Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 in review: The State of the Stats in my little corner of the blogosphere

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 400,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 17 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Wow, that number of views isn’t bad for someone who has cut back significantly on her blogging (remember the days when I’d have five, six or seven posts or more in a day?). I have been noticing in some of my recent “current top posts” lists at the bottom of my page that some posts from “way back” are starting to pop up. This is pretty cool, actually, because, for me, that most likely means newer RA fans are exploring the blog and discovering and sharing some of these entries with other fans.

I am less thrilled that posts on a certain “erotic romance” trilogy not part of Mr. Armitage’s oeuvre keep popping up consistently in the top five. *sigh* And I understand with the film finally coming out this year, 50 SoG will be all over the radar . . . oh, well, if I have steered anyone in the right direction (i.e., away from the blasted books), then I consider it my ongoing PSA campaign.

I am sending out a big “Thank YOU” to all my regular readers and commenters, and congrats to GrooverGreen’s first-hand account from Popcorn Taxi event in Sydney for being the number one most-read RA-related post of the year!   Here’s hoping I can bring you posts that are interesting, funny, entertaining and on occasion, thought-provoking, in 2014. More on wishing Mr. A a great New Year in another post . . .

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Thorin and I remember; or, the case of the curious Christmas

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A screencap I snaffled from Fernanda Matias on FB. My edit. Thorin about to enter Erebor and be flooded with memories . . .

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So do I, Thorin. Remember, that is. I never lived in a splendid hall inside a mountain as a majestic prince of the realm, but I do remember life as it used to be. As I used to be, before so much loss–family members, pets, good health, a regular paycheck, a certain child-like whimsy that Benny really enjoyed. It sometimes eludes me now. Is it inevitable that we lose some of that as we become older and suffer those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune of which Shakespeare wrote?

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What were you like, Thorin, in those earlier, more carefree days, before the sickness came, and the dragon, and so much death and destruction and loss in your life, I wonder? Even with the responsibilities of a dwarf prince on your shoulders, did you smile that glorious smile more often, and laugh heartily? Did you dance and sing? Did you ever flirt with some pretty young dwarf and fall in love at least a little? I like to think you did. I want to think you had those memories, even as painful as they might have been at times, to hold tight to.

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I remember what a true holiday elf I once was, creating my own Christmas cards or, at the least, embellishing the envelopes with original drawings; making goodies and taking them to friends, often wearing my “elf shoes” (red suede Reeboks with glittery green laces and golden jingle bells) and Santa cap (assuming it wasn’t 80 degrees–ah, December in Alabama!)

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I remember taking my mom to holiday bazaars and Christmas parades in Greenville and Georgiana for as long as she was able to go, and driving around with my sweet mother-in-law to see the Christmas lights after dark. Sneaking into the old farmhouse to deposit treats in the stockings I bought for my folks that hung over the living room fireplace . . . good memories.

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It has been a most curious holiday season for us this year. No presents for one another. No Christmas tree or decorations, save for the Santa sleigh I had hanging on the front door. Scarlett Kitty is still too young and rambunctious to attempt a tree, assuming I had felt like putting up and decorating one. Most days I just didn’t.  I have looked at my friends’ posts on FB and felt more than a twinge of envy, even as I took pleasure in the beautiful faces of their kids and grandkids and nieces and nephews as they posed in their new Christmas PJs or showed off that new toy or game they’d been pining for. The whole family posing for photos . . .

The last family Christmas together before my father was felled by a major stroke.

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My brother-in-law had a stroke this year, not, thank heavens, a major one. Serious enough, however, to cause a lot of mental confusion at times and great worry over the state of his health, which led to one ER and doctor visit after another. He kept awakening in the wee hours complaining of various aches and pains, anxious and fretful.

For my sis, it brought back painful memories of what we endured with our parents.It’s taken a terrible toll on my sister, although she wouldn’t complain to you. My BIL recently had a number of tests done and they have ruled out a reoccurrence of his cancer and any bacterial infections. Tomorrow–or should I say, later today–they will find out the results of the other tests. I so wish I could be with my sister for moral support, to give her a big, long hug.  That’s her in the middle, with the sweet smile. An angel, that one.

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No family Christmas together for us this year, so no family group photos. But my sweet niece–the cute blonde in the middle of the top photo, which was their Christmas card photo–posted these pix on FB.

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BeFunky_thegirls.png I can’t believe how those girls of hers are growing up. I send them virtual hugs and hope for next Christmas.

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If our homes are where our hearts are, has your home always been back in Erebor, Thorin? Is my home in the past irretrievable, because there is no key that can open that door and return it to me? I hold on to my memories of being younger, stronger, thinner, prettier, an earner, a right old “Who” at Christmas who could afford to buy presents for her family members without selling her jewelry to do it, who still had all her family members alive and well, whose brain and body didn’t keep betraying her . . .

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I suppose I want the Christmases of old just as I want the Angie of old. But I also know I can’t go back, I can only try to go forward as the person I am now, for better or for worse.  Like you, Thorin, I have my quest before me.  I know not what 2014 will bring, but I wish to face it with loyalty to my husband, family and friends, honor and a willing heart. You taught me that.

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Saturday Smorgasbord: “Real” RA Photo Edits

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Been feeling the need to play with some of the newer images that have appeared of our dearest RA. We’ve been doing a lot of work on a flurry of end-of-the-year projects–Benny’s two final vacation days were largely used to work on video editing and designing and printing DVD covers–and I did some snaffling and cropping of screencaps  to post on FB as I vetted the footage and gave my seal of approval. My sleeping has been erratic and I collapsed yesterday & slept–and slept–and slept–call me Rip Van Winkle!  Rain, rain, rain is on the way today, according to the forecasters, cold rain–a great day to look at Mr. Armitage, don’t you agree? 😉

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Happy Christmas Eve Eve from RA, Mr. and Mrs. Fedoralady & Company!

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I know it’s already Christmas Eve for some of my readers, with Christmas Day right around the corner. I wanted to go ahead and share some of the new Christmas photo edits I’ve been working on along with a few old faves, too. Merry, Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for a happy, healthy, productive, creative, love-filled 2014! (And there may be more fun stuff on the way . . . stay tuned!) Just keep scrollin’ ’cause there’s lots of goodies here . . . ho, ho, ho!!

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Final pic courtesy of Sarah Dunn Photography ~ my edit

Interviews with Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Luke Evans in CINEMA magazine

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So now we know how he got away with the skiing . . . 😉 from CINEMA magazine, translated by ArchedCory1

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Interviews from January issue of German magazine CINEMA.
[Translated from German by ArchedCory]

Interview with Martin Freeman:

Second parts of film series are often dark, such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom or The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers. What about this one?

This film is a bit darker than part 1. For example the giant spiders and Smaug are quite scary. However at the same time the dragon is funny as well. Just like the flight of the dwarves in the river. The film just has a lot of great and exciting moments. And Bilbo himself gets more depth than in the first part. Just as his relationship to Gandalf, who is something like his mentor, his ultimate person of trust.

For The Hobbit you lived over eighteen months in New Zealand…

…right. Being so far away from home was quite hard…

View original post 1,522 more words

Check out pages from our calendar! Make a date to help homeless pets.

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Me-owy Christmas and a Dog-Gone Happy New Year to you all!  Several of you out there in the RA fandom supported our Butler County Humane Society and its 2014 Pet Calendar with your generous donations and your pet photo entries. I only recently purchased my own copy and tonight I downloaded some photos I took of some of the pages, which I want to share with you. Sorry I didn’t manage to do this sooner!

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Nadia, your copy will be heading towards Belgium next week. If you look closely, you will see pet photos submitted by Perry, Alyssa, Sebastian and Heike along with yours truly featured on pages from the calendar. In fact, almost everyone has more than one photo of their precious canines or felines found within.

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Here’s some info on our wonderful Second Chance Rescue run by my cousin by marriage, Kandys. Kandys and her helpers, foster parents and rescue volunteers do a phenomenal job helping make a difference in the lives of animals in our rural county.
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Now, I am not shy about asking for help for our organization. We do a lot of good, but it takes funds, more than we are currently taking in, to do it. Donations of all sizes are most welcome. And if you’d like to order a calendar of your own or would like to send one (or two or three!) to a friend or family member as a gift for the New Year, they are just $10 each. Postage is as follows:

Domestic postage for calendars
1~ $2.12
2~ $3.12
3~ $5.80

Overseas postage for calendars
1~ $7.15
2~ $9.50

Payments can be made through the donation button here at the site. Indicate the donation is for “pet calendar.” We can also accept checks from here in the U.S. made out to “BCHS” and mailed to Butler County Humane Society, P.O. Bx 264, Greenville, AL 36037.

I’d like to point out that Richard Armitage (in the guise of Plush Thorin) even made it into this calendar . . . and I should also point out Thumper is a “she” and not a “he.” But she’s across the rainbow bridge now, so she doesn’t mind.

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Oh, Guylty, Oh, Guytly, Your *Ooofy* Posts Delight Me. May I say thank you? ;)

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Technical expertise and the history of photography combine beautifully with pure appreciation of our lovely Richard in your posts, dear Guylty,making them pressies we can anticipate each week throughout the year. Because you, my friend, also love my creative endeavors in fan fic, especially that wild slashy NC-17 ride known as “Guy and Rebecca: The Adventures Continue” (which *ahem* can be found at Dreamer Fiction and Live Journal under fedoralady) I made these little photo edits with you in mind. Ho, ho, ho!!! 😉 I hope you will all enjoy these images . . .

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It came. In spite of everything, it came. And just when I needed it most.

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It came. It came when, frankly, I was needing it most. Feeling drained physically, mentally, emotionally–it came.

After suffering from the return of one of those vascular headaches that would fell the mightiest among us. Turning off everything–computer, TV, phone–so that I might get a few hours of respite. Missing the opportunity to shoot stills at the Christmas concert at the high school because I couldn’t bear the thought of noise ( no judgment on the playing of the students, Mozart himself would have been unwelcome).

Feeling burdened over the news my brother-in-law, who has been ailing for a month, may be suffering strokes, worried for my legally blind sister, knowing they have had two serious near-misses on the highway. Is there a taxi service? Someone who can shuttle them to appointments? Wishing I didn’t live so far away and more reliable transport myself . . . sad because we won’t all be together sometime close to Christmas for the first time in years. My sister’s first time ever.

Thank you, Richard. It’s not going to be an easy Christmas for us here, but your lovely message, sent to Richard Armitage Central and to Richard Armitage Online, really does help. And I know it helps so many others out there, too. You are a class act, sir.

Message from Richard Armitage, 19th December 2013

Hi everyone,

Well I just wanted to come on line and wish everyone a Happy Christmas (Turkey Day or Holiday, depending on your preference) it’s been another wonderful year, which has been full of hard work, fun and surprises. Thank you for your continuing support of my work, I hope you never underestimate what that means to me personally. Seeing so many at the LA premier (sorry about the un fan-friendly red carpet) Berlin, London, Madrid is really the highlight of the year. I am very proud to have such a dedicated community of ‘well wishers’ (better word than fans…right?) Proud because of the dignity and decency with which you communicate with each other and document your ideas. It’s always illuminated with positivity and support for each other, unlikely friendships forged through a common interest. That makes me proud, and brings me to my real reason for the message. To say a huge thank you to Annette Gill, who has worked so hard on her web pages, doing exactly what I just described in a very elegant way. I think she is truly a wonderful journalist and archivist and I would like to thank her personally for all the time she spent creating and updating the site.

I wanted to wish you love and happiness for 2014, thank you for the generous gifts and the donations to the ‘Just Giving’ pages I think our totals are looking very healthy.

Without getting into a pulpit or onto soap box, (cynics tune out now!) I want to say that for me especially as I get older, this time of year becomes more about making the journey to be with family or friends and sitting around a table which hopefully has some good food on it, however bountiful that is. But for those who don’t have very much or are alone, I wish them at least a sense of peace for a day. I know that I am happiest when I can be useful, which usually involves giving time and effort towards something. That gives me peace. (Guess who’s making the gravy this year!!)

This quote isn’t meant to be maudlin, because I actually find it uplifting, but it expresses what I mean. It’s Sonya from Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.
What can we do? We must live out our lives….we shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live all through the endless procession of days ahead of us, and through the long evenings. We shall bear patiently the burdens that fate imposes on us. We shall work without rest for others, both now and when we are old. And when our final hour comes, we shall meet it humbly…. we shall enter on a bright and beautiful life. We shall rejoice… A tender smile — and — we shall rest. We shall hear the angels. We shall see heaven shining like a jewel. We shall see evil and all our pain disappear in the great pity that shall enfold the world. Our life will be as peaceful and gentle and sweet as a caress. I have faith…we shall rest.
fumblingly sent from my iPad

Thorin in chocolate: now, THAT’S a great teacher’s pressie!!

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My dear friend and fellow RA fan Becky (19bt80 at YT, where she has several wonderful vids) shared this with me a little earlier–a Christmas gift from one of her choral students . . . all I can say is, YUUUUMMMM. Forget the bath salts! Give me the World’s Sexiest Dwarf in Chocolate every time!

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For what it’s worth, I am still a fan! And looking to avoid the drama.

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The following is the opinion of the proprietress of this blog and do es not necessarily reflect the views of her readers, fellow bloggers and assorted and sundry members of the Richard Armitage fandom. Because she doesn’t speak for anyone but herself. And she’s pretty tired of all the angst.

Some people still want the shy, boyish, slightly awkward fella in the N&S interview. And I don’t think he’s entirely disappeared, either.

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But that was nearly a decade ago, and there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then for Richard Armitage. I am not the same person I was ten years ago—for better or for worse—and I doubt many of us are.  Human beings are a bit more complex and complicated than that.

The circumstances and situations in which we find ourselves require us to adjust and to adapt. Richard’s been involved for an extended period of time in the making of not one or two, but three blockbuster films in a faraway land.  He’s been to Comic-Con and on multiple press junkets requiring endless interviews and articles, and he’s made several red carpet appearances, facing a barrage of microphones, camera flashes and eager fans.
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Shy, awkward RA has adjusted and adapted and done it beautifully, in my humble opinion. He’s grown in confidence, gotten more comfortable in his own (really lovely) skin. Yes, RA has expressed some personal political opinions. He’s made jokes and goofed around.
 Along the way he’s said and done things some fans have found offensive or objectionable. Well, you can’t please everyone and I, for one, am glad he seemingly has stopped trying, stopped worrying so much about making “the Army” happy at all time.
He’s 42 years old, all grown up, hard-working, smart and ambitious in his chosen profession. I think he’s fully entitled to have his own opinions and to express himself and to maybe blunder now and again. He is human, after all.  He’s learning as he goes along. Aren’t we all? 
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I still like and admire and enjoy the heck out of the guy, and not just because he seems to get more attractive by the hour. I still find a lot to appreciate here–his work ethic, his sense of camaraderie, his sense of humor, his love for his family, gentlemanly nature and more.  I really like the man I perceive him to be–as someone commenting at Den of Geek said, “a pretty nice bloke.”
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Personally, I don’t feel the need to try to scrutinize every single word, glance or minute bit of body language he ever displays. Good Lord, I certainly don’t want anyone to do that to ME!  I am only a flawed human, too.
It’s one thing to study and critique his performances; he is an actor, after all, and that is to be expected. For an actor who works at getting all the details right, I am sure it’s something to be appreciated by this dedicated actor.
 But surely it’s another thing to think we’ve got to glean something significant from everything else he ever does or says in an interview or a candid moment caught on video.
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There is still an air of mystery about this very private man and that’s just fine with me. He’s more interesting, more appealing that way. I don’t need or want to know everything about him (frankly, there are some celebs I know way more about than I want to. TMI).
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Nor do I need Richard Armitage to be my reflection.
I don’t require his political or religious beliefs to always mesh with mine, or his sense of humor, for that matter. Hell, my husband, over-sized kid that he is at times, thinks stuff like “Jackass” is funny, while I—don’t. Still love that man to pieces. We are soul mates, but we aren’t the Bobbsey Twins.  We each have minds and opinions of our own.
Richard Armitage has been a positive force in my life, although that nice bloke has no idea of it. He brought me some really good, true friends along the way I would never have otherwise met, which is the greatest benefit.
 He inspired me to stretch my writing muscles and tackle fiction. To overcome my fear of computer technology and start making fanvids and fanart. Now a lot of what I learned along the way is going to good use in our video production company. Fan activities translating to RL benefits that actually bring in income! He’s brought me a lot of satisfying moments as a viewer who enjoys seeing a really talented actor bring his best to the table, no matter how small the role or how dodgy the script.
And yes, gosh, he’s just a treat to behold. *sigh* With a lot going on behind those long-lashed blue eyes, stunning cheekbones and dazzling grin.  He’s matured into a truly stunning specimen of masculine beauty. And I like looking at him and admiring all that deliciousness. Won’t apologize for that.
Because I never forget he’s also a fellow human being.
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He–his face, his voice, his performances–have also helped get me through some pretty difficult passages in my life–personal and family illness, loss of loved ones, unemployment, battles with depression and more. I will be forever grateful for that.
I don’t put him on a pedestal or look at him as a plaster saint. I do see him as a lovely and benign “presence” in my life and I wish him only and always the best in his own life, both personally and professionally.
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I still want to have fun in this fandom. I want my readers to feel comfortable and safe here and to have fun, too. I want to be a positive force, not a “negative Nancy.” There are enough of those out there in the world in general. I dealt with them enough for those ten years I worked with the paper and have no desire to behave like one now.
So I am going to try to avoid the drama, and just enjoy the ride . . .  come with me if you wish.
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All photo edits and fanart are my own. Screencaps snaffled from various pages on FB . . . and from Me + Richard Armitage.

What the world needs now is love. And forgiveness. And compassion.

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Hanging on the wall in our bedroom is a wedding gift from the man who married us, who also happens to be my hubby’s former college roommate. It’s a portion of the “Love Chapter” from the New Testament, and remains one of my favorite scriptures.

I was raised in a small Southern Baptist church a few miles from my home and those Sunday School and VBS lessons and sermons have stayed with me.

I don’t attend church regularly these days (it’s a long story), but I still hold these words close to my heart and attempt to live by them. Oh yes, I fail miserably at times. But I try. I want to be a better person, a kinder, more compassionate, more patient, less judgmental person. I hope I never stop wanting this.

Certain things happening in the world, both my RL world and in the fandom, seem to be sorely testing me these days. This is a season in which unselfishness giving and love and peace are emphasized and celebrated, and yet—I see and hear a lot that is the opposite of that.

But I know I have to keep trying. In spite of my natural tendency to melancholy, it seems I am also essentially an optimist. And I won’t give in to all the dissent and division and discouraging attitudes I see around me. That means the bad guys win . . .

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part,but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthian 13: 1-13 NIV

Be extra-kind and extra-forgiving. ~ Richard Armitage

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