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!









Serial Killer To Serial Filler: Armitage Reassures Fandom

A huge change is in store for fans of Hannibal guest star Richard Armitage, sources say. The actor’s recent electrifying six episode run as serial killer Francis Dolarhyde was critically acclaimed, but many fandom insiders acknowledge the controversiality of the role within the ranks. In a recent poll investigating the fandom’s reaction to Hannibal30% of devoted Armitage respondents claimed they either did not watch at all, or emphatically disliked the show, while another 36% claimed they only watched for Armitage, but would not revisit the show should it ever return for a 4th season.

“I suspect these numbers have been troubling to Armitage,” said one fandom spouse in response to his wife’s confession of unprecedented ambivalence for his latest rumored project, an audiobook rendition of the classic Victorian novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. “My guess is Richard’s looking to offer up more wholesome fare for those who were put off by Francis Dolarhyde. To show that not all biters wind up murdering entire families.”  Her husband’s comparison came as a surprise to the Armitage blogger, who evidently forgot key details of the novel since she was compelled to read it in 9th or 10th grade.

“I hear there’s going to be at least one bite. That’s more action than I remembered, to be honest,” said the blogger with an unmistakable sigh. When asked what she did remember about the novel that Armitage is rumored to be recording for Audible, a long silence ensued. “Um…. I…. ah…. well, mostly fatigue.” According to a review of Armitage blog commentary, she is not alone in experiencing a state of torpor when confronted with Dickens’ classic prose. Another blogger wrote, “I like to listen to [Armitage’s] audiobooks (and others, too) as I fall asleep. I think Dickens may do the job faster than most.” A third commentator, while praising other works by Dickens, confessed, “But there were scenes and chapters that really drag. Geez, he can really blabber on.”

Other members of the fandom attempted to rally spirits by asserting that no matter the reading material, simply listening to Richard Armitage’s deep, alluring voice was certain to appeal. One comedic fandom member expressed this sentiment vividly in a Twitter response to Audible’s #AskArmitage thread: “For voice work, do you aim for a simmering pot of chocolate fondue, or black velvet?” Indeed, some ladies asserted that they’d happily listen to Armitage recite the phone book, while others chimed in that they’d privately wished to hear Richard’s lovely delivery of cookbook recipes, prescription medication side effects, computer software user manuals, and even on-the-job material safety data sheets. “That voice of his is soooo delectable. Who cares what he chooses? I’d quite joyfully listen to Richard Armitage recite the decimals of pi until infinity!”

Still other members of the fandom defended the choice of Charles Dickens, pointing out that the profusion of characters and subplots afforded by the author’s verbose prose will provide ample opportunity for Armitage to display his narrative prowess. “His [Dickens’] books are populated with characters that have to be SEEN. I believe that makes him an interesting choice since Richard’s such a visual and kinetic performer even when using just his voice as an instrument.” This declaration suggests that Armitage’s narration could have profoundly beneficial ramifications in educational arenas.

When asked to recall the disagreeable memories surrounding her adolescent era “required reading” of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, our contact bristled and appeared to be on the brink of becoming combative. Her husband quickly intervened, saying mildly only that “I think my wife’s main recollection of that book was the sound of it hitting the wall when she threw it.” However, the blogger conceded that had she the opportunity to have listened to an Armitage narration of the same infuriatingly dull text as a youth, the outcome might have been different. “Maybe there’s hope for today’s beleaguered freshmen. The idea of Thorin F-ing Oakenshield presenting even a story as painfully long-winded as Great Expectations should diminish the feelings of hopelessness and despondency that I experienced after the first several hundred pages. Right?”

One thing is certain: if the rumors of a Charles Dickens novel are accurate regarding the beloved actor’s impending audiobook narration, the Richard Armitage fandom is certain to have a much-needed change from thriller, to filler. For some, it may be a move from one genre of horror to another, but for most, the portrayal of David Copperfield is sure to make fandom members everywhere sleep easier, come the night.

Thorin F-ing Oakenshield, Or: Hubby Scowls, The Family Howls


Thorin F-ing Oakenshield. Read on… it’ll make sense in a minute! =)


OK, so this might just be my last blog post. Ever. If Hubby finds out. Happily, he still doesn’t seem to show a lot of interest in my PreoccupationWithArmitage, so there’s some chance I’ll survive.


The kiddos at the climbing gym. Young Love has reached the ceiling, and Little Sister is halfway there.

Yesterday was a Great Day for me. Because he’s in academia, Hubby always has these nice breaks between semesters, along with any holidays that the students have… and that’s cool because he gets to spend some extra time with the offspring, which last week included escorting them to the local climbing gym for their weekly Climbing Club. This was the first time he’d gotten to experience watching the little monkeys climb, and not only was he proudly in awe of their skills, but he mentioned to me that he really wanted to have a go at climbing himself. 


I would have rescheduled a lot more than one appointment if need be!

Now, I’ve already mentioned that I have a thing for rock climbers. Boy, do I have a healthy interest for watching those muscles stretch and bulge, watching all that concentration on their faces as they zen out on the rock face, or the climbing wall, as the case may be. So when Hubby said that, my ovaries gave a delighted little shudder, and I clicked straightaway onto my appointment calendar, and made a notation to reschedule the one appointment booked during this week’s climbing session, and notified the staff that I’d be leaving an hour early to *cough* take the kids to climbing.

I wasn’t about to miss this! For one thing, it might just be a one and done deal. If Hubby didn’t enjoy himself, and decided not to pursue it further, and I’d missed my one chance to virtuously ogle a male climber then take him home and… yeah, not happening. So yesterday, having successfully rescheduled that one appointment, I finished work early and off I hustled to the climbing gym.

HubbyClimbsIt didn’t disappoint. Hubby acquitted himself very nicely, never failing to send each route he tried, and looking so very attractive as he did so. Naturally, I snapped a ton of pictures of him, paid him suggestive compliments, and at the end I even took a couple of videos capturing his final climb to the ceiling on auto-belay, complete with occasional commentary from me, such as “Mmmm hmmm” and “Hubba Hubba”,  and then a couple of videos of Hubby’s light-hearted attempts on the slack-line (where he didn’t acquit himself nearly as well!) All in all, it was a wonderful outing. He plans to keep climbing, which pleases me in all kinds of ways, and afterward, we all went out for dinner and relived all their greatest moments.  Everyone wanted to look at the pictures of themselves, but I held off, promising that I’d show them at home, when I could sync them to the TV and show them on the big screen!


Here is a screen cap from the vertical video.


Another vertical video screencap. See how much fun he was having? That’s about to change….

So we got home, and this is when the real fun started. We went through the still photos, and those were nice. I’d gotten photos of each of the climbers, but mostly Hubby. After all, the kids have been climbing for months and have archives of photos. Then, we got to the video I’d taken, and I honestly haven’t laughed so hard in ages. You see, my phone can take video either horizontally or vertically, and on the phone or on the computer, the vertical orientation plays back just like any other video. I’d taken the video vertically to be able to better capture the height of the ceiling that Hubby climbed to, of course, and I’m sure it was a lovely video.





Early horizontal video screen cap. Can you hear the snickers and the giggles?


Later horizontal video screen cap. Can you hear the howls?

What I discovered, though, was that somehow the screen-sync with the TV is incapable of playing a vertical video, and somewhere in that transmission, the vertically oriented screen is simply smooshed out and flattened to fit a horizontal template. You guessed it- something normally tall and lean suddenly becomes short and very, very wide! OMG! So first I tried to stop the video and tried re-orienting the phone and replaying it and did everything I could, all the while snickering as the kids were gasping “Daddy! Oh Daddy how did you get so FAT!?!” And then I gave up and just pushed play.

Dwarfshot4a Pretty soon my snickers were turning into chortles, and as the kids started shrieking with laughter, my chortles turned into howls. I glanced at Hubby, and he was watching the screen with his mouth gaping open in horror as his own wide, stubby, dwarf-ass ascended and descended the wall. The kids begged me to replay it, laughing uproariously at the fat midget version of their dad, and pretty soon tears were running down my face as I tried to tear my eyes away from the TV screen just so I could see Hubby’s furious scowls. And needling him that my dialogue “Hubba Hubba” was meant to be “Stubba Stubba… or better yet Chubba Chubba!” After the third time viewing, the kids and I were laughing and shrieking and all but screaming at the hilarity, and Hubby was just shaking his head and muttering about whether I’d be laughing if Thorin F-ing Oakenshield was climbing!


Vertical screen cap of the Hubby’s slack-lining escapades.


The Slack-Lining Dwarf!

Next we moved on to the videos of the slack-lining, which would have been funny even if the man on the slack-line was of normal dimensions, simply because he was wheeling his arms, wobbling and toppling off after 2-3 steps every time. But the fact that it was the 5-foot tall and 3 feet wide version of our head of household being so adorably clutzy yet so damned determined made it all the more howl-worthy, or scowl-worthy, depending on the viewer in question.

I couldn’t help myself. When Hubby took the still-giggling kids off to the bathtub, I played the video a couple more times on the phone with screen intentionally rotated horizontally, and gleefully screen capped the entirety….

So…. It was nice knowing you! At least I’ll die with a big sloppy grin on my face! =)