A Souvenir from “Mad Men”

Mad Men is one of my all-time fave shows. I signed up for its email list so I would be in the know. So that’s how I found out about the website Screenbid.com, a platform for auctioning/selling props from popular TV shows and movies. A couple of summers ago, items from Mad Men appeared on the auction block. Needless to say, I was outbid on everything. I love the show but didn’t care to spend $50 on an empty can of corn circa the 1950s.

Since then, a new lot has come up a few times per year. I received the latest email from Screenbid a few weeks ago. This time the items weren’t on auction; you could flat-out buy them. Many of the items were still cost-prohibitive, but I did see a china set that I liked for $50. Hence a birthday list item was born.

I clicked on the “Buy” button with glee. The next screen came up: “Thanks for your purchase. You’ll be invoiced for $102.”


The shipping cost had not been discussed…and it turned out to be $48. OK, I thought, it is china, so it needs to be wrapped carefully. But $48???

C’est la vie. The package arrived and everything had been packed really well. So well that I am going to wait until after the holidays to unpack everything because it took me 5 minutes to unpack one dish.

I’m excited to own something that was on the set of one of my favorite shows. Do you own anything from a TV or movie set?

Mad Men, china
The one unpacked dish


People Say We Monkey Around

I watched a lot of TV when I was growing up. Back when sitcoms ruled the day. I remember doing plenty of other things, too: reading, playing outside, playing dress-up, playing with dolls, doing more reading, listening to Casey Kasem’s Top 40. But somehow there was still plenty of time for sitting in front of the TV.

One show that I enjoyed was The Monkees. The Monkees were cute and funny and I dug their music. Mike Nesmith was my favorite; I liked his sideburns and his knit hat.

So when I heard that Micky and Peter were going to make a Boston stop on their 50th anniversary tour, I had to go. Yes, 50th.

Unfortunately photography was not allowed during the show. So all I can do is allow the memories to light the corners of my mind.

The show was fabulous because Micky and Peter were just as playful as ever, and a screen behind them was constantly rolling footage from the TV series. They paid tribute to their late band member, Davy Jones, a few times and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

Peter and Micky came out with a new album (with guest appearances by Mike Nesmith) and I bought it after the show. SO good. Two of my favorite musicians, Ben Gibbard and Rivers Cuomo, wrote songs for the album.










I highly recommend the album. I also recommend the Monkees’ cult classic film called Head…if you want to experience a drug-infused frenzy without ingesting any drugs. Wow. There is a lot going on in this movie.

OK, I still have one birthday list item to report on. I’m only three months behind schedule…stay tuned for a recap of my birthday trip to Hyannis, Massachusetts!

Long Island Medium

Four or five years ago, I was visiting a friend and she introduced me to the reality TV show Long Island Medium. We watched episode after episode, transfixed. The “Long Island Medium” is a woman named Theresa Caputo, who lives on Long Island with her family.

I’ve gone to a few psychics over the years and was never blown away by the experiences. But I do believe that some psychics are the real deal and can communicate with spirits.

I theorized from her TV show that Theresa could be the real deal, but I also knew it was TV…so when I heard that she was bringing her live show to Boston, a friend and I immediately bought tickets.

theresa caputo









As well as being a medium, Theresa is a born performer. She’s extroverted, sassy, and speaks her mind. She started off the evening by laying down some ground rules, e.g., do not dog whistle in hopes of luring her over to communicate with your loved one’s spirit. (Sure enough, someone did that in the middle of the evening and was she pissed!) She also mentioned that if you were relating to what a spirit was saying to some one else, that it could possibly be your loved one talking to you as well.

The show consisted of her walking through the audience until she felt “strong” spirits. Cameras followed her so the audience could watch her speak with audience members on a big screen on stage.

I spent the whole evening thanking my lucky stars that I have not lost a closed loved one to tragedy or old age yet. Many stories told were pretty high on the tragedy scale. The first spirit Theresa connected with was a 2-month-old boy who died from a respiratory problem. Then there was the spirit of a local woman who had recently died after being stabbed by a boyfriend. There was a college student who died of the norovirus. There was a woman who left behind a small son, whom her mother was taking care of.

Theresa would walk around saying things like, “Tell me about the daughter.” “I see an explosion; did someone die in a war?” until someone would speak up. I got the chills when a 19-year-old woman was talking with Theresa about her mother whom she had recently lost. Much of her story sounded like my own mother’s, who lost her mother when she was 14.

I left the show hoping that the people who communicated with their loved ones through Theresa felt some level of comfort and peace. I was also reminded of the importance of communicating with our loved ones while they are still with us. Guilt from things left unsaid and what-iffing after losing a loved one equal a very heavy burden.

A Book and a [Big] Bird

One week left of being a 30-something…

I’m way behind on my birthday list reporting, but I will try to catch up over the next few days!

I’m working my way through the Modern Library’s top 100 novels and nonfiction books. As I was perusing the list of novels about a month ago, I noticed that there weren’t many female authors listed. So I counted…nine. NINE. Out of 100.

Harumph. So I’m reading the rest of the books written by female authors first. I finished Elizabeth Bowen’s The Death of the Heart the other day. Great title, no? It’s a lovely period piece of England in the 1930s. The main character is a sweet and innocent teenaged girl who ends up a little unhinged over a boy and a betrayal (but not necessarily the boy’s betrayal).

On May 15, I had an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my days. I was in the same room as the man who’s played the characters of Big Bird and Oscar on Sesame Street for 40 years: Caroll Spinney.

He is the subject of a new documentary, and he and his wife and the two filmmakers were in attendance on the opening night at the Brattle Theatre.

I Am Big Bird is the story of Caroll’s journey as an individual and as one of the most well-known public figures in the world (well, his puppets are). Anyone who grew up watching Sesame Street or the Muppets will love this film.

I was amazed at how emotional I became as I watched his story unfold. And I was not the only person sniffing and gasping and squealing—everyone was just as touched as I was.

To see Caroll Spinney and hear him speak was the icing on an already sky-high cake. He is in his 80s and is STILL playing these characters. Granted, they don’t have as much screen time anymore…but the fact that he is still playing them at all is mind-blowing. Being Big Bird is physically taxing to say the least. He has such a quick wit and seems to be such a sweet man.

Caroll is, in a word, amazing…as is his second wife, who is truly the love of his life. I am so glad that this film has brought this story of a puppet master to life. Caroll has brought joy to millions (billions?) of people and he deserves to be recognized. Thank you, Caroll!

Caroll Spinney
Yes, he brought Oscar with him.

I Felt His Voice Take the Sword out of My Hand

OMG, first of all: So glad that Downton is back. It will be the sole reason that I look forward to Sunday night over the next few months.








Second of all:

Courtesy of pastemagazine.com
Courtesy of pastemagazine.com








Watched Ben-Hur the other night = # 3 on the birthday list. I think this is the year that I finish AFI’s top 100 movie list. Ben-Hur is #72 on the list. I wasn’t sure how I would like this historical drama, but I was hooked pretty quickly. Boyhood friends turned enemies, an underdog facing seemingly insurmountable odds, an insane chariot race: it has a lot going for it. Next on the Netflix queue is Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush.