Nancy and Margaret

Well, it’s taken me almost 40 years to realize that two of my favorite hobbies were favorite hobbies of my grandmothers (whom I am named after). Are hobbies genetic?

Grandma Nancy, who died when my mother was 14, was quite the writer when she was in high school. Her writing is sprinkled throughout her senior year high school yearbook. Here’s a poem:










My mom also instilled in me a love of reading and writing. Thanks, Mom.

Not only did my dad’s mother, Grandma Peg, bake and cook up a storm, but she also worked on a variety of crafts at any given time: painting ceramics, making holiday ornaments, creating Moravian stars, fashioning magnets out of fabric.

My main craft hobby is card making, but I have also done jewelry making and have tried glass blowing and metal working. I’m looking forward to a crochet class in a few weeks. Although I’m a little intimidated because I’m left-handed.

I thought of Grandma Peg and Mom this past weekend when I took a cake decorating class at Michaels (#10 on the birthday list). Grandma sold her cakes and also worked in a grocery store bakery department later in life. For years, my dear mother made beautifully decorated Wilton birthday cakes for me and my brother.

Suffice it to say that I now fully appreciate Mom making 12 different colors of icing for my Bert and Ernie cake. I’m referring to this two-day class as bootcamp. I spent approximately 17 hours prepping for and attending the class.








I will spare you the details. But a brief overview:

On Saturday, we brought in cupcakes and learned how to use the different decorating tips and learned about the three different consistencies of icing and how to color it.

We were instructed to bring in a cake, filling, and 7 cups of colored icing in all of the consistencies on Sunday.








I was stressed because my cake was only an inch tall. The instructor suggested I make a “half-moon” cake so I could add the filling, and it worked out fine. This is yet another craft that is tricky due to my left-handedness. I saw left-handed decorating tips for sale so might try them sometime.

Here it is. And yes, I put it in a snowbank.








I’ve grown weary of the snow…when will it end???



Feeling Honored

A few months ago, I attended Chris Guillebeau‘s book reading at my local bookstore. He was promoting his new book about traveling to every country in the world, The Happiness of Pursuit.

The reading was great, and I left with a deep admiration for Chris and his work. I checked out his website and started reading profiles of the various members of his “Art of Non-Conformity” community. I thought, “These are my people!” Even though I haven’t done anything as bold and brave as many of the travelers and “quest-ers” profiled, I share in their spirit.

So when I noticed that he encouraged readers to submit their personal stories for travel or quest profiles, I decided to submit my birthday list idea. I’m not doing any too earth-shattering through the birthday list, but I do undertake a particular number of things in a finite amount of time. Every. Year. (For the last 11 years now. :))

I like to think that a “quest” in life can take any size. The point of a quest is to take on something new and in turn learn something new about yourself and the world in the process.

Chris and his crew accepted my idea and I am so honored to be profiled on his site! Thank you for the opportunity, Chris.

T Minus 4 Months

Four more months of being a thirty-something.

I visited the Longyear Museum today.








It’s a lovely museum dedicated to the history of Mary Baker Eddy’s life; she was the founder of Christian Science. I arrived armed with knowledge of the main details of her life from having visited the Mary Baker Eddy Library a few times over the years.

She had quite the interesting life, so I enjoyed learning more about her. She had all sorts of bad luck (a bad marriage, illnesses, poverty, separation from her only son for 20+ years, widowed twice, etc.) but then founded a religion, wrote numerous books, started a publishing company, and founded the Christian Science Monitor at the age of 87!

I literally had the museum to myself. There are only three galleries, but they are chock full of historical artifacts. And I really appreciated the design of the galleries. The constant sound of trickling water in the main gallery, coupled with my solitude, had such a calming effect. I almost hated to leave.








The staff were very nice and knowledgeable, and admission is free to boot. I was happy to offer a small donation.

So that was #8 on my birthday list. I ticked off #7 last week: I watched The Manchurian Candidate (#67 on the AFI Top 100 list). I remember seeing the remake in the theater about 10 years ago…I don’t remember being blown away. This one blew me away. I didn’t recognize the actor Laurence Harvey, but, man, was he absolutely perfect for the role. He was downright mesmerizing. Angela Lansbury was a perfect villain, which was a hoot since I’ve only ever seen her in Murder, She Wrote. Frank Sinatra was great as well.

I’ve loved making my way through the AFI Top 100 list. I’ll be kind of sad when I finish it. Thankfully, AFI has plenty of other lists