Last evening Mayor Catherine Pugh welcomed the Sweet Silver Bells at City Hall to be part of Baltimore's tree lighting celebration. But as you can see in the news broadcast below, the evening was about much more than lighting a Christmas tree.
One of my favorite Baltimore memories - the Ding Dongs at the lighting of the Washington Monument . This year we will be singing at an official tree lighting event at City Hall with the mayor! We have been requested to sing under the name Sweet Silver Bells instead of Ding Dongs - guess that name was just too tacky! Ha! Regardless, the harmonies will be fabulous and the costumes will range from elegant to outrageous! You just never know what to expect from a Ding Dong!
After two months of choral practice and hours at the sewing machine, let the festivities begin! Our four part harmonies are awesome and the mayor of Baltimore has invited us to sing at one of the city's events - pictures to follow.
Last year my heart wasn't in participating since the songs reminded of singing with my brother who had passed in early November. Time helped heal the wounds. This year my Christmas spirit has returned and I'm feeling blessed to be in two choral groups.
Yesterday i made my Mrs. Santa Claus hat. The faux fur pompom and trim were much too stark white to go with my ivory cape so I removed and tea stained them and cut a new hat out of the red velvet I used to make my skirt and top. I decorated with fabric roses, stars, feathers and a Christmas ball. The hat is light weight and has a hidden velcro closing in the back to ensure a good fit.
Jazz in the Garden - September 9 from 5 - 7:00 p.m.
Delighted to announce that our History of Jazz Instructor (I've taken his course four times!) and saxophonist extraordinaire, Greg Thompkins, will be playing at the Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore again. I've heard several area musicians describe Greg as "the best saxophonist I've ever heard." and in May he was inducted into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame.
This is two hours of sensory bliss - the surroundings are exquisite, the music divine, and there will be food and drink. All this for free! Join us if you can!
Mycala suggested we enter Zippy in the Visionary Arts Museum Pet Parade. It was last minute so we scampered to find an outfit and settled on a star spangled America's Sweetheart lollipop T-shirt. To complete the look we found a hat and adorned it with red, white and blue lollipops. He smiled most of the day, loving the attention, prancing happily in the parade and having his few minutes of fame on stage for the talent show. He fell asleep at one point and was too tired to participate in Musical Chairs, but all in all it was a wonderful day.
There were dogs of every shape and size, one cat, a bunny, two iguanas and a snake. The costumes were phenomenal and included baby carriages decorated as floats, with owners dressed to match their dogs costumes. We were threatened a few times with lightning and potential storms but they magically help off.
Next year we'll start earlier and create a costume worthy of the occasion!
The summer solstice officially arrived in Baltimore, Maryland at 6:34 on Monday, June 20. Hopefully you took time to honor the cycles of nature and to celebrate the longest day of the year. This year's event was especially precious as it coincided with the "strawberry moon", the name given to June's full moon. The combination of the solstice with a full moon is a rare occurrence, The last time this rare phenomena occurred was forty-nine years ago, in 1967. Hopefully you enjoyed its assent as it won't occur again until 2062,
Strawberries may have been the fruit of the day, but I had peaches on my mind! This, dear friends, is
Baltimore Peach Cake
A dear new friend and neighbor, Howard, called late afternoon and said he had made Baltimore Peach Cake, warm out of the oven, and wondered if I would like some! Um, yes!!! So I hurried over and he met me at the door with his calico cat Petunia, weaving between us, hoping for attention. I knelt down to pet her and he mentioned having heard that all calico cats are female.
(Note:I've heard all my life and decided it was finally time to look it up.
"The mutation that gives male cats a ginger-colored coat and females ginger, tortoiseshell, or calico coats produced a particularly telling map. The orange mutant gene is found only on the X, or female, chromosome. As with humans, female cats have paired sex chromosomes, XX, and male cats have XY sex chromosomes"
We walked through the hallway, adjacent to a stair case filled with family photos, into the kitchen where I had my first glimpse of 'the cake'! He had given me half and when I protested, with very little conviction or enthusiasm but felt it was the right thing to do, he insisted. I let him have his way! We talked about some of our recent Facebook posts while he finished wrapping the cake. Babe Ruth, his gorgeous and gregarious McCaw, sat on the open door of his cage from the next room, watching and occasionally making a comment or whistling. Howard, Babe Ruth and I are all dedicated Orioles fans and when Babe wants to see a game, he'll request, "Watch TV?"
As I said thank you and good bye to Howard and his furry and feathered family, I felt overwhelmingly grateful to live in Lake Walker. The homes, with their front porches, are anachronisms not only in their physical structure, but in the resulting lifestyle. Neighbors are outside - on their porches, working in their yards and gardens, and walking their dogs of every shape and size. They are receptive, even openly inviting, to conversation and community.
But back to the cake! Oh my heavens!! Its arrival only hours before the summer solstice made it seem all the more heaven scent. Yes, I know. I wrote heaven sent first, but the fragrance! It is indeed heaven scent! The peaches and cake dominated, But there is just a hint of cinnamon - not the usual over powering that often diminishes other flavors - but a subtle suggestion. It is almost as if he waved a cinnamon stick over the sublime creation and let the perfect amount of flavor descend. Perfection!
My first taste of Baltimore Peach Cake will be added to my 'collecting firsts' category. Actually, I've been thinking about a "Collecting Firsts in Baltimore" category, because there have been so many since I arrived. I do adore this town - it's passion for history, art, music, gardens and parks, fabulous food and restaurants, sports, culture, eccentric charm, Hons, Balamerese, and most of all, oh how I love the people!
Druid Hill kicked off their celebration of this year's historic Summer Solstice with a musical tribute by an extraordinary ensemble of musicians - more below!
Festivities will continue on
Monday, June 20
6:30 – 11 p.m., Solstice Celebration with the Friends of Druid Hill Park
6:30- 8:30, explore Druid Hill Park on the Friends of Druid Hill Park/Baltimore Rec and Parks Solstice Hike, a 6 mile hike exploring the “back hills” of the park. Hike begins at the H. P. Rawlings Conservatory and ends at the Solstice Celebration at the Druid Statue.
8:00 – 11:00 Party at the Reservoir. Join the Friends of Druid Hill Park at the Green Man Sculpture (along the Druid Hill Reservoir) for a roaring fire, tales, hayrides, tarot card readings, and music all focused on the solstice. Oh – and some seasonal refreshments too! On this magical night, take a mystical journey (hayride) to the Moorish Tower and cast golden flowers and herbs into the air from the hill. Watch them land and envision your buried talents – and on the shortest night of the year, may this journey empower you to realize your hidden potential! $5.00 per person. All proceeds benefit the free programs and concerts at the Druid Hill Farmers’ Market.
With sincerest gratitude to musicians at Summer Soltice in the Park with Claire Daly- Baritone Saxophonist, Robert Shahid-drums, Amy Shook-Bassist, Carl Filipiak-Guitarist, Benjie Porecki-B3 Organist, GregThompkins-Tenor saxophonist
Visiting the Lexington Market has been on my wish list since I moved to Baltimore and I finally made it! What a delightful experience! The sounds of the steel drum band added rhythm and beat as moved from stand to stand. There were oranges, lemons, limes, grapes and strawberries in vibrant jewel tones.fish and shell fish in iridescent white, silver and pinks. Scrumptious cupcakes, pineapple upside down cake, cinnamon rolls, and breads of every size and shape, color and texture. Something for everyone and the prices were fantastic! We would have stayed longer but we had too much to carry!
We spent yesterday in the exquisite Walter's Art Museum in Mount Vernon, Baltimore, MD. It was originally a private collection of William Thompson Walters, born May 23, 1819, from Liverpool, PA. Walters moved to Baltimore at the age of 21, made his fortune and married Ellen when he was 26. He and his wife had 3 children but one died in childhood. Henry, born in 1848, and Jennie in 1853, survived. Walter began collecting art with his wife in the summer of 1861 in Paris, then traveled through out France, to Italy Switzerland and England. Ellen died of pneumonia when she was forty years old in 1862 and William continued collecting with even more intensity to attempt to dissuade his grief. After the war, in 1865 he and his children returned to Baltimore. His son eventually became involved in his father's art collection and carried on after his death.
Their collection of 22,000 works of art from 55 centuries of art formed the basis of the collection and today the collection contains over 35,000 works of art including an expansive Egyptian collection, china, Faberge eggs, illuminated journals, French Impressionist paintings, bronze statues and so much more!
Insights From a Child
Their are endless opportunities to learn and enjoy for all ages as evidenced by this young person's observation in a "What have you discovered?" journal encouraging comments.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
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