Friday, August 30, 2013


The days whirl by, filled to the brim with to-do lists and busy-ness. There are frustrations and tensions. One day following on the heels of the last, relentlessly becoming weeks and months and years and a lifetime. It's exhausting, really, when you think about it.

I needed to pause.

And so I sat there and watched the evening light change from golden to pearly pink and then cool to periwinkle, before the shadows concealed the hard edges of the world.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 34


Saturday, August 24, 2013

There are no coincidences?

I get these little inspirational emails, called "Notes From the Universe." Today's: "Freedom from the past, or anything else for that matter, Dawn, always comes in the very instant you stop thinking about it." Of all days to receive this cryptic little message. It took me a little while, though, before it hit me, because truth be told, I *had* stopped thinking about it.

Freedom, indeed.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Things I've Felt This Week:

1. Extremely sentimental. I swear to you, I have gotten teary-eyed over everything. A sitcom wedding episode. A post about my Gram. A random news story. This soft-hearted-ness of mine is just running rampant.

2. Sorry for people who never have anything positive to add to the conversation. Either they are complaining on Twitter or composing whiny status updates on Facebook or they leave their little unhappy remarks on the commentary of others. I do my fair share of ranting, but I attempt to keep it light and silly. I also think my scales tip decidedly more in the direction of uplifting or funny. I would hate to live my life so miserable.

3. Weary with summer. 'Nuff said. I'm going to find a silver lining to this season and I won't stop looking until I do.

4. Challenged. My photo-a-day challenge has been making me think extra hard. That makes me feel less creative.

5. A wee bit cranky with people who don't get the message when I'm being polite, leaving me no choice but to get forceful. And then I feel mean.

6. Day-dreamy. About places I've been and miss. About places I'd like to go. About Florida winters and long holiday weekends. I am long overdue for a vacation and I'm feeling it.

7. Grateful, grateful, grateful. I have memories and people and a story that raises up emotion in me to the point that my eyes overflow. I have more people in my life who bring light and laughter than not, and if I allow it, they drown out the others. I thrive on balance and when the summer ends, I will get six months that restore and refresh me. When I feel overwhelmed with challenges and frustrated with mediocrity...and then I get a photo that comes out better than I expected, I'm glad for the challenge that pushed me in a direction I wouldn't have otherwise gone. I have a home that is a sanctuary and when the world makes me cranky, I find peace there, *always*. Daydreams are heaped full of possibility and inspiration. There are a thousand things that inspire gratitude, even when I need to dig a little deeper to expose them, but they're always there. waiting to be discovered-- something else for which I remain eternally grateful.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


There are a lot of things you take for granted during your growing up years. Some of it is youthful ignorance, born simply that you don't have any way, yet, of knowing that these things won't last forever, that they aren't everyone's experience, that their mundane and expected existence will one day be the cornerstone of nostalgia.

It's no secret that I grew up on an idyllic plot of paradise. A lush little piece of property from which my industrious grandparents coaxed forth all manner of produce. I ran wild in the cool grasses, climbed the low limbs of apple trees decades older than me, spun around under the sort of blue skies that only exist during the long days of summer until my dizzy self collapsed to the ground to gaze at the cotton ball clouds while the world slowly stopped that delicious wobbly whirling.

I didn't know any better that, as the first sun-warm harvests began piling up, a summer rite of passage wouldn't just always take place, sure as the seasons marched across calendar after calendar. We don't know and we never know, not until we grow old enough to look behind us at the trail of days, full to the brim of memories we cherish now, because we don't think they will ever be "just memories." We never think we'll kick ourselves for not having taken the opportunity for Gram's careful, patient instruction, grasping it greedily in both hands, soaking in the wisdom of a life so well spent, so rich with treasures. Because who thinks of that kind of thing as opportunity when you're a child and a teenager? Those aren't the "what if"-s we've considered at such tender ages. Without her gentle guidance to teach me the ways of the generations that long preceded me, I am intimidated. There are a thousand books and tutorials, but none able to provide the confidence that her knowledge would have imparted, and so I don't venture down this road, even in a small-scale attempt at recreating a shadow of my own Days Long Gone.

Gram would take all that abundance and fill jar after jar, sanitizing and sealing, canning and cooling. Glass jars with their metal rings, preserving the summer bounty and the sun-up-to-sun-down work of hands in the soil. Those jars of green beans and bread-and-butter pickles and a dozen varieties of jams and jellies and relishes would line rough-built but sturdy wooden shelves in the cellar, waiting to fill us full through the colder days ahead.

I can close my eyes and still hear the pop of the lids sealing. Some sounds are so deeply woven into the fabric of our being that they are time machines. And still those jars are filling me, this time my soul instead of my stomach. I know that I could learn on my own, these ways of my ancestors, but even the satisfaction of self-taught achievement wouldn't bottle what I'm really wishing to preserve: days I'll never get back, lessons I'll never be taught, stories that I didn't record, and minutes spent in the kitchen with a lady I miss every day.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 33


Sunday, August 18, 2013

TV Loves and Hates: August 18, 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!

**I really enjoyed the incorporation of Neverland into Once Upon a Time, and I liked that the season finale rid us of Lacey, restoring Belle.

**The season finale of Dallas came complete with a jaw-dropping twist, some heartfelt emotion to make me teary-eyed, ever-shifting alliances, and a major set-up that is sure to go awry some how in the season three premiere.

**This comment would be under the other heading, if not for that final scene with the President of the United States holed up Cuba, what??? The whole finale was a weird, uncomfortable, bloody, bizarre debacle until that giant bombshell.

**Law & Order: SVU really kicked it up a notch with the final four episodes. I felt like the cases were fresh and there were decent twists and methods used to tell the stories. Not too shabby for a show winding up its fourteenth season!

**I am really concerned that Tamara and Greg are returning to season three of Once Upon a Time. Totally useless characters who contradict themselves, have no clear story, and who supposedly hate all things magic, yet kidnapped Henry into a magic wormhole...what??

**How to Live with Your Parents actually got pretty funny...*after* they decided not to renew it and were just burning off existing episodes.

**Sometimes previews give too much away. Like the season finale of Law & Order: SVU. What should have been a scene that caused me to gasp had already been spoiled, because as the episode progressed, I had too many details and was able to come to a conclusion that should have been a bigger surprise.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 32


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 31


Monday, August 5, 2013

TV Loves & Hates: August 5, 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!

**I was concerned that the late news of Body of Proof being cancelled would mean that the season-now-series finale would leave too many unanswered questions and I would go mad without resolution. I really detest cliffhangers left permanently dangling. (I firmly believe that, unless a show is certain that it will be returning for a next season, cliffhangers should be avoided at all costs. Nothing is worse, as a television viewer, than a show ending, unresolved.) I need not have wasted my energy worrying though. Body of Proof wound things up in tidy fashion. We got answers about Megan's father -- not just that he didn't commit suicide, after all, but what led to his murder -- and a Megan-and-Tommy kiss. The only loose end was Dr Marsh and that one was ok with me.

**Loved a happy ending (for the season, anyway) for the Grey-Shepard family. Mer being deeply happy makes *me* happy. (Grey's Anatomy)

**The unique perspective of the show Motive. It's different from other crime dramas and I like spending the hour trying to figure out "why" instead of "whodunnit."

**I am so furious at the direction they went with Arizona and April. I get that Jackson was April's real love and all that but did she have to get her dream engagement just to end up tossing the guy aside? And there is just *no* excuse for Arizona being a mean, bitter, spiteful cheater. (Grey's Anatomy, ep 24)

**They seem to be playing the episodes of How to Live with Your Parents completely out of order. And if they *aren't* being played out of the order in which they were written, then I don't get how the brain of the writer(s) works.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: July 2013

A photo of me:
Ummm... there are random photos of my hands and feet (inside shoes) (my feet, not my hands) (in the shoes, that is), but none of actually me. I am going to blame my husband. I can't be expected to make them all self-portraits, can I?? I'll do better next month.

1) Candle scents* this month:
Seaside Holiday. Turquoise Sky. Summer Wish. Waikiki Melon. Beach Walk. Juicy Peach. Juicy Watermelon. Cherry Lemonade. Pink Sands. Coconut Bay.

2) What I am reading this month (you can find me on Goodreads!):
I finished up The Waste Lands (Stephen King) pretty quickly - definitely my favorite book in the series, so far. I really want an Oy! And then it was full speed ahead for July: Gentlemen and Players (Joanne Harris) - a ton of characters, a lot of switching back and forth between present and past, the first third was a little slow, but a decent book. K is for Killer (Sue Grafton) - the next book in a series I hadn't read in a very long time, but I had no trouble picking it back up again. Unfortunately, it had a terrible ending without any real resolution. Bummer. The White Queen (Philippa Gregory) - first book in a series, I'll definitely read more of them. Medieval England sure was a violent time and place to live, though. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Sophie Kinsella) - I struggled through the first book in this fairly popular series quite a while back, but I finished that one and wanted to give the second book a shot, thinking it might improve. It didn't. I got fifty pages in and just couldn't do it. The main character is awful and annoying. There are too many books waiting to be read for me to waste my time on one I hate. I won't be attempting any more from this series. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) - I read this in high school and decided to re-read some of the classics as an adult, to see how my perspective and opinion of the books would change. This one was first on my list (long before it was made into a movie and became the "cool" thing to do!) and all I can say is wow, what a miserably unhappy group of people. The writing itself was fabulous but there wasn't a pleasant, likeable character in the whole thing. I started World Without End (Ken Follett) but had to set it aside when two books became unexpectedly available off my library request list, but needed immediate attention as there remains a substantial waiting list behind me, so I am very much looking forward to returning to it as soon as I finish the other two, the first of which I just started last night: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Alan Bradley).

3) Three things on my mind:
1. There were a lot of insults hurled in the direction of Florida when the verdict was given on George Zimmerman. Here's the thing though: opinions and feelings aside, as far as I can tell, the prosecution failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he was guilty. There were many questionable decisions made by the prosecution, both leading up to and during the trial, that failed to get much national media attention, which doesn't really surprise me, because it didn't serve their purpose; they don't believe in across-the-board disclosure and honest journalism, but rather in fueling dissension, ratings-driven sensationalism, and promoting verdict in the court of public opinion. I believe that, above all, the jurors did as they were charged: decide whether he was guilty (and here are the keys so conveniently forgotten) by the letter of the law, based on the case the State presented. I have served on a jury. I have had the burden of a verdict weigh heavy on my shoulders and my conscience. Before that experience, I had absolutely zero concept of the enormous responsibility that truly is, and when I see people moan and groan about being summoned for jury duty, squirming their way out of performing their civic duty using a multitude of excuses, but are quick to form loud opinions via social media, I know something none of them do: It's as easy to be an armchair juror as a Monday morning quarterback, when your opinions hold no true weight, when they don't actually affect real lives, when they are formed only by what the sensationalized media provides you as the "facts and evidence" it deems relevant. It's so easy to say you would have done differently (ha! you'd have to actually serve on a jury for that to happen and we all know how you feel about putting your money where your mouth is on that topic!), but when you actually sit in one of those chairs, knowing you will have to live with the decision you make sitting on your conscience, knowing that no matter what you decide, one side will hate you for it? It's different. Different in a way you will never appreciate, unless you put yourself there. Whether or not I *like* the outcome of any trial, I believe in our justice system, that the burden of proof is on the prosecution and that we are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the State fails in that regard, then the blame is on them, not on Floridians and not on the jury.
2. I shared some related thoughts on Facebook (that I want to include for myself):

I am astonished how many of you boisterously take on the role of armchair juror in the court of public opinion, yet vanish into a mist of excuses when your number is drawn to actually perform your civic duty. May you or your loved ones never require a jury of your remaining "peers." Until you sit in one of those seats, charged with the enormous burden of responsibility given you by that role, you have no idea what it is like to shoulder the weight of such a decision. 
The burden is not on the jury to execute personal opinions, but on the prosecution to present an indisputable case, based solely on evidence, and it is the charge to the jury to examine that case *only* by the letter of the law, all emotions and opinions aside. If the State fails in its task, a person *cannot* be found guilty. 
I have been in one of those chairs, with the weight of a verdict on my conscience, knowing that half the people in that room would celebrate my decision and the other half would hate me for it. Even knowing we did exactly the job we were asked to do, it has stayed with me all this time since. 
I believe in our justice system. It's easy to say you would have done differently, to be judge, jury and executioner when your verdict and sentencing have no actual profound effect on the lives of the people on either side of a trial, when you don't have to live with the decision you made for the rest of your life. 
It's too bad that more people don't take jury duty more seriously. If you want to make a real difference, don't squirm out of your next jury summons. Be a part of the judicial system you're so quick to judge from your living room and the other side of your computer screen. Trust me, it will *change* you.
3. On July 29, the Red Sox played the Rays in Boston. Late in the game, Daniel Nava slid into home with (what would have been) the tying run, in a game that decided which team would lead the division. The umpire called him out, the Tampa bench went crazy, John Farrell lost his mind and was ejected from the game, and the Sox went on to lose. Here's the thing: There's no telling how that game might have finished. The tying run only gave the Sox a fifty-fifty shot at winning and they still could have lost just as easily. Even though the umpire admitted after the game that his call was bad, the damage was done. You see, I can swallow a loss when it comes as a result of the Sox not playing well enough to win, but I want to lose on our own merit, not the failure of an official to properly do his job. I am left feeling furious. I want (proverbial) blood. I sure hope the Sox feel the same.

4) Movies I saw:
RED 2 - we loved the first one and the sequel did not disappoint. Good action, good laughs.

5) Calendar image for the month:
Another summer image that doesn't really speak to me. Meh.

Neither did this one. Uninspiring. C'mon, calendars! I have to look at you all month! Give me something good.

6) New recipes tried this month:
Macaroni Salad. Sweet and Sour Meatballs Kabobs. Freezer Sweet Corn.

7) Restaurants where I ate:
Boston Lobster Feast (T's very belated birthday dinner request).

8) Five things I am loving this month:
1. An abundance of fresh fruit. Cherries. Pineapple. Cantaloupe. Plums. Nectarines. Strawberries. Blueberries. Raspberries. Grapes.
2. Words that paint pictures. For example: "Occasionally a burst of laughter shot upward like a bottle rocket, exploding softly against the quiet darkness of the neighborhood." And of all places, that quote came from a murder mystery, "K is for Killer" (Sue Grafton).
3. The Red Sox signing Pedroia to a seven-year contract extension through 2021. Heart and soul of the team. I can't imagine him anywhere else but in Boston.
4. The birth of England's new prince. Not so much because I have Royal Fever, but because they look like such a sweet, loving, genuine couple and I am thrilled for them.
5. Ummm... getting a paid day off from work? Listen, folks. It's July. I am summer weary and the end is nowhere in sight. Thinking of four things took monumental effort.

9) Three goals I had this month and three goals for next month:
1. Get through all the August issues of my magazines as they come in and get at least five old issues from The Stack into recycling. (I got through all but one new issue, and that one arrived on the 28th, *but* nine old issues were marched off to recycling! I still feel like I did well enough to cross this one off.)
2. Pick a paint color for the hall and part of the main bathroom. (Done! "Lyndhurst Gallery Beige," in case you're the curious sort.)
3. Attempt to recreate Gram's pickled beets. (Fail. I really need to try this. Like, for real.)

1. Tackle all the September issues of my magazines as they come in -- and after the slim summer issues, this will prove challenging! -- as well as finish the lingering August issue (Better Homes and Gardens) and another five issues from The Stack gone to recycling.
2. Attempt to recreate Gram's pickled beets.
3. Get the DVR current, once and for all, before new shows start up in earnest in September.

10) Something I learned:
::blank, summer-weary stare::

11) The best part of this month and the worst part of this month:
The worst: the night the air conditioning went out.
The best: it was only out one night, it was a quick fix, T learned how to fix this issue himself next time, and it was the least expensive central air problem to have.

12) A photo I took this month:

How we do Fourth of July dinner.

*All scents are Yankee Candle, unless otherwise noted.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP