Quote of the Week: John Adams

“Posterity!
You will never know, how much it cost the present generation, to preserve your freedom!
I hope you will make a good use of it.
If you do not, I shall repent in heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

~ John Adams

Thinking about the presidential election has occupied way too much of my thoughts. Especially over the last couple of months. And the last couple of weeks. But how can I not think about it?

At the end of September, I visited Peacefield, which is part of the national park system and the historic home of John Adams and John Quincy Adams. It’s not even a ten minute drive from my house, so one day when I was feeling especially distressed, I decided to visit the garden. I walked around and then sat for a bit. Looking at the old house.

And then I prayed. Prayed to the spirits of those presidents to protect this country and keep our democracy. When John Adams spoke of posterity in the quote above, I took it personally. Posterity included me and he was thinking about me and the people in this time.

If these former presidents had any kind of pull with the election, I figured that going to their former home might be enough to get my prayers over to the other side. Autumn is said to be the time when the veil between life and death is thinnest, so I might as well take advantage of the season.

I looked at the magnificent tree in the garden and wondered about all that it has lived through. How long had it been there? Did its roots begin back when these presidents were alive? Did they sit and admire it too?

Joe Biden won the election, but our current president is doing everything to prevent a peaceful transfer of power. He has no respect for democracy. He has no respect for anything. I fear for our nation.

It’s been about three weeks since I last blogged, which is far less than normal. I’ve been waiting for something definitive to write about and to feel less stress about the democratic process. But the stress is still here. When I’m upset, sometimes I stop writing. But that’s the time that I need to write even more.

So I’m writing. But like with the pandemic, we are stuck in the in between. Waiting for the inauguration in January when Biden’s presidency will be real. Waiting for the vaccine, so we can start a new normal way of life without the virus. Just waiting.

Until then, I’ll write for the future. One day, months or years from now, I’ll look back at this post and feel grateful that this period in time is over and our country is still standing. And hopefully John Adams does not regret the pains he took.

Snow Season Begins

first snow of the season

Unbelievable. The day before Halloween and we’ve already had a real snowfall. More than three inches in the Boston area! There are still colorful leaves on the trees! I’m not a fan of winter or snow. But there’s no fighting Mother Nature, so all we can do is settle in and accept the change in season.

Daylight Savings Time ends tomorrow and we turn the clocks back. Now it will be dark at 5pm. These colder months are the season for turning inward and reflecting, while we stay indoors more as well.

For me, appreciating the change in season is a deliberate practice that I’ve cultivated over the past couple of years. Over a year, I noted what was special about each month. Because each month has its merits. Without winter, we can’t get to spring and summer. Below is part of what I wrote about October.

A cup of hot tea.

Looking out a window at the sky.

The sparks and crackle of an outdoor fire

that warms your hands

and smoke that smells like memories.

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.