ohai! let me procrastinate here: italia, cat, cali and queen books


i need to go out an buy boxes and pack shit. and help sister take down xmas tree so ornaments can b stored in my apt (where they came from)… and have to call for a laundry pick up/delivery… doesn’t sound like a lot. but when i’m comfortable in bed with a good ass book (new york by edward rutherford) and a cup of tea, it’s hard to get moving. even if it’s to get up and open the door for the laundry guy. i know i am lazy sometimes. but when i am not lazy i am as productive as i am good at being lazy… writing this is procrastination.

wnyc has pledge drive again. that’s so annoying. they should have a pwd for ppl who gave already this year so i don’t have to listen to the babbling.

i haven’t written in a long time.

i went to italia last summer and saw where my great grandparents came from – a small town of 800 in the calabria mountains called miglierina. we’ve become friendly w/ some distant relatives (my grandma’s 1st cousin’s daughter and her family). they are so awesome. in miglierina, almost everyone i felt resembled the italian side of my family! fotos here:

OMG TROPEA IS SO GORGEOUS!who would buy a magazine about fb?skat!who would buy...took pic so i can translate laterchillin on the hotel palace beach upon arrival.
made it to catanzaro lido!yay we made it!calabria is known for its giant red onions/cipollelocal handsome calabrian men playing futbol on cat lidocat lidocat lido
cat lido1st day vid report for mia famiglia back a homethe restaurant @ hotel palace where we had a lovely breakfast each morninga guy on cat lido who looks a lot like my great-uncle frank (sr) and cousin frank (jr)a guy on cat lido who looks a lot like my great-uncle frank (sr) and cousin frank (jr)my most awesome new cousins ilaria e angelina
i <3 catanzaro lido!a statue in catanzaro centermeeting tomasso, mia nonna's 1st cousin!cin cin! meeting tomasso, mia nonna's 1st cousin!cin cin! meeting tomasso, mia nonna's 1st cousin!meeting tomasso, mia nonna's 1st cousin!

what else? i got a new cat. i think i posted about that already. yeah, mr peepers starting dying (standard old age renal failure) while i was traveling back. they day after i got back the vet came and did a home euthanasia. poor kitty.

i heavily grieved. i’d had him from age 6 months for 14 years. a few days after he died  i stopped at petco kittykind to look at the cats just for kicks. the inevitable happened – i fell for a qat and filled out an adoption form. picked him up the next day, friday sept 7. he’s the opposite of peepers. he’s totally social and loves ppl! Fotos here.

so i quit my job which is a little sad. the ppl were really nice and respected me and it was easy and i only worked 40 hrs/week… i could go into more detail but i won’t.

BUT NOW i’m going to the san fran bay area now for 6 months. i need a fucking change. i’ve been in the same nyc apt since like 1991 doing the same kind of work and same kind of life all this time… there are a lot of things i like about nyc. but every block i walk down i feel i’ve walked down hundreds of thousands of times… it’s all so boring now. and, the block i live on is not what it used to be. i moved to this hood in “91 to get away from bourgeois uh’merrica. now it’s the center of the fucking douchebag universe. well, i bet there are worse places. like places where westboro baptist douche church ppl hang out. but still – fucking st. marks place in nyc is douchey as all fuck. it’s becoming like temple bar in dublin or that part of new orleans where douchebags go to drink too much and act like assholes.

anyhoo, after 6 months in cali, i think i’ll either end up:

  1. stay in cali – like close out the apt in nyc and move permanently. i can’t really imagine that.
  2. come back to nyc without car
  3. come back to nyc with a car and get a 2nd place in bumblefuck upstate or new england so i can get out of nyc more. (tinyhouse cottages i can have made for not too much.)
  4. keep the apt in nyc and keep apt in cali and be bicoastal.

i’ll see.

i am totally procrastinating… i don’t want to move i am too comfortable. blah blah blah.

what else?

oh i’ve been reading the jean plaidy queen books. i ordered the next 2 to be sent to the cali apt where i’ll be – the one about lucrezia borgia and the one about catherine de’medici.

i’m reading new york by edward rutherford now. it’s quite awesome.

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Hitler reacts to… When the power came back on after Sandy.


Hitler just wants to ly in bed and read Jean Plaidy books in the dark for the rest of eternity.

Wild Irish Women!


Finished this book – Wild Irish Women by Marian Broderick.

Wild Irish Women by Marian Broderick

Wild Irish Women by Marian Broderick

My favorite chicks, all of whom I must read most on are:

I totally have to read about them when I finish w/ my Jean Plaidy series. Especially Beatrice Grimshaw who wrote travel books during Victorian times. Yes, she traveled solo to PNG and many other Pacific islands. Some of her books are free and in full text on google books.

Beatrice Grimshaw, South Pacific  Adventurer, Travel Writer and Novelist Was AWESOME

Beatrice Grimshaw, South Pacific Adventurer, Travel Writer and Novelist Was AWESOME

Boring life in general, Dublin, and horses.


OHai.

Nothing interesting has been happening of course. Just working and being boring. You know how it is being a UX professional sell-out workin for the man.

I took a break from reading Jean Plaidy books and read/am reading the Hunger Games trilogy which is fucking awesome. At first I was like how can they present such a violent book to young people? By the end of if I was won over. The nasty world they are in has so many parallels and metaphors for our current, real world. I think it’s great that the book was published and is selling so well. It’s good that young peeps are being encouraged to think critically about the world and stand up against the powers that be when something isn’t right. Hopefully young uns reading it will think that way. I do not know any ppl of that age who are reading it. I’m almost 1/2 way through the 3rd book, Mockingjay. After it I will go back to the Plaidy list.

Oh, and I went to fucking Dublin this month. “Fucking Dublin” doesn’t imply anything particularly bad or good. It was nice to get away from NYC for a while and be a tourist and explore a new place. Was only there for 6 days and was avec ma mere mais it was still fun anyway. It was a lot more chill than I thought it would be. And smaller. And everywhere we went, people were wildly polite and chatty. I was like WTF, who knew?

I really want to go back to Éire and rent a car and drive around the island. Just have to find someone who wants to do that with me who I’d want to go with too.

Here are some boring fotos:

the most awesome kilmainham welcoming committeeJ @ trinity college looking at old buildingsJ and flowersst. stepens greenst. stepens greenohai here we r in st. stepens green. very nice.
the irish have no probs w/ chick rebelsour home away from home@ L. mulligan grocer, a most charming pub/restaurant.my mom thought it amusing that i have to put my glasses down my nose to read closely now.@ L. mulligan grocer, a most charming pub/restaurantamnesty box to return pilfering stuff @ L. mulligan grocer, a most charming pub/restaurant.
we r zuper tourists!this qat spied on us each morning.old timey bathroom stallsthe backyard of Dublin castlequeen caroline and me!awesome painting of Hades @ Dublin castle
@ Dublin castleJ inspecting barley @ the guinness storehousestart the brew!J drinkinggroovy mirrorsJ learning how to correctly pour Guinness
Dublin, Eire, May 2012, bettyx1138’s fucking set on Flickr.

What else, what else?

It’s memorial day weekend now and I pathetically get a disproportionate amount of joy out of having an extra fucking day off from work cuz I’m such a fucking corporate cube frau now. Egad, I’ve really got to get a job where I can work remotely. Or something that isn’t so soul crushing. OTOH, the job has it’s good points. Like, it’s easy. The ppl are nice. Pay is OK. When I talk to friends who do what I do at other places I often realize how good I have it. I shouldn’t complain. Whatevs, the grass is always greener. It’s still soul crushing at times and I can’t deny that. Must work on this.

I went horseback riding today. It’s the 1st time I’ve been on a horse since I injured my back in 2003! It all came back to me like riding a bike. They were docile western saddle trail horses that were only supposed to walk but I’d let mine eat grass and get left behind then try to get him to canter up to the others. He cantered only once, but easily trotted and posting was like it was doing it yesterday. I was comfortable and happy as fuck to be on a moving horse again! I SOOOOO WANTED to canter the fuck away and gallop. (I can only gallop on western which we were on.)

I reallllly want to do real riding again now. I realize I am much older than I was when I last rode and rode frequently so I have to not let myself get carried away. There are some riding holiday things in the US, EU and Africa I totally want to do. Just have to find someone who will do it w/ me and get the time off from work. Yeah, the shitty limited vaca time at this corporate job is nearly killing me. I’ve got to negotiate something.

After having been freelance for so long, I’m really enjoying the easiness of the regular paycheck and not having to deal health ins not paying for shit like you do with crappy freelance health ins. Ach. Whatevs.

I'M ON A HORSE!

I’M ON A HORSE!

Jean Plaidy’s The Princess of Celle – Sophia Dorthea of Celle


Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick and Lunenburg (Celle line) (15 September 1666 – 13 November 1726)

What a sad, tragic story.

She had an unusually happy childhood because her parents married for love which was rare among these royals. Then, at 15 she was married to George (who later became King George I of England) who was totally crass and rude and mean. He did not like her because she was too well-mannered and people liked her whereas he naturally alienated people.  What a dick.

She had to go live in Hannover. Her mother-in-law hated her especially because Sophia’s father was supposed to have married her and when he saw her he was like ew I’m not marrying her and he went and married Sophia’s mother. The Duke’s mistress hated her because everyone liked Sophia.

She ended up being imprisoned for having an affair. It was silly, since everyone had affairs. The 2 evil women – her-mother-in-law and the duke’s mistress made it happen. She was imprisoned for the last 20 or 30 years of her life. It was a cushy castle not a prison prison. That’s really sad. Her children that she was obligated to have for George tried to get her out of prison but never did. She loved her children, so she had some happiness in her life.

She never made it to England, but her son became George II.

The Princess of Celle by Jean Plaidy

The Princess of Celle by Jean Plaidy

Not one of the best Plaidy books, but I am intent on reading them all!

What I’ve been reading: Jean Plaidy’s Charles II Trilogy and Stuart Saga and some Max Barry (in between Plaidy books)


Hello, world. I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been busy. I’ve taken up BOLLYWOOD dancing. I know. How cool is that? It’s wicked fun. That’s not why I haven’t written. It’s just something new for a change.

I haven’t written because I wasn’t compelled to while reading the books below because they weren’t particularly mind-blowingly compelling as some of her other books. But, I still enjoyed them:

Charles II Trilogy
The Wandering Prince Vol. 1, read August – Sept 2011
Health Unto His Majesty Vol. 2, read Sept 2011
Here Lies our Sovereign Lord Vol. 3, read Sept – Oct 2011

Stuart Saga
The Three Crowns Vol. 1, read Oct-Nov 2011
The Haunted Sisters Vol. 2 – read December 2011
The Queen’s Favorites Vol. 3 – read December 2011

So, what did I learn?

Charles I reign: 1600 – 1649

  • His dad was James I who took over after Elizabeth I. (Sidenote: James I was Mary Queen of Scots‘ son.)
  • His wife, Henrietta Maria of France, is depicted as a wildly manipulative Catholic responsible for leading Charles I into bad decisions, i.e. not playing well with parliament and flaunting his Catholicism when the people had issues with Catholicism because of its intolerance and inquisition-like practices.
  • Charles I was so out of touch with parliament and his subjects that they dethroned and killed him.  It’s an awesomely dramatic story.
I also learned some things about…

Puritans

Puritains in the 1600s and Teabaggers in the 2000s

  • Puritains in England in the 1600s were assholes. Yeah, these are the same Puritans that emigrated to Uh-mer-i-ca and started the decimation of the Native American population.
  • They put Charles I on trial and executed him for being a Catholic and not playing nice with parliament! That’s pretty extreme. I mean, they didn’t have to behead the guy. Real nice people. Growing up in the US you learn about the Puritans in school but not the unpleasant details that suggest they were fundamentalist whack jobs. No shit.
  • They banned dancing, singing, theatre, laughing, whatever they deemed ostentatious dress etc. and forced people to pray using their rituals and prayers. They sound not unlike today’s tea baggers and way right republicans. So, yeah, the US was founded by assholes. See? I knew something was up with that.

Charles II reign: 1649 – 1651

  • Was a letch. Not particularly likable, but he kept the peace in England because he learned from his dad’s mistakes. E.g. don’t be a militant catholic, and play nice with parliament. Like, don’t be a douchebag.
  • I wish she would have talked more about his dogs as I freaking love King Charles Spaniels, especially the tri-color ones.
I love tricolor king charles spaniels

I love tricolor King Charles Spaniels. This photo used without permission from Britt-Marie Sohlström's flickr account. (Sorry, Britt-Marie, but no one reads my blog so I didn't think I needed to ask your permission. Love your dogs, btw.)

  • So, Charles spent most of his life on the continent until it was safe for him to return to England to be king. That part of the book isn’t very interesting. But, what is interesting is considering what his dad’s overthrow and execution and this hiding would psychologically do to him. Like later he avoided confrontation, told people what they wanted to hear and made friends with everyone as if his life depended on it.
  • Charles II has no legit kids to take over after him so he took an interest in his only brother’s (James) 2 legit kids – Mary and Anne. Charles made sure the girls were raised Church of England gals.
  • So Charles dies. Boo hoo.

Charles II’s brother, James II reign: 1685 – 1688, note: a short reign

  • James is out of touch like his dad was and was also staunch Catholic. He too had a seriously Catholic wife. Everyone was like, “Dude, don’t be all outwardly militantly Catholic cuz it’s a fucking problem, you know? And freakin’ play nice with Parliament. Look what happened to your dad.” He didn’t listen. He wasn’t a malicious dick, but more like lacking in the good sense and social skills.
    • Sidenote: I’m not entirely sure why people loathed Catholics so much. Was it because Catholics were intolerant and wanted to force their religious rituals on others? They couldn’t co-exist peacefully with other religions. Were they really that intolerant? That’s the impression I got but it’s not something that spelled out. It’s hard to believe they’d be so difficult to work with. Like, if you are in the cult business and want people to do things your way, there are more effective ways to win them over to your side than fear and terror. I feel like there’s more to all that that I don’t know about. Or maybe it is as simple as that and I just have a problem processing that the Catholic church could have been so nutty. No, wait, it was the Puritans too.
  • So, the people drove James out of the country. In the book, you don’t really care because he seems out of touch and you know he is not a diligent or caring leader/ruler.
  • But, what’s really dramatically interesting is that his two daughters were manipulated to support dethroning their dad. There was a lot of love between them then this happened. Even into the girls’ reigns – there are understanding, polite letters with their dad up until a certain point. And you’re sure that they carry that guilt with them forever.

Queen Mary and King William reign: 1689 –  1694/1702

  • So, while Charles II was alive he arranged for Mary (James‘ eldest daughter) to marry her first cousin William of Orange (which was in Holland or somewhere like that).
  • William was an unlikeable, insensitive dick especially to Mary! He lacked social skills you can say.
  • Mary freaking ended up liking him and deferring to him when the crown was hers and he was king because of her. She was disappointingly wimpy. She was an emotionally abused wife who adored her abusive husband. You just want to slap her and say wake the fuck up! Grow a spine!
  • Check this out – William’s mother was Charles‘ and James‘ sister! Can you believe that?! That means William and Mary were first cousins. Oy vey.
King William and Queen Mary. Yikes.

King William and Queen Mary. Yikes.

  • So Mary dies. William dies. Mary‘s sister Anne takes over.

Good Queen Anne reign: 1702 – 1714

  • Anne had a happy marriage with Prince George of Denmark which was unusual in arranged royal marriages. So that was kind of charming.
  • Anne had over a dozen pregnancies in her life. Most all miscarried or died shortly after birth except one, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, who lived to be about 10. He, BTW, had hydrocephalus, which I find intriguing. I wish there were more paintings of him.
Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, had hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalic Prince William, Duke of Gloucester

  • The books focus on Anne‘s yenta-like relationships with her gal pals at her court. It was kind of tedious. Could have been edited down a bit.

While I was waiting for my next Plaidy book to arrive, I started reading Machine Man by Max Barry. It’s OK. It reads fast. Doesn’t have the depth that Plaidy’s books do. Not that I’m saying Plaidy books are great literature. Just when you compare the two, Barry is like reading something written by a robotic, autistic engineer who can’t read people. And, Plaidy is like reading something by an old, well read lady who gossips all day.

I just got The Princess of Celle, of which I’ve read 1 page. I continue on my Jean Plaidy journey →

Another Plaidy book, I love Switzerland, and Lake Como Italy is Boring


Just finished Plaidy’s Here Lies our Sovereign Lord, Vol. 3 of the Charles II trilogy. What a disappointment! Don’t read it. I suspect her book publisher was like can you squeeze one more book in like about anything just publish something? It was about Charles II and his relationships with 3 of his favorite mistresses. Like, who cares? It’s unlike her other books.

i love switzerland
i love switzerland

Went to Switzerland last month. Pics here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bettyx1138/sets/72157627624346793/detail/

I love Switzerland. I want to live there. It’s so civilized there.

We also went to Lake Como for the last few days; It was booooring. Bellagio was like being at a mall in the US that’s set up to look like an old Italian hill town on a lake. It caters so heavily to American and northern euro tourists (old ones) that it feels as if it’s lost its authenticity.

The best times we had there were when we hiked up into the hills above the small towns, away from the cheeseball tourist spots.