Falling Back Into Austen

Aren't they so lovely? Let's just enjoy them for a moment. Now I want to watch the whole movie over again. Is that so wrong? {source}
This is how I always look when I'm writing. Oh look, they even had window guards in the regency period. {source}
       I had a Jane Austen phase. A big one. I made my own regency gown and bonnet, which took extensive research on YouTube. I'd watch any film related to Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Lost in Austen, or Becoming Jane. My grandmother caught on and bought me anything Austen related. It lasted for a year or two and I then moved on to Harry Potter and action movies. But my grandma preferred to encourage my Austen addiction.
      Recently, one of my teachers assigned Northanger Abbey and I fell back in love with Jane Austen, but not only because of the romance and riveting plot, but because of  the sheer genius of her precise descriptions. She understands women and their ways. I'm again enamored with Jane.

I'm feeling quite victorious here.
Sewing back pleats is exhausting.
"In addition to what has been already said of Catherine Morland's personal and mental endowments, when about to be launched into all the difficulties and dangers of a six weeks' residence in Bath, it may be stated, for the reader's more certain information, lest the following pages should otherwise fail of giving any idea of what her character is meant to be, that her heart was affectionate; her disposition cheerful and open, without conceit or affectation of any kind-- her manners just removed from the awkwardness and the shyness of a girl; her person pleasing, when in good looks, pretty-- and her mind about as ignorant and uninformed as the female mind at seventeen usually is."                                                                                                ~Northanger Abbey, Chapter 2

                    Veronica A.


Finding the Quarry of Quarryville

     The sweet chill of fall had settled in. Trees were appropriately donning their golden shades. In response, the sun released its yellow haze upon our Sunday afternoon walk. Our neighbor spontaneously offered to show us the quarry of Quarryville. Apparently it existed and wasn't some myth that we had been told. This offer could not be refused. Back beyond the porches of lives we hardly see, we tramped up the road. Past the forgotten train cars and empty automobiles rusting in the shadows, we trekked by the ivy covered, dormant,  mechanical statues.
     Not heeding the "No Trespass Sign," we journeyed into Hobbiton, horses in green pastures and goats in grassy patches. Then, there it was. Covered with a glassy layer of water, the quarry, scooped out, curving down into the valley and onto the glistening corn covered farms. A memorial to a previous age, something that had been peacefully laid to rest and covered in the adorning brush of the countryside. Sunday evening was the right moment to meet the quiet quarry.

Veronica A.


Poem Share

   It's difficult to capture the feeling of a New York City commute: how you see someone crying on the subway or how you stride past a stranger tearing up a photo as U2 resonates through your ear buds. In my Fiction Writing class, my teacher shared this poem, which aptly describes the person-shaped walking packages of anxiety that we all are. It's brilliant imagery.

Tuesday 9:00 AM

Denver Butson

A man standing at the bus stop

reading the newspaper is on fire
Flames are peeking out
from beneath his collar and cuffs
His shoes have begun to melt

The woman next to him 

wants to mention it to him
that he is burning
but she is drowning
Water is everywhere
in her mouth and ears
in her eyes
A stream of water runs
steadily from her blouse

Another woman stands at the bus stop

freezing to death
She tries to stand near the man
who is on fire
to try to melt the icicles
that have formed on her eyelashes
and on her nostrils
to stop her teeth long enough
from chattering to say something
to the woman who is drowning
but the woman who is freezing to death
has trouble moving
with blocks of ice on her feet

It takes the three some time

to board the bus
what with the flames
and water and ice
But when they finally climb the stairs 
and take their seats
the driver doesn't even notice
that none of them has paid
because he is tortured
by visions and is wondering
if the man who got off at the last stop
was really being mauled to death
by wild dogs.

Veronica A.


"I Do" Happy

     She was so beautiful and the church was set. A clump of vibrant stems in her hands and a beating heart that I could see from her face. I smiled and watched the first bridesmaid march as "Psalm 46" echoed through the colorful  church. On cue I stepped out and walked towards my grinning brother, catching glimpses of my family and family to be. For the first time in a couple of days my mind was quiet, and when I made it to the front I smiled because I knew what was happening was so good and it made me happy.
     As she reached the altar, I could see her holding in the tears. She and my brother had waited so long for this. And it was finally happening. The joy of delayed gratification poured over in their voices as they repeated their vows to each other. And then they kissed. 
     When at last, they joined ringed hands, the bridal party danced down the isle after them to the contagious melody of "You are the Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne. Halfway down the columns of clapping people we slipped on sunglasses and finished out the recession. The rest of the evening was full of Filipino food, friend reunions, and celebratory dancing. I don't think that the party could have gone better. God showered the Andreades with blessings that day, big and small. 

Veronica A.


Solanco Fair {The Grounds}

       When I saw the vegetables, I knew that I was in Hobbiton. Not only were perfect pumpkins and gigantic sunflowers judged. Rather ordinary looking bales of hay and stalks of corn got their own blue ribbons. I'm still in bewilderment over this practice, but the custom truly shows the nature of this community. As Galadriel says, gardeners here are held in great regard.

Apparently, someone always brings a gigantic pumpkin. 
One of my favorite parts was the myriad of flowers people entered.
 I'm having sewing skill envy.
Then there were the animals. 

As various tractors approach the flag man, with their weighted vehicles, you begin to lean forward to try to get the farmer machine to go further as the weight it pulls increases. The practice of tractor pulls sounds quite boring, but it's almost as mesmerizing as people watching.

I enjoyed the marathon of farmer goodness, but what really stayed with me was the barbecue. Herr's BBQ with a milkshake is possibly one of the most wonderful things I've ever eaten. Perhaps it was the atmosphere, but I have never enjoyed fair food so much. I'm looking forward to next year.

Veronica A. 


Solanco Fair {The Parade}


       This is Hobbiton. The people here like large gatherings, with good food, agricultural displays and undisturbed tradition. Four generations of Quarrvillians set out their lawn chairs days in advance. I quickly learned that the Solanco Fair was a national holiday to the folk of Quaryville and Southern Lancaster County. Fortunately for my family, the event took place across the street from our new hobbit hole. But the festivities of these three days were too bountiful to cover in a short post. First came the parade.

      Everyone from the high school marching band to the hairdressing shop participated. Each business or group put together its own display. Children thrust their hands out to the passing landscaping employees and boy scout members who hand out candy to the eager little fingers. The parents recline in their fold-up chairs watching the familiar celebration unfold.

Yes that is a giant shopping cart, which they created themselves.

Prepping for the tractor pull.

I was so excited when I saw this.

My friend with her uncooperative pygmy goat.
I feel for those poor children. Some one must have misled them to think that they were going to be on an exciting float for the parade, not disclosing the fact that they would be sitting in rolling out houses.

Our local beauty salon owner, sailing along in her float for the Family Hairloom.

I'm so glad I moved here.
Veronica A.


     Folded chairs line the sidewalks, blue barriers await positioning, red and white tents erect themselves on the lawns. Tonight  a parade ushers in the Solanco fair. Friends chatter about the Hobbit-fit food and the adorable pygmy goats. For Quarryville, this is the event of the season. All is held aside for the fair. As a new Lancastrian, I'm thrilled to encounter this gathering. Pictures from my adventures will come next week.

Veronica A.