Way..... Out there !

Way..... Out there !
Deepest, most colorful Hubble image yet of our universe. Click for info.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Merry Christmas!

May the Peace and Joy of this wonderful season
Be yours forever !

John L.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Already? It's Annual Meeting Time Again!

How can it be? We just went through all that yesterday... or did it only seem like yesterday? But it's true: it's time for another warm, fuzzy get-together of the Hallmark Woods family to elect new directors and approve a budget for the coming year.

This year, the meeting will be held in the Crofton library at 6:45 pm on January 4th, with the room reserved for January 18th as well if that's necessary.

Among the issues to be agreed upon will be the divorce of social events from the administrative functions of the Hallmark Woods Property Owners Association, Inc. With any luck, some social lights will step up and volunteer to form a social committee to continue these regular community get-togethers — the Easter egg hunt, annual picnic, Halloween parade, and Christmas/holiday party.

The details, such as they are at this time, are all to be found at the official HWPOA website... or you can just phone one of the current directors (numbers in the community directory) for an earful. Or, best of all, SHOW UP AT THE MEETING. And volunteer. It's your association, neighbors!

John L.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gardening in December

What could be more fun in December than planning your garden – veggie, decorative, or practical – for the next year? A respite from the seasonal panic induced by excessive holidaying. Here's an idea to get you away from the holiday-a-baloo: plan a rain garden.

Beautiful, practical, and one step forward for a renewed, clean Chesapeake Bay!

John L.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Glorious, Glorious Fall!

Perfect leaf-raking weather – or football weather – or walk-in-the-woods weather!

John L.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Voting.... Again!

On November 2, 2010, those of us who want to have a voice in how our various levels of government work will go to the polls and vote again (assuming you-all voted in the recent primary elections). Only losers will stay home. So....

If the plethora of races, issues and candidates confuses you, as it does any normal human being, help is available from the League of Women Voters. At their website you can download their 2010 election Voters' Guide* and a whole lot more. That 56-page pdf has info on all the items you will encounter on the November 2 ballot.... whatever your election district, region, polling place. And the site has a lot more info besides.

If you're not sure where to go to vote, or whether you are registered, visit the Maryland State Board of Elections website for the official word.

But whatever you do..... VOTE !

I will.

John L.

* Update: Turns out printed copies of the guide – all 56 pages of it – are available free at the various branches of the Anne Arundel County Library System. Call before you run over – there are only a limited number of copies, "first come, first served". -- JL

•• Late Update: I voted! Around 11:00 am today. There was a long line of people waiting to get their hands on the lengthy ballot, but even more came in while we waited. Hope you were one of them. Yay America! -- JL

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Constitution Day... No Small Thing!

Now that you've voted, here's a day to celebrate: Constitution Day. The chief judge of Maryland's Court of Appeals (our highest state court) tells why:

Constitution Day is observed on September 17 each year to celebrate the date of the signing, in 1787, of the United States Constitution. By law, all educational institutions receiving federal funding must observe Constitution Day. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and discuss our Constitution and system of government....

Check the links on their page. I may be wrong, but it seems many Americans have no idea where our country comes from or how we got here...

John L.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Election Day !!

I just voted... and I was the only voter in the place by the time I was through the mostly uncomplicated ballot. The poll workers said voting had been fairly light so far (about 11:00 a.m.).

If you haven't exercised your right to choose your government today, get off your fanny and go surprise those poor, under-appreciated poll workers.

The government you get is the government you elect!

John L.

Later: The Annapolis Evening Capital is posting an Election Blog that should have lots of interesting voting news.... especially if people contribute their observations as requested.

Much Later: Looks like I was one of the few, statewide, who exercised their right – nay, obligation – to choose their government. Maryland Reporter.com today summed up the sad situation in an article titled "Voting has become a spectator sport for the bulk of those eligible." -JL-

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Future of Maryland, Beginning Now!

PlanMaryland is designed to create a better and more sustainable future for Maryland. The state legislature created the authority for such a plan in the 1970s, but a broader recognition of the many costs of unsustainable land use has grown in recent years. This new planning process commenced with listening sessions that the Maryland Department of Planning held in 2008 and will culminate with a State Growth Plan proposal in 2011.

Whoops! When you're not watching, big things can happen right under your nose. This seems to be a major initiative of the O'Malley administration, perhaps in response to the enormous changes likely from the federal government's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program.

The Plan Maryland website includes a survey for those of us who didn't make it to one of the 13 public forums held this spring throughout our state. Please do take the time to find it on the site and enter your comments and preferences. The results of all this will affect us and our community for years to come.

John L.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hallmark Woods Community PICNIC !

This Saturday, August 28, 2010, there will be a Family, Food and Fun picnic at Kingsway Court from 1 to 4 p.m.

These things are an annual affair in Hallmark Woods, an attempt to get neighbors out from behind their computers and TVs and together for a few hours of family fun and frolic. It's an event for the kids of all ages. There will be badminton (do kids today even know what that is?), probably a croquet court (another venerable pastime!), and other amusements. Basic eats – burgers, hot dogs, soft drinks, etc. – will be supplied.

And, oh yes, a Moon Bounce for the smaller kids.

You need to bring some food of your own – a favorite picnic dish perhaps – and chairs to sit in if you're of that age. And you need to RSVP to the organizers: either by a phone call to Shirley Gasch (number in community directory); or by using the contact form on the new community website.

See you there!

John L.

Post-picnic post: It seems quite a few people showed up, ate quite a bit, chatted up a storm, and even (especially the kids) played a few games. All-in-all a pretty fine day in the sunshine!

— Somewhere, however, during the festivities, a blue badminton racquet disappeared/disapparated. Any clues as to where it might be hiding would be most appreciated; send them to the HW webmaster or your editor at woodsblog...

Very Late Update: The errant badminton racquet surfaced some weeks later, hidden in a hammock! Glenn Peed returned it to its family and now all is well... and ready for the next picnic badminton game. - JL


Monday, August 9, 2010

Official Website! Hallmark Woods Property Owners Assn., Inc.

Our community association finally has its very own website! By the time you read this, if you own property in Hallmark Woods you've received a flyer, and maybe also an email, alerting you and inviting you to visit the site.

To visit the Hallmark Woods Property Owners Association website, click the link in the headline of this article, or in this sentence, or Google it by that full name. You'll know you're on the official site if you see a green banner at the top with the words "Hallmark Woods."

The website will be a perpetual work in progress: it will include notices of upcoming events of community interest, photos of our neighborhood and its activities, important documents, and other useful stuff. And this website is registered to the association, so it will be a permanent neighborhood asset.

Contributions will be welcome. There is a contact form that sends email directly to the HWPOA president, as well as a link to the webmaster at the bottom of every page. If you have trouble viewing the site, the webmaster is the one to ask for help.

John L.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ned Hall – Gone but never forgotten

The man who made Hallmark Woods possible – it's all on his land – Edward "Ned" Hall III died Sunday.

Those of us who had the privilege of meeting him know what a great loss this is to our world. Ned Hall was a true tree-hugger, probably surveyed half of Anne Arundel County, and was a genuine "nice guy." For years he lived, at least part-time, in a log cabin off Branchwood Drive (extended) on the other half of his land here.

From the obituary in the Annapolis Capitol newspaper:

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 30 at St Luke's Episcopal Church, 1101 Bay Ridge Avenue, Annapolis. There will be an interment service at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 19 at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church Cemetery in Crownsville.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Scenic Rivers Land Trust, Inc., PO Box 2008, Annapolis, MD 21404, for land conservation.

The Baltimore Sun also ran an obituary, just a little longer. Click here.

John L.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer and the posting is....sloooowww....

Tomatoes are slowly ripening, peppers too (one red cayenne so far). Lots of yard work to do, but hard to get up to do it. Excuse: too hot, too steamy. Even if that's the norm for mid-July.

At least BP seems to have stopped their blowout well from gushing, at least for now. And the Corwith Cramer has docked again in Bermuda at the end of a month-long cruise to assess the ever-growing presence of plastic bits, large and small, in the Sargasso Sea.

Enjoy! There's about 45 more delicious summer days until Labor Day.

John L.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Final Annual Meeting, for now.... Update

This time counts, by law. We'll be meeting again in the Village Commons Community Center of the Village at Waugh Chapel Shopping Center.

• Time: 7:00 pm
• Date: Thursday, February 25, 2010

There's plenty of parking, and some good restaurants nearby if you want to make an evening of it. Whoever shows up constitutes a quorum!

John L.

Update: We met, we voted, we adjourned! At last! Now the work begins—plenty of homework for the new board to dig into. And several good suggestions from the floor (didn't know floors could talk, did you?) to consider.

The new board of directors will meet for the first time on Monday, March 8 at 7 p.m. See the sign at the entrance for location.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Makin' Whoopee! - At The Library!

At long last, the new meeting room, enlarged parking area, and sundry other improvements are ready for business at the South County Branch of the AA County Public Library. And the party is on! Tomorrow. Starting at 1:00 p.m. In beautiful downtown Deale.

• Enjoy the ShowStoppers from the S. County Senior Center!
• Bop to the sounds of the winner of the High Schools Battle of the Bands!
• Revel in the rythyms of classical poetry! (Hint: think Winnie-the-pooh)
• Wonder at the marvels of a 21st Century library: it's not your Mom's library!
• Chill to the sounds of the Jim Ballard Jazz Quartet!

You can download a program for the all-day affair from the library system's website. Show up anytime. Bring the whole family! The Celebration will be in full swing! It'll be a blast!

John L.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Notes - February 2010


Lex and Stan Robertson at 1494 Kingsway Court have a long driveway and no reasonable way to clear it. Lex wrote: "Stan and I desperately need help with our driveway..he's getting ready to start clearing with his small scooper, ...." Today, thanks to some helpful neighbors, they're out! Lex reported, "Thanks to Glenn Peed and Charlie Ball, Stan and a mystery person, I'm out and was able to get to work today. Grateful appreciation to all who helped me."

Amy and Steve at 2133 Hallmark Dr. needed someone to shovel out their driveway and walk, preferably with a snow blower.They were "hoping someone has a snowblower and maybe a teenager willing to make some $....we are about shoveled out here." And someone came to the rescue! Amy reported, "I was lucky enough to find a kind neighbor to help."

[And if anyone answers this call for help, please let me, John Ludwigson, know too. I wouldn't mind knowing a willing shoveler. Heaving snow isn't a recommended activity for us 70+ year old geezers!]


And from Ed Rothe whose neighbors dug him out, thanks and a before-and-after photo:
"Nancy and I wish to give a big thank you to our kind neighbors on Branchwood Terrace; Fred, Carl, John & Bob who have worked so hard to keep the cul-de-sac and driveways plowed. Can Spring be here too soon?"

9 February 2010
JL -- see #Snowpocalypse on Twitter

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Annual Meeting Meets Again—UPDATE #2 1/2

The HWPOA annual meeting will be held on Thursday, February 4, at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Commons Community Center, 1326 Main Chapel Way, in the Village at Waugh Chapel Shopping Center, at Waugh Chapel Road and Maryland Route 3 N.

We did not have a quorum at the January 11 meeting, so this re-meet has been scheduled. The VCCC has plenty of room and plenty of parking spaces, and is easy to get to with a short drive from Hallmark Woods.

I'll post more information here as it becomes available. For now, mark the date on your calendar and plan to come out and support your community. A formal announcement letter should be out shortly.

John L.

UPDATE: If you just cannot make it to the meeting, please fill out the proxy form included with the announcement and hand it to someone you trust to vote your interests (don't leave it in a mailbox or newspaper tube). The two signatories to the letter would be a good choice, IMHO. You could also designate me (or any other homeowner who will be at the meeting) if you wish.

Red Face Department: Turns out that, according to the most recent iteration of our documents, a quorum for the meeting will be 56 homeowners (i.e., 60% of the homes), not the 47 (half of the 93 homes in Hallmark Woods) mentioned in the letter. That means that your presence, or proxy, is even more important.

26 January 2010

UPDATE #2 1/2: Well, 18 live bodies holding 13 proxies turned up at the meeting tonight, Feb. 4. So there will be one additional meeting, now scheduled for Thursday, February 25, at 7 p.m. The location will be the same—the Village Commons Community Center. Maybe this time there won't be the threat of #snowpocalypse (as the twitter hashtag goes). And, NOTE: whoever shows up, plus the proxies, will constitute a legal quorum.

4 February 2010

P.S. I have posted a few snow photos from today along with my album from December on Facebook at: tiny.cc…XA3uk

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Here's some information on the earthquake in Haiti and organizations that can use your help in responding to the horrendous human crisis.

ClintonBushHaitiFund — for immediate relief and long-term rebuilding

Please do what you can: the people of Haiti have it hard in good times, now they are suffering beyond measure.

John L.

Monday, January 4, 2010

HWPOA's Moving Meeting

Puzzlement! When is the Hallmark Woods Property Owners Association annual meeting?

The official, mailed letter notification says it's on Monday, January 11. But the HW website now says it's on Wednesday, January 13 !! That is, unless you go to the Community Calendar offered therein which still says it's on Monday, January 11.

Maybe we should all show up on both dates? Party hardy? A sort of community pub crawl?

Gosh, sorta tough to plan ahead around here.

John L.

P.S. Anyone planning to volunteer to be a HWPOA director for next year? Time to get your nomination in order before the meeting — whenever it may be.