Sunday, December 1, 2013

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: November 2013

A photo of me:

1) Candle scents* this month:
(Autumn smells very delicious!!)
Spiced Pumpkin. Autumn Leaves. Shortbread Cookie. Autumn Wreath. Macintosh Spice. Pumpkin Pie. Mandarin Cranberry. Season's Blessings. Mountain Lodge. Pumpkin Wreath. Vineyard. Farmers Market. Vanilla Chai. Salted Caramel. Cranberry Chutney. Red Apple Wreath. Be Thankful.

2) What I am reading this month (you can find me on Goodreads!):
Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce (Stanley Weintraub) - I finished this one right on November 1. I've been fascinated by this particular event in history, since I first learned of it. Some of the book was a bit fragmented in its telling, jumping from one place to another, sometimes returning to a location, sometimes not. There was enough to get an overall mental image of what was happening though. Being history, some of it was also a bit dry -- what can you do, really, when there are a bunch of names and dates and affiliations to particular military units -- but I tried to remember that I was spoiled by Bill O'Reilly's history re-telling that was more novel-like in its delivery than history text book. Either way, still an interesting topic about which to learn more. I especially enjoyed the final chapter "What if--?" as it speculated all the ways the world we know might have been altered, had it been sent along a different course if the Christmas Truce had actually succeeded in ending World War I 46 months sooner.
Black Moonlight (Amy Patricia Meade) - I really enjoy this series and this may be my favorite book of them all. It was set up something like Clue, in that the number of suspects were limited to the people on the island. My guess was wrong, but the way the facts of the case lined up, it was fun to see the pieces come together. Mostly, I am excited to learn, via Twitter, that there may be more books in this series forthcoming! I will certainly be watching for them.
H.R.H. (Danielle Steel) - Not that Danielle Steel will ever be considered a literary genius, but her books have their place. This one, however, was nowhere near on par with her best work. I could have removed about two-thirds of it as "irrelevant due to repetition" and not lost a single actual detail of this story. It wasn't unreadable or unlikable as a concept, but reading the same "fact" twenty-five times in a 300 page book was, shall we say, a bit heavy-handed on the overkill.
Murder in the Supreme Court (Margaret Truman) - I enjoyed the characters, the complexity of the case, with its multiple layers of suspects, and the pace of the story. My biggest issue is that it seemed to end abruptly. The ending made sense, but I felt like it ended before there were completely satisfying conclusions to two characters' stories.
Shanghai Girls (Lisa See) - As the month ends, I am in the process of reading this book, which has been interesting, even if a bit heavy in content. Looking forward to finding out how it ends.

3) Three things on my mind:
1. I do my best writing in the shower. I can compose amazing blog posts as the water sprays down and my head is all lathered up with shampoo. The problem is transferring them into actual words on the screen. Something gets lost in translation the second I step from the shower and wrap myself in a towel. I can no longer get the exact wording or remember that one phrase that sprang to life so easily just minutes earlier. The words, like the steam, just seem to vanish into thin air.
2. "Being tolerated is not the same as being appreciated and the quicker you learn that, the faster you’ll be happy." Boy howdy, if that isn't a lesson I wish I had learned about a million lifetimes ago. Thankfully, I learned it right around the same time I started dating T, but I question if that's a "chicken or the egg" sort of thing. Point being, life is so much better since I wrapped my pea brain around that concept.
3. "True friends are rare and a gift." This is something I've known, to some degree, for quite a while. It's why I believe in quality over quantity, especially in my social circle. However, one of 2013's most challenging lessons was in just how true this really is. It's a lesson that is humbling, gratifying and heartbreaking.

4) Movies I saw:
There were no movies. Just lots of DVR.

5) Calendar image for the month:
This one is beautiful. A light layer of snow with the dead November grasses poking through, and the thin light of the closing day.

This image makes me both happy and sad. Happy, because I love my team and all their history. Sad, because, for so many reason, their one hundredth year felt like an anti-celebration.

6) Something yummy I made:
Best comfort food ever.

(Meatloaf Patties.)

7) Restaurants where I ate:
Tuscany (in Virginia - went out to dinner with Brad and Angee).

8) Five things I am loving this month:
1. Being able to turn off our a/c for the last ten or so days of the billing period means our electric bill was $40 less! Can't wait to see what the next one looks like!
2. Oh, microfiber cloth, your ability to remove streaks from my shiny black appliances and bathroom mirrors completes me. Where have you been for the last 21 months?
3. Wide open, flat spaces that give me an unobstructed view of a huge expanse sky, a shade of azure I've seen only in Florida, dotted with so many puffy little clouds, a perfect balance between blue and white, making up an enormous canvas. There's just this feeling I get that I cannot put into words or capture with a photo, but it's one of my favorite feelings ever.
4. A couple of occasions to wear long sleeves! I get so tired of all my warm-weather wardrobe.
5. Visiting some of T's family in Virginia for Thanksgiving. It's very different to be celebrating a holiday in a large group, as compared to our usual "holidays for two," but it was a fun change of pace, the weather was refreshing, the company was good, and it made some great new holiday memories.

9) Three goals I had this month and three goals for next month:
1. No more excuses. None. November and December issues *will* be tackled, plus one month from The Stack. (I'm going to call this one finished, because I did finish all of November and all of the December issues I had received in the mail. A few more came in after the fact, since they are combined December/January issues. I also sent a whole month's worth plus two more to recycling from The Stack!)
2. Start making my various Christmas lists. It will be here before I know it and I hate feeling rushed. (Lists were started. They're still being revised, of course, but I feel like Christmas is mostly under control.)
3. Switch out the Halloween for more autumnal decor. (Done and I *loved* the way it came out this year!)

1. Get through the January issues of magazines, plus at least ten old issues off to recycling!
2. Have all Christmas prep completed -- shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping, cards, mailing -- by December 14 so I can sit back and enjoy the rest of the Christmas season.
3. Get the overflowing DVR tamed while most of our shows are on hiatus or limited new episodes this month. Lets shoot for, oh, under 30% full?

10) Something I learned:
Of all places, from watching Sleepy Hollow. Paul Revere didn't make his famed Midnight Ride, calling out "The British are coming! The British are coming!" because the colonists all considered *themselves* British. He actually announced that the "Regulars" were coming.

11) The best part of this month and the worst part of this month:
The best: Thanksgiving trip to Virginia.
The worst: Southwest's flight check-in and boarding method. Give me United any day.

12) A photo I took this month:

*All scents are Yankee Candle, unless otherwise noted.

0 with their own thoughts:

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