Friday, January 31, 2014

What I Learned in January: 2014

1. Rejection doesn't get easier to feel as you get older. Sure, you may have learned better coping skills. You may learn to handle it with a bit more grace (sometimes). You likely won't collapse on a fainting couch, the back of one hand dramatically pressed to your forehead, with all the teenage angst you can muster, mourning the fact that you can't imagine how life will go on. But it still stings and it still makes you sad. Especially when the rejection comes from a place you never thought it would.

2. I romanticize snow days. I love the idea of being tucked cozily indoors, with a crackling fireplace, and a steaming mug of some warm beverage close by, as the world outside my window is blanketed in a million flakes of crystallized water. But the truth is that I like it from afar. I have no actual desire for that to be the sum of my winter.

3. It is amazing how quickly you get used to a ginormous shower. I've had bathrooms, most of my life (read: the vast majority of 35 years not living in the place we presently call home) that could probably fit *inside* my current master bath shower, and they always served the purpose for which they were designed. But now that I've tasted nearly two years of a shower bigger than most of those previous bathrooms, it's been a real challenge downsizing to the normal-sized shower in our main bath while T gives our master bath a major overhaul.

4. Despite their claim otherwise, M&Ms *do* melt in your hand. Or at the very least, their candy shells will. And they will stain your hand a variety of (often seasonally appropriate) colors when they do.

5. My To Do List suffers tremendously when it's chilly. Chilly weather makes me decidedly unmotivated to do anything but burrow under a fuzzy blanket or three. We had a good run of cooler than normal Florida temperatures (not that I am complaining at all!) as the Polar Vortex pressed down into even the deep south.  The idea of emerging from my nest of warm blankies to do things like fold towels dust ceiling fan blades was unappealing on a grand scale.

Every month, Chatting at the Sky shares what she learned. Big things and little things. Life lessons from the serious to the silly. I've decided I want to participate. Just another means of capturing who am I along this broken little road called life.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Belong to me.

"Belonging has always been tough for me."
"I can be your home," he said quietly. "Belong to me."
(from "The Girl Who Chased the Moon" by Sarah Addison Allen)

As I was reading "The Girl Who Chased the Moon," this particular passage stuck with me.

In all the reading I've done -- novels and non-fiction, magazine articles and blog posts -- and in all the television shows and movies and interviews I watch and in all the social media I browse, this seems to be a frequent theme, this wanting to belong somewhere and that belonging just not coming naturally.

Belonging is tough. To belong, you must first make yourself vulnerable, leave yourself wide open to rejection. Vulnerability is terrifying, leaving your feelings exposed when your natural reaction is to keep them well-protected. And those times when you think you belong, only to discover you were mistaken, can be so crushing, you resign yourself to never open yourself up to that kind of risk again, because you decide the loneliness of not belonging hurts less than the sting of being turned away.

But that moment a connection is made...

Oh, the joy to find "your people."

And, most especially, the one who becomes your home.

The one who says "belong to me."


Saturday, January 25, 2014

This Week on My TV: January 25, 2014

Disclaimer: Some shows I watch live and with others, I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. All I can do is lead in with the show and episode. You read at your own risk!

**(Parenthood, S5E8 "The Ring") Hey Julia, private conversations you don't want your kids to hear, especially drama queen Sydney, should probably be had with the bedroom door closed. -- Hoo boy. Shouldn't Amber be showing off her engagement ring, not cringing and looking woeful? -- Did Adam seriously yell "Get off my lawn!" at the media?? ::snicker:: -- Whoa. That was an awfully...familiar...hug that Ed gave Julia after she learned the school was suggesting they move Victor back to fourth grade. I'm not sure how Joel would feel about that, but I'm certain my husband would be something quite the opposite of thrilled. -- I don't get how Adam can be all "get off my lawn" one minute and then the next, be all "hey Kristina, I kinda like it when you're feisty" ::eyebrow wiggle:: as she is ranting about how Bob Little is a schmuck. -- I pretty much love how Kristina and Amber interact, both Amber *wanting* Kristina to go public with the way Bob Little was inappropriate with her when she was an intern on his last campaign, and Kristina talking to Amber about how she feels about her engagement ring. -- What on earth is going on with laid back, supportive, good-guy Joel? Because he's none of those things this season. -- I was surprised, and yet not, that Kristina opted not to stoop to Bob Little's mud-slinging tactics after all, during the press conference she called, but chose to explain how what Bob Little's "slam" against Kristina's campaign shows about the values she has and what she stands for and why she is running for mayor. -- My heart's breaking a little bit for Zeek. -- I'll give Sarah credit. I don't think I would have had the nerve to go to that party. -- Is Parenthood losing its touch? This is either the second or third episode in a row, I don't recall tearing up.

**(Scandal, S3E7 "Everything's Coming Up Mellie") Whoa. "15 Years Ago" is weird. Mellie and Fitz in love. Cyrus with messy hair and a beard. -- Cyrus [to Mellie]: You're way better at picking out hookers than you are china patterns. -- Not at all sure how I feel about Harrison's hot pink suspenders. -- What the heck was that kiss between Charlie and Quinn? -- Cyrus had a wife?? OMG, this episode is crazypants. -- Holy crap. Fitz's father raped Mellie??? I almost feel bad for hating everything about her. Almost. -- Charlie set Quinn up with the murder of that security guard. She is so damn naive and in over her head. -- Purple does not suit Mellie. -- The VP's husband isn't a womanizer...because he's into...dudes??? -- OLIVIA'S MOTHER IS ALIVE WHAT IN THE HOLY HECK. -- Are they seriously implying that Mellie birthed Fitz's half-sibling?! -- Sometimes this show flirts with pushing the envelope just a tad too far. And yet I can't not watch because I have to see where they take it next. I mean, seriously. I have no idea what just happened in that episode but I feel like I was just flung around like a wet dishrag.

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E10 "Psycho/Therapist") That was a disturbing daydream Olivia had about her therapist and her attacker, William Lewis. -- Is it preparing to testify against William Lewis making Liv crack  up or is she still that messed up? Because drawing a gun on Mayhem Cassidy when she heard a noise in the apartment? Whoa. -- I have no idea which way I would decide if presented with the options given Olivia: allow Lewis to falsely confess to multiple counts of raping me with the guarantee that he would spend the rest of his life in prison or deny him the final power over me and make him go forward with the trial, knowing he might walk. -- Oh for crying out loud. They got a guilty verdict on two of the four charges brought against Lewis and then in that final "four months later" scene, he looks like he's planning his escape by creating a medical emergency. Are we seriously not done with this creepy character yet? Will we not be finished with him until he's dead?

**(Person of Interest, S3E13 "4C") When Mr Reese punches the jerk on the phone in the face and knocks him out, that was the most amusing thing I've seen him do in a long time. Good to see you, Mr Reese. -- Owen (this week's number) called Mr Reese "Mr Dark and Stormy." ::snort:: -- Interesting. Harold insists he didn't set up Mr Reese to be on this flight with the latest number. So the Machine does not accept Mr Reese's insistent resignation and is acting without Harold's involvement? Or is something else at play here? Root? Samaritan? -- Second most amusing thing: watching Mr Reese fight a bad guy using whatever he could get his hands on out of the luggage in the cargo hold. -- I suspected Holly, the flight attendant, as being involved in the hit on Owen. I was close. Wrong flight attendant. -- Oh yay! Mr Reese and Mr Finch, reunited!

**(Last Man Standing, S3E13 "Breaking Boyd") Vanessa: They took him to that psychiatrist and he diagnosed him with ADHD. Mike: Of course he did. They don't make money by saying your kid is fine, take him home. -- Mandy with the short bangs, sideburns and huge dark glasses frames is just not a flattering look. At all. -- Meh. This felt a little "after school special" with Mandy taking Boyd's ADHD prescription to help herself prep for exams.

**(How I Met Your Mother, S9E15 "Unpause") I almost forgot Marshall and Lily paused their big fight! -- Flash forward! Flash forward! The Mother is pregnant! Awww! -- Barney is Truth Serum Drunk. This proved fairly interesting. -- Why did Marshall have just one bloodshot eye? -- Yeah yeah, all the truths from Barney and his grand plan of revenge against the man who stole his girlfriend a billion years ago. But I need to know who picked up Lily after she ran away from her fight with Marshall? How will they resolve their argument? What happened when The Mother was in labor for their son?? Why do you toy with me, How I Met Your Mother?!

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E8 "Think Lovely Thoughts") Good to get some Rumplestiltskin childhood background, finally, after so many half-references without detail. -- ::snicker:: The look Regina gave Rumplestiltskin when he asked her if she remembered the spell. -- I'm kind of impressed that they found someone to play Rumplestiltskin's father who could very nearly replicate that creepy giggle. -- Speaking of creepy. I didn't think Pan's shadow could get more so. And then it spoke. -- Pan is Rumplestiltskin's father!!! I never saw that twist coming! -- I always thought pulling out a heart was pretty freaky. But Henry pulling out his own heart? ::shudder::

**(The Blacklist, S1E12 "The Alchemist") Red: I hate sarcasm and I love puzzles. -- Who is Lucy Brooks? She keeps popping up. Red looked her up on ViCAP. This episode, he was staring at her obituary. I suspect she was the photo he took from The Stewmaker's trophy album. -- Tom is claiming to have no secrets?? Yeah, right, dude. -- The Alchemist is scary good at what he does. -- Who is Jolene, why does she have a file on Tom Keen and for what reason is she planning to pay him a visit?! And call me crazy, but I could swear she bears a striking resemblance to LUCY BROOKS. -- Red: Just out of curiosity, what number am I on your speed dial? Liz: Seven. Red: Who's six? Liz: Chinese takeout. -- I am dying to know what Red's unfinished business is that he mentioned when he met with Liz at the church. -- Nice, Tom. Planning a hook-up with Jolene? I'm thinking you're being set up. And you deserve it, you dirtbag. No secrets, huh? -- Meera is the mole!! I wonder how this is going to play out.

**(Blue Bloods, S4E13 "Unfinished Business") Finally some snow on the ground! -- Frank Reagan and Garrett Moore are probably my favorite tv "work marriage." They kill me with the snark and bickering. -- It was interesting, learning some of Danny's personal history, what makes him tick, where he was before the show started. -- It kills me every time Pop calls Frank "Francis."

**(The Michael J Fox Show, S1E14 "Couples") Mike: You're a hell of a wing man. Where were you when I was dating? Annie: Dating guys with more game than you? -- Awkward birth of a new friendship! (Yeah, I think I'll pass on that...) -- Ha! Harris is now the jealous friend! (I bet I'd be more amused if friendship weren't a raw nerve for me right now.) -- Eve: It turns out it's not always easy to be honest with people. And it's even harder to be honest with yourself.

**(Mike and Molly, S4E9 "Mike and Molly's Excellent Adventure") A storefront car dealership in the city. I never thought about that before! -- I feel like this show is treading water where it used to move forward in the "big picture" plot. I know sitcoms don't really have the platform for as much character development as a drama allows, but there is no forward motion at all, anymore, not with Mike and Molly trying to get out on their own or with having a baby, nothing, unless you count Molly getting an unpaid article published online. Kind of disappointing. There haven't even been any good Jim scenes lately!

**(2 Broke Girls, S3E14 "And the Dumpster Sex") Max: Actually, it's just going to be the two of you, I have a date and Caroline's afraid to stay here alone. Sophie [to Caroline]: If you don't want to be alone, then why do you act that way? -- Deke lives in a dumpster? Yeah, ok. -- "Brown chicken, brown cow" was funny when I heard it one time on Last Man Standing. Saying it repeatedly, especially in Deke's and Max's annoying voices, made it no longer funny.

**(The Carrie Diaries, S2E4 "Borderline") It's been a long time since I last watched it, but I could swear grownup Carrie sat at that same fountain. -- Dorrit? In Carrie's bed? Gross. -- Speaking of gross, Sebastian is sleeping with that teacher now? -- Unless my memory isn't serving me well (entirely possible), Carrie's hair was very 80s Madonna-ish. Which works well with the title of the episode. -- Tom's girlfriend's son is the definition of 'brat'. -- Ugh. Walt and Bennett and all the "do what you want" drama. -- Kind of a dull episode, really, but it was right on par with grownup Carrie's decision making when it comes to guys.

**(The Middle, S5E12 "The Carpool") Frankie [as Mike exits the room while she's talking]: Leaving doesn't make it right! Mike: Makes it quieter! -- Sue: Oh no, you and mom are getting divorced. Are you leaving her for a younger woman? Mike: God, no. She'd want kids. -- Two weeks in a row there were "awww" moments for Sue: last episode with Axl, this one with Mike. But I want her to have one with Darrin!

**(Modern Family, S5E13 "Three Dinners") Cam: We both look very handsome. Mitchell: If you had just said I look handsome, I would have said you do too. Cam: I couldn't take that chance. -- The tables at the restaurant where Cam and Mitchell were eating were *really* close together. -- It was really good to see Haley starting to blossom after so much time being a mess! I love that she has a plan! -- The "three dinners" format was a great one for this show. It reminded me a lot of some of my favorite episodes of Frasier.

**(Chicago Fire, S2E7 "No Regrets") The train collision was a lot like some of the best episodes of Grey's Anatomy. Lots of action, lots of tension. -- What is Shay's deal? She's still all rattled and unfocused at the train accident scene. -- Of course there was a lost kid at the emergency scene. There always is. -- I couldn't figure out why the trauma surgeon who showed up at the train wreck looked so familiar. And then it hit me: Colin Sweeney on The Good Wife. -- Do any of these characters have a good life, other than Hermann? -- I knew Boden wasn't really going to retire. -- No amount of hype or crossover is going to convince me to add Chicago PD to my DVR. Sorry, NBC.

**(Top Chef, S11E15 "Leaving New Orleans") Did Shirley really criticize Carlos for always cooking Mexican dishes when she often leans toward Asian? Hello, pot, this is the kettle. (Ha. Cooking pun not intended, but definitely amusing.) -- Nick did a "beef deckle" for one of his Quick Fire Challenges. I had never heard of it before and had to look it up. -- Every time Tom enters the kitchen, he is wearing his chef's coat. Is there some sort of rule like in an operating room you must wear scrubs? Or does he just really like wearing his chef's coat? -- Every week, Nina despairs that she made a crucial error that will send her home. And every week, she's safe. -- Padma and Gail were wearing rather cleavage-y tops. Yikes. -- Carlos???? Even after Nick's fish was under-seasoned and they were still talking about how his dish needed more salt?! I do not understand how Nick manages to skate every week. -- Now I am rooting for Shirley, unless Louis makes it back as Last Chance Kitchen winner.

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E11 "Amaro's One-Eighty") You knew it was bad news for Amaro as soon as Rollins forced more wine on him. -- There's always an angry African American reverend. Always. -- They sure seem to pick what would appear to be grand jury that might be biased. -- So, Captain Gragen is retiring and leaving Olivia in charge. I'm not sure how this sits with me, given that I don't think Olivia's solved all her William Lewis issues yet.

**(Mom, S1E14 "Leather Cribs and Medieval Racks") I can't decide whether or not I like Violet. -- I had to laugh when Violet said she was going to "break the cycle" of not being there for her baby, like Christy wasn't there for her, and Bonnie wasn't there for Christy. Violet sure didn't break  the cyc;e of getting pregnant young!

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E12 "Jersey Breakdown") Is it a sign of my age that I am so out of touch with lingo that we had to look up words used on this show, because I didn't know what they meant? -- So Nick is on desk duty but he's allowed to interview suspects? -- Perry, the club owner, played Jay's best friend on Modern Family. -- Rollins is gambling again. I knew she wasn't late to the hospital to check on the victim because her dog was sick from eating chocolate. Can't argue with Nick's instincts, either, because he's got her pegged too. -- What a hornets' nest this case opened. Human trafficking. Dirty judge and prosecutors. Abusive juvenile facilities. -- Perry's lawyer told Amaro that he thinks Amaro has a dark view of the world. Well, duh. I would think if anyone has a dark view of world, it would be an SVU detective, given what they see every day! -- The call Liv got from Maria sure doesn't bode well for either Nick's plans for his future or his claims that he is ready to get his gun back and return to full duty. -- I hate that every time Liv's phone rings or she walks into her apartment alone, I worry that William Lewis is going to be there. My sanity needs that story put to bed, once and for all.

**(The Michael J Fox Show, S1E15 "Sochi") I'm not sure how healthy it is for Eve that Mike laughed at the thought of her competing in a beauty pageant, even if she was only claiming to want to do it in order to get her mother's goat. -- Annie: I'm not sure I'd go on Mrs Freedman's word. She walks a loaf of bread around like a dog. -- I can't decide whether or not I like Anne Heche in this role. -- Eve: So you're going to help me? Annie: We're going to start with your smile. It's always bothered me. -- *Loved* Eve's blue dress! -- People should start taking note not to eat anywhere near Susan, especially at her invitation.

**(Last Man Standing, S3E14 "Renaming Boyd's School") The dress Mandy is making makes me think of Peter Pan with its green and its feathers. -- Mike's vlogs make me laugh. -- Ed has a fireplace in his office. I want a fireplace in my office. And an office. -- The interactions between Mike and Chuck Larrabee are priceless. -- Boyd: Did you own slaves? Mike: Didn't have to. I had kids. -- That final scene was the first time I have ever liked something New Kristin has done. Covering Ryan's mouth to prevent him from speaking anymore is exactly what this show needs more of.

**(Revolution, S2E9 "Everyone Says I Love You") Monroe [to Miles]: Boy, you really have gone soft. You're like a puppy holding a kitten. -- I thought Julia was dead?! -- I will never understand the weird dramatic pauses before they say a name. "We won't...Aaron." Why not just "We won't, Aaron," in a normal cadence? -- The nanotech is taking on life-ish form?? -- When a guy tells a woman "now don't freak out..." after she asks him what's wrong, we always freak out and almost always for good reason. -- The nanotech are quite temperamental, it seems.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Broken Road Confessionals: January 23, 2014

**After I finish a particularly chilling Mary Higgins Clark book, if I'm alone in the house after dark, or if T has gone to bed, I can't stand to have the blinds open, because I feel like someone is watching me.

**Many moons ago, in another lifetime, I received a "My Best Friend's Wedding" sort of proposal. I laughed it off at the time, but in retrospect, I've never been sure if he was serious or not. Not that I'm interested or "needing" it or anything like that. (Happily and unregretfully married, thank you very much!) I just happened to see that movie scroll past on the television on-screen channel guide, and it reminded me. It made me realize that if he was, in fact, not joking around, then my laughter was probably a little heartless (though I swear I didn't mean it in a mean-spirited way!). Not really something you can revisit for curiosity's sake, though. Not even if it would come part-and-parcel with an apology for my inappropriate amusement.

**I may or may not (but most likely may) have spent a portion of my day easily distracted by shiny baubles on the internet. I don't *need* to be shopping and it's doubtful that I would actually part with my hard-earned (ahem, maybe not so much today...) cash for these little goodies at full price, but should Pottery Barn have these lovelies in stock once they hit clearance, I make no promises.

They would fit in perfectly with the type of "Valentines" decor I do, which consists entirely of tucking little bits of red and pink in among the blue, white and silver of winter that's already up. I like the additional pops of color and they add a visual change of pace. And really, can there ever be too much love? I think not.

**Getting back to that first point, I am a complete chicken. I cannot watch Sleepy Hollow at night. (I couldn't watch Fringe at night, either.) If I don't have enough daylight hours between when I watch and when I sleep, I get nightmares. (Oddly, this rule has never applied to Dexter.) It is for this reason that I have four episodes of Sleepy Hollow currently residing on the DVR.

**Sometimes I still need my Gram's reminder: The smart one shuts up.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Colors in the Snow

The news keeps talking about the Polar Vortex (when I was a kid, we simply called it "a gloriously snowy winter" and rejoiced, as only kids can) and the Weather Channel keeps naming storms (because why should hurricanes get all the media drama fun?) as I watch the snow pile up in drifts from afar. Something about it all makes me reminiscent. I don't know if it's the Christmas card images or the fact that winter just lends itself to cozying up with a warm blanket and some memories of yesteryear, but the reminiscing wraps itself around me like the warmth of a roaring fireplace.

I haven't seen it in person in more than a decade, but I remember it well. Right down to the way it feels to breathe in the sharp air and feel it catch in your chest. But more than the way it feels, there is something that happens when the snow falls. It blots out the faded colors of a hibernating earth, softens all the harsh edges. Against that backdrop of purest white, colors seem to have an extra vibrancy. Reds pop with cheer. The green pine boughs seem more lush. Winter coats and hats and gloves are a rainbow riot. The sky is a shade of blue that rivals any turquoise in a box of Crayola crayons. Even the snow itself would become a dazzle of color as the sun bounced rays of light off the snowbanks. It's as if the whole world would wake up for from drowsy slumber to sing with joy.

What I remember most of all, though, are the multi-colored Christmas lights. They would cast their cheerful light in colorful little pools on the snow beneath them. Or, after a heavy snowfall, glow warmly from within their snowy cocoon. Gram used to have this Christmas wrapping paper. It was a snowy twilight scene with horse drawn sleighs making their way among snow laden evergreens and garlanded homes with light spilling warm from the windows. But what commanded my attention was the way the Christmas lights on the trees and lining the eaves of the houses shone softly in this snow-covered world. I loved that wrapping paper, thrilled when it would appear on a package bearing a tag with my name. I wish I had a square of it now, to frame for my wall, a ticket to a beautiful world of both winter delight and precious reverie.

In reality, the snow gets tired and grey. Tempers get short as people grow restless and weary. There are an abundance of adulthood grievances weighing down each falling snowflake. And yes, people move away and wax poetic, romanticizing frozen precipitation in their travels down Memory Lane. But the colors in the snow remain beautiful, up close or from hundreds of miles or months removed.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

This Week on my TV: January 18, 2014

Disclaimer: Some shows I watch live and with others, I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. All I can do is lead in with the show and episode. You read at your own risk!

**(The Good Wife, S5E11 "Goliath and David") Eli slays me when he's frazzled. I love when Alicia asks him why he and Marilyn aren't in the party and he gets all twitchy. -- Hey! It's Daniel Frye from The Bridge! And man, his mannerisms are nearly identical. He just isn't as angry as this character. -- Will thinks he is so slick, soliciting a client out of someone being sued by Alicia. -- When Alicia and Cary played the song in the courtroom as evidence, and everyone is sitting there, bopping along, I died laughing. -- Alicia and Will were freaking awesome, playing off one another. Will, messing with Alicia's head, knowing what her weaknesses are in court, and then Alicia one-upping him by showing up, wearing the dress she had on when she and Will first began their affair, knowing it would distract him. It was funny and played to perfection and I seriously loved that whole exchange. This vibe between them, even though it's supposed to be tense and awkward and angry is just pure awesome. -- I really do not like this detective chick, Jenna, that Kalinda is currently...involved with. (She is played by Jordana Spiro and I keep confusing her with Laura Prepon for some reason.) -- Marilyn is the strangest pregnant woman ever. That whole conversation with Eli, while she was lying on the floor with her feet in the air? What was *that* about? I mean, Eli is raging at her and she's just staring up at him. Weird. -- Holy crap! Holy *crap*. The video the reporter wants to discuss with Eli has *nothing* to do with Marilyn's pregnancy in relation to Peter Florrick. Someone turned in surveillance footage of the voter rigging!! How long til Eli just has a stroke?

**(The Mentalist, S6E12 "The Golden Hammer") There was an exchange between Jane and Lisbon early in the episode. It took place in front of Cho. The look on Cho's face was so classically Cho. I'm glad they didn't change his character, what with all the other changes to the show. -- Jane has this snarky amusement to his attitude now. A bit more of an edge than before. This is a change I'm loving. -- Jane: Relax. Cho: I *am* relaxed. Jane: Really? I've seen rodeo bulls more relaxed. -- Van Pelt and Rigsby! I miss them. Grace is looking a little rough though. Motherhood taking its toll? -- I need to know what Jane's foolproof line is to get people to hit him!! -- Who is tracking the old CBI team with clearly malicious intent?!

**(How I Met Your Mother, S9E14 "Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra") Marshall: Don't think of it as a slap. Think of it as high five. For your stupid face. -- The tree...slapped...Marshall. BAHAHAHA! -- Haaaaaa. Red Bird...Robin. White Flower...Lily. The Calligrapher...Ted. -- Held slaptive. You have shown great slaptitude. The Slappilachian Mountains. A slappetite for destruction. Slapprentice. .. The details of this episode were so silly and yet so amusing. -- Boyz II Men! Wow, there's a blast from the past. I haven't thought about them since I was in high school.

**(The Good Wife, S5E12 "We, the Juries") Of course Will and Alicia are stuck representing a married couple together but separately. Because this won't be a circus. -- I wonder if double jury trials actually exist? -- What is Kalinda up to with Cary? I can't believe I feel bad for him, but she is exploiting his feelings for her. -- Peter vs Big. I really cannot decide as which character I prefer Chris Noth. -- Ted's Victoria from How I Met Your Mother! I have seen a plethora of actor cross-pollination between my shows lately. -- I'm a big fan of the color combo Will's tie: robins egg blue and ruby red. Huh. Who knew? -- The judge made a "herding cats" reference. That is one of my favorite phrases of all time. -- Haaaa. Cary totally played Kalinda and Lockhart/Gardner with that whole Paisley Group business. He knew Kalinda couldn't resist a peek at his phone when he wasn't there and she feel for it. Well played, Cary! Score one for Florrick, Agos and Associates! -- It seems Will will stop at nothing to hurt Alicia and Peter. I used to like Will. Now I think he's a douche. I suppose hurt feelings can do that to you though, and Will's are clearly still stinging.

**(Reign, S1E5 "A Chill in the Air") First of all, you never ever detour through the woods at the advice of a stranger. Second, a crow on a branch is never ever a sign of good things to come. -- A romantic interlude and a kiss between Mary and Francis! Finally! -- Mary: Do you flirt with everyone? Bash: Absolutely everyone. -- Olivia and Francis were intimate and now she is shamed because she's lost her virginity and it's come out. So, is she attempting to get back in with Francis using guilt? -- Mary's ladies are catty. I couldn't possibly survive in that environment. Mary is kind, though, and compassionate, inviting Olivia to join the group after Catherine snubbed her. -- What does Bash know about the pagan bandits in the woods and why is he the only one who doesn't appear to fear them? -- Olivia: I'm sorry, your warmth. It's...unexpected. Mary: I always knew Francis had a past. Men are allowed to have them where as we have our reputations ruined. Hardly seems fair. ... Some things really haven't changed. -- Wow. After Mary's kindness, Olivia is pretty brazen to question the validity of Mary's engagement and threaten her relationship with Francis. -- The bandit from the forest is one of the kitchen help at the castle?! This goes deeper than I would have guessed. Could Catherine be in on it? Seems she has her hand in every dark and twisted plot. -- Catherine is full of malice and treachery. Blackmailing one of Mary's ladies in order to get her hands on the letters Mary writes her own mother. Sheesh. I wouldn't want her as an enemy. -- I can't imagine having to marry purely for power or rising in station. -- Holy crap! Olivia is lobbying to stay as Francis's mistress?? Hussy! -- That was an ugly exchange between Mary and Francis, about Olivia offering to be his mistress, and about how she doesn't want a marriage like his parents'. But, oh boy, that drunken kiss with Bash. Which of course Francis witnessed. Oh, complicated teenage medieval romance. You kissed my illegitimate brother, so I'm taking a walk with my former lover. -- Catherine is behind Olivia's move to be Francis's mistress in order to break them up??? Oooo... and Mary knows Catherine is intercepting her letters back home. Mary is smarter than Catherine suspects.

**(The Blacklist, S1E11 "The Good Samaritan") I couldn't figure out why this episode's Blacklister looked so familiar. The Good Samaritan was played by Frank Whaley. I looked him up on IMDb and discovered that it's because he's played bit parts in at least a half dozen other shows I've watched over the years. -- I don't understand the casual way that Liz keeps telling Tom "they need to talk." There is nothing about this situation that allows for casual! She's been warned by Red many times to watch out for him. There is an awful lot of suspicious apparent evidence that he isn't "just a school teacher." Where is her sense of urgency here? -- Of course the body the FBI lost was Luli's. And of course it was Red who made that happen. -- Johnny Cash's "When the Man Comes Around" was brilliant background music for Red's "house cleaning." -- It's weird to see Red not dressed smartly, in a suit. Appropriate that he isn't, but weird nonetheless. -- I was completely intrigued by the way Red went about his business, eliminating everyone who came after him in regard to Anslo Garrick. He was merciless. And yet I find him so likable. Also, he doesn't miss a beat, including tossing the cell he used to call Liz out the car window. -- After dousing with vodka the guy who paid out to the others hired for the job, and sticking a lit cigar into his mouth, Red watches the man tremble in terror for a minute, then says: Oh my God the suspense is killing me. Then he shoots him. And I feel as if I should be more disturbed by how amused I was by Red in that scene. -- I feel like this show does a good job of fleshing out the stories of the names on The Blacklist. The Good Samaritan was abused by his mother. Now he tortures abusers by giving them the same injuries they've inflicted on their victims. Very "Dexter"-ish, but with a twist. -- They really scared me into thinking Aram was the mole! -- Red: Aram, this is a Colt .45 1911. I can strip and reassemble this weapon in well under two minutes. Aram: Mr Reddington, please... Red: Once I have it reassembled, I am going to reload the mag. If your task remains incomplete, I'm going to empty it into your head. Aram: That's really messed up. Red: Don't look so stricken. The first shot will kill you. -- This whole batch of Red lines: Janice, Janice. Stop the yelling. It's just a flesh wound. ... Janice, if you don't stop, I'm going to put you in the closet. ... Janice, if you don't stop your yammering, I'm going to have to shoot through this door, which will be a shame, because I won't have any idea what I'm shooting at. ... Janice, my sincerest apologies. I'll take a raincheck on the stroganoff. It smells *delicious*. --  Red: Give me a name, Henry, or I'm going to drag you out, throw you in the trunk, fly you to Paupau, New Guinea, and your head stuck on a pole. ... Well, Red, that was awfully specific! -- The scenes where Red was collecting Luli's body and then, later, scattering her ashes, were very touching. They show Red's heart, despite the ruthlessness with which he deals with those who cross him. -- Alan Alda's character is part of the government??? -- Lizzie's emotion when seeing Red standing her living room, well, she might as well admit she likes and needs Red around more than she ever wanted to.

**(Blue Bloods, S4E12 "The Bogeyman") What kind of crowd is Nicky hanging around with?? She is going to be in *so* much trouble. -- I never noticed this before but they cast Sami Gayle (Nicky) really well as Bridget Moynahan's (Erin's) daughter. Their facial structure is just enough similar to make it believable. -- I have a hard time believing Jamie Reagan as "the bad cop" in the good cop/bad cop set-up. -- Danny: My offer expires in ten seconds and I'm not going to stand here counting like an idiot. ... Finally. I always thought it was dumb when someone would make an offer like that and then start counting. -- Frank: It's police work, not the stock market. We don't have minute-by-minute updates. -- How long before Frank and Lilith, I mean Inspector General Kelly Peterson have a little fling?

**(The Middle, S5E11 "War of the Hecks") Did Axl stuff his dirty clothes into the microwave?? -- Frankie: He just barks at you because he's scared of your face. You have a hostile resting face. Mike: A what? Frankie: A Hostile Resting Face. HRF, Mike, it's a thing. See? Right there. You always look like you're just a little pissed off. Mike: Good. That's what I'm going for. -- Frankie watches the clock for the exact moment the second hand hits quittin' time, just as I do some days. -- Frankie: I'd love to say a cutting board to the face was the end of Axl and Sue's epic fight, but unfortunately it was just the beginning... -- The ending between Sue and Axl, following their huge sibling fight, was sweet but... Not even a Darrin sighting? I'm still not over the last episode, The Middle.

**(Mike and Molly, S5E8 "What Molly Hath Wrought") Can we be done with Molly's breakdown now?

**(Modern Family, SS5E11 "And One to Grow On") Cameron: I remember my Sweet Sixteen. I wanted a theme party. Moonstruck had just come out, but I hadn't... -- Alex: I want to see a therapist. I did some research. Dr Gregory Clark. Highly recommended, specializes in teenagers and is covered by our insurance. I booked a double session with him today. And since you guys have the open house, I will be taking the bus. Claire: Ok. Phil: That sounds good! [whispers to Claire] She's like a self cleaning oven. -- Luke: You've got to switch with me. Manny: What? No, we can't do that! Luke: They're twins. They'll never notice. Manny: You realize we're not twins, right? -- Mitchell: Quick, turn off your car. Haley: Why? It's in park I think. Mitchell: I have a judgy green neighbor. He had the nerve to come over here and tell me I'm not green enough. Haley: Shut up, you're super green! Mitchell: I know! I'm recycling a dollhouse. I even recycled a child! -- Haley: Those people are so annoying. There's this girl at my school who was all over me because my boots were leather. Meanwhile, she's wearing Crocs. Like those aren't endangered.

**(Top Chef, S11E14 "Po' Boy Smackdown") Nick, I am still giving you the Stink Eye. And knowing you're representing New England and were so dishonorable? Just makes it worse. -- *Still* with immunity on  the table? -- Something about Shirley saying po' boy just seemed ridiculous to me. -- Did Shirley swear when she won the Quick Fire? Hahahaha! -- Hey, Nick. You demand nobody move your pots? What makes you think you own the whole kitchen or rank higher than any other contestant? -- Every week, Nina says she made a fatal mistake, and every week, she stays. -- Hey, Nick. You see how Shirley handles immunity? WITH A WIN. And I was so hoping you'd be the one to go home this time, but Brian's raw potato saved you. Dammit. -- Keep knocking them out in Last Chance Kitchen, Louis!

**(Mom, S1E13 "Hot Soup and Shingles") Wow. Allison Janney has some serious dance moves! -- I totally called Christy falling off the ladder. -- I hate evil Nathan Corrdry. And that makes me sad. -- I'm not sure what exactly Luke and Baxter add to the show. -- That was a surprisingly touching scene when Bonnie said no one hates her more than she does for not being a good mom to Christy.

**(2 Broke Girls, S3E13 "And the Big But") Sophie in a blizzard on skis, in a parka with sparkly fur. At least this episode is off to a good start. -- Ooo! And now Luis! This episode scores double bonus points! -- Hee. Earl called Han the next Bond villain in his shiny grey one-piece snowsuit. -- Why does Max have a box of gnomes under her bed?? -- I'll get back to on how I feel about that Max/Deke kiss.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

This Week on my TV: January 11, 2014

Disclaimer: Some shows I watch live and with others, I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. All I can do is lead in with the show and episode. You read at your own risk!

**(Reign, S1E4 "Hearts and Minds") I wish it were easier to keep track of Mary's ladies-in-waiting, but one of them commented on how everything seems complicated in France and I couldn't agree more. -- I wonder if this "Simon" diplomat guy who is being called a spy for the English is really what they charge or if he's taking the fall for someone or something else. -- So Francis suddenly wants Mary now that she's bound to marry Tomas? Figures. Nothing like someone looking better once they are pursued by another. -- Nice "true colors," Tomas. Perhaps you could have listened a little more carefully to the rumors about him, Mary? -- Ah-ha! Should have know it was Tomas setting up Simon to be the traitor so he could be sure to get Mary's hand in marriage, be declared legitimate by the Pope, and take the crown of Portugal! I'm kind of impressed that Francis was man enough to kill him when he needed to. -- That closing scene, with Clarissa under Mary's bed in that creepy burlap sack mask. I don't know if it was supposed to be a sign of friendship or kinship or something, but it really just gave me the heebie-jeebies.

**(Parenthood, S5E7 "Speaking of Baggage") Opening scenes: Drew tries so hard to be a good guy, even when his (drunk) crush is throwing herself at him. Not sure how I feel about the vibe between Amber and that musician guy. So, Julia gets a voicemail from Ed and then decides to head over to Joel's office in a coat and some lingerie? That was a steamy, smoldering first five minutes with various Braverman-clan-folk. -- Did Max seriously suggest Hank was a serial killer when he found the photo of Sarah in one of Hank's drawers? Haaaaahahahahaha! -- I love when the Braverman clan dines together, especially at that gorgeous table, outdoors, under those lights, but holy awkward dinner conversation. Thanks for that, Max! -- Do all families with multiple adult children powwow regularly to discuss their parents? -- Loved hearing Kristina tell Amber her proposal story. Sweet and simple. -- Amber coming into her own is a beautiful thing to see, but what's going on with Ryan? -- Drew's going to get his heart stomped, isn't he... -- The good thing about watching while un-decorating the Christmas tree is that I was distracted enough not to tear up even once!

**(The Carrie Diaries, S2E3 "Strings Attached") Ugh. Larissa is back. Not at all my favorite character. -- Of course Samantha and Larissa would clash. That's a lot of personality all in one place. -- Maggie just does not grasp the concept of making good choices. -- Eww. Teacher hitting on Sebastian. That will never not be icky. -- Wait, I thought *last* school year was their senior year. Apparently not?

**(Dexter, S8E10 "Goodbye Miami") Methinks Dr Vogel may be in a bit of trouble. -- It's so weird seeing Masuka act paternal. -- "I'm not going to hurt you," says the serial killer. "Trust me," says the psychopath. Riiiight. -- Holy tension, with that U.S. Marshall guy hot on Dexter's trail. Of course he was going to get suspicious when he heard Angel say a lab tech position was opening up. -- In one breath, Deb tells the U.S. Marshall that she doesn't keep up with Dexter's dating life, and in the next, tells him that she would know if he were dating Hannah McKay. Way to be consistent, Deb. -- Oh, seriously. Deb and Quinn are getting back together? ::slaps forehead:: -- Considering I totally expected him to kill her at some point, I still found is gasp-worthy shocking when Daniel slit Dr Vogel's throat in front of Dexter.

**(The Michael J Fox Show, S1E12 "Party") Annie: You know, for a guy with Parkinson's, he can move quickly at times. -- Harris: Your wife is so chill, she's practically a guy. -- Did Leigh and Harris seriously hook up??

**(The Mentalist, S6E11 "White Lines") That answers one of my questions: they have relocated to Texas. -- Hey! The guy who played Cal Beecher on Person of Interest is in this episode as a DEA agent! -- I have to say, I'm kinda digging this new scruffier version of Patrick Jane. -- Cracked up at the looks on Lisbon's and Fisher's faces while they listened to Patrick's phone call arranging his date. All the ladies want a piece of Patrick Jane! -- The place where Patrick took his date laid their napkins in their laps for them. I don't think I've ever eaten somewhere *that* fancy. -- Patrick may be the only man, real or fictional, who can make wearing a wedding ring something that makes women eat right out of the palm of his hand. -- Patrick's reaction to his comfy new couch was more of a "first date" than his actual first date. -- I called Krystal being "Mr X," but I was convinced the "Cal Beecher" DEA guy was dirty too. Turns out he wasn't.

**(Revolution, S2E8 "Come Blow Your Horn") Other than a couple of brief moments, this whole episode seemed to just tread water. All the conversations rehashed things that have already happened and there was minimal forward progress. We've learned that the doctor guy (Horn?) has a brain tumor and he wants to understand Aaron's self-healing abilities. Neville tracked down Justine's husband, who promptly shot and killed her. And at the end, Horn's men stabbed Cynthia to get a rise out of Aaron as a test. C'mon, Revolution. You have to do better than this. This felt a lot like last year's spiral into disaster, rather than the new and improved remake you've given us for season two.

**(The Middle, S5E10 " Sleepless in Orson") Poor Sue! She has now been kissed multiple times by a Glossner! Ew! Wait...why was she smiling?? EW!! -- Sean [to Darrin]: What are you doing? The three of us are the only bosses in BOSS CO. Axl: Yeah, that was the deal. We split everything 50-50-50. -- Darrin! I really like Darrin. You know who I don't like? Darrin's new girlfriend, Angel. -- Darrin: Plus, dating Angel isn't cheap. She has fancy tastes. Every time we go to the bowling alley, she orders meat on her nachos. That's a three dollar add-on! -- Sue [to Brad about Derrick Glossner]: I mean, yes, he does have a really good to smell to him, and you wouldn't expect something like that from a Glossner. It's like honey...and danger. -- Mike: Brick, stop worrying and put the iPad away. Sue, get in here and sit down. Axl, shut it. Axl: I didn't say anything. Mike: Well, save that one for the next time you want to talk. -- Sue is not supposed to be making out with Derrick Glossner! She is supposed to be with Darrin. And now poor Darrin just witnessed that disturbing scene when he was clearly there to win Sue back. Now I'm all sad.

**(Modern Family, S5E11 "And One to Grow On") Luke [to Phil, after he was tricked into taking dancing classes]: Just because you're a dancer, doesn't mean I have to be one too, cha cha cha. Dammit! -- Luke is growing up visually, but is his voice ever going to catch up? -- Phil's reaction to jail would so be me. And Alex learning to drive...may or may not have been me. (God bless he who patiently taught me to drive, OMG.) -- I can't decide if Manny's plan for Amy's coat pocket surprises is sweet or borderline creepy. -- Lily is crushing on Manny? That's weird. -- I find it interesting that Jay is suggesting Manny is foolish to shoot for anyone out of his league, when Jay managed to win Gloria's heart. -- I loved that each of the adult couples had one person who knew immediately and one who took some time to warm to the idea.

**(The Big Bang Theory, S7E13 "The Occupation Recalibration") Leonard [standing at Penny's door]: ::knock knock knock:: Sheldon: ...Penny. -- And that may have been the funniest part of this whole episode. The rest seemed to be rehashed jokes: Leonard means to be supportive of Penny, but sticks his foot in his mouth. Bernadette gets shrill when she's angry (though it was sweet to see her standing up for poor Stewart). Sheldon is, once again, forced to take his vacation time against his will. It was a new twist to see Amy getting hit on by another science guy, but I felt like it was one-dimensional. Oh well, they can't all be home runs, right? I guess I was just hoping for a more interesting "aftermath" to Penny's proposal, but it just got dropped.

**(Top Chef, S11E13 "Oui Si a Challenge") Ha. I didn't get the title of this episode until I said it in my head as I typed it out. -- Wow. Immunity is still on the table for winning the Quick Fire. I thought, for sure, we were down to a small enough number of chefs remaining that it wouldn't be offered anymore. -- The French and Spanish guest chefs were *clearly* at odds the entire time. Padma was right: having the competition take place at a restaurant called "Revolution" was perfect. -- Blah. Nina kept saying she thought she was going home for potato salad. I wish that were true, but instead she won. -- Wow. In a cruel twist, coming back to the surprise of immunity so late in the game, Nick should have gone home. Instead, Stephanie is sent packing. I was liking Nick. Now I don't want him to win. Team Shirley all the way. Unless Louis keeps up his run on Last Chance Kitchen.

**(Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, S1E5 "Heart of Stone") I have to admit, I like the way this show handles the back stories of their characters. I've been wondering how Anastasia went from being sweet and in love to being the heartless Red Queen. -- Jafar: I'm intrigued by you, Rabbit. White Rabbit: Not in a "main course" kind of way, I hope. -- Alice: How do I know this isn't a trick? That you intend for me to fall and I'll have to use one of my wishes to save my life? The Red Queen: If I wanted you to fall off the cliff, I'd push you! -- "Little Alice" is super creepy. -- Seeing Anastasia use the magic she made Alice obtain for her, not for her own protection from Jafar, but to free The Knave, shows there is still some Anastasia somewhere inside the Red Queen.

**(Last Man Standing, S3E10 "All About Eve") Mandy's fashion statement in the opening scene looked very "five years old." -- It's supposed to be winter in Colorado, but half the trees have yellow leaves and the rest are green. Hmmm. -- Mandy's bangs are way way too short. -- Vanessa: Was your dad happy when you won your first fight? Mike: Well, he was was with him.

**(Person of Interest, S3E12 "Aletheia") Root is pretty badass. Batcrap crazy but badass. -- Whatever "Diane Claypool" (Camryn Manheim) kept injecting into Root's arm had pretty intense and instantaneous effects. -- Dark and cynical Reese is incredibly amusing to me. -- "Diane Calypool's" crazy makes Root look like she's straight up normal -- I've decided young Harold isn't very convincing, not in personality, but in the way he looks. I think I've gotten spoiled by my shows achieving that casting so well, because this one missed the mark and it's really bugging me. -- Finch's emotion at seeing Reese was very moving. I'm so used ot him being almost emotionless, other than urgency. -- Oh my gosh. He gave a book of birds to his father. And that's the link to always using a type of bird as hiss last name. -- Reese-gone-rogue wears a t-shirt and a leather jacket, instead of a white button-down and a sport coat. Love it! -- Wait! The Samaritan drives were *not* destroyed?!

**(The Michael J Fox Show, S1E13 "Secret") All this stuff going on under Mike's nose! So much for being a top notch journalist there, Mike! -- Harris: You're like Batman crossed with The Mentalist. Oooo, I'd watch the hell out of that.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013: Resolutions My Way

My resolutions are based on fun. And nothing inspires more fun for me than a visit to one of my favorite places: Disney! It has become the inspiration for my final "January kick-off/year-in-review" posts. I'm in the parks enough that they should be quite do-able for me, as well as adding a new "dimension" to something I enjoy already.

My 2013 Disney Resolutions Revisited

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. Done! It required several attempts (my first two were dismal failures due to heavy crowds in tight, still-under-construction spaces), but I finally made a successful introduction to this newest area in Magic Kingdom!

2. I have been eyeballing the cupcakes available all over property for several years now. I will try one of them this year. I didn't get to a cupcake, but I *did* end up trying the chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich I'd been eyeing for quite some time!

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. I completely forgot about this one. I am bummed. So many opportunities too.

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! Neither were restaurants, but I did try two new "food experiences" this year!

The infamous turkey leg:

The debut of the food booths at Flower and Garden Festival:

EPCOT's Flower & Garden Fest (2013)

5. The past few years, I haven't 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. We traveled for Thanksgiving, Christmas preparations got too hectic, and I didn't get into the resorts to look at the Christmas decorations. However, I *did* get to ride the Limited Time Magic Jingle Cruise *twice*!

My 2014 Disney Resolutions

1. This year, there *will* be a cupcake!

2. Attempt two: I want to find at least five new details or perspectives to photograph WDW that I haven't before.

3. Attempt two: 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!

4. Upon mental review, I neglected following attractions in 2013 and will make a point to do so this year: The Enchanted Tiki Room. Mickey's PhilharMagic. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Reflections of China. Toy Story Midway Mania.

5. Attempt two: 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.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013: Time Capsule

In 2013, I gained:
perspective, my prized KitchenAid stand mixer, and a bunch of new memories.

I lost:
some things I thought I knew.

I was hugely satisfied by:
the improvements we made to our house.

And frustrated by:
having things decided for me, and then finding myself judged, because "outsiders" think it's a choice I've made.

The biggest physical difference between me last December and this December is:
longer hair.

The biggest psychological difference between me last December and this December is:
a humbled spirit and a more guarded heart.

I loved spending time:
at Disney and watching Red Sox games. (I am so predictable.)

I should have spent more time:
advocating for myself.

The most relaxing place I went was:
my sister-in-law's for Thanksgiving.

The best thing someone did for me was:
make the effort to actively be my friend.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
I legally change my name. (I did not enjoy that process.)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions wishlist?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Two of T's nieces had babies in 2013.

4. Did anyone close to you die? 
My Gramp's sister, Esther, and my godmother, Raye.

5. What places did you visit?
The only travel I did in 2013 was to Virginia for Thanksgiving.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? 
A more normal amount of non-summer weather. Wow, was 2013 excessively hot and humid.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory?
No one date in particular. I think we needed to make up for a big 2012. I'm all about balance, you know?

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?
Entertaining a house guest over Christmas!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not knowing what to say or how to say it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing noteworthy. I like being boring.

11. Whose behavior merited celebration?
T's. He works so hard, making improvements to our house.

12. Where did most of your money go?
We're homeowners. Need I say more? (Some went into savings too though. And that's a good thing.)

13. What song will always remind you of 2013?
It's funny, but I usually don't know what song will transport me back to a particular year until some time has passed and then one does.

14. What was your favorite movie of this year?
You mean of the two movies we actually went to see? RED2. We really enjoyed the first one and this sequel did not disappoint.

15. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Well, Mike Lowell always makes me stop and watch if we come across him on MLB Network or doing an interview during a game I'm watching. I suppose some things never change?


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013: Top 5s

Top 5 Favorite Color Combinations of 2013
1. Barn red and chocolate brown - probably my favorite color combination, forever and ever, amen.
2. Pale aqua, champagne, and chocolate brown - the colors we did our master bedroom. I love how cool and peaceful it feels.
3. "Lyndhurst Gallery Beige" with white trim - we repainted our hallway, and I love how crisp and clean they look together.
4. Sky blue, sandy tan, sage green and white - the colors of a Cape Cod beach, and the color palette for the main bathroom.
5. Orange and cream - one of my favorites to wear.

Top 5 Biggest Purchases of 2013
1. Hickory hardwood flooring for the dining room.
2. Stand-up freezer.
3. King-size mattress and box spring.
4. King-size bedding.
5. A new television for the living room.

Top 5 Favorite Television Shows of 2013
1. The Blacklist
2. Scandal
3. Blue Bloods
4. The Good Wife
5. Parenthood

Top 5 Favorite Memories of 2013
1. Exploring the food booths that debuted for Epcot's Flower and Garden Fest.
2. The Red Sox winning the World Series.
3. Doing Food and Wine Fest with my mother when she visited.
4. Spending Thanksgiving in Virginia with T's sister and her family.
5. Hosting Daniel for Christmas. The first holiday I've ever entertained!

Top 5 Scents of 2013
1. Vanilla Apricot (lotion by Bath and Body Works)
2. Red Berry and Cedar (candle by Yankee Candle Company)
3. Sugar Cookie (wax melts by Scentsy)
4. Peppermint Vanilla (limited edition hand wash by Method)
5. White Woods (perfume by CLEAN)

Top 5 Most Played Songs According to My iTunes
1. "How Great Thou Art" by Carrie Underwood (23) - This song really gets me right in my core. It makes me cry every time I hear it.
2. "The Shape of Us" by Ian Britt (18) - Our wedding song.
3. "God Gave Me You" by Blake Shelton (16)
4. "Glass" by Thompson Square (15)
5. "Overwhelmed" by Tim McMorris (15)


Monday, January 6, 2014

2013: By the Numbers

Visits to WDW: 19
Books read: 38
Trips taken: 1
Blog posts: 192
Photos taken: 1,128
Major life events: 0 (though there were several not-quite-major life events)
Baseball games attended: 3 (all Red Sox at Tampa Bay)
Magazine subscriptions: 8
Pinterest projects completed: 1
New recipes tried: 32
Dishes eaten at Food and Wine Fest: 33
Miles driven: 8,507
House guests: 2
Movies seen at the theater: 2? (RED2, Jack Reacher)


Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013: I Read Books

1. Best Book(s) You Read In 2013? 
Killing LincolnThe Light Between Oceans.

2. Most Disappointing Book?
Shopoholic Takes Manhattan. K is for Killer.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book?
Killing Lincoln.

4. Book(s) you recommended to people most in 2013?
Killing Lincoln.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
Flavia de Luce. Pillars of the Earth.

6. Favorite new author(s) you discovered in 2013?
M.L. Stedman

7. Most thrilling, un-put-down-able book in 2013?
Killing Lincoln.

8. Book you most anticipated in 2013?
Gentlemen and Players.

9. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

10. Most memorable character in 2013?
Oy (The Wastelands)

11. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
The Light Between Oceans.

12. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Killing Lincoln.

13. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

14. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2013?
"You see, Flavia, silence is sometimes the most costly of commodities." (Colonel de Luce in "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" by Alan Bradley)

“Each individual had a different life, every one of them rich and complex, with dramas in the past and challenges in the future, happy memories and secret sorrows, and a crowd of friends, enemies and loved ones.” (from "World Without End" by Ken Follett)

"You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things." (from "The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Stedman)

"Maybe it's just that I believe things you cant see." (from "Plain Truth" by Jodi Picoult)

15. Authors you'd like to read more of in 2014? 
Jodi Picoult


Saturday, January 4, 2014

This Week on My TV: January 4, 2014

Disclaimer: Some shows I watch live and with others, I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. All I can do is lead in with the show and episode. You read at your own risk!

**(Grey's Anatomy, S10E11 "Man on the Moon") Eww, Cristina and Shane. More bed-hopping. -- Wow. April's sisters. -- The Bailey/OCD/being trailed by a psychiatrist thing? Annoying story line. -- Mer: Progress looks like a bunch of failures. ... If that doesn't show how far Mer's come since season one, nothing does. -- Not sure what to make of that Cristina-and-Shane victory dance. -- Because of course Alex was going to have to save Jo from his detoxing father. -- The scene where the paralyzed patient finally was able to move the robotic hand in Derek's study made me cry. It's been a long time since Grey's moved me to tears.

**(Grey's Anatomy, S10E12 "Get Up, Stand Up") I really hate what Mer and Cristina are becoming. It makes me sad. Maybe because it's hitting me a little too personally. -- When do I get to reach through my television and smack Leah? -- Shane *is* baby Cristina. Yikes. -- Oh man. What is that phone call going to mean for Derek? The President of the United States? -- That version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was haunting. -- Holy crap. Jackson. Professing his love. To April. In the middle of her wedding. And it ends on a gasp from April??? Aaaaahhhhhh!!!

**(Parenthood, S5E6 "The M Word") I could not campaign for someone, no matter how much I loved them. All that interaction and confrontation and rejection gives me hives just thinking about it. -- Amber and Sarah arguments are among the most believable on television. -- I'm all for male-female friendship, but Julia, you are treading a fine line right now. -- Crosby is so predictable. Something nudges him further into adulthood and he has to regress before he can move forward. -- Something about Kristina's campaign manager reminds me of the character Jennifer Hudson played in the first "Sex and the City" movie, Carrie's personal assistant, Louise from St Louis. -- And tears at minute fifty as Kristina connects with a mother of a special needs student during the mayoral candidate debate.

**(Dexter, S8E6 "A Little Reflection") I didn't think it was possible for scenes with Masuka to be any more weird. And then he hugged Deb. Without being a perv. -- That was a pretty cool shot, looking up through the puzzle that Dexter and Harrison are building. -- Funny watching Dexter's date ask what he does for fun on his boat. If you only knew, lady! -- What game is Dr Vogel playing? There has to be more to her story. Could *she* be a psychopath?? -- Deb has looked so scrubby for so long, I forgot she could clean up well. Even if she walks like a man. -- Hannah???

**(Dexter, S8E7 "Dress Code") What is Hannah's goal here? Head games? Toying with Dexter and Deb, like a cat with mice before the kill? -- Dexter is juggling a lot of balls at once: Deb's recovery. Work. Fatherhood. Dr Vogel. Hannah. Zach. Which one is he going to drop? -- It is certainly karmic humor that Masuka's daughter is working at a topless "sports" bar. Even more amusing: how uncomfortable he actually was. But how was it not awkward for *her*?? -- So Hannah killed her husband and Zach killed Cassie and the tangled webs just keep twisting around themselves.

**(The Big Bang Theory, S7E12 "The Hesitation Ramification") The best part about Sheldon not being funny, but thinking he's hilarious, is that he actually is. -- Poor Penny. I can't believe they cut her scene. -- Amy: Do you know how hard it is to laugh at a knock-knock joke that starts 'knock-knock-knock-Amy, knock-knock-knock-Amy, knock-knock-knock-Amy?" -- Leonard and I had the exact same reaction when Penny proposed to him: What...? -- So, are Penny and Leonard going to make up and stay together or is this it for them?

**(Top Chef, S11E12 "Mississippi Mud Bugs") I'm ready for Nina to pack her knives. -- Yikes. A shellfish allergy and a crawfish Quick Fire? Sounds like a recipe for disaster for Stephanie. -- When Nick was cleaning his knife after Carlos borrowed it and left fish drying on it, it looked like he was contemplating a little stabbiness! I am getting a little sick of the sniping between Carlos and Nick, though. -- Yay! A win for Stephanie! We thought it would be Brian. -- Oh-fer-two this episode: we thought it would be Carlos leaving, but it was Carrie. Not that I'm sad about that. -- Louis still going strong in Last Chance Kitchen!

**(Dexter, S8E8 "Are We There Yet?") Not sure how I feel yet about the connection between Hannah and Dexter. Or if I entirely trust that she feels what she claims to feel. -- I know it's Miami and all, but I don't think most guys could pull off a watermelon pink shirt quite as successfully as Dexter. -- Zach (about Hannah): Dude. Dexter: Do *not* 'dude' me. -- That whole scene in the hotel room in the Keys, between Deb, Dexter, Hannah and Zach made me laugh out loud, it was so ridiculous. -- Deb: I don't want to know anything else, EVER. -- Ok, so it's looking like maybe Zach didn't kill Caddie. Someone is setting Zach up for Cassie's murder though. But who? -- Dr Vogel's invitation to dinner when she saw Hannah waiting in the car was...weird. And the longer dinner went, the more I wonder what it *was*, that "old family recipe," especially when Dr Vogel wouldn't answer Hannah's question about how she got interested in her field to begin with. -- Does Hannah ever wear a bra? -- O. M. G. Zach. Dead. In Dexter's apartment. WITH A GIANT CROSS SECTION MISSING FROM HIS HEAD. And cut to Dr Vogel's house with the brain sample in a jar. Holy crap. Holy crap. What is going *on*??

**(Dexter, S8E9 "Make Your Own Kind of Music") So it wasn't Vogel who killed Zach. (I'll admit I thought it was for more than a minute.) It was her supposedly-dead psychopathic son, who faked his own death as a teen in a mental institution in England and is now trying to reconnect with her?! -- The scene where Deb starts laughing because she can't believe she's eating a dinner Hannah cooked was pretty priceless. -- I totally called it: Vogel's son was already in the house with her when Dexter came back to check on her. Somehow, I don't imagine this ending well for her. Or potentially Dexter, who blabbed to her about his plan to leave Miami with Hannah and Harrison.


2013: Year in Photos

A favorite photo from each month of 2013.














Friday, January 3, 2014

2014: Wishlist

Resolutions, schmesolutions. I do a list of goals and challenges, call it my "self wishlist," and see how they pan out over the course of the year. On the 2014 agenda, after a lot of thought, I have the following:

1. I think I want to work on acquiring my passport. I don't have any plans to leave the country or anything, but I like being able to show a form of id that isn't my social security card.

2. Last year's goal of commenting on ten blog posts per day ended up feeling a bit out of reach in practice. I think I will shoot for three to start.

3. I *will* be current on my feed reader, within two to three days.

4. I'd like to try for at least one new recipe each month.

5. Lest I bite off more than I can chew again, I think, perhaps, completeing one Pinterest project each season is a good place to start.

6. This year's reading goal: forty books!

7. I'd like to complete another photo-a-day project, but I think I'd like to try out my own format this year...

8. Find some "things" to hang on the walls in our house. I hesitate to say "artwork," because I feel like that indicates paintings or something. I don't think that's my taste, for the most part. But I love the few things we've put up so far and I want to find some more things to dress up our empty walls.

9. I *will* tackle my old nemesis: The Stack of Magazines. I'm done seeing this on my list. Done, I tell you!

10. I'm not sure how lofty I can make this goal, but I'd like to scan in...oh...a hundred of my old photos?

I think ten is enough, considering how many times some of those items have re-appeared on my year list of goals.

2014, we are *on*.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013: Wishlist Reprise

Let's see how I did on my 2013 Wishlist, shall we?

1. Click through from blog posts to read. My feed reader is great for sorting through and finding the posts that catch my attention, but I want to stop doing the actual reading there. I have definitely gotten in the habit of doing this, to the point that now I don't even think about it. I just do it. Mission accomplished! Bonus: I actually much prefer blog reading this way.

2. Comment on ten blog posts per day. That seems do-able. Not so much. I always hesitate. I hate that. This needs some work.

3. Blog at least four times per week. I fell out of my groove for a while. I miss it. I don't know if it was four times per week, but it was definitely regular.I hope I keep it up going forward.

4. Try at least two new recipes per month. I have a stockpile of recipes. We often get into ruts, partially because it's easy to think of things you've already had and partially because it's easier to cook recipes you already know. Two per month leaves plenty of room for quick, easy dinners that require minimal thought, as well as revisiting old favorites. Some months I nailed it. Others I exceeded or fell short. But we're better at this and I'm glad for it.

5. Complete at least one Pinterest project per month. I have so many ideas pinned. Wonderful, fun ideas. Time to bring them to life! Nope. More collecting of ideas with minimal execution. Hmmm...

6. Goodreads offered a widget to set up a reading goal for yourself. I'm going with twenty this time around. I owned this one!! In fact, I not only read 20 books, but 38! The widget and some fellow book-lovers encouraged me all year.

7. Make it all the way through taking a photo a day. Last year's prompt often didn't speak to me as much as I had hoped. This year, I plan to try using two different photo prompt sites (one primary one, one to supplement as back-up inspiration). I have a feeling this will help! With a couple of friends also working on similar challenges, hopefully we can cheer each other on. I did it!! Not one day missed! (Although I will admit for a few I missed the good light and had to go back to catch up.)

8. Attempt number two: Finish catching up on magazines, with a goal of having no more than the current month's issues and the previous month's issues in my magazine basket. ::sigh:: I did better with the current issues, but not as well with the old ones. Improvement, though. I'm on the right track.

9. Attempt number two: Create a "home owner's binder" which may be easier after having lived in the house for almost a year. I honestly forgot all about this. Maybe I need more research...

10. Attempt number I've-lost-count: Scan in all my old photos. I did...some. A drop in the bucket really. That makes me a little sad. These old photos need some love.

11. Attempting again: Finish organizing the pages I've pulled out of magazines. Now this one I actually made progress with! And I didn't create a new pile of pages. I made sure I recorded what I wanted right away and then off to the recycling bin!

12. Gained ground but not there: Be caught up to within one week of all blog reading. I run about three weeks out at the moment. Still running at two to three weeks behind. Perpetually. There are too many things I want to read!

13. (Lucky 13 for 2013!) Revamp my existing cleaning schedule for one that works better. There didn't seem to be a good groove with the one I have been using. DONE AND DONE. I have a good rhythm that works for our schedule and the needs of our house. It's just a part of everyday life now and I love that it's (almost) effortless!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: December 2013

A photo of me:

1) Candle scents* this month:
Mountain Lodge. Season's Blessings. Gingersnaps. Vanilla Chai. Candy Corn. Apple Cider. Harvest Welcome. (and now the switch over to winter!) Vanilla Bean Noel (Bath and Body Works). Mistletoe. Winter (Bath and Body Works). Red Berry and Cedar. White Christmas.

2) What I am reading this month (you can find me on Goodreads!):
Shanghai Girls (Lisa See) - I finished this very soon after the beginning of the month. Even though the content of the story was often very heavy in nature, I still really enjoyed this book. The characters were well developed. Once I got past the first 50 pages, the story really moved along at a good pace. I also felt like I received good cultural and history lessons on some topics that I've never read much about, even in school. The story ended quite abruptly and with a major dangling thread, so I am glad to know there is a sequel, which I will absolutely be reading as well.
L Is for Lawless (Sue Grafton) - This one was much better than the book that came before it in this series. The pace of the story moved. The plot was different. The characters were...interesting. Not necessarily likable but definitely interesting. I am left wondering about a phone call that was made just before the epilogue, but at least the story itself got resolved in a way that was acceptable.
Wizard and Glass (Stephen King) - I started reading this one in the middle of the month, but Christmas preparations are time-consuming, even if they are fun, and I'm still barely at the halfway point. I am enjoying it quite a bit, but now I'd like to get it wrapped up and move on to something else.

3) Three things on my mind:
1. Ellsbury: I'm mostly just glad the Sox didn't throw that kind of money at him. $153 million dollars for 7 years is a lot of money for a long time--more than they gave Crawford even, and I thought *that* was ridiculous. That contract will end in 2020; he will be 37 years old. And he has spent 264 days on the DL over the past 4 seasons. If his health was that much of a problem in his 20s, what's it going to be like in his 30s? That's a lot of money for a potential benchwarmer. I'm thrilled the Sox appear to have learned a lesson from the 2011 foolishness. I would rather take our chances with Jackie Bradley for literally 2% of that monster contract. JBJ is  young and his arm can't be any weaker than Ellsbury's. Also? I take heart knowing Pedey will *never* wear pinstripes. It's hard to watch them go, especially there, but if the alternative was to spend that much on him for that long, in the end, that would have hurt worse. I appreciate what he did for us, when he was healthy, and I get that he grabbed the biggest pile of cash offered. I suppose that's what I expect from players who hire Boras as their agent now. There is silver lining here though. We have a good farm system and a young guy ready to step up. I'd rather grow our youth than be forced to buy the aging talent of others all the time! We'll be ok.
2. "It all comes down to this." "This is the episode that changes everything." "The episode everyone will be talking about." It seems as if every week, each show advertises its next episode using one of these statements, and only rarely do they live up to the hype.
3. How on earth did the Patriots manage to not only make the playoffs, but win the division *and* earn a first round bye?? They really did not look that good all season.

4) Movies I saw:
All our Christmas favorites: Elf. It's a Wonderful Life. A Christmas Story. Disney's A Christmas Carol. A Christmas Carol (with George C Scott). Home Alone. The Polar Express. And all the Christmas shows: A Charlie Brown Christmas. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Disney's Prep and Landing. Prep and Landing: Naughty vs Nice. Shrek the Halls.

5) Calendar image for the month:
Now we're talking! I can almost feel the biting cold on rosy cheeks and hear the laughter, breathless from snowball throwing and icy air.

I thought this was actually a pretty unique Fenway image, for this last month of the year.

6) New recipe tried this month OR Something yummy I made:
Cranberry Sauce. And after several tweaks and adjustments: Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Shortbread.

7) Restaurants where I ate:
A little restaurant in the Richmond Airport. Columbia Harbour House (Magic Kingdom). Pinnochio Village Haus (Magic Kingdom). Bonefish Grill.

8) Five things I am loving this month:
1. The Blacklist got early renewal for a second season! Easily my favorite new show this year.
2. I have to say that I am a big fan of reading about players turning down contracts from other teams for more years/money in order to play in Boston (see: Mike Napoli and AJ Pierzynski). 2011-2012 officially feels very far removed. Remember when players cried about playing in Boston even for large sums of money thrown at them for an obscene number of years? And now we have guys willing to take a discount just to play in a Red Sox uniform. The redemption, it just keeps on pouring down.
3. Jingle Cruise. Maybe one of my favorite "Limited Time Magic" events at Disney all year.
4. So many awesome Christmas gifts. I can't wait to find them homes and incorporate them into daily life!
5. Entertaining for Christmas. I officially feel like I've crossed some "adulthood milestone" now!

9) Three goals I had this month and three goals for next month:
1. Get through the January issues of magazines, plus at least ten old issues off to recycling! (Failure, failure, failure. December was just far too busy and this did not get done.)
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. (Close enough! I got everything into the mail on the 17th and then I just needed to do some baking and wrapping for our Christmas at home, but that part was not at all stressful.)
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? (Well... I did do some damage to that percentage, but it's only down to about 65% from the 92% that it was.)

1. Get all the Christmas gifts into their new homes and re-organize some kitchen cabinets to accommodate.
2. Choose a paint color for the master bathroom.
3. Seriously. Magazines. I don't even want to put a number on it, but a good stack need to make it into recycling. I need this monkey off my back!

10) Something I learned:
Pine tree sap does not wash off easily.

11) The best part of this month and the worst part of this month:
The best: Celebrating Christmas with T, and also being able to return giving someone a good Christmas when they did the same for me several years in a row.
The worst: The passing away of my godmother just before Christmas. I'm sure that made Christmas bittersweet this year for her two daughters and their families, as well as for my godfather.

12) A photo I took this month:

*All scents are Yankee Candle, unless otherwise noted.


2013: Year in Review

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Hands down, the Red Sox winning the World Series.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Navigating being a good friend to somehow who was navigating through a life challenge of their own. It doesn't always come easy, knowing what to say.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Deciding to get a real tree instead of replacing our broken artificial one with another. I had forgotten just how much I love a real tree.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
A relationship I'm not comfortable disclosing the details of.

5. Pick three words to describe 2013.
Unexpected. Routine. Content.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2013 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
Silly. Happy. Good.

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2013 (again, without asking).
Busy. Laughter. Home-improvement-ish. (Ok, so I cheated on that last one, but I couldn't think of a single-word to describe that!)

8. What were the best books you read this year?
Killing Lincoln and The Light Between Oceans.

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
T and my friends, G, M, and Daniel.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
The status of a particular friendship.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
It's always an eye-opening experience to realize another person meant more to you than you did to them, but I've been attempting to handle it with as much grace as I can find.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I've been learning how to balance my spiritual needs with what my current church does and does not offer.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically? hair? I don't think I've really changed all that much physically.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I had to learn how to be a friend through a life event I haven't had much experience with.

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Work is work, but I know I've done my job well, overall, which is satisfying. At home, it's been fun to start turning our house into something that's really our own.

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
I try not to talk about work online much (seems too risky to me) but at home, it's been challenging to decide on paint colors as we update and upgrade! And if one of those kitchen cabinet shelves comes crashing down one more time... ::shakes fist::

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Ha. Ha ha ha. The internet is the biggest time suck of all time. But it's fun, nonetheless!

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Reading more.

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
People will surprise good ways and not-so-good.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2013 for you.
I was 36 and 37, and despite some of its unfortunate surprises, this was a very good year.


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