Thursday, July 31, 2014

What I Learned in July: 2014

1. Many people seem to get more cynical with age, but I find myself becoming less and less so. It has nothing to do with seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. I am firmly in touch with reality. I also firmly believe that we choose our attitude and color our lives with that choice. I seek good. I find joy. I embrace gratitude. It troubles me when I see what should be something happy or funny or joyous being mocked by the jaded cynics of social media. I won't allow it to drag me down though. I'll maintain my cheerfulness...and I will shed the bitter, the jaded, and the destructive attitudes, one cynic at a time, when they become too toxic.

2. My homemade tartar sauce was missing two key ingredients: a splash of pickle juice and some fresh dill. *So* tasty!

3. Summer colds don't just feel worse than winter colds, they actually *are* worse! As I was perusing one of my magazines (darned if I remember which now), I read that summer colds are actually more intense than winter colds. They're caused by a different variation of the cold virus that survives better in summer weather, and this particular mutation has more intense symptoms!

4. Names and faces of some of our neighbors. We've been living in our house now for right around two and a half years, and we knew the names of just a handful of houses directly surrounding ours. One of the other families in the neighborhood organized a little neighborhood meet-and-greet, among some other ideas for promoting "good community." It's nice to actually be able to put houses and faces together, and give them names!

5. My hot button complaints. Traffic. Weather. Inconsiderate behavior. Poor communication. Political ads.

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, July 26, 2014

This Week on My TV: July 26, 2014

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

**(Turn, S1E3 "Of Cabbages and Kings"Simcoe. Most punchable face in the Revolutionary War? -- Anna: You'd be surprised what spills out of a soldier's mouth when I lower the price of ale. -- Nice. Abraham's father is selling off Anna's produce without her knowledge. His father is a real piece of work. -- Abraham's wife is clearly unhappy to learn he's been spending time at Anna's tavern. I figured it would mean he would be coming home to a furious wife. I never suspected Mary would go to Anna and tell her that she would turn her head to the affair she thinks they're having, as long as it's kept a secret so it doesn't ruin his name or hers, because he's a good man for honoring his family's promise that Mary would wed his deceased brother. I like Mary. -- Clever boy, Abraham! Get the Hessians to divulge information without realizing it by peddling your cabbages! -- General Scott is not a nice man.

**(Murder in the FirstS1E1 "Pilot") Blonde female lead sure was being aggressive with her toothbrushing, especially with an electric toothbrush. And do they even make pump-style toothpaste still? -- There are quite a few faces on this show that I recognize but can't place. -- I have such a difficult time seeing these rundown tenements and believing people actually live in these conditions. It's not that I think it's impossible. I just live such a comfortable, sheltered life. Charmed, even. -- Erich Blunt is clearly a jerk. Also, how do you fire a flight attendant mid-flight and tell her to get out of your sight? Where exactly is she supposed to go? -- Dead biological father. Dead employee/lover. Not looking good for Erich at the moment. -- Consensus: It's dark and a little jumbled. But I'm intrigued.

**(The BridgeS2E2 "Ghost of a Flea"This is, hands down, one of the weirdest and creepiest shows I have ever watched. What is the deal with that tattooed woman? Why was she groping that teenage boy? What was she thinking when she was staring at his sleeping younger brother? When the taxidermist called her peculiar, that was the perfect word to describe her. -- OMG, that human body the taxidermist had! Related: I have to admit, I never thought how taxidermy worked, exactly. Who grows up wanting to do this for a living?! -- I think Daniel Frye forgot he was still talking to a dude when he got himself punched. His reaction when the guy got into the backseat with him was hilarious though. -- Sadly, I saw that boy's demise coming from the first scene of the episode.

**(RecklessS1E1 "Pilot"As I was trying to place the location of this show, the palm trees really threw me for a loop. I never would have guessed Charleston! I like that it isn't the same old, same old. And all that sultry heat and secrets around every corner make it the basis for the perfect steamy summer soap. -- There are a lot of interesting interactions in this show. Between those two cops. Between those two lawyers. -- Three characters I recognize from other shows! Henrietta Bishop from Fringe is the disgraced female cop, Paul Kinsey from Mad Men playing the Deputy Chief, and Delko from CSI: Miami is a police officer. -- Roy: You know, the gentleman thing with me...that's not an act. ... ::fans self:: -- They picked the perfect guy to pull off the douchebag cop, Terry.He just looks like that kind of guy. -- OMG that last scene, when Roy was watching the cut footage, on the flash drive he received in the mail. Cruz?!

**(The Last ShipS1E1 "Phase Six"There something undeniably impressive about a big military ship. Big points for this show's visual effects. -- The suspense obviously doesn't lie with the health dangers, because they are known: some pandemic level virus and radiation. It's wondering who else is still alive, where they're coming from, and what their plans for you might be. -- Things Eric Dane does well: anger, brooding, acting indignant. -- The XO is clearly going to be trouble. -- That final scene sure dropped a bomb (not literally) (this time, anyway). Dr Rachel's assistant (whose name I haven't retained yet) is working with the Russians??

**(TurnS1E4 "Eternity How Long"I wish I could get a handle on the names of all the characters on this show. There are so many of them. -- As soon as Abraham confided in Mary and asked for her promise not to tell, I knew she would. I just can't figure out if that was his plan all along or not. -- That little braid on the British officer who is working with the prostitute-turned-spy (John Andre! Finally another character with a name!), anyway, that little braid drives me crazy. -- Richard is not a nice man. (I feel like I make this sort of statement a lot with this show. Classified: not nice or I like.) He treats Abe like he's second rate. -- I wonder if we will ever meet General Washington... He sure does have a lot of intelligence to read! -- I'm thinking that when Abe suggested to Richard that the British don't want to risk losing Setauket, Richard's decision to volunteer the grave of his beloved son in service to God and the king wasn't exactly what Abe had in mind.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Broken Road Confessionals: July 25, 2014

**I got engaged and found myself planning a wedding at a weird stage in my life: I had no peers. Everyone I am friends with was either a) already married, b) in the middle of a divorce, or c) struggling with feeling perpetually single. Which boils down to a) more interested in the conceiving, bearing, and/or raising of offspring, b) decidedly disinterested in anything mushy, romantic, lovey, or sparkly, *especially* weddings, or c) wondering if they really *were* going to find themselves alone forever. I like to think I'm a compassionate person. Group A was consumed with the *next* "stage of life" and all that wedding stuff was behind them and they just really would rather have a baby, or sleep, because the baby has kept them awake for three straight days -- understandably so. Group B was navigating uncomfortable and painful seas, dark and stormy, and just about the worst thing to see when your heart is damaged and hurting is some girl, over-the-top blissful and gazing frivolously at the shiny new ring on her hand, twisting it this way and that, making it glitter. And Group C I had an particularly soft spot for in my heart, because I knew those feelings all too well, and I was ever vigilant of not rubbing salt in the wounds. All that to say that having a great friend who is newly engaged herself has allowed me to release the pause button, so to speak, and squeal with all the delight of the newly engaged. And now I am caught in the strange limbo of having the conversations of the newly engaged while concluding the latter part of what could be considered newlywed-dom. I don't think I ever fit into a category properly -- I do things half out of order and at all the "less than typical" times -- but I am having a ton of fun acting girly and squealing, so don't mind me.

**There's a not-so-fine line between what I can and can't say to the non-customer, non-vendor type people who call into my place of employment. Some of it falls under what is and is not professional. The rest of it is just plian being polite. So I say what is appropriate and then, after I hang up, I say what I'm really thinking. It's cathartic. Or possibly it "releases the steam" so that I don't lose my filter and say these things to the actual caller. Whichever. Point being, I can often be found snarkily (snarkilly? snarkally? I don't know) speaking in the general direction of the hung-up phone. I probably *look* crazy, but I believe this behavior is actually protecting my sanity.

**Observation: Social media certainly appears to provide a platform for some seemingly grown adults (wait...redundancy? oh well...) to act like emo tweenagers. It's not that I don't appreciate that life isn't perfect, it doesn't look like Pinterest, it isn't all puppies and puffy white clouds. But, more and more, I find I have decreasing tolerance for those who wallow and collect pity -- both from self and external sources -- and are "woe is me" day in and day out. What I appreciate are those who embrace their reality, whether it's an amazing family vacation or a messy house and a screaming baby, with a sense of gratitude and perspective. Nothing, this side of heaven, will be exactly as we want, when we want it, on the terms we wish. We can either look at life, even through the lens of reality, and see all that is good or all that is lacking. But adults acting like angsty adolescents? Time to get over yourselves. Life's not perfect. Time to do the work with what you have.

**My brother gets into some seriously deep philosophical and theological discussions on his Facebook page. Now, I don't think I'm by any means unintelligent, but I'm usually lost about three sentences in. I always wander away feeling a combination of dazed and dense.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just Fine

I like to think that when I deal with a challenge in life, if nothing else, the silver lining is the opportunity for a lesson learned, something to make me better going forward. Along that same line of thought, I read, once, somewhere, something to the effect of "the Universe keeps giving you the same lesson until you learn it."

In the wake of a friendship cast aside, against my wishes, but out of my control, I worked my way through the bewilderment, the hurt, the...I hesitate to say anger, because I wasn't, not really, but I was firm and direct in defense of my raw feelings. And then I reached the part where, instead of over-thinking, I was productively thinking, sort of in that way one inspects the scab on a healing injury. I was sure there was a lesson in here, waiting to be discovered, but it proved a tough nut to find, much less crack.

I won't say I gave up and stopped thinking about it completely, but I moved it to the back burner to simmer.

Some time had passed, and as I was sifting through my draft folder one day, I noticed I had recorded several quotes that had tugged at my subconscious, though I didn't see the way they fit together until that moment. It was as if a fog lifted on the lesson at hand...and not the one I was expecting.

Five years ago I would have told her we were “just fine.”
But I’ve learned since then that “just fine” can sometimes be a self-inflicted wound.
“Just fine” is the end of the conversation and a missed opportunity.
“Just fine” leaves me boxed in with all my doubt and insecurity.
“Just fine” is deeply lonely. (Lisa Jo Baker)
I didn't really get the impact of his words, but I said "I appreciate them, and I know they want to help. I think that's very fine and everything but--"
"But nothing! You're cheating them out of an opportunity to express their love to you." (excerpt from 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey)
But new life is only possible when the old life dies. ... Mourning precedes morning; death comes before the dream. We long for the magic, the freedom, the glory and the joy. But are we willing to embrace the death that must come first? (Chatting at the Sky)

At first glance, their relation is not obvious. At least, it wasn't to me. For the longest time, if you'd asked me -- assuming I would have told you, but we'll get to that -- I would have told you that my hurt was born of someone fearful I would judge them, so instead they, pre-emptively, assumed my judgment and cut me off, effectively judging me instead. And, in part, that's true. I was never even given the opportunity to act for myself, and if you've ever been in that position, you'll know it stings. But the reality is, what hurt me most was being shut out, disregarded, outright ignored, when my concern was genuine and expressed.

The ego is quick to say "I never..."

But as I read those quotes again, as collective and not individuals, I felt a whisper. It was, perhaps, not happenstance that they were presented to me, that they stirred something inside my heart, but pieces of the lesson I was searching for and failing to recognize.

Guilty as charged.

No, not for judging, because I hadn't and I wouldn't have. However, circling back, I mentioned earlier "assuming I would have told you." I keep my cards close to my vest. When I'm troubled, I internalize. I'm not an open book to most (the exception is singular, if I'm being honest). I'm not much of a whiner or a complainer. My soft heart has a tough outer shell, and you won't catch me spilling out all my innermost thoughts across social media. If you ask me how I am, I'm quick to smile and say I'm fine, which is the socially expected answer with casual acquaintances, certainly, but for those who have invested in me? Who care about me?

It isn't that I don't feel. It isn't that I'm never "not fine." But I've gotten so efficient at self-mending that I never considered I was denying those closest to me the opportunity to love me. What a startling realization. It was a perspective I'd never once considered. Allowing those who care about us to care *for* us is the cement that fortifies the foundation of the relationship. We spackle the cracks with concern and provide a layer of protection and strength that lasts far beyond that moment of caring.

As they say: well, I'll be a monkey's uncle.

Sometimes, this life is anything but fine. I was not "fine" earlier this year. I was sad and I was hurt and I was confused. No matter how many times I said I was fine, there was a spot in my heart that was heavy. But I breezily pronounced myself fine when asked, marching on, divulging almost nothing. Silly me, foolish girl, when those who know me best paused in their busy lives to ask me, not politely, but with genuine caring: How are you? Are you ok?

The vast majority of the time I truly am fine. I don't dwell. I don't wallow, either online or in the flesh, and that is a part of who I am that I like, that I have no desire to change. But when I'm *not* fine? When this imperfect world brings heartache or disappointment or heaviness? The instinctual reaction I have now needs to be shed, cast aside, be "the old life that dies" to make room for the new. I know the joy I feel when I care for those I love, when I listen, when I encourage, when I provide support or empathy or compassion. I'll not deprive those same people of an honest answer when they ask how I am, because I've seen firsthand, now, how that unravels the bonds we have. I look at those for whom I care and I don't ever want to cause them that kind of unnecessary sadness, when one of life's greatest joys is to lighten the loads of those we love. I want them to know that when I say I'm fine that they can rest easy, knowing that if I were not, when it comes to the things that really matter, I'd give them the chance to lift me back up. The way I jump when I'm given that chance.

And that? Is just fine, indeed.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

This Week on My TV: July 19, 2014

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

**(The Bridge, S2E1 "Yankee"That was quite a lot of blood in that opening scene. Possibly more than Dexter levels of blood. There is also something very dark and sinister about Flagman. -- As if Sonya isn't awkward enough on her own, her exchanges with her sister's murderer's brother were awkward to the extreme. And that was before she booty called him. -- I don't know who the "accountant" chick is that is associated with the bathroom full of money, but based on her meeting with the banker, I'm guessing you do not mess with her. She is *way* scarier than her thug. -- What a crazy, all over the place episode. I can't figure out if the first scene was the start of something yet to be explained, or if it is the final scene being answered by the rest through flashbacks.

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E21 "Snow Drifts"Nice nod to Disney in Emma's flashback with the stuffed Mickey. -- Emma [to David and Mary Margaret about the naming ceremony of the new prince]: You're not going to hold him out in front of the clock tower like Lion King, are you? -- I like this softer side of Regina. I'm worried we won't get it for long. -- I have to admit, I'm pretty mad at Rumple's betrayal of Belle's trust. -- Hook [to Emma, who is complaining about the corset she has to wear to disguise herself while they are in Fairy Tale]: Your discomfort is a cross I am willing to bear. -- That is a lot of pressure on Emma and Hook to not change the past after they get sucked into Zelena's time travel portal back to the time when her parents were supposed to meet. -- Haaaaaa! Hook is jealous of himself because Emma is going to flirt with his past self.

**(Motive, S2E7 "Pitfall") I was convinced the paramedic killed the skydiver to avenge the little boy he couldn't really save after being hit by a car. I totally fell for the "he was in a car accident and that's how they found his lung cancer" red herring. I didn't suspect mercy killing until just before it was revealed, even though they tipped their hand with the widow saying "the insurance policy covers us, no matter what." I did see the paramedic's suicide attempt coming though.

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E22 "There's No Place Like Home"Wow, Hook has it *bad* for Emma. I suspect when he called her "his princess" that he wasn't just playing the part from the ball. -- I love the animosity and disdain Snow has for Charming, in the past. Such a far (and amusing) cry from their True Love state. -- The irony of the conversation between Charming and Hook about Hook being good enough for Emma made me laugh right out loud. -- Who is that princess (I assume?) that Emma rescued from prison and execution by Regina?! Are we supposed to recognize her? -- Awww. Nicely done, naming the baby after Neal. -- Emma: You outran a curse? Hook: I'm a helluva captain. -- Oh holy moly. I love Regina and Robin together, but Hook gave up the Jolly Roger for Emma? I swoon a thousand times. -- The woman Emma rescued was Marian?? Oh nooooo. Oh, poor Regina.

**(Reign, S1E22 "Slaughter of Innocence"Oh for heaven's sake. Henry seriously plans to off Francis, his own son, and take Mary as his wife? Creep! -- Maybe I'm getting old, but I want to smack Greer for even hesitating about her engagement to Lord Castelroy, who adores her. Leith is a nice idea, Greer, but Lord Castleroy will give you happiness, despite Leith's guilt trip. We don't guilt those we truly love. -- Who *is* that person Henry keeps "seeing" in his madness? -- Soldier [about the dead men from Henry's botched mock naval battle where he replaced fireworks with gunpowder in the cannons]: There will be twice as many tomorrow when they do it again. Francis: That's impossible. No one would do this again. Soldier: I'm begging your pardon, but you would think no one would do it the first time, wouldn't you? -- Catherine: I miss the girl you were. Mary: Many will. She was easier to kill.  -- I did *not* expect it to be Francis who took out off the helmet after jousting with Henry and mortally wounding him. I didn't think he had it in him. -- *What* is the deal with The Darkness and Pascal?? -- Ohhhh... The vision is Henry's older brother, Francis, the king of France before him, whom he killed to gain control of the throne. And with that, Henry is gone. -- Oh man. Lord Castleroy has a daughter Greer's age?? -- Oof. What a difficult ending. The Plague has returned and Mary has to watch Francis risk it to rush to Lola's side as she struggles to birth their lovechild, while she has yet to conceive. And on his way out, he jabs Mary with "perhaps his only child." Francis thinks he is acting nobly and compassionately, but he is often so cruel to Mary.

**(Mad Men, S7E4 "The Monolith") Roger Sterling: Well, we're getting a computer. It's going to do lots of magical things, like make Harry Crane seem important. -- Pete, calling Peggy "a woman or whatever she is," is pretty low. He thought she was woman enough for him to conceive a child with her, or has he forgotten that? -- Peggy wore an orange, black (navy?), and white outfit that I really liked. -- It must be weird for Don, being in Lane's office and answering to Peggy. I noticed he took Lane's Mets pennant that he found under the air conditioning unit out of the trash and put it up on the wall...tribute to Lane? -- I have to wonder how that typewriter bounced off the window instead of going through it, when Don threw it? -- Llyod, the computer guy: Sorry to bother you. Have a light? Mine crapped out on me. Don: Perils of technology. It's 1969 and you're unable to make fire. -- Don: So why am I even here? I could have gone anywhere. Cooper: Why *are* you here? Don: Because I started this agency! Cooper: Along with a dead man, whose office you now inhabit. ... That was a vicious jab by Cooper. Quite the verbal imagery. -- It sure didn't take Don's humble acquiescence to SCP's terms for his return long to unravel. -- I would not have been cut out for the early 70s with all that commune nonsense. -- I'm not sure whose "pep talk" made me want to cheer more: Freddy Rumsen telling Don to stop throwing his last chance away in the bottom of a bottle of booze, do the work, and climb back to the top, or Roger telling Margaret/Marigold that she doesn't get to run off and play at the expense of her son, no matter how tempting it is.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

This Week on My TV: July 12, 2014

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

**(Dallas, S3E7 "Like a Bad Penny") There are three types of scenes on tv that make me exceedingly uncomfortable. Hangings, people suffering from Alzheimer's, and mental institutions. Sue Ellen looked about as uncomfortable as I felt watching her in that institution. -- John Ross: I'm cute. But I'm not *that* cute. ... Nope, you're not. Now, Christopher, on the other hand... -- I cannot believe that is the same actor playing Drew. Has he been drowning his sorrows in cheesecake while he's been in hiding?! -- The scar between Pamela's eyebrows is so distracting. Every time they do a closeup on her, that's immediately what my eyes focus on. -- I'm not sure how Emma can be both so smart and so stupid. -- I gag a little every time they replay "now go home and kiss your wife." -- Nicolas: They're Mexican businessmen. Hunter McKay: With guns!! Nicolas: They hardly ever use them.

**(Dallas, S3E8 "Where There's Smoke"Now that Pamela has received the "go home and kiss your wife" text, can we be done with it? -- Awww. Christopher shaved. I was loving his facial hair. Except he missed a spot. Ugh, soul patch. -- Harris [to Judith]: Did the little Dalmations get loose? ... ::snort:: -- I'm a big fan of how they've changed John Ross's wardrobe to reflect JR. Less dress-down and more three-piece suits! -- Pamela without makeup looks very vulnerable. It's misleading when she opens her mouth and the harshest of words come out, directed at Sue Ellen. -- Bobby's right. When *will* Ann learn to tell the truth? -- I went from shocked by Pamela's request to join them when she walked in on Emma and John Ross, to falling on the ground laughing at the look on John Ross's face. Somewhere between uncomfortable and suspicious and disbelieving. --What. Just. Happened. South Fork up in flames, with Sue Ellen passed out drunk inside. Nicolas sabotaging Elena's birth control. Pamela unconscious after taking pills. Cliffhanger!

**(Once Upon a Time, S3E20 "Kansas") I'm a big fan of the way they've made Oz look. I even enjoyed the creative license they took with the original story. -- Emma [to David, when he wants Hook to go with her for the confrontation with Zelena]: What is *he* going to do? I have magic. He has ONE HAND. -- Hook: What does the boy think? Emma: He's a kid. He wants chocolate milk in his cereal. -- Emma [to Zelena]: Next time you try to take my power away, try enchanting the lips of a man I actually want to kiss. -- Ahh!! The three non-Zelena witches of Oz represent love, wisdom, and courage!! Nicely woven. -- It's a boy! But no name?! -- Regina with the light magic. BAM. ... Zelena: So now you're a hero? Regina: Today I am. ... The look on Regina's face was marvelous. -- That was such a touching but twisted proposal Rumplestiltskin made to Belle with The Dagger...until he revealed he tricked her by giving "it" back to her as a fake and keeping the real one so he could kill Zelena. So much for the trust you were giving Belle in return for hers, Rumple! -- killing Zelena, somehow she was able to return to her pendant and re-open that time travel portal? How does *that* work?


Friday, July 11, 2014

Things I'm Looking Forward To: July 11, 2014

“It has been said that we need just three things in life: Something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to love.” (Maya Angelou may or may not have said this. The Internets are conflicting.)

The weekend. Self-explanatory.

Cherries for dessert tonight. We have a "rule" in our house that we can't end on a cherry that isn't delicious.

Seeing how my current book ends. I'm completely sucked in.

A hair appointment tomorrow. Tame back some of this hair and refresh the highlights!

Dinner at Kouzzina on Monday. Enjoy it one last time before it closes forever.

Four day work week again, next week. Taking a paid day off Friday to build a little three-day weekend for myself.

The second "half" of the 2014 baseball season. Curious what these rookies can do!

Vacation. Three weeks, five days. Ready for a rest. Need a break from humidity. Excited to see friends.
EPCOT Food and Wine Fest 2014. I don't know what I would do without the new addition of food booths to Flower and Garden Fest, because September 19 cannot get here soon enough!

The new season of The Blacklist. I cannot remember the last time I anticipated the return of a television show this much!

Florida not-summer. Are we there yet?


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Currently: July 10, 2014

This week at the Broken Road house...

Watching... the Red Sox, despite their epic struggles this season. I just can't quit them. I also have some shows languishing on the DVR. A couple episodes of Dallas from the first half of this season. The finale three episodes of this season's Once Upon a Time. The season finale of Reign. Most of the Mad Men episodes from the final season's first half (I'm watching slowly and savoring). And most of the first season of TURN. I guess that's all more like *not* watching (or "should be" watching). I better get to it soon. The summer shows are in full swing, and before we know it, it will be the start of the new television season again.

Wearing... my Sox Addict t-shirt and some comfy capri pants.

Eating... spaghetti and meatballs. We're down to the last three packages from big batch I made and froze. I'll need to be making more soon. It's really so much easier to do a whole bunch at one time, and have a stash ready to go in the freezer.

Wishing... nature would stop conspiring against my poor basil. Specifically, hungry caterpillars. They must find those tender leaves very tempting. I just planted this batch and a very hungry caterpillar has one of them stripped down to only two remaining leaves. Long story short, I discovered him...and he is no more. (I maybe looked a little psycho in the driveway when I found him. And that's all I have to say about that.)

Feeling... grateful. Overwhelmingly so. This is typical for me. I get so bowled over by how good -- really, really *good* -- my life is. I hope never lose this quality. I don't think one can ever be to aware of their blessings.

Missing... people I care about, people I once thought I knew (I guess I just miss who I thought they were?), people who are long departed from this world. I miss a lot of people, all the time, I guess, in one form or another. Sometimes I miss T when he's just in the next room. When I love, I love fiercely. It's a lot of emotion. It makes me miss people easily.

Craving... cooler weather, a vanilla milkshake, some time at Disney World, snuggling a tiny baby, and San Francisco.

Wondering... if the Youth Movement on the Red Sox will prove out as interesting as it's been the past two games.

Dreaming... of rolling hills, old red barns, even older stone walls, tiger lilies, and winding country roads. They're like comfort food for my eyes. The landscape here is so very different than what I knew, growing up. It's not that it's less beautiful. It just doesn't have the deep-seated familiarity to it.

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


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Broken Road Confessionals: July 9, 2014

**I am a firm believer in "to each their own." I love baseball, but loathe basketball, for example. To me, basketball is merely two hours of squeaky sneakers. I'll pass. (Heh.) Likewise, I suppose I could see how baseball could seem like a lot of standing around and spitting and very little action, if you don't understand the game. Whatever. You watch your sport, I'll watch mine. But those little Smart Cars? Aside from the fact that they look freakishly unsafe, I just cannot take you seriously when you're driving around in something that looks like a cartoon mated with a golf cart.

**I read a blog post where the author found not one but two scorpions in her house. She included photographic evidence. I thought spiders and "palmetto bugs" were terror-inducing. Well, I am here to inform you that if I ever discover a scorpion? I quit.

**I hate trying to sleep when I'm too warm (especially my feet -- too warm feet will wake me right up and I will be twelve different kinds of cranky), so when I am on my way to bed, I knock the thermostat back one degree. Of course, it gets cooler as the night wears on, and usually in the wee hours of morning, wearing my summer jammies and sleeping under just a light sheet, I get a little chilly. The other morning, I groped around groggily for the blanket (which gets folded back with the comforter every night), and, as I pulled it up, it caught on something. I lost my grip and managed to punch myself right in the face. I opted to go back to sleep instead of checking, but when I got up, I was a little worried I would have to explain a black eye. (Just a slightly swollen eyelid. Whew.) They should have named me Grace.

**I always cringe a little when I'm waiting in a longer line at the grocery store and I'm right next to the express lane. I actually try to pick lanes that aren't adjacent, but sometimes it can't be avoided and I am at the mercy of the head cashier that chooses which lanes will be open. There's no one in the express lane and, as they do at Publix, the cashiers hang out at the entrance to their lane, waiting for their next customer. Inevitably, despite my every effort to avoid eye contact, they will wave me into their lane with my cart full of far more than ten items. Reluctantly, I back out of my lane and start unloading my shopping spoils...and then someone with a loaf of bread and a six-pack of Pepsi walks up behind me. They look at all my groceries, glaring, and then bore holes into the back of my head, because "look at the self-important woman who thinks she's too good to wait in the regular line and clearly can't count, because that's easily three times the ten item limit." I know the cashier thinks they're being helpful, but I wither under that kind of judgment.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

This Week on My TV: July 5, 2014

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

**(Elementary, S2E24 "The Grand Experiment") "A game of cat-and-mouse is afoot." I'm not sure anyone without a British accent could pull off that line. -- With Mycroft "dead" and permanently in hiding, Joan moving out, and Sherlock accepting an offer to work for MI-6, I am very curious to see where next season will take this show.

**(Grey's Anatomy, S10E24 "Fear (of the Unknown)") If anything is an omen of crisis on this show, it's a weather report proclaiming that it will be a great day, in the first scene of the show. -- I still can't wrap my head around Mer and Der leaving for Washington DC. (Apparently, neither could Mer.) --  I kinda love grown-up Mer. ... Mer [to investigator]: You're the boss out there. I'm the boss in here. Get out of my way. -- I keep feeling like I know the new head of cardio, Maggie Pearce, but I searched the actress, Kelly McCreary, and the only thing she's been on that I watch(ed) is Scandal, and I can't even remember her character. I wonder if she's sticking around. -- Cristina gave Alex quite a compliment: You'll never be as good as me, but you're very, very good. -- Catherine Avery: There's always going to be stupid people. There's always going to be accidents. But that's what defeats you. It's the fear. -- I loved, *loved*, the scene in the supply room where Catherine gently pep-talked April. It was such a departure from her usual brisk, hard-edged personality, to see her being nurturing. -- I totally, unashamedly, cried when Cristina told Mer she didn't know how to say goodbye and leave, that she needed Mer to help her. And again when Mer shoved her in a cab for the airport with an "I love you." -- I approve of the way they're writing Shane off the show, going with Cristina, taking charge of his education and choosing to go with his teacher. I really wonder about Murphy, though, just walking out the door. -- Cristina telling Mer "you make me brave" killed me. Because I get that. My people make me brave. -- Cristina: You are a gifted surgeon with an extraodrinary mind. Don't let what he wants eclipse what you need. He's very dreamy, but he's not the sun. *You* are. -- And there's the answer to Callie and Arizona's family expansion problem: they're going to use a surrogate. -- I honestly love this: That's how the world changes, good people raising their baby right. -- We never did find out what was causing the hearts of all the kids in that family to fail...did we? -- Wait. Weber is recommending Bailey for Cristina's board seat, but she left her shares with Alex? -- Cristina [monologue voiceover]: Whenever we think we know the future, even for a second, it changes. Sometimes, thefuture changes and completely, and we're left only with the choice of what to do next. We can choose to be afraid of it, to stand there, trembling, not moving, assuming the worst that canhappen. Or we step forward, into the unknown and assume it will be brilliant. -- Oh. My. Holy. Heck. MAGGIE PEARCE WAS GIVEN UP FOR ADOPTION BY ELLIS GREY. WEBER AND ELLIS HAD A BABY?! -- Loved the closure for Cristina. Loved it. Best send off for a character this show has ever done.

**(Motive, S2E6 "Bad Blonde"It's girls like this killer, Heather, that give male-female friendships a bad name. Calling Gordon at 4am, waking up him and his wife, because she murdered her boyfriend. Making him help her with the body, using his car. Looking up how to dispose of a dead body using Gordon's phone. Leaving Gordon with the responsibility of dismembering the body. And then implicating him with the murder she committed?! With friends like that? Well, you know the rest. -- I am endlessly amused that every tv show's social media platform is called My Face. -- At one point, the killer said all she knew about killing someone was what she'd seen on tv, but then shouldn't she have known to look under the car to see the trail of blood they were leaving everywhere they drove? And that they would be able to tell she scrubbed her apartment with bleach? And that they can tell if you go to a hardware store to by plastic sheeting and duct tape, especially when you use your credit card? -- Angie: Time of death? Betty: Somewhere between there's nothing you could have done and don't beat yourself up about it. -- Once again, I didn't see the twist coming. Just as I was feeling bad for Gordon that Heather stuck him to take the blame for the murder she committed, it turns out he faked the My Face page with the photos of the victim and his ex to make her jealous enough to dump Jake, because he was in love with her. He just didn't plan on her killing Jake. Just desserts, I guess. Moral of the story: be very careful when you play games.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Currently: July 3, 2014

This week at the Broken Road house...
(I skipped last week, because the prompts left me uninspired. I felt the same about this week's, but instead of skipping it again, I went with a similar prompt I had buried in my draft folder instead!)

Cooking... Almost not at all this week. Nearly everything on the menu was something T usually cooks. I was on clean-up duty. I'll be making the coleslaw to go with our Fourth of July burgers though!

Drinking... So much water. It's hot. In other news, it seems I am nothing but a broken record.

Reading... last month's issue of Food Network Magazine (the new one arrived, so the old one must go into recycling), finished "Murder in the Smithsonian" (Margaret Truman) and started "Case Histories" (Kate Atkinson).

Wanting... some rain to fall on my sad plants. The tropical storm that sat off the east coast of Florida all week sucked up our afternoon storms. Arthur is greedy!

Looking... forward to the holiday weekend. That long stretch without holidays between New Year and Memorial Day is rough. I like when they come every other month!

Playing... silly games on my iPad. (HayDay and Township and Disney Hidden Pictures.)

Wasting... as little as possible. Waste bothers me!

Wishing... I could hug my friend, G! (And jump around and squeal, because I'm so ridiculously happy for her.) Opposite coasts really stink, sometimes.

Enjoying... fresh cherries this week. I have been waiting for them to come into season.

Waiting... to do anymore spending until my vacation next month.

Loving... the random phone call from Heather this past week. It was good to catch up.

Smelling... like Black Raspberry Vanilla lotion. It is officially my scent of Summer 2014.

Feeling... inconsistent inside my own head. (Whoa, that's vague. Sorry.)

Giggling... at videos of baby goats. They have a lot of personality!

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


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: June 2014

A photo of me:

1) Candle scents* this month:
Vanilla Cupcake. Ocean Blossom. Tulips. Fresh Mint. Pink Lady Slipper. Spring Day. Pink Sands. Lilac Blossoms. Beach Wood. Blue Hydrangea.

2) What I am reading this month (you can find me on Goodreads!):
Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert) - I finished this book in the same place I started it: wondering whether I would fall into the "loved it" camp or with those who couldn't stand it. Setting aside that the author and I differ in our religious beliefs -- because whether or not I agree with someone on any topic, I can still find reading and learning about it interesting, if it's presented in an interesting manner -- there were some really beautiful and profound statements made in this book, but there were some other statements and behaviors and choices that felt deeply selfish in a not-so-nice way. There was a sense of...lack of ownership. Sure, she beat herself up over her failures, but then she decided to simply dismiss them, or so it came across. I do believe that we need to do this self-shaming and then acceptance and moving on, in order to be healthy, but I think we also have to show that we *learned* from it, to be a better person, to try hard not to repeat that which brought us shame and pain. I'm not sure I ever got that feeling from her, though, and that bothers me. So, I came full circle since picking up this book. It was interesting, but I didn't feel like I especially liked her enough to wish we'd be friends, in part because I really wished I could smack her half the time I was reading. For someone who supposedly ended up so grounded, she sure felt like she always stayed flighty and uncommitted to anything, really. And I think there are times when we need to make a stand for *something*, not just say "for right now, while it suits me..." about *everything*.
Toxic Bachelors (Danielle Steel) - I have to admit, I like her older stuff better. I feel as though she spends a lot of time either repeating herself or with incomplete thoughts and character development. This wasn't unreadable, nor were the characters unlikable, I just didn't feel pulled in like I did with her stories from the 90s. I also wonder why none of her characters is ever average or even just really good at something, instead of always be the best of this or the most talented that. It makes it difficult to love any one character when they come off as perfect.
Murder in the Smithsonian (Margaret Truman) - About a third of the way through this one and it's creeping me out!

3) Movies I saw:
When did I last watch a movie??

4) Calendar image for the month:

I feel like I can feel the smallest breeze gentle on the tree branches. The quiet slap-pat of the oars pushing the rowboat across the pond. The whir of katydids. The rapid fire whistle of air as the crane picks up speed after takeoff.

5) New recipes tried this month:
I guess we were too hot for new recipes this month.

6) Restaurants where I ate:
We ate at home. All month. (See goals.)

7) Five things I am loving this month:
1. Rain. There still hasn't been enough of it, but any day I don't have to water the green things is a blessing. I don't have to find the ambition to be outside in the heat and I don't have to pay for the water.
2. My new laptop. It's so sleek and light!
3. Being "forced" to use a paid day off -- use it or lose it! and I've earned it, so I'm NOT losing it -- which gave me a bonus three day weekend.
4. Pasta salad. One of my favorite summer foods.
5. The Red Sox actually winning two out of three against the Yankees, in New York.

8) Three goals I had this month and three goals for next month:
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. (Off to a decent start. Another couple of months being especially disciplined, and that will do the job, I'm thinking. I like seeing discipline pay off...literally!)
2. Make sure I dine at Kouzzina on Disney's Boardwalk one more time before they close for good. (Had good intentions and reservations, but they fell through at the last minute. Will have to try again.)
3. The magic magazine number for this month: fifteen. (DONE!!)

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.
2. Replace the spring flowers in the flower garden. They're looking pretty pathetic, not being designed to thrive in Florida's summer.
3. Going big this time: twenty magazines!

9) The best part of this month and the worst part of this month:
The best: Ummm...we're a month closer to the end of summer? (Yes, I'm lame.We're also near record high temperatures this month. Imagine what *that* means in a climate like Florida's.)
The worst: There are four more months of summer to go. ::weeps::

10) A photo I took this month:

I love dramatic skies. Look at the contrast between the storm clouds moving in and the light just off to the right and how it makes the church steeple glow.

*All scents are Yankee Candle, unless otherwise noted.


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