Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ending 2008 and Starting 2009 In Chist Alone

Sunday we sang an updated hymn that had such sound Bible doctrine that I was flung into deep worship. As John MacArthur teaches in his book, Fool's Gold, real worship occurs through being taught good doctrine, and hymns serve the purpose of helping us commit doctrine to heart.

As 2009 approaches, I want to remember that my hope isn't in the political structure or the economic position of our country. Rather, it's in Christ alone. As I acquaint myself with Him through the reading and studying Scripture, I'll grow in my trust of Him.

Those of you reading this post through my Facebook notes can view the following video on my profile page. The rest of you can scroll down.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mary Did You Know

This song is so powerful...made even more powerful by the video. This is the epitome of Christmas. Have a blessed Christmas celebrating the wonder of Jesus Christ.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Train Trip

During our Boston Adventure a couple weeks ago, we saw the beginnings of a model electric train set being erected inside South Station. Now, it's crucial to understand that John's grandfather was the train engineer who drove the last steam engine locomotive out of Boston, thereby inaugurating my husband's life-long love affair with trains. So clearly, we knew it was absolutely essential to return to South Station during the Christmas season to see the display.

Monday, the weather was mild (at least, when the wind wasn't blowing), so our Personal Care Attendants
came early enough to get us out the door by 10:15. As we waited at the bus stop, John discovered that he had left our camera at home. Not good, when you know that your wife is planning to blog about model trains (how often does that happen?). So the first stop after getting off the subway at Downtown Crossing was CVS to buy a disposable camera.

Disposable cameras, sorry to say, don't take very high-quality photographs, as evidenced by this picture of carolers at Downtown Crossing:


I tried to use Paint Shop Pro photo editing tools on the photos this morning, with minimal success. I think the result is some improvement, but our camera certainly would have given me more to work with.

We explored Boston Common for a while, and had lunch at Al Capone. Finally, it was time to go to South Station!

The display of model trains is, by our estimation, about 20 feet long. There are two trains: a regular passenger train on the upper track, and a circus train on the lower track. Indeed, at the end of the display facing South Station's clock, there's a large circus!

John liked the flatbed cars on the circus train. I tried to crop the photo enough to show the intricate details, which were completely charming! I'll close with that final photo, apologizing that it's not better.



Monday, December 8, 2008

A Look Into The Manger

When we were at Boston Common last Wednesday, I spotted a fairly large (but not life-sized) Nativity Scene. I whipped my wheelchair around and rushed to it, excited to see an overtly Christian symbol in such a public place! But as I neared it, my heart sank, and I told John not to bother with the camera. Mary and Joseph were in the manger, certainly...but there was no trace of Jesus!

Later, I regretted not taking a picture. As I pondered the scene, I thought how strikingly well it represented contemporary American culture. This culture possesses elements of religion, spirituality, or whatever term you choose. But Jesus is conspicuously absent. We want spirituality on our own terms, rather than having to bow to His authority.

When Jesus enters the filthy manger of a human life, He takes control of it--just as surely as His arrival in Bethlehem transformed that stable into a throne room where angels, kings and shepherds worshipped. Even in the body of a helpless infant, He commanded praise, adoration, and even obedience.

For there is born to you this day in the
city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

~~Luke 2:11 (NKJV)


Hopefully, Jesus is in the manger in Boston Common by now. May He soon be in the hearts of Americans!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmastime In Boston

Since temps almost made it to balmy 50 degrees in Boston yesterday, John and I decided we "really needed" a Boston adventure. He wanted to see the window decorations at Macy's, and I wanted to see the Christmas Tree at Boston Common. It was cold, even though we had dressed in layers, and after doing an errand here in town, John announced with regret that we had better go back to our apartment. Just then, however, the bus came, and...well...ahem! 40 minutes later we boarded a Red Line subway train at Ashmont Station!

When we got off the train at Downtown Crossing, we headed straight for Macy's. The animated window displays were positively enchanting! This years theme appeared to be The Makings of the Holiday Season. Each window had a "factory" which "manufacured" things like snowflakes, tinsel and holiday cheer.

Still photos, as you can see, don't do justice to the displays. Of course, we loved all the gears, conveyer belts and cranks. I also enoyed the clever "componant" signs like "holiday hugs" and "jelly belly laughs." People really get paid to think up stuff like that?





After admiring the window displays, we crossed Tremont Street to see the Christmas Tree at Boston Common. I loved viewing it from the Visitor Center because the golden dome of the State House loomed behind it.

We knew we needed to head back to South Station to get the 2:10 Commuter Rail train home. At Downtown Crossing, Santa Claus himself greeted us. In appreciating the fact that I had a conversation with "the jolly old elf," you must realize how terrified I was of him during childhood. I was sixteen before I'd speak to him! But yesterday I looked him right in the eye and said, "Jesus loves you, Santa!"


Next, we had pizza and a cannoli at Al Capone, our favorite Downtown Crossing restaraunt. Yesterday, they were particularly solicitous, actually serving us! The pizza was fresh, hot, and absolutely perfect for a cold day! I can't recommend this place too highly!
We made our train easily, and got back to our town in time to stop by the grocery store on the way home. What a wonderful day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankfulness

For years, I must have grieved the Holy Spirt. Although the Lord had blessed me in abundance, I insistantly clung to my ingratitude because He had kept me single. No matter how many prayers He answered, I believed He had failed me.

One November, I sat through the Thanksgiving sermon, pretty much resenting it (but congratulating myself on my "obedience" to attend church that morning). The pastor challenged us to go home and make a list of reasons to be thankful. I tried. Sort of. At least, I stared at the jounal page in my typewriter for half an hour before typing that I just plain wasn't thankful.

The Lord let me wallow in my self pity for a good 15 or 16 years after that, but finally in 1997 (six months before my first online conversation with John) He let me know that He expected me to choose joy and thankfulness. I'm not perfect at maintaining a thankful attitude, but He's getting me there! I have so much to praise Him for!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And Paul Smith Seems Like Such A Non-Descript Name...

My cousin's husband just sent me an email about the late Paul Smith, a man with Cerebral Palsy who was an artist. A more accomplished artist than I'll ever be! You see, Mr. Smith died before every home had a personal computer. He did his art using a manual typewriter! Those reading my blog as a Facebook note can see the video on my Facebook wall. Those reading the blog directly can see it below:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cheers to Christmas and Cannolis

Yesterday was overcast, but mild, so John and I went to Quincy Market (we wanted a cannoli for dessert). While we were still in our town waiting for the bus, I hit on the idea of eating our main meal at the replica of Cheers, which is just across from Fanueil Hall.




Okay, John missed the Cheers sign, but fans of the show will recognize the slogan and the wooden Indian. But the bar, just inside the entrance, looks very much like the one in the show. I half expected to see Sam or Woody behind it!



After finishing lunch, we did some Christmas shopping at one of the kiosks at Quincy Market. Would you believe we got half the gifts we needed, and spent less than $50? You bet I feel smug!

Finally, we went inside Quincy Market for our cannoli from the North End Bakery. Scrumptious! Next summer, we plan to actually go to the North End itself for a cannoli, but I doubt we'll do any better.

As we came back to Downtown Crossing to get the subway home, we saw the Christmas tree at Macy's. So I'll close with that image.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Little Practice

My artwork has been somewhat neglected lately, so today I gave myself some practice. It's hardly great art, but I learned a few things, and had some fun in the process. And I encouraged myself to spend more time with Paint Shop Pro.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

At Winthrop's Grave

The Lord has placed President-Elect Barack Obama in leadership. I don't understand His purposes in doing so, but Scripture clearly teaches that He brings rulers into power. Though I'm grieving over all the losses America will suffer during His administration (particularly in terms of restrictions on abortion), I recognize my responsibility to prayerfully support the president He has given us.

Yesterday was, for me, a day to mourn. As Obama himself said, America is no longer a Christian nation. To mourn our rejection of Judeo-Christian values, I went to King's Chapel Burial Ground in Boston to lay flowers on the grave of John Winthrop. Winthrop, who came to Massachusetts in 1630 as Massachusetts Bay Colony's first governor, envisioned New England to be a City on a Hill, shining forth as a Christian community. Had he lived to see the founding of the United States of America, I suspect he would have extended that vision.

As I sat next to Winthop's grave, I anticipated Obama's adminstration. A socialist economy. Expanded special priviledges for people who choose to practice homosexual lifestyles. The removal of restrictions on abortion. A softer stance on terrorism. Taxing the rich to further entrap the poor into dependence on the government. It all goes so contrary to a nation that obeys God's Law and seeks His glory. So I wept beside John Winthrop's grave.

But then I moved toward hope. I asked John to take my Bible from my pocketbook and read Psalm 37. America may pass away, but the Lord has an eternal Kingdom awaiting His people. John Winthrop and I will rejoice in that Kingdom of righteousness!


1 A Psalm of David. Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. 6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret--it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 12 The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth. 13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked have drawn the sword And have bent their bow, To cast down the poor and needy, To slay those who are of upright conduct. 15 Their sword shall enter their own heart, And their bows shall be broken. 16 A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the Lord upholds the righteous. 18 The Lord knows the days of the upright, And their inheritance shall be forever. 19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. 20 But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the Lord, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away.
21 The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives. 22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, But those cursed by Him shall be cut off. 23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed. 27 Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore. 28 For the Lord loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever. 30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide. 32 The wicked watches the righteous, And seeks to slay him. 33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand, Nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait on the Lord, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. 35 I have seen the wicked in great power, And spreading himself like a native green tree. 36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found. 37 Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; For the future of that man is peace. 38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The future of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. 40 And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.
~~Psalm 37 (New King James Version)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

No Matter What Happens

The one point of agreement in America this weekend is that next Tuesday's election will determine our nation's future. I believe an Obama presidency would take us into more socialism than we already have. But I'm not blogging today to enumerate the many reasons I've voted against Obama. (I've been sick all weekend, and don't have the energy to type such an exhaustive list.)

Over the past two months, the Lord has drawn me to quite a few Scriptures regarding His Sovereignty over government leaders. If a leader with ungodly policies comes into authority, I must trust God's wisdom. Ultimately, my hope lies in Him, not in presidents, Congress, governors or town selectmen. When I saw this video, I thought it offered a timely reminder that the Lord's in control.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Little Publicized Record

Americans have every right to vote for Senator Barack Obama in next week's election. But they also have a right to know his record on abortion before they vote. I pray that people will vote with their conscience, not with their pocketbook.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Visiting Past and Fiction In Concord

After two summers of incompatable schedules, John and I finally set a date with our good friend Linda Smith to visit Concord Massachusetts. Linda directs Joni And Friends Greater Boston, and her commitment to disability ministry has led her to own a wheelchair van so she can take her friends who use wheelchairs out for recreation.

We went to Concord in hopes of a literary adventure. Our first stop was The Wayside. Sadly, it's closed on Thursdays, as you can see by this photograph:

Nathaniel Hawthorne bought The Wayside from Bronson Alcott in 1852 for $1,500. Ah...those were the days! Obviously, I didn't learn much about this house Thursday, so I'm gleaning facts and figures from the website. I do know that Hawthorne and his wife, Sophia Peabody, moved to Liverpool, England in 1853 due to a political appointment given to him by his friend, President Franklin Pierce. Hawthorne resigned that post in 1857, and spent time in France and Italy before returning to The Wayside in 1860. The family retained ownership until 1870, and it was the only home that Nathaniel Hawthorne ever actually owned.

Later, Margaret Sydney (who wrote The Five Little Peppers) lived in The Wayside.




After spending time looking about the grounds, we made our way to Orchard House.




Orchard House, purchased by Bronson Alcott for $1,200 in 1858, is the setting for Lousia May Alcott's Little Women (which I read every five years whether I need to or not). As expected, I was totally thrilled to be there!

John excitedly took photos, as I imagined Jo March (the character in Little Women that Lousia May Alcott patterened after herself) "scribbling" her stories in her garret. In reality, as we learned from the docent who spoke with us, Lousia wrote from her bedroom on the second floor, rather than from the garret, though I'm sure I spotted a small, white writing table through the third storey window!


Despite assurances on the phone, on the website, and on a sign in front of the gift shop entrance, not even the first floor of Orchard House is wheelchair accessible. Despite that disappointment, a docent came outside and told us about the house, the Alcott family, and Lousia May. I'd known that Meg, Beth and Amy were patterned after Louisa's real life sisters (Anna, Beth and May), but I'd always wondered who had inspired Laurie (more formally, Theodore Lawrence), the boy who played with the March girls. I had theorized that he was Hawthorne. But no. In truth, Laurie was a composite of many boys Louisa had known, thus explaining his complex personality.

I'm sorry I can't write further about the trip, but four hours have passed since I began typing this blog entry. So I'll leave you with a view of Orchard house, where I could almost picture Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy peeking out the front door to bid me farewell.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Photo Magic




Here's a photo John took near our apartment building Wednesday:











And here it is after I played with it:

Friday, October 10, 2008

The General and the Poet, Sharing a House a Century Apart


My birthday was over a week ago, but it wasn't until yesterday that weather and household responsibilities allowed us to celebrate. Beautiful 70-degree temperatures welcomed us across the Charles River into Cambridge, where we visited the house of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which his father-in-law gave him as a wedding gift in 1843. The Longfellow House is now a national park, so a National Park Ranger named Allyson gave me and John a guided tour of the first floor.

We entered the very unglamorous laundry room, bare except for three cast iron basins, a scrubbing board and (as shown in this photo) a clothes wringer.


Immediately, Allyson told us that all the items in the house had been there when the Longfellows lived in it, with the exception of replaced textiles such as draperied and carpets.

The house had originally been owned in 1725 by John Vassall, a British Loyalist who fled Boston for England at the start of the Americal Revolution in 1774. Their abandoned slaves, Tony and Cuba Vassell, remained in the house until the Marblehead Regiment occupied the house as their temporary barracks in June of 1775. That July, General George Washington made the house his headquarters for the next nine months, with Martha joining him in December.

Longfellow's wife, Fannie, took particular pride in the fact that the Washingtons had lived there, so she kept the marble fireplace in "Martha's" parlor. Sorry it's blurry (I sharpened it as best I could), but I really wanted to show it!




George and Martha Washington celebrated either their 17th anniversary or Twelfth Night in this parlor. Martha also held sewing circles in this parlor, mending clothes for wounded soldiers and making bandages for the hospital across the street. Fannie used the parlor as a formal reception room, and for special occassions.




Next, Allyson led us into the entry hall. I recognized it immediately from Matthew Pearl's description of it in his novel, The Dante Club, and John was excited about the grandfather clock (which still works).




Through those doors, the Washingtons received such luminaries as Benjamin Franklin, while Longfellow had visitors ranging from Charles Dickens, Oliver Wendall Holmes Sr. and Harriett Beecher Stowe to neighborhoon children. My knees shook as Allyson listed all the great literary figures who visited Longfellow!

At last, we arrived at Longfellow's study, where he did most of his writing. The Dante Club met there to translate Dante's Divine Comedy for Americans to read for the first time. Allyson showed us Longfellow's original drawings for the Peter Piper stories he wrote to entertain his young daughters.





Next, we saw his library, which Washington used as a staff room for his aides. Longfellow's grand piano is there, as well as some of the ten thousand (which I've spelled out lest you accuse me of a typo) books Longfellow owned.


Before we left Longfellow House, Allyson agreed to take a picture of us in front of the house. I'm thinking Christmas card photo. If not, at least a reminder of a wonderful belated birthday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dancing, Sam Malone, Arthur Fiedler and a Weeping Willow

We arrived at South Station yesterday, not sure what we'd be doing. As soon as we entered the building, we heard very temping dance music and saw ballroom dancers on a makeshift dancefloor. John thinks they were promoting a dance school. Whoever they were, I sat for almost an hour watching them. (I love dance.)



Of course, when the band started playing "Chattanooga Choo Choo," I wasn't about to pass it up! John started dancing with me, much to the delight of three Amtrak porters. My mom often used to tell me about dancing to that, and other Big Band hits, in her youth. Okay, I'm well past my youth, but I can now look forward to telling my nieces' children how I danced to it!

John had heard that the Bull & Finch Pub (the bar that inspired the TV show "Cheers") was wheelchair accessible, so that was our next stop. It's right on Beacon Street, not far from the Commons. As you can see by its shingle, it's now commonly called Cheers.





We asked some tourists to go up to the Cheers Gift Shop at the Hampshire House Restaurant (called "Melville's" in the TV show), and they sent someone to help us up the lift and then down the elevator.




The staff at Cheers was very friendly and helpful. And the bunless burger with Ceasar Salad (including tomato and artichoke hearts) was excellent. Those reading this blog who live in the Greater Boston Area probably think I sound like the Phantom Gourmet. You can tell WBZ I'm willing to apprentice!


After lunch, John wanted to explore, and just two blocks from Cheers we found the Arthur Fiedler Pedestrian Bridge, which took us to the Esplanade. We crossed a footbridge, and saw an enormous (and interestingly executed) bust of Fiedler (who, for 50 years, conducted the Boston Pops).








John also took a beautiful photo of the Longfellow Bridge. Usually, I edit his photos by straightening, brightening, adjusting saturation, or perspective correction, but all this photo needed was a frame:





It was getting cool by the water, so we returned to Boston Common via the Public Garden. I saw one of the willows, and asked John to take it's picture. I now have the picture on my computer desktop--a reminder of a wonderful date with my wonderful husband!



Monday, September 22, 2008

Fireproof

This past weekend, John and I rented Facing the Giants from Netflix. It was amazing to learn that Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany Georgia (who's ever heard of Albany, Georgia?) produced this film, which was very successful at the box-office.

This coming Friday, Sherwood Pictures will release it's latest film, Fireproof, in selected theaters. I don't see movies till they go to DVD because my doctor has taken popcorn off my diet, so smelling it is just too tempting. But I'd strongly encourage each of you to see it if possible. Tell Hollywood that Christians make movies that actually sell tickets! (Those of you reading this blog through Facebook should click on "view original post to see the trailer).








Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hello Dolly!

A friend encouraged me to do a digital painting of her Boston Terrier, Dolly. I love Boston Terriers, and wish we could have one, so it was fun doing this project. I learned a few tricks, too! Hope you like my finished product:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Does He Look Bigger?

Currently, I'm reading Prince Caspian, the second book in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series. The other night, I read the chapter in which Lucy was reunited with Aslan. One short passage in that chapter captivated my attention:

"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one." answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me
bigger."


Although the Narnia books aren't intended to be allegorical, Aslan is clearly representative of Christ. So when I read this dialogue, I recognized a dynamic that's in my own relationship with the Lord. As I grow in Him by reading, understanding, and applying Scripture, I'm more aware of His immensity! He never gets bigger, but I see more of Him. This concept encourages me to keep growing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Miracle

Ps 113:4-64 The LORD is high above all nations,His glory above the heavens. 5 Who is like the LORD our God,Who dwells on high, 6 Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in the heavens and in the earth? NKJV

When I read Psalm 113:4-6 during my Quiet Time this morning, the Holy Spirit rivited my attention to the amazing idea that our great God actually humbles Himself to give attention to His creation! Sometimes...okay, most of the time...I take His love for me for granted. But this passage reminds me that He is far greater than I could ever begin to imagine, and that His choice to love me requires Him to condescend (though not in a way that insults me). How miraculous that such a great God cares for His creation!

Friday, September 5, 2008

John's Birthday Adventure

Even though John's birthday is really today, we celebrated yesterday by going back to the Museum of Science. To reach the Museum, we took the Red Line to Downtown Crossing, than the Orange Line to North Station (which has bigger elevators) and then the Green Line to Leachmere. Coming back, we drove our chairs to North Station, took the Orange Line to Downtown Crossing, and drove our chairs to South Station where we caught the Commuter Rail back home.

We went to the 3-D Theater at the Museum of Science, and saw an animated movie about three flies who snuck onto the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. We wore special 3-D glasses, and it really looked like we could reach out and touch things! It was pretty amazing!

We had the camera with us, but really didn't have an opportunity to take photos. After the 3-D Theater, we visited an exhibit on human development from conception to birth, which really didn't seem appropriate for picture-taking. But it was thought-provoking as I think about all the young women who abort their babies, thinking they're just blobs of tissue. And I was amazed to see how babies develop.

I know I'm thankful for John's birth! I love celebrating his birthday because each of his birthdays remind me of how much God has blessed me with this wonderful man. What a privelige to be married to him!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Use The Time Well

A few weeks ago, a Christian friend sent me an email expressing her distaste for my blog. As she sees it, blogs aren't to be used as pulpits. Okay, she has a right not to read my blog, and to disagree with its content. I'm not forcing anyone to read it.

But I thought of her comments during Adult Sunday School today. We watched a DVD about a group of missionaries who suffered through the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In his preface before playing the DVD, the teacher said that most of the world doesn't have the freedom to talk about Christ. And, although the specific situation in Rwanda was about ethnic cleansing rather than the persecuton of Christians, my involvement on our church's Mission's Committee gives me an awareness of such persecution in places like Belarus, Chad, Turkey and China.

Right now, I'm free to share my faith in Christ, just as I'm free to share my digital art and accounts of my adventures with John into Boston. Who knows how long that freedom will last? Hoefully, I vary my blog entries enough that I'm not cramming Jesus down people's throats.

But the ending of the DVD said it well. Two people who had escaped the slaughter at the Missions Compound met five years later. The closing lines were: "We've been given more time. Let's use it well."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sixth Anniversary Celebration

John and I, as of tomorrow, have enjoyed six years as man and wife! I know...hard to believe. But since our actual anniversary falls on a Sunday this year and we don't want to miss church, we celebrated yesterday. So we got all dressed up, and we headed for Boston (but not before our Personal Care Attendant could take a picture of us outside our apartment building).

Our primary destination was The Museum of Fine Arts in the Fenway region of Boston. We decided to focus our attention on European painting this time. Regretfully, I was too timid to have John take many photos, particularly of the Italian Renaissance art that I studied at Dominican University of California back in the '70s. (I'm kicking myself for not photographing the bas relief by Donatello that we saw.) We also made the mistake of not writing down information on the pieces of art that we did have the courage to photograph.

I recognized this Mary Cassatt painting.


We'd seen it two years ago when the Museum of Fine Arts had the Americans In Paris exhibit. In fact, I remember seeing the actual tea service that Cassatt depicted in this painting as a part of that exhibit.

Moving through the galleries, I spotted a painting that drew my attention. When John read the title, I understood the draw!



It was Dante and Beatrice. I had spent two summers at Dominican studying Dante's Divine Comedy, and loved the story of unattainable love guiding Dante to God. Thankfully, my own love story with John is much happier than Dante's story!

Although I remember neither the title of this painting nor the name of its artist, I'm glad John photographed it.



Romantic, isn't it? But then, she's an 18th Century French girl, and as such, of course it's a romantic painting!

Time passed all too quickly, of course, and we needed to leave Boston for a romantic dinner at Caffe Bella in Randolph. We split our order of rigatoni with chicken, sweet sausage, Swiss chard (yes, chard is high oxalate, but I ate it anyway) and plum tomatoes.

We couldn't finish, and were preparing to leave when the waitress offered us complementary cheesecake in celebration of our anniversary.


What a beautiful celebration of a wonderful marriage!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kidnapped!

Monday and Tuesday, I felt a little down. So yesterday, John "kidnapped" me by taking me into Boston. We had a burrito near South Station, and did some shopping errands at Downtown Crossing. From there, we went to Boston Common, bought a lemonade, and listened to Sam Rucker play everything from classical music to the Beatles' "Lady Madonna." He gave us permission to use his name and photo.

Our main objective yesterday, however, was to take the James Otis Experience Freedom Trail Walking Tour. Regretfully, the company's website (www.bostontowncrier.com) is currently under construction, but keep checking back.

Our tour guide was none other than James Otis, that great pre-Revolutionary War patriot who protested the Stamp Act by proclaiming: "Taxation without representation is tyranny!"

Okay, so it's really just a man portraying James Otis. He still knows his stuff, and taught us quite a bit of Boston's history. We'd met him on previous excursions into Boston, but had no idea that his would be the best historical tour we'd take.

I don't have time to write about each site Otis led us to, but I want to point out a few. John took a tremendous photo of the State House from the Freedom Trail (the red line leading to it).

Although you can't see them in this photo, there's a set of white doors towards the right of the building's front. These doors are only used when the President or a visiting Head of State enters the State House, or when a governor leaves at the end of his or her term. I pray Deval Patrick has the honor of using them in January of 2011!

Park Street Church is still an operational church. Now it is an Evangelical church, but it was established in 1808 as a Puritan church.During the War of 1812, it stored ammunition for the American troops. It housed the first Sunday School. Abolitionists spoke from its pulpit against slavery. And the first missionary to Hawaii came from that church.

We visited the Old Granary Burial Ground, first stopping by the grave of Samuel Adams. Adams set the signal for the Boston Tea Party.Of course, we visited the grave of James Otis, a lawyer who argued long and hard against forms of British oppression such as the Stamp Act and the Tea Tax. Sadly, he was struck on the head when a Loyalist attacked him, and he consequently developed dementia. I'm guessing he had a Traumatic Brain Injury. Since our tour guide assumed Otis' persona, I used the marble pattern that I recently created with Paint Shop Pro to frame John's photo of his grave marker.

Next we visited the monument to John Hancock, who, as the wealthiest man in Boston, loved velvet clothes and feathered hats. Hancock, as the first signer of the Declaration of Independence, signed his name large, and with a flourish, to be sure that King George could read it without his spectacles!

We visited Paul Revere's grave, Mother Goose's grave, King's Chapel, the site of the Old Latin School, the Corner Bookstore, and Old South Meeting House before arriving at the Old State House. During Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, President Ford presented Queen Elizabeth II with a check covering the cost of the Tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party. No tax. No interest. Her Majesty has yet to cash the check.

The tour concluded at Fanueil Hall. From there, John and I made our way back to South Station via Atlantic Avenue, where we watched kids play in the jumping fountains. Hopefully, you can see that different spouts operate at different times. I hope John will kidnap me again! It was a glorious day!

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