Friday, August 31, 2012

Do You Hear The People Sing?

My family just returned from town where we had been shopping all day.  We did the usual round of thrift stores, the used bookstore and the grocery store. I picked up some new clothes and several new books I'm looking forward to reading in the weeks ahead.

But, the most exciting acquisition is....

THE ORIGINAL 1985 CAST RECORDING OF LES MISERABLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you tell just how excited and elated I am about this???!!!!!!!!  It is two CD's and a fat booklet of the song lyrics.   I can't wait to hear it all!!!!

The second most exciting acquisition is the Oxford edition of the COMPLETE works of Shakespeare FOR ONLY 50 CENTS.  Is that not delightful??!!

All in all, I would say it was a very good day!!  Wouldn't you?

Miss Melody Muffin

Poem of the Week: Autumn

This is from a book titled Snowflakes.   It has several beautiful poems.

Esther Nelson Karn

Enchanting dawn of autumn days,
So clear, so cool, so calm,
O'er all creation breathing forth
Thy sweet refreshing balm!

The woodland dons its brightest hue,
Its rainbow tinted gown;
Each soft and dreamy breeze that blows
Brings showers of crimson down.

Old earth now groans beneath her load
Of grain and fruited vine,
That thickly hangs o'er orchard wall,
And drips with mellow wine.

The birds fly lazily above,
Bathed in thy misty light,
While on the hillside loll the kine
In morning's gold delight.

Wrapped in thy folds of golden mist,
This restless soul of mine
Is lulled into a blissful dream
Of peace and love divine.

Miss Melody Muffin

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Les Miserables 2012 News

I'm very excited for the release of the new Les Miserables film in December, and I know many of my Blogger friends are, too.  Last night I saw a couple videos from the film set and found some interesting news tidbits about the movie.  So, I present them here, for anyone who hasn't seen them, to help tide us all over until December!

Claude Michel-Schonberg has written an all new song for the movie!  It is called 'Suddenly' and is sung by Valjean when he takes on the care of Cosette.  How exciting is that, people!!  News article here.    He's also composing new incidental music.

I love it that many former and current Les Mis performers from the West End have roles in the movie!

Also, for anyone who hasn't seen it, here is a gallery of set pics.  Love Valjean's greatcoat!!  Does anyone else want a 24601 t-shirt like Cameron Mackintosh has?!  And Colm looks perfect as the Bishop!

According to imdb, Jamie Cambell-Bower was offered the role of Enjolras.  Thank goodness he turned it down!!  IMHO, he just couldn't have done it!  I'm vastly interested to see how well Aaron Tveit nails the role (since they didn't cast Ramin Karimloo!).

And am I the only one rejoicing over the fact that Taylor Swift didn't get Eponine?  (I'm afraid I can't stand Taylor Swift!)  Especially since the amazing Samantha Barks got it?!  She is going to be fantastic in the role!!!  Her casting is one of the ones I'm most excited over.  I'm also eager to see Helena Bonham-Carter as Mme. Thenardier.

Videos:  (I didn't embed the videos because it slows my computer down a lot.)
 Jackman and Hathaway singing Do You Hear the People Sing on set.    (The barricade looks incredible!)
Jackman filming!
Students on the barricade.  YAY!!!!!!  Can't wait for this part!!!
Russell Crowe riding clips.  Does anyone else think of the Scarlet Pimpernel when they see this?  (Wrong uniforms but the riding formation is the same!)
Colm Wilkinson on set.  Short but sweet!
Film sets.

And a couple interviews...
Tom Hooper on the new song/music 
Tom Hooper on Anne Hathaway as Fantine.

As for me, I'm still reading the book (and loving it!  Hugo is a master tale-weaver!) but it shouldn't be too much longer until I'm done and I can see the two concerts in full.  Yay!! 

And now, I'm off to town with my mother and sister, and Les Miserables tucked, er, stuffed, in my purse.  A 1465 page book is heavy!

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, August 27, 2012

Through The Wardrobe

Charity from Austentitis made this neat Narnia tag. 

I was a late comer to Narnia; I only read the books about a year ago.  They instantly became favorites of mine!  It would be superb to walk through a wardrobe into a fantasy world!!  

Who's your favorite Pevensie kid?
It's a toss-up between Peter and Susan.  Although, I don't like how Susan stops believing in Narnia.  I wish Lewis hadn't had her end up that way.

List the other three Pevensie kids in order according to how much you like them.  Include a few details.
After Peter and Susan, Lucy and Edmund tie for next place.  Lucy has a strong faith despite things going wrong and people not believing her, and Edmund, though he wasn't very nice at first, learned from his mistakes and became a jolly good old chap.

Who's your favorite Narnian (other than Aslan)?
Reepicheep.  He is so much fun!!!!  I also like Glenstorm the centaur.

Which child are you the most similar too?
I'm a mix of Peter and Susan.  I have many of Peter's older sibling/leader traits but also Susan's bossiness and older sister mentality.

Have you read the books?
All seven of them, on a cross country vacation last summer.  It sure made the hours fly by!

Which book is your favorite?  Why?
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  I love it because it is the first book with the Pevensies in it, and it has a host of other memorable characters; the White Witch, Tumnus and the Beavers, to name a few.

List the books, with the first one being your most favorite and the last being your least favorite.
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Magician's Nephew
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle

Have you seen the movies?  If so, which is your favorite?  And which do you like least?
I have seen all three movies.  My favorite is LWW.  I like PC and VDT about the same.

Tell us some general thoughts about the movies - what you liked or disliked about them.
LWW was very good.  It follows the book fairly closely and I didn't mind any of the small changes made to it.  I HATE what they do to Peter's character in PC, esp since the Peter in that book is awesome.  But, Caspian is great in the movie, the horses are terrific, Susan gets to fight in the battle, and last but not least, the costumes are gorgeous!  VDT was good but the whole green mist thing was bizarre and IMO unnecessary.  I did like the sea serpent/dragon fight.  And Caspian and the Pevensies were terrific.  Oh, and Eustace!  Eustace was HILARIOUS!  Especially his scenes with Reepicheep.  I love the soundtracks from all of the movies, especially the songs This Is Home and The Call from PC and There's A Place For Us from VDT.  Wunderkind from LWW is very good, too.

Did you get to see any of the movies in the theater?  Which one(s)?
No, I didn't see any of the movies in the theater.

Have you gotten to read the amazing movie guides for LWW and PC?
Not yet, but do I ever want to!!  They are on my wish list.  

If you had to live in Narnia for one day - one day from any of the books as any of the characters - which day/character would you choose?  Why?
From the books... Aravis on the day they arrive at the castle of Archenland.  She is my favorite character aside from the Pevensies.  From the movies... Susan from LWW on the day of the battle and coronation, or PC on the day of the Battle of Beruna when she is leading the archers on the cliff above the battlefield.  I love those two battles!  I've always wanted to fight in an epic fantasy battle, and save a kingdom.  :)

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Quote of the Week: John Newton

I'm inaugurating another new feature on my blog!  Every Sunday I'll be posting a 'quote of the week'.  Sometimes it will be from literature, other times from famous or not-so-famous people.  This week's quote comes from the man who inspired the world with his song, 'Amazing Grace'.

 "I am not what I ought to be - ah, how imperfect and deficient!  I am not what I wish to be - I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good!  I am not what I hope to be - soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection.  Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was; a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, "By the grace of God, I am what I am."
John Newton

Have a great week!

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, August 25, 2012

This Week in History: August 19-25

I love knowing what took place on any particular day in history.  This week some interesting things happened!

August 19:
1561- Mary, Queen of Scots returns to Scotland a young widow, to take up the reins of her kingdom.  She has spent the previous 13 years in her beloved adopted country, France.
1692- Salem, Massachusetts is in the middle of the Salem Witch Trials.
1745- Bonnie Prince Charlie raises his standard at Glenfinnan in the Highlands of Scotland, rallying Scottish clans to his cause and starting the Second Jacobite Rebellion.
1782- Battle of Blue Licks takes place in Kentucky, the last major battle of the American Revolution, ten months after Cornwallis' surrender.
1812- The American frigate USS Constitution earns the nickname 'Old Ironsides" after defeating the British HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia.
1848- The New York Herald reports the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in California.  Men from the East Coast join the westward rush for gold.
1895- Outlaw and gunfighter John Wesley Hardin is killed in El Paso, Texas.  (This one is particularly for my younger sister.)  :)
1944- Paris rises against the German occupation forces with the assistance of the Allies, beginning the Paris Liberation.

August 20:
1000- Saint Stephen I founds the first official Kingdom of Hungary.
1866- President Andrew Johnson officially declares the Civil War to be over.
1910- In northeast Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana the Great Fire of 1910, commonly known as the Big Blowup or the Big burn, burns about 3 million acres.
1914- Brussels, Belguim is occupied by German forces.
1988- Dubbed 'Black Saturday' after it is the single worst day of the wildfires raging in Yellowstone National Park, leaving over 150,000 acres burned.

August 21:
1680- During the Pueblo Revolt, Pueblo Indians capture Santa Fe from the Spanish.
1770- Explorer Captain James Cook claims eastern Australia for Great Britain and names it New South Wales.
1810- The Swedish Riksdag of the Estates elects Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Marshal of France, to be the new Crown Prince of Sweden.
1831- In the South, Nat Turner begins his uprising, which history books will later call 'Nat Turner's Rebellion', leading slaves against their masters.
1863- In the Lawrence Massacre during the Civil War, Quantrill's Raiders destroy Lawrence, Kansas.
1950- Hawaii is admitted as the 50th state of the Union.

August 22:
565- In Scotland, missionary monk Columba reports seeing a monster in Loch Ness.
1485- Richard III of England dies in the Battle of Bosworth Field, ending the House of Plantagenet.
1642- The English Civil War begins and King Charles I calls the English Parliament traitors.
1780- Captain James Cook's ship returns to England, minus Cook, who died in Hawaii.
1848- New Mexico is annexed by the United States.
1932- The British Broadcasting Corporation experiments with television broadcasting.

August 23:
79- In Italy, Mount Vesuvius begins to awake.
1305- In London, Sir William Wallace is executed for high treason.
1572- Huguenots in Paris are massacred by mobs in the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre.
1864- Fort Morgan, Alabama is captured by the Union Navy, leaving Galveston, Texas the only Gulf of Mexico port under Confederate domination.
1944- Marseille, France is liberated by the Allies.
1990- Armenia declares independence from the Soviet Union.

August 24:
79- Mount Vesuvius erupts, burying the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae .
410- Alaric I leads his Visigoths in pillaging Rome.
1466- Printing of the Gutenberg Bible is finished.
1814- British troops burn Washinton, D.C., setting the White House on fire as well, though it does not burn to the ground.
1912- The United States establishes the Territory of Alaska.
1992- Ukraine claims independence from the Soviet Union.

August 25:
1609, In Venice, Galileo Galilei demonstrates his first telescope.
1768- Captain James Cook sets off on his first voyage.
1944- The Liberation of Paris by the Allies is completed.

News flash: astronaut Neil Armstrong died today in a hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

On another note, autumn is on its way here.  My sister and I woke up freezing this morning because we sleep with our window open and it got so cold last night we didn't have enough blankets on our beds!  I'll think we'll be closing the window tonight! 

You know, I'm just not ready for the summer to be over yet....

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, August 24, 2012

Poem of the Week: How They Brought the Good News From Ghent to Aix

This poem has been a favorite of mine for years.  It is one of those wonderful, stirring, heroic ballads.

How They Brought the Good News From Ghent to Aix
Robert Browning

I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;
"Good speed!" cried the watch as the gate-bolts undrew;
"Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping through;
Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest;
And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace
Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place;
I turned in my saddle and made its girth tight,
Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique right,
Rebuckled the cheek strap, chained slacker the bit,
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.

'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear;
At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see;
At Duffeld, twas morning as plain as could be;
And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half chime,
So Joris broke silence with, "Yet there is time!"

At Aershot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past,
And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
With resolute shoulders, each butting away
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray:

And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track;
And one eye's black intelligence, -ever that glance
O'er its white edge at me, his own master, askance!
And the thick, heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon
His fierce lips shook upward in galloping on.

By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, "Stay spur!
Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her,
We'll remember at Aix" - for one heard the quick wheeze
Of her chest, saw the stretched neck and staggering knees,
And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flanks,
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.

So, we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,
'Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like chaff;
Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang white,
And "Gallop," gasped Joris, "for Aix is in sight!"

"How they'll greet us!" -and all in a moment his roan
Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone;
And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim.

Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each holster let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear,
Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without peer;
Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise, bad or good,
Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.

And all I remember is - friends flocking round
As I sat with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground;
And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine,
Which (the burgesses voting by common consent)
Was no more than his due who brought the good news from Ghent.

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: Lisbeth Longfrock

As promised, here is my first book review!

Lisbeth Longfrock

Hans Aanrud

TYPE/GENRE: Fiction/ historic ethnic culture, Norway
LENGTH: 72 pages
RATING: 10 out of 10
READ ALOUD:    5 out of 5
SOURCES: Project Gutenberg

Lisbeth Longfrock has always dreamed of working at Hoel Farm.  But she never planned for it to happen this way.  When her mother dies, farm owner Kjersti Hoel takes her under her wing.  Lisbeth becomes the farm's herd girl, assigned to keep the sheep and goats from wandering too far while grazing.  As she settles in to her new life, her grief gradually lessens and soon, a new dream begins to grow.

I enjoyed this book tremendously.  It is a delightful little tale that exudes the air of the Norwegian mountain dairies.  I do wish it was longer and followed Lisbeth further but even as it is, it is terrific.   When I read this book aloud to my siblings, they all enjoyed it, from the teenagers down to the toddlers.

Miss Melody Muffin

Welcome To My Personal Library!

Won't you come in?  Please take a seat!  Can I interest you in some iced tea?  Or perhaps some iced mocha?  This hot spell is so exhausting to one, is it not?  I see you can hardly tear your eyes away from my sagging bookshelves.  There are a zillion of books here aren't there?  Shall I tell you how I came to have such a wonderful library at my fingertips?

Ok, randomness over....  Down to the point of all this!  :)

If you were to ask me to name my favorite website, I would instantly reply, "Project Gutenberg!"  When we first discovered this site a couple years ago, I was beyond thrilled; I was delirious!!  For anyone who does not know about this most enchanting place... Project Gutenberg has digitized THOUSANDS of books whose copywright has expired and are now in the public domain.  Their selection ranges from the classics of Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, and Gaskell to virtually unknown authors.  You can read the books online or download them in several formats from PDF to ereader versions.  Their mission statement is 'to encourage the creation and distribution of  ebooks'.  Entering the online catalog really is like walking into a vast library of treasured volumes (the majority of them were published before 1923)!!  In fact, whenever I click on the PG icon on my toolbar, the delicious smell of old books always comes to mind.  =)  The button to the right will take you straight to this vast library.

Besides all the better known classics and authors, PG has all sorts of books I had never heard of before.  Although not all of these unfamiliar titles are worth perusing, many have proven themselves to be wonderful stories.  I will be reviewing many PG books in the future, sharing some of these great but lesser known books with you.

Another site we enjoy is LibriVox, which has free audiobooks.  Many of the texts used for these readings come from Gutenberg.  They also offer dramatic readings of some of their books.  Two of my sisters were listening to a dramatic reading of Sense and Sensibility the other day and enjoying it.

I will be using the following system for my reviews:
I will be rating books on a scale of one to ten, with one being the least desirable and ten the most desirable.

My family loves reading aloud.  I have read aloud to my younger siblings all my life and there are usually no less than three books in the process of being read aloud at any given time.  Thus many of my book reviews will also carry a Read Aloud Rating on a scale of one to five.

Look for my first book review later today!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


EDBP stands for Epic Disney Blog Party and Kiri Liz is hosting it over at her blog Lianne Taimenlore.  She made up this fun tag!

Which is your favorite Disney film and why?
The Swiss Family Robinson!!  My entire family LOVES this movie.  Even though the movie differs greatly from the book (which I am a GINORMOUS fan of) it still was so much fun and honestly, the only thing I would change in it is that I would add Jack.  Everything else I would leave as it is.  (Ok, I might change Roberta's name back to Jenny.)  From the opening moments of the crashing storm to the hilarious end with Francis chasing his pets, this movie is just MAGNIFICENT!!  Other favorites inclued A Kid in King Arthur's Court, Old Yeller, Mary Poppins and Aladdin.

Which is the most annoying/worst Disney film and why?
The Princess and the Frog is pretty dorky.

What was the first Disney film you can remember watching?
Either Aladdin or Peter Pan.

What are some of your favorite quotes from Disney films?
"Well, am I Sultan or am I Sultan?"  (Aladdin)
"You know those coconut bombs?  You don't have to worry about them.  They work right well!"  (The Swiss Family Robinson)
"I caught my tiger!  I caught my tiger!"  (The Swiss Family Robinson)
"I didn't want to have to do this but you leave me no choice.  Here comes the smolder."  (Tangled)
"Well, that's the good part I guess.  You get to go find a new dream."  (Tangled)
"I told you she was tricky."  (Mary Poppins)

Which Disney character do you think you are most like?
Probably a cross between Princess Jasmine and Rapunzel.  I definitely share characteristics with both of them.

What is your favorite Disney film song?
A Whole New World  (Aladdin)
I See The Light  (Tangled)
A Spoonful of Sugar  (Mary Poppins)
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Mary Poppins)  (Blogger is telling me this is not a word!  Much they know!)

What is one Disney film you find yourself recommending over and over?
The Swiss Family Robinson!!!

What is one thing from any Disney film or films that really irks you?
Most of the princess films are just so sugary sweet and sappy.  In addition to the 'always-love-at-first-sight' thing.  Oh, and I DETEST how Peter Pevensie's character was changed in Prince Caspian.

Who is your favorite Disney film heroine and why?
It's a tie!  Princess Jasmine because of her independence and I love how she goes out in disguise.  And Rapunzel because she isn't your typical princess and she is smart, and carries two dangerous weapons; her hair and a frying pan.  :)

Who is your favorite Disney hero and why?
Another tie!  Flynn Rider is just way too much fun!!  (I read he was based on the Errol Flynn and I can totally see it!)  And Fritz has always been my favorite of the Robinson boys.  He's funny, a think on your feet type and smart.  And Prince Caspian... right, I'll stop now.  :)

Who is your favorite Disney sidekick and why?
Reepicheep!!  He's brave, hilarious and quotable!  "Choose your last words carefully, Telmarine!"  "You people have no imagination!"  Oh, and I love Rajah from Aladdin.

If you could spend a day in any Disney film, which one would you pick and why?
Oh dear, choices.  I would love to be in Narnia during one of the epic battles- fighting on the side of the Narnians of course!

Choose any one Disney film character and place them in any Disney film (other than his or her own).  How would the story be different?
Let me see... the Swiss Family Robinson is shipwrecked on the beach below Cair Paravel in Narnia and they fight with Prince Caspian and the Pevensies in the Battle of Beruna!

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Actually Finishing Something July Tag Four

My answers to Katie's fourth and final tag for the Actually Finishing Something July Challenge:

Were you able to reach and finish your July writing goal?
Pretty much.  I had just a couple pages to finish writing on Quara.

If you did not fully complete your goal, were you able to make progress in your project?
Lots of progress, mostly in character development.  Although, the more of that I did, the more I realized these characters have SO MUCH to tell me!

What was the most difficult part of finishing something this July?
Losing all my story research web bookmarks when our computer crashed.

Did you maintain a writing schedule?  How often did you write to meet your goal?  Did you write into the wee hours of the morning, or wake up extra early to write?
I did not have a set schedule.  I tried to write every day but sometimes I would have to skip a day or two.  I did stay up until midnight twice writing down scenes that came to me while I was falling asleep.  =)

List the three musical tracks that most inspired your writing this July.  Tell us why they inspired you and how they fit with your story.
Enya- Book of Days - it fits very well with the atmosphere of The Three Kyngdoms and many of the characters in it.
Alfie Boe- Over the Hills and Far Away - this is one of the theme songs for the knights that follow the young royals into battle in both Quara and The Three Kyngdoms.
Carrie Underwood-There's a Place For Us - this is another theme song for both stories.  It epitomizes the belief the royals in Quara are clinging to; and what the heirs to the thrones of The Three Kyngdoms are trying to believe.

As you wrote, did you come across any component of your story that surprised you?  Plot-twists, Grand-New-Ideas!, new characters?
Well, I discovered that Quara is a world CHOCK-FULL of possibilities!!  Besides the main story series, there are so many subplot/short story ideas.  :)

Choose and share your three favorite pieces of descriptive writing you penned for the challenge.
I'm not sure if I can find three!  So much of what I was doing this month was just gathering characters; 'marshalling my forces', so to speak.

Drigel nodded and drew himself up.  Merthyr threw him into the air and he hovered for an instant while Bel and Isha aligned themselves in the proper formation; behind and to the side of their leader, forming a triangle.  All three dipped their left wings to Merthyr in farewell.  Like three arrows they darted away, straight and true on a direct course for Corbenic.
The Three Kyngdoms

The three Castle Cats put on their thinking frowns, wrinkled up their whiskers and laid their ears back.  This always helped them think better.  After a long minute of thinking, Caela sat straight up, her mouth assumed its normal shape and her ears and whiskers straightened out.

A rent appeared in the yellow gray clouds and the bright ruby edge of the setting sun peeked out.  The rest of the sun slowly slid through the tear, a great glowing ball of golden orange masked by thin ruby clouds.
The Three Kyngdoms

Share the meanest, most unfeeling line said by one of your characters from your July writing.
I don't really have one!  What I was writing just didn't have any of these scenes.  (Yet.  It will later on, I just wasn't writing those parts for the challenge.)  The closest I can come is this:

"We really have to do something about that older sister of ours." Sarai huffed in annoyed exasperation.

Pick one of your favorite characters from your July writing.  Describe his/her wardrobe.  Share how this character would dress if he/she were living in the year 2012.
Kaldar Dein-Royal Eagle Rider-Quara
His official uniform is a shirt and close-fitting trousers with a short sleeved tunic over them that ends just below the hips.  Also, knee-high boots of soft, dark brown leather.  Over that they wear a knee-length cloak.  When he isn't riding, he generally wears looser fitting shirts and trousers of firmly woven cotton.

If he were living in 2012, he would wear blue and green Polo shirts, Wrangler jeans and a tan cowboy hat.  With Justin cowboy boots.

Pick your all-time favorite bit of July writing and share it with us.  Tell us why the passage is your favorite.
I love this scene from Quara because it gives a very good idea of what the sibling relationship is between these two queens.

Sarai turned a corner into a different hall and saw Ariana several steps ahead.
"Ari, wait!  I have to talk to you!"
The High Queen slowed her steps to allow her younger sister to catch up to her.  "Yes?"
"What will you be wearing to the ball?"
"I don't know.  I haven't considered it yet."
"Ariana!  The ball is tomorrow night and you don't have a clue what you're wearing?!"  Frustration filled Sarai's voice.
"There's no need to panic, my dear sister.  I am certain there are plenty of suitable gowns in my wardrobe."
Sarai regarded her with a baleful glare.  "And so, as usual, you probably won't choose your outfit until tomorrow afternoon or at the earliest, tomorrow morning when you wake up."
Ariana smiled, cheerfully flippant, "Probably."
Sarai's chin tilted in determination, "While we're on the subject, it is time for your wardrobe to be overhauled."
"Again?" Ariana looked annoyed.
"Again? It has been six month since it was last done!"
Ariana shrugged again, "I am sure it can go for another six months."
Sarai's eyes narrowed.  "No, it can't.  You are the High Queen.  You should be the best dressed of us all, instead of the most simply dressed."
"Why?  You, Abijalla and Hanetta are the fashion leaders, not me.  And I'm perfectly happy with that.  Aren't you?"
"That is not the point.  As High Queen you must be dressed impeccably.  That means your wardrobe should be redone at least three, and even better, four times a year."
"That is entirely too many." Ariana tilted her head to the side.
Sarai saw the look of continued cheerfulness on her face and knew she was getting nowhere.  "Somedays I wonder why in the stars I bother."
Ariana heard the muttered words.  "So do I.  You should just give it up and admit I'm a hopeless case."
The light of battle came into Sarai's eyes.  "Never, ever, my sister."
Ariana glanced sideways with a sly smile, "Well then, you'll have to corner me some other time to finish this lecture.  I must be on my way."
"To do what? Ride with Mindolf?" Sarai's sarcasm held the barest hint of bitterness.
"No," Ariana replied sternly.  "Finish the regulations for the Port of Rhyoldris.  The couriers must set off with them early in the morning."  Her words were accompanied by a glance that said now was not the time for Sarai to push further.
With a toss of her head, Sarai turned down another hallway, huffing as she went to look for Abijalla and Hanetta and unburden herself to them.

Bonus question!  What was your favorite part of the Actually Finishing Something July Challenge?
Re-discovering how much I love the worlds of Quara and The Three Kyngdoms!  There is so much to both of them; I could very happily spend all my days living in them!  Also, reading about everyone else's writing.

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, August 17, 2012

Poem of the Week: Comrades

This comes from another collection I discovered online.

Helen Gray Cone

"Oh, whither, whither, rider toward the west?"
"And whither, whither, rider toward the east?"
"I rode we ride upon the same high quest,
Whereon who enters may not be released;

"To seek the Cup whose form none ever saw, -
A nobler form than e'er was shapen yet,
Though million million cups without a flaw,
Afire with gems, on princes' boards are set;

To seek the Wine whereof none ever had
One draught, though many a generous wine flows free,-
The spiritual blood that shall make glad
The hearts of mighty men that are to be."

"But shall one find it, brother?  Where I ride,
Men mock and stare, who never had the dream,
Yet hope within my breast has never died."
"Nor ever died in mine that trembling gleam."

"Eastward, I deem: the sun and all good things
Are born to bless us of the Orient old."
"Westward, I deem: an untried ocean sings
Against that coast, 'New shores await the bold.'"

"God speed or thee or me, so coming men
But have the Cup!" "God speed!" - Not once before
Their eyes had met, nor ever met again,
Yet were they loving comrades evermore.

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Who invented the dreaded chore of cleaning the house??  I'd like to give them a piece of my mind!  

I am not grumbling, not really!  I'm just hot, tired- no, make that exhausted, and right now would be ecstatic to never see another duster, vacuum, broom or rag!  You'd think after years and years of cleaning house I'd have become reconciled to it, but no!

My family is having a ladies rubber stamping party on Thursday night, so of course, that means a thorough housecleaning!  We went at it quite vigorously this afternoon.  Three sisters and a brother in the living room, two sisters in the halls, and another brother and I in the kitchen.  He removed items from shelves, dusted and vacuumed; I washed and replaced items on shelves.  We did have some fun doing it; he kept teasing me with the vacuum hose and I kept flicking water at him.  Silly, but it broke up the monotony.  We also had the music turned up pretty high while we worked.  I highly recommend listening to Christian Rock while you clean house!!  It works wonders for motivation and moods!  =D

Tomorrow we only have to finish the kitchen and do the dining room.  Then, if there is time, tomorrow night I think I'm going to treat myself to watching something fun and relaxing....  Like The Beverly Hillbillies.  :)  Or something like that.  Something I can just sit back and let entertain me.  Normally I go for movies/TV shows with more involvement/character development/etc. but after a day of cleaning, I'm sure I'll be bone tired again and just want a good laugh.

I'm afraid I've been rambling throughout this post.  Sorry!  That's just what's been going on here today.

I know I have been quite sporadic in my posting on here lately.  Starting tomorrow that should change.  :)  I'll be posting regularly about books, my writing, life and 'all that'.

Looking forward to writing lots of posts!

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, August 10, 2012

Poem of the Week: A Night of Song

I found this in a collection of poems by some of the classical poets of China.  Chinese poetry is so different from Western poetry!  To me it always evokes sitting by ponds of lilies, hearing Oriental music and sipping Green Tea while the wonderful perfume of Jasmine flowers wafts through the air.  Instantly I'm in another world!

A Night Of Song
Tu Fu

The wind scarce flutters through the leaves,
 The young moon hath already gone,
And kind and cool the dews descend:
The lute-strings wake for night alone.

In shadow lapse the twinkling streams,
The lilied marge their waves caress;
And the sheer constellations sway
O'er soundless gulfs of nothingness.

What cadence charms the poet's ear!
What fire-fly fancies round him swarm!
He dreads the lantern lights may fail
Long ere his thoughts have taken form.

Now gallants tap their two-edged swords,
And pride and passion swell amain;
Like red stars flashing through the night
The circling wine-cups brim again.

There steals the old sad air of Ou-
Each calls his latest song to mind;
Then white sails taper down the stream
While lingering thoughts still look behind.

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, August 3, 2012

Poem of the Week: I Never Saw A Moor

I found this poem the other day and really liked it.  It is short, but eloquent!

I Never Saw A Moor
Emily Dickinson

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet I know how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in Heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.

P.S.  I finally finished the page spotlighting my main stories.  Check out 'My Storyland' at the top!  It doesn't have a whole lot on it right now, but I'll be adding to it in the future.

Miss Melody Muffin