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Sunday, February 26, 2012

1940's Era Costume Drama Spotlight

Are you languishing the minutes away, trying to determine how you will spend
your evening, the last before a busy week starts?
Twirling your hair in frustration?
Racking your brain for possible solutions?

yeahh.
Probably not. 
I am sure you all have wonderfully exciting and busy lives.

However in the off chance that you find yourself quite unattached from social
obligations tonight and choose to spend a sedate evening at home...
let me provide you with some in-home entertainment options,
in this week's Costume Drama Spotlight

We're going to go with a theme here...
WWII Era  is the thing.

The first spotlight centers on four girls who join the Women's Land Army in England,
Land Girls the series
The first season follows the lives and loves of these girls as they learn 
what it means to work hard for their country, planting and harvesting crops, selling produce and
managing a working farm on the grounds of Hoxley Manor and Pasture farm.

There are three season to view, the last two seasons see the Manor transforming into a war hospital as new girls join the work force and servicemen come to convalesce.

I have not finished watching the whole series yet but the episodes 
I have viewed have been very entertaining.

For a more in depth review of this series, my friend Rissi over at
 Scribbles, Scripts and Such can give you more dirt on this lovely.

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 The next spotlight is on the 2005 Masterpiece Theater production of:
Island At War
This 6 hour mini-series is based on actual events of the departure of British troops and the subsequent invasion and occupation of a German command force onto the British Channel Islands just miles from England's shores. It follows the stories of what it must have been like for the families who decided to remain there to live and work instead of fleeing to England.

True fact: when Hitler took the Channel Islands, he boasted that he was "wiping his boots on the doormat of England." 
Of course, he never was able to advance any further...

 This series follows quite a few characters, including a mother and her two daughters Angelique and June and their friend, Zelda as they attempt to keep two shops open for business whilst trying to avoid raising the ire or excessive attention of German soldiers who have turned their lives upside down.

It also follows the Island's lead government official and his wife who previous to the invasion were about to split up but since these life changing events they have decided to stay on the island together. They must grapple with housing the lead German officer and his men inside their very home.

Lots more stories weaved throughout.

This movie provided a very fascinating glimpse into what life was like for these stalwart Islanders.

Check this one out if you get the chance...


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Last, but not least, I wanted to leave you with yet another 
WWII events inspired movie called
Sarah's Key

It follows a present day American journalist's investigation into the lives of a
french family who were seized in the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup in Paris, 1942.

I had never heard of this horrible event prior to seeing this movie and I was very much surprised to
learn of what happened in that city.
The French police in German-occupied Paris rounded up 13,152 mostly non-French Jewish immigrants and refugees and their French-born children and grandchildren and shipped them
off to work and concentration camps in that year.

This story is unique in that the focus of these events are seen through the perspective of
little Jewish girl named, Sarah.

The story toggles back and forth between present day and past as the journalist
begins to uncover many long-hidden secrets about Sarah's family
and the unexpected link to her own.

The more she uncovers, the more she begins to question and reevaluate her own life, for the better.

I'm not going to lie––a tissue box is a necessity when viewing this film.
But I feel some movies and the history that they portray should be seen.

Despite the tragedies, great courage and valor, is always close at hand.

This movie was very well made and I would highly recommend it.


Let me know your thoughts on these picks and if 
you've seen any of them!

Happy Viewing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Literary Heroine Blog Party!

Announcing the 2nd Annual Literary Heroine Blog Party!

Hosted by Kellie over at Accordion To Kellie

It is open from Feb 16-29. Questions to answer and prizes are located at the link above.

I had so much fun answering these, I think those of you who enjoy reading should definitely join in!

Kellie has a brilliant, eclectic blog chock full of good stuff. And she lives in a tent.  

How cool is that??

1. Introduce yourself!
Well...
• if you pass me on the sidewalk, you may not look twice.
i'm quite an ordinary girl
 with an inordinate obsession 
for books, the written word, and
sheafs of paper bound by a threadbare binding.
ahh yes.
if they could bottle the smell of that musty paged treasure found 
in a forgotten bookstore nook,
i'd buy it!   
yeah. that might be a little weird.
but then i didn't say i wasn't.
• drinking beverages, particularly hot ones, with friends
in coffee shops and music venues, long walks or just crashing at 
home with a good movie is my idea of a grand time.
• my plan is to strap my turkey sized cat, Mr Matty Pancks onto my back
and trek across the globe in hot pursuit of a meaningful life devoted to serving God,
running a successful business and surrounding myself with all things vintage loveliness.
_________________________________________________________________ 
  
2. What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?
a heroine is flawed. she recognizes this somewhere down the line. 
she grows. allows herself to change. takes risks. falls hard. gets back up. 
lives and learns. loves hopelessly. and loves truly. 
she is a woman of brilliance wrapped in a cloak of ordinary.
identifiable.
a true heroine is every woman, no?

_________________________________________________________________ 

3. Share 4 heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.
1. Eowyn who single-handedly slays the Witch-king of Angmar in JRR Tokien's LOTR
She desperately wants to be part of the action with the menfolk and courageously defend her home, despite colossal odds against her. I would have booted Merry off his pony and rode along with her.

She also gets to marry hunky Faromir–not too shabby either.
When the Witch King is taunting her with a prophecy that no man will slay him, how cool is her response: “No living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and king. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you if you touch him.” (Return of the King, 1955) Suh-weet
2. Jane Eyre had such a brutal childhood but she grew up to be a poised, compassionate woman of principle and morals and remained without bitterness (even returning to care for her evil dying aunt) and then forgiving Rochester for his deceit and lies and gave him a second chance even though he was missing like half his face in the end.
I would have liked to be her friend :)

3. Anne Shirley was a red-headed GENIUS. She was a lonely little orphan who confronted life with the sheer force of her imagination and fiery personality. 
And she liked to bop boys over their heads with slates. 
This sounds fun to me.

4. Agnes Grey was the title character of an Anne Bronte novel. Loved how she boldly
faced a new future as a governess despite her family's misfortune's and persevered through the rearing of a bunch of rich, savage children whilst keeping her humor and sanity.
She knew who she was, not based on status or how society saw her and in staying 
true to that, managed to start her own school and catch 
the eye of the man she had loved from afar.
 A plus!
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4. Five of your favorite Historical Novels?
1. the Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
2. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
3. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte– a must read!
4. Evelina by Francis Burney– absolutely brilliant
5. all historical novels by Julie Klassen :) Love her!

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5. Out of those five books who is your fav main character & why?
okay, does anyone NOT think Sir Percy Blakeney (the Scarlet Pimpernel)
 is the height of dapper, dangerous, heroic, and excessively cool 
in all of his alluring male literary character-ness?

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6. Out of those five books who is your fav 2ndary character & why?
uhhhhh...thinking...
book number 3– Shirley, is titled after one of the characters so Caroline Helstone would technically be considered 2ndary than right? 
if so, i pick her. 
i felt so sorry for her, pining away and all alone in life, despairing of all happiness but 
she rallied and in the end well, you will just have to read it to find out what happens to her :)

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6. What would your dream vacation look like?
Dream vacation would consist of this,


including little bit of this,


and a whole lotta this,

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7. What's your favorite time period and culture to read about?
 I love the late 1700's around the French Revolution and Americano  Rev–good stuff.
But then I also love Victorian culture and historical novels.
Okay, narrowed down to the 1700's and 1800's.
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8. You have been invited to perform at a local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?
oh dear.
it would be horrors for you to hear me sing,
and i certainly wouldn't be considered funny–unless you were considerably tipsy,
so i'm going to go with recitation.

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9. If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?   
 ohh yes please. how fun would this be?
well, pshaw, Lady Marguerite Blakeney, of course.
because then i would be married to Sir Percy.
Duh.
_________________________________________________________________ 

10. What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?
 chocolate is a prerequisite to a deliciously scrumptious life.

_________________________________________________________________ 

11. Who is your favorite author(s)?
well, the above mentioned authors, need do apply.
 
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12. Besides essentials, what would you take on a 
visiting voyage to a foreign land?
   my SLR camera, 
a Tea Kettle, 
my Bible, 
Mr Matty Pancks, 
oh, and my lovely sister because I 
like to drag her along with me everywhere I go.

_________________________________________________________________ 

13. In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is…
the ultimate hero besides Sir Percy, I'm going to go with...drum roll...Sherlock Holmes
because he was a crime solving, death defying superstar!

_________________________________________________________________ 

14. Describe your ideal dwelling place?
• a cozy and quaint hovel. [I just wanted to use the word "hovel" in a sentence].
If I had endless money I would buy an old, dilapidated house with lots of character and fix it up
like this one.
 or this lovely is nice,

• but then sometimes I'm in the mood for living in a city townhouse near central park
like this one,
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13. Sum up your fashion style in five words.
absolutely chic, constantly evolving Vogue-a-licious
:))
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14. Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name?
Yes. If you are a writer, please use names the general public can pronounce without
having to look for a bottle of Tylenol after seeing it on the page a hundred times. 

_________________________________________________________________ 

15. In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...?
the great and all seeing Eye from Lord of the Rings, 
to be supplanted 
only by Lady Catherine De Bourgh.
_________________________________________________________________ 

16. Three favorite Non-fiction books? 
currently:
Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson
Radical by David Platt
always:
The Bible

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17. Your duties met for the day, how would you choose 
to spend a carefree summer afternoon?
 exploring through not often traversed trails and meadows would be lovely,
followed by a lovely seafood dinner, including mandatory chocolate anything dessert.

_________________________________________________________________ 

18. Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a 
way as will best portray your true character.
shimmery black silken wide brimmed hat with a voluminous bow adorning the top
(not sure how this could portray anything to do with my character but it certainly would be cute :)

_________________________________________________________________ 

19. Share the most significant event(s) that have 
marked your life in the past year
my beautiful, lovely giving and compassionate mother passed away.
my life can never be the same.
but I am thankful that I am a better person for having 
had her example and love in my life for as long as God blessed us with her.

_________________________________________________________________ 

19. Share the Bible passage(s) that have been 
most inspiring to you recently.
1 Peter 4:8-11 New King James Version
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
_________________________________________________________________ 

The End.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Costume-ey News and Blog-ey stuff

Happy Weekend Friends :)

I have been in a work-sleep-writing binge this past week. Spent quite a few hours researching and creative writing lately. Something I completely enjoyed. 

Currently reading: Don't Murder Your Mystery
and it's got a lot of really good, relevant writing tips and techniques in there.

Mr. Pancks finds it rather stimulating as well.
It does suck up a lot of time though. I could get lost in it for hours, if I don't watch out.
It would be fun to do a story writing blog party on here some time. If anyone would be interested in that let me know :) 

I might just do it anyway, even if no one else wants to, just so it gives me something to work towards :) heehee Ashley over at Adventures of Newlyweds  did one recently and I missed it! Very sad. But it was neat to read all the entries.

I'm starving right now and this puts me in mind, since I am Italian, I am making pasta for dinner. I just qualified that dinner choice by adding my heritage to justify in my head–my insane consumption of all things pasta and sauce-related but let's face it, I think I would still be a fiend for it even if I wasn't a swarthy, rather large schnozzed, italian bread eating junkie. 
It's who I am. 
Badabing.

Found this cute sneak peak for the Downton Christmas Special and had to post it.
Isn't Matthew adorable in this??

Should be airing in US soon, I admit to already having watched it online.
It was WONDERFUL
and wraps up some story lines very nicely :)
 ________________
You may have noticed I added a page at the top header entitled
and it brings you to a page that has a compilation of all the
movies I have spotlighted on here so far.
Just in case you may have seen something you liked, but
now can't find the posting.

There it is, all in one spot and you're very welcome to peruse at leisure.
 ________________
 
Second Series of Upstairs Downstairs is on its way!
Did you watch the initial three-part mini-series?

I watched shortly after Downton first aired, and while not my favorite mini-series, might be worth a second viewing in the second season. It will be airing in the UK in the fall, so we US'ers will
have to wait a bit longer unless we stoop to subterfuge.
Not that I am advocating that :)

That's all for now, folks.
Will post again shortly.

The End.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Medical Work and Night Shift Blues


I was sitting in the parking lot of Panera's yesterday morning around 730 a.m. after getting 
off from a lonnng night of work. I was waiting for my sister to meet me 
and mulling over life choices I've made and were about to make.
Stimulating, I know, but I had to keep myself awake, somehow.

Once a week, my sister and I have a little tradition to meet up for breakfast there.
Have you tried Panera's Artichoke and Spinache Egg souffles? 
You must.
Absolutely delish.

I was trying not to think of how stinking cold it was outside.
The kind of cold that sucks the breath right out of you.
Slices right through all three layers of clothing.
My actual bones were turning into icicles.

Why when your car is sitting parked and idle does the heat not work as well
as when you are driving?
This is very cruel, auto building/makers...


As I was sitting there,
I came to the very definite conclusion that
my job saps the very life force out of me.
No lie.

Every single shift I work, as soon as I enter the hallways of
the hospital I feel the heavy curtain drop.
Life sapping systems: COMMENCE and CONVERGE on that
short girl who just walked through the double doors.
Bam.
Every time.
Casualty 1900s
Look, it's a given. Working in any medical profession, we tend to see people at their worst.
Very true.
However, after working in the medical field for the past ten years,
both pre-hospital (EMS) and in-hospital (ED), 
being patient's and their family's verbal punching bag is starting to take a hefty toll.
(I had at lease 3 such encounters on this past shift--hence my need to vent and
subsequent desire to bash my head against the wall)   

Seeing people always at their worst = Bringing me to the point that I'd like to rip my hair out alongside of them in frustration at all of their frustrations.
Bursting into uncontrollable tears with the very much alone, elderly lady at the sad decline of her life. And then erupt into hysterical laughter in front of the 19 year old, upon hearing of his idiocy.
You shot yourself up with what cleaning fluid???

My decision not to go back to nursing school–probably a good idea, in this case and at this time :)
I feel the word burnout, might soon apply.

Seriously, though, there are and always will be aspects of this job I love, don't misunderstand.
There is nothing quite like being there to help reverse a bad situation and make it better.
The bond that forms between you and co-workers as you step into the grisly and griddy "trenches"
day after day, is unlike many other professions.
Seeing things one shouldn't have to see and deal with 
and try and fix, over and over again.
It's tough.
It's often gag-worthy.
Can be very rewarding.
But also very costly.

Maybe I just need to get off night shift too.
That might help.
Although I love the peoples I work with.

Everything just seems more drawn out and taxing on that shift.
Eating "lunch" at 2 in the morning just feels wrong.
Could it be because humans ARE NOT nocturnal??!
Hello.
No one should have to be awake at 330 in the morning.
No.One.
Why can't life just close down at a certain time?
Everything go into pause mode, until the sun rises?

How sweet that would be :)

So to all my fellow medical workers
and
busy bee night shift-ers,

I salute you!

[and thanks for reading this fun filled diatribe:)]
The journey home to my pillow :)







Friday, February 10, 2012

The Glass Virgin meets The Wingless Bird


Annabelle LaGrange is a sheltered little girl, brought up in a rich country home, 
and very much a daddy's girl.

That is until one fateful day when she uncovers secrets about her 
father, a glassworks manufacturer, that change her opinion of him forever.

With only her father's groomsman, Manuel (Brenden Coyle–love him in this!) 
as a best friend growing up, Annabelle is unaware of rumors 
of her actual parentage until fast forward ten years when she turns 17.

Her world comes crashing down when in a fit of anger her father tells her she is
actually the daughter of a harlot house Madam. Her prospective suitor 
overhears and assures her no one will marry her now,
including him.

This week's Costume Drama Spotlight is on the 1995 adaptation of
Catherine Cookson's 
The Glass Virgin

Her father meets with an untimely accident and no one else is willing to take her in so
Annabelle is forced to leave behind her privileged world and convince 
Manuel to take her with him so she can find some kind of work to do.
Not that she has ever done a stitch of it in her lifetime.

He reluctantly agrees to help her and so goes this story. 

Full of adventures and heartbreak, 
trials and love born from true friendship,
I found this story to be very engaging and I was really rooting
for this girl to get a new life together and overcome the obstacles she faced.
It reminded me just a little of Tess of the D'urbervilles–only with a better ending :)

 _______________________________________________________________
Two for one today, folks!
The second spotlight is the 1997 adaptation of another
Catherine Cookson novel:
The Wingless Bird
Agnes Conway is a shop girl in the time period around WWI [think Downton Abbey :)].
She comes from a middleclass working family.
Her father is an alcoholic with a raging temper. 
Her sister gets herself pregnant and in trouble.
Her mother depends on Agnes to run the family businesses.
And Agnes is always the one called on to fix her family's troubles.

Then one Christmas Eve into the sweets shop pops Charles, a rich gent and journalist.
She falls in love.
So does he.
There are family obstacles to overcome on both sides due
to such an unequal match.

Charles has a brother.
He meets Agnes and let's just say, he understands how 
his brother came to fall in love with her.
He's smitten.
They become just friends.

Then the war happens.
One brother joins the army.
The other one remains at home, a conscientious objector.
Sickness and other trials happen.
And through it all, Agnes excels.
She is good at defying societal conventions.
She is confidant in who she is.
And rises to the challenges thrust her way.

This is a thoroughly charming story, and while yes, it is rather slow paced,
I thought that fact added to the quiet allure of this film.
It has a very satisfying love story woven throughout.
And I feel like I really do step back into 
a bygone era whenever I
watch it.


I would highly recommend seeing either or both of these, 
and as always I'm interested in what you think and if you've seen or read either of these!!!

Happy Viewing.

Friday, February 3, 2012

George Elliot's Daniel Deronda

This week's costume drama spotlight is on the 2002 BBC adaptation of a George Elliot novel.

Written in 1876, Daniel Deronda, was her last completed work.

This classic follows two different story lines based on two very different people: Daniel Deronda, the wealthy ward of Sir Hugo Mallinger and spoiled Gwendolyn Harleth who have a chance meeting at the beginning of the story and then whose lives weave together and diverge throughout the rest of the tale.

Daniel is smart. He is compassionate. But when it comes to the direction he should go with his life, he is unsure.

Gwendolyn is beautiful. Used to getting her way. Not above using manipulation. And determined to save her family from destitution by marrying rich.

Daniel, while attracted to Gwen at first, starts to question whether or not she would be a good match for him. He ends up saving a Jewish girl, Mirah, from drowning in the river one day. She is on the run from her father who was trying to sell her off to some nasty dude.

Mirah can sing and play the piano beautifully. She is in London trying to find her mother and brother. He agrees to help her. He is drawn to her Jewish heritage and meets many fascinating people in the Jewish community.

Daniel begins to wonder if his connection with this new found culture and religion is more than just an affinity and begins to dig into his past and find out who his parents really were.



I liked this movie.

It kept my interest which is always a plus.

The characters were well played and the storyline was fascinating and not completely typical of your usual Victorian storyline especially with the added component of a religious faith and what it was like at that time period for the Jewish folk in London.

I love Hugh Dancy. Romola Gari was great as Gwen. And Jodhi May did a lovely job as Mirah.

Oh and Hugh Bonneville is in this (He is Lord Grantham on Downton Abbey). Although I was a little scared of him in this :)).

You can rent this movie online or buy it through all the usual outlets.

I would give it two thumbs up!

Let me know what you think and if you've seen this one!

The End.




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