Tag Archives: House of Cards

sunday salon/currently … memorial day weekend edition

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It’s a steamy start to the summer. (And yes, while the calendar may not consider it to be summer until June 21, Memorial Day weekend is the start of summer in my book.) Yesterday my car’s thermometer said it was 95 degrees outside. I’m really not kidding when I say two weeks ago it was so chilly that I wore turtlenecks to work for three days.

I’m on our enclosed deck, enjoying being outside for as long as I can stand it. It’s humid enough to have the box fan going, which helps for now. We don’t have any grandiose plans this weekend. The usual appointments and errands. The Girl needs some summer clothes and that’s on the agenda for tomorrow.

99 Days of Summer Blogging!

99 Days of Summer Blogging

Tomorrow starts my attempt to blog for 99 consecutive days. I’m thrilled that a few of you are joining me in this little project.  (You can too. Participating is intentionally very low key. No real requirements. No linkys. If you like, feel free to use the button above for any #99DaysSummerBlogging posts.) The accountability factor makes this more daunting (can I really keep up this pace? what if I run out of things to write about? what happens on the days I have a migraine?) but also exciting.  I’m looking forward to getting back in the swing of writing every day and clearing out some of those half-baked posts in Drafts.

Big Book Reading Challenge

Big Book Summer Reading Challenge

Another summer project that I’m taking on is the Big Book Summer Reading Challenge hosted by my friend Sue of Book by Book.  I usually participate in this because it only involves reading one book that’s at least 400 pages between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Definitely doable. If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s a partial list of what I’ve read for this challenge in previous years (links go to my reviews):

America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines by Gail Collins (572 pages)
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (415 pages)
With My Body by Nikki Gemmell (462 pages)
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (436 pages)
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts (630 pages)
The Years by Virginia Woolf (435 pages)

Currently Reading …
LaRoseWith 372 pages, my current read — LaRose by Louise Erdrich — is just shy of qualifying for the Big Book Summer Reading Challenge. It’s a fascinating novel about family and culture.

Currently Listening To … 

Sin in the Second City

Still listening to Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately. Part of the reason is because I work in an semi-open office environment, which can be challenging when one needs to concentrate. I usually just hit Shuffle on my entire music collection and And every day, I hear at least one song that seems to describe the day — or our current situation, or something, or someone I’m thinking about, or a memory — absolutely perfectly.

These are the songs that resonated most this week:

Linking

A few weeks ago, I purchased The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson because it seems like a book I’m going to want to own. Although I haven’t started it yet, Hilton Als’ feature on Maggie Nelson in the April 18 issue of The New Yorker (“Immediate Family”) makes me want to read this very soon.

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) has a great list of mental health resources for teens In addition to books (fiction and nonfiction), blogs, and websites, there are apps that link to immediate crisis intervention and online discussion groups.

Once in a Lifetime is a new blog to me, thanks to Keith’s and my connection through Pittsburgh Bloggers. Keith’s post “A Month of Mental Health, An Eternity of Suicide”  makes some great observations about the hypocrisy of the media’s relentless messages of perfection and its embrace of Mental Health Awareness Month.

I’m a big fan of the Netflix series “House of Cards.” In this article from The New York Times, Robin Wright may have more in common with Claire Underwood than we previously thought. #FUCU2016

Some thoughts on … well, the power of our thoughts.

What are you thinking about on this Memorial Day weekend?  

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sunday salon/ currently … 3/6/2016

 

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Currently …
It’s Sunday evening and I’m just getting a chance to visit the Salon and catch up with blog posts. This weekend seemed to be a bunch of errands: an appointment for The Boy, the usual grocery shopping, and Kohl’s because The Boy needed ANOTHER pair of sneakers. (Teenage boys and their growth spurts are not friendly to the pocketbook, let me tell you.)

Celebrating …
The Husband’s birthday weekend. I took a half day from work on Friday and we had lunch together at Eat’n Park — simple, since that’s what the budget permits these days. We came home to discover an Edible Arrangements sent from his parents.  On Saturday, I made one of his favorite dinners (baked ravioli casserole) and we had Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Ganache cake for dessert. (I treated myself to TJ’s gluten free cupcakes so I wouldn’t feel deprived.)

Reading …

Scorpion Tongues

Given the current political climate, this seems to be an appropriate time to read Scorpion Tongues: The Irresistible History of Gossip in American Politics by Gail Collins. I’ve had this on my bookshelf for more than four years now, so in the spirit of #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks, it’s my current read.

Sugar Crush

This week I finished Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Stop Pain, and Reverse the Path to Diabetes by Richard P. Jacoby, DPN and Raquel Baldelohar.  The cupcakes for The Husband’s birthday notwithstanding, I really am trying to be more conscientious about the amount of carbs and added sugar I consume.  I eliminated sugar in my coffee awhile ago and I really don’t miss it, but there’s a lot more I could be doing.

Watching…

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House of Cards!  Absolutely love this show and Season 4 is FANTASTIC so far. (I’m only up to Episode 4.) True confession time: this may have been one of the reasons why I took a half day off from work on Friday. I mean, there were other reasons but that was a happy coincidence. (As it turned out, I didn’t start watching until after dinner.)

Anticipating …
Our first rehearsal and cast party for Listen to Your Mother Pittsburgh is this coming weekend. I’m really looking forward to meeting all the other ladies who will be in this year’s show and hearing their stories for the first time.

And speaking of which …

Promoting…

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Tickets are on sale NOW!  I’m so excited about this show and for as many people as possible to hear the fabulous stories of the women in this year’s cast. If you’re going to be anywhere near Pittsburgh on May 6, I would love to see you in the audience.

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Podcasts of the Week: Ep. 7 and 8: You Downloaded How Much Data?!

Apple iPhone 6 - PDI

Photo Credit: Public Domain Images; Apple iPhone 6; click through for source

A weekly (more or less) blog feature where I talk about podcasts and recommend a few shows from my playlist. 

Conversation at the Verizon Wireless store two weeks ago while signing our lives away reviewing my current plan in order to add The Husband’s new phone:

Verizon guy: “You only used about 10 GBs of data in April and May, but your data usage nearly tripled in June. Something happened in June ….”

Me: “Hmm, I’m thinking maybe it was subscribing to 107 podcasts?”

Yes, friends. As of right now, I’m subscribed to 107 podcasts. One hundred and SEVEN. And that’s with deleting some and adding others that sound good, and then deleting some more. I certainly don’t listen to every episode from every podcast I subscribe to, but apparently this has gotten a little out of control.

I’m trying to be more selective. I really am. But, there’s so much damn good stuff out there. And because there is, I’m grateful for unlimited data plans, of which I was grandfathered into a long time ago and am not inclined to give up anytime soon.

My latest listening discovery is On House of Cards, a podcast produced by On the Media. I am a huge HOC fan. Love, love, love that show. I finished Season 3 over the Fourth of July weekend and cannot possibly wait until February when new episodes are released. Until then, I’m going to try and handle my withdrawal through the On House of Cards podcast, mostly for what the guests themselves have to say. I’m going in backwards order; I listened to the May 20 episode, “The End of the Road” with guest Beau Willison.

Speaking of all things Presidential, last week I finally got around to checking out WTF with Marc Maron, who showed up on my PocketCast app as being one of the podcasts I should discover. This was about a week or two before Marc’s interview with President Barack Obama, which you may have heard a little something about. I still haven’t listened to that episode because of some technical issues on my end (it keeps failing to download on my phone). I definitely plan to, though.

Last Thursday, I happened to catch Episode 618: Ed Asner and Adam Goldberg  (7/9/2015) which I enjoyed and not just because I was listening to a podcast practically in real time, on the same day it was … what’s the word? Podcasted? Anyway, I like Marc’s interview style – very casual, just shootin’ the shit.  They talked about the acting that Asner did before Mary Tyler Moore (for me and many other people, Asner will always, always be Lou Grant) and about being shunned by casting directors for his comments on El Salvador. Great interview – very entertaining and funny.

Almost every podcast I downloaded this week focused on Go Set a Watchman, which, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know as the controversial “new” novel by the legendary Harper Lee. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to read this; I have a strong appreciation for To Kill a Mockingbird as a literary classic, I don’t consider it one of my “taking with me on a desert island” books. I’m more curious than anything, I suppose. I’m #24 on the library’s e-book holds list for this one, and while I’m waiting, I’ve listened to more than a few podcasts this week about Go Set a Watchman.

The ReadersThe most enjoyable episode was from The Readers, a (new-to-me) podcast that I knew I would love because Simon Savidge ISavidge Reads) and Thomas Otto (Hogglestock) are two of my favorite book bloggers.  In “Ep. 131: Go Set a Headline and Ten Classic Books You May Not Have Read But Should” (7/13/2015), they discuss the spoilers that several major news outlets have shared and how that has influenced whether they will be reading the book. I will admit I was also more than a little annoyed by the spoilers, so hearing Thomas’ take on this was validating.

In addition to the various book podcasts I’ve been listening to, I’ve found that short stories work great in this medium and are usually perfectly timed for my commute to work. The Moth offers some of the best storytelling and Episode 1202: Blue Men, Psychopaths and a Bad Date (6/30/2015) was fantastic. John Grady, formerly of the Blue Men Group, tells us about a particularly memorable performance; Neuroscientist James Fallon shares a personal discovery from the lab and former SNL cast member Rachel Dratch recounts a bad date.

My final recommendation from the past two weeks comes from WNYC’s Death, Sex and Money with Anna Sale. Siblinghood (7/1/2015) looked at the relationships we have with our brothers and sisters and the impact that this bond has on ourselves and our lives.

’til next week …

 

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sunday salon: ides of march edition

The Sunday Salon

Time and Place:
Sunday evening / the couch in the living room. As per usual.

Weekend Happenings?
Not much. The Girl went to a SibShop yesterday. It’s a support group for kids who have a sibling with special needs. It took me awhile to find such a group and they’ve increased the number of sessions to three weekends per month. A bit of driving around on the weekends, but as much as I might complain about trekking around Pittsburgh, it’s worth it because The Girl loves going and the facilitators are wonderful with her. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch at Panera and I came home and took a long nap.

Today’s been a lazy day. Grocery shopping was the extent of my activity. I should have done more, but I’ve had a bad headache all weekend and wasn’t up to it.

Reading:
The last week or so has been a mixed bag on the bookish front, with everything from a book that will likely be on my Best Books I’ve Read in 2015 list to two DNFs.

The Paying GuestsLet’s start with what I loved. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters is …well, I was unable to put this down. Set in 1922, Frances Wray and her mother live together in their large South London mansion following the deaths of Frances’ brothers in the War and then her father’s illness. Her father’s mismanagement of the family’s finances makes it necessary for Frances and her mother to rent out some of their rooms. Newlyweds Lilian and Leonard Barber join the household as “paying guests” and change the dynamic of the Wray house – not to mention each one of their lives.

The Paying Guests also is on the just-announced longlist for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction) along with 19 other contenders. I’ve read only one other nominee (Station Eleven) and if I had to choose between the two, I would definitely choose The Paying Guests.  Anyway, I’m hoping to have a full review up soon.

My DNFs were Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan – about a group of restaurant workers during their last night at a Red Lobster which is slated for closing – and Inside Madeleine, by Paula Bomer. The latter, a collection of stories, has been hyped for being evocative and daring; however, I read the first two (“Eye Socket Girls” and “Breasts”) and found both to be eh rather than edgy. It didn’t do much for me, so back to the library it goes.

Watching:

House_of_Cards_title_card
Still completely addicted to and immersed in House of Cards. I’ve just started Season 2 and will hopefully have a chance to watch episode 2 and maybe 3 tonight.

Listening:
ZZ: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald was on my TBR Goodreads list, but reading West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan made me more interested in picking this up.  Z is my audiobook this week.

Blogging:
Remember the #1000Speak post I did as part of 1000 Voices for Compassion? (Listening to Our Better Angels) Well, now this project has become a monthly thing and on Friday March 20 we’ll be writing on the theme of “Building from Bullying.”  Join us on the 1000 Voices for Compassion group on Facebook. 

Promoting:

 

Bloggiesta - Spring 2015Bloggiesta comes back this spring and it is better than ever! You guys, it is a week this time. A week! I have a to-do list a mile long for this blog, so I definitely could use that amount of time. Not sure what Bloggiesta is or what it involves? Click on the button to be taken to the Bloggiesta page or go here.

Loving:

Daffodils - 3-8-2014

Look closely … my daffodils are coming up after a very long winter! You see them? Full disclosure: this is a photo from last March, taken on 3/8/2014, but they look the same right now.

Hating:
This headache that I’ve had most of the weekend. I think it’s weather-related (yesterday was rainy and miserable) and I’m being very cautious about not taking much of anything like Advil or my Maxalt because I’m scheduled for a root canal tomorrow.

I actually hate the headache more than the root canal. This is long overdue – my dentist wanted to do this back in 2012, according to my chart (I conveniently forgot about that) and now this tooth is starting to bother me. So, as much as one can look forward to a root canal, I am.

Wanting:
Don’t laugh, but I really want to do some spring cleaning around the house. (I know … those of you who know me are probably thinking my blog’s been hacked.)  Every room in this house is a disaster and could use some freshening up. Nothing major – we don’t have the budget for anything crazy. I’m talking about some significant decluttering and deep cleaning (I might hire someone for that), framing some photos for the walls … simple things.

Hope your weekend has been a good one!

 

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Living in a House of Cards

House_of_Cards_Season_1_Poster

Perhaps you’ve heard about a little show on Netflix called “House of Cards”?

Chances are, if you’re not already immersed and completely addicted to this, then you have a Facebook friend or two who mysteriously vanished over the past weekend.  More than one of mine disappeared with a simple “#HouseOfCards! See you Monday!”

Sunday night, I finally hit play on my laptop.

And holy shit.

I didn’t need much convincing. “House of Cards” was on my list to watch because based on what I knew about it (admittedly, very little) this was my kind of show.

And what a show it is. I knew this was a political drama “with some serious sex,” as a few friends categorized it when I asked about the appropriateness of watching this with newly-minted 13-year-olds in the general vicinity of the television. (“Hell to the no!” was the most popular response and indeed, y’all were right about that and I thank you kindly.)

I’m six episodes into Season One and I. AM. HOOKED. Truth be told, I was sold from the first scene. This also means that I have watched about six hours of television this week, which is practically unheard of for me.

I just can’t get enough.

Not to mention that I am loving every single one of the Philly references in the first six episodes of the first season.

LOVE.

Speaking of love, it is nice to be in love with a show again, especially one that The Husband and I can both agree on and obsess over together. We’ve had a few over the years, most notably  “The Sopranos,” “Six Feet Under,” “Big Love,” “Rescue Me,” “Mad Men,” and most recently, the all-too-short-lived and cancelled-too-damn-soon “Dallas.”

So yes, I am living in a house of cards this week.

Home sweet home.

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