the New Year’s tag {2016-2017}

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This post is so long that I’m not going to put some big introduction up here, just dive straight into the questions. ūüôā

What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Rode a bike, kept a diary for a whole year, and saw a Shakespeare play live.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make one this year?

The five things I wanted to do in 2016 were: Learn to ride a bike (see above), expand my bank robbery/hostage/western story (nope – tried it for a while, but my heart wasn’t in it), revise The Bounty Hunter (that’s a work in progress), spend less time online (definitely nailed that – except for emails and blogging, I’m not online as much as I used to be), and LIVE (not sure exactly what all I was thinking that would entail when I put it down, but I think I’ve succeeded).¬† Overall, I’m pretty happy with¬†what I’ve accomplished this year. ¬†

As for making a new New Years’ resolution, there are several things I’d like to do in the coming year, but¬†there’s a section for those at the end of this tag, so I’ll just list them there.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes!¬† One of the ladies in our church had an adorable baby girl – Yael Ruth.¬† She had five boys before Yael, so we were all pretty excited + happy that there’s finally a girl in the family. ¬†The baby shower we threw for her was a riot of pink, believe me. ¬†We can’t stop fussing over her.

Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, no, though I was saddened by the deaths of Harper Lee, Robert Vaughn, Bernard Fox, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds.

What countries/states did you visit?

I stayed strictly in Ontario, Canada.¬† Which I don’t mind much, since I’m an introverted homebody and I don’t have any form of wanderlust whatsoever. ¬†Well, except maybe to visit my friends in the States (and Belgium), which didn’t happen this year. *sigh*

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

A closer walk with God and a completed draft of The Bounty Hunter, among other things.

What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory?

Dates don’t tend to stick in my mind, so I had to look this one up in my diary, but June 16th is the one that comes most easily to mind. ¬†That was the day I called on Jesus’ name and was born again, so that’s important to me for obvious reasons. ¬†(Also, I quite liked my birthday.)

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Did you move anywhere?

Nope.  Really happy about that, since I think the house my family is in right now is pretty much perfect for us.

What was the best month?

2016 has been a year of ups and downs, so it’s difficult to pin-point a good month. ¬†I had an amazing summer, though, what with becoming a part of God’s family and all the travelling I did with my grandparents, parents, and siblings. ¬†That was also when I saw Macbeth live and really fell in love with Shakespeare. ¬†Plus, I first read The Outsiders in the summer. ¬†So, I’d say July/August was my favorite time of year. ¬†There has been a lot of stress and strain throughout the second half of 2016, though…it’s probably been the hardest year of my life so far. ¬†But God is so good to us in the hard times.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I learned how to ride a bike! ¬†I tend to get frustrated very quickly when I can’t learn how to do something on the first or second try, but I was determined to learn how to ride a bike, no matter how long it took or how hard it was. ¬†And my persistence paid off in the end, mostly thanks to my sister, Elisabeth, who stuck with me through all my spills and slip-ups. (And, in the end, a lot of prayer.) ¬†I’m not perfectly proficient yet, but that’ll come in time. ¬†Elisabeth and I have plans to cycle around the neighborhood pretending to be French resistance courier girls. ¬†Should be lots of fun.

What was your biggest failure?

I’m wretched at completing to-do lists. ¬†And I don’t trust God half as much as I should.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes.¬† In March all my siblings and I came down with rounds of ear infections.¬† We never get ear infections, unlike lots of kids, so it hit us really hard.¬† Plus, my eardrum burst (it wasn’t painful or anything, but I lost pretty much all hearing in the infected ear until it healed) and there were a few days where I was so sick I couldn’t even write in my journal (except to say “Too sick to write…”).¬† I think it’s the sickest I’ve ever been.

As to injuries, when I was learning how to ride my bike, I took a turn too fast and smashed down a bumpy hill and ended up with a horribly scraped up knee. ¬†It took weeks to heal properly and if I hadn’t been wearing my helmet, I think I’d have seriously injured my head – I still remember the jar it got when I crashed.

My bike looks quite a bit like this one.

What was the best thing you bought?

Feast your eyes. ¬†And, just for the record, the best thing I was given this year was a beautiful brand-new, pale-turquoise-with-white-trimmings bicycle. ¬†It’s gorgeously elegant. ¬†I’ve named it Adele, after the heroine of Violins of Autumn.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

My whole family, but especially my dad, who’s been splendidly brave during his battle with cancer. ¬†Mom’s really been amazing, too, and I’m so awe-struck with and proud of how she and Dad never let things get them down (at least not for very long), but instead just keep trusting in God and doing things for other people and not thinking of themselves at all. ¬†Also, our family doctor organized a food drive for us and pretty much everyone else we know has given us TONS of food and other lovely gifts (not to mention their prayers). ¬†It’s been amazing, seeing how God uses ordinary people to accomplish His purposes.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Um…my own? (At times.) ¬†But most of all, the Democrats. ¬†Trump won, people. ¬†End of story.

Where did most of your money go?

Books, of course. ¬†Books, books, and more books. ¬†(I have purchased soooooo many amazing ones from thrift/used book stores. ¬†It’s crazy, the deals I’ve gotten.) ¬†I also spent a fair amount on gifts for family and friends.¬† But there were no big purchases like last year, when I bought Hymie (my laptop).

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Going to see Macbeth live. ¬†Admittedly, I was also a little leery, but I knew it’d be awesome. ¬†And it was. ¬†Oh, and watching Captain America: Civil War was also a thrill.

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What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?

I don’t do concerts. ¬†Sorry.

What song/album will always remind you of 2016?

Better Than I‘ from Dreamwork’s Joseph: King of Dreams.

Compared to this time last year, are you:

1. happier or sadder? About the same, though I’d say I’m more serious.
2. thinner or fatter? About the same. *sigh*
3. richer or poorer? About the same – practically nothing in my wallet.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Crying?  Also, wasting time with dumb stuff.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Blackapella.  Also Laura Bretan, Grace VanderWaal, and Sal Valentinetti.

How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve, my family has a tradition where Dad and Mom give everyone a book, so that was lots of fun. (Because, you know, BOOKS.)¬† I was given a huge book full of reproductions of the New York Times’ front pages from 1851 to 2015.¬† Super awesome.¬† And then we all sat around with my grandparents and talked and ate pie and ice cream and drank lots of coffee. (We also had a big turkey dinner.)¬† And then on Christmas Day, we had church in our home, which was great.¬† My aunt came over and stayed for a while after all the church members left and I listened to Christmas music. ‚̧

How are you spending New Year’s?

We haven’t celebrated the new year yet, but I want to publish this post today, so I’ll just tell ya’ll what we’re planning to do, God willing.¬† My family gives gifts at New Year’s instead of Christmas, and we usually do that New Year’s Day, but since it falls on a Sunday this year (next year?) we’ll be exchanging gifts on New Year’s Eve instead.¬† We’ll be having chili dogs instead of a big turkey dinner, ’cause we had that on Christmas Eve.¬† And then we’re going to ring in the new year with Meet the Robinsons (it’s a tradition, people).

Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

I’m an introvert.¬† KEEP THE PHONE AS FAR AWAY FROM ME AS POSSIBLE.¬† So I really don’t know.

What was the best book you read?

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.¬† BECAUSE REASONS.¬† It’s a wonderful, wonderful book filled with emotion and and rich, deep characters and a message that’s just as important today as it was in 1967.

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Did you fall in love in 2016?

Hahahaha.¬† YES.¬† Duh.¬† But it was with fictional characters (John Anderton, Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade, Spike Scarlotti, Lightning McQueen, Gus Pike, Rye Tyler…) and celebrities (mostly Tom Cruise and Ralph Macchio).¬† Nobody real – yet. (I know celebs are real people.¬† But you know what I mean.)

What was your favorite TV show?

I watched three new TV shows this year: Psych, Road to Avonlea, and Flashpoint. (I also sampled several other shows, including The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Bionic Woman, Sanford & Son and Murder, She Wrote.)¬† And the spot for favorite show is a toss-up between Psych and Flashpoint.¬† (RtA was good, but it wasn’t great like those two.)¬† Psych is awesome and hilarious and full of pop culture references.¬† And Flashpoint… I love the characters, I love that it’s Canadian, and I love the tense, emotional storylines.¬† HOW CAN I CHOOSE?¬† I can’t, really, especially since the two shows are so different.¬† I just can’t.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope.  In fact, there are people who I disliked last year who I like better now.  WIN.

What did you want and get?

A bike!¬† After I learned how to ride on my sister’s bike I wanted my own and I’m so happy Dad was able to buy one for me.

What did you want and not get?

Can’t think of anything right now.¬† I’m pretty content with what I have.

What were your favorite films of this year?

Minority Report (2002), Cars (2006), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Back to the Future (1985), Megamind (2010), Brooklyn (2015), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Treasure Planet (2002), Titanic (1997), The Outsiders (1983), Holes (2003), and 3:10 to Yuma (1957).  To name a few.

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What were your favorite books of this year?¬†(This question wasn’t in the original tag.¬† But I added it in anyway, because WHY NOT?)

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, Shane by Jack Schaefer, To Tame a Land¬†and¬†Last Stand at Papago Wells by Louis L’Amour, The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall,¬† Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill, All Fall Down and See How They Run by Ally Carter.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

I’ve never had a personal fashion concept.¬† I just wear whatever, as long as it’s clean and neat and looks okay on me.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was eighteen. (I’m still having trouble believing it myself.)¬† And according to my journal: “Went out for breakfast at Wimpy’s [where the staff sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me because my grandpa told them it was my birthday + I got a piece of cheesecake + I got my picture taken with the wonderful, large poster of Casablanca they had hanging up], went to [a] bookstore, got lots of lovely presents.¬† Watched The Outsiders and started re-reading it.¬† Made cupcakes for church. :)”

What kept you sane?

God.  The Bible.  Prayer.  My parents.  Good books + movies + TV shows + music.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

*shrugs* I can’t really think of anything.¬† Of course, there are things I wish had/hadn’t happened, but I’m pretty satisfied with this year, overall.¬† Although if Dad was still perfectly healthy, that would be something that would have made 2016 a million times better.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Ralph Macchio.¬† ‘Cause he’s adorable.¬† And I did gain a great liking for Tom Cruise and a deeper appreciation for Harrison Ford.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Is this really even a question?¬† The US election.¬† Duh.¬† It’s the most I’ve ever gotten stirred up over politics, and I’m not even an American!¬† Dad and Mom stayed up until two in the morning on election night/day to hear the results and then Mom woke me up a few hours later with the news.¬† However, even though I got super interested (even excited + a little angry) over the election results, I wish people would stop talking about the whole thing now.¬† It’s over and done with, people.

Who did you miss?

All my internet friends who I’ve never met but still miss anyway.¬† Let’s meet this year, guys!

Who was the best new person you met?

I did have a lot of fun getting to know Jessica Prescott better.¬† She comments on just about every blog post I write, we’re friends on Goodreads, and we’ve exchanged a few emails.¬† She’s also recommended a few amazing books to me (To Tame a Land, Echo, and Salt to the Sea) which I’ve really enjoyed – that’s strengthened our friendship quite a bit.¬† It’s been great.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Trust in God.¬† Always, even (ESPECIALLY) when it’s hard.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Time goes by,
Time brings changes,
You change, too.

Nothing comes that you can’t handle,
So on you go…¬†
~’Our Town’ // Cars

Five things I want to do in 2017:

  • Pray more.
  • Write every day.
  • Lose weight.
  • Read at least fifteen new-to-me books.
  • Meet at least one internet friend.

2017, HERE WE COME!

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Eva

christmas eve 2016: a few thoughts

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As I relax on the couch with my laptop, instrumental Christmas hymns playing in the background, my siblings watching The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming…well, I can’t think of what to say.¬† I’d say that this Christmas means more to me than all the others since I actually came to Christ this year, but I don’t have the Christmas spirit.¬† Haven’t had it this year at all so far and the holiday season is almost over.¬† I know it seems horribly cliched and the subject of pretty much every cheesy Christmas movie ever – “Oh no, honey!¬† Our angsty teenage daughter can’t find the Christmas spirit so we have to do everything possible to make her realize The True Meaning of Christmas!” – but that’s the way it is this year. (Not saying my parents are like that or anything.¬† Not at all.)¬†

The thing is, I do understand the true meaning of Christmas…

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. ~Luke 2:8-14

…I just don’t feel Christmas-y.¬† It’s really depressing.

*sigh*

Do you guys have ANY suggestions???  Have you ever lost the Christmas spirit?  And if so, were you able to regain it?  And if so, how?

And I just wanted to say MERRY CHRISTMAS to ya’ll anyway.¬† Because it is Christmas.

Love you all!

Eva

“I’ve got the solution.”

(AKA a bunch of gushy thoughts about the TV show Flashpoint.)

Five seasons.  Seventy-three episodes.  In less than three weeks.

Do not binge watch this show.¬† Ever.¬† It’ll leave you feeling like your heart is all twisted up and you just got punched in the stomach.¬† For the one hundredth time.¬† I’m serious.¬†

In case you didn’t know, Flashpoint is about an elite police unit called the SRU (Strategic Response Unit) – it’s sort of like SWAT.¬† The unit/team responds to various ‘hot calls’, most of which involve some sort of hostage situation.¬† SRU’s responsibility is to calm everyone down (both hostage taker and hostage[s]) and make sure everything turns out all right.¬† Only, that doesn’t always happen. (Fun fact: Most episodes of Flashpoint are specifically designed to rope you in with a super emotional plot/likable characters and then crush all your hopes and feelings and leave you in a puddle of tears.)¬†

Anyway, this show can get super, super tense. (Especially the bomb episodes, partly because BOMBS and partly because my absolute favorite character is the team’s demolitions expert, so he’s pretty much always two centimetres away from some of the deadliest, most diabolical bombs known to man.)¬† People die and characters suffer from regrets, broken homes, and PTSD.¬† It’s really tough, but I still love it because it’s CANADIAN and awesome and full of wonderful people (I love every. single. character.) and since it’s so intensely emotional, it’s dug right into my heart (duh).¬† But enough of all that, because I want to talk about my favorite part of the show…

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THE CHARACTERS. (Of course.)

First impression of the team:

  • Greg – That dude from Monk.
  • Ed – Cool beans.
  • Sam – JERK.
  • Jules – The Woman On The Team.
  • Spike – Comic relief?
  • Lou – Guy in the background all the time.
  • Wordy – That dude from Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye.

Final impression of the team:

  • Greg – Sergeant Saunders 2.0. ¬†Also, pretty awesome.
  • Ed – SERIOUS cool beans.
  • Sam – Afghanistan veteran whose backstory is super tragic + heartbreaking. *heart eyed emoji* One half of a great ship.
  • Jules – Love her!¬† One half of a great ship.
  • Spike – MY PRECIOUS ADORABLE ITALIAN CINNAMON ROLL WHO NEEDS ALL THE HUGS.
  • Lou – *bawls*
  • Wordy – *bawls again*

That’s the team, in a nutshell.¬† Spike is my favorite, closely followed by everyone else. (I really can’t list them in order of liking except for Spike, who’s always at the top.)¬† There are quite a few minor characters who’ve stolen my heart as well, but I can’t list them all right now.¬† (If you happen to like this show, I’d love to discuss all the characters further, but this post is sort of just to get people interested in watching it themselves, so I want to keep moving forward.)¬† Since there’s five seasons of everyone being pushed to the breaking point, their true colors bleed through a lot which helps you get to like/know them very well, very quickly.

First episode weirdness is pretty much a prerequisite for any TV show, and Flashpoint is no exception.¬† The first episode actually bored me so much that I ended up flipping through a book for most of it.¬† But then we started watching the second ep, all about a father taking hostages in a hospital so that he can force the doctors to do heart surgery on his little girl, and it was suspenseful, emotional, and interesting – I couldn’t stop watching.¬† But it wasn’t until the third episode (wow – such a long time, right?) that I truly fell in love with Flashpoint because that episode is so gripping, heartbreaking, and intense that I decided that episode would be my favorite forever and ever. (I enjoy being emotionally manipulated, I guess?)¬† Of course, that didn’t last long (though it still remains one of my favorite eps) because the awesome episodes kept coming and coming and coming.

FLASHPOINT!:

I believe the main thing that I’ve taken away from Flashpoint is to not judge people from first impressions.¬† Most episodes start out with a little prologue that’s taken from the middle of the episode (sort like YA novel prologues) and it often gives you the wrong idea about practically everything.¬† There’s not a whole lot of black and white in this show – most of the antagonists are good people who’ve been driven to do desperate things.¬† And the main characters themselves change (sometimes not always for the better).¬† The longer you watch, the deeper things get and that’s awesome.

WATCH IT, PEOPLE.¬† It’s so, so good.

Eva

mini movie review: the man who shot liberty valance

{This post is part and parcel of the John Wayne Blogathon.}

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

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The film begins in 1910 when a successful aging U.S. senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) and his wife of twenty-five years Hallie (Vera Miles) return to the small western town Shinbone, where they met, to attend the funeral of Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) a man known in the town as a good man but undistinguished. ¬†However, as Ranse begins to tell Tom’s story, it is evident that there is more to him – and Ranse and Hallie – than meets the eye.

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What a movie. ¬†The opening scenes alone are enough to put a lump in your throat, even if you’re only seeing it for the first time and you don’t even know what’s going on. ¬†There’s so much aching poignancy and melancholy in both of the ‘present day’ parts (the one at the beginning and the one at the end). ¬†As for the middle of the film,¬†well, it’s one of the most entertaining, thoughtful westerns I’ve ever seen. ¬†The story is tight and fast-paced and there’s something about the stark beauty and simplicity of black & white that I love, especially in this film. ¬†And, again, it’s pretty emotional. ¬†I definitely teared up a couple of times.

And the characters! ¬†TMWSLV is bursting with lovable characters. ¬†Vera Miles as Hallie is one of the standouts of the film, in my opinion, with her expressive acting and strong character. ¬†She’s one of the best female characters I’ve ever seen in a Western movie. ¬†James Stewart is great, as usual, and as for the bad guys…Liberty Valance is played by Lee Marvin and he makes for a delicious villain. ¬†Very scary, very memorable. ¬†And one of his sidekicks is played by Lee Van Cleef! ¬†It doesn’t get any better than that.

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But I watched this movie for John Wayne, really, so I’ve saved talking about him and his character, Tom Doniphon, for last. ¬†Now, truth be told, John Wayne isn’t one of my favorite actors. ¬†And I haven’t much cared for him in any of the films I’ve seen him in thus far (this, The Horse Soldiers, and The Longest Day), but I went into my re-watch of TMWSLV with an open mind, determined to be fair. ¬†And you know what? ¬†I actually didn’t mind him much at all – in fact, there were several parts where I liked him quite a bit. ¬†Of course, it helps that Tom is such an awesome character: sure he’s rough around the edges and he’s tough (naturally) and more than a little rude at times, but it’s near the end where you really realize how much he cares for Hallie and just how heroic he is. ¬†So I quite liked him.

Overall, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is one of my favorite westerns ever and John Wayne is a big part of that.  Have you watched it yet?

Eva

a very merry tag

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‘Tis the season

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Rules

  • Link back to the person who tagged you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Add/exchange questions for the next people, if you like.
  • Tag as many people as you like!

 

The Questions

*** Does it snow where you live around Christmas?  How much? Any special snowy Christmas stories? ***

Of course it snows here.¬† This is Canada, where (according to pretty much everyone who isn’t a Canadian) it snows and hails and sleets all year ’round. *glowers at movies/TV shows/internet stupidity that makes it appear so*¬† In all seriousness, it does snow a fair bit where we live, though so far this winter has been a dismal disappointment – we get lovely, luscious snow one day and then the very next, it all melts away, leaving muddy, splotchy grass.¬† Not very uplifting.¬† But the month is young!¬† When my family lived in the country, my siblings and I would make giant snow forts/tunnels and play on/in them for hours.¬† Very fun.

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*** Do you get a real tree or a fake tree? ***

We haven’t ever had a tree.¬† But if we did, I’d want it to be real.

*** What is your favorite Christmas movie? ***

White Christmas, forever and ever.¬† There’s lots of other that I enjoy as well, but White Christmas will always be my favorite.¬† Most of the other Christmas movies I love aren’t what you would call traditional Christmas films. (Stalag 17, for one.)¬† I also find the Christmas episodes of classic (and modern) TV shows to be a lovely, heartwarming treat.¬† Along with this.

*** Where in the world would you like to spend Christmas the most? ***

At home.¬† Boring, I know.¬† Still, as Jane Austen says “There is nothing like staying at home. for real comfort”.

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*** What fictional/literary character would you most like to spend Christmas with? ***

When I first pondered this question, no one came to mind, but then possibilities began flooding in so fast that I haven’t sorted them out yet.¬† So I’ll just throw them all at you because I love each and every one: the Curtis brothers (The Outsiders), Mr. Knightley + Emma (Emma), the Finch family (To Kill a Mockingbird), the Pontipees (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), and Spike + family (Flashpoint). *siiiiigh*¬† I’d be more than happy to spend Christmas with any of these families (and they’re all families because I think a one-on-one Christmas celebration with a fictional character would be awkward).

*** What is your favorite Christmas song? ***

HOW CAN YOU ASK SUCH A QUESTION?¬† I adore ‘Oh Come, All Ye Faithful’, ‘Hark, the Herald Angels Sing’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’, ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Jingle Bells’…oh, so many.¬† How can I chose?¬† I guess I’d pick ‘Oh Come, All Ye Faithful’ because it means a lot to me (not that the others don’t, but that one especially).

*** What is your favorite Christmas book/story (besides, ya know, the story)? ***

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. *bawls* It never gets old, it never fails to hit that sweet spot for me somewhere in the middle of humor, feels, and a very, very timely message for our generation.  LOVE.

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*** Which do you prefer: multi-colored lights or white lights? ***

Multi-colored!¬† They’re so cheerful and bright. ‚̧

*** What time period/decade would you most like to spend Christmas in? ***

Um…I like the way Christmas is now, but I guess the 40s.¬† Just because the 40s is pretty much the best in every way (except for, y’know, World War II and all) and all those Christmas carols would be playing the department stores and there’d be loads of gorgeous window displays and everything would be merry and bright and full of good cheer. (Not that it isn’t these days.¬† And I’m more talking about post-WWII 40s, by the way.)¬† That would be amazing.

*** Which period drama has the best Christmas scene/episode? ***

Another (almost) impossible question.¬† I love the Christmas scenes in Little Women (1994 version), White Christmas (of course), Eloise at Christmastime, It’s a Wonderful Life, Emma (2009 version)…there are so many, many perfect moments.¬† But I think I’d have to go with a Christmas scene that I’ve discussed before on this blog – the one from Stalag 17, when the gang gives Joey a new piccolo and everyone’s singing ‘Oh Come, All Ye Faithful’.¬† Because I really think that that scene sums up a whole lot of what Christmas is about (besides Jesus being born, of course – I’m talking more about the general spirit of peace and generosity and good-will).¬† Never fails to make me cry.

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I had so much fun with this tag – feel free to borrow it + don’t forget to listen to tons of good Christmas music this holiday season!

Eva

movie review: cars

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While traveling to California to race against The King and Chick Hicks for the Piston Cup Championship, Lightning McQueen becomes lost in a run down town called Radiator Springs after falling out of his trailer.¬† While there he slowly befriends the town’s odd residents, including Sally, Doc Hudson, and Mater.¬† But will he decide to stay or leave?

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You know, sometimes I wonder why I love this movie so much.¬† I mean, it’s about cars.¬† And it’s a pretty run-of-the-mill plot when you think about it (‘arrogant jerk winds up in a small town and learns to be a better person/car’).¬† And the first time I watched Cars I did think it was boring and clich√©d and over-rated.¬† So what changed?¬† I really don’t know.¬† I watched it once and hated it and then I watched it a second time a while later and and found myself becoming so emotionally involved in the story + characters that I’ve loved the movie ever since.¬† I’ve seen it maybe five or six times now, all the way through, and countless re-watches of certain parts (because my siblings have watched it so often and I’ll be doing other stuff and wander in whenever to catch my favorite parts).

Anyway, the point is that I love Cars now.¬† It’s swiftly moving up my list of favorite animated movies (and favorite movies in general).¬† I know with all the other great films Pixar has put out recently it tends to get dumped with the Monsters movies and A Bug’s Life (if it weren’t for all the merchandising, I think it would fade away into the background altogether), but Cars is one of my favorite Pixar movies ever.¬† If not my absolute favorite. (I’m totally doing a Pixar blogathon one of these days.¬† Just so you know.)¬† Yes, the story is a little predictable but the great visuals, awesome characters, and emotional core that drives (pun totally intended) the whole thing really pull the movie together, in my opinion.

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My favorite thing, hands down, about Cars is the characters.¬† Definitely.¬† It’s rare that I like a main character the most (side characters/villains are usually much more interesting than the hero/heroine) but Lightning McQueen is the BEST.¬† I love his name, I love all his snarky comments (except for the “Well, it matches the rest of the town” line because that is unacceptable), and I love how he softens so gradually toward Radiator Springs and its inhabitants.¬† It beautifully subtle.¬† And we really see the town through his eyes ’cause everyone is pretty weird in the beginning and it’s neat to see how, as McQueen becomes more familiar with everything and everyone, we do, too.¬† And then there’s how he’s so changed by the end of the movie… *sniffff*

Doc Hudson tugs at my heart.¬† His story/character arc is bittersweet, especially when you remember that Cars was Paul Newman’s last film – I don’t think he could have had a more poignant role for his last one, even if he did only do the voice work.¬† (Also, did you know that Paul Newman was a professional race car driver?¬† So cool.)¬† Mater, however, is another story.¬† I tend to dislike sidekicks like Mater (Olaf, anyone?) and I always go into Cars thinking that I can’t stand Mater, only to find that he’s actually not all that bad.¬† In fact, I get emotional over a couple of his lines.¬† (“I knew it! I knowed I made a good choice!”¬† “In what?”¬† “My best friend.”)¬† Plus, he’s actually pretty funny most of the time. (It’s Cars 2 where he really gets annoying.)¬† As for the rest of the characters: I like Sally, but she’s really only there as The Love Interest.¬† Luigi and Guido are favorites, as is the Sheriff.¬† Chick is awful, the King is sweet, and Mack is great (John Ratzenberger cameo!).¬† Don’t know much about Ramone or Flo, Lizzie or Red (though Red is still makes me smile).¬† Fillmore and Sarge crack me up.

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Everyone always gushes about the ‘When She Loved Me’ montage in Toy Story 2 as being so tear-jerking but, for me, it doesn’t even come close to the ‘Our Town’ montage.¬† Nope.¬† Not even close.¬† IT’S SO SAD, GUYS.¬† They built a town and it was perfect and busy and wonderful and then the stupid highway came through, but they still stayed and…I’ve just got a lot of feelings and, again, I don’t know why exactly.¬† It’s not as obviously emotional as some other scenes Pixar’s come out with, but it hits me in the heart all the same.¬† That, plus the dance-on-the-new-road, plus the ending of the big race, are the three scenes that make always me cry. (Also, Doc Hudson.¬† Because of reasons.)¬† It’s a pretty feelsy movie for me, which I still can’t wrap my head around because it’s just, y’know, cars.¬† What’s so emotional about cars?¬† A lot, I guess.

Wow.  This review ended up being way longer than I expected.  Thanks for reading it all!

Have you ever watched Cars?¬† What’s your favorite Pixar movie?

Eva