Monday Musings: On Oscars, beets and more Downton Abbey.

Good Monday to you. As we recover from our Oscars hangovers, here are some of the random, wacky things on my mind this week:

When the book “Life of Pi” came out several years ago, we tried to read it for a book club. But none of us made it past page 10, since I remember it being a little … abstract. With all the hoopla about the movie at the Oscars last night, I’m wondering if it needs a second chance. Have you read it? The whole thing, I mean. What do you recommend?

I went to dinner with six friends recently, and every single one of us loves beets. That’s odd, no? Surely not the statistical norm.

Have you all recovered from last week’s shock ending on Downton Abbey? ***BEWARE: Spoilers afoot.*** Luckily, I was able to watch it as it aired, though I already knew. When DA was airing in the U.K., The Daily Mail was not polite enough to bury their spoilery headlines, so I accidentally read about both Sybil and Matthew, but just not how it would go down. For the entire episode, I sat on pins and needles waiting for the figurative (or literal) axe to fall — and I was pretty convinced something was going to go terribly awry during the Scottish hunt. Alas, it’ll open up a new chapter. DA is filming Season 4 now so let’s hope we don’t have long to wait.

One thing to know about me: I almost always say the wrong thing, or at least it seems that way in my head. Call it social anxiety or whatever, but I can trip over my words or they can come out in totally the wrong tone or level of confidence I intended when I’m caught off guard or meeting new people or intimidated. Well, the other day my boss introduced me in a meeting as “Whitney Houston.” Thank the good Lord — other people do it too!

Isn’t it weird how you can stave off a cold with stress? How you don’t really start to feel unwell until you start relaxing? Well, my saving grace — given my recent travels and lack of sleep — is Zicam. The orange melty ones. That’s prevented me from getting sick about 17 times in the last 4 days. A miracle product.

Have a good week, all.

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Monday Musings: On pets, peeves and Downton Abbey.

Some things on my mind this Monday:
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This week, I officially cut over to southandsundry.com, so be sure to update your bookmarks. If you want to receive my posts by email, just enter your email address in the field under “Email Subscription” (above on the right) and click “Follow.”

Speaking of blogs, the reader stats for this site tell me how all of you find me — what country you live in, what websites you come from, and even search terms you use to find me. This week, I got a good chuckle. One of you searched for “yellow fever vaccination if only stopping in dakar to refuel” and landed on my blog. Ha, I feel your pain. My advice: always get the vaccine! Better safe than very, very sorry.

For awhile now, I’ve felt that something’s off with Oliver. He’s seemed, only at times, uncomfortable and unnaturally sensitive about his back end. I’ll spare you the saga, but for nearly a year we’ve endured numerable vet visits, specialists (including a brush with a $1,000 colonoscopy), food trials and medicines and supplements of all sorts. I now give him more powder and crushed pills than food. Well, I exaggerate … but only a bit. Last weekend, I finally learned that his pelvis is out of alignment. He was likely born that way, but soon we’re off to the doggie chiropractor. Heck, I need one too.

Here’s Pet Peeve #87: Servers who clear plates before everyone at the table has finished eating. Is that rude, or am I old fashioned? (Or both?)

Did you watch the finale episode of “Downton Abbey” last night? (Shhh! I haven’t yet.) I’m proud that everyone’s gotten into the series, but I’m a little mad at all of you who just discovered it. Back when season 1 was airing, I could buy the DVDs for a steal at $19.99. Now that it’s a phenomenon, season 3 is $39.99. Curse you, economics!

London, Day 6: Downton Abbey…er, Highclere Castle, in the a.m.

(One month ago I was leaving for London, so it seems appropriate that the first post of my last day publishes today!)

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When traveling, I always try to save the best for last.

I love a period drama on film and tv, especially one that features an old, English house and tells about the social heirarchy of bygone days. So I was completely captivated, like most Americans, by the “Downton Abbey” series. While in London, I knew I had to take a day trip to see the real thing, Highclere Castle. I actually booked my tickets to the castle back in March, and already few days were left in June. It’s that in demand.


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Something to look forward to!

Ten years ago this summer I was in London to celebrate a milestone birthday and revel in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, her 50 years on the throne. Well, it’s that time again — another milestone birthday, another jubilee.

Since I’ve had a lot of downtime as of late, my calendar for the year is frighteningly wide open. But now I can officially add an event, and a travel event at that — I’ll be in London to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee (and, oh yeah, my birthday) this June.

I can also mark the occasion as the first trip I’ve ever taken solo, or OYOBNA as they say. My go-to travel partner, other friends and my family were too noncommittal and this trip was important enough that I refused to let it just go by. I’ve lived in NYC, I’ve traveled the globe, I’ve even flown internationally by myself before, so why should I miss out?

The truth is that I’m kind of excited to go by myself — to explore what I want to do, on my schedule, at my pace. If I want to get up at 4 a.m. to snag the best parade route spot for gawking at royals, I’m gonna, without complaints, snide remarks or sleepyheads to annoy or slow me down. I can bask in my obsession completely unadulterated.
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