Capturing Weekend Bliss

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Weekend? What is a weekend?”~  Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) from Downton Abbey

I heard the traffic girl on tv call today Friday Eve. I remember the days when that would have meant something to me. When Friday Eve would produce some excitement—the weekend was almost here, so adventure was surely around the bend.

I do not know when I lost my excitement for weekends. I would like to get it back in this year of finding my bliss.

The Dowager Countess was completely mystified when she came across the word “weekend’. It was obviously a foreign concept if you were not among the working class.

I would like “weekend” to no longer be a foreign concept for me. I think part of the problem is that I work at home, at a desk in the corner of my dining room, so I never really get to leave my work behind. Weekend used to mean a break from school or work—not so much anymore.

Any suggestions about how to make my weekends more blissful?

Published in: on February 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm  Comments (52)  
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Day 3 ~ What Bliss Is Not

The beauty we see, is the magic we feel, the u...

The beauty we see, is the magic we feel Photo credit: || UggBoy♥UggGirl ||

“You don’t know what you’re going to get into when you follow your bliss.” ~ James Hillman

 James Hillman was a psychologist, born 12 April 1926. He died 27 October 2011. Between those two sentences was a life. I am not going to give you a rundown of this brilliant man’s life–but his simple remark that “You don’t know what you’re getting into when you follow your bliss” is not contextualized here, but if you Google him, you will find a man who found his bliss. Seriously, if you have not heard of him, he is worthy of your time. I just did a cursory search, found his obituary, and was impressed with how this man used his life.

In finding my bliss, I want to use my life. I think that the thing that keeps me, and most people going, is to use the gifts we have been given and not squander them. I have been guilty of wasting time and energy on things that I know now were not part of the reason I was put on earth. But I think in doing those things, I discovered, by process of elimination what I was not meant to do. All those things that we do contextualize our lives and give it meaning.

Bliss is not a dead end. It is not just getting by. It is noticing all those things that make us vibrant human beings. It is that first cup of coffee in the morning (excuse me while I go get mine); reading the paper and discussing it with your spouse; delighting in the good news of others; watching a favourite program (my latest obsession, Downton Abbey comes to mind); eating a particularly good meal; expecting company. It takes so many forms, small and big. Don’t get me wrong, I am trying to find the big bliss things too, but I recognize when magic happens–and when I win that big lottery, or publish my first book I will be ready.

I think Hillman had a good point: you have to be ready for bliss, you have to recognize it~or it will elude you. Though his statement sounds like a warning, I would like to take it as his way of saying bliss is a delight we need to embrace. I think he is daring us to find our bliss.

Are you afraid to find your bliss?

Published in: on January 3, 2013 at 10:50 am  Comments (36)  
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Comforts ~ Day 9 Or Cookies and Milk

My three things today may seem pedestrian, but they are what get me through the hard times:

books

books (Photo credit: brody4)

1. My books – I can lose myself in a good book (or magazine, or newspaper, or mouthwash bottle, or cereal box – I will quite literally read anything)

2. The Food Channel, Community, Downton Abbey, The Big Bang Theory, and sometimes when I am feeling really low, I watch really crappy TV to make me feel better about my life (LOL)

3. Comfort food – which generally includes something sweet and a glass of milk. The glass of milk cancels out the guilt from eating the something sweet – after all, we all need calcium-right?

It may sound like I am not really trying today, but seriously these are the things I am grateful for when life gets just that little bit too difficult.

Post 100! Day 15 ~ 200 Words

Speed (TV channel)

Speed (TV channel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Battleground:  Television.

I love the Food Channel. My husband loves the Speed Channel which has the most annoying programming in the world. If there is not some car auction on with an auctioneer who will not shut up, there is a reality program about a family of motorcycle aficionados whose trials and tribulations rival the absurdity of the Kardashian clashes.

My interest in cars is threefold: does it have gas; is there enough air in the tires; and does it run. That is the full gamut. Sure I would like a little red convertible, but until that day comes, I do not care about cars.

The Food Channel

The Food Channel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love food. I do not love preparing it, but since the job has been left to me at my house, I watch Food Channel programs to bolster my enthusiasm for the task. I think my husband loves the Food Channel as much as I love the Speed Channel  (which coincidentally are side by side on cable).

I can tell when my husband wants me to join him to watch TV. He puts on one of my favourite programs:  The Big Bang Theory, reruns of the Gilmore Girls or Downton Abbey. These are programs we enjoy together:

Gilmore Girls (season 1)

List of The Big Bang Theory episodes (season 2)

Highclere Castle

You need a few of these in your married life.

Top Ten TV Shows

Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I call this my frivolous Monday submission

I am a pushover for top ten lists of just about anything. Top ten books about avocados. Top ten artistic renderings of telephone poles. Even top ten music lists (though anything past the year 1982, which coincides with the year I was married is unfamiliar to me). So, just in case you too are a fan of top ten lists, I thought I would provide you with a summer list of my top ten favourite TV shows. (It is a summer list, because in the summer we are allowed to be frivolous and admit that we watch and enjoy television in the comfort of air conditioning).

1. Community: I love this show. My youngest son is home from college to toil away in a produce warehouse for the summer. He introduced me to this program about seven friends who form a study group—or actually the study group forms the basis of their friendship at Greendale “Community” College (hence the name of the sitcom). I hesitate to call it a sitcom, as that does not really do it justice—it is quirky, funny, and endearing.

2. Downton Abbey: I have already  written about this – but the Christmas show at the end of the second season ties up some loose ends while leaving a few tantalizing tidbits dangling for the third season.

3. Chopped: Who would not love a show where four chefs are given mystery baskets with weird food items (such as guppies, cornmeal, red liquorice, and lime Jell-O powder) and are asked not only make an appetizer, but one that is edible and presented artistically. This show is the ultimate in grace under pressure.

4. Big Bang Theory:  Cannot get enough of these super smart guys who find life mystifying.

5. The Barefoot Contessa: Any show that stars my favourite cook, Ina Garten, is a show I am going to watch. Her favourite saying is: “How easy is that?” I have written down recipes from her show, and actually made them! Who says there are no miracles?

6. Power and Politics with Evan Solomon:  This is serious entertainment. Political operatives, pundits, and the powers-that-be all vie to be on this show. Unfortunately some of them did not learn the second golden rule: listen quietly and wait your turn.

Okay, I could only come up with six, but who has heard of a top six list?

A Good Addiction

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Addiction has a negative connotation, but I think you can be addicted to good things. To use a politically incorrect analogy, my usual drug of choice is reading, but last weekend I found a television series that rivals that addiction. I “discovered” Downton Abbey. To say I discovered it is a misnomer, because a good friend of mine who knows my tastes was surprised that I had not already become of fan of this PBS program. I am in the midst of Season 2 right now. For Mother’s Day no flowers or chocolates for me—I wanted the second season of Downton Abbey, after devouring the first.

Addiction, according to my handy-dandy Thesaurus located in my Microsoft Word Program on my computer, wears the following synonyms: habit, compulsion, need, obsession, craving and infatuation. I read somewhere that words in a thesaurus never properly define or fill in for the word you are looking up, but in this particular case, I disagree. Downton Abbey has created an obsessive need in me, as I crave compulsively the characters on the program that I have become infatuated with (yeah, yeah, I know – I am not supposed to end a sentence with with—for those of you who are purists, I will rephrase: the characters which with I have become infatuated).

English: Maggie Smith handprints in Leicester ...

English: Maggie Smith handprints in Leicester Square WC2 Dame Margaret Natalie Smith (b.1934) – Actor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love, love, love Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern. Maggie Smith is the consummate actress—you believe (even though this is just a program) that she is the Dowager Countess of Grantham, “matriarch of Downton and irrefutable authority on everything.” This woman just does not take no for an answer; she finds a solution where there is not one –except to the problem which is the cornerstone of the series (but as I have not yet watched it in its entirety, maybe  in the end she does). I will not give away this “problem” as perhaps you have not yet indulged in this television delicacy.

Elizabeth McGovern is an American on British soil, and when one is at first introduced to her, she comes across as a gentle soul—she is, but a gentle soul with a backbone of steel and brilliant mind. She marries the Earl of Grantham, and her money saves his precious Edwardian mansion. But theirs is a love story which unfolds beautifully.

The added dimension to the epic is what happens downstairs in the staff area which both complements and reflects what is happening on the main floor. It seems that there are two different worlds—but those worlds come together to create an amazingly addictive treat.

Addiction can be more gently defined as devotion or “a great interest in a particular thing to which a lot of time is devoted.” Thankfully, only so much time can be devoted to this series, as thus far (or as far as I know) there are only two seasons of this intriguing drama. The first season is pre-World War 1, the second is during the War (or at least that is where I am now).

I think as Canadians we are fascinated with the world of British aristocracy. In many ways, “Downton Abbey” makes the relationship between those downstairs to those upstairs much clearer. The aristocracy, in their own blind way, believe they are providing much-needed employment, but with that comes stigma that is hard for us to understand (i.e.—no maids were allowed to serve dinner or even be seen in the drawing room—something which eventually changes during wartime).

Pomp and circumstance? Certainly. A tale well told? Indubitably. Addictive in the best sense possible? Definitely. (I was told by another fan of the series that her family has Downton Abbey marathons.)

My Other Addiction

Currently I am reading two books that I find answer many of my questions. The first is written by my favourite rabbi, Harold Kushner, and is called “Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World”. The second is Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. Rabbi Kushner is calmly reassuring while being totally honest. Cain uses science, psychology, and real people in making her extensively researched point that introverts are often overlooked. I vary a bit with her opinion as I think we are all introverts, just some of us hide it better than others. But she has scientific research behind her hypothesis, I do not.

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