Monday, January 19, 2015

If it's Sunday, It Must Be--oh, Wait. It's Monday.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  Was it one of you who told me she had a stack of index cards in her bathroom, each one with a day of the week ? And she’d flip it every night before she went to bed so the next morning she’d know what day it is? I have to say –although I thought it was funny, I secretly thought it was brilliant.

So—however you figured it out. Happy Monday! And how did you spend your Sunday?

There’s a song from Flower Drum Song, remember ? “Sunday, Sweet Sunday, with nothing to do. Lazy, and lovely, my one day with you. HAH. Sunday? Do nothing?

Of course we read all the newspapers  Sunday mornings, the Times, the Globe, the Herald.  And we have a million cops of coffee, and a lovely breakfast. That is SUCH a treat.

But then—often after realizing that we have nothing for dinner—we go to the grocery. I do the laundry.  I work work work.

Funny how as working people we have feelings for each day, and those indicators are what make it easy to remember what day it is.  Monday is oh, dear, work day, gotta get up and GO. Tuesday is: okay, getting stuff done. Wednesday is: Wednesday! Oh, my gosh, switch into very high gear. Thursday, a good day. I like Thursday. Things get accomplished. Friday—fun! No matter what, it’s only a day til the weekend. And whatever is not done on Friday...won’t be done til Monday.

But as any author knows, there’s no such thing as “do-nothing” weekends. As someone who’d trying to juggle jobs, weekends mean trying to fast-forward on writing—not resting.  But I love it, you know? Sitting at my desk ,working on the book, it’s transportingly wonderful.

And I am constantly amused by the Dowager Duchess on Downton Abbey, who once said--and you have to imagine that plummy voice:  “What is a weekend?”  Because of course, upstairs, there’s nothing that makes Saturday or Sunday different from any other day. Right? It’s all just keeping up the estate and well, whatever else they do.
She meant it to indicate one day of gracious living simply and elegantly runs into the next.  We mean it like—work work work.

And at least it used to be you could tell the days with TV—Sunday was Ed Sullivan, and Thursday was ER. Now you can watch whatever you want, whenever you want.

But Sunday is now a night for viewing decisions--and I bet those of us who watch TV on Sunday will instantly choose a side:  Football? Downton? Good Wife/MadameSecretary? Other?

Which do you choose, Reds? And then tell us: How do you spend your Sunday days—and evenings?  

RHYS BOWEN: I'm hooked on Downton Abbey (naturally). I know it's soap opera, but I have to watch. I'm not sure what will happen on the evening of the superbowl because Downton is on at 8 p.m. in Arizona where I am at the moment. One of us will have to retreat to the bedroom.
I bought John a smart TV for his birthday and hope he'll get Acorn so we can watch all the British TV shows. But unless I set it up for him, it's not going to happen. And I need time...

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I hear you, Rhys. I'm having a problem with my regular mail program (will receive but not send) that I KNOW is fixable if I can just find a couple hours to spend dealing with it, but I can't, so I've reverted to my gmail address for the foreseeable future.

Which means I could theoretically spend Sunday evenings upgrading my computer stuff, but do I? No! I love Sunday evenings, because the first half of the day is usually so busy for my family (church and youth group after, and then we always seem to have to stop at the grocery store on the way home...) What I like to do during these winter Sundays is put something into the crock pot at two (or better still, have Ross put something into the crock pot!) to be ready at six or seven - stew, or pulled pork on egg noodles, or a pair of soups. Then we all sit down in front of the woodstove in the family room and watch a movie together. When the kids were younger, Friday night was family movie night. Strangely, people in their teens and twenties seem to have other things to do on a Friday than watch THE INCREDIBLES with Mom and Dad.

Sunday TV shows? I catch them on Hulu.

HALLIE EPHRON: We watch Downton Abbey, too, if there's a new episode. The Good Wife? Didn't know it was on Sunday because I usually stream new episodes off their web site during the week... and regular TV shows seem to forever be on hiatus.

Mostly Sunday isn't much different from any other day since EVERY day is a writing 'work' day and what's available on TV is pretty much the same, too, since we got ROKU. The one extra: the Sunday papers. We get the NY Times and the Boston Globe and I usually save the Times book review and both magazines for Sunday night.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: For years we've had homemade (except for the crust) pizza on Sunday nights. We do deviate occasionally, but it's nice to have a routine. And I imagine you can guess that I've watched PBS on Sunday nights as long 

as I can remember! (Although there were years when PBS
had competition from the X-Files...)

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: For us, Sunday night is about getting Kiddo ready for school. Why is he seemingly allergic to showers? Why do I have to say "Wash your hair" and "WITH SHAMPOO!"? Then there's the gather-up of the homework, library books, etc. for the following morning — because I'm not a morning person and can't leave it until then. So generally we DVR shows and watch them later... Downton Abbey, of course. And Hallie has got me hooked on The Good Wife. And there's actually another show on Sundays we watched, but I'm too embarrassed to admit in a public forum.... However, if you guess, I'll come clean.

HANK: Tell us, tell us, Susan! “Watched” means—it isn’t on any more? Or you don’t watch it anymore?  
And how about you all? Guess what Susan watched…. And how do you spend your Sundays?

And this week some fabulous people and blogs: an author who is going ot be even bigger than she already is, how one author’s books got made into Amazon TV! And we’ll introduce you to a new little critter—and you’ll want one of your own.

Congratulations “Candidly Susan,” the winner of the audiobook There Was an Old Woman. Susan, please email Hallie “at” HallieEphron dot com with your mailing address!


  1. Tuesday is generally our day for fancy breakfasts and leisurely whatever since we both usually have that day off. As long as we've been married, John has worked on Sundays so it's not much different from weekdays. I go to Church instead of work; he works. I get to read; then I cook, we watch some television, generally 60 Minutes and Madam Secretary; today there was ice skating, so that made my day . . . .

  2. I guess Susan and her husband secretly watched the Ultimate Fighting Championship last night. What's better than watching two men kick and punch each other?

    I watched the very civilized new mystery series, Grantchester -- a very handsome reverend who solves crimes.

  3. Yep, also a mix of work and pleasure. Sometimes I take the first couple of hours to write, like yesterday, but other weeks we'll sit and read the paper while listening to Krista Tippet. I go off to Quaker meeting, he watches news shows and listens to his favorite jazz program. In the cold seasons, the afternoon is perfect for finishing the paper, cooking, and a nice couch nap. And Downton in the evening when it's a fresh show. Last night I also watched Granchester - an extremely hot vicar helping the detective solve the murder. Loved it!

  4. Ice skating! Joan, did you skate?

    Ultimate FIghting Championship, Jack. GOOD guess. Yeah, I can definitely see Susan and her family watching that. :-)

    And Edith, you have me at "extremely hot vicar." YOu hardly ever hear that. Jack called him a very handsome reverend. This definitely sounds like something to watch!

  5. And of course, we watched football. Tom Brady is quite astonishing. Gotta admire someone who is that accomplished and skilled--and genuinely devoted. He looked so happy when they won-it was actually touching.

  6. Hmm, Sunday night, Susan? Bet it was The Simpsons.

    My daughter records it to watch with the almost-ten grand boy.

    I rarely turn on the TV, unless someone reminds me that Downton is on, or a new episode of Doc Martin. A friend is the art director of NCIS New Orleans, and we tried to watch it for awhile, but I always forget to turn it on. In addition to Downton and Grantchester last night, I meant to watch Galavant, but forgot.

    Which is what happens with Dancing With the Stars, too. I usually forget about it until it's more than halfway through the show, or the season. Too many books to read!

  7. One of my friends once coined the term "Sunday night syndrome," that horrible feeling when you realize that everything you planned to do over the weekend didn't get done, and all the prep for Monday is still waiting. She and I both confessed that this engendered a lot of staying up until the wee hours to get things under control.

    Then I moved the office into the house, and as a result, work never leaves me and I never leave it-- unless I choose to, which I do when Sunday night must-see-TV (Downton Abbey) comes on. I try to avoid The Good Wife (sometimes it's on after Downton if sports has delayed CBS programming) because I throw things at the TV-- it is such a distortion of the legal profession, EVEN for Chicago. (Note to writers who do not have a background in law-- DO NOT base legal procedure or ethics in your books on anything you've learned from The Good Wife.)

    I am thankful that Windows has that little time indicator in the lower right corner of the screen. Some computers have the date there as well-- and if you hover over it, it shows you the day.

    Here in the burbs, I need to be aware of Tuesday (garbage day) and at my age, I also need to be aware of Wednesday (senior discount day at the local pet supply store, at the local organic food co-op, and at Good Will (where I have been looking for a small glass sugar bowl lid, and glass lids for a couple of pyrex refrigerator dishes that were my mom's, for ages). Also, different groceries around here initiate their weekly sales on either Wednesday or Thursday, so Tuesday and Wednesday are my go-to days for getting what was on sale this week if I haven't done it yet.

  8. On cold gray Sunday afternoons I make comfort food: chicken pot pie, pot roast, lasagna, or chicken parmesan.

  9. Did everyone watch Downton Abbey? The Dowager has a racy past!! Love it. And can I just say I don't care who killed Mr. Green.

    Grantchester anyone? Looking like just the kind of comfort watching I look for Sunday nights. Hunky vicar. Though he looks a bit too much like Patrick Jane and the other one...

  10. Monday through Friday all run into each other: day job, school, homework, basketball games, swim meets, blah, blah, blah.

    Monday nights is Gotham. Tuesday is Agent Carter. Those usually get DVR'd and watched later.

    Sunday is church, grocery shopping, and then whatever didn't get done during the rest of the week. Get the kids ready for another week of school. Argue with my son about showering (Susan - mine's 12 so I'm right there with you).

    And writing gets crammed into whatever time I can manage to find.

  11. OH, Ellen watching THe Good Wife with lawyer-husbnd Jonathan is quite the treat! ANd SUnday Night Syndrome is perfect...on Saturday morning it seems like there is SO much time and so many possibilities. ANd then it's just too easy to put it all off.

    ANd then today I'm home, and Jonathan is, too, so it seems like Sunday again. I have a radio interview is a few hours so I have to get human again..that's gonna be tough.

    DO you al have the day off today? Whatever that means?

  12. CHicken parmesan secrets! DO you saute or bake?

    I do: broil, turn, broil turn, bake. I'm pretty sure it's not authentic, but there you have it. ANd I think it's healthier.

    How about you?

  13. Remember the good old days, when Sunday night meant The World of Disney?

  14. Oh, absolutely! (I was so disappointed when it was a nature thing--I wanted animation. Or Spin and Marty. Here's the very first episode (so Google says) of The Wonderful World of Color!

  15. I watched Grantchester, too. Loved it, loved James Norton, loved Robson Green. Loved the 50s clothes. Most of all loved the scenes of Grantchester Meadows, one of my favorite places in the world...

  16. Disney on Sunday was must-see television in our home, too. Later it was Murder, She Wrote.

    No ice skating for me, Hank, but both of our girls skated. [I was the make-the-dresses-sparkle, cheer-them-on mom.]

  17. Sunday is The Walking Dead followed by The Talking Dead. It's currently on hiatus but starts up again Feb. 8th.

    Then in April Sundays will be The Game of Thrones.

    Non-TV Sundays mean my husband will sleep in until 11-ish and I and my two dogs hang out-- sometimes we go for a ride very early to get breakfast, we take a nap, or I surf on the computer and they nap, or I read and they take a nap....

  18. Hank, my father-in-law, Karl Maslowski, filmed several of those Disney nature things. He and Walt were acquaintances, and Walt gave him two signed cels, one from Bambi, and one from Snow White, for Steve'Smith older brother and sister.

  19. Karen, what were they? What did he say about Walt? That is so amazing! Looking back on them, they were brilliant--but at age ten, or however, I wanted fairies or horses. Funny how we change!

    I;ve never seen Walking Dead..but CANNOT WAIT for Game of Thrones.

  20. We try to make it a point to be home and make a home cooked meal on Sunday evening, after which we often watch whatever TV shows we have taped during the week. In many cases that is the previous week's Masterpiece Mystery. Lately it has included The Librarians, too. We watched the inaugural Gallavant but have decided to hold the rest to binge watch. If there's no backlog on the DVR, we have a few mystery series on DVD that we will fall back on -- Midsomer Murders, Inspector Lewis, and Murdoch.

  21. I don't stream TV, but I do have a DVR. Even so, I usually try to watch my shows on the day their air, so yes, I still use that to keep track of the days of the week. And if I watch something too far from it's normal night, it throws me off.

    My Sunday night show, obsession really, is Once Upon a Time. 6 weeks until new episodes? I'm never going to make it. (Although I do enjoy the breaks from recapping it.)

    My Sunday is usually fairly busy. Church in the morning followed by ultimate Frisbee in the afternoon. I try to get in some reading or review writing in between.

    Saturday is my real relaxing day. Either just laze around the condo or out doing something fun with friends.

  22. Beats me. I didn't meet Karl until 1978. He died nine years ago, at age 93, so that was a long time ago. All I know is that his work involved animals.

  23. Oh, okay much for my attempts to get the inside scoop! But those cels sound like treasures.

    One of the running jokes Jonathan and I have is--I'll say "Is Project Runway on tonight?" No matter what night it is. I do know that's Thursday, I just don't know when Thursday is.

  24. Sunday morning isn't all that different than other mornings, as I am a creature of habit in wanting my coffee, English muffin, and the newspaper. However, Sunday just feels different, more relaxed and, of course, the bigger paper, too. And, if I'm to be perfectly honest, I like my Sunday mornings alone, not usually a problem, except when hubby is in and decides to be chatty. Coming from a man who is generally on the taciturn side, it is especially unnatural.

    I do try to read Sunday afternoons, and I want to do only that, but too often there's laundry, too. Lately, with all the work that's going on in the house, I've had some chores to do with that.

    Sunday evenings at present are PBS all the way. I start with the Great British Bake-off and then go right into Downton Abbey. Last night was even better because the new show, Grantchester, began. Hallie, I'm rather taken with the hunky vicar. Debs, it must be wonderful to watch this show and envision an area you've been to and love.

    Karen, I do so miss Doc Martin, but I have the DVDs to cheer me up. Your father-in-law worked with Disney, knew Walt, and received signed cels? Wow!

    PK, I'm a Walking Dead and Talking Dead fan, too. It's a show that my husband and I both watch and talk about over the phone as we watch. (Husband's work has him based in another city.) I'm going to have to DVR my PBS shows in February, as I enjoy sharing the Walking Dead with hubby. When he was in over Christmas, there was a marathon, and we found ourselves watching most of it.

  25. Downton of course, and now Grantchester seems off to a good start. I'm guessing Revenge as the "guilty pleasure" show. My tv setup with antenna and VCRs means I can watch one/record one, and Sunday is a night of hard decisions sometimes, eased by the stack of very good books to read before bed. (Electronics off makes for better sleep).
    I remember the Sunday night angst, especially with my self-imposed rule that all grading be done for a fresh start on Monday. A friend said that a retiree's week is "Six Saturdays and one Sunday." Mostly true, though teaching tai chi on Tu/Th gives a bit of structure.

  26. Oh, I meant to get nostalgic and mention that Sunday nights growing up meant Bonanza with the dreamy Little Joe. The whole family gathered round to watch, in black and white, of course. Then there was The Wonderful World of Disney as Karen mentioned. I'm not sure when The Big Valley came along, sometime after Bonanza, and I can't remember what night it was on. Thinking back, it seems that most of the shows we watched had a Western theme.

  27. Wait! I forgot about Once Upon a Time! But that's not my guilty secret....

  28. OK, I admit it. Sunday evenings I am happily ensconced in front of the boob tube. I start with America's Funniest Videos. Amazing how stupid and funny some of those are. Good for belly laughs. Then it is Gallavant; love those snarky song lyrics. Later it will be back to Once Upon a Time. Then it is Downton Abbey. Afterwards the Grantchester Mysteries. I've read the first 2 Sidney Chambers novels and can recommend them. Later in the year I will be juggling into the lineup Walking Dead and Talking Dead. My husband says my brain will rot. Don't care.

  29. Bonanza--Jonathan practically bursts into nostalgic tears at the very mention of it... But I have never watched it! SO funny. Do you think it would hold up?

    Susan: The Apprentice?

  30. I watch 60 Minutes, too--which is often still amazing.

    Kathy, what is the GreatBritish Bake Off? (Isn't TV hilarious??)

  31. Hank, the Great British Bake Off is a show where twelve British home bakers bake all sorts of pastries, breads, cakes, pies, puddings, etc. to compete for best baker. I love the two judges and the two presenters, and the contestants are so much fun to watch, too. I started watching it when Downton Abbey started back up this year, as it comes on right before Downton on PBS. It's an easy show to get addicted to. I've seen four bakers eliminated so far.

  32. My husband and I both work at home, but even so, I'm always pleasantly aware that the rhythm of Saturday and Sunday vary from the rest of the week. On those two days, my husband dresses in his tennis uniform, packs up his equipment, and more or less disappears for the rest of the day. Sometimes we'll prearrange to meet at the club or go to a movie, but otherwise, I'm usually aware of having a "free" day to myself. I love to spend Sunday's reading books and nibbling at the edges of projects I ignored during the work week!

  33. Kathy, I will look for it right now! It It sounds hilarious..xoo

  34. Hank, one of our local stations-- ME TV-- runs Bonanza. I liked it back in the day, and had a thing for Pernell Roberts, but it does NOT hold up. Unbelievably simplistic.