Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tea with Tess: In which Emma and Tess discuss their Jane Austen Favorites :)

Hello, and welcome to "Tea with Tess".  I've been wanting to try a new series of posts, and "Tea with Tess" had a nice ring to it. :)  And hey, Maggie's had "Breaking News with Maggie" almost since the beginning of our blogging days.  I wanted something special, too.  In this series, we'll cover everything from books to movies to music to etiquette.  Well, maybe not everything.  But you get the idea. 

I'd been thinking about what I should do for my first topic when Emma's new Regency dress arrived.  Then it hit me.  Emma and I had been meaning to sit down and have our in-depth Jane Austen discussion that Maggie had teased about when Emma first got here.  Here was a perfect opportunity.

I talked it over with Emma, and she thought it was a great idea.  So, here we are.  Emma and I are both dressed in our Regency dresses to go along with the topic...and, I'll admit, just because it's fun to have an excuse to dress up!

T:  (with attempted British accent) Thank you for joining me today, Miss Hathaway.

E:  (also attempting to sound British)  The pleasure is all mine, I'm sure, Miss Prescott.

T:  (laughing)  Okay, obviously we need to work on our accents.  We're here to discuss our favorite author of all time:  Jane Austen.  Oh, before we start, though, would you care for some tea?

E:  That would be lovely, thank you.

T:  One lump or two?

E:  None, please.  But if you have any honey, I'll take that.

T:  Um...sorry, I just have cream and sugar.

E:  That's okay.  How about a little cream?

T:  That I can do.  Hmm, I'd better have a little more variety on hand for the next post.  So, before we start our topic today, would you mind sharing your favorite type of tea?

E:  Not at all!  I love Lady Grey.

T: (excited) That's my favorite too!

E:  (grinning) What are the odds?

T:  (handing Emma her teacup and saucer)  Here's your tea.

E:  Thank you.

T:  So, first question.  What is your favorite Jane Austen novel?

E:  "Emma", of course! (laughing)  But "Northanger Abbey" is great too, and "Persuasion".  Really, I like all of her stories! It's too hard to choose.

T:  I have to admit I'm not too surprised by your first choice. (smiling)  As we've discussed before, my absolute favorite is "Pride and Prejudice", followed closely by "Northanger Abbey" and "Sense and Sensibility".

E:  Those are good ones, too.

T:  I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this, but if you could be any Austen heroine, who would you be and why?

E:  Emma Woodhouse, definitely.  Not only because I'm named after her, but because I think she's one of the Austen characters that really goes through a lot of growth as a person.  She's not perfect.  Sometimes I feel like we have a lot in common!  But she's surrounded by people like Mrs. Weston and Mr. Knightley who care about her enough to correct her when she's made a mistake.  And of course, the best reason to be Emma is that you end up marrying Mr. Knightley!! *swoon*

T:  (laughing)  Great answer!  Although, I must confess, I prefer my Mr. Darcy to your Mr. Knightley.

E:  (laughing too)  So I assume you'd choose to be Elizabeth Bennett?

T:  Yes.  I love her quick, sharp wit and refusal to be intimidated.  Especially since I have problems with timidity.  I wish I could be as brave as Lizzy.  I also appreciate the relationship she has with her father and her older sister, Jane.  It's funny, I'm actually a lot more like Jane in personality.  I'd love to be like Elizabeth, though.  And, like you said, the best part is ending up with your dream hero, which in my case is Mr. Darcy!!

E:  He's just a little too snobby for me.  I know he ends up being really sweet and caring, but I much prefer a George Knightley or Henry Tilney for their warmth and directness.

T:  I just love how both Lizzy and Mr. Darcy have these pre-conceived ideas of what the other is like, and then they come to realize they were completely wrong about each other.  It's a great lesson about not judging someone before you really get to know them.  

Okay, we've got to get to the next question.  What is your favorite movie adaptation of "Emma"?

E:  Well, the simple answer to that is the 1996 version with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam.

T:  What do you mean by "the simple answer"?

E:  I love that version because I think that of all of them that I've seen, Jeremy Northam is the ultimate Mr. Knightley.  I prefer his version of the scene where he has to scold Emma about Miss Bates to every other version.  But I have a more complicated answer, too, because there are things I like about the other versions as well.  I really like the newer "Emma" with Romola Garai and Johnny Lee Miller.  Especially since it's so long...they had the opportunity to add a lot of detail that the other versions had to leave out.

T:  So, which "Emma" movies have you seen?

E:  The main movie versions of Emma I'm familiar with are the 1996 one with Jeremy and Gwyneth, the 2009 with Romola and Johnny, and the 1996 with Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong (I'll call it 1996#2).  It's fascinating to me seeing how each screenwriter focused on a different part of the story.

T:  Can you tell us a little bit about each one, and what you like and don't like?

E:  Sure!  I'll try to keep it short, but I do tend to ramble when it comes to Jane Austen.  Just stop me if I talk too much, okay?

T: (grinning) It's a deal.

E:  The 1996 film, as I've mentioned before, is my overall favorite.  Mr. Knightley is wonderful and I love Gwyneth as Emma, too.  I was also impressed with how the screenplay kept the feel of the original wording of the book.  Even though it's not word for word the book (what movie adaptation is?), it doesn't sound nearly as modernized as some of the lines in the other two versions.  It's so sad when they do this...Austen's wording is so beautiful!

This version focused on Harriet's storyline but skimped on a lot of Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax's story.  I watched this movie before I read the book.  When I read the book later, I was amazed at all of the great details about Frank and Jane that the movie left out. (Sips her tea)

T:  So, what about the next version? 

E:  The 1996#2 is okay.  I have sort of mixed feelings about it.  I was so happy to see that they put in a lot of the details about Frank and Jane that were absent from the other 1996 film.  To this day, this version's Frank and Jane are my favorites.  Unfortunately, in exchange for Frank and Jane's storyline, they left out a lot of Harriet's story.  I also did NOT like the way Kate and Mark played Emma and Mr. Knightley.  Emma just came across as bratty and Mr. Knightley was grumpy and rude.  I honestly had no clue why Emma fell in love with him.

T:  So, how about the newest one, with Romola Garai?

E:  I really enjoyed this version a lot.  I loved all of the details they included.  The acting was superb.  I still think Jeremy Northam is the best Mr. Knightley, but I thought Johnny Lee Miller did a great job, too (much better than Mark Strong).  My main complaint with this version was the watering down of the Austen language to make it more palatable to the masses (I assume).  There were also several scenes in this one which, though well acted, I just preferred in Jeremy's version or even the Kate Beckinsale film. 

T:  Can you think of some examples of scenes you liked better in the other movies?

E:  Well, for starters, as I mentioned before, I liked the scene where Mr. Knightley scolded Emma in the 1996 version the best.  I also preferred their argument over Harriet refusing Robert Martin better in Jeremy's version.  Even though the 2009 film had more of the conversation from the book, I think the wording was a little closer in the 1996 version.  I found that I preferred Johnny Lee Miller's Mr. Knightley in the tender or serious parts, but I didn't care for his argument or scolding scenes.  He just seemed like he was yelling.  Jeremy Northam's Mr. Knightley seemed to be able to scold or argue with an elegance, for lack of a better word.  It felt more like the sharp, witty arguments of the day instead of a yelling match between the two of them, which is how I felt when watching 1996#2 and 2009.

T:  You know, I felt the same way too when I watched them.  

E:  Also, while I really like the Box Hill scene in the 2009 movie because it's closer to the book, I didn't care for the part where they had Frank's head in Emma's lap, and the fact that they made Emma and Frank's nonsensical comments more personal.  That seemed a little forward and made the scene even more uncomfortable.  I liked some of the acting in that scene from Frank better in the 1996#2 version, too. 

Wow, I'm sorry I talked so much.  I didn't mean to be so long-winded!  I warned you I might be!

T:  That's okay.  I think it's interesting!  Just be glad Maggie's not here.  She'd be going completely nuts by now.

E:  (laughing)  Probably so.  Can I just say one more thing on the subject?

T:  If you make it quick!  This post is going to be really long!

E:  I'll try!  I've always thought it would be cool to make my own dream version of an Emma film.  I'd use Mr. Knightley and Robert Martin from 1996, Frank and Jane from 1996#2, and Emma and Harriet from 2009, although I do like Gwyneth's portrayal of Emma, too.  I'm undecided about the other characters.  I'd make it the same length as the 2009 film and incorporate the detail of the screenplay from 2009 but make it more flowery like the 1996 version.  I've even watched the different movies, wondering how easy it would be to edit them and piece them together with my favorite characters.

T:  I don't think that would really work.

E:  I know.  But I can dream, can't I?  For now, I'll just have to be content with watching all three versions.  You get a more complete picture of the story that way anyway.  Each screenwriter brings something unique to each film. 

Wow, I've hogged all of this time going off on my rabbit trails.  So how about you?  I'm pretty sure I know the answer, but which version of Pride and Prejudice do you prefer?

T:  Without question, the 1995 miniseries with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.  I was not as impressed with the newer version with Keira Knightley.  It was so toned down and modernized from the book.  And, like any regular-length movie adapted from a book, they had to cut out a lot of material to make it fit the time frame.  I love the miniseries so much more because of all of the details they were able to add.  Jennifer Ehle is the ultimate Lizzy...and Colin Firth is pretty amazing, too! :)

I'd love to go on, but that's all the time we have for today.  I had more questions...maybe we can get to them another time.  Thanks so much for joining me, Emma!  You should be honored:  you're the very first special guest on "Tea with Tess".   

E:  I do feel honored!! Thanks so much for having me.  That tea was delicious, by the way!

T:  Glad you liked it.  Join us next time for more "Tea with Tess".  Bye!!

Hope you guys all enjoyed my first special post.  What topics would you like to see discussed in my other posts?  Leave your ideas in the comments below, and I may decide to use YOUR idea on the next "Tea with Tess"!  :)              

Some Photos of Our Tea :)

Miss Elizabeth Bennett and Miss Emma Woodhouse
(aka Tess and Emma) :)

My favorite book!

The elegant table :)

Even one of Papa's childhood teddy bears and Shahrukh bear had a tea party!

Emma's book (she still doesn't have her own copy of "Emma").  This is a great book, too!  

My special guest.  Isn't her gown lovely?

Good books and fresh brewed tea...what could be more perfect.  Hmm...maybe some chocolate!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tess's Tidbits: Eugene and Rapunzel's Wedding

Hi guys!! Belle wanted me to let you know that Eugene and Rapunzel's wedding was a big success today.  You can get the whole scoop on the "Belle's Bulletins" tab at the top of our blog.  She hopes everyone gets a chance to read the latest news. 

And don't worry, we have some 18" doll related posts coming very soon!! :)  Maggie and I have both been sick for the past week.  Ugh.  I think it's something Mama's kids gave to us.  Talk to all of you again soon!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tess's Tidbits: New Belle's Bulletins Update

Hi everyone!  Belle just wanted me to let you know that she updated her page today, for those of you who follow her "Belle's Bulletins" page.  Things are pretty crazy with the fashion dolls around here.  Rapunzel and Belle have been looking at this really pretty white dress.  Could there be wedding bells ahead for someone?

Talk to you again soon! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tess's Tidbits: Happy Valentine's Day!

Hi!  Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day.  We hope you have a wonderful day spending time with your loved ones.  We were going to do a big, spiffy post today, but I think it'll have to wait.  We've had a big weekend. :}  You'll be hearing from us again soon, though. :)  In the meantime, here are some more pics from our Valentine's Day photo shoot for you to enjoy.

                                                                       The Whole Gang

Sister Pics! :)

Hailey and Me

Charlie and Emma

Lucy and Katie

Best Buds Forever! :)

Maggie and Me

Emma and Katie

Charlie and Hailey

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Maggie's Memos: Our New Playlist

Hi guys!  Any of you reading this are aware that we've added a musical soundtrack to our blog via  Mama added a playlist to her blog, and Tess and I liked the idea so much that we wanted one for ours.  Mama gave us permission to compile a playlist on her account, and what you're listening to is what we came up with. 

We were just going to choose a few of our favorite songs...especially those appropriate for our "Jane Austen and Unicorns" theme.  Then, right when Tess was working on her songs, Emma happened to come by.  She got really excited about the "Pride and Prejudice" songs Tess found, and wanted to see if there were any from "Emma".  Before I knew it, Tess and Emma were on a Jane Austen rampage, adding songs like crazy!  Then, of course, Emma just had to add a few of her favorite Bollywood songs.  And when Hailey heard all the commotion, she came in and decided we needed a song from "Tangled" and one from "Enchanted", too.  Even Katie and Lucy got in on the action with some Glenn Miller and Tchaikovsky.  Charlie was busy doing some sort of scientific experiment outside, crazy girl, so she missed out.  I found the songs I wanted to add and posted our playlist before it got any longer!!

Tess wanted to be sure I added a disclaimer to this.  Just because we have a song on our playlist does not mean we 100% support the entire movie the song came from.  For my part, while I love some of the music from the "Lord of the Rings" and "Narnia" movies, I'm annoyed by some of the silly changes they made to the storyline.  Books are always better!! 

Tess mentioned that some of the Jane Austen movies (particularly "Sense and Sensibility" from 2008 and "Northanger Abbey"...which they couldn't find any music from, much to their disappointment) she enjoys do have a few small parts she fast-forwards.  It's been a while since she's seen "Little Dorrit" or "Bleak House", so there may be a few things here and there in those movies.

Then, when Tess started this conversation, Emma wanted to be sure I mentioned that "Om Shanti Om" has a few parts she fast-forwards as well (especially the song "Dare-e disco").  And she particularly wanted to mention that while she LOVES the music in the song "Dhoom Taana", she decided not to include it in our playlist because of some of the suggestive dancing in one part.  We want to be sure that the music we select honors Christ and doesn't detract from our testimony.

Mama has been talking about doing some movie reviews soon and pointing out exactly what she and Emma appreciate (and don't appreciate) about some of the Bollywood movies they've seen.  They just wanted you to be aware of where we stand and give you an opportunity to try some for yourselves (although why you'd want to is beyond me...from the clips I've seen, they're waayyy too mushy for me!). 

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, hope you all enjoy the music! :)  Sorry we haven't posted in a while.  Things have been really crazy around here with Mama's middle daughter's birthday party.  We should be doing some more posts soon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Breaking News with Maggie: Claire is in her New Home! :)

Hi everyone.  Haven't been in the mood to type lately, but this really is most appropriate for a "Breaking News with Maggie" post.  So, here we go.

Kerri, Claire's twin sister, just did a new post on her blog.  Claire is officially in her new home, and judging from the pics, she and Kerri are already having a great time together!  You can see the post yourself HERE

We are sure missing Claire around here, but we know that she and Kerri will have many great new adventures together.  Enjoy your new life, Claire.  We're so glad we get to keep in touch with you. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tess's Tidbits: Good News and Bad News...and Another Change

Wow, I'm completely flabbergasted!  Yet another change has happened in our little group.  I hope Mama doesn't have too many more of these up her sleeve.  I don't know how much more we can take. 

By the way, sorry it's been so long since I've posted.  It's been a rough couple of weeks. :}  I'm writing now, though, because Maggie is so frustrated with all the upheaval that she'd probably burn holes in the keyboard with her furious typing!  :)

So, the change I'm speaking of is a change in family groups.  Mama took a bunch of pics of us this past week, and when she took this pic, she started thinking:

She started thinking how alike Emma and Charlie looked, and it made her wonder:  had she gotten the family groups right?  Thus began a few days of intense research.  Then came the revelation.  Mama had us all sit down together for a chat.

"I have a confession to make to all of you," she said.  "I...I was a little too hasty in assuming that Charlie was Katie and Lucy's sister."

Charlie shifted in her seat uneasily.  A few of us exchanged confused looks.

"What exactly are you saying?" Maggie said suspiciously.  Of course, she would be the one to voice what we were all thinking! :}

"I'm saying," Mama began slowly, "that Charlie is actually...Emma's sister."

Emma's jaw dropped.  Charlie gasped.  Katie turned very pale, and Lucy's bottom lip quivered.

"I'm sorry to throw this at all of you now, when we've already had so many changes.  But I thought the sooner I let you know, the easier it would be for everyone to adjust."

Well, as you can imagine, this threw all of us for a loop.  Maggie pretty much isn't speaking to Mama right now.  She's so sick and tired of all of the changes and surprises.  I wonder, too, if she's having a hard time knowing that now she's the only one without a sister.  When Emma was by herself as well, it was easier for Maggie to handle.  Now, she feels like the "odd doll out".  I'll have to be sure to reassure her.

I feel sorry for Mama, personally.  Everyone can make an honest mistake, and I think she was right to tell us as soon as possible.  It would only be harder as time went on.  Katie and Lucy were disappointed, of course, but I think it helped that they'll still have Charlie around as a friend.  After Emma got over the initial shock, she was thrilled to have a sister of her own.  Charlie was a bit dazed about it all, but she really likes Emma, so hopefully that will help ease the transition.

Of course, there was the whole name issue to settle.  After much discussion between Emma, Charlie, Katie and Lucy, it was decided that Katie and Lucy would go back to their old name, Peterson (they were still trying to get used to "Hathaway", anyway).  Emma will now be Emma Grace Hathaway.  She's pretty excited about the name change.  Hathaway is a much more elegant last name than Roberts.  And for a fellow Austen fanatic, that's a very exciting thing.  :)

You might be thinking, "But what about when Charlie first came?  She and Katie 'knew' they were sisters."  I don't really know how to answer that.  Emotions can be tricky and misleading sometimes.  Maybe they were so excited and anticipating everything so much that they thought they "felt" something.  I don't know.  Maybe we'll never know.  But Mama is completely confident in her research now.  Emma and Charlie are definitely sisters.

In other news, we just heard from Ella's new "Mama".  She arrived there safe and sound and is doing well, though she's a little tired from her trip.  I think she's going to try and email us when she gets a little more settled.

I was having a really rough time there for a while.  It was sooo hard to say goodbye to Ella.  Mama really helped me, though.  She encouraged me to talk about what I was feeling, and even shared some of the Bible verses she likes to read when she's upset about something.  My favorite one was Romans 8:28:  "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."  It was nice to be reminded that God cares and is in control of everything that happens. 

Mama also said that any time I was sad or lonely for Ella, I could talk to God about it.  It won't make all the pain go away, but it helps.  I'll always miss my little sister, but I'm so thankful that she's in a great home, and that God is taking care of her.

So, regarding my title, I have some good news and some bad news to share with you...although it seems a little trivial after all we've been through.  Just bear with me. :}  I suppose I'll start with the bad news and get it over with first.

Do you remember my earlier post about wanting the special edition Samantha doll in her Christmas dress?  I've been hoping and wishing that I would get her.  I mentioned my wishes to Mama, just in case she needed a gift idea for me...not that my birthday is any time soon, but still...I figured it couldn't hurt to mention it.  Mama likes shopping early for things. :)

Well, a few of weeks ago (before all of this craziness), Mama told me we needed to talk and took me into the other room.  The minute we sat down, I knew something was wrong.  Mama looked like she was trying to figure out a way to say something without hurting my feelings.  She sat there for a moment.

"Tess," she finally said, "I'm afraid I won't be able to get you the holiday Samantha doll that you wanted."

I tried not to look too disappointed.  "Oh," I said quietly.

"I'm sorry, I know how much you wanted it.  But I looked into it today, and by the time you add tax and shipping, it's $30."

I nodded slowly, wondering what her point was.  I knew $30 was a lot of money, but I also knew Mama had spent that much at a time on doll stuff before.  Did she just not want to get me the doll?

As if she sensed my confusion, she leaned forward and took my hand.  "Try to understand, Tess.  I know I've spent more than that on dolls or doll accessories in the past, but I've never spent that much on any one accessory...especially such a small one.  I mean, that's more than I paid for you...and you were much bigger!"

I blinked at her comment, then hid a smile.  Maggie would be spitting nails at this.  Mama has learned a lot about our culture since having us in her home, but she still hasn't learned how very rude it is to talk about how much your person paid for you.  It's considered indelicate and distasteful.  With some dolls, mentioning their purchase price can cause them to stop speaking to you for weeks.  It may seem silly to you humans, but it's a very grave issue for us dolls.

"What I'm trying to say is, I just can't justify spending that much on one little doll, when I could buy 2 or 3 used ones elsewhere for the same price!"

I nodded again, seeing the possibility of getting my Samantha doll fade away into the distance.

Mama could tell I was disappointed.  "I'm sorry about this, honey.  I know how much you liked her, but I just can't do it.  Maybe in a year or so, when people are selling them used, we can find one for a better price.  I don't know, though.  Since they're limited editions, they might just go up in price."

It was a done deal.  I wouldn't be getting Samantha.  Tears pricked at the corners of my eyes.  I blinked them back quickly.  I didn't want to make Mama feel worse than she did.  But, oh, how I'd wanted her!  "That's okay, Mama," I said, forcing a smile.  "I have lots of figurines.  I guess I don't really need a doll."

"Who said you weren't getting a doll?" Mama asked.

"Um...I thought you did," I replied, confused.

"No, I just said I couldn't get your special Samantha," Mama corrected me.  "I'd like to get you a doll, but I wanted to talk to you first."

And here comes the good news, everyone!

"I was wondering if you'd still like a Samantha if she was in her meet dress, or if you'd rather go back to your original favorite doll, Rebecca."

My jaw dropped.  "Really?  Do you really mean it Mama?"

"Of course," she smiled.  Then her expression sobered.  "I know it's been a tough couple of weeks for you.  I thought maybe getting a special doll would help things a little bit."

"Oh, thank you, Mama!" I cried out, flinging my arms around her far as they would reach, at least.

"Even if it's not your first choice?" she asked.

I smiled.  "Even if it's not my first choice."

"So now you just have to decide which doll you'd like.  I found an original Samantha and a Rebecca, both at really good prices.  I thought maybe we could try to find a matching outfit for you, no matter which one you chose."

So there you have it.  I'm officially getting a doll.  The problem is, I just don't know which one to choose.  Samantha looks more like me, but I love Rebecca a lot, too.  Do any of you have any suggestions?  Which one would you choose?


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Maggie's Memos: Goodbye Claire and Hailey's New Do

So today is our last day with Claire.  Her auction ended over a week ago, but apparently Mama and the buyer worked something out so she's just now being shipped.  It's so hard to keep having one goodbye after another.  Hopefully this will be the last for a while!  On that subject, Lucy's had so much fun with her sisters that she's decided to wait on her visit for a while.  So we really should be past goodbyes for a while now. 

We're all going to miss Claire's happy smile and sunny personality, especially Hailey.  But we know she's going to a good home...and she even has a twin sister waiting for her there!  She's a lot less nervous now that she knows a little bit about where she's going. 

For those of you wondering, Tess is doing much better.  She and Mama had a long, private talk.  I think Tess was able to get a lot off her chest instead of internalizing everything (which is what she usually does).  Another big plus is that Mama got an email from the lady who won Ella's auction.  As a result, Mama found out that Ella is going to a fabulous home where she'll be loved and cared for, and even be able to model dresses!  We can't wait to hear from her.  Tess will always miss Ella, but she's glad she's going to such a great place.

In other news, Hailey has a new hairdo.  Well, to be completely accurate, Hailey has new hair.  Unlike most of the dolls in our little family, Hailey and I (and, Elizabeth, too) have the unique opportunity to switch wigs if we like.  Everyone else has their original hair attached, so they're just stuck with least for now. 

I've never really been into switching wigs myself.  For one thing, I'm quite happy with my long brown locks, thank you very much!  And for another thing, I don't like how muddled you feel when you first get a new wig.  I believe I explained this before when I was talking about Emily, now Elizabeth. 

Don't worry, though.  Hailey hasn't developed amnesia or anything.  Her new wig is the exact same style as her old one, and just a slightly different shade.  She's been a little forgetful the past two days, but nothing horrendous.  She still remembers who she is and who we are.  And she LOVES her new hair.  Her old wig was getting a little ratty and dusty.  This one is silky and shiny as brand new hair (actually, it is brand new hair). 

I'm not sure about the color, myself.  It's a little too Pippi Longstocking or "The Little Mermaid" for me.  But Hailey likes it, and so do Tess and Mama, so I guess that's what counts.  What do you guys think?  That is, if anyone actually cared to comment on this blog every once in a while. 

Okay, I should revise that.  Tess would be mortified.  I realize that we do have comments...just not very often.  We do like them.  Comments, that is.  Just in case you're wondering.

Well, I should stop before I do more damage.  Tess will probably write a big apology post for my rudeness the next time she's on.  Good grief.  Can't people take a little harmless sarcasm?  What's this world coming to?

P.S.  To Marsali and all of her sisters, I do realize that you girls post comments here quite frequently.  Just didn't want you to think I was ungrateful. :}