End of NaBloPoMo

National Blog Posting Month
National Blog Posting Month


Today is the last day of November and thus of National Blog Posting Month.  I pledged to post something every day, and I met my goal: 44 posts this months (with a combination of pictures and written posts.)

It was a good challenge, and not all that hard, especially with the NanoPoblano community.  I want to give special thanks to Mark Bialczak, Captain Poblano, who was such as gracious and responsive leader of NanoPoblano.

I enjoyed participating in the three blog hops of NanoPoblano and getting introduced to some great bloggers.  Thanks to everyone who visited and commented on my many blog posts this month!

My challenge for December is not to let the Minnesota winter get me down.  I want to do some outdoor exercise (usually just a simple walk)  as many days as possible, so that I don’t succumb to The Darkness.   Wish me luck!


Looking for Donors!

I really loved visiting Boston recently.  I loved it so much that I would like to live there.  However, I do not have a lot of money, so I will need somebody else to buy property for me.  I am wondering if you would be interested.

I will need two separate establishments, one in the city of Boston so that I have close access to all the city attractions, and one in Concord so that I have more space and peace.

For the Boston home, I would like to live in a brownstone in the Back Bay or in Beacon Hill.  Here is a property that would work quite nicely.  It is only 5 millionish because it needs restoration.

16 Marlborough
16 Marlborough

For more information about property, click here.

When I want respite from the hustle and bustle of Boston living, I would like to retreat to a place like this in Concord:

49 Sudbury Road, Concord
49 Sudbury Road, Concord

Iconic Concord Center Treasure
The Franklin B. Sanborn House and Schoolroom, located at 49 Sudbury Road in Concord, Massachusetts, is rich in Concord history, and has been elegantly enlarged over the years. A refined sense of scale and proportion permeates the property, inside and out.

Currently there is a rentable apartment on the second floor and an idyllic one bedroom cottage, perfect as a rental or home office. This ideal Concord Center home was the Franklin Sanborn co-educational school (opened March 26,1855). Pupils included some of the children of Emerson, Hawthorne, Henry James, Horace Mann, John Brown and the Alcotts. Enjoy the private patio and the large backyard while you add your unique history to those eminent people who lived here before.

Unfortunately, this home is no longer for sale.  It was purchased for around $2,000,000 recently.  However, I am showing it to you to give you a sense of what I like.

Based on my research, then, you could make me very happy for only 7 million dollars.  I would suggest rounding up to $8 million, though, for furniture and incidentals.

If you agree to purchase properties for me, in return, I will write a really nice blog post featuring you.  Maybe even two!

I look forward to hearing from all of my potential donors.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is having a bounteous and joyful Thanksgiving celebration

The Thanksgivings

Harriet Maxwell Converse

Translated from a traditional Iroquois prayer

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here

to praise Him.

We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered

that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.

We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products

to live on.

We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs

for our lands.

We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.

We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming

from them for us all.

We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows

for our shelter.

We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder

and lightning that water the earth.

We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun

that works for our good.

We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.

We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank

all its trees.

We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being

of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.

We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs,

the stars.

We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.

We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard

through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.

We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant


We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit’s music,

and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.

We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies

on this occasion.

Around the World Reading Challenge, 2015

I invite everyone to join me in a reading challenge for 2015.  The rules are simple:

1)  Agree to read and blog about at least six books in 2015, with the following stipulations:

  • At least one book must be by a North American author.
  • At least one book must be by a South American author.
  • At least one book must be by a European author.
  • At least one book must be by an African author.
  • At least one book must be by an Asian author.
  • At least one book must be by an Australian author.

2)  The books may be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama–anything.

3)  The authors may be from any time period, dead or alive.

4)  If you want to participate, just indicate your interest, along with the link to your blog, in the comments section.

5)  After you have done a blog post for this challenge, indicate that you have done so in the comments section, include the name of the book and author, and provide a link to your post

That’s it!  Happy reading and blogging! Hope to read your posts next year!

Here is the link to the Official Around the World Reading Challenge Page: https://debrabooks.wordpress.com/around-the-world-reading-challenge-2015/

Dante’s Man Crush on Virgil

Dante and Virgil
Dante and Virgil

In the past few weeks, I wrote a few blog posts on Dante’s Inferno, the great medieval Italian depiction of hell.  As it happened, I was in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts the other day, and I stumbled upon this wonderful sculpture of Dante and Virgil.  I had not been previously aware of this 1862 sculpture by Baron Henri de Triqueti.  (For more information on this work, click here.).

I was, though, aware of the serious “man-crush” Dante Alighieri had on Publius Vergilius Maro, more commonly known as Virgil.  Virgil was a Roman poet who lived from 70 – 19 B.C., while Dante was a Florentine who lived from 1265-1321 A.D,  Obviously, then, they never met.  This sculpture is a product of Triqueti’s imagination.

Virgil was most famous for epic poem The Aeneid, which was in many ways a rewriting of Homer’s The Odyssey and The Iliad,  but from the point of view of the Trojans who eventually became the Romans who, at the time of Aeneid’s writing, were a powerful empire controlling a good chunk of the world.

Dante thought Virgil was awesome, the bees knees, the greatest thing since sliced bread, the top of the charts, quite simply the best.  Dante thought Virgil was so cool, in fact, that he put him in his poem.  Virgil in The Inferno symbolizes the epitome of human reason, the best that humans are capable of without the light of God.  (Virgil was a pagan.)  Unfortunately, Virgil lives in hell because he was pre-Christian.   However, he lives in the best section of it, along with the other virtuous pagans.  Nothing really bad happens to the virtuous pagans.  They are simply without hope of heaven.

Having quite a bit of spare time on his hands, Virgil agrees to guide Dante through hell.  He explains who is who, what is what, and why they sinners are punished the way they are.  Without Virgil, Dante would not have been able to make it through hell and come out on the other end.  Without Virgil as his poetic guide, he would not have been able to write the masterpiece of The Divine Comedy, either.

What about you?  If you were writing an epic poem in which you were featured as the hero or heroine, who would you choose as your guide?  Do you have a man-crush or woman-crush on an author, dead or alive?


Boston Churches

Walking around the major landmarks of Boston highlights the importance churches played in our nation’s early history.  Above a few snapshots of some Boston’s most famous churches.  Below are a few fun facts about these churches.

The history of Arlington Street Church began in 1729 as the Church of the Presbyterian Strangers, although not at its present site.  They found Presbyterian doctrine too rigid, however, and broke with them in 1787, eventually becoming a Unitarian church under the direction of William Ellery Channing in  1819.  Arlington Street Church has continued in its progressive beliefs up until the present day.  In 2004, “the first church and state-sanctioned, same gender wedding in the United States” was celebrated at this church.  Source: 

Trinity Church (Episcopalian) is considered an archictectural masterpiece, a stellar example of Richardsonian Romanesque.  Building of the church was begun in 1872, and the doors opened in 1877.

The New Old South Church (Congregational) is built in the Venetian Gothic style.  It is called the “New” Church, even though it was built in 1875.  Up until then, the congregation worshipped in the Old South Church (now referred to as the Old South Meeting House.)  Fun fact for Twin Citians:  the church contains an organ that was rescued from a Minneapolis church just before demolition.  (source:  Lonely Planet: Boston.)

King’s Chapel should be subtitled:  How to Tick Off a Puritan.   King’s Chapel was built in 1687 for Anglican worship.  The Anglicans were the official church of England; the Puritans fled England precisely to get away from these people and now here they were in Boston with their own church.  Egads!

The Old North Church was made famous when, o the night of april 18, 1775, Paul Revere shone his signal lantern to warn Bostonians that the British were coming, the British were coming.

The Park Street Church, built in 1809, was called “Brimstone Corner” because gunpowder was stored in the crypt during the war of 1812.    (Brimstone, or sulfur, is a key ingredient of gunpowder.)

Boston Common: America’s Oldest Public Park

At the center of Boston lies 44 acres of open land, referred to as Boston Common. This park was once the pasture of William Blackstone, Boston’s first white settler.  The Puritans, who arrived in 1630, liked the area so much, it ended up being theirs.  (I’m not sure if they bought it or just took it.)

Today the park is a gorgeous green space dotted with many historical monuments and landmarks, surounded with prime Boston cityscapes.

I love it!


Nichols House, Beacon Hill

Yesterday, I visited the Beacon Hill house of a famous woman I’d never heard of:  Rose Standish Nichols.  According to Judith B. Tankard, Nichols was one of the first professional garden designers as well as many other things:

“Outspoken advocate of social reform, tireless promoter of international peace, intrepid traveler, connoisseur of antiques, and all-round enthusiast of the arts, Rose Standish Nichols (1872-1960) was for many decades a familiar institution to the denizens of Boston’s Beacon Hill. But she was also one of the country’s earliest professional garden designers and an accomplished writer of garden history and criticism. Her three books on historical gardens in England, Italy, and Spam, together with dozens of articles about gardens around the world, earned her a considerable  reputation in her own lifetime.”  (See Tankard article for more information about Nichols.)

To be honest, I went on the tour of the Nichols house so that I could see the inside of a classic Beacon Street home.  I enjoy seeing older homes, furnishings and designs, and this tour was not a disappointment.  For more information about the house, click here.   I think what I liked most was the window seat surrounded by books.  Had I lived in this house, I think I would have spent most of my time curled up in this nook, looking down on the view of the street, the view of which I tried to capture below.

Mostly, though, I was impressed by the life story of this prominent Bostonian I had never heard of.  I plan to learn more about her in the future.   Do you know about Rose Standish Nicols?