Monday, June 17, 2013

The Amazing Spain Adventures-Madrid

Grandma, Papa, Jake, David, Ben and Rachel with our BIG van.
We spent Saturday traveling and then celebrated Father's Day by eating in the world's oldest restaurant, Botin,(as deemed by the Guinness Book of World's Records) located in Madrid, Spain.

We feasted on suckling pig, baby lamb and chicken fricassee.  Delicious.  The caramel and chocolate ice creams were fabulous, too.  

We toured the Royal Palace, not all 2500 rooms, but A LOT of them.  Jake decided he'd like to be invited to a gala event there....who knew Jake likes galas?

And then we checked something off David's bucket list:  attend a bullfight.  It was interesting and unusual and quite formulaic once you got over the initial shock and horror of the bloody bull.  The bullfighters do have their own style and flair but the "fight" is conducted in three "acts" each time and you start to be able to anticipate the moves.  I am sure it will never be popular in the United States, but the history of it and the tradition make it a fascinating event if you're here for one.  Ben was much more upset about the cigarette and cigar smokers surrounding him than the blood and Rachel is still not too sure she likes that event.  I will certainly always remember it.

What's the deal with the hot pink socks on all the matadors?  I'll have to find out the significance.

 All in all, it was a whirlwind of a day to start our adventures.  Day two, we were able to visit the Stadium Bernabeu, home to the professional soccer team, Real Madrid, before we left the city.  It was a cool tour and one Ben will always remember.  Hopefully, he will appreciate us all taking it in to honor him.  We like soccer, but we LOVE Ben. 

On the pitch where the players sit.
We are on to another city and more adventures....until tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The "Future" is Coming

You know the first time in December when you buy milk and the "use by" date is after Christmas and it gives you a little fright?  You think, "That's just around the corner.  I better get moving."  Well, today I had a frightening moment. 

 I went to make some frozen fish for dinner and the "use by" date said June 10, 2014.  It occurred to me that Jake will have graduated from high school by that time!  Holy smokes.  I know it's not milk and it's more than a year away but it shook me up a bit nonetheless.  "That's just around the corner and there's A LOT to be done between now and then..."

What lessons do I need to teach before then?  What values have I missed imparting?  Will he know where to turn when things are complicated?  Will I know how to help an "adult"?  Almost scarier than a room full of unwrapped presents in the middle of December...

Just my thoughts this cold January the thought that I need to find some vegetables to serve with these fish and chips. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


February 26th Kurt said:

I just left Real Artways in Hartford. I was hired for my third annual Oscar statue performance to benefit Connecticut Aids Resource Center. It went well and the women who runs the gallery was VERY impressed with me and would like to work with me again.
 Yesterday I was ALSO an award statue for Ten31 at a casino. It was a fun performance because I was on stage for a part of it and I "came to life" to introduce a FLASH MOB
I've been packing and moving stuff to Carrie's basement.   Its really nice of her to let me use up her space. More than nice actually.   Tomorrow I get the uhaul to bring MORE stuff.  As of right now I don't even have a place to live. It's actually exciting to have anything be possible.
 I guess a goal is to take charge of my destiny and if human statuing is gonna be my thing I need to book myself gigs

February 27th Rob wrote:

So... it's been a bit since I last updated people on the goings on
here in Millbury.  Fortunately, not all that much really happens here,
so it makes it pretty easy to get lax about these things.
I had every intention of writing to everyone on Feb 12th, but I got a
tad distracted.  We had moved the table out of the dining room for
some reason that currently escapes me, so I wanted to use the
opportunity to (finally) remove the air conditioner from the window.
This is the day we remind everyone that having a messy house has some
nasty side-effects.  You know, when you have stuff laying around all
the time, it gets to be somewhat invisible.  This can be an issue when
you ask a teenager to clear a path to the garage, so that when
carrying a bulky metal box you can walk without having to worry about
not seeing where you are going.  McGuire did an admirable job clearing
a path, even spreading his arms to make sure the path was wide enough;
but there was this little box sitting on the stairs that had been
there for a few weeks, right on the 4th step from the bottom.  I was
reminded of this box when my foot landed on it, and my ankle twisted
somewhat painfully - which also let me fall down the last 4 stairs
right along with the air conditioner.  I didn't break any bones, or
floor tiles, and the frame of the air conditioner is only a little
bent, so maybe it will still work, too.  The poor kids, though!
McGuire was ready to call 911 - he stayed remarkably calm at first.  I
could almost see the adrenaline wear off on him, as he started to feel
like it was all his fault.  Archer's first instinct was  to call
Allison, and he was near panic the whole time I was on the floor in
pain.  It only took me about 3 minutes for the initial blast of pain
to wear off, and I just had a handful of scrapes and bruises, plus one
good gash on my ankle.
There wasn't too much of interest after that, until maybe Wednesday.
We had our usual D&D at the store, and since it was Catherine's
birthday on Thursday, her parents let her family join us for dinner,
so we went to the 99.  While we were there, I mentioned that McGuire
and I were going to see Chronicle that weekend, so I suggested that
McGuire invite Catherine as a birthday present.  Ellie was thrilled to
have Archer over for the night, so the three of us were headed out,
and Jim (Ellie and Catherine's brother) asked if he could come with
us. which I didn't mind.  We wound up hitting a later show than
planned, missing the 4:20 showing, so we went out to Papa Ginos before
the movie, and caught the 7:10.  It was a pretty good movie, much
better than I was expecting.  Allison was a little horrified to think
of her son out on a date, but I told her that until she said that to
McGuire, he probably had not thought of it as a date.  It was pretty
The following week was pretty standard, I had some friends over Friday
night for D&D -  I'm getting geekier by the week!  McGuire actually
managed to charm his way into the group, so he gets to hang out with
his Dad and some mid-20s guys.  I am so lucky to have such a mature
teenager, I swear he was the most mature one in the room.
The kids had the next week off from school, and they were thrilled to
be able to just hang out.  I took Monday off to be with them one more
day - I don't think we did anything actually productive, but we had
some fun, watched the Neverending Story with Archer, who wanted to
start reading the novel that very night!  The week ended with a
massive flurry of late-night D&D games and then a trip to the local
gaming convention on Saturday.  McGuire and I have D&D characters that
we have played together since level 1, and most of our friends have
gotten their characters to level 11, where they get extra powers.
Ours were only level 9 at the start of the week, but we were able to
find a game on-line Monday morning, making it possible, but unlikely,
to be at the same level as the other players by the second game on
Saturday.  We were able to scare up a game on both Thursday and Friday
night (until 2am or later both nights!), reaching level 10 on
Thursday.  If we had managed to score one additional game Tuesday or
Wednesday, we could have gotten to level 11 if everything went
perfectly.  It turns out that it didn't matter: we couldn't get enough
XP on Saturday morning to have reached level 11 for the big 9-hour
adventure anyway.  It was a good thing anyway, since it kept our
characters at a level where we could play at the table with Catherine
and one of the other kids from our regular Sunday games, so that was
good.  I took the Sweeny's out to Friday's after the 13 hour D&D
marathon, which wound up being an hour-long meal at 11:30pm!  We
figured 1am would be a good guess to get them home, so 1:30 isn't too
bad.  McGuire and I were home at 2am, and probably asleep by 2:05, it
was a long couple of days.  What made it even better was that I got
stuck at work late on Friday - somebody installed a trojan on my work
computer (that would be me....) so I had to work on cleaning things up
before I could leave.  To top off the geekdom weekend, I  had
volunteered to run  game on Sunday, so I had to get up at 10am to get
ready for an adventure that I hadn't even looked at before Sunday!  It
went well, but I was sooooo tired by Sunday evening (last night).

March 4th Rob wrote:

Hi everybody!
Pretty tame week here in MA, which is usually the way I like it.  Last Sunday I ran the weekly D&D game at the Whiz, getting home around 7 pm.  Spent the next 4 hours failing to get Archer into bed, and I think we managed to be on time to school some of the week.
It was a crazy busy work week, with meetings and lots of coordination all the time. It was for the good, because at the end of the week, I made really great progress: alwáys a nice way to end a week.  Probably the high point of the week for me was meeting up with my friend Jen, who was in town for work. We met up at a Japanese place, and I had sushi for the first time (I don't count the one try at a buffet), maybe not surprisingly, I actually liked it, once I got past the odd texture.
Wednesday night we started getting some fluffy snow, nothing terrible, but it was supposed to continue all night, and through Thursday.  For a change, Millbury cancelled school when it was a good idea, even though they waited until 5am to do so. Archer woke up in time to make the bud, but guessed right away that school was off due to the fact that our road was unplowed at 8am. McGuire made no effort to wake up, and I was happy to let him sleep in.  I did get him pretty good, when he got out of the shower at 9:45, and I told him that he was late for school, even with the 2 hour delay. I told him the truth before he started really panicking, and even he admitted it was funny.  I had already planned on going into work late on Thursday, since I had set up the house closing for that day.  Allison came by around 9, expecting the lawyer for 10; he actually showed up  at 9:40, which worked well.  After signing and or initialing about 75 pages of mortgage crap, I am the sole owner of the house, with a much lower interest rate. Eight years of payments are essentially gone, but I will be able to claim more of what I am paying as a tax deduction, and I will have more money in my pocket every month, so I am pretty pleased.
Friday I had some friends over for a D&D game, now McGuire gets to play with us, so that is cool.  Archer gets to hang out downstairs, doing whatever he likes, which isn't all that different from normal, but apparently he feels ignored; so I probably can't keep playing in that game.  The guys I am playing with there can't seem to avoid swearing every other sentence, so it does make the choice of backing out easier. 
That was my week - nothing of interest happened on Saturday, and today was just another game at the store.  Until next week!

Carrie and I didn't have much to say I suppose.  I sort of fell of the face of the earth when it comes to everything but I'm hoping to re-start with the sibling makes me happy to know what you guys are doing. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekly Update


Jake got his driver's license on Friday, February 17th.  I picked him up early from school and we spent three quality hours at the DMV together.  It included a trip to lunch at his favorite local Mexican place so I like to think of it as a date.  He will be able to take one other teenager in the car with him starting in six months and in a year from now he can take whomever he chooses...I'm glad he doesn't love to drive and didn't drop me off at home and head out on the town on Friday night.  It's nice of him to ease me into this whole parenting a teenager thing.  Does anyone really think I'll be ready for Ben to be sixteen?  Will the world be ready for that?

I felt like a date with Ben on Saturday might be fun since Rachel had a birthday party at a local cave that Dave was taking her to and Ben desperately needed a new bearing for his yo-yo.  Off to Manitou Springs after getting my hair done.  We happened upon the Manitou Carnivale parade and found a great Greek restaurant for lunch right by the yo-yo store.  Ben is really rocking the yo-yo lately.  He is one of a kind!  This week we should hear about what team he made for competitive baseball.  The team managers held a draft this weekend.  Crazy.  Soccer is ramping up just as I am burning out on it.  How can it be that the season has not even started and I'm tired of it?  Maybe Ben should just be a musician and yo-yo player.  You know, stay-at-home stuff.

For our date, Rachel and I were going to go to the playground and bake a cake together but the monkey bars got cold very quickly which put a damper on our playground time and then the cake baking got messed up by Dave fixing the auto-clean feature on the oven as we were planning to bake.  The oven got cleaned but we will need to schedule another real date soon.  Love that little lady.  Last Saturday she did something for the first time that makes me so proud and happy and a little sad.  She borrowed a chapter book from the library, a Geronimo Stilton book for those who know kids' series, and she read the whole thing by herself.  It took her a couple of hours.  I love LOVE to read but I had no idea it would give me such joy to see her loving it too.  Pure joy.

We hosted a soup night on Sunday for a few friends.  It was fun and keeping with my goal to entertain more.  I went to the temple last Thursday.  Haven't been in ages.  Nice to go with Lori and her mom.  Missed Annee and Arby's this time.  Still laughing about the turkey sandwich from the drive-thru from years ago.

Dave has the coming week off so we'll do something fun for President's Day and then I've got a honey-do list for him.  Oh boy, do I.  Wish him luck.  Though it's likely he doesn't need it.  He did fix the oven and the hot tub already, in one day he'd like to note.  Until next week.


A week ago, Trent was riding those scooters at school and fell off, slamming his face into the wood floor.  Poor kid was bleeding everywhere.  They sent him home on the bus and called me.  Poor baby needed two stitches inside his upper lip.  He didn't even flinch!!  That kid is a trooper.  I'm traumatized though.  Swelling went down after a few days.  School is dangerous for my kids!!!  Kayla got stitches after hitting her head at recess last year.  Hailey almost got her finger broken at school a few weeks ago..........

This week I made a lot of heart shaped sugar cookies!!  Trent's class got to decorate their own cookies  :)  I went in and helped, it is so cute how three shakes of sprinkles turns into a mountain!!  I love preschool!!  Kayla had her Valentine's Day party too, I decorated those before though.  I run back and forth between classes so I don't miss too much.  Trent's teacher is super sweet and asked me what time Kayla's party starts so they could start earlier.  That way I can make both parties without missing too much.  Kayla also had her Science Fair this week.  She did an experiment on which tape is the best, Scotch or generic.  Scotch won!!  She got interviewed by the Norwich Bulletin.  Check online for her photo.

Sean and I were heading to the casino tonight to watch his friend in a comedy competition.  But Hailey fell ill.  She came home yesterday with a sore throat (AGAIN!!!) and now she's wheezing through her throat, fever 102.3 and hasn't spoken since yesterday morning :(  Heading back to the doctor today.  Hopefully it's something easy to cure.  I've found that viruses really make me mad.  The poor kid suffers and nothing can fix it!!!  I'd rather have it a bacterial infection of some sort so they can cure her!!!!  I need some spring!!  Maybe I should homeschool!!!!  Germs, boo boos gone!! 
My exercise routine has picked up :) I'm doing 100 crunches everyday plus the rest of my workouts.  I lost about two inches from my waist!!! And the areas that strapless dresses show off has slimmed :) Sean thought I've been shrinking his pants!!!!!  He seemed to have found the weight I lost!!   Not that you can tell on him :)  So funny.

Goals, keep on keeping on.  I love your quote Kim!!  I plan on waking up, being amazing and going to bed :)  Air out the house today, it's supposed to be 50.  Hit the -10 pounds mark.  Find time for a date with Sean.  

I've actually and honestly been too
Busy to even right an email. I have been working 12 hour days for HOUSE OF CACH. We have been doing a LOT of things... New designs, new sales, social media. All amazing and good things. I have been avoiding packing because I'm a dumb ass. I have also been squeezing in a few fun things. Such as a QUEER dance party with a ICE BEARD APOCALYPTIC theme and performing as Abraham Lincoln. So basically my life is the same as always. This past week I had a two day migraine that was leading to some
major throwing up.  I then decided to
go out on ValenTIMES day and get totally drunk. I haven't drank in months and the next day was sick for approx. 24 hours. Here's some pics of the last two weeks......

Goals....ugh. I am not good with goals. It doesn't help me get things done. So instead I'll do some nice things for strangers this week. As in hold the door more often. Or maybe buy the person behind me in line a coffee


Rob says he'll catch up with us next week. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekly Update


Sadly, my plans for getting this done on Saturday failed.  Yeah, I was
actually planning on having it done for Saturday so that I could get
it out on Sunday morning for a change, but pesky life keeps getting in
the way.  For the most part, this week was really standard and boring.
The biggest change from standard protocol was that the kids didn't
get their homework done on Wednesday, so we missed D&D night again,
this is three in a row now!  It seems like they are able to carry on
without us, which is actually pretty good - I don't have to feel
pressured to make it.  I did start getting some forward progress on
refinancing the house this week, with the new credit union approving
the loan, pending my paperwork checks out.  Basically, I just have to
get copies of the mortgage note, divorce decree and divorce agreement,
saying that I own the house, and it should be all set.  Two months
without a mortgage payment, and then around 400 bucks a month less
going to it!  On top of that, it means my interest payments will be
higher, so my tax deduction will be bigger, at least unless that tax
benefit is taken away.

I got most of my W2s and other tax forms needed, so I started entering
the information into H&R Block - looks pretty grim so far.
Apparently, I am outpacing a lot of the 99%, but I don't have Cayman
island accounts and huge capital gains to keep me fiscally sound, so I
will be paying roughly 35% of my income in taxes, all told.  I thought
it might be as high as 30%, but this is just painful.  If that isn't
enough mind-numbing bureaucracy for you, I also got notified that I
need to renew my security clearance, so I have a decade of employment,
familial, residential, financial and social to document... Be prepared
to hear from the Government about me, they might want to ask my
siblings about me, just tell them that I can keep a secret - it's even

As to getting this done on Saturday, I was hoping to not have to worry
about it on Superbowl Sunday, but Allison and her friend were coming
over to watch the game here (why get an awesome new TV if you can't
show it off?) and I had mucho cleaning to do.  I didn't get much help
from the kids, so Saturday was a hellishly draining day of chasing
messes down, and trying to distract Archer enough that he would not
make new messes.  In the end, I got the house mostly clean, at least
enough that I wasn't embarrassed. I would rather not talk about the game itself.  
Stupid Giants.


Let's see........Last week was hectic to put it mildly.  Chase got a stomach bug Sunday.  Kayla got it Tuesday.  Monday they ripped out the old oil tank and installed a new one.  Tuesday they started putting in new doors and windows.  All while I had kids puking.  Fun times.  Poor Kayla had to move room to room while they installed the windows.  I cannot believe how many bugs my kids have had this year!!  Insanity.  Everyone was better Thursday :)  My windows and doors are beautiful!!  Super happy with the kitchen especially.  The contractor who did the work also looked at the roof for us.  Water spots on the ceiling in three places :(  Come to find out we need a roof.  Not very excited about that.  I think I don't want to be a homeowner anymore.  It's not all that fun :( 

Sean finally had a whole weekend off!!!  Friday our friends Dominic and Kristine brought their baby Gabriel over.  Love getting a baby fix!!!!  Saturday Sean took the kids to the airplane museum.  He needed a daddy-kid day.  Saturday night Keving (Sean's brother) and Lucy came over.  They're looking for houses in Lebanon!!!!  Sunday I took off with Heather and Laura to Providence.  Laura saw Kurt to get her hair done and Heather and I went and ordered our bridesmaid dresses (FINALLY)!!!!!  The wedding is in April.  Waited long enough.  Then girl scouts, then Superbowl.  My friend Crystal and her family came over for the game.  Good busy weekend.  Lot's of company!  Rare around here.  As for my goals, I am right on target.  -2 lbs. a week.  Of course it doesn't come off where you want it to.  But I'm increasing my workouts this week, adding in more cardio and reps.  Yesterday I killed it!!  :)

Last week was a week of THRIFT SHOPPING.  Sunday I found a pair of brown leather pants for $40!  Then my most favorist jacket in Boston for $50. Later on that week I was in NYC for a friends bands performance. I wore another thrift find...a purple women's jacket. 

I took some pictures on a rooftop  

I then found size 14 men's cowboy boots to paint for my statue cause my others are too small. Especially when my feet swell while working. And I got a pair of jeans that are treated and LOOK leather. 


This week is PACKING so I can store stuff in carries basement.  Because she is apparently my parents

This guy is a stud.

We loved watching the Giants win in the Super Bowl. (Sorry Rob but you must know I hate the Patriots and always have...long before you loved them.)  Jake picked the Giants at the beginning of the season as "his team".  He tends to be incredibly lucky like that.  

The rest of the week kind of sucked for me since I was sick, as in lost almost two whole days to illness.  That's pretty rare for me.  I felt REALLY badly on Tuesday and Thursday.  I'm still kind of cruddy (wondering if I now have a sinus infection?) but so much better than Thursday that it's hard to complain. 

I've been wondering lately what I really accomplish in a week--it so often feels like nothing--that I've spent some time trying to decide if I need more structure in my life.  Now, for those of you that know me well, that should be funny.  It took me a bit to realize just how funny.  

I make a new recipe every week.  I serve fish once a week.  I serve homemade soup once a week.  I do all my laundry one day a week.  I clean my entire house one day a week.  I volunteer at school one day a week.  I attend church once a week.  I bake muffins on the weekend.  I hold FHE every week(which really means planning a great dessert once a week.)  I do yoga at least twice a week.  I walk with Lori in the morning(except when I'm sick!).  I read a book for book club every month.  I attend multiple PTO meetings every month.  I pack lunches every morning.  I make a dinner menu every week.  I shop every Monday and fill up my gas tank, whether it needs it or not.  I go to the library once a week.
Zuppa Toscano-This week's new recipe and soup all in one.  Delicious.

Maybe the problem is not LACK of structure but just the opposite.  Maybe I need to throw caution to the wind and have a week with NO structure to see how that feels.  Maybe that would help me see how much I really am accomplishing.  Maybe not.  That just sounds crazy.  And a little irresponsible. 

Likely, I just need to be more mindful of the little things I do to help out my peeps.  After all that's my main job right now...I helped Ben with a "time line" of his life last week.  Took Jake for his driving test.  He passed and can get his license next week if we can find the time.  Helped Rachel master her 71 phonograms-whew, I'll be glad to finish 1st grade forever.  Helped Dave out with his Deacon's quorum combined youth activity.  Picked up the repaired french horn.  Comforted Rachel's broken heart.  Supported Ben for baseball tryouts.  Avoided mortally wounding a disrespectful teenager.  Celebrated the kids' accomplishments, including Ben's third award for all-around awesomeness at school.

All this while I was sick.  I'm rocking this job.  I'll do it again this coming week.  Enough said. 

Weekly (?) Update

My fault.  I was waiting for an update from Rob (which arrived on Thursday, 2/2) and then I lost the rest of the post somewhere in the blogosphere.  I kept thinking I would be able to find my clever and witty text along with Carrie and Kurt's charming updates and then I would post it.  It is not going to happen.  My sixteen-year-old has it right.  I am technologically challenged.  Oh well. 

So here it is (minus my long-winded contribution)--The Week of January 30th(give or take)...

I've seen this on Pinterest (which tells you something about how I spend my week) and it kind of sums up my entire life for you...

My daily routine: Get up, be amazing, go back to bed.


My goals for the week complete, my boys got their hair done at Little Klippers in Colchester.  They have an airplane chair!!!  They look so cute, although Chase looks so big!!!  And he is!  We moved him to a big boy bed this week!!  Freecycle rocks!!  Free car bed :)  Mom came to Providence with me and the monsters Saturday to get the girls hair done. Hailey has pink and purple highlights.  Kayla got her hair dyed too!!  It's a beautiful auburn :)  Crazy young but it's in their DNA!!!  My exercise has been awesome!!  I'm feeling a little superhero like.  I lost 2 lbs. :)  I picked up a scale, balance ball and some weights.  I overdid the workouts last week and needed a massage, so I came up with a four day a week plan.  I'm sleeping so good!!  I feel amazing.  46 lbs. is my goal.  Hopefully in 23 weeks I'll have reached it!!!

This week is starting with Chase throwing up, the oil tank is going in and the old one coming out.  Hopefully I'll have a time frame on the windows and doors :(  Special orders ugh.  Bump the elliptical time up 5 minutes.  And take Kayla to the dentist.  Have a sparkling week :)


I walked in a runway show

I made a cell phone case

I want to bring my CDs to a store to sell them


Sunday, Thursday... they are so much alike, it is easy to confuse
them.  Ugh.  You take a few days off from your life and next thing you
know everything is forcefully moved around on you.

So I didn't have really anything to add the week before last, people
got sick, threw up, ran fevers - life goes on etc.  Last week I made
my trip out to D&D Experience in Fort Wayne, IN on Wednesday, getting
home (insanely tired) on Sunday night.  Not really much to crow about
in the days leading up to it, except for maybe watching the Patriots
win another playoff game, ensuring a spot in the Superbowl, only to
have the Giants beat the 49ers and get a rematch of 2007 - and we all
know how that ended :( . Last year I had brought McGuire with me to
DDXP, and it was an absolute blast getting to spend all day playing
with him for a long weekend.  This year, stupid school had to get in
the way of having my eldest son along with me, since he had mid-terms
that week, and I couldn't in good faith pull him out of midterms to go
have fun with his Dad.  As such, I got them off to school on
Wednesday, then took off for my trip.

I had a nice little scare on the way out, as I realized that I left
the house at 9, to get to the airport at 10, to catch my plane at
11:30 - and then noticed that the plane left at 11:10.  And the
parking lot was closed.  So I had to go to one of the far-away parking
lots, and practically run to the terminal - thankfully security was
empty and not a huge hassle, and I got to the terminal as they were
seating group 4.  I had the crazy good fortune of being in a row with
3 other people, a lovely woman in her late 40s at the window, an empty
seat, me, the aisle, a beautiful Indian woman, an empty seat and some
guy who fell asleep on the window as soon as he sat down.  No crying
babies, no kids kicking my seat, no rotund dude spilling over the
armrest into my lap; I count that a win.  When I got the Chicago to
switch planes, I actually saw one of the guys who works with Wizards
of the Coast, and we chatted for a while - he even recognized me from
last year, and asked about my son not coming.  There was also a
super-cute college girl sitting near me, we kept having eye-contact
moments with a smile - I know I am a dork, but it made me feel good to
get a smile from such a cute young woman.  Steve (yep, the same gangly
kid from Lebanon growing up) and Heather picked me up at the airport,
and we went over to the hotel to get ready for the coming 4 days of

I was scheduled to run games for the first 4 slots of the show, but
they were adventures that I ran at GenCon last year, so I was very
comfortable with them.  They went really well: people had fun, dice
were rolled, monsters were killed.  Not the best set of players ever -
a handful of people who liked to meta-game the encounters a bit more
than I find fun, on either side of the DM Screen, but it didn't go too
badly.  The next day I was playing all day - the big Battle
Interactive, preceded by a rescue mission into a fortress full of
creepy eel people.  I played my "Knight in Shining Armor" Paladin for
both, and got a really great DM for the first adventure.  She was new
to DMing at conventions, and I had helped her out a little on
Wednesday night.  She ran the game really well, the table had a good
interplay and everything was really fun.  The big Battle Interactive
this year was to defend a city populated by Sea Elves, and I was
seated at a table with Steve and Heather - plus a husband-wife couple
that I really wish I had never met.  The adventure itself was great -
lots of cool battles, good challenges, interesting combats and a
choice of where in the city we wanted to help save.  The party was a
bit of a mess and the players of two of the party members had no
interest in listening to anyone or working as a team.  The DM was
inexperienced, but also unfamiliar with the rules and the adventure,
and was seriously lacking in "table presence".  I will get another
chance to play it with my local group at the end of February, so I
look forward to a better experience then, but the table was a low
point of the weekend, even though I liked the adventure.

The next day I was playing mostly games set in the desert world of
Athas, where the gods are dead and metal is rare.  We got lucky in
that the adventure was run by one of the people in charge of the
campaign, and sitting with us were two D&D adventure writers.  My monk
just barely got out of that adventure with his skin intact - literally
as close as one can get to having a dead character without actually
dying.  It was great.  By this, the third day, there was some really
good feedback about the adventure I helped write and was premiering at
the show.  Sadly, one table apparently ran it completely wrong, thanks
to a bad DM, but most people called it the highlight of the trilogy,
which makes me feel great.  Saturday I also had a chance to be in the
first public playtest of the newest edition of D&D, there is an NDA
(Non-Disclosure Agreement) so I can't say much about the actual
details, but I really dislike the direction they are going - sharply
backwards.  The game itself was really fun, since we had one of the
key guys at Wizards running the table, and a couple of web-comic
authors at the table with us.  There were hijinks, outright Orcish
brutality, slave girls, fireballs and lots of laughing.  On one hand,
pure role playing fun, on the other hand, not a game that I have a lot
of interest in playing much.

Sunday was the last day of the convention, and I took the hotel's
shuttle back to the airport.  Free wi-fi and a long gap between the
shuttle and the plane meant I finished season one of Downton Abbey -
SOOO good!  Back to Chicago, and the same cute girl from Chicago->Fort
Wayne was on this flight, too!  Turns out she was home for a long
weekend, then going out to Montana - college, as I assumed at first,
and warm fuzzies from a smile of recognition.  I'm such a dork.
Flight back from Chicago to Boston was not as good as it could have
been.  Two rows in front of me was a small family: father, mother
across the aisle from each other, and their perhaps 9 month old baby
on Dad's lap.  Crying.  The whole time.  Oh, and someone puked just
after we got airborn.  I would have guessed the baby, but the smell
had me gagging every few minutes the rest of the flight, every time I
caught a wiff of the puke.  I hate that smell, even more than the
crying.  Anyway, I got home in really good time - plane landed a bit
early, got to my car quickly and easily, no traffic.  I saw the kids
off to school on Monday, and that was the past week.

I will try to get next week's actually at the end of the week, but who
knows with me...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weekly Update

Rob---catch you next week


Update.................After a round of strep throat for Hailey and 3 missed days at school, I get a call saying she got her finger hurt.  Her hand was behind the big heavy doors when someone knocked into it.  Her pinkie was smashed between the wall and the door :(  Not broken luckily but I got to see she left a mark on the wall, a legacy!!!  Poor kid's had a run of bad luck.  I feel like I'm grounded when I have sick kids!  But I dyed H
We finally got some snow!!!!  Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday :)  It was so nice to get out there and play in the snow.  I'm quite the princess about the cold.  But if there's snow, it's all good.  The kids made "snowcones" with strawberry syrup and maple syrup.  Chase is finally liking the snow!!!  He didn't want to come in.  I guess his leg span is a key factor, last year he couldn't walk in more than an inch :)  Kayla and Chase lasted hours longer then Hailey and Trent.  Trent lasts about a half an hour and says he's cold :(  He's OBSESSED with Super Mario Brothers!!!  I've taken to hiding the games for the wii.  It's bad!!!  Kayla went ice skating with a friend.  Her butt wasn't too sore :) 
 I got dolled up with my friends to go Styleweek Providence.  We picked Kurt up on the way and got to watch tons of beautiful anorexic girls work that runway!!  Good times.  As for me.....I started a pretty good workout routine.  I'm almost sore all the time :)  Sean's sit up app on his iphone is coming in handy for me too.  Two days into that, 141 sit ups later!!  Hailey's changeover to vegetarian has made us all eat a little bit better.  Not that we ate that bad to begin with, but it's easier when I HAVE to focus on healthy.  I've already lost a little hip, which is amazing to me.  I need to get a scale now to keep track of my progress.  I feel empowered!!!!!  Goals for the week:  continue my new lifestyle, get boys haircuts and get girls haircuts.       
Sorry, I'm a little picture happy  :) 


What DID I do this week. I finished my shoes.

I started working again on my belt...

I've web doing a lot of photo uploading on the app INSTAGRAM....just a fun app to waste time and share art.

This week I really need to FINISH THAT BELT. I actually want to start separating things to be packed. And desperate clothes that I am actually going to wear.  Edit my stuff for my moving/travels. My lease is up end of Feb So the new chapter BEGINS!!


The sixth-grade Chinese New Year party was a hit.  I wasn't sure 11- and 12-year-olds would have fun playing games--no media.  I'm not sure they thought it would be fun either.  But it was!  It really was fun.  I served dim sum and had them start with playing the guess who game.  They ran a game of charades and then played a chopsticks game and then twister.  They laughed and talked a lot and ended with a somewhat silly game of poker.  Only three kids knew how to play sooo....not really very competitive.  Mission accomplished.  These kids DO have "people" even though middle school can make you feel alone.

I finished Masie Dobbs for book club and am wondering what there is to discuss...I'll have to work on some questions.  One of my goals this year is to read more and I've already finished 5 books in the new year.  I doubt I can keep it up at that rate but I LOVE to read when it's cold out.

Carrie has inspired me to do better at exercising.  I'm walking with Lori again so that's good.  Talk about cold though--who-eee.  It's been windy here.  Sucks.  I have the ongoing goal of filing and organizing papers--maybe a once-a-week commitment would help...we'll see.  Maybe Thursday...And I NEED to update the blog with Disney and birthday pictures. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weekly Update

I made the banner on my new Silhouette Cameo that I got for Christmas.  Perfect timing.  So much fun.

Rachel's party was the week's big event and took most of my time.  Things turned out mostly the way I'd hoped and she had a great time so that's the best part.  I had help from a young woman from church (who was Rachel's primary teacher last year) since I won her "party planning" services at the service auction in October.  She was very invested and helpful even if she didn't realize she was dealing with a bit of a party planner to begin's always interesting working with someone who doesn't exactly get what you're thinking.  After my needless worrying, there were 13 guests at the party.  We served spaghetti and meatballs and played lots of games.  I love a good theme!  Our neighborhood has lots of really sweet kids.  It was impressively under control.  Nearly all the kids gave Rachel some kind of craft project as a gift.  It's cute that they know her so well.  She's been in heaven crafting it up.

Rachel is already thinking about next year's theme.  "Under the Sea" is her initial thought.  We'll see if I'm up for another home party by then.  Somehow this fall I managed to commit to a Little House on the Prairie party for Rachel when summer comes.  It will be fun to plan a party in the warm weather but I may not be able to face "Under the Sea" come January unless it's at a local pool...

This coming week I need to take down the decorations, return a bunch of borrowed stuff and gear up for the Chinese New Year party I'm hosting for Ben and his friends.  I'm trying to keep it low key but that's harder than it sounds.  I can get carried away.  I also need to get started on my book club novel, Maisie Dobbs. 


Monday Archer and I stayed home; he had a total meltdown and I
couldn't send him into school like that.  He wound up getting some
sleep, and was a lot better afterwards.  Tuesday, McGuire stayed home
from school with Allison because he was feeling terrible.  Wednesday
everyone did their appropriate thing, until we left D&D.  Our
Friendly's was closed!?!  Apparently there was a rash of stores
closed, again, and this time our weekly meal-house was one of the
victims.  Friday night Archer had his friend Logan sleep over, but
Archer wound up puking on Saturday.  He was running a fever later in
the day, so he wound up napping on the couch with me while watching
some excellent playoff football.  Sunday he was still sick, so we
stayed at home and rested.  Monday, since Archer was feeling better,
McGuire wanted to have the Sweenys over.  They took turns playing
Dance Central 2, then watched Willow and finished with a little Rock
Band 3.  Poor McGuire caught whatever Archer had last night, and woke
up at 4:30 vomiting.  Hopefully next week will be posted on Sunday,
and have less bad stuff.


Wow...what a week.  On Tuesday night I headed down to NYC to hang out with my good friend Taylor. He is an actor who I met while he was doing a deaf play in Hartford. Carries kids actually saw his play when it was touring.  We ate at an ALL macaroni and cheese restaurant. It's like/or is a chain restaurant and the place is shaped like a C (like macaroni)

Wednesday morning we went to THE NEW MUSEUM to see Carsten Höllers Exhibit. It was all about sensory deprivation

and changing the way you look and use the space around u.

The main attraction was a slide that was built through the ground just for the exhibit

and a shallow pool that one person at a time goes in to nude (there are walls).

I was most excited to see his life sized resin cast animals that are BRIGHTLY colored....

I had read about them in an art book that I got for christmas right before I heard about his exhibit!

I then got to do a NEW character at TEN31 that was more of a yoga/contortionists performance.

I'm the unicorn...on the left.
I have also been editing the film non-stop. There is a little "commercial" on my YouTube page now.

And all through this I started making some shoes


So, I've been busy helping to plan my friend's jack and jill :) Sean's truck is all better.  I replaced our new computer that crashed. Replaced our dinosaur tv in our bedroom. Got new books and a calendar finally! And did all of that with gift cards so I hardly spent money!!! Love that :)  This week I'm going to take the boys to their favorite museum, and gear up for the fashion show on Sunday! I'm going to miss going to them in Providence since Kurt is moving on. :( Have dinner with friends of ours who has a little guy. Baby fix!!! My pilates is going well and the elliptical is still keeping me running!! Got to keep that up.  That's all for now.      xoxoxo.