Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the category “Currently”


I’m still trying to figure out what happened to November. It seemed to pass in a flash this year.

November was a whirlwind at work- museum closed for the season, but lots of end of year work and preparations for our holiday open days. I went to Stamford, CT for a work conference which wasn’t amazing, but included a visit to the very cool Barnum Museum. They’ve had a series of unfortunate weather events, including a tornado, that have impacted their site, but I was impressed with the work they are doing and plans for the future. If you’re ever in the Bridgeport, CT area, I definitely recommend it for an afternoon visit.

I didn’t read a lot in November and I’m getting worried I won’t make my reading goal of 80 books for the year! I only completed three books: Tony’s Wife (my review) and A Place For Us  were both 4 star reads. French Letters: Children of a Good War was a 3.6 (my review). I’m at 73/80 for the year and hope to finish a book of holiday short stories in the next few days, plus a few other quicky holiday reads, and at least one audio book. We’ll see if I reach my goal- hoping the few long holiday weekends will help me get there.

Thanksgiving was a great quiet day with family that we hosted at my house. It was lowkey and much needed with parade, dog show, and football watching, plus Wizard of Oz on TV at night! For the first time maybe ever, Q and I went out shopping on Black Friday in search of a new phone for me which was definitely not the best decision, but we did accomplish that goal, plus bought a new Christmas tree for the house. We decorated it on Saturday. I’m a white lights kind of gal, but Q likes multi-colored, so we ended up with a tree that does both! As someone who is allergic to Christmas trees (well all pine things), I’ve spent many a year putting up fake trees (we had a 14 foot one growing up that was a beast) and this pre-lit one was so easy to setup.


The house is decorated and so now I can spend the month of December enjoying it!

This month I’m sure is going to fly by as quickly as November with holiday gatherings with friends, my work Christmas party, and then family time around Christmas. It’ll be another quiet holiday for us, but looking forward to the rest and relaxation that comes at the end of the year and reflecting on the past 12 months.

Merry May

I’m back from vacation feeling refreshed and looking forward to the month of May!

It’s finally warmed up in my neck of the woods– it was a dreary and cold April. When we left for our Utah vacation on the 20th, we actually had the heat on that morning, which is just absurd for that late in April. When we came home, the grass was green and our lilac bush has buds on it!

I’ve got a post just about our vacation on tap in the next few weeks, but it was wonderful to get away, spend time with my aunt, grandma, and other family, and lots of exploring with Q. The warmth and sunshine of Utah was just what we needed.

My return to work was also quite interesting yesterday as some big changes are happening. While it’s still  unclear what it means for my role, I’m hopeful that positive adjustments in my daily activities and responsibilities are coming. I’m also optimistic that the changes will mean a little less emotional and mental stress from my day job that may finally give me the creative space I need in my current role so that I can start and end my days with my own personal creative writing.

My main goal for this month is to knock some nagging items off my to-do list for the year- go through attic stuff, declutter closets, and start on the large list of house projects.

May is also a month for celebrations: birthdays for my brother, aunt, sister-in-law, and Q turns 40! Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, plus all the excitement of the coming summer season have me feeling very good about the next 29 days.


Life Lately: March

March has been…..stressful.

This is the busiest month of the year for me at work and this year, but it feels extra bananas because of new staff and initiatives.

The ridiculous weather in New England (3 nor’easters in a week and one more in forecast for next week) has been incredibly difficult at my museum, with lots of leaks and issues with the building from all the wind and rain. One of the storms happened on March 1 and clearly has set the tone for the month. I actually was fearful I wouldn’t make it home as the high winds caused bridge closures from tractor trailers that flipped over. Since I have to cross at least one to get home (though the way that has 2 bridges is faster), it was quite a panicked and stressful ride.

Then I was supposed to go away for a work conference, and a huge nor’easter snowstorm stopped that in its tracks. The snow day off from work was much needed, though I could have done without shoveling 15″ of snow.

One of the many New England winter storms from satellite imagery

The various storms have, thankfully, not been too bad at home, and with the exception of a few leaks, we’ve been very lucky, only losing power for a few minutes each time ( or not at all), which is a true blessing since there have been people who were out for days. My neighbor is a lineman with the local electric company and he’s actually been out working throughout the state of MA and RI for the past 13 days, with only some time home for sleeping. Q and I are super happy we had all the tree work done over the summer because I know for sure some of our trees would have ended up dangerously close to the house or the wires after some of these unreal storms. But every storm is nervewracking and brings out all my worries as a homeowner, so I’ll be happy when we get out of this unsettled pattern we seem to be in.

But there’s much to look forward to– after my museum opens for the season, my work calms down and I start to enjoy it again! And we’re going to Utah at the end of April which is a much needed vacation together and to see family, plus 10 days out of the office, which I might need the most right now. And today is Q and I’s 5th anniversary– nothing special planned in the immediate future, but we’ll definitely go out for a nice dinner on a weekend in the next few weeks.

Hope your March is going well! Anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring here in New England.


Currently: December

Reading: Lots! All of my library holds came in at the same time, so I’ve got 4 titles in the stack at moment, though I haven’t started any yet since I just picked them up last night. I will likely read The Rosie Effect this weekend ( I finished The Rosie Project last weekend). Both are technically romance, but I wouldn’t categorize them in that way as I think they’re more comedic and heartwarming. Other titles going right now: Just Sit ( review to come!), War Bride’s Scrapbook, The Alice Network, and Hammer Head. Last weekend I read one of Debbie Macomber’s Christmas books to get into the season– The Christmas Letter.

Watching: Lots of movies, Christmas and otherwise. We watched Scrooged the other night and last night watched the Kingsmen sequel, The Golden Circle. It was just OK. I also watched  a bunch of episodes of the newest season of The Crown last week, and likely will finish the series in the next week or so.

Loving: Having four-day work weeks. I took last Friday off to do some errands ( and watch The Crown), and am off tomorrow for the same. Q and I both took off Friday the 22nd and are planning to go see the newest Star Wars. The next two weeks after are short with the holiday. I’ll then have one week of 5 days before another short week with the MLK holiday.

Thinking: A lot about my Dad as the four year anniversary of his death is Saturday.

Anticipating: The Nutcracker! After years of wanting to go and never getting organized enough to get tickets, I’m going Saturday night to Festival Ballet’s Nutcracker at PPAC in Providence with my Mom and my coworker Liz. I haven’t seen the ballet since I was a little kid ( I went with my Brownie Girl Scout troop to the Boston Ballet’s version) and the Nutcracker music is required holiday listening for me.

Image via here

Currently: October

Reading: Harry Potter #4. I’m borrowing my friend’s hardcover copy and it’s huge, so making it hard to get comfy with it like other books.

Watching: Finally Walking Dead is back! It might be surprise you that I watch this gory show, but I like how it really looks at the characters and contemplating what you would/would not do in a zombie apocalpyse. I only watch with Q because then I can cover my eyes for the gross parts and he tells me when it’s safe to look. Also, let’s be clear- my chances of surviving a zombie apocalypse are maybe one week since I have such short arms I don’t think I’d be able to attack one and keep it away without getting bit! And yes, I’ve spent too much time thinking about this. I’m also really liking the Will&Grace reboot.

Loving: that it’s finally fall weather. A few weeks ago, just when it seemed like the summer temperatures were over, Q took out the AC from our room. And then we spent almost another week with gross humidity and high temps.

Eating: Tons of apples and butternut squash. Also loving that I can finally use my oven. I have a strict no oven rule in the summer because we have such a small house that retains heat, so I’m excited to be baking again.

Planning: Our first time hosting Thanksgiving. I’m pretty pumped as it’s my favorite  holiday and will be the first major one Q and I host together ( we’ve done Mother’s and Father’s Day at our spot before).

Listening: To so many podcasts! I haven’t listened to an audiobook on my commute in a while because I’ve been adding more podcasts to my playlist. I binged through Dirty John (about a con man) and been going through the backlist of Criminal (really enjoyed the recent episode about the brothers who escaped from Alcatraz).


Hope your October is filled with pretty foliage, cool nights, and lots of Halloween candy!


Currently: August

How are you, people of the world? I’m going to be honest, my summer has been a bit rough. The state of the world, happenings at work, and some life and family happenings have made for some tough days. I’m trying to take care of myself and my people, practice gratitude where I can, and try not to worry. I’m not great at the last thing, but some days are better than others.


Eating: the fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and other veggies from the local farmstand and the veggie garden at my work. I love cucumbers- I’ll eat them raw with nothing on them, with some salt and olive oil, in Italian dressing, and so on. I love pickles. And yet, I do not love cucumber flavored things, especially cucumber water.

Loving: That this summer has not been brutally hot and humid (fingers crossed it stays that way through September).

Buying: Secondhand clothes from ThredUp. It’s an online consignment spot where you can send clothes to sell ( or they donate) and has a huge selection of clothes. I’ve ordered dresses and skirts mostly from there, and have been pretty successful with finding great items, and getting rid of a number of things that either don’t fit anymore or aren’t in line with my style and life these days. Full disclosure: if you click through that link, it gives you a personal invite via me that gives you $10 to shop with and I get $10 too!

Traveling: Q and I went to Martha’s Vineyard last weekend for the day as part of a 4-day weekend stay-cation we both desperately needed. It was gorgeous, but so crowded.

Trying: To not watch the news as much and when I do I try to counter it with good things to remind me of the goodness in the world, like this amazing man in Minnesota who built a pool for the neighborhood kids after his wife died. It made my night on Thursday after a rough day at work and made me all teary reminding me of the great people that still exist among the hate and horrible things.

Disliking: I jinxed myself the other day saying I haven’t had a mosquito bite in awhile, then preceded to get 5 while taking out the trash on Tuesday night. I was outside for maybe 10 minutes total and became a feast for the local skeeter population. I’m somewhat allergic to mosquito bites and they turn into huge, itchy welts that only high-powered anti-itch stuff will help.

Reading: A fluff summer novel, starting the 3rd Harry Potter book, and listening to I am Malala.

Donating: To Southern Poverty Law Center for all the work they do on educating/exposing/prosecuting hate groups. I had the chance to meet some folks who work at the center back in 2004 when I was in Alabama for a conference and was impressed all those years ago.


Currently: May

This month is just about half over and it is flying by- hard to believe that Memorial Day is only a week and a half from now.

In my family, May is for celebrations ( brother, friend, aunt, sister-in-law, Q birthdays), Mother’s Day, and my brother and sis-in-law’s anniversary. We had a delicious dinner to celebrate the month of May and everyone in it on Mother’s Day, even though the restaurant was crowded and I got all weirded out by the crowds.

This May is also crazy busy because I’m helping to organize a national conference at the end of the month for one of my professional affinity groups. It has been…interesting. It’s way outside my wheelhouse of things I’ve done, but a lot of the organizing has been stressful because of the number of people involved and various moving parts. I ended up taking on a lot more than I originally thought I would because so many members of the host committee had to drop out for various reasons. I’m in charge of many things, but the silent auction ( which is a huge thing at this conference) has become a huge project, involving hundreds of items, many of which have been delivered to my house ( Q and the mailman aren’t my biggest fans right now!). The conference starts May 29 and goes through June 4th, and I cannot wait for this all to get going. It’s been over a year of planning ( almost 2 actually), so getting to the finish line is definitely all I can think about right now.

With that going on and other life happenings, there seems to be some blah energy around us that needs to get moved out. I’m committed to pushing more positive stuff into life. I’m not one to wish away the calendar days, but I know once this conference is wrapped up that I will be able to relax a bit more and feel at ease. Just getting the clutter of these silent auction items ( there are A LOT of books) out of my house will make me feel better!

Here’s hoping your May isn’t as crazy as mine has been so far!



Currently: April

Loving: the sunshine after work. The time between 4-7 pm is one of my favorite times of day. I’m not as productive as I am in the morning when my creative juices/organizational mind get going, but I love it because it feels like freedom. During the work week, I listen to books or podcasts on my commute home to relax and 40 minutes later, I get home leaving the stress of the day behind. Now that the weather seems to have FINALLY turned to spring in my neck of the woods, I get to go for a walk before dinner, read in my sun-filled sunroom, or do whatever I want.

Loathing: Day-job work drama.

Reading: Some personal discovery/development books as I dream big about what I want next in my life for career. I am eager and wanting for change SO BADLY in my everyday life and both Q and I are determined to make it happen.

Watching: Vice NewsBetter Call Saul, The Leftovers, Veep,  and The Americans.

Anticipating: A super quick trip to Nashville next week ( like 24 hours quick) for a consulting thing and Maine at the end of May for a big national conference I’m helping organize.

Thinking about: Do we sell our house and rent somewhere so we can free up money to pay down my student loans and focus on ourselves and future OR do we refinance and stay put, knowing that the house chores like yard and repairs are ramping up and taking us away from things we want to be doing instead? I think about this at least once a day, with different opinions depending on what’s happening. Like after the fire? Sell. But then reading in my sunroom or enjoying having laundry in our basement? Stay. I’m all over the place.

Eating: Kashi Chewy Nut Bars. Favorites including salted chocolate chunk and almond snickerdoodle. They’re not Whole30, but since we’re not as strict with following it now, they’ve become my go-to on the run snack.

This weekend has some work around the house including cleaning again. Since the fire 2 weeks ago ( also how is it just 2 weeks, as the weeks since have been so long), we had the house professionally cleaned of smoke and soot by a disaster cleaning/restoration company which I am so thankful for, BUT to clean properly, they had to move a lot of things around and while most of it is in tidy piles in our basement and attic, now we have to go through that stuff to get to what we need, put the basement zones back together, put furniture back into its proper spots, etc. I’m not complaining since it could be so much worse, but I look forward to a weekend of true down time for Q and I where we don’t have much going on, errands to run, or things to clean/rake/fix.

Orchids Q bought me the weekend after work exhibit opened-  3 more buds opened since then!


Currently: May

Planning… our trip to California in June. It’ll be Q’s first time to the Bay Area, but mostly we’re just anxious for some time away from work.

Reading… Secrets of Flight (review next week)  and strategically planning what to request next from library or to read from my shelf.

Watching… Game of Thrones, Veep, The Americans, and AMC’s miniseries The Night Manager ( last installment tonight!)

Awaiting…. A work-related conference in Cleveland for the next few days, followed by the long weekend and unofficial start to summer.

Anticipating…. a summer writing/blogging gig with a local nonprofit

Eating… A lot of apples and peanut butter! It’s become my go-to lunch with a yogurt for days when I don’t have leftovers.

Feeling… Like things are in motion for changes and keeping myself open to opportunities and ideas for growth.




Currently- April

Currently recovering from a crazed month of March at work, especially the last few weeks of installing an exhibit.

Thinking about sanity, day jobs, interests, and money.

Loving more sunlight each day

Loathing the lack of spring weather– I think it’s becoming less of a season each year




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