Thursday, December 31, 2015

Another year over, a new one just begun...

     It's New Year's already!

     Is it just me, or was it just New Year's, like, yesterday?!?! I feel like I just did this tag. But then I think about all the stuff that's happened between then and now, and I realize it really is time to fill it out again. ;-)

    2015 has been quite a year. This was the year I turned complete redneck. This was the year my cousin taught me to drive in a church parking lot. This was the year I fell in love with old Ford trucks; I watched more R-rated movies than I ever did before (okay, that's a little irrelevant); I started raising bunnies; I got to know my best friend even better; I diligently plugged away on my dream of becoming a real writer. (As of now I'm still a fake writer -- I'll get there.) And now it's all coming to a close, and it's time to look back and reflect, and smile on the happy times, and appreciate the hard ones, and thank God for another year to live and love.

What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?

  •      I finished three short stories (which I actually think are pretty good, and that's saying something!)
  •      I got my learner's permit and learned how to DRIVE A CAR. It was incredibly awesome. (Oh, and driving trucks is even more fun. Especially if they're red and they're Fords.)
  •      I learned how to ride a horse! And I'm still learning. ;-)
  •      I played a boring chorus role in a college musical and met a bunch of awesome people.
  •      I talked to my bestie Naomi on the phone! I heard her voice for real, across three thousand miles, five hours, and an ocean, which was ridiculously weird and amazing. Though the connection wasn't the best, and most of the time we couldn't tell what the other was saying....IT WAS STILL WILDLY WONDERFUL.
  •      I learned to drive the gator too, which is about the coolest thing ever.
  •      I became the proud owner of four white lionhead bunnies, and then within two weeks was suddenly the owner of ten. (Quite a story, that.) I became a bunny farmer and loved it.
  •      I started listening to country music and found a new lifelong love.
  •      I read two really long books -- GWTW and Lonesome Dove -- both accomplishments of which I am very proud!
  •      I made myself a Facebook account (for Reasons), hated it, and cheerfully inactivated the darn thing after approximately 48 hours.

Overwhelmingly so.:

Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make one this year?

     I kept some of them. I learned how to drive and I read GWTW, but the main one was to finish the first draft of my Novel and I still haven't done that. (I'm not even close. Sheesh.) I've already made a bunch for 2016, and the Novel is at the top of the list.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

     My best friend Naomi's mother, who, though I don't know her in person, is a very dear person and also Naomi's mom and that automatically makes her a swell person. :-) No one else that I can think of...

Did anyone close to you die?

      My dear old bunny S'more died one day in August. He'd been with us for a long time and was one of my favorites, so that made me really sad.

What countries/states did you visit?

     I dabbled over the border of Pennsylvania a LOT, because I have family there and we like to visit them. :-) (Plus PA's just a really cool state. Lots of rednecks and Ford trucks.) I also took a short trip to Ohio with my mom and my sister and a friend of ours. That was a very interesting experience. The story's too long to tell here, but I'll say it was quite a day.

What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

     More patience! I'm not very endowed in the patience department, unfortunately. As far as material things, I'd love to buy my own truck when I get my license, but I don't know if that'll happen this year.

What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory?

     The day in April when my cousin taught me to drive, in his Cadillac in a church parking lot...

     Also the day we took down the set for South Pacific at the theater, and the stage guys let us try out their flying-apparatus. Then afterwards a bunch of us went to Pizza Hut. I felt like a normal kid. ;-)

     Definitely December 19th, when my sister and a friend and I went to see Sara Evans in concert!!! One of the most exciting experiences of my life. I'll tell you more about that later. ;-P

Did you move anywhere?

     NO, and I'm so glad because I love my home and my barn and my creek and my patch of violets.


     (And my piano. Which got moved around several times this year. That's another long story.)

     Well..... I might as well tell the story. ;-) It does concern moving, after all. About the end of February, I decided it was time for me to have my own room. My two sisters and I have always shared a room, and I was getting super sick of it, so I convinced my parents to let me have our school room as my own and see how I liked it. This transition required taking our bunk beds apart so I could have the top as my bed, moving our heavy piano to the other end of the house, and trying to find places to put all the other furniture we purged out of the school room. We did all this, and wallah! I had my own room.

     And....I hated it!

     It was like living in someone else's house. The room was so empty without my sister's desk right next to mine, and the walls looked so bare without all our school stuff, and the floor creaked when I got up in the night...and worst of all, there was no Sadie in the bunk above me, and we couldn't pass stuffed animals back and forth between the bunks, and laugh together late into the night. I was lonely, and it didn't feel right. So after about a week I said to my daddy, "Would you hate me if I said I wanted to move that piano again?"

     Being the wonderful daddy he is, he said no. So we moved everything back, and I was back in that cramped little room with my two annoying sisters, and I was so happy. (And then we watched North and South and life was good.)

Patrick Swayze and Lesley-Anne Down in North and south (1985 - 1986 - 1994):

What was the best month?

     Ha. Ha. I can tell you what wasn't -- May wasn't, March wasn't, September wasn't, February definitely wasn't. By process of elimination you can figure it out. ;-) No, I'd say maybe June. I spent June writing stories and picking peas and laughing with my cousins.

...and taking occasional selfies with my little blue camera.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

     I don't really know...just getting through it in one piece, I'd say. Loving my family even when they weren't all that great, smiling even when I really didn't want to. Reading Lonesome Dove! Raising six bunny babies!

What was your biggest failure?

     Not finishing my novel like I PROMISED MYSELF I would. 

Did you suffer illness or injury?

     Nothing serious. (I got sick a few times and was convinced I was dying, but it passed, like it always does.)

What was the best thing you bought?

     Tickets to the Sara Evans concert!!! And my Wyatt Earp soundtrack. It's my go-to soundtrack for writing music now. Whenever I don't know what to listen to, BOOM, Wyatt Earp. And I'm still not sick of it.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

     My grandparents, who are pretty much the most amazing people I know. Naomi, as always, because she is my bestest best friend and does so many wonderful things for me, and everyone. A certain of my cousins, who is the best sport ever and even told me I sound just like Sara Evans. A lot of people, actually, though I'm not going to name names because that'd be weird. ;-P

Grandpa making popcorn. :-)

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

     Basically the world made me appalled and depressed. *sigh* It's pretty messed up out there, friends.

Where did most of your money go?

     Amazon! It's got everything! (I was actually really insane about buying soundtracks this year. I bought about about seven. Shameful. BUT SO FUN.)

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

     Driving! And the Celtic Woman concert I went to in March! And the Sara Evans concert in Deccember! Which brings us to the next question...

What was the best concert you've been to this year?


     I WENT TO SEE SARA EVANS AND IT WAS AMAZING!!!!! Not only the best concert I went to this year, but possibly the best concert I've ever been to, period. It was a night I will always remember. From the young guy who opened up the concert (Clayton Anderson, whom Sadie and our friend and I might have fangirled over a little) to Sara Evans and her impossibly smooth drawling voice, I loved it all. The lights, the energy, the obviously country crowd, the high excitement -- it was the best thing ever.

What song/album will always remind you of 2015?

     I dived into country music headfirst this summer. We started listening to our local country station in the barn, and there have been SO many songs that will always take me back to this summer, playing with my bunnies and bunching flowers and washing green onions. :-) But the one that stands out the most is Drinking Class by Lee Brice.

     Every time I hear this song, I will think of six kids piling into a little white Dodge Dakota on the Fourth of July.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. happier or sadder? I was really happy last year and I'm more realistically happy this year, so I'll say I'm sadder, even though I'm really not sad.
2. thinner or fatter? That's irrelevant.
3. richer or poorer? Richer, surprisingly. Somehow all those soundtracks didn't break me.

What do you wish you'd done more of?

     I wish I'd done more writing on my novel that I'm trying to finish, but in all I did do quite a bit of writing, so I'm not very disappointed about that. I wish I'd read my Bible more. I also wished I'd stepped out of my shell and talked to people more. That will always be my struggle, it seems. ;-P I don't have many regrets about this year, though.

What do you wish you'd done less of?

     Comparing myself to other people, and wishing I had different gifts than the ones I have.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

     What do YOU think?


     NEWSIES!!! I watched the movie with my mom early in October, loved it, started listening to the Broadway recording, and the rest is history.

      I actually discovered a whole bunch of awesome musicals this year -- Jekyll and Hyde, Ghost, Allegiance, Little Women, and Titanic, to name a few. And country music. That was perhaps the greatest discovery, in fact. Guys, I love country music so much.

How did you spend Christmas?

     With my family. :-) We went to my Grandma's house on Christmas Eve, then came home and watched The Homecoming, the pilot episode of The Waltons (which is super weird and has different actors but John-boy is SO sweet). On Christmas Day we spent the morning at home, with bunnies running around in the piles of wrapping paper, and then shuffled off to my other Grandparents for the rest of the day. For some reason, this year I felt lacking in excitement for Christmas; it wasn't the best Christmas I've ever seen, but it was still good, and I had a good time with my folks. (And bunnies.)

Brett under the Christmas tree

How are you spending New Year's?

     I'm going to some friends' house with my family and my favorite cousins. Should be fun. ;-P

Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

     As anyone who knows me will tell you, I hate the phone. For that reason I don't normally talk to people on the phone very much, if I can help it. I did have two long conversations with Naomi, though, which was not altogether unpleasant. ;-)

What was the best book you read?

     OH MY. Here we go. The dreaded question. I have to look at the dozens of incredible books I've read this year and pick ONE.

     *stares at list for hours*

     Okay, how about this. I'll give you a list of five.

  • Softly and Tenderly by Sara Evans & Rachel Hauck -- This has become one of my favorite books ever, in fact. You can read my review right here if you're so inclined.
  • The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman -- Downright hysterical, fresh, and old-timey. Read my review here.
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry -- Because this story is just about my favorite thing ever. It's the classic American Western if there ever was one.
  • Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson -- The Hattie series are part of my roots now. Hattie is one of my best friends in literature and I had so much fun tagging along on her next adventure. Read my review here.
  • I hesitated to add this one, but the other one must be The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas. It was brutal, and there were many parts I consider inappropriate, but it was SO amazing. (If a book can make me weep like that, it's got to be good.) Read my review here.

Did you fall in love in 2015?

     Nope. Not yet. But I did finally realize what kind of man I want to fall in love with someday, and that in itself was a little bit like falling in love.


What was your favorite TV show?

     My favorite TV show has been for five years, is, and probably will remain Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. This is an established fact. ;-) But one show that I'd watched before and really came to love over the course of this year is Northern Exposure, which probably none of you have ever heard of, because it's from the 80's and only weird people like my family still watch it. I love it dearly.

Northern Exposure | 19 TV Shows That Need To Be Made Available To Stream In 2015:

What did you want and get?

     A learner's permit, a whole bunch of CD's, and more bunnies!

Any excuse to bombard you with more pictures of my beautiful bunnies. 

What did you want and not get?

     Honestly? Nothing worth mentioning. Sure, there were a few CD's and books I'd hoped to get for Christmas that I didn't, but no matter. I was mostly very content with my worldly possessions this year.

What were your favorite films of this year?

     *rubs hands*

     I watched so many good movies this year, I can't even narrow it down to five, so I'll make a list of ten.

  • Legends of the Fall -- SAINTS ABOVE, I loved this movie. It basically wrecked my life for about three weeks. (And was consequently the start of my let's-watch-all-the-Brad-Pitt-movies phase, which lasted somewhere around three months.)You can read all about that in my long exclamatory review.
  • The Stars Fell on Henrietta -- This quirky little movie touched me in a way not many do. Read my review here.
  • The Journey of August King -- Oh my soul! GO READ MY REVIEW!!!
  • The Alamo -- This movie made me weep, and I'm not even exaggerating. Read my review here.
  • Wyatt Earp -- One of the greatest western/biodramas I've ever seen. (Actually probably the greatest.) I reviewed it here.
  • McFarland USA -- A Disney movie about a cross-country team that turned out to be one of the best movies about family and friendship I've ever seen.
  • North and South -- This is the TV series from the 1980's, not the Elizabeth Gaskell adaptation. This series and I had a rocky relationship at first), but eventually I gave in and decided to love it. It's an excellent historical series, really, and now it's one of my favorite Civil War dramas....even though it is sort of a soap opera. ;-)
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? -- I watched this twice this year, actually, and liked it infinitely better the second time (probably because I was watching it with my cousins). Wacky, foul-mouthed, and hilarious, this is one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen, with some seriously good music -- 'old-timey material'. ;-P
  • Far and Away -- The movie that blew me far and away and captured my heart forever. :-) (Wow, that was really sappy.) Read more sappiness and slush about it in my review.
  • Copperhead -- I watched this in January one afternoon when I was sick and liked it, but just recently I watched it again (when in better health) and absolutely LOVED it. Such an incredible Civil War story. I'm planning on writing a review soon, so hold on to your hats.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

     I turned sixteen on February 2nd. My plan was to drive around to a bunch of libraries in our area, but that kind of flopped because there was a we only got to three. :-( But I also went to the mall and got my ears pierced, which was exciting! The not-fun part was having to wait at the mall while my sister decided to try on shoes and then going to Panera Bread for lunch (because I can't eat bread, so why would I want to go there???) Then we came home and had cake and watched O Brother, Where Art Thou? and I laughed my head practically off. The day didn't turn out the way I wanted, but it was still special.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

     Rustic, farmgirl, horse person, everything-I'm-wearing-came-from-Tractor-Supply, pretty much. I bought a cowboy hat in the spring and wore it proud all year. :-)

What kept you sane?

     My mother. I'm not going to lie, I've had a very hard year. Last winter/spring was especially hard, but that was also the time when my mama really became my best friend, and I'm so grateful for her. (And no, not just because she watches Brad Pitt movies with me.)

     Also, did you know that white lionhead bunnies can be very therapeutic?

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy most?

     Well, that's not hard at all.

He is beautiful. *sigh*:

     Jeremy Jordan, undoubtedly. I sort of fell in love with him. And if you haven't watched this video, what are you waiting for?

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

     Lesssss stressssss. Good gracious. (Most of it I caused myself.)

 What political issue stirred you the most?

     The attacks in Paris were very close to where my best friend lives, which was pretty scary -- for me, and even more for her.

Who did you miss?

     My sister Sadie went away to music camp for two weeks in July, and I barely survived without her. There was no one to make my lunch and wash my dishes.

Who was the best person you met?

     I got to know so many great people while rehearsing and performing in South Pacific. (Even though I hated the show, the cast was so much fun.) A group of several people in particular. ;-) I also got to know Olivia, who is such an awesome person and has become a good friend of mine. (Seriously, the Western Week we hosted in July was epicness.) And Miss Meg March, who popped up in the comments several months ago and has been making me smile ever since.

:) :) :):

Tell a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

     People are only human. However highly you may think of them, they will let you down sometimes. But we're all human, and we can all help each other. We're all in this together, so to speak. God is the only all-powerful and all-reliable one. But that doesn't mean you can't trust people at all; when you find someone you can trust, that's one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

It well may be that we will never meet again
In this lifetime, but let me say before we part
So much of me is made from what I've learned from you
And I know I'm who I am today because I knew you

~ 'For Good' from Wicked

I love a small town world, I love a country girl
I love a Friday night
Man, I love this life
The sound of an old dirt road running through my mind,
Man, I love this life

~ 'I Love This Life' by Locash

I'm a member of a blue-collared crowd
You can never, no, you can't keep us down
If you've gotta label me, label me proud

We laugh, we cry, we love
Go hard when the going's tough
Push back on push and shove
Knock us down, we'll get back up again and again

~ 'Drinking Class' by Lee Brice


Five personally significant events of 2015:

  • I finished three short stories, of which I am very proud 
  • I learned how to drive
  • I read Lonesome Dove in its entirety (hey, this is very significant for me, guys!)
  • I met lots of really awesome people who I'll never forget
  • I filled up three journals, which I will keep forever as proof of my wild, misspent youth -- the best years of my life ;-)

Five things I want to do in 2016:

  • Get my driver's license
  • Work in a library
  • Watch Tombstone -- I'm allowed to as soon as I turn seventeen ;-P
  • Be less awkward, especially around good-looking people of the male-variety (this is a legitimate concern, people)

Five people I'd like to know better in 2016:

     I'm not going to name names, since this is not a private blog and that'd be weird. There are so many people I've met this year, through different events, and through this lil' ol' blog, who I'm looking forward to getting to know better. And probably a bunch of people I haven't even met yet. ;-)

     So here's to 2016 -- may it be grand and glorious. Here's to you, my friend, and here's to me. May we greet the new year with courage and imagination.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

In Which We Celebrate a Birthday...

    (Emma's words in blue and Naomi's in pink.)

      Today is the birthday of a very special girl & a dear friend. (Well, tomorrow for me, but today for her, because she lives in the future -- time zones, y'know.) You may know her -- she likes to hang around the blogging world (I say 'hang' meaning it in the very best way :-)), leave kind comments and say things that make people smile. She's an imaginative soul, an inspiring personality, and a real lover of life. So who is this girl? Most of you know her as Miss Meg March. I know her by another name (which I don't need to tell you, mwahahaha). The fact is, she doesn't know that I know it's her birthday today, so this is meant to be a surprise. (Shhhhh. Don't tell her.) ;-P

happy birthday images for sister in law - Google Search:


  Sometimes you meet a person and immediately something 'clicks' inside you know you've found a kindred spirit. So it was when I first met Miss Meg. She started commenting here on The Blog back in the spring, and right away I knew we were going to be friends. (At first it may have had something to do with the fact that she watched Horatio Hornblower and seemed to understand my love for Archie Kennedy...but that's immaterial.) ;-) We started talking, and found we shared so many interests -- it was miraculous! I started to look forward to Miss Meg's comments every time I published a post, wondering "what will Miss Meg say about this?"
You are most certainly one of Us, even though you have no blog and no account, and all that. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear. I know what it's like to be an Anonymite, and I'm so happy that I know you. (Also, you watch Lark Rise, sooo. Obviously we are friends.) Your comments always make me smile, because they shine out happiness and golden sparkles. So thank you for that - for commenting on Every Single Post (how kind is that?) and for your love and your exclamation marks and your words. We 'precciate you. You're the kind of person I can't really imagine not smiling. :-) (And that says a whole bunch, you know, because, my imagination is rather large.)

You truly are a kindred spirit, Miss Meg! I'm grateful we can share fandoms and book recommendations. :-) Thank you for all your comments and all your enthusiasm -- it's contagious! I'm looking forward to getting to know you better, and I hope many of your wishes come true in your new year. (Not all of them, because that would leave you with nothing to wish for - but a lot of them. :-))
So Happy Birthday, Miss Meg! We hope your fifteenth year proves to be the best yet. We also hope you have an amazing day with a big Birthday cake as well as left over Christmas cake, and loads of fun and presents, and all that. Happy, Happy Birthday, and thank you for being such a dear friend! :-)

Valentijnskaart - Friends are the sunshine of life:

Emma & Naomi

Thursday, December 24, 2015

'Twas The Day Before Christmas

     IT'S CHRISTMAS EVE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. (Assuming there's anyone of the male variety who reads my blog. Well, I know of at least one. ;-P)

     It's Christmas Eve! Which means Christmas is TOMORROW. Which means there's lots to be done -- cookies to make, presents to wrap, projects to finish, and bunny cages to clean. (Well, for me. Probably not for you.) Songs to be sung, stockings to hang, candles to light. And lots of excitement swirling in the air. :-)

Brett and Ashton are reading Corgiville Christmas

     I have four things to tell you:

One: That my bestie Naomi has made a beautiful Christmas video, and you should all go over to her blog and watch it right now. Naomi is the best at making videos. (Speaking of the dear girl, there's a shiny green-and-silver package under my Christmas tree RIGHT AT THIS VERY MINUTE which has been the cause of my slow demise from curiosity for the past month and tomorrow I get to open it!!!)

Two: That you are all of you so very special to me. Really. This little blog o'mine has been such a happy blessing time and time again, because of all my awesome readers who stick with me and take the time to be not just nameless stalkers (even though that's okay too), but really truly friends. I'm still amazed that people actually want to read all this gibberish I write. I am soooooo grateful for ALL of you and I love you very much! Christmas is a good time to tell people that you love them.

Three: "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is risen!" Christmas is about the spirit of giving; it's about God's indescribable gift to us -- Jesus. Don't y'all forget that. ;-)

Four: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  If I could I would send you all a present, but...I can't. So I'm sending you all the best wishes for a happy, joyful, cozy, blessed Christmas!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Movies

     I love my Christmas movies. The thing about Christmas movies is, you can watch them over and over every year and nobody ever says, "Didn't you just watch that last year?" Yes, of course I did! Because it's Christmas! And I love it!

     So here's a list of my favorites. Not in any order -- because ain't nobody got time for that. They're all special to me for different reasons.

The Preacher's Wife (1996)

     The first time I saw this movie was actually in the middle of summertime -- it was several years ago, I was sick on the couch, and Mama put it on so I watched it. (She forgot that it was about Christmas.) I didn't expect to like it very much -- and was surprised to find out that it's actually really good! And really hilarious. A modern-day remake of the movie The Bishop's Wife (with Cary Grant), it's about a big-city preacher and his wife (Courtenay B. Vance and Whitney Houston) who are drifting apart, so an angel named Dudley (Denzel Washington) is sent to earth to help bring them back together. It's a really sweet story, with some great songs sung by Whitney Houston ("I Believe in You and Me" is amaaaaaazing), lots of really funny lines and an adorable little boy named Jeremiah. ;-) I've only seen this one twice, but I really liked it both times!

     Warning: Denzel Washington will completely capture your heart.

Home Alone (1990)

     Yes, I like Home Alone. I LOVE Home Alone! In fact it's funny, because when my mother bought it one year and we watched it on Christmas after getting home from my grandparents' house, I thought I'd hate it. Then I ended up dubbing it the funniest thing ever. ;-P It is definitely one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. The main reason I love it is Kevin -- that kid is awesome. He's adorable and vulnerable and naughty and realistically disrespectful/lovable. Plus he's really, really smart. ("Is this toothbrush approved by the American Dental Association?") Seriously, who else could come up with all that to keep the robbers away?! It's amazing. I love Kevin. I also love the old man next door, and his and Kevin's conversation in the church; and the 'Wet Bandits' and their hilarious stupidity; and John Candy and his polka troupe. If you haven't seen it, you are missing out on a piece of Americana.

White Christmas (1956)

     I'm pretty sure everyone loves White Christmas, for most of the same reasons. Here are some of the reasons I love it:

  • a friend gave it to us on VHS several years ago
  • Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are legendary together
  • the singing and the dancing are so much fun!
  • the scene at the end at the inn where all the soldiers line up and General Waverley says "I never saw a finer-looking bunch of men" *tears up*
  • the girls' dresses
  • Bing Crosby
  • and Bing Crosby

Holiday Inn (1942) (Wow, I didn't know it was that old!!)

     The same friend who gave us White Christmas gave us this one on VHS too, and my family watched it for the first time a few nights ago. OH MY. Guys, I love old black-and-white movies. And I love Bing Crosby. (Seriously. Desperately.) Holiday Inn isn't very much about Christmas -- that is, there's a Christmas part, but mostly it's just about holidays in general. (There are fifteen in the whole year, you know.) It's about two showbiz friends and how one of them, Jim (Bing Crosby) leaves showbusiness and opens up his own inn that's open only on holidays. Hence, Holiday Inn. The other friend, Ted (Fred Astaire), after losing his dance partner, who was also his fiance, who also used to be Jim's fiance, turns up looking for another dance partner and ends up performing at the inn with Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds), a girl who's always wanted to be in showbusiness, and who by this time is also unofficially engaged to Jim. (It's kind of a tricky love triangle.) It has all that clever, old-timey romance, a bunch of fun songs, and whole lot of dancing! I think I might like this better even than White Christmas, believe it or not. It's just SO much fun. :-)

I know. This isn't fair.

Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)

     I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS MOVIE. It's my childhood. It's my third-favorite movie of all time. It holds so many feelings for me, so many memories, so much happiness, so many tears. Just so much. I don't know if you'd call it a Christmas movie....I've watched it other times of the year, but in most recent years only around Christmas, as it does have a big Christmas part. I've probably seen it more than a dozen times, and every time the magic is still there; the excitement of the World's Fair, the impish mischief of Tootie and Agnes's escapades, the bright red of Judy Garland's Christmas dress (oh, how I have always coveted that dress!!!) Even the painfully flat zing in the closing music on our ancient VHS tape, which seems part of the score to me now. Basically all I can say is, I love this movie.

     It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

     You can't get any more classic than It's a Wonderful Life. This is another one I have intense feelings for. I think I watched it (or at least part of it -- I remember the gym-floor-opening-into-a-swimming-pool-scene clearly) when I was very young, and decided for some reason that I didn't like it; then, last year, I watched it again. And OHHHHH MY. This is one of the best movies ever made, folks. I dare you to argue. It's about life -- and it's wonderful. I am in love with Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey. I'd love to live in a quiet little town like Mount Bedford. This movie is one of those that makes me reeeeaaally want to live back in the 40's. :-) I loved it so much, I can't wait to watch it again and make up for all the years I missed watching it!

Have you seen any of these?     
What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Dear Snow...

nature-planet: Snowy sunburst vertical | tina_bonner_photography:

     Dear Snow,

        I write this to lay before you a very urgent request which I feel the need to express. I hope you will oblige me by considering the following.

     I was very patient all through November. I accepted the sixty-degree weather with a smile and said nothing, even when you failed to show up by the end of the month. But it's December now -- you know, that month when there's supposed to be snow on the ground and in the air, making everything festive and gorgeous. I held back and didn't complain, lest you think me ungrateful, but it's time now. Time to get down to business.

     I know everyone around here always complains about the snow. Those people are all loving it right now, pretending they're down south and saying over and over again how nice it is that the snow has held off this long. Well, I'll tell you something -- if I hear someone gloat over what nice weather we're having ONE MORE TIME I will combust into a million angry little pieces. You will see angry little pieces of me by the side of the road, and you'll know what happened.

Our #fluffy friends take to the #snow in this adorable #winter photo album.:

     Don't these people get it? Don't they see that snow is beautiful? Don't they know that without it, the whole Christmas season just isn't the same? I know, I know -- it's the driving, they say. The slippery roads, the ice, the bad visibility. Listen up; I have a solution for that. Here it is: if the weather's really THAT bad, stay in your house. That's what I read in the driver's manual. No, really. Page 126.

     That's why we live here in the north -- to experience all the seasons. And in winter that means S-N-O-W. Only the hardy thrive up here, and we like it that way. If you don't like it, go move to California. Chances are I won't miss you.

This is probably in my city but I'm hoping for an unforgettable moment like this where I can play some swing music and kiss a snowflake:

          Mr. Snow -- Your Whiteness -- you're a natural part of life. You are a tradition. I look forward to you every year. (And then when you come I look forward to you leaving...that's the kind of relationship we have going.) For the amount of breath people waste complaining about snow, we really don't get a lot of you. I mean, we've had a green Christmas for about four years now. I don't like it -- I repeat, I do not like green Christmases. It's not that you make Christmas, exactly -- but you do have bearing. A Christmas without snow is not a New York Christmas. I don't want to walk outside and feel like I'm in Florida. I want to feel the cold, feel the bite, the snap of the wind, breathe the freezing air, shiver in my coat. 

     (Did I mention that it's been so warm lately I haven't even needed to wear a coat? That's right. I've worn it anyway, of course, because I'm a stubborn Northerner and it's winter and you wear coats in winter, DUH.) 

1 - Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful, And since we've no place to go. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!:

     I'm trying to be polite, Mr. Snow. I understand you're very busy and have other places to be, like Alaska and Russia and Canada and Greenland. But couldn't you swing by and drop us a little bit? I'm not asking for a lot -- just a few inches or so would do just fine. Or a foot, or three. However much you can spare. I'll even pay the extra shipping to have it here by Christmas. (Wait, do you have to pay shipping for snow? I've never received it on demand before, so I don't know how this works.)

Reminds me of growing up in Boone, NC:

     I realize there are lots of people praying for you to hold off, but I'm praying for you to come in full force. I think you'll understand that this is for the greater good of humanity, especially when I give you a few simple reasons why:

  • Snow makes everything look prettier. All the fields and leafless trees look so wet and lifeless and glum and boring this time of year. If only you'd come, they'd all look happy and cheerful and bright again. Bear this in mind.
  • Snow is what people around her expect in December. Without you, we don't know how to respond. That's why people keep saying it's so great there's no snow -- they can't complain, because you're not here, and they have to say SOMETHING. Secretly, they're lost without you.
  • Snow puts people in a conscious Christmassy mood. With snow everywhere, you know it's Christmas cause it looks like Christmas and it feels like Christmas and it just IS CHRISTMAS. (Do you get the point, or shall I rainbow-curve that one by you again?)
  • The Christmas lights in people's yards look bare. And stupid. And lonely. HAVE PITY.
  • My cat Oliver keeps tracking mud into the house. What does this have to do with you, you ask? Well, if you came and froze the ground and covered it with snow, he wouldn't track any more mud on the floors.
  • Snow is romantic. Those people who make marriage proposals on Christmas Eve? They want snow falling down. It adds so much to the ambiance.
  • I need more practice driving in the snow. Yes, that's right. I'm probably the only person in the entire US who actually wants to drive in the snow.

10 Photos of Winter Landscapes ~ 10. A Light in the Darkness. Beautiful Christmas Tree on a Snowy Evening / Winter Landscapes. 9. Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau, Germany 8. A winter view on the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia 7. Beautiful winter 6. Cold winter in Sweden  5. Looks amazing on the Snow Train, Wernigerode, Germany 4. Flocons de Paris, France in winter 3. Night Lights of Telluride,…:

     Have I convinced you? I hope you see my point. We've got to have a white Christmas; we've just got to. So stop beating around the bush and start beating on the bush, and the fields, and the rooftops, and the trees and the stupid blow-up Christmas decorations in people's yards. We need you.

     Please please please.

     Hoping you will hear my plea and grace us with your white presence soon,

                               ~Emma Jane Anderson

P.S. I'm not completely crazy. I only sound like I am.

Monday, December 7, 2015

December happenings & a fun little tag

     Hello friends! I'm sitting here on my desk in my cozy little house, listening to Sara Evans' At Christmas (mooching off of Youtube -- but that's what it's there for, right?) and enjoying the smell of the woodsy candle burning beside me. This is what I love about December -- this coziness of being able to stay inside your house with such delightful comforts as candles and Christmas music and popcorn and apple cider. :-) (I'd be a lot happier if there were white flakes outside...but I'm not complaining.) Seeing as it's been awhile since I gave you all a rambling report of the goings-on in my little valley, I thought it would be fun to give you a little glimpse.

     Plus I have some exciting things to tell you about, one of them being that....

     I'm going to a Sara Evans concert!!!!!!!!!!! EEEEEEHHHH!!!!!!! (I'm just a tiny bit excited, if you can't tell.) Sara Evans is one of my faaavorite country singers -- I actually liked her before I started liking country -- so when my sister told me she was coming to a high school only about an hour away I was like, WHAT WHAT WHAT. There was no question of my not going. ;-P My two sisters and I are all going. It's in two weeks. I AM SO EXCITED. :-D

     Here's something surprising: I have discovered in myself a weakness for romantic comedies. I like them a lot. It all started with Leap Year, I believe...then I started getting Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movies out from the library and now I can't stop. ;-P The thing I like about rom-coms, as I told a friend, is that they're about weird people who find other weird people and fall in love through a series of weird happenings. They make you feel good and keep you believing in real-life romance.

      Last week I watched While You Were Sleeping. I'd been wanting to see it for a long time, after reading reviews on some of my favorite blogs, and I loved it! Especially Jack. :-) I really have a thing for guys with low, throaty voices and 80's hair who wear reversible denim jackets.

    I don't always take pictures, but when I do, I put them on my blog. :-)

Isn't this stunning? If you want the story of the DA poster, ask in the comments. ;-P


     These are the Christmas lights I wrote about in this blog post.

     The donkeys, Gus and Woodrow, who are ADORABLE. :-D

Gluten-free Joe-Joe's = happiness in a box.

The barn kitties, Gracie and Magnolia

December so far has been full of good books, Living Christmas Tree performances (last one was yesterday!) playing with my cat Oliver, cleaning bunny cages, laughing with friends, decorating the house (some, at least), and a thousand story ideas tumbling around my brain. Speaking of story ideas....Melody at Regency Delight is thinking of having a Christmas short story contest, and she's got a poll up to see who all's interested. I've already been working on a Christmas story, so I'm really excited about this! Please go over there and vote so she'll do the contest. Thanks. :-)

And lastly, Erudessa from The Flowering Vales has tagged me with the Tinsel Tag! How can you refuse a tag with a name as cute as that?

1. What's your favorite thing about Christmas?

     The excitement -- the anticipation -- the magic. And everything. :-)

2. Giving or getting presents?

     Giving AND getting. (See how I avoided answering the question? See?)

3. Favorite Christmas movie?

     Meet Me In St. Louis. It's my third-favorite movie ever, actually. I'm not sure if it would technically qualify as a Christmas movie....but it's always been a Christmas movie to me. I love the music, the characters, the old-timey elegance. Plus I've been watching it since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, so it's basically ingrained in my being forever.

     My second-favorite is It's a Wonderful Life. I also love White Christmas, The Preacher's Bride and Home Alone. (Hey, maybe I should do a blog post about favorite Christmas movies!)

4. Favorite Christmas food?

    I don't have a particular favorite Christmas food...I'll just say popcorn, because I love that anytime!

5. Ice skating or sledding?

     I love both, but sledding is outside and I've never been skating outside, so I'll say sledding. Plus skating hurts my feet. Sledding only hurts if you crash into someone else's sled or slide into a briar patch. (This has happened, btw.)

6. Decorating a tree or decorating cookies? 

     A tree! I love decorating Christmas trees. :-) Decorating cookies is fun too.

8. What is your favorite Christmas memory? 

     Oh....well, one of the things I love is waking up early in the mornings before Christmas and turning the tree lights on while it's still dark. I have fond memories of going to get Christmas trees with my daddy at various wacky places...spending Christmas day at my grandparents' house, and caroling to their elderly neighbor. Making popcorn chains while watching An Avonlea Christmas, getting excited over the first snow, keeping tabs on when all the neighbors put up their Christmas lights....I don't have one favorite memory. Every one is special in its own way. :-)

9. Favorite Christmas song?

     'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' has always been one of my favorites, because it's in Meet Me In St. Louis and that part always makes me cry. (I like things that make me cry.) As for Christmas carols, I really love 'The First Noel'.


10. Hot Cocoa or Apple Cider?

     Apple cider! It's pretty much my favorite thing in the world.

     This has been fun -- feeling like I'm catching up with you all. :-) But now I've got to go, as there are stories to write and Christmas programs to practice for and a whole list of other things to do (as well as the Missouri Compromise to straighten out...*coughcough*) I know haven't been posting a whole lot lately, but I hope that will change in the coming weeks! Till then, goodbye friends!

P.S. Aren't Beatrix Potter's Christmas prints the most adorable things you ever saw in all your living life?
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