My friend Elizabeth recently posted about her top 10 TV shows and I thought, Hey, I like TV, I should do one of these too. So here we are, in chronological-ish order.
I Love Lucy
I was maybe five or so when I told my mom about a "new," hilarious TV show I'd discovered. It was right about then when I also discovered "reruns."
Seinfeld was maybe what turned me into a funny snob. To this day, if people say they don't like Seinfeld, I assume they have a terrible sense of humor because how do you not like Seinfeld? I watched this every Thursday night with my parents and maybe we cried a little when it was over.
Will & Grace
While most people were obsessively watching Friends during this time, I was a Will & Grace fan. This is a series that has held up, too. If I catch a rerun now, it's still as funny and on point as when it originally aired.
Sex and the City
My parents and I watched this every Sunday, and sometimes that was very awkward, but I feel like this show set the stage for all the great TV we have now on the premium channels; this sort of no rules television where you can say fuck because normal people in that situation would say fuck, so they should be able to say fuck and we should be able to see it on our TV. My favorite episode of the series is episode two of season four, when Carrie is a model. A cameo by Kevyn Aucoin, can you ask for more?
Friday Night Lights
Chris and I binge-watched FNL when we were both on leave when LG was first born. It will always hold a special place in my heart because of that, but I do sort of wonder if it would hold up for me now. As luck would have it, this is one of those shows that is not in reruns anywhere, so I guess all I have are my mem'ries.
I think the single greatest first episode of a TV show ever was the first episode of Mad Men. I'll be mourning its end next year. (Also, if you're not reading Entertainment Weekly's recaps on this show each week, you're missing out. They catch all the little nuances--what's on Don Draper's TV or what song was playing during a particular scene, what was going on historically that week--and they break down all the details Matthew Weiner wants us to see.)
Sons of Anarchy and Homeland
I'm lumping these together because Homeland is still pretty new and I was a little late to the game on SOA, so I feel like I can't really claim ownership of it like I can with other shows. Anyway, both these shows do big things that others are afraid to. They kill off characters when it makes sense, even if it devastates the audience. SOA is horribly violent and Homeland is a little terrifying in the sense that I'm sure a lot of it is very true to what goes on internationally right now, but both shows are very real, with real people who you can relate to, even if you're not in the CIA or a motorcycle club. (Kurt Sutter has said he puts a ton of work into vetting the storylines/details with actual members of MCs to make sure it's authentic.)
Okay, so we weren't hip to this show from the start, but we binge-watched all 62 episodes earlier this year, so I think you can say we committed in the end.
How I Met Your Mother
When it was good, it was really good (the Barney Stinson/Doogie Howser throwback scene was genius.) While I was happy with the series ending, I was not happy about the last season as a whole. Win some, lose some. Regardless, this is one of the few sitcoms I've gotten into in recent years, which is sad because I love sitcoms and most of them suck now.
Honorable Mentions (aka: Shows I Never Finished But Still Loved)
I did love this show, although it petered out for me around the time Joey and Rachel started dating. The gang's trip to Vegas remains some of the best episodes on television, however. "I found my hand twin!" ... "Oh you're so lucky."
I started watching this when it first premiered. I'd just moved to San Diego and here were people my age-ish, being adults that I could relate to (more my age/demographic than SATC or Friends.) I stopped watching during the writers' strike and never got back into it (I actually can't believe it's still on the air), but if I see a rerun, I'll watch it for fun and remember 2005 fondly.
This was another one my parents and I watched religiously together. Then I moved out and didn't have cable and never finished the series (although I do know how it ends.) Maybe this is one Chris and I will need to rewatch from the beginning.
I feel like I missed so many shows that I should add to this list. I may need to do a part two. Anyway, What about you? What are your top TV shows?
Since we last talked podcasts, I've expanded my listening a little bit and am giving a few new podcasts a shot, so I thought an update was in order.
I'm still listening to everything I mentioned the last time, so go there first for the first favorites. New favorites include:
About: I gave this an honorable mention last time because I'd only listened to one episode, but after listening every week for the last six+ months, I'd definitely say I enjoy it. The show centers around Elizabeth and Andy (married) answering listener questions. Giving unqualified advice is one of my most favorite things ever, so obviously I dig. Sometimes Chris and I listen together.
Length: One hour
Updates: Once a week, on Mondays
About: Yup, I'm Totally obsessed with all these podcasts. This one features Elizabeth and Andy and a guest star, usually a comedian or actor with varying degrees of notoriety. It's always funny, they play games, I enjoy it a lot. Favorite episodes include Aisha Tyler, Regan Burns, Artemis Pebdani.
Length: One hour
Updates: Once a week, on Fridays
The Momo Show
About: I found this one through Totally Mommy because [actress] Morgan Walsh (one half of Momo) was a guest on TM. The other Mo is Mo Gaffney, who is also an actress and in a little movie called Drop Dead Gorgeous. I like this podcast because it's a little inside Hollywood without being INSIDE Hollywood, if that makes sense. Like, Morgan (husband Matt Walsh is on Veep) and Mo are working actors, they live in the valley, etc. They're not fancy-shmancy, but they often run with the fancy crowd. That seems not very complimentary, but I mean it complementary. It's like listening to a quirky friend who meets Julia Louis-Dreyfus and still acts like her quirky self and then reports back to you about the encounter. Recently Momo has been getting a little too political for my liking, but I'm willing to overlook that for now.
Length: About an hour
Updates: Typically once a week, but it hasn't updated in a few weeks because one of the Mos was off shooting a guest spot on a TV show.
Stuff I'm giving a shot:
Comedy Bang Bang
I'm 1 1/2 episodes in and I'm a little meh on it. There have been some LOL moments, but it's an hour and a half long that is a long time to basically have someone doing impressions when really all I want is to listen to the interview with the main guest. I'd rather just hear Horatio Sanz as a guest than hear Horatio Sanz doing Aaron Neville. Anyway, I'll give it one more episode.
The Moth, Risk
I know very little about either of these except a colleague of mine recommended them and she's cool.
This was recommended in my improv class last week. 'Nuf said.
I found this on some random "funniest podcasts ever" list and thought I'd check it out. It's co-hosted by Kumail Nanjiani who looks really familiar. Enough for me.
Totally Beverages (and Sometimes Hot Sauce)
About: Mostly beverages, occasionally hot sauce. Andy of the other Totally podcasts recently started this one and although it's so ridiculous, I have listened to the first two episodes, so...who's ridiculous now? Sometimes it can be kind of fun listening to people talk about the most seemingly-boring topics.
Length: An hour-ish
Updates: Once a week, I think on Wednesdays
Anything new and exciting you're listening to lately?
It's now October and everywhere else on the planet (okay, no) it's crisp and leafy and basic bitches are drinking PSLs and here it's 90 and yet it's so dark in the mornings, it gives the illusion that it might be crisp and cool and no. And even though I hate the time change, it's also like, at least then I'll wake up to it being a little light outside. Better than the only light I've been seeing in the mornings, a sliver from the hallway as I wake up to a little person saying, "Mommy. I pooped," at 5:57am. GOOD MORNING.
I start an improv class tonight. It hit me last week that I needed to take an improv class and so I went online and found one and tonight's the first class. I am excited (EVERYONE WATCH ME PERFORM!) and also nervous (SHIT WHAT IF I'M NOT FUNNY ON THE SPOT?), but mostly I'm like, Do I need to bring a pen and notebook? I haven't take "a class" since December 2004. I am not sure how this works anymore.
LG is going as Doc McStuffins for Halloween. The costume is kind of dumb (lots of tulle and sparkles that get all over the place), but it comes with a stethoscope and it was $15 at Costco, so whatever. LG kept saying she wanted to be Cinderella, but there were no Cinderella costumes at Costco and so she's Doc. (She told me, "I'm gonna be Cinderella for Halloween!" and I said, "How about Doc McStuffins?" and she said, "I'm gonna be Doc McStuffins for Halloween!" She's pretty amenable.)
We'll head to the pumpkin patch (called Bobby Dazzler's because WHY NOT) in a couple weeks and then maybe carve a pumpkin and our town does a trick-or-treating thing downtown on Halloween, which should be fun. Bonus points is that Halloween is on a Friday, so when trick-or-treating ends, we can go for pizza and cocktails.
Holidays now are getting to be really exciting for all of us, as compared to two/three years ago, when they were more of an annoying task (who wants to drag a baby to a pumpkin patch? And then who wants to drag a screaming toddler around a pumpkin patch?) Now LG gets the idea of Halloween and is excited and knows it's happening soon, even though "soon" means "tomorrow" and every day Chris has to be like, "I called the Halloween guy and they said you have to wait a little bit longer!" Blame it on the Halloween guy, why not.
Speaking of holidays, we're going to Seattle for Thanksgiving, which we've never done. I am very excited. I am excited to see family and all that jazz, sure, but I am also excited I don't have to cook and I can go on long runs alone along the Puget Sound. PRETTY excited about that.
I've been doing Priscilla's Yoga Stretches on PBS the past two mornings. September was a pitiful workout month for me (27 miles, 9 workout days, woof), so I'm making a concerted effort in October. Since I don't have a standing desk (PIPE DREAM), and my back continues to hurt if I sit too long, I thought I'd give Priscilla a try. My local PBS does two 15-minute shows at 6am, and while it's not like a vinyasa flow, the poses are surprisingly difficult. I think this is due in part to the fact that Priscilla possibly lived a past life as a drill sergeant. In a unitard.
That's all I got. What's new with you all?
I really thought I’d blow it out of the water this quarter and read a ton of books, but alas, I read three. I’m hoping for a solid fourth quarter to round out the year and finish with a bang. We’ll see.
Here’s what I read this month:
12th Of Never, by James Patterson
This is your typical Jimmy P. I don’t have anything to say about it except that you can rip my James Pattersons from my cold dead hands.
Mr. Maybe, by Jane Green
This started out pretty solid, in a cute Bridget Jones’s Diary kind of way, but then the main character just pulled some stupid BS and I spent the last half rage-reading. I am all for the flighty single gal in the city kind of book, but I need a little self-awareness from my main character. Just a smidge.
The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer
This books starts out with a group of six teenagers who meet one summer at an arts camp. From their first meeting, the story jumps forward about 40 years, where we get a glimpse into where they are now, and then we spend the rest of time filling in the blanks for each person—how they got where they are in life, who they married, etc. I really liked the writing (it reminded me of Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld), but there’s basically no plot at all. I don’t really have a problem with that, if the writing is good, which it was in this book. HOWEVER, the mainest of the main characters never seemed to grow up, which, as she got to be 30, 40, etc., reaaaaaally started to wear on me. I just don’t find it endearing when a grown-ass lady acts like a teenager. Still, I would recommend, just be prepared to sum it up thusly: It’s…interesting.
What are you reading? Anything good? I keep starting books only to have to return them to the library because I haven’t read quickly enough. It’s very effective.
‘Tis the season everyone posting pictures of their kids’ lunches (is this what the Internet is now? Not even what I had for lunch, but what my kid had? It would be sad if I didn’t enjoy it.)
We try to pack LG a lunch similar to what she’d eat at home, but have learned that some things don’t translate. Crab tacos, for example, LG will eat at home, but won’t eat at school, which was fun to find out when we picked her up and noticed leaked crab juice all over her lunch bag. (THANKS FOR NOT JUST THROWING THAT AWAY, TEACHERS.)
Because I refuse to buy kid-specific food, we’re at the mercy of what we have in the fridge at any given time.
Here are some favorites:
Sandwiches (if we have lunch meat; if we don’t, we’ll cook up an egg and voila: egg sandwich)
Tortilla roll-ups (if we have lunch meat; cream cheese is also a plus if we’ve got that)
Cold eggs (hard-boiled eggs)
Pasta (with or without sauce)
Rice (better at school than at home, where I have to clean up the mess)
Beans (just plain old beans, any kind)
And here are some things we’ve tried that do not work:
Any kind of seafood, actually
Anything resembling salad
While LG is pretty into vegetables at home, she won’t eat a ton of veggies at school, minus the carrot sticks. Sometimes I can talk her into a snap pea or a green bean, but it depends on her mood. And of course not a week goes by that one of us doesn’t say, “Let’s just make her a peanut butter and je---UGH NEVER MIND.”
I'm always looking for new ideas---what do your kids take for lunch?
This is the last installment of look at all the places I went this summer. We took an impromptu trip to Santa Cruz a few weeks ago. Neither of us are very big beach people, but we wanted to beat the heat and the best place to do that is at the coast. The trip can be summed up such: Eat, drink, read magazines, eat some more, drink some more, play in the pool, go home. It was a good trip.
I once had a bloody mary with to-order filet mignon as a garnish. It's kind of hard to beat that. Oh, you put a green bean in your bloody mary? A hunk of beef jerky? MEH. This bacon-wrapped prawn, though, was tops.
And then we all went to bed at 9pm watching 20/20. We really know how to vacation.
I can't be bothered to do my hair most days. On wash days, I let it air-dry and embrace the wavy or put it in a bun or a braid or a braid-bun. On non-wash days I bust out my hot rollers from ye olde days of yore. On special occasions (job interviews, etc.) I might be compelled to use the flat iron, but usually? NOTHANKS. I do think, though, that most people are either hair people or makeup people. I am a makeup person. It's not like I won't go out without makeup on, but I much prefer makeup to hair. If my face is made-up, is anyone really noticing the hair? No.
Anything on Bravo that's not Real Housewives
Now, I have been known to watch some Million Dollar Listing LA or some Princesses: Long Island (really just Housewives-In-Training, when you think about it), but by and large, ain't nobody got time for the Singles Project or Jersey Belle or any of that shit. (I have heard that Game of Crowns was amazing, but alas, I didn't watch it.)
Tweezing my eyebrows
Are we sensing a theme here with the hair avoidance? But you know, I went through a long period of obsessively over-tweezing my eyebrows and now that that's broken, it's like, I don't have time to go get them waxed on the regular and no one is that close to my face to ever notice an errant eyebrow hair, so FUCK IT. (I still keep up with the unibrow situation because PLEASE.)
Washing my yoga mat
I have had my yoga mat for over 10 years and I've washed it once. Have you ever washed a yoga mat? It's a pain in the ass. Plus, I feel like if I am just getting it gross each time I use it and then going home and taking a shower, what's the point? It's all my own filth. Meh. (I guess I could also add to the Things I Don't Have Time For list: Buy a new yoga mat. Ten years is a long time, but at this point I'm kind of attached to it.)
What do you not have time for?
My aunt and grandma coordinated some professional pictures to be taken of the entire family when we were in Hawaii in May/Jun. Here are a few favorites (I would like every picture of me ever to be Photoshopped, please and thank you.)
(P.S. TAKE ME BAAAAACK.)
All summer I've struggled with finding the time to workout. This happens to me once a year and always for a different reason--odd work schedules, the weather, what have you--and I've just come to accept it at this point. I remember this happening when I went back to work after LG; daylight savings time had ended, so it was getting dark earlier and I just couldn't make working out work with my schedule. I know I wrote a blog post about it and maybe I mentioned in that post, but around that time, I was talking Holly, all, "Will I ever workout again?", etc. and Holly was like, this is just the season your life is in right now, so don't stress about it, things will change and you'll be in a new season. Ebb, flow, etc. And guess what? She was right. The season did change and I actually ran a half marathon a year later, so I'd say I found the time to workout.
This summer, though. July was a particularly pitiful month for me, workout-wise. I think I worked out maybe 10 times, total. I logged about 20 miles, which is, again, pitiful. The good news is that I mostly didn't workout because I was off doing fun things, like going to Vegas and stuff, so it's not like it was all business. Still, being one of those obnoxious people who needs to workout to be happy, that did not make me super happy. Also, I sit for a good portion of my day and if I sit too long, I get a literal pain in my ass and walking around helps with that. So, I decided that August would be better. I would workout "more." Ultimately, I worked out 20 days and logged 45 miles. I didn't break any records, but it felt nice to decide to do something and then make it happen. Hot weather and busy schedules be dammed.
The point is, if you decide to do something, you can do it. But the point is also to enjoy your life where it is right now because shit changes all the time. Babies are only babies for a second and your friend only turns 30 once, so have fun and try harder next month. Enjoy the season you're in right now.
Speaking of which, September is notoriously the hottest month of the year in California and our A/C is broken, so while the rest of the nation is off enjoying their seasons, I'll be over here sweating ballz.
In July, we went to Vegas to celebrate my friend Kim's 30th birthday. It was a great time, but just about one day too short. I needed an extra day to lounge by the pool/drink cocktails/people watch/all the other stuff Vegas is ripe for.
Here are a few pictures from the trip. Thanks for turning 30, Kim!
(Sigh. Can we go back to Vegas? Quick, someone have a birthday and invite me.)