Monday, July 30, 2007



Every year, in a neighbor called Hampden, the Honfest is held. The honfest was started by a woman who established a business in this aree of Baltimore many years back. Upon finding old photos dating back to the 50's she decided to celebrate the blue-collar, tacky roots of this neighborhood. The Honfest was born.

The local citizens go all out for this 2 day event. Beehive hairdos are created. Housecoats, fuzzy slippers, curlers and flowered swim caps are the costume of choice.

There is even a "beauty" contest to choose Miss Honfest. The winner is chosen on her attire, singing and dancing abilities and mostly her attitude. Smacking chewing gum and smoking cigarettes are also necessary costume details.

Besides watching the beauty contest- one can go to the beehive tent and have one of those beautiful beehive hairdos created on the spot. The best hairdresser this year was the most beautiful creature with an amazingly high do, bright red lipstick, eyelashes out to here and wore, I think, a size 13 stilleto pump. He was gorgeous!

Enjoy these shots of Honfest 2007- taken by my friend Chuck Ritz.
And, next year, you better plan on coming to Balmer, Hon.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I have just completed my seventh week of riding lessons. Each week a new lesson is learned- not just about riding, or handling a horse- but about myself and my fears.

These are the most beautiful creatures on the face of the earth. Not only beautiful, but also intelligent, friendly, loving and proud. They still often scare the hell out of me. But, mostly I scare the hell out of myself.

In 7 weeks I have gone from being deathly afraid of getting near them (let alone getting up on top of one) to being still somewhat afraid- but becoming more trustful towards them and even more trustful of myself in handling them. And, most of all falling in love with each and every one of them.

The lessons have not been easy; And yet, I learn a brand new one every time I step foot into one of their stalls. Mostly I have learned that I need to be the one in control and to make them WANT to do what I ask, need,and am required to make them do.
I have also learned to try to show no fear or even apprehension. It is amazing how they pick up on that.

My worst experience was with a horse named Moon. Week three of my lesson I was assigned Moon- first time riding him. He was on the small side, seemed rather gentle, beautiful eyes with a pale-almost white- coloring. Since I was totally inept at tacking him a young staff member helped me with his bridle. I then led him out to the training ring and proceeded to mount him. He was very cooperative and quiet. That is up until the lesson actually began.

I am in a class with 4 other riders- all more experienced than myself by 3-6 months. We begin by walking the horses single file around the perimiter of the ring, work our way into a trot and begin our posting trot.(for those of you who do not ride- a posting trot is when you stand up and sit back down in the saddle in conjuction with the horse's rhythm.) This is where my trouble began.

Moon had a mind of his own- not only would he not even trot, he had no intention of staying in single file. Rather than follow the other horses, he chose to constantly cut across the ring, drop his head, or stand completely still while periodically twisting his head back to try to kick my feet out of the stirrups. That horse did not want this rider on his back.
Of course, I realize that most of the problem WAS the rider, not the horse. He just did not know what I wanted him to do. My kicks were weak, my signals were wishywashy and my fear was increasing. At one point my instructor, Ryan, handed me a crop and insisted that I use it to get Moon to move. All this to no avail. We were just not bonding.

In my frustration I asked for, no begged for, another horse. It was not to be. I was to struggle through this hour with this beast. Needless to say, by the time I slid down off of him I could not wait to be rid of him.

The following week- driving to my lesson- the thought occurred to me that Ryan would again assign me Moon. (In general he puts us on different horses each time). And, much to my dismay, there we were again- Moon and I face to face.

Actually, not face to face at first. As soon as I stepped into his stall he takes one look at me and turns his back. He completely turns around and sticks his head into the back corner. So there I am, bridle in hand, facing the wrong end of a horse. All of my efforts in turning him around were to no avail. He was not happy to see me. Once again a staff member helps me get him situated (I think this girl was only about 12, geesh!).

I led Moon back out the ring all the while throwing the nastiest looks that I can muster towards Ryan. He knew I was NOT happy.
Moon and I begin, again, our dance of power. Me, struggling to keep his head up, keep in single file, trot, post, change direction and not fall off- all at the same time, while Moon fights my every move. More frustration on my part. But, 1/2 way through the class something seems to change. My frustration turns to determination and Moon suddenly begins to relent. Am I winning? Is he just teasing me? What?

We end the lesson with a better understanding of each other, I think. I am learning the very hard lesson of becoming the one in control. Being sure of my abilities and not being afraid of trying to take the lead. Life lessons?

I could not stay angry at Ryan for putting me through that. For, If I were him, I would have done EXACTLY the same thing with one of my students. And, he explained that I will have advanced several lessons worth with those 2 lessons- because of all that I had to deal with. And he was right. My confidence is increasing, I can now step into a stall, make a horse stop eating and get the bridle on him with no problem. I am finally the one in control.

The last 2 lessons I have had Valentine. A magnificent horse- an ex racehorse and the largest one in the stable. He's huge. He likes me- he listens! It's wonderful. He knows when I want him to trot, halt, turn, speed up, slow down. And for that he gets carrots and peppermints.
Maybe I'm not so wishywashy after all.

Life lessons indeed.

And here is Moon, standing still for a different rider!

There is nothing wrong with being afraid---but there is nothing more wrong than allowing that to be your master.
Bobby Darin

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Intoxicating Garden

Is it your face
that adorns the garden?

Is it your fragrance
that intoxicates this garden?

Is it your spirit
that has made this brook
a river of wine?

Hundreds have looked for you
and died searching
in this garden
where you hide behind the scenes.

But this pain is not for those
who come as lovers.

You are easy to find here.

You are in the breeze
and in this river of wine.

What is blooming in this garden of mine? Not too much- but I managed to catch a few blooms before they wither in this heat and dryness.
And here is Kayla- your tour guide as we begin on the back steps.

We begin with a few of our deck plantings.

Palest blush and softest petals.

Blowsy, voluptuos hydrangea. Pink AND blue on the same shrub- gotta love that!

Lythrum and gooseneck veronica- wild and all over the place- like me, I guess!

Scrubby, shrubby roses

And, probably my least favorite flower-Daylilies- don't ask me why, I don't know.

And my awesome Mother's Day gift- a pineapple plant.

And, as I was doing this post, I saw these out of the corner of my eye outside of my office window.

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful. ~Abram L. Urban

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Today's Photo Hunters theme is Shadow(s).

This photo was taken in April in Savannah, Ga. I love the shadow that the iron makes on the concrete steps. The ironwork in that city is AMAZING.

I was a bit depressed with this theme today, however. I had taken gorgeous shots of shadows while in Charleston this spring. I particularly remember a gorgeous salmon-colored house with the shadow of a nearby tree falling squarely on the facade. It was a spectacular photo. I, being so STUPID, deleted it from the camera before putting it on my computer. I had thought I had copied all of the photos from the camera. When, in fact, I only copied the crappy ones. WAAAAHHHH!!!!

So, you're stuck with an o.k. photo of shadows, rather than a spectacular one.

Time to go back to Charleston, I guess.

"The light of lights looks always on the motive, not the deed, the shadow of shadows on the deed alone."
William Butler Yeats

Thursday, July 12, 2007


You Are a Visionary Soul

You are a curious person, always in a state of awareness.

Connected to all things spiritual, you are very connected to your soul.

You are wise and bright: able to reason and be reasonable.

Occasionally, you get quite depressed and have dark feelings.

You have great vision and can be very insightful.

In fact, you are often profound in a way that surprises yourself.

Visionary souls like you can be the best type of friend.

You are intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, and a good healer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Old Soul and Peacemaker Soul

I saw this on Mike's blog.

I loved reading what kind of soul he had- turns out I was the same one. NICE!

“Oh soul,
you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.”


To have someone see my truest and deepest self- my soul- would be all the bliss that is needed in this lifetime.

Monday, July 09, 2007




"No man can be condemned for owning a dog. As long as he has a dog, he has a friend; and the poorer he gets, the better friend he has." - Will Rogers

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Trompe L'oeil

Today's Photohunter's theme is FAKE as presented by TNCHICK

The following are a couple of shots of the painting in my kitchen. These are meant to look like ceramic tile- when, in fact, they have been painted.

The large motif over the sink is a copy of a pattern common on hand-painted Italian ceramic, specifically from the town of Deruta (which is famous for it's ceramic workshops). You will notice on the back left edge of the sink a small vase with the same pattern painted on it.

My aunt and uncle own one of these workshops- therefore, I have many of these pieces

Trompe L'oeil- Fool the Eye

Wednesday, July 04, 2007



From my house to yours.... and since nothing is really blooming in my garden, here's a shot of my front stoop flower pots.

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!
Daniel Webster

Monday, July 02, 2007


This past Sunday we were invited to a FOURTH OF JULY PARTY ON THE FIRST at my bosses home. She has a lovely farm where she boards several (count that 17) horses. Every year she hosts a party for the fourth of july. This year she chose to host it on July 1st- being on the weekend.
She sets up croquet and bocce ball for all to enjoy while having cocktails.

I had the pleasure of playing with Julian Stein. A more charming man I have never met. I actually met him one other time at a dinner party at my boss's home.

Julian is 80 years old and the cousin of Gertrude Stein, American poet and writer.
At the dinner party he regaled us all with stories of his dear older cousin. Recalling times when she and Alice B. Toklas (Gertrude's lover) would pop in and turn their household upside down. For those of you who don't know- Alice was a world-class cook AND, most importantly, known for including a cannibas brownie recipe in her cookbook.

Gertrude and Alice at St. Marks in Venice

Here, I have chosen to include her brownie recipe, should you be inclined to try them

"Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander. These should all be pulverized in a mortar. About a handful each of stone dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of canibus sativa can be pulverized. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient. Obtaining the canibus may present certain difficulties.... It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green."

At the time of her parent's death Gertrude, along with two of her siblings, lived with her aunt and uncle in Baltimore. She then made her way to Paris, where she kept company with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Henri Matisse and Ezra Pound.... Oh, to be living in Paris in the 20's...sigh!

Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso

Julian is dating a beautiful and charming woman 20-some years his junior. Some have called her a gold-digger-(He does take her on extended vacations to Mexico, Paris, Spain and even Maine). I, too, would date this man! He has more vibrancy and joie de vivre than most men I have ever met. So, he's 80- who cares!

And besides- he let me win at Bocce.

We are always the same age inside.
Gertrude Stein