Friday, December 29, 2017

2017: Adventures in Reading

I read 26 books this year, which sounds low compared to other years.  But I didn't have as much time for reading, knitting, etc this year.  Still, there were some good books. 

I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb.  I love Wally Lamb books, I usually can't put them down!  ("She's Come Undone"  will always be a personal favorite.)  This one was a little strange and a bit of a slow starter, though.  I enjoyed how he revisits some previous characters, and I liked the premise of the ghosts and watching his life unfold as a movie, only to see what was REALLY going on at the time.

Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner.  Oh my goodness, this was incredible.  A biography of her life and how she came up with the ideas for her stories, and some of the best advice I've read in a long time about loving yourself and making peace with your (plus-size) body.  It also makes me want to hunt down my copy of "Good in Bed" and read it again!

I'm mentioning this one not as an award, but a reminder.  Turbo Twenty Three by Janet Evanovich.  The 23rd book in the Stephanie Plum series and what I believe will be the last for me.  I stuck it out longer than anyone else I know, hoping that it would recapture the fun of the beginning of the series, or at least end and we'd know who Stephanie ends up with:  Morelli or Ranger.  I don't think that's ever getting resolved, and the books are just getting sillier as we move along.  Next!

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa has to be one of the heart-wrenching books that I have ever read in my life.  Based on a true story, it's about a girl and her family fleeing the Nazis on the St. Louis.  The story goes back and forth, from the girl's point of view to her great-niece's present day view and then they come together in the end. I've read plenty of stories about the World War II era and this one punched me in the gut. Another WWII era book that I read was The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and that was a rough one as well.  I honestly needed something fluffy to read after finishing.

So for pure fluffiness, I read the Winter Street Series by Elin Hildebrand.  They were enough to keep me interested, but by the third one I was sick of them.  And the shameless plug that the author put in the third one for one of her books just annoyed me.  Another "fluffy" read was another vampire book called Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper which was funny and unlike any other vampire novels that I've read.  It has a sequel that I may or may not go back to read. 

The last one that I finished for the year was The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman.  It's about an ice cream heiress, Lillian Dunkle, and basically is her life story, about how she came to this country from Russia in the early part of the 20th century, the horse and wagon accident that left her unable to walk, and about opening her ice cream brand, Dunkle's Ice Cream with her husband.  It was fiction, but very well-researched and felt like reality a lot of the time. 

So there you have it.  I'm starting to think about books that I want to read for 2018,too.  See you next year!

2017: A Year in Review

It doesn't feel like the end of the year without the Review!

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

After many years of hemming and hawing, I got my first tattoo!  It's a heart on my right wrist, made up by the boys' fingerprints.  I love it!!  I THINK I may be a "one and done" when it comes to tattoos, though.  

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I'm not a "New Year's Resolution" type of person.  I'm more of a "Make Plans and Goals" kind of person.  That being said....i made a goal of being healthier.  In some ways I did well--started drinking protein smoothies for breakfast and cutting back on the ice cream.  Then my stress-eating tendencies came out late in the year and well, My Fitness Pal shows me to be the same weight as I was last year at this time.  Turns out I'm a fantastic maintainer.  Goals for 2018?  Wag more, bark less.  Maybe get some more sleep, who knows.  

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?  I covered maternity leave for one of my co-workers, she had a baby in June.  

4. Did anyone close to you die?  Not close anymore, but one of the residents at my first property management job died in September.  We kept in touch for ten years after my leaving that job.  She was a wonderful person who dispersed fantastic advice, I'll miss her.  Traveling to that site will be weird, not stopping in to say Hi.  

5. What countries/places did you visit?
We had an AWESOME trip to Disney World in June!!  Can't wait to go again in a few years.  

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
Honestly, 2017 was a shit show in a lot of ways.  I'd like for 2018 to be a kinder, gentler year for my family.

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 
  On October 19th, my mother had a small stroke.  Things ended up being OK with time, but it was rough.  

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Instead of achievements, I'm going to call them lessons.  
A.  When it comes to your kids, it's amazing how strong you can be.  Especially when strength is all you've got, and what you really want to do is fold or crumble, but you stand strong.  

B.  I've always had a hard time asking for, and accepting, help.  I think it's because I'm usually doing to the offering and helping.  But when it hits the fan, you have to learn to let people help you.  And man, I had a lot of help this year.  I've had friends and family members flock out to help us get through stuff, and I'm forever grateful. 

9. What was your biggest failure?

I refuse to call anything a failure this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  Nothing major.  

11. What was the best thing you bought?

For Mother's Day, Brian got me a cleaning service!  At first it was weird, but I cannot tell you how wonderful it is for someone to come to your house once a month and clean your bathrooms, floors, etc.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?


13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Donald Trump, and many of his supporters.  Actually, the supporters were more appalling.   (this answer is too good not to keep)

14. Where did most of your money go?
Living expenses.  Pretty boring, right?  

15.  What did you really get excited about?

Disney World....and Universal Studios to see Harry Potter's Wizarding World.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? A big ol' mix of all of it.

b) thinner or fatter? Right about the same.  (BTW, I hate this question.)

c) richer or poorer? Both, rich in some ways and poor in others.  It all offsets in the end.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Read.  Knit.  Socialize.  Maybe not in that order....

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Work.  I took on a second property in May, and I covered a maternity leave and a manager vacancy this summer as well.  At one point I was providing coverage for FIVE SITES, bringing work home often, working long hours, going back after dinner, etc.  I often wondered "just how in the hell are you doing this, Ginny?"  But I knew all along that it was just for the short-term, and the bonus at the end of the year was worth it!

19. How did you spend Christmas?

We had a big family celebration at my house a few days before, and then my parents came on Christmas Day.  

20. Did you fall in love in 2017?

I've been in love with the same man for 19 years.  NINETEEN YEARS, holy crap. 

21. What was your favorite TV program? 
Eh....nothing really grabbed me to be a "favorite."  Though I do love that Will and Grace came back with new episodes!  

22. What was the best book you read?

I read 26 books, which sounds kind of low for me.  I really enjoyed "The Nest" by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney.  

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?

24. What was your favorite film of this year? 
The four of us recently went to the movies to see the reboot of the 90's film "Jumanji" and loved it!

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
For the first time in 12 years, I worked!  The residents had a cake for me, which was really nice.  I took the following day off so Brian and I could spend it together.  We ended up watching Wonder Woman and going out to lunch.  

26. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less stress and worry.  Getting my son the help that he needed sooner.  But hindsight IS 20/20, and not worth it to dwell.  

27. What kept you sane?
My friends, that checked up on us, fed us, offered help, listened, offered advice when appropriate.  My mom, for being there when my husband couldn't.  My husband, for his shoulder to cry on, and his jokes to keep us both sane. 

28. Who did you miss?
My far away friends and family.

29. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:

Never ask "Could this get any worse?"  And above all, be grateful.  

30. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I don't know.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Well, Well, Well

....can we just pretend that I haven't been ignoring this blog?  I've honestly thought about not writing it anymore, but every time I click on "memories" and am awarded with pics of the boys and silly stories from the last ten years, I don't want to quit.  (SHUT UP....ten years???)  I know that I write mostly for myself, and my husband, mom and maybe a friend read, but really, it's just to preserve what I want to preserve:  time.

So goes.

1. I successfully said "no."  Mostly by non-action, but a "no" nonetheless!  I swiftly avoided the school fundraiser.  The kids came home from school all excited, saying "MOM!  We could win a Nintendo Switch!  We only have to sell like a million items in the fundraiser to win!"  Well bud, we have a small family and not a big need for cookies, wrapping paper and magazine subscriptions.  Mom does a great job ignoring the magazine subscriptions that she already has.  (Except the knitting ones, of course!)  So the deadline quietly slipped by and I triumphantly recycled the materials. 

2.  We're having a really weird Autumn.  No foliage, and warm temps.  I keep forgetting it's October.  Until yesterday, we were still using air conditioning.  Usually by now I'm bringing out the cooler weather clothes.  Not that this has stopped Sean from wearing long pants and a henley shirt every morning.  And no matter how many times I send him back to change, he's unhappy about it.  That boy is always freezing....he's the only person I know that needs a sweatshirt at the dinner table if the window is open.  My sweet, chilly boy. 

3.  Speaking of Sean, he had a great solution for being out of chip clips the other day.  He grabbed a toy wrench to keep a bag of frozen strawberries from rolling and spilling the other day.  Nice.

4.  In less than two weeks, I'm going to have a pre-teen.  That's right....Will's turning 11.  I wonder if he'll get a Hogwarts letter?  I'm prepared to be super jealous. 

And finally,

5.  I'm not knitting Christmas gifts this year.  Yes, you read that right.  I'm giving myself a gift of less stress at the holidays, and I'm knitting what I please instead.  Which turns out to be shawls for me actually, who knew? 

Maybe the next post will be about Halloween.  We shall see.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


I started this off by making a list of the things that have gotten in my way of finishing things at work today.  (missing info, not enough stamps, miscommunication, and finally, an epic fail in the "I forgot to order toner" dept.)  Instead, I'm going to go and pick up my younger boy at camp and spend some quality time with him.  And then I'm going to go to my knitting group, order my favorite salad and enjoy some time with friends and my knitting needles.  Tomorrow is another day!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Loading--Please Wait

Oh, my poor neglected blog.  What can I say?  Stuff happens, I want to write about it but then things get busy.  So here's some things that have happened.

-I took on a new property for my job.  Note:  I didn't get a new job.  I took on a SECOND property.  More work, (hopefully) more money.  So needless to say things have been BUSY!!  I start my days early and work late, last night I was here til 6pm.

-I went to this year's NERSC conference!  It was up in Rockport, ME, which was beautiful.  Not a lot of sun, but it is Maine in the spring, so what are you gonna do?  I walked the Samoset Breakway one day and that was breezy and the perfect ocean setting for a walk.  I spent an extra day up in Maine to visit friends, and all around had a good time.  An exhausing good time, and a good time nonetheless.

-TheWebs Tent Sale is coming up!!!  Or what I sometimes call "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year."  :)  I'm usually pretty organized about it, and have a list going months in advance.  Um....I made the list last week on the back of some junk mail and it has like four things on it.  I guess pulling my yarn stash out of the closet twice for the air conditioning repair guy (it's been replaced...yesssss)  has made me re-evaluate my yarn stash.  Somewhere my husband is jumping for joy...

-It's almost the end of the school year!!  Yep, limping along to the finish line.  More MCAS testing today for  my oldest, and my younger boy has his end of the year field trip next week.  What a absolutely flew by.  Now we're back to making summer plans.

Well, now that I've read this, I've got to say....busy, but not super interesting.  Anyway, Happy Spring and maybe see you next month.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


I usually hate selfies.  And I despise people who take selfies all the time.  Like, not with other people, just "here I am, waking up.  Healthy Breakfast, yay me!"  No time for shower--total bedhead."  And repeat....alll day long.  (I'm looking at you, Kim Kardashian.)


I hate selfies because I usually look like hell in a selfie.  Seriously, ever accidentally press the button on your phone so the camera is facing inward instead of out and you're like "Holy Crap!  I look awful, make it go away!"  That's me.  And pretty much every other person who does this.

But it turns out, I can take a good one!  Will wonders never cease!  I don't have a lot of photos of myself that I really liking one is indeed a small celebration.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A House Divided

This weekend is the Superbowl, and it's New England Patriots vs. the Atlanta Falcons.

Now, I am not a huge football fan.  But I DID grow up in New England, and I do enjoy it when the Pats are in the playoffs.  But our friends know that Brian grew up in Philly, and is a fan of the Eagles.  And very much NOT a Pats fan, or admirer of any kind.  And his family.....well, his mom and one brother are pretty vocal about how much they don't like Tom Brady.

Anyway....I digress.  His mom bought us t-shirts a few years ago with the Pats and Eagles helmet logos that say "A House Divided."  Well, it's just gotten a bit more divisive.

On the way to the bus stop this morning, I was telling the boys that one of their schools had invited kids to wear Pats gear or Pats colors to school tomorrow in support of the Pats being in the Superbowl.  Now, neither kid is a football fan, any more so than me.  But Will perks up and said "It's probably my school."  He's probably right, I seem to get emails often about theme days and the like.  Naturally, he's no more interested in dressing in support of the Pats than he was interested in wearing a tie in support of the Great Kindness Challenge at the beginning of the week.  But then he surprises me, and his eyes brighten:

"Mom, what are the Eagles colors?"

I'm sure that his Dad, Uncle and Grandmom are all going to be super-proud tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Say hello to baby hat #250!

Sean turned seven earlier this month.  I started these little hats as a way to "give back" for the blessing that I received in him.  (I did something different for Will, I collected baby food for charity)  In the first year, I made fifty hats to commemorate his birth, and at the time I was sending them to Stitches from the Heart, a California-based charity that collected handcrafted baby hats and blankets and distributed them all over the country.  They closed their doors a few years ago, and someone told me about Project Nathaniel.  It is a local woman that collects baby items in honor of her grandson Nathaniel, that passed away soon after being born.  AND the items go to the hospital that my boys were born in, every July!  I'm honored and happy to help the hospital that was so good to us.

So that's 250 little heads that I've helped warm up.  These little hats knit up quickly, and really make you feel like you're accomplishing something, both knit-wise and life-wise.  Here's to the next 250!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Those Pink Hats

On January 20th, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president.  And on January 21st, there were Womens' Marches to protest Donald Trump being President.  It may have been a "women's march" but over 4 million men, women and children attended the main march in DC, and 600 sister marches all over the country.

Women and their pink hats with cat-like ears everywhere!  This was thanks to the Pussyhat Project.   I'm proud to say that I knit two of these hats, and gave them to a friend who went to DC. She gave the hats to friends and then tagged me on Facebook so I could see who got them and they thanked me.  And I'm still making them for anyone who's asked....I've got one off the needles to mail to Rhode Island, and then two to go to Virginia and two more to local friends.  Hey, it's what I can do to help the cause.  I may not be able to go to marches, but I support those that do, and will knit my fingers off to help the cause!

Monday, January 9, 2017

We Need CSI in Here

My older son suffers from headaches, and if he doesn't get medicine quickly and lets them linger, they will make him sick to his stomach.  He saw the doctor recently and the doctor upped his Tylenol dosage and wrote an order allowing him to have Tylenol at school.  One issue is also dehydration--the only thing he'll drink is milk and he hates drinking water.  So the doctor suggested getting a water flavor enhancer, stating that the pros outweigh the cons and it's about getting the fluids in.  So Brian bought a little bottle of Mio Water Enhancer in Fruit Punch flavor.

Will decided this morning to "experiment" with putting it in a little water at home to try before putting it in his water bottle to take to school.  I said that I would mix it for him because I could just see him making a huge mess with it, and nobody's got time for huge messes on weekday mornings.  Hell, most days I don't have time for BREAKFAST before it's time to take the kids out to the bus.

Hilarity ensues though, even with me at the helm of this experiment.  See my text messages below for proof.  Just another day in my life of luxury, folks.  It was pretty funny though, got all over his shirt and the nice, clean kitchen floor.  We did laugh, and luckily it wasn't too bad to clean up.  Just some damp paper towels while I ate an English muffin.  As for CSI....perhaps they're not necessary, because I CONFESSED.

That bus is later every day
Good news: will likes the water flavor enhancer and put some in his bottle today.
Bad news: it's not drops. It shoots off like a cannon and makes your kid and kitchen look like a grisly murder scene. We had a good laugh about it. And luckily will was wearing 5 shirts so we just took one off. (Not I'm not kidding....they took your layering advice very seriously, making the laundry epically awesome for the washerwoman.)
Well hopefully we get our regular bus driver back soon
I'm glad he likes it and we'll have CSI figure out who did it later.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Last Knit of 2016....

....was a hat for one of the karate instructors at the boys' school.  She had been through some tough stuff and I saw that she liked slouchy hats.  Blue's her favorite, so I set out to find blue yarn in my stash.

I didn't find much....

Brian picked out the pattern ("Greystone" on Ravelry) and it was off to the races!  At first everything was going well, until I missed some cables because I was engrossed in a little binge-watching of "Code Black,"

The end result?  Stunning.

BTW--meet Greta.  Greta is going to model all of my hats from now on.  She was a Christmas gift and although she's creepy-looking, I think she's awesome.  The hat makes her slightly less creepy, but only slightly.