The Night Gym

moonMy son kept getting sick from the day care at the gym. One ear infection was so bad, he had to be on two rounds of antibiotics. He had never been sick before, then we were going to the gym everyday, and he was never well. So I can’t say for sure that that’s what made him sick, but that’s what I believe.

So anyway, I had been going everyday, making real progress. You may remember reading that I was running two miles – without stopping! Sadly, all my progress has been lost. I went back a few times, but being summer, the day care was FULL of big kids running around like maniacs and two or three bored looking caregivers watching Dora. I wasn’t comfortable with this at all.

I’m sure all you mothers of more than one kid out there are like, “oh, you’ll get over that! Wait until you have some more – you won’t be able to get rid of them fast enough” etc. Well, thanks for that, but no need to leave it as a comment. I’m sure you were in my overprotective shoes at one point.

Anyway, so I’ve taken to going to the gym at night. My husband and son both go to bed at 8pm. So that’s when I go. It’s been such a relief to not have to deal with those care providers, to not have to worry about anything. I turn the monitor up loud, so it will wake my husband, but they pretty much both just sleep, and I get peaceful time alone.

I’ve been walking two miles each night. Next week I’ll start with the push ups and sit ups, and then work my way back to running. It’s going well, so far. I’m pretty tired tonight, so I’m writing this post to remind myself why I need to go.

Wish me luck!

Action shots of your kids…

When we were at SeaWorld, I had the hardest time getting a good shot of Shamu. I was too slow every time. So was my husband. Now that my kid is really starting to move fast (almost to a full run these days), I keep thinking how I need to learn how to really use a camera well so I don’t miss anything.

I found this company called NJ Sports Images – a group of professional photographers that are hired by schools, booster clubs, local newspapers and magazines to cover events and get good action shots of athletes. I really like their pricing structure – it seems reasonable, and it seems like there will be images available for every kid/parent. Since they also do group and individual posed pictures, it seems like a really convenient service for schools. I’m positive that they take better pictures than the yearbook staff. I know – I was an editor.

I was thinking it would be cool if they also covered the marching band. I’m sure they would. It’s almost impossible for parents to get good shots of the band members, unless they are right in front a lot.

The best part is that all the shots they take are available for purchase. It’s not like when the paper sends someone out, and they’re on the field taking great shots, but the parents never see any except the one star player that comes out in the paper. Now the parents can get on-the-field shots of their kid – whether he or she is the VIP or not. I think it’s an awesome idea.

They also offer these cool collages that look like professional athlete posters. Very cool gift idea for a graduating senior.

I hope they franchise out to my area by the time my son is playing sports.

Books #46 through #58

Well, clearly, I’m WAY behind on my book reviews. So this will be the short and sweet version.

Books #46 – #51: Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Series

I have really enjoyed these books. So far, there are six books out. The seventh book comes out next month. Debbie’s characters are very sincere, easily relateable, and fun to read about. Each book in the series is named after a the address of a home in Cedar Cove, where the occupants of that home are the central figures of that particular book. Sort of. Actually, all six books could easily be one long book, because while things get resolved in each book, there are ongoing stories that last for several books. New storylines crop up, and get resolved a few books later. I think it’s excellent. I only wish that I had waited until all the books came out to start it, because I hate waiting for the next installment. These are not deep books – this is definitely light, pleasant reading. I highly recommend these books if you’re a fan of romance that’s not trashy with good characters.[rating:5]

Books #52 – #54, Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street series

I blew through these books in a weekend. I liked the characters even better than the Cedar Cove series. The main character (and again, she’s got tons of characters that step into the spotlight all through the books) opens a yarn store in the first book, and each character is introduced through her (and sometimes his) relationship with the yarn store or a knitting class. I loved the theme of knitting running throughout, because I too am a big believer in keeping your hands useful to calm your mind. There are great characters forming believable (and enviable) friendships – it made me want to go and sign up for a class somewhere. Again – light, pleasant reading. Crafters will especially like this series. [rating:5]

Book #55 – The Nanny Diaries by Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Loved it. I wanted to read it before the movie came out – but now that I’ve read it, I just watched a trailer, and I can see that it’s totally different. I’m kind of glad because the ending made me cry and I was hoping for some different outcomes. I don’t want to spoil it, so that’s all I’ll say. But if you’re a fan of witty banter, quick dialog, and smart chick lit writing, you’ll love this. I instantly thought of Jennifer Weiner and Kristen Gore when I was reading it. I’m also happy to say I have Citizen Girl on my bookshelf that someone left here, so I can read their next book :)[rating:5]

Book #56: The Wedding Planner’s Daughter by Coleen Murtagh Paratore and Barbara McGregor

Loved it. Fans of YA – this one is for us! Willafred Havisham is a 12-13 year old daughter of a super uptight, rule crazy, broken hearted mom who happens to be a world famous wedding planner. This book chronicles Willa’s adventures on Cape and her struggles with her mom, other kids, boys, etc. Super cute, and I’m excited to find that there are two more Willa books out there, so the adventure continues![rating:5]

Book #57: Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

As always, the Stephanie Plum books are great. However, this was the first one where I DIDN’T laugh out loud, so I was a little disappointed. It seemed to be kind of a place holder – like half of the story could have been in #12, and half could have been saved until #14 because nothing really happened. I mean, Stephanie got involved in some harrowing mystery – but the love triangle of Joe and Ranger didn’t budge, no good Grandma adventures (besides the exploding beaver). I thought it was just okay. Still, I read it in an afternoon. Looking forward to the next one. [rating:3]

Book #58: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

This one was a book on tape, and I liked it, but didn’t love it. I really liked the main character’s family, but the story seemed to drag on. I think I would have liked it better if I read it. There’s something annoying about accents going in and out – less believable. It would have been better if I had given the characters voices in my mind because the audiobook was a little inconsistent. Anyway, cute YA story about a high school senior that ends up helping her best friend save the prom. She’s an unlikely hero, which I like. Again, I think the regular book would have been much better. [rating:3]

Whew. That’s it. What are you reading?

Fisher Price recall…

These kinds of things piss me off. My husband sent me a text message saying, “did you hear anything about a Mattel recall for lead paint on stuff made in China?” Well, that’s pretty vague, so I look it up (safety site), and turns out there’s a HUGE recall on a bunch of Fisher Price toys – mostly Sesame Street, Dora and Diego toys. My son has three things on the list. Two of them are sets of multiple little rubber figures – perfect for teething toddlers, unless of course, they’re coated in LEAD PAINT! Shit!

So now I have to take away all of my kid’s Dora figures, including his favorite, Swiper the Fox, who’s head he chews on regularly to relieve his considerable teething pain. That crap better not have poisoned my kid, or I’m going to go Erin Brokovich on their dumb-asses.

Seriously. Is nothing safe? I’m pissed.

Sorry for all the cursing.

SYTYCD Little Foxes…

I’m sorry to go on and on about this show, but it’s ending! I’m very sad about that. I know the East coast is already watching the finale, but I wanted to comment really quickly on Wednesday’s show.

Here’s what I loved:

Danny’s solo: I wish everyone could see HOW SMALL that stage is to really appreciate those jetes he did all around the edge. Beautiful! And then the million perfectly executed turns? Come on. His solo blew everyone else’s out of the water. And I loved the confident song choice. Awesome.

Little Foxes: For the first time, I really disagreed with Nigel. Normally we’re right here *picture me pointing from my eyes to his eyes* – but last night, I couldn’t disagree with him more. I thought the Little Foxes dance was beautiful. It made me cry. I would be curious to know if any of the judges are parents because if they didn’t see the fox part, they couldn’t miss the mommy and baby. I especially loved when Lacey gave Sabra the food/silk. I also loved the Asian music and their ninja-like moves. I thought it was wonderful.

Venetian Waltz: Lacey has never been my favorite, but they looked so beautiful dancing that waltz. That crazy turn she did with her head sideways was awesome. And Danny made every lift look so easy.

I thought that Hip Hop with Sabra and Neil was so corny. I felt bad for Shane Sparks because he kind of got dogged out, but Neil’s faces were so comical (and very un-street) throughout the whole routine. I thought Sabra was pretty good at everything. I thought Danny just shone brighter than the other three. I voted for him a lot, Sabra a lot, and just a few times for Neil and Lacey. Can’t wait to see what happens!

I thought the Lindy Hop was just okay. I’m sure it was ridiculously hard, but I got bored. I liked the dance with Neil and Danny, but again, I just though Danny out-danced him. I’m sure it was the choreography, but Danny had a lot more technical stuff that Neil can also do. It seemed like only Danny did the tough turns, while Neil did a lot of acting.

Oh yeah, I love Cat, I think she’s gorgeous, but she’s got some crazy chicken legs.

SYTYCD…and more Hollywood tales

Tonight is the results show where the final four will be announced. My prediction is that Pasha and Sabra get voted off. I wouldn’t mind seeing Danny go, though. I hope he doesn’t win the whole thing.

During the 15 or so performances they did during the ensemble taping, as we were nearing the end, the Stage Director said something along the lines of, “See audience? This is why these are your final six – only the strong survive.” and Danny said, “only the strong and popular!” It was so arrogant and uncalled for. If someone from the audience had said it, it would have been fine, but coming from his mouth, he sounded like an ass. I guess it’s not untrue…but still.

One thing I meant to mention in my Hollywood Experience post was that there was this wierd stage dad and his two daughters next to me at both tapings. The daughters were probably 10 and 12 or so, and they were wearing these tight black dresses with black leggings that ended at their calves. They had faces full of makeup – pretty, but very pageanty, and WAY too old for them. The worst part was their 4-inch black patent leather stripper heels. Both girls. The smaller girl could barely walk. We spent at least four hours standing during the first taping and two hours standing during the second taping. Those girls feet must have been killing them. The dad was dressed in a black suit with a black mock turtleneck and sunglasses. He looked like a mix between a bouncer, a secret service guy and a mob boss. As we were leaving the studio, I happened to be walking behind them, and I heard him going over the girls’ schedules for the next day. Auditions, dance classes, photo shoot, etc. That guy was no better than a pimp. I felt like it was so sad that he would allow them to dress that way – letting them believe that that was attractive, or appropriate.

My Hollywood Experience

Yesterday I drove to Hollywood for two tapings of So You Think You Can Dance. My Tom Tom didn’t work properly, so I got a little lost and was late, but they still let me in. The first taping at 9 a.m. was for the ensemble performance that always starts the results show. The dancers performed the Wade Robson routine about 25 times, so that they could be captured from every angle by 20 different cameras. I got bored with the dancers after the 2nd or 3rd go, but I was super fascinated by the cameramen – especially the hand held cameras and the steady-cam.

Television may not be quite so magical after seeing all the inner workings, but I certainly appreciate a good close-up of a twirling, flailing dancer MUCH more!

The first taping ended around 11:30 am, and I was able to meet my good friend Damien for a coffee. He lives and works in Hollywood, so it’s always a nice treat when we can get together for a little while.

sally pressmanOn my way to the second taping, I walked past some outdoor tables in front of the Whisper Lounge and I spotted my first star! Sally Pressman, who plays Roxy LeBlanc! She’s my favorite character!!! So I stopped and told her that I loved the show, and she said thank you and that she was with the creator of the show!  I tried to figure out that lady’s name from the Lifetime website, but I couldn’t. Anyway, it was exciting.

Then I headed off to the taping of the results show that will be aired Monday night. This was WAY more fun than the earlier taping. First of all, Hok, Dominic and Benji came out and danced to get the crowd excited. Also milling about were Jamie, Jesus, Faina and Anya. It was so cool to be in the same building as Debbie Allen because in my fantasies, I still go to the School of Performing Arts, and she’s my dance teacher.  We also got to see each dancer perform a solo, which was very fast and exciting. I thought we would get to see who is kicked off, but we didn’t. They did this whole weird fake out taping like each person was safe, then they kicked us out and announced the results with a closed studio.

Overall, I was most impressed by Neil and Lauren. Through all the full out performances they had to do in the morning, it was those two that my eye was drawn to again and again. I’d be happy if either one won.

leslie jordanOn my way back to my car, I passed another star – Leslie Jordan, who plays Jessie Jo on Hidden Palms and played Beverly Leslie (Karen’s nemesis) on Will & Grace. I couldn’t think of anything to say to him, so I didn’t bother him. I really wanted to ask him if Hidden Palms is cancelled, but I thought that wouldn’t be nice if it was.

Overall, it was an exciting day. Can’t wait for the Ellen taping!

Haircuts…

Haircuts and almost two-year-olds don’t go great together. Even when the barber has a cool chair that looks like a horse. But, here are before and after pictures for my faithful reader. Hi reader!

before after

Reality (TV) Check

SYTYCD

Last week was so sad for me! I really didn’t want Sara or Dominic to go, but I can see why they did. Still – for both breakers to leave on the same night didn’t seem fair. Also, I’m not sure what was going on with Danny’s solo – I think he fell after that backflip, and tried to cover it, but didn’t quite make it. I cried my eyes out during the Mia Michaels routine, as I’m sure all daddies’ girls did. I really didn’t like Shane Sparks ensemble routine – it seemed like a corny cheerleading competition routine to me. Not his best. Plus, I think it’s weird that one dancer has any kind of spotlight. I don’t think that’s fair – unless they have to try out for it. Why Lauren got to be The One in the Matrix jacket, I couldn’t tell you. But it made it look like she was the principle dancer.

My biggest SYTYCD news is that I got tickets to the ensemble performance taping on Thursday morning in LA, and then, if I go (which, of course, I will), then I get tickets to Thursday night’s results show. Woo hoo! I hope it’s a good performer that night, plus, I get to see them all do their solos! Hooray! It’s going to be an all day deal though, and apparently it involves a lot of standing, but who cares! I was never going to buy the $50 ticket to see the live show, but now I get to see the dancers anyway! Woo hoo!

I also got confirmed for the waiting list for Ellen for Sept. I’m guaranteed the riff raff room, and possibly, the studio audience. If I don’t make it into the audience, I’m guaranteed tickets later in the season (fingers crossed for the 12 days of Christmas episodes). Sounds good to me! My husband is so sweet – he’s actually taking the day off on Thursday so I can go to SYTYCD. We all know staying home with the baby is waaay more fun, but still, it’s nice of him (and his boss).

Top Chef

I just don’t care about these people. I liked Joey – big baby that he was, but I didn’t really care that he got voted off. I like the tall guy, but I can’t ever remember his name. Anyway, I hope he wins. The show definitely needs more drama this season.

Flipping Out

Anyone watching this one on Bravo? It’s pretty good. It’s like Monk meets Flip This House (with the guy in SC). So far, so good.

Books #39 – #45, The Epic of Harry Potter (spoiler!)

Well, I’ve finished all seven books (reread 1-5, first time reading of 6 and 7). I was especially sad when I finished #6 because I knew I only had one more to go, and I couldn’t imagine leaving that world. I feel like I’ve lost quite a few friends who I will miss dearly. These really are phenomenal books…

Here are my views of book seven, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. First, I’ll say that I was satisfied with the ending. I would have liked to hear what happened to everyone (Hagrid, George and Luna were absent from the last few pages), and I thought the whole “Harry has to die for Voldemort to die but not if Harry kills him, etc.” went on and on and got a little confusing. Did Harry survive because he had the Hallows? I’m still not sure I get it. Otherwise, I loved every bit of it.

I cried like a baby when Dudley showed a little kindness to Harry, and when Dumbledore died. I was relieved that the spiders didn’t eat Hagrid. I was also relieved that Snape wasn’t actually a bastard and Dumbledore was right to trust him all along.

Now I’m just looking forward to all the movies being out on DVD so I can watch them one after the other. Even though they’re not as good. I think I’ll reread the books every few years, too. I was amazed that it was like I was reading them all for the first time again. I knew certain major plot points, but I had forgotten how well written the dialog and the harrowing situations were written.

And how cool would it be to have an invisibility cloak or a wand? Thank you, Ms. Rowling! I’m sorry that the adventure is over.