No April Fool’s Here! It’s A Review!

I’ve retired from April Fool’s Day because I know how to learn my lesson. A few year’s ago when my sister was living in Argentina, I decided it would be funny to email her that I was feeling too overwhelmed and would be dropping out of school. This would be ridiculous on many levels, but primarily because my parents never would have allowed it unless something was seriously wrong. Now, at the bottom of the post, I wrote APRIL FOOLS in huge font, and she should have been suspicious given my propensity for humor and past reputation, but she was thrown off I guess with the time change. Anyways, it happened to be a day she was traveling so I couldn’t even reach her to explain it was all a joke, she only realized when she looked down at her ticket and saw what the date was. I’m no longer allowed to prank…her at least.

As promised, I have a book review to share with you all. I took out Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker from the library and quickly became entranced by the topic. It’s a short book from the perspective of a pubescent teem girl who is battling the repercussions of growing older and the changes that come with it, along with a massive alternation in the way the world works.

It’s never explicitly explained exactly what has happened, how, and why, but time has slowed. Days grow longer, as do nights. Among the chaos, fear, and danger of this realization, species die, illnesses arise, and crops can no longer be grown naturally. Tensions rise between those who remain on “clock time” and the few, now ostracized, who prefer to live by the sun.

It’s interesting to read how people acclimate to even the most extreme changes. What once seems normal, is foreign. Things like pineapple-gasp!- are no longer. Grapes cost over 100/pound. The sun is to fierce to be outside and people work, go to school, and live their daily lives in the darkness. Personalities shift as well as some relationships crumble and others grow stronger. Despite this, many people adjust, though there are always those who don’t.

Among the changes to the earth’s rotation, life still progresses for this little girl. She still has those awkward moments puberty and being a middle schooler provide. She still has crushes on boys and complicated friendships. She comes to realize that her parents are human, susceptible to weaknesses and changes like everyone else. Loss and happiness are ever present and the daily ministrations of life still seem like the biggest things in the world, even with the larger things happening in the world that have nothing to do with her, because it’s her life and aren’t we all like this?

The perspective of the book seems old and wise, which makes sense because it’s the little girl looking back at this time of her life. Much of what she discusses is seeped in observations influenced by hindsight. Her reflections are beautiful and thoughtful. With the threat of Global Warming growing ever present and the changes in the atmosphere and weather far more severe, this topic is definitely something to consider. 

This weekend, I also finished watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The show is a Netflix original comedy created and produced by Tina Fey. The premise is about a young woman, played by Ellie Kemper who was Erin in The Office and was also in Bridesmaids, who was kidnapped as a young girl by a cult leader who tells four women that there has been an apocalypse and the bomb shelter he has them locked in is the only source protecting them. The first moments of the show reveals the “mole women” being rescued and then becoming viral sensations. On a publicity tour in New York, Kimmy Schmidt decides she wants to lead an adventurous life and chooses to stay in my New York rather than go back to Indiana. Now she is an almost thirty year old woman who has the cultural knowledge of a fifteen year old girl, who has been damaged by this heartbreaking incident, yet remains optimistic.

The show is quirky and weird. The premise alone as a comedy seems outrageous. My favorite part are the supporting characters, The sassy roommate, the jaded landlord, the wealthy and shallow boss, and so on. I also think Ellie Kemper does an excellent job, but it’s the cast of characters that make the show worthwhile. The episodes are about twenty minutes long, very weird, but full of smart jokes, and genius guest star appearances. I cannot ruin this because the shock value alone is so clever.

I’m sad that I’ve already finished the season, but it left off at a satisfying point. I’m still intrigued and want to know what happens next and I think that is a mark of any quality show. Thus far, the jokes are funny. The characters endearing, and the writing clever. For me, it’s not quite at the level of Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, or The Mindy Project, but it certainly has the makings and the potential to get there. But honestly, it’s not like Tina Fey can do bring anyways. Watch!

Breakfast was a little weird this morning. After the gym, I ate a hard-boiled egg, but we were having a bagel morning at work and so I figured one in like three years would not do harm. I chose a sesame one with a smear of cream cheese and it was quite good. No time for pictures though.

Lunch was a simple salad with some grilled salmon on top. Since I had a carb-heavy breakfast and ice cream cake to celebrate a birthday, I felt satisfied by just the salad until I got home from work and ate a pear. Thankfully, I still seem fine to eat them. Last week my eyes were red, raw, and sensitive, but I started to take an allergy pill before night and it cleared right up. I might even be brave and try an apple, but only when I’m home and Benadryl is accessible.

  

Dinner was simple and tasty. Grilled chicken paired with leftover brown rice, roasted brussel sprouts, and a dollop of leftover cauliflower gratin. Delicious! The trick to these sprouts are salt, pepper, and a mixture of olive oil and maple syrup.

 

 My workout this morning began with a body strength workout. I performed four sets of ten moves with step ups, squats, lunges, kickbacks, burpees, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, hip lifts, ankle grabs, v ups, and Russian twists. I did a few planks before jumping into the pool for my cardio. I switched things up just a little by doing three sets of sprints. Very tiring, but very refreshing. I’m just loving the effects of hemming on my body when mixed with running and strength training. I also went for a brisk walk when I got home from work because at 40*, it felt spectacularly warm!

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.

I Never Actually Had A Cabbage Patch Doll

This week, oddly enough, I have been distracted from posting any blog updates because I have been in search of finding something to do. Let me explain…I have known for awhile now that I really need a hobby that does not simply pertain to writing (what I want to do with my life) and exercise (because dear Lord that gets tiring).

These past few months I have felt bland and dreary. There has been a haze following me that I haven’t quite been able to pull myself out of yet, and I feel like I am at a stalemate in my life. Of course, I have a general, though never fully planned (because that’s no fun) idea of what I want to do with the rest of my life, but I am currently in a state of transition where I must wait.

I am not a waiter. I am a planner and I like to do what it is I want to do. If you know me, you can see my problem. My dreams have to wait because I cannot fund them quite yet, but I can keep working at it and writing. Trouble is, my mind has become so befuddled, I have been struggling with a severe case of writer’s block! I get an idea in my mind that feels brilliant and I get all excited and write non-stop for anywhere between a half hour and an hour and then I don’t think it’s good enough to go back to. It’s frustrating and I’ve been miserable about it, but I know what I need to do now.

I need to do something. Anything, whatever it is I want to do or will enjoy doing, I need to just do it. For FUN. Wait what???

With writing, there is the obvious pressure of one day making money and having a career from it. My future and life depends on it. With exercise and my health, I think it goes unsaid that to lead a good life, one needs balance and health for life with lifelong habits. I have begun to achieve this, but only on one side– the physical.

My poor, depressed emotional side has been left behind and I’ve been neglecting the fun and relaxed state of mind. Well, hello, I am here to claim you again, mind! And I want to write about this because in some ways it adds a bit of pressure, but in a really really positive way, to not be lazy and actually do it. If I tell you, you can hold me accountable.

Here are my goals. Sorry I’m planning again, just bare with me:

• Pet my cat more. We used to have a really good meow, meow rapport, but the heat wave has been getting to both me and Bandit a bit and he just wants to stretch out on the fluffy pink pillow I laid out for him and I just walk around my house in dejected disarray.

• Finger paint. I know this is odd, but I’ve always had a secret passion for it. I suck at it, but I think that’s what makes it even better. Do you think I’m too old to have my mom pin it up above her desk? At least on the fridge? My own room?

• Knit. If someone out there knows how to knit, I would very much like to learn from you on the condition you are nice about it, patient, and don’t stab me with the knitting needles when I try to start over five times because the holes aren’t perfectly symmetrical. But this might be more of a winter activity. And this would mean cheaper Christmas gifts, holler!

• Improve my Spanish. And when I say improve, I mean over the eight years I have been learning it, I barely know how to say “my name is Caitlin,” which ironically enough, I don’t remember at the moment. Insert awkward transition here….

• Walk more. I don’t mean for exercise, though it wouldn’t hurt me, but just walk for walking’s sake. Everywhere, anywhere, slow, fast, with music, without, with the dog, without. Just to clear my mind and enjoy nature without trying to rush around looking like a cabbage patch doll on crack. I don’t know where that analogy came from, but it’s awesome.

• Frequent pedicures. When I say frequent, I mean as much as I can afford, probably once a month or every six weeks or so. Because you know what? I need to pull a Tom and Donna (cookies if you get the Parks and Rec reference!!) and TREAT MYSELF! I mean, my poor toes are tingling because they get so beat up all the time what with all the running and walking and just being attached in some ways, not directly, though I suppose I can’t say with definitive surety because I’m no anatomy expert, to my head. Long story short, my phalanges are tired and need care too!

I also joined a coed softball team where I know not one person and could be stuck with a bunch of forty year olds, but I don’t care because it’s just for fun and worse case, I’ll have some helluva experiences I can write about!! And I don’t need to have a crap ton of hobbies as long as I find the one or two or a hundred that I really enjoy and will keep me going and happy and busy.

My emotional side needs some love too and I’ve finally realized just what it is I need to do to get balanced. So if you see me walk into something or look a little crazyball-eyed, don’t panic. Just ask for one of my finger paintings because odds are, once I get going, a black market will arise of people trying to get rid of them, and I will be appreciative.

Bandit and pink fluffy pillow:

Because You’re Totally Worth It

Apparently dogs yawning in awkward moments is a thing. My boss (from the library I work at as a student worker) just told me about it. It’s called a “stress yawn” and I looked it up on Wikipedia:

“Mouth expressions can provide information about the dog’s mood. When a dog wants to be left alone, it might yawn (although yawning also might indicate sleepiness, confusion, or stress) or start licking its mouth without the presence of any food.”

I mean, that definition is not great, but you get the point of the matter. Dogs yawn if they feel uncomfortable. Dogs can be comfortable or uncomfortable. Dogs have feelings. The end.

I tend to not fully pay attention to conversations that I am in the middle of. I know it’s a really bad habit, but I can’t help it. It’s something that I have been trying to work on, but then I get caught up in my own thoughts and what I have to do next and I miss out on the in the moment thing. Or I have selective hearing where I hear what I want and tune everything else out. There’s really no reason for this to be here, except in the future when I will have to tell stories about this, I won’t have to go into a huge explanation about it then. We can just roll with it.

This is my friend Erin. There’s no story, she just really wanted her picture on here.

This is me today really angry that a piece of my bang, SIDE BANG that I never even use anymore, somehow evaded me per usual and has been taunting me all day. Much like my curling iron cover fiasco, which my friend actually might buy off of me. And you know what? I’m going to buy a really good book with that money! Here’s the bang and my mad face. Fear this face.

My roommate is a freak but in a really good and funny way. I call her Ann sometimes because she is the Ann Perkins to my Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec, best show ever. She is also the Gus to my Shawn from Psych, from the truest best show ever. Or sometimes I call her Bobo which came from Bob (I can’t remember why), which changed to Boba in reference to Boba Fett from Star Wars, which then turned to Bobo because it’s funnier. We have a bromance because homances are just stupid. If you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of the alpha friend. For example, one time I thought I dropped my ID in the trash and without me even asking she just knew that she’d be the one browsing the grossness, while I stood behind her gagging. As it goes, it ended up having fallen down in one of the shower stalls and not the trash, but that’s not the point. I’m just giving you a little background information on her and our friendship because she will be mentioned a lot and many of the things I write will be very strange and odd because she is just that way.

Me sneaking up on her:

Let’s just talk about her sleep walking habits. I should also mention that our dorm used to be a morgue and we definitely have a ghost in our room. We’ve lived in the same room for the past two years and I swear ever since we started living here, Stephanie has been possessed by this spirit who is out to ruin me. Her sleep walking used to just be normal-ish, though not really. One time, I was asleep but then felt like someone was watching me, so I wake up and roll over and Stephanie is standing over me holding her pillow. I was like, “WTF?” And she, dead asleep, just says, “I’m just making sure you’re breathing,” then turns around and goes back to bed. She has also tried to get into bed with me thinking we switched beds for some reason.

Sometimes, she tries to escape the room but of course I freak out if I ever hear the door open thinking Ghost Face is trying to kill me and am able to stop her. Then there was this one time, a week after she woke up, turned her alarm clock off, went back to bed, and missed class, that she was so paranoid that she would constantly get out of bed and check her phone when she was still asleep. My friend Concetta stayed over after we saw a midnight premiere of a movie I’m too embarrassed to name and the air mattress took up the entire space, so Sleepy Stephanie couldn’t get by. I guess she stood over Concetta for like a half an hour kicking the mattress and trying to get past. FREAK! Concetta also said that we talk to each other in our sleep, but was too afraid to keep track of what we said. Lame. Last year, in this haunted room, I was dreaming that I was in pain then woke up realizing it was real pain. She was beating me up! I just kind of pushed her as hard as I could onto her own bed. Seriously scary shit. Or she will just yell out creepy statements like, “I’m going to get you,” or “Give it to me!” Sometimes, I want to cry. But then it’s really funny too.

Another picture of StephanieAnnGusBobowhatever:

Always creeping. I think this is appropriate to end on.

BTW: I’ve been struggling posting this ALL day. I think it’s the ghost.

Also, my friend Katja wants to wait a few days so she can be featured in her own blog post and not with the others.