About Me

My photo
A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

Total Pageviews

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Gift

Well - here we are again - another week, another recap. This episode was somewhat better and somewhat worse than last week's; a feat that might seem hard to accomplish but Season Five of Game of Thrones has been so all over the place that "The Gift" manages to do just that. I couldn't find very many gifs this week...so you'll have to deal with a couple pictures that don't actually move. I know, it's heart-breaking. So, without further ado!



The Wall: Friends are Dropping like Flies - The Lord Commander (or as we all know and love him, Jon Snow) follows through with his plan to release Tormund and join him as he rescues the Wildlings at Hardhome, North of the Wall. Ser Allister Thorne is quick to remind Jon that almost no one agrees with his plan; Jon proceeds anyway and gets a bro hug (ha!) from Sam as well as some dragonglass, in the event he meets with any White Walkers. Jon gets quite a few stares as he heads out; there is more than just snow building at the Wall...

 I love these two - everyone needs a buddy - unfortunately Sam just lost his only one....
Sam and Gilly are spending most of their time with Maester Aemon, who draws his last breaths after reminiscing about his brother "Egg"...the man who became King Aegon Targaryen. The Brothers of the NIght's Watch lay Maester Aemon to rest and after intoning the traditional words of "And now his watch is ended" Allister Thorne lets Sam know he's losing all of his friends. This is true - Sam really only has Gilly with him at the Wall now and as a woman...well in this world, that doesn't count for much. Proof of this comes pretty quickly when two of the Sworn Brothers corner, menace and try to rape Gilly (STOP WITH ALL THE RAPE - STOP IT NOW) and Sam, after taking numerous punches to the face, lets the men know: "I've killed a White Walker, I've killed a Thenn - I'll take my chances with you." It's less impressive when Ghost rounds the corner and scares the living daylights out of them. Later Gilly tends to Sam's wounds and they consumate their relationship...which is really a no-no what with that whole vow of celibacy but hey - none of the other Brothers really seem to follow that vow, right?

I still can't decide if this was sweet or not...I mean, it was...but...
The North: It's Gonna be Do or Die - The snow is swirling heavier each week and Stannis's forces are dwindling by the day - horses have died in the night and a whole army of Sellswords have also fled. No one wants to march to their death in the freezing snow! Ser Davos encourages Stannis to return to Castle Black and wait out the Winter there but Stannis tells him that "Winter is Coming" aren't just the words of House Stark - Winter is literally coming and it could take years for it to break, so they will press on no matter what. Melisandre visits Stannis to press him on the surety she has in her visions; Stannis will win a great battle in the snow, she has seen it and so has he. She also sees that the Lord of Light demands a sacrifice for Stannis to continue to prevail - and Shireen has that precious king's blood flowing through her veins. Stannis won't hear of burning Shireen; she's his daughter and (for now) more important than taking the Iron Throne. Only time will tell if his resolve holds up...I hope so, for Shireen's sake. 

Let me roast your only child & things will go much more smoothly.... 

Winterfell: I'm Still Confused...and Frustrated - After the nightmare that was last week's ending, we find Sansa is still locked in her brdroom, covered in fresh bruises from Ramsey's nightly torments. Reek/Theon comes to bring her food, acting as a steward and she demands he help her by taking the candle and lighting it in the tower to signal for help. Reek/Theon take the candle and make what appears to be a purposeful walk to the top of the tower...except he's actually going to Ramsey...he rats Sansa out. This is revealed a bit later when Sansa is delivered to Ramsey to walk the battlements and talk; she needles Ramsey endlessly about his being a bastard, even pointing out to him that he was "legitimized" by Tommen Baratheon, another bastard. Ramsay puts her talk to an end quickly when he shows her the old woman who'd pledged to help her; the old woman who has now been flayed and displayed for all to see. Ramsay returns Sansa's candle to her and has her taken back to be locked in her room again.

 I honestly don't get it guys - my hope was that in Theon being made to witness Sansa's treatment at the hands of Ramsay, he would snap out of his "Reek" persona and help Sansa concont a plan to escape. That doesn't seem to have happened and so it looks like the moral of this whole storyline is that bad things happen to good people in Westeros...and Sansa is good person number one, so all the bad must happen to her. Whatever.

Sansa isn't broken yet...but taunting your captor probably isn't the best choice...

Dorne: What Even is Going on Anymore - I don't really know quite what to make of the whole story in Dorne...that seems to be the case each week. Princess Myrcella comes to visit her "Uncle" Jaime in his very lush prison cell - she'd like to stay in Dorne - she loves Trystane and feels at home. She also tells him she's been living in Dorne "for years now" which made me say: what now? I think it's not been that long...but alright writers...whatever... In the less lush dungeons, Bronn is singing to his heart's content, which doesn't amuse the Sand Snakes who are occupying the cell across the hall. Bronn brags about all the beautiful women he's seen and Tyene uses her body to entice him, causing him to become faint...no wait, that's actually the poison that tipped her blades, coursing through his body. He will most surely die...but if he'll only tell Tyene that she's the most beautiful woman in the world, she might have the antidote on hand! Bronn happily obliges, downs the bottle and sinks against the wall in relief.

I personally can't even understand what the point of the whole scene was...but again, everything about Dorne has been crazy...so I shouldn't be surprised!

Gee Dad...er...Uncle Jaime...I.m not really up for bonding & a road trip...but thanks for stopping by!
Across the Narrow Sea: Still in the Friend Zone - Jorah and Tyrion are both up for auction; Jorah is sold as a fighting slave and garners a high price. Tyrion pleads his case: they are a set, he too is a great fighter! The crowd rolls with laughter until Tyrion dodges a blow from one of the slavers and in turn beats the man into submission with the very chains around his own wrists - the man who purchased Jorah shrugs, buys Tyrion and gives him a sharp smack the minutes he opens his mouth. Elswhere is Meereen, Dany and Daario are sharing some pillow talk - Daario is just a bit jealous that Dany is going to marry Hizdahr zo Loraq and not him. He advises her that one her wedding day she should gather all the great masters of Meereen and execute them in the Great Games. She tells Daario she is a Queen, not a butcher. Daario states ominous words: All rulers are either butchers or meat..

Poor Jorah - he is King of the Friend Zone...
We rejoin Jorah and Tyrion as they are preparing to fight gladiator style in early rounds of competition to insure a place in the Great Games of Meereen, to be held at Daznak's Pit in the coming weeks. It just so happens that Dany and her future King are making the rounds to watch these fights, as tradition dictates. When Jorah realizes Daenerys is so close, he barges into the fight and dominates the opponents, giving Dany pause in her rush to leave but angering her when he reveals himself. He tells her that he's brought her a gift; Tyrion who has broken free of his chains with the help of a very large fighter (Strong Belwas, is that you?) presents himself: I am Tyrion Lannister. Daenerys may now hold the trump card and the push she needs to get out of Slavers Bay - only time will tell. 

Best. Gift. Ever.

Kings Landing: They don't Serve Wine in the Black Cells - Olenna Tyrell is desperate to see her granddaughter and grandson released from the black cells and so she meets with the High Sparrow to plead her case. The High Sparrow is unmoved by her sharp tongue and offers of gold; Margaery and Loras will be punished according to the laws of the Seven. Olenna even goes so far as to threaten to stop shipments of crops from coming into the Capitol but he remains unfazed - eventually the many will stop fearing the few. Olenna also meets with Littlefinger in his ruined brothel; she still doesn't trust him even though they worked together to kill Joffrey. Littlefinger offers her information that even Cersei doesn't have. Young King Tommen feels powerless holed up in the Red Keep; Margaery's imprisonment is wearing on him and he is willing to go to war with the Faith to have his bride returned to him. Cersei calms him down and promises to speak with the High Sparrow - after all, the only thing she wants in the world is the happiness of her children. Tommen and Myrcella are the only things that matter to Cersei. 

But...that venison is only two days old...
Later, Cersei visits Margaery in her cell and offers her some venison she ate only the day before - Margaery is dirty and dishelved but will have nothing to do with Cersei's sweet taunts; she throws the bowl of food at her mother-in-law, calls her a heartless bitch and demands she leave. Cersei ambles the halls of the dungeon, gloating at her perceived success and makes her way to meet with the High Sparrow. She wants to be sure Margaery and Loras are punished to the extent that the Faith feels necessary. The High Sparrow gives Cersei a lecture about humility and simplicity before saying the Faith will strip away the finery of the Tyrells. But what will the Faith find when they strip away Cersei's finery? You can feel the chill go up Cersei's spine as the High Sparrow reveals that Lancel has confessed all of his sins; including the affair he had with Cersei way back in Season One. The tables have turned on Cersei and she now finds herself imprisoned by the Faith - the very Faith she empowered.

I have a feeling there won't be a bottle of your favorite red waiting for you in there...

Other Notes from Westeros (and Essos) 
We were all over the place this week...but we didn't get to Braavos to see Arya. One assumes she's still hanging out in the room of creepy faces, learning to be "some one". We also have seen Qyburn and his mysterious creature in some time... We went to Dorne but didn't check in with Doran, Areo or Ellaria.

Brienne we saw briefly - staring way too hard at the tower, waiting for a signal to come rescue Sansa. My advice? Stop staring so hard and just go save her already, she's struggling...I promise.

You don't have to be a book reader (but man...you should be - the books are good!) to realize Cersei is in a bad position. It can be assumed that Lancel not only confessed to his affair with Cersei (which, as her 1st cousin...what is that called? It's not incest...although Cersei hasn't ever been squeamish about that anyway...) but has also confessed that Cersei had him give King Robert four times the wine he was used to while on a boar hunt - which effectively got him killed. So just on Lancel's confession alone Cersei could be tried for infidelity, regicide and treason....who knows if the secret of her children's true parentage will come to light?

The snow is intense in the North now - After 4.5 seasons of hearing that Winter is coming, it's arriving in full force.


Until next week - better learn your place. Cersei is obviously confused...or has had too much wine. Oh wait, it's probably both. *snicker*

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Watson Wednesday


I think I just need a chair right here...so I can always sit at the table...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Week...A Weekend...and Then Some...

Whoosh - the past eight days went by in a blur! I decided to cram the whole Memorial Day Weekend shenanigans in with the week as a whole and I even went so far as to include Monday in the mix too, because my weekend technically didn't end up Tuesday morning. So, here we are - a whole lot of pictures and a whole lot of memories made!
My glorious find from the past weekend's Sunday afternoon excursion - not from the flea market freaks - FYI.

Up with the sun on Tuesday morning...
So, I've started this new trend where I get up before 6 AM, roust the dog out of his bed and we go walking all over the countryside before I have to get ready for work. Some people would call this exercise and they'd be right...but I'm not going to use the "E" word, lest I get tired of trying to get myself into something resembling better shape. The whole thing that really motivated this decision is that the elliptical my parents bought is of Satan and I cannot abide submitting myself to that brand of torture on a daily basis. I used the elliptical on Monday afternoon and was fairly certain I would die before finishing my work out, so when I rose with the sun (okay...the sun was actually already sort of up) on Tuesday morning, I realized that I could actually just walk/jog (yes - I have jogged some here and there) outside with the dog and not have to bow to the will of the elliptical - and so, that's that.

I should note - sometimes Watson is thrilled to see me round the corner at 5:55 and he happily stretches and yawns and is delighted with life. Other days he gives me a look of death and probably wishes I'd just leave him alone already. Oh well...can't win them all!

Being a complete hog - it is MY bed, but please feel free to puff & snort at me if I so much as breathe.

I warrant at some point the novelty of taking pictures of the sun cresting through the trees will wear off - it hasn't quite yet though. 

I mean - aren't your eyes always this huge? No? Just me then...
I finally went to the eye doctor for the first time in probably three years - yahoo for insurance, am I right? I'm sure skipping the ol eye doctor for three years isn't the best of life choices when you're practically as blind as a person can be without actually being legally blind, but you know...I guess that's life sometimes. So, I finally found an eye doctor and was told that my eyes are pretty much 100% healthy - besides the whole blind as a bat thing - and that was wonderful news and she dilated my eyes and then she released me into the wild...with dilated eyes...and no one to drive me! Y'all, I made it back to work and that in itself is purely a miracle. I have -10.50 vision (I'm not being dramatic about being blind...), I was wearing glasses that are probably really only for about -8.00 and my dilated eyeballs were taking in all that bright, bright sunshine and the struggle was REAL.

When I made it back to the office, I had somehow managed to misplace the container holding my contacts - can't imagine how, RIGHT?? - and it was literally so bright and blinding outside that I could not begin to find them. Blessedly, I work with awesome people and my friend Danielle went out to my car and found not only my contacts (points!) but a spare ponytail holder (all the other points!) and basically saved the day. I completed my work day sitting in the dark like a big dork, but thankfully the ride home was less dangerous. I can only live on the edge for so long before I careen right off...

The misty mountains after a rainstorm...

Friday morning - Watson was not happy to see me at 5:55 - his reaction was more along the lines of "oh the humanity...not this again..."

And then the sun crested the mountains & blinded us both...whoosh!
Friday was certainly a glorious day because...well, it was Friday. I'm kidding, I mean Friday is great but it's even greater when a certain little sister is in town and you (read:me) haven't seen her since around oh...January 2nd or some nonsense like that. It was also pretty delightful because my boss released us all from work at 2 in the afternoon and that meant I had some extra hours with my little sister. We went to the Gordonsville/Charlottesville area for the weekend just for the heck of it - Gordonsville is only about 90 minutes from our house, so it wasn't a crazy long trip or anything. We stayed at one of the numerous properties that my parents have access to with their time share; although I say we stayed there, if you know our family at all you know we weren't actually there for much more than sleeping. 

The Summerlin children have long been conditioned to make the most of every moment, going from the break of day until long after the sun has set - ha!

Reunited & it feels so good...everyone sing along! No clue what face I'm making...

Oh pretty flowers...

Friday evening sunset...

Saturday morning in front of the cabin - also, someone on Facebook thought I was Lindsey's MOM. And yea, I'm not letting that one go anytime soon. Really lady? Really?

Absolutely delicious breakfast - nom, nom, nom...

Montpelier - the home of James & Dolley Madison

Gorgeous flowers at Montpelier
We basically went all over the place on Saturday - seriously. We started the morning at Krecek Kakes (the food was delicious, but I do hate when places spell words wrong...eek!) and then headed for Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison. We had toured Montpelier years ago (literally, 15 years ago) but it was still decorated in the style of the DuPont family, who owned it after the Madisons. The house has recently undergone a major renovation and since we are a big ol band of history nerds, we just took it all in. Of course, we also took about a million pictures...because, why not? So...enjoy all of those...because really, there are a ton. I'll rejoin you after you look at them all. Ha!

The most gorgeous flowers in the backyard of Montpelier!

The gardens were open & they were also beautiful.

Snapping a sneaky picture from the upstairs window of the house - wouldn't you love to have those views?

Doing a bit of light reading with James & Dolley in the backyard.

Posing in the wee rotunda - it used to be the "fridge" AKA where they stored food to keep it cold.

I think I need a wee rotunda for my property one day...

In the gardens...

Archaeological reconstructions in process...

No clue that the timer was on & had just snapped our picture...

The Summerlins!

A strategically placed fence post to somewhat conceal the not so late 1800s strollers parked out front.
We had lunch at a place called the Stonefire Station and Kitchen - I have never seen so many sandwich choices in all my life! Well, at least not until Sunday night..but that's another day. We had to fill our bellies with something because we were headed to Barboursville Vineyards after that; wine on an empty belly is never really a great idea. The vineyards also had a set of almost palatial ruins on the site that were extremely captivating and made a lovely background, coupled with the rows and rows of grape vines. The wine was good, although nothing really jumped out and made me fall in love. We followed our wine tasting with a cider tasting, although Ginger opted out because she just can't hang - ha-ha, I'm kidding. I mean, she did opt out, but she can hang. :) I have decided that wine is definitely more my thing than cider.

Rows & rows of little wine grapes...

A toast to you!

They've won so many awards...

How about a nice red?

The Barboursville Ruins from the vineyard hilltop...

Castle Hill Cider - I only really cared for one type - Serendipity.

Just goofing off in the bathroom after the cider tasting - as one does...
We rounded out the evening in Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia and a giant walking mall with tons of really neat shops and restaurants. I liked the vibe that Charlottesville gave off - it seems like a neat place and I'd definitely be up for exploring it some more. We came back through Charlottesville on Sunday morning to have lunch at the historic Michie Tavern before touring Ash Lawn - Highland, the home of James Monroe. While we were touring Ash Lawn - Highland, something so glorious happened...but I'm getting ahead of myself...more pictures first...

Senior dorm rooms on the Lawn at U of VA.

The Rotunda getting a bit of a facelift...

Statues all over the place...

I don't understand why Sacagawea is stopping down here...I'm not sure if I like it...

A pretty neat-o building in Charlottesville.

Historic Michie Tavern in the morning sunshine...

Such a cool looking place & they actually had really good food! 

Ash Lawn - Highland

The gardens at Ash Lawn - Highland

The Highland portion of Ash Lawn - Highland; this was where James Monroe & his family actually lived.

A statue in the hedges - hedges that worked out so brilliantly for me...ha-ha!
So - after we'd finished our tour of Ash Lawn - Highland, we were able to wander the grounds and take in all the sites. There was a long walkway from the front of the house to a statue of James Monroe and we wandered all up and down that walkway...but Lindsey and my Dad were a little less quick about their wandering, which meant my Mom and I were left standing around, waiting... And as we waited, I noticed a small gap in the hedges that would let me creep into the hedge and wait on my unsuspecting victim - Lindsey.

She tried to take an alternate route to look over a statue but my Mom coerced her into walking up the path - I officially had a partner in crime! As Lindsey passed the opening in the hedge, I dove onto the path...and I could have never imagined I'd have gotten such a reaction as I did. Lindsey jumped into the air and let out a shriek that was so loud, the woman who gave us our tour came out of the house to see what was going on! I was completely tickled with myself and Lindsey was less than tickled with me...but that's alright. Ha-ha!

Riding along Skyline Drive on the way back home on Sunday afternoon.

A lake nestled into the mountains.

Watson having a little treat once we returned home for the weekend.

Last year I couldn't find a Coke with my name on it to save my life - Sunday night I found my first name & my middle name (spelled correctly) on the same shelf!

A flag flying along the Interstate on Sunday evening.
Monday was a pretty relaxed day - sleeping in, spending time with the family and having a cook out before we took a short trip to DC to send Lindsey on her way back to MS. The day ended pretty relaxed; reading a book on the deck as the sun went down. Not a bad way to end a long weekend.
Watson eating some corn on the cob - his Memorial Day treat!

Watson says "but you just got here..."

A little Pinkberry before we parted ways.