Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

So as you all know I started a book club last year. Because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time was my turn and I picked:

Until the Day Breaks (California Rising #1) by Paula Scott

I was first introduced to this book when the author came into the museum I was working at as she needed to discuss something with the curator. We started talking about the book and California and Western history as I absolutely love it.

I read it and the sequel, and enjoyed both of them. So of course, when a few months passed and it was my turn again-I picked it.

So the book takes place in 1846. California “belongs” to Mexico, but not really being more independent. The United States looms closer and closer, Manifest Destiny gobbling up more states. Rachel Tyler grew up in Massachusetts, is Protestant, and raised by her grandparents. She is a sweet woman and engaged to minister hopeful, Stephen. (As soon as his mother dies and releases her control over him)

Well that all changes when her father, Joshua Tyler, awakens their long silence. After Rachel’s mother died, he took off to California to make his fortune and has, in some nefarious ways. He married a wealthy Californio’s niece, Sarita, a girl only a year or so older than his daughter and has brokered a deal matching his daughter with Sarita’s cousin, Roman Vasquez.

This match will work for for Joshua Tyler-as if California remains in Mexico’s control he will have protection in the match. If the United States take over, Tyler can secure the Vasquez land and money through his daughter.

Rachel is hurt over the broken engagement with Stephen and in even more dismay over her upcoming marriage to Roman. Roman is a lusty, passionate, and angry man. Rachel is afraid of that passion, especially as she starts to find herself falling in love with him.

Roman has returned from fighting in the American Intervention with Mexico, known as the Mexican American War by the United States; injured, angry, and finding California completely different then what he left. His family thought he was killed, his fiancé married Joshua Tyler, his family fortune and land is dwindling through his uncle’s gambling, and now he has to marry this Yankee?

But as Roman gets to know Rachel she touches him in a way no one has in a long time. Her kindness, sweetness, and relationship with Christ starts to affect him. But can he really overcome his lust, passion, and anger?

To complicate things further-Sarita is a witch who is angry that Tohic, the god she worships, lied to her about Roman’s death. Even though she is married and Roman is engaged-she will sacrifice anything and do everything to get what she wants.

And as California looks more and more like war is coming-all are uncertain what that means and what exactly to do?

Then to everyone’s surprise Rachel’s ex-fiance shows up! And he brings his friend and ship Captain Dominic Mason.

This is a power firecracker of a novel. It is enjoyable and a real page turner. Every one of us ladies finished long before book club was scheduled to meet.

So while we discussed our book, I thought that in the flavor of Daring Chloe, we should meet in my California town’s historical Saloon that existed in the same time this book is set in. It really was a lot of fun. Here’s a couple of snaps I took. I meant to get a pic of the book in the restaurant,but forgot-maybe I’ll stop by and do it again.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

For more Christian fiction, go to Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

For more bible verses, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

 

I’m Putting You First: How to Steal a Million (1966)

Most Romantic Moment #10

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So I’ve mentioned before how this film was one I had been searching for, for a long, loong time. When I was young I watched a movie about stealing art that took place in France, but couldn’t remember the title, just the one scene. I was pointed toward To Catch a Thief, but it wasn’t how I remembered the film.

Really?

I figured I just had faulty memory and was done with it.

Whatever.jpg cheese fries

Over ten years later, I decided to watch this movie as I love Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. As I started watching it, I had this sense of deja vu, but I was certain I’d never seen it before. It wasn’t until they played the one scene that I realized this was the movie I had been thinking of the whole time.

Finally something GOOD!

Finally!

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This is an absolutely hysterical heist film. Audrey plays Nicole Bonnet, daughter of a forger and leading citizen of Paris. She has been trying to get him to stop to no avail.

Parents

Parents

One night, she catches a bungling burglar, Simon Dermott (Peter O’Toole), who is more than what he seems. He likes her and tries to date her; but she wants nothing to do with him.

No thank youhowaboutno

Meanwhile, her father has allowed the museum to take the famed Cellini‘s Aphrodite (a forgery done by Nicole’s grandfather) for an exhibition. After he has signed off the museum paperwork, he discovers that the museum will be testing the statue in order to insure it.

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Both Nicole and her father know that such tests will show that it is a fake and bring ruin to both Bonnets. In order to stop it, Nicole hires Simon to steal it for her, using one  incredibly crazy scheme.

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Most Romantic Moment: I’ll Protect You and Your Family

*Spoilers*

So the most romantic moment comes at the end of the film. Simon and Nicole have successfully stolen the sculpture and Simon is hiding it.

Simon Dermott: [about the Cellini Venus] Oh! She’s fine. She’s wrapped up in one of my old shirts, just as snug as could be. I rocked her to sleep in my arms last night.

He takes Nicole out to dinner, and reveals that he isn’t an art thief. He is actually a private detective who specializes in art forgery; finding the criminals and gathering evidence that will send them to prison.

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Yeah not good for Nicole or her father. But because he loves Nicole he decides to not prosecute her father, (as long as he promises to not make or sell any more forgeries).

How romantic

How romantic

This is HUGE! It is his job! If word got out he would be in big trouble, and probably end up in prison for obstruction or accessory charges.

But for a man who has never settled and was only focused on work; he decided to put the girl he loved and her happiness first.

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part IV from the beginning, go to I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be: Casual Sex? (1988)

For the previous post, go to You’re Sad So I’m Making This Day Extra Special: The Bikini in the Soup, Bones (2011)

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For more Audrey Hepburn, go to Heart and Soul

For more Peter OToole, go to What is This Thing: Phantoms (1998)

For more heist films, go to I’m Here for You: The Italian Job (2003)

For more private detectives, go to I Don’t Care What You Think, She’s My Girl: A Trip to the Dentist, Veronica Mars (2005)

I Left My Car in San Francisco

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This postcard did not lie. I had quite the adventure in San Francisco.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Now I have traveled to San Francisco numerous times and have loved it. I have had all kind of adventures from getting lost in San Francisco, going to historic sites, traveling to see The Godfather on the big screen, touring Alcatraz at night; but nothing compares to this last trip.

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So it started out very tame. My friend and I had been enjoying Martin Luther King Jr.’s  birthday weekend. As the spring term had just started, we didn’t have much homework and decided to do a Lord of the Rings marathon. As we were watching Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, one of my friends, Alex, brought up the idea of shopping in San Francisco.

dun-dun-duuuun

Alex wanted to go to Union Square and Elaine was eager to join him. I wasn’t sure as I had work later that day, but Elaine had work too, so both assured me we would be home in plenty of time.

Yeah right.

Yeah right.

I was waffling, but then they dangled a trip to the de Young museum. Now to some that might sound really boring, but to me that was the deal breaker. They were having this exhibit on the Dutch Masters, and I am a huge fan. Johannes Vermeer, Jan Van Eyck, Jacob Van Rusidael, Rembrandt, William Kalf, Rachel Ruysch, etc. So that was it, I was in.

Double double yay

So the trip was on and I was excited!

So the next day went reasonably well. We started out to San Francisco talking about music, movies, philosophy, whatever. And we headed down to Union Square.

Now I am not completely adept at fashion. In most cases I know what looks good on me and always try to dress well. Or at least matching to what I expect the day to be like.

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And after all Marc Jacobs says:

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Well that’s all fine for Marc, but when you go into those high end shops in San Francisco, not only do I become aware of how little money I have, but also everything that is old or wrong with my outfit. You know missing buttons, scuff marks, frizzies on the sweaters, etc.

Mistake Great Gatsby

I actually didn’t feel as self-conscious this time. And it’s not because I was wearing some great outfit. Actually, most of the clothes I saw there were just ugly. To me the colors were wrong, designs, and even the accessories. The shoes were cute though.

So Alex didn’t find anything that he wanted, and Elaine and I did not have the money for anything even if we saw something we love. So we headed down to the museum.

dean whinchester shrug smile oh well

As we start heading to the museum…that’s when it happened.

dun-dun-duuuun

When the engine overheats.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

So we need to turn the car off and let the engine cool, and figure out what to do. Only one problem, we’re in San Francisco. That means…NO PARKING!!!!!!!!!!

Crap!

Crap!

Yep we drove around and around and around and around trying to find a spot but where getting NOTHING!!!! Not only is there NO parking, but all the empty spots are now reserved for smart cars. It made us all so furious!!!!!!!!

Supernatural impala

We didn’t do that. We were able to finally find a place to park. The only problem now is that Alex didn’t know anything about his car.

dean whinchester shrug smile oh well

He had just gotten it. While he started calling his father, Elaine called her father and started looking for the manuel.

Phew!

It turned out that since Alex’s car was really fancy and expensive, he needed a special kind of coolant. So then began more calls as we had to figure out which store carried the coolant to put in the car. After we found a store we had to try to get to one and find parking.

Duh!

Yep, this meant we spent another 20 mins trying to find a place to park.

Crap!

Crap!

We finally founs a place near an O’Reilly’s and put in the coolant. Now, by this time it was too late to go anywhere else. Alex thought we had a chance of going to the museum and then heading back, but Elaine and I both agree to  not risk it. So we said good-bye to San Francisco and started heading off toward home when…

dun-dun-duuuun

Yep you guessed it, the adventure is not over yet.

As we start driving across the bridge the light comes on AGAIN!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We were so scared. Now for some of you who have never been on the Golden Gate Bridge, let me tell you that is a place you DO NOT want to get stuck on. I just started praying we would make it off before something happened.

pretty please beg

Luckily we made it off the bridge and decided to stop at the nearby Vista Point to call a tow truck.

Now I’ve never been to Vista Point before, I wasn’t ever really aware of it before this time, but apparently it is a BIG tourist attraction as the place was packed chock full of people. We couldn’t find parking ANYWHERE!

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I know, just not our day. Am I right?

So we drive around and around, hoping and praying for a parking spot. Along with hoping and praying that the car doesn’t break down while we are searching for it.

pretty please beg

And it was kind of weird because I noticed a piano mover’s truck there. Why would a piano mover stop at Vista Point and stay there? They were there for quite some time. It was weird.

Weird

Weird

Anyways, so we finally manage to find a parking spot and Alex calls a tow truck. And we all begining calling people to try and find a ride into the city with the car and a ride home.

I’m thinking, this’ll be easy!

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First I call work and let them know there is no way I’ll be able to make it in and then I immediately think to call my Aunt Ann and Uncle Jeff as they live in San Francisco, and I know they would help us out. Unfortunately no answer.

facepalm Star trek

So then I call my cousin Celeste who also lives in San Francisco. No answer.

Then I call my cousin Erik, who doesn’t live in San Francisco, but was visting his mom, my Aunt Ann. No answer! By now I am getting pretty upset, and wondering why NO ONE is answering their phones. This was how I felt:

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(I later found out that my Aunt and Uncle didn’t answer as they were not in San Francisco but in Napa visiting friends; my cousin Celeste was in Los Angeles visiting family; and my cousin Erik was heading back to school.)

Alex and Elaine were also having no luck reaching our friends. Our friend Aylin had gone home for the weekend, as did our friends Haley and Allie. Our friend Julie was in San Francisco visiting friends, but had gotten sick and couldn’t get us either. Alex called his roommate Roger, but Roger had lent his car to his girlfriend Cora.

So we were stuck and it sucked.

Reality Sucks

Elaine’s parents lived not too far away, although with traffic it was going to be like two hours, but they offered to pick us up if we couldn’t find anybody. We didn’t really want to have them drive all that way and back, so Alex decided to call a cab into the city as soon as the tow truck took the car.

So were stuck waiting at Vista Point.

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Now usually I bring a book with me in my purse just in case of situations like these.

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But this was the ONE time I didn’t and it could have really come in handy.

Instead we ended up making up stories about the people who were there visiting Vista Point, in order to pass the time. The best one was the one Elaine came up with, making one couple spies on some super secret mission involving my suspicious piano movers.

Eventually the tow truck came and picked up the car. As soon as it was gone, Alex called the cab company who said they could meet us in 15.

Double double yay

BUT…

There is always a but

There is always a but

We had to go on the other side of the bridge. Yep, we had to go down the creepy stairs under the bridge that looked like they were going to fall apart.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Yes, and I’m not kidding. Underneath the bridge is uber creepy. It’s the kind of place that serial killers or rapists would hang out.

Freddy Kruger

I actually wouldn’t be that surprised if I saw him there. Or him.

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So we finally make it to the other side and are waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting, and waiting. 15 mins pass and no cab.

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Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

Just kidding. But we are upset. It’s getting later and later, we are hungry and we want to get to the shop before it closes. Alex calls the cab company again, and they tell us the car is on the way.

Now the side of the bridge we were on was where bikers or cyclists as I should really say, hang out. There were large groups and a couple from Australia that were really cool. But…there were some really weird people.

Weird

Weird

So we had been waiting about 30 mins, when these two guys come up on their bikes. They had been drinking beer and biking. They saw me and Elaine and tried hitting on us, but they were pretty dumb.

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Then they decide they need to pee and just whip their junk out in front of us.

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I mean come on dudes. After that we had some other weirdos come, and we decided that the cab wasn’t coming (50 mins now). Alex called the tow company who told him he didn’t have to come today as his dad had already made arrangements. So we called Elaine’s parents and headed over to Vista Point as fast as we could.

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So we went to Vista Point and started waiting. Shivering as it was getting colder. And then we discoverd that Vista Point didn’t have the best upkeep. Lights kept flickering.

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It felt like we were in a horror film or something.

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Finally Elaine’s parents get there, and we are all so happy we practically leap for joy!

Double double yay

We head on home, stopping for a bite along the way.

So that was my adventure in San Francisco, it wasn’t the first, and it will most definitely not be the last.

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For more scenes from my everyday life, go to Five to Nine

For more on Marc Jacobs, go to Perfectly Imperfect

For more on Gilmore Girls, go to What a Fanatic!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

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So I don’t know about you all but my family actually cuts down our Christmas Tree. We always go the day after Thanksgiving to the black friday sales, and then a few hours to the forest to cut down our tree.

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Now some of you may wonder why we would go through so much trouble? Why not buy a fake one? Well I’ll tell you why:

1) The permit to cut down a tree only costs $10. That means you can get as big a tree you want for only ten bucks! For instance we got a 12 foot tree for 5% of the cost of  buying one from a lot.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

2) Cutting down your Christmas tree is very good for the environment.

Say What

 I know many of you have just read that and are probably saying to yourselves this girl is stupid, but just hear me out. You see trees grow in clumps and while that is a great thing as they share resources, protect each other, pollinate each other, etc. However, at times this can be bad. Sometimes trees grow too close together that they are unable to get their share. Often times one, or all, the trees will die as there isn’t enough to go around. Cutting down your own Christmas tree from one of the clumps means that one side might be a little thinner (you just aim that side in the corner) and it helps the other trees grow big and strong. Also periodically clearing out sections of trees protects them in the summer when there are threats of forest fires. And of course, this cutting isn’t a free for all. You can only cut from certain sections, therefore protecting a wider majority of trees. You also have restrictions on the tree size. Your trunk can only have a diameter of 6 inches and there is a restriction of high the stump can be. These regulations keep older trees protected, along with making sure people are not cutting off the tops and leaving the rest of the tree.

That's a lot!

That’s a lot!

3) Cutting your own tree means that it will last longer. You see one of the biggest problems with tree lots is that these trees are cut at the end of November, shipped over to the city they will be sold, and hanging around on pavement until they are sold. They are not getting the same TLC or water and a lot of them die really early, shedding tons of pine needles along the way. Now when you cut your own tree, it is nice and fresh and lasts much, much longer. As I said we always get our tree at the end of November and take it down at the end of January. We could keep it up longer, but usually by February we are packing up our Christmas stuff. Besides longevity, it also smells absolutely wonderful.

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And with cutting down your tree there are always adventures. Three years ago I went with my parents and we brought my two nieces, my nephew, and our dog. We hiked all over the area in the snow looking for the perfect tree.

We finally found it and my dad cut it down using a manpowered saw rather than a chainsaw. I tried to help him but it was hard work and both of us were pooped. He was really tired so I had him rest and had to carry that tree on my own. Let me say, I’m never doing that again. It was sooo heavy! I don’t know how I was able to carry it even for a minute.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

After my dad’s rest we finished moving the tree to the truck. After that I had to carry the three kids as the snow embankments had grown larger, and they wouldn’t be able to make it out. Yep, every time I feel like something is too hard, difficult, or heavy, I just remind myself that I carried a tree down a mountainside. I rule!

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And this year wasn’t any duller. There was no snow as we’ve been suffering some strong dry spells, but we still had a lot of fun hiking up and down the mountainside for that perfect tree. When we found it we cut it down (using a chainsaw this time) and started to head down the mountainside. Now, we’ve been doing this since I was like 13, but this year something happened that had never happened before.

As we started down the hill trying to bring the tree to the truck, my dad yelled at us to turn the tree as he wanted the weaker side pointed to the ground as that side was to lay in the flatbed. As we turned the tree, BAM! SMACK!

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The tree branches kept smacking me in the face. And when I mean kept, I meant it didn’t stop. I guess it was the section of the tree I was in, but I couldn’t see a thing, just branches and branches smacking me in the face.

I felt as if it was like in The Wizard of Oz when the trees come to life and start smacking Dorothy.

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It was almost like it was mad at me for me cutting it down.

When we got home we got it out of the truck and was taking it into the house and had to turn the tree again. Now this time I had stood on the opposite side of the tree, hoping that would keep it from hitting me, but now once again tree slap.

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Hair everywhere, I can’t see a thing, I’m afraid my glasses might get knocked off and go flying, and I am praying so hard that I do not fall in our pool.

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Luckily we get it in the stand and straighten it out. And boy does it look lovely. It kind of makes up for the abuse it gave me.

Now my abuse from the tree branches doesn’t end there. Oh, no! You see after I graduated and interned this summer; I moved back home. I’ve been trying to find a job, but this is pretty much what it is like.

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So to fill the time until I am hopefully hired, I am volunteering at quite a few places. One of which is my local museum. So last week I headed down there as it was my turn to work the desk. I brought with me some pine clippings from our tree as the museum was decorating for Christmas. Well it turned out that they didn’t have as many volunteers as they hoped, so they asked me to help with the decorating. I thought okay, it will be fun.

big mistake

So I thought decorating meant we were going to hang ornaments on the tree.

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We were making these giant wreaths.

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So I was paired with one of the volunteers and let me just stop and share something with you. Most of the volunteers at the museum are older, like 60+. So the woman I had wasn’t the most helpful. You see you take branches of the tree and put them on a plastic doughnut, tying them down with string or wire as you go along. Adding more and more branches until it is filled. However, that’s not what happened here. My helper laid tons of branches down and then sat down as she couldn’t tie them on. I tried to tie the branches down, but the wreath slipped and they all went crashing to the floor.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Yep, I had to do everything over, but this time I did it right. As I continued, more people came and helped out which was nice. It was a really hard process though as it had rained for the past three days, and all their tree clippings were soaked, making the already hard job of trying to tie them down even harder!

Replace Rothbart with wreath

Replace Rothbart with wreath

Finally we had completed it and I was tired. It’s a lot of bending over and being pricked/stabbed by the wire and tree branches. I sat down for a bit but then had to move on to making garland.

Stupid, stupid

OMG it was so hard. You have a piece of rope and have to twist tie the branch to the rope. Yep, those flimsy little twisty ties. IT TAKES FOREVER! You keep placing branches over and over each other to make it fuller and until you cover the rope. This is extremely hard. At times I was trying to use one of those flimsy things to tie three branches together! And because a lot of people had to leave, I had to do it all on my own. By one fourth of the way I wanted to burn the thing.

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We had a time limit to this as at noon the county was sending over free labor and the right machine to hang this things high up on the walls. So when every team completed theirs and saw I wasn’t even at the halfway point they all descended on me to help out.

Now you think this would have been nice, and it would have if it was one or two, but there were like five trying to take over the tying or telling me what to do. It made me feel kind of surly:

Game of thrones jon Snow kit harrington I know how

But I just kept to myself, trying to be professional.

After that my shift was over and I headed home, bearing more battle wounds that those brought on by the slapping tree. My hands were covered in cuts and they hurt sooo bad, my back was aching from bending over, my feet were sore from standing, etc. But hey beauty is pain, and the place sure did look amazing!

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Merry Christmas!

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For more on Christmas trees, go to On the  7th Day ‘Til Christmas

For more on Christmas, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more moments of my every day life, go to How Can This Be?

For more on the Wizard of Oz, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

For more of my favorite songs, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more of my favorite quotes, go to When in Doubt