Summer Colds Should Not Be A Thing

Hello friends. You may be wondering why I haven’t blogged in the past two days, and the answer is that I have been incapacitated by what felt like the black plague.

On Sunday, I woke up feeling disoriented and off, but I figured I just hadn’t had enough water. That night, I woke up with what I thought was an allergy attack, but when I got up in the morning, it didn’t go away.

How someone gets a cold in the summer, I’m not sure. It’s not right to be sick and gross and hot at the same time. I would rather have three colds in the winter than one in the summer.

Monday wasn’t terrible, just a lot of nose blowing. Tuesday I took a good combination of cold medicine and was able to enjoy a day at Canobie Lake. All seemed fine, though I may have felt a little loopy, until I got in the car to go home and the full effects hit me. I went to bed expecting to wake up feeling great in the morning, but the opposite happened.

Yesterday was my worst day yet. The cold knocked me out from my hair to my toes. I slept most of the day, or at least tried to, and when I ran a quick errand with my mom just to get out of the house, I had to go home and take another nap. When I woke up from that, I was feeling even worse, laid down for another 15 minutes, forced myself to eat dinner, and then felt better.

I was afraid it was just temporary relief, but fortunately, I woke up feeling almost back to normal. To be able to breathe through my nose again is the best. Though my head is still recovering from having to take yucky cold medicine, I’m glad to say that I feel like a human again.

On my best days, I hate sitting around and doing nothing. I need to be up and moving, even if it means a quick walk around the block. Yesterday, it was hard to lift my head up just to sit up. In the winter, at least you can make yourself warm and cozy in a huddle of blankets. In the summer, it’s having to choose between suffering from the 90 degree heat or allowing the fan to tickle your nose into even more pain.

Sorry for not being able to blog, but it would have just come out like mush. I’ll be happy to try to get out this afternoon for a nice, long run/walk combination. I don’t want to push it too hard, but my body is itching to get moving!

I hope this cold, or whatever is going around, doesn’t hit you!

I’m Getting Better At This Food Thing

It’s my favorite part of the week, recapping my meals! This past week was, knock on wood, the last restrictive week as the kitchen is near completion and everything is installed and functioning starting today. You will notice the fancy new counters in my pictures.

Lots of peanut butter topped whole wheat waffles with berries and banana.

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I started making these pancakes before I realized I didn’t have any eggs. I read online that some mashed banana, that I put in my recipe anyways, would do the trick, but it wasn’t the same. Still tasty, but the egg does bring a lot to the recipe.

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I made my favorite oatmeal at my neighbor’s house and it was delightful! Summer can be hot for stove top oatmeal anyways, but with fall coming there will be lots of that and baked oatmeal.

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More waffles and peanut butter. For reasons many may know, my usual grocery store is out of commission, which means I can’t buy my beloved whole wheat sour dough bread. Waffles will do in its place for now.

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Greek yogurt with chopped almonds, coconut, and dark chocolate flakes from Chobani and a bowl of Raisin Bran with banana was on the menu one day. I adore coconut blended Greek yogurt.

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This is my cinnamon raisin overnight oatmeal that doesn’t look very appetizing, but is very good. I promise.

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And this is getting embarrassing, but more waffles and peanut butter. Now that the kitchen is almost ready, I will be developing more creative recipes, or at least with more variety.

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Lunches were mostly salads this week, but delicious ones. This was enjoyed with a slice of mixed berry bread that was excellent.

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Another salad with a small piece of an Italian calzone that was in the fridge. Very tasty and quick on a day where I was running around and didn’t have much space or ingredients to play with.

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My favorite whole wheat penne with zucchini, peppers, and baby spinach with some mozzarella on top. I have to say that the pictures make it look like I use a ton of cheese, but I am following the serving size.

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Another fresh salad with any vegetables I could find in my fridge. For my starch, I enjoyed some multigrain tostitos with cheese.

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My brother and a few of my cousins had lunch with my Grandma on Saturday. We all enjoyed some tasty pizza, salad, and conversation.

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This was a late lunch/ early dinner concoction on Sunday. It included a salad with some buffalo chicken strips, a piece of salmon, and a piece of huffed zucchini. We cut out the middle of the zucchini and mixed it with some peppers, tomatoes, feta, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

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Dinners this week started with some barbecue chicken with zucchini and peppers and macaroni and cheese on the side.

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A cheeseburger between an English muffin, with some peppers, spinach, and more macaroni and cheese came another night.

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I guess we had a lot of salad for dinners this week too. This one was topped with grilled chicken with honey wheat toast on the side.

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This was a steak fajita salad with a side of toast after a very long run/walk that left me itching for carbs.

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This chicken kebab came with rice and a Greek salad. So good and doubly enjoyed when I used leftovers to make a salad. I had this when my mom, sister, godmother, and I met for a girls’ night.

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On Friday night, I had a hankering for Thai food so two of my friends and I went out. It wasn’t the best curry I had and our appetizer was still frozen in the middle, so I won’t be returning. Lots of unrest veggies in the curry though. Not so fresh chicken…

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After a long run, I came home and immediately ate another coconut yogurt. I then had leftover salad and some toast, which hit the spot.

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Finally, last night after a long walk, I toasted up an English muffin and peanut butter. Couldn’t have been better.

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Lots of yummy meals this week and even more to come next! Yay for new kitchens!

Making The Garden Grow

Last year when I tried my hand at gardening, and it worked, no one was more surprised than me. I figured I was lucky. The crops got just enough sun, water, and love as I cooed and sung to it to make it grow.

The main crops we got from the garden last year were cucumbers, tomatoes, and kale. Since we had such success, we decided to add a few more: zucchini, carrots, and lettuce.

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With the carrots, we fell into the predicament of not knowing when they might be ready considering that they grow underground. Maybe I picked it too soon or maybe they didn’t grow, or perhaps carrots are just too much for my limited gardening experience. The lettuce came out just fine, but the zucchini exceeded everyone’s expectations.

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At first we were happy to get any at all and then we saw how big they came out. I mean, these are huge and we got so many of them. I highly recommend zucchini both in gardening because they flourish, and in eating because they are delicious and so versatile. With the kitchen almost ready, I’ll be sure to develop some new recipes to my repertoire.

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The cucumbers too are growing like crazy. Both plants have taken over almost all of the others, except the tomatoes. My theory is that is why my peppers, for the second year in a row, have failed to succeed. There’s still some time left and I see some flowers sprouting, so I’ll keep you updated. I just picked these three cucumbers today, we’ve already picked a bunch already, and there’s even more growing.

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Those are not my tomatoes in the background, though we did have some ready. Mine have been small, but delicious. I love the smell of fresh produce anyways, but there’s something about the scent of fresh picked vegetables that bring it to an entire new level. Even the carrots that grew not even an inch smelled so good, to tease me. This is one tomato reddening on its branch.

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If you are thinking of starting a garden but feel intimated, let me tell you, if I did it, so can you. Yes, it depends on the space you have, as well as access to water, sun, and time, but with a bit of initial work and some consistency tending to weeding and caring, a garden will grow. Around the neighborhood, we have a lot of animals like rabbits and turkeys running around. I’m sure you remember the time when I had to chase the turkey away with a hockey stick. We invested in a foul smelling, but effective spray to spritz around the perimeter and it has worked so well. It doesn’t have any preservatives or weird crap in it either, so you won’t be ruining your crops.

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Next year, I think I am going to expand the garden even further to give all the plants sufficient space and even add some more. I’m hoping to get some fresh fruit in there as well!

When you have access to fruits and vegetables, whether by growing or buying them, it makes it exciting to cook with them. You will be able to check out some yummy salads and other dishes on Meals on Mondays, as well as some exciting updates on the renovated kitchen.

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Making Peace

This post is a week in the making and I wasn’t sure I was going to write it at all. Suicide, depression, and prejudice are deep topics much beyond the scope of the material I usually post on here. I’m not sure I’m well-versed enough. I can’t say that I lived through enough tragedy, fear, or prejudice to have a right to say what I am.

But I have lived and I have seen. And I am very sad for the state of this world. My best way of coping is to write.

I will never pretend to understand what went on inside Robin Williams’ head, just as I would never pretend to know how anyone was feeling or thinking unless they shared it with me.

There is undoubtedly a darkness and a lightness that lives within all of us. It cannot be defined and it is often never declared to anyone outside of that particular mind. Blessed as we are to live with conscious thought, the ability to read and write, and to communicate with others, there too are always consequences.

Robin Williams brought such joy to movie and television screens. He was someone who found what he loved and achieved such astounding success. We were lucky that he shared with his audience that lightness, humor, and grace that flowed through him, even as he battled demons that remain unseen to all of us.

That it ended how it did is tragic, as any loss of life is. It was not for a lack of love or support from what I have gleaned, though sometimes, I suppose it must be. I will choose to mostly remember him for how he lived, performing and making me laugh and cry, sometimes all at once, but I also will never forget how he died.

He was a man. A person who battled as much as he loved. We all are, whether we understand something or not.

Because we loved him. Because we celebrated him and all of his talent, the world got to share in the lightness that lived within Robin Williams. Now we cry at his pain and pray that he finally found peace.

Some people’s reactions have centered more around hate and judgment. This is something that we see now on the news and in our lives in every part of the world as hate announces itself. Yet, we see, perhaps not enough, that kindness, understanding, and love do exist, though those acts are often not broadcast on television as they are not gritty enough for ratings.

I have no answers as to how to solve the issues that run rampant, other than to try to love a little harder, accept that which you may not understand, and especially to love those who are not like yourself in any way shape or form because difference and similarities are what make us all important and special.

Someone once said that we must learn to tolerate differences. Another countered and said, we should go past that and accept. I am sure that many have also said that we should go beyond even acceptance, and I’d like to reiterate that ideal. We should learn how to celebrate a person for all that they are, not simply by categorizations of differences and similarities of which we are so prone to do.

Is it more comfortable to try and understand a person by defining them? Maybe. But this is a hazard that has plagued humankind for centuries.

I am not perfect, nor am I full of wisdom. I am however full of sorrow for all that I have seen these past couple of weeks and through all that I have heard in a lifetime. I am also terrified of that I have not seen or heard because there are dangers and hatred lurking even when I choose to ignore them in my cozy life.

I make judgments every day, against myself and against others. They are not overtly malicious, but it adds to the fuel that cause others to turn on each other. Whether it be a person who cut me off or another who steals my machine at the gym. I feel angst or resentment towards them and mark them as that. Sometimes I look at a person walking down the street and I don’t like the look on their face and a judgment is sparked.

Personally, I do not believe that anyone has been racist, sexist, or prejudiced towards me, but I have been judged, whether I know it or not. I see it happen to others, or I hear of it happening, and I am sorry that it happens so frequently and so consistently, even when we think we are so enlightened in this twenty-first century world.

I am sorry that we live in such a hate-filled world. Equality, as it is claimed so often, is supposed to be a right of simply being a human being. I don’t think anyone can pretend as though that is enforced.

Step by step, together, we must learn how to understand, or at least accept that we won’t always understand everything, and celebrate an individual for everything that they are and everything that they can bring to this world.

We, as a whole, are a long way away from this, but that doesn’t mean we give up and don’t try. I pledge to try and pay attention to the choices and the words I say every day. I’ll make mistakes, I’ll say something, I’ll judge someone, but I won’t give up trying to be better.

Maybe you don’t understand me. Maybe I don’t understand you. But we can no longer hate each other for it.

Haven’t we seen enough of the terrible consequences?

How To Pack When You Love Stuff

I have never been accused of not packing enough stuff whenever I go anywhere. There is no place where I like to sleep more than in my own bed, even though hotel beds can be quite nice. Since it would be beyond extreme to pack up my bed and take it with me wherever I go, I at least need to bring my own pillow (except on very long trips in which lugging a pillow is just a hassle).

As someone who likes the comfort of her own belongings, I have learned over the years how to, at the very least, be an organized packer. On my first move-in day in college, my parents and siblings didn’t know how much stuff I had actually brought with me until they were helping to unpack it all in my very small dorm room. Over the years, I did learn the difference between seasons and what I needed immediately and what could wait, but I can’t say my belongings diminished in any dramatic fashion.

My trip to LA to visit my friend Brad has thus far been an annual adventure I look forward to each year. It didn’t take long to realize that lugging a large suitcase and a good-sized Vera Bradley bag around was not easy. This year, I was able to fit so much clothing, toiletries, and reading and writing materials between two small carry-ons and still had ample leg room. To be fair, I have short legs.

When I went to New Hampshire last week, I didn’t give myself enough time to pack and so I wasn’t as organized as I would have liked. Knowing there was a possibility that I could stay the whole week or head home with my parents after the first couple of days, I knew I needed to be strategic in my packing, but it was getting late and I had an early wake-up time. In this case, it was very handy that I am a heavy packer because I had enough clean underwear to get me through the week.

However, going through shirts and shorts and throwing them into a bag with sneakers, a sweatshirt, and a towel is not an effective strategy. I ended up having to take a backpack on top of that to fit my reading and writing material, toiletries, and other items that could not be squeezed into the bag. This would have been fine if we didn’t have to fit the dog and all of his things along with us because apparently he too is a heavy packer who doesn’t like to be separated from this things.

During the week, I didn’t have my usual organized method of well-matched and well-planned outfits as I usually do on vacation. I ended up having to wear nice shorts and a fairly nice shirt to an amusement park in which I went on a water ride and was drenched in the first five minutes.

I learned my lesson and when my parents headed home, I gave them my backpack and any possible item I didn’t need for the duration of the trip as I would be squeezing into whoever’s car would take and fit me and my bulging bag.

The morning of our trip home, I laid out all of my clothes on the bed and carefully folded and rolled them into compact bundles. Rolling clothes helps to fit items into the smallest of crevices, helping one to utilize space much easier than simply folding and tucking them on top of each other. I had only sent a few things home with my parents, so the fact that I was able to fit in most of what I had brought with me was impressive, including the sweatshirt, sneakers, towel, and toiletry bag.

Caitlin’s Royal Advice for Packing for Anything:

1. Layout shirts and shorts (or any necessary bottoms) on your bed to make sure that you are going to like what you are going to wear, that such outfits are appropriate for where you are going, and to make sure you have enough for the duration of the trip

2. Choose as many pairs of underwear as days you will be going on the trip, then double it because you never know. Especially if you are being in anyway active, you don’t want to have to wear the same underwear you went hiking up a large mountain to a nice dinner hours later.

Note: Same goes for socks because you will probably be doing a lot of walking and I’ve never gone somewhere (even the laundry room) with the same amount of socks as I had when I first arrived

3. Roll, don’t fold (it kind of rhymes, so therefore it’s kind of catchy).

4. Place the bigger rolls on the bottom, such as bottoms, towels, and sweatshirts. Then move up and over according to size, therefore socks will either be on top, or most likely squished in-between free air spaces.

5. Don’t forget your toothbrush, contact case, contact solution, or any medications you will need. Yes, you can probably buy many of these things at a convenience store, but you never know. To keep these organized, get a small toiletry bag and bring only what you will absolutely use. This method proves convenient when you wake up in the middle of the night from an allergy attack and need an allergy pill. Stumbling around in the dark only makes things worse because people don’t like to be woken up.

6. If you are not a hoarder in real life, do not be a hoarder on vacation. Over the years I have learned the difference between reality and allusion. Being mindful of what you really use will help be more productive and efficient in anything. For example, I have a ton of make up and usually only apply five things, the same coverup, blush, eye shadow, mascara, and lip gloss except for special occasions. Therefore, I only bring that amount of make-up.

Note: In college, and now for that matter, I own a lot of crap. I won’t deny that. But I also have it very organized and I mostly know where everything is. I also am someone who has a tendency to hold onto material things for sentimental value. Just be aware of what you use in real life and what you think you want to use because when traveling especially, this can make all the difference with how far along that zipper zips.

Packing in such a way seems a little obvious, but I said I’d write it up and so I did it. Just before midnight, but hey, it got done. Putting even a tad bit of care into this process at least helps you to pay attention to what you have, which will make you more noticeable of what you may have forgotten, hopefully before you leave for that trip.

In relation to this, I wanted to discuss how I get my exercise in during vacation. From experience, I have realized that I often think I’ll have formal workouts more often than I do. During my regular life, I am proud of the fact that I can say I workout on more days than I don’t. It helps to plan breaks from the gym and extended time to rest your body around vacation. However, it never hurts to get something in.

When traveling, I’ll often bring a jump rope (that may or may not get used but at least fits well inside a suitcase), sneakers, and headphones. Sneakers and headphones enables you to do the most effective form of exercise ever, running or walking. It can be fun to explore a new part of a world. The best, most fulfilling run I have ever had was on Redondo Beach looking up to see the mountains and looking out into the ocean. I have never felt more at peace with the world than in that moment and that is something that would not have been achieved without running.

Much of the time just being on vacation allows you to get different, natural forms of exercise in. My best advice here is not to worry so much. Forgive yourself a bit. Also, like I said on the latest edition of Workout Wednesday, the sooner you jump back into your exercise routine on return from vacation, the better.

Vacation is all about relaxing and being refreshed. Exercise can aid in this, but not if you’re stressed about it. Find a happy medium, accept it, and don’t second guess it.

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Feel The Burn…Of Positive Energy!

Everyone, exercise is so important, not just in the planned, executed workout you should do about five days a week, but also in little moments of every day such as walking, getting up, and moving around. Resting your body when you are feeling pain is equally important.

This summer, I’ve ramped up the length of my workout routines because I have the time and it helps me to remain motivated and energized, as well as to vent my stress. I’ve been feeling pretty great too until the week before last when I was just sore. Not in the good way sore, but in the I-can’t-move-sore and so I realized I needed a bit of a break from the planned, executed workouts I adore.

How convenient when vacation came around! New Hampshire is great because there are moments of sitting around, chatting, eating, drinking, and laughing- oh, the laughing!- but there’s also a lot of movement and exploring.

I realized two significant facts about myself during this vacation too that I will have to remember as I get myself back into my routine.

1. When motivated, I can hold a plank for two minutes +. Motivation comes in the

form of the majority of my family lying on the floor, staring desperately at one

another for the two minutes to pass. And then me holding it longer just to prove

that I can until my sister turned the timer off and I decided it was pointless.

I’ve been thinking highly of myself for holding my plank between a minute to seventy-five seconds, but now I know I very much like to compete and that I can hold it much longer.

2. I love to hike.

We did a bit of hiking and exploring but I think I’ve been bitten by some kind of bug (figuratively and literally you little mosquito bastards!) because now all I want to do is go hiking and be in the wilderness climbing mountains, standing on top of humungous rocks like I own the world, and wading into cold, beautiful water oases.

Perhaps the only factors preventing me from moving into the wilderness and becoming the Princess of the Jungle are lack of toilets, food availability, and bugs. Listen, all those big animals, I think I can handle because we’d be pals. Bandit’s kind of a threat to our lives anyways and I still love him. Maybe I should stick to hiking and then being a woman of materialism before and after. It’s far more comfortable that way.

And I suppose that if there is ever a time when I find myself in a cave or other small spots, I know with the right movement of body parts, I can fit through tight spaces. Hello, lemon squeezer!

During the week we also spent a couple of days at amusement parks, which has to count as exercise in some way because there is a lot of time spent navigating the park and standing in line for rides. And if you are anything like my cousins, then you must get a good arm workout in spinning the teacups around as fast as you can. I still don’t think I can see straight since.

The counterintuitive factor at an amusement park will often be the food options. At the first park, I saw the hugeness of a tortilla wrap and instead went for the garden salad with roast chicken on top which was pretty good and enjoyed a couple of French fries as my starch. With a couple of handfuls of popcorn (my favorite snack!) and a soft serve to end the day, I think I owned that first day. At the second park, the salad option was not appealing and so I had a piece of pizza with a fruit cup and popcorn. At the end of the day, I tried a fried Oreo, which I surprisingly did not enjoy! I love regular Oreos, but most fried foods do nothing for me but make me feel disgusting and sick inside.

I also believe that in some sense horseback riding has to burn calories in some ways because even though you are sitting and not doing anything of the movement part, you have to pay close attention to your body so as not to fall off into the muddy and feces-covered ground. You also have to hold yourself up and keep your back straight and whatnot, so in some sense it’s a workout.

These days, I’m not so concerned during periods where I don’t workout in an official way because that does not happen often and also I’ve set myself up in a way where I know I can jump right back into my routine.

For example, after a long, tight car ride back home, instead of flouncing down on the couch for the night, I took a break from my comfortable position, and ran the length of a 5k. In the scheme of things, that doesn’t sound like much, but taking that initial step after a break is crucial to maintaining a routine.

Sunday, I spent some much needed time sleeping in my bed for the first time in a week and then some quality time with my mom and sister at Paint Nite and so the workout thing somehow didn’t happen again. However, I accidentally was at the gym for two hours on Monday, one hour of strength, another hour of cardio, which I think makes up for it.

The strength was my regular barbell routine with weight added to a couple of moves. The cardio was a combination of Tabata bicycle intervals, treadmill sprints, box jumps, and jump rope. I left very sweaty and feeling good and then walked the dog with my mom.

Tuesday, I spent a good chunk of the day trying to make a schedule that fit all the workouts I wanted to do for the week, and then effectively broke an hour later. Instead of swimming, I walked with my friend Molly, chatting the hours away until we realized we hit about 8 miles, stopped at Dunkins for an iced coffee for her and an iced green tea for me, then walked the two miles home. To meet her at her house, I ran the length of a mile, and then after going our separate way, I ran another two miles because if we are being honest, I wouldn’t have gotten back out there once I got home.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t in that much pain except for the gigantic blister I didn’t even feel until I got home and realized I couldn’t walk. When running, my focus was on my leg chafing, which is annoying. 10 miles is a lot to walk, but it’s also very fun and productive when you’re with someone.

Today I was back in the gym completing a new strength workout I developed yesterday. To change it up a bit, I broke my workout up into different circuits in which I perform six moves in a row for three sets and ten repetitions. I did one circuit using dumbbells, two sets with kettlebells, and a cardio circuit that include step ups, jumping jacks, rope swings, high knees, and jump rope. This sounds like a lot, but it moves quickly because you go from one move to another in succession and break only between sets for thirty seconds and circuits for sixty seconds.

My body must be more tired from yesterday’s walk than it originally let on because I struggled today. I didn’t feel any pain, just fatigue, so I kept going. I accidentally on purpose listened in to these two youngish women discussing weight training and how it is only effective if your body shakes, you feel the burn, and can’t lift anymore. I suppose I would have to do a lot more research on this, and I get pushing your body, but that out look seems extreme to me.

I love challenging my body and seeing what I can do, but exercise, like eating, is meant to energize and strengthen, not diminish or exhaust. Yes, it feels good to end a workout slick with sweat, your body feeling the effort, but you should also feel positive energy! I was a little alarmed.

Note: It is very easy to move through these circuit workouts when there are not a ton of people with you at the gym. It is also difficult to perform these circuits when there is a crowd of people surrounding you because they want and need space to and you cannot go wherever whenever you want.

I’m not the best at sharing or communicating at the gym, but I’ve noticed this and I’m trying to at least appear kinder.

It’s funny because I wrote the majority of this post last night and then today someone stole the box I was using to jump on. He clearly saw me using it and waited for me to turn away for one minute, with my stuff still parked there, and grabbed it before I could see and stop him.

To sum up this edition of Workout Wednesday, I’d like to bring it back to the top. I was feeling some pain, I allowed my body to rest, and then I got myself back into it and felt great. When you allow yourself to rest and you listen to your body, you realize the difference in how your body reacts to exercise.

This is important.

There’s a reason why I could move through two hours of exercising and not feeling like I will die after resting. There’s a reason why I can’t always lift at my highest weight when I’ve had a succession of long, grueling workouts the days before and no rest.

Exercise your body. Rest your body. Find a happy medium.

This means listening to your body. It’s the only one you got. This rule applies for both exercising and eating and anything else you do with it. I’m getting better at this, but it’s harder than it should be!

I suppose I need to be as kind to my body in the gym as kind I am to other people at the gym. Okay. Maybe I need to be a tad bit kinder to all around.

The One Where I Watch A Cartoon

This summer, I’ve run through patterns where I will find a new TV show and all I want to do is watch it, or there will be other periods where all I want to do is read. While I do other things in my life that are actually productive during these times, I’ve found my recent freedom from school-related things to be indulgent.

I’ve talked in length about my annual Harry Potter re-read and that did not disappoint. On Rave Review Tuesdays, I have also talked about Orange is the New Black and Mitch Albom’s The First Phone Call From Heaven. While I am currently reading David Sedaris’s new book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (and only have two days to finish since it’s from the library), I went through a phase the past couple of weeks of watching a new TV show (for myself, not new in general).

Disclaimer, if I’m even using that in correct fashion, but I have never really been one to watch cartoons. Growing up, I absorbed Disney princess movie after Disney princess movie, where I think my proclivity for crowns stems from, but when it came to sitting down to watch Saturday morning cartoons, I was never into them.

This might be due to the fact that my sister is three years older, had three years older taste, and I wanted to follow her in every step, including TV shows. I only ever would glimpse cartoons here and there when my brother, who is five years younger, would watch them, and at that point, I had no patience for them. I was the freak who watched Friends when she was much too young. I always preferred Saved by the Bell or Sweet Valley High because it offered much more drama and romance.

My family went through a phase when we were older of watching Family Guy and I thought it was funny in parts, but never my favorite. We were never allowed to watch The Simpsons when we were growing up and when I got older it just never occurred to me to watch that. It especially became easier to not have to watch what was actually on TV because of DVR and other forms of new media that allowed me to watch my favorites anytime I wanted.

There was also the period of my life from seventh grade to my freshman year of high school that all I watched was Friends. I don’t know why I was allowed to buy all of the DVD sets, especially because a year later they were so much cheaper!

Anyways, back to the topic, when it comes to cartoons, I am pretty much all about the Disney princess movies and that’s it, until I found a new show.

It all started with Tumblr. Browsing through my feed or whatever they call it on that, gifs and quotes from Bob’s Burgers kept popping up. I thought they were kind of funny when reading them, even without knowing any of the background. People were commenting about how funny it was and how they relate to it in odd ways.

After a couple of weeks, my neighbor mentioned she watched it and loved it, as well as my cousins, so I checked on Netflix and decided to give it a try. When I watched the first episode, I was taken aback because most of the characters’ voices, men and women, were voiced by men. At this point, I was thinking it was going to be another show that I would roll my eyes at and get annoyed with, thinking it was some anti-feminist attack and all about fart jokes.

I was wrong and I’m so glad I kept watching.

Much of the humor is actually very clever and each character is fleshed out in a brilliant way. I can’t decide which character I like best between Tina, Gene, and Louise because they all have very specific personality traits that are hilarious, ridiculous, and somehow quite endearing. I also adore Linda and Bob and the entire family dynamic because to its core, the show features a very close, sweet family relationship who mock each other, get annoyed by one another, but always stick together and support one another.

There is something very relatable about the characters, which I think I’ve discussed on here before about that’s how any media draws me in. I don’t care about the storyline, or rather, in some sense I’m more lenient about what is happening to characters if I like the characters. In any medium, book, movie, TV show, musical, or play, there is going to be a premise that is not quite regular and borders on the fantastical, or is completely fantasy. It has to be interesting to draw in an audience.

Within the show there is a realness to how quirky people in real life are, whether they don’t quite fit in with other people’s realm of normativity, whether because they are a little nerdy, can’t read social cues properly, somewhat introverted, or are just so eager and excitable that it can be overwhelming for other people. Bob’s Burgers even shows the struggle of a person, and the family they have to drag along with them, when they own a family business.

Yes, the show is built on hijinks, makes the occasional fart joke, and sometimes goes for the obvious joke, but that’s all part of its charm. I think sometimes that some other shows similar to this have the objective to offend, however they can, however badly they can make it, which causes them to lose form. The shock factor works best when it’s used sparingly because you don’t expect it, but it also doesn’t take away from the show you’ve created.

However, what do I really know, because I don’t have a multi-million dollar TV show or movies coming out. Yet…

I will watch or read anything if it adds a touch of cleverness and beauty to it. Perhaps I am analyzing the show way too much outside of the scope of what the creators want, but I think that what they have created is a quality, fun show that takes a somewhat simple premise and makes it outstanding. The writing and dialogue is smart, but not overwhelming or trying to be too far above what this genre entails. It kind of reminds me of 30 Rock in that smart, but ridiculous form that takes nothing to be serious, but also has heart and truth.

Actually, I would say it has the cleverness of 30 Rock and the endearing factor of Parks and Rec…

I watched the three seasons featured on Netflix faster than I should have, but they were only twenty minutes per episode, so I flew through them. I was sad knowing I had to wait until fall to see new episodes until someone told me that the fourth season had already aired and would probably be on On Demand. It was the gift that kept on giving.

I realize that I’m sort of jumping on the bandwagon that has been plugging on for awhile now, but Bob’s Burgers will definitely be something that I’ll continue watching when the new season hits. I might even watch it when it actually airs, which means it’s special if I’m going to deal with commercials.

I mean, if I didn’t convince you with this edition of Rave Review Tuesday to check it out, because if nothing else, it’s just fun, then maybe the fact that it just won a Creative Arts Emmy might sway you.