Needham In the Winter

Snow showers fell over the town square while I Christmas shopped in downtown Needham this afternoon.

It was so much fun selecting treasures for my family and friends from local entrepreneurs. Probably my favorite time was spent in The Black Sheep Knitting shop, fingering the gorgeous skeins of wool, alpaca, mohair and silk.

Both our moms knit, and I had decided that our gifts to our moms was to be a pattern, the wool, and the needles that each would need to complete the project. Both moms are kind of winding down and no longer “need” anything, and offered zero suggestions as to the perfect gift this year. However, both mentioned on different occasions missing their craft.

It is my strongest desire and hope, that each will enjoy the pattern and wool i selected for them, and that the project will be fun, keep them happy and busy during the frigid winter days, and produce an item that they will be proud of and enjoy wearing.

The snow falling was like icing on the cake, and put me in the Christmas spirit.

Anniversaries

We all met at St. Joseph’s to attend the 11 am Mass offered for Barbara and Dad. Anniversaries of their deaths-Dad’s 2 year was actually yesterday, and Barbara’s 11 year mark is December 20. Lunch and watching the Patriots vs Browns with my sister, brother and brother in law followed. Yet another amazing comeback for the Brady bunch, with a spectacular and historic onside kick. A huge season-ending hit to Gronk, and 3 quarters of frustrating play before the comeback, though.

Today

I woke up early-like o’dark thirty early, as David would say. It was very foggy and the dew was heavy, but I walked. My neighborhood. The paths that I know by heart. 45 minutes later? A very warm shower..and off for better adventures!

Wreaths, roping, ribbon? Yes! Cleaning and prepping Barb’s andDads graves. Done. Prayers offered? For sure!

Sleet, snow, wintery mix to complete my evening? Delivered

Driving Memory Lane

I decided to take Dan’s suggestion and travel off my normal coastal route coming from the Tappan Zee Bridge this morning. I bypassed 95N in favor of The Merritt Parkway which runs southwest to northeast, over hill and dale. The Parkway, a divided 4-lane highway, was cut through the rolling hills of western Connecticut, and provides enough excitement for the most passionate of auto performance driving fans with its hairpin turns, steep inclines, a tunnel through the mountains, and the right hand lane subject to heavy parkway access and exits.

It’s also one of the most beautiful drives in New England. Only a few miles inland from 95 North, The Merritt skirts the same cities on the backside—forested views, the Greenwich Pond, golf course vistas, farmland and pastures together with huge homes and cozy cottages frame the Parkway, and the stone and rock bridges spanning overhead are both old and charming. And, too low to allow for truck traffic. Parts of the Parkway have quaint wooden guard rails—colonial looking in design, but one can see that they have been recently installed, replacing the cracked and eroded rails that I remember from my past rides.

Which brings up the memory lane part of the story…I switched the radio station to the Bridge and listened to some favorite music from years past as I wound through the beautiful hills remembering many occasions spent nearby. Days spent skiing (ok—not the best skiing ever, but still a lot of fun), going to The CT shore—places like Westport, Hammonasset, Point of Woods, Old Lyme. Football games at Yale, sailing races on the Connecticut River. Times spent with my family and college friends. Good memories. Terrific drive.

Thank you, Dan!

Rivalry Saturday

Biiiiig football day today —- Vandy vs Wake Forest? Another w for The ‘Dores! And, an invitation to Katie to join the sports training team at their Bowl Game! Plus? She received a job offer for post undergraduate with the VU athletic program-…so, she has options galore for next year, and has the opportunity to travel with her team to their bowl game this December. All good!

Clemson loses to USC again? Never would have thought it. Still can’t believe it, though we watched nearly every play.

BC almost beat Syracuse—football!? I’m all over BC! Syracuse and basketball? Love my Eagles, love my Orange. Select SYR for the big games, always. Coach knows how to recruit—and play for victories..

Auburn returns a 99+ missed field goal to win the Iron Yard … What a day!

The annual alumni game was tonight, and Coach Paul wanted a photo of his first year team after the game. Alex and Kelly were juniors when Coach Paul and Kelly moved to Greenville—and the team in general, and Kelly, Alex and Coach Paul specifically, garnished much success and many accolades and awards during their 2 years together.

It is still so much fun to watch Alex and his friends and former teammates play! Tonight was totally fun, with many alums taking their turn on the court, but the 2010-2011 senior starters were the alums choice to start tonight, and logged in many more minutes than all the other alums did — I have never tired of watching Alex and Kelly play! Their chemistry has been almost magical from the first day of practice years ago—they used to wow the crowd with their “give and goes”, passing, and 3 point shooting. They always played to their strengths, and still bring out the best in one another. It’s too bad that they couldn’t find the one college out there that needed them both…they would have had fun, and I am willing to bet, would have made a contribution in many ways.

(Ironically, Kelly is wearing the UDallas sweatshirt (where Alex played before transferring closer to home) and Alex is wearing the Vanderbilt shirt)

Holiday Week Magic

Eileen and Dan traveled from Charleston to Greenville in the pouring rains yesterday—it was so wonderful to have them come to our home, and share our thanks with them for all of their kindnesses over the last months!

Hot Tea, cheerful conversation, some cheese and crackers in the kitchen—getting caught up on the search for Taryn’s new “digs” in Charleston—the place sounds perfect! She needs a safe place to study and live in while she goes through her intensive 16-month BS/Nursing at MUSC. And her new home sounds perfect! Like a mini-vacation and a respite from the grueling studies and clinicals she will be experiencing in the months ahead. Of course, I thanked Dan for doing all the legwork for us in the event that Katie decides to pursue her DPT degree at MUSC.

Dinner and fun, joyful conversations with the kids (yay! alex and Katie were here!) and Craig’s mom—learning how to prep and cook the swordfish from Chef Dan! Laughs, love, fun shared around the table together. Making memories.

How fun to share a special moment or two with friends and family!

Thankful

My notes to my family and friends who make a profound difference are written-and in the post or to be delivered. Many people have made a huge impact in my life and I am grateful for each and everyone of them. However, a select few have shaped and formed me—grown with me. Never left me behind, rather—drew me into their circle of contagious love and compassion. For those that did and do—I am forever thankful, grateful, and indebted.

Transparent?

Going around the webs is a number game of sorts. Apparently, you are randomly tagged by your friends to share a selected number of facts that most don’t know about you.

I had to think long and hard about that assignment — most of my friends know almost everything about me, as I share. Maybe, and most likely, too much. About the kids. About Craig. What I’m interested in. What’s going on.

I have decided I am one of those very transparent humans people meet and encounter. Get to be friends with, most of the time. You know? Probably beats being opaque, secretive, dark. It might make playing the game a bit more difficult, that’s for sure, but it makes living a life more worthwhile. And, that’s more important than anything.

I will be at this game tonight! Live, in person! Pretty nice seats, too-courtesy of Craig’s friend and business colleague, Bob. Thought for a minute to ask Alex to join Craig (meaning I would stay home), and decided against it. I’m being totally selfish, but I really want to see this game. Plus, the second the panthers released their schedule early last spring, Bob phoned Craig to issue the invite. How can I let him down?