Party of 4: Adjusting to life with a new sibling

We’re almost two months in to this new gig as a family of 4 and it almost seems that the magnatude of the level of change is only just starting to hit us. The sheer logistics involved in managing daily tasks and  outings is enough to make your head spin! 

All in all we are doing pretty well in my book. Brian and I are like a team of elite disaster prevention specialists juggling intricate procedures while under sleep deprivation. Ziva is both a little cautious and a little protective around her little sister. When Arielle cries Ziva comes running yelling, “Get her mom! Get her!! She crying! Get her!” But when Ziva is feeling fragile and in need of her mama’s lap she’s not afraid to tell us, “I want daddy to take her,” so she can have her spot back in my arms ūüėā. 

I’m not totally naive, come on. I knew there would be big changes ahead. But, going from 1 baby to 2 is hard in different ways than I expected, but also exactly as everyone said:

Managing both babies’ needs is hard.

Managing your partners needs at the same time is super hard.

Managing your emotions about the whole thing at the same time… even harder. 

Ziva, like the champion adjuster and go-with-the flow kid she is, she hasn’t put up too much of a fight about the big changes in her life. She is, however, 2, and her new found anxiety about her place in the family comes out with some big emotions at times, and some subtle sadness and uncertainty. 

What I didn’t expect is how hard it is to sit back and watch my beloved big girl go through these big emotions and changes. Even if they are normal and necessary changes, it’s hard to see your little one in any amount of distress. I want to scoop her up and just hold her and squeeze her and help her be her usual perpetually happy self… but often my arms are occupied and Arielle is nursing and I just can’t.

I didn’t realize how having your heart in two places at once can wear you down a little. I feel so for Ziva and her feelings of uncertainty, and yet I want to give Arielle all the care and attention I know she deserves as well. 

Gradually, we are all learning how to rearrange ourselves to make room for this new little part of us who we all love so much. 

Arielle may be tiny, but like all new babies she’s made big waves in our family. So far we’re all keeping our heads (mostly) above water. ūüĆä And it’s s all worth it when she cracks a smile ūüėć. 

Bit by bit they are becoming sisters, and that is enough to melt my heart. 

What’s your Achilles’ heel? Mine is Anxiety

Honesty time.

Anxiety is my Achilles’ heel. Meaning? There’s nothing that can trip me up, pull me ten steps back, and completely derail my health goals faster than a bout of anxiety. I’ve tried so many things over the years to manage my anxiety to make real¬†progress, but some things in life are big, and no matter what self-care, breathing exercises, and positive thinking skills I employ, there is just real anxiety that is a lot to contend with.

For me, the stress and anxiety of pregnancy… and pregnancy loss have sent me like a yo-yo through good times and rough times when I can’t seem to pull myself forward. It’s been about 3 months since my last loss and for the most part, I’m doing okay. I’ve even had some really great bursts of anxiety free energy! I finished a full round of the 21 Day Fix Extreme and lost 9 lbs and 8.5 inches, more importantly I was feeling STRONG, HEALTHY, and POWERFUL in my body. It was amazing to feel such ownership of my body again after the alienating feeling of betrayal and confusion following another miscarriage. But, I’m human.

I may have AMAZING tools at my disposal for managing my anxiety and staying on track physically… but I’m still healing and I’m still figuring things out. In this second round of the 21DFX, I haven’t been doing very well. I’ll admit it. My mind isn’t in the game this round. We’ve made so many big changes in our lives since April, losing the baby, moving across the country back to my hometown, changing our work situations (I now work from home full-time), and all the costs and challenges that these things bring… I think it’s all starting to catch up to me all at once and it’s been rough.

I know that the stressful times are a great test for any lifestyle change. If it doesn’t work for you even through the worst of times, is it really a lifestyle change or is it just a diet? I’m finding that for me, right now, I’m so grateful to have found my Beachbody family. I may not be making perfect progress at the moment, but I’m still moving forward, and doing so is one thing that can help me with my anxiety. Every time I force myself to press play, or at least get up and go for a walk outside so that I can participate in my accountability group, it helps lighten my mood. It helps give me even just the slightest lift so that I can see out of my anxiety haze. Knowing I have challengers watching and relying on me to be an example and a motivator helps me manage the urge to eat my emotions. I may not be making perfect progress every month, but I’m living my real story and being honest as I go.

I’m grateful that with Beachbody I have a ton of options to choose from, and even though right now my anxiety is too much and I am not up for pressing play on a hardcore boot camp style workout everyday, I’m grateful for the light-hearted options that allow me to workout with less pressure and lower impact. Sometimes all you need is a good dance, a little laugh, and to just get moving.

So, my weight loss story may be a little up and down, my ‘after’ photo may still look like a ‘before’, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come in managing my hard times. I’m proud that despite wanting nothing more than to curl up in a ball under the covers, this community has pushed me to be the kind of person who gets up and gets moving.

So, despite my Achilles’ Heel, I’m finding ways to keep moving forward.

This got me thinking, for many of us who struggle with our weight and our fitness, there is something that trips us up and keeps us from successfully making the lifestyle changes necessary to allow progress to happen. But, if we are able to identify our greatest weakness. If we are able to figure out what triggers our self-destructive behaviors, maybe we can prepare ourselves to confront them more effectively.

Knowing what sets you off course means you can plan ways to try to keep the negative cycle from continuing.

For me, when my anxiety runs high and I want to hide and eat everything, the number one thing I need to do on those days is to get up and get moving. If it’s not my workout video, than it needs to at least be a walk outside. By breaking the downward spiral, often, I can start to pull myself back up.

On that note, time to go press play.

Big Changes Part 2: California, Here We Come!


So, what did I do after miscarrying my third pregnancy (If you’re just tuning in, check out part 1 Here¬†to get cought up)? I spent 2 weeks hold up in our Ann Arbor apartment frantically packing everything we own and selling off what we couldn’t bring with us. Oh, and stress eating whatever we could get our hands on, cause, you know… that’s how we roll.

All this stuff.... oy
All this stuff…. oy

By the end, I felt like an Olympian! A very bloated, exhausted olympian. Like I managed an impossible feat. Despite my sadness and physical exhuaustion… we had a deadline to meet and that Pod was leaving May 6th whether our stuff was in it or not!

This teeny pod contained everything we own.
This teeny pod contained everything we own.

If you’ve ever moved a household across the country without using professional movers, or at all, then you know it’s insane. I highly don’t recommend using your savings this way… although I highly DO recommend living in California, so I guess it’s kinda worth it. We decided to use a Pod rather than a traditional moving company because it was by far the lowest cost option and they were able to store our belongings for us here in California until we found a new place. We packed prepared for a long time in storage, but ended up finding the perfect apartment for us on our very first weekend in town! Surprise! What a whirlwind.

All packed and ready to leave. Farewell Michigan!
All packed and ready to leave. Farewell Michigan!

On May 7th, Ziva and I boarded a plane in Detroit headed for the San Francisco Bay Area, and Brian, his dad, and our doggy Brinkley started a 4 day drive to meet us on the other side.

Ziva and Mama on the plane.
Ziva and Mama on the plane.

Flying with a 14 month old is by far much harder than flying with a 4, 7 or 10 month old. Ziva was still a stellar little passenger, but now she is so much bigger, stronger, and more restless than she ever was before. I kept her occupied on board with a long nap, some puffy stickers and a notebook, and plenty of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (don’t judge). The puffy stickers (from a craft store) where a big hit. Walking the aisles of the plane on the other hand did not go as well. Ziva is a very social girl and she just wanted to stop at each row and get to know everyone.

We spent the last month getting in as much family time with my family as we could possibly fit in. It’s been INCREDIBLE. I had no idea they were this awesome! JK, I totally knew it, that’s why we hauled our butts back to California! My dad and his fiance hosted us at their home while we searched for a place and waited to move in. Their place is perched on top of a hill in El Cerrito, California, and waking up each day to their amazing view of the whole bay area was the perfect reminder of why we made this crazy move.

The sunshine, family, and friends have made it more than worth the pain of getting here. And as I write this, one month from the day we arrived here in California, I am sitting in our own apartment. Back home again, in our very own little slice of the Bay.



October gouls…I mean goals

Hardy har har. You see what I did there with the title? #HalloweenJokes #IllBeHereAllMonth

At the prompting of my team, Gobal Impact, I’ve been working on pinning down SMART goals each month. So, new month, new or renewed goals it is! 

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. As the beautiful sayings posted all over inspirational Instagram and Pinterest boards always say, a goal without a plan is just a wish! SMART goals are goals built with a plan in mind. 

My goals for this month are as follows:

  1. Focus on Personal Development. At least 15 minutes a day, everyday. I’ve gotten started on this by listening to the book The Compound Effect.
  2. Reach Success Club by helping at least three people get started on a fitness program, and on their way to better health and fitness by the end of the month.
  3. Press Play Everyday. That means no matter what, even if it’s just 10 minute abs, I’ll press play and do a workout each and every day this month. I know I’ll feel better for it.

Other goals I’ve got rheuminating right now, but haven’t made a clear plan for yet are getting to sleep earlier, being more efficient in my time management, and teaching Ziva to clap! Baby party tricks are the best. 

What are your October goals? 

It Was Worth It

Laying here tonight, the night before I return to work and Ziva is to start daycare, I keep having the thought that it was all worth it. What exactly am I referring to? 

Everything. The awkward years. The junior high torment. The troubled teen years, a square peg in a community of round holes. The challenges of growing up. The heart aches. The tough lessons. The long school years and late nights. The break ups. The many moves. Friends lost and gained. 

Everything. Each and every thing I’ve experienced and endured in my life until this time. The time when I get to be Ziva’s mama. It was all worth it for this. 

As a young teen dealing with depression and challenging social dynamics I once gave up and tried to throw in the towel. I’m glad it didn’t work. It’s true that “It gets better,”. Over the years many things have gotten much better. But there have been ups and downs along the way. 

Being Ziva’s mother, experiencing her birth, spending time with her and seeing who she is, these things are what make me say, “It doesn’t just get better, it’s all worth it. It’s worth going through all of the grit of life to experience this.”


A Look Back at 2014

It’s been a long year…. full of good, full of change, and full of learning experiences. The turbulent weather seemed to match the tone of life. Unpredictable, overwhelming, exciting and scary. Life has sped up so much these last few years, with big shifts in my life coming faster and faster. Looking back reminds me how much we really did¬†and how many really good times we had, amid the chaos of lose and change.


I’m not huge on parties, so when it came to planning our New Year’s Eve I knew I wanted to do something special but different. We decided to make dinner at home together, then head Downtown to the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit to ring in the new year with the Zac Brown Band. With so many instruments and high quality musicians on stage, how can you go wrong? I would definitely put this at the top of my favorite live shows list. It was an intimate and thrilling way to count down to 2014.

Ringing in the New Year with the Zac Brown Band at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Ringing in the New Year with the Zac Brown Band at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Last winter was cold. I don’t have to remind you about our fantastically freezing Polar Vortex. There was something exciting about how extreme the weather was, and how life just had to slow down and shift to accommodate it. With that said, I’m glad we aren’t pushing through negative degree weather and heavy snow this year! I’m not as sure on my feet with a basketball belly under my coat, you know what I mean?

Crazy deep Polar Vortex snow
Crazy deep Polar Vortex snow


By February we had settled in to the deep snow and cozy days inside (binge watching shows on Netflix, snacking and cuddling our pup of course). My mom comes to town every February, which I always love and look forward to. We decided to take her on an adventure this year and drive up north to Traverse City for a few days to show her our favorite parts of the state. Little did we know, I was already expecting for the first time….¬†

Mom's Visit Feb 2014
Mom’s Visit Feb 2014
Traverse City with mom Feb 2014
Traverse City with mom Feb 2014


I loved my work, but was ready for a change. In March I got a new start at a smaller digital company in Ann Arbor and dove¬†in to the new work. It was scary starting a new job, with an hour commute, right as I found out I was pregnant, but I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Brian, the loving husband he is, knew that I was ready to get¬†back to Ann Arbor (one step closer to a feeling of home), and we started our plans to move.


After the long cold months of winter, we were eager to head home to California in April. Excited that we would be 12 weeks along while we were there, we made plans to announce the pregnancy in person to my friends and family. It was to be a trip full of celebrations and love with my sister’s baby shower and my best friend’s bachelorette. There was so much joy in the first half of the trip… only to be balanced by the heartbreaking end of our trip and our first pregnancy.

Napa bachelorette for the soon to be Mrs. April 2014
Napa bachelorette for the soon to be Mrs. April 2014


We returned to Michigan after the miscarriage and went into hibernation. I can’t imagine a better team I’d rather have by my side than Brian and Brinkley. May was a blur… an adjustment to life without the little baby in my belly. Learning to see life through a new lens.

Our little family... minus the one we were expecting.
Our little family… minus the one we were expecting.


As fast as loss can come on and sweep the rug right out from under you, love and abundance can swoop right back in and fill the dark spaces lifting you right back up. In early June we were shocked and elated to learn we are¬†once again expecting a sweet little baby. My best friend got married, and though it was a planned elopement and I wasn’t able to attend in person, I was overjoyed for her and her new husband. To top it all off, the end of June brought the arrival of sweet, sweet little Stella Ray. My sister gave us one of the best gifts we could ever receive and we’ve spent the rest of 2014 just loving on her and watching this adorable little bundle of happiness grow!

Our niece, Stella Ray born June 2014
Our niece, Stella Ray born June 2014


Ann Arbor here we come!! July 1st we moved into our new Ann Arbor apartment. It’s been a tough transition, but a good one. There are things we miss about life in Royal Oak, but there are many things we love about Ann Arbor too (including the many summertime festivities that we were able to take part in, like Sonic Lunch, Art Fair, and Summer Fest).

Brinkley helping us pack. Moved to Ann Arbor July 1st 2014!
Brinkley helping us pack. Moved to Ann Arbor July 1st 2014!

We celebrated our first anniversary on July 21st with a trip back up north, you guessed it, to Traverse City! What can I say? We love it up there. We had big plans to spend a few days in Traverse City and then to head to Mackinac City to take the ferry over to Mackinac Island for our romantic anniversary. That plan was thwarted by another pregnancy scare and a day in the ER. So, instead of gallivanting around a historic island, we took it easy and spent the rest of the weekend with good friends, healing and waiting to see if we would get to keep our little one. Thank G-d for good friends and for things turning out alright.

Year 1 of marriage in the books. I can't wait to see how our lives have changed by the end of year 2.
Year 1 of marriage in the books. I can’t wait to see how our lives have changed by the end of year 2.


We headed back to California again for my cousins beautiful Santa Barbara wedding. We spent a week taking in the sunshine and loving on little Stella Ray, and another week making the rounds with family and friends in the Bay Area. It was a great trip slightly tainted by our nerves, but we made it home all in one piece, the bun still baking in my oven. Whew.


I LOVE MICHIGAN FALL. I know, what comes after isn’t so hot (pun intended), but I can’t help but love everything about the crisp, sunny days of fall. My college roommate, Anne, came to visit us and we showed her some of the best fall has to offer. After asking around we decided to go apple picking at Spicer’s Orchard in Fenton. The drive¬†wasn’t bad from Ann Arbor, and it was a great experience! We will definitely be heading back next year. The tractor ride through the orchard, bright blue sky, delicious apples, cider and donuts are all part of what makes fall here so special. We would definitely recommend Spicer’s for families looking for a day of fall fun. We can’t wait to go back with little ones someday.

Apple picking at Spicer's Orchard, Fall 2014
Apple picking at Spicer’s Orchard, Fall 2014


The gorgeous days of fall football and apple picking quickly shift to grey skies… thank goodness for warm family holidays like Thanksgiving to help get us through. We haven’t had much snow this year, but we got plenty during our interstate drive from Michigan to New Jersey for Thanksgiving weekend. Brian is a master driver, and I’m glad he is cause I would have been a¬†whimpering fool if I had to drive!

We spent the weekend with my cousins in New Jersey, playing with her little ones and reminiscing about our extended family. We even got in a day in Manhattan to check out the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I love exploring with Brian, but I don’t recommend traveling when you are pregnant. Maybe it’s just me, but long drives and long days trekking through cities are better enjoyed without worrying about pregnancy troubles (like swollen feet and fatigue). I know many women are able to go hard during pregnancy, but for me it felt like a little too much action. Still, we had a great time. ūüôā

Snowy drive to New Jersey for Thanksgiving
Snowy drive to New Jersey for Thanksgiving


My dad came to visit! I love spending time with my dad. He’s great to adventure with and he has a gung ho attitude when it comes to projects. We spent the weekend hanging out, clearing out the baby’s room/closet and working to prep the nursery for when the little one (hopefully!) arrives.¬†There is nothing better than time with family, and we have had so much of it this year, despite long distances and tough times. It’s really been a journey. I feel like I’ve grown and changed more than ever this year (easy to say when you’ve been pregnant most of the year, but I mean it figuratively as well).

We truly can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. Hopefully it’s tons and tons of happy times and snuggles with our sweet baby girl. Cheers to the new year!¬†

Baby Girl Lubetsky arriving February 2015!  Cheers to the New Year!
Baby Girl Lubetsky arriving February 2015!

The Day that Almost Was

Tomorrow is significant for what it’s not.

It was the day that we thought we might have our first child. It was the day that I memorized immediately after finding out we were pregnant last February. It was my due date.

Now, it’s just Sunday.

It may seem silly to hold on to the date, like it once held some magic. Especially silly since most babies aren’t born on their due date. Truth is, the baby measured small at that first and only ultrasound. They probably would have moved the date¬†about 4 days like they did this time around. But still, the anticipation of November 2nd has stuck with me.

In April all I could think was, “Oh G*d, I hope we are pregnant again by Nov 2nd, or I’m not sure how I’ll manage the day.” In truth, sitting here almost 6 months pregnant it does seem to ease a bit of the hurt. The loss. But I can’t shake the feeling that something was taken. That this day was supposed to mean something.

Sometimes when I get sad thinking about the first baby, I remind myself that I am grateful for the one inside me now. Maybe, just maybe it had to happen this way so that we’d get this particular little spirit, due on the very same day we found out we were pregnant with the first.

Sometimes I think I’m silly for mourning something that really almost never was. Just 12 weeks. But, in my heart I know fiercely that I felt that little spirit with me… And I felt them leave. It was like someone had left the room. Like the opposite of the feeling you get when someone is watching you, the feeling of absence.

Have a very merry unbirthday little one.

You are missed. You are loved. You were, and I will never be the same.


For more on our experience with pregnancy loss: 

Strangers on a plane

Santa Barbara Labor Day Weekend

We just returned from our first trip back home to California since the fateful trip in April. Though I had some underlying anxieties about traveling home again, knowing full well that the trip home did not cause what happened, it was actually a pretty positive experience.

We enjoyed a few lazy days the Bay Area after a long Labor Day weekend in Santa Barbara celebrating my cousin’s wedding with my sister, my new baby niece, my mom, and my mother’s side of the family. Brian broke out our new-to-us DSLR and got to becoming a bona fide [amateur] family photographer. It was, all in all, a very good trip.

Birthday walk on the warf in Santa Barbara. Gorgeous view which ever way you look! (Image by Ready Set Sarah)
Birthday walk on the wharf in Santa Barbara. Gorgeous view which ever way you look! (Image by Ready Set Sarah)
My precious niece Stella. Those stunning eyes! (Image by Ready Set Sarah)
My precious niece Stella. Those stunning eyes! (Image by Ready Set Sarah)
Who can resist those cheeks? I could have spent forever snuggling this little lady. (Image by Ready Set Sarah)
Who can resist those cheeks? I could have spent forever snuggling this little lady. (Image by Ready Set Sarah)

I was dreading our early Sunday morning flight home. I’m never really ready to leave my California home. Reluctantly, we rose at 4am PST and packed the last of our things. We¬†enjoyed a last few minutes with my gracious dad, our ride.

Making a connection

Through security and waiting at our gate, I began to get my typical pre-flight jitters and pestered my husband until he agreed to move closer so that I could hear the gate agents better. Standing alert, waiting for the cue to board, a woman approached and asked for my help understanding the boarding process. I explained that she was Zone 2, and would have to wait until the priority and zone 1 customers had gone.

Another woman, older and with a more frazzled expression, approached me as the first left. She also needed help understanding when she should board. Her boarding pass was crumpled and her hands were a bit shaky as she held them out so that I could examine her pass. I explained her zone and the system for boarding, she explained that it was her first time ever flying alone. She asked if I flew often and if she’d be allowed to use her phone on board. I gave her a few pointers and answered her questions before we parted so that she could line up with the other zone 2 passengers.

I didn’t think much of our interaction, I try to make a point of helping people when they need a hand understanding a process or finding their way. This seemed no different. I can understand the feeling of being anxious, jittery and afraid of somehow missing something or getting left behind. We boarded the plane with the other non-elite (who forgot to check-in early) passengers in zone 3.

A few hours into the flight, waiting for the bathroom, the older woman met me with a startled look as she left the teeny lavatory. We met eyes and I saw that hers were red and glossy. Coming right up to me she explained with liqueur laden breath¬†and wet eyes that she had been very upset earlier when she’d asked for my help because it was her first time flying alone. Her husband had died the day before.

My heart and stomach sank. I immediately felt a strong connection to the woman. The feeling of flying home, looking around at all the frazzled, happy, distracted travelers and wondering if they could see the pain and loss on my face. Feeling the overwhelming need to be taken care of, given space and consideration as I grieved the fresh loss of my own last April. The need to be held close as the feelings mixed with general travel anxiety.

I told her I was so, so sorry. I knew that wasn’t enough. I gave her a hug. I held her for a minute, her small frame and frizzy blonde/grey hair, her sorrow and her bravery in reaching out. I hugged her because it was all I knew to do. I hugged her because I knew how much it helped me to have Brian there to hold me when the sadness and newness of the pain took over me as we traveled home.

The other passengers who had been waiting looked on in surprise as we separated and the grieving woman slipped off to return to her seat. I didn’t even see which way she had gone I was so taken by the quick but weighty¬†exchange.

This story needs no moral, but it was a heavy reminder of why I reach out, and respond when someone reaches out for a hand. Sure I’m a crotchety traveler sometimes, but it doesn’t hurt to open yourself up to the people around you. To hear them and help them when they ask a question or look befuddled. You never know what they are facing or where they are going or coming from.







Let Them Tell You No

Take a chance. Photo by ReadySetSarah
Take a chance. Photo by ReadySetSarah

When it comes to career, life and taking chances, don’t take yourself out of the running. Give “them”- whoever “them” is- a chance to tell you no. You might be surprised how often you get a yes.

Among my close female friends and colleagues we all talk frequently about what we are passionate about, what innovative, creative and meaningful ideas we have for what we would like to do with our lives and our careers. But, rarely do we take steps towards those dreams. When a pathway opens that could get us one step closer we talk ourselves out of it, or fail to recognize the opportunity.

I have been in way too many conversations with friends where they (or I) have talked ourselves out of going for an opportunity, or trying something we think we’ll like (promotion, new position, long coveted hobby or skill etc.). We sit there listing off the reasons we probably aren’t qualified or ready for it, questioning our reasoning for why we actually might be qualified, or lamenting why we cannot change what we are already doing because we are comfortable or someone depends on us, etc. We can easily see the the fault in each others method/logic, yet we can all¬†recall times we have fallen prey to this kind of thinking.

Why do we take ourselves out of the game before we’ve even had a chance to see if we can win? Why are we so afraid to try and fail? Why do we feel obligation to others, making decisions that aren’t in our best interest or what we really want?

I know not every woman falls into these behaviors, and those who do, may not do so all the time. I’m also sure there must be men who can relate too.

We need to practice articulating our skills and experience without qualifiers and passivity.¬†We need to stop thinking we aren’t good enough, capable, or ready to do what we want or to try something new. We need to start consistently and strategically taking chances to get what we want and where we want to be.¬†Failure is an opportunity to learn. Rejection leads to reflection. We have to take chances to get where we want to be.

Revolution and The Walking Dead: Dystopian Cultural Fantasies

The Walking Dead on AMC (image from AMC TV)

Beau and I have been immersing ourselves in post-apocalypse, dystopian horror/fantasies. I’m not sure how it started. I’ve always had a thing for fantasy fiction, Science fiction, and a lot of Buffy (she gets her own category, because Buffy). I’m just not sure what kicked off this binge. I’ve been yearning for some good stories and decided to take a stab at Revolution when the current season started. After seeing a preview it looked like something I could sink my teeth in (wait that’s The Walking Dead… Hardy har har). After watching a few episodes I was totally hooked, we needed to double back and start at square one.

Dear daddy came to visit just in time to hook us up with Apple TV (a wonderful invention). The gateway to alternate realities, the perfect winter present when there is not much to do outside.

After binge watching until fully caught up on Revolution, the itch for a good narrative was scratched, but instead of relief I found myself with a yearning for more. Sure, Rachel Matheson wiggles her lips a bit too much and her moods change as fast Michigan weather, even despite her the show had us hooked and ready for more. But what to do? We were mid-fall break in the season with no new episodes in site (they start up again on January 8th).

Revolution on NBC (Image from Revolution facebook page)
Revolution on NBC (Image from Revolution facebook page)

Beau and I have¬†both read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Knowing full well what we were getting ourselves into, we decided to watch the¬†movie¬†(released in 2009) ¬†to see what horrors they brought to life. It was a harsh switch from the sunny but violent electricity free future painted in Revolution¬†into the dark horrid and terrifying abyss of death that is The Road. In some ways the future looks pleasant without electricity. Back to the basics, right? Cut out the static and as long as you survive things aren’t too bad, you know? Well, in McCarthy’s future things aren’t so rosy. The most horrifying scene from the book is missing from the film (thank goodness, because I like babies), but I was still left with a lingering fear of cannibalism and greyness.

After a brief hiatus to binge watch all of Scandal (Also a good show. Perhaps it’s the politics and social dynamics in Scandal that land us in these post apocalyptic futures? Think about it.), I googled “best tv shows like Revolution” looking for another alternate existence to ponder and found The Walking Dead at the top of every list.

We love The Walking Dead (TWD from here on). This is one really well done show. Unlike Revolution, which feels like a TV show in it’s production value, TWD definitely has more of a high production, premium channel feel. Where Revolution is a troubled, but still somehow comfortable version of the future, TWD’s post-zombie-inducing-disease-outbreak Georgia is wholly unsettling. The fantasy is regularly and harshly interrupted by horror and gore, but the characters and actors are fabulous. Ok, Andrea will drive you a little nuts with her bad choices and lack of intuition, but she can be a bad ass and isn’t as hard to watch as Rachel and her wiggle lips. I haven’t read the comic book series the show is based on, but it looks from the character wiki that her character’s story has been changed a bit in translation. I love the way the social dynamics of the group play out with the changing circumstances and ever-growing pile of threats, and Beau loves the action. We made it through the first 3 seasons in no time at all and are impatiently awaiting the DVR recording of the first half of Season 4 that is airing during the New Year’s marathon happening tonight.

With nothing to do but wait, we watched Elysium. Ugh. Really? The premise for the film and the experience of the future is so thinly painted it seems trite. The heroes ending seems poorly thought out and overly simple. What will healing everyone on earth do when there is already no room to make a life on earth?? What good will making everyone a citizen of Elysium do, it’s hardly a big enough solution to even things ¬†out on earth! I get the gesture, but where does it go from there? There needed to be more lead to the story, more meat to the how and why of things, and an ending that offered something more substantial than “if everyone can’t have it, no one can” kind of solution. I was not a fan. Like the recent movie interpretation of Ender’s Game, I felt in the end, the audiences they are playing to in movies these days are a group much younger than me, and treated as¬†less capable of understanding complex story lines than I hope for (not to sound snobby, but the plots seem to be shaved down to more and more simplified versions of themselves).

After thinking it over, I’m not sure that it was entirely our doing that we found ourselves in this post-apocolyptic futures fantasy fit. There are an awful lot of options with this theme on the market right now. ¬†There have been for a while, but they seem to be coming at a fever pitch recently. What is it that culturally our media choices right now belay a longing for some change? For some drastic change for that matter? For heroes to challenge the established hierarchy. To fantasize about dire outcomes and our own end. Or is it that we sense a change coming and are expressing our fears and fantasies for what that will hold? With a seeming onslaught of superhero fantasies and dystopian futures in our cultural media, with Doomsday Preppers and Hunger Games, there’s got to some sort of dis rest a rumbling in our bellies. Most likely, and it seems a little obvious that it’s a natural outcome of the recession, the once eminently bright futures we thought we were promised are in question now.¬†Historically, I wonder what other period in history our current entertainment choices are most similar to. The Great Depression? Post or Pre War times? I’m sure there must be an American Studies major out there who can tell me.*

*I was an American studies major. Damn the day I lost access to social studies scholarly journal databases. Thank goodness for the inter-webs.

UPDATE: Revolution has not been renewed for another season. It’s not surprising, the show went downhill around mid-season. The story line sort of dried up and was only sustained by the overall concept of the show. It’s too bad, it was a pretty cool idea for a show and I would have loved to see it executed by someone with as much skill as Joss Whedon.