Get cozy, stay warm and binge one of these seven shows this winter.

I love winter. I’ve posted many blogs about winter hiking and embracing the cold weather. Last April for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, my theme was “Winter in Maine“.  I really like winter. That hasn’t changed. I’m still a fan.

But, sometimes when the temperatures drop, I grab the remote and click on the propane fireplace as I flip-up the footrest on my nearby recliner. I settle into the chair with my favorite fuzzy blanket draped over all but my arms and head. Before I get cozy, I make sure that the nearby table has everything I could possibly need for an extended period including remotes, a snack or two and a seltzer, or glass of wine, or both.

Hunkering down and streaming a new show is one of my favorite weekend activities and this winter I succumbed even more easily than usual probably because my youngest left for college so I’m still adjusting to the empty nest. Streaming does fill the time.

Below are seven shows that I’ve binged recently.

Peaky Blinders. Netflix. I’m a little late to this party in that it’s already on Season 4 but I’m glad I finally watched Peaky Blinders. It is extremely compelling. While the story is fantastic, a couple of other things really stood out for me. The cinematography was exceptional. Every shot is so carefully crafted. The acting is also great across the board and I must say that it’s the first role I’ve ever seen Tom Hardy in where I was blown away. I didn’t recognize him and the supporting character that he played was one of my favorites.

The Umbrella Academy. Netflix. This show is right in my wheelhouse. I love anything with a sci-fi fantasy superhero slant.  I did enjoy this one although I found it a little uneven and slow to start. Still, a few characters saved it for me including The Séance and The Boy. It also grew on me the more I watched it so I’d be up for a Season 2.

Salt Fat Acid Heat. Netflix. When my daughter got home for spring break, she immediately started searching her phone for the perfect recipe from Bob’s Burgers. She wanted a family cooking night. We’ve spent a lot of time together as a family watching cooking shows. They’re addictive. Netflix’s take on the genre was fabulous. Host Samin Nosrat, who wrote the cookbook on which the show is based, is down to earth and enjoyable. You feel like you’re hanging out with a friend.  Each episode of this four part series takes you to a new location to do a deep dive into one of the cooking components of the title: salt, fat, acid and heat. Each episode was compelling. I’m can’t wait to pick up her cookbook now.

The Ranch. Netflix. I have never followed Ashton Kutcher’s career and only sporadically caught episodes of That 70s Show, but I heard him talk about The Ranch on Dax Shephard’s Armchair Expert podcast and I liked what he had to say about it so decided to give this sitcom a chance.  I enjoyed it and while it’s definitely funny they do not shy away from serious story lines. It can get dark too. My husband who doesn’t always like what I pick to stream was a big fan too.

White Dragon. Amazon Prime. I can’t say I gave this my full attention as I streamed it on my computer while organizing my new office but I did like it. White Dragon is a mystery show where the main character tries to solve his wife’s murder while learning unexpected things about her past. The lead was so familiar to me, but it took me a few episodes and some googling to realize that John Simm also played The Master in Doctor Who.

Endeavour. Amazon Prime. I watch each new season of this show as soon as it’s released on prime. As with White Dragon, I don’t always give it my full attention as sometimes it can be a little too much of a slow burn for me but I am a fan of the young Inspector Morse. I never saw the original series on which this prequel is based so am not caught up with the history and canon of it all. I just like the mysteries that Inspector Morse solves each episode.

I’m Sorry. TruTV. I streamed season one of this comedy series recently and have been watching season two episodes as they are released. I find this show hysterical. I love the goofy chemistry between the shows creator and star Andrea Savage with her TV husband, the constantly bemused Mike (Tom Everett Scott) and the crazy stories. The humor is definitely adult but so silly and fun. My husband and I laugh out loud a lot when we watch this one.

As I was pulling together this list of the recent shows I had streamed, I discovered that you can easily see a history of all your recent viewing activity on Netflix. While helpful for this blog post, overall it’s a little disturbing to see how much I actually stream on Netflix. Sometimes it’s better not to look too closely.

What are you streaming these days?


things to know
Total Hours Spent 113
Most Used App Netflix
Favorite Day to Binge Friday Night
Favorite Show I’m Sorry

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Looking for something fun to do? Check out a local Trivia Night.

Our first home had an extra bedroom that we turned into an office where we setup our brand new desk top computer.  We spent many evenings as newlyweds huddled in front of the computer, drinking wine while we playing trivia on the internet. I honestly don’t remember which site hosted the games although my husband thinks it was on AOL. He’s probably right. It was 1995 and we were connecting via a dial-up modem. The horror.

I also don’t remember if we won or lost but know that we always had fun. While much has changed in twenty eight years our love of a good trivia match has not. And, we are not alone.

There’s a reason Jeopardy has been on longer than I’ve been alive. People like trivia games. I read an article recently about how the HQ Trivia App is a huge phenomenon drawing millions of people to their live digital trivia games. For more information on this latest craze check out this article from Time Magazine Inside HQ Trivia’s Intense Question-Writing Process.

While digital trivia can be fun, sometimes you want to head to a local trivial night and flaunt your knowledge in front of other teams. Be advised, while incredibly fun, it can be quite humbling too. I learned this past winter, after participating in three different trivia nights, that I’m not nearly as smart as I thought although we did win a free beer at Foulmouthed Brewing so all was not lost.

Would you like to try your hand at some local trivia? Below is a list of Southern Maine area bars and restaurants that host trivia nights.

Monday

Bull Feeney’s (Portland); Geeks who Drink – 7:00 pm

Sebago Brewing Co. (Old Port, Portland); 7:00-10:00 pm

Run of the Mill (Saco); October through May ONLY

Jimmy the Greeks (Old Orchard Beach)< /em>; Brain Busting Trivia with Caleb – 7:30 PM

Tuesday

Foulmouthed Brewing  (South Portland); Geeks who Drink – 7:00 pm

School Street Pub & Grill  (Gorham); Geeks who Drink – 8:00 pm

Rí Rá Irish Pub (Portland); Pub Quiz – 8:00 PM

Binga’s Stadium (Portland); Stump! Trivia – 8:00 pm

Cow Bell Burger Bar (Biddeford); Brain Busting Trivia with Caleb – 7:30 PM

The Dogfish Bar & Grille (Portland); 8:00 pm

Margaritas Mexican Restaurant (Portland); 7:00 pm

Wednesday

Salvage BBQ (Portland); Geeks Who Drink – 8:00 pm

Brian Boru (Portland); 7:00 pm

Sea Dog Brewing (South Portland); Stump Trivia 8:00 pm

Thursday

Champions Sports Bar (Biddeford); Brain Busting Trivia with Caleb – 7:30 PM

Binga’s Stadium (Portland); Questionnairey – 7:00 – 9:00 pm (This is a survey game, not trivia that sounds interesting.)

Friday & Saturday

None

Sunday

Bramhall Pub (Portland); Trivia Sundays – 7 pm  (This one may be only in the winter.)

Champions Sports Bar (Biddeford);  7:30 PM

Be sure to double check with the location before heading out for trivia night. Some trivia nights are only held in the off-season, and occasionally nights get discontinued or moved around.

I’d also recommend bringing some teammates. Not only is it more fun, but you’ll likely do better. I know I did.

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#AtoZChallenge | Q is for Quiet and Winter’s Slower Pace

When we bought our house in Maine, it was a true Maine camp having had a series of haphazard additions in the previous decades that left it with little charm other than the backyard which had lake frontage and gorgeous views. Sadly, those views were obstructed by an enclosed porch that circled the back and side of the house. But, it had an abundance of knotty pine and one good viewing spot in the kitchen.

One other thing it did have that we hadn’t expected was heat. It was usable year round. Our original thought had been to only spend summers in Maine but since there was heat we started making the trek up on weekends in the winter. Continue reading

#AtoZChallenge | M is for Mist and a Magical Transformation

Winter mist is probably my favorite winter scene. It arrives unexpectedly and makes everything it touches eerie and surreal.

“Mist is tiny droplets of water hanging in the air. These droplets form when warmer water in the air is rapidly cooled, causing it to change from invisible gas to tiny visible water droplets.”1

When the conditions are right, it creates a magical landscape. It also has this amazing way of draining color from the scene. All my photos in this post are color but the mist seems to wash most of the color away leaving behind unsaturated wondrous images.

Continue reading

A Fun Time Seeing “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” at Portland Stage

I don’t remember how it came up. It wasn’t even close to Christmas. It was actually the end of summer and I was talking to my future husband for the first time. His team had just beat mine in volleyball and everyone had headed to the local bar for the post game social. For some reason, that I’ve long since forgotten, he started reciting quotes from It’s A Wonderful Life.

It wasn’t just the well known ones that everyone throws out from time to time. He could recite the entire movie line for line.  Although his favorite, to this day, is an exaggerated version of George Bailey muttering “Harry, Harry” after his brother arrives at the end of the movie. It’s his go-to quote because he can say it while doing one of the worst impressions of Jimmy Stewart I’ve ever heard. Continue reading