An Apple Found Poem

apples inspired a found poem

Last weekend, some friends and I went for a walk around Franklin Park. This park is Boston’s largest open space and the crown jewel of Frederick Law Olmsted‘s Emerald Necklace.

It was a beautiful day and October’s colors were in full effect. One of my friend’s co-workers recently bought a home and was surprised to find that she has an apple orchard. Can you imagine? A surprise apple orchard!

Because now she has too many apples, she’s giving them away to everyone she knows. My friend took some and I was lucky enough to leave our walk with dozens of apples. I stewed some with ground cinnamon, ginger and a touch of honey. I still have about a dozen left and not yet sure what I’ll do with them. Maybe make another Dutch baby? An apple crisp?

In any event, these gorgeous beauties inspired me to write a found poem. Back in 2010, on the first iteration of this blog, I discovered found poetry. I’m forever hooked! I love poetry and writing found poetry is easier than starting from scratch. It’s fun too. Like a word game!

To write a found poem, find some text – a book, magazine article, blog post, etc. As you read it, pull out words to create your poem. Ta da! You wrote a poem.

Below is the found poem I wrote using the article 5 Health Benefits of an Apple from EatingWell.

An Apple Found Poem

Doctor away!

Truth.

Apple-licious ways.

Flesh and skin.

Cooked and baked.

Fresh.

2 apples.

8 weeks.

You benefit.

Reduced risk.

Thanks.

You guessed it – apples.

Slices satisfied people.

Applesauce, apple juice.

Granny Smith, McIntosh, Golden Delicious.

Tops among fruits.

Don’t toss the peel.

Found.

The Best Of New England

New England scene showing pumpkins and a field with haystacks

My mom and I recently went to a farm stand. It was so perfectly New England in late summer moving into fall. The pumpkins, stacks of hay, freshly picked vegetables and fruits remind me of the beauty in Massachusetts.

Given the levels of trauma and sadness happening in this country on a daily basis, any degree of serenity and peace I can find is a much needed gift. So with this roundup post, I’m celebrating some the best of things in New England.

Best Drive-In Movies

Going to drive-in movies is a thing again because of the pandemic. I remember going a few times when I was very young and having a blast. Fodor’s Travel lists ten of the best drive-in movie theaters around the country and three of them are in New England. With chilly weather here, it’s the perfect social distanced activity.

#3 Sunset Drive-In – Colchester, VT

#2 Mansfield Drive-In – Mansfield, CT

#1 Wellfleet Drive-In Theater – Wellflett, MA

Best Places To Live

As a third generation New Englander, I’m definitely biased, but there are many good things about living here. People travel here from all over the world to attend school. Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, our sports teams are some of the best. We have world class hospitals and medical care, which is especially important right now. Five places in New England made Money magazine’s list of the 50 best places to live in America.

#37  Salem, NH

#28  Chesire, CT

#26  Braintree, MA

#14  Chelmsford, MA

#12  South Windsor, CT

Best Craft Distilleries

Rhode Island Spirits, located in Pawtucket, came in third in USA Today’s list of the ten best new craft distilleries.  They sell organic and gluten free gins, vodkas and liqueurs. This reminds me of the great time I had touring a rum distillery with my father.

Best Pizza

The Daily Meal recently declared the top 101 pizza places in the United States. Several New England pizza places made the cut. Connecticut has the most places on the list of the New England states and beats the entire country with the number one spot. Mystic Pizza is arguably Connecticut’s most well-know pizzeria and the movie by the same name helped launch Julia Robert into stardom. Back in January 2019, Playbill wrote that Melissa Etheridge was working on the score to a stage adaptation of the movie. Despite the fame of the pizza shop, it’s not on the list.

#90 Micucci Grocery – Portland, ME

#86 Slab – Portland, ME

#67 Al Forno, Providence, RI

#47 BAR – New Haven, CT

#45 Zuppardi’s Apizza – West Haven, CT

#43 Colony Grill – Stamford, CT

#40 Tilton House of Pizza – Tilton, NH

#25 Galleria Umberto – Boston, MA

#16 Modern Apizza – New Haven, CT

#9 Sally’s Apizza– New Haven, CT

#7 Santarpio’s – East Boston, MA

#1 Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana – New Haven, CT

Best Scents

I can’t claim that these are the best scented candles, but I like the idea of them. The brand is called Homesick and the scents are supposed to remind you of a place.

Scent is a big thing for me, so I was thrilled when I was invited to take a smell walk in Boston. That walk focused on scent was one of the coolest things that I’ve done as a blogger.

The Boston candle is described as “Fall days spent wandering the cobblestone streets. Notes of spiced tea with clove and orange capture the City on a Hill.”

There are a few more city candles and state candles too. I think these would make a great gift. To wind up this roundup, here are the descriptions of the scents for each of the New England states.

Connecticut: “Warm-baked pies fragrant of nutmeg, clove and lemon. Eucalyptus and oakmoss evoke memories of brisk fall afternoons spent outside.”

Maine: “Reminiscent of wild Maine blueberries and lavender fields. Woody notes of cedarwood and patchouli balanced with a floral bouquet.”

Massachusetts: “Apple cider, simmering coffee, and just-baked donuts. Sweet hints of tonka bean are balanced by spicy cinnamon and a touch of fragrant clove.”

New Hampshire: “Cozy up with a cup of hot apple cider. Autumn days spent outside with views of foliage and the sweet smell of vanilla in the air.”

Rhode Island: “An afternoon on the Cliff Walk with hot apple cider and cozy sweaters to keep warm. The rolling tides carry the sweet and spicy scents of fall.”

Vermont: “Vibrant foliage covers the rolling hills of the Green Mountain State. Scents of cinnamon and apple pie blend with decadent maple syrup.”

What do you think? Do these scents represent the best of New England? And just because you might like it, here’s a cider donut locator. It doesn’t get much more New England than that.

The 2020 Ballot In Massachusetts

🗳️Updated 8/21/2020 🗳️

In person early voting starts tomorrow, August 22, in Massachusetts! Ballots can be delivered to a municipal drop box, your local election office, or any early voting site in your community.

Click here for a listing by city and town with election office addresses and drop box locations!

voting on the ballot

Voting By Mail

Everyone in Massachusetts should have already received their Official 2020 Vote by Mail Application, so that you can receive your ballot by mail. That completed application must be received by your local election office by August 26th. If you want to vote by mail, send the application back as soon as possible if you haven’t already. According to city of Quincy website, if you haven’t received an application, you can download it from their website. The application can be printed and mailed back to them or you can scan it and email it to them.

I mailed my completed application to vote by mail for the primary and the general election, but haven’t received my ballot(s) yet. The state primary is coming up quickly and there have been many recent issues with the U.S. Postal Service, so I’m a bit concerned about returning my ballot by mail.

Early Voting Starts This Week

However, we do have early voting in Massachusetts, so hopefully I’ll receive my primary ballot soon.

Early voting by mail begins as soon as the ballots are ready. Early voting in-person for the state primary begins this Saturday, August 22nd and lasts until next Friday, August 28th. Early voting in-person for the state election will be from Saturday, October 17th until Friday, October 30th. The city of Quincy website has some voting tips to know before you go and has a general voter guide with a lot of good information, like the locations for early voting.

You can also track your ballot online to see if and when received. When I look up my ballot, I can see for the presidential primary in March that it was mailed and received on February 28th. I did in-person early voting. The ballot status says accepted. For the state primary, it shows that the ballot was mailed on August 13th and was not returned. As mentioned before, I have not received my ballot yet. Instead of sending it by mail, I may return it in person.

Candidates On The Ballot

Like me, you’ve probably received a lot of mail recently from the candidates. It gets overwhelming. I’m not familiar with many of them, so I want to research and compare. There’s still time to not only compare information on their websites, but to do some additional research on the candidates as well.

I’m in a few Quincy Facebook groups. From comments that I’ve seen, many people seem to feel the same way and want a place where the candidates are listed together for easy research and comparison.

Online you can look at sample ballots for Quincy to see who is on the ballot for the September 1, 2020, state primary election. The City of Quincy website lists the ballots by political party, ward and precinct. The individual sample ballots open by downloading. You can see a list of the primary candidates for the entire state, divided by party, on the website for the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

A lack of organized listings spurs me to action. Needing a list is why I created Free Yoga Boston. So I’ve decided to do something similar here and list the candidates on the ballot, with links to their websites to easily read more about them. Also, I’ve linked to the website for the current office in question.

Since I’m not reading each sample ballot, I’ve looked at the one for where I vote and for my political party.  Only the contested races, those offices with more than one candidate running, are listed. The current office/description is listed next to the name instead of below, as it appears on the sample ballot.

This information will help me become more informed. Hopefully it will help you too. Feel free to share this post and let me know what you think in the comments!

2020 State Primary Candidates – Democratic Candidates For Nomination

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Senator in Congress (Vote For One)

EDWARD J. MARKEY, 7 Townsend St., Malden – United States Senator

JOSEPH P. KENNEDY, III, 106 Waban Hill Rd., Newton – Representative in Congress

Representative In Congress – Eighth District  (Vote For One)

STEPHEN F. LYNCH, 55 G St., Boston – Candidate for Re-nomination

ROBBIE H. GOLDSTEIN, 346 Congress St., Boston

Register Of Probate – Norfolk County (Vote For One)

COLLEEN MARIE BRIERLEY, 125 Bond St., Norwood

NOEL T. DiBONA, 70 Chickatabot Rd., Quincy – Current Quincy City Councillor at-Large

KATHRYN E. HUBLEY, 44 Marion St., Quincy – Current Quincy City School Committee Member

COURTNEY M. MADDEN, 124 Davis St., Quincy

MICHAEL F. WALSH, 47 Phillips Brooks Rd., Westwood – Current Westwood Selectman

County Commissioner – Norfolk County (Vote For No More Than Two)

JOSEPH P. SHEA, 6 Heritage Rd., Quincy – Candidate for Re-nomination; Former Quincy City Clerk

DENNIS J. GUILFOYLE, 47 Greensboro Rd., Dedham

CHARLES B. RYAN, 24 Conrad St., Braintree – Braintree Town Councillor at-Large

RICHARD R. STAITI, 9 Burns Ave., Canton – Town Moderator; Member, Advisory Board on County Expenditures

County Treasurer – Norfolk County (Vote For One)

MICHAEL G. BELLOTTI, 33 Bayberry Rd., Quincy – Former Norfolk County Sheriff

BRAD L. CROALL, 92 Viden Rd., Quincy

Sheriff  – Norfolk County (To Fill Vacancy) (Vote For One)

JAMES F. COUGHLIN, 36 Netta Rd., Dedham

PATRICK W. McDERMOTT, 55 Dixwell Ave., Quincy – Current Norfolk County Register of Probate

WILLIAM J. PHELAN, 86 Monroe Rd., Quincy – Former Quincy Mayor, Quincy School Committee Member

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*Updated 8/29/2020* Here’s a link to some interviews by the Quincy Democratic City Committee with Quincy candidates.

Massachusetts License Plate MV 1

Massachusetts License Plate MV 1

If you’re driving around on the roads of New England, you might want to lookout for Massachusetts license plate MV 1.

What is it about us in the Bay State, that makes us obsessed with low number license plates? I’ve never had one, but always notice them and wonder about the owners. These plates are prized family heirlooms passed from one generation to the next.

Well, apparently the generation passing didn’t happen for the MV 1 license plate. Because this past Sunday, some lucky person bought it. The Vineyard Gazette reports that it was purchased via live auction for $46,500.00.

Celebrities are no strangers to the Vineyard and Seth Meyers, who was visiting with family, hosted the Zoom event. He joked that the winner of the plate would still need to make a ferry reservation and that motorists should acknowledge them.

Be sure to say thank you — maybe two polite honks. But this is New England . . . so if they cut you off, feel free to give them the middle finger.

Most of the proceeds go to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, so the money raised will do a lot of good, which I had no idea until now. It’s nice to know that these vanity plates benefit people in need.

So if you play the license plate game, you might want to add a twist and focus on low number plates.

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Image: Possible Dreams 2020

Change The Massachusetts Flag

Today,  I’m home in Quincy, Massachusetts. This state, like the rest of the United States is on land stolen from Native Americans.

4th of July

Like last year on the 4th of July, it feels right to think about the founding of this country. I consider my birthday a personal new year and a time for self-reflection. Likewise, the birthday of this country is a time to think about the history of the United States — how we can do better now and in the future.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. But it wasn’t until five years later, in 1781, when the Massachusetts state legislature became the first to recognize the 4th as an official state celebration recognizing the anniversary of the country’s independence.

Receiving a link to sign a petition prompted me to write this post today, on the 244th birthday of the United States. The petition seeks to change the North Quincy High School mascot from the Yakoo, an offensive caricature that stereotypes Native American culture. I signed the petition and immediately thought about the Massachusetts flag.

Massachusetts Flag

When I was in my 20s and working for the state, I remember looking closely at the flag. Previously, I had only noticed the figure of a Native American man standing. But that day, I noticed that there is an arm holding a sword over his head.  A sword over his head!

Taking the Indigenous peoples’ land was bad enough. The flag shows the violence of it. Why should this emblem continue representing our state? Should we be proud of this? I am horrified by the symbolism.

The seal, which is on the flag, goes back to circa 1639, when the Massachusetts settlers adopted it. The sword was owned by Myles Standish, known for his violence against Native Americans as a military advisor for the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Colony in the 1620s.

Many say the the original sin in this country was slavery. As an African-American, I can trace my ancestry back to enslaved African-Americas in Virginia and South Carolina. The exact year enslaved Africans arrived to colonies in the Americas is not clear. Some have said 1619. But that seems to reference English colonies. The European slave trade began in the 1400s and Christopher Columbus may have transported enslaved Africans to the Americas in the late 1490s.

However, looking at the time line, Native Americans were here for thousands of years before European colonizers arrived. The theft of their land and the brutality against them was a sin. Slavery was an additional sin and the timelines intertwine.

Further, when people deem the United States a nation of immigrants, that leaves people out. Some of us were already here. Some of us came here unwillingly. We are a nation of immigrants, and Indigenous people and descendants of Africans who were enslaved in the United States. Let’s include us all.

Take Action

Since we’re at a place in time where symbols of white supremacy continue coming down, it’s well past time to change the Massachusetts flag. Especially as the Trump administration targets the Wampanoag tribe’s land. Is the state of Massachusetts in solidarity with Native Americans or not?

Last year, WGBH reported on the issue and a suggestion for the change could be an easy one. Remove the arm and sword and add a tree. A tree flag was one of the ones used during the American Revolution. Ships sailing from Massachusetts also used the tree flag. So adding a tree would be consistent with Massachusetts history.

For 36 years, the MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda has been working on changing the flag and seal, along with other initiatives as well.

Let’s support current legislation (S.1877 & H.2776) and urge the MA Rules Committee to move the Mass Flag and Seal Bill out of committee. Click on the links to send a letter. See a sample letter below.

I am a resident of (city or town), Massachusetts. I am writing in support of (S.1877 / H.2776) the bill to create a special commission, made up of Native leaders of the area now known as Massachusetts and state legislators, to change the state flag and seal of Massachusetts. The time has come to remove the sword that has been hanging over the heads of the Native people of this land for 400 years! This legislation has been stalled for 36 years in the legislature. Even Mississippi is holding bipartisan discussions now to remove the Confederate symbol from its state flag – which would leave Massachusetts as the last flag of white supremacy flying in the country. This image is a disgrace to the progressive traditions of our Commonwealth, an offense to Native people, and to everyone who upholds the value of racial justice for all. Thirty nine Massachusetts cities and towns have already voted at town meeting or city council to change the Massachusetts flag and seal, and an equal number of legislators now co-sponsor S.1877 / H.2776). Please vote favorably to move the legislation to change the Massachusetts flag and seal forward now.

*Updated 7/17/2020* Yesterday, there was a rally by Native American groups in front of the state house in support of this legislation and it generated some media attention. Governor Baker was asked about it during a press conference and stated that he is open to discussion.

*Updated 7/29/2020* There is real momentum behind this issue and the Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved new legislation (S.2848) to create a special commission. Now it’s up to the House and Governor.

*Updated 8/4/2020* North Quincy High School has changed the image of the Yakoo mascot.

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Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons