Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Few Pictures From Boston

The Granary Burying Ground where Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and John Hancock are buried. One grave simply said "Frank, Servant to John Hancock Esq lies interr'd here". Another, which visitors had placed pennies on the dirt in front of, was supposedly the grave of the original Mother Goose .

The Frog Pond

Detail from Paul Revere House, built in 1680

The kindest man. He stopped us on the street to let us know what was important to see in his neighborhood, The North End.

My favorite person to travel with.

Things I loved about our few days in Boston...a city I hadn't been to before:

The very old pressed right up against the very new. The food. The friendly people who knew everything about their city and wanted to share it with us. Watching sailboats and sculls practice on the river. That almost everywhere I turned some piece of history, art, literature or culture was referenced. Cobblestone and brick roads and walkways. Walking around the North End in the evening while it was snowing. The college students in the coffee shops. That you can follow the Freedom Trail by a red brick line in the sidewalk. Making mental notes about what we will do next time. That I think I could be in that city for a year and not run out of new things to do or photograph.

One thing I noticed is that there are sculptures everywhere that commemorate almost anything you could imagine. My favorites were George Washington on his horse, Benjamin Franklin, the frogs at The Frog Pond and the Make Way For Ducklings ducks. I also loved The Ether Monument, which commemorates....yes...the first use of  general anesthesia during surgery. And it is huge. And ornate.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Friday, March 25, 2011


These are a few places we picked up nourishment around Boston this week. We stopped by Thinking Cup for seriously great coffee and baked goods three times in two days......it was that good. It was funny to me that they use Stumptown Coffee which is roasted in Portland and Seattle. I traveled all the way across the country to taste it for the first time and now will definitely look for some closer to home. We also had an amazing lunch at the Blackstone Grill: homemade chicken pot pie and a cold beer. Again.....delicious. Flaky pastry on top with a filling that TASTED homemade. Both places are close to the Freedom Trail. Good thing we walked a lot......

The frame detail  and plaque is from the mezzanine of the Omni Parker Hotel. The plaque says:

Mirror from the rooms at the Parker House occupied by Charles Dickens 1867 & 1868. Authenticated by the Boston Branch of the Dickens Fellowship.
"Look closely and see reflections of Dickens as he practiced 'A Christmas Carol"."

This was where he gave his first American reading of A Christmas Carol, one of my favorite books. Marc took me to the ACT theater in Seattle on our second date to see it performed and we've returned many of the years since. When I looked around there were references to other writers that either visited or stayed here: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe. I need to go back and find out more.

Sustenance: Food, drink and other necessities of life......

Have a wonderful weekend.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Super Moon

Before last Saturday, the last time there was a supermoon was January 19th, 1992. It's possible I didn't realize it. At the time I had two busy four-year-olds, we were both working some crazy hours and I was six months pregnant. I probably looked like I was carrying a big moon around under my clothes.

I find the moon romantic, dreamy and enchanting. Something about it captures my imagination and I love that we spent a fair amount of time reading stories, telling tales or singing songs about it to our boys growing up. Even if a children's book wasn't specifically about the moon, there was always a page or two illustrated with a plump melon moon or a crescent-shaped slice of moon smiling down on one character or another. In the last house we lived in I knelt on the couch with freshly  jammied little boys on clear evenings to watch it, waxing or waning in various phases, hovering in the sky above our neighborhood. There are a few urgent, "Mom...come here...you have to look at the moon..." requests that still resound. Honestly, I love the thought that no matter where in the world we are....we're all looking up at the same one, sharing its beauty and mystery.

I wanted a picture of this supermoon so we chased it around for awhile Saturday evening. We chose a spot that would give it perspective. I had visions of a colorful orb slowly rising, revealing itself between two soft hills, chunky boulders in the foreground.

Turns out we arrived early. It wasn't going to happen for awhile, so we left and returned after a pizza. Marc stayed in the car while I set up. When I motioned for him to pull forward I lost a leg off my tri-pod; it was dark and I didn't realize I had placed it too close to the back wheel. Thank goodness my camera wasn't attached! A few wobbly shots later it was cloudy and nothing was turning out, so we gave up, headed home and watched a movie.

Around midnight I noticed a break in the clouds. One more try and it turns out that the best shot was from our backyard. Goodnight Moon.

On Saturday the moon was 220,625 miles away from the earth. At it's furthest it can be 250,000 miles away.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hello Spring

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
    ~ C.S.Lewis

Last night the local frogs chirped away......a lively chorus that began at dusk. This morning I woke to the sound of a noisy bird in the tree outside my window.  Hello Spring.  I've been waiting for you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Makes Us Who We Are....Part Two.....

Marc contacted Cimego's Minister of Culture before we arrived so we could make the most of our time there....who by the way shares his family name of Bertini. How fortunate that he could spend part of an evening and several hours the next day with us, even though he now lives and works a few hours away. He told us about the village he grew up in and filled Marc in on some probable relatives still in the area. We were invited to a town council meeting that night, but were too exhausted and hungry to go. Although we had to point and guess a little, we successfully ordered wine and scotch in the bar, but thank goodness our guide showed up in time to help interpret the menu. He spoke perfect English, sat with us at dinner and encouraged Marc's questions about history and food and customs.

The following day we wandered the village and spent quite a bit of time looking through a house that was kept as a museum, probably much the same as the one his great grandparents would have lived in. Afterward, we visited the home of the town's last remaining blacksmith. He had passed just a month earlier and both lived and worked there with his sole source of power harnessed from a stream with a water wheel. On a short hike in the surrounding woods we walked through an area that was part of the Italian front during WWI and spent a few minutes inside a bunker.  Strange how, surrounded by the fall foliage, it felt so similar to places we hike at home. I couldn't help but think about the people who were once there......are there now......and how different and not so different our world's are.

 Cimego is the lower village. The upper group of buildings is a separate village.


 Church door

Period tool

Blacksmith's home

The woods above Cimego.


Friday, March 11, 2011

What Makes Us Who We Are

Growing up I had no doubt where I came from and where I belonged. It was in this home with this family. This history. I knew it was mine and that I owned it. I still have a sense of being rooted in something larger than myself. It travels with me, influences the world as I see it and integrates itself into my decision making. It is tangible and real and a part of my DNA. The collective past of many people, their possibilities and lessons, is where I’ve been and where I can go. This is a history of those who were transported by ship or wagon, looking for something different but familiar, and then settling in. Those who navigated unfamiliar languages in a backdrop that was ocean, prairie, plain and mountain. With each heave and pitch, ebb and flow, their lives shaped mine.

Both sides of my family at some point picked themselves up and moved, then planted themselves and stayed. The fact that their choices are simply interesting to me, somehow doesn’t seem like enough. They were difficult, hard working and risk filled ones made by real human beings and based on hope, possibility and survival. Choices that I have to take time and effort to truly understand. In the place I'm so fortunate to call home, it takes thought and imagination to process events that took place generations ago that allow me to be right here, right now.

A few months ago we were planning a trip from Barcelona to Venice. As it turns out, the distance from Venice to the town Marc's great-grandparents emigrated from is a few hours away via car. If we extended our trip by a couple of days we could visit. His great-grandparents were a big part of his life and their influence is still present. The town that they left was something they spoke of often.  

So we stayed longer and traveled to Cimego to check out that part of his history. In the space of this blog entry I couldn’t possibly describe all the emotion that bounced around the interior of the car as we traveled northwest from Venice. We passed farmland and vineyard, making our way from sea level toward the Dolomites. The drive around Lake Garda was a sort of harrowing one with skinny and winding roads, but on it there were stunning views of lakes, rivers, small villages and mountain peaks. We had to pull over several times to figure out what one road sign or another meant and finally decided to turn the GPS off after realizing it was probably easier just to look at a map.

The trip took quite a bit longer than we thought it would. There were a few times that Marc questioned our decision, but finally we ended up in the quiet village of about 500. We walked the same stone streets and paths his great grandparents had past homes that have hay barns on their top floors. We visited the beautiful church of San Martino where they celebrated baptism, first communion, mass and marriage. Noticed the surnames of Zulberti (his great-grandmother’s) and Bertini (his great-grandfather’s) everywhere from gravestones to war memorials to businesses. The stories told by those who shaped his life about hard work, tough choices, food and connection to their country of origin fell so thoroughly into place during those couple of days that I could almost hear the click.

I’ve added a few photos that I took and will add more next week in another post.

 I would love to hear the stories that shaped your life.
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