It's amazing to think about the amount of energy and emotion that unfolds in one place over a period of time. I guess it's what gives a house "character." This one off of Schenley Road in Roland Park will forever hold a wide spectrum.
Excitement for when Allan and I got the jobs we are working in now.
Intensity during the time we spent planning our wedding.
Hope for saving Pickles.
Devastation after losing one of the best friends I have ever had.
Carefree when playing with Lilly.
Boredom of the same old sights and sounds.
Depression when the time seemed to stand still.
Fear after hitting my head so hard on the wall.
Lucky for the new friendships I developed just footsteps away (Andrea and Claire).
Awareness that I have changed in ways that I never thought I would and that it's time to accept them regardless of how I first felt when I realized that change had taken place.
I have learned quite a bit the last couple of weeks about rescuing a cat -- something I've always talked about doing but had never actually done. It all started two weeks ago. Allan and I had just pulled up in front of the house with a backseat full of groceries when we saw a little brown tabby cat running frantically up the street.
I hopped out of the car and said, "hey" to the little guy or gal, not really expecting anything.
The cat stopped and stared, ran to the middle of the street, and looked up at me while meowing over and over and shaking. I could tell that the cat was starved, so I did what felt natural -- I went in, popped open a can of wet food, plopped it in a plastic bowl and brought it outside. It took him all of 10 minutes (or less) to eat the entire thing before he tried to follow me into the house. Not knowing what to do, I slammed the door. Tears came down as I walked up each stair to our apartment front door. I know it's been a mild winter but it has still gotten cold. How could I let this sweet guy or gal stay out there?
In the event that this cat was somebody else's, I put two ads on Craigslist, posted flyers around the neighborhood including the businesses down the street, and emailed the neighborhood list serve. No response. I called every single rescue, shelter, homeless pet place in Maryland that I could find online. I heard from a good number of them, all with kind but unfortunate "no, we cannot take this cat" responses.
It was during the many conversations I had with experts from shelters and rescues that I realized that I would have to look into getting a humane cat trap. I tried as hard as I could for days to get this cat into the cat crate that we had. Nothing worked.
So last weekend I found myself at Small Miracles Cat Rescue with my friend Liz, scoping out traps they had in the basement. It was because of her regular volunteer work with the organization that I was able to get my hands on a trap, fast, with no runaround.
In the meanwhile, I was able to line up two potential rescues for the cat, who we had started to call "Pickles." Both required only very limited windows of time for capturing Pickles -- definitely not conducive to capturing a cat that came by at unpredictable times.
We put out the trap for the first time last Sunday and almost caught Lucy, our neighbor's cat twice. I had a feeling that night that we would catch Pickles the next day.
And my instincts were correct. I had just started eating my lunch at work when I called Allan to see if we had caught anything. He was just about to bring in the trap when he saw Pickles sitting in there puzzled.
The next thing to do was to have Allan take Pickles to the Falls Road Animal Hospital, where we could find out what sex the cat was as well as have him/her tested for feline leukemia and other diseases.
The experience with the Falls Road Animal Hospital went way better than expected. I have heard mixed things but am definitely very pleased about how they treated Pickles and us during what felt to be the most stressful part of the whole rescuing process. The prices weren't so bad and after visiting Pickles (he had to stay over), my mind was at ease.
We found out that Pickles was a boy (I was right) and he was in perfect health. I had a rescue all lined up so the next part of the plan included taking Pickles there once released from the Falls Road Animal Hospital. It ended up that Pickles was released a day early, which would not fit into the limited time-frame I had to take him to the rescue the following day. So we had two options 1) leave him at the animal hospital and pay an extra $17 to board him or 2) bring him home.
We had gotten this far and I had my reservations about the rescue we had him lined up for. Not only that, but we had been talking about getting a second cat sometime down the line.
We ended up keeping Pickles, who is adjusting to his new life very well. We looked into how we should go about introducing him to our cat, and so far it's going pretty well. He is still a bit skidish, but fits in well here. He's litter trained and loves spending time with us.
All in all, I feel very lucky to have gone through this, although it was extremely stressful for all of us. And if anyone ever needs any help capturing a cat, I now have some sensible advice to share.
Sometime down the line, the name of this blog is going to have to change. For the past 4-5 months, we've been looking for homes away from Baltimore.
Lately the pros of leaving the city have heavily outweighed the cons. I won't go through the pain of listing them all out here, but one of the primary reasons has to do with a strong need for change. It's time for a new chapter.
We've seen probably around 50 homes so far, maybe a little more or a little less. None of them have felt quite right. Every time we walk into a home that needs work, we usually run out the front door within the first 10 minutes.
But over the weekend, something very strange happened. On the way to the house we were going to see, we saw about 8 deer running along. One was actually galloping in front of people's front yards. Something I'm not used to seeing. We pulled up to the house (location not to be disclosed as I don't want to 1) jinx myself and 2) publicly announce where we are looking) and instantly it felt like, well, home.
As we walked in with our realtor, I could instantly tell that the place needed some attention -- floor to ceiling mirrors on one wall that should be in your living room, scratched up wooden floors, tacky wall paper duct taped in the kitchen ... the list goes on and on and on.
But as we walked from room to room, I couldn't help but see the place with new tile on the floor, new paint on the walls, and new toilets in the bathrooms. It wasn't until I was standing on the grease coated carpet in the master bedroom that I finally realized that maybe I might have just gone insane. Because in some wild, twisted universe, this place felt like it belonged to Allan and I. It was the place that I could see myself not just writing my first book, but my second, third, fourth, and fifth.
This evening, we went back to the property (which is on a sizable piece of land), and took a closer look around with a contractor. We'll find out just how much the grand total of necessary improvements will be soon.
Will we still want the house or will it be too much? We'll have to see. But if we do decide to make an offer on this house, and if the bank happens to accept it, you better believe I will do a before and after post on here of all the renovations!
People buy foreclosures and fix them up all the time. I just never saw myself ever considering it. I always thought my first or "dream" home would be brand new, or look close to it. This is definitely far from it.
It's a new year and with it comes the need to purge old things from years past.
I had never thought about consigning my clothes before. I always donate them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. But as of yesterday, I can now say that I've put some of my favorite items up for sale.
Before heading over, I did a tiny bit of research and had lengthy conversations with multiple store owners throughout Baltimore. Each store is different in terms of what they're looking for, but if you're interested in ever consigning your clothes, here are a few tips:
Since writing about my concussion in fall 2010 the post has been read the most, month after month. Each month I notice that hundreds of people have made it to this blog (and viewed the post) after searching for:
If you have a specific question about a concussion that you haven't found the answer to anywhere, please leave me a comment and I'll let you know my take on it. I know concussion information is hard to find, so hang in there if you think you have one and go see a doctor!
I haven't written a music review since college and I don't plan to ever again. But I have to say that CSS's latest album 'La Liberacion' truly captures what it's like to be young and carefree. Each song is like a catchy synth pop filled chapter out of a novel about a 20-something girl living in [you insert the large city].
The songs are super upbeat. If you like dance music at all, this is a good album for that, too.
All the songs are good, but if you've never really listened to this band and are curious, check out a music video from the album here:
So Sweet Bakery went out of business. At first, I had heard that it was by the end of the year. But then I saw on their Facebook page that they were closing doors this past weekend.
Now, most people take the top layer of the cake home with them when they married. But Sweet had a better option. They would make a new layer of your wedding cake for you close to your 1-year anniversary so that you could enjoy it fresh.
I emailed them early last week to see if there was any way possible that we could pick up a fresh layer of our delicious marble buttercream frosted with cannoli filling wedding cake. It didn't have to be big, just enough for two slices. I never heard back.
I guess when September rolls around we'll either have to ask another baker, which won't be the same as it is, or skip it altogether. Oh well.
I had never heard of chocolate chip pie until I went on my honeymoon. When I had my first bite, I was in chocolate heaven. The best part is that pie is not too sweet, but sweet enough to do the trick.
For weeks, I thought about making this pie. What better reason than when showing my new neighbors around the house.
I looked around for recipes, and found one on a blog called, "No Food Left Behind."
It was really easy to make. It almost seemed too easy. I hadn't crushed the walnuts as much as I thought I should have, so I thought that would be the catch -- I always seem to have a downfall. But it didn't matter. The pie was a huge hit.
Here's how to make it.
What you need:
What you need to do:
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Add flour and brown sugar; beat until well blended. Blend in granulated sugar and butter. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour into the pie shell. Bake for 1 hour.
Thank you, Karen from Indian Head, South Carolina! I will be making the pie again soon!
Carrie Oleynik is a writer based in Baltimore, Md.
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