Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Brownstone Diner and Pancake Factory

Last year a group of folks from the education department went on a research field trip to Liberty Science Center in New Jersey.
The most important part of the itinerary?
 Where to eat, of course.
Felicia found the Brownstone Diner and Pancake Factory on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Man, i love that show.
How can you go wrong with a phrase like pancake factory?
We were there mid-morning on a Sunday - which has to be the busiest time of the week for pancakes - and the place was hopping, but we only had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated.
Boy, was it worth the wait.
Brian had me try his Irish Benedict - Eggs Benedict with corned beef hash in place of the Canadian bacon - because i'd never heard of such a thing. It was oddly delicious; there is a lot going on in one bite, but the result is cool.
There are plenty of non-breakfast choices and several of the group went with lunch food, but in a place that styles itself as a pancake factory I felt there was only one choice.
Well, make that 32 choices.
 Yep, there are over 30 pancake options, including breakfast wraps that use a pancake instead of tortillas to hold of the goodness together.
I decided to order my favorite pancake specialty: pigs in a blanket. Instead of little breakfast links wrapped in the giant fluffy pancakes, the piggies in this dish were mondo italian sausage sized, but made with breakfast sausage spices resulting in each pig in a blanket being huge.
 Did i mention that there were four of them in a serving?
Hands down, it was the best pigs in a blanket that i have ever had. The pancakes were fantastic, the sausage had a savory bite that was enhanced by the syrup and the pig:blanket ratio was exactly the way i like it.
There was no way i could eat it all in one sitting, so for $9 i had brunch and  supper.

If you find yourself in Jersey City, i highly recommend stopping at the Brownstone Diner and Pancake Factory.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

some things are just made for me

The doorbell just rang at the house i'm watching for friends.
That is a pretty normal occurrence around here; they get a lot of packages.
But this... this one had MY name on it.
A quick text check to make sure and i ripped into it to find

Yes, that would be a pair of fuzzy purple Hello Kitty slippers.
Hello Kitty.
Thanks Kate, JP and Dash - see ya in a few days!
life is good

Friday, July 20, 2012

sunset over the north shore

The only time i got to the North Shore of Oahu when i was in Hawaii was at the end of the day. All the famous shrimp trucks were packed up for the day so i wasn't going to stop, but after a long day of touristing a break for the sunset seemed like a good idea.
There are plenty of beaches and parks along the road by the ocean, but i wanted something a bit more secluded so i pulled over at a break in the guardrail where some surfers were packing up.
It was a wee hike down the break and then some careful scrabbling over the rocks, (why do i always seem to decide to do these things when i'm wearing a dress?) but the view was totally worth it:
hello Pacific

unobstructed view to the west
the breakers between me and the car

With the sun still well above the horizon there was plenty of time to do some writing and watch the surfers. Even as the temperature started to dip, some of those guys showed no signs of stopping.
The sound of the surf was so relaxing that i didn't notice the rising tide until it was almost too late.
I jumped to a higher rock before i was totally soaked

and watched the tidal wild life come out to scavenge.
There are little crabs all over the rocks in this picture

but you can't really see them because they were the same black as the rocks. There were also black water bugs and even little black fish swimming between the rocks. By the time i gave up trying to get a picture of the tiny creatures, the sun was sinking towards the sea.

 sigh... so lovely... so peaceful...
Here's a bit of peace for us all. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Because she's Dr Cool

Seen today at my annual physic on the scale in the exam room.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Welcome to my mid-life crisis

 I've worked at the same place since college (except for the 94-95 school season).
I spent my entire 20s and 30s there.
 On the last day i was in the office my boss said that he felt like he had raised me from a pup.
What i'm getting at here is that my job was all i've known for a long, long time.
All you have to do is look at my blog's tag cloud to see how much i loved it and how central it was to my existence.
Losing it was like losing a chunk of me - a BIG chunk of me.
It was like losing my identity.
Almost a month later i am still struggling with the loss, finding myself starting to say "my museum" or "at work" or "we"and having to remind myself that i am no longer a part of that community.
I've had a job since i was 17; sometimes 2 or 3 jobs at a time in fact. The longest i've been unemployed was a horrible 2 week stretch in 1995 that i luckily don't remember very well.
I was at a loss of what to do or where to go or who to be.
As you know, Douglas whisked me away to Las Vegas so that i could by turns dazzle and distract myself and mope in luxury.
 It was good to not be alone.
 After a week we were able to start talking about what i should do. He asked me a lot of tough questions like what did i want and what do i love and what would i do if i could do anything and what are my dreams and what keeps me from following them. Sometimes i over thought things and became distressed. Sometimes i had no answers. But all of the talking led to some epiphanies and the formation of a plan.
This is a hopefully comprehensive short-term plan to help me get to a long-term plan.
Besides my former profession, the things i love the most- that truly move me- are art and charitable service.
In part one of The Plan i focus on my art by reestablishing my Etsy store, participating in several craft shows/fairs and finally looking for a permanent physical location to house and sell my wares.
Part two of The Plan has me volunteering at various local organisations. What i really want is to save the world, but that is simply not practical. To make a real difference, one has to have a specific cause, population or idea to champion and by volunteering at places like the Maryland Food Bank, Art for Heart and the Red Cross i will try to see if the non-profit world might be my next step.
The Plan is set for a six month duration (August-January) as that is long i can afford to give myself over to chasing my dreams.  I realize that six months is not very long and that especially the art portion won't take off big in that time frame. However, it will let me at least dedicate myself to trying and getting some things established that i haven't had the time for until now.
Who knows what will become of me in February.
I won't even speculate.
I do have two backup plans, though - move in with Ron and become a server at the Eldersburg Pizza Hut or move in with my Grandpa in Ohio - so no matter what happens i feel confident that i won't end up homeless.
The next six months will be the chance i've been waiting for or unmitigated disaster.
Either way, it is sure to be an adventure and probably a good story to tell at family gatherings 20 years from now.

Friday, July 13, 2012

coming right along

Still here.
Still planning.
Still preparing for this path.
Almost ready to share.

But i can tell you that i just bought my first new computer.
2012 and i just bought a computer.

To help you adjust to that shift in the universe,
here is a t-rex robot feeding a chipmunk (or vice versa):
found at Need Baby Chipmunk cause chipmunks make everything okay

Saturday, July 7, 2012

objective achieved

I'm home.
We saw some cool things in Vegas, but more importantly i got some much needed rest.
Physical distance helped put some mental distance on the situation for me.
There is a nascent plan.
I am hopeful.
This week's quote is from Haruki Murakami:
If you're in pitch blackness, all you can do is sit tight until your eyes get used to the dark.

Monday, July 2, 2012

time out

Sometimes one finds oneself lost, without a clue, without a direction.
Sometimes one needs to take a little time out.
I suggest a change of scenery:

You can order room service 

or spend the day in a poolside cabana.

You might not come up with any answers, but at least the view is cool.