Sunday, December 28, 2008

God Bless You Nana

It has been a very bittersweet year for us. While we are still struggling with my Daisy girl - who has her good days and her bad days, we had a major loss in our family the week before Christmas. My grandmother passed away just a month after her 99th birthday.

It was quick - she was in the hospital about a week after falling and catching pneumonia. It happened so fast it's like time stood still.

She was the matriarch of our family. I've never known anyone like her. She was the definition of the word life and she lived it to the fullest and always on her own terms. And she has left a hole in our lives that can never be filled. I know I'm lucky to have had her in my life all these years, yet for some reason I never expected her not to be here. It was a tough loss for all of us and frankly I took it harder than I ever expected to. I was lucky to know her not just as a grandmother but as something more thanks to recent years I lived with her.

I'll never forget how she loved to see my family, spend time with my nephew and how she'd get all dressed up and look forward to my annual Christmas parties (she insisted when I moved there that I continue my tradition). I thank all of my friends who have shared their memories of her with all the times they spent with her. It helps me smile through all this.

Those of you who knew her know how much she loved champagne and how every family gathering began with a glass or two. I have always thought of her every time we have some when she's not with us. Now even more so. Thanks to the many of you who remembered sharing a toast with her and enjoying her stories and love of life. You were blessed to have known her.

I gave the eulogy at her funeral a week ago yesterday. I wanted to do it, then thought I couldn't do it but with some courage instilled in me from my mother I know I did her the justice she deserved and she would have been proud. The sad part was knowing that when I was done, Nana wouldn't be sitting in the pew next to me as she often was at family member's services, asking me if she could have a copy of what I wrote. At one point during the services, my two-and-a-half year old nephew (who is wise beyond his years) tapped me on the shoulder, handed me his blanket and said "here Auntie Liz, take my blanket, it will make you feel better." His sweetness and empathy beyond his years was something I'll never forget.

Christmas was her favorite time of year, which made it more bittersweet. It was a tough one to say the least, but I have so many memories of Nana and the wonderful holidays she hosted the majority of my life that she will live on with all the traditions for as long as I am here on this earth.

God Bless you Nana. You will be sorely missed. I love you.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Prayer for My Daisy Girl

Fourteen years ago I brought you home as a Christmas gift for the entire family, at the time we had no idea you would become the best gift any family could ever wish for. (Although we’ve dubbed you the gift that keeps on giving many times). You have brought more joy into our lives than anyone or anything I have ever known. Your love to cuddle, give kisses and just to be with us at all times is something I can’t imagine being without. Daisy you are the definition of unconditional love. A love I can’t imagine not having for the rest of my life.

Over the years you never failed to welcome us home, give a whimper when we had to run out or be there to jump in our laps and make us feel better when we've had a bad day or cuddle up next to us at night with the warmth of your body at our side. Now that your hearing isn't what it used to be, we don't get the amazing greetings we used to, but once you realize we're home it's like time stopped - you may be growing older but you are still the lovable puppy you were when we first met you.

You have had the best life of any dog I have ever known. You never lacked for love, affection, food, medical attention, walks, treats, toys … the list goes on and on. I’ve always joked that in my next life I would come back as you, Daisy, and it still stands to do. You’ve lived a very charmed life and you deserved all of it.

For weeks since you’ve been sick a day, a moment an hour doesn’t go by when my eyes don’t well up with tears imagining that someday you’re going to have to leave us all behind. Years ago we thought we lost you – but your tenacity and strength pulled you through it and you surprised us all, including Dr. Kaye. We were blessed with additional years we never expected, but that doesn’t make you growing older any less difficult for us all.

At 14, despite the chronic cough you’ve been battling the past few weeks, you still have the sprite of a young puppy and that beautiful little face that hasn’t changed since I brought you home when you were only four months old.

Today Daisy’s spending the day at the vet in the hopes they can help her. The antibiotics she’s been taking for the past 11 days have not helped, nor have the efforts of my parents who many times daily have taken her in the bathroom to sit in the steam to help clear up the congestion.

We should know sometime this afternoon what the prognosis is, and I’m hoping with all my might we may all have one last Christmas with our holiday angel.

I love you so much my beautiful baby girl and I hope and pray you can be helped.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shoes - A Girl's Best Friend

As much as I love the hunt for the perfect pair of shoes, one thing I enjoy even more is the ability to be able to wear those shoes for as long as I want.

For years I’ve been a fan of the cobbler. There aren’t many left and when I recently moved farther north from Boston, finding a new one was a challenge. It’s a dying business. I remember as a child and into my teens the local cobbler was in my town center and my mom would bring her shoes there as needed. I was on a mission, I had to find one.

Lucky for me he did. He’s Russian, an older gentleman and my new best friend!

I stopped by his shop one Saturday afternoon with my bag of shoes – seven pairs to be exact. Heels that needed new heels, soles that needed replacing, snaps that had fallen off, straps that needed sewing. He didn’t blink – it was his business, his craft and I was lucky to find him, although I wouldn’t know until much later how lucky I was.

I pulled out my last pair for him knowing deep in my heart that as much as I’d like to have them fixed, my favorite pair of black Joan and David’s were well beyond their last legs and there would be nothing he could do for them. I was wrong. He picked them up, admiring them as only a shoe aficionado could. “Ah, these are original Joan and David’s,” he said. “Now they only make them in China, but these, these are original. You must have paid over $150 for them.” I did – it was more like $180 and that was nearly 10 years ago. “Can they be saved?” I asked. Fully expecting to hear an apology. Of course they can. And so I handed them off to him with soles that not only were split but were worn through and a hole in the side which was quite embarrassing. “No problem,” he said with a smile. “It’s what I do. Come back Thursday.”

Last Thursday I picked them up. They were like new. A new, sturdier sole, and no hint of where that hole once was. I also had six other pairs of newly fixed and shined shoes. At a total of $70 ($10 per shoe) you can’t beat it. I have what appear to be seven new pairs of shoes for the price of one – and the best part is they are my favorites and are ready to live yet another day – or 10 years – assuming my cobbler friend stays in business.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We Are Furnished!

Today was like Christmas morning in October - our furniture finally came! Here are the before and after photos of the living room and dining room. I'm in love with all of it!

Living Room When We First Moved In:

Living Room With A Little Paint:

Furnished Living Room:

Dining Room When We First Moved In:

Dining Room With A Little Paint:

Furnished Dining Room:

And of course a picture of Miss Molly checking it all out:

I'm so happy with the results - everything worked out just as I planned. Just need to add my artwork and some curtains (and a TV in the living room) and we'll be all set. Now I'm going to finish up some work and looking forward to a night of catching up on some long overdue reading on my new couch!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Got word today - our furniture is coming a week from tomorrow. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am. I literally fell to the ground on my knees when C texted me this afternoon with the news. No more watching TV in bed, now I can look forward to lazy weekend days on my couch. No more digging through boxes stacked in the guest room looking for my favorite books, now I can have them all where they belong - dispalyed on bookcases lining my walls. No more being told by friends on the phone that I'm echoing. Of course I'm echoing - I'm normally calling from the empty dining room or living room :-)

In one week this house is finally going to feel like home and I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I know I’ve been slacking on the blogger front for a while now, and while it was my intention to blog more, the days just got away from me again, but now that I’ve decided to settle in a bit and get working on a book I’ve been plugging away at for a while now, I’m going to be much better at blogging to get my writing skills back in check.

In any case, here’s what’s kept me busy the past month:

On Sunday I spent the afternoon with my mom’s family as we gathered together to spread my grandmother’s ashes. It was the most beautiful afternoon for this and I am so glad I was there for it.

My other grandmother (Nana) turns 99 years old this week. God bless her! So I’m gearing up for her birthday dinner late tomorrow afternoon and picked her up some gifts at lunch today.

On the homefront we've made some serious progress. The dining room is finally finished (I'm completely in love with the color - Benjamin Moore's Saybrook Sage) and the hardware is now on the kitchen cabinets (and I’m grateful because I could never figure out which way to open the cabinets without looking for the hinges). That means all that’s left to be painted is the kitchen and the upstairs bathroom. I’ll post photos soon – as soon as I can find a second to download them off my camera.

Still waiting of for our furniture to come in. Every piece is waiting for us with the exception of the secretary/bookcase combination. It’s still on a boat somewhere and we’ve decided to have everything delivered at once. Just keep your fingers crossed it’s all in and delivered before Thanksgiving. I need a table and a couch!!!

I’ve started taking dance class again two days a week and I’m so happy I did. I used to dance four to five times a week until about seven years ago and missed it dearly. I forgot how good it can be for me both physically and emotionally. Nothing like an hour and a half ballet class to clear the mind (because really, when you’re doing ballet you can’t think about anything else)

I'm almost 75 percent done with the main front flower bed by the front door. One more row of bushes to plant and I'll be done (as soon as I buy them). I also spent the weekend planting tons of bulbs (85 to be exact) red and yellow tulips, daffodils and crocuses. I can't wait to see how it all comes up in the spring.

Aside from that I won’t bore you with the details about being busy at work, etc…

I also have a few things brewing, but will tell you about that in another post.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We Have A Winner ...

Six months later, every piece of furniture for our living room and dining room have been ordered and with the exception of the secretary and a special-ordered rug, every piece is in stock and ready for delivery.

I went to the store last night with every intention of pulling the trigger on the table with the black accents from my previous post. Some discussion later and concern that the table might be too long and take up too much precious space, I brought myself back to my original want - an over sized round dining room table. There, just four feet away from the set I was looking at was just this. Unlike the others I had chosen in the past, this table does not have a piece that would extend it for more than 6 or 8 people, but it's the perfect shape and style for my room. I took Tracey's advice to heart and got what I wanted and figured when we have a holiday if there are more than 8 of us, I can pull in another table for the overflow. So Tracey thank you - your words stuck with me and I couldn't be happier with my decision.

Here's the table (it looks smaller in the picture but it's 5 ft in diameter):

And because the accent pieces that went with it were monstrous in size, I opted instead for a low profile console. You can see it in this picture, just the bottom piece, not the hutch:

I decided to go with a black accent - since I still believe it will nicely tie both rooms together. They are both French provincial in style and compliment each other very well.

Let me know what you think (unless of course you think I made a grave mistake - if that's the case, don't let me know)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why I Still Don't Have a Dining Room Table

We moved into our new house what? Nearly six months ago? And I still don't have a dining room table. Don't get me wrong, I had one picked out more than nine months ago, but I was waiting for C to paint the dining room before pulling the trigger. This was my original plan a beautiful Liz Claiborne piece:

Then when the time came to buy it I realized something. My dining room and kitchen is one long front-to-back room on one side of the house and both open into each other. The problem: My cabinets are maple:

It simply wouldn't work :-(

So that nixed my idea for a super dark wood slightly formal table. So in the past month and a half I've been to literally every furniture store Massachusetts has to offer and have perused every furniture website out there. I thought I solved the problem when I found this at Pottery Barn last week:

But leave it to me - first of all the round table was too small, but the rectangular one would have been perfect. Back to the "leave it to me" part - they have officially discontinued this wood style leaving me with the small round table or a giant square one (not a fan).

Back to the drawing board. We found ourselves Saturday night back at the furniture store where we purchased our living room furniture. We had to go back to order the area rug for the living room (because remember, I can't use Nana's after all). When we were done with that I found what I think might be the perfect table. Wood on top, black legs, black chairs with wooden seats, absolutely solid and very striking in person. I figure it will tie the room together nicely as we have black appliances and black accents in the kitchen (or will - they haven't been installed yet)

Unfortunately the only picture of it I could find online shows it as an oval with different accent pieces. The one I plan on purchasing is a 72" rectangular style with really beautiful pieces. Nevertheless here is what it looks like oval (and I'll be honest, this picture simply doesn't do it justice):

Thoughts? I'm open to all advice, as I have yet to buy anything but really need something in place otherwise my relatives will be eating Thanksgiving dinner on the floor!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm Back

What can I say - it’s been a very long month so blogging had to take a backseat, but now that the fall is upon us (have I mentioned this is my absolute favorite season) I'm back in the game.

August saw my birthday, a bunch of family parties, trips to NH, Nikki’s bachelorette party and the nearing completion of our living room (room has been painted, furniture should be delivered in a couple of weeks).

It’s also been a month of babies, as Katy welcomed her baby girl on Aug. 15 and another girlfriend of mine is set to deliver twins in about a month.

Put simply, it’s been busy.

But in the midst of all the craziness at home and at work, I finally decided to pull the trigger. After nearly a seven years hiatus from dance classes, I found two near my new house and started this week. Two days a week I’m now back in the studio and enjoying every second of it. I’m definitely sore – as it’s been years, but I figured with more than 20 years experience behind me I should be back in shape within a month. I love it, it makes me happy and I’m so glad I finally did it. I’m also meeting some new people which is great since so far I only know a couple of people in my new town and this will definitely help it feel more like home.

I’d type more but I have two issues that need to ship here at work in the next two days, along with a 2009 editorial calendar that has to be finished, 2009 assignments to be handed out and a budget to balance.

I’ll be in touch.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Birthdays, Reunions (or Where the Hell Does the Time Go?)

Here’s one for you. My (gulp) 20th high school reunion is Oct. 3. I have no idea where the time has gone. (actually I don’t know what’s worse – turning 38 on Thursday or realizing I’ve been out of high school for two decades!)

Since I graduated from a small Catholic high school for girls, my class was rather small – 38 to be exact (hmm, same age I’m going to be Thursday – interesting). The way they do reunions is they do the “all alumnae reunion” inviting everyone to the event from all classes, with special recognition to the actual reunion classes for that year. They don’t have it at a hall or hotel or anything, they have it at the school. Which when I was younger I wasn’t so keen on the idea, but now that it’s been more than two decades since I walked those hallowed halls, I think it would be nice to go back, take a look around and see how everything changed.

A group of us got together and went to our five-year and had a really great time and then spent the rest of the night drinking Mai Tai's and eating Chinese food at a local haunt. For the 10th, rather than going to the reunion, a group of us went into Boston for dinner and had our own reunion (even though at the time we did manage to get together at least once a year). But the 20th is a different story and there’s been a lot of discussion and a lot of debate as to what the game plan will be for that night

I’ll keep you posted.

P.S. I’m upgrading my digital camera for my birthday this year. I’m thinking it’s going to be the Nikon ND40 – check it out here.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Molly's IBD Treatment Goes Probiotic

In an effort to make Molly’s life a LOT better, as well as ours, on Monday, July 21 I added something to her daily medications, probiotics - Pet Flora. I ran it by my vet who said they’ve had great success with it in dogs and that since it’s all natural and you can’t overdose on it, it would be worth a try. After all, it’s advertised to be for treatment-resistant diarrhea and vomiting and anyone who has been following this blog for a while now know I’ve been doing everything humanly possible to mitigate my cat tossing her cookies for more than a year now. I do have to admit, we are in a much better position than we were before her diagnosis, but still it needs to stop for all our sakes.

Back to the product, after another nearly $100 later (I can’t even bring myself to add up how much I’ve spent on medications for Miss Molly this year) I had the starter pack:

And did I mention they tout their “multi-factorial approach” has a 97 percent success rate? It was certainly worth a try.

Here’s some info:
“Everything combines into two simple feedings.

The caps, Lithothamnium and Pet Flora, may be opened and mixed with the Feline Comfort powder and the Luxolite Liquid. The combination makes an activated paste that can be added to wet food. Almost all cats like the taste.

For very finicky cats, the mixture can be administered with an oral syringe which is provided with the package.

The second part is even simpler. You just use the droppers in the Soothing Solution and the Herbal Anti-Inflammatory to put the solutions directly onto the food. Since cats are attracted to the licorice taste in the solutions, acceptance is very high. For extremely finicky cats, the solutions can also be administered with an oral syringe.”

And some more:
“Supplements such as Pet Flora and Canine Comfort and Feline Comfort are specially made to ease gastrointestinal disorders in both cats and dogs. These medicines are rich in microorganisms that help your pet to digest and absorb the nutrition from food. Today, doctors all across the country are switching to Pet Flora and Canine/Feline Comfort as a natural adjunct to antibiotics.”

So we started with step one and step two. She gets a capsule every morning and again every night and with her meals twice a day she gets ¾ of a tablespoon of “Feline Comfort” sprinkled throughout her food. I figured she wouldn’t go anywhere near it but I have to tell you – she’s eating now more than ever!

Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to realize we are on Day 15 of no Molly hurling! I’ve been thinking about how successful it’s been every day for the past week, but totally jinxed myself by telling C last night. (this always happens).

This morning I came down, made my coffee, gave Miss Molly her morning pills and then fed her. I was upstairs for about 10 minutes when C alerted me that he just heard her hurl. NO!!!!!! It couldn’t be. I was in complete denial. So slowly I went down to discover that yes, indeed she did throw up. But it wasn’t as bad as it used to be, it was pretty much half digested food and frankly I think her gag reflux may have been affected by this morning’s pills. (Hey I’ll look for any silver lining at this point). But unfortunately I just updated her calendar – yes, I mark off non-sick days each month in green highlighter and sick days in orange – and had to mark it a “sick” day.

Now to determine, do I move on to step three of my new herbal remedy and see how that works or continue with steps one and two for another week or two?


Friday, August 01, 2008

Christian the Lion Reunion

I can't stop crying - check this out!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Locusts Falling from the Sky

I was just outside at work getting something out of my car when something hit me in the head. It wasn't hard and it didn't hurt but it slightly freaked me out. There was nothing there so I went about my business figuring it was probably an acorn or something (even though it isn't fall this made me feel a bit better). A moment later I looked at the grown where I previously stood and what was there on its back trying to flip itself over? A locust. (Did I mention where I was there are no trees and this insect literally fell from the sky?)

What could this possibly mean? I'm dying to know.

P.S. In case you're wondering what became of the Locust (even though I'm a firm bug hater - we flipped him back on his legs and he left). Besides, he was too big to even think about squishing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Baby Thoughts

Baby Thoughts

I feel like I’ve become a blogging slacker. As always, work and the life on the homefront has been keeping me busy, along with catching up with old friends now that I’ve finally had the time. Which brings me to the latest. I have four friends who are currently pregnant. Two are due in two weeks, including the fabulous Sasha, and two friends – both carrying multiples who are do in a few months. And I couldn’t be happier for all of them. I also must admit, I'm a tad bit jealous.

My friends from childhood all have families, but they started them long ago when I was in my early 20s. So it’s been a while since I’ve been surrounded by the excitement of those close to me preparing to have their first (and in some cases, second) child.

Two of my girlfriends are in my age group and I’m beyond excited for both of them. One is having her first in two weeks, the other fraternal twins in matter of a few short months. You might say I’m living vicariously through them since I still haven’t come to the point in my life where I’m a mother – but man I’m counting the days. I’m scooping up baby clothes at every store I come across, along with toys, blankets, you name it. My nephew is even benefiting from my obsessive (you all know I am right?) desire to outfit other’s children – he has a slew of new super cool stuff only a 2 year old would love waiting for him when I see him at my mom’s house this weekend. I can’t wait!

But it’s all a bit bittersweet for me right now. I really want a child. I always have. If you asked me 10 years ago about it I’d tell you that by my mid-30s I’d have at least two if not three. Yet here I am – two weeks from my late-30s birthday (gulp) and I’m still not at that point in my life. Yet. There is nothing I want more than to have a family with C. And while I used to hope for at minimum two children of my own, depending on how the universe favors this position for me, it may only be one child and I’ve finally come to accept that. Of course most of this is due to the age-limit I set myself a long time ago (the age at which I determined is too old for me personally to get pregnant).

In any case, my biological clock has been ticking for years now and I think that’s what’s been keeping me up at nights lately. And while on some level I always thought I’d be a mother by now, I know I wouldn’t change a thing because it’s with C I want to raise a family and he wasn’t on the radar until a few short years ago. We have the new house with a white picket fence (I know, cliché, but it came with the house) and in the next year or two I hope together we can fill it with a child of our own.

In the meantime I’ll continue to spoil my friends and their children and be grateful they have included me in the journey toward motherhood. I love you all!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Look what we have - we officially have a bunny here like we did at the other house. I couldn't be happier, now it feels like home! Check him out:

Craig came home from work the other night, called me from outside and told me to come out and be quiet and I saw this happily laying in the grass:

So I decided to get a better look:

He didn't move at all:

I think he actually liked having his picture taken:

Ah bunnies. Did I mention he's one of a group of 10 we see frolicking in the neighborhood? Who knew living in the "country" could be so entertaining? Not this gal.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Yard Update (Making Serious Progress)

I made it a point to use my time off to make some serious progress on my yard, and do some repair work to flooded flower gardens thanks to all the rain we've had in the northeast the past few weeks. Here are some photos (Kristi, I know you've been waiting):

This is what happens when you have a great garden and it rains for three weeks. The weeds took over and the rose bush kicked the bucket.

And here it is after I cleaned it up, removed the dead rose bush and planted another Hydrangea!

This was a big project I was putting off forever. The area along the fence. Full of weeds and things that looked like plants that really weren't.

Another before shot.

Three hours later and a giant bag of lawn trash later we have this! I also added the brick border - I found a pile of them behind the house from the previous owners. I have to admit I'm pretty darn impressed with myself right now.

And a shot of the staircase. More flowers damaged from the rain.

As well as some up close photos of my new blooms.

This is the next project. Then the yard is complete. I'll have an update as soon as I find the energy to finish this.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

You Just Never Know Where the Truth Lies (with update below)

What a difference a day makes.

Three weeks ago, I said goodbye to my grandmother's house. It was emotionally charged, a bit disappointing even though it was our only option - none of us could have afforded to keep the house or even live in it. And frankly, none of us really wanted to. The house itself was it's own entity filled with memories that will last me a lifetime and beyond.

And then yesterday morning - that all changed.

When the house was sold we were told several times that the new family was in a hurry to get in there, start doing renovations and was hoping to be setting up their home in time for a grand Labor Day party. Good for them. A new family would bring new life into our home. In hindsight we should have known they weren't speaking the truth. The first indication was when my grandmother's next door neighbor called to tell me she met "one of the owners" and that it was three men. Odd, I told her that couldn't be because we were told it was a family, a hockey family from a neighboring town so taken by the fact when they looked at the house a second time they saw children playing street hockey in the street and that sold them. Boy was I wrong.

They lied. They lied about what their plan was, they lied about what they were doing. I have no problem with anyone buying the house - it was up for sale for someone else to call home, but why weave an intricate wave of lies when, at the end of the day, it simply wasn't their intention at all? I'll never know. It's not like we were only going to sell it to someone whose plans we approved of. We were happy it sold as quickly as it did. I'm stunned.

Basically yesterday morning I found out from the neighbors that all that work they were screeching through at the house over the course of the past two weeks was for one thing and one thing only - they were flipping. it. And last night, it was official. A "For Sale" sign went up on the lawn and I got an email in my inbox from the real estate website I watch informing me there was a new listing for a house on my grandmother's old street. It was her house. I'm stunned.

There were photos to go with the listing too, and while they didn't do a thing to the outside. They did rip up all the rugs, refinish the hardwood floors which had been hiding beneath them for decades and painted - and man it's beautiful.

Here's the question - there is an open house this afternoon. My folks can't make it -so therefore I'm going over there this afternoon to walk through the house. I have two reasons for doing this. The first is I want to see what they did in 14 days, the second is because it appears from the listing they may be subdividing the lot on which it stands and selling them both separately - which would make sense because the asking price on the house is only 30K more than what they paid for it a few weeks ago. C is concerned it's going to totally freak me out to walk back into a house that on the inside will be unrecognizable when the last time I was there I left in tears overwhelmed with the emotion it's no longer in the family. Either way I'm going. But don't worry, I'm bringing support. But am I doing the right thing?


So I went to the open house yesterday. Turns out they are actually selling the house and the side yard lot separately with plans to build a house on the lot that has, since the house has been in existence, been the yard. Or, as the realtor told me, I could purchase that lot for $300K because it's buildable. (We've always been told it was not) Which means the house literally won’t have any yard at all. It’s a real shame – I think between that and the shoddy, quick paint they slapped on a few walls really devalues and frankly destroyed a beautiful house that simply needs some fixing and new decorative touches. That’s all I have to say on the subject.

Friday, June 20, 2008

(Long Overdue) House Update

It’s been a while since I’ve had a house update with everything else going on. Three months after we moved in, here’s the latest:

My two new flower gardens at the front of the house are doing fabulously and make me smile every time I pull in or walk out the front door.

I have a design plan in place for the main area in the front of the house under the windows. C and I have discussed what we want and will be making a trip to the nursery soon.

On the inside of the house – while most has remained the same - we are ready to begin the rest of the work. C finished decking the attic last week so we can finally get all the boxes out of our lives and put up there whether it’s indefinitely, for the holidays, summer/winter clothing or simply the stuff that will be there temporarily until we finish our dining and living rooms (need to be painted).

This weekend my goal is to get all those boxes staged and lined up in the two other bedrooms for (near) future attic placement. Then we can set up both bedrooms and the upstairs (sans curtains) will be complete! (oh and we have to paint the upstairs bathroom).

So we’re getting there. Slowly but surely. And now that the only house we have to worry about is our own, it should be a no-brainer. And yes, of course, I found myself driving by Nana’s house the other day just to see what was going on and it was a lot of work taking place inside (they had the doors open so I could see in).

That’s that. Tomorrow I’m spending the day at my mom’s and Sunday I have a jewelry party (thank goodness I haven’t had any jewelry business in two months being so busy and all).

But now I’m back in the groove and ready to take it all on!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happiness Is ...

My new Coach bag!!!

Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Goodbye Nana's House

Tonight I went to Nana's for the last time on my way home from work to pick up a few remaining things and take out the garbage for the very last time. It was very bittersweet. By this time tomorrow a new family will be calling this house "home."

Goodbye Nana's house and all the wonderful memories that will live on in a place that as a child I considered nothing but magical and as an adult, majestic. You will be missed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nearing the End of an Era

Tomorrow is the last day I will ever go to my grandmother’s house. C and I are heading over there after work to pick up the last few things still there and take one more final load of garbage to the curb. I’m feeling better about it than I did last week, but sometimes still, when I’m not thinking about it, the memories start creeping in and I start thinking about all the wonderful times we had there through my life and throughout my grandparents’ lives. I have boxes of photos from the 1940s to present day of huge parties in a house built for just that.

My dad grew up in that house – having moved there when he was a little boy. My grandfather was a contractor and bought the house from a prominent businessman and spent a significant amount of time renovating it. My grandmother can still tell you exactly how it looked and how small the rooms were before the renovation. The house itself is absolutely amazing. A grand foyer with a circular staircase, a living room so large it easily fit a 10 ft Christmas tree and comfortably could hold 75 for cocktails. A master suite I would do anything for with a dressing room with windows overlooking the lake at the bottom of the hill and a sunken tub in it’s private bathroom, even a maid’s room with private bath. It’s a house many have dreamed to live in, including me.

My mom got dressed for and had photos taken before her wedding at Nana’s back in the late 1960s. And was married at the church down the street (the same church where both my brother and I were baptized). My cousin Nancy who was just a little girl and a flower girl at my mom’s wedding was so taken with the experience that in 1991 she had her wedding at Nana’s. Both my brother and I had Christenings at the house that, in photos, would remind you of the wedding scene in “The Godfather.” We also had a beautiful cocktail party for Nana's 95th four years ago at the house. It was absolutely lovely with nearly 100 in attendance.

As a child and through my college years, we had family Christmas’ with easily 25 to 30 people at a time with my grandmother cooking the entire five course meal for all. It was all so good but took a number of years before I could sit through the entire meal. You see dinner always began with homemade ravioli as the first course and since ravioli was (and still is) my favorite, I’d eat too much of that and leave the table only to come back hours later for Nana’s homemade cheesecake – which this year I finally mastered myself. Thanksgivings and Easters were the same. While the menu would change slightly for every holiday, it always began with ravioli. And then there was what we laughingly referred to as “the annex” – the overflow table in the foyer just next to the dining room. The same folks ate there each holiday, but we always found ourselves by that table taking in the fun of a small group – oh the memories! I can still picture Marguerite, Auntie Maria and Auntie Helen having a grand old time. (Incidentally, Auntie Helen and her husband Uncle Jimmy survived the Coconut Grove Fire in Boston back in November, 1942) 492 people perished in that fire. Helen and Jimmy were the only couple at their table that night who survived. In fact, as Nana told the story, Helen was thought to be dead and was among the dead when she was found alive. It was a miracle.

Back to the holidays. All holidays – heck, all get togethers at Nana’s, always began with one key element. Champagne. And to this day that tradition continues. We’re the only family I know that can kill a case of champagne in less than two hours flat and everyone can still walk. I remember how special it was to me when I was finally allowed my first sip. C and I have what’s left of the last case of champagne that was at the house. I’m waiting for my next family get together to open a bottle. Or maybe I’ll open one tomorrow night in honor of the house changing hands.

As a child I would visit my grandmother often and spend a lot of the time also visiting with my Auntie Eva. Eva was my favorite of all the aunts, of everyone. She gave me my first perm (even though it blew out in the wind on the ride home), taught me to make a mean homemade apple pie and how to appreciate old movies. Eva lived right next door to Nana which made a trip to visit Nana even more fun.

While Eva taught me to bake, Nana made sure I knew how to make her sauce. She was always on me to learn how to cook – because “no man would marry an Italian girl who couldn’t cook,” she’d say. It took a lot of lessons, but eventually I caught on. Unfortunately I’m still only good at cooking anything Italian, nothing else. And while Nana wasn’t the baker in the family, she did pass down to me her Pizzelle and Biscotti recipes – even giving me my own Pizzelle maker – this fall I hope to start making those – hopefully as good as hers were.

Nana’s house had a sad side to it, too. My Uncle Michael died a few years ago. He had Down’s Syndrome and unfortunately his body gave out just before his 60th birthday. But the one thing he always asked for every day at the hospital was to go home. After his death he got just that. He was waked in front of the fireplace in Nana’s grand living room thanks to some help from the local funeral home. It was a wonderful way to honor his wishes and to bring him home one last time. We kept our word.

With summer here I can’t help but remember how much Nana LOVED to sit out in the sun in the yard. When I was a kid she’d be out there all day with Eva – toasting themselves and soaking their feet in a kiddie pool purchased just for that purpose. In her later years, I’d join her out there to sit and talk and drink her favorite summer aperitif – gin and tonic.

And there’s so much more but the more I type, the more I remember, the more I drift off into those memories and feel a sadness in my chest and the more you’ll all be forced to read.

200th Post!

Wow I just realized that last post was my 200th this year. Feels pretty darn nice!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

When Did He Become A Little Boy?

I must have blinked too long because it seems all of a sudden my baby nephew is now a little boy! (or maybe it's the little boy haircut?)