Not Too Early to Think About Christmas

Well, okay, maybe not LOOK like it. But I”m getting ready — last night I booked my plane reservations to visit the family in Texas for Christmas. I didn’t go at all last year, being new on the job and not able take time off so early.

Airline travel is already spiraling into craziness and higher prices for less service, with expectations of cut schedules and every increasing costs as the weeks pass. I knew that it wasn’t going to get better by Christmas and vividly recall all the news stories from last year of people stranded in airports because of flight delays. With fewer, more crowded flights, that would present a big problem at the holidays.

So I went ahead and booked my flights on the only nonstop flight from Hartford to Houston. I told my brother that I’m going to put a bow on my head and say, voila! I am your present! Somehow I don’t think that will fly with the nieces and nephews but it’s a thought. Now I just need to hope the airlines don’t mess up the schedule, though that seems unlikely. Keep your fingers crossed.

One Thing

On the news tonight they were talking with the survivors of one of the devastating tornadoes that have been causing such havoc in the Midwest. And the question was asked: what one thing would you rescue if you could only have one thing from your home, your things, your space? The woman featured in the story was trying to find her wedding dress for the wedding coming up in a few days.

I started thinking about the question, about what I would want to save. We are so invested in things, in acquiring them and displaying and generally accumulating them that “stuff” is overwhelming. Assuming I was able to save the kitty initially, I think I would want to save the computer. All of my important information is on the laptop – plus scanned family photos and documents, financial records, and the family genealogy that I’ve been working on for over 30 years.

Clothes and shoes, books and kitchen stuff, furniture and electronics … they’re all just things. Don’t get me wrong, I live well and enjoy having a comfortable home. But my kitty, my family mean far more.

What would you save?

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is about far more than cookouts, car sales, and the unofficial start of summer. It’s the day we remember those who have given their lives for our country. Whether we agree with the wars that were fought, men and women still died and their service should be remembered and honored. Life is precious and their deaths left great grief and pain – and respect for why they died.

Take a few minutes today to remember and give thanks.

My grandmother died on Memorial Day in 1960. She didn’t fight in a war, she was just a loving, plump lady from New Jersey who lived for her family, friends, and God. Every year on this day I call my mom and we remember her together.

Mad About the Tudors

I’ve always had a thing for costume epics — not the cheesy ones with Charlton Heston shirtless and parting the Red Sea or that ilk. But there is something timeless about a period drama that doesn’t age quite as badly as a contemporary drama seen 20 years later.

My current passion is for all things Tudor, egged on by the casual purchase of The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. I’ve read some of her other books, notably The Other Boleyn Girl which was made into a movie last year. Mostly they are a good read but they are definitely historical fiction, not biography. Tonight I discovered that magically I have access to HBO and Showtime, perhaps because of a free weekend preview thing, and caught an episode of The Tudors which I have been dying to see. Lots of yummy costumes, gorgeous people with accents, jousting, and general drama – even if the historical framework is wrong in a lot of ways. It’s entertainment and I don’t need it to be accurate.

Back when I was in junior high, the movie Anne of the Thousand Days came out, starring Richard Burton as Henry and Geneviève Bujold as Anne. I remember it as being appropriately gorgeous and all about the tragic short 1000 days of Anne’s rule as queen before Henry had her head chopped off. Being named Anne myself, and in love with tragic romance, it was a great story.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the movie again while living in Spain during my college years. It was on a double bill with Shaft (incongruous but true). The movie was dubbed into Spanish of course, but the costume drama was the same and still looked gorgeous. What totally shocked me was the reaction of the Spanish audience to the unfolding story – which was as much the story of Katherine of Aragon as of Anne.

Katherine was the daughter of the most powerful king and queen of Spain – Ferdinand and Isabella, the same ones who sent Columbus off to find India. And the Spanish did NOT take lightly the filmed attack on their beloved royal daughter, even 450 years after her death.  When Richard Burton crossed himself in a church scene, they all started laughing. It was the weirdest thing.

I’m not completely sure what about all of this fascinates me. Today it’s the story of Anne of Cleves, Henry’s Wife #4. She is the only one who went from married to annulled and transformed into the king’s sister in a matter of six months. No fool, she knew she was lucky to have escaped with her life in the world of an absolute monarch whose whims changed in a heartbeat.

It’s much more interesting to read about it than to have lived it.

Results are in

Just a quick note to let you know that the doctor called and everything was fine with the biopsy and ultrasound.  No worries and no need to go back for another year.  Thank you all for your good thoughts and prayers.