Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Walking Photo Tour of Boston

Since I am certainly no expert on the city of Boston having only been there this one time, I am not going to try and fill your head with history lessons that we all learned back in the grade 3.
I do however have a digital ton of photos and have decided to share a select few with you.

Public Gardens entrance

George Washington

Cheers !

Follow the red brick trail for more history than you can take in.

Kings Chapel Graveyard
(you know we had to go to the cemeteries)

Graveyard from inside Kings Chapel

Benjamin Franklin

Cranary Burial Ground

Faneuil Hall Market
Oldest Restaurant in America

I hope you enjoyed these.
I'll be back soon with a wrap up and then on to something to get your heart racing.

Business has been very good since our return which is making this whole process a little more difficult to accomplish. In the off chance that I get to sit down for a few minutes, I find that my eyes come to a gentle close and my head sways to one side or the other. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Unsuspecting Souls

Do you remember this photo from early Spring?
This is a statue of Thomas A. Edison depicted as a boy, when he worked the railway between Port Huron and Mount Clemens, Michigan. It stands in front of a small museum at the border to Canada, almost directly under the Blue Water Bridges.

I've loved this statue since I first moved to Port Huron back in 1991. The setting couldn't be better. The craftsmanship is amazing. Crafted out of bronze, you can see every detail so vividly upon close inspection. The artist is a world renowned sculptor who has works of art in most major cities including Philadelphia,  Chicago, New York, Dallas, London and the list goes on and on. She's known for her sculptures but loves to craft from anything you can imagine. She lives here locally and quite modestly for the most part. Her husband is well known in the community as well and they both offer much back to the city that they call home.

I got a call from her yesterday. Her nephew is in town, taking a break from his studies at medical school and has invited a friend to stop in for the week. her nephew is Khristian and his girlfriend is Christine. Their friends that they invited are Christopher and Christina. It's very handy that you can say Chris, and they all answer (Or confusing). They awoke yesterday and discussed the arrival of their friends as they had breakfast on the veranda of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. They wanted to impress their friends that had no idea of the wealth that they have. The friends were lured here saying that they had a small guest house they could stay in. Well, she called me wanting to know if I'd pick them up in the limo from the airport. Of course I said yes. Khris and Chris rode the 75 miles to Detroit Metro Airport with me, excited to surprise their friends. As I approached, you should have seen their eyes. Christopher is an X-Navy Seal, working his way through medical school and couldn't believe when his friend offered to fly him and his girlfriend to Michigan for summer break. As he's getting into the limo he says "I feel like I've won the lottery!" to which Khris replied, "You haven't seen anything yet".

During the long drive back, the two veterans dropped clues to what the newbies were in store for but never really told them the whole of it. So as we exited the freeway, the last exit before Canada, I offered to give them the 10 penny tour of town. Being from Texas, they were excited to see just how close we are to Canada. As we drove through downtown, I pointed out some key things and Khris pointed out his Aunt's studio and other things that his Uncle owns. Then I pulled the limo into the park that overlooks the Blue Water Bridges and the river that separates the US from Canada. I pointed out the lightship museum and there happened to be a freighter passing by as we drove through the park. We stopped at the statue of Thomas Edison and admired his Aunt's work before moving on to one of the many beautiful light houses that dot our shore where Lake Huron narrows into the St.Clair River.

Then we headed toward their accommodations for the week. As we drove along the riverfront, the newbies were admiring all the beautiful homes. They pointed to one of my friends homes and said "Wow! Look at that! This place is amazing!" Then I slowed the car before turning into their camp for the week and they both erupted into "Are you kidding me?! This is where we're staying?!"

The reply was of course, "NO, you are staying in the 1000sq ft artist studio/guesthouse, filled with antiques and a wonderful 1936 claw foot tub and there's an outdoor shower at the boathouse if you prefer that." I carried their bags through the main house and down the hill to the guesthouse as the new guest cried tears of joy. The sculptor walking with me explaining to me, "All the money in the world is nothing unless you can share it with the unsuspecting from time to time."

Some day, this young man and his girlfriend will be doctors and save peoples lives. Some day they will make a good living and have nice things. And some day, they are going to remember this week and pass it on to another unsuspecting soul. But today, they visited the Brighter Side.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Boston Stronger

As you know by now, I love to drive. So I'm still asking myself why I chose to fly this time.

We've found ourselves on this tiny plane traveling from Detroit to Washington DC. I couldn't stand up straight in the aisle and was wedged into the seat so tight there was no way I was coming out of there. I "let" Eddy have the window seat so I could straighten one leg into the aisle when the one flight attendant was not walking about.
 We landed in DC, taxied to an open area and they told us to get off! Waiting in the rain for our bags, a bus pulled up to take us for a tour of the airport tarmac before ushering us up a flight of stairs.

I'm not one to complain, but if I was going to, this would have been one of those times. We made our connecting flight to Boston alright. But the one "checked bag" went on to South Carolina instead.
Boston Common Hotel and Conference Center
 The bag arrived several hours after us at the Boston Commons Hotel. It had had a much nicer time than we had already. Our taxi ride to the hotel had me turning all shades of green. If that driver worked for me, the passenger in the back would have come back to life just to vomit on the driver.

But, it's all about the experience. And, it was an experience!

The hotel is located just two blocks from Copley Square. Home to Trinity Church and the John Hancock Building.
A reflection of Trinity Church in the John Hancock Bldg.

Moss covered statuary on Trinity Church

Singleton Copley

 Of course Copley Square and more specifically, Boylston Street have been well known for years as where the Finish Line for the famed Boston Marathon is located. Made even more famous recently with the bombings that occurred there as this years race was ending. Three people lost their lives that day and many more were permanently injured. Then a few nights later, one more life was lost while attempting to capture the culprits of the bombings.

This memorial area has been set aside to pay tribute to the lives lost and the courageous people that came to the rescue of many more.
 Being here was both spooky and empowering at the same time. Empowering because this is a strong city. A city that would not run and hide when the going got tough. The term Boston Strong, is very fitting for what I found in this wonderful city that is so full of rich American history and vibrant modern life.
 On Boylston Street is the Old South Church and we were delighted to find this rainbow flag flying high on it's bell tower.

Being from the Detroit area, I can say that Pride in much of anything right now is almost non-existent. And when it comes to Gay Pride, oh sure there is a festival, but it has a long way to go before it could compare to any other Pride that I've been to.

So seeing this flag flying on a church in the middle of the Back Bay District in Boston, gave me hope that there is something to be proud of.

And this year Boston has a lot to be proud of. I am happy that I was able to spend Pride weekend in such a warm welcoming city.

We left Copley Square and headed to the public gardens and the famed Boston Commons. Passing quaint streets and alleyways along the way.

In the next post, we'll visit the Historic side of Boston. And you know that includes a cemetery or three.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Adventure Begins

We started our trip where many have ended.

I've always wanted to witness the Boston Marathon. If not to run, than at least to watch and cheer on those that have given themselves to their passion.
I've admired the dedication that it takes to not just "Go out for a jog", but to train for months or years to  complete a goal.

I know that a runner's high does not come from thinking about the end result. To a runner, the end result is assured. Instead, they only think of the moment. One step, one breath, one heart beat at a time.

The same can be said for manifesting your dreams.
To watch as time peels away each new second to this journey, here on earth.

So this is where our journey begins. Here where two young men tried to end so many dreams less than two short months ago, we began ours.

I've given you a preview. And many of you know of our visit to Ocean Breezes and From Sophie's View from reading about it over there. This is going to take a little bit of time to document everything that I want to share with you. But I hope you'll come along with me on what we called, Our Adventure to Glory...........

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sophie and Sydney

As we depart Saint John, completely exhausted, we are going to take a day off and just relax onboard the ship.
Our next destination on Thursday, you won't find in any travel brochure. 
Well, you'll find Halifax on the itinerary but we've lined up a local for an insiders look at one of the most historic cities in North America. Well, she's letting her Dads do the driving bit.

Yes, I'm sure most of you recognize Miss Sophie. I am so excited to meet her. I feel like I've known her most of her life. And quite honestly, I am definitely missing my little fluff ball back at home.
A little doggie time will do me some good.

 Then on Friday, we are off to Sydney!

Oops! Wrong one.
(I've already been there)

There it is! Sydney, Nova Scotia. Home to the worlds largest (50 feet) fiddle. Cape Breton Island has been producing wonderful music for many years and we are hoping to catch some live jams at a local pub.

From here we are going to enjoy another relaxing day at sea. Hopefully we will avoid those icebergs and make it safely back to Boston before heading back to Michigan.
When I get home, I've got a lot of photo downloading to do. You are in for a treat!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Oh Glory

As you can imagine, this weekend has been packed with all sorts of fun.
But remember, This is The Brighter Side of the Grave.
So no weekend excursion would be complete without a visit to a cemetery to go right along side of all the action. We are getting some incredible photos that I can't wait to share with you.
But it will have to wait for now. Because we're not done yet!
You know how I love to drive. Well, I have to admit that we flew from Detroit to Boston. And truth be told, I didn't even drive to the airport. And I won't be driving any time soon either.

This afternoon, we will be boarding another ship. Yes, I know this is the third one in three years.
Carnival Glory
And just because we love a good adventure, we decided to cruise with Carnival this time around aboard the Carnival Glory. (Watch for it on the news)
I love to wake up each day with something new to explore and not have to unpack all my stuff at a new hotel each day. Some people think that cruise ships are like some sort of tourist parade where the mindless passengers invade a town, wreck it and run away. But I've found that everything in life is what you make of it. Each day, I look for a new adventure. Something different. Something that I can only do at that port.

You'll have to stay tuned to find out what we are doing at each place that we visit. But I will tell you that our first stop will be in Portland, Maine on Monday.

Then we'll be heading over to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada on Tuesday for a little adventure including something to do with reversing waterfalls.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

An Adventure to Glory

What an odd month May was. It was absolutely beautiful in our little corner of the world. Each day brought more warm sunshine on my face. The thing about the funeral business is, when the weather is good, people tend to stick around a little longer. That translates to very few deaths. 
With all the funeral homes that we work for, there still was very few days that I got to get up in the morning and bury someone.
 Oh, there were a few days when the skies opened up and spread a little rain on the gardens. And you can bet, those were the days that I had to stand out in the parking lot telling people how to line up behind the car before them.
But for the most part, it was a wonderful month to be alive. The time off afforded me the opportunity to visit my mother's grave in up state Michigan and the grave of my mother-in-law in Wisconsin. May, as you know is when both our mothers died and is also when we celebrate Mother's Day. So it was nice to be able to do both of those. We were able to make it all the way to Minnesota for the most memorable wedding that I've ever been to. And finally to visit the Wisconsin Dells. What an amazing place.

 But here we are, it June already. This month has started out pretty violent weather wise. And you know, that means that I've been working my butt off with funerals. But after the funeral this morning, Edward and I are going to escape on one more little adventure. "An Adventure to Glory" we're calling it.

I will recap all the fun after our return, but you will have to be patient because it's going to be a while.
Along the way, I will post where we are going next but you'll have to tune in later to hear about our adventures.

Can you guess where we are starting out by the photos above?
If not, the photos below are a sure give away. We planned this trip as a big birthday adventure for my loving husband. This year is quite a big number when it comes to birthdays and we wanted to celebrate it right.
When we found out that our first destination city was having their Pride celebration on his birthday, we knew then and there, this was where we would start out for our Adventure to Glory.

You see, back in 2005 after having been together for nearly 7 years, Edward asked me to marry him. Gay marriage had just become legal in Ontario, Canada right next door to our backwards state. We made a lifetime commitment to each other during the Toronto Pride Celebration with two of our close friends at our side. We then celebrated with a small parade where over a million people were in attendance. So, for this momentous birthday, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than to invite another million of our Boston friends to hit the streets and party along with us.

Then after the incident with the Marathon, I think Boston has a little more to celebrate than just Ed's birthday or Gay Pride. I can't wait to witness Boston Strong first hand. Our hotel is two blocks from the finish line of the race. A place that has been a symbol for strength and endurance for many years. A place that should be celebrated. It's now a place where Bostonians can come and say "We are stronger than this!" A place where people can be proud.

So, for this years big adventure. We are starting out strong and proud. Stick with us as we journey to some wonderful historic lands and delight in the people that we meet along the way.
If you're in the Boston area this weekend and would like to meet up for coffee, comment below or email me and we'll work out the details. I love to meet my readers.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dells Part 2

As promised, we've tied up the boat and donned our land legs.

We've come to explore The Witches Gulch.
Again, these formations were formed by ice, not water.
But there is now water running beneath the walkway that you see in the pictures.
A creek, if anything. But a beautiful creek.
To traverse these rocks would be next to impossible without the walkway.

And when this area was named, it was believed that witches were evil, devil worshiping, beings that were looking to destroy anyone who came upon them.

Or something like that.

Many people went out to explore these rocks and never came back, so there must be an evil witch living out there.
I'm sure that it wasn't because it was a dangerous natural phenomenon.
It's much easier to explore now. But there is something very scary at the end of that walkway.
Very scary, in deed!

NO! It's not Stew and Ed!

It's a concession stand!
We were saved by the fact that it was before Memorial Day and the stand was closed.
Another point of exploration is on the opposite side of the river. Here we were treated to a wonderful German Sheppard who loves to jump back and forth from the cliff to the rock formation.

It's not really dangerous for the dog and he totally loves the attention.

Looking North up the river....
Some place in a box full of old photos,
taken on a 126mm box camera, no doubt,
Ed has a picture of his young mother
tucked into this same cave.
Because this type of sandstone is so porous it is possible for all those trees to grow in them with no dirt on top like you'd see with granite cliffs.

It was very odd to walk through these towering formations, thinking they've been like this for thousands of years.

The state of Wisconsin ensures that they are protected and will last for many, many more years. But you never know what nature has in store.

A few years ago, one quiet April morning a famous rock formation (Minors Castle)
on Michigan's Northern shore crumbled in half, teaching us to appreciate what we have now because there are no guarantees.
A lesson we can apply to our everyday lives.

Thanks for coming along on this adventure across Middle America.
After dinner in the Dells, we got back on the road.
After we made it through Chicago, I thought,
'It's only 5 more hours to home, I'm awake and the road is clear'
So we finished our journey around 2:30am.

As you know by now, I love to drive. 
I don't want to miss a thing.
I want to take my time and enjoy everything this earth has to offer me.
I want to meet the people that call it home.
To me, the earth is like a beautiful birthday cake.
It excites me every day.
The earth's crust is like the frosting.
And YOU, yes YOU are like the bright, bright burning candle on top.
Thank you for your light, your love and your warm hearts
 that make this world such a wonderful place to explore.

Keep your eyes open, because you never know where I might pop up next......