Friday, December 31, 2010

What a year it's been...

As 2010 comes to a close....I sit here at my desk and wonder.....

Why the HELL am I here today??!?

Seriously. On one hand it's been great becuase it's SO quiet and I'm not being pestered with a million questions or pulled into a ton of meetings. On the other hand, I'm not all that busy, so it's making the days drag on. But - it's Friday and I'm excited for tonight and the upcoming weekend!!!

I'm pretty sure that at this point, I have the cleanest desk in company history.
It doesn't even look like anyone sits here.

Anyway - it's been a good year. Nothing outstanding has happened - nothing traumatic has happened (thankfully), but it hasn't been a 'banner year' or anything. :-)

I look forward to 2011 being a year full of changes.
Of course, no changes will occur on their own, so I suppose it's up to me to make sure they happen.
I've got my work cut out for me!!!
I hope you all have a great 2011, and I look forward to another year with all of you.

While I have your attention....I want to welcome all those 'new-comers' to the blog.
Thank you for the comments (Ron & WranglerMan) and letting me know you're out there. Sometimes it feels like I'm just blathering on and on into the emptiness of the world wide web, so it's always a nice reminder that someone is reading. :-)

Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve - and I'll see you in 2011!!!

Here are a few pictures from 2010:
Yes, most of them were taken by B...but that's no shock to any of you 'regulars' out there.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Well, I did it....I finally booked my flight to Orlando. :-)

I'll be there from Thursday, January 13th through Tuesday the 18th. I'm going for a softball tournament, so my time will mostly be spent on the fields (assuming we don't lose immediately) but I'll have a couple of days to spend with my teammates, which should be fun.

Sadly, Jim isn't coming with me. :-(
Typically, at tournaments, we spend a whole lot of time on the fields - either playing or waiting....and, he'd probably end up either going out and doing stuff alone - or waiting around until we're done playing, and there's no fun in that.

The interesting thing is that my neice and her competition dance team are going to be performing in Downtown Disney the same weekend we're there. Since we're staying so close to Disney, it's entirely possible that I'll get to see her show. If we're eliminated from the tournament early (as we unfortunately have been in the past) there's a possibility that I would be available on Sunday afternoon and could catch her performance. I'm not going to make any defininte plans, but I'll be in touch with my sister and dad, who will be there to see her perform. If it all works out, that would be VERY cool...BUT - I'm not going to get my hopes up.

Anyway, that's the latest and greatest from my lil' corner of the world.

I'm trying to keep myself busy and entertained in hopes that the day will go by quicker....tick tock...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010

Just when you thought it was safe to go outside.....

Hey y'all!
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas (if that's your thing) - or at the very least, I hope you had a wonderful weekend. :-)

Jim and I had a great Christmas, and Santa was VERY good to us both.

Before I get into that, a quick re-cap of what we did over the 'break'.

On Thursday night, we got together with a small group of friends for a very fun and relaxing low-key evening. It was exactly what we all needed after a long and crazy work week, leading up to the holiday weekend.

On Friday (Christmas Eve) - Jim and I spent the day taking it easy, completely stress free, getting ourselves ready for the night at Jim's brother's house. Jim made the risotto for the risotto croquets that we were bringing to a couple of places, he also made and decorated a gingerbread cake, and I made my little 'turtle treats' (which consist of a Rolo on top of a pretzel, topped by a cashew - yum!).
Early in the evening, we stopped at 'The Grille' for a few drinks before heading to Jim's brother's house, and then spent the rest of the night over there. It was quite fun. There was a ton of food, lots of people (family and friends), and we had a great time.

Christmas morning we woke up, had breakfast and then headed over to Jim's mother's house. After we exchanged gifts with Jim's family, we stopped at home to drop off our 'loot', and then headed to my sister's house for dinner.
My parents and both sisters (and their families) were there, which was very nice. My older sister had to work until 4pm, but thankfully the hospital she works at (she's a nurse) is literally in the backyard of our oldest sister's house so she was close by.
Again, we had a TON of food, and a lot of fun with not only our family, but a few close friends as well. After dinner, Jim and I headed home, got into our PJs and exchanged gifts.

That's been our tradition for some time now and it's one that we've grown to love. After the craziness of seeing family and friends and driving from one relative's house to the other, it's a great way for us to end Christmas night. Just the two of us (and Scooter) sitting in front of the Christmas tree with a fire going, exchanging gifts and talking about the day. :-)

As I mentioned earlier, it was a very good Christmas for the two of us...
I got a bunch of new flannel shirts, a few books, some CDs, an iPhone/iPod adapter for my car (so I can play the music on my iPhone in my car), a couple of new buildings for the village, a gift card or two, tickets to see a couple of shows at SpeakEasy, some cash, and tickets to see Mamma Mia! in Providence on New Year's Eve!!!
A good friend of ours is playing Rosie (one of the three leads) on tour, so a bunch of us are getting together and seeing the show that night...I can't WAIT to see her!!!

Jim got tickets to see 'Jersey Boys' in Boston (fun!), some clothes, some books, gift cards, cash, a leather jacket, and an iPad! He was very excited about the iPad. It was one of those things that he had talked about wanting, but kept going back and forth as to whether or not he really wanted it or not, so I finally decided that I was going to get it for him. He was thrilled. :-)

As it turned out, our parents (both mine and his) were in cahoots about our Christmas presents this year, and wanted to get us a snow blower.
For those of you who aren't aware, we just had our driveway paved this year, which means that we could FINALLY get a snow blower. Gravel driveways and snow blowers don't mix, so we were forced to shovel every time it snowed....and we have a BIG driveway.
Anyway....they decided to give us money towards a snow blower, and we were more than happy to oblige. In fact, on Sunday morning (the day after Christmas) we got up early, went to the grocery store - along with a million other people (blizzard warnings will do that) did our grocery shopping and then went out to buy a snow blower. We ended up getting a really great one, and thanks to our parent's contribution, we essentially only had to pay for half of it.
Those suckers are EXPENSIVE - but, we wouldn't have ever been able to afford it without their help.
Thanks folks!!!

Our timing couldn't have been better, as we were BURIED when when woke up on Monday morning. Jim was out there bright and early clearing the driveway, as I shoveled all the areas that the snow blower couldn't get to (only a small amount of shoveling, thank Jesus).

Once the driveway was cleared and the cars cleaned off, we both sat on the couch and continued our Dexter marathon, which we'd started the night before.
(I'd never seen the show, but countless friends said I'd like it, so I put it on my Christmas list. I got seasons 1-4 on DVD, and we're already into season two at this point. It's SUCH a great show.)
OK - I have gone on WAYYYY too long at this point, so I'm going to stop blabbering.

I hope you had a great holiday, weekend, week off...whichever the case may be.

I'm here all week, so you'll be hearing from me.....

Here are a few pictures I swiped from B - which were taken on Thursday night, at our 'low-key' gathering.

This is our friend's tree. and believe me, it's even more amazing in person as it looks in these pictures.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Merry!!

Hello everyone!

I'm not sure when I'll be posting again, as I'm going to be out of the office and not online for a few days, as well as keeping busy with lots of fun family events.

Before I 'disappear' for a few days, I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas (or whatever holidays you may be celebrating over the next few days) and a VERY happy and healthy 2011.

I was going to post the Christmas card we sent out this year, but I didn't get around to scanning it, and taking a picture of it with my phone would have looked like crap.
Instead, I'll post the three pictures we put on the card, and you can use your imagination. :-)

The first two were taken by B (who I'm always swiping pictures from).
FYI - Scooter is actually wearing the Santa hat in the second's not trick photography.
The last picture is the one that was taken on the field at Gillette Stadium, which I talked about in a previous post.

Thank you all for reading and spending another year with me!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

25 Years ago...

I find it hard to believe that my Mom passed away TWENTY-FIVE years ago, today.
I know I say this every year at this time, but it really feels like it was yesterday.....not to mention the fact that it makes me feel O-L-D!!!

For those who are new (or new-ish) to my blog, my Mom lost her battle with breast cancer when I was 13. She fought long and hard for my entire life, and let's face it....the fact that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972 and lived until 1985 says a lot.

I often think about what my life would have been like if she was still around, and what paths I would have taken if she hadn't died when I was so young.
But - like so many things in life, it all happens for a reason, and I'm very happy with the way my life has turned out and I wouldn't want to change a single apparently it was meant to be. :-)

Each year at this time, it's become a tradition of sorts for me to post the last letter I received from her. She wrote it from the hospital the last time she was admitted, and sent it to me while I was away at summer camp. Even though it makes me a little sad to read it, I'm happy that I have that little bit of her to hold on to....

Tuesday Aug. 20, 1985

Dear John,

How are you doing? Hope you are having a great time.
Well John, I did it again. Dad and I left for Cape Cod Saturday. I was feeling pretty good. It took us about 1 hr. and 1/2 to get there. We drove around for a while to see where everything was, stopped in to see the L*****s. They have a bigger trailer than the M***s. It was very nice. We got our place, unpacked, sat around for a while, and then went out for dinner. It was excellent. I had fish, and Dad had white clam sauce on pasta. Home we went, watched some TV, and went to bed.

We woke up Sunday morning and decided to go to 11:30 mass. I wasn't feeling too good. I was having trouble breathing. We left mass early and found a nice place to have breakfast. We sat around the rest of the day and relaxed & met some of our neighbors. When we woke up on Monday it was pouring. Dad went for a ride and said some of the roads you couldn't use they were so flooded. I really wasn't feeling that good - still having trouble breathing and felt lousy. We decided to go for a ride. We went to the post office and just rode around. We went back home, it was still raining. We sat around for a while, I still wasn't feeling any better, in fact I felt worse. We decided to call the doctor. He thought I should go to the local hospital and be checked. My doctor would call the hospital and tell them what to do. Now is where the fun begins.

We decided there was too much traffic, so we called the ambulance. Of course the fire engines showed up too. Everyone was looking and watching, wondering what was wrong with me. They told me it would be a noisy ride. Was it ever. They has the sirens going all the way. As it turned out, it was the same thing as before - they had to take out the fluid from the chest cavity. I am feeling much better. The only thing is, Dr. L. decided he wanted me at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, so back into the ambulance I go, this time to Boston. This time the ride wasn't quite as noisy. I got here at 8:00. I had no supper. I was starving.
I got my supper at 10:30 last night, boy did it taste good.

So here I am John, at the hospital. I haven't seen the doctor yet, he had a big surgery this morning so I don't know when I'll be home. Donna and Bill will be picking you and Scott up. I'm hoping I will be home when you get there. Have a great time John and please don't worry about me, I am doing just fine. Looking forward to seeing you and hearing all about your adventures.

Love ya, Mom

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Clearly, I spoke too soon...

Remember that 'dusting' of snow I spoke about yesterday? Well, it turned into a hell of a lot more than a dusting as the day progressed!!
The bad news is that my car sucks in the snow and it took forever to get from point A to point B, but the good news is that I had a great night out on the town with my friend Joanne last night and was reminded that shoveling a PAVED driveway is soooooo much easier than dealing with the gravel driveway!
Don't get me wrong - shoveling pretty much stinks no matter what the surface may be, but after shoveling a gravel driveway for four winters - having a newly paved driveway to shovel was a downright treat!!!

Today is the office potluck (yes Dr. Spo - we like to keep the tradition alive!!!) and I'll be avoiding it at all costs. :-) OK - that's not entirely true. I'll eat some food, as long as I know who made it, and it's someone I trust. It also helps that a lot of people are lazy and are bringing in 'take-out' from various restaurants. That's more than fine with me. I'll take some Chinese take-out over risking my life eating the slop that some of my co-workers are trying to pass off as food.

As my contribution, I brought in my 'office famous' (they aren't quite world famous yet) whoopie pies. Since they went so fast the last time I made them, I made a lot more this time, in hopes that more people would get to try them.
For anyone who doesn't know what a whoopie pie is, here's the Wikipedia definition:

Whoopie pie (alternatively called a gob, black-and-white, bob, or "BFO" for Big Fat Oreo), an American baked good that may be considered either a cookie, pie, or cake. It is made of two round mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake, sometimes pumpkin cake, with a sweet, creamy filling or frosting sandwiched between them.

And this is what one of my homemade whoopie pies (all from scratch, no rubbish) looks like:

Well my friends....I've got to get some work done before the festivities begin.

Wish me luck. ;-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Just a dustin'

Well, our brand new driveway got its first 'taste' of snow...and I'm happy to say it wasn't a lot.

Jim was hoping that we'd get a 'real' snow storm, but I was hoping it would blow out to sea.
Thankfully, this time - I won. :-)

It did snow, but hardy enough to even call it that. I was able to melt it all on my windshield by just putting on my car there you have it.

The weekend was busy, but fun. We went out to dinner, went to a Christmas party with friends, went grocery shopping, and then I spent the entire day yesterday making whoopie pies.

Since they were such a 'hit' at the last work event, people have been asking me to bring them again, so I did. I ended up quadrupling the recipe, which ended up making 62 whoopee pies. That's a total of 124 individual cakes, which took 21 'trips' to the oven. Pain. In. The. Ass.
Not to mention the fact that in order to fill those cakes, for the quadrupled recipe, I ended up making 5 times the normal amount of filling. :-)

That being was a fun day, and I can enjoy the fact that they're all done. Hopefully, they'll go over well at work again, and there aren't any other parties come up, when I'll have to make them!

Today is VERY quiet at work, and I have a feeling that's how the rest of the week will be.
Fine by me. The quieter, the better!

I'm going to head upstairs and get some coffee. Tonight I'm going to dinner with a friend who shall remain nameless. I'm her date for her work office party and it's a VERY exclusive event at a super, fancy-pants restaurant in Boston. I can't wait....I'm sure we'll have a GREAT time.

Stay tuned for the details tomorrow!!!

Have a great day!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Busy as a Bee!!!

Sorry folks, I've been wicked busy (ooops, my 'Boston' is showing!) and have had ZERO time to write.

I couldn't leave you without an entry for almost five days, so I'm going to at least take a moment to say hello....

HELLO!! ;-)

I have a ton of stuff happening this weekend, which is great - but I have to get my work done, so I can get to the fun part.

Leaving work.

Have a great weekend!!!

Here are some shots that B took the other night when they were all over for a visit.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Dang, it is COLD out!!!

Of course, we're one of the few places that aren't buried in snow, so I'm not complaining!
To all of you up to your eyes in snow - I hope it's not making your lives too miserable. :-)

It's been a while since I've written, but not too much has gone on.

Over the weekend I went out for drinks with co-workers on Friday night, which was VERY fun.

On Saturday, Jim and I were out of the house by 10am and did almost all of our Christmas shopping, and had a great time doing it.

One of our stops was at Patriot Place, which is the giant outdoor 'mall' at Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots play (that's the New England football team, for all of my non-sports following readers). Jim noticed that they were having a special deal where if you made a donation, or spent at least $25 in the pro shop, they would take your picture with Santa, on the field! Since we'd spent WAY over $25 in the pro shop we decided to do it. It was SO much fun. Jim had never been inside Gillette stadium, so it was extra exciting for him. I'd been in the stadium for a game, but I'd never been on the field. Very fun. Thankfully, the weather was nice, and the line wasn't too long....and the picture came out great. BUT, you aren't going to see it yet.

Here are some other pictures I took w/ my phone - for your enjoyment:

Since that was the last stop of the day, we went home, hung out for a while and then met up with my sister and brother-in-law at a friend's Christmas party. It was very fun, and thankfully - not a very late night.

The next day, Jim and I took our niece, Katie and nephew, Danny to see 'A Christmas Carol' up at North Shore Music Theatre. As I mentioned before, I knew a few people in the show, which made it extra fun. We got to see them after the show and chat, and the kids really enjoyed seeing them in 'real life'. It was great to see the show again, and being back at the theatre brought back a lot of memories from when I worked there. It's still remains the best job I've ever had!!!

After seeing the show, we headed home, picked up Danny and Katie's older sister, Molly, and we went back to our house. Jim and Katie made dinner, while the rest of us watched the Patriot's destroy the Bears. After dinner, the kids were picked up, and Jim and I were able to relax for a bit before heading off to bed. :-)

The past few days have been fairly routine....I had Monday off, which allowed me to get all the laundry done, clean up the house a bit, start Christmas shopping for Jim, and I had a delightful lunch date with B.

Tonight we're having K, B, and {b} over to see our house - they haven't seen it decorated for Christmas - and the plan is to just hang out and enjoy each other's company.

I'm very much looking forward to a relaxing night at home with should be fun!

Have a great day, and Happy Wednesday!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Let the weekend begin!!!!

Actually, it can begin when I get out of work - in about an hour and a half.

I really can't complain about my week, as it's the first 5 day week I've worked since the last week in October.
BUT, it is my blog and I can say what I there! ;-)

I'm SO looking forward to this weekend.

Tonight, I'm going out with some work folks for drinks, which should be fun. Technically, I've been working for this company since July of '07, but I've really only felt like part of the group for about a year now. Before then, I was still doing my old job in a totally different building, but last June we all moved to the same building, which has helped me to feel more included. That being said, tonight will be the first time I've my 'team' for after-work cocktails. I'm sure it'll be a good time.

Tomorrow, Jim and I have the day free, and we're going to a Christmas party tomorrow night at a friend's house. My sister and brother-in-law will be there as well, so it will be nice to see them and catch up.

On Sunday, Jim and I are taking two of his sister's kids to go see 'A Christmas Carol' up at the North Shore Music Theatre. They were the two that just did the show at their school, and since both their birthdays are next week (the 19th and 20th) we thought it would be a great gift for them. I'm very excited to see it!

I used to work there (my first job out of college), and I was actually in their production of 'A Christmas Carol' back in 1995, so it will be fun to see it again. We're planning on sticking around after the show so they can meet some of the people I know who are in the show. I think that they'll not only love the show, but I'm pretty sure they'll enjoy meeting the actors afterwards. I hope they do at least. :-)

Well my friends....have a GREAT weekend!!!


PS - We finally got the tree up and decorated. Happy happy!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gingerbread houses!!!

Last night, Jim and I got together with B, K, and {b} to have pizza and decorate gingerbread houses. 'Making' a gingerbread house is something that I've always wanted to do, but never have actually done. We bought a few kits, which included all the pre-made sections, so all we had to do was assemble the house and then decorate it....which was more than enough work. I can't imagine having to actually make the gingerbread as well. Yikes.

It was SO fun....but V-E-R-Y messy. I think it was extra messy because it was the first time I'd ever done one. Now that I've done it once, the next time I do it - and there WILL be a next time - I know what to do and what not to do. :-)

We had a great time, not only decorating the houses, but spending some quality 'catch-up' time with our friends!!!

Here are a bunch of pictures, taken with mine and B's iPhones. As usual, they aren't all that great, but you'll get the idea.
She took some 'real' photos too, which I'll swipe from her as soon as I can. ;-)

This was taken at the beginning....just as I was in my first moment of panic. Icing coming out both ends of the piping bag.
Note to self: don't overfill the bag, and be sure to twist the top shut. I definitely know better, but in all the excitement, I forgot.
Ina would be SO disappointed in me.

Cut to: The finished product. :-)

Another view

The artist with his 'work'

Jim, about to attack his house...

Ready to hit the road....Lucy was sitting so nicely, hoping one of us would give her part of our such luck!

The gingerbread houses arrived home in one piece, and we put them 'on display' on our dining room table. First thing this morning - Scooter was in the dining room, crying, whining, and begging at the table.

In his defense, they do kind of look like giant, fancily decorated dog treats. :-)

"Can I have some of your house??"

"Seriously....just a little bit?!?!?"

Happy Wednesday!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday, Monday

Hello y'all!

It's Monday morning, and I had another delightful weekend. :-)

Friday night we went to see our niece and nephew in their school play. Both of them did and EXCELLENT job. They were by far the best two kids in the show...and seriously, I'm not just saying that. I'd be the first one to critique them on their performances, believe me...but they were truly outstanding. It was a musical version of 'A Christmas Carol' and Dan (11) played Bob Cratchit, while Katie (9) was The Ghost of Christmas Present. They did so well, I was very proud.

Saturday we spent the day at the Yankee Candle flagship store in Deerfield, MA. It's a yearly tradition (this year was our 13th year going!!) and it's always so much fun. We go with college friends of mine, and it's a guaranteed great time.
Jim and I did very well and didn't spend a ton of money, which was VERY nice. Just so you know, we really don't go there and buy a huge amount of candles. We usually stock up on the 'holiday scents' (votives and tarts) because they have every scent created, but we're more more likely to buy holiday decorations and ornaments, than candles. It's a huge store and there's so much to it!

Yesterday, Jim spent the day with his sister, our sister-in-law, and two nieces making cookies all day long. While he was doing that, I spent the day doing stuff around the house (getting ready for the tree!!) and running errands. We're going to get the tree tonight, and then we'll be decorating it later on this week. I'm very excited to get it, not only because I love having a real tree, but because for once, we won't be dealing with a snow-covered or wet tree!!!
The weather has been cold, but not snowy or rainy, thank God. We've had some terrible luck in the past with tree shopping. We always get a GREAT tree, but the past few years we're either wandering around the tree lot in a blizzard looking for a tree, or we're carrying home a snow covered one. Not fun. If all goes well, we'll only have to deal with the cold tonight, and none of the other wintry garbage.

Have a very happy Monday!!!

We saw this little guy in the toy section, and almost bought it, but decided against it at the last minute....Scooter would have been pissed, and probably tore it to shreds.

This is a shot of the main courtyard outside the store - all decorated for the holidays and looking pretty darn festive!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Living to see another day....

It would seem that I've survived yet another round of layoffs.


As expected, yesterday was 'the day' and thankfully, our group (the testers) didn't suffer too many losses. The word around the office was that as far as the IT folks were concerned, the people on the chopping block were VPs and above. Unfortunately, that proved to be true, as the 3 people in SQA that were terminated were all VPs. Sadness.

Aside from the three people I knew within SQA, I said 'goodbye' to one of my former bosses (who I LOVED), one of my sister's best friends, (who just happened to also work at the same company as me) and saddest of all, one of my former co-workers and close friends.

Way back when, he and I worked at a different company on the same team, eventually I took over the group and was his supervisor, then shortly after that I left the company. He stayed there and coincidentally, both of our companies ended up being bought by the same larger company, so we were working for the same place once again. If he hadn't been laid off, we were all going to be back together again in the same building come next Spring. BUT - that clearly wasn't mean to be. :-(

There are more layoffs on the horizon, but hopefully you won't hear me mention anything about it until at LEAST March of 2011. Hopefully.

In other (happier) news - Thanksgiving was GREAT, my time out of the office was fantastic, and our house is completely decorated for Christmas!!!! Yay.

We'll probably get the tree this weekend and decorate it early next week.

In the meantime, here are the pictures I promised of the 'new and improved' Christmas Village display for 2010.
They aren't all that clear, because they were taken with my iPhone, but you'll get the idea.

Enjoy :-)

Level One completed...

Jim, the handyman...

Always wear your safety goggles!!!

Our helpful assisstant...

Level Two completed...


The village at 'night'...

The outside of our house, all 'done up' for 2010...