I used to live and work in downtown Baltimore and had occasion to visit the Inner Harbor many times. Now that we live in the suburbs and have lived overseas for 11 of the last 18 years, I rarely pay a visit to the city’s top tourist destination. But recently, in anticipation and preparation for a day trip to Baltimore by a friend from Tokyo, I revisited the Harbor and other attractions. It was great to be in my old stomping grounds…even though so much has changed over the years. I enjoyed perfect weather during the day I scouted out attractions for my friend from Japan giving me a chance to enjoy some of Baltimore’s delights.
In my own personal bid for tolerance and peacemaking, I decided to celebrate Easter this year by serving Passover foods. Really, though, while I do uphold those lofty ideals, the real reason behind my unorthdox orthodox meal plan was because I love cooking with matzoh! (after all, this is my second post in a row featuring a photo of matzo ball soup.) This morning, I prepared matzoh brei for breakfast — yum! I’ve already plans for a different version for next Sunday morning. Was I stretching the rules a bit by counting my Negroni cocktail as the bitter herb course? After all, the key ingredient is Campari, which is a bitter apéritif made from herbs and fruit. The opening course for Easter dinner was homemade matzoh ball soup. Main course, which I believe would be Seder-acceptable, was chile-braised beef short ribs with potatoes and carrots. Side dish was roasted asparagus. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I drank at least four cups of wine! We broke all the rules, however, with my sister JoAnn’s luscious dessert: pineapple upside down cake.
Every once in a while, Brad and I like to shoot up to NYC, an easy 3-hour trip from the Baltimore area via train or bus. We didn’t realize it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend till we’d made the hotel reservations. Neither of us are crowd lovers and I don’t enjoy parades that much as I’m too short to see anything unless I’m right in front. We found plenty of other things to occupy ourselves with. Ate several delicious meals. Saw some great sights. Endured wicked cold temps and strong winds. In short, we had a blast.
One of the highlights of the weekend for me was a visit to Jane’s carousel, a vintage carousel recently installed in Brooklyn just steps away from the Bridge. What makes it so special is that the carousel originally stood in Idora Park, Youngstown, Ohio, and holds a firm place in Brad’s childhood memories.
Riding the carousel was almost as fun as walking back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge.
More pictures from this visit can be found on my flickr photostream.
Last Saturday was the 204th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth. The master of the macabre was honored with a birthday celebration held at Westminster Hall in downtown Baltimore, adjacent to Poe’s burial site.
Brad, JoAnn and I attended the Poe Birthday Bash. I had an extra incentive. In a run-up to the event, the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum held a series of photo caption contests on their facebook page and I won one of the contests. As a prize winner, I was eligible for the grand prize to be awarded on the night of the Bash.
Well, truthfully, that was not the real reason I attended. The evening promised recitations of works by Poe, a display of rare Poe artifacts, a free tour of Westminster Hall and the catacombs beneath the church, a book signing by the author of a new series of Poe-inspired novels, door prizes galore, and an advanced screening of the pilot of a new TV show, The Following, starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy. And each attendee received a red rose for placement on Poe’s tomb in the tradition of the Poe Toaster.
It was a fun evening out. I didn’t win the grand prize but JoAnn and I each won one of the door prizes. I won a poster of The Following autographed by all cast members. JoAnn won the Poe birthday cake, decorated with a photo of the Poe House on Amity Street in Baltimore and three red roses in tribute to the Poe Toaster. I gave the poster to JoAnn who has an impressive collection of celebrity autographs. We split the cake. How sweet it was!
We woke to fog this morning. As I stood at the kitchen window doing the dishes, I watched the birds at the feeder in the morning gloom. I heard on the radio that some schools would be opening two hours late. I thought I heard a weather forecaster predict that the fog would burn off by midmorning. The fog persisted throughout the day and into evening. I took a walk in the afternoon past some nearby fields shrouded in the mist. It reminded me of winter in Yorkshire.
Years ago I taped a bunch of Christmas songs being aired on WHFS curated by the DJ known as Weasel. This was when ‘HFS was a cool alternative rock station. Every year at Christmastime I listened to that tape. The odd quirky songs in the Christmas mix became my own private tradition. When I got married my husband became (unwillingly?) admitted into that tradition.
Nowadays, we don’t own a tape player so I can no longer listen to my funky Christmas mix. Then I discovered Soma FM, an internet radio station that airs several different streams of music. Lately, I’ve been listening to one of those streams, Christmas Rocks, and I’ve heard just about every song on my old Christmas mix. All but one.
Surely one of the oddest Christmas songs ever to be recorded, I’m quite fond of “I Won’t Be Twisting This Christmas” by Father Guido Sarducci. It’s also one of the most elusive. You won’t find it on YouTube. Searches on Pandora, blip.fm and Last.fm come up blank. Ahhh, but I was able to purchase it on iTunes for a mere 99¢.
Thought I’d share it with you here. For me, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without this song.