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Jan 26, 2009

DEVIL'S BROOD [PART TWO]

http://plantagenetdynasty.blogspot.com/2008/01/mothers-lament-alienor-of-aquitaine.html

Above is the link to another blog post by someone far more educated than I. But the post itself is a transcript from Eleanor of Aquitaine's Letter to Pope Celestine III in 1193.

This is in relation to the book "Devil's Brood" of which I have begun to read and reviewed earlier.
I am about 3/4 through, and I am not overly enthusiastic with it, as can be expected when reading two wonderful books it is hard to continue the same rhythm sometimes. But I do still recommend it of course. There are a lot more names/titles of liege men in the book which begin to become a blur, and unfortunately though the tragedy of the uproars the sons pertook are indeed troublesome, it does seem to go on and on with one brother against the other. However, the knowledge that this is History propels me forward, needing to know the outcome from one battle to the next. Henry II is not as formidable as one would think, and Richard of Aquitaine is simply portrayed as a bloodthirsty maniac. Henry/Hal, the young king, is portrayed as dimwit at times who is only interested in popularity or sports. We enjoy more of a look at an illegitimate son of Henry II, Geoff, though do no confuse him with the younger son of Henry and Eleanor, Geoffrey.

It is amazing sometimes to trail along the Family Tree's of any of the English Families. First off, there are always marriages between cousins, and secondly, there are always a pattern of the same names. Historians must get turned around in circles when trying to decipher who was who, especially when one writer or scribe spells a name one way, and another spells the same name a completely different way. And of course there was the inevitable death of their babies, so that an immediate family would have the same names in order to honor the lost baby. Eleanor of Aquitaine was lucky enough to have had lost only one.. is that lucky?? But in those times, it does seem she was spared that grief more than others as she did give birth ten times. Yet, then it came back to haunt her as her brood eventually turned on each other and her sons fought each other and caused Eleanor's imprisonment and estrangement from her husband.

Since You've Been Gone

In honor of Dad's memory today being a devastating mark of 2 months since he's been gone..

When he visited us from NY to meet his first grandson in May 2007, Morgan was really enjoying the dazzling of the Grandpa who doted on her of course. They were both enjoying the one on one attention they got from each other. Right away there was an amazing bond between the long-distance relations, and I just watched from the sidelines caring for the 2 month old.

I wish I still had the pictures from my old cell phone of the two laughing together, splashing at the Rockwall Harbor. Driving the unexpected horrendous Friday evening traffic for two hours to see cousin Dee Dee, Morgan decided to do her Karaoke version of Kelly Clarkson's Since U been Gone.. at the top of her lungs.. Nothing like the 5 year-old's shrill voice to make you cringe and smile at the same time. And he smiled all the way through the song, through Morgan's input. He sat through that a few times that wonderful weekend. Weeks later, he mentions it fondly, with that feeling of pain of having witnessed it, mixed with pride. He decided to make a CD of all sorts of songs that Morgan can enjoy and sing to and it is cherished along with the awesome Jukebox style radio that he gave her. He also made one for the little one so he wouldn't feel left out.

Thank you for the memories, ma pere!

Jan 23, 2009

Ice and Life

Picture = 1/10/2009 12:14 p.m.

Back when Texas had it's ice storm a few weeks ago I tried capturing pic on my cell phone. The ice on the branches was so very pretty that I really wanted a picture of it. I had taken it from inside my office and you see the glare a bit from a window ;) It is not a great picture but I had forgotten I had sent it via email to the blog on my cell phone. As I mentioned before, isn't technology awesome? Too bad the clarity leaves a lot to be desired though.

Otherwise, here it is, another Friday to conquer. It is beautiful Texas weather. Yesterday was my now 7 yr. old's birthday, and it was 80°. Today it shall again top out at 79°. I am so thrilled that it is January, and I get to enjoy this type of weather. God Blessed Texas!

I grew up in N.Y. with cold winters and a lot of snow, and it wasn't bad to be a young one playing in that snow. But, I got older and had responsibilities and places to be. It was the winter of '93, and the snow just kept coming and coming. I parked my car down the block so it wouldn't get plowed in, and I still had to dig it out. I was so sick of it, slipping and sliding down Nesconset Highway because they would not close the Smithaven Mall where I worked. I decided right then and there that this was the LAST winter I would spend in NY!! I was 20 and living with my dad, and just didn't have a real goal anymore. I was not happy with my situation so that Christmas Day of '93 I called my mum in TX and asked if I could move down to TX with her. She seemed thrilled (in hindsight she is probably kicking herself) and the deal was done. With the help of my boyfriend, I started packing my belongings and for 5 months we UPS'ed stuff to TX.

My pops didn't believe me when I told him. He was still dumbstruck on May 31, 1994 as I was gathering the cat to come with me, and I was getting a ride to airport. Me, my cat named Stryper after the band, and my backpack. It was a major decision, leaving friends and a boyfriend behind, and my father and brother of course. I have no regrets to the move itself, just wish that perhaps the distance wasn't so great. The biggest loss was my best friend, who is still my friend, but I had taken her presence and support for granted. I missed her every day.

Time passed and I let things go.. I let people seem out of sight, out of mind. That was my fault, and I am working on rebuilding those relationships that I lost that I care about. As much as I have wished a lot of my past in NY would stay in the darkness, there are people that I'd like to stay here with me in the light.

Jan 21, 2009

FRAUD ALERT

I just got an automated phone call on my cell phone, telling me to enter my 16 Digit number from my Debit Card so they can verify my information.
!!!
!!!
I wonder how many unsuspecting victims fall for this!

I googled his phone number and lookie lookie:
What a creep!

Sridhar Balaji
16365 Park Ten Pl Dr 325 Houston, TX 77084
(281) 201-0910
Add to Address Book Map

Jan 14, 2009

DEVIL'S BROOD



I have finished Arbella's story, and could have cried at what her life turned out to be for her. Hers is not overly romantic or overly exciting, but just a life that was supposed to mean much more. In the end, years later, Arbella's name is linked to words such as 'freedom', liberty and democracy.. a ship was named for her sailing to the 'New World'..

I feel Arbella was cheated out of a life by Elizabeth I, then by her cousin the next ruler, James I of England aka James VI of Scotland.. I feel that Arbella should have been named as successor by Elizabeth. But obviously that did not happen. Then James continued Elizabeth's horrible control over Arbella's fate by also neglecting to at least allow Arbella to marry. He also wanted to use her as a pawn.. a bargaining piece. Ironically, when Arbella finally did marry as she had always wished, that was the end of Arbella's freedom. The biggest mistake of that was marrying a Seymour.. who also had a line towards the throne. A wonderful story it all is, but tragic that it had to be true and I am just not going to give it all away. You really must read the book.

I have since started Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman. This author is AWESOME and is one of my newer favorites. Devil's Brood is part three in a trilogy ending Henry and Eleanor of Aquitaine. "When Christ and His Saints Slept" (1994) is the first one of novels of the Middle Ages in this Trilogy, next was "Time and Chance". Many of her fans had to wait a long long time for The Devil's Brood to come out and I am glad I had just read the other two last year and I didn't need to wait long for the release here. The first novel begins in 1120 and details the war between Empress Maud and King Stephen who usurped the throne after the untimely death of the one legitimate successor in the White Ship. Henry I names his daughter, Maude, at successor, but once he's gone Stephen of Blois claimed the throne and thus, the battle began.

"Time and Chance" is about Henry II and Eleanor and how they met and had children and thus the complicated relationship they shared.. also Thomas Becket.. and then a fictional character is more at play here as well. Battles on two borders, Henry cheats while Eleanor is busy having his many children, founding a dynasty that lasts for 300 years...

And now it is time For "Devil's Brood". Halfway through it, it is still as enjoyable as t he last two were, and less of the previously mentioned fictional character is at play. Which I like because I enjoy reading more closely matching to the real history. The phrase Devil's Brood refers to Henry and Eleanor's children, the young King Hal, Richard the LionHeart, Geoffrey, a few daughters.. There are rebellions of the young King Hal against his father Henry II and poor Eleanor gets caught in the middle and is never forgiven by her husband. She is now a prisoner and very little hope for escape. I must keep reading.. ;)

Jan 10, 2009

Arbella & Elizabeth .. what was the story?


Sitting here reading Arbella: England's Lost Queen by Sarah Gristwood makes me wonder what could have been for England after the death of Elizabeth I. Why after a long & successful reign did Elizabeth have such an aversion to answering her councils' questions regarding her succession? What was she afraid of, and why did she not recognize Arbella Stuart, a Tudor, a Stuart, a woman just as Elizabeth was? Why would she not procure any marriage for Arbella?

Arbella was essentially a prisoner, once a jewel to her grandmother, Bess of Hardwick, and suddenly realizing she was a prisoner. At 27 Arbella displays porphyria (a symptom being hysteria among others) tendencies later shown to be genetic in the Stuart lineage yet she must have known that she pretty much reached her climax in life and had nothing to show for it. Elizabeth was old, and dying.. And showed no affection towards Arbella. Bess was old as well & could no longer understand the distress Arbella was feeling. It is here at this point where I am in the book, Arbella; and history tells us Arbella is about to do something foolish. Fall in love? I must keep reading.

Jan 6, 2009

DALLAS

For our anniversary I had bought my husband "DALLAS" series 7. So we watched series 6 to get caught up, the funny thing is, I haven't watched it before. But Darn, give me a moment to watch it and actually sit down, and at season 6 midway I was hooked.
So that's why I haven't been able to read much of my book lately on Arbella Stuart; the last week has been spent catchng an episode of DALLAS in my free time.
It's insanely funny to see how ridiculous the characters are, and still I was intrigued. Also the costumes of the 80's are always something to look at, especially for a Ewing.
And here in my hometown, 22 miles east of Dallas, we had a rare Winter Wonderland. no, not snow.. but enough ice and precipitation to make the branches heavy with ice crystals and beads. It was a very pretty site and I wished I had my camera with me to snap a picture. So now my camera is in the car, not a good spot for it. Calls for bringing out the huge laptop carrying bag instead of the black hole purse.
Maybe a month or so more of 'winter' here in TX and we'll be back to our lovely Texas Spring.

Jan 5, 2009

Chances are 1%

We received a letter that Flood Insurance has been purchased for us and is being taken out of our escrow account. This flood insurance costs more than our normal insurance!! When we bought this wonderful house we were told we were not in a flood plain, well TADA !! Seven years later, a new survey is done, FEMA says there is a 1% chance.. therefore we have to buy this Flood Insurance!! I am disgusted. This government doing its best work again. Taking advantage of the poor hard-working people so the government can take our money and use it to pay for their company jets and their vacations.
What a wonderful way to start our year off. As usual there is nothing we can do to fight for the little people. This just makes me all the more ready to get the heck out of this cramped house and build me a new one that I can at least feel comfortable in.
My family doesn't fit naturally into our current house, when we bought it I wasn't intending to have two children of my own. We had my step-daughter & I honestly thought that would be all. No sooner did we purchase the property then I had Morgan. We built the house but my husband selected a plan not suited to family endeavors. When it was being built and I was pregnant, my stepdaughter and I wrote our names and little messages on the wood beams. That's our little special nuance about the house, but other than that, I hate this house. I hate everything from the colours to the layout, and I even hate the backyard. There is no grass!! Now that I realize the everyday type of needs of being a mom to two kiddos of my own, I will certainly have a say in what the layout and needs are for the new house we hope to build. I do know I hate carpet with two messy kids.
We are looking at floor-plans online and a lot look wonderfully suited, I just hope that they will fit the budget.
More on the house later, we still have to figure out the space available to us at Mom's property where we are moving to.
I am a little grumpy due to locking myself in the warehouse this AM and had to walk around the building in the pouring rain to get back into the office. SIGH. It's a vicious rain today, and of course the perfect temperature of 32°F to make driving hazardous. All this after a wonderful 84°F Saturday. God Bless Texas! Haven't you heard, "if you don't like the weather here, stay awhile, because it's going to change." :D
Love to all!
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Jan 2, 2009

Tips for A Better Life

One of those forward emails that everyone hates to get with 600 headers at the top.
But the message is clear.. Live a Better Life!!

Tips for a Better Life - 2009


1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the
ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following
statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2008.

7. Make time to practice meditation and prayer. They provide us with daily
fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake..

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants. Eat less food that is
manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan
salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and
flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, or issues of the past,
negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead
invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are
simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but
the lessons you learn will last a lifetime

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college
kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the negative blues away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey
is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will
this matter?'

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28.. Always remember that God can heal everything.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change

30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends wi ll.
Stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!)

37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am
thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride.. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly
don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of
it and enjoy the ride.
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Jan 1, 2009

It's 2009

The first day of a new year, another new beginning..
So far, same whining children and same sickly husband.

Last night I watched old Dick Clark kiss his wife at the New Year.. it was quite touching. My husband was snoring on the couch and I was in bed finishing my book, Bess of Hardwick. I have read the Preface to Sarah Gristwood's Arbella biography, and I cannot wait to get into it.

Arbella, born to be something, and really became nothing because of what was in her blood. She was Tudor (royal english blood), and Stuart (Royal Scottish blood). She could have been so much, and the Elizabethan Era held so much promise. She was eventually forgotten.

And so.. onwards and upwards.. to see what madness I will endure this 2009 and hope to not be eventually forgotten..