Thursday, April 7, 2016

Goodbye, Idol

“American Idol” is ending forever tonight. I know not everyone loved the show, but dammit, I did. Every year, after coming down from the high of the holidays, I staved off the looming winter blues with one thought: “Idol is returning soon!” The instant I heard Seacrest (oh, Seacrest. I think I’ll miss you most of all) proclaim, “THIS. Is American Idol!” followed by the bumping theme music, I felt happy. I couldn’t help it. Now it’s all going to be over soon, and I’m already afraid of what will happen next January in its absence. Will it be like the return of autumn every year after I graduated college when, as soon as the weather started to change, I thought, “Wait? Aren’t I supposed to be going back to school now? I should get packing!” When in reality, no, all that awaited me was day after day of the real world, with jobs and bills and blech. No doubt January will return, and I’ll feel that swell in my heart letting me know that something good is about to happen, then the truth will destroy me, much like La’Porsha has done to all who dared to compete with her this year. (Seriously, if she doesn’t win, I’ll...what? Stop watching the show. Ugh. Sob.)

I may be being a tad over-the-top here. But what ode to “Idol” would be complete without some cheesy theatrics and intentional tugs on the heartstrings? To cheer myself up and emotionally brace myself for tonight’s loss, I’ve decided to put together a list of some of my favorite “Idol” moments. Some happened on the show. Some happened in my real life. All made me happy.

Thanks, “Idol.” I’ll miss you!

In no particular order:

  1. Season Five, when my whole family bet on who would win. We put names in a fishbowl, and I got Katharine McPhee. I liked her well enough, but I loved Daughtry, so I wasn’t too concerned with winning. Then, the unthinkable happened and Daughtry went home (I mean, biggest Idol eff up ever? Debatable, but up there). It was me and my Uncle Jack with Taylor Hicks left in the finale. I’d never been more sure of anything in my life - that win was mine. I’d all but pocketed my winnings when Seacrest announced that Hicks had beat McPhee, and I stared, mouth agape, at the TV screen for the next three days. And do you know, that when me and fam went to the “Idol” tour that year, McPhee didn’t even show? And then she went on to star in “Smash,” which I LOVED but it was cancelled after just two seasons. Katharine, I try so hard to be your fan. Why must you always bring me such pain?

What even?

  1. The year Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr., and Randy Jackson performed at the finale, starting with “True Colors” then going into “Go Your Own Way.” Way fun, and played back on my DVR many times.

  1. The years when, once it got whittled down to the Top 10, Justin and I would randomly divvy up the contestants between us and whoever’s contestant won got a whole day to do whatever they wanted. I mean, I didn’t really like Scotty McCreery, but his win got me a day at the winery, so I’ll take it.

  1. Season Nine - the year I watched the entire season with Becca, and every single time Siobhan Magnus came on stage, we both looked at each other and said, “How in the hell do you pronounce her name again?” Then screamed CEE-O-BA-HAN! every time the camera panned to her from that point on.

  1. The year “Idol” filmed in Pittsburgh and Justin got to go shoot it for work. I thought he’d come home super psyched to tell me about meeting one of his favorite performers, Steven Tyler. I don’t think he even realized Steven Tyler was there. Jennifer Lopez had walked by him wearing a pair of shorty shorts, and I think he blacked out until much later that day. “It’s like she’s not even human,” he said again and again for the next forever. It’s kind of freeing knowing the standards of beauty I have to live up to in his mind are 1,000 percent unattainable. Hand me that cheeseburger!

  1. Getting to see my celebrity crush, Ryan Seacrest. My other crushes include Willie Geist, Carson Daly and Anderson Cooper. I might have a type.

  1. This might be my favorite one: The year after Bo Bice lost to Carrie, he came to South Park for a free outdoor concert. I went with my mom and aunt. We were all up close to the stage, and Bo started walking the length of it mid-song to give everyone high fives. My mom was a huge fan and I could see her straining to reach him, big smile on her face. The millisecond he got to her, Bo pulled his hand back to flip his signature flowing mane of hair back from his face. Then he turned on his heel and walked away. Mom’s sad little hand hung there midair for, I swear, a full 10 seconds before the devastation of the inadvertent snub hit her. I’m still laughing about that as I type it right now. Poor Mom. But I forever love Bo Bice for that moment alone.

  1. Adam Lambert singing “Mad World.” Actually, Adam Lambert singing anything.

  1. Going to see Carrie Underwood in concert with Justin this year and just watching her kick so much ass and thinking, “Girl, I saw you audition. You rocked then, and you rock now!” Then hearing her sing a cover of Dolly’s “I Will Always Love You” and sobbing openly. Ugh. So good.

  1. Watching La’Porsha perform this season. Her performances of “Diamonds” and “No More Drama” killed me. And every time the camera shows her baby with those comically gigantic noise-cancelling headphones, I die all over. Love her. Love all of it.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Today’s post comes from Melissa Janisin of Goodness Madness, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. You can see my post over on Steel City Intrigue, where I write about why I love running, even when it doesn't love me.

I do not like board games.
I think I had a hard time admitting this, earlier in my life; I have always wanted to be more fun than I actually am.  More free-wheeling, more happy-go-lucky. More able to enjoy whatever life brings, less picky about how I spend my time.  And then someone suggests that we play Monopoly and all I can think is Oh my God that takes forever I can’t possibly stand it please just take all my money right now, you win.
When I play board games, my foot jiggles a lot. Impatiently. I find myself always announcing whose turn it is when people get distracted by “fun side conversations” or “debates over rules.”  I wish it would be more acceptable to read a book while waiting for your stupid turn to come around again. I am perfectly happy for others to win if it means a shortened duration of game play, though I’m not such a bad sport that I’ll just throw the game in the interest of saving time.  
This is how I feel about playing board games with adults. You can only imagine the inner turmoil when I am forced to play them with small children. Which is precisely why my second son was born – conception of a Candyland partner.  It has worked out maybe half as well as I anticipated.
It’s not that my firstborn would have been an only child. My stepson was living with us at the time he was born.  The trouble was he’s almost 8 years older, and spent more time at his mom’s house than at ours. That left me with 60% of potential Candyland time. And even when my stepson was with us, I couldn’t really expect him to spend endless hours sliding down chutes and climbing up ladders.  
We needed another kid. And I wasn’t getting any younger.  
We got lucky; we really did. Jimmy was born when Joey was 15 months old. At this writing, they are 6 and 8 years old respectively and have played Candyland together maybe four times in their lives. All the rest of the times, I played it, either with one of them or the other or sometimes with both of them together. I’ve also played Jenga, Memory, Don’t Wake Up Daddy, Don’t Break The Ice, Logo Party, Say Anything, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and something involving a cherry tree. Those were just the early years. These days I’ve played NBA/NHL/MLB 2K-everything, Minecraft, and every Xbox Lego game known to humankind. These are not board games, I know, but I still expect to be exempt from them. I did, after all, produce that extra kid/playtime pal.

I’ll be honest with you. I started thinking about this because, while planning my hijack of Rachel’s blog, I got to wondering whether little Libby will one day be big sister Libby. I mean, she looks like a decent kid.  Young, yet, but I can see “eldest child” potential in her photos. The thing is, you can’t ask a person this question anymore, because it is either hurtful and/or offensive in many cases. Which weirdly did not stop people from asking me. After I gave birth to my two boys in rather quick succession, I estimate that approximately 9 gazillion people couldn’t wait to ask me, “So, gonna try for a girl next?” I always told them, “No,” and usually we would move on, but not always. Sometimes people would follow it up with, “Awww, come on, why not?” And I would say, “Well, my husband has had a vasectomy, so I think he’d be pretty angry if I got pregnant at this point.”
Anyway. This is not a weirdly passive-aggressive way of “not asking” Rachel if she’s planning to try for another kid (or more). I’m really not asking. Because it’s not my business, especially because we barely know each other. What I am saying is this:  Rachel – if you do choose to create a sibling, I’ll be interested to know how it goes for you. And also, please know that when you hatch a second kid as a playmate for the first, what you actually get are two kids who want to play with YOU.
Which, now that I mention it, is really not that bad.  

As long as they never find the damn Monopoly.

Thanks to Melissa for the great post! Want to read more fun stuff ? Check out all the other blogs featured in this year's event!:

Harvest + Bloom // Yes, Wear That! // jelly jars // Glam and Graffiti // Gardening in High Heels // To The Streets // In Pursuit // Pittsburgh & Pearls // Beezus Kiddo // Crank Crank Revolution // Amanda Narcisi // Pittsburgh is Beautiful // From Cats to Cooking // Yum Yum PGH // Breelicious Bites // Parmesan Princess // Coffee & A Blonde // The Steel Trap // Wavy Alabaster // everybody loves you… // Eat with Emily // Don’t Forget to Eat // Sloping in the Sky // From Farm to Turntable // Secrets in the Wall // Red Pen Mama // Feedback Soup // The AP Collection // Blog Or Die PGH // Pittsburgh Happy Hour // Friendly Fitness Foodie // Small Town Dad // Josh’s World // Geeky Sweetie // Sean’s Ramblings // Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes // Try it and You May! // lil Burghers // Orange Chair Blog // Ya Jagoff // Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents // Melissa Firman