Having some fun spicing up my glasses with Warby Parker frames

I have worn eyeglasses for more than 30 years. I think it’s a more than ordinary experience to select your new frames at the eye doctor and hate them two weeks later. Plus, when you have bad eyes, you need your glasses to function. If you watch the video that accompanies this, you will see me struggling to function without my glasses and doing some trademarked bad vision maneuvers.

As I mentioned in my post on the Parisian Phoenix blog about visiting the eye doctor, I could use reading glasses for my right eye, so my new prescription glasses will be progressives, with all the usual bells and whistles (blue light filter, glare resistance, and that term they use for the technology that makes the lenses thinner) and will cost about $800 before insurance. Luckily, with my insurance, the bill for the exam, the glasses and these really cool photos of my eyeballs costs $305.

Now, I’ve had some glasses I’ve really enjoyed (and the dog ate them all in her puppy days) and regardless of how much I think I like them I have criticism of them fairly quickly. The pair I have now are too delicate, weirdly shaped around the eyes and the coating on the metal has eroded where the cockatoo grabs them with her beak and rips them off my face. (Yes, I know eyeglasses are not meant to withstand a saucy Goffins cockatoo.)

So, I thought, with my new prescription in hand, it might be fun to try Warby Parker mail order frame service. Now, it turns out that there is a Warby Parker brick and mortar store twenty minutes away, but who wants to go be surrounded by that many choices. I used the online try on tool to browse and select my final five choices.

I selected these five frames because they are not what I would pick to wear on my face for the next 1-2 years. And to be clear– I am planning to order the cheapest, single vision lenses they offer because I just want some glasses to break up the monotony.

Day One Thoughts:

The Big Black Pair. I was inspired by Edna Mode. And I do like them. Because they are excessive and completely unlike anything I would wear. And The Teenager looks cute it them.

The Red Pair. If I had to pick right now, I would pick these. They are too wide for my face, but they mimic the shape of my narrow-lensed favorite glasses ever. And as the Teenager pointed out, they turn a bit pink on my skin. Which makes them great for Parisian Phoenix events.

The Blush Tortoiseshell. My previous pair of glasses had large standard tortoiseshell frames. I nicknamed them “The Librarian Glasses.” I thought these would be a subtler version. The Teenager said they matched my skin and make the glasses look weird, as if the frames were broken. But seeing them on the video, I like them.

The Muted Green Pair. At first I thought I hated them, but once again, the video has me wondering if I was wrong.

The Clear Plastic Frames that Look Like They Have Wire. These are just compelling. It’s an unusual style of frame.

I’ll keep you posted what and when I order. Please send your opinions via the comments.

This video contains an excessive amount of giggling and cat butt.

A mom and her teenager attend M3GAN (because mom wants to see the stylish robot, and explore the AI/robotic ethics/parenting themes)

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, The Teenager and I went to see M3GAN late Thursday afternoon. That in itself became a delightful adventure and you can read about that here. We had a lot of fun, but The Teenager still hates horror movies. We had a brief stint as reviewers on Crash Palace Production’s horror blog, watching horror films as a mother-daughter team. (Here ares our reviews of Little Shop of Horrors, Nosferatu, and others.) I had listened to an episode of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast on the film, where reviewers discussed its similarities and differences from the Child’s Play franchise and the changing ethics of robotics now that we have reached the age of AI.

As soon as I saw the trailer, I couldn’t help but make a comparison to VICI (pronounced Vicky, “Voice Input Child Identicant”) of Small Wonder, a sitcom that aired from 1985 to 1989. Now, VICI and M3GAN are both androids made to appear as girls about ten years old but man does M3GAN look like a badass compared to girl next door VICI.

If you never saw or don’t remember Small Wonder, it’s available on YouTube.

But forget the innocent, eager-to-please robot of the 1980s. M3GAN wears dark eye makeup and takes her role as the friend and protector of Katie– the child she’s paired with– very literally. I mean, she’s a robot so I guess that’s to be expected.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. One can liken a good robot story to a good vampire story, but from different sides of the human condition. I always considered any anthropomorphic, humanoid monster a way to explore the darkness of our souls. The monster does what many of us would like to do: give in to our urges, be violent, be sexual, be indulgent, and selfish. A good robot story examines what it means to be human and what happens when technology fails because they lack what makes us human: emotions, the ability to age, the capacity to see beyond black and white.

The reviewers at Pop Culture Happy Hour portrayed the film as homage to 1980s horror, and spoke about it with an enthusiasm that sounded more fun that just discussing its merits as a movie. And one reviewer said something that, especially when combined with the concept of what happens when AI goes rogue? piqued my interest; she said that everything the robot did was justified when you consider the basic command it was given.

I asked my friend, Bill Prystauk, founder of the horror website I referred to earlier (Crash Palace Productions), if he wanted to join me. He said apologetically that his schedule was tight and that he wasn’t sure he would enjoy the horror comedy.

I stared at my phone. Horror Comedy?

Did I happen to mention that I am very out of mainstream pop culture? I specifically listen to podcasts like Pop Culture Happy Hour and Why are People Watching This so that I might have a clue.

But I don’t.

But I did want to see this movie.

So what did I think?

The movie began with a satire of a Furby commercial. Which in itself was confusing in the best way. It was a not-so-subtle reference to the company where Aunt Gemma worked. And the toy Aunt Gemma had bought Cady for her birthday. And then we witness a car accident. And (MILD SPOILER– you might be under a rock if this is a spoiler) this is how Cady comes to live with Gemma.

And Gemma builds robotic toys. As a new guardian, Gemma has to struggle with work/life balance and her own inability to be emotionally available. When she gets the opportunity to use Cady to beta test what Gemma believes will be a best friend and babysitter, she takes advantage. The clincher is when Cady remarks that if she had a doll like M3GAN (Model 3 Generative Android) she would never need another toy. And the social worker had said that Gemma had to get Cady some toys.

Except for Gemma and Cady, many of the characters are two-dimensional in the satirical way. The ridiculousness of these people is what gives this movie its humor: the ill-mannered tech CEO, the overlooked assistant, the bully at school, the annoying and inconsiderate neighbor, the “granola” mom. The humor is far from complex, but certainly at a higher level than let’s say middle school boy.

The creepy factor is 100%. From how M3GAN baits her victims to how she does what does. I shiver a bit even now. Let’s just say M3GAN doesn’t need traditional weapons.

The CGI can be a tad over the top.

But the ending… is perfect. The final battle shows that Cady was paying attention all along and is way smarter than anyone gave her credit for.

But overall–

I felt like I was strapped into a roller coaster. Maybe an old wooden coaster trying to compete with modern steel. The way the film moved from campy humor to dark horror in seconds was a jarring transition, and overall the film felt super rushed. As a viewer, it felt like the entire movie spanned only two weeks. And I’d like to believe that if M3GAN is going to outgrow her original programming, it would have required more time. And this is amazing because in the first scenes of the movie, M3GAN’s head blew off in an accident with the construction of her face. She goes from melted to demonic in no time flat.

In totality, the movie was fun and as said earlier extremely creepy and if you take the time to think about all the topics they are tackling– from the dangers of AI to parenting with technology, there’s a lot going on. And in many ways, M3GAN finds her reasons to act on all the things we would really like to do: deal with the jerk at the office, the annoying dog, the obnoxious neighbor and the school bully. But the movie is also a satirical romp through all the horror tropes, which I did not expect, but I suppose I did enjoy.

In closing, let me offer you this review from Critical Drinker.

Anyone else having a weird day? Or is it just me?

Wednesday. 4 a.m. Alarm sounded. I contemplated staying in bed until 4:30 but I scrolled through my messages on my phone and fed the cats in the “fat kids” room by 4:15-ish.

I did take the time to use the restroom first.

I grabbed my clothes, but couldn’t bend enough to find socks. Got dressed. Went downstairs and started coffee. Took my medicine (muscle relaxer and antihistamine— I was incredibly stiff and I am allergic to cats and just about everything else).

I put on my gel lined toe protector.

About 4:45 a.m. First sips of Supercoffee dark roast. Updated my calendar. Went to the couch and started a blog entry. I was hurting and I didn’t want to work on creative projects.

5:15 a.m. Posted the blog. Went upstairs. Brushed my teeth and got a pair of clean socks I had stashed in the bathroom. Went downstairs. Grabbed my lunch from the fridge and headed to my shoe basket where I selected my cowboy boots.

5:40 a.m. I set up Spotify, checked my AirPods, and turned on the car and my heated seats. I felt like I was 80 today. Drove to work in fog so dense you could barely see the warehouse from the parking lot.

6 a.m. Morning routine. Change Spotify to work podcast list. Fill water bottle. Check work email. Pee. Have a snack. I had a cranberry almond Kind bar.

6:27 a.m. My Adventure Begins in Men’s Outbound QC.

Enough of the minute by minute bologna.

THINGS I LIKED WORKING MEN’S:

  • The personnel on the men’s side were very receptive to my accommodations
  • The ability to swap boxes easily even after the fix is complete

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE:

  • The strict adherence to the 9×9 square. I had five boxes returned to me today when the dress shirt collar popped out too far of the wrap when I compressed it. Easily rectified once I knew of the problem, but they didn’t start coming back until after lunch.
  • The clothes are bigger than I am. I jest slightly.
  • The atmosphere is sullen and extra quiet due to the lack of automation. The lack of automation means some extra jobs — some of which seem ridiculously tedious.
  • Men’s fixes are boring. Shoes, maybe a hat or a belt. Jeans. Dress pants. T-shirt. Sweatshirt. Sweater. Over and over again. Boring colors. Boring styles. No way to make the fixes fun.
  • Sooooooooo many large boxes that could be medium

I attended the safety team meeting and finished the day at about 93%.

3:30 p.m. Despite two rounds of Baclofen, I was aching, stiff and crotchety when I arrived at the chiropractor. She agreed that I probably overdid my leg workout Saturday and the resulting hamstring spasms impacted my already interesting gait. She even helped the tension in my neck. I left with my pain and creaky body moving great.

4:15 p.m. Grabbed an iced coffee at Wawa, but since I don’t like Wawa’s iced coffee I had them add espresso to it.

4:30 p.m. Came home, switched shoes, fed the overweight cats again, turned on the lamp for the cockatoo that’s afraid of the dark, and left for my walk to the gym. Whereas for days my back, glutes and hamstrings had been causing issues, now my quads were burning. As if saying, “Why are we the center of attention again?”

4:50 p.m. Andrew’s circuit of “Boom” exercises– meaning one after the other, despite the fact that I told him I have no Boom left– and the espresso had me sweating and had my pulse rate up. It was intense, but I’ve noticed my workouts feel shorter now. I’m assuming that means my endurance is improving. I know my upper body strength has, and I have definition in my arms again. And I know my mobility has definitely stabilized and improved.

5:40 p.m. Left the gym and walked home. The Teenager had put away the Hungryroot delivery and we sat down to open her fix. Our sun porch is full of Chewy boxes. She hated her fix and that made me so sad. I fold and pack adorable fixes in her size everyday. She interacts with the app and her stylist. I have had conversations via company email with her stylist and know her stylist is not the problem. Why is the algorithm failing her? Why does it appear that her stylist cannot access the items she wants? Why has she received sweater after sweater?

She started Stitch Fix hoping for new styles she wouldn’t pick on her own.

Just look at her in this video– her outfit has more style than her box! And it’s a boring, basic Lafayette College sweatshirt and the same pair of Denizen by Levis distressed skinny jeans in indigo that she has ordered from Target time after time, year after year.

I thought as an employee I could help her guide the algorithm to update her style. Even buying things from Freestyle, she’s had no luck. We’ve ordered at least five pairs of Vans, yet despite asking for new Vans, she doesn’t get Vans.

So I spent an hour in her account, on Freestyle, building her my own fix. A blouse, a t-shirt and a pair of Vans to go with the tank and the sweater she kept.

7 p.m. I finally headed to the shower. My foster Louise and my cockatoo are very needy for my attention.

7:20 p.m. The teenager brings me a delicious grilled cheese.

7:30 p.m. I check my Stitch Fix account. I haven’t ordered a fix yet. Waiting to get my employee discount back. But the suggested looks seem like they know me. I hope when I receive a fix, that’s true.

This is how we start 2023?

It’s 4 a.m. on Sunday, January 1, 2023.

The Teenager is on an overnight for a client, petsitting. Her dog is sleeping in her crate in the living room below my bedroom. I have Louise, the sweet foster tripod cat, sleeping in my arms. Bean, the Teenager’s dog, whimpers.

You see, I normally get up for work at 4 a.m. She knows this. I fall back to sleep and wake to barking at 5 a.m. Poor Bean thinks no one is home and she will be left to rot in the crate. So, I get up, let the dog out, and make coffee.

I struggled with my mental health yesterday. I was prone to depression, anxiety and even anger. I had to see some people whom I no longer trust, and whom I feel betrayed me. I’m stressed about some recent financial upheavals: an unexpected medical bill that I should have expected, uncertainty about heating the house and the borough announcing that the garbage service we have used for the last 20 years has changed, the rules have changed and the days have changed and the rumor is that the price has tripled– starting tomorrow.

All first world problems. Except for the relationships gone wrong. It hurts when people don’t listen to you or respect you.

I hit a new PR on the squat at the gym yesterday, 145 lbs. Everything felt like it was moving well, and I even did impressively on my hamstring curls (and my right hamstring is reminding me of that fact today.)

Our New Year’s Eve involved finally remembering to retrieve our medicines from CVS. I grabbed a couple of clearance Russell Stover Christmas hearts with three milk chocolates inside. And I used my 40% off coupon to buy a Duncan Hines EPIC Fruity Pebble Cake Kit. The Teenager was soooooo excited she baked it right away. We washed down the cake with some leftover Jewish Christmas cookies from Little Dog’s Mom. She makes incredible cookies.

Little Dog Sobaka, Little Dog’s Mom and I listened to the recent Christmas episode of This American Life, where comedian Alex Edelman discusses his first and only Christmas. It’s a great story of experiencing Christmas as an Orthodox Jew. It also looks like Little Dog’s Mom will be able to accompany The Teenager and I to the Harrisburg Mall on January 25 for my Canine Therapeutic Evaluation with Susquehanna Service Dogs.

I also made this weird little treat: I took a sprouted flat bread, spread it with vegan cashew cheddar, sprinkled it with organic parmesan and herbs de provence and drizzled it with cold-pressed extra virgin Lebanese-imported olive oil and toasted it.

But this morning, things took a turn. I texted the Teenager about a run to Dunkin on her way home. She arrived with her tea, my bagel and some hashbrowns.

“Where’s my coffee?” I asked.

But quickly it became apparent that the Teenager was doubled over in pain. I have never seen her like that. On Monday, the Teenager and her uncle came down with a fairly violence stomach bug that seems to have originated with the Christmas Eve gathering at my mother-in-law’s. The Teenager’s cousin and her family got it. My husband got it. I did not. Though I did fart heavily most of the week. My guts did churn a bit so I think I managed to fight it off.

As a consequence, the Teenager did not eat for about three days and her meals since then have been tiny but frequent. The smell of the hash browns in the Dunkin bag triggered intense pain. The Teenager nibbled a protein bar with her hash browns and laid down for a nap. I am waiting for her to come back downstairs. Here’s hoping she’s okay.

Of course, her dog became extremely distressed that The Teenager was not well. And the Teenager did not want to dog all over her in her discomfort. So, I opted to take the dog and run to Dunkin to get my missing cold brew.

“Bean,” I said, “Do you wanna go for a ride?”

The dog looked at me confused, as if saying, “did you say what I think you said?”

“Do you want to go for a ride?”

The dog leapt to her feet and ran to the front door and then the back not sure if we were going to the garage or the street. We headed into the garage. Bean hopped in the car. Dunkin made me a fresh cold brew and I bought the dog some munchkins which I fed her at every stop sign along the way home.

Spending time with friends to spruce up mental health

I have faced challenges recently unlike the previous difficult times in my life. I no longer live with my husband. My father passed away a year ago this past Thursday. I don’t hear much from members of my family. The health issues that come from aging with a chronic condition like cerebral palsy, while my prognosis is static, present their own difficulties. My cerebral palsy will never change, or get worse, but the complications from having spastic muscles, scissoring legs, years of toe walking and leg bones that don’t sit where leg bones were designed to sit are very real.

This week, for many reasons ranging from family stress to communication difficulties and new and old volunteer commitments, pressed my mental health beyond the point I like to go. I watched a lot of TV.

I also spent much time cuddled into my new Stitch Fix zipper hoodie. But I did peel it off to wash it today, and put it right back on my body.

And my curls came out nicely today. Thank you, curls.

Television viewing

I caught up on The Good Doctor (and while YES! Audrey Lim decided to accept her disability rather than go through a risky surgery, at the midseason episode now the team decides she has recovered some movement on her own and a new less risky surgical plan might restore her mobility. Even her new boyfriend in a wheelchair says she has to do it, and he proposes, to prove to her he’s there whether she can walk or not. The episode ends with her in surgery. If the surgery succeeds, I will be pissed. Will they then feature an interabled relationship? Why must she walk again? Why can’t we have an able-bodied fancy surgeon become a wheelchair user and excel at it? It’s ridiculous that mainstream television starts to show an able-bodied person accepting a serious disability and then again reverts to the idea that she must walk again. And disabled people know, no one complains louder, no one takes adjusting harder than an able-bodied person suddenly rendered less able.)

Wow. I didn’t expect that tangent.

With that caught up, I tried Little Women: LA and a few episodes of Little Women: Atlanta. I learned some of the varieties of dwarfism, and was forced to thing about discrimination in hiring, but as with most reality series, the focus seemed to be on drama. The Atlanta spin-off really heightened the drama. Within two episodes, we had a pregnancy with an indifferent father and jealousy and cat-fights in the clubs. Because if you use Little Women: Atlanta as a source (which I would not) apparently stripping is a great way to make a living and still collect your disability checks. I was not born with that kind of disability.

I heard a podcast featuring Randall Park and thought I would try his Netflix series, Blockbuster. That was also a disappointment. The humor fell flat for me, and I struggled with the concept. There is one Blockbuster video store still in existence, in Bend, Oregon, and USA Today wrote an article comparing the fictional last Blockbuster and the real one and honestly that just confused me more.

So, I went for Hoarders season one on Hulu. It’s amazing after having binge-watched later seasons during previous times of emotional crisis to see how unpolished the initial season is. You can see the crew determining what works and what doesn’t. The cinematography is more dramatic, but the professional only have two days to clean massive hoards and they slowly tack on more time.

At this point, I renewed my Motor Trend streaming service and will stick with Mike Brewer and Marc “Elvis” Priestley on Wheeler Dealers.

Rocking New Boots

I finally got to wear my new Marc Fisher over-the-knee boots! The Teenager worried about me leaving the house in higher-than-usual heels. They were so much fun to wear and didn’t feel any more uncomfortable than other boots.

I left my house around noon. I had promised to bring Maryann some books as her tavern is featured on the cover of The Death of Big Butch. I delivered her copies, visited for a moment (but not as long as I thought I would because the traffic and road closures in downtown Easton made it impossible to drive the three miles to her. It took FORTY minutes.), and heading for my lunch with Bill Prystauk, the author of the Kink Noir series and a long-time writing friend.

We had a lovely meal at Gap Diner in Wind Gap, Pa., a midpoint we select between his location in Stroudsburg and mine in Easton. He had a spinach and feta omelet where the rye toast had this perfect dark line around the edge but the bread remained flexible. The potatoes were also picture perfect. They had this crisp outside and looked soft on the other side. I had pepperpot soup and the buffalo chicken Caesar salad. I was a tiny tiny bit disappointed that the chicken was chicken fingers cut into bite sized pieces but honestly, the beauty of the shredded romaine and its luscious green color won me over.

It was a good eating day as the Teenager brought home fresh bagels from the bagel deli and I had had a salt bagel with piles of kale and spinach and hummus for breakfast, an iced coffee for an afternoon treat, and a dinner of heaps of vegetables (kale, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and zucchini), a vegan chicken tender and a token amount of pork.

Much better than yesterday when I ate a double steakhouse cheeseburger from DQ, cheese curds, pretzel sticks with queso and a blizzard (snickers/brownie) so large in came in a medium soda cup.

Visiting her Ladyship Maxine

From Wind Gap, I traveled out to Point Phillip through some scenic roads to visit photographer Joan and deliver her copies of Big Butch, which apparently I would trade for celery and pears. Joan and I are often trading edibles.

I met the younger stepson, the grandson, and even got to pet the adorable Maxine, a striking cat of great renown. As soon as she heard that I was the one who alerted her people to the existence of Tiki Cat cat food with shrimp, she sniffed and rubbed against my boots providing me with the ultimate blessing.

And Joan gave The Teenager, myself and her own self a Yule present: a game called Ransom Notes, basically Cards against Humanity but with magnetic word stickers. The Teenager cannot wait to play.

All in all, I think I put 50 miles on the car.

I received a phone call from a journalist trying to convince his editor to write a story on Big Butch. And I participated in a speaker phone call with The Teenager and her grandmother (my mother-in-law). She revealed that she would be having fried chicken and potato salad among the offerings on Christmas Eve so I may now have a social obligation that night. I love my mother-in-law’s fried chicken and potato salad.

A Saturday with M, food at Allentown’s Damascus, an empty bathroom and a burning toe

Today is the day The Teenager planned to work on the downstairs bathroom, installing a new floor and finishing the paint. Our fellow cat foster has agreed to help her with this project, which is very kind of her. Originally, The Teen had off today, but at the last minute her boss added some clients to her roster.

So, as I write this, I have a belly full of pleasant Middle Eastern food after going to Allentown with M to visit the restaurant Damascus, which was once the establishment of our college peers whose parents emigrated from Syria.

My washer, dryer, toilet and floor have been removed from the downstairs bathroom and I have a burning, burning toe.

Where to begin…

I think the logical start might be our meal.

We arrived and inquired about the history of the restaurant, only to learn that the cousins who lived down the hall from me in college did indeed come from the family who founded and operated Damascus for 25 years.

We also learned that the family sold the restaurant about 7 years ago, but they still made amazing food.

I ordered the falafel sandwich and M ordered the garlic labneh, hummus and zaatar/oil.

My falafel came in a tight cylinder of pita, stuffed with crisp lettuce, hot peppers, tomato and dripping with tahini. It was lovely brown and crusty (in the good way) on the outside of the falafel, but soft and flavorful on the inside. They put a few hot peppers on, just enough to give the tahini some zing but not too many, protecting the flavor integrity of the falafel.

The hummus was smooth. The labneh creamy and rich with garlic. And as M loved to point out, the zaatar had the sumac he loves.

After our lunch, we shared some of the most photographic baklava I’ve ever seen and sipped Turkish coffee. I don’t know about you, but I love a strong Turkish coffee so rich it almost reminds one of chocolate. I didn’t add sugar, preferring to alternate bites of the succulent, picture-perfect baklava with the coffee.

The man behind us explained to his date in detail how they make baklava which involved lots of repetition of “they crush pistachios” and “they layer phyllo dough and honey” over and over and over.

M and I talked for a while sipping coffee in tiny cups and then drove to the Parkland area to see the new mosque under construction a friend had told him about when they met overseas.

On the drive home, my damn toe started burning again, so badly that I could not wait to get home and rip off my socks and remove my new toe separator. I believe I mentioned yesterday I bought each variety of toe separator available at my local CVS: the gel separator, the bunion wrap with toe separator and the gel toe protector.

My toe no longer looks inflamed, but the skin is still painfully tender and red with skin peeling all around.

I decided to wear gel separator with the bunion rap today. The gel separator felt much thicker than my normal toe separator cushion from the podiatrist. I really liked the wrap, but I really think the gel separator might have put too much pressure on the toe.

Random Review of the Day: ABC’s The Good Doctor

Saturday (December 3, 2022) was International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Coincidentally, today I am watching Hulu and catching up on ABC’s The Good Doctor. I started losing interest in the show when the characters starting experiencing once-in-a-lifetime traumatic events every season. The show seems to have become surgeons trying to save each others’ lives instead of the patients.

The main premise of the show is that Dr. Sean Murphy is on the autism spectrum and uses some special effects to show the audience how his mind works (which reminds me of the early seasons of House MD when they relied on special effects to show what was happening inside the patient, but more bookish).

Sean leads what I think everyone would agree is a normal life. And his journey to fit in and live that normal life is central to the program. Did the creators/writers make him a doctor so that people’s lives rely on him? Or is it to show that this is an amazing use of his unique mind?

SMALL SPOILER AHEAD

Regardless, the writers place his social struggles amid these high stakes events that really don’t depict ordinary life. In the current season, Sean’s supervisor Audrey Lim finds herself lucky to be alive but in a wheelchair. The initial quandary about this is Sean’s role in the surgery that left her paralyzed.

The first couple episode of the season address Lim’s adjustments to life in a chair, and this includes her trying everything she can think of to return to her life as a stellar surgeon at the hospital. And she does. And even while achieving these milestones, she is angry and dealing with disability grief. I would also venture to say that at some points she almost says she’d rather be dead than living this disabled life.

Now I’m on episode 4 or 5 of season 3, and now the team thinks they can find another surgery to cure Lim.

Why does Lim have to be fixed?

Once again, the mainstream media is showing us that disability must be fixed. I was so impressed with Lim’s balance of frustration and determination to regain her prestige as a surgeon. I don’t want to see her fixed.

I guess we’ll see where it goes.

But I also wonder what young people who rely on wheelchairs and other mobility devices would feel if Lim walks again. If a gifted medical professional can’t feel whole and productive without her legs, what does that say about the value of disabled lives? What young person needs to see representation of someone accepting their new abilities?

Random Review of the Day: Netflix’s Wednesday

I heard the murmurings about Tim Burton’s Addams Family dark academia adaption, Wednesday, and I had to binge-watch ASAP.

You see, I remember watching The Addams Family on the floor of two different trailers, my grandfather’s when I went to visit my Aunt Sharon or Wicky’s, an elderly man who lived near my grandfather in the trailer park. My mom used to help James Wicks as he grew older. My mom and dad had lived in the trailer between my grandfather and Wicky when my they first got married.

I adored Wednesday and grew up to idolize John Astin as Gomez and later as Buddy on Night Court. I lost my mind when “Gomez” turned up on my current favorite show in the later part of the 1980s. To see a 2015 interview of John, click here. John Astin is still one of my greatest heroes on-screen. He even discusses working with cartoonist Charles Addams. If you haven’t seen the original Addams Family cartoons, I encourage you to check them out. Here’s a book that traces the history of the iconic Addams Family.

When The Teenager was four, our entire family dressed as The Addams Family for Halloween. She was Wednesday, her father was Gomez and I, of course, was French-speaking Morticia. The Teenager had a headless doll, I carried a deflowered rose, and we even had a silicone replica of my hand we cast as Thing and took turns carrying.

We purchased the original black-and-white television program on DVD. I loved the first movie of Addams Family reboots, especially Christina Ricci as Wednesday asking the Girl Scout played by the actress Mercedes McNab who was also Harmony on Buffy and Angel. Ricci returns as a house mother and horticulture teacher in the new Wednesday series on Netflix, though I did not recognize her.

I have very mixed feelings about this show, and the Teenager tells me I am not the intended viewer so that might be some of the problem. To lessen the pressure to rate this program with a definitive reaction, I’m going to present my reactions in pro/cons list.

WHAT I LIKED:

  • WEDNESDAY. The casting of Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams could not have been more perfect. Her acting surpassed my every expectation.
  • The costumes. Especially Wednesday. According to Variety, Colleen Atwood (who has impressive credentials) did the work– and wow did the costumes from the school uniforms to the styling of the individual characters pop against the setting.
  • Pugsley. Played by Isaac Ordonez, Pugsley did an excellent job of fading into the background yet adding to the comic relief and the family dynamic all at the same time. Ordonez played Pugsley (originally Pubert in the original cartoons, a name that couldn’t be used on 1950s television) with just the right blend of seriousness and subtle “camp.”
  • The Writing. In general, the dialogue pleased me. The character interactions were top knotch.
  • The Addams Family Hearse. At first, I thought it was a Rolls-Royce, but then I had to smile when I realized what it was.
  • The Cello. It was just cool.
  • The Poe-themed boarding school. A boarding school for monsters just should have an Edgar Allen Poe theme.
  • Enid. She’s adorable.
  • The overt theme of unconditional inclusion.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:

  • MORTICIA AND GOMEZ. Catherine Zeta-Jones seemed flat as Morticia. She was okay. Luis Guzman does a superb job with the role he is given as Gomez. His acting– perfect. But this Gomez is not charming. This Gomez has rotten teeth and a weeble-wobble shape and reminds me more of the Penguin from Batman.
  • NO FRENCH. Morticia does not speak French.
  • Four houses of monsters. Like a direct rip-off of Harry Potter, the occult boarding school of Nevermore has four houses (werewolves, vampires, gorgons and sirens) and then those who don’t fit in one of those groups. I’m not impressed with this social construct. I personally wouldn’t have groups of monsters and would focus instead on the individuals. And the fact that we have werewolves, vampires, gorgons and sirens just seems random. And I can only think that the only reason there wasn’t a group of witches is because of… you guessed it… the success of Harry Potter (which I still believe is a rip-off of one of my favorite childhood books, The Worst Witch).
  • Wednesday appears to be a psychopath. The Addams are certainly counter-cultural, but a scene toward the end of the first season dips into torture. And not the kind people consented to.
  • The plot. The story itself was meh. The familiar tropes played out in the anticipated way.

Today’s random review: 2023 Nissan Altima

I had a loaner car from Kelly Nissan so The Teenager could drive my Jetta SE 1.8tsi while her 2012 Nissan Rogue was getting some serious repairs. She’d not older enough to drive the loaner.

I was very excited to hear I was getting an Altima.

When our 2000 Saturn SL2 blew a head gasket (that my father insisted I have repaired and he later sold the car so my husband and I made a healthy profit), my husband and I found ourselves on the Young’s Volkswagen lot looking at used cars around the Fourth of July weekend. I want to say it was 2012.

I spotted her immediately. Shiny dark red with a sunroof. 2005 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE. Beige leather interior. Sunroof. Low mileage. Maybe 22,000. I want to say every car I ever bought was around $15,000, even my 2015 Jetta was no exception.

My Altima was basically the Altima with all the features of a Maxima. My daughter named her “Beauty” the moment they met. Which was a better name than the poor Saturn. The teen, as a preschooler, had named the Saturn “Herbie.”

At first I hated the new Altima. Too many buttons, lights and features that I couldn’t decipher because the user’s manual was still sealed from the factory. It also didn’t have the power of my previous Altima or my current Jetta turbo.

But it was smooth and quiet, and had unobtrusive but very noticeable blind spot alert lights. A backup camera with resolution higher than some televisions and a rear sensor that did not trust my skills to parallel park. On the highway, I discovered she may not be a racecar, but she was steady and slick and handled easily. Her “naught to zero,” as my British car expert Mike Brewer likes to say on his Wheeler Dealers programmes that I watch on Motor Trend streaming, might be nine seconds but once she gets there she keeps going. Her price starts at $25,000 the internet tells me.

The internet also told me that my 2015 turbo-charged Jetta also takes nine seconds 0-60. I didn’t think to challenge the teen to a race.

But by the time I returned her to the dealership, I had grown comfortable in her spaceship-feeling cockpit, thinking maybe I should be shooting aliens out of the sky. She was a comfortable car, in a cozy way, making me feel relaxed as I drove (until I accidentally engaged some driving assistance that made random lights that looked like colliding cars light up and I screamed while driving down country back roads in the dark, “What are you trying to tell me? Did someone hit you?”).

She felt way smaller than my previous Altima and averaged 30 miles per gallon on my day of use. She also handled tighter than my Jetta, which I believe is because the Altima has all wheel drive now.

It makes me want to drive the 2023 Nissan Z, which, as you may guess, Mr. Brewer would call the “Zed.” Car and Driver didn’t seem impressed with the latest sports car from Nissan, which makes me sad.

Meanwhile, we see what the Jetta feels like tomorrow.