Sunday, July 28, 2013

My revels now are ended

Two days, four plays, and 376 miles later, I have returned home from the Utah Shakespeare Festival. I went by myself, actually, while my husband took some time off work to spend with our boy. It was Bob's idea, in fact. He is well aware of my Summer of Shakespeare, so when he heard about Nevada Public Radio's bus tour to the festival, he encouraged me to go. NPR handles the bus ride, hotel room (one night), and play tickets all for one decent price and all I had to do was show up and be fed by the spoon of eloquence.

So I did it! And though I went alone, it did not take long to meet friends. For when such kindred spirits bind themselves together, friends will be made! These are two wonderful women I met, Carolyn and Diane. They are both educators and we had good chats about preparing my son for kindergarten (for which they had great advice) and all sorts of other topics. Carolyn even brought along all sorts of supplemental reading for the plays.

What a wonderful time!


Much to my surprise, my favorite play from this year's festival was not from Shakespeare. No disrespect to the Bard, of course, but there was a certain production that BLEW ME AWAY. I'll blog about it in the near future. Very near, in fact, so I can convince some soul out there to go and see it.

I'll end with a quote from The Tempest, which production was spell-binding.

The Tempest was Shakespeare's final play. Some have suggested it was his goodbye to the world and that Shakespeare was speaking as himself, through his character, Prospero. Toward the end, Prospero says:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

It's interesting that Shakespeare talks so much about fading away, and fretting on the stage of life and never being heard of more. What would he have thought if he'd known the impact his works would have on mankind?

OK, one more item of housekeeping. As promised, I will announce the winner to my old fashioned raffle. After wearing out my hand from writing all the names of particpants (ha ha), the winner of the Pony Express book and playing cards is....Amy King!

Amy, I will mail your prize shortly.

Love to all and good night.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Pony Express Museum plus a Give Away

This is where it all began!

The Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri has been on my "to-go" list for about 5 years. I've read and referenced a ton of Pony Express books, but museums bring history alive in a whole new way.

On April 3, 1860 one rider in St. Joe began his trek west, while on the same day another rider in San Francisco rode the ferry to Sacramento and began the relay east. As promised, ten days later, the mail was delivered to opposite ends of the country.

Check out the Pony Express digs. This is what a home station would have looked like where a rider could stop for a meal and some shut-eye while the next rider carried the mail forward.

Very rudimentary, as you can see. Many of the stations were clapped together pretty quickly.

Most stations would have had a fireplace for cooking as well as for warmth in the cold seasons.

This is the mochila (Spanish for "knapsack") where the mail was kept and locked. It was designed to sling quickly from one saddle to the next.

And check out these two handsome guys I picked up on the trail.

They have a working well (that draws water from under the building) where you can pump water into a trough.
And a place where kids can play.
I thought this was pretty cool. It's a buckskin shirt/jacket that belonged to William F. Cody aka "Buffalo Bill." He wore it in his Wild West show in the 1880s. In his younger days (age 14 to be exact) Cody was a Pony Express rider.

The Pony Express ended up being a financial disaster and left its founders broke and in legal disputes. It ran for 18-19 months until the telegraph wires were connected across country. But as far as historical significance and fascination, it was a huge success--not to mention it made its goal of cross-country mail in ten days. It was the Pony Express, for example, that got word to the West that Lincoln had been elected president November 6, 1860.

Can you tell I love this era of American history?

Now for the give away. Fresh from the Pony Express museum gift shop is this children's paperback book, They're Off: the Story of the Pony Express by Cheryl Harness AND your own Old St. Joe deluxe playing cards.

To win simply leave a comment below and I'll put your name in a drawing to be announced next Sunday.

I'll ship to anywhere in the continental U.S. as well as Ireland. (Yeah, Ireland is special.) Don't put your address in the comments. I'll get it from the winner.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Shine On

Well, I came home from vacation to find that David Powers King had bestowed me with The Shine On Award. Woo hoo! I had never heard of this award, but I accept it wholeheartedly and would like to thank him as well as the Academy for this honor. (Smiley face.)

A word about David before I continue. His book, WOVEN, is a YA paranormal fantasy set to be released October 2013 and you can bet I’ll be reading it! Also, he’s a champion of aspiring authors and of people whose blogs are still very very small. For real, thanks, David.

Rules for accepting The Shine On Award are as follows:

Display the Award on your Blog.

Link back to the person who nominated you.

Disclose seven random facts about yourself.

Nominate 15 other bloggers to receive the Award. (I’m going to go with 3 as my blog is slightly smaller scale.)

OK, a few random facts about me.  

  1. I have a vivid imagination. It’s my greatest gift and my bitterest curse. Great when I’m working on a story and a curse, say, after I’ve watched a scary movie.
  2. Actually, I can’t watch scary movies. In some cases not even scary movie trailers. The images haunt me after everyone else has gone to sleep. (Sometimes I can’t help myself and watch one but I aaaaalways pay for it later.)
  3. I’ve been to the Kremlin and I speak a little Russian. (Da, ya znayu. Meenya otleechna.)  Not enough to be a Russian spy, though, which would be super cool.
  4. The three historical eras of highest interest to me are these: Elizabethan/Shakespearean England, American Old West, and any time/place in World War II.
  5. I love music. My ipod is one of my most prized possessions. I can do anything if I have a good song to accompany me: running, cleaning bathrooms, whatever. The best is when I’m alone in my car and I can belt out my favorite tunes as loud as I want.
  6. I love musicals. I’ll blog about my top ten favorite ones. Just so you know, Newsies is among them.
  7. I like my feet. I wish it were acceptable to have feet-shots instead of headshots.
Now, without further ado, here are the three newest recipients (should they accept) of The Shine On Award.
Shine on, my friends!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Back Soon

I'll be back in one week to tell about my adventures at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri. Cheers!