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Blog — "Baltimore"

The Story of My Life in 250 Words

Heidi Shenk "andrew" "Baltimore" "blog every day in may" "daily life" "Finn" "goshen" "Lilah" "syracuse"

This is probably supposed to be difficult. You know, writing about your life in 250 words. Mine's not so bad. My life hasn't been grand or fabulous. It hasn't always been easy-going either. But it has been a pretty awesome life.

I grew up in small-town Goshen, Indiana with my mom, dad, and sister. After years of the same school system, with the same people, and a city I didn't really like, I decided to apply to Syracuse University. If I got in, I'd attend. If I didn't, I'd work for a year and reassess. I got in.

I spent four years attending the university and one year living and working in a coffee shop in Syracuse. Four plus one is five. That last year? Andrew's fifth year of architecture school. I had met Andrew during our sophomore year. After he graduated, we found jobs. I entered a teacher residency program in Baltimore City-- what else was I supposed to do with an English major? I became a teacher and he got a job at a firm downtown. Two years later we got Lilah, our chocolate lab. Three years later, we bought a house. Three and half years later we got engaged. Four years later we got Finn, our orange tabby. And six years later? Well, that story will be soon to come....

And it will be amazing. I promise.

I know you all love teasers.

Now, was that my life story in 250 words? Yes, I think so. ;)

P.S. In case you wanted to know, this was Day 1 of Jenni's Blog Every Day in May.

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What I've Been Up To

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" "jasper" "Lilah" "spring" "Washington DC"

Happy end of Spring Break, guys! Or should I say, sad end of Spring Break? Today is my last day of break. And by last day, I mean that today was supposed to be a professional development day, but I needed a sick day to recoup from a very intense weekend that included the end of a visit with my sister and nephew and taking care of Andrew all Sunday while he was blowing chunks. Seriously, it was a draining last few days. Either way, the rest of the week was absolutely fabulous!

As a rundown, I finished my huge wholesale order for Urban Outfitters. My sister and nephew came to visit. We spent Thursday at the Science Center, which Jasper loved! He liked the dinosaur section the most where he spent a good half hour (at least!) brushing off the dinosaur bones and pretending to play paleontologist.

Friday afternoon, we headed to the aquarium and spent the later portion of the afternoon hanging out at my favorite coffee shop. When Andrew got home from work we spent the rest of the beautiful evening at the park.

Saturday morning, we headed down to DC. We had hoped to see the cherry blossoms blooming since my sister had never seen them before. We thought we would be lucky since many of the cherry blossoms in Baltimore are already in bloom, but alas they were not out yet. However, the weather was absolutely gorgeous-- the perfect day to be out and about on the National Mall where people were flying kites, enjoying, picnics, and Jasper got a chance to run around and play with Andrew.
After spending the day in DC, we headed to my aunt and uncle's house in nearby Hyattsville, Maryland for dinner. Sunday was a low key day hanging out in the house. Jasper loved playing with Lilah.
All around, it was a good week!

What have you been up to this past week? I feel as though I am out of the loop right now!

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Lumineers vs Gangsta Rap

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" "music"

This is a story that happened last month, but I just can't shake it. You see, in Baltimore there are some things that you just get used to. Crazy cracked out lady walking down the street yelling "Stop! You're scaring me! Stop! I'm scared!" on the Fourth of July while people are shooting off fireworks? Yup, that's nothing.

Lady across the street waking you up at 3am from yelling, "Uhn uh, she just done disrespected me!" and then proceeds to say the same thing five million times as loud as she can to anyone that will listen including the cops that showed up because another neighbor was sick of listening to her? Not unusual.

Ditzy college girls walking back from the bar, drunk, and announcing that they're going to pee on your sidewalk so you get up to bang on your bedroom window to let them know you heard what they just said? Yup, definitely happened once.

The things that happen after midnight on our street are sort of typical Baltimore things. Until one night....

I shot straight up in bed and looked at the clock. 12:57am to be exact. And yes, what I tweeted was true. Clear as a bell (except for the fuzzy sound of speakers that were working much too hard) I hear the Lumineers. Blasting. So loud that it woke me up.

Excuse me? HUH??????? Is this truly what I was hearing?!?! I was so shocked that it wasn't gangsta rap that I literally thought I was dreaming and had to pinch myself. Then I nudged Andrew awake from his deep sleep and asked, "Do you hear that? Is that REALLY what I am hearing or is this just a dream?!" We both listened for a second and then laid in bed laughing before finally falling back asleep.

Now normally I would be mad. "Stupid car! I don't want to hear your stupid music with your stupid cuss words and your stupid pounding bass! I'm trying to sleep!" is the normal response when my windows are rattling from gangsta rap bass beats.

But this! This was just too much! I mean honestly all I could think was 1) Who blasts the Lumineers? Ever? At all? and 2) Who blasts the Lumineers???

As bizarre as it was (clearly, because I am still thinking about this a month later!) I can tell you, if I had to choose Lumineers or gangsta rap, I'd choose Lumineers every time.

I mean, would you prefer this (I apologize for the explicit nature of the video, but needed to make my point)--

Or this--

At one in the morning while you're trying to sleep? I think the answer is clear.

And NOW I think I have officially seen and heard everything in Charm City.

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The Month That We Lived in The Wire

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore"

Maybe I don't really know what I'm talking about because I've never actually seen The Wire, but I have heard things. I've lived in Baltimore for six years, yet have never seen the show. Really. I know. Gasp. Is it a good show? I wouldn't know.

Quite frankly, I love this city, I love my house, I love my neighborhood, I love my neighbors. And quite frankly, Baltimore doesn't deserve the bad reputation that it often gets. Yes, it has it's moments-- like the time a Baltimore City police officer knocked on our door wanting to get up on our roof deck so he could skip across the roofs on the street to scope out a drug deal. Or the time when we lived at our old apartment-- Andrew took Lilah outside to go pee at 3 in the morning when she was a wee baby pup only to find a creepy man dressed in black with red contacts staring straight at our dog. Or there was the time the seventeen year old drop out threw a metal drain cover at a guy that lived down the street, barely missing my car.

Ok. You get the drift. But really, that's the city. And if you can't deal with a few of these infrequent incidents now and again, then city life is probably not for you. Almost everyone that I know that lives in Baltimore, or even a major city for that matter, has some sort of crazy story to tell.

However, recently, it's been feeling a bit more Wire-esque, or so I've been told.

This had been hung on our door by BCPD. Need I say more? (P.S. Don't you love how I Instagrammed that shit so it looks all old-timey detective-y. I love a good dose of sarcasm. And I am a nerd.) The ironic part is that this particular incident was indeed a burglary and homicide, but it was a shooting too. Apparently they felt that checking all three boxes would freak people out too much-- who knows?

The best part? This happened four houses down on the other side of our alley. Woohoo. In other news, three weeks later, as in Sunday night, there was another shooting around the corner from our house in which we discovered this morning that the victim died. Nothing like going out to get your groceries only to return to the street being blocked off with police tape and squad cars.

Now, these sorts of incidents have not happened for a veeeeeeeery long time in our neck of the woods, so the fact that there have been two back to back shootings is a bit creepy. However, I find myself not so creeped out. Maybe it is the fact that I've become desensitized to violence in the city. Maybe it is because I know that it is transient crime-- people moving through our neighborhood from rougher areas of the city. Maybe it is because I know my neighbors and I know they are fabulous and that together we make our street better and safer.

So many of my friends have reacted by saying something like, "Oh no! You better move at once! There are homes for sale in my neighborhood!" But if we were to move, doesn't that make the problem in our neighborhood worse? In the two years that we have lived in our house, our neighborhood has become exponentially better. Sure, there are bad things about this city, but the good constantly outweighs the bad. To leave would be to give up hope on those good things, and I'm not ready to give up hope yet.

I don't feel unsafe, and I don't think I'm naive to say that. I keep my guard up, and I live my life without fear because living in fear is no way to live. And I focus on the positive things that I love about my city, knowing that some times are rougher than others. I'm willing to give up a few rough days in order to be happy for the remainder of the year. And from what I've heard, this really isn't The Wire, and I'm happy to know I've got it pretty good.

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Baltimore Police Helicopters are Creepy

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" "summer"

First things first. Thank you all for your wonderful blog comments, tweets, and instagram comments about my sun addiction. It has confirmed that I am in fact a sun addict and may be the only person on this planet that uses SPF 4. Oh, except for my sister who commented on this instagram photo saying "I love that stuff!" Hmm. Go figure. As I said before, this is clearly a hereditary problem.

Second of all, back to the post for the day. Yes. The title tells all. The other day while I was partaking in my sun addiction on my roof deck, I had quite an interesting incident occur. One of the Baltimore Police helicopters flew by my deck, lowered its altitude, and changed its flight course to a perfect circle around the perimeter of my roof deck. It circled twice and then sped off. Twenty minutes later, the same exact thing happened.

Now I'm pretty sure that they should have been spending their time chasing down pot dealers or scoping out people that were breaking into houses rather than circling around my roof deck. At the same time, I can see how they might have thought I was doing one of two or both of those illegal activities. I mean, what pot dealer or burglar doesn't do those things in a light pink strapless bikini while laying on some swanky patio furniture. I was clearly a menace to society and needed to be checked out. Or maybe there really was a pot dealer or burglar right by my house and they were trying to protect me, but I sort of highly doubt that.

You may have seen my tweets about the incidents.
I even @BaltimorePolice'd those tweets. I thought surely that would let someone know of this ridiculous behavior. For all of the "Shooting on blah blah blah street" and "Gun arrest on blah blah blah block" tweets that I put up with from @BaltimorePolice, I felt sure that they would be willing to put up with my two tweets about me feeling violated by their helicopter cops. But no response.

After writing about my outrage on my personal facebook page, my aunt suggested that I make a really big sign on a poster board to put up there while I am suntanning. Quite frankly, I like her idea. And that is where you, my readers, come in. I need some help brainstorming.

What would you write on a sign to some rude helicopter cops that are trying to spy on you suntanning? Leave comments with your ideas and I'll choose at least one to use. The peep show attitude has got to stop!

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