The Barricade Boys Week Tag!

Hello, Blogosphere!

Sorry for the long absence – been terribly busy with school and whatnot, so I decided to leave you with my short story for a long time.  Glad you all enjoyed it!  Your comments totally made my day.  : )

So.  Over at Rambings of a Janeite, Eva is hosting a totally awesome Barricade Boys Week, dedicated totally to My Boys, who star in Les Miserables.  (Yes.  They star.  Do not argue.)  So far, there’s been tournaments, giveaways, quotes, sob-inducing guest posts on Enjolras and Gavroche (especially the latter….  Amy, you have no compassion on my poor nerves!!), and general awesomeness!  If you’re a fellow Mizzer and have some time, you should definitely check it out.
I’ve finally found the time to answer her questions!  And, instead of just writing “Enj, because he’s awesome” as the answer to every question, these will be well-thought-out answers.  So there.

  • Do you know about the barricade boys from the brick, the musical, the movie or all three?
A little of all three.  : )  I’ve never read The Brick (shame, shame…), but I’ve read enough quotes to know that I’m going to read it as soon as I’m done with the book I’m on.  : )
  • Who is your favorite barricade boy?
Enj.  Because he’s awesome.
(Behold.  The exception to my promise.  : D)
Seriously, though, he’s honestly the best.  Strong, resolute, totally determined to see the revolution through, and willing to do whatever it takes to make France free again.  He’s got some of the best lines in the musical (“Have you asked of yourself what’s the price you might pay?” comes to mind).  All of the Les Amis look up to him, which means there’s something to be said about his character and what makes people look up to him.  He’s also got some awesome hair and an amazing sense of style, no matter who plays him and whether or not he’s wearing The Vest of Power and Awesomeness.  (Because, come on, y’all – didn’t Aaron do a good job pulling off the non-Vested Enj?  Yes, we were all sad to find out that he wasn’t going to wear The Vest, but we got something totally awesome instead, right?)
  • Who is your least favorite barricade boy (yes…I’m forcing you to choose)?
Nooooo….  *insert sad picture of Courf crying*  Alright, fiiiiine.  I think my least favorite would be Bahorel or Bossuet, simply because I didn’t know their names until recently or anything about them.  BUT.  That will all end after I read The Brick.  : )
  • What is your favorite barricade boy quote (can be from the brick or one of the songs – or both)?
Now, in this, I fear I cannot satisfy you.  I have added an ‘s’ to the word ‘favorite’ and changed ‘is’ to ‘are.’
From the musical –
“Let us die facing our foes – make them bleed while we can!  Make ’em pay through the nose!  Make ’em pay for every man!  Let others rise to take our place until the earth is free!”
“It is time for us all to decide who we are….  Do we fight for the right to a night at the opera now?  Have you asked of yourselves what’s the price you might pay?  Is it simply a game for rich young boys to play?  The color of the world is changing day by day….”  (Then comes one of my favorite Barricade Boys song.  *nods*)
“Drink with me to days gone by.  Can it be you fear to die?  Will the world remember you, when you fall?  Could it be your death means nothing at all?  Is your life just one more lie?”
  • Which barricade boy do you think you have the most in common with?
A friend of mine says I’m like Feuilly, but I think I’m more like Jehan Prouvaire, who likes flowers and walks and books.  : )
  • What is your favorite barricade boy-related song (i.e., Do You Hear The People Sing?, Drink With Me, Turning)?
Do You Hear the People Sing?  It’s their call to rise and fight for freedom!
  • Which one would you most like to have lunch with (and think realistically…even if your favorite is Enjo, if you’re a girl, he definitely wouldn’t go out for a meal with you. Courfeyrac, however, is a different matter 😉
Well, I’d try to ask Enj out and say it’s only to talk about political things, but if he said no, I’d have lunch with Courf or Gavroche.  : )
  • And lastly…a hypothetical (well, the one above was a hypothetical too, but…). How do you think it would turn out if some of the barricade boys helped with your homework? 🙂
Hahahaha….  I can just see Enj making red (*wink, wink*) marks all over my math homework – “Yet another one wrong!  Eowyn, you’re no longer a child!”  Grantaire would give me some wine, of course.  Jehan and I would talk about walks and books.  I don’t know about the rest!  After we were done with homework, though, I’d take them all to Ikea and we’d build a barricade.  *nods*


Suddenly I see
Suddenly it starts
Can two anxious hearts beat as one?
Yesterday I was alone
Today you walk beside me
Something still unclear
Something not yet here has begun.

Suddenly the world
Seems a different place
Somehow full of grace and delight.
How was I to know that so much hope was held inside me?
What has passed is gone
Now we journey on through the night

How was I to know at last that happiness can come so fast?
Trusting me the way you do
I’m so afraid of failing you
Just a child who cannot know that danger follows where I go
There are shadows everywhere
And memories I cannot share

Nevermore alone
Nevermore apart
You have warmed my heart like the sun.
You have brought the gift of life
And love so long denied me.

Suddenly I see
What I could not see
Something suddenly
Has begun.

Les Miserables
You’re welcome.

Quite a Few Things I LOVE About Christmas!!

  • The fact that it’s actually CHRISTMASTIME!!!  (“Eowyn, dear, we have all apprehended as much.”  Yes, yes, yes, I know, I’ve just been super busy.  First and probably last Christmas post, coming up!)
  • Having Starbucks Holiday drinks… the Peppermint Mocha especially (or Peppermint Hot Chocolate or Peppermint Mocha Frappichino!!)
  • Listening to Christmas music – old faithfuls like It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (which we have on a record, but can’t listen to because a certain three-year-old brother broke the needle… again…), Marshmallow World, and The Christmas Waltz, and newer songs like All I Really Want for Christmas (I dare you to listen to it and not cry!), Welcome to Our World, While You Were Sleeping, The Christmas Can-Can (heehee…), and Oh, Holy Night (performed by The Voice of Chocolate).  I’ve heard people say that they’re tired of Christmas music within the first week of December, but I never tire of Christmas music!!!
  • Watching It’s a Wonderful Life, our Christmas Eve movie!!  (Jimmy Stewart is ah.mazing…)
Donna and Jimmy’s onscreen chemistry deserves an Academy award!
  • Gathering with friends from church
  • The cold weather!  Here in Georgia, it’s finally gotten cold!  At my violin recital last night (I played the Bach Double Violin Concerto and loved it!), I nearly froze.  No kidding!
  • Watching ‘The Kid’ – a Growing Pains Christmas Special.  Discovered it earlier this year after reading Still Growing by Kirk Cameron (great read, by the way!) and really liked it!
  • Watching White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby!  Arwen started it for my little brother this morning before I got up and now we’re going to watch it again.  : )
  • Getting together with family members that I haven’t seen in ages!
  • Watching The Shop Around the Corner,which isn’t a Christmas movie per se, but whatever.  Like I said – Jimmy Stewart….  : )
Alfred Kralik (Jimmy Stewart): There might be a lot we don’t know about each other. You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth.
Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan): Well I really wouldn’t care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I’d find. Instead of a heart, a hand-bag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter… which doesn’t work.
  • Watching Holiday Inn.  No, it’s not a Christmas movie, but it’s got snow in it, which automatically makes it a Christmas movie.  Me loves it.  : )
  • Eating candy and cakes and cookies and fudge and every good thing!
  • Watching Little Women!!  (If I think a movie should be classified as a Christmas movie, who are you to argue with me?!  Need I pull the its-my-blog-I-can-do-whatever-I-want-with-it card?)
  • The fact that The Hobbit and Les Miserables will now forever remind me of Christmas!!  WAHOOO!!!
  • Watching Miracle on 34th Street!  Love that movie….  : )
  • Teaching my little brother about Christmas…. : )  I love listening to his reasons – “Jingle bells and presents!” – then helping him find the real reason – “Jesus when born!  And Santa Claus!”  (Well, sort of….  We’re still working on it.)  (Bunny trail….  Let me just tell you guys that he. Is. Adorable.  The fortunate few of you that have met him know how much personality he has!  Just the other day, he went out to eat with my mom and one of her friends and her husband, and this adorable little evangelist was asking the man, “Did you know that Jesus died on the cross?  And Christmas is about Jesus when born?”  And then, at a Christmas party after my violin recital, he stared at an older man for a long time, then told him, point blank, “You… are an old man.”)
My absolute favorite reason why I love Christmas, however, is the fact that it’s actually Christmastime once again.  I’ve heard that Christmas is when the world falls in love, and I know that’s been true when it comes to my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I could go on and on about how He didn’t have to be born in a manger – He’s the King of Kings! – or how many things I’ve learned this year, especially in the past month, that make me love Him more….  It seems like everything in my life is drawing me closer to Him!  From questioning why people don’t do certain things I’m involved in, like watching The Hobbit or actually celebrating Christmas and asking God to help me find the reasons why I do those things and not just settling for the easy answer (“Just cuz…”), to just learning about Him through church events, the Anger Resolution Seminar by Bill Gothard.  No, I’m not perfect (far from it, as you hopefully know!), but I can see myself slowly growing in my relationship with Him.  I’m forever thankful for what He did for me, for which, despite all the awful beating this holiday has taken from the media and marketing and millions of other sources, I’m forever reminded of this time of year.  It’s something I’ll still be thinking about a lot and I hope you’ll take the time to do the same.
Merry Christmas!!!

A Sort-Of Expected Party

Or, ‘The Post in Which I Include Tons of Pictures.’  (This is when Haley grins and greedily takes in all of the pictures.  Heehee….)

My birthday festivities started a few nights before the big day.  Like I said in my last post, I cleaned two houses, then came home and made my cake, staying up much past my bedtime.  But it was well worth it, as you’ll see from the pictures!!

I literally threw my party together driving to piano lessons with my mom, which is also when I came up with the idea for my cake.  My mom said something about us going to go see The Hobbit and I said if it came out a week before, I’d totally go see it for my birthday.  But, sadly….  I remembered that I’d wanted to have a hobbit-themed party when it came out, but, due to Christmas parties, now thought it was impossible.  Not so!  Hey, even if my birthday was like a week before The Hobbit came out, that doesn’t mean I can’t still have a hobbit-themed party!!  Instantly, images of hobbit hole cakes flooded into my mind and I grinned.  “Mom!!” I giddily exclaimed.  “I can have a hobbit hole cake!!!”

(This is when I say, “Non-Ringers/Hobbit fans: Beware of the abundance of hobbit-y pictures to follow.”)

Yes, I baked all this!  And all gluten- and dairy-free!  : )
Now, how does most of this make a hobbit hole cake?  I’m glad you asked!

That’s how.
(The two little circles flat on the cooling rack were for the windows.)

The windows and (adorable!!) door in the freezer.

This is how I did the top of the cake.  Messy-looking, right?!  I was a little disappointed and hoped it’d still work!

Almost done!  I think I took this picture right after I was ready to put the green-food-coloring-dyed-coconut-flakes on the wet icing, but realized they were still soaking!  Whoops!  I spread them out on a cookie sheet and stuck them in the oven, then tried to work on the cake while they were speed-drying.

The completed cake!  Ain’t it so cute?!  Not quiiiite like a real hobbit hole – everybody knows that hobbit holes don’t have vines hanging down from the grassy top – but I liked it.  Everything I made the cake out of was edible – and no fondant or marzipan!!  I don’t like fondant at all and all of the (five) pictures of hobbit hole cakes (very few – I had very little to base my cake off of!) were made out of fondant.  Yuck!

My green door with a knob right in the middle.  (At least that part is accurate!)
I’m very proud of it.  : )

Torn-up marshmallows and homemade icing-covered flax cereal.

My chimney!!  I made it out of Nutella, which I added powdered sugar to.

A hobbit-sized wood stack.  : )

My sign I put on top of the cake in the refrigerator.  At one in the morning, I thought it was very witty.

The morning of my birthday, my parents went out to eat breakfast with another couple.  “Us kids” had the house to ourselves and we made use of it.  : )

One of the best things about having a December birthday is the fact that my family can put their presents for me under the tree!!  I love it.  : )  (These are strewn out because my little brother and I had to feel and shake each one.)

The present that my littlest brother said was a bomb.  (It turned out to be an Avengers ball.)

Cutie-pie brother and I!

Me LOVES my Gamgee Landscaping shirt!!  (Take notice of the words around the ‘G’.)
You can buy your own on Etsy here.
Of the three scarves I got for my birthday, I’ll have to say that this one’s my favorite.  My younger sister knit it and even let me try it on a few times to see if it was long enough , then stashed it away.  The deal was that she’d keep it til Christmas, but then she found the movie at Goodwill and Mom said to give it to me.  : )  I got to wear it to church on Sunday and enjoyed being subtly geeky.  XD

This, apparently, is the face Arwen gave my little brother when he said he was going to tell me what he got me for my birthday.  A little blurry, but I love it!

After opening presents, we just hung around and watched Horrible Histories videos.  : )  This one’s my favorite.  (Special thanks to Anne-girl, who first posted the video on her blog!  One play and I was hooked!)  This is about the time that something occured to me….  I had an apostrophe epiphany and told my sister, “HEY!!  Rapunzel got a guy for her eighteenth birthday….”

My parents got home a while later and then we went to my grandparents’ house, where some friends joined us for more present-opening, games, dinner, half a movie, cake, and the other half of the movie.  (Ever After, if you were wondering….  If you haven’t seen it, hie thee to Netflix or some such entertainment-provider!)

Me opening presents.  So embarrassing with everybody staring at me….
(Sunday at church was much worse, however!  Everybody sang while I was up front after playing the final song with the rest of the the worship team!)

I’m planning on making some sort of sign to hang below it so that the “carry on” part is covered out.  It’ll be dry-erase or something so that I can write different ones depending on my mood.  I’m seeing, “Longbourn is lent at last!” or “and Call Sir Percy” or “Enjo has a Red Vest of Power and Awesomeness” or “Bilbo has joined The Company” or even “Hey, it could be worse – NJ could be Marius!” 

All the kids playing ImaginIff!  So much fun!
Our awesome P-A-R-T-Y plates that can spell a lot of different things (like ‘pray’ or ‘tar’ or ‘rap’) and are very useful for a great many varieties of candy.  : )


Sticking those candles into my work of art was one of the hardest things I had to do all day.

(But it could be worse….  See below.)

The Scouring of the Shire.  *sniff*

And that was pretty much my birthday!

Expect the next post I do to be a long, gushy, fangirlish post about The Hobbit.  Sadly, I’ll be cleaning a house, then going to two back-to-back Christmas parties on Friday, so I can’t see it opening night….  *sob*  But we’re going to the first available showing on Saturday!  (Right before a Christmas party at our house… which kind of means I can’t watch it twice in a row….)  I’m also really glad Les Miz isn’t coming out on December 14th….  I couldn’t handle the overload of awesomeness!!  : )

Still wondering why My Guy missed his chance to proclaim his love for me….

"These babies are FANTABULOUS! Absolutely indispensary."

I don’t normally do my nails, but in this case, that’s right.  They’re absolutely indispensary.  Check ’em out!!
First, for your viewing pleasure, my The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings inspired nails.

just practice nails, by the way.  I think they turned out pretty well for a first time!

And my Les Miz-themed nails.  I’m especially proud of my ‘4’.  : )

That’s what my hands look like right now, by the way….  Seriously.  One hand is for The Hobbit and the other is for Les Miserables, the awesome movies that are coming out in December (which is the best month of the year).  I did them while listening to the completely awesome and very creepy, yet still awesome three part Adventures in Odyssey episodes, “The Labyrinth.”

And it just so happened that the things I’ve been wanting to post about are Hobbit and Les Miz-themed, too!  How’s that for spontaneous planning?  : )

I’ll start with Les Miz.

Check this out!!  I nearly flipped when I saw it on Ally’s blog.  Remain calm – and don’t watch it more than three times in a row.  It’s not pretty.  (I may or may not be speaking from experience….)

So, yeah.  Pretty awesome, right?!  Amy did a second-by-second rundown of it, which I heartily enjoyed reading.

Aaaaaand… there are some pretty awesome posters floating around the Internet!  I found a few more the other day, available here and here.  Javert looks a little weird, but that’s okay because the red ‘Javert’ below him totally makes up for it.  This one has to be my favorite, though.  Uber cool.

On to The Hobbit!!

This video came out today and I’ve already watched it a few times.  Sure, it’s only thirty-three seconds long, but the dialogue between Bilbo and Thorin is sooooo awesome.  (And I can’t see Thorin without saying, “It’s Thornton!  Look back at me….”)

I knew there was a place where you could watch the trailer with alternate endings, but we were never able to get them to load.  And I just found them!  Huzzah!

But the thing about The Hobbit that I’m most excited about is the music!!  I just listened to the entire soundtrack today.  In it’s entirety.  The whole thing.  All. Of. It.  And It. Was. Ah.Mazing.  Here is the link for you.  It’s an hour and forty-five minutes long and the pause button doesn’t work, so I’d suggest you find something good and looooong to do – like math and chemistry and Greek – and listen to it.  A few times, if you want to.  And let your school take even longer because you’re thinking about what the track titles mean.  (‘My Dear Frodo’?  Wassup with that, PJ?)  My personal favorite songs are all of them, with an emphasis on all of them, but especially ‘My Dear Frodo’ (First the Hobbiton theme, then it’s creepy!  Whaaaaaa?), ‘The Adventure Begins’ (It’s so fast-paced and hobbit-y!  “I’m going on an adventure!”), ‘An Ancient Enemy’ (Whoooooooaaaaa….  Deep and ominous – that’s how I like it!), ‘RADAGAST THE BROWN’!!! (This one is SO COOL!  The electric violin takes the stage and it equals awesomeness.  If you don’t want to wait to listen through all the other songs, just click here.  It’s awesome.  And amazing.  And awesomeness sauce.  All rolled into one.), ‘Roast Mutton’ (Again, so hobbit-y, but with a dash of foreboding), ‘The Hill of Sorcery’ (Looks like I need to read the book again…  And the Radagast the Brown theme is in here a little – awesome!), ‘Warg-Scouts’ (There’s a great John Williams-esque brass part in here, with another pretty awesome cello/bass/timpani solo.  So cool!), ‘Riddles in the Dark’ (Which I can’t wait to actually see!!  Anyway.  This song captures Gollum to a ‘T’!  All those tremolos in the string section totally add to the creepiness!  And the really long, gradual crescendo at the end – chills, y’all.), ‘Brass Buttons’ (The Warg-Scouts theme in the middle is awesome!  I’m dying to see the footage and dialogue during this one!  Plus, the end is so awesome. All those grand pauses, then the continuation of awesomeness….  Golly Pete.), ‘Out of the Frying-Pan’ (Golly, jeepers!), ‘A Good Omen’ (Great song!  And a really creepy ending – here’s hoping we’ll see Smaug!), then the extended scene song, ‘Dreaming of Bag End’ (The pennywhistle did a little bit of the Hobbiton theme, but a lot of it was new, which I loved!), which was right after ‘Song of the Lonely Mountain,’ the credits song.  (And boy, is it worthy of some kind of award!!  It totally embodies dwarves and Thorin and The Company.  I loved it!!  I won’t tell you how many times I listened to it….)  You can listen to ‘Song of the Lonely Mountain’ here, by the way.  It’s got to be one of my favorite songs on the album.  That and ‘Radagast the Brown.’  If you only have time for a few songs, go listen to those.
Wow, that was a lot.  I hope you guys take the time to listen to that music, though – it’s totally worth it!!  If you’ve already listened to some of the songs, whatd’ya think?!
And all this news about Les Miz!!  Goodness gracious.  The month of December is already awesome enough (what with Christmas and parties and concerts and recitals and *cough*my birthday!!*cough*) and now it’s going to be even greater.  Wow.  I can’t wait.  I’m going to be reading The Hobbit and probably (hopefully) Les Miserables during my month-long Christmas break (I’ll shout it from the rooftops, I don’t care – I love homeschooling!), so that’ll keep me busy until all these awesome movies come out.  Sighhhhh…..
What about you guys?  Are you as excited as me?  Or is it just me…?
Hoping I’m not the only one REALLY EXCITED about this December….
(Oh, yeah….  Bonus Awesome Points if you can correctly guess where the lyrics in the blog post title come from.)

Behold… It’s a personal concert!!

In lieu of the fact that there is a Ramin Karimloo concert going on tonight about an hour away from my house (and I’m not there… *sobs*), I’ve decided to host my own Ramin concert, complete with videos, compliments of YouTube.

Enjoy. : )

Till I Hear You Sing from Love Never Dies
Here’s a wonderful song to start us off. It’s the first song I heard Ramin singing and I fell in love with his voice the moment he started singing! Great song from an otherwise not-so-great musical…. : )

The Phantom of the Opera/The Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera
These are two of my favorite songs from Phantom! I love this version from the 25th Anniversary Concert because Sierra and Ramin are so great together! (And Hadley isn’t afraid to yell, either…. C 🙂

Wandering Child from Phantom of the Opera
I can’t say how much I love Ramin’s version of this song! No words for how much I love the way he scoops the notes…. Pure bliss! (And this version has Hadley’s part [whoops, I mean Raoul…] in there, too! Also, check out Hadley’s face when the men are saying “Secure!” He looks so scared!) And I love Ramin’s evil laugh…. : )

Comparing Phantoms – just to prove that Ramin is one of the best Phantoms ever!! (And that last one…. Ick.)

One Day More from Les Miserables (Hey, might as well start with the best!)
Ramin is the best Enjolras I’ve ever heard! He comes in with a BANG! right after everyone’s parts lead up to his perfectly. : )

One Day More (Encore) from Les Miserables
I love the look on Colm’s face!

Bring Him Home from Les Miserables
I just found this song…. Love, love, love! : )

(If you want to find out what “never happened on the barricade,” click here. Love the look on his face – HA!!)

A Little Fall of Rain from Les Miserables
Didn’t know he sang this, did you??? (Sure beats a Certain Version I know of…. *cough, cough*)

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Miserables
Another recently-found-yet-already-in-love song!!!

And… to be completely random yet totally awesome….

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning! from Oklahoma!
(And, yes, he is playing the banjo, and, yes, that is Hadley Fraser in the matching shirt jamming out with another guitar!)

Hope you enjoyed listening to all of these Ramin Karimloo songs as much as I did!!!!

Les Miserables, Part Five: The Pièce de Résistance

My favorite part about going to see Les Miserables was not the costumes or the sets or the songs or the actors or the story or anything else (although all that came in a very close second!).

The absolute best part, for me, about seeing Les Miz was…

Meeting the actors!!!!!

No joke! I actually got to meet most of the main actors and get their autographs!!!

Let me tell you how I got to do this insanely wonderful thing. (Before I do, please know that I count myself extremely blessed!!! And that I’m not trying to rub it in, I’m just very excited that I got to do this and want to share with you guys!) My friend who also goes to The Fox to see musicals always comes back with autographed stuff be it a bag or a mug or a t-shirt. Always. She even came back from a Celtic Woman concert with all of their autographs on a t-shirt! Anyway, about a month before the day we were supposed to go, I emailed her, basically asking how on earth she always got autographs and if I could. She emailed me back a few days later, telling me that it wasn’t a VIP thing but that anyone who wanted to could. (I’m like, “This is joyous news!! Tell me more!!”) She gave me detailed instructions on where to go to get the actors’ autographs and I thanked her. A lot. : )

So I ended up getting most everybody’s autographs. : )

But guess what else?! (If you haven’t already fainted, you will now.)

My grandma was standing by with a camera!! (Someone get smelling salts!)

So. If anyone is still conscious, I bring you…


: )

Arwen and I, insanely excited while waiting behind the “Barricade,” as a staff member called it. (I giggled when I heard it. HA!) We were some of the first to get there, so we were some of the first to get autographs!! (On our side at least. There was another line on the other side of the back door and sometimes the actors went down there and I got nervous, thinking they would forget about the people on our side!! They didn’t, though… for which I am eternally grateful.) : )

Me and Chasten Harmon, who played Eponine.

Jason Forbach, who played Enjolras, and you can barely see Joseph Spieldenner in front of me, who played Grantaire.

Laura Wiley (Cosette) signing my program. She went down the line on the other side of the door and after she was done talking to everyone down there, all of the actors had gone by and she was one of the last to walk down the street. We ended up walking beside her and got to talk to her for a while! She’s really nice and very soft spoken, which you wouldn’t think after seeing her as Cosette.

The cute and insanely talented Joshua Colley, who played Gavroche. He still had makeup on his face, but I could tell that he didn’t care!

Arwen and me with Max Quinlan, who played Marius. AHH! He was so nice and talked to us for a few minutes, too! (And I liked his curls.) : )

Then, we waited for Andrew Varela to come out. As you may recall from the multiple times I’ve told you, he played our Phantom back in ’09 and I couldn’t wait to tell him what a great job he’d done with both roles! I spotted him and did a little bounce, then watched as he went down the line on the other side of the door. We got to talk to other people, so it passed the time a little, but I couldn’t wait to meet him.

Then, he finally came to our side of the line. : )

Telling him that he’d played our Phantom!! (I look weird in this picture, but I love the look on his face!)

Arwen and me with Andrew Varela, who played Javert!!!

And this is the only picture I have of us with Peter Lockyer. (This is the way he looked in the first few songs, by the way. Afterwards was a wig… and I still can’t believe it! He looks so different in this picture, doesn’t he?) We actually talked to him for a while, asking him how he liked Atlanta. He said it was great, but he was still looking for the place with the perfect biscuit. We laughed and my grandma said, “My house. Or my mom’s house.” And he said, “Yeah, that’s what people have told me!” (I forgot to ask him if he’d been to The Varsity, which doesn’t have biscuits, but is still really good and a must-visit.)

So here’s my program, now made complete because of the awesome autographs on it. (If you double-click, it’ll open up bigger.) : )

And that’s it! The great secret that I’ve kept for these (many, many) months while I’ve done this (insanely long) series of posts on Les Miz. I still can’t believe I’ve kept it a secret for so long because it was literally the best part about going to see Les Miz.


Interview with Author Amy Dashwood!

Hello, everyone! Almost recovered from the awesomeness last Saturday? : )

I’m here today with budding authoress Amy Dashwood, who has recently published her debut novel, Only a Novel – which is an unassuming name for such an awesome novel. (Amy doesn’t know this yet, but I got my copy in the mail yesterday and stayed up until – well, I won’t tell you how late, but it was late! – reading her wonderful book! I’ll most likely do a review sometime soon, too, so watch for that.)

Anyway, Amy graciously let me do an interview with her! I’ve been on pins and needles to see her answers to my questions and I hope you’ll enjoy the interview as much as I did!

First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, for starters, what I know about myself isn’t really worth telling, but if you’ll let me tell you what I imagine about myself… oh, very well. I’ll stick to facts. If you insist. But I’ll try to make the facts interesting.

I am… saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, homeschooled since kindergarten, the oldest of five children and a wearer of glasses. 😛 I absolutely love communication, whether it be through talking (ahem), writing or blogging—and I do all of those all the time! I wear socks almost year-round, I obsess over chocolate, and I like things that smell good. There, that’s a little bit about myself. 😀 (Oh, and I use far too many smileys for my own good.)

Will you tell us a little bit about your book Only a Novel?

Elizabeth Markette has always led a quiet and privileged life under the guardianship of her wealthy grandmother. But when her grandmother dies and leaves twenty-one-year-old Elizabeth alone in the world and nearly penniless, she’s forced to earn her own living for the first time in her life. Taking inspiration from her favorite British novels, she sets sail for England to seek a position as a governess. Before she can do that, however, she is (rather abruptly and overwhelmingly) befriended by a lonely and slightly eccentric young socialite, Lavinia Bancroft, who introduces her to the sparkling world of London society. Yet Elizabeth still feels the need to make her own way, though once she actually acquires a position, she begins to have doubts as to whether she’s actually qualified. The children she’s teaching don’t seem to like her, the housemaid seems far too eager to be friends—who wants to be friends with a housemaid?—and the stable hand keeps interfering with the children. Elizabeth’s one hope and consolation is that somehow, some way, Mr. Darcy will come riding out of the mists very soon indeed to save her from a life of respectable servitude. There’s just one problem—where is he?

How’d you come up with the title of your book? Did you come up with it in the beginning, before you started writing, or after, when you were finished and knew exactly what your book was about? (It always takes me forever to decide names for my novels…. I’m notorious for having an untitled novel months after it’s finished….)

Originally, my novel was supposed to be titled What Would Elizabeth Bennet Do? Thankfully, my family and close friends talked me out of that. 😀 I usually take forever to title things… in fact, I have an entry in my journal from December 2011 that expresses my frustration at not being able to find a perfect name for “the Elizabeth story”. I hit on Only a Novel after realizing that my story mirrored Northanger Abbey more than Pride and Prejudice—that is, the heroine is much more like Catherine Morland than she is like Elizabeth Bennet. Slowly, she begins to realize that life doesn’t always play out the way it does in books, and that a fairy-tale-perfect story is something that appears in only a novel. (Not to say that real life can’t have a happily-ever-after, of course, but I’d better hush up now before I spoil the ending.)

When did you start writing and what was the very first thing you wrote?

I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.
~P.G. Wodehouse

That quote, one of my favorites, is actually pretty true for me. My first work of fiction was an epic tale entitled “The Bobbsey Twins and the Blueberry Contest”, written at the age of five 😀 for a school assignment. It incorporated all of my spelling and vocabulary words and recounted the adventures of—you guessed it—the Bobbsey Twins, as they picked blueberries for a contest. And celebrated Thanksgiving. In the same day. I don’t think I was particularly knowledgeable about fruit seasons as a kindergartner.

Do you write in the same genre all the time, or different genres depending on your mood or what you feel like writing?

Different genres depending on mood and feel-like, definitely. 😀 Sometimes I feel dramatic and sometimes I’m silly and sometimes I’m in between, and I have stories going for all three moods.

Do you have any advice for writers, either novices or experienced?

Can I steal a quote to answer this? Ray Bradbury once said, “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” My advice to anyone is to write the story that you want to tell. Don’t let it bother you if you think no one else will be interested. Just write it, for crying out loud. The people who like that sort of thing will find it the sort of thing they like, and the people who don’t like that sort of thing… well, did you want their approval to begin with?

And the ultimate writerly question – what’s your cure for writer’s block?


Um, in a more serious vein, I don’t actually have a cure. Sad, I know. I write when I can, and when I can’t, I complain and slam my head into a pillow. And wait until the Inspiration Strikes Again.

Writing questions aside, what do you do in your free time?

You’re going to be sorry you asked. 😀 I adore reading and I do it whenever I can. I spend waaaaay too much time on the computer, what with blogging and e-mailing lovely people and—surprise!—writing. I’ve recently been bitten with the sewing bug, and I also enjoy crocheting and knitting. Cooking is one of my favorite things to do, too, and cake decorating is the one way in which I can be artistic. I go to the library a little too frequently—ahem—and I love taking long walks and bike rides.

How long have you been homeschooled?

The technical answer to this is “since kindergarten,” since that’s when school is supposed to begin, but I think a more honest answer would be “all my life.” My mom’s been teaching me since day one. 😀

(Because we all know it’s virtually impossible to read one book at a time….) What books are you reading?

At the moment, I’m dabbling in… Opera for Dummies, Emily of New Moon, A Tale of Two Cities, The Redemption of Sarah Cain and Sewing and Collecting Vintage Fashions. Eclectic mix, no?

And you like period dramas! What are a few of your favorites?

A few? A FEW? I have to list only a few? Eowyn, how can you do this to me? Oh, all right, fine. Just understand that these aren’t my only favorites… there are SO MANY more, but I’ll spare you.

~Pride and Prejudice (1995)
~Emma (2009)
~Little Dorrit (2008)
~The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)
~Wives and Daughters (1999)

Musicals! Do you have a favorite?

I do indeed! It’s a really, really long one, an operetta of sorts really, based on a very long and classic book by Victor Hugo… you’ve probably never heard of it. Does the name Les Miserables ring any bells? 😉

Cake or brownies? (I love random questions….)

Cake, cake, ‘eavenly cake.

I’ve read that Sir Percy and Mr. Knightley are both tied for first on your Top Ten Favorite Literary Heroes list! What is it about them that makes them tied on your list? Why don’t you like one above the other? (I only put Sir Percy above Mr. Knightley on my list because he saved hundreds of innocent people from their deaths. You can be chivalrous [Knightley, heehee] without saving people, though, and that’s what very nearly kept me from ranking one above the other and, instead, making them tied on my list, too! Ha, ha – my question paragraph might be longer than your answer….)

Asking which I like better (Sir Percy or Mr. Knightley) is like asking whether I prefer strawberries or corn muffins. They’re so very different that it’s practically impossible to compare them, and yet they share the very best attributes and that’s why they’re both my favorite. I admire Sir Percy’s bravery, dauntlessness, and self-sacrifice—yet he’s not quite so realistic, in my mind at least, as some other heroes. (Eeeesh, I’m dreading the slaughter I’m going to face from the Leaguettes after this.) Mr. Knightley, though not perhaps as amazing and awe-inspiring as Percy, is a true gentleman in every sense of the word. When and if I get married someday, I want to marry a man who’s just like Mr. Knightley. (A guy who’s just like Sir Percy would be great too, but face it, there aren’t THAT many guys out there rescuing helpless aristos from the guillotine.) Does that make some sort of sense? Don’t kill me, Janeites. Put down your swords, Leaguettes. Please.

Last question – in a nutshell, please tell us why exactly that you like writing. What inspired you to write?

As to why I like writing… well, “good question.” (That’s code for “Let me stall for time while I think of a good answer.”) There are many, many reasons why I love writing, but the biggest one is probably that it’s just plain fun. Sure, there’s often blood-and-sweat-and-tears involved, but overall, it’s one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things I do.

As to what inspired me to write, the answer is short, sweet and simple: books. I love reading, and from a very young age I was determined to write lots of books when I grew up so I would always have plenty of reading material. As Tori Morrison said, “If there is a book you truly want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

Thank you so much for answering my questions!

Thank you so much for hosting me! This was amazing!

Miss Amy Dashwood is a daughter of the King of Kings, a homeschooled seventeen-year-old and a lover of books, period dramas, chocolate, long bike rides, babies, teacups, historical costumes and fiddle music. Only a Novel, her first full-length work of fiction, chronicles a year in the life of Elizabeth Markette, a young woman with a head full of books who takes on a job as a governess after the death of her grandmother. Only a Novel is available for purchase and you can find Amy at either of her two blogs, Yet Another Period Drama Blog and The Quest for Stories.


Les Miserables, Part Four: My Experience

My experience seeing Les Miserables was varied. I’ll be completely honest and say that I can’t say whether I liked it or not. I mean, I loved it, but there were things that I left almost appalled at. But then I think, ‘Oh, but it was so good! The actors, the sets, the songs, the story, the musical itself…. But the language and those certain scenes…. Argh. Why can’t I make up my mind?!’

Maybe I should start from the beginning….

Getting There
The day before the twenty-eighth, we went to a Walk for Life and had a lot of fun looking at all of the booths and listening to music. The whole time, though, I kept having to tell myself to calm down! We left at about nine and got to my grandparents’ house at about ten and stayed up talking about how different things – including how excited we were and about, of all things, “bad words” in movies and musicals – then went to sleep at about midnight. We goofed off and did random things until we had to go. (We were almost late! Time sneaked up on us!)

Arwen, my grandma, and I got in the car nearly hopping with excitement – well, me at least. : D We drove and drove and drove and I felt like we weren’t going to be able to get there on time! At first, we almost couldn’t find a parking spot. We drove all the way up to the top of the parking deck and found a spot on the very top deck. We rode down the elevator, walked across the street, and into The Fox – after a brief detour at the window display of clothing, of course. I told Arwen that we’d come back after the show and take pictures of the outfits. (After all, I wouldn’t know whose they were we saw them in the musical.) Arwen and I speculated as to whose they were for about three minutes, then ran inside and towards the souvenir table. I’d saved up money for months, knowing it’d be expensive, and had already looked on the Les Miz website to decide what I wanted to get. I ended up getting a (pretty awesome!!) t-shirt; Arwen got a (very awesome) mug that says, ONE DAY MORE!, and we split the souvenir brochure. (I still haven’t told my mom how much we spent…. I don’t think she wants to know! Arwen says it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it’s okay that we spent so much. And it was totally worth it, though – I love all of it!)

Arwen and I were at the souvenir booth for about ten minutes, standing off to the side to try and decide what we wanted to get. I saw a younger boy, probably about nine or ten, getting a t-shirt with his mom. The man running the booth asked if this was his first musical, to which he replied, “No. I’ve seen The Lion King before.” “Oh, really?” the man said, folding his shirt and sticking it in a bag. (If I didn’t have much money, I’d have just given the guy a few dollars for the plastic bag!) “This is more of an adult musical,” he told the little boy, who just smiled and walked away. I hoped his mom knew what was in Les Miz… I certainly won’t let my younger brother watch it until he’s much older – much older. (And married….)

The Musical
Was epic. Need I say more? Well, I will – because I want to. (And it’s my blog, anyway!)

The backdrop was a picture of a mist-shrouded town with a bridge at the bottom. ‘Javert’s bridge!’ I instantly thought. In the middle were the words Les Miserables with Victor Hugo right beneath them. I started bouncing in my seat. I borrowed someone’s phone – Arwen’s or my grandma’s, I can’t remember – and called my house. Nobody picked up and it went to voicemail, which pleased me greatly. I screamed into the phone as quietly as I could and hung up. “You just screamed into the phone?” Arwen asked. “Well, yeah – wouldn’t you?!” (She said she was as excited as I was, but, like Elinor Dashwood – who I say she is very often – she didn’t show it. I, like Marianne, had no problem showing my emotions and telling my grandma over and over again just how happy I was to be there – after all, I’d waited for nearly eight months!)

The lights went down a few minutes later and the musical started. I just sat back and watched – through my grandma’s opera glasses, that is. It was so good. So amazing and epic in all senses of the word. Everything about it was great – the acting, the actors and their amazing voices, the sets – everything. (Oh, and I forgot to say it in my music post – in “On Parole/The Bishop,” when Valjean sings, ‘Drink from the pool – how clean the taste!’ Peter Lockyer did such an amazing job portraying so much emotion while he drank from an invisible pool, all alone on the stage! ‘Never forget the years, the waste!’ He jumped up and nearly started yelling with the next words, ‘Nor forgive them for what they’ve done – for they are the guilty, every one!’ Taking a deep breath, he finished, saying with hope in his voice, ‘The day begins, and now let’s see what this new world will do for me!’ [And, yes, I wrote all of that without looking up the words or listening to it. I’m one of those weird musical-lovers that memorizes the words to every single song as soon as she can. I even had the words to one of the songs in Daddy Long Legs after I’d only listened to the song about five times – in a row. ‘And you might not be rich for that much longer…. But I’m pretty sure you’ll stay tall, so I’ll call you dear Daddy Long Legs, Old Daddy Long Legs….’ Really like that musical! Random and not Les Miz, I know. Soary….])

The only thing that dampened my excitement it was all of the language and all of the visual things that went with songs like “Master of the House” and “Lovely Ladies.” I won’t go into much detail, but I’ll just say that I will be taking a strategic bathroom break if I go see Les Miserables in December. (The Hobbit or Les Miz?! Decisions, decisions. Why not both? Okay. : P)

And then in the middle – after the intermission. Ooh. I didn’t get out of my seat during the entire intermission – I just sat and looked at my t-shirt, hoping it would fit, then looking through the program and all of the pictures. (Some of the actors weren’t “ours,” but that’s okay. I just wish I could find the pictures to put them up here!! Argh…. Anyway….) The way they opened up the second act was sheer genius and very original. I know I’ve already said how, but I’ll say it again – they started with the music. No warning whatsoever – no dimming-of-the-lights, no nothing. Just the huge, “Bum, BUM!!” I was like, “Sweeeeet!”

I walked outside with Arwen, totally in awe over what I’d seen. There was a hint of something else, too, though. I can only describe it as being kind of bummed-out and disappointed that they’d had to add all of that other mature stuff. : P

Other than that, though, I knew I was happy. Totally glad that I’d gone, too, because now I finally understood the story!! I absolutely loved everyone – Valjean, Gavroche, Enjolras (Duh – who doesn’t like him?!), Eponine, Javert… and even Marius. *ducks flying tomatoes* I’m sorry, but it’s really just something you’ll have to see for yourselves to understand – the whole thing and not just listen the music. (Which is, like, the entire musical…. But that’s beside the point!) Go see Les Miserables in December and watch the expression on Marius’ face – the genuine and completely sincere love he has for Cosette, even after seeing her for just a few seconds. (Speaking of, I don’t know about Cosette. I understood her story a little more and the reasons she fell in love with Marius, but she’s still a little bit of an airhead….) I’ll get off my soapbox now.

In Conclusion
If there wasn’t so much language, I’d say it was my favorite musical by far! It’s because of the language and the certain scenes that I can’t say it’s my absolute favorite. It’s very close, though – very close. I wouldn’t tell you not to go see it – I think it’s totally worth seeing. I’d just warn you about a few parts and send you skipping on your way to the theater. Strategic bathroom breaks, everybody. : D

We took a few pictures of all of us, then, afterwards, we went to the window display of costumes and I took a dozen pictures. : D Enjoy! (The last one – Javert’s coat – didn’t turn out so well, but I’m adding it because it’s funny. Heehee – can you find Javert’s coat?)

The window display…. *sigh*

Me, extremely excited!

Cosette’s dress. *sigh*

Arwen was going crazy! “Look at those gathers! Oh, and the buckle!!”

I think this is Valjean’s coat. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong!)

Can you find Javert’s coat?! (I’d have taken another picture if I knew it’d turned out this way….)

Arwen, my grandma, and me, in front of The Fox. *sigh*

But then… what happened after… wow. I’m pretty sure that was my absolute favorite part of the entire afternoon, maybe the week! But… to properly tell all that happened – including pictures – I’ll have to save that for another entire post. I’m simply dying to tell you guys everything, so it will not be as long between parts four and five as it was between parts three and four!!


The Random Post

Above, my mutant Independence Day peach cobbler. It was better than it looks!!

I’ve been debating writing this post for a while. I don’t necessarily like writing random posts because, as you all probably know by now, I tend to get a little long-winded. Ha! I’d love to do an entire post on each little thing happening, but I’m not that long-winded!

So. Here we go. The Random Blog Post. It’s full of random things. I’ll be skipping from one subject to another. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you….)

First off, I’m super excited about My Fair Lady at Proms 2012! Anthony Andrews as Professor Higgins!! That’s enough to get me excited – listening to Sir Percy, uh, I mean Anthony Andrews’ version of Professor Higgins, which has been greatly acclaimed… pictures, at least. (No sound or video clips… but it won’t be like that for long!) Can’t you just hear him singing, ‘I’ve grown accustomed to her face….’? Can’t wait!!!

And I just looked at the updated My Fair Lady page – guess who’s also starring as Alfred Doolittle?! Alun Armstrong!! And Jenny Galloway as Mrs. Pearce! *happy sigh* My younger brother is having a friend over, but… I think I’ll step out. : P

I just found a way to actually listen in – hope it’ll work!!! If not, I shall be one very sad, very disappointed, and very cranky Anthony Andrews fan. : D

Second, heehee…. I don’t think anyone at church last week knew I was a Jedi. Ha! *crickets* I guess I should explain.

I am not a Star Wars fan. Never have been, and probably never will be. There’s just something a leeeetle weird about “The Force” to me…. Anyway, I just got a new phone (Woot! No Internet, though… I got it so I could text a little faster than I was using a flip phone.) and one of the first apps I downloaded was a lightsaber app. Please don’t ask me what posessed me to get it – I don’t know. (But just because I don’t like the movie doesn’t mean I can’t like the special effects and music, right?)

Okay, so I’ve been letting my little brother play with it. And he loves it. He rode in the car for an hour and played with that app the whole time – just changing the colors and type of lightsaber the entire ride! That was two Saturdays ago. I thought I had a good idea going when I told him that he could play with it in church the next day. *sigh* Silly me.

He sat in my lap for the first part of service, then when the sermon started, I pulled my phone out, double-checked the volume to make sure it was on vibrate, and handed it to him. He gave me the hugest and sweetest little smile and then tapped on the hilt of the lightsaber. The laser-blade shot out… complete with the sound effect. AHHH!!! I could feel myself blush as I snatched my phone away and turned it off, then handed him his Bible. Argh. I knew I’d turned the sound off! Weirdness…. My other brother just kept staring at me and silently laughing. *frusterated sigh* After church, Arwen told me that the lightsaber shot out right as Dad turned on the laser pointer and pointed it at the screen. So it looked like the church’s laser pointer was equipped with an awesome sound effect…. *facepalm* Thank goodness that our church is really small – only about eight families and seventy-ish people total. So I didn’t embarass myself that much… well, not really. *facepalm again* Moving on to a less embarassing random topic….

We’ve started listening to Adventures in Odyssey again! We had a really nice Christian library where we lived before and they had all of the AiO albums. We listened to almost all of them, then couldn’t when we moved two states away. Anyway, we decided to buy a few albums at a conference a few months ago and I’ve really enjoyed listening again. It’s not very often that you get funny, suspenseful, Christian entertainment such as radio dramas or movies! I’ve been trying to keep tabs on good indie Christian films in development so that I can see them and actually feel good about something I watched in a theater. (I’d recommend October Baby and No Greater Love – two lesser-known indie films. And there’s also the Sherwood Pictures films…. But I really enjoyed October Baby – maybe even more than Courageous? Scandalous, I know….) Anyway. My younger sister is auditioning for the AiO Get In The Show! contest and I’m really hoping she wins… and that has nothing to do with the fact that you get a lot of the albums if you’re in the top twelve! : P

Some of you may or may not know, but I’m a hopeless TV show addict. Old TV shows, specifically. Hogan’s Heroes, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Waltons… I love them all. I also recently discovered Growing Pains! It’s really fun to see Kirk Cameron as a teenager. (And after reading Still Growing, I sort of had to watch the show because he talked about it a lot and got my curiosity aroused!) I don’t know if I could recommend GP, by the way, because there are a few questionable subjects such as dating. The ones after Kirk became a Christian – Season Three and beyond – are better. You can really tell! (But, if you’re looking for a really good TV show to watch, I’d totally recommend The Dick Van Dyke Show. Extremely clean and very funny. But, hey! It’s Dick Van Dyke!!)

Ooh, and speaking of movies…. We watched Captain America for the first time a few days ago! I think Captain America is my favorite superhero, too! (Out of the half-half-dozen I’ve seen, anyway….) Heehee – we were watching it and I kept recognizing people. “Hey, look!! It’s Mr. Thornton!! And that guy from Amazing Grace – the Duke of Kent!! And Elrond!! And that guy from the Kit movie!! And Mace Windu!!” But I totally lost it when Dominic Cooper appeared. The mustache threw me off, but when he said, “We are ready,” I knew who it was. “It’s Willougby!! DON’T TRUST HIM, STEVE!!!” I seriously had my doubts about him for the entire movie… but he was trustworthy. : D He was funny, too.

All in all, I really liked Captain America. My dad used the remote and bleeped out (most of) the language. (Donations to the ClearPlay/TV Guardian fund are welcome….) I really liked all of Steve’s values, which were very different than most people’s today. And that scene when he told Maggie that he was waiting for the right partner? *sigh* Me likes.

On my novel…. I haven’t written since I finished my 50k words! I’m starting to go through withdrawl… I can hear Nikki and Alec calling me… weird, right? I’m going to work on it sometime soon – really soon. Maybe while my younger brother’s friend is here…. I don’t know. Anyway, excerpts are coming… just as soon as I can figure out how to do excerpts. Does anyone have any pointers on that? I just can’t figure out what to put up here! Definitely not the whole thing – it’s not nearly ready – but I don’t want to do too little. Just how much, though?! : P

And my dress for the ball is very nearly started. Heehee. And the fourth part in my Les Miserables series is in the works! Do not fear – it shall come!!! Soon, too!!

If you’ve made it this far… you should be commended. Thanks for listening to all my ramblings. : D