Monday, June 30, 2014

What I Learned in June: 2014

1. When I am on the losing end of hypocrisy, I grumble some mighty uncharitable thoughts in the recesses of my mind. That's not very gracious of me. I like to think I'm better than that. I am a work in progress. And that? Needs work.

2. Window 8. Since my five year old laptop, bit the dust around the middle of the month, I was forced to learn the newest Windows operating system. Apparently, a lot of people hated it in its original incarnation, but mine came pre-installed with version 8.1 and, honestly, it isn't as terrible as I had feared. Although we won't talk about how it took me ten minutes to figure out how to power down for the first time. Very tricksy, it is!

3. New-to-me rules for baseball. For a game that I've watched my whole life, and one that I watch nearly every day from March through October, I had no idea that a manager of an American League team could choose to give up his DH, move his current pitcher into a defensive position, bring in another pitcher, then move the original pitcher back to the mound. Sure, you lose your DH and either your pitcher will have to hit or you'll have to pull him out for a pinch hitter, plus you will lose the player originally playing whichever position the pitcher temporarily takes in the field, so you'll need to swap another fielder back into the game, but it's an interesting strategy! If your pitcher is having a strong game and you don't want to lose him, but there is particular hitter he's struggling against, in a key situation, why *not* bring in a reliever that might be more likely to have success? Late in a game, it gives another option without much in the way of consequences, not to mention how much you could potentially mess with your opponent's mind!

4. How to make what I see on my laptop show on the television. One HDMI cable and some online instructions later, it took me longer to find an extension cord to plug in my laptop than to make the image appear on the tv screen!

5. I give myself too much credit for being able to remember everything. I need to record these things when I actually learn them and not rely on my memory to recall them at the end of the month. My brain has limited capacity and thirty-seven-plus years of information. Just right down a quick note, enough to jog the "search engine."

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.


Sunday, June 29, 2014


I'll let you look inside me
Through the stains and through the cracks
And in the darkness of this moment
You'll see the good and bad
(from "Glass," by Thompson Square)

Even the cheerful become tired sometimes. My optimism shows a tarnish of cynicism. The corners of my mouth may turn upward, but the smile doesn't reach my eyes. It becomes effort to accomplish the easiest tasks on my list.

The heat is relentless and draining. The to-dos multiply. People around me are grumpy and snappish. I grow heavy.

It rarely lasts long. For that, I am grateful. The coolness of ice cream for dessert. The sanctuary of mindless television beside my husband on the couch. A good night's rest. Dialing back the demands for a weekend.

I perk back up. I always do. My cheerful nature resurfaces, with its shiny outlook, a genuine laugh, and a sense of resolve to tackle what must be done.

Today, though, I am weary.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

This Week on My TV: June 28, 2014

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

**(Reign, S1E21 "Long Live the King"Sheesh. If Lola's baby belly gets any lower, it's going to be dragging behind her on the ground. -- Ew. Mary and Francis, before he even takes a bath? I would not be thinking intimacy. -- Really, Mary? Francis says whatever you choose, he will stand beside you, no matter what? Just like he did when he went to Calais with the army instead of to Scotland? -- What? Julien is not Julien?! -- I wonder just what the story of that pagan boy will be and what it means for Sebastian and Kenna? -- Well, well, well, Francis. You are such a hypocrite. You are so indignant about Mary plotting with Catherine against Henry, because he is your father, but what about what you did to betray Mary's trust when it came to her mother? It's ok for you to go back on your vow to Mary, but you don't like when she does the same to you?

**(Mad Men, S7E3 "Field Trip"I'm honestly not sure what purpose Lou serves at the firm. Creative never accomplishes anything when they meet with him. He just criticizes without direction, talks down at Peggy, complains unproductively, and dismisses them. Don may have been a mess, but at least he must have been doing *something* right to be successful for so long. -- Honestly, Megan is such a petulant, immature priss. -- Don has a red plaid piece of luggage. My grandparents had that same luggage set! -- Did women in the late 60s seriously walk up and introduce themselves to men like Emily Arnett did to Don? Do women still do this?! -- The soundtrack has changed. I miss the 60s music. The 70s are so not my thing. Which is weird since I was born in them. -- Megan: I can't believe after all this time, you don't know me. Don: I know how I want you to see me. ... I think this may be the perpetual impasse between men and women. Women expect to be known after "so long" and men want to be known only so much as it make their women admire them. -- Peggy looks good in her powder blue suit, but it makes her look a little washed out and faded. I miss her power colors. -- Ken Cosgrove's eye patch makes me laugh. -- Heels on a field trip to the farm, Betty? Betty managed to make Bobby so excited by chaperoning, even being the one brave enough to sample milk they're just gotten from the cow...and then she blew it when she made him feel guilty about trading away her sandwich. Even after he said he was sorry and clearly felt badly. Part of me wants to judge her, often do any of us blow a situation out of proportion with our reactions, ruining a good time unnecessarily? And then her pride and insecurity led her to blame Bobby for ruining it. -- For all his debauchery, Roger sure does drive a hard, direct, intelligent argument when it comes to what Don means to SCP. -- Color me shocked. This "new Don" accepted the partners' stipulations for allowing him to return to work? Without a fight, without a sigh, without so much as an ounce of wounded pride? Wow.

**(Elementary, S2E22 "Paint It Black"I am not a fan of Mycroft. I feel your pain in having to tolerate him, Sherlock. -- Mycroft: I know why you're upset. Sherlock: My very good friend may be murdered by your very bad friends. Brilliant deduction, Mycroft. -- Sherlock: My father is a life craft in horror who uses his money to bludgeon his way to even more obscene profits. -- Sherlock, the instrument of your salvation or your demise. At your service. That's quite an advertisement of your brother's skills, Mycroft. -- Joan is looking her age in this episode. -- Sherlock's open disdain for Mycroft in their interactions slays me. ... Mycroft: If anything happened to Joan, I'd never forgive myself. Sherlock: Well, that won't be an issue. If anything happens to Joan, I will murder you. ... Mycroft [noticing the look of disbelief on Sherlock's face as Mycroft is questioning someone]: What? Joan asks questions when you're out and about. I've seen it. Sherlock: She's a trained detective. You're a buffoon. ... Sherlock [to Mycroft]: You have the intellectual tools to make simple deductions. Your failure to apply them in an energetic fashion is constant source of befuddlement. -- Circumstances that could have been avoided if Mycroft has just removed Sherlock from New York as asked? What on earth is the end game here? And why does someone need Sherlock to leave?

**(Motive, S2E2 "They Made Me a Criminal"Oscar: Cross wants an update. Angie: And I want a pony. -- The connection between Cross and Angie was obviously romantic, but what ended it so badly that they struggle to act professionally? -- This show works twists as well as any other crime procedural, and possibly better. I never guess the connection. I scratch my head all the way through, getting suckered in by every red herring they offer. You'd think I would hate that, but I kind of love that they fool me every time with their unpredictability. Woman trying to end an affair? Nope, mother taking out her junkie son's dealer.

**(Revolution, S2E22 "Declaration of Independence"This episode started out incredibly dark, between the angry Nano-Priscilla , Priscilla's dream-state vision, and the setting up of the mustard gas attack. -- They sure went out of their way to make the President look like W. -- That was a nice set-up by Gene and company to take possession of the President. My jaw hit the ground. I was totally convinced the Patriots had intercepted Miles and his band of bumbling associates. -- The ending with the neon clown face lighting up in Bradbury, Idaho, and all the Nano-Zombies descending upon that town was highly unsettling. But this ending was clearly the product of delusional writers. Revolution was a definite bubble-show at best this season. A good ending would have worked as either a season or series finale, with equal parts resolution and question, especially considering there was no guarantee of its renewal. It was handled quite the opposite, in fact. -- I am never going to look at lightning bugs quite the same, ever again.

**(Motive, S2E3 "Overboard"Peter and Alicia, the husband and the victim. Not to be confused with Peter and Alicia from The Good Wife. -- Question I asked T when the husband cried because Angie and Oscar asked him if he would come down and identify the body: Wouldn't you cry if the police told you I was dead and they needed you to identify me? I am such a girl. -- The killer had two different cell phones with names written on masking tape. That's one way to keep your two identities in line, I guess. -- At approximately 38 minutes into the episode, I figured out why Cal/Damien did it. Then proceeded to be frustrated that Angie and Oscar hadn't yet.

**(Motive, S2E4 "Deception"Dr Stan Matthews' widow is the first character I remember being on this (Canadian) show that has a stereotypical Canadian accent. -- Why is Detective Lucas bringing coffee for that officer girl? I thought there have been references to his being married? -- I love when tv detectives play with their suspects like a cat with a mouse. -- When suspects say something snarky or taunting in an interrogation room, I always imagine Danny Reagan smacking them on the head, regardless of whether or not the show is Blue Bloods. -- Angie needs to stop treating Cross like a scorned high school girl. -- Why do tv detectives always pick up evidence they find with a pair of latex gloves, but never actually put the gloves on? -- Very early on, I made the guess that the killer, Diane, killed the victim because he was the coroner responsible for her husband being in prison (even before they showed the husband in prison). I did not see Dr Stan's twist of blaming every accidental injury or death of a child being negligence or abuse, because he never got over the drowning death of his granddaughter on a playdate. The mingling of all these various cases, involving Stan lying, was kind of confusing. I thought it was all one case, but turned out to be multiple cases.

**(Motive, S2E5 "Dead End"The high school and the hospital in this episode were holy-cow-fancy. -- I really like Angie's hair. I really don't like that new character, the officer, Wendy. -- I called that the victim (Emily) was pregnant. I also called that the killer's father was the father of the victim's baby. -- Because this show airs during the regular tv season in Canada (and is shown during the summer here), I was loving all the autumn foliage in this episode. The scenery, in general, on this show is gorgeous. -- If the killer's mother tried to commit suicide, why did she put on a kettle of water to boil? Seems odd to do something like that, which is rather intentional, and then just decide you can't live any longer. -- You know, I know it was supposed to be a daughter, protecting her family from the news that her brother's ex-girlfriend was pregnant with their father's baby, however, even in the scene where Jeannine murders Emily, it wasn't just their hair that was the same, but everything about the way they were dressed. It seems odd that there wasn't an element of "single white female" factoring into the cause of this murder.


Monday, June 23, 2014

I blinked and it was 20 years.

There's a social media phenomenon known as "Throwback Thursday." This past week, I paid homage to my high school graduation.

My caption: "The #TBT Time Machine dial spins and lands on 1994. (Oh my, 20 years?!) This girl thought she had it all figured out, the paths her life would take and when and where and how and who. Little did she know, these were *not*, in fact, the "best days of her life," and that her future held so much more than the narrow view her young (and OMG hugely bespectacled WTH) eyes were able to see. A future that held days both more challenging and filled with amazing light than she could possibly imagine. She would learn that she had so much left to learn and that she would never learn it all. But mostly, she would come to know herself, how to fit inside her own skin, and find both peace and joy. You don't even know what you're smiling at, child, but those should have been sunglasses, because what lies ahead is oh so bright!"

Here's the thing about the girl in this photo. Gosh, she had no clue. None. You couldn't have *told* her that -- oh no, she was seventeen and had seen it all, don't you know -- because she had A Plan. She knew what she wanted. She knew how she'd get there. She had a timeline and a cast of characters.

What she really had was a whole lot of growing up to do.

I planned to be married by 25. Done having babies (three of them) by 30. I'd have a cute little house with a cute boy and some cute kids in my sleepy little hometown.

I was married just days shy of my 36th birthday. I don't (as of yet) have even one baby. I live twelve hundred miles away from the streets and landscapes of my childhood. The boy is cute though, and I love my house. And, really, life is so good, if not what that girl in the photograph envisioned.

Isn't that the thing about life though? God laughing at your plans and all that?

It never goes exactly how you picture. Just when you get a mental image and a path set, along comes something that doesn't figure in, so much so that the whole Mental Image is thrown off trajectory.

If there's one thing that girl hadn't learned yet (newsflash: there were many, many more lessons than one in store for her), it's that you can't fight the tides. You have to bend with the will of Life or Life will break you. (When I ride Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, the turn of phrase I use is "loose and floppy." That philosophy works well in life as well.) It surely doesn't bend itself to the pictures we create in our imaginations. There are at least a thousand cliches (a number that may or may not be hyperbolic) that apply, but this girl with the bright smile was rigid in her plans, and that worked against more than it ever did for her. Once she learned to relax into the ebbs and flows of Life, that's when it became what she always wanted it to be: happy.

Two decades. It seems as if it went impossibly fast. I no longer have any idea what tomorrow will look like, much less however much time I have left in my hourglass. I no longer have the headstrong naivete to believe I know even a fraction of anything. I no longer a paint mental picture of what comes next to make my life full, but I open my eyes wide, hopefully expectant, because this I know: Life's best gifts come when you're open to them, ready or not.


The Deficiency

That just looks like a pasta salad. It's really a story about how my husband married a fool.

Roughly a month ago, tacos came up on our menu plan. I like some black olives on my tacos. I don't eat a ton though, and T could take or leave them, so I usually just buy a tiny can of sliced olives.

I zoomed up and down the aisles of my favorite Publix, grabbing this, crossing that off my list. I scooped up a can of olives, popped them into my cart, and went along my merry way.

As it would turn out, apparently they also sell tiny cans of sliced olives with jalapenos. Given that we were having tacos, which include a little heat anyway, from the spices and the salsa, we just upped the ante a little. Not *that* much a big deal.

So when the day-after-day heat squashed my appetite, a nice cool pasta salad sounded so good.

I like some black olives in my pasta salad.

I zoomed up and down the aisles of my favorite Publix, grabbing this, crossing that off my list.

And then I reached the black olives.

I stopped my cart, squatted down (because they keep the tiny cans all the way at the bottom), and really stared, hard. I saw the ones that said "with jalapenos." I gave them a wide berth, because jalapenos would not play with with the flavors of this salad. I pulled a tiny can off the shelf, scanning the label -- once, twice, three times, four -- and it did NOT breathe a word of jalapenos. I placed it carefully in my cart, alongside the other items, and went about the rest of my business, casting a wary glance at that tiny can every so often. A girl is only unsuspectingly burned by unintended jalapenos once, you see.

After I got home and put away the groceries, I began preparing my pasta salad. I put on a pot of water to boil. I mixed up my dressing. I chopped up cucumber and tomato, and cubed up two different kinds of cheese.

And then I opened the tiny can of olives. It was one of those pull-tab lids, so I cracked it just a bit, to drain the liquid more easily. I tilted the can over the sink...and nothing came out. Somewhere between mildly confused and mildly annoyed, I wondered if I had managed to pick up a bad can of olives. I pulled back the tab just a little more and peered inside. The olives had a rough-looking dry-ish texture. With a sigh, I opened the lid all the way and then took another good look at the label.

It did *not* say "with jalapenos," but it *did* say "chopped," instead of "sliced." (It claimed they were chopped, but I believe the word they were going for was "pulverized.")

Like the can before it, I used it anyway.

Apparently, I cannot be trusted to properly shop for sliced black olives. But I sure can make my husband laugh.


Sunday, June 22, 2014


1. What first tells you that summer is here?
Summer arrives in Florida months before most of the rest of the country. Its fanfare is round-the-clock air conditioning, with an electric bill to match, and the near daily storms that roll in.

2. Name your five of your favorite distinctively summer habits or customs.
1. Hibernating.
2. Complaining that it's hot. (See also: weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth.)
3. Daydreaming about (Florida) winter.
4. All the fruity candle scents I have in my stockpile. (When your house is sealed up tight, a  girl needs something to freshen up the air!)
5. Watching Red Sox games on tv.

3. What is your favorite smell of summer?
Rain. It may not do much to cool anything off (a place this hot just steams when it gets wet) and it makes the humidity go through the roof, but it also means we can stop paying to water all the green things. I like that part.

4. Favorite summer memory?
Endless days of school vacation. It really doesn't get any better than that, does it? How did we ever claim to be boooored?

5. What's your favorite quintessentially summer food? Least favorite?
Favorite: Cold salads. Armloads of fresh fruit.
Not: Bananas. No bananas.

6. Go-to summer beverage?
I drink water, but I crave lemonade.

7. Least favorite/most annoying thing related to summer?
Sweating on my way out to the car. In the morning.

8. Place you'd most want to be in the summer: the lake, the city, the beach or the mountains?
The mountains. It's cooler there, right?

9. Your absolute dream summer day would be:
A day off from work on an unseasonably cool, dry day (even by Florida standards), at Disney World. With a Dole Whip float. I have to dream big in the summer. Because otherwise my dream day would be the day summer ends.

10. If you could go anywhere on vacation in the summer, where would you go?

San Francisco. I visited the city in August 2012. I wore a sweater most of that trip.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Little Bits of Happy: June 21, 2014

Some good things about this day.

The middle day of a three-day weekend.

A bowl of fresh berries for dessert.

A magazine to flip through leisurely.

An afternoon nap.

The low rumble of approaching thunder.


This Week on My TV: June 21, 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!

**(Turn, S1E2 "Who By Fire") Abraham, when your barn is completely ablaze, a few buckets of water likely won't save it. -- Robert Rogers may lead the mercenary band for the Queen's Rangers, but his Scottish accent sounds like it was crossed with an Italian mob boss. -- Captain Simcoe is rather cocky for a man captured by his enemies, wounded, and wearing a cockeyed mussed-up wig. -- When they discovered who wrote the love letter to Captain Joyce, I did *not* expect it to be John Robeson. -- This show moves quickly, and with all the deception, double lives, spies, and secret codes, if you blink, you miss about twelve important details.

**(Mad Men, S7E2 "A Day's Work"Sheesh, Don. Waking up after noon to eat Ritz crackers and watch Little Rascals while a cockroach crawls around your apartment? Good thing you still have Dawn keeping tabs on you. ::shakes head:: -- Sally: I'd stay here til 1975 if I could get Betty in the ground. -- Oh, holy awkwardness. Peggy thinking Shirley's flowers were a Valentine's Day gesture meant for her from Ted. -- Snazzy new SCP logo! -- Sally has grown up to be rather lovely. Less her attitude than her appearance, but even her attitude is improving. -- Lou is a jerk. That is all. -- How is it that Pete's west coast office looks more like it's in the northeast than the offices in New York? -- Pete's hair is a disaster. -- That girl who is Lou's new secretary after he demands not to share Dawn with Don anymore? What an airhead. -- Don: Why would you just let me lie to you like that? Sally: Because it's more embarrassing for me to catch you in a lie than it is for you to be lying. -- Peggy is backsliding. She was getting to be so confident and strong. I am seeing more flashes of old Peggy, now with bitterness. -- Bert Cooper [to Joan about her shuffling of office personnel that put Dawn at the front reception desk and not thinking it appropriate that she be the first person people see]: I said no such thing. I'm merely suggesting a rearrangement of your rearrangement. -- That was a very interesting exchange between Joan and Cutler about Joan moving to an upstairs office and maybe giving up her personnel responsibilities, especially now that she's bringing in her own clients. -- I really enjoyed the scene with Don and Sally at the restaurant, leading up to when he drops her off back at school and she tells him she loves him, and he just sits there, bewildered.

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E19 "A Curious Thing"And we start off with yet another semi-confusing flashback. -- Grumpy: My name's Grumpy, not Stupid. -- Regina and Robin, gettin' it on! -- Regina's Storybrooke wardrobe is becoming less severe and more soft. It was always feminine, but it's changing in tone. -- Zelena: Why haven't you used those luscious lips and kissed Emma? Hook: A fellow like to be courted. -- Rumplestiltskin's giggle is unsettling. -- The memory-free Henry is a bit of a snot. -- Emma: I'm talking about wicked witches and time traveling holy wars. -- Regina: We are at the edge of the Dark Forest. trying to find the one person who can stop our imminent doom and your unborn child, and you two stop to smell the roses? Snow: Snowbells! Regina: I don't care if they're dancing daffodils. -- Is Glinda supposed to be a nod to Frozen or something? -- Ah crap. Regina's face when Henry gets his memories back and calls her "Mom" made me cry. -- Why does Emma look like she's having a seizure when she uses her magic? -- Snow looked a bit psychotic when she was begging Regina to save Charming by tearing out her (Snow's) heart, splitting it, and putting half of it back into each of them.

**(Motive, S2E1 "Raw Deal"I had forgotten just how much I enjoy the way this show is constructed. It's different from all the other crime procedurals when you don't know anything more than the victim. I like knowing who and trying to figure out why. -- I would never in a million years have guessed that the killer was the same person who killed his fiance's old boyfriend in a hit and run. -- What is the story behind Angie's attitude toward the new Sergeant?

**(Parenthood, S5E22 "The Pontiac"Not a fan: the direction they are taking with Haddie (it feels contrived), Drew with Natalie (she *loves* him?? yeah, ok), continuing lies from Ryan (I know he's got issues, but the story is getting old, it's been told again and again, and Amber's shed about a billion tears over it, I'm ready for it to wrap up), Sydney pitching fits over Joel leaving (and in general). -- Tears: Victor winning his essay contest, how sheepish he was to have Julia fuss over him, and how proud Joel is. --Doh. Ryan's mother is a real beast. And obviously Ryan never even mentioned Amber to her, let alone that they were engaged. -- Love: Zeek refusing to hire professional movers. Crosby and Adam are all annoyed to have to do the heavy lifting. There's some sort of childhood lie Crosby has about this birdhouse Camille thinks he made that he actually stole. It was all feeling totally predictable. And then it devolved into Adam and Crosby wrestling on the stairs, which turned into them bobsledding on mattresses down the stairs, wearing random helmets, and Zeek smacking Adam upside the head. It all felt so *real*. It's one of the things this show does best. -- I never realized how believable Haddie is as Kristina's daughter. They have a lot of facial similarities. -- I am not at all sure which was more awkward: Max walking in on Haddie and Lauren kissing, then bringing it up to Kristina later while he's getting his new suit tailored? Or Amber and Ryan having bawling, injured hospital sex? -- Tears: Zeek giving the Pontiac to Drew. I love the relationship he has with his grandchildren. That car became something beautiful between Zeek and Drew, and it started as a bond between Zeek and Victor. -- Cliche cliffhanger: Amber pulling a pregnancy test off a pharmacy shelf.'s been like half a day since she and Ryan *ahem*. A bit soon, perhaps? -- Sarah (and everyone, really) deserves to have someone look at them like Hank looks at her. -- Tears: Zeek and Camille saying goodbye to their house. -- This show has the best soundtrack.

**(Grey's Anatomy, S10E23 "Everything I Try to Do, Nothing Seems to Turn Out Right"Alex in a suit has become as pompous as Sloan ever was and as ruthless as Cristina. I'm not sure if I should cheer for his sudden confidence or be turned off by his arrogance. Suit or not, private practice doesn't, well, suit him. -- Happy, perky Jo is...weird. -- Did Ben seriously call a patient "our cancer dancer?" -- I kinda love that Bailey cured her child patient without the immune system and doesn't care that the parents are pressing charges so much as that she's missing him coming out of his bubble. She's gotten pretty badass. Someone's going to have to fill that role, with Cristina on her way out. -- Stephanie taking Bailey's fall for the deactivated HIV cure was a bold move. "If you got fired over this, no one would benefit from this treatment like Brayden did. You were going to go down for this, Dr Bailey. You knew it could happen, but you were willing to risk everything to save that little boy. What kind of surgeon would I be, if I wasn't willing to do the same?" -- No baby for Callie. I wonder a) what her and Arizona's plan for expanding their family will be now, despite their pillow talk, because it doesn't feel resolved, and b) how watching April's pregnancy progress will affect her. -- Bye bye, Leah. Related: wow, two show departures at the end of this season and neither was killed?! -- I do love the relationship between Alex and Arizona. I love that she challenges him to be better, that she isn't intimidated by his swagger in order to call him out, and that she flicks him on the back of the head for being a jerkface after telling him that when he needs help, he needs to come to her and ask for it, not poach patients. -- Ohhhhh, Owen asking Cristina not to leave him... my heart. -- Meredith: Champagne is perfect, because I was wrong about the Amelia situation. She doesn't want to leave. She wants to stay! She can take over your service. She can help out with the kids. You can brain map to your heart's content. I don't have to pull my heair out. It is the answer we've been looking for. Derek: This is great! Meredith: It is, right?? Derek: Yeah, Amy can move to Seattle and we can move to DC! ... ::tires screech:: Ehhhh...say whaa??

**(Revolution, S2E21 "Memorial Day"Neville: I'm going to make Sherman's march look like a 10K fun run. -- I am always unduly anxious when someone is snooping. -- Charlie: Being a good guy sucks. Miles: Yeah, it really does. -- Gene [to Marion]: We know you're dumb enough to do the right thing and smart enough to be terrified by it. -- I wonder if Aaron is sick of listening to "We Built This City on Rock and Roll" yet? -- Ewww! That woman, under control by the nano, who just keeps brushing her hair to the point that her hair is ripping out of her scalp! -- OMG, that welcome Nano-Priscilla gave Rachel was just about the creepiest thing ever. -- Nano-Priscilla [to Aaron and Rachel]: Why are the ones who made me so afraid of what I am? ... This reminds me of how Harold Finch feels about The Machine on Person of Interest. -- I think it was only post-production editing that saved us from being subjected to Charlie's, um, plumber's crack as she climbed onto the train. -- It's not a train scene until someone's riding, running, or better yet, having a shootout on top. -- Nothing is easy. The container on the train was empty, the mustard gas is ready to be released into the whole town's full of people in the concert hall, Marion has been stabbed, and Nano-Priscilla did *not* die by electrocution and is now furious with Aaron and Rachel.

**(Scandal, S3E18 "The Price of Free and Fair Election"So, Cyrus has a crisis of conscience about the bomb he planted to take out Sally, and it turns into a crusade for Saint Sally, likely losing the election for Fitz? That's some karmic justice. -- It is so weird to me that all of a sudden we are supposed to like Rowan or Eli or whatever it is we're calling Daddy Pope these days. -- I had to stop the DVR, so I could howl with laughter over Abby and Harrison walking in on Huck and Quinn doing the deed. And Abby is all offended and horrified and indignant?! Abby of the angry sex, Abby?!? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA! -- Jake [to David]: You think if you look hard enough, you're going to just run across a big box of irrefutable proof? -- Fitz tells Liv he feels nothing for Mellie, that he wants to divorce her, now that the election is all but lost, and marry Liv and have two babies with her. Then, against Mellie's wishes, she tells Fitz what Big Jerry did to her, and he rushes to Mellie's side, loving on her. I cannot untangle what Fitz feels for Mellie. Or for Olivia, for that matter. -- Holy crap. While I was busy freaking out that Maya just popped up in Rowan's hospital room, before I could finish being creeped out by her, Fitz's older son starts bleeding from his mouth, on stage, during Fitz's speech, collapses, is carried out by Fitz, and rushed to the hospital, where he died of a strain of bacterial meningitis that was kept under lock and key, a vial of which was stolen by Maya and used to murder Jerry Grant?! WHAT?! -- Fitz has paid a heck of a price to break down inside that office. -- I feel like I just took a twenty mile journey inside a tornado. Rowan was actually behind Jerry Grant's death in order to get what he wanted: back in charge of B613 and Olivia away from Fitz. He pinned it on Maya, told Fitz she was eliminated, and instead, stashed her, alive and well, in the B613 Hole?! Harrison is certainly deceased. Huck just lowered the boom on his wife and child, who thought he was dead. Olivia's on a plane, on her way to a new life, with Jake. And Jake had A Big Box of Irrefutable Proof delivered to David?! WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED.

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E24 "Spring Awakening"I'm bummed that Murphy appears to not be sticking around. I really like him. Possibly more than anyone else on the show. -- It was good to see Munch. I wonder if he will make occasional guest appearances. I can't believe he posted Amaro's bail! -- I saw the junkie mother's death coming from almost as far away as I saw Liv getting custody of that baby. But did she seriously take on that baby without talking to Cassidy?! Or has his mysterious disappearance since that time he told her he loves her actually some sort of breakup? I am so confused.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Currently: June 19, 2014

This week at the Broken Road house...

Watching... not enough DVR. Must remedy this over my long weekend. Too much good tv languishing there

Wearing... my "summer hybrid office" wardrobe. Finding anything that will prevent me from both melting when I walk outside and freezing when I'm working is nothing short of an annual six month challenge.

Wanting... all the fruit. There is something about fresh fruit in the summer that is so satisfying.

Waiting... for the end of this work day to arrive. Have I mentioned my three-day weekend? I have?

Winning... is not something that comes easily for my poor Red Sox this season. When it comes at all.

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


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

20 Questions: June 18, 2014

1. What book are you currently reading?
I'm about a third of the way through Toxic Bachelors by the queen of brain candy chick lit, Danielle Steel. I needed something brainless to read after finishing Eat, Pray, Love which was a bit heavy handed.

2. If you could eat dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
"Anyone" sounds like it doesn't have to be just one person. I think I will take the "dinner party" approach to this question this time around. Blake Shelton, because he's so irreverent and doesn't take himself seriously and he makes me laugh, which maybe isn't the best plan while I'm eating, but I do love to laugh. James Spader, because I want to see how much he is like Reddington from The Blacklist. Mike Lowell, because, well, ahem, but also...wait, what was I saying? Jimmy Fallon, because he just seems so darn nice. And Cristin Milioti, because I adored her as the long awaited Mother on How I Met Your Mother, and I have myself convinced that she is exactly like that in person, and how else will we end up pals unless I invite her to my pretend dinner party, duh!

3. What’s your next house project?
We have no specific project currently in mind, that I am aware of. T just finished an enormous master bathroom remodel. We need to replenish the funds for a while before we take on anything else. I am sure some little projects will pop up here and there, but none that we have officially on the books.

4. What’s your favorite place to visit?
This is just far too broad a question for me! Visit for a few minutes? For a day? For the weekend? For vacation? I love Boston and San Francisco. I love Fenway Park and Disney World. I love visiting friends. I love visiting Dunkin Donuts. They are all my favorite.

5. What movie have you seen that was better than the book (or at least matched its greatness)?
I'm going to go with The Lord of the Rings trilogy. There were a lot of parts to the books that just dragged for me, to the point of feeling tortured.

6. Go out to eat or dine in?
Sure! I like a good meal out, but we also eat some pretty tasty meals right here at home. As our mailman at work points out to me regularly "You sure do eat well."

7. What’s in your junk drawer?
We do not have a junk drawer! Not even kidding.

8. Beer or wine?
Definitely wine. I do not enjoy the yeastiness of beer. It tastes bitter to me.

9. What would your super power be and why?
Teleportation. There are too many people I care about that live too far away from me.

10. What is your favorite type of cheese?
The kind I am eating? Honestly, I enjoy cheese. In fact, I could make a meal out of a good cheese plate, some crackers, a little fruit, some other odds and ends to balance out the flavors.

11. What are you excited about?
My new laptop. The Red Sox tenth inning walkoff win on back-to-back homers by Papi and Napoli today. The long weekend I have coming up since I took Friday off.

12. How did you celebrate your last birthday?
Pretty low key, just the way I like it. Dinner and a movie with T. I can't remember if it was before or after my actual birthday though. On my birthday, my mother was visiting and we did some Disney.

13. What is on your bedside table?
A pile of library books. A wooden box with some sentimental treasures inside. A framed photo of my Gram holding me as a toddler that used to sit on her nightstand. A small lamp. A box of tissues. A glasses case.

14. What do you order from the movie theater concession stand?
We always share a small box of popcorn (no extra butter) and T gets a soda from which I take a few sips.

15. Do you have a garden? What’s growing?
We have two tomato plants, some chives, basil, dill, and two types of parsley.

16. Any summer plans?
I have an August trip to California scheduled and that's pretty much it. I may sneak in a little Disney. We've batted around the idea of maybe getting to a Sox game when they're local.

17. Which TV couple(s) are you rooting for?
I'm hoping Julia and Joel Braverman sort themselves out on Parenthood. Mostly, though, the tv couples I like are already established past the point of rooting for them.

18. What’s the last thing you bought?
A new laptop after my old one unceremoniously bit the dust yesterday morning.

19. What’s one thing you are passionate about?
It's getting late and I'm running out of steam, so I will be totally obvious and say the Red Sox.

20. What are you grateful for this week?
Rain that keeps us from having to pay to water our green outdoor things. That I back up my photos, religiously, every month, so nothing was lost in Lappy's sudden demise. All the fresh, delicious fruit that is available during the summer. A husband who gets me, because there is comfort in knowing someone gets you.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Favorite Hymns: June 15, 2014


Saturday, June 14, 2014

This Week on My TV: June 14, 2014

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

**(Parenthood, S5E21 "I'm Still Here"Julia, queen of the awkward conversations this week. First with Evan. Later, when Joel showed up at the house. I'm glad Evan was understanding and will keep thier "evening" to himself. We don't need another Adam and Kristina meltdown, like we had with Crosby, way back when. -- That was an awfully nice thing Hank did for Amber when she found out about Ryan's accident. I suspect that will weigh heavily in his favor with Sarah. -- I just don't like Drew with Natalie. -- Crosby is right. Adam and Kristina are so good, it is kind of disgusting. -- All the tears belonged to the Kristina and Gwen related scenes. I totally saw the name of the new school coming the second Adam and Kristina nixed calling it The Braverman Academy.

**(Unforgettable, S2E12 "Omega Hour"Something about the way Eliot rolls his eyes at Carrie makes me laugh every time. -- "Alpha Omega" reminded me a lot of one of the more memorable contestants on Top Chef, Stefan. -- I kept expecting the rich building owner to have secretly conspired with Omega, once it was revealed Skinner was flat broke and Omega knew it. Especially when it became clear Omega's goal was to create a "new financial order" by wiping out the whole banking system. -- It couldn't be more obvious that Carrie and Al are getting back together at some point. Are we going to just dance around it forever? Because, you know, as Carrie said, she doesn't dance.

**(Reign, S1E20 "Higher Ground"I imagine his intentions are good, but I don't think I could trust him as my leader. -- When Mary mentions her mother to Catherine, why does she feel the need to identify her by her full name, as if she has more than one mother and needs to clarify? -- Catherine has a point, telling Mary a queen doesn't beg, because it shows weakness. -- Mary's hired..."help" sure appears an vanishes like some sort of apparition! -- I wonder what Lola's Julien has for a secret. Something that requires money, that's for sure. -- Francis is just mucking up everything. He has betrayed Mary and now he is complicating Greer's life by giving Lathe a station that could make him worthy of Greer, who is now happy with Lord Castleroy. -- I hope things are going to work out for Lola and Julien now that they have (hopefully) cleared up all the secrets about Julien having no money of his own, outside of Lola's dowry.

**(Turn, S1E1 "Pilot"It was a little hard to follow at first, learning the characters and their allegiances. Now that it's had 90 minutes to unfold, and the story of how and why Abraham has become a spy for the patriot cause, I'm intrigued to see how it will play out.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Currently: June 13, 2014

This week at the Broken Road house...

Hearing... thunder. Just when I thought the rainy season would fail to materialize, here come the near-daily storms!

Hinting... isn't at all my style. I want for very little, but when I do, I make it clear. Makes life easier for everyone involved.

Hunting... for a very particular photo from my preschool graduation and having *no* luck locating it. That's the sort of thing that can drive a girl loony.

Hankering... for some Dunkin' Munchkins. We'll have to see what we can do about that this weekend.

Hoping... the Red Sox have turned some sort of corner on this season. Or can at least stop suffering from an identity crisis.

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


I am.

I am sentimental. The word 'nostalgia' was made for me. Not that I live in the past, but that I cherish my memories.

I am a romantic. But not in my everyday life. I like romantic gestures on tv shows. Grand and cheesy and "awww!"

I am an observer. I learn a lot by shutting my mouth and opening my eyes.

I am soft-hearted. It makes me ache to see someone get disappointed or have their feelings hurt. I cry over news stories. And Publix commercials. And the tv show Parenthood.

I am sincere. I mean my compliments. When I speak a kind word, it is intentional. If I say I'm sorry, then I am.

I am a "feeler." But I don't let it control me. Because I can acknowledge my feelings without becoming a slave to them. I'm not afraid to say "I'm sad today" or "I'm cranky right now." But, mostly, I like to be happy, and usually the simple acknowledgment is a giant step away from not-happy feelings. The sooner I own up to them, the sooner I move on from them.

I am mysterious. Very few people get the "whole story" of me. You have to earn that level of trust.

I am playful. I believe in being silly, in laughing til I weep and clutch my stomach, in keeping my inner-child muscles in good working order. If you take life so seriously that this makes you look down on me with disdain, we cannot be friends.

I am a lover of words. Quotes, books, magazines, song lyrics, blog posts. I'm  the girl who took an advanced vocabulary class in high school. For fun.

I am loyal. If I say I have your back, I have your back. You have to work pretty hard to change that.

I am balanced. A firm believer of "all things in moderation," but also that we need to make commitments in some places and stand by them, unless there is a very compelling, unavoidable, inarguable reason to shift. But not all areas of life can be handled in shades of grey or we have no definition at all. There is a time and a place for both flexibility and stability.

I am grateful. My life overflows with blessings. I want for very little...and I feel that *not* having everything makes me more grateful for what I do have.

I am content. Not complacent. There's a difference. I am satisfied with enough and able to identify it as such. I am happy and I don't allow circumstances beyond my control to rob me of my joy. But I am not half-hearted. I do not shrug dismissively at what is important and say "whatever." Life is not full if we don't care. To mash together two cliched proverbs: Bloom where you're planted, but remember that the grass is green where you water it.

I am light. I taught myself to be this way. (Truth: I used to be borderline pessimistic, until I figured out I didn't much like feeling that way.) I won't carry unnecessary burdens. I won't harbor bitterness. I won't dwell on what I can't change. I smile. I sing in the car. I bounce with excitement. I seek out happy.


Thursday, June 12, 2014


This is not one of those new-age-y, everybody's special the way they are, group-huggy sorts of posts about "being enough." (I just want to clear that up now, before you read something you're not expecting.)

There are two things that can make me unbearably cranky and significantly unpleasant to be around.

The first is known as "hangry." I can go from laid back to rabid wildcat in about eight seconds flat, when I cross the threshold between "I'll be needing to eat soon" and "If you do not find me food this instant, I will bite you." It's really good to have a husband who understands, firsthand, what hangry feels like and how it works, because he a) doesn't take it personally, b) can identify it as the issue at hand in short order, and c) knows that the quickest way to fix it is to start chucking food in my general direction from a safe distance away. 

The other is "space invaders." Not talking hostile aliens here. I'm talking about people with zero concept and respect for personal space. I am not so much a fan of people crowding around me, being all noisy and breathing in my general direction. The conversation doesn't even have to include me. Simply the fact that it is taking place in my immediate presence and that I cannot escape it starts to grate on my nerves. It's worse if they are actually occupying my "bubble." Rule of thumb: Unless I happen to like you a *lot*, I would prefer that, if I were to extend my arms away from my body, I would not be making contact with your person. If I can touch you, you're too close. If I can feel your breath, the Hairy Eyeball you're receiving from me is barely veiling the fact that I am imagining how much better I would feel if I could poke you with a sharp device of some sort -- something that would send a very clear message to BACK OFF.

Today was the second variety of grumpiness. And there's a fix for that too.

Turn up a some upbeat music that's easy to belt out. Decompress in the solitude of my car and marvel at how the sky is never the same twice. Come home to a good man.

Because even when you've had enough, sometimes you have to tell yourself enough is enough, break out the toolbox and let it go. Life's too short to spend it perpetually grumpy.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Out My Window: June 9, 2014

The morning light is soft, all muted, diffused through a layer of patchy clouds. The day begins gentle.

The traffic is light, schools closed for the summer, the commute far less frantic. The day begins easy.

The driver's side window is cracked to let in the coolest air of the day, the heat not yet wakened, the breeze  tousling my hair lightly. The day begins fresh.

The birds are singing, twittering, whistling, calling, chirping, delighted. The day begins cheerful.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

The House that Built Me: Living Room

It's funny, the things that will trigger a memory. A friend posted a link from a few-years-old clip of a late night television segment. In it, the show's current guest was railing about the advances in technology and how the wonders that brings are turning us into an impatient, ungrateful society, without perspective.

One of the examples he mentioned related to smartphones now compared to those old models with the rotary dial. That was all it took to set me in motion down a trail of memory lane. I commented "... My Gram had one of those heavy black rotary phones! In fact, I think I was in college before they even had a second phone at all. It used to be just that one beast of a phone. And if I wanted to use it, I had to sit right next to the desk in the living room. And I didn't dare move more than a few inches, because I would have pulled it off the desk onto my head and killed myself. It was a weapon. And it made that sound, when you dialed, that only those old phones made."

I am suddenly fifteen and sitting on the old red living room carpet. No matter how I positioned myself, whenever I talked on that phone -- and I talked til my grandparents rolled their eyes so hard, I started to fear *theirs* might actually get stuck that way -- I was eternally in the way. Gram was stepping over me. (What an obnoxious little twit I was, in retrospect, making my sweet Gram STEP OVER me. Gosh.) Gramp would detour through the dining room to get around my teenaged draping of body parts over the pathway. I'm pretty sure the nudges and kicks I got as my brother pushed past were entirely intentional, as only a younger brother's can be.

That heavy black monstrosity of a telephone truly was a weapon. It perched on the desk, next to the lamp with a mallard as a base, the entire time I was privileged to be inside that house. I remember the familiar but indescribable whizz-buzz-clicky noise that dial made as you dialed each number. I think, if I were to concentrate hard enough, I could probably remember the exact sequence of tones it made to call my dad on James Street from that phone. Its ring was truly that old-fashioned unmistakable telephone ring that smartphones attempt to offer in a digital version on your ringtones menu. And there was nothing, *nothing* more satisfying than slamming that handset down if someone on the other end of a call upset you. (I was a teenager, after all, and that came with all the stereotypical drama and angst. It also came with a stern glare from an adult.)

I wasn't the only one on that phone, though, no matter how my family may have felt about it. I probably came by it honestly. Gram would lean against the desk and talk for what felt like days to her sister or one of Gramp's sisters or one of the ladies from church. At which point it was like moth-to-flame for us kids. Hanging on her arm, collapsing dramatically at her feet with need, choosing that moment to have a childhood squabble that left her with one finger attempting to plug her open ear and drown us out, and The Look That Meant Business on her face.

If the kitchen was the hub of that home, then that entry way from kitchen to living room, with the desk and the phone, was Grand Central Station. The desk was pushed against the wall formed by the stairs that led to the second floor (and hiding the steps down to the basement below). Gram rearranged that room more than once. There was an armchair that switched back and forth between the spot by the doorway to the kitchen and the door that led out onto the sun porch. There was an old rocking chair that would swap spots with the armchair, or would relocate to a corner of Gram's bedroom when the Christmas tree would occupy its spot. The chair that was next to the porch door had a dainty little end table next to it.

At the foot of the stairs, was a small table that always had some sort of flower arrangement on it and a mirror hung above. There was a wide, squat window that looked out at the driveway, and was perfect for viewing if you sat just a few steps up from the bottom. The two front windows looked out onto the sun porch, so not much light came in there, but there was also a window that faced north, behind the couch. Somehow, with just those two windows "facing outside" that room was always bright and cheerful.

The couch sat under that north-facing window, and on the west wall, between the chair and the wide doorway to the dining room, sat Gram's prized electric organ with its little bench. There were little octagonal end tables, one on either side of the couch, and they had these lamps with bases that reminded me of granite turrets on a castle. The coffee table was this heavy textured slab of some kind of stone, resting on sturdy carved wooden legs, but what I can tell you most about that stone top is that the corners left many a bruise on my knobby knees and that I'm still not sure how one or the other of us didn't end up with stitches, what with all the roughhousing that went on a little too close for Gram's comfort level.

When I was a wee lass, Gram and Gramp purchased a color tv. It had a button for each channel -- I think there were maybe twelve? -- on it, and where I saw, for the first time, that Dorothy stepped out into the brilliant world of Oz. (So *that* is what the guard meant by "a horse of a different color!") I watched Sesame Street and Mr Roger's Neighborhood. All summer, we watched the clock and then raced for the living room in time for LeVar Burton to open up the wonders of yet another book on Reading Rainbow. On Sundays, in the winter, there would be football games. On Friday nights, Dallas would play as I wedged between two of my favorite people on the couch, unaware of anything but that I felt so grown up at such a tender age.

I lined up my paper dolls along its perimeter. Josh built He-Man compounds in the big open center space. We played school and constructed Little People towns and sorted baseball cards and "rammed around" until Gram reached a breaking point that resulted in us being tossed unceremoniously outdoors on our ears.

I can close my eyes and feel the roughness of the carpet under my hands or the texture of the red curtains that hung at the windows, until they were traded out for white lace. I can hear the metallic clack of the pale green-ish cream blinds as the porch door swung open or closed, or the times Gram would pause in her constant buzzing to open up the top of the organ bench, select one of her song books, and proceed to play a tune or two on the organ, changing the sound from piano to harpsichord until she found just the right tone. I remember the walls painted the palest sage green (with the stairway walls red) and then cream. I remember the rough-knit red-and-white afghan folded over the back of the couch, and the round red corduroy pillow and the purple triangle pillow, both faded, worn around the seams and softened from years of use, and I can hear Gram's soft snore as her head tilted back on the couch, her feet cradled on the coffee table by one of those pillows, as she took a quick post-lunch siesta.

At Christmas time, Gram would put electric candles in the all windows and we'd race to be the one who turned on the most as night fell. The one behind the couch always seemed to be forgotten -- either it's blue glass bulb would stay dark and cool or it wouldn't be twisted back to turn it off when they would shut down the house for the night. Gram would hang a pine garland around the door to the porch, and on it, she would hang her collection of Hallmark rocking horse ornaments, the newest one from the ongoing series which Gramp would give her each year as a gift. At the very top, she would anchor in a huge pinecone she'd brought back from one of their road trips west. On the doorway to the dining room, there would be another garland, this one decorated with little metal bells in all sorts of colors, and in the center was a red bell with a pull string that would play Silver Bells. With the number of times we clamored to be raised up to pull that string, I have no idea how that thing continued to work, year after year. I supposed there's some truth when they say "they just don't make it like they used to."

A thousand memories in that room. A thousand more sensory recollections. That room taught me about family and gathering together. I played pretend and I played my flute (sometimes under duress). I grew up *living* in that room. I never understood the difference between a family room and a living room, because in Gram's home, that room was both.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

This Week on My TV: June 7, 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!

**(Revolution, S2E20 "Tomorrowland") Public Service Announcement: Mass quantities of birds all flying in one direction, quickly and with a sense of urgency, is never ever a sign of good things to come. -- I know that yellow cloud of mustard gas was suppose to be serious and scary, but it just looked like a yellow version of the Angel of Death from "The Ten Commandments." Have we really not come any further since 1956? (I jest. Mostly.) -- I wish I could be more surprised that Rachel was going to just leave a fire burning, unattended, in their house, to follow Aaron...but the characters on this show do notoriously stupid things on a regular basis. -- Nanotech Priscilla is creepy.

**(Reign, S1E19 "Toy Soldiers") Catherine: Nothing bothers me more than problems I've solved coming back to be problems again. -- Greer is marrying a very kind man in Lord Castleroy. -- Watching Bash with Kenna, watching Mary's grace and strength compared to Francis's awkward wavering, sometimes I think Mary got the raw end of many deals. -- "You'll be taught proper manners and the art of deception." Oh, Catherine. You slay me. -- There is an awful lot of...bedding in this episode. But so much deception. Bash is still haunted by Mary. Francis claims he would do anything for Mary, only to backtrack and march her uncle's army in defense of France in Calais, instead of to Scotland to bail out her mother. And he thought she was angry about being locked in the tower? -- Interesting relationships for the four young women: Kenna's married to a good man in Bash, but his heart is clearly not over Mary yet. Lola's husband (and his secrets), basically absent. Francis declares his love for Mary, promising he'd do anything for her, but the moment he is out of bed, those vows seems to vaporize like mist. Really, only Greer seems to be headed into a respectful, loving marriage. -- Interesting. Mary's cousin, who has many loyal eyes and ears within the court (according to his word), seems to think Henry's insanity may be the result of poison.

**(Elementary, S2E21 "The Man with the Twisted Lip"Given how close he keeps his cards to his vest, what with the character quirks and all, it's interesting to see Sherlock actually analyzing himself in his sobriety meeting. That isn't a side of him we ever see. -- I don't know where I thought this story of the week was going, but I didn't see "military drone expose" coming. The mosquito drones were pretty freaky. -- I hope Sherlock doesn't relapse with that secret stash he has hidden in a hollowed out book. -- I wonder what Mycroft's connection is to that French mafia and what they want from Sherlock that they believe kidnapping Watson will accomplish.

**(Unforgettable, S2E11 "East of Islip"That is quite the "cottage" in the Hamptons Eliot has! Holy crap. -- Newman! Newman as a coroner getting all gleefully giggly with Jo over carnivorous starfish in the victim's body was unexpectedly amusing. -- At first, I thought Newman was going to be the serial killer (or the non-serial killer, as the case may be). Then, I thought it was the local cop, a local kid who clearly got ignored by the rich kids his whole life. I was completely blindsided by the connection between the deceased and the murderer: brother of the victim's high school boyfriend, with whom she had a child, that was adopted by her own parents.

**(Person of Interest, S3E23 "Deus ex Machina"It's strange seeing Hirsch working with the Good Guys. -- Huh. I thought Peter started Vigilance because of what happened to his brother. Apparently, he was recruited by them instead. -- Hirsch: Next time I see you, I'll probably have to kill you. Mr Reese: You're welcome to try. -- There's something exceptionally humorous about a thug like Hirsch opening the door to find a bomb and saying "Oh dear." -- Decima created Vigilance?? WHAT?! -- Mr Finch [about getting shot]: Why would you ever choose a job where this is an occupational hazard? Mr Reese: Well, I tried to get out of it, but some jackass told me I needed a purpose. -- That was a sinister season finale! I can't even begin to guess where they go from here.

**(Blue Bloods, S4E22 "Exiles"*What* is with all the jumpers on this show this season?? -- The look on Baker's face as she listened to Frank's, umm, uplifting Police Academy graduation speech. I was rolling. -- Also amusing: Frank's detail trailing him in the fancy SUV as he strolls down the sidewalk with Lilith, I mean, Kelly. I wonder if they sit in his driveway after they drop him off for the evening? -- That outfit Kelly wore to hand over the evidence to Frank looked like she was on her way to a Glamour Shots appointment. A red evening gown and a black feather boa? Really? -- What was Erin's boss hiding about her involvement with that hooker sting?! I wonder if we'll find out next season or if it will simply drop?

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E23 "Thought Criminal"It's really weird seeing super good guy David from Scandal playing a really dark and twisted suspect on SVU. -- Very thought provoking episode. (Pun not intended.) At what point does escalation demand intervention? I mean, the guy went from "having thoughts" to building an actual chamber, equipping it with devices, and it turns out his ex-wife made him leave because she feared their son would become his victim. He clearly even feared it, based on his reaction to seeing them walk into the courtroom. -- Huge red flag: When a psych evaluator asks you if you've ever sought out psychological help, and when you say you've never had a need to, they laugh. -- Nick is in some serious trouble now, after beating the hell out of that guy. Not that it justifies it, but his wife is no prize, basically giving him an impossible choice to make: stay in New York near his job, his mother and his son, or move to California, where he has nothing, to be near their daughter.

**(The Mentalist, S6E22 "Blue Bird"I love when Jane solves a case like it's so obvious. Everyone just stares at him, bewildered and a little awestruck. -- Because of course Patrick is going to drive a big purple convertible Cadillac pimp car while on the case in Miami. -- Patrick looked so genuinely heartbroken standing outside Lisbon's hotel room door while she railed at him for tricking her into coming to the Florida Keys on a "case." -- Cho [about Lisbon being so angry Patrick]: It's weird she got so mad. He's pulled way worse stunts than this. He buried a man alive, once, and she wasn't nearly as pissed. -- They went from being so realistic, with Patrick jumping the fence and it hurting his feet when he landed, to ridiculous, when he ran up the steps to the plane, knocked on the door, and they just let him in. -- So Patrick loves Lisbon. And Lisbon dumped Pike because she loves him too. The ending, where Jane kisses her, was pretty obvious they didn't know if the show was going to be renewed, because they gave the finale a definite "series wrap-up" spin, just in case.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Currently: June 5, 2014

This week at the Broken Road house...

Snapping... fewer random photos recently. I have to switch gears, this time of year, because I am dragged, reluctantly, into Florida's summer, by the relentless turning of calendar pages. I know what is ahead. I know it isn't my favorite. I also recognize that I cannot prevent it and that I have to change my attitude, in order to make the best of it. During that internal adjustment, inspiration flags a bit. It's when I am most grateful for the nudge of a daily photo project. It forces me to seek out the good, the beauty, the gifts that hide in my every day.

Checking... my expectations at the door. I like the promise of hope and possibility, but when they get too big for their britches, becoming expectations, well, that sets up for disappointment.

Learning... how all sorts of features work on my new phone. How to set up my iCloud. How to share photos. How to control who shows up on my contact list. How to limit what apps can use cellular datat when wifi isn't available. Which apps *really* need to know my exact location at all times and which can be denied. How to tweak settings for maximum battery life. Nothing like a good challenge, right?

Dropping... my defective phone in the mail to Verizon Wireless. I am much happier with the replacement they sent me, with a camera that actually works! I'm glad that T got the exact same phone I did, because had I not been able to compare the quality of photos taken by his camera to the ones mine was taking, I might have simply chalked it up to be a disappointing outcome to expectations. (A theme much this week?) Instead, I was forced to inspect a little more closely, discovering a factory defect, and have my phone swapped out for one that actually works properly!

Saving... instead of spending. It's rarely fun to have to tell yourself "no" to this little purchase or that, but we've been asking the hard "do I *need* this?" question and then answering honestly. Watching the numbers in the bank ledger grow is fun. Making the decisions that allow that to happen? Not so much. Being an adult: not all it's cracked up to be. I think I will have a bowl of ice cream. Because, darn it, there have to be *some* perks to being a grownup!

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


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: May 2014

A photo of me:

1) Candle scents* this month:
Vanilla Cupcake. Drift Away. Honeydew Melon. Clean Cotton. Blueberry Scone. Strawberry Buttercream.

2) What I am reading this month (you can find me on Goodreads!):
A Killer Maize (Paige Shelton) - I'm very familiar with the characters and voice of this book, being the fourth in an ongoing series. I like the main character quite a bit. This installment kept me guessing right to the very end, worked in some interesting twists, and ended with a decision by the main character that I liked very much. Looking forward to the next book in this series.
The Love Season (Elin Hilderbrand) - Well...hmmm. I enjoyed so much of this book. The format in which it was written. The descriptions. The way the story was unwound, through the events of the single day in which the book took place combined with "memory flashbacks." All of that is enough to tip the balance in favor of four stars instead of three. But the ending felt both anticlimactic and forced to me. All that impressive construction of story and fabulous "picture painting with words" was reduced to a singular revelation that almost felt trite, in comparison. Had the first 270 pages not been as incredibly engaging as they were, I might have been trying to decided between a 2 or 3 star rating.
Peril in Paperback (Kate Carlisle) - This has been one of my favorite books, so far, from this series. There were multiple mysteries going on, but they were not tangled together, so it wasn't at all confusing. I really enjoy the recurring characters in this series as well. They are amusing and they grow in depth with each new book. The only problem I have is that I really like both Derek *and* Gabriel!
The Other Life (Ellen Meister) - Such a conundrum for me! The book sucked me in completely, as evidenced by the fact that I read two-thirds of it in half day. I was intrigued by the concept. It was chick lit meets the love child of sci-fi and fantasy. Dramatic and entirely unrealistic, yet compelling. That earns it a strong four stars from me. However, when I can't stop turning pages, and then I reach an ending that is entirely unsatisfying -- for someone who appreciates closure, this ending is a solid two stars -- I had to think long and hard about whether that would drag my overall rating down to a three. In the end, I left it at a four, but would it have killed the author, telling a story about the decisions made in a life, to actually leave the reader with some degree of resolution?
Blueberry Muffin Murder (Joanne Fluke) - I definitely had this one figured out long before whodunnit was revealed. That didn't make the remainder of the story any less amusing -- the characters take care of that -- but, though I'm not sure what exactly it was, there was a glaring tip-off for me and I had strong suspicions a little over halfway through.

3) Movies I saw:
Once again, no movies.

4) Calendar image for the month:

I feel like I am supposed to look at this image and see fresh spring air and warm sunshine and union with nature. What I really see are sunburns and being sweaty and worrying about ticks.

5) New recipes tried this month:
Garlic Parmesan Orzo - Super simple and *so* much flavor. This makes a great side dish.
Chicken Kiev - This one was T's baby. It involves some thinking ahead on the prep work, but it is so yummy that it's worth it!
Chicken-Mozzarella Pasta - This is a Pioneer Woman recipe. It was good but pretty basic. I almost felt like it was missing something, though I am not sure what I would add...

6) Restaurants where I ate:
Would you believe we ate at home every single day this month?

7) Five things I am loving this month:
1. Testing out the various flavors of Ben and Jerry's new "Core" line.

2. Fresh corn on the cob. It always seems so crazy to me that we get nice sweet corn down here in time for Memorial Day. My entire childhood, not even the earliest, not quite sweet enough varieties were ready before July 4!
3. A visit from T's sister and her husband. We have such great people in our lives. It's fun when they come for a visit!
4. Locking in on airfare. It makes an upcoming vacation seem so much closer!
5. The holiday weekend. Like that's any surprise.

8) Three goals I had this month and three goals for next month:
1. I need to start weeding through my nail polish, now that it's sandal season again, and tossing all the bottles that are goopy, separating, or so low in the bottle that they are a chore to use so I keep skipping over them anyway. (A success, as something of an ongoing project. Each time it was time to refresh my pedicure, I would go through another batch of colors, until I found one that was good. To date, I've tossed four old bottles and found one that was still salvageable with a wee bit of nail polish remover added to it to thin it out again. I'll just keep repeating this process til I've been through all the bottles. To my credit, and apparently the various manufacturers' as well, the three bottles I tossed for being too thick or separated to rescue were down to the dregs, maybe only two or three applications remaining, and they moved to Florida with me. For those of you counting, that was twelve years and two months ago, and they were not new bottles even then. I'd say I got my three dollars worth out of those bottles. Good thing I rarely buy trendy colors!)
2. I think it's time to invest in some more wooden hangers. (Done. Mentioned it to T, who immediately scored us a crazy good deal on eBay. Like, so good that there were too many to even fit in the closet right now. And for some perspective, the price he paid would have netted us maybe hangers from Target. Score!)
3. Eighteen magazines this month. I need to make up for lost time. There's no travel scheduled and other than plans for one weekend, I have nothing on the calendar. (I'm choosing to count this as success. I didn't reach eighteen, but I did reach thirteen. So there.)

1. This is less of a tangible To Do List goal and more of a buckle down sort. After the expenses of the bathroom project, we want to keep extraneous spending to a minimum for a while. Replenish the coffers, so to speak.
2. Make sure I dine at Kouzzina on Disney's Boardwalk one more time before they close for good.
3. The magic magazine number for this month: fifteen.

9) The best part of this month and the worst part of this month:
The best: My amazingly talented husband and the completion of our gorgeous new master bathroom!

The worst: And this is saying something, considering the Red Sox endured a ten game losing streak, including being swept by the Rays in Tampa. Six days of a dry hacking cough. The kind that is a vicious cycle of tickle that makes me cough which makes the tickle worse making me cough more to the point that I can't catch my breath, my eyes water profusely, I am dangerously close to puking, my stomach muscles are so sore I feel like I've been punched repeatedly in the gut for days and I'm worried I may crack a rib.

10) A photo I took this month:

It isn't technically perfect, but it's the sort of photo you only get one chance to capture, if you're lucky, and I am still amazed by it.

*All scents are Yankee Candle, unless otherwise noted.


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