Thursday, March 31, 2016

The End of an Era on Criminal Minds

Since I'm writing about this over a week after it happened, I don't think I have to do a real *SPOILER ALERT*.  But just in case you are a Criminal Minds fan and haven't watched last week's episode yet, and don't have any idea what happened... you may want to stop right here.

Not that I really care, because it got ruined for me too.  Damn peeps on Facebook who had to post about it before I saw it!!!

In any case.  It is a depressing dreary rainy day here, so I decided to go with a depressing dreary topic. As you know if you've read my blog for any length of time, I have a love-hate relationship with the show Criminal Minds.  I really love to watch it, as long as it's not dark out or near bedtime.  If I DO watch it after dark or near bedtime, then it often creeps me out so much that I have to sleep with a light on.

I'm a tough chick, yo.

One might wonder why I put myself through the agony of watching something that can freak me out so badly.  What's the point?  Well, I'll tell you the point.  And that point is a certain holy-hell-handsome actor named Shemar Moore, better known to CM fans as Special Agent Derek Morgan.

That's right.  It's worth it to watch a show about the sick, twisted minds of disgusting criminals and what they can do, if it means seeing a certain sexy man swoop in to save the day at the end every time.

And for 11 years, that's exactly what SA Morgan did on the show.  He was there from the very beginning, and every episode thereafter.  He was the macho protector.  The ultra-hot superhero.  The delicious utterer of the words every woman (especially Penelope Garcia) would die to hear him call them:  "Baby Girl."  He was a constant comfortable reassurance and delectable eye candy on each and every episode.

Until last week.

Last week, he made his exit from the show.  And hearts across the nation broke.

For me, the news came in a few Facebook statuses and link shares from friends.  A few even declared that their days of watching Criminal Minds were over.

I'm not that kind of kid, though.  I remember people saying that when Mike Fisher got traded from the Sens, that the team had lost them as a fan.  I remember people saying that when Dr. McDreamy was killed off Grey's.  (I don't need to put a *spoiler alert* on that, do I?  It happened like a frigging year ago.)  But that's not my style.  I'm still hanging in with the Sens (even if it I am lacklustre in my support lately, boo to not making the playoffs), and I still religiously watch Grey's each week (Alex Karev is enough for me).

And truly, there's still enough to keep me with Criminal Minds too.  I didn't see last night's ep yet, but I like the other characters on the show enough to keep tuned in.  I'm especially a fan of Dr. Spencer Reid, maybe even more so than I loved Morgan, so he alone will keep me watching.  (In the daylight, and not close to bed time, of course).

But it was still pretty sad to see him go.  Shemar Moore is one sexy creature, so it's a shame to not have him on my TV screen each week.  I can only hope he'll have other projects lined up that will keep him in my television/movie life going forward.  It won't be the same, of course.  I'll miss him on Criminal Minds, particularly in the adorable flirtatious interactions he shared with Garcia.  He will be irreplaceable, especially in that regard.

But I'm also holding on to hope that he might return, even if it's in a guest role from time to time.  I mean, he wasn't killed off the show.  His character didn't die a fiery death.  He didn't leave in a coffin.  He simply decided to leave the BAU to be a husband and father.  And for those of us who were fans of his as Malcolm on the Y&R, we know that every so often he makes a re-appearance on that show as well, just keep the hearts a-fluttering.

We can only hope.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday Loves

Happy Wednesday, pals!

Feels like the days are just flying by, and I can't believe April is right around the corner now.  Thought I'd pause today to just take a breath and reflect on the things I'm loving right now.

  • I know this is old news by now, but I'm loving Netflix.  It has been in my life for almost a month now, and it hasn't gotten old yet.  So far, I've been through Fuller House, Making a Murderer, and The Mindy Project, and I'm now getting into Suits.  I've also watched a couple of movies and documentaries, most recently revisiting a childhood favourite by watching Homeward Bound with Caden & Danica on our Sunday night sleepover.  They loved it (and so did I!)
  • I love the lingering Easter treats around my house... I still have Reese's PB cups (in pastel colours, of course), mini Caramilk, Creme, and Milk Chocolate Eggs, Cadbury Mini Eggs, jelly beans, jujubes, and a delicious Lindt Gold Bunny.  I know I shouldn't be loving them as much as I do, but man, have I got a sweet tooth these days...
  • Loving the sunshine that is extending on into the evenings now.  I really don't mind the shorter, dark days of winter - really, I quite enjoy them - but it is nice to have brighter evenings back again.  One of these days I'm gonna get my butt up and go for a walk after supper, I swear.
  • I know I already mentioned The Mindy Project, but I really do love that show, and I was a little bit shattered when I came to the end of the episodes on Netflix on Saturday morning.  I love Mindy's confidence and sense of humour, I adore her BFF Morgan, and I literally fell in love with Danny Castellano.  Things didn't exactly leave off on a good note, though, and I'm dying to find out what happens next!
  • I'm loving the new frying pan that the Easter Bunny left for me this past weekend!  It is so pretty!  My pots and pans and dishes are a rag-tag bunch of hand-me-downs, gifts from family and friends, or cheapies I've purchased myself over the years (the cruelty of never getting your own bridal shower.  *sigh*) so it was nice to add a really good quality pan to my collection.  So cool that I need little to no oil/butter in it too!  Sweet!
  • Did you guys see Wentworth Miller's response to the Internet meme about him that went viral this week thanks to the online group called The LAD Bible?  Here's the link if you haven't seen it, but basically this Facebook group posted a photo comparison of the actor, one photo at the height of his Prison Break fame, looking all sexy-shmexy with the big body tattoo that was so pivotal to Season 1 of the show; and the other from 2010, after the show ended, and he had gained some weight and wasn't looking quite so hot.  Of course, the Internets were having a hey-day with it, and I had seen it pop up in my newsfeed a few times, but I was so proud when I saw Wentworth Miller's eloquent, poignant reply to it.  First of all, that a celebrity would take them to share his thoughts, to remind people that this kind of thing hurts, that everybody has feelings, including famous people, and that no amount of fame or money can stop depression or prevent one from being hurt by something like this.  He reminded people to think before they speak and poke fun, to be mindful of others feelings, and to be kinder and more respectful of everyone, of all walks of life, because you don't know what it's like to walk in another's shoes.  I have always had great respect for Wentworth Miller, but it grew ten-fold when I saw what he wrote.  The world needs more people like him.
Well, I think that's all I've got for today!  I hope you're all having a great Wednesday, and take a moment to look around for the things that you love :)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

5 Things Thursday: Hoppy Easter!!

Following suit with some of my fellow bloggers and doing a post on the 5 things I love about Easter!

1. The Easter treats!  I like treats of all makes, shapes, and sizes, and Easter is no exception!  Currently in my home, I have mini Reese peanut butter cups, Lindor eggs, Cadbury Mini Eggs, an assortment of mini Creme Eggs, Caramilk Eggs, and regular chocolate eggs, jelly beans, bunny-shaped ju-jubes, and I know that my mom has her Easter tree set up with each branch holding a bigger chocolate egg.  YUM!  I can't wait to get into all of it!!

2. Easter morning festivities, including church & brunch.  There's just something so festive about Easter morning!  I feel like everyone comes to church in bright colours to celebrate spring, and it's so nice to sing upbeat, celebratory hymns, and see the kids in their cute little Easter Sunday outfits... then after church, we usually go out for brunch to one of our favourite spots, the Norway Bay Golf Club.  It's always delish!

3. The meal with family.  For the past few years, we have diverted away from traditional turkey and gone with another big favourite:  ham, meatballs, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, coleslaw, buns, pickles, cheese... I feel like Christmas turkey was just the other day (rather than three months ago!) so I'm quite happy to foe-go it for this meal instead.  Can't wait!!

4. Having a long weekend.  OK, this is actually a bittersweet long weekend for me, because I have long weekends all winter long, and usually Easter is the last one before I return to work full-time.  The busy season is upon us, and that means I'm back to five day work weeks after Easter.  Still, I'm excited for the four-day weekend - I hope to get some reading done, and of course spend lots of time with Netflix!

5. The official beginning of spring.  Yeah, yeah, I love winter, I love snow, and I am just a teensy bit secretly excited that we are getting a spring snow storm today.  I might get one more chance to "hunker down & hibernate"!  But I have also reached the point where the sight of +10 temps over the weekend make me happy, and I like the prospect of going for long walks outdoors.  Going out without a toque and winter coat on.   Wearing flip flops.  Easter feels like the official unveiling of all that comes with the new season, and I'm excited!

Wishing you all a Hoppy Easter!! :)

Monday, March 21, 2016

This weekend, I...

... had my first trip across the river on the Quyon Ferry!

... enjoyed a day out rambling in Kanata with my mom and our friend Donna.

... got my Easter shopping done.  I have Reeses PB cups in lovely pastel colours & other assorted Easter treats floating around my house now... I'm in trouble!!!

... saw the movie Eddie the Eagle and I LOVED IT!!  Such a feel-good movie, and an inspiring story. I remember hearing my dad talk about Eddie the Eagle when I was a kid, so it was fun to see this movie.  I highly recommend it!

... went to a Paint Nite with friends at Oh So Good in Ottawa.  It's probably my least favourite painting I have ever done, but I SO enjoyed the day out with the girls!

... ate out too many times!! LOL  But it was all soooo good... I had dinner at Kelsey's on Friday night, followed by a Caramel Machiatto at Starbucks for the drive home; I had a piece of Lemon Parfait cake and a White Mocha at Oh So Good; we had dinner at St. Hubert's on Saturday evening; and I had brunch at Chuck's after church on Sunday.  I was literally not even hungry by dinner time on Sunday, and I think I know why...

... I watched a LOT of The Mindy Project on Netflix.  I am so in love with Danny Castellano, it's not even funny.  I just like saying his name.  Danny Castellano... Danny Castellano... it just rolls off my tongue so nicely! ;)

... I TRIED to get into Suits, but no dice yet.  Eleventy billion people have recommended it to me, so I know it must be good, but it took me two evenings to get through the first episode (I kept falling asleep) and I still haven't made it through the second episode without falling asleep.  I haven't given up on it though.  I think it's because I'm enjoying Mindy so much that I just want to keep watching it instead of getting into something else.

... I discovered the joy of taking my laptop to bed with me and watching episodes of The Mindy Project in bed, all cozied up in my jammies. Bliss!

... OH!  I fell out of bed again.  Remember the last time that happened?  Well it wasn't as bad this time.  As in, I didn't feel like I broke my neck.  Just a bruised wrist this time. I also remember what I was dreaming about this time, and there was someone in my room throwing my iPhone and I had to jump to grab it.  But my foot got tangled in my sheets when I went to dive out to "catch" it, and I flopped onto the floor.  That's when I woke up.  But I was still disoriented I guess, because I kept waiting for my sister to come and check on me.  I felt like the whole house shook when I landed, so I was sure I'd wake her up.  It literally took me a few minutes before I remembered that my sister doesn't live with me... so weird!

... I took pics of my niece Danica, because she demands to be my "photo of the day" for my Project 366.  Lucky for me, she's a great little model :)

... I watched one of my favourite movies with my mom On Sunday afternoon - Jersey Girl.  I think Mom really liked it too!

And that's a wrap on the weekend!  Hope you all had as much fun as I did! :)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Weighing in on the Steven Avery case

One of my main reasons for desperately wanting to get Netflix was so that I could watch the Netflix original documentary series I'd been hearing so much about these past few months, Making A Murderer.  The 10-part series debuted in December 2015, and has had viewers in an uproar ever since.  I needed to know what the fuss was all about.

As most of you probably already know - either from watching Making A Murderer, or hearing about it in the news - the series is filmed over the course of 10 years, and follows the case of Steven Avery, a man from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin who spent 18 years in prison for a rape and attempted murder he did not commit. He always claimed his innocence, and he was eventually exonerated after further DNA testing proved he was not the man responsible for the crime.  Released from prison in 2003, Avery filed a $36 Million lawsuit against Manitowoc County, its sheriff, and its district attorney, but before that lawsuit could be settled, he was charged with the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.  He finds himself back behind bars only two years after his celebrated release, along with his alleged accomplice, his 16-year-old nephew, Brendan Dassey.  Once again, Avery claims innocence, and insists that the Manitowoc County police department have framed him and Brendan.

I watched Making A Murderer with interest.  All I had heard since it's release was that people were horrified at the corruption in the police and legal systems in the United States, and a lot of certainty that an innocent man - or two innocent men, actually - had been put away for life.  I was expecting to be convinced of this as well.

But I wasn't convinced of this, at least not in Steven's case.  Not at all.  Yes, there were a lot of things presented in this case that didn't make a whole lot of sense.  There was a lot of evidence stacked against Steven Avery that just didn't quite add up.  I definitely had some doubts, and questions that were never answered, unfortunately.

But I also didn't walk away from this series convinced that the man was innocent, either.  I don't think Steven Avery is an angel.  He may not have been guilty of the rape and attempted murder he was charged with in 1985, and I certainly think it's a terrible injustice that he spent 18 years in prison for that.  But I gleaned from the early stages of the series, and from research I have done on my own, that this man wasn't exactly a fine, upstanding citizen either.  He isn't terribly smart, he and his brothers have a history of abuse against women, he once doused his cat in gasoline and threw it in a fire, he had been in jail several times before the rape and attempted murder charge... calling him "rough around the edges" would be putting it mildly, I think it's safe to say.  Could he be a murderer?  I can't say without a doubt that he is not.

The person I felt sorry for, and who I DO think is behind bars for a crime he didn't commit, is Steven's nephew, Brendan Dassey.  Brendan was 16 at the time of the murder, and as was stated clearly many times during the series, he is not the brightest crayon in the box.  I feel the investigators and police took advantage of that.  The footage of him being questioned by police left me feeling sick to my stomach.  The coercion that took place was despicable.  They interviewed Brendan without his parents' presence or permission on several occasions, demanded Brendan tell them the "truth" even though he insisted he was innocent and didn't know what happened, and then promised to stand by him if he told them what they wanted to hear.  "Tell us, Brendan.  Tell us what happened.  Don't lie to us, Brendan.  Do you want to spend the rest of your life in prison?  Tell us the truth and we'll make sure that doesn't happen."  Then they'd drop hints of what they wanted him to confess to.  "What happened to her head, Brendan?  What did you to do her head?  Something happened to her head, Brendan.  What did you do?"  The kid was clearly guessing most of the time, trying to come up with the answers they wanted from him, just so he could get back to school.

What resulted from these forced confessions was several different stories over the course of several different interviews.  Brendan's story kept changing.  For starters, the timeline of events seemed to change frequently when he would relay what happened.  He told them they killed Teresa Halbach in the bedroom of Steven's trailer, then he switched it to the garage.  One scenario had them stabbing her and cutting her throat on Steven's bed, the other had Steven shooting her in the garage.  Sometimes he said they burned her body in the fire pit behind Steven's trailer, the next he would say he didn't know what happened to her body.  He was all over the map, and I do believe that it's because Brendan was lying to try and satisfy the police.  And because he lacks intelligence, he couldn't keep track of all of his lies.  But by the time he decided to take it all back and re-iterate his first statement that he had nothing to do with it, it was too late.

The other people I felt sorry for were Steven's parents, Brendan's grandparents, Dolores and Allan Avery.  In their interviews, they always struck me as being good people at the core.  Rough around the edges, for sure, but not bad people.  They ran a family business that appeared to do well, they kept their family close to them, and they tried to do what's right by all of them.  After fighting for their son's freedom for 18 years and finally having him back, I can't imagine how upset they would be at losing him again only two years later, and this time along with their grandson, too.  They clearly aren't young, and I think Steven's troubles with the law have taken a grave toll on them.  They are weathered.  They are angry.  They are sad.  And they are standing by their son and grandson no matter what.  I have respect for them, at least by what was portrayed of them in the series.

Last, but certainly not least, I felt sorry for the family of Teresa Halbach.  I can't even fathom what those people have been through.  I never want to know what it's like to lose someone you love in that way, and then to have it drag on in court proceedings for years.  To have to sit there, and hear over and over again about the horrible things that happened to her.  To finally have the case closed, only to have it re-opened, appealed again and again. And I don't know about them, but after the suspicions and questions that this documentary has brought forward, you must always wonder if the real murderer is, maybe, just maybe, still out there...

I'm a pretty innocent, gullible person.  I want to believe that the cops are the good guys.  I don't want to think of them as corrupt... I don't want to believe that they plant evidence, or coerce false admissions, or send innocent men to jail because they want to.  And truly, some of the police officers who took the stand and were grilled for doing just that... well, they didn't seem like slimey, slithery, corrupt people to me.  They really did seem like good guys who were horrified that their integrity was being called into question by the defence.  And I really do want to believe that they are good guys caught up in this mess.

But am I convinced of that?  No.  Sadly not.  Not one bit.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

In honour of St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd share some of the snaps I took as I was hob-nobbing around town, taking in some of the legendary St. Pat's celebrations that are hosted in my little town this past weekend!

We'll start with the Irish Tea that the young women at our church (including me) hosted on Saturday:

This is the "basket full o' Irish fun" that we put together and sold tickets on.  This basket was AMAZING - chock full of so much fun Irish and green stuff!  Everything from wine and Bailey's, green tea and candy, toys, scarves, dish soap, candles, dish clothes, scone kit, green macaroons, a shamrock plant, a notebook, and SO much more!  I was secretly hoping I'd draw my own name - LOL - but the lucky winner was Judy Stephens from Bristol.
I took this photo of Mrs. Elaine Bronson (front right), with her daughter Shirley-Mae, great-niece Lindsay, and niece-in-law Susan (going clockwise).  Elaine was like a celebrity on Saturday - she sat at her table and people came to visit and greet her the whole duration of the Tea.  She will be 99 this June! :)
A photo of my mom visiting with the Graham sisters - Vera, Glenna, and Bev
Our minister Rev. Nancy with her grandson Quentin and hubby Reg
Cheryl is well-known in our community as "the" photographer - she is at almost ever social event in town with her camera and takes some amazing photos.  I jumped at the opportunity to snap a pic of her for a change! :)
 Miss Maddy, decked out in her best green!!

Later that day, the Quyon Legion hosted a big St. Patrick's Day Kitchen Party... one of these years, I'm going to that party, as I always hear it's a blast!  But I missed it again this year, as I had another paint day booked at my neighbour Shannon's!

Sunday was the day for the infamous St. Pat's Party at Gavan's Hotel - what they call "the grand-daddy of them all"!!  I actually wasn't sure I was going to be at Gav's, but my friend Brenda twisted my arm and talked me into it.  I have to say, I was very glad I went!  We had a great time chatting with folks and listening to some awesome Irish tunes... and I got some great pics, too!!

 Love it when Grand Champion Fiddler Louis Schryer gets stepdancer Chris Last up on the tables... always a highlight of the day for me!
 Fiddling on the tables

 With Leslie & Brenda
 Green as far as the eye can see!
 Cindy, Jill, Les & Brenda
 Two of my fave Quyon gals... Mae & Gail :)
 The hostess with the mostess, Gail Gavan, leading an Irish sing-along
 With my cousin Kayla & her friend 

 Brenda with her Aunties, Sally & Betty 
 Mitchel, Chelsea, and Brenda sayin' CHEESE!
I don't know how Brenda and Chelsea did it, but they got Gav's owner Nick to stand still long enough for a pic.  This man goes like a house on fire on St. Paddy's Day, he literally never stops moving... I'm glad they got him to pause for a second!

So for me, it kind of feels like St. Paddy's Day is pretty much over before it has even really begun!  I'm trying to cook up something fun to have for a St. Pat's supper tonight, though, to celebrate in some small way.  Wishing you all the luck o' the Irish today!  Happy St. Paddy's Day!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sorry, I been Netflixin'

The last time I posted, I was a ball of stress because I was waiting on Internet.  And I was waiting on Netflix.  And I was convinced that somehow, that would all go wrong for me.

It didn't go wrong.  The internet installation guy showed up as scheduled, he got me hooked up with wifi, and shortly thereafter, I had downloaded the Netflix app to my Wii, and I was in business.

Do you guys know how cool it is to finally step into the 21st century?!  I feel like I've finally "made it"!!!  FINALLY!!!  This step - getting internet and getting Netflix - was one of my biggest goals for 2016, and I am now able to cross that one off the list. phewf!

So, yeah... that's what I've been doing pretty much ever since.  The morning after I got the Internet & Netflix, I woke up with a bad cold.  Ok, bad cold might be a bit of an exaggeration... if it had been a work day, I'd have gone to work and I've have been functional.  But I felt tough and my head was heavy.  Coincidentally, I had absolutely zero plans for the day.  Like, I didn't even have house cleaning or laundry or dishes to do.  So I 100% took advantage of a couch day, and spent the whole day soaking up the Netflix experience.

I started with Fuller House.  Of course.  I had been psyched about the new generation of one of my favourite childhood shows ever since I heard they were re-launching it, this time following widowed DJ Tanner-Fuller cope with raising her three sons, as she relies on the help of sister Stephanie and bff Kimmy Gibbler.  My goal had been to have Internet & Netflix in time for the February 26th debut, but I fell a week short of that.  Mainly because in my head, I would call and have internet installed in my home within a day or two... apparently it doesn't work that fast, at least with the company I'm dealing with.  It took two weeks from the time I first called them before they were able to get me set up.  So that threw me a week off my "plan".

But Fuller House was still there waiting for me when I finally caught up with all the cool kids. ;)  I watched the whole season that Saturday.  All thirteen episodes.  And I adored it.  It was cheesy and dorky and silly, and yet all so heart-warming and comforting.  They really kept the spirit of the original Full House intact, with enough flash-backs and references to the past, enough guest appearances from Danny Tanner and Uncle Jesse and Becky and Joey to satisfy those of us living in the past, and yet also enough new characters and storylines and cute kids to draw in new audiences.  (My niece and nephew, Danica and Caden, watched a few episodes with me, and loved it.)

I literally spent that whole Saturday trying to decide who DJ should fall in love with... old boyfriend Steve (still a total cutie!) or new hot vet co-worker Matt... DJ and I were both unable to decide. lol

Oh, and as if watching a whole season of a TV show in one day wasn't enough, I also took a break somewhere in there and watched Titanic.  I'd been craving it ever since Leo won his Oscar.

Believe it or not, by the end of that day, I felt like I had cabin fever, and I seriously felt like I needed a break from Netflix.  eeep!!  I'm so not in Netflix Marathon shape yet!!!

Since finishing Fuller House, I started up two other shows that I'm currently watching.  One is the Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer.  I'd heard so much about it over the past month or so, that I just had to check it out and see what it's all about.  I'm 8 episodes in, and I'm finding it very interesting.  Still unsure how I feel about this whole Steven Avery situation, though.

The other show I started into is The Mindy Project.  I love love love this show!!  First of all, Mindy Kaling, as single 30-something gynecologist Dr. Mindy Lehari, is hilarious.  Like, makes me laugh out loud when I'm watching the show.  Second of all, I have developed a crush on Chris Messina, who plays her friend and co-worker Dr. Danny Castellano.  I'm maaadly in love with Danny right now, and can't wait to watch a few episodes of him each night.  The whole cast is great, they're so funny and I'm really enjoying it so far, about half-way through the first season.

The Netflix possibilities that lie ahead for me are endless... My list of shows and movies to watch is a mile long, and I'm always finding new ones to add.  I think once I finish Making a Murderer, I'm going to dive into Suits as it comes highly recommended by a few friends... and I can't wait to see what it's all about!

So... that's what I've been up to.  Just adapting, and learning to live in a house that has wifi access and Netflix.  It's a whole new world for me.

And I'm lovin' it! ;)