Wednesday, January 30, 2013

By the Numbers: Gramp

Year he was born: 1918
Birthdays he celebrated: just a little over 3 weeks shy of 85
Brothers he had: 1
And sisters: 7
Farmers markets he attended: 4 per week
Sons: 1
Daughters: 1
Granddaughters: 3
Grandsons: 3
Pickup trucks he owned during my lifetime: 1
Times he said no when I asked him to take me somewhere: 0
Times he saw the Red Sox win the World Series: 0
Number of acres he gardened: 2 out of the 3 he owned

Years he has been missed: 10...he would have turned 95 today


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Photo-a-Day 2013: Week 4


Monday, January 28, 2013

TV Loves and Hates: January 28, 2013

Disclaimer: I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead if you're even further behind than I am. You read at your own risk!

**Finally, finally, *finally* some forward motion in Ted's story in how he met his wife. (How I Met Your Mother, ep13)

**The conflict in Once Upon a Time: Do I like Regina and Mr Gold? Do I feel sympathetic toward them? Or am I suspicious of their next dark mood?

**The love-hate relationship between Alicia Florrick and Louis Canning. You just never know what is going to transpire there. (The Good Wife)

**One of my favorite tv couples this season has to be Axl Heck and his new girlfriend. He is finally being adorable and less...gross teenage boy. (The Middle)

**I don't generally find Lily all that funny, but her whole "wahmbulance" bit (Modern Family, ep 13) was hilarious.

**I love that Sue is still Sue, but she's really starting to show some confidence in herself as well. (The Middle, ep 13)

**Private Practice did a fabulous job with the Amelia-and-James story. I love the way they've covered basically the same timeframe, give or take, but each episode has focused almost exclusively on one of the main characters, telling their whole story over the course of those weeks.

**Elsbeth episodes of The Good Wife. I love that she is such a quirky character!

**The "Frankenstein" ventures on Once Upon a Time. Frankenstein was not a fairy tale. This all just feels very...forced. Not a fan.

**The Caroline and Andy breakup. (2 Broke Girls)

**Cora's ability to morph into other characters. I often find flashback unsettling to watch, but this is downright mean. I am immediately suspicious of every character now, when Cora isn't actually in sight as herself. That's a frustrating way to watch tv. (Once Upon a Time)

**Cora and Rumplestiltskin sealing the deal with a kiss like old times? WHAT now?! *That* came out of left field. (Once Upon a Time)


Friday, January 25, 2013

From where I stand.

While most of the country shivers under an Arctic blast, we're sweating here in Florida and wondering where our winter went. Because it sure hasn't been here. Not when we are running fifteen to twenty degrees above normal and breaking heat records left and right.

As I see wintry photos appearing across blogs and Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, I am transported back to the New England winters of my first twenty-five years. While others are lamenting the accumulating snow and ice, I see crystalline splendor, glistening loveliness. I recall the unique quality of snowfall, its hush that seems to absorb all sound. There is a soft peace to a snow covered world, the harsh edges rounded with fluffy white.

I see photos of snowflakes falling. Giant lazy flakes drifting gently to the ground. Blizzard-driven snow falling sideways in the slant of street lights, gathering on the grass and sidewalks and streets without discrimination. I don't see shoveling multiple times a day or getting out of a warm bed to start the car at 2am, with chattering teeth, so it doesn't freeze. (I don't see it, but the memory is buried in my subconscious, under the dazzling glitter of nostalgia, as I glare at an extended forecast on mid-80 temperatures and hope I don't have to turn on the air conditioning in *January*.)

I'm sure my complaints are falling on deaf (and frozen) ears. Neither of us can step far enough away from our discomforts to see the good. While you daydream of beaches and sunshine, but don't see the humidity and the potential for wildfires and a powerful hurricane season, I can romanticize the way ice encases each individual pine needle and how snow finds a way to perch in thin lines atop a single blade of tall grass. That's the advantage of nostalgia and distance, I suppose. I know I don't want to live in a snowy climate anymore, but I can watch through the window of my mind and appreciate its startling beauty. And it's just me, set adrift on memory bliss.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Photo-a-Day 2013: Week 3


Monday, January 21, 2013


My plans to finally explore New Fantasyland on Saturday proved largely unrealized due to an enormous crowd of park-goers. 100+ minute waits on all attractions. Barely room to move, let alone seek out details or take the first spin on the new Little Mermaid ride. I got little more than a peek before I'd had enough and beat feet for the Express Monorail back to the Ticket and Transportation Center.

Huge perk to being an Annual Pass Holder: I'll try again another weekend.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Evening Filler

Since I have no interest in discussing anything to do with Ray Lewis or the Patriots (both topics turn my stomach), I will answer some questions posed by a blog pal.

1. What is your favorite brand of frozen pizza?
We don't eat frozen pizza. We either order out or bake it fresh.

2. What is your favorite item at McDonald’s?
The fries. Or maybe the hash browns.

3. Have you ever been to Disney Land or World?
Both. Multiple times. Many many more times to Disney World though, since I don't need to get on a plane to go there.

4. Favorite display in your local zoo.
I have only been to the nearest zoo once and I don't really remember much about it, but at Disney's Animal Kingom (natazu!), my favorite animals to watch are the white-cheeked gibbons.

5. Tastiest beer.
None for me thanks. I'll take a glass of wine or a cocktail or even a hard cider, but beer just doesn't appeal to my palate, no matter how many I try.

6. What is your favorite thing to blog about?
Capturing "snapshots" of my life using various means of expression.

7. Favorite Beatles song?
Don't throw things at me, but the only Beatles song I like is "In My Life."

8. What’s better, original 3 Star Wars movies, or newest 3?
If forced to watch any, the original movies. When I saw the first prequel, I fell asleep. I never saw the others.

9. What was your favorite pet?
I have only had one. Casey, my cocker spaniel in my Former Life. He was pretty awesome, but he stayed there. I honestly don't miss having the demands of a pet. I like animals just fine, but it's not a responsibility I am considering repeating any time in the foreseeable future.

10. Tic Tacs, breath mint or candy?
Kind of a lame excuse for either, in my opinion. If I want a breath mint, I opt for the curiously strong Altoids. If I want candy, it will be chocolate.

11. Tic Tacs, favorite flavor?
It's been more than a decade since I've had a Tic Tac. I don't even know what the flavors are anymore!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Girl on the Other Coast: January 19, 2013

G's choice this time. And she's asking "What's in your purse?" Anything is possible, the way a purse turns into a black hole... Let's see what she found in hers!

Curious what I found in my purse? (Humor me. Pretend you're curious.) Take a virtual voyage to Little Italy and find out!
It's always interesting to see what's in someone's purse. I know I often find myself wondering, "How did that get in there?!"

I just recently switched purses. I was going out of town and didn't want to bring a purse and a separate tote bag so I grabbed this cutie. I love the color and the fact that the handles are padded so it's comfortable to carry. But man is it a black hole! I can't tell you how many times I go searching for something and just simply cannot find it! And? Somehow the items inside are multipling in the crevices...

So here is a look at what I'm carrying around. Some of it normal, some of it odd, some of it WHAT THE?

1. Yes, I have this magazine in my purse. Midterms were this week and I thought I'd have a chance to read it while the kids were testing. Boy was I wrong. And? The next month's issue has already come in. This could be why I have such a stack of magazines piling up.

2. Two of my TAs got me the 5th season of The Big Bang Theory for Christmas. Because they TA for my prep, I thought I'd surprise them by getting all the work done and letting them watch a few episodes as a "Thank you for working so hard this semester" treat. They loved it. So did I.

3. Dude. A couple of weeks ago it was insanely cold here. As in 32* cold. That's crazy for Southern California weather. And then the heater broke in our building. So these were a necessity. For real.

4. I know, right? Who keeps a mini mouse (not to be confused with Minnie Mouse!) in their purse?! Umm...the girl who was in the middle of midterms and wanted to use it with her netbookso she could work on grades and still be able to see the children not cheat on their test. But it's really silly to pull it out of my purse. Makes me giggle.

5. Prior to midterms, we spent a few days reviewing. Talking for nearly 5 hours straight can really wear out my throat. So I carried these with me. Plus they are one of the strongest - and still taste good! - cough drops I've ever had. I'll be honest, I also gave some out to some kids who were sick but still came to school coughing. Nothing is worse than hacking up a lung during a test.

6. Who doesn't carry tissues with them? Anybody? That's crazy talk.

7. Cell phone. I really don't care too much about what phone I have or what is the latest one coming out. But recently I really have been counting down the months until I can get a new one. I'm rarely on my phone during the day due to my job. Yet oddly enough the battery is always near death when I'm on my way home. Why?? Ugh. Mr. Smith has recently upgraded his phone (thanks to me and Christmas!) so I get his charger since he had the same as me. Guess I need to remember to bring that in to school. So my phone can charge. When it's not being used. Ever. Grr.

8. Gum. I almost always have some with me. Sometimes I get thirsty and don't have any water with me so this is the next best thing. Have you tried the new Extra gum flavors? This mint chocolate chip ice cream is delicious!

9. My wallet is super tiny. I bought this when Mr. Smith and I were going to Vegas to slip into my "casino" purse. It's a small Coach that holds this wallet, phone, and chapstick...and not much else. It's better that way. However, I never switched back to my bigger wallet because I found that I was filling it and it was becoming ridiculously heavy. So now I just carry this little guy. It gets the job done. And it's cute.

10. Sunglasses. I always have these with me. I've grown accustomed to wearing them and now it's almost painful to go outside without any.

11. Car keys. (But not much longer!) Cute Tiffany's key chain courtesy of a good friend. It's a little present that was a little birthday present. :)

12. School keys. You can't really tell by the picture but there are about 15-17 keys on that key ring. Classroom, bathroom, file cabinets, gate, gas shut off, and more cabinets. And my flash drive. It's my favorite way to transport documents from one computer to another.

13. My breakfast. Those fruit leathers from Trader Joes are amazing!

*Not pictured: lady products, run-away cough drops, change, point-and-shoot camera, peach bellini (which they no longer make. sad face.) hand sanitizer,  and Burt's Bees chapstick (the best!). And some random receipts.
(edit to add mine)

What's in my purse? Ok then. I'm game (though this would have been more fun for you if we'd done this a week ago, before I gave it a thorough cleaning, and found a battery, all my Christmas shopping receipts, a third hand sanitizer, a book of stamps, and a cough drop of questionable origin and age (what am I? 80 years old?))

And away we go!

1. (Hmmm. Well, this is an unfortunate place to begin our tour. Should have paid closer attention when I started numbering. Too late now.) That little pouch holds the necessary supplies for my Ladies Days (Thank you for that, Everybody Loves Raymond.) (Side note: Have you seen the PMS episode of Everybody Loves Raymond? Probably makes my Top Three Funniest Episodes of TV Ever. I'll get back on topic now, but seriously, if you haven't seen it, you should watch it. "Bad Moon Rising" is the title of the episode, season four, episode 22, thank you, Miso.)

2. Loose cash, floating aimlessly in the abyss. Which, as you'll see with items 3 and 5, there is no excuse for this.

3. My "big wallet." Credit cards, store discount cards, checkbook, insurance cards, voters registration card. All kinds of important stuff that I don't use regularly. This wallet lives exclusively in my "everyday purse."

4. I swear I just cleaned a wad of receipts out of here a week ago. They must self-generate. I only collected three that I can think of since I last cleaned in here -- Publix, Target and gas, my regular Sunday morning errands -- yet I found way more than that. Curious.

5. My "little wallet." This one has the essentials: drivers license, debit cards, the credit card I prefer to use, cash, AAA card. When I opt for a different purse, everything I need is in this wallet and it's the only one that gets to come along. If I know I will need something else from the other wallet, I transfer it temporarily to this one.

6. Gift cards! Two from Pier 1 and a Dunkin. I like to keep them with me, because I never know when I might need a little splurge.

7. iPod Touch. It doesn't live in my purse, but it does when I leave the house.

8.  My (non-smart) phone. This also doesn't stay in my purse, but I always bring it with me when I leave. Good safety, you know?

9. Lens cleaner for my glasses. Because I hate when they are dirty (it actually makes my eyes hurt) and, for reasons I have never been able to explain, the *inside* of my glasses get all kinds of smudges and prints and what have you. You would think I would notice all that activity in the confined space between my eyeball and the lens of my glasses, but that is a rant for another time.

10. My sunglasses case (they attach directly to the frames of my regular prescription glasses). Also inside is the microfiber cloth for cleaning my glasses.

11. A note with the addresses of the Motor Vehicle Licensing Division and Tax Collector/Registration offices, and a list of all the items I need to bring with me in order to legally change my name on my license and registration. I'm tackling that little joy on the 24th.

12. Two bottle of Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer. Two different scents. Because a girl needs options (but not *three* of them -- purse real estate is at a premium, you know?) and people are gross and don't wash their hands when they ought to. (Candy Cane Bliss and Caribbean Escape.)

13. A little bottle of Advil. (Just ask my friend, Nichole. I am prepared for everything.)

14. Mints. No explanation necessary, right? Fun fact: I call them my Small-toids. But since I am not Sheldon Cooper, there won't be a quiz on that later.

15. A lightly tinted Burt's Bees lip balm. The color is Nutmeg.

16. Really cute nail files. If you can make some useful be cute every now and again, why not?

17. A pen and a pencil. Sometimes I need one and sometimes I need the other. And I have rules about using the proper writing implement.

**Not pictured: My SoftLips lip balm (I wonder where that went?). A purse pack of tissues and a pack of blotting papers (didn't realize I was out, so those need to be replaced). My keys (because the only time they are in my purse is when I am out--the rest of the time, they reside on the little table near our front door, so T can grab them if he needs to--and no, I have never misplaced my keys, because I leave them in their spot religiously).


Friday, January 18, 2013

Flashback Friday: January 18, 2013

Some 33 years ago, maybe even to the day. Who knows?

January 1980 - Wee me, age 3, sledding in the yard behind the house with Gramp

And a Flashback Random Memory Bonus for you too:

Back when I was a wee child, growing up in Connecticut, I attended a Lutheran school through grade eight. We often referred to our principal, Mr Koch, as the headmaster. On the other side of town, there was a salon past which we would often drive to get to all sorts of places that don't matter here, and it was called Head Masters. For the longest time, I was convinced that was where all the school principals went to have their hair cut. I have no idea what caused that little gem to resurface in my memory. The end.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Watch TV: 2012-2013, Checking Back In

Halfway through January. The "winter finales" have come and gone. The holiday episodes gave way to reruns and now we're back to new episodes as things ramp up for February sweeps. Sounds like a good time to check on how I'm feeling about this season of tv, no?

Only one new show has been given the ol' heave-ho, and it's exactly the one I expected might. A few shows got late starts on their seasons. I added a couple I didn't anticipate. The January starts are queued up. And we have but one cancellation at this point and one show whose season has officially ended.

Disclaimer: If you're behind on your own tv viewing, you read ahead at your own risk.

Once Upon a Time - Save for a few questionable episodes or story lines, this season has really tossed in some interesting twists, both in Storybrooke and Fairy Tale, as well as utilized a few well-placed and well-executed flashbacks.
The Good Wife - After a great finale build-up, this one's been more "slow and steady" than "edge of my seat." Which is fine, if they are building me up for something major. There's still half a season to find out.
The Mentalist - I'll be honest. As much as I enjoy the hijinks of Patrick Jane, I'm getting a bit frustrated that we still feel no closer to Red John. I guess my question is now will *we* ever get to see Red John's face?
Dexter - With a short, 12-episode, no-rerun season, this one is in the books. If the season with Trinity was my favorite, as far as thrilling and shocking, this one was my second favorite. There was a whole new dynamic thrown in, as Deb wrestled with her new knowledge about Dexter, while Dexter wrestled with reassuring Deb, figuring out his feelings for Hannah, dealing with some mob guy seeking revenge, and confronting the reality of his "Dark Passenger." Oh and then there was La Guerta, driving Deb and Dexter into a frenzy with all her poking around. It was an intense season, to be sure. And it definitely has me ready to see how they wrap it all up in the final season.

How I Met Your Mother - If the rumors are true and this is the final season, how are we do we still not know the identity of Ted's wife with the season half over?? We've spent so much time on Robin and Barney, but isn't the whole point of the show supposed to be about Ted finally finding his wife? And we may only get a half season to get to know her? Hmph.
2 Broke Girls - I feel like this show wants to "get there" and sometimes it does, but then it trips and falls on its face.
Revolution - The characters frustrate me to no end, it seems, but there's a good story in there, waiting to be told, if it would just get out of its own way. (And stop trusting absolutely everyone it meets. Sheesh.)
Deception - Mid-season new show. Haven't watched any yet.
Mike and Molly - We are kicking the tires on this one. We're already on the channel from earlier in the evening and we end up half-watching it most of the time anyway, so maybe we'll give it a fair shot.
Dallas - Mid-season season premiere. I'm worried about the long term future of this show, with Larry Hagman's death.
Rules of Engagement - Another mid-season premiere on deck. I hope they step it up a notch from last season which floundered a bit.
The Carrie Diaries - New show. Total brain candy. I have to check it out. Just can't help myself.

Parenthood - This one gets a short season and I've already watched two-thirds of it, but they have just hit them out of the park, week after week. I didn't know I could care more about the characters of this show, but here I am.
Private Practice - A short final season for this one. It's winding up and I like the approach they've taken, giving each character an episode that focuses almost exclusively on them. Charlotte has been my favorite character this season, by far.
Body of Proof - This one returns as a mid-season premiere. I am curious to see what all the changes will do to the show.
The Mindy Project - I gave up on this one. I found it painfully unwatchable...which means it will probably become a cult favorite, like The Office, where the humor was lost on me.

The Middle - They really took off on rounding out Axl's character for a while and I was really enjoying it, but it seems to have dropped off again. It's been a laughable season so far, though, which is what you want from a sitcom, right?
Modern Family - It's been hit or miss, for me. Either I laugh out loud like crazy or I stare at the screen, blinking and waiting. But that's how this show always seems to go for me.
Whitney - This one started up in November, and while I could do without Lily, I feel like we're finally starting to get to see who these characters are a little better. It's definitely been better than the first season.
Law & Order: SVU - There's a new DA. Things have settled down in the squad. The new detectives are starting to feel like they have a place. Every episode is just another twisted turn of events in the city.
CSI - We seem to be getting a lot less of the CSIs' personal lives this season, compared to last year.
Chicago Fire - The characters annoy me more than they make me like them, but I'm still watching, so there's that...
Top Chef - The judges are back. The drama is high. And there are more chefs I want to see go home than chefs I want to see win.

The Big Bang Theory - This season has made me laugh consistently almost every week. Last season seemed to struggle just the littlest bit but the ship has righted itself for sure.
Last Resort - I have really enjoyed this one. I am sad that it was cancelled, but relieved that the writers were given enough notice to properly wrap things up for the viewers and that the entire season will be aired. I'm not shocked it didn't survive. It seems to be more of a show that would have succeeded on a pay-station, like HBO. Expensive, rich detail, almost movie-like qualities. Plus, I think it would have been given more space to "feel real" without the constraints of network television. There are a few episodes remaining and I will watch them all.
Up All Night - I always find myself wishing this show would just make the final push into being truly funny. It's like the jokes are there, but they hesitate to deliver.
Person of Interest - This show does not disappoint me. Its dry humor. Its sarcastic wit. It is just predictable enough without becoming boring. I can't wait to see what's coming next. Or where Root will resurface.
Grey's Anatomy - I thought I was going to hate this season. I find myself loving every minute Meredith is on the screen. I love who she is becoming.
Elementary - This one was a new show I hadn't intended to even attempt, due to scheduling conflicts (and an already overflowing DVR) but I've been able to piece it together. I'm on the fence about this one. It's clever enough, and a slightly different take on a crime drama, but the way they've written the relationship between Sherlock and Watson grates on my nerves a bit.
1600 Penn - Another mid-season new show. With not enough comedy in the tv lineup, I'm giving this one a shot.
Scandal - This may be my favorite show currently on tv. (There are a few others that could make a case, but this one is right up there.) I have been edge-of-my-seat this entire season, and really since the series premiere in the abbreviated first season. I am gasping, jaw-dropping and exclaiming "WHAT???" at least once an episode, if not more.

CSI:NY - I feel as if the CSI franchise, in general, may have run its course, and yet this is my favorite of the three, with my soft spot for Mac Taylor. It just doesn't feel like it brings the "have to see what happens next" feeling very much anymore.
Fringe - Full disclosure: the entire season is living on the DVR. I haven't watched even one minute of it yet. It's the final season, and while I embrace knowing for sure that this is the show's last hurrah, I'm sad to see it go, so I'm prolonging the inevitable by not watching quite yet.
Blue Bloods - The Reagans never disappoint and that's all you need to know.
Last Man Standing - A late starter, this one did some character changes which don't meet my approval, but I'm powering through because the show does make me laugh.


Photo-a-Day 2013: Week 2


Sunday, January 13, 2013

TV Loves and Hates: January 13, 2012

Disclaimer: I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead if you're even further behind than I am. You read at your own risk!

**I love how they tied Ruby's story together (Once Upon a Time) and how they make her such a likable character.

**The chemistry between Snow and David in pretty much any scene following the breaking of the curse. (Once Upon a Time)

**Mousy, meek Mary Margaret is gone, gone, gone, and Snow is one of my favorite characters on tv right now. (Once Upon a Time)

**The Queen of Hearts. Cora. Flipping *brilliant*. (Once Upon a Time, ep 9)

**Ding dong, LaGuerta's gone! Now, if the final season of Dexter could just put Quinn out of my misery early on, I will consider it a success.

**The entire "What to My Wondering Eyes" episode of Parenthood. The way the family came together. Adam's vulnerability. The way Zeek restored the magic of Christmas. Amber making a very difficult and mature decision about her relationship with Ryan. Sarah and Hank (as much as I loved Sarah and Mark).

**I am loving the heck out of Charlotte in this final season of Private Practice. Her character development has been outstanding.

**Olivia Pope's style (Scandal). Holy cow, does she always look amazing.

**Alex's ex-fiancee creeped me out with how they cast someone with so many of the same mannerisms as Whitney. Even her profile had a lot of the same qualities. I'm not sure if that was intentional or accidental. (Whitney, ep 5)

**I am no fashion expert, but what in the name of Heidi Klum was happening on Lily's head?? If hair could be described as violent, that would be it. Terrifying. (Whitney, ep 5)

**I'm not sure I can recall a more uncomfortable exchange in recent television than the one that happened between Quinn and Jamie at the New Year's Eve party. YUCK. (Dexter, ep 12)


Saturday, January 12, 2013

2013: Resolutions My Way

I've stated multiple times that I don't care for the concept of resolutions, but then I saw a blog post that inspired me to put together my final "January kick-off/year-in-review" post. And, really, I think it's not only quite do-able for me, but it fits into my preference for more "fun" goals *and* it adds a new "dimension" to something I enjoy already. And so I present:

My Disney Resolutions

1. Visit New Fantasyland. It's already been open for roughly six weeks. As an Annual Passholder, there should be no reason I haven't seen it with my own eyes. This is top of the list.

2. I have been eyeballing the cupcakes available all over property for several years now. I will try one of them this year.

3. Not counting the newly re-imagined Test Track or recently unveiled parts of Fantasyland, I want to find at least five new details or perspectives to photograph WDW that I haven't before.

4. I want to eat at two restaurants I haven't yet. There are so many amazing places to eat on property that it's easy to return again and again to the same locations. But each of these places was a "first time" once. I wonder what else I am missing!

5. The past few years, I haven't been managed to follow through on a tradition I've really enjoyed. This year, I will visit at least five resort hotels when they are decked out in their Christmas finery, and at least one of them will be one from the list I haven't been to before.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Leftovers: January 11, 2013

**On New Year's Eve, I went looking for the wine stopper. It wasn't in any of the places it could possibly be, or any of the places I didn't think it should be, but looked anyway. I got it at Disney World several years ago and kept it in a little red box in one of the utensil drawers in the apartment. (Aside: That last sentence made the apartment sound a lot bigger than it actually was. Trust me.) I cannot imagine why it wouldn't have made the move. I don't have any lingering unpacked boxes. It is just...gone. It's bugging me and now I need to get a new one.

**Those chain-letter-type Facebook guilt trip posts? Just don't. If I am your friend, if I love you, if I want to keep you in my life, you don't need to post those things to get me to tell you so. In fact, *because* I am those things is the very reason why I won't. I respect your intelligence and our relationship more than that. Furthermore, if you continue to try to guilt trip me, I may start to become suspicious that this toxic (and annoying) behavior indicates you've become a pod person. Pod people scare me and I will be forced to strongly reconsider our association.

**Back on January 2, I tweeted something of which I want a more permanent record: There is no way to sugarcoat that constant bitterness is entirely unattractive and repelling.

**This is the mature way in which I have responded to things which have displeased me lately, including a husband being a boogie, the meteorologist on the local evening news with his stupid mid-80-degree forecast, and that time I dropped a piece of chocolate on the floor at work (there is NO Five Second Rule here, trust me).

(One of my favorite scenes from "It's a Wonderful Life.")

**I had plans to venture over to WDW this weekend. I haven't been there since early December when we went to see the Spectacle of Dancing Lights and ride "new" Test Track, so I am suffering some major withdrawals is what I'm saying. I have also been chomping at the bit to see New Fantasyland with my own two eyes and my camera. And then ::music of impending doom:: I discovered that this is a "marathon weekend." These are all fine and dandy, if that's your thing, but for me, they mean bigger crowds and frustrating detours, and I just avoid Disney property like the plague, if at all possible. So hmph. Maybe next weekend. See that photo up there? That applies to this as well.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

2012: Time Capsule

In 2012, I gained:
A husband and a house.

I lost:
some sleep over wedding planning. An odd experience for someone who rarely has any sleep issues.

I was hugely satisfied by:
our wedding, which went off about as perfectly as one dare hope.

And frustrated by:
our photographer, the Clerk of Courts, and Bobby Valentine as manager of the Red Sox.

The biggest physical difference between me last December and this December is:
the length of my hair.

The biggest psychological difference between me last December and this December is:
worrying about how to pull off a successful wedding.

I loved spending time:
making our house into a home for us.

I should have spent more time:
reading, but I kept falling asleep! (This is what happens when you read before bed.)

The most relaxing place I went was:
Nichole and Daniel's house for California Christmas.

The best thing someone did for me was:
all the running around, setting up wedding details in Virginia, while I was in Florida. I have a really awesome sister-in-law.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
Gee, let's see. Become a homeowner and a wife? Outside of the obvious, I also visited San Francisco.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions?
I don't make them. I did manage to complete some of my personal wishlist though. But I've discussed that at length already.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No new babies this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die? 
Thankfully, this is also a no.

5. What places did you visit?
My hometown. Troy's hometown. The Berkshires. Virginia, twice. San Francisco. And the Central Valley in California.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? 
Some peace and quiet. We've had a lot of changes all at once.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory?
Our wedding: September 29. And January 31, when we officially closed on the house. Like I said: big changes.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?
Surviving the house-buying and wedding-planning processes. They will eat. you. alive.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Falling off my photo-a-day challenge. Nothing too life-altering.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a cold at one point, but nothing that a little Zicam and DayQuil/NyQuil couldn't quickly mend.

11. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband's for not locking me up while I was in bride mode. And my sister-in-law's for doing all the legwork for the wedding.

12. Where did most of your money go?
The themes of 2012: house and wedding.

13. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Our wedding song: The Shape of Us by Ian Britt.

14. What was your favorite movie of this year?
I really enjoyed Lincoln of the whole...two(?) we saw in the theater.

15. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
With Mike Lowell flying mostly under the radar these days, probably Blake Shelton. Maybe.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2012: Top 5s

Top 5 Favorite Color Combinations of 2012
1. barn red and chocolate brown
2. robin's egg blue and tan
3. orange and cream
4. apple red, brown and copper orange (our wedding colors!)
5. coral and khaki

Top 5 Biggest Purchases of 2012
1. House
2. All new appliances (stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, washer and dryer)
3. Wedding
4. Transmission for T's truck
5. Couch and loveseat

Top 5 Favorite Television Shows of 2012
1. Parenthood
2. Blue Bloods
3. The Big Bang Theory
4. Scandal
5. Person of Interest

Top 5 Favorite Memories of 2012
1. The first kiss at our wedding ::happy sigh::
2. Exploring San Francisco with Nichole and Daniel
3. Our rehearsal dinner
4. Walking into our house for the first time following the closing
5. Seeing our house decorated with Christmas lights

Top 5 Scents of 2012
1. Twisted Peppermint (Bath and Body Works)
2. Red Berry and Cedar (Yankee Candle)
3. Vanilla Apricot (Bath and Body Works)
4. Blueberry Scone (Yankee Candle)
5. Spring and Renewal (Febreeze)

Top 5 Most Played Songs According to My iTunes
1. The Shape of Us by Ian Britt
2. Overwhelmed by Tim McMorris
3. I Love Her First by Heartland
4. I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz
5. God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Photo-a-Day 2013: Week 1


2012: By the Numbers

Visits to WDW: 21
Books read: 16
Trips taken: 6
Blog posts: 141
Photos taken: 1402
Major life events: 2
Baseball games attended: 0 ::sad trombone::
(edit to add: No *Red Sox* games in 2012. I did get to attend a Giants game in San Francisco!)
Magazine subscriptions: 8
Pinterest projects completed: 1
New recipes tried: 12
Dishes eaten at Food and Wine Fest: 32


Monday, January 7, 2013

2012: I Read Books

1. Best Book(s) You Read In 2012? 
The Help (Kathryn Stockett)

The Drawing of the Three (Stephen King)

2. Most Disappointing Book?
The Murderer's Daughters (Randy Susan Meyers)

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book?
Million Dollar Baby (Amy Patricia Meade) - I wasn't expecting much but a light, fluffy read, and the book actually ended up  being rather entertaining and fun!

4. Book(s) you recommended to people most in 2012?
I honestly don't do much recommending!

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
I discovered probably five different series this year, but the two best were the Marjorie McLelland mysteries and The Dark Tower series.

6. Favorite new author(s) you discovered in 2012?
Amy Patricia Meade

7. Most thrilling, un-put-down-able book in 2012?
Murder in the White House (Margaret Truman)

8. Book you most anticipated in 2012?
The Drawing of the Three (Stephen King)

9. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

10. Most memorable character in 2012?
Florentino Ariza from Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

11. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
The Help (Kathryn Stockett)

12. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
I don't know that any book I read this year truly impacted me.

13. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
Definitely The Help (Kathryn Stockett).

14. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?
“He was still too young to know that the heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.” from Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

15. Book you read in 2012 that you would be most likely to reread in 2013? 
I can definitely see myself reading The Help again at some point, though probably not this year. Not when I have so many books I've never read before, waiting on my to-read list!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Girl on the Other Coast: January 5, 2013

In the Christmas aftermath, G and I decided we would do a simple "right now" for our collaborative post project. Nice and simple, something that's appreciated after the chaos of the holidays!

Curious what I'm doing right now? (Humor me. Pretend you're curious.) Take a virtual voyage to Little Italy and find out!
Let's see what's going on over on the west coast with G...
watching: The Big Bang Theory. Lots and lots of it. Two of my TAs gave me Season 5 as a Christmas gift and I couldn't be more excited for TV!

drinking:  golden French Toast coffee. It's part of the Holiday collection and I love it.

wearing:  pajamas. What? It's still Winter Break ;)

eating:  toast with peanut butter. Yum.

listening: to golfers. I'm amazed at how early they are out there. Amazed and angry when it's 7am on a weekend.

avoiding: laundry! (Dawn, are you laughing??)

wishing:  break wasn't over yet. It's not that I don't want to go back to school. I just wish I had more time to spend with people I still haven't had a chance to see yet.

feeling:  slightly overwhelmed. I thought I'd have a lot more done by this point and I just don't. I could blame the impromptu vacation I took. Perhaps my new outlook should be that pictures and memories always win over a clean house.

missing: my dad. I always miss him at this time of year and am sad that he can't be here to share it with me.

thankful:  that I've had this time to relax and spend time with those that I love. I'm really thankful for the time I was able to spend with Lynette and her family. And I'm thankful for feeling loved in return.

craving:  more time with my family. And with Mr. Smith. We didn't get to spend much time together this break but hopefully we'll make up for it this weekend.

wondering:  what this new year will hold. Something far better than the last. Even though I appreciate all the highs that 2012 had to offer, the lows were L-O-W. And I'm over that.

praying:  that I will find peace this year.

needing:  to clear some space. I feel like I can breathe better when I don't have to look at stuff everywhere. Is it wrong that I'm looking forward to a much needed cleaning/organizing session this Tuesday with Mr. Smith?

thinking:  about changing my way of thinking. I'm going to participate in the One Little Word this year and my word is content.

dreaming:  about throwing my first party soon. Happy Birthday to me in our first little place.

loving:  this little girl. truly.

(edit to add mine)

A little peek at what life is like in my post-holiday, hibernation mode! (As of Friday evening, since we have to be prepared for posting Saturday morning and all.)

watching: Last Man Standing is on. Tim Allen makes me laugh.

drinking: Some ice water. In my haste to eat my dinner, I burned my tongue. (I do know better. It just smelled so good and I was hungry!)

wearing: Yoga pants, my "Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty" t-shirt and my fuzzy blanket.

eating: I just finished eating some turkey pot pie soup (a new recipe, using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey from the freezer!) and I believe some dessert will be in order when I am done here. There are a few Christmas cookies left to finish up.

listening: The tv. Right now, it's on commercial break though. And you can tell it's early January, because every other commercial is about weight loss and dieting.

avoiding: Several items on my to-do list. I'll need to get them done over the weekend though.

wishing: My feet would get warm already. I've been wrapped in this blanket (other than when I made and ate dinner) for the past five and a half hours. I hate when my feet get cold.

feeling: Content. Also? Cold.

missing: My Gram. I wish we could sit down and have a long grown-up conversation.

thankful: For so much. A good husband. A cozy house. A reliable job. Amazing friends. So many creature comforts.

craving: Chocolate. As soon as I can convince myself to get out of my comfy spot here on the couch.

wondering: Why some people are so intent on hanging onto bitterness, negativity and ungratefulness. Perhaps they don't realize how ugly those qualities are?

praying: For all my loved ones, always.

needing: My new brown ankle boots to be delivered. I'm tired of wearing my black pair.

thinking: About what photo I want to take for my photo of the day. I have a couple different ideas.

dreaming: Early this morning, I had a dream that my Gramp (no longer with us in this world and one of the most upstanding people I've ever known) was a fugitive of the law.

loving: Chilly weather. Sparkly winter decorations. My new iPad.


Friday, January 4, 2013

2012: Year in Photos

A favorite photo from each month.











(photo by Studio Marie Antoinette)





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