GIFFING Richard Armitage… Yahoo TV Interview GOLD!

yahoo1Was anyone else just completely charmed by the playfully expressive and cheerful Richard Armitage we saw on the Yahoo TV video the other day?

I did enjoy the verbal content, to be sure… but it was really the sight of Mr. Armitage in his sexy leather jacket, with collar askew and hair just a bit disheveled that really made an impression…

 

 

 

 

yahoo2He’s adorable! Yet I couldn’t help but giggle at the gifs as they emerged.

I really have to say that, while his answers were intelligent and showed no indication of a loss of mental acuity, he looks, well, just a bit tipsy at times.

 

 

yahoo3No, thank you, Mr. Armitage. For brightening my day with your demonstrative eyebrows, your forehead crinkles, and your bright eyes. 

 

 

 

yahoo4Just… too cute for words.

 

 

What’s in that drink, anyway? *snickers*

 

 

yahoo5Awwwww. Such an attentive listener.

 

 

But it’s the start of the answer that makes me giggle out loud. OMG.

 

 

 

 

yahoo6Great question, Paris. Who knew he’d self-identify as House of Slytherin?

 

And with such a charming and conspiratorial air. =)

 

 

 

 

 

yahoo7Yep. He’s a-Slither’N.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

yahoo8I think I may have missed his answer. I was a little preoccupied with the four lovely thumb strokes.

And that neck.

Oh, God. With all of him.

 

 

yahoo9But these facial expressions! Seriously, this interview hit paydirt! Here we have kissable lips, wild astonishment, manly arm-crossing, then a brief flash of tongue… Hot Damn!

Ovarian overload. Seriously.

 

 

yahoo10How engaged was he? I literally want to just… jump him. In a good way.

 

Oh, don’t look so shocked, Mr. Armitage.  LOL

 

 

yahoo11And finally, could we please present him with colorful wheels of live stream fortune on a regular basis?

 

Because that’s just Richard Armitage GOLD.

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An Excursion to NYC for Love, Love, Love

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My badge was on display!

Hello! I’ve had an absolutely lovely trip to NYC and thought I’d share some of my impressions on Love, Love, Love and provide a report on my fangirling adventures as well.  In case anyone was wondering, given the paucity of bloggerly motivation and posting in recent months, I can really assure you with 100% confidence that my deep and abiding admiration for, and, well, overwhelming attraction to Richard Armitage really hasn’t gone anywhere, though I suppose my general level of “active” preoccupationwitharmitage does wax and wane. So first off, apologies that I’ve become a really sorry-ass excuse for a blogger in recent months!  But even when I’m experiencing that loss of motivation to post, you can believe that the moment something like an announcement (or strong suspicion/well-supported supposition/wild-ass guess) about a live performance series occurs, I’ll be all over it, researching the theatre and ways to get tickets and checking my calendar. Simply based on my experience of the man’s onstage capabilities in The Crucible, I was willing to buy advanced tickets to Love, Love, Love– a play about a topic that didn’t seem interesting, by a playwright I’d never heard of, and before there was any solid intel beyond some Twitter follows and a response RA made to a fan’s tweet that hinted the name of the play. And I’d do it all again in a New York minute!

Okay! That’s out of the way. Now I’ll begin my recollection of my fan-diddily-damn-tastic trip to New York City! And let me just say that the Love, Love, Love I experienced was not just the title of the play… I also rather fell for the city (a huge surprise for me!), reignited my devotion to RA, but most importantly, I was downright blown away by the laughter, camaraderie and chance to make hopefully lasting connections with other fans. Richard Armitage was lovely, and he thoroughly delivered onstage, but in some ways he was more like icing on the cake.

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Flying into LaGuardia

Many months ago, before there was even a definitive confirmation of Richard Armitage’s involvement in Love, Love, Love, I became a Roundabout Theatre donor a couple of days before the advance tickets were to become available so as to have a shot at some great seats. As a donor, I was able to score front-row seats in both orchestra and mezzanine sections at a reduced price for myself and for fellow blogger Hariclea, who likewise was eager to have premium tickets even if none of us were entirely certain at the time that Richard was, well, involved! Hariclea and I planned to room together and have a long-awaited meet-up, but unfortunately In Hari’s case, the uncertainty about the trip was even more outrageous, and even up until the very morning she flew out, the feasibility of the trip was doubtful due to bureaucratic factors completely out of her control. In the several days leading up to the trip, as it looked less and less likely that Hari was going to make it, she and the well-connected Guylty reached out to several lovely local fandom members, including Armitagebesotted, NycPat, and DaphneHS, not only to offer to gift them with tickets, but to try to arrange for some friendly faces on my behalf, since it looked as if I’d be “solo” in The Big City. I still get emotional thinking about these marvelous ladies and their warm response.

As it happened, I awoke at 4am last Friday to wonderful news, a last-minute, powerfully exhilarated email from Hariclea stating that she was on her way to the airport after all!!!! I flew into NYC likewise in great spirits, with plans to meet Armitagebesotted and DaphneHS at a pub just across the street from the theatre for dinner before the show. Hariclea was supposed to be there as well, but ran into some horrendous traffic en route from the airport and wound up meeting the three of us at the theatre instead. It was really an entertaining chat before the show, where we exchanged our Armitage-initiation stories and the NYC contingent (veterans by now of the whole routine) mapped out exactly where and how I should reach the front of the Stage Door queue, etc.

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Entrance to the Laura Pels Theatre

For the Friday (Dec. 2) performance, I wanted to basically Watch The Play. I had not previously read the script, and I have (even now) avoided reports and blogs about the material to prevent spoilers and also to avoid clouding my own interpretation and impressions with the interpretations and impressions of others. I basically knew the general outline of the play, that it followed Kenneth and Sandra in 3 acts at 3 different times in their lives, and that there would be some sort of theme and conflict involving their generation (the baby boomers) and that of their children (my generation as well, the Gen-Xers). To that purpose, I got a front row mezzanine seat for Friday night, not really wanting to have the distRAction of Richard Armitage up close. And this was an effective scheme… I was actually surprised at how well it worked, because I really didn’t pay disproportionate attention to RA’s Kenneth, and found myself almost unable to look away from Amy Ryan’s Sandra whenever she was onstage. [SPOILERS below!!!]

I was surprised at how hilarious I found the play. I didn’t go in expecting a comedy, but discovered that it was very sharply satiric and I was genuinely laughing throughout the play, perhaps a bit less in the 3rd Act, but even then there were moments of dark humor that were laugh-out-loud funny for me. Richard Armitage, as it turns out, has excellent comedic timing, and there were moments even without any dialogue that really had me giggling. I went in really curious about why Armitage chose this particular role, and now having seen it, I have to wonder if the opportunity to “chase comedy” was a factor. The play was not a light comedy, but it did have its share of farcical elements and exaggerated characters, Sandra especially, and it was entirely different fare from anything I’ve seen Richard do to date.

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Act 1. Kenneth, Sandra and Henry. Though Kenneth’s hair was MUCH nicer than this. I’m to understand that early in the run he sported this god-awful wig, but his hair had grown out enough by now that the wig was (thankfully) unnecessary. (Source: Roundabout Theatre Company)

Despite his weaknesses, I did rather adore Kenneth as a character. In Act 1, Richard was able to almost bound about the stage with the sort of loose-jointed energy and enthusiasm of a great big, eager puppy, and I found him quite endearing as the 19 year-old Kenneth. I liked that he did show hesitation (and later, at least a fleeting remorse) when Sandra came on to him, though he wasn’t at all capable of eluding temptation. And I bought in to the idea that he was so young, and thought RA did a great job capturing that essence of youth in many ways, from the voice which occasionally broke high, to the way he slouched and lounged on the couch, to the fawning adoration on his face as he stayed glued to Sandra from the moment she entered the room. He also behaved like a typical youth, surreptitiously kicking stuff under the couch during the tidying session, making sure he affected a pose as carefree and worldly as possible while awaiting Sandra’s entrance, and adopting an exaggerated pout when he let her know that his brother had told him to make himself scarce and use a bucket to piss in, if need be, while Sandra was in the apartment. Well done, Mr. Armitage! This youthfulness was different from anything I’ve seen him do, and really refreshing and probably something we’re unlikely to revisit as fans. What other role would require him to play the 19 year-old ever again?

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Act 2. Amy Ryan stole the show. (Source: Roundabout Theatre Company)

While Kenneth was my favorite in Act 1, I felt that Act 2 really belonged to Amy Ryan and her portrayal of a once again wildly self-indulgent and inebriated Sandra. That “pterodactyl screech” of hers got me every time, and she was so absolutely over-the-top awful as a mother! Both parents were clearly out-of-touch with the children and had trouble keeping up with their parental duty to know the basics (their daughter’s age, which instrument she played, where she was in her schooling… all funny moments that also called for a sympathetic cringe), but it was Sandra who was the most cruelly indifferent to her children’s feelings. The truly hot-in-dad-pants Kenneth was at least “companionable” in his oblivion, but Sandra showed no remorse whatsoever that she’d forgotten to attend Rose’s concert, took alarming pleasure in informing her daughter of her boyfriend’s flirtations, and was so wildly inappropriate at the birthday celebration that I actually gasped out loud during the cake scene. Here it should also be said that Zoe Kazan brought her A-game (in both of her Acts, really) and I literally made sympathetic little noises on her behalf even as I winced and laughed my way through Act 2. Aside from the pterodactyl screech, I especially adored the long moments of silence as the clock ticked down to midnight, and father and 14 year-old son sat smoking across from one another at the table… it was so surreal, and I loved how the audience just snickered all the way through it, then guffawed as Rose entered the room and reacted to the illicit recreations at her horrible party!

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Act 3. Kenneth and Sandra, retirees. (Source: Roundabout Theatre Company)

Act 3 was very unsettling in many ways, and I thought all participants were again excellent. Here again the comedy was an uncomfortable type of comedy, as it became clear that Ben Rosenfield’s adult Jamie was not only completely disconnected from interpersonal relationships, but seemed to be verging on mental incapacity. Drugs, alcohol, trauma-of-youth or a some combination of these made him really a sad figure, though still quite funny in his mannerisms, repetitions and random interjections. Richard’s retired/senior citizen Kenneth was well done. I liked his intonation as he mused about the quality of the wine, and he definitely moved about the stage with a believable (though subtle) stiffness and hesitation while seating himself and rising, a nice contrast to the springing movements of his character in Act 1. (He was still pretty spry for an old guy… and really just as hot… don’t fear the salt and pepper hair, Mr. Armitage… you wore it well!) Once again he showed that amiable obliviousness in his failure to recognize that something was very “off” about Jamie. Truthfully, he reminded me in this sense of my own father, who is as affable as anyone you’ll ever meet, very loveable, but entirely incapable of confronting problematic behaviors on the part of any family member. Sandra, as usual, commanded the stage the moment she entered, captivating me as she did in every act with her high-flown extravagance and egocentrism. One thing I did conclude, on evidence of Kenneth’s similar reaction to Sandra (almost mesmerized from the moment she entered) which occurred in every act, was that he did love and admire this woman, despite her faults. Not perhaps the kind of love that embraces the hard work and mutual selflessness that keeps a marriage intact for the long run, but some kind of love nevertheless. In many ways they were well-suited as a couple, and had they not had children whose lives they clearly damaged, had they been free to pursue their reckless course without those children, I almost could have applauded them.

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Act 3. Rose and Jamie, adults. (Source: Roundabout Theatre Company)

I think Rose as a character deserves a paragraph of her own for Act 3. I did sympathize with her to an extent, but couldn’t help feeling that she became very off-putting when, at the age of 37, she essentially blamed every poor choice she ever made on her parents, and demanded they buy her a house. What?!?! Just buy her a house outright, as if a house would somehow make her into a happy person, which is an unreasonable expectation in and of itself. As I discussed with Hariclea after the play, at some point one has to take responsibility for one’s own decisions. It would be like me, looking at my student loans (which will likely take another couple of decades to pay off), and castigating my parents for not insisting that I choose medical school rather than veterinary school, for a similar investment of time and money but quadruple the salary! I chose instead to follow my dream, and if I’m not as well-off as my parents were at this stage, well- my life to live! Rose was absolutely right that they were shitty, narcissistic parents and I’m sure that both children really were never the same after that fateful birthday party… no doubt whatsoever. We discover in Act 3 that Rose was so distraught by the events of the evening that she actually attempted suicide moments after she turned 16. However, the irritated-at-Rose part of me begs to point out that her actions, while coming from a very valid state of emotional devastation, had to have ALSO contributed to Jamie’s trauma of the evening and her own observation that he was “never the same”… this is borne out by his strong agitation when it finally dawned on Jamie, in Act 3, that Rose’s feelings were hurt by the discovery that brother and father had made a trip into London for a musical, and hadn’t ever thought to call her while they were in town. This was possibly the most alert moment of Act 3 for Jamie, and it was an acute distress when he realized that she was upset. He settled down again and wandered out to sunbathe, but later, when the family was gathered and shouting, he burst back on the scene in a state of incoherent panic.

I was somewhat surprised to learn at the celebrity series Q&A (on Sunday) that Richard sympathized with Rose to the extent that he, Richard, would have bought her the house. Taking care of the down payment, co-signing the loan, some sort of compromise… yes, why not? Or helping her in another way, maybe paying for her to go back to college for a more useful degree or enter a trade school to set her on a new career path… this also would have appeased me, as it would still require Rose to take some responsibility for her future prospects. But to just buy a house outright, out of a guilty conscience? I’m not sure I agree with this and again, I’m not sure a house alone would turn her life around.

It was also interesting in Act 3 that for the first time, Sandra rather than Kenneth seemed to have qualms about pursuing a purely selfish path in retirement. She seemed to be momentarily considering whether she could afford to buy Rose the house after Rose and Jamie left the room, though she dismissed it almost immediately. Then Kenneth essentially suggested he sell his lovely home, Sandra abandon her ailing husband, and the two of them go gallivanting around the globe together, leaving the hapless Jamie and hopeless Rose to struggle on without them! All along it had been Kenneth who seemed to have some modicum of proper parental feelings, even if he was ineffectual at following through or reigning her in, but in Act 3, she was (at least fleetingly) more cognizant of the children’s predicament than he was. Whether Kenneth and Sandra ultimately decide to up and go is left to the viewer to interpret, and my personal feeling is that neither of them would really leave comfortable homes behind permanently. I suspect that Sandra would probably have a torrid affair with Kenneth, perhaps run off on a nice, long, adulterous vacation, but ultimately not spend a happily-ever-after with him.

A few more impressions… I really liked the wardrobe choices and set designs. Needless to say, Armitage was appealing whether half-dressed, business-dressed or in funeral-wear, and Sandra’s wardrobe was also great at conveying her love of style and “fabulousness” in each era. In Act 3 it was awkward seeing the dowdy, well-worn funeral garb that Rose was wearing compared to the glitter and diamonds of her mother. As to the set designs, Act 1 (in Henry’s flat) showed a low-ceiling, grimy walls and boring, unattractive furniture with little to no décor. Act 2 (in Kenneth and Sandra’s home in Reading) did not have a ceiling, but the height of the ceiling was suggested by taller walls, that it was a multi-story abode was shown by a staircase in the hall, and the room boasted modern artwork and furniture that appeared to be teak, all of which could have belonged in my own parent’s home at the time. Act 3 had yet higher walls, giving the impression of quite loftily high ceilings, glass doors and windows leading onto what one imagines to be a beautifully manicured/landscaped estate with mature roses in bloom, and the furniture and décor on the interior was quite high-end and tasteful.

The entire cast, I felt, really delivered in their roles. Alex Hurt as Kenneth’s rather stodgy brother Henry was a little less memorable, but I think it’s supposed to be that way. The world, after all, simply revolves around Kenneth and Sandra, doesn’t it? Richard Armitage and Amy Ryan were fantastic on keeping their characters cohesively “themselves” through 3 different time frames, and Zoe Kazan and Ben Rosenfield were really well-cast and broadcast their characters’ vulnerability (the fragility of youth in Act 2, and the vulnerability of two separately damaged adults in Act 3).  Every one of them had excellent comedic timing and projected emotions and impressions so forcibly. One could almost taste Henry’s vexation, Kenneth’s exuberant idealism and lifelong devotion to recreation, Sandra’s marvelous self-absorbtion, Rose’s mortification and fury, and Jamie’s ultimate detachment from reality.

After the play was over, I booked it on out of there and, thanks to prior friendly tutelage, queued up right near the front of the Stage Door, the first of our group of 4 to arrive. I loved the buzzing excitement and anticipation, though I hadn’t yet had enough time to process my impressions of the play and probably didn’t contribute very intelligently to discussions other than those of the most superficial nature (like how nicely tailored Kenneth’s pants appeared, particularly from the rear, and other observations along those lines!) Although I knew that theoretically Armitage may or may not appear on any given night, I admit it was a quite a let-down when he failed to appear that Friday evening for reasons unknown. I did see a very good-looking figure of a man wearing a beanie exit the theatre, and had a fleeting thought that he had celebrity-level good looks, and later learned that was Sebastian Stan of Marvel fame. Pretty sure I’d rather have seen Armitage flash past, and we did loiter a bit, wondering if he might come out a side garage-door style exit, but no dice.

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We bounced back quickly, though.  Armitagebesotted, DaphneHS and I were wide awake and rather buzzed from the couple of hours spent in the presence of Richard Armitage. Hariclea was understandably exhausted from her transatlantic travels and the preceding stress and uncertainty, but nevertheless agreed to pop over to Times Square to see the sights…The City at Night. This would most certainly not have happened had I been on my own- I’d have been far too intimidated to venture off alone at such a late hour! But Besotted and Daphne made for wonderful tour guides and it was fantastic to have the perspective of locals and be given insights that would never have occurred to me. Fascinating to hear about the history of Times Square and the transition from what was once a theatre district to more of a red light district, with half the businesses topless bars, to the far more family-oriented and commercialized version that exists today. Looking around at the brightly digitized billboards on every building, I would have thought it was “just the New York Way” – but Besotted said no, that the signs were actually legislated and required to meet certain criteria as to size, moving images, color! Her knowledge of the area and the history of the streets and buildings was so interesting and enjoyable. As it was late and Hari, especially, was knackered, we said our goodbyes, and Daphne arranged to come for us in the morning for yet more sightseeing before the matinée.

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Back at the hotel, Hariclea pretty much fell straight to sleep as by then she’d been at least 24 hours without it, and while I was also quite tired, I experienced the same euphoric insomnia I’d had after attending The Crucible in 2014… too wired and energized and filled with thoughts about the play, the Armitage, all of it. The following morning, Daphne arrived and off we went again. She escorted us around Rockefeller Center, where we ogled the famous Christmas tree, watched the ice-skating, lit a candle inside the stunning St. Patrick’s cathedral, went along window-gaping on 5th Avenue, saw the now rather infamous Trump Tower, and sat for awhile on a sunny bench, enjoying crisp weather and late fall color in the surprisingly large and beautiful Central Park.

Then it was time for the Saturday Dec. 3 matinée, and I was in the front row, center section for this one. Now having familiarity with the play, I allowed myself the pleasure of really studying Armitage, and I’m pretty sure that for this (and for all the performances) I sat with a stupid grin on my face the entire time. It’s easy to tell the regular theatre-goers from the Armitagers. Some patrons’ heads move naturally back and forth as dialogue is exchanged, while others heads move in whatever direction Kenneth is moving! I chatted with Hariclea, Daphne and others of our ilk during intermissions. It was really amusing to discover that every one of us blessed with this near-stage proximity had noticed that famous left nipple make itself apparent through the sheer fabric of his shirt when the alarmingly attractive senior citizen Kenneth removed his jacket in Act 3, for instance. =) I also found myself clinically obsessing over a particular area of Armitage anatomy (it’s not the one you might think) every time the man made certain gestures, and this continued through subsequent performances until my conclusion as to the nature of the incongruity was drawn.

One of the reasons we’d selected this weekend for attendance was the fact that there was to be a Celebrity Series Q&A session after the matinée, but I was again to be profoundly disappointed, especially in light of having that front row center seat for the event, when all the cast except for Richard appeared. Prior to the Q&A, I did see a short man, in profile, waiting briefly for admission at the entrance to the backstage area, but he disappeared before I could be sure of his identity. I thought it looked rather like Leland Orser of Berlin Station, but never saw any mention of this by anyone else including Orser. However at the time I wondered if Richard skipped the Q&A in favor of catching up with a friend…

I don’t remember too much about that Q&A except for that Hariclea had the first question and it was a good one, but I keep having a mental block as to what the question was! Too much interference from other events of the weekend, no doubt! I was surprised at the difference in persona of Amy Ryan, who was fairly quiet and laid back, in contrast to her wildly commanding stage presence. Zoe Kazan, who was undoubtedly marvelous in her performance, was sort of strangely eating a cup of oatmeal and seemed less than excited to be there. She made the mistake of saying “MacBeth” aloud, which is apparently a huge superstitious taboo in theatre-world, and was made to run offstage and cleanse herself somehow, then ask for permission to return, lest that evening’s performance be doomed. LOL

We three went off to dinner at a nearby Brazilian restaurant and enjoyed reliving the performance and speculating about whether that evening, the last realistic opportunity for a Stage Door Runner event, would prove fruitful. We also continued our conversations comparing and contrasting our daily routines, as its hard for me to imagine what life is like living in that enormous city and equally strange for them to imagine having 10 acres of land and all sorts of animals! The more time we spent together, the more I really wanted to celebrate how amazing it is to truly befriend and connect with women of so many different cultures and lifestyles through our shared admiration of this one actor.

The Saturday Dec. 3 evening performance went off without a hitch, probably a relief for the cast after the forbidden utterance by Kazan earlier that afternoon! Hari and I had adjacent seats for this one, on the left side front row, where we did have a really nice sprawled-leg view of an interesting hip wiggle by youthful Kenneth, and also a high-flying robe at one point that really gave a nice view of that muscular lower back! Daphne was across on the right side that evening but she also appreciated that flash of back, and commented immediately upon it at the first intermission. (You can see we were all quite comfortable ogling, and reminiscing upon our ogling, by this time!) I was by now quite sure of the little anatomical anomaly I had noticed, and in this performance I was also rather taken by the expressiveness of the young Kenneth’s feet and toes!

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My newly autographed fan art!

When it was over, I made haste for the Stage Door once again, and it really wasn’t long before Himself arrived. I was right near the front of the line again, and this time I was determined to remember what I said to Richard Armitage because I cannot recall at all what I might have said to him in London. So I held out my metallic print of the Iconic Richard Armitage that Guylty and I had months ago collaborated upon, and I said, “Richard, I really enjoyed the play!” I was looking at his face, and as I can only surmise that it was NOT the utter brilliance of my conversation that gave him a momentary pause, maybe it was the one-of-its-kind autograph item that caused him to briefly glance up from his signature and straight into my eyes, completely electrifying me with that flash of blue, and he smiled and said thank you, before moving on to Hariclea beside me! I was dazzled for a few moments and by then he was halfway down the line, but I belatedly remembered to turn on my phone and snap a quick picture of his posterior for posterity. =) Then I got myself in gear and hustled down and tried for some other photos but none were worth a damn because he was in full-on Stage Door motion and moving far too fast.

 

 

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Daphne, who really had devoted her entire day to us already, now offered to take us back to Rockefeller Center to view the enormous Christmas tree at night, and I gladly set off with her while Hariclea opted to wait for us in the comfortable lobby of the Hotel. The crowds near the skating rink and the tree were mind-bogglingly dense, and I had a giggle when I overheard a woman ask a food cart operator where she could find the big Christmas tree, and we were literally standing right in front of it. The man raised an eyebrow and kind of pointed backwards over his shoulder with a wry expression as the woman gasped in embarrassment. Ah, New York City and these little moments. I could relate, though. It’s a lot to take in. *snickers*… On our way back, we caught a really cool laser light show along the side of Saks 5th Avenue, then headed back to the hotel lobby where we reviewed our Stage Door Photos, giggled and fangirled together until 1 am!

Daphne was truly so, so generous with her time. Sunday morning she arrived again, on very little sleep I’m sure, as we all found it hard to come down from the high of the previous evening, and escorted us via subway ride to the World Trade Center Memorial. This was such a moving, haunting monument, and the many people gathered there were very somber, as was fitting. I had read about the concept of the Memorial- the huge square pools built upon the footprints of the towers and flowing downward in a waterfall, a vertically negative space where once the towers had stood… but seeing it in person brought tears to my eyes and made swallowing painful as I contemplated the magnitude and read name after name etched around the perimeters. Afterward we stood at the foot of Freedom Tower and gazed upward, then walked through the mall located inside the architecturally stunning Oculus, sharing our stories of where we were and what we were doing on September 11, 2001.

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Yum!

When we returned to the theatre district, we stopped briefly to contribute our wishes to the confetti that will be released on New Years over Times Square, then we met NycPat and friends, who had arranged for a really delicious lunch/brunch at a French restaurant (I had a crepe with duck confit filling that pretty much blew my mind!) and there we discussed a plethora of topics, including the NYC theatre scene, various stage door experiences with different actors, Richard Armitage, the cost of living in NYC, and of course Pat and I did also exchange pet rescue stories. Once again it was so delightful having the opportunity to put faces to names, and I was once again struck by how fun, warm and welcoming the NYC contingent of Armitage peeps have proven to be.

On the way into the theatre, the security guard joked to Daphne that she ought to bring a different purse next time so he could have something new to look at during the bag check. Then one of the ushers waved Hariclea in without giving her the usual spiel about the number of intermissions, saying she already knew the drill! I was thankfully more anonymous and in possession of a front row, right side seat for this final Sunday matinée, and I really kept my eyes shamelessly glued to Kenneth for the duration… it was my last opportunity to thoroughly study Mr. Armitage (until the next play, at any rate!) This performance was subtly different in Acts 2 and 3, something we all noticed and later commented upon. Kenneth was much more forcibly angry with Sandra during Act 2, and far more menacing when he confronted her with his suspicions of adultery. And Armitage brought the passion out again in Act 3 at the end, where the chemistry and attraction between Kenneth and Sandra really radiated in the final moments… *fans self*… I was in no doubt where they were headed (the bedroom!!!) as the lights went down.

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Illicit Celebrity Series photo op, titled “The Thumb”

Richard came out first for the Celebrity Series Q&A and I felt that he was the most “interactive” with the audience… although initially, he seemed distracted. Hmmmmm. He actually had to ask an audience member to repeat her question once! I also was a little distracted after I had to endure an embarrassing tap on the shoulder from the usher at one point when I tried to capture some little photos and an ill-advised video. *coughs* But on the bright side, one of my photos had a really fine thumb shot! Anyway, Hari asked the first question, as she had done the day before, and was a bit mortified when the host recognized her and proudly proclaimed it! Then to make matters worse, Hari’s question received rather a flippant brush-off from Zoe Kazan, and I really wished that Richard had taken the question instead.

Afterwards, Hariclea had to catch a plane, so we went back to collect her baggage and shared some final giggles about how we three had all noticed Richard Armitage’s left nipple during his final bow, and how we all managed to get some unsettling attention during our fangirling activities that afternoon. After a slightly tearful goodbye to Hari, Daphne had Christmas shopping errands to run in Bryant Park, where there was a really nice outdoor market, and I went along and wound up buying all sorts of little gifts for the family. We took a spin through Grand Central Station,  then had dinner and more laughter as we reviewed stolen photos and aborted video footage, and shared another really engaging conversation.

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Flight home Monday morning… Until Next Time!!

Wow, was this ever long! Nada for 2 months and then some 5000+ words! As you can probably tell from my excited ramblings, I absolutely loved the city, I loved the play, I loved Richard in the play, and most of all, I loved sharing the entire experience. It was one of the most wonderful weekends of my life, and I’m so thankful, and so blessed, to have partaken of it with friends.

DeRAnged Tendencies Alive and Well… in Greece!

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I have my Badge on display, Guylty! Overlooking Athens…

It’s been a crazy-wonderful several days, and my internal clock is certainly out-of-whack, because here I am wide awake at an unholy hour of dawn listening to the rain outside our hotel in Nafplion, Greece! This is almost like a second honeymoon for Hubby and me… our first vacation together without the kids, which means in over 8 years… and we are loving every minute of it! Which is kind of funny when I think that no kind of second honeymoon would have been planned if it weren’t for Richard Armitage… because we’re along for the ride with several other Armitagers and lead by Obscura on this amazing tour of Athens and the Peloponnese in southern Greece. Who says my Armitaging can’t benefit Hubby?

It’s all a bit of a blur now… the preparations for the trip… the detailed schedules I worked out for the grandparents, who are sharing custody of the kids and have accepted the gauntlet of keeping them fed, bathed, dressed, schooled and busy with after-school activities. Packing the kids, packing ourselves. Arranging for a relief veterinarian, duck-sitter, bills to be paid and payroll to be handled from across the globe… vacation is a lot of work! And I didn’t have to do any of the nitty-gritty planning for the tour itself, so hats off to Obscura who has made all the arrangements for our transit, schedule, dining, accommodations… =)

So last Wednesday night, after our last full day of work, we’d had a good-bye dinner with the kids, deposited them with my parents, dropped the pets off at the clinic, and done our last-minute packing. It was 11:30pm, and my alarm was set for 4:00am, giving me 4 1/2 hours of potential sleep… when BOOM, I finally looked at a Twitter notification from Richard Armitage and was astonished to see that the first 2 episodes of Berlin Station were available right then! Of course, I knew that I was going to be traveling across the globe in a few short hours… but could I resist clicking the link? Of course I couldn’t.

daniel-miller

Daniel Miller Screencap… looking as sexy as ever. Of course I got no sleep!

Just a few minutes of watching, I told myself. I’m too excited about Greece to fall asleep immediately anyway… 2 hours later I was not only too excited about Greece to fall asleep, but I had discovered that Berlin Station is entirely binge-watchable! Wow! Talk about a shocking opener! My internal dialogue was something like… “There he is! He’s so pretty… he’s so pretty… oh, man, he looks great in this… he’s so pretty… he’s so…. WHAT!?! Shitfuck! No! No way!”

Suffice it to say that I got exactly zero sleep after watching Berlin Station… something I knew I should regret, but now I’m hearing that people are no longer able to watch it, so I’m patting my deRAnged self on the back for having had no self-control or common sense whatsoever! LOL! I was hoping to revisit those episodes a number of times… because I don’t feel that with all the excitement and exhaustion that I really absorbed all that was available to absorb… but at least I’m not furious that I missed my chance entirely!

acropolis-selfie

Selfie with Hubby at the Acropolis! A dream come true for both of us. =)

Well, my alarm clock is about to go off and I’m looking forward to another full day with this guy (who is the only man on the tour other than our driver, Leonidas, and our amazing foodie local guide, George!) He’s having a blast, even being fully outnumbered!

Until next time, then… Cheers!

 

Giffing Berlin Station, or… PreoccupiedOnceAgain?

Confession: I have not been overly PreoccupiedWithArmitage for months. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t jump in and arrange to see Love, Love, Love before Love, Love, Love was even guaranteed… or that I didn’t immediately follow Richard when he made the jumps to Instagram and Facebook… and it’s not to say that I don’t still keep tabs on the Richarding world… but as anyone checking the blog this summer can attest, I just haven’t had any bloggerly motivation. Granted, it’s been a busy summer at work and I continue to spend much of my free time in the quilting room… but I really haven’t wanted or needed to express myself here in this space for quite some time.  I have hopes, at least, that my flagging fandom energy will be revived shortly, between Berlin Station airing in a couple of months, and Richard’s performances off Broadway starting even sooner than that!

 

BS interview hands

There is some nice thumb action here.

Today I got around to watching the new promotional material for Berlin Station, and I was struck with what has become, lately, an unusual urge: to have a closer look and really study the man himself, and the man as Daniel Miller’s character. I really liked what I saw, and decided to put some of it on continuous loop… but sadly, it had been so long since I used my Giffing Tool, that I opened it up, captured some Richard… and then couldn’t remember even the first thing about how to edit it! After fumbling around for several fruitless minutes, I resorted to YouTube to relearn the giffing process… and I hope you enjoy the results. =)

 

 

BS calculations

So yeah… I experienced my first *ooof* after many months of no *ooofs* right here.

So the first thing that really made me sit up and take notice while watching the promotional footage was this shot. I absolutely love everything about it. I love the collar of his coat- he looks like a proper spy, here. I love the shadow of his cheek and jawline as he turns, and while I’m at it, I love the length of that sideburn! But what struck me the most was the moment of calculation on his face, the small furrow in his brow as he processes something, and seems to draw his breath, blinking. Moments like these are what I love most about Richard’s acting.

 

 

BS lips

And when I replayed it, damned if another *ooof* didn’t magically happen!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because the opening footage was actually rather breathtaking as well. Oh, how the light just barley glimmers on that fantastic mouth. And his nose, in all its profile glory, is also thrown into beautiful relief by the lighting. Last but not least… we have the briefest glimpse of Daniel’s downcast eye for a quick, but thorough, eyelashgasm.

 

 

BS blink

And the eyelashgasms keep coming…

BS danial turns

I like how the light briefly illuminates the tendons in his elegant hand.

And a couple more… because once I got started, it was hard to stop giffing.

 

 

 

BS climbI almost mistook this for Francis Dolarhyde. Maybe it’s the black gloves, or the fact that he’s rising out of a crouch as he steps onto the rooftop. Or maybe just the focused, almost sinister determination on his face.

 

 

BS paranoiaAnd that impression (along with another eyelashgasm) was only reinforced here. Because he seems to be skulking in a corridor, and he has a touch of paranoia in his eyes.

 

 

BS shrug and smileBut right here… this is no Francis Dolarhyde. More of a Lucas North vibe… a strong and charming one. I LOVE the little  quirk of his head as he shrugs. And I hope we’ll see more of those slightly conspiratorial smiles. Dayum.

 

 

BS smile1Speaking of smiles… here’s a bit of a lopsided smile as he hands her his ID. It was dark, so I lightened it to better see that dimple in action. Though I hate that the giffing tool only has one setting for the lightening effect.

 

 

BS startledAnd another one that I lightened. Just to see the smile again, and have a closer look at the funny startled face when Daniel is grabbed. Giffing is really rewarding sometimes.

 

 

BS crouchingAnd here was another rewarding moment. I guess I didn’t expect Daniel Miller to crouch behind another person’s back when shit starts to go down! But I suppose we were told he was more of an analyst. LOL

 

 

 

BS bike riderMake that a bike-riding analyst.

 

 

 

BS stridingStride 1But he certainly has some mojo in this shot. There’s that characteristic manly stride that I love so well. Reminds me just a bit of Thornton. With different sideburns, of course. But the stern intensity is there.

 

 

 

And that about wraps up my post for August! I really did enjoy getting back into the swing of actively Richarding… and we can hope that there is plenty more to come!

 

Once Again Pondering The Beard…

hip richie

This is how I’d Love, Love, Love to see a young Kenneth. *fans self*

Yeah wow… back in fangirl mode… just like that! So with Richard’s upcoming role as Kenneth in the off-Broadway Roundabout Theatre Company production of Love, Love, Love… we know that the script begins in 1967 or thereabout, with Kenneth as a young 20-something, and progresses through several acts as the character ages into a baby boomer with adult children of his own.

So I’m wondering if the beard will be absent, since it seems like maybe he’d look a little younger without it in the early act? And pondering his 1960’s look, I’m sure the costume will have a hippie vibe, but will he wear a wig of some kind for that younger, long-haired Sixties look?

I kind of hope he won’t have the beard… not in any way a beard hater, but just that his Proctor character had a beard, and as I was lucky enough to see him in the flesh (and found Himself-Bearded very mouth-watering, I might add!)… well, I’d really rather have a closer look at his clean-shaven lips, this time. #fangirlconsiderations

mouth

Yes, I need to see this up a little closer.

Like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

scruffyOr his slightly scruffy and stubbled lips… I’m not really picky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

beard problem

My favorite stage door photo… yeah, I could probably work myself up to seeing this again.

But if the character of Kenneth DOES have a beard… well… that’s a problem I guess I’d love to have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

anson mount

Dayum

Speaking of beards, and scruff, and long hair, and hot men with blue-grey eyes, I disappeared into one of those “show-holes” the past few weeks watching the AMC series Hell On Wheels, a drama series following the building of the transcontinental railroad. I confess, I have been Seriously Distracted by this series- not only is it an interesting time period, with clashing cultures between Union and ex-Confederate soldiers, freedmen (former slaves), Native Americans, and later in the series, Chinese immigrants… it’s a really good story with characters I love and hate and love to hate… and, well, there’s Cullen Bohannon, played by the seriously gorgeous and basically entirely heavenly Anson Mount. Take a look.

 

 

Cullen Bohannon

Am I right?

And as Cullen Bohannon? Ye gods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Er, anyway… that was a little off topic. But just to, you know, emphasize that I DO like a man in a beard. But back to Richard Armitage.

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I. Would. Die. (Happily)

Top hope for Love, Love, Love? I have to say it would look something like this… longer hair, a little scruffy, and no beard. Is it too much to wish for?

Finally!! Confirmation on Love, Love, Love!!

FinallyAfter weeks of depression over the events in the news together with NO NEWS on Love, Love, Love… it’s confirmed! Best thing I’ve heard in a while! More info here, courtesy of Richard himself on twitter.

To be honest, while a lot of people have been applauding RA’s recent bout of political tweeting, it’s made me uneasy. Not because I have different views (or any view, really) on Brexit, but because I’ve personally always liked the fact that RA is not constantly spouting political views, which historically I have found very aggravating and obnoxious with other actors.

My fear, I guess, is that as politics heat up in the U.S. in the upcoming presidential election, RA may very well indeed start championing a particularly corrupt candidate which will no doubt be very off-putting for me. Grrrrh. I can only hope that by the time December rolls around and I’m off to New York City, I’ll have come to terms with whatever outcome of the election (nothing good will come of it no matter what happens, I fear!) and I’ll have learned to ignore him and/or un-followed his tweets.

It’s still a day to celebrate!

I’m In Love, Love, Love… And #RichardArmitage Sure Better Be!

hamish

Hi, my name is Hamish, and my mom is smitten…

I AM in love… with this little guy! *Oops, I did it again*… I brought home a new kitten. Who happens to be on my shoulder as I type, purring lovingly. I needed another cat like I needed a hole in the head, but gah! Hamish! It was just Love, Love, Love… mutual, and at first sight!)

And I’m practically purring with excitement, too! Please God let speculations be true about Richard Armitage appearing Off Broadway in Love, Love, Love this fall… because I may or may not have up and booked tickets for it.

WhatAnd therefore I may or may not be certifiably insane, since it’s not yet confirmed. (Don’t tell Hubby that part!) LOL

But let me just take a moment and have a little celebratory dance, because it is starting to look like an exciting fall for those of the Armitage persuasion! Bye, bye, Richard Armitage Drought! Between Berlin Station installments, a possible Brain on Fire release, and (*crosses fingers*) Live Theatre in New York…. WOW! I wonder if it’s too early to start pestering Digital Theatre… ?!

 

red mohawk

It’s pretty edgy… and I actually love it!

Speaking of the Armitage Drought conditions, I’ve been totally MIA in Armitageworld for quite a long while. While I’ve been gone, this happened… Young Love received the promised red mohawk in return for losing the rat-tail!

May was just ridiculously busy on the veterinary front, then we took the kids to glorious Colorado.

Ah, Colorado. My favorite place to be.

So I was in Colorado when the Alice movie came out… and I haven’t seen it yet. Not sure whether I want to, at least in theaters. As lovely as I’m sure his several minutes will be… I’m not really enough of a Tim Burton admirer to have a big interest.

BUT, I was also in Colorado when RA started tweeting hints about the suspected Mid-Life Crisis project (a British comedy!? RA playing guitar and possibly maybe hopefully oh dear Lord… singing?) An orgasmic YES to all of that, please!!

OK… that’s all the time I have for now! I may come back with a few pics from our Colorado trip in another post. But I’ll leave you with the best of the bunch…

electra all glass

Electra Lake, evening, all glass. June 2016. Photo credit to Hubby!

 

 

 

 

 

In Which I BANISHED Thorin Oakenshield

abbydawson (4)This little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is Abby, and she is totally my Number One patient. Not from a financial standpoint, though as a puppy and teenager, she got herself into enough scrapes requiring veterinary attention that she certainly did pay some of the bills. But no, this little cutie-patootie is just my very favorite girl in the world!

I’ve been her beloved best friend veterinarian since she was 6 weeks old, and we just bonded from the first moment we met. I ADORE this little scamp! (And the feeling is entirely mutual).   =)

It never seems to phase her if I have to draw blood, or insert that fecal loop, or give an injection that stings. She may give me sad puppy dog eyes, as if to say, “This again?” but she is always delighted to snuggle up and shower me with love the very next minute.

20140421_152809So whenever Abby comes, as long as there are no other dogs about, her mom or dad lets her off the leash and she races around to find me, and if I’m not to be found, she boogies down the hall and into my office! She jumps onto my lap and gives me all the wiggling happy snuggles and kisses I could possibly want, then jumps onto my couch and makes herself right at home until I am ready, then she follows me back up front and into the exam room where her room her mom or dad is waiting.

Abby’s mom finally stumbled across a child-proofing system for the pantry and the bathroom cabinet, and as a result, Abby hasn’t been raiding the trash or the food supplies and requiring my attention on such a regular basis. In fact, I hadn’t even seen Abby since before Christmas, which means that SHE hadn’t been back to my office, or on my couch, since prior to Thorin Oakenshield’s arrival.

superbowl50beardedbroncosfanI happened to see her mom at the grocery store recently, and told her that while I was glad the little stinker was staying out of trouble, a 6 month absence was just too long and I missed her! Because she’s a lovely woman, Abby’s mom took me at my word, and today she dropped my darling off for “day-boarding” (read: couch napping) while she went off to several doctor’s appointments and an afternoon of shopping.

Abby came rushing down the hall and into my office, launched herself into my lap, and we had a perfectly delightful reunion with kisses and ear scratching and belly rubs, and when I put her back onto the floor, she happily trotted around my desk and hopped onto the couch. I went back to dictating my charts, but was interrupted a few moments later by a sound I hardly thought possible from this soul-sweet little girl: a low GROWL!

Shocked, I looked over the top of my monitor, to see Abby on the couch, looking up over her shoulder at the looming figure of Thorin Oakenshield!!!

With her tail tucked, and watching his every move over her shoulder, she continued to growl and crept to the other end of the couch. Then she slid to the floor, never taking her eye off of the menacing dwarf, and skedaddled around the desk and back into the safety of my lap. I reassured her and loved on her, and she relaxed, but every time she would glance back over her shoulder, she’d tense up again, and even bark!

Poor Abby! She could tell he meant business with that sword! Or maybe she’s just no fan of the Denver Broncos! After about the 10th warning bark, I’d had enough, so I took Thorin out of the office and put him in the kennel area, where he then set off all the other dogs into a barking frenzy! They certainly didn’t like his looks either, and though I hoped they’d pipe down after a few minutes, the racket only escalated!

I’m sorry to report that I have banished Thorin to the garage for the day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Opera-Themed “Sampler” Quilt For Hariclea

Final Product

Opera Is Magic, 2016. (I named the quilt, of course, after Hariclea’s wonderful blog!)

Funny that I should receive the heartwarming response that she received my gift from Hari on Mother’s Day- made my warm-fuzzy-filled day all the better! And somewhat fitting, as well, because my own Mom had quite a part in this quilt. We’ve been in a bit of an Armitage Drought, lately, and in case anyone ever wonders what I tend to do when I’m not full-on preoccupiedwitharmitage, well, I’m generally spending time with Mom quite preoccupiedwithquilting. =)

Lately, though, my hobbies have converged to some degree, as I’ve found myself obsessing thinking about doing some sort of an Armitage-themed quilt. And while I ponder that, I’ve been inspired by some really warm fandom friendships. When I think about these people, I’m afraid my quilting addiction kicks in. You see, when I’m fond of someone and feel like I get to know her a little… I’ll maybe come across a fabric or a pattern that prompts an idea for a quilt I think she might like.

And that’s exactly what happened when one of my online fabric stores sent out an e-mail announcing “Night At The Opera” (a new fabric collection), and with it, a free pattern. Yep. You guessed it… the lovely blogger and frequent commentator Hariclea popped straight into my mind!

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I took a closer look at the fabrics in this collection, and I was charmed. Faster than the speed of light, Moments later, I’d downloaded the pattern and ordered my fabrics. I jazzed it up a bit with a slightly wider border and four cornerstones… and indulged my love of bling by choosing a rather “sparkly” black fabric instead of the one shown in the pattern. (I just can’t help myself when it comes to metallic gold on fabric! Thorin Oakenshield has nothing on me! LOL)

As you can see, it’s a very simple quilt. Piecing squares together is about as straightforward as it gets. But not only did I like the fabric, the pattern, and the way it practically screamed “Hari”… I happened to need an uncomplicated block pattern for my own quilting advancement.

Bottom Row Programming

Here I am working in Creative Studio on Hari’s quilt. It’s really cool. The program allows you to use a laser pointer to define boundaries on the actual quilt, then import patterns and stretch or squeeze them in any way you like to fit the actual block. (It also allows you to design your own patterns, but that was beyond my scope for this, our first real quilt using the new program.)

Mom and I have been using an out-dated program on her long-arm quilter for years, and because of its limited capabilities, we always just quilted an “overall pattern” across the quilt. However,  there’s a completely new and wonderful program available called Creative Studio that allows you to do much more intricate quilting, such as quilting each block individually, with ease. Mom, especially, had long been intimidated by the need to learn a whole new program, but when her old computer connected to the quilter crapped out needed to be replaced, we decided to finally bite the bullet install Creative Studio on her new quilting computer. And what could be a better quilt to learn all the new capabilities of Creative Studio than a very basic pattern of squares set on point?

I got the idea that as long as we were going to take a stab at quilting individual block patterns, we might as well make a big “sampler” out of it, and try out as many of our new block patterns as we could. Mom hated this idea, and campaigned pretty vigorously for me to alternate between two block patterns over the light and dark blocks, respectively… but I’m nothing if not stubborn, and thought that since the top of the quilt is such a simple one, I’d like to redeem it by making the quilting itself wildly exciting for Hari!! (Okay, so maybe only *I* become wildly excited about a smorgasbord of block patterns… but still, I’m pretty sure Hari is going to like the way it turned out! LOL)

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And not only was I thrilled with the way this “sampler” approach turned out, but Mom really fell in love with the effect of having a different pattern in every block, too! She has shown off this quilt to anyone and everyone (seriously… even the man who came to remove a tree stump!) and wants to do another in the same style of quilting. I am not fond of (or very good at) doing the final binding… once a quilt comes off the quilter, I am instantly ready to move on to a new project, so my lovely Mom usually does my binding for me. (I make it up to her in veterinary favors and products!) But she was so very taken with this quilt, that she insisted on doing the final binding by hand, which is quite an undertaking! (I ineffectually argued that I didn’t think Hari would care whether the binding was done with a sewing machine, but now it was Mom’s turn to be stubborn!)  =)

Final 2

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Mom? She did a beautiful job on the binding. =)

The back of this lap quilt is made of a soft, cuddly flannel. And Hari may find a “hitchhiker” grass seed or two… when the binding was finally done, I hung the quilt out for a few pictures, and damned if the cable system, which was admittedly looking pretty frayed for the last few photo ops, didn’t finally snap just as I was hoisting the quilt! Down went the quilt, and wouldn’t you know, it landed flannel-side down (which means: sticky-like-velcro-side down!) right in a big patch of grass seeds! I may have spent almost as much time picking seeds off the quilt as Mom spent doing the binding! LOL

It was definitely a labor of love, Hari… and I hope it will keep you cozy and bring a smile to your face for many years to come. (((Hugs!)))

 

It Tasted Like $#!+, And Other Family Woes

Smelling Irises

My Young Love… Looking Quite Innocent. I AM happy to report he finally let me rid him of the dreadful Rat Tail!

Hello! It seems like it’s been a long couple of weeks, and I apologize for being less than a reliable blogger lately. With not much happening on the Armitage front, motivation is lacking, while on the bright side, the veterinary business is really picking up, so free time has also been lacking. I wish I could say all was just fine, but that’s not quite true. On the home front, our Young Love has been giving us fits. Warning: contains very bad language!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that we have an intellectually gifted (though fashion-challenged) first-grade boy. He’s always had an outgoing personality, breezes through school with fantastic grades, and up until recently, he’s had generally good classroom behavior, with occasional trips to the “Take-A-Break” (Time-Out) desk for reasons such as talking when he’s supposed to be working, or not following instructions. A couple of months ago, he did bring home a Take-A-Break form in which the infraction was swearing, and when we asked him what he’d said, he told us it was spelled “F-U-C-K” and he saw it on the bathroom wall, and could we please tell him what that word even means?

Well, we didn’t tell him what F-U-C-K means. We just said it was an ugly word that was definitely inappropriate for school, and asked him to write all the ugly words that he knows, so we could look them over and tell him which words would definitely be inappropriate. He wrote a pretty decent list, including shit, crap, ass, hell, fuck, pussy, damn, and a few more. The only word he wrote that wasn’t really a dirty word was “sex”, but we said it still wasn’t a great word for most school contexts. =)

Anyway, I looked over his list and told him that he had a pretty impressive list of dirty words, and I warned him that we had better NOT start hearing those words come out of his mouth! Being the type to question every statement I make, he asked what would happen to him, so I told him I thought using language like that would mean he had a dirty mouth, so I’d just have to wash his mouth out with soap if any of the words on that list except for “sex” came out of his mouth.

That was that. No major behavior problems for a couple of months, until the last several weeks, when suddenly we started seeing Take-A-Break forms several times per week, and usually involving getting into altercations with other students, shoving, kicking, calling names, etc. When we asked him what was going on, he said some kids were picking on him, and making him really mad. He’d called his classmate Zoe a “Witch” one day, and his classmate Wyatt a “Total Butthead” the day after that!

I wasn’t sure whether he was being picked on, as he claimed, and acting out as a result, or if he was acting the bully. I sent an e-mail to his teacher, and she responded that for the most part, it was typical rough-housing type of behavior… that she didn’t feel like he was necessarily a bully, but that he was prone to getting physical or calling names when he was frustrated. At home, for this type of infraction, he lost all electronics privileges for 1 week, with the 7-day count-down to start over if he had another incident during the “grounded” period. (It’s going on 2 1/2 weeks, because he keeps on having incidents.)

So last Monday, he brought home another Take-A-Break form for swearing. I asked him what word it was, and he admitted it was spelled “S-H-I-T”. I didn’t ask him why he said it, but told him after dinner, we’d have to wash his mouth out with soap, as promised. (I’m a Mom of my word… I may have really regretted making that threat, but once it was made, I felt I needed to follow through!)

So after dinner, my plan was to take him into the bathroom, and I’d take a bar of soap and swish it over his tongue a couple of times to put a bad taste in his mouth. A couple of seconds of parental torture, tops. However, when I tried to do this, he bit down on the soap (to prevent it going in far enough to touch his tongue), and when I told him to open up so I could get his mouth clean, he clamped his teeth down further and stubbornly shook his head. I said “Fine!” and left the soap between his teeth while I got a baby wipe and cleaned around his mouth to remove pizza sauce from dinner. When I finished that, I said I thought his mouth was probably pretty clean, and tried to remove the soap.

Dental Impression

I never meant for it to become stuck on his teeth! Honest!

It was stuck! Whoops! He’d bitten into it so far that his teeth were embedded, so it took a brief struggle to dislodge the soap! On the bright side, we have a nice dental impression from the Young Love to admire, now. He was silent and furious, face red, and I told him it was ok to go ahead and rinse the soap off his teeth and spit. He did so, then crossed his arms and stomp-marched out of the bathroom and down to the other end of the house, into his sister’s room, and shut the door with emphasis! I was running a bath, and after a few minutes, I went and knocked on his sister’s door, and told her it was bath time. When she arrived for her bath, I asked her if her brother had said anything about what happened, and she said, “Yep. He said you washed his mouth out with soap, and it tasted like Sh—– I mean, it tasted like… Bug Poop!”

(She covers for him, bless her heart! She totally could have tattled that he turned right around and used the same dirty word 30 seconds after having his mouth washed out… but she totally lied to protect him instead! LOL.)

But our story isn’t over. Later that night, at bedtime, I warned him that the same thing could happen again if he kept on swearing, and I advised him that if he felt like saying bad words, he was free to do so, but only in his head, or if he was all by himself, he could say them out loud. He was just not to swear in front of people, or at people, or he knew the consequences. He responded that he was going to be swearing inside his head a lot, especially when I made him mad, and I said that was perfectly acceptable to me, and kissed him goodnight.

The following day, a Tuesday, we received another Take-A-Break form. He was swearing again! I expressed my disbelief that he would get caught swearing the very next day, and he said he hadn’t done it in front of any teachers, but he had done it on the playground, and some other kids had told on him to get him in trouble. “What did I tell you about swearing out loud? That’s why if you do it out loud, you need to be all by yourself. Otherwise you get in trouble, right?” He agreed, and tried to get out of the soap procedure, but that wasn’t happening, totally effective parent that I am. (*rolls eyes*) This time, I applied a tiny dab of liquid soap on a toothbrush, and he had to brush his teeth with it. To my surprise, he took it in good stride this time, with none of the storming-off antics. (In fact, he was so nonchalant that I made the mistake of tasting it myself after he left the room, thinking it couldn’t have been all that bad… MISTAKE! Blech!)

Along came Wednesday, and Hubby and I were talking via cell phone on the way home from work, when Hubby had to take another call, from the school. I waited with bated breath, and pretty soon Hubby called back, and he’d heard from the Principal’s office. “You’re never going to believe this.” Apparently, our Young Love and his classmate, Zoe, (a.k.a. the “Witch”) were called to the Principal’s office… after the teacher caught Zoe hitting our boy in the genitals! (I admit that rather than feeling horrified or outraged, I stifled a laugh and immediately asked what he’d done to deserve it!) When the Principal asked the two of them what was going on, our Young Love told her it had been happening several times per week since after Spring Break, and Zoe admitted that this was true, but said she only hit him there after he called her names. He in turn admitted she was right. (Evidently he’s a very slow learner when it comes to insulting the wrong girl!)

That night, we had him compose a letter of apology to Zoe, asking forgiveness for calling her names. He did so, and it was a cute note. “Dear Zoe, I am sorry for calling you names. I don’t want to make you sad. Or mad. I don’t want to be your arch enemy. From, [Young Love]” He gave it to her the next day, and behaved himself up until yesterday, when he had another Take-A-Break for shoving, and Hubby received another call from the Principal’s office. Earlier that day, his classmate Wyatt, (a.k.a. the “Total Butthead”) had evidently dared our child to insert his finger in the pencil sharpener, and when the Young Love took the dare, the kid cranked the handle and (slightly) cut his finger! This time the other kid had to go to the principal’s office, and Young Love was just gently chastised by the teacher for taking a foolish dare. Sigh. And we thought he was so bright…. =)

Later, however, I think Wyatt was resentful about the Principal’s office, because just as school was about to be over and the kids were gathering their backpacks, he blocked Young Love’s access to the backpack area and said something along the lines of “You can’t pass, you fat weirdo!” At which time, our son gave him a hard shove, and had to Take Another Damned Break. To make matters worse, it was Tuesday, the day before he was FINALLY supposed to get his electronics privileges back, and he knew that shoving the kid and going to Take-A-Break would mean his 7-day countdown started all over. He apparently cried, and his other nemesis, Zoe, piled it on by calling him a “cry-baby”…

Rough day, right? I feel bad that he’s having these types of exchanges with name-calling, physical altercations, and so on. Now that we hear about the genital hits and the pencil sharpener, I think he is genuinely being picked on, but obviously at least to some extent, he brings it on himself! I know kids will be kids, but I’m afraid of this escalating.

To that end, we talked to him about better ways to handle such a situation, for instance, if Wyatt is in his face, blocking his path, and calling him names. Rather than shoving, swearing, or name-calling, that is. =) Knowing that he has a fantastic memory, I came up with a list of good “comebacks” he could use that might help him keep up his confidence, and come off as cool and nonchalant, which I hope will eventually help prevent bullying. I think it becomes a vicious cycle at some point, in which the kid who is called names loses confidence, and that self-conscious demeanor only triggers more negative attention directed his way.

We actually had a pretty good time last night, taking turns calling each other rude names, practicing our nonchalant demeanor and our comebacks, then turning and walking away! Here are a few:

 

Young Love: Daddy, you’re a Weird Nerd!

Hubby: You say that like it’s a bad thing….

 

Mommy: You’re Fat and Ugly!

Young Love: Where is your “Off” Button?

 

Little Sister: You’re a Big Poo Poo Head!

Hubby: Talk to the hand!

 

Young Love: You’re a Stupid Baby!

Mommy: You Again?

 

Hubby: You’re a Disgusting Booger-Eater!

Young Love: It takes one to know one!

 

Mommy: You’re a Spoiled Brat!

Little Sister: They say everyone has a talent!

 

And so on… it was actually pretty funny, and cathartic. This morning our Young Love was back at it with his list, begging to be insulted during breakfast! We’ll see how it goes….