Heroes

 

 

A while back, I wrote a piece about my TV moms (read it here). I shared quite a bit in that post and I told the truth. Maybe too much truth, but the truth, just the same.

 

In that piece, I referenced a few characters from television shows and how much they meant to me. I cannot emphasize enough what those women gave me. Screwed-up kid that I was, I benefited from those women’s strength and values. Even thinking of them now brings me comfort. And that’s lovely. I think it’s fair to say those beautiful characters were my heroes. Still are.

 

I don’t often get to meet a real-to-me hero. (I guess most of us don’t experience that privilege.) I know some folks believe we shouldn’t meet our heroes. That a face-to-face meeting with someone we’ve looked up to can only lead to disappointment. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity if it presented itself. I mean – would you?

 

Anyhoo – last month I was minding my own lady-club business when I looked up and saw one of my very own heroes: Miss Michael Learned from TV’s The Waltons. Turns out we have a mutual friend. And that friend had quietly invited Miss Learned to lunch, knowing it would serve as a lovely surprise to me. It most definitely did.

 

I can’t speak to the experiences of others when it comes to meeting heroes. I can’t claim a shared disappointment or letdown, and I can’t relate to watching a hero fall. I can only tell you that when I met one of my heroes, Miss Michael Learned, my heart was full and my admiration swelled. She was even cooler than I ever imagined. Sometimes life is grand.

 

 

Heavy Telly

 

 

My telly watching has seen an emotional couple of days – Sunday night’s “Game of Thrones” and the season finale of “Call the Midwife,” which I watched last night.

 

I’m okay with emotional television. I’ll take that over flat-line shows any day. But I guess I’ve gotten used to being able to sense when the old heartstrings are about to be tugged. That gives a gal a chance to prepare, if only a little. But the two shows I watched the last few days, well, I didn’t see it coming.

 

I am a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, I know and freely admit. Still, these fine shows (and two of my faves, opposite ends of the spectrum, though they may be) really brought it and wrenched me apart this week.

 

And I am heartbroken.

Goodnight, Mr. Hamner

 

 

Early Thursday afternoon, Earl Hamner, Jr. died. If you’re wondering who the heck that might have been, then you, my friend, probably weren’t glued to the television in the early ’70s, watching The Waltons.

 

I, on the other hand, was soaking up as much of The Waltons as I could get. I loved the narration, provided by Mr. Hamner himself. I loved the grandparents. My own depression-era great-grandparents were living representations of those poor, TV mountain people. But for me, the show’s appeal was more than that. The family shown on The Waltons was a dream. They were good, decent people. Good, decent parents. I loved “John” and “Liv.” They showed me what parents could be. And they gave me hope. Thanks to them, I learned a lot about choosing what sort of person I wanted to be. And I learned, through watching that program, that I didn’t have to become anything less, regardless of what I saw in my own real-life family.

 

According to all the reports I’ve read, Mr. Hamner was surrounded by loved ones and listening to his favorite music (John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”) when he took his final breath. It sounds so simple, and yet so perfect. We should all be so lucky as to have a long, love-filled life.

 

Goodnight, Mr. Hamner.

“Portrait Artist of the Year”

 

 

I am currently hooked on a show from the UK – Portrait Artist of the Year. Where I live, it’s shown on the Ovation TV channel, though the website says the program is available on demand. I’ve been catching it late, as in the shows I’m watching are from the 2014 round.

 

Based on the shows I’ve seen, the gist of the matter seems to be this: 12 artists – amateurs and professionals – are chosen per episode. (Each artist has applied to be on the show, but only the worthy are called.) On a given day/episode, the 12 chosen artists are placed before their sitters (who may be anyone from the UK, though usually someone with a modicum of renown) and given 4 hours to complete a portrait of the sitter. After their works are judged, that episode’s “winner” moves on to what I can only assume will be a final round to determine the season’s overall winner. That person will receive prize money and a commission that will place her or his work in a reputable gallery’s permanent collection. Having seen only a handful of episodes, I can tell you that it appears simply competing on the program makes one a winner. Past participants – who did not win the overall prize – have visited the set and spoken of being booked solid with commissions, based merely on Portrait Artist of the Year exposure.

 

As a painter, this show is mesmerizing to watch. Seeing these artists at work is beautiful. And nerve-wracking. 4 hours, people! I don’t know how they do it.

 

After digging around on the program’s website, it looks like this year’s show is about to switch gears a bit and become Landscape Artist of the Year. All I can say is I’m in! I really do love a good art show.

 

One last thing… There’s a fun little bit over at the website called “Create Your Selfie Portrait.” You add a photo of yourself, choose an artist filter and voila! Your face is turned into a digital version of a famous artist’s style. I chose Mary Cassatt:

 

“The Librarians”

 

 

Recently I saw an ad for a TNT show – “The Librarians.” The 2nd season just started and for some reason, I missed this show last year during its 1st season. I thought I’d give it a try, but didn’t really expect it to take. I mean, I thought there might be potential, but then again… You know what I’m saying?

 

Anyhoo – I’ve now watched the entire 1st season and I’m a smitten kitten for this one. It has elements of “Doctor Who,” Harry Potter and “Friday the 13th: The Series.” I don’t want to say it’s like any of those, it just reminds me of them all. And one more thing: It has heart. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t cried or anything while watching the show. But I have smiled and I’ve shaken my head in wonder when they’ve gotten key moments so very right. I can’t vouch for any of the math or science referenced in the episodes, but that’s not the point. The point is to be entertained. And I have been.

 

So I’m glad I gave this one a shot. And now I plan to start the 2nd season, which I’ll no doubt catch up on soon. It makes me happy to have a new show to follow, especially one with a sci-fi/fantasy slant. I can hardly wait to see what happens next.

Monkey On My Back

 

 

 

I have professed my love for the BBC show “Call the Midwife” in a previous post. My friend Betro turned me on to that show and I ought to buy her a cookie for it. Based on real stories from the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, the show originally ran for 3 seasons. As I understand it, that was supposed to be it. But the ratings were phenomenal and the public were clamoring for more. So the Beeb commissioned another season, and the producer(s) obliged.

 

I’ve been watching each week’s episode with intense adoration. And while I do feel there’s a slight difference in the stories from the original source material, I’m still a fan.

 

Cut to yesterday. I had the show on in the background, trying to get some things done while keeping up with my story. Y’all – before I knew what was happening, I was sobbing (sobbing!) and had to sit myself down. Damn those midwives and nuns of Nonnatus House! They got me again. Hard.

 

On a tangential note – I’m thinking that if I ever get a dog I’m gonna name it Chummy. Thoughts?

Still A Little Off

 

 

I’m still a little off, after the death of Robin Williams. I feel a bit crazy, being this affected, but I am. And I’m not the only one. I keep running into people who are just as off-kilter as I. And not one of us ever met the guy.

 

I have openly declared my love for television. It started in childhood and continues to this day. I’m thinking it was my devotion to “Mork & Mindy” that garnered a spot in my heart for Mr. Williams. As his residency there has lasted most of my life, I’m struggling right now, as a fan. I keep remembering the end of each “Mork & Mindy” episode, as Mork told Orson about whatever life lesson he’d learned. Through his telling, I learned, too. And with his weekly sign-off, “Nanu nanu,” I felt as if I’d experienced growth. I was only a child, but still.

 

I don’t know why the loss of some celebrities/actors/well-known folks is greater than others. Do we somehow convince ourselves these people are our friends? Do we believe we actually know them on some level?

 

Maybe my own age is playing a part here. Maybe being closer to the end than the beginning of my life story is triggering emotion. I’m not sure. And honestly, I’ve got too much living to do – today – to spend time trying to figure it out.

 

I’ll leave you with this… In my heartbroken state over Mr. Williams, I came across a gentleman’s self-penned obituary. It made me laugh. And it even brought a few tears to my eyes. Life is truly all-too-short. And sometimes, it’s pretty danged funny.

SYTYCD

 

 

“So You Think You Can Dance” is in full-swing. I’m hooked on this show and have been since the first time I saw it.

 

The thing about these dancers is this: they can dance, y’all. The gals and guys competing to be “America’s Favorite Dancer” are super-talented and such magnetic performers. The show itself presents a positive face and I always feel good after watching it. I flippin’ love it!

 

I’m sure I’ve posted about this show before. I just want you to watch it, dang it! It’s such a fun high, and I look forward to it each summer.

 

For the record, I know I can’t dance. I just love, love, love that others can. 5, 6, 7, 8…

Telly

 

 

My name is Mikki and I’m a television junkie.

 

Hello, Mikki.

 

But here’s the thing: I’ve never seen a single episode of The Real Housewives of anywhere. I’ve never seen Survivor. I don’t watch many of the most popular shows. I’m not a TV snob (or maybe I am!), I just like what I like. And it all began with TV being my baby-sitter as a child. But that’s another post. Or a therapy session…

 

Anyhoo, now that it’s September, we’re about to get a mega-dose of fall line-up shows and I am super-excited! Yes, I’m looking forward to Modern Family and The New Girl. But I also look forward to 60 Minutes. And SNL! And Law & Order: SVU! I’m really buzzing now!

 

But I digress. The above photo was taken in Roslyn, Washington. That’s where most exterior shots were filmed for Northern Exposure. And Northern Exposure is one of my favorite shows of all time. I still want to live there – in the show, I mean. I still want to know (most of) those characters.

 

And that’s the power of successful telly, isn’t it? Making us laugh, making us care. Making us feel some sort of connection. That’s why I’m a TV junkie. And that’s why I’ll always own that addiction.

 

I hope I remember to share that last part at my group meeting. Could be helpful.

Gaze of Thrones…

 

 

I haven’t seen “Game of Thrones” yet. The only thing I know about the show is it stars Peter Dinklage. He’s a good actor (“The Station Agent” rules), and cute to boot. At some point, I will probably Netflix the DVD and watch the series from the beginning. Until then, I won’t have any idea what all the talk is about.

 

Why all this “Game of Thrones” business? I’ll tell you why: Peter Dinklage is on the cover of the newest issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Said magazine was lying on the bathroom counter when I got out of the shower on Saturday and I swear, the eyes of Dinlage were watching me. It was more than I could take.

 

I had to turn the magazine over. Damn, Peter Dinklage!