Just Imagining Halloween

It’s almost October, and you know what that means…almost time for Halloween and maybe time to start thinking about this year’s costume if you plan to go partying. IF I am still stuck inside my clamshell ie Total Contact Orthosis Jacket (TCO) I can easily be 1) a Viking Queen clad in an armored vest 2) A muscle bound store mannekin or 3) a bionic woman. I’d just as soon not be any of those things since I feel closely akin to one of those creature as it is and would deign to be something else, someone who is free of encumbrances. Last year we had lots of fun not only dressing up, but checking out everyone else’s costumes.
What are some of the timely topics and people in the news? Obviously all those political candidates… vying for the presidential nomination, and then there are the disasters— floods, hurricanes, and an earthquake. The national debt? An ipad. The newest royal couple. It’s fun to imagine.
Scary is another way to go because ghosts, goblins, witches, vampires and the like never go out of style. So I suppose I could even use the TCO to be a version of Frankenstein. (Can you tell I really am starting to hate the thing?) In case you don’t know what a TCO looks like, I’m including a photo because it is quite scary in its way.
But before we arrive at Halloween, there is an entire month of Chesapeake Beer Madness and the kick-off party is this Friday night. It’s an awesome event, enabling you to taste a variety of local craft brews and prepare you for the upcoming weeks of beer tasting and online voting on the Whatsupmag.com website. Money raised from this event will be donated to charity through the auspices of the What’s Up? Foundation. For more information about the party and the foundation go to http://www.whatsupmag.com/


Overwhelmed with Positive Support

Thank you thank you everyone for your positive prayers and wishes for my speedy recovery. And thank you for all the beautiful flowers– I’m beginning to run out of display space. To my friends near and far, I don’t have a lot of news to report except that I am still taking short early morning walks with my escort Peter and trying to get a little bit of magazine work done while also trying to mend and heal.

Future Annapolis & Eastern Shore Celebrities

Over the years I’ve served on a lot of different boards and committees. One task which is always gratifying, but sometimes challenging, is soliciting nominations of colleagues, friends, or neighbors who should to be honored for their accomplishments. Maybe it’s the difficulty in filling out forms, or taking time away from our busy schedules to think about a task that is not part of our daily routine, but nominations are sometimes slow in arriving. And often when they do arrive, the same few names are mentioned or the nominations come from the nominees themselves. There are a lot of unsung heroes doing wonderful things.  Currently the Anne Arundel County Arts Council is looking for nominations for Annie Award recipients. Would you take the time to fill out a nomination form?

What do You Consider a Hidden Gem?

It’s always exciting to discover some place no one else knows about. Sharing that information with others can sometimes be controversial. I remember when the local newspaper published shortcuts for getting over the Bay Bridge when driving from Annapolis to Ocean City. People were furious that their secret routes were revealed. Private neighborhoods were angry at the prospect of more traffic.
On the other hand, when you find a lovely little pocket park tucked away, with lovely trees and flowers worth admiring or a handsome statue in plain view that no one stops to ponder, let alone wonder the history of why that particular statue was created (there is usually a plaque to read)… it may be that you’d like to share your information with others. In which case, maybe you’ve taken a photograph to remember that special place. A hidden gem could be a beach, an island, a special bench, a mural, a building, or an inspirational sign. Now is the time to gather those photographs or start taking some pictures to enter our upcoming “Hidden Gems” photo contest sponsored by What’s U? Media Group. We haven’t even posted the rules yet or published a formal announcement. That will happen in October when we publish the winners of our Storm photo contest. But I will start accepting entries now. You can send digital photographs of your hidden gems to editor@whatsupmag.com. Please include information on why you think the place you photographed is a hidden gem and where it is located. Good luck!

Procrastinating on a Cloudy Day in Annapolis

It’s a crab weekend coming up, with a number of all-you-can-eat crab feasts in the region including the big Rotary crab feast at the U.S. Naval Academy Stadium. But with all this warm soggy weather, I’m not thinking positively about sitting outside picking crabs. In fact, when it turns gray, folks tend to become a tad grumpy and want to stay inside where there’s some cool air conditioning.
It does, however, lend itself to reading and writing, which happen to be two of my favorite activities. Although I do keep procrastinating on completing some of my editing chores.
When there are things I don’t want to do, I alternate them with things that are more fun such a crafting a story on a new topic I’ve never written about and learning something new, as opposed to revisiting something that has been written about before and checking research that has been done by another writer.
It is the first week in August and we just completed our September Eastern Shore magazine and the Annapolis magazine follows close behind while we work on the final touches for October and complete November’s content. Part of my brain is wrapped around pumpkin carving, piles of raked leaves, and the plans that go into Thanksgiving feasts. It’s an interesting reality on a hot summer’s day.

Epitaph to the Best Golden in Annapolis

If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog, you’re probably already acquainted with Grace of Naptown. If you’re a frequent walker in downtown Annapolis, you’ve probably met her in person and stroked her soft golden fur. She was a regular visitor to City Dock Cafe and could be seen mornings, around 7:00 a.m. waiting patiently outside while her owners stood in line for their morning coffee. While waiting, she made many friends, and was offered pieces of bagel and muffin which she enjoyed, but she really loved the petting. She loved the attention given by everyone who met her, for being a golden she loved people more than anything else.
Grace has become such a familiar fixture, that if my husband Peter or I were to dare to go out for a walk in the evening, perhaps to go to dinner or the theater– to a place where dogs were not allowed, we’d be asked, “Where is Grace?”
I fear we will be asked that question many times in the upcoming weeks. Grace died on Friday, July 8th. She had a good final week on this earth spending time doing what she loved to do best: walking, exploring the smells of the woods, chasing chipmunks and squirrels, making new friends, swimming in the Bay, rolling in the sand. While it appeared her immediate cause of death was congestive heart failure, we are not certain of the specific illness but suspect it was a swift moving cancer.
Grace, hailed from Berkley Springs West Virginia and was the daughter of Lady and Prince of the Knoll. She gave birth to nine puppies sired by another small Golden Retriever, Augie. All nine puppies went to wonderful homes. One daughter predeceased her, succumbing to cancer. We have many fond memories of the “puppy experience” and I even wrote an article about it for What’s Up? Annapolis in October of 2005, which was enthusiastically lauded as well as sharply criticized by those not in favor of “amateur breeding.” Grace accompanied us to Trick or Treat for Halloween as well as to walk on behalf of the SPCA. One of her favorite hiking spots were the trails at Greenberry Point where she would sometimes attempt to chase after deer. She would sit patiently while small children and toddlers would attempt to pet her and grunt approvingly while being scratched behind the ears and under the chin.
The best dog I’ve ever known, she will be missed but not forgotten.

Best of ReCap and Weekend Annapolis Plans

Well I saw a whole lot of people last night at the Best of Party and I tasted a whole lot of food. From mushrooms stuffed with escargots in cream sauce prepared by chef Russell Brown, now at O’Learys Seafood Restaurant ( Annapolis winner of Best Seafood) to the shrimp served over grits prepared by Fisherman’s Inn ( Eastern Shore winner of Best Shore food, crab cakes, and seafood) it was all yummy.
Tempting too were all those auction items to bid on. Hopefully lots of money was raised for Wellness House in Annapolis which provides support services for the children of parents undergoing cancer treatments and for a variety of charities on the Eastern Shore. One of my duties last night was “standing guard” in the silent auction room when the bidding was underway and it was amusing to watch people visiting and revisiting their bid sheets, when they thought no one else was looking, to make certain they had the winning bid. At times the competition was intense. Staff at the check-out station informed me, yes there were some folks who were disappointed they missed out on a winning bid when they were certain they had succeeded in being the last bidder. Those last few minutes can count, just like at an Ebay auction.
There were quick sketch artists capturing people’s likeness in caricature, and glamorous ladies dressed to dance the “can-can” and greeting you with Bon Soir, because after all, the theme was Paris in Annapolis, We are “Creme de la Creme” ie The best of the best!
This weekend the fun continues this Saturday night at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Headquarters, the Philip Merrill Environmental Center. Dance in the sand to the tunes of Misspent Youth and The Rovers, all to benefit the CBF. Call 410-268-8816 or go to cbf.org/bandinthesand for more information.
Sunday is Father’s Day. I haven’t planned the dinner menu yet but I did buy a gift way ahead of time, when I read about something I thought my husband would like and I’m sure will be fielding a number of phone calls from children far away. Skype anyone? Have a great weekend and try out some of those Best restaurants and retailers!