Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Finale of How I Met Your Mother or Why I Will Never Let My Daughter Watch my Favorite Show


I get that it's 3 days later, but I feel like I should specify that this blog will contain SPOILERS. Let me just make this clear, stop scrolling if you don't want to know. Because I'm going to SPOIL it for you.

Let me also make this perfectly clear. How I Met Your Mother is my favorite show. I cannot decide if it will ultimately beat out Friends as favorite show of all time, but it has certainly been fundamental in my life for the past few years, taking me through my young adult life as I'm sure Friends guided people through the 90s. I cried before the opening credits on Monday night. Like sobbed, not just shed a few tears. It was the first of many cries.

But the finale was horrendous.

And the more I think about it, the more angry I really get at the writers.

I'd also like to preface with the fact that I enjoyed the premise of the episode. One big issue with finales is that you always wonder, what happened to the characters after the show? This finale answered that, and put me in a new position of not caring what happened after a certain point.

Here's why it was not ok.

1) There was no recognition of the mother. The kids don't even say, we loved mom but it's time for you to move on. They just say, go for Robin. No mention of her death or how important she was in all their lives, just "this is about Aunt Robin." And while they are correct, it is about Aunt Robin, that does not mean that as her children they should discount the fact that she was crucial to all of their lives and it's devastating that she will not get to see them as they grow up. Why even bother bringing her in?

2) The life lessons. This is where I really start to lose it. HIMYM has long been a source of life lessons for its viewers. Some are serious (the importance of friends in hard times; making sure your priorities align with your partner) and some are not (nothing good happens after 2 am - although that maybe the most important).
But here's what I learned from the series finale of HIMYM:
Men get what they want. Women don't.

I'm serious. That's what I saw.

Taking into account that I'm not a super feminist with intentions of burying men under ground, I am a career-driven, ambitious, young professional with aspirations much like Robin to make a name for myself in my given field. I intend to do that regardless of other aspects of my life - husbands, kids, friends, medical issues etc. I think it's important to find happiness in whatever you do, and right now working hard and advancing makes me happy.

Here's how the lives of the men in HIMYM turn out:
Barney - gets to have a child he loves and no commitment so that he can continue to live the lifestyle he has always wanted.
Marshall - Gets to be a judge (his dream) and be a father to 3 lovely children.
Ted - Gets to have his two dream women, his two dream kids (thankfully NOT Luke and Lea), a successful career as an architect, and the house he loves. He gets to trade one woman for the next in the time of his life that he needs them to get exactly what he wants out of both.

Here's how the lives of the woman in HIMYM turn out:
The mother (Tracey) - dies young after the heartbreaking death of her first love.
Lily - gets pregnant again. No mention of her budding art career that has really taken off between seasons 8 and 9, or whether she is happy as a mother or a teacher or an artist of all 3. Just that she's as big as a whale and loses her best friend.
Robin - has to sacrifice her marriage at the time her career finally takes off and she is living the dream (because, obviously, you can't have a successful career AND a happy marriage). Loses all of her friends to her career. And...of course...finally finds happiness when she has a man back in her life, because living her dream has never made her TRULY happy.

Seriously. Watch it again. This is exactly how it goes.

So no. I don't like the way HIMYM ended. And it's not just because I wasted 9 years of my life waiting for Ted to find his true love so we could see the woman that would ultimately fulfill all of his expectations. Or because the show ended in the same cheesy way it started.

Lily and Robin had different life goals. They represented varying lifestyles that women could aspire to. Yet neither of them ended up happy.

I'm so glad I have THAT to look forward to in my 40s.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Adventures in life, or that time I forgot to blog for 4 weeks.

Hello out there world (aka Meg and loyal readers),

At the urging of one of my loyal readers, I felt it necessary to update my blog on the important life journey I've been taking...

It's called gluten free month, or that month that I had to create a willpower within myself.

February and March have been a roller coaster. I put a lot on hold to complete not one, but two half marathons within 3 weeks (Disney Princes, 2/24 and Rock and Roll DC, 3/15), as well as jump back on the wagon as far as the gluten free life goes. So some of my other adventures (cheese tasting, going to new places) took a backseat to constant hours on the pavement and constant whining during the recovery (which is still going on).

However, running in and of itself, was quite an adventure.

I started running (and to clarify, that means the Couch25k program...on the treadmill) in December 2012 right before leaving for DC. I signed up for a 5k in May, thinking it was honestly, not going to happen. Completing it felt great. Even though I went through the race alone, and I was not prepared for the weaving associated with large races, I finished in 32 minutes and felt like I had really accomplished something great.

So I guess I was riding that wave when I signed up for the Disney Princess half marathon.

Growing up in Florida, it seems that every female of college-ish age feels the pull to complete this half marathon. It is the one that all your friends have done, and YOU GET TO BE A PRINCESS FOR A DAY. So this initial decision made on the fly with a couple of my friends didn't seem crazy.

Now the rock and roll half, that was a crazy decision. This race was going to be 3 weeks after my first half marathon (would I even be walking yet?) with a friend of mine who is a good and serious (and fast) runner. But my thought process went like so:

  • It takes 6 months to prepare for a half marathon
  • Ugh 6 months...that's awful
  • Wait, if I run in February I'll already be prepared. 
  • OMG this is so efficient and time-saving!
Seriously, I wish someone had heard me go through this to explain why it was a bad idea. 

And why it was, was this:
It's very commonplace to walk the entirety of the Disney half marathon. I thought, man I've found so many beautiful places to run, and I can definitely up my mileage on the weekends and get to where I need to be. Training doesn't even start until October!
Well kids, you know what else happens in October when you live north of Florida? That's right. Cold, dry air. 
And for those that haven't been tuned in, this winter is one of the worst DC has seen in 25 years. 
Well played winter.

So I started out on a quest to find a running group. I had heard from many of my friends that this was the way to do it, because you will get feedback and have accountability to get up when it is 18 degrees, snowing, raining, and hailing on you (yes...those four things all happened in one morning). My research led me to the Potomac River Running Distance Training Program, and I can 100% say that without Coach T and this group, I would not have made any sort of personal records or met success. 

And honestly, I didn't meet any kind of success with Disney. I would say that I ran it, but the last 3 miles were sort of a run/walk situation. I finished in just over 3 hours (1 minute shy of my goal), and felt defeated, sweaty, and really not ready to continue for 3 weeks. 
Post Disney - Gross and Crying

But fortunately, the Rock and Roll run was a much better experience. After 4 months of grueling winter, we woke to a balmy 50 degrees and sunny, with just enough humidity. The course was outstanding, with lots of turns and interesting things to see, and although I hit my regular wall at mile 11, I managed to finish in 2:28, setting a MAJOR PR and feeling ready to conquer the world. 
Post RnR - less gross

So of course after swearing off running, I signed up for another Potomac River Running program. 

I guess I caught the running bug.

The gluten free month is uneventful. I learned that malted milk balls (aka Robin's eggs, the best candy ever) has wheat flour in it. I also successfully avoided thin mints, several helpings of mac and cheese, free bagels, and most recently falafel. It amazes me that the Jewish community has not done more to provide satisfactory gluten free bagels, but I guess I'm still young and the future holds great things. 

I'll try to at least update next week at some point. But if not then, I'll write you when I write you.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Plight of the Green Jellybeans

This is absolutely a ridiculous thing to write about. But I've dedicated so much brain power to it over the past few days, I can't help but NOT share my story with the world. So they can all know that I am insane.

One of my coworkers has a stocked candy dish always. It's awesome. She even makes the effort to invest in holiday-representative candy (did you all know that york patties are hearts for valentine's day????). One of the office's all time favorites are the jellybeans. Not just any jelly beans, but STARBURST JELLYBEANS. Basically like a smaller version of the best candy ever, that you feel less bad about eating a ton of.

Based on my mild to medium OCD, I can only eat jellybeans 2 at a time of the same flavor (or my mouth will be uneven...yes I'm sharing my neurotic feelings with the world, I'm not ashamed). Obviously I started with the, and for a while I would only eat the pink ones (also the most popular).

When I realized my first plight (running out of pink too quickly) I expanded my preferences to include red. Which, in all fairness, is super lame of me. Because they are basically pink.

So as time wore on, I got more adventurous (and let's be honest, more bored doing the same thing every day) so I took on purple. They were also delicious. So I now had 3 whole flavors I could choose from.

BUT I WANTED MORE. So a few weeks ago I added yellow in to my repertoire. It was a great decision because, no one likes purple or yellow.

However, throughout all of this, one major thing has plagued me. Everyone knows the basic starburst assortment - yellow, orange (ew), red and pink. So here lay before me, a bowl of jellybeans, sans orange (totally fine) but PLUS GREEN.


For months now (yes seriously, months) I have avoided the green jellybeans like the plague, assuming some sort of mint or tree or some other weird greenness. What could they possibly be?

So today...I took the leap...

And they're watermelon.

Now I can more haphazardly reach into the bowl and count by twos of all represented colors.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Adventures in Cooking...Or How I Will Never Learn to Not Touch My Eyes After Cutting Jalapenos

Dill Pickle Dip on my newly knitted potholder
One of my resolutions every year is to learn how to cook/cook more/eat out less/some variation of this project. Last year, I was relatively successful. This stemmed largely from a) moving to DC and feeling like a poor intern and b) having a roommate who also loved to cook. Since those two factors have changed, I fell off the wagon. So what better time to be better than the beginning of a new year?

One of the things I enjoy doing is cooking a lot on Sunday (especially some sort of portable breakfast) and then having leftovers during the week. I've become especially skilled at this since I don't really have the ambition to do anything during the week after work.

Clearly I'm more ambitious with the goals than the blogging :-)

Last weekend I made my OWN salsa verde (minus the cilantro because I'm an idiot) and cooked chicken in the crockpot. I also made dill pickle dip for the super bowl.

Salsa Verde (I didn't take a picture of the chicken)
I signed up for the Slender Kitchen meal plan, which is nice because they have a meal plan option for 2 instead of 4. They also have a low carb meal plan, which is great for when I'm trying to actually not eat gluten. 

The dill pickle dip is a Pinterest creation, from here. It was delicious and I ate it all week!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Adventures in the north...Or that time winter was the worst season ever

This one doesn't really need a blog entry. It's pretty much how I feel every day. 

But the good news is it's supposed to freezing rain again this weekend...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Adventures in Knitting, or How I Gave Myself Arthritis

Last night my friend Sarah hosted the first annual (monthly, recurring) Stitch and B*tch night. Festivities included knitting, crocheting, baking, and w(h)ining. The night was a great success, with some guests (yours truly) persisting until midnight. Not only did I finish my potholder (shout out to Sarah and Katie for supplying me with materials), my friend Tina was able to effectively figure out how to drink wine while using both hands to accomplish a task.

I begin my knitting journey

I used to knit as a child. My grandmother taught me, and I spent a lot of time scouting out her various tools and yarns. I loved the yarn store, because much like every craft store, it's full of hope and possibility. And much like every other craft project, it inevitably ends with me spending too much money, enjoying about a second of it, and then quitting or producing a mediocre project based on my need to finish and move on to the next thing.

The dishcloth pattern

The best example of this in knitting was when I decided I was going to actually make a scarf I would wear. I walked into the local yarn store and promptly picked out the most expensive yarn ball in existence (that might be an exaggeration, but it was $25 and as many of you who knit will know, there are few projects that only require one ball of yarn). After discussing with the woman and settling on a knitting needle size, I begged my mother to let me have the ridiculously expensive yarn. She gave in, and I went home and promptly began to butcher another art project. Three balls of $25 yarn later, I had an hourglass shaped scarf, that went from large at one end to small in the middle and large at the other end. I was not impressed. Not only was the workmanship shoddy, but the insanely expensive designer yarn left black pieces everywhere. However, my mother was able to effectively guilt me into wearing this $75+ scarf at least once, and I can honestly say I have no idea what became of its fate.

It has an eyelet pattern. Not well pictured here. 

Needless to say, I'm not a knitter.

Woah...I'm halfway there...Woah - Oh

But a few years ago my mom took it up, and I have two lovely scarves from her that are not misshapen and utilize different patterns than just knit.

So last night I decided to start up again, with an insanely hard project for someone who hasn't held needles in 10 years. The night was off to an immediate bad start when I went to the knitting store and it was closed. So Sarah suggested I make this potholder, and after a few lessons (yarn on...that one was new to me) I was knitting away as if no time had passed.

The finished product
I finished the potholder (really it's not a potholder, it's more of a thing to set warm dishes down on) and I notice it's still uneven (counting stitches aside). However, I'm proud of it and I'm excited about this new tradition that will hopefully continue with my friends.

It works!
Tonight it will be holding Superbowl dip (to be described in a future blog post). Go Broncos!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Becoming an Adult

So it is 2014, and I haven't done much of anything in a while. I'm not really determined to start up a new blog, but I am making such attempt at change that I feel like I need a way to remember. And also to hold myself more accountable. So this will now be a place where I can document my life changes. If anyone is interested, please read on.

I liked DC so I put a ring on it...
And by that I mean, I made the financial commitment to this city by investing in winter clothes. More specifically, a good coat with a hood. That was my deal breaker for said coat, because my head is cold and remembering extra items of clothing is probably not going to happen. Although it is not down, I foresee that I will be attempting to purchase one of those in the near future (perchance at the North Face sale). But in all seriousness, I made the mental and metaphorical commitment to being in this city for 5+ years. That is a big deal for me, based on how hard I tried to get out of DC about two months ago. But I feel good about where I am in life, and now it is time for me to attempt to get to know this city better.

Explore DC
Since I am committing to this city, I need to make a conscious effort to get to know it better. So far, I'm not doing great with that (although I have been to a bunch of new places in Arlington recently). But this might be a March goal. I have the walking tour book for DC, so maybe if I have a spare moment in February I will go for a short walk and see some sights. But I will definitely make this a priority at some point in the year.

Become more versed in the world of cheese
Anyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that I have one extreme love in the world...and that is any and every form of cheese. So, as I mature (pronounced, ma-too-er) I have decided that my tastes should mature with me. This includes such other things as wine, whiskey and food-to-go (part of that being, to get rid of fast food as a staple of my diet), but mostly it encompasses this goal for cheese. Sometimes I walk by the nice aisle of wine and think, one day I will be able to afford those $50 bottles of wine, and actually appreciate them. But various cheeses have significantly different tastes, and so I have decided to focus my taste buds on that. I even purchased this lovely book to document my tastes (which will hopefully then be translated on to the blog).

Run my first (and second) half marathon
This one is a big deal. I started Couch to 5k a year ago when I moved here. In May I ran my first 5k EVER. Now I am attempting to run two half marathons within a month of each other (Disney Princess and Rock and Roll DC). This is INSANE. But because I knew it was insane, I joined a running group, a social jewish running group, a free running group, and got a running log. Although I have been slacking a little on the running with people thing, I am excited that this has become a part of my life. I have made it to 8.5 miles, and I feel confident I will get where I need to be in the next few weeks. It has certainly been an adventure running in the cold (and living in the cold, and breathing in the cold), but I am impressed with myself at how far I have come. My original resolution was to run an organized race each month of the year, but unfortunately I couldn't come up with one for January. I do feel that running is going to become a regular part of my life, and I can't wait to see what other fun things it brings me going forward.

Read More
This is always in the back of my mind, and always an issue. I love books. Everything about them. I have way too many. But occasionally I go through periods in my life where reading takes a backseat to other things. It happened last fall, and I hit a lull. I was finally able to drag myself out of that lull by finishing a book, and then quickly finishing another one. I think that I had become complacent in what I was reading (I tend to find something I like, and then buy like 10 other books on the subject) and I needed to shake it up. So I made an effort to have my kindle with me at all times, as well as various books in various stages of being read on my nightstand. But, this goal has a double meaning. When I say read more, I mean both read more frequently and read more types of things. I have a subscription to the Washingtonian (again, thank you groupon), as well as a subscription to the Smithsonian magazine (thank you mommy). I want to mix up my reading and make sure I end up with fewer back issues of these (I cleaned them out, and honestly most of them just got moved to the coffee table, there's some good stuff in the Washingtonian). I also want to make a better effort to read the news, whether it's the free metro paper I grab and always throw away (the man who gives them out is so sweet) or the news articles sent out by our communications department every day to keep us informed of the healthcare world. To hold myself to a book standard, I swore to follow the Pi Beta Phi book club list this year, in an attempt to complete at least 12 books. All of which will be kindle so they are easily accessible.

Live better
Super specific I know. But to me this goal encompasses all of the other ones, and more. I want to eat better (and less gluten-ey) in 2014. I want to try new foods. I want to try new things. I want to see more places. I want to do better at work, at home, at BBYO, at making friends. I want to read more. I want to feel better during the days and nights. So this comes with some smaller more specific steps. I am trying yoga and I signed up for a GRE class (thank you groupon). I am spending my weekends doing things, instead of spending 8 hours in bed. I am going to cross train and NOT just run (insert yoga and potentially joining a gym). I am going to take the opportunities, but also learn to say no (this is a biggie for me). I am going to cook more. And I am going to have a more organized life, so I got a new planner.

Keep track of it
Last year I got a 2013 day journal, and I only made it through February. I have been trying to keep track of things (running, cheese) as best I can, but I have a feeling this blog might be the answer. I am going to make a calculated effort to keep track of all of this stuff, and post fun blogs with pictures and stuff. But who knows? It might only last a month. It might be too much. I might get bored or remember how good bread with gluten tastes. Only time will tell.

I will say, I am impressed with this first blog. I even put links in.

And to make it even better, I'm adding in a picture from the new year. To remind myself how well it started out.