WPI BBALL

I took Eve and Simon on a road trip yesterday down to WPI to watch a women’s basketball game. More accurately, E & S agreed to come with me to WPI to watch a pep band concert with a side of basketball. LOL. We have lots of fun. We took Lex out to lunch before the game, then took a little campus tour with him afterwards. The game was great, both teams played hard and kept the score very close throughout the whole game. WPI ended up losing in the last few seconds. The band played loud and often. I loved it!

Here’s a playlist with seven videos. Check your sound volume, click the play button, and settle in for the show!

February updates

Hi all. Happy February! It’s been awhile, so I thought I’d pop in and post some updates, in no particular order.

New Car

The old Ford Focus Electric (2014) drove it’s last mile two weeks ago. The battery was holding less and less charge, but we were getting by and it was keeping the teenagers close to home. :) One day they were trying to get somewhere and the car gave an error message saying “Stop Safely Now” and wouldn’t drive. A little Googling that evening taught us that the error message is an all encompassing message Ford uses when there’s an issue with some system or another. The only way to fix it is to get it to a shop and have them “hook it up to the machine for diagnostics.” Unfortunately we couldn’t’ drive it to the dealership, though fortunately it was stuck in the garage and not on the side of the road. I paid for a tow truck to take it to the mechanic and two days later was told that the high voltage cables that run through the car in a sort of haphazard way (just that particular model, others are done better) are corroding. The estimated cost of the repairs was $4,500! I asked what the alternative was and they said I could pay to have it towed back to my house and pay the $800 diagnostic fee!! Ha! I said aw hell no. I ended up selling the car to the dealership for the price of the diagnostic bill and walked away from the whole thing.

The following week, after juggling three busy lives with just one car, we went car shopping. I took the kids since it’s primarily for them to drive. We ended up getting a 2020 Chevy Bolt that was part of the battery fire recall. The work has been done so the car is safe, but because of that it only has 3000 miles on it and is in like new condition for a used car price. VT also has great incentives to buy electric vehicles, so I basically got it for about half price. More than the nothing I was currently paying for the Ford, but overall not a bad deal, IMHO. Eve loves the car and has named it Leda, after a dnd character. She even jazzed up her key fob with a lizard and some flowers.

Photography

My library, in conjunction with a local photography club, runs an annual amateur photography contest each year. There are different categories people submit to, including an Under 18 category. My co-workers told me that they hardly ever get many submissions in the Under 18 category, so I took it upon myself to fix that. LOL. I emailed the local art teachers I knew and the tech center that has an awesome graphics program. I also sent it to Eve, her friends, and some other people I know. We got more Under 18 submissions this year than ever before! 😁 Eve submitted two photos and even won an Honorable Mention in the Under 18 category. I was not involved in any judging, btw, and names were all on the back so the judges didn’t know who the photographers were while judging. There was an opening reception with awards ceremony that Eve and I were going to go to, but on the day it felt too much like work and she didn’t want to go anyway, so we skipped it. Her print is hanging in the gallery with a ribbon on it though. So that’s kinda cool.

(You may notice in that picture that she’s going by the name Eno now. I’m trying to adjust to that, but it’s not easy. She hasn’t asked anyone to call her that, but she’s been using it when she signs up for things. Her friends still call her E and I’ve been slowly moving from Eve to E.)

Dean’s List

Lex and Alan both got an email saying Lex made the Dean’s List for the fall semester. For some reason I didn’t get the email. 🤔 The bill comes to me though, so I guess all is good. 😄 Lex said there are a lot of people on the list (over a thousand, I think) but also acknowledged that college courses are much harder than high school courses and seemed proud of himself for earning that recognition.

Murder Mystery

I love these kids.

E and her buddies went to a Murder Mystery event organized by my fancy new library. It was a teen program, so I wasn’t involved, but I helped promote it to my teenage crowd. LOL. They had a BLAST!

Jobs

We’ve had some job changes around here as well. Eve had been looking off an on for something for awhile. She has particular places she will and won’t work, so the process took some time. Last week she got hired at Old Navy as a sales clerk. She went in on Tuesday for her first day. She said it was really good. She was supposed to go back on Thursday, but had an emotional breakdown that day and called out sick. Sigh. Her ups and downs are coming fast and frequent these days. We’re working through those together and may enlist advice from the doctor soon too.

R went to work today and came home half hour later, shortly after posting on Instagram that he got fired, but got a cupcake to go, so all is well. Sigh. He made it clear to his boss and everyone else that work is a low priority for him, and he regularly skips work for no real reason, and he always shows up late. He has a loose grasp on time. No one was really surprised by the firing, but I think he was surprised that they actually did it. He got himself some takeout and went to a friends house for the evening. He’s going through a lot these days so maybe he’s better off not having a job for awhile anyway. We’ll see.

Eve made the logo for me.

My job is going well. Not fired yet! I’ve been picking up responsibilities and finding myself bored less and less often. I organized a program about AI a few weeks ago, and I’m starting a Sci-Fi book club in March. So far the responses has been overwhelming! One lady checked out the book and came back a week later saying she loved it so much and “just can’t wait until March so we can discuss it!” I’m also running a weekly tech drop-in program that has been gaining in popularity. I now have people waiting at the table for me each week when it begins. I got a (contracted) six month raise recently and was surprised that I was at six months already! I’ve been hanging out with friends from DBS sometimes (dinner and lunches here and there) and while I love hearing the stories and miss (some of ) the kids, I’m regularly reminded that I made the right choice to switch jobs. (Remind me of that in two weeks when the kids and all my teacher friends are on vacation and I’m still working!)

Road Trips

We have a busy weekend coming up. R is off on a road trip with a friend to “visit a college” (ie: visit a friend in college and eat tons of chicken wings and maybe watch the Super Bowl). E, Simon, and I are going to WPI to visit Lex and watch a bball game. Well, really to watch the pep band at the bball game!! I’m excited to give my boy a big hug!! I miss him. 💗

I found out literally just now that Lex’s Winter Percussion Group will be performing on April 7th (HBD Dad!!) at a school right near where Eve and I will be heading for a college tour. We’ll be doing a several day road trip to check out four colleges in April. Lex’s group will be performing the day before her first tour. I’m THRILLED that that dates/locations line up so well! Yay!

Ear Pain and Urgent Care

Eve woke up on New Year’s Day with stuffy ears that progressively got worse as the day went on. By the evening they were pretty painful and she couldn’t hear very well. She went to sleep that night with hot packs on her ears. The next morning she stayed home and I took her to the doctor. We couldn’t get an appointment until late morning though, so I gave her pain relievers in the morning to help. By the time we got to the doctor she was feeling less miserable, of course. The doctor said that Eve’s right ear canal was so swollen she couldn’t see the tympanic membrane (eardrum). Her left ear looked a little swollen, but not as bad. The doctor prescribed ear drops and sent us home. By the evening Eve was in major pain again, in both ears, and it continued through the night. She barely slept at all, was up and down heating up her hot pack, getting meds, crying in my bed, throwing up in the toilet, etc. Neither of us got more an two hours of sleep the whole night. I took her to Urgent Care this morning and the doctor there said both ear canals are extremely swollen. He prescribed amoxicillin and said to continue with the ear drops. He also prescribed anti nausea medicine since she had thrown up five times already that morning. Poor girl was throwing up in the Urgent Care bathroom. :(

We went to CVS for the prescriptions, another hot pack, and some Saltines. Then I left her home with Lex for the afternoon while I went into work. She took all the meds (appropriate doses, of course!) and said she had a pretty ok afternoon. When I got home we both fell asleep on the couch for awhile. She just woke up again in major pain. She’s sitting on the couch with hot packs on both ears and tears in her eyes. This post as taken awhile as I go back and forth between her and the computer. Fortunately, so far, she’s no longer feeling nauseous. That makes a big difference! Hopefully the rest of the meds kick in soon and reduce the swelling. The doctors said they don’t know what’s causing the swelling, but the first step is to get it down enough that she’s comfortable and they can see her eardrums. Hopefully that happens quickly!

2024!

Welcome to a whole new year! We celebrated New Year’s Eve in the usual fashion, plus a few extra people. We had games and Cheetos (both puffed and crunchy!) and the NYC ball drop. Then at 12:10 I kicked them all out! LOL. I actually let the ones who live here, plus one extra, stay. I went to bed eventually and they went to bed much later than me. A good night was had by all. :)

Here are my accomplishments for today, the first day of the new year:

  • Sleep late
  • Take a shower
  • Complete about one third of a really hard Thomas Kinkade puzzle while watching The Queen’s Gambit in the background
  • Bring those that wanted to join me to “A Forest of Lights” at VINS.
  • Order and pick up pizza
  • Eat
  • Get myself in bed at a reasonable hour (that’s a goal anyway, not sure if it will actually happen)

That’s it. That has been my day. And I am loving every minute of it! It was weird going back to work for a few days between Christmas and New Years, but as I sit here today, remembering previous years and seeing what my teacher friends are posting on social media and text convos, I’m feeling totally at peace. I LOVE that I can enjoy my time off and not have to do work today to prepare to go to work tomorrow. Instead of the usual back-to-work anxiety, I am feeling at peace with my choices, knowing that the work will be at work and I don’t have to think about it at home. Instead I can while away the day doing puzzles and not much else. Enjoying the final day of this vacation and first day of this new year. I wish others could have that same peace in their careers.

Happy 2024. May your year be peaceful and full of good fortune.

Christmas 2023

Another Christmas has come and gone. A joyous, family-filled, sugar induced holiday affair. This year Barney and Lorie flew out from California to join us for the festivities.

It has been a slow week post-Christmas. I had to work for a few of the days, since my new job does not include a week off between Christmas and New Years. It was weird to work this week, but not bad. It made for a slower cleanup and less reading/puzzle time, but it’s all good.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve. We’ll be doing our usual games and late night fun. We have a few friends coming over to ring in the new year with us! Then New Year’s Day off, then we all go back to school and work. Except Lex, who gets another whole week off!! Lucky college boy. LOL.

Oh Christmas Tree

Today was a pretty perfect, festive, holi-day. Alan came down to visit and we went to get the Christmas tree. Lex is still at school and River was at an event, so it was just me, Eve, and Alan this year. We found the perfect tree in a matter of minutes! I’m not sure if we got really lucky, or if just few voices make for faster decisions, or what. But whatever it was, the tree is lovely and we were efficient.

When we got home we turned on a livestream of the WPI basketball game Lex was performing at. Lex was on snare drum and easy to spot in the crowd. The basketball game was a good one (WPI won!) and went quickly, like most basketball games do. After the halftime show, which is just the band playing, no marching, we brought the tree in and set it up.

Three videos in a playlist. Hit play once and let it run through all three.

Eve and River went off to play DnD with their friends, Alan headed home, and I went to have dinner with a good friend. It was her birthday yesterday so we got carrot cake for dessert. Yum!

When the kids got home, Eve and I put up the star and the Christmas lights. We also each put up one ornament. We decided to do the rest tomorrow. There is a storm warning for tomorrow, so it will be the perfect day to cozy up at home and decorate the Christmas tree. I’m excited for it already.

Next weekend Lex will come home and my house will be full again. <3

Happy Birthday to me!

I celebrated 47 wonderful trips around the sun yesterday. We had a busy weekend, mostly involving driving and waiting at the car place for tire changes. Nothing exciting, but also somehow still fun. Friday I drove down to WPI to pick up Lex, brought him home, picked up Eve, then we went to the high school’s production of Curtains: The Musical. It was fantastic and hysterical. Lex was happy to be there and all his theater friends were happy to see him again. We brought two cars so I could go home while the kids socialized, but in the end they went home before me because I was socializing! LOL.

Saturday morning I took the kid car to the tire place and waited for four hours (FOUR HOURS!) in a freezing cold tire place for them to put snow tires on the car. Clearly I waited too late in the season to do this, but in my defence I did start calling around in early October and everyone was booked through December, so…. anyway. Towards the end of my long wait, Lex and Eve showed up with a mug of hot tea for me, and plans to run some top-secret errands (that Lex repeatedly reassured me were not bad errands).

Saturday afternoon they surprised me with beautiful flowers, presents, and a table display. 🤗 I opened presents Saturday afternoon while Lex was still home. Then Eve and I drove him back to WPI. Eve hadn’t had the chance to see his dorm room yet, and also she love car trips with me. We left around 4:30pm, when it was almost dark, so it felt like a super long drive in the dark, but really it was fine and we were home by 11pm.

Sunday, my actual birthday, Eve made waffles for breakfast and angel food cake for dinner. I went to an adorable wine bar / cafe in town with a fellow librarian I haven’t seen in many months. It was super nice to catch up with her. When I got home Eve had cake ready and we watched a Great British Bake Off together, then I joined a Discord video chat with my college buddies.

Overall, it was a great birthday weekend! I’m happy to be 47 and starting another trip around the sun. 🌞

Happy Halloween, Eve has returned!

Eve had a great flight home. She left Gothenburg at 6am Sunday morning and arrived in Boston at 3pm. She had an easy layover at Charles de Gaulle in Paris, and arrived 20 minutes early at Logan.

Alan and I drove down to pick her up, then swung over to Worcester to pick up Lex so we could all go out to dinner at the classy Olive Garden. :)

Things got a little silly when we dropped Lex back off at school.

Today I took Eve to my library to see all the Halloween decorations. Our office manager is SUPER into Halloween and decorates a ton. Almost every day when I go into work I see new decorations added. I was told yesterday afternoon that EVERYONE dresses up at the library and that the office manager is strict on that. So I did my usual black outfit and witches hat. Eve dressed up in whatever she found in her closet. We visited the library, walked around town a bit, then I drove her home and returned to work. Guess what?! The office manager is out this week and hardly anyone dressed up! Just a few of us. Sigh. Next year though, I’m gonna plan ahead and have a good costume. And be 20 years younger and 100lbs lighter and full of energy and creativity. LOL.

While I worked, Eve had a burst of energy and made cookies, bread, dog biscuits, pasta, homemade cheese sauce, and handed out Halloween candy to the handful of kids who made it to our house.

Eve is happy to be home and has been talking nonstop since Sunday. LOL. She’s been on a pretty high high. She’ll start school again next Monday and hopefully the low lows don’t come too quickly. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the highs and the hugs and the nonstop verbal monologue!

She’s coming home!

In a big turn of events, this beautiful human is heading home!!

On Tuesday I got an email from her Rotary coordinator in Sweden. He said they were having a meeting on Wednesday and asked that we be present for it. Alan and I logged in to the meeting Wednesday morning to meet with Eve, her host dad, her youth exchange coordinator, and a higher up in Swedish Rotary.

The goal was to talk with Eve about what’s going on and address issues they each were having with the exchange. Eve was unhappy with lots of things, her host family was unhappy with her eating habits (apparently they had dealt with anorexia in the past and were feeling triggered), and her Rotary folks were unhappy with her lack of participation in Rotary activates. We had a good conversation, resulting in Eve saying she really just wants to go home and the Swedish folks saying they don’t think the program is working in this situation. So it was decided — she’s coming home!

There were a lot of emotions at the meeting, and afterwards (in my case, anyway, I can’t speak for everyone else), but ultimately I think the right decision was made. Eve was not able or willing to make the changes necessary for the program to be successful; her host family was kind, but missing the siblings and connectedness to draw her out; she spent a lot of time alone; she was exhausted from her school-related internship; and everyone was worried about her eating habits. I guess I can take some of the blame for that one. :/

Eve spent the end of elementary school and all of middle school completely miserable. She hated her friend group and everything about school. Of course, Covid didn’t help… though in her opinion it totally helped because it allowed her to stay home and ignore the real world! We started the Rotary Exchange program in that mindset. In high school things slowly turned around, with last year being an awesome year in school. She had a new (old, better) friend group and enjoyed her classes – mostly. She was interested in traveling, but less interesting in escaping from high school. Now, in Sweden, she is miserable again. It has been hard to support her from afar in a situation so reminiscent of the past. I tried balancing support and distance, encouragement and hands-off, etc. Regardless, it didn’t seem to matter.

Once the decision was made, the tears were released, and goodbyes were said – the planning began! She is thrilled to be coming home. I am, of course, thrilled to have her back! I spent today coordinating Rotary approvals, flight arrangements, school re-enrollment, holiday travel plan changes, etc. All totally worth it so I can hug my favorite baby girl a million times on Sunday!! 🤗

Her Rotary coordinator her in the US sent her a very nice email today. He said:

“It will be natural to second-guess some things for a while. Decisions to go on exchange, decisions to stay or not stay; all very normal and expected when a decision like this is made. If these things cross your mind, please remember that success can almost never be measured with a calendar. If you have grown, learned new things and met new people, the exchange is a success and much more importantly, you are a success. The end date doesn’t matter as much. We look forward to welcoming you back and hearing about your time in Sweden.”

I thought that was very kind and I appreciate their support. I’ll be sure to tell them. 😊

Cakes at KAF

Rosy and two of her friends are in town this weekend. They signed up for a baking class at King Arthur Flour, and invited me too. :) We spent the day today (9am-5pm!) at the baking center, learning to make fabulous cakes. Some of us have had a little cake experience in the past, others there never made cakes before. We all had fun and came away with two delicious cakes each.

I invited my book club friends over to help us eat the cakes. Rosy and her friends put together a yummy charcuterie, and pot of tomato soup with KAF bread for dinner. It’s pretty awesome to have people show up and host a party at your house. :) I had a table full of people enjoying a good meal and tasty dessert. Happiness is.