Friday, May 24, 2013

TGIF squared

Friday is one of the most exciting days of the week for obvious weekend anticipation reasons. Today is even more exciting because I leave tomorrow morning for a little sister's vacay in Seattle. Take an incredibly busy and hard week at work, add a sick kid, and throw in some whole house cleaning for weekend visitors and you see why I am ready to board that plane. 

If I were staying home this weekend, I would be all over the release of Arrested Development season four on Netflix Sunday. And yes, I would probably watch all thirteen episodes before the end of the holiday. I may be a Bluth at heart, which is equally exciting and disturbing. 

My only break would be to watch the season two premiere of Longmire on A & E Monday night at 10 pm EST.  I recently watched the first season on Netflix and am really excited to not have to wait a million years until the next season. Longmire  is a crime drama about a sheriff in the (beautiful) wilds of small town Wyoming. It is based on the "Walt Longmire" mystery series that I have not read, but may give a go since the show is so good. I will say for such a small town, there is a lot of crime going on.  Western style shows are typically not my thing, but this show has really grabbed my attention. If you need another reason to watch: Lou Diamond Phillips as Walt's best friend. Boom. Good acting and easy on the eyes. : ) 

I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day. As I was reminded by a cartoon posted on Facebook (this is how I receive all my life lessons), it is not National BBQ Day. A big thank you to anyone who has ever served in the military and the families that support them. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Men Down! (Mad Men, that is)

Perhaps I did not sleep well last night, or maybe having my plans to get some major work done today interrupted by a strep throat inflicted child has made me a wee bit meaner today. Either way, I watched last night's Mad Men episode this morning, and I believe my sister eloquently summed it up with her email, saying quote "WTF?"".  (NOTE: If you have not watched Mad Men up to and including last night's episode, look away. Look away I tell you! There are spoilers ahead.)

First of all, the fact that I chose to go to bed rather than stay up to watch the episode as it aired should be a sign of how I feel about this season. The first episode of the season was boring and confusing. People (Bob) appeared out of nowhere with no explanation of who they were or what they do. The next few episodes seemed like an improvement to me. It was on its way back! I was so excited! I was a fool.

Don keeps having flashbacks to his childhood and acts like a sad sack about Sylvia. Does he even really like her, or is he just that resistant to not being in control? Am I the only one that hoped it really was Arnold Rosen on the phone, just to see how Don would handle that confrontation? Peggy learns (again) that her office mates are not remotely suitable romantic interests. And how creepy is Harry Hamlin's character? His contributions so far are gross voyeurism and bringing in the questionable doctor. While the old school Sterling Cooper office drunkenness had a certain juvenile charm, the new firm's atmosphere is just over the top to me. I'm pretty sure the only "vitamins" in those injections were vitamins D, R, U, G and S. And what on earth was the point of "Grandma Ira"? To show that Don is so busy putting work first, his kids are in danger when left alone? Well, duh. Name a time Don't work (or Don) didn't come first to Don. The best thing about this episode was the complete lack of Pete. I feel like this season is kind of flying off the rails.

Take note, Matthew Weiner. Here is what I want to see more of: Strong, confident Don. Not sad Don, or super icky S&M Don, just ad man Don who saves accounts on the fly. Way more comic relief (and silver foxiness) of Roger. More Joan and Peggy as strong, professional women working in a man's world. More Betty IF you show her as more complex and not a shrew harpy all the time. If I never see Megan, Pete or Harry again, that is fine by me. I appreciate the complexity of the relationships and the personal struggles of each character, but I'd also like to get back to the ad campaigns and pitch meetings. I think seeing Dawn's life outside of work would be an interesting reflection of what she faced during this time period, but otherwise I'd really like to see more of the actual work. You know, the advertising?

Am I alone here? Is anyone just loving the season more than anything?

P.S. Having seen the white tonsils and smelled the distinctive "sick breath" in our house about a thousand times over the last few years, I feel qualified to diagnose strep throat. I wish I could just call in a prescription and skip the office visit that will only tell me what I already know. If E turns out not to have strep, I will eat my hat.

Updated to add: If I had a hat, I would have to eat it! Test came back negative for strep. Guessing it is a virus so just more rest and fever reducer if needed. Daddy bought her lots of popsicles and ice cream so E is living it up.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Flashback Friday

This was G on her first day of first grade, way back in 2008. Today, we will celebrate the end of fifth grade. We've attended a parent orientation for middle school and G went on a tour of the school a few weeks ago. The adorable little girl in the photo is now 11 years old, almost taller than me, and sometimes accidentally wears my jeans to school. I feel very proud and incredibly old at the same time.

Milestones like this make me reminisce about when my babies were actual babies and things I did when I was their age. I grew up in what G enjoys referring to as "back in the nineteen hundreds" (the 1980's to be exact). Over the weekend, I was listing the popular 80's movies or TV shows that I somehow missed out on in my youth and the list was disturbingly long. Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, St. Elmo's Fire, The Goonies, Gremlins, and any Star Wars movie somehow escaped my viewing. In my defense, I did at least watch Dirty Dancing a thousand times and Judd Nelson from Breakfast Club was super hot to my young self. I made the mistake of mentioning that I had never once watched "Miami Vice" not realizing that Netflix has numerous seasons. Hubs immediately played an episode for me, and let me tell you- that show was perhaps the biggest cheese fest ever. I can't believe that show was popular, or that some boys adopted the pastel jacket look. Maybe it was awesome at the time but somehow I don't think so.

Since I will be all nostalgic today, I'll share some movies/TV shows from the good old days of my youth that are available on Netflix. Note: Netflix did not sponsor this post. They do not know I exist. I just get 90% of my entertainment from Netflix.

TV sitcoms: "Cheers", "Family Ties", "Frasier", "Freaks and Geeks", "Miami Vice", "Quantum Leap", "Saved By the Bell" ( I won't tell if you watch), "Wings" and a ton of "Saturday Night Live" episodes and special "Best Of..." versions.

Movies: Clue, Clueless, Dirty Dancing, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Heathers, Pretty in Pink, and Teen Wolf.

Perhaps I'll watch some of these this weekend to recapture my youth. After today, I'll probably need it. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Freeze Frame

Four year olds are like a box of chocolates- you never know what you are going to get. Sometimes they are sweet, sometimes they are a little nuts.

Thankfully, E was in a sweet mood yesterday and rocked it at the dentist's office yesterday. She readily opened her mouth, laughed at the "Mr. Tickle" brush, and cheerfully skipped off without me to get her X-rays taken. Watching her in action reminds me how quickly my "babies" are growing up. I have paperwork waiting on my desk to enroll E in pre-K this fall. I will appreciate the reduction in day care costs, but my little baby will be in an official organized school setting.

Last night, the hubs attended parent orientation at the middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL! I'm not quite ready for G to be a middle schooler. We have had some bumps in the road this year related to organizational skills, and the idea that she will have six different classes to keep up with next year is a little sobering. G has been anticipating today's field trip with her entire fifth grade into the "big city". She was excited about riding in a chartered bus and eating the beef jerky she packed for a snack. I was worried about kidnappings, random acts of violence and traffic accidents. Fifth grade celebration/graduation is this week and I am not quite ready to say good bye to elementary school.

Don't get me wrong: I love seeing them as individual people with their own experiences and independence. It is just sometimes I wish I could freeze time and keep them where they are now. Where they still talk to me about their days and friends, and let me hug them. I look forward to many things we can do as they get older without the limitations small children (and their tiny bladders) bring, but sometimes I just want me little babies.

I am about to have a kid in middle school, a second grader and a pre-K'er. I saw this commercial yesterday and realized I relate more to the dad than to the kids. I was feeling a little old and a little sad. Then E wanted me to snuggle her at bedtime. She let me play with her hair the way she liked since she was born. I stroked her little face until she fell asleep and enjoyed the brief glimpse of baby, knowing she would be back to skipping out the door with her backpack this morning.

P.S.- I realize S was largely left out of this post, but she is pretty much coasting through the last week and a half of first grade. No more homework, one last party- she might as well be done. : )  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Awesome Women's Day?

Anna Jarvis is credited with celebrating the first Mother’s Day (as far as we know it now) in 1908 in honor of her mother. Ms. Jarvis quit her job and campaigned tirelessly for the holiday’s recognition. President Woodrow Wilson established Mother’s Day as a national holiday in 1914. Ms. Jarvis died with the comforting knowledge that Mother’s Day would always remain a pure celebration of mothers dedicated to promoting peace.

Ha ha- just kidding. Ms. Jarvis sued to stop a New York Mother’s Day event in 1923 and when her case was thrown out, waged a public protest and was arrested for disturbing the peace. She was unhappy with the commercialization of the holiday, an occasion intended for sentiment and not profit. Doesn’t sound much different that today, does it?
Personally, the random “I love you”, hand drawn picture or the elusive heartfelt conversation with a tween means more to me throughout the year than one day of homage.

Mother’s Day can be a complicated holiday. I unfortunately fall into the category of mothers that have lost a child, so the day (like many, many other occasions) has a bitter-sweetness to it. I love my girls completely, but wish my son were here too. I have friends celebrating their first Mother’s Day since their mom died. I know women who have extremely dysfunctional relationships with their mothers. More than a few friends do not have children due to infertility or life circumstances.  There is sweetness is the day, but for some also pain. 

And what of the women who influence our children but are not mothers? Some of my most precious childhood/youth memories are of spending time with a crazy fun aunt who, at the time, did not have children. Rachel Goode wrote this beautiful tribute to women who aren’t moms. Maybe we can find a way to celebrate all the women with a positive influence in our children’s lives, moms or not.   

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Bread and Wine" by Shauna Niequist- Book review

Moment of truth- I saw several reviews of Bread and Wine and thought "Meh. Not for me." My sister raved about it and recommended I try it and I still thought "Boring. Not for me". Why would I want to read what essentially seemed like a cookbook with thoughts sprinkled in? Boy, was I wrong. 

This is the first Shauna Niequist book I have read and I truly enjoyed every part of it. Let's just start with the cover. Doesn't that look so cozy and inviting? 

It gets even better on the inside. Each page paints a beautiful picture of what it means to share a meal with family or friends. Shauna reminds us of how meals are not just about eating warm bread or a hearty soup. Meals are an opportunity to gather those we care about around a table to share our lives. She describes the many life events that have been shared around her table: lost pregnancies, death of a parent, joy of receiving a long awaited child, new opportunities, grief and joy. The descriptions of Shauna's feelings toward her mother and the honoring of her friend Nathan stood out to me of wonderful examples of how closely linked food and love can be. There are (delicious looking) recipes spread throughout the book, but it primarily storytelling on the rituals and hospitality surrounding shared meals. 

I was particularly struck by Shauna's point that offering our homes and a meal in hospitality are so much more important than the "perfect" event. Sometimes, our desire to impress (or avoid embarrassment) prevent us from extending ourselves to people. This was a lovely reminder that personal connections are vastly more important that creating a Pinterest worthy tabletop. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”