et alia: Again with this?!

As virtually everyone in Armitage world enters into Hobbit frenzy, I find myself in a kind of funk I’ve named Hobbit Hiatus as I grade like a madwoman to finish the fall semester by Friday.  In the midst, seeking a breather, I took a scroll through my RL Facebook feed….whoops, that was a mistake!

**What follows is an irritated rant that is in no way related to Richard Armitage and only tangentially related to the ancient world, so feel free to abandon ship now.

If, however, you’d like to hear about what is currently burning my buns…


^^^^THIS, or something very similar to it has appeared on my RLFB at least three times in the past few weeks and it’s really starting to frost me.  This is the kind of exclusionary arrogance of thought that gives Christians a bad name.  I’ve got nothing against Christians per se..regular readers will know that I consider myself among their ranks.  Heck, someone even turned a Christian pulpit over to me recently and no one ran out screaming “heretic at the helm!!,” but….

Sometimes I really wish that my fellow Christians would take a minute to learn a little something about the religion before they insist on imposing it on everyone…whether the imposee practices it or not.  For instance:

ONE: Virtually every culture on the planet holds some reverence for the winter solstice (December 21st-ish)…many have established a holiday to mark the event.  Christmas is not the only, or even the oldest of the holidays connected to the solstice

TWO:  Apparently little known fact among HTT (holier than thou) Christians asserting greeting exclusivity as a statement of faith:  Christianity has zero inherent connection to December 25th.  Nobody…that’s right, NOBODY, knows the precise date on which Jesus of Nazareth was born.  Not now, and not then.

In fact, for the first three hundred years of Christian development Christmas was nowhere to be found on the calendar and there was a great deal of resistance amongst the leadership to any sort of celebration marking Christ’s birth since that was considered dangerously close to pagan practice.

Any accurate record of the actual birthdate long lost, church officials argued back and forth until the 4th century BC when they landed on December 25th. In a time when Christianity was seeking to actively integrate with imperial Rome, it was a date that conveniently syncretized a Christian celebration to a Roman festival honoring Sol Invictus which was in turn connected to the solstice.

So much for any exclusive claim to December holiday greeting lingo rights!

FINALLY:  As long as a Christian holds G-d and Christ in his or her heart, the verbiage of the greeting is irrelevant.  It’s a quintessential “It’s the thought that counts” moment.

The next time I see one of these things I’m simply going to share this one in response:





End Rant…whew – I feel much better now!

inter alia: Introspection, Pot Roast, Pickles and Richard Armitage

I’ve learned a number of important personal truths in the past week:

Over the last four days, twenty kids, ranging in age from 2-1/2 to 12 conspired to kick my ass – not literally, but the results were basically the same.  Today was the first day in a week that I didn’t spend frantically prepping to entertain and teach this group or cleaning up the carnage of said exercise.  For the past six years, I’ve headed up the K-6th grade youth programs at my church, a job that I have only recently “retired” from.  Personal Truth#1 :  if I had any doubts about my decision, organizing and implementing VBS for the final time dispelled them all.  I love these kids…I’ve watched most of them grow since infancy, but it is definitely time to pass the torch to someone new – share the wealth and all.  (I kept the fun job – I still get to take them on all the fellowship outings – all the joy and energy of kids and very little of the need to make them sit down and listen 🙂 ) 

Part of the VBS drill for my family is take out food – this week we’ve had pizza, burgers, subs and Chinese, so tonight I thought I’d actually cook a meal.  The meal du jour courtesy of Facebook was “3 Envelope Pot Roast.”  It’s not bad – IF you have no problem with MSG (3 lb roast, 1 envelope Italian dressing mix, 1 envelope Ranch dressing mix, 1 envelope brown gravy mix – 2 cups of water, 4 hours in slow cooker), but as usual with the recipes that everyone raves about, Personal Truth #2 :  I was underwhelmed.  I really love the idea of dumping a bunch of ingredients in a pot, leaving for several hours and returning to dinner, but it never seems to work out that way.   Sigh…oh well, I await the next “great” crock pot recipe.

"3 Envelope Roast"....meh

“3 Envelope Roast”….meh

As summer winds down, the vegetable stands are brimming with all sorts of garden fresh goodness.  I love cucumbers – I like making sweet and sour refrigerator cucumbers, but I especially LOVE home made dill pickles.  I bought some cucumbers at the farmers market where I ran into a friend with a big garden.  Personal Truth #3:  if you express an interest, you run the risk of becoming cucumber and zucchini dump for your green thumbed friends.  On the plus side, I had enough cukes to take a stab at making some dill pickles (refrigerator variety – I cannot be bothered with canning!)  I’ll let you know how they turn out!

My first jar of dill pickles - I'm so proud!

My first jar of dill pickles – I’m so proud!

In all of the Real Life pandemonium this week, there was a definite deficit of quality time with Richard Armitage.  I barely read anything, I only answered comments on my own blog last night, it’s probably my fault that Richard lost to Cumberbatch since I only had time to vote ONCE,  I’ve gotten woefully off my writing schedule for finishing Recovery by the end of the summer, and I’m not happy about any of it!  (Actually, I was downright ornery last night)  Personal Truth #4:  Participation in the Armitageworld fandom has become an integral part of my day…I really can detect a difference in my mood after going cold turkey for a few days.  I’m not sure what that says about me, but…

Wrap Party Candid  Courtesy of Jed Brophy's Twitter feed PS...Love the Carhartt Graham!

Wrap Party Candid
Courtesy of Jed Brophy’s Twitter feed
PS…Love the Carhartt Graham!

I do know that I’m in a lot better mood now that I’ve gotten my fix!

OT: I survived “Car-mageddon 2013”

What the...?!

What the…?!

Well, here I am back from the big family shindig in mostly one piece despite the best attempts of the road signage in northwestern Wisconsin to force me off the road in fits of hysterical laughter!  Ancient Armitage will be back to the regularly scheduled programming this week, but first a few things I learned on this trip:

  • I really like my family…
    • every quirky, perpetually late, impossible to corral into a schedule, indecisive one of them.
  • Two vehicles are better than one on a 500 mile road trip
    • my husband and I found out we actually like driving around when it’s just the two of us…beef jerky and gas station restrooms are soooo romantic!!
  • There are motels that have rooms for six –
    • a pox on them for indulging my mom’s frugal spirit!!
  • There is nowhere to hide from camera phones…
    • or camera phone photographers who instantly publish to Facebook!
  • Upscale and expensive does not necessarily equate to perfection…
    • as proven by the massive flood in my room on night one in our extremely posh log cabin digs.
      • Who knew you needed to seal a basement window well and clear rain gutters of debris prior to torrential rains – evidently everyone but the maintenance staff at this resort!
      •  I think I should have gotten a free pedicure from the spa for having discovered the flood when my bare feet stepped out of bed into a soaking wet carpet – squish!
      • Also, my head is still humming from the sound of the industrial blowers drying out the carpet – very fancy!
  • Fangirling may be hereditary…
    • I bonded with one of my cousins – she is a self-proclaimed Cumberbitch 🙂

Really only two casualties from the trip…a misplaced iPad charger and cable and my sister and I aren’t speaking…that’s not really reunion related, just a sister thing we do every so often.   The 2015 reunion?  We’ll see everyone in Wyoming.  Or Florida…or North Carolina – go figure, we haven’t decided 🙂

Oh!  I almost forgot – pizza is really good cooked on the barbecue grill!  (all those cameras, and not one picture of 30 pizzas cooking on the grill!)

et alia: Survival Guide for “orphans” of Richard Armitage Fans

I had a very interesting conversation with my teenage son a few weeks ago.  I don’t remember how it began – probably my walking into his room to nag him to work on his homework.  We were going to go out for lunch (he’s in virtual school, so campus is always open)  but he didn’t have any clean jeans to wear.  This led his mother to ask guiltily, “Do you have any not too dirty jeans?  I’ve been a little distracted with this new blog thing and have gotten behind on the laundry.”  I jokingly suggested he start a support group for the “neglected” children of Richard Armitage fans.  He replied, “Oh that?  Someone already invited me to join that.”

Wait a minute….what?  I pumped him for more information over pizza – he’s a teenager, and always hungry, so he talked.  Evidently, one of his legion of Facebook friends is a second generation fan of Richard Armitage and has started a chat page on her personal Facebook account where the children of Armitage fans can join to lament about their mothers’ obsession.  He hasn’t ever logged in he said.  I had no idea such a page existed, but it seems perfectly logical that it does.

How many times have I complained that real life has gotten in the way of my Armitage habit?  Plenty.  I wondered what my new “hobby” looked like from the perspective of my kids.  My seven (and a 1/2) year old daughter has already come over to the fold.  This week I came home from a night class to find her fast asleep with my iPad open on her bed.  She had fallen to sleep listening to Richard Armitage reading Flat Stanley on the Cbeebies Story Hour.  Interested in his take on my fandom, I asked my son if he would write me his version of a guide to surviving life as the child of a Richard Armitage fan, so I could post it on my blog.  He grudgingly agreed, only after I promised he would remain anonymous.  That was about three weeks ago, he’s a bit of a procrastinator – I think he gets that from his mother!

I expected something that looked rather like this:

1.  Learn to like Ramen noodles and EasyMac – if you wait, “just a minute” until your mother finishes that episode of Robin Hood, or chatting online, you might waste away to nothing.

2.  Ditto for laundry unless you are styling yourself as the 21st century Lady Godiva

3.  Answer her questions about how to arrange her Tumblr dashboard as simply as possible.  Be prepared to repeat when she doesn’t get it the first time.

4. Take advantage of her distraction and allow your bedroom to become a comfortable hovel befitting any lazy teenager.

Here is what he emailed me today: (I only changed a couple of typos – the language and sentiment are all his)

Contributed by Obscura's 14 year old son.

Contributed by Obscura’s 14 year old son.

On an average day, my son is a pretty easy going kid – so easy going, that he has to be prodded to get just about anything done.  He falls behind on his school work, not because he is unable to complete it, but because he just can’t be bothered.  I guess I just assumed that he was put out in some way by the increasing amount of time I spend on fangirling activities.  Given his generally mellow attitude, I shouldn’t be surprised that not only is he not particularly bothered by the independence that he’s gained in lieu of my new hobby, it turns out that he may just be the only person of my close acquaintance who really gets it.  Is it strange that my son and I have found new common ground in our respective fandom activities?  Truthfully, it does feel a bit weird, but it is also amazing to realize how similarly we view things, how much common ground we have.  Thanks Armitagemania for providing me an entre into better communication with my teenager!