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.

0 with their own thoughts:

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