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.
"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance", Shakespeare's Ophelia reminds us.
Herbs are delightful in so many ways - fragrance, flavor, visually. When we add symbolism, and they are gifts from a friend, it lifts them to an even higher level.
My friend Janet is moving and she is sharing special gifts with friends as she downsizes. She took my class on Enhancing Your Life with Herbs and she knows how I love them, so she offered me a set of herbal pots. In addition, she brought a bag filled with colorful beads, two copies of Flow magazine, a favorite, and a book on Ancient Herbs for the J. Paul Getty Museum.
This morning I transplanted oregano, rosemary and basil from my garden to the pots. The herbs seem to know they've gotten a reprieve from winter's cold and are happily looking out the dining room window at their less fortunate friends, still in the garden. If only I had a greenhouse and could bring them all indoors.
Thank you Janet! These delightful gifts are not only today's treasures, but will be loved and enjoyed for a long time to come.
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!
Recently we attend the phenomenal light show at Longwood Gardens. We arrived early and set up our chairs in the front row, very close to the center, so this display is very similar to the one was viewed. i was much too captivated with the experience to record the show so was delighted that this 'sneak peak' was so similar. The background music for the evening we attended was jazz, and if you follow my blog, you'll know I was delighted! This will give you an idea of the spectacular event, and hopefully it will inspire you to check the Longwood Garden site to check their schedule, purchase tickets and attend!
While we were at Longwood Gardens, I heard it referred to as "America's Versailles". I disagree. The variety of plants, artistry of presentation, reverence and dedication to nature and seasonal displays make Longwood far superior. The Versailles gardens were such a disappointment, but isn't it delightful to know we can save the airfare to France and have a much more delightful experience here? For those who are more interested in the history, architecture and furnishings at Versailles, it's worth the trip, but if you are going for the gardens, you may want to reconsider and head to Kennett Square, PA.
We passed this sleepy tree on the way in, already yawning by late afternoon. He probably didn't stay awake for the light show, but he's undoubtedly seen it many times!
We had a leisurely dinner at 1906 while we waited for dusk. Everything there is a step above what is expected. This is their shrimp appetizer - jumbo shrimp served on a square of tomato aspic with sorrel and touch of horseradish. Not only delicious but a work of art!
Although I've been to Longwood Gardens many times over the years and experienced each of the five seasons - spring, summer, fall, holiday and winter - at least once, this was my first after dark experience light display. I'm adding it to my collecting firsts!
Just returned from a delightful mini vacation in PA visiting my daughter with a friend! Mycenea is professional musician and has been doing her solo act for years, gathering awards, accolades and being featured on the cover of magazines. She's living in a spectacular log cabin filled with instruments! One of the highlights of the visit was a listening to her new band practice for a couple of hours! They have been practicing for months but haven't taken the show on the road yet so we were very fortunate to be among the first to hear them!
The living room, which is more reminiscent of a music store, is filled with guitars, amps, there's a mandolin, standing bass, the drums . . . so many fun things to play with if you are so inclined!
One of the most delightful aspects of this home is the story behind it's construction.
The builder lived in a one room log cabin at the end of the property on a cliff over looking a stream. It has the appearance of a cabin created in colonial times but was built in the 70s and he stayed there year round until he finished building the main home.
In addition to being an artist, the builder was also a philosopher.
Both properties are guarded by Sasquatch! They host a party annually in his honor.
A kinder, gentler version of Bigfoot is featured here.
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!
"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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