Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Content Crossroads

Everyone who really knows me is fully aware that I'm a diehard Stern (as in Howard) listener. I have been an on and off again listener since I was around twelve or thirteen. My parents always listened and I continued on the tradition. I hadn't had it in awhile because I didn't have Sirius when he first switched over and didn't get it until around 2010 when I got a new car. By then I had a six month old baby. I thought, ok, when he's one I'll stop listening. Then it was fifteen months, eighteen months, and then I just knew I was a lifer and that wasn't going to change. Somehow, we were just going to have to roll with it.

Same with tv. I thought I'd give the no tv until two years old thing a whirl, then I quickly realized that wasn't going to happen either. Besides, not only was Rita watching Gossip Girl at the highest decibel, but it was my time to catch up on General Hospital.

As E got older, I just stopped listening to the "bad parts" of Stern. We'd mostly listen to the interviews and the news with Robin Quivers. Yes, there were curse words but he'd never said any. Plus, he'd been listening to all kinds of music since he was six months old and I started Stroller Strides. The instructor would play Gaga, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Nikki Minaj, etc. One day, during Stroller Strides class, it was all quiet and he started singing along with Ke$ha. "I brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack...." Everyone turned toward him and just busted out laughing. He didn't know what he was singing. And I didn't care. It wasn't the F word. If Sophia Grace & Rosie can get on Ellen for singing Nikki Minaj's Super Bass, then I think I'm okay.

He got really into Mumford & Sons. I think he was around four. He'd still never said a curse word. We'd told him he was could listen to the music he likes, but he is not to repeat any of the bad words in any of the songs. Judge if you want. Everyone has their things. Curse words are not our hill to die on. But I'd let him curse before giving him strawberry flavored sugar milk, so, again, hills. He has said a curse word ONCE in his now seven years. We went to his friend's house for a play date. And of course, it's my close friend, who in theory, if your kid was going to do something embarrassing, you'd want it done in front of a close friend. Except this close friend happens to err on the exact other side of lax with cursing and age appropriate behavior (tv, movies, language, etc). E wanted to teach his friend his favorite Mumford & Sons song, which happens to have the line, "I really f'ed (in long form) it up this time". On his own, E started singing, "I really messed it up this time". At this playdate with my friend and her son, we heard them in the basement. E was telling his friend J, "You just can't say the word f*ck. It's a bad word. You have to say messed up when you sing it."

Imagine the shock and horror on my face. At that point, my friend's daughter, who I think was around nine, still thought "the s word" was stupid. I was guessing her son most likely didn't even know that "s" word.

Well. We had a nice talking to after that. Luckily, my friend's son felt like being contrary that day and wasn't having any of E's song teaching shenanigans. He wasn't listening and wasn't repeating. That's all I really cared about. I had visions of leaving her house having turned her son into George Carlin Jr.

E is now seven. He's become a huge Stern fan. I like that we were listening the other day and he said- "Eric who? Who are they talking about that died?! High Pitch??" No son, it was the Eric they called Eric the Midget. You know, the one they'd always play that sound, "Ack Ack! Ack Ack!" Or the day he asked- "This isn't today Howard Stern, right? Because that sounds like Megan McCain and we heard that one". Yes my boy. You are correct. It's a repeat.

He listens but he's never SAID a curse word. Not since that day at my friend's, years ago. Not for fun, not to be fresh, and not by accident. He doesn't even really talk back, except to be a know it all- which is to be expected. But he doesn't say anything offensive. He's just a really nice, mostly respectful little kid.

And I'll be honest (not that I'd lie), but listening to Stern and watching GH, by the way, has springboarded some awesome, necessary conversations that couldn't have happened more organically if I wanted. Stern talked about Scot Weiland and his death via overdose. E heard it and we had a deep conversation about drugs and death. He knew the music so he understood it even better. 

Back to my point- last Tuesday afternoon, I got an email from E's agent. When E gets auditions, his agent basically sends me an appointment already scheduled for when the casting people want to see him, and I just reply that we'll be there. I look at the sides (lines) later and just figure out how to cram him with the info and get it done. This was no different. I opened the lines later and had to read them three times. I was thinking, "Wait, what? HE's supposed to say this? No, really??"

He basically has to pretend to be doing stand up. He is supposed to do a Jerry Seinfeld type of monologue, like- "What's the deal with....", except unlike Jerry who doesn't work blue, it's kind of a lewd double-entendre joke. Then he has to say the F word at the end. B and I had discussed this before too- saying we wouldn't have a problem with cursing. Sometimes we'll be watching a movie and a little kid is doing something super emotional, precocious or cursing and we'll talk about whether we'd let E do it. It seems harmless enough until you're running lines with your seven year old and hear those words actually come out of his mouth. Believe it or not, it's actually a little difficult to hear, even for me. B felt the same way. We feel weird, like we may have finally, FINALLY, crossed some kind of parenting line. *Ok, not really. Or we did, but we didn't feel THAT bad about it. We still let him do it.

He killed it though- doing it for me and B. If he doesn't get the job, it's not for lack of talent. It was really good practice too. And getting in front of a good casting director, even just being seen, is always a positive. It also gave him a taste of how you deliver a joke as a comedian. I don't know if that's something he ever practiced before.

I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to hear if he gets the job- although, I don't expect him to get it. I'm pretty sure the part was written for an older kid than E. I saw older kids at the audition and I heard some good ones do their thing while waiting for E's turn. He has plenty of time if this is his path. Right now, he's learning and having fun. However, if he did get it, I'd be cheering him on in the theater just like I suspect the parents of the kid in the movie Bad Words did. For those that didn't see it- you missed a good one. Jason Bateman always delivers. And the kid was now slouch either. But if E thinks he's going to use that joke or the F word in general conversation now, he has another thing coming. I had to tell his teacher he'd be leaving school early for his audition. Let's just hope she doesn't ask him to do the material for her or I'll be getting a call from the principal, STAT.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Buttercream Dreams

I have them. Dreams of buttercream. Believe it or not, I'm talking homemade. Yup. That's what I said.

We were invited to someone's house for a get together that was supposed to be a Valentine's kind of thing. When I thought we'd be going on February 13th, I was in Target, I saw this Duff Goldman Valentine's cupcake mix. It was for cupcakes that would be chocolate cake on the bottom and strawberry cake on top. That's right up my alley. I usually prefer raspberry as a flavor for cake or icing or anything really, but strawberry would be my second choice. I hadn't really thought out what I'd do for frosting, but I knew if it came down to needing to get it done quickly, I'd just buy a can of something. In the way, way, WAY back of my mind, I thought for a second, maybe, just maybe, I could make my own frosting.

The host of the get together changed the date to the next week very shortly after making the first date, but after I'd gone to Target. I figured I could get a cake from Zadies if need be, or if I was feeling ambitious, I could try the Duff Goldman mix.

I can bake. I can. I'm pretty good at it. I mean, it doesn't take extraordinary talent to use a mix from a box and get very tasty cupcakes, cake, cookies or brownies. I think it just depends on what you pick. I stick to the tried and true Betty Crocker or Pillsbury. I've tasted some fancier brands and they just don't stack up to the old school stand-bys. I still consider it baking when I use mixes. I've tasted boxed and from scratch cake that was gross. You do have to have some kind of capability. And, if I have to use the oven for something other than storage it's called cooking or baking. It's the "act of" either or both.

My oven, storing pans and such.

I just don't cook or bake that often. And it's always some kind of production. There is always something I don't understand, never heard of, never done, or don't know what it's supposed to mean or look like. I also tend to believe the prep time on a recipe, even though I've been proven wrong every time. Talking to you Blue Apron...and the baby teeth sized garlic pieces. I also tend to assume things are going to be simpler than they really are.

The Duff Goldman box had white frosting on the cupcakes. I didn't want just white frosting. I thought it would be killer to make strawberry buttercream. I never really thought about what that would entail though. I thought I remembered Pam (A La Cupcakes) telling me that the reason her frosting was so much better than the other girl's (the name/business that I refuse to utter) was because she used real puree in her frosting and no Crisco. I don't know what you do with Crisco but I just remember she said Crisco=bad. I just never inquired what else made up frosting. I could've assumed there would be butter in buttercream, but I just never really thought about it.

I had stuff to do after work on Friday so I decided I'd just make the cupcakes on Friday night. I knew I had gymnastics for E on Saturday morning, a supermarket pit-stop to buy a few things I was guessing would be in frosting (frozen strawberries, confectioners sugar which I saw in one of the recipes & I thought I might need more butter). I planned to be home by noon, then a birthday party locally at 3p. In my mind I was making the frosting in the thirty-five minutes I'd seen quickly on a recipe I googled and I'd be able to shower and take E to the party. I knew I'd be there until 4:30p. We were to be at the get together when B would be home around 5-5:30p.

Yeah, no. That's not how it went down. I didn't read the recipes beforehand. I just assumed the word puree meant you throw a bunch of strawberries in a blender and obliterate them. Then I'd throw that in whatever makes frosting. Sadly, no. I also had to defrost the frozen strawberries first, which took way longer than I read. They said two or three minutes and it was more like ten. Luckily, as I was defrosting, I read in the one recipe that I would have to "reduce" the puree, to get rid of the water, otherwise the frosting would be a soupy mess. Oh. Sure. Reduce. WTF does that mean? I know what it means in terms of a subtraction problem, but in food, I don't. It said to take a cup and a half or something and put it in a sauce pan for 10-14 minutes. UNTIL IT IS REDUCED TO THREE TABLESPOONS. Yeah, it took way longer than 10-14 minutes. AND I had already started to do the "rest" in the stand mixer....

In the recipe it said to use the paddle attachment for the mixer. I was picturing a paddle. An actual PADDLE. Why call it a paddle if IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE A PADDLE?? I thought I just didn't have that one. It also said to whisk the nine sticks of butter I had to use. So, I learned that buttercream pretty much only consists of the marriage of butter and confectioners sugar. Who knew? Now, I can never eat it again without feeling like I'm just holding a stick of butter and nawing on it like a dog with a bone. The recipe also said to "whisk" so I used the wiry looking attachment that I definitely have. They say to use the paddle because it's supposed to scrape the sides of the bowl as it's doing it's thing. That doesn't happen with the wiry one. So I had to keep stopping it, pulling the butter off with a spatula, and knocking it down.

Then, was supposed to add in the confectioners sugar. I didn't turn it off and I didn't put the shield thing on, so you can imagine there are clouds of sugar everywhere. It got worse when I put the shield on because I couldn't get the sugar in the hole allotted to me within the shield.

All this time I was also trying to reduce the strawberry puree. I put it in a really small pot that I normally use for couscous. As it was heating, I then thought that maybe that isn't a sauce pan and I needed something flatter. I transferred it from that pot to a pan. I didn't know what the reduction was supposed to look like but I thought of balsamic reduction on something I had at Rocca once. That seemed kind of thick so I aimed for that. The recipe also said I was to check how much it was reduced to as it was going. If it wasn't reduced enough, I was to put it back and keep reducing. You know there was red everywhere from all this transferring. AND NOTHING WAS TAKING THE AMOUNT OF TIME THE RECIPES SAID.

I was never making it to this party on time. I had red in my hair, pink on my sweatshirt, and confectioner's sugar making cumulus clouds around me. I had to call my friend whose son was also attending the party and ask her to take E. Of course she did because she's good like that. I told her I made a mess and needed to deal with it. She didn't even ask any questions. Thanks Nancy.

I finally was reduced and then the recipe told me I needed to put the reduction in the freezer to cool it down. I didn't know how long it needed to cool so I left it in a much in the freezer for like fifteen minutes. I really needed this all to be finished though because I said I was meeting E at the party. Nancy said she'd take him home but I wanted to make it there. I still had to shower and wash my hair!

I poured the cooled reduction into the standing mixer bowl and blended everything together. WELL. It was fan-fucking-tactic. If I do say so myself. I wanted to just sit around eating it off a spoon. Except I couldn't. Because- BUTTER. All that butter. Waaaah. That's all I can think. Don't think I didn't eat a decent amount of it later- like three cupcakes worth. I just couldn't eat it plain. That day.

Fast forward to yesterday- I was fine with just spooning it out. I kept the leftover Tupperware full just for me to eat on whatever, or nothing at all. I'm still continuing to eat it via spoon today.

Of course anything I decide to make has to be a whole scene with a lot of time consuming messy parts. Brisket, kugel, meatloaf....buttercream. I'm going to give you the links for the purée and for the actual cupcakes/buttercream that I used. I also had to double the buttercream recipe (so I thought) which made it more time consuming, more messy, and more confusing. But that left me with a decent amount just for me so I'm okay with it. I can cross homemade buttercream OFF my bucket list.

Strawberry Puree


Monday, February 22, 2016

What Do You Hate-Watch?

The last entry I wrote was about Sons of Anarchy and how I hate-watched seven seasons. I also happened to mention in that entry that I also hate-watch Girlfriends Guide to Divorce. All I got were messages saying, "Well, I didn't watch Sons, but I, too, hate-watch GG2D.

Why do so many of us hate it but hang in there and continue to watch. I barely like any of the characters, the plots are totally implausible, and the main character is the most unlikable, yet, I'm still hanging in. WHY?

I've discussed my thorough annoyance at all the Jewishness gone wrong in it. But I know I stuck with it in the beginning because it's extremely rare to have a Jewish family as the main characters. I wanted to relate. I wanted to feel like there was some hope for a Jewish family to be portrayed as something other than a caricature. Living in this era. I'm looking at you, The Goldbergs. Then it all went awry when they gave her the ultimate goyish brother and the clearly goyim parents. So then I had to focus on the story. Stories.

All the stories kind of suck. You have Phoebe who doesn't really seem to have kids. We know she does, because she was up in that school getting into a fight with the lady Svengali of her sordid modeling past. We never see the kids, she's taking up with different guys that we don't care about or understand why she's with them. She doesn't seem to work, yet, I thought in the first season, the ex basically made it like her gravy train was over. She sold all her jewelry to start a baby bling business and then just decided that wasn't going to be her passion. So how is she paying the bills? 

The Delia thing is weird. We get that she self-sabotages and she's all damaged. She cheated with her boss, no one's sure what she felt for him or not. It was all kind of gross. In the first season it didn't seem like she knew Abby all that well, then they're supposed to be BFF's by now and they've been fighting like they've known each other since kindergarten.

I sort of like Jo. I like Jo with the hot bakery guy, Scott. But Jo with the whole Frumpkis thing and the southern wife, and with the daughter- I can do without the whole scene. From what we were supposed to understand, he was married to Jo and this other woman at the same time. That, I thought, was illegal, last I checked. Then they move to Cali and want to be part of the bakery? That just would not happen. The story was just so contrived. It looked like in the finale tomorrow that Jo was remarrying Frumpkis. There is just no scenario where that works. It's annoying.

We finally can talk about Abby. The ONLY thing that has rang true in this whole season is her relationship with the doctor. He plays the perfect a-hole we have all encountered if we ever were single and dating, especially after a certain age. Hot and cold, on and off. Successful guy, seemingly normal, but harder to read than a foreign language. That scene when she went to his place after the prom- I felt her. I'd been there. Where he seemed like he liked her, but then bailed on the event, then made her feel like she was crazy for just showing up. Yup. Typical.

Other than that- she's a complete disaster, but not one you love to watch. She's a terrible role model to her kids- and as an aside, where are they?? Jake's been in Latvia, yet somehow, she had her house to herself for the entire weekend to allow the CW kids to party in her pool and attempt to write. The Becca thing was just stupid. She hadn't a clue that her one night stand with a wealthy, accomplished, famous black man could've resulted in her pregnancy? If she did sleep with Taye Diggs, and it could've been his, WHY would she go to the mostly previously unemployed Jake for help? It made no sense whatsoever. Becca didn't even look SLIGHTLY surprised that the baby was black. The writing just glossed over the whole Becca baby thing when that was the main focal point of the whole beginning of the season.

Abby never eats. They've now highlighted this. I don't want to body shame, but the actress herself is so thin that if you turn her sideways she looks like a zipper. I get that Abby is supposed to be Type A and they're illustrating that with the never eating, drinking Red Bull, and her running all over like a chicken with the head cut off. However, it's supposed to be sort of a comedy. So you know they aren't going to touch on any of the important things in any meaningful way. When the daughter tried to have a moment of understanding with her, after she took care of her while she was drunk- that whole thing was very real. But then they had her ruin it by just being her selfish, self-absorbed self, which, again, is just frustrating.

One of my friends had an issue with the fact the daughter was taking care of Abby while she was drunk. I actually didn't have an issue with that part of it. I think that probably can happen when there is a parent that is single, in their forties, dating, semi-famous, and going out a decent amount. I just don't understand if we're supposed to hate her because she's written like such an epic asshole. In the first season you could feel bad for her because her husband took up with a young, hot, actress and he was afflicted with Peter Pan Syndrome. I'm sure that's relatable for a lot of women. This season, she just became more like a vapid, whiny, cliche.

Basically, this whole show is a scripted version, called scripted, of mashed up characters from all the Real Housewives franchises. And because they're not real people, they're much easier to loathe.

I know you have suspend disbelief with a lot of scripted television shows, but I really think this is a problem with a lot of newer shows. They're all a victim of this new ten-shows-equal-a-season-itis. There is no time to flesh out characters and time in general is murky or too fast. They really play with continuity and not in a good way. It's been said that the ratings are higher for these shorter term shows. I think they're just less expensive. I also read somewhere that this mini-series format is because the viewing public has lost it's attention span. I disagree. I need a show that goes from Fall to Spring, where I can really dig in and get lost in the story. Those series are getting very far and few between.

With the exception of Sex and The City's first season of twelve episodes, every other season was at least eighteen. Eighteen is far cry from ten. Normal "full season" shows had/have 22-24 episodes a season. Now, most of these new ones, the cable ones, are all around ten to twelve. Maybe they eek out thirteen. There is just no way to tell a full story in ten or twelve episodes. Especially when a show is only thirty minutes like GIRLS, Togetherness, Happyish, etc. Just as we're getting into it, it's over for the season, not to return for another year or more. This is just not how I want to watch tv. Girlfriend's Guide has been thirteen a season, and it's an hour, but with so many characters, there was just no way to make them more than the shells they are. There are so many characters they shipped Jake off to Latvia, the brother off to Philly, and we haven't heard a peep from the brother's husband since the beginning of season two. We just have the girls and they're mostly terrible. I don't even know if there is way to redeem them.

However, I will hate-watch the whole finale on the treadmill on Wednesday morning. Although, it may be like last week where I stretched it out over days in favor of something much more entertaining- Vanderpump Rules.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Not a Crow Eater


Oh, this is going to be controversial. But I don't care. It's Friday and I have some thoughts. On Sons of Anarchy. If you loved the Sons and can't take the heat, well, this isn't the blog entry for you. It's a little difficult to cram seven seasons of critique into one entry, but I'm going to try. If you didn't see SOA yet but plan on it- this is chock full of spoilers. Be warned.

B and I just binge-watched ALL SEVEN SEASONS. In a ridiculously short amount of time. I basically lived like a Crow Eater (which, in my opinion should really be spelled CRO-eater). Well, not really. I only binged on episodes. Not booze, drugs, and motorcycle dudes. But yeah, we watched, and I'M SO HAPPY IT'S OVER.

I'd call it hate-watching. There are quite a few shows I hate-watch. Girlfriends Guide to Divorce is my main one, but I do it. I spend a lot of time on the treadmill and I need stuff to watch. I also need to discuss that one with Cohen so I continue. Anyway...We watched. And I don't get why this show was so beloved. Or not so much the show, but Jax Teller. I actually tend to think the most interesting character was Tig, but it may just be because he contributed to some of the only few light moments that went on.

We watched all in a row, night after night. To me, it was like pledging. Once I'd watched the first season or two, I wasn't quitting. I didn't want all that time we put in to be for nothing. But if we were watching week to week, we both said we probably would've quit during Ireland. I probably only understood half of what they were saying that entire season. I said to B last night that I wonder what it would've been like if we understood any of the time with any of the Irish.

The entire show was total chaos. Not one day did anyone ever get to just enjoy. I don't think anyone ever got to watch a tv show. Except Happy when he being held hostage that one time. He was watching old cartoons with his captors. They threw in pop culture here and there, yet, I don't know how they ever had time to learn any. No tv, no movies, I don't think I saw anyone even pick up a magazine or newspaper. Weirdly, in the series finale, Patterson had an iphone to record Jax but the guys all used flip phones. We kept thinking- what year was this supposed to be in? I know a lot of the phones were supposed to be burners, but I didn't even know flip phones exist in current times. Were they texting by pushing each button three or four times to get to the right letter?

Let's also discuss Jax's accent. I had no idea that he was British. But as people were being killed left and right, I needed some inside info. I started looking stuff up prior to seeing it because I needed a heads up of who was going to die. I also wanted to know if Charlie Hunnam smokes in real life. I read that he's British. I had been wondering where a kid in California picked up a weird "New Yawk-ish" accent. But it wasn't that. It was a weird British to American Outlaw English accent. He was ok in the first few seasons, but in the last two, it was like he just gave up.

I also didn't get all the gratuitous Jax-sex. Yes, he's good looking in a never-showers kind of way. He has a nice body. However, I'm not sure I needed to see his ass-pumping into pretty much every girl he encountered- including almost with his half sister. It was just weird. If he wasn't going to leave Charming and the MC, he should've just started working for Cara Cara/Red Woody. 

I really should've stopped before Opie took the final blow to the head. I really wished they'd explored the Opie/Jax relationship much more. That could've been really great. You knew they were best friends because it came up on and off, but you didn't get to really FEEL it the way it could've been painted. I couldn't watch Opie's last scene, BTW. I listened, just didn't watch. I don't know why this show had to be so gory. Worse than any horror movie I've ever seen.

I know there had to be drinking games played all over the country with the amount of times Jax said "JESUS CHRIST!". And then a sub-game when the Jesus Christ had to do with something Gemma did.

I hated Gemma, like I assume you were supposed to, but Katy Sagal should've won every Emmy for that show. You hated her, but you felt for her sometimes. Then as quick as you'd feel that, she'd do something deplorable again. I also don't understand how Tara was SO smart, she was a surgeon, yet, she would show all her cards to Gemma. Obviously drama had to be motivated, so of course Gemma had to find stuff out, but I don't know why Tara wouldn't just keep her mouth shut about wanting or planning to leave Charming. She knew that would set Gemma off, so why not keep it quiet until you have all your ducks in a row??

Kim Coates played Tig as an incredibly layered character. I hated him early on and became really fond of him. When he was with Clay, I was fine if he was going to be the next to die. Then, when it seemed like he would die with the whole Pope/August Marks thing,I was glad he didn't. I don't think he was recognized with an Emmy or even a nomination, but he should've been.

Lastly, I don't know how anyone was living without a job. How was Wendy and Brooke surviving just watching the two kids? TM clearly wasn't making enough money to sustain everyone or they wouldn't be running guns. Then in the end Jax is leaving Wendy everything but I don't even know how these homes were being paid for. Gemma's dad's house was huge with that lush, giant garden. He went into Assisted Living, and they just kept the house up?? With WHAT? Their good looks? That house would be EXPENSIVE to maintain.

The whole show premise was so weird for me. The idea that they could kill a close friend/brother because of "the rules" was just bizarre. I still don't understand why Juice was SO afraid of anyone finding out he was half black. SAMCRO never seemed particularly racist, even though the rule was that no one black could wear the patch. They seemed pretty progressive. I don't understand why he couldn't say that he didn't know his father, so he didn't know he was half black. It's not like he LIED about it. He didn't know. Or at least that was the perception I got. I spent most of every episode turned toward my laptop. I was either looking up stuff on SAMCROPEDIA or just looking away from Mayhem (blood, guts, and death).

No one bothered Tig about his openly varied sexual fetish proclivities. I feel like they could've been okay with a gay member. Maybe not transgender like Venus, but maybe gay. Jax worked to get TO patched in the end and everyone in the club was more than happy to have him. So we're expected to believe that after all that time he'd been friends, no, brothers, with the rest of the MC, they'd have kicked him out? Even if the rest of the charters wouldn't have black people because of the by-laws, it's not like once they knew they had to tell anyone. Juice's real last name was still Ortiz and he still looked "brown". Juice was that scared he'd rather become a rat?

I know I could probably look up a ton of Kurt Sutter articles on the motivations for this and that. I could study SAMCROPEDIA. I get that the whole idea was something Unser once said or alluded to- that it wasn't the 1960's anymore and running an MC like this wasn't going to lead to anything but bloodshed.  It was to showcase the demise of something no longer able to fit into today's society without way too much collateral damage. The domino effect of what Gemma did to Tara had Gemma's son, who she proclaimed to love more than anything, pay the ultimate price.

I'm not going to say I never shed any tears over this show. I did. Scenes with Jax and the boys, Jax and Chibs, Jax and Nero. Oh, Nero. I forgot to talk about how great Jimmy Smits was as Nero. He really made that character likable. In a sea of awful, hateful people, including Jax, Nero was the one you wanted to pull for. That scene when he found out what Gemma did- amazing.

The show as whole, I'm sorry, was awful. If people really live in 24/7 chaos like that, I don't know. It seems inconceivable to me but I suppose anything is possible. I probably will read a little more into the reasoning of certain plot points. Just because I spent a lot of time with these characters over the past few weeks and as a story, it's interesting. I just don't get the love or lust over Jax Teller. But I was never into bad boys.

Ok, I'm putting my flame retardant suit on and running....

Monday, February 15, 2016

Dental Delight

I can't believe I'm writing about a dentist. I loathe going to the dentist. I'm the biggest baby ever. I always put it off until I'm in pain and there is something very, very, wrong. There has been more than one occasion I've gone to the dentist for pain, only to call B crying, telling him I have to have some major work done and he has to drop everything and come there.

I'd gone to a dentist in Oradell since high school. His office was like a time warp back to the 1970's. Wood paneling, a giant map on the wall that probably had the old names of countries pre-wars and takeovers and such. He was the sweetest man though and very gentle. He also would give me the laughing gas for even just cleanings and not charge extra for it. He was just a pain, (no pun intended), for me to get to from where I live. I'd gone to him for my last cleaning but that was like two or three years ago. I kept saying to myself I'd have to make an appointment, but I just couldn't seem to pull the trigger. Then, over the summer, he died suddenly. The thought of going to a new dentist was enough to put me in a cold sweat.

I'd thought about going back to my other dentist- Dr. Kellyann Metz, DMD. She was great too. I'd won money off an Invisilign package from her at a wedding vendor trade show when B and I were engaged. I started going to her after that. We were living in Englewood then, so it was convenient. We moved to Glen Rock just before our wedding though, and let me tell you, there is NO good way to get to Tenafly from Glen Rock. Especially, at the hours I could possibly get to a dentist. No way is it ever taking me less than a half hour. I'm so overscheduled this year that there just wasn't a way for me to even consider making an appointment in Tenafly. As much as I like her, AND really need her to try to revisit my Invisilign issues, it just isn't going to happen. Maybe in the summer.

B had a dental problem a few months ago and needed a cleaning as well. He picked a dentist that takes our insurance right on Broad St. in Ridgewood- Dr. Robert Scherrer at Advanced Dental Care of Ridgewood. B really liked him. B has no dental anxiety though. Except for cost. I just couldn't imagine anyone being as gentle and accommodating as my beloved (late) Dr Mischel. B was more wary of the Maserati in the parking lot and the beautiful brand new office. He'd been taken advantage of terribly, or almost taken advantage of, by another local dentist. That other dentist, a woman who also has a fancy office, told him he had all kinds of expensive work needed. Then she billed him for things that weren't even done. Ever since that experience, his radar is up any time he goes to a doctor or dentist.

Dentistry is one of those things that's hard to know what's what and if a doctor is on the level. You don't know if you really need certain things done or not. A doctor can totally scare you into doing unnecessary procedures that won't hurt you physically, but that will definitely hurt your wallet. However, Dr Scherrer was immediately willing to work with him on cost of what he needed. B was very appreciative.

All of a sudden, I had weird teeth pain about two weeks ago. I called Advanced Dental Care of Ridgewood/Dr. Scherrer's office, and scored an appointment. I couldn't sleep for like two days before going to the dentist's office. First of all, everyone in there is just so incredibly nice. It's a little unnerving because you don't know what you're walking into- almost like a very friendly cult. I'm also used to numerous doctors offices with E, where the office staff can almost always use some extra sensitivity training. I've been to eighteen doctors just for him alone, and I can think of maybe two or three that the office staff wasn't abrasive, dismissive, or chaotic. Here- no one seemed angry or rushed, everyone knows your name, they take your coat and they offer you something to drink. They don't even do that at the plastic surgery place where I used to get my Botox.

I went to Dr Scherrer's office. I walked in and my wariness came from the Fox News on the giant tv in the waiting room. Nothing more unnerving than THAT to me! But I didn't walk out. I sat and barely had time to fill out paperwork when they were ready for me. The person who looked at me couldn't find the source of my issue of that moment, but they took x-rays and had me make an appointment for the next week. I told them I'd need the laughing gas for the cleaning. They said fine. It costs $75 though. I thought about not doing it because $75 is still $75. But then I realized I was going to have a full on panic attack if I didn't get it, so I said I'm doing it. I utilized the gas, I got my cleaning, and I didn't feel a THING. In fact, I might have fallen asleep but I can't tell you. I will say that the cleaning is probably more hated by me than anything else. My gums are very sensitive and I more than strongly dislike the feel and taste of the polishing paste. I used to have to spit like four or five times during a cleaning. I didn't feel the need to spit until the end.

Bad news is that I have some cavities and other issues. Only one cavity needed immediate attention, so I made another appointment for the next week. Gas again. I didn't really have the extra $75 but if there was ever a time I'd need the gas, it was for a filling.

I went for the filling, I had the gas, and it was done and over with in thirty minutes. Dr Scherrer was so nice too. He told me about my other issues, what did and didn't need more immediate attention, and urged me to see this Endontist he recommends. He wanted the Endontist to see if I even needed work done behind an old crown that I have. I explained that cost was a major factor so he went through my options from least to most expense. THEN, best of all, he waived his fee for the gas. I got to keep my $75. I never expected that. Not because it was him, but it was only my second time there, and it was a totally elective thing on my part. I just thought it was a very nice, very unusual thing for a dentist to do. Dr Mischel would do it, but I'd bet that none of the others I've been to over the years would have done the same.

I highly recommend Dr Scherrer. He gets my doctor seal of approval. And if you've read any of my blogs about E's health, you know I have very little faith at this point in medical professionals. His office really is state of the art too. If I hadn't been high out of my bird from nitrous oxide, I would've been able to pay more attention to Wendy Williams, up close and personal, on the tv they put inches from my face (at my request).

Monday, February 8, 2016

Family Fun-Time

I went to take E to acting class at ATNY on Sunday and as I drove up, I noticed all the really nice signage up for the businesses "back there". By back there, I mean the back of 175 Rock Road in Glen Rock. An area, a building, a lot of people in my town just think of as a throw away. As somewhere that could just be knocked down to make "something else" the town needs. (Even if it's private property, with many people's only livelihoods, which they love to just ignore.) For instance, there has been a lot of discussion about needing another senior housing building. Or low income housing to be in compliance with state housing laws. Or whatever else people seem to think is a necessity. Meanwhile, I don't think most people who live here even know what's back there. In fact, I know they don't know what's back there because someone recently asked me why the acting class never came. I had to say- "It did." and then give them the information myself. I didn't know what The Blissful Heart does until I met the owner today and asked her myself. Just FYI, a lot of their info is on little handouts right outside their door.

Ok, so it's not the prettiest building from the outside. But the signs are attractive, and inside is clean, inviting, and chock full of awesome. I think it's almost at capacity now, and almost all the spots are filled with kid-oriented, kid/family-friendly, or whole (mind/body/spirit) health related businesses. I just noticed the sign for JW Tumbles. I only know of the JW Tumbles in Hillsdale. There is another one I just saw on their site that's in Clinton, but that's totally out of my area. Both Hillsdale and Clinton are definitely far enough away for one to open here and be successful. I went to the Hillsdale one once when E was around one and a half or two years old. I just never went back because it was too far. They are going to be in the old police station space (when the borough hall was under renovations). I saw "Coming Soon" on the door inside. JW Tumbles has a fantastic reputation according to the Bergen County Moms Facebook group. So, it stands to reason that it's a plus for Glen Rock to have a location as well.

My store, Shades of Soho, is in the front building, where CVS is located. I have to hand it to our landlord, who also owns the back building, for making a whole "kid-palooza" in that space. I don't know if he had a specific plan in mind when renting to businesses. However, it seems like he really thought about who he wanted to rent to, making it a very harmonious area. Instead of just letting in a tenth hair salon or dry cleaners, he has an eclectic, diverse, yet synergistic group of tenants. Sure, it's people who decide what kind of business they want to open and where. And I don't know if he's turned anyone down who didn't fit the kind of businesses he wanted to have back there. I don't know the legalities of accepting certain businesses over others either. All I know is that in an seemingly unsure economy, he's been filled or almost filled to capacity with businesses that all make sense being in the same spot. If he was to market the area, he can actually say and mean that it's a family center. I don't really know any other strip mall area that's like it anywhere around here. I can name ones that are furniture or home decor oriented but not one specifically geared toward families and overall health (without any doctor's offices).

The Blissful Heart lobby
Starting with Moonlight Ballroom, moving on down to JEI Learning, then Nectar Cafe, Gary Stevens TaeKwonDo, Ahum Music/Music For Aardvaarks, Naturally YogaZen Rock Pilates & Spin and JW Tumbles. Now, we also have Actor's Technique NY using the Ahum Music/Music For Aardvaarks space on Sundays. There is really something for everyone- every age group, male or female. I'm sure moms, dads and/or grandparents, aunts & uncles, can find a class at one of the above, or a therapy at The Blissful Heart for themselves and their child(ren) going on at the same time. Being responsible for connecting the landlord with Aardvarks and getting Todd at ATNY connected with Aardvarks and the landlord, I'm really proud of how cool of an area it is back there. I know I've written about that building back there before, but with the additions of JW Tumbles and ATNY, I feel like it should be a much applauded effort of servicing our town (and the surrounding towns) of many young families and older residents alike.

Todd Etelson, ATNY
Here is a recent article by Cecilia Levine of the Daily Voice about Todd Etelson & ATNY-


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Get Swabbed

Someone always need marrow. Years ago, E took classes with Music For Aardvarks. There was a boy around the same age who was in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. They had a drive for him near us so B and I got swabbed. It was a small donation plus some cheek cells. Definitely a worthy cause to save someone's life. I can only hope I'm a match, someday, for someone.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Littles

Still room in class for the little ones! E took this class for two and a half years. He loved this class. It's so worth it! Especially now that you can choose between NJ and NYC.

 ACTORSTECHNIQUENY.COM                                                     917.763.1777

                   IMPROVISATION                                                        ON-CAMERA

12:30 - 1:30PM

1:00PM - 2:00PM


ATNY KIDS & TEENS, ATNY at Pearl Studios, 500 8th Ave. 35/36th St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10018