August & September


  • 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 MeA 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.”

  • Slings & Arrows Is the Show Rachel McAdams (And All of Us Deserved) — Truth. Love forever!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.




Best Trips:

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…


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April, May, June, July


  • Phew! I could write a million words on life as a mom and the baby who has changed my world in a million ways, but words fail me on this at this moment. It’s the hardest but the best.


  • I have now officially finished 3 novels in 2015! This feels major. I read Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Ofill, which I liked well enough, and The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, which I probably would never have gotten through had I not had several hours in a row, sitting in a car repair shop, to read the first few hundred pages and get sucked in. I loved it very much, and I still think about it a lot. The news that it’s being made into a film thrills me, and I’ve already cast Miranda Hart or Gwendoline Christie as Alma. I also read and very much enjoyed Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg. It gave me New York-ache.
  • I also read Born with Teeth, Kate Mulgrew’s autobiography. I really liked it; maybe because I was in the middle of season three of Orange Is the New Black and really feeling a lot of Red love at the time. Other celeb autobiographies that were just okay: Giuliana Rancic (of interest: the cancer parts and the Jerry O’Connell parts, both very dishy); Brooke Shields (just okay); Candice Bergen (I did watch every episode of Murphy Brown and enjoyed the parts about that; overall, she comes across as kind of snobby?); Maria Bello (sort of boring); Ali Wentworth (funny and worth reading though I wish I knew the real identity of her former arch-enemy now best friend Daphne) … I think that’s it.


  • Speaking of Miranda Hart … OH, CHUMMY. I really loved Empire, don’t get me wrong, and Cookie Lyon made a major impression on me that I thought would not be soon surpassed, but that was before I met Camilla Fortescue-Cholmondeley-Browne, AKA Chummy on Call the Midwife. The first time I started this show a few years ago, I was so bored and couldn’t get through it, but then I read a few of Al’s write-ups on Previously.TV and became intrigued; those and my friend/neighbor, who is obsessed, persuaded me to give it another go, and thank God. I love it 100% and shall surely weep when I catch up and there are no more to watch. Thank the Good Lord for return of my beloved Last Tango in Halifax!
  • The Crimson Field ~ World War I, English nurses, France field hospital, wonderful, devastating. Also: the very, very, very, very, very dreamy Richard Rankin.
  • Scott and Bailey ~ Kind of like Cagney & Lacey, but in Manchester. Excellent and very addictive.
  • Catastrophe ~ Much more hilarious and sweet than I anticipated.
  • American Voices ~ On PBS. PBS just makes my life so much better. This was super enjoyable and Sara Bareilles’ take on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, a song I didn’t even think I liked, convinced me for a moment that it is the greatest song in the American songbook. (Scroll to an hour and 8 minutes into that link to hear it.) I think I just love her. Anyway, I came down from that ledge, but still. There is something to splendid to me about watching masters mentor youngsters. It does my heart good. Really great show. Sara and Ben Folds are so winning together that I almost cannot even take it.


  • I have no idea when in this lifetime I will see Jurassic World, but I sure love this music. Takes me back to the summer of 1993, just after high school graduation, seeing the first movie for the first time. And the fact that Bright Abbott / Andy Dwyer keeps becoming the biggest movie star in the world over & over makes me so happy.
  • I went to see Idina Menzel’s local stop on her World Tour. She was hoarse and a bit strange, to be honest, but No Day But Today, the gay guys joining her for Take Me or Leave Me, and the little children joining her on Let It Go made it worth the steep price of admission. When I saw the OBC of Rent in the spring of 1997 after being 100% obsessed with it, in a way that really and sincerely basically consumed my every waking and sleeping thought for nearly a year, she was the only original cast member whose understudy went on that day and I have always lamented that even though Kristen Lee Kelly was great. So I’m glad I was able to spend an evening with her at long last.


  • Closure ~ Really good documentary. The subject of the film also has an excellent blog.
  • Tig ~ I liked it.


  • Theater People is so good that I backed its Kickstarter campaign, which is something I had never before done in my life. Patrick is such an engaging host, and I love his unabashed enthusiasm and how much a super fan he is of the people he interviews. It’s really a true delight and a treasure!
  • Mystery Show by Starlee Kine … so good. Really enjoying this one.
  • How to be Amazing by Michael Ian Black … I discovered this one because of his interview with my beloved Lin-Manuel Miranda as I feverishly consume all-things-Hamilton-media in advance of seeing the show. I knew I liked Black because of how much I liked his book (You’re Not Doing It Right), but he’s also a good and careful interviewer and I’ve now listened to enough podcasts to know that there aren’t that many of those. (I know a lot of people like Alec Baldwin’s interview podcast, but I think he is a TERRIBLE interviewer and I cannot abide him and it makes me very retroactively sad because of how much I love Jack Donaghy.) I’ve only listened to Miranda, Amy Schumer, and Elizabeth Gilbert so far, but they’re all good.
  • Totally Mommy by Elizabeth Laime … another plug for this one, without which I truly do not know how I would have made it few my first few months of motherhood. That is a dramatic statement, but it’s just helped me so much.
  • Extra Hot Great by the Previously.TV gang … This is just a solid, reliable, well-rounded, truly satisfying podcast week-to-week, without fail. And Again With This, which is a walk down 90210 memory lane, is a delight as well. That show was so formative during my high school years. The first season aired before we properly had Fox as an actual cable channel, and I watched it over the air on a tiny black and white television in my bedroom and then the rest of the high school years unfolded as my own did. It is so stupid and terrible but it was a big part of my life back then.
  • I have really tried to branch out from white guys interviewing white guys in terms of my podcast experiences; that said, I really enjoyed Pete Holmes’ new interview with Jimmy Kimmel and old interview with (hearts) Rob Delaney (flowers). The way that Rob Delaney talks about being a dad is very, very swoony.

Favorite things on Internet:

  • Tara Ariano’s interview with the actor who plays Rogelio De La Vega, one of my very favorite characters on TV. This is (unsurprisingly) wonderful.
  • Joe Reid’s homage to the debut of Best Friends Forever. And his tribute to one of my favorite SYCYTD moments ever. Basically, everything Joe Reid writes.
  • This photo made me weepy. I loved In The Heights, I love A Chorus Line, and I remain so excited to see Hamilton that I basically cannot contain myself. (Video of the Hamilton cast’s tribute to A Chorus Line is here. Amazing.)
  • On Sadness, Family, and the Parenting Lessons of Inside Out.
  • The only thing that rivals my excitement about seeing Hamilton is my excitement about seeing Fun Home! Grateful to have bought my ticket before it won all the Tonys. Love this love letter to the show from the Keenan-Bolgers. And let’s just watch this over & over until the end of time.
  • I have no idea when I will ever see this movie, but this post delighted me on a deep level all the same.
  • I deeply love Waitress the movie and sing its song to my baby every night when rocking him to sleep. I doubt that song will be in this musical, but I really wish I could see it all the same.

Pets Still Alive:

Both. They wear me out. They are 14 and 15 and are ruining rug after rug to the point where I am not buying any more until they are both dearly departed. I don’t have much left for them at the literal end of the day and there are only so many more hours of my life that I can spend on my knees scrubbing their accidents out of grout.  I looked down earlier today and there was cat litter and also cat barf stuck to my bare knee, hours after this morning’s latest grossness. This is just the real, hard, sad truth. I love them but the day the dog peed all over the bumbo seat flipped a switch in me and now I love them in a very different way.


Flowers, Trees, and Plants:

My backyard is a disaster thanks to the end of the world summer thunderstorms we had almost every day for several months there. I’m about to let it just Grey Gardens itself. It’s too much to even tackle at this point. It would take too many chainsaws. I guess I’ll just hire someone to do it. That and install a dishwasher. I’ve washed 14 years of dishes in this house by hand and I am done. Done I tell you.


At least we have the day lilies and the magnolias and the crape myrtles.




Best Food Eaten:

Bruch at Shaya? It is so good. I would like to crawl inside one of its warm loaves of pita bread and live inside of it in the winter. It’s just a really great place to eat brunch and I wish I could go daily.


Honestly, though, I don’t think anything has tasted better this summer than the Thai Trifecta … ginger, lime, and coconut … from the one and only Hansen’s Sno-Bliz. It tastes like sunshine and happiness.


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  • The major development around here is that I adopted a baby born in January who is perfect in every way. This has turned life upside down, obviously, but in the best way. This post will cover the past few months as a whole.


  • I haven’t read a real book since 2014 unless it’s about babies and how to keep them alive. Will I read a novel in 2015? Time will tell. What should it be?


  • Brandi Carlile’s new album is the most exciting new music for me. Eternal love!
  • I’m also super excited about The Weepies — comes out next month. When I learned Deb Talan had breast cancer … damn. But it sounds like she is doing well and this album will touch on that experience. I think it will be awesome.
  • Meanwhile, I am already predicting that I will listen to no music more in 2015 than the music of Empire. This is a very enjoyable post ranking the show’s songs, and I agree with the verdict that “You’re So Beautiful”, in its various versions, is the best. The White Party version? Are you kidding? And the version at the bar where everyone sings it together? Endorphins. I think my runner-up is “Conqueror,” just because I loved that scene so much because it’s just Jamal being Jamal, joyfully creating music and being free.


  • The Last Five Years ~ Melissa first told me about this musical in 2003 when I was going through a rather savage break-up. It was love at first listen, and I’ve never stopped loving it. This is kind of a weird movie, but then it’s kind of a weird musical. It sure does make New York look beautiful. Anna Kendrick is predictably good. But Jeremy Jordan is G R E A T. There is no voice in theater that can touch Norbert Leo Butz’s for me … maybe Brian Darcy James’ comes close … but Jordan’s voice is no joke. And he does a fine job of making a character who behaves (spoiler!) badly likable anyway. Ugh. EFFING JAMIE. Anyway – Jeremy Jordan is a star. A star! Even though I can’t hear his name without remembering Donna Martin saying “Jeremy Jordan, all right!” in that 90210 ad from the days of yore.
  • Neighbors ~ Hilarious. Rose Byrne stole the movie, and that’s what I liked best about it. I love Rose Byrne! Let’s go watch her as Rose in I Capture the Castle again. She was the perfect Rose. She can do anything, I think.
  • Obvious Child ~ Very, very, very good.
  • The Duff ~ Mae Whitman, as ever, can do no wrong, and the guy in the movie was VERY cute and good. A fun birthday outing with girlfriends.


  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ~ Singlehandedly saved the day the baby got first shots … this poor child just wanted to sleep while being held, and rocking while watching this and giggling hard and trying not to wake the baby up was a day I will remember fondly (shot sorrow notwithstanding).
  • Felicity ~ On a dark, dark day a few weeks into motherhood, I decided I wanted to watch this but couldn’t face going into the messy hall closet to get the DVDs of each season, which I own. And I couldn’t find it streaming anywhere and wept in defeat. Wept like a crazy person. Then I found it on Hulu Plus and all was right again. This, along with A Different World, have made Hulu Plus worth its weight in gold to me. They are like comfort food.
  • Empire ~ This is my new obsession. I thought it would be a guilty pleasure, but then I just end up falling in love with everything about it. Especially Jamal. JAMAL! I spend a lot of time thinking about Jamal. But really — everyone is so good. And the music, as mentioned, is beyond. And noticing Taraji P. Henson as an R.A. in season 1 of Felicity made me laugh and laugh. She is amazing and I can’t remember when I loved a TV character more than Cookie Lyon.


  • I discovered Totally Mommy in my nonstop searches for podcasts featuring Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham and just decided to go back and listen to them all. I’m making my way through them as the age of their baby then matches up with the age of my baby now, usually as we’re strolling the neighborhood for hours on end, and it’s been really valuable both entertainment and info-wise. I really love it. It is a lifeline and a light. Thank you, Elizabeth Laime, Andy, and all of the wonderful guests.

Favorite things on Internet:

  • I am very, very, very excited about all things Hamilton. Just knowing it’s out there makes me happy. As did this tweet.

Best Food Eaten:

Snacks for dinner when my beloved friend from First Descents came to visit.


Pets Still Alive:

Both. My friend Kristen took this photo of Marley, who continues to barf her way through life. Zuko, who hates sirens and alarms, heard about two seconds of crying and decided he wants nothing to do with any baby, any time, anywhere. I think if he’s still alive (15!) when the baby starts dropping food he might change his tune but for now he’s dunzo with us all.


Sipping and Seeing:

Dear friends hosted the loveliest sip and see for the baby … it will always be one of my favorite memories of my earliest days as a mom.


Flowers, Trees, and Plants:

My favorite maternity leave activity has been our walks around the neighborhood. Spring is here, and it is wondrous. The Bob stroller is the greatest investment I’ve made as a mother, and when it gets too hot to walk with the baby, all may be dross. But we’re really loving it for now. I will forever be thankful that my maternity leave fell during spring.

IMG_5630 IMG_5624 IMG_5619 IMG_5618IMG_5447IMG_5308

Best Art:

This photo does it no justice, but I am thrilled to have been given the very first in a series of prints by my sweet friend Madeline, whose creativity and kindness know no bounds. I love it so much, and it is hanging happily in the baby’s room. It is a treasure.


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