Have you seen: “Grace and Frankie?”

Netflix has really been putting out compelling programming lately. We were already addicted to “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” Due to the fact that Netflix releases an entire season at once, Chris can be a binge watcher and wants to keep watching since it is all available right away. I am more of let the ice cream melt mentality. What does ice cream have to do with watching Netflix? As a kid we did not have desserts or sweets very often. Mostly just when we spent time with my grandma. On rare occasions when we would have ice cream, I would often eat it so slowly that the last half of my bowl was runny and soup-like. I was trying everything I could to let it last longer and longer — even to go to such lengths as using a smaller spoon to eat tiny bites. It was such a treat I wanted it to last longer.

I want the same for when I watch a good show. So while I do not want to wait a week to see the next episode, I might only want to watch 1-2 a night and then let it all soak in and start again the next night. Recently we happened across a new show called: “Grace and Frankie.” We watched it like I used to eat ice cream. Enjoying it along the way. We watched the last episode on Saturday and I have to say that I am a bit bummed that we are done with the first season. The show is about two couples, and well…I do not want to give away what happens with these couples, so you will have to watch. Just know that the two couples are played by Martin Sheen, Sam Waterson, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin. Having just finished watching “Newsroom” with Jane Fonda and Sam Waterson, and having loved West Wing, we were hooked. The first episode is a little slow, but it gets better. I also relate to one of the daughters, Brianna, as she is the sassy one.

The episodes are thirty minutes so it is a quick season to watch. I hope it does well for Netflix because I would like to see Season 2. This weekend, we get to start watching the next season of “Orange is the New Black.” Better make sure we have ice cream.

Towards a happy marriage

11 years of marriage. I cannot tell you that marriage is a perfect place. It is full of love, laughter, frustration, emotion, and so much more. I love almost every minute of it, because I am walking forward with Chris. More than being lovers and spouses we are best friends. A best friend that I can truly say anything to at any moment. He might not always like what comes out of my mouth, but at least it is the truth. Here are a few ideas of what I think are steps toward a happy marriage:

Go to bed together every night. If you cannot orchestrate that, then if one is going to bed before the other, come and tuck the other in. I know that might sound old school, or childish, but do it. It will make a difference. It is a way to connect at the end of a long day and allows your spouse to relax. Having said all that, Chris is the night owl and I rarely get to tuck him in. Better yet, what we often do is go to bed together, snuggle, and then the one that is not tired gets to read and/or catch up on episodes of their favorite TV show on the iPad. A win-win situation.

Tell each other what you think as much as possible.

Try not to snap or react. Sometimes we are grumpy, have a poopy day, and we snap. Okay to be fair, Chris is WAY more patient then I am, and I snap way more often than he does. Do not take it personally. You know when your pants feel too tight and you plop down on the floor of the closest ready to explode with tears? Be there for each other at those moments. I know, I know 99% of the time it is the woman sitting on the floor. So to all those husbands out there. Sit down next to your wife and listen to her emotions, her hormones. Just love her immensely on those days.

Eat together at your kitchen table. Do it without your iWHATEVER device, your DVR, or Netflix. Absorb those moments together. We do not do it often enough, but when we do if makes life feel so different. Sad, but true.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Just because you might have been with and lived with someone for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 years does not mean that you should ever stop communicating. I should have made this point first because to me it is by far one of the most important aspects of marriage. Talk it out. Share what is on your mind. Listen. Discuss and resolve.

A happy marriage. No prescription. Just start with respect, love, and a listening ear. It is all up to both of you.

Are you into Orange?

We just finished Season 2 of “Orange is the New Black.” The show is clever, fascinating, complex, and while maybe you figure out the surprises, it still entertains. I remember after watching a few episodes of the first season, I point-blank say to Chris: “I never, ever want to go to prison.” What hell it must be. I am sure that every prison and jail is different, especially depending on its level of security. Regardless of whether it is maximum or lower, I want nothing of it.

“Orange is the New Black” showcases a women’s prison and I can only image what it is like to mix women and men that are locked up. Maybe that is not even possible, which tells you how much I know about prisons…but this blog is not about how much I know about the incarcerated. I did a stint in college for what we called “Community Service” with a local juvenile correctional facility. I facilitated poetry and writing courses with the young men that were in the facility. It was fine to me. I never really felt unsafe. I was definitely a minority, and most of us that frequented were white in a mostly black facility. These boys craved interaction, and having someone focus on them, and so most responded well and seemed quasi interested. Maybe they were just bored, or maybe they had never really been exposed to writing, poetry, and their feelings.

While I was at a fairly nice liberal arts college, the surrounding community was not as affluent, and mostly farming. I am not sure what access they had to literature or exposure to their own writing. Yet since they had plenty of time to themselves each day, writing might have been just what they needed to process their thoughts. And, maybe it was just a way to have interactions with individuals from outside the facility.

Back to the women’s only prison. “Orange is the New Black” was created by Jenji Kohan, the creator of “Weeds” and she is clever. She has taken a mostly unknown cast (with the exception of Jason Biggs, Michael Harney, Laura Prepon, and Pablo Schreiber). Taylor Schilling plays the main character and she has definitely made a name for herself.

If you have not seen it on Netflix, you will want to spend a weekend or two this summer watching both seasons. It will make you appreciate all that you have, your safety, and that being good is not without its benefits.

Let it Go

I have not jumped on the “Frozen” bandwagon. Apologies if that means you no longer want to read this blog post today. I cannot even remember the last movie I saw in the movie theater. I am partially ashamed to say that I think it was Flight. Sad, but true. The movie actually sucked, so maybe that is why I have not been back to have my feet stuck to the floor, and be absolutely annoyed because even though they play a commercial about turning your cell phone off at least 5 times, it is always the guy directly behind you that decides he is going to answer his phone during the movie.

I am more of the wait until it is on Netflix or Redbox type. You know, watch it on your couch in comfy clothes, with a snack, and the ability to comfortably snuggle with your husband. Ah, yes that is the best theater experience for me. Having said all that I am still extremely behind on my movie watching list, but hey Memorial Day weekend is upon us, so catching up on movies is on our list. That and summer is a great time for a few movies here and there, since primetime programming is on hiatus. Although my backyard beckons me much stronger than the boob tube.

I digress. I started telling you about “Frozen.” A friend posted this mother remake of the Frozen song and while I have heard the original version a zillion times on the radio, and while I am not a mom yet, the words to this rendition made me laugh. It would only be that much better if they did it in an actual house (instead of on a stage) then you could get the real feel of a mom, picking up toys, folding laundry, or cleaning up a mess of dishes. If you have not seen it, you might find you will sing these lyrics (instead of the original) while driving. Especially since the song comes on the radio every hour. Enjoy.

Sliding Door Moments

One of my favorite movies is Sliding Doors. When I first saw it I had short hair so I was completely into Gwyneth Paltrow’s short hair style. Yes, that was just the icing. Really I was engulfed in the story that the closing of a train door could completely change your life. You could miss that closing door, and it meant potentially not finding out that your boyfriend was cheating on you. (A story line in the movie).

I think of Sliding Doors often in my day-to-day life. Will this decision impact that decision? Will I regret it later? There have been many of those moments in my life. Taking a specific job, moving across the country, almost every decision we make could be a Sliding Door moment. Even some negative experiences we have can be Sliding Door moments, all based on how we react or respond to the situation.

I have one that I will not forget. I am not going to go into the details of the bad experience, but one night almost 12 years ago, a Sliding Door moment changed my life. I do not know if I would be sitting here writing this with Chris sitting ten feet away from me. That moment meant that instead of doing whatever I would have done that night, I was with Chris, and the conversation, love and support I received from him shifted something inside me and I was never the same again. One door shut and another was opened. I am not sure I would have seen the door open for me otherwise.

The rest is history.

If you have not seen the movie Sliding Doors, I encourage you to Red Box, Netflix, or borrow it from your local library. You will not be disappointed.