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The Plain, Downton Truth.

9 Mar

You’ve heard of Downton Abbey. I know you have. Even more, you’ve likely watched it, and regularly, at that. Everyone is talking about Downton Abbey. Talking and watching.

Except me.

Shocking, isn’t it? Those who truly know me know about my lifelong devotion to anything Masterpiece, anything period drama, anything Brit miniseries, the whole thing. A good friend of mine, a sassy 80-something year young lady whom I love to pieces and who loves the show to pieces, was flabbergasted when I told her that no, I hadn’t watched more than 5 minutes of DA. Her mouth fell open; she scolded me; “this is right up your alley!” she kept saying. I agreed with her and promised that I would definitely go online to catch up with all the past episodes before watching the current season. She seemed satisfied with this plan.

But the truth? I have no intention of watching Downton Abbey. (Sorry, Nance!)

Why? I have my reasons…

  • I just didn’t want to do it. I didn’t feel like getting into characters that would undoubtedly stay in my brain, for me to breathlessly wait for the next installment to find out what happens to them. And then when DA became a real life series with seasons and everything, I just threw my hands in the air and decided to not even start.
  • This happens from time to time. I decide against getting involved with a much-talked-about TV extravaganza experience. Oh, the hype, the hype. It sometimes pushes me away. For every Lost–I’m a Lostie, always and forever–there’s a Mad Men. Not one episode watched, despite my obsession with the swinging 60s or any bygone era, really.Weird, huh? Oh, wells.
  • I once told my sister, quite seriously, might I add, as if we were discussing quantum physics, that my packed TV schedule sometimes precludes me from getting into new shows. She laughed for maybe an hour or so. Anyway, it’s true. Sometimes, you get on the DVR sched, sometimes, you don’t. The Abbey didn’t get on there. (Well, it did, but that’s because that my handy DVR automatically records anything Masterpiece related. For the record, I would see it on the schedule and sadly delete each entry, holding on to the my odd refusal to begin a new TV relationship.)
  • I didn’t see Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen in the lineup. So…

Ignore that last bullet. Pure facetiousness. (Wink.)

I know, for a fact, that Downton Abbey is an amazing series. I can feel it. I just don’t feel like watching it.

(Someone make sure that my sassy 80-something year young pal doesn’t see this post.)

Dissecting Europaitis.

7 Jun

This post might be better served on Kitten Heel Marvel’s more travel-y sister, The Lonely Passport. Nevertheless, I’ll take a more travel-y approach on the other post. This is more about how I’m currently feeling.

I want to move to Europe. Now.

Europaitis (noun) – the rapidly growing desire to find my way to Europe and begin a new life there. Synptoms include incessant daydreaming, looking an old photos of my trip to France and Switzerland, and mentally furnishing my apartment in any European city.

First off, I am constantly in move-somewhere-else flux. It’s wanting a change in my life, wanting new surroundings, wanting to meet new people, wanting, wanting, wanting. I wanted to move to California, something I discussed about on here. I wanted to move to Phoenix many moons ago, mostly because I was fascinated by the whole mythical bird thing and thought it would be beyond cool to live in a place that represented this metaphor. I wanted to move to Texas (low cost of living). I wanted to move to Connecticut (Angela Bower, Who’s the Boss, yeah). I wanted to move to Florida (no winters).

Europaitis is not new. But it’s potent. It surpasses all those other places. It’s real. It’s almost tangible. And I want to make it happen.


The voice inside my head: What is it about Europe? What is it about France or Italy or England or wherever? Am I romanticizing these places, based on books I’ve read or films I’ve seen or the fantasies I allow to frequently overwhelm my senses and my mind? Do I have the unrealistic view that a new place won’t mean old problems, old stresses, that blasted “same ole” quality about life that I’ve grown to highly disdain? Is this a want or a need?

The other voice inside my head: I’m going to figure out those answers.


Pride, Prejudice & Pamela Aidan.

25 Feb

In senior year of high school, our teacher introduced us to all things Jane Austen. We watched the BBC version of “Pride & Prejudice.” The girls swooned, the boys pretended to throw up (I maintain that those boys loved it, regardless of all that fake vomiting), it was the most amazing welcoming to all things Jane Austen. I became an Austenite. From then on, I began the journey. Reading her books, ruminating on the life she lived, watching the movies all over again, falling in love with these stories. The fascination only grew in college (“Read Persuasion? Sure,” she said mock casually, eyeing the book like a candy bar).

But after school comes real life and work and busy schedules.

But after real life and work and busy schedules comes a recommendation from an old friend to read a trilogy by *Pamela Aidan, an author who decided to reimagine the entire P&P saga from the vantage point of Fitzwilliam Darcy.

I finished the three books in about two weeks. I devoured them. I missed my Metro stop for them. I told fellow Austen fans to acquire them and read them immediately. (After going on and on about them to another friend of mine, also an Austenite, her husband surprised her with the three books, which infinitely delighted both she and I). And it was only the beginning.

Now, it has become an full out obsession with finding similar books. The thing is, all of Austen’s books are accessible. Every last one of them can be found in the local bookstore or library. But, um, I want more. I want to sit back and read reimaginings and retellings and “sequels” and the like, to delve back into the Austen world, but with the touch of a writer who has decided to put their particular brand on the story. Of course, these new books are hardly replacements to the originals. Just, simply, new twists to old, treasured stories.

Right now, I’m reading Mr. Darcy Broke my Heart. Next: Searching for Pemberley. It’s a sweet sickness.

*An Assembly Such as This, Duty and Desire, These Three Remain



Sincerely, Taj

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