The Hobbit - The Battle of Five Armies - Official Poster

It’s been ten years since I was an active Ringer. But, with the release of the last movie today, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, I’m getting very reflective.

I’d read all five books (Hobbit, Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Silmarillion) multiple times by the time the first movie came out in 2001. Tolkien, Lewis, Montgomery, MacDonald, Weiss & Hickman, Springer, Kurtz…these were the names of the creators of worlds that have shaped my imagination for almost four decades. Despite any other interests or fandoms, these are the main ones who have been a constant through all the years. Come Yule this weekend, I’ll embark on a journey through Middle Earth once again. How ironic was it that the films first were released at the same time of year I always reread the books? (more…)

The mysterious tea party is explained. But, what happened? Was this the cause of death?

Ancient legends speak of two opposing forces: light and dark, often represented in the faerie courts of old. The seelie court, court of light and order, rules over the land through the brightest parts of the year. But, as summer wanes and the harvest times come to an end, then the unseelie court rises, the court of darkness and chaos. It is at Samhain, the end of the old year, as the world settles in to winter and remembering, that the veil between this world and the next is at it’s thinnest.

Is this why the spirits have become active at Birchwood House? I can only guess. But, the investigations continue. (more…)

Was there a tragic dinner party in my home's history?

It started small at first: a door left open that I thought was closed, a bath fully drawn when no one was home. Occasionally I would hear footsteps in the house when I was alone, phantom voices speaking while I worked. As the frequency of these occurrences increased, I could only come to one conclusion:

Birchwood House is haunted.

The spectral residents of the house have made their presence known, but not their identity.

During the month of June, I endeavored to capture some evidence of their spectral presence on film. Being possessed — isn’t that an odd choice of phrase? — of only one camera, I was forced to relocate periodically to capture record of most of the activity. Still, by spending an hour or two a night in each post, I was able to gather some evidence in each of the most active parts of the house: the upper hallway, the dining room, and the kitchen.

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Taking in the view from my backyard

It’s in the air. A subtle shift on the wind, a teasing scent that says Summer’s over. The green leaves of July have turned into a riotous inferno of reds and oranges and golds. Even the sky itself seem a little more gilded, bringing a crisp edge to the soft breeze. It’s a time of reflection and renewal, the world preparing for it’s annual sleep, to rise again in beauty come spring.

And the weary traveler returns home…

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Banner - Dark Power Lines

Been a while since I’ve done one of these. Been a while since I wrote regularly, too. lol Still working on finding the time to do that again. Need to get more organized about things in general, I think. Or get some rest! heh. Haven’t had a real break from things since…December?

Anyway, starting the week on a positive note:

  • Seaside Highland Games this past weekend. Beautiful weather, lovely music, old friends. Just a great time all around, despite the migraine that came with me.
  • While at the Games, met a lovely woman who was selling her first book. Picked up a copy to read on the bus (of course!), but really was charmed by the author, whether I end up ultimately liking the book or not. It was just nice to meet such a pleasant, caring woman.
  • VACATION! My usual vacation for my birthday and Halloween is coming up in ten days. I have a few things to do, but mostly, I just want to chill as much as I can.
  • Getting myself a new phone. It’s not a total positive, since it’s now literally impossible to get a smart phone with a hard keyboard without a contract for a price I can afford. But, it’s still an upgrade and my current phone has outgrown my needs (also, I’m pretty sure I’ve semi-bricked it. oops).
Pay no attention to that band-aid behind the curtain.

For starters, I’m just going to go out on a limb and suggest that Facebook is annoying. I applied to join the Facebook group for this challenge awhile back and never got a notice from Facebook when the request was approved. So, I totally missed out on the first week’s prompts. *pouts* I may try and get to them later. But, I haven’t even had time to touch my nails for a month before now. So, I won’t hold my breath. LOL

Anyway, the way the challenge works is each week there’s a pattern prompt and a color prompt and you can choose to do one or both or put them together. I’m likely to only get to one manicure a week, per usual. But, I wanted to try something that would make me stretch my skills a bit, since I’m still learning some of the more advanced tricks.

This week’s pattern challenge was a three-color gradient. And, since I had a handful of fall colors just sitting around waiting to be tried, it was a good time to go with a fall theme. :-)

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Banner - P-47D Thunderbolt

Continuing my report from the June symposium at the Planes of Fame Museum featuring six veteran fighter pilots who had flown the P-47 Thunderbolt during the World War II: five who fought in the European Theatre and one who was in the Pacific Theatre. The stories of all the men were entertaining, educational, and enlightening. After listening to these men speak, it became clearer why theirs is known as the greatest generation.

Yesterday I wrote about Lieutenant Colonel Robert Friend, who flew with the Tuskegee Airmen using all 6,000 feet of runway they were given; Lieutenant Colonel Sandy Ross, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in saving the life of his squadron leader during a dogfight; and Lieutenant Martin Engler who crash landed into the middle of a tank battle.

Today, I’ll begin with the fourth man to speak: Lieutenant Joe Preston.

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Banner - P-47D Thunderbolt

“God almighty, in a few short hours we will be in battle with the enemy. We do not join battle afraid. We do not ask favors or indulgence but ask that, if You will, use us as Your instrument for the right and an aid in returning peace to the world.” — Part of the prayer reportedly given by Lt. Col. Robert L. Wolverton, commanding officer of 3rd battalion, 506th PIR, prior to the beginning of the D-Day attacks

Last month, I had the privilege of attending the monthly symposium at the Planes of Fame Museum. There are two locations as part of the organization, one here in Chino, CA and one in Valle, AZ, and between them they house over 150 historic planes, including a number of military planes from both World Wars, the Korean War, and Vietnam. I first heard of them last March at the first L.A. County Air Show. We were there to see Blue Angels perform and a team from the museum did a combat reenactment from the Korean War.

Once a month, they hold a symposium on different topics pertinent to aviation history. With the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion last Friday, June’s symposium was on the P-47 Thunderbolt, one of the primary fighter planes used by the US Army Air Forces during the war. Speaking at the event were six veteran fighter pilots who had flown the Thunderbolt during the war: five who fought in the European Theatre and one who was in the Pacific Theatre.

Each of the six men stood up to speak and I was able to get a few photos and took extensive notes on the stories they shared. That being said, here are a few of my impressions. I’ve written them as narratives based on my notes and will post one speaker each night this week. (more…)

Banner - Laugh Angel

I’ve decided to go ahead and try the NaBloPoMo. No guarantees I get a post up every day. But, I’ve got some scheduled ahead. So, we’ll see how it goes. I signed up today, which means I missed the first. But, I did post yesterday and I can’t find anything that says you have to write on the prompt every day. So…that works? lol

The prompt for today is:

Do you think of a decade as a short or long period of time? (Is the century a 10th full or a 10th empty!)

I know they tell you time feels shorter the older you get. But, I’m going to assume they mean when you’re truly old…like 90+. I’m in my mid-thirties and it still feels like forty is forever in the future, attractive men in their mid-twenties are still too far back for the age gap not to matter. (Note, I don’t feel this way about men in their fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties!) The summer seems to stretch on interminably ahead of me. (Although, to be honest, that might just be the weather. Time always seems to slow when it gets hot.)

And a decade?

Well, that does seem like forever.

A decade ago, I was barely to a point of considering myself a real adult. Out of school, working, truly single and without even a boyfriend for the first time since I was a junior in high school. I go back and read some of the things I wrote back then and it feels so long ago.

I had different groups of friends back then, too. Many of which would be gone in the next year as lives changed and people went in different directions, made different priorities. It’s funny, but with the advent of Facebook a few years later, I’m actually more involved in the lives of people I knew in high school and college than the people I was closest to ten years ago. I’ve also found new friendships online as I’ve sought out more like-minded people across different interest-based communities. It seems like I’ve known many of these people forever, but reality says it’s been less than five years for some. I can’t imagine the time when I wasn’t talking to some of these friends every day.

But, ten years ago?

We hadn’t even met.

NaBloPoMo July 2014

Banner - Captains America Nails

In honor of Independence day, the feeds are full of patriotic nail art. But, my manicure this week is very, very pink. So, as several people have commented on a series of manicures I’ve done in recent months that fit the Red, White, and Blue theme — and my mother’s shared it with everyone she knows, I think! — I thought I’d collect them all here and talk about how I did them and why. :-)

Sometime last summer, I turned into a huge Winter Soldier and Captain America fangirl. Don’t ask me how that happened. Wait. I know how. Someone who shall remain nameless said “want to write a fic?” And that triggered my need to research the characters and Voila! One more fictional character — Bucky Barnes — has captured my heart in the same way Remus Lupin, G Callen, Raistlin Majere, Acheron, and Tanim all have.

Now, as I started getting back into nail art design earlier this year, it only made sense for me to want to do something to celebrate the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier last April. After flipping around on the net, looking for inspiration, I realized something: It’s all about Steve! lol

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