90 Day Fiance: The Other Way

Just when you think you can't think more highly of yourself for not being on a reality show, along comes "90 Day Fiance: The Other Way." This is where desperate Americans don't marry for a green card, they set off into lands unknown to marry a foreigner on their own turf. You probably didn't think you needed another franchise of "90 Day Fiance" but you'd be wrong.

First, anchoring our show is Paul and Karine. Now, I'm a huge Paul fan. Ever since he received a blob of him mom's hair before he left for Brazil, I knew this kid was for me. Karine loves stuffed animals and candy and her dad was a cop. Paul has a record and may or may not have set his ex's house on fire. There's some kind of strange charge -- as is the norm on this show. Everyone seems to have a brush with the law, but this doesn't stop them from finding love on the Interweb.


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Now first, as a person who is very careful and probably too cautious, I want to say that I love that people are willing to go to these efforts to find love. I wish they didn't have to, but I'm home watching it alone, so I have to applaud them. They're not letting fear or sometimes, reality enter into the equation and as a romance writer, I can support this. Where would we be if Mr. Darcy didn't ignore his nightmare future mother-in-law and throw caution to the wind? I'm always going to be on Paul and Karine's side because they both worked really hard to make this work. And now they have a baby.

Full disclosure: I have Paul running up the hill on my phone. For some reason, I love this scene and it makes me happy every time I watch it. I can totally identify with, I don't want to have this awkward conversation about my life, so I'm going to run into the jungle and allow you to be robbed at Machete-point. I mean, seriously, where are you going to find this kind of drama?


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A lot of this year's cast is middle-aged women who are going to foreign countries that aren't, shall we say, feminist-centric. Jenny is an older blonde who is headed to India to marry Sumit. If his parents allow it. Judging by how many arranged marriages that I live near here in America, I'm going to say this is going to fly like a lead balloon. First of all, did I mention she's blonde? Ie., not Indian? Well, there's that and there's her age. She's a grandma and he's not yet 30. What could go wrong?


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Laura is 51 and she's flying to Qatar to meet Aladin. This one I don't get. Maybe it's because I have sons, but that dude is too young for you. Who wants to be with a kid? It is just strange to me. I can't find a picture of them. But she's a beautiful woman of 51 and he's...not.

But as I said, I'm on the side of love, so I'm rooting for them. Well, I'm not really rooting for the Mormon guy opening a bar in Ecuador. Mostly because he has to give up his family and his values for his would-be wife. Corey comes from a nice family and Evelin is from a place with no running water and little electricity. That would be fine if I thought she was in love with Corey, but I don't and I think he's going to be sorry. As a mom, I would probably burn his passport so he couldn't go. Just saying.

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There are other couples, but you get the gist. This is quality entertainment. Yes, my son makes fun of me for watching "crap" television, but all I can say is, it's worth it. Thanks TLC.



Manly Milk...

My son is home from college and he drinks a lot of milk. Elle and I went through a quart in maybe two weeks. So I had my AC2 milk that lasts longer and doesn't have lactose. My son looked at the date and said, "What's wrong with this milk? Why does it last so long?"

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"It's easier on your tummy. It doesn't have lactose."

"If you're going to the grocery store," he says, "get me some manly milk."


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Done. We now have manly milk next to the beer in the fridge. My, how things have changed in such a short amount of time. I got rid of three HUGE boxes of shoes, not to mention her mounds of clothes, when Elle left and I had two large boxes of gaming ware come in. It feels a lot bigger around here.

The happy news is that Seth doesn't ask me to make soup at 9:30 p.m. or he won't eat and the dog sleeps later with Seth here coddling her. I have to look at all the good things because I miss my baby girl something fierce.

I am well on my way to finishing my book though, so at least I'm working again. Right? Right.


Southern Charm without T-Rav...

As is well-documented here, I have never liked Thomas Ravenel and I have always seen Katheryn as a victim of her own youth and naiveté. Now that Thomas is gone (accused of some very sordid deeds) the show is fine without him. And I couldn't be happier. We still had to see the clip of Kathryn running pathetically after him on the dock yelling, "Thomas!" Although, even that clip isn't getting as much wear as Austin in his chones. And ewww. We get it, Bravo. It's like, "Shep got a haircut -- cue the Austin in his undies clip."


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Upon news that Kathryn had a liaison with Whitney -- I don't know if this is truth or a producer-created fantasy, but it seems like the latter. That being said, the idea of Whitney in his glasses and nothing more makes me laugh out loud. Getting old is real. That's why you don't belong with women in their 20's.

I love more of Chelsea and I also love that she sees right through the men of Charleston and has moved on with a yachtie from somewhere else. I guess Cameron got the only grown-up in Charleston. I'm not a fan of Naomie without Craig. Yeah, Craig needs to up his game and actually just get up, but Naomie's new choice seems shallow and I worry if she marries him, he will quickly turn into a monster. A monster who has access to drugs that can put you to sleep. Yeah. Not a fan.

Danni deserves the limelight this year. She's played second fiddle for too long. That being said, her "talk" with Kathryn made me so angry. Kathryn just doesn't want to be held accountable and even though she's dating another loser politician with a sex scandal, Danni is just supposed to sit by idly and wait for Kathryn to call. No thanks. I know Kathryn has a lot of issues, but she needs to learn how to have an adult conversation and not just step out every time someone calls her on her garbage.

Anyway, as you can see, I put far too much thought into this show, but there it is for your reading pleasure. Happy Friday y'all!


Art for the sake of the artist...

The California rolling hills are in their glory. The incredible golden grass dotted with the lush, dark oaks. Mmm. Perfection. It's my happy place and it's the season. It makes me want to paint again just for the sake of painting. Ie., art doesn't have to have a point. It can just be there to make the artist feel better. I admit, I have a hard time not being productive, so sitting down to paint feels unproductive. Especially since I can lose hours in the process. But it's also healing and that has value, true?

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I lose time when I write and when I paint. So it seems wasteful. But as I get older I'm seeing that maybe it isn't as wasteful as I once thought. Maybe it's there to help me be present. Do you have a hobby where you lose time? How much time do you allow yourself for that hobby?


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Now that Elle took all my art off the walls, maybe it's time to paint again and fill them up. I have my walls back!

I'm also back to writing so I will look at that as "work" and painting as the hobby. Even though both of them make me happy and my fullest self.


It's MY Turn! Living the Writer Life...

The other day I was in the movies. I saw "Rocketman" -- now I'm not a big Elton fan anyway, but the movie was just okay. I think since my life would be rated "PG" I tend to struggle with some biographies that take me to places I'd rather not be. "Rocketman" was one of those movies. But I digress. While in there, I saw a preview of "Downton Abbey" the movie and I'm uber excited about that one, but I also saw the new ad for "The Art of Racing in the Rain."

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Now the last time I spoke as a writer, I was on a panel between the author of that book (Garth Stein) and Van Jones. Just the three of us. We were speaking on faith in our writing. I mean, how cool is that, right? But Garth is now having a big movie made of his bestseller and Van Jones -- well, Van Jones is busy saving the world. And me? I'm sending my last kid off and feeling like a complete loser. And that's not because they are skyrocketing in their careers and I'm not. It's because I'm not doing what I was placed on the earth to do. I've been doing a job -- that I'm grateful for -- but that also isn't me AT ALL.

We all have to get by. God doesn't owe me anything and I'm so happy for the career I've had while raising four kids. I'm a firm believer in the fact that we're all where we belong and we have to look for the lesson in where we are. However, a few weeks ago, a screenwriter contacted me and wanted me to turn her screenplay into a novel. Okay, she's my kind of people. She's producing reality TV for Bravo and she may or may not have let a curse word slip out while we talked. We've been collaborating on her idea and how to turn it into a novel. (It has lots of time jumps and Old Testament action.) Yesterday, when we talked and I was able to give her feedback on what we needed from the characters and the chapters, I just came to life. This is SOOO easy for me. It's like not working at all.

I may have a tiny rant that it's not fair most men just get to do their jobs. But women have to do their jobs and raise children. I know that's changing and I wouldn't want any career over getting to see my kids follow their dreams, but I'm so happy that it's my turn again. In celebration -- and because my desktop is dying -- I'm getting a new iMac.


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Luckily, the 21-inch model is cheaper -- and I'm too ADD for the 27-inch model. I actually had one and gave it to my kids and went back to the smaller one. In the meantime, one son in southeast Asia riding an elephant, one was in Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge and my daughter is currently at the Grand Canyon. My son who is managing the pool this summer is home with me and just took over my desk with a giant gaming monitor. Do you see my point? They're living the dream. It is SO my turn and mama wants to write! That's my long-winded update to say I finally have time to do what it is I was meant to do and I'm so happy about it!


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I clearly taught my kids to live the good life -- now it's time to take my own advice!


#SouthernCharm & Life's Lack of It...

I got to watch "Southern Charm" in real time last night. Great start to the season. Loved the opening with T-Rav's court details of his salacious accusations. Listen, I saw the abuse and grooming of Kathryn in the first season, but I still held out hope that love to win out. Yeah, that was the naive romance writer in me. I forgot how vile Ashley's behavior was. She was verbally abusive to Kathryn and did T-Rav's dirty work. It was hard to stomach watching it back. I see how Kathryn survived by going numb. She had to. She probably still has to so she can continue to co-parent with her ex. It can't be easy to do as a recovering addict. I'm glad she's got Patricia on her side now to even things out a bit.

I was going to write this in the morning, but we had a bathtub leak -- which is an urgent thing in our household, so I've been out of the house all day. The one day I had to write this week. Someone does not want me to sit at my computer for sure!

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I don't know what was more upsetting, Austin involved in a threesome or his dad bod in his skivvies. That cannot be unseen. Ick. Just wanted a shower after the whole fiasco and if that girl is dumb enough to date him after witnessing that, she's a lost soul. I don't have much hope for her -- Madison was it?

Something about me just doesn't like Shep anymore and I feel bad about this. But he really has few redeeming qualities. It's not cute at his age to be that frat boy who hangs out in bars and picks up different women. Ladies, raise your standards!

Whitney and Kathryn. Seems scripted. I'm not buying it. Also, she has a boyfriend. I hope she ends up happily ever after after the hell she's been through. What a nightmare to go up against a good ol' boy with money in Charleston courts.

Craig and Naomie. Okay everyone is saying Craig isn't over Naomie, and I believe that. But I don't think Naomie is over Craig either. And her boyfriend pushing her at the gym really didn't sit well with me. She says she's so happy, but I don't buy it. I think she was happy making Craig miserable to be honest.

The presence of Eliza was scripted and pathetic. Give poor Kathryn a break. How that Thomas character gets so many flying monkeys to do his dirty work, I will never understand. It looks like it's going to be a great season though and I'm looking forward to it.

I finally watched "The Bachelorette" this morning with Elle. We've both been working opposite hours so we couldn't sit down. I think the producers hate Hannah B. It's the only explanation for that flatline group of guys. I don't understand how Matt Donald is a farmer if he lives in Los Gatos? It looked like a cold farm where he was. Anyway, I was sad to see him go so early. The only other guys I remember are Jed and Tyler. The rest of them all ran together.

I still think it's going to be a good season though because Hannah B is a train wreck in the best way possible. Love her! When Jed took out his guitar, he was my front runner.



No One is Without Sin: #JamesCharles Drama

I'll admit, I only know who James Charles is because of my daughter. Tati, I've never heard of until this drama unfolded. Listen, I don't care what this fight is over, but I full-on do NOT support destroying someone because you're in some kind of fight with them. People make mistakes. No one deserves to have their livelihood destroyed over something so petty.

It's not like he is Harvey Weinstein. James Charles apparently promoted a vitamin brand that wasn't Tati's -- his online friend. In reply, she posts a 43-minute video taking him down for everything from disloyalty to sexual misconduct.

Anyone who unfollowed James Charles because of what someone ELSE had to say is part of the problem. That is straight-up bullying. What do YOU think of James Charles? Why would you let some random person in her person Waterloo speak to you about who to follow?

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This is straight-up bullying and I'm tired of it. No one deserves to be "erased" because they made a mistake. I mean, do you want to be destroyed over one regretful moment? We all have them. I heard on the radio that this woman said James Charles tries to pick up on straight men and makes them question their sexuality.

Really? I mean, if a lesbian were to pick up on me, do I question my sexuality? No, I say, that's cool and move on...back to Mr. Darcy.

Anyway, because of the way he's been treated, I went and followed James Charles. I think it's despicable to take a private battle and try to destroy someone. It just feels evil. I don't know anything about this woman, but I think what she did is abhorrent.

Also, James Charles is 19 years old. He's a baby. This is when you're supposed to make your mistakes. Tati is a 37-year old woman. What kind of woman destroys a 19-year-old kid and thinks it's okay?


#Bachelorette starts tonight!

At first, I was not excited about Hannah B as the Bachelorette, but I have since changed my mind. I think she has an amazing sense of humor and I think she's a lover of truth so she will hold these men's feet to the fire. We need a spitfire Bachelorette!

I don't know about your house, but the Bachelor series has always brought my family together. We love to spill the tea on the contestants and enjoy the different personalities. But admittedly, my daughter and I have a game where if someone walks in front of us in the car, we create their backstories. You know, some guy will pull up next to us in a Tesla and flirt with my daughter and she'll turn to me and say, "He went to Cal. He cheats on his wife, but she knows and doesn't care. He buys her jewelry and she's just glad he doesn't come home often."

Okay, I know, it's a terrible game and it's usually not that mean, but I want my daughter to write and I'm encouraging her to create characters. She is so talented and just won't do it! She finds books are the enemy.

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Back to the "Bachelorette." I love the charming outfit combining the pantsuit for Hannah's feminist side along with the Cinderella imagery for us romantics. Hannah has a crazy sense of humor and very little sense of editing herself, so I think she's going to be great bachelorette.

Before you get all judgey about us watching -- and I know you're out there -- once upon a time we had "All My Children" and Nina and Cliff. Or "General Hospital" with Luke and Laura. Now we have reality television and it's so much more fun! It's like we are all Mrs. Kravitz. (Nosey neighbor on "Bewitched" for you youngins.)

And let us not forget, my favorite show, "Southern Charm" starts up this week SANS T-Rav and that makes me so happy. With the #MeToo movement, he never should have been on television.


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Craig has a new girlfriend. Kathryn has 50/50 custody with her creepy baby daddy (and for those of you who don't know, he's been accused of rape twice and has yet to stand trial. And he did years in prison for cocaine crimes as state treasurer of South Carolina, so feel sorry for this poor young woman who fell victim to his "charms."


Vegas, Baby!

So I'm thinking of moving to Henderson, NV. Here are my reasons. It's affordable. It's near a major airport and I can see concerts. Because I love concerts. So I'm planning a trip there with my future daughter-in-law and she asked if I wanted to see a show. I said, "YES!" And then, she asked what I wanted to see.

Okay, I'm too nervous to watch Cirque du Soleil. So I can't do that because I won't enjoy it. I want to see Barry. Yes, I've seen him a million times, but he's BARRY! I don't know if I can do that to my DIL. She just learned who Adam Ant is, is it really fair to expose her to Barry so early on in the relationship?

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The thing is, she's such a sweetheart, she would go. Yesterday, I was on my way to see her (she gave me a fantastic facial for Mother's Day!) and I heard this woman on the 80's radio. She was calling from Henderson, NV and was going to see the Violent Femmes that night. I mean, that's my future! It was a sign.

Actually, it looks like Fremont Street has a lot of concerts that are right up my alley, so I will have a fun life there I think. Plus, I will be one hour by plane from any of my kids and they can descend on me when they need to. Doesn't that sound awesome? Not awesome is the heat, but since I rarely go outside, I think we're cool there too. Everything is air-conditioned.

Getting excited to check it out and see if it's for me. I've never been to Vegas outside of the airport, so it should be interesting.


Working out with MS: Pilates

Okay, I'm not a fan of exercise to begin with -- so let's start there. I like to hike, I used to like to run (when I could) but my dropfoot has taken hold and I can't run any longer. So I've had to seek alternative workouts.

Let's look at my neurotic excuses, shall we?

*I hate gyms because I'm an introvert and it's too much noise and people. (Ick.)
Not to mention I'm a bit of a germaphobe -- so there's that. End of gym.

*Yoga died a sad death for me because my balance is so bad (vertigo) and that would be fine in a roomy studio, but in Silicon Valley, that doesn't happen, so I feel crunched and like I'm going to fall into someone. End of yoga.


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Enter Pilates: I thought Pilates was something I could do because you get your own little station, so if you fall, you fall into machinery, not some innocent bystander. I found a free class on Instagram and I took it. I made it through the whole class and it was zen and kicked my butt. Okay, maybe we have something here, I thought. So I signed up for four classes a month. I may take more as I get stronger, but for now, that is more than enough, I still hurt from class. So it's keeping my muscles strong without getting heated (another important factor in MS workouts because if you get hot, your multiple sclerosis acts up and then you have more symptoms.)

It's really tough on your core, which is exactly what I need and it's scheduled so I have to go or I pay for nothing. And I'm cheap that way. When I pay for something I don't want to do, I can't afford to miss it.

So for now, I think Pilates is really going to work for me. It's not cheap, but if it keeps me strong and upright, that is worth every penny. Plus, I'm vain, so I need to stay in shape because I don't want to wear ugly clothes.

I'm writing today. This post is my warm-up. I already did some editing and now I write...