Sunday, November 19, 2017

What to Do?

This morning I’m pondering this seasonal urge I have to “hunker down” this time of year. Who am I kidding? I’ll usually take hunkering down at any time of year. I’m looking out the back window where I can see beautiful blue sky and the tops of trees still clinging to brightly colored leaves. I hear the sound of wind whistling around the house. I contemplate a day of crafting, of ordering the few groceries I need and having them delivered.

The urge to “hunker” is strong.

All the more reason to read this post from HoCo blogger Mike Hartley, who is making the case for why I should Get Out. Mike writes the blog Threw Mike’s Eyez. “Get out,” he writes. “It’s a great idea.”

This morning is the last Farmer’s Market of the season in Oakland Mills. This afternoon is the Dazzle Dash which kicks off the Symphony of Lights. And another thought: when I recently asked readers what their new favorite store was in Old Ellicott City, no one had an answer. So, maybe get out on Main Street and noodle around?

There’s a Holiday Craft Shop at the Hawthorn Center in Hickory Ridge today from 2-5. And the Friends and Foundation of the Howard County Library System is having a meet-up at Hysteria Brewing Company at 4:00. There are also events at Historic Belmont and the Robinson Nature Center.

Or you can just bundle up at take a walk around the lake of your choice.

Perhaps you want to pop in to the Mall and see the Poinsettia Tree before the place becomes too crazed with holiday shoppers. Just a thought.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Parade by the Numbers

According to the most recent census, Howard County is:

62.2% white, 17.5% black or African American, 14.4% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 2.0% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 5.8% .

According to the HoCo Gov website, Howard County has approximately 20,000 military veterans.

You can find information about the breakdown by race/ethnicity of Howard County veterans here.

You can view photographs and video footage of this year’s Veterans Day parade in Old Ellicott City here.  This is County Executive Allan Kittleman’s Facebook page. You’ll need to scroll down past more current posts.

One thing I noticed after looking at all the videos and photographs was how really, really white this event is. Look at who is marching. Look at who is lining the streets. Look at the officials giving speeches. If one were to imagine Howard County from these pictures alone, I don’t think we’d come close to picturing the actual diversity we have here, both in the overall population and amongst veterans.

Why do you think that is? This is a genuine question. I am not ascribing any exclusionary intent here. I am not offering criticism, just an observation. 

Mr. Kittleman offers this statement about the event:

PLEASE WATCH AND SHARE:  So many great moments and memories at today's Veterans Parade in Ellicott City.  This was just the third year for the parade and the crowd was very impressive.  Next year's parade is sure to be even bigger and better and hopefully, a new Ellicott City tradition is growing right before our eyes.  If you were there, you might spot yourself in this video.

So it’s a relatively new event and next year offers possibilities of improvement. That’s good to hear. Maybe our community can find a way for this parade to bring more people together so that we are honoring and supporting veterans in a way that shows the reality of who we are as a county.

Comments are welcome here:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Not So Funny

If you were to go by Twitter mentions alone, the big news this week was the woman who broke into an area McDonalds by climbing through the drive-through window. Dubbed the “Howard County Hamburglar”, her crime has been the source of much amusement on social media.

I don’t know why, but I just don’t find it funny. It feels sad to me.

At the age of twenty-seven, this young woman believed this was a viable plan. What motivated her? What is her story? Perhaps I am more inclined to care about her story because no one was physically injured during the crime. Maybe it’s because she is not that much younger than my older daughter.

What kind of a life do you have if you think that crawling into a McDonald’s is a risk worth taking? What kind of education did you have? What kind of job opportunities are available to you? Was there one definitive point along the way that she needed guidance or a mentor and didn’t have one? Or were there a million tiny stumbles along the way that led to this giant misstep?

It’s okay if it made you laugh. Sometimes the news is so awful these days that we have to find something to laugh at. But for some reason I can’t.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


This week’s Columbia Flier is sad, just sad. As a local blogger I should probably go into detail for you explaining why. At the moment I’m too demoralized by its awfulness. Let me just say that it is not the fault of our local journalists. This problem is far bigger than they are.

Big surprise: no men commented on yesterday’s post about the lack of men engaging with posts by women bloggers. (Specifically my post on Tuesday about sexual harassment.). I know we’re all surprised about that.

My husband is being honored this afternoon at the BOE meeting for being chosen one of School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s 50 Directors Who Make A Difference. I haven’t been to a Board Meeting since this particular board was sworn in. It will be interesting to get a feel for how things are going.

Yesterday the faculty of the Lower School where I work had a very frank discussion about not perpetuating long-established falsehoods about the Thanksgiving narrative. We were encouraged to go through our classroom libraries and make sure we weren’t holding on to old books that re-enforced cultural stereotypes. I continue to be amazed and grateful to be working at this school.

There’s some kind of celebration goin on at Black Flag Brewing Company this evening for those of you who donated to bring turkeys to those in need in our community. You can learn more here. Sounds fun but I continue to nurse this extremely tenacious cold and cough so it is probably a no for me.

Podcaster and sometime blogger Candace Dodson-Reed is pondering fascinating hocolocals to write about in her annual year-end post. I don’t know about you, but I continue to be fascinated by Ms. Frizz of @eye_on_kq . Who would you pick?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


I noticed something interesting about the response to yesterday’s post about sexual harassment and how we raise boys and young men in Howard County.

Out of all the “likes”, only one was from a man: my husband. The comments? All women.

I have gotten used to the fact that, by and large, my blog is supported by women. I think that there are men who read it, but as far as liking, sharing, and engaging, it’s overwhelmingly women.

Yes, I know there are “some men”. Don’t @ me.

I don’t think of this blog as one that focuses on “women’s issues”. It’s a community blog. I sometimes talk about equal rights for women but that’s not my main reason for being here. And yet, year after year, I see men online engage with and promote local male bloggers more consistently. Sometimes I wonder why that is. I try not to get too hung up on it, but sometimes it really gets my goat.

Right now, especially.

When I started to write yesterday’s post, I began, “Mothers, teach your sons.” And then I thought, “Why just mothers? What am I saying here?” And so I amended it to include mothers and fathers. This is an issue that will require engagement and discussion and a change in how we raise our children.

It’s not just a “women’s issue”.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Trouble in Paradise

Mothers and fathers: teach your sons.

Teach them that it’s not okay to ask a girl to send them nudes.

Teach them that no one really wants to see a picture of their parts.

Teach them that touching without consent is an aggressive act.

Teach them that no means no.

Teach them empathy.

Teach them to love unselfishly.


Because those of us who are the mothers and fathers of daughters are really, really tired of teaching:

Be careful.

Look out.

Protect yourself.

Don’t go alone.

Be careful what you say.

Don’t laugh at him.

Don’t let down your guard.

Just smile and hope it stops. Don’t make a big fuss because that might make it worse.

Don’t make him angry.

In case you are wondering, this is a local post. It’s not directed at what’s happening on the national scene. We’ve got work to do right here in blissful Howard County.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Bit of a Weekend

I’d like to start out the week by thanking whoever nominated me for a spot in Baltimore Sun’s Crabbies . (Formerly the Mobbies) I’m not actively campaigning this year, but seeing the blog mentioned was a lovely boost to my spirits.

Today is my eighteenth wedding anniversary, which means that I have lived in Columbia for eighteen years. Where do I go to pick up my “I’ve lived here long enough to speak out on local issues” card? Eighteen years seems weighty enough to have one’s opinions heard at a resident speak-out.

My husband and I enjoyed an early anniversary dinner at Flavors of India on Friday night. You may already know that they are under new management. The side room that was once reserved for private parties is now open and brightly lit. A little too bright, for my tastes. However, when we requested a table in the other, gently lit dining room, they rushed to comply, moving tables and chairs to make it possible.

If I have any complaints about the new Flavors of India it would be that they are too helpful. I felt like we were waited on and being checked up on by at least four different people. There was way too much “yes, ma’am” subservience for my taste. My husband thought it was sweet. It made me anxious. The food itself was wonderful, although I think the “green sauce” recipe has changed for the worse...

On Saturday we stopped by what used to be Chip Smyth Jewelers in the Ellicott City shopping center  where White Oak Tavern is. My husband wanted to get his wedding ring resized, and that is where we bought our rings all these many years ago. We knew it wasn’t “Chip Smyth”anymore, but we didn’t know it wasn’t there at all anymore. Smyth Jewelers has moved to Turf Valley.

So off we went to Turf Valley to find the jewelry store in a quaint shopping area that looks a bit like the Avenue in White Marsh. And yes, we had never had any reason to go there before. To us, Turf Valley might as well be on the other side of the planet. As we turned off of Route 40 I noted the signature tower at the entrance. A flood of memories of old Wordbones posts about Turf Valley rushed through my head. Must go back and re-read those.

Just an ordinary HoCo weekend. With a celebratory feeling.