Saturday, October 31, 2009

Roasting Halloweenies

Sitting 'round a campfire in the semi-rain, roasting marshmellows and 'dogs, telling ghost stories and carving pumpkins?  Priceless.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

That Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Chick Sure Plays a Mean Broomball

Last night after our broomball game, we checked out the new sponsor bar for the league.  A couple of guys in business suits (obviously out of towners) asked a common question:  what's broomball?

Well folks, broomball is the ultimate sport, most likely developed in Canada, for those who prefer a few beverages before a game.  (Gotta love them Canadians, eh?)  As with many "sports" I play, there is an optimum level of inebriation required to truly achieve great things in broomball.  The consensus among my teammates is a two drink minimum will suffice - just enough to lower the brain's natural tendency to wish to divert the body from injury, and to raise the body's ability to shurg off said injuries.  We have, of course, obtained this number scientifically through trial and error - we find that four beverages is definitely too many because the brain is required to remember a few basic rules, and the bladder needs to remain un-emptied for the 40 minute game time.  Three beverages is sort of hit and miss.  At this point, the test data is inconclusive and warrants further study.

Broomball is basically street hockey, played in sneakers, on ice.  Instead of a traditional puck, there is a small nerf ball, which is batted around by sticks that look like little plastic brooms.  I am quite certain that the original "sticks" were actual brooms, but the sport is evolving and so participants are no longer able to get by so cheaply.  In fact, there are even special broomball shoes now, owned by most of our opponents and none of us.  Nothing says "I am way too serious about broomball," than a pair of those ugly clods.

I have not played broomball since college, and when I played there, it was pretty much a disorganized bunch of co-eds who just had a few beers, running around on the ice with vague aspirations to smack a nerf ball into a net.  This league has actual rules with actual refs and assigned positions with specific locations on a "field".  I was a tad nervous.  Luckily, my teammates appeared to be fun and several had never played broomball before.

As my Constant Readers would surely guess, I am not the star player.  It turns out:

  • I am deaf.  My raging cold is on its way out, but the eviction process is sort of like those Mucinex commercials.  You know, where the fat cartoon mucus guy and all his fat relatives get simultaneously sucked through a teeny little door?  There's a bit of clogging in my wee pipes, and my ears and nose are totally stuffed, making it difficult to hear and, sadly, impossible to smell.
  • I am dumb.  Broomball is freaking tiring.  You run for the entire period, wacking at a stupid rubber ball that should be easy to wack, then sliding past it as your opponent (with ugly shoes) slides on in to push the thing into your goal.  Talk?  I could barely breathe, let alone talk.  After the game, I was informed that the defender does not need to run so far out, as the offenders will have to approach the general net area in order to score.  That makes sense.  Too bad I was too dumb to figure this out while actually playing, and too deaf to hear this advice yelled during the game.
  • I am blind.  In addition to the knee and elbow pads, a properly equipped broomball player needs a pair of gloves (it is cold), a stick, and a helmet.  These last two are supplied by the league, but I forgot to take into account my abnormally small head.  I would run towards the ball, then stop short to hit it.  Unfortunately, the helmet inevitably kept going due to some crazy law of motion.  It fell over my eyes, effectively blinding me.  Every. Time. Luckily, I was somewhat effective at defending due to my completely erratic and obviously uncontrollable demeanor.  At the very least, I made people fear that I would fall on / near them and they attempted to get out of my way.
In the end, we lost the game 0-4.  The general feeling among our teammates was that we would rather be losers than wearers of broomball shoes.  Thus, we headed to the bar.  Also?  Next week we ought to hit the bar first, as being stone cold sober on the ice is just downright uncomfortable.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Buying Used Pads

Based solely on the contents of my closet, one might think I am actually good at sports.  Over the past few years, I have joined several sports and social teams, with an emphasis on the social.  In fact, the motto of one such organization here in Baltimore is just that: "For people who like sports, but love to socialize."  These teams have been a great way for me to pursue my own interests while learning to navigate in the city, and, you know, to make friends. 

However, I also own the following items:

- a mountain bike, including all accessories (the special shoes, the special sunglasses with interchangeable lenses, the helmet, the gloves, and, of course, the spandex shorts which Adam calls his "mood pants".)
- swimming cap, goggles, and various types of chlorine reducing shampoos which doe not seem to do a dang thing.
- yoga mat, with special ($10) strap for easy transport.
- boxing gloves and boxing wraps (with spare pair of wraps in my glove compartment for when I rush to the gym sans equipment.
- cleats (purchased after an unfortunate nose crushing incident wherein I slipped on muddy turf during a football game.)
- hiking shoes and water pack for on the back.
-tennis rackets and balls, purchased on a whim and used in our complex's tennis courts a total of one time.

I am tired of paying sporting good store prices for equipment I only occasionally use (except the bike). So when I was told I need knee and elbow pads to play broomball, I was a tad annoyed.  I went to Play It Again Sports to buy used pads (thinking all the while of sweaty behind the knee areas of other humans...)  They did not have them, so to Target I went.  Unfortunately, not many adults (apparently) need such equipment.  So I bought the "youth" size thinking this would be for a 14 year old.  The size of the pads appeared to cover my knees, so I figured it would be safe.  I am still somewhat the same height and knee-size as I was then, right?  Right.


My thighs?  Just a tad bigger than they were when I was 14.  When I say tad, I mean I was not even remotely able to connect the ends of velcro above the knee.  As safety equipment, these are, of course, non-returnable.

Thank goodness they sell velcro in the fabric section.  A little manipulation, and I am all set.  I'll let you know how broomball goes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Feed a Fever, Feed a Cold

A chick at work got this "horrible" disease over the summer, wherein she felt anxious and on edge constantly because her thyroid was overproducing hormones.  She had trouble sleeping, felt constantly jittery, and her muscles were all tense because she was unable to relax.  Also? She lost 14 pounds.  I'll spell that out for you: f-o-u-r-t-e-e-n.  So.  The doctors finally figured out the problem and she is back to normal.  And she is sooo grateful she had this disease.

My mind, of course, says that this is silly.  Her body was malfunctioning.  This is not cause for joyousness.  But really and truly, I would be lying if I said I wasn't just a little jealous too.  I have never, ever had an ailment which caused me to lose my appetite.  I figure, if I have to be uncomfortable, achy, and sickly in general, at the very least I could stand to lose a few pounds.  However, in most cases, I gain weight while sick.  I picture myself, long in the future, on my deathbed with cancer or some other terminal disease, eating a cheese steak with hot peppers.

This week, I got my annual raging cold.  It started on Tuesday with an obnoxiously sore throat.  Like, my eyes began watering just a tad with every swallow.  Naturally, the best relief for such a thing would be hot beverages, right?  So, in addition to my nice hot butternut soup, I drank a few Dunkin' Donuts coffees.  You probably think this is no big deal.  Au contrair.  When I do coffee, I like the mocha spice latte, heavy on the mocha (but with skim milk, please! this will make it healthy.)  "Whipped cream?" the guy asks.  I decided I deserved a treat for dealing with such pain and agony, so I told him to pile it on (lite version of course).  Looks like the whipped cream isn't even included on the official nutrition sheet, and its still a good 450 calories with 12 grams of yummy yummy fat.  So, a few of those babies can add up pretty quick.

After the awful, ear splitting sore throat, the cold took a day to settle into my sinuses, and there it has stayed.  I lost my ability to smell, and therefore, my ability to taste.  This happens every time I get a cold.  It just plain sucks.  I am not sure you are aware, but I love to eat.  But food isn't quite as good when you cannot taste it.  Actually, this is not quite accurate - I can still taste.  But all I can distinguish are the basic properties you may remember learning in grade school: bitter, salty, sweet, savory, or sour.  All I can say is that people would probably eat fewer frozen pizzas if limited to these sensations.  Frozen pizzas are extremely salty.  Does this stop me from eating another slice?  I think my Constant Readers know me well enough to know the answer to that question is a vehement "no".

In fact, I would venture to say that I eat more when I cannot taste.  Yesterday, I downed an embarrassing number of chips with salsa, a chocolate square, some apple cider, and a granola bar in record time.  I keep thinking that this meal or snack will be The One, the one I will taste.  It is a viscous cycle.  This morning, I got into the shower and realized I could smell my shampoo a little bit.  My brain then has to work hard to convince the rest of me that I should not get too excited.  As whatever is clogged becomes unclogged, the ability to smell comes and goes, sometimes within a breath.  There have been times when I get a few hours, and push the bad memories away.  And when I realize that my sniffer is once again MIA, I get very very depressed.  I am still stuffed to the brim with ickiness (I'll spare the details), so I know that brief hint of Head and Shoulders is a fluke. 

I was lucky enough to get a few eggs and some toast cooked and eaten before returning to my un-smelly life.  (It does have advantages.) I also got a chance to try a little of the stew I made yesterday.  I ate it yesterday too, but I wasn't able to tell if I liked it or not.  It was pretty good.

I'll put up with the sore throat (which is back for round 2, though significantly less painful).  I can deal with a dry, red nose, painful to the touch from constant blowing.  I can even tolerate the tender lymph nodes that ache constantly, the pounding head, and the virtigo.  But I hate losing my sense of smell.

Perhaps I'll be able to taste one of those cookies in the pantry...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I just want to say CONGRATULATIONS to Carabee at Land of Bean! She is officially Miss Maryland.  Well, for "family blogs" anyway.  Despite skipping out on dinner plans with the gals so she could attend the Mobbie Awards Gala, she deserves some kudos.

I am very sad that the Mobbies voting period is over, because I have very much enjoyed coming up with cutsie titles for Mobbie-related blog posts.

In other news, I saw a bag ON a tree today. 

I am not sure this would qualify for the "Bags IN Trees" site.  Perhaps a spin off?

Friday, October 9, 2009


Unfortunately, the whole "working for a living" thing I got goin' on has seriously infringed on my blog-reading time. Though I've gone to the Mobbies site to vote for Land of Bean daily (do it now!), I haven't had the 37 hours necessary to read the other blogs. Today is the last day for the voting, and I do have a few hours to kill, so I checked out the "humor" section which only has seven entries. All I can say is: I totally got this next year.

You: Maybe you just think you are funnier than you actually are?

Me: I do not actually consider this a "humor" blog, but I imagine the competition doesn't consider themselves humor writers either. "Humor" appears to be a great spot for us "Miscellaneous" blogs that happen to amuse our Constant Readers on occasion. And by the way? Shut up. I didn't ask you anyway.

So, let's take a look at this "competition", shall we?

There's one site that appears to be totally devoted to making fun of the outfits worn by a local weather girl. The posts are amusing, but rather repetitive, as you can imagine. The funniest thing about it is that apparently the weather girl has been replaced in the last two weeks or so. The station now has a weather man who wears a suit every day. The blogger has been writing amusing posts about issuing missing person reports and the un-funniness of Men's Warehouse suits, but I suspect the site will wither and die if this chick isn't found. Even if she is found, I think I could win out over such a limited topic.

Speaking of limited topics, another site, aptly titled "Bags In Trees", features nothing but pictures of bags. In trees. While the premise is funny, it is still just bags (in trees). I think I could win out for creativity. Dude, I live my blog. I don't walk around waiting for litterbugs and thunderstorms.

Next: A site about comics. The comics? Sometimes funny, sometimes not. Writing about the miscalculation of "Family Circus" character ages when converted to days? Well...kind of funny. The site probably appeals more to people who actually write/draw cartoons for a living. I? Hell, I appeal to the masses, yo. Wait, I mean "Heck". Sorry, masses.

There is a very amusing blog apparently written by a Towson University student called "Your A Idiot". This was my vote for (this year's) Mobbie because the posts are well written. But - the author has chosen to show only the first paragraph of the post on the main page and the reader must click on the title to read the full post. I, for one, find this annoying. Also, the posts are dated about two months apart, on average. Again, I win out based on quantity, if not quality. If this dude steps it up, though, I could be toast. Hopefully he is taking computer science classes because I happen to know a TU professor who will be able to give him extra work, thereby winning me a Mobbie because he will have no time to write and I use run-on sentences infrequently thus making me the better blogger. (Not that I even know what winning a Mobbie entails...probably I just get invited to spend $30 on an awards dinner that better have an open bar so help you lord.)

There were three other entries, but trust me, I am better than all of them. Or I am just more amusing to myself than I am to others.

Whatever, man.

PS: I also checked out some of the competition for Land of Bean in the "Family" category, and it is tough! There are a few professional bloggers - like, who write books and stuff. But no lie? She is really and truly better than them. Trust me.

PPS - Thank goodness Jen Lancaster doesn't live in Maryland. Because her blog? Is hysterical and would totally beat me. This questioning thing I do? It's totally stolen from her.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


My oft-mentioned blog writing inspiration, Carabee, has been nominated for the "Maryland's Outstanding Blog" award - that's a "Mobbie" to you and me. As a huge fan of her excellent writing, her fun with customized layouts, and her ability (obsession??) with posting pretty much daily on Land of Bean, I have dutifully gone to the official site to vote for her in both the "Family" section, and the "Best Overall Blog" section. This can be done once a day until October 9th, and requires you to enter your email address for free registration to the Baltimore Sun website, but heck, she is worth it. Good luck, Carabee!

While voting, you will see that there are a lot of other interesting (and not so interesting) categories: Foodie, Music and Nightlife, Politics, Neighborhood, Humor, Sports (even broken down into specifics for Baltimore and Maryland teams), Entertainment, Photography and more, including the ever popular "Miscellaneous". While some of these appeal to me very little, I decided I should check out some of the other categories and pick a winner. After all, it is absolutely gorgeous outside, not a cloud in the sky and humidity-free. What better way to spend it than sitting in front of a computer screen?

I started with the Foodie section and was happy to learn that there is more than one site dedicated to Baltimore Beer. This is something I myself had hoped to do one day (after all, what better excuse to drink than to say "It's for the Blog"?) But, as with many things, it's a whole heck of a lot easier when someone else does it. I added a link to one of the sites on my own in the "Blogs I Follow" section and crossed that item off the to do list.

I then found that reading about food makes a gal wanna eat.

After a mozzarella cheese and tomato snack, I settled down to read. Dang, what a hard decision! There's a guy whose site is dedicated to bacon, a gal who writes about pizza, a few recipe-centric ones, and a bunch that post about Baltimore events. One thing I can say is that I will be more informed about the places to go in the city. While I liked a few others, I voted for 990 Square which was amusing, stuck to the topic, and gave me a great idea for the eggplant that's rotting in my fridge. I really liked the Bacon Blog - Ministry of Bacon: spreading the gospel of all things bacon. Unfortunately, I don't like bacon a whole lot. I am now totally inspired to write more about food since I found out that this could be a way of getting more food for free. I love me some free food, and pretty much all free stuff in general.

There were 21 "Foodie" nominees, and I didn't feel qualified to vote unless I read them all. So that thing I said earlier? About sitting inside on this gorgeous day? I think I changed my mind. I'll definitely be going back to the Mobbie site though. I wanna check out some more competition, uhh, I mean, colleagues, and I gotta vote for Land of Bean again!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Sooper Day

Glurg, I'm in trouble. I told my sister I would have a new post up this morning, but instead I shamefully finished off the wine and watched Fringe before falling asleep. Having adventures can be tiring, you know.


Last Sunday's tiring adventure was attempting to ride all ten roller coasters at Hershey Park before they closed. Though I went to this park four to five times a summer when I was in high school, I hadn't really been back since. As a 15 year old, my friend and I would ride the "Sooper Dooper Looper" and race one another back into the line to ride again. Due to our master plan (go to the park on a cloudy Wednesday), the lines were rarely longer than 20 minutes, and the Looper line was practically nonexistent.

As a 29 year old, I went to Six Flags here in Maryland on a sunny Wednesday which happened be shortly after someone lost their feet on a ride at a different Six Flags. Perhaps it was the day of the week or the public paranoia, but the park was practically empty, and we found ourselves waiting under 10 minutes for every ride. Unfortunately, my 29 year old self was not as agreeable to the arrangement as my 15 year old self would have been. Ride number three, a magnetic roller coaster that takes off at 60 miles per hour instead of a slow tow up a hill, left my stomach at the starting gate and promptly shoved it back in when the coaster stopped as quickly as it started. We hung in the little staging area before getting off, and I struggled to keep my innies in and my outies out. I desperately searched for and found some motion sickness medicine, available at most drug stores for under 50 cents per dose. The cost at Six Flags? $6 a dose, which I reluctantly paid since the alternative would probably have resulted in careful inspection of the toilet bowls. Apparently, I need the two hour wait for a ride.

Not wishing for a repeat of this experience, my older and wiser 31 year old self carefully packed some Dramamine in her pocket. We got to the park around 11 am. Only seven hours to ride nine rides (water-coaster was closed). We started with the Comet and the poor old Sooper Dooper Looper. This was THE Ride in the early eighties when it first opened and the first roller coaster in the eastern US to have a loop. But it is practically a kiddie ride by today's standards. Despite the name, it has only one loop, and it is only 57 feet tall. Today, the tallest roller coaster is 456 feet (Kingda Ka at Six Flags New Jersey). Incidentally, Kingda also features the longest drop at 418 feet, the fastest speed at 128 miles per hour, and makes me ill just thinking about it. Kingda kinda makes the "I Survived the Sooper Dooper Looper" tee-shirt seem a bit silly (still available in the original lettering) .

Next, we went for the Great Bear, which winds in and around the Looper, and the Storm Runner, another of those 0 to 72 mph "launch coasters". Ugh. I managed to keep my cool and remain unsick, but we decided to ride the very unscary Trailblazer in order to tone down the tummy rumbles, forgetting that Trailblazer's main attraction is not hills but curves. It would have been very embarrassing to puke there, because the average four year old is unfrightened by the 'blazer.

A new feature at the park is a small zoo, and fees are included with the admission to the amusement park. To keep my stomach in check, we walked across the street to find snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, chinchillas, buffalo, prairie dogs, parrots, hawks, elk, alligators, a crocodile, a bald eagle, and wolves, to name a few. The wolves were all eating except for one unfortunate guy, who paced around the grounds generally annoying the other wolves. He then sauntered over to the viewing area, hunched down, and took a nice dump about five feet from us. This was still less disgusting than the giraffe display I witnessed at the Baltimore zoo a while back, but suddenly the motion sickness seemed like the more agreeable option.

We recovered from the poo and went back for more coasters. It was then that I came face to face with the Farenheit:

I did NOT want to go on this, because I really hate facing the sky when being towed up 12 stories. Just a thing I have. But then Adam gave me these puppy-dog eyes, and I decided I would at least wait in line with him. I fully planned to abandon him at the top. But in the end, I sucked it up and went on the ride. Except for the initial awfulness, which occurs in the first 15 seconds (I counted), the ride is actually really fun.

We managed to hit two more wooden coasters, the Wild Cat (which is a bit bone-jarring), and a new one called the Lightning Racer. The racer is actually two coasters "Lightning" and "Thunder" which run at the same time and loop the people in and around one another. It was fun to see the other carload of people racing towards me, then dipping down underneath or around. We rode Lightning (which lost the race). There was no line, and we could have made a run for Thunder, but we were both queasy at this point. We skipped the Sidewinder for this trip - I have ridden it several times in my day, and Adam had ridden a similar one at Cedar Point. He has had unfortunate experiences with the coasters that go backwards and forwards, and I figured I shouldn't push my luck as I was still able to walk upright.

Our adventure was nearly over. We rode the monorail on the way out, and managed to find the car despite paying no attention to where we had left it in the morning. We arrived home after a stop at Lancaster Brewing Company (eh - it was ok). I fell immediately into bed and slept for 10 hours before heading in to work.