Tuesday, November 30, 2010


  • I don't know how I could possibly forget Mad Men in my favorite TV show post! Seriously, I lurve that show a ton. Colbert Report, too.
  • Obviously, my sporadic posting has driven the Chinese spammers away. Hah! Now, the question is...is anyone else out there? (Hi, Lorraine!)
  • How was your Thanksgiving? We had a lovely time here with family. I love hosting the Holidays, mostly because I'm a control freak. But, I'm also (let me blow my own horn here) really pretty good at it. I love the controlled chaos, the baking, the time management of trying to serve everything hot...I just love it all. This year, I used a probe thermometer for the first time and it was fabulous! It made knowing when the turkey was done a hell of a lot easier. Also, J discovered a new talent for making gravy. I will gladly hand that task over to him, since I've always been a bit intimidated by making gravy (really, it's not that difficult, but I think that, by that point in the meal prep, I'm just over it already).
  • I need to find my passport. It's going to expire soon, but I need to apply for a renewal. Eldest Niece found a killer deal to go to Iceland and I really, really, really want to go. It's on my list of top 3 places I want to see and the deal is fantabulous. We're kind of crazy and thinking of only going for a weekend, but I don't care. She's been twice and says that should be plenty of time. Plus, we're looking at going in January; a Northern Lights tour would be included in the package. How awesome is that?!
  • I think I've settled on a program for graduate school. It's a program that I've been thinking about for years and most likely should have done waaay back in the day (you know, before kids). I had been conflicted between choosing a program/path that spoke to my heart and one that was more practical. In the end, practicality won out but I'm happy with my decision.
  • Miss Ella needs to have her bangs trimmed. I'm taking her to our hair stylist on Saturday. The part I'm a little antsy about is that I think I'm going to let Linda take a couple of inches off of E's hair in the back. I'm still on the fence about it, but I think it needs to be done. Her first "real" haircut...eek!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Postus Interruptus

This break in the 30 days of posting has been unintentional, I promise. Or has it? Maybe I want to keep you on your toes. When will I post? Will I ever return? Do I know you care?

Actually, it really has. I've been crazy busy with Christmas Fairs and other Pampered Chef related things and I turned 35 last Wednesday. An occasion I saw fit to mark as though it were my 21st. Let's just say it was a rockin' good night. The above picture is from Wednesday night. Pictured are Jeeps, Eldest Niece, Friend Katie, Cait, my brother, P, me and J. I love these people so much and it was fabulous to celebrate with them.

I'm not lying when I say it by far the best birthday ever and one of the best nights of my life.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 11 - Favorite TV Shows

Ah, well, this could be long, but I'll try to keep it brief-ish.

I adore a fair amount of reality TV. I love Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts (crazy drama there!), House Hunters, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars (although I don't always keep up with this one), any of the Food Network Challenges and, up until the most recent season, Project Runway (seriously, I am so disappointed by the winner that I may give the show up).

Last year, through the wonder that is netflix, I fell in love with Bones. For fiction, I can also easily get sucked into an episode of Law & Order (pretty much any incarnation, but I tend to watch SVU most often), and this summer discovered Rizzoli & Isles, which is based on characters created by of one of my favorite authors, Tess Gerritson. In trying to figure out what I watch, I'm realizing that I don't want much that's not reality. At least, I don't have the DVR set to record much that isn't kid programming or reality.

And, speaking of kid programming (which you might imagine there's quite a bit of around here, and you'd be right), I'm partial to the Imagination Movers and Phineas and Ferb. In fact, I love Phineas and Ferb.

On a side, but very important, note, we waited far too long to get DVR - the best invention ever - we should have gotten it before the kids were born, but instead we waited until last year. It has made a huge difference in how we watch TV and how we unwind.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 10 - Something I'm Afraid Of

On a serious note, I'm afraid of something happening to the kids, J or anyone in my family (in particular, Mom).

On a completely irrational note, I have a bizarre, inexplicable fear of people in gorilla suits and black holes. Seriously. Once, in high school, I went to a haunted house type of event at my school (it was a haunted tunnel, but you get the picture) and, at the end of the tunnel a freakin' giant in a gorilla suit jumped out and scared the living crap out of me. I kid you not. Turns out, it was my history teacher (who was well over 6 feet tall), but that didn't stop me from bawling like a newborn and freaking the hell out. But, my fear of people in gorilla suits was established long before that event. I just don't know where it comes from. The black hole thing I don't really understand, either. Ever since I was a kid, though, I've been terrified of being sucked into a black hole. I know that it's not possible, but it's this stupid little fear that I have. And now I've put it out there for you all the make fun of me.

Knowledge is power, people, and now you know my weak points.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 9 - A Picture of My Friends

Short of ripping off all of my friend's facebook profile pictures or photos, I don't really have a lot of photos of my friends. This one, however, is from just last week. Halloween to be exact.

Katie and I have known each other practically our entire lives, but we've only really become amazing friends over the past couple of years. When we were younger, our mothers tried to force friendship on us, but it didn't really work. Thanks to facebook, however, we reconnected and have been practically inseparable. Now, I can't imagine not having Katie in my life. Our friendship is easy and comfortable, as though we've known each other for, well, ever and FILLED with laughter. Katie is seriously one of the funniest people I've ever known. Liam and Ella adore her, and she them. J thinks she's hilarious and Katie's a perfect fit in our family; we're routinely asked if we're sisters. When Katie had spinal surgery in August, it was a no-brainer to me that she would come here to recuperate and we all loved every minute of having her around and taking care of her.

I'm very, very lucky to have such an amazing friend.

Day 8 - A Place I've Traveled

I've traveled much of the Eastern Seaboard, been to Canada a few times and J and I took a cruise to the Caribbean in January of 2001. The longer list is of the places I'd like to travel to, but I won't bore you with that.

The Caribbean trip is by far the biggest trip I've ever taken. To this day, though, I'm still not sure why I chose the Caribbean as I'm not a fan of the heat AT ALL. We'd never been on a cruise and I thought it'd be fun. Suffice it to say that I don't ever really think I'll feel the need to go on another one (although, I could be persuaded to go on an Alaskan cruise).

We took off in a blizzard from Logan Airport in Boston and flew down to Aruba where we set sail for a week. It was hot, hot, HOT. Even in January. I will say, though, that I've never slept as well as I did on the ship. There was something so lulling about the waves that was conducive to fabulous sleep.

From Aruba, we sailed to St. Thomas, where we spent the day on an excursion to St. John - which was truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen in my life. Our next port of call was St. Kitts, which was a bit depressing. We didn't opt for any of the offered excursions and instead spent the day walking around the island, exploring little nooks. The poverty was almost unbearable to witness and it was by far the part of our trip that made us hyperaware of the privilege and ease of our lives that we take for granted. I did, however, purchase some lovely handmade glass coasters that I cherish to this day and they remind me of the beauty of the island. From St. Kitts, we traveled on to St. Lucia, which tied with our last port of call, Barbados, as our favorite place. In St. Lucia, we swam in the sea and enjoyed our of the best days ever. Everything was so breathtakingly beautiful. The water. Oh, the water! You truly cannot believe that it's real until you stare down into it, absolutely mesmerized. Our last port of call was Barbados. We enjoyed a tour of a rum distillery (yum!) and a fabulous tour of the island. We wrapped up our time there by shopping in a sweet market, where I purchased a fabulous homemade tea pot that I still love to this day. Of all of our stops, J and I agreed that, should we ever travel to the Caribbean again, we'd most likely choose an all-inclusive resort on either St. Lucia or Barbados. St. Lucia may win by a hair.

Overall, it was a nice trip, but I was happy to come home to snowy, cold New Hampshire.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 7 - My Favorite Movies

Compiling a list of my favorite movies has actually been tougher than I thought it'd be. A couple spring to mind immediately, but then I think to myself that surely I must have more than two favorite movies? So I asked J to help me think of some of my favorite movies. It was interesting hearing what I like from someone else.

  • Terms of Endearment: I love, love, love this movie. My sister took me to it when I spent my entire first grade Christmas vacation visiting her in Boston. It's the first movie I ever cried during (I thought it wasn't OK to cry in public for some silly reason, so I kept trying to conceal my tears form the kid who kept coming into the theatre to check the thermostat). To this day, it's my go-to movie if I want or need a good cry. Which is ironic, because I DO NOT like to let people see me cry. The scene in the hospital where Shirley MacLaine yells to get pain medication for her daughter? Heartbreaking!
  • Shadowlands: I'm apparently a Debra Winger fan. I just love this story of C.S. Lewis and his relationship with American poet Joy Gresham. This is one movie that always gets to me, too. Anthony Hopkins performance as the tight-laced Lewis is so charming that it makes me grin like a goofball.
  • Braveheart: Ah, well I have a fondness for anything related to Scotland and I think Mel Gibson just did a spectacular job with this film. I caught a fair amount of it on TV the other night and it made me happy.
  • Gone With the Wind: This used to air every New Year's Day and I would just be transfixed. It's one of those movies that I would never watch if I actually owned it, but if I happen to catch it on TV I have to sit and watch. Actually, I tend to not watch any of the movies I own, which is an odd little bit about me.
  • Up: Lest you think I only have a thing for downers and epics, I discovered this movie last year and fell in love with it. Fortunately, the kids love it, too. The relationship between Carl and Russell is so sweet and adorable that it just makes my heart melt a little every time I watch the movie (thank you, Netflix on Roku!).
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?: I LOVE this movie. I think it's hilarious and the soundtrack is AWESOME. This modern retelling of The Odyssey is one I could watch time and again. And, the cast is just fabuolous.
  • Pulp Fiction: This is just plain awesome. Again, a killer soundtrack (no pun intended).
  • Fargo: Yep, there's some pretty fabulous black humor for you. I first saw this movie right before J and I boarded a plane to fly out to Minnesota for a job opportunity for him. Imagine my shock when we got off the plane to discover that the accent was not fake! The Coen brothers are just fabulous. I'll watch anything that they make.
I think I'll leave it at that. I'm sure there are other films that I love or that make me happy, but the above list is a pretty good sampling and gives you a fair idea of my tastes. However, I do have a wicked sense of humor, and it's pretty black at that. I've been known to laugh inappropriately at some pretty gruesome death scenes and dialogue.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 6 - A Picture That Makes Me Happy

I bet you thought I'd post a picture of the kids, right? Well, of course I have a ton of photos of them that make me happy, but I opted for a picture that, for me at least, encompasses my family and more.

A couple of weeks ago, J decided that we needed to have a family day. He took a day off from work and we went to a local farm/zoo. It was a gorgeous day, there was hardly anyone there and the kids had a wonderful time running around, feeding the goats and seeing all of the different animals. It was a beautiful Fall day and I'll treasure the memories for a long, long time to come.

The berries (?) in the picture above I discovered quite by accident, as we were over near the wolves' area. I've never seen these before and I was taken by the color. I love the little leaf that fell into the bush, and I love the blurred fence in the background.

This picture most definitely makes me happy :)

More Day 5 - My Siblings, Part 2

Alright...so we've gone over the 5 oldest. Now, for the next 4. You might expect that I have more of a relationship with them, and for the most part you'd be correct.

My sister, M, is next. She turned 50 earlier this year. Growing up, she was my absolute favorite sibling and I would do anything to spend time with her. Over the years, though, her life has taken twists and turns that I don't necessarily agree with and our relationship has been somewhat strained at times. But, she's my sister and I love her. She lives here in Concord and adores Liam and Ella, but doesn't get to see them as often as she'd like. Of all of us, she's the most "alternative," I guess you could say. M is Cait's mother, so there's been a little bit of tension at times since Cait and I are so close (after all, she lived with us for 5 years), but we've learned to negotiate those waters.

My sister, K, is next. She and I have the same father. We don't really have a close relationship, though, and that makes me sad. Growing up, I think she was jealous of me because her childhood was more difficult than mine. When my parents got together, Mom showed my father a new world of love and warmth that he hadn't really known before (his parents were pretty strict and his first marriage, which is where my other 5 siblings come from, ended badly). Because of this, I think he was able to be more affectionate with me (even though I was scared of him) and K saw this and was envious. Also, K and my sister, N, are only separated by not quite 3 months, so there was a LOT of sibling rivalry between them when I was little. It was stressful. To this day, there's some underlying tension between the two of them that I don't really get. However, K and N's daughters adore each other, so the adults have been forced to work around/through their issues for the sake of the girls. I really, really wish that K and I were closer. Aside from the fact that she's really the only link to our father that I have, I love her children very much and would love to be more a part of their lives. Basically, though, we're pretty much polar opposites. As warm and gregarious as I am, K is buttoned up and kind of a cold fish. I think that we're both just kind of alien to the other and, as much as I reach out to her, she just doesn't know how to handle it. K is an awesome cook and baker and she also loves, love, loves her pets.

N's next. N and K are both not quite 10 years older than I. Growing up, N was my second favorite sibling. She was the cool older sister who didn't mind the kid sister tagging along. One of my fondest memories of N is when she was a cheerleader in high school and I was in awe of her. She taught me the dance routine to the half-time number, which was Beat It. We spent hours in the driveway practicing and I was so excited to see her perform the routine at P's football game. N's husband is the one who committed suicide last year. N has two children and a step-daughter. I love N very much, but she's one of those people who can be nasty mean, but in a way that makes you feel sorry for her because she can just be so unrelenting. I thought she may have mellowed with Mark's death, but sometimes I don't know. We're not overly close these days, although we do live pretty much right around the corner from each other. I'll always be there for her, though, so I suppose that's more a measure of our relationship than anything else.

And now for my brother, P. He and I have a crazy relationship. He's 8 years older than I and I adore him, but he infuriates me at the same time. P is the reason I wanted to have a boy first, because I felt that every little girl should have a big brother. When I was a little girl, there was a Holiday auction at P's high school and he really wanted to win the Cabbage Patch Koosa for me (the pets of the Cabbage Patch Kids, who I will readily admit having an obsession with). P spent $50 on tickets and was pretty confident that he might win. When a teacher won instead, he went to her and asked if he could buy the Koosa from her because he "really wanted to give it to [his] little sister for Christmas." The teacher agreed and there was definitely some big brother worship come Christmas morning. When he received his first computer, P quickly wrote a program to help me learn all of the state capitals. This pretty much illustrates our relationship. He's very much one of those people for whom actions speak louder than words. P's going through a difficult time. His 20 year marriage is ending and it's a sad time. I've been having him over to dinner and it's been a good thing. I don't think he knows exactly how to handle it that Little Sister is in a position to take care of him, but so far he's come to dinner and talked and enjoyed the time, so that makes me happy. P is Liam and Ella's Godfather and he adores the kids. They make him very, very happy. Now, if only P could let go of the sarcasm as a defense mechanism, I'd be thrilled. Plus, he better come to my birthday dinner next week. Otherwise, I'll be pissed. I think he knows better, but I'll keep you posted.

So there you have it. My 9 siblings in a fairly large nutshell. I would love to have some sort of relationship, or at least meet, the remaining 4 from my father's side. Cyndee and I shared a nice connection when we met last year, but I think life has just conspired to keep us too busy to maintain anything. I hope to remedy that soon. From what I understand, the others don't really want to know about me, save one (gasp! How could they not I'm so damn fabulous!) and that's OK.

Despite all of our differences, I love my family dearly. I love being a part of the insanity that is a large family and I love when we're all together. There's nothing that quite like it.