Mar 5 2014

Book Review: Orphan Train

An historical novel set in the early part of the 20th century, Orphan Train is based on the thousands of orphans that were taken by trains from New York City to the midwest to be placed in new families. I had no idea this happened and for that I’m so glad I read the book.

Cutting back and forth between a modern day foster teen and an Irish immigrant orphaned after arriving in America in the 1920’s, it’s terrifying and inspiring and sweet and heartbreaking. It’s a quick and easy read that sticks with you (in a good way, not in the weeping on the floor in the fetal position way!)

– Jen


Mar 3 2014

The Oscars were not good to me

I correctly picked 8 out of 24 on my ballot. I just thought there would be more surprises…but it went according to schedule and that hurt me.

So I had to find my fun in other places:

*Darlene Love grabbing her moment to sing for half a billion people while being recognized for 20 feet from Stardom was audacious (in a good way). And it reminded me that if life were fair she would have been one of our great divas.

*Jared Leto being friendly and happy and completely the opposite of “broody” was a complete delight. (His shout out to Ukraine and Venezuela was a bit clumsy, but it seemed heartfelt.)

*Lupita, Meryl and Amy dancing with Pharrell…I love people who are willing to play along and not worry if they look cool. All three of these ladies earned HUGE points with me.


*I thought Ellen started really strong, I didn’t even miss the usual opening musical number. But throughout the night with teleprompter issues and the pizza and selfie bits (which I thought went on a bit too long), she seemed to lose steam. Although I would have killed for a slice of that pizza!

*The Frozen writers delivered the speech of the night. I LOVE that they clearly rehearsed it and NAILED it.

*After initially thinking The Moon Song was boring, I was completely turned around by Karen O’s beautiful performance. (I think it was her shoes sitting next to her on the stage…it immediately evoked one of those perfect nights that even blisters can’t ruin!)

All of the winners were gracious and seemed to be having a great time (with the exception of 12 Years a Slave writer, John Ridley…he seemed a little pissed off, but he doesn’t owe me a giddy speech, so I’m not too worried about it) and overall it was a fun night that didn’t take itself too seriously.

– Jen


Feb 27 2014

Much needed levity found at the vet

There is nothing worse than sitting in the exam room waiting for test results on your dog while he paces around driving you crazy which makes you feel guilty because at the same time you are desperately hoping for good news.

I am truly grateful for this poster on the wall which gave me much-needed laughter:



The WTF? look on the cat’s face had me and Jason in hysterics trying to figure out the backstory on whatever test these two just got results on.

(Also, the blood tests on Knightly came back all good.)

– Jen

Feb 27 2014

May I offer a euphemism?

Recently I watched a lot of football (perhaps you heard).  I started noticing that whenever a player would go down to the ground and roll onto his side, the sportscasters would suggest that possibly “he got the wind knocked out of him.”

It was pretty clear in most of these cases that what he had was a penis injury. Since that’s nothing to be ashamed of, I couldn’t understand the hesitation to call it what it is. (I’ve since heard from quite a few guys that they don’t like to hear anything close to that phrase as it causes “phantom pain and/or discomfort”)

Thanks to Matthew, who alerted me to this euphemism from the film Extract:


At least “mid body injury” is in the correct vicinity…progress!

– Jen


Feb 24 2014

This movie gets my highest rating

Over the weekend I saw In A World, the 2013 film starring Lake Bell (who also wrote and directed)

It’s funny and heartwarming and has a clear point of view that feels utterly original and really smart. Also, it costars many of my favorite people in the world:

Ron effing Swanson (aka Nick Offerman)

Demetri Martin

Tig Notaro

Rob Corddry (for once playing a really likeable guy)

and Ron Donald himself (aka Ken Marino)

It will be hard to beat this as my favorite movie of the year and Lake Bell just became a voice I really want to hear.

(Jason also loved it, by the way. Don’t make the mistake of marginalizing the movie because it has a woman at the helm, this one is good for all people, not just lady people)

– Jen


Feb 22 2014

A joyful way to spend an hour

Much like the seasons changing, when it comes time for The Olympics to end…I’m pretty ready. So I needed a break last night and ended up watching this long form interview with Lena Dunham and Bill Simmons.

I promise you that it’s impossible to watch without a huge grin on your face.

His delight in her, her delight in everything from Curly Sue to the late great My So Called Life and not to mention her thoughtful way with topics like Jezebel’s horrible treatment of her will make you like her even more.

– Jen

Feb 17 2014

Earworm (Olympics Edition)

I’ve been singing this for the last week:

I like the way you work it

Ted Ligety

Want to bag it up


Since I can’t stop, I thought maybe I’d just get it stuck in your head too.

Blackstreet making a real comeback at my house.

– Jen

Feb 17 2014

Olympics reporters and announcers need to get right

My main complaint at this Olympics (outside of Putin/Darth Vader showing up at everything, much like when your dad comes downstairs during your slumber party at the exact moment there’s nudity in Sixteen Candles) is really the NBC announcers and reporters.

They say things like, “It all comes down to Lindsey Jacobellis.” NO IT DOESN’T. She is an American and she has fallen in short in two previous Olympics. So, I can see that it’s a compelling story. But I’m pretty sure to everyone else at the starting line, it does not all come down to her.

But Christin Cooper should feel the greatest shame of all (and her producer too.) What she did last night to Bode Miller was not only obnoxious, it lacked basic human decency. To continue to ask questions about his dead brother, trying to force an emotional breakdown, which she achieved, and then to have cameras follow him as he tries to move away and gather himself was one of the cruelest things I’ve seen a reporter do. He just won an Olympic medal, he didn’t commit a war crime. Why do you feel you have the right to “break” him on national television during what should have been a joyful moment?

You have broken my cardinal rule, Christin Cooper.  You were a dick last night and I hope you are decent enough to feel bad about it.

Also, putting a mic on Miller’s wife, Morgan, was a mistake and I hope they stop doing stunts like that. Just let the Olympics happen, you don’t need to try and produce big moments, they happen in spite of NBC…I promise.



– Jen

Feb 17 2014

The Olympic Spirit making a comeback

I have been feeling like this Olympics was missing something. I’m sure the Germans have a word to sum it up, but I can only describe it as:





But things have started to turn around with this awesome lady:



and this awesome lady:



Mary Carillo is adorable and great at her job, tonight Meryl and Charlie could win gold, and the snowboarders continue to be awesome; reminding us that when you get to make your living being a snowboarder, there is nothing to complain about. I’m so grateful we added their sport to the Winter Olympics…they fill me with the Olympic spirit, which I’ve tried to define in italics above!

– Jen

Feb 7 2014

I can’t believe it’s started! (The Olympics: night one)

The team competition is the new way to kick off figure skating, and I was into it. The idea is each country picks one male, female, pair team and dance team to have extra pressure because it’s for team gold…just like in gymnastics. We started out (pre-opening ceremonies) last night with mens and pairs.

Our guy, Jeremy, was awful and is probably now so damaged that it will affect his individual performance, so it did not work out for him. But this kid?



Hi name is Yuzuru Hanyu, he’s a total star and he’s my early pick for “best part of the Olympics”

Although, the Canadian pair team of Duhamel and Radford did an awesome move where he pulled her through his legs and then popped her up into his arms…I cheered! (I can’t find a pic, but you’ll see it in individuals)

Snowboarding was pretty fun to watch as usual, although the actual competition was overshadowed by my love of the nickname for Canadian snowboarder, Sebastien Toutant…wait for it…


Seb Toots! 

I won’t be able to stop. I’ve already applied it to the dog and the husband…You could be next.

– Jen