I Really Must Get a Hobby

I care waaaay too much who wins some reality programs. If I don’t like you and I think you are going to win I get downright cranky. It seems like the ones I intensely dislike are the ones that win all the time, but I guess that’s not true. But I don’t want them to win. Ever.

Cases in point on two of my favorite reality TV shows: Project Runway and Top Chef. Let me first tell you that it’s truly baffling that I adore these two shows. I am much more of a fashion victim than an aficionado. I don’t even particularly like Sex and the City (then again I don’t have HBO so perhaps the few TBS episodes I’ve seen have really suffered from the required sanitization).

And Top Chef is more haute cuisine and I’m more hawt dog. Really, I’d never go near much of the stuff on that show with a ten foot pole. And just what exactly is ceviche, anyway?

Nevertheless, I started watching each of these shows in their second seasons, and am addicted hooked obsessed mildly and appropriately amused by them. Competition is often fun to watch, and I envy these people their passion for their work (I don’t think it’s possible to be passionate about insurance, and if anyone is I’m sure glad I don’t know them).

With Project Runway the person I was hoping would win has lost two out of four times. Of particular disgust was Season Two, where Jeffrey Sebilia and his Most Hideous Designs Ever In a Runway Show won the day. In fact, I think all most many all of his designs are hideous. Last season’s Christian Siriano also had a lot of whack ideas, but at least I could admire a few of his designs. Still, I was rooting for Jillian.

Top Chef has only had three seasons since I began watching. The second season’s finale featured adorable Ilan and Eddie-Munster-channeler Marcel in the final. I hated Marcel. He’s smarmy and cooks weird food. That finale was stressful entertaining even though I thought Marcel would win. I was so relieved when Ilan took the day! Then last season’s finale featured Anal Retentive Hung vs. Dale and Casey. I would have been happy with either Dale or Casey, but Hung pulled it out, dadgummit. I was very not pleased.

So this year I was hoping for a turnaround. The top 3 were Sweet Stephanie, Rockin’ Richard (each of whom won 4 challenges during the season) and Sourpussy, Arrogant, Bristly Lisa (who was in the bottom two for thirty-seven weeks straight). Guess who I was cheering against? They really kept me on pins and needles until the final second, but Stephanie pulled it out.

Honestly, I think Stephanie was the only one happier than me.

See what I mean? I need a hobby. But it won’t be sewing. Or cooking. I’m amused by these shows, not inspired.

Water Pistols and Mimosas

I love traditions. Holiday traditions like decorating the tree to the soothing sounds of Frank Sinatra, birthday traditions like allowing the birthday person to dictate the day’s menu, wedding traditions like wearing your Mom’s necklace – they all make my heart happy. It’s a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself, being a blip on a timeline that started long ago, instead of being the beginning and the end. It’s knowing that others before me have had the same fun I’m having.

Son is only three and though he’s in preschool it’s only two days a week, and it’s not on a school year calendar. Once he is on a somewhat regular calendar I want to start some new school traditions, and I’m going to use my sister’s traditions as a starting off point…

The other night I was on the phone with her and she told me this great story. Every year on the last day of school the Moms in her neighborhood meet the bus with water pistols in hand and promptly start a water fight with the kids as they are getting off the bus. Everyone then heads over to the pool for a School’s Out! Party, and summer has officially begun.

I just love that. They’ve been doing it since he started school, and it’s become something everyone really looks forward to.

This year, though, my nephew tried to prepare. My sister had said nothing about the last day of school plans, but it seems my nephew remembered on his own. The day before he told my sister, “Mom, I’m just going to ride my bike over to the bus stop and come right back. I don’t want you to worry about it.” When she questioned him further he added, very nonchalantly, “I’m just going for a ride with my water pistol, but if I forget to bring it back I don’t want you to worry about it.”

Uh huh.

Later that night he laid out his clothes for the next day and instead of underwear he laid out a swimsuit. “Don’t worry about that, Mom. I just feel like wearing one. Just forget it.”

The next day the Moms were waiting, the water fight was on and the pool party was a blast! Terrific memories were made for each and every kid, and each and every Mom.

The kids aren’t the only ones to have school traditions. Come fall, when it’s time to go back to school after a long, activity-filled summer, my sister will do her yearly tradition to mark the beginning of the school year.

Every year on the first day of school she walks my nephew to the bus and sees him on his way. Then she goes home, takes out the orange juice and the champagne and waits for the other Moms in the neighborhood to arrive for their very own Back to School party.

Isn’t that great? I love it.

I want to have some of our own traditions, too, and I’m sure they’ll develop naturally.

Traditions help mark special days in our lives. What are some of your favorite traditions – back to school or otherwise?

Hard Naps

I love naps.

At three and a half, Son still takes them fairly often. Then he’s always been a good sleeper, sleeping 11-6 at three weeks and 8-7 at 2 months.

Since he went to one-a-day naps they usually run 2-3 hours, and they’re a godsend to me. I love having that time to pay bills, catch up on housework, read or even nap myself. Did I mention that I love naps?

The past few months his naps have become more sporadic. He no longer naps every day, but he’ll often play quietly in his room for “quiet time” instead. At this point we could have given up on naps altogether, but I’m he’s just not ready to do that yet.

The past ten days we’ve had family visiting, including several cousins. Son loooooves his cousins. We go over to my Dad’s early every day, and they play together all day long. I’ve not even tried to get him to nap, and when we leave for the fifteen-minute trip home in the evenings he’s usually asleep before we’re halfway home.

It’s been a wonderful but exhausting ten days, and we’re both starting to feel the effects. I’ve not been sleeping well and Son was ornery and whiny. Today we both needed naps. So despite the tears we left the family behind and came home to nap.

We walked in the door and I immediately walked Son up to his room and put him in bed. I don’t know who was asleep quicker, but I will tell you that I slept for two hours, and I slept hard. The kind of hard where you wake up totally disoriented, not even knowing who or where you are. The kind where you have a pounding headache and a dry mouth and you’re still tired. The kind where you don’t really feel better, but you know you had to take the nap anyway.

Son, on the other hand, awoke happy and excited and ready to take on the rest of the day.

I’m sure I’ll be ready, too. As soon as the ibuprofen kicks in.

Deal of the Day February 26, 2008

Can you say Krispy Kreme?

Whether you want to be the most popular person in the office or hoard them for yourself (that would be one heck of a binge), redeem this coupon to BOGO dozen free donuts at Krispy Kreme. You can only use it at a Krispy Kreme store, so plan ahead. Good until March 25, 2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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A Treasure Trove of Trash TV

Tonight I found myself in a place I’ve never been before.

There are two trashy reality shows I want to watch. At the same time.

My first contender is American Idol. They go to Hollywood this week, where all of the arguably talented contestants compete to make it to the top 24. This year some people get passes from the first round to the final day. For the rest they have to prove themselves, making for tons and tons of good drama.

AI is a perennial favorite of mine, and as such I set the TiVo before the season even started to catch every last dramatic drop. I even set it to stop recording five minutes late, as many people I know were left hanging last year when the finale ran late. I answered more than one frantic phone call wondering who the heck won.

Then, today, as I was sitting Tornado vigil, I happened to look at the TV listings to see what unlucky shows the networks pit against AI. There among the poor ratings victims was Big Brother 9.

What? That’s a summer show!!!! What the heck are they doing starting that in February, for goodness sake! And then I realized… we’re in February sweeps. You know the sweeps – when the networks pull out their ratings busters in an attempt to increase their viewership so they in turn can charge more for advertising all of the stuff we mostly don’t want or need.

I can’t say I watch BB religiously. But one cannot miss the first show. No. Absolutely not.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Luckily, I have TiVo. I also have three televisions. Most importantly, I have a husband who is willing to either play on his computer or use the little TV in the guest bedroom so I can watch BB9 and TiVo AI’s second hour. I think he’s only letting me do this because AI running two hours means House is not on, but I’m not asking. I shall just assume it is out of the kindness of his heart.

So, I will get to watch all of my trash TV tonight. And then Husband and I will together watch the only TV show we both really love: Boston Legal.

There is joy in Florida, despite the tornadoes.

Denny Crane.

American Idol Shows A Kinder, Gentler Simon Cowell

At least to their faces…

I’ve been greatly looking forward to this year’s American Idol.

I watched both episodes of the auditions, and I have to say that I’m whelmed. Not overwhelmed, not underwhelmed. Just whelmed.

There was the usual collection of good, bad and truly horrible singers. There was a freak or two (Paul Marturano, the creepy Paula-stalker guy who sang, “If she were a bathtub, I’d caulk her.”  It was a joke, right?  Right?) and lots of background on various hopefuls.

Some of the backstories even brought me to tears, like Angela Martin, mom of a girl with Rett Syndrome. Ugh. Great voice, and I’m glad she got through. There were several people with potential to do well, but to me no absolutely fantastic standouts.

I could not help but notice that Simon went very easy on most people. He was downright kind to Temptress Brown, a truly horrible singer with a very sad life. She takes care of her morbidly obese mother, who is on oxygen and has a myriad of medical problems. Heck, watching that backstory had me starting a diet today.

And she wasn’t the only one. There were several people who had terrible voices and non-Idol looks that were really excited and enthusiastic and…horrid. He let them down easy. He was kind, and gentle, and showed a compassion I didn’t know he possessed. As a fellow human I was touched. After all, when I think about these contestants as people, and that they have to go home and watch themselves being poked at, I empathize with their humiliation.

Still, I must admit I was slightly disappointed. Part of me enjoys the poking, because I agree that they are horrible. Part of the fun of the audition process is watching Simon tell people what we’d tell them if we were there and had the guts. And lack of compassion. And tact. I especially enjoy it when the person is arrogant.

I’m not proud of it, but there it is.

In our real lives we don’t talk that way to people, and for good reason. Can you imagine if you worked in an office full of Simons? Or went to a mall full of Simons? Or married into a family of Simons? Or even just knew Simon?

On the other hand, I like to think I have enough of a grasp on reality to know that I have a lousy voice. I could not carry a tune if it was in a suitcase. With wheels. And a porter. Really, are some of these people that tone deaf? Do the dogs in their neighborhoods not howl? I know my abilities, so I won’t be appearing in any reality shows involving singing contests. Or beauty contests. No cooking contests, endurance contests, grace contests or dancing contests. As my sister once told me, “Extreme Makeover. Now THAT’S a show I could be on.”

American Idol, Rock My World

My favorite guilty pleasure makes a return to the airwaves tonight.

American Idol, with all it’s drama, talent, bad notes and overdone hair (and that’s just the judges) is finally back. The talent of a few and the watching-the-train-wreck-ness of many (hello Sanjaya) will keep me listening with at least one ear for the next few months.

I started watching the first season, but not until the last ten minutes of the finale. I poo-pooed it along with all of the other pseudo-intellectuals, but decided to watch “just the auditions” of season 2 to get a laugh.

And that, my friends, was the beginning of my downward spiral into a special kind of Hell.

I love it. I love the great singers, I love the William Hungs. I love Clay’s Mini-Me, and Paula’s possibly-pharmaceutically-induced weirdness (did anyone catch Hey Paula?). I love Ryan, and I don’t care if he’s gay. I love the outrage over contestants sent home too early, the tears of the little girls in the audience, the sultry come-hither looks of the Aces and the Constantines…
And I really love my TiVo, which lets me skip the commercials.

So, please join me from wherever you are, and watch the first show. 8pm Eastern time. I’ll bring the hot chocolate.

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