Craft Junkie: Knitting Socks

I’m a Craft Junkie: Knitting Socks

I have wanted to knit a pair of socks for the longest… and I have procrastinated in doing so as it most definitely intimidated me! But no more… as I have finally conquered those fears! Last year I joined a couple of Facebook groups, “Winwick Mum Sockalong” and    “Addicted to Sock Knitting”… and after seeing all their beautiful socks… I braved my fears! It was the Winwick group that pushed me to begin as they are a support group for newbies and the Admin (Christine) offers a simple pattern, help and more instructions than you’ll ever need on her blog Winwick Mum. If you’re like me, I hope you will brave your fears this year… so go Knit a Sock… or two… even better!

Starting my first pair of socks wasn’t too hard… as I do know how to knit and the cuff was only a knit 1, pearl 1. But the hard part was figuring out how I was going to accomplish this small circle. While I can manage using double-point needles (dpn), I’m not the biggest fan of them. Recently I acquired a few sets of the small 9-inch circulars… and am loving them, but there are others who don’t share that love! It was on those circulars which I began this first pair of socks.


Cuff and Leg accomplished!

I had much confidence as I watched my knitting continue round and round and turn out a cuff, then I kept knitting to add a leg, then… I added a heel, then… I pulled my hair out! I read about the heel turn, which talked about gusset’s and picking up stitches… I was LOST! Just ask my husband how perplexed and distraught I was! Somehow I hadn’t placed markers, or lost them… who knew how important they would be… but they are, especially to a newbie knitter!

turning heel

Finally… I managed to replace markers where they all should be and I’m ready to turn the heel. Does anyone scribble all over their pattern like me? But I’ve now bought finger counters… love them!

It was the Winwick Mum Facebook group who saved me… what a great group of supportive knitters they are… and what awesome socks they knit! I posted a photo of my sock and asked for help. Soon I had several comments and photos posted back to me as they talked me into continuing and showed me in photos where to place my markers. While I still didn’t quite understand the fundamentals of sock knitting, I did my best to place markers… where I thought they told me to. Not being a quitter, but I certainly heard my mother’s words in my ear… “just throw them in the trash and walk on.”

But that’s not me, so I took a deep breath, taking one line of the pattern at a time… and it finally sunk in as to what they were trying to tell me… to a point! It’s important when you make the heel turn on small circulars, to be able to distinguish and know where your “heel” actually is; I had to remove half my stitches to one dpn to work on as in regular knitting. If I had been knitting the sock on “dpn’s” from the beginning, I would only be working on two needles now, instead of the usual four and the heel turn wouldn’t have been as traumatic. There is also another way of knitting socks and that is using the “magic loop” method… I’ll explain that further down.


I have markers in place…. ready to Knit! You only increase on the heel-turn, on the direct three stitches beside your heel on both sides. Once you learn the structure of the heel and where each part is and what it does… it won’t look so Greek to you!

After picking up the stitches on the side of the heel and turning the heel… I was back to now having all my stitches back on my small circular… Yay! Now it became “easy peasy” sailing on down to the toes… or so I thought! Once reaching and deciding where I was to stop to begin the toe decreases, I had to learn a new stitch… the dreaded “Kitchener” stitch. After watching a few YouTube videos and learning the little verse to help in sewing it… I closed the toe.


YAY…. I knitted my first sock!

The one bad thing about knitting socks is… once you knit one, you have to start all over again to make the second one! Although, it was easier on me on the second go-round as I knew I must have markers and I knew where to place them on the second pair. Before beginning sock no. 2, I watched more videos on knitting socks… which I should have done before beginning sock. no. 1. I highly suggest that to anyone who wants to knit socks!


My “first” pair of socks! Although the coloring pattern didn’t end up quite exactly the same for the second sock, which many don’t… they are nice and warm though, and they fit! There might be a trick to accomplishing the exact coloring pattern… I’ll look into that!

Since completing my first pair, I have also now knitted a pair from my granddaughter and am starting a second pair for her sister… you know how one can’t have something without the other one wanting also! And there is also another pair waiting on my circulars for my next pair… for Me! Now I can justify buying new sock yarn… as my stash is depleted!

There are so many ways to knit socks… cuff down (which I’ve done), toe up, and two at a time (taat). Besides the various ways of knitting a sock, there are also countless pattern designs, although I’ve kept my first pairs with just the plain knit stitch… I didn’t need anything else to confuse me in learning them and I strongly suggest you don’t tackle a pattern on your first pair either… until you have the structure of the sock clearly defined in your mind. I feel I could confidently conquer it now!

I have not begun a “toe up” sock, but it’s also next on my list… as is the “two at a time” sock knitted with the magic loop method; I’ve recently taught myself this by watching videos on YouTube. It looked complicated, but after watching a few times and practicing… I seemed to have managed it pretty easily. The magic loop style allows you to knit anything in a circular… no matter how small it may be. The only other way you could turn something into a circular would be to knit it flat and seam it… and I detest seaming!

socks on clothesline

This is how I hope my clothesline will look one day, filled with all my knitting! Photo used by courtesy of: Lisa Lindsay (40 socks grace this line in Canada. Lisa has been knitting since she was ten years old and knitting socks now for ten years)

I have a feeling that a pair of socks will always be on my needles… as there are so many colors to choose from, patterns to knit, and various heels to try… well, it makes you just want to knit one of every style you see. If you’re a knitter, I hope to hear from you and what’s on your needles!


Like to read on more of my crafts, Click Craft Junkie

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2018: A to Z Theme Reveal

2018: A to Z Theme Reveal


Today is the day that everyone reveals their theme for this years (2018) A to Z… and I’m happy to announce that I will be writing on a childhood friend of mine who has come back into my life as I retired… I’m writing on

All About Nancy Drew“!

This is my third A to Z, and after coming up with my theme over six months ago… I was super excited about it, and immediately began writing and planning the posts. Who knew there was so much history on Nancy Drew! When I first discovered the A to Z in 2016, I was frazzled in trying to think of a theme, and even wrap my head around how it all worked! I didn’t have much time to prepare so it was a very stressful month… plus I was on vacation part of the time and had to keep up with my daily writing and postings; the second year I was better prepared. This year… I am extremely prepared, as I came up with my theme much earlier and began writing.

If you’d like to take a look at my last two themes, please stop by. I also included my own 365 A to Z… I wrote it on “All About Me“… I just knew I’d be long-winded on this writing, and there would be no way I could write it in a month, including all I wanted with photos… so I gave myself a year to finish, just writing about two a month, and catching up with the extra “two” along through the year.

The April A-Z Challenge requires you to post every day in April, except Sundays on your chosen theme, but the one change this year… it will Begin on a Sunday… April 1st! And NO, that’s not an April Fool’s Joke… plan ahead so you don’t miss the Easter Egg Hunt! But you can relax on Sunday’s after that, as it’s the only one you’ll post on in April. 


If you’re reading this and WANT to join in… YOU still have time as April 1st isn’t here yet, you have 12 days to plan! So hop on over to the A to Z Challenge Page.

Research some of the blogger’s pages and decide on a “theme”… it’s not that hard! Pick a topic you love or write on your hobby! All you need to do is write every day, write on a different letter that goes along with your theme. Hope to discover some of my friends and blog followers joining in… I’ll be looking for you… do let me know if you join!

Was Nancy your friend too? If so, I hope you’ll join me on my daily ramblings, musings, and facts I’ve learned as of late. And if you happen to have your Nancy Drew books… and don’t know what to do with them, well send them my way!

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew 

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2018: April: A To Z… All About Nancy Drew

 I signed up today for the 2018 April A to Z!

blogging banner

A to Z Challenge Sign Up   —  March 5, 2018

Theme Reveal   —  March 19, 2018

“A” post   —  April 1, 2018 (Yes, it really begins on April Fools Day)


I began working on the April 2018 AtoZ almost 6 months ago… then took a breather away… and now it’s almost here… just days away from a month! I can’t wait… and now I need to begin doing daily maintenance on all the many blog posts I’ve written. They now need to be read and edited and photos added.
march days

If you’ve never joined in the writing of an AtoZChallenge – well, it’s a lot of work and can be nerve-wracking at times, but it’s a lot of fun; it runs all the way through April

This is my 3rd year participating and I love it.

Love the new Logo’s!

So What is the AtoZChallenge?

The AtoZChallenge creator was  Arlee Bird  – he created it in 2010 and it has grown yearly with hundreds of bloggers coming back to participate. I was a little perplexed when I first came across it, but also extremely interested. The process is you create a blog post for each letter of the alphabet… posting from April 1st through the end of the month. Letter A begins on April 1st, so on Easter morning, bloggers will be busy uploading their first post between cooking the family dinner. Sundays are usually a non-posting day but since the first falls on a Sunday at the beginning… it will be a posting day!

Bloggers will sign up and create a blog post for each letter of the alphabet, and post throughout April (1st=A, 2nd=B etc). Sundays are usually non-posting days (after all there are only 26 letters in the alphabet). Because the 1st falls on a Sunday this year, the first Sunday is a posting day, and day 30 will be the last alphabet letter day. The other Sundays in the month will be our free days… put your feet up, have a glass of wine before hectic Monday begins… again!
I have found this event a great way to discover new blogs… if you can find time to read, but you are encouraged to read several a day. It’s a great way to introduce yourself around and have others bloggers discover you in return.
I’ve already perused the list of bloggers who have signed up this year and there are already categories listed of ghost stories, foods, photography, short stories, movie monsters, writing tips… but I’ve found no one else… so far, with my category of all About Nancy Drew! I hope there are some Nancy Drew fans out there who will find my theme of interest!
While it’s not mandatory to have a theme, they do ask you to follow the letter given for the day… or somehow incorporate it into your writings. I was quite puzzled the first year and had so many themes written down before I finally settled on one. They will offer you letter artwork to use on your blog daily. There’s also other clipart they’ve made for you to add to your blog posts.

I had always wanted to do an A to Z theme on All About Me… but I felt it would have made me pull my hair out in trying to write all my memories and gather photos in such a short time. What I did last year was make it my personal A to Z for the entire year; if you’d like to take a peek at my A to Z: All About Me, just click on the link. It was a lot of work and I’m certainly glad I took the entire year to make it happen. My goal was just to complete by the end of the year… by writing at least two alphabet letters a month; I finished early December.

I Joined AtoZ in 2016:

I hope I have some Nancy Drew fans and you will join me daily for my musings!

I’ve enjoyed the idea of a theme and following it… it helps to keep me on a straight and narrow road, although we sometimes cheat a little when it comes to certain letters like Q, X and Z… but it makes you tighten up your thinking cap in coming up with those “out of the box” ideas for the letters.

Would you like to join …. come join the fun!

Click on the AtoZChallenge photo – it has all the details of how to sign up.

I will tell you that it is just a wee bit overwhelming in posting every day, especially on your first go-round… it helps to be prepared!

My advice to newbies:

  1. Creating posts in advance is extremely helpful, and if you’re really on the ball, you’ll have them all edited and even have them scheduled ahead. I was a total newbie in 2014 and only managed to have a few days scheduled ahead of time, but then I was still editing and re-editing nightly.
  2. Try and visit at least ten new blogs per day… and leave a comment. That helps other bloggers find you. I sometimes lagged behind in that, but during May I visited many of those blogs… as other bloggers did also. Many bloggers will visit you once you’ve stopped and commented on their blogs. It helps to drive your stats!
  3. Be sure and leave a link back to your blog in your comment… make it easy for anyone and everyone to find you. Not all who visit these A to Z’s have a blog, they just enjoy hopping and reading your daily writings.
  4. Keep notes on the blogs you visit, and who your favorites were and a URL to their blog. I wrote a post at the end and talked about the blogs I enjoyed the most and gave a link back to their blogs. I’ve learned from experience that if you don’t write notes on the blogs you enjoyed… well you can spend half a day backtracking and might never find that blog again, that you so wanted to read again. So keep track! Nothing like having notes…
  5. If you have questions… leave me a comment, I’d be happy to help you get started and offer suggestions on a theme!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the few ideas I’ve shared with you on the AtoZChallenge… so mark your calendars… come meet new bloggers and I bet you’ll make a few new friends that will remain with you through the year and even longer… I did.  I had so much fun on my first challenge, and couldn’t wait for the following year to join in once again. It’s just so much fun… come join the Blog Hop!

And after it ends… there’s still more…

march days May

 After Challenge Survey  —  May 3, 2018

Reflections  —  May 7, 2018

(This is why I suggested making notes along… I learned the hard way, and scrambled at the end to find my favorite blogs in order to write my “reflections” post.)


Want to read more, click…. I’ll post a link here once the AtoZ begins

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , | Leave a comment

2018: The Book of Me and You: January

The Book of Me and You – January

The “Book of Me” is a project created by Julie Goucher. It is the journey of yourself through your reflections… your memories… and your writings. Julie began this writing project in 2014… this is the third in the series.

I plan on joining in with Series 3: 2018 (Getting to Know You Series) challenge of prompts; I have re-read through the other years and may choose some of those prompts at times if I feel they are more suited. While I also wrote my own challenge of … “A to Z All About Me” last year, there are always other prompts which trigger memories, so I look forward to more writings. I plan to add another twist to this one by writing it together with my husband… memories will be together in one post.

book covers me and you

Series 3 – 1 January 2018 – 31 December 2018

Getting to Know You Series 


Who Am I? List 20 things that describe you… Well if I don’t describe my outer looks, then I guess I’ll have to come up with other descriptions, so here goes. Happy and Thankful, for the most part, happy for my health, my husband, my children and my beautiful five granddaughters; genealogist; writer, at least I think so… I do have a published article that I wrote years ago. After offering it to Women’s World and Family Circle, I sent it to Georgia Backroads magazine and they published and paid me; it’s titled Heirloom Recipes. Inquisitive… mama always told me I should have been a lawyer as I tend to ask a thousand questions. I did seriously look into going to school to become a paralegal, but as I didn’t like driving in high traffic areas at that time, I scared myself into not attempting it. I should have pursued it…. maybe it would have helped me to become more self-assured; nosey, well at times; bored easily with things; lazy at times; obsessive… especially when I have a writing project in mind, like my upcoming A to Z in April on Nancy Drew… it has become all I want to work on at the moment; shy, but outgoing… how can that be? I feel I’m a somewhat shy person… just last year I was asked to do an interview on my photographing of war memorials. It sent me into a tailspin! I’m more the begin-the-scenes type, not someone who likes the center of attention! Crafty... I inherited those genes from my grandmother and mother; I have enough craft supplies stocked to open my own store… that’s why I can never find anything when I need it, and you know what that means… you go buy it again! What crafts have I ventured to learn and accomplish… well let’s see – knit, crochet, paint (wood items and paint by number), embroidery, wood burning, writing (is that a craft?), needlepoint, and rug hooking… and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few.

What do you look like?… Brown hair (long as a teenager and still below my shoulders today); I’ve never been one to fuss and fix my hair. I remember that whenever I tried to use rollers as a teenager… becoming very frustrated… often having a hissy fit throwing them at the back of my bedroom door. Even now when using the curling iron, there would be a slight curl at the end… but once I brushed it lightly… no curl left! So I basically will have straight hair.  I was always considered tall, 5ft. 6″ abt… but by today’s standards, I’m average. As a child, I remember my grandmother Bryan telling me I had big bones… I hated that! Unfortunately, she never had anything nice to say about anyone, very negative! I always thought I was slightly heavy as a child and even teenager, but when I look back at those photos now, I like my look and didn’t look fat! Funny how you perceive yourself at different times in your life. Even when my children were young, I thought I was heavy, but the pictures and home movies show me slim with long hair down past my backside! Sure, now I’m overweight and since retiring, it’s really going to be a struggle to keep the weight off… I’m not walking like I did at work. I used to look daily at my steps at work… they would be between 4 and 5 thousand steps a day; that sometimes meant almost 2 or more miles just walking around at work and climbing the stairs. I think I became slightly sidetracked here… maybe I accumulated some walking steps! So do you know what I look like? LOL

What do you enjoy?… Besides spending time with hubby watching Netflix, which has become our daily winter activity, I’d say my love is writing. Often the laptop can easily spend all day in my lap! As cold as it’s been lately, who wants to go outside! My loves are researching the family history, writing stories for my blog, joining blog writing challenges, knitting for my granddaughters, and spending time with them when possible.

Who inspires you?… My husband foremost inspires me as he’s so organized, never says “no” to anything asked of him, and is always there for me! He spoils me every day and I’d be so lost without him! I can’t name any other specific person, but there are many that inspire me to learn new things and visit different place

What do you want to be doing that you are currently not?… I’d like to be losing weight, but I don’t see that drastically happening, so I’ll settle for a few pounds off! I hope to travel more in the upcoming year and visit Maine this year, and I think Florida will be on my new places to visit soon also.



Who Am I? List 20 things that describe you… He was easy when I asked… “I could put it down in 2 words, I’m Perfect!”  (Is this writing project going to be easy or difficult… it will be difficult if I have to pull the words out of him! My words that I would describe him are… Smart, helpful, ADD… as he likes everything in its place and put away. He will put his keys, billfold, glasses all in his hat on the table when he comes in… not like me, I’ll lay it wherever and then have to look for it while listening to him saying, “if you’d put it in your hat, you’d know where it is.” Well, the problem with that is… I don’t wear a hat… I guess I should just put mine in his! Prompt, would be another trait of his, along with organized, saying, “you have to be organized, as when you need something, and you can’t find it, then you really don’t have it.” “My father always said that in regards to having a tool; if you didn’t bring it with you to use, then you really didn’t have it. I’m mechanically inclined, I always liked to work with tools; every kid likes to take things apart! All kids start building with Lincoln logs and Tinker toys, although I only had Tinker toys. I remember building a Ferris wheel with them, then I progressed to the erector sets, especially as the A. C. Gilbert factory was located nearby in New Haven. All the kids around here had A. C. Gilbert toys and train sets… later I had a train set complete with an engine that smoked. Building and repairing things have followed me all my life. I was a mechanic on the B-52’s in the Air Force, built tires at Armstrong, was a welder for many years working on trucks and Trident submarines at Electric Boat Shipyard. I’ve worked on all our cars through the years, repaired every appliance in our house. I’m like my father, fix it until it can’t be fixed anymore. I’m the last generation that doesn’t like to throw things away and buy new! I follow in my father’s footsteps of repairing things… fix it right the first time, so you don’t have to do it again. It takes longer, but the job is done right. My father was that way at work also… he always wanted things done his way, but he knew what he was doing. He built his own house and it’ll be standing when everything else is gone… it’s solid as a rock. When you walk on those floors, nothing shakes like the houses of today. I’m also a clean, neat type person. I’m constantly going through drawers in my bureau to clean them out and re-organize. I like things in their own place. In the Air Force, you learn quickly that your mother is not there, and how to keep your things… rather how they want you to keep them! (Not that my mother ever cleaned up after me… it would have been the other way around… I had to clean up after her) When you are in the service, you are taught how they want you to keep your clothes, your tools, and your life… and you better comply. In working on B 52 planes, I had to make sure all my tools went back in my tool bag… nothing could be left lying around… someone’s life depended on you policing your area, and you couldn’t put tools in your pockets either, they had to go back exactly in their spot! Another description of me would be observant... I enjoy observing people. You learn many things that way… especially watching people work. It’s also funny to sit and observe people in general. I would have been a good cop… I pay attention to everything going on around me; your life could depend on it one day!

What do you look like?… There’s no one that looks like they did in their youth, you just have to accept it and move on. I have a lot less hair than I once did… I’m an older me. I  had dark brown hair, not so dark anymore, but I still have kept my mustache and somewhat beard all my life. My children have never seen me without my mustache and beard, and probably never will.

What do you enjoy?… I enjoy bringing “dead” things back to life; I guess that’s why I enjoy collecting cast iron cookware. It amazes me how you can bring a 100-year-old cast iron pan back to its original condition… looking like the very day it was sold. I don’t like contributing to the landfill in throwing things away.

Who inspires you?… I was never impressed by anybody, I might pick up traits from people, but no one specifically has inspired me. The first time I saw Steve McQueen in the Sand Pebbles movie eat a half-dozen eggs sunny side up… that impressed me, and I’ve eaten my eggs that way ever since. So I guess he inspired me to eat eggs that way.

What do you want to be doing that you are currently not?… I’d like to be able to run up and down the steps like I used to, but that’s not going to happen. When I worked at Armstrong Rubber, I’d run up 13 flights to get to my work floor, which was the second floor; they were tall floors. There wasn’t one long flight of stairs, instead, they twisted around in smaller increments. I ran up them every day… never using the handrail. We weren’t supposed to take the elevator; it was a freight elevator, but some of the older guys did. If you happened to get stuck in the elevator, you missed out on work… most jobs were piecework, not by the hour. I couldn’t afford to be stuck in there and not making money… I was a tire builder and time meant money!


© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: Book of Me and You, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Weekend Weathervanes: It’s a Harley!

Weekend Weathervanes

It’s a Harley!

Now I know what to do with those photos – “thanks” to Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy; she blogs Weekly Wednesday Weathervanes  in New Hampshire.  Please check out her page and enjoy the many unusual weathervane photos and often be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels  – You Just Need To Look Up!


It’s a bird… it’s a plane… No, it’s a Harley!



The Harley Davidson dealership in North Conway, New Hampshire sports this awesome Harley weathervane on top of their building. We all know why they picked this “vane!”

While on a weekend “leaf peeping” last fall, we enjoyed time spent in this town… lots to offer.


Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Weekend Weathervanes: The Saw

Weekend Weathervanes

The Saw

Now I know what to do with those photos – “thanks” to Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy; she blogs Weekly Wednesday Weathervanes  in New Hampshire.  Please check out her page and enjoy the many unusual weathervane photos and often be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels  – You Just Need To Look Up!


My first thought when I spotted this saw… was that the man who lives here must be a carpenter!

Now to find the rest of the carpenter tools!


I almost missed this one, but hubby pulled over for me to get a shot. If there had been a man standing outside, I would have asked about the “saw.” I’m always thinking of why a certain weathervane is there!


Like to see more… Click Weathervanes

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Weekend Weathervanes: | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Blog Book: My Blog Book of 2017

Blog Book: My Blog Book of 2017

Book Covers for 2017

Printing my Blog Books!

A whopping 39 percent coupon arrived in my mailbox around New years Day to print at Blog 2 Print; a great way to preserve blog writings! Did I begin working on it in the seven days they gave me… of course not… I waited until the day before it ended. I procrastinate and drag my feet on all I do… I need the motivation of a time frame!

My first set-up of slurping the first six months of my blog had issues… some of the same issues I’ve had in the past, that I had never resolved! Naturally, there’s never anyone late at night to ask, so I’m always having to wait until the next day. I googled my problem, but it seems I was a “one of a kind”… no one sharing my exact issue. My problem was, that sometimes the photo or even clip art didn’t come through; instead, showing as gibberish letters and numbers. After trying several things… which, some seemed to work, and some showed no change… I closed my laptop and went to bed. Tomorrow’s another day!

Early the next morning, I began a chat with them, after my phone call had only resulted in “leave a message and we’ll contact you”… we all know how that works! Within two minutes into a chat, I was connected to someone and posted my issues. She asked for one post that showed problems… quickly coming back to tell me that the reason my photos weren’t transferring over was that they showed as a “Heading 3“. At first, I was even more confused, but after going over to my blog… a lightbulb went off! I never thought that there was any particular way to post media into my post, other than clicking the space where I planned to locate it, click the media icon… and insert. Well, that’s not exactly all there is! It seems that often when you’re using Heading sizings for different fonts in WordPress… you still may be in the heading area when you insert a photo. Who Knew? Well not me, that’s for sure!

So I took this new knowledge, and as I had been “smart” enough to write down each ‘boo boo” I’d found in my blog books… I went to my blog and began re-checking each post… it was an easy process, just click on each photograph or clipart (all media) and look to see if “paragraph” was shown on the keyboard bar. That Was Easy!

Below is a print screen of what my “issues” looked like… showing garbled letters and numbers instead of the photo!


The red arrow points to where you make sure your photos are inserted as a “paragraph” and not as a “heading”.

Naturally, my first thought was, this was not going to work… so, after a few changes, I made a quick book of those posts… and… It Worked! My photos were there… but I still was prepared to be disappointed somewhere before I finished previewing my books. Within an hour, I had all my corrections made. The final test was going page by page through 364 pages… and finding it was truly all perfect! Now I could do the “Happy Dance” for sure! I had had my doubts though!

In making book 2… I found one mistake… although it just turned out that I had actually missed this issue. No problem… I was a pro now in correcting those mistakes. As the company had graciously extended their coupon for the entire week, I decided to take my time… after all, I now had more time to procrastinate!

But no procrastinating for me this time, I finished my books the next day… dotting my I’s and crossing my t’s! I proofread my dedication, changing it many times to fit the character amount given, then I realized, “I can add a photo” on that page also… now to choose which photo! Hint: when you upload a photo, give it a great description as it often shows up, which is a nice feature. I noticed it showing on the first book cover, but when I finalized the second book, I didn’t see it; at this point, I wasn’t going to procrastinate any longer!

Book front and back 2017

Front and Back Cover

Finally, my books were ready for printing! I should be good to go next year, but I bet a couple photos will sneak by me; at least I’ll know right away how to make that correction! So now it’s the waiting game… they gave me about a three-week turnaround for delivery unless I wanted to pay almost double for shipping. I never choose the quick delivery, as I’ve found they send them pretty fast in just choosing the regular shipping… so don’t be anxious! I just hope they have learned to better package the books this year. Last year, Book 1 never showed… they reprinted and reimbursed me for the book. It finally arrived after Book 2, but Book 2 arrived in a flimsy mailer and it was open. The book was ok, but I just couldn’t understand how they could think that a heavy book like this, was going to go through our mail system and stay “put” in that flimsy envelope. Another call to the company… they apologized and offered, once again, to reimburse me for the book; they planned to contact the company who prints and mails the books to suggest a better packaging system. In actual, I received both of my books for free last year… that was a great thing! I’m anxious to see if a better packaging system was implemented for this year’s mailings!

A couple of my blog pages…

book page 2book page 8

The decision process


  • Include Posts: This is where you will be starting… your choices. You have options for ranges of dates on printing your blog… works well when you want to only print 6 months at a time.
  • Page Layout: I use compact, but you can experiment with this and see how your blog book will look; of course, you’ll have to start all over again to change.
  • Page Breaks: I choose not to break the stories; it saves pages, but it’s your choice.
  • Photo Size: I choose medium or large as I want my photos to be seen.
  • Text Style: I use B2P Classic; your choice



  • Heading Color: Choose your favorites: I like to match the color to the book cover.
  • Cover Options – Design Choices: I use the book covers with dates.
  • Book Title: I use my Blog Name, but it’s your choice.
  • Side Text: See my examples further up on.
  • Cover Photos: They will choose photos for you, but I suggest you choose the Cover and Back photo.
  • Dedication: Remember you only have 323 characters! I write mine, then copy it on my notepad, so I don’t have to remember it for all the times I’ve redone my book.
  • Create My Book: This is not the absolutely final stop… you will preview it before making that decision later, and probably will see this page again, redoing it a few more times!



  • Deluxe Color Options Hardcover: I ordered this once, and didn’t read or understand the directions. It’s a hardcover book with a paper book cover (deluxe) showing the Blog name and photo. The book itself is plain! I didn’t like the quality of the paper book cover either and didn’t like that my hardcover book had no name or photo on it.
  • Standard Color Options: Hard Cover or Soft Cover options. I prefer the hardcover for a few dollars more.
  • Also Available: Black and White book: It doesn’t specify hardcover, but I assume… as it says book – it’s not softcover.
  • Also Available: Digital File Download: I always buy this copy too. Some only buy this file… it’s a PDF… you can print your book… and also share with others.
  • Want to make changes: You can always change your mind on the front and back photos until you finally decide.
  • Running Short on Time: A great option… so don’t rush. It will save in “My Books” on your homepage.


A few hints… of things I’ve learned!

  • Be sure and sign in first before doing anything… I have chosen the option of “make my blog” first… went through the entire process and guess what… I lost it all, as I wasn’t actually signed in; the site should be less confusing.
  • I discovered that if you give your photo a caption when uploading, it will appear below the photo (usually), so think about the caption; on my second book, it didn’t show… so go figure!
  • Keep notepad open on your pc, and paste your dedication in notes… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to remake a book and remember and write it again and again.
  • On the cover of your blog post, it’s a nice idea to list your name… ex: Everyone Has a Family Story by: Jeanne Bryan Insalaco. After all, you put many hours of work into your blog, give yourself credit… it’s your book!
  • When I make two books to cover one year, I name them BK1 and BK2; helps to better identify. I add to the front and side. Ex: 2017: BK1 Everyone Has a Family Story.

Now… Go print your blog book!

If you’d like to read more, Click Blog Books


© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in BLOG BOOK, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Road Trips: The Circle Dot Cafe

Road Trips…

The Circle Dot Cafe

How do we come across these things… usually when we are just off the beaten path, headed somewhere, with nowhere in particular! Often before I even ask hubby to turn around for me take a photograph… he’s already turning around, while saying… “Better take a picture of this before it’s gone… this is history.” I enjoy preserving history, even if it’s only through a photograph… as what do we all wish for when we are remembering our childhood… if only we had a picture!


We had been in Newtown, CT. earlier in the day, and in heading home we decided to take a new route, well just because… no sooner than we passed this tiny white-washed cafe called The Circle Dot, we both said, “let’s take a photograph, this place might not be here much longer.” Well, there was hope… the sign did say “Open!” Hubby parked, as I walked up for a closer look; he was more interested in the rusty iconic Roessler’s “Hot Dot” advertising above the building, while I was intrigued with all left inside. My camera and I soon began peeking through the broken window… so much to take in!  (The Circle-Dot is in Monroe, CT.)


I would love to be able to say… I had coffee there once, but that coffee pot on the counter is not going to be serving anymore; this building doesn’t have much “standing” time left! While I loved looking around at what all was left… I could almost feel the ghosts moving about!

As I stood there with my camera pointed in, I thought about all the locals who sat on those stools daily, and most likely… every morning! These small type diners often know everyone who walks through the door, unless someone like me walks in… and then they’re wondering why I’m there… they immediately know I”m not a regular! I often have that feeling when we stop in places that are mostly frequented by the locals.


What quaint “small” tables for two! There’s definitely not much elbow or even seat room in those chairs. I never like tables for two!

circle dot menu

There was no menu left found on the day I discovered The Circle Dot… but in my Google searching, I discovered a food blog, Eating in Translation who had found this very cafe in 2009. Here I am, in the summer of 2017, and the building doesn’t look as if it’s aged too much. I guess between 2009 and 2017… the menu disappeared, but he did give me permission to post his photo. There was a comment left on his post that shed much info on this awesome hot dog stand! This long, gone cafe had a history… I knew I had to write its story… and so!

The original Circle Dot was located in Bridgeport and known as the Circle Dot Ranch. (I have no clue why the “ranch” name?) It was owned by Charles and Olga Mich… they sold it in 1954 and moved to Monroe, Ct., where they built the Circle Dot Drive-Inn; it was the first restaurant in Monroe at the time. They also lived nearby in the small white house located just behind the diner; it’s also still standing today.

This small, out of the way cafe, had many famous patrons pass through its doors during its day, such as… Marilyn Monroe and Wally Cox. After the death of Olga Mich in 1971, a daughter stepped up to help the run the restaurant… in just the same way as her parents had. Due to health reasons, they later retired… and the Circle Dot Cafe hung the “Closed” sign for the last time in 2001.

I’m sure it was a sad day, as the people that frequented this cafe daily, were all family. They walked in, the owner behind the counter looked up… and knew exactly what they were having! Hubby and I have a place we frequent like that, the waitresses know us and what we want. We never change our orders… only when we have one of the granddaughters with us… but they also usually order the same… pancakes with lots of whip cream and strawberries! (the information was written by the granddaughter of the original owners of the Circle Dot Cafe on the food blog of Eating in Translation)


This 50’s style diner sign was what caught hubby’s eye… they are slowing disappearing from the skyline… so sad… they are classics!

My father-in-law often bought Roessler hot dogs at West End Market in West Haven…  sometimes they went to Jimmies for a hot dog… and what did they sell… Roessler’s. The outside grill at Jimmie’s on the “hot dog” row at Savin Rock… was where the best hot dogs were sold… split and toasted on Jimmie’s open grill. Tony DeLuca was considered the “hot dog king” there… he could split the dogs without batting an eye, take your money and take another order all at the same time… as my husband tells me. Hubby also worked there when he turned 16… for a total of two weeks! He punched onion rings, and like everyone who worked there… cleaned up nightly… emptying the oil fryers and wiping down the kitchen. I was able to enjoy a Roessler dog or two when I came to West Haven in 1971… he introduced me to one of the last Savin Rock icons… and I saw that famous hot dog grill!

The Roessler family’s frankfurter saga began back in 1915 when great-grandfather Carl Roessler started the business. The family’s Grand Champion Foods Inc. was locally in New Haven until 1970 before operations moved to Norwich, which closed in the 90’s, and by 2005… no more Roessler’s!

Probably the last Roessler’s we bought was at West End Market in West Haven… loved that “mom and pop” market; you always walked into seeing a smile and a wave from behind the meat counter. My father-in-law placed his meat order there weekly… picking it up every Friday… and they cashed his paycheck. No places like that around anymore, at least if they are… they are far and few in-between!


© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


Posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., ROAD TRIPS | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2017

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2017

Accentuate 2017

I joined Jill Ball’s “Accentuate the Positive ” blogging challenge in a unique way of taking a walk back through my posts of 2017!

Jill, the author of the GeniAus blog, has invited bloggers to take part in her annual year-end challenge that she’s offered for six years. I’m super excited to be taking part in it this year, and I look forward to flipping back through my posts and remembering my challenges, trials, and tribulations! This will be my first time writing in this challenge and I’m champing at the bit, to begin writing on her prompts offered for our “year of review“! I’m not sure I’ll be able to accomplish all twenty prompts, and I might even change up a few to better allow me to write on my 2017 findings; if you’d like to see all of her prompts, you may read her post  Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2017.


An elusive ancestor I found was… finally pinpointing the “real” Sarah Elizabeth (Turner) Bryan… my great-grandmother. I finally began a new research on her when a cousin contacted me through my blog questioning her exact date of birth of either 1878 or 1881. I soon was pulling out my research and rechecking my facts. In viewing the 1880 census again with new eyes, I looked closer at “Sarah”, the daughter of William and Lauria Turner. While the age didn’t exactly match what was on my Sarah’s gravestone, I took her as my Sarah Turner Bryan…. ecstatic that I had found my Sarah! But now, I know that census records are only as good as the “giver”. What the problem was, this Sarah No. 1 in 1880 wasn’t the same Sarah I found much later in 1900. The first Sarah died before Sarah No. 2 was born in 1881. When families rename the next daughter with the last deceased daughter’s name… it becomes very tricky to decipher. If that cousin hadn’t questioned my research of long ago, I wouldn’t have gone back to the censuses to look again with new eyes. What I hadn’t paid attention to in my early years of genealogy was the “red flag” in the 1880 census; I didn’t pay close enough attention to the facts. As Amy Johnson Crow said in one of her posts, “don’t look at facts in isolation”… and that is certainly trueIn order to fully see and compare, you must list the facts from all records in order to weigh the evidence.

A great newspaper article I found was… I discovered a newspaper clipping of when my father joined the Navy. It was exciting to finally see his name in print as I’d searched and searched for a long time a clipping of him joining the Navy… hoping to find a photograph of him in the local paper when he left for the Navy. I eventually found  this listing in the September 5th, 1945 Macon Telegraph newspaper (Macon, GA.) The local newspaper that covers the area where he lived hasn’t been digitized yet today… come on guys, let’s get in the twentieth century… you’re hoarding so much information from me!

A geneajourney I took… down the rabbit hole led me to write Family Stories: True or False. It’s the family stories that often draws you in the journey… sometimes you can only study so many pedigrees and census before you want to jump down the hole. The family stories passed down through generations build the character of the family, but sometimes those stories are like the end of the “telephone game.” Remember playing that in school… one person whispers a few lines in someone’s ear and it’s whispered around in a circle to return back to the originator. It’s completely transformed from what you originally said! Like the tale in our family of the 3 brothers who came over from Ireland… one went North, one went South, and one went West, and as I’m from the South… I descended from the one who went South. Well, that was easy!

An important record I found was… a newspaper clipping that told of my great-grandfather John Turner being a hat maker in Lumpkin County, Georgia. I laughed at the comment “the only objection to his hats are that they never wear out.” I also found a second record of an 1864 Lumpkin County, GA. Militia Census which listed my John Turner as a hatter, born in S.C., and owned a rifle in good condition. This record proved important to me as I hadn’t been able to locate him or Hannah in Lumpkin County or nearby in 1860… it was like they disappeared. This record proved they were still in the same area as they were in 1870.

A newly found family member discovered was… Well to me, she’s family! As my oldest granddaughter Ella began reading in 1st grade, I remembered my old friend Nancy Drew! In going to tag sales and flea markets over the summer, I began searching for “Nancy” books; I had passed up so many through the years. Of course, when you’re looking for something… it’s never to be found! Finally, I broke the ice and found a copy of The Mystery at Lilac Inn, and after that, I discovered library book sales and found that was where they had been hiding. After buying many vintage books that I remembered as a 9 year-old-girl, I was hooked again… and soon began re-building a collection for me, while buying the newer “flashlight” editions for Ella. I have five granddaughters… does that mean I will be making 5 sets for them! I love that they have now added Nancy Drew Clue’s Crews volumes about Nancy being an eight-year-old girl… how fun they will be to read! If you’re a “Nancy” reader, I’d love to hear from you!

A geneasurprise I learned was… that Ila Stargel Sewell-Jones, my 2nd cousin 2x removed, turned 114 years on August 21st, 2017 and held the record for  “The Oldest Living Person” in the state of Georgia, as well as the second oldest living person in the United States. I met cousin Ila in 2000 in person… but we had previously corresponded by snail mail since 1997. Ila and I share a Civil War grandfather, Berrian Clark Bryan (1823-1923), who served in the Blue Ridge Rangers. B. C. Bryan, as he was mostly known, was Ila’s great-grandfather and my 3rd great grandfather. Sadly, Ila passed away on Nov. 10, 2017.

My 2017 blog post that I was particularly proud of was… my A to Z  “All About Me”. yearly challenge. In the past I’ve seen many write about themselves in the April A to Z, but writing daily on that type of topic… well I would never have been able to write it the way I wanted… written in detail. I began it in January and gave myself 12 months to complete the alphabet… and I finished in early December.  Sorry, but sneaking in another favorite here, how could I not include The Great American 2017 Eclipse! I’ll just leave this a teaser, so click the link to read!

I made a new genimate who… worked alongside me on my Turner research offering their information on the many Turner lines, which helped in determining my line. We both split off into two different Turner lines from our shared ancestors of John and Hannah Turner. Two heads or more is always better than one!

A new piece of technology I mastered was… better learning my Flip-Pal Scanner. I finally learned how to remove the top cover, LOL. Why I never did it earlier, well who knows! So now I have begun to scan larger photos and stitch them together with their software, which works really easy. I plan on using the voice with a photo on my next trip home to visit my mother. I’ll love to record her funny story on Clyde the Alligator!

I joined…. the April A to Z of 2017 and blogged daily on my journal, “Conversations with Mom.” As my mother often tells me stories when we talk on the phone, I wanted a way to document them, so I began keeping a journal in my Publisher program. It’s been almost a decade now of writing down some of the tidbits we talk about, or rather she talks about. By this time, I’ve pretty much heard the stories, and I often find them now, somewhat changing, but I never tire of them! My Southern Mama has always been a storyteller… and she tells me I’m the writer. She’ll say that she’d rather cut off her arm than write! Her antics on the phone is often amusing, especially when she comes out with her Southern witty sayings. And once in awhile, she gives me food for a new blog post, like Just When I thought I knew it all… the night when she told me about the time she took a plane ride over her small hometown of Siloam, Georgia. I was shocked to hear that, as it was the first time I’d heard it.

A genealogy event from which I learned something new was… I learn daily from the fantastic group of genealogy bloggers in my Facebook group. I’ve made many friends within this group and by reading their blogs as to how they researched their problem in taking down brick walls, or links offered for new sites of interest… I learn!

A blog post that taught me something new was… my post on the Poppy Lady, Moina Belle Michael. While visiting my mom in Georgia last October, I searched for famous people buried in Monroe and discovered the name of Moina Belle Michael, aka The Poppy Lady; I became intrigued to learn about the Poppy Lady and found her name popping up everywhere around Monroe. The next morning I discovered a Poppy Festival; sadly I couldn’t stop as we were meeting with family that morning. On our return, I noticed a marker near Good Hope, and it was for The Poppy Lady. We did a turn around so I could photograph it… and in stopping, I discovered the side road was named the Moina Michael Road. On our trip to Athens the next day, via Highway 78, I discovered a section of the highway named for her also. Miss Moina seemed to be haunting me! I was almost out of time on my trip in Monroe, but before leaving, I went in search of her gravestone…. which I did not find, but I never forgot! Four months later, we returned to Georgia, and I persevered… finding her gravestone! My entire blog post highlighted with her name gives her life history and how she brought the red poppy into existence during wartime.

A DNA discovery I made was… that my dark-haired son had more DNA Irish ancestry than his red-haired sister. I would have bet my house that her DNA would show more Irish, while he would show more Italian, but the “spit in the tube” proved me so wrong! His European South was a high percentage of 43%… not bad for having an Italian father and a mother with roots in Ireland, Great Britain, Scotland, Wales… and so many more. What can I say, I’m a pedigreed mutt! His Ireland/Scotland/Wales was only a 20%, beating out his sister by 7 points… with all her red hair and fair skin, she only came in at a 13% for those countries. I was shocked when the results finally arrived at Ancestry. Good thing they didn’t take me up on my bet! Their European West (Belgium, France, Germany) came back at 18% for Stephen and 25% for Melissa. At this time I haven’t pinpointed anyone from those parts of the world, so it gives me hope! I did my DNA a while back and had hoped for a percentage of Native American… especially after all the stories my mother swore to be true. Well, I had none, but my daughter has 1 %… well that must count for something! What I found really odd was my son’s 1% of European Jewish tracing back to Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, and Israel. Well, that line sounds interesting! I really need to begin concentrating on this DNA craze! My daughter-in-law is doing hers this year, she’s definitely going to show up my son on the Italian percentage… he’ll be checking out all the other percentages… and next will be their three girls to see who inherited what! While my mother has more European West DNA – 51% to my 48%, my Irish roots are higher than hers at 35% to her 25 %. The one region she has that I don’t… is European Jewish, now where did that come from – or should I say who did that come from… but my son also showed European Jewish, so it seems he inherited those genes through her. It’s all a mystery to me! If you’d like to follow along on my DNA escapades, click on blog posts… DNA.

A brick wall I demolished was… finding the parents of my William Pinkney Turner. My original post on the search for William’s parents can be found Here – written January 4th of this year. Since writing that post, I continued to write follow-ups in order to show documentation of all the information. The more you look and study the facts – the more of a chance to find a piece of info you have overlooked! In writing these further posts on William Pinkney Turner, I dotted all my eyes and crossed my t’s as I looked at all the Turners in Lumpkin County and surrounding counties that could possibly be his parents. At this time I believe I have narrowed them down to his parents being John and Hannah Turner of Lumpkin County, Georgia. Still hoping to hear from new Turner researchers!

A great site I visited was… a family cemetery we discovered on the back roads of Oconee Co., in Georgia… a small family cemetery caught my eye, just sitting at the edge of a field off Hwy 78 … and I was immediately drawn to it. Hubby did a quick turn-around! While this Young Family Cemetery now sits in Oconee County, located alongside the intersection of Old Barnett Shoals Road, it once was Clarke County until 1875. It’s about 5 miles east of Watkinsville, GA in Oconee County on the grounds of the now closed, Green Hills Country Club. On this trip, my mother was with us, but not sharing our passion of stopping to visit and photograph lost and forgotten cemeteries, she chose to remain in the car; we were eager to walk in. Sometimes these trips don’t end up in miles accumulated when sites of interest catch our eyes; it’s a good thing that hubby and I share the same passion.

A yearly blog I contribute to… is the  Honor Roll Project of  Heather Wilkinson Rojo – the purpose is to photograph and transcribe Veteran names on war memorials for family research. Heather’s Blog can be found at Nutfield Genealogy. Last year I was contacted by a student at Southern Connecticut University asking for permission to use my photographs and transcribed names from my New Haven Green Flag Pole Memorial post honoring Connecticut men and women in World War I. later I was contacted by Jodie Mozdzer Gil, Assistant Professor of Journalism, at Southern Connecticut State University. Jodi is Lynandro’s professor and has involved her students at the Journalism Department at Southern Connecticut State University (Remembering WWI – 2016-2017) in the state Connecticut World War I project as part of their capstone course; a project of gathering names, information, and artifacts to preserve Connecticut’s involvement in World War I. The students are partnered with the Connecticut State Library in this Remembering World War I project, and it will be completed by the 100th-anniversary end of WWI – November 8, 2018. As I’ve never been asked or given an interview before, I was quite honored in being asked, but a little nervous at the aspect of being on the other side of the interviewing process. My interview and story appeared in The New Haven Independent online newspaper.

It was exciting to finally… gather all the names on a 1964 Bryan Family Reunion Photo that I’ve been working on with cousins. Finally this year, after connecting with one of the last cousins who connected to this photo through his grandfather, he was able to offer the missing names. I remember when I came across this photo in my album one day, and I felt compelled to document all the names. We all know… a photograph without knowing who they are, can end up in those baskets of “instant ancestors” we see in antique stores! I always stop and browse through them, feeling sad that these beautiful photos have been discarded; I am compelled to label all my family photographs. My blog post was written in 2016, but it was early last year in 2017 that I was able to add the missing names and make it complete.

I am excited for 2018 because… I am finally blogging on my husband’s family this year in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.” I joined this blog challenge when she first began it in 2014… and completed it! It was what brought me into the blogging world. I also will be joining in the A to Z April challenge for the third consecutive year and I will be blogging about my favorite childhood character… Nancy Drew! I’m super excited to write about my friend Nancy and I’ve already begun working on my posts! The Blogging from A to Z Challenge involves daily posting, so plan early and write early or you’ll be pulling your hair out by the end of the month!

Another positive I would like to share is … writing and sharing my family history is a positive in my eyes. While some people might scoff and shrug their shoulders… and sometimes roll their eyes… it’s a positive what we do for our family of years ago. If we don’t continue our job of writing their history and preserving those facts… we stand a chance of too much time lapsing and records becoming further away. So stay positive and focus on your job as the family genealogist… just as I will! Never mind those eye rolls, but instead feel sorry for their ancestors!

Thank You, Jill Ball for allowing me to participate in your “Accentuate the Positive” challenge this year, and I’ll be definitely keeping notes this year for my 2018 review!


© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories, Year in Review | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Family Stories: Happy New Year 2018

 Happy New Year 2018!

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I’d like to “Thank” my readers of 2017 and  I’ll be looking forward to seeing you again in the New Year… as I continue to write and share more family stories, recipes, and crafts.

Several things happened to me in 2017, but the biggest was… I turned that big and scary age of 65 and retired! When I married in 1971, the age of 65 seemed so, so far away… and now look – it’s here! The same with retirement… I thought I’d never see it, but look – I did! If my workplace hadn’t offered a buyout…. I’d probably still be working… as I actually didn’t want to go and figure out all that retirement stuff, and offer a resignation… even though I really wanted to retire… they made it easier!

Did I have a retirement party? No! I’m basically a behind-the-scenes type of person. I would be the one with the camera in hand so I  wouldn’t have to be photographed… I’m shy of the camera. When I tell my husband I’m shy…. he tells me No I’m not. He says that from seeing me at work, taking charge, but take me out of my environment… and I feel like a bunny inside… wanting to bolt away quickly. Maybe that’s why I’ve never enjoyed going to a hair salon… having my nails done or a body massage. On the other hand… take me to a cemetery where I can wander and photograph gravestones… I’m comfortable; but when I think of being buried and left there… it’s a definite No!

Even on my last day at work… no one really knew. I walked out as if it was just another day… no goodbyes… and it’s the way I wanted it! I’m also an emotional person, it’s hard for the tears to not swell up in my eyes, and the last thing I wanted, on that day, was my friends seeing me cry when they were thinking I should be happy… having no more days of hearing an alarm clock! Part of me felt selfish, but the other part of me knew it was how I needed it to be. Goodbye felt so odd! Even my husband hadn’t realized it was actually my last day until I told him when he picked me up! I’m very good at keeping secrets!

So what have I been doing with all my “free” time since retirement? My husband hates when people say that about him, as he thinks he doesn’t have enough time to get everything done that he wants to! He manages his time much better than I do… I’m more of a procrastinator!

What’s nice about retirement is… we can pack and pretty much go when and where we want. If I mention to hubby about taking a road trip, he has no problem packing the car… and waiting for me. I’m a Nancy Drew packer… having to have that one bag packed with things I need on “every” trip…. my laptop and always notepads and pens for writing! He packs the flashlights (being a Boy Scout) but I supply the directions. Hubby does the driving on our trips, while I navigate! I like having paper maps as well as using my phone… sometimes while driving on country backroads…. we lose all contact with the outside world!

Our 2017 trips included a few trips to Georgia to visit mom… we love the rides down through all the states; it’s funny when you recognize areas so well in other states. Loved our fall weekend trips to Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, and we’ll definitely be returning there in 2018, so hurry up New Year… and warm up! March will be the “sugaring” season in Vermont… and we can’t wait to head there to see, smell and taste that maple syrup; I’ll be writing a “sweet” post on that road trip!

My 2018 “bucket list” will be filled with writing my April A to Z of All About Nancy Drew, whale and seal watching, biking on a railroad line in Rhode Island, antique weekends, taking the grandchildren on day trips, flea marketing, and I’m always on the hunt for my new passion of collecting Nancy Drew books and hubby enjoys looking for that certain “cast iron” pan. My books are a lot lighter than his cast iron finds!

I certainly hope that “you” had a great 2017 and I wish for an even better 2018 for all my readers, family and friends. We all want every year to be even better than the last, but you never know what the new year holds for you! The old saying, “tomorrow is promised to no one” is so true… and we should all try and live our lives thinking that, well…. we should try!

In 2018 I plan on living life to it’s fullest with hubby…. traveling more, crafting for the grandchildren, writing my A to Z on Nancy Drew in April and buying more Nancy Drew books… I think I need to find more time! As it is, we stay up late every night… bedtime usually comes around 1 a.m., so that means we rise no earlier than 8 a.m. unless needed for a school drop off! So do I have enough free time… believe me I could use more time!

I’ll keep writing…. you keep reading!

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Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!


© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


Posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment