Good humor makes all things possible.
-Charles Schultz-

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
-Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice-

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Today is my son's birthday.
He lives in Chicago and has a great job and a nice apartment and a new Jeep and a sweet girlfriend.
But once he was a funny little boy.
I'm sorry I'm too lazy to scan a half a dozen pictures that prove how adorable he was.

When Sam was almost two, we went to Vermont for Christmas.  I had two kids and two pairs of pink mittens.  We  spent one day sightseeing and walking everywhere while Sam fussed "ho-tey, ho-tey" and kept sitting down on the sidewalk.  He couldn't talk yet, and I clearly remember how heavy he was to carry.  At the end of the long cold day I pulled off his boot and out fell a Fisher-Price person--the cowboy one he called the horsey.  You'd think I'd have learned to check his shoes; when he first learned to walk he wore a cute pair of Air Jordans (from Grandma Rita) that he eventually outgrew, and I set them aside. At some point, I finally discovered, wedged deep inside one shoe and bearing the cramped imprint of five miserable little toes,  a solid wad of tissue paper, back from when the shoes were new.

I'm really sorry about that, Sam.  

Sam was a pirate for two Halloweens--he liked having whiskers drawn on.  I suppose I knew that he'd grow up and be hairy--the men on both sides of the family (and a few of the women) are pretty burly--but when he was little he was as silky and soft as a kitten. He was a black-haired baby that turned tow-headed, and then gradually got darker and hairier; I think he started shaving in the eighth grade. 

 I'm sorry you have a five o'clock shadow at noon, honey.

In the nineties, an awful lot of family portraits looked just like this.  Sam had a little tail of golden curls 
(which was his choice, I want to emphasize.)  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Again, I'm sorry Sam.

And now he's all grown up.  He's officially twenty-seven, but last year he found out he was really thirty, because once you're not in school any more and you aren't having fifth, or eighteenth, or twenty-first birthday celebrations, and have a big-boy career like a lot of other adults, you might as well be thirty.  I guess when he finally gets there it won't sting so much.

I'm sorry about that, too.

Happy birthday, Son.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The stork visits Downton Abbey

Season Three, Episode Five Recap

I was going to name this post "All of us hungry" but then you'd all be wondering what you missed in Sunday's episode.  Make no mistake, things might be tough over at the manse, but there is plenty to eat and lots of staff to carry the platters upstairs.  Lillian and I have been hard at work trying to cobble together a recap post.  It was no picnic this week, as you can imagine.

Just like last week, we noticed right away there were a few brief scenes on PBS that didn't appear in the UK version.  While none of them changed the story, they definitely added vital information.  
If you buy the series on Amazon or wherever, make sure you get the PBS version!


Picnics make me think of all the carb-y foods I'm avoiding lately; but somehow, it's working.  I'm down another pound this week.  (Yay me!)  At first I just counted carbs (I eat about seventy-five grams a day) but this week I went back to logging my food into which keeps track of my calories (about twelve hundred), too.  I thought for sure that all-you-can-eat protein would translate into double the calories, but a lot of low-carb foods are low-cal, too.  Maybe the combination of low-calorie and low-carbohydrate eating will finally start to shift some of the blub I've accumulated while hiding from my responsibilities these last couple of years.  

But enough about me.  Go HERE to read this week's recap and remember next week can only be better.


Well, you KNEW she was going to have that baby sooner or later.

Meanwhile, back in the good old days of cross-your-fingers pregnancies, labors and deliveries, Sybil's baby arrived.  How was it that her hair was so sweaty and her silk nightgown was so dry? It's like it was staged or something.  Real mothers called BS on that one right away.

Of course, then something worse than damp pajamas happened, and we regretted making fun of Sybil's droopy maternity clothes.  

No, don't go!  We promise you can wear whatever you want!

But she went.

And then came the saddest scene ever filmed.  Seeing Violet and Carson (two old comrades who know how things really get done) in a such Herculean display of British bravery reminded me that I'm a soft American who can't distinguish fiction from fact.  Compared to Edith's wedding day disappointment (even though we woke up thinking she'll land on her feet), there is no good news to temper this bad news.  Lillie and I both wondered if we should just get back to Pinterest until the season ends; but after a hard-boiled egg and a Kleenex we were ready to type.  If Violet can Keep Calm and Carry On, who are we to give up?

Can we ever get our funny back?

How about this, then?

So, is that Sam's new Rock Lobster?

Nope, this is the new Rock Lobster right here.

Stay in school, kids.

Monday, January 21, 2013

All of us miserable

Season Three, Episode Four Recap

I'll get to work on the recap as soon as I find my glasses

Are you ready to read our review of Episode Four?  It's right here.  The links to the first three episodes are over there, too.

If you watched, you know that this episode was pretty grim.  We started late and typed back and forth  all weekend to come up with something.  Let me know what you think!  Lillian is back in school and busier now but we plan to start cooking on Episode Five starting tomorrow.

For those of you watching DA on PBS in the US--there is a pivotal scene that didn't appear  on the UK version.  Daisy travels up to Mr Mason's farm and asks him how he'd feel if she ever got married again.  He gave her his blessing and assured her that William would also have wanted her to be happy.  Didn't you wonder about that too?  I don't know why PBS included it and the UK didn't--but keep it in mind when you watch Episode Six!

I'm off to bed to dream about carbohydrates--this week I cut down to less than one hundred grams of carbohydrates per day, with as much protein as I can eat--I've lost a pound already and would love to drop at least ten more, if I can.  Aside from a mild transient headache (ketosis) and recurrent fantasies of chocolate and bread, it's not too bad!  It goes against conventional low-fat /high-vegetables wisdom, but I've been doing that with no success for a long time and the scale will not budge.  What do I have to lose except my spare tire? I'll post my progress, if there continues to be any.

See you next week!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

All of us happy

Downton Abbey, Season Three, Episode Three Recap:

Not that Mr Carson, the other one

Lillian and I are back again (slightly earlier this week--we've been working on it since Thursday) with the recap for Season 3, Episode 3.  Here's a shot of your writing team in our deluxe office suite.  Chase is our food services grip, in charge of fetching the coffee, but frankly that's just an honorary title because as you can see he is asleep.

Episode Three is a crackerjack, so have your box of Kleenex ready.  We had a hard time getting screenshots because we had to keep stopping to blow our noses (and we've watched it a dozen times.)
(Say, did anyone else think it was peculiar that they didn't invite Aunt Rosamund to either Mary's or Edith's weddings?  I know they'd have had to give some her scenes and they probably just ran out of screen time, but they might have at least mentioned she was traveling abroad or something.)

All of us happy
Except Mary I see your slip

Here's the link to the recap at

Here's the link to Episode One's recap:

Finally happy

and here's the link to Episode Two, in case you need to get caught up.

Still happy

Time to start on Episode Four!  No rest for the weary (that's why we do this in bed.)  Thanks for sharing and most important, thanks for joining us in the first place.  Lillian and I have (at least) one thing in common--we hope people think we are funny.  Is that weird?  It's certainly not the only thing we want, of course, but being funny is right up there.

Not happy

See you right here  in one week--or sooner if I find time to write about anything else.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Not now, we're watching Downton Abbey (again)

So there were Lillian and I hunched on opposite ends of the couch typing our reviews of Episode One.  We sat there dividing up our best lines and  finally admitted that we'd probably get the best result if we collaborated and just posted one.  It's not like there is any shortage of Downton Abbey reviews, right?  Also, the bulk of our readers are related to us by blood or by accident, and we both got a lot of pressure encouragement to write something together (Here's the recap for Episode Two).

We hope this will satisfy Lillian's need to be breezy and descriptive, and my need to be cohesive and grammatically correct.  It also gives us another ridiculous project to distract us from the realities of life like work and school.  If you missed the recap for Episode One, it's right here.

It is our intention to recap each episode after it airs on PBS.  I hope that we haven't gotten in over our heads--this took literally all day.  Fast, we are not.  I guess we can rest between February and September!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I'll ring for a servant to write that for you

While I was hemming and hawing over my version of the season premiere of Downton Abbey, my daughter Lillian whipped out her own blog post, complete with screenshots, which was so much better than mine all I can do is let you read it for yourself, with her permission.

I get all bogged down by spelling and grammar and punctuation and which word says it better, but decided that's my own hangup.   I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Every New Year is the direct descendant, isn't it, of a long line of proven criminals?

--Ogden Nash

In 2012 I managed to offend a few people, mostly by having humanistic social views.  One of the people who still likes me the way I am is my sweet grandson Brody.  I am unlikely to amend my personal constitution, having long ago determined that my moral compass is pointing me in the right direction, but if I've made a new year's resolution, that is to keep my more controversial feelings to myself.  My goal is a report card which displays "plays well with others" with a big checkmark next to it. 

I used to point out to my endlessly squabbling children that they were quite free to STOP ARGUING because of course, it is impossible for ONE person to argue.  As incentive, I was careful to emphasize that the first person to be quiet is essentially the winner.  Also, all parents hate listening to children argue almost as much as they hate listening to a baby cry at three in the morning.  I would have promised them anything.

It's important for everyone me to remember that arguing has never changed anyone's mind, no matter how sincerely we believe it's the only thing that will change anyone's mind.  

It's been four years since all the kids and I have taken a picture together, and it never gets any easier to pick one that we all like.  If I had known that they were all smiling and not hitting, I would have pulled in my stomach and tried to look more festive.  And yes, that is brown paper taped all over the carpet and walls; Annie's house was being painted over the holidays.

Mister Carson enjoyed decorating the tree, and also enjoyed undecorating it.  
The kitten (who continues to grow at an alarming rate) thinks I am perfect and agrees with me about almost everything, except pestering the other cats.

You remember the parable of the dog in the manger; all the cats wanted simultaneous access to the sink, but none of them wished to share or take turns.  Mister Carson is the pushiest and bulkiest, so he commandeered my [shamefully cluttered] bathroom counter while the other two hung around and complained and were grumpy.  This was just moments before someone took the first swat; ending the fragile cease-fire for the three hundredth time in the two months he's been here.

2013 has to be the year I get out of my own way and go back to work; it's either that or the whole house of cards comes down.  If I get a haircut, a new watch battery, and renew my CPR certification, I should be ready to go.  If it ends up being as easy as it looks on paper, you'll read about it here.  If it's much harder than that, though, I may keep it to myself.