Sunday, December 8, 2013

Oh, Christmas Tree!

I love the Christmas edition of Victoria magazine, Christmas displays on Pinterest and in fancy stores, Christmas episodes of decorating shows.  I love the color-coordinated and/or themed trees so many feature and wish I could have a tree in each room of my house, each decorated differently.

Due to time, money, and physical energy constraints, though, I have one smallish tree in the living room.  

I used to try to make this tree all color-coordinate and look like a magazine photographer was due any minute.  I don't think I ever truly succeeded in this goal, but that was what I longed for.

Over the years, though, I have come to embrace the hodge podge look of a family Christmas tree.  It's true that I like to keep a maroon and gold theme going, but when that doesn't happen, I figure a mass of white lights will cover a multitude of mismatching sins.  

The beauty of the hodge podge tree, of course, is that each ornament has a particular memory associated with it.


John and I bought this ornament at Old Economy Village at a craft fair when we were engaged: Christmas 1994.  John played the French horn through high school and some in college.


This ornament we received from my Uncle Steve and Aunt Ellen and contains a picture of our sweet little William.  He was just a month and a half old on his first Christmas and that was a precious time.  Columbus, Ohio. 1997


This bi-wing plane is a replica of the Wright brothers' first plane, built in their hometown, Dayton, Ohio.  We lived in Dayton for several years, and learned to be fiercely defensive when North Carolina claims "First in Flight."  They only provided the wind, we provided the plane.  
1997-2002  


These little skates hung every year on my Grandma Edgar's Christmas tree.  I love them because they remind me of her, and of Christmas when I was a child.


This one was a gift from John's mom the first year we were married.  1995


This one was from my college roomate, Kim.  Geneva College, 1993.


These two are from our dear friend, Pat, and remind me of our church family in Minnesota.  
2006-2013.


This is also a Minnesota reminder, a bird bundled up against the cold!  I bought this one myself at Target, a Minnesota-based company.  2012.


This is one of the prettiest ones we have.  It is from the Biltmore Estate which we visited on our first family vacation in December of 1998.


See that cute, adorable little boy in there?  That's Micah at about 6 months old.  This ornament has driven me crazy many years because it has a recording device, so the kids love to get ahold of it and record themselves being "funny" and then playing it back, ad nauseum.  Some years this one has "disappeared" until after the holidays!  This year I threatened to take it away immediately if it wasn't left in peace.  It has been unmolested on the tree so far.
2000


And here it is in all its glory:  Shaw Family Christmas Tree, 2013 Edition.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Explosion

Christmas has exploded in my living room!


Send reinforcements!

Adoption Update

I was kind of hoping that by now I wouldn't have to give adoption updates!  But here we are.

The bad news is that we are still waiting for the finalization.

The good news is that we are NOT waiting for a birth mom to pick our profile.

We are NOT waiting for a baby to be born in another state.

We are NOT waiting to meet our brand new baby girl.

We are NOT waiting to see if that baby girl will really come home with us.

We are NOT waiting for a trial to see if our baby can stay with us.

We are NOT waiting to hear what the judge will say about our case.

We ARE waiting for that decision to be put into the official Court Journal.

At the moment, the lawyers are wrangling over the wording in that decision.  From our perspective, the opposing lawyer is putting up road blocks just to be obnoxious.  He probably has some sort of justification in his own head, but the fact is that he lost the case and should move on.

Not that I'm biased in saying this.



Once the decision is put into the court journal, we begin the 30 day wait to see if the birth father will appeal the judge's decision.  

If he does, the process will continue to drag out indefinitely.  Even if he does, though, we are as certain as we can be that no judge would overturn the original decision.  This would only delay the inevitable and cost us a whole lot more money.

That is as we understand things now.  Our understanding of this whole process has been sketchy at best, at least until after the fact.  We thought that after the trial we would finalize, maybe even that day.  How wrong we were!  We certainly are learning to live by faith and not by sight or human knowledge!  

So, here we are again, asking for prayer.  Please pray that the decision would be entered soon, that the birth father would rest his case, and that we could finalize our adoption.  This calendar year would be ideal.  

Sweet Miss E's birthday is coming up and it would be so wonderful to celebrate with no cloud over our heads.

Whatever happens, though, we are so thankful to have Miss E. in our family.  She is a blessing to us.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

John Donne

John Donne
 
74. "Batter my heart, three person'd God; for, you"
 

BATTER my heart, three person'd God; for, you 
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend; 
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee,'and bend 
Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new. 
I, like an usurpt towne, to'another due,         5
Labour to'admit you, but Oh, to no end, 
Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend, 
But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue. 
Yet dearely'I love you,'and would be loved faine, 
But am betroth'd unto your enemie:  10
Divorce mee,'untie, or breake that knot againe; 
Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I 
Except you'enthrall mee, never shall be free, 
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.

found on Bartleby.com

One of my favorites from a favorite poet.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Not Just Another Trip to Kansas

Going back a full year from today, we have taken five trips to Kansas.  

The first was in December (2012) when we flew to meet the birth mom who had chosen our profile book.  This was the most harrowing trip in terms of travel, as we nearly died trying to land in St. Louis.  But that's another story.

The second was in December/January when we met and fell in love with our beautiful Evie.

The third was in May when we visited Evie's birth mom and Grandpa.  This was a quick trip, but we got to spend time with Grandpa, particularly Sunday afternoon when we just sat around and talked and I got him to reminisce about growing up on the farm in Idana.  

The fourth visit was in August for the adoption-related trial.  Not a fun trip.

And the fifth was just last week when John, Evie and I went to Kansas City for Grandpa's funeral.

Grandpa died Sunday, October 20th, surrounded by sons and grandchildren singing Psalms to him.  Just the way he wanted to go, I think.  He was 92 and had lost most of his sight, most of his hearing, and other physical abilities which frustrated him.  He never lost his sense of humor, though, nor his love for his family and his Savior, and for those blessings, we are grateful.

As soon as we got the word, Copelands across the country mobilized!  

I found generous friends to take the kids, then I drove to Beaver Falls, where Evie and I flew with Mom, Katie and Sean to Kansas City.  I was so very thankful to not have to fly by myself, especially with a baby!  (You all know how much I love to fly!)

The funeral was Tuesday at the Shawnee RP Church, the church where Grandpa and Grandma attended for...well, a long time, since before I was born, so that is a long time. Also, it is the church where I was baptized, lo, these many years ago.


Grandpa served in the army during WWII and was proud to have done so.  


Wade Mann led the service.  Grandpa was in charge of constructing this building 40+ years ago.


If anyone wasn't properly overcome with tears yet, this just about did it.  Here, my cousin, David, presents the flag to my dad, the oldest son, with the words spoken to so many families of veterans and soldiers. 

 David and his sister, Faith, are in the army (she's proud to outrank her older brother now!); their younger brother, Daniel, was in the army for a time, and their father, my Uncle Stan, recently retired as an army chaplain.



The next day, many of us drove up to Superior, Nebraska, to lay Grandpa to rest beside his wife, who died nearly 14 years ago.  

It was a sad time, yes, but also a joyful one.  We had fun seeing family and friends from all over and spending time together.  We reminisced about Grandpa and commented often on how much he would have enjoyed such a gathering, especially as it contained a good amount of Psalm singing.

Grandpa gave us many things, but he most wanted to hand on his faith in and love for Jesus Christ.  Grandpa was by no means a saint, and he knew it, and was infinitely grateful to the Lord for taking him in hand, forgiving him, and blessing him in spite of his unworthiness.

"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the blows over it and  it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.  But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children -- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.  The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all."
Psalm 103:13-19



Friday, October 11, 2013

October 11

I am trying to get the house ready for my in-laws' arrival this afternoon, but I've been thinking about my grandma today and just wanted to write about her here.  

Her name was Ida Louise Briars Edgar.  October 11 was her birthday.

Grandma grew up on a farm in upstate New York.  When she was a young woman, a local church got a new pastor, a handsome guy from Colorado, newly graduated from seminary and in need of a wife.  They married on July 15, 1935, sixty years to the day before I got married, but they didn't know that was to come.

They moved all over the country, serving wherever the Lord led, serving whomever the Lord brought to their table.  

Grandma loved to cook and loved to make a pretty table for her guests.  This was way before Martha Stewart and her ilk came along and shamed us all into stressing over these things.  Grandma was a hostess who made her guests feel welcome; fed them good, filling food; and sent them away feeling blessed.  I would even say, she showed them a tiny bit of the fellowship of heaven.  

Of course, she and Grandpa were a team in this, but Grandma set the tone for hospitality.

Grandma loved Christmas.  She loved the bustle and fuss.  She loved picking out presents and wrapping them and arranging them under the Christmas tree.  She loved decorating the tree (no matter what scraggly thing we found in the back pasture!) and decorating the house.  She loved all the baking and cooking.  She's the one who used to suggest we pester Grandpa to be allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve.  He never gave in, but she tried valiantly every year. 

Grandma could not carry a tune in a bucket.  I know she was self-conscious about her voice because she would sometimes stop singing in church and just listen.  When I was very little I thought that she hated the Psalm tune I loved (53B, aka "Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus) because she wouldn't sing it, and for some reason that delighted me, naughty child that I was.  Later I figured out that she loved good singing, but could not do it herself so sometimes she just listened, especially to her husband and daughter who had/have lovely voices. 

Grandma loved people.  That was the "secret" to all of the ways in which she left her mark on the people around her.  She cared about people and was interested in them, from old friends to folks at church to eccentric neighbors down the road who carried potatoes in their pockets to keep away the rheumatism.  

When she was in her 90s, she was still baking treats to take to the "old people" down the street.

She was an extraordinary woman and I am so thankful for the years I had to know her and learn from her and love her and be loved by her. 

I miss her.  

Lisbon RP Church where my grandfather pastored and my grandparents met.  They retired to land on Grandma's family farm and attended this church as retirees.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Typical Day

In the lazy, hazy days of chaos summer, I sometimes look forward to the relative order of the school year.

  You all know I am not what some might call organized.  I have occasionally been known to fly by the seat of my pants.  I'm a "pantser" not a "planner," as they say.  Routine feels so...routine, and I have to jazz things up when that happens.

But believe it or not, too much chaos bugs even me.  

What with five kids and a new house and city, there is more than enough chaos around here to suit me, so the routine of the school day is very much welcome.


Every day (almost) I get up at 6:15 (-ish) and start rousing the kids.  If someone requires more than two or three wake-up calls, Dad gets involved and is much less pleasant than Mom!  A few people have had to take breakfast with them on the run, but so far, not too bad.

Everyone gets dressed in clothes which were supposed to have been put out the night before, eats breakfast, then picks up backpacks and duffle bags which were supposed to have been packed up the night before, and heads off to the bus stop, just down the street. 

Sometimes, this all goes swimmingly.

Sometimes, it does not.

Either way, by 7, the house is quiet again. 

Some days, the baby is awake by this time, but more often she is still asleep and I sit down to check what's happening on the interwebs and to eat my breakfast.

When John deems it safe to come out, he gets up and gets going.  Just kidding!  His schedule is different each day, so sometimes he's up and out before the kids are and sometimes he goes a little later to the office.  And sometimes he's on the road and enjoying the quiet solitude of his hotel room!

During the day I watch soap operas and eat bon-bons diligently keep the house spotless.  No, that doesn't work either.  I do work on the house, but somehow it never reaches "spotless" status.  


Anyway, I do dishes, laundry, etc. but I also play with Evie, go for walks, get groceries, run errands, and, yes, take naps occasionally.  I really, really enjoy these quiet days at home and am so thankful for them.

About 3:30, Sam arrives on the afternoon bus.  He tells me about his day and gets a snack.  

A little later, we get in the car and go back to the school for someone's soccer game.  This week we have nine games, plus practices.  I know Sam wanted to play, but I was just a little bit glad we had missed the cut-off to sign him up to play on a community team this fall!  "Maybe in the spring, buddy!"

When the game or games end, we go home and eat some supper.  The crockpot is my best friend right now.  Depending on how far away the other game or games were, we might wait for everyone to get home and eat all together, or we might go ahead and eat so that homework can get started.  

From supper to bedtime, it's homework and showers and getting everything ready for the next day.

Bedtime is 9 p.m.  As the school year progresses, a couple of kids have voluntarily put themselves to bed earlier than that because these are long, action-packed days and morning comes early!

So, this is what our days are like, with some variation.  For instance, yesterday, I was at school most of the morning to help give tours to prospective families, then back later for a Bible study before going to Johanna's soccer game.  And variations like that make me all the more thankful for a typical day like today where I can catch up with some laundry and update my blog!

There's Sam's bus!  Gotta go!


(All of the photos in today's blog are from the kids' school.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

House Tour

Dining Room

Since we had the house cleaned up (ish) for company, I thought I'd take a few pictures so those of you far away can see our new digs.  

I have a cleaning hangover this morning - headache and no energy - so clearly I will be doing nothing today and the house will revert to its usual state of disarray, but at least I'll have this post to return to and feel good about.

Do I sound bitter?

Family Room


Kitchen (from the back door)

Clearly this is not a "House Tour" as in "Come see my show house that I've spent hundreds of hours and millions of dollars on decorating!"

Kitchen (from dining room)

It's much more ordinary than that.  It's just pretty much what our house would look like if you were coming for dinner.  

Living room

In the picture above, if the camera panned a little bit left, you could see the dining room.  I'm standing in the front corner of the house, to the right of the front door.

Living room - taken from the front door.

I'm not sure the upstairs will ever be presentable enough to put on here, but this, at least, is the first floor of our new house.

Of course, it is much better in person, so maybe you'd better come over and see it for yourself.  

And stay for coffee.  

Ooh, and a pumpkin snickerdoodle! 

(Thank you, Pinterest!)

But maybe after my nap.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Mantel

Facebook comes under a lot of well-justified criticism, but, really, it was made for people like me.  

I am the sort of person who wants a lot of input on questions, believing that wisdom lies in a multiplicity of advisers.  

So, last week when I was trying to figure out what to do with my living room mantel, I posted a picture on Facebook and, boy, did I get a multiplicity of advisers!


I got mostly helpful input from female friends, and mostly unhelpful, "funny" input from males.

My first mistake was asking what I could do to "jazz up" the mantel, so this led to comments like "you need four things, a saxophone, a trumpet, a clarinet and a baby grand piano. The hard part is getting the piano to balance on the mantle so it isn't constantly falling off" and "Miles Davis. Duh."

My second mistake was misspelling "mantel" as "mantle."  This generated less humor, but still prompted a few comments.  

Anyway, when all of the smoke cleared, I went to the thrift store and the dollar store, then pulled in a few things from around the house and came up with this.


I would still like to add a "Thankful" banner.  Something sort of like this.


So, we had a fun Facebook discussion, and now I have a lovely autumnal mantel.  Win/win!  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Of Ironstone and China Cabinets

And now for something completely different...

Home decorating magazines have featured ironstone antiques for years and it seems as though everyone and their hipster sister is collecting it, so even though I admire it and inherited one piece from a grandmother, I figured it would be useless to look for it, and too spendy if I did find it.

Well, on my trip to the thrift store this week (looking for more school uniform pieces) I glanced into one room that had souvenir plates, sets of china, and the like, and lo, and behold, I spotted a lovely ironstone tureen.  One that looks a whole lot like the ones featured in all those magazines.  And it was affordable, even for me (and I'm pretty cheap)!


There's the mark (above) and there it is on display in my china cabinet (below).


Speaking of which, what do you think of this cabinet?  It belonged to my grandmother and I'm very happy to have it.  It is not sacred to me, though, and does not have to be preserved in the state in which it sat in her home for many a year.

I see any number of Pinterest projects that could happen with this.


The trouble is that this seems to be rather more sacred to other family members and I get the greasy eyeball when I talk about paint and other desecrations like that.

I already removed the glass from the door and side panels and that was bad enough!  Then to talk about further "improvements" might just send someone off the edge.  Or to the phone to hire a moving truck and forcibly remove the piece from my unworthy clutches.

But these family members are not your family members and you don't have to care what they think.  If this was left on your front door step, what would you do with it?  Leave it as is?  Start a Pinterest board for ideas on how to change it?  Put the glass panels back in?  Paint it purple to match your dining room set?  I'd really like to hear so leave a comment.

And don't worry.  I'll deal with The Family.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rejoicing!

"The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy." Ps. 127:3

Sunday afternoon, I started to write a blog post entitled "Waiting."  I wanted to share about our continued waiting in the process of Evie's adoption.  At that point, we were still waiting - had been waiting for almost a month - to hear a decision in our recent court case to sever the rights of Evie's birth father.  I wanted to say something deep and meaningful and maybe even inspiring.  But the post lies abandoned because I just didn't have anything more to say on the subject.  We've been waiting on this adoption, in one phase or another, for four and a half years, so my stock of inspiration is depleted.  We've learned to wait in silence.

I am ecstatic to say, though, that that "Waiting" post will continue to lie abandoned and is being replaced with the title "Rejoicing!"

Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from our lawyer.  He was so serious I instantly prepared myself for the worst.

Actually, I've been preparing myself for the worst for weeks now, trying to convince myself that either way, it is all in God's good providence.  Which, of course, it is.  It's the "good" part I sometimes struggle with believing.  Although, I shouldn't.

So, the lawyer says, "Well, we heard from the judge today and...we won."  He was so serious and business-like that I refrained from screaming in his ear.  But I was screaming and jumping up and down for joy on the inside!  At least until I got off the phone.


I will, as Jane Austen does, pass over the following paroxysms of joy as I laughed and cried and hugged Evie until she wondered what was wrong with me.

There were, of course, more scenes of ecstasy when the kids got home and heard the news.  We are planning a celebratory dinner for Wednesday night. Maybe we'll break out the champagne and sparkling grape juice my brother brought us!


This is not necessarily the end of our journey; the birth father can still appeal the decision, but we are praying the decision is so air-tight he won't even consider it.

And in due time, the adoption will be finalized and Evie will finally and forever be our daughter.

"...weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Ps. 30:5b

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Day of School

How many posts across the blogosphere have carried this title this week?  Well, it is certainly descriptive if not very creative.

Yesterday was the first day of school at our new school.


Sam was lookin' mighty dapper in his uniform.

While it wasn't nearly as traumatic sending him to school for second grade as it would have been for Kindergarten or first grade, there was still a little heart pang to go with our last hug and kiss yesterday.  He has been my constant companion for seven years now and while it is undoubtedly time for change, I can't help being a little sad and nostalgic for my little guy growing up.


This was as much enthusiasm as I could get from Will, especially that early in the morning.

Otherwise, a good lookin' bunch, no?

While they were gone, Evie and I hung out in a suddenly very quiet house.


I had to remember how to do everything with a baby on my arm or underfoot and Evie had to be content with just boring old mom to play with.  We survived nicely, but we were both happy to have the kids home at the end of the day. 

Will had soccer practice, but when I picked up the other three, they were full of smiles and stories, new best friends and funny teachers.  And at dinner we heard similar stories from Will, and even saw a few reluctant smiles.  

So, it isn't exactly as easy and familiar as an old glove, but we are in a good place, and for that we are truly grateful.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

End of August

Wow!  Here we are at the end of August! 

In some ways, this summer has flown by in a blur.

In other ways, this summer has been the longest of my life!

Our Minnesota school, Liberty, had its first day of the 2013-14 school year yesterday, and it's amazing to think how far we've come from the last day of school in May.

We have driven through 18 different states, some of them multiple times. We have driven over 7,300 miles, not including "around town."  We have dipped our toes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

We have moved all of our earthly goods halfway across the country and endured all of the physical work of emptying one house and filling another, not to mention the emotional work of leaving a well-loved group of friends and starting over in a new place.  

Many of you know the things we are going through with finalizing our adoption right now, and that has consumed quite a bit of mental and emotional energy, as well.

But next week, we start a new school year, with new hopes and challenges for us.  Truly, a new adventure.

It will be strange for me to have just one little one at home again.  It's been thirteen years since I only had one little one at home, with no one homeschooling or anything!  

I will admit to looking forward to some quiet, though, especially after the hectic summer we've had.  Evie and I can take walks and visit parks and try out libraries and read books and experiment with new recipes for exotic after-school snacks.  And we'll take the loveliest naps!


Ah, nap time!  Best time of the day!  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

On the road again

Yes, hard to believe, but we are on the road again. 

This time we are headed back to Minnesota.  Our excuse is a wedding at Mission, but it's also to see our friends one more time before school starts.


Images of Minnesota - Vacation Pictures
This photo of Minnesota is courtesy of TripAdvisor

It is a brief, but according to our kids at least, very necessary trip.

That's not to say John and I aren't looking forward to seeing our friends.  We are.  But we also could be content to stay home for quite some time yet.  We are a bit road-sore.

But with a full i-Pod and some Redvines for the road, we're set.

Please pray for safe travels for us and for a good time with friends, brief though the time will be!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Victoria magazine

Many years ago, a friend introduced me to a magazine called Victoria.  

It was this story in particular which sent a thrill through me.  The thrill of recognizing kindred spirits.

So many kindred spirits, in fact, that a whole magazine was dedicated to the things we loved!


Remember, this was the olden days, before Pinterest or Facebook or blogs connected us so easily with like-minded others.

Poetry, nostalgia, literature, art, beauty, flowers, history, and lots of flowy hair and skirts: bliss!


When the magazine closed up shop in 2004, it had 800,000 subscribers, and left an enormous gap in the publishing industry.  Some other magazines tried, but none truly filled the niche which Victoria had so beautifully filled.

And then, in 2007, she came back!

I happened to be looking at the magazine rack at Target, which I rarely do, but I think I always kept an eye out for something to replace my beloved Victoria, when there it was!


And there was much rejoicing!

Some say it's not the way it was the first time around and I'm sure that's true.  For one thing, there are far fewer photos that have been blurred to provide a misty, romantic aura.  And I'm okay with that.

I do think there is far more emphasis on women entrepeneurs; several are featured in every issue, rather than one issue dedicated to them, so in some ways, it's a little more focused on business.

More seize the new day than remember the old days.

But the romance is still there!

Lots of lovely lavender, blowsy peonies, luscious pink roses, bucolic countryside, stately homes, snatches of poetry, candlelit rooms, frothy lace dresses, fluttering ribbons, and more. 


I still get a thrill every time I see a new Victoria in the store, and savor each page when I get it home.

It remains an oasis of beauty in a loud, hectic, stressful world.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing: Movie Review

Not so much a review, maybe, but a rambling discussion of


Have you seen the newest movie version of my favorite Shakespeare comedy? 

John and I went and saw it for our anniversary. 

Benedick

I purposely did not read any reviews or find out much about it before going.  I just knew that it was a pet project of Joss Whedon, shot in 12 days at his home with a handful of actors who had done other work for him.  I have watched bits of Whedon's show Firefly and heard of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, but I am definitely not among the fanatics who follow Whedon's every move.     

Therefore, I was surprised that I knew any of the actors, but I recognized a few, and was pleasantly surprised by them in Shakespeare roles, using language so different from what they've worked with before.  

That guy who plays the Prince (below) is Reed Diamond and I remember him from way back when he was on the show Homicide.  Funny to see him here, but he really does a great job.

Prince
(not Prince, nor the artist formerly known as Prince, but the Prince)

Benedick and Beatrice are the heart of the show, obviously, although I wonder if that was what Shakespeare intended...

I'll leave that question for Shakespeare scholars.

Suffice to say that, for me and probably most modern audiences, B and B are the heart of the show.  The two actors Whedon cast in those roles were unknown to me before this, so I really had no idea what to expect.  

Beatrice is effortless and thoroughly charming (when she wants to be).  Benedick is...meh.  He has a few good moments, mostly when his lines are broadly comedic, but the in-between stuff that takes some nuance and interpretation? Didn't really work.


Still, I cheered with the other romantics in the little theater when B and B finally admit their reluctant love.  That is one of my favorite scenes in Shakespeare, I think.

I love it when Beatrice is ranting about wanting to be a man so she can kill Claudio and she says, "I would eat his heart in the market place!"  No meek and mild Hero, she!  

But that's not the part that makes me sigh.  

I love lines like:

"I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest."  

Ahhhh!


This guy I recognized as the doctor from Firefly.  He is a much better Don John than Keanu Reeves! *shudder* 

Deliciously wicked and he knows how to deliver a line.


Nathan Fillion (right) plays an understated Dogberry, still funny, but not the comedic buffoon he usually is.

The whole thing was shot in black and white which helped to make the language shine.  By eliminating one element of the spectacle, Whedon helped a modern audience to focus on the language without even realizing it.  A master movie-maker working with the master word-smith.

That's just my opinion, though.  I have no idea if that was what Whedon intended or not.  Maybe it's cheaper to shoot in B&W and he decided to cut a corner and save a buck.  I don't know.

Some folks are wondering if this is a desecration of the Bard; if Shakespeare is rolling over in his grave.  A bunch of B-list and TV actors running around someone's backyard in modern dress with widely varying degrees of ability, interpreting his words as they see fit, having a whole lot of fun.

Sounds a little bit like a bunch of social-outcast actors running around an inn yard in whatever costumes they could beg, borrow or steal, with widely varying degrees of ability, interpreting lines as they could, having a whole lot of fun.  

I think Shakespeare would approve.  

As do I.

( One word of caution.  This is not a family-friendly version!  If you thought Branagh took liberties with Boraccio "talking" with Margaret at the window, you will likely swoon with the liberties Whedon took.  So, leave the kids at home.)