Sunday, September 27, 2015

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2015 - Week 38

Checking in for the week of September 20 through September 26.

The Book Stops Here (Kate Carlisle) - "Many of the world's problems would be solved if people would just shut up and pass the cupcakes." You probably don't look for nuggets of wisdom in a cozy mystery, but there you go. This has been such a fun cozy mystery, I'm almost bummed to be finishing it soon.

I love making meals that make a lot and keep well in the freezer! Stuffed shells are one of my favorites for that. Pulled pork works well too. We had both this week, as well as some chicken quesadillas; barbecue chicken with potato salad and corn; ravioli with ground sausage and a salad; and White Chicken Chili -- which makes a big batch that freezes well!

Pink Sands (YC)
Pink Dragon Fruit (YC) - Let's get something clear: I haven't a clue what a dragon fruit actually smells like. But this is light and tropical and fruity, and since it's still summer here...sadly, appropriate.

Niles and Frasier send their regards on a pretty Sunday morning. (No, I couldn't help myself.)

I hated the throw pillows that came with our couch and loveseat when we bought them over three years ago, but, in an attempt to be frugal, couldn't justify replacing them, since there was nothing wrong with them (functionally, I mean -- I found them ugly as sin). The seams finally split and the stuffing showed its equally ugly face and now they are history and I love the new throw pillows I found. The end.

So, this is happening when we're in Pennsylvania next month... (eek!)

This pineapple is clearly on steroids or something.

This sunrise, man.


Looks like leopard spots!


Evil cheese.

Fitbit unimpressed.

How precious. Florida is pretending it's autumn.

Just a few more months of "Over California"... I predict I will be here a *lot* between now and January.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

This Week on My TV: September 26, 2015

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

**(The Big Bang Theory, 9x01 The Matrimonial Momentum) Sheldon: Some important new information has come to light. Women are the worst. I thought it was paper cuts, but I was wrong. No piece of paper ever cut me this deep. -- Sheldon standing in the window, being a creeper. So. Funny. -- I am as big a fan as any of Disney but Penny's Toy Story vows? Wow. Leonard gets a free pass for some future bungle. -- Could Stuart have been any more hilariously inappropriate with Amy?? -- Oh for Pete's sake. Can we just allow Leonard and Penny to be happy for a little while before we thrust them into some new version of misunderstanding? -- LOL. Sheldon's hands were full and he couldn't knock on Penny's door. -- Penny: I told her to be true to herself and do what makes her happy. Sheldon: Do what makes her happy?! She plays the harp and her car is paid for. How much happier can she be?? -- LOL! Sheldon telling Penny to "slam the door hard because I'm mad" when he makes his exit, again with his hands too full.

**(The Middle, 7x01 Not Your Brother's Drop Off) Mike and all the "you're dead" lessons for Sue, in an attempt to "prepare her for life outside the nest." -- Only Sue would burn her own hair off with a used curling iron. That was funny and all, but I am *loving* her new short do! -- My heart hurt for Sue, sitting there, waiting for her roommate to show up, because for all her hope and optimism, you know it's going to be a disaster.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2015 - Week 37

Checking in for the week of September 13 through September 19.

Good in Bed (Jennifer Weiner) - I'll be honest. This book was more of a two for me, for a lot of reasons. What bumped it up to a three was the last hundred pages, which went from whiny and somewhat pathetic to something a bit more raw and vulnerable. It was primarily fluffy chick lit, which I do enjoy on its own merit, but I hated wanting to tell the main character to knock off the pity party for two-thirds of the book. The ending was perfect though -- satisfying and hopeful. There's a sequel, but I think I'll skip it. I read just enough of the reviews to get the pointed hint that it would undo my pleasant feelings for the way this story concluded, and with so many (many) other books on my to-read shelf, I think I'm content to let this story stand where it is right here.
Multiple Bles8ings: Surviving to Thriving with Twins and Sextuplets (Jon and Kate Gosselin with Beth Carson) - I had watched some of the episodes of their show, when it was still on tv, but not all of them and not from the beginning. I was curious about their story. It's interesting and a little sad to see how they started out, compared to where they've ended up, since this book basically tells the story up until the sextuplets were still toddlers. I wonder how much of what we see of Kate, and think we know from her public persona, is accurate to the person she really is inside, and to what extent she's truly been changed by fame along the way. I suppose that's something the outsider can ever really know, but it's something to ponder. If we don't guard ourselves -- our hearts, our souls, our thoughts -- life can change us, and sometimes not for the better, so even if most of us will never be famous, there are still some lessons to be learned.
The Book Stops Here (Kate Carlisle) - I have not gotten very far. Up too late watching baseball and football games. Oops.

Had a taste for some pizza. Tried a new recipe: Foil Pack Chicken and Artichoke Dinner. Comfort food: grilled cheese and tomato soup. Been itching to have my Pumpkin Chili, even though it's still very much summer here. Back to summer food: BLTs. And I usually bring leftovers for my lunch, but one day we didn't have any, so I decided to get lunch from Panera. I got You Pick Two: the Roasted Turkey, Cheddar, and Apple sandwich, with the BBQ Chicken Salad. I have to say, it was the perfect taste for that summer-to-fall transition that I was looking for. YUM.

Pink Sands (YC)
Campfire Treat (YC) - Toasted marshmallow!
Under the Palms (YC) - A very pleasant surprise, actually. I had no idea what this would smell like, but it was "green" with a hint of sweet.
Storm Watch (YC) - An old favorite. Fresh and clean, like ocean air as a storm rolls in.

Final game of the series.

No words.

It won't last for more than today, but a) this is glorious, and b) it gives this summer weary girl hope that there might actually be an end to summer coming, eventually.

I see skies of blue...

Under $2.00.

Munchkins. For when I just can't choose one or two flavors.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

This Week on My TV: September 19, 2015

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

**(The Last Ship, 2x11 Valkyrie) CMC Jeter: Today we grieve, but tomorrow we do press on. We continue to answer the call, "Here I am." ... Oh my, what a speech. I had goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes. -- Losing Chung and Bivas felt particularly difficult. -- That whole scene on the oil rig was crazy intense. -- I am unsure on Valkyrie. I don't believe I trust her.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Oh Hey Friday!: September 18, 2015

It's Oh Hey Friday! time, hosted by September FARM. The idea is that you talk about five things -- any five things, themed or random -- and away we go!

The "Brain Dump" Edition! (Volume Two)

I've been spending some of my summer tv time re-watching reruns of Dawson's Creek on ABC Family, as they've been airing the show from the beginning. I will tell you what. I find few things as therapeutic for the daily travails of adulthood as reliving my teen angst. Adulthood can throw you some real curve balls, but I don't miss that life stage. I am the queen of nostalgia, but not for the struggle of adolescence.

Some other tv shows I've been into this summer, when we don't have the Red Sox on tv: re-watching Cheers from the beginning on Netflix; the second season of The Last Ship, which I thought was incredibly well done (I have the final two episodes still on the DVR); and we've really gotten invested in Hell on Wheels via Netflix, which, whoa, far more intense than I anticipated.

Offering opinions in today's society is like stepping onto a minefield. When (not if) someone has an opposing opinion, one can find themselves on the defensive with little to no warning. I'm not sure when we decided that it's ok to viciously condemn people any time they don't feel exactly the way you do, but it sure makes me clamp my mouth shut 95% of the time. Interacting with people has become difficult, since there is no guessing what their individual hot button issues are or when you'll trigger a personal attack. It makes a quiet girl even quieter, is what I'm getting at.

But enough of that.

There is one more weekend standing between me and the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Fest. I'm giddy with anticipation. Top three menus that are intriguing me for this year's Fest are Dominican Republic, Brazil, and South Korea. Which isn't to indicate the others don't hold plenty of delectable possibility. I really don't even know how to decide where I'll begin! Its run goes through eight weekends, and I expect to be there for at least six of them, which I will undoubtedly need to tackle my ambitious list. Here's hoping the Saturday downpours ease up a bit, though, or I'm going to be very soggy.

Nobody cares about anyone else's fantasy sports teams (unless you happen to be in the same league, I would imagine), but I have three different football teams and I finished Week One undefeated across the board. This will never happen again, so I'm noting it for my personal records.

New tv episodes start up again next week. Food and Wine Fest is almost here. We have a family reunion (T's side) coming up the first weekend of October. I have a Festing friend coming in the following weekend. There are roughly six weeks left of summer to endure go. Disney has released a poster art calendar for 2016 (which I am determined to obtain after missing out on the 2014 version). I like having things to look forward to.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2015 - Week 36

Checking in for the week of September 6 through September 12.

Just Wait Till You Have Children of Your Own! (Erma Bombeck) - This book was a quick easy read. One part amusement, because apparently, things never change -- adults say roughly the same things about "kids these days" as they did fifty years ago. And one part nostalgia, because I am certain I heard almost everything in this book when I was a teen.
Good in Bed (Jennifer Weiner) - Definite fluffy chick lit, but at least it isn't a slow read.

Monday was a classic meat-and-potatoes sort of dinner: steaks on the grill, mashed potatoes, and corn from the freezer. Tuesday, we made sausage burgers (roasted red peppers and provolone cheese on mine, thanks!) with a side of mac and cheese. Wednesday, there were grilled chicken sandwiches. Thursday, T made his very delicious Chicken and Dumplings.

Pink Sands (YC)
Blue Summer Sky (YC) - I really wanted to like this one, but...I really, really did not. It had this weird "flowers and grass in the sun" note to it that I just couldn't get around. I actually had to toss this one. And this is why I always try new scents in the votive size only.
Mountain Lake (YC) - This one was much better. Half clean and fresh, half a hint of men's aftershave.
Sweet Strawberry (YC) - Nice and straightforward. I am so partial to fruity scents in the summer.
Vanilla Lime (YC) - I love that the cool creaminess of vanilla is combined with a bright zing of lime.

T and I ventured over to EPCOT. The British Revolution was playing in the UK pavilion. We had to stop, because they were covering some The Who and that's T's favorite.

I might thank the Phoenicians for my ABCs, but I do not extend the sentiment to the Greeks and their math. Numbers are not my friend. (Unless they appear in my bank register.)

The guy in the middle's headwear always looks like a bulb of garlic to me.

The first backup system!

Gutenberg's little stick legs.

We are total goofballs. Also, I do not know why Spaceship Earth gave me a side ponytail. I assure you that I did not actually have one.

Dunkin run because I run on Dunkin.


After the rain.

Fuchsia and shades of blue.

NFL Opening Night. How I attire for The Tom Brady Blank You Tour.

Good morning.

First live regular season Red Sox game since 2013. We're partial to the view from the Press Level when we go to The Trop.

Required eating for a ballgame. (They used to be better at this park. These were a big thumbs down.)

September 11 means we get the BIG flag for the National Anthem.

The hotel we stay at when we do a weekend series in St Pete got a makeover since we were last here!

Never been on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge before!

We had planned to go to Lowry Park Zoo during our weekend in Tampa/St Pete, but it rained. Ventured over to the South Florida Museum instead.

Ummm...T...I don't want to alarm you but...

Oh no!!! (A more appropriate reaction to shark jaws that size, yes?)

The South Florida Museum is also home to Snooty the manatee. FYI: Most manatees do not come up out of the water like seals, dolphins, and whales. Snooty does though. Check out those back muscles!

I'm not exactly sure how these teeth work...

We got to see David Ortiz hit career 500th home run in person. It was pretty freaking amazing.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Oh Hey Friday!: September 11, 2015

It's Oh Hey Friday! time, hosted by September FARM. The idea is that you talk about five things -- any five things, themed or random -- and away we go!

The Jumping Back In Edition! 

My blog has been quiet for a while. Crickets chirping, dusty cobwebs (like in the Haunted Mansion) quiet. I don't have any substantial reason for this radio silence. It's actually pretty lame. See, I got behind on my weekly recaps and I wanted to get current on those before I tackled anything new. Because I am "lists" sort of girl and I like to cross things off my list before moving on to any related tasks. Only work got a little busy and I found myself falling further and further behind. Oh, the drafts are there, framework ready to be filled in with the minutiae that probably only I care about, but hey, this is my little corner of internet, right? Before I get myself off on a tangent...I came to the conclusion that if I waited to get caught up, I wouldn't do anything except collect unpublished drafts for the rest of time. So I'm jumping back in with current thoughts today, and I'll just back publish those drafts retroactively as I get them fleshed out. My plan is that forward progress will also lead to being caught up. (It makes sense in my head, anyway.)

I wish someone could explain to me the phenomenon that makes short work weeks feel twice as long as regular work weeks. Because, honestly, I thought Tuesday was both Monday *and* Wednesday. I spent Wednesday convinced it was Thursday, only to discover that my least favorite day of the week was going to Groundhog Day me, when, surprise! Look, it's the real Thursday now...only you're going to think it's Friday, like you always do. What I'm taking the scenic route to saying is that I'm done with this week.

This past Sunday, T went to WDW with me for the second time in three weekends. I typically Disney solo (unless I have someone visiting from out of town -- I really need some local passholders to befriend or something), so for T to go twice with me, while we're still entrenched in summer was like I'd won the lottery. We'll overlook the fact that we ate dinner, walked around World Showcase, rode Spaceship Earth, and then donned our ponchos for the return trek to the truck because, being the rainy season (and an extra rainy one at that), it decided to let loose on us, and our Fast Pass for Test Track was rained out. Even so, there's nothing like being at my favorite place with my favorite person.

Opening Night for the 2015 NFL season was last night. Yes, I'm a fan of the most hated team in football. I have no desire to attend a live NFL game, ever, but man, that crowd in Foxborough last night was electric. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Angry Brady on the field. If the defense can sort itself out -- and I think it can, because it showed glimpses of being good, between allowing Big Ben opportunities to launch the ball halfway down the field -- I think this team can be crazy good. Only time will tell, but if they keep playing angry, this is going to be a heck of an interesting season.

I bought a couple of new long sleeve tops from Gap, when I was able to combine a sale with a promo code. My closet is top heavy with short sleeved and sleeveless tops (for obvious reasons), but we do get our share of chillier days scattered throughout the six months of not-summer, plus I travel to places outside of Florida, so something a smidge warmer is necessary to have on hand. I had to retire a couple of long sleeve tops when summer started, so they needed replacing, is what I'm  getting at. I kept one of them, but I had to send the other one back, because the way it was cut made it look like I had bat wings and that would be a no. Just no.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2015 - Week 35

Checking in for the week of August 30 through September 5.

I'm Half-Sick of Shadows (Alan Bradley) - I think this has been my favorite mystery adventure with Flavia so far. It was especially cozy to have the entire story take place at Buckshaw over a relatively short period of time. I enjoyed the pieces of the mystery (even though I knew where the Big Scene was going to play out very early on). I find Flavia an entertaining little character. I also appreciated having the characters of Dogger and Aunt Felicity fleshed out a little further. I hope that we get to learn more about them as the series progresses, because it sounds like they have some stories to tell.
Just Wait Til You Have Children of Your Own! (Erma Bombeck) - If I had a nickel for every time someone has said this to me in my lifetime...

I met my friend Brandi for brunch at TooJays, followed by cupcakes at Small Cakes, on Sunday morning. We had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner this week, as well as a couple of our perennial favorites: Tortellini Florentine soup, and Linguine with Clam Sauce.

Pink Sands (YC)

Welcome, September, and new retro art on the calendar.

It was a slow week for photos.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

This Week on My TV: September 5, 2015

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

**(The Last Ship, S2E10 Friendly Fire) Whoa, that flotilla explosion was shocking. -- I didn't like the Rachel flashbacks. They felt forced and out of place. -- I am skeptical of the Bluetooth messaging. I want to think it's cool, but I keep thinking "really??"  -- And speaking of skeptical. Rachel want to breathe the cure onto people?? -- I also didn't like that Bivas is suddenly changing her stance on Burk or toying with him. -- It sure sounds like I didn't like the episode. Really, there were just some parts that stood out as particularly annoying to me.


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