Brooks & Crowley September 2017

Review Brooks & Crowley

September 2017


439 Washington Street Dedham, MA 02026

*Services Throughout Massachusetts


As many of you know, I returned to Ireland this summer for my cousin’s wedding. Although my parents both immigrated to America from Ireland, the majority of our family remains in Ireland. We always have a lot of people to see whenever we take the trip back, and a wedding was the perfect opportunity to do just that. It was a fantastic experience and a real eye- opener for my daughters. They had visited before, but they were too young to grasp the significance of the trip. This time, as teenagers, they were old enough to really appreciate the Irish wedding experience. They got to see where their family is from and meet many members of their extended family. A few years back, I had the opportunity to hear a well-known author speak, and he said something important about family: “You are your history,” he said. “And you have a responsibility to tell that story to your children, for better or worse.” I wanted my daughters to learn their own history, because our family back in Ireland is a part of their own story. At the reception, they went around the room and

met everybody they could. I helped them fill in the gaps as to how everyone fit together, but they did me proud as representatives of our side of the family. They made important connections so that they, too, can return someday on their own. Of course, technology has changed how people stay connected. My parents used to love it when they would get a handwritten letter or a Christmas card with a picture in it from Ireland. In contrast, since the wedding, my kids now follow some of my cousins (including the bride and groom) on Instagram. What a difference! The wedding and reception were a lot of fun. The priest kept things light, without detracting from a beautiful ceremony in a gorgeous location in Kildare. The speeches at the reception were incredibly entertaining, with a lot of ribbing and joking, especially from the best man. Then came the food, singing, dancing, cake-cutting, and all the other parts that make a wedding special. The party exhausted the girls, and they went to bed long before it was over, which was in the wee hours of the morning.

I feel that it’s my duty as a parent to bring my daughters into the family fold, and this wedding gave me the opportunity to do that. After the big wedding, we visited London for a few days, and we enjoyed our time there as well. My elder daughter had taken a world history course in school recently, so she was brimming with information about London and its place in history, from the Roman era to the present day. During visits to the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey, she knew which kings and queens were related to the others (by Roman numeral!) and what they were famous for. All in all, we had a great time and learned a few things. I’m looking forward to our next family trip, and I know my daughters are as well. Some of my cousins are coming to Boston around the holidays, so we will see them again soon. Of course, now that our daughters know their relatives, they can plan their own trips to Ireland when they’re a little older. I’m glad we were able to go, and it was a memorable and meaningful experience that none of us will soon forget. – Neil Crowley


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Dealing with Stress Learn Healthy Coping Mechanisms That Put You in Control

You have more control over stress than you think. Stress management is about taking charge of your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems. No matter how stressful your life seems, there are steps you can take to regain control. IDENTIFY SOURCES Chronic stress is hard to recognize. Look closely at your habits and excuses. Do you explain away stress as temporary? Do you define stress as an integral part of your life? Do you blame your stress on others? If you don’t recognize your role in creating or maintaining stress, you will never be able to control it. FIND HEALTHY STRATEGIES Withdrawing from loved ones, bingeing on food or alcohol, procrastinating, and sleeping too

much are all unhealthy ways to deal with stress. Instead, find unique, healthy coping strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control. AVOID, ALTER, ADAPT, AND ACCEPT Some stressors are predictable. Learn how to predetermine your reactions by choosing to avoid, alter, adapt, or accept. Avoid people or situations that stress you out. Talk about your feelings instead of bottling them up, create a balanced schedule, reframe your problems, look at the big picture, and practice gratitude. It’s critical to look at the glass as half-full and learn to forgive. MAKE TIME FOR RELAXATION Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury. If you make ample time for self-care, you will be

in a better place to handle life’s stressors. Give yourself options like going for a walk, calling a good friend, journaling, or reading a book. LIVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE In addition to regular exercise, there are other healthy lifestyle choices that can increase your resistance to stress. Eat a healthy diet; reduce caffeine and sugar; avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs; and get enough sleep. Stress is unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to dictate your life. With stress management techniques, you can avoid chronic stress, reduce your stress levels, and live your life to the fullest.

Solar Leases Can Affect Property Sales It’s not easy being green, and if your green scheme involves leasing solar panels — which is cheaper than buying them — you should be prepared for it to make selling your property more difficult. be transferred if you sell. And many lenders — and buyers — see leased panels as a liability, not an asset. Lenders won’t let you include those panels in the property value, and they’ll require that you go to the solar panel company and get them to sign off on a lot of stuff before you can transfer the lease. That company may or may not agree to the lender’s terms, especially if the panels were leased prior to 2016. If they don’t, you’re the one left holding the bag. Under a solar lease, you pay a solar panel company to install panels on your property. The company owns those panels, and you pay a monthly fee to lease

them (or buy energy from the company at a set price) for a period of decades until you own the panels outright. Here’s the problem: These solar panels don’t add any value to your property. All tax breaks, rebates, and financial incentives go to the company (since the company owns the panels), and they cannot

In addition, many of today’s buyers are wary of leased solar panels in general. Often, companies install the cheapest panels possible with a life expectancy that’s not any longer than the lease, knowing that these panels will lose their effectiveness over the next 20 years. By the time the property owner “owns” the panels, they’ll be worthless. When it comes to solar panels, it’s worth it to buy quality — but if you lease your panels, you don’t have any say over that decision.

Be aware of how solar panels — especially leased panels — can affect your property value and the ease of sale. And contact us if you have any questions.


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Book Review: ‘The Productivity Project’ An Exercise in Reaching New Heights of Productivity

We all strive to be more productive. We are surrounded by advice, apps, and devices purported to boost our productivity, yet we don’t seem to be any better off. This challenge to achieve greater productivity is explored in “The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy” by Chris Bailey. The author has a passion for productivity that most of us only dream of; he spent a full year attempting to be more productive.

During that year, Bailey’s goal was to get more out of life by being more productive and working smarter, not harder. “The Productivity Project” takes that idea to the extreme. Much of the book recounts Bailey’s productivity experiments and what he learned along the way. Plus, he gives the reader tools and insights so they, too, can apply what he learned.

master it. He prepared by reading about the successes and failures of others with similar goals. He experimented with meditation, a modified sleep schedule, an altered diet, and even strategized his coffee consumption, among many other modifications — all with the goal of living and working better. Through these productivity experiments, there is one thing Bailey didn’t want to do: waste your time. He stresses he only included what he felt would be most valuable to you. Every chapter begins with a takeaway. Bailey tells you what you’ll get out of the chapter and how long the chapter will take to read. But Bailey challenges the reader, as well. Most chapters include a challenge for you to try. It’s all about relevancy to your life, personal and professional. At its core, “The Productivity Project” is a trove of ideas. When you want to master your productivity and live and work better, this book serves as a worthwhile starting point.

One by one, Bailey works his way through a number of tasks to understand productivity and ultimately

Laugh Out Loud

One-Pan Harvest Pasta

This easy, healthy, hearty recipe is a delicious way to employ the harvest from your vegetable garden.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil Ingredients

• •

1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 1 cup dried whole grain elbow macaroni 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups) 1 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped (2 cups) 2 tomatoes or 4 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped (1 cup)

• • • • •

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper (optional)

• • •

1/3 cup chopped red onion

Snipped fresh basil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Grated Parmesan cheese

1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained

1. In a very large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, red onion, and garlic. Cook, uncovered, 7–10 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally. 2. Add beans, broth, pasta, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a Instructions

boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer 7–10 minutes more or until vegetables and pasta are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper; top with basil and Parmesan cheese and serve.

Recipe courtesy of


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439 Washington Street Dedham, MA 02026

Inside This Issue


Neil’s Cousin Gets Hitched

Dealing with Stress Solar Leases Can Affect Property Sales Book Review: ‘The Productivity Project’ One-Pan Harvest Pasta




A Celebration of Hard Work

A Celebration of Hard Work The History of Labor Day

Americans work hard, and on the first Monday of every September we take a moment to acknowledge their efforts. Labor Day has a fascinating history, and one that you might not expect. The roots of Labor Day stretch back to the Industrial Revolution, when jobs became plentiful, but not without a cost. As conditions worsened and work days grew longer, unions sprang up as a way to protect the rights of the common laborer. Workers in Canada didn’t fare quite so well because unions were illegal. In 1872, workers marched directly to the door of Canadian Prime Minister John Macdonald, demanding the right to organize. He relented, and the march became a Canadian tradition. As for who brought the tradition to our country, there are two competing candidates. Peter J. McGuire, a carpenter and member of the American Federation of Labor, witnessed the celebrations in Canada and proposed a similar parade to New York

City’s Central Labor Union in 1882. That same year, machinist Matthew Maguire proposed a national Labor Day after a public demonstration by the Central Labor Union. Labor Day didn’t become a federal holiday, though, until a few years later. In 1894, the American Railway Union went on strike against the Pullman Company in what is now known as the Pullman Strike. President Grover Cleveland called in the Army and U.S. Marshals in an attempt to break the strike, and several workers in Chicago lost their lives. In an effort to quell tensions and garner union vote support, President Cleveland signed Labor Day into law just six days after the strike ended. Our country would not be what it is today without the immense effort of laborers. As you enjoy the last long weekend before fall, take a moment to acknowledge just what a difference these hardworking people make.


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