Tag Archives: home

36 Hours in Baltimore, Hon!

Copyright JC Politi Photography
Water Taxi in Fells Point

When the New York Times does a 36 hour story on Baltimore, I feel that I have to add my two cents. I am a Baltimore girl, from head to toe. While I have lived all over the country, I still feel like a Charles Villager, who is happiest eating steamed crabs and going to Orioles baseball games.

It’s fun to see an article in the New York Times about your hometown – it kind of shows what your city looks like from the outside.

I love Baltimore’s quirkiness and flair. Baltimore is sassy!

I remember the first time I realized that Baltimore was maturing in front of my very eyes. I had gone to the then newly-developed Power Plant area, and found an ESPN Zone, a Hard Rock Café, and a wide range of other stores and restaurants in a previously run-down part of town.

Copyright JC Politi Photography
Revitalized Power Plant Neighborhood

I got tears in my eyes, feeling pride in my hometown. Maybe this is what my family felt like when the Inner Harbor opened in the early 80‘s.

I remember, as will all of my schoolmates, the excitement in the air when the Inner Harbor opened and we stood in line for hours just for a taste of Thrasher’s French fries!

I also remember visiting Baltimore after I moved away from home after college. It was the first time I can remember seeing people in bars in Fells Point who had not grown up in Baltimore. I realized that some people actually moved to Baltimore, instead of away from Baltimore, when they grew up. This was an illuminating moment for me.

For anyone who has not visited Baltimore, I encourage you to give it a try. People frequently tell me that they have driven through Baltimore on their way to Washington, DC. That is a shame. DC is well-worth a visit, but anyone who does not take time to stop in Baltimore to get a taste of its gritty character is missing out on something special.

Copyright JC Politi Photography
The best part of Baltimore – aside from my family, of course!

While you’re there, make sure to eat steamed crabs full of old bay and wash them down with a Natty Boh beer, catch an O’s game, take the water taxi to Fells Point for a drink and some mussels at Bertha’s Mussels, and check out the national aquarium. I am sure my friends and family could add quite a few other things not to be missed.

What do you think? If you were to describe your city or hometown to visitors, how would you describe it? What are some must-do activities in your community? Have you been to Baltimore? What is your impression of the city? What city or town do you identify most closely with?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Culture, Food, Photography, Photos, travel

The Cost of Owning Too Much Stuff

 

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There is a thought-provoking blog on the New York Times website that examines the price we pay when we own too much stuff. This article hits home for me as a pack-rat at heart.

In particular, this sentence really jumped out at me:

When we hold on to stuff we no longer want or use, it does indeed cost us something more, if only in the time spent organizing and contemplating them.

Almost everything I own has a twin. If I find a pretty pair of shoes, especially if those shoes happen to be on sale, I feel I must have them in brown and in black. If we are talking about handbags, which are a particular obsession of mine, the options are endless.

But why do I feel the need to own more than one of most things? I know I am not alone. For some people, their downfall is gadgets. For others, it may be tools. Some people can’t get enough clothes.

It is clear that this is about much more than fulfilling our basic needs. And I am the last person to look down upon an occasional impractical splurge, but I am left wondering if it would make more sense to focus on the quality of what we own rather than the quantity.

Photo Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While I realize this is a problem that can only come with having disposable income, I would be willing to bet that even families living paycheck to paycheck can relate to this on some level. I also think this is highly influenced by culture, and that the United States is a society of hyper-accumulators.

I am fascinated by this tendency which, on its face does not make any sense, but at a gut level is so natural.

What do you think? What is your favorite thing to collect? Are you more likely to splurge on one high-quality item or to buy a lot of smaller, lower-quality, but similar items? Why do you think we hold onto things that we don’t use? Do you have trouble giving things away or do you frequently purge?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

If you liked this, you might also like:

Times are Rough: I’ve Got Too Much Stuff! (newsofthetimes.org)

The Hazards of Mountain Living: Colorado Forest Fires (newsofthetimes.org)

Our Disposable Culture and the Gentle Giants of Music (newsofthetimes.org)

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Filed under Culture, Home, Love, Parenting, Relationships, social pressures

Times Are Rough – I’ve Got Too Much Stuff!

Photo Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A friend recently shared an interesting article from the New York Times entitled “The Way We Live: Drowning in Stuff.” This article raises a number of interesting issues about family dynamics, many of which I explored in blog posts earlier this week.

The article discusses a new book coming out next week called, “Life at Home in the 21st Century.” This book is the result of a study in which anthropologists followed families with at least two small children in the home to document how these families handle their “stuff.”

One of the findings of the study which made me chuckle was this one:

There was a direct relationship between the amount of magnets on refrigerators and the amount of stuff in a household.

When I married my husband, he and I both knew – in fact, anyone who ever has known me for any period of time probably knew, that “stuff” would be our marital conflict. I like my stuff. My husband prefers a space that resembles a zen meditation center – without the meditation.

I come from a long line of pack rats. I feel a certain comfort when surrounded by things that remind me of people and places I love. My husband, on the other hand, feels comfort when surrounded by clean, flat surfaces without piles.

Having just faced the concept of having to pack only what would fit in my car to flee a wildfire, I was forced to think about all the stuff that surrounds me.

Somehow, when faced with the possibility of losing everything, I was not as panicked as I expected.

I think that was because I knew that I would be able to get myself, my husband and my teenage pup to safety and that we would all be fine, no matter what happened. Apparently, that is the stuff that matters.

What do you think? Are you a pack rat or a minimalist? Do you have emotional issues about your stuff? Do you regret having eliminated something that you thought was clutter, only to realize later that you needed that item? Have you had to work through these issues with an aging parent? Do you have any advice for those of us who like to hold on to things? And why does it seem that when I come back from a long trip, I feel much more willing to get rid of things that were not needed and used in whatever bag I took? That seems to be the best time for my husband to discuss this issue with me, when I am most open to changing. Finally, how many refrigerator magnets are on your refrigerator?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

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Filed under Books, comedy, Culture, Environment, equality, Parenting, Peace, Relationships, Stereotypes