. I can't wait to have some time to go through my stuff and foist it off on someone else - i mean, find a new loving home for it. The idea of just giving away your stuff to someone who wants it is very appealing to me. Plus, i enjoy the FREE.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I've got that Tupper Feeling

We've discussed here before how i like the buffet picnic. It's not that i have anything against sandwiches - i love sandwiches - but when i pack a picnic myself i like to take a bunch of different things (mostly finger foods) knowing that i''m only going to eat a little of whatever i brought. So for my most recent picnic I took humus, broccoli, carrots, onions, cucumbers, snow peas, olives, tuna, crackers, blueberries, yogurt, and trail mix. As i was unpacking the yumminess it really struck me how much of it was in Tupperware In fact only the yogurt, crackers and trail mix were in their own packages : the yogurt was a single serving cup and the other 2 i actually bought on the way to the park or else they would have been in Tupperware. The truth is i love Tupperware. Sure, i own Rubbermaid, Sterilite and Gladware, but Tupperware is my favorite. When i started thinking about this at the table and taking pictures it struck me how the Tupperware tells the story of my life. Tupperware changes its line every few years; you can tell when a piece was bought simply by its color. In fact, the colors reflect the times : pastels in the 60s; orange, gold and brown in the 70s; my mom was a Tupperware lady in the mid 80s (yes, really) - the colors then were Paprika, Butterscotch, Cranberry and Maize; the late 80s brought cream, pink, tan and periwinkle; the 90s saw cobalt, hunter green, purple, and fuchsia; the 00s brought a return to translucent colors (like the original ones) in greens and purples. It seems they change the line more often now than they used to and i haven't bought any in a while (it is pretty pricey), but just the lids i had with me were like geologic strata There are some from before i was born, inherited when we cleaned out the house; some from when mom sold Tupperware (they used to sing songs about Tupperware at the meetings, really); pieces i bought in a burst of independence during college; some from Tupperware parties at Lynn's house; pieces that i bought from the crazy Mormon lady who wanted to adopt me when i worked at Servicemaster; and pieces that i joyfully bought the first time i saw a Tupperware kiosk in a mall (it was Arundel Mills). I don't know why all the tiny little containers make me so happy, but they do. They also make packing for a picnic much easier!

Friday, August 8, 2008

World Hoop Day

Here on 8-8-8 it isn't just the start of the Olympics, it is World Hoop Day! As one of the over 80 event locations world-wide, we had some hoopers come to the museum to do demonstrations and teach people how to hula hoop. It was random and funny, but kinda cool cause they brought custom-made hoops of various sizes and weights and where else are you gonna see groups of adults standing around hula-hooping? Visitors were not just doing traditional hula hooping, they were trying all sorts of things, like double hoops chasing hoops and trying to just figure out what the heck the bright blue circle thingee IS [blurry, but too adorable not to post] Here's our promotions manager, Carly, getting into the action: Hula hoop master, Noelle Powers of Hooping Powers was in charge of this "joyful revolution" and showed off some fun skills: New team member Alex shows us regular hooping, neck hooping and shares his opinion on just how effortless this whole hooping thing is: Meanwhile team member Lindsey casts a cool hooping shadow ( i love how it looks like her shadow is holding its hula hoop) and team member Miriam twirls an arm hoop that matches her outfit: Since we try to capture every event as a teachable moment, Public Programs brought out an explainer about centrifugal force and had kids swing around a bucket full of water to see how the force keeps the water inside the bucket, even when it is upside-down. Where am I in all of this, you say? As the girl behind the camera i caught myself where i normally do, in shadow:

Good Luck, Rob

Today is team member Rob's last day after FIVE YEARS. You all know how quickly i run through staff so i'm sure you can appreciate that five years is a long, long time. I wish him all the best in the entire world (but i keep bursting into tears).