Friday, July 25, 2014

Broken Road Confessionals: July 25, 2014

**I got engaged and found myself planning a wedding at a weird stage in my life: I had no peers. Everyone I am friends with was either a) already married, b) in the middle of a divorce, or c) struggling with feeling perpetually single. Which boils down to a) more interested in the conceiving, bearing, and/or raising of offspring, b) decidedly disinterested in anything mushy, romantic, lovey, or sparkly, *especially* weddings, or c) wondering if they really *were* going to find themselves alone forever. I like to think I'm a compassionate person. Group A was consumed with the *next* "stage of life" and all that wedding stuff was behind them and they just really would rather have a baby, or sleep, because the baby has kept them awake for three straight days -- understandably so. Group B was navigating uncomfortable and painful seas, dark and stormy, and just about the worst thing to see when your heart is damaged and hurting is some girl, over-the-top blissful and gazing frivolously at the shiny new ring on her hand, twisting it this way and that, making it glitter. And Group C I had an particularly soft spot for in my heart, because I knew those feelings all too well, and I was ever vigilant of not rubbing salt in the wounds. All that to say that having a great friend who is newly engaged herself has allowed me to release the pause button, so to speak, and squeal with all the delight of the newly engaged. And now I am caught in the strange limbo of having the conversations of the newly engaged while concluding the latter part of what could be considered newlywed-dom. I don't think I ever fit into a category properly -- I do things half out of order and at all the "less than typical" times -- but I am having a ton of fun acting girly and squealing, so don't mind me.

**There's a not-so-fine line between what I can and can't say to the non-customer, non-vendor type people who call into my place of employment. Some of it falls under what is and is not professional. The rest of it is just plian being polite. So I say what is appropriate and then, after I hang up, I say what I'm really thinking. It's cathartic. Or possibly it "releases the steam" so that I don't lose my filter and say these things to the actual caller. Whichever. Point being, I can often be found snarkily (snarkilly? snarkally? I don't know) speaking in the general direction of the hung-up phone. I probably *look* crazy, but I believe this behavior is actually protecting my sanity.

**Observation: Social media certainly appears to provide a platform for some seemingly grown adults (wait...redundancy? oh well...) to act like emo tweenagers. It's not that I don't appreciate that life isn't perfect, it doesn't look like Pinterest, it isn't all puppies and puffy white clouds. But, more and more, I find I have decreasing tolerance for those who wallow and collect pity -- both from self and external sources -- and are "woe is me" day in and day out. What I appreciate are those who embrace their reality, whether it's an amazing family vacation or a messy house and a screaming baby, with a sense of gratitude and perspective. Nothing, this side of heaven, will be exactly as we want, when we want it, on the terms we wish. We can either look at life, even through the lens of reality, and see all that is good or all that is lacking. But adults acting like angsty adolescents? Time to get over yourselves. Life's not perfect. Time to do the work with what you have.

**My brother gets into some seriously deep philosophical and theological discussions on his Facebook page. Now, I don't think I'm by any means unintelligent, but I'm usually lost about three sentences in. I always wander away feeling a combination of dazed and dense.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just Fine

I like to think that when I deal with a challenge in life, if nothing else, the silver lining is the opportunity for a lesson learned, something to make me better going forward. Along that same line of thought, I read, once, somewhere, something to the effect of "the Universe keeps giving you the same lesson until you learn it."

In the wake of a friendship cast aside, against my wishes, but out of my control, I worked my way through the bewilderment, the hurt, the...I hesitate to say anger, because I wasn't, not really, but I was firm and direct in defense of my raw feelings. And then I reached the part where, instead of over-thinking, I was productively thinking, sort of in that way one inspects the scab on a healing injury. I was sure there was a lesson in here, waiting to be discovered, but it proved a tough nut to find, much less crack.

I won't say I gave up and stopped thinking about it completely, but I moved it to the back burner to simmer.

Some time had passed, and as I was sifting through my draft folder one day, I noticed I had recorded several quotes that had tugged at my subconscious, though I didn't see the way they fit together until that moment. It was as if a fog lifted on the lesson at hand...and not the one I was expecting.

Five years ago I would have told her we were “just fine.”
But I’ve learned since then that “just fine” can sometimes be a self-inflicted wound.
“Just fine” is the end of the conversation and a missed opportunity.
“Just fine” leaves me boxed in with all my doubt and insecurity.
“Just fine” is deeply lonely. (Lisa Jo Baker)
I didn't really get the impact of his words, but I said "I appreciate them, and I know they want to help. I think that's very fine and everything but--"
"But nothing! You're cheating them out of an opportunity to express their love to you." (excerpt from 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey)
But new life is only possible when the old life dies. ... Mourning precedes morning; death comes before the dream. We long for the magic, the freedom, the glory and the joy. But are we willing to embrace the death that must come first? (Chatting at the Sky)

At first glance, their relation is not obvious. At least, it wasn't to me. For the longest time, if you'd asked me -- assuming I would have told you, but we'll get to that -- I would have told you that my hurt was born of someone fearful I would judge them, so instead they, pre-emptively, assumed my judgment and cut me off, effectively judging me instead. And, in part, that's true. I was never even given the opportunity to act for myself, and if you've ever been in that position, you'll know it stings. But the reality is, what hurt me most was being shut out, disregarded, outright ignored, when my concern was genuine and expressed.

The ego is quick to say "I never..."

But as I read those quotes again, as collective and not individuals, I felt a whisper. It was, perhaps, not happenstance that they were presented to me, that they stirred something inside my heart, but pieces of the lesson I was searching for and failing to recognize.

Guilty as charged.

No, not for judging, because I hadn't and I wouldn't have. However, circling back, I mentioned earlier "assuming I would have told you." I keep my cards close to my vest. When I'm troubled, I internalize. I'm not an open book to most (the exception is singular, if I'm being honest). I'm not much of a whiner or a complainer. My soft heart has a tough outer shell, and you won't catch me spilling out all my innermost thoughts across social media. If you ask me how I am, I'm quick to smile and say I'm fine, which is the socially expected answer with casual acquaintances, certainly, but for those who have invested in me? Who care about me?

It isn't that I don't feel. It isn't that I'm never "not fine." But I've gotten so efficient at self-mending that I never considered I was denying those closest to me the opportunity to love me. What a startling realization. It was a perspective I'd never once considered. Allowing those who care about us to care *for* us is the cement that fortifies the foundation of the relationship. We spackle the cracks with concern and provide a layer of protection and strength that lasts far beyond that moment of caring.

As they say: well, I'll be a monkey's uncle.

Sometimes, this life is anything but fine. I was not "fine" earlier this year. I was sad and I was hurt and I was confused. No matter how many times I said I was fine, there was a spot in my heart that was heavy. But I breezily pronounced myself fine when asked, marching on, divulging almost nothing. Silly me, foolish girl, when those who know me best paused in their busy lives to ask me, not politely, but with genuine caring: How are you? Are you ok?

The vast majority of the time I truly am fine. I don't dwell. I don't wallow, either online or in the flesh, and that is a part of who I am that I like, that I have no desire to change. But when I'm *not* fine? When this imperfect world brings heartache or disappointment or heaviness? The instinctual reaction I have now needs to be shed, cast aside, be "the old life that dies" to make room for the new. I know the joy I feel when I care for those I love, when I listen, when I encourage, when I provide support or empathy or compassion. I'll not deprive those same people of an honest answer when they ask how I am, because I've seen firsthand, now, how that unravels the bonds we have. I look at those for whom I care and I don't ever want to cause them that kind of unnecessary sadness, when one of life's greatest joys is to lighten the loads of those we love. I want them to know that when I say I'm fine that they can rest easy, knowing that if I were not, when it comes to the things that really matter, I'd give them the chance to lift me back up. The way I jump when I'm given that chance.

And that? Is just fine, indeed.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

This Week on My TV: July 19, 2014

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



**(The Bridge, S2E1 "Yankee"That was quite a lot of blood in that opening scene. Possibly more than Dexter levels of blood. There is also something very dark and sinister about Flagman. -- As if Sonya isn't awkward enough on her own, her exchanges with her sister's murderer's brother were awkward to the extreme. And that was before she booty called him. -- I don't know who the "accountant" chick is that is associated with the bathroom full of money, but based on her meeting with the banker, I'm guessing you do not mess with her. She is *way* scarier than her thug. -- What a crazy, all over the place episode. I can't figure out if the first scene was the start of something yet to be explained, or if it is the final scene being answered by the rest through flashbacks.

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E21 "Snow Drifts"Nice nod to Disney in Emma's flashback with the stuffed Mickey. -- Emma [to David and Mary Margaret about the naming ceremony of the new prince]: You're not going to hold him out in front of the clock tower like Lion King, are you? -- I like this softer side of Regina. I'm worried we won't get it for long. -- I have to admit, I'm pretty mad at Rumple's betrayal of Belle's trust. -- Hook [to Emma, who is complaining about the corset she has to wear to disguise herself while they are in Fairy Tale]: Your discomfort is a cross I am willing to bear. -- That is a lot of pressure on Emma and Hook to not change the past after they get sucked into Zelena's time travel portal back to the time when her parents were supposed to meet. -- Haaaaaa! Hook is jealous of himself because Emma is going to flirt with his past self.

**(Motive, S2E7 "Pitfall") I was convinced the paramedic killed the skydiver to avenge the little boy he couldn't really save after being hit by a car. I totally fell for the "he was in a car accident and that's how they found his lung cancer" red herring. I didn't suspect mercy killing until just before it was revealed, even though they tipped their hand with the widow saying "the insurance policy covers us, no matter what." I did see the paramedic's suicide attempt coming though.

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E22 "There's No Place Like Home"Wow, Hook has it *bad* for Emma. I suspect when he called her "his princess" that he wasn't just playing the part from the ball. -- I love the animosity and disdain Snow has for Charming, in the past. Such a far (and amusing) cry from their True Love state. -- The irony of the conversation between Charming and Hook about Hook being good enough for Emma made me laugh right out loud. -- Who is that princess (I assume?) that Emma rescued from prison and execution by Regina?! Are we supposed to recognize her? -- Awww. Nicely done, naming the baby after Neal. -- Emma: You outran a curse? Hook: I'm a helluva captain. -- Oh holy moly. I love Regina and Robin together, but Hook gave up the Jolly Roger for Emma? I swoon a thousand times. -- The woman Emma rescued was Marian?? Oh nooooo. Oh, poor Regina.

**(Reign, S1E22 "Slaughter of Innocence"Oh for heaven's sake. Henry seriously plans to off Francis, his own son, and take Mary as his wife? Creep! -- Maybe I'm getting old, but I want to smack Greer for even hesitating about her engagement to Lord Castelroy, who adores her. Leith is a nice idea, Greer, but Lord Castleroy will give you happiness, despite Leith's guilt trip. We don't guilt those we truly love. -- Who *is* that person Henry keeps "seeing" in his madness? -- Soldier [about the dead men from Henry's botched mock naval battle where he replaced fireworks with gunpowder in the cannons]: There will be twice as many tomorrow when they do it again. Francis: That's impossible. No one would do this again. Soldier: I'm begging your pardon, but you would think no one would do it the first time, wouldn't you? -- Catherine: I miss the girl you were. Mary: Many will. She was easier to kill.  -- I did *not* expect it to be Francis who took out off the helmet after jousting with Henry and mortally wounding him. I didn't think he had it in him. -- *What* is the deal with The Darkness and Pascal?? -- Ohhhh... The vision is Henry's older brother, Francis, the king of France before him, whom he killed to gain control of the throne. And with that, Henry is gone. -- Oh man. Lord Castleroy has a daughter Greer's age?? -- Oof. What a difficult ending. The Plague has returned and Mary has to watch Francis risk it to rush to Lola's side as she struggles to birth their lovechild, while she has yet to conceive. And on his way out, he jabs Mary with "perhaps his only child." Francis thinks he is acting nobly and compassionately, but he is often so cruel to Mary.

**(Mad Men, S7E4 "The Monolith") Roger Sterling: Well, we're getting a computer. It's going to do lots of magical things, like make Harry Crane seem important. -- Pete, calling Peggy "a woman or whatever she is," is pretty low. He thought she was woman enough for him to conceive a child with her, or has he forgotten that? -- Peggy wore an orange, black (navy?), and white outfit that I really liked. -- It must be weird for Don, being in Lane's office and answering to Peggy. I noticed he took Lane's Mets pennant that he found under the air conditioning unit out of the trash and put it up on the wall...tribute to Lane? -- I have to wonder how that typewriter bounced off the window instead of going through it, when Don threw it? -- Llyod, the computer guy: Sorry to bother you. Have a light? Mine crapped out on me. Don: Perils of technology. It's 1969 and you're unable to make fire. -- Don: So why am I even here? I could have gone anywhere. Cooper: Why *are* you here? Don: Because I started this agency! Cooper: Along with a dead man, whose office you now inhabit. ... That was a vicious jab by Cooper. Quite the verbal imagery. -- It sure didn't take Don's humble acquiescence to SCP's terms for his return long to unravel. -- I would not have been cut out for the early 70s with all that commune nonsense. -- I'm not sure whose "pep talk" made me want to cheer more: Freddy Rumsen telling Don to stop throwing his last chance away in the bottom of a bottle of booze, do the work, and climb back to the top, or Roger telling Margaret/Marigold that she doesn't get to run off and play at the expense of her son, no matter how tempting it is.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

This Week on My TV: July 12, 2014

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



**(Dallas, S3E7 "Like a Bad Penny") There are three types of scenes on tv that make me exceedingly uncomfortable. Hangings, people suffering from Alzheimer's, and mental institutions. Sue Ellen looked about as uncomfortable as I felt watching her in that institution. -- John Ross: I'm cute. But I'm not *that* cute. ... Nope, you're not. Now, Christopher, on the other hand... -- I cannot believe that is the same actor playing Drew. Has he been drowning his sorrows in cheesecake while he's been in hiding?! -- The scar between Pamela's eyebrows is so distracting. Every time they do a closeup on her, that's immediately what my eyes focus on. -- I'm not sure how Emma can be both so smart and so stupid. -- I gag a little every time they replay "now go home and kiss your wife." -- Nicolas: They're Mexican businessmen. Hunter McKay: With guns!! Nicolas: They hardly ever use them.

**(Dallas, S3E8 "Where There's Smoke"Now that Pamela has received the "go home and kiss your wife" text, can we be done with it? -- Awww. Christopher shaved. I was loving his facial hair. Except he missed a spot. Ugh, soul patch. -- Harris [to Judith]: Did the little Dalmations get loose? ... ::snort:: -- I'm a big fan of how they've changed John Ross's wardrobe to reflect JR. Less dress-down and more three-piece suits! -- Pamela without makeup looks very vulnerable. It's misleading when she opens her mouth and the harshest of words come out, directed at Sue Ellen. -- Bobby's right. When *will* Ann learn to tell the truth? -- I went from shocked by Pamela's request to join them when she walked in on Emma and John Ross, to falling on the ground laughing at the look on John Ross's face. Somewhere between uncomfortable and suspicious and disbelieving. --What. Just. Happened. South Fork up in flames, with Sue Ellen passed out drunk inside. Nicolas sabotaging Elena's birth control. Pamela unconscious after taking pills. Cliffhanger!

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E20 "Kansas") I'm a big fan of the way they've made Oz look. I even enjoyed the creative license they took with the original story. -- Emma [to David, when he wants Hook to go with her for the confrontation with Zelena]: What is *he* going to do? I have magic. He has ONE HAND. -- Hook: What does the boy think? Emma: He's a kid. He wants chocolate milk in his cereal. -- Emma [to Zelena]: Next time you try to take my power away, try enchanting the lips of a man I actually want to kiss. -- Ahh!! The three non-Zelena witches of Oz represent love, wisdom, and courage!! Nicely woven. -- It's a boy! But no name?! -- Regina with the light magic. BAM. ... Zelena: So now you're a hero? Regina: Today I am. ... The look on Regina's face was marvelous. -- That was such a touching but twisted proposal Rumplestiltskin made to Belle with The Dagger...until he revealed he tricked her by giving "it" back to her as a fake and keeping the real one so he could kill Zelena. So much for the trust you were giving Belle in return for hers, Rumple! -- So...by killing Zelena, somehow she was able to return to her pendant and re-open that time travel portal? How does *that* work?

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Things I'm Looking Forward To: July 11, 2014

“It has been said that we need just three things in life: Something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to love.” (Maya Angelou may or may not have said this. The Internets are conflicting.)

The weekend. Self-explanatory.

Cherries for dessert tonight. We have a "rule" in our house that we can't end on a cherry that isn't delicious.


Seeing how my current book ends. I'm completely sucked in.


A hair appointment tomorrow. Tame back some of this hair and refresh the highlights!


Dinner at Kouzzina on Monday. Enjoy it one last time before it closes forever.


Four day work week again, next week. Taking a paid day off Friday to build a little three-day weekend for myself.

The second "half" of the 2014 baseball season. Curious what these rookies can do!


Vacation. Three weeks, five days. Ready for a rest. Need a break from humidity. Excited to see friends.
EPCOT Food and Wine Fest 2014. I don't know what I would do without the new addition of food booths to Flower and Garden Fest, because September 19 cannot get here soon enough!


The new season of The Blacklist. I cannot remember the last time I anticipated the return of a television show this much!


Florida not-summer. Are we there yet?

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Currently: July 10, 2014

This week at the Broken Road house...

Watching... the Red Sox, despite their epic struggles this season. I just can't quit them. I also have some shows languishing on the DVR. A couple episodes of Dallas from the first half of this season. The finale three episodes of this season's Once Upon a Time. The season finale of Reign. Most of the Mad Men episodes from the final season's first half (I'm watching slowly and savoring). And most of the first season of TURN. I guess that's all more like *not* watching (or "should be" watching). I better get to it soon. The summer shows are in full swing, and before we know it, it will be the start of the new television season again.

Wearing... my Sox Addict t-shirt and some comfy capri pants.

Eating... spaghetti and meatballs. We're down to the last three packages from big batch I made and froze. I'll need to be making more soon. It's really so much easier to do a whole bunch at one time, and have a stash ready to go in the freezer.

Wishing... nature would stop conspiring against my poor basil. Specifically, hungry caterpillars. They must find those tender leaves very tempting. I just planted this batch and a very hungry caterpillar has one of them stripped down to only two remaining leaves. Long story short, I discovered him...and he is no more. (I maybe looked a little psycho in the driveway when I found him. And that's all I have to say about that.)

Feeling... grateful. Overwhelmingly so. This is typical for me. I get so bowled over by how good -- really, really *good* -- my life is. I hope never lose this quality. I don't think one can ever be to aware of their blessings.

Missing... people I care about, people I once thought I knew (I guess I just miss who I thought they were?), people who are long departed from this world. I miss a lot of people, all the time, I guess, in one form or another. Sometimes I miss T when he's just in the next room. When I love, I love fiercely. It's a lot of emotion. It makes me miss people easily.

Craving... cooler weather, a vanilla milkshake, some time at Disney World, snuggling a tiny baby, and San Francisco.

Wondering... if the Youth Movement on the Red Sox will prove out as interesting as it's been the past two games.

Dreaming... of rolling hills, old red barns, even older stone walls, tiger lilies, and winding country roads. They're like comfort food for my eyes. The landscape here is so very different than what I knew, growing up. It's not that it's less beautiful. It just doesn't have the deep-seated familiarity to it.

"Currently" is a weekly link-up, hosted by Ot & Et.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Broken Road Confessionals: July 9, 2014

**I am a firm believer in "to each their own." I love baseball, but loathe basketball, for example. To me, basketball is merely two hours of squeaky sneakers. I'll pass. (Heh.) Likewise, I suppose I could see how baseball could seem like a lot of standing around and spitting and very little action, if you don't understand the game. Whatever. You watch your sport, I'll watch mine. But those little Smart Cars? Aside from the fact that they look freakishly unsafe, I just cannot take you seriously when you're driving around in something that looks like a cartoon mated with a golf cart.

**I read a blog post where the author found not one but two scorpions in her house. She included photographic evidence. I thought spiders and "palmetto bugs" were terror-inducing. Well, I am here to inform you that if I ever discover a scorpion? I quit.

**I hate trying to sleep when I'm too warm (especially my feet -- too warm feet will wake me right up and I will be twelve different kinds of cranky), so when I am on my way to bed, I knock the thermostat back one degree. Of course, it gets cooler as the night wears on, and usually in the wee hours of morning, wearing my summer jammies and sleeping under just a light sheet, I get a little chilly. The other morning, I groped around groggily for the blanket (which gets folded back with the comforter every night), and, as I pulled it up, it caught on something. I lost my grip and managed to punch myself right in the face. I opted to go back to sleep instead of checking, but when I got up, I was a little worried I would have to explain a black eye. (Just a slightly swollen eyelid. Whew.) They should have named me Grace.

**I always cringe a little when I'm waiting in a longer line at the grocery store and I'm right next to the express lane. I actually try to pick lanes that aren't adjacent, but sometimes it can't be avoided and I am at the mercy of the head cashier that chooses which lanes will be open. There's no one in the express lane and, as they do at Publix, the cashiers hang out at the entrance to their lane, waiting for their next customer. Inevitably, despite my every effort to avoid eye contact, they will wave me into their lane with my cart full of far more than ten items. Reluctantly, I back out of my lane and start unloading my shopping spoils...and then someone with a loaf of bread and a six-pack of Pepsi walks up behind me. They look at all my groceries, glaring, and then bore holes into the back of my head, because "look at the self-important woman who thinks she's too good to wait in the regular line and clearly can't count, because that's easily three times the ten item limit." I know the cashier thinks they're being helpful, but I wither under that kind of judgment.

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