Tag Archives: family

What a waste.

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A clammy sort of coldness settled in today, with a very good chance of more rain and thunder showers tonight. I’ve had a hard time staying warm and comfortable and my FMS is flared up.

My husband’s uncle, the one he has been helping look after, had to be transported to a larger hospital in Montgomery today. It appears a stent that was put in earlier may have become infected. Thankfully his only son has come down from Ohio so everything is not longer on Benny’s shoulders.  They are broad and sturdy shoulders, but they get tired, too.

Earlier I received news that a cousin had passed away this week. Ironically, we had just been discussing Cousin the weekend before Christmas during our holiday family time together.

In his youth, Cousin was one of most handsome men I’ve ever seen. Movie star handsome. Shining blonde hair with a smile that could have been used to sell toothpaste. Think young Robert Redford. Gorgeous, smart, charming, artistically gifted just like our grandmother. So much going for him.

Then came the drugs. And the descent.

Several years ago I saw him for the first time in years. Hollow-eyed, sunken-cheeked, gaunt. Long, untidy silver-white hair and a scruffy beard. Those once-beautiful eyes were unfocused, his speech, largely a near-incoherent mumble, something a little “off” about that once dazzling smile. Where had the promising young man with the stellar good looks gone?  He looked like a street person.

Cousin was considerably older than I am and we were not close. But I cannot help but cry a little tonight as I think of that wasted life.

And I am thankful that another clever, beautiful, talented man has not chosen to waste his life in the same way.

That thought somehow gives me hope.

Choccie, hugs, and pressies: Fedoralady’s Christmas 2012

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Got my replacement card reader today and thought I would share a few photos from the family Christmas in Birmingham. Some of this offers proof we share the same DNA.  Entered into evidence, these photos of my great-niece A licking the bowl after her auntie SB  finishes whipping up something chocolatey.

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pizap.com13565796312171She is DEFINITELY related to me.

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Thirty-plus years ago, a little blonde-haired toddler absolutely adored her youngest aunt’s boyfriend. She couldn’t quite manage to pronounce his name, so she called him “Ben-jie.” And now that little blonde is all grown up and her little girl also adores that tall man with the sweet smile. Maybe one day, that dark-haired little girl’s child will feel the very same–although I am not sure “Ben-jie” will still  be able to lift the little one to touch the ceiling .

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Our lovely sixteen-year-old H seems very pleased with those Amazon and Target giftcards.

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We are all just a bunch of hams.

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Hope you all had wonderful Christmases with those near and dear to you.

It’s Christmas Time Once Again . . .

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It’s now past 12 here in Lower Alabama and Christmas morning has officially arrived. Alabama was the first state in the U.S. to make Christmas an official holiday. We have always loved our celebrations here–families gathering to feast from sideboards groaning from the number of dishes upon them, houses decked out festively, people decked out just as festively in their Christmas ties and appliqued cardigans. We like to do it up right!

Small town Christmas parades, folks getting out at night just to drive around and enjoy all those pretty lights . . . church pageants with children sporting tinsel halos and cardboard wings, bathrobes and yarn beards. Even if they fluff their lines, it doesn’t matter. They delight us.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed, happy, healthy, inspiring year to come. And Happy Hobbit-viewing to our friends Down Under as TH arrives in theatres for Boxing Day!

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Christmas Greetings from our Furry Friends

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BeFunky_Impressionist_2christalliebrown  Pictured above is our beautiful, sweet and slightly skittish Calico, Callie. She showed up at our house one day several years ago,  a half-feral kitten, hungry but not very trusting of humans. Over time we gained that trust. Today,  she is one very contented and affectionate (if slightly nervous) house cat–currently snuggled up next to her mom, purring softly.

All our pets over the years have been rescue animals, either adopted from an animal shelter or taken in as strays. May I encourage anyone considering adding a pet to their home in 2013 to consider finding a “fur-ever friend” through a shelter or rescue group.  There are rescue groups devoted to certain breeds, so if a Bassett Hound or  a French Poodle is your preference,  there’s likely a pure-bred friend out there waiting for you if you are willing to go to a bit of time and trouble to adopt.

And trust me–blended friends like Elvis, the hounddog mix seen below, make great pets, too. And please spay and neuter your cats and dogs to help fight against pet overpopulation problems in our country!

(PS Our German Sheperd (Alsatian) mix Rascal was too busy trying to greet his mom with kisses to pose for a photo . . .)

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Yes, we occasionally do get snow in LA. This was shot in February 2010. Our three dogs at the time had never before seen the white stuff.

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Thumper Cat, the three-legged, roly-poly tuxedo cat with a Hitler mustache is grateful for photo editing. No being forced by Mom to wear a miniature Santa hat! Thumper nearly lost her life as a tiny kitten after being mauled by a dog. She lost that leg, but not her spirit. We’ve had her now for close to 12 years. From our furry family members to yours, a very Merry Christmas and a 2013 full of hope, joy and love.

It was a dReAm of a day, really.

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I started off this morning with a dream about Richard Armitage. I kept floating in and out of consciousness. My conscious mind kept telling my unconscious mind to take over again because, quite frankly,  I didn’t want the dream to end. Richard was wearing his Glamour UK photo spread outfit. He never took off a single piece of clothing but it was an incredibly. sexy. dream.  Oh, Richard–you do know how to stir a woman.

Literally, my dream man this morning.

Literally, my dream man this morning.

I’d had a night where pain mimicking an unhappy gall bladder kept me awake longer than I’d hoped (couldn’t have been the gall bladder since I haven’t possessed one for years and the pain was on the wrong side of the body anyway). Let’s say that dream was very, very welcome.

And it was just the beginning of welcome events. I opened up my e-mail and discovered my dear friend Leigh was going to get to see The Hobbit in English after all!  A couple of days ago it appeared as if it just wasn’t going to happen. Now it seems she and Noemi will see Thorin in all his big screen glory in lovely Sevilla next week.  Happy, happy, joy, joy indeed!

And then before you know it ( I had slept in rather late) I was tuning in to the live stream from the red  green carpet in London. And it was working. OK, the picture quality wasn’t great, but the lack of stutters and almost non-existent buffering was simply heavenly for me. I was seeing and hearing what fellow RA aficionados on Twitter were with no delays or missing pieces. Hurray!

Of course, I was simply dying to see our Richard . . . and he was drop-dead gorgeous, too.  I loved his latest designer threads, an impeccably tailored tux with a shawl collar, crisp white pleated shirt and nice, big bow tie (as the latest incarnation of Doctor Who will tell you, bow ties are cool).

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Judiang loved it so much she named the tux Francois. I simply call it devastating. Mr. Movie Star.

We got a nice interview with some new tidbits–a little longer than some of the other actors got, I do believe–with the emcee Alex Dane. And we discovered RA had a dream last night, too, although his was all about getting lost and not being able to find the premiere venue. Bless his heart.

Well, you did find it, RA, and this night was all true. You may not be a great warrior or noble dwarf, but you are an incredible actor, lovely man and undeniably a movie star, my dear.

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And then Richard stood in that long, long line of folks who got to shake hands and chat with royalty–Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.

As with everyone else, I longed to know just what the Handsome Prince of Players and the Handsome Prince talked about.

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I was so proud of Richard in that moment I could not resist shedding a few tears. It didn’t help matters any when I realized that sweet-looking white-haired lady standing behind him bore a striking resemblance to Richard. Yup, it would appear his mum was there for that unforgettable moment.

I thought of my mother’s own beautiful silver-white locks, and how I enjoyed taking her to special events with me. Of how proud she was of my accomplishments, which were chicken feed compared to Richard’s. And so I cried some more–tears of remembrance, of joy and gratitude for Richard and his family and this celebratory occasion. I’m just a big ol’ sentimental fool.

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Set created by Morrighan's Muse

Set created by Morrighan’s Muse

Visit http://richardarmitagecentral.co.uk to get a link to a video of RA meeting Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.

What an amazing two weeks you’ve had, my dear Richard. You’ve globe-trotted around this world, done umpteen interviews, been asked some of the same questions just a little too often, yet always managed to remain patient, modest, good-humoured and gentlemanly about it all.  And how could you look so fresh at times on what had to be insufficient sleep? And when you’ve shown us your flirtatious side–oh, mercy me!!

You’ve dazzled us with your designer duds, you clotheshorse, you. You’ve worn the clothes, they haven’t worn you, and you were polished, confident, elegant and yet edgy. We couldn’t look away. But then, why would we want to?

Oh, yes, Mr. A, more and more people are taking notice, taking an interest in you. There’s a good reason my viewing numbers shot up more than 45 percent, why your rank at IMDB keeps rising; the world is finally waking up to the gem that is Richard Armitage.

I know your family has to be immensely proud of you. I know I am.

Oh, and one more thing–I also won four IMAX tickets via Twitter and Air New Zealand today and the vouchers don’t expire until Dec. 31, 2013.  So it really has been a great day for this RA fan. I hope yours has been, too.

(And Richard, if you’d like to revisit my dreams tonight, please, be my guest.)

I’ll just say no to the giblets: TAE Word for the Day

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Giblets: (noun) the heart, liver, gizzard, and the like, of a fowl, often cooked separately.

Giblet gravy with turkey or chicken giblets and chopped hard-boiled eggs is quite popular here in the south as an accompaniment to turkey and cornbread dressing each Thanksgiving. But it will not be on the table chez Fedoralady.

Giblet gravy. Courtesy of simplyrecipes.com

Fedoralady does not do giblet gravy or indeed, giblet anything.  Growing up on a poultry farm, she ate a great deal of chicken. Baked, barbecued, fried, chicken salad, chicken and dumplings, chicken and rice, chicken casseroles.You get the drift.  But when her mama prepared fried chicken livers and gizzards, she beat a hasty retreat. Couldn’t stand the smell, much less the taste. Hubby feels the same way.   We like gravy–white milk gravy, brown gravy. Just no giblets, please.

Fedoralady  hopes if Mr. Armitage ever has occasion to dine at her home for Thanksgiving (she realizes this is highly, highly unlikely but it’s fun to imagine) that he is not an aficionado of said fowl parts.

Now, cranberry sauce? That’s another thing. Love it. Hubby will fight you for the last dinner roll and serving of cranberry sauce.  In fact, he’d much rather have the cranberry sauce and rolls than the turkey and dressing! Better buy extra.  (I’m afraid we tend to go with Ocean Spray’s canned sauce every year instead of the homemade route. It’s what we both grew up eating.)

Now you’re talking. Cranberry sauce, courtesy of simplyrecipes.com.

I just know that I would love to have the chance to (covertly) watch Mr. Armitage eat. I find myself writing scenes where his character is dining because it’s such a pleasure watching him enjoy his food and drink.  So, hey, let’s look at some photos of Richard/his characters eating! See, I can even work him into a giblets post. 😉

Richard and crew members for Spooks chowing down on sandwiches in a behind-the-scenes screencap courtesy of RANet.

John Mulligan snacking at Ellie’s house. Screencaps  courtesy of RANet.

Poor Sweetie John is a bit discomfited as he tries to finish off his breakfast sausage in Sparkhouse.

Fork porn. I love it. That is all.

Ouchies lead to another Cuteness Overload . . .

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I managed to injure the middle finger of my right hand in another of those freakish accidents that happens to me–not broken, thank goodness, just very sore–and I need to let it rest a bit.  So responding to the comments will have to wait.  Hopefully it will be better tomorrow. In the meantime . . .

Our sweet Beau disappeared a while back, *sob* but here he is as the cutest part-bloodhound pup you’ve ever seen, enjoying the water in the whiskey barrel planter, accompanied by his brother Elvis. They always seem to prefer water from here much more than they do their water bowls. Dogs!

OK. I am prejudiced. But isn’t our Callie just gorgeous here?

Oh, those wide eyes. What a sweetie!

Elvis on that other southern icon–my late daddy’s old pickup truck.

I’ll be back tomorrow to catch up with you all. Nighty-night!

Zombies, Thorin, and My “Mr. Kennedy”: Sunday night chez FL

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I hope you’ve had a lovely Sunday/Monday. I slept in today and and then spent the afternoon hanging out with Benny and the cats.  We talked, watched TV, cuddled and played.

When I dropped off to sleep whilst watching the charming “Robots” Benny went and baked a fresh batch of brownies ( Guy’s eyes just lit up!) and fixed some supper.

Making sure my Sunday night shows were going to record properly–I am down to “only” three now, Masterpiece Classics: Upstairs, Downstairs, Homeland and Dexter–I continued to do some family bonding tonight with my two fuzzy babies and my own personal Harry Kennedy.

We are now all caught up on The Walking Dead, having had a marathon viewing of the first four eps  of S3 yesterday and the latest tonight.

Danai Gurira (Michonne) Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the Governor (David Morrisey) in a promo pic for S3 of The Walking Dead. courtesy of unrealitytv.com

I have to say Andy Lincoln (RA’s co-star in Strike Back) continues to go from strength to strength as Rick, the former deputy sheriff leading a rag-tag group in Georgia struggling to survive against an infection that turns folks into, well, the walking dead. Rick’s turned into a real bad-ass, take-no-prisoners kind of guy and I am rooting for him all the way. David Morrissey–yet another attractive and talented Brit turning up in an American series and doing a pretty decent job with a southern accent, I might add–is guest starring this season. He is the leader of a secure settlement, Woodbury, which may not be the place of refuge it is presented as being.

And tonight I also pre-ordered my Hobbit tickets!  We will be going to see RA as Thorin Sunday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. at the Promenade Cinema in Prattville.  Squee! Richard in 3D on the big screen! No HFR 3D, but no drive to Atlanta, either. At this point, I will take what I can get.

I would LOVE to see it in IMAX and there is an IMAX theatre in Birmingham, but it appears all the tickets are sold out for the weekend before Christmas (the time our family celebration is set at my oldest sister’s home there).  😦

Now, assuming our local theatre has a midnight showing of The Hobbit on Dec. 13 (they haven’t released the schedule yet) I have already told Benny I want to go by myself.

“You want to see it twice?”

*laughing uproariously in her head–you silly MAN!!–she blinks and gives a hesitant smile*

“Well, yeah–I mean, it’s the first time with a substantial role for Richard in a big movie on the big screen . . . and it might be better if I go–by myself. The first time. You know.” *she pauses, sheepish grin crossing face*

“Don’t want to embarrass you or anything.”

*he sputters with laughter*

“Hey, I am excited about this, OK? To finally see him. And he’d worked so hard for so long. And he’s such a sweet guy. Like you. It’s one of the reasons I love him so much. He reminds me of–you.”

*he cuts a sidelong glance at her, his lips twitching dangerously*

“You’re saying he’s just–swell.”

*she grins*

“Exactly.” *she leans in and kisses his stubbled cheek. She likes stubbled cheeks on the men she fancies*

“Just like you . . .”

Cats! Armitage & Otherwise

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Ah, I would recognize those thighs anywhere, methinks.

Such a cute and charming feline!

Callie said Thumper had gotten quite enough blog space of late, and so I thought better share some artwork featuring our own butterscotch, cream and chocolate confection of a kitty.

Monday musings: Mother Nature, beautiful and terrible

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There’s a chill in the air here and a jacket and shoes do not go amiss when you venture outside. You step out onto the balcony and drink in the morning beauty, always amazed at the ever-changing seascape before youA couple walks slowly down the beach, pausing to watch a bird skipping across the water’s surface as it does a bit of fishing for its breakfast.

The view from the balcony in Orange Beach between 7:30 and 8 a.m. Monday. As Benny said, you get this great ombre effect between the sky and the sea.

Even as I enjoy all the splendid beauty of Mother Nature on this Monday morning, I am reminded that many people are facing a difficult day that may bring more than inconvenience and frustration. This storm could wreak significant havoc on life and property. Remember you are in our thoughts and prayers. I hope these images will lift your spirits, along with the knowledge that people who may live far away from you still care.

I made this video last year after a series of deadly tornadoes took a devastating toll on Alabama and other states in what was called “April’s Fury.”  I share it again now as a reminder we all need to encourage and support one another in times like this.  No man (or woman) is an island . . .

Sunday night at the beach

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We’ve had a fabulous meal, courtesy of my fabulous sister–juicy filet mignons from Omaha Steaks, so tender they melted in your mouth, garlic toast, spinach salad and baked potatoes. I was too stuffed for dessert, but the fellows enjoyed apple pie a la mode.

Now we are sharing one of our favorite films (and one of Richard’s, too) with my sis and BIL, the delightful Pixar production Up on our PS3 that Benny brought from home.

The house that is about to be taken on a journey via balloons for the adventure of a lifetime in UP.

 Sis took a break to take Miss Hannah Dog for her walkies, so Benny watched some 50s monster movie with a stop-motion creature from Venus wreaking havoc in Italy. BIL suggested the film was “unrealistic.” Gee, ya think?? Now back to the fun of Up.  I like to imagine RA guffawing at some of the most amusing moments . . .

I hope you all have had a pleasant weekend and a good Monday to come. Stay safe and well, everyone.

Mr. Armitage is really attractive.

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Didn’t get in a nap this afternoon, so I am hoping to get to bed a little earlier. Had a lovely time earlier this evening with my sister. We stretched out on the loungers on the condo balcony, the patio door shutting out the noise of Bill O’Reilly and Fox News so that we could enjoy the peaceful sound of the rolling Gulf waters. The moon was a gleaming silver half-disk in the velvet sky, and we held hands and sang along with the golden oldies on my Kindle Fire, and reminisced about the days gone by.  If my back wouldn’t have kicked up something awful, I would have been tempted to sleep out there . . . alas, it, like the rest of me, is a bit the worse for wear and tear these days.

I hope everyone has a good night and a wonderful Wednesday to come (or that has already arrived for some of you).  Nite, nite, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.

OT: Meet Hannah

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She’s a shy, sweet little girl with big, earnest brown eyes and silky hair. You could say she’s my great-niece of sorts.

Meet Hannah T., former homeless stray taken in by my sister’s kind-hearted stepson, now living happily with her “grandparents,” dividing her time between the house in Foley and the Orange Beach condo. She was curled up on the bed with my sis, and looked so adorable I could not resist taking her photograph. This was the best of the bunch.  My sister will tell you she is a great blessing.  And I think Hannah is blessed to have such a loving, caring home.  Truly, a win-win situation.

OT: Hot brekkie and cool blue of the autumn sky & sea

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After a delicious southern-style breakfast just like Mama used to make (grits, eggs, thick-cut bacon, flaky biscuits and a variety of jellies and jams), Benny and I take a walk on the beach. Via a wooden bridge, we cross the natural habitat area that protect the dunes and sea oats.

(Image courtesy of southernfoodabout.com)

It is another beautiful day here, the loveliest breeze blowing in from the Gulf. The water on the horizon is a deep blue, turning to turquoise and then aqua as it approaches the shore. The sky is pale blue where it kisses the water, transforming into the clear cerulean blue canopy above us.

The sand here is sugar-white, sparkling like crystals where the sun hits it in certain spots. A couple of fishermen in hip waders are angling in the salt water this morning; at a distance, we can seeing a few fishing boats. We take off our sandals and sink our toes in the sand.  Flashes of orange and yellow are glimpsed as butterflies make their way to Mexico.

“The water’s not too cold,” Benny remarks as the surf rolls in and we get our feet wet. Not sure I would want to take a full dip into it, however.

It’s a wonderful time of the year to come to the beach in Alabama, chilly water or not. There’s the beauty of the sky and sea, the refreshing breeze and pleasant temperature, the lack of crowds and noise . . .

The sea oats and dunes that are protected as part of a natural habitat area.

I love those blue umbrellas against the glistening white of the sand.

Some families out enjoying the beach in the beautiful fall weather.

These flock of seagulls (now why am I hearing 80s music playing in my head?) stayed clustered in this particular spot the entire time we were out there. My sister says it’s not unusual for them to do that. Benny said maybe they were waiting to give us a floor show. 😉

OT: A birthday at the beach

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Here I am, sitting in the dark of the condo’s living room, tapping away. I was so tired last night I fell asleep with this computer in my lap while the Alabama-Tennessee football game was on. This is an amazing feat when you consider my oldest sister, ever the enthusiastic Bama supporter, was yelling, leaping, clapping and in general making lots of noise (we won). Even with our own red-haired Mouth of the South lustily cheering her team on, I still zonked out.   I guess you could say I was bloody knackered. 😉

Benny saw I had dropped off and  gently suggested I go to bed. Having already cleaned my face, brushed my teeth and taken out my contacts, I shuffled off to don my PJs and slip between the sheets. I actually fell asleep before 10 p.m., which is a rarity for me. And then I woke up three hours later, which is not–a rarity, that is. *sigh* Oh, well, it’s not as if I have to get up and go to work in a few hours, right?

On a happier note, the weather was beautiful when we arrived here. The condo unit is on the 9th floor, giving you a spectacular view from the balcony of the blue waters of the Gulf and the strip of sugar white beach. Benny filmed the sunset with his videocam.

Benny and I along with my two sisters and BIL enjoyed a delicious supper of Chicken Bruschetta, risotto, (even Gordon Ramsey would approve of my sis’s risotto–perfect texture and perfectly delicious), a Caesar salad and garlic toast, topped off with Mr. Fedoralady’s yummy German chocolate birthday cake for dessert.  Benny seemed to enjoy digging through his bag filled with miniature candy treats, gummi bears, almond crescent cookies and, of course, his Doctor Who DVD featuring the Doctor of his youth, Tom Baker.  Here is some fan art celebrating my favorite fellow in all the world–my dearest Benny.

Back to regularly scheduled programming later this morning. I might be asleep but WP, good Lord willing and the Creek don’t rise, will automatically post Mr. A for me. 😉

That’s Fedoralady’s middle sister checking out the contents of Hubby’s goodie bag.