Some TV For You

16 Apr

Every time I finish a show I really like I sit around and pout. Why is there nothing good on? Why don’t I ever like anything?

The truth is, there’s a lot of good things on and I do like a lot of things and this post is to remind you of that. Wait! I mean, remind me.

1. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

image

This is Amy Sherman Palladino’s new show and you can watch the pilot on Amazon. It’s got the classic Palladino rapid fire dialogue and quirky characters. (Remember Drella from Gilmore Girls? She’s like a major character in this.) And lest you fret, it was picked up for TWO SEASONS by Amazon (a first), so go Amy and go go go Rachel Brosnahan who shines bright like a diamond through every single bit of this experience.

2. Search Party

9bkow7QIN6I.market_maxres

Yowza! It’s 10 sitcom episodes so you can blow through them all in the time one Bachelorette episode takes. Another show about hipsters in New York, just what we need! But it’s self-aware and the characters are alive and I had this moment where I laughed so hard I surprised myself. It’s unexpected to laugh like that. And then there are places the show goes I had no idea where it was taking me and whoa. Yowza!

3. Catastrophe

Catastrophe-TV-show-on-Channel-4-and-Amazon-season-3-and-4-renewal

A romantic comedy about two people who end up having a baby together after only knowing each other for a weekend. It’s so realistic sometimes you want to cringe. Like this is how people are. These are what fights look like. It’s also really funny and has Carrie Fisher in her last role.

4. Younger

9915a219970a8f048f6bc5450288df8d

By the creator of Sex and the City and (the original) 90210, Younger stars HILARY DUFF. What more do you need?? (Pretend that was in all caps, I didn’t want to be obnoxious.) Hilary is great, as expected, so is Sutton Foster, who plays a woman in her 40s pretending to be 26. There’s a love triangle and let me just say, since when did we hate love triangles? I live for love triangles hi Pace. It’s just fun and frothy and such a nice break from reality.

5. Love

love-netflix

My latest love, hardy har har. Paul Rust plays a neurotic man everything thinks is Jewish (my type) and Gillian Jacobs shines as what could have been a MPDG, but has turned into a really nuanced, beautiful performance. It’s a romantic comedy at its core, and it’s smart and genuine and really, really compelling.

6. Riverdale

luke-comic

There’s a new teen soap in town and I’m keeping up largely because of Luke Perry being cast in the above role…and Cole Sprouse. What? Also, for the first time in history, when faced with the “bad girl/good girl” dilemma I am the Betty. I think Betty just kills her role as the overachiever with issues and I’m the Cosette this time, the blonde good girl WHAT.

7. Big Little Lies

76d11385966e76aef4811e4665db72a3d52d2858dd7d1f09c36a4f3a635d5b189292e91822d00d8c070ccb73fcfa966b

But what more needs to be said, really?

 

Things I’m excited for: The Handmaid’s Tale and the final season Veep coming out this month hey.

Also Golden Girls on Hulu hey-II.

Also anyone watching 13 Reasons Why? Seems like it’s up next.

Bookmark and Share

A Moment of Clarity

13 Apr

17596213_307979779635281_7255273667976757248_n

Earlier this year I found myself at an English lecture I didn’t particularly want to attend. There was a guest speaker that day, and enough people that everyone felt safe pulling out their phones and laptops under the guise of taking notes.

I looked around me at the man on the front row playing a game on his phone. How rude, I thought, as I pulled up an ebook.

At least have the class to hide your disinterest.

It was in that moment that I had a flash of light.

That woman, the guest lecturer, had taken her time to come to this classroom. She had put together a presentation, she had invested her thought and expertise and bad jokes into this. The very least I could do was give her the courtesy I would want to receive.

Attention. A laugh. A raised hand. A thank you at the end.

I put away my ebook and my laptop and dutifully listened for the next two hours.

The content wasn’t anything that overly interested me, and the presentation itself didn’t change me much. But that choice, that moment of light, did.

It feels like the type of thing Anne Lamott would write about. She would say something along the lines of–as human beings in this broken world, all we can do for one another is show up.

All we can do is listen attentively, to give our time and interest to another human being. To treat them with respect, even if it’s slightly unenthusiastically at first.

This is where grace and mercy and healing starts.

I understood that, for a moment that day.

It took me 29 years, but I understood it then.

Bookmark and Share

My Friday Night

12 Apr

17267337_272744166482070_3480971255677452288_n

Tonight, some time after the sun went down, I finished a big project I had been working on for weeks. It was a nasty boil of a thing, one that drained me and irritated me in every way and suddenly it was Friday night and I was done!

What would I ever do with the freedom?

I decided I wanted blackberry tart frozen yogurt and pot roast. In that order.

I wanted to finish S Town and Swing Time.

I wanted another Diet Coke.

And so I set off in my car, surprised I had the energy to drive across Malibu.

The night unfolded much like I thought it would, and then nothing like I did.

I ran into some cat callers in the parking lot who harassed me and scared me and I hate that. I hate that those men think they have the right to make comments about my body and get into my personal space. I hate that it’s so commonplace.

I hate that we elect men who act the same way.

The pot roast was good.

So was the frozen yogurt.

In reverse order.

Swing Time! I have thoughts. The primary relationship reminded me a bit of Lenu and Lila from the Neapolitan Novels. That rich, female bond that yields the chocolate mousse of relationships. Says Holly Bass in the NYT review,

There’s something beautiful about the way young girls choose their best friends. A swooning, love-at-first-sight experience, it rarely takes into account social hierarchies, societal expectations or even basic commonalities. And it can be surprisingly decisive, cementing a relationship that persists for decades without any logical basis.

Chocolate freaking mousse.

And then S Town. Holy cow. I didn’t know what I was in for with S Town, but I’m still unraveling it in my mind.

That was genre bending, so much more than what I thought a podcast could be. That was journalism, but that was also a story, a Great American novel, a Southern Gothic with an eccentric protagonist up there with the best, saying hi to Ignatius J. Reilly. A protagonist who exemplified the complexity of the human experience. Who mirrored the complexity of the world he was so worried about.

There is, of course, the question of ethics with S Town.

But, selfishly, right now, I want to ignore that. I want to bask in that story, in that work of art.

Holy cow.

I want another Diet Coke.

Bookmark and Share

My 2017 Newbery Picks

11 Apr

If I were in charge of picking Newbery Honor books for 2017, I would have chosen the following five books. Look, the ones chosen were nice, but these ones. These ones were a cool breath of air in the midst of a neverending Arizona summer. Stick-your-head-in-the-ice-cream- freezer-at-Ralphs-on-a-120-degree-day kind of refreshing.

I loved them all dearly. Was it a spectacular year for children’s books or what?

1. The Best Man by Richard Peck

the-best-man-hi-res-cover

The children’s librarian in charge of the New York Public Library’s Best Books For Kids List said this was her favorite children’s book in 2016 and she immediately started reading it again after she finished. That was enough recommendation for me, and I, too, found myself mesmerized by this story of family, ultimately. I love when children’s literature writes really loving, supportive, complex, human, wonderful families. So often in middle grade or young adult literature families are absent or dumb, but this family was solid and warm and caring. I need to read it again.

2. Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

91tNFyoPSTL

If you have ever been a teacher, or know someone who is a teacher or wanted to be a teacher you should read this book. If you haven’t ever been a teacher and don’t know someone who is a teacher and have never wanted to be a teacher I still recommend it completely. I guess I recommend all of these completely so that isn’t exactly the best measure.

3. It Ain’t So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

It-Aint-so-Awful-Falafel-HI-RES-final

Very…real. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was based on the author’s experiences growing up Iranian in Newport Beach in the 1970s during the Iranian hostage crisis. It’s the universal middle school story of being uncomfortable in your own skin, with the backdrop of political and social turmoil. NYPL named it as one of their most recommended books of last year after I had already come to this conclusion so I felt 1) validated 2) ahead of the times, which are my two best feelings.

4. All Rise For the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

y648

Perry grew up in a minimum security prison and is removed from this home by a well-meaning member of the community to go into foster care. Heart freaking warming and breaking and feeling. I tweeted this out to Rainbow Rowell as a recommendation, that’s how strongly I felt! (She was not even asking for recommendations!)

5. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

ghost-9781481450157_hr

Jason Reynolds is The Man. He is able to capture characters and experiences so well and Ghost just might be my favorite thing he’s written. It’s the story of a young boy on a track team. There’s more to it, obviously, but it begins there. A young, scared, cocky, kid on a track team.

Bookmark and Share

Hallelujah Anyway

9 Apr

17663726_412918632407203_2423352339474677760_n

Last night I dreamt of Manderley.

Of my own Manderleys, I should say. Last night I dreamt of some of the most painful times of my life. They swirled back and forth, the hurts that live inside me and come alive when my body rests.

I woke up exhausted.

Anne Lamott says of her father’s death,

I’m not positive we ever got over it, in the way that the world assured us we would, and hoped we would, although with these badly broken psychic legs, we learned to dance again, to hike again, with limps and weird orthopedic shoes.

I put on my weird orthopedic shoes and went for a limping walk. That’s the solution to just about everything. Drink some water. Go on a walk.

Remember no feeling is final.

Malibu is bubbling and bursting and blooming these days. I reminded myself of the good things I have. Of this perfect town I live in. Of the man I love–my funny, kind, favorite human. Of flirting flowers and powerful stories and afternoons off. Of a body strong enough to go on walks, of an ocean breeze and a spring sun.

One has to be done with the pretense of being just fine, unscarred, perfectly self-sufficient. No one is.*

I caught up on my podcasts and made myself a meal. A meal with meat and fruit and a side of homemade guacamole. A meal while Dear Sugar played in the background.

I took out my trash.

The ancient Chinese had a practice of embellishing the cracked part of valued possessions with gold leaf, which says: We dishonor it if we pretend that it hadn’t gotten broken. It says: We value this enough to repair it. So it is not denial or a cover-up. It is the opposite, an adornment of the break with gold leaf, which draws the cracks into greater prominence. The gold leaf becomes part of its beauty. Somehow the aesthetic of its having been cracked but still being here, brought back not to baseline but restored, brings increase.

I put on my most comfortable dress and opened up my laptop to finish reading my friend’s book. She has a book deal with HarperCollins, this friend. These words will be published one day. They will be bound and sent to bookstores and libraries everywhere. Her words, her world, her story, once in her head alone—they will enter the world.

I’m mentioned in it.

That is so un-American. Most of the time we throw it out, cover it up with a doily, or patch the crack so we can still sell the item. This other way is to save our valuables with our own hands, to pass on to our children, nieces, and nephews Auntie’s chipped Inuit carving. Uncle Will’s journals. And if they toss Uncle Will’s journals, rich in memories and minutiae of this family’s story? That’s on them. Not our fault, for once. (Reason enough to get out the gold leaf.) We are invited to be part of creation, like planting shade trees for children whose parents were born last week.

As the sun hangs heavy in the sky I yawn and curl up for a nap. It’s my favorite time of day to be still and drift away for the moment.

The sky turns gold around me.

It’s a dreamless sleep.

 

 

*Quotes from Anne Lamott’s newest book Hallelujah Anyway

Bookmark and Share

Send My Babies To College! And Other Random Thoughts

29 Mar

17077029_389729544740344_4116355879790444544_n

I’ve started to wash my hair with this all-natural detergent-free wash thing. I can’t call it a shampoo because the makers are clear. This is not shampoo. Shampoo hurts your hair and forces you to compensate with conditioner. Why not skip the hurting part?

When I was in high school I had to do a science fair project, which seems kind of weird looking back at it. Aren’t those for elementary school students and volcanoes?

My friend and I chose to do a project on how shampoo acidity affected hair. We put clumps of virgin hair into Ziploc bags along with a jolt of shampoo from the various bathrooms in our homes and let them sit for a few weeks. You should have SEEN the damage done by Pert Plus.

The science fair participants certainly did!

I don’t know where all this is going. I sat down to write as I usually do—to work through my thoughts from the day. And these aren’t even the thoughts I’ve been having.

But I did just wash my hair with natural…wash.

I think the next step in this wholesome journey of mine is making my own cleaning supplies. Eventually I’ll get to making my own laundry detergent and I can lord it over everyone and secretly (and openly) think I’m better than other people. That will be a fun day.

Who have I become?

Or rather, who am I on track to become?

Who I am now is a girl who has washed her hair twice with an all-natural wash and is already talking about her homemade laundry detergent. Perhaps that’s who I’ll always be.

How are these for thoughts of the day?

A few months ago I ordered a yellow frame for a painting in my room. I decided that that was what my life was missing. Something bright canary yellow, popping and squawking and Polly Want a Cracker.

Wait, that’s a parrot.

What arrived, instead, was some sort of a picture liner. I don’t know what to call it. It’s like the owners of the Amazon shop cut out yellow cardboard in the shape of a frame and shipped it in this enormous box to me.

I took a look at it and thought of all the other things in my life in front of this picture frame. My passenger seat car with melted chocolate on it. Those arm weights I really keep meaning to get out of storage.

I took a look at it and then I got some tape and stuck the yellow cardboard over the existing frame.

It’s puckered and weird.

But it squawks.

I was making a mental list today of my favorite SNL skits.

If I had one of those magazine-y blogs, I could write 150 words about don’t we all love SNL here are some of my favorite skits and then get 300 comments on it and send my babies to college.

But alas. I’m just me.

Squawking and making my own laundry detergent (one day!)

The skits I came up with are as follows:

Tina Fey/Justin Bieber “Lonely Teacher

Cameron Diaz “Back Home Ballers

Tina Fey/Amy Poehler “Meet Your Second Wife

Don’t we all just love SNL?

What are your favorite skits? Tell me in the comments below!

(Now my babies will go to college.)

Bookmark and Share

Engaged

22 Mar

IMG_2375

Rob and I are engaged! Here’s the evidence!

In many ways this blog feels like a love story dedicated to him. It started years ago when we were friends and took us here. And now wherever the future leads.

Every once in a while I stumble across a post written about friend Rob, where we both had no idea what was in store, and my heart smiles. Today, in honor of the engagement, I thought I would share some poetry I’ve written about us through the years.

Heart smile, heart smile.

 

BEFORE

They had a pool

on when we would get together

if we would get together

how we would get together

 

we would have bet against it

 

HOW WE GOT TOGETHER

You are all logic and facts, economics and science, there’s an explanation for everything

 

I am all emotion and faith, mystical and spiritual, a social worker bleeding heart

 

to get together

you ignored reality and I listened to my head

 

Bookmark and Share

My Sleep Routine

28 Feb

16464173_768165406671505_1181211358968938496_n

I recently read this blog post about sleep routines and have not stopped thinking about it since.

Seriously. Read it.

Do you feel terrible/intimidated/shocked?

Me too.

While I admire this woman and her dedication/complete control of her life, I thought I would write out the reality of my bedtime routine. It’s a bit different.

First step is usually checking the clock. Hmm…should have gone to bed an hour ago? Well that means it’s time for a TV show! I’m not tired anyway, so I might as well be watching something instead of just laying in bed, wishing I were watching something.

Next up: unsurprisingly, debate whether or not I should wear my mouth guard. I know I should wear my mouth guard but also if I go to bed before I’m tired then my mouth guard just sits there, suffocating me for an hour and I inevitably take it out anyway.

Once I get in bed…

Oh excuse me, I’ve been in bed from the moment I ripped off my clothes walking in the door.

Once I get in bed, it’s hard for me to leave. Usually around now I do, though. Three times in fact. First to boil water. Second to add the noodles. Third to finish the mac and cheese.

What? I ate dinner like five hours ago, OK.

I’m starving.

In very unsexy things, I find my mouth guard during one of my trips out of bed. It’s on the floor next to the fluff from my down comforter. It’s pretty gross, actually.

I need to sanitize that.

No mouth guard for me tonight, I guess.

Most nights I decide that taking off my makeup isn’t worth it. I barely wear makeup, anyway, see. And, well, I would have to get out the makeup remover. And also leave bed.

Random things that I keep on my nightstand: the empty mac and cheese bowl and gross mouth guard. Also Buddhist prayer beads. None of these things I use during the night.

Before I go to sleep, I always brush my teeth and I go to the bathroom. I can’t sleep unless I go to the bathroom immediately before I drift off, therefore if I’m in bed tossing and turning for 20 minutes, I’m also forced out of bed 4 times to empty my bladder which doesn’t need to be emptied.

It’s amazing that I will get out of bed four times in twenty minutes for this non-necessary task. Incredible, really.

Even though it takes time and discipline, I do think having this sleep routine really makes me the sort of person I am. The person who hates mornings and can quote The Office and just really has everything in control. Thriving, is how I would describe myself.

What’s your sleep routine? Any quirky things that help you fall asleep?

Bookmark and Share

Rallying Cries for Women Throughout History

27 Feb

warren

Image

I am, I am, I am — Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I am, I am. I am, still. — Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

And Still I Rise– Maya Angelou

I’m a keep running cause a winner don’t quit on themselves — Beyoncé Knowles

Nasty woman (About Hillary Clinton)

Nevertheless, she persisted. (About Elizabeth Warren)

 

Bookmark and Share

Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Our Teenage Diaries

25 Feb

I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say. They are not brave, the days when we are twenty-one. They are full of little cowardices, little fears without foundation, and one is so easily bruised, so swiftly wounded, one falls to the first barbed word. To-day, wrapped in the complacent armour of approaching middle age, the infinitesimal pricks of day by day brush one but lightly and are soon forgotten, but then–how a careless word would linger, becoming a fiery stigma, and how a look, a glance over a shoulder, branded themselves as things eternal. A denial heralded the thrice crowing of a cock, and an insincerity was like the kiss of Judas. The adult mind can lie with untroubled conscience and a gay composure, but in those days even a small deception scoured the tongue, lashing one against the stake itself.

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

Princess-Leia-behind-the-scenes-starwars3

 Image

In Carrie Fisher’s final book The Princess Diarist, she includes exercpts from the diary she kept in 1976 while filming Star Wars. It’s almost exclusively about Harrison Ford.

Carrie and Harrison had a three-month affair on set when Carrie was 19.

It was intense.

In many ways these passages are my favorite thing she’s ever written.

Oh sure, Carrie is an excellent writer and everything I’ve read of hers is smart, but it’s also polished. It’s edited. It’s thought-out knowing an audience will read it.

Her diary, on the other hand, is simply the hurt of a teenage girl in way too deep with an emotionally unavailable man. Also known as All Of Our Teenage Diaries. She says, “If anyone reads this when I have passed to the big bad beyond I shall be posthumously embarrassed. I shall spend my entire afterlife blushing.”

And then, forty years later, she chose to publish it.

Here are some of my favorite bits:

One could never call me a quitter

I take something right and see it

Through until it’s wrong

Auctioning myself off to the lowest bidder

Going once, going twice

Gone

Sold to the man for the price of disdain

Some are sold for a song

I don’t rate a refrain

I knew right away that he was a find

He knew that you  had to be cruel to be kind

Given this, he was the kindest man I’d ever met

Back came my sense of worthlessness

And my long lost pangs of regret

I was my old self again, lost and confused

Reunited with that old feeling

Of being misunderstood and misused

Sold to the man for the price of disdain

All of this would be interesting

If it weren’t so mundane.

I was sitting by myself the other night doing the usual things one does when spending time alone with ourselves. You know, making mountains out of molehills, hiking up to the top  of the mountains, having a Hostess Twinkie and then throwing myself off the mountain.

I gave you far more credit than you were actually due

You see I thought I was only seeing half the man

But that was all there was to you

I can’t focus on the good things. There are good things going on all around me, but I don’t trust them, I can’t make use of them, don’t have the time for them; I’m too preoccupied with my precious panic.It seems to be demanding almost all of my attention. My own personal private collection of panic.

I’ve got to stop fooling around with all these human beings and fall in love with a chair. It would have everything that the immediate situation has to offer, and less, which is obviously what I need. Less emotional and intellectual feedback, less warmth, less approval, less patience and less response. The less the merrier.

Chairs. They’re always there when you need them and while their staying implies total devotion they still manage to remain aloof, noncommittal and insensitive. Immovable and loyal. Reliable and consoling. Chairs it is. I must furnish my heart with feelings for furniture.

It’s very dangerous to have someone like you, because one day he’ll find that you are not the person he thought you were. He’ll end up someday having only one thing in common with you and that’ll be a shared sense of contempt and disgust for you. Of course you knew all along how foolish and worthless you were, you just hoped that if you crouched down behind yourself enough he wouldn’t see it. But one day when your guard is off-duty you see him see. You both catch you at yourself. Catch you behaving. And then you’re lost. No. You were lost all along.

I started with snacking on the inaccessibility of random silent jerks and seem to have arrived at making a full meal of it. Now I’ve had more than enough. I want the check. Waiter?

Call his indifference mystery

Call his arrogance intellect

All you’ve got to lose is your heart

And a little self-respect

I suspect that no matter what happens I will allow it to hurt me. Eat away at my insides, as it were–as it will be. As it always has been. Why am I so accessible? Why do I give myself to people who will always and should always remain strangers? I have always relied on the cruelty of strangers and I must stop it now. I am a fool. I need a vacation from myself. I’m not very good at it lately.

I can’t think about it anymore. It makes my head hurt. My mind works overtime trying to rationalize it, categorize, it, define it until it no longer means anything.Put it into words–you can’t feel words. I think that if I could give a name to what I feel it would go away. Find the word that describes the feeling and say it over and over until it’s merely a sound.

It’s a shame it’s not Mark–it could’ve been. It should’ve been. It might’ve meant something. Maybe not much, but certainly more.

We often assume that when the surface offers so little the depth must be unfathomable. Whatever is inaccessible must be worthwhile.

During the long stretches of silence one can study him, eventually filling him in to suit one’s likes or dislikes. (The satisfaction of one’s fantasy.)  I have filled him in to be unobtainable, disinterested, attractive and bored with my company. My ideal mate. Someone to endure, never to enjoy. I am totally at his mercy. ..I am frightened of the power I have given him over me and how he will almost certainly abuse it, merely by not being fully aware he has it.

I call people sometimes hoping not only that they’ll verify the fact that I’m alive but that they’ll also, however indirectly, convince me that being alive is an appropriate state for me to be in. Because sometimes I don’t think it’s such a bright idea. Is it worth the trouble it takes trying to live life so that someday you get something worthwhile out of it, instead of it almost always taking worthwhile things out of you?

But after all was said and almost done

I was playing for keeps and he was playing for fun

Trying relentlessly to make you love me, but I don’t want the love–I quite prefer the quest for it. The challenge. I am always disappointed with someone who loves me–how perfect can he be if he can’t see through me?

Here I am again

Making the same mistake

Instead of learning my lesson

I just establish a new record to break

I do not want to take part in my life. It can just go on without me; I’m not giving it any help. I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to talk to it, I don’t want it anywhere near me. It takes too much energy. I refuse to be a part of it. If you have a life, even if you get used to it ruining your sleep, spoiling your fun, requiring your somewhat undivided attention, what overwhelming relief one must feel when it finally skips town.

I wish I could go away somewhere but the only problem with that is that I’d have to go, too.

Bookmark and Share