Friday, November 27, 2015

Let's do the twist--#TwisterBlogHop

I'm participating in a blog hop to talk about best twists in TV shows, movies, or books.Check out all the #TwisterBlogHop posts here. Thanks to Deborah Nam-Krane for hosting this blog hop.

I didn't want to talk about books this time, as to not ruin the plot of some pretty incredible stories. Yeah, I know most people have probably read the one I'm currently thinking of, but I don't even want to imply which book has a twist as to not spoil even that much of it.

This post contains a major spoiler for The Mindy Project. If you have not seen the series, start now and then come back after you finish season three. This post will still be here. All the seasons are currently on Hulu and you can even get a one-month free trial if you just want to get a sneak peek at this show before committing (but you know you will want to commit because it's THAT good).

Need more of a reason to watch?

If you don't already watch, do not read any further if you don't want the spoiler.

LAST CHANCE to turn back!

Don't say I didn't warn you...

All is going swimmingly in season three, even with Mindy being across the country at school and possibly opening a new fertility clinic. In the meantime, she goes back to New York for a visit and has a routine women's exam (awkwardly enough, administered by her friend and colleague, Dr. Peter Prentice). Afterward, the episode is still going at its normal pace, so I don't expect the news she receives at the end of the episode....that she's PREGNANT! Well, I don't know who was more in shock, Mindy or myself. I was sitting on the couch processing the news for quite a while and both laughing and crying. It was quite a game changer for this series and it has definitely taken things in a new direction for both Mindy and Danny. I wonder if there will be more twists in store for season four.

Well played, Mindy. Well played. (Not only is Mindy an incredibly talented comedic actress who deserves an Emmy by now, but she's also an amazing writer!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hey, It's okay Tuesday

One of my favorite blogs, Airing My Laundry, does a post every week that was inspired by a section of Glamour magazine. She invites her followers to do their own posts like this. I enjoy doing this a every so often, so I thought it's time for another list. Since I don't do this weekly, my list will be long.

It's okay...

*To not care so much about the new Star Wars movie. I mean, yeah, I'll see it in the theater. However, I'm not in a rush and I don't really follow all the million posts about it or the excitement everyone else is experiencing. I guess I'd compare their excitement over the new movie to mine over going to Book Expo America.

*To be excited about Finding Dory coming to theaters next summer.

*To not post political stuff on my Facebook page regarding the refugees. There's too much conflicting information out there and I really don't want to start a debate on my page. However, I will continue to post about the terrorism in Israel because that is clearly getting ignored in comparison to other countries who are experiencing terrorism.

*To be done with five seasons of Parenthood and have only one more to go. I'm going to miss it so much when it's done and I'm really scared of what will happen in the series finale since everyone has warned me that I'd be inhuman if I didn't cry. See my latest recap.

*To not go shopping on Black Friday. I've done it once and once was enough! I can't even deal with the crowds and lack of parking at the mall on a normal day.

Where you WON'T find me this Friday!

*To not be all that impressed with Adele's song, "Hello." It seems a bit eerie...."Hello from the other side..." Maybe I'm not listening with the right frame of mind, but either way, it falls short of the songs on her 21 CD.

*To be glad that my daughter likes Annie now. She sings "Tomorrow" all the time! I'm excited to watch the (original) movie with her sometime soon. (I found the 1999 version with Kathy Bates and Audra McDonald on YouTube and that one was cute too, from what I remember. Sarah Hyland from Modern Family was in it, as well.)

Me as Annie in 1982. I was THAT obsessed. :)
*To be annoyed about spending money to see a high school theater performance and most people were either off-key or not projecting (even with microphones) and I realized how spoiled I was by my own high school's amazing theater productions. (But as long as my kids liked the show, all is right with the world.)

*To be glad that I got to spend some quality time with my parents recently. It was nice to see them again and my mom and I got to talk a lot.

*To look forward to spending some quality time with my in-laws soon. (I'm one of the lucky few who gets along with their in-laws.)

*To only have one actual cooking responsibility for Thanksgiving, which can be delegated to the kids anyway...pumpkin pie!

Tastes even better with whipped cream on top! (Pareve, of course.)

*To find it hard to stay motivated during such a short work week.

*To have played laser tag the other night. I think my husband and I were the oldest ones playing, but that's okay. Some girl in the room was having a birthday and she kept de-aging each time they sang to her. In any case, I wasn't that great at it, but I had a lot of fun. It's therapeutic to shoot lasers at people. Who knew?!?

*To be relieved that my office is closing early on Wednesday so that I don't have to worry about child care after school on a half day.

*To keep the kids out past their bedtime (on a school night) so we could spend time with cousins visiting from out of town. My daughter loves our teenage cousin. (I remember when she was my daughter's age. Time flies!)

*To be concerned about the social implications of a non-celebrity celebrity's baby's name.

*To not be sure what to post about for the 30 days of gratefulness. Not because I'm not grateful, but more out of survivor guilt.

Airing My Dirty Laundry

Monday, November 23, 2015

Parenthood Season 5--SPOILERS included

I'm just sharing my random thoughts per episode for these blog posts. Hope this will allow anyone who has already seen the series to enjoy it vicariously. I contribute my thoughts after watching each episode, so it's basically like you're watching it with me. This post took about a month to write, as a result.

For information on episodes, here's a guide.

Spoilers ahead, but this won't make sense unless you've watched the whole season anyway.

Ep 1 and 2:
I'm glad Hank explained why he's back in town, but I don't understand what happened between him and Sarah. I know he's saying it's mutual, but the whole situation seems odd. It's cool that he's mentoring Max in photography though. 
I'm happy for Amber. I know she was worried about where things stood with Ryan. I love that he proposed to her. I'm glad Sarah is coming around about it and that she's going to help Amber plan her wedding. 
I like the idea of Zeke and Camille downsizing where they live. I know their home has history, but they don't really have a life there as much, especially now that Sarah and Drew have moved out.
What's with Drew's hair? He looks like he's in a boy band. It's funny how he was using all the text language and emojis and Sarah was getting all annoyed over it.
Crosby's situation seems pretty stressful. I hope he'll feel more of a connection to Aida soon. I wonder if she's colicky and also why they haven't talked to a pediatrician about what's going on. I'm getting worried about how this is draining on Jasmine too. I'm glad Crosby is acknowledging Jabbar's position in all of this. As far as the restaurant situation goes, I would just never eat there again. However, Jasmine could have taken Aida to a quieter part of the restaurant to try and feed her. I remember the days of having to carry a baby around the restaurant to keep them from crying. It's definitely frustrating all-around.
If all the Bravermans were at Crosby's house at the same time, why couldn't more of them help with the baby? They seemed to just be sitting around. I'd be annoyed if I were Jasmine too. Also, where is Renee? I thought things were good between her and Crosby now.
I'm glad Kristina is running for mayor. I think she'll be good at it too. I like her campaign manager. She seems to have it together. I can't believe she's the same actress who played Michelle's friend Denise on Full House. She's gorgeous now.
Speaking of actors from shows in the past, Roy from The Office had a guest spot as Julia's new friend. I wouldn't have wanted to be on the sustainability committee either. No offense to anyone who is interested in that. I just don't have the knowledge to pull off that kind of role and would probably mess things up further. Even my son knows more about recycling than I do. Anyway, I'm glad Julia admitted to him that she lied about being employed. In regards to that, I worry that she's going to be blacklisted at law firms because of her previous employer. Maybe she should start her own firm. I'm glad Joel got the new job. I worry that his boss is going to try pursuing him romantically though. Then again, I also worry about Julia's friendship with "Roy."

Ep 3:
Lots of gray area to explore in this episode...
I wonder what's going to happen between Zeke and Camille. They really seem split on what to do for their "third act." I'm annoyed that Zeke bought the car though.
The decision over Victor's schooling is pretty stressful too. I think Julia has a good point, but I also agree with Joel about trying every avenue before taking such a huge step.
I didn't like how Kristina was acting toward Adam in the beginning. I'm glad she finally gave Sarah a chance to do her head shot and that she's more open toward the idea of budgeting now.
I'm glad Sarah is becoming more confident in her photography skills and that people are starting to believe in her more. I hope she gets recognition for the head shot so that her business will take off.
The part with Crosby and Aida at the end was just the sweetest. Aida is so cute! Still doesn't make me want more babies, but I can enjoy this vicariously. I'm glad he was able to feed her.
I love how Ryan gave Drew's roommate a good talking down. That was hilarious. I also like that Drew has moved on from Amy and that it's with this actress I liked from the new 90210 series. It was cute how they kicked his roommate out just to end up playing Scrabble.

Ep 4:
It was cute how Drew tried liking Joni Mitchell to impress Natalie. I hope he gets out of the friend zone soon. It was funny how everyone knew that track 9 gets you in the fun zone.
It would be interesting if Adam and Crosby started their own label. Sounds complex, but I think they can do it.
I'm glad Adam was able to get the money for Kristina's campaign. I hope he tells her about it soon. I can't wait to see her reaction. It was sweet that Max gave her some money and his support. I think she needs to expand beyond just education. I thought she was going to focus on the health system too. In any case, shouldn't a mayor be focused on the city at large?
I had a feeling Sarah and Amber would come to blows eventually. I hope Amber is able to prove to Sarah that their relationships are totally different.
I like that Zeke is trying to help Victor learn how to read with some tough love. I also love that Julia made Victor and Sydney help Zeke as a way to keep them out of trouble.

Ep 5 and 6:
I like how Crosby handled the situation with the band they're recording to their label. The lead singer was being insufferable and I'm glad Crosby showed that he's in charge still. It's good that the lead singer is being nicer about things now.
I'm glad Ryan confronted Sarah about her questions regarding his family. I'm not sure why he doesn't just tell Amber about it though. Unless he did and I missed that conversation? I wonder if Amber will still go through with the private ceremony in court if she's not getting Drew's help and if things are going to get better between her and Sarah. I'm also glad that Camille told Sarah that Amber is going to do what she wants no matter what. Knowing from experience, when someone that young realizes they've made a mistake, they'll handle it on their own without outside pressure.
It was nice that Zeke went to check out the condo with Camille, but it seems like he still doesn't get it. Building a fire pit in the yard is not going to change things. I'm hoping he'll listen to her more though, now that Julia spoke her mind about things.
The situation with Julia and Joel is becoming worrisome. I hope she doesn't cheat on him with Ed. It seems like they flirt with each other a lot. I agree with Julia about Joel getting taken for granted by his boss. I also don't trust her much. I'm thinking she'll end up seducing Joel somehow.
I agree with Kristina about being upset over Max and the yearbook situation. I also am glad that she's helping him see the reality of life, that things don't always go the way he wants them to. I like how she just sat with him so they could be mad together. It shows she's on his side but that she's not going to be able to do much else. I would worry if she was always helping him get his way. However, I secretly wished that she shamed the yearbook teacher during the debate. It's the little things...
It was funny about Crosby going minivan shopping and how he thinks it's a woman thing. My husband is the only one in our house who drives our minivan.

Ep 7:
Julia  is going down a slippery slope with this flirtation she has going on with Ed. I know he's encouraging it though. And paired with the lack of attention from Joel, things could get pretty ugly soon.
I loved Amber's idea for the recording. I'm glad it was successful. Even though Oliver is a diva, when he rocks out, he has a great sound. Very 90s. It seems like Amber has a flirtation thing going on with the other guy in the band whom she seems openly physical with, even though Ryan is around to possibly see it. I think she's getting cold feet about marrying him. Especially based on her reaction to the ring.
It seems like Drew has a friend with benefits. I wonder if he'll get Natalie pregnant too.
I love how Max said everything Hank told him while at dinner with the whole family. Awkward! I'm glad Sarah confronted him on it. It's nice that Hank sees potential from Max though. That could be helpful for getting him on a career path down the road.
Interesting that Zeke mentioned Camille not inviting him to Italy. It seemed like she wanted him to go but wanted that to be his decision. Unless I missed something in the previous episode. I know she said she was going, but it didn't sound like Zeke couldn't go too.
I like seeing the parallels between Camille and Julia and how they seem more connected now. I'm glad Julia stood up for her when all the siblings were discussing the situation.

Ep 8:
I had a feeling Adam punching the guy in the store would come back to haunt him later. Interesting way of tying that story line back in. I like how Kristina explained everything at the press conference and used it toward her platform. I'm impressed that she didn't stoop to Bobby's level. I wonder if Heather will eventually spill what happened.
I'm not having a good feeling about things between Julia and Joel right now. What he said to her about making bad decisions was just painful to hear. It was also awkward when Ed was hugging her. I feel bad for Victor. They really should transfer him to another school where he can start over fresh without a stigma of being held back.
I'm glad Sarah attended the party after all. I hope it brings about some new networking opportunities for her photography career.
I love how Zeke is embracing the quasi-single life. So funny. I felt bad for him with how Camille rushed off their Skype chat though.
It's cute how Jabbar is taking ballet classes. I like what Adam told Crosby about embracing their kids' interests and passions even if it's not what they wanted them to like. I'm glad Crosby showed up at the end.
I'm not sure what kind of read to get on Amber and Ryan's relationship. I have a feeling this ring situation is going to hang over them like a dark cloud for a while.

Ep 9:
I knew Ryan's violent streak was going to come out again at some point. That scene in the bar was awful. I feel bad for Amber. I'm surprised she didn't tell Sarah what happened though.
I like that Amber was asked to be the backup vocalist. She still has a great singing voice.
I'm a bit annoyed that Kristina conceded after all this effort and support from everyone. If the vote was that close, she could have just held out to see if she won. I thought the whole season was going to be based on the campaign and then her winning. I wonder what will happen next. It was sad to see how her friend is doing, health-wise. It was sweet what the girl with hearing loss said to her. If she can help her, why can't she help Victor too?
Speaking of which, I feel really bad for both Victor and Julia. I really hope they switch him to a different school. He's not going to survive this socially or emotionally...and neither is Julia. Joel is still being such a jerk about things. He acts like he made all these sacrifices for her. Sydney wasn't really going through any crises while Julia was working. This is a different playing field. I would have been pissed off too if my husband weren't answering the phone because he was having sushi with his flirtatious boss. And here I was hoping her friendship with Ed would make Joel come around somehow.
The whole situation with Max and Ruby (yes, those are the same names as that kid's show about bunnies) was interesting. I'm glad Hank had a talk with Max after talking with Sarah. Ruby was being rude to him though.
I would have been annoyed in Crosby's situation, but I'm surprised he didn't think to register to vote. The old lady at the election was pretty nasty though.
Side note: It seems odd that Haddie hasn't made so much as an appearance yet. Drew is in college and they focus on him. Why can't they focus on Haddie too? Who cares if she's in a different state? She's still part of the Braverman clan.

Ep 10:
Amber's situation just went in a completely different direction than I was expecting. Wow. It's like she doesn't even get a choice in the matter either. I see this ending even worse for both Amber and Ryan.
The election is over. It's not really worth making Kristina feel bad about her decision to concede. It sounds like she would have lost anyway if she was down by two points. It was a nice effort on Adam's end to just let her throw eggs at Bob's picture. He really is a smug little creep. I hope Kristina eventually decides to come forward about what he did with Amber.
Sarah and the tenant guy would be cute together if she would just loosen up a bit.
I'm still nervous for Julia and Joel. I wonder if she'll tell him about Ed trying to kiss her. I'm glad Joel is at least trying to make an effort in their relationship now.
I'm glad Amy is back on the scene. I wonder if her being around will make Natalie jealous enough to rethink where things stand between her and Drew. This is making me miss college though.

Ep 11:
I'm glad Zeke has a new friend. I was hoping his friend would convince him to drop everything and go find Camille in Italy. I guess not.
The scene at the end between Julia and Joel was intense. I hope they get couples counseling soon. I don't know how much more of this tension I can handle. Weirdly, I thought Joel would cheat on Julia with his boss. I love how Adam and Crosby were looking out for Julia though.
I find it annoying that Sarah all of a sudden likes Carl more because he has a reputable career.
I'm glad Drew and Amy are back together. I'm sure Natalie will eventually tell Amy that she was Drew's friend with benefits. I don't see things going in a good direction if and when that happens.
Expecting a book to diagnose someone with Asperger's is like asking WebMD if you're dying. It's so standard and if Hank is really that concerned, he should have himself tested. I'm glad he and Max are on better terms, but I can imagine Max's outburst at the beginning being upsetting because Hank really wasn't prepared.
Is Victor's educational issue completely swept under the rug now? He seems like he's fine about everything.

Ep 12:
I was all excited when Julia finally suggested marriage counseling and am super upset that Joel isn't even open to it. I get that Julia has changed since leaving her job, but Joel has caused just as much damage to their marriage by being a jerk about everything. I don't know that I would have wanted Julia to tell Joel about the kiss since that obviously is causing more of a rift, but I also feel like Joel has pushed her into having a connection with someone outside of their marriage, even if it wasn't physical.
Oliver is such a pain in the butt, but I'm glad Jasmine talked some sense into him. The song he wrote about her was nice.
The whole photography job situation is so bizarre. I'm happy for Sarah, but it seems like she got the job just because of her connection with Carl, whether he'd admit that or not. She doesn't seem to know what she's doing. I didn't think Hank was qualified for it either, based on how stubborn he gets about certain things. It will be weird for them to partner up on it, if that's really what they're doing.
I feel bad for Max. Middle school is hard enough as it is, but not to have any friends while also being made fun of makes it so much worse. I know how Adam and Kristina feel about being helpless. If they fix things for him, they'll set an expectation and the friendship also won't be genuine.
I'm glad Amber said goodbye to Ryan. Even if she didn't want to at first, it will be good closure for her in the long run. Ryan's situation reminds me of Brooks from The Shawshank Redemption, but in a different way. When someone is in a confined situation with a set of rules, it's hard to adapt to daily life afterward. So I can see why he's doing what he's doing. While it's sad for Amber, she's only 20 and has her whole life ahead of her.

Ep 13:
Julia and Joel's situation has just become so painful to watch. Their marriage is ripping apart at the seams. And now he's moving out?!?
I wish Zeke would grow a pair and tell Camille how he feels about her jaunting off to do art things all the time. I mean, it's great that she has a passion and all, but I kind of feel like she's doing this whole independence thing to get back at him for not being on the same page with her about their third act.
Amber and alcohol are not a good combination. However, it seems like she and Seth are starting to be on better terms.
I feel like there's more going on with Amy than what she's telling Drew. It's also not really fair of her to lie to her parents about where she is. College costs a fortune these days. In any case, she and Drew are still cute together.
I love that Kristina and Adam were hoping that Hank would have Asperger's so that Max could have a good role model. Gotta love priorities like that. I do get it though, I tend to admire people who are successful while also having hearing loss because I think of the potential for my kids. I do think Adam needs to tell Crosby his concerns about Max's social issues at school. He just seems to get irrationally mad at Crosby.

Ep 14:
I'm glad Zeke finally told Camille how he felt about her not being around so much. It seems like they've reached more of an understanding. I kind of feel like her art stuff is making her pretentious.
I don't know how much more of Julia and Joel's situation I can take. I thought they had decided to get marriage counseling after all, but apparently not. I feel bad for the kids too. That has to be so hard on them. I'm glad Julia finally told her parents what is going on. I'm sure they will be a good support system for her.
I like that Sarah is becoming more confident about her photography skills and that she realized that she needs to be the one calling the shots.
The whole school situation with Max is so frustrating. I was thinking Kristina could home school him, but it will be interesting to see if she can start a new school from the ground up. It was nice that she tried to help the other woman at her IEP meeting.
I'm glad Jasmine came around to the idea of moving in with Zeke and Camille for the time being.

Ep 15:
I think Zeke and Camille are right to tell Crosby to stay out of their decision to sell their house. And I love the reason Zeke gave him for his decision.
I hate this separation for Joel and Julia. I'm kind of feeling bad for Joel because it seems like the kids prefer to be with Julia, but I also think he's bringing it on himself for not even trying to resolve things with her. I'm glad Julia's siblings came over to keep her company and even spent the night there. That was sweet and made me smile a lot, even when Adam did his embarrassing dance moves. Also, yay for the Orange is the New Black shout-out. :) I love the story Julia told Victor when he couldn't sleep. I'm glad they're back on good terms with each other.
I love how Kristina thanked Adam when they were at the spa. I hadn't given that much thought, but it was nice.
I really don't know if I care about Hank's visits with Dr. Pelikan. He's technically a secondary character on the show. I'm glad he apologized to Sarah.
I'm glad Drew finally made Amy talk to her parents. I wonder how that went.
I wish Haddie would be featured in some episodes. It still seems strange to have more than half the season go by and not even know what's going on with her.

Ep 16:
Crosby needs to back off of Camille already. I'm glad she stood up for herself. She seems pretty adamant about him staying at the house for another month, so that's interesting.
I wonder if Amber and Drew ended up making out with anyone at the party. Drew seems so wishy-washy about Natalie. Like she's there as a convenience if Amy isn't around. I'm glad Natalie doesn't want to play second choice though.
I was expecting Joel to give Julia a hard time about caving to Sydney, but I'm glad he let her off the hook so he could be the one to say no to Sydney instead. I do agree with Ed that Julia needs to figure out what is really happening with her marriage instead of just blaming him. It was nice that she brought him dinner though. I hope nothing comes of her staying to eat it with him.
The whole Hank going to Dr. Pelikan for "emergencies" is getting old. I also don't like that Sarah keeps telling Hank that he's right. I think it's good that she's trying to figure out what she wants for herself, but it seems like Hank is still her crutch in some ways. It was also annoying that Max told Hank where Sarah was going and who she was going with. That was not his place to say anything.
I am glad that Kristina is in good health and that she's going to move forward with this school. It will be interesting to see what happens with Mr. Knight on board.

Ep 17:
The whole situation involving un-asking Joel to be Aida's G-dfather was so awkward. I could see why Julia was upset about Joel not wanting to do it, but I think they have bigger mountains to climb right now. I liked the speech Zeke gave Joel later on and that he showed up at the baptism.
The dinner was pretty awkward too, since all these secrets were coming out at once. It was funny that Sarah didn't realize her kids were stoned. I did agree with Sarah regarding Max and thought Adam and Kristina were getting bent out of shape. Even when Hank was trying to put things into perspective, it just seemed like everyone was ganging up on Sarah for getting annoyed that Max was being intrusive on a day he wasn't even supposed to be at the studio. I think Sarah had every right to call him out on his behavior. I would have done the same thing, regardless of any disabilities he might have. She was treating him the way she'd treat one of her own kids if they did the same thing.
Drew needs to figure out what he wants from Natalie instead of getting mad at her and his roommate for sleeping together. He still seems to be back and forth on things.
I have a feeling things are going to end up even worse for Amber in regards to Ryan. Just a premonition. I mean, he is deployed and probably not in a safe territory.
I knew Adam would find out that Crosby made him his second choice for G-dfather. I can understand why Sarah was upset too. It's kind of ironic that he chose Joel and Julia and now their marriage is unstable. It's nice that he isn't retracting the opportunity from Julia though. And I do understand his feelings about the baptism being pushed on him so quickly.

Ep 18:
I understand why Victor would be freaking out over who is going to pick him up at school, but Joel was definitely in over his head by getting him a phone. I'm glad Julia "called" him out on that. I felt bad for Victor after what Sydney said to him and am glad Joel was able to come through for him at the end of the episode.
I'm getting a bit tired of Drew's slacker act and self-pity party. It's a big college and he is young. It's not like he was dating Natalie or was that close with Berto. I don't like that Amber is enabling him either. And I have absolutely no idea what he was singing at the end.
I'm glad Sarah's meeting went well. Hank is definitely a pushover when it comes to her. I was enjoying him taking a stand against how she was acting toward him and then he went to see her before her meeting anyway.
Interesting about the offers on the house. I wonder if Zeke and Camille will take the new offer now that it's much higher than asking price.
The whole situation with Max is awful. I hated being bullied and teased as a kid, so I can imagine it being that much harder for him. Especially since he really has no friends. I'm glad his teacher was looking out for him though. I know this is going to propel Kristina to start that new school even sooner than she was planning to.

Ep 19:
I hate that Joel takes no responsibility for the demise of their marriage. He keeps blaming everything on Julia. I'm sorry, but if he had been more supportive and less judgmental during Victor's whole school situation, maybe they wouldn't be where they are now. I was surprised to see Julia out on a date with Ed, but I am not sure what else to think about this yet. Is she that ready to move on now that Joel has given up on their marriage?
I loved Amber's "intervention" with Victor and Sydney. I'm glad they ended up having a fun time.
Crosby getting a motorcycle was surprising, but I'm also glad he helped Zeke get the grill for the car. That whole situation was crazy. I'm surprised Zeke didn't print out the agreement as proof. I'm also surprised that he decided to sell the house after all. Especially since it seemed like he had second thoughts when he was talking to Crosby about it.
I'm glad Mark has moved on from Sarah. As cute as he is, they really aren't a fit now. She seems like she's condescending to him anyway. I'm surprised she's even upset about it since she was the one who ended things Did she expect him to wait for her? I'm guessing she did. It was cute how Hank seemed happy to hear the news about Mark. I also saw that coming anyway (Mark's news).
I am so glad that Kristina and Adam gave the principal and dean their opinion of Max's situation. I didn't hear what Max said in the previous episode, so I was appalled and disgusted to find out what the kids did to him. I would have been furious if I were Kristina, so I don't blame her one bit for voicing her anger. I'm glad Adam is getting Max out of his shell some more. Surfing could be a really good thing for him.
I think in season one or two, it was mentioned that Sydney is gifted. I keep thinking about that and wondering why that story line was dropped altogether.

Ep 20:
I'm glad Crosby and 4D convinced Oliver to go on the tour. I was getting so frustrated with how egotistical Oliver was acting.
I love how Julia helped Adam and Kristina get their school up and running. It was nice to see her in lawyer mode again. I had a feeling she and Evan would get together. I feel bad for Ed though, as she rebuked his advances and said she wasn't ready and all of a sudden she's ready to be with Evan.
It was sweet how Zeke helped Camille find a new house for them to live in.
I'm glad Berto told Drew that the Natalie situation was his fault too. I was getting sick of Drew feeling sorry for himself and blaming everyone else. I also love how Sarah took action with getting Drew to go back to school.
I like what Hank said to Sarah in the end, even though it took two sessions with Dr. Pelikan to figure that out. He and Drew are similar in blaming everyone else when they can't take responsibility for their own actions and decisions.

Ep 21:
It was really nice what Hank did for Amber. I'm glad Sarah is starting to see him in a new light, especially after what Adam said to her about how he is with Max.
What was Ryan doing in San Diego? I thought he was deployed.
It's sad about Gwen passing away. I love how Adam has been so supportive of Kristina throughout this situation. Did Gwen give a donation for the school? I had a feeling they'd name it after her though.
I'm glad Natalie told Drew how she felt and that now they're officially together. What was the thing they were doing on the football field at midnight? Is that some new college tradition?
It was sweet what Evan told Julia even after she told him that it was a one time thing. I also liked that Joel was being nicer to her, even with helping Crosby. It was awkward what Joel's boss said to him about how she was trying to give him hints that she liked him. I like that he didn't do anything with that information.
I'm glad Crosby and his family are finally back in their home. He's really matured over the past few seasons and it's nice to see.

Ep 22:
I can't believe we don't get an answer on Amber's pregnancy test. I don't even remember when Ryan was deployed, so it would have been a long time since she last was with him romantically. Their kiss at the hospital was so awkward. And the whole situation with his mom is crazy. It's like he kept her and Amber apart deliberately and now it's blowing up in Amber's face somehow.
It sure seems like Sarah and Hank addressed the "tomato" in the room. I wonder what made her change her mind and decide to try again,
I loved the scene with Joel telling Sydney stories about when she was born and the fact that he was holding Julia's hand gives me hope that there's another chance for their marriage to work again. Why wasn't he at the dinner in the final scene though? I was really happy for Victor winning the essay contest and I love that he wrote about working on the car. It's nice to see how confident he is again.
It was sweet that Zeke gave Drew the car and that Drew went to see Natalie. I love everything about that. I'm surprised to find out the car was meant for Drew all along.
The last scene in the house was bittersweet with Zeke and Camille dancing in a bare room, but I hope things will go well for them in their new house.
I'm glad Kristina is so supportive of Haddie being a lesbian. I am guessing Adam is too, based on their exchange at the end of the episode. I'm just wondering how this all developed. She was so boy crazy before. I like this new side of Haddie though and she looks fabulous too.
The bobsledding down the stairs was pretty funny. I guess guys never grow up. I wonder if Camille will ever find out the truth about the birdhouse.

Onward and season six!

Thoughts on Season One
Thoughts on Season Two
Thoughts on Season Three
Thoughts on Season Four

Friday, November 20, 2015

Always amazing!

Since today is my husband's birthday, I want to talk about some things he has done to amaze me (since I already shared what I love about him a few years ago).

*The way he proposed on our cruise in 2003. He had everything so orchestrated and I didn't even see it coming. (I thought he was waiting until our birthday.) He even strung me along right before he popped the question.

*The anniversary surprise outing he planned when we were in Chicago the week of my cousin's Bat Mitzvah. He had all sorts of activities up his sleeve, from painting a plate together, to a romantic dinner, to improv at Second City.

*The gourmet catering business he started over the summer. Even though he's too busy to do it right now, he still is being asked about it all the time. And I get to taste test everything. :)

*How involved he is in our kids' lives. We have an equal partnership when it comes to parenting. I love seeing the connection he has with them.

*How well he plays piano, and that's just composing music as he goes along. It all sounds so natural and beautiful.

*He won our shul's cholent cook-off this past spring.

*Not only is he an amazing photographer, but he also does cool things with Photoshop, sometimes making me laugh so hard I can't see straight.

*When he coordinated my 30th birthday party and managed to surprise me, especially with the cake!

*How great he is at his job. He really knows his stuff and it shows. He showed me a Power Point presentation he was doing for work and I was just blown away.

I could go on and on, but I think everything listed above gives you a good idea of what my husband is like.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Books + Broadway = Best time ever!

Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about two years, 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: Idealize what would be the ultimate "best time ever" for you. (Time and money are not an issue.)

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 got this topic idea from the show Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris. I saw a clip from it and was thinking how I didn't see what he was doing as my opinion of the "best time ever." Oddly enough, Neil was part of one of my best times ever....Book Expo America. This made me think of what would be my ideal "best time ever."

I know a book expo would have to be involved in some way or another. However, it would be a chick lit and women's fiction book expo and all my favorite authors would be there. Some would be flown in from other parts of the world, as well (such as Sophie Kinsella). Also, all my favorite book bloggers would be there so we could connect in person. It would be like Book Buzz, but even better!

With some lovely chick lit authors and bloggers at Book Buzz 2014.

The book expo would take place in New York so that afterward, I could catch a performance of Hamilton, which I really, really, REALLY want to see. All my favorite Broadway stars (and a few other favorite celebrities) would be in the audience. Lin-Manuel Miranda would be performing, of course, and then he'd throw a party afterward, inviting the audience to attend.

Next, I'd take a trip over to Marie's Crisis Cafe because I had an amazing time when I was there this past summer and I'd be in my element standing around a piano with a bunch of gay men singing showtunes. Of course, some of the celebrities who were at the Hamilton performance would show up at Marie's to sing with everyone, as well. Lin-Manuel would make a special appearance at some point in the night.

This is what it's like at Marie's. And they're even singing one of my favorite Les Miz songs in this video.

Finally, I'd crash at the posh hotel I was staying at in an extremely comfortable bed and dream about the amazing day I just had.

I wouldn't specifically invite any friends, but whomever was up for any part of this amazing day would be welcome to join me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Book Review: Hello?

I don't normally read young adult novels, but when I do, I make sure that they're captivating and well-written. Thankfully, Hello? by Liza Wiemer fits both adjectives.

Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma's death.

Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.

Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.

Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.

Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.

Linked and transformed by one phone call,
Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens' stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

When I first heard the premise for this novel, I thought it was going to be a surreal story similar to Landline by Rainbow Rowell. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the only thing surreal was a character receiving what seemed like messages from a deceased relative. Liza gets real with her readers in all other ways, taking us into the thoughts and feelings of her five characters and not holding back on some grim situations or intense dialogue. I even ended up liking characters I wasn't supposed to like at first, since Liza conveyed their sides of the story as sympathetic. I could relate well to Angie's feelings and actions, as I probably would have done (or actually did) some of the same things in my first serious relationship. Her creative use of screenplay or poetry for some of the characters added another interesting layer to the story. She even put some artwork in there, although I had my own ideas of how certain places should look. I found myself breezing through this novel and getting to a certain page number not realizing I've moved through it so fast, and wanting to savor it at the same time.

I've been recommending this novel by comparing it to Wally Lamb's writing, should he ever foray into the YA genre. There are several reasons for this. The first is that the writing is very polished. I kept forgetting it was just a book. It's also gripping, not letting go even after the last page is turned. The same way I forgot She's Come Undone was written by a man, when I read the male voices of Hello?, I kept forgetting they were written by a woman. Finally, seeing that I've met both Wally and Liza in person, I can attest that their subject matter is so different from their personalities that I would never have pegged them to write what they did.

I finished Hello? over the weekend and still can't stop thinking about it. Sometimes I think of the characters, other times the situations. I also love that it took place in Door County, Wisconsin. I've been to that area in the past and Liza captures the mood perfectly. If I lived closer, I'd go on another road trip there, as it's beautiful and quaint.

My only criticism is the amount of foreshadowing that made some aspects predictable. The outcome was what I wanted, but I was hoping for a twist or two. However, I was able to predict certain things in the musical Wicked for similar reasons, so maybe I'm just good at picking up on certain hints. In both cases, I still enjoyed the story overall. I liked the concept of "besherte" (meant to be) that ran through this novel, even if it wasn't directly implied.

Finally, I like that after the novel concludes, Liza shares a story from her own life that most teenagers these days will be able to identify with. She also includes contact information for suicide hotlines and organizations that can help with various crises.

BEA 2015
Thanks to Liza for the book in exchange for an honest review. Even though we're both book bloggers, I never knew that we'd find each other in the blogosphere. However, I am thankful that I entered (and won!!) a book giveaway that she was hosting back in 2014 and that we stayed in touch afterward, including meeting up at BEA. I appreciate having the opportunity to read such an amazing novel and I hope she'll produce more in the future. In the meantime, visit her blog.

Disclosure of Material Connection:
Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The ugly truth about running a book blog

Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about two years, 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: We often used the term, "unconditional," as in, "my love for you is unconditional." On the flip side: Is there anything in your life you'd consider to be conditional?

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

You may recall a post I wrote called "The not-so-ugly truth about running a book blog." Well, when Moma Rock gave us this week's topic, I was thinking about the "conditions" that go along with book blogging. It's not always sunshine and roses like some people might lead you to believe. I'm not abandoning the blog anytime soon, but there have been some things I've learned about human nature while running a book blog. And yes, things do sometimes get ugly.

*Knowing *too* much about the publishing industry: While I'd love to write my own book, having connections to authors who share the trials and tribulations of finding agents and publishing houses vs. self-publishing, I feel less likely to write a novel and less motivated to do so, as a result. It's not that I'm afraid of rejection, but the process of querying and multiple edits keeps me from wanting to do much with a novel that may never see the light at the end of the tunnel to begin with.

What zero motivation looks like

*People who are just out to get a free book: I'm not talking about the giveaways, as that is something I enjoy...being able to get books into readers hands. (Although I sometimes feel like posts without giveaways only get a quarter of the attention.) It's more about offering to review books, getting the books from publishers, and then never putting forth the review. What's worse is being ignored while asking where said reviews are. Reviewing for my blog is a commitment I don't take so lightly. If you don't like the book enough to review, that's one thing. It's another to offer to review books and never deliver. This is unrelated to any friendship we have outside of the blog. As one woman I used to work with once said "It's not show-friends, it's show-business." Although the blog isn't a business, per se, there's still a level of honor and trust that I hold people to. Having said that, if someone previously offered to review books and never delivered, I don't include them in any more offers until they have something consistent to show for it.
I will admit that it will take me ages to review all the books I own, which is why I have a "one feature per book" rule now. (That's not the only reason...but more on that later in this post.) I also don't make promises about books I receive unsolicited. Especially if they have nothing to do with my blog.

*It can ruin authors for you: Running a book blog leads to forming connections with authors. More often than not, these are positive and amazing. Most authors do respect bloggers. However, there are some who forget that bloggers don't work specifically for them or that their book is not the only book in the universe. Yes, there are authors who behave poorly. I won't give examples or names as to not call people out, but I can just say that one author crossed me the wrong way earlier this year, even if that wasn't their intention. Unfortunately, it is an author whose books I enjoy reading. See where the conflict of interest comes in? This situation led me to form the "one feature per book" rule mentioned above, as I realized that I need to set certain expectations as to not be stepped upon again. There was another time that an author was being completely nasty to one of the bloggers on my team. That author has been blacklisted from the blog and I refuse to do any features for them. Yes, it was THAT bad. Overall, if you're an author and we have a good connection already, I'm hoping that it will stay that way and that we can continue to be respectful of one another. I will continue to give you fair and honest reviews OR feature your book in a different way (interview, spotlight, etc.) and I'm hoping that this will be sufficient enough, as I am clearly not the only book blogger out there. #bloggerfeelingsmatter

*Abundance of books: I know this is SUCH a #firstworldproblem, but the amount of books out there can be so overwhelming. Especially when most of them take up my shelves. I wish I had the speed reading skills of one of my friends so I could just breeze through books even quicker than before. It would come in handy with being a mom of three with a full-time job. However, I do enjoy a leisurely read and sometimes like to savor a really good story. I'm trying not to schedule as many reviews for myself with blog tours or whatever else. I've also put aside five books on my nightstand to prioritize as TBRs. After each book is started, a new book is added to the bottom of the pile. That way, I only have to focus ahead five books. I also make it a point to read what I want instead of when the books came out. If I'm in the mood for something light, that's what I lean toward next. Sometimes I want a book from a different genre, like the young adult novel I just started (and am loving already). It will probably be ages before I get to read every book I own. I tend to hoard books even though I've had some for years and have yet to crack them open. So this is probably just my eyes being bigger than my mind and really a problem I've created for myself and would still have even if I weren't a book blogger. I'd probably just have less books to focus on as I wouldn't be able to obtain them so easily.

My new method. The YA book I'm reading now is on top.

*There's a lot of work involved: I try to limit the main social media sites for my blog to Facebook and Twitter. I have a Pinterest account for it, but I don't really give that much thought anymore. It slipped between the cracks. I'm also thankful that someone else handles Twitter most of the time. Still, I feel like there's always a lot to post about and wish there were a way to condense things instead of thinking of all the things to post. I know I like to wish authors "Happy Birthday" each week, but I don't know if I'll continue that in 2016. I do it once a week, but it takes a lot of time to put the list together. Bookshelf and What's in the Mail are updated bi-weekly, so that's a little easier. Still, both are also time consuming, but I don't like the idea of letting go of either. Starting in 2016, the Go-to-Gay and Chick Lit Cheerleader columns will be alternating every month, so I won't have to focus on two columns a month. I've moved a lot of reviews from the queue over to our Amazon page so that they can go up right away and it's less maintenance on the blog to get them posted. I'm not trying to be lazy, but I don't want to get burnt out either. I know I have help available, but I'm not the delegating type. I do let other people handle interviews from time to time though. I also feel bad if I miss announcing a publication day. I can't always stay on top of those and there's no easy way to do it.

*The amount of communication involved: I manage a lot of requests, even though most are for the wrong genre altogether. I am also bad at keeping track of who signed up for which reviews. I try to keep a list, but then I end up forgetting about it. I have three separate e-mail accounts just for this blog, but am considering condensing some, as it's getting to be too much. I am terrible with managing e-mail, and it shows. Again, this is something I'm bringing upon myself.

*The social pressure: Mostly the expectation involved, such as attending BEA (Book Expo America) every year. I love BEA, but sometimes my attendance might not be feasible, even if I really REALLY want to go and it might be the only time to see my author friends. That ends up stressing me out in different ways. I also feel bad if I don't share or comment on everyone else's reviews all the time, not that I'm expecting them to share mine. I try to reciprocate whenever I can, but there's a lot to keep track of.

So even with all the joys and perks, there's also the stress. I still love my book blog and plan on keeping it around a while longer. I just need to find a more efficient way to keep my sanity intact!