Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Dissecting "The Best TV Shows of 2018"

I've fully watched just one show among the eleven named today by the New York Times as "The Best TV Shows of 2018," : HBO's moody "Sharper Objects."

Presented in eight one-hour programs first aired on Sunday evenings, "Sharper Objects" engaged my interest through odd behavior, petty humanity, Southern Gothic drama, and tantalizingly half-explained scenes. Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson exquisitely inhabited the dysfunctional mother-and-daughter lead roles. 

I liked this pretty psycho-drama, although Hubby was bored by "Sharper Objects," in contrast to, say, Sunday Night Football or Sportscenter. I suppose he doesn't classify watching crazy womenfolk as pleasurable...

Of the other "Best Shows," I couldn't warm-up to the highly acclaimed "Barry."  Much as I admire SNL-alum Bill Hader, who is both lead actor and writer, the conflicted plight of a hired killer isn't hilarious to me. No matter how clever. Just not funny.

Family tells me that "The Americans" on FX is pretty great. Which means it caught and kept their attention for an hour. The show is "... a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. during the Reagan administration" per FX.

Because we don't have enough of that in our daily news headlines? Television at night is an escape in our home from headlines, not time to delve more deeply into politics and government policies. It's a prelude to sleep, rather than antidote.

What do we regularly watch?  Baseball in season. "Saturday Night Live," still, because we long for a good laugh, especially about politics. 

I rarely miss a "Top Chef" episode. Season 16 premieres on December 6th, this Thursday, on Bravo!! In Kentucky, of all places. Hard to conjure foodie chefs creating edgy Southern-food dishes.  (Photo right of judges Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio.)

Our secret vice? "Hawaii Life" on HGTV, an hour weekly of house-hunting in Hawaii, because we fantasize about escaping it all and fleeing to the big Island for a life of savoring fresh pineapple for daily breakfast, and sipping mai tais each evening amid dazzling tropical sunsets.

I wonder... do they even watch television in Hawaii? Have Hawaiian residents heard of any of these programs?  

If not, Hawaii, here we come. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Trees in Spring

I think that I shall never see 
 A poem lovely as a tree. 

 A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
 Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast; 

 A tree that looks at God all day, 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 

 A tree that may in summer wear 
 A nest of robins in her hair; 

 Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
 Who intimately lives with rain. 

 Poems are made by fools like me, 
 But only God can make a tree.

-----  Poet Joyce Kilmer, (1886 - 1918)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dancing in the Rain with Joy and Persistence

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."

My family lamented the storm.  A lot.  My parents were worriers.  About money, foremost.  But about... well, everything that might happen. 

About car accidents. Ironically, about both illnesses and doctors. About what other people thought of us. About what we thought of them. About succeeding. About not succeeding. About succeeding too much. 

My mother worried incessantly about our Christmas tree catching fire. About concussions at ice-skating birthday parties. That we didn't eat enough cottage cheese. (Seriously. Ask my sister...) Ours was a fearful home, likely borne of my parents' Depression-era upbringings in poor farming families. Unfettered joy was not a "thing" our cautious home.

Until I read the mantra (above) a few years ago, about not waiting for the storm to pass, it never occurred to me to dance in the rain, rather than slogging out the storm before moving forward in joy under perfect skies. 

Today is one of those joyful days, where I witnessed the fruition of dancing in the rain for years without assurances of anything. I pushed ahead in faith to do the right things without waiting for perfect conditions. And I followed my heart's callings, never pondering where they might lead.  Never imagining they might lead to anything at all. 

Then today....

I learned from blood test results that my health has improved substantially over the past year, largely due to more thoughtful food choices.  

After four years of blogging nearly 400 recipes at my pet-project, Lost American Recipes site, I received an inquiry today from Smithsonian Books... yes, THE Smithsonian... about my project as a whole, and asking if I would include material from one of their books at my site.  

After years of me studying our local political scene, the campaign manager of a leading Democratic contender to replace Congressman Ed Royce in upcoming November elections privately emailed to ask me to meet her candidate at a meet-and-greet or one-on-one.  Anytime. Soon. Asking what I need to know. And to please consider endorsing him. 

In all three situations, I sowed seeds by doing the hard work. I moved forward, ignoring naysayers, avoiding toxic influences, and sidestepping storms. I didn't worry, or commiserate, or frankly, anticipate specific results of any sort. 

I moved forward in faith and joy, with persistence and confidence rather than fearing life. Or car accidents, or burning Christmas trees, or doctors, or ice skating concussions, or succeeding or failing. (I do still fear cottage cheese. I detest it to this very day...) 

I learned to dance in the rain, rather than wasting life waiting for the storm to pass.  And after the rain, my fields of endeavor are bearing unexpected blossoms. 

I feel grateful.