I spent much more time than I planned this past week on a theoretically quick project. Don’t you hate when that happens? Sketching my ideas for renovating our house wasn’t supposed to take so long.
I have several projects in mind for our house. As a result, I had many ideas about each one floating through my head. I decided I should document my ideas, so I could set it all aside and not risk forgetting what I wanted before the big day finally came. So about ten days ago, I purchased one of those inexpensive software packages for designing houses.
First, I needed to develop a good drawing of our house as it is now. However, the base drawing was easier said than done. Our house is old, two-story, and was added onto a couple of times. Plus, there are three dormers on one end of the house. This all resulted in many odd corners and dimensions. And being the details person that I am, I was determined to make my drawing as accurate as possible. This took two days and a lot of running back and forth with a measuring tape before I thought it was pretty close.
But of course, I wasn’t done. I still had to add my proposed remodeling changes. Luckily, I figured out how I could copy the existing floor plan and make a new version with the changes. However, since we have proposed changes on both floors of our house, and a couple possible options for each, this required several more drawings. The bulk of the work took another two days. Even after that, I went back to the drawings a few times to add additional notes as I thought of them.
I can rest easier now, knowing my ideas are captured in files and on printouts. I really hope I can put them to use improving our house some day. But as we all know, remodeling a house is not cheap. I guess my husband was right when he wryly pointed out I need to sell some books first. Which begs another question: If you were a writer who received a large advance check, what would you spend it on?
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I love history, and old buildings with history. The Colonial time period is one of my favorites, so I especially enjoyed writing this week about a building steeped in the activities (and maybe a little romance?) of that era.
On March 14, 1743, the first town meeting was held at Faneuil Hall in Boston. Why is this important? Because this was the first step toward Faneuil Hall becoming one of the most important buildings in U.S. history.
After Peter Fanueil inherited his uncle’s estate in 1738, he became perhaps the wealthiest merchant in Boston. As a merchant, he saw a need for a central marketplace in Boston, and he proposed to build a structure for the city. There was a surprising amount of resistance to his offer and the vote passed with a very narrow margin, 367-360. The original plan was a one-story covered arcade area for merchants. At the last minute, Peter added a second story with a meeting hall. The building was completed in 1742.
The second story started as an afterthought, but quickly became the most important part of the building. It was used for town meetings and also as a venue for public events such as concerts and banquets. The hall also became a primary meeting place for unhappy Bostonians who were becoming increasingly unhappy with the high taxes and dictatorial control imposed on the colonies by Britain. In fact, one could make a strong case for Faneuil Hall as the birthplace of the American Revolution.
Faneuil Hall was still widely used after the contentious meetings of the Revolution. So much so, that Boston decided to expand it in 1805. Four more bays were added to the original three bays on the first floor, and the entire formerly-open area was then enclosed. A third floor was also added, which was used to create galleries around the upper edge of the enlarged meeting hall on the second floor.
The hall is still used for speeches, other public events and major political events. But there is one other current use which I think would mean the most to the Founding Fathers who met and spoke here in the 1700s. Twenty-four times each year, anywhere from 300 to 500 hopeful people meet here, take the Oath of Allegiance, and become new citizens of the country which was born here nearly 250 years ago.
Faneuil Hall’s legacy was born with that first town hall meeting 274 years ago, but it came of age as a place where then-revolutionary ideas about fair representation and democracy were formed and molded into a new country. To me, that makes it a very important place indeed.
What do you think? What other buildings do you think are equally important? Sign up for my email list, and let me know if you have another contender we should talk about.
The other day, I posted something about reading a book by one of my favorite romance authors. This made me stop and look again at my “keeper” shelves. They are big, and they are full.
I believe I started collecting the books on my keeper shelf not long after I got out of college. I won’t say what year it was, but my son is out of college himself, married and has a baby. So yeah, it’s been a few years.
When I first started buying books, I started keeping them all, then quickly realized I didn’t have the space. So I started narrowing the books down to my favorites. There have been plenty of books over the years which I bought and enjoyed, and then passed on for other people to read. Bags and bags of them. I gave away many more than what I kept.
In spite of the culling, my keeper shelf has shown healthy growth over the years. It is now a set of eight shelves, all eight feet long. And even that doesn’t quite hold them all, so I also have an additional small bookcase. All told, I estimate I have over 800 books on my keeper shelf. Historical romance, contemporary, romantic suspense, a few paranormal – they run the gamut. Now, when I’m in the mood to reread a good book, I have my choice.
I suspect I’m not the only reader out there with a keeper shelf which has mushroomed beyond belief. I’d love to hear about your keep shelf!
I write historical fiction, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.