May 20, 2012

And They’re Off…

That was the cry late Saturday afternoon, sending off the Preakness horses, which was the pivotal event in the weekend for Baltimore. But let’s back up a bit.

My amazing friend, Flippa, is moving back to South Africa with her husband and daughter in a few weeks. {stops, wipes tears, continues} Friends of ours had a huge going-away party (GAP) for her in their amazing 1800’s town house, and by that, I mean the original sense of the word, not a town-house development. I have been promised a full tour of the house at a later date, when there aren’t 70+ people and plates and plates of food scattered around, but I will give you a few teaser shots. Like the amazing basement kitchen.

And its incredible floor, imported specially from Hungary.

Part of the fun at the GAP was the incredible food, from dozens of tiny cupcakes with pictures of Flip and her family, and American and South African flags.  You can tell the scale, because the flags and pictures are on toothpicks!

We served summer favourite Southsides, or as we’ve renamed them Eastsides.  Oh, I could have sworn this shot was in focus!

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Saturday dawned bright and clear and all day, I could hear the helicopters and airplanes buzzing around as they circled Pimlico Racecourse, a few miles away. As I sat outside brushing Connor, I saw a few planes overhead spelling out words. But the fur flying on the ground was much more of a distraction. We use a Furminator, and it really gets the job done.

Everyone gets into the Preakness spirit, including the gals at the local grocery store, where I headed to pick up some Mouth Party Caramels as a gift for our hosts later in the evening. 

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A few weeks ago, as I was driving around taking pictures of houses, I pulled up in front of one of the most beautiful houses in Baltimore and was hanging out of the car window pointing my camera at it. There was a car parked there, but I didn’t pay any attention to it until a man popped out and asked (nicely) what I was doing. I babbled on about how I loved the house, and I wrote a blog, blah blah blah. We started chatting and ended up exchanging business cards. Needless to say, I never got the picture of the house. house

Fast forward a few weeks and a lovely dinner invitation arrived from the charming man I’d met. I was so excited to see the house up close, and it was not a disappointment. One of the owners is an interior design professional at a very prestigious architectural firm and at one point, both of the owners sold antiques.

We were met on the terrace with the most beautiful cocktails… champagne, St. Germaine and a lavender liqueur in a gorgeous William Yeoward glass.

A tour of the house followed, and in each and every room, we gasped at the beauty of the one-of-a-kind pieces, the finishes and the artwork. I had looked at some of the “before” images from this house, and it’s like night and day what these friends have done with it. The architecture helps a lot, like this wonderful space at the landing between the first and second floors, but if you don’t have the vision and the right pieces, it falls flat, like in the before images.

There are all sorts of little nooks and spaces in this house that make it so special.

And then there was the dinner! OMG. We started with a silky Thai soup with gorgeous chicken, coconut milk, and just a hint of heat.

The main course was beautiful house-made pasta, with pancetta, fresh baby peas, cream and parmesan, along with the most delicious tenderloin, cooked on the grille.

Dessert was simply stunning. White chocolate bowls, brushed with milk chocolate, filled with a crème custard.

And the table had the most magnificent peonies from the garden. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such massive peonies.

Every aspect of the evening was such fun, from the company to the setting, to the food and the weather.

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Naturally, that all came crashing down around my ears when I returned home to find blood on the windowsills at the house. Connor must have been freaked out by something. blood

I was just sick about it, but I can’t find any rhyme or reason to when he panics.

My friend Andrea, who owns the great company, Bosom Buddy Bags that I wrote about a few weeks ago, sent me this picture. panicI’ve been helping Andrea set up a blog over the past week or so, and I’d love it if you wandered over there and gave her a little encouragement. She’s so creative and she has a bag for every occasion, including the Preakness!BBB

Andrea and I were doing a swap of services, my blog expertise for one of her bags, but when a friend arrived before the race needing a bag to go with her outfit, Andrea gave her the one I’d picked out. But she made me another one! BBB2How lucky am I? So go check out the Bosom Buddies Bags Blog, okay?

19 comments:

  1. Your friends' house is utterly gorgeous, and the champagne concotion looks divine, both because of the colour and the glass. Hope the dog is settling down. It must be a worry, as it seems to have happened a few times.

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    1. It is spectacular. And the cocktail was divine!

      I worry a lot about Connor because it happens at the most random times.

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  2. Lucky I'll say. That house is amazing ! as for the lavender drink. Poor Connor it's awful to think of your companion that upset.

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    1. The drink could not have been prettier!

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  3. Now I'm really pushing for some personal training for ole Connor. He's trying to tell you something. Call Caesar the Dog Whisperer, or someone professional who can help you get a handle on this.

    Re: this blog post - you had me at the kitchen floor!

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    1. Seriously, Marcheline.... i almost fainted when i saw that kitchen floor. i can't wait for the grand tour of the rest of the house!

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  4. why don't you install a camera to record what he does when you are gone. Can you record a cassette of you talking to him for an hour or so do you leave a radio on NPR so he has a voice to listen to while you are away? Have you discussed these issues with the vet?

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    1. I do keep NPR on for him, and thought that it helped. Now that it's getting worse, a vet's appt. is in the works.

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  5. What a wonderful house + the fact you were invited for dinner. You are indeed blessed. Poor baby Connor, I am sure you will figure out what is happening with him. I send you & him good energy!. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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    1. It was an incredible dinner and such fun hosts and new friends!

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  6. I think you need a pet sitter....cheaper than repeated vet visits, that's for sure. If I lived close I would stay with him...nothing like some peace and quiet and reading while enjoying the company of a sweet dog.

    Your unexpected dinner invitation was FABULOUS!!! Just proves that it NEVER hurts to be nice to people!!!

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    1. Vickie... i have a dog walker who comes in a few days a week to take connor for long walks. But i was so surprised that this happened when it did.

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  7. Hi,
    I have been thinking bout your sweet dog today. Have you thought about a Thundershirt for Connor. It is supposed to hug them and quiet them down. I have Facebook friends that have used it to really good results. Just a thought. I look forward to your blogs. They are always great............keep up the good work.

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    1. ann... one of the odd things about all of connor's antics is that it happens even on the clearest most beautiful day, not when you'd expect him to be stressed. but it's a great idea.

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  8. I work in a building behind my home so my dog Lucy is almost never left alone. But when I do leave her by herself she howls and cries but at least she's never hurt herself. There are separation anxiety meditations you can get. The vet suggested getting another dog for company and when we dog sit family members dogs it does make a difference. Have you talked to your vet about medication to calm him when you leave him? It may be he's just streesed about being alone.

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  9. It makes me heartsick that you go on these wonderful adventures, and then come home to Connor's worrying you to no end. It's as if he senses you're having fun and he's not. Mi wonder if he hears something, someone, going by, and it triggers some pre-Meg memory that sets him off? My greyhound is perfectly fine in the house, but absolutely is terrified when he has to go outside. Fearful doesn't begin to describe it, unless it's the middle of the night, no cars, no peile, and definitely no strollers. I hope the vet can help find an answer. The blood is far worse than the destroyed blinds, the thought of him on the roof(s), and the dread you must have felt. Go pour some Southsides and recover!

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  10. Hi Meg, I'm so sorry that Connor has these spells. Jones has separation anxiety, too. But not when I leave him home alone....rather when I leave him any where but his day care. I hope that he can" talk" it out with you. Mary

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  11. Meg, have you thought about meds? My vet once told me to give my dog dramamine chew tabs to reduce panic when driving. He eventually stopped needed them, as driving became a fun thing. When I began working night shift and needed to sleep during the day, I resorted to melatonin for both dog and myself after reading about it on the web. It helped him settle down, and eventually he stopped needing it. I also use a play pen, and a crate for safe dog areas that he knows are his space. Now my dog sometimes just goes to these spots on his own for peace and quiet...when its too warm to sit in a lap. I wouldn't do it without consulting a vet, but maybe he needs something to help him readjust to being alone for a while, before he gets really hurt. If not, then I think doggie day care may be the best option for you.

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  12. PS. The people you met seem to be both very kind and have exquisite taste. What a serendipitous meeting.

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