Category Archives: photos

Who knows what evil lurks in the depths of your morning brew?

This isn’t a real post. Well, I suppose it IS, but it’s not. I have half an hour before I have an appointment (day off today, baby! LADY OF LEISURE!) and when I get home will be working on the real post which will go up tomorrow unless I am kidnapped by a Yeti. But you deserve something. It’s a beautiful Friday. Sunshiney and all.

So a couple weeks ago, I was shopping for sj‘s birthday present (Think Geek really is the best for all things awesome, and no, they’re not paying me to say that, but if they WANTED to pay me in, oh, I don’t know, gift cards, I’d take ‘em) and saw a present I knew would be perfect for Andreas. Sometimes that happens. I can’t help myself. I see a thing and think of one of my loved ones and it just pops into my cart. I might have a problem. Some people have a problem with impulse-buys; I have a problem with impulse-buys for my friends. (And lately, shoes. What the hell? I’m almost middle-aged, have never cared about shoes in my life, and suddenly have discovered the joy that is well-made, nicely-fitting shoes. AND I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THEM. I apologize that I always scoffed at you people and your love of shoes.)

So I bought sj’s presents, but also the present for Andreas, all on-the-sly-like, and mailed it off to the land of Finns without telling him. It was supposed to take two weeks to get there. The lady at the post office was VERY STRICT about this.

It took four days. What the hell, USPS? It took my dad, who is about four hours away, three days to get his Father’s Day present; it took Andreas four days to get his present, and he is on A WHOLE OTHER CONTINENT. I find this suspicious.

Anyway, once he opened it, I was treated to the following on Instagram, which I thought you would all enjoy.

“Enjoying a perfectly innocent-looking cup of cappuccino.”

“But what’s this? Something is poking out of the coffee!”

“Mein Gott im Himmel! Eine kleine Tintenfisch!”

Hee! WIN! I bought Andreas this:

It’s an Octopus Surprise Mug! Because he loves octopuses. And also I love surprises.

Time to get my oil changed. I assure you that’s not a euphemism. (Side note: I was up until 2:30am last night because I had to drive to Massachusetts, watch a play, come home, and review that play. I woke up at 9:30 but wasn’t happy about it. Maintenance came to fix my wonky air conditioner at 10-ish. I was in pajamas and my hair looked like I’d slept with a bunch of wolves last night who spent the night playing hairdresser with their paws. And he’s apparently a new maintenance man I didn’t know existed. AND HE IS SUPER-HOT. So the whole time I tried to hide behind the entertainment center and smooth my hair down surreptitiously. AND HE WAS EVEN NICE TO DUMBCAT AND COMPLIMENTED HIM ON HIS STUB TAIL! Oh, good grief, life, why are you trying to kill me.)

Oh, and SIDE NOTE TO THE SIDE NOTE: he didn’t even fix my air conditioner, because randomly last night, it started working again. SIGH. He said to call him again when it’s not working. I will, sir. I WILL. I will call you and you can bet I won’t be wearing ripped jogging shorts and a stretched-out teeshirt NEXT time. Rawr. (I’m exaggerating. I don’t even own anything that’s more dressy than that.)

Happy Friday, all. And hey, Andreas? You’re the best. Most sincerely. Don’t know what I’d do without you. So stick around, you. OK? Good. Glad we’ve settled that.

About these ads

Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea: Adventures in Baltimore, Part Four

OK, I’m super-sick, but I am determined to soldier on. I AM A BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER. I went to a play tonight and now I am home and feel like utter crap but at least I feel like crap on my couch. That’s the best place to feel like crap, probably. Or your bed. Your bed is also a good place to feel like crap. Preferably with a Dumbcat curled up purring next to you because Dumbcats make you feel better when you are coughing and feverish. Or at least they try to.

And, before I get started, happiest of all happy Mother’s Days to all the mothers who are reading. This is all-inclusive and includes everyone who does mothering, even those who haven’t birthed an actual child through their actual birth canal in an ouchy-ouchy way. So, all mothers of all things, and people who adopt, and same-sex couples, and dads who single-parent, and moms who have lost children, and anyone else I might be forgetting  – you are all wished the happiest of days from me and I celebrate every one of you. All the love to all of you. Amy’s Mom received so many roses this year and was so surprised because I could never afford that before, and they are in many places in her house and I got a “YOU ARE THE BEST DAUGHTER!” so that was a total Mother’s Day win in Amy-land.

So, now we are on to our last day in Baltimore, which was Sunday. We decided to not do a billion things on the last day, mostly because we were very tired. Well, at least I was. And R. and A. were nice enough to agree they were as well, whether or not they REALLY were. We did so many things! It was time for a little calmness.

Our trip Sunday was to something MERKAN! And NATIONAL! And PATRIOTIC! Any guesses?

Fort McHenry!

Now maybe you don’t know about Fort McHenry. I didn’t know about it. Other than it was something Merkan. Here are some bullet-points about Fort McHenry if, like me, your school was sadly lacking in good American History classes (or perhaps you kind of had a little crush on your American History teacher so you spent time daydreaming about him and not paying as much attention as you should have, I don’t know your life):

  • It is three things: a National Park, a National monument, and a historic shrine
  • It was an actual fort in the war of 1812
  • It defended against a British attack in Baltimore harbor in 1814 (were you aware the war of 1812 was so LONG? I wasn’t)
  • While watching the battle, a Washington lawyer was so impressed by the fact that the men at the fort held off the British and that the American flag stayed flying the whole night through, he was inspired to write a song. What do you think the lawyer’s name was? Well, it was Mr. Francis Scott Key. And that song was the “Star Spangled Banner.” BAM, MOFOS!

Yes! This is the actual place that inspired our NATIONAL ANTHEM! MERKAN HISTORY, YOU GUYS!

Now, I feel the need to give you a disclaimer. I know I kind of bag on Merka. Mostly by calling it Merka. And shaking my head at things that happen here in Merka, like Truck Nutz and Fox News. But here’s a huge secret, that, ironically, will not be a huge secret once I tell you: I love Merka. So much. I am so jazzed by the history of my country. It makes me have goosebumps. It makes my whole heart thrill. I love the thought of my scrappy forefathers who believed so strongly in our country holding off against the British. I love the national anthem. I love history and battles and monuments and things that made our country great. I think our country could still be great. I believe a great deal in our country, and it makes me sad, what it’s become. Dad finds this fierce patriotism of mine funny. “For someone who’s part of the enemy’s team, you really do love our country,” he says. (The enemy’s team = Democrats.) “You might be the only Dumb-o-crat who actually loves America. So that means you’re not really a Dumb-o-crat and you’re just confused. Any day now you’ll come over to the right side.”

First we walked all around the fort. Guess what I stood on? NO, GUESS!

THE RAMPARTS! The ACTUAL “o’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!” I WAS ON THE RAMPARTS!

There were many cannons. This whole place was surrounded by cannons. ALL THE CANNONS. I wanted to ride on a cannon because that seemed very Merkan, and we even found one cannon that didn’t say “Don’t climb on this, Amy” but it was kind of rusty and I was afraid I’d get my pants dirty.

This is the view when you’re walking around the Fort. It’s beautiful. The bay is right there and you can see all the boats. It was a little chilly and windy, but that’s what happens when there’s water.

I kind of forgot to take enough photos. Luckily, A. took some photos and he’s GOOD, you guys. Like, artistic-good. He said I could steal. I’m giving credit, so it’s not as much STEALING as it is kind of borrowing, I suppose.

Look, he has this awesome setting on his camera where he can take a bunch of photos and make them into ONE LONG PHOTO!  Isn’t this so pretty?

So we walked all around, then we went INTO the fort, and you could go into some of the rooms. One of them had teeny-tiny cells in it where TRAITORS were kept. Traitors, you guys! Here is an interesting historical tidbit. During the Civil War, one of the traitors kept there was Francis Scott Key’s grandson. He was an editor of the Baltimore Sun, and he wrote an editorial that said although he didn’t approve of the South’s decision to secede from the Union, he didn’t think we should use military force to get them back, and he also criticized the Lincoln administration. WELL! That did not sit well with the powers that be, and they not only locked him up, they shut down the whole paper. SHUT DOWN THE WHOLE PAPER! See, civil liberties were limited during the Civil War. Anyone could be jailed if they were accused of disloyalty or treason, without a trial; martial law was put in place; censorship of journalists and papers was the norm. Doesn’t this scare the shit out of you? It does me. I had no idea about any of this.

Look, I was making history today by visiting the fort! MERKAN HISTORY!!!

There were things in the different rooms like exhibits and tableaus and various things. There was a big flag that was a recreation of the actual flag that inspired the national anthem. It was all very historic and I liked it all very much.

Then we had a picnic! With baby CeeVee!

It was her first picnic. As you can see, she enjoyed it a great deal. That’s A. in the background. I think this is the only photo of A. I got the whole time I was there. But look, he does exist!

CeeVee and I played a game called “Grass is the best!” in which she would pull up all the grass and then hand it to me, and I would say, “Oh! Thank you!” and she would laugh and laugh and give me MORE grass. Grass is her favorite. Even better than grass? Dandelions. She LOVED dandelions. R. told her not to eat the dandelions, and then she picked another one and almost ate it, and then looked at it very sternly and said, “NO” to it, which made ME laugh and laugh.

Dandelions are the BEST! (And A. is the best photographer, isn't he?)

Dandelions are the BEST! (And A. is the best photographer, isn’t he?)

Seriously, she's the best thing. Look at that smile.

Seriously, she’s the best thing. Look at that smile.

Then she decided to go adventuring and did an homage to a famous painting.

Wyeth’s version…

…and the Baby CeeVee version…

I like CeeVee’s version better, but I’m biased.

Then we went to the gift shop, where you could buy things like weaponry and muskets and swords (I didn’t buy those things, I mean, would they even let me bring them on the train?) and then we went on a long long looooong tour of Baltimore and A. and R. showed me a lot of beautiful buildings that I hadn’t seen yet. Dear Baltimore, I am very much in love with you. You are just the most beautiful city full of endless wonder. I am looking forward to returning.

Oh, a thing I noticed in Baltimore that made R. laugh because I kept noticing it was very brightly colored pants. Like, RED! or GREEN! and I think they were jeans. Is that a thing? I don’t know that that’s a thing around here. Whenever I saw them I would stop what I was doing and say “MORE BRIGHTLY COLORED PANTS!” and R. would laugh. The first time I did it, R. said, “You are the most random person I know, Amy.” And yes. Yes, I sometimes am that. But in my defense, those pants were VERY brightly colored.

Then we spent the rest of the day relaxing and I did some internetting and we ate some delicious Chinese delivery and talked and laughed and R.’s friend stopped over to visit for a little while, and that was nice, and then we watched a little television and then it was bedtime, because the next morning was early early early departure for the train.

Then the next morning it was goodbye to R. and Baby CeeVee so R. could get to work and CeeVee could get to daycare! (And since I left? CeeVee is WALKING now! I knew while I was there she was so, so close! SHE IS WALKING HOORAY!) And then A. brought me to the train station, and it was time to make my way back home to my very lonely Dumbcat who thought I was dead and was SO pleased I was not.

The trip home was mostly uneventful. At one point I fell asleep and I think I might have snored, as I do, because when I woke up I had post-snore sore throat and people were looking at me like I was a crazy-person. Sheesh, calm down, it’s not like I was in the SILENT car. It was just the NORMAL car. And in the New York waiting area (which is in Penn Station, and Dad calls that “Grand Central Penn Station”, as in “Don’t go getting murdered in Grand Central Penn Station, Amy, people get murdered in that Grand Central Penn Station all the time!”) some sort of cop was hitting on me until I pretended I was furiously reading so he stopped talking to me. Explain, please, why it is that no one in the history of my whole life has ever randomly hit on me that I’ve been in the least bit attracted to?

Thank you for sticking around for Adventures in Baltimore! It was the best time and I’m so glad I got to go and see some of my most beloved people. Thank you so much, R. and A., for being the best hosts! Now it is time for this sickie sickerson to go to bed and sleep like the dead. Or at least like a person with a weird feverish sickness. Happy weekend, everyone!


Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea: Adventures in Baltimore, Part Three

OK, here we are with part three. On the THIRD day, we did SO MANY THINGS.

First, let me tell you a story about A. Did you know A. is a championship bike-rider person? YES! IT IS TRUE! He runs a whole bike TEAM! And rides in RACES! And has all kinds of MEDALS! That clink pleasingly when you walk past them! I’m being a little facetious, but it’s totally all true. Here’s what’s the best about this: A. is so passionate about this. It is so much fun to listen to him talk about it. I am all about people having passion about things. I think passion is what makes life interesting. And people WITH passion about something – and I don’t care what it is, as long as it’s not scary and hurtful, like murder – make me happier than happy. Do I know anything about bike racing? Nope. Have I even been ON a bike in like, twenty years? Nope. Was I totally happy to listen to A. talk about HIS love for it? Absolutely. Could have listened to it all day. Because it made his whole face light up. And that made me overjoyed. People with passion are AWESOME.

So on Saturday, A. had a big race, and when I told him “YOU WIN THAT RACE!” he could NOT win, he was in the race to make sure that another guy on his team won, and to knock other people out of the competition. “By throwing gravel at them?” I asked. “No. No gravel-throwing,” said A.

His big race meant it was me, R., and Baby CeeVee for the day! And where were we going?

THE ZOO!

Luckily, R. is a member of the zoo, so we got to go through a special MEMBERS-ONLY gate! There was no champagne. I thought there should be. Membership has its privileges, you see. But apparently, the only privilege was going through the good gate quickly for free. That’s pretty cool. I’ll take it.

You take a shuttle to get to the zoo, or you walk. It’s a long walk. We had a stroller. We took the shuttle. It was so vibratey I’m pretty sure people could use it in place of a washing machine to get afternoon giggles, seriously.

When we first walked in, immediately, there was…

A red-foot tortoise! He was very active and crawled all around. I liked that. Tortoises make me happy. As do turtles. All happy shelled animals are my favorites.

First, something for Jim!

The ravens that are the ACTUAL RAVENS that are the mascots for the Baltimore Ravens! Aw, Jim, you LOVE the Ravens! What? What’s that? You actually HATE the Ravens? Oh, sorry. Sorry about that.

Ravens are very cool and larger than you would think and they have really sharp beaks. One was eating a chick. No, really. A baby chicken. There were feet dangling out of the raven’s mouth.

Here’s the other raven. I liked the ravens. I would like one as a pet. I would set him against mine enemies.

This was an arctic fox. He was taking a little napper. He also smelled like a skunk, but I don’t think that means he was a skunk in disguise. I think it’s just a thing, like how bearcats smell like popcorn.

There was a children’s area where you could do children’s things. Also if you were an adult who has the heart of a child, I suppose. So, in honor of that…

…I of course had to conquer a giant turtle and point at him menacingly as if he’d been naughty.

Mostly I was going to take a photo of this sign and say something snarky like “Don’t you tell me what to do, SIGN,” but then I realized this rock is kind of totally a euphemistic rock, right in the middle of the children’s area. Someone’s totally aware of this, right? Like, this is totally a man-made structure. SOMEONE DID THIS ON PURPOSE.

This is a regular fox. He was also sleepy. All foxes must have gotten the memo to take a nap at the same time. FOX MEMOS! I like foxes. They seem both debonair and also crafty.

It’s kind of hard to tell, but these are INTERSPECIES FRIEND SNAKES! There are two snakes all curled up together here. One’s the redder one, and one’s the brown/cream one. They were the best of friends and possibly in love. These snakes were in a cave that was kind of scary and dark and also there were bats in there and R. did not like the bats, even though I told her that they were actually very good for us and would not really get tangled in our hair like on television and ate all the insects. I learned this from Andreas at the Central Park Zoo. That’s why it’s nice to have a sciency friend.

OK I WILL THANK YOU!

(SIDE NOTE: I actually couldn’t, because in order to be a turtle, you had to get into a very small turtle shell on the ground and put your arms and legs out the arm and leg holes, and I’m a grownup lady and would never fit in that turtle shell. “I think calling A. and asking him to help get me out of a child’s turtle shell would be a bad move, right?” I asked R. “Yes, probably,” R. said. We were both sad. Think of the photo op, right? Sigh.)

So instead, I did the next best thing. The sign told me to be a turtle, so be a turtle I would, dammit!

A zoo’s not a zoo without a cut-out thing to put your face in and pretend to be an animal that’s really for children but you do it anyway because you’re Amy. Nice job, Maryland Zoo!

These are itty-bitty baby pygmy goats. They were a little over a month old and SO WEE. Look how little! I said I wanted to pop one in my purse and bring it home and I don’t think the zookeeper approved.

Then R. and Baby CeeVee went into the petting zoo area. All that was in there was goats. Why not sheep? Confusing.

Baby CeeVee was highly interested in these goats.

SO interested! She didn’t even look at the camera! She was watching the goats instead! I think she thought they were large kitty-cats. Because she has a cat at home and that’s her reference point for furry things. Also, isn’t R. beautiful? She’s just as beautiful as she was the day I met her. I think she has a portrait of Dorian Gray in her attic.

GOATS GOATS EVERYWHERE GOATS! You could not feed the goats. Probably if you did, there would be a feeding frenzy and the goats would swarm you.

Out of the children’s area, into the Africa area. Where there was…

A TERRIFYING BUZZARD THING THAT LOOKS LIKE IT IS MADE OF PLASTIC IT IS SO SCARY.

These things were the worst, seriously.

There was supposed to be a tortoise exhibit, but instead, we had this.

TEMPORARILY CLOSED! This is worrisome. I’m really going to hope this means they’re either updating the exhibit or the tortoises are somewhere breeding, not that the tortoises died.

As I was taking this photo, a man dropped his phone into the rhino enclosure and was going to go over the wall to get it but he was convinced to ask for help instead so two zoo employees went over the wall for it. I kind of wanted to see a rhino cellphone stampede that resulted in the rhino taking selfies with the phone he won fair and square in one-on-one combat, but was denied.

Also, the rhino couldn’t be bothered. He was too busy eating all the things and showing us his bum.

Then there was an awesome bird sanctuary thing in the middle of the Africa area. It was cool in there and so pretty and the birds made awesome sounds and it was all shadowy and they’d just been fed so they were nomming on all the fish.

I tried a million times to get a photo of the spoonbill, who was ridiculously funny. He’s the one at the bottom of the photo looking at us. He was very funny scooping up fish from the water with his big old spoon of a bill.

This was a pretty African duck. I am a sucker for ducks even though when we were in New York Andreas told me that ducks were actually kind of evil. But look at his pretty red head!

This duck was separated from all of his friends so he was making the best peeping call and then a duck from all the way across the enclosure was returning it and when I made the call back at him he looked at me like we were besties. I ALSO wanted to pop this duck in my purse. I feel like that’s an internal struggle I deal with every time I’m at the zoo. I want to bring everyone home with me.

These were the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil ducks, all in a row. One was on one leg and all balancey. Hee!

ZEBRAS! Aw, hi, zebras! They did not want to be photographed. They hated the paparazzi.

Then one came out for his photo op! Hi, little guy, you’re all famous now!

SCARY OSTRICH! Ostriches scare the crap out of me. Because they’re so huge and also because one pecked my dad’s BFF at the drive-through zoo in Canada when I was little and we all kind of shrieked.

I couldn’t get a good photo of this thing. It had a scary beak, and like a dent in the front of his beak like he got in a car wreck? He looked like a mistake of nature, and therefore I loved him.

OMG YES PLEASE WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR THIS HONOR?

Do you think Dumbcat would like a cheetah-friend?

Especially one as sleepy-purry as this one?

This was the sleepy cheetah’s girlfriend. She was also sleepy, but she was on the lookout for prowlers.

She could only stay alert for so long. Then she nodded off, too. It was sleepytime at the zoo.

Next was the monkey house. You know how sometimes people say things smell like a monkey house? Um. Yeah. There’s a reason they say that. WHOO!

I am not a fan of monkeys, especially ones that look like creepy old men. These were kind of cool because they’d just had a baby so every once and a while, a baby monkey would pop its head up and it was very small and almost (I SAID ALMOST!) cute. I couldn’t get a photo of it. Too small.

Tiny yellow frog! The tank was all, “THESE ARE TOTALLY ALMOST EXTINCT!” but there were like fifteen of them in the tank. Maybe they’re almost extinct because you guys have them ALL!

Happy fast lemur-things! This is the best photo I could get because they were zipping all over the place. There was ALSO a lemur-thing baby! It was TOTALLY adorable and was riding its mom’s back and we were so scared it would fall off because its mom was leaping around all fast, but it was clingy!

This is not the best photo, but it’s the mom and the baby lemur-thing. As you can see, I’m VERY scientific with the names of things.

We saved my favorite things for last.

GIRAFFES!

I was totally the giraffe whisperer. This one watched me the whole time. It TOTALLY wanted me to take it home. There were three giraffes and I gave them all names. I think this one was Raoul.

I love giraffes. I totally bought a giraffe necklace at the gift shop and have already worn it and I love it.

Elephants! They were far away but so pretty. One was getting a bath and most were just standing around doing elephant-things.

Elephant butt!

Prairie dogs! They made us laugh. They freaked out about EVERYTHING and then would all disappear into their holes and then slowly peep at each other and pop their heads back up. They were cheerful.

Finally…what’s last? Any guesses?

PENGUINS!!!

The penguins were just hanging out. Some were swimming. Some were waiting for fish at the little fish-door. They were very laid-back penguins. And they were OUTDOOR penguins! Not behind glass! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen outdoor penguins!

This penguin was way high up on the rocks and didn’t seem to know how to get down. I made a penguin-voice for him. “Guys? Hey, guys? A little help? Guys? Can anyone even HEAR me?”

Swimming penguins!

Waiting at the food-door penguin!

Just hanging-out penguin!

We might have spent an inordinate amount of time with the penguins.

Then it was time to go home! We had more plans that evening, and we had to see how A. did in his race, and also, did he throw gravel at the competition? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!

I was PLANNING on telling you about the rest of the day here, but it’s already half an hour past bedtime and I’m kind of exhausted, so soft-core porn will have to wait until tomorrow. Oh, whoops. Spoiler-alert, I guess.

OH! Also, there was a squished-penny machine at the gift shop, but the selections weren’t stellar. It was all, “check out other squished penny machines around the zoo!” but I had not seen any! So I got an eagle. Which wasn’t even a thing that was AT the zoo. BUT, on the way to the car, there was a squished penny in the parking lot! And it was a LION! Which WAS a thing at the zoo, only they were hiding (R. is convinced the lions are an urban legend; she has never once seen them out when she’s been there, and she’s been there a LOT.) So it was like it fell from the sky! Just for me! Aw, providence smiled on me!

Happy Thursday, people of the blog. Tomorrow: soft-core porn and more literary adventures, this time with FOOD!


Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea: Adventures in Baltimore, Part One

I’m home! A long, long, loooong day of trains and I got home safely late in the afternoon and now am safely ensconced on the couch with a heavily purring cat beside me, who I’m fairly sure thought I was dead. He had MANY meows when I walked in. And they were strange meows. Mrrrrow? Preeeeeow? Mrrrp? I think he was voicing his displeasure that I was gone. He’s not good at separation. He seems quite pleased now that all is well in Dumbcat-land. MOM IS HOME! SHE IS NOT DEAD!

So, let’s talk about the trip! I know, I was supposed to tweet more. Here’s the thing: I know some people can tweet and Facebook and such while they are having adventures, but I am not good at that. I feel that if you are on vacation, especially if you are visiting people you haven’t seen in a while, you should try to experience what you are doing and spend time with those people, and not have your face buried in your phone, you know? I know. This makes me out of touch and very much an old person. I don’t regret the decision, however.

So I went to Baltimore to visit friend R., her husband A., and their most wonderful baby CeeVee. R. and I have been friends for – are you ready for this? – TWENTY-ONE YEARS. I know! That is kind of insane! We met when we were seventeen at orientation for our part-time job freshman year, and worked together at that job for a few years, and then became roommates when we moved off-campus, and spent a semester abroad together, and moved across the country together. We have history. It is nice to know someone this long, you know? R. has known me through a lot of iterations of Amy. Naive Amy and happy Amy and sad Amy and depressed Amy and crabby Amy and jubilant Amy. And she’s still my friend! All these years later! That’s impressive, and she should probably get an award. You have to love someone who’s stood by you that long.

I have met A. once, briefly, but had not yet met Baby CeeVee, but had seen many photos and was very much looking forward to meeting her. She is just the most beautiful kiddo. Also, as mentioned, when you’ve known someone for 21 years, and they have a baby, well, you want to meet that baby. You want to meet that baby very much.

So I took two trains Thursday morning to Baltimore. The first was from here to Penn Station in New York and left VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING. Luckily, this meant no one was on the train and I had a seat all to myself. Then there was a little layover at Penn Station, but not long enough to jaunt in my favorite city in all the land, and then it was on to Baltimore! That train was VERY crowded, and I had to squish next to a lady that kept falling asleep and every time we went around a corner, the things on her seat-desky thing kept falling onto me. Annoying.

This pigeon was just cruising around the Amtrak waiting area in New York City. A very funny woman with much attitude said, "What's that bird doin' here? There ain't supposed to be no birds all up in here" and I laughed and laughed to myself.

This pigeon was just cruising around the Amtrak waiting area in New York City. A very funny woman with much attitude said, “What’s that bird doin’ here? There ain’t supposed to be no birds all up in here” and I laughed and laughed to myself.

But, no matter! ON TO BALTIMORE!

Outside of the train station in Baltimore, there is this statue, and it is gigantic:

It is called Man/Woman and from some angles it is a lady-statue and from some a man-statue and I decided that was a very good welcome to Baltimore because it was artsy and kind of fun in a weird wacky way, and if there’s anything I like, it’s wackiness.

R. picked me up and first, we went to a very fun café for lunch which had all the velvet Jesuses and R. said, “I thought you would like that!” and I DID. She knows me well. Next door to the café was this:

This is Café Hon, and apparently it was on Kitchen Nightmares and also has a huge flamingo because Baltimore is John Waters’ town and he is all about flamingos. Sometimes, people in Baltimore just see him walking down the street. Just walking! How exciting is THAT, I ask you? The answer is, the MOST.

Next, we decided to check out some HISTORY.

We were originally planning on going to the Poe house, but the Poe house was closed due to funding issues. Now, a thing I like very much about Baltimore (one of many things) is that they are very much into Poe, and celebrate him a great deal. Even their football team is called the Baltimore Ravens. After an author! I don’t even care what you think about the team itself, I find it very cool that they named it after a poem. There are also raven things all over town. This is a town that appreciates authors and poetry, you guys. How could I not love such a town?

Things I learned about Baltimore while we were driving to our next destination:

  • There are a billion beautiful old buildings. This city loves history and old things. You KNOW I love history and old things! I seriously was looking around with my mouth hanging open every time we drove anywhere the entire time I was there. Old churches! Old buildings! Old factories repurposed as office buildings! So much history it made my whole head swim!
  • There are a lot of people living there. The internets tells me that about 621,000 people live there. In comparison, Albany has about 98,000 people, and when I first moved to this area, I was AMAZED at all these people. Also, they are VERY AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS. R. and A. are ALSO very aggressive drivers. But, not in a scary way? Like, in an authoritative way. I think you have to be, or you will be killed. I was super-impressed. And, if you live there, you have to learn how to parallel park like a BOSS. I could never live in Baltimore because I have only parallel parked once in my life and I was TERRIBLE at it and it took me like three or four tries and I had plenty of time because no cars were coming, but in Baltimore, these people are all ZIP ZIP ZOOP! and they are in a spot that looks smaller than their cars. I was in awe of their parallel parking skillz, yo.
  • Some of the roads are very narrow and only hold one car, so if you meet a car coming at you, you have to pull over to let the car go. This seems ill-planned, Baltimore! And sometimes, even though it is not their turn, the other driver refuses to be the one that pulls over, so you have to, otherwise you would be playing chicken for like HOURS.

Then we got to our next destination, which was…

The Westminster Hall and burial ground!

What do you think might be here, I wonder? (Also, isn’t this a pretty old church? Seriously, if you love old churches but don’t have the time, money, or inclination to go to Europe, head on over to Baltimore. There’s one of these gorgeous churches on every single corner, almost. Almost every turn I’d be all, “YOU GUYS LOOK ANOTHER PRETTY CHURCH!”)

Well, here’s why people come to Westminster Hall and burial ground…

Poe’s GRAVE, you guys!!!

It’s very impressive and fancy and people come to visit this from all over the world. There were flowers all around it that people had left. That made me happy, because I love that writers live on far beyond when they’ve died. I’m a huge Poe fan. His work is utter brilliance to me, and I can’t believe it was written as long ago as it was, and it breaks my heart he died alone as if he was no one, not an amazing man with all these stories in his head. Who knows what else he might have written?

The cemetery was filled with old-timey wonder. I took many photos. Want to see? Sure you do!

This was the view into the cemetery. Isn’t it so pretty and moody? I bet it’s also very pretty at night.

R. told me that this was the place rich people wanted to be buried, because back in the day, there was a lot of grave robbing, and this was a very safe cemetery. There was a dental school right around the corner, and dental students used to steal heads to work on the teeth. EW HEE HEE AND YUCKO!

This was the street sign outside the cemetery for the Poe House. I was sad there was no Poe House on this trip, but listen, I loved Baltimore so much, I totally want to go back. Maybe it will be open next time!

This is me being cheerfully pensive next to Poe’s grave. I think he would have liked that. I feel Poe and I would have been the best of friends. He would have been all emo and I would have been all, “Argh, POE, cut that shit OUT, dude, look at your beautiful CITY! Let’s go down to the bay and look at boats. How can you be all ‘Masque of the Red Death’ while looking at BOATS?” and then we would have had none of Poe’s darker works but we might have had things like “The Shiny Bay of Amontillado” or something and that would have been nice.

There were a lot of these educational things around the cemetery. I like these things because sometimes they are unintentionally wacky. Like this one, which you can embiggen if you click. First, her last name was “Peachy,” which is funny. She married a guy, and “less than a year later she was dead.” Whoa, I’m pretty sure he murdered her. Then in italics, it says she was her husband’s “consort” and not his wife (MAYBE A WHORE!), and says “the enviable qualities of this interesting female” which makes me think they had nothing nice to say about her and those are euphemisms for “that Fanny Peachy, what a bitch whose husband murdered her.”

Then under that, it says that they used to call women “consorts” when they died before their husbands, and if their husbands died first, they were called “relicts.” Neither of these seem like nice things to say about someone.

R. and I laughed and laughed about this sign and made up many stories about Fanny Peachy and her murderous husband.

This is very specific about her time of death and also “long and painful illness” seems like a lie. She didn’t marry her husband while in the throes of this illness, so I’m still banking on murder. Also, look at the raven in the corner of the sign! Aw, love that!

I liked this because it looked like someone’s yard at Halloween, but it was really people’s gravestones.

This sign tells you what death terms mean, like “tomb” and “casket” and I find it the most morbid and therefore the most awesome.

This is, I was quite sure, a vampire tomb. But really it ended up being just where rich people are buried so those dental students don’t steal their heads to work on their teeth post-mortem, because it could be locked against grave-robbing students. I was still on the lookout for Eric from True Blood, though. Just in case.

When R. and I saw this we decided it was probably a table where virgins were sacrificed because it looks like where Aslan was sacrificed in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. There was no informative sign on it telling us otherwise, so we decided to go with that. Also I think my finger is a little in this shot. Sorry. I’m not the best photo-taker.

DOUBLE VAMPIRE TOMBS!!! Very romantic. Probably these are for Spike and Dru.

This cone was just hangin’ on out in the middle of the cemetery, so I decided it was my future tombstone. VERY classy. Just like me.

Next we saw this…

Another virgin sacrifice table! Only all bent! There was a sign next to it that said this was on Ripley’s Believe it or Not because it shouldn’t be able to stay up like this but it DOES. I know. IT IS HAUNTED!

I of course told R. she had to pose next to the creepy sacrifice table in a fun way. She obliged.

This is R. pretending to sacrifice an invisible virgin with an invisible knife. When we told A. that night that we’d taken this picture, he was incredulous. “You have to understand what taking pictures with Amy entails,” R. said. “There are antics.”

I totally obtained R.’s permission to put her on the blog. She did not care. She’s cool like that.

Also, we found out after we took the photo that these are NOT virgin sacrifice tables, but actually gravestones. We found this odd, because no one’s name was written anywhere on the table. So we think that’s a lie, and they are of course virgin sacrifice tables.

This is Poe’s FIRST gravesite, and where he was buried when he was just a schmo who died under mysterious and sad circumstances. Also, that’s totally my birthday he died, by the way. I KNOW WE ARE MEANT TO BE BFFs!!! Then they moved him over to the fancy monument gravesite. Poor Poe. I want to give him a hug and a cookie.

Then it was time to leave because it was time to meet A. and Baby CeeVee!

R. and A. live in the COOLEST HOUSE, you guys! I have never seen houses like this before. They are called row houses, and they’re like houses in New York City (or even downtown Albany) but with no alleys between them. So they look like this:

…except a little nicer and more residential, with porches with plants and things. Kind of like the houses on Sesame Street. They have a TON of character. R. and A. like them, but say there are downsides, like you can hear the neighbors, and if you come home late sometimes there’s a lack of parking. But the house is old, and very cool, and has wood floors, and A. is very handy so has fixed a whole bunch of things up, and it was just beautiful inside. There were two main floors, and then a full basement with a guest room in it! And I was the guest! YAY ME!

A. and Baby CeeVee came home not long after, and it was my first time meeting Baby CeeVee! And seeing A. again after a very long time! And after a moment of shyness, Baby CeeVee and I made fast friends!

I took photos of Baby CeeVee later, and this is attempting to go in order, so you’ll just have to wait a little for those.

Then all the waking up at 3am and traveling and sightseeing and such caught up with me, so I went to bed somewhat early. Because there were many more adventures forthcoming! AND I TOOK PHOTOS OF ALL OF THEM! Sometimes with me making wacky faces!

Stay tuned, bloggonians! Many more adventures await! I will do my best to do all the posting this week, but might be a little delayed – this week I have (and I am not even kidding) three plays, one review to write, one dinner with a friend, one lecture (I AM SEEING STEPHEN SONDHEIM IN PERSON Z!O!M!G!!!), household scintillating things like laundry and grocery shopping, multiple book reviews to write, and trips to the salon and the library. Also work. I KNOW! I couldn’t have more going on if I tried. I will do my best to tell you about Baltimore in a timely manner, though!

HAPPY TUESDAY EVERYONE! Also, as I came back into town, I realized that spring had sprung while I was gone, and everything is so beautiful and green! I missed you, Albany. Baltimore was amazing, but I love my home so much and missed it, too. I’m lucky like that.


Traveling the world with the most enthusiastic/obnoxious photography subject EVER.

I have about an hour to write this. This is going to be word-short and photo-heavy, my little potato pancakes.

NOW I WANT PANCAKES DAMMIT.

OK, so a looooong time ago, I was all, “Where are my photos of my trip to Europe back when I was a young and still-not-yet-disillusioned kiddo?” and thought they were lost to the ages but then I found them in a bag of things my mother brought me a couple years ago. When I was all, “MOM! Why didn’t you tell me those photos were in there?” she said, “I put those in there? Why would I have done that?” so I think Mom is losing it.

There were ALL KINDS of goodies in the bag. Therefore, you get:

PHOTOS OF AMY BEING A DORK AT A YOUNGER AGE IN VARIOUS LOCALES

today.

You can see how my hair has gone through many iterations. Also, my eyebrows used to be OUT. OF. CONTROL. And I still like making faces in photos just as much as I did back then.

Let’s see what we have first, shall we? It’s not just Europe in here, you guys. It’s ALL the locales.

Oh, I should warn you, these are terrible because I don’t have a scanner so I took ‘em with my cell phone.

Who can guess where I am. Anyone? Anyone? Red rocks? Pretending to look for alien life forms? No one? Really?

SEDONA!

This was from a trip my brother and I took to some place in Sedona where there were spaceships. There was a sign that said not to climb these rocks. I did it anyway. Then I made this face. I think I was probably about 24 here.

Please note the flannel shirt; it was the late 90s, so I thought I was Kurt Cobain, still, apparently.

I’m not sure what’s up with that hair. It’s not my hair color, and I guess I was going with shoulder-length that year.

This is 20-year-old-Amy pretending to be shocked at the news that King Arthur is dead. This is apparently King Arthur’s tomb. I don’t know how they know such things, either. The internet tells me I was at Glastonbury that day, apparently. I don’t remember anything about this trip at all. Do we think I was drunk? It’s a possibility, kiddos.

This is 20-year-old Amy again, pretending to be depressed that this super-historic rock is cracked. The back of this photo says “Amy is sad that the Anesbury stone is cracked” and it looks like I wrote that on there in the dark. Let’s see what this “Anesbury stone” is and where I was that day. OK, apparently it’s “Amesbury” and it’s a town close to Stonehenge. I remember going to Stonehenge. I wanted to see Druids but there weren’t even any Druids, it was super-depressing. Why were we hanging out with this stone, I wonder? Man, I’ve forgotten a large chunk of my 20s.

HOW CUTE AM I HERE SERIOUSLY. I want to hug myself, I’m so damn adorable. OK, so this is 20-year-old-me standing on either side of the international date line in Greenwich. Again, I don’t have a single recollection of being in this place, so it’s a good thing I have this photo. AND I AM SO CUTE IN IT. That’s a good smile. As you can see, I have an army-navy black trenchcoat here. This was before the trenchcoat mafia so I was safe, I guess. Also, I miss that sweater, it was super-comfy.

Ooh, now we’re skipping into the FEW-CHUR. I’m 28-ish here. Mer and I went to California for a trip. This is me outside of the Winchester Mystery House. That house totally gave me the shivers. This is pre-shivers, though. I’m not even making an obnoxious face here, so that’s a nice change for me.

This might be my favorite. This is me in Berlin. Dad, when I was little, used to say “CHECKPOINT CHARLIE!” a lot, so when I got to Berlin and there was a whole Checkpoint Charlie museum, I was so pleased I did a little dance. Then I had my photo taken with this odd look on my face to show him I was here. This was 18 years ago and I still have that shirt. And I still wear it, too. That shirt was a good investment. I can’t say the same for the eyebrows, though. WHO TOLD YOU THOSE WERE A GOOD IDEA, AMY?!?!?

I don’t know why this is so yellow, either. The hell, phone-camera? This is young Amy doing some sort of flamenco dance outside of a tall archway. As you can see, I am wearing a skirt. And Doc Martens. As one did in the 90s. I know, I am quite fancy. FINE, I will look up where this arch was. The back of the photo says I am at the Colosseum in Rome. I think this photo looks like Instagram before Instagram existed. I WAS AN INSTAGRAM HIPSTER! I don’t remember visiting the Colosseum in Rome. OH WAIT NO I TOTALLY DO. There were cats. CATS EVERYWHERE. And one of the guides was all, “They live here, don’t touch them.” Well, THAT’S sad.

This is another photo of the trip with Mer. Mer, I miss you the most right now, by the way. We are at Haight Ashbury. However, someone stole the “Haight” street sign so I assume anyone expecting to turn at Haight would be lost. All we could find was this Ashbury sign, and someone said, “Yeah, this is Haight Street, people are always stealing the sign.” Jeez, how about a little peace, love and understanding, you thieving asshole? Anyway, these jeans were a mistake. They came pre-ripped-up and after about three washings they fell apart. They fit really well, though. I’m not even acting like a goon in this one. Mer brings out the LADY in me.

That is all the photos of me. Well, there were a lot of photos of various pieces of architecture, so I was all, WHO CARES ABOUT THOSE. No one, is who. Why weren’t people taking more photos of me? I’m really the most awesome. With the faces and poses and such.

I will leave you with this, because just seeing it again made me laugh and laugh:

When we were in Paris, I needed an adventure so one day I left the city all on my lonesome and went to Rouen, which is a pretty little town not too far away. It’s where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. That’s not WHY I went there, I’m not like a Joan of Arc fetishist or anything. I just wanted to get out of Paris and have a solo adventure, is all.

Anyway, this was a Joan of Arc wax museum, only everything was falling over, and it was terrible, and at one point, one of the figurines had a Hanes sweatsock unceremoniously plopped on its hand. Like it was a sock puppet, I guess. It wasn’t on purpose. I think some kid did it. But it struck me as hilarious, so I seriously had to lean against the wall and laugh until I almost cried. SWEATSOCK! I apparently did not take a photo of the sweatsock, or it didn’t come out. A LOT of my photos did not come out. Remember back in the day when you didn’t know if your photos would come out, like, when you used FILM and you HOPED and you PRAYED they would? I don’t miss those days at all. Not even a little bit. I love digital, me. Instant gratification!!!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s installment of Amy Takes You Around the World and Makes Faces in All the Different Places. I’m pretty sure I have more of these photos so can totally do another one of these someday when I have like an hour before bed and nothing else to say.

Happy weekend, all! Remember: the rules for a good photo are location, light, and lunacy!


%d bloggers like this: