December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy; they rejoice before Thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of His burden, and the staff for His shoulder, the rod of His oppressor, thou hast broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." 
Isaiah 9: 1-6 
First Reading for Christmas Midnight Mass

December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Do you find it hard to sleep tonight,
Resting by the Christmas lights?
Could there be something you forgot?
Beyond the bows, and mistletoes,
The tree with presents wrapped below,
There's more to this than you had ever thought?
Have we lost the reason that we celebrate each year?

What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger.
What is Christmas without Christ?

Remember how the story goes,

God's gift was wrapped in swaddling clothes,
Beneath the star, one great and holy night.
The shepherds heard the angels sing,
The wise man brought an offering,
Peace on Earth began in Bethelethm
Have we lost the reason that we celebrate each year?

What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger.
What is Christmas?
If the angels never sang 'Glory to the new born king?'
What is Christmas without Christ?

There'd be no gloria

In excelsis deo
In excelsis deo

What is Christmas
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger.
What is Christmas without Christ?
This is Christmas,
It’s all about the Savior wrapped in a manger.
This is Christmas,
Because of Jesus Christ!
This is Christmas,
Because of Christ!
Because of Christ!

This is Christmas by Kutless

December 15, 2010

End of Term

Just updating a bit on the end of term, some of my adventures that I had... 

We had a Twilight Marathon one weekend... and before you go gasping and denouncing me... I will say that I think that the movies are way over rated, particularly the first one.  I still had fun!  Edward made me laugh, I was with a bunch of friends and to top it off my roommate had a Disney Princess coloring book!  ^_^  You can't beat Princesses.

Our Christmas party was lots of fun.  We built two gingerbread houses, had a white elephant gift exchange and then played a couple of games.  Following the party my RA for whatever reason decided that she was going to run from room to room taking things from people and hiding them either in other people's room or dumping them in the hallway. The pranking ended with three of us taping together sheets of paper and covering up another girl's door so as you walked down the hall towards it, it looked like it wasn't there.  It worked too. She was so confused... ^_^

A night or so before I left it started snowing again, my roommate and I were in our room and the girl who lives across the hall had been wandering in and out.  It was about 10:30 I think when she looked out and said that it was still snowing and my roommate and I joined her at the window.  There was a lot of new snow, so we decided then and there that we were going to go out and make snow angels.  We ran outside and flopped down in the snow and made lovely angles, and then the other girl remembered about the perfect climbing tree that I had found.  As She loves to climb trees, we headed over there to tackle it.  I was right about it being the perfect climbing tree... but it was only the perfect climbing tree after you managed to get yourself up there.  She had a bit of trouble, being on the shorter side, plus the branches were a bit icy, but after 15 minutes of jumping my roommate and I pushed her up and then she climbed all the way to the top.  After she sat up at the top and climbed down, we collected snow balls and through them at the windows on our dorm.

Lots of winter fun... when we go back we have plans to buy a sled and go sledding down the steep driveway that leads to the athletic section of campus...  I'll let you know how that goes. ;)

December 10, 2010

You Will Know Me in This World

I had the wonderful opportunity to see the latest installment in The Chronicles of Narnia today... The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Yes, I cried.

I cried for Prince Caspian as well, but that was because Prince Caspian was the first time I had extensively followed a film making process - from casting to completion.  When I cried, it was because after all these months of waiting, I was finally getting to see the film.  When I cried today,  for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it wasn't because I had been waiting for months.  No, I cried because for once they got something so beautifully and amazingly right that I couldn't help myself.  I cried because it was beautiful.  I know I already said that, but I can't describe it any other way.

There were a few things that I wasn't as fond of.  The green mist was a little bizzare and felt just a bit un-Narnian... okay, it felt rather un-Narnian, especially the first time you see it.  But it blended into the story well, and it gave some great moments for the characters, especially Edmund.  Who, by the way gets a wonderfully important role and SO much more screen time than in Prince Caspian.  Caspian was actually less of a main character than I thought he would be, but he was wonderful as well... and is he gorgeous or WHAT?  Lucy has definitely matured into a young lady, and she plays the role of Lucy just as wonderfully as ever.  She gets to be in a few fight scenes now and then, she is tempted, but in the end she's still the sweet, lovely girl who introduced her family to Narnia.

And Eustace.  All I can say is, they made a wonderful choice when they picked Will Poulter to play him and Will Poulter was outstanding.  The moment I heard him say his first line, I knew that they got him right.  I wasn't disappointed later on either.  He stayed Eustace Clarence Scrubb for the whole film and absolutely deserved that name.  I just loved the relationship that he and Reepicheep develop... oh, and yes.  Eustace stays a dragon for much longer than in the book.

There were changes from book to film, as we all knew there would be, but actually a good deal of it stayed very much the same.  It might appear to be quite different when you first see it... but when you pay attention, all that they did was add a few minor things (okay, the green mist wasn't minor) and move things around.  I think the shuffled scenes was one of the larger changes, but even though they are shuffled around, each island is still the same as it was in the book.

None of the things that I've just talked about is what made me cry, however.  I suppose they all built up to it, but the part that made me cry was the ending.  No matter what you think of the rest of the film, you. will. love. the end.  People say good-bye, they leave or they stay, and it really is sad knowing that Lucy and Edmund and Reepicheep will never be back and that kept the tears going, but what started me crying was Aslan.  People have been worried for months about how the ending would turn out... how well those important lines of Aslan's would be preserved.  So I will tell you now, you don't have to worry about that line.

"But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."

That is how he says it in the book, and that is how he says it in the film.  When I heard him say it, I knew how true it was and my heart felt so full and loved and I knew that Alsan was in this world and that I was  blessed to know him by his other name.

And that is why I cried.

Guess what today is...

TODAY IS FRIDAY!!!! And you know what that means!?!?!?!

December 4, 2010

Little Miracles

So it's pretty safe to say I've been rather frustrated for the past five and a half hours of my life. I was at work, we set up for the show and then when we were all done setting up we had nothing to do until the show was over, which meant four and a half hours of just sitting in the sound booth.  I had brought my laptop with to try and do some things, but of course - the internet connection was terrible.  Now, it has been a pain once in a while before, but it has never been as bad as it was tonight.  I think the longest I was able to stay connected for one period of time was about five minutes, and then I'd lose connection and have to wait five to ten minutes before it would pick up the signal.  So I fought with the internet for about four and a half hours.  Then the show finished, and it was a really big concert so there was a rather large stage strike... and only four of us to do it so it took at least an hour and twenty minutes, which was frustrating because I ended up not getting to chat with one of my friends.  So I got back to my dorm in time to say goodnight to my friend, and have continued to struggle with the internet for the past 30 minutes.

Now, you may well wonder why I am still struggling with the internet when I could and should just go to bed... and actually, it isn't all of the internet that is being a pain right now, just YouTube, Amazon and ITunes and any place where I would look for a certain song I really, really wanted to find.  And yes, this is where the little miracle comes in.  To understand it completely though, we have to go back about... oh five years.

I was about thirteen at the time.  One of my mom's friends had given us a few cd's to borrow, actually, I think it was just the one cd.  As I remembered tonight, it was the "Wow Worship: Yellow" CD.  We borrowed it for several weeks and listened to many times, and I remember there was one song I particularly fell in love with.  It was beautiful, and the music was so wonderfully celtic and uplifting and the melody really struck a chord with me.  (No pun intended).  In fact, I can still remember very clearly sitting in our van, I believe I was in the first or second bench, but either way I was in the middle seat, waiting for my mom to come out of the pharmacy, and we were listening to that song.  That may have even been the first time I heard it, I'm not sure. When the time came to return the CD, I begged my mom to try and find a copy and buy it so I could have that song again.  She looked in all sorts of Christian Bookstores, but could not find it anywhere.

I never forgot that song, even after I couldn't remember the name or the band or the lyrics or even the melody.  All I could remember was that it sounded celtic, it was beautiful, the cover of the CD was yellow and that I wanted to find it again. When I saw WOW CD's at the bookstores, I would look at the track listings, hoping I would recognize the title.  Now I am not entirely sure why I didn't ever go ask the family we borrowed the CD from about the song... I guess because I usually thought about the song when I was in a bookstore, and I've never been in a bookstore with them.

Then tonight, I was at work.  The concert that came through was a Christian ministry organization, and this was their Christmas Concert fundraiser sort of thing.  It was very long, and full of praise and Christmas songs and prayer and Scripture readings.  I half listened to it, mostly because I was frustrated with my internet.  Then, towards the end of the show, they started to sing this song and something sounded familiar.  For whatever reason, my mind instantly jumped to my mystery song and I began searching WOW cds on Amazon.  I looked at all the yellow ones I could find, but I still didn't connect the song the choir was singing to the song that I had been looking for.  I couldn't listen to any of them then, plus the internet still was being a pain, so I finally decided to just wait until I got back to my room.

Of course, as I said before, anything with music wasn't working so I hadn't narrowed down a CD... than I remembered seeing the song "Here I Am To Worship" listed on one of the yellow CDs.  To make a long story short, my mom heard that song last year at a friend's concert, knew she had heard it before, but couldn't remember who had sung the version she liked.  When I realized that this was on one of the yellow cds and the artist was not one we had listened to when we had been trying to find the version a year ago... I figured out that it must be that CD.  I looked at the track list, and there on the same CD as "Here I am to Worship" was the song at the concert.  I knew it had to be the same song, and bits and pieces started coming back to me.

That was when the Internet really started giving me trouble.  Nothing that played music would work.  Not Amazon, not Playlist, not ITunes, not Youtube.  I found the WOW version, but it wouldn't load so I restarted my computer.  Still, the video on YouTube would. not. work.  I told myself that I'd waited about seven years, a few more hours wouldn't make a difference, but my stubborn side declared I was not going to bed until I had heard the song.  While the video was loading, I decided that I would start saying my night prayers.  I began with my "Spiritual Communion", and I was not halfway through when the video started playing.  Only the first 43 seconds loaded, the rest still hasn't, but I heard enough to know that after seven years, I had found my song.

December 3, 2010

O Come O Come Emmanuel - Sugarland

I've been watching the online rerun of the CMA Country Christmas over the past day or so, since I missed it when it was originally on ABC, and I was just delighted with it.  The fact that here were big name country music stars, on national  television, singing Christmas songs, sharing Christmas memories and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas was a delightful treat for me.  Not a single "Happy Holiday{s}" from anyone.  Reba McEntire said before performing her song that for her, Christmas is about "getting together and celebrating Jesus' Birthday".  In addition to your more secular Christmas songs like "Santa Baby" and "Walking in a Winter Wonderland", performers Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town and Martina McBride sang songs like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "Go Tell it On the Mountain" and "O Holy Night".  I guess country singers don't care about being politically correct. ;)

My favorite song of the show, however, was the second to last song performed by the musical duo Sugarland.  Now I do like some of their songs, however I've never been crazy about lead singer Jennifer Nettle's voice, which tends to be rather nasaly.  I was pleasantly surprised though by the depth and beauty that she showed when she sang "O Come O Come Emmanuel", I wish she would sing like that more often!

November 18, 2010

Birth or Not

Today I learned from American Papist via Facebook that there is a couple in Minnesota who is considering whether or not they want to abort their unborn child and they are making their decsision based on the votes they get on an Internet Poll.  This is the most sad and disturbing thing I have heard in a while - the couple has even given their baby a nickname and they are still trying to decided whether or not to kill it!  Right now the votes for "Give Birth" are in the lead, and we need to make sure they stay overwhelmingly so. 
Now is your chance to make a difference in an actual birth or abortion decsision.  Go and vote for life!

November 10, 2010

Random Running Commentary of the CMA Awards

Hurray!  Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood hosting, setting the stage with great humor and teasing of their fellow country singers, all in good fun.  Cute dress btw, Carrie!  Dresses, I should say... why do you guys change clothes so much?  Woah... that green dress is... *cough* Um.... yeah, it looks weird.  But your purple dress for your song that you are singing is gorgeous.

Congrats Lady Antebellum on getting the Best Single award for "Need You Now!" and Vocal Group of the Year. By the way, your song "Hello World" is beautiful, love the beautifully religious second verse!

NOOOOO..... I'll never be able to listen to Rascal Flatts the same way again.... I thought the lead singer was 20, dark hair and skinny!  Not... 30-35, not skinny with blond hair... he's not fat... but... he's not skinny either.  Eck, that's the downside on listening to just the radio.

 Congratulations Miranda Lambert on getting Best Song and Music Video of the Year for "The House that Built Me". That is a beautiful song!  Yes!  And I love when people openly acknowledge Jesus in their speeches... I missed who this guy was,someone with Miranda, but hey, he's on the CMA stage, in front of millions.  That is what I love about country singers.

Yep, George Straight has won more CMA awards than anyone because he's older than anyone else there... Aww, I love this song.  "Life's not the breaths you take... but it's the moments that take your breath away."

And award for the New Artist of the Year goes to the ZAC BROWN BAND! WhoohooooO!

Yay!  Kenny Chesney is performing "The Boys of Fall" I love this song... plus in the introduction to it, they have a brief glimpse of my college's stadium.

TAYLOR SWIFT!!!!  Beautiful white dress darling, and you know how to play the grand piano!  Gorgeous show, string accompaniments, lanterns, fog and fence... And Taylor Lautner, pay attention 'cause she is singing your song!  Let's go "Back to December" now... FAKE SNOW!!! Now that looks COOL.  Can we give her an award for best stage performance?

Little Big Town... great accapella rendition of "You Belong with Me".  You should have sang the whole song!

And Album of the Year goes to..... it goes to.... come on.... who does it go to???  Miranda Lambert!  Her first Album of the Year award, way to go girl!  Cute dress, by the way.

So I missed what this guy's name is... but it's kind of distracting, he looks like a basset hound. *shrugs*  He didn't win an award, he's just singing.

Brad Paisley's turn to perform!  He's debuting his new song "This is Country Music".  "You're not supposed to say the word cancer in a song, and talking about Jesus might rub some folks wrong... this is Country Music."

Vocal Duo Award... is it Brooks and Dun, Joey and Rory, Montgomery Gentry, Steel Magnolia or Sugarland?  SUGARLAND  GETS THE AWARD, making their 4th time claiming this award.  Congrats you two!  *cheers and applause from the audience*

Martina McBride announcing the Male Vocalist of the Year award.... and it goes to... Blake Shelton!  Congratulations on your first win for this award!  Aww, Reba is crying for him!  Actually, this is his first CMA award ever!

THE BAND PERRY PLAYED IF I DIE YOUNG!!!! Giving the link to their music video 'cause I like it so much.

Loretta Lynn makes an appearance in a lovely white gown and sings "Coal Miner's Daughter" with Miranda Lambert and someone else... such a sweet performance!  And following up on that... Female Vocalist of the Year... Miranda Lamber, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood?  Miranda Lambert takes the Female Vocalist of the Year!  Wow this girl is doing pretty well tonight!

Here's someone I didn't expect to see tonight... Gwynth Paltrow singing a song from the upcoming movie "Country Strong", and she's pretty good at it too.

Oh my gosh!!! DAWN TREADER SONG BY CARRIE UNDERWOOD WITH FOOTAGE ON THE TV!!!!! *hyperventilates*  Oh wow... this new footage looks soooooooo cool!!!!!  It's not the full song, but way does that look AMAZING!  And Anti-hug Edmund gave Caspian a hug!  =)

Now, does Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban or the Zac Brown Band get the ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR Award?

"If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know it had help getting up there.  I feel like a turtle on a fence post... God bless everybody and thank you for a great night." - Brad Paisley

And that is the 2010 44th CMA awards!

November 8, 2010

The Three Christines

This is a reflection that the director for my school's production of Phantom of the Opera wrote following the closing show yesterday.  It is truly a beautiful story, I was there when it happened and I want to share it with all of you.  
Note: Names of people and places have been either removed or changed.

Reflections by the director of “The Phantom of the Opera”:
An event happened this weekend with “The Phantom of the Opera” that needs to be shared. It’s a human interest story that reflects so beautifully on one very talented young lady and her willingness to help a fellow performer when she was down. That young lady is junior Laura.
Let me backtrack. At the final audition for the role of Christine, we had narrowed the part down to three actresses: Agnes, Grace and Laura. We decided to doublecast the part, partially because the role is so vocally demanding, but also to have a built-in understudy should something happen. We ended up casting Agnes and Grace in an extremely difficult final decision. It turns out that, in this case, two was not enough.
Both girls cast in the part were magnificent on their respective opening night performances. However, when Grace came in for the Saturday matinee, she had developed a cold that was affecting some of her high notes. She felt she could sing the role and, using her best technique, was able to perform the matinee. The best thing for her to do was rest before she sang the following evening.
As we were waiting to meet as a cast on Saturday night before the show, I noticed Agnes sitting by herself looking a bit upset. She told me she felt “a little scratchy.” Apparently she’s allergic to flowers and I can only imagine that she was flooded with roses following her opening night. I told her don’t worry; a little scratch is no big deal. Well, as she warmed up backstage, sounding beautiful, suddenly her voice was gone. There were notes she simply could not sing. (By the way, I found this out after I heard her onstage.)
It was obvious to me as she started singing Christine’s opening aria, “Think of Me,” that she was having severe problems; not so severe that many of the audience members knew, but severe that those of us who knew the show were gravely concerned for her. I met her backstage after the “Phantom of the Opera/Music of the Night” sequence only to see her collapse in tears. As I told her later, there’s nothing worse than having to perform in a show where you are the lead and everyone is waiting to hear a particular number. (Case in point, a few times on the road with me and “Bring Him Home.” You can feel 4,000 people staring at you wondering why you are out on that stage.)
As I tried to calm Agnes down, Laura ran up to her and said she would sing the entire part off stage for her good friend. “Whatever you want me to do, baby. I am there for you. I’ll sing the entire role if that’s what you want!”
Remember, this is the girl we did not cast in the part. We figured out exactly how to make this work and proceeded to have Laura do her own ensemble role in the show as well as singing Christine to help her dear friend, Agnes.
It worked. People were so caught up in the story that the audience either forgot or forgave what was happening on the stage. On curtain call, the audience responded with a unanimous standing ovation. But that was not quite the ending of this amazing night of selflessness. When Agbes came on stage for her bow, she grabbed Laura’s hand and made Laura bow with her. The cast began sobbing seeing yet another selfless act. The two girls bowed together, leaving the stage sobbing in each others arms. When I talked with Laura afterward, her comment to me was “Well, I got to sing Christine. Not quite like I wanted to, but I got to sing it.”
There is still more to the story. You see, Saturday night was sold out and we still had two performances on Sunday. I waited to find out how my girls were doing on Sunday morning before making any decisions as to who was singing what. Maybe Agnes would be better. Maybe it was some freak reaction to some medication and she would be able to sing like a bird on Sunday. Maybe Grace would be fully over her cold and able to sing both shows. Yes, I needed to be concerned about my cast and their safety, but I did have two potential sold-out performances staring me in the face.
Agnes was first in. She wanted to speak with me before anyone as around. No, there was no miracle cure. In fact, she sounded a bit worse. Once again, being selfless and caring about the good of the show and her fellow performers, she said I should put Grace on and that she, Agnes, could not sing it. Agnes said it would not be fair to the two men playing the Phantom and Raoul to be onstage with her lip syncing the part when we had another Christine.
Grace was not in yet, but I knew that she would not be able to sing two shows at the end of a difficult week. I told Agnes that I also needed to think about Grace and getting through both shows and needed to save Grace for the evening performance, giving her as much rest as possible. Again, the tears started, this time from both of us. I asked her what she wanted to do. She said that she wanted to sing Christine. I told her that could not happen, so what was her next choice. She said that if Laura was willing, she wanted to at least be on the stage as Christine, since she had so many people in the audience and after she had worked so hard on the part. Lauren was once again willing to be the unsung hero who, in this case, sang and sang beautifully.
It was, in many ways, even a better performance than Saturday night because Angie seemed resigned to the fact that she could not really sing the role given her allergic reaction. Thunderous applause, standing ovation and the same bow as Saturday night once again brought us all to tears. It as a good thing we allowed Grace to rest too, because her cold closed in. Through sheer force of will Grace was able to give us the closing performance of “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Was it the Theater ghost? Was it fate stepping in giving all three wonderfully talented ladies the chance to sing this role? Whatever it was, we owe Laura huge debt of thanks. Her complete willingness to give of herself without any of the glory enabled us to have the show go on. She is a truly wonderful young lady who makes me so proud to be a part of this college.

October 28, 2010

Words, Time Limits and School - Oh my!

That has been the refrain running in my head lately... along with "You are so stupid! This really is not a good idea! You won't finish it!  You had better keep your priorities straight and do your homework - especially when finals week comes!"  In other words, I, a freshman in college with finals week right at the end of November and play rehearsals and performances the first full week of November as well as a paper to work on for the end of November - have decided to do NaNoWriMo.

I wasn't going to do it this year, I had thought about it, decided what I was going to do and even got excited about it - and then my enthusiasm fizzled out and I realized that I didn't want to do it this year.  I felt bad about my decision though, slightly.  There was some lingering regret, but I just didn't want to write.  I haven't done any creative writing since PePoWriMo last year, actually about January when I turned a skit I did into a short story and for about a month expanded it into a larger story.  Okay, I expanded into the first half of the first chapter of a larger story.  And then I stopped because I didn't want to write and I haven't really had the urge to do writing other than my articles for Ink and Fairydust since then.

So I was all prepared to watch another November go by and cheer on those brave people who had time to do it and was telling myself that I'd probably made a good decision when all of sudden, for reasons I'm unaware of, I remembered this idea I'd had for a story once and then I wanted to do NaNoWriMo again.  I am very impatient for the first of November and I want to start NOW, this weekend while I don't have a ton of homework and the rehearsals for Phantom haven't started yet.  I created an account on the NaNo website so I can find writing buddies while I'm waiting and over the last  two days I've jotted down an outline for my story (within the guidelines of the helpful Three Act Structure) and been able to come up with a plausable reason for why my hero is where he is and doing what he will be doing.  (This is assuming he told me the truth about his past.)

I am very excited for my story.  I'm doing a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" (the movie version) and it is set in the late 1800's in a little village in the Catskil Mountains.  I absolutely love this fairy tale and I've had lots of fun manipulating it and coming up with fun parallels.  Plus, retelling a fairy tale is handy in that I don't have to come up with a plot line, I already have the basic structure there for me.  I am expanding off of it a bit, but yes, re-telling a fairy tale was a good idea for someone who'll need all their available time to just write it.

October 17, 2010

A Love Affair with The Lion King

Last night I had the most amazing and incredible blessing of being able to go see "The Lion King", live on stage.  My college had tickets for sale for only $10 and my amazing friend skipped her swimming practice to go and buy tickets for the both of us since I had a meeting that I couldn't miss at the time they were on sale.  Last night the group met and drove down to the theater... and I had the most amazing night.

The Lion King was one of my favorite movies when I was little, and though other 'favorites' have come and gone, The Lion King was one film I never lost my love for.  There was a good bit of time when it nearly faded out of my life, after we had sold our copy in a garage sale to make room for new movies... but whenever I saw it at someone's house, it would stay with me for several days after.  Last year, I'm not sure what caused it... but I suddenly missed that movie and desperately wanted to see it again.  My mother picked up a copy at a garage sale she drove past one day and brought it home.  I ran downstairs to our VHS player and found that the 17 year old still loved the story just as much the pre-ten year old had.

I searched through our pile of CD's and found the soundtrack and re-listened to all the old songs.  When I got my iPod, it was one of the first CD's I put on there.  When I learned how to swing dance, I discovered that either of "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" worked wonderfully - especially Elton John's version!  As I'm typing this, a memory just came back to me of when I was little of listening to that song and jumping all over the couch, singing and pretending to be Simba and Nala.  Good times.

I sing along whenever the songs happen to come up on shuffle; I want to play "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" at my wedding reception, and no matter how many times I listen to it, I stop whatever I am doing when the climax of "The King of Pride Rock" comes and just listen.  The music is so beautiful, so enthralling, I can't do anything but listen.

So you can imagine that I was absolutely thrilled when I heard that The Lion King was coming to Chicago and even more thrilled when I heard that my college had tickets for it.  I was a bit worried about being able to get one - the college was raffling them off rather than just selling because of the expected demand.  This may come as a surprise, but when I found out I had gotten a ticket, I wasn't as excited as you might expect.  I guess this was because somehow I knew, before I got it, that somehow I was going to get a ticket.

When the night came I got dressed and waited for the group to leave and wondered why I felt nervous.  Then I realized that I wasn't nervous, I was so excited that my heart was beating twice as fast as normal.  The entire long, traffic delayed ride to the theater I couldn't wait to get to the theater.  Then we pulled up in front and got out.

My seat was at the very top of the balcony, in the very back row and almost in the corner, but it was actually a good seat.  I had a great bird's eye view of the stage, and not being able to see the actors faces and only the masks helped me to see them as the animal characters I knew and loved rather than people playing the part.

And then, the theater went dark, a spot light came on and "The Circle of Life" started.  Gradually the stage came to life as a beautiful sun rose up out of the stage and the animals started to gather - including a life sized elephant that came up out of the pit.  At some point during the song I nearly started crying.  I couldn't believe that I was actually there, watching my favorite Disney movie in the whole wide world being acted out in front of me... and it was just so beautiful.

The show was just so amazing, and if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about.  If you haven't seen it, I'm sorry but I can't find the words to describe just how powerful that experience was for me.  I almost cried several other times... "They Live in You" and "He Lives in You" were two times.  I love that song, and I know how people say "you can't love something that doesn't love you back, blah, blah, blah," but I do.  I really do love that song.  It has such a deep and special meaning to me because, being who I am, I can't listen to it without a little smile because I know who "HE" really is.  (It's not Mufasa.)

And the ending... some might find people dressed as animals, with puppet like lion faces atop their heads to be cheesy or a theater orchestra to not be quite as powerful as "the real deal"... but when that climax  piece of "King of Pride Rock" started... and the drums and the music and Simba started to climb up Pride Rock and it's all right there in front of you... it was nothing short of awe inspiring.  I know I was smiling as big as I possibly could and I just had such a tremendous joy and thankfulness in my heart.  Through the whole show and even now, I can't thank God enough that He let me go and be there last night.  I know it sounds a little silly, The Lion King is an animated film created for children, it's not some religious film like "The Passion of the Christ" - so why would it move me so much?

I can't really tell you why.  I know that in part it is the music.  I can say unreservedly that the score for The Lion King is to me the most beautiful piece of film score out there.  I am a person who is deeply effected by music and while I may not be the most musically talented person in the world, I am a very musical person.  There is always a song in my head or at least humming in my soul and I get lost in it more often and more easily then I get lost in books.  This music connects with me deeply and I know that is at least half the reason I love The Lion King.  I think that another reason is the characters and the story line (which was borrowed from Hamlet, fyi.  Actually, the main reason I read Hamlet was because I found out that The Lion King borrowed a few plot ideas.)

But no, I couldn't tell you exactly why The Lion King resonates with me the way it does.   I just know that I have always loved it, dare say I always will, and I know it will be a very, very long time indeed (if in fact ever) before I forget what it was like to sit in the theater, surrounded by music I've heard nearly all my life and watch The Lion King.

October 15, 2010

What's Been Going On

I just realized that I never told you what happened after my Phantom of the Opera auditions.  (I did tell you that I auditioned, didn't I?)  So, I auditioned and I sang "Show Me" from My Fair Lady.  Given that this was my first time auditioning - ever - I think I did pretty well (the workshop helped), and no, I didn't get in.  I'm not surprised, really, after all, this is one of the first times a college has ever done a show of Phantom.  And I wasn't disappointed either, really.  Now, having seen how many practices those poor people have, I know it's a good thing that I didn't make it it.  Well, make it into the cast, anyhow.

So after that, I tried out for a different play and didn't get in that one either.  (I went to see it tonight, and it was AWESOME!)  I was a bit upset about that... but then I got an e-mail from the theater department asking for people to join the crew for Phantom.  Needless to say, I jumped at the chance and ended up being the crew head for hair design!  Yes, I get to design the hair-styles for The Phantom of the Opera, one of the first college performances ever. 

The performances won't be for another couple of weeks still and I will be sure to let you know how it goes!  Right now they've started full run throughs and I was able to sit in on part of it.  It was their first time through the whole thing almost non stop, but from the looks of it, I think it will be absolutely marvelous.

September 30, 2010

The Young Victoria

 Today I went to the library and finally found a copy of "The Young Victoria".  I'd been looking for it every time I went to the library for several months, but it was always checked out and for some reason I never ordered it online.  I finally was able to borrow it today, and even though I can only have it for three days, and had to pay a dollar since it is a "hot" video, it was worth it.  It was so worth it.

"The Young Victoria" tells in part the story of Queen Victoria and her struggle to be the Ruler of England.  But more importantly, it tells the story of how Victoria, the sole ruler of England, found the sole ruler of her heart - Prince Albert.

Before I go further, a note to any parents or careful older siblings: there are some marriage scenes, but anything is implied, rather than explicit. All are clothed and on the whole, they are very tastefully and beautifully done.  I personally would have no problem with my younger siblings viewing this film with me.  As far as swearing, there was only one word in the entire film.

The characters are very well cast, featuring Emily Blunt, whom I have not seen before, as Victoria, Rupert Friend, whom I have seen as Mr. Wikham in "Pride and Prejudice" (2005) as Prince Albert.  There was also appearances by Miranda Richardson (Madame Giry, "The Phantom of the Opera"), Jim Broadbent (Professor Kirke, "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe") and Harriet Walter (Fanny Dashwood, "Sense and Sensibility" and - Yavi, you'll like this - Mrs. Gowan, "Little Dorrit.")  The costumes were absolutely beautiful... and the musical score was just gorgeous.

And of course, the story.  A lovely young woman, a terribly handsome young man, a wonderful romance, a happy marriage - and best of all, it's real.

September 26, 2010

Help The Shadow of the Bear!

Many of you, my dear readers are fans of Regina Doman's books and are all awaiting the release of the film, very eagerly.  Here now, is your chance to help the film come to life on our screens!

Elena and co. are in need of $400 to purchase the proper editing software and so several fans have started an online fundraiser!  The funds are being raised through an online store, featuring homemade jewlery, scarfs, and other goodies.  All the proceeds go towards the $400 goal!  The products are all quite lovely, as well as affordable, so I encourage you all - even those of you who have not read Regina's books - to go and check it out!  (And buy something, of course.  ;) )

The Shadow of the Bear Artfire Store

September 22, 2010

Today is my Eleventy-First Birthday!

All the one hundred and forty-four guests expected a pleasant feast; though they rather dreaded the after-dinner speech of their host.... He was liable to drag in bits of what he called poetry; and sometimes, after a glass or two, would allude to the absurd adventures of his mysterious journey....

After the feast... came the Speech. Most of the company were, however, now in a tolerant mood, at that delightful stage which they called 'filling up the corners'....

My dear People, began Bilbo.... Bilbo left his place and went and stood on a chair under the illuminated tree. The light of the lanterns fell on his beaming face.... They could all see him standing, waving one hand in the air, the other was in his trouser-pocket.

My dear Bagginses and Boffins, he began again; and my dear Tooks and Brandybucks, and Grubbs, and Chubbs, and Burrowses, and Hornblowers, and Bolgers, Bracegirdles, Goodbodies, Brockhouses and Proudfoots. 'ProudFEET!' shouted an elderly hobbit from the back of the pavilion....

Proudfoots, repeated Bilbo. Also my good Sackville-Bagginses that I welcome back at last to Bag End. Today is my one hundred and eleventh birthday: I am eleventy-one today! 'Hurray! Hurray! Many Happy Returns!' they shouted.... This was the sort of stuff they liked: short and obvious.

I hope you are all enjoying yourselves as much as I am. Deafening cheers.... Cries of Yes (and No). Noises of trumpets and horns.... Indeed, in one corner some of the young Tooks and Brandybucks, supposing Uncle Bilbo to have finished (since he had plainly said all that was necessary), now... began a merry dance-tune. Master Everard Took and Miss Melilot Brandybuck got on a table and with bells in their hands began to dance the Springle-ring: a pretty dance, but rather vigorous.

But Bilbo had not finished. Seizing a horn from a youngster near by, he blew three loud hoots.... I shall not keep you long, he cried. Cheers from all the assembly. I have called you all together for a Purpose..... There was almost silence....

Indeed, for Three Purposes! First of all, to tell you that I am immensely fond of you all, and that eleventy-one years is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits. Tremendous outburst of approval.

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.... There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came to a compliment.

Secondly, to celebrate my birthday. Cheers again. I should say: OUR birthday. For it is, of course, also the birthday of my heir and nephew, Frodo. He comes of age and into his inheritance today. Some perfunctory clapping by the elders.... Together we score one hundred and forty-four. Your numbers were chosen to fit this remarkable total: One Gross, if I may use the expression. No cheers.... Many of his guests, and especially the Sackville-Bagginses, were insulted, feeling sure they had only been asked to fill up the required number....

It is also, if I may be allowed to refer to ancient history, the anniversary of my arrival by barrel at Esgaroth on the Long Lake; though the fact that it was my birthday slipped my memory on that occasion. I was only fifty-one then, and birthdays did not seem so important. The banquet was very splendid, however, though I had a bad cold at the time, I remember, and could only say 'thag you very buch'. I now repeat it more correctly: Thank you very much for coming to my little party. Obstinate silence.... Why couldn't he stop talking and let them drink his health? But Bilbo... paused for a moment.

Thirdly and finally, he said, I wish to make an ANNOUNCEMENT. He spoke this last word so loudly and suddenly that everyone sat up who still could. I regret to announce that — though, as I said, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to spend among you — this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 1, A Long-expected Party

September 17, 2010

Award and Update on Life

Bernadette from Maria's Lilies gave me this lovely blog award today!  I haven't gotten one of these in a while, so thank you!

1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Send it to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.

3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.

I'm afraid I haven't been reading very many blogs lately, so I think what I'll do instead is give this award to any one who has newly discovered my blog!  In return, I ask that you post a comment with a link to your blog so that I can read it.  =)

You've probably noticed that I haven't been to frequent on here, and you can blame college for that!  Getting ready and starting has taken up most of my recent time and attention, but I promise I won't forget this old place entirely!  I'm loving school, the people, the classes and the campus.  Everyone is so friendly, my English/History class is AMAZING and the campus is just so beautiful.  Also, I just tried out last night for the Phantom of the Opera!  I didn't get a call back for any of the main characters, but there's still a chance for the chorus, which I would just love to be in.  Cast list will be posted tomorrow and I'll let you know yay or nay then!

August 31, 2010

Waking Rose

When Waking Rose came out I eagerly grabbed the first copy I came across and jumped into the adventures of my favorite couple, Fish and Rose.  Well, they weren't a couple for most of the book - but we all knew that was coming.
Now as for the story, once again I've invited several of the character's to share their story with you all.

Paul: Hi, I'm Paul Fester and this is -

Alex: Alex O'Donnell, very pleased to meet you.

Hey wait... where are Fish and Rose?  This is their book, they are supposed to be helping out here!

Alex: Well you see, Ben called us at the last minute and said that he and Rose couldn't make it after all and so that's why we're here!

Paul: We do know the story...

Very well.  Carry on!

Paul: Great!  Well let's see... Alex and I met Rose at Mercy College the fall that she started going there.  I was in a bioethics class with her and Alex was in... a different class.

Alex: Theology.  So we met her, discovered that she read Chesterton and all became great friends!  As long as she didn't mention sewing and remind us that she was a girl, she was great to talk to!

Paul: Yeah, it was a lot of fun!  We even made her a Lady of the Sacra Cor.

Alex: The Sacra Cor was the guys dorm that Paul and I stayed in, and we all had formed ourselves into a band of knights.  We practiced weaponry, fighting skills and pledged ourselves to the defense of our ladies.

Paul: After I got to know Rose - oh, and I think I had met Ben, Fish, at this point - we started working on this "Monster Bioethics Paper", as Rose put it.  She was going to do hers on abuse of patients at the hospital, something her dad had worked on while he was in the newspaper during the time the Brier's lived around the college.  I helped her to do some searching in the boxes of old papers that the Brier's stored in a family barn nearby.  Then Rose ran into a dead end and decided to a paper on the care of comatose patients instead.

Alex: Yeah, and this whole time poor Paul had a crush on Rose, but it was pointless 'cause - 

Paul: Hey!  Spoiler!

Alex: It wasn't a spoiler, it was a teaser.

Paul: Whatever.  It was around this time then - 

Alex: That tragedy struck!  Disaster befell us!  And if you want to know what it was, you'll have to go and read Waking Rose, available wherever the Fairy Tale Novels are sold! Handing it back over to -

Paul: Wait!  If you didn't know this already, Alex and I do have our own books.  I am in "The Midnight Dancers" and Alex stars in "Alex O'Donnell and the 40 Cyberthieves".  NOW handing it back over to Miss Rose Marchen.

Thank you both for doing this review for me and in place of Rose and Fish!

Waking Rose is a beautiful story, very nearly my favorite one of the series.  Just a note to readers who haven't read this book yet, it is probably Regina's darkest book and does deal with some tricky issues, so younger readers may want to have their parents input on it first. (And parents, you can now go to the "Picky Parent's Guide" on the Fairy Tale Novels Website to check out any issues!) 

Overall, a highly recommended book and one that I think guys and girls alike will really enjoy.

August 27, 2010

An Long Expected Update

It has been soooooo long since I last did a real blog post!  By that I mean a blog post that wasn't pirates themed, or a review of something or talking about Ink and Fairydust... the last time I did something personal was July 1st when I talked about the first day of ReginaCon!  But even that wasn't me just rambling on and on about - me. ;)
In fact overall I've been neglecting this poor blog quite shamefully. Well, today I shall write a long and delightfully random and rambling blog post that shall probably be of interest only to myself.

Summer time is nearly over now... it was quite an action packed summer at that!  A trip to Florida in May, a travel down to Virginia in June, a weeks break and than off to Ave Cor Mariae Summer Girls Camp 2010!  It was lovely getting to see old friends again for a wonderful week of faith and fun.  Then the mornings of the last two weeks of July were spent enjoying "Musica Dominum Dei", a Sacred Music camp run by a young lady I know.  We learned Gregorian chant, a few hymns, as well as music interpretation.  The music interpretation was so much fun!  I loved listening to the songs and either writing a story for it, painting with colors that expressed the mood, or coming up with an explanation for the different rhythms, instruments... it makes listening to music even that much more interesting and fun!  We finished the week by traveling up to a convent and singing for Mass there.  The sisters were very welcoming and we had a lovely breakfast with them afterward.

August has been spent in anticipation of college.  I went to my orientation day the first week of August and had a grand time.  I love my college and I can't wait until classes start!  I'll be doing English, Math, Intro to Visual Literacy and my first year experience class for the first term.  I'm looking forward to the Honors retreat in a few weeks - which, funnily enough, is at the same place as Ave Cor Mariae!  It'll be nice to see the girls I met at Orientation and get to know them a little bit better before we jump into the fun and activities of Welcome Week.  I am glad I met them, it's reassuring to already know some people with similar interests when venturing into a strange and new world.

So now I am waiting in impatient expectation for classes to start while my friends have all left and started college already.  This will be a new experience for me, no doubt of that.  Driving to classes everyday, actually having to drive everyday.  Bleh, not looking forward to that - I'm not overly fond of driving.  Getting a job (I hope!)... being in a classroom.  I think the classroom will be the biggest change and adjustment for me.  For most of my highschool, I taught myself and only had my mom teaching me when I was stuck on something and couldn't figure it out on my own.  So to have someone teaching me, not being able to go ahead or fall behind when I want to (*cough* No, I didn't fall behind that much.) and sharing a classroom with a bunch of other people instead of just myself in my room... yeah, it'll be different!  But I am very excited to be starting this new chapter in my life!

Well... I believe that is the extent of my ramblings for today.  I shall try to not let quite so many months pass before I write again!  Farewell.

August 20, 2010

An Interview

To give ye more time ta come up with the rest o' the quotes, what I'm postin' today is a two part video interview with Hans Zimmer, the composer o' the Pirates score!

August 19, 2010

Finish the Quote

Alrighty mates, lets see how well your memory of quotes is.  Now, wi'out cheatin' boi watchin' the movie or lookin' it up... finish each quote, who said it, what movie it's from an' if ye're really good - what line comes after?

#1 - Cuttlefish. Eh? Let us not, ____________ cuttlefish... flipping glorious little sausages. Pen them up together, and ___________ ... Human nature, in'it? Ooor... fish nature...

#2 -  Still _______________ , Signal the men, set the flags and make good to clear port.

#3 -  The pirates come out, unprepared and unawares. _________... send 'em down to see Old Hob.

#4 - Land is where you are safe, Jack Sparrow, and __________ you.

#5 - I understand. It's a game of deception. But your __________, not just your own. What are they wagering?

#6 - Love, that is a ______________ and fierce and huge-ish. And gone. Why is it gone?

#7 - You didn't beat me. You ignored ________. In a fair fight, I'd kill you.

An' after ye are done wi' this, head over to Cap'n Barbossa's deck an' check out 'is caption contest!

August 17, 2010

Pirates Week 2010

Ahoy mates!  Moi deah friend Cap'n Wolfgang Barbossa remoinded me that it was toim for the annual Pirates Week!  So hear oi am, Cap'n Fox Turner again, a wee bit late and not likely to be able to post every day, but heah the same!

So to start off my week... heah are some videos... I shall try to gather together a quote and caption game for later in the week...

First, how ta play the theme song... not sure how you would actually transfer this knowledge... still, it's fun to watch!

David Garret and "He's A Pirate" ,very good!

August 14, 2010

Black as Night

Hello there!  I'm back again after ignoring you all with another review of one of Regina Doman's books!  This time I'll be reviewing "Black as Night", Regina's second book and my hesitant favorite.  (Hesitant only because I love all of her books so much that it is hard to choose a favorite!)

I wasn't sure whether or not to introduce anyone this time around, seeing as how the people - or should I say, person - I introduced last time rather took over my post!  But then I thought that since they did such a wonderful and entertaining job, I'd give it a shot.  Blanche, Bear, Brother Leon?  Would you care to take over at this point?

Blanche: Bear, you can do it.

Bear: You started the story.

Brother Leon: I can't start talking until you do!  The book starts with you running - 

Blanche: *smiles*

Bear: *laughs* Brother Leon, I thought the idea was to have Blanche start out, not us tell her part of the story for her?

Blanche: Oh, this feels so awkward... can't one of you please start?

Brother Leon: I'll start.  Once upon a time in New York City, it was night time.  Scratch that, I'm telling it from my point of view, so it was morning.  It was morning.  In most places, Morning is a time for peace, quiet, good coffee when it's not my turn to make it... but not in the Friary of St. Giles.  At least not this morning.  After breakfast I had gone to take some donations to the vestibule where we stored them, when I discovered Blanche.

Blanche: You see, the previous night I was chased by two boys on the subway. I ran to the Friary because to me it was Saint Catharine's Church, a part of the high school I had attended.  Bear had given me a key to the church and I hadn't known that someone had bought the place after the school closed down.

Brother Leon: *laughs* Yeah, we gave her a start when she woke up and saw seven guys in brown robes looking down at her.

Blanche: You were very warm and welcoming, and I enjoyed my stay there.  My mom, Rose and Bear were all out of town and I was being chased by a danger that I couldn't face on my own.  The friars were a heaven sent refuge while I tried to figure out what to do.

Bear: And I'm so glad they were there for you.  Following the events of "The Shadow of the Bear", Freet's arrest and not having to live on the streets anymore... I was struggling with finding direction in my life.  I loved Blanche, but I didn't know if I was ready for marriage or even if I would be any good as a husband, given the role model I unfortunately had in my dad.  So I left for a trip to Europe to try and get things sorted.  I had invited Blanche to come with, but she stayed home with her job and ended up getting caught up in this crazy adventure, which turned into a bit of a nightmare for all of us.

Blanche: *smiles at him* But it ended like a wonderful dream.

Brother Leon: Cutting in so you two won't give the end away... 

Bear: I wasn't going to!

Brother Leon: Just the same.  So folks, if you want to find out what the nightmare was and how it turned into a dream and enjoy a little suspense and laughter along the way, check out "Black as Night", available for purchase from! Handing it back over now to you Rose.

Rose: Oh great!  Hey everyone I -

Brother Leon: Not you!  The other Rose!

Rose: Awww drat.

Thank you Brother Leon, you three did a very good job with this review.  Such a good job that I really don't have anything to add other than why this book is my favorite.

For quite a while after "Waking Rose" came out, it was my favorite book.  After all, it was full of great things that you'll hear about when I do a review on it, plus the main character was Rose!  Then I joined the forum as one of the zillion Rose's on there and shared in the general fan excitement over Fish and Rose... and then I started to feel a little bad for Blanche and Bear.  Rose and Fish are wonderful people and I love them dearly, but they do tend to overshadow their older siblings!  I re-re-read "Black as Night" and rediscovered a wonderful, beautiful, entrancing story that all-too-often gets hidden behind "The Shadow of the Bear" and "Waking Rose".  And to add to that - this book has Brother Leon!  I will say unreservedly that Brother Leon is my most favorite Fairy Tale Novels character ever, and the main reason why "Black as Night" get's first place on my list.  He's funny, compassionate, brave, get's a gun pointed at him and knocked out by a stack of school desks getting pushed on him (yeah... you have to be in danger of death or at least knocked unconscious at least once in your life to get into my favorite character club) and he's just amazing!

So if you haven't read "Black as Night" ever or it's been a while since you've picked it up, I give you my full and hearty encouragement to go and do so now.

July 26, 2010

Top Three Hans Zimmer Film Scores

Dear Blog Readers,
I am in need of your input and assistance for an article I am writing about Hans Zimmer.  Don't know who he is?  Well, if you've seen any of the films listed in the poll to your left, you should.  And if by some bizarre reason you haven't seen any of those movies, you are bound to have seen one of his other works - I mean, the guy composed 130 films, you had to have seen one of them!

But anyhow, I'm writing an article about his music and I wanted to focus on three of his film scores (because I can't talk about or listen to 130 of them.) The ones I listed are the ones that I have heard all or at least pieces of and therefore they would be the easiest for me to write about.  However, if there is a film score (by Hans Zimmer) that I have NOT listed and you think should be on there, click the "other" button and then leave me a comment with the title and why you like the score.  The top three will get the most coverage in my article for the October Ink and Fairydust.

Thanks for helping me out and vote soon!  Procrastinator that I am, I have only less than one week to write...
The poll will be open all this week, but I'll probably take the top three by Wednesday/Thursday, unless on Friday something drastically changes.

Thanks Again!

July 23, 2010

The Shadow of the Bear

I've wanted to do reviews on The Fairy Tale Novels for a while, but I always felt that there wasn't a point 'cause most of my readers already know about the books.  But I decided recently that not necessarily all of my followers know about the books, I enjoy reading reviews about books I've read so maybe other people will too and it shall be book review writing practice.  So here it goes the first review...

Once upon a time in New York City, there was a little house that stood in the midst of the forest of houses, streetlights, high rises and skyscrapers.   In the little house lived a widow named Jean Brier and her two daughters, Blanche and Rose.

Blanche: Hello.

Rose: Hey there!  I'm Rose and this is my older sister Blanche. Oh wait... the review author already introduced us.  Sorry.  Continue!

Thank you.

Now their lives were rather dull and ordinary, they went to their -

Rose: Hey, we are not dull and ordinary!  How can life be dull and ordinary when there is so much to it!

I meant more in the sense that you didn't have any friends and spent your time at school or at home.

Rose: Oh.  Well I wouldn't consider no friends as having a dull life!  But yeah, you have a point... but then we met Bear!

I was just about to say that.

Their lives where NOT dull and ordinary, they merely did not have any friends until one wintry night when their mother was late in returning...

Rose: Blanche, this person talks so funny!

Blanche: ROSE!

Alright fine Miss Rose.  Since you don't seem to like my style of writing, you write the review!

Rose: Oh sure!  Wait - review?

Blanche: Of "The Shadow of the Bear", the book we're in?


Blanche: Yes...

Rose: COOL!  Hey, review writer ... um... you there?  Drat, she left.  Okay, well, like the girl said, we didn't really have any friends until one night when my mom was coming home late she almost got hit by this car and she fell and dropped all the grocheries.  That's when we met Bear.  

Blanche:  Bear had dragged mother out of the way of the car and then helped her bring in the groceries to our house.  It had been really cold that day, and Bear didn't have very good shoes on, so Mom made him come in so she could check for frostbite.

Rose: Mom's a nurse so she knows all about that stuff.  So there he was... a mysterious stranger in our living room with a bewildered face and dreadlocks.

Blanche: The dreadlocks were bewildered?

Rose: No, his face was and he had dreadlocks.  I thought him quite nice, especially after he quoted "The Ballad of the White Horse".  Ah, poetry!

Blanche: I didn't trust him though.  You see, at Saint Catharine, the school Rose and I went to, some of the kids did drugs and I was sure I had seen him hanging out with them.  I found out later that I was right - Bear did hang out with them, but not for the reasons I thought he did.

Rose: No indeed.  He was a prince in disguise, hunting down an evil dwarf and we unsuspecting maidens were soon caught up in a whirl of events beyond our control that came to a climax when - 

Blanche: Rose, you can't tell them what happens.  This is a book review, not the book itself.

Rose: Oh of course.  So if you want to find out what happens, read "The Shadow of the Bear" by Regina Doman.  Blanche, what comes in next in a book review?

Blanche: Usually the reviewer talks about what they enjoyed the most or what potential readers will enjoy, what knowledge and insight they can gain from the main characters...

Rose: Awkward. Umm... much can be learned from my lovely, vibrant personality and uh...

Alright, I'll help you out with this part.

One of the great things about The Shadow of the Bear is it's universal appeal.  It's written with a very Catholic perspective, but I have Protestant friends who love it as much as I do.  The main characters are two girls and the book is from their perspective, but guys enjoy it as well.  It is written for teen readers, but my mom and grandma have read all the books.  There is something for everyone here.  Romance. Adventure.  Mystery.  Faith.
If you are looking for a exciting new book to read, I highly recommend "The Shadow of the Bear".

Blanche: And keep your eye out for updates on the movie too!

Rose: NOW THERE'S A MOVIE!?!?!  Catch me Blanche, I think I'm going to faint!

July 19, 2010

August Rush

Watching films can have various effects on a person. Some make us laugh, others make us cry. Some get us fired up and ready to go out and take on the world; still others make us feel angry and frustrated. And then there are the films that give us the chills and fill us with wonder and awe. ‘August Rush’ is one of those films.
In a home for boys, located in the state of New York, lives a young boy who wants nothing more than to find his parents. He has no proof that this will happen, he has never met his parents, he doesn’t even know what their names are, but he knows that they will find each other someday. When the other boys at the home ridicule him for his hope, when kind social workers express their doubt, Evan Taylor keeps on believing that the music he hears in the world around him will lead him home someday.
Eleven years and fifteen days earlier, the music led his parents together. A concert cellist with a glittering career ahead of her and a determined father at her back and an Irish singer/songwriter with a rock band that he tours with his brothers. They are brought together by chance one night, a night that changes their lives. After that one night together, his parents never saw each other again and they nearly give up on the music that plays in their hearts.
It’s that music that prompts their son to run away from the boy’s home and draws him to the busy streets of New York. He follows the music he hears in the street noises and clamor of the city to an abandoned theater where children without parents and with musical abilities live under the watchful eye of ‘Wizard’, a man who knows what music is. It’s there that Evan has his first opportunity to express the music that lives and breathes inside of him, earning him a place among the rest of the children who play on the sidewalks and in the parks of New York for donations.
Wizard sees Evan’s potential for greatness and decides to do whatever he can to get Evan in the public where people can here him. Evan, now called August Rush, looks forward to this new adventure with excitement, until he realizes that while Wizard does want people to hear his talent, he wants the money it will bring more… and he doesn’t want August to ever find his parents. And that is one dream that August will never give up.
There are a few elements in the story that require a suspension of disbelief, but they don’t detract from the story. After all, doesn’t music often ask us to suspend our disbelief and for even just a moment believe that we can fly, become heroes, that all is right with the world and we haven’t a trouble or care in the world?
‘August Rush’ celebrates the beauty of music, tells a story of hope and determination and begs us to believe that family ties can never really be broken and will bring us together again if we let them. With a beautiful story and a powerful, breathtaking score, it reminds us that the music is all around us, all you have to do is listen.

July 2, 2010

July Ink and Fairydust!

Open publication - Free publishing - More america

The July Issue of Ink and Fairydust has arrived - this time featuring Freedom.  Check it out if you have not done so already, and please take a look at our website

I write under the pen name of Rose Dominick.  =)

July 1, 2010

ReginaCon - Day 2

ReginaCon Day 

And here is the events of the second day of ReginaCon, also known as The Fairy Tale Novel Get-Together or The Fairy Tale Novel Fan Gathering. ReginaCon is much shorter.

These would be pictures from day 2, because I'm afraid I have no pictures from Day 1 - at least not at Regina's house.  Day 1 was mostly spent in touring Manassas Battlefield and Arlington Cemetery with my grandparents, who provided our transportation to Virginia.  The Battlefield - sight of the first major battle of the war and a second battle just prior to Antietam - was quite lovely and rather different than Shiloh and Gettysburg.  I knew something was different, but I couldn't figure it out at first.  Then I noticed - no monuments.  Well, there was one that was erected by the soldiers who fought at First Manassas, but the usual monuments and markers for all the regiments who fought and died on this piece of ground were absent.  Also the only statue in sight was a large and impressive sculpture of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.  It was simpler, but no less profound.

Arlington Cemetery was just - amazing.  There are soooo many grave sights there, it's just so sobering.  I had the good fortune to witness the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unkowns... was that beautiful.  The extreme precision and detail and respect that goes into it is just awesome.  For me though, the highlight of my visit was Arlington House.  To think that General Robert E. Lee lived there, walked on the exact same ground that I walked on... I know he was at Gettysburg, and I went there to... but on a battlefield you can't be sure exactly where everyone was because it is so big.  But there... to know that I was on the same ground as a man whom I admire so greatly - it was a very powerful experience for me.

And then of course there was arriving at Regina's house.  No one heard us drive up, so we were able to walk in on them all eating dinner and see their surprised and (hopefully) delighted faces.  I was thrilled to finally meet my dear brother and sister, Paul and Elena, and meet Laura who is an amazing girl.  Lanta showed up a little later and knocked me over.  I was very happy to see her too, and meet Dayandnight and Miss Eliza Bennet.  We talked for a bit and then after the sun had set we all went swimming in the pond, dubbing ourselves "The Midnight Swimmers".  Three more people arrived and joined us as well.

Now to the day that I have pictures for.  (I do have pictures of Manassas and Arlington, if you want to see them later.)

After praying the Rosary, we all packed into the cars and drove down the road to pick blueberries.  'Twas very hot, but there were clouds for some of the time, so it wasn't that bad.  We picked lots of blueberries, some of which Paul kept throwing at me *frowns at Paul*.  I did hit him a few times though!  David found a lonely pair of little girl's sunglasses at the end of one of the rows, and we adopted them.

We finished picking and drove back, during which I had a lovely conversation with Regina, and found that five more girls had arrived!  Greetings and introductions were exchanged and made and then after lunch we listened to Regina talk on "Evangelizing the Imagination and How to Create Evil Characters if you are a Devout Christian".  What a wonderful and helpful talk! 

The rest of the afternoon was free time and some of us went shopping for more food while the rest watched "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1982).  That was an awesome movie!!!!  Made for TV, so a little long... but was it good!

The day's events concluded with a talent show during which yours truely performed "Upside Down" (a recent forum adventure) along with Kathleen, Yaviel and some of our friends who where there.  The talent show finished with a lovely theatrical reading of "The Importance of Being Earnest" by the Shirefield Players.

And that concludes the events of Day 2!  Hannah, I hope that was enough detail.  ;) Day 3 coming soon.

June 30, 2010

Alex O' Donnell and the 40 Cyberthieves

When you get a series of books featuring awesome heroes, it's inevitable that a main theme of discussion among the fan girls is "Which hero would you want to marry?/Who do you think you would go the best with?"  It can be a bit hard to choose, Bear, Fish and Paul are all such great guys!  Most girls though seem to have a pretty decided preference one way or another though.

But for me, that popular question has been difficult.  How could I decide between Bear and Fish?  Maybe a combination of the two?  Or Paul would be a nice guy... but I don't know... none of them seem to work!

With the release of Alex O'Donnell, however, I've finally found my guy.  The type of guy that I hope my future husband is like.
Alex is just one of the reasons why I fell in love with Regina Doman's latest release - based on the tale of "Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves".  The other reasons... well, I suggest you read the book itself... but until you can get your copy, here's a little bit about it.

Alex O'Donnell is a fun, up-beat, slightly off the wall kinda guy who spent most of his college years goofing off.  He's head over heels for Kateri and wants to propose, but isn't quite sure of her opinion, and he doesn't want to take that step if she's going to say no.  So in the meantime, he'll keep sending her fun presents and being a 'good boyfriend'.

Kateri Kovach is nearly his exact opposite.  A serious, practical, look-before you leap kind of girl and not so sure that she should be dating Alex.  He's not the type of guy she had imagined in a spouse... and she just doesn't think either of them are ready for anything more serious than dating.

Alex writes to Kateri in New Jersey, asking her to come and visit him and his family in Northern Virginia.  He misses her, and he wants her nearby so he can work on winning her heart completely.  At her mom's encouragement, Kateri reluctantly makes the trip down - and then it happens.

Kateri arrives to find the O'Donnell family has just received over a million dollars from a mysterious agency. No one knows how they got it, but the funny thing is, Mr. O'Donnell won't let any of the family investigate into the source of their mysterious good fortune.  Uneasy, Kateri wonders just what Mr. O'Donnell seems to be hiding.  She grows close to Alex's mother though, and when the family takes what seems to her a tremendously foolish risk in buying a hotel she finds herself somehow in the position of Assistant Manager.

What follows next is an exciting twist of events and sword fights and not just one, but forty villains and a wonderfully romantic climax.

With some authors, after about the third or fifth book their plot lines and stories all start to sound a lot alike.  Regina however creates something new every time, and Alex O'Donnell and the 40 CyberThieves is no disappointment.  I loved how we actually get to see a FTN couple while they are dating, we've never gotten to see that before, and I enjoyed watching Kateri and Alex work out their relationship with each other.  They nearly fall apart once or twice... but to quot Elenatintil "oh the ending!  *sighs*".

I encourage you all, dear readers, to order this book or borrow it from a friend as soon as you have the opportunity to.  And while you do so, I shall finish re-reading my already beloved copy -

while I wait for that someday when my Alex will come.

June 29, 2010

Back from ReginaCon!

I have returned from the lovely Shirefield and a delightful stay at the Black Cat Inn!  As many of my long time readers will probably recall, I was crushed to not be able to go last year - so the five days I spent out east were a total blessing and joy!
I'll be taking this week to rest up and post lots of pictures and updates of my stay there, along with a review of "Alex O'Donnell and the 40 Cyberthieves" which I found AMAZING!!!!!
Right now I'm going to start working on uploading my pictures to Picasa so I can post the links on my posts for each day.

You know, as much as seven siblings tend to quarrel and yell and fight on what sometimes seems to be a constant basis, you know your siblings love you when you and the other three eldest siblings return from a week long absence and the three youngest run out of the house, jump on you and say "It was sooo boring here with out you!"

Of course one of the second things they said was... "I am so glad I don't have to do your chores anymore!!!!"