Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Resolutions

I have always shied away from New Year's Resolutions.  In fact, you might say my only resolution was to not make any resolutions!  But this year I feel differently.  I have come to the important decision that my status quo is not working to my advantage.  I need to treat myself differently.

It should be no surprise as to what has inspired this radical thought.  Fans of Richard Armitage have no doubt already read this quote in an interview with DaMan magazine.

Simple words, which at once resonated with me as a clear path that was eminently doable with immediate positive results guaranteed.

1. Read More.
This one may seem surprising as I am reading all the time.  But I am not reading what I should be reading.  I have piles of books and magazines which I ignore in favour of the long line up of emails and Facebook posts which grab most of my attention.  I am reading some articles online but it is more of a free for all, than a desired choice.  I feel like I need to get some control over the chaos that is my online experience so that I have more time to delve into my backlog of reading material.
Really, I should admit that I am mostly distracted by my online games.  I have been addicted to The Sims for a couple of years now, and just lately a fashion game called Covet.  I do enjoy playing Song Pop, that one is not an addiction but a real joy and learning experience.
Then there is the old stand by Solitaire, and even BeJewelled.  Must. Stop. Playing. Games.!  Big waste of time! (Except for Song Pop!)

2. Dream More.
Yes. Of course.  Just time to sit and think. Plan for the future. See what could be - then make it happen.
But also, literally - dream more.  Just go to bed and sleep, perchance to dream!
I have a nasty habit of staying up too late and depriving myself of sleep which is getting harder to deal with the older I get.  I have blogged about this problem before in this post: It's Half-past Phylly's Bedtime. (Jan.2011)

3. Smile More.
Here's one I don't think I have a problem with.  I do smile a lot.  And I do like to smile at people for no particular reason.  Most people do smile back too.  That always makes it worthwhile.
But I learned a couple of ocasions when smiling works when people can't even see your smile.

I've been at my new school for a whole year now, and I was getting ribbed for not changing the phone message from the previous librarian's voice mail message. The phone was giving me issues and I couldn't figure it out, and then I was just too busy to think about it.  But finally I decided it had to be changed, and I got the secretary's help to figure it out.  So there I was trying to record my message, and of course, I hated the sound of my voice.  Then I remembered that someone had suggested to smile while saying your message.  And what a difference it made!  Truly amazing!

Here is my other instance:
Awhile ago I was posing for a new driving licence photo.  You are not supposed to smile. That usually means a disappointing photo.  But the very kind lady at the Ministry of Transportation office luckily had some time on her hands, and a critical eye.  She said, that wasn't so good, let's try again.  When the next try just looked sad, she told me that even though I couldn't smile, I should think happy thoughts and try smiling in my head.  Thinking her a bit silly, I did as directed and when presented with the photographic evidence I was astounded!  A huge difference!

So even thinking about smiling is a very good thing.  (Plus it makes us better looking!) Win win!

4. Eat Less.
This should go without saying but it is definitely a big one for me.  I have always had a very healthy appetite.  In my family wasting food was a huge sin.  But my mother also controlled our portions meticulously so the only time we were allowed to over-indulge were holiday times and vacation trips.
I was not an overweight child, but as soon as I got away from "the nest" it was open season on all kinds of previously unavailable goodies.  Needless to say, I packed on the pounds steadily until today even I cannot deny that my weight has had adverse effects on my health.
This holiday season began with my husband and son coming down with a nasty stomach flu.  I didn't get it right away but when it did strike it was a doozy.  I thought I was getting better, but then it struck again!  I only started feeling human the other day.  So what did I do?  Let's just say it seemed like I was trying to consume all the yummy goodness I had been unable to stomach for a week, but all in one day!  So tonight I missed going out for a New Year's Eve party because of more nasty stomach issues (the opposite of before).  As I tried to describe it to my husband, it felt like I was trying to pass a reindeer - antlers first!

5. Complain Less.
Another toughie.  Complaining is kind of fun actually.  And useful sometimes too.  But nobody wants to hear it.  So I will just try to remain positive about it.  Hmmm... just complain for positive reasons?  How about entertainment purposes?  That should be allowable!

6. Frown Less.
Yes!  Because who wants frown lines? Really!  That is something I could complain about!  But I will not....

And I must add my own to this list:

7.  Sing more!  (Try and stop me!)
8.  Write more.  (Not making any promises...)
9.  Move more. (And now I must get up from this computer chair and do something more     productive...)
10. Appreciate more. (Thank you dear readers.  I hope you have a fabulous new year!)

Happy New Year 2015!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Herding cats!

Why is it that I find the background of this picture so fascinating?

Well, of course I love the main part of the picture!  It's a SELFIE by none other than Richard-freaking-Armitage!!

But those cats on the wall in the background?  I can't help thinking....  Is it a hidden message?
Is he playing cat and mouse with us?  That ginger cat folk art painting looks very familiar to me.  Does it have any other significance?  Could it be sort of a visual apologia to all us cat-loving RA fans for his infamous dog preferential statement? Does he even look remorseful?

Let's look at those background items more closely...

#1 is very familiar, in fact I thought I once had this same picture as a ceramic tile that I used as a trivet until it broke.  But after searching google images for quite some time I have not been able to find out anything about it.  But I did find a picture of my old trivet (and it wasn't the same at all!).  If anyone has any information about this cat painting - I would be very interested!

I did however, find plenty of other very interesting pictures of orange tabby cats. My favourites were the ones inserted into famous paintings over at Fatcatart blog -- especially (because of my fondness for Monet paintings) this one:

#2 appears to be a Felix the Cat clock.

Here is a still from the animated film Felix the Cat in Hollywood (1923)

#3 (The Hidden picture) is the real problem.
Luckily, I was able to find this picture of the same room where the picture is visible.
Note the Felix the Cat clock has moved.  In this picture it is just over the girl's shoulder. 
The little figurine between the cat painting and the now visible blue matted photo looks like a cat playing a musical instrument.
From Soundtrack's' Facebook Page

The photo of the figurine is very blurry but it does appear to be a cat playing a bass violin, or could it be -- a cello?  Hmmm... Curious and curiouser...RA fans know that Richard has been known to play the cello.

The above photo on the right is more of a mystery. It appears to be a handsome man playing an instrument which I have come to believe is called a Vibraphone.  My first impression of the blurry picture was that it was of Elvis (the King) but since my research didn't turn up any evidence that Elvis ever played a vibraphone, I had to look for other options. The best looking vibraphone player I could find was this man Tito Puente, otherwise known as the Mambo King.
Even though RA is also known by his Hobbit film character's nickname of the King Under the Mountain, I knew I was grasping at straws here...  I really didn't think his hairline looked correct, and besides where was the cat reference?!!  I was going to go with the fact that Jazz musicians are also known as Hepcats... but I wasn't fooling myself.  So I kept looking for another good looking vibraphone player.

Finally I came up with this man, Terry Gibbs.

His hairline looked spot on, and when I researched his music 
this album fairly sprang up and dug its claws into me!

There's that orange cat again!
Even more strange... this album was released the year I was born (1961). 
I have no idea what all this means but it seems that somebody around here must be some crazy cat!

Before you give up on me have a listen to the cool vibes of
 Terry Gibbs and Buddy DeFranco playing 

That orange kitty has found someone to love!
Manip from Richard Armitage with Cats Tumblr

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I first heard Lynn Miles perform at a local music festival this summer.  I completely feel in love with her talents and was amazed that I had never heard of her before.  Apparently she has been writing and recording songs for over 25 years!

I always buy some CDs from new performers every year when I attend the festival, but over the years as my festival collection has grown I have become more picky in my selections.  This year, as soon as I heard her, I had to have her CDs.  One song in particular, stuck with me and my husband both.  It was a beautiful, but mournful song called "Black Flowers".  It spoke to us particularly because we are from a mining town and it is about a woman grieving her husband who has been killed in a mining accident.

Even though I loved this song at the first listen, it didn't really hit home to me until the night my mother died.  It was just a couple of days ago, but already it seems so long ago.  I stumbled home late Saturday night after leaving her death bed, feeling stunned, feeling somehow numb, actually not feeling -- at least not what I thought I should be feeling.  Then the words to Black Flowers started to echo in my head and I needed to play that song.  So I lay in bed with my iPad playing the song over and over because it made me cry and I needed to cry.

I have never before understood the ancient practice of using professional mourners, usually female who would participate in funeral rites by loud expressions of grief, sometimes even of a musical nature.  I have always found it easy to cry for others, but somehow not for myself.  My father passed away 12 years ago at the age of 90 and now my mother reached the end of her life at 97.  I feel their loss, but it is not a painful one.  Perhaps if I did not believe that they went to a better place I would be more upset.

Lynn Miles' voice is tender and achingly sad. The song reaches a keening climax that is breathtaking. I am in awe and I am grateful for her gift of song which is my grief therapy.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Happy Armitage Day!

Is Richard Armitage on Twitter?  I'm not 100% convinced but this certainly looks like him!

Yes, it is really August 22!  But this was posted in UK time which is 6 hours ahead of me (that is why the date stamp is incorrect).

So... I was thinking about what was going on in England that day 43 years ago when little Richie came in to the world.  Oh sure, there was probably a lot on the news and depressing stuff like that, but what I'd like to remember is what was playing on the radio!  I looked up UK hits from 1971, and during the month of August it was this song that was the big hit. Even though I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable pop music fan, I had never heard of I'm Still Waiting, by the former Supreme - Diana Ross. Apparently it was huge in Europe and didn't even register on the charts in North America.  I have to admit I didn't really like it at first, but after repeated listenings it is growing on me.

This is a nice recording here, but I wanted to include this UK concert footage to show how popular this song is with her fans.

I'm Still Waiting / Diana Ross
As the lyrics go:

"Little girl, please don't wait for me
Wait patiently for love
Some day it will surely come
Oh, little girl, please don't wait for me
Wait patiently for love
Some day it will surely come"
And I'm still waiting

Read more: Diana Ross - I'm Still Waiting Lyrics | MetroLyrics

It made me wonder if there is someone waiting for Mr. Armitage, or if he is waiting for someone... I guess I'm just a romantic at heart, but I wish that everyone will some day find someone to share their love.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Holy shirt!

Nathan Kress, who stars as one of the sons of Richard Armitage's character in the soon to be released summer block-buster disaster flick "Into the Storm", has just tweeted this photo.

Believe me, my heart is chewed to bits!!!

How does this man look so good dirty?
I won't be able to make it to theatres on the August 8th opening weekend, as our local Music festival is on then.  But the next weekend, nothing will stop me from heading to Winnipeg to enjoy it in all its big screen glory (better late than never).


And here is a great review by a fellow Armitage fan who was lucky to get to see this film previewed at ComicCon.
Read Kathy's review here

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Everybody's crazy about this sharp dressed man!

I know this sweet little video will show up on almost every RA blog, and I do try to be a bit different but ....  I just have to have this video on my blog!  I can't stop watching it!!!

How can I resist?

Richard Armitage Esquire Magazine Photo Shoot / Directed by Blair Getz Mezibov

And now, I must thank Gratiana Lovelace for posting this on her Facebook page as hers was the first post I noticed.  Her link was to another Facebook page which was posted by Fernanda Matias who shared it from RA Bulgaria.  Also RAfandreamer later posted the link to this video on Youtube which was uploaded by Kathleen  Evans.  Great team work, eh?  Go RArmy!

But before I leave... one last lingering look!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


The colour Yellow makes me happy.  Balloons make me happy. Books make me happy -- even just the thought of books!  Reading books, talking about books, showing books, owning books, looking at books, yes. Books make me happy.

Here are a couple of my favourite children's book characters by Roger Hargreaves (England's 2nd bestselling author of the last decade -- after J.K. Rowling as reported by The Guardian in 2009).

Funnily enough, they are both yellow and balloon-shaped.

May I present: Mr. Happy and Little Miss Sunshine!

As readers of this blog can attest, I also love pictures of a certain actor (especially those rare shots of him smiling)...  So when I find a picture of said actor reading a book and smiling!... BINGO!  All systems are GO!

Richard Armitage performing the audio book Hamlet 
adapted by A. J. Hartley, and David Hewson for Audible.

Music also makes me happy...

This is a song which I sing to myself quite a bit when I need a little cheering up.
I really like this version sung by (not only) June Carter, of the Carter Family fame but with the bonus of her husband Johnny Cash and their daughter Carlene.

Keep on the Sunny Side (Blenkhorn and Entwistle)

I remember this next song from my childhood and it brings back many happy memories.
I didn't realize until recently that it was written by Marvin Hamlisch.
I saw a documentary about him a couple of months ago.
He certainly knew how to make himself happy.  He gave up a promising career as a classical pianist to write music for Broadway plays and soundtracks for films. 
He met Barbara Streisand when she was performing Funny Girl on stage, and later worked with her when he wrote the sound track for the movie The Way We Were.  He also worked with Woody Allen for the sound track of his movie Bananas.
He earned many awards over his lifetime, but better even than that -- he enjoyed his work,
which was essentially - entertaining the public (making people happy).

Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows (by Marvin Hamlisch)

Notice that singer Lesley Gore is wearing yellow?
And yes, that song is so sweet it could rot your teeth.

Here is my favourite summer camp song:
If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops,
Oh what a world it would be...
Standing outside with my mouth open wide
Ah, ah, ah-ah, ah, ah, ah-ah, ah, ah-ah!
If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops,
Oh what a world it would be!
That really would rot your teeth!

Then there were those delightfully crazy yellow minions from the Despicable Me film and its sequel.
They certainly made me happy -- hilariously so!

I didn't realize there were so many animated short films about these critters!
Here is one where they are fighting over a banana.

Despicable Me 2 had such an upbeat song (which should have won the best song Oscar instead of that overwrought outpouring from Frozen! --Don't hit me!)
I know the song has been overplayed on the airwaves but I'm not sick of it yet.  I love the Youtube version with Pharrell Williams in it, but I can't resist this version either.

Richard Armitage -- HAPPY / by Crystal Chandlyre

Lately, it makes me very happy to read so many stage door fan encounters with Richard Armitage as he plays the role of John Proctor in the Old Vic's production of The Crucible. There is even a blog which collects all those experiences!
and a Facebook page called 'Richard Armitage in The Crucible' Appreciation Page
The play has been getting rave reviews from critics, regular theatre attendees and fans alike.
I thank Servetus @ Me + Richard Armitage blog and Perry @ Armitage Agonistes blog for keeping the fans up-to-date with the flurry of tweets, instagram pictures and Tumblr posts after each performance.
This is one of my favourite bloggers reactions to seeing The Crucible:  Maria Grazia @Fly High .

Judi, who blogs at Confessions of a Watcher  imagines Richard Armitage's feelings about the opening night success of his current play: The Crucible at London's the Old Vic in a lovely story called Happiness:

Yes folks, Richard Armitage has come a long way
from his long ago (but never-to-be forgotten) stage role as a dancing banana!

 Forgive me if I resurrect one of my old videos!
Well, I'm no Bccmee -- but he's yellow! (That's all I'm sayin')...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

School's Out!

Yesterday was the last day of school at the elementary schools in my area. The tradition lately has been to play "School's Out" by Alice Cooper on the P.A. system just before the final bell. It was originally the idea of a former principal, but teachers and students really enjoy it, so it seems to be a tradition that is sticking. :)

I wasn't crazy about it at first, particularly the line about school's out forever [because] "my school's been blown to pieces" seemed to be tempting fate!  But really it bothered me because the music was played SO LOUD over the intercom in the library that it was almost painful to the ears (my ears - as no one else was around). Then, of course, it had to be played over and over - until people actually started leaving the building - which drove me CRAZY! One year I actually complained (not that anyone cared - but I think they turned the music down a smidgeon).

This year I am at a new school, where the library is not situated in a far removed part of the building but is front and centre, right by the office and the staff room. :)  When they started the song at the end of the day I started to get my grumpy pants on. :(  But then a surprising thing happened -- I realized the music wasn't blasting in my ear, like in the "old school".  It was quite bearable actually.  Then I looked out in the hallway and saw all the students gleefully running down the hall, and hugging teachers and each other.  I smiled.  Then I got up from behind my desk, and left all the overdues and missing items reports (I forgot to mention how much I HATE this time of year).  I stepped out of the library and smiled at the last bunch of graduated grade 8 students still lingering around like over-sized baby birds, not quite ready to leave the nest.  Then two of the boys started hugging the secretary, principal and vice-principal.  I just happened to be there, and since I have only been at that school since December, and the previous librarian was much loved, and the grade 8s hadn't had very many classes in the library since their teacher was too busy to bring them most of the time.... I prepared to move out of the way. But one of the boys, with only a slight hesitation just opened his arms and gave me a hug too, which was followed closely by the second boy.
If I wasn't already sure that I was happier at my new school, that one moment illustrated for me everything I love about my new place of work. I have had many a hug from Kindergarten students, even up to grade 2s, but never before from a grade 8 student -- let alone a boy -- No TWO!

Here is a great illustration I have borrowed from teacher and blogger buddy Maria Grazia's blog @ Fly High!  I love her posts about her taste in books, television and film (and she is a fellow RA fan as well).

I have four more days of sorting out all the teachers' returned resources, storing everything for the summer and tying up a thousand loose ends.  That last picture is how I will look after I wake up from a long sleep on my first day of summer holiday.  Until then I will look more like this:

Warner Brothers Pictures

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Have a Happy Easter!

Sorry I don't have much to say lately.  But I couldn't let this opportunity go by without wishing all you RA Well Wishers a very Happy Easter! (And any other holiday you celebrate right now!)

I couldn't resist some silly Rabbit trix!

Lately we seem to have a lot to celebrate with the news about Richard's latest film Urban and the Shed Crew - an adaptation of the autobiographical book by Bernard Hare.  I finally decided to order it, and am impatiently awaiting its arrival.  I wonder if it is going to be sold out soon?

Fans who are lucky enough to be able to get to England next summer are very excited about Richard's upcoming stage role at The Old Vic as John Proctor in The Crucible.

I am very grateful for all the new pictures that are getting tweeted from Richard's latest appearance at Wonder Con to promote Into the Storm.

In the past I have had a bit more to say on the Easter theme.  Here are a few links to a couple of my past seasonal blog posts, when I was a bit more prolific:
Last year I examined some of Richard Armitage's character portrayals in Good Egg, Bad Egg.
In 2010, I focused on baskets as an Easter theme.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I'm Back, and Fourth!

Hello out there.  I've been hibernating quite a bit this winter.  Winter in my part of the world this year was long, extremely cold and relentless.  But since it is now officially spring, and I have recently actually witnessed some melting snow out there, I have decided to come out of hiding.

At least I was allowed a brief respite on a trip to Arizona for March Break last week.  I stayed in sunny, warm Phoenix and shocked everyone except my 13 year old nephew by diving into their unheated pool!  To me it was like my first swim of the season in our local lake, only that would be in late June or early July (weather dependent). The water temperature was gasp-worthy, but necessary to my raison d'etre.  I simply cannot sit beside water if I can be in it instead.

A sure-fire way to make me cranky is to lead me around, getting me overheated and even sweaty and then show me a lovely pool of water or pristine lake and not let me go into the water.  This has happened to me on at least two occasions and it was not pretty.

The most memorable of these was when I was a leader of our Pathfinder unit (the next level up from Girl Guides) back when my daughter was a tween. The older girls in the group were in grade 9 (the High School) and our annual camping trip coincided with the High School Prom.  The girls wanted to go to the dance but I talked them into going to the camp instead as the hosts had promised us the girls would earn their canoeing badges as they had some canoeing instructors booked for the day.  As it turned out, the canoe trip fell through as the instructors backed out at the last minute and a compass activity was the replacement.  Since our group had already done a fair bit of compass work this did not go over very well.  It was a very hot day for late May and as it had been a dry spring, the woods were dusty and the trails hard packed.  The only thing that kept us going was the promise of a swim in the river at the end of our ordeal. 

So there we were finally in our swimming gear, lined up at the beach at 7:00 pm after a long, tiring and frustrating day, waiting for the life guards to arrive.  Adults who swim are not enough any more, trained life guards must be utilized according to the latest policies.  After standing around for 10 minutes, I finally decided to wade ankle deep into the water to cool my hot, tired feet.  This was not allowed, I was told by one of the supervisors.  Even though I explained that I was only going in as far as my ankles, this person suggested that I was being a bad example to the girls! 

That was when I said it. It was only two words and I've never said it to anyone before or since or with more feeling.  What two words?  Very calmly, and in a low voice, I fixed her a determined stare and said, "Bite me!"

She looked at me for a minute, then walked away, leaving me blissfully soaking my feet until the life guards finally showed up several minutes later. Meow? Or, since cats don't seem to like water, maybe I should say Woof! instead. :)

Perhaps I am so partial to water because my birthday is World Water Day on March 22nd.

Photo modified from the Clickonline interview
My actual Blogiversary was March 19th.  Here are my previous posts:
 My third year - 2013, my second year - 2012, my first year, 2011.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Because I can...

Thank you Getty Images!

And thanks very much to Guylty for the heads up on this new development on
celebrity picture sharing in the blogosphere.

 Richard Armitage (Dec. 9, 2013)
@ 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug' German Premiere


Thursday, February 27, 2014

If you can't say anything nice...

Yesterday was Anti-Bullying day at school and we were all supposed to wear something pink to show our support.  My wardrobe doesn't contain anything pink or even red, so this is what I would have liked to wear.

Unfortunately it is not just school children who are bullied, adults are too -- and even people in our own fandom.  It is hard for me to fathom how adults can behave in this manner - to target someone and then slander them using the excuse that they have the right to because they feel the need to protect a certain celebrity (guess who). This is Armitage Protection Mode (APM) gone wild.

I hope the blogger that is being targeted knows that I support her and am behind her all the way.  As for the anonymous bully, well ... I am not going to say anything at all...

Jazzy's recent post over at Funky Blue Dandelion gives a better over view of this situation.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!

To all who frequent this humble blog, 
Thank you to all of you for your support, whether you leave a comment or not -- your presence here is more than welcome.  I wish for all the best in the coming year for you and all whom you hold dear.

If you are an Armitage well-wisher, I hope you will join me in also wishing continuing success to Mr. Armitage in his burgeoning career,  and many happy returns in his personal life!

Yours sincerely,