Downton Abbey, 5.6-7

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The last two Downton Abbey episodes have really moved along. I’m delighted that the pace picked up. In episode 6 Cora discovered that Edith is Marigold’s mother and she made Violet and Rosamund take her to the hotel where they had fled to. As usual, Cora was quite composed, though disappointed that she’d been kept in the dark about Edith’s pregnancy as any good mother would. She cooked up the scheme to bring Marigold into Downton’s nursery under the pretext that the farmers couldn’t afford to keep her and Edith would adopt her. By the end of episode 7, Robert guessed that Marigold isn’t really adopted.

I was surprised that Rose’s engagement was so short. Suddenly, at episode 7’s start everyone’s preparing for her wedding. The only problem is that Atticus’ is Jewish and both his father and her mother don’t approve of mixed marriages. Rose’s mom, the ultimate sourpuss Susan goes as far as setting up Atticus by having a floozie take suggestive photos with him. Fortunately, the ruse doesn’t work. Nor does Susan’s announcement that she and Rose’s father Shrimpy are divorcing stop the wedding, although Atticus’ dad disapproves of divorce. We don’t know that much about Atticus, but he’s good looking and seems nice. I just hope he doesn’t die. Mary, Edith, Tom and Rose’s generation does not have a good track record for marriages. I suppose someone’s spouse bound to live. (I’ll count Edith in this list though she didn’t get a chance to marry her beloved.)

The Lord Gillingham/Mary relationship has been over and it seems he’s moved on. He’s realized that his former fiancée suits him best. Nothing’s moved forward with Mary and Blake and since Mary’s so critical and aloof, I think he can do better. The energy they shared when they saved the pigs has cooled.

The police investigation has slowly moved along.  In episode 6 the police seemed to have Mr. Bates in their crosshairs, but by episode 7, they brought Anna in for a line up and then arrested her. Anna! She can’t have done it, though she had a reason. It seems way out of character.

Tom is seriously considering going with his daughter to Boston to start a new life. I really hope he doesn’t. He adds a down-to-earth perspective to the family and I doubt life in Boston would be preferable. It’s good for Tom to bond with Sybil’s family and he can find love in the village, he just needs to seek out someone with similar values and decent manners. He has valuable work at Downton and couldn’t be replaced.

The episode ended very much like season one of The Village did, with the ceremony for the unveiling of the WWI memorial.

Word of the Week

japan quinzhee

quinzhee, n.: A snow shelter of a type originally used by North American Indians, consisting of a mound of snow with a domed chamber dug into it.
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈkwɪnzi/, U.S. /ˈkwɪnzi/
Forms: 19– quinzee, 19– quinzhee, 19– quinzie.
Etymology: < Slave kǫ́ézhii, lit. ‘in the shelter’, or < a similar form in another Athabaskan language.
N. Amer. A snow shelter of a type originally used by North American Indians, consisting of a mound of snow with a domed chamber dug into it.1984 G. Durrell How to shoot Amateur Naturalist v. 97 Crawling into the quinzhee, Lee found that, although the temperature outside was minus thirty, inside our snowhouse it was one degree above freezing.
1995 Leader (Canada) Mar. 26/1 The night they slept in their backyard quinzhee the temperature dropped to -15 C.
2005 K. Callan Happy Camper 252 Don’t forget to store your shovel inside the quinzee in case there’s a snowstorm..and you have to dig yourself out.

Forbidden Games

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Such a powerful film!

Set in WWII, Jeux Inderdict (Forbidden Games) follows Paulette, a girl of maybe 5, who’s fleeing Paris with her parents. Refugees run along a country road as I suppose they do now in the Middle East. As war planes bomb a bridge, refugees seek cover. Paulette gets separated from her parents as she runs after her little dog. Soon, both parents and her dog are killed by German bullets. Paulette’s left to wander amongst the refugees.

Eventually, Paulette crosses paths with Michel Dollé, an older farm boy who’s searching for a cow that’s scared by the bombs and shooting. Michel brings Paulette to his poor family and they take her in. There’s no other place for her to go, other than to the neighbors, whom they view as snobs. The father does not want the neighbors to get a good write up in the local paper for taking in a war orphan.

Though he’s probably about 9 or 10, Michel’s the most educated of his family. He knows all the prayers by heart and regales Paulette with facts about animals and religion.

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Paulette’s been carrying around her dead puppy and Michel convinces her to bury it. When Paulette sees a cross in the Dollé’s house, she’s curious. She never knew what they were for. Thus Michel leads Paulette to build their own private cemetery in a deserted mill and they begin to steal crosses from wherever they can get them–graves, churches, hearses.

The adults can’t understand who’s taking the crosses and the rivalry between the neighbors grows.

All in all, Forbidden Games  is a natural, haunting film that mixes innocence, war, poverty, generosity and faith. It’s a simple, yet profound film, one I doubt anyone could make today.

N.B. French with English subtitles

Silent Sunday

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Remind Me Not to Do This Again

YesterdayI went to Lenten day of Reflection. I need to jump start my Lent as I’m not sure what to do, i.e. give something up, take some action. It really shouldn’t just be a time to go on a diet.

Well, it was pretty awful. There were 14 of us and the priest had all these rules. Mainly, you couldn’t use the word “you” and you couldn’t preach. His idea of preaching was hard to understand. At the beginning, a woman raised her hand and said, “Excuse me, but I work in logistics and I think the chairs would be arranged better if they were in a circle.”

The priest chastised her, “Don’t you think I know the chairs are arranged badly. I’ll take care of it. This is what I mean by preaching. Stop preaching.” Another man questioned his terms, “God has a ruthless love for us.” I don’t think anyone understood what that meant. He was told not to let one word trip him up. Well, all the words we were supposed to respond to were such gobbled gook that no one knew what to say. After lunch someone asked if the priest if he’d enjoyed his lunch and got snapped at. “You don’t have to worry about me. I am able to take care of myself. I’m here for you all.” (Right.)

Later one man really spoke from his heart describing how he’s come to a point where he felt that while he did all the things a good Catholic should, he was a hypocrite and his faith lacked depth. Every time he slipped and said “you know,” he was chastised. (You can be used to mean other people particularly or like the French use “on” as a generality, e.g. Where do you buy tickets?) This man was in no way offending anyone other than the priest with his use of “you.”

I decided 1) to never attend another event there and 2) not to share with the group.

One surprise of the day was that a woman I went to grade school with was there. She was the meanest terror of my class. I hope I get some points for having lunch and conversing with her husband and her. I was astonished that a seemingly really nice man married someone who’d been so vicious. I think that encounter was the blessing of the day. The program itself was an endurance test. I wound up leaving an hour early. I just couldn’t take any more. The priest is good when he gives homilies, but dealing with actual people is not his forte. How does the Catholic church march onward with these types as their leaders? Truly that’s the biggest miracle of all.

 

Travel Theme: Energy

Gas Station, China

Gas Station, China

Each week Ailsa of “Where’s My Backpack?” challenges bloggers with a theme and this week it’s Energy. If you want to participate just follow these guidelines:

  1. Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Energy
  2. Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  3. Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
  4. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS!

Sepia Saturday

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This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt featured buses and transportation as a theme. If you think about it, it’s amazing all the various conveyances used to help us get around. Here’s a few I found on Flickr Commons.

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Washington State, woman driver, no date

Traffic, London 1927, London Transport Museum

Traffic, London 1927, London Transport Museum

from Florida Memory, 1922

from Florida Memory, 1922

I went to a marvelous party . . .

Yesterday I went to a dinner at the Japanese Consulate General’s home for a thank you dinner. A couple weeks ago I volunteered to interview candidates for the JET Programme, which sends thousands of assistant language teachers and entry level officers in government international bureaus.

The consulate general lives in a lovely, national landmark homes in Evanston. First there was a cocktail hour followed by a sit down dinner. I lucked out and got to sit at the table with the Consular General and his wife. The other guests at the table were three former JETs and a professor from Loyola University Chicago, my alma mater.

The consul general was very down to earth and approachable as was his wife. He loves Chicago steak houses and has covered a fair amount of ground exploring the US and the city. His wife was very graceful and unassuming.

It was fun to be able to share memories of Japan and learn what people are doing post-Japan.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds

Chishakuin Temple, Kyoto

Chishakuin Temple, Kyoto

Chicago Theater

Chicago Theater

New Mexico

New Mexico

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry

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Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

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1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

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