Monthly Archives: December 2014

New Year’s Eve: Reflections on Men I Love, BOFTA & What Matters Most *SPOILERS*

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                              Richard, I truly hope you have a terrific NYE, shared with people you love.

It’s New Year’s Eve. Coincidentally, it’s also the 30th anniversary of the night my husband and I got engaged. I still remember the taste of the Cherries Jubilee, the warm tartness of the fruit meshing with the sweet chill of the vanilla bean ice cream. Benny hates cherries, but he knew I liked them and would enjoy the dish. There was the flash of the simple round solitaire sparkling against the black velvet of the case and how he carefully slid it on my finger. His celebratory punch in the air and the exultant “She said, ‘YES!'” that he shouted in the parking lot of the Montgomery restaurant as we headed to the car.  The mix of euphoria and nerves as we embarked on a new chapter in our lives.

That eatery down at the historic Union Depot is no longer in business. We are still here, older, heavier, less hair in some places and more of what’s left turning white fast; hopefully, we are also wiser and stronger (if not physically, then in spirit and soul).  We’ve had our ups and downs–in recent years, a few too many valley experiences, perhaps–but “here we stand and here we’ll stay,” to paraphrase Elsa in “Frozen.”

This is a collage I made of photos of Benny playing with our great-niece Zoe during our family celebration down at Orange Beach before Christmas. It was so wonderful to see everyone, share hugs, memories, play Dirty Santa, sing carols along with the radio, enjoy my sister’s good cooking. But these moments captured below are my favorite moments from the entire weekend: Benny playing with four-year-old great-niece Zoe.

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This is a 55-year-old man with a troublesome shoulder who isn’t accustomed to roughhousing with kids (he had to break out the Ben-Gay cream when we got home Sunday night). But he’s been making generations of Killough women happy–yours truly, our nieces and now our nieces’ children.

He says he’s not sure he’ll be up to it for the next generation, but I can easily imagine my white-haired fella giving small people rides in his wheel chair if it comes to that.

He is awfully easy to love.  Which reminds me of another tall, blue-eyed, smart, talented, sweet-natured guy (who also has fetching nape curls when his hair is longish!) who is so easy to “crush on.”

On Christmas Eve this year, my husband and I went to see “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” It took me a few days to formulate my thoughts and reactions to the film.

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Richard as Thorin in his kingly attire in a behind-the-scenes still.

I am not going to write a formal review this time around; there are already plenty of those out there by fans and critics alike.

Suffice to say I thought Richard was brilliant. My heart ached along with Bilbo’s and the dwarves as this individual they had pledged to follow, one they so admired and loved (both because of and in spite of his personal qualities) became, as my husband put it, “well and truly the mayor of Crazy Town.” The anger, the paranoia, the vulnerability exposed as he descended into the madness caused by dragon-sickness brought back both memories of my own father suffering the ravages of vascular dementia, and of my dearest Sir Guy. Yes, my buttons were being pushed on several levels.

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The moment I will never forget is Bilbo cradling a dying Thorin, unwilling to believe his friend would soon be no more, and how beautiful Thorin is in those last moments, redeemed, at peace, acknowledging what should truly matter to us in life. More parallels with Sir Guy and his “good death.”

 

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Bilbo and his final moments with Thorin. From Pinterest.

It did not make it any easier. I had started getting upset when Kili and Fili perished–so young, too young!! I knew it was coming (although not how, as I had avoided being “spoiled”) but it was still painful.

Biting my lip, I was trying to fight back the tears as Bilbo cried over his slain friend. I felt Benny’s hand patting my knee and glanced over to see the kindness and concern in his sweet blue eyes. He gave me a sympathetic smile and that made me feel better even in my sadness. He didn’t tease me about my tender heart. He simply understood.

I am not sure I can express how much that simple gesture meant to me. And I thought about all the times Richard has signed autographs and posed for photos and carefully considered questions posed to him, how gracious and affable he manages to be even when he’s tired, jet-lagged and probably done one too many press junket interviews.  He cares–he cares about his family, his work, his co-workers, his fans, people out there in need.
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I truly believe RA is a kind and compassionate person–my kind of fella. All the physical beauty and extraordinary talent and potent charisma aside, I believe Richard Armitage is a good man. And that is a large part of what keeps me coming back. Hey, I am a happily married, middle-aged lady who harbors no illusions that RA and I are going to be an “item”–as if!

But someone who is so gifted and blessed and still humble and grounded, a man who is trying to make his patch of the world a better place to live–I can heartily support that!

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Richard posing with some cosplayers.

Meanwhile, back to BOFTA. There are things about which I could quibble. The battle sequence went on too long IMHO (as did the barrel ride scene in the last installment) and I still think someone loves CGI a little too much. Just because you have the gee-whiz-bang technology doesn’t mean you need to keep pulling it out of the hat. I do think it can get in the way of the progress of the STORY. Also, we saw this installment in 2D, as opposed to the 3D HFR in which we saw the previous films. Not having seen BOFTA in 3D HFR, I don’t have a good point of comparison for this specific film, but Benny and I discussed this and we felt we didn’t miss out on the overall cinematic experience of BOFTA by seeing it in a traditional format. In fact, I think I felt less distracted. I do think it was fashioned to be a good link to the LOTR films . . . and watching them in sequence.  What are your thoughts on the film?

And finally—

I wish you all a wonderful 2015, filled with good health, happiness, prosperity, kindness, creativity, work you love to do and people with whom you can share both your celebrations and your sorrows. And I wish the same for our Richard. ❤

I know we don’t all share the same religious beliefs, but this quote I found on Pinterest expresses a lot of what I personally feel and you can adapt to your system, I think.

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So this is Christmas . . . let us be silly! RA would understand.

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I am late in the day posting this, but I have in my own way been making merry with my dear hubby.  There was early morning snuggling, and then emptying our stockings and “oohing” and “aahing” over the contents, a mixture of the practical with the whimsical (dress socks, itty-bitty chocolate Santas, magazine subscriptions).  Breakfast was Italian sausage balls, grits and eggs; we watched Christmas-oriented movies and finally saw “Frozen” together. My voice is still dodgy, so I just waved my hands dramatically and lip-synched to the closing credits. Fun to be silly and a bit “kiddish,” and never a better time than Christmas!  And so I share some of the holiday-related fan art and photo edits I’ve done this year. May it give you a giggle. 😀 Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, Merry Everything and Happy Always.

 

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The boys after a little too much merrymaking during the press junket.

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Visions of–well, not sugarplums dance in their heads.

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 Notice I didn’t tamper with the watermark; just having a bit o’ holiday fun.

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And when he puckers those pretty lips . . . well, well, well.

 

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Peace, love and kindness, y’all.

Fedoralady returns to ask a favor & express loads of thanks

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I confess to being behind on almost all things Armitage. The numerous articles and interviews that have popped up recently have for the most point remained unread or watched by me. For one thing, I have been battling borderline pleurisy for a few weeks, along with a cracked rib. Summoning up the energy and tamping down the pain enough to do much beyond the absolutely necessary was eluding me for a while (I have enjoyed looking at the pretty pictures of our fella, though, and sharing some of those over at FB and Pinterest. Doesn’t require much effort)

 

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Then there’s the fact I wanted to avoid any additional spoilers before seeing the final Hobbit film (which should happen tomorrow night. Both excited and apprehensive. Gotta remember the tissues).

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Add in the fact we’ve been busy again with some Pecan Ridge Production projects and newspaper assignments for me (Hooray! Money!), and, well, I just didn’t feel a sense of urgency about it all as I have in the past.

 

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What I have been experiencing is—the blessings of the season. That sense of wonderment and joy that I always used to have this time of year had slowly seemed to erode over the past decade-plus with the loss of loved ones, lack of employment and chronic health struggles. Last year, when I couldn’t see or be with any of my family around the holidays, I pretty much hit rock bottom.  I tried to put on a good face,  but Christmas just wasn’t Christmas for me.

I still have health issues. Money is still very tight. Yet I can say it is well with my soul.  I have been touched by the kindness and generosity of people who have never met me and probably never will, who still reached out to help me with kind and encouraging words, prayers and positive thoughts and even monetary gifts. One of those gifts was enough to allow us to rent reliable transportation to travel this weekend to Foley/Orange Beach to share a family Christmas again. I can’t express just how much I am looking forward to seeing them all.

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A photo of me and my two sisters at our house–Christmas 1998, I do believe.

And now I want to ask a favor of you all.  This year we once again shot our area arts council’s holiday show, “Christmas at the Ritz.” Some of the Ritz Players, including my former editor Kevin Pearcey and a young college student, Christina Rodgers (who both soloed on this number) performed “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.” I love this song and I so appreciate these people and their willingness to juggle jobs and school and family and other RL Obligations to perform for our community and get us into the holiday spirit.

Those feelings of partiality aside, they did a bang-up job. Please give it a watch and if you like it, “like” it at YT, even leave a comment. I would be greatly appreciative, as would they.

 

I will report back on my thoughts about the film, but it may be next week as we are heading out of town Friday for the weekend. I have family memories to make . 😀  So Merry Everything and Happy Always to you and yours!

And again–many, many thinks!

 

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Who’s up for an STL side Challenge? Let’s *sock* it to ’em

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This is a really cute and practical idea. Who’s up for sharin’ some socks and spreadin’ some love?

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It seems that I can’t resist and opportunity for a good (or bad) pun, but I have a proposition for everyone.  In a recent appearance on Good Morning Britain, Richard Armitage gave us a peek at his funky fun socks…

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He also mentioned that he would like to get some socks for Christmas (I wonder if he’s prepared for the deluge of fashionable footwear that’s likely headed his way?)  A funky or festive pair of socks can be a surprising energy booster.  For instance…today is the last day of classes for the fall semester and I celebrated by wearing some festive holiday socks.

wpid-cam00460-1.jpgNo one else can see them (It’s cold…I’m wearing boots!)  but I know that they’re there and the thought of the sparkly gifts (there’s a little dog at the top cuff too) makes me smile throughout the day.

On the subject of…

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RA on Good Morning Britain. All Richard wants for Xmas is . . . to smell good?

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This is a “rough cut” posted early this morning that will be edited later. Nothing really new here in terms of revelations about the film or RA’s career–not that I expect it from this kind of interview anymore anyway. But we DO get a glimpse of his purple “Christmas” socks 😉 and clued in on what his worst Christmas present was (a homemade emu? Guess you have to be a British kid of that generation) and what he hopes to get this year from Santa.

So . . . Mr. A wants aftershave, does he? Hmmmm . . . wonder what he prefers–woodsy, clean, citrus, spicy, or some other under notes in his “smellum good” as my daddy used to call his aftershave (“Old Spice” being his favorite). If you were creating a signature fragrance for RA, what would it smell like? What would you name it? Oh, the possibilities . . .

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On a personal note, I finally broke down and went to see the nurse practitioner yesterday. Pre-pleurisy in the left lung. Steroid shot, courses of oral steroids and antibiotics along with cough pills prescribed, lots of fluids recommended.  Can already feel the intensity of pain in the rib cage area lessening. Looking at above photo doesn’t hurt, either. 😉 We’ve been bombarded with flu, strep throat and other crud in our communities this year. Wishing YOU a healthy, safe and happy holiday season.