Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA


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Addison Gallery of American Art

January 4th 2013
On Saturday I went out to Andover to visit the Addison Gallery of American Art for the first time. The reason for the visit was to see ‘the kids are all right’ because my sister-in-law, Julie, has two photographs in the show. I am really glad that I both got to see the show (it was the last day – hello, procrastinator!) and visit the museum.

The Addison is a small museum on the Phillips Academy campus. It, as the name suggests, features American art. When I visited, there were four exhibitions – Flash Back—November 22, 1963, James Prosek: The Spaces in Between, Natural Selections, and the kids are all right. I enjoyed all four, but was especially impressed with James Proseck and the kids are all right.

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2013 in Review

Oh my. 2013 certainly was a long year. As I was looking at pictures from the beginning of the year I couldn’t believe that they were taken less than a year ago. This was taken on January 1st 2013, and so many things – the place we live, the tree, the furniture – are different now.

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This was a year of big changes both for me and for people close to me. A lot of really wonderful and fun things happened this year but, for whatever reason, this year seemed like a bit of a slog. I don’t know why it is (ummmmm, probably all of the changes,) I have just felt more overwhelmed that was probably necessary.

January started off with some cold bike commutes…
Today's commute brought to you by the letter B for Brrrrr! 1°F/-17°C

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Using the 19th

Election Day 2013

“I think the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood.” ~Susan B. Anthony

“The bicycle will inspire women with more courage, self-respect and self-reliance,and make the next generation more vigorous of mind and body; for feeble mothers do not produce great statesmen, scientists and scholars.” ~Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Election Day 2013

I was obviously thrilled to be able to ride my bicycle to the polls to vote this morning. As I was riding, I thought about the women who came before me and worked to secure so many of the rights I enjoy today. Imagine how happy Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton would be to see me riding my bicycle, wearing practical clothing of my own choice, to vote in an election with seven women on the ballot. So, friends, if you have an election today get out and vote.

If you’re interested in learning more about women’s suffrage, bicycles, and how they connect, I recommend A Wheel Within a Wheel by Frances E. Willard and Wheels of Change by Sue Macy. A Wheel Within a Wheel is a first-hand account of suffragette Frances Willard’s experience taking up bicycle riding at 53 (badass!) Wheels of Change is meant for younger readers but it provides a great overview the impact cycling had women’s lives and contains a lot of primary source material.


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New Bike Lanes on Father Morissette Boulevard

I won’t lie, this post was probably going to be a bit snarky until the universe set my inner jackass straight by only showing me lovely things on my ride. I had a meeting this morning in the Acre, a neighborhood I haven’t really had a chance to ride through since we moved (it used to be a part of my daily commute.) While I would usually have ridden to my destination via Merrimack or Salem Street, today I decided to check out the new bike lanes on Fr. Morissette Blvd.

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All I ever wanted…

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I recently returned from my annual trip to Wellfleet, MA with my friends Katy and Yovani. I really look forward to this trip every year because it is always so lovely to relax in one of the loveliest places in the world with some of my favorite people, but this year, I really, like really, needed a vacation. Between buying a house, moving, a couple of big things happening at work, hosting houseguests, and Gist’s job being pretty intense, I was pretty fried and ready to stare at the sea for a good amount of time to relax and recharge. And relax and recharge is pretty much what we did.

There was a lot of staring at the Atlantic…
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And watching the sun set, and moon rise (we were there for the supermoon) over Wellfleet Harbour…
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We had a couple of wonderful special guests: Katy’s four-week-old son, who was a delight, and Abby, Katy’s mom (also a delight!)

Katy and I jumped off of Provincetown Pier to, as Yovani said “reclaim our lost youth.” LOL😉

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We ate and drank very well…

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There was beachcombing and swimming, storms and seals…
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We looked at that amazing light…
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And we did a lot of reading….
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It was basically just the very thing I needed in my life.

Now that I’m home, Gist and I have been working on the yard, especially the corner that Gist calls “Crazy Country” and that I call “Paradise.”
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My yard ornament/solar-powered light collection is growing by leaps and bounds! And the birds (and squirrels) have figured out that we are the suckers who will feed them any and all of the types of food.
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We’ve both loved having a yard this summer – it’s great for the dogs, I get to indulge my love of tacky yard ornaments, Gist loves doing yard work (who knew?) and I really love cooking outside!

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In fact, our big plans for Independence Day include cooking outside (and relaxing in the hammock, of course!)

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Seeing Lowell through new eyes…

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For the past few days (most of) my brothers and my sister-in-law have been staying with us right here in Lowell. As is the Gries tradition, I took them on a tourist death-march (aka see all the sights you possibly can in your limited time in any location) around Lowell. Not only was it super-fun to see and spend time with everyone, it was also great to experience the loveliness of Lowell through their eyes (and through the magic of instagram, of course😉 ) Living here everyday, I often forget what an interesting place Lowell is.

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Bob really wanted to drink some Moxie on his trip to New England and he was really excited to learn that Moxie was invented in Lowell!

My brothers’ instagrams of Lowell (and everything else) can be found here and here.

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