Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Weekend enjoyment, more belly dancing, and Tudor scandals...

Happy Tuesday all :) I've been immersed in the article I'm writing (and that I really need to finish this summer) so I got side tracked from blogging yesterday. But I had a fabulous weekend. We swam, played, read, and watched movies. I also went down to that outdoor festival to see the belly dancers on Saturday morning. It started to rain, but I stayed to watch them anyway. They were pretty good. The only thing I noticed is that most of them didn't smile. This inspired me to persist in my forced beaming ways. Lots of Non-Plussed Dancer faces going on. I'm sure they were just nervous and concentrating (to which I relate with every fiber of my being) but as an audience member, I have to admit, it's not inviting.

I've been practicing away. It's going well, but I've developed a new problem. I call it: Hip Scarf Hip Syndrome. I know that I mentioned that I had moved to a non-coined hip scarf, but I reverted. For a performance, I figured I should go all out. Coin away! The only problem, as I mentioned, is that I have found that the coins actually *weigh down* my hips. In one particular hip drop move, I want to move my hips front and back as I drop, and well... they're not cooperating. Who knew? I guess I have to work on strengthening my hip muscles, whatever those are.

Other weekend activities included starting a new series of books that my sister Shauna'h lent me that I'm quickly becoming obsessed with. It's the Tudor fiction series, by Philippa Gregory. I started with the book she is most known for, The Other Boleyn Girl. Fascinating stuff.

I always found Anne Boleyn particularly interesting (and I love her name; possible little Anne Catholic Librarian, coming your way within the next few years :) but this book has opened my eyes a bit to Katherine of Aragon. All accounts are that she was a very dignified and admirable woman. And she was a devout Catholic. I've enjoyed reading about her. Apparently, she was well known as wearing a hair shirt under her clothes as a personal form of penance, and she was very devoted to our Blessed Mother, praying the rosary every night.

The situation with her marriage to the King being "annulled" was a very nasty business. The King himself, well... stick a snout on that man, oink OINK. What a pig, I'm sorry. I have yet to read a single flattering thing about him, and I feel certain that I never will. Not a star of humanity, that one.

I've also learned a lot about the lives of women during that time period, and it's a very humbling thing to behold. We take so much for granted these days, and I do not identify with the modern day feminist movement at all, but reading things about this time period make me wince in horror at the plight of women. They were given no choices about how their lives would unfold, and were married off at the whim of their fathers.

And... I'm going to say the 'c' word again, CHILDBIRTH. My God, what a nightmare. These poor women had to go into "confinement" for up to a month prior to birth, for fear of any stimulation disturbing the birth. We're not talking relaxation by any stretch of the imagination here, or even bed rest for a high risk pregnancy. This was just expected of all healthy women imminent to deliver, and they would be sealed in a dark, airtight room for this time period, except per chance a few candles to light the way for reading or sewing. Hopefully, someone would visit them. And then following the birth, another month of bed rest would follow, after which time they were "churched" (not at all certain what that means) and their child taken away to be reared in the country. I'm pretty speechless on this whole account. It sounds so, SO awful. They were then lucky to see their children once or twice a year.

When I finish the book I'll write more, since I'm really into it now. Yesterday, I stopped off at the public library to fetch season 1 of the Showtime series The Tudors. I made Mike watch episode 1 with me last night, and even he thought it was good :) Episode 2 to follow tonight...

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