My own ξενία sandwich…

One of the things I’ve encountered again and again in my time in the Richard Armitage fandom is expression of hospitality and generosity from my fellow fans.  In fact, just last week, I was gifted with the most amazing quilt by jholland of preoccupiedbyarmitage.  I think it is safe to say, that in many neighborhoods of Armitageworld, there is a strong sense of ξενία at work.

ξενία – or xenia transliterated into English – is the ancient Greek concept of  “guest-friendship,” that is, the courtesy and hospitality shown to travelers, and/or associates of the giver of the hospitality.  It was understood to be a reciprocal relationship marked by both the exchange of material gifts, but also of non material things like food, shelter, and various favors.  Xenia functioned as an important component of the ancient Greek social and religious system…after all, one never knew when one might be in the presence of a god, so practicing xenia was paramount.

I rather like the notion of offering courtesy and hospitality to those in my orbit.  I try to do it as a matter of course.  Most of the time it’s pretty easy, but sometimes?  Sometimes I end up in a weird xenia sandwich.  I have two neighbors…on either side of my house.  To the west is Marlene – she’s a bit older than my parents and is more and more in need of assistance with some of the larger tasks of caring for her home – particularly lawn work and snow removal.  We’ve been doing all of the lawn work and snow removal for several years now…the fact that she is also our landlord does factor in a bit, but this work isn’t in our lease and we aren’t compensated for it – we do it because it’s the right thing to do.  It’s xenia.

In any case, I’m happy to extend xenia to Marlene…and she returns the favor in a lot of ways.

Here’s the problem…to the east there is another neighbor – Melissa.  I honestly don’t know what to make of these people.  They moved into the neighborhood about 5 years ago.  They are about the same age as hubs and me, our kids go to the same schools, but man, I just don’t know…there is just so much weird over there.  I’ve tried to be neighborly, but there is some kind of massive xenia black hole centered over her house.  I may come off sounding like a giant heel in all of this, so I should clarify just a bit.

The Melissa’s didn’t exactly ease themselves into the neighborhood, which isn’t terribly tightknit, so it’s not hard to “break into.”  I’ll give you the highlights reel.  Within a week of moving into a neighborhood of 80 year old homes with streets lined with mature maple trees, it became evident that the Melissa’s had some sort of issue with trees – the evidence being the fact that they immediately cut down every tree in their yard – all healthy youngish trees -including the ones that shaded their full western exposed windows.  Um – ok, it’s your yard, your trees.  However, when they went to their neighbor to the east and demanded she cut down a beautiful old tree because it hung over their yard, they started a tree war I’m afraid.  One that persists to this day.

The tree thing is a little weird…so is the raking the concrete slab driveway and the accidently nailing herself in the head with a nailgun (a glancing blow).  I admit, I have a bit of an issue with the fact that there is always a car in her garage, but she always needs a ride somewhere – she doesn’t drive you see.  She also doesn’t have a printer, a cell phone, a phone book or a sense of  discretion about what intimate details of her daughters’ lives she should share with me.  Let’s not even get into the fact that Mr. Melissa is apparently something of a peeping tom.

It’s actually kind of a funny story if it weren’t kind of creepier than funny:  My laundry area is in the basement and the basement windows face the Melissa’s driveway.  One summer evening, I was in the basement at the washer when my husband calls down the steps:

“Hey, are you changing your clothes down there?”

I had indeed just taken off my shirt and thrown it in the washer before putting on a PJ top – not an infrequent event actually…or at least it used not to be.  I answered, puzzled:

“Yes, why?”

Hubs replied:

“Because Mr. Melissa is up on the roof of their new shed watching you.”


Needless to say, I’m more careful about where I drop trou in my house these days, and I’m less inclined to lend a hand to The Melissa’s – xenia is a reciprocal concept after all.  The prompt for this post is the latest installment of the weird neighbor show that has unfolded since Christmas.

On the day after Christmas (Hub’s birthday BTW) I foolishly answered the pounding on my back door to find Melissa.  I opened the door a wide crack and politely inquired what she might need – we aren’t really friends, we don’t have coffee, etc.  Right in front of my astonished eyes, she pushed the door open wider, stepped into my back entry, closed the door and said, “That wind is cold”  Um, OK – I usually wait to be invited in, but since you’re already in…Evidently, her washing machine is broken and she wanted to know if she could use my washer.  I pondered – I really don’t like her, but if she needs to do an emergency load or two, I could just wash them for her.  Except that wasn’t what she had in mind – she was proposing that she troop in and out of my house over the next several hours and do all of the weekly laundry for her family of four.

Three problems with that:

  1. There is not a day that I’m not somewhere in the process of a load of laundry, so my washer is always busy.
  2. It was Hub’s birthday and I was hosting dinner to celebrate
  3. Is she unfamiliar with the word LAUNDROMAT?!

Don’t get me wrong – I can relate.  My washer was out of commission for like 6 weeks last summer and then the replacement was a lemon so it was another week.  Do you know what I did?  I packed all of my laundry in the car and took it to the laundromat.  As I have done with my laundry in the past when I did not have a washing machine in my home.  As it happens, there are TWO laundromats within 1/2 a mile from our houses.  This is not a Herculean task here.

Now, in the interest of xenia, knowing that Melissa does not drive (even though I cannot understand why because she seems to have no handicaps and has a vehicle at her disposal), I offered to drive her to the laundromat and pick her up when she was done with her laundry (her creepy peepy husband apparently doesn’t like to drive her places – reason #576 to learn to drive in my book)  She turned me down and we had a short conversation about a nice laundromat that my parents use all the time that Peeper could drive her to. (they have a washer, they just like to do it all in 90 minutes – then go to lunch…*shrugs*).  When I told her that I needed to get going because you know, hosting a party in 2 hours, she went home and I thought the subject was closed.  Au contraire my friends!

Yesterday, 2.5 minutes after I emerged from the house and was cleaning some trash out of Mini Me’s spot in the car, I hear my name being called and look over my shoulder to see Melissa hot footing it across the street.  You guessed it – she renewed her application to use my washer…she is in the loop to get a replacement for what is apparently a lemon machine.  I grimaced internally and replied that I was going out, and for all of the reasons I’d already told her, I really thought the laundromat was a better option.  I did offer this time to wash an emergency load if she needed something to tide them over – this initiated a conversation about her adolescent daughter’s bras…they are expensive, unpadded and she only has three.  TMI Melissa, T. M. I.  Especially since this whole conversation is going on in the driveway at the mercy of -20F degree winds.  My Melissa xenia tank is getting pretty low at this point!  Hubs thinks the laundry issue is closed.  I’m not so sure…

Even so, my notion of xenia is still alive and well otherwise…I might even crutch over to Marlene’s tomorrow and see if we can do her computer purchase online –

Meet my best friends for the next 10 days for sure...

Meet my best friends for the next 10 days for sure…

I was on my way down the steps to go computer shopping with her  today when my knee had other ideas and I ended up back in the ER – #meniscusfail.

Truthfully, even though Melissa is making me consider parking my car around the block so she doesn’t know I’m home, if she asks me again, I’ll offer again to give her a ride to do her laundry…but xenia or no xenia, no xenos is getting in my washer!!  😀

Thanks for indulging my rant…perhaps “My Loony Neighbors” will become a regular feature here (who knows, maybe The Melissa’s have a similar feature about the Obscura’s!)




Καλώς Ορίσατε 2017

New year, new look here – after almost four years (eek!) – I thought I might change it up just a bit.  My last blog theme – Titan – fit the classical mold, and the new one – Quintus – is aptly classical as well.

What will the new year bring for Ancient Armitage?  Hard to say for sure, but coming attractions will definitely include an in depth study of Kallipygos, with both ancient and Armitage exemplars.  If rumors of an Armitage connection to a coming adaptation of the Sophoclean Oedipus cycle are true, I’ll definitely weigh in on that too.  I’d also like to revive some features like the “Kalos” and Virtutes Romanae posts this year.  Lots of room to explore!

I’ve recently been dabbling with some new culinary fun – Vietnamese summer rolls, spicy peanut sauce and…caramel corn (what can I say, I have eclectic tastes!)  I expect there’ll be a least a few food related posts.  Not to mention that I have one child preparing to graduate from high school while the other teeters on the edge of tweendom – life is a carnival (good thing there’s caramel corn!!)  

All that and more, coming soon – I hope you’ll read along 🙂

Look what Jenn did for me!!!: I Dabbled in Erotica, Or: A Commemorative “Celebration of Greece” Quilt for Obscura — preoccupiedwitharmitage

As you may know, Hubby and I were fortunate enough to travel to Greece in September on a wonderful tour led by our own lovely Obscura, and after the tour, I spent yet another fun-filled week in her company, along with several other like-minded ladies, dubbed AHA (Armitage Hellenic Association). When we returned, having been gone for a stretch […]

via I Dabbled in Erotica, Or: A Commemorative “Celebration of Greece” Quilt for Obscura — preoccupiedwitharmitage

Verbum Latinum Hodie: Cupiditas

Before I get started, I should probably remark on how long it’s been since I’ve posted on this blog…so long that WordPress seems to have initiated a whole new post format.  At first glance?  Not a big fan.  Pfft.


Today’s, or rather yesterday’s Latin word of the day, cupiditas is a feminine noun meaning a longing or desire.  The usage of cupiditas can lean to the positive and refer to a longing for something harmless, but more frequently, it seems to teeter the opposite direction and is paired with overwhelming carnal passions or obsessive desire for wealth.

The notion of longing in general has been pretty close to the surface in me the last few days…

After a slip and fall last week, I have a cupiditas to put on a sock without wincing in discomfort.

The week has been consumed with drafting the class schedule for the 2017-18 academic year.  In the process of digging for something schedule related, I came across a handwritten draft of an epilogue for my John Porter fanfic, Recovery.  I have a magna cupiditas to finally complete that, and to get back to some recreational writing in general.

porter guns

Look at that gun…and I’m not talkin’ about the rifle!

Veering to the less than positive side of the word, having spent a good bit of time out and about with my fellow man in the last week, I have developed a maxima cupiditas to smack the next person who lets a door fly closed in my face, stops dead without warning in traffic, or cuts in front of me at the deli counter.  Honestly, what has happened to just plain basic courtesy lately?!  I offered to walk an elderly woman’s shopping cart back to the “cart corral” at Target the other day and she was so grateful you’d have thought I’d done her some huge service – actually, I thought the greater “service” on my part was my not asking out loud why she had had a poodle strapped into the baby seat of that same cart.  I admit to a cupiditas for a time when common courtesy wasn’t so very uncommon.

Richard Armitage Of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" Photo Session

Mr. Rogers a la Richard Armitage Photo by George Pimentel

Oh well, until such a day rolls around, I think I’ll just continue to nurture my laeta cupiditas that this guy is every bit as Mr. Roger-y  on the courtesy front as he looks here in one of my all time favorite shots.  🙂

I will not venture to comment on the other multitude of cupiditates this image evokes….*cough*   Next up, today’s Latin Word of the Day…ignis:  FIRE!


Interrupting R/J swooning for an important PSA


Primary Source Assignment?  C’mon, the semester is over!

Fear not…I meant Public Service Announcement – especially for the travel minded.  Regular readers know that I led a combined group of Armitage fans and university related peeps to Greece in September.   Just a few weeks after I returned, my Greek travel agent and foodie extraordinaire George sent me an invitation that I am pleased to share with all of you..


A 21 Day “Grand Tour” of Greece….all over the mainland and the islands.  Depending on what the next six months bring, I may or may not be going along as a guide on this trip, but whether I am there or not, I can say without reservation that George will provide an incredible tour experience.  If you take a look and are interested, drop me a note and I will put you directly in touch with George.

We now return to our original programming:  3….2….1



cornu copiae

The “horn of plenty,” cornucopia in English, has long been a symbol of abundance and prosperity…

one of the Penates holding a cornu copiae and a patera (Source)

one of the Penates holding a cornu copiae and a patera (Source)

In ancient Roman material, it is very often seen in the hands Roman household divinities…the Lares, and especially the Penates, who were the guardians of the household pantry.

In more recent times, the cornucopia has become a symbol of the abundance of the fall harvest, and for Americans, a ubiquitous symbol of Thanksgiving.


This year (like last) I have declined the summons of my sister that we trek 60 minutes to the north to join the “whole family” for Thanksgiving dinner.  I have decided that I am lately most thankful for the newfound ability to say “No thank you.”  I’ve even tempted my parents to own that they’d rather not drive that distance to endure the inevitable angst that had become our “whole family” gathering.

So, this year my parents are taking the 1.5 mile trek to my house for dinner.  I’m shooting to eat around 4pm (dark enough for dinner, but leaving time for digestion  🙂 )


Since there will only be six of us (one who doesn’t eat meat “if bones are present) I’ve opted to make just a turkey breast instead of the whole bird.  The turkey is kind of a secondary attraction…at Obscura’s house, it’s all about the sides – mostly veggies (I count 7 individual vegetable dishes not including the mandatory mashed potatoes)  I don’t entertain often, so I’m also especially delighted to have the opportunity to use the beautiful crockery (pictured above) that I picked up near Kalovryta, Greece this fall.


Last but not least, there’s the pies.  I baked them last evening (I’ll thank you to ignore the broken crust on the pumpkin pie…maybe I’ll pipe on some cream to camouflage it!).

I’m off to grab a last minute latte at the Kwik Trip before I settle in to begin the prep in earnest, but before I do, I wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone who celebrates it a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving…and a Blessed and Happy DAY to the rest of Armitageworld!