Mach die Leica startbereit!

Hobbit Premiere Berlin December 9, 2013Click for more info about the event.

I assume the German fans are aware of Richard Armitage’s plans to attend the Berlin premiere. In fact, the German fans are about the most knowledgeable of his movements. That’s based on my watching almost six years of how they act and react in the fandom. Germans are on it! And they give lots of in-depth assessments as well. I don’t think they can help themselves on this one. It’s generally a German trait to examine the dog out of everything, and I don’t say that as a criticism just an observation.

My view of this characteristic is mostly influenced by having married into a very German clan and thereby knowing lots and lots of Germans or Americans with a strong German ancestry. SO’s parents have almost no other than German. His grandparents and great grandparents also spoke with heavily accented English, and they were the type of people to encourage looking beyond the obvious. Always look beyond the obvious! Never swallow anything whole! It must be thoroughly chewed first! Yep, that’s the German psyche, and a big reason SO has always been into philosophy and theology and generally studying the pursuit of knowledge and truth. Again, none of this is a criticism. I love this about Germans.

The only problem is sometimes they get so into assessing and discussing a subject that they may not be concerned about recording something tangible for others to examine. In this case, I’m thinking we may not get many photos of Richard at the premiere. We’ll hear about it certainly, but I’m afraid the photos will be few. So yeah, this is my encouragement to take a few for the team, Meine Freunde.

My only qualm about this is the Armitage clan will be there. What that means, I don’t know, and whether or not it’s appropriate to take their pictures, I’m not sure. I tend to think their pictures should not be taken except for this comment, which almost seems like an invitation to record their presence:

Man, does he realize what this invites? Seriously, does he know what can happen when he makes a statement like this? Whatever the case, I hope we at least get some photos of him at the event. And I can’t wait to hear assessments. :D

note: feel free to correct my German!

#8 Being Cut Down to Size

This is part of my series of posts counting down to and through the Thanksgiving holidays and expressing my thankfulness for something I’ve received, experienced or participated in.

Brought down.

Defeats or setbacks, as I like to think of them, are what make us who we are and are a key part of being victorious. And how fitting that the dynamic is pervasive in nature. For example, if some plants of the same variety, age, size and living conditions are treated the same except one plant is pruned, the plant that’s been cut or “stressed” will eventually be much stronger and more productive than the one which was untouched.

Several years ago I was so curious about this phenomenon that I tried it with two rosebushes in my yard. These plants were about four feet apart, had been planted at the same time, taken care of the same way, and were about the same size. At the end of one summer, I whacked one of them down to about six inches. When I was done, I stood back to look, and the drastically pruned bush looked rather forlorn if not desolate as it stood in the shadow of the other bush. I felt I had gone too far, and during the winter, I fretted over killing that bush every time I looked at it, which was every time I pulled into my garage. There were a few times I was so irritated at what I’d done that I just wanted to dig it up and throw it away so it would not be around to remind me of my stupidity when the spring came.

Then spring came, and the little bush began to grow. A friend of mine who was the county agent at the time told me in order to really see the full effect stress can have, I could not give into the temptation to “baby” the pruned bush. It was hard, but I didn’t given in. The little bush got the same food and water the other bush received, and not long into the growing season, it was a foot or less shorter than the other bush. By the time the growing season was in full swing, the little bush was not only taller than the other one, but it was bursting with blooms. The other bush had about a third of the blooms.
Rose-Bush-2
One day when I was out in the yard, a neighbor came over and asked me what kind of food I was giving the bigger rosebush. I had to laugh when I told her what I had done, but there were also tears in my eyes. Not because I was so attached to a plant but rather I felt that little bush took what I gave it and made the most of it. That somehow it was grateful for just being there and getting fed and watered, and its response was to bloom!

This year SO and I have been been cut down numerous times. And it happened again the other day, but we have both been reviewing the purpose of this, and it’s not just because someone was thoughtless or mean and we suffered as a result. It’s worked more than that in us. We are grateful to be here, and despite the hardships and the touch and go existence at times, we are blooming. Maybe if I didn’t know God, I would still be in the same place. But I do know God, and it seems in His infinite wisdom He knows what He’s doing when hardship happens, and it can always produce something good even when things look like hell.

I can honestly tell you that if it weren’t for God, I would have done myself in by now from some of the things I’ve seen and experienced in the whole of my life. I look back on some events, and I can’t even believe they happened. Some will say I’ve created God as a coping mechanism. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But I know all of the hardships that happened when I was younger have done nothing but prepare me for what I faced this last year and also created a firm belief there is something greater than myself. So I’m glad for the cutting. Mostly, I’m glad to know that when stress is present, I still have hope, and that there is not only life after the stress but life while in it.

note: I realize this is not the subject of this blog, but I never promised to always talk about Richard Armitage. Maybe when I’m done with this series, I’ll go back to my insanity and we can all have a good laugh. For now, I’m hanging with this. :)

#10 Love’s Labour Not Lost

This is part of my series of posts counting down to Thanksgiving and expressing my thankfulness for something I’ve received, experienced or participated in.

Working.

When I was a kid, it seemed I always had chores to do. Sometimes people who look back on their childhoods realize they had an exaggerated view of what they were asked to do as kids. That is not my case. I was an only child for almost 11 years, and by the time my brother came along, my parents were used to treating me almost as an adult. I started driving at the age of ten, and that was because my mother had a very complicated pregnancy while carrying my brother. When school time rolled around, Mom was pretty sick and on bed rest. She gave me some money, and I drove to a nearby clothing store to buy my school clothes for the year. I was in fifth grade. I especially remember buying my footwear as it was the first time I didn’t have to wear corrective shoes, but that’s another story.

By the time I was 14, I was a seasoned driver who frequently traveled from the suburbs where we lived to the downtown area of the city so I could drop my Dad at his workplace and then go onto school. My mother would have done it, but she was living in another city during the week (and commuting back home on weekends), so she could finish law school. My Dad worked two other jobs as well to pay for her schooling, and that left many of the routine errands of grocery shopping, filling the the car with gas, picking up dry cleaning, or taking my kid brother to doctor and dentist appointments for me to accomplish. I also babysat my brother a lot. He was my shadow.

I did love the freedom I had to drive, and I used it. The metropolitan area where I grew up is one of the largest in the U.S., and I used to know every inch of it and made friends everywhere. It was a blast, and even as I look back on this now and shudder at some of the places I went and people I saw (and with my brother in tow about half the time), I would probably do it the same way again.

But the fun part aside, I was a kid who was working. From the time I was 13, I also had a job outside of my parents’ errands and care of my brother, and I also managed the household during the week while my mother was gone. This meant cleaning and cooking and doing all of the laundry. Eventually I started managing the bills and other expenses. My parents had a checking account, but my dad would give me cash each month to take care of bills, groceries and gas. When I would buy groceries, I would have the bills in hand and purchase money orders for their amounts. I kept the records and money in a little book that I gave to my dad to check and then he would make sure I always had enough. I was never without money for myself as well even though the family was on a tight budget. So much of that had to do with my parents being really good with money and knowing how to make it stretch. My dad knew how to fix everything and taught me how to fix things as well. My mother was a master meal planner and taught me how to shop and prepare meals on a dime – literally. She would make a game of it, and so we had this thing going to see who could make the cheapest meal.

I became so proficient at household management that I started to take matters into my own hands in other areas. My brother had been a very premature baby and had always had problems as a result. One problem was his battle with ear infections. Without my parents’ knowledge, I decided to take him to see an ENT doctor to have a battery of tests run. When the tests were done, the doctor took me into his office while my brother played in a special waiting room designed for kids. He explained my brother needed tubes. I asked some questions about it. The doctor launched into a fairly technical reply, and then he stopped himself in the middle, leaned forward in his chair, tipped his head down at me and asked, “Where are your parents?” I was 15 at the time and offended that he didn’t think I was worthy to hear his explanation of the tubes. I made up some excuse about my parents’ whereabouts. He looked at me puzzled and then he continued on and handed me a stack of paperwork to take with me. This kind of scenario played out over and over in my teen years.

During my teens as well, my mother started a law practice after having been an assistant district attorney for a short time (she was good at prosecution but hated it) and despite getting numerous offers from established firms, she wanted to go out on her own. It took everything we had as a family to get that off the ground, and I began working for her as a gopher and mostly did deliveries or made filings at the courthouse. Once I came of age, I became a paralegal. A few years earlier I had learned along with my mother how to shepardize cases, and I spent many nights on the top floor of the county courthouse where a free and very good law library was housed. And of course this was all before the Internet. I also began to serve papers, and that was the most fun. I had to learn how to tail people, how to figure out their moves, and it was easy because no one suspected a skinny kid of 18. My best trick was serving someone while they were at the grocery store. I also had the added benefit of being able to run like hell. I became so good at this, that I started doing it for quite a few lawyers, and I made quite a bit of money at it.

Along the way, I was constantly having to learn many other things that required an enormous amount of concentration as well as stamina. I was constantly confronting terrifying situations, and it was very tiring at times even for a kid. But not once in all the years I had been working did I think of it as drudgery. I did what I was asked and got to do things that most people will never do let alone kids doing them. It wasn’t until college friends began to learn how I had grown up and gave criticism of it that I became ashamed of my childhood or lack of one (that most people in America are accustomed to having). By the time I graduated from college, I was bitter about having been denied what so many others had, and I held onto two thoughts. I was going to bust my ass and make a lot of money so I could retire early and do what I damn well pleased, and I was in no rush to have children.

So many times in my life I’ve looked back on my childhood with mixed feelings. I’ve run the gamut of thinking I was abused to feeling I was blessed by parents who thought way outside the box. A few things had to happen before I came to peace with it.

I achieved those two goals. I was 30 (which I don’t consider old but some people do) when I began to have children, and SO and I did retire early. We were 39. We moved to a beautiful place in the boonies and had almost 12 years of bliss where we got to be with our kids, who had been 5, 7 and 9 years old at the time we dropped out. We even had another kid! And it was wonderful in hindsight even if I didn’t always think it was at the time.

But the idyll started to crumble when SO had a heart attack, our health insurance was cancelled, and he was diagnosed with severe kidney damage and needed a transplant. I’m not going to rehash all of that as you can read the posts about it here. Suffice to say at the ripe old age of 51, we were having to start over (for the third time) and SO was somewhat incapacitated and couldn’t really start over. I knew it meant I had to go back to work. I wasn’t looking forward to that, but I was willing. Very willing. Two years after continually trying to get a job and not being successful, I became pretty depressed about it.

Finally, one day I prayed about it. I had not done that in earnest when I first started to seek employment. I had asked people to pray for me. Any prayers I offered had just been rote as I just fell back on my own abilities. I did try to learn how to get a job during that two years and not just continue to try old methods, and this really frustrated me as I came to realize it had a lot to do with my age and only a miracle would change that.

A few days after I prayed, SO said, “I don’t know why you’re trying to go to work for someone. You haven’t worked for anyone in 20 years, and if you’re hired and then have to take off repeatedly because of my situation, or I have to go in for a transplant and you’re gone for quite awhile, you would hate doing that to someone who had recently hired you and there’s a good chance you wouldn’t keep the job.” He was right, and then another thought occurred to me. I’m convinced it was that small, still voice of God that’s so powerful and perfect, “The answer is right in front of you. Hire yourself.” I started laughing when I heard that. The rightness of it was so resounding that I’ve been laughing ever since.

That was about two years ago, and now I have the job I love, and I’m enjoying working in a way I never did before. Every day is fresh, and I often feel like a kid approaching new subjects but with hopefully more wisdom. And sometimes I think back to what happened when I was a child and how very hard some things were to live through, and it makes me choked because God redeemed my childhood — the one I was longing so much to relive.

note: I think I may put the ‘Richard Armitage’ tag on this. He and I do share a work history that started fairly young (although 17, or 18 in some accounts, is not really that young to me). A thin pretext for tagging it? Probably, but I really don’t care. :D

The Reality of Richard Armitage Rephrased

Esquire-Dec2013-3Despite how my post of the other day sounded, I believe Richard Armitage is an introvert, and in my opinion, most rabid fans are introverts as well. We love his ability to use his solitude to create these characters who touch us so deeply, and who make many of us get alone with ourselves and ask ourselves questions about why we may or may not do certain things in our lives. For me it was the creative urge which I had squelched for a long time.

But sadly there is confusion about the definition of introvert, and the Internet doesn’t help. Here’s what you get when you Google the word:

GoogleDefinitionofIntrovert

This one little slice of data has the ability to create so many misunderstandings and should be a lesson that when the Internet is wrong, it can be really wrong.

So what is an introvert?

A good definition and a little history of personality theories can be found here.

Obviously the most significant misconception is that introverts are shy. I am an introvert, and I’m married to an introvert, yet it’s been a long time since anyone accused us of being shy. SO and I are often in social settings due to his profession. and when we’re in that setting, we can almost look like the quintessential extraverts because we aren’t shy. However, we both desperately need alone time. and this can often be mistaken for selfishness. Whatever someone wants to think, I cannot always be in the presence of people or even mostly in the presence of people and neither can SO. Some of our closest friends have shaken their heads at how we are about getting alone, which means not only removing ourselves from the stimulation of other people but sometimes from each other. This allows each of us to process life. I call it stepping out of the fray. Frankly, if we had not both been introverts, I don’t think our marriage would have survived.

Given all of that, how am I surmising Richard Armitage is an introvert? He’s told us he is. Maybe he hasn’t said those words (or maybe he has and I missed it), but he’s made it plain that he spends copious amounts of time reading and more important, processing. Then there are his latent writer tendencies with the back stories for his characters. Add to that his own admission of sequestering himself at times from his cast mates. He’s also said he hates things like the red capret, and yet when you meet him one-on-one, he’s very at ease and charming. Introverts can much more easily handle an intimate meeting than a big crowd, which means it’s better to meet him one-on-one. I’ve observed him both ways and much prefer the latter. I’m not sure that can be said for most actors. Once the mask is off and no words are written for them, it seems most are a little dull.

It should be noted that someone’s degree of introversion is on a continuum, so that we’re not all the same.

For further information and a celebration of introverts, a great Ted Talk from Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

note: when I was younger and aggressively trying to make a mark in my profession, I was given the Myers-Briggs test. Actually, it was administered twice over the course of my tenure with a particular company, and I was an ENTJ both times. Years later I took the test again and was an INTJ, which I believe is closer to my true personality.

edit: I was actually an ENTJ and then an ENTP years ago. I think I knew at the time that I needed to be an extravert to get ahead where I was working, but I was NEVER comfortable with that. And yes, I’m curious about what personality Richard Armitage may be. I can speculate, but obviously I can’t fully know.

note: if you like the photo above of Richard Armitage, then buy the individual issue of Esquire UK that has the original, or better yet, subscribe to the magazine.

A Very Good Problem

For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I didn’t attend the fan event in New York. I was very tempted and especially when Julie (Library Girl) who runs RichardArmitageCentral graciously gave me a ticket. Thank you for that very generous gift! You will never know how much it meant to me for you to do that! But when I reviewed my situation, and all that is going on here, I simply could not get loose to go.

For those wondering, it has nothing to do with SO. He’s doing well. I say he is well; of course it should be said more accurately that he is well for his situation, but we are always on alert as we never know what’s going to happen with him. For now, this week, things are good.

All of SO’s issues aside, I’m in the middle of running a business, and it’s going well enough that I could not take a break to do some fangirling. In fact, on Monday I had a key meeting with a potential client that I had been trying to get for a long time. And if I can get my foot in the door with this person, it could lead to some substantial work with others. As much as I like Richard Armitage and love all of you, I could not justify passing that up in hope the person would meet me at a later date. Now if I’d had bad ass Thorin helping me out, maybe I could have pulled it off!

Bad Ass Thorin

But never fear that my ticket went to waste! Library Girl graciously met Armitage Besotted instead, and I understand they had a grand ole time. Report coming up next.

Promotional poster shot snaffled from CrystalChandlyre’s tumblr

The Real Guy?

I certainly enjoy this look of Richard Armitage. What fans wouldn’t enjoy seeing this?

Richard Armitage the Russian
but I love him best like this:

"Yeah, I'm listening." Small smile and then thinking, "Damn how long is this going to take?"

“Yeah, I’m listening.” Small smile and then thinking, “Damn how long is this going to take?”

This screams guy. Screams it more than the top photo, which is a woman’s version of a guy. :D

At the end of the day, Richard Armitage is a guy, and I love that. I was thinking about all of the men I know, who incidentally most are guys, and it occurred to me that not one of them would enjoy this. Of course they would be respectful but itching to get out of there! Even SO, who is a bit of a modern man, would hate this. He would probably find the process intriguing to watch, but to sit through it himself? No way in hell.

This juxtaposition of guy (alpha) and sensitive man (beta) is what makes Richard Armitage fascinating. Men who have a good balance of these are the most fascinating. Too much of one of these is boring (I think but I’m not sure that I’ve said this before. Wait. Yeah, here a long time ago. Like three years ago. Sheesh.) SO, my dad, SO’s dad and many other men I admire and respect have this balance. They are sensitive, kind and gentlemanly, love good art and music and books, but there’s no doubt they are (or were, in the case of my father who’s passed away) guys who draw the line at looking forward to something like this above. Nope, not happenin’.

Richard,

I feel your pain in this last photo. Not that you would care, but the godawful jacket and pants were enough to make me pained. No, no, I didn’t really say that. You just imagined it. You look good in anything.

Okay, seriousness, sort of. I could be so wrong about you, and I do believe pictures don’t always convey the truth, but my gut is telling me that you just endure this stuff. I’ve thought that for a long time. Maybe I need to think that ’cause if you really liked this fou fou stuff, then well, you aren’t my kind of guy. :D

Take care and may you not see a photoshoot for a good long while. Probably not going to happen, but I can wish it anyway,
One of your crazy fans

And Dad Eats Free Too

Last night I was staying at the Hilton and got a complimentary digital copy of USA Today. Very timely since Mother’s Day is almost here!

hootersmothers

SO leaned over my shoulder and offered with a grin, “I had something else in mind for Mother’s Day, but this looks good.”

Okay, I was just kidding about dad eating for free.

The real kicker is no woman eats free unless she has a kid in tow. Yes, she can leave dad at home. :D