Friday, February 27, 2015

Five Special/Out-of-the-Ordinary Things That I Did This Week

1. I read through and edited about 80 pages of family history that my mother put together and sent me. It followed her father's mother's line, and it was fascinating! One of the reasons I love history is because our ancestors lived in that history and helped make it. In this particular line, they lived in and helped settle the area in Massachusetts that I'm from. I'm sure this is one of the reasons I feel such a connection there. Also in that line, I have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War as Minute Men, who enlisted in the Continental Army, who were part of the battles at Lexington & Concord and Bunker Hill, one who fought under Washington at Valley Forge (I had no idea!), one who made a fortune and was a prominent member of one of my favorite towns in the state, and another one who left Salem with Roger Williams and helped settle Providence, Rhode Island. There are also some inspiring examples of women who bore child (after child after child) and lived good long lives despite hardships such as being widowed and losing children. Reading about these people who I'm descended from really opened my mind up to the past in a personal, unique way. It got me excited about family history work again. This summer I'd like to visit ancestral graves, land, houses, and buildings when I'm back East. And I'm looking forward to reading and editing the next family line that my talented mom has researched and put together.

Also, my great-grandmother's sister was named Cora Belle. How perfect is that name!?

2. I read a fun book for my book club (which, incidentally, involved traveling back in time and meeting your ancestors).

3. I watched the season finales for two good shows I like, Grantchester and Sleepy Hollow (which also involved time travel to the past and meeting an ancestor! What was up with that theme in my life this week?).

4. I baked brownies for the teachers at John's school and helped a friend out by doing laundry for her.

5. I registered Sam for kindergarten!

It was a special week!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Five Things for Friday

1. I've found a new favorite pair of jeans that are cute, flattering, stylish, and comfortable enough that I even wear them at home sometimes, instead of only when I'm going out somewhere. They don't have a low waist and I don't even need to wear them with a belt. They can easily be dressed up or down. They're from Gap's new line of Resolution Denim. They're the real deal. If you're in search of a great pair of jeans, get thyself to a Gap store and give these a try. I got the Slim Straights (because I hate skinny jeans!).

2. I no longer like Instagram very much. It's because I can't organize it. I'd love to have separate lists, like a list of my friends, a list of the New England/Cape Cod/preppy types of accounts I like to follow, shows I like, companies and brands I like, celebrities, etc. Instead it's all thrown together in one feed, and that's annoying, unless I have a lot of time to kill, like when I'm traveling. Sometimes I just want to see what my friends are up to. Sometimes I only want to check out retail things. Other times when I'm feeling a little homesick I just want to check out the New England/Cape Cod people that I follow. I really don't like that they give no option for organizing the accounts you follow. So I've found myself going on Instagram less and less (and in its place, Facebook has become my social media drug of choice). It's too cumbersome and I don't have time for that. In the meantime, maybe Instagram will wise up and get itself organized better so that it's more user-friendly for its many users who follow lots of different types of accounts. #mytwocents

3. It's been so bitterly cold this week: wind chills well below zero, two-hour school delays for two days in a row, perpetually dry hands no matter how much hand cream I use. And there haven't been any snowstorms since February 1st, which is so disappointing. Especially as I've watched from afar as my home state of Massachusetts repeatedly get slammed by storm after storm. Why do they get to have all the fun? February has been full of very cold, sunny days in Iowa. My least favorite type of weather is bitter cold and sunshine. (I've always liked overcast days, especially when it's miserable out anyway.) So to soothe my troubled soul I've been reading travel articles and visualizing myself going to places like these:

This is St. Lucia. It's in the top five of my "Places I Want to Go" list.  

Bora Bora. Check out that bedroom view!

 4. Speaking of places I want to go, England is now #1 on my list. For many years it's been Italy (specifically Venice), but England has knocked Italy down a notch. My mom went to England last month and I wish I could have gone too! I've really been enjoying some shows on PBS that are set in England, and I'm falling in love with it more and more. Some of my favorite books and authors are from England. My ancestral roots are strong there too. I MUST GO TO ENGLAND!

I stayed up late for hours one night recently to watch the rest of Season 5 of Downton Abbey. I was tired the next day, but I did not regret my choice. (And can I just say that I've been a fan of this show since the very beginning, before it had become really big in the U.S. I get the local PBS TV guide each month and I go through it and circle what I want to watch and write down in my planner to program those shows into the DVR. I did this back in 2011 when I first saw Downton Abbey advertised. I thought, "That show looks good!" And it was. It drew me right in. This was before all of the hype it got, so I like to think of myself as one of its earliest American discoverers. Ha ha ha.)

Grantchester is a good new mystery show with an intriguing main character.

I've also been enjoying the Miss Marple mystery shows. She is one smart old lady. It's fun to read the books (by Agatha Christie, another brilliant Brit) and watch the shows.

PBS has some other good shows coming too, like Poldark in June...

and Wolf Hall in April. I love good TV! Especially British shows, apparently. They've got the U.S. whipped!

5. This was my lucky find of the week: 

I was at the consignment store yesterday picking up some things, and I happened to see this beautiful framed Thomas Kinkade picture, "Spring Gate," which has been a favorite of mine since high-school. I rarely shop there so I really think it was fortunate that I saw this. It's a very welcome and lovely addition to my house!

I wanted to do more blog posts this week, but it turned out to be a very busy week. It's been a particularly busy month and it's gone by fast. I'd like to do some posts next week if I have time. 
Have a great weekend and stay warm!