Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Friday, April 30, 2010

Finally, Friday! I'm so glad to see you!

This image pretty much sums up my feelings and physical state after the week I've had working two jobs -- my full-time day job, and then covering stories for my freelance newspaper gig at night. I'm exhausted, my friends. So, I'm sorry that I didn't post yesterday, and I'm sorrier I missed Writer's Workshop because I heart it. 

But, there's not much time to catch up on sleep because there is a wonderful, glorious weekend ahead of me, full of sunshine and summer-like weather! Tonight, I am heading to see the Red Sox farm team play in Pawtucket, RI (that would be the PawSox, y'all), and then tomorrow is the spring Beerfest in Providence! Always a good time, and the weather is only going to contribute to the jovial atmosphere. Sunday, I'll be fighting my inevitable hangover to go out to lunch for Jed's grandfather's 90th birthday! Certainly an occasion to celebrate.

Since I didn't do this last Friday, and I'm too exhausted to do much else, here is Fill-in-the-Blank Friday... from last Friday. I'm really current, huh? ;-)

1. One song that always takes me back to my youth is "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel.

2. My first concert ever was the local radio station's festival show; I was most excited to see Matchbox 20.

3. If I could create my dream music festival I'd want these bands to be there: Matchbox 20, Train, Sugar Ray, Billy Joel, Michael Buble, Kenny Chesney, Sugarland, Foo Fighters, Taylor Swift and Celine Dion (yes, I have very varied taste in music!).

4. The best make-out/"boot knocking" song ever is "Truly, Madly, Deeply" by Savage Garden.

5. The best concert I've ever been to was any Matchbox 20 show... but especially May 2003 when I got floor seats as a college graduation present.

6. A memorable musical moment for me was getting Rob Thomas' autograph from my neighbor, who was sure to tell him that I'm his biggest fan.

7. The song on my iPod that's getting the most play these days is ... I can't remember the last time I listened to my iPod.

Enjoy the last day of April, peeps!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wishful Wednesday: Youth job

'I wish' .... I could go back and spend one day working at a job from my youth, and it would be teaching dance!

Back in high school, I spent my Saturday mornings teaching pre-school-aged kids ballet and tap. And I got PAID for it! I kinda took it for granted at the time because it meant not staying out too late Friday nights with my friends (my class was at 8 A.M.) and not sleeping in Saturday mornings. As a 17-year-old, this was a big deal! 

Now, I would love to go back to that job. I loved my kids, even though they certainly tested my patience when they preferred running the length of the studio in their tutus rather than perfect their first position! The best thing of all was I was sharing my passion for dance and earning money for it; it was like one of those jobs in which you  never work a day of your life. 

I only taught for a year because college took front and center on my life stage. Looking back, I think I would have worked harder to complete my certification so I would have teaching to fall back on now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thankful Tuesday: People in my life

Happy Tuesday! At least, I hope it's happy from where you are sitting. If not, try to think of just one thing you are thankful for; I'm sharing three to help you get started.

I am thankful that this sentiment applies to my life and my relationship. I'm so grateful to have Jed in my life. We had a great weekend, and I think we are reaching a point where we are falling in love all over again. {Insert dreamy sigh here.} I've been hoping to get to this point for a while.

I am thankful for best friends. I have finished watching every episode of Sex and the City, and I watched the first movie Sunday night. I was jealous of the friendship between Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda until I realized that I have that friendship with my BFF, and I love her always.

I am thankful for my fans. LOL... Sounds so conceited, doesn't it? I don't mean that I am like Mr. Pattison with fans hanging all over me, but I found out recently that I have some really cool people standing in my corner, cheering me on. They are rooting for my success, and they are doing whatever they can to make sure that happens. It's actually a humbling realization, but one that makes me extremely happy and grateful.

All right, now it's your turn. Comment with just one thing you are thankful for this week. I guarantee it will make you feel good!

All images via wehearit.com.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Friend-Making Monday: 5 Things

It's Friend Makin Monday! This week's question: List 5 things {aside from the obvious} that you love.

A lot of these are spring and summer focused since that is where my mind is right now.

1. Travel, especially cruising! I really think this is where my current passion lies at the moment. I dream of travel, think of travel, plan travel in my head, look forward to traveling... it used to be very self-centered, but now I even want to help my friends, family and coworkers plan their travel adventures!

2. Beach decor. If I could decorate my entire house with this theme, I totally would! I've condensed it down to just our master bedroom, but I keep finding such cute stuff that the bedroom is filling up! I'd love to extend the theme into the living room as well. Maybe some day. I just find it so peaceful, and it reminds me of my #1 love of traveling to beachy locations!

3. Fresh-cut flowers. I know so many people think buying fresh-cut flowers is wasteful because they just die, but I love having them in the house! I'd have a vase of flowers in every room if I could! I especially like bright-colored blooms like these ones!

4. Spending lovely spring and fall days in Boston. Every time the weather is in the uppper 60's and sunny, I dream of just roaming the streets of Boston. I took it for granted when I was in college and could walk around the city every day, and now I miss it so much! Morning, afternoon, evening, doesn't matter. Spring and fall is when Boston shines.

5. The perfect day at a beautiful beach. I know we have the beach theme above too, but I love the ocean, what can I say? This picture is of Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda, which is one of my favorite beaches that I have ever been to. The sand and water were so perfect, and all of the rock formations add visual and exploratory interest. Nothing soothes me more than the sound of waves crashing on the shore.

Ok, now it's your turn! Head over to Amber's blog to link up, and tell me five things that you love!

All pictures are my own except for the fresh-cut flowers and the beach decor.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Do you walk more than you talk, or talk more than you walk?

Week 4: In the end, have you said more than you've done?

I'm just gonna answer the question straight up and say, yes, absolutely. I have said more than I have done. Mostly because I talk a lot about my dreams and what I think I walk, but then I rarely do anything to make it happen.

This is not something I am proud of; in fact, I'm outright ashamed. I would rather say NOTHING and just do. I want to take that giant leap and just go for it. I want to take the first dream that pops into my mind, develop it and make it come true. If that doesn't do it for me, I'll move on to the next one. 

Sounds amazing, right? 

You're probably wondering why I am not living this way if it sounds so great. It all boils down to fear. The greatest fear of all is the fear of failure. What if it doesn't work out? I'll be so disappointed and hurt. Maybe it will cause me to lose my other dreams, and then what will I do? One can only dream so much before discouragement takes over.

Then there is the practical side: I don't have a lot of money, I'm not independently wealthy -- though I wish I was! And, we all know, deep down, it takes money to make dreams come true. I can't just up and quit my day job to travel the world, not only because of the loss of income, but the loss of benefits -- everyone in this country needs medical insurance these days. (Ahem, this is not a political discussion.)

I know these sound like lame excuses for not living the life I really want, but they paralyze me. I suppose the reactions of my family and friends factor in as well. I can't imagine all of them would be on board with what I want to do. And, how can I chase my dreams without the support of those I love? 

This post is not an answer, sorry if you were looking for one. It is a giant, life-involving, life-changing question. I have not figured it out yet. Have you? Do you have any advice to offer? Are you silently walking your walk? 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Divorce

Let's talk about an ugly topic: divorce. Last year, the CDC reported a divorce rate of 3.5 per 1,000 population (from 44 reporting states plus Washington, D.C.). That is out of a marriage rate of 7.1 per 1,000. To me, that looks like roughly 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce, still.

To me, this looks like too many people got married for the wrong reasons, took the easy way out, gave up, didn't believe, aren't religious, or, in the worst case, were in abusive relationships. To me, this looks like our country doesn't value marriage. 

I would like to see that number down near 10 percent of marriages ending in divorce, and I will not make that a zero because I realize that sometimes people change, for the worse, or that some people are manipulative and hide their true selves until they think they have someone "stuck." This has been the case in some of the divorces in my family: two of my aunts were married to abusive men (not necessarily physical, there are other forms of abuse). This is the only reason for divorce I support, and the Catholic Church supports this as well.

Divorce is not a do-over. You cannot make a vow to commit your life and yourself to someone and break it because "it isn't working" or "you don't love your spouse anymore." These things need to be worked out before you say "I do." I think that's part of the reason I'm turning 29 in two months, and I'm not married. I'm not even engaged, and the weightiness of marriage has something to do with that, on both sides of my relationship. I want to walk down the aisle without a doubt in my mind, because once I get up there and take my man's hand in marriage, it is forever -- 'til death do us part.

I have had a great example of marriage set for me by my parents. My parents have been through thick and thin together. They love each other completely and unconditionally. They support each other, listen to each other and help each other. They have always taught me that divorce is not an option. 

I think it was Dr. Phil who wrote that most problems in a relationship have to do with the person perceiving the problem. Meaning, even if you ditch the relationship, the problem will follow you into your relationship with the next person. I had never thought about this perspective before, but it makes sense if you really think about it. Relationships are not one-sided. Problems are shared, and therefore, you are as much of the cause as you are the solution. This has helped me think about my own relationship differently. It is a cause and effect; if I don't like something my partner does, I should look at what I'm doing; chances are, I'm influencing my partner's negative behavior in some way. (Again, this does not apply to an abusive relationship. I am in no way saying that someone in an abusive relationship should bear the blame.)

People have asked me about pre-nuptial agreements. At first, I thought this was something only the rich and famous did before tying the knot, but now I realize that many more people do, and I think this vastly affects the percentage at the beginning of this post. A pre-nup offers a way out, without sacrifice. This is not what marriage is or should be. I refuse to go into marriage with a pre-nup because, to me, that action creates the mindset that divorce is an option, and for me, it isn't. Again, I'm not going into a marriage already considering its demise. Where is the love and romance in that? 

I'm sure many people will disagree with this post, so please comment, but do so respectfully. I certainly respect both sides of the argument, but after years of thinking about this and witnessing divorce first-hand, I've formed my opinion, which I will note has a lot to do with my religious background and my romantic ideals.

This post was inspired by:
Prompt #2: Divorce Dreams…a tempting alternative? A disaster to be avoided? Ever an option? Advice? What’s your take?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wishful Wednesday: Glee!

This week's topic:

'I wish' .... I could be a GLEE character for an episode and it would be RACHEL BERRY!

 I really just started watching Glee, so I'm going on first impressions here (and what I saw on the Glee episode of Oprah). I'd want to be Rachel because she's the most like me, back when I was in high school. I was a bit of a nerd. I was one of the smart kids. I was preppy. I was into the arts and performing, and, although I hate to admit it now, I was a little stuck up. But, I was kind and encouraging to my friends, and I would stand by them thick or thin. I think that is Rachel in a nutshell. Plus, she has such great ideas, and she is clearly Mr. Schuster's pet (which I always was for plenty of my high school teachers)!

 Ok, and I'd want to be her because her wardrobe rocks! Hello (ha ha, for last week's episode, get it?) old school J.Crew! Love! Also, she has a killer voice, so if I was playing her role, it would mean I could sing -- in addition to my already mad dance skills -- which is something I've always lacked.

And, hello (again!), she gets to date Finn, and he's such a talented cutie! The lead male in glee club AND star basketball player? And she's the female glee star? Dream come true! I always had the biggest crush on guys like that in high school.

Ok, I know there are some Glee fans out there who read my blog. Who would you want to be? Make sure you visit Kelsey's blog (click her button above) and link up if you play along!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thankful Tuesday: Being girly

I'm wrapping my three thankfuls this Tuesday into one: I'm thankful that I went out shopping Sunday and indulged my girly side. I desperately needed a couple girly items, and I decided it was high time I treated myself! 

First up, Ulta -- my new favorite beauty supply store. I was on a mission to grab three things: a new bronzer, some bright coral O.P.I. polish for my spring toes and an eye-shadow brush (I'm sick of those stupid applicators that come with my shadows). I'm not posting a picture of the brushes because they are just brushes, but these other things are so fun!

Physician's Formula Sunny Buddy, $11.50
Let's talk about how cute this compact is! I heart the sunflower, and the powder actually contains sunflower extract! 

O.P.I. Hong Kong Sunrise, Do You Lilac It?, Cozu-Melted in the Sun, $8.50
So, I got my coral, which I came home and promptly painted on my toes. And, I got the lilac I've been admiring, and a neutral pink that sparkles! Ulta was running a sale: buy two O.P.I. polishes, get one free. I couldn't resist! 

I also breezed through the fragrance section to try Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker (one of you whose blog I read recommended it; I think you wore it on your wedding day). At first, I wasn't crazy about it, but it did last for the rest of the day, and it really grew on me. I think I might invest in it once I deplete my expansive fragrance collection -- I tend to collect perfume since I love it so much!

Next I walked next door (how convenient!) to DSW. I desperately needed new black pumps for work; my old ones are Naturalizers that I adore; they are so comfortable, cute and classic, but after five years, they need to be replaced. I found a stunning pair of Nine West pumps, but I need to return them for a larger size, so I'm going to post those later. 

Also on the list was potentially some cute flats and a new pair of formal silver shoes, since mine are ready for the trash. I allowed myself to shop the regular section for work-appropriate shoes, but for fun and formal shoes, I only shopped clearance, and I didn't find anything that fit well enough. So, I'm holding off; I'll rebuild the shoe wardrobe slowly. I did find these cuties though, which I wore to work today!
Chinese Laundry, $36
I have to say these shoes are super comfortable, adorable and sharp-looking... all for $36! I cannot wait for warmer weather when I can wear these with my dresses and capris! They also looked great with my jeans when I tried them on yesterday! 

I was glowing when I got home yesterday. Retail therapy mission accomplished! 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Friend-Making Monday: Date night!

What is your idea of the perfect date?

My perfect date would be a weekend at Block Island, RI!

I have never been to Block Island, but I have heard nothing but good things about it from the people who have been there! Now that I actually live in the Ocean State, I figure I should visit.

We'd get up early on Saturday to take the ferry over to the island to spend the day exploring via moped, lounging on the beach, eating lunch at a little seafood shack by the water.

Late afternoon, we'd check into the National Hotel to clean up for dinner.

Dinner would be at the upscale, romantic Hotel Manisses Dining Room, followed by cocktails on the verandah.

Sunday morning, we could get up and hit the beach before boarding the ferry home.

Jed and I both like the water, and he enjoys driving a moped around islands (we've done this in Bermuda twice) while I ride shotgun on the back. Maybe we could even charter a boat for a few hours to try our hand at fishing or just sunbathe on the deck.

I love that I live so close to an island that will take us back to all of the cruises we've been on together -- less than an hour away!

So what/where would your perfect date be? Head over to Amber's blog to play along!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fill-in-the-blank Friday... a day late

Click image to visit The Little Things We Do

1.  The first thing I do in the morning is say hi to the dog then go back to sleep with the alarm still blaring, finally hitting snooze only when Jed complains.

2.  Every night before bed  I give Morris and Jed a kiss good night.

3.  My favorite thing to do when I'm having a bad day is relax on the couch with a glass of wine.

4.  Something that makes me cringe is when people are blatantly racist, cruel or discriminatory.

5.  Social situations   usually excite and energize me.

6.  I like to collect  books.

7.  Weekends are for  catching up with Jed, cleaning the house, running errands I couldn't get to during the week, and having fun with friends... and maybe, if I'm lucky, sleeping in.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Free Your Mind Friday

Roses and Thorns is on hold this week because Summer asked me to answer these questions posed by Mel at Waking in Wonderland. Feel free to join in!

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
I'd be 22, and a lot of people guess I'm around that age when they first meet me! I'm too old to still be drinking the "I just turned 21 Smirnoff Ices;" I've moved on to more sophisticated beverages. Yet, I'm still young enough to balls against the wall party all night long. I crave a sexy social scene, new people and music I can groove to. I'm pretty opposed to working, and I don't know what I want out of my career yet. I do know I don't want to feel like I'm going to work every day. I want to see the world. I crave independence, but I still like to be able to go home to Mom and Dad. Oh yeah, and I love that "I've got butterflies" in love feeling.

Which is worse, failing or never trying?
Never trying. I tell people that I will do pretty much anything once. That doesn't mean I'll do it again or even enjoy it, but I'm willing to give it a try so that I can say with confidence that I hate it or love it.

If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
I think we're all in a certain state of denial. I don't think we recognize any immediacy or urgency in our physical lives. We all have things we enjoy and want to do, and jobs that we spend too much time doing, so we tell ourselves, "One more year and I'll start looking for a job I enjoy," or "I'll have time this weekend for that hiking I want to do," or "I'll get to tour Europe once I'm married." We don't recognize that the time may never come.

That was fun and insightful, wasn't it? 

By the way, I wanted to mention that today is Jed's 29th birthday (he's such an old man, isn't he? I shouldn't talk, I'm right behind him)! I think I got him the best gift I've ever given him, and I'm really excited. I hope he likes it! Tonight, we're going out to dinner with his parents, then tomorrow night, we're heading to the local casino to party with his college friends and their husbands. Happy birthday, honey, I love you!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Kitchen Uh-Oh

I've been meaning to catch you all up on my culinary adventures in the kitchen, but I am way behind. And, on top of that, I've been making some scrumptuous new recipes, but I forgot to take pictures! So sorry fellow chefs.

Before I get into the pictures and recipes, however, I'd like to share a little story with you of a not-so-successful incident...

I am not known for my proficiency in the kitchen -- quite the opposite actually -- but I have been trying to teach myself, trying new recipes and my Mom's classics every week. My best friend is in shock wondering where this domestic goddess appeared from.

One night, I was making a new pasta dish that had a lot of components but was pretty basic. Towards the end of all the pasta elements cook time, I threw some garlic toast in the oven with one of the components. {Side note: I may be able to cook, but I'm still trying to get the hang of that elusive timing.} The timer goes off, and the ingredients cooking in the oven are done, but my garlic bread is not.

I decided to speed things along by leaving the toast in the oven on broil. I started mixing all the components with the pasta, and I got so distracted by plating my new dish, I forgot all about the broiling bread. I only remembered when I smelled the dreaded scent of smoke, only to glance in the oven and see two rather significant flames on the oven rack where my two pieces of garlic toast were!

Jed was in the living room watching TV when he was disrupted by me screaming, "There's a fire in the oven!" He came running into the kitchen telling me, "That's not what I want to hear!" I was in a complete panic and was about to grab the fire extinguisher to re-enact the scene from The Santa Clause when Tim Allen extinguishes the Christmas turkey when I decided to just shut the oven off, leave the door closed and see what happened. The flames extinguished themselves in a minute, and I was left with two pitifully black pieces of Texas Toast.

Oh well, the pasta was amazing, and Jed popped two more pieces of garlic bread in the toaster oven. And, I will have that shocking image of two flames in my oven to savor forever. For the record, Jed had smelled the burning five minutes before I screamed, but he figured I had it under control. Yeah right, I'm the distracted chef!

I have had many successes though. Here are just a few of them from the past two months; you can click the name of the dish to visit the recipe.

Mushroom chicken (one of my fav dishes Mom made)
4-6 boneless chicken breasts (I use the thin breasts)
1 stick butter (I didn't say this one was healthy, but it is good!)
1/4-1/2 lb. mushrooms
1/3 cup flour
1 can chicken broth
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. light cream


In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 6 tbsp. butter. Brown chicken on both sides. Remove chicken when done. Add 2 tbsp. butter, sauté mushrooms. Remove mushrooms when done. Add flour and salt, blend until smooth. Gradually stir in chicken broth, and then add cream. Stir constantly until mixture thickens. Add chicken and mushrooms back in, reduce heat and simmer covered for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve over rice.

This post was inspired by:

Prompt #5: Where was the recipe? Tell the story of a mistake made in the kitchen.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Roses and Thorns

Whoa, 60 subscribers! I've noticed that 59 number has been sticking around for quite a while, and I like round numbers, so thank you to #60 for joining! Welcome! 

Now, some sad news... Kristen of K.Law: Inspired, where I got the inspiration for this post, has discontinued blogging at Inspired. *tear* I'm going to miss her insanely, but I'm continue the Friday tradition in her honor.

Roses to the girls' night out slated for Saturday night! I'm hitting up the city with the girlfriends of Jed's two former roommates. The six of us practically lived together for a year, so I miss these ladies like nothing else. I'm super excited to hang out with them!

Roses to this fabulously warm weather we've been having this week. Um, it hit 90 degrees on Wednesday!

Roses to In It to Gym It, courtesy of Miss LiLu. These ladies have been seriously motivating me to get my a$$ in gear!

Roses to some serious inspiration this week.

Roses to one of my longest-time friends having a baby boy on Easter Sunday! Congratulations to her and her husband.

Roses to figuring out the best birthday present for Jed.

Roses to not having to go grocery shopping this week.

Thorns to Dad being in the hospital.

Thorns to nasty commutes to work this week with mazes of traffic everywhere.

Thorns to being stuck in an office during the fabulously nice weather this week.

Thorns to not having plans tonight, even though I really wanted to and tried to make them.

Thorns to K.Law retiring the Inspired.

And, since I didn't post this last week, thorns to getting water in the basement last week. Yuck!

Happy Friday! Hope you all have a fun weekend.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's time for a revolution!

A revolution is brewing within me. Change is on the horizon. I can’t see it, but I can feel it. I am anticipating it with butterflies in my stomach and a tornado of thoughts in my mind.

I have been inspired – by so many of you. Over the past few weeks, you have made me think, gave me reason to want more, brought me to the realization that my life could be more fulfilling. I have a myriad of interests and passions in which I am suddenly seeing endless opportunities. I became restless, and I no longer want to sit still and watch life pass me by.

There will be no drastic changes; I condone baby steps. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time. I am not quitting my day job. I am not jumping head-first into the freelance ocean. I am going to start walking barefoot more and questioning whether life really has to be lived for the weekends. I am going to fill my weekdays, with pursuits that thrill me to no end, so I can live for every day.

A revolution has been brewing within me for a few weeks now. The first battle cry was sounded today.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wishful Wednesday: Diet

I wish .... I had the willpower to 
stay on one particular diet, 
and it would be the all-natural diet!

I have never "gone on a diet" in the Atkins or South Beach sense. In fact, the only "diet" I've ever gone on was after my freshman year of college when I decided I needed to lose the weight I gained, and I ate nothing but salad for lunch all summer. I lost the 20 pounds I gained!

At this point, I'm about 10 pounds heavier than I would like to be, and I'm trying to figure out what to eat to make those pounds go away! I'm also attempting to eat "real food" after seeing Food, Inc. a couple weeks ago. 

So, I'm trying to stick to a more organic diet and cut out junk foods. Ha! Right as I decide this, all I am craving is fried food -- although fried veggies are in there too!

I've heard people just feel and look better once they cut out all the artificial crap in their food. I'm looking forward to seeing what that feels like.

How about you? Any crazy (or not-so-crazy) diets? Make sure to visit Kelsey's blog (click on the button above) and link up if you're talking about it on your blog!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday Thanks

Short and sweet today. I'm sleepy.

1. Speaking of sleepy, I am really enjoying my sheets on my bed right now. I finally stripped the bed of the flannel sheets and replaced them with my high-thread-count cotton sheets, which have been so cool, light and silky. A tiny piece of heaven really.

2. I'm not going to lie, it really sucks that my dad is in the hospital again. Really. Sucks. Yet, I can be grateful that he is in one of the best hospitals around and in the best care. Every nurse I have met looking after him has been intelligent, thoughtful, kind, empathetic and friendly. So, a huge shout out to the B.I.D. transplant nursing staff!

3. Gym time! I finally get to sign up for a gym membership, and I plan on visiting the two gyms closest to me -- offering unlimited classes as well -- this week. I can't wait to get back to my cardio, strength and stretch workouts! I'm happy there is room in the budget.

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Friend-Making Monday: Easter

::Favorite things about Easter::
 {Tell us about your Easter experience}

First of all, I hope you all had a blessed Easter with your family and friends -- if you celebrate the holiday.

Second, if you'd like to play along, click the button above to visit Amber's blog for the topic and to link up your post.

This Easter was the most unconventional Easter I have ever had. I knew going in that it was going to be different for a couple reasons: 1.) I'm living in my own house, so there would be no colored eggs and no Easter baskets (yes, my Mom still did that and hid the eggs for me and my sister, both in our twenties), and 2.) I had plans to have dinner with Jed's family instead of my own, then we were going to have dessert with my family.

Friday, Easter became a little more unconventional when my mother called me to tell me that my father is in the hospital again; he is rejecting the kidney again, and he has blood clots all over his kidney (my father had a transplant in August, and he was in the hospital in October for possible rejection as well -- read about it here, here and here). Needless to say, Easter was not going to be as simple as dinner with Jed's family then going to my aunt's for dessert with my family.

The day started by meeting Jed's parents, grandfather, aunt, uncle and cousin at the restaurant at noon for lunch/dinner. It was pretty good; the atmosphere was different with Jed's father also MIA with a bad cold. After lunch, we went home to take Morris for a walk before heading to my grandmother's house to say hello. We were only there for an hour before we had to leave to head into Boston to see my dad in the hospital. We spent about two hours with him, then we went to my aunt's for dessert with my mother and sister. I'm glad I missed dinner with my family because my sister said it was depressing, and my mother said it was awkward since so many people were missing: my grandmother died a year and a half ago, my cousin moved to Florida two years ago and didn't come home for Easter, two of my other cousins were celebrating elsewhere, and my dad was in the hospital.

Despite having to be in four places, it was wonderful to spend the day with all of the people I love, and I was grateful I was able to see everyone.

Other than Easter, it was a good weekend; the weather was ABSOLUTELY perfect: sunny and in the 70's! I spent Saturday afternoon outside staining/painting our outdoor wood table. I even got a sunburn! Yeah, that's both good and bad. Even better, the weather is supposed to stick around for at least most of the week, with rumors of 80 degrees on Wednesday! Spring has sprung in New England, people!