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News Archives: August-December 2004
December 24th, 2004
Snow falls softly outside the window. A silence has settled over the peaceful land of the dolls, soft and comforting and filled with wonder. Only one person is still awake, smiling slightly and looking out the window as the snowflakes swirl and come to rest . She loves Christmas time, and usually can't express her feelings with proper sentences or words. But she can express her joy in another way. Nancy Merriman creeps down the stairs into the living room, wrapped in her purple comforter. The lowest stair likes to creak, so she chooses to avoid it by silently sweeping down the banister and landing on her tip-toes on the living room carpet. She looks around, and makes her way slowly to her favorite corner of the room. On goes one switch, then another. The room is filled with light and color as she turns on the Christmas tree lights and the fireplace crackles to life. Then the music begins. Nancy plays all of her favorite Christmas songs, quietly at first, and then louder and louder with more joy. They are quirky arrangements, with an electric guitar playing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and with a slow, thoughtful rendition on the recorder of "Jingle Bells." But they are uniquely and wonderfully full of the Christmas spirit.
In a little house in the city, two little faces poke out of their apartment window. Elinor and Mei Mei grin and giggle at the snow, falling to the music of "A White Christmas."
Far out in the mountains, Britta, Anna and Kirsten Larson hurry up to bed after reading "The Night Before Christmas" and cuddle up in their warm beds inside their cabin to the angelic voices singing "O Tannenbaum."
The Montoya children roll over and mumble things about delicious manzanillas and gingerbread, as "Feliz Navidad" soars above their glowing rancho in the middle of the desert.
Mrs. Wickon giggles in her sleep and snuggles deeper beneath her covers to the strains of "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and her neighbors the Windmills dream of new computers and cell phones as the warm notes and harmonies of "Pat-A-Pan."
The opening notes of the "Nutcracker Overture" drift in the high, laced curtain windows of the Parkington mansion, as the Parkington twins dream of candy canes and sugar plums to be eaten the next morning, and Teresa dreams of the large golden package that her cousins are giving her.
And far out in the hills and mountains, a drum beats, meeting and harmonising with the drumbeat accompanying "Joy To The World," as Kaya sits awake by her campfire inside her tipi, buried in deep snowdrifts. She smiles as she feels the joy inside her drum.
And the music meets together above the entire doll world, serene and peaceful, as the world relaxes and falls into a deep and wonderful sleep. After the whole world is asleep, then the first little girl turns from her keyboard, and softly humming "Silent Night," she reaches the couch by the fireplace, and there she falls into her own dreams of music and presents, as the snow continues to fall outside her window. No one is awake to hear a few hours later, the sleigh bells and hoofbeats on the rooftops, and the jolly, happy voice proclaiming to the night: "Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!"
Merry Christmas, everyone, have a wonderful holiday.
December 21st, 2004
As we prepare for the very last Nutcracker of the season this year, i've finally had some time to update this site with the awesome reviews that are coming in! What great writers our audience members are. :)
The newest addition to the site is the long-needed "Miscellaneous Characters" page, which includes the more eccentric stuffed animals that reside in Pleasantville: Cristal and Vera Purr, Suzanne, John and Polly Wickon, and the wealthy Mrs. Lavender Fox. Go there to learn about some new characters!
Also new is our Greeting Card Collection on the Merchandise page. Have fun!
Updates: New page: "Miscellaneous Characters," and new greeting cards on the merchandise page!
December 16th, 2004
I am very proud to announce that I FINALLY took the time to figure out a more secure method of payment for your videos and things on the merchandise page. After several orders through my old method, I decided to investigate PayPal, and now ordering videos through us will be much, much safer for both parties.
If you take a look at our merchandise page, you will notice several changes; first, the price for each video has gone up, due to increased shipping and PayPal costs. Also, there are "Buy Now" buttons and "Add to Cart" buttons. Aren't they spiffy? I'm quite proud. Using these buttons you can order a certain quantity of videos by adding them to your cart individually, or you can choose just one video by clicking the "buy now" button.
Soon i'll be adding calenders and greeting cards as well. Happy shopping! :)
Updates: new front page picture, PayPal buttons on "Merchandise" page!
December 9th, 2004
The Nutcracker is here! Yesterday marked the beginning of Nutcracker season with the formal dress rehearsal inside the Lavender Fox hall for the many residents of Pleasantville who are not a part of the ballet. It was a chance to make sure that all the lights, music, props and costumes worked and corresponded so that the whole production can be examined. The dress rehearsal was videotaped.
There are quite a few new additions to the production this year. There are new props in the Land of the Sweets, and new costumes in the first act. There is new snow (that is very slippery) in the snowflake scene, and even a new Land of the Sweets set!!
Cristal Purr is especially excited about her new props and choreography. For the past three years she has reigned as "most popular dancer" in the audience's questionnaire, and she is itching to win it again. And with her new additions, the rest of the dolls have a funny idea that she will get her wish. Josefina is hurriedly mastering her complicated new Sugar Plum Fairy steps, using the newest ideas from Mrs. Montoya's choreography workshop that she took over the summer.
Of the four remaining performances, three are completely booked. If you are interested in coming and still haven't called us to get tickets, call now! There are only 10 seats left on December 15th. Hurry!
Updates: "The Nutcracker 2004" page updated with booked dates marked in red.
December 7th, 2004
Such a festive time of year this is! Last night was the official beginning of the Christmas season in Market Square of Pleasantville. Governor Merriman stood up to make a speech about the holiday season and the Nutcracker while his wife and children looked on, and then his youngest daughter, Rachel, turned on the lights on the humongous Christmas tree in the middle of Market Square. Clara Montoya sold lots of delicious sweets and the balconies and windows of the town twinkled and sparkled with decorations and warm lights. Cristal took the tree-lighting ceremony as a wonderful opportunity to make some more money and opened her hair salon to the tired and frazzled Nutcracker cast. As soon as she turned her little pink sign from "closed" to "open," Teresa, Sonja, Samantha, Rebecca, Rachel, Lily, and Felicity were all in line to recieve smoothenings, curlings and stylings.
The Nutcracker is approaching with unprecedented speed and everyone in the town is hurrying to get everything done. The lights are finally rigged backstage and the giant growing Christmas tree has been set up so that it works once again. All the lockers in the backstage area have been set up, and the stereo is in the fireplace again. The land of the sweets set is designed and the party scene memorized. All that is left is the Snowflake Scene and the Grand Finale.
Even little Britta Larson has a small part in the grand Nutcracker Ballet- she is a messenger in the Land of the Sweets. Look out for her mimed message that Prince Nutcracker is returning to his palace!
There are still seats left in the December 15th and 22nd performances if you haven't gotten tickets left. Just email us and we'll get them out to a.s.a.p! The 10th and the 20th are completely booked, however. Sorry!
Updates: Updated Nutcracker page with the new dates of performances, added a link to the "links" page, added a Montoya webshots album. Check back soon for more updates!
November 26th, 2004
The holiday season is here at last and all the dolls are celebrating. The Larson's tree farm has recieved lots of early business and each family table is still recovering from the amazing weight of individual Thanksgiving dinners. The Merrimans and Windmills had a feast of turkey, stirfry, chocolate cake, baked bread and petite fours before retiring to the living room for an evening of competitive piano performances (Nancy and Paul are cousins and also competitors in all their competitions and have fun playing their pieces together when times are more relaxed), discussing the fashions and playing with "Mars" dolls that Nancy made everyone. The Larsons and the Parkingtons had a lively game of sardines in the Larson's cabin, Rose and Kaya celebrated a Native American holiday way out in the hills, and everyone slept in many hours after they should have this morning after their wonderful feasts.
And now it is once again time for the Nutcracker season to begin. The stage is up, the lights are rigged, and the Nutcracker trunk which holds all the costumes and props, neatly wrapped, is ready to be opened. In the last few days the rehearsal schedule has intensified, and when you open any door to the Lavender Fox theater, sounds of crashing swords or swishing skirts can be heard at nearly every time of day. Five performances are planned this year, so reserve your seat quickly! Instructions are on the "Nutcracker, 2004" page to your left. Happy Holidays!!
Updates: New character pictures and "Nutcracker 2004" page.
More to come!!
October 22nd, 2004
The stores are open again in downtown Pleasantville; most prominently, Violet's Clothes Boutique. As soon as the doors opened this morning, a small white nose peeked in the door and Mrs. Wickon slid inside so quickly that Angelica (who works there) didn't even notice her. Three minutes after the dress shop had opened, Angelica had sold $85 in fashionable winter wraps.
At the end of the day, the 20 plus wraps that had just come from Paris were SOLD OUT. Amazing what the fashionable ladies can do in a day. :)
Mr. Merriman has finally returned home from the hospital for the weekend, something that Lily is very happy about. She fixed a large meal of stirfry and bread for her family, while watching Rachel, Nan, William, Felicity, and Kirsten, who was just visiting. They were dancing around to a CD in the living room, pretending to be "Cleopatra" and "Marc Anthony" and "the Nile." After dancing so much that they could no longer think of anything besides a wiggling motion that was supposed to represent the Nile, the dinner bell rang and they happily skipped into the dining room for a Friday evening's supper with their father.
Teresa Berg and Celine Windmill have been released from the hospital after suffering broken ankles caused by Katie Purr, who was hopping around town in a tree a few weeks ago and caused both of them to fall off the balcony of Alex's Electronics in downtown Pleasantville.
Updates: New Larson family pictures slide show, new "Contact Us" page, and new "links" page. Enjoy!
October 20th, 2004
Halloween is coming to Pleasantville! You can tell by the brilliantly colored leaves that surround every house and crunch under every foot, you can tell by the jack-o-lanterns that are being carved and lit outside of houses, and you can tell because Nancy Merriman is having her birthday party again.
Every year, Nan has a great big Halloween party to celebrate her birthday and decorates the entire front yard with cobwebs and spiders and the inside of the house with purple lights and eery sound effects. Three of her best friends attended her party this year; Anna Larson, Clara Montoya, and Elizabeth Cole. Clara, dressed as a midievial princess, was first to arrive for her party last Tuesday. She braved the spiders planted in the driveway and dodged under the artfully draped spiderwebs covering Mrs. Merriman's prized roses.
She jumped with fright when she saw a ghost head moving in the trees in the front yard, only to realize it was Felicity's horse, Penny, with a ghost costume on.
She proceeded to the door, followed by Elizabeth (dressed as a flapper) and Anna (dressed as a pirate princess), and knocked three times on the door. It slowly creeeeaked open and Nancy appeared, draped in a white sheet, dressed as a ghost... the same one she'd worn for the last five years.
Nancy had carefully planned the games for her party. First, the played pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with the lights out . Elizabeth won, although it was very close between her and William. Clara was way off with her tail, which went a good 6 inches off the poster of a donkey into the outer regions of the Merriman's hallway closet. Next they all hit Nan's smiley-face pinata, until it finally burst open, showering them with candy corn. The scramble to collect candy corn between these fiesty kitties was like nothing you've ever seen.
After they'd hoarded all the candy they could carry, the went into the parlor where they played a ghostly board game in order to collect even more candy corn. Finally, they ate the birthday cake that Anna baked for Nancy, and went to sleep to the sounds of the eery moans and groans coming from the Merriman's CD player.
With only a little more than a week left before Halloween, everyone in Pleasantville is stocking their stores, buying costumes, carving pumpkins, raking leaves and even making early Christmas presents.
What a busy season!
Updates: Have you seen the new Merriman pictures? Check them out on the Merriman's Family Page.
October 10th, 2004
Since I've discovered how to put together large photo albums of pictures just recently, i've decided to put together an album for each doll family! The first family to get an album, is, of course, the Merriman Family. The link is available under "Merriman Pictures" on their page, and also here:
September 29th, 2004
As sunshine filters into the various shops of downtown Pleasantville, warming the inhabitants and sending glorious dancing sunbeams off windows, mirrors, shiny dresses and glittering jewelry the leaves of the trees begin to float gently down to the ground, sometimes landing on a passersby and getting caught in their dresses or hats. Autumn is here, and all the dolls are beginning to fall into a normal routine. Their schools have all started back up again, ballet class is beginning, sewing circles and poker parties are back on the schedule. All are well and smiling at the sunshine that makes their world so beautiful.
Updates: new front page picture, new Larson, Merriman, Windmill, Wilson, Parkington, Kaya and Merchandise pictures.
Leave a message in our guestbook! It's under "message board" on the bar to your left. :) < -----
September 9th, 2004
Some of the festival pictures are up on various pages now - click around and check them out. There are tons more to come though, so keep checking back! Let us know what you think of this Great Pleasantville Festival in the message boards!
Updates: New Festival Pictures
August 24th, 2004
The dolls are still getting ready for the festival, which has been postponed due to the terrible weather that we have been experiencing lately.
Twelve of the sixteen stands are complete and are standing ready to be set up outside when a sunny day comes.
The remaining four; Mrs. Larson's hearty soup and bread, Angelica's coffee shop, Mrs. Montoya's brooms and mops, and Kaya and Laura's "Color Creations" are still under construction and the Whistling Creek Campground is surrounded by a palpable aura of creativity.
We'll update as often as we can and there will be lots of pictures when the festival is over, never fear!
Updates: Revamped the Montoya Family Page, the "Contact Us" page, the Merriman Family Page, the Larson Family Page, and the "Parkington's Travels In Europe" page. There are now many, many subpages with extra information so each page is easier to load and more accessible. Let me know if this version is easier to use on slower computers or not! : )
August 18th, 2004
As the sun rises over the Whistling Creek campground, a solitary black figure is seen, slowly creeping along the outside of the Whispering Oak cabin. It darts behind a tree, jumps over a log, and then begins to shimmy up the drain on the cabin until it reaches the very top of the roof. This black figure sits cross-legged on the ridgepole of the cabin's roof, facing the rising sun, and begins to meditate, intoning the following "ooooooommmm, ooooommmmm, ooommmmmm" and occasionally sniffling or coughing.
Suddenly, a window below opens with a swish and a bang, and a white head pops out, showered in pearls and draped in an incredibly fluffy feather boa. "Veeeeerrrraaaaa!!!!!" shrieks Cristal; and the next day in the Whistling Creek campground begins.
Yesterday was a long traveling day for many of the dolls, and only the Purrs (Cristal and Vera), the Larsons, the Wickons, and the Chens and Wilsons have arrived so far. First to get there were the Purrs, who set up their cabin, Whispering Oaks, to make it ready for business tomorrow (Cristal plans to set up a hair salon at the campground so she can earn more money- her goal in life is to have more money than the Merrimans) and collected their supplies from the Air Express truck just arrived from Pleasantville. Vera immediately explored the entire campground area, found a black widow spider, and put it in Cristal's bed, but Cristal found it, to Vera's distress, due to her natural instincts. (or maybe just prior experience.)
The Wickons arrived next, setting up their things in the Talking Cedars cabin, and Suzanne Wickon called Cristal first thing and the two of them went on an evening stroll so as to get away from Vera, who began stalking them with a water spray can that she took from Cristal's hair styling supplies.
Next to pull of the highway was the Larson family, who set up in the Crying Birch cabin, which is situated next to a dark and mysterious cave, something that intrigues Britta and Kirsten to no end, and makes Mr. and Mrs. Larson extremely nervous. They ate some hearty soup and bread, then went to sleep after stamping on a few spiders to make sure they were dead.
Last to arrive were the Chens and the Wilsons, who accidently drove past the campsite on the highway and ended up having to turn around several dozen miles down the road. They made it inside the gates 5 minutes before they were supposed to close, and set up their tent in a lovely campsite next to the Whistling Creek. Mei Mei and Elinor both fell asleep right away, and Suzanna and Alex soon followed.
More updates soon!
P.S. Sorry we don't have any pictures of any of this yet - our dad has the digital camera so we can't get them on the computer until he gives it back. Be patient- we'll get some soon. :)
August 16th, 2004
Preparation for the Great Pleasantville Festival begins!!
Pleasantville is all of a flutter with the grand prospect of the festival to be held next Sunday, August 22nd. Up to twenty booths will be set up, selling all manner of beautiful and useful wares, such as brooms and mops, fine pearl jewelry, fashionable wraps and hair accessories, cakes, pies, hearty soup and bread, chinese food, purses, lavender soap and sachets, school notebooks and fun novels, and even dog bowls and leashes.
Yesterday was the first day of many of the family's trip to the Whistling Creek campground near the festival grounds in a far corner in the Larson's property.
The Montoyas left first, trying to hitch Big Goat up to their old and run-down car so that they could ride at least some of the way there. Mama packed food and cooking pans and all the children did last minute chores around the house while Juan and Antonio hooked Kuzco the llama up to Allison's stand on wheels and Manzanilla the goat to Clara's sweet stand on wheels. Then they left, Antonio and Manzanilla first, skipping along at an easy pace, followed by Kuzco and Allison, who had quite a hard time realising the meaning of "continuous movement." After them came Mr. Montoya helping Big Goat pull his heavy load of precious cargo. Josefina and Clara had to get out and walk so Big Goat could pull the car easier, and Rebecca and Heather happily wiggled their toes and looked out behind them from the back of the grubby car.
Next to leave were the Wilsons and the Chens. Mei Mei was moaning and groaning and much less her normal cheerful self when they were getting ready to leave, so she got a full sleeping place in the back of the car so she could rest her sore throat, helped along by Elinor who made sure she was absolutely comfortable. Then Suzanna and Alex set about looking at their map to find the best way to get to the Whistling Creek campground. After disagreeing on every possible point, the two decided to ask Mr. Larson (who had just reached the intersection near their house, between Market Street and Tulip Avenue) how to get there. He told them to follow him, and the two solitary cars are now slowly trundling down a long and winding dark dirt road. This will be an interesting pair to keep an eye on - especially since Suzanna doesn't actually know how to drive.
After the Wilsons slowly disappeared around the corner on their way out of Pleasantville, Rose Hopkins took off on her bicycle up towards Pansy Boulevard with only her cell phone and a duffle bag of clothes. She was almost immediately cut off in her attempt to merge with the highway traffic by a little white convertible driven by Cristal Purr's 10-year old sister Vera, who was literally sitting on the accelerator, causing their vehicle to shoot by in a a blur of white. Rose was so put off by this behavior that she proceeded to call General Wickon, the Police Chief, and the car chase that ensued was well worthy of a Road Runner cartoon.
Updates: New front page picture and layout. Further updates soon!
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