Such A Tease (and the giveaway!)

Let’s see . . . what should I tell you about today?

I could tell you about:

A trip to Harvard. I felt smart there.

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A historic mansion in Boston. Very posh.

Matisse in His Studio. The artist and some of the artifacts that inspired him.

I could tell you tons about the Boston Marathon.

Inspiring runners of all different abilities.

Inspiring because they were so fast.

Inspiring because they kept a sense of humor.

Inspiring because they were ordinary folk doing something extraordinary–these young women, who we went to watch, were two of 30,000!

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And folks who supported every single one.

I could go on and on, and tell you about spring coming to the North Country of upstate New York, or the opening of our local ice cream shop, or I could give you updates on weaving, quilting, all kinds of crafting.

But I won’t. I’ll stop being a tease and I’ll tell you what you’ve been waiting to hear, eager to hear . . .

Who wins the hand-woven key fob?!

We had lots of entries, from all over the world, and I do wish I had dozens of key fobs to give away. But I had to use my random number generator to choose one of you.

I love pushing the button on my random number generator—the suspense, the anticipation, the thrill!

My random number generator said I should give the key fob to Judy, at New England Garden and Thread!

But I enjoyed hitting the button and the suspense, the anticipation, the thrill, so much, I hit the button again—what the heck!

And the generator said I should give another key fob to Jean, at One Small Stitch. (This one is sort of daunting—Jean is a weaver of many, MANY years experience! She has been supportive of my learning to weave since even before I took my first workshop.)

So, Judy and Jean, if you will email me at kerrycan2@gmail.com, with your addresses, I’ll send your gift!

And you can choose–either the key fob I originally pictured or this brown and turquoise one I’ve made since. I have two of each.

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Everyone else, take heart. I like giving stuff away and, before long, I bet my fingers will be itching to hit that button and choose another random number!

Boston, City of My Heart

Do you have one favorite city that trumps all the others you enjoy?

I admit, I haven’t been to most of the cities that would come to minds. I haven’t been to Paris or Rome, or even to London, in spite of having been to the United Kingdom a number of times.

I love Dublin. I adore New York and like San Franciso, from what I’ve seen. Montreal and Ottawa have their distinct and undeniable charms.

But the city that has my heart is Boston.

If you’ve been here, hanging out with me for a long time, you knew that, because almost every time I go I seem to feel the need to write about it.

I love the history of Boston, as one of the cities where American liberty was born.

And my own family history is connected to Boston. My many-times-great grandfather lived on this exact site, at the corner of Washington and Essex. He owned this land 125 years before the Liberty Tree was the gathering spot for the Sons of Liberty. Might he have planted the Liberty Tree?!

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I love that Boston is surrounded by water. For the first time, we had a view of the water from our hotel and also took advantage of the location and went on a harbor cruise.

I love the sights and sounds of Boston. Like all big cities, there’s always a festival, a gathering, lots of unusual and quirky details.

And I love the museums. We go back to the same museums every single time and visit our favorite pieces and find new treasures, like this glimpse of infinity. Each side of this work had only about 10 glass vessels in a space about one foot deep. The artist,
Josiah McElheny (American, born in 1966), created a brilliant vision—I could look all day.

I know that, when I have an opportunity to travel, I should go new places. I know I would love those other great cities and find them thrilling and intoxicating, too. I know I would expand my horizons and knowledge by visiting more, different cities.

And I know I’ll go back to Boston. In fact, I can hardly wait!

So, how about you? What city inspires your affection? Should I go there soon?

A Tale of Two Bostons

Spring 2015. It was a tale of two Bostons, and both were the best of times for us.

The country mice returned to the big city last weekend, for a taste of all it has to offer. We experienced the serene and beautiful Boston, in the museums and the parks.

And we experienced the transcendent Boston, full of inspiration and joy, in watching the running of the Boston Marathon.

Two years ago, the Boston and its marathon experienced the worst of times. The city was devastated by a bombing and its aftermath that killed four and injured hundreds, many gravely.

Now, and probably always, the Boston Marathon is much more than a race of 26.2 miles. It’s a statement—by the runners, the spectators, the merchants, the city—that Boston is stronger than hate and fear and violence.

In addition to being inspired by the thousands of runners of all ages and abilities, we had the special fun of watching a friend run her first Boston marathon to fulfill a longtime dream. She achieved a personal best time in the race, as did her training partner!

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A busy weekend, a full weekend, an inspirational weekend, and, above all, a joyous weekend. The best of times . . .

The Country Mouse Goes to Boston Town

Rackham_town_mouse_and_country_mouseMy husband and I are country mice. We’ve both lived in city settings but we currently have a quiet rural life that we love.

Except once in awhile, we crave a little more excitement, bright lights, a great museum, good food.

We spent the last few days in the city of Boston, in the state of Massachusetts, in the USA.

Boston is the perfect city for country mice. It’s a big city that feels small, it has tons of beauty, indoors and out, and there are buildings and monuments everywhere that feel familiar and comforting to all Americans, even if they’ve never been to Boston before.

I want to show you how beautiful Boston is in autumn by focusing on three highlights of the trip—a farmers’ market in Copley Square, a beloved team winning the big game, and our ramblings around the green spaces of the city. Whether you’re a country mouse or a town mouse, there’s something in Boston for you!

All Americans and maybe many folks in other countries, too, know that Boston has had a sad, sad year. The bombings that tore apart the Boston Marathon, and many people’s bodies and lives, continue to leave their marks on the city.

For months, Copley Square, in the heart of the Back Bay area and very near the site of the bomb attacks, was given over to an impromptu memorial to the victims of the bombs, where Bostonians and visitors to the city could add a tribute and share their sadness and determination to be “Boston Strong.”

IMG_2736 IMG_2734_2Now, the sad memorabilia has been moved to the city archives and Copley Square is back to hosting a weekly farmers’ market that brings a healthy, life-filled beauty to the city. And the country mice felt very much at home here! We have apples where we come from!

Boston has always been mad about their sports teams and, especially, their baseball Red Sox. The Red Sox had a magical year this year that culminated when they won baseball’s World Series on Wednesday night.

I know a lot of people don’t really get how a sports team can bring a city up off its knees but, trust me, Bostonians feel that their Red Sox did just that. The players made “B Strong” their motto and worked to give the city a happy distraction from the troubles but also worked tirelessly in charitable ways to ease the pain of the victims of the attacks.

So, their win in the championship was a storybook ending. It didn’t take away the pain or give back the lives lost, but it still mattered, a lot, to the city. A happy city is a beautiful city. And a happy city is very welcoming to country mice, as long as they cheer for the home team!

Boston is a city to walk in. It’s not huge and it has so many beautiful parks and green spaces that it invites a slow pace and appreciation. We saw pocket gardens in the Back Bay Fens and in the tiny spaces in front of the brownstones on Beacon Hill. The beautiful cemetery in the Boston Common creates a still spot for contemplation right next to one of the busiest commercial streets in the city.

The Public Gardens and Boston Common provide city dwellers with huge spaces to admire nature and just hang out and have fun. One of the prettiest areas is along the Charles River, which runs between Boston and Cambridge, into the Atlantic Ocean. Right next to traffic tearing down busy Storrow Drive, joggers jog, dogs frolic, crew teams row, little boats sail, and a busy city rests.

The country mice found this all very reassuring when they got a little overwhelmed by the rich food, flowing wine, and bright lights of the big city!

The country mice are home now, fat and happy, with fine memories of town. We’d recommend Boston to any of you who love a small big city, history, and beauty! Are you a town mouse or a country mouse?