Sunday, September 28, 2003

Odds 'n' Ends

* Today was an absolutely beautiful day here in Baltimore. The sun is shining, it is about 70 degrees outside with a light breeze, and there a just the few wispy clouds in an otherwise bright blue sky. I went for chai at Starbucks and walked outside for awhile and somehow felt like I was in the middle of a movie. Days like this remind me how oddly beautiful the world is, with a hurricane just 2 weeks ago and today not a speck of evidence that it ever happened.

* Went to see "Under the Tuscan Sun" yesterday...I would recommend it. I think its a very sweet film that doesn't try too hard to be anything special, but I found it somewhat inspiring. It reminded me that frequently in our lives, we focus on one thing that we want/don't have and in doing so, miss out on the joy of the events that go on around us in pursuit of that one thing. Like the joy of a beautiful day (see #1). Plus, the movie has an extended scene of a young man doing "flag throwing" - a male flaggot! (Flaggot = (n.) an individual who puts on a costume and flips a flag around in order to impress and audience. This often occurs with musical accompaniment frequently in the form of a marching band).

* Spent Friday night with friends at a tavern in Mt. Washington. Do you have friends who are "conversation killers"? I really think that as a society we need to spend more time teaching people how to make conversation. This is not a commentary on shyness - I understand about people who are shy. My best friend Lisa is quite shy, but still one of the most interesting people I've known. And she's good at conversation. There were several people who attended our gathering who were maybe the worst conversationalists I've ever met. Learn how to talk to people. Don't let your legacy be that you're bad at conversation.

* I always bring a sweater to the grocery store. Someone once told me this was weird, which made me somewhat self conscious. But today, as I walked down the frozen foods aisle, and put my sweater on to protect against the inevitable chill that comes from the opening and closing of the doors, an older woman looked at me and said "That is so smart. I always get cold in grocery stores, but I never remember to bring a sweater." So there.

* My tivo recorded the "Anna Nicole Smith Show", somehow thinking that would be something I might like to watch. I was curious, so I watched some of it. She scares me.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Welcome to the AC...

I know that you've been waiting on pins and needles for the recap of the trip to Atlantic City. Don't try to deny it.

Okay, so after an ear-ly morning flight in and a quick nap, we got started with the birthday celebrations...this involved a little shopping, lunch, plans for the trip, and subsequently dinner (Chinese food and beer) and an educational video (Ocean's Eleven - because if you can't win in casinos, it's good to have a backup plan) - man, do we know how to party or what?

We got up the next morning and got ready to go. We made a stop for money, coffee, and food and set on our way to the East Coast version of sin city. We spent approximately $12 on tolls just to get there, which we complained about profusely until we realized that it was entirely possible to drop twice that amount of money in less than 2 hours once we got there. At that point, we made a pact to quit complaining about money. We broke that pact many, many times.

We got to our hotel, which was crazy cool (thanks mommy and daddy) and promptly checked in to our room with a view. The bathroom was roughly the size of the bedroom I inhabited in NYC. After spending a little time in the sun and then the gym (aren't we good?), we decided it was time to go to the casino. We promptly declared our status as "low rollers" by 1) not knowing how to work the coinless slot machines; 2) embarrassing ourselves at the cashier's window by trying to change money into, well, money; and 3) looking like squirrels trying to cross a highway while looking at the blackjack, craps, and roulette tables. Sadly, there are no pictures of this. We also learned the lesson that the casino will give free watered down drinks as long as you sit at a slot machine long enough for the waitress to come back, which is roughly the amount of time it takes the lose the cost of the drink in the machine. But hey, its fun, right?

The second day, we woke up, got some coffee, and decided to hit the boardwalk. The weather was beautiful, and we tried to see the highlights, including the steel pier. We also stopped into some of the other casinos, shops, and restaurants along the way. At the Tropicana, we bought tickets for a comedy show later that night. After another day in the sun, we went back to rest up for the rest of the night.

The evening included dinner at the noodle bar, where it turns out that broth noodles are quite like salad (in that you eat and eat and eat and yet nothing disappears). Then we headed back over to "The Comedy Stop at the Trop" for an evening of drinks and giggles. Of course, we were early getting there, which left us sufficient amounts of time to lose some money at the casino - and get really freaked out by the old (and obviously well-seasoned) guy sitting next to Lo at the video poker machines.

Then the fun really started. During the course of the comedy show, the main act decided to make Laura part of the show - and he didn't even know it was her birthday celebration. This involved some harmless comments at first, and quickly escalated to a serenade and a trip to the stage for Laura (she was mortified, I was merely angry about the "no flash photography" rule). All in all, it was good fun and lots of laughs. We left the next day a little lighter in the pockets and the heart, with some solid sister bonding completed before Laura's semester in London.

Maybe next time, we'll be brave enough to try the table games...

The room 2.JPG
The view.JPG
The bathroom.JPG
The Boardwalk.JPG
Steel Pier.JPG

(just so you know, i tried to be cool and put the pictures in as links from the words. but apparently, i'm not that cool...)

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Still in the works...

I plan to post more detailed recap of the weekend in Atlantic City (complete with pictures), but frankly, I'm a bit tired right's always a long first day back to work, even after a short vacation, and I really just want to sleep...

So stay tuned, hopefully the post and pictures will be available tomorrow...

Thursday, September 04, 2003


No, this is not a new Kiefer Sutherland drama where the characters actually sleep for 3 is my little sister Lo's 21st birthday. It's amazing how the time goes by...I can very clearly recall being little with her and playing together. Here are some of the highlights...

* Maple Town - I don't know whatever happened to this, I suppose it was replaced by Pokemon and Teletubbies, but this was something we truly enjoyed. I can distinctly remember the excitement of new "families" and the Maple Town house. Good times.
* Sharing a room - Lo used to sing me to sleep when we shared a room. My favorite was "Little bunny foo foo hoppin' through the for-est, scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head!"
* Christmas Eve - for many years, we would share a bed on Christmas Eve and speculate about the morning to come. Then I became older and stupid and put an end to this practice, but I feel really bad about it. I even shamed her into staying with me last year :)

As Lo got older, the inevitable sibling tensions were there, and Maple Town was no longer cool...but she's a remarkable woman. One of my favorite memories is the night she was elected President of the Band for her senior year of high school. Our parents were on vacation in Alaska for their 25th wedding anniversary, so I was the one who got to be there with her. I was so proud, I almost cried. Then we celebrated by going to Steak 'n' Shake for milkshakes and fries. That was a good night.

So happy birthday, Lo. And brush up on that poker face for a weekend full of fun in Atlantic City! Stay tuned for pictures...

(For other tributes to Lo, see Bryan's blog)