July 30, 2012
My adorable-est brother (sorry, Bubby...) on the pontoon boat while we were camping - isn't he ADORABLE?!
I've decided to do a blog post. No applause necessary.
We've been really busy lately, so I haven't had many chances to do anything on the computer. (Hope that explains why I haven't been emailing anyone! Sorry!!)
Highlights from last week:
~Camping with friends I haven't seen since last August!
~Playing games with said friends (Apples to Apples especially!!)
~Watching Amy's cousin Brendan Hansen swim in the Olympics and get the bronze!! (I know someone who's related to an Olympic athlete! How cool is that?!) I was on edge for his entire final race.... : D
~Watching other sports in the Olympics (I always get a laugh out of Men's Gymnastics. I mean, really, you guys? Heehee.... But I also like watching the Volleyball and Synchronized anything, which looks impossible!!!)
~The Ball last Friday. Sighhhhh. It was sooooo much fun! I can't wait to put pictures up, which will hopefully be tomorrow. Look for my post!!
Oh, and we had some friends over all day yesterday and that was a blast. Having friends over randomly after church is always fun, though!!! : )
And one more thing... we started school today. : P Everyone's asking, "Why on earth do you guys start so early?!" Well, I'll tell you. We take the whole month of December off (nothing ever gets done anyway with parties and stuff, so why bother?!), a week in September-ish for a Summer Vacation (no one's at the beach!!), and now we're going to take another week off in September because my sisters and I are going to the Passion for Jesus Retreat. We went last year and it was SO much fun and I learned a ton!!
But. The absolute best thing about this year is
I'm a SENIOR!!!! (Now you guys can applaud.)
Sighhhhh. I'm so excited, I can hardly stand it! This year is going to be so much easier than last year (which was the hardest year of school ever) and I'm almost excited that we're starting school again. (I love routines and schedules and lists that you can get done....)
Anyway. Enough about me. What have you guys been doing while I was away? And don't say "Nothing much," I beg of you! Even if it was watching a movie or going on a walk or laughing with your siblings or friends, please say something. (For, as you all know, comments are my one weakness. Heehee....)
July 20, 2012
I wrote almost three thousand words last night - pretty much my first writing at all since June - and this came near the end of my writing spree (done in my new amazing Medieval dress I wish you guys could see!! I'll take pictures soon!). Sadly - and this is the sad news I previously spoke of, fyi - it had to be cut out. I had a little bit of tension in the beginning of the scene and I thought, "How perfect! It'll set it up perfectly for the scene later that night!" But then my imagination got ahead of my outline and I relieved the tension. Ouch. What makes it even sadder is the fact that I wrote this great scene and it has to be deleted! Argh. Well, you guys can still read it.
Set up - a car ride to a Christmas ball. [This has nothing to do with the fact that I'm going to a ball in one week exactly.... Teehee....] Alec is talking.
"So, uh, are you going to be okay tonight?"
I furrowed my brow a little. "'Going to be okay'? What's that supposed to mean?"
"Well, I don't think I'll need you the whole night. Just a little at the beginning to remind me of who everybody is, then...." He hesitated.
"I'm on my own," I finished for him.
"I guess you could put it that way," he said, shrugging awkwardly.
Nodding, I looked out the window again. "I understand."
Alec didn't say anything for a minute. "Uh... you do?"
"Course. You have a date. I shouldn't ruin it with my presence."
"That's not what I mean, Nikki," Alec said, sighing.
"You wouldn't ruin my... whatever this is – it's not a date – with your presence."
I looked back at him. "Oh, I wouldn't? Ha! You've said it before."
Alec glanced at me, then back at the road. "I have? When?"
I bit my lip. 'Oops.' "Uh, forget it." I frowned a little, looking at the street signs. "Um, you're going the wrong way."
"I am?" he asked, slowing down a little.
"Yeah. Allie's house is back that way," I said, tapping on my window.
"Oh." Alec sped up again. "We're not going by Allie's house."
"We're not?" I stared at him. "Didn't you say we were going to pick her up?"
"Not anymore. She has somewhere to be tomorrow – a Christmas party or something like that – so she has to go home earlyish."
"Eleven, I think."
"Oh. That's not too early."
"Nope." Alec suddenly grinned. "And you can... 'save the last dance for me.'" [Subconsciously writing the bits of a song my sister has been listening to nonstop? Uh....]
I laughed. "Wow, Alec! I haven't heard you sing in... in forever!"
"Really?" Alec said, apparently a little surprised. "I remembered a few days ago that I like singing."
"Me, too!" I told him, turning so that I almost fully faced him.
Even though he kept his eyes on the road, I could see a twinkle in Alec's eye – something I hadn't seen in a long time. "What is it?"
"I just got a good idea."
"Why don't we do a duet?"
I grinned. "Okay! What should we sing?"
Alec shrugged. "You pick something."
"Okay.... How about 'All I Ask of You'?"
Alec thought for a minute as he merged onto the interstate. "I think I remember most of it. You'll have to help me if I mess up, okay?"
"Sure. You start. 'No more-'"
"'No more talk of darkness... forget these wide-eyed fears – I'm here, with you, beside you... to guard you and to guide you....'"
As Alec sang Raoul's part, I couldn't help but grin. He had such a jaw-dropping baritone voice and I'd nearly forgotten how well he could sing! I came in on Christine's part, singing the higher notes without a problem. [Even if I can barely hit those notes, it doesn't mean my character can't!! HA!] The soprano and baritone part blended beautifully for the entire song, and Alec even remembered Raoul's harmony at the end, which made me extremely happy.
When we'd let the ending 'Love me, that's all I ask of you...' fade away, Alec raised his eyebrows. "Wow, Nikki! You're really good!"
I could feel myself blush as I grinned sheepishly. "Really? Thanks. You have a wonderful voice, too." I hesitated for a split second, then said, "I've missed hearing you sing."
Alec smiled. "And I didn't realize that I missed singing with you until just now."
I'm pretty sure that my smile didn't go away until I fell asleep five hours later.
How's your writing going? Have you guys written anything recently that you had to delete?
PS: I'm going camping for a few days next week (WOOT!), just so you know. Maybe some pictures... but I know I'm going to be having too much fun to take pictures. : D
July 17, 2012
I'm here today with budding authoress Amy Dashwood, who has recently published her debut novel, Only a Novel - which is an unassuming name for such an awesome novel. (Amy doesn't know this yet, but I got my copy in the mail yesterday and stayed up until - well, I won't tell you how late, but it was late! - reading her wonderful book! I'll most likely do a review sometime soon, too, so watch for that.)
Anyway, Amy graciously let me do an interview with her! I've been on pins and needles to see her answers to my questions and I hope you'll enjoy the interview as much as I did!
First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, for starters, what I know about myself isn't really worth telling, but if you'll let me tell you what I imagine about myself… oh, very well. I'll stick to facts. If you insist. But I'll try to make the facts interesting.
I am… saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, homeschooled since kindergarten, the oldest of five children and a wearer of glasses. :P I absolutely love communication, whether it be through talking (ahem), writing or blogging—and I do all of those all the time! I wear socks almost year-round, I obsess over chocolate, and I like things that smell good. There, that's a little bit about myself. :D (Oh, and I use far too many smileys for my own good.)
Will you tell us a little bit about your book Only a Novel?
Elizabeth Markette has always led a quiet and privileged life under the guardianship of her wealthy grandmother. But when her grandmother dies and leaves twenty-one-year-old Elizabeth alone in the world and nearly penniless, she's forced to earn her own living for the first time in her life. Taking inspiration from her favorite British novels, she sets sail for England to seek a position as a governess. Before she can do that, however, she is (rather abruptly and overwhelmingly) befriended by a lonely and slightly eccentric young socialite, Lavinia Bancroft, who introduces her to the sparkling world of London society. Yet Elizabeth still feels the need to make her own way, though once she actually acquires a position, she begins to have doubts as to whether she's actually qualified. The children she's teaching don't seem to like her, the housemaid seems far too eager to be friends—who wants to be friends with a housemaid?—and the stable hand keeps interfering with the children. Elizabeth's one hope and consolation is that somehow, some way, Mr. Darcy will come riding out of the mists very soon indeed to save her from a life of respectable servitude. There's just one problem—where is he?
How'd you come up with the title of your book? Did you come up with it in the beginning, before you started writing, or after, when you were finished and knew exactly what your book was about? (It always takes me forever to decide names for my novels.... I'm notorious for having an untitled novel months after it's finished....)
Originally, my novel was supposed to be titled What Would Elizabeth Bennet Do? Thankfully, my family and close friends talked me out of that. :D I usually take forever to title things… in fact, I have an entry in my journal from December 2011 that expresses my frustration at not being able to find a perfect name for "the Elizabeth story". I hit on Only a Novel after realizing that my story mirrored Northanger Abbey more than Pride and Prejudice—that is, the heroine is much more like Catherine Morland than she is like Elizabeth Bennet. Slowly, she begins to realize that life doesn't always play out the way it does in books, and that a fairy-tale-perfect story is something that appears in only a novel. (Not to say that real life can't have a happily-ever-after, of course, but I'd better hush up now before I spoil the ending.)
When did you start writing and what was the very first thing you wrote?
I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don't know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.
That quote, one of my favorites, is actually pretty true for me. My first work of fiction was an epic tale entitled "The Bobbsey Twins and the Blueberry Contest", written at the age of five :D for a school assignment. It incorporated all of my spelling and vocabulary words and recounted the adventures of—you guessed it—the Bobbsey Twins, as they picked blueberries for a contest. And celebrated Thanksgiving. In the same day. I don't think I was particularly knowledgeable about fruit seasons as a kindergartner.
Do you write in the same genre all the time, or different genres depending on your mood or what you feel like writing?
Different genres depending on mood and feel-like, definitely. :D Sometimes I feel dramatic and sometimes I'm silly and sometimes I'm in between, and I have stories going for all three moods.
Do you have any advice for writers, either novices or experienced?
Can I steal a quote to answer this? Ray Bradbury once said, "Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way." My advice to anyone is to write the story that you want to tell. Don't let it bother you if you think no one else will be interested. Just write it, for crying out loud. The people who like that sort of thing will find it the sort of thing they like, and the people who don't like that sort of thing… well, did you want their approval to begin with?
And the ultimate writerly question – what's your cure for writer's block?
Cure? There's a cure? TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS PHENOMENON.
Um, in a more serious vein, I don't actually have a cure. Sad, I know. I write when I can, and when I can't, I complain and slam my head into a pillow. And wait until the Inspiration Strikes Again.
Writing questions aside, what do you do in your free time?
You're going to be sorry you asked. :D I adore reading and I do it whenever I can. I spend waaaaay too much time on the computer, what with blogging and e-mailing lovely people and—surprise!—writing. I've recently been bitten with the sewing bug, and I also enjoy crocheting and knitting. Cooking is one of my favorite things to do, too, and cake decorating is the one way in which I can be artistic. I go to the library a little too frequently—ahem—and I love taking long walks and bike rides.
How long have you been homeschooled?
The technical answer to this is "since kindergarten," since that's when school is supposed to begin, but I think a more honest answer would be "all my life." My mom's been teaching me since day one. :D
(Because we all know it's virtually impossible to read one book at a time....) What books are you reading?
At the moment, I'm dabbling in… Opera for Dummies, Emily of New Moon, A Tale of Two Cities, The Redemption of Sarah Cain and Sewing and Collecting Vintage Fashions. Eclectic mix, no?
And you like period dramas! What are a few of your favorites?
A few? A FEW? I have to list only a few? Eowyn, how can you do this to me? Oh, all right, fine. Just understand that these aren't my only favorites… there are SO MANY more, but I'll spare you.
~Pride and Prejudice (1995)
~Little Dorrit (2008)
~The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)
~Wives and Daughters (1999)
Musicals! Do you have a favorite?
I do indeed! It's a really, really long one, an operetta of sorts really, based on a very long and classic book by Victor Hugo… you've probably never heard of it. Does the name Les Miserables ring any bells? ;)
Cake or brownies? (I love random questions....)
Cake, cake, 'eavenly cake.
I've read that Sir Percy and Mr. Knightley are both tied for first on your Top Ten Favorite Literary Heroes list! What is it about them that makes them tied on your list? Why don't you like one above the other? (I only put Sir Percy above Mr. Knightley on my list because he saved hundreds of innocent people from their deaths. You can be chivalrous [Knightley, heehee] without saving people, though, and that's what very nearly kept me from ranking one above the other and, instead, making them tied on my list, too! Ha, ha – my question paragraph might be longer than your answer....)
Asking which I like better (Sir Percy or Mr. Knightley) is like asking whether I prefer strawberries or corn muffins. They're so very different that it's practically impossible to compare them, and yet they share the very best attributes and that's why they're both my favorite. I admire Sir Percy's bravery, dauntlessness, and self-sacrifice—yet he's not quite so realistic, in my mind at least, as some other heroes. (Eeeesh, I'm dreading the slaughter I'm going to face from the Leaguettes after this.) Mr. Knightley, though not perhaps as amazing and awe-inspiring as Percy, is a true gentleman in every sense of the word. When and if I get married someday, I want to marry a man who's just like Mr. Knightley. (A guy who's just like Sir Percy would be great too, but face it, there aren't THAT many guys out there rescuing helpless aristos from the guillotine.) Does that make some sort of sense? Don't kill me, Janeites. Put down your swords, Leaguettes. Please.
Last question - in a nutshell, please tell us why exactly that you like writing. What inspired you to write?
As to why I like writing… well, "good question." (That's code for "Let me stall for time while I think of a good answer.") There are many, many reasons why I love writing, but the biggest one is probably that it's just plain fun. Sure, there's often blood-and-sweat-and-tears involved, but overall, it's one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things I do.
As to what inspired me to write, the answer is short, sweet and simple: books. I love reading, and from a very young age I was determined to write lots of books when I grew up so I would always have plenty of reading material. As Tori Morrison said, "If there is a book you truly want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."
Thank you so much for answering my questions!
Thank you so much for hosting me! This was amazing!
Miss Amy Dashwood is a daughter of the King of Kings, a homeschooled seventeen-year-old and a lover of books, period dramas, chocolate, long bike rides, babies, teacups, historical costumes and fiddle music. Only a Novel, her first full-length work of fiction, chronicles a year in the life of Elizabeth Markette, a young woman with a head full of books who takes on a job as a governess after the death of her grandmother. Only a Novel is available for purchase and you can find Amy at either of her two blogs, Yet Another Period Drama Blog and The Quest for Stories.
July 14, 2012
We actually had a busy morning before listening. Long story short, we all ended up going to that airsoft gun fight! I played and had a really fun time! Then Arwen and I came home early and we set up the speakers and everything. And then it started.
How was it, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Simply breathtaking.
Warning: Please know that this post will be a completely fan-girly, gushing kind of post. There. You have been warned.
Anthony Andrews starred as Professor Henry Higgins. (Yes, I know that the term 'starred' is debatable – 'my fair lady' refers to Eliza Doolittle, yes, but I personally think that Anthony Andrews was the real star. Moving on.) He did a fantastic job! I was so excited when I remembered that he had the very first song – not long for me to wait! I don't know which of his songs were my favorite because he sang them all so amazingly well... I loved them all! He did such a good job playing Professor Higgins, which is a very hard character to do! (Arwen said that Higgins was kind of like Sir Percy – the foppish Sir Percy – in the way that he didn't care about anything or anyone. I agree and say that Anthony did a good job with it because he'd already played that kind of character in one of the best movies ever!) And he had such an amazing singing voice – I didn't think he'd be that good! I was pleasantly surprised! (Please put the tomatoes down! I'm a fellow Leaguette and AA fan!) Ooh, and then in the middle, after the annoying break to talk about the play (booooring...), they had a short blurb of Anthony talking about My Fair Lady. I looked at Arwen and was like, “It's him!!” And he even corrected his (one!) mistake very well! (Did anyone else catch it?) *sigh* He was so good.... Definitely something I'll listen to over and over and over!
The other actors (which is anyone less awesome than Anthony) included Annalene Beechey as Eliza Doolittle (I didn't much care for her Cockney accent, but I think she had a beautiful singing voice after Eliza learned how to talk properly), James Fleet as Colonel Pickering (He only sang one song – 'You Did It!' - but I thought he was pretty decent!), Julian Ovenden as Freddy Eynsford-Hill (I absolutely loved his version of 'On the Street Where You Live'! And his 'sniggering' was really funny!), Alun Armstrong as Alfred Doolittle (Really good! I didn't think he'd be able to sing well, either, but he did really well!), and Jenny Galloway as Mrs. Pearce (She only sang one song, too. I was like, “It's Mrs. Thenardier! Not that I *cough* listen to that song, though....”).
The only thing I didn't like was the fact that it was just the audio. : P We didn't know what was going on! There'd be this long silence, then the audience would laugh, and I'd go, “What happened?!” Especially at the end, when Eliza comes back. Such a long pause! I wanted to see the facial emotions! Argh. We're waiting to see if any videos come out on YouTube... which shall be posted here posthaste.
Heehee.... Funny story. Halfway through, in the intermission, whoever was hosting it said, “If you're just joining us, we're live at the Royal Albert Hall with My Fair Lady.” Arwen was like, “Are you kidding me? Just joining you?!” I laughed and agreed. This was something to be anticipated and eagerly awaited!
If you wanted to see what all the fuss was about and missed it, you can still listen to part one here and part two here. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. (Keep in mind that they're only available for a limited time.... Listen soon!) Oh, and click here to see the program notes - including the whole libretto!
And for all you die-hard Anthony Andrews fans who say, “Well, duh! Of course I listened to it!” I'd like to know what you thought! Was it better than you thought? Worse, maybe? In a way, it was both for me – I loved it, but didn't like the fact that it was fully-staged (as opposed to semi-staged or whatever they said on the website) with sets and props and costumes and everything and I couldn't see it! Oh, well. Like I said before, this is definitely something I'll listen to again and again!
What about you guys?
PS: Notice the top picture? It's from the actual musical! See two more here.
July 13, 2012
Keep in mind that these are only excerpts. I had Arwen proof-read all of them (making sure they're good enough for all of my fellow writers...), and she was like, "Wow, this novel skips around a lot!" "They're excerpts, girly." "Oh."
So here it is - proof that I actually wrote something in June! : )
“Now... please welcome... Alec and Nikki Scott!”
The crowd started roaring with applause and I glanced at Alec, who cracked his knuckles and looked at me with a hint of a smile on his face. He reached his hand out towards me and I took it with a nervous smile.
“First place and the winners of one thousand dollars and the admittance to nationals goes to...”
I took another deep breath and squeezed Alec's hand. I could barely keep myself from bouncing up and down on the ice.
“The brother-sister couple...!”
I gasped, my heart beating as fast as the applause that drowned out the rest of the announcement. I couldn't say anything – my jaw just dropped. Alec wrapped his arms around my waist, picked me up, and spun me around, skating in circles on the ice. He put me down a few minutes later, gave me a big hug, and we skated to the center of the rink. Alec let go of my hand and I skated forward a few steps and curtsied, so low that I nearly touched the ice, then turned and held my hand out toward Alec, who bowed and grabbed my hand and bowed again with me.
Whoever was manning the sound turned up the announcer's microphone. “Alec Scott and Nikki Scott!” blasted over the speakers. I grinned, watching the crowd stand up and keep applauding for us.
I glanced over at Kylie and Liam, the second-place couple, and motioned for them to come, then to Matt and Julie, the third-place couple. Both couples skated towards us and we all grabbed hands and bowed together a few times. The applause didn't die down until all seventeen couples were out of the rink, Alec and I last. I turned and waved a little, then ran into the locker room, almost giddy with excitement.
[After doing a run-through of their new routine....]
“That was pretty good, Nick,” he said, holding out his hand.
I grabbed it and we bowed, then I skated in wide circles. “Thanks, but I didn't think it was that great.” I put my hands on my hips, thinking, then looked up at him. “We have to practice more.”
Alec shook his head. “Nick, we have seven weeks. If it's going this well only a week into practice, who knows how good we'll be in January?”
I skated towards him, stopping only inches from his face. “If we practice.”
“Come on, Nikki!” Natalie [who was sitting in the bleachers] called. “My dad wants me home by ten!”
“Coming, Nat!” I yelled, waving my hand in her direction. I looked Alec in the eye. “Alec, we don't have an instructor.”
Alec laughed haughtily and I glared at him. “Nick, you don't have to tell me that. I know.”
“Yeah, but you don't act like it. Do you think we'll be as good this year at nationals as we were last year? Mom helped us last year, but she's not here-”
“I know!” He took a deep breath and let it out. I could tell that he was trying not to get mad at me in front of his girlfriend. “I know, Nikki. If we just work hard and practice, we'll be as good or better than we were last year. Maybe even get ranked.”
“Yeah – work hard. Practice.” Alec started skating towards the door and I followed him. “Alec, that's what I've been trying to tell you!”
Alec spun around and I jerked back and nearly slipped on the ice. “Just stop it, Nikki. The conversation's over.”
I huffed and folded my arms, rolling my eyes. He just ignored me and stepped out of the rink.
'One happy family.'
Alec started bouncing on the board and I crossed my arms. “I'm waiting...”
He started chuckling a little nervously. “Um, turn around. Let me do it once to make sure I remember and then I'll show you.”
I laughed and turned around. “Whatever.”
“And close your eyes! You can see in the reflection of the glass, can't you?”
“Not really...” I closed my eyes anyway.
I heard him take a few deep breaths and let them out, then the diving board creak as he bounced on it again. Then, I heard him jump off. A little whooshing for a minute, then a sound that made my heart nearly stop – a smack against something.
'That can't be right!' I thought, panicking and spinning around.
At first, I couldn't see anything. Alec had already dived into the pool and sunk a few feet.
Willing my heart to slow back down, I walked to the edge of the pool. I gasped. The water had taken on a hint of a pinkish color... and Alec still didn't come up.
“Alec!” I screamed.
“Are you okay?” I asked, leaning in towards his face. “How do you feel?”
“Weird,” Alec mumbled.
His voice was really hoarse, but I smiled, just happy that I was hearing him talk at last. He slowly lifted his hand up and rubbed the bandage on his forehead.
“My head feels weird....”
“I'm sorry.” I stood. “Kate'll be here in a minute. She's the nurse.” I smiled and tried to blink away the happy tears that I felt coming. I sat down again, not wanting to leave Alec. “I'm so glad you've woken up so fast. I know this is crazy, but maybe we can still dance at nationals in January! Would you like to do that?”
Alec slowly frowned, confusion plainly on his face. “Dance?”
I looked up at Dylan to see what he thought. His thoughts were pretty clear as far as I was concerned. “Wait.”
Dylan leaned back and ran his fingers through his hair. I looked down at my salad, trying not to watch. 'Just like Alec....'
“He's got amnesia?” Dylan continued, shock plainly written on his face. “From a swimming accident?”
I nodded. “Yeah.”
Dylan let out a deep breath. “Whoa.”
I nodded again. “That just about sums it up.”
“It's so weird!” I said, almost laughing. “I really want him to remember everything, but... not how he treated me or how or why he was so mean to me. Not anything like that.” I looked at her. “Do you think he will?”
“Probably.”I took a deep breath. “Do you think he'll treat me the same way when he does remember?”
Nat shrugged. “I have no idea. But this is what you need to do while he's remembering – try to rebuild your relationship with him. Pretend you have amnesia, too, and can't remember the mean things he said to you. Pretend it never happened. Take the blessing God's given you and run with it.”
So! What'd you think?
PS: Oh, and be sure to check back on Tuesday for my interview with author Amy Dashwood!
July 10, 2012
Maybe I should start from the beginning....
The day before the twenty-eighth, we went to a Walk for Life and had a lot of fun looking at all of the booths and listening to music. The whole time, though, I kept having to tell myself to calm down! We left at about nine and got to my grandparents' house at about ten and stayed up talking about how different things – including how excited we were and about, of all things, “bad words” in movies and musicals – then went to sleep at about midnight. We goofed off and did random things until we had to go. (We were almost late! Time sneaked up on us!)
Arwen, my grandma, and I got in the car nearly hopping with excitement – well, me at least. : D We drove and drove and drove and I felt like we weren't going to be able to get there on time! At first, we almost couldn't find a parking spot. We drove all the way up to the top of the parking deck and found a spot on the very top deck. We rode down the elevator, walked across the street, and into The Fox – after a brief detour at the window display of clothing, of course. I told Arwen that we'd come back after the show and take pictures of the outfits. (After all, I wouldn't know whose they were we saw them in the musical.) Arwen and I speculated as to whose they were for about three minutes, then ran inside and towards the souvenir table. I'd saved up money for months, knowing it'd be expensive, and had already looked on the Les Miz website to decide what I wanted to get. I ended up getting a (pretty awesome!!) t-shirt; Arwen got a (very awesome) mug that says, ONE DAY MORE!, and we split the souvenir brochure. (I still haven't told my mom how much we spent.... I don't think she wants to know! Arwen says it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it's okay that we spent so much. And it was totally worth it, though – I love all of it!)
Arwen and I were at the souvenir booth for about ten minutes, standing off to the side to try and decide what we wanted to get. I saw a younger boy, probably about nine or ten, getting a t-shirt with his mom. The man running the booth asked if this was his first musical, to which he replied, “No. I've seen The Lion King before.” “Oh, really?” the man said, folding his shirt and sticking it in a bag. (If I didn't have much money, I'd have just given the guy a few dollars for the plastic bag!) “This is more of an adult musical,” he told the little boy, who just smiled and walked away. I hoped his mom knew what was in Les Miz... I certainly won't let my younger brother watch it until he's much older – much older. (And married....)
Was epic. Need I say more? Well, I will – because I want to. (And it's my blog, anyway!)
The backdrop was a picture of a mist-shrouded town with a bridge at the bottom. 'Javert's bridge!' I instantly thought. In the middle were the words Les Miserables with Victor Hugo right beneath them. I started bouncing in my seat. I borrowed someone's phone – Arwen's or my grandma's, I can't remember – and called my house. Nobody picked up and it went to voicemail, which pleased me greatly. I screamed into the phone as quietly as I could and hung up. “You just screamed into the phone?” Arwen asked. “Well, yeah – wouldn't you?!” (She said she was as excited as I was, but, like Elinor Dashwood – who I say she is very often – she didn't show it. I, like Marianne, had no problem showing my emotions and telling my grandma over and over again just how happy I was to be there – after all, I'd waited for nearly eight months!)
The lights went down a few minutes later and the musical started. I just sat back and watched – through my grandma's opera glasses, that is. It was so good. So amazing and epic in all senses of the word. Everything about it was great – the acting, the actors and their amazing voices, the sets – everything. (Oh, and I forgot to say it in my music post – in “On Parole/The Bishop,” when Valjean sings, 'Drink from the pool – how clean the taste!' Peter Lockyer did such an amazing job portraying so much emotion while he drank from an invisible pool, all alone on the stage! 'Never forget the years, the waste!' He jumped up and nearly started yelling with the next words, 'Nor forgive them for what they've done – for they are the guilty, every one!' Taking a deep breath, he finished, saying with hope in his voice, 'The day begins, and now let's see what this new world will do for me!' [And, yes, I wrote all of that without looking up the words or listening to it. I'm one of those weird musical-lovers that memorizes the words to every single song as soon as she can. I even had the words to one of the songs in Daddy Long Legs after I'd only listened to the song about five times – in a row. 'And you might not be rich for that much longer.... But I'm pretty sure you'll stay tall, so I'll call you dear Daddy Long Legs, Old Daddy Long Legs....' Really like that musical! Random and not Les Miz, I know. Soary....])
The only thing that dampened my excitement it was all of the language and all of the visual things that went with songs like “Master of the House” and “Lovely Ladies.” I won't go into much detail, but I'll just say that I will be taking a strategic bathroom break if I go see Les Miserables in December. (The Hobbit or Les Miz?! Decisions, decisions. Why not both? Okay. : P)
And then in the middle – after the intermission. Ooh. I didn't get out of my seat during the entire intermission – I just sat and looked at my t-shirt, hoping it would fit, then looking through the program and all of the pictures. (Some of the actors weren't “ours,” but that's okay. I just wish I could find the pictures to put them up here!! Argh.... Anyway....) The way they opened up the second act was sheer genius and very original. I know I've already said how, but I'll say it again – they started with the music. No warning whatsoever – no dimming-of-the-lights, no nothing. Just the huge, “Bum, BUM!!” I was like, “Sweeeeet!”
I walked outside with Arwen, totally in awe over what I'd seen. There was a hint of something else, too, though. I can only describe it as being kind of bummed-out and disappointed that they'd had to add all of that other mature stuff. : P
Other than that, though, I knew I was happy. Totally glad that I'd gone, too, because now I finally understood the story!! I absolutely loved everyone – Valjean, Gavroche, Enjolras (Duh – who doesn't like him?!), Eponine, Javert... and even Marius. *ducks flying tomatoes* I'm sorry, but it's really just something you'll have to see for yourselves to understand – the whole thing and not just listen the music. (Which is, like, the entire musical.... But that's beside the point!) Go see Les Miserables in December and watch the expression on Marius' face – the genuine and completely sincere love he has for Cosette, even after seeing her for just a few seconds. (Speaking of, I don't know about Cosette. I understood her story a little more and the reasons she fell in love with Marius, but she's still a little bit of an airhead....) I'll get off my soapbox now.
If there wasn't so much language, I'd say it was my favorite musical by far! It's because of the language and the certain scenes that I can't say it's my absolute favorite. It's very close, though – very close. I wouldn't tell you not to go see it – I think it's totally worth seeing. I'd just warn you about a few parts and send you skipping on your way to the theater. Strategic bathroom breaks, everybody. : D
We took a few pictures of all of us, then, afterwards, we went to the window display of costumes and I took a dozen pictures. : D Enjoy! (The last one – Javert's coat – didn't turn out so well, but I'm adding it because it's funny. Heehee – can you find Javert's coat?)
The window display.... *sigh*
Me, extremely excited!
Cosette's dress. *sigh*
Arwen was going crazy! "Look at those gathers! Oh, and the buckle!!"
I think this is Valjean's coat. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong!)
Can you find Javert's coat?! (I'd have taken another picture if I knew it'd turned out this way....)
Arwen, my grandma, and me, in front of The Fox. *sigh*
But then... what happened after... wow. I'm pretty sure that was my absolute favorite part of the entire afternoon, maybe the week! But... to properly tell all that happened – including pictures – I'll have to save that for another entire post. I'm simply dying to tell you guys everything, so it will not be as long between parts four and five as it was between parts three and four!!
July 8, 2012
I've been debating writing this post for a while. I don't necessarily like writing random posts because, as you all probably know by now, I tend to get a little long-winded. Ha! I'd love to do an entire post on each little thing happening, but I'm not that long-winded!
So. Here we go. The Random Blog Post. It's full of random things. I'll be skipping from one subject to another. (Don't say I didn't warn you....)
First off, I'm super excited about My Fair Lady at Proms 2012! Anthony Andrews as Professor Higgins!! That's enough to get me excited - listening to Sir Percy, uh, I mean Anthony Andrews' version of Professor Higgins, which has been greatly acclaimed... pictures, at least. (No sound or video clips... but it won't be like that for long!) Can't you just hear him singing, 'I've grown accustomed to her face....'? Can't wait!!!
And I just looked at the updated My Fair Lady page - guess who's also starring as Alfred Doolittle?! Alun Armstrong!! And Jenny Galloway as Mrs. Pearce! *happy sigh* My younger brother is having a friend over, but... I think I'll step out. : P
I just found a way to actually listen in - hope it'll work!!! If not, I shall be one very sad, very disappointed, and very cranky Anthony Andrews fan. : D
Second, heehee.... I don't think anyone at church last week knew I was a Jedi. Ha! *crickets* I guess I should explain.
I am not a Star Wars fan. Never have been, and probably never will be. There's just something a leeeetle weird about "The Force" to me.... Anyway, I just got a new phone (Woot! No Internet, though... I got it so I could text a little faster than I was using a flip phone.) and one of the first apps I downloaded was a lightsaber app. Please don't ask me what posessed me to get it - I don't know. (But just because I don't like the movie doesn't mean I can't like the special effects and music, right?)
Okay, so I've been letting my little brother play with it. And he loves it. He rode in the car for an hour and played with that app the whole time - just changing the colors and type of lightsaber the entire ride! That was two Saturdays ago. I thought I had a good idea going when I told him that he could play with it in church the next day. *sigh* Silly me.
He sat in my lap for the first part of service, then when the sermon started, I pulled my phone out, double-checked the volume to make sure it was on vibrate, and handed it to him. He gave me the hugest and sweetest little smile and then tapped on the hilt of the lightsaber. The laser-blade shot out... complete with the sound effect. AHHH!!! I could feel myself blush as I snatched my phone away and turned it off, then handed him his Bible. Argh. I knew I'd turned the sound off! Weirdness.... My other brother just kept staring at me and silently laughing. *frusterated sigh* After church, Arwen told me that the lightsaber shot out right as Dad turned on the laser pointer and pointed it at the screen. So it looked like the church's laser pointer was equipped with an awesome sound effect.... *facepalm* Thank goodness that our church is really small - only about eight families and seventy-ish people total. So I didn't embarass myself that much... well, not really. *facepalm again* Moving on to a less embarassing random topic....
We've started listening to Adventures in Odyssey again! We had a really nice Christian library where we lived before and they had all of the AiO albums. We listened to almost all of them, then couldn't when we moved two states away. Anyway, we decided to buy a few albums at a conference a few months ago and I've really enjoyed listening again. It's not very often that you get funny, suspenseful, Christian entertainment such as radio dramas or movies! I've been trying to keep tabs on good indie Christian films in development so that I can see them and actually feel good about something I watched in a theater. (I'd recommend October Baby and No Greater Love - two lesser-known indie films. And there's also the Sherwood Pictures films.... But I really enjoyed October Baby - maybe even more than Courageous? Scandalous, I know....) Anyway. My younger sister is auditioning for the AiO Get In The Show! contest and I'm really hoping she wins... and that has nothing to do with the fact that you get a lot of the albums if you're in the top twelve! : P
Some of you may or may not know, but I'm a hopeless TV show addict. Old TV shows, specifically. Hogan's Heroes, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Waltons... I love them all. I also recently discovered Growing Pains! It's really fun to see Kirk Cameron as a teenager. (And after reading Still Growing, I sort of had to watch the show because he talked about it a lot and got my curiosity aroused!) I don't know if I could recommend GP, by the way, because there are a few questionable subjects such as dating. The ones after Kirk became a Christian - Season Three and beyond - are better. You can really tell! (But, if you're looking for a really good TV show to watch, I'd totally recommend The Dick Van Dyke Show. Extremely clean and very funny. But, hey! It's Dick Van Dyke!!)
Ooh, and speaking of movies.... We watched Captain America for the first time a few days ago! I think Captain America is my favorite superhero, too! (Out of the half-half-dozen I've seen, anyway....) Heehee - we were watching it and I kept recognizing people. "Hey, look!! It's Mr. Thornton!! And that guy from Amazing Grace - the Duke of Kent!! And Elrond!! And that guy from the Kit movie!! And Mace Windu!!" But I totally lost it when Dominic Cooper appeared. The mustache threw me off, but when he said, "We are ready," I knew who it was. "It's Willougby!! DON'T TRUST HIM, STEVE!!!" I seriously had my doubts about him for the entire movie... but he was trustworthy. : D He was funny, too.
All in all, I really liked Captain America. My dad used the remote and bleeped out (most of) the language. (Donations to the ClearPlay/TV Guardian fund are welcome....) I really liked all of Steve's values, which were very different than most people's today. And that scene when he told Maggie that he was waiting for the right partner? *sigh* Me likes.
On my novel.... I haven't written since I finished my 50k words! I'm starting to go through withdrawl... I can hear Nikki and Alec calling me... weird, right? I'm going to work on it sometime soon - really soon. Maybe while my younger brother's friend is here.... I don't know. Anyway, excerpts are coming... just as soon as I can figure out how to do excerpts. Does anyone have any pointers on that? I just can't figure out what to put up here! Definitely not the whole thing - it's not nearly ready - but I don't want to do too little. Just how much, though?! : P
And my dress for the ball is very nearly started. Heehee. And the fourth part in my Les Miserables series is in the works! Do not fear - it shall come!!! Soon, too!!
If you've made it this far... you should be commended. Thanks for listening to all my ramblings. : D
July 5, 2012
"When fantasies about Tom, Dick, or Harry start to set up house in our minds, all we have to do is to stop – but first, we have to want to stop. And that's the hard part. At heart, usually what we want is for the problem to go away, for the crush to stop bothering us and causing us pain. We hate the pain, but we don't hate the sin. And left to itself... it usually doesn't just go away. It often takes something shattering, like his marrying someone else, to end the fantasy.
"If you really want it to stop, you have to stop it yourself, right where it started – one thought, one fantasy, one feeling at a time. Intercepting each renegade emotion or imagination at the door. Every time temptation knocks, we are faced with a decision: to indulge in a few visions of a romantic movement with Brandon [or Justin], or to pray for Brandon's wife? To ruminate over every syllable of our last conversation with him, or to meditate on the Scripture passage we are memorizing (how's that coming, by the way)? To start dreaming up our perfect wedding dress, or to focus on learning a new skill that will actually make us a better wife?
"The purity of our thoughts and heart is something that we generate on a moment-by-moment, thought-by-thought basis. "Keep your heart with all vigilance," says Proverbs 4:23, "for from it flow the springs of life." The Webster's 1828 dictionary [my personal favorite!]'s definition of vigilance is, "Watchfully; with the attention to danger and the means of safety." [Can you tell why?]"
It's (Not That) Complicated by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin
The Botkin sisters end the section with a very good piece of advice:
Our hearts need to have their brains turned on."
What about you guys? I'm not trying to pry or say that you're so sinful if you've had thoughts like that – I have, too! It revolutionized my thinking when I read this section in the chapter titled "The Heart: Victim or Perpetrator? Getting Your Heart to Follow YOU." (No pun intended... heehee....) It was one of those "Well, duh!!" moments in my life – if I don't want my thoughts to dwell on this guy, I've got to stop them. So simple, it's almost complicated. But in the Botkin sisters' book, they take it from being That Complicated to being Not That Complicated. (That's why I looooove this book! I'm going to review it on here someday, too....)
I think that this Teenage Model At Home needs to have her heart's brain turned on, too.
Again - your thoughts?
PS: Happy Birthday, Daddy!! I just realized that in the video I'm adding has Tom Bosley in it! : P
July 4, 2012
July 3, 2012
The absolute worst part about moving, in my opinion, is the unpacking of the boxes. (Leaving friends is more emotionally taxing, while unpacking boxes is physically and emotionally and even sometimes spiritually taxing. [Just kidding about the spiritually taxing part.... : P]) It's even worse if you move somewhere far, far away from your friends who'd love to help. Talk about sad! Hour after hour, unpacking belongings that remind you of the life you just left....
(You guys are probably saying right now, "This post is so much different than your others, Eowyn. What's up, girly?!" It is going to be different. This is a subject that is not to be taken lightly, so please don't expect this post to be light and funny. Sorry. It's just not that kind of day for me... after everything else that's been going on recently. Moving on....)
We "just" moved – a few years ago – and, like in The Incredibles, we're just finishing unpacking the boxes. ("We are now officially moved in." "And the last three years don't count because...?" "Because I just unpacked the last box. Now it's official! Ha, ha, ha! Why do we have so much junk?" My thoughts exactly....) Anyway, it's because we moved into a house with an unfinished basement. My uncle is finishing it, and lucky-ducky Arwen (whoops – I mean 'blessed') is going to move in down there whenever it's finished.
The other day, we were down there cleaning out the boxes and moving stuff so my uncle could work and I walked towards the stairs to get a drink. Then I froze and turned around. A coloring book was laying on a box. I walked closer and stared at the cover – a young blonde with sparkles in her hair holding a puppy. The thing that made me freeze and give it more than just a glance was the fact that it had my name on it. Not Eowyn, but my real name. "Cool!" I picked it up, grinning. I flipped through it and Mom came around the corner. "I found that while we were unpacking stuff." I looked through it some more. 'Wow!' I thought. 'This girl is into everything!'
The cover said that this girl was a Teenage Model At Home – a very evident fact upon perusal. Not only were there a few pictures (uncolored... guess I forgot about it even when I had it...) of her posing under big lights, but there were also pictures of her posing in a car, holding a cat, stretching before a run, playing basketball, eating cotton candy, playing piano, calling someone on the phone, eating sushi (eww... she must take after her dad...), ice skating, posing with two friends in swimsuits, surfing, going to a masquerade, bowling, playing the violin, and eating a hamburger. And I only scratched the surface – this book is 176 pages long! While I was flipping through this coloring book, I was thinking, 'Wow, she's kind of like me! Bowling, violin, piano, riding horses, reading a book.... She's pretty neat.'
Then, I turned the page and saw it. Page twelve. A guy. He wore a sports jacket with a big J on it and was holding a football. 'Okaaay....' A few pages later, there was a picture of this girl's desk. On the desk was a cute jar of pencils and pens, and a book and a heart-shaped clock sat beside it. A mirror was in the back, and on it were two pictures of this Teenage Model At Home and Her Guy. Two hearts were above the pictures and below, a sticky-note on the mirror that said, "Call Justin at 8pm" with a heart above it.
I just laughed and looked through the coloring book some more. Apparently, this girl was infatuated with this guy named Justin. There was one of those pictures that you attempt to copy in the grid of him, one of him in a swimsuit at the beach, then on the very next page, one of him in a tux with his hair flattened down very nicely with stars behind him, one of him giving The Cool Face to the 'camera', another of him running his fingers through his hair and the words COOL TEEN above him, one of him and this girl in front of an elephant at the zoo, and one of him smiling innocently at the camera while writing a note to this girl – who else?! (My personal favorites are one of him in a tux with the words Justin Is Dreamy! beneath it and one that says "Justin gave [this girl] a box of candy!" with his smiling face and a heart-shaped box of candy. [To which I say, "I prefer chocolate."])
While I was looking through this coloring book, numerous things came to my mind, mainly the fact that I don't personally know any Justins. I would be mortified if I did – and it would not be a pretty sight the next time I see him. (Okay, maybe one Justin, but he's younger than me and I've scarcely said three words together to him that don't have something to do with Airsoft guns. : P lol, Haley...)
But the thing that struck me while I read is the fact that this girl is simply infatuated with this guy named Justin. I know I just said that, but it's true! I kept saying it to myself as I looked through the book: "Wow, she's got issues! Oh, look – another picture of them with a million hearts around it. Girl, you need to find something else to do with your time besides thinking of this guy. But apparently skating and playing instruments and eating sushi isn't enough." It was as if this book was encouraging girls to think about guys they like – while they're still in the coloring stage!
For example, near the end was a picture of Justin smiling innocently into the colorer's face. Above, the words "What do you know about Justin?" with his name in bold letters on the bottom. Beside his face were questions with blocks under them for you to answer – probably either from a boy you know or making something up. Height, birthday, eye color, hair color, favorite color, favorite food, and favorite book were all on the list. I read this and just shook my head. Then, on one of the last pages was a picture of this girl, sitting on her bed in her pajamas with a dreamy look on her face, resting the side of her face on her palm. She'd been looking at a scrapbook – the picture it was open to was one of her posing in a dress at prom, and I said, "But where's Justin?!" – but she'd apparently gotten bored of that and was thinking of something else with a yearning look in her eyes and a slight smile. Above it was a huge thought bubble and below it were the words, "What is [this girl] dreaming about? Draw her thoughts in the bubble above." The first thing that popped into my mind was, "Probably Justin!"
I couldn't get the coloring book out of my mind for the rest of the day. I kept thinking, "This is not something to encourage! Girls should be thinking about guys less – not more!!" I kept remembering something I'd read in It's (Not That) Complicated by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin about our thoughts concerning guys. Instead of murdering the passage and trying to summarize what they said, I'll just tell you exactly what they said.
"If we want to make these feelings [for guys] stop, then we need to trace our emotional footsteps back to where they started. Infatuation begins when we let a thought take root in our imaginations, and then feed and water those fantasies until our minds are overgrown. Love or infatuation is not a force of nature, swirling around us, breaking in from the outside. It's something that we are actually creating within ourselves, a seed we germinate with our own minds and hearts. We sometimes feel like the feelings are attacking us, but in fact, we are generating them within ourselves – one thought, one fantasy, one feeling at a time.
"We'll only win this battle if we recognize two things: first, that we are weak; and second, that we are not powerless. We sometimes cry, "He stole my heart!" as if he's a quarterback intercepting a pass. We like this illusion because it absolves us of personal responsibility and makes us feel like tragic, wronged, romantic heroines. Since when did he have access to our inner control panel? This isn't voodoo! What are we thinking – that he has a little model of our heart which he's sticking pins into?
"First, the bad news: your heart was under your own control. Now the good news: you heart is under your own control! Outside forces (e.g. Tom, Dick, Harry) are out of our control, but the controls to our own minds and hearts are built squarely into our own minds and hearts."
- It's (Not That) Complicated by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin
(Isn't that great? I love that book....)
My advice for this Teenage Model Infatuated with A Guy will be in Part Two... including an application for all of my dear readers.
What are your thoughts on this subject? I'd love to know!