Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Sunday, February 24, 2013
...bake some chocolate chip cookies.
...go to church on Wednesday evening for midweek Lenten service.
...read for at least 15 minutes before falling asleep.
...switch out the winter and Valentine decorations for spring and Easter.
...light candles in the evenings.
...watch some pre-season baseball on tv.
...take at least one photo every day.
...clear out two more magazines from my backlog.
Friday, February 22, 2013
**I came across a new product on the shelves at my local grocery store. I needed some chopped tomatoes for a recipe I was making for dinner and Pomi tomatoes happened to be on sale. They are in a carton, not a can, and the only ingredient in that carton is tomatoes. Just tomatoes. I decided to give them a try. I am so glad I did. Wonderful!
**I am not sure what to make of the "Lackey positive press campaign," but if this reinvention of his image in Boston is for real (and comes with some actual notches in the win column for the Sox), I am fully on board!
**It used to be that one of my favorite Bath and Body Works scents was "Moonlight Path." Over the past several weeks, though, it seems I cannot wear it anymore. The consistent smell of the lotion would start to give me a headache after about an hour, and then, no matter how many times I washed my hands or layered on another scent, the headache would progressively grow worse. I had to give away a half-used bottle to one of my co-workers.
**I am probably the only person alive to feel this way about it, judging by the enthusiasm people show and the number of them who have tried to convince me I need to go at least once, but I could not possibly have less interest in Vegas. None. Not even a hint. I don't care to gamble. Or see weird shows (Cirque de Soliel La Nouba at Downtown Disney creeped me out more than anything). Or do the whole nightlife scene. Before you declare me a bore and a fuddy-duddy, though, I just feel that with a long list of other places I can actually name wanting to see in my lifetime, visiting one that has never sparked so much as the tiniest bit of interest in me doesn't really generate any consideration. I mean, c'mon, there's not even a (major league) baseball team there to entice me!
**I have been really drawn to the color combination of pink and brown recently. I'm not usually much of a pink person (although I did spend a good piece of my childhood wishing I had a pink bedroom, instead of yellow) (I am still not a fan of yellow to this day), but something about pink and brown together is just appealing to me all of a sudden.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Sunday, February 17, 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!
**Recognizing the teacher on The Middle (ep 14) was Fred Hollywell from the George C Scott version of A Christmas Carol.
**Sue and Darrin! Sue and Darrin! (The Middle, ep 15) Best Valentine's Day episode of 2013.
**Leonard finally standing up for himself to Penny. (The Big Bang Theory, ep 16)
**Kristina, radiant and lovely, exiting the hotel on Adam's arm, no wig in sight. I didn't know whether to cheer or sob. (Parenthood, ep 12)
**Max's description of his new shower routine, and Adam and Kristina's reaction, was so funny and so real. (Parenthood, ep 13)
**Chicago Fire has more over-the-top drama than Seattle Grace, and that's saying something. In 14 episodes, one fire fighter has lost his life, another suffered an injury so severe it ended his career, there's a main character with an injury that still might have his career in jeopardy, multiple disciplinary actions, and more than one member of the team teeter with their lives in the balance, yet make a miraculous recovery. We've had drug addictions, gang involvement, a mother in prison for murdering her abusive husband, and a slew of personal drama that makes me twitchy. There's only so much you pack into one show, simultaneously, before it is full-blown absurd.
**Why is Mike Tyson showing up in all my shows? Appearances on both Law & Order: SVU and How I Met Your Mother in less than a week's time. I have already exceeded my 2013 quota of his face on my tv.
**Ed Asner as a really bad guy (Law & Order: SVU, ep 14). Now that he's been Santa Claus (on Elf), it hurts my brain to see him as such a twisted and disgusting character in this episode. There should be a rule that once you play Santa Claus, you cannot later be someone so awful. I mean, yuck. My head kept seeing Santa, while my eyes and ears were assaulted with the darkness of SVU. Bad combination.
**Really, Modern Family? A psychic? (ep14) I expect that from 2 Broke Girls but you're better than this.
**Penny and Raj in the Valentine's Day episode of Big Bang Theory. (ep 16)
**Jasmine's mother and her manipulative guilt trips and underhanded remarks to Crosby. (Parenthood, ep 13)
Saturday, February 16, 2013
G had a busy weekend ahead, so she kept this installment's prompt short and sweet. And what's shorter than one-word answers? Except that sometimes it's more difficult that you'd think!
Curious how I managed to limit my answers to a single word? (Humor me. Pretend you're curious.) Take a virtual voyage to Little Italy and find out!
I always find it a challenge to limit your answers to just one little word. It needs to be accurate but also witty. Convey my feelings and my thoughts. Challenge accepted!
(Answers were written Thursday while the chicklettes were taking a test.)
1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Where is your significant other? work
3. Your hair? light
4. Your mother? hurt
5. Your father? love
6. Your favorite thing? laughter
7. Your dream last night? weird
8. Your dream/goal? happiness
9. The room you’re in? classroom
10. Your hobby? scrapbooking
11. Your fear? loss
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? loved
13. Where were you last night? awards
14. What you’re not? immoral
16. One of your wish list items? travel
17. Where you grew up? califonia
18. The last thing you did? science
19. What are you wearing? white
20. Your TV? comfort
21. Your pet? none
22. Your computer? netbook
24. Your mood? blessed
25. Missing someone? dad
26. Your car? white
27. Something you’re not wearing? hat
28. Favorite store? target
29. Your summer? italy
30. Love someone? always
31. Your favorite color? turqoise
32. When is the last time you laughed? today
33. Last time you cried? yesterday
(edit to add mine)
One word answers, huh? These prove tricky at times, but I will give it my best shot. (Since G has a busy weekend ahead, I am doing this on Tuesday evening at 10:16pm, so I can give her plenty of time to get her side of the posting business done.)
1. Where is your cell phone? table
2. Where is your significant other? recliner
3. Your hair? longer
4. Your mother? blonde
5. Your father? retired
6. Your favorite thing? photos
7. Your dream last night? complex
8. Your dream/goal? evolving
9. The room you’re in? livingroom
10. Your hobby? photography
11. Your fear? disappointing
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? love
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you’re not? fake
15. One of your wish list items? cabinets
16. Where you grew up? Connecticut
17. The last thing you did? tidy
18. What are you wearing? loungewear
19. Your TV? Scandal
20. Your pet? none
21. Your computer? laptop
22. Your mood? relaxed
23. Missing someone? always
24. Your car? white
25. Something you’re not wearing? socks
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your summer? endless
28. Love someone? completely
29. Your favorite color? red
30. When is the last time you laughed? tonight
31. Last time you cried? commercial
Thursday, February 14, 2013
...autumn in New England
...his wedding ring
...still warm-from-the-oven cookies
...laughing til I cry
...random "thinking of you" texts
..."It's a Wonderful Life"
...wandering down memory lane
...the colors of the sky at sunrise and sunset
...pristine freshly fallen snow
...the hymn "Abide With Me"
...Disney parks at night
...big hugs from friends
...people who are genuine
...a good book
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
"We receive a cross of ashes on our foreheads on this day, for from dust we came and to dust we shall return (Genesis 3:19). For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3: 23-24)."
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Not of the Matchbox 20 variety. Of the "why the heck am I wide awake at this hour" variety.
The worst thing about it, for me, is trying to be still, so I don't disturb the other person trying to sleep in the same bed. The harder you try to hold still and mentally hiss at yourself to "just go back to *sleep* already, you jerk!" the more you fidget.
I got up. Went out to the living room with my thousand page novel. The nice thing about being randomly awake in the middle of the night (if there is actually something nice about it when you have to be up for work at 6) is extra reading time. I am now officially past the halfway point in The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett).
I wish I could stop obsessing with how long it is taking me to read this book. I need to just relax and enjoy it. It's a great book, with rich, complex characters. Who cares how long it takes me to read it?
It's quiet at 3am. Like, really quiet. I can actually hear a mosquito whining somewhere in this room, but not close enough for me to see and swat.
Finally getting drowsy again. Clock check says it's 4:12. I hope the walk back down the hall to bed doesn't wake me up again...
Sunday, February 10, 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!
**The scene between Meredith and Derek's sister, when Mer lets down her guard and shares the ultrasound photo with her. Tugged at the old heartstrings in a way this show hasn't in quite some time. (Grey's Anatomy, ep 9)
**They really nailed what I would have imagined a young Carrie Bradshaw to sound like on The Carrie Diaries.
**The dynamic between Roxanne and Mark (Whitney). I *never* thought I would say that!
**The addition of Moriarty to Elementary. The show needed a nemesis, some backstory and a long-term arc.
**Mr Finch's ability to create a whole person from nothing online is nothing short of impressive! (Person of Interest)
**It is always snowing on every episode I've ever watched of Mike and Molly. (Full disclosure: We've really only been "officially watching" for three whole episodes, so this observation comes from a smattering of random episodes I've caught over time.)
**Dallas has started Season 2, and brings with it my favorite television theme music of all time.
**If Fitz and Liv have a chemistry that makes my television screen sizzle, then Mellie and Fitz have an equal but opposite sort of chemistry. You can almost feel the cold anger in the room with you while you watch them interact. Seems like a strange thing to love, I suppose, but it sure makes for compelling tv watching! (Scandal)
**Skip on 1600 Penn. I cannot think of a character I currently dislike more.
**I'm sorry that Stefan was told to pack his knives and go (Top Chef). He is plenty arrogant but he also has a sweet side at times and I really appreciated that he made no excuses nor did he shrug off getting sent home (or to Last Chance Kitchen as the case may be). He made it clear that he is disappointed because he wanted to win and if his disappointment wasn't genuine (without being whiny), I don't know what is.
**You know what? We're done with 1600 Penn. Just can't do it.
**Robin Daggers. (How I Met Your Mother, ep 15). *What* was *that* all about?
Friday, February 8, 2013
Gram's birthday was on February 4. I kept waiting for the inspiration for a birthday tribute post to hit me. I started and stopped, typed and deleted. Nothing felt right. Nothing felt "enough" for this lovely lady who played such a key role in my life. Sometimes it's difficult to find words worthy of someone so special. They all seem so very inadequate, especially if you weren't lucky enough to have actually known her, able to know what I fail to convey.
Recently, I read these words on The Pioneer Woman's blog as she shared her grief over losing her beloved grandmother. Words, strikingly beautiful and filled with raw emotion, with which I identified.
The tears I’ve cried have been a combination of grief over losing her and gratitude for having been her granddaughter.
Most of the time, I can’t distinguish between the two.
(The Pioneer Woman, "Things I've Learned")
I think I was trying too hard.
It's no secret that I don't have my grandparents' natural ability with plants. I've had to give up on more sad, unsalvageable former green things than I wish to count. Not Gram. She could coax life from a dry stick. Her gardens overflowed with vibrant blooms, from the first brave bluebells and snowdrops that poked through the lingering snow crust in the shady spots to autumn's final triumph of warm-hued mums as they echoed the fiery leaves above, on the trees, and scattered in crunchy drifts on the ground. I am sure the butterflies and honeybees and hummingbirds felt her flowerbeds were a slice of Heaven.
Since we bought the house, I've kept telling myself that I wanted to learn. What to plant where and how to keep them from turning into shriveled brown piles of plant death. It took me nine months (and a husband who matter-of-factly stated we were going to get some plants) to find the nerve to start. It doesn't seem like it should be such a big deal, but my soft heart feels guilty for killing defenseless vegetation. But you can't learn if you don't start, and I resigned myself to more failures.
A full three months after gracing the edges of the landscaping around our house, all six plants, mums in a variety of colors, are still doing this:
My shock is palpable. I stare at them openly at least three times a week. (I'm sure my neighbors think I am crazy, but my flowerbeds look better than theirs, so I'm ok with their judgment.)
I have watched them grow. I have deadheaded them from spent blooms to make room for new growth. I have observed in utter amazement how new buds appear and then blossom, again and again. I water and tend. I trim and fertilize. I am learning. I actually felt confident enough to add more.
I am even proud to report that these same herbs
are STILL ALIVE. Since July. The parsley just keeps sending out new shoots and the basil needs to be scrapped and started fresh, not because I've driven the life from its stems, but because basil stems simply get tough and woody over time, especially in a climate that doesn't freeze, and it stops being as productive. (It's also kind of outgrowing its home anyway.) But the fact remains that a plant has actually grown too much and for too long in my care.
I won't make any claims about knowing what I'm doing. It's all a giant experiment. But I can say for certain that I'm learning. And as I move, ever more comfortably, among my plants, I feel my Gram there. I feel closer to her there, yet feel her absence more poignantly, than any other place. Perhaps, in addition to carrying her in my memories, she continues to be present, tending my gardens through me, their quiet guardian angel.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
I've read, quite a few times, that asked to name our flaws, we are able to rattle off a never-ending list of things we don't like about ourselves, but ask us to create a list of what we like about ourselves, and we stammer and speak haltingly, ticking off an item or two. I don't know when we determined that it is attractive, let alone healthy, to promote a negative self-image. Maybe it's the amount of time we spend berating ourselves. Maybe it's an attempt to keep ourselves feeling humble. Whatever the case, I do believe we do a disservice to ourselves, our relationships, and those who care about us when we insist on dwelling only on the areas where we need work. Of course it is important to acknowledge where we struggle, but I believe it's equally important to recognize and be grateful for the areas where we shine. It could be a talent, a quality, a value, something we've worked hard to achieve, maybe even a former flaw we've finally corrected.
All that to say this is the basis for the "prompt" I chose for G and I this time around. I decided we should name ten things we like about ourselves, purely because I believe we should take the time to celebrate that which makes us light, see the ways we contribute positively to those around us, and remind ourselves to be grateful for the gifts and talents we've been granted.
Curious what I put on my own list? (Humor me. Pretend you're curious.) Take a virtual voyage to Little Italy and find out!
10 Things I Like About Myself: The Little Italy Edition
1. I'm a really hard worker. Like, really. 3 years of schooling? Pssh. I'm getting it done in 3 semesters. 50 units? I got this. Completed in 10 months? No problem. From a prestigious school named Pepperdine? I'm all in. And graduate Cum Laude? It would be an honor ;)
2. When I have a good hair day I have a great hair day! It's taken me 33 years to figure out how to work with it rather than fight it. But when it's done right? I get compliments that make me smile.
3. I'm told I have really pretty eyes. And I agree. It's weird...they've changed colors as I've gotten older. They used to be more blue but within the last couple of years they started changing to green. I didn't realize it until a kid pointed it out to me. (Thanks kid!) My family in Italy has predominantly brown eyes and I remember as a kid they would often stare at me because of my light eyes. It made me uncomfortable to the point where I would actually close my eyes. Weirdos. Now? I'll catch students doing the same thing...until I give them a funny look...and then they snap out of it. I guess I'm mesmer-eyes-ing. I had to say it!
4. I'm funny. I don't try to be. I literally just talk about what has actually happened in my life. Granted, I do it with witty sarcasm And everyone laughs. And then I laugh and think, "Wow...if the teaching thing doesn't work out for me I should start doing stand-up." I've been voted Best Sense of Humor and Most Entertaining for the past two years. By high school students! And they, my friend, are a tough crowd.
5. I'm an incredibly loyal person. Whether it's my friends, family, or students. I would do anything for them. So don't mess with my people, or I'll punch you in the throat.
6. I'm petite and have been blessed with a fast metabolism. Which almost makes me doll-sized. ;)
7. My laughter makes others smile. When I laugh - and it's a genuine belly laugh - it fills the room. And is usually contagious. Just how it's supposed to be.
8. I can sing. And when I used to be in choir I was really good at it. I was offered many solos and duets. Man I miss it. I would LOVE to be a part of an acapella group since that's what I'm best at. You know when you hear people sing and they've got that vibrato rockin? I don't do that. I never have. I was always asked to solo on the Gregorian Chants, the pure tone, the stuff that gives you chills.
9. I make a mean homemade lasagna.
10. I am strong. I have been through the wringer...repeatedly. I have been knocked down...repeatedly. But I get back up. Because I have to. Because I have no other choice. Because I won't let someone else determine how I feel. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. But it's made me who I am and I'm stronger because of it.
(edit to add mine)
10 Things I Like About Myself: The Dawn Version
1. I am not afraid to apologize when I am wrong or to own up to a mistake and do my best to fix it.
2. I am a really good listener.
3. When I am in a bad mood, I don't deny it. I give fair warning and full acknowledge that I am no fun to be around at the moment.
4. I am not afraid of embracing my inner child.
5. If I let you into my inner circle (which admittedly takes some time and effort on your part), I will love you wholeheartedly.
6. I have a really long fuse. I don't get easily rattled or angered, and I take a long time to run out of patience.
7. I am a generally happy, positive person. I smile easily and I look for reasons to be grateful and cheerful. I perpetually see the bright side of many situations.
8. I am ridiculously silly, a side you only get to see if I am *really* comfortable with you.
9. I am a very balanced person. I am really in tune with my needs -- physical, mental and emotional -- and I am fully aware that when I make sure those needs are met, I am a much better wife, friend, person to be around, so when I make sure my needs are met, it's about me, but it's also about you.
10. I am extremely low maintenance.
Friday, February 1, 2013
A photo of me:
1) Candle scents this month:
Christmas Cupcake. Welcome Christmas. Balsam and Cedar. Red Berry and Cedar. Holiday Bayberry. Christmas Wreath. Sugared Apple. Holiday Sage. Cherries on Snow. French Vanilla. Christmas Cookie. Red Velvet. Peppermint Bark. Gingerbread. Sparkling Snow.
2) What I am reading this month:
The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) is a good book. I am 38% finished (according to Goodreads) (if you read and you're not on Goodreads, you should get yourself over there) and it's moving steadily along. It's just *long*. Nearly 1000 pages long. Some of it is vicious and sad, but the story keeps pulling me along through those parts. There are so many characters in this book, and part of its length comes from the fact that you seem to get to know many of them. For a while, I was trying to figure out who the main character is supposed to be, but now I am thinking it's less about that and more about "the time and place" as it relates to the various people. I dunno. I'm curious to see what happens next, anyway. Knuckleball: My Life with Baseball's Most Confounding Pitch (Tim Wakefield with Tony Massarotti) is collecting dust. You're next up, Wakey, I promise!
3) Three things on my mind:
1. I am so tired of hearing about Beyonce and the National Anthem, Manti Teo and the hoax, Ray Lewis, and the MJ/Bubba the Love Sponge trial. I feel like we examine these "news stories" from at least three different angles every broadcast.
2. It's kind of not fair that guys don't have to go through the name-changing hassle after they get married. Holy heck, what an adventure this has been.
3. I have successfully managed to keep more than one plant alive for longer than two weeks. This is a personal achievement I never thought I would see. I check my little babies every day. I keep the little informational picks that come in the little flats to make sure I get them enough sun and not too much water. I have no idea how this comes naturally for some people (if it's a genetic trait, I missed out on that one, since my Gram and Gramp could both grow anything), because it sure doesn't come easy for me!
4) Movies I saw:
True Grit - We own this one and it bears watching more than once. Jack Reacher - Saw this one in the theater. It was an action/suspense flick and actually surprised me with a couple of twists. T had some key points figured out, though. I don't know how he does it, but he can usually pick up on details like that.
5) Calendar image for the month:
This one is at home, where I keep up with my "seasons." That looks like a cold, soggy snow, doesn't it?
And this one is at work, where I proclaim my Red Sox love, loud and clear.
6) New recipe tried this month:
Goal to try at least two new recipes per month? How about *six*! Roasted Parmesan Green Beans. Turkey Pot Pie Soup (thank you leftover Thanksgiving turkey in the freezer!). Three Envelope Roast. Baked Spaghetti. Loaded Baked Potato Soup. And a recipe for slow cooker beef and broccoli that was deemed inedible and we ended up getting some takeout for dinner instead -- hey, you win some, you lose some, when you try new recipes! Just keeping it real. No sense pretending that everything that comes out of our kitchen is a culinary wonder. Some recipes need some tweaking. Some recipes require mastering an unfamiliar skill or just getting comfortable with the flow of executing the tasks. And some are just...not good.
7) Restaurants where I ate:
Bob Evans. Olive Garden. Columbia Harbour House (Magic Kingdom). Golden Corral.
8) Five things I am loving this month:
1. The days we have cooler, more seasonally-appropriate weather. We've had a January in which 14 of the first 16 days either broke, tied or fell one degree short of a heat record. It got better the second half of the month though. Still some 80s, but not as many as the first half. It's difficult to explain to people who don't live in this type of climate, but when it's hot most of the year, you really look forward to the times when it isn't. I enjoy and am grateful for the cool days.
2. The prompts for the new photo-a-day challenge I am doing this year. Inspiring and a little challenging, instead of confusing, frustrating or inapplicable to my life.
3. Our new hickory floor in the dining room. I love that we are making this house ours!
4. Finding a new morning routine that works even better than the old one.
5. A nod to Valentines Day landscaping on Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom...
...that inspired the new inhabitants in my front door planter.
9) A goal I had for this month:
Stay on target with my goals for 2013. I've been clicking through on more blog posts, but not all of them, and I am not quite up to 10 comments per day, but I am rapidly catching up to being current, when those things will be easier and more relevant. One week, I only blogged three times instead of four, but other weeks I blogged more, so we'll call it balanced out. Tried more than two new recipes. I have the parts for a Pinterest project, but I haven't done it yet. I've been reading which is making progress on that 20-book goal, even though I haven't finished any books yet in 2013. I did not miss a single day taking a photo and I have scanned in a couple more old photos. A new cleaning routine has been implemented and I have stayed almost on track; on days I've been unmotivated to do that day's task, I've gotten to it the following day, no excuses. I have made a wee bit of progress with my stack of magazines, but I need to buckle down there. No progress yet on the home-owner's binder.
10) This month I looked forward to:
Cooler weather and checking out New Fantasyland. The latter was a bust. The former was difficult to come by.
11) Something that made me laugh this month:
Playing in the Photo Booth app on my new iPad. We laughed so hard!
12) A photo I took this month:
**I had to buy a new pair of brown heeled boots, because I, literally, wore out my last pair. This new pair comes up higher on my ankle than my old pair (and my black pair), which isn't to say they are uncomfortable, because they aren't, but they still feel weird.
**A random conversation on Facebook leads me to believe that the secret to life is Disney. Those of us who love being in Disney parks and who immerse ourselves in them as frequently and joyfully as possible, even when our maturity and lack of grasp on the adult world is called into question, are some of the most happy, well-balanced, positive people I know. Don't doubt The Magic is all I'm saying.
**“Promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate.” (source unknown) - If these aren't words to live by, I don't know what are.
**Things no one tells you about getting married: If you are traditional and change your last name, it's a giant cramp to actually make the legal change. Holy heck. Also? You have to learn how to sign your name all over again. And you have to *think* about it. My current signature is somewhere between a regression to second grade (when I first learned cursive or script or whatever kids are calling it these days) and an absolute train wreck that looks like I decided to change my name mid signature.
**My feelings on the NFL ProBowl and the MLB World Baseball Classic are fairly identical: a giant waste of time that likely produces little else than opportunities for unnecessary injury.
**I recently noticed that the name Lily is very popular on sitcoms. There is a Lily on How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family and Whitney. And who knows about any of the shows I don't watch.
**I went through the whole process to change my name and address on my driver's license, only to discover a few days later that they had not only changed my name and updated my address, but granted me a new birth date as well. So, back I went to the DMV Licensing Division to have them change it back. Having them correct their error was a lot more time-consuming than having them just change my information the first time. I am glad they didn't charge me a second $25 though. That wouldn't have made me too pleased. Downside: they took another new photo of me and I was having a better hair day the last time. It's like there is some kind of imbalance in the universe if anyone has a good license photo.