There is dirt on the living room floor, clumps of mud that have dried and fallen in flattish pieces, zig-zagged from the tread of a small shoe. I vacuumed this morning, but it doesn’t matter, the dirt is still there. I could vacuum now and it would be there tomorrow in the exact same place. Maybe a few feet off to the side, depending on someone’s path.

During the month of January I was filled with discipline and new goals and I worked up a sweat every single day, wrote down the things I ate and avoided the things I shouldn’t eat and my pants grew loose and I spent my evenings smiling at my new muscles and running my hands over my leaner waistline. During the month of February I started with my son’s birthday cake and I didn’t really stop after that, and my pants grew tight again and I started avoiding mirrors and untouched gym cards.

Last week I spent hours hunched over my laptop surfing for story ideas and writing things that felt increasingly formulaic—first paragraph is for SEO, second paragraph is to entice the click-through, find the photo add the tags categorize the post pitch the headline hit publish and move on to the next thing—and next week I will do the same and the week after that. Sometimes I think about how I miss writing for pleasure but I am so tired of screens and words and somewhere along the line it all started feeling like work. Tagged: blocked, writer’s block, lost, lost inspiration, lost creativity, laptop ennui.

Sit down and eat and quit messing around, I snap. Pick up your Legos. Stop doing that to the cat. Guys, KNOCK IT OFF. I say these things over and over and over and over.

I have the sense that my life is revolving like a giant gear, the same cogs going by every time I look. Something is advancing forward, but what? My children. My wrinkles. Everywhere things are moving but parts of me have been in the same place for months.

Did you watch the season finale of Downton Abbey last night? If not, here is your official notification that I’m about to talk about it, thus firehosing all sorts of episode details directly into your face. In order to avoid this spoiler-bukkake, stop reading now and click elsewhere! Let Thomas’s disembodied dead-eyed gaze be your warning!

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I love spoilers, so I do.

I initially resisted Downton Abbey because I suspected everyone who was raving about it was in on some elaborate joke—I mean, since when did everyone get obsessed with some crusty old period drama?—and then I finally downloaded the first episode and was instantly addicted. If you’ve never seen it I can’t even really explain why it’s so good, just that it is. I mean, even the opening sequence is indescribably compelling—there goes the dog butt! And the bell! And the flower petal! OH MY GOD HERE’S THE CHANDELIER PART I JUST SHIT MY PANTS.

Anyway, we tore through season one and two in record time, and I can’t believe the finale is now over and we have to wait, like, MONTHS to see what happens next.

As for last night’s show, I mostly loved it. So much to talk about!

Matthew and Mary. I mean, finally. Jesus christ on a stick. I was distracted by Mary’s bare arms as the romantic snow fell all around her in the proposal scene—dude, isn’t she freezing?—but it was a lovely moment and I had a big stupid smile on my face. God knows we can’t trust that they’ll really live happily ever after, but I’m glad the season didn’t leave us hanging on this front. Also, is it just me or did Matthew somehow develop a chin between season one and season two?

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Sir Richard Carlisle. The genius of allowing Sir Richard’s eternal nastiness to wear so painfully thin was unveiled via Lady Violet’s elegant “Do you promise?” when Richard announced they’ll never see one another again. Did you leap off the sofa in order to comically pump your fist and yell “OH FUCKING SNAP” when that happened? Just me? Okay then.

Daisy. Good god, the girl finally sort of grew a spine—although she’s clearly still missing most of her brains, as evidenced by the Ouija board fakeout. The resolution over the endless William-whinging was actually sort of brilliant, too. Hopefully in season 3 she won’t be quite so mush-headed and startled all the time, because it’s been kind of getting old. Also, weirdly familiar somehow…

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Lord Grantham. I didn’t see the Pamuk confession coming at ALL, did you? His subsequent conversation with Mary was pretty much the best thing ever: “I don’t want my daughter to be married to a man who threatens her with ruin. I want a good man for you. A brave man.” So noble! So loving! So forgiven for macking on that maid a couple episodes ago!

Thomas. Man, I was prepared to hate Thomas forever if Isis the Dog met her untimely demise, but by the part when he managed to emerge as the hero for looking for her, I was actually sort of rooting for him. He’s evil, but he’s becoming a sympathetic character, don’t you think? He’s just so bumbling in his diabolical efforts.

Bates and Anna. Oh, Bates. Well, at least he’s not dead, but I have to say, the Bates/Anna storyline has gone downhill for me. I was so into those two last season, and this season has just been so…SOAPY, I guess. I feel Bates started out all strong and mysterious, and now he’s just passive and more than a little cheesy. Although it was oddly refreshing to see him in prison garb, for some reason.

Rosamund and Whatshisname
. Ugh, the grifter side plot was nearly as bad as the Burned Peter/Patrick episode.

The Servant’s Ball. AMAZING. I could not have loved this more. Cora dancing with Carson! Thomas dancing with the Dowager Countess! Matthew taking a stiff drink and shuddering (“Crikey!”) when he realizes he’ll have to dance with O’Brien! Nothing but net in this entire scene.

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Did you watch last night? (I certainly hope so, if you’ve made it this far.) What did you think?

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