Masterpiece’s Les Misérables

Masterpiece, a division of PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), brings television dramas to American audiences.

Their programming includes contemporary works and even adaptations of literature’s classics. Some of their popular programs include Sherlock, Bleak House, and Downton Abbey.

Tonight WDSE-WRPT is hosting an advanced screening of Masterpiece’s Les Misérables first episode. It’s being held on a large screen of a local arts building. This six episode miniseries airs on PBS beginning April 14, so this is truly an advanced viewing.

For anyone who needs a refresher on ‘Les Mis’, this next bit is for you’

Les Misérables takes place after the French Revolution ends. Les Mis is the story of Jean Valjean, a peasant who was jailed for stealing bread. He attempts to get out a few times and had years added to his sentence. After spending close to two decades imprisoned, Jean Valjean is released. Jean Valjean is constantly on the move, meets many unique individuals, and always seems to run into trouble despite trying to better his outlook. How does this all play out? You’ll have to see for yourself!

Now, here’s what I thought of episode one. This may contain spoilers!

*Note: at this viewing there was a wide range of ages and backgrounds of both men and women. Everyone was very excited to see this episode.

This first episode is nothing short of a work of art. It’s beautifully written and crafted. The costumes are gorgeous and period appropriate. The actors looked the part! It’s music enhanced the mood without being overwhelming. Sets were well chosen and it was visually stunning. A lot of natural scenery was used to add a sense of enormity and scope to the story which gave a great sense of wonder and perspective.

It starts off after the last battle of the French Revolution at Waterloo. The scene was large in scope and gave a good visual representation of just how many people were killed. It was impressive to see the scale of destruction and gave a clear message of the revolution’s debilitating effect on the county.

This episode clearly sets up three characters to focus on for the duration. It explains their background, attitudes, personalities, and begins to show the transitions into the next ‘chapter’ of you will of this epic saga. You can’t help but feeling like you’re sharing in their stories. It’s an unspoken emotional aspect that can be explained in a ‘less is more’ fashion. The set, score, costumes, and sheer talent of its actors all compliment each other.

By the end of the episode, I was hooked. I cannot wait until the next episode! To be this excited for more after ONE episode, it has to be good! I would definitely recommend seeing this version.


Seeds of Change

Expanding opportunities.

Yes! Yes, it is still winter. There is ice on the lake and show on the ground. It’s early March, but spring is coming. Nothing can stop that. Thank goodness! I really enjoy other seasons.

Change and come with the seasons. No one can deny that. Every year, season, month, week, and day we have an opportunity to start afresh. That’s what is so compelling about waking up to another day – we never know who will walk in or out of our lives or what circumstances we’ll be immersed into.

Anyone who knows me is quite familiar with the fact that I love tea and like talking about what’s going on in life. I use a lot of interesting, sometimes odd, ways of describing thoughts and feelings.

So allow me this small tangent:

We are the teabags and the water is life. As people, we’re all different. Those differences are the flavor we offer when steeped in the waters of our lives.

Sometimes, we take our teabags out early or leave them in to steep a little longer than we should. There’s plenty of examples both ways. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it. Happens every day.

Shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong.

That’s where we often get in some sort of trouble.

Taken out too soon:

  • Missed opportunities with jobs, experiences, and relationships.
  • Regrets! Yes, all those regrets we said we’d avoid!
  • Doubts of whether or not we made the right decisions.

Taken out too late:

  • Wondering why the blazes we waited so long to leave that person, place, or job.
  • Being hurt in such a way that greatly reduces our mental or emotional status to the point where we can’t go on normally.
  • Becoming angry, bitter, hurtful folks who’ll stop at nothing to destroy others.

Of course, the list for both goes on and on.

My thoughts: learning what we, as individuals are capable of doing. Seize your moment, but don’t be too hasty or delay too long.

Tangent over. Take it for what you will. It’s not much, but it’s what I have to offer right now.

Anyways, my big change came within the last couple months. I decided to give freelance writing a second chance. So far, my ‘luck’ has seemed to change. My writing business is thriving, small as it may be when compared to others, but it’s growing!

Falling into Labor Day

Summer has officially come and gone. It is hard to believe fall has already arrived. For many kids school begins this week. Though many years have passed since my public school and college experiences, fall is still bittersweet. 

Summer offers freedom in so many ways. Easier parking and driving, warm weather and sunny days, anything feels possible. Those long summer days that tease us into this sense that time stands still…. That one summer blurs into the next with nothing in between. 

I don’t know about you, but during those few short months, I feel ageless. Almost like a child again except now I have a job and bills.

I’m not sure what this fall has in store for us. Whatever happens, I hope there is much laughter, love, and beautiful fall colors.

Coffee Shops as Places of Gathering

These days it’s quite common to hang out in a coffee shop. At one point or another, most of us have stopped for a hot beverage with friends, family, coworkers, maybe even a new love interest. The role in coffee shops has no doubt shaped our lives on multiple levels. 

It’s where we go to catch up with old friends and wonder how time passes so fast. Sometimes we can feel as if the tides of time are pulling us apart through our varied experiences. To be honest – that is okay. It means we are growing. Just because people drift apart doesn’t always mean that it’s permanent.

 It’s where we go with our families on Sundays to drink coffee and hot cocoa. Where plans for the week ahead or upcoming vacations are made. Or what we are going to get (or make) as a present for a loved one. It’s where we play board games, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company.

It’s where business folks meet to discuss work. Often you’ll see them between mid-morning and just after lunch (1 p.m.). They discuss matters both great and small.  You see, anything can be planned or solved with a warm cup of coffee and a willingness to move forward. At the end of their meetings the smile (usually), shake hands, and go their own ways.

It’s where we go on first dates. You’ll know those couples when you see them. They’re shy, awkward, and flustered. Not all of them, of course, but you’ll still know them. This could be the make or break date. Will it last? It’s anyone’s guess really. By the end of their time, they’ll have an idea whether it’s going to work out. 

It’s places like this where I enjoy spending time. All these snippets of stories in the community, to witness a slice of another’s life as a fly on the wall. That’s what makes coffee shops unique.

Sweet Sounds of Summer

It begins with the frogs. Always the frogs. A chorus of them. Their song grows steadily louder as spring melts into summer. As the days pass, more sounds blend together to form a ‘Summertime Symphony’. 

The birds many voices lend a sweet sound to the rustling of new leaves as children laugh and splash in the water. All of these add charm to the warm days and comfortable evenings spent with family and friends. In all of these little things we can find peace.

The sweet sounds of summer remind us of days gone by and to cherish every moment. Summer draws people together as families, friends, and communities. Especially around the fourth of July. 

If only we could, as a people, keep this sense of generosity and community alive no matter what the season may be. There is so much tension between people that we forget to stop and listen to not only nature, but those around us. 

Let the sounds of nature remind us to stop and smell the flowers, to listen, and become closer to those we connect with day to day.

Choosing Directions

Another day in the life! It’s been fair sailing this week. This weekend I am taking a time out for tea at my favorite place. I’m trying Dragonwell (green) for the first time (I believe). 

With a cup or two of tea and some paper, things can only get better. There’s no telling how productive this afternoon will be, but I can hope for the best!

Memorial Day Weekend

On this, the first day of the holiday weekend, it’s been warm and sunny in my hometown – at long last! As the day has turned to evening, the frogs have begun their chorus. The birds add their songs, too, creating a symphony from natural world.

Tonight we are playing games on a collapsible table outside. My family loves to have game nights. Everything from Mancala to Monopoly, SkipBo to War. I think our current favorites are Dr. Who Yahtzee, Go Fish (the Van Gogh and Friends one is delightful), and Niya. 

On this Memorial Day weekend, celebrating freedom should be welcomed. The sacrifices of those who earned said freedom should also be remembered. 

This being said, I hope all have a safe and enjoyable weekend with family and friends. Especially with all the distress around the world.

Work and Enjoyment

Days like today are my favorite! It’s a beautiful spring day in early May. The sounds of birds chirping, leaves finally budding, a fresh breeze blowing, and the gentle warmth of the sun. New beginnings for so many things. We all need a fresh start sometimes. Enjoying the fine weather in Duluth, which lately has been absent, is a good place to start.

I’m taking time to drink ‘Good Morning, Paris’ tea at my favorite tea shop – The Snooty Fox. It’s the only locally owned tea shop in the area. While I’m here it’s time to get some article ideas and questions down.
Let’s see where the day takes this!

Rainy days are…

Good for many things. Who doesn’t just love and hate when the weather turns sour?! In places like my home town, weather changes from one end to the other…. even on top of the hill versus down by the lake. It makes life interesting, but frustrating.

Some of the things I love about rainy days are:

  • Having coffee with friends.
  • Reading a great book or magazine (personally, I don’t read Vogue or Allure, but I do enjoy a few writing magazines!).
  • Hanging around the house watching the latest Netflix trends or favorite DVDs – yes people still have ‘regular’ DVDs from about 20 years ago.
  • Curling up on the couch and loving our fluffy, furry friends. This… is mandatory.
  • Taking naps! Enough said. Why did we refuse naps as children?!
  • Doing day to day ‘chores’ like putting away laundry and doing dishes. This could be a good thing, but who really wants to, right?

Though there are several things rainy days are good for, there’s always the downside:

  • As stated earlier, ‘chores’. We’ll leave that there.
  • Going outside. Going from dry and tidy to wet and muddied.
  • Everyone seems to be ‘of a mood’.
  • Not being able to comfortably do outdoor activities like gardening, walks, and one many of my friends enjoy – frisbee golf.
  • I could go on forever, but I’ll end with this: springtime rain/ice storms where driving is hazardous and just plain difficult.

In the end, we need the good and the bad to experience life.