Take Your Dog to Work Day

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I must ask – did you all even know such a thing existed? It was first started in the UK in 1996 and was created in an effort to encourage those without dogs to perhaps see the benefits of adopting a furry friend of their very own.

The United States first participated in 1999 and it’s grown to be quite a big deal – they offer a cash prize and donation to a pet charity when people tag their photos with the TYDTWD hashtag. I completely knew none of this…but I did take Watson to the office on Friday and he (I think) thoroughly enjoyed it! Just a few pictures of our work day adventures!

So – where exactly are we going?

Fear not – I will keep watch & protect us from any lunatics that might pass by….

Oh, just relaxing on a Friday morning…taking a break from working hard.

Oh – you’d like to share your lunch with me, wouldn’t you?

Working hard or hardly working?

Working 9-5 is obviously exhausting!

Have you ever heard of Take Your Dog to Work Day? If so – have you ever participated…or am I the only nut to do this?

Walking with the Dinosaurs

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I’m looking at the pictures that started last week and man…Monday seems like a long time ago! Last Monday that is; I’m very present and in the midst of a Monday right now, ha-ha! There are only two days left in June – how is that even possible? I guess this is a look back at the last full week of June 2015…wow.

Got my shirt for the Star Wars game – I kind of love it.

Pictures of “my” three kiddos at work! I love seeing their sweet little faces!

So…we just happen to have a new Dick’s Sporting Goods in Winchester…& I just happened to need this jersey…
I’ve had the hat for almost 3 years now!

The past week seems seems like it was very slow and didn’t really involve much happening – I’m looking at these pictures and wondering what I did all week (besides work, obviously) and I can’t think of much. I guess that’s why I was able to make a dent in the book I’m reading by a few hundred pages. I’m fairly certain I came home, read or watched Nationals baseball and that’s really about all. I know it makes for a riveting blog conversation…but hey, it is what it is. It’s summer – you’re supposed to be chill.

Watson cruising to Little Caesar’s with us on Tuesday night.

Pretty amazing sunset on Tuesday – probably because of the epic storm that preceded the sunset.

The sky had some purple in there…my iPhone camera really didn’t do it justice.

So – if you’ve seen my 40 Before 40 list, one of the things on that list is to go to a baseball game at Camden Yards; I’ve just always heard a lot about Camden Yards…the atmosphere, the stadium itself being a great venue for baseball, etc… I noticed about a month ago that the Nationals would be playing the Orioles at Camden Yards on July 11th and I immediately began making my case for why we needed to go to the game. My parents weren’t (maybe still aren’t) wholly convinced we wouldn’t be shanked in the street since Baltimore hasn’t exactly been peaceful in the past few months…but we are not the type of people to live in fear, so I bought the tickets and we are going to Baltimore! Say a little prayer for us, won’t you? Ha-ha…I’m kidding… I think.

The best part of getting the tickets was that apparently now the Orioles think I’m a fan – which, that’s just not so. I’m very excited to attend the game, quite thrilled to see your ballpark but I will not be wearing black and orange and I’ll certainly not be cheering for the Orioles…whatever struggles that might bring me.

Dear Orioles fan…um…nope, not quite.

I feel I should share with you some of the funnier things that clients say to me when I call them; some of them are more talkative than others and so I find myself chatting with them from time to time – on all manner of things, the weather being a very popular topic. Seriously, last week three different people asked me what the weather was like in Virginia. Three different people! I also got…

  • Client A – I’m watching the Red Sox…but they’re losing by two runs, so I’m not great. How do you feel about the Red Sox? Me – Well sir…I’m a Nationals fan. Client A – Oh, well there you have it then!
  • Client B – Do you ever lose pens? I will have pens and notepads galore, lay them down and next thing you know they’re all gone! Me – Yes ma’am…that happens to me all the time! Client B – Well, then it must not mean I’m too crazy quite yet!

I feel like there were more anecdotes than this…but for the life of me, I cannot think of any more of them. I’m sure it’s the Monday morning thing; my mind is still mushy from the weekend.

Thursday night skies…

Did you know June 26th was Take your Dog to Work Day? More on that at a later date…

You can just never go wrong with gummy bears.

Can you tell he wanted me to absolutely leave him alone? Little stinker…

Saturday was just a rainy, drizzly and completely dismal mess! It rained almost the entire day – and by entire day, I mean it was raining when I woke up at 8:15 AM and it was still raining when I went to bed around 11 PM. It did slack off for a little bit between 2 and 4, but it certainly wasn’t anything to get too excited about. I spent the day being fairly lazy; I managed to watch three movies and a few episodes of Parks & Recreation on Netflix…because what else are you supposed to do on a rainy Saturday? Watson slept for a huge chunk of the day and when I tried to love him, cuddle him…he was really not interested, ha-ha! All in all, Saturday was just a big day of being completely useless, ha-ha!

Afternoon coffee drink – yes please.

The sun was out on Sunday morning & Watson was THRILLED. I mean…I was also.

These tomatoes are getting big – which is only slightly thrilling since I don’t even eat tomatoes.

Dinosaur Land – you guys, I have been making fun of this place since the first time I visited Virginia and we rode past it; it is absolutely a complete tourist trap. And one that looks like it’s been around for at least a million years…I swear. I mean, I think it was actually opened in 1960 but still – that’s pretty close to a million years, right? When I met Katie months ago and mentioned Dino Land, she had the same reaction I’d had, but she took it one step further and said we had to go check it out…because why not? So we made plans to walk with the dinosaurs sometime in the summer – and on Sunday, we did just that.

Why is there a forest of creepy trees?

I’m pretty sure this was not made for adults pretending to be kids to climb through….

It only cost $6 to get in…and you get what you pay for. Most of the models look sufficiently dated and have obviously seen better days. However, we saw lots of little kids there that were in complete awe of the dinosaurs all around them, so I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder…but it helps if you’re young. It also helps if you go with someone that is just as big of a goofball as you are. You can have a pretty amazing time, crummy dinos or not…because almost everything is funny! Ha-ha!

Anyone else seen Jurassic World? Wait – who HASN’T seen Jurassic World?

All in all, a pretty hilarious way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

A Day in the District

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I like to think that life is an adventure all on it’s on – I mean, let’s be honest…life is like the ultimate extreme sport and in the end, no one is making it out alive (unless someone knows something I don’t…) so you might as well get out there and seize every opportunity to see and do everything you can.

Granted, this past Saturday it wasn’t so much an extreme sport style adventure as it was taking in priceless works of art and eating really good burgers…so good, really…but then again, one could argue that for some people taking the DC Metro would be considered an extreme sport. I’m serious – I know people who would consider riding the Metro as taking their lives in their hands; living on the edge if you will. So, I guess for those people this Saturday was living on the edge. I like to live dangerously though and so for me, it was just a Saturday spent in the District – which, in my humble opinion is one of the greatest cities in the US of A!

Oh my goodness y’all – I love this place.

There is a place in Capitol Hill that has some seriously good burgers…but, I’m excited about the burgers and I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me dial it back real quick. I met my friend Rachel; who I’ve literally known all my life, on Saturday morning and we caught the Metro into DC to peruse the National Gallery. One of the things I’ve been most excited about since I moved to Northern Virginia is the opportunity to spend Saturdays/Sundays in DC exploring the museums without the rush and hustle that visiting DC on vacation tends to have. So, Saturday was one of those days and I thoroughly enjoyed it – who am I kidding, there is so much always going on in DC and I LOVE that it’s only an hour away! It thrills me to no end to know that DC is the big city nearest me and I can pop into town whenever I want – Love. It. 

We were in DC in mid-May and we were directed to a place called Good Stuff Eatery by our friend Rhonda – and y’all, they are not playing around with their burgers and fries! By the time Rachel and I met up and hopped on the Metro, we were looking at about a 25 minute ride on the Metro and I hadn’t eaten breakfast…so I suggested we ride out to Capitol South and just have lunch before getting down to the business of looking at art. I left where we were going to actually eat up to Rachel but I was pretty thrilled when she chose Good Stuff – because well, they aren’t kidding – it’s Good Stuff!

Even the walls in this room were considered art…& frankly, they were absolutely gorgeous.

This statue was basically my spirit animal – it was called “Girl Reading” & I get it. I do. 

I love the random people who situate themselves along the Mall to sell things – I will admit when I was in sixth grade, I definitely fell prey to buying some “legitimate” Oakley sunglasses for the low, low price of $10! I also bought an “authentic” Louis Vuitton purse for $25 when we were on a trip to DC a few years later. The innocence of youth, am I right? Ha-ha! The National Mall is being renovated “for your future enjoyment” which basically means it looks like an absolute nightmare right now – piles of dirt reaching sky high, chain link fences thrown up everywhere and construction vehicles parked right in front of that picturesque picture you were planning to take of the Capitol…

Oh wait – the Capitol’s rotunda is surrounded in scaffolding right now! Ha, never mind! Something in DC is always being renovated or maintained…last year it was the Washington Monument, the year before it was the Supreme Court. Anyone want to take bets on what they’ll fix up next? I’ve derailed from where I was originally going with this…so sorry. The people that are selling things? I may have found my favorite this past Saturday, based solely on his slogan! There was a man perched on his cooler selling “ice cold water” for only a $1…and his pitch was pretty excellent: Don’t let dehydration ruin your vacation! Hehehehe – I love it!

Monet – Jerusalem Artichoke Flowers

Degas – Fourth Position Front on Left Leg

I enjoyed looking at a lot of the sculptures and we read a bit about Degas; his work is varied but he did tend to focus on sculpting women and dancers. One of his more famous pieces is called Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and is considered of interest because he dressed the sculpture in actual clothes and used real human hair as well. This sculpture was at the National Gallery but I didn’t take a photo of it because…honestly…it was a little unsettling. You can look at the sculpture here…and even read about it some, if that’s of interest to you. I found the sculpture a bit eerie because you could see the hair he used poking through the layers of beeswax that the sculpture is carved from and it gave it a slightly too lifelike appearance; like it might whip it’s head around and look at me at any moment. Rachel and I agreed it wasn’t really our favorite…

The Thinker – Rodin

Even the stairwells at the National Gallery seem like art to me – carved out of white marble…

I do love a good rotunda & the National Gallery’s West Hall certainly has stunner – I love the way the sunlight filters in!

Columns of green marble – so pretty!

The fountain in the main entrance of the West Hall.

Rachel pointed out that this was entitled “The House of Cards” – so I had to snap a picture.

We wandered through the galleries looking at paintings by the English, American landscapes (which I thought were breathtaking) and of course, portraits. One picture that really caught our eye was The White Girl: Symphony in White No. 1 – and of course, I’m sure that’s why it was strategically positioned at the end of the corridor, peering toward you through the arches of multiple doorways. We immediately decided that trying to get a picture of the painting positioned at the end of the arches was a goal…and pretty quickly thereafter decided it was also an exercise in complete futility! Every single time we’d have a clear shot, someone would walk into frame! A couple guys even caught on to what we were trying to do and stood in the middle of the archway and waved at us – because, of course they did. The security guard got a laugh out of it and we finally just gave up; I only managed to get one shot that was even remotely close to what we were hoping for…

The White Girl…& some random man’s arm…*sigh*

James Whistler – The White Girl: Symphony in White No. 1 

I must admit – my favorite painting(s) all day was the series titled “The Voyage of Life” by Thomas Cole. It is a series of four paintings that depict life from beginning to end; told through the voyages of childhood, youth, manhood and old age. The pictures were breathtaking; filled with color and imagery and I probably could have stood and taken them in for quite some time. Each of the pictures had descriptions provided by the artist posted beside them; I’ve linked to a discussion about each of the pictures here – they really are fascinating and I think they were easily my favorite part of the day.

Childhood – an infant guided through smooth waters by an Angel…

Youth – taking control of life; steering toward the hopes & dreams of man…

Manhood – the rough waters of life; relying on faith to navigate through perilous times…

Old Age – a life lived with faith; the old man looks toward Heaven…

The Shaw Memorial – Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Watson & the Shark – John Singleton Copley

Watson and the Shark was probably one of the more interesting pieces we saw on Saturday – it was painted by John Singleton Copley and it’s interesting because it was painted based on a true story of Brook Watson. At the age of 14, Brook Watson was swimming in the harbor of Havana, Cuba and was attacked by a shark; he was bitten in the leg and then bit a second time, in which he lost his right foot/lower leg. Watson did survive the attack and went on to become a prominent British merchant and politician…with a wooden leg as a souvenir of his adventures in the harbor! Copley actually studied maps and pictures of Havana, Cuba before painting this picture because he’d never been to that area but wanted the picture to be fairly accurate. The painting hung in The Christ Hospital in London for many years…which seems a little strange to me; it’s certainly not a calming painting – although maybe it imparted the idea that at least you weren’t being attacked by a shark. Ha-ha!

Ha-ha! A shot through the archways that actually worked!

The “walkway” from the West Hall to the East Hall – I loved it!

The Atrium of the East Hall – the only portion of the building open because of…say it with…RENOVATIONS!

A water feature in the downstairs lobby/gallery/dining area between the museums – I love it.

The National Gallery is home to the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in the United States – a work called Genevra di Benci; unique in that both the front and back of the canvas are painted. This painting was obviously a really big draw at the museum – it definitely drew a crowd and I most often heard people asking where the da Vinci painting was. It is a beautiful picture and it’s fascinating to stand in front of artwork done by someone who has contributed so much to the history of art as well as history in general…and it doesn’t hurt that watching the show DaVinci’s Demons makes me even more fascinated by who DaVinci was and all he did…

Leonardo di Vinci – Genevra di Benci

Wandering the galleries…

A few pieces of modern art were on display from the East Hall…

This piece was called “No”…and no…I didn’t get it…

Once we’d passed about three hours perusing paintings and sculpture in the West Hall, we went out the Sculpture Garden and found seats in the shade to watch the fountain for a while. It was WARM in DC on Saturday; 90 degrees but it felt like 98, so the shade was absolutely delightful! I enjoyed watching the people that passed – I did wonder how many were families taking in the nation’s capital over Summer break and I hoped if they were doing just that, they realized how important so many of the things they were seeing are…even if the Capitol is covered in scaffolding and the National Mall is heaped with piles of dirt!

Modern art…the rotunda of the Natural History Museum & the Washington Monument…

The fountain as seen through the legs(???) of this piece of artwork…

The National Archives from my perch on the benches in the shade…

The spray of the fountain getting closer & closer together…

Until they meet in the middle! I love this fountain!

The Smithsonian Castle…& the picturesque piles of dirt on the Mall…ha-ha!

The weather in and around DC was supposed to be somewhat hit or miss on Saturday due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill (wasn’t it called Bill…am I remembering that wrong?) moving through the area. The skies were getting a little iffy around 4 and so we decided we might be best served to head back to our cars in an effort to avoid the rain. We saw SO many people on the Metro headed to the Nationals game and there was a part of me that was tempted to suggest we hop on the green line and head over to the game – I’m sure we could have gotten some upper deck tickets for a good price – but a part of me was 100% fine to be headed home to relax. Scherzer did pitch a no-hitter and that would have been amazing, but I watched it from the comfort of my couch (with delightful air conditioning) and missed out on most of the rain and crazy weather that blew through the area later in the day!

It’s so hard to see…but there was a rainbow in my rear-view mirror!

All in all – an awesome day spent in the District! I can’t wait to do it again in July when we head to DC for a Nationals game! Unless I end up in DC again sooner than that….ha-ha!

Always Colorful….Certainly Memorable

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Here we are again – I feel like there are definitely days where I cannot for the life of me come up with a way to start these posts off. Some days the words just roll right out of my head and onto the “page” but other days, it takes some times. I still haven’t figured out what the title of this post will be either. Writer’s block? Maybe. Then again, perhaps I spent too much time in the sun this weekend and my brain is fried…. I’ll let you choose….

Tuesday evening clouds over the mountains….

Seriously – I didn’t know sunsets could be so crazy amazing!

As I sit here, I cannot for the life of me ever remember what I did last Monday night…which gives a lot of credence to the theory that the sun fried my brain this weekend! I feel certain there was some level of baseball game watching involved but I know I didn’t leave the game on because the Nationals weren’t doing so well and it was stressing me out. I’m not a “fair weather” fan…because let’s be honest; if you only cheer when things are going good, can you really call yourself a fan – you can’t…but it is more fun when your team is winning! Monday was obviously a really lazy day; the lack of pictures probably means not too much happened worth documenting. 

Tuesday night though; we spent a good portion of Tuesday night at my/our friend Jennie’s now house, helping her get her kitchen organized. All this moving and unpacking and putting away makes me really miss all my “things” that are packed away and miss having my own space. I’ve started the process of looking into buying a house – hopefully the process won’t be too lengthy but so far, it isn’t exactly speedy. All good things in time, right?

You couldn’t recreate these colors if you tried – amazing!
Oh me – what can I say? I’m a wee bit crazy!

So – Wednesday night y’all – good times! Danielle and I…weeks ago…bought tickets to a Bridesmaids Quote-Along Champagne showing at the Alamo and since the tickets said to wear your ugliest bridesmaids dress, we kind of took it as a challenge and bought some really classy numbers from a local consignment shop. If we were going, we were going to go all in – 100%! My dress was some kind of royal blue, half Grecian-inspired, half spaghetti strap nightmare but Danielle’s really took the cake – because it was a pink, poufy sleeved 80’s horror and it was brilliant! It was made even more brilliant when we found a headband that matched it perfectly! We changed into our hideous bridesmaid outfits at the office and our boss oh so kindly told us we both looked lovely – even though we assured him we were supposed to look completely nuts. What can I say, I work for a nice guy!

We were the ONLY people that dressed up. The only people.

We didn’t care – we rocked our looks & had fun!

I don’t know if the event wasn’t really marketed well or what but NO one at the Alamo seemed to have any clue why we were dressed the way we were!!! One of the guys working the theater even asked if we were celebrating a bachelorette party! There was a group of women celebrating a bachelorette party and they did have on dresses…but not actually ugly bridesmaid dresses. I guess no one read the tickets….booooo! In addition to the champagne in glasses we got to keep (they were cheap plastic, lucky us!!!) there was supposed to be a Wilson Phillips sing-along at the end of the movie but that didn’t happen. I feel like someone fell down on their job in planning this, but regardless of all that – the movie was still hilarious and we had fun – even if we did get some funny looks!

The classiest champagne glasses ever….
A Throwback Thursday for me – even in 2008 I knew I was a Nats fan. 😉

Friday was a really chill day – that seems to be the theme for this week, huh? Maybe that should make it into the title somehow? We’ll see, I’m still going. I got off work at 3:30 on Friday (awesome!) and spent Friday night just relaxing at the house; my Dad grilled some chicken and my parents finally finished the third season of House of Cards! Now we all just have to wait until February to see how that story will continue to unfold…

Saturday though – I spent Saturday (or a good portion of it) in DC with my friend Rachel. We met up at the Metro and headed into DC to explore the National Gallery and basically just wander around – and the weather predicted cloudiness and walking to eat in Captiol Hill we were pretty glad for those clouds because it was HUMID! However, once we finished lunch and headed back to the Mall, the clouds had decided to take a hike and the sun was shining full force; it was even blazing in the Metro, the only time it was cool was when a train soared into the station and brought a blast of stale air through with it! Whoosh!

Seriously – they aren’t lying about it being Good Stuff!

A Monet – of course!

The Voyage of Life – such beautiful paintings & my pictures don’t even begin to do them justice.

I do love a good rotunda!

It is next to impossible to see, but there was a rainbow in my rear view mirror on the way back from DC on Saturday…

The weather on Saturday was supposed to be somewhat hit or miss because the remnants of the Tropical Storm from Texas were making their way through the state; the rain held off for most of my drive home…although I did encounter a nice downpour about twenty minutes from the house. I didn’t let it bother me too much since I had my radio tuned to the Nationals game and Scherzer was right in the middle of pitching a no-hitter! I mean, amazing! I will be honest and say that once I got home, I was pretty useless… I was glued to the TV until the Nationals game went off – I had to see Scherzer get his Hershey’s syrup victory celebration – and after supper, well I’ll be honest and tell you I don’t think I even made it to 10:15. I’m telling you – the sun…it fried me!

A deer grazing right outside the house – before a huge thunderstorm blew through…
I had some friends who tried to persuade me to become a Pirates fan – I may have sent a little smack talk via text message. I know, so unnecessary…but I just couldn’t help it! 🙂

Someone taking a Sunday morning nap!

I have SO many pictures from Sunday afternoon – good grief! After having a quick lunch at McAlister’s, we took off on an adventure to Orkney Springs, VA which is about an hour from the house. It’s the sight of a mineral springs found centuries ago (okay…maybe two centuries ago…) and of course, a resort sprung up around the springs because they were believed to have healing properties. The huge (I’m serious – it’s GIGANTIC) main building of the resort is called the Virginia House and served as an infirmary during the Civil War…so I’m sure it’s haunted from here to kingdom come. That’s neither here nor there I suppose, because it’s a beautiful building but I’d not be persuaded to stay in it…not because of the probable haunting(s) though…

The Virginia House

It’s 96,000 square feet – you can’t even see half of the house in this picture…

One of the streams that feed into the Springs.

The waters are mineral rich – as in – IRON. Everything was a rusty red & the water even smelled metallic!

Why wouldn’t I stay at the Virginia House? Well – that’s quite simple really. There is NO AIR CONDITIONING! Y’all…it was 85 on Sunday but it with the humidity that has been hanging around this past weekend it felt like 93 in the shade. Let me tell you, air conditioning is important to me. Opening a window doesn’t really help when the air that is circulating is HOT. So, there’s my stance on all that.

The compound/resort is now a retreat center owned by the Episcopalian Diocese of Virginia and there were people checking in right and left for all kinds of summer camps. Summer camps that involved hot sweaty activities and staying in rooms with NO air conditioning. Y’all – I can’t let that go. Gross. The whole place is referred to now as Shrine Mont and there is an outdoor chapel called the Shrine of the Transfiguration and it’s quite beautiful. We enjoyed wandering around and taking it all in but based on what I saw, I think most of the healing mineral springs have receded back underground and the only relief you are going to get in the liquid form…well that’s from the swimming pool on the grounds.

A butterfly on some Lambs Ear – which I only learned the name of yesterday.

The Shrine of the Transfiguration
Trying to be cute even though I was sweating like a champ & my shorts were sticking together…oh well…

So pretty. 

Another small struggle at Orkney Springs was that there was no cell phone service! I needed that cell phone service so I could get text message updates about the Nationals game, don’t you see? They were on fire this weekend and made franchise history on Sunday when they scored nine runs in the first inning; y’all…they retired the Pirates starting pitcher before the first inning even ended!  Bryce Harper also scored his 24th home run, so basically the bats were on fire and I was loving it! We were able to listen to the first inning in the car before the radio station fuzzed out and I’m fairly certain my parents thought I was losing my mind…hopping around and squealing like a spazz. What can I say? I’m loving it.

A sweep – you gotta love that!

Ice Cream…from Smiley’s Kustard. Maybe it was custard….

Bryce Mountain

We rounded out Sunday evening by just relaxing at home. Jeff and Ginger have both been battling a summer cold; I felt like I was on an afternoon road trip with Snotty and Coughy on Sunday…but they rallied and enjoyed that afternoon between sneezes. We did get to watch (for a time at least) two deer come across the golf course and right into our backyard…but then Watson spied them and started barking like we were all about to be brutally killed – so of course the deer fled. Silly dog! Sunday evening; which was also Summer Solstice, ended in a blaze of color and I suppose that about sums up this week. Nothing earth shattering…but always colorful and certainly memorable.

I snapped my picture right about the time this deer fled for her life…

My completed necklace – for now.

Another gorgeous sunset in the books!

Mother’s Mercy

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Well – the season finale promo promised it would be filled with gut punches as well as some moments that might cause a general weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth…and it certainly didn’t fall short on that promise. I felt like this season was an endless maze with no end in sight and given the way things ended…it looks like we are just going to keep wandering that maze. There are theories running amok on the internet and no small amount of confusion as the story has finally reached the point where it has separated completely from the books…only because it’s reached the end of the published story so far.

So…before we crash off the deep end of murky theory and mystery…the season finale recap.

The North: Not Worth it After All – After last week’s horrific sacrifice, Stannis is more than ready to reap the rewards that paying such a high price will surely bring – but it’s not to be. Melisandre is thrilled that the snow is melting but she can’t invoke quite the same level of excitement in Stannis…
Only one of these two is excited…
Stannis learns in quick succession that half his army has deserted in the night (why wouldn’t they? How many people do you know that would willingly support a man who burns his child?) and they’ve taken all the horses. This initial blow is followed by the discovery of his wife Selyse, hanging from a tree where she committed suicide; the grief of allowing her only child to be burnt alive obviously too much. Still taking in this news, Stannis is told by one of his remaining soldiers that the Lady Melisandre was seen riding away from camp – it would appear even she can only take so much defeat.
Stannis will not let go of Winterfell though; Melisandre promised him she’s seen Bolton flags burning and he’s certain it’s a sign that his sacrifice will bring him victory…well, that or he just realizes he’s come this far and cut every tie he had, so he might as well trudge on toward his destiny. Stannis and his remaining men approach Winterfell, preparing to attack at dawn but it’s not to be – Ramsay and the Bolton army are charging them as he speaks…and of course, Stannis is vastly outnumbered.
Might as well fight….
The Boltons on the left…Stannis on the right. We all know how this will end, right?
We cut from the rush toward battle to the body-strewn snow and Stannis staggering away from the carnage, obviously worse for the wear. After fighting off two Bolton lackeys, he sways and sinks to the ground against a tree…only to be approached by Brienne of Tarth. She makes known that she once served Stannis’ brother, Renly and was there when Renly was murdered by a “shadow with the face of Stannis”…he confirms what we’ve all known, he killed his brother with blood magic. He has no last words beyond telling Brienne to do her duty. She swings her sword toward him…and we cut to Ramsay being awful…
So – did she kill him? Only time (9-10 months) will tell.
Winterfell: You Jump, I Jump – Ramsay is being awful on the battlefield and that’s really the only part he plays at Winterfell this week; the show seems intent on reminding us on a weekly basis that Ramsay is one of the most awful people alive, I guess they think we’ve not quite figured that out yet.
Sansa has used the corkscrew we saw her pocket weeks ago to endeavor an escape from her tower room and is taking advantage of the battle outside Winterfell to make her way to the broken tower and light a candle; the way she was told to signal for help. Brienne has of course departed from her vigil of watching the tower at the exact moment Sansa lights her candle…but that’s neither here nor there.
Not sorry to see her go – at all.
Sansa quickly realizes that lighting the candle has done her no good and when she sees the army returning, knows she needs to get back to her room before Ramsay realizes what she’s done. As she rushes back toward her room, she is thwarted by Myranda – who I’ve really had enough of. Myranda taunts Sansa by telling her all the ways Ramsay will keep her alive so she can give him heirs but still torture her just enough to have fun and when it looks like Sansa is about to get an arrow to the face, Theon/Reek finally snaps out of it and give Myranda a shove…causing her to topple from the battlements onto the stone below. 
Theon and Sansa look down to see that the gates of Winterfell are opening…Ramsay and the army have returned and not only is Sansa outside her room, they’ve killed Ramsay’s favorite female. The two quickly decide that possible death is worse than being one of Ramsay’s victims for a moment longer; they step onto the battlement, take each other’s hands and jump into what I sincerely hope is very deep snow.
Game of Thrones
And…away we go!
Braavos: Blinded by the Light – Arya’s training in the House of Black and White seems to have paid off; she has used one of the multitude of faces from the House to pose as one of the young girls that Meryn Trant requests when he visits the brothel in Braavos. Arya will not be broken when Trant smacks her with a cane but reveals her true self and then proceeds to kill Trant in one of the most graphic ways GoT has ever shown – seriously – it was slightly psychotic and made me queasy. I know Arya has been through some stuff…but wow.
Actions have consequences…
As she’s returning the face she “borrowed”, Jaqen and his sidekick appear – Arya has taken a life, but it was the wrong life and the debt must be paid. The viewer is led to believe that Arya is about to be poisioned, but Jaqen drinks from the vial and collapses…appearing to be dead…only to reveal he was never Jaqen at all. He was (and is still) no one – and that is what Arya was supposed to be learning. As she removes face after face from the lifeless body on the floor, she finally sees her on face on the body…before her sight is taken from her.
Starting all over with that training…but this time, blind.
Dorne: No End is Sight – Doran, Ellaria and the Sand Snakes join Jaime, Bronn and Myrcella on the dock to bid them a fond farewell and a safe journey back to King’s Landing; Myrcella is going home and she gets to take her prince charming along – what a lucky girl! Bronn and his favorite Sand Snake exchange words (ugh…) and Ellaria gives Myrcella an awkwardly long kiss good-bye…which should have set off alarm bells for anyone with half a brain…
A family reunion cut short.
As the boat slowly moves away from Dorne, Jaime attempts to explain to his daughter that she is lucky; she has fallen in love with the man she is betrothed to, but sometimes love doesn’t happen that way. He tells her that people cannot choose who they fall in love with – but she stops him and tells him she knows he’s actually her Father and she loves him just the same. He pulls her close and holds her; the only of his three children he’s ever been able to embrace…but just when things were looking up for Jaime…Myrcella steps back, blood beginning to drip and then pour from her nose. She collapses in Jaime’s arms and they both fall to the floor.
The body count ticks ever upward…
On the docks of Dorne, Ellaria’s nose also begins to bleed – but as she wipes away the lipstick she is wearing, her daughter hands her a vial and she drains every drop. The vow she swore to Oberyn was a lie and she has single handedly brought about war between the Lannisters and Martells. Probably not the best way to seek revenge…but then again, nothing about the Dorne plot line was the best, was it? And just when I thought we might leave this mess behind…I guess we’ll be back in season six…
Meereen: Back Where We Started –  Tyrion has his work cut out for him trying to gain favor with Daenerys’ court; Daario and Jorah decide they will set out to find Daenerys and Tyrion must stay behind and govern, alongside Missandei and Grey Worm (what…this makes NO SENSE) because the people of Meereen will listen to Grey Worm. Varys appears on the walls of the Great Pyramid…basically from out of nowhere…and promises Tyrion he’ll help him build a whole new network of spies and secrets. Whatever…this whole scene(s) made no sense. Where did Varys even come from???
Two and a Half Men…hehehe
Elsewhere, Drogon may have saved Dany from Daznak’s Pit but he has no intention of giving her a ride back to Meereen – he is injured, tired and just wants to take a nap. Dany tries to climb on him and he rolls her off and just as quickly rolls over to take a nap. Dany has no clue where she’s at, no way of returning to Meereen and no food. She climbs down from the cliff they’ve sat down on to search for food and realizes Drogon took her request to go home quite literally – they are in the middle of the Dothraki Sea and in no time, she finds herself surronded by a horde of Dothraki – a khalsaar much like she once ruled alongside Khal Drogo. It remains to be seen if she’ll be taken prisoner or be a Khaleesi once more but she slips off her ring and leaves it in the grass – perhaps a bread crumb for Jorah and Daario?
Game of Thrones
Drogon just wants to take a nap…
King’s Landing: Walk of Shame – Cersei has finally been broken and confesses to the High Sparrow; she did sleep with her cousin Lancel…because she was afraid and alone. She vehemently denies that her children were fathered by Jaime; she tells the High Sparrow that is a lie spawned by Stannis Baratheon who wants the Iron Throne for himself and saw his brother’s children were in his way. The High Sparrow accepts this and tells her for her confession, she may be allowed to return to the Red Keep to await her trail – after she’s done her atonement.
Her atonement consists of having her hair hacked off and being paraded through the streets of Kings Landing naked; put forth as a sinner, vulnerable, presenting herself to the people as she was first made. Cersei begins her walk with her head held high, keeping her eyes on the Red Keep – her ultimate destination…but she falters and takes her eyes off her goal. The crowd grows in number and spirit, growing more volatile with her every step – people throw food, hurl insults and waste and spit on her…all the while, the Septa walks behind her ringing a bell and intoning “Shame…Shame…Shame…”. As the gates of the Red Keep come into view, Cersei breaks down in tears; she nearly breaks into a run as tears pour down her face, mingling with the waste and blood that splatter her. Lena Headey should win an Emmy for this scene alone – it was amazing.
Game of Thrones
Cersei may be bad…but this scene broke my heart…
The scene in Kings Landing ends on an important note – Qyburn’s strange experiment seems to have worked; he introduces Cersei to the newest member of the Kingsguard, Ser Robert Strong. Ser Robert is a hulking mass of a being that can only be The Mountain, saved from death to serve Cersei. Qyburn tells Cersei that Ser Robert has taken a vow of silence; he will not speak until all his majesties enemies have been dealt with. He scoops Cersei up and we see that fire for vengeance burning in her eyes. I’m fairly certain that fire will rage out of control when she finds out about Myrcella…
I’d rather not have these two on my bad side…
The Wall: Say It Ain’t So – The scenes at the Wall are interspersed through the episode and begin with Jon and Sam sharing a heart to heart: Sam asks to be sent to Oldtown to study at the Citadel and become a Maester. Jon will need advising in the coming wars and the Citadel has the largest library in the known world. Sam also knows that Gilly and her baby will not ever be safe at the Wall and he cannot be responsible for their deaths. Jon agrees, Sam and Gilly set out and Jon is left with no one at the Wall that he calls friend.
Just having some bro time over mulled wine…like you do….
Later, as Jon is meeting with Ser Davos and vehemently denying his request (on behalf of Stannis) for more men and supplies, Melisandre rides through the gates of Castle Black looking as defeated as a person possibly can. Davos questions her about Shireen but gets only a sullen look. He further presses about Stannis but Melisandre still has no answer but a crestfallen look. Perhaps Melisandre has realized that the man she thought to champion as the Prince that was Promised was not Stannis after all…but someone else?
All your friends are dead – but then, that’s normal on this show…
After Sam’s departure, Jon sits in quiet contemplation in his office…reading notes that have come to him from around the Seven Kingdoms. Olly, Jon’s steward and wee protege runs into the office and announces that Jon’s Uncle Benjen has returned! Benjen was First Ranger and went missing way back in season one, so naturally Jon races for the door to go outside and see family once more. Of course, it’s all a trap. Olly leads Jon into the midst of Jon’s sworn brothers, to stand at the foot of a sign that says “traitor” in an ungainly scrawl. Allister Thorne stabs Jon in the gut, claiming the words “For the Watch” as he does so…and several other sworn brothers follow suit. As Jon sinks to his knees, Olly approaches him, tears streaming down his face and delivers what can only be taken as the death blow – a knife through the heart. Jon sinks into the snow, eyes staring blankly into the sky. His blood flows freely, staining the pristine snow underneath Jon’s lifeless frame and the frame fades to black.

Game of Thrones
Should have beheaded this guy when you had the chance…

GOT 5x10 Not Jon Snow
Et tu, Olly?
GOT 5x10 Jon Snow Bleeds
Farewell Jon Snow…

Other Notes from Westeros (and Essos)
As season 5 draws to a close, we saw no sign of any of the Tyrells – it’s safe to assume Margaery and Loras are still in their cells and will be there until some point in season 6. King Tommen is hanging out in his room with Ser Pounce… Lady Olenna and Petyr Baelish were also absent; Bran has been absent the whole season…but we’ll see him again next year.

The body count this episode was pretty high…let’s take a look at the tally…
Selyse
Stannis (maybe? Didn’t see the death blow, so I’m not buying it…)
Hundreds of Baratheon & Bolton soldiers
Myranda
Meryn Trant (gross – that whole scene was gross)
Myrcella
Jon Snow (nope – not buying this one…not even for a minute)

I don’t buy that Jon is dead – there are numerous theories that support this; I won’t go into detail here but I will share this link to an article that outlines my thoughts on all of it pretty concisely. Read that .
So – I guess that’s all for the recaps of season 5 – it’s been interesting to say the least. Until we meet again next season, I leave you with my thoughts on how this all played out…
Basically anyone who has ever read the books…or watched the show….