February 18, 2013

the long, tragic season of "downton abbey"

The third season of Downton Abbey just ended. Is it just me, or did this season seem longer than the others? (OK, in truth it was longer than season one...) So many things happened, and while many were good (Matthew & Mary finally getting married, Bates finally getting out of prison, the birth of a Crawley heir), the bad seemed to overshadow the good. Matthew stubbornly refuses to accept the money that could save Downton. Sybil dies. Bates is in prison for over half the season—and all the prison scenes are painfully boring. Edith gets jilted at the altar. Rose. Matthew dies.

Oh, I enjoyed the season, and I'm eagerly awaiting season four, but I wouldn't say the journey through season three was particularly fun.

For all the plot lines that I hated, one I can't blame on creator/writer Julian Fellowes is Matthew's death. The blame for that one goes to actor Dan Stevens, who elected not to renew his contract. Fellowes has said that they felt the only organic way to get Matthew off the show was to kill him, and I agree. Matthew and Mary were finally at a very good place as a couple, and Matthew had taken on a vital role in the management of Downton. Having Matthew and Mary become estranged at this point wouldn't ring true. And actually, Matthew went from being one of my favorite characters to one I didn't really care about anymore ... I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next for Mary and the rest of the Downton bunch! (But I could certainly do without Rose. Unfortunately, it sounds like she's going to be a main character next season.)

In light of the depressing events we were left with last night, I think we could use a little levity. I saw this video on Annie Downs' blog this morning, and it absolutely cracked me up. Enjoy!

February 7, 2013

catching up

Life. Is. Crazy.

Don't get me wrong, life is always crazy, but it's especially crazy in January and February because that's high school speech season. Some days I don't get home from work until 9 p.m. because I'm working with speech kids. And then you have the early mornings—some Saturdays, the alarm goes off at 4:15. Yuck! But speech isn't the only thing happening in my life ...
  • I mentioned last October that I was dealing with some fatigue and other medical issues. After numerous trips to the doctor, I finally have at least a partial answer—I'm Vitamin D deficient. It sounds like lots of people are, but my levels are quite low. So I'm taking supplements, and I think I'm starting to feel better. I hope it's not just wishful thinking! I do know that a month ago, I seriously doubted whether I'd be able to handle a day-long speech meet, and I've made it through four and a half so far.
  • A couple weeks ago, my parents and I traveled to Omaha to watch Blendy perform in her school's production of Little Women. She played the Head Troll, and while she was only in one scene, she did a fantastic job! She also looked crazy. (Don't remember a troll in Little Women? That's because this is the Broadway musical, and it's nothing like the film. The troll comes in when Jo is telling Professor Bhaer about one of her stories.)
Dad, Mom, our favorite troll, and me
    • Like seemingly half of America, I got the flu. I've been fighting it since last Saturday (which is where the "half" speech meet came from above—the flu smacked me in the face while I was judging a round), and I just want to get over it! I'm very thankful for sick leave—so far this week, I've used three days (all of Monday and today, and half days Tuesday and Wednesday). I've spent much of my time on my parents' couch—my roommate had a friend over for the weekend, and I didn't really want to be sick at home while someone I didn't know was staying there. So I'm especially glad that my dad broke down and got fast internet and cable TV last summer! In the course of my channel surfing, I've learned that there are now vampires on General Hospital (huh?), watched a few NCIS marathons, and seen bits and pieces of many Hallmark movies. (Did you watch The Makeover? The trailer makes it look really stupid, but it's actually quite enjoyable.)
    • Speaking of roommates, I don't think I ever told you that I have one! Cheri moved in at the beginning of January. She was in Blendy's high school class, and she's one of the two people who taught me just about everything I know about yearbooking! (She was a senior my first year as adviser, and although I'd been on my high school and college yearbook staffs, I basically knew how to write articles and captions, not put together a book.) She's student teaching at a high school in a neighboring town, so she needed a place to stay for the spring semester ... and I happened to have a spare room! Though we're both incredibly busy and hardly see each other, I'm enjoying having a roommate again.
    • Of course, I'm loving/hating the new season of The Bachelor. I had high hopes for Sean Lowe, but I also knew from past experience that guys who I love on The Bachelorette tend to become idiots once they are the Bachelor. (Jake Pavelka, anyone? It's hard to believe I ever liked him ...) I wish that, for once, the Bachelor would actually listen when multiple women warn him about the same girl. There is considerable precedent here—the girls don't normally hate the ones who would actually make good wives, they hate the crazies or the ones who are "in it to win it." I've actually managed to keep away from spoilers this season. I feel like most of the season so far has been hijacked by "The Tierra Show," so we haven't gotten to know many of the girls very well. That said, my top two are Catherine and Desiree. I just wish they would show some conversations about faith ... if I knew which girls were Christians, I'd be able to make a better guess about who he'll pick! (If you watch The Bachelor, be sure to follow me and my sister Val on Twitter—we like to comment as we watch!)
    • As usual, I'm doing a lot of reading. I had one week in January where I had three book reviews due. February is shaping up to be much calmer, and I'm currently halfway through a book that doesn't have to be reviewed until the 21st! I also read a non-review book: Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance. It's a fun YA novel that I bought on a whim. I might review it later, but only if I feel like it!
    So, that's what's been happening with me! I'm greatly anticipating February 23—our first speech-free Saturday of the year!

    Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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