the crown, seasons 1 and 2


Following up on my post about The Crown, Mom and I have watched the first two seasons and started season 3. For her, season 3 is a bit easier to follow – they are more like stand-alone episodes so she doesn’t have to remember a story arc. I have mixed feelings about season 3 … for the same reason.

Because seasons 1 and 2 were more focused on relationships than events, the inconsistencies with the real timeline were less important to the overall story. So, if Rev. Billy Graham did not visit the Queen during the year presented in the episode, but did visit before and after that time frame, it was fine. She needed someone with whom she could discuss forgiveness, so shifting things a bit to accommodate was not a big deal. Philip’s father really didn’t blame him for the deaths of his sister and other relatives on the flight from Germany to England – I should hope not – but it somehow felt like Philip blamed himself. I could buy that, even if it wasn’t remotely true, because he felt abandoned. Other changes from reality seemed similarly minor or they conflated details from a few events to reflect the overall situation.

For me, there were several takeaways from seasons 1 and 2, which covered from 1947 (wedding) to 1964 (birth of Prince Edward). Elizabeth as a young woman and as Queen was introverted and stoic in public, though showed more personality in private. She mourned her father’s death, chatted with her mother and sister, felt remorse when conflict arose and shared many emotions with her husband – sometimes frustration or anger and other times laughter, teasing and even flirting.  In real life, there are reports of her sense of humor, which was present but perhaps underplayed in The Crown. In the show, she and Philip had a contentious marriage, particularly over Philip’s role, name, house, fidelity and children. In real life, those were all issues they faced, so the show seemed to capture that essence. I hope for Elizabeth’s sake that Philip was less whiny in real life than he was on the show and that his progress in finding his role and settling down was less uneven and didn’t take a decade.

The story arcs allowed for a synthesis of character traits and an overall sense of the relationships. Elizabeth and Margaret … Elizabeth and Churchill … Elizabeth and Philip … Elizabeth and her father … Elizabeth and Tommy Lascelles … Philip and Margaret … the Duke of Windsor (aka David) and, well, pretty much anyone, …. I appreciate complex relationships and the ups and downs of life.

And the cast was fabulous! They really made me care about these people or at least want to know more about them. In fact, it’s hard to pick a favorite episode from season 1, though anything with Jared Harris (Bertie), Pip Torrens (Tommy Lascelles) or Alex Jennings (David) probably scored pretty high. Vergangenheit and Paterfamilias were probably my favorites from season 2, along with the Queen’s trip to Ghana in Dear Mrs. Kennedy. Claire Foy was new for me – I’d seen many others in the cast before, in prior roles – but she was really fantastic and gave a nuanced performance that really helped to show Elizabeth as a dedicated and conscientious queen, an exasperated yet love-struck wife (honestly, sometimes she and Philip were really cute together), and a distracted mother. She was able show emotion even behind the public face. Matt Smith as Philip and Vanessa Kirby were good, though sometimes annoying for me – but this may be more about the characters than the actors … mostly I think it was  the characters! Seriously, how often could they blame Elizabeth for something that was their fault! Yet, I also felt their pain and frustration in having to temper their bigger personalities and ambitions and to fall in line behind a “dull” Elizabeth.

Coming up … thoughts on season 3.


excuses, excuses!

shield-417826_1920So, I’m not sure why I keep putting things off. I’ve always been a bit of a procrastinator, but until last year if something made it on my ever-present “to do” list, it got done. Over the past year, I’ve not only skipped over tasks, I’ve been ignoring the list altogether.

I think (hope) that I may be hitting a turning point, though, as I’m now starting to pay attention to the list again. This doesn’t mean that I’m actually completing things on the list, but at least I’m acknowledging existence of a list and tasks that I’ve been neglecting. This is progress! Continue reading

the all-important cat update

Sorry for the delayed post. It has been a complicated few weeks.

Oscar, at age 18, has had a challenging year. It all started about 6 months ago, when Oscar started pooping outside his litter box. He had never done this before (outside of the occasional accident) so I took him to the vet. Thus began a concentrated focus on cat poo that I never thought possible … and roller coaster ride of emotions. Continue reading

regrets … I’ve had a few

flower-1030408_1920I can almost hear Sinatra singing My Way in the background as I start this post.

My sister-in-law has an unusual talent for asking questions that stay with me for a while. Last year, when she and my brother came for a visit, the question was whether I was happy with my life. Apparently, my brother mentioned that he thought I was and that he was happy that I seemed happy. My SIL was more direct – she asked me! I said yes, but it was not the most enthusiastic yes. If you look at the past several posts, you can probably understand why. More about this question in an upcoming post. Continue reading

what happened to that book you were writing?


Last year, when I took my 6-month break (that became a 12-month break), I had planned to work on a book. I would write a little story and my mother, who has done arts and crafts all her life, would work on the illustrations. This lovely little book would be shared with family and friends. The book should have been done by now … but it’s not. What happened? Continue reading

surprise: mom likes house!

I watched and loved House, the TV shdr-house-149926_1280ow with the wonderful Hugh Laurie playing the obnoxious Dr. Gregory House. Or at least I loved the first, maybe, five seasons – it went off the rails for me at some point around season six.

As crazy as some of the plots and relationships were on House, my biggest surprise with the series is that my mother actually enjoyed it! Granted, we didn’t watch many episodes and they were all season one – I think The Crown, season 2 became available and we switched to that. Continue reading

picking up where we left off

tree-of-life-3132592_1920I have a lot of first cousins – on my mother’s side and my father’s side. Although I occasionally visited with the cousins on my mother’s side when I was growing up, I’m getting to know them better as an adult. This has been a really rewarding experience and I’ve enjoyed it.

On my father’s side of the family, it’s completely different.  I grew up with my cousins, we went to the same schools, saw each other at frequently family get-togethers and cookouts, played together and so on. When we were kids, there was a wonderful camaraderie – we teased each other and laughed a lot and grew up. There were also losses along the way. We were all so young when my father died – it is part of our collective story and memory. So is our grandmother’s funeral, when we were young adults. Continue reading