Saturday, January 31, 2009


Why in the world, with our economy in the toilet the way it is, did it cost me this much money to move my car from Georgia to Maryland? One new tire needed ($207) to pass the required safety check ($75) plus $485 in taxes, tags, and registration fees. They actually went back and charged me 2% tax on the PURCHASE of my car b/c when you buy a car in Maryland you pay 6% sales tax versus 4% in Georgia EVEN THOUGH I bought my car 3 and 1/2 years ago!

Want to know why our nation is in a financial crisis? Other than the record numbers of people, like my husband, who cannot find a job - it's stuff like this extremely expensive, yet required effort to legitimately move my car into Maryland. And this isn't counting the $45 driver's license fee.

The real irony is that I live where I work so I am not making regular use of their roadways each day with a commute. What will they do with all my money? What a horrible crock. Ugh!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rock the present.

This afternoon I had to run an errand, to the Maryland MVA, and I had Sarah along with me. I was still thinking about the Inauguration of President Obama and what a great address he had given, about the throngs of people who braved the hours and the cold to be in that same space of land where he would be. The car radio was on and the disc jockeys were talking with reporters in Washington, everything still focused on the events of this day. I decided to talk to my 4 year old about this occasion.
Me: Guess what Sarah? We got a new President today!
Sarah: Oh Mommy! What is it?
Me: No baby, the President is a person.
Sarah: Mommy! I thought we wanted a new present!
Me: No Sarah. We got a new PRES-I-DENT. He's a person. Barack Obama.
Sarah: Rock Obama?
Me: BA-RACK Obama.
Sarah: Yea! Rock Obama is our new present!

There you go. The things we have to teach our children...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Good times in the snow.

Ah, a snow day.  A glorious day off work tacked onto the weekend.  But it's not just a snow day -- it's MLK day and it happened to snow.  Now for a bunch of sun punks from Georgia, even the inch of snow was cool.  Sarah had a blast running in the snow, knocking it off local fauna, catching falling snowflakes on her tongue, and learning to make the snowball.  We are now safe inside and all warmed up.  Looking forward to yet another jaunt in the snow later and to watching the inauguration tomorrow.  So fitting that we remember MLK and all that he stood for today and that we watch Barack Obama take the presidency tomorrow.  

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Crossing the sweet tea line.

Today is a glorious Saturday and a chance for all of us to get out of the house and explore our new territory. When we moved 640 miles north of Athens, many of my friends and family decided to be funny and call us Yankees. Ah ha, not so fast I told them - Westminster is still slightly south of the infamous Mason-Dixon line that runs along the Pennsylvania border and separates North from South. So today, my husband being the Civil War buff that he is, we decided to drive the short distance to Gettysburg to see the battlefield and tour the museum. It was quite a sight to see of course. The museum was super nice and very thorough, the films were emotional and telling, and even the museum shop was cool. We spent over four hours there looking around and learning, trying to explain the concept of war to a four year old, and prevent her from wandering off. Then we drove around some in the actual downtown area of Gettysburg and I saw the Pub where Hal and I had dinner the first time we visited the area. If I remember correctly, the conversation in the restaurant went something like this:
Waiter: Can I get you something to drink?
Me: I'll have Diet Coke.
Waiter: How about Diet Pepsi.
Me: (grudgingly) Okay.
Waiter: Okay, and you sir?
Hal: I'll have sweet tea without lemon (his perpetual beverage request no matter where we are)
Me: (kicking Hal under the table and whispering) I'll bet they don't have sweet tea!
Waiter: (looking at Hal like he has two heads) Sir, we don't have sweet tea up here - you're above the Mason-Dixon now.
Hal: Oh, uh I guess I'll have Coke.
Waiter: We don't have that either. How about Pepsi?
Hal: Do you have water? I'll take water. Without lemon.
The waiter walks away and I toss my head back because I'm laughing so hard. Hal shrugs his shoulders and says something about their crappy customer service. I laugh harder.
From then on, I liked to think of the Mason-Dixon line as the sweet tea line. Here in Westminster, right below the Mason-Dixon, sweet tea is available in all the restaurants. Should you find yourself above that geographical and cultural line however, it's BYOST (bring your own sweet tea).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Not official yet.

Why is going to the local Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV such a universal pain? It doesn't matter which state you are in, it's a pain in the toosh. I've been in Maryland for two months now, not technically, but close enough, and I ventured over to the DMV. Luckily it wasn't too hard to find - about a mile past the Starbucks, which is easy for me. I'd been there once before our holiday break and quickly got scuttled out the door with the understanding that I'd need more documents to prove my address. So today I try again with an armful of documents, bills in their original envelopes addressed to me here in Maryland. I immediately start getting the run around again from this guy. Nope, this won't work, and neither will this, and no we don't accept paychecks either. I asked rather bluntly if I could see a supervisor or someone with a little discretion. He directed me her way, she said absolutly we'll take these things and I was given a number! Got my picture taken, lied only a little about my weight, gave them my address, and bada bing - Maryland license! Just like that. Only 2 trips! When I drove away I thought they might have someone in a black minivan following me back home just to make completely sure I lived where I said I did. In Virginia and South Carolina it took me 3 trips each to their DMVs. In Georgia it was a piece of cake - I just recited my license number and they reissued it after updating my address. The benefits of being born in a place!
Moving to another state isn't all that simple. Now the challenge is getting the tags for my car which is a 27 step process. First an expensive safety inspection, then pay the taxes and get the tags, then some sort of emissions check. More money. I think the DMV has invested in the local mechanics or vice versa. Seems to be a mutual benefit!
I guess, other than the money involved, I really don't mind all these safeguards. I've noticed that there aren't nearly as many cars up here with "problems" like some horrible stench or smoke coming out the tailpipes, or bumpers taped on, or windows spread so thick with duck tape and plastic sheeting that Superman couldn't see out. All these things can be found anywhere and everywhere in Georgia. Taking care of your car, for some folks, is as easy as riding on a donut wheel and buying a good waterproof roll of Duck tape. And now that it comes in all those fashionable colors, it can match just about any paint job! But alas, I'm still a Georgian at heart! Someone today told me that I didn't sound like I came from Georgia. They said West Virginia. Is that worse? :) At least they didn't say Alabama or Florida or Tennessee. I would have had to start barking like a Georgia DAWG! Woof Woof Woof!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Resolutions and ramblings.

One of my New Year's Resolutions started a chain reaction.  My first one, especially after reading You Are Here, was to become more environmentally respectful and aware.  Reduce my "footprint" if you will.  I want to have less and do more with what I have.  I want to use less water, throw away less plastic, buy more goods that are made with recycled stuff, and buy more things made close to home (like the USA for a change).  I bought a pair of Simple Shoes about 3 months ago - the entire shoe was made from recycled material and renewable resources that come from earth friendly processes.  They are great!  So buying Earth conscious can be very rewarding, even if it's more expensive.  I'll continue using plant based soaps to do laundry, bathe, and clean house.  I'll use less paper.  Anyway - I was browsing in the bookstore the other day on one of my glorious days off, and I saw in the "green" book section a book called The Green Bible.  Only this was actually a Bible.  New Testament, Old Testament.  But there are verses highlighted in GREEN.  Instead of everything Jesus says being printed in red, all of the verses that are pertinent to the Earth and it's care are printed in green!  Oddly enough, religious resister that I have been for many years, I went right up to the cash register and paid $30 for it.  And I've begun to read, read, read.  I read the entire book of Genesis in one night.  I'm still working on Exodus.  So my next resolution is to figure out where I stand spiritually.  What do I believe in and why?  That's the question I want to answer.  Many different experiences make us who we are in the long run, and I've had some that made me question God or a higher power for some time now.  So now I'm on a journey to figure it out.  The least I can do is read the Bible.  Front to back, the whole thing.  So far, I find it to be a mesmerizing story!  My third resolution is to spend more time with my little girl.  She's such a gift.  I find myself growing more and more impatient with her lately, especially now that she knows where my buttons are.  Why is it that toddlers talk all the time?  I used to think I was the only one who had this problem, but everyone I tell this too swears they know or knew a child who did the exact same thing.  It's not my goal to shut her up as much as it is to redirect her ramblings and lower the volume a bit.  She's loud and nonsensical.  But she's cute.  And she's mine.  And I don't know what I'd do without her now.  The fourth one is simple: lose 20 pounds.  I'd like to lose 40 but I want to set a goal I can actually achieve.  Time to get back in the gym!  I could keep going but I might as well stop here.  These four will keep me busy enough!