A Glimpse into the life of Isabella Stewart Gardner

The year was 1990.  Two men disguised as Boston police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum telling museum guards they were responding to a call.  Both security guards on duty on March 18th were handcuffed by the impersonators and brought down to the museum’s basement and not discovered until the next morning. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MALast weekend was furrylittlegnome’s first visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  Located in the Fenway section of Boston, the museum is easily accessible by the subway’s MFA stop on the green line.  From there, the four-story building is a five minute walk.  While the Museum of Fine Arts has a wonderful John Singer Sargent exhibit, the Gardner Museum houses special Sargent pieces as well.  Fact:  Isabella Stewart Gardner and John Singer Sargent were close friends for over forty years.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA After purchasing a $15 ticket for admission ($12 for seniors), one walks down the hallway and instantly sees the famous indoor courtyard that is in the center of the building.  This photo is from the first floor and gnome’s only photo of the inside. Lots of security were present and signs posted throughout the museum stated no photographs were allowed.The Courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA The first floor is rather dark with the “West Cloister” and the “East Cloister” and “Spanish Cloister” outlining the courtyard.  It is in the Spanish Cloister where furrylittlegnome encounters her first John Singer Sargent painting – “El Jaleo”.

Moving up to the second floor, we enter the “Dutch Room” – a room wallpapered from head to toe in regal green.  Two empty and impressive frames hang on a wall.    This is the room where Rembrandt and Vermeer paintings were stolen in March of 1990.  It is the museum’s hope to one day hang those paintings back where they rightfully belong.The Dutch Room at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Another room of note on the second floor is the “Tapestry Room” – a dark room full of large tapestries that reminded furrylittlegnome of the Cluny Museum in Paris.

Going up our final set of stairs to the third floor (the fourth floor is closed to visitors), gnome encounters a free talk occurring in the “Gothic Room”.  The discussion is focused on Mrs Stewart and of a portrait of her by Mr. Sargent that is life size and in a corner.  Here, furrylittlegnome learns a few things:  Isabella Gardner Stewart came to Boston from New York and was the product of a wealthy family.  She was a fan of the Red Sox and a patron of the arts.  In fact, each piece in the museum was placed by the eye of Isabella Gardner Stewart.  In her will, if anything was significantly moved, the museum must sell the museum’s possessions.

Gnome cannot wait to visit in the spring to see the gardens outdoors in full bloom!

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The Day After Game Six

It is a quiet, Halloween morning in Boston, Massachusetts. A little before midnight, New England and most of America, watched the Boston Red Sox end a ninety-five year drought at Fenway Park with a decisive victory over the St Louis Cardinals in game six of the 2013 World Series clinching the title four games to two.

Although there have been three championships in furrylittlegnome’s lifetime (2004, 2007 and 2013), the Boston Red Sox had not won a World Series at home, in beloved Fenway Park, since 1918!

The city was preparing and hoping for this. After all, it has only been six months (that still seems so fresh in our minds) since the bombings at the Boston Marathon not only rattled this city to its core but also made it stronger than ever. During those dark days in April, the Red Sox became our distraction, and in return, they became our number one fans! We did not think we could love David Ortiz more than we already did.

Over the course of the baseball season, that seemed endless to some, Red Sox Nation was louder and prouder than ever.  As the team went from “last to first,” the pride and love its city showed them increased. For over a week, furrylittlegnome saw the “Boston Strong” banner hanging in front of the Massachusetts State House while walking to and from work.
20131031-082912.jpgLast night, it was the Prudential Tower’s turn to show some love.
While those of us have entered our buildings to start a day of work, bleary-eyed and tired, there is excitement in the air for another championship parade this weekend!

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Ahead of the Fashion Curve?

We have been hearing about it for a week now. Cold temperatures will hit New England in the next few days. With that in mind, on Sunday night, furrylittlegnome made the switch. Her summer clothes were placed in the back of her walk-in closet and her heaviness of wool and “bulky” winter wardrobe was moved to the front. In her bedroom, the Petit Bateau short-sleeve tops and bright Lilly Pulitzer pieces disappeared – replaced with ribbed turtlenecks and warm sweaters.

Gnome came across this sweater. A size 1 from Karen Millen she bought in January of 2013.Sofia Vergara wearing Karen Millen sweater on Modern Family

She had recently seen it somewhere and was shocked.

Besides being female, furrylittlegnome thought that was the only thing she and actress Sofia Vergara (of Modern Family fame) had in common. Apparently, there is one more thing…

“First Days”
Modern Family
The second episode of the season five premiere that aired on September 25, 2013 that aired in the U.S.

“Gloria Pritchett” is dropping her son “Manny” off at his first day of high school.

Sofia Vergara wearing Karen Millen sweater on Modern Family

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An Illuminating Sunday Drive

A tad under two hours west of Boston sits South Deerfield, Massachusetts. A small, quaint New England town, it is home to one of New England’s most popular destinations: Yankee Candle.

Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts

Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts
With over 19,000 retailers in the United States, Yankee Candle is one of, if not, the largest candle manufacturer in the country. With its first retail store opened in 1975, the company continues to expand.

The inside of Yankee Candle Village is like a maze. There are themed “rooms” throughout. Here, we come across a pumpkin patch in honor of the autumn season.

While there places where you can make your own candles, a restaurant to get a bite to eat or find exclusive scents like the one below, furrylittlegnome made a bee line towards Santa’s Wonderland!

That is correct. Gnome wrote something about Christmas. She cannot help it.  It is her favorite time of year.  We head into a dark part of the village called the Black Forest and enter an old Bavarian (German) village decked out for the holiday season. It is only October, but gnome was in a snowstorm and surrounded by Christmas trees!

Yankee Candle Village in Massachusetts

Yankee Candle Village in Massachusetts

Yankee Candle Village in Massachusetts

After an exhausting forty five minutes and a developing headache from smelling too many candle scents, furrylittlegnome had had enough. As she exited the building, she saw not only Santa, but the “Yankee Candle Walk of Fame”.  Bricks line the walkway with long term employees names and start date. It’s a nice touch.

Before heading back to Boston, gnome stopped next door for a candle-lit meal at Chandler’s Restaurant. Here, furrylittlegnome and her posse enjoyed a home-cooked meal!

Yankee Candle Village in Massachusetts

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The Color of Autumn in the Green Mountain State

Just a few days ago, as furrylittlegnome headed north, she was a little disappointed in the color.  She was already in the Green Mountain State and expected to see the bright reds, yellows and oranges the autumn leaves had to offer.  There were yellow and orange leaves, but they were not bright like in years past.I-89 North in Vermont during Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage in Vermont

When she finally reached central Vermont, where it was cold, rainy and gloomy, gnome saw what she had been looking for, and it was just outside a window from her family homestead.  The sun’s rays were not needed to brighten up these leaves…
Colorful leaves in Vermont during Autumn
Red Leaves on a Maple Tree in VermontAs the weekend progressed, so did the color. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate.  Here is a snapshot of what was seen in East Montpelier, Vermont!
Vermont Autumn in Vermont
<a href="https://furrylittlegnome.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/photo-12.jpg"><img src="https://furrylittlegnome.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/photo-12.jpg" alt="Vermont Autumn in Vermont" width="640" height="480" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-3859" /></a
Vermont Autumn Leaves

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Not Back to Normal

Sorry for the absence, friends, but furrylittlegnome has been under the weather.  When gnome is ill, all activities (except for watching television) cease to exist.

A fortnight ago, the first symptoms appeared.  She was tired, her throat a little scratchy, not feeling like herself.  As the week progressed, gnome was not feeling any better.  One weekend morning, at the advice of fellow gnomes, a visit to the Massachusetts General Hospital Medical Walk-In unit was in order.  It was the last place gnome wanted to be on a beautiful and sunny New England day, but she needed to get checked out.

Fearing the worst, she was pleasantly surprised.  The waiting room was clean and empty, and furrylittlegnome was seen right away.  A nurse took her temperature (which was normal) and a long wooden Q-tip was inserted into gnome’s mouth for a strep test (which came back negative).  Five minutes later, she saw the doctor.  He listened to furry’s lungs and took her blood pressure.  His course of treatment for her?  Cēpacol lozenges to treat her sore throat and plenty of liquids.  That was all.  Nothing else.

Twelve hours later, those minute symptoms blossomed into larger ones:   a deep and painful cough, congestion, a head ache, an ear ache and the chills.    Furrylittlegnome knew she was in trouble.   If this was not treated soon, she would probably wind up in the hospital.  After three sleepless nights and many cough drops and kleenex later, Monday morning finally arrived.  At 8am, gnome made the phone call to her doctor’s office and she was back at the MGH and seen shortly after.  It was quickly established furrylittlegnome had a pretty bad respiratory infection.  She was given antibiotics right away – including Tussionex to take away the pain (and cough) so gnome could sleep at night.

Furrylittlegnome is now on the mend.  She has been recuperating at home and has been busy on Pinterest, watching “Breaking Bad,” needlepointing holiday gifts, doing some online Christmas shopping, craving and eating foods that she would not typically consume and watching the first episode of Downton Abbey’s fourth season.   Since gnome has had nothing of substance happen in recent weeks, here is a snippet of things happening in the lives of others…

It looks like the author the The Peony Pages will be rowing in The Head of the Charles this school year!

Furrylittlegnome’s four-year old niece is very excited to show gnome her school during Grandparents and Special Friends Day in a few weeks.  Meanwhile, gnome’s eighteen month old niece has started referring to her aunt as “Doh Doh”.

A co-worker brought gnome four Harrow’s Chicken Pies.  Someone else gave furrylittlegnome a HoneyBaked Ham!

One of gnome’s friends, who does not have a blog and shall remain nameless, went into the operating room for ACL knee repair last week.  She is sounding very “perky” these days.

This week, there was silence.  The typical enjoyable daily texts were not received.  Why? Furrylittlegnome’s stylish connoisseur on everything has been stricken with a sore throat, congestion and general malaise.

Another friend was stricken – not with an illness but a not-so-great $90 haircut.   Think page-boy cut with bangs…

And finally, after receiving an iMessage from Atleastimnotbitter that had a photo of a dead rodent attached, Atleastimnotbitter frantically called furrylittlegnome to tell her she found a dead rat in her Portland, Maine driveway.  After further inspection of the photo and an hour of google images searches, we have finally determined that the rodent was actually a baby vole.

Furrylittlegnome will be back this week with some substance.  Until then…

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The Rodin Museum in Paris

Leaving Les Invalides in Paris, furrylittlegnome’s friend looked at our trusted map.  We would head over to a museum that gnome had not visited on previous trips to the City of Lights, and lucky for us, it was located next door to the golden dome that houses Napoleon’s Tomb.Les Invalides in Paris, France

Born in Paris in 1840, Auguste Rodin was a French sculptor.   With poor vision, Rodin was not a good student as he could not see things on the blackboard at school.  He found an outlet in drawing.  After being rejected, more than once to prestigious schools, Rodin earned a living as a bricklayer – a job he kept for over twenty years.  In the late 1870s, Rodin was re-inspired after a trip to Italy.   His first piece to earn praise was “The Age of Bronze”.  A few years after that, he was a household name.

The Hotel Bîron, a mansion built between 1727 and 1737, is the site of The Musée Rodin that opened to the public in 1919.  It houses over 300 pieces of Rodin’s work.

The Musée Rodin in Paris, France

The Musée Rodin in Paris, France

Inside, Rodin’s work is carefully spread out in sections of his life and work.  There is a monuments section, a marble work section, an 1880s section, etc.  Unfortunately, furrylittlegnome could not take photos inside.  When she took out her red camera, she was quickly told by staff “no pictures.”

The garden of the Musée Rodin houses two of Rodin’s most popular works.  Made of bronze, “The Thinker” portrays a male with his chin resting on his hand in deep thought. The idea came in 1880 but the project was not completed until 1904. The original casts are over six feet high.
The Thinker at The Musée Rodin in Paris, France Standing twenty feet high, “The Gates of Hell” is an elaborate piece that Rodin worked on for thirty-seven years! Originally crafted in 1880 as two bronze doors for a museum, the sculptor was never happy with this piece and continually added and deleted things from it. If you look closely, you can see “The Thinker” at the top – before becoming an individual piece of work.  Unfortunately, Rodin died in 1917 and “The Gates of Hell” was not completed.
The Gates of Hell at The Musée Rodin in Paris, France
This small but intimate museum is definitely worth visiting and affordable. Adult admission is only 6 Euros, but remember, friends, like many other museums in Paris, the Musée Rodin is closed on Mondays.

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So Long, Summer!

Folks. Furrylittlegnome is not going to sugarcoat it. She had a terrible summer. The deluge of rain over the Labor Day holiday, here in America, pretty much made it unsalvageable. Sure, she went to visit family in Vermont once or twice, saw Justin Timberlake and Jay Z at Fenway Park and bought her fall wardrobe at Brooks Brothers and Lilly Pulitzer, but the majority of her time was spent in her office at work – spearheading an implementation that just finally came to an end. While those around her spent their July and August weekends getting married, visiting Cape Cod or hiking in the green and white mountains, gnome sweated it out in an office building that turns off its air conditioning on the weekends to save money.

When furrylittlegnome did venture outside, she was faced with either grueling temperatures and crippling humidity or pouring rain. There was no happy medium.

With that, goodbye summer of 2013 – a farewell that could not come soon enough. Furrylittlegnome is looking forward to sights like these in the near future!

Fall Foliage in Vermont

Fall Foliage in Vermont

Snowy Vermont

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Something to See in Maine

About five miles southeast of Portland, Maine is the small town of Cape Elizabeth. Located on the Northern New England coastline, the major tourist attraction here is the Portland Head Light, located on Fort Williams Park. Today, the lighthouse is eighty feet tall and the former Keeper’s Quarters has become a museum and gift shop. Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, MaineThe oldest lighthouse in Maine, the Portland Head Light was built at the direction of George Washington in 1787 to protect the United States from British invasion. The lighthouse was completed in 1791.
Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, MaineLooking out into the Atlantic Ocean, there are painted rocks that read “Annie C Maguire shipwrecked here Christmas Eve 1886.”    The Annie C Maguire was a British three mast ship, almost two hundred feet long, that hit the rocky ledge at the Portland Head Light.   It was on its way to Portland from Buenos Aires.  The ship’s passengers and her crew were rescued by the lighthouse keeper and his family by using ladders to pull everyone to safety.  For more information about the mystery behind the Annie C Maguire, please click here.

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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Justin Timberlake and Jay Z at Fenway Park

The city of Boston was abuzz last weekend as two powerhouse musicians came to town to put on a little show at historical Fenway Park.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, furrylittlegnome was able to see “The Legends of Summer”  tour at one of America’s most famous ballparks.  In town for two shows, the tour supports Justin Timberlake’s third album, “The 20/20 Experience”, and Jay Z’s “Magna Carta…Holy Grail”.Fenway Park in Boston, MassachusettsFenway Park Food Prices Before taking our seats, souvenir stands and merch tables were everywhere.Merchandise table at Justin Timberlake and Jay Z show at Fenway Park

Merchandise table at Justin Timberlake and Jay Z show at Fenway ParkIt was surreal for furrylittlegnome to be on the Fenway field.  The stage was set up in front of the “Green Monster” and gnome had a pretty good view.

Scoreboard at Fenway Park in Boston featuring Justin Timberlake and Jay ZAs show time drew near, the stage lit up, and apparently, so did everyone else.Legends of Summer tour stage In front of the pack of gnomes stood a couple of young men who obscured furry’s view and decided to drink heavily and smoke (not cigarettes) the entire night. Should we be offended that they offered everyone, but us, a hit?

The lights dimmed, and the crowd roared.  The first song of the night was Jay Z’s “Holy Grail”.  The noise.  The singing along.   The dancing.   Furrylittlegnome had no idea that this rapper, married to Beyonce, had such a cult following and actually, pretty vile lyrics.

Jay Z and Justin Timberlake sounded great.  They performed together and solo.  Here are some photos – sorry, but furrylittlegnome is only fifty-eight inches tall…
Jay Z at Fenway Park in Boston
Justin Timberlake in Boston
Justin Timberlake on guitar at Fenway Park in Boston
The night ended shy of 11pm (EST) with Jay Z and Justin Timberlake singing Jay Z’s hit “Young Forever”.
Justin Timberlake and Jay Z at Fenway Park 

Lights from Cell Phones

Fenway Park

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