Monday, May 20, 2013

It's Not Just 'Liza Doolittle Day Today...

{{aka Amy Couldn't Think of a Better Post Title}}

First of all, Happy 'Liza Doolittle day to one and all!  If you don't know what that's supposed to mean and haven't seen My Fair Lady... perhaps you should go watch it. If you have seen the movie but are still confused... well, just go re-watch this part. I would celebrate by watching My Fair Lady again today, except for the fact that I want to save it to watch during The Event which is to happen in 50 days; that is the other occasion today marks, and it far surpasses even the day when England sings the praises of Eliza Doolittle. It is exactly 50 days until... well, before you know that, a story is required to be told.

This, my friends, is The Story of Amy and Melody. Told by... well, Amy and Melody, naturally.

It all began on a bright autumn day in 2011 when a girl by the name of Amy started blogging under the pseudonym of Miss Dashwood.  Things didn't start to happen merely because this brilliant young lady had decided to start a blog of wit and humor and thought-provoking writing.  Nope, that was only part of it--the real reason that Things Began to Happen was that another young lady by the name of Melody came to visit and commentate upon the blog (a kind favor in return for Amy's having recently followed HER blog, and for the charming comments she'd left there) and became the first commentator and follower on Amy's newly-created blog.  And that, gentle readers, is when it began.

Because this was no ordinary acquaintanceship maintained over blog comments and courteous once-in-a-while interaction.  Indeed, it snowballed quite rapidly into an exchange of email addresses, which led to manifold emails, which led to the tentative exchange of phone numbers, which led to a (slightly) nerve-wracking phone conversation (well, only nerve-wracking during the first thirty seconds or so) which led to MORE and MORE and MORE emails and phone calls and before you could say "two are better than one," these kindred spirits had formed a fast, firm, long-lasting, super-duper, extra-special, indubitably swellissimus friendship.

And in case that doesn't give you a detailed enough idea of the manner of our friendship--as Mr. Bennet would say, "read on!"

When a person wishes to indicate they don't have a romantic interest in somebody, they say that they are "just friends." Just friends, eh?  In our (very humble) opinions, they rather underestimate friendship. Perhaps they momentarily forgot--or have never been able to find out--just how meaningful friendship can be.  Probably the latter... not many have the chance to discover a friendship that goes beyond ones usually met with (which are nice in themselves). One that is a series of continuous delights, that adds new definition to one's life in general, that never grows old, and where the bond only strengthens; where you feel as if your friend is another part of you, and without them you would feel like something was missing. They probably never got to know somebody and found their thoughts, feelings and understanding to be so in tune with each other that it was like they were always meant to go together.

But though these two young ladies knew their friendship was something incredibly special, one seemingly insurmountable, nearly overwhelming obstacle still lay between them: many, many miles.  The United States is a pretty big place (oops, we just told you we both live in the United States--our privacy is RUINED!) and, as life would have it, these kindred spirits live practically as far apart from each other as the country allows.  Yet there was only one thing to do--pray, hope and plan for a face-to-face visit . (Oh, wait, that's actually three things.) Someday. Somehow.  Somewhere.

And so the cautious suggesting of the idea to their parents began. (Initial reactions? "Well, I don't know about you going to see HER... but if she wants to come visit us, she's more than welcome!") As did the saving of money.  The discussions over the phone, Skype, email and good old-fashioned letters (did we mention they did those too?).  It seemed so unrealistic at times, almost a pipe dream, and at other times it seemed something that simply MUST and would happen, come what may. If the force of sheer willpower could do it, circumstances would have no choice but to obey.

Let's cut to the chase.  After many months of speculating, praying, dreaming, wishing and calculating, it happened.  Airline tickets were purchased.  Days were marked on a calendar.  And we stand (well, sit--when we're not busy jumping up and down, of course) here today delighted, thrilled, over-the-top SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE-ing to announce that Amy is going  to visit Melody in just fifty days.  FIFTY DAYS, PEOPLES. (In case you don't want to have to do the counting, we'll just tell you that it's happening on July 9th, 2013.)

 How excited do you think we are? Okay, take that and multiply it by fifty, make it all-in-caps and throw in any number of exclamation points, and you might be coming close.

*waits a few moments for the news to fully sink in*

And that is why we are not watching My Fair Lady on this Eliza Doolittle Day. Because, you see, we will be watching it in less than two months. Together. IN REAL LIFE. (We consider it to be our musical, you know. For reasons unbeknownst to all of you and that would take too long to explain. Did we mention all the private jokes and such we have? Well, yeah, that was probably kind of a given... and don't even get us started on all the nicknames and acronyms. Your head would swim.)

As for the rest of our plans... well, let's just say we have QUITE a list. (There are a lot more period dramas to be viewed too, by the way.) Will we be able to complete everything on it? Heh, extremely doubtful. But we're as sure as certainty going to try our best. :D It's going to be the craziest,  eight days (EIGHT WHOOOOOOLE DAYYYYYYYYYS!!!!!!!!!) of our lives; we intend to make the most of every single second with each other.

Just a small sneak-peek at some of the things we have planned...

~Have an elegant party where Amy can meet all Melody’s friends
~Go picnicking at a park
~Talk by candlelight at night
~Jump on Melody’s trampoline
~Visit a bookstore and read titles aloud to each other in dramatic voices and poke fun at the silly Jane Austen sequels
~Poke inside fun books such as the old Sears catalogs and look at old clothes
~Each get our own journal beforehand to write in the whole time, and then at the end we switch them and each have the one the other wrote (awkwardly phrased, but you get the idea)
~Play such delightful games as Beyond Balderdash, Imaginiff, Identify That Soundtrack and Clue
~Act out favorite scenes from period dramas and books
~Go English Country Dancing (SQUEEEEEEE!)
~Go to the mall to try on clothes and window-shop and sit on a bench and crrrrrriticise people
~Camp out in the backyard
~Play The Seaside as a duet on the piano (Amy needs to start practicing that...)

And, of course, we intend to post during the visit and keep y'all updated.  Writing blog things together? Well, indubitably! That's how we met, isn't it?  Can we just say again how thrilled and excited we are????
"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."
~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

All of the above was written by Us Together-- now it's just Amy (your usual host) putting in my two cents.  I'm not going to take up this entire space squealing and being immature (though I'm happy to do so if anyone wants to see it) but I AM going to go on (and on and on) for a wee bit about how thrilled to tears I am.  

When I first started blogging I never dreamed I'd make as many friends as I have (and I'm thankful every day for each one of you!) and certainly never imagined that one girl in particular would become such a part of me, such a kindred spirit, such a truly one-of-the-race-that-knows-Joseph as to make me wonder how I ever survived without her in my life.  I honestly pity those of you who don't yet know Melody-- and all I can do is give you a link to her blog and tell you to go meet her.  

The bond between Melody and myself is more than just a shared love of Jane Austen, classic literature, period dramas, strawberries, Carol Ryrie Brink books, Edwardian fashion, My Fair Lady and silly pictures of cats.  It's a sisterhood in the truest sense of the word (as we're both daughters of one Heavenly Father), an understanding of what makes each other tick, a sense of sharing thoughts without even having to speak them, a feeling of being absolutely free to be oneself and not worry that the other will be annoyed.  

It's a link that spans hundreds of miles (literally), a knowledge that what makes one of us laugh will undoubtedly give the other a giggle as well, a comfortableness with each other--though we've never yet actually met face-to-face--that enables us to be silent on Skype or the phone at times and not feel the teensiest bit of awkwardness.  

Melody and I have laughed together, confided in each other, shared sorrows and joys and every kind of imaginable craziness in the nineteen months we've known each other.  And yet I know full well that we still haven't plumbed the depths of our friendship, that we still have so much more to learn about each other, so many more adventures to take and things to do.  The prospect of the eight days together in July is making me so happy, so elated, so awed and thrilled and chilled, so very full of squeeeeeeee, that I honestly don't know how I'm going to get through the fifty days that remain until then.

Is it too soon to start packing?
“There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one’s self, the very meaning of one’s soul.” 
–Edith Wharton

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lazy Blogging at its Finest

I know, I know.  I'm doing two tags in a row.  Lazy blogging at its finest.  But I promise you that there will be a lengthy movie (well, okay, TV show) review up on here by the end of this week and that you may tie to.   This is the famous Elevensies tag coming 'round again, and though I've done it before, my darling Eowyn was the one to tag me this time and her questions looked fun so I couldn't resist.

You've all seen this done before, I expect, but I'll list the rules anyway-- I have to give you eleven random facts pertaining to moi, answer Eowyn's eleven questions, tag eleven people and come up with eleven questions for THOSE people to answer.  Here goes.

I'm horrid at coming up with random facts about myself, and to be honest, what I know about myself isn't half as interesting as what I imagine about myself so we're going to do something different today.  You'll get eleven random facts, yes, but here's the catch-- some of them are truth and some of them are whoppers.  Your job is to discern the "Things That Actually Happened" from the "Things That Prove Miss Dashwood Probably Needs Professional Help."

Eleven True (And False) Random Facts About Me

1. I have visited the Grand Canyon.
2. I am lactose intolerant.
3. I received my first marriage proposal when I was five.  (This proposal was declined.)

4. I once met a famous Olympic gymnast.
5. My parents gave me a Labradoodle puppy for my eleventh birthday.
6. I have scars on my right arm from when a tree branch fell on me last summer.
7. I wear both glasses and contacts (but not at the same time).
8. My favorite Enjolras is Aaron Tveit from the 2012 Les Mis movie.

9. I have "flown" in a hot air balloon (okay, it was tethered; your point?)
10. I got caught once in a train door (the sliding kind--it closed on me as I was going in.  Painful, but no lasting damage).
11. I really, really want to take part in a flash mob someday, but haven't yet gotten the chance to do so.

Eowyn's Questions

1. What was the most recent movie you've seen and what did you think of it?

Cars 2 was the last one I watched, but it wasn't for the first time so I don't know if it counts... anyways, I really enjoyed it.  I mean, Pixar, people.  What's not to love.  I'm really not a racecar kind of girl (I get more amusement out of the fact that the word's a palindrome than from actually watching the sport) but I like the movie anyway.  It's much more character-driven than machine-driven (heh, heh, heh, pun intended) and I'm just happy every time Mater, Luigi or Guido show up on screen.  "Hey!  You done good, you got all the leaves!"  Oh, and Jedediah McQueen's hilarious too.

(I know, I know, this quote's from the first movie.  :))

2. Would you rather live on the beach or in the mountains?

Beach all the way.  I would be quite happy to get a little house in Cape May (or another equally cute and less tourist-y seaside town) and live there forever.  Ocean breezes, sand and seagulls, biking on the boardwalk... yep, I could get used to it.  Guys, I want a lighthouse.

3. What's your favorite Disney Princess and why?

Belle, hands down.  She's the bookish one.  :D  That library in the Beast's castle is to drool for.

4. What's your favorite book?  (Or, if you can't decide, what are your three top favorite books?)

Eowyn, I always knew you were a kindred spirit.  Top three-- THANK YOU.  Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

5. Would you rather live in Narnia, Middle-Earth, or 1860's England?

Being hardly at all acquainted with the first two choices and quite fascinated with the third, I'll go with 1860's England.  :D

6. Who is your favorite movie or book character?

Eowyn, all that stuff about being a kindred spirit-- I take it back.  HOW can you DO this to me.  ARGH.  Um.  We'll go with the book I'm reading right now and say Jane from Jane Eyre, with the understanding that this answer is subject to change as soon as I start something new.  Heehee.

7. Have you ever heard of Focus on the Family's Father Gilbert Mysteries?  If so, what do you think of them?

I've heard OF them, but haven't actually heard--that is, listened to--them.

8. If you could pick anywhere in the world, where would you want to live when you get married?

Well, I talked about the beach in another answer, so I'll say something else now... hmmm... well, if it weren't so far from my family and friends, I'd go to Ireland!  To be honest I love the idea of globetrotting-- I don't necessarily mean traveling and "seeing all the sights" but packing up at a moment's notice and moving to a brand-new place, be it small-town Mitford or the Scottish highlands or New York City.  Of course I also like the idea of settling down and living in the same place for years and years and years and creating lots of memories.  I suppose to answer this properly I'll just be sappy and romantical and say that I want to live wherever my true love is.  There.  Laugh if you must.

9. What's your favorite musical?

Ummmm.... thinking REALLY HARD here...

10. Cake or ice cream?

'Eavenly cake!

11. How many times have you been to Disney World?

I've actually been there three times.  Once when I was two and so young I didn't appreciate it--literally cried when I met the terrifying creature they call Mickey Mouse--once when I was almost twelve and definitely old enough to appreciate it and once when I was sixteen, ditto.  My aunt used to work there, and it's always been a pipe dream of mine to get a job being Mary Poppins at those character meet-and-greets (my phobia of costumed people has worn off, by the way).

Center of photo in the blue flowered rompers-- yep, that's yours truly in 1997.
My Eleven Questions

1.  Have you ever eaten caviar?  If so, what was it like?  If not, would you be willing to try it someday?
2.  When did you first learn to ride a bike?
3.  Elizabeth Gaskell or Charles Dickens? (I leave Jane Austen out of it, we all KNOW she's the best...)
4.  What's your favorite long/interesting/complex word?
5.  Put your music playing device on shuffle and tell us the names of the first three songs that come up, no skipping.
6.  What's the funniest dream you ever had?
7.  How many plays have you seen performed live? (School plays and amateur productions totally count.)
8.  Mexican food, Chinese food or neither?  Why?
9.  Is there a name that you consistently mispronounced for years and then finally heard someone say it out loud and felt completely mortified for saying it wrong all that time?
10.  Which Les Mis character are you?
11.  What's your favorite board game?  (it doesn't have to be an actual BOARD game... technically Bananagrams isn't a board game, but you know the genre I'm talking about)

And I Tag...

Marie (private blog)
Lily (private blog)
Belle (and Addy and Emma)
The Young Sage
Eowyn (she said we could tag back)
Miss Melody Muffin
Ally (though I know she's done this tag loads of times already)

To anyone else who wants to do it... my comment box is open and waiting!  And to close off this higgledy-piggledy post, I leave you with a chuckle...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Childhood Memories Blog Party Tag

My lovely blogging friend Hayden is hosting a Childhood Memories Blog Party this week, and she posted a fun tag for everyone to take part in, so since I'm out of town this week I thought I'd schedule this to appear while I'm gone.

First: name 5 childhood memories that bring a smile to your face.

1.  Gravitating to the swingset in our backyard with my sisters whenever we went outside-- no matter what we ended up doing, we always started at the swingset.  Often just sitting on it and not actually swinging.  :D
2.  Playing endless games of paper dolls with Anne-girl in our basement-- some of which involved actual stories taking place, and some of which involved putting paper clothes on the dolls and taking them off again.  Over.  And over.  And over.
3.  Oooh, there was that time a cat ran into our house from the great outdoors, and somehow it managed to squeeze itself under my mom's hope chest, and Anne-girl (who was about three) freaked out when she first saw it but then decided that she wanted to keep it forever and was quite, shall we say, dismayed when the cat was chased out by Mom.
4. Going to the library.  Need we say more?
5. Pretty much any kind of "pretend game"-- Anne-girl was and still is THE BEST at thinking up pretend games.  She came up with the ideas and I followed blindly.  Well, okay, maybe sometimes I had my own opinions.  :D

Now: answer the questions.

1. Was there a particular game that you played with your siblings all the time?

Any kind of pretend game, really-- Anne-girl had a series of imaginary lands that she developed in great detail and we'd go exploring in them almost daily.  The last and greatest of all was Jewelbank, and it was amazing.  We dealt with mean orphanage matrons, birthday celebrations and weddings, insurrectionists trying to overthrow the government... yep, good times.

2. Did you have a special toy/item that you dragged around everywhere you went?

When I was a toddler I had a Madame Alexander baby doll that I called Goosey, who was sadly left behind on a camping trip in 1998 and lost forevermore. Copious tears were wept on that day.

3. What was a movie/ TV show that you were obsessed with as a child?

We didn't have a TV when I was little (still don't) and my movie-watching was pretty minimal, but my sisters and I loved the Little Bear show (we have a huge collection of Little Bear VHS tapes) and Mary Poppins, So Dear to my Heart and Peter Pan were favorites in the movie world.

4. Did you have an imaginary friend?

I did not, unfortunately-- I was an unimaginative child, I'm afraid.

5. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A restaurateur, to begin with, then a nurse.  Now I'm a seamstress and a nanny. Who'd-a thunk it.

6. Who was president when you were born?

William Jefferson Clinton.  Whoop-de-doop.

7. Any song associated with your childhood?

Hmmm... my dad used to sing "I Love You a Bushel and a Peck" to me when I was very small, and I still love that song.  We sang the Davy Crockett theme song in the car all the time when I was in my first years of school, and Disney songs have always been favorites.

8. Something that scared you as a child?

Fires freaked me out.  I still firmly believe that all the fire safety information little kids have to learn is traumatizing.  I had major anxiety issues about house fires.  Also large bugs, dogs with pointy teeth, and--stop, no more, you'll just UPSET me!

9. What’s the food that you like now but back then just wouldn’t eat?

I used to hate rice and broccoli but now I love both.

10. Was there any Christmas or birthday gift that you really, really wanted and went crazy about?

I was nuts about the American Girl dolls (weren't we all?) and my grandmother gave me Samantha for Christmas when I was seven.  I was over the moon-- and even more so because she came with the treasury set of all six books (in one volume with gold-edged pages).  She's still my favorite American Girl-- and I do confess to re-reading the books now and then.  Er, frequently.  Cough.

Thanks for the fun, Hayden!