a guy and a bee

a collection of random thoughts and ideas from me, her, and sometimes us

If only issues were simpler to solve.

There is a “new” song out.  We can dedicate a whole other post to my confusion about various radio stations classify “new,” leading to me not knowing if this is a really new song or a new to this station song. Either way. “Nothing More” by Alternate Routes. If you have not heard it, look it up.

Earlier this month, there was a shooter in the Mall in Columbia.  As it turns out, the individual who has been identified as the shooter was a scared teenager who needed help. He did not, seemingly, know the victims. He had a family and friends.  And he noted in his journal that he had “mental health problems.”  Please note, I do NOT, condone his actions or sympathize with him, however….

As a person, this had made me think, truly and deeply, about the people in my life. I am “in” public health and think mental health services are one of the most important we can offer people in turmoil, and people in general. I would like to think that I would help my family or friends seek mental health services if I thought/knew they were in a dark place. Could I actually see it in them though?!?  I do not know but I certainly hope so. And if only someone had helped this person to face his challenges in a more constructive manner.

It is incredibly strange to have seen the town I live in on national news. It is also strange to see how quickly we are out of the news. I am thrilled, don’t get me wrong, for the big media trucks to be gone. But, it is almost as if our “event” wasn’t big enough or did not have enough behind the story to make it past a few days.

Growing up, shootings were not a frequent occurrence, as they seem to be now. Born in the early eighties, I remember, vividly, the news breaking about Columbine.  It took almost 15 years. It was an astonishing egregious act that could not be understood and shattered the safety of my childhood. And, low and behold, mental health issues were at the core of the cause. If only those issues were simpler to solve.

Now, these occurrences make me feel less safe, but also more wanting to live my life without fear.  And to teach my child to live with hope that the world can be better and work to make it that way.

A long year . . .

It has been a long, amazing year that has taken us far from our blog for many a reason.  And yet, in the past few weeks, we have both been saying that we should get back here.  So, here we are.  Highlights from the last year in one sentence recaps.

Ravens superbowl win – 1.3.13
A triumph for a long-time Baltimore fan, a tragedy for a long-time Steelers fan, and a truly bittersweet day for reasons that will not be detailed here.

Chicago – 5.13
Zack drove to meet me in Chicago for Memorial Day weekend (only people who know him really well will understand how that sums up so much!).

Toronto – 6.13
Continuation of our quest to see the Orioles in as many stadiums as possible and a perfect long weekend completely outside of our comfort zones. Plus, slowly it turns . . .

New addition – 8.13
The greatest thing that has ever happened to us arrived on 8.15.13. Still going strong, six months later!

Sad end to the season – 9.13
After last season, it was hard to see the Orioles not advance to the playoffs; rest assured, we are counting down the days to the 2014 season – 35 as of today!

Elon’s 125 – 11.13
I know what quasquicentennial means, do you?

Sad end to two seasons – 12.13
And again, after last season, it was hard to see Baltimore not make it to the playoffs but thrilling to see the Steelers try to one-up them.

Not prolific, but a recap no less. Now, on to 2014. We will try our best to do better.

Oh no, I had to stand in line

I know I haven’t blogged in months but it’s crazy to me that earlier today people were complaining about standing in line to vote. It’s your civil duty to vote. Hundreds of thousands of people have died over the years for our democracy and people will complain about taking part in it. I am sure if they went to countries in the Far East or Middle East, they will feel the opposite.

You’ll stand in line overnight to get 50% off of a TV on Black Friday or the new version of the iPhone but you can’t wait an hour to do your civil duty?! Give me a break!

The other thing that fires me up is that people say they get intimidated at the polls. If you don’t talk or yell at the people outside the polling place, you won’t get in an argument and be afraid to cast your vote. Clearly it’s time to require valid IDs for everyone voting, they could control these things and the whole process better.

Anyway, that’s the end of my rant. Stand in line and read your ballot since you can’t use your phone and stop complaining.

when to leap?

you have been in your first job out of college for six years.  you have succeeded in that job – been promoted several times and given amazing opportunities to show the knowledge and skills you have gained.  you have mastered the subject area for which you are responsible.  and at the end of the day, you wish there was something more to learn.  for those of you who read this, this is bee seeking advice . . . when is it time to take a leap of faith and try something new?

when you like your job, but you also wonder if there is something else out there to do.  when you need a new challenge but do not know if you should seek it somewhere else or ask for a new opportunity where you are.  when is it that you know you need to go down a new path and how do you decide what that new path might be?

sometimes it hurts

if you ask me
how i’m doing
i would say, “i’m doing just fine.”
i would lie and say that you’re not on my mind.
(gavin degraw)

some of the most complicated relationships in life originate from ones family.  i am certainly no exception.  and even with the most challenging relationships, i would be hard-pressed to ever say that those people are not on my mind.  the mistakes we have all made.  the really good memories.  and the things that will never be forgiven.  over the past week, however, i have come to find the depths of complicated relationships and the true challenge in seeing the world in black and white.

as noted previously, i am honest and loyal to a fault.  i care much more than i should and think everything should be fair.  setting aside half of the fairness argument today, in my opinion, withholding information and/or asking people you “care about” to purposefully lie to people they care about on your behalf is wrong.  especially the person who you know wants to respect your wishes and be loyal to you and also needs to be completely honest to others.  it is truly not fair.  it hurts.  it leads to tears and devastation and a complete crisis of conscience.  which is more important . . . loyalty to the person who asked you to withhold information or being honest with the person you have been asked to lie to?

i made a purposeful choice a handful of years ago that i was not going to take sides in an argument that was tearing people apart.  now i feel like i am back in the middle and needing to make a choice.  i do not like it.  i am really sad.  and i really love my husband for the ice cream and shoulder and reassurance that at the end of the day there is no way i am going to be alone.  maybe if the world did not need to be so clear – black and white – and did not have to be fair all the time to me, this would be easier.

sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead.  (adele)

black and white.

I am honest to a fault and see the world in black and white. The gray area frustrates me. Right and wrong are so clearly evident. And yet, recently I have seen so many examples of people who seemingly have no moral compass at all. Those who, literally, drive on the wrong side of the road with no care for on-coming traffic. Those who ride the train in the morning without a ticket and see no difference between their action and stealing. Those who are lazy and unproductive simply because they have been able to get away with it.

As noted previously, I often sit and wonder where life will take me. I do so from the lens of working really hard to get to where I want to be. And I seemingly do so with others thinking I am “on a high horse” trying to make you feel small. Well, that is not my intention. I intend to live by a set of rules that clearly dictate, at least to me, what is in fact right and wrong, black and white, fair and unfair, and, most importantly, true and honest.

Maybe everyone can think as simply as me today. No middle ground, just two sides.

bee’s half marathon weekend

last sunday was finally the big day. bee’s first half marathon. she ran the flying pirate half marathon in the outer banks. she trained for months to prepare herself and knew she could finish so we were there to see that happen. interestingly the race was on sunday. the weekend was filled with races and this was the “premiere” event for the weekend. there was also a 5k and the storm the beach event. as we got to the weekend, we heard the weather wasn’t going to be great, but that wasn’t the end of it, it was a mess. on saturday, the weather was great as we enjoyed a few hours on the beach and then come sunday, it rained. and poured. and rained some more. it almost prevented her from running all together but as we got to the start line and it wasn’t pouring, she decided to go with it. everyone else seemed to be running and not worried about it.

for those familiar with the outer banks, the race starts over by kitty hawk elementary and goes along the road on the sound side. from there, they went around the wright brothers memorial and then onto some of the back roads and finally through the nags head woods conservancy. the race ended at the YMCA in nags head.

after dropping off bee, i ran to walmart and got sign making materials to make a sign. she didn’t know about the sign ahead of time and only sort of remembers seeing me with it as i waited out by the memorial, but it was worth it. i went to two of the sight see-er stops and then finally to the finish line. she remembers seeing the sign although she doesn’t remember seeing me at the first location but at the second stop, i didn’t get the sign out because it was pouring. from there i moved to the finish line and waited for her arrival and cheered for her as she ran by right before the finish line.

we both ended up being soaked when all was said and done and clearly her more than me, but it was an interesting experience. she ran her heart out and did what she set out to do, finish her first half marathon. oh and she finished at almost the exact time she thought she would too. i can say one thing, next time we hope it doesn’t rain. she has a great memory to hold on to and apparently a stress fracture in her left. we think it got hurt in the woods/off road section of the course where everything was uneven and a mess.

maybe next time, she will run it in a pirate costume or a tu tu like some of the other runners. haha.

the event/weekend was sponsored by the outer banks sporting events group and they do all the running events on the island. there is talk about running the half again next year or maybe the 8k in the fall. we’ll see!

needless to say, i was and am very proud of her and her accomplishment!

bacon on a stick, it was that good.

imagei’m a lover of bacon like many others. i wouldn’t say it’s my favorite food but a close second or third and can put it on everything. well at camden yards, at the jack daniels stand on eutaw street, they have bacon on a stick. it’s a slab piece of bacon that is grilled/smoked prior to ordering. once ordered by the customer, they get it out of the hot box and dip it in a vat of maple glaze. now, if you thought bacon on a stick was good, maple glazed bacon on a stick is even better. it’s not an every day item, but definitely an occasional snack. watch out, after i ate about half of the bacon, i nearly dropped the other of the bacon on the floor.

oh and it’s a little messy so make sure you get some napkins. i think i had maple glaze on my face until we got into the car. haha. for $5, it was a nice treat and not as expensive as i would expect for ballpark food. it’s meaty and delicious and with that being said, i’d give it an A rating.

this is one of the several new food selections at oriole park at camden yards. next time i might try the crab and mac ‘n cheese hotdog. we also setup a meeting with some of the other partial season ticket holders that sit in our section to try out the new dempsey’s bar. they tried it and although they enjoyed it, they had a really long wait for some carry out soup. i am sure it will get better as the year continues though. @rsharrow had a picture of the new bar on his instagram account last night. it looks pretty good.

have you tried any of the new food selections? beer can chicken, perhaps?

ps… do they have bacon on a stick at the renaissance festival? i’ve never seem them there. guess i was too busy looking at the turkey legs and steak on a stake.

there's me chowing down on the bacon.

saturday in DC

a few weeks ago after baseball promotions came out for all of the local teams, my buddy and i circled the april 14th bobblehead night for strasburg of the nationals. everyone who follows baseball knows that he is a flame thrower and has really brought the fans to the stadium. well, as time went on, he found out that he couldn’t make it so bee said she would go with me. she’s really gotten interested in baseball the last few years now that we have a partial season ticket package to the orioles and i think it makes her happy to see me doing something i enjoy.

since the game didn’t start until 4:05, we decided to do something else we enjoy, check out some great art and with one of my favorite artist’s having a special display at the national gallery of art, we made the trip down earlier in the day. not to mention, we had to  get to the stadium early to ensure we got one of these prized bobbleheads. so anyway, we got down there and checked out the Picasso drawings exhibit. the detail and intricacies of his works are incredible and something i really appreciate about his work. the variety of this collection was also large and spanned several decades. there were many different techniques and not just the usual cubism or blue period drawings that one might expect. the detail on some portions of the work versus the other pieces make you wonder what he was thinking or if he was working on his early skills. unfortunately, i didn’t take any pictures in exhibit to post and one guy got yelled at for being on his phone so i didn’t want to be that guy. as we finished with the Picasso drawings, we walked through some of the Degas, Monet, and some Rodin. we didn’t get much time after that to move through many of the other exhibits and there were a ton of people checking out the japanese scrolls exhibit, but we didn’t want to wait or really have time. after we left, we stopped by potbelly for a quick bit to eat and then headed over to Nationals Park to take in a ball game. ps… you can see a full size version of the thinker at the BMA and you won’t have to leave baltimore.

this was bee’s first trip to nationals park and my first one of the season. i made a couple trips down last year to see the orioles play as well as one game against the braves when her dad was in town. once we got there and got our tickets, we waited in line for about 20-30 minutes. we probably could have gone in earlier via the centerfield gate, but didn’t want walk around. plus we were calming down from almost blowing through a red light that i never really saw. those stoplights on the right and not in front of me get me every time. that’s neither here nor there but needless to say, we had a good time after not getting in an accident. we got to see edwin jackson pitch a great complete game. hopefully he signs with the orioles next year. we liked the open air feel of the stadium and the different food selections they have. we got some nachos and a couple free sodas. after the game ended, we went over to bee’s father’s favorite pizza place in rockville. when we called him about it, he recited the phone number exactly even though he now lives in nebraska. giuseppe’s makes a really tasty pizza and has a great crust. it’s more doughy then any other local pizzas that i have had. we left full, happy, and with a burnt roof of my mouth. all in all, we had a great day. enjoyed several of our favorite things to do and even ate some pizza.

wondering . . .

As I am sure it is apparent, ZP and I are young.  We graduated from a college we loved with drive and passion and a vision of the jobs we wanted.  And we got them.  We have worked hard.  Fast forward six years and I have found myself wondering . . . is this what I want to be doing and what is the next step?

This one is really hard for me for a handful of reasons.

  • I am loyal.  I committed to being in my job and I work hard to meet and exceed the expectations set of me.  When I consider moving on, my biggest worry is letting people down and not following through on the commitment I have made.
  • I am a planner.  I like structure and consistency.  I like knowing what to expect, good or bad, and being prepared for that.
  • I am scared.  What if the next step I take is the wrong one?
  • I am rooted in tradition.  Eons ago, people took a job and made it a career.  They stayed where they were for decades.  They made the best of their situation.  They kept their head down.  They excelled.  And they saw a difference between working to live and living to work.

Side note: I thought I had that last one down until recently.  For all the challenges in life, recently I have found that it has been far easier to work harder at what I am doing then to figure out my next move.

I wish I was more spontaneous.  I wish I was less scared.  I wish I knew what I really wanted to do in life (other than sit on a beach all day).

I am far from ready to take a leap of faith and I have no real idea if now is the time to take advantage of a fork in the road.  I love the work that I do and the people that it affects.  I just wonder . . .

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