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.

5 with their own thoughts:

*krystyn* Friday, August 15, 2014 11:40:00 AM  

I think Ann/Anne may have some bad karma coming her way. She sounds like a piece of work. Ugh! Sorry you had to deal with that. Glad it's over.

~**Dawn**~ Friday, August 15, 2014 11:59:00 AM  

She was so uncooperative and stubborn, Krystyn! I hate when people frustrate me to the point of getting snappish. Polite was getting nowhere with her though, and I'll be darned if I was paying a $25 fee I didn't earn, just to keep it off my credit report!

plclemo Friday, August 15, 2014 2:23:00 PM  

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for having it "out there".

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane Tuesday, August 19, 2014 9:44:00 AM  

Love these "roundup" posts! I need to try that ravioli soup in the crockpot, need to mark that one. Still jealous of your homegrown pineapples, and I'm wondering, since you said you were wanting to make pesto, is your basil still thriving? Mine is so pitiful, nearly dead. Too much heat and sun, I think. :)

~**Dawn**~ Tuesday, August 19, 2014 10:29:00 AM  

Stacy: Well, first, I had to battle hungry critters (big fat ugly caterpillars) for this batch of basil. (It was a fresh planting from the end of June.) I had to bring it into the garage every evening at twilight and then back out in the morning before work. I've also started crumbling up my eggshells and leaving them on the surface of the soil, because I was finding snails on there too and I read somewhere that they don't like to crawl over sharp jagged surfaces. I also moved them to a spot that is getting about half the sun they were before and I am diligently pruning them. They seem relatively happy at the moment!

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