HOW MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS SCREWED THE POOCH

DAILY PROMPT – In Loving Memory - Write your obituary? Say what? I don’t think so. I’m not up for the Daily Downer. So instead, let’s do some history, shall we? As usual, there will be a short quiz at the end of the period.


Mary Queen of Scots did everything wrong from the get go. Some of it wasn’t her fault … she was too young to have much say in the matter, after all … but even after she knew her own mind, she always seemed to make the worst possible choice in every situation. She lost her head, though many felt it was too little, too late. Nor was it an unusual fate in her family where getting beheaded was a more common cause of death than liver disease from excessive alcohol consumption.

As a toddler, she was betrothed to the French Dauphin and in due time, married King Francis II of France. He was a child king and she a child bride. He didn’t live to adulthood, leaving Mary a very wealthy and insanely eligible widow. She was next hitched — by all accounting of her own choice — to Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. He was a total jerk, but was descended from the Plantagenet lines and himself in line for the English throne. Upon which no one wanted to see him sit except a few drinking buddies.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

He was a complete asshat — drunken, cruel, probably syphilitic — but handsome. Pretty is as pretty does. The relationship between he and Mary deteriorated immediately, to no one’s surprise. Shortly thereafter, Hank Stuart was murdered

“No, no, I had nothing to do with it, I swear,” said Mary, but no one believed her, probably because she was lying. She didn’t kill him with her own hands. Queens don’t do that. She had Bothwell do it for her. And then married Bothwell a month later. Sneaky.

"Mary Stuart Queen" by François Clouet
“Mary Stuart Queen” by François Clouet

James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, was believed (with good reason) to have “taken care” of Darnley on behalf of his Queen. Like most rich people accused of murder, he was acquitted in April 1567. When Mary married him in May, pretty much everybody thought it was a bad idea. Especially Elizabeth I, in Merry Olde England. Mary was her heir, but she thought Mary should not try to get to the throne while Elizabeth was still sitting on it.

Mary just didn’t have  … what do you call it? Oh, right. Brains. Commonsense. She couldn’t for a single minute stop plotting and trying to overthrow cousin Liz. And then Liz got all pissy about it and Mary lost her head.

What a tragedy! Well, maybe not a tragedy exactly. Despite it being a major personal loss for Mary and the hottest scandal of the century, it was no loss to the world. The Stuarts were a nasty bunch, right down to and including Bonnie Prince Charlie who gathered the clans for one last glorious battle then abandoned them to be slaughtered. What a guy!

This is my favorite part. Mary was not beheaded with a single strike. The first blow missed her neck and struck the back of her head. The second blow severed her neck, except for a bit of sinew, which the executioner cut with the ax. When he held her head aloft and declared, “God save the Queen,” her hair came off in his hand. A wig, it turned out. Her head fell to the ground and rolled some distance, revealing Mary’s short, grey hair. Mary’s little dog — a Skye terrier — had been hiding in her skirts. After Mary’s execution, the little dog was covered in blood and had to be removed from the scene and washed. Yuk.

Now that is a death scene to remember. Have a great day!

LIGHTEN UP, WORDPRESS

Todays’ Daily Prompt: Circle of Five is so dreary, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to, don’t want to. Can’t. No more. This has become the Daily Angst … or maybe the Daily Downer. So instead, here are some one-liners, a couple of cartoons. Maybe a laugh or a chuckle. I promise there is nothing profound here, not a single life changing revelation in this post. You can relax now.

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The sun is out. It snowed (again) last night and the world looks pretty this morning, even though our car is buried and poor Garry will have to do some digging. Later.

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I’m stressing over needing to get our taxes done … and wondering if we can get there from here because they are even more buried than we are … and that’s pretty buried.

It's a beautiful day ... snow and all ...
It’s a beautiful day … snow and all …

I love jokes. I collect them. If you have something you think is hilarious, send it to me. I’ll save it and when I have enough to fill a page, I’ll post it and we can all enjoy a good laugh. If it’s something you made up yourself, make sure to sign it so I can give credit where it’s due!


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No moment is more painful than the moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

Does anyone know how to fold a fitted sheet? If you do, will you let me know the secret?

Bad decisions make great stories. If we didn’t make dumb choices, we wouldn’t have great anecdotes. I think that’s what we call a silver lining.

Can we agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu-ray? I can’t redo my collections again. I replaced records with tapes and tapes with CDs. I’ve replaced videocassettes with DVDs and may never fully embrace Blu-ray. I don’t think I’ll live long enough to go another round.

Sounds like my AT&T Password. And THEN they say "Make it something you find easy to remember."
And make sure it’s something you can easily remember. Right.

I’m always slightly worried when I exit an application and it asks me if I want to save my changes when I’d swear I didn’t make any changes.

Why doesn’t the freezer have a light too? Don’t we need to find stuff in the freezer?

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You want to know how many times you can say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said? The answer is three. Try it. You’ll see.

Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Jeans? Jeans never get dirty. You can wear them forever. After a while, you can train them to come when called.

First Senior Moment
The first senior moment

I used to look at my watch 3 or 4 times in a row and still not grasp the time thing. So I stopped wearing a watch. No more problem.

BISHOP IN THE SNOW – NEW PICTURES!

72-Bishop_01It didn’t snow a lot today — at least not compared to a lot of other days — but it snowed and is still snowing. I keep hoping it’s the last one. That the winds will change and spring will begin to inch into the world.

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Not everyone is tired of winter.

Today, after the new snow, Bishop didn't want to come in ... until he heard the sound of biscuits being offered ...
Today, after the new snow, Bishop didn’t want to come in … until he heard the sound of biscuits being offered …

Bishop, our big Australian Shepherd, of all our dogs, loves winter. His coat is so thick, so weather-proof, he will — by choice — sleep in a snow drift and let the little dogs use his body as a mattress. They have their own flap door, so this is their choice. They come and go as they please.

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To each his or her own. I prefer my recliner and a hot cup of coffee. Or tea.

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MERELY LIVING

DAILY PROMPT: ME TIME — What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?


I woke up this morning. I did my physical checklist. Did anything hurt more than usual? Less? Breathing okay? Everything was working as well (or better) than usual, so I put a bit more effort into “me” than usual, weeding through eyebrows until I found an arch. Not as nice as the lady in town creates with her wax, but weather has made going anywhere a hassle. I haven’t gotten to town more than a couple of times all month.

I made it to the kitchen and did my Alpha Bitch thing. The dogs obediently (with just a bit of back talk) went outside to do whatever business they needed to conduct. By the time they got back, I was cleaning.

coffee kitchen view sepia art effect

It’s not that I don’t clean. It’s that I need inspiration and energy. I had a little of both and I cleaned the places around the sink that don’t get cleaned because they are behind or under something. I did the sink, scrubbed the water dishes, refilled them … all the while hearing heavy breathing and the click-clack of excited toenails on linoleum.

The dogs were swirling with energy. Admittedly, I was slow with biscuits. The longer I take, the more worked up they get. Finally, finished, I pivoted to face the fur people. “Huffa, huffa, huffa,” they said. You’d think no one ever feeds them.

“Liars,” I tell them. They huff some more. Bonnie does her happy dance, leaping up and down until finally, I distribute a Greenie and a crunchy to each. Do they think if they don’t do their routine, I won’t give them their treats?

three dogs on stairs sepia

I’ve been up a while. Coffee is emitting little hisses of steamy satisfaction. I straighten the sofa. Bishop has been sleeping on it. He knows he isn’t allowed, but his interpretation is “what she/he doesn’t know doesn’t count” and makes sure he is off before Garry or I gets to the end of the hallway. Sometimes his timing is off and he gets caught in “flagrante delicto” so to speak. He leaves huge tufts of hair behind, so it’s not hard to figure out. Not to mention (but I will mention it) he rearranges the coverlets, pulling them off and putting them in a pile more to his liking. Bishop has the soul of an interior decorator. A hairy decorator with limited taste.

Eventually, seated, with a cup of coffee in hand, I turn on the computer and my day begins.

Today is Saturday. We are retired, so everyday is much the same as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Soon, Garry will join me. We’ll share quiet time, sifting through our email, answering and writing comments. It’s my favorite part of the day. Quiet, friendly, low stress. Whatever hassles the rest of the day may bring, morning is our time to decompress.

It’s life. Unsegmented into “me time” or “he time.” Life does not have sections. I don’t own a piece of the day, nor does Garry. I supposed you might say the dogs own all of it because they own us — but that’s another story.

ANYTHING BUT SPIDERS

I’m afraid of spiders. Not because they are dangerous, though some are. Not because they are poisonous. I’m afraid of spiders because they make my skin crawl. They scare me half to death and it doesn’t have to be a particularly malevolent member of the species. Under the right circumstance — like when I’m sleeping and wake up to find a spider on me — I can actually levitate from fear. Rise right up off the mattress, screaming. Wake everyone in the house.

A friend of mine was attacked by a wolf spider while sun bathing on her patio in Arizona. The thing was the size of a small dinner plate (dessert plate?) and landed on her breast, then proceeded to take a chunk out of her. The pain was one thing. The fear was so intense she promptly sold her house and moved to a place where there are no wolf spiders. I’m with her.

Giant forest scorpian (heterometrus laoticus)
Giant forest scorpion (heterometrus laoticus)

I lived in Israel and did not deal well with scorpions. I am not physically brave. I will take emotional and professional risks, no problem. One garden spider will unglue me.

Do I remember the last time this happened? No. There have been so many times. The best thing about a mindless phobia? You only have to imagine there’s a spider nearby to get your heart pounding, your blood rushing in your ears. It could turn be a bit of dust or dog hair brushing your leg. Or an ant.

It’s the thought that counts.


Fight or Flight – Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

IN PRAISE OF YOGA PANTS

With all the serious issues in the world today, why am I writing about pants? Maybe it’s frivolous, but my lifelong search for comfortable, well-fitting pants has finally come to an end. Throughout my life, I have sought two things: shoes that look good and in which I can walk … and perfectly fitted slacks I can throw into the washer and dryer.

yoga pants gray

My feet are happy since discovering Uggs for winter, FitFlop clogs, and Clark’s sandals for warm weather. Perfect pants eluded me. Jeans, the iconic garment of my generation, look better than they feel. As soon as I sit, they pull down in the back, ride up in the front, and dig into my waistline all the way around. The better they look standing, the more uncomfortable they are sitting. Stretch denim improves the comfort factor, but my body has never been shaped right for jeans. I’ve been thin, not-so-thin, fat, and all sizes in between. Never found a pair which fit quite right.

Too loose or tight, waist too high or low enough to slide off my hips. I could wear a belt, but I hate belts. Add them to brassieres with steel bones for garment-based misery. Complete the picture with spike heels and a thong and you have head-to-toe discomfort.

new boots booties uggs

I can’t be happy if I’m uncomfortable. If my shoes pinch, if underwear is up my butt, the waistband of the jeans is sawing its way through my mid-section, I’m not going to be my scintillating self. I will twitch, pull, and rearrange garments in a never-ending and increasingly desperate attempt to get comfortable. Eventually, I will look as if I have a weird nervous disorder.

red fitflop clogs

Some years back, an end of season clearance on Land’s End featured yoga pants. I’ve owned stretch pants. They’re okay, but never looked quite right. But yoga pants. From the moment I slid into them, I knew I’d found it. Boot cut, so my short legs appear long and graceful. Forgiving fabric which stretches every which way, but bounces back to its original shape without a saggy butt or droopy knees. They wash like a dream, have no issues with the dryer.

Gradually, I stopped wearing anything else. My size hasn’t changed in years, so I have a lot of clothing, much more than I need. All of it fits.

Fortune has smiled on me. My best friend and I wear exactly the same size, right down to shoes. When my wardrobe threatens to explode, I can pass the goodies to the one person on earth I know will appreciate and like them. Did I mention we also have the same taste?

I need to visit her very soon.

Yesterday, I slipped into jeans. They fit well, even a bit loose. I wore them for almost two hours before I changed back into yoga pants. I guess there’s no turning back. Yoga pants forever.

OO-BLA-DI, OO-BLA-DA

No news is not good news. It’s just no news.

We are in a slow news period. It’s not as if nothing is going on. It’s just that nothing is going on in which anyone is especially interested.

2014’s elections were the usual vicious, contentious, nasty business. We used to get outraged, upset, furious about elections. Now, they come. They go. Everything changes, but nothing is different. This time, when the elections ended, it got quiet in a hurry. Bring on Christmas.

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The holidays came and went. All through February, the weather (pardon the pun) has been the hot topic. And who Prince Harry is (or isn’t) dating. “Deflategate” is being beaten to death on the sports networks, but is anyone listening? Do we care? As memories of the Super Bowl fade, spring training begins. Can the Sox pull themselves out of the tank? Is there hope for 2015? That’s the most interesting question on the news horizon.

We’ve had a lot of snow.

snow window poster february 2015

I’m sure a national calamity was predicted for this year, but I forget what it was. Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, the sky isn’t falling, unless that’s really what all that white stuff is … the sky falling, I mean.

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So there are no fresh disasters. Whichever huge controversies were with us last year and the year before are still lurking, along with a few tired, sleazy scandals. It’s the same old, same old. Back to the everyday struggles of a tired population hoping things will get better and suspecting they won’t. A new year is rolling along. Oo-bla-di, oo-bla-da.