May. 30th, 2006

ceebeegee: (Massachusetts foliage)
Late Friday I took the train home for the holiday weekend. If you're going to be on the train for longer than a couple of hours, the Acela is really nice (although not particularly cheap). They have a quiet car which is soooo relaxing--no cell phones, no music, no noisy anybody allowed. The whole train looks so much nicer and the trays are bigger. I'd bought a magazine and The Other Boleyn Girl (a great read but boy, did she take some liberties!) and I was enjoying the ride very much until Philadelphia when this really weird older man got on and sat next to me. For a good 25 minutes this man kept standing up, sitting down, fussing, opening up his luggage, closing up his luggage, sitting down, standing up...just fussing, fussing, fussing. Dude--it's the QUIET car. People really want things to be quiet and still. No one wants to notice you. And he kept looking at me and trying to talk and then muttering to himself. I had my headphones on so I could at least give the appearance of being in my own world. Then at one point he tapped me on my shoulder so I was forced to talk to him."Yes?" "Grump grump grump...I'm...uh...going to get as horizontal as possible." WhatEVER! "Uh...sure." Then after all that he did nothing! Just sat there, still pushing papers on his tray and looking over at me. I swear, women can back me up--there is always some weird guy out there who can't stand it that you don't acknowledge him. It's the stranger who points at you and orders you to smile on the sidewalk, or when you're in a hurry, the guy who tries to get in your way. Or the friend of a friend who thinks you're cute and gets all bitter because you don't know he exists.

Anyway, so I had two and a half glorious days in Virginia. Mom and I went to the pool (she belongs to this neighborhood pool association) Saturday and roasted for a little while. I was gobbling up The Other Boleyn Girl--good gossipy beach fiction for the fan of historical trash--and eventually we went back and cooked out in the backyard. Mom's yard is very lush, with many different kinds of trees--dogwood, oak, holly, white pin--and other kinds of flora. Sooo peaceful and shady and verdant. We watched the DVD of Kingdom of Heaven later--again, fun but definitely took some historical liberties.

Sunday we went to see the Nats kick the crap out of the Dodgers. Hoo-ey! Good times. Mom was so cute--what she knows of baseball, she learned from watching me and my explaining the finer points of the game to her. So she wasn't a hardcore fan but was very proud that DC finally got a team again. When we got back home, she brought the sports page into my room, talking about how the Nats have been doing lately, noting that they'd lost to the Dodgers the day before. The thought of my mother reading the sports page and trending the home team is pretty funny.

Yesterday I slept very late, and then we got up and had a wonderfully appropriate Memorial Day. There was a parade in Falls Church, and vendors and food booths. (I snagged a Coach Scribble bag--like this but in a multi-color print, with tags and a dustbag!) We walked around the parade--sadly I didn't see any of my classmates from Mason although I know a bunch of them still live in the area. One of the booths was for the Falls Church Presbyterian Church, and they had an exhibit about their ongoing work in New Orleans. I talked to them about the possibility of volunteering--I definitely want to go for a week down there and I'm on the Habitat for Humanity mailing list for just such an opportunity. I said "I live in New York and I'm an Episcopalian so I don't know if you'd be interested..." The woman gave me a couple of email addresses of people to contact.

After that we went back to Mom's place, she got some flowers from her garden, and went over to Arlington Cemetery where my grandparents are buried. I think the last time I saw Grandpa John's grave was when Memaw died in 1999--I remember visiting as a child, and we saw the Kennedys' grave and I remember the "Baby Girl" grave, the miscarriage that Jackie had in the late '50s. (I was weirdly interested in dead Presidential children at that age--Willy Lincoln fascinated me as well.) It's such a beautiful resting place, on this hilly, grassy knoll, surrounded by trees, "below the Mason-Dixon line, which would make Daddy happy" as Mom said. I looked around and noticed some high-rollers nearby--a major-general, a rear admiral, a vice admiral. One was from Alabama--that would also make him happy (Grandpa John was from Birmingham).
ceebeegee: (Pink!)
It's SUCH a lovely warm day today--I had to wear appropriate delicately sexy skimpy clothes. So I pulled out my slip skirt--this skirt is an actual slip from the '50s (when they were SERIOUS about undergarments!) and I wear it as a skirt in the summer. (Ooooh, I'm so NAUGHTY!) The great thing about this skirt is that it has so many colors to accent, all these different-colored flowers--yellow, pink, purple, plus green leaves and a blue background. It is pretty see-through so I have to wear a slip under the slip. I topped it with my yellow cowl neck sleeveless top and my pink high-heeled sandals, and my pink bejeweled canvas belt. Makeup is pink and purple--pale pink lips and eyes lined in purple.


ceebeegee: (Default)
So I read The Other Boleyn Girl this weekend. It's about Mary Boleyn, sister to Anne (most sources I've checked seem to indicate she was older than Anne, but the book makes her a few years younger)--she was also Henry VIII's mistress after Bessie Blount and before he was involved with Anne. Mary was also rumored to be Francois I's mistress (both Anne and Mary served in the French court--Anne was noted for her love of French fashion, and in her portraits she is usually wearing the French (curved) hood, whereas Catherine of Aragon (Anne's queenly predecessor) and Jane Seymour (Anne's replacement) both wore a gabled hood. The book doesn't mention Mary's reputation for promiscuity--in fact she is extremely sympathetically portrayed, and Anne is much less so. The book shows Mary as respecting and caring for Catherine (whom she served as lady-in-waiting) and torn between her desire to do the decent thing, her loyalty toward her family, and her love for Henry. It's all well-written and interesting, although parts of it do not quite ring true--the book assumes that Henry Carey was Henry Tudor's bastard, but then the King takes no interest in his upbringing which we know was not the case with Henry Fitzroy (his acknowledged bastard by Bessie Blount). The King is shown as being thrilled when Mary is pregnant both times, and then forgets about the kids--inconsistent characterization. The book also says that Anne assumed the role of Henry Carey's guardian--first off, I'd *never* heard this before (but it seems this really did happen?--I think I found confirmation online), but how could one woman take away parental rights from another? Mary Boleyn was still alive, still there and I believe William Carey had other family. I realize family law was different back then but it still doesn't make sense, or at any rate, Gregory (the author) doesn't make it plausible--she says Anne's motive was to have a trump spare heir in the wings (because the King's Great Matter was all about Finding That Heir). Why would Anne do this when it's Henry's bastard? How would that be her trump? It just didn't make sense.

Mary and Anne had another noted sibling, their brother George, who was executed along with Anne when his wife, Lady Rochford, testified to their incestuous affair. Gregory's theories are more plausible here, because she paints a decent characterization of George and Anne as the only two who really understand each other (George is homosexual in this portrayal and Anne is the prototypical fruit fly--historians are divided on George's proclivities but Lady Rochford certainly did have it in for her husband. And the rest of the Howards--she also turned in Catherine Howard (George, Mary and Anne's first cousin) a few years later for adultery. She was directly responsible for the deaths of three Howards!). Anyway, Anne is desperate to conceive a child and apparently Henry is impotent (okay, Gregory, we KNOW he fathered Edward VI--that child was a classic Tudor male, dying at 15), so driven nearly insane by her ambition and that of her family, she hooks up with her brother, and the result is a monster baby that miscarries. Anne's mounting instability and its effect on the rest of the family is nicely portrayed, as is her relationship with her two siblings. There's a lovely, weirdly evocative scene just before everything comes crashing down, the night before the day everyone is arrested, and Anne and George sense something is about to happen, and they cuddle in front of the fire all night, whistling past the graveyard. I also like the portrayal of Mary's relationship with William Stafford (her married-for-love second husband who was much lower socially than she). Stafford seemed like a straight up guy!

I would love to read a novel about Catherine Howard. She fascinates me, for some reason.

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