Merry Maryland

     This is my favorite part of the work day. Each morning, after I’ve trekked to the kitchen, made the coffee and trekked back, I sit down at my desk. Here I take the time to prepare my coffee, nibble a blueberry BelVita bar, (to eat is human, to BelVita is divine) and make my to do list. It’s usually very quiet, my boss in the studio and the TV on the daily 8:30 mass. It’s a peaceful time.

A friend recently posted about to-do lists and I must say, they are quite nice. I used to think that if you couldn’t get everything done on your to-do list, you weren’t really capable of them. I have learned how untrue that is. Someone told me, I think possibly Aunt Lisa? that there will always be things that get bumped down the list to the next day. That’s just the hierarchy of the list. 
     On a more energetic, less technical side note: We went to Maryland this weekend! (We being Andrew and I.) What a whirlwind blast off blur of a trip. We left very early Thursday morning, driven to the airport by a very loving brother who I still owe coffee. We ate a crummy twenty dollar breakfast and boarded. Poor Andrew, with his long legs and long feet. We were on such a tiny plane, and the hour to Atlanta seemed to take at least twice that. (Fact: I have a go-to sleeping position on airplanes. I pull my knees up onto the seat with my feet flat on the cushion, I fold my arms over my knees and lay my head down in my arms. Sort of like a vertical fetal position. I must say I was grateful for it, watching Andrew turn his legs at a 45 degree angle to fit in the row.)
     At the Atlanta airport, we saw the actors who play Mr. Brown and Cora, two characters from Madea. Here they are on the left and right:
     When we arrived in Maryland, Ben, Andy’s best college bud, picked us up. Here are some of the things that ensued over the next few days.
     Thursday night we went to a party and I slept. Right there on the couch, slept. I was so exhausted from going to bed at 2 and waking up at 5 that I didn’t give a dern. I did taste a peanut butter chocolate beer called Sweet Baby Jesus before I dozed off, and mama was it good. 
     We went to a concert in D.C. I loved D.C. With all of it’s tall apartments, all painted a different stripe of color with iron steps leading up to someones sliver of living space. Once while we were driving I looked down a street to my left and saw the Capitol hovering over all the little apartments on the horizon line. 
     Saturday was spent in Baltimore. We went to the Harbor and were very disappointed to find a sold out aquarium. So we walked to the top of some huge famous hill. Guys, this was a HILL. I was sweating by the time we reached the top. It had the most incredible view, people walking dogs, children swinging on a playground, brave souls doing sprints up the hill, people getting married in Spanish, and a peculiar pitbull that would allow his owner to walk him about halfway down the steep hill only to pull the man with all of his might back to the top. Here’s a picture of the view, and a brief paragraph on the interesting history that Tour Guide Ben gave us.
On the night of May 12, following the Baltimore riot of 1861, the hill was occupied in the middle of the night by a thousand Union troops and a battery under the command of General Benjamin F. Butler, who had entered the city, under cover of darkness and during a thunderstorm, from Annapolis via the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.[5] During the night, Butler and his men erected a small fort, with cannon pointing towards the central business district. Their goal was to guarantee the allegiance of the city and the state of Maryland to the Federal Government under threat of force. This fort and the Union occupation persisted for the duration of the Civil War

     Then we met Ben’s parents in Greek Town, a suburb of Baltimore like China Town is to New York. They were so awesome. Ben is a biggin, standing at 6″7. His father is about 6″4, and his mother about 6″2. She is full Greek, went to Greek school, speaks Greek, and agreed that “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was completely accurate and very similar to how she grew up. The restaurant was a place they had been coming since she was a little girl. Ikaros, the restaurant, was named after the island her grandfather was born on, and so they were not allowed to eat anywhere else growing up. When we enter his parents are waiting, I instantly spot them by their height and beaming faces. A man at the door in a billowy shirt with rolled up sleeves recognizes Ben. They shake hands and the man smiles with crinkly Santa eyes. He has a thick Greek accent and a bushy grey mustache that curls on the ends and has a small V parted right at the center of his top lip. 
The food was incredible. The fish still had heads on them. Mrs. Mary read the Greek words on the menu and explained them. His parents talked nonstop with us about Breaking Bad and Walking Dead. When we all left to say goodbye, they hugged and kissed us, his mom giving me an extra tight squeeze and a whisper in my ear, “Find Ben a nice girl!” I leave happy, full, and agreeing with a statement my family made a year ago: Greek is the cousin of Cajun. 
     That night we went to Andy’s friend’s house. Their whole college gang gathered there. They are such a fun bunch, always laughing, cracking jokes, playing good music and getting way too competitive at games they’ve played since freshman year. Uniquely enough, these guys and girls have stayed best friends since the very start of college, some from the very first day at orientation, and they are a blast to be around.
     It was sad to leave. The four day weekend seemed to last only a minute. Eventually we landed in B.R. late sunday night, and once a again, a loving, coffee deserving brother picked us up. The weekend ended with the three of us watching the Breaking Bad episode we had all missed. It was a happy, happy weekend. 

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