Archive for January, 2011

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When most people think of Katey Sagal, they associate her most popularly with three characters she has played.  First and foremost, Peg Bundy, from the popular TV sitcom,  Married With Children.  Who could forget Al Bundy’s oversexed, cigarette smoking, bouffant wearing, bon bon eating, crazy wife?  Some people also think of her character, Leela, on the animated series by Matt Groening, Futurama. Most recently, she is associated with her newest and I think her most controversial character so far, Gemma Teller, on the FX series, Sons of Anarchy. No matter which character you think of first, she has captivated the music, television and film industries for years, and I really enjoyed doing my research on her!  She is a person who has so many wonderful and deep facets to her personality and her life, and it was really great to learn more about her.

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Her Early Years

Katey Sagal was born Catherine Louise Sagal, on January 19th, 1954 to Boris Sagal, a noted TV and film director, and Sarah Zwilling, a director and singer, in Los Angeles, California.  Katey grew up in a large family, being one of five children.  Three of her siblings also became actors.  She was bitten by the “showbiz bug” at the early age of five, studying voice and acting at the California Institute of Arts in Valencia, California.

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Early Adulthood and Career

Katey’s early adulthood was such a mix of heartbreak and win.  While she met with success as a singer, she lost both of her parents far too soon.  Her mother, Sarah, died of heart disease (date unknown), and her father, Boris died on the set while filming the television movie, World War III in 1981.

While working as a waitress, Katey started performing with the band, The Group With No Name, and caught a break when she met Gene Simmons of Kiss in 1978. He asked her to sing background vocals on his self-titled solo album.  She was then hired in 1979 by Bette Midler for a tour to sing back up vocals as one of “The Harlettes.”

Katey quickly gained valuable experience as well as a name for herself as a backup recording singer, working with established musicians such as Tanya Tucker, Olivia Newton-John and the great Etta James.  It is very clear that music was and is a first love and a passion for her.

During the time of 1978-1981, Katey was married to bass player Freddie Beckmeyer.  This would be the first of three marriages.

Sagal was discovered in 1985 while performing in an onstage musical and was cast opposite Mary Tyler Moore in a TV series called Mary. It was not long before she was spotted and cast as the colorful character, “Peg Bundy,” in Married With Children. Katey showed up for her audition wearing the big bouffant wig as a way to convey how she saw Peg.  It worked fantastically and the producers loved the look and transitioned it into the show.  It quickly became one of Peg… and Katey’s signature trademarks.  Everyone who knew who Peg Bundy was thought first of the big red hair.  Although the character was essentially very shallow, and selfish, there was always something about Sagal that made you root for Peg.  She was my favorite character on the show, so maybe I’m a bit biased, lol!

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In 1991, Katey discovered that she was pregnant.  This was an unexpected development, so the producers decided to write her pregnancy into the show.  Unfortunately, she had to have an emergency C-section in her seventh month of pregnancy, resulting in the stillbirth of her daughter, Ruby Alexandra.  It was devastating to Katey, and the producers once again did some quick thinking and wrote it out of the show, regarding it as a “dream.”  In 1993, Sagal married her second husband, Jack White, an actor and hockey technical advisor.  They had a daughter, Sarah Grace in 1994, and a son, Jackson James in 1996.  Their marriage ended in 2000.

In 1994, Katey, never to stay away from music for long, released her first solo album, Well…..

In 1997, Married With Children had run its course and the show ended its eleven year run.

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After Married With Children, Katey contributed to the children’s cartoon, Recess, and worked on several television films.  In 1999, she guest starred in That 70’s Show as “Steven Hyde’s” mother, and was offered the role of “Turanga Leela” in Matt Groening’s science fiction animated TV series, Futurama. Although it only aired for a brief time, Futurama gained quite a cult type following and the few episodes are still broadcasting on such channels as Comedy Central and Adult Swim. The increasing popularity of the show led Comedy Central to commission a series of direct-to-DVD films, and Katey reprised her role as “Leela.”  The episodes were released in June 2010.

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In 2002, Katey was cast as John Ritter’s wife in the TV sitcom 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter. In this television show, she was essentially playing the opposite of “Peg Bundy,” which showed us the sort of acting range she has.  She could have very well ended up typecast in roles like “Peg” for the majority of her career, however Sagal has shown us that is NOT going to happen, which is fantastic!  Tragedy struck the show in 2003 when Ritter died suddenly.  Katey, always a trooper, bravely moved forward as the single head of the household in the show, carrying on despite the loss of a treasured friend and co-worker.  She garnered rave reviews  and the show lasted until 2005.

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In 2004, Katey married writer/producer, Kurt Sutter in a private ceremony at their home in Los Feliz, California.  She also released her second solo album, Room.

From 2005-2007, Sagal had several guest appearance roles on TV shows such as Lost, The Ghost Whisperer, and The Shield.

In 2007, Kurt and Katey had a daughter, Esme Louise, who was carried by a surrogate for health and safety reasons.

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Later Life and Career, Present Day

The year 2008 marked the beginning of something special for both Katey and her husband, Kurt.  Kurt created the hit FX  TV series, Sons of Anarchy, writing the role of “Gemma Teller,” especially for Sagal.  The series is based on the lifestyle of the outlaw motorcycle clubs in California.  While the show centers around the motorcycle club’s Vice President, “Jax Teller,” Katey once again captures the audience with her wide range of acting abilities.  “Gemma” would not be anything without Sagal playing her… that’s just my humble opinion.  I know, it’s easy to say since the role was written especially FOR her, however, I truly can’t see anyone playing this Machiavellian, scheming, hard core “Mama Bear” other than her.  She gives a vulnerability to “Gemma” that you really can’t believe you are seeing.  On the one hand, she’s bashing young girls in the face with a skateboard, on the other, she is a fiercely loving and devoted mother and grandmother.

It appears I am not the only one who feels Katey Sagal has done amazing work in her role in SoA. This year, she won her very first Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama.  I was rooting for her and was so excited when she won…. not to mention she looked DAZZLING in her burnt orange gown.  I don’t think she really expected to win… I follow Mr. Sutter on his Twitter, and I KNOW he didn’t expect her to be recognized for her immense talent.  I’m so glad we were all pleasantly surprised!

At present, Katey is going into her fourth season of SoA, and still working on her music.  The producers of SoA have included quite a few songs that are sung by Sagal in the episodes and I LOVE it.  It’s a really fantastic touch to an already phenomenal show.

Sagal is one of my most favorite actresses and she is someone I truly admire and am in awe of.  She is one hell of a strong woman, has an incredible acting and singing range, has an unfailing work ethic and from what I can find in all of my research, she is an all around amazing person to know.  Would that I could be so lucky!

My Favorite Katey Sagal Quotes:

“And I like to interpret music. So I think it’s all interpretive.”

“Each time I seem to go through one of life’s huge things, I want to play music.”

I think we respond well when we do something well.”

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In eleventh grade, I had my very first experience with Maya Angelou’s work.  Our teacher, Mr. Martin, assigned to us “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”  We were to read it and do a book report on it.  English was my favorite subject in school, so this assignment was something I actually wanted to do!  I had no previous knowledge about the book, but had heard many wonderful things about it’s author.  After arriving home from school that day, I immediately started reading it.  ( Did I mention that I LOVE to read?)  I didn’t get very far.  There is a specific point in the book where she tells of an experience of sexual abuse.  At first, I couldn’t get any farther, the part in the book just having this enormous effect on me.  I didn’t want to pick it up and read it.  The book had hit home with some of my own personal experiences, and I just couldn’t do it.  So.. the next day, I went to the English teacher and spoke with him privately about my wish not to read the book.  I asked to be assigned something else.  He did try to explain to me that if I could get past that particular part, it’s truly a wonderful read.  I told him I would take his word for it.

After a couple of months passed and I had completed my English assignment and had read a different book… something in the back of my mind started to wonder if I hadn’t been wrong about Maya Angelou’s book after all.  A lot of my other classmates had read it and loved it.  So, I checked it out from the local library.  Once I started reading it again, and got past the part I had previously had trouble with, I really just devoured the book.  It was and IS a FANTASTIC book!  I am so glad that I had changed my mind about reading it!   Since then, I have become a huge fan of Maya Angelou’s work and I am excited to share with you all what I have learned about her during my research!

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Her Early Years

Dr. Maya Angelou, originally named Marguerite Ann Johnson, was born on April 4th, 1928 in Saint Louis, Missouri.  She was born to Bailey Johnson, a doorman and Navy dietician, and Vivian (Baxter) Johnson, a real estate agent, trained surgical nurse, and later, Merchant Marine.

At a young age, her parents’ rocky marriage ended.  Maya and her brother where sent alone by train to live with their father’s mother, Annie Henderson in Stamps, Arkansas.  They lived with their grandmother for four years until, their father appeared unexpectedly and uprooted Maya and her brother Bailey Jr. again, this time returning them to their mother’s care in Saint Louis.

At the age of eight, while living with her mother, Maya was sexually abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend, Mr. Freeman.  She confessed what had happened to her brother, who then told the rest of the family.  According to what I found on Wikipedia, Freeman was found guilty, but was only jailed for one day!  I can’t even fathom how Maya must of felt at him being released from jail so quickly.  It had to have been frightening to say the very least.

Four days after Freeman was released, he was found murdered.  The whole experience was so traumatic to the young Maya, that she became mute, thinking her voice, naming him, had killed him.  She felt her voice could kill others too.  She remained mute for nearly 5 years.  Shortly after Freeman’s murder, Maya and her brother were sent back to Stamps to live with their grandmother.

With guidance from a teacher and family friend, Mrs. Bertha Flowers, Maya began speaking again.  Flowers introduced her to authors such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe, and Douglas, as well as introducing her to African American female artists like Frances Harper, Jessie Fauset, and Anne Spencer.

When Angelou turned 13, she and her brother returned to live with their mother, who was residing in San Fransisco at the time.  She went on to study dance and drama, on a scholarship at San Fransisco’s Labor School.  At 14, she dropped out to become the very first African American female cable car conductor.  Maya later finished school and gave birth to a son at 17, naming him Guy.  Now the young, artistic, and intelligent woman had another road ahead of her… that of a young single mother.

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Early Adulthood and Career

As a young, single mother, Angelou supported herself and child by working as a cook and waitress.  However, she had a strong passion for poetry, music, dance and performance and it would soon take center stage in her life.

During 1954 and 1955, Dr. Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera, Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Al Ailey on television variety shows, and also recorded her first album, which she named “Callypso Lady.”

In 1958, she moved to New York and joined the Harlem Writer’s Guild and delved very deeply into her writing.  Although her writing was her main concentration, Maya had also managed to find time to act in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom.  Quite a busy woman!!!!   And what an amazing life so far!

In 1960, Dr. Angelou and her son Guy, moved to Cairo, Egypt, where she worked as the editor of the English language weekly newspaper, The Arab Observer. By 1962, she was on the move again, this time to Ghana, where she taught at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama.  She was also a feature editor for the The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.

Throughout her years of extensive traveling, Dr. Angelou read and studied insatiably, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and the West African language, Fanti.  While living in Ghana, she met Malcolm X, and in 1964, she returned to the United States to help him form his new Organization of African American Unity.  Unfortunately, soon after Angelou’s arrival, Malcolm X was assassinated, and the organization dissolved.

After Malcolm X’s assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. approached Dr. Angelou, asking her to serve as the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  King was assassinated before their plans for a peace march could reach fruition, and Maya was devastated.  Dr. King was killed on her birthday, and for that reason, she did not celebrate for many years.  Instead of celebrating, she sent flowers to Dr. King’s widow every year until Mrs. King’s death in 2006.  At the encouragement of a friend, novelist James Baldwin, Dr. Angelou dealt with her grief and then went on to channel her energy into her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which brought with it her first international recognition and acclaim.

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Later Career and Life, Present Day

A groundbreaker in both television and film, Dr. Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film, Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Dr. Angelou has continued throughout the years appear on films, such as Roots, and Poetic Justice, and has been a guest on television shows such as Sesame Street and The Oprah Winfrey Show. The list of her public writing, both fiction and non-fiction now includes more than 30 best selling titles.  In 1996, she directed her first feature film, Down in the Delta.  In 2008, she composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante.

My choice to write about Dr. Maya Angelou for my first biography feature was a very personal one for me, because her work truly touches me in many ways.  Her struggles in her life and in her books have always resonated with me and inspired and encouraged me to strive for better in my own life.  If you have never read a book written by Dr. Maya Angelou, I would highly recommend picking one up at your local library.  You won’t be sorry you did.

My Favorite Maya Angelou Quotes:

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“I can be changed by what happens to me.  But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

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“Free Goat”

The second episode of Showtime’s “Weeds” starts out again at Agrestic Elementary School, where there is a dance rehearsal taking place.  The parents are watching the kids behind a glass window, all the while, gossiping.  The gossip this time, however, is centered on Celia Hodes’ husband sleeping with the Asian Tennis Pro.  I love when Nancy turns to them and says, “Ladies?  Throwing stones in a glass room?”  The other women blow it off by telling her it’s harmless fun.  Nancy doesn’t feel the same way, telling them they should chat about who THEIR husbands are “fucking.”   Those women are such two faced vipers.

Isabelle Hodes comes out of dance practice to see her mom, Celia waiting for her.  She seems confused…… apparently, their maid, Blanca was supposed to pick her up.  Isabella asks what is going on and finds out that her sister, Quinn has been shipped off to a boarding school in Mexico.  Guess Celia got her revenge for the video tape incident, LOLOL!

Nancy waits for Shane while he has Karate practice, but not before selling his instructor a bag of weed.  Shane comes out and loudly announces that the check Nancy wrote for his Karate lessons has bounced.  Embarassed, Nancy tries to quiet Shane down and assures him she will take care of it.  Unfortunately, Celia has heard the entire conversation.  Ugh…

Nancy is panicking.  She pays her CPA, Doug Wilson a visit.  She explains that she is broke and needs help.  Nancy tells Doug, “I started selling so I could maintain my lifestyle, not dismantle it.”  I’m thinking she hasn’t seen anything yet.  This is sooooo JUST the beginning.  Doug tells Nancy he has started the ball rolling on a cover up business to disguise her pot business.  This doesn’t make her feel any better.  And it also doesn’t help to get her cash so she can pick up more from Heylia.

Back at home, Nancy discovers some more unpleasantries… the phone and internet are shut off.  While having a conversation with Silas, Nancy lets it slip that Quinn has gone off to Mexico to a boarding school.  He does not take the news well, thinking that she may have tried to call him, but because the phones are shut off, she couldn’t reach him.  He gets angry and heads up to his room.  Lupita, the maid comes in and talks to Nancy about the fact that she has not paid her for last week.  She hurriedly hands her maid the cash…. cash she was going to use for the phone bill… or to pick up more weed, perhaps, but now there is no cash… now her problems are getting worse.

Shane is watching videos of him and his dad obsessively.  It’s very clear that the little boy misses his dad a lot, but with all the craziness going on around him… no one seems to notice.  Makes me feel bad for him, even if he is a bit creepy, LOL!  This also gives you a little peek into life before Judah Botwin died suddenly.

At the home of the unhappy Hodes, Dean and Celia prepare for bed.  Dean is babbling on and on about his day, while Celia just seethes with anger.  The more he talks the more livid she becomes.  He stands in front of the mirror, admiring his hairdo.  Dean very stupidly asks Celia if she thinks it’s okay for him to take two Ambien, telling her he really needs a good night’s sleep.  She replies, “I think you should take the whole bottle.”  LOLOL!  Like that wasn’t coming, right?  So, Dean goes ahead and takes two.  NOT the best decision he’s ever made.

Celia bides her time and waits.  Finally, she feels Dean is in a deep enough sleep and goes forward with her deviousness.  She picks up a pair of clippers and calls out to him to see if he answers.  When no sound comes from the bedroom, she goes inside………

Next morning, at breakfast, Isabella is staring at Dean’s bald head.  You can even see where his plugs were put in, it’s freakin’ hilarious!!!!!  Dean tries to sit there, reading his paper, as if nothing has happened.  Isabella asks, “Did your hair to go boarding school in Mexico too?”  LOVE IT!  Isabella actually turns out to be one of my favorite characters in addition to Heylia.  🙂  Dean looks over at Celia.  She’s staring him down… he puts a baseball hat on his head and quietly continues to read his paper.

At school, Silas finds Celia in the hallway putting up a sign and demands to know where Quinn is.  He assumes Celia shipped Quinn off because of his sexual relationship with her.  Celia informs him that “this is the first I am hearing of that you and my daughter had sex…”  Oops.  Silas let that cat out of the bag!  He still demands to know where she is, regardless of Celia’s anger.  Celia does not hesitate to inform Silas of the fact that Quinn was not in love with him, did not even try to contact him before leaving.  Poor Silas.  What a blow to find out you were merely an amusement for the girl you were in love with.  And, teenage love HURTS!  I sure as hell would never go back to that!

Heylia is playing a game of Dominoes with a friend of the family.  Nancy asks questions, trying to learn, but Heylia, in her usual way is a total smart ass about it.  Conrad tries to help by “translating.”   Everyone starts to then tease Conrad about his “bucket,” a car he’s been fixing up for a very long time.

Poor Conrad… he’s so defensive about his little beater, lol!  Heylia gets even cockier as she beats the family friend at the Dominoes.  The conversation rolls around to business.  Nancy asks Heylia what her “credit” policy is.  Heylia tells her, “This ain’t fuckin’ Macy’s, you get what you pay for!”  Nancy agrees to leave some collateral in order to get some more product from her.  Heylia asks for her car.  Nancy is incredulous, and really, really doesn’t want to, but she feels she has no choice.  Heylia trades her Conrad’s “bucket” for her Range Rover.  Nancy agrees.  Conrad begrudgingly gives the keys to his precious “bucket” while giving her instructions about how to take care of it.  Too funny!

Nancy pulls up to a light driving Conrad’s car and pulls along side a much nicer car with two guys in it.  They have some pretty loud, bumpin’ kind of music, and for whatever reason she thought she had to, she turns up her radio, which has this cheesy talk and music thing going on….. AWKWARD!!!!!!

Nancy heads over to Doug’s office, where the neighborhood guys are having a poker game, to drop off more marijuana.  Now that all the men spent their money on pot, they decide not to play poker, but to get high and make fun of Dean’s bald head, LOLOL!

Nancy heads outside to leave and spots Celia’s car right next to the hoopdee that she’s supposed to drive home.  She asks her what she’s doing and Celia asks the same.  Nancy covered up with a lie, but Celia tells her honestly that she followed Dean to the poker game.  Celia also admits that she’s aware of her husband’s affair, that there are no secrets in their town.  She also asks Nancy where her car is and Nancy once again lies to her, claiming not knowing where her car is.

Poor Silas.  He’s heartbroken and pouting on the couch when Nancy arrives back at the casa.  She asks Silas what’s wrong, but Lupita answers for him.  She tells Nancy that he’s been like that since he got home from school.

As per what we’re starting to find is the usual around the Botwin house, Shane is off in a corner by himself somewhere, once again watching the videos of his dad.

Nancy questions Silas again and tries to comfort him.  He confesses that Quinn never cared about him.  He’s angry and hurt.  He says, “My whole life, people just fucking go away.”  There is a loud crash and we hear Shane yelling, “MOM!  Ow, ow, ow!!!”   They can’t even call an ambulance, cause the phone is still dead.

They end up in the emergency room.  Shane gets a cast.  Nancy is waiting in line to pay for the ER visit, and of course, has to pay with cash.  She steps forward to pay, and a random guy says to her, “I know what you did.  I know you stole that goat.  Goat thief!”  The lady behind the counter tells him to back off and for obvious reasons, Nancy is a bit weirded out.  The man keeps going on anyways.  “I know, it’s the economy, stupid.  But that goat didn’t belong to you.  It was a free goat!”  Clearly, this man is off his rocker.  Nancy shakes her head in bewilderment.  Shane comes up to tell her his arm really hurts, it’s throbbing.  The man starts picking on Shane, mocking him and making fun of him.  Now Nancy gets pissed.  She tells him, “Back off, Nutty!”  The guys seems to quiet down for a second.  But then he starts up again, calling Shane a crybaby, making faces at him.  Nancy turns to face the guy and tells him, “I’m gonna take your free goat and shove it straight up your ass!”  This is priceless… the guy, immediately straightens up and with a deadpan serious look on his face says, “What goat?”

Back at Heylia’s, Nancy again is light on cash.  She asks her where the money is.  Nancy explains about having to pay for Shane’s broken arm.  This time, Heylia tells her it’s time to give up the “shiny bits.”  She also tells her “it’s just business, baby.”  Nancy listens to Conrad and Heylia daydream about what they want to do someday.. go to a tropical island.  Nancy very hesitantly removes her wedding rings.  She leaves them on the table for Heylia, takes the pot and abruptly leaves, I’m guessing, trying to get out of there before she loses the nerve to do it.  Vaneeta asks Heylia how much she thinks they can get for the ring.  Heylia tells her, “Nothin’.  She’ll be back.”

Celia pays a visit to the Tennis Pro.  Talk about your uncomfortable situations at work, eh?  The Tennis Pro knows she’s in deep crap.  And Celia makes no bones about starting right off with the nitty gritty details.  The Tennis Pro, not wanting to have a scene in front of everyone, suggests they go somewhere to talk and have a drink.  Celia agrees with the warning that she’s a mean drunk.  No kidding!  They discuss Dean, which only serves to get Celia more and more bitter and angry, not just about the affair, but the entire marriage.  It’s an uncomfortable situation, to say the very least.  The Tennis Pro does try to leave as soon as an opportunity is available, but Celia drags her back in for another drink.  CRAZY!

Driving back home, Nancy once again runs into Celia.  Celia doesn’t even notice that Nancy’s car is different, but she notices her ring is missing.  Celia is obviously very drunk, and Nancy lies as usual.

Nancy sits on her patio looking frustrated and scared.  She sees the video camera lying on the ground where Shane dropped it when he fell and she goes over and picks it up.  She turns it on to see what he’s been watching.  Of course, she sees the video of Judah, and is overcome with emotion.  She promptly smashes the video camera against the wall.   Shane comes outside to see what happened.  He picks up the broken video camera.  Nancy tells him quickly that it must have broken when he fell.  Shane just agrees with her, but I don’t think he buys it.  He carefully removes the DVD from the broken camera.

Celia and Dean are at home…. again preparing for bed.  She hands him an Ambien, which he very firmly says no to.  He’s rightfully suspicious, LOL!  He is not convinced she won’t do something else to get back at him.  To prove she’s on the level, she takes one.  He’s confused and scared, LOL!

The episode ends with Shane, having pieced the broken video camera back together and fixed it, is again watching videos of his dad.  It’s really a heartwrenching thing when you think about it, being that that’s the only sort of moving, real looking piece of memory he has left of Judah.

Will Nancy get her Range Rover or her wedding ring back?  Will Celia take more revenge on Doug?  I’m sure most of you know the answer since you’ve already watched it, but we can always discuss how we think things SHOULD have gone down!  Think about it, comment, discuss!

Check back next Wednesday for Episode 3, “Good Shit Lollipop”

*****Author’s note:  Pics for this post were taken from Weeds Wiki and were also pics that I took, believe it or not by just holding my camera up to the TV, LOLOL!  I apologize about the quality of some, but now you know why they look the way they do.  I just couldn’t find many images to use for this  episode, so I decided to make my own!  🙂

On my blog, “A Lion’s Share,” I am going back to the very beginning to give you a very detailed synopsis on every single episode for all FOUR seasons!!!!!  I recently posted on the very first episode of Showtime’s “The Tudors” including some great pics I was able to find on the Tudors Wiki!

You can check it out here:… enjoy!  There will be lots more where that came from!

Random Minnesota

Many people who have never lived in Minnesota have a somewhat skewed view as to how we must live.  Between the frigid cold and the snow, I’m sure it doesn’t paint a pretty picture to someone who lives in say… California?

I’ve been asked by out-of-towners…”Do you guys even go outside in that weather?  How do you see people?  Isn’t it a pain to put all that crap on just to go outside?”  Yes, it can suck… it can suck a whole lot.  I’m a person who likes to have my bare toes in the sand… I like to be warm and not have to wear three layers of clothes outside.   However, there are very beautiful things about where I live and I plan to show you the beauty of living in Minnesota.

The above and below pictures are of luminaries.  They were made with ice and the fun thing about this weather is that it is plenty cold enough to keep them that way!  My friend made a whole bunch of beautiful luminaries for New Years and the Winter, and on a beautiful, clear night he lit them for me so I could see how gorgeous they look!  He wasn’t kidding!  It has to be one of the prettiest Winter spectacles I’ve seen this year… and I was reminded that if I lived somewhere warmer, I wouldn’t have had this experience.  Here is one of the small things about living in Minnesota that I consider to be beautiful, charming, and most of all…. home.  It may not seem like much, but to a girl who has lived here all her life, these are one of the things that make me smile.  🙂

Enjoy the pretty pictures!

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A week from today (Monday), I will be posting my very first bio of the week!  For the very first one, I have chosen to feature Maya Angelou.  She is an inspiration to me and others in so many ways!  I am looking forward to sharing more about her with all of you soon!  Keep an eye out for it!

“You Can’t Miss the Bear”

In the pilot episode of Jenji Kohan’s “Weeds,” you are instantly given a look from the “outside” as to how the main characters in the series live.  The song, “Little Boxes,” plays while you see a sort of “Stepford” lifestyle being advertised in the opening credits.  In this case, “Stepfordville” is called Agrestic, California.

Opening scene is at Agrestic Elementary, where there is a PTA meeting taking place.  As newly widowed mother, Nancy Botwin and the community busy body and major antagonist, Celia Hodes debate over things such as water and fruit juice replacing sodas in the vending machines, the moms in the back of the room voraciously gossip about whether or not Nancy has had plastic surgery to ease her grief, and how much money her husband left her.  They don’t attempt to gossip quietly, and Nancy ends up overhearing part of their conversation as the meeting draws to a close.  The PTA ladies, of course, just try to lie their way out of being caught.  Cute.  Will some women EVER grow up?

Next, we find the grieving widow at… where else?  Her drug dealer’s house.  The home of Heylia James, a feisty older woman that could probably rip your lungs out with a spoon with a smile on her face.  She is quickly to become one of my favorite characters on the show.  She is a lady who makes no bones about saying what’s on her mind and it doesn’t matter who she’s saying it to.

Heylia and Nancy discuss her purse, and Nancy admits it’s a knock off.  Heylia says it’s not worth much, even being a knock off due to faulty stitching.  We learn two things about Heylia James right then and there… she is extremely observant and she is extremely mercenary.  I still like her.  🙂  Even after she calls Nancy a “dumb ass white bitch.”  Of course, what else is Nancy to do but take that with a grain of salt, right?

Amidst all the witty conversation, enter Conrad, Heylia’s nephew, and also friend of Nancy’s deceased husband’s brother Andy.  I can’t believe I just typed that, lol!  As the banter continues in the kitchen, Conrad takes a bag of marijuana from Heylia’s stash to get it ready for Nancy.  As Nancy glances over, she questions the weight of the bag, wondering out loud if it’s a bit light.  Heylia, proud woman that she is, does NOT take this lightly.  The look on her face says it all!  She tells Nancy, “Bitch, I can eyeball an ounce from outer space with my glasses cracked.”  She asks Conrad to hand her the bag.  Heylia throws the bag on the scale and it weighs exactly.  Nancy, obviously is feeling pretty sheepish right about now!  I nearly choked on my Sprite when Conrad tells Nancy, “You never question Heylia’s eyeballin’.  That’s the “Rainman” of weed right there!”  One of the funniest parts of this particular scene?  Nancy hands Heylia the money for her weed and it has a decorative little clip on it.  Heylia tells her, “Take that shit off of there… you ain’t giving me a gift, you are paying for your weed.”  You can take the girl out of the suburbs……

Next we meet Silas and Shane, Nancy’s two sons.  Family chaos and gossip about the neighborhood ensues, and Nancy finds out her son Silas is doing a lot more fooling around with his girlfriend than she is comfortable with.

Nancy goes out to “run some errands” aka drop some pot off to her customers, and gets a visit from one of the young neighbor kids, Josh, who also happens to be supplying pot to the good people of Agrestic.  He pleads with Nancy to sell him a cut of her marijuana, which she at first rejects.  Josh manages to talk her into it, she makes him promise not to sell to kids, and they part ways.

Next, we see Nancy at Shane’s soccer game, listening to Celia prattle on and on.  Not only do we come to realize the horrifying depths of Celia’s shallowness, but we discover her very misplaced self righteousness.  She insults her children, Nancy, and everyone else around her.  Nancy, all the while, is selling pot at the soccer game, unbeknownst to anyone else.

Meanwhile, Shane skins his knee during the game and grosses everyone out by proceeding to lick the blood off of his knee.  Shane no longer wants to play, but Nancy encourages him to keep playing.  Celia continues to lecture Nancy on how to raise her children, while being extremely abrasive, as seems to be her best talent.  During Celia’s ranting, she lets it slide that Josh is selling pot to kids…. after he promised Nancy he wouldn’t.

Shane gets into a confrontation with his teammate, which results in an ensuing chaos, which includes the boy calling Shane “orphan boy,” and Shane hurling cans of soda and bottles of water at his nemesis.  The boy runs after Shane and Nancy, seeing what is going on with her son and the other child, slyly trips the boy to buy Shane some time to get away.  Wow, don’t mess with her kids!

Silas and his girlfriend, Quinn, who happens to be Celia’s daughter, discuss having sex.  They are sick of waiting.   What teenager isn’t, right?  Shane runs by, interrupting the conversation.  He explains to Silas what happened with the other boy and Silas says, “You missed the bear.”  Shane realizes that he did not hit the boy in the “optimum kill zone” and he “missed the bear.”  It all comes from a TV show they love to watch together…. gotta love brotherly bonding.

Nancy goes to meet Doug at his van in order to get the money for what he bought from her.  During their conversation, she discovers that Dean, Celia’s husband is cheating on her.  They continue to gossip and the topic lands on Nancy’s dead husband.  It’s hard for her to talk about, so she just blows it off with wry humor.

She then runs into Josh in the parking lot and confronts him…. she loses the battle, much to her frustration.  Josh is clearly not one to play nice.  Nancy, Silas, Shane, and Quinn all promptly leave the soccer game.

Silas’ girlfriend Quinn decides to ask Nancy if they can have sex in her house.  Nancy, of course is distressed, and encourages Quinn to wait.  Quinn, is mature beyond her years and fairly jaded as well.  It’s clear that this is not going to be her first or last sexual experience with or without Nancy’s approval.

Quinn points out something she sees from the roof.  What’s going on?  Who’s that partying with a guy twice his age?  Oh, it’s Josh!  His father doesn’t know he’s gay and Nancy decides to use it against him so he will no longer sell to children.  Josh obviously agrees under the strain of being found out.

Celia pays Nancy a visit…. with a giant pink teddy bear.  It has a built in camera and she wants Nancy to place it in Silas’ room in order to spy on him and Quinn.  She asks Nancy to promise not to allow the kids to have sex in her house.  Nancy promises…. not under her roof.  Quinn notices the pink bear… it’s very clear that she knows what the bear is for.  She completely cons Celia into giving her the bear “for her room”.  Celia is only too happy to hand over the bear.  Too funny… can’t wait to see what will happen.

Next day, Shane jumps out of a tree at school and sprays pink paint all over his little enemy.  Not only does he get one over on the kid, but proceeds to call him “fuckwad” and get himself suspended.   Nancy comes home to find Silas and his girlfriend having sex in the guest room.  Quinn rationalizes the situation by explaining to Nancy that since they had sex under the broken skylight, they were technically “not under her roof.”  Like that is really going to make it better!  Life is really imploding on the poor widow.  She stops by Conrad and Heylia’s place and breaks down.  Conrad calls to Heylia to get Nancy a piece of pie, and of course in true Heylia fashion, she tells Conrad, “Tell the white woman to come in here and get her own damn pie!  Slave days is over!”

In Agrestic, Celia sits down to watch the video from Quinn’s room and finds an unexpected surprise.  It’s not Quinn, but her husband Dean having sex with the Asian tennis instructor.  She realizes her savvy daughter completely set her up and she is NOT pleased.. going so far as to say she “should have had an abortion” instead of having Quinn.  OUCH!  Some diabolical family drama!

All in all, this first episode of “Weeds” gets you hungry… or should I say…”jonesing” for more!  The cast alone is a crazy mix.. it’s like a train wreck at times, in the way that you are almost wincing for these characters, but you can NOT stop watching!

Stay tuned for Season 1, Episode 2.. “Free Goat”

**Author’s note** All pictures were found via Google Image search or via Weeds Wiki here:’t+Miss+the+Bear

Okay, dear readers, I have finally made some decisions about some upcoming topics for this page!

First, Mondays will now feature a biography of the week…. it’s just going to be random how I choose the person, unless I get some requests.  A friend of mine requested Mark Dayton, so I will be researching and featuring him at some point in the near future.  Extra snaps to the reader who can help me come up with a catchy “name” for my Monday Bio Feature of the Week!  🙂

Second thing I have decided…. I have chosen a series to write about from beginning to end.. it was also at the mention of a friend (SEE?  I take requests seriously, LOL!).  I will be doing a weekly feature on the Showtime series, “Weeds”.  I have decided that Nancy and her crew would be a hell of a lot of fun to write about, episode by episode.  I still plan on doing other series as well, but I think “Weeds” will be a great start!

Third thing I have decided is that I will be doing one other sort of feature and it’s going to be called, “Random Minnesota”.  I came up with this idea because although this state is horribly frigid a few months out of the year, I do truly love it here and could never think of anywhere else as home.  My mom raised us on a lot of knowledge out our very changeable state, and I want to share some things I learned and grew to love as a kid.  Having a sister that works for the DNR helps when I have a shortage of ideas, LOL!  Who knows?  Maybe I will have her as a guest on my blog sometime!  The basic purpose of this particular feature is going to be to show others who have never been here before what it’s really like to live here.  Maybe some are not interested and that’s fair.. but I do know that some people are incredibly curious about how in the world we even manage to go outside with all the cold and snow!  🙂

So there you have it, my friends, readers, passersby and curious onlookers.  Some decisions made and changes coming and I’m super excited to start my research!  Happy Wednesday!!!!

I’ve been recently thinking about what sorts of new things I want to do with my blog to keep my readers engaged…. I’ve posted my ideas that I’ve been tossing around  before, but have had little response as to what YOU, my readers, may want to read the most!  Come on, give a gal a break and let me know what intrigues you!  Enquiring minds want to know!

One thing I have made a definite decision about is this; and I now “decree” (I almost want to laugh at myself a little at saying “decree”) that on Mondays, I will be featuring a biography of the week, of someone I find intriguing, dead or alive.  As I have said before, if anyone has any special requests, I am most certainly happy to oblige and do a feature on someone of their choice.  🙂

Second thing I have made a decision about is that I want to do an episode by episode sort of synopsis of a television series or two.  I have one in mind already… I was thinking about starting back from the very beginning of “Sex and the City” and working my way through the entire series, one post at a time.  To get an idea of what I’m envisioning, you can see an example here:  I plan to go episode by episode, including pictures, of course.

What I really want to know about the above impending project is this:  WHAT SERIES do YOU want to read about?  I will throw some options out there to get the ball rolling, but your vote will help!!!!!!!

1. Sex and the City

2. Weeds

3. Burn Notice

4. Sons of Anarchy

5. Mad Men

6. Nip/Tuck

7. Friends

Some of these are shows that are no longer on the air, but that’s the BEAUTY of it!  You can revisit some of your faves!  I know some of you will notice that I did not include “The Tudors” but that is because I am doing a feature on that series on my Tudors based blog, “A Lion’s Share“.

So, my readers or passersby… please give me your input, ideas, suggestions, whatever!  I am excited to have wonderful and educational experiences in 2011 with regard to my writing, and I plan to start NOW!

Hey there readers, followers, fellow bloggers!  Wordpress was ever so kind enough to send this out to me…. it’s a review of my stats for 2010 all nicely and neatly summarized!  Just thought I would share…. 2010 was a pretty decent year for my new blog and I’m VERY pleased!

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 61,000 times in 2010. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would have performed about 3 times.

In 2010, there were 54 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 291 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 37mb. That’s about 6 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 28th with 746 views. The most popular post that day was The Casting of Catherine of Aragon.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for anne boleyn, frida kahlo, catherine of aragon, natalie dormer, and rachel mcadams.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


The Casting of Catherine of Aragon April 2010


The Tudors, Season 4, Final Episode July 2010


The Tudors, Season 4, Episode 9 June 2010


The Tudors, Season 4, Episode 5 May 2010


The Tudors, Season 4, Episode 6 May 2010

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