Last week I was in Baltimore on business travel to our office there. While a majority of the time was work - as it should be on business trips - I opted to spend the weekend and did some other things, too. Work stuff went well and I was there during the torrential rain remnants from a hurricane that was coming up the coast. The good news is that my hotel and my office are connected by a parking ramp, so really if I hadn't watched the news and talked to people, I would have never known because I didn't really have to go outside (except to get to Starbucks). By Friday, mother nature had calmed and it was a beautiful weekend.

On Friday night, I went with a couple of friends to Oceanaire for dinner. If you haven't eaten at an Oceanaire, it's amazing - and spendy - but more importantly, amazing. We had crab cakes as an appetizer - a given if you're visiting Baltimore. I had the black & blue halibut with crab and we shared some family style mashed potatoes... and followed up with bread pudding, which I normally am not a fan of, but this proved otherwise. The photos are of my halibut meal and the bread pudding.

While the food was excellent, the company was better - Gina & Jean are pretty awesome.

On Saturday morning, I participated in Walden's Global Day of Service with the Baltimore office staff and it was a great experience - fun and fulfilling. We painted a gymnasium and lockers at a charter school that has been open for about 3 years. The building needed quite a bit of work and it's amazing what a coat of paint can do! We had a chance to hear from a couple of the 11th graders at the school about their goals for college and career - they're very driven and it was nice to get to hear from the people we were helping. Here's a picture of people painting the gymnasium, which is what I worked on.

It was nice to get to do this with some of my colleagues who I have known for almost the whole time I've worked here, but don't see often. The first picture is me, Jerry, and Jen and the second picture is me and Craig.

After the service project, I went for a walk through Fells Point, a fun area of Baltimore. Kind of like Northeast Minneapolis. They were having the Fells Point Festival which was fun, but huge crowds, so I didn't stay super long. No pictures... sorry.

Oh, and I had this pretty sushi and mango martini while I was there at Ra Sushi - I've been here before, but it's yummy so I went back.

All in all, it was productive with work and I got to see a lot of people who I don't often get to. The service project was great, though I was sorry I wasn't able to join my colleagues at the Minneapolis project that day. So all was well... except the weird smell outside of my hotel that came from a drain. For some reason late night and early morning it gives of steam that smells like burning tires. That I could have done without. It did it the last time I was there, too... so weird.

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