Happy Valentine’s Day 2017… #CelebRAteLove Contribution, with Short Limerick =)


Thorin bearing a Valentine’s bouquet… my office. That’s not too shabby!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!! And a special shout-out to Guylty for the impetus to make something, anything happen on this poor, sad blog! So! While my preoccupationwitharmitage was definitely rejuvenated after my wonderful trip to NYC, a Stage Door Runner event, and 4 performances of Love, Love, Love… it didn’t really translate into a whole lot more blogging on my part. And I really wish that wasn’t the case. Life is just busy right now, and the lovely Richard Armitage has a lot of competition for my time and energy.

I’m elbows deep in another quilt, the kids have a ton of extracurricular activities, the veterinary business is going gangbusters, and it’s just about time to start gathering material for the accountant. But I did have the energy to set up a little office photo shoot… since I knew everyone would probably appreciate Thorin bearing Valentine’s flowers!

He does look rather manfully romantic, there in front of a little collection of Armitage memorabilia, the dog curled up at his feet…




Introducing Roxie, our small dog-like animal.

Oh yeah, and speaking of that dog curled up at Thorin’s feet… I don’t know that I have ever formally introduced my new child, Roxie! Our sweet little Girlfriend did pass away late last spring, and it wasn’t long before we were fortunate enough to welcome Roxie, a 2-year-old rescued Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, into the fold. She’s pretty stinking cute, and has provided all kinds of entertainment and pure, loyal affection. This dog is my shadow. She could probably fill up a blog post, or even a blog of her own with all her antics, but since I’m on the subject, I’ll give you her short story… she was purchased as a puppy by an elderly man with cancer, and after he passed away, she spent several days alone with his body. Needless to say, we work on separation anxiety issues! She was then sold to a family who loved her, but their 60lb boxer was terrified of her 10lb ferocious self, so she went to the Cavalier Rescue organization. Aside from her separation anxiety, she also had bilateral luxated patellas (knee-caps out of socket) since puppyhood, which caused her to spend her entire life completely unable to bend her hind legs. She now has both her knees repaired and fully functioning, and a family that absolutely adores her, not to mention a mom who doesn’t put up with any bullshit terrorizing other animals. She goes back and forth to the clinic with me, tries to steal into the exam rooms to accompany me, enjoys greeting clients in the lobby, believes she has been wrongfully banned from the sterile surgery suite, and absolutely loves the kids. And their socks. And their dirty underwear. I love her so much!



Hubby playing Bass while I sew. We barely fit in the craft room!


My three kids!

And since it’s the holiday of love, and Roxie had a photo op, I would be remiss if I didn’t include the other Valentines in my life… Hubby, My Young Love, and his adorable Little Sister. They bring laughter, smiles and all kinds of good feels on a daily basis. So blessed!






v4But back to my Valentine’s collaboRAtion… my office sports a little bit of memoRAbilia, as you can see. Several magnets on my mini-fridge, several framed photos that were gifted to me, a lovely Francis Dolarhyde shrine, subtle Richarding tree ornaments, post-cards, and mementos from my trip to Greece. Not to mention my very own, life-sized, always amorous Thorin Oakenshield.





A Valentine’s Care Package from Guylty!

Naturally, after I had already taken my photo, yet more Valentine’s goodness arrived in a package from Ireland! Guylty, you’re amazing! Thornton’s Fabulous Fudge, a cucumber face mask (can’t wait to surprise the kids with my green face!), a heart-shaped candle holder, lotion and an unusually sexy post-card all bundled together in a clever handmade zipper bag which is a total shout-out (to the discerning, in-the-know eye) to Mr. A….  Gah! I LOVE IT! I The interior is lined with water-proof vinyl, really nice, and the exterior sports custom fabric… peaches, roses, chess piece kings, red dragon symbols, vinyl records (is that a nod to young Kenneth?) and of course, that unmistakable silhouette (with nape curls!). Thank you!!


v8And finally, although this came a little early for Valentine’s Day, for me it was truly inspiring.

Richard Armitage, filming Ocean’s Eight.

*fans self*

Seriously, if I saw him walking down the street, I’d admire from a distance. I really would.

But if I saw him walking Borzois down the street… I make no promises.

I mean, I’ve always had a major attraction to sighthounds.

And, Dayum.


I want some.

If this can’t make me wax poetic, nothing can. Well worth a little ode…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

















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….





Warm Greetings To All


Although not as magnificent as Dad’s recent sunset photo, here’s my best sunset on Sarasota Bay.

I hope everyone had as special a holiday as I was blessed with. Hard to believe it’s been about 3 weeks since I last posted here! At first I was impeded by Christmas prep, then busy travelling in Florida, then home and celebrating Christmas with family, then busy with the year-end routines of sorting out old toys and outgrown clothes to be donated so as to make room for the Christmas booty and new clothes that were threatening to overflow our miniscule storage space! Not to mention I’ve also been busy on the quilting front, completing one and already on to the next… AND I’ve been on a dolphin/whale documentary binge. Nevermind. At any rate, I have just been swamped with other stuff. Given the lack of much Armitage-related inspiRAtional material, I hope readers will settle for the highlights of the last few weeks as a sort of reunion. Although… I DID read a Hannibal DVD transcript (thanks, Richard Armitage Central!) and a spoof piece DID suggest itself… we’ll see! LOL

Florida Vacation!


My travel companion. With Ducky.

It was a ton of fun! The travel day wasn’t bad, though we did narrowly avoid a complete calamity when we irresponsibly allowed Little Sister to take charge of Ducky during our layover in Atlanta. As we were boarding the flight for Orlando, making our way down the airplane aisle, she suddenly panicked, and with good reason. You know that one stuffed animal (or blanket, or whatever it may happen to be) that is a small child’s most beloved possession? The one that gets tattered and filthy and hauled around everywhere and must be in the bed at night to achieve a restful and comforting sleep? Well, that’s Ducky. And she accidentally left him at the gate. With all the airport security, I knew they wouldn’t let us get off the plane to search for him, so I figured we were toast… but an astute stewardess immediately noticed the little girl with the tragic face and the tears rolling down her cheeks, and asked if she could help. Figuring it was worth a shot, we told her there was a profoundly important yellow stuffed duck somewhere in the airport (we weren’t sure where!) and she said she’d have them check the gate area. A phone call and a few minutes later, along came our savior with the treasured, ratty old thing! Saved our bacon, as the loss of Ducky would have put a severe damper on Little Sister’s entire vacation!



Dad and the kiddos, enjoying the underwater portion of the penguin exhibit.


Penguins! They’re pretty darn cute.

The first full day, Dad drove to Orlando and the five of us went to SeaWorld, where we enjoyed all the sights and had the opportunity to pet and interact with one of the dolphins, which is something I’ve always really wanted to do. The kids loved it, and we enjoyed ourselves, but if I’m honest, I have to say that the idea of dolphins and especially whales held in captivity for the entertainment and amusement of humans, does bother me. And that was BEFORE I got on my whale/dolphin documentary kick. Nevermind.





Their faces pretty much say it all! And they’re just the perfect age to believe in the magic of it! =)

On days 2 and 3, we hit Magic Kingdom. I was impressed with how incredibly clean the park was, and how amazingly high-tech it all is! They even have this “My Disney Experience” app that can tell you your location in the park, help you navigate, and has up-to-the-minute information on the wait times for every attraction, and even lets you change your fast-passes (each visitor gets three per person per day) on-the-go. So if you have fast passes for Pirates of the Caribbean, but see that there’s only a 15 minute wait time, you can switch your fast pass right there on your cell phone to something that has a longer wait time. I just thought that was the bee’s knees! LOL



Big Thunder Mountain! Wheeeeeeee!

My Young Love was my major partner for both days at Magic Kingdom… he and I both LOVE the roller coasters, while Little Sister and Hubby are both chickens aren’t big on anything too fast or scary. So the two of us hit Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain a ridiculous number of times together, while Hubby and Little Sister stuck to the Flying Dumbos and other boring gentler rides.



The whirling teacup ride was my favorite one with Little Sister. Hubby can’t tolerate the spinning, so that was our special ride together!

That is, until Little Sister got really hot at the end of the day, and decided that Splash Mountain really sounded refreshing. She decided to brave it, and since Hubby’s main issue is with whirling and going fast in circles rather than going fast downhill, we all went as a family. Splash Mountain is one of those log rides, and it’s pretty tame all the way up through the “mountain” with a lot of fun animated characters to look at, which she totally loved, and then the big drop at the end, which she tolerated really well, and felt refreshed after the nice splash! However, once she had Splash Mountain under her belt, she now announced that she was ready for Big Thunder Mountain, which is a pretty zippy and wild roller-coaster, and unfortunately she was just tall enough to do so. Hubby and I had our doubts, and required her to watch the roller-coaster go by a few times, reminding her that it was really fast and pretty scary, but she decided to listen to her brother instead, who assured her it was AWESOME! Well, as one might well predict, it ended badly. Although Young Love and I fully enjoyed ourselves for the umpteenth time on Big Thunder Mountain, Hubby developed nausea and Little Sister was bawling by the end of it. She not only wanted to leave the ride…. not only wanted to leave Magic Kingdom… she insisted she was ready to return to Oklahoma! Oops! Kind of a Parental Fail! Lol. Plus, even though she had loved the Splash Mountain before her horrendous ride on the roller-coaster, once we talked her into staying in Florida with us, she never would go back to Splash Mountain, either!


The one… the only… ELSA!

For all the fun we had riding the many thrilling rides, at the end of the day, Little Sister reported that the best thing for her, in the entire theme park, was a jungle gym she played on while waiting in line for The Flying Dumbos. And that was not even the most surprising revelation. When I questioned my Young Love about his favorite thing in the entire theme park (certain he would shout “SPACE MOUNTAIN!!!”), he hesitated not at all before declaring it was the opportunity to meet Queen Elsa, of Frozen fame. And here we thought we’d joined that excessively long queue for Little Sister’s benefit! =)



It happened in two minutes!

The kids were so worn out by the end of the second day that they both zonked out in the car by the time we’d navigated out of the giant parking area at Disney! We had to carry them inside when we got to Dad’s condo in Sarasota, and this is what they woke up to the following morning!




Peace and quiet. Glorious!



We had a lovely time at the theme parks, but man, it was so nice to take it easy for a few days, enjoy glasses of wine, great food, and the beautiful scenery on Sarasota Bay. Best of all was the chance to spend time with Dad and my grandfather, Papa, who also lives nearby.




Enjoying our traditional holiday drink, milk punch, which is basically a frothy, icy concoction of milk, rum and creme de cacao… I celebrated my birthday with my beloved Papa!

Papa is 92 years old and still absolutely as sharp as ever. He has a hard time walking, but still lives on his own and manages to ride his bike 10 miles per day. How in the world Papa gets on the bike, I don’t know… but apparently once he’s on, it’s off to the races! And he knows more about wines than anyone I’ve ever met. =)


The next few days we went to Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island in the afternoons, which was a huge hit with the kids. It was blue skies, waves, white sand, and most importantly… baby clams. Actually I have no idea how old the clams were, but they were pretty tiny, and after every pass of the surf, we’d see them bury themselves in the sand, only to be disrupted by the next wave. The kids loved those clams, and made it their mission to “rescue” them in droves, returning them to deeper waters, endlessly and repeatedly for three days straight! They desperately wanted to bring a contingent of baby clams home to Oklahoma, but that might have been a bit stinky… LOL!

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Although it was a grave disappointment to both of them that I wouldn’t allow them to transport clams across state lines, we still managed to have a blast at the beach! We saw several dolphins while we were there, and in one of my photos… maybe… a shark! (Though it might have been another dolphin… I didn’t see it at the time… just taking a photo of the kids, and saw the fin in the photo that evening!)

Home For Christmas


There on the front end just under the “jaws” you can see the motor, which slides along a track that runs down the belly of the shark. Depending on the motor’s location, it will  tip the nose up or down, and the tail can be made to move in either direction with the remote control to propel the shark through the air… it’s pretty neat! So it “swims” up, down, can turn in either direction, or just drift on the warm air currents through the house!

We travelled home just in time for Christmas Eve, and had a pretty cool surprise planned for the kids from Santa. A couple of months ago, the kids had a school fundraiser in which they were asked to sell chocolate bars. The Grand Prize for any kid who sold some incredibly ridiculous number of bars (like, thousands) was this enormous, remote-controlled helium balloon shark. Our kids (and hundreds of others) went gaga over the prize, and they swore they’d sell the most bars, but because we (and they) are slackers they didn’t win the prize. Heartbreak, I tell you!


The dang thing took over an hour to assemble! We were up until 1 am!

However, Hubby discovered the helium shark on Amazon for about $30, and ordered it for Christmas. I procured a tank of helium at the party store, and after the kids went to bed on Christmas Eve, we assembled and inflated the idiotic thing! We thought it would be a quick matter of attaching it to the helium tank and filling it up… but actually we had to assemble the motor and track and tail apparatus, then carefully add ballast to a little compartment… not what we’d really wanted to do after a long day of travel! Anyway, we were a bit slap-happy after we finally had the shark working, so we took a nice goofy selfie!


Showing off their Christmas Dinner attire… and their favorite present!

Needless to say, it was a huge hit with the kids the following morning. We set the alarm early so we wouldn’t miss the kids’ initial reactions when they discovered what Santa had brought them, and enjoyed some early morning quiet time with the shark. When the heater would kick on, creating warm air currents throughout the living room, the shark would go on the move. I’d wanted him to be hovering near the stockings, but he had his own ideas. When the kids finally emerged, they went bananas! It was definitely one of Santa’s better ideas! The shark hovered over the early morning Christmas festivities and occasionally nosed us, but nobody was bitten! =)

And… that’s probably long-winded enough! LOL

Here’s to the New Year! Looking forward to getting back “in touch” with the fandom! I have hopes that 2016 will be full of Armitage goodness for all of us! =)






Happy Halloween! (Crazy Morning)


We have an Elsa-themed Princess and Minecraft Steve today, folks!

For all practical purposes, today is Halloween! At least, I’m hoping it is. Technically, they don’t know that tomorrow is the actual day, so I’m hoping that between wearing their costumes to school, having Halloween parties at school, and doing the Downtown Trick-Or-Treating Ordeal later this evening, they’ll be satisfied that they’ve had their Halloween and we won’t have to do additional Halloweening on the real day tomorrow.

Yes, so we all got up about 30 minutes early this am so we’d have time to costume the kids. It was a good thing we did that, as Princess Elsa really had her heart set on a traditional Elsa side-braid, but we discovered (since Mommy was too lazy  unable to do a pre-Halloween “dress rehearsal”) that her Princess Comb/Crown/Hair Thingy was not going to stay on her head unless we stuck it into the base of a bun somehow. She has very fine and silky hair that doesn’t hold style or ornaments for long under any circumstances, but with a boatload of hairspray and many stern admonitions not to roll around on the floor, try to take it off, or do overly much snuggling or face nuzzling… maybe it will stay. At any rate, she looks pretty darn cute even without the side-braid, and got to wear lipstick as a consolation prize. While I was floundering for a way to get the Comb/Crown/Hair Thingy to stay on her head, Hubby had to do some emergency shoe work to get her princess slippers to stay on her feet. I didn’t even ask what he did, but he returned to the bathroom with modified princess slipper-shoes and she was able to walk on them with only one slip-and-fall-on-her-face incident before 7:30am.  

Thankfully, Minecraft Steve was a bit easier. Since he’s not allowed to wear any sort of mask, or carry any sort of weapon to school, I did have to do something so he didn’t just look like a kid in blue jeans and turquoise shirt. I mean, without the cardboard box head and the Styrofoam fire sword, the Minecraft Steve idea sort of falls flat. So we improvised by drawing a totally crappy square beard, and an even more crappy square outline around his nose and eyes using cheap Halloween face-crayons. I thought it was embarrassingly terrible work, but after all the earlier drama with the Hair Thingy and The Slippers  Mommy didn’t have much time. Luckily, he seemed pleased with it, and now looks like a kid with some sort of slipshod costume, if not Minecraft Steve. I told him he could wear the box head and wield the fire sword  after school, and he was satisfied.

Besides, he had other items on his agenda. Having forgotten to bring home his Thursday folder yesterday, which contains announcements for parents every Thursday, we were in the dark and had to take his literally LAST-MINUTE word for it, that in addition to Halloween madness, it was also ok to bring your pet for show-and-tell. We were a bit dubious about this, and really, as if parents didn’t have enough on their plates with Halloween costuming! So he had to convince Daddy to hunt for the cat carrier, then hunt for the cat, who Elsa had inadvertently let slip outside when she opened the front door to check the weather. BTW, it’s pouring rain, so that meant Daddy had to hunt for the cat through the mud and the pouring rain!

Thankfully, Hubby, Elsa, Minecraft Steve and a somewhat sodden and muddy Zax did make it out the door barely on time… and Mommy needs a glass of wine.

Zax and Minecraft Steve

Be thankful you don’t have to see my lousy face-crayon work up close!

P.S. This just in… a text from Hubby revealed that Zax was, indeed, invited to attend show-and-tell, and a black cat on Halloween was lauded by all the children as just the ticket! Happily, he was content to be held by Minecraft Steve and Daddy did NOT have to hunt for an escaped Halloween cat through the spooky halls of the elementary school. =)

Additionally, there were at least 700 other Elsa’s, but NOBODY recognized Minecraft Steve!

At any rate…. Happy Halloween!


Happy-Eyed Richard Armitage Will Get Me Every Time

RA Happy Eyes

A candid moment with Richard Armitage. Irresistible.

This candid photo is making the rounds. I know this version has been cropped and in the original he has his arm around an exceptionally lucky lady, but I saw it first as the cropped version, and couldn’t help but speculate about what caused such a look of genuine happiness and warmth on Richard Armitage’s features.

He’s fully engaged, and there is just a light in his eyes that I find overwhelmingly charming and charismatic. I also like his slightly flushed cheeks. And the smile-lines around his eyes.

He looks entirely cuddle-worthy, yet at the same time he’s just sort of effortlessly sexy, and I get the feeling that no matter what words might come out his mouth next, I’d likely agree whole-heartedly…


How about a hug? Oh, gladly!

Is there a decent bottle of red on hand? What kind of question is that?

Hand over the chocolate now. All of it. Anything for you, Richard!

Would you mind darning my socks later this evening?  Let me just… go and google that!

Did you know I forgot to make those phone calls?  You know I don’t call people, but… maybe this once.

May I have your entire lefse stash? Um. Oh, geez. I can’t… I don’t… well, all right.

You’ll notice I kept that list pretty G-rated. Not that other requests didn’t pop into my mind, but I’ll just keep those to myself.


H Happy Eyes

Hubby and child. Also irresistible to me.

Yes, that look just slays me. It also reminds me a lot of my Hubby, who has a similar way of looking at me when he either wants something, or is just fully content, affectionate and into the moment. Don’t know why, but when I first saw the photo above, it reminded me of a photo taken about 7 years ago, when my Young Love was an infant.

Kind of interesting when you think that both men have arms around someone they obviously care for in these photos.

I think again, it’s the light in the eyes, with those little crinkles showing and a smiling face exuding warmth.

This type of look will get me. Every time.




My Adventures At The Theatre: EE Desolation Of Smaug


Richard Armitage. Thorin Oakenshield, dazed and confused. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

I finally saw the extended edition of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug last night at the local theatre. This was after a major FAIL on my part Tuesday evening. You see, I’d somehow gotten the dates mixed up, though how this happened I’m still not really sure. For some reason, I believed these showings, in a limited number of theatres in the U.S., might be pretty popular, and so I bought my tickets in advance. Boy, was I wrong about that… very low turn-out, with only a handful in attendance at both AUJ and DOS in our local theatre. Anyway, I’d been online a couple of weeks ago and clicked on each of the movies and purchased the tickets. Somehow, I either clicked on the wrong thing, though that seems unlikely because I was on the DOS page when I clicked “Purchase Tickets”, or the website had a glitch, but in either case I wound up with an e-ticket to something called “RiffTrax Live: Miami Connection”… though I didn’t *actually look closely enough* at the ticket to notice that words like “Hobbit” or “Desolation” or “Smaug” weren’t there. Nor did I notice the words “Miami” or “Connection” that were there. No… I just saw the date and time on my e-ticket, and walked right on into the theatre Tuesday night with every confidence that I was in for 3+ hours of Richarding. (I did wonder why they didn’t have Hobbit trivia in the lead-up, but figured they were just changing things up a bit!) I was impressed that the turn-out was better… maybe 15 people compared to the 5 people, myself included, present for AUJ the previous night. Only when 7:30pm came around and the Rock Concert started did I realize I was NOT at Desolation of Smaug, so I checked my ticket to confirm I’d not gone to the wrong auditorium, and that’s when I saw that the ticket did indeed say “Miami Connection”… I believe I blurted “Well, Fuckaduck” (my go-to swearing phrase, always)… and walked out.

No biggie! Just had to go through the slightly humiliating routine of exchanging the ticket at the counter. (“No, I don’t know what concert that is, but I meant to be watching The Hobbit. Is it on tonight? No? Ah… no, I don’t want to refund the credit card. Can I just exchange for a ticket for Desolation of Smaug, whenever that is? Tomorrow night? OK! And… ah… can you confirm when the Battle of Five Armies is to be shown, while we’re at it? Oh, thank you. Ah… yes, I am. I am. Big Hobbit fan!”) Thinking to myself… Dammit, Richard! Then I had to do my mea culpa routine with Hubby, explaining that the 3 nights of “solo” daddy duties he’d graciously agreed to had just turned into 4. Hubby, as usual, was pretty laid back about the whole thing. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve turned up somewhere on the wrong date. In fact, after commenting that for the first time in years, I hadn’t botched his birthday last week (I always, always, ALWAYS think it’s the following day), he merely said “No worries… but sorry your Richarding was so sadly thwarted.”

Yes, well… so after my abortive attempt on Tuesday night, I made it to the theatre again last night, and was profoundly relieved when the Hobbit trivia began to roll. DOS was my least favorite of the 3 movies, but I did enjoy it. I think one of the funniest lines and deliveries of the entire trilogy is during the Bilbo-Smaug confrontation, though it wasn’t new to me:

Bilbo: L-Luck-Wearer… R-Riddle-Maker…

Smaug:  Lovely titles… Go on.

Bilbo: Barrel-Rider!

Smaug: Barrels! Now that is interesting!


As far as new material, I guess the most interesting and exciting part for me was the inclusion of Thrain in Dol Guldur. I’d always felt that something was missing, that they’d presented this mystery of what happened to Thorin’s father, then just left it dangling, and that had always bothered me. So it was nice to have that closure. I also enjoyed seeing the extended version of Thorin in “Druggie Mode” in Mirkwood Forest- very comical. Made me wonder what experiences in his own life Richard Armitage may have drawn from to portray the dazed and confused… and okay, I just liked his slumberous eyes. A Lot. =)

But my adventures weren’t over… I’m sad to say that during the first half of the movie, all of 2 people were in the theatre. Me, and one younger guy. I was quite happy with this situation. We rubbed along quite well together, he several rows forward and politely watching while making no disturbances. Me, seated in the back row so I could drink my smuggled-in drink without any raised eyebrows. Then, about halfway through the movie, a third person entered the theatre with a package of candy-covered popcorn and a few other snacks as well. The late-comer sat down in my row, and not even on the aisle, but just a couple seats down from me, and he was rather disruptive with all his rustling and chewing. I mean… come on! An entire theatre of empty seats, and he had to plunk down right next to me with all his candy!?

At the end of the movie, he leaned over and said “That was good! Are they showing the next one?” To which I politely responded, “Yes, next week sometime,” thinking to myself that I was really the last person anyone ought to ask, after Tuesday night’s debacle. He was a slightly disheveled older gentleman, I noticed. “Oh, great! Hey… have you ever tried this candy popcorn? It tastes just like Reese’s Pieces!” When I stood to gather my stuff and told him I’d not tried that, he offered the bag, but I was fairly certain that even if I wasn’t on a diet, I wasn’t going to share an open bag of sticky popcorn when a stranger’s hands had been noisily grubbing around in it for the past hour. I thanked him and politely declined, and the younger guy walked past and winked at me. I smiled. Then the kicker… “Hey! If I give you my phone number, will you call and remind me next week when that next movie is showing?”

I sort of gaped at him for a moment, and I distinctly heard the younger guy muffle a laugh behind me.

“Um… I…. No, no I don’t think so.” (Even if I wanted to, I could never be counted upon!)

“I’m just terrible at remembering things!” (My soul-mate, clearly!)

“Could you… ah… write yourself a note?” (I was grasping at straws!)

“I’d rather have a call!” (He looks at me quite hopefully!)

“I’m sorry. I don’t… generally…. call people. And I’m married!” (He looks crestfallen.)

“OH! Oh, yeah, that might seem odd to your husband.” (You think?)

“Right. Well… ah… have a nice evening!” (I’m on the move now, wondering if I should have thought to bring pepper spray.)

“I think I’ll ask the lady at the concession stand to call me!” (Right… great idea!)

“Okay… well… good luck!” (I bee-lined for the ladies restroom!)

Like I said… Dammit, Richard!


How Did I NOT Fall For Richard Armitage In December 2012?


Richard Armitage. Thorin Oakenshield. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

I went to see the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at the movie theatre last night. As I’ve previously mentioned, Hubby and I have long been fans of Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth films, and haven’t missed an opening night on any one of them. However, with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, we waited until all three films were out then bought all three at once with a boxed set of extended editions, and have been waiting for several years now to do likewise with The Hobbit trilogy. All this to say, I haven’t ever seen the AUJ extended version, and though I’ve watched bits and pieces on television when it aired, I haven’t actually watched it all the way through since December of 2012.

What struck me last night, with my newfound “preoccupation” with Richard Armitage, was how in hell I didn’t “discover” Richard back then? I do recall thinking the actor who played Thorin Oakenshield did a damn fine job, and was unusually hot for a dwarf (along with Kili and Fili) to boot… after all, my experience with dwarves to that point rested mainly with the not-so-stirring Gimli from the earlier trilogy. No offense, Gimli! I liked you well enough to consider getting a pug and naming it “Gimli”…  But really, there was the end of it. We loved the movie and were well-satisfied to return to Middle Earth. I vaguely remember asking Hubby if he knew the actor who played Thorin, and when he didn’t, I IMDB’d the guy, notified Hubby that he didn’t look anything like Thorin in real life, and was some British actor I’d never heard of. I even scrolled through his credits to confirm I’d never seen any of his previous works, and I believe I concluded that he was an “unknown”… LOL! Sorry, Richard! Little did I know that you already had a fervent following!

While we were avid enough fans of Peter Jackson to brave opening night, long lines and all that jazz at the cinemas, and we were aware that the Hobbit movies were being filmed, we weren’t nearly so avid as to be actually following who was cast, so we were blithely unaware that there had been controversy and disputes within the Middle Earth fandom surrounding the casting of a young, handsome “unknown” actor for the role that many believed should have gone to someone older, someone “fantasy cast” for years by Tolkien lovers. I can only hope that the naysayers were for the most part proven wrong (you can’t please everyone, so 100% conversion is not to be expected!) All I know is that I was, at the time, NOT familiar with Armitage, and I was very much impressed with everyone’s performance. I don’t believe I bothered to IMDB any of the other cast, though, so that tells you something- Thorin stood out for me even back then.

However, from my new perspective, it’s hard to believe that I didn’t overcome my apparently inherent prejudice against short hairy dwarves and fall irretrievably in love with Armitage back when. After seeing the film again last night, I appreciated him even more. Thorin’s voice! That noble visage! What was wrong with my eyes and my ears in 2012? I could just smack myself when I look back on it.

I’ll never understand it. Looking forward to Desolation of Smaug tonight, though! Extended Edition Richarding… it’s a beautiful thing. =)

In Which The Young Love Debunks Bad Parental Household Myths

Every morning our routine is as follows: Hubby rousts the kids and oversees them getting dressed, then sends them into the bathroom where I’m usually finishing up my hair and makeup. I then de-tangle and style Little Sister’s hair while both kids suck on toothpaste.

That’s right. They will gladly and exuberantly apply tasty kid-flavored bubblegum toothpaste to their toothbrushes, then half-heartedly brush teeth for about 10 seconds, then zone out and sort of suck on their toothbrushes while I remind, cajole, tease and/or sharply bark orders to “BRUSH Teeth”… which they will do for a few more seconds then return to enjoying the bubblegum flavor.

At some point last week, I called their Daddy in and told him to get out his phone and add “yucky flavored kid toothpaste” to our shared groceries app. Hubby dutifully pulled out his phone and started pecking on it, murmuring “hmmm… how about spinach flavor?” Over the simultaneous shocked gasps, I agreed that spinach-flavored toothpaste would surely be something they’d have to brush, and brush fast, and never suck on for long. Poor Little Sister’s eyes welled up with tears as she quickly resumed brushing, and such a look of horrified, tragic woe was on her little face that Hubby and I immediately felt almost bad about the urge we experienced to die laughing. My Young Love, on the other hand, reddened, wrinkled his nose and glared daggers at us as he, too, began to brush furiously. When his 2 minutes of dentist-recommended tooth brushing time was over, he spat into the sink with all the disgust he could muster, and I’m quite sure he entertained visions of spitting at our feet if he could have gotten away with it.

However, the threat of spinach toothpaste WAS quite effective for several days, then the brushing became lackadaisical again this morning. I decided to remind my little slackers children that spinach toothpaste was on the horizon for kids who suck on toothpaste without brushing, and that’s when my Young Love set me straight.

“Don’t believe her, Sissy. There’s NO SUCH THING as spinach toothpaste!”

“What do you mean there’s no such thing? How would you know?” I responded, suppressing a grin.

“It’s obvious. I typed in ‘spinach toothpaste’ and did you know what I found, Sissy? Nothing. There’s no spinach toothpaste on the computer, so there won’t be any spinach toothpaste, anywhere! Ever! Mommy is full of it!”

“You… could spell spinach?”

“Well, I can now!”

Busted. I guess it’s back to the drawing board.


Celebrating Chanterelles and My One-Year Cruciversary

10989369_637463036385652_1969506007672215329_nA year ago on this date, I was privileged to attend the first of three performances of The Crucible at the Old Vic. What a night it was! Seated on the front row, in front of the celebrated wash basin, no less! Though seriously jet-lagged and moderately mortified by Mom’s continuous propensity to nod off, it was an experience I’ll never forget. Richard was magnificent, his physicality, performance and… okay, let’s just say it… his physique! Definitely worth celebrating today.


Chanterelle2And, I have a notion of just how to celebrate this evening. We returned from Colorado with some delicious mountain spoils… a hefty 2+ lb bag of chanterelles, and one lonely bolete. The wedding, you see, was on a mountaintop. And while we were there, my aunt (not the one getting married!) and I spied a little patch of orange. We had the wherewithal to refrain from disrupting the ceremony with such an announcement, but made plans to return to an area of slightly higher elevation the following day.

Chanterelle1We hit the motherload! And my Young Love was especially chuffed to be allowed the use of a paring knife to help collect the wild mushrooms. Though, he was definitely more interested in battling a bear with the knife, should such an unfortunate beast appear on our hike. Thankfully for the bear, none arrived to meet its death at the hands of the warrior.

Chanterelle3My aunt having had such a chanterelle season as to be tired of these delicacies, she gave us her portion, which I carried home earlier this week. Today’s the day we’re going to treat ourselves to a gourmet dinner, and Hubby has been dutifully washing wild mushrooms this morning, and texted me this pic, with the comment, “I should send you two to Colorado more often!”

 Looks like we’ll be eating well this evening!


Proud Parental Moments. Or Something Like That.

first day of schoolWell, it’s Back To School today. The Young Love is starting first grade, and Little Sister is starting pre-K. I snapped a pic to commemorate this occasion, and just now noticed the Young Love apparently dribbled something on his shirt before departure. Sigh. Well, chances are he’s not the only little boy to appear on the first day of school with some form of wardrobe malfunction.

I thought I’d share a “proud parental moment” that occurred a couple of nights ago, on “Back To School Night”, when we took the kids to investigate their new classrooms, drop off school supplies, and meet their new teachers. Little Sister acquitted herself nicely, immediately going in for a big hug and telling her teacher how much she loved her, upon but a moment’s acquaintance!

The Young Love, on the other hand, possibly made quite a different impression on his new teacher. Mrs. V is young, pretty, and embarking on her first year as an educator.

She knelt down and engaged The Young Love in a conversation right away, enquiring, “And what is your very favorite subject in school?”

Young Love: “Um, Science!”

Mrs. V: “Oh, good! We are going to be doing some fun science this year!”

Young Love: “Did you know what?”

Mrs. V: “What?!”

Young Love: “When I grow up, I’m going to experiment with ACID!”


I was immediately red-faced, and Mrs. V’s eyebrows flew up. However, Hubby, the innocent Chemical Engineering Professor, didn’t catch any psychedelic drug reference. No, Hubby was proudly thinking in terms of stoichiometric equations and pondering the prospect of introducing his son to the delightful reaction to be found in mixing vinegar and baking soda!


This is not the first time my Young Love has stupefied everyone with such a comment. When he was three, our family was attending a luncheon celebration at my workplace, and he was proud to tell everyone about the wonderful new sport to be had at the grandparents’ house: a delightful new game for the backyard!

Except, his loud announcement was this: “Did you know what? My Grandma Dee has CROCAINE at her house!”


Me: “Croquet! Grandma Dee has a CROQUET set at her house!”

Kids do say the darndest things! I’ll be sure to let you know if there are any further proud parental moments to be had this weekend, as we’re having a mother/son vacation to Colorado to attend my aunt’s wedding. She happens to be getting married to another woman, so I fear all kinds of interesting proclamations might be anticipated. LOL

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!