The Top Five–TV Shows (Revised)

My “Top Five” lists are never met to be set in stone, and in the six years since I first came up with a list of my five favorite TV shows, my favorites have changed a bit.

  • I Love Lucy–This has been my favorite TV show for a long time. I’ve watched every episode more times than I can count, and yet I never get sick of it. Are there elements of the show that haven’t aged well? Sure. But there are also funny jokes, moments of great physical comedy, fantastic guest stars, and outstanding fashion and interior design!
  • M*A*S*HScrubs used to appear on this list, but I basically swapped one medical show with another. The boys and I watch a few episodes every night before bed, and when we get to the end, we just start all over again, and we never grow tired of it. It’s a funny show, but it was also way ahead of its time in how it addressed social and political issues, and I’ve really come to appreciate that.
  • Downton Abbey–The glamour and intrigue of this show never grows old. I love watching the lives of those who live upstairs and those who live downstairs, and how those lives intersect. Plus, did I mention the glamour?
  • Rick Steves’ Europe–After planning an entire summer school around this show, I guess it should be no shock that it’s one of my favorites. I love asking “where should we go today?” and then turning on an episode. I always feel like I’m learning something when I watch, too, so it’s not just mindless TV!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic–The show is a bit of a wild card, but Bunny, Chickadee, and I are just finishing watching through the run of the show, and I find that I really love it. It’s so relatable, and each one of us has a pony whom we particularly identify with. It may be a children’s show, but it’s a lot of fun for me as an adult to watch, and I think I’ll look back and cherish this time that my youngest daughter, oldest daughter, and I had so much fun together!

I thought I’d feel bad about kicking Friends off the list, but while I do still enjoy watching it from time to time, I’m not as into it as I once was. I do feel a little guilty about removing Deep Space Nine, though…it is still my favorite Star Trek show, however!

The Top Five–Best Moments of Tokyo 2020

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are already starting to wind down, and while there are a few days of competition left, I thought I’d take a look at my favorite moments from the Games:

  • Sharing Gold–I think my very favorite moment from Tokyo 2020 was when the men’s high jump gold was awarded to two athletes, because they chose to share it, even though they could have kept competing until one came out on top. This embodied the new Olympic ideal of “Stronger Together” better than any other moment I saw.
  • Grace and Courage–Simone Biles was a much-talked about competitor, which wasn’t a surprise, but the reason people were talking was unexpected, because no one expected her to suffer from the twisties and have to withdraw from most of the events. I really admire the grace and courage with which she handled the situation, and I was thrilled that not only was she able to come back and compete in her final event on her terms, but take home a medal on top of it!
  • Tom Gets Gold…and Knits–I was so happy when Great Britain’s Tom Daley finally won a gold medal in the synchronized platform dive. If that wasn’t enough, I was also completely charmed by the pictures of him knitting in the stands, and even while waiting between his own dives!
  • Gold Medal From Lane One–The US men’s swimming team has won the 4x100m relay in every Olympics the US has participated in. This year, there was less certainty about them getting gold, especially since they were swimming in lane one. But they powered through, and brought home the gold (and a world record!) once again!
  • Any Moment Called by Rowdy Gaines–Rowdy is pretty much my favorite sports commentator ever. I love how excited he gets, no matter who is in the lead, when he’s watching a good race in the pool. Every sport deserves to have a commentator like him, who has an incredible passion for what they’re calling!

Update on August 8th:

  • I’m not sure which moment I should replace, but the US women’s volleyball team winning their first gold medal on the final day definitely makes my “Top Five” list. Seeing Karch Kiraly, who I have watched since his court volleyball days, break down into tears of joy for his team was an Olympic moment I won’t forget!

What are the moments you’ll remember from Tokyo 2020?

The Top Five–Olympic Sports

It’s time another Top Five list, this one inspired by the Olympic Games! I’m taking a look at my favorite sports to watch in the Summer Olympics:

  • Swimming–I was thinking about my very favorite Olympic sport before the Olympics began, and I was a little surprised to discover that it’s swimming. I love excitement of the races, getting to see world and Olympic records shattered, and learning the back stories of some of the athletes. I think it’s Rowdy Gaines’ love of the sport that really makes me love swimming, though…his passion and enthusiasm for swimming are contagious. As Turkey said this week, “everyone should have something they love as much as Rowdy Gaines loves swimming.” Although, to be honest, I’m not certain that anyone loves something as much as Rowdy Gaines loves swimming!
  • Artistic Gymnastics–I would have assumed that artistic gymnastics is my favorite Olympic sport. My earliest memories of the Olympics are of watching Mary Lou Retton compete, and I still remember not just American gymnasts, but competitors from all over the world from each Olympic Games I have seen. While swimming may be my favorite Olympic sport, gymnastics is definitely a close second…I love watching the athletes fly through the air and complete skills that terrify and delight me!
  • Diving–This sport is kind of where swimming and gymnastics meet, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s one of my favorites. It scares me to death, especially the 10m platform, because I can’t imagine jumping off something so high. I also have very vivid memories of Greg Louganis hitting his head during the Seoul 1988 Games, so I know that it can actually be dangerous. But there’s also an elegance to it, and even though it looks scary to me, it also looks fun!
  • Water Polo–If it wasn’t for the Olympics, I don’t think I’d know anything about this sport. I still don’t understand all of the rules I’m sure, but there’s something so fun about what is essentially handball (another sport I enjoy watching) being played in the water. Plus, it’s kind of an angry sport, which I have to admit, appeals to me!
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics–As is so often the case with the fifth position, this was the most difficult to choose. I considered artistic swimming, which I love, and my new favorite Olympic sport, surfing, but in the end, dancing with a ribbon wins the day. There is so much grace and artistry in rhythmic gymnastics that it really has more in common with ballet than artistic gymnastics, which is part of why I love it.

What are you favorite Olympic sports? Have you discovered something new that’s your new favorite?

The Top Five–Episodes of M*A*S*H (Seasons One Through Three)

In the past, I’ve shared a list of my top five favorite episodes of M*A*S*H. That list didn’t contain any episodes from seasons one through three, though, because I’m more of a fan of the Potter/Hunnicutt years. Recently, I’ve come to appreciate the Blake and McIntyre years a little bit more, so I thought I’d come up with a “top five” list that covers the first three seasons. Not included are any “Dear Dad” or “Mail Call” episodes, because no matter what season they’re in, they’re always excellent, and it’s just not fair to compare anything else to them!

  • “Tuttle” (season one)–Hawkeye and Trapper invent a captain and give all of his money to a local orphanage. This episode is a little disturbing, though, because you actually get to see Radar’s phone pal, Sparky!
  • “The Long-John Flap” (season one)–I think this episode, in which a pair of long-johns make the rounds through the whole camp, is my favorite from the first three seasons.
  • “5 O’Clock Charlie” (season two)–I don’t know what’s funnier…the fact that an inept North Korean bomber keeps missing his target near the camp, or that the equally inept Frank Burns thinks he can rectify the situation!
  • “The Sniper” (season two)–I really like this episode because it hits the balance between funny and serious perfectly. In the end, we’re reminded of not only what a good doctor Hawkeye is, but also what a good person.
  • “Adam’s Ribs” (season three)–I have to admit, a big part of what I love about this episode is the fact that Hawkeye is trying to get ribs from Chicago shipped to the 4077th. I also love his “river of liver” rant, too, though!

I’m not sure that I like any of these episodes enough to include them in my overall M*A*S*H top five list, but they’re all fun to watch!

The Top Five–Photos of 2020

For my final “Top Five” list of 2020, I’m looking at photos that were taken the few times we actually went somewhere, starting with this wolf we saw at Brookfield Zoo back in January:

One of the last places Bunny and I went was to the Fabulous Fox Theatre to see Riverdance in February:

We took a lovely walk around Creve Coeur Lake in November:

Later that month, we attended Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Because the event started earlier than usual, we had the added bonus of not just seeing beautiful lights, but also a carpet of bright yellow gingko leaves!

When we visited Cahokia Mounds in November, I thought this tree stump was really cool:

It wasn’t hard to choose these pictures, because I just didn’t have many pictures taken away from home from which to choose. But in a way, that made these moments more special, and helped me appreciate the beauty around me in a way I might not have otherwise!

The Top Five–Around the Neighborhood Photos of 2020

For today’s “Top Five,” I’m venturing out of the house…and into our neighborhood. We might not have been able to go places this year, but we spent a lot of time walking around our subdivision, from the 2-mile walks we took in the morning before school started every day the weather was amenable to evening sunset walks. The two ponds in our neighborhood are an especially good spot for a nice view, starting with this one in the early spring:

I really like this tree I started noticing while we were walking, and I think Bob Ross would have liked it, too…it looks like it’s led an interesting life!

I caught the evening light at just the right moment for this photo:

And I’m pretty sure the evening light caught me for this one!

One last sunset photo, near one of the ponds, but looking out toward the farmland that borders the neighborhood:

My only disappointment with this list is that there aren’t any snow pictures…I hope we don’t have to wait too much longer for a real snowfall!

The Top Five–Food Photos of 2020

Today’s “Top Five” continues in the home and focuses on food photography. If there’s anything I’ve done a lot this year, it’s cook. I already did a lot of cooking to begin with, but between not being able to go out to eat at all, and wanting to find something nice I could do for my family at home, I upped my cooking game (in my opinion, anyway). And while I was cooking a lot, I decided to work on my food plating and photography, too. I actually think I’ve improved a lot this year, so at least I learned something!

The first picture I chose is from the very beginning of the year, when I made Beef Wellington for Ryan’s 40th birthday on Epiphany:

We have had shawarma so many times this year. It’s always a pretty meal because it’s so colorful…this is my favorite picture of that dinner:

I’ve also done a lot of baking this year, including this lovely carrot cake:

I found a new recipe for potato-parsnip soup, and not only was it delicious, it looked beautiful!

And finally, a picture of the dessert I made to accompany our fancy Christmas dinner on Sunday. I love the colors and textures in this picture!

Food can be a tricky thing to photograph, so I’m going to keep working on improving my skills!

The Top Five–Around the House Photos of 2020

Continuing my series of “Top Five” lists to end the year, I’m moving on to photos taken around the house, a place we’ve all spent many more hours than usual in 2020!

To start off, a picture of my complete Ticket to Ride collection, as seen in February. I’ve actually added two more games since then (the newest board, plus the only other one from my collection that was missing), but I still love seeing how many different maps are/were in my collection!

This might not be the best picture ever, but it represents one of the few high points of the year for me…the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons:

I’m a huge fan of the Bésame Cosmetics “Love, Lucy” collection, and I really like how this picture of the lipstick I purchased turned out:

One day, I went upstairs for school and found this in my chair. It tickled me.

To the end the list as I began, a recent picture of an old Ticket to Ride game played with the clear trains from the edition I received for Christmas. The trains are so cool!

That’s just a small glimpse into our year as seen in photos taken around the house!

Sartorial Saturday…On a Sunday–The Top Five Fashions of 2020

We’ve finally made it to the final week of 2020! To commemorate the end of this past year that has been a decade long, I’m beginning a series of “Top Five” posts, because even in the middle of a pandemic, I like making lists. I’m starting with my favorite fashions from this year, most of which weren’t worn away from home, but are still worth noting.

To start, here’s a look at my favorite HOMES bracelet stack, from their birthstone collection. These bracelets have been very important to me, because they have helped me feel connected to Chicago and Lake Michigan during a time when I could visit neither, plus they’re really pretty!

My second fashion is from the second “Dapper Day at Home” of the year. I love everything about this look I put together, from the hat to the handbag, and especially my first Miss Candyfloss dress!

I figured one of my top five fashions should focus on this year’s hottest accessory, the mask. I really love this Christmas mask from Old Navy, and the accessories I paired with it!

Speaking of Christmas, one of my very favorite looks from this year is the outfit I wore last week to the outdoor Christmas Eve service we attended. I don’t have a lot of opportunities to wear my cape and muff together, so I was pretty excited to have a reason to wear both!

And finally, a look so new, I haven’t even featured it on my website yet (stay tuned)! I was super excited to order this beautiful purple-striped Stephanie swing dress from Pinup Girl Clothing on Pink Friday, and I love the way this look turned. out, especially with Spiffy the Sausage Dog making an appearance on my cardigan!

So there’s a look at my favorite fashions from this year. Maybe at some point in 2021, I’ll have a reason to wear some of them somewhere other than at home!

The Top Five–Episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe

Time for another Top Five list! I’m not even going to pretend I can pick just five of my favorite episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe, though, but I did narrow it down to seven, which honestly, I think is pretty good. Not up for consideration on this list are the specials, especially Rick Steves’ European Christmas, because if I had included them when I was compiling the list, it would be even longer!

  • “Switzerland’s Jungfrau Region: Best of the Alps” (season two)–While I’ve always thought it would be cool to visit the Alps (probably because I’ve seen The Sound of Music so many times!), I didn’t realize just how many charming places like Gimmelwald there are in Switzerland until I saw this episode.
  • “Normandy: War-Torn, Yet Full of Life” (season three)–This episode introduced me to Mont St. Michel, an Abby built on an island which is sometimes accessible by foot. There is so much history in this episode, from the old tradition of keeping the beat while making omelettes for people on a pilgrimage to the abbey, to Monet’s lilies, and especially the beaches of Normandy, which still echo with memories of D-Day.
  • “Dubrovnik and Balkan Side Trips” (season six)–Continuing with the theme, I had never heard of Dubrovnik until Rick Steves took me there. I have learned so much about the world from watching the show, and this was no exception, but now that I know about it, I think it would be an amazing place to visit, evening if watching the guy dive off the bridge does always make my heart race!
  • “Florentine Delights and Tuscan Side Trips” (season seven)–This might be my very favorite episode of Rick Steves’ Europe (other than the Christmas special). I never really thought Italy would be at the top of the list of places I’d want to visit in Europe, but seeing Pisa and watching Rick dine at a local restaurant sold me on the experience!
  • “Paris: Regal and Intimate” (season seven)–It’s Paris…what more do I need to say?
  • “London: Historic and Dynamic” (season seven)–I guess it’s not really fair to include this episode on my list, since I want to visit London so badly, but I think I did pretty well to only have one London episode represented here. It’s my favorite look at that city because Rick visits all the places I would want to go!
  • “France’s Loire: Château Country” (season eight)–The Loire Valley is another region I never really thought about visiting, but looking at all of the beautiful, stately homes makes me want to spend a day or three exploring the history of the area!

Maybe someday, I’ll even be able to travel to some of these places, and see them for myself! It’s nice to dream of a world where international travel is a possibility, isn’t it?