Thursday, August 25, 2016

Local Options

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Since 2003 I have worked part time in one way or another and all household chores, grocery shopping, and cooking fell to me by default. And that was fine. I was the one with the most time.

Now I'm not. I'm going back to work full time and I have absolutely no clue how dinner is going to happen.

So, to those of you who've been parenting and working full time and making dinner happen all this time: I salute you. I bow down before you. Long ago, in another life, I knew how to do this. But I have lost my chops.

Educate me. What are the best local options for busy parents to get food on the table fast? What tricks have you learned for juggling everything and staying sane?

When my daughter was an infant and I was commuting to Baltimore to work every day, we fell back on take-out and cereal as dinner much more than I would have liked. We survived. But it wasn't pretty.

Howard County has plenty of grocery stores, and several grocery delivery options. I know there are also services that sell pre-prepped, ready to cook meals. Have you tried any? Does anyone deputize children or spouse to participate in the dinner process?

You are the experts. Tell me what Howard County has to offer. A hungry family awaits your wisdom.

 

Local Options

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Since 2003 I have worked part time in one way or another and all household chores, grocery shopping, and cooking fell to me by default. And that was fine. I was the one with the most time.

Now I'm not. I'm going back to work full time and I have absolutely no clue how dinner is going to happen.

So, to those of you who've been parenting and working full time and making dinner happen all this time: I salute you. I bow down before you. Long ago, in another life, I knew how to do this. But I have lost my chops.

Educate me. What are the best local options for busy parents to get food on the table fast? What tricks have you learned for juggling everything and staying sane?

When my daughter was an infant and I was commuting to Baltimore to work every day, we fell back on take-out and cereal as dinner much more than I would have liked. We survived. But it wasn't pretty.

Howard County has plenty of grocery stores, and several grocery delivery options. I know there are also services that delivery pre-prepped ready to cook meals. Have you tried any? Does anyone deputize children or spouse to participate in the dinner process?

You are the experts. Tell me what Howard County has to offer. A hungry family awaits your wisdom.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gratitude Wednesday

Last week's little list idea is growing on me. It might even get to be a regular thing. What's on my local appreciation list this week?

  • Ellicott City Main Street businesses the Judge's Bench and the Wine Bin are slated to re-open today and tomorrow, respectively. Now, that's progress.
  • There's going to be a Hops & Harvest Festival at the Lakefront in October.
  • Reporter Fatimah Waseem of The Howard County Times "who has been a one-woman flood bureau over the last 3 weeks. " (Tom Coale, Ellicott City Partnership)
  • A bit outside the Bubble, but extremely significant in re HCPSS achievement gap issues--take a look at this information from UMBC:

 

(Photo credit Candace Dodson Reed)

  • Last, but not least, a grateful shout-out to all of our Howard County teachers and staff who are working their tails off this week to get schools and classrooms ready for students, all while struggling with punitive budget reallocations. Thank you--we support your work and we care about your working conditions.
Have a great Wednesday. Feel free to chime in with the local things on your gratitude list this week.


 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Something Sweet

 
I can't visit Rehoboth without stopping in to Fun For All! Toys on Penny Lane. Something about paying homage to the candy and toys of my childhood gives me a sense of reassurance. My childhood is still there. It hasn't been forgotten. I really lived in that world which now feels so different and far away.
 
I sometimes wonder if the people who grew up in a nascent Columbia have that same feeling. It must be difficult to see little pieces of their childhood slipping away. No matter how useful or exciting the evolution of their town, it is still different. And sometimes different just feels like loss.
 
The Columbia Archives is preparing for Columbia's 50th birthday celebration in 2017. You can learn more on their Facebook page. They are posting all kinds of historical photos and interesting tidbits. You can also read "Columbia at 50" by Len Lazarick, an ongoing memoir of our city, which is being shared on the page.
 
It feels particularly appropriate to me to take some time right now to celebrate the birth of Columbia and review its beginnings. There are some big decisions in progress about Downtown Columbia. Change is already happening. It is an ongoing process. What are the core things about our city that we want to champion and retain?
 
Are there things we absolutely want to protect? Are there things we've known we could be doing better, and this is a chance to move in a better direction?
 
In the meantime, stop by the Columbia Mall to take a trip down memory lane by visiting this display created by Barbara Kellner and the Columbia Archives. If you are like me, you'll learn something new. If you were here when it happened, it will be like a visit to the old candy store: nostalgic, reassuring, and sweet.
 
 
(Photo by Barbara Kellner)

 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Board Games

This cartoon appeared in last week's paper. Funny, huh?

 

 
Back-to-school time is often a bit wistful as we say goodbye to summer. Students may be a little nervous about what lies ahead. Parents may be anxious about big transitions for their children. We don't often think about what it's like for teachers and staff fearing to go in a building because it makes them sick.
 
The following quotes are from the "Mold in Howard County Schools - Information for Parents" Facebook Page.
 
Here is a statement from a current teacher:
 
"At this point, we'll keep fighting this fight and I'll have to do what I can to keep my health the best that I can while we're doing it. Sadly, I've come to know that I've had mold related illnesses for several years due to HCPSS negligence. When I left (prior) school -- years ago, I'd had a chronic sinus infection for over a year. The trailer I taught in - requested an air quality check on and was told it was safe - was condemned a year and half later for black mold behind the walls. When I came to current school and after the surgery, my symptoms were better for a few years. When I changed into my current room, I gradually began getting sick more often and didn't really connect it until last year... It was probably due to the chronic ceiling leak that took several years to fix.
In the meantime, I need my job and don't have other choices at the moment. I'm glad my students transfer in and out of my class and don't have much exposure to it."
 
And a response from a retired teacher:
 
"And I thought I was alone being sick year after year, 3 & 4 times a year with bronchitis, prednisone spurts, inhalers, nebulizer treatments- lung permanently weakened- and it's just a "maintenance issue." I am so sad for this teacher, her classes & the rest of the teachers/staff & students suffering through this exposure to mold. Is the BOE & Dr. Foose really this deaf & heartless? The one on the BOE who absolutely blows my mind is Dr. Siddiqui, a pediatrician, who does NOT advocate for the children of Howard County. How can she sit there & say NOTHING about the health ramifications?? The first line of the Hippocratic Oath is DO NO HARM. She has caused harm over & over again by NOT SPEAKING UP!"
 
It's a clever device to set the continuing saga of mold in our schools on a Monopoly Board. The truth is that a majority of our school board has been playing games with the health of students, teachers, and staff for years and is still not truly taking responsibility.
 
You have a choice in November as to what kind of a school board you want. There's a lot of information out there to consider. One thing is simple. There's only one person on the ballot who could have done something to fix this, but didn't.
 
The only way that Howard County citizens win this game is by electing better Board Members who truly represent the community.

 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Something to Say

I'm not a photographer. I am in awe of people like Michael Oberman who really and truly understand and practice the art of photography. Still, I like to take pictures. And the camera on my iPhone is a big step up from my childhood Kodak Instamatic or my high school Polaroid.

Three years ago I snapped this at a HoCo Blogs party at the Second Chance Saloon.

It has become affectionately known as, "when Bill Woodcock speaks, people listen." I'm rather proud of this one.

Bill and I both live in Oakland Mills, have both served on the Village Board, both write blogs. We're both interested in local affairs, and generally have something to say about them. Our opinions are frequently quite different. Or sometimes our opinions are similar but our methods are radically different. It doesn't matter. We keep at it.

In this picture Bill is being interviewed by two members of the local media, Luke Lavoie and Jon Sham. Neither of them still works for the Howard County Times. In fact, I don't think either of them works for a newspaper anymore.

In the meantime, we almost lost the Second Chance, the setting of this photo. A tip of the hat and a HoCoHoller to everyone who helped make it possible for them to stay open.

So, we lost the journalists, we almost lost the Second Chance, but Bill Woodcock appears to be here to stay. His newest venture is as a member of the Citizens Budget Review Committee examining the HCPSS budget. He brings plenty of professional experience to the task. I'm confident that he will serve the community well in this role.

A delightful bonus: I know he'll have something to say about it.

 

 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Coming Attractions

It's back! Or at least it will be. Yesterday this announcement popped up on Facebook:


Yes, Symphony of Lights is back and it looks to be refreshed and rejuvenated after a one-year absence. So that's something to look forward to as we're suffering through end-of-summer August heat and humidity.

In the category of What May Come is this blog post from Harry Schwarz at HoCoMDcc, entitled:

Life at the new Hickory Ridge Village Center (circa 2024)

As you may know, the owners of the Hickory Ridge Village Center are working with the community on a redevelopment plan. As with anything that involves change in Columbia, there are plenty of opinions. I have only been following this in the most basic of ways, so I'm not offering any point of view whatsoever on Kimco's plans or the community's responses.

I love Harry's post simply because it is that rare example of someone imagining a Columbia future that isn't a doom and gloom story. What if things changed and they were great?

It could happen.