Oh, please watch MSCL! It still holds up and the writing and acting is so good.
I haven't read that Peyton's Place essay everyone raves about, even though I love One Tree Hill (in a current trash kinda way) and it's now offline so I'll have to buy his book, FINE.
The only LJ Smith I've read is the first Vampire Diaries, which I hated, but wow was Twilight coincidentally similar.
Ps: We call it "kneading dough", but that might just be my family.
Oh God, I relate. I'm glad you've found somewhere that values you now, I can't believe you made that soup, and a belated happy birthday.