Yarny Goodness


Sunday my crochet group, Fishnet Crocheters, met at Craftworks in Northboro, MA.

When in a yarn shop, you…well, shop!

I found cute labels to use for the things I make for my kids, and “Crocheted by” labels for afghans I make for others.

My friend Jean (who is a knitting & crochet goddess) recommended The Magic Loop book for me.

She knows my quest to knit socks in 2016.

She also gave me great advice on yarn to use for my first sock project (which will happen in the dead of winter).

I bought Berroco Vintage Chunky for my hat knitting projects.

I plan on using this pattern to make Miss ME a hat in the purple heather color.

I plan on using the teal and grey to make myself a stripy scarf.

The Encore Colorspun I bought simply because my eye kept being drawn to it!

I love the bag they packaged everything up in!

I decided to treat myself after this weekend.

Friday we closed on the condo we were selling.


I bought that condo as a single girl and lived there until I married my husband.

We then rented the condo to my brother until his death.

It took a year before myself and my family felt ready to empty it out and sell it.

Although I  much rather have kept that condo forever and rented it to Matt, it is good to have the sale done and behind us.

Time moves on and I chose to move on with it and not get stuck in sadness.




Today, September 11th, marks one year since my brother’s death.

The last time I was with Matt, we had taken my son E out to lunch, Matt had said to me-“Ali, you still haven’t watched _________????”.

He had asked me at least a dozen times to watch a particular documentary.

So, today, I woke up really early.

Poured a cup of coffee.

Put my headphones in.

I watched the documentary.

He was right, it was unbelievable and very thought provoking.

So Matt, you were right, I should have watched it long ago so we could have talked about it.

I miss you.




Today is my birthday.

Each year on my birthday I am reminded how lucky I am.

My back may hurt, I may be exhausted, I am still grieving…but I am lucky.

I laugh, my body is healthy, my heart swells with love for all my family.

As a plus, I thought this whole past year I was already 43.  So really, I haven’t aged a year this year!

Every year since I was 27, the main thing I think about on my birthday is Michael.

Michael was my brother’s best friend and I don’t remember a time he wasn’t in my life.

Matt Ali and Mike
Matt, Ali & Mike

Michael passed away from cancer the year I was 27.

He was too young.

However, it is not his death I think about, it is how he lived those years of illness I think about.

Years of illness I am always in awe of.

I cry as I type this because I remember him as so gracious.

My memories of that time have all blended together.

There is so much I could write, but the main thing is something that changed my life.

Visiting Mike in the hospital, I recall a conversation where he told me the nurses made his stay tolerable.

I remember him telling me a nurse brought in a record player and stayed after her shift to listen to albums with him.

I don’t know why, but that has always stuck with me.

It is because of Mike, him talking to me about being sick, that made go back to school to be a nurse.

I had been working for a dot.com that had spent millions of dollars to make a product that went no where.

I felt so much of my life (lets face it, you spend so much time at work) had been a waste.

After Mike passed, I remembered our conversations.

The company I worked for folded.

I took that chance to go back to school full time for 2 and half years.

It is because of Mike that I have helped thousands of people during a scary, stressful time,  in their life.

I think of him often.

Especially this past year since Matt’s death.

I hope that Mike was there to greet Matt when he left this earth.

I know he was.

And I am once again eternally grateful.




Low Key

This year, Forth of July was a low key affair.

Last year, it was the last holiday I spent with my brother.  This year, I really wanted it to be a quiet time.

On Saturday, we spent time at the park, then a fun lunch with the two cuties, followed by time on the deck.

On Sunday, I relaxed and binged watched a little Netflix in the afternoon (Marchella and Baby Cobra).

That night, I ran the Finish at the 50 5K with some friends. (#Finishathe50)

Lots of fun-running around and in Gillette Stadium and finishing on the 50 yard line.  Afterwards, we had drinks and watched a great fireworks show.

On the actual day, E and I had a date and went to Barnes & Noble to play with trains, read books and buy a new Thomas the Tank Engine book (very exciting!).  On the way out of the store, I found my next book club selection (Songs of Willow Frost) in the discount section-score!

I also managed to work on my new project, ELK Studios Southern Diamonds Wrap.

It was a nice, quiet weekend!

Hope you all had a fun, safe holiday!

Yarn Along


This week, my book choice was special to me.

I read my brother’s final book, The Final Cut.

His publisher has been waiting for me to give my final ok to send it to press, but I just had a hard time making myself start the book.

Well, I did, and I read it lickedy-split.

It was really good!

I would say if you like books in the vain of Karen Slaughter and early Patricia Cornwell, you would like it (Karen Slaughter’s Will Trent series is one of my favorites).

So, time to email the publisher!

Project: Moss Stitch border on my ATB CAL (seen in the picture). Almost done!

Linking to Ginny’s Yarn Along.

Happy Reading, Knitting & Crocheting!

Find me on Ravelry: MrsMcD918

Giving Thanks

The past few years and this past year in particular have been difficult.

Yet, despite that, I have been looking forward to this Thanksgiving.

I am thankful that I will wake in a warm house, next to a good man, and be showered with smiles from my children.

I am thankful that I will be going to my parents home, sharing a glass of wine with my aunt, uncle and cousins.

I am thankful that I will be watching a lot of kids running amok.

I am thankful that I will be able to look around the table and see loved ones.

Loved ones will be missing, but they are not forgotten.

Below is a message my brother Matt wrote a few years ago:

As the holiday rush rolls along and corporate America continues to squeeze away the meaning of the season in pursuit of the all mighty dollar, Thanksgiving remains a beacon of familial comfort.

Christmas decorations began infiltrating shopping malls as early as October, in the process diluting the day’s significance for many. A cynic would say that Christmas has become nothing short of an exhausting shopping spree, with all the profundity sucked dry by overpriced playthings – most of which will be obsolete a year from now.

Yet it can still be transformed by a child’s wide-eyed innocence, a sermon that moves you to a moment’s enlightenment or a family party warmed by good food, drink and companionship.

But for many, Christmas can become a slog because the preamble seems to go on forever.

Not so with Thanksgiving. It remains a day almost exclusively given to family and friends, and with age it often supplants the childlike wonder Christmas once provided.

Be it the local high school football game, the scent of turkey and hot apple cider filling a warm house, or the kids running from room to room demanding, “When do we eat?” Thanksgiving is a day uncorrupted by the other three hundred sixty-four days of the year.

I wish you all a lovely day with your families.

Smiles Through Tears…

This has been a difficult week.

Last night I decided I would take Miss ME back to my old home town to the beach to take a nice long walk.

The beach has always been where I go when I need to reset.

So today, we sent E off to school and started driving towards the neighborhood I grew up in.

As we drove there, I thought “I should call Matt when we get there to see if he wants to walk with us”.

Then I remembered.

Then I started crying.

As we started our walk, my heart was in my throat and tears were in my eyes.

We walked 2 miles and then crossed the street.


I stood looking at Blacks Creek and remembered that this was where we learned to sail…and I smiled (Matt’s condo building is in the far distance).


Then we walked down the bike path and I remembered riding my bike there with Matt and my parents…and I smiled.


Then we walked into our old neighborhood, past houses that were as familiar to me as the one I grew up in.

We passed Sailor’s Pond where we learned to ice skate and Matt played hockey with his friends…and I smiled.


We passed the elementary school we went to, the one his friend Nate mentioned when he spoke at Matt’s service…and I smiled.

Miss ME and I circled back to the beach and stopped at the park.

I watched my girl run around with abandon, giggling, squealing and laughing…and I smiled.


Today wasn’t easy, but through the tears that have been with me all day, I did have several smiles.


I am mourning the passing of my beloved brother.

Below is his last article.

Matt, Ali & Mike
Matt, Ali & Mike

Matthew Hurley

Turning 45

A few days ago I turned forty-five years old and there were moments, right after it happened, that my life seemed to play out in flashbacks. Now, technically speaking forty-five is really not that old at all. But when you’ve been sixteen and twenty-one and even thirty, boy does it feel as though life has sped up and the clock and your existence has started its inexorable winding down period.

And then there are the little things. Like waking up in the morning with aches and pains that weren’t there the night before. Just what did I do when I was sleeping that made me pull a hamstring?

Or strange lapses in memory. Sometimes I find myself telling a friend an anecdote and I lose the plot halfway through. Then, ten minutes later, after the subject has changed, I’ll remember where I was in the story but alas, the moment has passed.

And don’t get me started on music. I don’t know what the heck is going on with these kids today! Did I really just say that? I hear some of this stuff and it sounds as though it was made by robots. So I go back to my Elvis Presley records, and the Beatles, and Sinatra, and Pink Floyd and the world rights itself again. Wait a minute, did I say “records”? Man I am old. Most kids don’t even know what a record or an album, whichever you choose, even is.

But there are some wonderful things tied up in the process as well. A greater appreciation for family and friends. Memories that spring to mind like little gifts during the day. And perhaps most brilliant of all, watching all the kids grow up – be they my nieces and nephews or the children of my buddies.

No, it ain’t all gravy, but it’s also not quite as awful as I had feared it would be when that once dreaded birthday began to hunt me down earlier this year. There is still a bit of melancholy that arises from that question we all ask, “Where did the time go?” But I now prefer to think of it as time well spent. And it has been a pretty damn good time.

Now all I have to worry about is turning fifty. Oy vey!


In the accompanying picture, I am with my brother Matt and his best friend Mike. Both have passed and I treasure this picture.