Downton Abbey

downton abbeyI was late to the Downton Abbey party.  I finally did show up, and then I stayed until I had my fill.  Which was six seasons in one week.  Talk about binge watching.  I was suffering from a horrid sciatica issue, and Downton was the only thing that kept me sane through all the sleepless nights of pain and suffering.

Being Irish and English, I was first attracted to the accent, the proper Queen’s English way of speaking, the beautiful castles, and the rolling countryside.  Then I was quick to notice the perfection.  The casting was perfection.  The dialogue was perfection.  The sets were perfection.  Even the yellow lab was perfection.

So many of the characters made an impression on me.  Most notably, Maggie Smith was more than brilliant as the Dowager Countess.  I think she had the best dialogue of the show.  At least she delivered her lines that way.  She was always very outspoken, and the more trouble she caused, the happier she was.  So it seemed.

Lady Mary was haughty, acerbic, blunt, and irreverent, who verbally slashes at her sister Edith at every chance.  She reminded me both of myself, and my sister.  We also have similar hair cuts, lol.

mary

I loved Matthew.  He was a doppelganger to my army pilot boyfriend I was madly in love with.  I cried so hard when Matthew died.  Seemed so unfair.

matthew

I would probably be most like Edith.  The overlooked middle child who fought to be noticed but instead fought with her sister and was patronized by her father, and therefore became career driven.  I do love the irony of how things worked out in the end.  Lady Mary married a “mechanic”, as her father called him initially, and Lady Edith married a Marquess.

I became just as emotionally involved with the below the stairs characters as the above stairs.  I think that’s what made Downton Abbey so great.  We saw the flip sides of lives .  The lords and ladies, and the servants that kept things running perfectly.  Seems hard to believe that people actually could not even comb their own hair or put on a nightgown by themselves.  But most interesting was the line of authority even downstairs.  Everyone had to bow and scrap to the Butler, and people took their positions seriously, always trying to work their way up.  The servants hall below stairs was its own micro chasm of all of society.

One word description of some of the other most notable characters:

Lord Grantham:  Old Fashioned

Lady Grantham:  Sweetness

Carson:  Bully

Mrs. Hughes:  Diplomat

Mr & Mrs Bates:  Perfect

Daisy:  Mouthy

Barrow:  Changeling (male version of Lady Mary!)

Mrs. Patmore:  Screechy

I do wish there were another season or two.  Although I will say they did a tidy job of wrapping things up the last season.  But I would have liked to see more of Lady Mary and Robert’s marriage.  Barrow as the new head Butler.  Lady Edith being Marchioness of the manor.  The little lab pup growing up.  And most of all, the goings on below stairs.

 

Advertisements

30 Days of Truth Challenge – Day 11

Day 11.  Something people always seem to compliment you on.

I think I would have to say my smile.  Or my ability to smile through the tough times lately.

smile1

My orthopedic surgeon, who has done 11 surgical procedures on my one hip, says I am the bravest person he knows, that I am always smiling despite all the bad news/pain/suffering etc.

My nurses and aides at the hospital and nursing home were always amazed that I kept smiling throughout the day and through rehab etc.  They were always happy to come help me as a result.  In fact, a few of them would come have their lunch break with me, so it was nice to have someone to talk to!  Oh, and having HBO on my laptop drew everyone to my room on Game of Thrones nights!

Many of my friends think I am a smiley person.  I always try to have a good time.  Of course, I’m sure I have just as many friends that think I am smiling maniacally, like a crazy person.

The greeter and the cashiers at the Walmart always like to chat with me, because they say I am always smiling and say nice things.  They are used to grumpy people, or rude people.

My teachers and class mates at the Y where I swim say I am always smiling and singing and dancing and that I make sure to talk to EVERYONE, not just a special few.  This is social hour for many of the seniors that attend, and I try to bring them out of their shell.  They always ask me to plan the parties.  Once again, just like in college, I am the Social Chairman, lol.

Now trust me, I have not always been  smiley person all the time.  I have gone through several pretty dark times in my past where all I did was cry for a year.  Seriously.  So no, I did not smile then.  But, with time, my smile came back.

A smile goes a long way my friend.  It is just as easy to smile and be nice to people as to be mean and rude.  I think I get better service or smiles in return.  And nowadays, that means a lot to me.

smile2

30 Days of Truth Challenge – Day 10

Day 10.  Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

I really don’t think there is any one person I can choose.  I think that every person in your life is there or was there for a reason.  Maybe to make your life happier, maybe to make your life, shall we say, challenging.  Maybe to teach you a hard lesson.

I am happy with all the people in my life currently.  I have some wonderful friends, for which I am very grateful.  I don’t really see people from my past anymore who harmed me mentally or physically.  Or both, for that matter.

I am definitely NOT everyone’s favorite person.  But really, can you be that?  I don’t think so.  I am trying really hard to be a better person, but that doesn’t necessarily make you the most popular person in the room.  If I don’t show up somewhere, people might be relieved, lol.  As my family is quick to tell me, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family!

So, I think because I am divorced, I guess that was the person I needed to let go, even though it didn’t seem like it at the time.  Or for a very long time after.  But with a little distance, I can see that it was a very destructive relationship from the start.  Sometimes love can NOT conquer all.  Do I wish I didn’t know him?  I did, for awhile.  In fact I wished he was dead.  Yep.  Dead.  But then I realized that I must forgive and forget.  And now, I could care less whether he is alive or dead, or what he does with his life.  I am not the one he will face on Judgment Day.  And trust me, I have my own transgressions I must face then myself.

I let it go.  I am one with the wind and sky.

 

30 Days of Truth – Rewritten

Day 8 – Someone who has made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

Well.  I have fallen way behind on writing about this 30 days challenge.  Because this one.  This one is hard.  Hard to be truthful.  The truth hurts.  Some people can’t handle the truth.  I’m finding it very hard to write about the truth.

I wrote the post.  Finally.  I did.  I tried to be very truthful.  But after rereading what I wrote, I realized that I cannot post it.  It will only give my haters more ammunition to use against me.  Whoever has made my life hell, or treated me like shit, still has to power to continue to do that.  Most of them anyway.

So as much as I hate to disappoint my readers, I cannot post what I originally wrote.  So my original post will be for my eyes only, to reread when I am trying to figure out why people treat like this, and try to work on either cutting those people out of my life, or changing myself into somebody else that is not emotional and keep my mouth shut because it always gets me into trouble.

But I want to say one thing about all this.  I have a small part-time job that validates me as a person, and gets me out of the house a few days a week and lets me use my brain, instead of letting it waste away along with my body.  These people have treated me with only kindness and respect, and make those days I am there so much brighter.  How many people have a boss who lets you cry on their shoulder and gives you hugs back?  And that it’s ok to do that every now and then?  And sends you away for a birthday weekend with “the girls”?  I love these people, and they love me back.  I think, lol.  At least they say they do :).   So I’ve got that going for me.

So, onto Day 9!  Hopefully it will be easier!

30 Days of Truth Challenge – Day 7

Day 7.  Someone who has made your life worth living for.

This is easy.  My little great niece, Brianna.

I even got to help pick out her name, as it is my favorite Irish name ever.  Riley was a close second, I would have been happy with either, as she is the perfect little Irish girl.  Her mother is Shannon, her father was Ryan.

I have seen this child almost every day since she was born.  I remember holding her in my arms when she was a baby, and watching her bright eyes search out everything.  I was holding her when she first discovered her hand.  (She was startled, then delighted!)  I was with her when she took her first steps.

She called me Auntie as a baby, and I loved it.  She is a sweet girl, but also headstrong.  She is girly girl, but also brave and fearless.  And she can belt out a favorite song with the best of them!  (Let it Go, anyone?)  Nowadays it’s Adele, Taylor Swift…all the current pop hits.

As she has grown, I find more and more in common with her.  We have the same color hair, the same color eyes, a love for music, singing and dancing.  We giggle together, we tell stories together, we have sleepovers.  She loves my cats. and my cats actually love her too.  When I was in the nursing home for months, there are pictures of them, especially Izzy the shy one, in her arms.  It amazed me.

I love her more than I could ever possibly imagine.  It makes me feel guilty sometimes, as I did have 3 stepchildren at one time, but Brianna comes without drama and a mother who hated my very existence.  I am allowed to love her fully.  She makes me a better person.

I hope in some way I am a positive influence in her life too.  She is one of my reasons for living.

30 Days of Truth Challenge – Day 6

Day 6.  Something you hope you never have to do.

This one is fixed in my brain.  I hope I never have to pull the plug on someone.

I have had to make tough decisions like this, before, with my mom.  I didn’t have to pull the plug.  I had to pull the feeding tube.  But first I had to make the decision to PUT the feeding tube in, when she just a few days away from death.  I knew she wouldn’t want me too, but we didn’t want her to suffer, despite assurances from medical staff that she wasn’t feeling any hunger or thirst.  But, I couldn’t take the chance, and so a last minute feeding tube was inserted.  After about 6 months, the doctors and hospice staff stated she had “failure to thrive” and we were needlessly prolonging her life.  So I made the call to pull the tube.  I was so upset that day that I actually passed out at work.  But, the woman who hadn’t eaten on her own in 6 months was suddenly eating like a champ!  She didn’t last much longer, but at least I didn’t have to make any more tough decisions.

People need to think very carefully as to who they want to be their medical power of attorney.  This POA needs to be sure to follow the patient’s wishes, all the while making the best medical decisions.  It’s a fine line.  It is something I hope I never have to do.  Again.

Luckily, the rest of my family has their own family to make these decisions for them, so I don’t think I will be called upon once more.  As for myself, I have filled out the necessary paperwork spelling out all my medical, death and funeral wishes, and my will.  Everyone needs to take the time to do this, to save their family unnecessary anguish in having to figure it out themselves.  It is not expensive or that time consuming, you can find programs on the internet to do this for you, even for free.  Most people don’t want to bother with this, or even think about it, because they think it is morbid.  It is not.  It is a necessary fact of life.  And death.

Don’t make someone put this on their “Something I hope I never have to do” list.

 

 

30 Days of Truth Challenge – Day 5

Day 5.  Something you hope to do in your life.

I want to go visit the land of my people.  The British Isles.  I want to bask in the glorious green of Ireland.  Experience the proper tea of England.  And I want to search for future ex-husband in Scotland.

My father was English (mostly), and my mother was Irish.  Growing up, she always teased about putting me in an Irish Spring commercial, because of my golden reddish brown hair, green eyes, and freckles.  My sister and I were supposed to Irish names.  Joyce was supposed to be Maureen, and I was supposed to be Maggie.  My father stepped in and named us.  Janet, which I never thought of as being British, is indeed an English/Scots name, meaning God has been Gracious.  It is also “little Joan”, and possibly he was naming for his sister, Joan (who was actually Joanne).  My sister’s name Joyce is also English and Irish, and a diminutive of “Lord”.

Interesting.  I NEVER thought we had British names.  We both always hated our names, because we wanted REAL Irish names, lol.  And here we had them, all along!  It’s amazing to me that my mother or father never told us the origin of our names.  Maybe they didn’t know?  I mean, google didn’t exist back then.  But, I’m sure my father did.  He was smarter than I ever knew.

Anyway, moving on to my husband.  I want to go to Scotland and find my own Outlander.  Sam Heughan would do just fine, but perhaps a bit too young for me.  I wonder what his father looks like……

I mean, look at the Scottish men I love besides Sam….Craig Ferguson, Gerard Butler, Sean Connery.  Need I say more?

Seriously though, I couldn’t imagine a better thing to do with my life.  I would sit and look out the window at rolling green hills next to sparkling water, writing my memoirs, sipping on tea.

Sigh…………….

30 Days of Truth Challenge – Day 4

Day 4.  Something you need to forgive someone else for.

I’m starting to wish this was a Truth or Dare Challenge instead.  I would definitely take the dare.

I’m really racking my brain over this one.  Who do I forgive?  And for what?  I always blame myself for everything.  It’s always MY fault.

But.  There ARE people who done me wrong.  And I suppose I need to forgive them if I want to go to heaven.  It is too troubling and time consuming to continue with hate in my heart.  For anyone.

I have always thought that I did forgive people in the past.  But one thing still haunts my dreams.  So I guess I still need to deal with it.  With the person.

I wish I could have a conversation one on one with this person.  But that will never happen.  This person meant the world to me at one time.  This person broke my heart.  And it makes my heart hurt so much that I cannot have face time to discuss this with them.  So I guess I will just have to put my forgiveness out in the cosmos, and hope it finds its way to them.  I hope the next time I see this person, they will see it in my eyes.  On my face.

Likewise, I hope this person sees inside their own heart, and realizes the long term impact they had on MY heart.  And perhaps initiate a conversation on their own.

I’m not holding out any hope though.  I do feel better for acknowledging the need to forgive.  Hopefully they won’t haunt my dreams anymore.

30 Days of Truth Challenge – Day 3

3.  Something you need to forgive yourself for.

Ok, now this is really infringing upon my comfort zone.  I think these questions are getting more personal.  Harder.  I guess they are doing their job.  Sigh.  Here we go….

When I was going to marry my second husband, we made promises to each other.  He promised to never leave me in the manner of my first husband, and I promised to help raise his three small children.

We both failed in our promises.  For the sake of people’s privacy, I will not get into the ugly details.  The whole thing messed me up pretty bad.  It colored my life, my world pretty dark, for a very long time.  I did not know if I would make it through to the other side, for a very long time.  I did not CARE if I would make it through to the other side, for a very long time.

But I did.  And I can see how circumstances caused certain things to happen that I need to forgive myself for.  I would like to say that I learned something from the whole experience.  And I did.  But it wasn’t positive.  It was negative, and very, very painful.

Therefore, I’m shaking myself internally and giving myself permission to forgive myself.

That’s all I really want to say on the subject.

30 Days of Truth Challenge – Day 2

Day 2.  Something you love about yourself

Hmmmm.  This one is harder than the hate one, lol.  I think it’s easier to see our flaws, than see our shining selves.  Ok.  Got it.

I love that I am outgoing.  I try to be a friendly person, and to engage in conversation with most everybody I meet.  You know, just be sociable!

I think I learned this about myself in college.  I joined a sorority, was a fraternity little sister.  I had a whole houseful of best friends!  I was appointed social chairman, and as such planned our parties/soirees.  It was great fun, and I really came into my own.  I loved it, so very much!

After college I worked for a big company, and made lots and lots of friends.  Lifelong friends, many of whom I still see on a regular basis.  We still have tons of fun!

I love my “senior” friends at the YMCA, where I go swimming most mornings.  I plan the parties for them, cause, well, I can.  I love my seniors, they are mothers to me, since I am an orphan (as many of us my age are).

I have neighborhood friends, and friends at my local watering hole/dining establishment.  Always a friendly face to be found there!

I live right by my family.  Usually a good thing, sometimes not.  But I am a lucky aunt to be so close to so many nieces/nephews/great nieces/great nephews!  I love them all so much, they are all incredible youngsters that will grow up to be amazing adults!  Hopefully they will remember me as the “fun” aunt, who took the time to play with them, color with them, go to movies with them, swim with them.

I like talking to people.  Everybody has a story.  Even the greeters at the Wal-mart.  I always take the time to chat with them.  I know all their names, and they know my name.  It is nice to be recognized, lol.

It doesn’t require that much effort to just be NICE.  Sometimes I wonder how in the world we learned to be so mean, especially to our loved ones.  I imagine the devil sitting on my shoulder rubbing his hands with glee every time something mean is uttered, either by me or someone else.  I am definitely still a work in progress, but I am trying hard to be a NICE outgoing person.

That old adage, smile and the world smiles with you is so true.  If you don’t put yourself out there, you won’t receive anything in return.  So smile, say hello, be outgoing!