Not In Jersey: September 2015 September 2015 - Not In Jersey

September In Review

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wait…September is already ending? That doesn’t make sense to me! Well, I guess it does. It was an extremely busy month in which I had to travel out of state twice and we celebrated three big holidays…here are some of the highlights.

Family Activities:

  • We went Apple Picking.
  • Gabbie ran for Student Council Secretary – and won!

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  • We celebrated Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the beginning of Sukkot.

Me:

  • I traveled to Arizona to visit my grandmother when she got ill, and two weeks later I went to NJ for her funeral.
  • I started researching my family tree.
  • I finished watching Gilmore Girls and Scandal came back!

Right now, it is the middle of the Sukkot holiday, and then after next week, I am hoping things will be less busy around here!

Happy October!

Scandal Sunday 5.1–Heavy Is The Head

Sunday, September 27, 2015

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Welcome back Scandal fans! Season 5 started on Thursday night and it started out with Olivia and Fitz right where we left them – together. If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know I’m a huge fan of Olivia and Fitz together. I think they have the real, true love that everyone wants and although it isn’t easy for them, with him being President and all, I think they belong together. So, with that being said, you know where I’m coming from with my thoughts on this episode.

So, like I said, the episode began with Olivia and Fitz together at the White House. The promotions department released the first scene of the episode as a sneak peak, which was probably a good move, because they were able to secure much of the Olitz fan base back in front of their TV screens. On the other hand, I wanted to see more and that whole first scene had already been revealed before hand! The cuteness that was Olivia and Fitz getting ready for the State Dinner together was almost too much to handle.

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The theme of the episode was fairy tale endings, and in the beginning we hear a monologue from Sally Langston in which she talks about the President and his love of fairy tales – his throwing a party in honor of the royal family of Caledonia. The prince in this family married an American citizen, and their story was meant to be a fairy tale. Of course, things aren’t always what they seem.

From the beginning of the episode, Olivia’s story parallels the Princess’s story. The best Scandal episodes are when the “Case of the Week” means something to Olivia and this episode was no different. She realizes early on that the Princess was a regular person until she married the Prince. Then her life became a spectacle. With the world watching, the Princess was put on display and it was very difficult for her to be her own person at that point. Olivia obviously internalizes this as what will happen when she and Fitz go public with their relationship.

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In what was probably the cutest scene of the episode, Olivia wears Fitz’s Navy t-shirt and gets ready for bed with him, but then she receives a phone call. In a story that reminds us of Princess Diana, Princess Emily has been in a deadly car accident and Olivia is tasked with retrieving photos that were taken at the scene in order to protect the Princess’s dignity. In doing so, she discovers that the car crash was not an accident. As it turns out, the Princess was having an affair with her bodyguard and was pregnant with his child. Olivia at first suspects the Prince, but soon realizes that the Queen was behind the murder because the Princess was not carrying an heir to the throne.

Like in Season 2 when Fitz was shot, he realizes life is short and that he doesn’t want to wait to be with Olivia. He thus (finally!) serves Mellie with divorce papers. At this point, I would like to remind everyone that Fitz and Mellie were a political marriage to begin with and though their story is sad, they ultimately have not been in love with each other for years and years. For Mellie to suddenly act like she deserves Fitz’s love is insanity at best. Olivia is surprised that Fitz is planning to divorce Mellie so soon, but she seems to agree with him that moving forward is good.

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In the past, we have seen Olivia spook and run from being with Fitz, but this time she expresses herself as to why she isn’t ready to go public, saying:

“The minute the world finds out about us, we stop being you and me and we become a spectacle. All that scrutiny, a billion eyes on us… we wouldn’t have a chance. How can we make it work in public when we can barely make it work in private? It’s not a solution, Fitz! It’s just another complication. So, tell me how we do this. I want you. I want us. But I want to slow down. I want our business handled. I want our problems fixed. I want to be ready… Before the world is watching, because once it is, once we’re in that spotlight, being picked at and scrubbed and stretched in every direction, [voice breaking] We will never get the chance to make things right. If we are broken going in, we’re not getting out, not together. They will destroy us. That’s reality, Fitz.”

And Fitz agrees with her that they can wait until they are ready.

Except.

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Someone has leaked footage of them getting ready for the party together and Sally has aired it on her show. I actually predicted that Olivia would be outed at the end of this episode as what seems to be happening is a reset to the end of Season 2, when as is happening here, Olivia’s name was leaked. The difference being that at that time Olivia and Fitz were not together. This time they see Sally’s show together. Last time, Fitz was the one who leaked Olivia’s name in a strategy that he thought was a good idea but ended up not going the way he planned. Personally, I do not think he did it again. I believe the culprits to be Elizabeth North – the Chief of Staff – and Abby – the Press Secretary – because both were blindsided by Olivia in this episode. With Olivia having direct access to the President, he listens to her advice, sometimes causing difficulties for other people in the White House.

While we are left wondering about Olivia’s fairy tale ending, we are also left wondering what those who are against her being with Fitz will do next. In the Case of the Week, Olivia got her happy ending – she told the Prince what his mother did and she will now be abdicating her throne to him. As Olivia tells her, Evil Queens tend to go down. So will this be the same fate suffered by whoever outed Olitz?

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Now, with our reset back to the end of Season 2, we will see how Olivia deals with once again being outed as the President’s lover – but this time, I hope to see her and Fitz dealing with the fallout together.

If you watched, what did you think??

What I’ve Been Reading #94

Friday, September 25, 2015

As you know, I’ve been reading the Sullivan series by Bella Andre, and I recently finished the 7th and 8th book in the series. Come A Little Bit Closer is Smith’s book. Smith is the Sullivan brother who is a famous movie star! From what I’ve read, his book was very much anticipated by fans of the series. “Movie star Smith Sullivan can’t afford any distractions. He’s staking his entire reputation on his new film...but he can’t stop thinking about Valentina Landon and the fire he sees smoldering just beneath the surface. Valentina isn’t averse to sensual pleasure, or even to the idea of finding true love, but as a Hollywood business manager she’s watched too many smart women fall for actors...only to be torn apart when the fairytale comes to its inevitable end. But when intense weeks together on set turn their heated attraction into red-hot flames of passion, Smith knows he has to find a way to convince Valentina to let him get a little bit closer. Close enough to completely steal her heart...the way she’s stolen his from the start.” Valentina is business manager for her actress sister who is starring in Smith’s film that he is producing, directing, and starring in. Valentina has it in her head that she doesn’t want to get involved with an actor, but she can’t stop herself from falling for Smith. She also realizes that he’s not the typical actor that she believed him to be. Part of this book contains the story that Smith and Valentina’s sister are creating in their movie, and I was somewhat bothered by the fact that it was written from the point of view of those characters, and not described as those on set would see it. In a movie, you don’t know what the actors are thinking in each scene, you only see them acting. On the other hand, it was an interesting story within a story to read what was being portrayed by the actors on set. I expected to love Smith’s book, but I have to say it wasn’t my favorite – my favorite Sullivan brother is still Gabe!

However! I loved Lori’s story! Lori is featured in Always On My Mind. “After a tragic loss three years ago, Grayson Tyler leaves his life in New York City behind and starts over in the rolling hills of the California coast. He’s convinced himself that all he’ll ever need again is the blue sky, a thousand acres of pasture and the crashing waves of the ocean. That is, until the day Lori Sullivan barges into his life and promptly blows his emotionless and solitary world to shreds. Her passion and fire drive him crazy, as only a woman nicknamed Naughty can. But will Lori be able to convince him that it's safe to love her…and that forever isn’t actually out of reach?” Lori wants to get away from her life for a bit and she ends up on Grayson’s farm. Although the farm isn’t an obvious place for a city girl like Lori, she finds that she has to prove otherwise to Grayson. And she does – bonding with the pigs and naming them after her siblings, teaching the people at a barn dance how to line dance, and taking care of Grayson’s sick cat. Of course, they fall in love with each other and their romance was very well described as I fell in love with the two of them too. Now, I’ve been reading other books, but I will be moving on to the stories about the Sullivan cousins!

 

What have you been reading lately?

Learning Jewish History In Jerusalem

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lest you think all that we did in Israel was enjoy the beautiful scenery, today I thought I’d share some of the historic and religiously significant places that we visited while in Jerusalem. The first of course being the Western Wall – the remaining wall of the support walls that were built surrounding the Temple Mount and the First and Second Temples. In Hebrew, this section of the wall is known as the Kotel.

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People place notes in between the rocks of the wall.

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Here is Gabbie saying the morning prayers.

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Another day that we visited:

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The history of this wall and the Temple that once stood above it became one of the themes of our trip as we visited a few places where we learned all about everything that took place there. One of the places that we visited did not allow photos – The Temple Institute, which teaches visitors about the past and has the goal of rebuilding the Temple in the future. As you saw in the photos above, currently the Muslim site, the Dome of the Rock, is built on the Temple Mount. The Holy of Holies, which is the site we believe many pivotal events happened in Jewish history, is also a Muslim holy site. The Wakf, the Muslim authority that has control of the Temple Mount, has restricted Jewish visitors from praying there, although the law does allow Jews to visit and it is possible to visit according to Jewish law. Many Jewish people do visit the Temple Mount, but another way to get close to the Holy of Holies is by visiting the Kotel Tunnels, the excavated area under the rest of the Western Wall.

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Here you can see the small square the indicates where the Kotel is as compared to the rest of the actual wall.

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This model shows how the Temple was destroyed and the Dome of the Rock was built.

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The tunnels run under the area to the left of the Kotel.

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Inside the tunnel.

We also were able to take part in the Temple Mount Sifting Project – a project in which people can help sift through the dirt that was removed from the Temple Mount in order to find artifacts that otherwise would have been discarded.

“Every bucket of earth that is sifted contains fragments of pottery, glass vessels, metal objects, bones, worked stones and mosaic tesserae stones. These are the most frequent finds from the Temple Mount. The finds are   dated mainly to the First Temple Period and onwards (10th century BCE till today). There are some finds from earlier periods, but they are scarce. In addition to these general categories, there are numerous finds of many kinds: fragments of stone vessels, approximately 5,000 ancient coins, various pieces of jewelry, a rich assortment of beads, terracotta figurines, arrowheads and other weaponry, weights, items of clothing, game pieces and dice, bone and shell inlays, furniture decorations, ornaments, bone tools, etc. Fragments of elaborate architectural members from buildings, among them are pillars, architraves, mosaic floors, opus sectile tiles (see below), colored wall plaster (fresco), and glazed wall tiles.

The finds are carefully sorted and studied in the project’s archaeological laboratory, and once the processing and analysis are finished, this data will help to provide fresh insights into the archaeological and historical research of the Temple Mount.”

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Sorting buckets.

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Buckets of dirt to sort through.

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Sorting trays.

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The Sifting Project takes place outside of the Old City Walls:

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The kids really seemed to get a lot about learning the history of our historic and religious places and I’m so glad that they got to experience them!