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    The great clean out - Mar 14th, 2010
    I don’t “do” makeup. It’s too much of a hassle and I just can’t be arsed to mess with the junk. However, I do own a small amount of the stuff. Mostly old stuff; mostly seldom used. This isn’t a secret, and several friends (who have more makeup in their handbags than I own all together) have let me know on several occasions that it’s not OK to keep the stuff so long. [more...]

    Jeggings confession - Mar 14th, 2010
    I have a guilty confession to make. When I was on my holidays in the UK, I let my niece convince me that “jeggings” and a trendy shirt looked good on me. The sale price convinced me to make the purchase. [more...]

    Mommy & Me: UK Tour - Mar 13th, 2010
    Mom and I traveled to England and Scotland to visit some my family and friends for two weeks in winter 2010. [more...]

    Black pale ale? - Mar 12th, 2010
    Over the years, I’ve determined that I’m really not a Widmer Brothers fan, with the exception of their amazingly delicious Hefeweizen. It’s not that I don’t like Widmer beers; it’s just that I have a list of three other brands I tend to prefer. [more...]

    In (bad) style - Mar 10th, 2010
    Oh my goodness gracious me! My parents sent me home with an old scrap book of mine and I just had to share this awful picture. What the heck was I thinking? [more...]

    Fone fumble - Mar 9th, 2010
    As much as I hate to admit my mistakes and mishaps, I feel that it’s only fair to share a bit of my humility—and it will help to counterbalance the bragging and arrogance I generally display. Oh, and I also fear that it may hit the grapevine so it’s better to ‘fess up now… [more...]

    And we’re back - Mar 8th, 2010
    Our time in the UK has sadly come to an end and we are now back in America after leaving Edinburgh in the early morning hours. As always, tears were shed as I left my beloved Scotland behind. I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to share it all with Mom though, who now understands a bit better why I have such a love for the place. [more...]

    Home, sweet Scotland - Mar 3rd, 2010
    We arrived in Scotland yesterday afternoon to bright sunny skies. Our plan had been to spend the day winding up the English coast and stay somewhere on the England/Scotland border so that we could arrive in Scotland first thing this morning, but Scotland must have been calling me home because one England-based plan after another fell through so we just headed toward the border. [more...]

    The North - Mar 1st, 2010
    After a lovely couple of days in Yorkshire, we made the trip to Teesside on Sunday by way of a few small, back-country roads where we were able to see a couple of twee villages and lovely little farm houses as well as the ruins of a fantastic abbey. [more...]

    Finding Joy: February - Feb 28th, 2010
    My 2010 resolution was to find a bit of joy every day. Each day, I thought about the things that bring me joy and posted them on Just Frances where you can share in my joyful things—one month at a time. [more...]

    Yorkshire - Feb 27th, 2010
    I’m well into my second full day in the UK now and while I know I’m just on holiday, I feel as if I’ve come home. I really like how at ease and at peace I feel when I’m here. It’s a feeling I first had a few weeks after moving to Edinburgh and it’s never gone away. I guess it’s true what they say: “Home is where the heart is” and my heart has been here for nearly 10 years now. [more...]

    Go! - Feb 25th, 2010
    And we’re off! Actually, we’ve been on the go for about 10+ hours now and are now waiting in Amsterdam for our connecting flight into Manchester. [more...]

    Get set… - Feb 24th, 2010
    We’re at SeaTac now. We’ve checked in. We’ve gone through security. We’ve checked our gate number. We’re all ready to go… and are just waiting to be told we can. [more...]

    On your mark… - Feb 24th, 2010
    Remember when you were a kid and on Christmas Eve you were so very excited for Santa to arrive that you couldn’t sleep? You’d wish and hope and pray all through Midnight Mass that he’ll have come while you were away. [more...]

    Greener grass - Feb 23rd, 2010
    As I turn on the “Out of Office” reply for my work email, I have to giggle. I’m so excited to be on two weeks’ holiday, but what am I really getting? Two weeks where there will be no work? Two weeks of work that will just vanish from my workload? [more...]

    The problem with Seattle* - Feb 23rd, 2010
    It’s Monday night and I’m busy getting ready for my holidays: Doing laundry; packing; cooking up ‘leftover stew’ with the contents of the fridge to put in the freezer (can’t have spoiled food when I return!); and reassuring Schrodie that I really do love her, despite the fact that I’m abandoning her yet again… [more...]

    Happy birthday to me - Feb 21st, 2010
    Today is my 36th birthday and to celebrate, I’ve opened a bottle of bubbly and I’m feasting on caviar, wild salmon, and Alaskan king crab. The house is empty, save for me and the cat. There is soft jazz playing in the background and I’m admiring the way the light glistens off of the lovely ring I’m wearing; a birthday present I purchased for myself at Macy*s. [more...]

    A day at the spa - Feb 21st, 2010
    I’ve just returned home after enjoying my first-ever spa day. It was pure heaven and I can’t believe that in my nearly 36 years of life I’ve never done it before. In fact, other than haircuts and a couple of years when I had fake nails in my 20s, I never had any treatments at a spa or salon until about two years ago when I got my first facial. [more...]

    Still stitching - Feb 20th, 2010
    I started crocheting this baby blanket last February. I’m still a beginner(ish) hooker and wanted something simple and small to work on while Paul and I traveled to England for a Ryan family reunion. [more...]

    Bag it - Feb 20th, 2010
    It’s a quiet Friday night at home. I’m enjoying a Widmer Brothers’ Hefeweizen and cleaning my vintage handbag collection. Yes, I am that pathetic! [more...]

    I am - Feb 18th, 2010
    “I AM” is a poetry lesson often taught at the grade school level. It is sort of like Mad Libs, but with a slightly more serious slant. (Though I know a few teachers who have their pupils write outlandishly silly poems with the template to foster creativity and imagination.) [more...]

    Vinyl issues - Feb 18th, 2010
    I’ve finally gotten around to my first attempt at digitalizing my vinyl collection. Actually, I’ve started with my parents’ collection, as it’s their fancy-schmancy machine. And can I just say it’s a bit of a bizarre world when dealing with LPs is a confusing and difficult task?! [more...]

    Near fail on day one - Feb 18th, 2010
    Ash Wednesday is a fasting day in the Catholic Church. I’ve spent nearly a week preparing my mind for that fact. [more...]

    Lenten obligations - Feb 17th, 2010
    Lent is a funny little ‘season’ in modern society. Each year people around the globe begin to talk about what they’ll give up for those 40-some days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. [more...]

    Freak of nature - Feb 17th, 2010
    We adopted Schrodie when she was about eight months old. She’d had a hard life and was certainly not your typical cat, but we didn’t want a “typical” cat. [more...]

    Shopping failure - Feb 16th, 2010
    I have an affinity for handbags. Mostly vintage bags that have a unique character and flare to them, but I also enjoy modern-day bags when they are a little different than the every-day look. I also tend to be a little cheap and hate to part with my money. [more...]

    Music to my ears - Feb 16th, 2010
    I bought an iPod Classic in October because I was feeling down and shiny things normally cheer me up. I had it engraved with the last line from one of my favorite poems, Desiderata (by Max Ehrmann). [more...]

    Just Frances - Feb 15th, 2010
    I was born in a hospital (not in a barn, as sometimes questioned by my mom, who should really know!) on February 21, 1974. The third of six daughters, I am “lucky number three” because we all know that the third time’s a charm. [more...]

    Partners in Phun - Feb 8th, 2010
    My nephew, Haden, came out to visit so that we could run the Partners in Pain 5K together. We had a fantastically fun weekend! [more...]

    Finding Joy: January - Jan 31st, 2010
    My 2010 resolution was to find a bit of joy every day. Each day, I thought about the things that bring me joy and posted them on Just Frances where you can share in my joyful things—one month at a time. [more...]

    Fannying Around - Jan 25th, 2010
    It was the inaugural “Freeze Your Fanny, Scrabble Showdown, and Burns’ Supper Extravaganza” at the Ryan house! [more...]

    Solo UK Holiday - Dec 10th, 2009
    I’ve taken my first solo holiday spending nearly two weeks in England and Scotland visiting family and friends. [more...]

    Venice: A random happy memory - Sep 6th, 2009
    It’s not all doom and gloom in my mind. Some days—most days—I think about the happy moments I shared with Paul and I even manage a laugh or a smile in between tears. Today I got to thinking about our trip to Venice, Italy, way back in spring 2004. It was truly one of my most memorable holidays. Ever. [more...]

    Etchings in stone - Sep 5th, 2009
    Paul’s grave marker was placed at the cemetery in England last week, and his family sent photos of it so that I could see how it looked. At 35 years old, I never thought I’d be looking at my husband’s name etched on a headstone. It was so very strange seeing the photos – his name there alongside his parents’ names. I can’t really describe the emotions I felt, but they brought tears and heartache. [more...]

    We never had that conversation - Sep 4th, 2009
    Typical of so many couples, Paul and I never spoke in specific terms about funerals. We’d chat here-and-there about things, but neither of ever said “When I die I want the following…” We were both so very healthy and young; I suppose it never seemed to be such an immediate need. It was just a few hours after Paul died that my Dad arrived and later started asking me questions about what I wanted to do. I was in such a daze; I didn’t even fully comprehend what was happening and all of the sudden I had to start making decisions. [more...]

    A childish visit - Sep 2nd, 2009
    Flik and Haden came to visit for a few days. I think they really came to meet and visit with the cat, Schrodie, and just tolerated hangin’ with Aunt Frannie. [more...]

    I know I’ve got his love - Aug 26th, 2009
    Four months ago today, my entire world was shaken to the core and all of the certainty I’d come to rely on was taken from me in a single moment. I went from being a happily married woman getting ready to start a family through adoption to a grieving, childless widow. I never knew how suddenly life could go from amazingly wonderful to frighteningly lonely. [more...]

    Vanity, thy name is widow - Aug 22nd, 2009
    I was a lucky woman. I had a wonderful husband who always wanted me to have the best things in life. He wanted me to shop and buy new clothes – clothes from high-end shops, and not from the sales rack. He wanted me to spoil myself at the spa, have facials and manicures, massages, and expensive haircuts. It wasn’t that he didn’t like how I looked or the clothes I wore, he just thought that I worked hard and deserved to treat myself. But I never did enjoy shopping and I’ve always hated to part with money. Plus, going for a spa after work or on the weekend was time away from Paul and I always wanted to get home to my wonderful husband. [more...]

    Silent weekends - Aug 21st, 2009
    It’s Friday. I used to really love Fridays – it meant the start of a weekend, which meant two full days with Paul. I remember trying to wrangle a way to leave the office early, if only by 15 minutes because it meant that little bit of extra time “doing nothing” with Paul. Friday meant staying up a bit later, maybe having a drink or two, or maybe going out for dinner. Sometimes, Friday meant getting in the car to go away for the weekend. [more...]

    Who do I share the good things with? - Aug 19th, 2009
    When you lose your partner, you lose so many things that you may not even realize you had. I’m still learning what those losses are, and I’m sure I’ll share many of them here as I figure out Version 3.0 – and all the quirks that go along with it. From the beginning I realized that one of the big things I lost was my confidant – which is something that I never truly had before meeting Paul and after seven years of having someone to share my thoughts and feeling with, it’s difficult to lose. [more...]

    How am I? Do you really want to know? - Aug 18th, 2009
    We’ve all heard the question a million times before: How are you? We’ve all asked the question a million times before, too. What I’ve found recently is that the way the question is asked has changed. Where in the past, people asked in a slightly upbeat voice and expected the obligatory “I’m fine” for a response, they now ask in hushed and concerned tones, in a more meaningful way. But for the most part, people are still hoping for the same response of “I’m fine” because that’s the socially acceptable answer. [more...]

    Learning to breathe again - Aug 16th, 2009
    There are certain things in life that we take for granted. Breathing is one of them. Before Paul died, I don’t know that I ever really thought about my breathing patterns. I just did it – even when I was an active runner, an activity that is not yet compatible with Version 3.0, I just took one breath after another. Yes, I would alter how those breaths were taken, but it was second nature – no thought required. [more...]

    Learning curve - Aug 14th, 2009
    Version 3.0 is scary. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand it; maybe it’s because there’s no rule book; maybe it’s because there’s no one to help explain the new features because I’m an early adopter of the program. For whatever reason, I’m scared to death (no pun intended). Versions 1 & 2 were easier – I was able to anticipate so many of the glitches because I watched so many people operating on similar programs. I’m in uncharted territory now! [more...]

    The end was only the beginning - Aug 13th, 2009
    Paul and I met in Scotland on February 6, 2002. We hit it off instantly and on May 21, 2005, we were married and we settled in Washington State. We were in the process of starting a family through adoption before Paul died, just the day before we were talking about excitedly about the young boy and girl who were to come stay with us in just two weeks’ time. [more...]

    Frances 3.0: An introduction - Aug 13th, 2009
    My name is Frances, and I am officially entering into my third version of being. Let me start by telling you a bit about the first two versions because the rest of this blog will surely be heavily populated with tales of Frances 3.0. [more...]

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