Friday, April 20, 2007

Charm City

Thinking with the best of themInspired by Rodin's
"The Thinker", I've been doing a lot of thinking this week. Well trying to at least. That's one of the reasons I am taking next year off from teaching. Right now the life I lead leaves me no time to think. And I used to love doing it. You know, the quiet, deep-thoughts, planning time, musing on what you've read, day-dreaming, contemplating life kind of thinking.

Of course I do think ~ all the time in fact. But it's always thinking about class prep, travel, which thing to do when to increase my multi-tasking productivity. Thinking, with a capital T cannot be done while multi-tasking.

sometimes we feel like newlywedsSpeaking of thinking, my husband dreamed up the ideal day for us to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. He has recently been doing a lot of appraisals in Baltimore, about an hours drive north. In between appointments he noses around and then comes home and tells me about his day. My remark is often, "I'd love to do that." So last weekend while I was teaching in Chicago, he told me he had the day all planned out for us. Now this was really a first, he planned the day, not me. The planning was the best gift, whether we ended up going or not. Knowing that he planned this day for me, for us, made my heart sing. After doing 2 appraisals, we went to lunch at Gertrude's, a restaurant in the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). Just looking at the menu gave me chills of delight. Lunch was followed by a quick stroll through the museum because I was eager to move on to the highlight of the day ~ visiting two cemeteries. Yes, cemeteries. Cemeteries filled with angels, the statuary kind (and possibly a few ethereal ones). I'll save the angels and the photos I took for another post because I want to give you the highlights of the first half of the outing.

quilt inspirationOne one of the things Buddy wanted to share with me from his previous BMA outing were the 5th century Antioch Mosaics from southern Turkey. They graced the very ground they walked on before the city was destroyed by earthquakes in 526-28 AD. ancient birdThey are in almost perfect condition. I have saturated the colors in this photo so they appear as new, but all of the mosaics still retain remarkably good color as this little birdie shows.

rustd fabricAlso on exhibit in the textile gallery were Japanese fabrics from the NUNO Corporation, "one of Japan’s most influential and innovative textile producers. NUNO fabrics are known for the unconventional materials and processes used in their creation, linking traditional textile techniques with state-of-the art manufacturing technologies." Being familiar with nuno felt, I now know that nuno means fabric in Japanese. Here is an example of a beautiful rusted fabric on display. They use the same method we quilters do - mixing fabric with vinegar, nails, manhole covers, barbed wire etc - anything that will rust.

Patterson Park Pagoda, Baltimoe MDThis Baltimore day began at Patterson Park, where Buddy once climbed to the top of this pagoda. Unfortunately for me it is only open on Sunday and it was Wednesday. The park is situated on one of the high points of the city, so the panoramic views were still pretty amazing even if I wasn't standing at the top of the pagoda. "On Hampstead Hill, the ridge where the Pagoda now stands, Baltimoreans rallied on September 12, 1814 to protect the city from the threat of a British invasion. Urban myth suggests that from this vantage point the glow from the fire at the Capitol and the White House could be seen as the opposition marched through the nation’s capital." (That must have been a pretty big fire!) "Built in 1892, the octagonal, sixty foot high, four-story observation tower was known as the Pagoda because of its oriental architectural appearance. But the design was intended to reflect the bold Victorian style of the day."

Patterson Park fountainAs I sit writing this today, it is warm and sunny here in DC. Wednesday was a cold, windy and very cloudy day in Charm City. I always thought Baltimore's nickname went waaaay back, but the phrase "Charm City" first appeared in 1975 in a series of advertisements in the Baltimore Evening Sun. The ads were designed to inspire Baltimore residents to visit attractions normally frequented by tourists. Advertising executives may have thought the nickname up, but it has stuck. And on this day, the city (and a certain someone) was certainly charming me.


idolatrieartist said...

You make Baltimore look beautiful on a cold April day! Now I yearn to get to the museums...

Thinking of you...
j a n e

(*your husband is a charming!)

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

Ahhh.. the PERFECT Day...

Happy Anniversary!

Julie H said...

What a beautiful post Leslie - I was there with you. I was just wondering today abou your year off teaching - and hoping your health was ok, now I read that you are caring for your health. Wonderful.

Happy Anniversary

Pattie Mosca said...

Happy Anniversary Lesley...Next time I am in Baltimore I am going to have my friends take me to the park on a Sunday!! It looks beautiful as do the pictures...May this year of wedding bliss bring your hearts entwined even more. I just celebrated my 22nd year on the 13th of the month...

BobbiMastrangelo said...

Dear Leslie,
I enjoyed your Baltimore Museum and City Visit.
Baltimore Public Works Museum owns a good deal of my unusual art based on manhole covers. In 1996 they gave me a one woman show for the whole year.
You can still see some of my art on display near the gift shop.
Check out my web site:
An enjoy your Anniversary coming up in April.
Bobbi Mastrangelo