Sunday, January 29, 2012


As some of you may know, My grandfather, Frank, passed away a few weeks ago. His memorial service was this weekend. His 4 sons, including my dad, spoke at the service, as well as four of his close friends, and my cousin Zachary. My dad asked me if I wanted to speak and my response was "No, I will cry too much." Instead of crying in front of 100+ people I've decided to write my memories here to share with you.

* Edit: This introduction was written almost a year ago. I just couldn't finish my post. Not because I was crying or anything like that but because every time I tried to write a whole post I wrote one thing and then had too many memories to start another. This post has been compiled over the course of several months of remembering. *

Things I'll Always Remember About Frank.

1. His laugh. Frank had an infectious laugh that could span a few octaves. It started low then worked it's way up to a high almost girlish proportions and then subsided into few "ho ho's" as he calmed himself down. He would open his mouth wide, I suppose that's the dentist in him, and let it all out. There was always a bit of leg slapping or foot stomping mixed in as well.

2. His love of fitness. From early on I always remember Frank wearing running shorts, tennis shoes, an old tee shirt and a hat. He was always up for a game of tag, a bike ride to the store or a race against you on your Rollerblades and him on foot, which he would always let you win even if he could have beat you. If you asked nicely he would even let you stand at the top of the stairs and he would catch you when you jumped, as long as you didn't weigh very much that is.  I'm not sure if I actually remember this, or if I've just heard the story so many times that it feels like I was there. Either way, I've heard many times about Frank being at the cottage on the Cape before a hurricane and body surfing in the huge waves. I'm not sure how old he was at the time but I know it he was over 60 at the time. I think part of my interest in running is thanks to Frank who ran his last 5k when he was 82.

3. How he was never embarrassed by anything. This might not seem like a lot coming from someone as self-conscious as me but I always admired how Frank never seemed embarrassed by anything. He would wear purple tee-shirts, his shorts were dangerously short at times, he loved to needlepoint and garden. Growing up I think it was always nice to have someone around who wasn't afraid to be who they were and like what they liked.

4. His generosity. I think if I had asked he would have given me or even a perfect stranger the shirt off of his back. Frank worked hard for his money and never seemed to buy anything for himself, but was always willing to take the whole family on a vacation. I have many fond memories of spending time with my cousins, aunts and uncles and Grandmother and Frank in Mexico, Florida, in Tone, or on the Cape. Once Frank and Grandmother even took me on a 10 day vacation to London. I remember my uncle ordering an expensive bottle of wine while out to eat in London on this trip. Frank said; "You're wasting your inheritance!" with a laugh and footed the bill anyways. I think it made him happy to be able to make others happy and have great experiences.

5. "Wanna go to Boston? Wanna go to Lynn? Look out little girl that you don't fall in." I think Frank bounced me and Garrett on his knees singing this little tune half a million times.

6. This is something that I don't even know if he did on purpose or if it just had to do with my above mentioned comment about never buying anything for himself. I remember when I was in 5th grade there was a contest to design a "gateway" on the school property to get to the wetlands behind the school where we did experiments and observed nature and all that other middle school stuff kids do. Someone else won the contest but I still wanted to be involved in working on it. Frank and Grandmother came to visit for a weekend when my school was working on the project and volunteered. I don't even remember what we did to for work on the project but I remember the shirts they gave us. They were dark green with a yellow outline of the archway and said "GBS Gateway to the Wetlands" or something to that extent. Even as a 5th grader I thought they were kind of ugly. Not Frank though. It seemed like whenever he came to visit us or we went to Auburn to see them he wore the shirt. Like I said, I don't know if it was because he really liked the shirt, or if it was because he never bought shirts for himself, or if he just liked to wear it when I came to visit because it reminded him of me. I'd like to think it was the last reason.

 These are some of my favorite pictures of Frank.

 with Garrett and me around Christmas time. 

See, I told you he wore purple a lot and liked short shorts. 

Taken a few weeks before he passed away.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Pillows

Here is a long story for you. Are you ready? before Christmas Charlie and I went to a party at our friends new house in Maine. We took mostly back roads to get there and on the way home the next day we got stuck behind a car going very slow and carrying a Christmas tree on top. As we got closer we noticed that the tree was on top of a large piece of fabric to prevent the tree from scratching the car. Upon further inspection we realized that the piece of fabric was in fact a duvet cover, and the same one we had on our bed at home. This prompted us to think about how long we had actually been using the duvet cover....our answer was too long. If someone driving a 1995 Honda Civic felt the need to protect the top of their car from Christmas tree damage with the same duvet cover that we were using on our bed we decided we should probably look for a new one. 

Fast forward to last weekend when we were at the L.L Bean outlet in Concord. In the discount bedding section we found a navy blue duvet cover for way less than full price and I had a gift card, Score! Before we checked out Charlie said; "Are you sure you want something this dark?" I  assured him I did, whilst thinking about how to girl it up (i.e. Throw Pillows!!)

The first one I made is the Sprocket Pillow. I'd been eyeing it for quite a while and knew right away that this would be my chance to make it. The Tutorial (HERE) was super easy to follow. I did make one change, the pattern/directions calls for sewing a strip between the two circles, I skipped that step to make the pillow flatter, and because I didn't have enough batting to fill up a pillow that big.

My points didn't exactly match up but it's okay because the large button does a great job of hiding that. 

I finished it moments before Charlie got home from school and we had to laugh because he coordinated perfectly with the color scheme of the pillow.

The second pillow was a bit trickier. I wanted to do something gathered but I kept screwing it up so I went to the old standby, the pintuck pillow. I sewed one in the short lived "sewing club" a few years ago and I knew I liked the look so I went with it.

Close up of the pin tucks.

Here's a look at the entire whole bed. The new navy blue duvet cover goes great with this quilt, the one that inspired me to start blogging. 

And it is officially 8:30 on Saturday, after a long day of exercise class, ice skating, baking, and believe it or not,  grocery shopping I am very tried and off to bed. We're hitting the slopes tomorrow and I've got to get my snow bunny beauty sleep.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

26 Things

It's my birthday. Hurray. Like I said, 26; yikes! A student said I was 100 today when I told her to guess my age, so I suppose things could be worse. Here are my 26 things to do this year.
  1. Get a dog. I really want one and I think my constant talk has convinced Charlie too.
  2. Buy a house. 
  3. Move into house without hurting myself or being a mega jerk to others. 
  4. Stay physically active.
  5. Think more about things before I impulsively buy them.
  6. Go on a honeymoon. 
  7. Take pictures.
  8. Throw things away. Why must I save every card anyone has sent me? P.S. Thanks for the birthday cards peps!
  9. Finish things before starting other things.
  10. Think before jumping to assumptions, especially in regards to the students I work with. 
  11. Stand up for myself. I told one of the teachers I work with that my motto at the beginning of the year would be "I don't take shit from anyone." I need to start following that motto. If only I could post it on the wall at school....
  12. Keep working on keeping new and old friends. 
  13. Send more letters to people. 
  14. Learn more about my family history.
  15. Eat more vegetables.
  16. Read more books.
  17. Try to stop swearing like a trucker Friday night - Sunday night.
  18. Finish that gosh darn cross stitch for my Mom that I started in 2008!
  19. Make a quilt and give it away. Who will be the lucky winner?
  20. Worry less.
  21. Be more creative. In other words, spend less time online thinking about being creative and actually do something creative. 
  22. Hike somewhere and spend the night, and not flip out about peeing in the woods or being dirty.
  23. Stop and smell the roses every now and again.
  24. Ask Charlie for things instead of assuming he can read my mind.
  25. Spend time with my family and friends.
  26. Continue appreciating what I have and feeling lucky, because I am. 
Cheers to 26!

fruity concoction I'm sipping while researching vacations to tropical paradises and laughing
 because my birthday presents are wrapped in X-mas paper. 


Monday, January 16, 2012

25 Things

On my birthday for the last few years I've posted my goals of the year. Today I decided to check back on my progress and begin thinking about my 26 (yikes!) goals for this year. Here's last years goals.

  1. Get married. Done
  2. Buy a new (to me) car.Yep
  3. Go somewhere I've never been. Did that lots.
  4. Keep running (I don't really have a distance goal this year, and I never really set time goals for myself, I just want to keep running even if it means running after a long day at work with a reflective vest and a headlamp.) Meh....sort of yes and sort of no.
  5. Host a party. Does a ski trip count? I kind of forgot about this one. 
  6. Get better at my job/ keep learning. Depends on the day you ask.
  7. Call my friends more often. Oh shucks. I try.
  8. Visit my family. Yes. It's a good thing Charlie likes my family and I like his because we visit a lot. 
  9. Keep saving money for a house. Yes but it's slow going.
  10. Start more traditions with Charlie.I think so, he probably doesn't remember them though. 
  11. Be more comfortable doing things alone (eating out, going to the movies...yikes I break out in hives just thinking about it.) I went to one movie by myself, and ate alone at Panera twice, and I lived to tell about it!
  12. Visit at least 2 waterfalls I haven't been to yet. We went to lots of waterfalls. 
  13. Go on a road trip. Road trips to weddings?
  14. Make new friends. Yes! Hi Liz! Hi Nick!
  15. Be nice and appreciative. I try. 
  16. Research sewing machines and buy a new one (one that can make button holes). I did buy a new one. It was rather spur of the moment and I should have done more research but I do really like my Berninna. It can make button holes but I have yet to use that feature.
  17. Go on lots of mini adventures. There are a lot of things to explore in our area which has been fun.
  18. Hike mount Katahdin(and not complain once while doing it). Ooops. Hiked Kineo instead.
  19. Grow my hair long then cut it off. Yes! It nearly drove me crazy growing it long for the wedding, but now I am thinking about having long hair again. 
  20. Practice my (forgotten) sign language skills. Oh no. I remember and use about 3 signs. Does watching "Switched at Birth" count?
  21. Sew clothes, with and without patterns. Kind of. I made a skirt recently, post coming soon. (Once I iron it.)
  22. Cook more. Meh. Why did I write that? I've been more active in looking for ideas or what to cook but not so much in cooking them. Cleaning up is my forte. 
  23. Try my best to not talk negatively about people. Oh dear, I stink at that. 
  24. Spend quality time with people I like. Yes. I think it's easy when you like the people you work with and live with your best friend. 
  25. Be happy with my life. It's a pretty good one. Besides the impending doom of turning 26 I think I am doing an okay job at this. 

Off to think of 26 things to do this year. But lastly, here is a picture I really like.  


      Friday, January 13, 2012

      2011; in 16 Photographs

      The past few years I've done a "year in pictures" review. I'm only 13 days late this year! I am just going to warn you in advance; 2011 was the year of the weddings. We went to four and had one of our own. Prepare yourself!

      1. Bachelorette party at Water Country! 2. Bridal Shower with my Mum and Grammy. 3. Engagement photos at Profile Falls 4. Bridal Shower with Cait and Lorelei.

      5- 8 Wedding shots by Hartery Photography.  


      9. Kiki and Patrick's wedding, Bar Harbor Maine. 10. Dan and Bethanie's wedding, Waterville Maine. 11. Jay and Meera's wedding, Ringwood New Jersey. 12. Jaclyn and Mike's wedding, Sterling Massachusetts  

      13. Braid Gang at Taylor Swift 14. Me and Charlie on the first day of school. 15. Me and Lorelei at Christmas and 16. Out takes from our Christmas Card Photo. 

      2011 sure was busy. Can't wait to see what 2012 holds.


      Thursday, January 12, 2012

      Nerdy Chemistry Artwork

      For Christmas I like to make Charlie something artsy and since he won't let me sew for him, or knit for him, and he thinks scrapbooks are annoying, that leaves me with painting pictures for him. The last few years I've painted pictures, one was a Robert Frost poem on a winter backdrop, last year I made him a painting of a song quote I thought he liked but he said he forgot. Now that painting is in our bedroom and he says the reason he likes it is not because of the quote but because the house I painted looks like it's smiling. Geesh! This Christmas I decided not to paint him anything but to do some editing on Picnik (a photo editing website). I followed this tutorial, which was very helpful, and I think the results turned out quite nicely. 

      Charlie recently decided to get a double masters degree (I've always suspected he just wants to be better than me...but that's another story), in Chemistry. I found this idea, where else, on Pintrest. It's elements made to spell out "I love you". I just think it's funny that Uranium is used for good in my art not for nuclear weapons. Here is a close up of the one I printed out for Charlie.

      If you like it you can download it to print HERE


      You can download this one without the "We've got Chemistry" HERE

      Lastly,  I made this and printed a 3x5 size of it in a small magnet frame for Charlie to use in his office/classroom someday. You can get that one HERE.



      I Actually Made Something from Pinterest!

      Well, in all fairness, Charlie made it. But it was my idea. Bacon Pancakes. Seems funny coming from a converted vegetarian, but they were so good. I saw the idea on pintrest and today when I woke up at 9 am in a snow day haze I recommended that Charlie and I try out the idea. He didn't seem to mind, but did make fun of me because he thinks I talk about pintrest too much. 

       Delicious. Charlie is a fantastic cook, I am so lucky. I cleaned up the mess and photographed.

      Yum! I hope you have a great day.


      Monday, January 9, 2012

      Winter Hike

      Yesterday Charlie and I went for a winter hike. We'd both heard about a cabin on top of a mountain near our house and decided yesterday was as good a time as any to try to find it. After some bushwacking and use of a compass we made it to the top. Here is the view. That's Cardigan Mountain in the distance. 

      There hasn't been much snow but the trail we walked on had quite a bit of ice covered by snow, which made for some slippery moments, and also some fun track spotting. 

      We actually saw the animal that left these prints sliding/walking across the snow and then it took a dip in a stream, thus eluding my picture snapping.  We've decided there must have been two of them because there are two sets but we only saw one. Charlie used his tracks book to figure out it was a mink.

      On the way back down we say these tracks. Come to find out they were made by a squirel, not too exciting but fun none the less.

      At the top there was a one room cabin with pots, pan, a cook stove, an air mattress, lots of toilet paper, water, band aids and most importantly, playing cards. The owner was nice enough to open the cabin to others. There is a "guest book" inside that was really fun to look through and see when and why people had come to visit the cabin, that's what Charlie is looking through in this photo. We even found the name of someone we know! After spending a few minutes pondering how someone would carry two glass doors, windows, and all the wood to build this tiny cabin Charlie informed me that the materials were brought in on a helicopter. Crazy huh?

      Charlie loves winter hiking (when there is snow) and I think he is crazy, so I figured I would post pictures of what is most likely bound to be my first and last winter hike.

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