April 27, 2017

"What Fresh Hell Is This?"

The title is one of my favourite quotes from the late, great writer and poet, Dorothy Parker. As part of my #ThisIsBaltimore2017 quest, I decided to go find her grave. And yes, she is interred here in Baltimore!

In her will, she specified that her ashes, and her estate be given to Martin Luther Kings, and if he was deceased, to the NAACP, which is headquartered here in Baltimore. Lillian Hellman was the executor of her estate, and thought that Dorothy should have left her literary rights to her, and so after Parker's death, she really held up publishing permissions. 

And the ashes remained in a drawer of a filing cabinet for 15 years after Parker's death. A small site in the back of the HQ building was cleared and a circle of bricks and stones was laid, in homage to the famed Algonquin Roundtable. 

I knew some of this, so decided to go find the grave. I was very disappointed to find it in the back of the building, with broken cement benches scattered around, a tipped over plant laying on top of the plaque and the whole site in general disrepair. If I had a broom with me, I would have cleaned it up a bit, but alas...

The NAACP is her literary agent, and I am sure they get a significant sum from acting as such. The least they could do is care for Dorothy Parker's final resting place. 

April 18, 2017

Spring in the City

So sorry for the lack of recent posts. I am still having problems with the platform I use to post, and I absolutely hate posting through the blogger platform because it doesn't format correctly! Ugh.

Anyway... spring has finally arrived in Baltimore, better late than never. And it's simply glorious here. It's hard to see, but the hedge in front of the carriage house is all lilacs! 
Figue and I took a walk with our friends MacKenzie and Andrea through the gorgeous Sherwood Gardens, one of Baltimore's most beautiful public spaces. Andrea tried to bribe Figue to stop barking with a treat...

The tulips at Sherwood Gardens are at their peak this week, aided by 80* temperatures on Easter. 

And the gardens are surrounded by some of the most beautiful and elegant houses in Baltimore, so a walk through the area yields some great architectural treats.

In addition to seeing flowers in public spaces, I've been lucky enough to get some spring flowers for my house. My neighbours have two camellias and told me to help myself to some of them. I was sure I was being greedy taking four of them, but they assured me I wasn't!

And then the gal who helps me with my sewing told me to cut some of the lilacs in her front yard. So I did! These are the deepest purple, rather than the paler purple that you see more often. 

Last week, fellow blogger, The Devoted Classicist was in Baltimore to give a lecture at the esteemed Evergreen House. Last month's lecture took place a day after a snowstorm, but spring is in full effect now. 

One of the things I adore about this time of year is the soft light, and the soft evening air. I took this just before the lecture, and think this is emblematic of a spring evening in Baltimore. 

I am so glad spring is here and hope that it doesn't get too hot too quickly!

April 3, 2017

Off to the Races

Ever since I was a child, I've been attending the steeplechase horse races just north of Baltimore. They take place in the spring and fall, and this past weekend was the beginning of the 2017 series of spring races. I was lucky enough to be given a pass for the races, and especially lucky, since it was on Founders Hill, with a great view of the finish line. 

Although the day was overcast, and we'd had more than an inch of rain the day before, the field was perfect for the horses - very soft, with a lot of fresh grass. 

A few local friends, as well as friends visiting from Atlanta, joined me for the races, and soon more friends found us, and we joined forces and food to have a great afternoon.

First up are the pony races with the kids on board. They are lead around the course, complete with jumps, by a field master, and then at the last straight-away to the finish line, they're cut loose to go as fast as they can. It's such fun to see the traditions continue with the younger generations.
You can just glimpse me and my handsome date, just between the two jockeys, who are about 14 years old!

Because it wasn't sunny and warm, only the most die-hard race fans came out to watch, and almost everyone was wearing a version of the same thing: corduroys, sweaters, down or wool vests, barn coats or Barbour jackets and a hat!

We packed a picnic of fried chicken, crudite and some other things, but decided not to day drink as we were headed to a cocktail party after the races. But our friends brought some booze, so we indulged.

The spring card of races continues for the next four Saturdays, and tickets, which are required, can be purchased through the Maryland Steeplechase Association

My great thanks to Mike Wharton who did an exemplary job organizing the races for the Green Spring Point-to-Point, and for including me in the day!