Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Worn Out



National news is so dreadful that the high point of my day yesterday was a good checkup at the dentist. I got “roughed up” on social media twice yesterday (no blood drawn) and I’m worn out. Some folks think we'd all get along together if we just sat down and talked with each other more. After yesterday I’m upset that such people exist. Forget wanting to sit in the same room with them to have a chat. No thanks.

Some things that are on my mind today:

The proposal to offer more healthy food options in County vending machines.
The draft report from the Area Attendance Committee.
The upcoming Coral Reef Encounter at Macgill’s Common Pool this weekend.
Lawns: who needs ‘em?
The Fundraiser for Matcha Time Café this Sunday.

Yesterday wore me out. I’m going to do my best today to stay away from the news and the internet and recover. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Not Trend-Worthy



For a brief shining moment yesterday I entertained the notion of getting a witty hashtag to trend on Twitter. This is what happens if you have a) delusions of grandeur, or b) too much coffee.

As I waited for my Venti iced coffee (just cream, no sugar) I noticed one of those little chalkboard signs announcing a new product. Now, when you order your drink “with a shot”, you can have it “updosed”.

Wait, what?

That’s right, “updosed”, a made up term which means you can chose how strong you want the added shot of espresso to be. At least, that is my understanding from reading the chalkboard before I drank my morning coffee at the Wilde Lake Starbucks.

I got it into my head that I was going to make “updosed” a thing.

You can now have your espresso “updosed” at Starbucks . Congrats for coming up with a word we didn’t know we needed.

 “What’s wrong with him?” “Don’t know. Looking a little...*updosed* I’m thinking”

Your turn. Use #updosed in a sentence, Starbucks fans.

A few loyal friends obliged.

Large swarms of updosed, free-range preschoolers can be hazardous, so wise parents serve cake and ice cream at the end of the birthday party.

He was constipated till he got an UPdose!

All these kids running around camp like they've been updosed.  #Facts

And, my final offering:

Doctor: I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do.
Nurse: But, Doctor, what about—?
Doctor: Well, maybe. But there’s a lot of risks. 
Nurse: But we have to try!
Doctor: All right. We’ll do it. Prepare the patient to be updosed.

Rather like the poor girl who “tried to make ‘fetch’ happen”, I went for the big splash and made nary a ripple. It was nice while it lasted, though.

Wouldn’t it be fun to be in the room when companies made up these silly words?

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Right Route



Since I generally have no qualms about revealing my ignorance on local topics, I’m going to jump right in with this one. What’s up with Route 32 after the Clarksville exits?

The other day there was an incident on 32 which messed up traffic for hours.


I got the feeling from posts I saw that traveling on 32 was the only way they could get home. I don’t drive out that way as much as I used to, and I certainly haven’t tried to navigate without access to Route 32. But it strikes me as crazy that there are no alternate ways to go.

A lot of work has been done in recent years to streamline entrance/exits on this position of the road, and I seem to remember former County Executive Kittleman and Governor Hogan announcing major improvements. That’s all well and good, but what happens if that’s the one route, it’s out of commission, and you can’t get home?

Hmm...this reminds me of something...

Is this a case where people need to know back roads better, or is it truly that “you can’t get there from here”?

Enlighten me.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sidestepping Solutions



I have a gig this morning at the Chrysalis, so I’m going to make this short.

Remember Bree Newsome Bass? She’s the activist from Columbia who (quite literally) rose to national prominence when she scaled the flagpole in South Carolina and removed the Confederate flag. I’ve been following her on Twitter ever since.

In light of the multiple issues we face as a community as we contemplate school redistricting, I want to share this quote from Ms. Newsome Bass:

We already have solutions for racism, poverty, immigration, etc. It's not about a lack of solutions, it's that *not everyone wants solutions*. 


A powerful segment doesn't think it's a problem. They are actively opposed to equality & democracy for all. That's the issue. 

We have to stop acting like the issue is a lack of solutions & not an ideological battle over white supremacy vs multiracial democracy. 

This is the fundamental ideological battle that has existed since USA's founding, when they debated but opted against abolishing slavery. 

That’s it, in a nutshell. We have the solutions. We don’t necessarily want them. 

Will Howard County come to grips with this? I don’t know. The variety of responses to the Washington Post article about the hate crime at Glenelg High School have been quite telling. It makes a difference whether you believe that it was an isolated incident perpetrated by a few dumb kids or a symptom of a deeply ingrained systemic problem.

Will our community and the Board of Education debate but ultimately opt against abolishing de facto segregation in our schools? History suggest yes. I’m hoping we are braver this time around.


Saturday, July 13, 2019

I Wonder



My husband was charmed. As we sat in the courtyard, eating our summer treats from Rita’s he watched a little boy zooming around on his little bike. Soon his smaller sister appeared, on a much smaller bike that had no pedals. She was managing it expertly, using her feet to move herself along. Then came a mom, or perhaps a nanny, with a baby in a stroller.

“What a great mom, bringing them here to be able to have this big, safe space to ride around in. It’s wonderful,” he remarked.

It was quite hot. We had each gotten our favorite Rita’s offerings: chocolate custard for him, watermelon ice for me. A few other folks sat at tables enjoying cold treats. Every so often the little boy would pedal past, helmet on securely, a bit of a wobble as he rounded the corners. Now and again a patron for one of the courtyard shops would pass through.

It was pretty darned near idyllic.

One little thought nagged at me, though. As we went back to our car I checked the posted rules for the Village Center common spaces. As I had suspected, no bicycles are allowed. No bikes, scooters, skateboards.

I wonder if they ever enforce those rules. I wonder if they have them posted so they can police the behavior of people they feel are undesirable. I wonder if it matters what age they are. Or the color of their skin.

Sometimes I wonder. Does privilege look like taking your children to ride their bikes at the village center and never thinking to read the posted rules because “posted rules” just aren’t a thing in your world? When one can say, “I just didn’t know,” if challenged and one will be believed, no further questions asked?

Not everyone gets that benefit of the doubt. Not everyone’s children are looked at with a kind and benevolent gaze while doing the things of childhood. Some children get a smile. Others? “They’re probably up to no good.”

Rules are there for a reason, you say. There are safety concerns, issues of making sure that customers feel safe accessing the shops. Of course there are. There always are.

There are also rules written in between the lines. Nuance in how they are enforced. Right now, when my mind and heart are full of images of children who some would say are “not our children”, I wonder how good we are close to home when we deal with children who don’t look like ours.

I don’t know. But, I wonder.








Friday, July 12, 2019

Summer Discovery



An unexpectedly delightful summer discovery: Pepperjacks Subs in Scaggsville. They’ve been there for a while, (since 2003) but we have just belatedly found them.

Pepperjacks has a decidedly old school vibe.


Built in an updated/renovated Amoco service station that dates from 1932, the restaurant has a comfy, back-in-the-day atmosphere. It’s the kind of place you might visit on vacation. We definitely felt as though we could have been at the beach or someplace away from ordinary day to day life.

The service is friendly and helpful. You order at the counter and then find a seat. They’ll holler for you when your order is ready. All the food we’ve had has been solidly good, and the regular sized subs have sometimes been filling enough that half would do for a meal. The root beer floats are stellar.

And for me, it wouldn’t be summer without a good root beer float.

It’s a small place, but there is seating inside and out. They have their own Little Free Library on site as well. Dogs are welcome (outside). I image they get quite a bit of take-out business.

Their website says that they have opened a second Pepperjacks in Annapolis Junction. The food may be the same but I imagine that the vibe can’t be replicated.

Pepperjacks Subs
MON-FRI 8:30AM-9PM
SAT & SUN 8AM-9PM

Serving Breakfast till 10:30AM 
10919 Scaggsville Rd, Laurel, MD 20723

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Not Kidding



The summer of 2019 will be known as The One Where the Goat Ran Away.

For the past two days Columbia/HoCo has been abuzz with reports of a goat on the loose in the area near Howard Community College. I suggested to my family that it was the beginning of a very small agricultural program. They weren’t impressed. I pointed out that it was better than if it were a runaway from the culinary arts program. I was sternly admonished for even raising the possibility.

Let me just say that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has been ahead of me on this story. WBAL TV, WJZ TV, the Howard County Times, and even all the good folks on NextDoor, where the goat’s wanderings launched a thread of more than one hundred posts. And let’s not forget conversation on Facebook and Twitter. (and a lot of really bad goat jokes.)

WBAL’s post was the first one I read and there’s something vaguely poetic about it.

Eventually the goat was spotted by numerous residents in the Hawthorne neighborhood, including one woman who was startled while relaxing at the pool by its plaintive vocalisations. The adventurous goat made the rounds, eluding capture, for over 24 hours.

The fun was over when somebody called Animal Control. From @Ee_Jayne:

The goat has safely been captured by folks in Hawthorne. I heard him crying yesterday & got close to him, but he ran back into woods.



It turns out that someone did take that helpful advice on NextDoor to call Animal Control, and yes, Animal Control came out and did their thing and succeeded where others had failed. Towards the end of the evening this tweet from HoCoTimes reporter Erin Logan made me laugh:

A spokeswoman said the goat was found to be in good health. It’s currently chillin at the animal control facility. 

But the owners haven’t come forward. COME GET UR GOAT.

So the story of the runaway goat has come to an end. Now the mystery of just who owns the goat begins. If it turns out to be a really good story, you know I’ll write about it. But you’ll probably see it on WBAL, WJZ, the Howard County Times, NextDoor, Facebook, and Twitter first.

I’ll just do the color commentary.