Day 271: A Limerick to Close Tolkien Week…and Happy Birthday Greg

Limerick Contest

Today brings to a close Tolkien Week. What fun I have had with this week. It is amazing that it has been observed since 1978 and I only became aware of it this year, during my year of firsts. To finish the week on a strong Tolkien/Lord of the Rings note, I wrote a limerick and entered it into the Middle Earth News Limerick Contest.

I check in often on this informative and fun page on Facebook. Being Tolkien Week, I’ve been especially mindful of the news and fun trivia contests Middle Earth News has posted. When I saw the Limerick Contest, I knew I wanted to finish the week by entering the contest, which is over at midnight tonight.

It’s been years since I wrote a limerick, which is a fun poem with five lines. The first, second and fifth lines rhyme and consist of eight or nine syllables. And the third and fourth lines rhyme and have five or six syllables each. They often begin, “There once was a….” but don’t have to include that opening phrase, which is good, because those words use up four of the nine syllables available! It honestly took me just a few minutes to write a limerick, featuring Aragorn, known early in the Lord of the Rings story and movie as Strider. He came immediately to mind, and so I went with that impression. My first limerick had too many syllables. I mistook syllables for words and then looked up the correct structure again on the contest site. That was an easy fix. I simply removed some of the words.

Here is my entry into the Middle Earth News Limerick Contest:

Strider was reluctant to be king.

His sword guarded bearer of the ring.

He came into his own

On the way to the throne.

At the coronation he did sing.

Today was also Greg’s birthday! The kids were all working or out of town, so I joined him for a birthday dinner at one of his favorite restaurants, El Vaquero on Main Street in Joplin. We enjoyed Mexican food and a drink. Afterwards, we stopped by Baskin Robbins for a birthday ice cream cone.

Greg and I have journeyed together for many years….since we were young uns. Our families had been connected for two generations before we met. His grandmother hosted a baby shower for my grandmother, when she was expecting my mother. So interesting the way life’s flow brings people together. We have had an interesting journey, to say the least! The last few years, we have come to understand more and more about the bigness, the expansiveness, of life and the richness of relationships. We also have come to appreciate that we are each a teacher in the life of the other.

Greg has been and continues to be a vital part of my life. He is a wonderful dad to our three kids and a fun papa to the grandkids. He is resourceful, able to “MacGyverize” his way through busted gadgets and challenging projects. I am so grateful for all the work he has done to bring about the backyard renovation. The fence, the brick patio, the Peace Gate, which so ingeniously transformed a door from a tornado damaged house into a beautiful sliding gate, were all his contributions. He has furthered my dreams, of seeing Rivendell brought to life in the backyard, and of traveling to Scotland, knowing that the trip was more than a vacation for me.

I’ve watched Greg’s personal journey the past few years and have seen him go inward to discover, at a deep level, who he is. He has introduced me to some amazing authors that inspired and encouraged him, including Byron Katie, Michael A Singer and Thich Nhat Hanh. We enjoy lively conversations around what we are reading and about life itself. And his current journey with his aging father has been very precious. Greg’s dad gave much of himself to his son, when Greg was a youth and young man, in particular. Greg is now giving back to his dad, caring for him with dignity, tender concern and a good sense of humor. How honoring it is to his dad, to be so present with him.

I appreciate having Greg as a traveling companion. May he have many more years to continue exploring life, the world and his place in it! Happy, happy birthday, Greg!


It’s not too late to enter the Middle Earth News Limerick Contest, if you enjoy this fun form of poetry and all things Tolkien! Contest closes at midnight tonight.

Middle Earth News Limerick Contest

Day 267: Elven Lembas Bread

Lembas Bread

For my first today, I tried out a fun recipe for Elven Lembas Bread. I was delighted to find the recipe while browsing online for ideas to celebrate Tolkien Week. This one caught my interest.

In the Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship rests and is restored in Lothlorien, the home of the Lady Galadriel, one of the high elves in Middle Earth during the Third Age. When the Fellowship departs, Galadriel gives each member of the party a gift and an elven cloak, along with boats and supplies. Among the supplies, wrapped in Mallorn leaves, is Lembas Bread. A closely guarded secret, the bread is to be eaten a little at a time and only during times of great need. The cake like bread stayed fresh for many days and a single bite was said to keep a tall man on his feet for a day of long labor.

Of course, this Lembas Bread won’t really do that, but I was intrigued and made a batch this evening. The recipe was simple to follow and the results were excellent! A subtly spicy aroma filled my kitchen, as the soundtrack from Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring played softly on my iPod. In a very short time, I had Lembas Bread cooling on racks. A cross between scones and bar cookies, these will definitely grace my afternoon teas!

The recipe, from The Nifty Nerd:

2 ½ cups of flour

1 T of baking powder

¼ t of salt

8 T cold butter (I used real butter)

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1 t of cinnamon

1 t of honey

1 cup of heavy cream (or more if needed. Dough should stick together but not be too sticky. I used exactly 1 cup)

½ t of vanilla

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and mix with fork or pastry cutter until mixture resembles fine granules. Add sugar and cinnamon. Add cream, honey and vanilla and stir with fork until a nice thick dough forms. Pat out into a rectangle on lightly floured surface until about ½ inch thick. Cut into 3 inch squares and transfer to cookie sheet sprayed with Pam. Criss-cross each square from corner to corner with a knife, being careful not to cut all the way through. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the bread is lightly golden and set. Depending on thickness of bread, makes 12 – 20 pieces.

I brewed a cup of tea and settled down to sample a piece of the bread. Delicious! Light textured, slightly sweet with a hint of cinnamon, I enjoyed the Lembas Bread with a dap of strawberry preserves. I can’t wait to include them with afternoon tea. After all, I’m as fond of tea time as Hobbits are!

Lembas Bread with tea

Day 266: Hobbit Jigsaw Puzzle


Continuing in the spirit of Tolkien Week, today for my first I started on a new jigsaw puzzle. After a long day, getting into my comfy clothes and engaging in this quiet activity, with a fresh cup of tea nearby, was the perfect end to the day.

Greg bought me this 550 piece puzzle for Christmas last year. I love it! It features characters from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I’ve been saving the puzzle for the right moment.

I often work puzzles during the cold winter months when the evenings are long. It quiets my body, while freeing my mind. I love the challenge of creating the picture, piece by piece, moving from chair to chair around the small table, to keep a fresh perspective.

Rather than save this puzzle for later in the year, Tolkien Week seemed the perfect time to dump out the pieces and begin. My favorite characters from the first Hobbit movie are all there, in interesting shapes and colorful bits. My intention is to complete the puzzle by Sunday, which signals the end of a week that celebrated Hobbits and the creator of Middle Earth, JRR Tolkien.

Here are the straight edges linked together to form the frame. Tomorrow, on to the middle!


Day 265: Hobbit Day

Hobbit Day Lego Bilbo and Frodo e

What a fun week for me! Yesterday launched the start of Tolkien Week. And today, September 22, is Hobbit Day. I am a huge Tolkien fan, appreciating all of his literary works including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Until this year, I didn’t realize these special celebrations existed, and yet both events have been recognized since 1978. My increased awareness of experiencing first things has brought all kinds of interesting firsts to me. I am delighted.

For my first today, I celebrated Hobbit Day, which is the birthday of both Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins, fictional characters in Tolkien’s Middle Earth saga. Bilbo is Frodo’s uncle and both are Hobbits, residing in Hobbiton in the Shire. Although I read Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit years ago, the stories really captivated me when Peter Jackson fleshed out the characters and brought them to life on the big screen.

The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Rings begins with a party. It is Bilbo’s eleventy first birthday. According to Tolkien, Bilbo was born in the year 2890 and Frodo in the year 2968 in the Third Age. While Frodo, the ring bearer, is featured in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with Bilbo playing a minor role, it is Bilbo who reaches unlikely hero status while on an adventure in The Hobbit. The recent releases of Jackson’s Hobbit movies, starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo, has brought Bilbo’s story back into popularity.

Hobbit Day e

I am a fan of both Hobbits. Although I favored Frodo until I followed Biblo’s dragon fighting adventure in The Hobbit movies. Hobbits are gentle, peace loving folk from the Shire, who never cease to surprise those who encounter them. The courage of Hobbits is central, and crucial, to both stories.

What fun to celebrate this day. Because it is also National Ice Cream Cone Day, I enjoyed a fun scoop of Icing on the Cake ice cream on a sugar cone, to wish both Hobbits a Happy Birthday. I also spent time in Middle Earth lore, reading about both Hobbits and looking up some of my favorite quotes. In my quest for pictures and quotes, I came across several great ideas for celebrating Tolkien week, which will be featured as firsts during this week. I even found a great photo contest to enter called My Own Shire Photo Contest. There are three categories that I can enter, including a Garden Category. So perfect for me!

Hobbit Day and National Ice Cream Cone Day e

It is going to be a special week of celebrating, Middle Earth style. I look forward to firsts around the stories and characters that have been life changing for me. Here are two of my favorite quotes, one from each Hobbit, in honor of them and their day:

“He often used to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river; its springs were at every doorstep and every path was its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.’” Frodo Baggins, speaking of Bilbo

“All this is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.” Poem in honor of Aragorn by Bilbo Baggins

Hobbit Day Bilbo and Frodo e

Day 264: The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest Challenge 3 #HobbitFanContest

Hobbit released e

Yes! For my first today, I completed Challenge 3, the making of the video, and thus also completed the contest. I finished Challenge 4 a few days ago, and struggled with the making of the video.

Today, however, the creating of the video flowed more smoothly. Oh, I still had plenty of outtakes and flubs. But I ended up with eight acceptable videos. It was amazing, sitting in the beauty of my backyard garden, to realize how noisy it actually is in my neighborhood. I battled the sunshine and a stiff breeze today. And I had to stop several recordings due to motorcycles and an ambulance going by, a train blaring its horn, a noisy car and finally, the neighbor’s weedeater. However, with time running short, I persevered, and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment to have completed the video and submitted it.

Although I would absolutely love to be declared a winner in this contest, winning a trip to beautiful New Zealand, this contest became about moving past this particular challenge. At first I thought I was having trouble with it because I was recording myself. I discovered that the real issue was being timed. The video had to come in at two minutes or less. I was reacting to the time element. Once I realized what was creating a problem for me, I was able to move past it. My finished video came in at 1 minute, 56 seconds.

I am happy with myself for finishing the contest. I actually loved that I was challenged on several levels while completing the contest and that I spent time reflecting on how the Hobbit movies have impacted me. And, today was a great day to complete the contest for another reason. Today marks the anniversary of The Hobbit’s release, in book form. On September 21, 1937, this amazing story hit the bookshelves for the first time. Today also launches Tolkien Week, and tomorrow, September 22, is both Hobbit Day and Bilbo and Frodo Baggins birthdays. It seems an auspicious time to post my video!