Finding Wonderland

The lead-up to the wedding this year was a whirlwind, sparkling little moments whirling by and popping like bubbles in champagne. It was a series of fortuitous events, parties and showers and faces I hadn’t seen in years. My parents threw us a big engagement party, where Michael regaled them of the tale of how he met me eating ice cream. There was a lovely shower hosted by my godmother Julie, where I was introduced to the joys of Prosecco + Limoncello and lively conversation. There was a gorgeous bridesmaid tea with a half dozen flavors of homemade muffins hosted at my mother’s house with the help of her lifelong friend, Nancy.

Then there was the wedding shower hosted by my cousin Kay and Aunt Sharon. No one would tell me anything about this shower’s theme, but at this point I was just along for the ride. My mother did ask me what I was going to wear (answer: my polka-dotted tea dress and red heels and a vintage hat with veil courtesy of my bestie and matron of honor, Catherine). We rode up to my aunt’s house and there was an air of barely suppressed excitement in the car.

Imagine my shock when we arrive and the first thing I see is this:


Yes, that’s a reference to Flamingo croquet.

And this:


Yes, that’s a marshmallow bunny Peeps glued to the sign, in front of an actual rabbit hole.

You see, one of the strange parts of writing a blog is that you usually do it in a bit of a vacuum. You throw your songs, your stories, your words out there into the universe. It’s a bit like blowing bubbles into the wind: they are beautiful, but they float away to who knows where?

I knew vaguely that a few family members read my blog, but I had no idea that they knew how much it mattered to me, how the whole theme encompassed so much of who I was. So this was my reaction.


Especially once I saw the extent to which my cousin Kay had immersed herself in the theme.


So I got inside the door and the whole house was decorated like Wonderland. The first thing they did was place a pinafore (apron) and a proper bow on their Alice.


The decorations were imaginative and exquisite, a collaboration with all three ladies, though my mother’s creative hand was clearly seen.



There were caterpillars and mushrooms and playing cards and all the ladies wore hats, even my littlest cousin. There were beautiful tea treats, not the least of which was the Eat Me Cookies made by my Aunt Sharon.


Oh, and there was tea. Pots and pots of tea, in all the flavours you could want for a proper Mad Tea Party.


Alice had her special garden chair, where she opened her gifts and was quizzed on Alice in Wonderland trivia.


The whole day was magical. I felt so loved, so flattered, so understood. And it reminded me that sometimes Wonderland is closer than we think; we only need look.

Infinite gratitude to my whole family who helped create this special day and all the days surrounding the wedding, with special thanks to my cousin Kay (the Hatter), my Aunt Sharon and, always, my dearest mother.


Dratted Downton Abbey

This is dire.

I needed another costume drama addiction like I needed a Tim Tebow bobblehead…which is to say, I didn’t.

In case you did, Merry Christmas

I certainly didn’t want an addiction to a show currently airing. I have the peculiar habit of refusing to watch a show while it airs. I purchase it on DVD and then I can glut myself all at once without having to wait that pesky week in-between, gnashing my teeth. This works well except when it doesn’t and someone spoils a plotline at the water cooler.

And then came this Christmas…

My mother, the source of all delightful period temptations, gifted me with Season 1 of Downton Abbey. This is the one show I have been avoiding precisely because I knew it would be like catnip for costume lovers.

I did not open it for several weeks. And then Season 2, episode 1 was due to air. I told my mother I wasn’t going to watch it, that I needed to watch Season 1 first and then I could buy Season 2, as per my usual plan. She parried this lame and useless objection and sternly told me to sit down and watch Season 2, episode 1.

“But…but, it’s all backwards and besides then I’ll know what happens and it will spoil season 1,” said I, feebly.

With inexorable Mother Logic, she brushed that protest aside and told me to watch it. So I did. And now I’m hooked. I watched Season 2, Episode 1 (all TWO HOURS) twice. And then I watched it again when it re-aired before Episode 2. For those counting, that is SIX HOURS of Episode 1. Dratted Mother. Dratted Downton Abbey.

First, I’ve always been a huge Edwardian era fan. One of my very favorite movies of all time is “A Room With a View.”

When I was younger, I wanted to grow up to be like Lucy Honeychurch. That daydream likely consisted of wandering around Italian meadows in white muslin gowns, reading letters and pining. After watching Downton Abbey, I took the official personality quiz to find out which character I was like. Apparently, I am now like Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), the witty and nefarious heartbreaking one. It seems to be a short leap from Lucy to Mary, or eleven years.

At least she has exquisite taste

There have been other blog posts which have much more eloquently and succinctly dealt with the virtues of Downton. Ah, the acting! the costumes! the setting! the storylines! the dialogue!

Lady Mary actually had me at this droll exchange from Season 2, Episode 1:

Matthew: Edith seems jolly tonight.
Mary: She’s found her metier: farm labouring.

Metier? Who uses that word? Other than me, that is. I can hear the distant bells of addiction tolling – DOOOOM!

My favorite relationship in the show is actually not Lady Mary and Matthew, nor is it the popular charm of Anna and Mr. Bates. No, my favorite relationship in the series is Lord and Lady Grantham.

The hats!

Backstory explains that Lord Grantham married Cora, an American, for her money, but their relationship has grown into one of such nuanced tenderness and relative equability for the time…how could you not love them? The chemistry between Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern reminds me of my own parents…too bad we didn’t grow up in Highclere Castle. Sigh.

So, to sum up, all my substantial to do list has been shelved and you will find me curled up in my blanket, probably eating Cool Ranch Doritos and watching, oh yes, watching Downton Abbey.

And then I will likely pull out my copy of “A Room With a View”, which also features the indomitable Dame Maggie Smith.

The Divine Miss M

Coincidence? I THINK NOT. If anyone finds a Maggie Smith bobblehead, that is what I want next Christmas. Also, Season 2. Thanks, Mum.