I recall as a child learning the poem Renascence by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

“All I could see from where I stood was three long mountains and a wood. I turned and looked another way and saw three islands in a bay.”

The poet’s words were written in 1912 or earlier atop Mt. Battie which overlooks Camden Harbor, on the Maine coast.

When I was a child, my family (mother, father, sister, and I) lived in Lincolnville, the next town up the coast from Camden. And so, I have stood on that mountain many times from childhood to adulthood. And each time I have pictured the poet writing those words as I too turned and looked another way.

A few weeks ago while browsing in a used book store in Cambridge, I found a large book of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay and sadly could not remember the name of the poem and so was unable to find those words that I grew up hearing.

What got me thinking about this and prompted me to search the web for the familiar poem above was an entry in Attorney Leanna Hamill’s Massachusetts Estate Planning and Elder Law blog. Her entry titled “When Someone Dies” starts out with words from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Sonnets from an Ungrafted Tree:

“I don’t know exactly what it is you do when someone dies”

Thankfully, Leanna Hamill’s blog entry points to some helpful lists of things to do – – And believe me, there’s plenty to do.



Early Sunday morning, October 29th, Jim Nevins of Arlington, MA took this photo:

Washington Elm (click to see larger image)

The plaque marks the exact location where the Washington Elm stood. Like the Elm, Jim stood in the middle of Garden Street at the intersection of Mason Street to capture this photo. But, unlike the elm, Jim is still standing.


Real or myth?

According to Wikittavel, on July 3, 1775, George Washington officially took command of the Continental Army at ceremonies beneath the Washington Elm, which stood at the edge of the training grounds used by the troops.

According to the Frequently Asked Research Questions at the Cambridge Historical Commission, the tree was real, and Washington did take command of the army in Cambridge on July 3, 1775, but there is no documentation to indicate that the event took place under the elm tree.


Don’t walk in traffic.

Take Jim’s word for it – – the plaque is real.

If you must see it for yourself, get up early on a Sunday morning as Jim did, or someone may be creating a plaque for you with some passing words.


That is, unless you have a written agreement with the agent. The Massachusetts Licensing Board’s Consumer Brochure on Real Estate Representation says, ‘Unless you have a written agreement, you should not expect the agent to promote your best interests or to keep your bargaining information confidential.

REAL ESTATE TIP for buyers and sellers:

Before your first meeting with a real estate agent, make sure you understand how Real Estate Representation works in Massachusetts:

  • A SELLER’S AGENT has the duties, as defined by law, to represent the seller’s interest in the sale of the property.
  • A BUYER’S AGENT has the duties, as defined by law, to represent the buyer’s interest in the sale of the property.

Simple enough. However, it can get complicated when you consider that you can have:

  • DUAL AGENCYwhere a real estate agent represents both the seller and buyer, but only if both parties give written concent to the agent to represent both parties. Or,
  • A FACILITATOR where the real estate agent assists the seller and buyer in reaching an agreement but does not represent either party and has no duty to keep information received from the seller or buyer confidential.


Before you share information with an agent about your need, motivation, time line or financial concerns, be sure you know if the agent is working in your best interests or not. Find out WHO THE AGENT REPRESENTS and GET IT IN WRITING!


Download and read the The Massachusetts Licensing Board’s Consumer Brochure on Real Estate Representation before you talk with an agent about buying or selling a house.


 A good real estate agent will give you an Agency Disclosure Form and explain the different types of agency relationships in your first meeting. But, you’ll have enough other things to think about without having to hear about this for the first time.

– Merle Braley


Working at a traditional desk can feel like an anchor to my body, mind, and spirit; stifling my creativity, clarity, and productivity.


This mobile desk which started out as a Cat House Bunk bed, gives the cats and me the ability to travel together around the house, seeking a warm spot in the sun, or just a change of scenery.

I’m able to think more clearly. And the cats are there to sleep, snore, and purr, keeping my blood pressure down while I’m on the phone, writing emails, or Instant Messaging with a client who may be buying or selling a house or investment property. 

Stand Up Rolling Desk with Cat Bunk Beds
Fezzle In His Bunk In the Mobile Desk
(Not pictured are GriGri & Cody)


I first posted the story of the Standing Mobile Desk in my Merle’s View blog in August this year. It was subsequently included in the Makezine.com blog.


I hope this inspires you to think outside the (cat) box, and find ways to be more productive in your home office.

– Merle Braley