Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A gift for British Airways

My hubby, BMG, and I are going to Ireland this summer. In anticipation of our flight to London and then on to Dublin, we reached out to British Airways via Twitter to tell them we were excited to be flying with them soon.

If you read this blog, you know this brief exchange with a favorite brand on Twitter turned into a promise to send a gift basket to the 59 members of the social media team based in England.

This is what we shipped on Tuesday, June 16:

And, for the benefit of the team at British Airways, we are providing the following explanation of what we shipped:

1. Magnet depicting Plymouth Rock, the legendary spot where the pilgrims first stepped foot on what would become America. It is the most disappointing tourist site in America.

2. Autumn/Thanksgiving-scented candles from Massachusetts brand, Yankee Candle. Massachusetts is located in a region known as New England, home to the original American colonies. Tourists from all over the world visit New England each fall for a "sport" known as leaf peeping, or driving around to look at the color landscape created as the leaves on our deciduous trees prepare for fall. And, as the home to the first Thanksgiving (in 1621), the scent of pumpkin pie is characteristic of New England.

3. Tiny replica of Mayflower II, a replica of the replica of the replica of the pilgrim's ship that made the journey from the Netherlands to the land that would become America. This is a fun tourist attraction, complete with historic re-enacters.

4. The South Shore of Massachusetts offers a rich history in ship building and has an active commercial fishing industry. Lobsters, once a poor man's food, is now the fanciest food you can eat. Shipping live lobsters for 59 people was cost prohibitive, so instead we're sending gummi lobsters. Unlike the real thing, the gummis should NOT be boiled and eaten with clarified butter.

5. We've appropriated the British queen's "Keep Calm and Carry On" in 12,000 appropriate and inappropriate ways.


7. Hull is a scrappy community here on the South Shore. They are home to the only public beach, which makes this town one of the most frequently visited.

8. Boston baked beans! Boston is known as "Bean town" and this candy celebrates that history.

9. One of the major exports of the region is cranberries! A Thanksgiving staple, cranberries also have loads of vitamin C and antioxidants. We've provided enough cranberry tea for EVERYONE in the office to enjoy a cuppa cuppa.

10. And if you love cranberries, we've also included milk chocolate covered cranberries from the nearby Cape Cod Candy Company.

11. Back to lobsters, or lobstahs as Bostonians would say. Not a fan of gummis? Maybe you like lollipops? We've included five of these for the lollipop eaters in the office.

12. Colonial history is a big part of what makes the region where we live special. We've included a copy of the Mayflower Compact, the first governing document of the American colonies, AND a map of the world as it was known by the colonists in 1635.

13. Boston's accent is legendary. "Park your car in Harvard Yard" is pronounced "Pahk your cah in hahvahd yahd." And if a Bostonian thinks something is amazing? We call it "wicked pissah!" Two drink coozies from the town of Scituate, the heart of the Irish Riviera, will help make sure you remember this.

14. The beachy vacation mecca of Cape Cod is just an hour's drive away. We can also get there by boat from Boston, and, recently, by train. (I've also biked there, but it took 18 hours; I don't recommend that.) Cape Cod Potato Chips (or should we call them crisps) are one of our exports.

15. Massachusetts was the third colony in what became America. And, the American revolution was fomented just 15 miles north in Boston. John Adams, 2nd president of the U.S. and one of the framers of our constitution, lived on the South Shore (as did his son, the 6th president of the U.S., John Quincy Adams). We think of ourselves as the one of the cradles of our nation, and we take the 4th of July very seriously. We've shared some accouterments of our celebrations, including patriotic tiaras, beaded necklaces, a bow tie, and fundraising buttons from Hingham's 4th of July parade.

16. Finally, when we were crowd sourcing the contents of this gift basket, we were told the gift would not be complete without representation from our local sports teams. Boston is a big sports towns, with baseball, (American) football, basketball, hockey, and soccer teams. We've included bumper stickers from our most popular teams, the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. (And I have to mention that BMG is NOT A FAN of the Patriots.)

We hope you enjoy your little slice of New England and the Boston's South Shore. For our part, we're looking forward to visiting Ireland and (Olde) England on our upcoming vacation!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Room of My Own

“Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed, so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must needs harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics.” 

My husband gave me a desk for my birthday this year. And by this I mean he cleaned out our spare room (aka "the office") so I could make room for a desk and some of my personal things.

My desk is utilitarian. A boxy black tabletop affixed to a tool bookshelf on one side, and a smaller one on the other. On it rests my laptop computer, a box of bills to pay and paid bills to file, and accouterments of an ordinary office. I look up and see a collage I made more than 10 years ago, framed and reminding me that no one can squelch the light that shines within me. I also see a picture of my family and another of my nieces and nephews. Hastily decoupaged tins, commandeered from the bathrooms where they once held cotton balls and band-aids, now hold my dusty collection of designer markers and colored pencils collected long ago to supplement a stamp art habit. And, of course, a photo of Paris, taken on my first trip there with BMG more than seven years ago.

Looking around the 6' x 4' space I've been granted in the office, I am reminded that it is energizing and essential to have one's own space for creative endeavors.

Now that I have a desk, I'm finding myself excited about all of the computer projects that were piling up. Projects like:

  • Help my husband organize the accounting and project management system for his business
  • Teaching myself Wordpress so I can work on our blog and other social media properties
  • Helping my husband set up an Etsy shop to sell his photography
  • Starting to write again
  • Starting to do more paper crafting
  • Breathing. 

I hadn't realized how much being forced to pay bills from the kitchen counter or being relegated to the cat hair covered couch to do my blogging in the wee hours of the morning before my hubby flipped on ESPN was cramping my style. But it was.

I write this at 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. ESPN is, in fact, blaring from the living room (which is also the kitchen and the dining room in our tiny home). But I'm neither distracted nor bothered by it. And, from my little space in the office, all I can see are the tools of my productive life. There are no rugs that need to be vacuumed, dishwashers that need to be emptied, litter boxes that cry to be cleared, and washing machines whose silence reminds me it is time to throw their contents into the dryer.

It doesn't take a lot to make this girl happy. And I am happy to have a room of my own. Thanks BMG.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

This is 45

Today I celebrated the successful completion of my 45th year on this planet. What does 45 look like to me, you wonder?
* Throwing away the last two tater tots because I know there is no room in my stomach for them
* A 6:15 a.m. phone conversation with my mom because she kniwsi'm up and likely at my best 
* A 6:30 a.m. txt conversation with a friend who knows I'm up and will txt back that early
* Choosing to skip dessert because I'd rather have a drink (and occasionally vice-versa)
* Being able to ask,y husband for EXACTLY what I want, and getting just a little bit more
* Unapologetically explaining my movie reviews come from both NPR and TMZ
* Delight in having a signature scent, and body powder to prove it  
* Understanding that love - for my husband, a childhood friend, family members - simply means wanting someone else to experience happiness, no matter what it means to them

I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't a little panicked at being half-way to 90. And I know that if I (knock on wood) died tomorrow, people would say I was a good person who lived a good life.

Happy birthday to me.46 is looking pretty good from here.