Thursday, December 10, 2015

Stagecoach (1966)

This is not a proper review. It's a rambling collection of the reasons why I love Stagecoach (1966). But fear not, the list is not an exhaustive one so -- while long -- it does have an end. The main reason why I did not first post it on High Noon is that I simply had to post it with my “Dallas” header! Which said header, by the by, I love to pieces.

Hence, I'm not going to discuss the scenery (which is scrumptious and grand), nor how the story differs from the 1935 B+W version (which it does in so many ways), or how it is different from the original short story (which I haven't read for a long time :)).

Instead, I'm just going to talk about the characters, because they are simply... wonderful and lovely and brilliantly done.

Keenan Wynn as a Villain.
I first met him in The Absent Minded Professor, so technically I should have been prepared, but repeated viewings of Royal Wedding have somewhat altered my go-to impression of him. But oh he's delightfully disturbing in this role (not as in "disturbing" disturbing), but just rather delightful astonishment and awe at his talent.

Bob Cummings as Gatewood
Another favorite actor whose comedy I love and yet here he's great as a very rude villain. Of course he is perfect at being irritating and completely hilarious at the same time.

Hatfield... and Mrs. Mallory... and the Doctor and oh... everyone!
All are just perfection. Honestly, I love every single one of them. And Slim Pickens as the driver? Very, very fun. Mrs. Mallory is concisely proper, but not naturally unkind in temperament. (As a side note, both she and Dallas have similar coloring which, while rather amusing, still doesn't bother me in the least as they are both so beautiful)! And the Doctor! “Hey, it's Bing Crosby!” Before this I had only seen snatches of him via White Christmas and viewing those bits I found it impossible to meld his rather tragic expression with his humorous performance and actions, but his portrayal of the doctor totally reconciled the two in my mind and I enjoyed it in the extreme.


Ringo and Dallas (aren't those the neatest names?)

Ringo is so normal and "everyday-ish", he truly does seem like someone whom you might just happen to meet any day (which said meeting would turn into an exquisite day). And that, my friends, is a very nice feeling indeed. And there is this really neat part indeed with him and the stage horses involving a thunderstorm and a mudslide.

Dallas is tough, yet with a vein of deeply hidden sensitivity running underneath that flashes out at times and only needs encouragement and a bit of tough love mixed with tenderness to draw it out. And (not to give anything away of course), that is exactly what a Certain Person gives her. And Ringo and Dallas together? Too… Much... Sweetness! He makes her laugh. Not a forced little giggle, but a beautiful and true laugh. She draws him out, too. Believe me, together, their relationship is absolutely adorable.

But it's not really the end... because there is so much more. More to be savored and sighed over, dreamt and written about, and of course those are the very best stories. And that is why this one is now one of my Top Five Favorite Westerns... and one of my Top Ten Favorite Movies, too (not that I can say what the other nine are, but I do know this is one :)).

Yes, I'm in raptures, because (to paraphrase the Abbess in Sound of Music) it's just that kind of story.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Things of Beauty: September - October

 (This post was actually written on November 14th. :)) 
Two weeks into November and I haven’t done my last collective yet. I left my blog notes at home and that changes a great deal. So much of September and October were wrapped in feelings: anticipation, imaginings; a mind too busy to think about anything else but thinking. Perhaps that’s not grammatically correct, but neither was my state of mind and now everything is being mixed with November. Ah well, that’s life. :) 

via pinterest
Very Favorite Things 
Lark Rise to Candleford, mist shrouded mornings, 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene, playing with new workout routines, planning, eating chocolate chunk cookies, a breath snatching story idea (hence the choice of photo above), Stagecoach (1966), new kittens (1 orange + 1 black = perfect for fall), blood quickening Celtic music on a rainy afternoon. 

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A page here, a sentence there; in other words, not much and my writing inspiration is suffering for it… not to mention my pride as a bookworm; however, I left for my vacation with three old favorites: Riders of the Purple Sage, Summer Moonshine, and A Tangled Web. 

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Empty Rifles: a personally tingly piece of flash fiction, I’m not sure if it is going to go anywhere, but it has been with me a long time and I’m indescribably glad it is written. 

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Fall-ish and cool you know. And the colors… Rather nice actually. In other words it has been the ideal weather for my favorite season. 

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Chocolate Chip Oat cookies from Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon. (Her recipes are heavenly.) Vegan, refined sugar and (technically) gluten–free and they taste like boxed cookies, only fresh. Scrumptious indeed. Just writing about them makes me hungry and I have socializing to do tonight so I could really use the comfort… and I’m sitting in a hotel room miles away from a kitchen. 

via pinterest
Lark Rise to Candleford 
We have only seen the first two seasons, but I think I’m in love. In fact it’s one of my favorite period dramas ever. Especially in regards to Season 1 Episode 6. 

Mentioned by a friend at church months ago it wasn’t until late September that I actually tried it and it was amazing. And I didn’t skip a single day. The satisfaction was great I do assure you.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fall Thoughts and Other Nice Things

November is upon us and right now I'm travel-across-the-nation whirlwind busy. (And the travel across the nation bit is perfectly literal and am I ever loving it!)

Travel is the cream to my coffee (never mind that I don’t even drink coffee, but I do love the smell and seriously, who doesn’t love the persona of the elixir?)

But honestly, I am just trying to let “everything” go and saturate myself in these next two weeks.

Reading, studies in the car, re-connecting with long lost, relations (OK, not quite long-lost but still it feels like it has been too long since we have seen them), close time spent simply hanging out and laughing (there is always lots of laughing in the car!) with my parents and sisters, Heidi in an old friend’s wedding, windswept western prairies, mountain passes, good long heart to heart visits with Clarkson and Elise (believe me, I am so looking forward to being able to just sit down and have long writing times!), seeing new faces, new adventures on the horizon, the whizz of the asphalt beneath the wheels of the Suburban as we head West.

Simply the expectation of it all thrills every inch of me.

But I’m loving here and now, too. Moments soaking up the sunshine with my girl, cuddles with kittens old and new, last-minute sewing, my new header and all its “inner meaning” (more on that anon), another wedding this weekend, the joys and challenges of baby-sitting, early morning yoga + HILT, glasses of energizing Kombucha, watching movies, the beauteous notes of Fall. (And no, this isn’t my official “collective” post. :))

Terrific is a good way to describe it.

I’m thankful for the going and staying and the wind that sweeps it together.

But most of all I'm thankful to the Love who does that, the Word which gives us the freedom and heart to enjoy every bit of it.

Happy fall friends!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Phantom in the Pasture

I caught this photo last night when my brother brought home a new trailer (btw: the “new” stock trailer looks very spiffy. :))

And I was quite pleased with the talents of my dear little camera.

Then I noticed what the headlights of the truck had caught…

Lo, that famous phantom of legend: The White Stallion…!

There was a whistle and it lifted its head…

Except that “the white stallion” is my own dear mare and the whistle happened to be mine.

Imagining things is great fun isn’t it?

And I am still very pleased with the photos. :)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

They Have A Story: Empty Rifles

Emily Putzke has recently put together a monthly writing challenge involving writing a short piece of historical fiction from a painting or photo that she posts. This is mine. I rather ran away with some of the things shown by the painting and ignored others. My scene comes from a much larger project that is spinning about my head and it has felt so good to have some of it written out; refreshing, freeing, inspiring and all that. 

Thank you Emily for doing this clever tag and I eagerly await the ones to come in future months!

I hope you all enjoy this snippet. :)

   “Miss—a party of Yankee cavalrymen have just crossed Bowers Creek.” As I said it my eyes shot to the flag, red and blue with white points of light rippling against the columns of the house.
   “Yes, Rose.” Miss Fiona's hands went rhythmically on, shaking out the rumpled shirt, lifting a pin from her apron pocket and attaching the shirt to the clothesline. The slow ebb and fall rubbed on my cool and I took courage.
   “Miss, oughtn’t we to do something? The rifles are ready, and so are the other women.”
   “How much shot did we send to my brother and how much did we use against that small band of raiders?” she said.
   It was the same cool voice that she used in the old days when gathering my little siblings about her to teach them their lessons.
   “Too much,” I muttered. Red dust spurted up from beneath my foot. Miss Fiona's hands went on in graceful dance.
   “In other words there is none,” she finished and it was true, but then Miss Fiona never told a lie.
   A shrill yap in the tangle of willows at the end of the lane and, as if it had been a shot, bedlam broke loose. More dogs ran howling to join the chorus and the rest of the women of the hamlet, some wearing bonnets, others just from their kitchens or sewing, rushed to gather behind Miss Fiona.
   “Rose, fetch the muskets for the other women.” Miss Fiona said, her voice so calm that it sent a chill shuddering down my back.
   All my courage fell to the ground. I stammered, “But miss—you said...”
   She turned from the line, and as she untied her apron the wide flounces of her skirt sprang outward and down in all the rippling glory that they had known in the mistress's days of being the lady of the house. In her hand I saw the shining stem of the old colonel's prize rifle, she had had it by her all the while.
   “Rose, you shall hold the flag.” A gush of pride went through me for was not my brother even so standing beside Miss Fiona's own brother holding his flag? We also shall fight beneath it I thought.
   The clip of horses hooves in the lane, a flash of blue through the trees, the dogs barking drew closer, I ran.
   But before I could reach her again they were there.
   The sliding sun glowing on the worn leather of stirrup, tilted cavalry hat, and boot leg. Battle weary soldiers in blue riding beneath a Yankee flag tattered by the fray. Not twenty paces off from the group of women, with a shifting of reins, they stopped.
   There were not above fifteen women all told, desperate pride in every ridge of their bonnets and tilted muskets, children pressing close against their skirts, but it was not because of them.
   Then I saw the commander. His horse's head rearing back slightly as he pulled on the reins with leather gauntlet clad hands that lay deceptively still on the front of his saddle even as the stallion's hooves danced in the dust eddying about the troop. There were streaks of grey under his hat, but the drooping mustache could not hide the quirk of his mouth.
   I knew him, and I knew she would know him, too.
   And then I saw him look at her. She stood hands supporting her father's heavy gun with ease, pink lace flounces kissing the dust, and another row bouncing around her elbows. It was the same dress that she had been wearing that day, and even now, work stained as it was, I could see that he remembered. And her curls were the same: sunlight caught in dusty gold, the front swept back above eyes steely grey and piercingly beautiful.
   Not a voice spoke, the men waited their leader's command and the women waited for theirs.
   A breeze sprang up the new leafing of the trees, snapping at the split ends of the Yankees flag, ours springing proudly erect in the warm burst.
   But I don't think either of them saw or felt it.
   Another moment and... “About face!” the leader cried. It was the same brisk voice I had heard before, but with a new crack of ready command. He lifted his hand, but whether it was in command or for another purpose I could not say for he still looked at Miss Fiona. And perhaps it was that the straight beams of light flashed bright in her eyes, but she too gave one proud little dip of her head.
   The troop divided and gathered and the tramp of hooves vanished once more, the only sign of their passing the clouds of golden dust.
   I put the flag back in its place and turned again to the road.
   A sigh passed over our group and with weary looks and quiet words, still in their silence of relief, the women scattered to their homes. Miss Fiona alone still stood in the road, looking into the blue sky fast fading into fiery gold.
   She handed the empty rifle to me.
   “Rose, go fetch the last basket of washing. The afternoon is almost gone.”
   She went back to the almost empty basket and shook out the next shirt, lifting another pin she began to attach it to the line, and I saw that her hands were shaking.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Things of Beauty: July - August

Of all my Collective posts so far, this one is misbehaving the most – I say it needs to be telling of the delights of the last two months, it wants to think about the frosty and cool bright pleasures of the cozy seasons to come. It’s all rather confusing, which I suppose makes it rather accurate to life, so here it ‘tis. 

Very Favorite Things
Meeting a skunk on my evening ride (fortunately we passed without any interchange), weeping over heart-breaking, yet oh so meaningful and AMAZING stories with Arwen, delicious vegan recipes, getting back into math and serious study mode in general, attending my first baseball game, TOY STORY 1 & 2 (I thought it looked good in caps, so thus, the caps), talks with fellow horse people, afternoons spent reading picture books (Marvin of the Great North Woods anyone?).

I have been reading, but it has been of such a dabble here and there variety that it was rather challenging to record, however last week Heidi (and Mommy and Littlest Sister) went to an antique store and found an original thirties copy of Nancy Drew’s The Password to Larkspur Lane!!! It was amazing. They also found several L.M. Montgomery books, which means several days spent doing almost naught else. And of course since we are drawing into the seasons of cool mornings and falling leaves… I see many more afternoons spent dreaming over her books on the horizon, but I am not complaining, oh not in the least!

Blogging has been rather sparse this summer (but then, you knew that. :)) however, that which I did post this past eight weeks I felt much fulfilled about as they were about two of My Very Favorite things i.e. High Noon etc. and Clarkson and Elise, both very tingly indeed.

Arwen and I finally were able to introduce Mommy to Yankee Buccaneer! We had been planning on doing so for ages and yesterday, the other girls being baby-sitting and I having a horrible cold, the time was right. So we did. I fell in love with it even more and Mommy loved it (Arwen already did of course). So everything was quite perfect. :)

We have been blessed with the coolest of summers, the grass loves it, and it shows its joy by growing all of the time, which I love as it means so much mowing! 

So much excitement in this department! I’m still loving my chocolate superfood smoothies, making them nearly every day for mine and my parents breakfast as they like them, too. I have also been playing around with lots of other vegetarian/ mostly vegan recipes and meals and it has been a very tasty and fulfilling trend to be on!

Sons of the Pioneers
Western music with haunting melodies and good voices and it is classic as in “Black and White movie” classic. 

Rachel Heffington’s new blog venture Lipstick & Gelato.
Rachel has always been one of my favorite bloggers, so when I discovered that she was starting a new lifestyle blog you can imagine how ecstatic I was. So far every single one of her posts has been spot on, this one being a particular favorite.

And now it’s nearly fall... summer is almost over and cold weather and hot cocoa are on their way; however, for some reason I can’t quite feel it yet. Perhaps it is because we had such a cool blustery summer, but I’m not complaining because that is one of my favorite versions of the season and it was a good summer.

Also while I was “away” my blogs had their second anniversaries! Blogging has been full of uncountable blessings and the wonderful friends and kindred spirits that I have met have been (and are!) incredible! And so I just want to thank you. Each of your comments mean SO MUCH TO ME and I’m truly inspired by every one of you. :) 

Thank you.

So that’s life right now, cool summer breezes and warm Indian summer days; pretty much just sparkling living in general.

What has life held for you lately?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Beautiful People: Friendship Edition - Clarkson & Elise

The moment I saw the subject for this month's Beautiful People on my dashboard thrills began tingling over me. Why? Because it is perfect for my current WIP! Thank you Sky and Cait :)

Freindship and what it means/what it does to people is almost (if not the) deepest thing going on in They Searched Who Laughed—as it's truly the thing that drives everything that happens in the story. So now you know why I'm a bit excited.

How long have they known each other, and how close are they?
They meet when Elise is eighteen and Clarkson twenty, but to Clarkson it might as well have been his entire life.

What’s their earliest memory of being best friends?
So this is a rather interesting case, as it begins with an action on Elise's part that Clarkson doesn't even strictly remember, yet it gains his undying trust.

Do they fight? How long do they typically fight for?
When Clarkson does find his temper (which is rarely) it's a quick flaming one and Elise's is poised—so while they may have disagreements, they don't have quarrels.

Are their personalities similar or do they compliment each other? 
Clarkson is easy-going and teasing while Elise is reserved and capable, but both have great sensitivity to the troubles of others; hence they are both completely opposite and yet fit perfectly. 

Who is the leader of their friendship (if anyone)?
Elise. At first, that is, and sometimes later... but only sometimes. :)

Do they have any secrets from each other?
Definitely. And knowing that they cannot help it pains them both. 

How well do they know each other’s quirks and habits?
Elise has made a study of Clarkson's and he always finds amusement in her feminine ways. So very, very well. 

What kind of things do they like to do together?
The simple day-to-day things that, while usually very quiet, make up most of life and which are the almost everything of what Clarkson and Elise are to each other. 

Describe each character’s fashion style (use pictures if you’d like!) How are their styles different/similar? 
This question, as put in regards to Clarkson and Elise, at first struck me as very funny. Then I thought, “Why so? Men and Women do often have different versions of the same general style,” so here 'tis. Both have simple unobtrusive taste, but while Clarkson's is of homespun, Elise's has the sheen of wealth. 

How would their lives be different without each other?
Quoting from a previous post of mine: “Clarkson would have died and Elise would have been comfortably rich and horribly lonely.”

Friday, July 31, 2015

My Three Favorite Westerns - In Bullet Point Form

Here is my contribution to Emma and Olivia’s epic Legends of Western Cinema Week! I could ramble about these for forever and a day—and yet I love them so much that (excepting Apple Dumpling Gang) I find my impressions rather agonizing to put into words. Even so, I simply could not let the party pass without talking about them. I dabbled with the idea of full-length reviews, but I felt that this might be a better way to start off with this Extremely Touching subject for myself. (Besides now you, my readers, won’t drown either. :))

The Apple Dumpling Gang – I listed this one first because, hey, it was! For not only was it the first western, but it is one of the first movies I ever viewed. Romantic, hurt your sides laughing, and too sweet for anything, this is the most rollicking western EVER! Finally it’s a Disney classic, folks, so what else need be said? Ah one thing, it has Barney in it. Yes indeedy. Trust me, your education is incomplete until you see this movie.

High Noon – This is “My” Movie. The one I thrill to, cry over and go into dreamy ecstasies about. Every viewing I drink in new depths to love and pour over within the story. The drama is understated with a mystery that leaves your imagination spinning with possibility. And even though it’s not my favorite dress, I would still wear Amy’s wedding dress as mine in a second, because it’s hers. And the expressions! - faces and the emotions people show through them is a fascinating thing and this movie is absolutely a-thrill with heart-wrenching ones. And the theme song… The Theme Song!!! “Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling….” I cry over that, too. :) No, I don’t cry during every movie—just my heart-stories. And oh, is this ever one of them!

Four Faces West – It’s simple and sweet—the climax is not a shoot-out, but an extremely tense and silent struggle for the hero—and the end… ah the end leaves me in tears every single time! (Remember what I said about my heart-stories? :)) This is just such another. The heroine Fay is a nurse, making for some charming moments when she takes care of the snake-bitten hero. Panicking; however, is not in this hero’s books and the story being what the story is that makes for a very neat twist. One of the fun facts about the movie is that Joel McCrea and Frances Dee (the hero and heroine) were actually married. My brother’s response when I told him? “I thought that kiss looked a little rehearsed.” I believe him, as that makes it tenfold adorable. :) The rest of the characters—from the extremely important gambler to the obnoxiously hilarious little boy (and their interactions)—are perfect. That really is what makes this movie so great, everything is exactly where it should be and happens according to what I want, yet with twists that were totally unexpected making for a very fun experience. :)

There I did it! I managed to write with more or less coherence about two of my three Favorites of all Films. Thank you so much Olivia and Emma for hosting this splendid party! Now on to you friends…

What are some of your favorite stories?

Do you like Westerns?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Daddy & Mommy

Last weekend my parents were away on their 30th anniversary "honeymoon" as my Daddy frequently calls it. And it’s making me think Deep Thoughts.

I asked my mother if she and Daddy clicked so well before they were married or if it has grown in their being married to each other more than half their lives. She says it has mostly grown, but I have to wonder because they are both such easy-going lovely people that it can't be only that.

Then I wonder: will I ever find somebody like that? Someone who gets all my inferences and humor as well as my family, yet is more besides? Some days I feel like I will and those are tingly indeed and then some hours I don't believe it and the tingles vanish, but thankfully I have Snowball aka Kitty-Meow (who is also one of Mommy’s best buds) and Licorice aka Quicher to kiss and cuddle and talk with and all is well again.

But animals bring me back to my mother because she has always loved them and so I inherit that virtue from her, which is supported by Daddy who is always willing to help care for any animal—be it a milk cow or a trip to a shelter with two stray dogs.

Those things might sound rather plain and unconnecteable, but they aren't because really they are at the heart of what their marriage is. Joining together in patiently loving each other and other little things—whether they be furry balls of sweetness (... or not)—difficult children and most of all God.

That of course is what is most important. Just this afternoon it was brought home again to me how blessed I have been in the sterling history of Faith I've been born into—from most of my great-grandparents to all of my grandparents to my Daddy and Mommy who have never failed to always lead my siblings and I to the feet of Christ. It's overwhelming.

In the first 1/3 of their marriage my parents moved from Chicago to LA to Seattle (I'm awfully glad I can say I’m Pacific Northwest born). They had Heidi and Luke and then welcomed and said good-bye to my baby older brother Brian, who I won't meet until Heaven. And it has all only made them stronger.

They take us on glorious heart-filling Western journeys, love us even when we are horrid, always know just the gift that will click for us (honestly Daddy, that collection of 25 John Wayne films was the birthday gift of the decade!), show us jolly old TV shows, take us on bike rides and encourage us in our imaginings and plots. Altogether it has been an adventure and I've only been on 2/3's of it.

It's all a gift.

Thank you Daddy and Mommy for every bit of the love, for exploring and culture and faith and home that you give us.

I love you.

I don't want to say good-bye

via pinterest My word for this year is daring,  - dare to do that thing that scares me, dare  to take that first step into that imposs...