Friday, March 27, 2015

"The females are strong as H*ll."

I usually like to do tributes to TV shows I really like. Lately, I'm lucky if I can get my blog project post done, let alone anything else. So I've decided to do a condensed post and give shout-outs to some new TV shows I've been enjoying over the past year. All three feature women in the lead roles and have a chick lit feel to them in one way or another. Now that two of them are done for the year, I'm looking forward to Younger, which premieres next week.

Jane the Virgin

The best thing to happen to TV since Ugly Betty. It's told in a telenovela format and is about a 20-something girl, Jane (played by Gina Rodriguez), who is saving herself for marriage and gets accidentally artificially inseminated when she goes for a routine women's exam. The problem is, the father, Rafael Solano (played by the ever-so-gorgeous Justin Baldoni), is the son of the owner of the hotel where she works as a waitress. And his wife was counting on carrying the baby herself in order to keep her marriage from failing. (Are you still with me here?) Meanwhile, Jane's mother, Xiomara a.k.a. "Xo" (played by Andrea Navedo) re-connects with Jane's father, Rogelio de la Vega (played by Jaime Camil and very active on Twitter), after lying to Jane about him her whole life. The other problems are that the OB/GYN is Rafael's sister, Luisa (played by Yara Martinez), who is having an affair with her stepmother (played by Bridget Regan), and Jane is engaged to Michael, a cop who gets involved in the hotel's business when some strange things start happening. Oh, the DRAMA! It's a deliciously fun show and I can't wait to come back from its hiatus in early April.

Love to hate: Michael, Jane's fiancé (played by Brett Dier). He's just boring and manipulative. I don't like how he tries to use his cop status to get in Rafael's face all the time and make unfounded accusations against him.

Hate to love: Petra, Rafael's wife (played by Yael Grobglas). She definitely has an evil side, but after hearing her back story, it's hard not to feel sorry for her. Even so, she finds ways to come out on top whenever things aren't going the way she'd like.

This trailer says it all...


This show immediately attracted me for two reasons...time travel and the 90s. And then it kept me drawn in through pop culture (especially the music), cute guys, and a captivating story line. It's basically about a woman who goes back to good old 1995 after collapsing in an elevator. It happens to be that she arrived on her wedding day and she decides to change the course of her own history, knowing what she knows in the present. (Or is it the future?) Even if there were weeks that Becca (the main character, played by Laura Ramsey) made a crazy decision, I still wanted to stick it out and see what would come of the new change she made to her past. I liked the supporting cast, which includes Donna Murphy (who did the voice of Mother Gothel in Tangled) and Mario Cantone  (I saw him hurriedly walking down the street when I was in NYC), amongst people I've never seen before. It was cool to see how one change Becca made totally affected the rest of the characters. Things that happened in her first reality might not be the same if she gets back to 2015. We won't know if she's there again until next year, but I'm thankful the series was renewed. It's too good not to be! You can watch it for free on, so why not dig in?!?

Love to hate: Melanie, Becca's 2015 fiancé's girlfriend in 1995 (played by Jessy Hodges, who looks somewhat like Alyson Hannigan...enough to be noticeable). She was just so smug and I hated the way she talked. I felt like she basically existed to torment Becca.

Hate to love: Jamie, Becca's brother (played by John Patrick Amedori). He was a typical 90s slacker, but I just found him attractive, even when he was making bad decisions. He reminded me of Travis from Clueless.

If this trailer doesn't convince you to watch it, let me know what else I can say...

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I was never a fan of 30 Rock, and I know this is from the same writers and creators (including Tina Fey). However, the concept drew me in and the story line and level of humor kept me going with it. Not to mention, the catchy theme song. It reminds me of a cross between Blast from the Past, 13 Going on 30, and Arrested Development (I'm not the only one who noticed this TV show comparison either). The premise is that some women who were kidnapped and tricked into living in an underground bunker for 15 years have now been freed and they're adapting to life and all the changes that have gone on. The main focus is on Kimmy (played by Ellie Kemper), a 30 year-old with a middle school education who decides to live in NYC and ends up being roommates with a stereotypically flamboyant gay man, who is now Felix from Orphan Black's competition for my TV gay bestie (played by Tituss Burgess), and takes a job as a nanny for a stuck-up rich woman (played by Jane Krakowski). This lends itself to really funny lines and quirky comedy all across the board. Carol "I'm not a witch, I'm your wife" Kane also has a big role as Kimmy and Titus' landlord, Lillian. She and Titus play off each other so well. My husband and I have all sorts of inside jokes from the show, even just from doing a grand arm gesture and saying "it's a MIRACLE!" Or we'll just randomly sing "Pinot Noir." Kimmy is an adorable character (#girlcrush worthy) on a charming show. I definitely recommend it if you need a good laugh or even a break from reality. For those of you who already love this series, you will enjoy this post.

Love to hate: Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (played by Jon Hamm). He's just more and more awful every time he talks. (Runner up is Randy, Kimmy's non-father, because he's so annoying. He's played by Tim Blake Nelson.)

Hate to love: Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski's character). She's so shallow and full of herself, but I know she has this vulnerable side and I love that about her. I want to see her change for the better somehow.

Check out the trailer:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My own "Modern" family

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for over a year, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week, it's each blogger's choice for what to post, so expect some randomness!

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic. I will be only posting links to posts on this same topic from my group. So check back if you were hoping to read their blogs and don't see a link yet.

Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

Since it's been about eight years from when my family and I first became Shomer Shabbos, I've decided to talk about some of the pros and cons to having an observant Jewish lifestyle. We're Modern Orthodox, which borders on secular in some ways. And this is only my opinion. Other people might agree or disagree and as long as they keep it friendly, I am fine with that. 

I first want to point out that if I were in charge, anyone who wanted to convert to Orthodox Judaism would be allowed to without any questions. I think the only criteria would be to spend a year being Shomer Shabbos/Yom Tov and keeping Kosher. If they can do that and still want to do it for years to come, that should be enough. 


*Shabbos: It's the one time a week we truly get to unplug and just focus on being with family and friends. There's something so relaxing about lighting the candles and then sitting down to a meal. It says that the work of the week is done and it's time to turn off the computers, phones, etc. Don't worry about anything other than completely taking in the warmth and joy of the Sabbath.

*Making challah: I made challah even before becoming observant, but that was in a bread machine and didn't involve the effort of kneading the dough and braiding many loaves, as well as taking a piece for the Kohanim. I now use the challah making time to keep in mind people who need prayers for some reason or another. I also love when I can share the challah braiding experience with friends or with my children. And the end result is so delicious!

Challahs I made for Rosh Hashanah

*Cholent: I love a good cholent. I never would have thought to eat it before becoming observant. My husband makes amazing cholent and he's even entering a cook-off soon. Let's hope everyone else agrees!

*Going to the mikvah: Even though family purity means less hand-holding and kissing between husband and wife, there's something to be said for the anticipation of mikvah night and what comes after. I also feel like that non-physical time opens up the lines of verbal communication even more. In any case, mikvah night itself is special because women are made to feel like a bride each time they go. The prep rooms are beautiful and relaxing and the experience of dipping afterward is so physically and spiritually invigorating. I feel closest to Hashem when I'm in the mikvah and have that time to communicate with him.

*Rituals and traditions: Celebrating a simcha becomes a community event. Even when someone you don't know just had a baby or is celebrating another milestone in their lives, everyone wishes each other "mazel tov." It's all so joyous and everyone is happy being together to share in something good. I also love that we waited three years before cutting our sons' hair. It was so special to have upsherins for them. 

Stocking up on kugels at Costco
*Community: Since the goal is to live within walking distance of a Shul, it's important to find the right community with whom to attend services in the first place. The two go hand in hand. Even in a large community, such as mine, there's still a small world feel. I always see people I know at restaurants, stores, the library, etc. And on Shabbos, it doesn't matter if someone knows you or not, everyone greets each other on the way to and from Shul. I am thankful to have such a great community and I encourage anyone who decides to become observant later on to find that for themselves, as well. I also love that there was enough community support to get a Kosher bakery at the local Costco. (And the fact that they cater to the community with their meat selection and wide variety of Pesach items.)

*Purim: When else do you get an abundance of little food-filled packages? And dressing in costume in March is a nice change of pace.

Our mishloach manot "collection"

*My community is more lenient on "dress codes": I can just say for a fact that I'm not the only woman who wears short sleeves in the summer and doesn't always cover her hair. It's nice to not have those expectations where I live.


*Timing of significant events: If people aren't Jewish or aren't observant, it's not a big deal to host an event, party, concert, etc. on a Friday night (or before sundown on Saturday) or even on Yom Tov. I've missed out on a lot of things as a result. While I don't mind missing out on my 20 year high school reunion and having Shabbat to use as an excuse, it would have also been nice for people to consider having it on a Sunday or a Saturday night in the winter. Then I could have just said no for other reasons. Jamie Cullum was doing a concert on erev Shavuot last year. Billy Joel was performing well before Shabbat ended on a Saturday night in August. Independence Day was on a Friday last year and will be on a Saturday this year. There are even simchas for family and close friends that I've also had to miss due to the timing with Shabbat or holidays. I think the worst timing of all was when Tisha B'Av and my birthday were on the same day. Most other times, my birthday still falls within the three weeks or nine days. Another time, the Fast of Tammuz was on my birthday. When I didn't know better, this wouldn't have bothered me.  My older son will have Yom Kippur on his birthday every so often. (At least my younger two get to have Purim birthdays every now and then.)

Two or three day holidays: While Israel is exempt from having a two-day Yom Tov, that doesn't seem to be the case on our side of the ocean. Sometimes, it goes into three days, if Shabbos runs up against a holiday. This year, Shabbos and Pesach are combined. For the first days, this eats up the entire weekend (so I'm glad I'm off for Chol Hamoed). Shavuot this year falls on Memorial Day weekend. It starts with Shabbat on Friday night and then launches into a two day holiday that starts Saturday night and ends Monday night. So that whole weekend is also consumed by the holiday. I'm hoping my husband is able to transfer a flame to the grill so we can have a barbecue on Memorial Day anyway. The hardest is when the fall holidays are three days each to include Shabbos, with the exception of Yom Kippur, of course. I still don't get the meaning behind why we do this and Israel doesn't. It means two Pesach seders, which is essentially two nights of the same exact routine. More time to catch up on reading over those weekends, I suppose.

The blue dates are for Shabbat, holidays, and Chol Hamoed

*Lack of Kosher restaurant options in my area: Compared to NY and NJ, where I live now is sparse when it comes to availability of Kosher restaurants. There are a few good ones, but the nice steakhouse we went to for significant events closed down a few years ago. And we just found out that a really good Asian restaurant by where my brother-in-law lives is closing down soon. The Chinese restaurant closest to us is nothing to write home about and we usually just go up by my brother-in-law to go to the good Chinese restaurant (which is, thankfully, not closing down). Otherwise, it's just a couple of pizza places and a few BBQ places. I don't get into the city to try the very few options they have. What goes along with this is that, unlike Israel, we don't have Kosher versions of fast food restaurants. I'd love a Kosher Wendy's. I still miss their burgers. I'd deal with pareve Frosty if it were made correctly. The burgers at the BBQ places are good though, so that's a plus. 

*Private school vs. public school: Aside from our kids going to a nearby Jewish preschool/daycare program, we never even considered sending them to private school after that time. Part of this is due to two of our kids having hearing loss and needing a different kind of program for their early education. The other part is that we just don't see the need for the financial investment. We both went to public school and decided to become observant on our own. We're raising our kids in a positive environment for being observant and making sure they get supplemental education. While we worry about the social differentiation for our kids, we also stay connected with our friends in the community and most of them have kids close in age to ours. This past Shabbos, one of the boys in private school invited our older son over to play after lunch. They also went to a youth program at Shul later and were talking and giggling the whole time on the way there. I went to different schools than my closest friends when I was growing up and that obviously hasn't messed up our ability to stay close. We have to consider Bar Mitzvah preparation soon. There's so much our son will need to learn in a short amount of time in order to be ready. My husband is already practicing his parasha with him all the time. In any case, I just need to get over my paranoia that people are asking me about my schooling choices for my kids in an effort to be judgmental vs. just asking out of curiosity. 

*Preparing for Pesach: Back in the day, I was proud of myself if I went a whole week without eating bread or pasta. I didn't care if the rest of the food I ate was Kosher for Passover or not. Now, just shopping for Pesach gives me anxiety. And the cereal is so disgusting. (Given that I have to stop eating my favorite cereal for a week, it's not a fair trade-off.) There's also the matter of changing over the house and then not being able to buy chametz (i.e. chocolate) from my favorite stores (i.e. Target) for six weeks after Pesach ends because they didn't sell the chametz beforehand and are owned by Jews. Again, stuff I wouldn't have thought of even when I first became observant. However, once all the prep is done and it's time for the first Seder, I feel a weight lift off my shoulders and I can finally enjoy the holiday for what it is worth. I also look forward to spending it with my in-laws and some close friends every year. And I like how excited the kids get to sing the songs and talk about some of the details from the story. My husband also makes Passover food taste as good as chametz!

Kosher for Passover crepe

There are more pros and cons than the ones I listed today, but I hope that gives you some insight to what it's like becoming observant after growing up Reform. With the cons, I'm not trying to be negative as much as realistic. And they're coming from a different place than they would from someone who grew up observant and only knows one way of life.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Cleaning Book Giveaway

Spring is here (or so one might hope), so it's time to give away some books from my shelf. They don't call me The Book Fairy for nothing! Thanks to I am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting this blog hop once again.

This week, I'm featuring the following books (I know they're chick lit, but that's what I mostly own):

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger: I read this years ago, but it is a light and fun story. Not a high intensity career story like her others.

The Story of Us by Dani Atkins-reviewed here.

In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner--My favorite of all her books.

Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting: I haven't read this one yet, but received an extra copy.

Sleeping Over by Stacey Ballis: I also read this a long time ago, but it's an enjoyable chick lit read and I love anything Stacey Ballis writes, so you definitely will have a winner in your hands!

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall--reviewed here.

Simply from Scratch by Alicia Bessette--reviewed here.

How to win: Enter through Rafflecopter. If it doesn't work on this post, go here. Giveaway is US only and ends March 25th at midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

See what books these other blogs have in store!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Out in the blogosphere

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for over a year, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week, I chose the topic: Give a shout-out to FIVE other blogs. (They can't be one of ours or one that you contribute to.) They can be blogs of friends, blogs you frequently visit, etc. Share the blog link and a couple of sentences about why you like each blog.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic. I will be only posting links to posts on this same topic from my group. So check back if you were hoping to read their blogs and don't see a link yet.

Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

I know that blogging takes a lot of time and effort, so I wanted to show my appreciation for some other blogs out there that I frequently visit. I thought it would also be fun to see which blogs my fellow bloggers liked a lot, as well.

*Airing My Dirty Laundry: I mostly visit this blog for the Tuesday and Thursday columns, but there are other fun posts and giveaways too. I've learned a lot about Amber as a result. She's a military mom (her husband is in the military) and lives on a base with her husband and two kids. Her older child (son) has autism and she talks about him a lot. He sounds like a cool guy and I've enjoyed learning about him through her posts. She gives equal blog love to her daughter and talks about her eight year-old antics. Amber and I have similar interests in books, movies, TV shows, etc. She even told me that the actresses who played Annie and Molly in the original version of Annie are on Twitter!

*Luha Thoughts: My friend Leonel (a New Yorker who now lives in Vegas) writes about movies, books, TV shows, and other aspects of pop culture. I met him through my book blog and I enjoy visiting his blog to see his latest reviews. We sometimes agree on certain movies, books, and TV shows.

*Says Me, Says Mom: This is a great blog with visually pleasing artwork. My friend Jeryl and her daughter talk about all things pop culture, as well as things to do in their region (NY/NJ). She told me how she gets free or deeply discounted tickets to musicals, movies, etc. for reviewing them on her blog. While it's the equivalent of all the books I get, I'm still jealous. :)

*Karen's Korner: Karen was a guest reviewer at my book blog and then started her own. I'm glad she did because it's wonderful and very professional. She does lots of book giveaways too. I stop by on a weekly basis to see her latest reviews and interviews. Karen lives in my neck of the woods, so I hope to get together with her again soon.

*Post Punk Chronicles: This blog is written by a friend of mine, but if you don't already know who she is, I am not sharing her name, as some of her posts are deeply personal and intense. (She told me I could use her name, but I still don't feel right doing so. She's welcome to comment on the post and "out" herself though. :) ) She's a great writer and I wish she'd put together a book already!

Hope you get a chance to visit these blogs. I'd love to hear about your favorite blogs too.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The music of our hearts

I like doing fun lists to celebrate my wedding anniversary. For our 10th anniversary, I talked about 10 things that happened the year we got married. For our eighth anniversary, I listed some favorite dates.

In honor of our 11th wedding anniversary (on Pi Day), I'm listing 11 songs that have some sort of meaning to us, whether it is romantic or humorous.

At Navy Pier a few weeks before our wedding, March 2004

1. "Somethin' Stupid" by Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman. When I was in Israel, I kept seeing Robbie Williams' Swing When You're Winning CD a lot, but didn't end up buying it. However, "Will" sent it to me close to the time I started dating my husband. "Somethin' Stupid" was a catchy tune and we'd sing it together often. When we got engaged, we asked the mini-orchestra on our cruise to play it, but they strummed a few notes and said they didn't know it.

2. "Have You Met Miss Jones?" by Robbie Williams. On one of our dates, he decided to sing it to the tune of "Fly Me to the Moon."

3. "Hey Ya" by Outkast. It played all the time on our honeymoon. It makes us think of sitting in the hot tub and drinking strawberry daiquiris or "Dirty Bananas" at Sandals in St. Lucia "Shake it like a Polaroid picture..." 

Sandals, St. Lucia

4. "You're the Inspiration" by Chicago. Our first dance at our wedding, chosen after a Peter Cetera concert we attended the previous summer.

5. "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" by Billy Joel. We like talking about the paintings from Sears.

6. "Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera. We never saw The Karate Kid II together, but somehow we will randomly bring up this song and its relation to the movie.

7. "As Good as I Once Was" by Toby Keith. There's this part where Toby says "Oh Daa-aave" and he made that the ringtone of my phone for a while.

8. "Chandelier" by Sia. When we drive home from his brother's house at night, we pass this banquet hall with a gorgeous chandelier. So when we see it now, we sing this song.

9.  "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. He does a funny impression of the dance and he made me do one of the moves so he could take a picture in order to surprise me for my 30th birthday.

10. "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters because of that one episode of Saved by the Bell. ("I'm so...SCARED!") We both love SBTB and will bring up episodes and scenes at random time. This one definitely stands out though.

11. "I Want to Love You Tender" by Armi ja Danny. A source of laughter for both of us. The best part is when we spotted Danny in The Double (a movie I hated and he enjoyed) last year. It just brought things full circle. (The link goes to the scene where he's singing so that you're not stuck watching the whole movie.)

Exactly 11 years ago today, at our rehearsal dinner
Here's to many more years of music, romance, and laughter with the love of my life!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I'm gonna be 40....someday!

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for over a year, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week, Moma Rock chose the topic: Midlife Crisis

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic. I will be only posting links to posts on this same topic from my group. So check back if you were hoping to read their blogs and don't see a link yet.

Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

When I first received this topic, I laughed because it was like Moma Rock had read my mind. Before she gave the topic, I had posted the following on the comments section of my friend's post.

This is because I was a Book Fairy for Purim and wore a blonde wig. Some people, including my dad, told me that I looked good as a blonde.

When I was growing up and through most of high school, I had blonde hair. It grew out over time and I got tired of having it colored back to blonde, so I just went brunette toward the middle of junior year and never looked back. However, now that I'm closer to 40 and seeing gray every day (as much as I'd like to convince myself that they're strands of glitter), I think I'd like to dye my hair blonde. It would be more realistic looking than the costume wig, obviously. If that's as midlife crisis as I get, then my husband should be very thankful. And at least everyone would know where my kids get their blonde hair from!

Me when I was around my daughter's age

There are some other risks I'm thinking of taking as I go into this next decade of my life. (Only a year and four months to go. Yes, I'm counting down.)

For starters, I think I'm finally ready to go back and visit the town in NJ where my family and I lived for two years. I no longer dread the idea of going there. I'm in a different place in my life than I was back then, but even a few years ago, just looking at signs pointing to New York made me anxious. I realized just recently that I can go back there for a Shabbos and not feel intimidated anymore. I know who I am and I know who my real friends are in that area. The people who made me feel less than worthy should not have to keep me from spending time with people I do care about. There are some friends we haven't seen in almost two years and we keep promising to get together every year. I think it's their turn to host us. ;)

While I'm on a roll, I'm considering attending my 30-year high school reunion (gasp!). I know it's a ways down the road, but provided it's not conflicting with Shabbat, I think I could finally give it a whirl.

And call me crazy, but I think it would be cool to re-learn Spanish. I used to be so good at it and then lost almost everything I knew when I stopped taking classes. I think it's a useful skill to have. (Why not Hebrew, you ask? Maybe because it involves an extra step of reading and sounding out different looking letters before even translating them.)

Finally, I need to just get in the driver seat of the van and learn how to maneuver it already. We've had it four years and I'm still terrified to drive it. The other part of me would like to get something similar to an SUV, but a bit lower to the ground. I'm not sure how to describe it. I just know I need more space for my kids as they are getting bigger and crowding each other in the back seat. My current car is over 10 years old and I'm losing patience with it.

In any case, I hope to embrace my 40s in new and interesting ways, whether I stick to the items on this list or not.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mr. Holland has "earned" his opus

This past weekend, I watched Whiplash. While it was highly intense and engaging, it just made me want to watch Mr. Holland's Opus again. What is so similar about the two movies? They're both about music teachers. That's where the similarities end though. While Terence Fletcher, the teacher in Whiplash, was a complete tyrant, Glenn Holland was the ideal music teacher. The kind under whose patience and training, I'd flourish. He made learning music fun and meaningful at the same time, such as telling someone to "play the sunset." This is the opposite of Fletcher, who would throw chairs and scream in people's faces to get results. This all comes down to the fact that I used to take piano lessons and then completely gave up.

When I was first learning how to play piano, I had this awful teacher. She barely paid attention to me and would distract me from my scales by eating her dinner next to the piano, letting her dog run around all over the place, or talking on the phone. And then she'd tell me that I wasn't any good at playing piano. I was so frustrated that I hated practicing for her lessons. Thankfully, my parents found a new teacher for both my sister and me. She was kind and patient and I flourished under her training. I was excited about playing piano again. And then she moved out of state. I remember crying myself to sleep over the news. The following school year, my parents found another teacher for us to go to. She was nice and all, but I just wasn't motivated to play anymore. I think I gave up at some point and then participated in a chorus group at my junior high. Turns out, I loved to sing. (I still do, of course.) The problem was that I had no vocal strength and couldn't carry a note. So I took voice lessons for a few years in high school. That was definitely helpful. While I didn't get into any musicals or get any solos from chorus, I still had more confidence in my ability to sing. I sing all the time these days, just for fun. Even when I'm doing chores around the house.

Recently, I read an article about a teacher who was shaming her students into learning how to read better. How is that even helpful or effective? It just makes kids feel bad about themselves and leads to social issues, as well. I told a friend who is a reading instructor about this article and she was appalled, as well. Kids can still learn how to read well with kindness, patience, and encouragement to keep them motivated.

Back to my point....I don't get how Andrew (Miles Teller's character) was so motivated by Fletcher being so horrible to him all the time. I would have quit the first time he got in my face or started slapping me as a way to demonstrate "rushing." I don't see how anyone would want to be his student or perform in an orchestra or band that he was conducting. So not worth it.

On the other hand, Mr. Holland completely "earned" his opus by making an impact on each and every one of his students and helping them see their potential, even when they personally felt it wasn't there. I really think I need to see Mr. Holland's Opus again (it's only been nine and a half years since I last did), just to get the bad images of an abusive music instructor out of my head. It isn't always about being on the right tempo or playing mind games to get people to perform their best in a competition. It's about having a shared love for music and allowing people to see another side of it. All I know is that I performed way better when I had a kind teacher than when I had one who made me feel bad about myself.

Side note: I still can't play piano, but my younger son is starting to take after my husband in trying to create his own music. I only hope he'll have a teacher who is patient and encourages him to succeed. 

What kind of instructor motivates you: one who is kind and encouraging or one who shows no mercy?