Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Diatribe About Gilmore Pt. 2

If you missed yesterday's post Gilmore Girls is going to be on Netflix soon. Some people around the web are making overview lists of episodes not to miss. I don't think you should miss any, but I am pretty partial. I was going to try and do this in 18 episodes just like their list, but it’s kind of a short end of the stick kind of deal. There are seven seasons to get through and that just doesn’t play fair with the number 18. I mean an entire season is 22 episodes long and these people don’t think Gilmore Girls deserves at least a seasons worth of episodes?

Heck, I am not even asking for a seasons worth, but I am playing fair and giving you 3 episodes per season that if you watch in order will still give you a pretty good overall taste for the show and it’s major plot points. 21 episodes isn’t really too much to ask right? Here we go. (I also included a runner up in case you feel like you could maybe watch 28 episodes.)

Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot” I actually agree here with their list. If you bear in mind that all pilots are just foreshadowing of what’s to come on a show, this one still holds up pretty well. Obviously the episode is slightly off-kilter from the normal Gilmore experience but it’s a pretty darn good introduction.

Season 1, Episode 13: “Concert Interuptus” We would be remiss to skip over the bond of Rory and Paris, and this is a pretty good example of of that relationship’s start. In this episode we also start to see the Lorelai/Luke relationship and their feelings towards one another. Plus, The Bangles.

Season 1, Episode 19: “Emily in Wonderland” The relationship between Emily and Richard and the girls is incredibly important to the overall arc of the show. This episode has Emily visiting Stars Hallow and digging up the past and old emotions.

Runner Up: Season 1, Episode 22: “Love, Daisies and Troubadours” I generally think the season finales are pretty great and this one is no exception. However you can glean all the information of what happens here from the next bunch of episodes. Still totally worth a watch but not enough to bump it up into the top 3 of the season.

Season 2, Episode 3: “Red Light on the Wedding Night” Picking up Season 2 from Lorelai’s Bachelorette party, this episode covers the Max portion of the show as well as some more Emily/Lorelai relationship woes. This also introduces you (if these are the only ones you’re watching) to Christopher and all that he brings.

Season 2, Episode 10: “The Bracebridge Dinner” This episode has everything: Dean, Jess, Luke, Emily, Richard, Paris and all the townies. Pretty much an excellent representation of the Stars Hollow world and all that Gilmore has to offer.

Season 2, Episode 22: “I Can’t Get Started” Yeah, I know the season finale thing is kind of a cop out but this one really is good and pivotal for both of our Gilmore Girls. (And Sookie and Jackson of course.)

*Runner Up: Season 2, Episode 13 “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” This is my favorite episode of the season but that alone isn’t enough to stick in the 3 most important episodes of the season. But this does offer some great town humor, Dean and Jess, Lorelai and Luke, excellent Kirk. All in all a winner.

*Season 3, Episode 13: “Dear Emily and Richard” We’re jumping way forward into Season 3 because you can. This episode is heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. Right as GiGi is making her world debut we flashback to Rory’s entire birth story.

Season 3, Episode 17: “A Tale of Poes and Fire” Where the HuffPost’s list shows you where Rory gets into school, my list shows you Rory figuring out where she wants to GO to school. Plus some major life changes for Lorelai as the Independence Inn takes on a special fire. Plus, great town action.

Season 3, Episode 22: “Those Are Strings, Pinocchio” I know. I know. Season Finales. But this one is one of the only tearjerker episodes and is incredibly moving. Plus, you know Rory manages to graduate and move on from Jess. Lorelai and Sookie buy the Dragonfly and a bonus highlight: Brad’s Graduation Song. Hilariousity ensues moments before the tears fall.

Runner Up: Season 3, Episode 7 “Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving” This episode is making a lot of the lists floating around out there. It doesn't move the plot of the show forward much but it sure is funny.

Please Note: Season 4 is Gilmore perfection. To have me choose just 3 (sort’ve 4 episodes) is incredibly hard and I am pretty darn sure that if you wanted to skim the other seasons and dive in for Season 4 you would not regret that decision. But I digress.

Season 4. Episode 2: “The Lorelais’ First Day at Yale” This episode is also making the rounds on the lists because, well, it’s pretty great. Major life moments, good Luke/Lorelai banter. Funny, funny fast talk.

Season 4, Episode 9: “Ted Koppel’s Big Night Out” We meet Jason. It’s THE GAME. And the Emily/Richard drama begins.

*Season 4, Episode 22: “Raincoats and Recipes” This is the episode. My most favorite, the most pivotal and all in all the very best episode of all. It has everything. We lose Jason, we gain Luke. We make major life changes and the Dragonfly opens.

Runner Up: Season 4, Episode 21: “Last Week Fights, This Week Tights” Liz and TJ have been vastly under-represented in my little episode guide. Their wedding is a wonderful glimps into the crazy. Add some town fun, Yale finals week fun and this is an all time favorite. Episode 21 and 22 are on their own disc in the DVD set and there is a reason it is referred to as “The Disc” Great episodes all around.

Season 5, Episode 3: “Written in the Stars” Luke and Lorelai finally get together. If you are one to squee and get excited about long time coming relationships, well this is the episode for you.

Season 5, Episode 13: “Wedding Bell Blues” It is the 100th episode of the show. Emily and Richard are renewing their vows. Christopher wiggles in between Luke and Lorelai. Rory has a frank talk with Logan.

Season 5, Episode 21: “Blame Booze and Melville” What happened in half a season? Rory goes off the deep end, or off on a yacht. Same thing really. Plus some good Stars Hallow stuff and Gilmore family drama. Oh and a new baby. Who doesn't love a new baby?!

Runner Up: Season 5, Episode 15: “Jews and Chinese Food” Luke and Lorelai reconcile over the elementary school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, Rory likes Logan and Marty likes Rory.

Season 6, Episode 5: “We’ve Got Magic to Do” Ed Herman's finest acting moment on the show, Paris loses her money and marbles, DAR darlings and A Miss Patty Recital? This episode is a winner in all respects.

Season 6, Episode 8: “Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ring Out” I have never been a Jess girl, but for the first time ever he is not screwing up Rory’s life he is helping it. Paul Anka is acting strange and Lorelai knows things are a brewing.

Season 6, Episode 22: “Partings” I was trying to stay away from the season finale this time around but as the Palladinos last episode it needs to be watched and respected. Plus it really is pretty good foreshadowing of what’s to come and recap of the season all in one.

Runner Up: Season 6, Episode 14: “You’ve Been Gilmored” Major Yale Daily News drama and Luke gets to have some fun with Emily. Very funny episode all around. Rory and Logan take a big step in their relationship.

Season 7, it should be noted is not that great. The Palladinos really brought Gilmore it’s charm and the show struggles. But if we have to narrow it down to the best episodes I can do that.

Season 7, Episode 9: “Knit People Knit!” This jumps into the Christopher and Lorelai married in Stars Hallow bit. We meet Rory’s new friends and Marty returns.

Season 7, Episode 16: “Will You Be My Lorelai Gilmore?” Lane’s baby shower is full of drama. Lorelai helps patch things up. Logan’s career has taken a major hit and Rory can’t really help out. The beginning of the end really.

Season 7, Episode 22: “Bon Voyage” Rory is off on the campaign trail with her new job and has to say goodbye. A tearful episode that still magically ends the way it should. It’s hard to say goodbye after seven years. Emily and Richard are the

Runner Up: Season 7, Episode 20: “Lorelai? Lorelai?” Lorelai sings karaoke. Logan asks a pretty important question. Luke finds out April isn't coming with him in the summer.

My list is a fairly comprehensive overview of the show. All major relationships are at least touched upon: Max, Jason, Luke, Christopher. Dean, Jess, Marty and Logan. Plenty of Chilton, Stars Hallow, Yale and both Inns. Emily and Richard. The one aspect that is glossed over is April, Luke’s daughter. Why on Earth they brought her in, I’ll never know. But they did. But since she can’t act and is frankly, annoying she is basically skipped over on this list.

If you really want a skim through and pretend I’ve seen it list, mine is the one to use. I still think you should watch the whole shabang but whatever. I’m a fan.

If you are looking for my FAVORITE episodes of each season... well. (*If bolded, they are on my overview guide as well.)
  1. Season 1, Episode 22: “Love, Daisies and Troubadours”
  2. Season 2, Episode 13 “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”
  3. Season 3, Episode 13: “Dear Emily and Richard”
  4. Season 4, Episode 22: “Raincoats and Recipes”
  5. Season 5, Episode 4: "Tippecanoe and Taylor Too"
  6. Season 6, Episode 16: "I Get a Sidekick Out of You"
  7. Season 7, Episode 13: "I'd Rather Be in Philadelphia"
And thus ends my Gilmore diatribe. Though I can talk Gilmore all day so... if you need more lemme know kay?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Diatribe About Gilmore Girls Part 1

Just a fair warning. If you have never seen Gilmore Girls you are probably not going to care one tiny bit about this post. If you are curious about the show at all I would come back tomorrow for my list of 18 can't miss episodes.

Oh dear. Gilmore Girls is going to be on Netflix starting October 1. This is fine by me. Now I don't have to pack the DVDs for the hospital during labor as long as I have a computer.

But now all of sudden Gilmore is going to be super popular again. I partly enjoy seeing everyone on social media getting all excited about the show again. But really, I have all 7 seasons on DVD already, and we actually have Season 4 twice because the most important disc of all started skipping and that was no good. So on some level all this resurgence of fandom is odd because I could always watch all the Gilmore I wanted, whenever I wanted.

And BTW Netflix, you could really make me happy by bringing on Bunheads too. Let's just make it the Amy Sherman-Palladino day and release all of her everything.

Then there are articles like this.

And really. Good grief. Have they seen Gilmore? Do they understand Gilmore at all? The answer is no. Clearly. Because as Ms. Weingus can only commit to watching 18 of the 153 episodes and then is seriously wrong on which 18 episodes.

First and foremost: there are THREE episodes on the list from Season 7. Just no. Most of us would like to forget that Season 7 happened. So featuring more episodes of Season 7 than Season 4 is just wrong.

Second major issue: Ms. Weingus and her obsession with Jess. Jess was important I grant you. But featuring him over all of the others is pushing it for the real extent of their relationship. And "The Real Paul Anka" is a good episode. But Jess is better portrayed, and a bigger catalyst for change in Rory's life in "Let Me Hear Your Balalaikas Ringing Out." If it wasn't for Jess and his success Rory may have continued down her crazy Yale-less path. Visiting Jess (and kissing him which is I am sure what the Jess-shippers are really getting at) is not all that important. We can all agree, that love or hate Jess, he pretty much does nothing for Rory in Season 3 except make out with her and disappoint her. Where he succeeds as a character is helping her get back on track in Season 6. 

Now, bringing into focus Ms. Weingus' premise that Jess is the be-all-end-all it becomes very clear what is going on with the fact that Season 2 has three episodes on the list and Season 3 has four. Combined with Season 1 and it's 4 episodes on the list and that's 11 episodes that are apparently "Incredibly Important" between sophomore and senior year of high school. In a show that goes from 10th grade to college graduation I think it is safe to say that in fact this list is skewed.

Would you like to know how I would change this list to actually give a fair and decent overview of Gilmore Girls? Well tune in tomorrow when I share the actual most important shows of Gilmore. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

7 QT: Randoms as Always

1. Prenatal Massage

So my doula is a massage doula and with her services you get a prenatal and postnatal massage. Then a discount on other massages if you'd like.

I had my prenatal massage last night. There was something very comforting about a massage table set up in my living room, with the smell of fresh clean laundry (my favorite smell) wafting up from the basement. And my very own Spa Pandora station playing.

Plus then, the massage. I feel like I could run a marathon. All of my lower back pain is gone. The only part of me that is tender today is my neck and shoulders and I honestly had no idea how tense they were until we got going.

I know I have only like (OH MY GOSH TODAY IS SEPTEMBER 12!! THE DUE/GUESS DATE IS OCTOBER 12!) 30 days left but I am so scheduling a discounted version because I feel amazing.

2. Sleeping Pillows

This may also have to do with the fact that I have come up with a new solution to supporting my entire body while I sleep. And oh, it was mighty fine indeed last night.

3. Fall Weather

Is finally and miraculously here. Dear Lord in Heaven have I needed some cooler weather. Amazing. Truth be told I do wish it would be sunny and crisp but I'll take what I can get!!

4. Toddler Imagination

It's kind of crazy how one day they're black and white and the next day it's just imagination city. Yesterday he was playing with a lacing string and decided it was a kite. After a long time of playing with just the string he wanted to add an actual kite to the string, so we fashioned a sort of kite together and that has proved to be endlessly fun.

I really enjoy the new discoveries of parenting.

5. Planning Ahead

So with this little tike coming sooner than later in the grand scheme of things I have been getting ready for the holidays. Yes. Really. Halloween is dealt with. C's costume has already arrived and I am nearly ready to pull the trigger on Little Girl's. We do still have to buy the candy but that shouldn't be too difficult.

And I made a secret Amazon wish list with Christmas things so I can buy those a little at a time. We have already declared this the year of easy. We are doing the "Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read." gifting this year for us. I can figure out 12 presents no problem. Just trying to stay ahead before I feel overwhelmed.

6. A Day to Myself

Tomorrow I have the day to myself. And I have big plans. I am going to sleep in. Go out to lunch and perhaps see a movie with a friend. Then lollygag the rest of the day home by myself watching sappy movies in my pajamas. I am pretty excited about this.

7. The Kindergarten Teacher in Florida

Have you heard of this teacher? She decided to not throw away 6 whole weeks of instruction time for her 5 year olds. Husband and I had a discussion about the whole testing thing and how ridiculously out of hand it's getting. We have a few more years to figure out schooling and we are leaning towards our Parish school. But even though I don't actually feel called to homeschool if the testing thing gets crazy here I just might anyway.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WWRW and Five Favorites Mashup

It's a Mash Up Week. Because I can.

My 5 Favorite Things About Today, Wednesday September 10.

1. C picked up a green bean at lunch that had split open at the top. It looked like an uppercase "Y." He looked at it, showed it to me and said "Y" then told me the sound the Y makes. He proceeded to throw the green bean on the floor in a show of true toddlerhood.

2. I am currently basking in the post hosting/pre-disaster area glow. You know what I mean right? There's just not really anything to clean. Okay the lunch dishes could be done but I am looking past that. And fine, I have a load of laundry in the washer. But besides that, I don't have to dust, sweep, mop or clean a toilet because they're all freshly clean. That is a marvelous place to be.

3. In our pre-preschool curriculum here at Murray's House of Learnin'

Our School Crest

We took sort of a back seat for the summer and did a lot of free play and self-guided study. But now that we're back in the swing of things for the *ahem* school year we are making sure to be a little more focused. For Literacy we have been, shockingly enough, working on the alphabet. The two popular alphabet books over in this neck of the woods are: 

Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks from A to Z. This is a tiny little book that is shaped like Lowly's Apple Car. It covers all the letters and all the fun vehicles of Scarry's world. We like this not only because cars and trucks are the best ever but because there's letters and 100 other things to point to and identify. 

LMNO peas by Keith Baker. It's simple. There are peas doing things with each letter. C likes it. We read it a lot. I have no idea if it is helping his little mind grow but since it is letters it can't really hurt right? We like to alternate between this and "Boom Boom Tree" as our requested letter book of the day. But Chicka Chicka Boom Boom can only be read so many times before you want to cry a little so it's on hiatus. 

4. In other areas of study at Murray's House of Learnin' we played with dried spaghetti noodles for science/art time. We broke them into little pieces and said "noodles" and "Oh gosh" a lot. It was very educational. 

5. Mid-Day Bathtime. Lunch wasn't even a messy one but sometimes you just need to do a bath in the middle of the day to switch it up a bit. So we did. It was a success until we wanted to take our Frog Loofa with us for nap. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. And kinda funny the tears over a wet loofa. 

And that's all folks. My 5 favorite things about today and what we've been reading. Linking up with the places that do the linking. Jessica and Mary today.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cleaning and Blogging

So I am swept into the paradox of productivity meets futility.

I am hosting book club this evening and I am trying to walk the fine line between the toddler tornado and trying to get the house clean.

And I am also battling the nesting urges. I initially had a short list of things to do... it has exponentially grown. I find myself unwilling to lower my standards even though these women would not care one bit nor would they probably notice if say, the window wells have all been cleaned out.

In somewhat related in my head news but probably not a logical leap for most; I am getting a little bit panicky about the state of the world of blogs. Most of the blogs that I read have slowly started not posting with any frequency. Or are on hiatus. At first I thought it was because the school year was winding down. Then perhaps summertime was really busy. More recently I decided it was because the start of the school year is stressful. Then Grace mentioned how people are blogging less and now that I know it's not just in my head I worry that maybe the blog really is dead.

And since the blog is my outlet, both the reading others and writing my own I will be quite sad if the blog is dead. I for one, would not be sad to see the book of face go. Yet all the blogs have a subsequent account. And to post a short little 2 sentence update or photo seems to be the way things are going. Which is the secondary fight between productivity and futility. The book of face is definitely faster than writing out a blog, but we lose the deeper connection of true thoughts.

I for one, do not follow blogs on the book of face. I do not need a reason to spend more time on that soul sucker. I find myself becoming increasingly more negative and unhappy when I spend time there. I do not have it on my phone. I unfollow even people I really like when their posts make me feel spiteful, angry or annoyed. I really try to limit my time there. I do not "like" companies. I do not "like" much of anything. I need to delete it all together but I haven't been able to. What I am saying is that the face book is not a substitute for the blog!

So this is me, begging you to come back to your blog home and leave the face book alone. I want to hear your thoughts on world events and what your family is up to. I want to see your pictures and hear the funny things your kids say. I love hearing about what you're reading and why Handwriting Without Tears is so great. Please don't stop blogging. Please come back from hiatus. Please invite us into your lives more than once a week!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Making Walrus Cupcakes

Just in case, anyone else in the world has a toddler/child/cousin/neighbor who is interested in walrus cupcakes I am here to guide you through my process.

The Cupcakes
We used the doctored cake mix cupcake recipe from Hello Cupcake!
  • Box of Cake Mix
  • amount of oil called for on box
  • 4 eggs (replacing the eggs called for on box)
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk (replacing the water called for on box) 
Fill paper liners 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. 

These make a denser cupcake that holds up to decorating. 

We used plain old store bought frosting because it's cheap, easy and sticky enough to hold all the stuff on. 

The Walrus Faces
You'll Need:
  • White Melting Chocolate
  • Nutterbutter Cookies
  • Mini Oreo Cookies
  • M & Ms 
For the tusks, melt the melting chocolate and put into a small ziploc with a corner cut. Pipe onto wax paper. You can freehand the tusks or put a stencil under the wax paper to follow. I would make more than you need and remember, 2 tusks per cupcake. Let harden. 

Prep your nutterbutters by gently opening them and using a knife to remove peanut butter filling. 

Prep your Mini Oreos by gently opening trying to keep the creme on one cookie only. This will take many tries until you are satisfied with how the cookies look. This is not a problem, you may eat all the discarded pieces as a matter of not wasting anything. (2 creme-on-cookies per cupcake.) 

Sort your M&Ms. If you buy a big big bag you can choose any eye color you want. We opted for blue and green eyes. Also you will need a brown M&M for the nose. But we just bought a small bag so that made our choice for us. 

To build the walrus face: 
  1. Place you eye M&Ms on the Mini Oreo pressing it into the creme a little to bond it. 
  2. We placed the eyes on the cupcake first, because it let us space out the cupcake best, but you go ahead and do it in whatever order you want. 
  3. We then placed the nutterbutter snout. 
  4. Stick the M&M nose in, we opted to prop ours up half in the frosting, half onto the snout but again, if you have an idea of how the nose should look, go for it! 
  5. We placed the tusks on making sure to stick them slightly under the nutterbutter. 
  6. The cupcakes are done and you may eat them. 

The one thing I can say about these cupcakes is that all the ingredients are tasty. Sometimes with the fanciest fancy cupcake decorations flavors don't go well together or something is less than tasty, but that is not really the case here. Happy Eating! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

An Appeal to Common Sense

Dear Adult Airline Passengers,

Don't pretend you're living in a bubble. You've heard about the THREE flights that have been diverted because someone reclined their seat. Three flights because adults cannot seem to act like adults.

First of all, especially on a domestic flight, it just isn't going to take you that long to get there. One or both of you can easily, easily handle being slightly uncomfortable. Because you're adults.

Next let's talk about the word compassion. I know that someone reclining back on you sucks. The last flights I've been on were budget flights, there wasn't leg room to start with. My point is I've been there. But you know what I'd really do if faced with that situation? I would ask myself if it was worth it. I wouldn't know if they were pregnant, or had a back ache or a reason for reclining. Even if they're just being selfish and want to try sleeping slightly more comfortably I can stand to be compassionate.

If you have an actual, physical reason that someone reclining onto you would cause undue suffering for the few hours of flight try something like this: "Excuse me fellow passenger, you are most certainly entitled to recline your seat backwards. However I very recently had knee surgery and it would be best for my recovery if I could move my knee regularly which is harder to do when you recline."

This is polite because it isn't not specifically asking them to give up their reclining, rather just appealing to their sense of good nature by explaining your specific reason for discomfort.

Now conversely, I don't recline my seat either. Because I am also trying to be considerate to the people behind me. I can handle a little discomfort in order to just get to my destination on time! Diverting a flight puts a major cramp in my style and prevents every other single person on the plane from getting to where they're going as fast as possible. Airplanes are not buses. They are not supposed to make extra stops whenever someone gets a whim to demand to get off.

So here's what we're going to say: don't recline unless you have to, and if someone reclines onto you, just pray for them and yourself. The end.