Friday, February 28, 2014


A hundred thoughts in my head. Swirling around, bumping into each other, shooting apart again, like billiard balls on a table.

Some are silly. Some are random and mostly pointless. Some are bigger, heavier. Some require answers or choices.

They bounce and crash and rearrange, sometimes quietly, sometimes with sharp noise. Around and around, back and forth, until finally one slips down into the pocket.

Will I ultimately dismiss them or will I leap?

For the days I want to write but need that extra push, and, just as much, for the days when the prompt inspires me, all on its own, whether I need extra motivation or not.


What I Learned in February: 2014

1. Home projects always end up being more than you signed up for.

2. When you are super late watching the winter finales of television shows on your DVR, the wait to find out what happens next is that much shorter.

3. People *say* they want to be happy, but what they *show* is that they really just want to something about which to be angry.

4. Humidity is a friend to my hair. For real. For some reason, this cut plus a little humidity brings out these soft natural curls.

5. All garage doors have springs. Which I learned when the one on ours broke. I have no recollection, whatsoever, of seeing springs on any of the garage doors I've previously lived with.

6. This little useful tidbit from a friend on Facebook:

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.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Currently: February 27, 2014

This week, at the Broken Road house:

Liking... my husband. The progress made in the master bathroom. Happy news from friends. Strawberry shortcake. Soft blankets. Books I don't want to put down. Spring Training baseball games starting to be played.

Thinking... that there is a fine line between a healthy amount of thinking and a detrimental amount of over-thinking. That fine line, I think, is the place where we should take action or choose to let it go.

Planting... seeds. All kinds of seeds. Herbs. Lettuces. Smiles. Ideas.

Blooming... where I'm planted. This life, man. I don't know that I am always deserving of it, but it is so, so good.

Pinning... far too many "home" ideas. Better to have many from which to finally choose than not enough...right?

"Currently" is a weekly link-up, hosted by Ot & Et.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sweet Light

When you live in a proverbial cave for five years, you revel in the sweet light spilling into your next home.

Lots of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. The darkness of winter has an actual negative effect on their sense of well being. I don't face that affliction because winter in Florida is neither dreary nor relentless. It is, for me, a welcome refreshment from the oppression that is six months of endless summer. But I have learned that I require lots of natural light. Even two years later, I still find myself standing still and soaking in that glorious sweet light.

For the days I want to write but need that extra push, and, just as much, for the days when the prompt inspires me, all on its own, whether I need extra motivation or not.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Left Unsaid

There are some thoughts and stories I've left unsaid. Many by choice.

But not all.

There are some things left unsaid, because they would fall on deaf ears. I say this, not out of assumption, but because there are some things that may as well have be left unsaid for that very reason. That leaves me wondering if the owners of deaf ears have things left unsaid as well...or if they just have nothing to say.

For the days I want to write but need that extra push, and, just as much, for the days when the prompt inspires me, all on its own, whether I need extra motivation or not.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Human beings are complicated.

Earlier this month, I read the book My Husband's Sweethearts by Bridget Asher. As with any book, I imagine it could go without saying (yet here I am, saying it) that when I picked it up, I hoped I would enjoy it. I ended up being surprised just how much it has lingered with me, though. There were quotes and chapter titles that have really resonated with me.
He stops, puts his elbows on the table, and leans forward, closer to me than I expect. "Human beings are complicated," he says softly, as if he's confessing to his own faults.

I read that sentence and then I just stopped. I mean, it isn't like it takes a dictionary and some heavy duty thinking to understand that group of words, just felt like this profound revelation. Even more than that, though, it's a really good reminder -- especially for me, lately.  Human beings *are* complicated. There is so much more going on than most people will tell us, even those we know (or think we know) best. The surface is merely that and often the complex emotions and circumstances are hidden beneath the surface, which so often is more reflective than open to the depths hidden beneath. It's not just others, either. *I* am complicated as well. Complicated doesn't have to mean "drama," but there are complex layers to everyone, myself included.
At Some Point Each of Us Is Someone Else's Bad Guy

This one was a hard one for me to look at. I don't like to think I've been a "bad guy" for anyone, but if I'm honest with myself, there are times I know exactly for whom and how I was a bad guy. It doesn't have to be intentional or even known by me for it to be true. And maybe I've been a bad guy even more than I am aware. I am certain there are people who've been bad guys to me and never had the first clue. It's a humbling thought. Just another way that human beings are complicated, I guess...
We Are the Stories We Tell and the Stories We Don't Tell

I've been thinking about this one a lot, as it is particularly relevant to what's been going on in my world over the last year. I've thought about the stories I've told and those I haven't, and *why*. Why do I choose to tuck some stories out of view, rather than share them? Am I hiding it? Treasuring it? Afraid to be vulnerable? Worried I'll be judged? Waiting for a better time? And why do I choose to share some more readily? These are not new thoughts for me. I know I tend to hold my cards close to my vest on many occasions. But I've recently become painfully aware of the stories of others -- those that they choose not to tell, those they choose not to tell *me*, and the effect this bears on the relationship. That's a lot of heavy thought to contemplate.
We need to love each other again, with all that love entails -- even the hard things, like forgiveness and acceptance.

Sometimes loving people is easy. We have good times, make good memories, there's laughter and happiness. But, here it is again: human beings are complicated. Sometimes the "biggest" loving comes in the form of forgiveness, of accepting a decision we don't understand or like, of putting aside our feelings temporarily to listen with an open heart. Love isn't just good days, it's hard times too...or it isn't love.
We each say what we have to say, and we will spend this long afternoon crying and laughing at the same time, so much so that I can no longer tell which one is the truest form of grief.

This is so beautifully composed. I've attended enough funerals and the associated events to know that there are equal parts healing to be found in both laughter and shedding tears. They relieve different types of emotional pressure. They are opposite ends of a spectrum and yet, at the best of times and at the most difficult, they can become entwined. But it isn't true just of funerals. I've found that most difficult situations can be tackled with a combination of laughter and tears, feeling the hurt, while remembering the good.
There were some unexpected life lessons, things to chew on, hidden in the pages of that novel. Some things I'll turn over in my brain for a good long time, I suspect.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Seek Wonder

Perhaps it makes me appear childlike. Maybe it makes others roll their eyes or snicker at me behind my back. I won't change it, though, because I believe it is a necessary ingredient in the recipe for joy.

I seek wonder.

I find it in the wee lettuces that push up through the earth in a pot at the end of our front walk. I find it in the glory of a sunset. I find it in the way the frost on the roof of my car sparkles in the morning light.

It is in an animated conversation. It is in the photos a friend shares of their newborn baby. It is in the perfume of orange blossoms on the wind.

I see it in the glowing lights of a Christmas tree in a darkened room. I see it in the roughly constructed cross that stands at the front of the church sanctuary on Good Friday. I see it when I look out the window of an airplane and down at the top sides of clouds and the Earth far below.

I suppose it could be seen as silly or simple-minded. I choose to see it as allowing the wonders of this world to astonish and impress me, to revel in tiny beauty and amazing grandeur. However others choose to see it, or me, I will continue to seek wonder each day and let it light my face with a smile.

For the days I want to write but need that extra push, and, just as much, for the days when the prompt inspires me, all on its own, whether I need extra motivation or not.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

This Week on My TV: February 22, 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 Carrie Diaries, S2E9 "Under Pressure") I think it's hilarious that Mouse and Donna mini-bonded over the bewilderment of Dorrit smiling. -- Payphones. Those cream and brown cordless phones! (Although I remember them with the long retractable silver antennas.) Magnum PI. This show is such a blast from the past. -- I don't remember having fancy lingerie when I was Carrie's age. I also don't think I would have stayed standing on the stairs in nothing but a negligee as people I didn't know poured in through the front door for my younger sister's apparent party. -- This Dorrit house party reminds me why I was never a party girl. I was Carrie: way too responsible and way too much of a conscience. -- Exactly how much collagen is in Donna's lips? I really hope that's a lipstick trick because yikes. -- Donna and Mouse waking up, spooning on the couch, made me laugh out loud. It was completely reminiscent of Joey and Ross's nap on Friends. -- They got that whole party-trashed house cleaned up in an HOUR?!

**(Parenthood, S5E12 "Stay a Little Longer") Gossips. Ugh. I give Julia credit for walking up to them and asking what they wanted to know. And then they act all offended that she called them on their gossip! -- For someone who doesn't often communicate very well with his words, Zeek sure does say an unmistakable lot with just a look. -- There has to be something else going on with Joel. Right? I mean, everything is just getting blown out of proportion with him, in ways that don't make sense. And I am clearly way too invested in fictional characters. -- ::sigh:: Amber needs to start facing this hurt. You can't avoid this sort of thing when you break up. It will force itself to be dealt with, one way or another. -- Adam and Kristina think Max doesn't know how to communicate well, but he sure seems to express himself well with Hank.

**(Elementary, S2E13 "All in the Family") I hate it when I find headless, handless bodies in a barrel. -- The victim's father was able to identify him basely solely on his torso?! -- Bell is just not letting go of his grudge against Sherlock. It's obviously driving Sherlock nuts. He's going to poke at this wound until he gets his way. But it would appear the needling and the harsh pep talk worked because Bell is back to being a detective! -- Watson was fascinated with the Mob as a child, said it was like a soap opera "back in the day." Later, when she found a possible suspect and showed it to Sherlock, he asked her if she collected their trading cards as a child. Something about that struck me as incredibly humorous.

**(Revolution, S2E10 "Three Amigos") So is Cynthia really and truly dead? Like not to be resurrected? -- I bet they see a crap ton of stars without any power. -- Rachel said she and Monroe were like gasoline and a match. I know a few people like that... -- Wow, the inside of the White House looks pretty nice, compared to the outside. -- Why is no one noticing any of the steamy, conspiratorial, long looks between Julia and Tom? -- Miles and Rachel perpetually look like they want so strangle Monroe. -- Red flag: no one knows what you're talking about or claims they can't help you while looking uncomfortable? THEY KNOW SOMETHING. -- I guess those oranges might be bad news after all. What were they injecting in there?? -- Aaron just found...Grace? (I kind of forgot about her.)

**(The Carrie Diairies, S2E10 "Date Expectations") Haaaa. Tony Hawk. Skate clothes. All going to be big one day.  And Carrie just thinks Sebastian's enterprise is a giant waste of time. -- What is up with Donna's cleavage dress? Holy crap. I do not remember that as school fashion in the 80s. Must have been because I was in parochial school? -- Have I mentioned lately how much it blows my mind that young Carrie and young Samantha look so believable as girls who could grow up into the women versions of those characters? -- Did Sebastian just take a bag of ice out of his *refrigerator*? -- Sure, Dorrit. Scott is "just a friend." -- Oof. Heavy subject matter. And I don't mean Valentine's Day. AIDS. Walt's got a lot to think about now. But Carrie's tearful scene over it all in Sebastian's apartment was...bad. -- Tom is so funny, manipulating Dorrit by telling her he doesn't like Scott, because he actually likes the kid and that would never go over with Dorrit. -- Carrie: Sometimes what we expect and what actually happens can be completely a good way. Of course, some things in life really are predictable. It's reassuring when things turn out just as we think they will, but more often than not, the universe pulls the rug out from under us. Will we be brave or will we run away, hoping to avoid the next cruel surprise? -- Finally something good for Maggie! I hope it stays that way.

**(Parenthood, S5E13 "Jump Ball") Did Kristina and Adam honestly get a little giddy and excited that Hank may have Asperger's? That twisted. But such a real reaction. -- I would like to know what the heck is going on with: Amber, Joel, Camille, and Amy. They are all acting questionably in major ways. -- Tears: Amber's meltdown. That was difficult to watch.

**(Chicago Fire, S2E12 "Out With a Bang") Of course, the Jones cadet that Severide wanted to dismiss is now cheating on an exam. -- Oh, come *on*, Boden. How are you not at all suspicious about Casey insisting he's fine, great, good to go? They are *always* hiding that something is wrong! Maybe after his freak out at the restaurant with Dawson, someone will finally address this. -- Ok, I was obviously wrong about something happening between Shay and the new EMT. -- Ugh. That suicide victim, Daryl, left everything to Shay? And the brother, to whom she was going to give it all, was stealing Daryl's military pension? Ugly and uglier. -- OMG that woman with her hair caught in the escalator, RIPPING OFF HER SCALP. See?? I am *not* crazy for finding those things unnerving! -- Why do I suspect that Katie is going to destroy Otis? Something about her doesn't sit right with me. -- Called it: the Chief is the one who pranked Mills with the reporter and Shay used the inherited money to bail out Molly's. Sometime I wish this show were a smidgen less predictable.

**(CSI, S14E12 "Keep Calm and Carry-On") "I don't mess with married chicks anymore." Niiiiice. -- The bags that were robbed were all in overhead bins that were a distance from their owners. I *hate* when my carry-ons aren't stowed either above me or across the aisle. -- Called it: the old man was the thief. I did *not* call the rest though. That was some convoluted connection of the stories.

**(The Carrie Diaries, S2E11 "Hungry Like the Wolf") You know, Donna may be abrasive, but she's usually right. Huh. -- I *knew* Carrie was going to write Bennett's parachute pants piece for the magazine! -- Carrie wore a black and white striped dress with a large red floral necklace. I really liked it. -- I kept waiting for Tom to stab himself in the hand while he was putting fork holes into potatoes and ranting about the woman who tricked him. -- Ugh. Sebastian's father is a real scumbag, coming to guilt his son into giving him back the money from his trust fund to cover his bad investment decisions. -- I actually like Larissa in this episode, the way she encouraged Carrie to take credit for the work she'd done well, and not to feel bad about Bennett getting fired, because he brought that on himself.

**(Revolution, S2E11 "Mis Dos Padres") Where did the guests at Nunez's house get all the nice, modern clothing? -- So, the mysterious building being built in Willoughby is going to be a training center like the one Jason was sent to. And Julia's new husband is behind it! I still want to know what they were injecting into the oranges at the end of the previous episode. -- The nanites are seeking out their parents? Wha...? -- Charlie's a fine one to be critical of others' stupidity and stubbornness. -- Connor: You know who obsesses about weakness? Weak people. -- Typhus outbreak! On purpose! In the oranges! It *has* to be.

**(Chicago Fire, S2E13 "Tonight's the Night") Casey is a liar-liar-pants-on-fire. Good thing he works with a bunch of firefighters. -- What is with everyone getting all hot and steamy? Is a jam-packed firehouse a turn-on or something? -- A season and a half into this show and I still feel nothing for a single one of the regular characters, but an elderly couple in this episode for three collective minutes reduced me to tears. -- Is blood dripping out of your ear a big enough deal for Dawson to be the first to know, Casey? -- Oh no! Baby Sister Severide, kidnapped!

**(CSI, S14E13 "Boston Brakes") It's been too long for me to confidently recognize them. Is that the day shift CSI appearing again? And have we met this reporter before, on another case? -- Brass has been very angry since that business with his ex-wife and their daughter. -- When a car is racing out of control and it seems someone has taken over its control, why does no character ever try shutting off the vehicle?! I mean, maybe that's been overridden too, but why not at least *try*? -- Apparently DB is taking on a rogue FBI agent or military man that he had to let walk away, for now? I'm not sure how I feel about this sort of open-ended CSI case.

**(Revolution, S2E12 "Captain Trips") How did Miles and company know exactly where to go to find Gene and Charlie after their return from Mexico? -- Regarding the fit of Charlie's shirt: Is she wearing the same clothes she had when the power first went out? Because girlfriend has no shirts that appear to fit without showing her stomach and half her chest. -- With all the rundown, barely slapped together places, why has no one decided to make their home in that abandoned, but fairly decent, town where Grace is/was holed up with Aaron and Priscilla? -- I am just not at all invested in this Tom and Julia arc.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Currently: February 21, 2014

This week, at the Broken Road house:

Snapping... photos. Every day. Sticking to my photo-a-day challenge like a champ. You know how Seinfled was "a show about nothing?" Well, these photos of everyday life are much the same. Who would have thought these "photos of nothing" would really be everything that makes me smile about my life?

Stopping... myself from saying what I think, which is sometimes more difficult than it would seem. I am thankful for a pretty strong internal filter, because mostly, it isn't worth the conflict or the wasted effort or the hurt feelings that would likely follow. I am also thankful for a husband, to whom I can relay these, um, thoughts, and they usually make him laugh or nod in agreement. It's good to have a safe outlet.

Spending... time scanning in more old photos. It's quality time, making sure these treasures are safely backed up in a digital format. More than that, though, it's good to touch these memories, to soak in them as I trot, back and forth, down the hall between the scanner and the laptop, watching the images pop up on my screen, giving them just enough editing that they can look as good as possible, yet not lose the authenticity of photos from another lifetime.

Starting... to make some visible progress on some goals. Namely, there are magazines steadily finding their way into the recycling, and the DVR is down below 50% capacity. Perhaps, I've finally found my rhythm. That's usually all it takes for me to get forward progress.

Skipping... my tentatively scheduled venture over to Disney World this weekend. It's supposed to be rainy (again? hello, dry season, what?) and I was reminded it is a marathon weekend, which I try to avoid (extra crowds and traffic route detours and meh). Maybe next weekend. I love that kind of flexibility!

"Currently" is a weekly link-up, hosted by Ot & Et.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Broken Road Confessionals: February 20, 2014 - The Never Have I Ever Edition

Never have I ever been to a drive-in movie.

Never have I ever had actual s'mores.

Never have I ever found a beer that I can actually tolerate the taste of.

Never have I ever been able to bring myself to try veal or any other baby animals. (Or that sound like baby animals. I'm looking at you, lamb.)

Never have I ever had a little strip of pictures taken in one of those photo booths.

Never have I ever taken a real sleigh ride.

Never have I ever been able to properly parallel park. (I don't count when there's no one parked anywhere near by and I can just pull straight up to the curb by driving alongside it.)

Never have I ever painted an interior wall. (I know!!) (But I have done exterior painting a ton of times. Growing up, I painted the outside of my grandparents' house, their front steps, their picnic table.)

Never have I ever seen "Silence of the Lambs," "The Godfather," "Schindler's List," "The Princess Bride," or "The Sound of Music." (The last one, I actually tried, on more than one occasion, but I *always* fall asleep within the first ten minutes. Without fail.)

Never have I ever been able to down a shot. But I can sip whiskey without flinching!

Never have I ever, even once, remotely considered getting a tattoo.

Never have I ever slapped someone across the face. (Even though I may have been in some situations where it might have been warranted.)

Never have I ever felt an earthquake.

Never have I ever gone on a blind date. (And no need for that anymore!)


Saturday, February 15, 2014

This Week on My TV: February 15, 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!

**(Sleepy Hollow, S1E11 "The Vessel") Abbie [as Ichabod emerges from behind a closed door, now wearing updated clothing]: Hell hath frozen over. Ichabod [unhappily]: Indeed. ... I. Die. Especially when he tried to sit down wearing skinny jeans. -- Abbie: You ever heard of boondoggle? Ichabod: If it's another type of constrictive trouser, I'd rather not. -- That body-jumping demon is super creepy. In fact, this may be one of the scariest episodes yet of this show, and that's saying something. -- Is it wrong that I am glad Ichabod decided to stick with his own clothes? -- George Washington wrote a message four days *after* he died? I can't wait to see how they spin this story.

**(Parenthood, S5E10 "All That's Left Is the Hugging") I only saw that Sarah and Carl kiss coming from the first time we met him. I'm not sure how I feel about this development. I like Hank and I miss Mark. Why does she have to get involved with so many likable guys? -- Oh c'mon, Joel. What exactly is the bug up your butt? It can't just be that Julia showed up at your work. You have to know she had good reason to. So what is up already? -- Ryan, you are going to lose Amber if you don't start fixing what's wrong inside you. -- Natalie, Drew is a good guy. Sweet isn't boring. Sweet is going to be a far more rare and valuable commodity than your immature self realizes. Someday, you're going to kick yourself if you let him get away. -- OMG WHY IS JULIA KISSING ED??? WHAT IS GOING ON WITH EVERYONE?! -- Oh, Amber. What did you do, Ryan? -- Egging Bob Little's billboard. I kinda love Adam for finding a way to give Kristina an outlet. -- Tears: Amber showing up at Sarah's door, tears running down her face, devastated that Ryan broke off the engagement to re-enlist. -- Amy!! Amy at Drew's dorm room door!! So, how long before Natalie is jealous because there is "another woman" actually in the picture?

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E11 "Going Home") I'm not sure which is more creepy: evil Peter Pan or his shadow. -- They are trying *really* hard to hide Ginnifer Goodwin's real life pregnancy. I wonder if they will give in and just use it for Snow's story. -- Does our little group just run all over town in a pack? Because that does look a little silly. -- That was some very close face-t-face for Rumplestiltskin and his father. -- That was some pathetic "crying" by Belle. -- Yes,  let's all just have a wrenching discussion of who's doing what and going where while there is a green curse rolling in. -- Lana Parrilla is really pretty. -- How did Emma not kiss Hook when he was standing there. telling her he would never stop thinking of her?! -- One year later: Well, hello, Hook! What was your message? What's going on with Snow and Charming? How will you get Emma to believe you? And how on earth did she fight that kiss??

**(The Carrie Diaries, S2E7 "Rumor Has It") Bennett: What's next? Cellular phones for everyone? Larissa: Don't be ridiculous. *That* will never happen. ... It amuses me when this show pokes fun at itself and the 80s. -- Donna makes me really extra not miss high school. -- Carrie: Why do people always say 'no offense,' right after they've offended you? -- Carrie's wistful "I've always wanted to go to Paris..." You will eat those very words, one day, little Bradshaw! -- I keep waiting for Sebastian to propose to pregnant Maggie, especially now that he's sure Carrie has moved on. -- Oh no. Mouse's polaroid was the original "naughty text." -- Of course Maggie's pregnancy ended, ectopic but could have been miscarriage, because they won't tackle a whole teen pregnancy. -- Ah, the days pre HIPAA, when doctors would just spill your personal medical details to pretty much anyone who asked. -- Did Mouse seriously just flash the basketball team in the diner?! -- Young Carrie is levelheaded more often than adult Carrie ever was.

**(The Carrie Diaries, S2E8 "The Second Time Around") Poor Maggie and poor Walt. Things sure have gone downhill for both of them since they broke up. -- Sheesh, Larissa is over-the-top pretentious. -- Walt's new favorite show "The Golden Girls." And Carrie's dad "not seeing it lasting" because it's just a bunch of old ladies sitting around talking about their lives. ::snort laugh:: -- It is really confusing when Sebastian Kydd's father calls him "kid"...or is it Kydd? -- I'm really glad Maggie's father was good to her after she came clean about the details of her pregnancy and who fathered it. Way better than Walt's parents treated him. -- Oh man. Mouse and West breaking up over Mouse getting into Harvard and her ultra competitive nature. Bummer. I liked West. -- Is Sebastian really moving to California for good? -- The Bradshaws have a "big fork and spoon" on their kitchen wall, just like Frank and Marie Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond"!

**(Chicago Fire, S2E11 "Shoved in My Face") Did I miss a "so many months later" note at the bottom of the screen? Because the last time we saw him, Casey was going into surgery in pretty rough shape. Now he's heading back to work? -- Can anyone new join the house without making it an issue? Now the new paramedic is going to be chilly with Shay? -- Casey can't remember the combination to his locker, but he's going to insist everything is ok, just fine, he never felt better. Because they all lie when something is wrong. Why doesn't that immediately make someone, *anyone*, suspicious?? -- Is Clarke's wife seriously setting him up for the murder of her old lover? --"Everybody up, stay low?" How does *that* work? -- Things everyone saw coming from a million miles away: the "electrical fire" at the diamond exchange was really a robbery in progress, Baby Sister Severide hitting on Otis, Casey is going to fall apart but keep pretending nothing is wrong. I also predict something's going to happen between Shay and New Partner.

**(Parenthood, S5E11 "Promises") Yeah, I totally called the Natalie not liking Amy thing. It happened faster than I expected though. -- Carl's not going to give up on Sarah. He drives a hard bargain. She's going to cave. And, as Jasmine said, he's a doctor. That saves babies. ::tires screech:: Wait. Carl is a renowned doctor? So why does he live in Sarah's building again? -- Zeek-without-Camille is breaking my heart. She needs to come home from Italy and rescue him. -- Adam and Crosby gossip more than the girls! Julia confides in Adam about the kiss with Ed and the problems with Joel, and in the next scene, there's Adam, under the guise of protective brother, giving the dirt to Crosby! -- Aww, poor Hank. I want to hug his goofy, uncomfortable, confused self. -- Episode theme: Jealousy. Natalie's jealous of Amy. Joel's jealous of Ed. Hank's jealous of Carl. Zeek's jealous of Italy. -- Drew and Amy! DREW AND AMY! DREWANDAMY!! Oh, please, don't hurt him again, Amy... -- I cannot wrap my head around Joel this season. He's become a real jerk with next to no explanation. -- Ooo. Carl is leaving Sarah with a lot to think about. Totally respecting Sarah's request that her agreeing to be his plus-one to his award event not be about sleeping together. -- Near tears(but I held myself together): Adam and Kristina peeking into Max's room to see Hank and Max playing chess. -- Are we just forgetting Haddie ever existed? I know she's away at college, but that doesn't mean someone couldn't at least *mention* her from time to time. I feel like there needs to be a parody "where's Haddie Braverman?" Twitter account or something.


Friday, February 14, 2014

I Love

In honor of the day of hearts (but not the Queen of Hearts, because there shall be no offing with anyone's heads): “Promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate.”

I love the soft glow of Christmas lights.

I love sparkling defense in baseball. The kind where the player makes the super difficult plays look effortless.

I love sunrises and sunsets and the glitter of frost and the silence of snowfall and the flaming riot of color on Autumn trees.

I love the kind of book that you stay up far too late reading "just one more chapter," because you can't bear to not know what happens next.

I love donuts from Dunkin and warm chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter M&Ms.

I love inside jokes and being silly, laughing til I gasp for air and impromptu dancing to television show theme songs.

I love time spent with "my people."

I love exploring in my own quiet way, taking it in, attentive, committing to memory.

I love the wonder of a newborn baby, a whole new person where there wasn't one a breath before, and the magic of baby laughter, and the way an infant's body melts into your arms as they surrender entirely to sleep.

I love a good quote that resonates in the mind, echoing back, again and again.

I love a good list.

I love Sunday afternoon naps on the couch.

I love old hymns that I've sung in church since I was barely old enough to read the words and the Proper Preface ( "Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Thy glorious name...") and the Nunc dimittis, Christmas Eve Candlelight and Good Friday Tenebrae and Easter Morning Sunrise.

I love good tv, the kind that makes me laugh and cry and think and rewind to watch a scene again.

I love soft blankets, freshly washed sheets, and Crate & Barrel kitchen towels.

I love almost anything vanilla scented.

I love dry humor, sharp wit, a touch of sarcasm.

I love a slow burn smile and eyes that twinkle.

I love song lyrics that speak to me or that transport me like a time machine.

I love orange blossoms.

I love old photos and "remember when..."

I love holiday traditions.

I love Broadway musicals.

I love my camera and the moments it freezes for me.

I love the thrill of walking into a Disney park and the satisfaction of finding a new detail after all this time.

I love a house filled with natural light.

I love long and winding back roads.

I love this man and this life I'm living and the rich blessings I have been granted.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Currently: February 13, 2014

This week, at the Broken Road house:

Shoveling... all manner of tasty eats into my mouth: loaded baked potato soup we had packed in the freezer, broccoli, peanut M&Ms, leftover ravioli from Olive Garden on last weekend's date night.

Ignoring... the fact that I wish I could control the actions of others, because wishing it won't make it so.

Inhaling... rain-soaked air (during the dry season, no less!), candles deliciously scented like evergreen, vanilla and peppermint, words off the pages of a book I enjoyed so much more than I expected to.

Hugging... my husband. Every day. I'm so thankful for his presence in my life. Also, he gives the best hugs.

Throwing... kind words out onto the internet. I don't think there are enough encouraging, uplifting, compassionate words online. Seems everyone takes the anonymity of a screen and keyboard as free license to be cruel and to tear down. I'd rather not be a part of that.

"Currently" is a weekly link-up, hosted by Ot & Et.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Five Senses: February 12, 2014

I see the vision of a home improvement project beginning to finally take shape.

I hear rain pounding down and wind gusting.

I smell the clean scent of "pink grapefruit" Method cleaner in a freshly wiped kitchen.

I taste sloppy Joes and tater tots.

I feel the glossy pages of a magazine.

For the days I want to write but need that extra push, and, just as much, for the days when the prompt inspires me, all on its own, whether I need extra motivation or not.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I believe...

...that being genuine is only as difficult as we make it. saying I'm sorry.

...that a kind word can go a long way. a God that loves.

...that chocolate has healing powers, and, therefore, is medicinal. seeking out the good, even when it seems there may be none.

...that balance is what keeps life sane. saying thank you, because feeling appreciated is food for the soul.

...that happiness is within our power to achieve, but we are often our own worst enemy. being silly and laughing til I cry and letting my heart be light.

...that a world without baseball is no world I want to know. recognizing blessings, both large and small.

...that we often know what we need to do long before we have the courage to see it through. telling the people I love that I love them, often.

For the days I want to write but need that extra push, and, just as much, for the days when the prompt inspires me, all on its own, whether I need extra motivation or not.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Broken Road Confessionals: February 9, 2014

**I'm not sure I will ever understand why we have to have so many spelling variations on names like "Alison," "Crystal," "Megan," "Kristin." I don't have anything against those names--truly, some of my favorite people have one of them and I love them just the same--but all the variations of spelling them get confusing as heck. There are so many options that I never know if I've picked the right one and then I suffer guilt for spelling it "wrong"...but really? How could I have guessed which it was supposed to be?

**I do not understand this whole "chicken and waffles" thing. It's been happening for a while and every time I see it on a menu or heat it being mentioned, I am just as confused by the concept as I was the first time.

**The mute button on my TweetDeck app is one of my favorite "dirty little secrets." Some people just really get on my nerves sometimes. Unlike "unfollowing," no one is ever the wiser. No one's feelings get hurt. And I don't have to listen to the nonsense anymore. Now if Facebook could just come up with an equivalent...

**I think the show "Once Upon a Time" has officially ruined Peter Pan for me. That character completely creeps me out now. I am now the woman who is a little afraid of Peter Pan.

**I'm going to say, now, that I really don't get into the Olympics all that much. And then, what will really happen is I will find myself sucked into this competition or that, unable to change the channel, and the next thing I know, I'll lose two hours.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

This Week on My TV: February 8, 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!

**(Sleepy Hollow, S1E10 "The Golem") I feel bad for Ichabod. To find out you had a child you never knew had been conceived and all the questions it must raise. -- John Noble is a brilliant actor. I am so glad he's found a place to land, in a show I enjoy, now that Fringe has run its course. And I really like the character of Henry Parrish. -- Stalking is creepy. That giant version of the doll Katrina gave their son (a golem?) is creepy.  I'm not ever sure what word to use for being stalked by that thing! --The scene with the hot chocolate vendor possessed by the demon was plenty creepy in its own right. Those milky eyes. -- Forceful Ichabod is especially swoon-worthy. -- Henry Parrish has a secret we don't know yet, I think. -- Ichabod [upon seeing the Christmas stocking Abbie gifted him]: You embroidered my name on some oversized hosiery! How odd. -- Of course we end on an ominous warning from Moloch. Just another reminder to watch this show long before I close my eyes for sleep.

**(The Carrie Diaries, S2E6 "The Safety Dance") Finding money and random items in her pockets as she's trading out her summer closet for autumn: very Carrie. -- I really like Weaver, but it's difficult to get attached to any of these guys Carrie dates, knowing that not a single one of them is really going to last, not even in friendship, since we don't even  meet a single one of them when she's an adult. -- Procrastinating by wanting to shoe shop: very Carrie. -- Did Bennett drop Stanford's name as his roommate who is travelling? (I can't recall if it's been mentioned before or not.) -- I am dying. Carrie deciding that the topic that makes her feel uncomfortable and apprehensive is sex, so that's what she's planning to write her essay on for her writing class.  My, how she grows up. -- Uh oh. Maggie's got a pregnancy test! -- Never mind, I don't think I like Weaver after all. Kind of a jerk. -- I laughed loudly when Walt maced himself in the face. -- Difficult conversations on building steps: very Carrie. -- Carrie: And even though I'd gotten a pretty good grade, I didn't know enough about sex or love or the city to ever write about any of them...*ever* again. ... Ok, keep telling yourself that Baby Carrie. ::wink::

**(Chicago Fire, S2E10 "Not Like This") So Shay is just suddenly better now? -- Such a shocker that the whole neighborhood turned out to support saving Firehouse 51. And, of course, as the final sands slip through the hourglass, they find enough dirt on Gail McLeod to make her go away and keep her from shutting down 51. -- Man down! What will happen to Casey after getting hurt rescuing that baby from the burning building? Will this change Dawson's mind on moving over from paramedic to firefighter? And when all the firefighters from one house are gathered in the waiting area at the hospital, what happens if they are actually needed for an emergency? -- Any bets on whether Clarke actually killed his wife's ex-boyfriend? I can't really figure out why they would have bothered with adding his character just to unceremoniously remove him like that.

**(CSI, S14E11 "The Lost Reindeer") Phillips: Grandma may have gotten run over by a reindeer, but Santa got sleighed/slayed. ... Seriously?? Womp-womp. -- The little boy in the episode is Harrison Morgan from Dexter. Is there some kind of shortage in Hollywood, that the same actors are recycled amongst my shows so heavily?? -- The "office Secret Santa" mini-mystery was a fun holiday twist.

**(Blue Bloods, S4E14 "Manhattan Queens") I'm pretty sure one of the quickest ways to tick off Frank is to disrespect Baker. -- One of the weirdest abductions ever. But shouldn't Erin know better than to go head down an empty alley? I mean, she's from a family of cops! -- Garrett: There's something disturbing on the internet. Frank: There's a lot that's disturbing on the internet. -- It's pretty sad when dudes look better as women than some women I've seen. -- Tallulah: You catch on pretty fast. Danny: Well, that's why they gave me a gun and a shield. -- It was mighty amusing to watch Danny kick someone's butt with an umbrella. -- Sure seems as if we wouldn't see Jamie at all, without the family dinners. What's going on there?

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E10 "The New Neverland") Our band of Neverland warriors has returned to Storybrooke and there are happy reunions all around...for everyone, but Regina. And I kind of feel sad for her. When, exactly, did I grow a soft spot for her, again? -- I wonder how long it will take before Pan-posing-as-Henry slips up on some mannerism or reaction, and someone figures it out. (Answer: not long at all. Almost the next scene, Emma started suspiciously asking him if everything was ok, because he was acting strange.) -- How come no one ever makes a yuck face when they down a potion or elixir? For some reason, I always imagine they would taste like cough medicine. -- And now we await the second coming of Regina's curse, now at Pan's casting.

**(How I Met Your Mother, S9E17 "Sunrise") I didn't so much care what Barney was up to, passing on The Playbook, but I've been concerned about Marshmallow and Lily Pad. It was also definitely time for Ted and Robin to confront their past and their current relationship. And then came the admission that he's still in love with her and that he's moving to Chicago after the wedding. Not cool that Ted was making a Hail Mary pass at Robin ON THE MORNING OF HER WEDDING. -- So funny that Ted was on the phone with Stella and Victoria like they're still old friends. Jeanette is still bat crap crazy though. -- The ghosts of Lily! -- I am so happy Lily and Marshall made up. I mean, Ted's "flashforwards" during the entire series showed them still together, but still, I feel better now. -- I am so sad for Ted. Don't give up, Ted! The Mother is literally so close, you could reach out and touch her!

**(2 Broke Girls, S3E16 "And the ATM") So, Max whines about having no money *and* having a boyfriend that's loaded? -- Deke is dressed up as...the Monopoly Man? -- I do not understand the deep-ish-voiced spasm Caroline had when she realized the million dollars in Max's account was actual real money placed there by Deke. -- Who was that random cook who walked out of the kitchen in the background? The diner is not that large. Wouldn't we have at least seen him before?

**(Mike and Molly, S4E11 "Dips and Salsa") Molly is a way better dancer than I am. -- I can't lie. If I were in the room alone, I totally would have tried dancing the way that salsa dance teacher explained it. But my husband already thinks I'm crazy. -- I am totally flashing back on an old episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, when Debra goes out dancing with Robert and Ray ends up getting jealous. -- I'm afraid if I let my guard down, the show is going to stop trending back away from obnoxiously crazy Molly and make her caricature-style nuts again.

**(Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, S1E8 "Home") Cyrus back story. I'm glad we're finally going to learn some more about him. (And it turns out they dropped the ball on this as the episode progressed. They simply teased about his past and then didn't follow through. Jerks.) -- The Grapevine. A "telephone" that was, quite literally, a grapevine, as a form of communication in Wonderland. I got a pretty hearty laugh out of that. When a show is bound by no limitations, because it treads heavily on the side of insane, the possibilities become endless. And endlessly hilarious. -- Well, that's quite a conundrum, Knave, isn't it? Jafar's storm or trusting Anastasia? -- Whoa!! The Knave wished to end Alice's suffering, which released Cyrus from being a genie...and he turned himself into one! Those wishes are dangerous, man.

**(Mom, S1E16 "Nietzsche and a Beer Run") Who is Christy's fireman? I recognize him. Is he Max's (2 Broke Girls) artist guy that she liked in the first season? -- Wow. Fireman guy is a loser. Christy needs to find a new type. Baxter, Gabriel, now David the Fireman. The one good guy she was dating, she kicked to the curb. This is just a depressing trend, not a funny one. -- The face Christy made when she turned on the siren? Priceless. I would totally make that face.

**(Elementary, S2E12 "The Diabolical Kind") Holy crap, that was a ton of letters from Moriarty to Sherlock! -- Um, is that a painting of Watson by Moriarty?! What's up with that? -- I don't know why that guy just stood on the stairs, staring at a bunch of intruders dressed head to toe in black and night vision goggles. I would at least *try* to run away. -- Moriarty: You look a bit tired. Sherlock: You look a bit evil. -- Moriarty is such a worthy opponent for Sherlock. I'm glad we aren't done with her yet. -- So. Moriarty is a bit jealous of Watson, as evidenced by the chilly exchange they shared. Interesting. Moriarty doesn't seem the type to feel threatened. -- So crazy to see Sherlock in a state of vulnerability. He so clearly still cares for Irene/Moriarty.

**(Reign, S1E8 "Fated") It's so good to see Francis and Mary acting like they are actually in love for a change. -- The king *has* to be realize he was opening a can of worms by getting involved with Kenna. -- I wish I didn't like Bash so much, because his love for Mary is futile. -- I'm confused. Did Catherine kill her canary on purpose?! Or was someone trying to poison her or send her a message? (Oh...she was making poison to use on Kenna.)  -- Kenna is playing a game far bigger than she understands by crossing Diane with  Katherine. The king loves Diane, and Katherine will turn on anyone in half a heartbeat. -- Why did Clarissa push Aylee down the stairs to her ultimate death when Aylee was going to die from drinking the poison meant for Kenna anyway?! WHO IS CLARISSA??? -- Well, now how is Mary going to ignore Nostradamus? His prediction about one of the girls dying before the frost melts came true. His telling Aylee she would never go home again came true. How can she risk the man/boy she loves when he says marrying her will kill him? -- Diane did NOT poison Kenna's drink! What is going on?? I can't keep up with all this double crossing! -- Clarissa stole Nostradamus' poison to make sure one of Mary's girls would die to make his prediction come true in an effort to protect Mary from Katherine? Oof. -- Double oof. Now my heart hurts for Francis, watching Mary ride away with Bash.

**(The Middle, S5E13 "Hungry Games") I totally do the "starve myself" thing before I go to my favorite buffet (Biergarten at Epcot). -- Ha! Sue finally able to successfully torture Axl, for a change, but looking at a brochure for the college he is going to! -- Mike: You can't look too close at stuff. You pull one thread and the whole thing unravels. No good can come from examining your life! -- Sue is a junior? Why did I think she was just a sophomore?! Apparently fictional tv character children grow up in the blink of an eye as well.

**(Person of Interest, S3E14 "Provenance") I'm so glad Mr Reese is back. I'm also not opposed to how he looks in a tux. -- Our little group cleans up very well. However, the top of Shaw's dress was a little awkward looking. -- I love that when Finch and Reese checked in at the event, the woman who welcomed them assumed they were a couple, since Reese was Finch's "plus one." The eyebrow wiggle Finch gave her when she commented, sotto voce, that Mr Reese was *gorgeous* was a thousand different kinds of awesome. I love that this show doesn't ever take itself too seriously. -- Reese in a fake mustache. I die! -- I feel like I just watched a hybrid of Ocean's Eleven meets The Thomas Crown Affair meets Ransom. -- The Man in the Suit, a well-placed Shaw, and a convenient Fusco save the day! -- Ohhh... The glass of whiskey for Carter. Oh, Person of Interest, you just played me like Parenthood.

**(Modern Family, S5E14 "iSpy") Suspicious Claire and Phil sets up for some classic comedy. Snooping and spying and stalking. -- Jealous Gloria was the epitome of stereotypical jealous woman but it was so funny to watch her spin out of control and try to play head games with Jay. Maybe she's mad, maybe she's not, did he do something to make her mad? -- Haley: I'm 420% sure. Phil [to Claire after Haley leaves]: Wow, she's bad at math. -- Mitchell: Hey, when did salmon become a thing to be put on salad? Cam: 2008 in the city. 2011 in the suburbs. -- Claire: I can't see anything. I hear them laughing. And you know why kids laugh... Phil: Because their hearts are filled with joy and not suspicion? -- Phil [wearing an umbrella-style headpiece]: This is so wrong. Claire: Ah well...Desperate times call for desparate...what is on your head. Phil: It provides glare protection, but apparently not from you! -- I am really liking the direction they are taking Haley. She'll still an airhead but no longer a loser. She has photography talent and is actually making some fairly intelligent decisions about her life!

**(Scandal, S3E10 "A Door Marked Exit") What an ugly, vicious fight between Sally and Daniel, leading up to her murdering him. Oh, Cyrus, what horrible chain of events have you and Mellie set in motion? -- Can you actually tell the President that a particular matter of "national security" is "above his pay grade?" -- Abby: Just let me see Maria Wallace's file. No need to make a federal case out of it! David: And yet that is what I do. -- I can't tell if this is an act for Quinn because she has A Plan or if she really is this naive and foolish. -- This show changes directions so quickly, my head spins. Do we hate Rowan for what he's done to Jake and Huck, or pity him now because we learned he was duped by his wife into shooting down a plane full of innocent lives for a bogus bomb threat she convinced him was real? -- Liv so rarely makes poor judgment calls when she fixes things for others, but she makes a crap ton of them in her own life. -- I almost thought we were going to have no more Jake, following his "I loved you" goodbye to Liv, and that made me sad. -- I cannot even keep track of what I am supposed to think or feel about almost every character on this show. -- Oh. Crap. Liv's mother in front of...was that the White House or the Capital? I was so flabbergasted, I forgot to retain that detail. What is she going to do??

**(The Big Bang Theory, S7E15 "The Locomotion Manipulation") Annual Relationship Summit. ::snort:: Only Sheldon and Amy. -- I'm not liking "drinking problem Penny." Or Leonard's hair. -- Just about the time I was getting as annoyed with Sheldon as Amy was, not just for his insensitive behavior toward her on their romantic train ride dinner for Valentine's Day, but for the overall lack in forward motion in their relationship as a whole, HE LAID A BIG OLD KISS ON HER. And not just a peck on the cheek, like I was expecting while he was ranting and mocking all things romantic (wine...grape juice that burns, staring into each other's blinked, I win!), but a good long one. ::bounces up and down, clapping her hands:: -- The vet gave Raj her phone number! (Yvette the vet. ::snicker::) -- I cannot wait to hear Amy gush and swoon and obsess over The Kiss. Don't let me down, BBT!

**(Top Chef, S11E17 "Finale") Ugh. I am still not over the fact that Nick is in the finale after he should have gone home several episodes ago, but was saved by immunity. And I don't like "oh no, I made a fatal mistake that is sending me home" Nina. ::sigh:: It should have been Louis. -- It has to be disconcerting to have Tom say "oh yeah, I remember the panna cotta, it was terrible." -- I almost felt bad for Nick for how awful his servers were. Almost. -- I found it very interesting to get a peek at the debating between the judges as they hashed out who would win. I've wondered for many seasons what and how they discussed to reach their conclusion. -- I don't know how I feel about Nick winning when he cooked poorly enough to go home earlier in the season, to the point that judges were speculating if he should surrender his immunity. Never mind that the judges' commentary seemed to favor Nina quite heavily. -- Ummm, Nick was uncomfortably kissy with his mother.

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E14 "Wednesday's Child") Oh brother. William Lewis in Olivia's daydream. When can we please be done with him? -- So...Olivia thinks she's pregnant, but she's not, but it turns out it sure seems she'd like to have a baby. -- Because of course the missing kid is diabetic. Perfect way to put the pressure of a clock on the case as his insulin pump runs lower and alerts his parents of his spiking blood sugar. -- They really come up with some twisted stories. Sometimes I worry about the people who can dream this stuff up. -- I can't believe they would actually allow that woman keep the adopted son after she tried to secretly unload him on a placement agency, without telling her husband and making it look like an abduction or runaway situation. -- Plot ripped from the headlines: This took a while to reveal itself, but I think it was a spin on the kid with the backpack who ran away and tried to stow away on plane. -- T's prediction: Olivia is going to try to adopt that unclaimed baby from the hotel room.


Friday, February 7, 2014

The One with the Five Freebies

We all know about Ross's "five freebies" -- and if you don't, seriously, sit down and watch some Friends already, for crying out loud -- and of course I think my husband is the cutest, handsomest man ever. But I'd give him five "freebies" and I'm entitled to mine. (Ahem.)

In no particular order...

1. Mike Lowell -- He can just sit there and smile at me. That's all I'd need. It would kill me dead.
2. Blake Shelton -- I love his sarcastic sense of humor. He could just alternately sing to me and make me laugh with snarky remarks.
3. Tom Selleck -- Every time he does an interview with Rachael Ray, I feel like he is just the nicest man ever. And, let's be honest, he is not too hard on the eyes either.
4. Chris Noth -- I am not at all sure what the untraditional appeal is here, but he won me over as Mr Big a thousand years ago.
5. Donnie Wahlberg -- I follow him on Twitter and he is one of the most positive and uplifting people in my entire feed. That kind of enthusiasm for life is captivating. Irony: back when I was a wee lass and New Kids on the Block were all the rage, I couldn't have really cared less about any of them (mainstream pop culture? not this girl!), but I always turned my critical little nose up at Donnie for being so much older and somehow dorkier than the rest. Let this be a lesson to all silly little girl-fools: Those are the ones that will floor you later!

And if I were picking from fictional television characters? (Because speaking of dorks, hi, my name is Dawn.)

1. Hook, Once Upon a Time (Colin O'Donoghue) - Because how can a girl resist a bad boy pirate? (This was a very close race with Bash, from Reign, played by Torrance Coombs and his crazy ice blue eyes.)
2. Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother (Josh Radnor) - Because I am sucker for a lovable, romantic dork.
3. Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow (Tom Mison) - Seriously. I shouldn't even have to explain this. Just look up 'eye candy' in the dictionary.
4. Mr Reese, Person of Interest (James Caviezel) - He has dry humor, looks great in a suit, and always shows up at the right time. To quote Monica Gellar: ummm, ok!
5. Raymond Reddington, The Blacklist (James Spader) - I have been a sucker for Spader since Boston Legal. Red is the perfect combination of power, intelligence, fearlessness, and danger.


My how things have changed:
Five Freebies: version one, 2005.
Five Freebies: version two, 2009.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Currently: February 6, 2014

This week, at the Broken Road house:

Watching... the skies change from grey to blue and back to grey again, as the weather tries to make up its mind. The bank account balance for the arrival of our income tax refund -- we're on the ball when it comes to filing our taxes! The season finale of Top Chef, even though I'm full on sulking over the final two contestants.

Saying... how I feel to certain friends, and yet not the one person who *should* hear it. But you can't choose the people who will listen.

Losing... ground with my technology. My laptop is trying to give up the ghost, though I keep bringing back to life by sheer will and a prayer. It's reached a respectable life expectancy, for a laptop, so I'm not overly annoyed, but I'd like to squeeze every last megabyte out of it first. Of course, this requires diligent and frequent backing up of anything and everything of value. Which wouldn't be a problem, except that my external hard drive is refusing to communicate with any sort of computer approximately half of the time, which makes the backing up process that much more difficult. Also, my entire digital music collection is housed solely on said cranky external drive (well, in addition to my iPod). During one of its lucid moments, I managed to copy all my music on to a thumb drive (whew), and my photos are all safely double-backed-up online. I suppose, with the clock ticking, we can add "sales for laptops and external hard drives" to the list of what we're watching this week. ::sigh:: As long as they don't both bite the dust together, like the little old married couple that they are...

Admiring... the beauty of snowfall from a safe distance. I have no desire to shiver-my-timbers, but gosh, a winter wonderland has a beauty all its own. Something that is likely lost on those who have to shoveling out from under it.

Making... a mess, which goes hand in hand with home improvement projects. It must get messy before it gets better. Also? Brownies. Because my when my typically savory-over-sweet husband requests a sweet treat? I am quick to oblige.

"Currently" is a weekly link-up, hosted by Ot & Et.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What We Inherit

97 years ago, a little baby entered this world, into the hands of her father, in the middle of a blizzard that prevented the doctor from attending her arrival. She grew and grew up and became a wife, then a mother. Sixty years, nine months and eight days after that snowy birthday, my own birth made her a grandmother for the fifth time.

I grew and grew up, just as she did. I spent my childhood in her care, under her feet, around her house. I her some of her stories (though never enough of them) and told her many of mine. I learned how to be a lady and how to work an iron and how to be grateful for what I have.

For almost 36 years, I inherited her married name. When I was a young woman, I inherited a box of family photos to treasure. I inherited an ability to soften the edges of a house and transform it into welcoming home. I've taken myself to task, and through much trial and error, forced myself to inherit the skill of not killing every green living thing I plant in dirt.

From her, I learned the love that can be conveyed through a gentle touch. By her, I was taught to get the housework done properly.

I use her words regularly. "Tell them to go pound sand." "Don't borrow trouble." "Don't put off til tomorrow what should get done today."

I see pieces of her, living still, in who I am today. My memories are rich with her presence. This is the greatest inheritance she could have left me: Those simple life lessons, those days spent in her kitchen, and a box of old photos to treasure.

For the days I want to write but need that extra push, and, just as much, for the days when the prompt inspires me, all on its own, whether I need extra motivation or not.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Be Still

This world is programmed to move at the speed of light. Things change again before they even finish the changing they're already doing. News breaks. Social media feeds scroll forward endlessly. Phones buzz and buzz and buzz with text messages. The To Do List beckons and mocks and grows longer, even as you cross an item off its top. There is constant noise and motion, both real and digital, every moment of every day.

These things aren't evil. Some are necessary and many are welcome. But they pour in, a steady stream, each demanding some form of attention, even if that attention is to scroll past or hit the delete button.

It makes a girl's head spin.

When the evening turns the sky to black velvet and the lights in the houses wink out, I put my laptop aside, power off the television, set my iPad to sleep, render my cell phone mute. Freshly washed, I slip between the sheets of my bed, the only sounds: the gentle whir of the ceiling fan and the quiet breathing of my husband deep in sleep. I settle in and reach to my bedside table for a book. A real paper-and-ink book. No more screens and no more power buttons. Just me, in the peaceful silence, and these pages.

And it is here that I can finally be still.

For the days I want to write but need that extra push, and, just as much, for the days when the prompt inspires me, all on its own, whether I need extra motivation or not.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

This Week on My TV: February 1, 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!

**(CSI, S14E9 "Check In and Check Out") I can't believe they can still come up with unique cases this many seasons into the show. All these brutal murders in one hotel room? -- LSD being sprayed through the automatic aerosol air freshener. I knew that spray was going to spell bad news for Hodges.  -- What a horrifically sad story, but even more than that, the hotel manager was unbelievably twisted. I knew he was going to have something to do with it. He was just enough creepy when they first talked to him.

**(Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, S1E6 "Who's Alice") Dr Lydgate: I don't recall any Alice, I'm afraid. We have so many patients. Jafar: Of course you do, but how many of them escape in the company of a talking rabbit? -- Alice: not just your average girl walking through the forest. -- Alice's father is not a nice man. Didn't tell his new family Alice existed at all?? And his mustache is crooked, which is driving me all sorts of crazy. -- Knave [on recently being released from being turned into a statue]: You ever been stoned? Feels like death when you come out of it. -- Tweedle: I don't understand. Red Queen: Of course you don't. You tweedles never do. Each one dumber than the next. -- Knave: Who's that? Alice: Oh, that's just the carpenter. Don't worry about him. Knave: Right. Don't worry about the man with the saw and the scary grin. -- I knew that beautiful forest was bad news. How creepy that all the trees are people who didn't want to leave it.

**(Reign, S1E6 "Chosen") Olivia just does not quit. I know Catherine is the one behind her advances, but I suspect she doesn't need much prodding. -- You'd think the king would know that getting involved with Kenna would bring all kinds of teenage angst, immaturity and impetuous behavior. -- So, Bash's mother was a pagan at one point and that is half his religious heritage? -- A dripping deer head hanging over Mary's bed while she sleeps?! That is creepy on *so* many levels. The threat implied, the fact that whoever hung it was able to drug Mary and get past her guard, the gross factor! -- There is a lot of jealousy at court: Mary of Olivia, Bash and Francis of each other, Kenna of Diane. -- The pearl headdress on the heretic servant was awful. And I am not sure what she hoped to accomplish by screaming "no!" at armed guards as they hauled her away. -- Like father, like son. Neither willing to give up their former mistresses. -- The screams of the traitors being burned at the stake were chilling.

**(Dexter, S8E11 "Monkey in a Box") Dr Vogel was almost a surrogate mother for Dexter. So now he's been in a pool of blood with two mother figures. Almost full circle? -- It was pretty bold of Deb and Dexter to discuss, in the middle of Miami Metro, how unusual it is for Dexter to not want Dr Vogel's  son for himself and is helping the police to catch him instead. -- Ah, so much symbolism. Tropical Storm Laura approaching Miami. A storm...named after Dexter's long dead mother...whose murder made him who he is...about to unleash its fury on Dexter's home. -- Oh my holy crap. Danny Vogel just stabbed the U.S. Marshall, stole his gun, and shot Deb with it, before fleeing. All because Dexter no longer needed to kill. I can't even imagine what is going to take place in the final episode of this show.

**(CSI, S14E10 "Girls Gone Wild") Morgan Brody, don't quit your day job. That karaoke wasn't as amazing as you think it was. --It's amazing to me that they always have a cell signal, no matter how deep into the desert or high up the mountains they go. -- Little details bug me. For instance: it sure is important to whisper *after* you kick open the door. -- It's a good thing Fin was out cold when Morgan was poking at that enormous bruise, because I'm pretty sure that didn't feel good.

**(Scandal, S3E8 "Vermont is for Lovers, Too") Olivia's mother has been trapped in the bowels of that building for TWENTY YEARS?! -- I am starting to hate The Fitz Phone. -- I was so revolted by what Liv's mother was doing to herself, I had to actually cover my face. Eww!!! -- Ok, I guess Olivia hates The Fitz Phone even more than I do. And yet she didn't get rid of it til now? -- Oh so wrong that Cyrus is pimping out James on Sally's husband like this. -- Liv's father refers to her as "your daughter," not "our daughter," when speaking of her to her mother. -- Oh God, Fitz built a house for Olivia... Just when I want to hate him, he makes me love him more. I'm as bad as Olivia. -- I don't know what Liv's mother did, but it is super creepy now, given that other scene, when she says "couldn't you just *eat* her!" -- The chemistry between Liv and Fitz is undeniable, but what is with the angry faces during the sexy time scenes? -- Harrison is sleeping with Candace?! -- Cyrus better sleep with one eye open after what he did to James. And he totally had it coming to him with those photos on his cell phone. -- Liv's mother escaped!! And showed up at her doorstep!! Liv is going to need therapy.

**(Chicago Fire, S2E8 "Rhymes With Shout") Casey and Dawson need to just admit they like each other already. I hate the "dance." -- What exactly is Shay hoping to escape by transferring to another firehouse? She knows that "wherever you go, there you are," right? -- I don't care how much crossover is pushed on me, I'm not taking the bait on Chicago PD. -- Cruz is having a rough day. First, he sees the little girl in his neighborhood get shot. Then he finds out the Russian girl he likes has to go back to Russia. And now Voigt is blackmailing him about the fire where his brother's former gang boss died at Cruz's hand in exchange for having Leon go undercover informant with his old gang. Then the little girl dies and Leon wants to help the police. That is a *really* bad day. So...he proposes to Zoya? -- Nothing like a good tumble-and-roll out the broken window of a just-extinguished vehicle. -- Why do people on tv shows always say things like "I didn't know he was coming over, he just showed up"? Do they not look to see who's there before opening the door? -- Not a fan of the black shirt under the black tux with the black bow tie that Mills wore to that event he went to. He looked like he belonged on the Addams Family. -- Shay's bad-girl flame robbed the apartment after Shay gave her a key. Saw that coming from a million miles away when she was eyeing Otis's valuable collectibles. -- As Barney Stinson would say about that final scene between Dawson and Casey: bang bang bangity bang.

**(Parenthood, S5E9 "Election Day") I could see that "Max and Ruby" thing coming from a million miles away. But...isn't that the name of a preschool cartoon? -- Trouble is so clearly brewing for Amber and Ryan. It makes me sad for Amber. -- I so love Kristina. She made *me* want to vote for her. -- How am I not shocked that Crosby wasn't registered to vote? But who is Jasmine to assume that Crosby would have voted for Obama?! I don't presume to know who *anyone* will vote for, on the privacy of their ballots, not even the people I know and love best. -- Sure feels like there should be some fallout for Crosby bribing neighbors to vote for Kristina... -- Tears: When Kristina's friend with breast cancer showed up to vote. Kristina's emotions were palpable. -- Tears x 2: When Emma, the little deaf daughter of the woman Kristina interacted with during the debates, thanked her for the fact that she made a difference for Emma's education.

**(Chicago Fire, S2E9 "You Will Hurt Him") Where do they keep finding these partners for Dawson? -- That was a sudden change of direction for Severide's sister. I thought she wasn't interested in a relationship with him? -- Hahahaha. The look Severide gave Otis when he thought Otis might be hitting on his sister. Priceless. -- Oh crap. Mills has quite a decision to make. Now that things appear to be going better at the fire house, his name comes up in the lottery to get in over at the police department? -- Shay's first name is Leslie?? How did I miss this until now? -- Because it isn't at all obvious when Dawson walks by texting and Casey phone buzzes two seconds later, causing him to get up and walk out of the room. But did they seriously go at it in the fire house showers?! Nasty. -- I honestly thought Leon was going to be a casualty after that drive by gang shooting. -- It kinda bugs me that Isabelle calls Peter Mills "Pete." -- Dude. That's a low blow by Zoya. Grown women don't make other people do their dirty work. You break up with people yourself. Now poor Cruz is going to get dumped via one of his co-workers *and* send his baby brother away for his own safety on the same night. -- Oh sure. House 51 will be closing. Because that can happen and still have the show go forward. ::eye roll::

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E9 "Save Henry") Here's some back story about which I am wondering. How Regina ended up with Henry in the first place. They told it very well. -- It's always impressed me that, no matter the degree of her darkness and evil, Regina has always loved Henry very much. -- That was one creepy scene when Pan tried to rip Henry's shadow away from him after Regina saved him and replaced his heart. -- Whoa! I did not see the Pan/Henry switch twist coming at all! Well played, once again, Once Upon a Time!

**(How I Met Your Mother, S9E16 "How Your Mother Met Me") The Mother The Mother The Mother!! -- So what happened to Max?? Did he *die* on her 21st birthday??? (Ok, yes, later confirmed. That is so sad.) -- Oh, I just want to hug her. -- WHAT IS HER NAME?! -- Love all the throwbacks to old episodes. Well done. -- I would totally make my English muffin sing. I kinda wish this character were a real person. I'd be her friend. This episode made me really, really happy. And also sad that we won't get to know her better. -- The Mother singing "La Vie En Rose" with Ted on the next balcony was amazingly executed. Standing ovation, HIMYM.

**(2 Broke Girls, S3E15 "And the Icing on the Cake") There's Sophie! -- Why is Han limping? Did he always have a limp and I just never noticed before? -- Chef Nicholas makes me angry. The cheating slime. -- So Deke is rich. And Max can't love someone rich. Blah blah.

**(Mike and Molly, S4E10 "Weekend at Peggy's") I don't get it. When Molly met Mike, he had his own place. So why can't he afford one now? Why do they have to live with someone's parents? -- Mike sleeping in a trundle bed. That was awkwardly uncomfortable just to look at. -- Jim! (But I could have lived without watching him licking Peggy's feet.) -- Actually one of the better episodes this season. Maybe they are finally righting the ship?

**(The Carrie Diaries, S2E5 "Too Close for Comfort") Chained to a typewriter. This *is* the 80s, isn't it. Irony that Carrie doesn't want to be chained to a typewriter, so she uses a journal. Grown-up Carrie doesn't want to give up her typewriter for a computer! -- Carrie, Mouse and Samantha eating at a little cafe. Oh how I love the little nods to SATC! -- I have to give the casting people props. They nailed it picking young Carrie *and* young Samantha. I am really impressed. Also really hoping we will get to meet young Stanford, Charlotte and Miranda as well. -- Carrie obsessing over whether he current guy is still hung up on his old girlfriend. And twenty years later, she'll still be obsessing over the same thing. --Blah. Miller. Dorrit needs to ditch him. -- Ha. Carrie blurts stuff out. Like "Are you still in love with Katya?" True Carrie. It is strange to see such an innocent and virginal Carrie though. -- Oh. Dude. Weaver. You don't read someone else's journal. Disrespecting privacy is a major dealbreaker. Especially when you keep your own writing such a secret. -- Carrie walking into a cafe to meet up with the girls! I think I have a "crush" on the way this show pays homage to SATC.

**(The Blacklist, S1E13 "The Cyprus Agency") This "adoption agency" is twisted. -- Meera *isn't* the mole?! -- When is Liz going to listen to Red's warnings about Tom? She has to know there's something to what Red says. When is he ever wrong? -- Wait a second. I thought the agency was twisted when it seemed they were kidnapping babies and adopting them out. But they were kidnapping young women and farming them to make the babies they were adopting out?! -- Ressler sure does take a beating. He's going to be a pile of broken body parts before this season ends. -- I knew Diane was the mole when we first met her and heard of a mole. -- What truth about Red's family?! -- Red: You talk too much. ... This will be a line I adopt for personal use, I believe. Minus the multiple gunshots, of course. -- The gunsmoke drifting in front of Red's face after he shot Diane was an excellent touch. -- Tom is a jerk. -- Mr Kaplan! She is a great periphery character.

**(Mom, S1E15 "Fireballs and Bullet Holes") Christy's father kind of had that desk-clearing tirade coming after rejecting her offer to get to know each other. -- Bonnie: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage not to set this evil dwarf on fire. -- I haven't decided, yet, how I feel about the introduction of the father if he's going to be a regular character.

**(Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, S1E7 "Bad Blood") That death scene with Jafar's mother was rather dramatic. -- Red Queen: While you were gone, your fancy silver prison developed a Cyrus-shaped hole. -- So-terrible-it's-hilarious CGI alert: that floating tree branch and the tree from which Alice plucked it. -- I knew I recognized the Sultan, but I couldn't place it. And then it hit me: Aram from The Blacklist! -- Alice just used her second wish to send her father back home. I feel like the wishes are being used too easily. -- The man in the second cage is the now older Sultan, Jafar's father!

**(Dexter, S8E12 "Remember the Monsters?") Clever move by Dexter to get Elway away long enough to get Hannah out of the airport bathroom. -- I'm not sure how Saxon looked no worse for wear with the amount of blood he's losing. -- Not sure how Dexter conveniently parked his boat in front of the hospital, walked into Deb's room, disconnected everything keeping her alive, allowed her to die, wheeled her in her bed out the door, picked up her body and carried it onto his boat and drove away WITH NO ONE NOTICING. -- Hannah was certainly clever to be prepared for a way to bail herself out of that Elway situation on the bus. -- That was the crappiest ending ever. It would have been better if they just stopped with the pieces of Dexter's boat being found by the Coast Guard and no body being found, to leave the outcome open to speculation. I had read that Showtime wouldn't allow the writers to kill off Dexter. It sure seems as if the writers lost interest at that point and just slapped together whatever in protest.

**(The Big Bang Thoery, S7E14 "The Convention Conundrum") I love that Amy wore her tee-ARRR-uhh! out for tea. -- I kept expecting Sheldon's interaction with James Earl Jones to be a daydream. -- You're right, girls. I still don't feel like I am a grown-up, and none of the grown-up responsibilities are any fun. -- James Earl Jones was a *riot*! He does The Crazy Eyes to perfection.

*(Top Chef, S11E16 "Maui Wowie") LOUIS!!! Reigning champ of Last Chance Kitchen with eight straight wins! I am so happy he won his way into the round that sets up the finale. He has clearly earned it. -- I was a little nervous when Tom told Nick, Nina, and Shirley that they would be picking the winner of the final round of Last Chance Kitchen. I'm glad it was a blind choice, based only on the food, because it wouldn't have been fair for them to actually choose the person they would be competing against. -- SPAM for the last Quick Fire. How original, considering the location is Hawaii. -- I'm so disappointed that Louis went home. -- Are you kidding me? I have to choose between Nina and Nick in the finale? YUCK.

**(Reign, S1E7 "Left Behind") Mary handles herself with such wisdom and grace. And shrewdness. Appealing to the Count for the safety of her ladies.--  Of course Catherine would attempt to give Mary away to the Count in marriage to appease him. She is desperate for any opportunity to prevent Mary from marrying her son. -- Bash's blue eyes are startling. -- I'm rather impressed that Francis offered himself up as hostage in protection of Mary from both the Count and from Catherine. -- Catherine: They're taking Francis. Mary: For ransom? Catherine: He gave himself up to save you...and the rest of us. Mary: He would... Catherine: Yes, his integrity can be annoying. -- Ha. I would never believe Catherine, swearing on her immortal soul or otherwise. -- Holy intensity, trying to execute the escape plan! -- It was so obvious Olivia was going to bail on the plan and leave Mary and her ladies stranded. -- Francis proved himself kingly. -- Diane doesn't look old enough to be Bash's mother. -- Ohhhh... Francis loves Mary. Steamy love scene! You know, because teenagers know so much. ::wink:: -- What met Olivia in the tunnels? Clarissa? And what happened to her?

**(Last Man Standing, S3E15 "Tasers") I'll never give up hope that John Baker will succeed in winning over Kristin. It won't make me like her more, but maybe it would eliminate all the Ryan time. (I hope.) -- Mandy [to Kyle, who is drenched from standing in the pouring rain]: It's just like The Notebook! It makes me want to leap into your arms, close my eyes, and pretend you're Ryan Gosling. -- I have to say, Eve intimidates me a little too, never mind some teenage boy who gets told he's now her boyfriend. -- Mike and Vanessa sound like T and me getting up from the couch.

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E13 "Betrayal's Climax") The "not based on real people or events" disclaimer. Wonder which part is going to be ripped from the headlines? -- The girl who played the rape victim, Avery, was not the most convincing actress I've ever seen. -- Sheesh. The second time this week there's been a jumper in an episode of a show I watch. At least this one waited until the giant air mattress set up. -- Oh look. An SUV accosted by a group of motorcycles. (Ripped from the headlines?) -- And now for the second time this week, someone gets the tongue cut out too. (Other one was Dexter.) -- It was really confusing trying to figure out if Manny got killed or just was unable to testify because he had no tongue. -- Overly dramatic teenage girl in the final scene. My favorite. ::eye roll:: Once again, it proved true: I never really enjoy the "ripped from the headlines" episodes.

**(Scandal, S3E9 "YOLO") Has Huck lost his mind or is he trying to scare Quinn straight? -- Cyrus, you are so getting your due from James. -- Abby: You can't show up with Dead Mama Pope and expect us to fall in line! -- Interactions with Jake make Fitz catty. -- Is it possible for a show to cause whiplash? Because I no longer know the good guys from the bad. Is it Liv's mother that's evil or her father? Is Quinn working for Liv or against her? If Liv's father is good, I have no explanation for B613. Did Fitz just help a terrorist (Liv's mother) escape the country?! And Sally just murdered her husband?! For real, I think I have whiplash.


Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: January 2014

A photo of me:

1) Candle scents* this month:
Vanilla Bean Noel (Bath and Body Works). Cherries on Snow. Red Berry and Cedar. Christmas at the Beach (smells like: pineapple, coconut and cilantro). Sugared Apple. Silver Bells (smells like: cypress, spruce, apple, wild berry, clove and white cedar). Mountain Berry (smells like: frosty woods, red berries, currant and rosemary). Peppermint Swirls. Holiday Bayberry. Be Jolly (smells like: holiday spices, hollyberry and pine). Deck the Halls (smells like: cedar, bergamot, fir needles and musk). Holiday Sage. Eggnog. Holiday Garland. Hazelnut Coffee.

2) What I am reading this month (you can find me on Goodreads!):
Wizard and Glass (Stephen King) - I had to pause with about 200 pages remaining, because I ran out of time to finish it. Back to the library it goes until my request to borrow it again is filled.
Tippy Toe Murder (Leslie Meier) - This was a fun little book. I feel like the main and recurring characters are a little better developed (which, I suppose, would make sense, considering it's a series). There were details trickled out as the story progressed, leaving just enough mystery to keep me turning the pages. Looking forward to the next one in the series.
A Cry in the Night (Mary Higgins Clark) - This book was crazy in the way only an old-school Mary Higgins Clark can be. While her newer books seem to have lost some of their edge (and she is by no means a literary genius but she has her place, in my opinion, as the aptly names Queen of Suspense), I hadn't ever read this old one from 1982. It was chillingly creepy (and you should stop reading this right here, if you haven't yet read this book but intend to), and even though it seemed obvious from very early on, the story played as many head games with me as with the main character. I questioned what I thought I knew with every twist and turn, even though it appeared plain as day what was happening. Practically spelled out for me and yet my brain couldn't seem to gain a foothold the whole time, as I surmised and second-guessed. I also had to make a point to read this book far enough away from sleep, because just like watching the television shows "Fringe" and "Sleepy Hollow," reading this book too close to bedtime resulted in some deeply unsettling and disturbing dreams. By the end, with an intense need to know how the story would play out, it almost felt as if I couldn't inhale a deep enough breath, couldn't turn the pages quickly enough, couldn't absorb the words fast enough, to keep up with the adrenaline rush as I hurtled along on the final crescendo. I enjoyed this book in exactly the way I've come to expect from MHC's suspense style. It won't win awards, but it kept me right at the edge of my seat!
The Red Queen (Philippa Gregory) - If I remember correctly, "The White Queen" ended just as King Richard of York was riding out to engage Henry Tudor in battle to defend his crown. This book told much of the same story as "The White Queen" time frame, but from the vantage point of Margaret Beaufort. It was interesting to read how she saw all these events unfolding, compared to Queen Elizabeth of York's, in "The White Queen."
The Girl Who Chased the Moon (Sarah Addison Allen) - I really enjoyed this book. It told a story in a unique way and had interesting, likable characters. The descriptions were wonderful. There was a little bit of romance and a little bit of mystery. The book kept me engaged from cover to cover. An easy, enjoyable read.
Dave Berry's Complete Guide to Guys (Dave Berry) - Just getting started with this one. I've been needing some laughter, anyway, so it was perfect timing for it to come up on my "to read" list.

3) Movies I saw:
No movies as I race to get some of that huge tv backlog off the DVR! Plus, NFL playoffs!

4) Calendar image for the month:

See that person in the slate blue coat in the very center? The one not fully upright? That's pretty much what I would look like if I were wearing skates.

5) New recipe tried this month:
Creamy Pesto Chicken and Rice.

6) Restaurants where I ate:
Tutto Gusto (Italy pavilion, Epcot).

7) Five things I am loving this month:
1. Salad spinner. I got one for Christmas after wanting one for ages. Not only does it make a cooking chore I loathe so much easier, it's actually kind of a fun toy.
2. Learning my way around The Baby. (Why, yes, I do name my cameras. What of it? My big fancy Canon is The Precious. The Baby was a Christmas gift: a little red Nikon CoolPix to keep in my purse.)
3. Dust buster. Another one of my Christmas gifts. The fact that I don't have to lug out the entire vacuum cleaner for a tiny little mess means I am far more likely to clean up that mess without either grumbling or waiting.
4. My fleece-lined AJ Steel hoodie. Yet another Christmas gift! This one from my sister-in-law and her husband. AJ Steel is their company. I am fully willing to give them free advertising because that is the comfiest, snuggliest hoodie ever. It's kept me toasty warm on the brisk January days we've had!
5. Soft grey eye shadow with just a hint of sparkle. (I guess, maybe, despite my lack of enthusiasm over shoes and purses. I might still be a girl after all.)

8) Three goals I had this month and three goals for next month:
1. Get all the Christmas gifts into their new homes and re-organize some kitchen cabinets to accommodate. (Mission accomplished!)
2. Choose a paint color for the master bathroom. (Done! Homestead Resort Buff is our winner!)

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! (It was some, but some is better than the almost none of December! So there.)

1. I need to decide on new towels to coordinate with our remodeled bathroom color scheme. I look at them every time I go into Target. It's time to make a decision.
2. Get the DVR down below 30% while most of my shows are on hiatus during the Olympics. Baseball season is fast approaching and I can't be running at 80% capacity!
3. More magazines. More progress.

9) The best part of this month and the worst part of this month:
The best: Days -- quite a few of them, even! -- that require sweaters and gloves and warm blankets!
The worst: Taking down the Christmas tree. It always makes me sad.

10) A photo I took this month:

As many times as I've been to the Disney parks, I can still stumble upon a new perspective that will grab my attention. I love that.

*All scents are Yankee Candle, unless otherwise noted.


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