Thursday, May 27, 2010

The End of American Idol Season 9

First let me just say that I am a super-huge-over-the-top fan of American Idol. Obviously. I mean, I can get really obsessed... and when American Idol is on, I am glued to the TV. Nobody better bother me unless you're discussing American Idol-related topics. Ha ha ha. I get way excited and like to go see my faves in concert and everything. Yeah, I'm one of those people. And I don't care who knows it. I always fall in love with one or two contestants each year and will vote my little heart out to see them rise to the top. I download MP3s of every single performance that I like and I listen to them on my iPod all the time. Ha ha.

Having said that, this season was almost a complete and utter waste of my time. Boring. Uninspiring. Dull, dull, dull. Little talent. I didn't feel too connected to anyone in particular. I was very, very disappointed overall. And I don't get disappointed in the cheesiness that is American Idol too often. I usually enjoy every corny moment of it.

But this season... I only voted once or twice, and that was for Siobhan Magnus. She had potential. Too bad she didn't live up to it. At least she was entertaining! Once she and Tim Urban were gone, the entertainment was pretty much over.

Photo: www.votefortheworst.com

Photo: www.votefortheworst.com

But I kept watching. It was Crystal's competition to lose the entire season. She had genuine talent and just totally overshadowed everybody else in the competition. That made it even more lame. It's supposed to be a competition for crying out loud - and it's supposed to be about finding the best singer. If the judges picked the 24 best singers in America, I promise it wouldn't have been this bunch of amateurs. I don't know what they're going for when they try to cast the show with various personality types. I'd much rather watch a real competition among talented performers, but I guess that's too much to ask for.

And then the voting this season drove me nuts, even more so than usual. We lost some early potential talents (Lilly Scott, Alex Lambert, etc.) and kept people who were clearly not as talented (Paige Miles, Andrew Garcia, etc.) or not as entertaining. I don't get it.

The Top 3 ended up being Casey, Lee, and Crystal. This was Lee's breakout week. It always ends up that the person who gets the most momentum at the end wins the whole thing, so they were setting it up to look like Lee had already won. I mean, can the producers be even more obvious with their hints about who they want to win? They gave Lee all kinds of dramatic camera angles and an entire choir for goodness sakes. Ha ha. Way to be subtle. My favorite performances for Top 3 week were Lee's "Simple Man" and Crystal's "Maybe I'm Amazed." I really didn't enjoy either one of Casey's performances. It was like he had already checked himself out of the competition.

Photo: www.mjsbigblog.com

A Crystal-Lee finale had been predicted all over the internet for weeks and weeks by this point, so it was no surprise to see them face off. Crystal had her best night and I was happy to see some real talent! She really out-sang Lee by a long shot. She did an amazing job with the song that would've been her first single had she won - "Up to the Mountain." I think she gets to release it anyway, but whatever. Lee has been a bundle of nerves since the very beginning and has zero stage presence whatsoever. And I know all the tweens out there are all googley-eyed over his adorable nervousness, but for the finale I was expecting much more out of him. And then I was all confused that his coronation song was "Beautiful Day" by U2! They've never had the contestants do covers of songs for their first single. Weird. But I'm sure Lee's recording of it will be amazing. His recordings are always good, despite doing a horrible job up on that stage some nights.

Photo: www.aol.com

 Photo: www.aol.com

After such a horrible season, the finale results show was very refreshing. The fun, cheesy entertainment returned and I was thrilled! I love all the old-timey performers they get to come on the show...ha ha ha. It's fun to watch someone who dedicated their whole life to music still get up there and give it their all. Awesome. Crystal performed with Alanis - OMG, exciting! And Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, and Janet Jackson were amazing. Then I got all nostalgic with all the clips they showed from earlier seasons and when all the winners (except one - I didn't see David Cook) sang a song together. They said goodbye to Simon - he won't be back next season. I didn't think I would miss him, but I was wrong! I got sad! And Paula came back (looking dang good for her age in her hot little pink dress! ha ha) and tried to do a little stand-up routine. OMG, hilarious. Bring Paula back! I missed her stumbling over her words and acting drunk. Oh, man.

Deep down, I can't hate this show.

Sooo, of course Lee is the winner. Crystal deserved it, but Lee's reaction to his name being called was absolutely priceless. I started rooting for him right as they were both standing there waiting for the results. Crystal looked content and I knew she could handle being second place. Lee on the other hand was so nervous, his hands were shaking! I - all of a sudden - didn't want him to be disappointed! And then Ryan Seacrest called Lee's name and Lee immediately dropped his hands to his knees and looked like he was about to vomit. HA HA. He was shocked. And then he started CRYING. OMG, the tweens are going nuts I'm sure! He tried to thank the fans who voted, but he couldn't really get it out and he kept crying! I was happy for him. That moment made the whole season worthwhile for me. It took long enough to get some emotion out of Lee and it was well worth it. I just wish the rest of the season had kept me so emotionally involved! I was almost in tears myself (I'm such a wuss).

I think I'm ready for next season!




Monday, May 17, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend 2010

Saturday May 8th was Birth Mother's Day. It was actually the first time I'd ever heard about it and I loved the idea. Celebrating your child's first mother - the one who gave birth to them - makes a lot of sense. I'm all about open adoptions and celebrating the birth mother for her courageous decision to place her baby with another family. I really put birth parents up on a pedestal and I know that one day I'll owe them so much!

I went to an "Adoption Walk" in Provo that morning. It was in celebration of adoptive families in Utah County and the birth mothers who helped make those families more complete.

Pictures!

My sign said, "I am here in honor of...my future babies... :)"

My buddy Kayla's sign said, "I am here in honor of...Wyatt."

Wyatt. He's awesome. Was adopted. Now dates Kayla. 
And plays video games on our couch. Ha ha. :)

There were lots of kids activities. I remember this parachute game from elementary school!

There were balloons and donuts.

Me, sunburned from earlier that week. But still out walking to support the cause!

There were lots of doggies! Kayla and I were in heaven. :)


Even Cosmo the Cougar was there to lend a hand. He led the races.




I was actually surprised at the turnout! There's such an awesome community 
of Families Supporting Adoption!


Celebrating Birth Mothers:
  • There's a nice discussion on the Families Supporting Adoption (FSA) blog about Birth Mother's Day and what the Adoption Walk is about.
  • I read an awesome blog from a lady who goes by Mrs. R. She talked about what Birth Mother's Day is and about celebrating it with the two birth mothers in her life. I absolutely love reading her blog and I love the relationships she's been able to form with the two girls who placed their babies with her family. 
  • Here is a poem from one of the birth mothers to Mrs. R on Mother's Day. It's so sweet.
  • Here's a blog about how birth mothers can be open and part of a community rather than hiding the fact that they placed a baby.

Mother's Day had a completely different feel to it than Birth Mother's Day. I had what a lot of infertile women call Mother's Day Blues... Excerpt from my journal:

"I was pretty much fine all day, but when we came home from Church and entered our empty apartment, thoughts and feelings bombarded me from left and right. I cried. A lot. Zay didn't exactly know how to comfort me and that made me cry even more. I'm usually the strong one when it comes to that sort of thing. Everything hit me all at once and I couldn't handle it. It's Mother's Day and I'm not a MOTHER. :( Some of my friends on Facebook gave me some comforting words - that they had been thinking about me all that day, that they didn't know anyone who would be a BETTER MOTHER, that I was a MOTHER to the Primary kids we teach and to all the people I influence."

This was the first Mother's Day that I ever had negative feelings, so I guess it was about time. Of course, the first thing I thought of to do was get on the computer and look up blogs about how I felt! I love the online infertile/adoption community!
  • I read a blog HERE that had some encouraging words. Here's some points that stood out to me:
    • "I have learned that I can lean on other people when I am feeling overwhelmed and tired on this journey to parenthood. We don't always have to have our "game face" on and pretend we are happy for everyone else! It is ok to voice that you are hurting and tired and mad or any other feeling you are experiencing. Let those feelings out once in a while. Talk to a friend you trust, or your spouse or a counselor or blog it or journal it. Keeping those feelings locked up all the time isn't healthy."
    • "I have learned that if you are going through fertility treatments, it's ok to take a break from them. Take a step back and reconnect with your spouse, with the things you did before the fertility treatments started. Go away for the weekend and make love to your spouse for the sheer enjoyment of it, rather than for the sole purpose of procreation. You need each other."
    • "And lastly, I have learned that if you have been running in the "Baby Chase" for a LONG time and decide that you just can't run any more, it is ok to say "I am done". You don't have to explain or apologize to anyone. Everyone has their limits."
  • I read HERE about how motherhood precedes maternity. My divine nature has and always will be to be a mother. :)

Zay took me to the park later to feed the ducks and throw the frisbee. You can tell I'd been crying. Sad. :( ... He took some pictures with me. That made me feel better. I think I should be grateful that he's so awesome to me! I could live childless with him forever and be happy.










Saturday, May 8, 2010

Letting God Have Control

At this point in time, I just cannot wait to add to my family and ease the constant aching in my heart. I try really, really hard not to be a whiner and complainer. But I think it's important to just let myself feel what I'm feeling at this point. There's a reason why I want children so badly, there's a reason why my heart is so swallowed up in adoption, there's a reason why we are supposed to wait.

I can just imagine how overwhelming it would be emotionally if I got to be there in the hospital room and be the first one to hold a newborn baby that would be coming home with us. If I had my way, it would be today. I am so ready... but I would definitely cry my eyes out.

It's not gonna happen for me today, but God's there and He knows what's best for us. Sometimes His timing and our timing can be waaaay off. And that's okay. He knows that now is our time to prepare and to learn things that only infertility and adoption could teach us. He knows that we're learning and growing on this path that we had no idea we would take when we got married almost 6 years ago. Learning to put our trust in Him is a great blessing and I'm glad He's giving us the opportunity. :)

Video: "Trusting in the Lord"




Friday, May 7, 2010

Let's Make an Issue out of Zahara's Hair

In black-hair-care circles, Angelina Jolie's care of her daughter Zahara's hair has been debated over a lot. It may sound silly, but it's true.

To some people, it seems that someone with as much money and resources as Angelina Jolie could afford to take the time to get their daughter's hair "taken care of" better.

Now, I don't know them personally, all I have to go on are pictures (like almost everyone else), and I generally like avoiding judging other people... but I can see how people could say that.

On the other hand, I can also see that she's just a kid and the Jolie-Pitt family likes to encourage self-expression. People have also attacked them for letting their daughter Shiloh dress "like a boy," but their response was that they let her dress in the style that she wants. So it's not like they're purposefully letting only their black child run around looking messy or not socially acceptable or whatever.

Photo: US Weekly

They're taking their kids to Italy for crying out loud! I think they're raising some very well-rounded, happy individuals. But the online debate over Zahara's hair is fierce... and from my own experiences, some of the arguments could have merit.

Links to some articles about this topic:
Zay came home from Target the other day complaining about a white lady he saw who had two adopted black kids with her. Complaining isn't the right word, but it was more of observing and telling me how uncomfortable it makes him to see that their hair was looking absolutely trashed.

It happens. I'm sure parents neglect their kids' hair because they either don't know what to do with it, don't have the time or patience that it takes to develop a good hair-care routine, or they're afraid to hurt them if they tried to get a comb through it. This is not doing the child any favors, but a lot of well-meaning white couples do this to their black kids.

Here's my rant for the day:

If these kids are going to go throughout their childhood with broken, brittle, damaged, and dry hair... it could hinder their chances of having healthy hair in the future and hurt their self-esteem. Breakage around the edges is sometimes permanent. And not learning at a young age that hair care is a part of proper grooming won't give them the tools necessary to make good, healthy hair-care decisions later on in life.

I'm sure they're already going to wish their hair looked like their mama's or daddy's hair (I've heard this straight from the mouths of adopted black children who I've done hair for), but if they leave Utah and get around other black people, they're going to wonder why their hair doesn't look like other black people's hair either. I don't know, I just think it could cause unnecessary self-esteem issues.

And not only that, but it's embarrassing. There are very few black people in Utah as it is. If the black kids who are here never learn to groom themselves properly, white people who don't know any better are going to look at them and think that that's what they're supposed to look like - unkempt and scraggly. Zay has told me, "White folks already think we're crazy!" Ha ha ha. Let's try not to further any negative stereotypes, mmmkay?

I don't know that going up to the lady at Target and calling her out on her kids' hair is a good thing to do. That might be well-intentioned, but could be really offensive. But I've also heard white parents say that they'd appreciate tips and advice, so I don't know.

I've talked about this before... both here and here. It's just that hair is such a huge part of our daily family life. I work with black hair day in and day out and so does Zay. When I have to hot comb out all the dreads that have formed in a little girl's hair so that she can run her fingers through it or get it braided, it can hurt... and most of the time it really just needs to be cut off, because the damage is already done. It makes me sad that it had to come to that. She might always associate getting her hair done with pain and trauma, because her parents didn't take care of her hair on a daily basis.

I've seen cases where some parents used chemical relaxers on their kids' hair when they were only 2 or 3 years old (to make the hair straight and "easy to deal with") and they have done permanent damage. Chunks of hair have fallen out, scalps have been burned, etc. That makes me sad! Every little girl wants to be pretty. There's different tastes in what's pretty, but unhealthy hair is never pretty.

There is a proper way to take care of black hair. It's a daily, weekly, and monthly process. It involves cleansing, moisturizing, and detangling. You don't have to straighten it and conform to a white standard of beauty - black hair worn natural is beautiful. You don't have to use heat and chemicals to beat it into submission. It just takes a little know-how and patience to get a good routine going.

I can't wait to be able to do my own little girl's hair (I've always imagined my daughters to have kinky curly hair). It's not supposed to be painful or scary or difficult. It's not meant to turn your black kid's hair into a white kid's hair, either. It's just meant to keep it healthy and manageable and give you lots of bonding time with your child.

Who knows what Angelina Jolie does with Zahara's hair on a regular basis??... but here, close to home, it's uncomfortable to see a child who looks like they've never seen a brush.




Thursday, May 6, 2010

American Idol Season 9 Finals Week 8

Photo: www.mjsbigblog.com

They couldn't have picked a lamer theme for this week - Sinatra. If they were trying to think of the lamest, most boring theme ever... they got it dead on. I guess they figure since the season sucks so bad they can just give up trying to make it entertaining at this point. Understandable.

Vote For The Worst quickly changed their pick for the week from Michael to Casey when they realized that Casey had truly bombed and Michael didn't deliver the cheesy entertainment they had hoped for. I feel bad for Casey, because he's been pretty consistent.

The best to me were Crystal's "Summer Wind" and Lee's "That's Life." Crystal, Lee, and Siobhan were my picks for Top 3, so I'll keep rooting for the two lone survivors... :)

 Photos: www.mjsbigblog.com

Results:
The online consensus was that Casey was going to go home, since he looked so stiff and uncomfortable without his guitar trying to sing SINATRA for crying out loud (who picks these themes???)... so I got a little nervous when it looked like Crystal and Casey were in the bottom 2. But, fake out, it was really between Michael and Aaron... and they should have sent them both home. But Aaron was the one to go. Can we just skip the next two weeks and go right to the Crystal/Lee finale? Pretty please?

This week's American Idol in 60 Seconds with Jim Cantiello:






Tuesday, May 4, 2010

American Idol Season 9 Finals Week 7

Photo: www.mjsbigblog.com

Okay, so I couldn't even bring myself to blog about American Idol last week because it upset me so bad. Ha ha ha. I had to come to terms with the results first! Now, here we go...

We're down to the Top 6. Looking back at the entire Top 24, I'd have to say my Top 6 would've been:
  1. Crystal Bowersox
  2. Siobhan Magnus
  3. Lee Dewyze
  4. Alex Lambert
  5. Casey James
  6. Tim Urban
So, since Alex is long gone and Tim sadly left the competition last week... the presence of Michael Lynch and Aaron Kelly irks me a bit. I'm gonna vote my little heart out for the other four. The theme is Shania Twain's songbook collection, so Aaron is supposed to be on his game. We'll see.

I noticed that since Vote For The Worst's long-running pick was finally sent packing, they'd have to pick a new person to support. They like to go with people who sing badly and/or are really entertaining and/or the judges don't want them to win. They picked Siobhan. Ha ha ha. I don't think she's the worst, but she's by far the most entertaining. The rest of the contestants have just been DROWNING me in BOREDOM.

Actually, I looooove Siobhan. Something about her just screams (ha ha) "unfullfilled potential." But for some reason, the judges have been talking down to her even when she's done well and I think it's been confusing her. You can tell she's nervous too up on that stage. And Ryan Seacrest keeps referring to Siobhan as "the glass-blower" - that sounds so stupid (not really the glass-blowing part, just the fact that they keep calling her that). I don't know why they keep bringing up the contestants' previous jobs. Doesn't make any sense.

Shania Twain week ended up being interesting just because everyone was so dull that it was a close race. Casey had another "moment," I didn't like Lee again - he sounded like he was in pain singing "You're Still the One," Michael = boring and lame, Aaron = shaky voice and boring, Crystal was good but boring, and then there was Siobhan! OMG, Siobhan. Her wail at the end would have been awesome if she had finished it, HA HA HA. She just cut off mid-scream and tried to start it back up again. Wow, she did VFTW proud! Simon said it sounded like she was giving birth at the end there. HA HA HA. She was by far the most entertaining and was the only one to choose an upbeat song and ended the night with a lot of energy.

 Photo: www.mjsbigblog.com

Results:
Bottom 3: Michael, Casey, and Siobhan. Siobhan goes home!!!... I was UPset. Then she gave the best sing-out performance of the season with Aretha Franklin's "Think." You go, Siobhan! With each of the past couple weeks, American Idol Season 9 has gotten progressively lame. Vote For The Worst is now supporting Michael, not really because he's entertaining... there's nobody left to choose from who's entertaining! Just because he actually is the worst and he should have been gone THREE WEEKS AGO when he was supposed to leave and the judges wasted their "save"... *Grumble, grumble, grumble...* I love their banner for him, though:

Photo: www.votefortheworst.com

American Idol in 60 Seconds with Jim Cantiello:






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