Deum, vitam, litteras amemus
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Quote of the Whenever I Feel Like Changing It
“And don 't forget, the next time you're planning a family vacation, consider visiting Genovia. A country of majestic mountains and sunbaked beaches, filled with friendly, peppy people. Come see us. Genovia awaits you.” – Joe, “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement”

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middlegirl [userpic]

For Anne

Countless fathers, lovers and friends
Cut down by a bloody Reign of Terror
Lives run down to the streets below
In a ribbon of red

Madame is still, the cruel powers satisfied
An uneasy peace finally descends
We wore their memories around our necks
In a ribbon of red

Centuries past, the nineteenth of May
A Queen kneels before abused injustice
A sword’s swift blade ends an innocent life
In a ribbon of red

On this day, to honor the fallen Queen
An ancient custom sees a new day
I wear her memory around my neck
In a ribbon of red

-May 19, 2011

Every year I try to mark Anne Boleyn's death on May 19 by doing something. This year, other projects kept me busy until today, so I couldn't do anything ambitious, and my current temp job (seriously, I'm constantly working this year!) gives me all sorts of time to do nothing but sit around when the phone's not ringing. (If only they let me surf the internet during that time.) So I wrote a poem. This is the same reason why I wear a red ribbon on February 12, but Anne was the principal catalyst to my sartorial tradition.

For more on the significance of the red ribbon, read Wikipedia's entry on the Bals des victimes.

This, to me, is the definitive version of the events of May 19, 1536. The details were glossed over, but the impact is so strong that it makes up for everything else.

middlegirl [userpic]

Yeah, I know I haven't been posting lately, but I'm working 8-and-a-half-hour days, and with tax season coming to an end, work has been crazy-nutso. Add to that the fact that the tax office I'm working at is rather posh, with rather wealthy clients (one drove up one day in a Jaguar and talked about how his company was working on [large-scale televised entertainment event redacted due to confidentiality restrictions] and [Canadian large-scale televised entertainment event redacted due to confidentiality restrictions] and because of that had to give up on [even larger-scale televised sports event redacted due to confidentiality restrictions]), and these clients can be rather high-maintenance and frustrating. So, suffice to say, I've been working my butt off and when I get home I'm just too tired to post.

What am I doing now that I can post? Sitting in the jury room at the county courthouse. I got called in today, and they're selecting for a six-week trial. (Yikes.) So a bunch of people (myself included) filled out I-have-an-honest-hardship-please-don't-pick-me-for-this questionnaires, and I think they're still sorting through them. I missed out on the first round of excusals, but hopefully I can get excused today. I really don't want to have to call my temp job and tell them I have to be back tomorrow. They already didn't like the fact that I had to be here today with Tax Day on Monday. Praise the Lord the court has wi-fi.

Now we're just sitting around doing absolutely nothing. The jury admin guy hasn't said anything in close to an hour and a half. I've spent most of the day watching last year's Eurovision Song Contest and creating a drinking game. Give singers an international stage and millions of viewers and have them try to win a singing contest, and tropes will appear. The Fan of Added Drama and Key Change of Added Drama, to give a few examples. Gimmicky costumes also tend to show up every once in a while, as does what I call "alleged English," which is when you get non-native English speakers writing or translating songs into English to try and get a bigger international audience and not bothering to have native English speakers edit it. Belarus' song last year is so chock full of alleged English (and really thick accents) that I can't make out more than about 80% of the words. (Note the use of gimmicky costumes; also, "heartfully" is not a real word. The fun is that what they sing is only about an 80% match of the lyrics posted online. I think.)


Luckily, the jury admin guy started reading off names not long after I started writing this, and I got excused from the selection and released for the day. So I called Temp Job and offered to come in, but I'd only be in for 2 hours, so the office manager told me to just not bother. So I got a full day off of work in the busiest week of tax season. No, I won't be paid for it, but I needed the mental health break. I do not know how they do this every year.

middlegirl [userpic]

One of the royalty bloggers I follow started a series of quizzes not long ago in the hopes of establishing royal watchers who know their stuff - as opposed to people who constantly spout misinformation. It's becoming especially rampant surrounding the British Royal Wedding. (Kate becoming "Princess Catherine of Wales?" As if.*)

So for every quiz you pass, your certification title (C.R.E.) goes up a level - Lord, Baron, Viscount, Earl, Duke, Prince, Grand Duke, King, and then finally Emperor.

I made Emperor last night - one of the first two to do so.

So I'm now officially a Certified Royal Expert - Robyn H., E.C.R.E.

Feel free to ask me anything. :D (Especially stuff involving ribbons, orders, sashes, and the minutiae surrounding the British Royal Wedding - I wrote those quizzes.)

*Only princesses by blood can put the title Princess before their names, like The Princess Anne (daughter of the Queen) or Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York (daughters of the Duke of York, a male-line descendent of the Queen). (The titles of the children of Prince Edward is a whole 'nother can of worms.) Princesses by marriage hold their title in right of their husbands, and so take their husband's title. Unless the Queen gives William a royal peerage (Duke/Earl of Someplace) - in which case Kate would be HRH The Duchess/Countess of Someplace - she will be HRH Princess William of Wales.

middlegirl [userpic]

Today is the day my hero died.

While I love Anne Boleyn, and she's probably my favorite historical figure, Lady Jane Grey is one of my heroes. Sure, she didn't do much - she was abused by her parents and treated as little more than a political pawn - but she rose above her beginnings and proved she had an iron will time and again.

Jane was the eldest daughter of Henry Gray, the Duke of Suffolk. (This duke was the son-in-law of Charles Brandon of The Tudors fame. This made Jane the great-niece of Henry VIII and first cousin once-removed to Henry's children.) She was a brilliant girl, and became one of the best-educated women of her day. Her parents, possibly disappointed over never having any sons, or because they saw the bookish Jane as weak, were constantly abusive to her. Tradition holds that she had to be beaten severely before she would give in to the idea of marrying Guildford Dudley, son of the Duke of Northumberland (this was part of Northumberland's plan to cement his hold on power among the King's Council, and contrary to what you may have seen in Lady Jane, Guildford was a bit of a spoiled mama's boy.)

She became queen because of some poltical hoop-jumping by King Edward VI and his council, who did not want to see the Catholic Mary come to the throne despite the fact that Henry VIII's will was iron-clad, and as the eldest daughter, Mary would follow her brother to the throne. After Edward's death at the age of 15, Jane was proclaimed Queen and moved to the Tower of London, where all Kings and Queens of the time stayed before their coronation. She never left. Nine days later (thirteen after the death of Edward), Mary had gathered the support of most of the country and rode into London in triumph, and Jane was officially a traitor and usurper of the crown.

Realizing that the whole thing was not Jane's idea at all, Mary initially intended to spare her cousin, but when a Protestant rebellion sprung up over the issue of Mary's wildly unpopular desire to marry the King of Spain, Jane became a political liability. It was never the goal of Wyatt's Rebellion to restore Jane to the throne, but Mary could not risk having a prominent Protestant so close to the throne - Jane had to die.

First, however - either to remove her as a viable Protestant alternative or to save her from the Protestant heresy before her death - Mary sent a Catholic theologian to convert Jane. Even though she knew it would mean her death, Jane refused to abandon her Protestant faith. She even debated Catholic priests on theology - and this was at a time when women were expected to keep silent in matters of religion.

On February 12, 1554, they came for Jane. (Guildford had been executed just an hour or so before.) She had with her only a few ladies, and Dr. Feckenham, the Catholic priest who had been sent to convert Jane, but befriended her instead. Famously, after blindfolding herself, Jane was unable to find the executioner's block and became flustered. With a helping hand, she stretched out across it and died with one blow of the axe. She was 16.

Jane was a quiet, studious girl with a whip-smart mind who much preferred studying to anything else, and she was a devout Protestant who refused to change her beliefs, even when her very survival was at stake. As a modern-day nerdy Christian girl, you can understand why I admire her so. I pray that I'm never put in Jane's position, but if I am, I also pray that I can have the same resolve.

I wear black today in Jane's memory (as well as on May 19 to honor Anne Boleyn), with a red ribbon choker reminiscent of the post-revolution French fashion to memorialize those killed by the guillotine. It's the least I can do to honor my hero.

A more beautiful telling of Jane's life and death can be found here, at one of my favorite history blogs.

middlegirl [userpic]

So I was pretty happy that the Packers won the Super Bowl. Why?

Because then I could share this with all my friends.

OMG I'm such a geek.

For me, the Super Bowl is one of the few events that I have to be somewhere else to fully enjoy (preferably in a house crammed to the gills with people and yummy snacks) so it's a good thing that Shannon and I got a last-minute invite. We hung out with a bunch of Newgen leaders, which was a lot of fun, especially when some of the guys started taking pictures of various body parts (ears, eyes, tonsils, bellybuttons - remember, we're all church youth leaders) and texting them to each other. Oddly enough, though, just about everyone was rooting for the Packers, except for one guy who has to be contrary, and the pastor's youngest son, who idolizes Mr. Contrary, and wanted to root for the Steelers, too. All in all, it was probably the best Super Bowl party I've been to in a while.

Packers - Woooo!

middlegirl [userpic]

Sunday night - fall in love with Beauty and the Beast all over again

I've always known that Belle was my favorite Disney princess, and I say all the time that I'm very much like her (just without the talking household objects and the hot, tortured prince in love with me). But I've never felt it more deeply than Sunday night.

This past weekend, the national touring production of Beauty and the Beast: the stage musical came to town, and I went and saw it last night with Lauren. The show was beautiful, and seeing it unfold right in front of me "fleshed out" the characters (if you'll pardon the pun). I almost cried a few times, Belle and the Beast (I refuse to call him Adam) were so convincing.

Monday morning - Buster Posey gets named National League Rookie of the Year

The perfect cap to the Giants' World Series win was the prospect of also nabbing a few of the individual awards (well, that and rubbing it in the faces of Dodger fans). Some of their fielders got robbed in the Gold Glove awards, but ever since Buster came up from the minors, the vote has been pretty well split between him and a player from Atlanta, and the argument became which was more worthy - a player who was phenomenal all season, or a player who was just as phenomenal in half the time. I'm so happy to see Buster get his due. The man was a joy to watch to play.

Tuesday morning - Prince William and Kate Middleton announce their engagement

Looks like I wore my tiara earrings for a reason today (even though it appears they've been engaged since last month)! Seeing as we know very little about her, I don't know how well she can handle the work aspect of royalty - seems to me she can't hold down a job, as her wealthy millionaire parents have pretty much made it so she doesn't have to - but she and Wills have managed to last 8 years together (with one small breakup), and I'm pretty sure that William doesn't want to have a repeat of his parents' divorce. I know that Buckingham Palace has been putting Kate through "Princess Lessons" for a while now. So all in all, I think they'll be happy, and HRH Princess William of Wales (as her legal style and title will be) will adjust.

This is a great time to be a royal watcher: Swedish royal wedding back in June, Danish royal twins(!) due in January, a Monagasque princely wedding in July, and a British royal wedding sometime in spring or summer!

I wonder what tomorrow will bring...

middlegirl [userpic]

I'm forcing myself to calm down about both exciting things about today (OMG!) by posting about something completely unrelated.

Educational pop/rock.

No, I don't mean a intellectual candy, but rather taking music and using it to teach concepts or history. Of course, back in the day there was Schoolhouse Rock, but it's been years since we really had good music that was useful for learning. Rockapella made a little dent with their tunes for Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, but they never got much exposure beyond the TV show and the tie-in CDs they made.

Now, in the Age of YouTube And Affordable Filmmaking, there are many more possibilities to make videos and share them with the world... and as a total history nerd, I am adoring these.

YouTube-y goodness behind the cut! )

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