Rules of Engagement or Man, I Miss This Place

I certainly have great affection for Richard Armitage, which is still a bit weird to me. Not because it’s weird to have great fondness for someone well-known who you don’t know. I’ve had several celebrities whom I think of fondly. Jack Lemmon was the first one. He did so many wonderful pieces. I remember the first time I saw Some Like It Hot. I was smitten with Jack Lemmon. I think I was about 11 years old at the time. I was a fan for life. But I have to confess, I never stared dreamily at Jack Lemmon’s eyes. It wasn’t that kind of relationship. You know what I’m sayin’.

But back to Richard Armitage and this place which can still have me examining my navel. I used to wish that weren’t so, that I could just move on and not wonder how and why I’m even here. But I don’t do that any longer. I’m here (maybe not as much recently), and I’m fine with the continual examination of why I’m here. The day I stop asking myself what’s motivating me or what’s motivating others is the day I don’t want to be around. Motivation is huge to me. Yep, that’s right, I do wonder what drives people. It’s an obsession with me. I admit it! Why do people (including myself) do what they do? I have had that question in my mind since I was old enough to remember anything. My parents used to complain about my incessant questions about everything but most of all my wondering aloud continually at why someone did something or didn’t do something.

SO has said on more than one occasion that I question everything that moves, and if it doesn’t, I kick it until it does. He’s right. I know he’s right, but is that so wrong? SO’s answer was that I needed to be writing about it instead of talking about it. I resisted that because hey, I’m a math person. I’m a techie. I’m a bean counter type. We don’t write. That was the goofy thinking that infested my head. I was also raised by a writer. She won awards for it, and she didn’t think I could write (or so I thought), and therefore, I didn’t think I could write. I was encouraged to do math, because she wasn’t that great in math and was elated that I was.

But there’s something about being a writer that I’ve discovered. It took me a while to figure it out because I was so entrenched in my stupid slot of STEM person. And it’s this — if you’re a writer, you cannot help it. You are going to write. You are going to delve and ponder and discuss. You cannot help it. It’s who you are. You are driven to do this no matter that you adamantly refused to ever, ever, ever associate the word writer with yourself.

So where was Richard Armitage in all of that? He’s the catalyst, man. SO was a little concerned about my Richard Armitage obsession until he realized Richard Armitage was instrumental in getting me to write. And man, am I writing. I’ve been writing and writing and at some point I stopped calling it a memoir for my kids. Oh, I am still writing for that reason as well, but I’ve gone way beyond that. I now want to publish something dammit. We’ll see if I can pull it off, but that’s my goal. And it’s my goal because I am a storyteller. I’ve been doing that for years. When I worked for a large corporation and traveled around to speak to customers or employees, one of my greatest strengths was not just my technical knowledge, but that I could engage the audience with my storytelling. Sadly, it doesn’t matter how technical someone may be. If they can’t talk, they won’t be heard. Truth be told I used to want to think my success at that company was due to my great technical ability. That wasn’t the case. Oh, I do have good skills (not great but good). I’m also a realist and know it was my ability to communicate that allowed me to move up so quickly. That simple. I just got confused with all the technical stuff. But I’ve figured it out now. It was my engagement with the audience and my ability to convince someone to follow what I was saying that made me successful.

Maybe I can do that with fiction. No, scratch that. I plan to do that with fiction.

Bold words? Certainly, but then the timid are the ones who are not in the arena, and the arena (whatever it may be) is where you find the fun.

Should I write a letter to Richard? Nah, I’ll save it for another day. I’m crunched for time this morning.

How ’bout a picture:

Phew. A great screencap of Richard. I snagged this from Twitter, but it’s from Larygo.tumblr. Whoever that is, you, or whoever, did a great job enhancing it. Thank you!

Photo of Jack Lemmon from the movie “Some Like It Hot”, directed by Billy Wilder. Jack Lemmon as ‘Daphne’. Initial theatrical release March 29, 1959. Screen capture. © 1959 Ashton Productions. Credit: © 1959 Ashton Prod. / Flickr / Courtesy Pikturz. Image intended only for use to help promote the film, in an editorial, non-commercial context.

SpReAd the Love Book Challenge 2015

This post is part of the SpReAd the Love movement started in the Richard Armitage fandom by JazzBaby1 and Obscura. It has included all sorts of giving with this time being an annual event of book giving in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. In that interest, I’ve decided to give some books to my “local” children’s hospital. I put local in quotes because the hospital is four hours from where I am, but I consider it my local children’s hospital, and it also holds a special place for SO and me.

During the weeks after SO received his transplant, he and I stayed at a hotel across the street from the children’s hospital and came to know many parents and grandparents of patients, also got to know their stories, and in some cases made some good friends. One of the recurring comments among these family members was the desire to not only see their children or grandchildren get well but also to see them smile and be lighthearted. When this challenge came around a couple of years ago, I knew immediately what I wanted to do, and this year I’m finally doing it! Later this month, we will be giving the hospital several copies of three of our favorite children’s books. Each of these has a hardcover and a library binding which hopefully means they will last awhile.

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An autobiographical picture book celebrates dePaola’s childhood relationship with his grandfather–“We’re named after each other, Tommy. That’s why I want you to call me Tom instead of Grandpa.” Together they read the Sunday comics, share stories, or tend to the butcher section of Tom’s store. While the actual story line is minimal–Tommy gets in trouble for scaring classmates with a chicken-foot prank Tom taught him–the fans who cherish these reminiscences (adults as well as children) will welcome this skillful evocation of an all-important intergenerational bond. Touches of old-world humor and wisdom add sparkle to the tale, in which dePaola’s idiosyncratic, apple-cheeked characters are rendered in bright, sunny colors. The sepia-toned portraits, simulating pictures from a scrapbook, that adorn the jacket and title page enhance the book’s nostalgic tone. Ages 4-8.

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Children definitely will not keep straight faces. — “Kirkus Reviews”
Ages 3-8.

 

 

 

 

 

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Miss Nelson is Missing

 

Miss Nelson can’t control her crazy classroom because she’s just too nice. But when she disappears, her replacement is the hard-as-nails, detention-loving, recess-canceling, homework-overloading substitute teacher Viola Swamp! With the Big Test approaching, the kids suddenly realize how much they miss Miss Nelson and they’ll do anything — including hiring a private eye — to solve the mystery of her disappearance and bring her back. Ages 4-8.

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If you would like to join the Challenge, there is more information here.

Finally Saw Into the Storm

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SO and I were finally able to see this movie last night. And here’s a one sentence review for those in a hurry: I liked it!

Yep, that’s right, a Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte’ loving fan likes her some action adventure. Psst: don’t tell the action fans or it will spoil my image, but then I did say there is one way to turn us hopeless romantics into action fans. But that’s not the only reason in this case.

Into the Storm is a great summer ride, which is exactly what I thought it was going to be, and I was not disappointed. As well, I agree with several fans who said Max Deacon did a great job. We will certainly be seeing more of him. I also thought the rest of the cast did well. I already liked Matt Walsh. I knew almost nothing about Sarah Wayne Callies, and now I know something, and I like her. She can fawn over Richard any day of the week. Just wish it were in a movie. LOL! I also liked Alycia Debnam-Carey and Arlen Escarpeta. Both of them held their own. Jeremy Sumpter played the perfect guy caught in something bigger than he was, and Kyle Davis and Jon Reep were a scream. Their characters Donk and Reevis were the perfect comic relief.

But I adored Nathan Kress. I had never seen much of anything with him except when I was briefly passing through the room where my youngest child was watching iCarly a few years ago. I’ll have to think about exactly what it was about Nathan, but for now, the few times he was heard or seen, his charisma was huge!

I’ll cover Richard in another post.

Dear Mr. Garner,

Thank you, thank you for the ride. All of it. I know other fans have already thanked you for all the fun we’ve had, but I had to do it too. And Into the Storm was worth the $11.50 admission + $10.00 for popcorn and a drink x 2. My SO and I had a lot fun, and I even got a little choked during one scene and did not expect that. LOL!

Thanks again,
One of Richard’s crazy fans

P.S. SO felt the same about the movie. I was going to ask him to write a review, but I cheated last time with the first Hobbit movie. :D

Yep, I am Insane. It’s Official

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I think I have gone insane for real, but I’ve done this for SO. I swear. He’s a Kevin Spacey fan. Actually, the whole family are fans especially second oldest daughter. She had a massive crush on Spacey when she was a teen. I told her, “You do realize he’s older than I am?” She said, “I don’t care. He has a beautiful mind.” This may explain why her current boyfriend is 12 years older. Oy. No, seriously, I like her boyfriend and SO does too.

But where was I?

Oh yeah, talking about something I did that’s nuts. I entered the drawing for The House of Cards. When SO was sick and could barely do anything, he watched a lot of shows on Netflix, and that was one of them. He’s loved Spacey since The Usual Suspects.

That means if by some freak chance I win this contest, SO is going to love it. Touring the set of the show, eating barbeque with Kevin Spacey. Yep, that’s why I’ve done this. The BBQ is the perfect capper.

Freddy's BBQ Joint
SO is a major barbeque fan. Yeah, that’s what this is about and not because I’m caught up in the hysteria of this fan odyssey and just can’t stop spending money. I’m a tightwad, people!

Dear Mr. Spacey.

See, even a tightwad will spend money on fan shtuff. Hope you’re thinking about that video for The Crucible. Oh you don’t know what I’m talking about? I explain it here. And just so you know, there are lots of us who will push the video on our sites.

Signed,
Richard’s Crazy Fan, a fan whose purse strings have been irrevocably loosened by the man who played the tall, dark, handsome, cotton-mill owner

Actually, I am celebrating. I just finished two huge projects, and I’m about to get a serious paycheck. This also means that friends who have been waiting on me to help them finish their projects will now have my time more freely beginning Monday of next week — at least until the first part of July.

Dreams and the Passing of Time

I’m not quite as up on Google Alerts about Richard Armitage as I used to be, and really there’s no need since so many fan sites keep up. I appreciate that! Plus, it gives me time to do something I really love which is watching videos like this one below from my oldest kid.

She wrote this in a few minutes, taped it and sent it to me. And she’s got about 20 more, since she can’t seem to stop. This one is not perfect, but I love it. Not just because I think it’s a great song and has tons of potential but also for what it represents.

She is pursuing her dreams, which very definitely include a highly artistic facet — writing, photography and music, and who knows what else. It seems when someone is letting their artist flow, it just doesn’t stop. This interview with Viggo Mortensen speaks to the mentality and reminded me of how I really did think as a child — that there were no limits on what I could do or express.

But the kind of focus required for these endeavors has “real life” envious and continually trying to intrude. The ability to ignore real life then becomes paramount to the creative if they are ever to do anything significant. They must learn to hang onto the precious dreams of childhood.

SO and I did not have a great ability with this. We were forever trying to please our parents. Sadly, our parents and others preached such a conservative approach to life that it almost squelched the creative in us. It’s been a fight to keep it alive! Even my father who was fairly unorthodox and highly creative was very conservative when it came to my future. Don’t get a degree in music, don’t play in a band for a living, don’t go off to parts unknown to do photo essays, don’t, don’t, don’t, because (gasp!) you might experience some hard times. This was said incessantly. Guess what? I’ve experienced hard times anyway. Don’t we all?

With our children, SO and I have tried to take a better approach, tried to inspire yet prepare them for what they were getting into without demoralizing them. Don’t be stupid and still pursue your dreams is what we’ve said. Certainly, that’s hard, but anything worth doing…

This was also talked about, and thankfully, they seem to have taken it to heart. Two have ended up in New York to pursue their passions and one is on the west coast doing the same.

And who knows what’s going to happen. At worst, they will always know they tried.

© 2014

In the meantime, this child keeps writing as well as bartending in the city with her sister (they are middle and far right) and going to school (the “don’t be stupid” part):

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What does all of this have to do with Richard Armitage? I’m getting to it. It’s been slow, and I’ve dithered around for a couple of years about my diary in the process, because it’s been hard to figure out what I should publish and what I shouldn’t. But I’m determined to finish. I’ve also talked to a lot of people (including all of the people mentioned in the diary), and almost all have said go for it. Even before I started, I had permission from those put in the most unflattering light, but I have still struggled with publishing. I’m very loyal to my family and never want to cause them harm. But I think I’ve come to understand that what I reveal is not harmful but a common reality and perhaps how it resolved in my life will help someone else.

A Year Ago Today

No Richard Armitage in this, but I had to commemorate for myself if nothing else.

SO got a kidney transplant. About this time of day he was conked out, and the doctor came out of surgery to tell me everything was great and SO would be up in a couple of hours.

Then the fun really started as a roller coaster ride with SO’s meds, his condition, Social Security, Medicare, and ah, those trips to the ER. In the middle of all of it, I started a business, which I thank God is doing very well.

Crazy as all of that sounds, I would do it again if it meant SO would be as he is today — returned from the near dead. And every part of the experience has made me much more grateful for everyday from here on out. It’s not knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow or even the next few hours which makes me ever conscious of basking in what is good and not getting my knickers in a twist about things that do not matter.

And there’s our friend Mike, who was so kind and gracious to donate his kidney. For that I can never give enough thanks, but I’ll keep trying.

Thank you also to all of you who have sent me so many kind words of encouragement and often at times when I needed it most. You will never know how much that means.

Who Needs a Valentine…

Valentine’s Day happened, and I had the response I usually do which is no response. But the first year I was married, I became self-conscious about not celebrating Valentine’s. That was before I learned SO refused to be put in a box. Originally I thought it was a cop out on his part as most guys don’t like Valentine’s. But it turned out he was more romantic than I was.

And along the way I’ve figured out I’m not really sure how this love thing is to be done. I just know how SO and I have done it, and I’m satisfied with it. I’m satisfied with this man who has been charming, funny, witty and kind, and also gotten me out of my doldrums and self-centeredness on so many occasions. If he had not done that, I know I would have missed out on so many good times. Like the times afforded by his company who would give him a new car every couple of years, and he got to select it, and conservative me never would have picked this car, but SO did:

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and off we went down the highways and byways and always with a song to begin. This one:

The first time he put on that song, I rolled my eyes. He laughed and said, “Lighten up!” I did and quickly realized that song has the ability to put me in a mood which shouts, “Anything good can happen today!”

He followed that song with this one below, and while it was playing, he would usually look over at me and grin, which was actually a leer, and I would receive his message.

As I got into what we were doing, I began to have my favorites for the road. First was this:

And this:

SO also had his favorites:

And this one which is pretty much an anthem for SO:

Oh, yeah, and:


Before we knew it, we were up to three 90 minute tapes. We wore those tapes out going to San Francisco for July 4th, Washington D.C. for New Year’s, Florida for President’s Day, and many other trips. Some during holidays and some not. The best ones were spontaneous. We would have a few days off, get in the car, just start driving, and see where it took us. One time we ended up near Canada but didn’t have time to go across the border. We did that another time. And that may not sound like much, but we lived in Texas at the time.

SO went on to pick some other really cool vehicles while he worked for that company, and I have fond memories of all of them but mostly of him sitting in them.

Today I was remembering these things as I’ve done so many times, and I asked myself, “Who needs a Valentine when you have all of this?” I surely don’t and have not missed it.

No Richard Armitage segue other than to say:

Richard,

I hope you can find someone whom you can live, laugh and love with. It is sweet.

Signed,
A Crazy Fan who’s not that crazy about Valentine’s

I made a playlist of some of our road songs. They’re in no particular order but the first two, and it’s certainly not all of them. SO reminded me of a few I had forgotten. But I was too lazy to add them and leave you with a sampling indicative of our tastes.

edit: this post is in no way a commentary on the Valentine’s love being spread amongst fans. I think that’s great! :) This post is a response to myself. I’ve bitched about so much in life that I wanted to bask in something I should be ridiculously grateful for.