Monthly Archives: September 2009

on the fall season

30 September 2009

The TV has started! The TV has started. There is a sweet, nostalgic giddiness for me to the fall premieres. The shows and characters that have come back…will they still be good? Can the writers keep it up? And what new show will hit the home run? And in my mind, you have to be home for it all. Every night for a few weeks until they cancel that show with so much potential, quirky characters and a bad plot or time slot. But our DVR has changed all that. OK, it has been 5 years since I’ve really been tied down to the TV schedule. But there is still a September thrill.

And now Time-Warner, which has an annoying DVR is so many ways – no 30 second skip, the 8 second back is weirdly unreliable, an awkward interface in so many ways* – has one killer app. Prime-time on demand. Wow. I didn’t get the season pass on Community. And there it is. And the Good Wife. And I missed an episode of Monk.

I have been watching entirely too much TV. And with the two big kids in school all day and the little kid not able to ask for specific shows, I am watching grown-up TV. Ahhh.

Community: I did not expect to find the writing so crisp and funny. I think everything Joel McHale has ever done has been a waste of his talent. The pace of the jokes almost feels like Aaron Sorkin on Sports Night. As a huge Sports Night fan, I can only hope Community doesn’t go the same way.

NCIS: LA: I loved the cross-over intro to the LA cast last Spring. I fell for NCIS in the first or second season.  After I hooked Rob, we caught up on all of the episodes we had missed over the years. NCIS is still solid – it doesn’t let the character arcs get in the way of the weekly mystery. I still remember feeling annoyed that Moonlighting stopped functioning as a mystery show when it got caught up in the David/Maddie romance. NCIS is part of the Donald Bellisario universe. JAG was first. (And many other shows.)  NCIS has now spawned NCIS:LA. But NCIS:LA is from someone named Shane Brennan. And for the record, so is NCIS now.

I digress. Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J are great. I can only hope that if the show gets a season to shake out…it will be a very different creature. The technology and the toys are nice. The team chemistry is good. Are they going to go after terrorists? Find a niche?

The Good Wife: I found myself cringing as I watched the first episode of this show. The pain of marital betrayal and returning to work felt so raw. I wonder if there will be anything left after that pain lessens.

Accidentally on Purpose: I want to like anything with Jenna Elfman in it. I am not comfortable with her being old. She doesn’t look old. And having Ashley Jensen play the sympathetic Scottish best friend who sees to drink and leer a bit too much, a total repeat of her Ugly Betty character,  seems unnecessary and boring. And what is up with the sister?

I have finally started watching Monk in its final season. Is it the final season? I have tried over the years and couldn’t suspend disbelief. And this year, it seems funny and clever. I feel late to a party.

* It is common for us to admit we hate the TW DVR. The lists starts with: if you record a show in progress, there are not option. So you can’t set up a season pass or extend the end-time from that screen. If you forget to set up a series pass on a show on tonight (Say, Glee), it will saw there are no programs found for the future. And you won’t get your pass. The method to order the series passes, while easier to find that the TiVo, is time-consuming and backwards. You have to go into each program and set its priority. Not rearrange the list. New series passes are placed at highest priority, which is the exact opposite as TiVo. It may not be terrible, but it is hard to adjust. There are no folders.

The only thing I can say I really like is that when you go onto the Guide, it visually displays you what you are recording in the future.

for the future

30 September 2009
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Tonight, as Miranda drifted off to sleep, she said, “I don’t believe in dinosaurs.” Trying my best to keep bedtime about sleeping and not talking, I said, Oh. She went on to say she didn’t see how scientists could know all of the things they say are true about dinosaurs. I offered that we could read a book about paleontology and see if she could better understand how scientists form their theories. She said Oh.

In the future, this conversation will embarrass/amuse her – I said what? I’d never say that! Or she will have a flourishing career on talk-radio and we’ll not be speaking.  At least about politics, religion, science, weather, sociology…the list goes on.

backlog: odds and ends edition

27 September 2009
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Boy, skip a few days and it turns into weeks.

1. I am most allergic to horses. My fall allergies were causing me to want to try acupuncture again (to drain the goo, but when I realized it just reorganizes qi, I stopped really pursing this idea) or to see if Benedryl came in triple-strength. I saw the allergic. He tested my skin. Horses are not part of the standard adult screen, but he indulged my desire to know. And we do live in horsey country. I should avoid them.

I am also allergic to ragweed (fall), birch trees (spring), dust (all year round, especially bad when you aren’t heating or cooling the house), cats and dogs (although the dog reading was the smallest I’ve ever seen). NB If Miranda reads this some day, we are still not getting a dog. These are not news, per se, but it helps the doctor figure out how to improve the quality of my life. And having bee on the new stuff for a few days, my life is improved.

2. This season of Project Runway is suffering heavily from the lack of consistent judges.  Where are you Michael Kors and Nina Garcia? I think Gordana must feel robbed. When Tim Gunn tells you things are OK, as happened last week with the paper contest, and then the judges rake you over the coals? The screaming inside her head I can only imagine. I can’t believe that Ra’mon’s one bad week got him sent home. And Nicolas’s ice queen was good, but to win? With immunity? I suspect that the producers are livening up the drama a bit.

3. We finally hit a Brewers game with the kids that had some excitement. We sat entirely too high up. I had visions of losing Bella from my arms and see her rolling down 6 rows of seats.  I propose this is a myth – well, really, I think it is true, but it may be a myth. Aren’t myths like fibs? Lies? In any case, I want Mythbusters to roll a dummy off their laps at the ballpark and see if the dummy would have lived, if it were alive.

The kids were not interesting in baseball. Even Henry, t-ball star. I wish we were sitting lower down, but then when they didn’t watch the game I would feel like I wasted a ton of money.

4. We went to Chicago this weekend. I wish it has been the whole weekend. Miranda and Henry are finally getting big enough to start doing fun things. Ideas we discarded because Bella would be a handful and is not old enough: children’s theatre, the Robie House tour, a bicycle tour, or even the riverboat tour. Someday. They all enjoyed the hotel swimming pool. We had some delightful dixieland food and had great company.

I can never get over the density in Chicago. The bustle, the stores, the businesses, the people, the restaurants. Not every visit inspires me to want to return for a week, but this one was. Avoiding terrible traffic does do that too.  And I think I need to petition Old Navy to add more stores here. There is an Old Navy on every 4th mile it seems. I also saw a Loehmann’s clothing store. And a Jewel Osco. Very weird to think they just gave up on Milwaukee, not that they went out of business.

singular sensation

15 September 2009
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I need to sit down and write, to capture some of the delight that is Arabella, age 1. She walks 1-2 steps between trusted adults and then dive bombs into one of them. She has figured out to crawl faster if I am after her on the stairs, to get away. She seems betrayed that her big kids aren’t home all day. She whined and fussed and demanded to be held, then released, then held again. And as soon as Henry got home (Miranda and I were late), she stopped. She played contentedly in whatever room he was in.

She had a terrific birthday. She had her shots the next day like a trooper. Some recent pics.

I feel pretty

I feel pretty

Walking is easier if you carry something. Who knew?

Walking is easier if you carry something. Who knew?





picture post

8 September 2009
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Pictures from the first day of school. Only a week late. The smiles waned over the week but were back today.

Getting ready to go

Getting ready to go

on the lawn

on the lawn

Smiles, please be here to stay. Live long and prosper.

I had no clue a year ago today how what Sept 9th would bring. At least this year, I know the Beatles are dominating 9/9/09 … I guess 9/9/08 was Bella’s to claim.

not a good idea

6 September 2009
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On our drive down to IKEA today, we passed a skydiving school. If I ran a skydiving school or even controlled the zoning for commercial enterprises in a town, I would not put the school next to a  major interstate. Even if that interstate made it really easy for your customers to find you. Because it is quite disconcerting to drive 70 mph down I-43 and have people in parachutes drifting toward the ground. And knowing that they would in fact cross the freeway (they did) and land safely (they did), but fearing the big splat.

IKEA was as IKEA is. Crowded. Exceptionally creamy frozen yogurt. Good prices, but if you buy a full cart’s worth, all of the $5’s plus $16’s plus $59’s really start to add up. I wonder if their strategy also includes how much a pain it is to return things. If it were closer, I might have saved 2 things for next time. As it is, I am now wondering if it is worth going back.

first day of school!

1 September 2009
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Today Miranda and Henry headed off to school. If Miranda can be as happy as she was today, the whole year will be a dream.

Henry is starting to face the idea that school is here to stay. He was so eager to go around March of last year. He made it through the day. I have no emails or phone calls from his teacher. And I will gloss over Miranda’s report of tears at lunch. I am much cheerier in person, I promise. Go Henry go!

I have predicted that Bella would sleep away this entire week. And today I will admit to being absolutely wrong.  I think she missed the kids enormously. She also seems to have some sort of illness. I am swinging on the pendulum of parental concern from, she;’s fine, the fever is low,. Tylenol helps, to Oh, wow, she seems miserable, I hope she hasn‘t been sick with something treatable and I have been just stringing her along. When the pendulum hits the far side, I call the doctor. We go at 8:30 tomorrow. At the same time, Rob has his first meeting. And at 8:35, the kids go to school – can Grandma combat second day worries? And Wednesdays are a day my dad usually volunteers. And tonight, Rob’s car started acting funny. To turn this into our own personal story problem, if we have 4 adults with 3 cars and 3 events with 8:30 start times, who will pick my dad up at the garage when they look at Rob’s car?

Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion. And pictures!


1 September 2009

Years ago (I would have swore it was more recent), I read about second generation traffic calming. In essence, in Suzhou China in 2004, traffic flows without any rules. And with this chaos, there is safety, as everyone has to slow down because no one has the “right” to dominate the roads. The idea has been a challenge to my rules-loving little mind every since. Especially when I think that article is from 2004 and I remember reading it.

I have been expanding my mind this week.

Bella has discovered the magic waterfall that is a free flowing toilet paper roll. She tugs and it falls and falls and falls. I think she has unwound entire rolls of paper. It is annoying to find this pile of toilet paper on the floor. Do I roll it back up? It won’t roll. She appreciates any negative attention related to the T.P. and somehow the door always ends up open at some point during the day.

Right now, the toilet paper is chaotically mounded in a bucket. My instinct is that I should find the end and neatly tear off what I need. But I have been trying to battle the constrictions of habit.  And it is much easier to just grab a section and rip out what I need.  Why does toilet paper come on a roll?  Is that the easiest way to package and ship it? I wonder if there would be a market for toilet paper seconds – the unrolled – sold in bags? Same softness, but you don’t have to pay for the robot that rolls the paper onto the roll? The plus to the chaotic pile is that it doesn’t seem to attract Bella at all. The whirl of the free falling paper was her interest, not the ripping.

While pondering the patterns that the roll of toilet paper unrolled has brought, we also are gently discouraging toilet paper play. A large rubber band around the roll impedes us all. And I just read online that if you squeeze the roll you can break its magical waterfall effect.