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July 27, 2016

And now for something completely different:  a word about organizational tools.

First of all, you should know that I am a list-making freak.  I make lists for everything. I make lists that refer to items on other lists.

I use the Remember the Milk app for work and personal to-do’s,

I use GoodReads for books (those I’ve read and those I want to read),

I use Evernote where I keep notes, recipes, and recurring lists (Christmas shopping lists, Thanksgiving menus, family vacation packing lists).

I use a combination of Ravelry and a battered Moleskine notebook to keep track of my knitting stuff.

I have a notebook to keep track of stuff we plant in the garden, and how things go each year.

I use My Fitness Pal for food tracking, and Garmin Connect for step and activity tracking (they talk to each other, so the information cross-posts).

Some things also wind up in the Notes or Reminders app on my phone.

I have a weekly schedule hanging in my kitchen, where I list the dinner menu for each night, appointments for the family (color-coded), and any events that may be happening.

Each summer I have my boys keep a summer journal, where each day they write a sentence and draw a picture about their favorite thing about that day.

For work I keep a paper notebook, where every evening I make a list for the next day: to-do’s, as well as appointments.  As the day goes on and other things need to happen, they are added to the list in the notebook. I also use it for meeting notes.

Taken together, it all works pretty well.  But it’s not perfect. There are times when I write something in the margin of my work notebook that I actually need at home, but I don’t have it.  There are times when I forget where I saved something, and have to scour through all sources to find it.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been seeing references to bullet journals and bullet journaling.  I was intrigued.  I’m not much of a journaler, but they seem to be largely a series of lists collected into a single book, which is something I do like.

I used a planner for many years – first the DayTimer, then the DayRunner, and then the Franklin – and I’m not convinced I want to go back to carrying a notebook at all times, but then again maybe I do.

Anyway, I will periodically post about my attempts at this new thing; please bear with me.

In the meantime, here are a couple of sources about bullet journals that may be interesting:






July 26, 2016

Finished a project over the weekend.  The Starshower cowl, by Hilary Smith Callis.

It makes perfect sense to knit a wool cowl during a heat wave, doesn’t it?  Actually, it does.  It’s small enough that while it was in progress is wasn’t covering my lap like a blanket, and since the pattern was fairly easy to memorize, it was prefect for bringing here and there.

I like the color (the yarn is from the now defunct Socktopus)


And the texture is great


The worst part was wearing it in 92 degree sunshine for the photo.


But that didn’t take long.  And besides, this is New England; we will be bundling up before we know it.


July 22, 2016

We are counting down to our annual vacation.

In truth, we began counting down as we were departing from last year’s vacation.  So from 359, we are at 8.

We leave next Saturday for a week at the Inn at East Hill Farm.  It will be something like my 38th or 39th year there.

I don’t know who is the most excited, the boys, Larry, my parents, or me.


I need to plan my knitting.  Well, really I need to make the entire family’s packing lists, but knitting is the one that I will feel the most if I forget/make a poor choice.

But who cares.  It’s still Knitting. On. Vacation.

See you soon, Mount Monadnock.




July 19, 2016

Last week was a gap week – nobody had camp.  So we cobbled together childcare coverage between here and there.  A day with my mother-in-law, a couple of days home with me, a couple of days home with my parents.  Most of their time on the home days was spent in the backyard playing tetherball.  We bought the set a year or two ago, but they have become recently obsessed.


Then on Saturday we went to the beach.  Revere Beach is the closest beach to us, and happens to be the oldest public beach in the country.  It’s pretty urban – you can get there by subway, in fact – but it’s close and it’s the ocean.  Larry isn’t the world’s biggest beach fan, so when we have a couple of hours to spend at the beach, that’s where we go.  When I can talk him into a full day at the beach, we head further north.

This time we parked ourselves at the farthest edge of the beach.  It was not very crowded, and there were no radios playing.  It was awesome.


They found a bunch of teeny hermit crabs, which was a first at this beach.

IMG_9342  IMG_9343

Then for dinner we had the perfect summer supper.


On Sunday we generally puttered around, but we did take a little walk so the boys could play Pokemon Go…


Alistair is at camp this week and next.  He has decided he’s too old for the “first day of camp” photo thing, so I had to get a little sneaky. And take it on the second day.



July 15, 2016

Last fall – on Halloween, no less – one of my co-workers learned her son had leukemia.

We are so lucky to live in the Boston area; some of the best hospitals and medical research facilities in the world are within a short drive.  He entered treatment immediately, and I’m happy to say that while he will continue to be in treatment for another 18 months, he is in remission.

It is of course horrible to hear of anyone having cancer, but then it’s a small boy.  And then it’s a small boy who’s only six weeks younger than Larson – she and I were pregnant together – and it’s just that much harder, that much of a reality check. You know?

So when our company decided to do the Jimmy Fund Cancer Walk as a team this coming September, I was in.  There are many distances of the walk, but the group decided to do the 10k.  Sure thing, I’m still in.

But then, one of the founding partners announced he intends to do the full 26.2 mile walk (the Jimmy Fund walk uses the Boston Marathon route).  And then Luke’s mom announces she will too.  And then well, what can I say?

Now in addition to my 25 miles in a month, I’m working my way up to walking 26.2 miles in a single day.

I’m all in.


July 12, 2016

Larson just wrapped up two weeks at half-day camp.  It’s the same one he went to last year, with the Friends of the Middlesex Fells.  Just like last year, they were outdoors the whole time.  The Middlesex Fells is a gigantic (2500+ acres) preserve that stretches across several towns just outside Boston.  It is a gorgeous gorgeous place, and despite growing up within a mile of it and hiking up there for years and years, I’ve only touched a fraction of it.  It is an absolute gem.

Anyway, Larson loves the forest so much.  So much that although camp drop-off was at 9:30 and a 10-minute drive away, we usually left the house before 9 and spent the free time rambling around the trails.  Some days we used the paths around the camp, other days we parked at a different entry point.  Either way we set my phone’s timer for half of the available time, and when it beeped we turned around.



I took this photo at Friday’s turnaround point, a full half-mile into the woods.  Not bad for 15 minutes, given the terrain (and the fact that I was wearing flip-flops).  Larson wants to walk the whole trail (5 miles+) sometime this summer.  I told him we would park the car at one end and have someone drop us at the other end.  He’s already making a list of what we’ll need in our backpacks.:)

I love summer.


July 5, 2016

Yesterday was July 4th, which is Independence Day in the US.  Which means it’s time for our annual cookout / watermelon explosion.


This year we definitely did not centralize the rubber bands as tightly as usual, so the explosion was not as destructive as years past.  Still fun though, and this year the kids were able to eat out of the rind instead of off the ground.  Definitely a plus.




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