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Blog — "Baltimore"

An Orange St. Patricks's Day

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" "syracuse"

While you're supposed to wear green on St. Patrick's day, we spent our day in orange. Saturday was quite the eventful day and I'm ready to enjoy a less productive and more lazy Sunday. We started our day running our normal Saturday errands to the bank and post office. Then we donned our orange and headed to the local Syracuse alumni bar, Dog Watch Tavern, for some March Madness basketball. Syracuse ended up beating Kansas State to go on to the Sweet Sixteen!

And if that wasn't enough Syracuse Orange action for the day, we then took the five minute drive up to the Johns Hopkins campus for a lacrosse game. Syracuse was in town to play Hopkins which only happens every other year. It was a beautifully sunny day to be outside and enjoy some lacrosse. Unfortunately, we were not as victorious in the lacrosse game as we were in the basketball game.

From the lacrosse game, we headed back home, quickly changed out of our orange and hopped back into the car. We drove a quick few minutes into downtown to the Hippodrome. A friend of ours had tickets to see The Addams Family, but couldn't go, so Andrew bought the tickets for some last minute fun on Friday afternoon. I'm glad he did. The show was hilarious and the perfect thing to end a busy day.

Our last stop for the night was Matthew's Pizza to pick up some very late dinner. Matthew's is possibly my favorite pizza place in Baltimore. In an East Coast city where thin crust pizza is king, Matthew's is the closest you'll get to the Chicago deep dish style pizza I'm used to in the Midwest. After a very busy day, it was perfectly satisfying.

How was your St. Patrick's Day? Did you stick with the traditional green? Or did you have other plans like us?

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Tree Lighting Baltimore Style

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" "Christmas" "holiday"

In Baltimore we don't light trees, we light monuments. The original Washington Monument is located in Mount Vernon park, the same place where the summer concert series First Thursday takes place. And so each year, on the first Thursday of December, the monument is lit with Christmas lights and we enjoy a display of fireworks accompanied by holiday music. Food vendors from local restaurants set up on the outskirts of the square, and various musicians from the city provide us with a pre-lighting holiday concert.

This year's event was the 40th lighting.


And and added bonus of lasers was part of this lighting. I have such a hard time getting into the holiday spirit in Baltimore, perhaps because cold weather and snow doesn't usually find its way here until January. But usually the monument lighting does the trick. Do you have any particular holiday traditions in your city?

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Notre Dame Football Led Me to a Productive Weekend

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" "cards" "design" "stationery"

It's been a rough month for me to be quite honest. As I wrote about earlier this month, October 7th would have been my grandfather's birthday. He passed away a year ago on the 20th. Every year, my mom, who owns an artisan bakery, has a huge feast in which she invites her regular customers, family, and friends to enjoy many of the foods that she serves throughout the year. It is her big thank you to all that are somehow involved in her business. I've been meaning to go home for her feast for some time and felt that this year would be the year, especially since this year's was in honor of my grandfather and many of my extended family members would be there.

However, I was not so lucky. Months in advance, I began searching for a plane ticket to South Bend, the closest airport. A ticket normally costing $250-$350 was now $783. I checked airfare prices the following week in hopes they would be different. $849. The next. $972. And finally several weeks before. $1443. I could have flown to Paris for half that price. Or to Sydney for only $500 more! Why were these tickets so expensive, you might ask? Well, it's called an old college football tradition-- one single game that is quite a huge deal: Notre Dame vs. USC.

Growing up near South Bend, I was always exposed to the ridiculous nature of Notre Dame football-- 2 hour waits to eat dinner at a restaurant on home game weekends, bad traffic in South Bend, trying to do fall clothes shopping in a mad house mall, friends not being able to book hotels for their visits to town, annoying tourists in a quaint little town. And now this football game was ruining my plans to be with my family.

Needless to say, I've been in a funk this weekend and needed to find a way out. So I did the one thing that I knew would at least sort of help and I made myself busy. So busy, in fact, that I did all of this in one afternoon:

Yes, I realize that I may be crazy when it comes to the Valentine's Day themed cards, but I had to get the ideas on paper before I forgot them. After a long, productive day we took a long walk across Patterson Park to Yellow Dog Tavern for dinner. It was a nice ending the day in cool, crisp air and enjoying dinner in a cozy pub. It wasn't my mom's feast, but it was certainly a fantastic way to end the day.

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Trees Aside, Race Cars are Pretty Awesome.

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" "Grand Prix"

The Baltimore Grand Prix has come to town. As I had mentioned on Saturday, some aspects of the race event left me incredibly upset-- particularly the part where Baltimore City officials gave permission to cut down nearly 130 mature trees from out downtown harbor area without going through the proper procedures and letting residents know. Those trees are now going to be replaced with young little things planted in large pot planters that I guarantee you will be destroyed or pushed over by hoodlums. I only like the word hoodlums, but I promise I'm not one of those ratchety old people that's all anti young people of the city.

After my anger of the tree situation subsided, we decided to walk down to the harbor yesterday to check it all out. Growing up in Indiana, I've seen many an Indy 500 or Nascar race on tv, but had never been to an actual race. While we didn't have tickets, we were able to find a few spots with pretty excellent views.

A shot of our transformed downtown.

I'd love to have a Porsche, just one without racing paint.

The obligatory Danica Patrick shot.

And the Indy car race winner, Will Power.

And if that's not enough race overload for you, I'll leave you with a quick video clip of our spot by the track. The engines are quite loud and intense, yet pretty amazing.

Have I converted anyone into a race fan yet? ;) Hope everyone is enjoying a long holiday weekend as well!

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A Magnet for Natural Disasters

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" "weather"

I've been missing the last week. I've been in my classroom getting things ready for school on Monday. After finally finishing up Friday afternoon, we are now faced with the possibility that school may not open on Monday after all. You see, lately, I've been a magnet for natural disasters and I seem to have brought not one, but two of them our way this week.

Some of you may remember the lovely North Carolina tornado, coming right at us as we headed south on I-95 to Florida.

Then there was also the time that we got stuck in this blizzard on Christmas Day in Nebraska as we were driving to have a family Christmas at my sister's house in Colorado.

Yes, that's the view out the windshield on I-80.

Then there was the blizzard in Baltimore.

And there was the time last summer when we were driving back from my parents' house in Indiana on I-80/90 that we got stuck driving in the worst thunderstorm I have experienced in my life. There was a tornado warning at the time and we were sure we were going to run into one.

Oh, also, I almost got struck by lightning this summer after opening my front door during a thunderstorm. The bolt hit a tv dish across the street, a mere 20 feet away, with a blue glow wrapping around the house. You could hear it buzz and the thunder that accompanied it scared me out of my socks.

If that isn't enough, this Tuesday we had an earthquake. While I had been in two before, they were only just a quick bump. This one, however, was a good 30 seconds of intense shaking and rumbling-- enough that you could actually hear it.

And now, here I sit in my house sipping my coffee waiting for Irene. No one really knows how bad it'll be in Baltimore, but they've predicted power outage for days. I certainly can't be the judge of that because we didn't live here when Hurricane Isabel came through.  Most of the teachers at my school think we won't have school Monday due to flooding and power outages. As for me, I just made sure I had a good stock of coffee. We ran out Friday morning and I certainly wasn't going to go without in the case that the worst happens. Clearly, I have my priorities straight.

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