Weekend Wanderings & A Song

Hello & welcome February!!!

We are three days away from the Winter Olympics.  I love to watch figure skating and hockey so I am very excited for the games to begin.

Now the big question……….

Have you recovered yet?

No, not from the Superbowl party, if you went to one….or hosted one (I did not do either.  Just was not in the mood this year.  But congratulations to the Eagles & their fans!!!)

Superbowl

Oh, but I did catch a few of the commercials on YouTube.  My favorite?  SNL’s Leslie Jones as Alexa (“Who’s Alexa???  “Say it!!!)  Hilarious!!!!  I love that woman!!!

As for recovering, I am referring to the “This Is Us” episode following the big game.  We were warned, right? We knew it was coming, yet, it still felt like we were tied to the railroad tracks waiting for the train to hit us.  And boy, did it ever!!!

I thought I was prepared.  I had boxes of tissues for the big cry.  But what I really needed was a gallon of water to replenish my tears since I am pretty sure I dehydrated myself.

I have loved this show since I binge-watched it a year ago (read about that here).  But this year has been exceptional.  Mandy Moore has been exceptional.  Last night she was that and more (no pun intended).

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Milo Ventimiglia & Mandy Moore (original source unknown)

If you have not seen it yet, I urge you to make it a priority.  Not only does this show have great acting, great writing and all the feels, it is also shows men in such a positive light as husbands, fathers and sons.  With so many series out there portraying men as bumbling, uninterested fools, it is so refreshing to see the other side.

And just when I thought I was not going to get over last night’s episode, a glimpse into Tuesday night’s new one showed us that Gerald McRaney is back for another turn as Dr. K.   He won an Emmy last September for his role in season one.  It was incredibly well deserved.  I am sure he will hit it out of the park again this time around.  And look so handsome doing it.  Swoon.

This Is Us - Season Pilot
THIS IS US — Pilot — Pictured: (l-r) Gerald McRaney as Doctor K, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

What else?  Oh, I saw HBO’s newest documentary, “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers“.  Fantastic.  I love their music and it was so nice to learn about their lives in Concord, NC.  Hoping 2018 will be the year I get to see them live.

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The Avett Brothers:  (l-r) Seth Avett, Bob Crawford, Scott Avett & Joe Kwon (original source unknown)

One of my favorite songs by them is “February Seven“.  So since this is Music Monday, I am sharing it with all of you.  I love the message about giving yourself permission to take a break to recover from life’s tougher moments before you start over.  And I simply adore their harmonies.

There’s no falling back asleep
Once you’ve wakened from the dream
Now I’m rested and I’m ready,
I’m rested and I’m ready to begin.
I’m ready to begin.”

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

Until next time, happy digging!!!

 

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Weekend Wanderings

Hello, Vixens!!!  Happy Monday!!!

Today we celebrate the life of a man who worked for peace.  Last Friday, there was a funeral for a man who followed in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr. by becoming a beacon of hope and inspiration for people all over the world.  However, his story began on my old stomping grounds of Long Island.

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Courtesy of Joyful Baptist (original source unknown).  

He followed his father and grandfather before him into the line of duty as a member of the NYPD.  In 1986, while he was still a rookie officer, the 29 year old newlywed was working overtime to help prepare for the birth of his first child when he was shot three times by a 15 year old boy in Central Park.  The injuries from that shooting left the officer paralyzed from the neck down.  That might have been the end of the story for most of us, but for Detective First Grade Steven McDonald, it was the start of something extraordinary.

Less than a year later he offered forgiveness to his shooter and spent the next 30 years spreading the message to children and adults that Dr. King taught-that hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.  McDonald died at the age of 59 on January 10, 2017 and his funeral was held last Friday in St Patrick’s Cathedral.  I listened to it at work and then watched the service when I got home that night.  All I can write here is that it was one of the most beautiful celebrations of life I have ever witnessed.

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The McDonald family:  NYPD Det. Steven McDonald, his wife Patricia Ann & their son, Sgt. Conor McDonald (courtesy WPIX-11 News)

With all the violence we hear about day in and day out, all the hate and ugliness of the Presidential Election and the continued backlash expected on Inauguration Day later this week for those who still refuse to accept the outcome, I think we need to be reminded that there are still people in this world who want love to win-regardless of their political affiliation.  If you are one of them, watch or listen to the service yourself here.   If religion is not your thing, you can just listen to the eulogies starting at 1:31 of the video.  The last one by McDonald’s son should not be missed.

I am not sure if I shared this yet, but I have not made New Year’s resolutions in years because they simply are not productive for me.  I work better by giving myself attainable monthly goals.  For January, one of my big ones is to finish decorating my bedroom.  I put some things in place quickly for the holiday season, but now it is time to complete it.  The entire apartment was freshly painted before I moved in, but this room & the dining room were painted yellow.  I had a yellow bedroom in my house for he entire time I lived there (please don’t judge-painting that room lead to a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome so I avoided painting it again for many years…..which ended up turning into forever).

During the 14 years I lived there, I developed a more neutral palette & an enormous love for the shabby chic look.  So Saturday I went to the hardware store to get some paint samples.  I want the room white and I have narrowed the color choices down to four shades.  I will decide by the weekend because that is when I plan to paint.  I will share the shade I pick when I show you the after picture.  For now, the before picture is below:

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Saturday night my book club met for a movie night based on one of last year’s great reads, “The Light Between Oceans”.  I was able to snap one picture as I was assembling my food contribution to the evening-a turkey meat taco bar-before my phone died.  But I also had cheese, avocados, & sour cream as toppings.  Each of us were required to bring a box of tissues for the inevitable bawling we were anticipating for the really sad scenes.  I did like the movie but since I knew what was coming it made it very hard to watch, but definitely worth seeing……with a ton of tissues, of course.

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After the movie the rest of the women said the last time they used so many tissues was when they watched Tuesday night’s episode of NBC’s new show, “This Is Us“.  I have seen the commercials praising the show & was a little curious, but since my heart is still hurting two years after the finale of that station’s last critically acclaimed drama “Parenthood“, I was not ready to invest my feelings in a new family.  But the girls were so insistent-and did not reveal any spoilers to me just like I will not do here-plus they told me one of my favorite TV guys from my teenage years-Gerald McRaney-(“Simon & Simon“, “Major Dad“) has a recurring role in it, I thought I would check it out.  All the episodes are on Hulu so I was able to start at the beginning.

I could describe the show with one of today’s popular acronyms, but I think the series is good enough to use the actual words…….

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Courtesy of NBC.

OOOOOHHHHH

MMMMMYYYYY

GGGGGOOOOODDDDD!!!!!

This Is Us - Season Pilot

Susan Kelechi Watson & Sterling K. Brown from “This Is Us” (courtesy of NBC).

Despite my emphasis, that does not even begin to explain the greatness of this show.

I am not even kidding.

I started watching the pilot at around 11 pm Saturday night.  Then I binge-watched the next 10 episodes.

For eight hours straight.

Then I re-watched my favorite episode-“Pilgrim Rick”-two more times.

(Side note:  The last four minutes of this episode bring a whole new meaning to the word “dysfunction”).

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A scene from “This Is Us-Episode 8:  “Pilgrim Rick” (courtesy of NBC).

I was in serious need of an intervention.

That is how addicted I became almost instantly.  It was scary.

Then I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I started the series all over again.

Is there a 12 step program for binge watching addiction???

But first, where do I begin to explain how much I adore this show???

The writing?  Think verklempt times infinite.

The acting?  Superb.

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Mandy Moore & Milo Ventimiglia as Rebecca and Jack Pearson in “This Is Us” (courtesy of NBC).  

I already loved Milo Ventimiglia from his role as know-it-all-chip-on-his-shoulder Jess in “The Gilmore Girls”.  But here he is just as perfectly cast as a good guy who turns into an absolute superman of a father and husband.  Unbelievably, the performance did not garner him a nomination at last week’s Golden Globe Awards but the Hollywood Foreign Press did recognize the show as a whole and two other actors from it-Mandy Moore & Chrissy Metz-who were each nominated in the best supporting actress in a drama category. Moore really shines here, too.  If you have seen any of her movies over the years (I had not) or her three episode arc in “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2010 (I had), then you knew she had some serious acting chops.  She uses them in this show beautifully.

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Ventimiglia & Moore at the Golden Globe Awards (courtesy of Zimbio -original source unknown).

And the music?  Profound.

Episode three (“Kyle”) featured one of my all time favorite songs ever:  Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home“.  It also introduced me to a song from 1965 that is now haunting me.  It was written by a man who had such a sad life yet wrote something so mesmerizing and excruciatingly beautiful that it is almost  too hard to listen to.  In my opinion, that is art at its best.

Jackson C. Frank:  “Blues Run The Game“.

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Jackson C. Frank circa mid 1960’s (original source unknown)

Episode 9 (“The Trip”) introduced me to another old song-this time from 1974-that I never heard before.  The vocals do not start until 58 seconds in, so if you do not like the intro of the song, definitely fast forward to the singing because it is so worth it, I promise.

Richard and Linda Thompson:  “The Calvary Cross

Now that I gave  you the pros, it is only fair I give you the cons of the show:

  1.  Waiting an ENTIRE week for each new episode (there are six left for the season).  It will be torture.  I guess re-watching the previously aired ones will have to fill the void (if you do not subscribe to Hulu, you can watch a few episodes at NBC.com).
  2.  Gerald McRaney is not a series regular.  He is still so handsome and a hell of an actor.  He is one of TV’s best –  right  up there with Tom Selleck.
  3.  Despite the superb writing, the show already borrowed a pretty recent story line from another show.  One of the female characters  has a serious weight issue, so she attends a meeting for Over-Eaters Anonymous where she finds a boyfriend. That is exactly  how  the  characters  on “Mike & Molly” met.  While I think it is wonderful that  Hollywood is  now  embracing  overweight women (thank you, Melissa McCarthy), to suggest the only  place they can find love is in a support group is myopic, not to mention unrealistic.

If you like feel good dramas, “This Is Us” should not be missed.

So, how was your weekend???

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!