Thursday, April 30, 2015


In just 7 1/2 hours, I'll be seeing The Avengers on the big screen again!  And then seeing The Avengers:  Age of Ultron after it, which will be fun too, I'm sure :-)  (I hope.)  (Joss Whedon, please don't hurt me too much!)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MEMM Day 23 - The Hobbit character you understand the least

Thranduil.  Whenever I think of him, there's a line from The Avengers that runs through my mind:  "That guy's mind is a bag full of cats."  He reminds me a lot of Loki, who I also don't understand in the slightest.

Actually, I do kind of understand him.  I mean, I get where he's coming from -- he just wants to protect his people and reclaim what belongs to him, and he does not care a smidgen for anything or anyone else.  He's selfish and isolationist, but I can get inside his head if I want to, unlike Frodo.

I think the biggest problem I have with Thranduil (and Loki) is that he's unpredictable.  I do not deal well with unpredictability.  Not in fiction, not in life.  This is why I hate and fear spiders -- it's impossible to predict where they'll go and what they'll do.  Same thing with Thranduil -- he might come over and help you out by giving you wagons of food and all the warriors you could ever need to wage a war.  Or he might decide he's no longer interested in this battle and just leave.  You.  Don't.  Know.  You can't count on him.  At all.  Ever.  ::Shivers::

I love predictable people and characters, I really do.  I married the most predictable man (with the broadest shoulders and the cutest dimples) I could find.  I want to know I can count on you, I want to know I can make a plan and it will get followed, and I don't want you to randomly surprise me by completely changing all the plans on a whim.

It's rather surprising that I like cats, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

MEMM Day 22 - Costume you most want to wear

I'd really like to know what Galadriel's costume from FOTR feels like.  I wouldn't want to wear it all the time, as I want my jeans with pockets, but I'd like to wear it once just to know how heavy it is, what the fabric is like, etc.  It looks heavy and cool and smooth, but is it?  It might be itchy, and then I'd hate it.

But to wear on a daily basis in real life, I would like to have Bard's coat.  I love coats, especially long ones, and a long leather coat?  I would wear that all the time.  I actually found one on Etsy when TBOTFA first came out, and if it hadn't been several hundred dollars more than I felt comfortable spending on a piece of clothing, I would have bought it.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

MEMM Day 21 - Favorite couple

Kili and Tauriel?  Aragorn and Arwen?  Faramir and Eowyn?  Sam and Rosie?  Galadriel and Celeborn?  This should be an easier choice, considering how few couples there are in these movies.  We barely meet Celeborn or Rosie, so those are kind of out.  Faramir and Eowyn get a bit of development as a couple in the extended editions, but barely enough to count.  Which leaves me the choice between Kili/Tauriel and Aragorn/Arwen.

The funny thing is, this shouldn't be hard either.  Because Tauriel and Kili are two of my favorite characters, and Aragorn and Arwen don't make the list.  So clearly, I should be team Taurili (Kiliel?).  And I am, in that I ship them and not Legoliel (Taurolas?  I'm not good at the whole name-combo thing).  But their relationship barely gets started -- they get some cute chats and a few meaningful glances, and then a sad ending.  They don't get to know each other, that we see, and their only opportunity to do so would be while Tauriel's helping nurse Kili back to health at Bard's house.  And Kili's feverish or unconscious most of that time.  If Kili had lived, if they were able to go away together and find a place in the world where a dwarf-elf relationship would work out, then I would choose them.  But that doesn't happen.

So, surprise, surprise!  My favorite couple is Aragorn and Arwen.

And really, that makes a great deal of sense.  I love May-December romances, and Arwen is ever so much older than Aragorn.  I love romances between people who have known each other for years, who grew up together and then fell in love, and that's obviously the case for them.  And I love romances where they have to defy odds or conventions or some kind of opposition to be together.  Elrond opposed their marriage for a long time because he doesn't want Arwen to eventually experience the grief of losing her husband.  Arwen has decided the joy of their years together is worth the pain of eventual separation, and I heartily applaud her for both disagreeing with her powerful father, but also for initially obeying him, and slowly helping him change his mind rather than outright disobeying and opposing him.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

MEMM Day 20 - Favorite moment/line in "The Desolation of Smaug"

Even though I've watched it twice since TBOTFA came out, I don't know Desolation of Smaug all that well, because I had only watched it twice before that -- once in the theater, and once when I got the DVD.  So this is a little bit tough for me.  Also, those two times this year are the only times I've watched the extended edition, so bits of it are really new to me still.

One moment that has always filled me with breathless delight, though, is Smaug the gilded dragon.  When he swirls up into the night, covered in liquid gold, I catch my breath in awe.  The first time I watched it, when I got there, I said, "OH!  Okay, all that stuff that felt too long before this was totally worth it."

Sadly, it's really hard to screencap his magnificence because he's moving really quickly the whole time.  And still pictures don't do justice to how liquid-shiny he is.

Still photos also don't do justice to how cool he looks spiraling up into the sky and showering gold down on the camera and the world below.

Also, Bard's entrance is thrilling and perfect.  I have a thing for silhouettes, and the first time I saw him standing above the dwarves there, I went, "Oooooh!  Who is that?"  One of the best entrances in both trilogies, I think.

And as for a favorite line, well... Cowboy and I quote Radagast a lot:  "This is not a nice place to meet."  Aside from that, I can't think of any I either love or quote a lot.  Yet.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Want Free Flower Seeds?

Last fall, I harvested seeds from my heirloom marigolds and nasturtiums.  LOTS of seeds.  This weekend, I've planted what I need for this year, and I have seeds left over.  So I thought I'd see if anyone would like them!  I have about fifteen nasturtium seeds left, and more marigold seeds than you would believe.  So if you'd like some free seeds, let me know by the end of April, and I'll send them to you!  Better than them going to waste, right?  This is totally first-ask, first-serve (and I don't know if anyone will even want them), but I can't imagine I would run out of marigold seeds because I have gazillions.

I probably should not send these seeds out of the country -- I know different countries have different regulations about non-native plants and seeds, so I'm afraid I can only offer these to US residents.

Here's what they looked like.  The nasturtiums are in the left white pot, and not flowering in this photo.  The marigolds are the tall things in the right white pot, with blooms.

These are "Empress of India" nasturtiums (Tropacolum majus), which are described as having "cascading waves of distinctive, blue-green foliage... with vibrant, vermilion flowers from late spring 'til frost."  Mine came from here, though I bought them at a museum in Iowa, not online.  You can read more about them here.  For me, they produced yellow, orange, and red blossoms and lots and lots of seeds.  I've learned that nasturtiums actually prefer poor soil, and will bloom less if you have good soil, so I like to use them in pots that had something else the year before and have soil that's been a bit depleted.

The marigolds are a "French Marigold -- Brocade Mix" (Tagetes patula), which are described as an "early, continuous bloomer bearing 2" bi-colored blossoms of gold and mahogany red."  Supposedly, they repel insects and nematodes.  They also come from here, as I bought them at the same time and place as the nasturtiums.  You can learn more about them here.  For me last year, these produced an amazing abundance of yellow, light orange, and deep orange blooms, and I am planting even more of them this year because they were so vibrant and lovely.  They also got very tall last year -- most of them were around 2 feet tall by the end of the summer, and a couple reached 3 feet!

Here in Virginia, I have planted these in containers this weekend, though of course you'd want to check to make sure when to plant them in your own zone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MEMM Day 19 - A location you never want to visit

Mirkwood.  The place creeps me out So Very Much.  The sleepiness thing, the inability to think straight, and the giant spiders.  I actually don't know what those giant spiders truly look like because I always cover my eyes and cower in terror until Legolas shows up and I know it's safe again.

I am never going in there.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The "Just a List of Random Questions" Tag

And after all... why not?

Both Naomi and Emma tagged me for this tag that Naomi just happened to make up, and you know I find it almost impossible to resist a tag, unless I'm heinously busy or it is boring.  I'm not toooo busy, and this isn't boring, so here goes ;-)

The rules for the tag are:
~ Paste the button onto your blog post.
~ Leave a new list of questions (or just pass on the question list you answered) and tag a few people of your random choice (and say why you tagged them, if you have time!) (Be original and nonsensical in your question-creativity - make the blogging world a cheerful place :-) And be disastrously random.)
Now for the fun...
~Write down three facts about you - one of them is WRONG. Let your commenters guess in the comments which one is wrong (and tell them in the comments after a while)
~Answer the questions of the person who tagged you - make it all super random and interesting :-D

Three Facts About Me -- and One of These is WRONG!  Can you guess which one?
  1. I've traveled by car, bus, airplane, helicopter, speedboat, canoe, rowboat, and cruise ship.
  2. I've been inside all 50 of the United States.
  3. I've visited Canada, Mexico, Poland, and Ukraine.

My Answers to Naomi's Questions

Are there flowers in your bedroom?  Yes -- there are some dried lilacs and dried lavender by my sewing machine.

Who was your first - really first - (fictional) crush?  Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson) in The Man from Snowy River (1983).  I have loved him since I was 3 years old.

What is, in your opinion, the prettiest Little House Book cover?

That's the edition I got when I was a little girl, and I have always loved that one best.  Mostly because I want to be Laura, riding a horse out on the prairie.

On pictures, do you smile with your teeth or without?  Both.  Depends on the situation.

In 'Return to Cranford' Miss Matty gets a turban. What do you think of her in a turban?  I haven't seen Cranford OR Return to Cranford (please continue reading when you've revived after your fainting spell).  However, thanks to, I know she's played by Dame Judi Dench, and Dame Judi can wear anything, so I'm sure she's a mixture of ravishing and adorable and a little bit intimidating.

Did you get fooled this year on April the 1st?  Nope.

Do you think it's rude when girls re-do their whole hairstyle in public?  No.  I re-braid or re-ponytail mine in public when necessary.  Always making sure I won't hit someone in the face with it, of course.

What's your least favourite song in 'The Sound of Music?'  "Something Good."  Too Catholic and too boring for my taste.

Do you chew your inside cheeks when you're thinking?  No.  I do sometimes tap my teeth together when thinking, and I also pinch my lips together when I'm reading something and having a hard time concentrating on it.

Your how-many-ienth post is this?  867th on this blog!

What's your favourite Dickens movie?  The Patrick Stewart version of A Christmas Carol (1999).

What should you be doing right now?  Figuring out crafts for my Sunday School class.

My Answers to Emma's Questions

What was the last blog you visited?  Besides Emma's and Naomi's to get these questions?  The Meanderings of Me, a new blog I've just found and started following.

What is one of your favorite movie soundtracks to listen to?  The Lone Ranger (2013), composed and produced by Hans Zimmer.  I bought this soundtrack when the movie came out, two summers ago, and I have yet to put it on my CD shelves.  It lives beside my little CD player in the kitchen, and I listen to it at least once a week still.  My favorite tracks are #3, "Ride," and #10, "Finale."

What's the absolute weirdest movie you've ever seen?  The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).  It's by Terry Gilliam, so no surprise that it's incomprehensible and wacky.

What are the first flowers to bloom in the spring where you live?  By my house?  Usually my daffodils.  Here are some this year:

What is the longest book you've ever read?  Nonfiction?  I don't know.  Fiction would be The Count of Monte Cristo -- my copy is 1243 pages long.

Are you on Goodreads?  Technically, yes.  But I don't have time to actually use it.

Have you ever been in a musical production before?  I have!  I was in the chorus for three different Gilbert and Sullivan productions in college:  The Sorceror, The H.M.S. Pinafore, and The Yoemen of the Guard.  Photographic proof:

Now remember that those were long, long ago -- in 1999, 2000, and 2001 :-)  My favorite is the blue and pink dress from The Sorceror, and wouldn't you know it?  That's the one I don't have a full-length photo of.  It was so comfortable, and I'd totally wear it in "real life."

Is your mailbox on the same side of the street as your house, or do you have to cross the street to get to it?  Same side.

Do you subscribe to any magazines?  Yup!  Right now I subscribe to Entertainment Weekly and Better Homes and Gardens, and my husband subscribes to Answers Magazine from Answers in Genesis, National Geographic.

Would you ever consider dying your hair?  Yes.  I've dyed it various shades of red and auburn three times, and in college I did blue and purple, but only on the ends.

Is there a particular actress you think you look like?  I like to think I look a little like Julia Stiles.  We both have round faces, anyway.  I'm not blonde, though.

Do you decorate your bedroom with pictures of period dramas?  As a matter of fact, I have pictures from the WWII-set TV show Combat! above my sewing corner.

My List of Questions for my Tag-ees to Answer:

Favorite role from your favorite actor?
Favorite role from your favorite actress?
Book you've read that you tell people not to bother reading?
A food you refuse to try?
Your favorite article of clothing?
Have you ever gone to see the same movie in the theater more than once?
Do you paint your toenails?
Do you wear any piece of jewelry every day?
Are you on Pinterest?
Do you collect anything?
Have you ever asked a famous person for their autograph?
Have you been outside the country you were born in?

People I'm Tagging:

The Meanderer at The Meanderings of Me
Maddie Rose at The Madd Rose
Elizabeth Anne D. at Incidents of a Literary Nature
Play only if you want to, of course!  And if you want to try this and I didn't tag you... consider yourself tagged as well :-)

Thursday, April 09, 2015

MEMM Day 18 - "The Hobbit" character you relate to the most

Bard the Bowman.

This is something of an anomaly for me.  And not just because, quite unexpectedly, he has become my favorite Middle Earth character, ousting Boromir from that spot.  I never thought that would happen, and it kind of shocked me when it did.  But the real anomaly here is that the character I identify with the most is also my favorite.  That's not usually true.  Almost always, the character I relate to the most is my second-favorite.  Sam in LOTR.  Willow Rosenberg on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Victoria Barkley on The Big Valley.  Dr. Watson in pretty much every incarnation of the Sherlock Holmes world.  Kate Wallace on Five Mile Creek.  Dr. Mike on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.  Billy Nelson on Combat! is more like my 3rd-favorite, but I would so be him in that show.  And on and on.  Only rarely is my favorite character also the one I see myself in.

The other two instances I can think of right now where my favorite character is also the one I identify with are hugely important to me:  Wolverine in the X-Men comics and movies, and Lucy in While You Were Sleeping.  Those are the only two I can think of.  And I think that's why Bard shot so quickly to the top of my Middle Earth Favorites list.  Because for me to start out going, "Bard is my favorite Hobbit character" after DOS, and then in TBOTFA identify so strongly with him -- that's potent.

I just looked in my journal, and after my second viewing of TBOTFA, on January 3rd, I wrote:
I definitely love this movie.  And Bard.  I identify very strongly with him, more than any Tolkien character besides Sam.  Possibly more.  I'm not sure.  Very close kinship.
After my third viewing, on January 18th, I wrote:
I realized, after I got home at 12:45am, that I now love Bard the Bowman more than Boromir.  I am shocked.  But it's true -- I love movie-Bard better than any other Tolkien-world character.  Book-Bard is too underdeveloped -- he's just grim and sensible, and happens to be able to understand birds.  But movie-Bard is stalwart and pure-hearted and noble and honorable and upright and brave and selfless and yeah... total love.
So yes, I think it was the realization that I identify with Bard so strongly that really catapulted him past Boromir.  But why do I relate to him so much?

Because everything he does, he does to protect his family.  They are his number-one priority.  Why does he set out to slay Smaug?  Because little Tilda asks him if they're going to die.  Why does he lead the survivors of Laketown to find shelter in Dale?  Because he needs to shelter his children.  Why does he fight so fiercely and valiantly in the ensuing battle?  To protect his children.  In fact, the movie makes this really explicit -- if you'll recall, Alfrid asks Bard why he's doing all these thrilling heroics, and Bard looks at his kids.

And I soooooooooo identify with that.  My family is also my number one priority.  Protecting my children is a huge part of my life.  Happily, I don't have to battle any orcs or trolls to do so, though I would if I had to.  Instead I have to battle the world around us, my own selfishness, and anyone who would try to influence them in a way I deem wrong.  I also try to protect them from things like falling head-first off the playground equipment or getting run over by cars or touching hot pots and pans or sticking keys into electrical sockets or standing on top of toy trucks to reach something or or or or....  My days are filled with protecting my children.

There are a bunch of other reasons I identify with Bard, like that he's helpful, he tries to convince people not to be stupid, he reluctantly becomes a leader because somebody has to do it, he gives people second chances, he doesn't just go along with what powerful people tell him, and he's really good at keeping secrets.  But it's that unwavering commitment to protecting his family that speaks to me the most.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

MEMM Day 17 - Scenes/things you cry at

We watched TBOTFA on DVD once it came out, and yup, I still cry at the same things in it.  So now I can make this list and feel like it's very concrete, these aren't changing.  (Sadly, life has intervened and kept me from the Middle Earth Movie Meme for a little while, but I'm back to it now!)

The Fellowship of the Ring

I cry when Boromir dies.  Even thinking the line, "Be at peace, son of Gondor" can bring tears to my eyes.  Part of this is because he's my favorite LOTR character and I'm sad he doesn't get to be in the rest of the trilogy.  But a lot of it is because of how he dies, defending "the little ones" and atoning for his fall into temptation.

The Two Towers

In TTT, I cry when the Frodo-and-Sam-wandering-around-in-Mordor parts go on too long.  Just kidding.  I don't think I cry during TTT.

The Return of the King

I cry when Sam picks up Frodo and says, "I can't carry it for you, Mr. Frodo, but I can carry you!"

I also cry when Aragorn sees Arwen at his coronation.  And I cry when Aragorn tells the four hobbits, "You bow to no one."

EDIT:  I just realized I also generally cry at the Grey Havens, when Sam has to say goodbye to Frodo.  Partings and reunions make me cry.

An Unexpected Journey

In AUJ, I didn't cry at all until I rewatched it after seeing TBOTFA.  Now I cry when Bilbo says, "See, that's where I belong.  That's home.  And that's why I came back.  Because… you don't have one.   A home.  It was taken from you.  But I will help you take it back, if I can."  Knowing now how that would come back again during Thorin's death... wow, hits me hard.

The Desolation of Smaug

Once again, the middle movie doesn't really  make me cry.

The Battle of the Five Armies


I don't really cry as much during this movie as you'd expect.  The first time, I cried over the deaths, but in all subsequent viewings, I don't.  But I definitely cry when Bilbo says goodbye to the remaining dwarves.  I start when Balin says, "You can tell them yourself," and I don't stop until the scene ends.  

I also tear up at the very end when Gandalf says outside Bag End, "And what about very old friends?"

Friday, April 03, 2015

Two Takes on "Ten Thousand Angels"

It's Good Friday.  The day God's plan to save sinners from their own filthy selves came to its bloody, brutal climax.  All through my entire childhood, in Michigan and in North Carolina, until I left home for college, every Good Friday, our church would have a Tenebrae service, or "service of darkness."  My dad, the pastor, would wear his black cassock instead of his usual white alb.  We'd have candles on tall candle sticks at the ends of the pews, lining the center aisle.  At the beginning of the service, all those candles would be lit, and all the lights would be on.  As the service proceeded, after various Bible readings and homilies about Christ's arrest, trials, and crucifixion, the ushers would extinguish the candles, a pair at a time, and the electric lights would be dimmed gradually, so that by the end of the service, the entire church would be in darkness, with only the Christ Candle still lighted.  One man would carry that candle out of the church while my dad would walk behind him, carrying our giant family Bible, the biggest Bible we had -- basically a coffee table-sized book.  When he got to the back of the church and the Christ Candle had gone outside, Dad would say loudly Christ's last words on the cross, "It is finished."  Then he'd slam that Bible shut, to signify Christ dying.  Then they'd carry the Christ Candle back in to signify the fact that Jesus did not stay dead, but is still alive now.

Well, during that service, the choir would also sing various songs.  Different ones different years, except they always always always sang two:  "It's Over" and "Ten Thousand Angels."  When I got old enough, I joined the choir and got to sing those songs too.  Either my Googling powers are weak today, or "It's Over" is a really obscure song... I'm going to have to ask my mom to tell me who wrote it, and maybe I can share it next year.  But today, I'm going to share two very different renditions of "Ten Thousand Angels" that I found on YouTube.  They are radically different -- one traditional, one bluegrass -- but I think they're both awesome.

Our church here doesn't have a choir, but we will be having a Tenebrae service tonight, which I'm very glad of.  I never seem properly prepared for the joy of Easter if I don't go through the dark journey of Good Friday first.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

March, 2015 -- The Good Parts Version

Good mornin' to ya!  (Try to hear that in Billy Connolly's voice, okay?)  I've decided to try a new series of sorts.  I'm always reading blog posts I want to share with more people, and I run across various other cool things online that I think other people would enjoy, but that I don't have time or inspiration to do a whole blog post on them.  So I'm going to try collecting those all through the month, and share them with you all at once.  What do you think?  Let me know if I should continue this sort of thing!


This Soviet animated version of Winnie-the-Pooh from 1969-1972.  Oh my goodness, these make my kids laugh so hard, even when no one is around to read them the English translation subtitles.  They're much closer to A. A. Milne's original books than the Disney movies (even the classic version, made about the same time, which I love dearly).  Do yourself a favor and try one -- they're great fun.

And here's a video that is completely different.  It's Luke Evans and James Nesbitt singing a Dean Martin song together, live.  I don't exactly love Luke's voice, but I love that he can sing, and the way he sings.

Now, back in February, I stumbled on this video of Luke Evans singing "Delilah," and I emailed DKoren going, "Oh my goodness!  Luke Evans can sing!  And he has that sort of casual 'Oh, this is so easy' thing going on that Dean Martin does!"  And then I found this video of him singing "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," and was like, "ACK!  This song!  I've loved this song for decades!"  Swooooon.  Not to mention, it's in X-Men:  Days of Future Past.  Swoon again.  And then I found the above video, which is him dueting with James Nesbitt on an actual Dean Martin song, and I had to write DKoren again going, "Um, you know how I just compared Luke's singing to Dino's?  Whaddaya know...."  So anyway, I've been listening to these three songs a lot over the last 2 months.  What I especially like about this one is that James Nesbitt is the real-life dad of the two girls who play Luke's character Bard's daughters in the Hobbit movies, so yeah, seeing them together in this is awesome.  Not to mention, about 24 seconds in, Luke does this leeeeeeean on his microphone stand that is pretty deadly.  Those 3 songs are also directly responsible for me writing a new short story over the last couple months, so um... yeah, even though they're not something I found in March, I'm including them.

Blog Posts

Moving right along, here are some blog posts I ran across in the last month that I found particularly thought-provoking or amusing or just generally share-worthy:

"From Atheist to a Lutheran Pulpit" on The First Premise.

"How to Gossip like the Period Drama Ladies" on Wonderland Creek.

"The Steamed-Up Screen" on Sister Daughter Mother Wife.

"Why You Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Start Loving the Title Cards" on Silent-ology.

Pinterest Fun

And here is the one thing I found on Pinterest all month that has continually amused me.  (From my Take Me to Middle Earth board.)

I kind of have been saying, "They're clearly trash" all month as a result.  I can totally hear that line in Richard Armitage's voice, which is why it cracks me up so much.

Happy April!