Fall TV: 4 Shows I Won’t Miss!

It’s fall–you know what that means. Fun, football and new TV episodes. I love it when a new season starts and all my favorite shows are back. Here’s 5 shows I love, love, love…and if you haven’t seen them I strongly suggest you check them out.

1. Parenthood
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5vCDj0tsEp0″>Season 1 Trailer

This show hooked me from the very first episode. The Braverman clan never disapoints. Well, that’s not 100% true. I was extremely disappointed (and yes, grossed out) when Julia kissed Ed last season. Blech! What is this guy’s problem? He always plays jerks (remember when he was on the Office playing Roy–still a jerk!) This is the “farewell” season and that makes me so sad. I love the Bravermans in their inperfection, although sometimes Max’s mom Christina annoys me since she always has the right thing to say. You never see her making the kids eat cereal for dinner or picking up drive-thru fare for her. Even when she was on her death bed, she managed to squeak out a request for Adam to check on Max at school. But overall, the characters are flawed and (except Christina) inperfect. I’ll miss you Parenthood!

2. Greys Anatomy

I hesitated putting this show on my list becuase it’s really not as great as it used to be, and Meridith gets on my nerves. Her lips have had so many injections that they kind of resemble Daisy Duck. But still I watch it. Why? I’m committed. I have to find out if McDreamy is gonna leave Meridith to take that job in DC where he’s working with the Prez. I also have not seen Cally and Arizona’s baby in a while. She’s always “conviently” somewhere else. She’s got to be like 20 now. I couldn’t believe that they are trying to get the viewers to swallow this stupid plot about Ellis having a love child with Webber back in the day that nobody know about. PULEEZE. Yet still I watch.

3. Modern Family

Even if there’s not a new episode on, I will watch the reruns. Why? Because they are hilarious. I love how they showcase Mitchell and Cameron’s ongoing rivalry. It doesn’t matter what it is they are competing. Cracks me up! Of the entire show I relate the most to Cameron. He’s at least honest about his faults. One question though. Why does nobody admit that Haley looks hispanic? There’s a story there.

5. American Horror Story Season 4: Freak Show

I missed the first episode so I haven’t started this one but I’m going to get around to it. I love Jessica Lange and this concept of modern Gothic tv. I never, ever watch this show if Nate is in the vicinity because sometimes there’s gratitutious parts for no apparent reason–I usally just fast forward thru those.

What’s your favorite fall lineup? Let me know! In the meantime, I’m gonna get caught up on the latest episode of Parenthood while I still can.

Teen Speak: On Faith, God and Prayer (or Lack Thereof)


When I asked Mancub if he’d talked to God about his feelings on Watergirl moving away, he replied, “Not really. I’m kind of mad at him right now.”
“Why are you mad at God for this? He’s not making her family move.”
“Yes he is,” he explained. “He’s calling them to do a church plant and they have no choice but to do it.”

“God is tough enough to handle a bit of anger.”

Wow. This isn’t a difficult conversation at all, is it?

So we prayed together for a bit. I have to admit I don’t pray with him very much, and as a family we don’t spend enough time praying together. I experience a sort of anxiety when asked to pray out loud, probably because I’m intimidated by those who pray so well. You know the type, they are able to in a second’s notice create sheer poetry when asked to lead the prayer.
When I pray out loud it sounds something like this:
“Dear God, we just thank you for this day and for this time together. Please heal Mr. Smith’s bad hip so he can continue to play racquetball. In Jesus name, Amen.”
I’m a writer folks. Give me a pen and I can write a pretty prayer, but it doesn’t always translate verbally. This made me feel guilty (yet again) about how I’m raising my kid. I let him see me angry at traffic, frustrated from work, laughing at bad television–so it’s definitely a problem if I don’t let him see me pray. And if I don’t teach him how.
If I teach him to open doors for women, how to cook a cheese sandwich, but not how to pray, how am I preparing him for life? I’m not.
The University of Notre Dame recently conducted a study regarding teenagers and their views on faith and God. One of the main purposes of the study was to update findings which were deemed outdated. It’s pretty interesting and I plan on taking it apart bit by bit to see what it means for Mancub and our family.


4 Ingenious Tactics That Sucked Me in to Lifetime’s “Petals on the Wind”

I’ll admit it. When I first heard Lifetime was remaking the whole VC Andrews “Flowers in the Attic” series, I was pretty skeptical. I’ve read all of (the REAL) V.C. Andrews books an unhealthy number of times so I’ve always been a secret fan. I worried when Lifetime took on this project because fans like me get pretty ticked if they change too much stuff, and their previous translations of book to movie is much like me attempting Chinese in Shanghai–at best, humorously off the mark, and at worst offensive. But, even though they did a really good job with “Flowers in the Attic,” I’ve never been too excited about sequels.

Take for example their rendition of pretty much any Jodi Picoult’s books. I’ll watch it because 1) It’s (kind of ) Jodi Picoult and 2) It’s similar to watching your neighbors fight in the back yard. You know you should look away but it’s just too entertaining.

That being said (and I hate it when people use this phrase), last night’s rendition of “Petals in the Wind” KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF. And I wasn’t even wearing socks. I’ll go to the doctor later.

The remake of V.C. Andrews’ “Flowers in the Attic” was pretty good, especially compared to the overacted original that just tried too hard. I’ll tell you what sucked me into “Petals on the Wind.”

1) A compelling trailer. OH MY LANTA. If you haven’t watched it yet, use the link above to get a peek. It’s all kinds of crazy and messed up, plus you see Corrine SETTING HER MOM’S BED ON FIRE WITH A CANDELABRA.  I mean, what angst-riddled teen hasn’t fantasized about that? Just kidding, Mom. I’m over 40 and I don’t even have a candelabra.

2)The music. Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” was the PERFECT song for this twisted revenge classic. Cathy’s coming for you, Corrine. And she won’t even notice because Corrine’s coming for HER mom, who is also a hateful hag. Corrine’s a hag, she just looks good while doing it. (Side note: on IMBD’s site, they actually have Corrine’s mom (just called the Grandmother) pictured with the words  “Holy Hag” underneath it. So wrong…yet so funny.

3) The ripped guys. Every single guy in this movie is stinking ripped. Not that I care, being a happily married woman to my own ripped guy, but come on. There’s a scene where a guy delivers a package to the house. Ripped. The grocer at the local market: double ripped. Ok that scene didn’t happen, but if it did…ripped. I think it’s against the law that anyone with more than 2% body fat must be run out of town, or set on fire by a candelabra.

4) While they were replaying “Flowers in the Attic” to refresh the audience, in the top right screen there was a countdown ticker letting us know exactly how long we had to wait for “Petals on the Wind.” Genius! I mean, the ticker added a sense of urgency and excitement (OMG! Only  49 minutes until “Petals on the Wind!”). It really got my adrenaline pumping, and I was just sitting on the recliner with glass of tea. Imagine if I’d been actually DOING something! My heart would have given out.

Well done, Lifetime! Can’t wait for the next installment!

5 Life Lessons I Learned from Watching “Little House on the Prairie”

Ok, I’m a bit of a dork. Some might even say “sappy dork.” I’m a sucker for mushy love songs, valentines cards and romantic dates. I also, for as long as I remember, have loved shows like “Little House on the Prairie” or corny Hallmark movies based loosely on any Janette Oke book EVER WRITTEN. It doesn’t matter what it is … I will watch it. And God help us ALL if there’s some kind of marathon on because life as we know it will come to a screeching halt so I can watch Half-Pint trudge up the side of that windy mountain to pray to God to save her little brother. I’ll sit there, tears pouring out, a sob in my chest, transfixed, waiting for Pa and Mr. Edwards to find her. Everything is right in the world.

I love stories about the first pioneers settling the Old West. Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t last five minutes living in the Ingalls family’s tiny lopsided shack, stripped bare of running water, air conditioning, and proper plumbing. But it’s still nice to dream about a simpler time, before Pizza Hut and Mine Craft, Rated R TV shows and emails. For real.

When somebody asked me why I love these shows so much, I realized there are some very applicable life lessons to be learned from these kinds of shows. For brevity’s sake, I’ve listed 5 for you.

1. Ma and Pa can do ANYTHING. Build a log cabin from split logs? Check. Kill a chicken and have it on the table for dinner? Check. Plant 105 acres of wheat with nothing but a mule and muscle? Check check. They don’t need anyone’s help, they don’t need credit cards, and they don’t owe anyone anything. Can I get an amen from the house? If Caroline was here right now, I’d give her a fist bump, if she had the time.

2. There’s nothing a good fiddlin’ session can’t cure. Burly, tanned Pa, after working the fields all day, whips out his fiddle for a couple of hours, and everything is right in the world. Can you tell I had a bit of a crush on Michael Landon as a girl? Is it that obvious?

3. Sometimes, people just need their butts kicked. There was rarely an episode where Pa didn’t, after a lot of prayer and seeking God’s will, punch somebody’s lights out who REALLY HAD IT COMING. Pioneer justice RULES. Did anybody come put Pa in jail for assault and battery? Nah. First of all, they didn’t have one and it would take the next town’s sheriff approximately 40 days to travel there to even enquire about it. Go Pa!

4. Fashion is an option. Remember how all the Ingalls girls wore the exact same dress to Sunday School each week? Ma, in yet another selfless act of devotion, took the light blue material meant to be used to make her own dress to miraculously sew three dresses for her rag-tag kiddoes. I don’t know how much material Pa thought Ma needed, but I’d be super mad if it stretched THAT far. Can you imagine how much it would cut down on laundry if your kids only had one school outfit and one church outfit? Man.

5. Family comes first, and good friends are worth their weight in gold. Even in Walnut Grove, you sometimes need backup. You never know when you’ll need them if the bull gets out or someone comes down with the influenza or a real bad cold or smallpox.

Hey look! It’s a Little House marathon. I can’t wait to see what that Nellie Oleson is gonna try this time!


Why I’m Addicted to TV Shows About Polygamists

Why I’m Addicted to TV Shows About Polygamists.

Why I’m Addicted to TV Shows About Polygamists

I know it’s terrible, time-wasting, intelligence-sucking, feeding-the-machine behavior but … there it is! I can’t stop watching reality TV. And you know what? It doesn’t even have to be GOOD TV… especially if it’s about polygamists.

I have no idea why. Before you get all Freudian on me, I don’t *secretly* want to be a polygamist. I swear. I used to get in trouble in kindergarten because I was NOT GOOD AT SHARING. I hogged the Play-Doh and monopolized the Barbies.

Some things never change. I don’t want to share my favorite pen, the last piece of cheesecake or my margarita–that means there is no way I’d ever be good at sharing a husband. Within 24 hours of a new wife joining the house, I’d go all Jerry Springer, taking off my earrings, WWF psycho on her. Nothing but a bad Cops episode waiting to happen.

Yet, that is what shows like Sister Wives and My 5 Wives want to convince us…that sharing a husband is just an alternative lifestyle of some kind and they are not strange or twisted and why can’t we all just get along. Really, I don’t care if somebody wants to share a man, and I don’t think that many people really care what they do. I mean, really–it’s already apparently hard enough to find a good guy, so why not just share somebody else’s, if that’s what your into. More power to them! However I find the whole thing embarrassingly fascinating, and totally admit to watching my iPad late into the night with baited breath, just waiting to see what those crazy husband-sharers are gonna do next.

I especially liked the episode where they were FLEEING FOR THEIR LIVES from … who? NOBODY WAS CHASING THEM. In fact, despite the fact that two of the cars had tire blow outs nobody was sent to the San Quentin or anything. Several shots of tearful wives crying and saying stuff like “I hate that we have to hide. This isn’t the America I thought it was.”

I’m sorry but YOU HAVE A TV SHOW. How is that hiding? That’s about as subtle as an elderly streaker at the Superbowl. Or Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. It’s kind of the opposite of hiding.Still, I find myself on their side. I find myself muttering, “Geez, just let them live their lives!” to nobody in particular.

To be fair, it almost doesn’t matter what happens because any normal event is obviously made 100% more stressful when you throw in a couple of extra wives and 98 extra kids. At some point, you know a kid’s gonna go missing. How long would it really take before someone noticed?

That’s just good plotting, folks.

Take a routine event–for example, running out of trash bags. Now, in my house, I would just guilt trip someone into going to the store to buy more.End of story.

Not on the polygamist shows. They have to have a tearful family meeting about who’s turn it is to buy trash bags, then they take a vote on which trash bags to buy (draw string or grip, Glad or Hefty, scented or unscented–you can’t be too careful because with 98 kids somebody’s got to be allergic to lavender-scented trash bags.) After the voting, each spouse must give a short wrap-up of what just happened. There are tears and concessions. Then, the breath-taking footage of the van driving away to the grocery store.

Really, it’s not that interesting. Actually, it’s kind of mind-numbing, like too much fig newtons. The first couple are pretty good but before I know it I’ve just eaten a sleeve of them and can’t even find my teeth beneath the goo.

My husband is completely baffled by this. He sometimes wanders in to the kitchen to get a drink and I’m caught in the act.

Lee: Oh geez. Not this show again.

Me: (nervously) Oh, haha. I know. It’s dumb. I was just…watching this while I saw what else was on. I think there’s some British show…oh here it is!

Lee (totally not buying it): Haven’t you already watched this one a couple of times?

Me: Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Lee: I’m pretty sure you have.

Me (sweating): Ok, but to be fair I took Ambien the last time I watched it and don’t remember if they got the mortgage loans or not.

I don’t know WHY I keep tuning in to find out if Kody and his wives are gonna get the mortgage loans for their polygamist community they are (not so quietly) building in Las Vegas. I’m obviously disturbed, right?  It’s super boring 99% of the time, and they try to play up the “tension” to make good TV. I hate myself after I turn it off. It’s like a bad addiction. One day they’ll call me and I will be on My Strange Addiction because of my obsessive viewing of polygamist TV.

I really can’t wait for the new season of Honey Boo Boo.


Teen Speak: Waking and Communicating With Your Teen Before Noon

Teen Speak: Waking and Communicating With Your Teen Before Noon.

Teen Speak: Waking and Communicating With Your Teen Before Noon

Whenever I try to talk to Mancub before noon, it’s always a crap shoot. Whatever happens, you must be prepared for the worst.

Sometimes, I’ll speak to him, and though it appears he heard me, nothing happens. It reminds me of those Ghost Hunters shows where three grown men walk around  in abandoned hospitals in the complete darkness with night vision goggles and their EVP equipment. Seemingly on edge–which I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that they are poking around in an abandoned mental hospital’s morgue or a supposed haunted hotel–they attempt to break through to the voices “on the other side.”

Sometimes I feel that this is an adequate metaphor for seeking to not only communicate with Mancub, especially in the morning when he’s not fully awake.

Me: “Nate, it’s time to get up and get ready for school.”


Me: Knocking gently. “Nate, are you awake?” Checking my EVP equipment, I notice a possible reading.

Me: Feeling a cold chill coming from underneath Nate’s bedroom door…then, a sound. “Lee! Did you hear that?”

Lee: “Yes! It sounded like “Blerg.”

Me: “I’ll play back the EVP.”

EVP: five minutes of scratching noises, then we both hear it: “Blerg.”

Lee and Me, overjoyed: “Yes! This is tangible evidence that he heard us AND responded.”

Here’s another possible scenario:

I can’t really tell you what to do here, dear parent. Sometimes extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures.

If you’d like to purchase Ghost Hunting equipment, there’s a link on amazon.