Saturday, August 20, 2016

"Are we going to have tea, or not?"

highclere | More Downton Abbey photos here:

It's Downton Abbey Week!

That means allllll week you're going to be treated to a whole bunch of gushing and swooning and oohing and aahing and flailing fangirl fanatics from a certain community of bloggers, all orchestrated by the lovely and talented Naomi whom you may know, and if you don't, well then, I'm sorry about your life. (That was a nice way of saying get thee over to this blog.)

To start things off, she's got a lovely little tag which I am going to have fun answering, and I hope you likewise have fun reading it. ;-)  

1. Who introduced you to Downton Abbey?

One spring day in 2013, my mother brought home the first season from the grocery store. We'd heard about it from various friends/acquaintances and were all mildly interested, and my mom has this tendency to buy DVD's with very little provocation, so that was how it started. I wasn't completely convinced it would be good, because at fourteen I thought anything so popular would have to be beneath me. (I had issues when I was fourteen.) But like with most things, I realized as soon as I started watching it that I was wrong. Because it was and is amazing and those early days of Downton, when my sisters and I were first being swept away in the current of obsession, will always be some of my fondest memories.

2. What Season did you (or: do you think you would) enjoy the most?


Well, Season One maybe. Season One has such a raw, original classic-ness to it that wears off a little in the following seasons. But Season Two gives me CHILLS. You've got the War, and the whole hospital-deal, and Branson Being Naughty, and MARY AND MATTHEW....yeah. Season Two.

3. Who wore the prettiest wedding dress?

I like Mary's best. It's so sleek and lovely and so her.

4. What plot twist/ scene came most unexpected to you? (Or do you pre-read all the spoilers?)

I NEVER READ SPOILERS. (I know you do, Naomi.) Really, I try to avoid spoilers at all costs, but Pinterest sometimes backfires and I end up knowing something before I wanted to. That was how it happened with Matthew...that time, I knew what was coming (but that didn't make it any easier). And I knew Mary would end up with Henry, and I knew there was going to be a fire, but mostly I don't know what's going to happen. The thing that surprised me the MOST was Sybil's end. That, Julian Fellowes, I will always hate you a little bit for.

5. If you could save one character from dying, who would you save?

MatthewSybil. (Don't ask me impossible questions.)

6. Who is your favourite Downton Abbey footman?

William is a SWEETHEART and I love him and all, but...I actually really care about Thomas! Which is so ironic because at the beginning I hated Thomas and thought he was awful and ewwwwwww, but now that he's been through so much and we've been through so much with him and I know him more, I really have a soft spot for Thomas. He's not foul. He's not like you, Mr. Carson, but he's not foul.

7. What typo annoys you more? "Downtown Abbey" or "Downton Abby"?


This drives me CRAZY. They're both awful, but probably Downtown Abbey, because I see more people do it (and hear people say it allllll the time and it's like, really guys, this show has been going on for six years and you still haven't got it right?!)

8. Which character do you think developed the best throughout the seasons?

Mary. Or Thomas. Or Edith. Oh yes, Edith. I like her EVER SO MUCH better now than I did, and I'm so relieved she's finally happy!

9. Favourite Downton couple? (Okay, pick two, because there's too much cuteness to narrow down to one.)

Mary & Matthew and Sybil & Branson.

10. Which of Granny Grantham's one-liners is your favourite?

Talk about impossible's one of my favorites: "Do we think she's mad, ill, or working for the Russians?"

No guest should be admitted without the date of their departure settled. #DowntonAbbey

11. How do you react when you meet another DA-lover?

  I usually ask them what they thought of this or that, who's their favorite character, yadayadaya. It's always a lovely thing to meet a fellow fan and it should happen more often. :-)

12. Do you think the show should go on and on, or do you think it should have ended earlier?

   Part of me wishes it had ended before so many people died, but part of me loves the later seasons too much. I guess I'm fairly content with the way things turned out.

Rose and Atticus . Downton Abbey:

13. Which room in Downton Abbey is your favourite?

I love the big library/parlor/study room with the fireplace and all the books on the walls.

14. If you could be part of the story, would you rather be a person downstairs or upstairs?

Downtstairs. I like working more than sitting around writing letters and having tea. When we first started watching the show I yearned to be a maid like Anna and I took all the pictures off my bedroom walls so it would be plain like hers. 

15. Who would you rather spend an afternoon with, Mrs Patmore or Lady Grantham (Cora)?

What?! I don't know! They'd both be fun and I'd probably be in tears from laughing by the end. Let's say Mrs. Patmore. She could teach me how to make brownies properly. (ahem....)

16. Do you have any Downton Abbey inside jokes with someone?

I don't know, Naomi, you tell me. 

17. Describe the show in one word.

Say it with me guys: DRAMA.

Ethel and Charlie <<<<< NOOOO WHY DID I EVEN PIN THIS.:

18. On a scale of 1-10, how much of a fan do you consider yourself?

An 8. There are times I REALLY REALLY get into it, like when I'm watching the newest season with my mom and sisters, but overall in day-to-day life I don't watch/talk/think about it that much.

19. Do you sometimes forget who is who?

Nope. I don't think so. 

susannawolff:    collegehumor:    Downton Abbey Character Name Guide  Just jumping in to Downton Abbey? Or just bad at remembering people? Here’s the fastest, simplest character primer.    I hope this helps.:

20. Finally, who is your favourite character (okay, pick three favourites, but no more than three - NO MORE), and why do you love them? 

#1) Branson. He's Irish and he's a car mechanic. That alone would be enough, but he's so full of passion for his causes and even when he acts like an idiot, I still care about him. He's like my rascally child -- I want to slap him sometimes, but in the end I love him to pieces. I liked him waaaaay better when he was the scrappy revolutionary and I don't really like it how he calmed down so much and started hanging around the estate being everyone's motivational speaker, but still: I love him.

#2) Mrs. Hughes. Mrs. Hughes is the BEST. She's the one you can count on, the one you can tell all your problems to and she'll make them better, the one you can trust. She's a true-blue friend.

#3) Anna (Smith) Bates, because she's so humble and kind, and she was my favorite right from the very beginning.

Anna and Mary:

Run along to Naomi's blog and see what else is cooking for this week!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trucks on the Bridge

We've got a farm, see.

My folks do, that is. And we have a stand, where we sell the things we grow, a little white building with a blue tin roof that sit on the corner of two county roads.

     Every day at six o'clock we close up the stand for the night, and every day at six o'clock, that intersection is busy. From hither and yon the cars and trucks come, whizzing through the green light, screeching to a stop at the red, rumbling over the bridge where the road eventually leads to the Pennsylvania state line.

I'll be out front under the awning, packing up blueberries or carrying in tomatoes or something, and I'll hear the sound of a diesel engine and peek underneath the awning at the bridge where there sits a big ol' Ford truck on a lift-kit with smokestacks on the back and a nineteen-year-old kid at the wheel. And just the sight of that gets my heart to racing. Just the idea of it sparks a fuse in me that I sometimes wish I could blow out.

 It's just a truck.

A dirty old truck and some redneck kid driving it. It's not a big deal.

But it is a big deal because HE'S DRIVING A TRUCK AND HE'S WEARING A BALL CAP.

 I'm going to be honest with you folks: I'm a little redneck crazy.

When most people think of New York, they think of New York City. A lot of people don't think of NY as being much of an agricultural state. We have NYC, Broadway, West Point, Niagara Falls, stuff like that. You don't expect cow pastures and rural communities and tractors on the county roads slowing down traffic. But where I come from, that's the way we live.

Now that I've seen a lot of NY state, I can say a large part of it is rural. Where I live, on the edge of NY and PA, we have farms. Another thing we've got?


Who wear ball caps.

And fly 'Don't Tread On Me' flags.

And drive around big loud trucks.

Here's the Webster's Dictionary definition of a redneck: a white member of the working class in the South.

Here's my own definition of a redneck, personalized, localized, and elaborated: an individual who lives in NY or Pa, wears jeans and ball caps, listens to country music, hunts/fishes/rides horses, and drives around a big noisy truck. Usually male between the ages of 18 and 80, and usually really really attractive.

    I have a predicament, and my predicament is that I'm surrounded by hot redneck boys and I don't know what to do.

Being as I am a girl through and through, I'm a little boy crazy. Always have been, if I'm honest. I can't help myself. At seventeen I've never had a fella in any way, shape or form. The closest I've come to all that monkey business was last year at the county fair when a random boy came up to me and told me I was 'cute'. (Among the top Most Awkward Moments in my life to date. Right up there with driving my daddy's truck into a ditch.) In my own opinion, I'm still too young to mess with having a fella. I'm too immature and I'm too flighty and besides I wouldn't know what the heck to do with him if I had one anyway. I'm not ready. I don't want a boyfriend.

....But at the same time, I really want a boyfriend.

Especially when I listen to Luke Bryan (which you really shouldn't do, ladies, if you know what's good for you) and when I watch Clara and Robert Wheeler in Into the West and when I see hot redneck boys driving by in their souped-up trucks, with their diesel engines buzzing louder than kingdom come. That's when I start to falter and grow weak at the knees and drift down that path of dangerous wishing....

I wish I had one.

I don't know, but I think just maybe, if you're a girl like me, you know what I mean.

The truth, inconvenient though it may be, is that I'm ridiculously attracted to rednecks. This is a fact of life. The boys who drive big trucks and listen to loud music and love getting attention and chase after girls....Strange and confusing as it is, that kind of thing -- well, it turns me on.

But really, when I think about it, I probably won't marry somebody like that. Anybody I marry will likely not be so attention-drawing. Redneck boys are full of themselves. Just because I'm innately attracted to that doesn't mean it would last. After the excitement wore off, what would have to talk about? Trucks? Now, I can talk about trucks for a long time, but we're talking long-term here. We're talking serious, like, forever.

Guys, I'm a romantic. I also believe very strongly in God. And because of this, I believe there is one fella out there for me and one fella only. I'm going to find him one day. Or he's going to find me. Somehow it's going to happen that we're in the same place at the same time and then the spark's gonna hit the gunpowder.

There may be others before he comes. I'm not one of those people who believes you should only date one person for a definite amount of time and then marry them, just because that's what everybody wants you to do. But neither is it right to just fly off the handle and go through boyfriends/girlfriends like contact lenses or socks. Like I said, I still don't know. (And I'm sure not going to pretend I do.) But this is one thing I don't want to be practical about. I don't want to go through life and love with a road map and only take the turns I'm 'supposed' to. I don't want to look at it in a logical way. (Put aside the math and the logic of it.) I don't want to listen to statistics and jump over the puddles that come along...I want to wade through them. Love is too precious to handle with so much care sometimes. Love is wild. You can't put it in a neat and tidy box. You can try, but you'll lose something.

I'm learning that there are things in life that are better appreciated when you don't think about them too much. Love is one of them, especially when you're seventeen.

Stewing over this, I'm wondering what I should do. It's hard being a redneck crazy girl on the state line of New York and Pennsylvania. It's hard watching all those trucks whiz by, and when the ache sets in and that longing I can't really escape, it's hard to know how to feel. It's hard to know what to do with everything I feel.

But you know something?

It won't last forever.

 And someday, maybe soon, I'm going to find something that will.

These days only come once.

So I'm thinking I'll keep on keeping on. I'm thinking I'll bide my time and keep my fingers crossed and pray a blue streak. Because I'm seventeen and I'm a girl and girls are allowed to act silly over trucks because it don't hurt nobody. And I'll watch the people around me who know tons more about love than I do, and I'll write it all down, and I'll listen to Luke Bryan. Because youth is youth and it's a gift God gives us and it's like nothing else in this world.

And in the meantime, it can't hurt to keep my eyes out for those trucks that come barreling over the bridge every day at six o'clock.

(photo credit: Mary)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

"Farewell, ladies." // Western Week Finish

Cowboy - Wyoming:

We've ridden the trail and now it's come to an end. Our Western Week is wrapping up, folks!

The week's participants were...(click on post titles to read)...

~ Rachel at Hamlette's Soliloquy:
and at The Edge of the Precipice:

~ Heidi at Along the Brandywine:

~ Natalie at Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens:

~ Eva at Coffee, Classics, and Craziness:

~ Eowyn at Captured by the Word:

~ Annie at The Western Desk:
Western Note Card Giveaway

~Elizabeth Grace Foley at The Second Sentence:
The Storytelling Score of Red River

(If I missed anybody and you want me to add your posts, just let me know!)

Into the West:

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed! I'm so happy you did and I hope you had fun with this. Over the next few days I look forward to catching up on all y'all's posts and savoring the western goodness.

It's been such a wild week at home and elsewhere for me that I haven't been able to watch any westerns, but putting together this week, musing on all my favorite western movies, and paging through pictures of Lonesome Dove on pinterest (yes, I am confessing), it all came back to me. I remembered once again, and felt it in my bones, just how much these stories mean to me. These stories of brave men, cowards, outlaws and heroes. There's something super special about those movies that have been around for ages, that your parents watched before you were born and then watched again with you when you were old enough, and became so much a part of your life that you can't imagine not having it. 

Lonesome Dove:

(I may or may not be talking exclusively of Lonesome Dove....*ahem*)

Westerns are my jam. They're what get me excited, they're what make my heart sing on hot summer nights as well as dark winter ones. They're part of my history and they're my favorite. I'm so glad to be able to share this passion of mine with you guys, and I'm glad that some of you feel the same way too. :-)

It's been fun! Thank you, friends, for jumping on board with this, and thank you, Olivia, for co-hosting with me! Till next time!

"Farewell, ladies."
~ Gus McCrae

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