Sunday, August 31, 2014

What I Learned in August: 2014

1. I've long stated that I am not as big a fan of red wines. While on vacation, I learned that what I actually prefer are the red blends!

2. I spent a good hour or so fussing over the fact that laptop battery showed as "96% and not charging." I tried plugging it into different outlets, making sure the cord was pushed in all the way, rebooting it. Nothing worked. So I turned to trusty Google to see if this was a common problem with the laptop i just bought a couple of months ago. Turns out, laptops are smarter than I am. They know that keeping their batteries charged at full capacity while plugged in decreases their life, so they discharge for a while, then charge back up again. I also learned that it's a good habit to run your laptop on battery power regularly, at least down to about 50%, before plugging it back in to charge, to prolong battery life.

3. Publix premium started making Greek yogurt...and now I've found one I actually like! Or, well, to be accurate, I'm learning to like it. I've been growing increasingly more dissatisfied with the quality of my former yogurt (Yoplait) -- over the past several months, I found that at least once per week, my yogurts were starting to have curdled lumps in them, when for years they had all been smooth and creamy, and I know our refrigerator isn't the issue -- so I decided it was time to go shopping for a new breakfast staple.

4. After living in Florida for over twelve years, I finally know the intention of the phrase "bless your heart." (What can I say? I'll always be a New Englander, born and raised.) And may I say, the south has such a pleasant way of saying "up your nose with a rubber hose, buddy!"

5. I always apply eyeliner to my right eye with a heavier hand. Even when I am consciously trying to make it even with my left. No matter which eye I start with.

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, August 30, 2014

This Week on My TV: August 30, 2014

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(UnforgettableS3E2 "The CombinationI never get caught up in boxing related stories. Dr Jo is once again the highlight of the episode. That and Carrie's little fighting fists. And the rest was just meh, with the scorned older brother, the Albanian mob, and the riff on "Real Housewives."

**(UnforgettableS3E3 "The Haircut"Now *this* is the type of episode I can enjoy. Some secret sources, a scandal to unravel, and a secret group of...spy types, I guess? Anyway, they were pulling some strings behind the scenes. I wonder if they will be like some of the arcs in Person of Interest and pop up with some regularity or if this was a one-and-done thing? -- So, Carrie and Al are each going to have love interests from Washington DC? Hmmm. Now of course everyone wants them to stop denying their chemistry and get back together (even though the viewer has never seen them actually together, since that is just part of their character back story). How long are we going to get toyed with before they cave and get to it?

**(Murder in the FirstS1E6 "Punch Drunk"Another judge and a totally new court room? Just what is going on here? -- Terry had some moves in that bar with the drunk jerks that were harassing that couple. -- Holy crap! Mark Strauss is dead by "overdose" with a supposed "suicide note" admitting he killed Cindy?? Except, yeah, right. I still don't think Blunt did it, but it sure seems like every possible suspect they unearth ends up being eliminated, one way or another. So who? -- Speaking of Mark Strauss and his overdose, ewwwww.

**(The BridgeS2E7 "Lamia") Oh, Daniel Frye, you colossal mess. Even if it gets you what you want to know, the addictions are going to kill you. Unless the CLIO people or Fausto's goons get you first.-- How did Robles know Sonya was at the Special Prosecutor's hotel room shootout with Marco?! -- I could have lived without witnessing a Fausto bathroom break. -- Ray: Stop your clock, sister. ... ::snort:: Ray's one-liners slay me. -- Marco had to sneak into the prison in a food delivery truck to get to Tate the first time, but after that he can just walk in, wearing street clothes, and stand outside the infirmary, staring at Tate through the window? -- Sonya has a lot on her plate. Dobbs' death seems to be bringing up feelings about her sister's death. She found out Hank had withheld the truth from her about what he did to Dobbs. Jack (still don't trust him), it turns out, suspected Sonya's sister wasn't his brother's first murder, and maybe if he'd said something, *anything*, it might have prevented her sister's death. Marco isn't telling her the whole story about his escapades in Juarez and she knows it. The Special Prosecutor is dead and Eva's statement has been compromised. How will Sonya handle all this upheaval? -- Eleanor's story is...terrifying. As I am sure Charlotte and Ray can attest, after hearing it in the diner. -- We seem to have just stopped mentioning the girls disappearing from Juarez. Will we circle back around to that at some point?

**(Murder in the FirstS1E7 "Suck My Alibi") Someone in the background of Erich Blunt's trial keeps coughing and I find it very distracting. -- Curly haired chick has The Crazy Eyes. I also didn't think it was going to be her who killed Strauss! Or well, was there when he died anyway. -- THERE is the twist! Crazy Eyes admitted to typing the suicide note after Mark Strauss actually did OD. But whoa, with her parting question for Terry: "You wanna know if I killed Cindy Strauss?"

**(Murder in the FirstS1E8 "Win Some, Lose Some"What was with the first-date chick telling Terry she loved him in bed and then pulling a coffee pot out of her purse? And then when he said he felt a bit crowded by it (understandably so), throwing hot coffee in his lap? It was amusing watching the reactions of his neighbors, though, as they heard what was (ahem) taking place in his bedroom before her inner crazy surfaced. -- Wasn't impressed by the twenty minutes of closing arguments that just rehashed what the viewer already knew. It did nothing to further the story and just felt like it was killing time. -- Did Erich seriously confess to Cindy's murder under protection of double jeopardy? I mean, Crazy Eyes sort of half-hinted she might have done it when Terry gave her immunity to tell him what really happened with Mark Strauss. So who was it??

**(DallasS3E9 "Denial, Anger, Acceptance"It had to be a rude awakening for Emma to see John Ross all but ignore her, other than barking at her to call the paramedics, while he tended to the unconscious Pamela. And yet, she sat in the hospital, talking to John Ross about what they do now that Pamela knows? Snap out of it, girl. Even John Ross knows the jig is up. -- Judith Ryland is the creepiest "mommy dearest" ever. Bringing Harris a glass of milk, and telling him it isn't "mommy's milk"?! Nasty. -- Judith calling Ann a "pretty packet of poison" is rich, considering the source. -- Ann, when will you learn to stop the lies? Bobby has every right to be furious at you and you know it. -- Bobby [to John Ross]: You say you want to be a better person, that you didn't mean to betray the people you love and you feel so bad for doing it. Well, words are cheap. You are what you do. You wanna be a better man?...*Be* one. -- I was seriously sweating Sue Ellen lifting that bottle of aftershave from the hospital gift shop, because she needed a drink so badly. And equally relieved when she battled back the temptation to actually drink it. And proud of her for being brave, admitting to Bobby and Ann that she accidentally started the fire by trying to burn John Ross and Pamela's wedding invitation, then passing out drunk, and finally acknowledging her alcoholism. -- ::tires screeching:: *Drew* was trying to burn down Southfork and basically got away with it, since Sue Ellen believes *she* started it?? And if Nicolas was going to have a hard time explaining to Elena why he sent Pamela that video of John Ross and Emma, well, it's going to be impossible to get her to understand why Drew is now dead. Holy crap.

**(Murder in the FirstS1E9 "Family Matters") Hildy's response to watching Blunt do the "Larry King interview" on tv was a lot like the way I watch tv. I am constantly talking to the people on the television as if they can hear me. -- D'oh! Hildy totally busted Lieutenant and DA making out in the parking garage. That look on her face, the "I really wanna un-see this" expression, was spot on. -- They made it totally obvious that Blunt's grandfather knew exactly why Terry was  there, the way he got defensive and surly. It was like a big, flashing neon "guilty" sign was hanging over his head. -- As scary crazy as I found Ivana, her loyalty to Erich was pretty remarkable. I can totally see why, when he took credit for running his company all through the trial, which, in fact, he didn't, but she did, that loyalty was off the table. Her perfect revenge was leaving to start a competitive business with Blunt's scorned former business partner, Jeremy. -- I wish I were more familiar with the San Francisco landmarks, so I could better appreciate some of the aerial views of the city between scenes. -- I couldn't help but think that when Terry met Walton on his release from prison, after being cleared of the charge for Nyers' murder, that was probably the first time in his life someone had shown him kindness. -- Is Daniels the only rich-guy lawyer in San Francisco? Seems like (assuming the show is picked up for a second season) he will just keep popping up on cases, making Terry and Hildy's job that much more challenging. I actually wondered if they were going to attempt to tie in that dead woman in the tub with the Blunt murders too, but I guess not. So maybe it was just a "space filler" for the show (wouldn't be the first time)? Or is this a potential dangling thread to pick back up for a season two, should there be one?

**(Murder in the FirstS1E10 "Blunt the Edge"When they showed the preview for the season finale, I couldn't figure out why it would look like Wilkerson was sitting on Blunt's couch, naked. I never imagined it happening the way it happened, Blunt making him strip down because he thought Wilkerson was wearing a wire. I don't know how, after all that insanity spewing out of Blunt's mouth, Wilkerson didn't just go crazy and shove him out that giant window. -- Daniels [David Hertzberg, about why he won't represent Blunt again]: My money? I keep it. So I have it. So I can say no to men like Erich Blunt. -- When I watched how quickly things feel apart for the arrogant Blunt, all I could think was "my, how the mighty have fallen." Wilkerson has not shown him the gratitude he feels he has earned "for all he's done." Daniels refuses to be his legal defense. He can't effectively threaten Terry English off his trail. Ivana is gone. And, in the end, he doesn't even have his personal lawyer, Hertzberg, in his corner any more. -- More proof I have the softest (most foolish) heart on the planet: I was so sad for Blunt's grandmother, as she struggled with her husband's suicide, how to navigate life alone for the first time in fifty years, her only family is that toad, Blunt, and she just seemed so vulnerable. Also, when Terry stops to see Walton, and learns that Walton plans to move up north, near family, to start fresh, I had this overwhelming sense of hope for him, that he would shake off his demons and succeed. I NEED TO STOP HAVING ALL THESE FEELINGS FOR PRETEND CHARACTERS ON TV. -- My thoughts on the final outcome: When the call came through that someone was obviously dead in connection with the Strauss/Nyers murders, first I was worried for Walton, then the grandmother, and finally Wilkerson, in rapid, frantic succession. But of course it was Blunt, because he wouldn't ever face the consequences for all he did. I'm not sure if that was a satisfying ending, but I think they chose the right one. I have to give the writers credit, making Blunt the killer. I thought it was too obvious. And he never showed the "obvious signs" his grandfather did. They made him a great, stonecold psychopath.

**(RecklessS1E5 "Bloodstone"I don't know which is more steamy: Charleston in the summer or the chemistry smoldering between Roy and Jamie. When Roy was checking out Jamie in her denim mini skirt, I'm fairly certain sparks flew off my tv screen. -- Who is this blonde chick that keeps appearing at Roy's place, half dressed in one of his shirts? -- That was some interesting intel on Jamie's background that Roy got from his mentor (Emmett?), who was opposing counsel in the Carlisle case she's working on. A drug addict mother who didn't want her and left her to grow up in foster care. -- Holy. Heck. Max, the wrongly accused pro bono case, is Jamie's half brother?? And he doesn't know it, because they were separated by the system when they were assigned the foster homes?! -- I'm fully invested in the lawyering and Lee Anne's lawsuit and in the Jamie and Roy sizzle, but I could not care less about Terry and his gun hustling. -- Between her brother and Lee Anne, Jamie is practically running a homeless shelter in her house. I totally knew Max was going to be gone, though, when Jamie got back with dinner.

**(RecklessS1E6 "Family Plot") Call me crazy, but I could have sworn that Lee Anne's chair in Arliss' hospital room was between the bed and the door last episode, but this one started with her waking up in the chair between the bed and the window, even though it was supposed to pick up right where the last scene of the previous episode ended, with Arliss tucking a blanket over a sleeping Lee Anne just before he slipped out of his hospital room. -- Nothing like having your ex-wife show up in your office and ask you to represent her new fiance in a legal matter. Could they make Roy and his situation any more of a heartbreaker? -- I'm not at all sure how I feel about them trying to make Terry even remotely likable. -- Of course they are dangling that sizzling kiss in front of the viewers before snapping it back with "can't be involved with opposing counsel."

**(UnforgettableS3E4 "Cashing Out") I think it's funny that Eliot did his research on Carrie and Al, so he already knew about her gambling habits, but learned that Al was...boring? -- Jay: I've seen her use her memory hundreds of times and she still hustles me. -- During the shootout in the casino, Al leaned against a "cinder block" wall that MOVED. Oops. -- I honestly thought, for a fleeting moment, that Eliot was somehow involved in the raid, when it appeared the ringleaders had been tipped off.

**(UnforgettableS3E5 "A Movable Feast"I like the way they are finding different ways to showcase Carrie's memory in each episode, unrelated to the cases. -- If the victim was such a great guy, why did his son's mother leave him? Weird. -- The Coast Guard officer told Carrie and Al that a brick of C4 could take down a building, but all it did was take off the back side of a boat? Hmmm. -- I feel like Eliot wears that grey suit with the lavender shirt and the purple tie a lot. -- I enjoyed this episode, since the chef/restaurant angle isn't as overdone as some other "case profiles" that get used on crime procedurals.

**(UnforgettableS3E6 "Stray Bullet") Eliot: grey suit, lavender shirt, purple tie. And I thought it was bad that Frank Reagan on Blue Bloods rotates between three ties! -- Jo, the self-proclaimed "Dirty Harry of MEs." LOL! -- It was an interesting story, Al being framed by the jilted former fiance of a female officer because that officer was in love with Al, but what I hate about stories like this is that we lose the intensity. There was no way Al wasn't going to be cleared.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bubbles and Stuff.

A thousand years ago, when I was a kid, they didn't look like that. They came in squat little semi-opaque bottles and the solution was either pink or blue. I actually remember when they "expanded" to add purple and green, and it almost felt overwhelming to have that many choices, because when you're a kid, that matters. Even though the bubbles all look...exactly the same when you blow them. Kid logic is weird.

I remember the thrill of untwisting that white cap on a brand new 39-cent bottle, and fishing out the plastic wand. Hands and bottle and anywhere else the "bubble stuff" dripped were instantly sticky. None of that mattered, as I sat on the steps, clutching my treasure. (Well, it didn't matter to me. My Gram was forever chasing me off her steps, with my sticky soap drips.)

There was an art to blowing bubbles. Dip, let drip, slowly move the wand to my pursed lips, then a controlled stream of air. The bubble would form slowly, growing in size. Sometimes, it would disengage and float away before I had deemed it big enough. Sometimes, my fresh brother would poke the bubble with his finger, leaving me glaring or shrieking as he departed the scene of the crime, so proud of being a rascal. Sometimes, the bubble wouldn't "take" and I'd find myself startled as, with an abrupt POP!, I found myself pelted with a spray of soap droplets. (You learn quickly that bubble stuff does not taste good, despite its cotton candy colors. Probably worked wonders for the effectiveness of not wanting my mouth ever washed out with soap, because yuck.)

But then there was The Bubble. The one enormous bubble that happened just right. Enormous and shivering and iridescent in the sun, as it caught a breeze, floating up and away. Sometimes, I would just stand and watch it go, until it was out of sight, fate unknown. Other times, I would chase after it as far as it survived or until I was unable to follow any further. My favorites were the ones that didn't meet some unforgiving fate--the driveway, the corner of the house, some tree branch or rosebush thorn--but would simply fade into non-existence, literally disappearing into thin air. I was always amazed at how something to fragile could last so much longer than made sense.

There were so many variations on this game. Bubble blowing could be a solo activity. It could be a sibling competition, seeing whose bubble was bigger or who could produce the most bubbles from one dip of the wand. Or we'd take turns, one of us producing bubbles, the other attempting to pop as many as we could, like some kind of living video game.

That was the great thing about being a kid during my childhood. The tools were few and inexpensive, but the imagination that was required came in droves. We made our own fun with what we had, and it was not only good enough, it was spectacular fun.

As I turned the corner in my local Target, coming face first into a display of "bubble stuff" that looks nothing like the stuff of my childhood, I thought about how complicated life gets when you leave those things behind. Minds get cluttered with the worries and burdens of being adults, and yet we were all in such a hurry to get here, to be all grown up. My mind has been heavy with a tangle of thoughts, most of which accomplish nothing at all, many of which aren't even fully formed enough to communicate, but are just enough to keep me from sleeping well, unspooling themselves nonsensically in bizarre, vivid dream fragments that interrupt my sleep, but fade like a lingering soap bubble, leaving nothing but a failure to feel rested. It was just about all I could do to resist tossing a bottle of bubbles in my cart, in a desperate attempt at retreating to the easier days of being seven, when a bottle of bubbles held the promise of a sunbathed afternoon and the peaceful silence of a quivering circle of soap solution, captured in a wand. Waiting.

And exhale, long and slow.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

This Week on My TV: August 23, 2014

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(The Bridge, S2E5 "Eye of the Deep"Fausto arranging flowers? So many things about this show fail to make any sense whatsoever. -- Sonya's quirks are definitely...less pronounced this season. -- I do not trust Jack Dobbs. He's way too obsessed with those drawings his brother made that Sonya has. -- What a crazy violent episode. All the Tate scenes. The message from Fausto for the thugs who stole his drugs. Odd that Eleanor was involved with none of them, though. -- What was that whole bit with Monte, Ray, Charlotte, and the real estate?? -- I figured it was just a matter of time before the Juarez police tried to take out the DA.

**(RecklessS1E4 "Blind Sides") The people charged with murder always seem to use the turn of phrase "I'll kill you/him/her" in passing about the victim. -- Haaa! Roy and Jamie are being forced to work together on a case? Methinks thou dost protest too much. They so like each other. *Like* like. -- The views of Charleston remind me of the city shots used on Boston Legal. In other words, love that. -- Totally don't buy Terry's admission that he loves Lee Anne. But I don't think he bombed her house. -- Neither the woman he went to dinner with, nor the woman who spotted him there, were Dec's wife?? And his wife clearly doesn't care as long as he's discreet? I saw none of that coming. -- Wuh-oh. Preston's feeling short of breath! I wonder how he's going to wrangle out of this one...

**(The Bridge, S2E6 "Harvest of Souls"I don't know what I expected Jack Dobbs to want from his brother's drawings on Sonya's fridge, but digging up an old corpse wasn't it! -- Everyone seems to say Eva's name differently. Eee-va. Ay-va. Evv-uh. -- If I were sitting in a locked church, with a black hood over my head, talking to an admitted assassin, I would totally. freak. out. And yet, there Daniel and Adriana (why do I keep thinking her name is Gabriela?) sat, like good little journalists, waiting for the story. -- Wasn't Chip the name of the real estate agent in the opening scene of this season, when Monte walked in on all the blood? I thought that guy was dead? I am so confused by the timeline of this season. -- OMG Daniel Frye and the drug test. Ewwww. -- I wonder how this will all unspool, with Marco telling Sonya to not mention she was in Juarez for that little hotel room shootout. Lying is a problem for Sonya. She likes to play by the letter of the law and this will certainly complicate things.

**(Murder in the FirstS1E4 "Burning Woman"I didn't understand that whole "party in the desert" thing. It was like a circus freak show on Halloween steroids. -- Do they ever zip up that little girl's backpack? It stresses me out. -- I had zero pity for Diego's mother. None. -- Blunt's lawyer is going to kill him for all the lying and omission of truth. -- Blunt is such an entitled little (pardon my French) douche. But I still don't think he did it. -- I keep waiting for the twist in the case. -- Thumbs down: Terry and Hildy making out in her kitchen.

**(Murder in the FirstS1E5 "Pants on Fire"I wonder on what grounds the Mayor got the original judge to recuse himself. -- Taye Diggs has a great smile. But at the karaoke bar for Molk's birthday, there was NO WAY that was his real voice singing. -- Holy creep factor, Blunt showing up at Hildy's home when she gets back from the karaoke bar.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Asked and Answered: August 20, 2014

1. Three celebrities you'd like to be stuck with on an elevator.
James Spader, Tom Mison, and Colin O'Donoghue. (What? If I'm going to be stuck in an elevator, I want it to be with people who will either entertain me or look pretty. I'm married, not dead.)

2. Best compliment you've ever received.
"Will you marry me?" (Seriously. Someone wanting me *forever*? How do you top that?)

3. Fashion trend you regret following.
Pretty much anything I wore in high school.

4. Word you use way too much.

5. Favorite getaway.
Disney World. Hey, it counts as a getaway because it's in my backyard. I Disney differently than the average bear tourist.

6. Favorite website.
PicMonkey. I could lose hours there, just playing around with photo editing. I don't even save half the ridiculous creations I make. I simply like to play.

7. In your life were a movie, the title would be...
Watch Out for the Quiet Ones. I don't know. I hate questions like this, because I can never think of anything good!

8. Best advice you've been given.
Tie between "always be teachable" and "don't borrow trouble from tomorrow."

9. Person with whom you'd most like to trade places for a day.
I wish I were cheeky enough to say something like "Mike Lowell's wife," but I don't really mean that. The real me answer would be Rachael Ray. I'd like to know what it's like to not go deer-in-the-headlights in front of a crowd, cook without looking at a recipe, and be able to chat with some cool people without running out of things to say (peril of hating small talk, this happens to me often -- the running out of things to say, that is).

10. Most embarrassing song on your iPod.
I should just hand you my iPod and let you decide which song it should be. I don't listen to music to be cool (ha, like I'm in danger of that ever) and I tend not to judge what appeals to anyone else's ear, because my taste is so random and truly all over the board. So, take your pick: "The Way You Look Tonight" from the Steve Martin "Father of the Bride" soundtrack? Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," maybe? Any of the dozen Taylor Swift songs I've purchased? I'll keep listening, even if you're silently judging me from the other side of the internet.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top Five Walt Disney World "Wow-Factor" Moments

For as many times as I have been inside the Walt Disney World parks (and we're talking hundreds here, folks), there are some moments that make me catch my breath in absolute wonder, every. single. time. Whether I am immersed, immediately transported, or simply awed, without fail, I can count on my reaction, and when I'm overdue for some WDW, these are the experiences I am craving most.

1. The very first circuit around Food and Wine Fest.
By the time I descend upon Epcot, I've already been up to my eyeballs in the menus, formed plans, perused photos from previous years. But that very first trip around World Showcase--I take it at a slow stroll, camera in hand, using only my senses of sight, sound, and smell--and I am simply blown away. So many tastes and textures just waiting to be explored and savored.

2. Overlooking Magic Kingdom all lit up at night from the vantage point of Astro Orbiter.
There is just something about the parks lit for night that ups the ante on the magic, as they glow and twinkle. When you factor in the perspective of being raised up above "ground level" and the distance that creates between you and the throngs of guests below, there's just this powerful rush of awe, as if the excited energy of the crowd rises all day and diffuses in the night air, creating a unique blend of thrill and peace. It's magic, quite literally, on a whole new level.

3. The "corks popping" scene in Mickey's Philharmagic.
My favorite of all the 3D shows, this one, in its entirety, is a spectacle. I feel as if I am being pulled into the movies, one by one. But it's during "Be Our Guest" that I am dazzled. I can still remember the first time I sat in that theater and the gasp of delight as the corks "whooshed" past my face. It's these little details, the ones that seem so small in concept, that combine to make me feel transported out of everyday reality and into a (sorry) whole new world.

4. The outdoor track on Test Track.
It's no secret that I love this particular attraction. I loved it in its original yellow-and-grey test dummy incarnation, and I love it in its updated "virtual reality" overhaul (even though I still miss my "moo" sign and hope that one day they will add it back in as a nod to the past, like the portrait of Owl and Toad in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, but I digress). I enjoy running through the test features and the burst through the wall into the open air, but it's when we come out of the banked curves and start to accelerate into the high speed loop "grand finale" that my heart races, a grin is plastered all over my face, and I can't resist wooohoooo-ing in sheer delight as we hug the side of the building, going 65mph. Pure exhilaration.

5. The start of Soarin'.
I adore this ride. I love all the scenes. I love the special effects. I love the soundtrack. But the part that makes me wiggle in my seat with anticipation is when the lights go down and we're swooped forward-and-up, and the screen brightens to the clouds that part over the Golden Gate Bridge. Something about sequence makes me inhale sharply and then settle in for my aerial tour.

Ok, fine, if you know me at all, you know there aren't five. There are six. Because that's just how I roll.

6. Fez House.
If you've ever been in a Disney park, then you know that even on the lightest days, there's still a good number of people. Being caught up in the press of the crowd can wear on the senses. I start to feel a little overwhelmed and overstimulated. I start to long for an escape. Enter: Fez House. Tucked, unobtrusively, into a corner or the Morocco pavilion at Epcot, there is this little oasis. I slip inside and settle on one of the benches in the open-air atrium. Even though the doorways are open, the roar of the crowds are muffled here. Somehow, it's always just the right temperature. The fountain gurgles quietly on the far wall. And, most amazing (to me) of all, it's almost always empty. Even those that wander in seem to simply pass through, with little more than an occasional pause for a photo op. My favorite thing is to look up at the sky, with all the Moroccan architecture surrounding me, and feel like I couldn't be further away from where I actually am. That such a place exists, that such a degree of peace can be found, in the center of bustling theme park, never fails to floor me. Ten minutes in this mostly secluded-in-plain-sight hideaway and I am refreshed and ready to go again.

(inspired by this post)


Saturday, August 16, 2014

This Week on My TV: August 16, 2014

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(The Last Ship, S1E4 "We'll Get There") I do like the way they introduce the ship's crew's family lives, through flashback and conversation. -- I'm a big fan of Lt Chung. There's something about him that I find real. -- Two words to describe Quincy: bitter and self righteous. -- Another character I really like is the Chaplain. He provides quiet strength, a sense of hopeful determination, and a voice of reason and encouragement. -- Of course, there would be various emergencies to be faced in the episode: burned up engines that require a standstill during repair result in the lost ability to make drinking water, a lab that can no longer be properly cooled which threatens Rachel's whole vaccine process, and basically floating in the ocean under a relentless sun and no land in sight. I knew they would work through all of that, because they have to, for the show to go on. The story of the week is less important to me than the characters.

**(The Last Ship, S1E5 "El Toro"I totally knew that the trap that soldier stepped in was going to be loaded with poison. -- El Toro was an interesting and formidable opponent-of-the-week. What a horrific individual. I was kind of hoping they would exile him to the infected side of the river like he did to the mayor's daughter. My sense of justice was still satisfied that it was the mayor who killed him though. -- Speaking of the infected side of the river, I can't even fathom how helpless the crew must feel, knowing there is nothing they can do to help. -- Ok, Rachel has her monkeys. Now what? Also, if she can test out the vaccine on them, wouldn't it imply they can catch the virus? So why can't they also pass the virus on to humans?

**(Reckless, S1E3 "Stand Your Ground"Nice little dig for Jamie when she told Preston there were a lot of things they didn't know about each other, after he said she wasn't above trolling his murder scene for clients. -- The way they do the lighting and color-tone in this show is exactly right for conveying a sultry, steamy climate. -- Deputy Chief Knox [to Jamie]: That's rich. A Yankee trying to throw "stand your ground" in my face? -- Creepy Terry showing up in Lee Anne's house, unannounced and just appearing from around a corner, to make threats, stalking people associated with Lee Anne's lawsuit against him and the department, and blackmailing a college student who just so happens to be the daughter of Jamie's assistant, Vi. -- I figured the intruder was having an affair with someone in the house. I expected it to be the husband, though, not the wife, and that he shot the guy to cover it up. -- Vi [to Jamie about Roy]: That boy's so hot, you could fry an egg on him. -- I like the way they show texts on this show. Instead of showing us the phone's screen, it pops up as text on the television screen. -- OMG, Terry had Vi's daughter install spy cams all over the places Jamie lives and works?? He is a bigger creep than I even originally thought. -- Jamie, it all goes downhill when you start snooping on your man's computer. -- So, was it Terry or someone in the local government who pitched the explosive through Lee Anne's and Arliss's window?

**(Turn, S1E7 "Mercy Moment Murder Measure") Wow, that prison ship, the Jersey, was a place of horrors. -- LOL moment: When Abe awoke to see Caleb in the rocking chair beside his bed and sprang off the mattress like someone had lit him on fire. -- Though I thought, perhaps Samuel Tallmadge had taken on the identity of another prisoner that had died, in order to "hide himself in plain sight," that was apparently not what happened. I never would have guessed that was Selah Strong! -- Amazing! Abigail managed to convey a message to Anna inside the hat she knitted her son as a birthday gift! She found a way to communicate and made the British her couriers. So brilliant!! -- While there are fleeting moments when I find Hewlett and Andre sympathetic, and at times, dare I say, almost likable, I never have that issue with Simcoe. *Ever*. -- So, suddenly, all those things Mary Woodhull said to Anna about not caring if Anna and Abe were romantically involved were apparently not true at all and she does care. And she's a little bit manipulative too, that one, calling Richard "Father"...and then angling to get Selah Ward a pardon in order to keep Abraham and Anna apart. -- Robert Rogers is a slippery snake. Posing Selah Ward as Samuel Tallmadge in order to lure Ben out into the open at the prisoner exchange. -- Oh man. A gentleman's duel between Abraham and Simcoe. This is not good for Abe. -- Clever move by Anna, to thwart Simcoe's advances by playing her "honor" card! -- Every time someone cracks open an eggshell, I worry they are going to discover a secret spy message by mistake. -- Anna [to Abe, about their "business trip" to New York"]: This is business we're about, so let's get about it. ... Wow. Cold. I also feel like I need to keep this line in my "arsenal." It seems like it could be useful.

**(Turn, S1E8 "Challenge"Oh for heaven's sake. Anna is *still* not over the fact that Abe broke off their engagement? I mean, really. Enough time has passed for both Abe and Anna to have married others, and for Abe to father a child who is a year old already. Probably time to let it go? -- I'm not sure how this is going to play out, with the British using Selah as a stand-in for Samuel Tallmadge, at the same time Anna is supposed to be collecting him, via pardon, from the Jersey. He can't be in both places! -- I cannot figure out all these accents. Are they intentionally *not* all British? Or, with the exception of Rogers, who is specifically Scottish, are all these people attempting to sound British, with more than half of them coming off Irish and Scottish? -- Anna wants Abe to take her into a "gentleman's party" at Andre's house as a guest?? What man brings a lady guest with him to THAT?! -- OMG. Anna found a way into the party anyway as one of the "ladies" providing "entertainment"?? That's resourceful but with all the long angry stares between her and Abe, they're going to blow each other's cover. Pull yourselves together, you two! You're being *terrible* spies! -- That speech Abe gave, when asked by the other party guests "who would he kill," saying he would like to kill the man that caused the riots that resulted in his brother's death seemed as much as apology to Anna for breaking their engagement as it was an answer that was believable and a way to "prove" his allegiance to the Crown. -- OMG, it was *Abe* who started that riot?? The exchange he shared with Anna about that was so heartbreaking...

**(Mad Men, S7E7 "Waterloo"I can't remember any other time on this show that we got a glimpse into Burt Cooper's home life. Wow. And he looked like a little kid, all lit up over the shuttle launch. Love it! -- What the hell, Ted?! You take Sunkist up in the plane, and then cut the engines and talk about death??? And why didn't *you* get the "Don treatment" for that anyway?! -- Jim Cutler [to Lou, who is still whining over Don "costing him his chance with tobacco"]: We don't owe you anything. You're a hired hand. Now, get back to work. ... Zing! -- Oh boy. I saw Sally making eyes at the oldest son of...Betty's college friend? Whose family is staying at the Francis house for some reason? -- Hmmmm... How long til Peggy ends up hooking up with the handyman who is there putting in her ceiling? -- Did Don's secretary really try to make out with him after he read the letter about his breach of contract?? And did he really turn her down?? How...un-Don-like. When she grabbed his chin, looked into his eyes, told him she knew he was feeling vulnerable and asked what she could do, then kissed him, his reply of "you can get my attorney on the phone and we can't do this" with a look of bewildered disbelief on his face made me bust out laughing. -- About that letter: Cutler wrote the letter and signed the other partners' names to it WITHOUT TELLING THEM?? Even those not a fan of Don's weren't going to like being undermined without so much as a "by your leave." -- Julio is moving?? Poor Peggy. ... Julio: I don't want to go to Newark!! Peggy: No one does. ... ::snort:: -- Seriously, Megan? Don tells you he's probably going to get fired and you drop the bomb that the marriage is over with a half-annoyed, half-exasperated "Don..."? I will *never* figure her out. -- I loved the way they showed all the characters watching the moon landing, where ever they were. That kind of national amazement is something I'm not sure I remember in my lifetime. -- Holy. Crap. Cooper is DEAD??? At least he went happy, watching the moon landing... -- Wait. Sally got all prettied up because she is interested in the *middle* son?? I did NOT see that coming! -- Oh my heart: Don telling Peggy that if she wins Burger Chef by presenting instead of him, then the account is hers and she can stand on that if he gets let go, rather than working so hard to land the account on his presentation and risking losing it all. --  I have to give props to Roger, standing up in the wake of Burt's unexpected passing and finding a vision and being the leader Burt didn't think he could be for his company. Selling the firm to the competition on the condition that Don stays and luring the other partners in with millions of dollars for their bank accounts. A subsidiary, keeping SCP offices, name, clients, the works. It almost sounds too good to be true. p.s. You should have signed that partner contract while the offer stood, Harry! -- Goosebumps: Peggy's Burger Chef presentation. "That table is your battlefield and your prize." "We're starving...and not just for dinner." "There may be chaos at home, but there's family supper at Burger Chef." -- What is Joan's deal with Don? I know he screwed up, but has she forgotten he was the only one who didn't pimp her out to Jaguar and was appalled when the others did?? Yet she doesn't have even an ounce of loyalty. -- That speech Don gave Ted about what it's like to walk away and see what happens when you crash and burn. Wow. -- What an ending, that "vision" Don had of Burt singing "The Best Things in Life Are Free." I wonder where we go from here when we pick it back up for the final seven episodes next year...


Saturday, August 9, 2014

This Week on My TV: August 9, 2014

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(Mad Men, S7E6 "The Strategy") Something I have been baffled by all season: How did Pete land Bonnie?? And he's still married to Trudy?! -- I'll say it again: Don's secretary is *such* an airhead. -- Oof. Poor Peggy. Somehow, Ted keeps popping up where she is least prepared for him. -- Pete [about Peggy]: You know she's every bit as good as any woman in this business. ... OUCH. -- Ken Cosgrove saying "you really gotta keep an eye on him" is so funny for all the wrong reasons. -- What is Megan's angle, showing up in New York, unannounced? Still can't figure her out. -- LOL! Peggy breaking into the tiki bar in Lou's office. -- Peggy [to Don]: Did you park your white horse outside? Spare me the suspense and tell me what your "save the day" plan is. -- Don is still mentoring Peggy, she just needs to see it. -- I thought Pete's jackets were...loud. Bob Benson is wearing on in this episode that look like a box of Crayola melted into a jacket. -- Bob Benson [following Joan's rejection of his "marriage" proposal]: I know I'm flawed, but I am offering you more than anyone else *ever* will. Joan: No, you're not, Bob, because I want love, and I'd rather die *hoping* that happens, than make some arrangement. And you should too. -- Peggy and Don are at their best when they're together. I love them cynical and laughing and collaborating. -- Don [to Peggy]: I worry about a lot of things...but I don't worry about you. -- Peggy is so pretty when she drops her defenses, whether that means open vulnerability or quiet confidence. Anything but pinched and bitter. -- Oh my heart, Peggy and Don dancing to Sinatra's "My Way." -- Love love love Peggy's new direction for her Burger Chef ad pitch: "every table is the family table." And then cameras pulling back on Don, Peggy, and Pete, eating together. Like family. Each other's family, these three lost and floundering souls. Reunited. I feel like it has shades of the early seasons.

**(Murder in the First, S1E2 "The City of Sisterly Love") I will say this about the obligatory chase scene that every episode of a police show much have: at least there was no chain link fence over which to be climbed; it was exchanged for a less common tumble down some stairs. Points for mild originality (at least, I can't recall the last time I saw that done). -- Not sure which I find more horrifying: the sister of the dead wife dropping her robe for the grieving widower or picking the used tissue out of the trash with the kitchen tongs and putting them back in the crock on the counter? -- I love that they set the show in San Francisco. I have a soft spot for that city. -- This episode has a better pace than the pilot, which gives me hope.

**(The Bridge, S2E4 "The Acorn"The first question, when Eleanor Nacht appears in a scene with any other person, is "how long til he/she is dead?" -- Ray is sitting there, telling Charlotte about how they'll run away to Alaska, buy a trailer on a couple of acres, have a fire pit, she can pop out a couple of kids, and that's how they'll be, til they die. Charlotte says "that's nice" in a tone of voice that suggests she'd rather he just kill her now. -- Daniel Frye is such a douche, but he makes me laugh. -- Now why did Dobbs' brother steal that particular picture off Sonya's refrigerator? -- Deal?? Fausto and Eleanor have a deal?? What is this deal?? (This actually intrigued/bothered me more than wondering who (or what) was inside that cage and took the acorn from Eleanor.)

**(Murder in the First, S1E2 "The City of Sisterly Love"It has to be too obvious that Erich Blunt would be the killer...right? Either way, he sure does...get around with his employees. -- Duh, lady. You can't violate a non-disclosure agreement to a cop, relating to a major murder investigation, and expect him to keep it a secret. -- Real estate lingo is a dirty, dirty trick. Spin, spin, spin. That apartment "in a classic building with a treetop view" was a DUMP. -- Sheesh. All the ladies are just throwing themselves at Terry. His deceased wife's sister. His real estate agent. Is "grieving widower" a lady magnet?

**(Reckless, S1E2 "Parting Shots"Roy: Ah, Yankees. Jamie: Your all purpose insult. Roy: You know, you are too blunt, Jamie. Jamie: What am I supposed to say? Roy: Nothing. Or "bless your heart." That's what we say when we don't like something. -- Oh, so Cruz was working undercover and that's how he got into that footage? Hmmm... -- So Lee Anne has a jealous and insecure husband who is a disabled veteran. Interesting twist. -- Whoa! I did not see it coming that the mother in the custody case set up the shooting on herself! -- Is there anything cuter than Roy video chatting with his girls? I think not.

**(Motive, S2E10 "Nobody Lives Forever") I always puzzle over the water bottles in the squad room. Is it purely decor or is it also supposed to be functional? -- I will admit, I find it intriguing that this show, which is actually shown and set in Canada (then aired later in the U.S.) had a theme of illegal aliens. You never hear anything about it being an issue in Canada. Or, at least, I've never heard it mentioned before. -- I called the parts about the security company calling to inquire about the failed attempts to access the safe, that the victim  was killed trying to be the killer, that the victim was the killer's husband, but not that it was self defense, which, oddly, given the details I had gathered, should have been a logical leap. -- I know I've said this before, but I really enjoy the way they "fade" from one scene to the next on this show. -- I don't recall them weaving in a season long arc in the first season of this show (if they did, it was either super subtle or quite forgettable), but I'm not sure how I feel about the one they've played with this season. It's dragging too much, which shouldn't be an issue for a show that is only thirteen episodes long.

**(Turn, S1E6 "Mr Culpeper"I totally fell for the opening scene, thinking Abraham had somehow been caught trying to pass spy messages! Well played, Turn, to have it be just a scenario playing out as Nathaniel Sackett was imagining possible scenarios and their outcomes. -- I love the authority and mystery they've woven into George Washington's "character." -- For as despicable as Major Andre is, I love the way he treats Abigail. He's friendly and kind. -- Hahahaha!Mr Sackett's dismay over the spy ring's failure to use encryption. -- I found the whole bit with Abraham's capture by a lone rebel to be very odd and mildly confusing. I guess I didn't see the point? -- Andre's redressing of Simcoe in front of his peers after he killed the released-POW-turned-spy that Andre hoped to turn into a double spy was very satisfying. -- I'm impressed by Ben Tallmadge and the nerve he had to tell Washington the fault with the chain of spies was a lack of trust. He's right, you can't have success with a mission of that nature without total trust for each of its members.

**(The Last Ship, S1E2 'Welcome to Gitmo"I can't even imagine listening to all those radio transmissions of terrified, dying people and being unable to do anything about it. Heartbreaking, especially when you don't know the fate of your own loved ones. -- Why does it seem like the XO on most of these shows is always the weakest link? -- It was pretty crazy how ghost-town-ish Gitmo looked when the special teams landed to collect fuel, food, and supplies. -- So that's how the Russians knew where the ship was located: Quincey. -- Big fan of the prison guard from Gitmo. I like the rough around the edges, rowdy comic relief he provides. Glad to see he seems to be sticking around.

**(The Last Ship, S1E3 "Dead Reckoning") So, after a lot of posturing between the captains of the two ships, the Nathan James outwits the Russians...for now. But I have to imagine they will be back. I mean, they do have that nuclear-powered ship, a desire for the vaccine, and Quincey's family onboard. -- About the Russians having Quincey's family. Or is it had? Are they still alive? I can see what a terrible position he was in. -- Lt Kara Foster: I can knock the nipples off a chicken from a thousand yards, sir. -- What is the deal with that man in the plastic sheeted room on the Russian ship?! Why does he need a microwave oven? And why did he breathe on that lab mouse??


Saturday, August 2, 2014

This Week on My TV: August 2, 2014

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(Mad Men, S7E5 "The Runaways"Ginsberg is completely cracking up. Convinced that the computer will turn everyone gay. Showing up at Peggy's apartment unannounced, watching her sleep two inches from her face, trying to procreate with her. -- It took me a few minutes to figure out who Stephanie was, but was she really just there to get money and leave? Megan was very gracious and hospitable, but what was that expression on her face as Stephanie walked out of the room to shower? And why did she want to prevent Stephanie from seeing Don? I never figure out Megan's motives. -- OMG, Lou, that was *not* proper handwashing. Gross. -- Don's secretary is quite possibly the biggest airhead ever. -- Betty was vintage Betty. Storming off and feigning a headache because Henry embarrassed her. Being vicious with Sally. -- Sally was mouthy in her exchange with Betty over her broken nose, but it totally made me bust out laughing. -- OMG WHY DID GINSBERG CUT OFF HIS NIPPLE AND PRESENT IT TO PEGGY IN A BOX WHY???? -- Don. Is. Back. BAM!

**(The Bridge, S1E3 "Sorrowsworn") The theme of this show is "So. Freaking. Weird." I probably say this at least four times per episode. It is *way* more disturbing than Dexter *ever* was...and that was a show about a serial killer vigilante! -- The lawyer knows this bizarre drug money woman?? -- Ray: So I say we act like white people and disappear and let our lawyer doing the talking. -- Why does Muttonchops even have lines? Does anyone ever know what he's actually saying??

**(Motive, S2E8 "Angels with Dirty Faces"I cracked up when Angie told Oscar to erase her computer search history if she died. Because that's what best friends do, right? -- I was right! Detective Lucas *is* married. I saw the wedding band. So what's the deal with him and Officer Wendy? And why is everyone encouraging it with their winks and nods? -- Oh, the irony of the victim's mother saying she can't turn off the machines and kill her own her son's murderer. -- I did not see the health twist coming, but I *really* didn't see it coming that the killer was the son the victim's mother gave up for adoption! Well-played, Motive. Well-played. -- What on earth is up with this shooting that is looming in Angie and Cross's past?? They sure are unraveling this story one tiny thread at a time.

**(Unforgettable, S3E1 "New Hundred") So Carrie is doing undercover with counterfeiters now?? -- Jo [to Carrie]: Every time you and Al are in the same room together, *I* need a cold shower. -- ::snort:: The Pomeranian is named Derek Jeter. -- Seriously, Carrie, why *aren't* you and Al (back) together? -- I wonder if Jane Curtin really hurt herself or if it was truly just "part of the story" for Jane's character. -- My second favorite "pair" on this show, after Carrie and Al, is Carrie and Jo. -- Amusing to watch two handsome, virile men posturing for Carrie. It was really getting under Al's skin that Secret Service Agent Frank might have a little interest in Carrie!

**(Motive, S2E9 "Abandoned") So, we're just going to dance around Detective Lucas' failing marriage and the secrets of Angie's past? -- The guy whose abusive mother was killed by the mother of his baby (follow that?) had the bluest eyes ever. -- I figured out the abusive part and the baby given up for adoption part, but how did I miss the connection between the two??

**(Turn, S1E5 "Epiphany"I'm a bit confused by Anna. How did she go from so strong to so weepy? Pull yourself together, woman! -- Ooo! The ring of spies has eyes inside Andre's house now, thanks to Anna's former slave, Abigail, being relocated there! -- Everyone keeps talking about how frigid it is outside. Does Anna have no warmer hats? No shawl capable of being pulled over her heaving bosom? -- OMG with all the making out between Abe and Anna. I can't believe the British soldier living in Abe's house walked in on them! Awkward, even in 1776. -- It worked! The letter to General Washington worked!! You know, it amuses me how excited I am, considering I kind of already know the way this all turns out. -- I love, LOVE, the scenery in this show. -- Total chills at our first meeting with Washington.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: July 2014

A photo of me:

1) Candle scents* this month:
Pink Sands. Sweet Honeysuckle. Bunny Cake. Lavender Vanilla. Honeydew Melon. Island Spa. Orange. Under the Palms.

2) What I am reading this month (you can find me on Goodreads!):
Case Histories (Kate Atkinson) - This book took some crazy, unexpected turns, and its movement through time was a bit disjointed in a few places, but I thoroughly enjoyed the way the stories played out and were woven subtly together. Even better, the characters had tremendous depth, growing more and more complex as the book moved forward. I'll definitely be reading the rest in this series.
Dreams of Joy (Lisa See) - Like the previous book in this series, it took me until about a third of the way in before the pace picked up enough to make me stay up far later than I should, reading. The character development is fantastic, and I enjoy the "history lesson," presented in a way that is both interesting and readable. This story was equal parts heartbreaking, horrifying, and victorious. It was uplifting to see Pearl emerge from the depths of who she had become, after all that befell her and her family in "Shanghai Girls." And Joy's transformation to a headstrong brat to a *strong* young woman, through the path of being broken and rebuilt was well written. I really enjoyed the final two-thirds of this story.
M is for Malice (Sue Grafton) - I'm right about a quarter of the way in, and I'm already finding this one better than the few that came before it, in this series!

3) Movies I saw:
I'm not sure when I last even watched a movie. Maybe I need to re-tool this line item...

4) Calendar image for the month:

There's no indication what the actual location of this image is supposed to be, but it brings me back, immediately, to the time I got to visit Sequoia National Forest. I think those are my favorite sort of calendar images: the ones that bring me back to a great memory of my own.

5) New recipes tried this month:
Blueberry Crumb Cake - Oh my gosh, so yummy! I had some blueberries that were getting just a bit past their prime, which lends itself well to some baking. I may or may not have been eating this for breakfast...while it lasted.
Slow Cooker Ravioli Soup - Super tasty and super easy. (Soup-er?)
T also made a stuffed pork loin, but we need to tweak it just a bit before it's share-worthy.

6) Restaurants where I ate:
Kouzzina (on Disney's Boardwalk).

7) Five things I am loving this month:
1. The Youth Movement on the Red Sox. These kids have been a ton of fun to watch. So much energy and enthusiasm. They're a pleasant compliment to the seasoned veterans. (Compliment? Complement? I am *never* confident I'm using the right one, unless it's the one I pay someone)
2. The full menu for the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Fest was released. And now commences the planning. And drooling.
3. Cherry season.
4. Summer sunsets. The storm clouds create a stunning canvas as they break apart, upon which the sun projects as it slips below the horizon.
5. Knowing we're halfway through the summer. Three months down, three more to go.

8) Three goals I had this month and three goals for next month:
1. I have some filing that needs to get done. I keep moving the pile around, but that's not helping. I need to just bite the bullet. (I squeaked this in, literally, at the eleventh hour. It was still July, though.)
2. Replace the spring flowers in the flower garden. They're looking pretty pathetic, not being designed to thrive in Florida's summer. (Done! With the help of my fabulous husband, because, holy moly, it's too hot for me out there to dig holes.)
3. Going big this time: twenty magazines! (Nineteen. I count this as a win.)
Added bonus: I finally got to Kouzzina (as mentioned above), up at Disney's Boardwalk, one last time before it closes (end of September). It was on my list of goals; I just wasn't sure when it was going to happen.

1. Five blog posts from my stash of drafts.
2. Make another batch of pesto.
3. More magazines. I have a vacation coming up though, so scaling back to fifteen.

9) The best part of this month and the worst part of this month:
The best: Homegrown pineapple. Elaboration unnecessary.

The worst: The argument I had with a woman named Ann/Anne. She works in the parking division of the university I attended and we were at odds over the parking violation for which I was being billed. The parking violation from April of this year. Some pertinent history: I have not been on that campus since 1997. I have not lived in the state of Connecticut since 2002. I have not been *in* the state of Connecticut since 2012. I have not legally had my maiden name since January 2013. I have never been in a tan Toyota Camry, much less owned one. She claimed I paid another parking violation in October 2013. I told her I most certainly had not. She claimed she had a check, drawn from my bank, with my signature on it, proving otherwise. I replied that she had a check, with *a* signature on it, proving nothing, because she does not know which bank I use or what my signature looks like. I had to call in the "big dog" to make this one go away. Turns out? There's another woman in Connecticut who has what my maiden name was. The ticket belonged to her son, who attends the university. So there, ANN/ANNE. Thanks for making me crazy for a whole day. All she had to do was run a search on my maiden name, LIKE I REQUESTED, to see if, perhaps, there were two of us, and that maybe she had an active connection with the school. Answer: there were and she does. So there. (It was a tough call between this and the Jon Lester trade the Red Sox made with Oakland, if we're being honest.)

10) A photo I took this month:

*All scents are Yankee Candle, unless otherwise noted.


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