Thursday, December 30, 2004

Things We've Learned

My Dearest Kendrah,

In honor of the coming New Year, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on all we've learned from Middle Earth so far. I believe the top 10 are your thoughts, followed by a few of my own.

1. People can be made out of song.

2. If you wish for a better wizard, be prepared for him to lose any sense of humor he might have had to begin with.

3. When an Elf and a Dwarf appear to be friends, don't be fooled...know that they don't actually speak to each other. (Example: Gimli-"There is some good stone work here...blah blah stone blah." Legolas-"They need more gardens...blah blah, birds, flowers, blah.")

4. If you want to live, NEVER accept the fealty of a hobbit.

5. If you are under attack and need some construction done quickly and without discussion, you would be better off calling the union than asking the Dwarf for help. (I don't know if I can work under these conditions!)

6. If you happen across the body of a fallen comrade, do not assume he/she is dead. Even if you see them fall into a bottomless pit, chances are good that they are still alive. Therefore, do NOT light the funeral pyre until decomposition commences.

7. Nine fighters against 500 orcs will win. 500 fighters against 1000 orcs will not. Therefore, the smaller army is the better army.

8. If you are being sucked into the roots of a tree and all attempts to save you have failed...sing.

9. You can't tig on a tog.

10. If daddy loves your bother better than you, and your brother dies...enter therapy BEFORE dad tries to burn you alive.

11. Strawberries do occur in Middle Earth in reference to bathing. It’s a short stretch from strawberries and cream to strawberry bubble bath.

12. Sending your elderly uncle to “live with the Elves” is NOT the same as sending your elderly dog to “live on a farm.”

13. Smeagol lied. Smeagols always lie. Save your pity.

14. Trying to frighten a suiciadal sibling away from a battle will only encourage him/her. A little reverse psychology goes a long way.

15. "... in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach."

Your Affectionate Friend,

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The EE

My Dearest Kendrah,

I'm glad your holiday went well. And so pleased your son likes his new puppy! I agree, there is power in a name and Pippin is the perfect choice in this case. Perhaps I'll invite the Hobbits in for New Year's dinner. Frodo might not be up travelling and Sam and Rosie can't seem to leave the bedroom, but I imagine Merry and Pippin will come. Perhaps your son will notice them if they're actually dining with us. And Merry can build a killer snow fort...they'd have lots of fun together. If we have any snow, that is.

I was sitting around watching RotK EE quite a bit myself. Aragorn has a hard time with it. I think it's a bit of post traumatic stress. He does seem to be better pleased with it than the Rankin and Bass cartoon we made him watch...remember that fiasco?! I think it was at my birthday right after Two Towers came out. He wasn’t having a good year…It was this whole I wanna king, I don't wanna be king, MAYBE I wanna be king...between Elrond harping at him and PJ giving him a "character arc" it was getting to be a bit much.

Then we popped in the cartoon…that really screwed him up..."It's called Return of the King when do I come in?" he kept asking..."Sam and Frodo...all we see are Sam and Frodo"...then he started drinking quite a bit of Yuengling porter. He starts off as a fun drunk...telling dirty jokes (A elf, a dwarf and a man walk into a pub) and bawdy stories about Gladders in her younger days... THEN he starts with the lament singing and there's really nothing to be done but let him cry in his pipeweed and send him off to bed.

For me, the saddest part of the film is how happy Arwen looks at the coronation. She doesn't realize it's only a movie, and that at the end of the day, Aragorn comes home to me. Sometimes poor Arwen struggles with her grip on reality.

Well, I need to make more tea. Take care!

Your Affectionate Friend,

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Holidays are so much fun.

My dearest Corwynne,

Ahhh Christmas. We have been quite busy. We started a new Christmas eve tradition of movies and unhealthy snacks which went quite well. Unexpectedly, Leggs showed up for a little while. We were watching a movie which held his attention for quite sometime although I don't think he enjoyed. It was Elf starring Will Ferrell. Probably not the best choice for his introduction to television. He was baffled by Buddy's (the elf in the story) inability to walk on top of the snow and his preoccupation with making toys. He feels that making toys is a good thing, for through amusement much critical thinking is developed in children, but toys can be made by anyone and should not, therefore, be made by elves....It just wastes there talents. I just opted to let him rant about it for a while until he was bored with this bizarre holiday and decided to go back to work in the settlement.

Christmas morning went very well. We were able to surprise my son with a new dog. I think that surprise is an understatement. For a few minutes he was in shock. The dog's name is Pippin, which I find appropriate since Pippin the Hobbit has often tried to meet my son, but since my son has no whimsy he can not see him. I also choose the name in the hope that the name itself will impart the ability for him to, if he turns out to be a bit dim, be harmless.

The final highlight was that Greg gave me a copy of the extended Return of the King. What fabulous additions were made. I will enjoy greatly many many times.

There may be more stories to come, we will be traveling to Columbus on Tuesday to have Christmas with my brother and parents. I think that during the journey I will try to get some work done in the settlement. Therefore making the most of my time.

Your affectionate friend,


My Dearest Kendrah,

I hope your Christmas went well. I was thinking of you all. I popped over to Minas Tirith for a while Christmas Eve. No Christmas in Middle Earth so everything was much calmer and relaxed. I think most people were still recovering from Eowyn’s “Drink All Night in Remembrance of the Honored Ancestors and Glorious Dead” party earlier in the week. Seems the Rohirrim aren’t unfamiliar with a midwinter festival and it seemed to go over well in the White City. We may make it a tradition.
It was nice to have an evening to just sit around with Aragorn by the fireplace and do nothing. He had written a new Elvish epic poem he wanted me to hear. Honestly, I understood about a third of it, but it rhymed nicely so I was very complimentary. He needs the encouragement. He also said he wanted to honor my tradition and presented me with some lovely jewelry…Heirlooms of his House type of things…a lovely coronet, an emerald necklace and a very sparkly ring (eat you heart out Gladders!). Unfortunately, the jewels are also part of the government collection of Numenorian antiquities so I can’t really wear any of them except on official state occasions. Next time you stop by I’ll take you up to the White Tower Museum and you can check it out. I got him a bathrobe and a set of men’s toiletries from the Body Shop. He seemed pleased, but I doubt he’ll ever use them. You can make a King out of a Ranger, but you can’t take the Ranger out of the King.
He’s planning to stop by over New Year’s weekend. He’s quite taken with Christmas lights…says all the twinkling reminds him of Lothlorien. I told him to bring Celeborn along. I made a nice batch of krupnick and I think C. would enjoy it. Of course I should pick him up a stocking stuffer or something. What do you get an Elf Lord who has everything? Screw it…a nice bottle of scotch will keep him happy for days.
Well, I must be off…we’re expecting a rider from Mirkwood with a status report on our missing Dwarves. I’ll talk to you soon.

Your Affectionate Friend,

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Cold Moon Party

My dearest Corwynne,

Finally, I have managed to get a coherent recap of the Cold Moon party from Leggs. At first all he would say was that his fingers were tingling the whole time. (raised eyebrow) But now that the imaginary Russian Stout has worn off (turns out it has a much higher alcohol content than regular Russian Stout) he has a better idea about what happened.

The thing I find the most entertaining about the party was that Greggor saw our boys! He saw them. They told him not to say anything. They figured that a party is not the best place to mention that you are seeing imaginary people drinking over in the corner. People might make fun of you or something. I can't imagine why.

I was not surprised to hear that our boys made little pigs of themselves by drinking all of the imaginary Russian stout in the house, and as you know a lot of imaginary custody can be kept in a very small space. Leggs fingers began tingling around the time the piano playing and show tune singing started. Leggs enjoyed the music very much and was patiently waiting for the epic songs of orc hunting to begin, but he was disappointed for it didn't seem to be in the plan for the evening. So to make up for it he has been working with my husband Greg on your idea for the musical SCHINDLER! They have begun writing the final song entitled Just One More Jew. The words I have heard so far go like this
One more Jew
could have bought one more Jew
just one more Jew
with this pin on my lapel....

I think that Greg understands that you aren't really writing this musical, but it has occupied Leggs enough that he has stopped making comments about Greg having fighting and archery practice. Besides they seem to be having fun.

All in all I would say the party was a great success and if you see Greggor let him know that the boys had a great time and say thank you.

Your affectionate friend,


My Dearest Kendrah,

I am so sorry it's taken me so long to write. I have been ill for days! I spent a great deal of the weekend "spilling it" as your eldest son would say, and by Monday a head cold had settled in. Apparently that "The hands of the king are the hands of a healer" bit is only effective against afflictions like the Black Breath and doesn't apply to stomach viruses. Aragorn was very sweet though...kept brewing mint tea and trying to make me eat crackers.

I'm glad Leggs has found something to keep him occupied. It's nice that he and Greg get along so well. And the boys haven't had much opportunity to express their creative talents in the past few years. I'm pleased they behaved themselves at the Cold Moon party. All Aragorn would tell me is that Gregor provided wonderful hospitality and his beer was better than Butterbur's. I hate it when goes into tight-lipped Ranger mode! It always makes me a suspicious...

BTW...Gimli and Crew have agreed to install a temporary gate. No word yet from the delegation we sent to Mirkwood. I told Aragorn sending Dwarves was a bad idea! I think we all remember what happened the last time a group of dwarves in search of treasure wandered into Thranduril's court. Sigh...

Well, I must be off...Eowyn and I are going riding this afternoon to distract me from my real-world runny nose. I'm a little nervous...I haven't ridden much Legolas gave me those lessons a while back...but it seems like she's trying to make friends, so I'm guessing she won't laugh too hard if I fall on butt!

Your Affectionate Friend,

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Musical Hobbies

My dearest Corwynne,

I am so relieved. Leggs was speaking with the King of Gondor the other day and he told him that you had plans to write a musical. He believed that it was called Schindler! I knew that it must be a joke that he didn't understand, but one does worry sometimes.

Speaking of worry. I am becoming concerned for Leggs. On Tuesday he went with me to pick up my son from his after school bowling program. The bus is supposed to arrive at 5:10 pm, but it is never on time. Leggs and I sat waiting very contented until 5:11 pm when he sat bolt upright. "I will find out what fate has befallen him." he says and jumps out of the car. And he's off....slinking inbetween the cars of the other waiting parents....peering inside the cars and the school windows....all the while walking on top of the snow, which I have asked him not to do in public (it is so hard to explain). Next he began to climb the very large tree in front of the school. I assume this was to, as you future husband would say, "to see what his elf eyes could see". Luckily, as he began to climb, the bus rounded the corner and he shimmied down and returned to the car looking very crestfallen. I think he needs a hobby. All of the political work in the settlement is not doing it for him. He misses orc hunting and the danger of facing Sauron. It is quite sad really.

Oh well, I must go. It is time to take the boy to school.
Your affectionate friend,

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bad Ideas

My Dearest Kendrah,

We too were discussing the hideousness of the "Animal Farm-The Musical."

We were able to come up several other adaptations we think would be as bad, if not worse.
Sticking with George Orwell, there's "1984." We might as well include include "A Clockwork Orange" and "A Brave New World."

What about musical versions of TV favorites? "V" featuring songs like Are you Gonna Eat that Guinea Pig? and My Baby's Mamma is a Mammal. Or "X-Files" with the rousing tap-dance sequence Smoking Man and the touching power ballad, Spooky was Right, I Believe.

My personal favorite is a musical adaptation of "The Lion in Winter." Picture it, Henry wakes up in bed withh his 16 year old mistress and sings the jolly Just Another Christmas in Chignon. "Let the queen out of the tower, taunt the boys with dreams of power, sweet Alais is looking sour, it's just another Christmas in Chignon!"

Eleanor of course will have a number of brassy solos including Bare-Breasted in Damascus and the unforgetable I'd Hang You From the Nipples But You'd Scare the Children.

And who could forget the touching love ballad Every Road in Hell sung by Richard and Philip in the imfamous tapestry scene. Henry, after disinheriting the boys, does a beauful reprise of that number alone on the battlements. It brings a tear to my eye. And the fight choreography during the We All Have Knives, We're Barabarians number is not to be missed.

Of course it will all end happily. Henry and Eleanor reconcile and retire to the Aquitaine, Richard and Philip marry uniting France and England, Alais realizes that, pimples aside, it is John she's loved all along, and Geoffrey finds comfort in a brimming bowl of wassail and a lusty kitchen wench. A reprise of Christmas in Chignon sends the audience out into the night full of more Christmas cheer than a redemed Scrooge and humming a merry tunes on their way.

OK...must stop now...I scared myself!

Your Affectionate Friend,

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Words II

My dearest Corwynne,

Animal Farm the Musical!!! I am mortified.....I bet that is a good time for the whole family. In order to distract myself from the hideous idea of this show, I am forced to write out the last of the Word of the Day words and sentences. It turns out that this did not last as long as I thought because there are only two more.

Characterized by acting with speed and efficiency.

"Gimli argued that the most expeditious way to cross the mountain was to go under it, not over it."

1. to pray against, as an evil; to seek to avert by prayer.
2. to disapprove of strongly.
3. to belittle; to depreciate.

"Each night, as he pretended to be lying in his own comfortable bed, Frodo would deprecate Sauron."
""What do you think of my going to Mordor alone?" asked Frodo. "I deprecate." Sam replied."
"The first stage in Boromir's plan to sieze the ring was to deprecate Frodo."

That is all there is. But if you write to tell me that anything as foul as Animal Farm the Musical exists again I will distract myself by writing of your funeral plans, which are written in detail in my papers. You have been warned.

Your affectionate friend,

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Dearest Kendrah,

Ah, yes, the word of the day! I look forward to more of them! It was the perfect way to brighten my dreary day here at work.

Speaking of...guess who decided he wanted to see where I worked? Since he was in town for Gregor’s party anyway, Aragorn stopped by the office. He said he wanted to see one of our shows. I decided against the "Duchess of Malfi". A Jacobean revenge tragedy centering around a noble who marries beneath her and the troubles that ensue because of it isn't the kind of message I wanted to send. So I sent him to "Animal Farm" instead. Animal Farm...THE MUSICAL!!! It’s not pretty. Picture the conversation if you will...

“Why do you want me to see a play about animal husbandry?”
“It’s’s more a socio-economic-political commentary.”
“A socio-what-now?"
“Ok...these animals take over a farm from an evil human master and eventually become corrupt. And they sing.”
“Singing animals? Like talking dragons?” (draws sword)
“No, no, more like a fairy tale for grownups.”
(Puts sword away) “Hmmm...based on my limited understanding of the Professor’s “On Fairy Stories” essay, I’d say it seems more of an animal fable than an actual “fairytale” though it may contain allegorical elements...”

I now admit defeat. “ you want to see the play about the nasty singing piggies or not?” He did.

I saw him briefly at intermission...he waved on his way outside to smoke. I saw him there, surrounded by giggling freshmen girls. It’s the long hair and leather coat. They can’t resist.

I’m sure he and Leggs will have a good time at Gregor’s party. And I wouldn’t worry...after a few of those special holiday beers, EVERYBODY will be able to see them!

I must return to my blue-hair matinee crowd. Talk to you soon!

Your Affectionate Friend,


My dearest Corwynne,

Completely off the topic of your last letter, I was going through some papers here and in the settlement, and I came across something funny. Once upon a time, you had a word of the day calendar and you would send the words to me and we would come up with example sentences.....I wrote them down. So in reading the following you can laugh like it is all new again.

1. Kind, gracious.
2. Beneficial, favorable.

"Gandalf is no longer the benignant grandfather of the first film, rather he emerges as a warrior to forfend destruction and battle the fell forces of Mordor before they can immolate all of Middle Eaath, turning its green swards to barren ash."
(I seem to recall that forfend, fell, immolate and swards were all words sent before I started writing them down.)

1. Covered with growing plants or grass; green with vegetation.
2. Green
3. Unripe in knowledge, judgement or experience; green.

"Even amidst the artisty of Rivendell, memories of the Shire's verdant farmlands made Sam long for home."
""Never let a dwarf mix your drink." cried Legolas, his face verdant after a sip of Gimli's special "Moria Hooch.""
"Even Pippin, the most verdant of the hobbits, understood the importance of keeping Frodo from the Nazgul."
(Not that any of them did a very good job.)

I can see this letter is getting a bit long. I will send the other words another day.
Leggs would love to go to the party with Aragorn. He doubts that anyone will be able to see them, but expects to have a good time anyway.

Your affectionate friend,

Thursday, December 09, 2004

If It's Not One thing...

My Dearest Kendrah,

I certainly wasn't implying that Gimli was up to anything dishonest! He's such a sweetie! There are a lot of strange folk wandering in and out of the city these days and WITHOUT A GATE it's hard to keep them out. (Deep breath) I had Aragorn send a missive to Mirkwood about the mithril so we'll see what happens. I can always hit up Elrond if I have to. He still owes me for saving his daughter from the Doom of Men.

I suspect that Gimli will be wintering in your spare room. You know how gets all obsessed with one project and everything else is forgotten until it's complete. I can't imagine his new place will be ready before the snows come. You can always send him to us for a weekend once in a while if it gets to be too much.

Sorry to hear Leggs and his father aren't getting along again. I'm sure they'll work it out...old elves can be so stubborn...they know it will be better for them in the West - they won't have to mow the sward or trim the mallorn or fight the Shadow.anymore... it just takes a while to get used to the idea, I guess.

Eowyn and Faramir have settled in and all seems to be going well. They adore the new decor! Kudos to Gregor! And a belated thanks to you for all the work you put in clearing out Denethor's stuff. The tower hardly feels haunted at all anymore! The maids are thrilled!

I'm trying to convince Aragorn to go to Gregor's party. Maybe Gimli would like to go with him? That would give you and Leggs a little alone time...Aragorn just hates to go alone...

Ugh! Must do ticket stuff now. Midnight Saturday it will all be over!

Your Affectionate Friend,

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Mithril Mischief

My dearest Corwynne,

I am terribly sorry to here of your gate woes. I can tell you, however, that if the mithril has been stole by someone other than orcs, Gimli seems to be blameless. He spends all of his time in the settlement working on the plans and budgets for the gate, when he should honestly be preparing his own home for winter. I use the term home lightly because his home is currently one wall. I have no idea how it remains standing....just one lone wall....

Anyway, he is staying in our guest room for now and has asked to stay until the gate is finished. We have agreed and he seems to sincerely be befuddled by the missing mithril. As for the other dwarves on his crew...I cannot be so sure.

As for speaking with Leggs' dad....well you may do better sending an official royal envoy to ask him. Leggs and dear old dad aren't getting along well these days. It is mostly to do with me. How dare this lowly human....and not even an human from the real shacked up with his princely son. And if he insists on being with me we should be married. We have not mentioned yet that I am already married.......

Leggs current line of attack is laying out the benefits of journeying to the West. "All your friends are there." "People your own age." "Just look at the brochure, you don't have to decide anything right now." "Look, Dad, shuffleboard!" But so far he is not biting. I guess the idea of Gladders in curlers and bunny slippers playing Bingo is not appealing to him. Can't really blame him.

I think that a request straight from the king for extra mithril will be met favorably. You know how impressed he is by status.

Best of luck.
Your affectionate friend,


My dearest Kendrah,

Well, the world is changing (as Treebeard always said before Gladders stole all his good lines.) Poor Leggs will just have to get used to the idea that he's not in Mirkwood (or whatever they call these days) anymore. And you know how well Elves cope with change!

Popped over to Minas Tirith on my lunch break. Of course there was another crisis. Gimli and his band of contractors are still giving us grief over the gate and Aragorn keeps avoiding them. I think he get annoyed when Gimli calls him "laddie" during contract negotions. If it's not one thing it's another...inferior materials, poor working conditions, hours are too long...What do they expect! We've just been through a war you know! Anyway, Gimli wants more mithril to decorate the gate. It's not something I just have laying around the keep! I thought they would be able to reclaim the mithril from the old gate, but it has mysteriously vanished. Gimli blames pillaging orcs, but I have my doubts.

Anyway, they won't install the gate until it's complete, and it won't be complete 'til I get them more mithril and winter is coming and I want my freaking gate! But you know has to be perfect or it just won't do. I was wondering...could you ask Leggs to ask his dad if there's any spare mithril gathering dust in Mirkwood. Don't need a lot, just enough for some highlights. I hate to bother him, but I'm getting deperate here! Let me know how it goes.

I should have hired Gregor in the first place. He wouldn't need real mithril! And Gimli refuses to make the gate glow in te dark. Sigh...

OK...back to work...we have a show tonight!

Your Affectionate Friend,

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Leaves of Thanksgiving

My dearest Corwynne,

Your visit to North Carolina made me realize that my white trash family is less white trash than your white trash family....haha......seriously. Greg's family, while not fans of the Lord of the Rings, have seen the movies and understood what was going on. The Return of the King was on while I was there and my father-in-law and I watched it. He asked a few questions, "What is that?" " A fell beast." "OK". He wanted no extra details, but he never said anything like "Hey when will they get back to dwarf land?" so I figure he is at least one step up.

Upon our return from North Carolina, I found Leggs in my house waiting for us. He was surrounded by suitcases and boxes. He looked very sad.....and in the Leggs to anybody else dictionary, sad=downcast eyes. When I asked him what was going on, his first response was "It will be strange to have you husband and children living in the settlement, but we have but one choice." "Hababwah" was my reply. I have been trying to get Leggs to understand that the elf way of cryptic speech is what is causing all of our misunderstandings, so luckily he caught on quickly this time. "This world is dying and you and your family must become permenant members of the settlement." My reply was that I know that things seem bad with Bush "winning" another term and all, but that just up and moving my husband and children to my fantasy world seemed a bit drastic and pointless, since our bodies would still be here to be taxed and bossed around by the US government.

Leggs was puzzled again. As it turns out he was not speaking of the government at all but of nature. "The leaves!" he said "All of the leaves are gone. I have never seen them fall so quickly. This cannot be good. We must leave immediately!" It took a long time and several third grade science books before he would half believe that the leaves will return in the spring. He has vowed to keep a close eye on the situation and if they don't return soon enough for him I am certain we will have to go over it all again for him. Thankfully there is much in the settlement to keep him occupied. For little does he know that the seasons will begin changing there as well......poor naive.

Your affectionate friend,

Friday, December 03, 2004

Finally Home

My Dearest Kendrah,

Please accept my apologies for not writing sooner. I have been remiss in my duty and I promise to be more conscientious from now on. This week has been pretty hectic since I didn't get back to work until Tuesday and had a ton of stuff to catch up on, and we had a show opening tonight.

I got back into town Monday afternoon and Sam left around 6 and I had clean because I was having people over for meeting Tuesday. I just sat down for a short break when Aragorn stopped by to surprise me! (As usual he waited until all the cleaning was done!) But he brought me some lovely flowers and mulled some wine and said he missed me. Awww....!!!

Anyway, I was telling him about the trip and the stop-over we had at my father's. He's not overly fond of Dad, he tends to glower and mutter about "dishonorable ancestors." I began telling him about the visit and how, somehow, Tolkien came up...I don't think I started it...honest! Suddenly, dad's wife says "We hated that movie!" Seems they only watched Fellowship and it was "too long" father fell asleep! Then his wife says she got confused because they didn't destroy the ring...and she's seen all the cartoons and they get rid of ring pretty quickly in those.

Now...Aragorn starts tensing know how he feels about the cartoons...remember when we watched them together? He couldn't figure out what was happening in animated "Return of the King" and then drank too many Yeungling porters and kept asking when he was going come in. "It's called 'Return of the King' isn't it! Where am I? Why don't I have any lines?!" Sigh. I should have stopped there, but I continued my story...

Apparently what REALLY confused her was why the old hobbit stayed there in "Dwarf-land" while his poor nephew had to ditch the ring. That was it! "Dwarf-Land!" Aragorn roars in his best "Behold the Sword of Elendil" voice, "How dare she insult Imladris and the Ring-Bearers in such a manner! They must be avenged!" And he jumps up and starts looking for his sword. (Just the plain old Ranger one, the City Council doesn't like him taking Anduril out of Minas Tirith). I managed to calm him down and explained that there are "Lesser Men" and then there are "Lesser Men" and we must have patience. So we poured some more mulled wine and watched "Jersey Girl." He liked George Carlin...and mentioned that Liv Tyler reminded him of someone...hmmm...I need to be more careful of that in the future.

Intermission is about to happen so I should go and prepare for the crowds. Hope all is well. Hope to hear from you soon.

Your Affectionate Friend,

PS...I'm glad the Elves are finally taking Legg's complaints against Orli seriously. Let me know if there's anything we can do to help.