Our Antietam neighbors Stacy and Marlin have created a flourishing garden across from their farmhouse at the corner of Harpers Ferry and Canal. I intend to stop with the girls one day soon to investigate their crop more closely, but today I just had time for a quick snapshot with my iPhone of these beauties.
We have finally returned from a whirlwind softball season and a short beach vacation as a bit of reward. Our oldest daughter played on the Sharpsburg 9-10 All Star team for a second run this year, and what an exciting season it was! The girls played for the District 1 title in early July and won against Halfway 4 to 0, Federal 24 to 0, and Halfway again 3 to 1. Sharpsburg’s finest came out to give the girls a ride around town behind the biggest fire engine with sirens blaring and lights flashing. They even got to climb on top of the engine for some pictures. With our sister 11-12 All Stars playing simultaneously at the State tournament and our boys vying for both the 9-10 and 11-12 District contests, too, our town certainly had so much to be proud of in our young athletes. Ultimately, our 11-12 boys took the District 1 title and battled to get second in States and our Junior softball girls just won States yesterday!
Our families headed to Waldorf last weekend for the States tournament. The southern Maryland weather was perfect (compared to last year’s, anyway) as the girls took the field on Saturday and beat Easton 10 to 0. The weather was even better on Sunday and the bats were working as the girls took another great win against St. Mary’s 11 to 1. The girls’ steals and slides were impressive, and all walked away confident that we could take the championship on Monday.
Unfortunately, the confidence was a bit unfounded, and the girls found themselves fighting a battle they couldn’t finish in the W column. St. Mary’s pushed us into another championship game with a 0 to 1 win on Sunday. The final game was all too similar to the first, and our girls took second with a 1 to 2 loss. However, our players showed spectacular sportsmanship when they asked to present the championship flag to the winning team. The tournament director was bowled over by our girls’ class and heart throughout the hard-fought series. Our little town has had a fabulous season with three teams taking second at States and one winning the whole thing! What a run!
After Monday’s game, we decided to take a much-needed break from action and headed to one of our favorite beach destinations — the Francis Scott Key Resort. A few days on Assateague Island beach and several evenings of great food and we were (somewhat) ready to return to work today.
Sometimes we forget the beauty that’s right in our own front yard . . . Last evening, SG and I took a walk to our local secret pond and found that it’s alive with awesome summer wonders. The surface is covered in huge lily pads, bull frogs are croaking on its edges, and dragonflies are buzzing everywhere. SG found a bunny to chase, and I had too many scenes to photograph.
I’ve been keeping my eye on this new-to-me local find, Frog Eye Farm and their pick-your-own blueberries gig. Several friends have gone in recent weeks and apparently enjoyed it, so I warned S that I’d not be letting her sleep in until noon as usual so we could try it out for ourselves today. A thick fog greeted us this morning, so we got a later start than I’d wanted (in order to beat the heat of mid-day), but it turned out to be a perfect late morning adventure. The bushes are in peak season, and the farmer hopes to be open for picking through the second week in August.
Frog Eye Road isn’t too far up Route 67 on your left. It’s a long gravel lane, and you’ll need to follow the little blueberry signs to take the correct path. You’ll park in a grassy lot overlooking their beautiful pond, and you’ll find welcoming help under the blue tarp. Your host will give you the lowdown, a handy green bucket, sun hats, water, and natural bug spray, if you require them. The gnats (biting, swarming black flies) are pretty bad around here – welcome to our part of the world. My sun hat definitely helped keep them at bay, but we are kind of used to them. My sister also found the hat helpful.
After you have all you need, you just set off down any of the rows and pick to your heart’s delight! We were told that the bushes included both sweet and tart varieties, but you couldn’t necessarily tell them apart. You just had to taste them to find out – so we did!
When we had our fill of picking and testing, we headed back up the hill to the blue tent. We had 3 pounds leftover in the buckets and that set us back a mere $10.50. When Sister tried to pay him for the berries in our bellies, he insisted that it was all part of the fun and to keep our extra cash. What a wonderful experience!
I didn’t even know she knew that I write (wrote) a blog . . . and then the other day, she’s like, Mom, you should write on your blog more – like today.
Well, ok, so, I’m kind of busy . . . like really busy – busy all the time . . . Somehow that doesn’t feel like much of an excuse. I’ve promised myself before that I’d write more and I didn’t . . . the last time I posted was in February (**ducks**). Sigh.
So, why not? Why not let her make me feel guilt like this and put it to good use? Writing’s not a bad thing to make time for. C’mon, Beth. Let’s do this!
It’s that time of year that every working mother dreads – Valentine’s. I admit it. I usually hit the super market for some cheap and easy pieces of paper classroom love, but this year, I’ve discovered Pinterest! God bless Pinterest. I think it was my sister who posted the link to this colorful inspiration and I couldn’t think of a better way to make Valentines AND rid the house of some of those ubiquitous bracelets.
A follow-up to the post earlier this week:
There’s a blog post that’s popped up all over my Facebook today on the deteriorating living conditions in my old college town Baltimore. The author is a woman who apparently lives quite close to my old stomping grounds in Butcher’s Hill at the corner of Pratt and Collington. In essence, she bemoans how Baltimore’s crime has become too much for her, and she wants to leave. Then, this other blog post was written in response to the first, and this writer judges the first’s love of Charm City as “partial” and “conditional” and accuses her of “just complaining instead of acting” to improve conditions.
Ok, I get it. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Yeah, I’m all about changing the world, too. But I don’t think anyone gets to judge somebody else’s feelings of fear. I lived on that corner for two years. I remember clearly the lucid dreams of someone breaking into my apartment after my boyfriend’s car was broken into and after my male neighbor’s house was robbed. I remember walking back from the water taxi after a shift at Phillip’s quite convinced that I was being followed. I, too, remember that I would never step foot in that beautiful park alone. No way.
So, as much as wish my husband would quit calling her the Armpit of America, as much as I reminisce about Canton and Fells and Federal Hill and the 8×10 and the Walters and Charles Village and Louie’s Bookstore Cafe and painted screens and Funk’s Democratic Coffee Spot and Preakness and The Wild Mushroom and Wayne’s BBQ’s margaritas and Nacho Mama’s and Francis & Frances’ $2 rum and cokes and booted tires and 3 feet blizzards followed by ice storms and fireworks from the roof, I still wouldn’t want my daughters living there alone right now. Nope. And nobody else gets to judge that fear.
And I will still take my young daughters on day trips to my other hometown, and we’ll drive through some of the “roughest” streets and oohhh and aahhh at the street art and crazy amounts of trash. And we’ll get into hard discussions about why some people seem to live at the bus stops and why others approach us for money. When we drive in from the south and that view of stadiums and the Tower and harbor all hit me, my stomach will turn in awe. And I will swoon over the Inner Harbor and BMA with them, and try to convince them to be Retrievers when it’s time. Damn. Sometimes this country girl sure misses that city. All of it. And I think my girls love it, too, in a way already. Call my protected fondness “privileged” or “conditional,” if you will. But I’ll still spend some tourist money there and hope she sees better days. I do love that city after all.
I’m in my fourth year as a Girl Scout leader, and this year I have a multi-level troop of Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors. Yes, that’s Kindergartners to fifth graders! But, I love our girls and we have a lot of fun. Each year we join in with our county’s Service Unit for an annual World Thinking Day event. We’ve represented China and Venezuela in the past, and this year the girls selected St. Vincent & the Grenadines from the WAGGGS focus countries. Considering the winter we’ve had here in Maryland, we were all lured by the lush tropical island country’s appeal!
Each troop is charged with bringing several things to the event: a display to educate others about the country, a representative snack, a flag, and about 150 SWAPS (Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere). This is an age-old tradition that Girl Scouts trade with each other at events and pin to something for collection. My own girls have loads from these events and especially the 2012 Rock the Mall event, where they collected scores from scouts who came to DC from all over the country.
Well, we are super proud of the palm tree SWAPS that the girls made at our last meeting for our country. They are made simply from the ubiquitous safety pin and tag, a couple of wooden beads, and a fancy green bead that we picked up at Hobby Lobby. Even the youngest Daisies could help us with this task.
The girls will travel from display to display as a troop, and each girl will have a “passport” in which she’ll collect stamps from each country as they travel around. We always learn a lot about girls from around the world and have a fun time doing it.