Of trolls, goblins and… hobbits.

As you all know, the midnight premiere of the newest version of “The Hobbit” is almost upon us.  I imagine starting another epic journey with Jackson will forever ingrain his ingenious creative interpretation into my heart and mind.  But before I go, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this story as I saw it as a child.

First of all, my grandmother, whom we affectionately called Granny, was a huge fan of Middle Earth.  She was also a lover of all things magical and would even write poems of elves on ships and fairy kings stuck in spidery webs.  Although it wouldn’t be until later in life that I would try and read the books for myself, it wasn’t surprising to have some of my visits with her be about Shelob or Smeagul or even Smaug himself.  To this day I still have a love for fantasy lore, and I am proud that it is a part of me that continues to define who I am.

Back in 1977, Rankin/Bass, the same people who brought us classics such as “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman”, made their animated version of the Tolkien classic.  I would have been 8 years old around that time.  I don’t remember if I saw it on TV like the other movies or what, but I was instantly enamored.  I also can’t remember where or why, but somehow my mother had purchased the vinyl record to the audio of the movie.  This wasn’t the soundtrack mind you, but it was accompanied by a detailed storybook that you could follow along with the story.  Basically, it was pretty much the full audio version of the movie, and I remember playing that record over and over in our living room and playing out all the characters until I pretty much had that thing memorized.  Even now, I still can recite most of it whenever I watch the movie.

In the summer of 1982, the local children’s theater was having auditions for “The Hobbit”.  At that point, I had only performed and auditioned for school plays.  My only real outside activity was the All-City Children’s chorus.  I could be wrong about this, but I thought it was actually my dad that pointed out the audition notice in the paper and encouraged me to try out.  Had it been any other play, I probably would have felt too nervous or unworthy to audition, but this was “The Hobbit”!  Somehow I found the courage to show up.  Not only that, but I was feeling certain that I would be perfect for Bilbo.  I didn’t get Bilbo, of course, nor did I get any of the dwarves, but I did get cast in the play as Mag, one of the three trolls.  Although the play wasn’t the same as the animated version, I do remember having to stomp around and sing about mutton.

That may not sound like much, but being cast and participating in this play was a life-changing moment for me.  It was when I truly fell in love with the theater and it was one of the only places I really felt at home.  I was a chubby girl who probably did look more like a Hobbit through most of my childhood, but during that summer, I started to grow out of my girlish shell.  Not only did I learn a lot about responsibility and accountability through working at the theater (not all actors are flakes), but my self-esteem also began to improve.  During “The Hobbit” was the first time someone had a crush on me.  It was one of the goblins, which I think is rather ironic, considering I later married a man whose last name is pronounced “Goblins”.  I also returned to that theater almost every year after that to perform such characters as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, Cinderella in “Cinderella”, Tweedle-Dee in “Alice in Wonderland” and Lucy in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”.  After high school I continued my acting career by getting a degree in Theater at the University of Wyoming and then moving around from State to State to find my luck on stage.  It eventually led me to California where I got my first agent and SAG card.  I wish I could be writing this as someone famous and saying this is where it all started.  In fact, I would have loved to have been cast in Peter Jackson’s movies as a perfect twist to this personal tale, but sadly it was just not meant to be.

Although my acting is a bit of a bittersweet topic for me most of the time, I will say that I do not regret one moment of my time doing what I loved so much, and I have both the Hobbit, Mom, Dad, my brother Brian and my Granny to thank for giving me such wonderful memories.  I actually feel pretty emotional writing about this, because there IS so much history already tied behind this night.  I really wish Granny could be around to share this.  I really miss her tonight.  I have a feeling she would have loved it.  And although me watching the movie, without me being in it, is not how I would have ended this personal entry, I also know that it’s still not about the destination but the journey. 

My little chubby hobbit feet still have miles to go.

Ah… thank goodness.

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Ah nostalgia.
It’s been a few years since we’ve really put in the effort to decorate for Christmas, but since this is Ahnna’s first year away and returning from out of state, we thought it might be nice to surprise her with a more festive homecoming.  Today we’ve been putting up the tree.  I forget part of what makes this holiday season so nice, is pulling out all the ornaments that remind you of younger and fonder days.  I’m surprised I don’t see more people share some of their personal ornaments that represent a part of their lives.  This one is pretty silly, but still always makes me smile.  Wait a minute….is that a mullet?

Ah nostalgia.

It’s been a few years since we’ve really put in the effort to decorate for Christmas, but since this is Ahnna’s first year away and returning from out of state, we thought it might be nice to surprise her with a more festive homecoming.  Today we’ve been putting up the tree.  I forget part of what makes this holiday season so nice, is pulling out all the ornaments that remind you of younger and fonder days.  I’m surprised I don’t see more people share some of their personal ornaments that represent a part of their lives.  This one is pretty silly, but still always makes me smile.  Wait a minute….is that a mullet?

August 23, 1997

This was during a performance of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in a little theater in Colorado.  I’m guessing we probably weren’t suppose to put on a Disney version of this back then, but hey, when was a chubby girl like me going to have another chance to play Esmeralda?

I mostly love the pictures of my daughter here as the goat.  She didn’t have to do much but follow me around on all fours, head butt the bad people and occasionally make a goat noise if she wanted.  I can’t believe she wasn’t even 6 years old in this picture and yet she was willing to do this.  What’s more is how patient she was when I had to do her hair and make-up before each show.  It was a small and very low budget theater, so I used yarn in her hair to make little horns and bundled the rest of her hair as ears.  The costume was some strange Goosebumps thing and I have no idea where we found it.  At least it helped to give her that goat-like appearance.

Believe it or not, she still isn’t really into acting, but she usually comes through when I need her and it means a lot.

(Source: the-vallevette-touch)

Ahnna’s Mom (At 16 years old) - Halloween 1985

Ahnna (At 1 year old) - Halloween 1992

I didn’t realize the similarities until I put these together last night.  Even the teeth are almost the same!

I also think our daughter was the female incarnation of Calvin from “Calvin & Hobbes”.  Not sure if I’d call that wishful thinking.  At least she loved reading them.

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October 30, 1992

For Ahnna’s first birthday I made her an Elmo cake.  It probably doesn’t look much like Elmo, but I think this was the first cake I’ve ever made so I thought it was worth showing off.

In hindsight, the red may not have been such a great idea for a one year old who’s never had cake before.

(Source: the-vallevette-touch)

Just so you know…

My daughter turns 21 on October 30, 2012.  So in less than a week, yeah, I’m going to be the mother of a 21 year old!  I know I expressed a lot of feels during the time she was heading to college a few months ago, but I hope you will indulge me the rest of the week to give in to some of the bittersweet nostalgia that I’m feeling.  After all, I’m going to be the mother of a 21 year old!

This will also be the first birthday that I won’t be able to share with her.  Given the age and such, I’m sure it’s normal.  When I turned 21, I had been married for about 3 months and lived in Texas while the rest of our family lived in Wyoming.  I don’t even remember doing anything special for my birthday since my husband wouldn’t turn 21 until 3 weeks later.

With Ahnna, she’ll be in Laramie and in class the day of her birthday.  Both her boyfriend and best friend (our ‘second daughter’) were going to drive all the way from Minnesota to be with her during that time.  Unfortunately her friend got a speeding ticket last week and had to spend the gas money for the trip on her fine.  I really wanted to buy our daughter a plane ticket to fly out here so I could be selfish, but instead we bought a ticket for her boyfriend.  He flew out there yesterday and will be with her until the day or day after her birthday.  I’m also a little jealous that my in-laws will get to celebrate with her, but if she had flown back to Minnesota, she wouldn’t get as much time with her own sweetheart and that just wouldn’t be fair.  That said, it was more important to do what would make her the happiest, and that’s the best birthday gift we could give to her.

It’s an amazing gift to have a child.  It’s not for everyone, but for those that do, it’s truly a blessing to be able to watch this small little being grow and evolve and see her experience life through her own eyes.  It’s also bittersweet, because as you watch her grow from baby, to toddler, to child, to teenager, to adult; you can look back at the photos and see them in those stages and miss that aspect of them.  Like right now looking at all her earlier pictures, I miss that little girl.  I miss when she was such a cute little turd and all the laughs we had.  Some of that stayed with her, but she’ll never be that little girl again, you know?  I don’t miss a lot of those teenage years, but yeah, I want to take the next week and dedicate some of her more notable pictures and times in her life.  I consider it as my little celebration to her making it to her 21st birthday.  I’m also going to throw in as many costumes and birthday cakes too, just so I can continue with the Halloween theme, but I thought I’d give you all a heads up why I’m showing so many pictures of my then little girl.  By the way, I asked her permission to share the pictures, since after all, she is a young adult now.  I’m also very proud and respect the lovely young lady that she has become.  :)

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Happy Birthday, you.

Maybe it’s because it’s late, but I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about an old friend.  We parted ways 8 or so months ago, but today is their birthday.

It’s one of those things where I still want to be a good friend and let them know that I was thinking of them and that they were not forgotten on this special day.  At the same time, I know toward the end of days together it was pretty apparent that they didn’t really care if I stayed or left.

So I guess that brings up a question of friendship.  If one person doesn’t want you to be their friend anymore, is that suppose to completely negate the friendship?  Whether they care about me or not, still doesn’t keep me from caring for them and wishing them the best. 

But I don’t want to be a stalker or some pathetic fool who can’t let go, so I guess instead of contacting them, I’ll just say it here.

Happy Birthday

:)

(Source: the-vallevette-touch)

This is the life.

Spent almost 12 hours watching Harry Potter movies 1-4 at the local theater on Wednesday.  Later today, it’s the last 4.  Le sigh.

I don’t know what’s more silly, the fact that I got tearful at the start of the first movie or the fact that I kept thinking of lines and gifs I’d want to make from the movies and put on Tumblr?

(Source: the-vallevette-touch)