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Archive for the month “October, 2013”

Bean Town

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Yep, I’m visiting Beantown.

The City on the Hill.

The Athens of America.

Boston.

My hubby had a conference here these past few days. It’s a conference having to do with school finances and lots of talk about numbers. As a left-handed, right-brained English major, number talk kind of makes my eyes glaze over. I’ve tried very hard to be at the top of my chit-chat game, but it’s hard for me to enter the world of business and finance. Fortunately, I’m thoroughly content to explore on my own.

old-town-trolley-tours-of-bostonMr. Green and Orange trolley has been my close friend these past few days. It’s your best bet for getting around historical Boston easily and cheaply. For about 35.00 you can get a two-day pass. This pass lets you get on and off the trolley at any of the fifteen stops around downtown Boston. Some of the stops include Fenway Park, (I’m not much of a baseball fan, but you can’t be in Boston right now and not be a Red Sox fan–at least if you value your life), The Boston Tea Party museum, Beacon Hill, and the historic North End. Boston Common is a great walk in the park–literally. It’s the oldest national park in the U.S. The land was purchased by the first settlers of the area to be used as a common pasture for their livestock. Eventually, Boston grew up around it, and it was turned into a city park. It is the setting for Robert McCloskey’s famous children book, Make Way for Ducklings, and bronze statues of the mama duck and her eight ducklings draw many children and picture-taking parents to the park. Also, I must mention that every trolley comes with an entertaining and fact-packed driver who narrates your ride. My personal favorite was “Cracker Jack” who not only knew “the real story,” but he was quick-witted and had fun with his passengers.

boston-picThe Old State House just had it’s 300th birthday! It was from this balcony that the Declaration of Independence was read on July 18, 1776. No, not July 4th. Remember, the document was signed on July 4th in Philadelphia.  It took two weeks for the document to arrive in Boston. It was also directly below this balcony that the Boston Massacre took place. Not that I’m taking there side or anything, but the Bristish really get a bum rap for this incident where eight Bristish soldiers fired into a crowd of civilians, killing five. If you check out the whole story, the colonist were picking a fight, and there are various explanations as to why the soldiers fired. Anyway, Paul Revere published some nasty propaganda about the whole incident and things really started rolling toward a Revolution.

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Speaking of Paul Revere, you can’t visit Boston without learning more than you’d ever want to know about the man. On a previous visit to Boston some years back, we visited the Old North Church and also his home. Both well worth your time! For trivia’s sake: did you know Paul was married twice and had a total of sixteen children? Did you know he was a health inspector for the city and also a dentist? Did you know he was imprisoned twice by the British? See, more than you wanted to know–just sayin’.

Boston has AMAZING architecture! I’m surprised I haven’t done a face plant yet. I want to just walk gazing upward, which is truly dangerous because the sidewalks are awful here. I believe there is a church on almost every block, and each one is gorgeous, intricate, awe-inspiring. Street upon street of brownstones makes me want to walk up, knock on a door,  and ask for a tour. We’ve been told they are incredibly expensive (millions of dollars), and most are divided up into condos.

Have I mentioned the shopping? Yeah, I look but don’t buy. Again, interesting stores where I probably couldn’t afford to buy a shoelace. I have found an Anthropologie and a Restoration Hardware. I might be able to buy something off their sale racks–maybe. And for all you coffee hounds out there, there’s a Starbucks on every block and a Dunkin’ Donut on every other block–not kidding!

Overall, I love Boston. People seem friendly and helpful, and we’ve felt very safe out on the streets in the evenings. Be ready to walk A LOT, but the drivers are quite ‘pedestrian aware’ and seem patient.

But, I think I’m ready to be back home on my little piece of Iowa farmland. As they say, it’s been nice to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here.

 

Things I love. . .

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A while back I posted “10 Daily Things I Hate.” Well, I’ve been thinking I really need to balance that out with my “10 Daily Things I Love” list.  I mean, I really don’t want you thinking I’m an ogre poking around all day for the things I hate. Generally, I like almost all parts of my day. So, with no further adieu. . .

10 DAILY THINGS I LOVE (in no particular order of importance)

1. Everyone coming home. When my kids were little, I used to call it the “witching hour”–you know that time when you’re trying to get supper, everyone is a little cranky because they’re hungry, and dad’s not in the door yet. Now, we can all still get a little cranky, but I’ve come to appreciate the time when everyone (who should be home) is through the door and safe at home. Bags, shoes, coats, keys, books, phones, and water bottles all land in some vicinity of the back door and trickle on into the kitchen. But that means we’re all home–happy, cranky, weary, or overwhelmed–we’re all home.

2. The first cup of coffee in the morning. If you’re not a coffee drinker, you just can’t know how lovely that warm mug is with just a dribble of cream. The creamy dark coffee smell wafting up. It’s wake-up in a cup–ahhhh. Brain is engaged, and I can now function on a minimal level.

3. My chair and the Word. I have a leather chair and ottoman (it’s not really “mine.” I let other people sit in it, too.) that I settle into with that first life-giving cup of coffee every morning. And always, beside that chair, is my Bible and journal. I might be reading through a certain book or working on a Bible study. Some mornings I fight the urge to put my head back and close my eyes. Some mornings I lose that fight. But other mornings I read a familiar passage that God speaks to me in a fresh way. He buoys my heart or convicts my spirit. He reminds me of my joys and prompts me to pray for the struggles of others. He reveals His character and affirms His promises. I’m thankful for that old chair and the great God who meets with me every day there.

4. Cats. Yep, my inside cat Marmalade and my outside kittens–Marty, Theo, and Libby. Cats are my de-stressors. I can’t NOT stop and pet a cat, scratch under its chin, pick it up and talk to it. They always listen with sympathetic looks (granted, they may just be begging for food, but I think they understand me.). And they’re great comic relief.

5. Laughing. I don’t know, maybe we’re just a weird, quirky family, but we laugh at the strangest things. All my kids have a great sense of humor, so there’s usually some off-hand comment or funny face that gets us started. Tess and I got the giggles during a college visit last week and almost had to leave the room. Hmmm, some people just never grow up. Lucky me!

6. Reading. I blame this on my mother. She trained us from an early age never to go anywhere without reading material. Granted, that was the glorious age before smart phones, internet, and Facebook. So you didn’t want to get stuck in a dentist office with only old Newsweeks to read. I usually have two books (and at least one magazine) handy for reading on-the-go. But I adore finally crawling into bed at night–no matter what time it is–and reading for ten minutes. It pushes all the other busyness out of my brain. I wander off into some other time and place and pretty soon. . . zzzzzz

7. Speaking of crawling into bed–I love getting into a made bed. If, for some reason, the bed didn’t get made in the morning, I will make it. I fluff up the big, square feather pillows, then put on the sleeping pillows. Ahhh, then I can fold back the covers, grab my book, crawl in, and just stretch out under nice, smooth sheets. It’s a good thing.

8. Outside. I just love outside. I think the world would be a better, happier place if everyone had to go outside for at least 15 minutes every day. Recess! We should have required adult recess! Maybe things would go more smoothly on Capitol Hill if everyone had to go outside and get their  hooley-ghoulies out for 15 minutes. Nancy Pelosi jumping rope, and John McCain getting in on a wicked game of dodge ball might just be the answers to our problems. But at the very least, I enjoy my daily jaunt out to the chicken coop and down to get the mail. My 15 minutes often meanders into a much longer recess.

9. Silence. Information, music, entertainment is often overrated. So, in one of my many commutes between home and Alleman or Polk City, I often drive in silence. Glorious noiselessness. Watching a massive red combine lumbering across acres of corn munching it down like some mechanical dinosaur is entertainment enough for me. Or sometimes it’s watching rifts of snow slither across the road like a chainmail snake. And it’s just quiet except for the hum of the combine or the rattle of the wind. . . silence.

10. Talking with my husband. Life is crazy sometimes. Well, often. But on most days my hubby makes a quick call just to “check in.” When I had four kids I was schooling at home, I think he was testing the waters–wondering what the “temperature” would be like by the time he walked through the door at 6:00. Exactly how crazy and stressed-out would I be by supper time? Life has mellowed a little bit, but he still calls to see how the day is going, should he stop at the store on the way home, or do we have anything going on tonight? And, hopefully by the day’s end, we squeeze in a little more conversation than that. But even at that, it’s nice to have that thoughtful pause in the middle of the day.

Thus, my by-far-not-exhaustive 10 Daily Things I Love list.

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

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