- Eight months of life with my baby can basically be summed up by these lyrics, a song from Hamilton, probably the most beautiful of all 46 songs. My child’s name is not Philip but you get the idea.
Oh Philip, when you smile I am undone. My son. Look at my son. Pride is not the word I’m looking for. There is so much more inside me now. Oh Philip, you outshine the morning sun. My son.
- You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day ~ Entertaining but I think I would have liked it better had she talked more about Dr. Horrible and less about gaming. (What I know about gaming stops at Super Mario Bros. on Nintendo and thus I am not exactly the target audience.) But I really, REALLY admire her for speaking out against the hateful horror of Gamergate and in general like her a whole lot.
- Watch Me: A Memoir by Anjelica Huston and Never Broken by Jewel ~ Zzzz.
- Books I’m most excited to read: Mindy Kaling’s new book and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.
- Felicity ~ Still on my rewatch of this show which has been going on for many months. Here is the truth: season 4 is such a slog and they must have realized it and decided to throw in the time travel as a way to just get through it. Does anyone care about Noel and Sean’s work at the design firm or Noel’s boring girlfriend there? (No.) Or Javier’s friendship with (the great) Bitty Schram? (No.) Or Ben’s baby? (No.) Or Felicity cheating on her art history paper in Sue Sylvester’s class? (NO.) The time travel stuff is so ridiculous but at least it’s lively and entertaining. Is it too late for Keri Russell and Scott Speedman to reunite and get married in real life?
- Rectify ~ Nothing is better than this show.
- Scott & Bailey ~ Finished this and enjoyed it a lot. I don’t know if there’s a fifth season, but I hope so; that said, I hope a character who seems to be departing is not actually departing because she is one of the best and I love her.
- Wet Hot American Summer ~ Delightful, as is the documentary Hurricane of Fun, behind-the-scenes footage of the filming of the movie. The cast members were babies and so silly and it honestly reminded me of the home videos we made in high school and college. Except we were not comedic geniuses. I really loved watching both of these.
- Playing House ~ Its return for a second season was the happiest TV news this year, and it did not disappoint. One of my favorite memories of this season was talking to my friend S. after the last two episodes aired while she recited lines of dialogue and then just laughed and laughed and I didn’t have to say anything, I just could sit there and listen to her laugh over and over. That’s friendship and that’s this show to me.
- In and Out ~ I have seen this many times and it’s so strange to watch it in 2015 but I’m here to tell you that as dated and lily white as it is, this movie is still very sweet and charming and the performances hold up. Joan Cusack? Kevin Cline? Tom Selleck? Debbie Reynolds and Wilford Brimley? Random small parts by J. Cameron, the mom on Rectify and Shawn Hatosy, who shows up on season 4 of Felicity? (Whatever happened to him? He’s so good.) They are all so terrific and it’s so delightful.
- Wild ~ Just okay for me. I really do like Reese and obviously I love Laura Dern forevermore for the gift of Enlightened, but overall it kind of bummed me out.
- By the Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin ~ I’ve only listened to the Lena Dunham & Amy Poehler episodes, both from 2013, but they were both utterly delightful. I don’t know much about Jeff Garlin, but the way he talked to Poehler about how the best moments of his life were when his sons were small enough to fall asleep on his chest made me feel real tender towards him. [Addendum: The whole time I listened to these episodes I pictured Jeff Garlin as Jeff Ross! No. I made myself LOL there. I am dumb.]
- Theater People ~ I continue to love this podcast, and the Laura Benanti episodes are basically too good to be true.
- You Made It Weird ~ Glen Hansard, you have my heart for all eternity. This was a true joy to listen to, all two-plus hours of it. Glen Hansard is a treasure among men. And the Keegan-Michael Key episode is REALLY interesting. Adopted! Found his birthmother! Born again! So much I did not know about him before and unsurprisingly hilarious all around.
- Totally Mommy by Elizabeth Laime … loved her recent interviews with Lennon Parham & Jessica St. Clair, obviously, as well as Kate Spencer. This podcast enriches my life. I know that might sound weird, but it’s true.
- The Andy Greenwald Podcast ~ Abigail Spencer + Aden Young from my beloved Rectify. I loved this interview very much. Rectify is just so special.
Favorite things on Internet:
- Stephen Colbert. Beautiful. I think I will never forget this interview. It resonated with me on an extremely deep level.
“It was a very healthy reciprocal acceptance of suffering,” he said. “Which does not mean being defeated by suffering. Acceptance is not defeat. Acceptance is just awareness.” He smiled in anticipation of the callback: “ ‘You gotta learn to love the bomb,’ ” he said. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that’s why. Maybe, I don’t know. That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”
I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.
I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien’s mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”
- The Generous Audience Engagement of Lin-Manuel Miranda + Rae Votta’s lovely take on the Ham4Ham shows.
- An Interview with Herpreet Singh.
- Hamilton opening night video. This is lovely. This is also how I found out Stephen Pasquale is dating Phillipa Soo. And another one! There’s a moment when Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wife looks at him with such love that it made me teary.
- Leslie Odom, Jr. and the Relevance of 1776.
- Trailer for Taking Flight from the Louisiana folks that brought us the wondrous Morris Lessmore.
- When Rainbow Rowell sorted her characters into Hogwarts houses.
- Hamilton B-roll. Lots of it. Worth watching for Daveed Diggs along. I can’t even deal with him, I really can’t. I guess much of this could be considered spoilery if you are strict about that kind of thing before you see a show.
- Rembert + Lin-Manuel. So good.
- I first saw Marin Mazzie in Kiss Me, Kate in 2000 and saw her as Diana (opposite the lovely Mr. Danieley) in Next to Normal in 2011. She is simply as good as it gets, in my opinion, and when I read this post about her fighting ovarian cancer, I was stunned and moved. My heart overflows for her and I admire her more than ever. I’ve probably listened to her singing “Back to Before” about 10,000 times. She is (some Next to Normal spoilers here –>) beautiful and amazing and wonderful, always and forever.
Pets Still Alive:
Both. God help us all. I took the dog to the vet since he was peeing all over the house, which was killing me softly, and other than a UTI he was fine. She said his labwork was “beautiful.” Then went on to say, “We should all be so lucky as to have labwork as beautiful as this dog’s!” To which I heaved a gusty sigh then reminded myself to be grateful that he is so damn healthy at 15. Antibiotics have helped with the peeing, PRAISE BE.
Flowers, Trees, and Plants:
The crape myrtles continue to amaze. I will be sad when all the blooms fall away. And the magnolia trees are no slouches either.
Went to the beach with my family in August. It was great to all be together. As always I spent time in the store where I got the call about my cancer diagnosis, but it didn’t make me feel weird or sad, it just made me feel very grateful.
We stayed in a different house this time; I liked how it had porches that made you feel like you were in the woods and the view from the roof.
Didn’t spend a ton of time on the beach; my sister-in-law gets credit for the photos below, but I look forward to when my baby is a little bigger and we can really tear it up.
Back in March, while still in the delirious throes of newborn life and maternity leave, I decided that by the time my baby was 7 months old, I would be fully ready to leave him for a weekend and jet up to NYC, old me-style. I bought tickets for Hamilton the morning they went on sale and also for Fun Home and Something Rotten. This seemed like a really good idea at the time. Fast forward to August, when I was in NO WAY prepared to leave him, but by this time my sister and I had plans to meet up in the big city, and I felt like bailing would be ridiculous and dumb and that by the time I got there, I would be happy about it. And I was, even though a flight delay had me spending the day in the New Orleans airport drinking beer with strangers/new best friends instead of in the city and landed me there much later than planned and I missed Something Rotten altogether.
But I got over it and got to spend a morning walking through the city on my way to meet Molly for bagels and iced coffee and a walk on a gorgeous Saturday morning, which has become one of my favorite New York traditions. Bagels with Molly are extra delicious bagels.
Then it was time to sit on the front row for Fun Home that afternoon. Somehow I didn’t realize this when buying my ticket and it was strange to have my toes on stage but it was also just so wonderful. It is a truly intimate and beautiful show, and having read and loved the book so much all those years ago, I was just so touched by the whole damn thing. Sydney Lucas and “Ring of Keys” surpassed all expectations, and even though I don’t love Michael Cerveris’ singing voice, his acting is so good that I decided he earned that Tony, and Judy Kuhn, BROADWAY LEGEND NO BIG DEAL, was so good as the mom that I might never get over “Days and Days and Days.”
My sister met me at the theater, and we had a super delicious dinner at Fig and Olive, where they initially sat us in a real dumpster of a table downstairs right by the kitchen, and she went to ask the hostess if we could sit upstairs, and the hostess not only moved us upstairs but moved us to a window table that I think must have been the nicest table in the place. Life lesson reminder – you should ask for what you want because sometimes the answer is yes! Damn, that was a good dinner.
Then it was time for Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers, fittingly also the home of In the Heights, and we sat next to Rooney Mara and her boyfriend and mom and brother and in front of Tobey Maguire, but the celebrities were not the most exciting part. Above all I just felt so happy to be a part of something as special as this creation with my sister next to me. If I had to pick my favorites, they would be Daveed Diggs, Renee Elise Goldsberry, and Leslie Odom, Jr., and I wish they could each when a Tony, but the whole company is so strong and it’s just such a first class production top to bottom. It was almost overwhelming and hard to take in. Fifth row center was such a joy at Hedwig that I copied that plan for this, and it was a strategic error to be sure because I did not take into account the vastness of the stage or the way the cast moves alllll over it at Hamilton. It would have been smarter to sit farther back. Lesson learned. But I still felt like I was witnessing the life and breath of something so special in theater history and I just felt so proud of Miranda and Kail and Lackamoire and Blankenbuehler, the whole team whose work I fell so forever in love with on In the Heights, and truly it was wonderful! In every show we’ve seen together and/or loved together, a moment crystallizes as THE moment, like “Sarah, come down to meeeeeee!” in Ragtime and “I wish I had taken more pictures” in Avenue Q as two examples. In this show, the moment is four words, and they are “Forgiveness. Can you imagine?” Over and over and over that moment replays in my mind. Anyway — backlash, whatever, I’m sure it’s coming if it’s not already here. I don’t care. I loved it and haters gonna hate.
48 hours away from my baby is not something I care to repeat soon, but they were (other than the travel shenanigans, hate you Delta!) well spent with the city & sister I love so very much. Next trip to NYC will be to see Waitress, some way, somehow. I know that “Baby, Don’t You Cry” won’t be in it but I love that song and sing it to my baby every night and love that movie so much and have full faith and confidence that it will be beautiful and great. Until then, I’ll remember this trip as an awesome memory with my sister…Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now, in the greatest city in the world…