My Status In/Regarding Baltimore

So I saw this person hanging out near the Washington Monument (the original Washington Monument in Baltimore) and think they have it right.

Summer Hammock

Baltimore has been challenging for me.  I hit overload not that long ago when someone attempted to steal stuff from my purse as I was reading at B+N in the Inner Harbor.  I went kinda numb after that for about a week.

Thinks have gotten a bit better since then, once I decided to enter and exit through the parking garage instead of the front entrance.  This takes an extra 5 minutes each time but reduces the amount that I get hassled unwanted comments and propositions by 95%. My sanity has improved 100%.  Why do I do this? There’s a major transportation stop right in front of my building that a certain segment of the Baltimore population likes to frequent (there is also an MTA stop on the other side of the building and lots of bus stops in the surrounding 3 block area).  Loitering tends to happen during the daylight hours while the local business are open.  Once the businesses close for the day (last one closes at 7pm), the area clears out and the problem disappears, for the most part anyway.  While I don’t like the neighborhood so much (I have to watch out for the chicken bones and gobs of spit and gum… gross, really really gross) I do really like my building. This apartment has been the best one Mr.EG and I have lived in spanning over 7 years and 4 buildings.

So what else has changed? Well, I’ve met some awesome women through one of my favorite websites, A Practical Wedding, and the corresponding book club meetings. These women are wonderful and have definitely been the best thing about my stay in Baltimore. They provide some sanity for me and a chance to have some girl time with women who feel like instant friends. So far they’re the only thing that I’m going to miss about Bmore.

Some photos around Baltimore

As I’m going on my 4th month of unemployment since moving here to Baltimore I’ve been getting really bored here in my apartment.  So I braved the cold and the wind today to go out and do a bit of shooting.

Grey Walls

Bricked in Windows

Fire Escape

Old Brick with Two Windows and a Door

Always Present

Really, I was looking for places that would make interesting backgrounds for portraits.  You know, for when I start a business and charge for portraits.  I find the “traditional” portrait studio boring at this stage of life and much prefer to be outside with interesting textures.  It is very cold outside this time of year though, so I understand the draw of inside location(s).

What I’ve been up to these last few weeks…

Lighting Ceremony  at the Washington Monument:

Baltimore Washington Monument With Fireworks

More Fireworks!

I love fireworks.  They’re just so festive And loud. And pretty.

Next, the Tuba Christmas at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater:

That's a lot of brass.

These guys showed up as well.

What’s this I see?

It's a Santa Crossing!

Aw, that's so nice of you Mr. Grinch.

Scottish Santa wearing a kilt.

Who doesn’t love seeing a guy wearing a kilt?  Kilts should be worn more often, they’re so manly.

I turned 29 this year.

This is me at 29.

And I visited Philly to hang with some friends.

Hanging out.

Philly Xmas tree at City Hall.

Christmas Market at City Hall in Philadelphia.

They even have a carousel.

There are lots of art schools in Philly.  This is a display window of one of them.

This is a strange display.

Other half of the strange display.

Then on to South Street to wander around.  Including a walk past Philadelphia’s Magic Garden.

Part of the Philadelphia Magic Gardens.

Wars End in the Philadelphia Magic Garden.

The following day included a quick walk in Rittenhouse Square.

View towards Center City.

This fountain is drained for the winter.

Officer catching up on some paperwork.

I devoured ate some Chinese food in Chinatown and made my way back to Baltimore.  Where I promptly got on the right bus going in the wrong direction. That got sorted out and I made it back via a little bit of walking and a transfer to the light rail.

This week I’m sending out my resume, making plans to visit family, and crocheting more gifts.

Vegetarian Chinese Food!

YUM! SO! TASTY!

I haven’t found any Chinese places in Baltimore that do vegetarian food made with wheat gluten (yet… there may be a place in Charles Village?).  So when Mr. EG told me that he needed to return to Philly today I requested that he bring me back food from Chinatown.  Specifically Sweet & Sour “Chicken” and some General Tso’s “Chicken” from Kingdom of Vegetarians.  It pretty much survived the bus ride back to Bmore and I’ve devoured half of the sweet n’ sour.   I’m now feeling the “Chinese food coma” but because I’m so happy to have good vegetarian food, that I haven’t had to cook, I felt the need to do a post.  Behold, the wonderful food!

Sweet n’ Sour “Chicken”

Remains of Mr. EG's General Tso's "Chicken"

Leftover General Tso's

Leftovers! I love leftover Chinese food!  It means I don’t have to cook tomorrow night and I get to have food  that is not readily available to  me (again!!!).

When I first moved to Philly in 2005 I was so happy to find out that there were so many veggie places.  And Chinese food?  I was ecstatic!  That sort of food didn’t exist in northeast Ohio.  And it doesn’t exist so much in Baltimore.

Please Baltimore, won’t you give us Vegetarians some love?

Don’t get me wrong Bmore, the Indian restaurants are great, but I can’t eat Indian every time I eat out.

List of things to do when I’m bored

I was bored one night so I came up with this short* list:

  • make a collage
  • crochet
  • make a blog post
  • clean something
  • photograph something
  • take a walk
  • call a friend/family
  • go for a run
  • bake/cook something
  • re-arrange furniture
  • write a letter
  • learn to knit
  • learn embroidery
  • visit a museum
  • paint something
  • make a 5 or 1 minute quick drawing
  • watch a movie and review it
  • belly dance
  • rock out
  • go for a bike ride
  • make jewelry
  • clean out my purse
  • read a book
  • play the wii
  • cuddle with my honey
  • look up local events and attend something

Lots of other things can be added.   Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

*This is what fit in my journal and it took 5 minutes.

Peeling poster of a stuffy old man

Baltimore Stop of the Art of Non-Conformity Book Tour

The Art of Non-Conformity and cookies!

Last night I attended Chris Guillebeau’s book tour. For those that don’t know about Chris, he’s the author of both the site and the book The Art of Non-Conformity.  His 97 day, 50 state, 10 Canadian province book tour is self funded.  When he’s not touring North America he’s traveling the world.   Chris’ goal is to visit all 192 countries by April 2013 when he turns 35. Why is he doing this? He’s living a remarkable life and encouraging others to live a remarkable life on their own terms as well.

This stop was a little bit different as it was hosted in a classroom at the University of Baltimore (afterward a small group adjoined to The Brewers Art, a local bar).  Thursday Bram helped to set this up and it was while talking to her that I realized just how much  I never want to work retail again.  So much so that I got really worked up and started crying.

I used to work for a national camera retail chain.  Like most retail stores that meant working weekends and certain holidays.  I was required to work Black Friday (in the US this it the day following Thanksgiving in November) which is a huge shopping day of madness with crazy sales. Employees were also required to work Christmas Eve, by which time I had always lost my voice from talking so much. Due to my required work schedule I was unable to see my family during the holidays for several years.  It was worse the year I worked as a manager. I became so stressed out I wasn’t sleeping well and I was not a nice person. When the chance came to work a 9-5 job I grabbed it with both hands.

My new job was a breath of fresh air.  Vacation between Xmas and New Years?  Not a problem, my bosses weren’t going to be in that week anyway. I was able to see my family, an 8 hour car drive away. Finally, I was able to make plans for dates more than two weeks in advance.  Weekends were mine to do whatever struck my fancy.The last two years working in an office has allowed me to mellow out again.  It also involved enough free time to explore the internet and find people like Chris.

Since college I have flirted with the idea of starting my own photography business.  Fear and insecurity has always gotten in my way. Last night I was introduced to several people, followers of Chris’ blog, who are living life on their own terms.  Doing work that they love. I met Jill Fellman, who provided cookies and water, who is a fitness instructor and has started her own company selling organic cookies that she bakes. I also met Liz and Ryan from elizabethryanphotography.com . What some amazing, generous people. And Happy.  The happiness was radiating from the 1,000,000 watt smiles on both Liz and Ryan. These are people who love what they do and where they are in life. Liz, Ryan, and Jill were kind enough to answer my questions about starting a business and the other various concerns I’ve had for a while.

Coincidentally, someone I knew from college showed up at the bar last night, just as things were winding down with the AONC group. A mutual friend had told me that this guy worked in town and I should look him up.  Well surprise! It turns out that he’s a lawyer in Baltimore.  He also volunteers with a local artist support group (can’t remember the name right now, will update later) by providing free legal advice to struggling artists.  Upon mentioning that I’m an artist, he asked me what do I need to know?!  Hello!  Big sign from the universe here!

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  Too many thoughts were going through my head, keeping me awake.  I finally fell asleep this morning, and while I’ve been in a fog for most of the day, the fear that I previously experienced when thinking about starting a business has all but disappeared.  There is still a little bit of fear.  But there is more excitement.

Thank you Chris, Thursday, Jill, Ryan, Liz, and all the others that showed up last night. (Jeff, I didn’t have a chance to talk to you last night, but you said some stuff that resonated with me.  Thanks for getting up there and sharing your story with us.)

Now living in Baltimore, Maryland!

October 1st Mr.EG and I moved into our new apartment in downtown Baltimore. In the 11 days that I’ve lived here, I’ve decided that it’s a little bit different.  It’s a much smaller place than Philadelphia, with less shops and downtown life.  It is also lacking vegetarian Chinese food (or if there is any, I haven’t found it yet). However there are a ton of Indian restaurants so that at least is covered! The local farmers market is held on Sunday under I-83.  I’ve already been there twice, and it will be a regular part of my week while it’s open.  Wanna see what I got this week?  Here it is:

My local yarn store, A Good Yarn,  and library have also been visited. And of course will be visited often.

As I get settled in, here in my new city, expect to see new photos of my surroundings.

PS. I’m looking for a new job, dear Internets.  Admin. Assistant position anyone?