Shake It Off

After a few weeks’ hiatus, I’m back! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was busy as I hopped on a plane Tuesday night 9pm LA time, flew into New York City for a two hour delay, then made the final leg of my trip to Boston, arriving around 9am Boston time. I flew back to LA on Friday morning, so it was a whirlwind, but wonderful trip home. Though it was more of a teaser for Christmas break, I’m so happy to have been able to spend time with my family, eat delicious food, and relax.

I believe this picture was taken as my mom told me my head was too big.

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I have enjoyed my time in LA thus far, but I’ve felt out of sorts and overwhelmed these past few weeks, as I believe I’ve mentioned, but I decided I’m shaking myself out of it. Part of that is getting back into my writing routine. Life is busy and it’s hard to get into a routine after a long day of work, but writing is important to me and it’s why I moved out here, so I have to do it! Doing it!

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Upon my arrival back to LA, my Lyft driver gave me a gallon of some strange water she was promoting. Apparently, I am supposed to drink it within three days or the live cultures will die. I’m not drinking water that has living beings in it thank you very much. What a welcome back though!

Friday found me in a vegetative state. Had I known it would be the only warm, sunny day of the weekend, I may have felt more motivated to get up, but it started on a long plane journey and I was tired. Plus, my new bike- because yes, one of the blah things that have happened to me in the past few weeks is that my bike was stolen…out of my gated apartment building…where it was locked up- had loose handlebars and I didn’t have the tool to fix it yet, so really, I didn’t want to fall over them.

Regardless of any activity I should have done, Gilmore Girls dropped on Netflix and nothing else mattered. I watched two of the four-part series, napped, cooked dinner, then watched the other two. I loved it, smiled the entire time, and teared up a few times. As the creator/writer said that she ended it the way she always wanted to end it, I fear those last four words, however cryptic and cliff hanger-y, are it for the show, for real this time. I wouldn’t be opposed to more though, please and thank you!

On Saturday, I was on the metro to meet my friend for a hike in Malibu when the skies opened. Apparently, the only things to do in Malibu are go to the beach and hike, so we drove around for a bit before heading over to Santa Monica.

PSA: Don’t all-you-can-eat sushi. Sushi is not something you should ever overeat. Our reasoning for going to this restaurant was to try different types of sushi, but you had to eat all of what you ordered and would have to pay full price for any leftovers. We ordered two rolls too many and I had a piece in my mouth when my body decided it was too much and I had to spit it out. I was full, but it wasn’t that overly stuffed feeling so much as this is not something you should ever have too much of. The mayo-laden sushi glistened at me menacingly and thankfully the waitress took pity on us and took it away as our little secret and we didn’t have to pay. I am now on a six month hiatus from sushi, if not more.

After we ate ourselves silly, it was time to move around. We ended up doing some window shopping in Santa Monica and took in the sights.

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I should have snapped a picture of the pier all lit up at night, but shoulda coulda woulda and I did-ah not. Ha.

On Sunday, I woke up to more rain, so I cooked an omelet with an english muffin and fruit before heading over to the gym for my first workout in a week. It felt good! Nothing inspires motivation better than a kick ass workout.

In the afternoon, I went back to Santa Monica with my friend Brad where we got some writing done before heading back, making tacos for dinner, and readying for the work week ahead.

I’m in a better place and thinking positive thoughts. Sometimes, it’s good to struggle because it gives you some perspective and forces you to work that much harder. A hug from mom will heal anything. Plus, it doesn’t suck that it’s Christmas spirit time! No better excuse to fit in some shopping.

Happy Monday!

End of An Era; I Think I’ve Used That Joke Before…

Hello, my name is Caitlin and I am a binge watcher.

It’s not a joke actually. Like I really just watched a whole lot of episodes in three days. A season full, okay? That’s twenty two episodes that run 42-43 minutes apiece that I watched in three days. Netflix is wonderful, bizarre, and dangerous. Having the ability to just push play on the next episode (OR NOT HAVE TO TOUCH ANYTHING AT ALL) is too easy and convenient. Albeit, I did not complain. And one can argue that I simply don’t have to have Netflix anymore. I’m just saying, it’s dangerous for someone who likes to watch television to have access to so much television.

That being said, I am very sad to be done with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, I could have slowed down, but I was hooked. I will say that while it took me three days to watch the final season (I’m on a staycation technically), it took me about three weeks to watch the previous season because it was emotionally challenging. I feel comfortable and secure in admitting to you my obsession with TV only because I can claim it’s for research purposes. Hello?! I want to write for TV, so I have to watch TV. It’s not my fault, it’s a requirement.

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Too soon Netflix! Too soon!

There is a clear reason as to why I don’t watch too many shows on Netflix and that is because I become invested. It can be hard for me to get into a show, but once I’m in, I’m hooked. Just fry me up. That was a lame statement, but I’m keeping it just so I can talk about how lame it was. After much deliberation, obsession, and dedication, I am ready to make another claim. Friends, after years and years and years, has been dethroned for the highly esteemed number one favorite show of all-time in my heart. While I still love Friends, it will have to make-do with number two (rhyming, ugh). This is important to no one else, besides me, but I think it’s a pretty momentous occasion. As it stands, my favorites are now: Buffy, Friends, Lost, The Golden Girls, and Gilmore Girls.

What you can take from this is that I am one eclectic girl. Look at that diversity in my choice of shows! Actually, there’s probably not that much diversity at all except that some of them are different genres. It’s funny because I only ever watched one and a half of those shows at the time live. Buffy was on when I was younger and should not have been watching at that age because I could not comprehend or appreciate the depth of emotions and torment that it shows. I just liked the action and the romantics and Sarah Michelle Gellar was my favorite because she married Freddie Prinze Jr., which is still impressive, but also, she’s damn good in this show! I also only watched about two and a half seasons and didn’t remember a whole lot of it once I went and rewatched all of it. (Note: rewatched keeps autocorrecting to rewetted and I don’t know that I understand what that means).

I’ve seen episodes of Gilmore Girls when it was on live, but I never got into it until after it came on Netflix and I decided to give it a whirl. I’m so glad I did too (except for that last season, ugh). The first and only episode I’ve seen of Lost while it aired was the finale. There was so much hype and I don’t need too much mystery or context to be able to appreciate an ending, so I wanted to watch it. If I liked how it ended, I figured I could watch it. In the end, I’m not sure how I felt about that ending, but I went back and watched it anyways and it was epic.

I wasn’t or was barely alive when The Golden Girls aired, but thanks to Lifetime and syndication, I started to watch it in high school and became obsessed. It’s just such a fun and lovable and funny show that makes me feel nostalgic, which I am a huge sucker for. With Friends, I did watch much of it when it was running, but probably not all- I was four when it started?- but because of syndication and to all the DVDs I spent uber loads of money on that are now five bucks apiece, I was caught up by the time it ended. I distinctly remember watching the finale, surrounding myself with tissues, and sobbing. I will not go as far as to say it was a tragic moment in my life- I still remember the Brad/Jennifer break up- but it was an end of an era.

And now here again we have reached an end of another era. I say most of this in jest, though I do find these shows to be important to me. It’s like coming to an end of a really good book, especially a series (HARRY POTTER) and having to say goodbye to those characters and those places that made you fall in love. This is what makes television stand out farther to me than movies. If you’re lucky, with a show, there are so many seasons and episodes to spend with the characters. It’s part of what inspires me to be a writer- to bring to life people whose emotions, actions, and thoughts can be so different and so similar to yours at the same time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over again: if you have a set of solid characters played by actors who bring them to life (in the case of novels, the author’s voice is the said-actor in my opinion), then you can do anything with them.

All of this leads to a big question I am sure all of you are dying to know! What show will be next? Actually, none. Not for now. One, I need time to mourn Buffy. Seven seasons, um no matter how fast you watch them, is no small feat and I need time to process. I waited about a year after finishing Gilmore Girls before getting into another show because clearly I am obsessive and cannot be stopped. Now is the time to enjoy some me time, in the sun, maybe reading a book and definitely studying.

This whole rant started by my wanting to make a joke about being a binge watching addict. My apologies, continue with your day. Except actually, finish reading before you do.

Yesterday’s workout was strength heavy. I ran through the usual barbell exercises, performing six sets of eight reps for power moves like bench presses, deadlifts, and squat presses and four sets of twelve reps for additional exercises such as bicep curls and tricep extensions. I can feel myself growing stronger, which (opinion) probably means I am going to one day become a vampire slayer. (Fact) I ran away screaming from my cat when he tried to bite me.

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I followed a strength workout with a core one that left me wanting to stay down on the mat for a little while, but instead got me in the direction of the bike, which I rode for a few minutes.

Last night’s dinner was a big old salad with grilled chicken, which I paired with a piece of corn and a slice of toast. Simple, yet effective. I enjoyed this while sitting poolside as the sun started to fall asleep, the bugs started to crawl, and I didn’t notice much of anything else because I was watching Netflix. I said it was fun, not healthy.

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At breakfast time, I was very Maid of Honorly and Sisterly and did a favor for my sister and her husband and decided it was worth just powering through the last three episodes of Buffy. I grilled myself some eggs and served it with peanut butter on toast, half a banana, and some blueberries. It was a delightful breakfast sprinkled with occasional tears. I can almost feel your judgment through our virtual screens, but remember, this is partly satirical. (A very small part, but shh).

IMG_3374Now that I’ve finished, it’s time to go out into the world again! Except that it’s ninety degrees and the sun is too bright.

Just kidding, it’s hot as balls. (I don’t use that feature to my advantage enough).

In Memoriam: Binge Watching Cease and Desist

It was a long journey, but I’ve finished Gilmore Girls. It was with mixed emotions because though I very much enjoyed it, as it grew towards the end of the series, it felt like it was time.

It’s funny because I started watching the show near the end of the summer and would play episode after episode while I worked in the background, applying for jobs and whatnot. It obviously slowed once I started working, so I think it took me longer to watch the final season than the other six combined.

For now, I won’t be jumping onto a new show anytime soon. I want to get on a reading kick, considering all the books I placed on hold are coming in at the same time. It’s overwhelming! There is nothing better, however, than sitting by the tree, curled up on the couch, with a fire going in the fireplace. I have a ton of books I want to read, so it’s time I got to it!

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In the coming weeks, there will be a lot of reviews to cover, but for now let’s focus on Gilmore Girls. Over the years, I watched an episode here or there, but it never captured my complete attention. It took me a few episodes to really get into it, but once I did, it turned into full blown binge mode.

The best part of the show is the relationship between Lorelei and Rory, mother and daughter for those who haven’t seen the show. Lorelei had Rory when she was 16 and raised her on her own, away from her wealthy, overbearing parents. For Lorelei and Rory, it’s the close friendship before parental relationship that is fun and works for 1% of the population. Rory happens to be this straight A, innocent 16 year old who is a breeze to raise and whose only real issues are boy troubles. It’s the whole, tv fantasy thing that allows it to be slightly believable and enjoyable.

Gilmore Girls contains all the aspects a successful tv show needs- relatable characters who you care about for better or worse, good traits and faults; familiar, comforting settings, such as Luke’s Diner, where the characters can return in order to break up momentous, show-altering events in order to alleviate stress for the audience; and quirky consistencies, characters, settings, and behaviors that an audience latches onto in order to remember and care about the show, for example the town where the majority of scenes takes place, Stars Hollow.

More so than with movies and theater, television allows an audience to grow and understand characters. It’s like Orange Is The New Black in that people have more sympathy for these characters in prison than they probably would for people in real life in these situations. We have a view of the minds of the characters, who they are, what their actions say about them, and we sympathize, whether or not we love or hate them. As long as the characters are fleshed out and an audience is invested in them, you can take them almost anywhere, with the thought that at least part of the core of that character remains.

Gilmore Girls was good in this sense because both the main characters, as well as the supporting ones who are just as loveable, undergo transitions from the first to last episode, yet by the end of the show, you still see similarities within them. The ending was not major, life-altering (for me or them), or overly significant, but I did have some teary moments. Listen, watching a season from start to finish is an investment. It’s sad that there’s no longer a journey to go on with these characters, but at least it didn’t end with a blank screen or everyone dead. You’re also left with a binge watching hangover that leaves you sleepy, fuzzy,and wondering why the hell you do things like this to yourself.

Many people talk about how unrealistic the show is with the premise and how seemingly perfect the characters are, even with their flaws, but I think it’s part of the quirkiness of the show. It wasn’t trying to be meaningful, and though it still had its moments of poignancy, it remained true to its cute qualities it flourished using. Another topic of contention was the dialogue because seemingly no one speaks so quickly or wittily within conversation. Again, I think you could say that about almost any show. Stumbling over words or thinking of the perfect thing to say after a conversation, are things that happen to me regularly, but it wouldn’t work in a show all the time. Dialogue has an opportunity to be perfect and smart on tv and it should be. So often, quality dialogue does not exist.

I say this for television, movies, and theater. It would not matter what a writer does to his/her characters, so long as the consumer cares about the characters and the dialogue is fluid and NOT cheesy. The most poignant and effective moments on television are inspired by subtlety. There are so many shows out there that I love the idea of, but cannot watch because the dialogue doesn’t make it feel real. Glee is a good example of this from where it was in season one to how it is now. When it first started, it was super effective because it was showing something that hadn’t been done before and was a great source of influence on a younger audience. The writers saw what they were capable of and completely messed it up by magnifying the subtlety and turning the show into a parody of itself. No offense to fans of Glee though…

I’m not saying Gilmore Girls was perfect or the best written show on television. There were definitely some moments through the show that made me cringe or roll my eyes, but that is the nature of a tv show made for a young female audience- and I’m not saying that’s right or wrong. It was an enjoyable show that was too easy to binge watch, and though I probably wasted an embarrassing amount of time streaming it, I’m glad I went back and watched it.

However silly it seems, I am sad to say goodbye to those characters and the cute town of Stars Hollow. It’s time I tap into my creative and intellectual side now and dive into all the books I have to read!

Glitzy McJingles Has A Way With Words So Long As She Doesn’t Speak

A couple of updates from yesterday’s post are in order. First, I would like to point out that Gilmore Girls once again used the word “traipsing” in an episode, leading me to believe that their thesaurus was stuck on one page and that the writers are time travelers who read this blog and incorporated the word into every other word to mess with me.

Such a thing reminds me of a conversation I was having last night over dinner with my mom when I told her about how I shared my word mispronunciation with you all. She laughed and agreed that it’s better to hear in person, but then I realized, I mixed up the two interpretations of acquiesce. I claimed the actual pronunciation as the erred way I thought it sounded and offered you all the way it actually is as false. That explanation seems confusing even to me and I edited it five times. In conclusion, acquiesce is pronounced in that fancy way that strings out the sounds and not in the jumbled manner I said it all in one. I am not the poetic genius I once thought I was for all of five hours.

It’s really a good thing I didn’t record it!

This is almost as bad as the time I exclaimed “Whoa!” as “Wow-a!” But I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that.

Another update is a reminder that things are not always as they seem, however good intentioned. Yesterday, I was fluttering around running errands and performing assorted tasks, that by the time I headed out for that run I promised, it was already darkening and I had to stopper my plans. Time and daylight are now of the essence and I had to choose walking my dog and pulling up my garden over my run. I abhor running inside when I can still run outside, so instead, I switched up my planned rest day from today, Thursday technically, and took it yesterday and ran today. As it turns out, the weather was nicer and I got myself up and out at a decent time, being more aware. I view this as a win.

What is not a win is my now seemingly weekly occurrence of slicing my thumb while chopping potatoes. On the same thumb. On the very same slice. Yes, I recut open my cut. It’s so embarrassing that I needed to share. I’m usually very careful and precise with chopping, but for whatever reason, the knife has a vendetta against my left thumb. Fortunately, I was much more prepared with how to stop the bleeding with an ice cube, an elastic band, and firm pressure. It’s looking pretty gross now though.

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How gross do my wrinkly hands look? I am a fervent hand-washer in addition to swimmer, so this time of year takes a beating on my hands. Lotion up!

Such a thing is oddly timely because I thought I would be a nice, caring daughter and start picking up the leaves for my dad, but my hunger pains were escalating after my run so I decided to have lunch first. Then I decided to chop up some potatoes to make for fries later, for him, and ended up with the hurt thumb and inability to rake. Once again, good intentions don’t get you as much credit, mostly because it looks silly to point out what you were going to do but didn’t end up executing. Oh wait…

I prefer to claim my mistakes and mock them as my own because that way, when people attempt to use such an incident against you, they are mocking with you, not at you.

A final numerous anecdote I want to mention is this post circulating Facebook about Elf Names. It takes your first initial in your first name as well as your birth month and matches you to a nickname. Mine was appropriately deemed “Glitzy McJingles,” which obviously makes me a princess elf. Some of the other elf name combinations we had were Pixie Angel Eyes, Tinker Sparkly-Nose, Buddy Snow-Bum, Glitzy Sugar-Socks, Pudding Sparkly-Nose, and my personal favorite, Pudding Glitterballs, but I won’t say who it belongs to (hint, my brother). The other appropriate elf nickname belonged to that of my cat, Bandit: Nipper Floppy-Feet because he’s a biter and sounds like an elephant when he runs down the stairs.

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But he sure is cute!

Traipsing About: Words and Workouts

I’ve been watching quite a bit of Gilmore Girls lately, thanks Netflix, and I’m really enjoying it. When it was on, I would watch an episode here or there, but it was never one of my core shows. The dialogue moves fast, but that’s one of the aspects I like about it. As a writer, I am trying to learn more about how dialogue flows and pertains to certain characters, so really, it’s a learning process when I watch…

One thing I’ve noticed is how frequently they use the word “traipsing.” This might seem like an odd stand-out, but the emphasis stems from the fact that I learned how to properly pronounce traipsing from the show. It’s difficult to convey to you my history of mispronouncing words, mostly because the element of humor and appreciation would be best viewed from hearing it. There was the “compromise” situation that started it all, pronounced by me, “com. promise.” Most recently, I learned that the word “acquiesce is not pronounced in the manner I always assumed (and to be honest, my pronunciation is far prettier). I tended to stretch out the word when apparently it’s just a jumble. I can’t even explain how I would say “traipsing,” but I’ve learned and now Gilmore Girls won’t let me forget it. Lesson learned!

Onto some exercise talk, which starts with the swim I did last Thursday where I last left you. My incorporation of sprints in my swim time is fun, necessary, and exhausting. It does make swimming, which has the tendency to be boring and repetitive lap after lap, move more quickly and adds another challenge. It wipes me out in a good way and I feel more satisfied when leaving.

The more I exercise and it has been an ingrained habit, the less effect exercise has on my body. In order to do real “damage,” and I mean that on a positive level, I need to keep upping the challenges and this becomes difficult. Sprints are one way I blast through a plateau. I add them in my swimming, running, biking, and jump roping and I’m planning on including them in my strength workouts for this month as well. I’ve mentioned quite a bit about Tabata intervals, which means you perform one move for twenty seconds, rest for ten seconds, over a course of four minutes. This is an effective workout and should be included with the more stable exercises, such as a longer, steadier run, swim, bike ride, etc. Having the body go from a resting state to a high intensity state has an awesome effect on your body and fitness level. I like to leave my workouts with a thick glaze of sweat coating my body, which has proved more difficult than it has in the past. Having to up the ante may seem like an annoying, difficult process, but I see it as an accomplishment and challenge to go even further.

On Friday, I headed to the gym to do a series of strength workouts. I started on the barbells doing a series of key moves like deadlifts, bench presses, squat presses, and leg presses. Since I was crunched for time, I moved onto a couple of kettlebell circuits that get in both strength and cardio exercises.

Before the fun adventures on Saturday night, I went out for a run. I started off feeling ambitious about the hills, but my body was tired and not on the same page, so I took a few of them at a slow run or even a fast walk. Hill runs are another element I want to include in my workout a few times a week. I’ll start at one and see how it goes and hopefully add more the better I get at it.

I do love working out and it is my biggest stress relievers, however, I have no shame in informing you that I planned my rest day last week to fall on my birthday. I was too busy celebrating with friends and family to fit in any time at the gym. The effects of a relaxing, fun rest day was just what I needed to rejuvenate and I headed into the gym on Monday raring to go! I got through a strength workout that incorporated some moves using medicine balls and the stability balls, including that burpee move I couldn’t get through last week. I followed up my strength workout with another swim and felt nice and tired, but energized on my way home.

I renovated my strength workouts a bit and on Tuesday, I tried out my new dumbbell routine using the stability ball. This helps my core while strengthening my muscles. I did a circuit that included shoulder presses, lying tricep extensions, shoulder flies, and bench presses. I was once again a bit overly ambitious and attempted to perform some plank rows with my feet on the stability ball. This will have to be an accomplishment I work towards and instead had no trouble balancing on the ground. After four sets of twelve, I moved on to do two kettlebell circuits that focused on strength and core work. To end, I tried to jump rope, but for some reason, I wasn’t in my groove and couldn’t keep a consistent pace.

I’m headed now to do a Yoga sequence before traipsing* out for a run. Here’s to hoping I don’t slip on any wet, gross leaves. You’ll hear about it if I do!

*I realize that traipsing means moving without care, but I couldn’t resist the pun!