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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

promise of spring

Today is a holiday in many traditions. The United States celebrates it as Groundhog’s Day, a completely secular holiday with deeply pagan roots. Many Christians celebrate today as Candlemas or St. Brigid‘s day, or Lady Day, which is a festival in honor of Mary. Celtic pagans celebrate today as Imbolc, or ‘ewe’s milk’ day, which celebrates that lambing season has begun and spring is on its way.

Today is the midpoint between winter and spring. Spring isn’t here yet, but the promise of spring is. It is a good day for starting early seeds, plants that can be put out at first thaw, such as cabbages and lettuces and onions and broccoli. It is a good day for lighting a whole lot of candles and being grateful that the sun no longer sets (what feels like) a half second after it rises. It is a good day for sitting in frontĀ of a warm fire and planning out your year.

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have not already discovered Downton Abbey (and if not, why not?), it is a British period television show filmed at Highclere Castle in England that begins on the morning after the Titanic sinks and continues to follow the Earl and Lady Grantham (‘the Crawley family’) and their staff and the people of their estate through the next few decades.

The show examines class and wealth and privilege while providing an entertaining and intelligent human drama that is set firmly in place and time. The relationships are interesting and complicated, and for those of us who like pretty things, there is plenty of eye candy to be had.

Viewers who watch in Great Britain get to watch each season approximately six months ahead of those in America (except for those industrious enough to track down a British version of the show). As an American, I am (usually) patient enough to wait until it comes over the airwaves here, so currently I am on episode three of season three.

I’m going to break the question set in two, one for those who have never seen the series, and one for those who have. Please, no season 3 spoilers in the comments, as I know there are fans from all over the world who read the posts here.

If you have never seen Downton Abbey:

  • From what you have heard of the series, what appeals to you? What doesn’t appeal to you?
  • Are you thinking of watching it at some point, or are you just sick of listening to us enthusiastic fans?
  • Do you like period pieces in general or is that one of the reasons you haven’t watched the show?
  • Are there access problems keeping you from watching the show? Is it not available locally to you or are there financial issues?
  • Is it on your ‘to watch’ list?
  • Do you like to wait to watch some series so that you can watch them ‘all at once’?
  • What would it take for someone to convince you to watch it right now, today?

If you watch Downton Abbey:

  • Who is your favorite character? Why?
  • What storyline do you find most believable? Least believable?
  • How well do you think the series handles the class issues it attempts to portray? What does it do well? What could it do better?
  • If you were a new character in Downton Abbey, who would you be and how would you be introduced?
  • Imagining yourself in the life of one of the staff members, how would that compare to a working or middle class job today? Easier or harder? In what ways?
  • Imagine yourself one of the nobility of that time. Do you think that Downton Abbey ‘soft pedals’ the attitude of the aristocracy to the people of their estates and to their servants?
  • In what ways are the women in the series more alike than different despite class?
  • In what ways are the men in the series more alike than different despite class?
  • How different is the world of Downton Abbey from today’s world? How is it similar?
  • What do you find funny in the show? Tragic? Heartwarming? (remember, no season 3 spoilers)

As with every other Today’s Dance, feel free to ponder your responses silently, leave them below, and share them with friends using the buttons at the bottom of the post.

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Two apple trees, coated in ice following an ic...

Two apple trees, coated in ice following an ice storm, with the sun shining bright in the afternoon sky. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I write this, the weather forecast is predicting we will get 1-4 inches of snow on top of a day’s worth of rain that will turn in to a sheet of ice when the temperature plummets in about an hour. I have lived in climates where it snows from around October through April, and climates that never see snow at all.

Where I live now, we get ice storms nearly as much as we get snow storms, and believe me, ice storms are worse. And during those snow storms and ice storms, I used to sit comfy and warm at home, an unexpected day off school, and read, and scrawl in my journal, and look out the windows at the snow covered beauty of the day, made all the more beautiful because I didn’t have to go anywhere through it.

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

The Dispossessed: A Novel (Perennial Classics)When I was a little girl in the 1970s, I discovered science fiction through fantasy. I started with the Hobbit, and then found a few dusty paperbacks to stretch my wings on: Battle for the Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulin, Andre Norton‘s Breed to Come, and then worked my way through the Heinlein juveniles and the Robot series by Asimov. I discovered Madeline L’Engle and Ursula LeGuin and discovered that women wrote science fiction too (I had no idea Andre Norton was a woman).

I watched every Star Trek rerun I could get my hands on, all of the Twilight Zones, the original Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and even Lost in Space and Land of the Lost when I needed a fix. I watched both the Star Trek animated series and the Planet of the Apes animated series, both on old black and white TVs over the air with help from a rabbit-ear antenna.

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Today's Dance

Introducing Today’s Dance

Today’s Dance is a new feature on Am I the Only One Dancing? Using current news, pop culture, geek culture, or miscellaneous interesting things in the world, I will create a question set to spark a discussion among readers. It will be posted each morning and you are encouraged to join in and share your experiences and opinions.

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