Sunday and Monday didn't feel very much like summer is approaching. Much cooler, I wore my jacket and layers. The jacket that still has the two birthday cards in them that I somehow didn't give to SJ and LE while sitting at the very same table. LE turned 18 years old, amazingly enough, a week before SJ turned 43 years old, yep, you'll always be younger than me, SJ, so guess I can say it. Besides, you got carded Saturday night, anyway. I hope I get them mailed before LE graduates! SJ put on her shirt the little e-flowered official "national cherry blossom festival pin" I'd gotten.
I figure they didn't mind the temperature, being from Maine. SJ is how I'm going to refer to my cousin like a sister/ Dougie's sister, now, and LE is her daughter, my goddaughter.
HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY, LEL!!!!! Hard to believe it!
SJ's son/ LE's brother didn't come on this trip, but LE's boyfriend, Joey did. Hmmm. I trust SJ to check him out and be certain he's okay and all, but I still felt as if I, also, had to be certain! After all, this is LE's boyfriend. When Joey had stepped away, SJ told me that she knows he looks a bit rough around the edges, but he's really a sweetheart inside, LE piping in about it, also. Seems she's liked him since 8th grade and would sneak photos of him at hockey games, he as a senior. I'm happy to report that he's really considerate and respectful of all of us, particularly LE. And, still plays hockey, so he's cool AND nice. Even if he didn't remember what city the Star Spangled Banner was written in ;) Yeah, I had to throw out one history question just cuz everyone was right THERE in Baltimore.
SJ always cheered, in high school, in college, and then coached high school cheering. I remember LE as a toddler or very young girl, cheering on the side while SJ coached. Dougie's oldest girl also cheered, now a first year student at Portland School of Art oh yeah:) Great fit for her, I'm so happy for her. Dougie would be so proud, always great with art and design himself. LE graduates high school ack, already, this year as does Dougie's youngest daughter. LE goes on to school in Miami. Hmmm, think she's ready for someplace WARM?
LE was in a huge cheering competition in Baltimore, possibly the same "national extreme cheerleading" type competition that Dougie's oldest competed in a few yearsback in downtown DC. Very loud, and interesting. Some squads costumes were not too short or too garish. Some, like LE's squad, and the Gators (presumably from Florida?), and another squad with baby blue and black with white and silver, looked nice. I knew to expect a ton of makeup. Most have heavy glittery eyeshadow, some face designs even, that match the costumes. LE said some of the hair is fake, also, even if it appears to be mostly flippy ponytails with big bright cheery ribbons, not the curly-wigs (nor tiaras) used for stepdancers. Sometimes, a girl would do a quick outfit change publically, a bit like a girl will at a feis. Nothing is actually being shown, everything pertinent is always covered, with bloomers or camisoles / tank tops / sports bras, but I imagine someone walking down the streets of Baltimore looking in the Mariner Arenas windows would do a double-take. Ben and Jerry's was popular with those waiting, also. LE's squad placed third in her group, which I thought sounded good but apparently was not so good, not what she expected. And, only first and second place squads in each particular competition receive medals, not the case in Irish step dancing competitions (feiseanna or at an Oireachtas). LE had also gotten smacked right above the eye, and her head throbbed for hours. SJ, however, knew how to keep it in perspective. Primarily, have fun, and also try to do your personal best. This is their last big travel weekend for cheerleading competition, that it worked out to enjoy the city, and see me, a lot of money was spent so enjoy it. They've both had a lot to deal with this past year or so. Yes, just enjoy life.
B'more, or heck, one of my college roommates was from downtown "Balmer," or heck I'm still getting it wrong, had worked as a batgirl or peanut sales or something for the O's, (Orioles). Done up downtown Baltimore is actually a great little fun city. It's also fairly well marked, so when SJ said it's at the Mariner near the Convention Center, I just drove there w/out checking directions. Even if she pronounced Mariner differently than I hear it said on the local radio stations. Funny how I have lived in Maryland most of my life, even joined SJ and infant LE and others at "the" Baltimore Aquarium along with chaperoning countless school fieldtrips there, but it's not MY city. I don't recall ever visiting Baltimore as a child. There was no reason to, really; everything we'd want was local enough to DC, including my paternal grandparents living in Arlington.
What a glorious weekend for the Inner Harbor and surrounding areas. I told SJ that if they'd come on a different Sunday (and LE older), we could have gone to one of the "hole in the wall" pubs, as there's a good Irish one with dancing once a month on Sunday afternoons (J. Patrick's, near Fort McHenry). Joey treated them to an Orioles game Saturday night, and I passed many orange-clad pedestrians Sunday afternoon. SJ said it was 8-0 Orioles at 5th inning Saturday, so the women wanted to leave. We ate at ESPN Zone, which is a first for me, too.
It was just so good to see them, mostly, even the few hours with SJ, so much better in person, we just know, can put things in the proper light w/out need for explanation. I can even see how Joey would "fit" for LE.
The cheery, young, inexperienced eager Waitress listed the specials, and mentioned that the menu was new by about 2 weeks. SJ asks what beers are on tap, several really. I asked Waitress if the Samuel Adams Seasonal had switched to their Summer Ale. "It's called Seasonal." I'm polite when I tell her that there are different seasons, and Samuel Adams has different brews for the different seasons, so could she please check if it's the Summer Ale that is available now? I asked her about the crab sandwiches. Do they use frozen crabmeat or fresh, is it from blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay? She says yes, fresh Chesapeake Bay crabmeat. Hmmm, like the SA beer is named Seasonal. It feels too chilly to be summer yet, but what's the saying, only eat blue crabs/ it's ony blue crab season if it's a month without an "r" in it. Barely May, but the menu is 2 weeks old so perhaps crab sandwiches just re-added, I'll risk it. SJ debates, as the crab sandwich is pricier than other options (possibly as it IS real harvested Chesapeake Bay crab meat), but figures she really should have the crab. A bit like having to eat lobster when visiting Maine in the summer. I tell her that I'd asked about it as one famous Maryland seafood restaurant (Phillips Seafood) has been rumoured to have stopped using Chesapeake Bay crabmeat, and that some restaurants use frozen crabmeat to last throughout the year. Joey started saying each month silently but out loud, as if to check which months have an "r" and which don't. I'd forgotten to pick them up a bag of Old Bay potato chips. LE's (late) father used to love the spice, Old Bay. (FYI - it was real crab, tasty, too. Could have used cocktail sauce of Old Bay instead of tartar sauce if I'd thought to ask lol. SJ has never had soft-shelled crab, though. Yummy, if I don't have to look at the eyes.)
Even if it did cost $23. in parking for less than 5 hours. I really don't know other options, either, unless I lived in the close-in B'more suburbs and knew the local bus / rail routes or something. That's really way too pricey, and left me without money to put IN the card for LE's birthday. Especially with gas at either $3.09/gallon or $2.99/ballon (a block from each other). (FYI -- today it's $3.11/gallon cheapest ack.) Maybe in time for her graduation.
Monday, I'd organized a retirement luncheon for a coworker. One woman debated ordering crab, but did, enjoying it much more than she had in (off-season) December from the same restaurant. I started a trend at the table by ordering my usual half-iced tea, half-lemonade, aka, an Arnold Palmer. This place now uses fresh-squeezed lemons and I could tell:) Old Boss picked up my lunch tab. He always did take care of me like that. I enjoy working with Boss, while missing Old Boss, I suppose more socially speaking.
Now (written many hours earlier just couldn't copy/paste into an entry then), off to p/up my Missy M from The Barn, for her last rehearsal with this years performing troupe, and a bit of a party with them. A gig tomorrow night and that may be it for this year.
She got a 100 on her last algebra test YEAH I'm so proud, and may have some further revisions for her "literary analysis" of To Kill a Mockingbird. We've talked of how she's getting real guidance on how to write better. M is a good writer, yet is being challenged, which I think can only help M and improve her writing even further.
Yawn. Not that I believe a mother blue crab truly goes to her prodigy, nudging them to wake up, holding a calendar, "You have to get up and out of this mud now, see, it's May 1st tomorrow. Restaurants want to put us on their menus." (Okay, so I know watermen go by crabbing regulations. They still have to wait until the crabs actually stop hibernating before they're truly harvestable.)
Happy May! Yawn.