Friday, July 29, 2011

Beach Trip, Part III - The Beach

You know you've all been waiting for this part.

Unlike most of our trips, we didn't go to the beach every day this year. As I've mentioned we had several activities that were planned, so the beach took a back seat on a few days.

One day was the fishing outing. Another day was at the water park at Jolly Roger's. There was another day that we spent doing something else, but in less than a week I already cannot remember. Am I getting old? I need to stop inhaling the Methotrexate and Mercaptopurine.

Check out this kid with the sunscreen smiley face on his back. At first I thought it was a joke, but given his age and the amount of sunscreen, this must be intentional.

There really was much incentive to look around at the ladies. I mean, I had the most beautiful woman I know sitting right next to me. But for everyone else, here are your beach babes.

Two of these belong in bikinis, one does not. But I'm not judging. Just stating facts.

Here's one for you older guys. Got milf?

Grandpa here - when I first saw him I thought his bathing suit was falling down his backside. Who makes light tan bathing suits, or bathing suits with light tan stripes at the top? My wife once bought me a bathing suit that was entirely light tan. When I put it on it looked like I was naked.

You can imagine my excitement when one of these planes with the streaming messages flew by advertising women's bathing suits half off! Much to my chagrin, I found racks of reduced priced bikinis.

It started raining one afternoon, so we all gathered under our canopies and umbrellas. It was a comical sight seeing large groups of people all huddled under umbrellas up and down the beach. Everyone remained huddled under their canopies and umbrellas until a crack of lightning hit the water not more than 50 yards from us. Then there were screams heard in all directions and lines of people racing up toward the dunes. We finally made it to the first condominium building, ran underneath where everyone parks and found ourselves in the midst of dozens of other people - soaking wet and gasping for breath.

It was really foggy one day. We couldn't see anything. This is also the day that we got to go for a ride out into the ocean on a Coast Guard boat. Very cool!

I thought for sure that there was a rainbow around somewhere after I spotted this leprechaun roaming the beach. Who's got the Lucky Charms?!! "Oh, Danny boy, where's ye pot ol' gold?"

This is my wife's foot. "Got my toes in the water, toes in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold Coke in my hand, life is good today, life is good today!"

This is our Scopes girl for the week. She asked us on day 1 if we wanted pictures, but didn't ask us again the whole week. She did ask how are week was going and was very nice. I did hear her say that she just puts everything in the credit card and daddy pays it. Must be nice!

Check out this bathing beauty! Everyone can wear a bikini, right? "ooo, baby-baby! La-lala-la-lala!"

One Less Duke

There is sad news to report in Hollywood. Vance Duke has died. Please keep Bo, Luke, Daisy, and Coy in your prayers.

You'll remember that Coy and Vance Duke moved to Hazzard County, Georgia to help Daisy and Uncle Jessie take care of the farm while Bo and Luke went off to pursue their racing careers.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New to Eldersburg: Cash Today Pawn Shop!

How do you know that your town is on the fast track to suburban decay? When a pawn shop opens up in your shopping center.

Pawn shops, as you know, are places to sell your stuff to get money so that you can pay your mortgage. OR - it's a place to sell the stuff you stole so you can get some cash to buy some heat or a dime bag.

In Eldersburg, I think both situations apply. There are plenty of people in the area who are over-extended on their credit and tapped out and underwater on their mortgage, so selling the leaf blower and granddad's antique screwdriver may make sense. Also, the Randallstown creep effect is in full force, so the latter makes sense as well.

I don't recall what was in this space previously. I know it has been unoccupied for a while. It's right next door to Captain Dan's, so maybe you sell the Garmin you lifted out of the cars in one of the neighborhoods in Eldersburg, then go to Captain Dan's and get a nice Crab Cake sandwich. (I actually inadvertently typed 'crab crack sandwich' - totally unintentional).

Where are the Ravens?

If you're a true Ravens' fan, you know that preseason practices are normally held at McDaniel College up in Westminster, Maryland. If you're from Baltimore, you probably pronounce it Westminister. When the Ravens are there, they stay at the Best Western Motel on Route 140. However, the preseason practices at McDaniel College were canceled when the NFL and the players' association failed to come to a contract agreement.

Now that the NFL successfully beat Congress in coming to an agreement in their respective arena, the preseason has started and the Ravens are conducting their practices at their facility in Owings Mills, Maryland. If you're from Baltimore, you probably pronounce it Owings Mills, hon.

While driving to The Green Turtle for lunch today, I noticed that the Hyatt Place hotel, formerly the Amerisuites Hotel, at the corner of Painter's Mill Road and Red Run Boulevard (the boulevard that I think Kevin Kamenetz hates because he's not getting it fixed) has fencing all around it, and at the two entrances there is a canopy with security guards with bullhorns. I think bullhorns are the peace-love-dope method of security. "Hey you! Go away!" But that's okay. So I don't know with 100% certainty, but I'm pretty sure that's where they are staying.

Here's a picture of the hotel that I took through my windshield one day, so it's a crappy picture, but if you're familiar with the area you'll know where it is.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beach Trip, Part II - Fishing

No trip to Ocean City with a 9 year old boy would be complete without a fishing trip or three. Left to his devices, my son would fish all 7 days and skip the beach entirely. However, because of random acts of violence, we prefer that an adult be with him at all times and we don't feel like fishing all day every day.

The Believe in Tomorrow Foundation provides activities for visiting families and this trip they provided fishing on the bay. We were told to be at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club at 9am, so we promptly arrived at 9:07am. There were 3 families going fishing and thus 3 boats. Our captain was Captain John and first mate Tim, but we called him Captain Tim. Both are firefighters, though I'm not sure if that was their full-time job or just volunteers.

Captain John piloted a pontoon boat that seats about 6 or 7. Since there were 7 of us, I'll say it seated 7. We ferried out of Ocean Pines along the eastern edge of the bay, though I'm not sure if it is considered Isle of Wight Bay or Big Assawoman Bay, though according to Wikipedia, the universal source of factual information, says that 'Big Assawoman' is a tongue in cheek reference to the body of water.

Captain John gave us a tour of the big water-front houses, many of which I fantasize that I own. Check out this series of houses. Which one do you want?

We then made our way to the U.S. Route 50 draw bridge, then over to Assateague. I loved the sounds of cars going across the drawbridge as we passed underneath. Brrrr......brrrrr.....brrrrr.... This bridge was constructed in 1942. This bridge is now almost 70 years old. How do you feel about crossing it? The current plan is to replace it in 2035, only 24 years away!

We saw this interesting partially sunken ship. Apparently the owner does not have the necessary insurance nor the funds to raise the boat, so I guess he's waiting for nature to decompose the entire ship. Having toured the shores of Baltimore's harbor and seen other sunken ships, I would expect this decomposition to take over 100 years.

We then found some inbred ponies munching on the salt water grasses along the shore. The pony on the left is checking out his Aunt Sister Mom in the center.

By now my son is getting irritated and asking when we are going to fish. I think he's worried that this is turning into a boat trip rather than a fishing trip. We finally head back north of the U.S. Route 50 bridge and drop some lines. It's not too long before my oldest daughter lands the first fish. I soon follow, then I follow with another, then finally (gasp of relief) my son catches one, too. Altogether we caught 9 flounder and several crabs. Unfortunately, they were all too small to keep. However, I did have the honor of catching the largest flounder at 16". A keeper is 18". Captain John said that a keeper is caught about once a week.

Check out this commercial fishing pontoon boat in the background. Great name!

We finally wrapped up and headed back to Ocean Pines. Captain John and Captain Tim were gracious hosts and would accept nothing more than a hand-shake. Thank you Captain John, Captain Tim, and Believe in Tomorrow for this wonderful opportunity!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Beach Trip 2011

Through the generosity of The Believe in Tomorrow Foundation, my family got to have a vacation at the beach this year that we otherwise would not have been able to do. This time we stayed in one of the units on the third (read top) floor of the building. This required much hauling of the heavy gear up many steps.

The vacation did not begin as most of our vacations do. Normally we wake up at 4 or 5am, pack it up, and hit the road early with the intention of getting over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (William Preston Lane Memorial Bridge to be exact) before the weekend traffic. However, we were leaving on a Sunday rather than a Saturday, so we weren't fighting the gunners afraid of coming in last (thank you Dirks Bentley).

We also did a fantastic job packing this year. We forgot the stroller. We didn't ask to borrow the turtle top from my friend as my wife insisted we wouldn't need it. And we forgot my oldest daughter. Actually, she spent the previous week in the Outer Banks with the family of one of her friends. Do you know how to spot the out-of-towners in the Outer Banks? They are the ones with OBX stickers on their bumpers and rear windows. Do you ever hear of people advertising where they live? Do you ever see DLK stickers? Or BLT stickers? Of course not.

We made it to Ocean City in decent time - a little under 3 hours. We couldn't check in until 4pm, so we walked the boardwalk for a bit and determined that we weren't actually in Maryland, we were in El Salvador. Or South Bronx. Lots of cussing. Lots of Yankee gear. Lots of in-your-face attitude. The Dew Tour was also in town, so we watched them erecting the stadium on the beach. It was fairly massive. We were then advised to stay away from the boardwalk for the rest of the week because it was going to attract some freaks and weirdos. More than were already there???

Ocean City advertising their Dew Tour on the water tower.

I left my son and wife to play on the beach and took my youngest daughter with me (as she was ready for a nap) to go to Salisbury to pick up my oldest daughter who was being dropped off en route from Corolla, which she said the locals pronounced 'CORE-a-lah', not 'core-OL-lah' as everyone does.

We finally got back to Ocean City, hon, and were ready to check in. And carry all 5 tons of vacation junk that I was able to cram into 12 cubic feet of my rockin' Honda.

After we settled in we headed up to a texican restaurant that was recommended to us by a friend called Tequila Mockingbird (the restaurant was called Tequila Mockingbird, not our friend). Not only does it have a really clever name, but the food was great. I'm not sure if Harper Lee has ever eaten there, but some drunk New Jersey chick with no inside voice has. Several patrons asked her to settle down and the bartender even told her to hush, but to no avail. She got drunker and louder. Most of her sentences began with, "Oh, my god!" and contained "like", and ended with 'seriously'.

In addition to Tequila Mockingbird, there were some other places in this shopping center with unique names. Here they are.

Hey lady, you have bodacious buckets!

I think I saw this place on Liberty Heights Avenue.

Prince has nothing on 1795.

That is all for now. I'm too tired and used up all of clever and piffy nuances to entertain you any more tonight.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More Democracts and MORE Tax Increases

The Maryland General Assembly will be meeting in a special session in October to try and redraw the political district maps with the intent of drawing out as many Republicans as possible. The redistricting is required as a result of the census. Each district is expected to be nearly the same size. Every 10 years a census is taken to count the peoples, as they say in Essex. The census provides the states with the information about the populations of each area and that data is then used to redraw the map.

If you're older than 35, you'll remember that former Maryland Socialist, I mean Governor, Paris Glendening used the redistricting as an opportunity to Gerrymander the districts to the point where it required a lawsuit to stop his nonsense. The court was then forced to redraw the map for him using fairness and common sense, something that I think he lacked.

This year the Maryland General Assembly will be required to repeat this exercise. Can Maryland Republicans rely on Martin O'Malley and the liberal extremists in Annapolis to be fair and try to represent Maryland's government with about 33% Republicans? Of course not. The lines will be drawn all over the place with the intent of lopping all of the Republicans into one giant district, thus minimizing their impact.

I full expect either Roscoe Bartlet's disctrict in Western Maryland to go as far east as possible, or Andy Harris' district to have have long fingers throughout the Eastern Shore and Western Shore. Can you image the 6th District wrapping down from Western Maryland into hard left-wing intolerant Montgomery County, thus stomping on the political beliefs of the fine bucolic folks in Western Maryland. Or the 1st District being cut in half with a chunk of liberal suburban Prince George's County voting in tandem with moderately conservative farmers? One of the two will happen. And I guarantee it will be followed by a lawsuit.

I fully expect to get absorbed into Elijah Cummings 7th District. If that happens, he will most likely receive an email or letter from my about once a week convincing him to pass common sense conservative legislation protecting the rights of the gun owners, flag waivers, and religious families.

Will Carroll County get a single State Senator? Are we big enough yet? How many State Delegates will we have? It's hard to tell at this point.

All of this redistricting talk is interesting, but nothing compared to the possibility of Democrats calling for additional tax increases at the special session. Bob Ehrlich warned Marylanders that this would happen. Reelect Martin O'Malley and Maryland residents would suffer millions of dollars in tax increases.

To date, we've already experienced real estate tax increases, a 20% increase in the state sales tax, and increases in the alcohol tax, among others. Now there's speculation that the gas tax is next. What's really funny is that the gas tax is intended to replenish the state's transportation fund. And you'll recall that the state transportation fund was raided to pay for expenses that exceeded expected revenues. What do we keep telling the government? 'Stop spending more than you make!'. But if falls on deaf ears.

Do you think we'll see more taxes before the year is out?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beware of the Not-So-Green Cleaning Crew

I don't like to complain about work too often, but boy did they get me fired up this week.

About every 4 weeks the cleaning crew empties the refrigerators and cleans them. All of the food is thrown out. I agree that this needs to be done. People leave exposed sushi sitting in containers for days. Weeks! Moldy raspberries. Dried out deli sandwiches from the cafeteria. It's gross!

I saw the sign on the refrigerator door last week warning everyone that the refrigerator was going to be cleaned over the weekend. I forgot and had gone out to lunch with some friends on Friday and left my canvas lunch bag in the refrigerator.

When I returned on Monday, the refrigerator was empty. Gone were the decomposed fruit and edible Frisbees. Also gone was my canvas lunch bag. $25!

I promptly emailed the person in charge of the cleaning crew and asked if it was the policy of the company to toss all containers and lunch bags when the refrigerator is cleaned. This person confirmed that this was the policy. Also gone, in addition to my $25 canvas lunch bag were several glass Pyrex containers. And we know those aren't free to middle class Americans. I then responded, "I agree that it is my responsibility to remove my containers promptly when the sign is posted, but the zero-tolerance policy of absolute destruction of all refrigerated property seems to run contradictory to American Amalgamated Corrugated Conglomerates of America's recent efforts to "go green" and to maintain a environment of sustainability." I got no response from that. Perhaps because they know I'm right. And they're wrong.

Are we really living in a green and sustainable environment when fairly new canvas lunch bags and glass Pyrex dishes are tossed into the trash and sent to the dump? This doesn't sound like a very green policy to me!

The next time American Amalgamated Corrugated Conglomerates of America puts out a "We are environmentally friendly" sign, I am going to write "Lunch bag!!!" on it. Bunch of hypocrites.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review - Red by Sammy Hagar

I have always been a bigger fan of David Lee Roth as the lead singer of Van Halen, the greatest band to ever walk the face of the planet. Yes, I know the band is a head case. But during the DLR years the music was just so much more fun. However, Sammy Hagar brought an element of sophistication and respect that David Lee Roth wasn't able to provide. Don't get me wrong - I love his music, too. But it's sort of like trying to determine who's cuter - Reese Witherspoon or Anne Hathaway?

In 1984-ish, David Lee Roth split with the Van Halen brothers (and Michael Anthony). The obvious choice as a replacement was Sammy Hagar, formerly of the rock band Montrose.

Then Hagar left the band for a while, then he came back, then he was fired, then they hired DLR for a song or two, then he was fired, then they brought in Gary Cherone, then a reunion with Hagar, then another reunion with Roth. I think I missed about 4 firings and rehirings of Hagar, but you get the point. They're nuts. Most notably, Eddie Van Halen is nuts. And the stories in the book about Eddie will really make you scratch your head. Yes, I understand that there are two sides to every story, but if Eddie has a story, it better be pretty damned good to top what's in this book.

So what's a guy to do when he's fired from one of the most successful rock bands of all time? He writes a book, of course! And so Sammy did.

When I heard the book was going to be released, I figured it was be ghost-written by someone else. Hagar would give him a list of thoughts and the writer would put it all together. But nope, not this book. About a chapter into it I came to the firm conclusion that Sammy wrote it himself. Or he hired a terrible writer. The paragraphs go on and on with seemingly disconnected thoughts interwoven with profanity and far-out rock jargon.

But how was the book? Actually, it's really interesting. He grew up in Southern California in a broken home (didn't all musicians?). His father worked in a steel mill that was eventually torn down and is now the home of the California Speedway in Fontana, California. He got in and out of trouble, but always wanted to be a musician. He played in a couple of bands, but found traction with Montross. He eventually went solo and had a very successful career before being called to front Van Halen.

Not knowing if he'd ever make it big as a singer, Hagar invested his money. He bought investment properties. Then he bought a fire sprinkler company, and he also started a mountain bike company - way before mountain bikes were popular. Hagar made a lot of money and proved that he was a successful businessman. And we all know about Cabo Wabo and his Cabo Wabo tequila. He didn't really need to be a singer to be successful, but I'm glad he stuck with it.

The book if full of funny stories, many of them relating to Van Halen, but others connected to his obsession with fast cars, like Ferrari's and Lamborghini's.

I found this book to be fascinating and have recommended it to several friends. I read this book in about 2 weeks, which is fairly quick for me. I love to read, but God help me I'm a slow reader.

So check out this book! What's on your summer reading list?

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Kevin Kamenetz Must Hate Owings Mills

Have you driven down Red Run Boulevard past the nearly abandoned Owings Mills Mall lately? I'm sure that back in the 1980's this "boulevard" was very nice. I even hear that Owings Mills Mall was once nice. I am doubtful, but others have told me it was nice. Perhaps this was before the murders, muggings, robberies, and car thefts.

Anyway, Red Run Boulevard, from Painter's Mill Road to Owings Mills Boulevard appears to resemble one of the dirt roads traversed by the Bo and Luke Duke in the backwoods of Georgia. I drove down this road last week and I think I may have broken a tie rod and cracked the transaxle, in addition to getting a headache and losing a filling.

This road is complete with cracks, crumbling chunks of asphalt laying across the road, pot holes, and broken curbs. This road is an absolute embarrassment for Baltimore County. You'd think with some major employers in the area, such as CareFirst and T. Rowe Price, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz would want to do all he could to make the roads to and from these places as nice as can be. Imagine how these large employers feel when they have to explain to their clients why the roads near their campuses are worse than inner city ghetto streets.

I did a Google search for Kevin+Kamenetz+wants+Owings+Mills+roads+repaired. I got results for extending Owings Mills Boulevard to Liberty Road (a project which isn't going to happen), speed cameras, and some dated articles from The Sun about Kamenetz. But nothing about repairing the roads.

Does Kevin Kamenetz hate Owings Mills? Does he want the mall to fail (this is making a wild statement that the mall hasn't already failed)? Does he hate large employers in Baltimore County? Why is he not spending money to repair Red Run Boulevard? The world may never know. Perhaps he no longers wants to be the Baltimore County Executive.

Friday, July 08, 2011

New To Eldersburg: Pure Fitness

New to Eldersburg Plaza is Pure Fitness in the old flooring store, the name of which escapes me. I find it odd that they would incorporate the price into the sign ('starting at $19.99). If they change the price, wouldn't that require them to replace the sign? That makes price changes an expensive proposition, sort of like living in Maryland in general.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

4th of July Recap

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Like Labor Day and Memorial Day, it was not intended to be a day to celebrate the fine cooking abilities of the Weber Summit S-670. Nor is it the day to see how many beer brats and Bud Lites you can consume in 5 hours.

No. In fact, the 4th of July is the day we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This founding document in American history was written by a young Virginian named Thomas Jefferson, with influence from Bostonians John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, Franklin had actually moved to Philadelphia, where the document was signed. And it is with great honor and coincidence that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died 50 years to the day on July 4th, 1826, Jefferson dying a mere couple of hours before Adams.

If you live outside of Baltimore, it is appropriate to celebrate this day by hanging American flags, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and going to parades and seeing hot rods, politicians and fire trucks.

If you live inside of Baltimore, it is appropriate to stab people, shoot little 4 year old boys, and to generally lay terror to the suburbanites that come to the city to watch the fireworks. For the record, no one that I am aware of was arrested at fire works shows in the suburbs. In Baltimore City, over 30 people were arrested for various crimes, such as fighting. Yeah, don't be dissin' me at the fireworks show or I'll go all Casey Anthony on you and beat your face!

The Eludius family started the day at the Kingsville Parade, in solid Republican far-Eastern Baltimore County.

Here are some of the politicians unofficially campaigning:

Baltimore County Republican Delegate Pat McDonough. Is he preparing to run for Congress against hard left liberal Dutch Ruppersberger?

Recently elected Republican State Senator J.B. Jennings.

Harford County Republican Delegate Kathy Szeliga.

Harford County Republican State Delegate Susan McComas and her hiked up pants.

Republican State Delegate Rick Impallaria, who is dutifully fighting against the Unconstitutional law in Maryland allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition using Maryland resident tax money, after which they still cannot be legally hired by Maryland employers.

Other items of interest at the Kingsville parade, the United States Army unveiled it's new troop transport.

And like a 4 year old boy, I'm a sucker for fire trucks. Check out this truck from the Joppa Magnolia fire department. I think it's the black ladder that I like.

And this 2010 Pierce Heavy Rescue truck. My brother-in-law commented, 'shouldn't the fire departments be the color of the local high schools?' If that were the case, this truck would be an ugly brown and orange.

Oddly enough, my family has been attending the Kingsville parade for years and we've NEVER seen Martin O'Malley in this parade. What are you afraid of Governor??? Don't want to hear the boos that you deserve?

How was your 4th of July?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

New To Eldersburg - Quest Diagnostics

Apparently people are relying on me to provide them up-to-date information on the closing and opening of new businesses in the Eldersburg area. Fortunately for Eldersburg, unlike nearby Randallstown, new businesses have been opening in place of old shuttered businesses. I apologize for not keeping you as well informed as I thought you needed to be. For argument sake, let's say I was doing my impression of Martin O'Malley's economic policy.

One of the newer businesses in the area is Quest Diagnostics. This is not the first diagnostic place in Eldersburg. We also have Lab Corp. Now we can choose our favorite side of Liberty Road to get our blood taken! What a wonderful opportunity for us Carroll Countians!

The new Quest Diagnostics takes the place of the former leather shop, which went hand-in-hand with Pete's Cycle, which closed late last year (or early this year - I cannot remember).

So there's your new business news for the day! Stay tuned for more!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Mainstreet Eldersburg - Empty Promises?

You all remember the Mainstreet Eldersburg project that's scheduled to be built in 2007, right? It's on that empty plot of plan behind Wal-Mart and Safeway. How long has that been sitting there watching the weeds grow?

Black Oak Associates, the owner of the property, had promised the new shopping center as a main street shopping district with "green" construction. There were going to be higher-end stores, unlike their other property, Carrolltown Center, which seems to cater to people not from Eldersburg with its low-rent tenants.

Then the economy of Maryland collapsed. Then the cost of construction material for "green" construction went up. I'm really not sure what the delay is now. Are they waiting for the nationwide economic recovery? Do we have to wait until Obama and Martin O'Malley are out of office?

Previously on the corner there were a couple of signs that proudly informed passers-by of the forthcoming shopping center. Now - there is nothing there but poles. What's going on? Is Black Oak Associates canning the project? Or did someone steal the valuable signs? Or were they vandalized and removed as a prank?

Regardless, it seems like the joke has been on us. That property hasn't changed in the 12 years that I've been living in Eldersburg. I would not be surprised at all if that land is still fallow in another 12 years. And I'm sure we'll still hear Black Oak Associates proudly telling us that the plan is still in the works and should begin soon. How many times have we heard that?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

A Day with the Starlight Foundation in Bethesda

My family recently was invited to a picnic at the Bethesda Day School in Bethesda, Maryland, which is where I would expect the Bethesda Day School. The picnic was sponsored by the Starlight Children's Foundation, an organization that provides entertainment opportunities to families with children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses or life-altering injuries.

We knew there would be horse rides for the children. All the way there my daughter with leukemia kept telling me that she was going to ride a horse. Over. And over. And over again. We think she might have been excited.

We arrived to see a field of several tents. We quickly registered, refusing name tags (unlike Martin O'Malley, I feel that people don't need to know who I am!), and made a straight line for the horses. My daughter quickly got up on the horse with a little help, showing absolutely no fear. My other 2 kids also got on the horses. All were very excited. The horse ride was just around several cones for about 2 minutes, but that didn't matter. My youngest daughter had a smile that glowed from the other side of the field.

After the horse ride we did the moon bounce for a couple of minutes before my youngest daughter decided she didn't like it. We then went for some face and hand painting. Next to them was the snowballs and cotton candy (pronounced codin' candy).

When we finished those activities we decided to eat. They offered burgers, hot dogs, and turkey burgers, chips, watermelon, and drinks. Soon, like in This Week In Baseball, there were Gathering Crowds.

In addition to the horses, there were also bunnies and goats to pet. And LOTS of sanitizer.

We were soon mingling with some of the people from the Starlight Children's Foundation. We remembered Farrah from the circus. And there was another lady, but unfortunately I don't remember her name. But her husband tells me she loves Martin O'Malley. She said they got a kick out of this blog. I guess because the organization has done many wonderful things for my family, I can't fault her for liking Marty. He is cute. I just don't like his politics. And like a good Republican, I can agree to disagree and not hate the other side. Unlike the arrogant and closed-minded Jon Stewart.

My daughter rode the horses (actually they were ponies) several more times. It was getting hot and we were getting done. We got in the car and within 2.5 seconds, my youngest daughter was asleep. THAT is a sign of a successful day!

Thank you, Starlight Children's Foundation!
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