Thursday, February 4, 2016

Some Things: February 4, 2016

ONE| "...stubborn souls refusing to confront their secret fears..." I read this in The Story, which we're doing for church (one chapter a week for thirty-one weeks, and then the sermon is based on the chapter read). It just resonated with me and stuck in my mind. I am so guilty of this.

TWO| Did I ever tell you about the time (ahem...last week) a rogue termite found his way into our house and started snacking on our entertainment center? Thank heaven they're sloppy eaters. T went to work on a search and destroy mission. We believe him to be deceased and see no evidence he called his buddies over for a party. Honest to God, I didn't know "there's a termite in the entertainment center" was on the list of things I never wanted to hear when I arrived home from work, but suffice to say, yep, on the list.

THREE| Is anyone else picturing cartoon termites devouring everything made of wood in a three mile radius in twenty seconds flat now?

FOUR| That "not a robot" feature on Blogger comments? Best. Thing. Ever. After weeding through a dozen (or more!) of them per day, I haven't had to moderate a single spammy comment since I activated it. Which means, now that I'm calling attention to it, that will probably change. But either way, it's nice as long as it lasts!

FIVE| I got called for jury duty at the end of the month. The Friday before I'm scheduled to report, I have to call in to see if they still need me there. Truth be told, I'm kind of hoping they tell me I'm not dismissed, because that means I get to sit there are read a large portion of my day. It's my fourth time receiving a summons and I've always had to report. I got selected for a jury one of those times. I truly don't mind doing my civic duty. It's just a really long day, with a lot of sitting around.

SIX| So. On Tuesday, I had my annual ::ahem:: exam. (All clear, pending lab results, thank God.) But anyway, I'm lying there, staring at the ceiling, because, well, ya know, and there's music playing quietly in the sound system, and it starts playing "I've Had the Time of My Life," you know, from Dirty Dancing, and it was all I could do not to burst out laughing, because, well...No. Definitely not. I mean, I have a really great doctor and all, but...nope.

SEVEN| Speaking of...that. We (my doctor and I) discussed relevant topics, and it made me realize that I am such a Libra, even when it comes to the issue of childbearing. It occurred to me, on any given day, I could be anywhere from "hmmm...maybe I'd like to have a baby" to "uhhh...maybe not." I mean, you've seen babies, right? They're cute and squishy. And on a less junior high-ish note, there's something to be said for a little tiny piece of you and your husband becoming a member of this world. But then there's that really freaky Zika virus (it may be international, right now, but do you know how many mosquitoes are in Florida YEAR ROUND?? I've killed three in the past week, in the house, IN FEBRUARY) and the fact that I'm eight months away from turning forty and that life is really easy as it is (selfish but honest -- I'm not stupid, I know babies disrupt everything, no matter how worth it they are) and holy crap, the cost of childcare and providing health insurance alone are staggering. But then someone posts a photo of their baby on social media and the ovaries weigh in (the ovaries like babies). But then someone else has horrific morning sickness or a child with a stomach virus or a broken arm. And the seesaw rocks back and forth. And I really just... Maybe this is why people have kids when they're young: they haven't lived enough life, yet, to overthink it to the point of saying "your ball, Mother Nature, I've got no clue what I want." (I know, I know. Everyone has an opinion on this topic. "You're too old!" "Just do it, you'll never regret it!" I'm not looking for advice. I'm just telling you what this thought process looks like inside my head. It's ridiculous. Also, whoever approved me for this "being an adult" thing really ought to have their license revoked.)

EIGHT| Moving on but also ridiculous. We had to run our a/c yesterday. Because it was 84 and humid. On February 3. That gets a big ol' Stink Eye from me. There are people who love the six months of Florida summer. I am not one of them. They got their six months (eight, more recently!). Now I want mine. And it includes NOT RUNNING THE AIR CONDITIONING.

NINE| Next month starts Flower and Garden Fest at EPCOT. I am already salivating, thinking about what delectable treats are in store for me.

TEN| We went to see The Revenant on Sunday. The scenery shots were incredible. There were parts that were really difficult to watch. There's not much for levity. DiCaprio managed to convey countless emotions and thoughts with very few spoken words. But what's stuck with me the longest is wanting to know how they made that bear scene.

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2016 - Week 4

Checking in for the week of January 24 through January 30.

WHAT I READ|
The Dark Tower (Stephen King) - This book (and the whole series, really) is so trippy. I can't even imagine what it's like to live with the things that go on in King's mind. I'm trying to decide how to handle the fact that I'm not toting this brick back and forth with me, so I only get reading done before bed at night. Some days, I'm bringing The Story with me, so I can get my reading done for the coming Sunday's church focus, but often that only lasts me a couple of days. I don't typically read two books at once, but I am thinking of starting a second book that's more easily transported, so that I a) have something with me to read, and b) I'm not falling *way* behind on my 2016 goal. I'm hoping if I start a book that's drastically different from this one (shouldn't be a problem, since I don't read *anything* else even remotely like this series), I won't feel like I'm getting stories crossed in my mind.

WHAT WE ATE|
Other than the tasty treats in the photos below, this week's food intake included: tuna sandwiches; grilled chicken wraps; a pizza with lots of veggies on it; grilled cheese with tomato soup; a new recipe for slow cooker broccoli cheese soup (I'm pretty sure all the cheese negates any health benefits from the broccoli, but this soup was also really very yummy); and barbecue ribs with baked beans and coleslaw.

CANDLE SCENTS|
White Christmas (YC)
Merry Cookie (BBW) - Switching to this one, in our bedroom, even though White Christmas is only half gone. I was in the mood for something a little "warmer."
Christmas Cookie (YC) - Sensing a theme here?
Luscious Plum (YC) - I love how unexpected this scent is for the winter. It's fruity, but not in the way a summer fruit scent, or even an autumn one, would be. Much like the far more commonly used cranberry, there's a tartness, that seems right for this time of year, and also a "coolness" to the scent that I can't really describe in any other way.
Build a Snowman (YC) - Fresh and minty and just very fun. I love minty scents in the winter.

WHAT THIS WEEK LOOKED LIKE|
I should warn you now. I apparently made up for some slow photo weeks with this one. Oops.

Proof we don't run our heat in the not-summer. ;-) I love that I can make use of my fuzzy blanket and my slippers, and it's the best for sleeping!


Best socks ever? Best socks ever. (So comfy and they're Red Sox socks!) (FYI: It's really difficult to get your feet in the Red Sox logo position.)


One of my birthday gifts, this past October, was a subscription to "Try the World." Every other month, I get a box full of goodies to taste. This one was from the Spain box and I wasn't sure it was going to be something I liked all that much. I was very wrong. Light and crumbly, like a crumb cake, with this lemon jam-like filling. Just goes to show: you don't know til you try!


It was raining for my Animal Kingdom adventure, so only my iPhone camera. But the lion was up!! Demands to be documented.


Horrible photo quality, but I had no idea there were *two* lionesses! When all you ever see of the lions are the occasional ear or paws or the top of a mane, you assume the habitat is one male and one female. The animals were *loving* the cool, damp weather though.


This regal lady is 18 years old. There are only two of the original five Asian tigers remaining at Animal Kingdom (all were female), and both of these beauties are advanced in years. There are two Sumatran tigers (a male and a female, I believe? don't quote me) in another area, but I wonder if they will try to get some new Asian tigers for the future. Who knows, maybe they already have?


I have a problem. It's resisting the Wok-Fried Green Beans at Yak and Yeti. I honestly think I could make an entire meal of these things.


This was the Mandarin Chicken Salad I got as my meal. I am not even kidding you, I think they used fourteen heads of lettuce to make this thing. I never actually saw the plate, even though I ate...and ate...and ate.



Tee hee!


You know WDW has done a good job integrating new buildings when you have to stop and question whether or not this is a new gift shop. (It is.)


I was completely enamored with this mosaic in the entry to the Riverside Depot. How awesome are those colors? I opted to share a mosaic-only shot on Instagram, but I like this one too, because it tells me a little more about my day. For instance, I can tell you, based on the shoes I'm wearing, that it was not-summer and rainy.


Turtle.


I loved this mural and lighting fixture. This park, especially, is just a total feast for the eyes.


Dinner! I've only eaten here one other time, ages ago, so it was a fun treat to go back with Nichole and Tracy.


I got the Ashley Farms Chicken Sous Vide with Tuscan-style Polenta, Cippolini-Green Bean RagoĆ¹t, and Chicken Jus. And I had to refrain from licking my plate.

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

This Week on My TV: January 30, 2016

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!



**(Madam Secretary, 2x11 Unity Node) Ok so it was Maria Ostrov that was in the vehicle that went ka-BOOM! It obviously couldn't have been Elizabeth, since, hello, show is actually about her. But I won't try to pretend I wasn't a little bit worried that it wasn't someone on her staff or possibly Henry. -- You know (if you read these) that I think the writers do an excellent job constructing Henry and Elizabeth's marriage. The banter, the intimacy, the way they interact; it's all very believable. But even the fighting is done well. Part of it is, obviously, on the actors to execute the scene, but it starts with good writing, and that's what it is. -- So, it's official. Dmitri is dead. And now I'm sad...for him, for his sister, for Henry. -- I wonder if Henry is *really* out of spying or if they are going to make it impossible for him to extract himself. -- Elizabeth: Maybe that should be my epitaph, "she tried her best, but people still got hurt." Henry: Not "she liked eating popcorn at really weird times?"

**(The Blacklist, 3x12 The Vehm) That may be the weirdest opening scene ever, with the clown getting murdered. -- So...I have a question. Who had Liz and Tom's dog that whole time?? -- Red: You confiscated her firearm. Ressler: Oh, so you think a convicted felon should be allowed to carry guns? Red: All the ones I know do. -- LOL! Aram sent Lizzie "trashy novels" while she recuperated. He's the best. -- Red's known about the pregnancy for some time?? Does the man miss *nothing*? -- Observation: It's bizarre to see some guy in riot gear show up with a vase of white roses. -- "Doting husband with rock hard abs." You're so modest, Tom. -- I keep trying to figure this out. How did the ME know the castration was self-inflicted? -- Gerald: What the hell is this? Red: A terrible time of year to go camping, but I suppose we do what we must when we're on the run. -- OMG LOL Red at the campfire singalong. He's such a trip. -- Samar: Are you drinking Communion wine? Red: Yes, it's God awful. If they'd only switch to a good Burgundy, people would be much more devout. ... OMG, he's so irreverent. And I know I should be appalled (I am) but his remarks slay me! -- Red: Hell hath no fury like a fundamentalist scorned. -- That was a beautiful speech Red gave Liz about her mother. Even though she's back to being a brat. Sometimes, I really want to shake Liz. One minute she wants Red to go away and leave her alone forever, and then someone comes after her with malicious intent, and suddenly she's clinging to him like her life depends on it. -- Samar: I don't deserve a friend like you. Aram: Maybe not...but you have one. -- Aram is such a good guy. He's just there for anyone on the team, without question. -- Wow. Red has protection set up for Liz, despite her bratty behavior. (Of course he does.) He'll take care of her, ungrateful snot or otherwise. She should make note of that.

**(Last Man Standing, 5x14 The Ring) Nothing long and rambling, but how adorable are Mandy and Kyle?? I love that they're engaged. And how they got engaged. And that Mandy has grown up, at least a little bit.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: January 26, 2016

Tuesday seems like a good time to push through the post-weekend blahs and focus on something positive. Like the top ten best parts of my last week. 

ONE| We've had this wonderfully brisk weather (which about half of Floridians embrace and the other half lament). We don't turn on our heat, which means it's been perfect for snuggling up on the couch under a mountain of blankets with my favorite guy. We're pretty much nothing but a heap of plush in various colors and two pairs of eyeballs.

TWO| Having a text conversation with a friend who's pregnant and actually hearing her glow just through the words on my tiny phone screen. You know those people who are such a rare gift to this world that you feel lucky just for knowing them? The sort of people who deserve nothing but the very best life has to offer? And then when they get it, your heart near to bursts, because their joy brings *you* so much happiness? That's the kind of person we're talking about here. 

THREE| I take great joy in sending my friends happy mail. Who doesn't like an unexpected treat to arrive with their name on it? I found the perfect little something for a sweet friend and then danced around with glee all week, waiting for it to arrive on her doorstep.

FOUR| On Saturday, I spent the day with friends at WDW. We laughed. Like, a lot. At points, the gasping sort of laughter that leaves you hunched over, clutching your stomach, and unable to properly inhale air. At one point, we stopped for some people watching and beverages at Mizner's Lounge in the Grand Floridian. We scored ourselves a little table and proceeded to chat and laugh over who knows what. A sweet older gentleman approached our table, just to tell us how much he and his wife were enjoying our interaction. I believe in laughter. It has magical powers.

FIVE| I renewed my WDW Annual Pass. Nothing like guaranteeing yourself another year of your happy place.

SIX| So, I'm minding my business on Sunday, doing my weekly Target shopping. I round a corner and come face to face with Justin Verlander. (For those of you who just went 'huh?' He's a professional baseball player for the Detroit Tigers.) I did one of those tires-squealing double takes, so violent that I felt like I tweaked my neck. He's clearly in the area, since this is where his team spring trains. (I guess I can't 100% verify it was him, since he was in street clothes, and I afforded the man the privacy to do his Target shopping unaccosted, but unless he has an identical twin, I'd bet money that was him.) Anyway, that made me happy, because it means baseball is coming.

SEVEN| I mentioned the weather. My favorite time to walk in the evenings is when the air is chilly. It's refreshing and invigorating. It makes my cheeks feel rosy and puts some pep in my step, after the eternal oppression of humidity that leaves me sluggish. I just walk along, face to the wind, grinning. (I'm pretty sure my husband thinks he married a lunatic at that point. Oh well, he stuck with me now.)

EIGHT| I stumbled upon a bunch of friendship quotes. I've been reading them a few at a time, savoring them. I'm about halfway through. My favorite, so far, is "Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything." (Muhammad Ali)

NINE| Someone I follow on Twitter posted this picture. It's become my new go-to and it's the best response to so many things. It's even better than an emoji, because it's a *dog*. And I can't stop laughing. 

TEN| A good book, a soft blanket, a lighted candle, and a square of Ghirardelli chocolate.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2016 - Week 3

Checking in for the week of January 17 through January 23.

WHAT I READ |
O Is for Outlaw (Sue Grafton) - This was, by far, the best book in this series, to this point. For the first time, I felt like Kinsey was a character I was getting to know. The previous books have successfully made good on her claims of being a closed book (so to speak). Amazing that you can get through fourteen books of a series, narrated by a character, and feel like you've been held at arm's length the entire time. The case was a good one, with all the right twists, turns, amusing characters, and red herrings. I'm really glad that I kept with this series instead of walking away from it after several dull and uninspired "letters" in a row.
The Dark Tower (Stephen King) - Just getting started. This picks up exactly where the previous one left off, to the moment. It will probably take me til April to finish this beast, since it's way too gigantic to be toting back and forth to work.

WHAT WE ATE|
Apparently, the chilly weather we had this week put us into hibernation-prep mode for our menu. We started off the week with T's super comfort food, chicken and dumplings. The next night, we had a corned beef brisket from the slow cooker with boiled potatoes and French-cut green beans. It was my mother's lasagna out of the freezer after that. T's stuffed cabbage on Wednesday. We finally "lightened" things up a little on Thursday and Friday, with fish sandwiches and burgers.

CANDLE SCENTS|
White Christmas (YC) - We've had an especially chilly week, by Florida standards, but we're loving it. Something I learned about this particular scent: we sleep with our slider open in the bedroom all not-summer, and the chillier, the better (no heat on at our house!). When I come into the bedroom at night, the combination of the fresh, brisk air, combined with this scent, is intoxicating!
Dream by the Fire (YC) - I don't smell anything smoky in this scent, but more of this warm, masculine combination of cedar and musk. I actually kind of love it.
Christmas Cupcake (YC) - The warmth of vanilla mixed with the sweetness of sugar frosting. Yum!
Frolic and Play (YC) - I love this one in the hall bathroom. It's fresh and a bit minty...but the mint in this one is spearmint, which is such a fun change from the peppermint that's so commonly used. I also love the way it mixes with the fresh air and White Christmas scent from the bedroom. It makes the hall between the two rooms smell delicious.

WHAT THIS WEEK LOOKED LIKE|
Now, here's a forecast I can get behind! (Saturday turned out to be a high of 52 and a low of 36!)


We have a new grill. We actually wore our last one out. All hail being able to grill all year round!


Christmas came down, but winter stayed up. I love these trees.


You can mock my plaid fleece pants if you want, but I was nice and cozy, even with the heat kept off!


This is how it is, when you work in a large, uninsulated, metal building.


Spaceship Earth. I never tried the "work" option before. I could not. stop. laughing. (Also, still a dork.)


Technically beautiful photo, this is not. But the bowl of soup I ordered for dinner at California Grill was just way too pretty not to capture, even if I wasn't schlepping my big camera around with me. The menu says: Pumpkin Bisque Mocha Latte - Roasted Pumpkin, White Chocolate, Espresso, Almond Biscotti, Spiced Chantilly. I've no clue what "spiced chantilly" is, but this was a surprisingly tasty and comforting bowl of goodness.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

This Week on My TV: January 23, 2016

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!



**(Last Man Standing, 5x13 Mike and the Mechanics) Mike [to Vanessa]: The weirdest thing just happened. A bird flew in and took your donut. All these crumbs you see are a result of the struggle. -- Eve [about going to Outdoor Man with Mike instead of moping at home all Winter Break]: I'll go, but I'm not going to do anything or talk to anybody. Mike: That's my job. You have to work up to that. -- Jay Leno = Joe Leonard. I am so easily amused. Also, is Leno bored or does he just like acting with Tim Allen?

**(The Good Wife, 7x11 The Rush) Does Matthew Lillard *ever* play a normal character? -- Rowby Canton: The law just gives people so many ways to be mean. -- I don't even know *what* to think about Lucca getting all bedroom-y with the client. What?? -- I really appreciate Marissa's character. She comes across as so real. I'm a bit disappointed that Alicia treated her so poorly when Marissa approached her about a job. -- David Lee [about another client leaving Alicia's firm]: She wasn't thrilled with having a law firm that works out of an apartment building. Client: Ugh, my God, there's this horrible woman there. David Lee: Yes, Alicia can be quite trying. ... Honest to God. David Lee is such a nasty person. And in this snake-y but childish way. -- I can't believe Alicia fired Grace! I actually thought Grace has been handling herself fantastically. -- So, Eli is back as Peter's right hand man. That has to be humbling. Although I'm not sure for whom.-- I about dropped when Cary made the firm's offer to Alicia and Lucca to come back. I wonder how *that* plays out, with Alicia having no interest and Lucca showing lots.

**(The Blacklist, 3x11 Mr. Gregory Devry) Mr Kaplan's seriousness and efficiency just crack me up. I don't think I've ever seen her so unprepared as she was during that clean-up ambush. Not even when that makeshift hospital Red was in got stormed and none of them knew if they'd get out alive. -- After that horrible ambush, I couldn't help thinking "Now they're going to need a cleaning crew for the cleaning crew." -- I'm pretty sure Ressler's face almost cracked that one time he smiled. -- I have no idea how I feel about Tom's proposal to Liz. -- Two things: How the heck did Ressler catch that truck on foot??? And it's not a complete episode until Ressler takes a beating of some sort. -- I have the overwhelming urge to smack both Ressler and Samar. They're acting like overly dramatic children. -- Red: Comforting to see that everyone's appetites for food, lies, and larceny have not diminished over the years. -- ::snort:: ... Red: Meet the fake Red. Faux Red. Fred. -- Red's "to make sure you're safe" clearly translates to: make sure you're keeping quiet. -- I bet Red is behind that apartment situation "working itself out" for Liz. -- The baby??? Lizzie is pregnant??? Judging by the displeased conversation Red had with Tom about the proposal, I'm going to guess he's going to be far from thrilled about *this* little development. -- I'm not even going to touch the "daddy's permission" remark Tom made to Red. I still think that's smoke and mirrors for the writers to mess with us. Not buying it.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ten Truths: January 21, 2016

ONE| Circular conversations are the bane of my existence. Nothing makes me want to bang my head on the nearest wall more than when I ask a specific question and the responder tells me everything I already know and fourteen other irrelevant facts/opinions/nonsense...but doesn't actually answer the question. So I ask again, thinking perhaps they misunderstood me, but...alas, they did not. For the record: I won't ever ask a third time. We're not *both* fools.

TWO| We make good use of our slow cooker year round. Every single time I set it to run, I wonder if we will experience a power outage while we're away at work. This has never actually happened (of which I am aware, anyway), and yet, every single time.

THREE| For some people, the best part of the pizza is the additional toppings. For others, the cheese. Or even the crust. Me? It's the sauce. I've never met any other person who shares this preference.

FOUR| I went to Dunkin today to pick up a couple of gift cards for some happy mail I have planned. I didn't get myself a donut. This has *never* happened before and I don't know how I feel about it.

FIVE| We have an agreement at our house that whichever one of us cooks, the other one does cleanup. That way no one is stuck in the kitchen all evening. The other night, T cooked. And then without saying anything, he did cleanup. I don't usually do the cleanup until right before I go to bed, and I didn't go out into the kitchen for anything all evening, so it was a very pleasant surprise to find the work already done. A lot of people complain about their spouses, but you won't hear that from me. It may have taken me a decade longer than pretty much everyone else to get married, but I'm reminded all the time why the wait was worth it.

SIX| I never ever talk smack about my teams before a game, because I'm too worried I'll end up having to eat my own words.

SEVEN| I have a small sweet treat after dinner almost every evening. I will not apologize for this, nor will I give it up. I figure I have maybe five sodas a year (and always medicinally -- Pepsi for a headache that won't quit or ginger ale to settle my stomach) and maybe a dozen adult beverages a year? I indulge my sweet tooth in moderation (almost always) and that's just the way that it is.

EIGHT| I make a point of grouping my groceries on the belt at the register the way I would like them bagged -- refrigerated and frozen goods, dry goods, cleaning products, heavier stuff in front of the lighter or more delicate items, so the heavier items go on the bottom of the bag -- and it never fails that the bagger just grabs random items, jamming as much stuff as they can into one of my reusable bags, glass jars banging together,  to the point that you can't even carry the thing, and then one lone straggler into a second bag, and handing the three unused bags back to me. I stand there, fuming quietly, wishing they would just let me bag my own groceries, since I just have to rearrange the whole thing when I get out to the car.

NINE| When asked where I'd like to go, 95% of the time, I say I don't care, and that's true; I really have no preference. 4% of the time, I have some sort of opinion, whether it's a craving or someplace I explicitly *don't* want to go. And 1% of the time, I have an opinion, but I hate disappointing anyone, and I don't voice it, because I'm too worried that it will be someplace the other person won't enjoy. I'll never actually admit when it's that 1%.

TEN| I very nearly deleted number nine.

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