“You don’t save me. I save me.”
— Kim Wexler, Better Call Saul

I watched the episode of Better Call Saul where Kim says that a couple of weeks ago.  On the show, Jimmy’s done something that caused Kim, a fellow lawyer, to be penalized at work, relegated to the windowless basement doing document review, the most menial work a lawyer can get. One night, Jimmy shows up and tells Kim he has a plan to fix everything and get her back to her rightful place in the office. She tells him she’s not interested and he persists; this goes on for several minutes. Finally, she shuts him down for good, making it plain that she’s the hero of her own story: “You don’t save me. I save me.”

I can’t stop thinking about that line. It echos in my head several times a day. I made it my tagline under my screen name on a forum I frequent. It speaks to me.

There are a number of things about my life that I wish were different. The specifics don’t matter. What matters is that I don’t do anything to change my circumstances, yet my frustration and sadness and disappointment at the current state of affairs is constant. I keep waiting . . . for . . . what, exactly? To be magically committed to making things different? To get to a point where I just accept what is and stop wishing things were different?

No, I think I’m waiting for someone else to make it happen. But when did I become that kind of person? When did I become the kind of person who complains about something but doesn’t do anything to fix it? The kind of person who knows what needs to be done but makes excuses about why she can’t do it? I have no idea, but I don’t like it.

I have a firm No Princesses rule in our house. We don’t buy any princess-themed books or toys or clothes, and any that we are given go right to the Goodwill pile. #sorrynotsorry The reason for that is because in most princess lore, the girl is portrayed as helpless, waiting in her castle for a man – preferably a prince – to come save her. My standard answer when someone asks me why I feel so strongly about this with respect to my daughter is, “I’m going to teach her to save herself.”

And yet.

I can clearly see why Kim’s words have basically been haunting me: I’m pretty much just waiting for a Jimmy to show up and tell me how he’s going to fix everything for me.

I’m going to save me. I just need to find the door to my windowless basement.


“So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? A little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’cha know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well. I just don’t understand it.”
— Marge Gunderson, in Fargo (1996)

Are you watching Fargo on FX? I cannot remember the last time I was excited to watch a show every week. Maybe the finale of Mad Men, maybe earlier seasons, but I don’t think that was excitement so much as anticipation, which I think is different.

With Fargo, particularly the second season currently airing, I anxiously await Tuesday nights because I know I’ll get to find out what happens next (Fargo airs Monday nights at 10, but we dvr it because I have two children, including a baby who stopped sleeping through the night 6 weeks ago, and am exhausted by 10pm). The first season was great, and Allison Tolman was robbed of her Emmy, but what I felt each week was a deep sense of foreboding because Billy Bob Thornton’s Lorne Malvo was so sinister.

This season does have a sense of foreboding as well, but it’s nicely leavened by that Coen Brothers’ brand of dark humor. It helps also that I know one of my favorite characters survives because he features in season 1, set 25 or so years after season 2.

The story is compelling, and the players are all at the tops of their games. If Fargo doesn’t straight clean up at next year’s Emmys, it will be a crime. I cannot take my eyes off Jean Smart’s Floyd Gerhardt whenever she’s on the screen. Kirsten Dunst has taken what could have easily been a ditsy, campy character and given her such a lovely dose of sadness shot through with perpetual hope. Jesse Plemons, so good as earnest Landry on my beloved Friday Night Lights, shines as Dunst’s earnest but determined husband. Patrick Wilson is amazing as the state trooper and veteran desperate not to fight another war. Bokeem Woodbine is a Jabberwocky-spouting Kansas City mobster, as smooth and unruffled as the day is long. Cristin Milioti, for whom I will always have a soft spot after her sweet turn as the Mother on How I Met Your Mother, has a small but memorable role as Wilson’s cancer-stricken wife, full of Midwestern matter-of-factness about her fate. Zahn McClarnon does great work as the quiet, calculating, put-upon Native American muscle of the Gerhardt crime family.  The only even slightly weak link for me is Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan as Smart’s lunkheaded oldest son; his performance veers a bit into camp, and I can’t tell if that’s an accident or a deliberate choice. I will say, however, that I very much enjoyed his performance last week in Episode 8.

There are only two episodes left. We get to watch one tonight, and I am champing at the bit for my kids to go to bed (don’t worry: I’m not neglecting them to write this, I’m writing this on the train home) so David and I can dig in to both our dinners and the penultimate episode. I cannot recommend this show enough. Seek it out if you haven’t yet. Although some of the characters from Season 1 appear in Season 2, the stories are essentially self-contained, so don’t feel like you have to “catch up” (though you should definitely watch Season 1 when you get a chance).


Hey little sister, what have you done?
Hey little sister, who’s the only one?
Hey little sister, who’s your superman?
Hey little sister, who’s the one you want?
Hey little sister, shotgun!
— Billy Idol, White Wedding

So it’s Friday night at 10, and David is, unfortunately, still at work.  Fortunately for me, though, this allows me to indulge in one of my favorite guilty pleasure shows – Say Yes to the Dress on TLC.

The premise behind this show is that women come to Kleinfeld – a widely known high-end bridal salon in Manhattan – to search for the perfect wedding dress.  Each of them is paired with a “consultant,” which is really just a fancy word for salesperson, and shown multiple dresses in the hopes that one will catch the bride-to-be’s eye (and wallet).

This show is like the ultimate in wedding porn.  Kleinfeld carries thousands of dresses in all styles and price ranges.  That is, assuming your price range starts around $1500.  The brides generally come in with a budget, be it $1500, $3000, or $10,000.  Sometimes, like tonight’s lesbian couple searching for “matching pantsuits,” the budget is unlimited.  This is actually the part of the show that irks me the most: no matter what the stated budget is, the consultants – without fail, always bring in dresses that are out of the bride’s price range.  The goal, of course, is to get the bride to fall in love with one of those dresses, and they count on the absolute madness that surrounds so many women planning weddings – the idea that the day has to be perfect and that every detail matters immensely – to convince her that she must have THIS dress or the wedding will be a disaster.  It’s kind of unsavory, frankly.  And watching the struggle some of these brides and their families go through – one bride’s obviously working class mother agreed to take a second job to afford the out-of-her-price-range dress her daughter wanted –  is a little more reality than this show needs, I think.  It should be pure fantasy.

To be honest, however, part of the appeal in watching this, for me, is to marvel at that very same madness that I just criticized. It’s amazing to me that women will pay thousands of dollars for a wedding dress. I just cannot fathom that.  Even those brides whose wedding budgets would have paid for my law school education with change leftover – I just don’t get it.  It’s one day, you wear the dress for 6 hours, and you never wear it again.  And you can’t do anything else with it, either, except put it in a box and hope you have a daughter who might want to wear it.  I’d rather spend the money to rent a Dippin’ Dots cart.

And I don’t travel in circles where these kinds of things matter, either.  My mother would die if I told her I wanted to spend $2000 on a wedding dress.  I happen to know that Aimee got everything – wedding dress, veil, undergarments, shoes, etc – for under about $700.  And her dress was absolutely perfect for her.  See?My Pictures0018

(That’s hands-down my favorite picture of her, ever.)

And if I were as crafty as Lydia, I’d make my own wedding dress, too.  I absolutely love the pattern she chose.  Oooh, maybe I’ll pay Lydia to make my wedding dress!

Look: there’s no doubt the dresses on this show are, for the most part, beautiful.  And if these women are comfortable spending that kind of money for a dress, and it makes them happy, then more power to them.  I’ll just sit back and enjoy the show.

Random News

Be your own master!
Be your own Jesus!
Be your own flying saucer! Rescue yourself!
Be your own valentine! Free the heart!

— from Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins (talk about random . . .)

Man, this blogging thing is hard to keep up with!  I apologize for my absence . . . two Saturdays ago I was down in Richmond for the day watching the kids, and I took my computer with me.  When I packed up to come home, I managed to leave my power cord plugged in at Nate’s, and I wasn’t able to get it back til this past weekend, so that explains much of the dearth of posting (I’ve not yet gotten the courage to blog from work!).

So, what’s new?  I’m reading your blogs, and you’re going on dates and training for new jobs and reporting on your quest to visit 25 different Hooters’ locations (seriously – go read that one) and so many other exciting things, I feel like my life is pretty boring.

In relationship news, David came down to Richmond with me this weekend, and my grandma drove up from Greensboro to meet him.  Everything went great, and we had dinner with Nate and Molly and the kids, and I rolled around on the floor with the kids laughing my fool head off because how could I not?  They are ridiculous.  Later, David said, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you happier.”

In a stunning non sequitor, I’ll tell you that David and I have been watching season 1 of The West Wing on DVD at my place and, until recently when it rolled over and started at the beginning again, season 7 on Bravo — via TiVo — at his place.  I own several shows on DVD, but TWW is the only one I’ve watched twice so far, though Friday Night Lights is up next in preparation for the new season (on NBC; season 3 is already airing on a special channel on DirectTV) in February.  What shows can you watch over and over?

I love TWW.  For practically every episode of the first 3 or 4 seasons, a bunch of us would head to our friend Andre’s place to watch as a group every Wednesday.  We’d drink beer and smoke (back then, we all smoked; now almost none of us do) and kid about what it would be like if we were the party in power.  Andre was selected as president; Robert was his chief of staff (because, like Jed Bartlett says, if you trust your best friend with your life and he’s smarter than you, he should be your chief of staff); I can’t remember Nate’s job or Aimee’s (chime in, will you?), but I was always gunning for press secretary.  I wanted to be like CJ.  Robert was never sure that was the job for me, and I can’t remember if I ever convinced him.  He’s right though – I’m a smart girl, but I’m not good at thinking on my feet (which is why I’ll never be a trial lawyer).  Anyway, I also have season 2 on DVD, so we’ll watch that next and wait for Bravo to get around to Season 3.

TiVo is both a blessing and a curse.  I can watch so much that I would otherwise miss, which is great.  But, because I can watch it whenever, I almost never watch stuff the night it airs, so I can’t talk about the shows with people (like Grey’s Anatomy – last week Karen put GA spoilers in her Facebook status and I was still two weeks behind!) until the buzz has already worn off.  But I love that it suggests things for you to watch – David’s TiVo always records Ace of Cakes as a suggestion, and I dig that show.

My fantasy football season is all but done.  It’s all over but the crying now.  I’m in second to last place and it stinks.  I never win.  I was wrong before when I said I’d never made the playoffs in all the seasons I’ve played — I made it once and placed third.  This year I won’t even get close.  Boo.

Thanksgiving is coming!  I love Thanksgiving; it really is my favorite holiday.  David and I are going to my grandparents – everyone will be there, and I can’t wait!  What are your plans?

Dancing With One Star in Particular

Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose.
— Tom Krause

Ok, if Marlee Matlin can dance on TV in front of millions of people, surely I can sing karaoke in a bar in front of 30 drunk people, right? (Which would, hopefully, be a prelude to something more official and public.)

In all seriousness, I’ve never watched much of Dancing With the Stars, and I forgot to watch last night, even though I meant to, but I saw this video today, and it actually brought tears to my eyes. I was so proud of her.

And leaving aside the deafness issue, how hot does she look? She’s in her 40s and has 4 kids; I’m 31 and childless, and I wouldn’t look half that good in that dress. Good for her!