Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Is This Thing On?


December 10: Closing Day

*slinks in like a student who hasn't attended class all semester* So, what did I miss? Yes, I know. I haven't been around the blogosphere for four months; though, if you follow me on Instagram, you know A LOT has happened in those four months! You better grab yourself a cuppa and settle in. We have a lot of catching up to do.

Lessee, the last time we "chatted" I was about ready to start classes at Simmons University for a Masters in Library and Information Science. If you recall, I was able to transfer over six credits from the Queens College MLIS program and Simmons waved the three required classes. They also gave me a pretty substantial scholarship! Hooray! My semester went really well even though I took nine credits (three classes), had to do a 60 hours archival internship ... and got a part-time gig at a local museum. I was NOT prepared for how much work everything was going to be! Not only was I swamped with school and the commute into Boston, I was also commuting to Rowley and Gloucester! I was constantly on the go and barely had any time to do my school work. I managed to get all As despite the lack of time and scattered focus.  

I was extremely lucky to be placed at the Peabody Essex Museum, Phillips Library for my internship. Unfortunately, the collections facility is in Rowley, MA. There's no easy way to get there and absolutely no public transportation options. I don't drive. Yes, I know. I'm 49 years old and don't drive. As a Native New Yorker who has lived the majority of her life in NYC there was absolutely no reason for me to learn how to drive. Everything I ever wanted or needed was a train or bus stop away. Anyway, thank Goddess for Ed! That mensch of a husband drove me to and from Rowley once a week for 12 weeks. 

My internship was absolutely wonderful! My manager was extremely helpful and patient, which was necessary since I really struggled with the collection. I processed, arranged, and described the Towne Family Papers, 1630-1928. Yup, I wrote the finding aid, too. Pretty cool, huh? The Towne Family is one of the oldest families in Salem and Topsfield. They're descended from William Towne and Johanna Blessing, who settled in Salem around 1630-1635. The family line that I processed extends from their son, Sgt. Edmund Towne. If the name sounds vaguely familiar it's because you might know three of their daughters: Rebecca Nurse, Mary Estey, and Sarah Cloyes. Yup, the same Rebecca, Mary, and Sarah accused of being witches during the Salem Witch Hysteria. Rebecca and Mary were convicted and put to death.

I learned a lot about myself and what I want to do when all this school stuff is finally over. I really struggled with the Towne papers because they weren't in original order and because they were super interesting! The collection contained voter rosters from the beginning of the United States, documents associated with the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and an assortment of other historical nuggets of awesome. The historian in me wanted to read everything ... the archivist-in-training had to skim everything and intellectually arrange it for others to use. Eesh. I discovered that I am a horrible archivist, at least at this point in my career.

However, this semester I discovered that I am an awesome art cataloger and collections steward. I took art documentation and BOY HOWDY! did I love it. Why? Because it takes something that I love and know -- art and art history -- and combines it with controlled vocabularies, metadata, CMS, and DAMs. *whispers* I actually enjoy dealing with metadata and metadata crosswalks. What the hell?!? I'll keep you posted on my newfound love.

Our Home

We're still in Salem and loving every minute of it. We love it so much that we just bought a house two blocks away from the Historic McIntire District and Downtown! It's an adorable little Cape that was built in 1969. The best part is that we bought the house from the original owners! Well, the son and daughter of the original owners. Their parents built this house and lived in it until the day they died. It's in fantastic condition and still has many of its original features.

The original stove that still works!

Besides a paint job that was probably done at some point in the 1980s judging from the colors, a new downstairs toilet, and a new kitchen sink, everything is original from 1969. We don't plan on changing anything. On the contrary, we plan to restore this beautiful home to its late 60s glory! 

In Our New Kitchen

We need to do some cosmetic repairs, but all in all everything is good shape! We had the electric upgraded, the furnace serviced, the plumbing checked out and fixed, and bought a new washer and dryer. Every room will get a fresh coat (or three!) of paint and the floors will be scrubbed. Even though we closed on December 10th, we aren't fully moved in yet. We'll have the majority of the furniture over this Saturday and will have our heavier/bulkier furniture moved by professionals next Thursday. Yup, in a week we'll be living in our own one family Cape in Salem. I still can't believe it! It truly is a dream come true!!!

The Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Photo taken by me.

Wait, there's more! I had a really eventful four months. Go ahead and get yourself another cuppa. You might need it.

I alluded to possible "big news" back in September when I last blogged. That "possible" news became real news ... I got a part-time job at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA. I'm the Education Coordinator for School and Family Programs. HOORAY! The job is part-time for now because of budgetary issues caused by COVID and end-of-year spending; however, from what I'm being told, it will go full-time in February. I've spent the last few months working on all sorts of programming that ended being postponed or moved online this month because of the increase in COVID cases thanks to Omicrom. Ah well. We're still programming like crazy, but will need to be flexible because of this damned virus. Here's hoping things will calm down enough to have the school kids back in the galleries and families enjoying our programming. Stay tuned!

From grey ...
As for my personal health and well-being, I'm fine. Ed and I have remained healthy and COVID free, thank Goddess. We're both fully vaccinated and received our booster shots. We have never stopped wearing our masks and have recently upgraded to KN95s and N95 in all indoor situations. We both miss going to the gym, eating inside restaurants, and going to the stores to browse. I miss being carefree and not constantly checking my comfort level or doing a personal risk-assessment. We've maintained the same level of diligence that we practiced at the beginning of the pandemic ... and it's exhausting. I keep saying that I'm exhausted and frazzled, blaming work, school, or commuting. Sure, those things are all a normal part of my life that make me tired. However, the level of exhaustion I feel is not normal. I'm sure you can all relate.

... to black.
My goals for 2022 have moved from my career to myself and my well-being. I'm in the middle of Dry January and I'm slowly moving towards a vegetarian diet again. I'm moving my body and watching my portions. I'm being more mindful and intentional in what I eat, how I move, and how I occupy my time. Yes, the goal is to get back down to my ideal weight and to strengthen my body. However, the ultimate goal is to nurture my body, mind, and soul. That's the point of wellness, at least that's the way I see it. Diet and exercise play a role in wellness, but they are only part of the equation. I'm meditating, counting to 10 when I get angry or flustered, and practicing gratitude. I'm resting more. I'm drawing and knitting. I'm reading books, looking at art, and spending as much time outside as possible. I'm taking care of myself ... it's about time.

An understated Yule tree, 2021.

Other than that, we had a wonderful autumn here in Salem. We didn't do much Downtown during Halloween -- too many people and we were still worried about COVID. Besides, I was so busy with school and work that Halloween came and went without much fanfare. Sad, I know.

Yule was pretty much the same way. I didn't have any energy this year to do much of anything. If it were up to me, I would have given the whole holiday a miss this year. If Ed didn't put up the tree when I was at work, we might have not even had one! As you can see, my tree this year was pretty understated. Pretty, but not what I usually do.

I managed to bake chocolate chip cookies and make a special dinner for Yule. We had a nice, quiet day.

Christmas was the same. No bells, no whistles. We didn't entertain and didn't go anywhere again this year. 

Well, except to stand in line for hours in order to get a COVID test! I wasn't exposed, but I did lead a kids' program at work. I wanted to make sure I was ok to be around Ed and to be in work. I managed to get my hands on two at home rapid tests (four tests in total). Those are safe and sound in my bathroom cabinet ... just in case. Here's hoping there's no need for them!

Starting Dry January with Sparking Apple cider and Grape Juice

Now that I'm moving into my own home -- a house that Ed and I chose to buy -- I'm sure there will be all sorts of posts about decorating and renovations. And now that I have more room, I'm sure I'll start sharing my outfits, artwork, and cooking again. And don't forget gardening! SQUEE! 

Stay tuned!


  1. It's great that everything is going so well! And congrats on buying your own home! May all your hopes and dreams for 2022 come true!

    1. Aw, thank you! Stay tuned for all of the fun house updates.

  2. My heart is doing backflips of joy for both of you, dear Franny. Congratulations on your new job, home, and everything else that has added to your happiness/wellness/contentment as of late.

    May 2022 continue to bring a bevy of positive, joy sparking happenings your way.

    Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life

    PS: Please don't hesitate to email or snail mail me your new address anytime so that I have it ready for the next time I zip a card your way.

    1. Will do! Sorry that it's taken me so long to comment. I took a well-needed break from blogging. I'll send you my address soon. Sending you all of my love.