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Lady Edith, I’m betting on you

Lady Edith, I’m betting on you

I refuse to be defeated by an overweight tyrant.“–Lady Edith Crawley

At last, the final season of Downton Abbey is getting it right. Since its debut season, Lady Edith has been my favorite sister–a classic middle child overshadowed by her spoiled, self-absorbed, overindulged, older sister, Mary, and free-spirited younger sister, Cybil. But in the final season, the writers are finally showing that Edith has the potential to out shine her sisters.

For five seasons, Edith’s been cast as a cautionary tale of what not to be–a middle-age, never-married woman, suffering heartbreak after heartbreak, while waiting for a man that appears will never come. But often overlooked, Edith’s a survivor—she continues to get up each day and face a world that doesn’t understand her. In season three, she’s left at the altar, but instead of hiding in her room, she gets up the next morning and claims “spinsters get up for breakfast.”   

Edith is the underdog that no bookie will bet on. While Mary is portrayed as the strong one, she was born with it, it’s Edith who channels the British Army for the inner strength to keep her head held high and to fight off the naysayers who believe she has nothing to offer. It’s Edith who is her own champion and support group, and though sometimes shaky, believes in herself, because no one (aside from Aunt Rosamund) does.

Edith’s life has been less than what she desired, less than what she dreamed it to be. Remember, she loved Patrick (the dude who died on the Titanic in season 1), but had to push her feelings aside for the good of the estate and bow out to Mary, because Mary is the family savior and Mary gets what Mary wants. And while that dude died, Mary grieved for a nanosecond before Matthew showed up to rescue her. Life is easy for Mary, she has her own ladies maid and when she loses one man, another one comes calling faster than winks on 

Then baby sister, Cybil, has a 1920-something girls gone wild moment and falls in love and marries the chauffer, further pushing Edith into a life tittering on the edge of tragic. 

Enter Michael Gregson. Ah, finally, it’s Edith’s turn, I exclaim! She’s waited so long. All she wants is the affection of another, to be desired. She loves Gregson, and I think, he loves her, but there are complications–he’s married to a crazy woman who lives in a psych ward in Germany. Edith has a choice: Follow protocol, the neat, prescribed order of life of which she has been raised to believe, or abandon her notions of what was supposed to be and follow her heart. Her heart wins and she sleeps with Gregson.

At this point in the story, I am completely devoted to Edith–she accepts that her life may not be what she had hoped and dreamed of as a girl, but no matter the consequences, she’s going to make the best of it. And oh were there consequences–an illegitimate daughter, a dead lover, a judgmental older sister, and no suitors calling. Edith is down, and she hates that at every turn, nothing goes her way, yet she keeps going.

Throughout the series, Edith doesn’t know it, but in all her struggles, her disappointments, heartbreaks, she’s blazing a trail of her own. She’s saying to the establishment, I can do it, and if I have to, I’ll do it alone. And in season six, she’s speaking up, even embracing her middle-age spinsterhood, telling Granny, “I’m middle-age, I think I can stay alone.”  She does an all-nighter to meet the deadline for the magazine publisher and inspires a young secretary when she fires the “overweight tyrant” editor. Edith does what she has to do to survive, and for this, I can relate.

I do hope however, love will come to Edith before the series ends–it’s the one thing that has been so firmly out of her grasp, yet something she so desperately desires. But Edith is complex and it won’t be so easy. She needs someone who adores her, desires her, but most importantly strong enough for her–someone who can prop her up when she thinks she can’t go on another day–someone whose ego can withstand the fact that she doesn’t always need him—someone who can see that beneath the surface she just wants to be loved.

Edith is tired from years of doing it alone, the years of hoping that this one or the next one will be the one that sees how unique, how different she is from all the rest, and truly gets her, wants her, and can’t imagine his life without her in it. Edith knows she can do it alone, and sometimes prefers it, but doesn’t always want to. How do I know this? I know, because I am Edith.



Yes, I can go without cable TV, but do I want to?

Yes, I can go without cable TV, but do I want to?

yesicanWhen last we spoke, I was five days into my 30-day no cable TV challenge. I’m on day 24.

As I get closer to my goal, I ponder on the lessons, how I feel and did I miss anything?

The easy question: did I miss anything? Ummm…no, I’m still on Facebook and got all my royal baby news direct from The British Monarchy. Oh yeah, and from the countless obsessed royal watchers on Twitter at the hashtag #royalbaby.

This experiment was about testing my boundaries, experiencing and working through the discomfort that comes with not knowing what to do with myself in the absence of the cable TV noise.

My hypothesis to the experiment: Could I go without Comcast cable in my life? The simple, business answer is: yes. But like most things this is not a business decision, at least not today. It’s an emotional behavior built over the past 30 years of thinking I needed cable to survive.

Two weeks into my experiment I knew I could live without the evils of cable TV, but did I want to? I took a pause and pondered: How did I feel without it? A little lost. Weird. Abnormal. Empowered. I was conflicted. .

I kept going back to the question: If I can live without cable TV, why wouldn’t I just save myself $80 a month and cut the cord? I concluded, this wasn’t a cost cutting exercise (at least not today), but that cable TV is my comfort food. It’s there when I need it, it’s familiar.

Don’t get me wrong, I still hate the content, the commercials, but having it on, stumbling upon an old episode of Friends is like eating Mac n’ Cheese when you’re on a diet–you can’t imagine your life without it, at least at a minimal level or on special occasions.

With six more days to go, I’m staying the course to day 30, even though I’ve decided not to cancel the Kardashians, Hells Kitchen and the Real Housewives from my TV feed. I will stay with Comcast, for the moment, not because I like what they’re serving, but because I know that I have the strength to cut them out whenever I deem appropriate, or just can’t afford to pay for mindless activity.




Cable Recovery Plan Day 5

Cable Recovery Plan Day 5

I keep telling myself it only takes 30 days to break a habit. Yet, when you consider I’ve spent the majority of my life submitting to the will of my cable provider and seeking entertainment by what they and the networks deem entertaining, 30 days of no cable feels like an extreme challenge only Olympic athletes would pursue.

But so far, I’ve endured. My TV has been on, but only for Netflix, Roku channels and Amazon Prime movies.

The hardest part for me has been the quiet. I often have the TV on for background noise so I don’t always feel so alone. Even right now, as I write this, I want to flip the TV on to drown out the traffic that’s building up on 395. My solution for this dilemma: Turn on FoxNews Audio or Pandora. Both of which I get through my Roku, skirting the urge to turn on another episode of Friends.

It’s a discomfort of great proportions, of which I often find myself wondering what to do with myself when the TV’s not on. Yet, I  remain committed to the challenge, and firmly believe that I’ll be a better person for having cut cable out of my life.

We’ll see in another 25 days.



No Cable for a Month

No Cable for a Month

television_no_cableI told myself after Wimbledon, I’d quit cable–at least temporarily. A summer challenge to rid myself of the evil toxins that spew from the endless hours of cable news and reality TV.

Now I haven’t gotten all crazy and called Comcast to disconnect, but I suspect cold turkey would be an easier way to go.

No, I’m subscribing to a crazy level, call cable anonymous-type of temptation. I’m leaving the cable connected. The only thing between me and channel surfing is pure will power. I can hear the devil serpent whispering to me now, “turn me on, it’s time for another rerun of Friends.”

Over the past six months, I’ve closely monitored my viewing habits and discovered that most of what I enjoy watching is quality, scripted TV, and live events like Wimbledon. I hate reality shows, even the contest-based one’s, and since we won’t have an election for another three years, there’s no sense in watching the childlike behavior that ensues on cable news. All the news I need to know is in my daily Facebook feed of The British Monarchy. You didn’t think I’d miss that coverage, did you?

For me, it’s the live events that keep me an indentured servant to Comcast. Yes, I can hookup my computer and watch them online through my TV, but I haven’t gotten that sophisticated yet. That’s another step in the cable addiction recovery plan.

Now before you think I’m all anti-TV, let me be clear, I’m anti-cable. I hate what they offer and what I have to pay on annual basis just to watch Wimbledon and March Madness.

So for the next month, I challenge myself to not watch anything through my Comcast cable account. Instead, I will opt for my Netflix account and the channels offered via my Roku (BTW: the Smithsonian channel is great).

Day 1, starts now!




New Celebrity Crush

New Celebrity Crush

jackdavenportDespite the fact that my Vampire Diaries crush, Ian Somerhalder, has recently changed his Facebook status from, “In a relationship,” to “Single,” prompting a search for an e-saver to Atlanta to pursue proper stalking, up, close and personal, I’ve found myself a new celebrity crush to split my time: Jack Davenport.

Of course, just when I find him, I will lose him.  His character, Derek Wills, is on track to close out his run on Smash as NBC puts a nail in the coffin of this spectacular show that is totally underrated and misunderstood. I beg NBC to keep Smash on the air!! Until then, I’ll soak up my time with Jack and Derek.

Fortunately, Ian and Damon will be back in September. I couldn’t bear to lose two fantasies at once.