Mrs. Livings Goes To Baltimore

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About a month ago, I received an e-mail from a dear old friend, my friend B., ...someone whom I had first met, then shared an intense and special connection and friendship with, in college, (here's an old photo of us together taken in college) and with whom I have stayed in touch over the years, though geography has long separated, asking if I would be the wedding photographer for he and his partner's May wedding in Baltimore.

I was nervous upon reading the e-mail, both at the idea of being away from my family, and also for though I have been doing fine art black and white photography since I was in my teens, I am not a wedding photographer per se.  So I asked Mr. Livings, and my dear friend, A., what they thought I should do, and they both enthusiastically told me that I had to do it as I have an incredibly beautiful eye, they said, and no one could do it better. A. told me that if she was getting married, she would, without a doubt, want me to take her wedding photographs. So I wrote B. back and told him, yes, I would be so honored to be their wedding photographer. And shortly after that, I was off on my adventure...

Mr. Livings dropped me off at the airport for my early morning flight to Baltimore. I boarded the plane, and watched the sun rise as we ascended into the clouds...

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As I flew across the country, I gazed out the window and marveled at the beauty from above...the way the clouds looked...and everything...the light...the landscapes below...the patterns - it was amazing. "I am in the sky," I kept thinking to myself in wonder..."in the sky above the clouds in this machine hurtling forward." I couldn't get over how incredible it all was. I hadn't flown in seven years, and new was everything to me...

After the plane touched down safely, I found myself in a city I had never been before...the wonderful city of Baltimore...

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First thing upon my arrival, I met up with my friend B., who I had not seen, I realized then, for about six years, and explored the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore with he, his partner, and his family visiting from out of town for the wedding...

...and got to eat at my friends' favorite restaurant in the city, where I had the most incredible black bean veggie burger, served with garlic fries, that I have ever had in my life...

After eating, we then all poked around the neighborhood some more, before heading to B. and G.'s house where I was staying the night...

...where I met their two sweet and oh so adorable cats, who both slept with me that night...snuggled up beside me. It was so very sweet...and peaceful feeling...feeling their hearts beside me beat...and their soft breathing...

The next day, B., G., and I met up with more friends of theirs at a neat hotel (with such a neat mirror in its lobby - I love that picture of me above that I took) where their friends were staying...and together we all explored more of the city..

I got to attend Baltimore's annual Flowermart, an annual event that was happening that weekend...

...and also got to see the incredible Peabody Library...

...before taking this neat picture of B. with his friends, reflected in another of his friend's sunglasses...

We then all headed to Baltimore's famous annual Kinetic Sculpture Race, an event that was so incredibly fun to attend, and also very lively. I had such a marvelous time there - we all did - watching all of the incredible kinetic sculptures race...and their comings and goings out of the water before and after. It was one of those moments of life that you know as you are in it, is very special...one of those moments you know you will always remember...It was really, really fun...and REALLY neat...

...We all were smiling so...

After it was over, I headed back with B. to their house to prepare for a night-before-the-wedding party they were hosting for out-of-town guests at their house that evening.  They asked me if I would do the floral design for the wedding bouquets, for they said I had an artistic eye, and I said yes. I had never done any flower arranging before, beyond for my own pleasure...cutting and arranging things from my garden...and of course love to garden and pot flowers so much (like in this post that was featured years ago by Horticulture Magazine)...and I really enjoyed making the arrangements - it was very sculptural...and also very fun to do as well...

After finishing the flowers, I went inside where B.'s grandma was busy in the kitchen preparing a special cheese and cracker plate for the party with a special cheese she had brought especially for the occasion from a place near where she lives. I watched as she sliced and arranged the cheese with such care and love...And also watched the cats watching her cut the cheese...

It was so cute and fun to watch them watching...Look at him licking his lips!

Next up that evening then was the party at their house. It was a fun evening with games (the top picture is B. throwing a bean-bag kind of thing into holes with one of his friend's young kids), as well as a wonderful buffet, cocktails, and a wine brought especially from the region where B.'s parents are from...It was such a lovely evening...

The next morning, after coffee, I enjoyed soup and bread with B. and G. at Atwater's, the place they frequent every Sunday for soup and bread...It was delicious, and meaningful to be able to participate in their weekly tradition with them...

Next up, I got to explore The Walters Art Museum, an absolutely incredible art museum, with an incredible collection of art and artifacts, made by humans from throughout the ages and across the globe. I had such a wonderful time walking around and looking at everything. Here are a few of the wonderful things I did see:

They even had a couple of the Fayum portraits I knew Mr. Livings would have enjoyed seeing...

My favorite room was the "17th Century Flemish Collection of Art and Wonder" room. I was in wonder at all the wonders in this room.

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Later on, in another area of the museum, I also marveled at the light through stained glass...

...And just as I was leaving to head to the wedding to do the wedding photography, I saw a room where they do all their art restoration, which was really neat to see...as was everything I had seen...It was just such a very special art museum...a very special place...(and to the public absolutely free - amazing!) and I felt so lucky that I got to be there...that all those amazing works of art I got to see...It was just...wonderful...

After exploring The Walters Art Museum, I headed to the American Visionary Art Museum where the wedding was being held...And though I am not including the wedding photos I took of they, for those are theirs to share with who they may, I am sharing a few photos I took of the incredible setting there...for the American Visionary Art Museum was really cool...really fun...and really neat...

They had so many neat sculptures outside of the art museum, like all the ones above...

Then, upon entering the American Visionary Art Museum, I looked down and saw these toothbrush mosaics beneath my feet...

I then explored the museum's gift shop, where I got B. and G. a neat postcard of the Love sculpture outside the museum that lights up at night...and got myself a t-shirt as a souvenir of my trip...

Then I walked around looking at more things, before the wedding began. Even the bathroom inside the art museum was really neat...there was a fun-house mirror right outside it...And also lots of other little details around the museum that were really wonderful...

I was happy to see that in the museum's Pez collection, they had one of the highly collectible and very rare Mrs. Livings Pez dispensers...

They also had a wonderful miniature carousel, that I found so magical and lovely...And also lots of other things to see...

The wedding of my two dear friends was absolutely wonderful...and very moving...and so very, very special, and with the wedding photos I took I was very pleased. The reception was then held in Mr. Rain's Fun House, a wonderful space within the art museum...where there was incredible food...(here are a few pictures I took of some of the appetizers)...

...that the guests enjoyed...

...as well as incredible cocktails of unusual flavors and varieties (here is a picture of me and B. enjoying ours later on in the evening)...

There were also delicious cupcakes for the wedding cake, arranged beautifully, and of three flavors: chocolate kahlua, carrot cake, and lemon blueberry. I had the lemon blueberry. (It was so good!)

After the wedding festivities, B. and G. went back to the hotel where they were spending their wedding night, and I went back to their house, where I spent the night and the next morning with their sweet cats, who again slept in the bed with me...

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My last morning in Baltimore, I awoke with the cats...and gave them an early breakfast...before reading The New York Times while drinking coffee...and taking more pictures of their cats being sweet...

I also took a series of photographs of the cats with the Love postcard I had bought at the American Visionary Art Museum for B. and G., and also set my camera on a timer, and took a picture of the three of us with the Love postcard as well...

Afterwards, I stopped to admired a little sculpture that was on display in their house that I had made many years ago of myself when Mr. Livings and I were living in Vermont, (with the figure of me watering kitchen herbs) that I had mailed to my friends and hadn't seen in all these years since...It was really neat to see it again...And a very good likeness of me...

Then it was time to go and say goodbye...Here's a picture of G. waving to me as B. and I drove away. Before heading to the airport, we briefly stopped at the harbor to walk around and look at things...such as an art gallery where everything on exhibit was made of found objects and blown glass...

...such as this mirror...

...before B. and I then walked beside the water at the wharf...

...before B. then dropped me off at the airport and we said our goodbyes...and I flew back home...

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...to Mr. Livings who at the airport met me...

...It was so wonderful to see him. It was the first time we had ever been apart a single night since we met, and it was also the first solo journey of my entire adult life. (Everyone should have at least one, I think). And while I had been having this wonderful time (though, of course, missing my family) seeing friends and a neat new city and eating wonderful things, Mr. Livings had been suffering from insomnia and had not been able to sleep a wink.  He couldn't sleep without me lying beside him, and looked unbelievably exhausted when he picked me up, but was also so very happy to see me.  Let's just say, when we got home, he fell asleep immediately, and slept a great deal the next few days...

...while I began working on the wedding photos...and also the photos from the entire weekend of festivities. Beyond sending them all the photos of the wedding and weekend I had taken for them, I also made them a couple of slideshows they could see before they received the actual pictures in the mail, and at the end of one of the slideshows, I included photos of one of their cats with the Love postcard I had bought for them. I also included a photo (as seen below) I had taken, right before I left their house for the last time, of the cats sitting together beside the love postcard, with a congratulations sign I had put up above them, and them both wearing the little cat bow-ties they had been given for the wedding as a special gift.

I ended the slideshow, as I now end this, with the pictures of they with the love postcard...because love was the reason for the trip...As it is, too, the reason of reasons...the greatest of all reasons...the reason, in my opinion, for just about everything...(everything that means at least)...
  
Thus was my journey to Baltimore...