Tag Archives: Thorin Oakenshield

Dog tired but glad to get a dose of Thorin


Have you ever been so tired you could barely hold your head up? Part of it’s physical and part of it’s mental and emotional. We have a humane society pet calendar due two weeks from tomorrow and I haven’t been able to meet with the publisher yet due to issues for both of us. She’s been swamped and I’ve been sick. Thursday should finally be the day.

She has all the photos and stories and info in her possession that I have put together and supplied to her and I have complete faith in her ability to lay it all out and I will step in and supply captions and proofing. I’ve known her for years, I know her skill set and ability to meet deadlines. But the humane society president doesn’t know all these things and I feel him breathing down my neck because this isn’t the way the previous printer and the previous project chair did things. *sigh*

Of course, the previous printer, who undeniably did good work, was charging us so much for the print job we weren’t making a lot of profit. And the previous project chair got burned out and also managed to alienate some of the people submitting photos by more or less insulting their precious pets. As someone confided to me, “No one wants to hear their dog’s too ugly to be in the calendar.”

No, indeed. Don’t bite the hand that shells out the dollars for the calendars, dear.

Anyway, I am on my second round of antibiotics now and I think the remaining lesions are beginning to fade a bit. I haven’t had a weeping blister in several days and should definitely be past the contagious stage. I think the meds are starting to really sap what energy I have, which is never where I would like it to be.

I was able to go out in public and cover two events Saturday with normal makeup and just a little extra concealer. I didn’t scare the children or farm animals (Old Time Farm Day was one of the events). My skin’s still itchy and tender and molting a bit, but at least I don’t feel so ickily leprous. There’s improvement; I guess I am just too impatient. Today, I’ve been nauseous and dizzy and overwhelmingly tired.

And then something came tonight after dark via the UPS lady, who calls me “sugah” and “darlin'” but keeps a sharp eye out for our GSD (“Once you’ve been bitten, you just extra careful, ya know?”)
I do know.

The parcel, heavy for its size, contained the final Weta Chronicles book on the Hobbit films and it completes my collection. I haven’t had the money to splurge on some of the Hobbit merchandising but I always seem to find room for books.

And these books are something special, handsomely bound with lavish illustrations and copious photographs, so much detail about the costuming, makeup and prosthetics, set design and decoration, and the artists and craftspeople who painstakingly create worlds upon the screen that only previously existed in the imagination. These are keepsakes and the sort of books I love to revisit from time to time.


Naturally, the first thing I look for is anything related to Thorin and Richard.




There’s more I’d like to say about Richard’s own thoughts and impressions recorded in this volume and those of the individuals who worked with him, but my brain is too sludgy tonight to even attempt it. Maybe tomorrow . . . tomorrow is another day.

After eight years, Richard Armitage, you still move me.


I don’t have the extended edition of the BOTFA yet (maybe for Christmas if I am a very good girl). However, I have certainly appreciated getting to see the clip of   the preparation for Thorin’s final scene and the numerous screen caps from various bonus videos people have posted.


Seeing these various images–some solemn, others light-hearted–touched off a wellspring of emotions inside me.  How could I not fail to be moved seeing Richard’s preparation for Thorin’s death scene? Seeing how he lay there so quiet, so still and deep in thought, as the crew members moved around him, shifting snow, adjusting his costume, saying very little themselves as if recognizing the solemnity of the occasion.

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And then watching Martin and Richard acting that scene–absolutely heartbreaking. I remembered my husband reaching over and squeezing my hand to comfort me as the tears flowed freely down my face watching that scene in the theater. And I cried once again as I watched it unfold on the screen of my laptop.

Richard Armitage, I am not sure there is anybody who can die more–beautifully, poetically–than you onscreen.  I might be prejudiced, of course–but you do have a tremendous capacity to move me with your artistry.


I was also very touched seeing the little shrine the crew created on the spot where the death scene took place.

It was a fitting way to honor this larger-than-life character and the rather extraordinary man who brought him so vividly, unforgettably to life.  Here’s to Thorza!


Seeing the smile on your face as you talk about it makes me believe you were also touched by the tribute, both proud and humbled by this gesture.

Seeing you in full concentration mode–the dedicated, focused actor who is always on task–and in those lighter moments when Richard breaks through the Thorin guise and we see the grins and laughter, the humor, sweetness and genuineness reflected in those eyes–well, I am once again impressed by that dedication and drawn to the man I perceive you to be. Unpretentious, good-humored, attentive, discerning.







And huggable. Huggable is very important.



Oh, those eyes. That smile. I won’t even get into how impossibly sexy you also are here (ah, there goes that head bob as you murmur a self-deprecating remark). Beyond the obvious attractions of grey-tinged beard (growing older ever so gracefully, you are), glimpsed chest hair, lovely crinkles and that plaid shirt with its tempting snaps, there’s that aura you exhude. Yes, even in a screen cap of a candid moment.  Especially in such a moment.

Richard Armitage, after more than eight years as a fan, you still move me. Move me to tears, to smiles, to giggles, to that funny little flutter in my heart and in my stomach.

I like RA just a little shaggy and grungy around the edges . . .


Every time Richard Armitage’s hair begins to grow out a tad I have a little celebration. It’s not that he isn’t still very attractive with the cropped head, because he is. He could shave his head and tattoo it and no doubt I’d still fancy him. It’s just that for me, Richard is even more attractive when those tempting nape curls begin to sprout in back and that endearing cowlick starts to kick up a fuss on top. When there’s enough of that soft-looking hair to imagine running one’s fingers through the waves and playfully messing it up. When there’s a stray lock of hair that begs to be pushed back . . . 654c9c1752e6bab9c8df1d082a4ab725


I certainly didn’t find Francis Dolarhyde’s scar from cleft palate surgery off-putting in terms of his physical appearance, and the musculature RA honed for the character was, erm, inspiring, to say the least. But I think of how Reba said Dolarhyde’s co-workers described him as “clean.” And he was certainly that: clean-shaven, very short hair, clothing crisp and perfectly laundered, ironed and buttoned up to the last button. Not a hair nor thread out-of-place. That quality I DID find off-putting.  A little disarray can be appealing, you know?


Only later, as Francis succumbed more and more to his own special brand of “Dragon sickness,” did we see him trade his buttoned-down look for sexy black leather (reminiscent, apparently, of a look Hannibal had sported, but for long-time RA fans, it was Lucas North he was channeling) and–ooh, look!–heavy stubble.  This version of Francis scared the ever-loving sh*t out of me, but I can’t deny I thought he also looked very good doing it.  If he’d had nape curls, too—*wibble*


source: Candida Brady


Of course, it was Sir Guy of Gisborne who first introduced me to RA as an actor, and Sir Guy’s raven locks were part and parcel of his persona.  Richard had to wear “baby” hair extensions in the back until he could grow his own “medieval mullet” for the first two seasons.  And then, for RH’s final season–we were rewarded with Guy’s Glorious Mane (and one excellent set of long hair extensions. My compliments to the set hairdresser).

In the beginning, that mane was a wild, dirty tangle worn by a drunken, vengeful man half-mad with grief and self-loathing AND OHMYGOD WAS I SMITTEN.  And introduced to the great art of hair acting via Richard Armitage.



We had two Guyless episodes (during which RA was shooting some additional scenes for Spooks) but oh, how it was worth it when Glamour Guy (fresh from Prince John’s Red Door Spa, it seemed) reappeared before our eyes.  Still, Guy being Guy, he wasn’t completely tamed (even if his lustrous locks were). And we wouldn’t want him any other way.  He was like a gorgeous black stallion . . .  proud and defiant.  And the way he could toss that mane with arrogance, anger and frustration!

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I loved how Richard incorporated his long S3 locks into Guy’s character arc. And how he equally “rocked the locks” when it came to Thorin’s beautiful long tresses in The Hobbit trilogy. Hard to imagine that character without the long, wavy dark mane shot through with silver and those fetching braids . . .


Of course, like Guy, Thorin was also magnificent when he wasn’t in the midst of a fray. Behold, Glamour Dwarf!

Richard kept his real hair quite short during the period of shooting TH (not surprising with that dome he had to wear atop his head plus that voluminous wig) and it was short for “Into the Storm” and close-cropped for his role in “The Crucible” on stage in London last year.  It will also be short in “Sleepwalker” and “Pilgrimage.”

For the role of Chop in “Urban and the Shed Crew,” we get Richard with long hair as he dons extensions once more.  Chop is definitely not a character that looks as if he just stepped out of a band box and I doubt “clean” is the first adjective that would pop into people’s minds when describing him. He’s shaggy-haired, doesn’t appear to shave too often, and mostly likes to dress down in fatigue jackets, plaid shirts with rolled up sleeves and faded jeans.  And I think Chop’s rather beautiful even when he’s a bit bloodied up and in need of some first aid. 213b91d0fc677a0e3e58cf34ccb07aaf (1)



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And OK, it looks like it would be fun to get up close and personal with Chop . . . as Anna Friel’s character does here. 😉


Richard and his ChaRActers clean up nicely, no doubt about it.  But there’s something about the man of many faces when he’s more casual, shall we say–the “blue jeans and t-shirt or plaid shirt” RA–that is really appealing to me. Perhaps because I can more easily relate to that image rather than the gobsmackingly stunning man in a designer tuxedo . . . perhaps he seems more approachable, more like someone I might know in real life?  Someone I might sit down and share a snack with and shoot the breeze?



Maybe it’s the plaid shirts with the rolled-up sleeves . . . the hairy forearms . . . and the floppy hair.  And stubble.  *sigh*

Whatever, he’s got it.

(Yeah, baby, he’s got it!!)

And I like *it*with a little extra hair on top. 😉


I hear it’s your biRthdAy (Na-na-na-na-NANA-na-na)


Richard Armitage, you really are a pretty special guy.

And I have very high standards when it comes to the men I admire, crush on, fall in love with and marry. I did the latter two deeds over 30 years ago and haven’t regretted a moment I’ve spent with one incredibly smart, talented, witty, kind and cuddly guy, a gentle man whose smiles are always reflected in those pretty blue eyes of his. As I said, I know how to pick ’em.

So here it is, the 44th birthday of my favorite actor. I hope you feel really good about what you’ve accomplished since your last birthday.  You’ve certainly been productive, and it seems to me the projects you’ve done are things that really interest and challenge you.

My timeline may be slightly jumbled. I am not only nearly 11 years your senior, I am also feeling lots of “discognition” of late–but anyway, here goes!0a4b2e8b886ae86caf1cbde381e61887

Last summer you managed to win over the hearts of critics and audiences alike with the raw intensity of your performance night after night in “The Crucible,” earning your first (but, I am confident, NOT the last) Olivier Award nomination for best actor. So proud for you!





Later in the year we all marveled once more at Thorin’s majesty, fretted and feared for him in the depths of his madness, grieving his loss with our tears as “The Hobbit” trilogy came to a close (my own dear blue-eyed fella was so kind when I started weeping in the theater). You were nominated and won a Saturn Award for your performance as Thorin–and it was much deserved, my dear fellow. That character has certainly brought you a legion of new fans of both sexes and in a wide range of ages.






You also have three films in the can (or in post production), “Urban,” “Sleepwalker” and “Pilgrimage” offering you three diverse roles: a disillusioned former social worker turned unlikely savior in the UK of a generation ago, a doctor in a contemporary psychological thriller and a medieval French nobleman in a period action/adventure tale.

Production is underway on “Brain on Fire,” you’ve got a cameo in a Tim Burton fantasy film and there is that Edith Wharton period drama project, along with the action film “Clearance” coming up for you.28a955f11c4110059bb9f27a1cdeb31e




And right now—I am anticipating the 12th episode of “Hannibal.” I admit I am feeling sad to know there are only two more new eps counting this one for me to watch. It’s been such a treat to see you on American TV, to be able to DVR your performances and re-watch them when I choose to do so. And I am absolutely thrilled your performance as Francis has been so well received!
hannibalgifra as francis fractured edit

As much as I was dreading this role in some ways, and as difficult as it is for me to watch certain scenes (when the Red Dragon was beating the sh*t out of Francis, I knew you had to be inflicting pain on yourself, too), I am mesmerized by your performance, by all the careful and artful shadings you bring to this role.

Dolarhyde is a monster and yet he is also, as Reba says, “a sweet man.” He’s a calculating and methodical killer of entire families and a tender lover with a touch of the poet in his soul, all bundled into one complex package. I am, indeed, in awe of what you bring to the character of Francis Dolarhyde. Bravo!

Of course, there have also been all the interviews and appearances to promote the various projects, which you managed with your usual grace, good humor and aplomb during the past year. It’s always a pleasure when you are given the opportunity to talk about your craft. And it’s always fun to see what you are wearing! 😉



So I raise my glass of sweet tea in a toast to you, dear Richard–Happy Birthday today and for many years to come. I look forward to seeing what this next year brings for you!

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Read this book. You won’t regret it. ‘Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness’


Having learned of Richard Armitage’s latest film project, rather late last night I decided to purchase (via my Nook) Susannah Calahan’s harrowing account of her battle with a mysterious illness that threatened her sanity and her life. I fully intended to read a couple of chapters at most. So much for good intentions.

I stayed up until close to dawn with only 40 or so pages (including the afterword) left to go. I finished reading it this morning. CJw1a8IUYAEmFgr

Photo tweeted by Richard Armitage as he headed back to Canada for his latest film project, based on Susannah Calahan’s best seller. Looks as if he’s started his note taking on his character, Tom Calahan, Susannah’s father.


There are best sellers that I don’t think deserve to be best sellers. Thank heavens this non-fiction account is not in that category.   Susannah has to put all her well-honed journalistic skills to use to write this memoir. Her “month of madness” is all an incredibly muddled blur for the reporter, a painful period she seeks to reconstruct by interviewing medical personnel, co-workers, family members, her boyfriend and others. She reads their journal entries and watches the videotapes shot while she is in the hospital.

What she sees is this pasty-faced, underfed creature prone to seizures and hallucinations, riddled with paranoia, struggling at times to form her words. Someone who can be violent and combative, forced to wear restraints, or silent and rigidly staring into space.

That Susannah is barely recognizable as the bright, outgoing, ambitious and fiercely independent young New York Post reporter everybody knows.

The book recounts her struggle to discover what is causing her physical and mental decline as she tries to make her way back to some semblance of normality and sanity. Early on, one doctor tells her to quit drinking and going out and get more sleep and she will be just fine. Another puts her on antipsychotics for schizophrenia. Susannah is doggedly determined she is bi-polar. Physicians seemingly give up on her when a battery of medical tests and examinations keep ruling out various diseases and conditions.

However, her boyfriend Stephen and her family do not give up. The moral support they give her throughout her ordeal  is inspiring and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Richard will be playing the role of Tom Calahan, father of Susannah. Tom and Susannah’s mother are divorced. Both remarried, they make a point of avoiding one another whenever possible (it was clearly not an amicable split).  Yet when this crisis arises, they manage to put aside their mutual animosity to focus on their daughter and her needs. And she has never needed them more as her inflamed brain continues to attack her body.

An emotionally detached man whose relationship with his own father was strained, Tom and Susannah have never been particularly close. Behind that wall of reserve, however, beats a fiercely loyal, protective and caring heart. There is no doubt he loves his child. If he has to curse out a group of medical students so Susannah can get a little peace and quiet, then so be it. He gives her positive words to repeat like mantras. Sometimes, he cries.
I have absolutely no doubt Richard will bring all the shading, all the complexity to this role we could desire and more. He makes a great onscreen dad (think of Porter and Lexi in Strike Back, Peter Macduff in Shakespeare Retold or Gary in Into the Storm, not to mention Thorin serving as a father figure to his nephews in the TH trilogy).  Plenty of opportunity to share fatherly angst and protectiveness and love here.





The fact that Susannah was able to write this book lets you know there is ultimately a happy ending for her.  By sharing her story of battling what turned out to be auto-immune encephalitis, first via an article for the Post and later in her book, she has helped others with the same condition ultimately get the right diagnosis and treatment. She has given people true hope, and that is always a good thing to give.


(Above is a link to learn more about the condition)

It took courage to write her story.  Courage to go back and retrace the steps of her “month of madness” and read those words, see those images, to hear how much she had frightened and dismayed those who loved her, to discover just how sick she truly was.



Calahan speaking to an audience at Yale about the early signs something was amiss. On the screen to her left are images of her in her hospital bed.

It will be a challenging role for any actress. At only 18, Chloe Grace Moretz is actually several years younger than Calahan was when she fell ill (24), yet she has a certain maturity for her age that will bode well for her portrayal.  I’ve read interviews with her and was impressed with her maturity and level-headedness.

I first saw Chloe in “Let Me In,” the English language version of the Swedish horror thriller “Let the Right Ones In” and she made a strong impression on me. She was also delightful, alternating between tough crime fighter and vulnerable kid in the irreverent “Kick-Ass” and has appeared in a diverse collection of films, from the remake of “Carrie” to YA favorite “If I Stay.”  It doesn’t hurt that she also bears a good resemblance to the author. Photos of both Calahan and Moretz.

Susannah Cahalan recently returned to her beat at the New York Post after recovering from autoimmune encephahalitis.  Photo by Zandy Mangold

Susannah Cahalan recently returned to her beat at the New York Post after recovering from autoimmune encephahalitis. Photo by Zandy Mangold

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The fact that the gifted actress Charlize Theron is a producer for the film is another plus for me.

I will be eager to learn more about the upcoming film, and eager to hear your own thoughts as you read Calahan’s memoir. A highly recommended read, and not just for Richard Armitage fans.  The book is available for Nook and Kindle and there is an audio edition from Audible.com as well as in traditional book form.

Here’s a link to the author’s official website


Congrats, Mr A. Looks like you had a fun night. And richly deserved.


I hope your Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Fantasy film–your truly epic performance as Thorin in The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies –is just the first in many more accolades won for your acting prowess. You looked as if you were having a good time hanging out with the Hannibal peeps. And that cool trophy echoes the selfie you recently posted. A premonition of things to come? 😉11061955_809071129210855_8692823586910927282_nAnd what do you know? The flower crown teased on Twitter appeared on that handsome head after your win. CIZ5iNiUwAAgR2Q


And somehow it all made me think of an image like this (with apologies to Caravaggio):


I hope you enjoyed good drink, good food and good friends on your big night. You deserve it.

P.S. Loving the slightly longer hair (any way I could talk you into growing out those nape curls? Pretty please?) and that neatly trimmed beard. And those faithful old boots.  😉 Those boots make certain fans VERY happy.

Cinemablend: Hannibal, HACF two of ‘great shows not nearly enough people are watching’


I was reading an article online the other day, and it recommended other stories, and somehow or another I ended up running across a link to a Cinemablend article by Jessica Rawden titled “7 Great Shows Not Nearly Enough People are Watching.” My curiosity was piqued and I had a look.


The number one show on their list? “Hannibal.” Of course, as you all surely know by now, Richard is currently filming his role in this critically acclaimed NBC series as serial killer Francis Dolarhyde, aka the Tooth Fairy, featured in the Thomas Harris novel and film “Red Dragon” (and the movie “Manhunter”).  Another show on the list which some of us found addictive during its freshman season, offering the “collateral attraction” of Thranduil himself, Lee Pace is “Halt and Catch Fire.”

Here’s what the article had to say about “Hannibal”—

‘NBC’s Hannibal is currently gearing up for its third season premiere. While the drama is probably one of the most-watched on this list, it has potentially been up for cancellation every season, thanks to airing on network television rather than on cable. This time around, NBC will air the series as part of its summer lineup, and we hope that will prove to be a good spot for the thrilling drama. Give Hannibal a watch; it may give you nightmares, but in this case, that’s a good thing.’ 

I am hoping the black humor and stylized approach to the murders reputed to be found on “Hannibal” will keep it from being too much of a stomach-churning experience for me. Then again, it’s going to feature the incredible Richard in six episodes of US television I don’t have to do anything of suspect legality to watch, so I will be on board anyway. 😀


The article says this about “Halt and Catch Fire”–

‘Halt and Catch Fire is one of the rare cable dramas with lower ratings that still managed to nab a second season on the network. It’s a tough series to sell, following the rise of a computer start-up in Texas and the various problems the team encounters as they attempt to do the impossible: create a brand new computer brand. Regardless, Halt and Catch Fire had one of the most compelling pilots we’ve ever seen, not to mention an intense first season featuring incredible performances from Lee Pace (Ronan in Guardians of the Galaxy) and Scoot McNairy (Argo). Maybe this time around, more people will be willing to plug in to the series. If not, it’ll stay on our under-watched programs list.’  

I really do hope more people give HACF a chance–it definitely captured my interest in that first season, in spite of the fact I am not exactly a computer nerd (A nerd, yes. Computer nerd, no.) The series offers intelligent scripts, some fine acting on the part of Pace and Scoot McNairy in particular, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and thinking. It’s a bit of a nostalgia kick, too. 😀

You can see the entire article by clicking on the link below:


I am currently spending a week here with my sister and BIL . . . and packed the novel “Red Dragon” to read and the DVD of  BOTFA to watch on the computer at night when I can’t sleep.  So RA came with me–


–but then again, he always is with me. You all know what I mean. 😉



Richard Armitage: So Much to AppReCiAte. Remember, it’s ALL good.



Richard Armitage is all that and a bag of chips. An extra-large bag of Golden Flakes, made right here in Alabama and one of  favorite guilty pleasures to this day.


golden-flake-potato-chips-86225Actually, I prefer their regular chips for everyday eating, but the hot variety seemed ever so appropriate for the subject at hand . .

I believe we all can agree that Richard is enormously talented and versatile in his gifts. The man can act phenomenally well, using every facet of his physical being–that deep, earthy voice, amazingly mobile face, those big, elegant hands and so much more–to bring his characters to vivid (and at time, heart-wrenching) life. We can easily believe he is the individual he is portraying as we take a journey alongside him. We watch, we listen, hang on the edge of our seats as we hold our collective breath; we cheer and we shed tears. We mourn. We do not forget. Those characters, this man, sticks with us.



Richard as Thorin back inside Erebor for the first time in years. Courtesy of The Arkenstone-ck.tumblr.com

Along with those acting chops we have a man who can sing, play instruments, ride horseback and perform fight scenes with the grace and agility of the professional dancer he once was.  All that he has experienced in his life and learned and trained for in each of his roles has helped bring him to where he is today–an increasingly acclaimed actor of both stage and screen with several new projects on the horizon. Workaholic that he appears to be, I don’t think we have to worry about Richard “resting” (as unemployed actors refer to being in between roles) for very long.



He’s also a consummate professional described in glowing terms by co-stars, crew members, scriptwriters and directors. Richard is hard working and humble, affable and kind, generous and good hearted with an infectious laugh that reaches right up into  those twinkling blue eyes. What’s not to love?

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Now, not only is he an amazing talent, he also happens to be really, really attractive.  Easy on the eyes with that arrestingly handsome face and the sort of tall, broad-shouldered masculine physique that invites daydreams and fantasies.  “Oh child of Venus, you’re just made for love . . .” He was always a cutie, but I swear he’s grown into more masculine gorgeousness with each passing year.

And it’s perfectly OK to celebrate that physical beauty along with his intelligence, talent, work ethic, charisma and charitable instincts. Because these qualities, inner and outer, are all part and parcel of what makes Richard Armitage Richard Armitage. And keeps us coming back for more . . . and more.

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So don’t be hatin’ on bloggers who take time out from their serious discussions of his work to light-heartedly enjoy the siren call of Mr. Armitage’s outward qualities, whether it be nipples, biceps, bum or other physical attributes. Because it’s ALL good. Just like a big ol’ bag of Golden Flakes . . .

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



                              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.

PicMonkey Collagezoeandbenny

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.


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.


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.”



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.

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!

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.


Fedoralady returns to ask a favor & express loads of thanks


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)



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).



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.



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.

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!





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


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 . . .


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.

“Richard Armitage . . . the performance of the trilogy” from Empire Magazine


DJ at Heirs of Durin has posted the extensive article featuring quotes from all the principal BOTFA actors and several photos I haven’t seen before. Click on the link to see it:


He flies through the air with the greatest of ease. BTS photo of RA battling stuntmen in gimp suits representing orcs–from Empire Magazine.

OK, I confess. First thing, I always look for any quotes from and/or mention of RA in these stories. Then I read what it has to say about the other actors.

While I am at it, let me confess to something else: no offense meant to Evangeline Lilly or Orlando Bloom, but when I see previews of upcoming holiday films and their names, along with Martin and Sir Ian, are included amongst the stars of BOTFA in bold print–and Richard’s isn’t–I am major-league irritated. Call it Armitage Protection Mode if you well; call it the fact I have been miserably sick the last few days and am feeling more prickly than usual, but Thorin and the actor who plays him are simply more important to these films than those two are.  Martin as Bilbo may be the heart of the trilogy, but Richard as Thorin is the soul.  Thorin is described in the article as “the catalyst for conflict” for the final film.

The Empire writer, Ian Nathan also refers to Richard as the actor arguably giving the performance of  the trilogy.” There is also a mention of how Armitage clearly loves “the dark juice of his character.” 



One of five covers for the December issue of Empire. I like it. 😀

And we all know he does dark and juicy well (Sir Guy is lounging in the corner, one saturnine brow raised and a smirk crossing his stubbled face. “Indeed,” The Dark, Juicy Knight purrs).


I am beginning to look forward to the film more than earlier–I have had conflicted feelings about the final film, and the need to say goodbye once more to a beloved, charismatic Richard Armitage character. I know that he will give a fantastic performance and I will need to get out the handkerchiefs. He may not receive a single award for all his hard work and artistry and commitment to the character, but it won’t be because he doesn’t deserve it.

And of course, just like Guy and Porter and Lucas and Proctor and any other of his characters who have “officially” shuffled off their mortal coils, Thorin will be So Not DEAD.


As Guy can tell you, it’s a pretty sweet deal.


I will follow him, wherever he goes: The Chiaroscuro of Thorin



Found this on Pinterest. Would love to have one in a long-sleeved version . . .

I just saw the latest TV trailer for BOTFA. Not a lot of Thorin, but, oh! That scene where he turns his eyes–those beautiful, expressive eyes–to his company, and asks, “Will you follow me, one last time?”  And that lump comes to my throat again and I feel the sting in my own eyes.


Found on Pinterest. Not my edit, and not that scene to which I referred, but the expression captivates me.


Of course I will follow, my king. You may be a dwarf (but what a charismatic, majestic and beautiful one!), and I, a mere human, and completely useless with a sword or axe or bow and arrow, but I will follow. Heck, you might actually be a fictional character, but your CReAtor made me believe in you, believe in your quest, agonise over what is to come for you, the returned King Under the Mountain, and your kinsmen.



I know Peter Jackson has complete faith in the CReAtor’s ability to bring you to life, with all the lights and darks of this complex character, deeply flawed in some respects and yet so kingly, so admirable and so easy for us to follow both in spite of and because of it all.


This was one of my vocabulary words for the day delivered to my inbox this morning, and it struck me as an apt description of what RA achieves with his acting:

chiaroscuro: In painting, the use of deep variations in and subtle gradations of light and shade, especially to enhance the delineation of character and for general dramatic effect. Rembrandt was a master of chiaroscuro.

(Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day)

Richard is the master artist of the detailed character; we learn to appreciate the subtle and varied shading of emotions he delivers from his palette. From a wistful remembrance of past glories to a fellow relaxed and enjoying a hearty meal with his family and comrades . . .

The arkenstone-ck.tumblr.com



From the proud and fierce warrior, always ready to enter the fray . . .



To a roaring lion, a force to be reckoned with . . .
One who can express a myriad of emotions with the flicker of an eyelash, a tilt of his head, the tightening of that jaw–silence speaking of an inner storm.

He’s an amazing actor and, I believe, a wonderful human being to boot. And so, dear Thorin, I will follow you into The Edge (local theater) with my Kleenex in hand in a few weeks. And Richard, although I have short breaks away from you due to work projects, health issues and money woes (we had limited/no access to internet for the past 10 days due to the la), I keep coming back. There’s just something about you . . .


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And I swear, it’s not just the tush. Although it’s Grade A like the rest of you (inside and out). 😀

‘We all get addicted to something that takes away the pain’



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Mr. Armitage has the power to make me as happy as a fluffy kitten with its favorite toy.  Just sayin’ . . .

I was on the run, caught in a maze of long, crooked, dimly light corridors, trying to get away from the faceless guy who was chasing me. I swung around a corner when a secret panel popped open in the grey wall. Bill Nighy stuck out his head. “Here, use this,” he said in a whisper, before handing me a stack of yellow Post-It notes and disappearing as the panel closed. I threw the notes at my pursuer and—-

Wham! I woke up cocooned in my bedclothes on the floor. This happened a couple of nights ago.

The fall didn’t do any more damage to the wrist, which has made a marked improvement since the injection almost two weeks ago  (for this, I am most grateful). However, the old pleurisy adhesions which had already been plaguing me, plus a new condition I believe is costochondritis (a painful inflammation of the cartilage connected to the sternum) didn’t much approve of my nocturnal exploits. Let’s just say I’ve had an uncomfortable couple of days.  This, too, shall pass.

Why I dreamed about Bill Nighy (a favorite character actor of mine, but I haven’t seen him in anything recently) and sticky notes as a weapon, I have no idea.  I think the whole thriller scenario and being chased has to do with too many bills and not enough money. At least they haven’t literally starting chasing me; the phone, email and snail mail messages are quite enough, thank you.

Richard Armitage, I’m hurtin’ and feelin’ old and tired and so broke I can’t afford to pay attention . . . take me away. The muscle relaxers and aspirin can only do so much to soften the pain and lift my spirits.  The heating pad helps, but it’s not anywhere close to being as appealing as y0u, alas (maybe if I had a cover with your photo on it? Hmmmm . . .).



And even if can’t afford to indulge in DVDs and books and other Armitage-related stuff this year the way I would love to, oh, the goodies I can snaffle from FB, Pinterest, fellow bloggers and other places. Armitage fans believe in sharing the wealth, bless their besotted little hearts.  Some of my recently found favorites . . . Richard’s glorious smiles in Thorin’s guise, the ponytail and crinkles, the Tongue of Concentration, the humor,  the focus, the sweetness, the hands, the EYES.  It’s all good. I may be in physical pain and feeling stressed and worried, but I can and I do also count my blessings . . . and one of them is Richard Armitage. ❤  There’s bang for your buck even when you aren’t spending any bucks! 😀













It all matters. Our life right now. And Richard’s smile on Thorin.


(Sorry, this post isn’t the most upbeat I have ever shared, but it’s honest. And there’s some hope sprinkled in, because I am essentially an optimist. 😉 )

We are about to go into the season of giving. I have already started seeing the charities popping up on the caller ID. I don’t answer the phone because I know I will have to decline.

My sister paid our mortgage for last month. She is an angel, but I have known that forever.  We probably won’t be able to pay this month’s installment until next month.

Ever heard of robbing Peter to pay Paul? Yeah, it’s like that. Who absolutely HAS to be paid, and who will just have to wait their turn.  I’ve been picking up more work with the newspaper (thank you, Tracy) and also sold more of my jewelry and collectibles, and that’s brought in a few hundred dollars, but it all seems like just a drop in the bucket.

On one hand, I am so pleased to finally see progress being made with this arm and wrist of mine. I got an injection in my wrist yesterday and go back in two weeks. Dr. Chavan is happy to see improvement, but neither of us believes I am where I need to be yet.  I WILL get there, even if it takes being sent to the “wrist man” for surgery.  I’ve been fighting with this since May, close to six months, and I am finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. For that, I am deeply grateful.

On the other hand, the co-pays are eating us alive. And I feel guilty about it. Guilty that my husband is falling asleep at his desk at work because he can’t sleep at night. I hate seeing him looking so tired. Normally a stoic kind of guy, Benny actually admitting how bushed he is indicates to me he really is desperately in need of a break, and in more ways than one.

And I am desperately tired myself; the Chronic Fatigue is hammering me, on top of the FMS, all exacerbated by the tendon and ligament damage on my left side.  It’s one day, one hour, sometimes one minute at a time. I do pretty well putting on a game face for local friends and acquaintances, but underneath it all . . . sometimes I want to curl up with my blue fleece throw and have a good old cry.


So I really needed this quote I found on Pinterest today, a reminder that the small and seemingly insignificant things I can actually do, that any of us can do, make a difference. They count; they matter. I may not be able to donate to worthy causes or participate in some events because of my lack of funds and/or my physical limitations, but I can still find enjoyment and purpose and do good for others in my own way. I don’t know, maybe some of you need to be reminded, too . . .



And seeing all the beauty and humor and sweet humanity in this face doesn’t hurt either.