End of 2012

The last day of 2012 and it's actually chilly here in Baton Rouge. Jane and I have many errands to run. I have lots of things to do around the house too -- being at my mother-in-law's house was inspiring to purge and organize (although the turning of the calendar also has something to do about it I'm sure).

This year Jane went on five airline trips -- a total of 20 flights (takeoff and landing). I had miscalculated before and said 18. Glad I recounted:
  • BTR --> DFW --> LAX
  • LAX --> DFW --> BTR
  • BTR --> DFW --> OKC
  • OKC --> DFW --> BTR
  • BTR --> ATL --> CDG --> TXL
  • TXL --> CDG --> ATL --> BTR
  • BTR --> DFW --> LAW
  • LAW --> DFW --> BTR
  • BTR --> CNT
  • CNT --> BTR
That's a well traveled baby!

Jane's vocabulary is expanding. She doesn't say Mama very often, although it is what we consider her first word. Dada is her favorite word hands down. During our trip to Virginia she picked up "Popeye" or "Paba" for Grandpa. So that's been pretty cute.

Our New Year's Eve this year will likely consist of soup and going to bed. I got a few Crock Pot recipe books from my sister and am going to give one of the soup recipes a try (gotta get started soon). Shawn and I go to bed pretty early these days, so I'm not even sure if we'll push ourselves to stay up until 12. If only we could sleep in ... maybe in a few more years.

Whatever you're doing, have a Happy 2013!

Christmas Tree Skirt

This is the Christmas tree skirt that I crocheted for my mother-in-law this year. It took me over a year to finish because it was so many pieces. They're asymmetrical granny squares whipped together with a border -- from a pattern in a book Gran gave me. The number of ends I had to weave in was something else.

Unfortunately she doesn't have a tree that can make use of the skirt. (Hers is a small jobber that sits on a table.) But it's sort of draped around the tree anyway.

I'd like to make myself one, but I might look into a different pattern. I love green and red for Christmas, so this is perfect ... but I also like the idea of a filet pattern in white. For our tree this year I used some buffalo snow.

Christmas Cooking 2012

It's been a hard working Christmas for me in the kitchen. Since the day after we arrived in Virginia I've been making something every day. And nearly every step of the way something has gone wrong.

It started with the cake. I'd seen a recipe in a magazine and didn't think it seemed too hard. But the payoff looked gorgeous -- like it always does in magazines. After making the cake batter to perfection I was thwarted when the cakes rose over the sides of the pans and made the bottom of the oven super messy. Luckily there was foil on the bottom of the oven so cleanup wasn't too difficult. But the cakes were pretty much useless -- too soft in parts and crusty in others.They really seemed like brownies in consistency.

After pondering a while I gave up and decided to bake a regular box cake in two layers and go ahead and make the cream cheese frosting. With the excess frosting I mixed the half of the ruined cakes to make cake balls (kind of gross, and I never bothered to cover them in chocolate candy coating like you're supposed to ... so they ended up in the trash ... maybe it only works with store bought frosting?).

But the box cake turned out OK -- domed but OK. I iced the two layers and then did the decorating -- pressing crushed candy canes around the sides. I also made peppermint red-and-white meringues for the top. While the meringues dried, I left the cake on the counter with the candy canes in place. It was covered in the cake carrier and when we got back the candy canes had melted, leaving the sides of the cake pink and a puddle of goo underneath. YUCK.

Little did I know that cream cheese frosting must be refrigerated. SO that solves the mystery of the melting candy canes (I think?).

We went ahead and ate the cake at a family party and it didn't get an awful reception. It was just sad sitting next to a pristine bundt cake that was on a plate made out of actual peppermint candies. Pinterest much? Oh me.

There have been similar fiascos as the cooking has continued. We never had exactly the right tools -- missing a rubber spatula, no big mixing bowls, it takes more than 30 minutes for water to boil on her stove, etc.

In addition to the cake I also made cream cheese cutout sugar cookies. I've had that recipe from my aunt for 10 years, so they turned out fine -- although it didn't seem like it made enough because I used such a giant cookie cutter (I brought one from home just in case ... and lucky for me because my m-i-l couldn't find her cookie cutters either).

Other desserts included banana pudding pie, pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake. As of this writing we've only eaten pumpkin pie -- and it was only OK. I think a problem is that Shawn's grandma's recipe calls for "milk" and I'm pretty sure she means "evaporated milk" -- which is a game changer. It still set up and tasted right. It just wasn't as dense as it should have been.

The banana custard for the pie was difficult, and I'm not sure I did that right. It said to bring it to a boil after it thickened ... but with the stove not being hot enough it thickened and would not boil. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to keep cooking it until it was a thick unmoving block ... but that's where I was headed so I stopped. I'm not sure if I overcooked or undercooked it. In any case it doesn't look like the picture (let's be honest, none of my recipes do).

For dinner we had
  • cranberry salad (my mom's recipe -- easy, tasty and one I've made before ... a rare win for me this season)
  • 3-cheese scalloped potatoes (all you magazine ... turned out OK EXCEPT the bottom got too brown because the casserole dish was metal and we didn't use the baking sheet underneath because there was no room)
  • mashed sweet potatoes (mainly for Jane -- easy enough I didn't mess it up)
  • broccoli and mushroom salad (real simple magazine -- yummo)
  • deviled eggs (m-i-l made these ... needed mustard!)
  • creamy corn pudding (real simple magazine -- yummo except that it too got a little too brown around the edges ... and it was in a glass casserole so it may just be the oven was too hot or overcrowded? she only has one rack in the oven, which made timing everything super difficult)
  • turkey (m-i-l did this too and it got a little dried out ... we didn't have a deep roasting pan so I wasn't able to get many juices/drippings for the ...
  • cornbread dressing (Shawn's grandma's recipe ... I got close. Consistency was almost right but it was missing some flavor, probably from the lack of turkey juice)
  • store bought yeast rolls (the bottoms got too brown ... there is no timer in her kitchen!)
I am wiped out. Still need to make whipped cream for the pies. 

I don't think I want to be making this meal again in any kitchen but my own. And even then ...

Hope you've had a Merry Christmas.

Crochet: A Granny Square

Finished this granny square baby blanket with the puffiest softest yarn, Red Heart Buttercream. It's bulky and worked up quickly. I interspersed some "Cupcake" purple yarn and embroidered an "A" in the middle (the baby's first name starts with "A").

I got it mailed off today. The baby was born 5 months ago, so I'm only a little late getting this finished!

The Spirit of the Season

I am fighting a losing battle with myself. I want to stop wanting THINGS and be content with all the amazing things I have -- and the people I have to share them with.

But I am susceptible to marketing and jealousy like woah.

It's Christmastime, so there are tons of "hot deals" and "buy now" messages pervading me. I have read so many gift guides and thought "oh, I want that!" And being at others' homes and seeing the beautiful decorations my tree doesn't seem like enough. And I want more-more-more.

Specific example: Christmas china. The idea of having special plates, bowls, cups, glasses to pull out for December is suddenly oddly appealing to me (although come January - November decidedly less so!). Bringing myself back to reality I remember that i have wedding china I've never used (and don't have a safe place to store so it remains in its box in the utility room). And I don't have people over to eat with any regularity anyway, even around Christmas (THAT is something I could change in good conscience though).

I want to have good habits and attitudes to pass onto and model for Jane. Not being so obsessed with gadgets and clothes and possessions. But I am tempted to shop-shop-shop all the time, including for her.

Of course I can't not shop for her at all -- she is growing and developing and needs bigger clothes, more challenging toys, etc., many of which I can get at consignment shops and garage sales (although it's definitely easy for me to still go overboard). But I can certainly work harder to reign myself in.

In our pre-parenthood dreamland, we were determined to limit her toys, especially plastic. And like everyone else said -- our living room is overflowing with baskets of toys and books ... and we've even boxed up a good portion of her toys to swap out in May. So even there, in what seems like it should be a concrete "in-and-out" system, I fail.

And even as I'm confronted by my blatant consumerism I feel some comfort in buying gifts for others this season -- picking out presents, wrapping and shipping them -- oh the efficiency. Until I come across blog posts and books that feature people giving up gift giving to those they love in favor of helping the poor and needy -- either entirely or half for family and half for strangers.

What does gratitude look like? How can I do better -- not just at Christmas but all year -- at being grateful myself and instilling gratitude in my family? How do you fight the "want-more-stuff" monster?

Voyeurism and Reality Blogging

The idea that blogging is similar to reality TV keeps tumbling around in my head (and I'm fairly certain I've written about it before...or at least I meant to). So while I'm adamant against watching shows like "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" and "Real Housewives,"* I LOVE reading blogs that give me a peek into someone else's life.

From the twee blogger writing about style and fashion to the mommy blogger presenting a realistic look at life with a toddler to the healthy food blogger who mixes in stories about her family to the trying-to-be-funny but missing the mark honesty of a decidedly non-crunchy blogger (brags about feeding her kids Little Debbie snacks; the feeding probably isn't uncommon but the unabashed pride in doing so certainly is among what I read anyway).

In some cases I know more about these women's lives than I do about my sister's! (To be fair I definitely know what's up with my sister's life, but I don't know the level of detail that some bloggers provide.)

And rather than be annoyed and unsubscribe, I find that I revel in knowing more about these people ... and they become characters in my mind. Sometimes I want to talk about them -- and I do tell my husband about some of the more ridiculous things that come across my Google Reader.

So that brings me to me -- and how I am documenting my existence online. Do I reveal too much? Not enough? Am I presenting myself as merely a character, or do I allow some of my truth to be seen in the posts? Most (if not all) of my non-spam readers are people who know me in real life, which makes me approach blogging differently than I might otherwise.

My blog doesn't have any commercial value, so if I am trying to create a marketable character I'm not doing so well. If my blog is just a place to communicate with people who know me in an unobtrusive way (read if you want, don't if you don't), then I think I'm on track. I also really like this blog as a record for myself. I can go read older entries and remember exactly what it felt like to write those words and sometimes even where it was I was doing the writing.

How much do I love this face?!
But this isn't a completely safe place either. Anything I publish -- including pictures of Jane -- can be seen by anyone. Am I doing her a disservice by writing about her and using her picture and real name? Could it have longer lasting consequences? Do I deny myself the joy I get sharing about her? Or just do it in a more contained platform (should I Facebook more? be content with my weekly email?)? No pictures? Use a pseudonym for her? (Some people just say "Daughter" or "Baby" or initials, etc.)

While I am thinking about these things, I don't expect anything to change around here -- I'll still write infrequently and think of posts I want to write MUCH more frequently. I'll keep reading others' blogs and think "I can't believe she posted that!" in a judgy mcjudgerson way. And there's always November...

*I confess I watched some of "Miss Advised" this summer ... because I am a closet "cat lady."

Christmas Movies

Something I didn't mention in my TV watching confessions was how much I like to watch TERRIBLE Christmas/holiday movies.

ABC Family, Lifetime, Hallmark. Those would be my channels in years past -- I can't count how many of the lame-oh, eye rolling movies I've watched. They're so bad they're good, at least to me.

I remember a particularly good/bad one we watched at Shawn's Aunt Diannia's house -- Wilford Brimley suddenly grabbed his left arm and Diannia shouted "heart attack!" And sure enough, that's what he had. Shawn and I still sometimes shout it out randomly and crack up, years later.

Last year I watched many while Jane was still small and sleeping all the live long day. But this year I'm not sure if I'll watch any of them. I've seen ads in some of the magazines I read -- which I'm letting subscriptions lapse as I can stand it, because seriously -- so I've seen a few I would LIKE to see. I think there's one with TorI Spelling. I mean, come on! Donna Martin in a TV movie with a holiday twist?

But I'll make due with plenty of Christmas tunes and a particularly annoying Jingle Bells-playing monkey (a gift to Jane last year at her Indiahoma shower ... not that I'll name names).

Whatever the case playing with Jane is always better than any old movie...

Read: MWF Seeking BFF

MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For A New Best FriendMWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For A New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I checked out this memoir digitally, which I think is the best invention ever (or not, but I really like being able to do that ... I'm not one to crave zillions of digital files of books I'll never read again, can't sell or give away and never remember to try to loan out to someone who has the same device as me, etc.). I would even pay a couple bucks to rent books digitally -- maybe like Netflix for Novels & Nonfiction or something? I do have Amazon Prime and can borrow a book a month that way ... but the available titles are mostly self-published things plus the Hunger Games trilogy, which I've already read. Meh.

Anyway, the book itself is about the author's year-long quest to make friends in Chicago because all her friends live elsewhere.

There's a fair bit of friendship/relationship research information included but I didn't really like those parts of the book and enjoyed more just the straight up story of her year and how it went on her "girl dates."

I've never actively sought girl friends myself, even though I do need those types of relationships. Girl friends don't come easily to me, and I'm not a very social person by nature. (See November 2012 television posts!)

I wouldn't want to repeat the author's experiment -- she went on 52 FIRST girl dates in the year, meaning all her follow up meetings with women she met didn't count toward that goal. I can't imagine going out every week even with people I know, let along with a new person every week plus old pals. Yikes.(Oh yeah, and she was in her first year of marriage too ... I don't know how she managed to also work full time or sleep!)

But the book could inspire me to be friendlier, talk to people more and maybe invite someone to do something sometime. I definitely say yes to invitations a lot more than I would naturally because I know how important it is to be connected to people even if it's hard to establish those connections.

Overall I liked the book and the author has a blog: http://mwfseekingbff.com/ that I might start reading too.

View all my reviews

The End: What I Would Watch and What I Don't Watch

So NaBloPoMo is at an end. Again, I don't think I won any of the prizes given by the organizers, despite being a diligent, if boring, daily blogger. I also am having second (third? fourth? sixteenth?) thoughts on the wisdom of spelling out my TV habit so clearly, especially when it comes to implicating Shawn in a few of the shows. I know it's not a good habit, and I could spend time dissecting why I succumb to it and don't really try to break it. Maybe next November?

Ah, I just remembered another show I DO watch: Rizzoli and Isles (which came back on this week after hiatus -- TNT). I like Angie Harmon a lot, but the show itself is really hokey. Another police drama with two female leads (detective and medical examiner), but they've both been the target of at least one serial killer (sometimes two) and the show is only a couple years old. Anyway, that gives you an idea of its quality...

I also watch basketball -- NBA and college especially in the spring -- so our TV gets use for that. (Although it's such a small TV that watching sports on it is pretty difficult.) Otherwise I think I've pretty much spilled my guts about my TV habits. **red face**

But pressing on, since embarrassment is a hallmark of this blog. So, what I WOULD watch if I had more time, was willing to spend money on premium channels, etc.
  • Dexter (already seen all the seasons but the current one ... got hooked during the writer's strike when they showed clean versions of the show on CBS)
  • Homeland -- another Showtime show with Claire Danes (I've seen most of her work since MSCL) that EVERYONE is talking about. I've heard about it from my mom, on NPR, on a variety of blogs, etc. 
  • West Wing -- it's streaming free with Amazon Prime, and I would love to go back and watch every episode. I saw many of the later seasons but not as many of the first and never all in order.
  • HGTV and DIY, specifically House Hunters and house renovations shows like House Crashers, Bath Crashers, etc. I used to spend hours with those on as background.
  • Food Network -- Good Eats is an awesome show. I know it's no longer being filmed BUT Alton Brown has specials on the network and I'm sure they still air old GE eps (and they're really great even when re-runs). Also Trisha Yearwood apparently has a show on Food Network. I love her music and her cookbooks, so I'm sure I would love that show.
  • Law & Order: SVU reruns. I watch some of these, but I would love to have a marathon day and just watch my favorites. Ditto for Law & Order: Criminal Intent reruns. Love me some Bobby! (Who I saw once in NYC.)
  • Speaking of Ice-T (of SVU fame), I love the show Ice Loves Coco -- a reality show about Ice and his wife. It's so funny and bad. I've seen three episodes: once at the gym and two at my sister's house recently because I was channel surfing while waiting to pick up Shawn at the airport.
I'm sure there are many more, but these are what have been tumbling around in my head this month as I've been writing this series. There are also probably current prime time shows that I could easily get hooked into, but I do my best to avoid any new show trappings!

So you'll notice I do not watch any reality TV (although I would watch Ice Loves Coco, definitely a reality show). I used to watch America's Next Top Model in the first couple cycles -- back when I was in the target demographic I guess. And house hunting shows could count as reality? (HAHAHA, no.) Before we got married I watched hours of horrible bride shows and WAY back when MTV was new to me I loved watching Real World/Road Rules type stuff in college. But otherwise I'm pretty reality free. I also don't like singing competitions (I like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, but I never actually saw the American Idol competitions) or talent competitions (I've watched a handful of America's Got Talent episodes at other people's houses, and while mildly entertaining definitely not how I choose to spend my TV time).

Basically give me a script, some pretty people, a mystery and a good love story and I'm on board. (OK, I'm also on board if the show is pretty terrible, as evidenced by what I watch.)

Hope you had a great November. See you next year.

What I Watch: Cougar Town and Dallas

Two shows that are on hiatus and are more than a little embarrassing to say that I watch.

I started watching Cougar Town when it premiered -- I think the same time as Modern Family -- because it's created by the Scrubs people (and I love Scrubs) and just kept watching it because it was so wacky and weird.

The show is about a group of friends in their 40s, love to drink wine and play a game called Penny Can. They live in Florida. Originally it was about a divorced woman (Courteney Cox) going after much younger guys, but it evolved into a much better show. The title doesn't make any sense now, but they make jokes about it in the title cards -- a blink and you'll miss it kind of inside joke I guess.

It was on ABC but apparently is now moving to TBS starting on January 8. I'm glad I looked it up, as I'm not sure my DVR will automatically record something that's on another channel.

The revamp of Dallas wasn't something I was interested in watching BUT my mom and aunt were here during the series premiere and we decided to have a look. It was so bad it was good. And even Shawn got nostalgic and would watch it with me. 

I don't know how they're going to handle the next season now that Larry Hagman, aka J.R. Ewing, is dead. My mother-in-law said they'd already filmed the next season (or next part of it, since it's a TNT show with split up seasons) so at least they can write him out gracefully. Sadness.

One of the lead characters is played by an actor (Jesse Metcalfe) I first saw on the soap opera Passions. That show premiered when I was in high school -- maybe the summer right before college, and so I watched it religiously for a while. Eventually I stopped and they don't make it anymore. It was REALLY bad.

Passions also had the guy who played Keith on later seasons of Scrubs, so maybe he'll show up on Cougar Town in future seasons (lots of other actors from Scrubs have been on the show), and it will make these two shows being in the same post make a little more sense. Basically writing two-for-one because I'm running out of days in NaBloPoMo!

A Baby and Her Tree

Baby's first Christmas tree, and our first tree as a married couple. We never bothered in the apartments and didn't have a tree to put up last year when we had a newborn. This is a pre-lit faux tree we bought at Hobby Lobby last year for 75% off.

Only the front is decorated, and I didn't put anything at all at the bottom. We have plenty of room to grow and get more ornaments. I have some from my childhood, some that were Grandma Jane's, some that have been gifts (including a birthday present this year, a beautiful glass star), and several we have collected on our travels: Canada, Germany, Caribbean, etc. I would like to crochet some flat angels and some more snowflakes. Maybe next year!

What I Watch: Star Trek

A local channel - ME TV - plays the original Star Trek every Saturday night at 8 pm. Our DVR records it, and Shawn and I will watch an episode whenever we feel like intentionally watching TV together, which isn't often but is usually on Saturday evenings.

When we were dating we'd watch Star Trek: Next Generation together--my first introduction to the Star Trek universe. Although we had the string quartet play theme song as we walked down the aisle after being married we are far from Trekkies.

Shawn has seen most of the original series episodes, but I haven't. And even the ones I have seen I forget and like to watch again. There are a few Shawn will say "let's skip" and some that he hasn't seen or doesn't remember. He wants to skip "Trouble with Tribbles," but I keep saving it on the DVR hoping he'll change his mind and we can watch it again. It's hilariously weird.

The show is so campy and funny, and I'm a big Spock fan. I love Kirk's over-acting and the wacky sets and 60s-style costumes. I love the interplay with Bones and Spock and the inevitable "He's dead, Jim" almost every episode. Poor red shirts (a red shirt crewman almost always dies during an away mission).

The version we watch has had its external shots redone with CGI, so we don't like that as much/would prefer the authenticity of the model ships being filmed on a painted backdrop (or however it worked back then). Otherwise it's a good show we can share, and I guess we'll watch it until we get through all five seasons.

What I Watch: Fringe

Fringe is a show I've watched since its beginning, and I'm not really sure what it was that drew me. Actually it was probably Joshua Jackson. I've always been a Pacey fan myself. But I found I really liked the show, which is another that I watch with a strong female lead in Olivia.

It's now my only Friday show, but before it was on Thursdays after Bones. I had to choose between Fringe and Grey's Anatomy (I chose Fringe, but I could always watch Grey's online later).

Fringe is a scifi show that's not like any scifi I've ever watched ... not that I've watched a lot of scifi. It is not something that Shawn likes at all -- in fact he makes fun of me for watching it BUT sometimes he likes it because of the Walter and Peter dynamic ... the Walter character has some pretty good one liners and zingers.

Basically the show is about a team of FBI agents who investigate paranormal events (X-Files-ish I guess, but with the addition of a wacky scientist who's had part of his brain removed, making him hilariously weird). There's definitely some hardcore romance, which I love. But the longing is so prolonged. Every time Peter and Olivia get together they write some way to tear them back apart.

There was a huge storyline with an alternate universe, complete with a Fauxlivia. Our Olivia was trapped on the other side in a prison in the dark, and that was the cliffhanger end of a season. I can't tell you how many times I thought of that over the summer -- wondering how they'd ever set it right. Even knowing it was just a character and nothing was even remotely real I still WORRIED about Olivia. (Spoiler: they did sort everything out, although not without doing some damage to the Peter-Olivia relationship ... which then got re-written or re-wired when Peter disappeared from existence only to be pulled back by their love, but their history never actually happened ... or something. Still not clear on that one.)

This is Fringe's final season, and it's like a COMPLETELY different show. We've fast forwarded to 2036 (the characters didn't age because they were frozen in amber for 20 years), and they have to fight to reclaim the earth from future people who have come back to trash its resources. It's bizarre and frustrating, especially because with the super powerful enemy "The Observers" it seems impossible for them to actually triumph.

I keep watching though because I believe that they will triumph. I want to see the resolution of the Peter and Olivia love story. And at this point it's habit. I've watched every other episode so I might as well see it to the end.

Pop Culture Nexus is a site that has a feature on Fringe -- screen caps of the episodes with funny commentary. It stays true to the show -- it's not written in a mean way, as the writer LOVES Fringe. But it adds another element of entertainment to the show I think. I haven't been reading it this season, but I did for a while last season. It's full of spoilers though, so if you watch the show or plan to (previous seasons are available on Amazon for streaming ... free with Prime), probably avoid that site.

Thirty Two

Birthday offerings at Indiahoma UMC
Jane's mama is 32 years old today...

Shawn got the Christmas tree put up and I'm going to work on decorating it today. We have so many ornaments that I've collected but have never been able to actually display. Going to be fun!

Tonight is Bible study so no big evening out for us. I'd like to go out and get Mexican food some time this week.

I also need to get my flu shot and TDAP shot. Suddenly paranoid AFTER our first big travel. D'oh. Jane's vaccinated though, so at least there's that.

It's a beautiful day for a birthday -- overcast, cool and rainy. Our yard is covered with leaves, the Christmas music is playing for the first time this year and I'm in a pretty good mood.

I'm going to try to take advantage of at least one Cyber Monday deal and buy my Christmas cards. I've bought a few different ones here and there when they were super cheap (like only pay shipping cheap). But I want to get Jane's picture using this tutorial. The guest room is set up, so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully I can get photo editing time during Jane's afternoon nap.

Wish me luck...

RIP Router

I still have a couple more TV shows to write about, but since we came home to a fried router I thought I'd write about that, since it will make blogging that much harder.

Apparently when you power up and power down a router enough times it eventually just dies. They don't come with power buttons -- at least not the model we had -- so wasn't protected from that. Even though it was plugged into a surge protector that didn't save it.

SO we still have internet via the modem if we plug in directly BUT without wifi my Draw Something time is severely limited. Not to mention that reading my Google Reader feeds without my iPod will be nearly impossible for me! Oh how my habits have changed. I don't sit at a computer all day anymore!

Hopefully we'll be back up and running by Tuesday, but until then I'll hobble along and use my Connectify program to create a small wifi hot spot when my laptop is on and connected to the internet.

Home Away

We're homeward bound today. It's been a great trip. Remember when I would obsessively write every detail of every trip? I will probably do some highlights with pictures of this trip, but nothing like my Owen-filled detailed posts of old. (But there will be plenty of Owen in any wrap up ... I still love that kid like a crazy person!)

Wish us luck getting home, although it should be infinity times easier with two of us to wrangle a toddler. And it actually wasn't all bad when I did it myself.

Happy Small Business Saturday, and I hope I can find one en route (unlikely in DFW I'd guess) -- or make it home and do some Etsy shopping just to say I did.

(This tiny laptop of my mom's is nice, and I'm grateful to have been able to use it and keep up with NaBloPoMo, but I'll be glad to get back to my own machine, photos, etc.)

What I Watch: Psych

Psych might be my favorite current show. It's another crime show -- mostly a comedy but with some drama mixed in.

I love Shawn and Gus, and Shawn and Juliet. I love the goofy jokes, 80s and 90s references and the wacky crime solving team.

Another show that I started watching because my mom turned me onto it. And I LOVE it. It's another show I can watch again and again in syndication. I might even watch it if I had the DVDs (I only have DVDs of two shows: My So-Called Life and Felicity).

Anyway, I watched tons of reruns on Ion and USA during my pregnancy. I wouldn't be surprised if Jane recognized the theme song: "I know, you know that I'm not telling the truth. I know, you know you just don't have any proof..."

What I Watch: The Big Bang Theory

I love this show, and it's one of the few that Shawn will watch with me regularly and intentionally. It's centered around academics -- totally stereotyped but also hilariously accurate sometimes.

One of the characters is socially inept but also OK with it (his mother had him tested so he knows he's not insane) -- Sheldon is so funny, and the actor who portrays him (Jim Parsons) does such an amazing job with his body language and dry one-liners.

Sheldon has a "girlfriend" in later seasons -- Amy Farrah Fowler -- who is played by Mayim Bialik, formerly known as Blossom (whose book Beyond the Sling I recently read).

We always laugh out loud at this show, sometimes because it reminds us of something we've experienced, but usually just because it's so outlandish and such a ridiculous portrayal of the way academia works.

It's definitely one of my favorite shows and one I would be sad to give up if I ever did abolish TV entirely. It's also one that I can watch repeatedly in reruns, which I did earlier this year when Jane was still small enough to keep facing away from the TV (what a bad mama!).

What I Watch: Community

Here's another NBC sitcom that's currently on hiatus. I've watched it since the beginning because of Joel McHale. I was a big fan of The Soup (don't watch anymore because I actually HAVE cut back on TV watching, despite what this month is showing me/us). I watched it back when it was Talk Soup and Skunk Boy was the host. (I didn't watch it when Greg Kinnear was the host, but that's probably because we didn't have cable then.)

Anyway, I think Joel McHale is super cute and funny, so I checked out his show and I liked it and kept watching. It doesn't get the best ratings because it's kind of a wacky only-some-people-will-get-it kinda show. And I like being one of those kinds of people I guess.

This is a show about a group of friends -- originally a study group for some class -- at a community college (I think in California?). The main character, Jeff, was an attorney who'd never completed his undergraduate degree, so he gets fired and decides to go get it so he can get back to practicing law and making money. The other characters are so assorted and have different reasons for being at the school -- some fresh from high school all the way up to an old retired guy played by Chevy Chase.

All in all it's a really clever show. There is some drama behind the scenes with the show's creator being fired and Chevy Chase being apparently a real pill about everything. I have no first-hand knowledge obviously, but I do read things and sometimes information sticks around in my head, although not always in pristine 100% correct condition.

They have really good bumpers at the end of Community (Troy & Abed in the Morning...) but I often miss part of it because of the previously mentioned DVR issue since NBC airs their shows to straddle the break between shows. Annoying!

I'll be glad when the show is back on the air. It was supposed to start in October, but now it's been pushed to February. This is the fourth season, so maybe it will be the last given ratings and the incongruity of being in community college for so long? (Although that's not even the most bizarre thing about the show.) My DVR is set, so whenever it comes back -- Thursday or otherwise -- I'll catch it (or most of it I guess).

My Daughter is Not a Princess

Jane isn't old enough to watch TV (and the irony is not lost on me that I watch enough TV for two or three people myself), but someday maybe we'll watch this clip together. A Supreme Court justice is telling one of the characters (Abby Cadabby -- the weird one I can never figure out why she's able to do magic in the books we read) about careers. Being a princess is not a career.

Since I've been home my Gran and dad have both called Jane "a little princess." I know it's a term of endearment, and I haven't said anything like "don't call her that," even though I cringe a little when I hear it. (I don't think they called Owen "a little prince," but I wouldn't doubt it entirely, especially for my Gran.)

Jane is a lot of things. She's funny and amazing and smart and strong and beautiful (and every synonym of those words). But she's not a princess.

What I Watch: Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy is a drama -- really a soap opera -- set in a hospital in Seattle. I haven't watched it since the beginning. I'm not sure how I got sucked into it. I know my sister used to watch it and I probably started watching reruns on Lifetime (back in Alexandria?!), and so I've watched the newer seasons since then.

I liked Izzy (Katherine Heigl), but her departure was pretty weird and her story line had degraded -- I hated the Denny hallucinations and brain tumor stuff. Otherwise I think Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), the main character, is my favorite. And I like her relationship with Derek (Patrick Dempsey). I couldn't understand the adoption story line -- it seemed very fake that they wouldn't be able to keep their baby with them as a foster child during the process, especially after she had bonded with them. But I'm sure there is some grain of truth there. It was irritating to watch though.

The seasons continue to get more and more drama filled in terms of fantastical things happening to them to make big cliffhangers -- gunman loose in the hospital, plane crash, etc.

I also kept getting confused this year on the timeline -- their progression as doctors from interns to residents to attendings -- apparently takes five years? But this is the ninth season, and so they just became attending physicians and kept referencing "five years ago" when showing clips from season one. I still am not sure I understood that right. Or which seasons were supposed to represent two years.

Thursday is my most jam packed night for TV recording. I usually watch all my NBC comedy shows (whatever three or four are on that I'm watching) and call it a night. I watch the Grey's, etc. later on the weekend.

What I Watch: The Office

The Office hasn't been the same since Steve Carell left, but I still love it because of the Jim and Pam story line. The drama is over there, but I like a happy ending.

I've seen several of the original British "The Office" episodes, but definitely after I had seen the Americanized versions. I probably didn't think it was as funny as it would have been otherwise. I also really like it even though I don't work in an office anymore (and I guess I haven't for much of the run, since I worked from home for several years in there). Especially at the beginning some of the jokes seemed to ring true to life, making them even funnier.

I keep watching this because I'm hooked into the characters' story lines. It's still funny and an OK way to spend 20 minutes. This is its last season though, so hopefully I won't fall into whatever replaces it in the time slot.


Jane and I made it to Oklahoma no problem. We had a tight connection in Dallas, but our flight arrived and then departed from the same gate. I think it was even the same plane! I was worried about our car seat not making it in the 45 minute layover, but of course it did. The strap on the car seat bag broke, which is annoying and hopefully I can replace it -- let me know if you have ideas for that! -- but otherwise it was an uneventful trip. Jane was fairly good. She didn't cry like I thought she might.

Being here so far has been a challenge, since Beth is spending time with her boyfriend, my mom is working today and Shawn is en route to his conference. So I'm basically single parenting in unfamiliar (and not childproofed!) environs. I'm exhausted. Add that to the lingering sickies and I'm not a lot of fun to be around. Poor Jane! (And Gran!)

I put Jane in the play pen so I could knock out this post -- and give myself a rest. She took a good morning nap, but this afternoon was way more interested in watching Owen play than resting. So I'm in for it tonight I know.

Gotta get back to Gran's -- AKA land of no Internet. Makes me wish I had an iPhone so I could DrawSomething from there. Until tomorrow...

What I Watch: Up All Night

Let's see, a 30-minute show about new parents with a baby keeping them up all night that premiered in fall 2011 ... yeah, that sounds like something I would tune in for since I also had a baby keeping me up all night then. (In reality she slept great as a newborn ... it's now as a toddler that we're really losing sleep.)

This show stars Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph. They tweaked the set up of the show from stay-at-home dad to stay-at-home mom from season 1 (Rudolph being Applegate's boss on a talk show) to season 2 (Rudolph just being a wacky friend with no evident employment), so that's a little weird. It's not my favorite show, but I like the premise of seeing how a fictional family deals with a baby/kid.

(In real life Will Arnett is married to Amy Pohler -- of Parks & Recreation -- and they have two little boys. BUT they recently announced their divorce after 9 years of marriage and it makes me sad. Not all celebrity breakups make me sad -- Robsten, what? -- but this did. I have no idea what happened, obviously, but if I had to pick shows based on loyalty I'd definitely go with Parks & Rec. Not only is it a better show, but I almost always side with the ex-wife in celebrity breakups. Team Aniston! Wow, I am so lame.)

ANYWAY, on the show the baby's name is Amy, who is pretty much the most adorable baby ever ... I assume it's a set of twins, and if I saw them together it would be cuteness overload! On one episode Amy was unable to sleep anywhere but her parents' bed. The solution: put a pillowcase in her crib. Uh, maybe my baby's broken but that does NOT work for us. Jane mostly sleeps in her crib now anyway, but I wear a path between our rooms throughout the night as she wakes up.

Another episode, I think last season, has the family taking a cross-country flight at the last minute for a wedding. They're at LAX, the lines are long, Amy needs a diaper change so they do it in a security bin. Funny. Traveling with a baby is no joke.

And I'm about to do it today. This will be my first flight alone with Jane since she's been able to walk. I'm hopeful it will go OK, as they are two short flights. But she's heavier, we're both a little sick (so worried about her ears!) and we're both used to our routines. I've got my bag of tricks -- some new small toys, snacks, books (favorites and new) -- and hope that we can be OK on our way to OK. At least on the way back Shawn will be with us (he has a conference).

Anyway, Up All Night is a silly little show that isn't at all representative of life with a baby. They take some aspects of it and blow them out of proportion, which is exactly what a TV show should do I think.

What I Watch: Parks & Recreation

Another sitcom in the NBC Thursday night block. I've watched this from the first episode, probably because it just came on after something I already watched. But I actually love Amy Pohler from Saturday Night Live -- she created and stars in the show -- so it's possible it was an intentional decision to start watching.

In any case it's intentional that I KEEP watching.

Pohler's lead character Leslie Knope is a government employee (working in the parks department) in an Indiana town. She's idealistic and efficient and loves her job and town. She's also a goofball and is surrounded by quirky, nutty characters who fit together in really weird ways.

Here's a funny clip with two of my favorite characters, Tom and Donna:

I also really like that characters get together romantically and then seemingly stay together. Romance isn't a big part of the show (although the Leslie and Ben storyline is great), but there isn't a big effort to have some sort of ongoing sexual tension between characters (like Sam & Diane, Ross & Rachel, etc.). Maybe that will change as the series progresses, but I hope not.

The show, like most sitcoms for me, isn't long enough and I wish there were more. I guess if I watched everything on DVD plus extras it might seem right. In any case, I like this show a lot.

What I Watch: 30 Rock

I've watched NBC's Thursday night comedy block for what seems like a long time. I feel like since ER was on (Seinfeld and Friends for sure), but probably only sporadically since then and for a few shows.

Now it seems like I watch the whole block, and I have a real issue with my DVR. The way NBC airs their shows they end right in the middle of the top or bottom of the hour. So no matter what I do I miss part of the "bumper" after the show. What I could do is just set my DVR to record every Thursday from 7-9:05 and watch it in a continuous stream (a la a VCR), but then I might miss a show if its moved to another night (seeing as how I don't really watch commercials). So I get by with missing the last joke on every show.

Anyway, one NBC comedy I've watched for a few years is 30 Rock. At first I avoided it because it seemed too "popular kids" -- it doesn't have a mass following but it has a loyal enough following that it stays on the air. Also it's very smart and has Tina Fey. What was I thinking? 

Well, I saw an episode on an airplane and since then I've been watching, watching, watching. I've seen a few back episodes on Comedy Central but definitely haven't seen all of the early seasons.

I liked watching it in New York, thinking "oh yeah, I know that," even though seriously their NYC is almost as absurd as the one on How I Met Your Mother.

Fey's Liz Lemon character has the BEST lines. And the show about the creation of a Saturday Night Live-like show is great. It's usually layered and nuanced, sometimes so much that I'm sure I don't get everything they're putting out there. The show also has its fair share of gross and what-were-they-thinking moments. I find the Kenneth character especially weird and troubling sometimes.

I love the banter between Fey and Alec Baldwin. No sexual tension, but just a comic boss-employee relationship with two characters who have radically opposing political leanings (while still managing to keep the entire show very liberal ... something you don't expect really from a sitcom: a political bias).

The show is ending this season, and hopefully I'll find it in me to NOT replace it by watching whatever takes its time slot ... although it actually seems to share a time slot with another show I watch (because 30 Rock isn't super popular it hasn't always had a full season, which is bizarre).

What I Watch: Criminal Minds

Another crime drama introduced to me by my mom. Surprise surprise. I remember watching it first at her house -- it was a two-part episode rerun that went late into the night. I was so tired the next day, and although I had avoided watching this particular show I decided I liked it and got sucked into the characters. I caught up on most of the back episodes via Bravo and Ion.

It's a show about FBI profilers who travel the country helping local law enforcement solve gruesome cases, usually serial murders or other psycho things. They're always on the hunt for an "unsub" or unidentified subject. And I'm pretty sure each main character has had a psycho out for him or her individually throughout the course of the show's run.

I can't believe there are really so many serial killers out there. Wouldn't there be more national media coverage of some of the gruesome things if the TV show were real life? Thankfully it's not, but ugh. Some of the crimes they solve (and they almost ALWAYS solve them/the criminals are all so dumb or unlucky) are downright horrifying. So it's not a show for kids.

I tend to roll my eyes when the profilers get everything about the unsub right with just a few guesses. I also take issue with how they popcorn around the room while they're giving the presentation to the local law enforcement -- seamlessly moving from one person to the next on a single thought. I can't believe that's how things actually work in profiling, and I know people can't give a multiple-person presentation like hat without practicing. But really, what do I know? I watch gobs of TV each week!

There was a bit of a hub-bub a couple seasons ago when two of the female characters were written off (and it seemed they didn't ask to leave). It became a sausage-fest with one female tech who gets limited screen time most episodes. Thankfully the writers/producers/whoever reversed that and there are two women back on the team -- one of whom is Jeanne Tripplehorn, so that's pretty cool.

My favorite character is probably Spencer because he's so ridiculous. He's a special agent just like the rest of them but he has a PhD and is somewhat of a prodigy so they always introduce him as "Dr. Reed." As far as I can tell he's not a medical doctor, so the Dr. courtesy title is way overdone. That's something that irks me every episode because there's ALWAYS an introduction scene.

Now the new character played by Tripplehorn (have no idea what her name is on the show) also has a PhD. But I haven't noticed them calling her Dr. Whatever. Such a weird and random and small thing for me to notice.

I also really like Joe Montagna -- he is pretty relaxed all the time. I think he comes off like he doesn't really give a shit, where some of the other actors seem to stay super intense all the time. Maybe that's just part of how their characters are written though.

A lot of scenes on this show are DARK. I don't have a big TV so sometimes I can't see anything that's going on, and that's frustrating/annoying. But a minor issue I know and one that could maybe be corrected with a bigger TV. Meh.

If I watched more TV this is probably one that I could watch reruns over and over because it isn't mentally taxing to watch, especially when you've already seen most of the episodes and have a general sense of how the main characters' personal story lines have evolved. Although it's a case-by-case show there is some individual screen time about the characters about their lives outside of work, especially when it overlaps with the work (like when a serial killer is after one of them especially).

Complaint Box: Doctor Appointment

New Jacket from Auntie Sue
Ugh. Today was Jane's one year doctor check up. Everything is fine -- she's growing (and actually slimming down because of all the walking), but the WAIT just to see the doctor.

We had an 8:30 appointment, so we were there by 8:20.

Check in Lady: Have you filled out paperwork?

Me: Well, we've been coming for a year now, so yes we have.

CIL: Oh no, if you haven't been here since October 9 of this year you need to resubmit your paperwork.

M: Why didn't anyone tell me this?

CIL: They were supposed to tell you to come 45 minutes early for your appointment when they called to remind you. I'm sorry. Here, fill these out.

Uh ... I guess that means it takes 45 minutes to fill out AND for some numbskull to type everything into the computers.

I had forgotten to bring my ring sling, so I was actually holding Jane while writing out everything. I don't understand why they didn't just input the previous charts' information into the computer system since they were still going to have to type in whatever I was writing on this stupid piece of paper. Otherwise they could have sent me an email with a link to a form and I would have typed it in myself. ARGH.

I was overly pissy and sloppy in the writing. On the important parts I wrote as clearly as I could with a 23 lb. toddler squirming in my too weak arm. My signatures were illegible, I put down Shawn as a contact "outside of the household" before I realized that made it seem like we weren't together (we most assuredly are!), but I was hurrying through everything hoping I could still keep my 8:30 appointment.


The waiting room was FULL of sick and well kids. There wasn't anywhere to sit after I got up and picked up my driver's license and Jane's insurance card (both of which they should already have copies of, but whatever). We ended up eventually sitting at the end of a row where Jane could see TV -- she didn't watch it consistently but she did relax and look at a few minutes of Phineas and Ferb. BAD MAMA!

We weren't seen until after 9:30. We didn't leave until nearly 10:30 what with additional waiting in the exam room -- both for the doctor and later for the nurse to give Jane her shots.

If I were a better person I would have been happy to wait, thinking about how lucky we are to have access to medical care in a clean, safe and warm clinic. Jane wasn't upset. She liked being out and about and seeing all the other children. My sweet baboo.

What I Watch: Modern Family

Another funny sitcom, and it's very popular/won a lot of awards. It's clever -- about an extended family full of wacky people.

It's got some good writing, and I think my favorite character is Phil. He usually has the funniest lines. Although lately the kid Luke has had some pretty good ones -- that take me a minute to get. He said something about "we already do" after his sister said "someday we'll be using Chinese money." I thought that was pretty funny, especially considering the Luke character is supposed to be a little daft/goofy like his dad.

By zooming through the commercials I can watch an episode in about 20 minutes, so it never feels like enough. Sitcoms seems like they have much less bite or heft to them nowadays. But what do I know?

Because this is on at the same time as another show I DVR I don't get to DVR Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. I haven't really watched new episodes of that show religiously in a while, possibly ever. I mostly catch re-runs. BUT season 13 of SVU is airing on USA on Tuesday nights, so I've set my DVR to record those so at least I'm seeing some that were made after Elliot Stabler/Christopher Meloni left -- although I still haven't seen the episode explaining why he left. I LOVE ICE T. He's hands down my favorite part of that show, with Olivia Benson/Mariska Hargitay being a close second.

I guess SVU deserves its own post, but since I already typed it out here (and don't have much to say about Modern Family) I'll leave it. Quality blogging here, I tell you what.

What I Watch: The Mindy Project

This is a new show this season. I have loved The Office for many seasons, and Mindy Kaling wrote some of my favorite episodes (she also plays Kelly Kapoor). Now she's got her own show, and so far so good.

I was able to read her recent memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, and some of the content and jokes are repeated on the show, but it doesn't make them any less funny. I am sure as the show finds its footing she'll keep getting better.

I also listened to an interview on NPR's "Fresh Air," and I liked the way she was approaching her job and long hours that come with it (she's star, writer, director, producer, etc.). She vowed never to talk about how busy she is (because how boring is that?). She may have written about that in her book too, but it's a good drum beat to repeat and let sink in. We're all busy. (Although to be honest I don't feel as busy as I once was, but that might be a product of decreased efficiency in terms of my outputs ... although I know the payoff is coming in 17 years or so, it just doesn't feel as productive in the short-term.)

Anyway, the show is funny. I laugh out loud at least twice every in every show. It's ridiculous and there are time inconsistencies -- but realistically it would hard for there not to be given that she's an OBGYN who also goes out on a lot of dates. I really do like the show and hope it gets picked up for more seasons.

I realize how absolutely ridiculous it is for me to chronicle all these TV shows I watch, and that it seems SO EXCESSIVE. What a waste of time. It really is, but I am not sure how to stop something that's such an engrained habit and feels so good/relaxing to me at the end of the day. Maybe at the end of this month I'll see just how many hours I spend each week in front of the Boob Tube and make changes. But on the surface I'm enjoying this cataloging process and hope it's at least somewhat interesting to someone (voyeurism is so fun!). I also wonder how I stack up to other Americans in terms of how much TV I watch...

Seems like someone needs to do some research ... or at least GTS.

Disclosure: Amazon affiliate link used for the book.

What I Watch: Parenthood

Here's a show I have watched from the beginning (2010), although I'm not sure WHY I chose to watch it.

Maybe it was Lauren Graham, because I loved Gilmore Girls back in the day (until the awkward weirdness with Luke and his suddenly-have-a-teenage-daughter-of-his-own storyline).

Also I think the people who made Friday Night Lights are somehow involved because a lot of the same actors have shown up as recurring guest stars. But I'm sure I didn't know that when it started.

As the show's gone on though I think my favorite is "Crosby" played by Dax Shepard. He's the goofy younger brother who's cool and relaxed. In the beginning of the show he finds out he has a 5 year old son he's never met, and now he and the mom are married. Not sure how realistic that is, but I like it because I like the characters/actors together.

The characters do a lot of other eye rolling things, but it's a TV show so what do I expect? There's an awful lot of emotional turmoil -- affairs, cancer, infertility, adoption, etc. So it can sometimes make me cry (not every time, like someone on my Facebook said last year).

Basically this is another show I just watch because I watch. Maybe sometimes I think about "wonder what's going to happen with..." but usually it's just "oh hey, look what's on my DVR ... this hasn't been on in a while." And if it were pitted against another show for DVR space this would probably be the one to go. Not a real ringing endorsement I guess, but it isn't a bad show.

How Birthday One Went

Mama fails left and right.

Jane "made" one (thanks KB)

I had wanted to get Jane a helium balloon for her birthday. I went out Wednesday night to get one. I went to two grocery stores before I found out there's a national helium shortage. I know we saw one in the store a couple weeks ago because I remember her looking at it longingly. In the grand scheme, it's no big deal. But I still would have liked to surprise her with a fun balloon on her birthday morning, and this is the only year a big "1" would be appropriate.

Our play date fell through because the museum closed exactly when we planned to meet. (It was OK though because Jane wasn't feeling well and to be honest I don't really have a good mom friend with a kid Jane's age, so it wasn't something I was looking forward to -- but I didn't choose the time/didn't intentionally torpedo the date). 

One thing went relatively "right" in that the Google Plus hangout with family actually WORKED. One aunt joined from work, so she didn't have a mic or camera, but she knew how to use the chat feature and she could see and hear us all. Another aunt joined but didn't know that -- so we just saw a black screen and joked about her watching in the dark (without knowing she could hear us). Hopefully she wasn't too offended. I kept cracking up about it during the webcast. (Shawn's parents webcammed with us earlier in the day since they had scheduling conflicts.)

Jane got way too many toys (we'll have to put up some of her old toys and rotate them out in a few months), and was really happy with all of them. She especially liked this wolf cub from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She's in a stage of cuddling stuffed animals, so she was holding it and patting its back. Very cute.

It was good to get to see my sister, Owen, Gran and aunt all at once -- felt like a technological marvel. I remember being a kid and seeing video phones being used on Good Morning America with Joan Lunden. I love that the technology is advanced enough that even though I don't live near family we can still celebrate Jane's milestones together.

What I Watch: NCIS

This is a trend with my TV watching, but NCIS is another show introduced to me by my mom. I caught up on back episodes via endless marathons on USA.

Another crime drama, this one tied to the Navy. It's one of the most popular shows, so it has broad appeal. My inlaws watch it too.

It's not the best show I've ever seen, but I've been watching long enough that I keep watching to see what happens with the characters' relationships (way more than I watch for any of the Navy crimes/murders they investigate).


I don't watch the spin off, NCIS: Los Angeles, although I did watch the first episode. I guess I just didn't want to get drawn into something else.

Basically this is a show that gets high enough ratings to expect it to be around as long as the actors want it to. So I guess it's likely to have a happy, wrap-it-up ending at some point. And I like shows that get to do that.

Jane's Day

See Jane grow...

It's Jane's first birthday -- hooray! She's got a runny nose thanks to some snot nose kid at either the library or the playground yesterday. Now she's the snot nose. Otherwise she's OK, although sleep last night was a challenge, and it continues into today's napping.

We go to the doctor on Monday and will know her height and weight then. She's always been off the charts in height and in 95th percentile in weight, so I'm sure it continues. She's healthy, happy and just a joy to be around.

Less blogging, more snuggling! Happy birthday, Jane!

Edit: Sorry these weren't ordered properly before. Now they're in a set and arranged by date taken so now you should ACTUALLY be able to see Jane grow.

365 Days Later

Today is my 365th day of being Jane's mama (not counting gestation time). Because 2012 is a leap year her birthday is tomorrow, but I'm already feeling nostalgic and ecstatic about the beginning of her second year.

I am worried that I'm not doing enough -- she's not having a "real" party, I haven't planned to give her a cake, etc. She will have a play date tomorrow at the children's museum, she has an "I'm One" t-shirt and a cake hat that my aunt made for her to wear, we'll have a Google+ hangout for family to watch her eat dinner and open some presents before bed, and then on Saturday we'll have friends over for dinner to celebrate more.

She's got many presents -- probably too many from us, even though it didn't feel like enough at the time I was putting them together.

I don't know what it is -- a cultural pressure? an internal pressure? -- that's making me want to overindulge her with THINGS, when that's the exact opposite of how I'm trying to parent. Constant battle within me for sure...

What I Watch: Covert Affairs

Covert Affairs is a USA show about a CIA operative named Annie Walker. I've watched it from the beginning, in part because the lead character's name is Walker! Also we had recently seen Piper Perabo in a play on Broadway when the show started so I wanted to at least check it out. I've kept watching, and I think the show gets better and better.

Last night I watched it and kept flipping back to election coverage on commercials (eventually I just went to sleep -- Daylight Savings Time has done a number on us, and I'm glad I didn't try to stay up until 1 a.m. when the election was finally called. I was just as happy finding out this morning at 7 a.m.!)

Basically I love that this show has a kick ass female lead. She's not perfect and makes mistakes and has to be saved sometimes, but she also gets to do the saving plenty.

She's also beautiful, and they constantly change up her look -- her hair goes from curly to straight, up to down, etc. And the recent arc when she was in a Russian prison -- OMG she looked amazing in a haggard, beat down way. And the no makeup, pissed off look as she recovered from a gunshot wound. Anyway, I think the styling on this show is ridiculously good. Love it.

There's the right amount of romance, and although her male suitors seem to come and go, there is consistent sexual tension with her tech guy Augie. I love the solid friendship and when they give hints that the two could end up together. (I'm a sucker for love stories, even when they're less skillfully handled.)

Some of the side storylines are a little weird (suddenly her boss has a drug addiction, what?), but the main storyline right now is complex and rich. I have to watch the "last time on Covert Affairs" at the beginning to remember exactly what has happened (on most shows I don't). But it makes it SO good.

It's not a show you can really pop in and out of, but it's not so hard to catch up that watching an episode out of order would be unreasonable.

Election Day 2012

Four years ago I pulled a lever in New York City to vote for President Obama (although judging by that post I wasn't as passionate as I feel this year ... although I'll give the bedbugs some credit for that!). This year I pushed some buttons in Baton Rouge, LA, to vote for him again (how funny are the little icons -- I didn't realize that as I was voting. Is that for someone who can't read?!). Both times my vote didn't really "count" because neither state is a swing state. But it's still important to vote.

I also think it is important to share our convictions with others BUT I can say it gets super obnoxious on Facebook with people I disagree with. Honestly I will never see some people the same way based on the absurdity they've posted.

We've been getting a lot of electioneering calls, including one yesterday that was asking me to get on a bus to Philadelphia to help get out the vote (since Pennsylvania is a swing state). I think it was a mistake, since there wasn't enough time for a bus to get to Philadelphia in time for the election even if it left at the time of the call. So that was bizarre.

Otherwise the calls have been local, vote for this so-and-so for a certain judgeship, etc. (Is it only me, or does it seem bizarre to campaign to be a judge, when your job is essentially to be non-partisan and interpret the law without bias?)

I let Jane push the button to "cast ballot," but first while I was reading through the amendments and such she peeked around me and opened the curtain to the booth, flirting with the people outside. I heard people say "that's the cutest thing I've ever seen." I wished I'd had a picture of THAT. This will have to do, of us in side the voting booth:

I walked to our polling place, just like I walked in New York (although it was quite a bit further here in BR). Because my name is in the second half of the alphabet I was in a much shorter line and was in and out within 15 minutes. Other people were waiting 30+ minutes and I'm sure longer, especially as a nursing home bus showed up as I was leaving. I hope everyone in the swing states has as an efficient and easy time voting as I did (although I know that's not going to be the case).

Go vote today!

What I Watch: The Mob Doctor (?!)

Here's a show I started watching from the beginning (there have only been about four episodes so far). It got a LOT of advertising before it launched, and it took the time slot of House, which was one of my favorites up until last year. I dutifully watched it to the end of its run, although without Cuddy it just wasn't the same. (Hey, that was another show I started watching because of USA reruns ... anyway.)

I like the main girl on The Mob Doctor (I used to watch her old show My Boys, and Shawn recognized her from Must Love Dogs), although that and the premise of the show--she's paying off her brother's debt to the mob by being a sort of inhouse doctor for them--weren't enough to get me watching. What was? Two words: Matt Saracen.

OK, the actor's name is Zach Gilford, but I've been a fan since Friday Night Lights, one of the best shows ever. I'd actually rank it up there with My So-Called Life in terms of my favorites. (The FNL season with a random murder and Matt sleeping with his grandma's live-in nurse not-with-standing ... I blame the writers' strike on that.)

Another FNL alum is on a new show -- Nashville has Connie Britton, aka Tami Taylor. I tuned into the first episode of that show, but yowza. It felt too campy and soap opera-y even for me, so I made a conscious decision to keep myself from watching further (although it was tough, as I kept thinking "I wonder what happened when the husband found out about..."). I guess I could always go back and watch the episodes on demand -- but I will refrain! Anyway.

The Mob Doctor as a show is really too much. They cram way too much into each episode. Someone described it as "two shows in one" -- meaning it as a compliment. But I don't really like that about it. I'd rather see more Zach (I have no idea what his character's name is on this show!) and her relationship and more medical drama and less of the shoot-em-up stuff inherent with a mob show.

Not sure I'll continue watching this faithfully, especially since it's very likely it will end this season, but I'll keep DVR-ing it in case I have downtime and nothing else recorded. (Summer 2013 maybe?)

What I Watch: How I Met Your Mother

Ah, sitcoms. I watch several, and they're definitely not shows I find from my mom. In fact, I don't know if she watches ANY sitcoms regularly. Do you?

I do think I found this one via Lifetime reruns a few years back, and now I watch it regularly, despite it not being very good. Rarely do I start watching a show from its pilot -- maybe I want to wait and make sure it's going to stick around/be popular enough to bother watching? There are exceptions to that rule though (Fringe, Up All Night and some of the other NBC sitcoms).

Anyway, with this show I laugh and really like the Barney character BUT it's "just tell us who the mother is already" that makes me keep watching and wishing that I didn't watch. Pretty dumb. I do like the version of New York in which they live, although the street scenes are so fake lot-style that it's laughable.

With fast forward I can watch a DVR'ed episode in 20 minutes or less. Seems like TV shows are getting shorter and shorter. Annoying. Maybe they're saving the extra scenes for the DVDs.

What I Watch: Bones

Now that Major Crimes is on hiatus, Bones is probably my top Monday show. It's nearing its end, thankfully as it is getting hokier as it winds down. This is another show I got sucked into via watching at my mom's and then TNT reruns (I watched many after work in NYC, sometimes marching in place while I cooked dinner -- oh to be dedicated to exercise again).

Anyway, it's another "crime procedural" but it's got a heightened sense of comedy. There's some slapstick and weird, fun situations where the characters go undercover and/or dress up to try to catch the criminals. That also means there are more groan-worthy moments.

The sexual tension is gone now that the two lead characters are together and have a baby together ... who is almost never in the show and they never talk about who is watching her -- such a giant storyline hole for the mama in me. The main character is pretty preachy and a big know-it-all (she has shown remarkably little growth over the course of the series, other than attempting to be in a love relationship with the other lead character), so I have been surprised that there wasn't any preaching about the benefits of breastfeeding and/or specific ways of rearing a child, since that would have been absolutely in character for her. I don't know why they had to write a baby into the storyline if they were just going to ignore it/not mention it anyway. I guess that's TV for you.

Basically it's still an enjoyable show, but I'm not as invested in the characters as I probably was once. So many bad things have happened to them -- different serial killers have targeted them, etc. I don't have a problem with it being unrealistic, but at some point it starts to feel like enough. (See also Grey's Anatomy in a few days!)

I also think because I have been watching so much that when the characters make super dumb decisions or act out of what I understand their character to be I get even more frustrated than I would if I were watching a new show and didn't have as much back story in the mix.

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