Saturday, February 1, 2014

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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