Friday, February 16, 2018

Honestly, Haiku Friday

Honestly I just
can't with all the news. Instead
I hug my kid tight.

***

Valentines, he wrote
his name on all twenty four
This is the best age.

***

Today, Chinese New
Year Dragon dance with his friends
Renewal begins.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentines

Today, D's class had a wee Valentines Day party. It was super cute. He handed out cards to his friends and was super excited to get a little box of Nerds candy from his friend. Then I turn around and he has pulled out another thing from his box and he's chomping on it. It looked weird since it didn't have a wrapper on it...so I ask him what he is eating? A candy, he says. I look closer....

Yeah....

Not a candy....

It's a crayon....

Someone had melted crayons together and poured it into a heart mold.


:)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Some good TV

There are three shows on Amazon that I love and I would watch over and over again. In no particular order:

1) Catastrophe: this is a comedy/drama/sometimes hits too close to home about an American man, Rob Delaney, who meets an Irish woman (Sharon Horgan) in a bar in London. They have a one night stand and she ends up pregnant. The first season follows the couple trying to navigate this complicated situation and each show is more ridiculous than the first. Horgan and Delaney wrote the show and it's absolutely comedy gold. Also, sometimes painful. You know when sometimes art imitates life a little too well? Yeah, that kind of painful. The next two seasons follow the couple as they have kids and go through ups and downs in their marriage, all with a touch of ridiculous comedy. Nearly every line in the show has some type of comedic element to it. I love it. It's so amazing and good. If you are married and/or have kids, this may be totally up your alley. Also, it may piss you off, haha!

2) Good Girls Revolt: This show was so good and it was cancelled, unfortunately, so there is not a chance it will return. However, fantastic nonetheless. This show follows the fictional Patty as she works as a researcher at the fictional News of the World newsmagazine at the end of the 1960s in NYC. There are so many things that I love about this show. Firstly, the cinematography, the costuming, the lighting are so well done. It creates a nostalgia in me because a lot of the decor reminded me of my grandparents' house or my parents' house. Secondly, the acting is phenomenal. Thirdly, the story is about women trying to gain equality and it centers around the women trying to become reporters instead of researchers (being a female reporter at NotW is not allowed). The women bring a lawsuit against the company and that's where the story ends. It's all loosely based on the real women who brought a lawsuit against Newsweek in the late 60s asking for equality in the workplace. The women actually won the lawsuit, but equality in the workplace is still far from here, even in 2018. The show is great and I wish Amazon would recognize that we want to see strong female role models in our entertainment. I guess they will realize that when they actually have female executives...

3) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: This just came out and won a bunch of awards and I loved this show so much I hope it comes back. Rachel Brosnahan plays Midge Maisel, a young, upper West Side Jewish Housewife in NYC in 1958. In the first episode, her husband, Joel, leaves her and she discovers her previously unknown talent for stand up comedy. Brosnahan is phenomenal - I literally cannot take my eyes off of her. The entire cast is superb, including Tony Shaloub as her father. The show is written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who was creator of the Gilmore Girls, still one of my favorite shows, so I guess it's no surprise I would love this one too. I hope they renew it. I can't wait to see where Mrs. Maisel goes.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Home Again

In case you didn't know, I am a huge Reese Witherspoon fan, so I was excited to see her latest rom-com, Home Again on the interwebs. I had some high expectations for this movie, and I have to say, it did not disappoint. Firstly, I have been home most of this week with some sort of head cold, so this was a perfect movie for hanging on the couch. Secondly, the NYTimes recently published an article about how Witherspoon is so smart because she came up with her own movie production company (all on her own! With her own head! AMAZING!) that wants to focus on making more movies for women, by women, etc. I'm not sure why the NYTimes felt that this was a revolutionary idea, because, DUH. Of course women want movies made for them. And of course women tell good stories, and can direct and act and all that jazz. I mean, really people. 
ANYways, his movie was written and directed by a woman (Hallie Meyers-Shyerand stars some wonderful actresses like Reese Witherspoon and Candace Bergen. The story is that Alice (Witherspoon) has just separated from her husband and moved back to CA from NY. She has two daughters and she is the daughter of a famous movie director (who is now dead) and her mother (Bergen) is a famous actress from her father's movies. The movie begins with Alice dropping her kids off at school and being just generally unsure about her life's direction. Witherspoon nails her role, man she is such a good actress.
It happens to be Alice's 40th birthday, so she sends the girls to Grandma's and she goes out with her friends to live it up. She ends up drinking too much and meeting some young guys and they end up partying all night long. These scenes were so amazing to me. Firstly, when a mom lets loose, sometimes she totally lets loose, especially with lots of stress in life. Secondly, moms miss going out and having lots of fun and sleeping in and all those things we did as kids, and this movie captured these sentiments so well. And, of course, we all want to be attractive to younger people, so this whole part was so satisfying to me. 
Of course, all comes crashing down the next day when her kids show up and the young guys are actually trying to get a film made but have just lost their place to live. The movie ends up being about kismet (being in the right place at the right time), and about the unexpected roles people can play in our lives. It's also about being a mom and going through a life transition and just being a woman, you know?
My favorite part of the movie (this may be a spoiler, I'm not sure) is after Alice sleeps with one of the guys (Harry), she asks him to come to a dinner party with her. He tells her he will meet her there, but ends up standing her up. She's upset, obviously, and the next day basically tells him that she doesn't want to be in a relationship where she is wondering whether the other person will show up or not. She is "too good" (meaning she knows her self worth) to put up with that. It is a remarkable scene because never, ever in rom-coms, do women stand up for themselves. Women always seem to be the last to know their true feelings, the last to understand the situation, the last to realize all of the elements. And in this movie, man, Alice knows exactly what she wants. And she gets there through the movie and through the people she brings into her life.
I loved this movie. I really, really hope this means there will be more movies made of strong female characters, lead characters, who know what they want out of life and who grab life by the balls. I also hope this leads to more mom characters who are complex and interesting and not just "mom" and also more stories about unexpected roles people can play in our lives. These stories are by far more interesting than the less complex rom-coms of the past.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Philly

After I graduated college, I got a job at Baxter in Thousand Oaks, CA. I worked in drug manufacturing and I worked 4-10s, which meant I worked Sunday - Wednesday, noon-10pm every week. I worked with some really fantastic people and, for a while, I really loved that job. My shift lead was Nicky, a late-twenties body builder and ex-football player. He was a big, lovable lug and he was a great boss.  We worked on Sundays, and all the guys followed football, so I decided to learn about football too. In our downtime, Nicky taught us a lot about the game and the teams. He told me to choose a team to follow. He followed the Miami Dolphins. I picked the Philadelphia Eagles because I liked their logo and I had been to Philly a couple times and I loved it. Following the team taught me more about the game and it was always awesome when the Eagles would win and the Dolphins would lose. It made me feel like I had picked a good team.

In 2003, I moved to Philly and football became a weekly interest, especially when the fall cold came and days got shorter and it was harder and harder to stay outside. The Eagles had been my team and it was so fun to get together with my friends from grad school and watch Sunday or Monday night football. One friend, Marcus, was obsessed with the Eagles. He would have dozens of people over to his house on Sundays and he projected the games on a huge wall in his house. They would mute the game cast from the national TV station and they would play the local radio station instead. The vast majority of national TV broadcasts were super negative about the Eagles, while the local radio was always singing their praises (or recalling super random and obscure sports trivia about the team). Marcus would get so worked up, screaming and yelling at the TV. It was great fun.

When I first moved to Philly, I went to the Wawa (like 7/11) to get some groceries. I remember the clerk saying, "Go Iggles" instead of "Thanks" or "Have a good one". The city literally stops when there is an Eagles game. Nobody on the streets. The cabs are empty. The bars are filled with screaming spectators. When you walk past houses, you can hear the game. You can hear people cheering or screaming. If you ever wanted to start a conversation with someone you didn't know, you could always say, "How about them Iggles?" (or Phils, or Flyers, or Sixers). That's how I got to know so many of the people I worked with at Penn. We always knew what was going on with the home teams and it made me a lot of friends, for sure.

In bars, it was normal for an Eagles cheer to break out, anytime, anywhere. (Bar singalong were also common - I miss those...). You could hear Eagles cheers at any sports games, not just Eagles games. I remember hearing them at Phils games.

But Philly has always been an underdog. A ragtag group of boys. Coaches who always made the wrong call. Quarterbacks who could only take us so far. And I think, to a certain extent, we liked being the underdog. You can't expect much and we just might surprise you (a bit like Philly itself). It shows we are tough. We can take the punches. We are loyal, not fickle. We stay with a team for life. It's part of our culture.

Last night was a triumph. It was honestly the most beautiful football I've ever seen Philly play (offensively). Foles was on. The coaches were calling the right plays. And the offense was on fire. And Brady was not. The Pats fell, but not without a good fight. So many superbowls are one sided and super boring. This game (for many reasons) had me on the edge of my seat. I am thrilled the Eagles brought the Lombardi trophy home. Philly deserves it. I am so proud of my adopted city and my team. And you can bet my family will be wearing some Eagles gear to represent! I wish I could have walked Broad St last night with the rest of the city. I did it when the Phils took the World Series, and I'd be proud to do it again. And I'd love to see the parade. Philly always does a parade right.

Suffice it to say, it was the best superbowl ever. Go Eagles!

Fly Eagles, Fly
On the road to victory
Fight, Eagles, Fight
For a touchdown 1,2,3
Hit em low,
hit em high
and watch those eagles fly
E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Staying Stylish

Look, don't judge me. I'm 40. I'm allowed to read what I want, OK? Also, I've been traveling and job interviewing lately, so a mindless book on the Kindle is just about all I can handle.
Haha!
I downloaded Staying Stylish by Candace Cameron Bure (yes, that's DJ from Full House) for the discount price of $1.99 on the Kindle. I read it in less than a day. It turns out that Candace doesn't really have a lot to say in terms of staying stylish, so I thought I would run down what she tells you just in case you wanted to know.

  • Be true to your sense of style (seems obvious, no?)
  • Invest in pieces that are timeless so you will get lots of wear out of them
  • Try to find balance in your outfit (e.g. if shoulders bare, legs are covered; if shirt is loud, jewelry is muted, etc)
  • Try to get things tailored so they fit better
  • Try on lots of sizes and styles - don't limit yourself to just one
  • Invest in outerwear - it can make or break your outfit.
  • Organize your closet so you can easily pick out things that work together. 
  • When packing for a trip, roll your clothing up and choose one color palette and stick to it. 
  • She recommends skin care products that cost at least $200 so there's not a chance that's accessible to anyone
  • She tells you how she does her makeup
  • You should not be afraid to try different hairstyles or hair colors.
  • She tells you how she does her ponytail (I found this interesting...)
  • She tells you about her favorite foods and snacks
  • She gives you a fairly intense workout circuit
  • She tells you to pray and write in a journal, read,  practice gratitude, take time for yourself and spend time alone.
Honestly, this book was super simple and sort of interesting which is just what I wanted it to be when I downloaded it. I don't read a lot of fashion magazines because, honestly, they are not written for a 40 year old scientist mom. I don't shop a ton and I don't spend a lot of time on myself and it was nice to be reminded that maybe I should stop and spend some time on myself. Anyways, it was an interesting read if you're into this kind of thing. Plus, I really like CCB for reasons that I can't really articulate so there's that.

Jane Austen

For the last year or more I have been reading works by Jane Austen. Faithful readers of this blog will know that I use my brain extensively at work, requiring more gentle and easy reading at night. I took many Austen works from my mom's library and have been slowly working my way through them and I thought I would tell you what I think.

Northanger Abbey: I just finished this book and I really enjoyed it. It follows Catherine, a young girl of 17 who enjoys "fiction" - as far as I can tell, this means Victorian novels. She lives a somewhat normal life, but injects aspects of this fiction into her life using her imagination. She is lucky enough to be invited to vacation in Bath with Mr. and Mrs. Allen, where she meets several friends, including Isabella, Eleanor Tilney and Henry Tilney . Of course, she falls for Henry, and is invited to stay with the Tilneys for a period of time. A period of drama ensues, partially due to Catherine's imagination, and the story ends with our heroine finally landing the man of her dreams. I liked this book for its ease of reading, but I have to say that Catherine didn't hold much interest to me. She didn't seem to have much personality or opinions, and the most interesting thing about her was the people she surrounded herself with.

Emma: I loved this book. Emma is spunky and funny and ridiculously snobbish and is always trying to mess with people's lives. Emma lives with her hypochondriac father in a giant mansion overlooking the town. She is by far the most clever of the people in the town and she thinks, therefore, that she must help them with her cleverness. She sets out to (disastrously) find a mate for her "dear friend" Harriett, she decides she must be in love with a town newcomer, Frank, and she completely ignores that she is actually in love with Mr. Knightley, a man who has been a constant companion for her family. This book is funny, entertaining, and completely ridiculous because our heroine does not even have a clue of her own feelings.

Masnfield Park: This book I thought was so-so. Fanny Price is one of many children and is sent to live with her very rich aunt and uncle because her family can no longer afford so many kids. She is sent there at age 10 to be what? A servant? Sort of. A companion? Maybe? Definitely inferior. She turns out to be the moral compass for the whole book, resisting temptations of intrigue, sex, and general naughtiness. My only problem with this book was the resolution. She falls in love with Edmund, her cousin, but he does not return her affections. At the conclusion of the book, she and Edmund are finally together, but the actual climax of the book does not revolve around this. Most of her books, the climax involves conversations among characters, while, this book just involves a third person narration telling the reader what happens. Needless to say, I did enjoy this book, just perhaps less than the other. In addition, there is much about slavery (and apparently the name Mansfield would have been synonymous with abolition) but I don't know much about English history so I will leave that to the actual proper book reviewers.

Pride and Prejudice: Of course, the most popular of the books, Elizabeth meets obnoxious and snobby Mr. Darcy and proceeds to contradict him and challenge him to the point of his falling in love with her. One of my favorite Austen books, I have now read this twice and each time was most enjoyable. I love a ballsy heroine, especially one who knows what she wants and Austen absolutely provides in this book.

I have yet to read Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion but I possess them both. I will let you know what I think when I read them!