Thursday, June 30, 2011

Have you ever?

G says it's my turn to bold the things I've done. I do what I'm told. Also, my brain doesn't want to turn jumbled thought into coherent sentences. I'll make it up to you by tossing in some of my own commentary (that's the part in red).

1. Started your own blog - Fairly obvious, no?

2. Slept under the stars - I am so NOT an outdoorsy sort of girl. I like my bed. And my creature comforts. And a lack of bugs.

3. Played in a band - I was in band from fourth grade til I graduated high school. Does that count?

4. Visited Hawaii - I would *love* to. It's on my Bucket List.

5. Watched a meteor shower - I have but the visibility wasn't the best. I'd love to see one on a clear night in an open area.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity - I try not to do anything "more than I can afford." Makes me anxious.

7. Been to Disney World - The question isn't have I been to Disney World. It's how many times? (I've lost count.)

8. Climbed a mountain - I'm not really compelled to even consider this.

9. Held a praying mantis - I have observed a praying mantis. I was not so much inclined to touch him, though. We regarded each other with curiosity from a respectable distance.

10. Sang a solo - Not. A. Chance.

11. Bungee jumped - Even less of a chance than me singing a solo.

12. Visited Paris - There are so many other places I would rather see.

13. Watched a lightning storm - Many many times. They are practically a daily occurrence here in the Summer. And when they take out your electricity, there aren't many other options. Especially at night.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - I don't think I have...

15. Adopted a child - I have not. I think it's an amazing thing to do though.

16. Had food poisoning - Indeed. I probably don't need to elaborate.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - I've seen it from a distance, years ago. I don't think they let you climb to the top anymore, though.

18. Grown your own vegetables - More like I helped my Gramp grow vegetables, back in the day. I'd like to attempt it on my own.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France - Nope. Sometimes I think true appreciation of that type of art is lost on me.

20. Slept on an overnight train - The only trains I have ever been on are the ones found in Disney parks. Or the subway type found in big cities.

21. Had a pillow fight - One may or may not have taken place on the eve of Alison's wedding. I'll never tell.

22. Hitch hiked - There is NO way.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - I have, on rare occasion. I try not to very often, because I feel like it tempts fate & I really don't like to not feel well.

24. Built a snow fort - It left a lot to be desired (some are mighty impressive!) but I think all kids from New England build snow forts & snowmen at some point.

25. Held a lamb - At Camp Koinonia in the fifth or sixth grade! His name was Myogi. I don't recall if he was all that thrilled about it.

26. Gone skinny dipping - I am not that girl.

27. Run a Marathon - I'm not this girl either.

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice - The only times I've been out of the country, I went to Canada.

29. Seen a total eclipse - I can't bold this one because while I have seen eclipses, I don't know if they were *total* eclipses.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset - Both. Many times. One of my very favorite things.

31. Hit a home run - I have watched many of them. I have a better shot at buying a winning lottery ticket than hitting one myself. I am probably the least athletic human being alive.

32. Been on a cruise - I go back & forth on this one. Wanting to, I mean. I would be a wreck if we hit rough waters (my stomach does not agree with that kind of choppy activity--plus, have you not seen the video coverage on the news or YouTube?? terrifying!) & every time I think I might consider it one day, some cruise ship breaks down out at sea, leaving the passengers with no running water or electricity for several days while awaiting rescue, or there is some massive gastrointestinal plague that hits the entire ship... I am so ambivalent.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
- From the Canadian side. (See Number 28.)

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors - Only the ancestors I actually knew. Which I am thinking is probably not what this means.

35. Seen an Amish community - Not in person.

36. Taught yourself a new language - Taught myself?? No.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - Financial satisfaction is a state of mind, I think. I can live comfortably within the means I have. For me, that equates to being "truly satisfied." The rest is bonus.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person - Not unless it can be found in the top two-thirds of North America. ;-)

39. Gone rock climbing - No thanks.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David - Now *this* I could appreciate.

41. Sung karaoke - The only places I sing are a) alone in my car, b) in church and c) when I'm being goofy at home (lucky Troy).

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt - No but I wouldn't mind at some point, if the opportunity arose.

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant - Not a meal. I did pay for the two people behind me in a Dunkin Donuts a few times though.

44. Visited Africa - This is just so totally NOT my scene. Unless you mean at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight - Walked on a beach. Walked by moonlight. But never on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance - I am thankful there has never been a reason to be.

47. Had your portrait painted - Chalked. Drawn with marker. Not actually *painted* though.

48. Gone deep sea fishing - Nah. Not interested.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris - I refer you back to Number 12.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - I am more of a walk-on-the-beach girl.

52. Kissed in the rain - Not like in the movies or anything.

53. Played in the mud - Ew. Why would I want to do that?

54. Gone to a drive-in theater - Can you believe I've *never* been to one??

55. Been in a movie - Uh, no.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China - Only in the movie in the China pavilion at Epcot.

57. Started a business - I wouldn't even know where to begin!

58. Taken a martial arts class - Too much physical contact for me. Also? I am a baby about pain.

59. Visited Russia - I really think I am more of a "visit through the photos of others" type girl. I feel like I should *want* to say "ohmigosh, I WISH!!" but I really just... ::shrug::

60. Served at a soup kitchen - I have donated goods many times.

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - I *purchase* Girl Scout Cookies. Yum.

62. Gone whale watching - Once. We never saw any. I've never had the desire to go again.

63. Got flowers for no reason - Yes, on rare enough occasion that it makes receiving them truly special.

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma - Only to my doctors when they demand it. ;-)

65. Gone sky diving - This is on par with Number 11.

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp -

67. Bounced a check - Completely on my own, not since I was a much younger girl. Lesson was learned. In a joint account over which I had, at most, fifty percent control? I'd rather not go into detail. We will say with certainty, barring some extreme circumstances, I do not ever expect that to happen again.

68. Flown in a helicopter - Plenty of (large) planes. No helicopters.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - Yes. I have a Cabbage Patch Kid tucked safely away in a box.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial - I was too young to appreciate it. I want to go back. Very badly.

71. Eaten Caviar - Not a fan. A bit too salty for my palette & the texture was...weird.

72. Pieced a quilt - I would love to learn!

73. Stood in Times Square - More than once. I guess I wasn't all that impressed?

74. Toured the Everglades - There are bugs & gators & enormous snakes in there! ::shudder::

75. Been fired from a job - Yes. By a crazy boss. Even the guy who followed up on my unemployment claim thought so.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London - No. But I've seen the changing of the guard at Arlington. Another thing I would like to witness again, this time through the eyes of an adult.

77. Broken a bone - I don't believe so. I think they were all just bad strains or sprains.

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle - Motorcycles frighten me.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person - Only from an airplane. It was covered in snow & so unbelievably beautiful. Maybe one day from the ground.

80. Published a book - So many seem to have this dream. I will leave the publishing to my brother and sister-in-law.

81. Visited the Vatican - Boy, this thing keeps insisting I may have left North America at some point.

82. Bought a brand new car - Bought once. Leased once. The current one is a purchased pre-owned.

83. Walked in Jerusalem - I honestly think I would be too worried about my safety to fully take it all in.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper - Taken with my Gramp when I was maybe 7 or 8, helping him at the farmers market.

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve - I don't even want a stranger to get too far into my personal space. Interpret that as you will.

86. Visited the White House - We only saw it from the outside.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - I am a big fan of eating meat. I am not a big fan of actually seeing where it came from or how it arrived on my plate.

88. Had chickenpox - I was in the eighth grade. I had a terrible case. I have the scars to prove it. Incidentally, my brother gave it to me. I think he had a half dozen pox over a long weekend. I missed two weeks of school. Brat.

89. Saved someone’s life - Not that I am aware of.

90. Sat on a jury - I have. It was an intriguing, humbling experience I think everyone should have.

91. Met someone famous - I talked to an honest-to-God primetime television actor on the phone once, and not only was I unimpressed, I totally thought he was making it up. (He wasn't.)

92. Joined a book club - I don't read well under pressure. The second I "have" to read something, I lose interest.

93. Got a tattoo - I'll pass. (Remember what I said about pain & being a baby?)

94. Had a baby - Perhaps one day...

95. Seen the Alamo in person - No! But I would love to!

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake - To give you an idea: I just curled my lip at the thought of it.

97. Been involved in a law suit - Thankfully, no.

98. Owned a cell phone - I've owned several.

99. Been stung by a bee - Not just once, but twice! On the same foot! I was standing at the edge of the garden, talking to Gramp. It was Summer. I was barefoot. There was clover all over the place on my grandparents' property. Honey bees *love* clover. I stepped out of the dirt & into the grass...and onto a bee, who promptly stung me. (I can't blame him.) I jumped off him. I landed on another. (He wasn't any more pleased than the first one.) I also was bitten on the elbow once by a wasp. I didn't even do anything to him. I was eating my dinner at the dining room table & minding my own business. He crawled right up & stung me. Meanie.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: June 27, 2011

Monday: Cheeseburgers & Zesty Potato Salad.
Tuesday: Ravioli with sausage, garlic bread & a salad.
Wednesday: Something with fish (I'm still deciding), some bay scallops and a veggie to be determined.
Thursday: Brats on the grill--probably with chips & a pickle. Because sometimes, that's how we roll.
Friday: Stuffed chicken breasts from the freezer and a side dish.
Saturday: BBQ chicken in the CrockPot and some sort of side dish. (Wow. We were lazy in the planning efforts this week.)
Sunday: Leftovers? Grilled ham & cheese sandwiches?

Notes from last week's menu: We stuck pretty close to the plan until the weekend. "Out to dinner" became "subs from the Publix deli" which are always yummy. And there didn't seem to be much in the way of leftovers, so Sunday we made a quick "Chicken Voila" meal from the freezer. The Cheesy Potatoes recipe needs just a minor adjustment or two and then it can be shared, but it will definitely be a keeper!

The logo at the top will link you to more menu plans!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Message received.

I keep thinking about something that was said in church: how what comes out of your mouth is a direct reflection of the condition of your heart. If the words you speak are hateful, angry, bitter, designed to hurt, then it's time to look inward & open your eyes to the fact that you need to do some work on a very diseased & damaged heart. A heart that is whole & happy, at peace, is the only way words of compassion, gentleness, kindness & love can be spoken.

Like anyone of us, I am human. I fail. I have days when the words I speak are not...the ones I should be speaking. They are meant to tear down, to "put someone in their place," or simply to spew out the nastiness that builds up from my inescapable human nature. They give the illusion, at the time, of making me feel better, but if I am honest with myself, eventually, I feel badly for them. I don't like that version of myself. I want the people I love to hear words that build them up, that make them feel loved & appreciated. I don't want people I have casual contact with to walk away, shaking their heads, wondering what made me so cruel or jaded, when I have the opportunity to be pleasant or polite, or at the very least say nothing at all when the words that have built up are nothing of the "nice" variety.

If the condition of my heart will be obvious through the words I say, no matter how I try to sugarcoat it or deceive myself otherwise, then I need to be conscious of the shadows that lurk, waiting for just the smallest chance to creep in & begin cluttering that space with all things dark & vengeful. Human nature is ugly. When I am reminded of that, forced to see myself in the mirror, I know that I can be quick to justify that ugliness or to pretend it was anything other than what it was. But when I acknowledge how full my life is, how richly I have been blessed, I am shamed when my words reflect a heart that is anything but filled with joy & gratitude. There are many reasons I can point to when my heart becomes hard & dark, but ultimately, it is up to me to choose the tools I have been afforded that restore my heart to peace. I can always do better.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: June 20, 2011

Monday: Pork loin in the CrockPot and Asparagus Parmesan Au Gratin.
Tuesday: Grilled chicken sandwich.
Wednesday: Meatloaf Patties & (new recipe!) Cheesy Potatoes.
Thursday: BLTs.
Friday: Linguine with Clam Sauce, salad & garlic bread.
Saturday: Out to dinner?
Sunday: Leftovers?

Notes from last week's menu: The Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas were really yummy & relatively easy, once you finished with the shredding of the squash. I do believe that the Sausage, Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells have earned a spot in the rotation, alongside their cousin, my original Stuffed Shells recipe; the flavors were a nice change of pace & I ended up using up some fresh spinach I had on hand. I liked the Tuscan Pesto Chicken Simmer, although I prefer my tomatoes slightly more cooked than the recipe called for, so I will adjust for that going forward. The Crab Cake Mac N Cheese was good, but that recipe needs a little tweaking before it gets shared. Also? It made a *lot*. Yikes.

The logo at the top will link you to more menu plans!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: June 13, 2011

Monday: Baked potato.
Tuesday: (new recipe!) Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas.
Wednesday: (new recipe!) Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells.
Thursday: (new recipe!) Tuscan Pesto Chicken Simmer and some steamed zucchini.
Friday: Hot dogs, chips & a pickle.
Saturday: Out to dinner.
Sunday: (new recipe!) Crab Cake Mac & Cheese.

Notes from last week's menu: Could you tell I was on my own last week & it was hotter that Hades? The Sweet Corn Quesadillas were very tasty--light & Summer-y, good flavor & would totally stand up to adding a little shredded chicken, if you wanted a little more "weight" to the dish. I ended up swapping Saturday & Sunday, because I had a fair amount of leftovers hanging around, so I made the Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta Sunday; definitely a keeper, though the recipe didn't call for nearly enough spinach, so I adjusted the amount for the future.

The logo at the top will link you to more menu plans!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Want Wednesday: June 8, 2011

**There is an Etsy shope called re-studio that makes some very cool word art. I Want the one of Fenway Park. (Of course!)

**I don't have any actual use for it but this Daisy Chip and Dip Set is cute & I Want it.

**The mat currently outside the front door is very "Autumn-y" & I do really like it, but because I have this need to create the illusion of four seasons for myself, I Want this mat for Spring. (Yes, I know. We're two weeks away from Summer now. That doesn't mean it couldn't be used for *next* Spring!)

**I'm not sure I want to give up any valuable kitchen drawer real estate for it, but I Want to play with this cupcake plunger because it looks like fun.

**I have no space for this whatsoever, but I Want a tv console with features like this one. I love the glass front cabinets to keep things like the DVR & DVD player as minimally dusty as possible and four wonderful deep drawers for housing the ever-growing collection of favorite movies & television shows that currently live in precarious & somewhat difficult to access stacks on the open shelves of the tv console that fits in my living room right now.

**I Want an oven with an interior light & a window in the door.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: June 7, 2011

Top Ten Best Things About Living in Florida

1. Disney World in my back yard.
2. The weather from November through March.
3. Orange blossoms.
4. Never having to shovel my car out of a snow bank.
5. Being able to attend the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot almost every weekend the whole time the festival runs.
6. The chance you might see dolphins when you're crossing a bridge over the Bay.
7. So many beautiful bright tropical flowers everywhere.
8. Amazing sunsets.
9. Biergarten (at Epcot) is a (relatively) spur-of-the moment dining option.
10. The more laid back pace of life.

(and a bonus because I haven't done one of these posts in so long)

Top Ten Worst Things About Living in Florida

1. The way tourists drive.
2. Love bugs, fire ants & cockroaches bigger than my thumb. ::shudder::
3. The weather from April through October.
4. The local sports media.
5. The insurance options.
6. No real New-England-style Autumn.
7. Very little chance of a white Christmas.
8. No really good local-grown farmers markets.
9. I miss the style of home architecture from up north that just doesn't exist here.
10. So many of my favorite people live far away.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: June 6, 2011

Monday: Grilled cheese & tomato sandwich.
Tuesday: Pizza.
Wednesday: Pasta salad.
Thursday: Something at WDW.
Friday: (new recipe!) Sweet Corn Quesadillas.
Saturday: (new recipe!) Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta.
Sunday: Leftovers.

Notes from last week's menu: The Cheesy Bacon Chicken casserole was good (I have to record the recipe still; can't link to it) but more of an "occasional" meal than one that will become a staple, I think. Thursdays steaks ended up having some grape tomatoes added to the plate; there were just a few left in the container & rather than allow them to go to waste, we skewered them & stuck them right on the grill. They were super sweet& so tasty! Saturday's dinner wasn't leftovers after all; I ate at the baby shower I attended. And by Sunday's dinner, I was over all the leftovers, so I made a Chilled Tomato Basil Soup. It was perfect because it's been so hot here & it was nice & refreshing. However, I didn't like it as much icy cold, straight from the refrigerator, so I popped it in the microwave for about 25 seconds, which was just enough to take the chill off but it was still definitely cooler than room temperature. The flavors were really nice & I could taste them so much better when the soup wasn't really cold.

The logo at the top will link you to more menu plans!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Snapshot From Along the Broken Road: May 2011

A photo of me:
I cannot remember the last time there was a new photo of me. Sad.

1) Candle scents this month:
Blueberry Scone. Buttercream. Fluffy Towels. Garden Hideaway. Spring Days. Tulips. Lilac Blossoms. Strawberry Buttercream. Midnight Jasmine. Garden Sweetpea. Fresh Mint. Lavender Vanilla. Vanilla Cupcake. Clean Cotton. Blue Hydrangea. Cottage Breeze.

2) What I am reading this month:
I am about to finish Part One of Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand).

3) Top three songs I was drawn to:
"Baseball Ballet," by Terry Cashman. "Letter to Me," by Brad Paisley. "All I Ask for Anymore," by Trace Adkins.

4) Movies I saw:
No movies. Just catching up on the DVR & watching baseball.

5) Favorite tv moments of the month:
The smoking monkey on The Big Bang Theory, "The Agreement Dissection." The Sox mobbing Carl Crawford following his first walk-off win as a Red Sock. The season finale of Blue Bloods, especially the way Tom Selleck played his role of Frank Reagan--both as police commissioner *and* father. The season finale of Fringe...OMG. *No one* does a season finale like this show.

6) Something yummy I made:
Tortellini Florentine Soup.

7) Restaurants where I ate:
Macaroni Grill. Biergarten (at Epcot).

8) Five things I am loving this month:
Pinterest. Word With Friends. Archer's Farm Monster Trail Mix. Apricot Vanilla lotion from Bath & Body Works (which was part of their limited edition Signature Vanilla line from this Spring that is no longer being produced; I picked some up for a change of pace over the Summer & now I wish I'd picked up more because this stuff smells so good, I am tempted to lick my own arm as I type). Adrian Gonzalez at first base for Boston.

9) A goal I had for this month:
To still manage to save a little money even though there were some unbudgeted medical expenses that arrived in the mail.

10) This month I looked forward to:
The long Memorial Day weekend.

11) Something I want to remember about this month:
Sitting on the couch, watching Sunday Night Baseball, when the fans in Philadelphia began chanting "USA! USA!" as news of bin Laden's death spread.

12) A photo I took this month:


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