Alice’s Restaurant

May 29, 2007

This Is It

Filed under: Day to Day Life — aliceaudrey @ 11:13 pm

Tomorrow, or rather today if you are reading this on Wednesday, is the day I go in for surgery.  I am thoroughly unprepared.  I did not lay in TV dinners.  I did not arrange for someone to care for me.  I did not stock up on books and videos, though I still have about a hundred books in my TBR pile anyway.

Except to make sure the kids would be covered as need be, I have done nothing, not even my will.

I think it’s because I really don’t want to think about it.  I don’t want to feed energy to my fears.  I try to visualize a quick and easy surgery for my doctors and mostly succeeded.  I have excused myself for being out of it for a few days.  Outside of that, I’m just going to let things happen as they will.

Cross you fingers for me.

Alice

May 28, 2007

Tudors: The Rise and Fall of Jane Seymour

Filed under: Henry VIII, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 10:45 pm

Having seen the first two of Henry VIII’s wives bite the dust we are back for another guest blog with Mr. Al.  Let’s see how Jane fared.
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Apparently not one to shilly-shally, Queen-to-be Jane was busy with her wedding dress at the same time that Anne’s head was being chopped off. Some girls might, given the circumstances, have had reason to pause and consider what the future might hold. Some girls might. But not Jane. The marriage was announced to the Privy Council the same day that Anne died. Henry and Jane were married the next day at Hampton Court. Small ceremony, immediate family only, top secret, etc, etc. The Henry marriage drill. Jane then retreated to her family estate to prepare for the Official Wedding.
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Things had changed for Henry as a result of his relationships with Katherine and Anne. And not for the better. Already suspicious by nature, just like his paranoid dad, Henry became even more distrustful of those around him. No woman would ever again manipulate him to the extent that Anne did. Anne knew very well what buttons to push as regards Henry. What she lacked was the maturity or wisdom to know when to stop. As Henry’s disastrous marriage with Anne of Cleves would prove, handled the right way, Henry could be a pretty magnanimous guy. Handle Henry the wrong way, As Anne Boleyn discovered,  and he would stop at nothing to make someone else pay for his mistakes.
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Mrs. Henry Tudor the III had a couple of things going for her. One, she was as temperamentally different from Anne as night from day. Quiet, reserved, one is tempted to say docile. Although docile isn’t the right word to describe someone as ambitious as Jane. Jane was every bit as ambitious as Anne was and for the same reasons. To further the interests of her entire family. The other thing going for her was that, as a lady in Queen Anne’s service, she watched the entire Henry/Anne drama at close range.
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She was not going to make the same mistakes Anne made. Humble and submissive was just what the doctor ordered; Jane reasoned. She was right. After all, what would it profit her if she gained the whole world, but lost her head? Literally. Humble and submissive. No one, least of all Henry, could fault her for being a dutiful wife and a queen who discharged her royal duties without getting on her husbands nerves. Although Jane was a devout, conservative Catholic, Henry’s will was her law. If she did not support many of Henry’s changes in the church, and she did not, she had the good sense to keep her mouth shut.

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What kind of queen was Jane? Unfortunately, she didn’t live long enough to really leave her stamp on history. On October 12 1537, Jane gave birth to a boy, the future King Edward the VI. Twelve days later, she died of puerperal fever. Henry was devastated. He had finally found the woman who had given him his heart’s desire, and God had taken her away. She was the perfect wife. She had born him a son and didn’t interfere in state business.

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 And she was chaste! Really, truly chaste! Not the sorta, kinda French chaste practiced by Anne. All that she asked of him is that he render her the honors that were due her as his wife and Queen. And he did, without thinking twice about it. Why oh why couldn’t poor Henry Tudor have it his way, just once! Was that too much to ask? To the end of his days, Henry considered Jane the best wife he ever had. God knows he had enough of them to make the comparison.

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Henry had a practical view of kingship that left little room for sentimentality. He went into seclusion for a bit after Jane’s death, wouldn’t see anyone. When he returned to the land of the living, the Privy Council tentatively, VERY tentatively one would imagine, suggested his Majesty might wish to consider getting married again. Just to make sure there were some extra princes around. It never hurts to have some spares handy. Henry agreed. As soon as was decent, of course. Decent in this case being the day after Jane’s funeral.
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While Henry and his council agreed that re-marriage would be desirable ASAP, they ran into the practical problem of whom to marry. Potential brides were a bit thin on the ground. Adding to the problem were questions of foreign policy and national security. On top of these issues Henry added a layer of his own. The wife of his dreams had to be good looking and have large breasts. Anne was a grave (snicker) disappointment in the breast department. Jane was a big (giggle) improvement, but, not to put too fine a point on it, she was dead.
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What with one thing or another, it was two years before Henry got to play the bridegroom again. Things might have moved faster if Henry had had a better public image. He was in his late forties, balding, putting on a lot of weight, had the disposition of a rattlesnake, had been excommunicated, had three ex-wives, all of them dead, two of them because he wanted them that way, AND… He had a well-deserved reputation for shagging any woman who would hold still for him. And even some that wouldn’t.
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The princesses of Europe were NOT lining up to become Mrs. Henry Tudor the IV. What this meant for the Privy Council is that they would have to go pretty far afield to find their next queen. No one had the brass to tell Henry that he might get lucky sooner if he lowered his expectations.  As it turned out Henry would have been A LOT happier if he had lowered his expectations. Cromwell certainly would have been happier. Not to mention alive.

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Thank you Mr. Al.  And here I thought it was only Henry’s wives who risked their necks to be near the throne.  Silly me.

Alice

May 27, 2007

They Gave Me Flowers!

Filed under: Day to Day Life — aliceaudrey @ 10:52 am

After all these years of serving as stage manager, not only did the instructor finally start calling me stage manger, she gave me flowers on closing night!  It was soooooo cool!  She had someone take away the flowers I was handing out to all the little kids, dragged me out to the middle of the stage, put a spot light on us, and introduced me to the audience.  Not only did they actually applaud me, but afterwards several people congratulated me on a good job!  Thing was, this was one of the easiest years.

I accept this accolade as a reward for all my time of service and would like to say “This is so cool!  Thank you!”

Alice

May 26, 2007

Stage Mom

Filed under: Day to Day Life — aliceaudrey @ 11:23 am

I neglected my blogroll yesterday, just when a bunch of people had things to say.  India Carolina is struggling with revisions.  Join the club!  Tessa won Ericka’s Name-My-Hero contest.  Tessa is struggling with contest results.  Milady Insanity is just as bad about fabric as I am, only for different reasons.  Suzanne McMinn has a new book out.  Have you checked her out yet?  She has an interesting blog.  

And I missed it all because I was stitching an extension on a backdrop, painting giant mushrooms, learning how a fog machine works, taking my daughter out of class early for a run through, coming up with something for us to eat, moving props around, yadda, yadda, yadda.  IRL got in the way of my cyber life on my favorite day.

Why was I doing all that?  Because I’m a stage mom.  My dear daughter is in both tap dance and a general sort of dance thing that has bits of modern and bits of ballet in it.  It’s recital time, and of course I help.  Yep, I’m stage manager.

The first section is a story thing a lot like a ballet.  That’s where I do the managing.  I get to wear the headphones and talk to lighting and sound people and tell everybody what to do.  Unluckily I HAVE to wear the headphones and tell everyone what to do. Woe is me when I screw it up.

We have another show tonight.  I’ll let you know how it went tomorrow.

Alice

May 23, 2007

SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE…. TRUE

Filed under: From the Mail Bag — aliceaudrey @ 10:27 pm

A Kansas farm wife called the local phone company to report her telephone failed to ring when her friends called and that on the few occasions, when it did ring, her dog always moaned right before the phone rang. The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog or senile lady.

He climbed a telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed the subscriber’s house. The phone didn’t ring right
away, but then the dog moaned and the telephone began to
ring. Climbing down from the pole, the telephone repairman
found:

1. The dog was tied to the telephone system’s ground wire with a steel chain and collar.

2. The wire connection to the ground rod was loose

3. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current when the number was called

4. After a couple of jolts, the dog would start moaning
and then urinate.

5. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing
the phone to ring.

Which demonstrates that some problems CAN be fixed by
pissing and moaning.

Just thought you’d like to know.

May 22, 2007

The Tudors: The End of Anne Boleyn

Filed under: Henry VIII, History with Mr. Al, Research — Tags: , — aliceaudrey @ 11:26 pm

Boy, when the end comes, it really comes fast.  Poor Anne. 

We continue with Mr. Al’s History of Henry the VIII’s Wives.
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 It could be proved that Anne and her lover(s) plotted the Kings murder while rumpling the royal linens. That was it! It was Cromwell who came up with that idea. Henry made sure there was a little extra something in his pay packet that week. In the end, five men were accused of having slept with Anne and taken part in the plot to murder Henry. One of the men was Anne’s brother, Lord Rochford. Interestingly, many people at court found it more shocking that Anne was accused of having sex with a musician, Mark Smeaton, than her own brother.
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Smeaton was a no-account, lute strumming, wine swilling, backstairs lothario! A court hanger-on from a family of, of…commoners! And the Queen slept with…that? (Shudder). At least her brother was a Peer. Breeding tells.  Cromwell thought the additional charge of incest would add a nice, reprehensible touch. He wasn’t taking any chances that Anne might come up with a crowd of sympathizers who might make trouble. He needn’t have worried.
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 Things moved fast. Parliament was dissolved on April 14, to prevent Anne from appealing to that august body. On April 24 the Lord Chancellor appointed a commission of oyer and terminer to address the charges of treason. On the 29th the Privy Council was informed of the proceedings against the Queen. That same day Cromwell laid all the “evidence” before the King. Henry was duly aghast that his beloved Anne was having it off with all those fellows. Her brother also? Yuck! And they wanted to kill me? Forsooth!
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Anne knew nothing of the details of what was about to happen. She knew something was up, that it involved her, but not even in her worse nightmares did she suspect that Henry wanted her whacked. Literally. On the 30th, the first of Anne’s “lovers” was arrested, the musician Smeaton.  He was taken to the Tower and through the use of kind words, yummy snacks and cocktails, confessed to everything he was accused of.
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On the morning of May 2nd, Anne was ordered to appear before the Privy Council. Once there, the Council, which included her uncle, accused her of adultery. Two of the men she had allegedly slept with were named. She was told they had confessed all. The poor woman was too stunned to reply. The council ordered her, by His Majesties Command, to return to her apartments, under guard, and there await further developments. They didn’t keep her waiting long.
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 Back in her rooms, Anne discussed what was happening with some of her ladies. She was, to put it mildly, deeply upset. The fact that Henry wanted a divorce didn’t really surprise her. She had suspected as much for some time. But, My God! The men he accused of sleeping with her were going to die! She hadn’t heard about her brother yet. His arrest had been handled very quietly.
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Early that afternoon the Council called on Anne to deliver the warrant for her arrest. It was then that she learned she was to be charged with plotting Henry’s murder. NOW she understood. Henry wanted her dead. Not just dead, but dead in such a way that Elizabeth would be removed from the line of succession. There was nothing she could do. Henry, in a typical Henryesque fashion, ordered Anne to be taken to the Tower immediately. That is, in broad daylight. In full view of the good citizens of London. That was not the usual way. When it came to vindictive, Anne couldn’t teach Henry a thing.
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By the time Anne’s weeping, hysterical self passed through the Court Gate, not Traitor’s Gate, as some sources hold, it was all over except for the execution. Judgment had already been, unofficially, rendered. In fact, so anxious was Cromwell that the proceedings be viewed as unbiased, that he had a couple of chaps at court rounded up in a way that would cause comment. After “careful scrutiny” of the evidence, they were released. One fellow was let off with a warning about shagging the Queen of England and the price one could pay; the other fellow was told that, although he was innocent, the King didn’t much care for him. He was advised to leave the court and never return. That was the last anyone saw of him.
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On May 19th 1536, Anne’s head hit the straw. Henry had a professional executioner brought in from France. No doubt to give the proceedings a classy, continental touch. Anne always had appreciated the French way of doing things. It took less that two months to have Anne judicially murdered. What a refreshing contrast to the Katherine business. The others were executed the same way, even Smeaton. As a commoner, he wasn’t entitled to such a quick death when the charge was treason. Henry must have been in a good mood that day.

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[ Icky paragraph about the usual methods removed to comments.]

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 Is it any wonder executions were so popular with the public? Londoners didn’t get to see stuff like that every day! And now it was Jane’s turn. Um… to become queen, not to be executed. It’s hard to keep these things straight when you are talking about Henry’s wives.

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Anne may have been one of the more notable wives in Henry’s life, but hardly the last.  Next Tuesday we continue with Henry’s marital woes.  I’m assuming he’s going to do Jane next, but haven’t seen anything yet.

Alice

May 21, 2007

The Tudors: Anne In The Way

Filed under: Henry VIII, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 11:22 pm

We will be doing two Tudors this week as Anne slides into her dreaded fate, a short one today and a long one tomorrow.
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By February 1536 the bloom was off the lily. Anne was, as far as Henry was concerned, never going to produce a male heir. She also began to vent her notoriously nasty temper on Henry. Something she had tried to avoid during their courtship. She even objected, loudly and in public, to his recreational sex with serving girls. How unreasonable! A guy needs a hobby, doesn’t he? Gee whiz, She didn’t want him to have any fun at all!
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It didn’t help that certain persons were very aware of the Queen’s waning influence and decided to take advantage of it. One of the Queen’s ladies, Jane Seymour, an ambitious young thing of good family, was assiduously prepped by people with experience in such things to catch the king’s eye. Catch it she did. In the months leading up to the Anne/Henry denouement Henry bestowed a number of lavish gifts upon young Jane. Secretly, at first, through intermediaries. And then publicly, from his hands to hers. Anne’s response was to chastise Henry, which only drove him further away.

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Anne knew the vultures were circling, but being Anne, she didn’t know how to stop it. She had manipulated people all her life to get what she wanted. She was a fish out of water in a situation she could not exert direct control over. If she didn’t know the details of what was up, the members of her faction did. Or at least they knew enough to get out of the way. As was to happen to another unfortunate young woman, family members became her most vocal enemies.

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The death of Katherine the previous month, A drawn-out, agonizing death from a disease that Henry would not allow to be treated, in the most dismal surroundings Henry could find for her, didn’t cheer him up for long. After the Katherine business, Henry was in no mood for protracted divorce proceedings. The solution? Kill Anne! He considered accusing her of witchcraft, a capital crime, but there was no evidence. Henry wanted an open/shut case with “justice” delivered as swiftly as possible.
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 God knows Anne had made enough enemies during her rise to power that Henry would have no difficulty stacking a courtroom against her. Henry considered the valuable years squandered on that Boleyn bitch and could just kick himself!  Oh well, no time for regrets. He had wife number three, Jane Seymour, waiting in the wings, ready and able to start popping out male babies.

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But what to accuse Anne of? It had to be bad. So bad that Anne would not only lose her husband, but her head as well. Adultery? Sure, it was a 24-carat gold reason for divorce, but even in a queen it wasn’t a capital crime. It WAS a capital crime for the man who had sex with her; he could be charged with treason and put to death. But that wasn’t the point. Unless…
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Mr. Al, must you leave me hanging?  Good thing I’m posting the next installment tomorrow.

Alice

Regarding CRS Syndrome

Filed under: Quick Quotes — aliceaudrey @ 10:43 pm

Something Donna said about Can’t Remember Sh…  Stuff Syndrome and being a writer:

“Kind of an information overload phenomenon.  My brain’s so full of ideas, it’s leaking random words.  Grin ”

Alice

May 19, 2007

Xunantunich III

Filed under: Day to Day Life, Research — aliceaudrey @ 11:58 pm

On first approach 

The main pyramid is worth a post all by itself.  It’s the only one I climbed.  I didn’t realize how bad the sunburn on the back of my legs was until I reached the top then tried to come back down.  Ouch!  That’s why I didn’t climb the rest.

Tingle Toes 
From the top you can see the entire complex.  See the white line at the bottom of the picture?  That’s what I’m standing on.

A pyramid with a view
From the top of the pyramid you can see all the way to Guatemala.  The very highest point of the pyramid was where they would light signal fires to communicate with other communities in the area.  The guide called Xunantunich a city, but only a few hundred people of the thousands associated with it actually lived there.  Those who were not of the royalty or nobility lived in outlying arias.


This facade is actually a plaster cast of the real thing, which is apparently safe from the elements in among the stones. 

After having hobbled down
This was the view after having climbed back down, one painful step at a time.  I thought it was impressive.

Alice

Xunantunich II

Filed under: Day to Day Life, Research — aliceaudrey @ 9:45 am

One of the most impressive aspects of our tour of Xunantunich was the casual way our Mayan- Mestizo guide pointed at rock structures and said it was made for one kind of blood letting or another.  Ironically, what you find at the top of the biggest pyramid is not an alter, but the royal bedrooms.

Actually, come to think of it, we didn’t see any alters in place anywhere. Here is where they do the circumcisions.  I’m not sure if they did virgin sacrifices here too, or if it was in a building we didn’t see.

Little Boy's Room
Here are the residences of the nobility.


This is a bedroom where several of them would all sleep.  Comfy, no?

Pass the matress, please
Alice

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