Friday, November 13, 2015

You Are Called My Brother

As I have struggled with the events of the past week or so I have had friends and family reach out to me in love and kindness.  Thank you all. 

I want you to know that I am still here.  I still have a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.  That this church is true.

I have read many Facebook status', news articles, blogs and comments, I have shared some of those on social media.  In searching for understanding and healing I have turned to the words of our Latter-Day prophets and have found peace and comfort in all most anything that I have opened up.  I have read about faith, hope and charity.  Learned more about the word hope. 

I am eternally grateful for hope.

As I was searching to find truth and understanding I came upon the quote above and it led me to the talk that this comes from "Ye Are No More Strangers" which was given by Bishop Gerald Causse in the October 2013 General Conference.

Following are some of the truths that spoke to me.  May they speak to you as well.  

"Though the membership of the Church is increasing in its diversity, our sacred heritage transcends our differences. As members of the Church, we are admitted into the house of Israel. We become brothers and sisters, equal heirs to the same spiritual lineage. "

Equal heirs.

"During His earthly ministry, Jesus was an example of one who went far beyond the simple obligation of hospitality and tolerance. Those who were excluded from society, those who were rejected and considered to be impure by the self-righteous, were given His compassion and respect. They received an equal part of His teachings and ministry."

They received an equal part

"In this Church our wards and our quorums do not belong to us. They belong to Jesus Christ. Whoever enters our meetinghouses should feel at home. The responsibility to welcome everyone has growing importance. "


 "We all need to work together to build spiritual unity within our wards and branches...
Unity is not achieved by ignoring and isolating members who seem to be different or weaker and only associating with people who are like us. On the contrary, unity is gained by welcoming and serving those who are new and who have particular needs. These members are a blessing for the Church and provide us with opportunities to serve our neighbors and thus purify our own hearts."

"In this Church there are no strangers and no outcasts. There are only brothers and sisters. The knowledge that we have of an Eternal Father helps us be more sensitive to the brotherhood and sisterhood that should exist among all men and women upon the earth."

He then tells of this passage from the novel Les Miserables...

“‘This is not my house; it is the house of Jesus Christ. This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief. You suffer, you are hungry and thirsty; you are welcome. … What need have I to know your name? Besides, before you told me [your name], you had one which I knew.’
“[Valjean] opened his eyes in astonishment.
“‘Really? You knew what I was called?’
“‘Yes,’ replied the Bishop, ‘you are called my brother.’”7

We are all brothers and sisters.

 "So, my brothers, it is your duty to reach out to anyone who appears at the doors of your Church buildings. Welcome them with gratitude and without prejudice. If people you do not know walk into one of your meetings, greet them warmly and invite them to sit with you. Please make the first move to help them feel welcome and loved, rather than waiting for them to come to you."
Welcome everyone.

 "I bear witness that no one is a stranger to our Heavenly Father. There is no one whose soul is not precious to Him." 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Stand By You - Rachel Platten

I cannot get enough of this song.  I just can't.  Forget about Fight Song...

This is my anthem right now.

Speaking Up and Speaking Out

During this past General Conference, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I watched and listened.  And when Elder Nelson came to the end of his talk "A Plea to My Sisters", I felt that I was personally being asked to "speak up and speak out". But I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be speaking up about.

Now I know. I need to speak up about love.

I am not a Mama Dragon, and strangely enough I have never considered myself a Mama Bear. Although I have a deep respect for those who identify with those ideas, I do not.

I am simply a Mother.

A mother who loves each of her children deeply and wants them to be happy and well adjusted, and above all, loved.  Last night I cried myself to sleep from the confusion and the hurt and the heartache that I was feeling about a policy change that was made by the LDS church regarding members who are in a same sex relationship/marriage.

Tears fell as I wondered how many amazing, talented, beautiful, creative, loving children of God were hurting and crying out.  It was as if I could feel this wave of sorrow flowing heavenward.  I cried as I worried about how many of those would hear this policy change and hurt so much that they would attempt to take their own life, or even worse, succeed.

If you think that this change won't cause such feelings and actions I say softly, you my friend, are wrong.

I don't have answers about this.  I am not here to offer up explanations. I do not and will not presume to speak on behalf of my church.

I am here to say that there are people who are hurting and angry and sad and confused. You may have loved ones who this affects directly and hurts deeply. There may be people in your life, people you love and adore who are suffering immense pain from this and you are not even aware because they are too frightened to say.

You may not know any of these people personally, maybe you think this policy change doesn't really affect you. Or it's not that big of a deal, this is the way that it's been with people in polygamist families.

Are you surprised by the reaction to this policy change? Are you upset with those who are hurt and angry or who are questioning?  Do you think that they shouldn't question?  That we should just pray about it end of story? That all of this is just showing who REALLY has true faith and who doesn't?  If you think any of these things, I say respectfully, you are wrong.

Before this year I may have fallen into any one of those categories.  But I no longer do. This year I have been witness to the incredible pain that has and is being felt by the LGBTQ community. Pain that I was ignorantly unaware of.

I am here give that pain a voice.  It may be small and soft but I will try.

It has occurred to me, that maybe, just maybe, the reason for this policy change is so that people can become more aware of the gaping wound that is out there.  Then again, maybe I'm WAY off base. But I do think that we have only just begun to see and feel the heartache.

If you believe, as we have been taught in the LDS religion, that we are literal spirit brothers and sisters then this pain should mean something to you. This pain should tug at something in your soul. You don't have to understand the pain. You can't. You don't even have to agree with it but please, please acknowledge it. Don't try to down play this heartache with empty platitudes. Look deep into the eyes of our brothers and sisters...

Our LGBTQ sisters and brothers are dealing with a pain you nor I will ever understand.

Let me say that again leaving out those letters of the alphabet that seem to be so polarizing...

Our sisters and our brothers are dealing with a pain that you nor I will EVER understand.

I myself, have had a minuscule glimpse because I have a daughter, who at the beginning of this year, came out as gay.  I say minuscule because we are at the very beginning of this journey with her. This week I was blindsided by the idea that it is highly possible that she will be considered an apostate in the future because of who she loves.  My heart and my brain cannot comprehend this. I do not know. I cannot say that I understand.

I  can say this.  My love for my her will never change. I will stand by her in both good times and bad. She will know that I love her unfailingly. I pray that she will never question that her family loves her, no matter who she brings through the front door to introduce to us.  I hope that anyone who steps across our threshold will feel of that love as well.

We are all children of a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who, I believe, stand unfailingly beside us. Who want us to stand just as unfailingly with one another.  We have an older Brother who loves us with an unconditional, incomprehensible love. He, He is the only one who can understand our individual pain because He went through it all.

I can only hope that my words and actions are a small reflection of His. As the primary song says, "I'm trying to love as He did, in all that I do and say."

I am asking that you, my brothers and sisters, do the same.

Love as Jesus did.
Love one another.
Be kind to one another.

Especially at this time when emotions are high and spirits, hearts, and emotions are raw.

Be kind. Love. Reach out.

There is a great pain.  As I said before, a gaping wound.

I do not speak with the force of a Mama Dragon, nor with the roar of a Mama Bear. My hope is that it is more like that of

saying, I love you.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

White Hair

This post is one that is not written by me, but by my lovely daughter, McKenna.  She was given a essay assignment in English to write about a belief that she has.  I share this because she is wise and wonderful...

I Believe in the Beauty of White Hair

One of the most turbulent years of my life started the summer before junior year in high school, when my Grandma Norma moved in with us at the beginning of June and she began to have difficulty breathing. Her breathing got progressively worse, when on July fourth she wasn’t getting enough oxygen and six days later she passed away. My grandmother was five foot nothing with a shock of white hair and was tough as nails. When she passed it was a huge shock for my whole family, especially my mom. Mom struggled more than any of us and in her grief she decided to pay tribute to her mother by dying her hair white. In doing this I realized that white hair isn’t just a symbol of age or something to be ashamed of, I realized white hair is beautiful.

Watching my mother at that time in my life I saw not only heartache but also pride in being the daughter of that wonderful white haired woman. When people asked her why she dyed her hair she always replied with, “I did it for my mom.” To this almost everyone who asked responded with a compliment, saying how beautiful it was, furthering my belief that white hair is beautiful.

As the year progressed I was faced with new challenges and each step of the way my mother stood by me with her gloriously white hair. One of these trials was the death of my Great-Grandma Hannah. Like my Grandma Norma she was five foot nothing with a shock of white hair and was tough as nails. Her passing was difficult but also a joy as she was slowly losing her mental capacity. The thing about her death that was most shocking was that she was the last of the original “white-haired ladies” my family so lovingly called Grandma. It was the end of an era and white hair became even more beautiful as I saw it less and less.

The year that followed is my senior year and only my mother holds the title of “white-haired lady,” and as I’ve looked back at all my wonderful experiences with my Grandmothers I have solidified my belief that white hair is beautiful. Not just because it’s a reminder of these women I love but also because of what it means to me. It means hard work, endurance, love, patience, strength, and regality. I believe in the beauty of white hair and that it is an honor.    

To have white hair to be among the noble and great who have seen many things, and know even more. My Grandma Norma used to joke that, “each white hair was caused by the stress my child gave me.” She also said she wouldn’t want it any other way. My grandma learned many things through her hard work and trials, earning her white hair along the way. I have personally earned one white hair, I found it three weeks before I turned eighteen and couldn’t be more proud. I hope to live my life in such a way that I will earn the title of “white-haired lady” and be seen as someone who works hard, endures, has strength, and lives life to the fullest. I believe that white hair is beautiful.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Where I Got My Smile

A year ago today I got a call at work from my sister, Angie, she was sitting at the hospital with my mom who had gone in a few days earlier.  Angie was pretty upset and worried because the Dr. had come in to talk to her and he had let her know that things were not looking good for mom.

I remember that day.  I remember leaving work and going to be with my sister.  Talking with the Dr. the and pulmonologist and then finally with a nurse who was very kind but also completely honest with us, and then coming to the realization that I was going to have to say goodbye to my mom, and soon.

I remember it like it was yesterday, instead of a year ago.

Firsts without those we love are always hard.  These past few weeks have been especially difficult.  I had my first birthday without mom here.  It was a lovely day.  I don't dread birthdays as some do so I woke happy and even took a little bit of extra time getting ready for the day.

As I went in to work and sat down at my desk the realization that there would be no phone call with my mom on the other end, cheerfully wishing me happy birthday, no birthday card, hit me.  Mom loved cards.  She loved reading through all the cards and finding the one that was just right for the occasion and for the person.  There would be no perfect card from mom today.  And the tears came.

Not long after that I got a text from McKenna telling me that I NEEDED to come home for lunch.  I told her okay.  When I got home that afternoon there was a sweet surprise waiting for me.

I have no idea who the sweet soul is that did that for me.  But whoever you are, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.   McKenna told me that a lady and brought them by but she didn't know who it was.  They were dropped off not long after my morning cry.  People are good and kind. 

The Fourth of July was difficult because that was mom's favorite holiday.  She loved to have her family around her laughing and singing and enjoying life.  I think that those days were some of her most treasured times.  I know that they are some of mine.

This year I tried to keep the traditions going.  It wasn't easy but I'm glad I did it.  And I will continue to do them for her and for my family near and far.

Mom will have been gone for a year tomorrow.  

I love her.  I miss her.  I could use her wisdom in my life so much right now.  I could use her prayers. And I could most definitely use a hug.

But mom kept moving forward even when things were exceptionally difficult.  When mom was pregnant with me (and I am the seventh of eight kids) my dad was in a pretty scary gas explosion that burned his face and his hands badly.  I can't imagine how terrifying that must have been for my mom.  And yet she did what she had to do and kept going.  Usually with a smile on her face.

I tell you this, and I know it is true...

She is still moving forward.  
She still prays for me. 
I get hugs from her in my dreams.   
She and dad and my sister, Pam, and my grandparents are all doing their very best to help all of us that they love so very much, as best they can from the other side.  They are close.  I can feel them.

So I will keep moving forward. 
 And I will do my best to remember her and honor her with my life, my actions and my smile.  

Which in all honesty... I got from her.

Love you mom.  
Always and Forever.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Homemade Rainbow Confetti, Slacks on Sunday and What I Know

On January 26th, two days after her 12th birthday, with a confusing and, quite frankly unclear (to some), card trick and a shower of homemade rainbow confetti our youngest daughter, Jillian, told us she was gay.

I would like to say that it didn't catch me off guard but that would be a lie.  As I asked Jillian a short time later that night what exactly the card trick meant, she looked at me and simply said "I'm gay".  Tears welled up in my eyes and I pulled her into a hug and told her that I loved her.  It was a natural response.  I didn't even have to think twice about it. 

I want to be clear here, didn't cry because I was sad or upset that she is gay.  I cried because I knew that this was going to be hard.  And I told her that.  I said "This is hard. This is going to be hard. 

 And she said "I know."

Our families have been incredibly loving and supportive and have thrown their arms around our family and especially Jillian. We have also found wonderful love and support through groups like "I'll Walk With You" and "North Star".

I am so thankful that Jillian felt safe enough in our family to shower us with her homemade rainbow confetti.  Unfortunately there are many people out there that don't feel safe sharing who they are with those that are supposed to love them the very most.  Since Jillian has come out to us we have had another dear person come to us and share their proverbial "rainbow confetti".  I feel incredibly blessed and honored that they did so.

One of the ways that I chose to show support for Jillian was to wear  pants to church the first Sunday that we attended our new ward.  She doesn't like dresses and prefers wearing a suit instead.  When I asked her if she would like me to wear pants to church with her she was all over that.  My husband wrote a wonderful blog about our first week that you can read  HERE.

That Sunday as I prepared to walk into the chapel in pants I was surprised by just how nervous I was.  And the thought came to me "If you think it's hard walking into church because you are wearing pants how much more difficult has it been for Jillian for so many years?"   How difficult must it be for anyone who feels like they don't fit "the mold".

I was only planning on wearing the pants that first Sunday but after that realization I decided that I would continue wearing pants.  Not necessarily every Sunday but it will be a regular thing.  In fact I wore slacks again today.

I would like to start a "movement" if you will to let people out there who may feel different or who are clutching a fistful of  their own rainbow confetti afraid that someone might see it, that there are people in the church that love you and want you there. If you care to join me I will be wearing slacks every second Sunday.  You can join me in this "Slacks on Sunday" if you feel like it. You can take pictures or write about your experience and post to social media with the hashtag #SlacksonSunday.

If you see me on a Sunday wearing pants (or a skirt) know that I love you for who you are no matter what, and if you need a hug or someone to talk to, I am here for you.

And if someone feels safe enough to let you catch a glimpse of their homemade rainbow confetti please know that your life will be richer, fuller and hopefully you will come to a deeper understanding of the second great commandment.

And, believe it or not, if you are showered with rainbow confetti your life will be blessed.
It most likely will be hard but you will be blessed.
This I know.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


We are moving.

Three words that have rarely been strung together in my vocabulary.

We are moving.

For many people moving is the norm, a way of life, even, for some.
But not for me.
Where we live now is two blocks from the home where I was born and raised.
I never moved as a child.

I have seven siblings and some people have jokingly said that we have short umbilical cords.  We all live within either walking distance or a very short drive of our childhood home.  It was a good home. Not a perfect home but a good one. It was a safe place, as homes should be. It was full of laughter and tears and warmth and hugs.  And most importantly, love.

My mom used to tell me that I would be her child that was going to move far away.  That wasn't the case.  I settled down just two blocks North.  My children have gone and are going to the same grade school, Jr. High and High school that I attended.  Our youngest graduates from 6th grade this week.

We have lived in this house for just under 18 years.  Our two youngest were born here. And much of the raising of all four of our children has occurred in this little brown brick building.  It has been a good home.  Not a perfect home but a good one.  I hope my children remember it as a safe place full of laughter and tears and hugs and warmth. And most importantly, love.

I have lived in the Timpanogos 3rd ward for, I would say, 40 of my 43 (almost 44) years.  My grandmother was my primary chorister, my sister-in-law was one of my relief society presidents, two of my brothers served in different bishopbrics, one of my brothers was my bishop. And I have loved every minute of it.  I have seen people come and go. And now I am one of those going.

I love the people of this ward and they have loved me into the person I am today.  I am going to miss seeing their smiling faces, their warm handshakes and their gentle hugs on Sundays.

But now we are moving.

I will be honest with you.  I am nervous. Nervous about going to a new ward in a new neighborhood. And it's not even that far away.  (I am actually moving closer to my sister, YAY! although we will not be in the same ward.)  Will people like me?  Will they "get" me and my sense of humor?  More importantly, will they be there for my family, for my kids, like this ward that we have lived in for years?

How is this all going to go down? 

I don't know.  I just know that when my mom passed away last July there was a "loosening", for lack of a better word.  And I feel that this move is right, it is good.  We will take this new, larger, brick and siding building and make it our home.  And it will be a good home. It will be a safe place.  Not just for our family but for everyone. We will fill it with laughter and tears and warmth and hugs. And most importantly, love.

We are moving.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Wobbly Safety Bar

Life is like a roller coaster.
You have ups, you have downs.
Sometimes it's super fun! Weeeeeee!!
Other times it can be extremely stressful or scary.
Lately I've been on the latter track, the stressful and scary one.  It's felt kind of like the safety bar is faulty and I feel like I'm slipping out of the seat and I'm going to go flying off of the ride.

When your mom dies from a disease (Pulmonary Fibrosis) that you know she has but the doctors failed to tell you is fatal in 3-5 years and then her brother dies from the same thing three months later you get a little paranoid. Especially when it can be hereditary.  My sister had a dry cough for a long time and that is one of the symptoms of PF, so she was rightly concerned that she may have it so she was tested.  Thankfully the test came back negative.  She did, however find out some other information about her health which, while good for her to know, still wasn't the best of news.

Then I started getting sick.  Basically it felt like a cold but it hung around too long so I went into the doctor who started me on antibiotics. The first two rounds didn't do anything so I thought maybe it was viral and I tried treating things with OTC meds which helped a little but I just wasn't getting better. I had a cough and my lungs felt really tight so I went back in to see my doctor.  He  put me on some steroids and the heaviest hitting antibiotic he had.  I felt better for about three days and then we were back to round one where I was feeling tired and out of breath and just plain yucky.  When my doctor learned that I still wasn't feeling well he was concerned because he said that the antibiotic that he put me on "kills everything".  And a little voice in the back of my head said "What if it's Pulmonary Fibrosis?"

My doctor and I have had this conversation before and I have had x-rays on my chest that had said that I didn't have it.  But I was still nervous and really, the best way to screen for PF is an MRI.  After we chatted my doctor agreed that I should have an MRI done to see if that might be what was going on.  I didn't say anything about it on Facebook or social media because, in all honesty, I was really, really scared.  I was coming home from work exhausted and passing out on the couch, I was out of breath just singing a song.

It felt like that safety bar was very, very wobbly.

Ty and I went to the temple the day before I had the MRI. I  needed to find peace and maybe some answers to what the future might hold.  As we went into the celestial room of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple I looked into the mirrors that are there, and I received my answers.

You are eternal.  No matter what happens you will go on. And I felt peace.

I went in for the MRI on Thursday afternoon at 4:40 and Friday at about 7:15 I got the call from the doctor with the results.  Thankfully there is no Pulmonary Fibrosis.  However it did show that I have fluid around my heart.  In medical terms it's called Pericardial Effusion.  I was informed that the amount of fluid around my heart was minimal and not to be too concerned about it. I was told to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluid and to exercise.

The safety bar feels a little less wobbly now.  Still not locked in place but definitely less wobbly.

I am still tired. It's still hard to catch my breath some days.   I get as much rest as I can but with having to work (thankfully it's not a physically difficult job), trying to get our house ready to sell, having four kids three who have varying degrees of crises whirling around them (who would have thought that my son with autism would be the one that I have the least amount of worry for?), selling my mom's house and getting ready to chaperon a bunch of high school choir kids in California... rest really isn't easy to come by.  Nor is exercise.  Fluids I can do.

Anyway, I just want to say that in spite of everything.
I am so very grateful to be on this ride.
I am thankful for the highs and the lows.
I am surrounded by amazing people who are on this ride that we call life with me.
I am blessed beyond measure with the best seat partner anyone could ask for.
And even though that darn safety bar still feels wiggly....

Everything will be okay.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The one where I ramble

I've been binge watching Friends on Netflix.

 (Does the blog title give it away?)

Can you imagine if Joey were president?

I am thinking about getting my hair cut, really short.  Not because I think I would look cute with that cut but because "wash and go" is super enticing right now, anything to make life simpler.  Because life really hasn't been that simple lately.

Ross is exceptionally annoying
and whiny most of the time.
Except when he is wearing leather pants.

Losing my mom, two uncles and a grandmother in six months, interspersed with kids dealing with depression, suicide attempts, trips to therapy, life and family changing revelations, some worrisome weight loss, and three of four children now with jobs, are all things that tend to lend to complications.

Not exaggerating. I wish I was exaggerating, but nope.

Phoebe cracks me up
and I love her outlook on life.
Sometimes I wish I could be more like her.

I get up and go to work, come home and all I want to do is nothing.  I've made it through "The Gilmore Girls" on Netflix.

Side note: How cool would it be if the writers of that show would write dialog for me?
That would be amazing.

Now I've moved on to "Friends".  Maybe I'll follow that up with "Lost".

I need Monica to live next door and be my friend.
(except for that whole being a massive competitor thing)
That way she can come and clean my house...
She totally would want to.

My house isn't a total wreck but it sure isn't clean.  Monica would have a heyday.  Dishes and laundry are never ending, as usual, but I can't seem to find the energy to keep on top of it.  (Not that I was super good at that before the complications.)

Mom's house still needs to be cleaned and put on the market. The garages still need to be gone through. I still have things of hers that need to be delivered to my siblings, things that have been sitting in my house for months.  I can do things in fits and spurts but any prolonged ability to cope with more than what title to watch next is pretty much non-existent.

Chanandlar Bong cracks me up but sometimes...
his humor can be mean.
And he's slightly homophobic.

I used to make dinner on a regular basis. Now? Not so much.  And I feel bad about that. In fact one doctor asked if we were eating healthy and I had to laugh.
 Eating?  Yes.
 Healthy? No.
Trying to get figure out what to have for dinner and have the energy to fix that as soon as I walk in the door from work? That just isn't happening.  I dread hearing the phrase "What's for dinner?" It takes all I have not to go completely ballistic on the person who is unlucky enough to utter those three dreaded words.

I don't have a whole lot to say about Rachel.
She is pretty focused on herself.

But Tom Seleck? Those dimples.
He is fine.  Still is at 70.
How is he 27 years older than me?

I have gained back the weight that I lost (no the concerning weight loss isn't mine).  And it's making itself known through lovely plantar faciitis, heartburn and heart palpitations.  I need to exercise.  My head knows this.  My body is basically yelling at me to get moving.  I know that when I do exercise I am happier.

I need to view exercise as my anti-depressant pill because, it truly is.  I know I am depressed.  I just have to read through this post to convince me, if nothing else will. But actually dragging myself out of bed at 5 a.m. to get to the rec center???

A gratitude journal would probably be helpful as well and yet I don't write things down.  Why?  Because I feel like the things that I have to be grateful for aren't as great as what other people have to be grateful for.

How lame is that?
Super lame, I tell ya.

And usually I'm not about comparing myself with others but for some reason in that area I am.
I am looking into why that is...kind of.

What I really love about Friends
is that they are SO good about being there for each other.
And when they fall short they own up to it.
And then they forgive one another and they move on,
and they remain friends.

Also they really make me laugh.
Especially  Phoebe and Joey.

I know that everyone has things that they are going through.  Other people have lost loved ones, spouses.  There are those out there who are battling their own demons.   Some have debilitating diseases both mental and physical.  Some have children who are fighting to survive, others have lost children.   There are marriages out there that are crumbling and couples that are doing their best to keep it together.  Some of those marriages are no longer.  People are out of work and hungry.
There is SO much happening, to everyone.

And again that "comparison" comes creeping in and so I share some, but not all of what is going on and I put on a "Good Face" because that's what I do. I love this poem by Shel Silverstein.  He puts it perfectly...

I need to say that the people in my life are wonderful.  My husband, my kids, my family and my friends have been truly supportive and I am so thankful for them, for putting up with me and loving me through all of this.  I don't know where I would be without them.

Probably in a much worse place than sitting on the couch binge watching "Friends".