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It sounds like you had a really good time there! I'm so glad. (Omg, did you happen to go to Pastiche? Their carrot cake is ah-mazing. lol). I know they are building all sorts of apartment buildings downtown, but I have no doubt you could find a cool rental either in the Federal Hill area or the East Side/College Hill (which is so lovely. Brown, Johnson & Wales, and RISD are there). There are some funky neighborhoods there, too. Or even East Providence could be an option. I know what you mean about cookie-cutter neighborhoods where you are. I don't think Providence is quite that way.
We lived in a building across from the train station many moons ago and LOVED it. This was even before the river was re-routed and the mall was built. (Despite being a bit of an unsavory character, the late Buddy Cianci really did a fabulous job of bringing the city into vogue). It's an easy walking city, with great food, shopping, theater, museums, and a generally good vibe. It's a short trip to Boston and also the south county RI and eastern CT beaches. There's so much good about it!
I'm glad you had an awesome dinner in Providence! Federal Hill is so fun, and the city has so much to offer (I'm still hoping to move back there or to Boston/Cambridge before I get too old to enjoy it. lol). There are definitely a lot of home-grown places and so many local traditions. The city seems to keep a 'retro' feel, even as it grows and revitalizes.
Next time you go to Providence, I'd be happy to give you some recommendations. I lived there and still visit fairly often. Good pizza (and great food) there, too!
Are you still in CA?
I hope life is peaceful and joyous for you. Sending all good wishes your way.
You’re so right...dealing with aging parents – and especially unpleasant behavior and mood changes – is so hard. Even when we know to expect it, it can still be such a challenge to stay grounded. Sending hugs and good vibes your way.
I hear you about keeping up appearances and pleasing the friends. My MiL was like that for the first 25 or so years of my marriage (until she got too old to know or care).
I know you are the coolest mom, and your kids are awesome, so keep flying your own flag proudly! I hope your conversation with your mom goes well. It might be a nice opportunity to connect in a different way and clear the air.
My favorite (warped, of course) moment was when we discovered that poor guy who turned his red leather couch into a "girlfriend". It's horribly 'bad' karma, but I laughed my ass off.