“Aurora’s Year”

The swell of newness
Fills like a new dawn
And spirals out and away as life stretches through each day

New rises like an Aurora,
Who may sleep through her dreams
Or puncture them,
Or even face the cold stone face of death,
But even in these fates there is beauty and there may be magic.

Bright and sharp as a briar rose,
The dawn shows ways to care
And ensures us surprises, both royal and small.

For life congregates like a ball, every so often,
And others come together round you, from far and wide
And all we may do is smile or pass the time dreaming,
But we know these friends as we don’t know our fates,
And we taste these magics of games, lights, and fun,
As the colors and shapes of our wishes keep changing.

These storied times when newness meets old,
Keep us spinning round and get our stories told.
We’re free to walk in dreams and know futures that may or may not come to pass,
To put old cares to sleep and reunite our true loves,
To replace the steps and trod no more spindles,
But spin us the wheel and breathe in the life it kindles.

So christen this day, with its precious gift
And let no one deny you any change you can lift,
For any dance in this year can bring you to joy, so long as you step into the dawn and you try.

Serenity and good energy go with you in 2014.

Disney Family Time

As many people will be reuniting with family members soon for the holidays, let’s take a look at how these reunions could be just like a Disney fairy tale. Disney movies offer a lot of advice about this topic, but it may or may not be worth anything.

Disney Family Reunion Tips:

1. Bring a sword.
2. Get a private train car.
3. It’s okay to argue over pets.
4. It’s totally okay to ignore your family for a guy.
5. Don’t bring up any legal matters, like contracts.
6. Don’t try to sell anybody on anything.
7. Bring your own cup.
8. Realize there’s probably a long distance between you and parental approval.
9. Don’t get stuck in bottles of alcohol.
10. It’s helpful to build a fire.

(20 points for every reference.)

Here’s hoping your holidays need no such advice.

Frozen Movie CLIP – ‘Let It Go’ Song 2013

Frozen Movie CLIP – 'Let It Go' Song 2013 – Disney Princess Movie HD – YouTube.

This in itself is gorgeous. I can’t wait to see “Frozen”! Watch it!

De-Disneyfied Dinner

Once more, it’s time to give thanks that our holiday meals are not Disneyish.

For instance:

1. Your pumpkin(pie)s have not been run over.
2. No eggshells will be folded into your pastries (at least not deliberately).
3. You won’t have to deal with talking birds while eating tasty poultry dishes.
4. There will be no bugs bathing in your beverages (or if there are they won’t be lucky enough to escape).
5. If the chow gets burned, you won’t have to cough your way through it anyway.
6. You can be sure your firewood/wood chips did not once belong to puppets.
7. Hyenas will not get first crack at your meal.
8. If you get caught up in drama and excitement, no one will smear jam on your face and expect it to calm you down.
9. The biscuits will be fit for humans, not raccoons.
10. You will not have to give a dog the vast majority of the cheese crumpets.

Seven points for every Disney reference you know. Fifteen points for any new Disney thanks you have to give. Points also still valid for last year’s list: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/non-disney-dinner/

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy every bite of food that you did not have to contend with an anthropomorphic animal to eat!

National Start Your Own Country Day (2)

Once again it is National Start Your Own Country Day! Those began last year can be seen here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/national-start-your-own-country-day/ and all three are doing very well….Which is no reason not to create new nations on this ironically “national” day.

Hear ye, hear ye, today marks the start of the country Gobletta!

Known for: Books, prolific readers/wisefolk, storytellers, and reading parties. Lesser products include all beverages that are conducive to reading, to oneself or out loud, and sturdy goblets to hold these beverages.

Official animal: Dog-sized panda bears. (They keep your feet warm whilst you read, snuggle with you while you listen to others read, and don’t try to steal the human refreshments at reading parties.)

Official flower: Lavender (Soothing, to help one focus on one’s studies and stories.)

Official motto: “You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

– Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

Official flag: Bordered to look like an open book with shining gold-leaf page edges, it has the motto written in dark purple swirled ink, with the shadow of a goblet falling across the remaining page and a sprig of lavender in the middle, as if about to be pressed into the pages. It’s a highly literate country, of course it goes for words on its flag.

Go forth and proclaim your own country!

Enter: Nature’s Halloween

As I’ve been traipsing about this fine autumn, I’ve seen a lot of beauty and a lot of color, as expected of my favorite season. Yet, suddenly, this week even the most normal things have taken on a certain…quality:

It started off, predictably enough, with pumpkins:
hallpumpkins

Please Park Bikes Below and Brooms above:
hallbroom

Even nature needs some fake cobwebs:
hallweb

They’re putting on their scaring side!:
hallmenace
Don’t tell me you don’t see that frowning mouth and that glare!

And their spooky faces:
hallspook

Thanks for joining me on this tour of nature’s Halloween garb! Please exit carefully on your brooms and fly with vigilance so you don’t get caught up in any weblike limbs!

Top Ten Best Books to Read Round Halloween!

Top 10 Tuesday by The Broke and the Bookish-top 10 books to read for Halloween! (For those of us who aren’t into horror!)

 

1. Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

-Mysterious sightings of a woman in green believed to be the queen of the fairies, creepy goings-on round the keep…and minstrel songs of fey folk sacrificing Tam Lin on Hallow’s Eve.  “But the night is Halloween, lady,
The morn is Hallowday,
Then win me, win me, if ye will,
For well I think ye may.”

 

2. Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

-I once described this book as the modern negative (in terms of what’s dark is light and vice versa) of Jane Eyre, and I still think it’s an apt description.

 

3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

-Demons named the Archbishop of Canterbury and other titles!  The Dance of the Macabre!  Magical ghosts!  What more do you want?

 

4. Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennet  (Minikin Snickasnee really should have been in my list of favorite names!)

-It’s not easy being a wicked witch’s daughter.  It’s also not so easy dealing with the host of magical creatures on call through her magical powders…or going to school.

little witch3

 

5. The Magic Thief by Sarah Prinneas (Crows!)

-This breaks from the exact Halloween tradition a bit, but crows!  And magic!  And mystery!

 

6. Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones

-Having to dress up like the dark lord or a wizardly guide can be irritating.  Having to do it for different groups all tourist season can be murder!

Darklordofderkholmcover

 

7. Chronicles of Chrestomanci v. 2: Witch Week and Witches of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones

-Witches, witches everywhere, with everyday horrors rubbing shoulders with magical happenings, flying statues, and of course-cats who run the household.

 

8. Hexes, Inc. by Vivian Vande Velde

-A collection of stories all about people who try ordering hexes from the company.  Naturally, everything ends well…*scoff*

 

9. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard

-Death and murder everywhere converge in two confused, comical performers.

 

10. I don’t care if it’s cheating-http://shoebox.lomara.org/ by ladyjaida and Rave.

-Wizarding ghost stories, Dumbledore pranks, and Marauders, oh my!

sbp_pdf_header1

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Similar Posts:

https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/top-ten-literary-character-names/

-https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/top-ten-favorite-secondary-characters/

Fantastically Bejeweled Skeleton News!

Meet the Fantastically Bejeweled Skeletons of Catholicism’s Forgotten Martyrs | Past Imperfect.

You must read this article.  It starts with:

“Paul Koudounaris is not a man who shies away from the macabre. Though the Los Angeles-based art historian, author and photographer claims that his fascination with death is no greater than anyone else’s, he devotes his career to investigating and documenting phenomena such as church ossuaries, charnel houses and bone-adorned shrines. Which is why, when a man in a German village approached him during a 2008 research trip and asked something along the lines of, “Are you interested in seeing a dilapidated old church in the forest with a skeleton standing there covered in jewels and holding a cup of blood in his left hand like he’s offering you a toast?” Koudounaris’ answer was, “Yes, of course.”

 

Includes good historical evidence riddled with details like:

“One thing the nuns did lack, however, was formal training in anatomy. Koudounaris often found bones connected improperly, or noticed that a skeleton’s hand or foot was grossly missized. Some of the skeletons were outfitted with full wax faces, shaped into gaping grins or wise gazes. “That was done, ironically, to make them seem less creepy and more lively and appealing,” Koudounaris says. “But it has the opposite effect today. Now, those with the faces by far seem the creepiest of all.”

 

And ends with his book about these spectacular skeletons, which “Accomplishing that was no small task. Nearly all the skeletons he visited and uncovered were still in their original 400-year-old glass tombs. To disassemble those cases, Koudounaris thought, would “amount to destroying them.” Instead, a bottle of Windex and a rag became staples of his photography kit…. After examining around 250 of these skeletons, Koudounaris concluded, “They’re the finest pieces of art ever created in human bone.””

 

And there you have it: The finest pieces of art ever created in human bone!  With Vatican blunders, worshiping believers, and a whole lot of photos-I conclude: You really want to add this to your Halloween reading!

 

Happy Facts for a February Friday

1. Studies show that a large percentage of people won’t use self-checkout stations in libraries because they are afraid that if they do a librarian will lose their job and they care about it that much.

2. There are universities who respond to snow days by providing students with buckets to loan: “For playing in the snow.”

3. Panera’s is beginning to open not-for-profit branches where food is purchased by donation so their food can be enjoyed by those in financial straits.  http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/01/24/panera-cares-pulls-high-donations/e9yyeEIg7VQi2Ip8MdN7aL/story.html

 

Happy Hopeful Friday to all!

Downton Abbey 2012 Christmas Special

Downton Abbey goes Scottish!  Spoilery thoughts below (random things first and more overall storyline ones later, because that’s how I take my Downton):

 

1. I love everyone’s faces as the bagpiper goes around the table.  Next time I need to find out anyone’s real personality in a pinch I’m gonna get in a bagpiper.  Their face will tell me all I need to know about their gut reactions to things.

2. I really liked how Cora’s reaction to the Susan-Rose dynamic brought up Sybil so palpably.  It hit just the right balance between connecting to the past to hold the story believably together and not dwelling on the past so much it’s melodramatic and and a buzzkill.

3. I LOVE Rose’s dress that makes her look like a “slut.”  Yes, I would have loved anything that makes a Downton Abbey character call slut, but I genuinely like that color on Rose and the way the back straps fly.

4. KILTS.  That is all.

5. I really want to know how the Scottish fans felt about having Gilly (the Scottish accented servant) described as speaking with a voice from a “bygone age.”  That just seemed like an odd and badly-chosen term.

6. Seeing someone naked is TOTALLY the way to know how ‘nice’ someone is.  Let everyone who’s not been called back by someone after they had sex know-there should have been clues in their naked body that they were not nice enough to call.  That line was hilarious.

7. I know it’s taking awhile, but I’m tickled coral pink by the Edith Eyre storyline.  Plus, if the show pushed that relationship any quicker it’d seem more like a flighty, ill-considered, irresponsible gambit such as Edith’s been entangled in before, rather than the real relationship it’s evolving into now.  That being said, Gregson needs to figure out how to make his case without this incessant whining.  Rochester had cross-dressing, storming, and domination to overshadow his complaints, and no matter how you feel about that in a romantic hero, it beats the hell out of whining.  Gregson needs to get something like that soon.

8. Hurrah for the fair!  Just what we need in order to keep Carson’s range of disapproval going.  Carson’s Disapproval is like garlic-the always reliable, tasty, basic ingredient of this show.

9. They actually found a baby whose facial features reminded me of Sybil.  I am impressed.

10. I think incorporating Rose into the season is a very smart move.  They need more young blood, particularly with more mourning around, and there’s an awful lot of potential for interesting dynamics between her and both Cora and Maggie Smith.

11. Mrs. Patmore was the cutest thing all episode long.  Wearing a coat over her blouse so it doesn’t “jump” on people is exactly the sort of thing I’d say back then.  I would have liked it a little better if they’d shown the spice guy taking at least a few moments to try and distract Mrs. Patmore before flirting with other girls so she’d have at least that excuse and he’d be showing her at least that pinch of respect, but it’ll do.  Mainly because of the way Patmore SOLD IT when she was overcome with relief at finding out he wasn’t a real opportunity.

12. I really liked the Jimmy and Tom storyline.  Is it a little sad that Tom had to be physically assaulted to earn Jimmy’s acceptance?  Of course.  Is it believable?  Hell yeah, and good TV to boot.  When you’re constantly living with someone it’s really hard to do something out-of-the-ordinary enough to really change their opinion of you.  It made total sense to me that something that dramatic actually had to happen in order to alter their dynamic, so this didn’t even feel like punching it up to make drama like sometimes happens with this show.  It was really well done.  Also, I vehemently disagree with those who think friendship will be more cruel to Tom than awkwardness.  Tom feels guilt at himself, he feels disgust-whenever he encountered awkwardness from Jimmy all those internalized things from society would be emphasized and strengthened.  Tom needs Jimmy’s acceptance to feel all right about himself again, to erase the guilt, and to just feel like a proper human being with rights instead of the disgraced, shameful person he’d been before.  Also, I don’t think this is how the show will play it up, but in my head it makes total sense that once Jimmy does accept and forgive him, Tom will be able to stop obsessing about him.  Let’s face it-he didn’t know Jimmy enough to have anything like serious feelings for him, he was just a hot piece of ass who seemed to maybe actually be GAY and HERE and that was TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.  It’s not love-Tom is obsessed with this because of what the reaction did to him, and now that it’s FINALLY blowing over they should be able to be true friends and even the sexual tension should start getting erased.  It’ll be great.

13. It made me so happy and Christmassy to see Ivy and Daisy, and Alfred and Jimmy, being friends.  Just everything about it=merry!

14. I took a quiz during Season 1 about which Downton Abbey character I was, and got Anna.  This first time I have ever been able to see it is when she sat there saying, “I am racy.”

15. Did anyone else expect O’Brien to get hired by Susan and jaunt off to India?  She said she’d like to see a new place, she’s losing her position on the show as evil mistress due to lack of enemies now Alfred’s all settled, and she’s totally in with Susan because of the hair issue.  I’m still surprised that did not happen.

16. Perhaps it’s because I missed the episode where Sybil died, but Matthew’s death didn’t seem in any way over-the-top or too cliched to me.  Was it a cliche?  TOTALLY.  I sat there from the instant he was all joyful-looking in his car to the end of the show saying, “They’re doing it!”  However, it felt like a Niagra Falls type of cliche: Is it what you want?  No.  Does it have any bearing on real life?  Not so much anymore, but there was a time.  Is it shiny and foreseeable?  Utterly so.  Is it incredibly easy to just melt into it and let it run its course?  For me-yes.  That’s what’s going to happen, it made sense, it was there, it fit in with the time and the series’ shiny way, and it went.  (Also, it reminded me of “Lady and the Tramp.”)  I’m fine with it.

17. Well, Branson finally got a taste of his own stalkery-bullying-persistent method of courtship.  It seems fitting.

18. Everyone needs to stop predicting Branson and Mary getting together.  That is utterly absurd.  If it happens I will have to stop watching.  Even if it is going to happen, let me keep my illusions that the writers have more sense than that for as long as possible.

19. Hurrah, Downton Abbey!  This one really worked for me.  I loved it!

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