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St. Patrick's Day

Here are some appropriate photos for the occasion, starting with this bag of Guinness potato chips that I found at a local Wegmans a few weeks ago.

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day: #Guinness Potato Chips.

I recently purchased a bag and I tried a few chips yesterday. I found that they have a nice earthy flavor that’s a nice contrast from the other potato chips that are out there. Despite that, I probably won’t be buying this too often because these chips were imported from the U.K. and Wegmans sold them for a whopping $3.99 per bag. (I can get a bag of Utz or Lay’s chips of the same size for around $1-2 per bag.) I recommend them for anyone who wants to try something different.

There is this house in Greenbelt, Maryland that likes to go all out for each holiday. I took pictures of this house around Halloween and Valentine’s Day. That same house decided to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day.

picture1

What’s more, there are two windsocks that were hung near the light display.

picture2

picture3

And, for the last photo of the day, here’s a picture I took at Wegman’s a few days ago. It’s more about March 14 than St. Patrick’s Day but these pies for Pi Day are cute nonetheless.

Pi Day at Wegmans Supermarket

As for me, I’m going to observe St. Patrick’s Day in the way that I’ve been doing for years. Tonight for dinner I’m going to eat some beef stew made from Guinness beer. Last night I purchased this Irish Soda Bread mix from Aldi (all I need to do is just add milk) so I’m going to whip it up, bake it, and serve it with the beef stew. I also recently purchased some Kerrygold brand garlic and herb butter on sale at Safeway so I’m going to eat the Guinness chips as an appetizer then spread the butter on slices of the newly-baked Irish soda bread and eat them with the beef stew.

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I recently cleared out some space in my smartphone by downloading these pictures on my computer. These photos feature a wide variety of subjects that I photographed on impulse over the past five months at various places that are all located within a 30 mile radius of my home.

Just a few weeks before Halloween last fall, I found these unique pumpkins (some of which have a light pink tint while others have a deep orange color that looks almost red) on sale at the Home Depot in Laurel, Maryland.

Pumpkins
Pumpkins

This mariachi band gives free afternoon performances at Beltway Plaza in Greenbelt, Maryland two Sundays a month.

Mariachi Band

A sign that’s posted on the door at the Laurel Factory in Laurel, Maryland.

This is Art

Last November I celebrated my first Thanksgiving since my husband abruptly walked out on me three days after Christmas, 2011. For the dinner I ate a boxed Marie Callendar’s frozen turkey meal. For dessert, I purchased a 10" pumpkin pie from Giant along with a can of Reddi Whip whipped cream. I cut a slice of pie then totally drowned it in whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie

Last fall, before the start of the Christmas holiday shopping season, the Target in Greenbelt, Maryland got a shipment of these special Barbie products that were designed by Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame. During one store visit I saw a Tim Gunn Barbie outfit on sale while during another visit I saw a Barbie doll dressed in Tim Gunn’s outfit. Both of these products were quickly sold and I haven’t seen any more Tim Gunn Barbie products since.

Barbie by Tim Gunn
Barbie by Tim Gunn

On January 6, while I was observing Little Christmas/Feast of the Epiphany/Twelth Night and the third anniversary of the start of this blog, I stepped outside my home where I saw these bare trees against the sky that looked like an ink and watercolor painting. These photos prove that nature is the best artist.

Bare Trees in January
Bare Trees in January

On January 25 there was a light snow that only covered the ground but not the streets. (I think it accumulated no more than a half-an-inch.) Here’s a shot of Roosevelt Center with the Mother and Child statue in Greenbelt, Maryland after the snow.

Roosevelt Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

On February 8 I was attending an afternoon seminar on health care for artists that will be available in Maryland thanks to the passage of Obamacare that was put on by Health Care for All. (With my husband hellbent on divorcing me, my ability to remain under his health insurance is currently endangered.) The seminar was held at the Maryland Historical Soicety in Baltimore, which is a really nice building. There is a nice museum that has various Maryland artifacts like Baltimore Orioles memorabilia and items associated with film director John Waters. I wasn’t able to entirely view the museum due to time and money constraints but I’m definitely going to try to return there to visit in the future.

Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society

The area where the Maryland Historical Society building is located is a pretty interesting area to walk around. Here’s this cool looking sign that’s shaped like a circular saw. The company responsible for that sign, Skarie, has since changed its name to MultiCam East but the sign still remains on North Howard Street.

Skarie sign

The building with the coolest looking windows located near the Maryland Historical Society belongs to A.T. Jones & Sons, which is a costume shop that specializes in theatrical costumes and stage makeup. The clowns in the windows look creepy but they add to the charm of the area.

A.T. Jones & Sons
A.T. Jones & Sons
A.T. Jones & Sons
A.T. Jones & Sons
A.T. Jones & Sons

Right next to A.T. Jones & Sons is this building that has this really cool op-art inspired black and white mural.

Mural

On Valentine’s Day last month I was in Parkville (which is located north of Baltimore) because I was going to an independently owned comic book and video game store that was willing to pay cash for some old video games that I wanted to unload in order to reduce clutter in my home. Located just a few doors away from that store is a wine shop—appropriately named Sipping Pretty—that is notable for these two Blues Brothers statues standing next to the door.

Blues Brothers Statues at Sipping Pretty

Here is the store where I sold my old video games when it was still in its old location. It’s called Collectors Corner and, as of this writing, the owners are in the process of moving to a larger store located just down the street.

Collectors Corner Store

As a child I used to get Peeps in my Easter basket each year. At the time they only had the yellow chicks and they only came out once a year around Easter. As time went by, Just Born (the manufacturer of Peeps) added bunnies. Then they added bunnies and chicks in other pastel colors besides yellow. Then Just Born decided to have candy available for other holidays besides Easter and to make them in different shapes other than bunnies and chicks so now one can buy ghosts and pumpkins for Halloween, snowmen and reindeer for Christmas, and hearts and teddy bears for Valentine’s Day. I recently got a hold of this special pack of vanilla-flavored chicks sold in Target to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Peeps. (The vanilla Peeps were quite good and tasty.)

Peeps

I found these special Matchbox cars at Wegman’s that have artwork on them based on the classic arcade video games of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Video Game Matchbox Cars

On March 8 I attended a quarter auction that was a fundraiser for my support group for people who are separated or divorced. The quarter auction is a cross between an auction and a lottery. Basically you throw in a quarter for an item that’s up for auction that you want. Afterwards you raise your numbered paddles high. If the auctioneer selects a ping pong ball that has the same number as what’s written on your paddle, you get the item. Theoretically you could get something that has a market value of $75 for only 25 cents. This is the second time I attended such an auction. At the previous fundraising quarter auction I attended just a few months earlier, I didn’t win anything. For the March 8 auction I hit paydirt twice. I got two small bags full of these treats from a company called Tastefully Simple. Both bags had the same products so I only empited one of the bags for this picture of the items next to my winning paddle number.

Auction Prize

At that same quarter auction I won this really cool looking pen that writes really nice. This one has to be one of the best pens I’ve ever gotten as an adult. (For far too many years I made do with the cheap pens that my husband would pilfer from his NASA job. These pens didn’t last long and sometimes they even leaked.) Here’s the pen with my winning paddle number 54.

Auction Prize

Here are the most recent photos from my smartphone that I took last Saturday (March 16). I was driving to Today’s Pet in Columbia, Maryland in an effort to restock some hedgehog food for Spike when I found some interesting looking pets for sale in that store. The white rabbit on the right in the photo below had an interesting hair style that made me think of President Martin Van Buren (who was the subject of this recent Google ad).

White Rabbit With Wild Hair

The rabbit in the next photo is one of the largest rabbits I’ve seen since the time I was taking an early morning walk in Phoenix on the morning before my late mother-in-law’s wedding to her second husband in the early 1990’s (I was suffering from time zone changes) and I saw jackrabbits hopping around. This particular rabbit’s ears aren’t as long as the jackrabbits I saw but the rabbit is about the size of a cat or a small dog. It’s more apparent if you see this rabbit in real life than what this photo shows.

Giant Rabbit

Today’s Pet also sells large turtles such as the one in the photo below.

Turtle

I’ll finish this entry with these two photos I took at the Greenbelt Metro station yesterday as I was on my home from attending the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Washington, DC. An abandoned Minnie Mouse plush toy sits on top of a trash can as if she’s waiting for her owner to come and claim her.

Abandoned Minnie Mouse Plush Toy
Abandoned Minnie Mouse Plush Toy

Yesterday was the 11-month anniversary of the day that my husband came home from work, announced that he was moving out, left a couple of letters behind (one was a timetable of when we will get a divorce and the other was a "Dear John" farewell letter) along with an alimony check, and ran out before I had a chance to respond. He did this with zero notice that he wanted out of the marriage. (In fact we spent a lovely Christmas together just three days earlier.)

Today is the 10-month anniversary of the day that I got my pet hedgehog Spike. So far he’s doing okay. He has been sleeping a lot more lately but he’s not showing any pain and he’s still eating and drinking so I’m not worried.

The good news is that I learned that my mother was discharged from rehab yesterday. I was suprised because the rehab center told the family that my mother would be there for another two weeks but she was released earlier than expected. At least she’ll be spending Christmas at home.

I managed to spend my first Thanksgiving since my husband ran away from home okay. I purchased a Marie Callender frozen turkey meal about a week before Thanksgiving because I didn’t know what I was going to do. One woman in my weekly support group for separated or divorced people had originally planned a Thanksgiving get together at her home for those who were going to spend the holiday alone so I signed up. I figured that I would go to her home and eat the Marie Callender meal another night. But I got an e-mail from her a few days before Thanksgiving announcing that something came up and she had to cancel her Thanksgiving get together.

At least I still had the boxed turkey dinner in the freezer. So the night before Thanksgiving I went to Giant and purchased an 8-inch pumpkin pie and some Reddi-wip whipped cream. On the actual holiday itself I spent the morning watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on television. Then I went to Wegman’s (which was opened for a few hours on that day) and bought lunch. Afterwards I visited my mother in rehab. Then I drove to the nearby Michaels Arts & Crafts (which was also opened on Thanksgiving Day) and just walked around the aisles to clear my head. I actually found some jewelry making parts that gave me an idea. I don’t want to divulge here just yet but I hope to get something done just in time for an upcoming craft show that’s happening at my church on December 9.

If it weren’t for my husband’s walkout, I would not have ventured inside a store because I think the idea of a store being opened on Thanksgiving Day to be a bizarre concept. When I was growing up, only the pharmacies and grocery stores were opened for only a few hours on Thanksgiiving Day. All of the other stores were closed on that holiday. I’m very ambivalent that some of the chain stores were opened on Thanksgiving Day because the employees were deprived of the chance to spend that day with loved ones. (I know that someone will say "Well if they don’t like working on Thanksgiving they could always find another job." With the current economy, that’s easier said than done.) But with my current mindset I was glad that I had a place to go to other than straight to my home after I visited my mother in rehab.

I eventually made my way home where I ate the Marie Callender dinner and a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream. I read the newspaper, did some web surfing, and played video games until I became tired enough to go to bed for the night. So I spent my first ever Thanksgiving by myself (with the exception of Spike the hedgehog). It’s a far cry from last Thanksgiving when I was recovering from hip surgery and my husband decided to take me to this French restaurant which had this lovely buffet that featured turkey, ham, and other types of wonderful food. (My husband treated me like a queen that day as well as on my birthday and on Christmas Day. This was why his sudden walkout and his subsequent avoidance of me has totally devastated me to the point where I’m seeing a therapist.)

I did okay with my first Thanksgiving by myself with a frozen turkey dinner and grocery store made pumpkin pie.

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