your moment of zen

You all know how rad I think the Patterson Park Boat Lake is as a place to reflect and take a moment to get back in touch with nature. So what better way to unwind after THE busiest weekend of work and festival-ing than taking a loaf of (somewhat moldy) bread to the lake with N yesterday? The sun was slowly receding toward the horizon, but still emanating plenty of warmth on a beautiful fall afternoon.

Snagged my camera as I headed out the door so that I could capture a few shots as well as a video to help all you lovely people out on this dreary day - surely you'll find yourself smiling after a few seconds of duck-frenzy-feeding and looking at a gorgeous gorgeous sky over our lovely lake:

And if the photos are not enough...

love k

people on parade!

Right as BARCStobefest was wrapping up, The Great Halloween Lantern Parade was kicking off! Also rescheduled due to rain, the Parade expanded to an afternoon-long affair this year, with a Magic Hat beer garden, lots of venders, street performers and food to get the crowd fired up for the post-sundown Parade. And what a sundown it was:

As the stilt-walkers and other crazy parade performers lined up, I snapped a few shots with that crazy sky behind:

There was Patterson Park pride with the neighborhood crew - check out these lanterns!

Finally, with a roll of drums and matches flaring, the parade was under way! We staked out a spot about half way around the Parade route and watched as the caterpillar of paraders headed toward us:

Hundreds and hundreds of paraders marched by, accompanied by drum bands and cheers. With fantastic lanterns showcasing amateur and professional artistic abilities all around, it was a true celebration of local creativity. Here's another video, just for good measure (and because I just figured out how to add them!)

What a great Parade, and so befitting for the Great Halloween Lantern Parade's TENTH anniversary! Congrats to the Creative Alliance for another successful year. And, once again, thank you to all those who came to my benefit to help make this event possible.

love k

dogs on parade

BARCS annual fund raising festival, BARCStoberfest,  was rescheduled for Sunday after being rained out two weeks ago, and boy did they luck out this time! Abundant sunshine, changing leaves, and warm weather made this a really fantastic day to "Strut Your Mutt." With vendors galore, doggy contests, and pets ready for adoption, it was a day all about dogs (and some cats!).

A coworker and I had a booth for our company and had the fortune of being right in the middle of things with a great vantage point for watching the contests and all the passing pooches. Here are a few photos from the day:

Our table had a bounty of furry-friend goodies!

Ravens' Cheer-dog - gotta love it :)

Remember that dog I found in the Park and returned? We had a reunion at the fest'!

The Mayor gave a great speech!

I'd like to take this opportunity to encourage people to consider adopting from BARCS or a similar local organization - our city is overwhelmed by homeless dogs brought to the shelter by those who find them or those who can no longer keep them. With today's housing crisis still a bleak reality for many, animals are being forfeited to shelters at alarming rates as owners lose their homes or are no longer able to care for their pets. Please take a moment to see if your heart and home have room for one more. Adopting an animal is rewarding and heart warming... just look at this face - how could I say no??

love k

benefit bonanza

OH what a party it was! Friday night saw the culmination of two months of hard work for me, with my Masquerade Benefit taking place and raising about $1000 for the Creative Alliance! With cocktails, nibbles and masks galore, neighbors and friends celebrated until three in the morning.

Rather than prattle on, I think you'd all prefer a few pictures instead?

A HUGE thank you to everyone who came and donated so generously! 
love k

trains, planes and automobiles

Last week, seven of us patterson parkers headed to Milwaukee for the annual NeighborWorks Community Leadership Institute conference, paid for by Banner Neighborhoods (thanks Eric!). Four of us took the train to Chicago - a 17 hour trip in and of itself - to take in the countryside and remind ourselves just how darn HUGE and varied our country is.

The conference was fantastic, with workshops, fieldtrips, lectures and action planning. All in all, it taught us all new skills for community organizing and development as well as presented us with different viewpoints and challenges that communities across the nation are facing. It was so inspiring to hear about all the fantastic efforts by volunteers and individuals in hundreds of neighborhoods in America. Take Enderis Park, a neighborhood of 1200 households, that raised over $50,000 in a few years to help revitalize their park, with home tours and other simple endeavors.

Having completed the CLI's conference, our team is now able to earn a grant of $2,000 to help our neighborhood's ongoing efforts to continue growing in a positive direction. As of now, we will be applying for the funds to help us positively market our neighborhood, build a snazzy website, and enhance our home tour (the Enderis Park home tour brought in over $15,000 in three years! Wow!).

Of course we had some fun, too, with a train ride, a day in chicago, 4 days in Milwaukee:


Aaand I had to include the Victoria's Secret Runway wings portraits..

Funny how I'm making the same face in all three of these...I was just that excited!

The most important thing I took away from the conference was that we each do make a differece, that it is the accumulation of minor acts that bring us together in relationships of respect, reciprocity and trust. We can never see any act of kindness as too small, or any gesture of empathy as insignificant.

It all adds up to make our community, our neighborhood, our nation and our world a better place to live.

love k

the doggy bloggy (aka puppy meets his twin)

Oooooh what a day! As many of you probably saw on facebook and the yahoo group, I found a dog while stopping by home to take my dog (and yes, Puppy is his name) out for a quick walk, as I wouldn't be home from work til closer to 7. Long story short, I found a dog running wildly across the street and in to Patterson Park. But not just any dog - it was Puppy's TWIN in every way except being white instead of black...and painted teal toenails. They were instant friends, but I refused to even entertain the thought of keeping him - Puppy came to me in exactly the same way, so the odds were against me on that one.

So after checking with local vets, having him scanned for a chip, and following up a few local leads, I began the good ol' fashioned task of fliering the neighborhood and asking everyone I passed whether or not the dog was familiar. All to no avail. Somewhere along the way I passed a police officer waiting at a traffic light and gave him one as well, despite my friend's scoffing that it was a waste of a flier - what does a Baltimore City patrol officer care about an 11 pound lost poodle?

Within an hour I had a phone call from another officer inquiring about the dog and confirming that it was the same dog lost by the individual with whom he was currently meeting! Within half an hour the dog and I were in a cruiser heading 12 blocks NE to the owner (side note: by this time I'd named the dog Falcor after the flying dog-beast in The Never Ending Story - clearly my attachment level was reaching dangerous levels already!).

Nothing warms your heart like dog and owner literally writhing with happiness as they reunite - truly. After hugs and cheers all around, the owner and I agreed to reunite our pooches at this weekend's BARCStoberfest (blog to follow about this one soon).

A HUGE shout out to Officer Gabriel at the South East Police District - many would have thrown away the flier and forgotten it forever, but this officer took the time to call it in and have the information posted to the district. It is only because of his diligence that this had a happy ending.

Here are a couple of photos (taken by my laptop so not too great) of lil' Falcor and Puppy.

love k