Mom

Book Review: Over the Hill on Yellow Brick Road by Cathi Turow

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Creativity has always been the most important aspect of a writer’s success in my humble opinion. Sometimes it’s the golden balance of wit and truth that make a book stand out among others in its genre. When a bloggerCathi Turow, I’ve been following published a book, Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road: Growing Older with Silliness, High Spirits and a Lot of Heart, earlier this year, I marked it as something to look into over the summer. Well summer arrived, and I found myself with a copy of something that sounded like a cross between almost everything. There’s a bit of truth in this off-beat and off-the-beaten-path (oh, that’s kinda funny when you think about the title) of a memoir (if I may borrow from Turow’s blog) combined with the sarcasm and humor of a well-written writer. And it makes sense given a former role was writing for television and children. So why not combine all of these things together in a ~100-page sorta-picture book filled with fantastic themes, imagery, advice and challenges, right?

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Turow’s book was a surprise. I knew what it covered before I dove in, but the world she’s created is admirable and endearing. You’ve heard all the nursery rhymes. You’ve listened to all the corny advice people share about growing older. But you’ve never quite heard it all tied together like this… a mom learning to adjust to the next phase in her life goes for a walk but is swept adrift to a faraway land. She wants only to get home, but at the same time, she feels compelled to help those around her in this land. Sometimes she’s offering the same advice she had once needed or had given to her, but in others, the quirky and memorable characters (don’t even get me started on the cute google-eyed pictures) show her a different way of looking at things. I don’t like to spoil a book, but there’s 1 story that will make you want to take a chance on this book… think of the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. What if she was a sudden empty-nester and considering downsizing? Should she choose a sandal? Or a glove? Or maybe something totally different? Yep, that’s the marvelous tone set for this book from the beginning. And what a fun read it was!

Less than 2 hours, a comfy couch, a glass of seltzer, and I’m laughing my you-know-what off for a while. But then we get to a certain truth about a certain 4-letter word, and I just lost it for a few minutes. Even Baxter (the 15-week puppy I just got) cocked his head and looked at me like I’m crazy. Crazy like a fox, I said… or at least the author is. She’s on to something quite good here and I can’t wait to see what journey unfolds with the next book she’s planning. For now, take a gander at her blog — you’ll LOVE it.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Happy Mother’s Day

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Life begins with the concept of motherhood. The terms are virtually inseparable as you can’t have one without the other under most conditions in the human world. And while mothers come in all different forms, today is the day to celebrate them no matter how they’re part of our lives. Whether it’s our own mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, stepmothers, mothers-in-law, or someone in our family or circle of friends, we all know one or many who have unbelievably touched us for the better.

My own mother is a prime example, and while she doesn’t follow my blog (she’s not online often), someone I know — I’m sure — will tell her about this post. And when they do, they will tell her that I think she’s undoubtedly the most generous, wonderful, and caring woman in my life. She’s done everything she could for me throughout the years and I’ll be eternally grateful. From wisdom to gently knocking me upside the head (figuratively) when I needed to get back on course, my mother is a genuine and amazing role model. Thank you to her for everything I’ve become, as it wouldn’t have happened with you.

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My mother is not the only woman out there who fits into this description. Perhaps you’re one of them. Or you know someone who is. Tell them you love them. Let them know how amazing they are. And so… to all of you who fit this description, you are amazing. I’m glad we’re connected via our blogs, social media, or texting… whatever the form of our communication: Thank you for being part of my life.

***

As a quick aside, motherhood in my first two books is pretty core when it comes to the central theme. Whether it’s Olivia in Watching Glass Shatter trying to reassemble her family after a devastating accident, Amalia learning what it means to have a mother who abuses you in Father Figure, or any of the supporting characters trying to figure out their relationships… women like Janet, Molly, Diane, Sarah, or Margaret, these women all share one thing in common: they are mothers in some way, shape, or form to people around them. It’s in this relationship I find the beauty and energy of love, pain, emotions, and selfless choices. And that’s why it’s always something close to my heart and front-n-center in my books. I choose to celebrate motherhood however I can.

365 Challenge: Day 242 – Cringe

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Cringe: what happens when you start getting text message from your mother as she’s reading your book and about to reach that section

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Today’s post is a collection of video graphics (sorry A, I know these aren’t your favorite, but they are so apropos for a few things that happened last night). As I mentioned previously, my mom has been holding off reading my debut novel because she wanted the physical copy. I ordered it and finally gave it to her this week when she came by for lunch. I might have had a few heart attacks but not for the reason you think. I can take the criticism, we have a good relationship; however, a few things suddenly came flying at me from every angle possible. Yes, if you haven’t read the book, the true danger of some of these items might not make as big of an impression, but if you read it, I know you’re with me on this one. I’m NOT getting Christmas presents this year, I just know it.

  • What if she asks “Is Olivia based on me?”
    • No, definitely not. And that’s the truth. Well, maybe only the good parts.
    • I do not have any siblings, nor do I come from an upper class Connecticut family, so there really can’t be any resemblances.

  • What happens when she gets to the part where Olivia ‘walks in’ on her son, Caleb?
    • Seriously, I don’t want to have to explain any of this to my mother. I’m gonna die tonight, I just know it.
    • No, my mother has never walked in on me in any way, shape or form.

  • How do I explain that love scene between two characters? I named a few body parts… that’s gonna be awkward!
    • No, Mom. I had someone ghost write that section for me. I never read it either. I’m quiet, innocent and shy. I don’t even know what ‘that word’ means!
    • OK, so can someone kidnap me this afternoon before she reads anymore?

I wish I could share more, but I can’t without revealing any of the secrets or scenes that might cause someone to cringe in the book… so I’m left with only one response:

You’ll have to read it to know what I mean!

 

NOTE: My mother does not read my blog nor have any social media accounts. A few of my family members, however, do have access to these posts. I live in fear, cringing right now, at which one of you is going to share this post with her. I will get revenge; you’ll be tortured in my next novel…

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 189 – TV Shows Watched (Top 10)

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TV Shows: the ‘Top 10’ favorite TV show Jay currently watches

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: My Ethnicity
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Meaningful Colors
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held

The next set of 5 Sundays covers the ‘Top 10’ of entertainment options that I spend my time thinking about or doing: Authors/Books I Read (Week 26), TV Shows Watched (Week 27), Countries to Visit (Week 28), Foods to Cook (Week 29), and Pastimes (Week 30). It’s a bit of an unwieldy set of similar items, but these are five leisure activities where I spend a majority of my time, which clearly speak volumes about who I am and how I like to keep myself occupied.

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Next up this week are the TV shows I find myself always recording and watching. It wasn’t too difficult to pick these shows, as I have slowly started to drop a lot from my regular queue given my focus on writing and reading. The ten in this list, in no particular order, are the ones I absolutely adore and will always watch new episodes. There are also a few older shows that I always watch, but they aren’t on the air anymore, e.g. Frasier or I Love Lucy. All in all, this will definitely tell you a lot about who I am!

  • Younger
    • About a 40 year old woman in NYC who gets divorced and pretends she’s 28 to get a job in publishing. While I’m not a woman or divorced, this feels a bit like my life. I turned 40 this year and constantly tell everyone I’m 30 (most of the time they believe it, too!). I quit my job to work as a writer and have been thrown into a whole new world.
    • Josh is adorable (can’t deal with the tattoos — I melt!). Maggie is hilarious. Liza does exactly what I’d do most of the time. I swear they based this show on parts of my life. Season 4 just ended but I can’t wait for the new one next year.
  • Great British Baking Show
    • A cooking show based in Great Britain where 12 contestants have a bake off over ten weeks, cooking delicious desserts and breads based on a variety of challenges.
    • It’s civilized. It’s in the Cotswolds. I could eat everything they make. And it’s always so beautiful. I would like to be a contestant but I’m not from that country. They made an American version, but I’m not interested in it. Mary Berry and the two hosts from Seasons 1 thru 6 made the show. But they all left and I may stop watching. I’ve only seen the first 3, but plan to buy the rest later this year.
  • How To Get Away With Murder
    • A show about students in law school that teaches me how to murder someone? I love it. The acting is superb. The story lines are just insane. But it’s always packed with drama and suspense. Seasons 1 and 2 were the best, and I’m getting a little worried about what’s happening in the last few, but I will still watch. {Scandal used to be in the top 10, but last season made me annoyed, hence it’s #11 of about 15 that I watch now.}
    • My favorite character is of course the primary one that Viola Davis plays. I am scared of that woman. I hope the final season (whenever that is) focuses on who kills her. So many would want to, it would be amazing drama. Yes… I like shows about murder but only because I can enjoy it from a distance! 😛
  • Schitt’s Creek
    • A quirky show about a family who lost all their money and move to a town they bought years ago on a whim. The actors are all ‘out there’ with the characters they play, but the humor is top notch. They all have the same facial expressions and you would swear they are related. Well, actually, the father and son (Eugene and Daniel Levy) are father and son in real life.
    • This one might be my favorite, but I won’t commit. The whole list of shenanigans will have you in tears from laughing so much. The stupidity of the things each family member actually thinks will have you exploding!
  • Who Do You Think You Are
    • A show that helps celebrities trace their genealogy. I love ancestry research and have traced my own relatives back to the 1700s in Germany, England, Ireland and Scotland. Two branches have been in the USA since at least 1750 from what I can tell.
    • I learn new techniques from watching the show and I get to know a few of my favorite stars. Always amazing to learn who has connections to what part of history. Some day I’ll find a branch of my own family there!
  • Modern Family
    • A family full of reality — as you know while watching this, it’s exactly what happens in each of our own families. They capture the weird moments, the loving memories and the hilarity that we all go thru with parents, children, siblings and in-laws.
    • This one has been on the air the longest, and might be starting to go down hill, but for the most part, it still has a good deal of humor. I love the concept of family drama, that’s what I write about in my own novels, so this is perfect storytelling in my opinion.
  • Grace and Frankie
    • About 2 couples in their 70s. The two men leave their wives and marry one another. The two women live together as best friends. They learn how to deal with each other and a bunch of hilarity ensues. I’m not beginning to properly do it justice, but you must give it a chance.
    • I struggle to believe the characters in the two male roles, but the women are amazing! If I name everyone, this post will go on for too long, so just look it up! I did write a post all about this show a few months ago.
  • Mom
    • A comedy about mothers and daughters, alcoholics and a bunch of family dynamics. The best lines come from this show, and the looks between all the actresses are amazing. Sometimes it’s sad, too. Makes you almost cry.
    • It actually takes a difficult topic, and while it teaches you about the impacts of drinking too much, it also helps you learn how to recover. I love how the show isn’t always about just making you laugh. It pushes you to really think about a situation. I did a separate post on this show months ago.
  • American Horror Story
    • No one quite knows what it is about, but each year is a completely different set of characters and stories. They are all connected somehow, but I won’t share any of the theories at this point. It focuses on every possible topic, always includes science-fiction and fantasy, as well as completely weird plots you can’t even begin to understand.
    • We’re on the 7th season at this point with a focus on the impacts of hysteria over the 2016 election results, entitled ‘Cult.’ But it’s also about killer clowns. So I’m not quite sure where it’s going yet. Murder House will always be my favorite.
  • Kimmy Schmidt
    • A show about a girl who was trapped in an underground bunker for 15 years by a cult leader. She moves to NY and has to learn about everything she missed. Every character is over-the-top and unbelievable, but you constantly laugh or shake your head, thinking “it’s funny but I don’t quite get it!”
    • This one has so many different weird story lines, you can’t help but find yourself curious how far the show will go sometimes. And you don’t really need to watch them in order, as it’s often an individual episode with a few connections to prior ones.

A few interesting things pop out at me when I look at this list: (1) With the exception of the two ‘reality-like’ shows, the other 8 all have a main character who is gay. And even in the reality shows, there’s always guests or contestants who are, 2) They all have some sort of extreme component to them, e.g. murder, based on a weird character, and (3) They are primarily dominated by women. If I had to step away from my life, those are actually three things very apropos about my own life, so it makes total sense why I love these shows. It’s a bit amusing when you make this type of list and discover the common threads, huh?

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What are your favorite TV shows? Which ones can’t you miss?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Blog: Happy Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day! As I head out the door in the next few minutes to visit my mom out on Long Island, I wanted to take a few moments to wish all my online friends and their families a very happy Mother’s Day. Many of you are mothers, grandmothers, daughters, granddaughters, sons, grandsons, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, cousins, caretakers, colleagues and friends of the women we are celebrating today. And some of you are mothers too. You deserve all the thanks and love in the world for everything you’ve done through the years.

I also wanted to take a moment to remember any mothers we may have lost this year, and to send lots of love to their families, as it will be a difficult day. My significant other’s mother passed away last fall, and I know it’s going to be a little bit of a rough day, remembering her and feeling that loss on the first mother’s day without her. As well, for anyone who lost their mother years ago, it’s just as hard.

I cherish the time I have with my own mother. We are going to see her today, cook brunch and spend the afternoon together. And I’ll be sure to tell her how much I love her for everything she’s done for me, for simply who she is as a wonderful, caring and giving person, and for putting up with me over the years! 🙂

Have a wonderful day celebrating and remembering the mothers in your life!

Happy Mother’s Day.

 

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. <i>Note</i>: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

TV Show Review: Mom

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4+ of 5 stars to Mom, a 30-minute TV comedy that began airing in 2013 and is currently in season 4. I couldn’t say enough good things about this show, something everyone should be watching if you like to laugh and enjoy a true slice of life. I want to give it a 5, but I rarely do that unless the show has been out and over for years, and holds up well to continue to watch years after it went off the air. But this one is still on the air, so it’s as close as I can get to giving a 5 for a fun viewing!

Why This Show?

  • I watched Allison Janney back when she was on Guiding Light almost twenty years ago as one half of a comedy maid team for the Spauldings. I thought she was hilarious back then and watched her in any movies or shows she starred in. Anna Faris has been my go-to female comedy girl for a long time… LOVE the spoof movies she does.
  • When they teamed up and were going to play recovering alcoholics, and separated mother and daughter, I thought it would be golden. And it is!
  • I watch about ten shows regularly, and this will always be one of them.

Show Overview

  • Christy (Faris) is a newly sober 35-40 year old woman living in Napa Valley, California. She’s been estranged from her alcoholic and pill-popping mother for years, but unfortunately inherited the same tendencies. She’s got an 18-year old daughter (not sure who the father is) who seems like she’ll follow in her mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps, and she’s got a 12-year old son (different father we see from time to time) who spends time with his dad more often than not. Christy’s a waitress and went back to law school to earn a law degree, struggling to survive as a parent, caretaker and recovering sober woman.
  • Bonnie (Janney) is Christy’s mother who raised Christy, but was often in jail or on a bender. She’s witty, sarcastic and hilarious. She’s had tons of jobs, was a lesbian for a few years so she had someone to pay for her habits and take care of Christy. Bonnie finds herself currently a building super, tho she has know skills in managing a building. She re-kindled her love with Christy’s father, but he eventually died of a heart attack in an earlier season.  She never knew her mother, and recently had a one-day introduction, but the woman later died where Bonnie learned she had a half-African-American brother. She’s currently dating a paraplegic man and trying to be more sensitive to everyone’s feelings around her.
  • Bonnie and Christy have spent the last few years re-building their relationship, living together, raising Christy’s kids together and figuring how how to be sober together. They even helped Christy’s then 16-year old daughter give up her new baby for adoption when Violet didn’t want to be a mother.
  • They have a group of friends through their AA meetings who have become an incredible support system and a sense of amazing comic relief.

Notable Stars

  • MY FAVORITE (in this show)
    • Allison Janney is the bomb! She’s been nominated for many awards, and even won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in the show. Her sarcasm and critical style are always on point and the biggest laughs on the show. But she also has a tender side and you will always root for her even when you want to smack her.

  • OTHERS
    • Anna Faris is a close #2 favorite. She plays a similar character as she has in many of her movies, but she’s got more substance in this show. She’s a good mom, but both her kids can be terrible. She tries to be nice to her mother, but she just can’t be — in a funny way. She has a good sense of comedy, a few dramatic scenes, but it’s her frequent snafus that keep us all entertained.
    • Mimi Kennedy plays Marjorie, the older and wiser sober friend who helps them all figure out how to keep moving forward each day. She’s best known for her role in Dharma and Greg.
    • Jaime Pressly plays Jill, the super-wealthy divorcee who wants a baby, but ends up adopting a teenager. She’s best known for her role in “My Name is Earl.”
    • Beth Hall plays nurse Wendy, a whiny friend who is always just one step away from the group. She’s best known for her role on Mad Men.
    • Many stars have joined from time to time, notably French Stewart and Octavia Spencer (who was fantastic).
    • Supporting players include Bonnie’s boyfriend Adam, Christy’s kids Violet and Roscoe, and her ex-husband Baxter.

The Good and The Bad

  • It is a true comedy. It covers so many different life experiences, and you have an amazing time watching them grow season by season.

  • It has a good amount of drama. There is excellent balance. We’ve watched death, break-ups, benders, marriages, births and a lot of heart-ache. Sometimes it’s shocking as you think it’s all comedy and boom, something bad happens.

  • Every episode is its own story. And sometimes, you don’t even realize you’ve been taught a lesson.
  • There’s been a few holes where characters should have stuck around longer. We want to know more about Bonnie’s half-brother. Baxter and the kids have been gone most of this season. Octavia Spencer’s role should be more frequent. Christy needs a good boyfriend for a few episodes.

Final Thoughts

  • You will always laugh, so give it a chance.
  • It’s got so much heart without being cheesy.
  • You root for everyone, even when they are doing stupid things.
  • I hope it lasts another 2 seasons and ends on a somewhat happy note.
  • If you’re going to watch it, you can pickup any episode and not worry about missing history. It’s good to watch in order, but not 100% necessary.  Find the one with Octavia Spencer’s debut… it’s probably the best one out there!

 

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I watch TV A LOT. I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. This site, https://thisismytruthnow.com, is where you’ll find TV & Film reviews, book reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.