Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What I Learned in April: 2014

1. My husband looks at me with an odd expression when he see me holding a wee babe. Now, this is, in his words, because he has never seen me hold a tiny baby before, but I guess I never realized this was such a visual difference from holding a seven-month-old.

2. I am still not a fan of prop planes. They are far too bouncy for me. I made T hold my hand the entire 35-minute flight. Both ways.

3. This is called a sun halo. It occurs when ice crystals from super high cirrus clouds refract the light.

4. I like macadamia nuts...if they are covered it chocolate.

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.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

This Week on My TV: April 26, 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!

**(Elementary, S2E20 "No Lack of Void"Eww! Oozy stuff coming out of dead guys' mouths always skeeves me. -- I think one of my favorite things Sherlock does is spout off obscure facts. -- Watson: You tasted the anthrax?? -- This struck a little too close to home for me. ... Sherlock: Alistair was a friend. One of only a handful at that. And losing a member of such a select group has felt quite substantial. -- I like when they show the emotional side of Sherlock. It humanizes him.

**(Chicago Fire, S2E18 "Until Your Feet Leave the Ground"The characters say and do a *lot* of stupid stuff on this show, but pointing out to Mouch that he is taking advice from a lesbian on what women look for in a man was spot on. -- That face Dawson was making when she was trying not to cry as Shay was talking about Dawson and Casey growing old together? Totally the face I make when I'm trying not to cry. -- If someone is assessing your husband's injuries with words like "four-inch laceration" and "pupils aren't dilated," and they ask you to get sheets, towels, and duct tape, do you really need to ask if they know what they're doing? -- OMG Mouch on a blind date. I am so glad I will never need to experience being on a blind date. I would be a flipping disaster. -- Hermann is good people. -- Jones *killed* herself??

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E20 "Beast's Obsession"William Lewis *again*?! I am exhausted with this story line. -- Hmmm. Another appearance from the undercover detective (Declan Murphy?) that inadvertently discovered Rollins' downward spiral with her gambling addiction. I like him. I wouldn't mind if he became a regular. -- I seriously hope William Lewis is actually dead. I need this story to be finished.

**(The Good Wife, S5E17 "A Material World") Sheesh, will Kalinda just get it on with *anyone*?? She certainly will play hardball though. She relished putting Damian in a position where he needed to leave Lockhart Gardner. -- At first, I thought the new State's Attorney, James Castro, was Evan Handler (aka Harry Goldenblatt from Sex and the City) but then I realized it was Michael Cerveris, September from Fringe!! It's a little unnerving just how many features they have in common. -- Alicia Florrick looks better as a mess than I do at my best. -- I like Finn Palmor. -- I suppose Peter was a bit insensitive in his delivery, but honestly? I think Alicia needed to hear it. And I also don't think he was wrong. ... Peter: Look, you lost a friend. You didn't lose your job. You didn't lose your husband. Alicia: I lost my husband a long time ago. Peter: Oh my... You cannot go back there. Alicia: I don't have to. I'm still living it every day. Peter: How many times do I have to tell you? When I cheated, it didn't mean anything! Alicia: Well that was a waste. Because when I cheated, it did! Peter: Well, I can't compete with a dead man. But if you think your life would have been better with Will, you are kidding yourself. Alicia: Stop it, Peter! Peter: No! I'm not gonna let you throw away this marriage because you have some idealized notion of a man who you're not even sure cared about you. Alicia: You're a bastard! Peter: And you're a selfish bitch! But you know what? We're all that we have. -- Was that a whole episode without Eli?

**(Unforgettable, S2E8 "Til Death"At first, I thought this was going to be one of those episodes that have been done by all the cop shows with male-female partners: let's pretend we're married to catch a criminal. And a lot of it has been done before. Including the murderer who was replaying mommy-daddy issues as he recreated it over and over. But what made it completely worth it is the chemistry between Carrie and Al. Wowza, there were sparks coming off my tv!

**(Grey's Anatomy, S10E18 "You Be Illin'"What is going on with Derek's hair?? It's gone from charmingly messy to OMG get a *trim* at least, man! -- Der and I are obviously kindred spirits. ... Derek [to sick Murphy]: Ew! Get away from me! -- I love that Mer really had heard Der's speech enough times that she was able to give it for him when he succumbed to the virus that was going around the hospital.

**(CSI, S14E19 "The Fallen"I'm not at all making light of such a serious topic, but how is it that the kid who started shooting up the police precinct was able to successfully hit so many targets when the police on these shows seem to miss about eighty percent of the shots they take? -- I can't imagine how it would feel to be the mother in that situation, knowing what your son did and that the odds are not in his favor for walking out alive. -- Cop involvement in the police department shooting. I did not see that angle coming. I especially didn't see it coming that it was the female cop who set the whole thing in motion, sending her husband, a fellow officer, to work the front desk, communicating with the kid via email from the police station, using the terminal of her former lover to implicate him. It was a sad, but the threads of the story were woven together so well.

**(Parenthood, S5E19 "Fraud Alert"Wow, that was a whole lotta barging into ::ahem:: married bedrooms to start this episode. -- Oh boy. Mark Cyr being back won't complicate anything for Sarah, just when things seemed to be going so even keel, of *course* not. /sarcasm Even though he's moved on and is engaged now, Sarah's going to have all the feelings. -- Oof. Joel, you can't use a joint credit card for an amount that large and expect Julia not to know about it! -- After that disaster of a meeting between Kristina and Adam and the school about the kid who peed in Max's canteen on the class field trip, I cracked up when Kristina told Adam not to laugh at her for her yelling at the administration. That is so something I would say. -- Tears: That conversation between Joel and Julia about whether or not their goal was to get back together. They are both so clearly hurting and not hearing one another. -- Tears x 2: Kristina watching Max be happy surfing. -- OMG Julia. A date with Ed? Seriously?

**(Reign, S1E17 "Liege Lord"Lady Kenna is a brat. Wow. ... Kenna: You make it sound as though I'm the most self-centered woman in France. Bash: I can't say that. I haven't met all the women in France. -- How on earth is Lola going to make this marriage work if he doesn't want children after losing two wives in childbirth and she was hoping to marry *because* she's already pregnant? -- Whoa. One of Catherine's ladies alerted Mary to a secret clause in the marriage clause between Mary and Francis. If Mary dies without an heir, Scotland belongs to France. So Mary is basically worth more dead than alive unless she can become pregnant. And it wasn't just Catherine and Henry. Mary's mother was in on it too. -- Mary: I would defy the devil himself if he tried to buy and sell my country. -- Lola is marrying a good man. Kenna is married to one too, if she'd just remove her head from her backside. -- I rather enjoy this badass version of Mary!

**(Person of Interest, S3E19 "Most Likely To..."Shaw's hair is's not up in a ponytail. -- It amuses me how freaked out Lionel is by Root. The second she shows up, he can't wait to beat feet. -- Such a funny episode. Mr Finch sent Shaw and Mr Reese to a high school reunion, posing as former grads who were not in attendance. Shaw went as the class "ugly duckling" and apparently Mr Reese was a high school playboy who keeps getting slapped by various women all evening. -- Class of 1994. Twenty year reunion. OMG, I have been out of high school a long time. -- Vigilance is a real pain in the hiney. -- What on earth did The Machine whisper in Root's ear?!

**(Modern Family, S5E19 "A Hard Jay's Night"Haley [playing Scrabble]: How am I supposed to do this with all these I's on my rack? [Manny looks away.] -- OMG the little soap statue Cam's father made for the wedding cake topper. THAT CAM SET UP IN ORDER TO GET AN EXTRA VETO SO HE COULD GET RID OF THE WEDDING SINGER. He is crafty, that one. -- Phil as a hair dresser. Hilarious!

**(Mad Men, S7E1 "Time Zones") Joan: Is this Avon-related or did you just need someone to hand you a tissue? -- I don't know who Lou is but I am not a fan. -- OMG, "Bob Benson is on the line"?? I thought we got rid of him! -- That soundtrack is definitely setting the scene as closing in on the new decade. -- I was going to ask what Megan was wearing to pick up Don at the airport, but perhaps the better question would be what is she *not* wearing?? It maybe was supposed to be a dress but it looked like a shirt without pants! -- I started chuckling over Pete's hair. And then I got a load of his pants and fell off the couch. -- Joan wore a rust color when she met with the professor that I *love* on her. And I totally applaud the effort she is making to retain a customer's business. Joan does not get nearly enough credit for how valuable she is to the firm. -- I do not understand how Don and some random woman sitting next to him on a plane end up all cuddly! I don't even want the person next to me to initiate small talk! -- (Something I didn't catch myself, but that was pointed out to me by one of my friends, and with which I completely agree in retrospect) Everything Don watched on television was about discontent of spirit. -- I just wanted to hug Peggy when she was crying. -- I'm going to have to think for a while about that final scene with Don shivering on his balcony before I form a theory on what that is supposed to mean.

**(CSI, S14E20 "Consumed"A cannibal??? (Maybe this wasn't the best lunchtime entertainment.) -- Ewwwww. This was a gross episode. I should have known something of this nature was coming, after how good the previous episode was. -- Holy crap! DB saw a guy that fit the sketch of the "devil" cannibal?! Is that just supposed to leave the viewer wondering or are we going to be subjected to this as an ongoing arc?

**(The Blacklist, S1E19 "The Pavlovich Brothers"Escape by ambulance. I feel like I've seen that done on every action show I watch. Time for a new "clever escape" plan, writers! -- Oh, Tom, you are a liar liar pants on fire. Liz "sees this blood and stuff all the time but it's so foreign to you." WHATEVER, YOU KILLING MACHINE. Those puppy dog eyes behind those glasses are NOT FOOLING ME. -- Lizzie, the magician, making that car remote battery/GPS tracker disappear. -- My God, does *everyone* on the street work for Red?! -- Liz is on to Tom being on to her being on to him. (Got that? LOL) -- You know, Liz, you could be a little more gracious to Red, considering he's been *right* about everything thus far. -- Words that should strike fear in the hearts of anyone who hears them: "Good afternoon, gentlemen, I'm Raymond Reddington." -- "A gift from Reddington. Enjoy." Red gives the best gifts. First the head he gifted Ressler. Now, he delivers Tom to Liz, handcuffed in her dining room. -- Oh, Liz doesn't have it in her to break your fingers, Tom? Hell hath no fury, you betraying bastard. -- I don't buy it. Tom is *not* one of the good guys. -- Was that symbol on the envelope in the safety deposit box the same one as on Tom's box of passports and cash, that looks the same as Lizzie's scar? And what was she seeing in those photos?! I NEED TO KNOW.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Currently: April 24, 2014

This week at the Broken Road house from just outside Erie, Pennsylvania...

Making... a long packing list. It's the only way I can travel and hope not to forget half a dozen items.

Eating... with lots of people, between T's family and the post-funeral meal provided by the church. We did NOT eat "Clams Casino" at the airport restaurant in Cleveland. Some things just scream "bad decision" and seafood at an airport in Cleveland are decidedly one of those things.

Enjoying... time with T's family. We don't get to see them all that often.

Hiding... from the law! Ok, not really. But I do have an overdue library book that will be two weeks late by the time we get back. Oops.

Noticing... that if we had to fly into Erie on a prop plane, we'll probably have to get on another one to get back to Cleveland where we make our connection back to Florida. ::gulp::

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


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Favorite Easter Hymns: April 20, 2014


Saturday, April 19, 2014

This Week on My TV: April 19, 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!

**(Last Man Standing, S3E19 "Hard-Ass Teacher"Eve: I'm not leaning toward The Ohio State University mostly because its alumni insist on calling it The Ohio State University. -- By the way, I still do not like Kristin -- Mike: What? You get a wrong answer and he marks it wrong? Where is this guy from, North Korea? -- Vanessa: Oh my. Is that boy wearing a dunce cap? Mr Harden: Oh no, I could never get away with being that insensitive to kids in this day and age. It's a genius cap. This genius forgot to do his homework. -- Mr Harden: Every day I drive back and forth across the Nineteenth Street Bridge and everyday I pray that the men and women who built that bridge learned their math from teachers who demanded the best from them. -- Mike: This is what America's come to: Real accomplishment plays second fiddle to just feeling good about ourselves. Feeling good whether we've earned it or not.

**(The Big Bang Theory, E7E20 "The Relationship Diremption") Leonard: Hey, how's dating two women going? Raj: Ummm... Kind of hit a bump. When I was honest and told Emily she wasn't the only person I was seeing, it went great, so I tried the same thing with Lucy. Howard: And? Raj: She had mixed feelings. But when I said Emily was cool with it, Emily's the best, why can't you be more like Emily? Those feelings became less mixed. -- Howard: You're reading Cosmo? Sheldon: Yes. As it turns out, there's an article on how to get over a breakup in literally every issue. -- Sheldon: The magazine article suggests that one of the ways to get over a breakup is a new look. Leonard: What about your old look: well groomed ventriloquist doll. -- Amy [upon seeing Sheldon's new look]: What did you do?? Penny: I gave him a new look. It's cute, huh? Amy: Yeah, it's cute. That's the problem. I don't need other girls to see him walking around like sex on a stick. -- You can't agrue with Sheldon's description... Wine: grape juice that's been predigested by a fungus.

**(Blue Bloods, S4E19 "Secret Arrangements") Uh oh. Danny is on a list of detectives with high success rates from interrogations and the DA is threatening to investigate. But I can't even remember the last time he Danny-Reagan'd someone across the back of the head! -- Garret: Do you think Detective Reagan steps over the line? Frank: I think he probably steps *on* the line. -- I feel a little bad for Seymour whose wife hasn't touched him "since the Reagan administration." That's a long time to be lonely. -- I can't think of another time Frank has ever asked one of his family members to leave his house. I also appreciate that, thanks to the chill between Frank and Danny, we see that, like real families, not every family dinner is pleasant. -- There was so much said in the silence between Frank, Danny, and Erin when they were all in Erin's apartment by her design. -- Of course it was only a matter of time before Jamie and his partner kissed. But...meh. I am just not invested in that being A Thing. -- So is Danny allowed to head smack anymore or not?! You're killing me, Frank!

**(Person of Interest, S3E18 "Allegiance") Officer: You can't park here. Security regulations. Fusco [flashing his badge]: Yeah I got one of those. -- I audibly gasped when Mr Reese tackled the assassin and went out the window with him, because I really can't handle another character death anywhere this season...and then laughed as Mr Reese climbed off the dead assassin on top of the car where they landed and shrugged, like "no big deal." -- Come on, Shaw. You fell for "I could use a drink" from a woman who wanted to leave and whose earlier smooth moves to stick a GPS tracker to a car you praised? Even *I* saw that coming! -- Great words from Mr Reese: I have an idea but it's going to require a smoke screen and a big ass truck. -- The look on Reese's face when the Legionnaire was waving his knife around was a hilarious prelude to Reese shooting him in the knee. -- As a fireman's ax comes whistling through the air and embeds itself in a wall, Mr Reese: Someone call 911? -- "Alias John Greer" looks like someone who should have been a character on Fringe. -- Root was pretty smart bringing Bear to track "Alias John Greer."

**(Last Man Standing, S3E20 "Parenting Bud") Just as I was thinking Kristin sure spends a lot of time at the Baxter house, Mike says pretty much the same thing! -- Mike and Eve, in this exchange? Sound exactly like I do at work. No joke. ... Kristin: I just needed a place to chill for an hour, ok? Boyd had me up all night with a stomach virus. Eve: Ohhh, so you thought you'd bring that virus over here. Thanks. Next time bring donuts. Mike: No no no don't touch the handle of the coffee pot! You'll get your germy spores on everything. Vanessa: I'll get it for you, honey. Kristin: Maybe I should just drink my coffee outside. Mike: All right! Wipe down that door handle, then bury the cup. -- The Baxter doormat says "Go Away." I find that very funny. I like Mike Baxter. -- Mike (and I) just gained a little respect for Kyle who takes care of his grandmother with dementia, not because it's fun or that she's appreciative, but because it's what you do for family.

**(Elementary, S2E19 "The Many Mouths of Aaron Colville") My first reaction to this episode was "they are tracking a biting murderer?" But I have to admit, the case was creative: the bites were done by a set of dentures that were made from a model and distributed in a prison to a bunch of inmates. That sure makes things a bit more challenging! -- I thought for sure it was the dental tech at the prison who turned out to be a former inmate. Never would have guess Aaron Coville actually did the original crimes and that his own mother was the copycat.

**(Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, S1E13 "And They Lived...") What's with Alice's hot pink lipstick and super ratty hair all of a sudden? -- Jafar: It is so hard to resurrect good help these days. -- The Knave: Love is messy. It means arguing and making up and laughing and crying and struggling and sometimes it doesn't seem worth it but it is and in the end when you're in love no matter what happens you forgive each other. -- Very well done series finale. All the characters had closure. Jafar was defeated. Anastasia was brought back to life and reunited with Will. We saw Alice married to Cyrus (darn wedding scenes all make me cry now). And Alice and Cyrus have a daughter of their own!

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E15 "Quiet Minds") Gosh, I hate those flying monkeys. I jump every single time. -- Snow White is so sweet. A baby blue dress, with a little bow over her belly, of course, and a baby pink cardigan. Actually, I can kind of see why she gets on Regina's nerves sometimes. -- That was a rather interesting incarnation of Lumiere. -- There is a whole lotta chemistry between Regina and Robin. And OMG, she figured out he was the true love Tink tried to encourage her toward back in Fairy Tale. And she. is. freaked. -- ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? *Another* show I watch has killed off a major character?! Goodbye, Bae/Neal. This also leads one to ask: This is opening the door for Emma and Hook now, isn't it?

**(About a Boy, S1E6 "About a Buble") I kinda love Will's current interest, Dr Sam Lake. She is a sports fan who considers her baseball and football teams sacred (A's not Giants, Niners not Raiders) and opposing fans are romantic deal breakers! Also she is blunt when she's overtired, which is funny. -- Bahahahaha! Paddle boat police. -- Fiona is a really really annoying mother. That is all. -- Big Bang Theory's Kripke (Kwipke?) is Fiona's boss! -- Dr Sam is cute. I hope she sticks around.

**(About a Boy, S1E7 "About a Poker Night") OMG Fiona packed everything Marcus owns for his first sleepover. Footy pajamas?? And how has he never had a sleepover at ten years old?! -- Crosby! Crosby at poker night. I love that they do crossover with Parenthood. -- Finally, a use for Marcus's constant hat: pulling it over his eyes during scary parts of a movie. Maybe I need one! -- Bummer. The only Dr Sam we got was in the form of a text message.

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E19 "Downloaded Child") Olivia: You're smiling, Barba. Why does that freak me out? -- Wow, that was a twisted case. When I checked into this episode on tvtag, I wondered how this episode would disturb and horrify me. I was in no way prepared for just how twisted this one was. -- How many times are they going to dangle Liv staring longingly at photos of that foster care baby she rescued in front of us? -- I seriously thought Cassidy was going to propose to Liv at the end. All that fanfare to say "I love you," are you kidding me??

**(2 Broke Girls, S3E21 "And the Wedding Cake Cake Cake") Caroline: You listed your occupation as Sophie. Sophie: Yeah! It's a full time job, baby! -- Max: Calm down. I baked a cake. I didn't fold a fitted sheet. -- Max and Caroline trying to transport that wedding cake seriously stressed me out. Even though something was obviously going to happen to it.

**(Dallas, S3E6 "Like Father, Like Son") I can't believe I am going to say this, but Pamela sitting between Emma and Elena was like a sheep sitting in a pack of wolves. -- So, for once, John Ross does the right thing and turns down his scheming little secretary on her mission for Ryland, and Sue Ellen doesn't believe him. Not that he's innocent. Just innocent of *that*. -- Sue Ellen drinking makes me sad for her. -- The scene with Emma turned my stomach, telling John Ross to go home and kiss his wife now. She is one messed up girl. -- Still trying to figure out if John Ross having Sue Ellen taken in for evaluation was true concern or just a devious way to get what he wants.

**(Mom, S1E22 "Smokey Taylor and the Deathbed Confession"I was really happy with the way they did the season finale. It was funny (Bonnie and Alvin, Violet attempting to leave the hospital to avoid giving birth) and a little tense (will Violet change her mind about giving the baby up for adoption?). But in the end, she did and her goodbye to her daughter tugged at the heartstrings. I'm really glad she went through with it. I would have been disappointed if the writers had a change of heart. -- Christy's one year sober talk at AA was good. "I thought my life fell apart because I got sober, but it turns out I got sober just in time."

**(Mike and Molly, S4E17 "McMillan and Mom"Busted a gut laughing at drunk Carl trying to run through Mike and Mike laying him out cold. -- Carl's Nana [to Molly]: Give me that bowl, child. You gotta beat those eggs like they owe you money! -- This season feels like it's lacking an overall story arc. I know it's supposed to be about Molly having a breakdown and reinventing herself, but the episodes all feel disjointed and unrelated, even when they are humorous.

**(About a Boy, S1E8 "About a Slopmaster") Exactly how much *is* that royalty check Will received?? -- OMG Will invited Dr Sam to his "margarita party" via remote control mylar shark. That is pretty freaking fantastic. How can she say no to that?! -- ::snort:: Marcus is counterfeiting money for the Dickensian Mini Society his mom was helping with at his school. -- Yay! Dr Sam appears to have forgiven Will for "buying" time with her! -- This show is already light years funnier and with smoother delivery at eight episodes in than 2 Broke Girls is with almost three seasons in the books.


Favorite Holy Week Hymns: Holy Saturday 2014


Friday, April 18, 2014

Favorite Holy Week Hymns: Good Friday 2014


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Currently: April 17, 2014

This week at the Broken Road house...

Clearing... off my desk. We'll be away for a few days at the end of next week (funeral for one of T's family members) and I like to be as far ahead of the game as possible when I return to work.

Digging... into Ben and Jerry's Core in Salted Caramel. Step back a little or I will thwack you with my spoon!

Mixing... and matching odds and ends from our stockpile as we create the shortened menu for next week. We have some food items that need to be used to they don't spoil while we are away and we also need to make sure we aren't generating additional leftovers that will go to waste.

Reading... my Holy Week devotionals and thinking hard about ways I have fallen short.

Watching... as many shows as possible off the DVR so there is room for it to record everything while we're in Pennsylvania. This time of year is a challenge. We fall a bit behind on tv show viewing due to watching baseball. Typically, we can watch just enough to keep space available for whatever is set to record that night, but getting enough open to account for four days of recording without any viewing definitely requires some fancy footwork!

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


Favorite Holy Week Hymns: Maundy Thursday 2014


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A girl gets on a plane.

Sometimes, a girl needs to get on a plane and just go somewhere. As Lenny Kravitz so aptly whines sings: I want to get away, I want to fly away. Oh, not that my life is something from which I need to escape. Not anymore, far from it. That daily grind, though. The day in and day out of work and responsibilities and commuting and doing all the things a girl must do... What I'm saying is that a) there needs to be regular rewards to having done the things one must do as a contributing member of society and b) if one is to not burn out, one needs some rest and relaxation. So, I found myself musing on ugly airport carpet and then boarding a westbound jet, heading into the sunset for a few days with a one of my best friends and some adventures on deck.

Flight uneventful, I touched down and was collected, carted home, and sent to bed, because there were Plans (capital P) for the next day and I try not to let my internal clock get all jacked up. Breakfast and easing into the day and an errand or two later, we found our way to Crystal Cove State Park. Honest to God, I am always spellbound by the Pacific Ocean. Her beauty is more majestic than her surly sister on the east coast, her waters more blue than grey and her waves more graceful than angry.

Making our way through the scrubby beach foliage and down a winding path, there is just nothing that prepares me for this sight.

The waves mesmerize me. I could just sit there and stare out at them for hours, spraying up over the rocks and rolling, foamy, onto the sand.

It's like a painted backdrop, so lovely.

There are a thousand treasures and works of art to seek out. The layers of rock.

The artwork left behind by the surf.

I poked and walked and investigated. I tried my luck on a rock I thought was out of reach of the incoming tide. (I was wrong. There is only one foot in this photo, because I snapped it as I was jumping, shrieking, out of the in-rushing ocean. I wasn't quick enough. That foot got wet.)

You can try to tell me the Pacific isn't a breathtaking beauty, but you'll never convince me.

Sunkissed and windblown, it was time to move on toward the evening's destination.

I am a huge fan of small plates and appetizers for dinner because it means I can make multiple choices. (Libras approve this method of ordering dinner!) At The Rooftop Lounge in Laguna, there were Caprese Skewers.

And Bacon-Wrapped Dates. (And a vodka gimlet.)

And some (not pictured) breads with various dips and spreads, (also not pictured) a grilled flatbread panini with pesto, prosciutto, salami, provolone, and roasted peppers, and a pomegranate martini.

But let's talk about the view.


Nope, seriously.

And there was G! I got to hug G, who drove a billion miles through batcrap crazy traffic to hang out with us over the Pacific Ocean with tasty treats, and for serious, she is even more awesome in person.

The next day held magic I can't get in the Sunshine State.

This next photo is appropriate, because I feel like I maybe ought to warn you. (I'll wait while you go get a snack.)

Yes, I flew alllll the way across this country to do more Disney. They have things like...



...on which I laughed so hard.

We paused for dinner (more small plates!) at Downtown Disney.

Corn Arepas (seared corn cakes topped with pulled pork, avocado, mojo sauce, cilantro, shaved red onion).

Tuna Tartare "Tacos" (with avocado, shaved radish, soy vinaigrette, micro cilantro).

And a Harvest Moon.

What's a Harvest Moon, you ask?

Then back into the park to walk around a bit, digest, enjoy the park lit up for the nighttime, and get some seats to view World of Color.

World of Color is amazing. Photos do not do it justice. (Not that I didn't try.) (I'll spare you and just post the one.) *However* while we were waiting for the show to start, California decided to provide a special "thrill."

We were just sitting there on the pavement, minding our own business. Daniel was to my right. This nice Asian couple was sharing popcorn to my left. And I felt this rumble under my, well, seat. I thought they must be rolling some heavy piece of equipment down the walkway, causing the vibration to come up through the ground upon which I sat, but as I leaned forward to see what it was, I saw nothing but the legs of people walking past. And then that little brain bulb started to glow. The man sitting next to me looked at me and I looked at him and he asked, hesitatingly, "Is earthquake?" I replied "I don't know...I am from Florida and we don't get earthquakes!" So I turned to my right to ask my gracious host who is admitting nothing and grinning like the ever-loving Cheshire Cat (we *are* at Disney after all). And then I felt the ground go from vibrating to rolling to shaking...and I knew. Did you know you can actually *hear* the plates of the earth doing their little shimmy? I don't know what I expected but the whole thing was a bit surreal. Daniel's app informed us that the epicenter was about a mile away from where we were sitting and about two miles beneath the surface of the earth. I survived. I didn't run screaming, Home Alone style, from the state. And now I get to say dorky things like "I feel the earth move under my" Daniel claims I loved it. I claim he's out of his mind. And that's all I have to say about that.

Saturday morning, we piled into Daniel's car and drove for a little over four hours. I don't mind car trips (especially when I don't have to drive). We chattered about some things, cracked wise about some other things, and saw a lotta this.

Final destination:

That house up there? Look carefully. Way up on the top of the mountain in the center of the photo. That's Hearst Castle. And it isn't a house. It's practically a small city. You get on a bus near where I took that (very zoomed in) image and ride for fifteen minutes up a crazy windy road to the top of a mountain. I'm not sure any photo can actually do justice to the enormity of this building.

I won't prattle off the history (you can look that up if you're curious) or the guided tour (if you're *that* curious, visit there yourself!), but I will tell you that Hearst Castle was built by William Randolph Hearst with the help of Julia Morgan, between 1919 and 1947. Remarkably, long before our current architectural advances for quake-proofing buildings, Julia Morgan came up with a system that has allowed Hearst Castle to withstand more than one earthquake and there hasn't ever been major structural damage. That impresses me. We took one of the tours. This is the living room.

(You'll see lots of amazing artifacts and artwork, and they are *not* replicas. They are the real deal. William Hearst saw things he liked and plunked down the cash and the answer was never "no, you can't have this sixteenth century tapestry.") Hearst would give these big parties and everyone wanted to receive an invitation, because anyone from movie stars to former Presidents might be there. And as the guests would arrive, they would gather in this living room.

This is still the same room. To give you some perspective, I am pretty sure you could park my entire house in this room three times, easily, just on the floor, more if you stacked it like Lego. Think I'm kidding? That's all. one. room.

We moved on through his dining room...

...his game room (don't step on the carpets! an alarm goes off and everyone will look at you!) (I didn't but someone in the group did)...
...and his movie theater. His parties were legendary long before Barney Stinson laid claim to being legendary.

There's the outdoor pool.

And the indoor pool. With the real gold accents.

Three guest houses. You know, in case you partied a little too vigorously and needed to crash for the night. He was so cute. He called them "the cottages." THEY ARE ALL BIGGER THAN MY HOUSE.

The man didn't miss a single detail.

Too bad the view leaves something to be desired. Pffft. Who wants an unobstructed view of the ocean?

Or those darn mountains.

There was the "private" vodka tasting. Which, for me, means like the smallest sips ever, because I'm delicate like that. The two on the left are American corn vodkas. The two on the right are (oh, gosh, I hope I get this right) Polish, and the Belvedere is made from rye and the Chopin is made from potatoes. I liked the Prairie and the Chopin. They were smooooooth.

On Sunday, we went to church (at a LCMS church that has an actual traditional service, which, I cannot even tell you, my soul was soaking up the beauty of things like the Proper Preface and Divine Service Setting Three like a weary traveler from the far side of a huge desert at a natural spring) and then met Courtney at Haven for brunch. Good food and excellent company is what vacation is meant for. For real. Crispy Pork Belly with two soft poached eggs, serrano pepper emulsion, vanilla gastrique, corn bread. I don't even like cornbread (too dry and crumbly) but this was heaven, heaven I tell you! It was so not dry, it practically melted in my mouth.

Moscow Mule.

The one and only "beer" I like. I mean, it tastes like fizzy raspberries. I don't even think it qualifies. I also don't care.

And some kind of bread-pudding-y dessert that threatened to make me explode because I was *stuffed*.

And we just sat there, in the sunshine and the breeze, talking about a thousand things and laughing til we wiped away tears and Courtney is one of those awesome sorts of people that you meet and feel as if you've known for decades. I can't think of a better way to wind down vacation.

Vacation was good. It was really, really good. My life is rich with a thousand blessings. Adventures and people on both coasts who are excited to see me and the technology that permits me to stop actual moments in time so that I can meander back down Memory Lane whenever I want and be grateful for this life I lead and the people in it.


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