So, recently Burdy and I started watching the mini-series "The Tudors". I know, I know, we are SO current with our TV watching. Next up on the list: re-runs of "Benson". While everyone else is going bonkers over Downton Abbey, we're finally just watching a show from like five years ago, and a Canadian produced one, no less. I just can't help it. I am somehow fundamentally wired to pick up on television trends half a decade after their premier. I'm just not the typical "consumer" (I'm retching as I type that). It's true: it's me. I'm the one keeping this economy in a recession.

I wasn't that into it at first, those smashed-flat boobs in those get-ups and all that "all hail the king" crap, but slowly, it started appealing to me. Mostly because once an episode or so, some memory WAAAAY back in my head would fire, and I would suddenly remember some factoid from high school European History and I would turn to Burdy and scream, "Oh, DUDE! That's THEEEE Ann Boleyn!" And Burdy would stare at me blankly, and I would go back to sitting smugly in my Snuggie and (sorry, there was no way NOT to make that alliteration) and start thinking that maybe I should apply to MENSA because I was a freaking GENIUS at associating fictional mini-series characters with historical figures based on their names.

Anywho, this show should properly be called "MAJESTY, CLAPPING". Because those two actions, people saying the word "majesty" and politely clapping , DOMINATE the show alongside hours and hours of curtsying. I had no IDEA that courtiers clapped that much. The king pronounces he has a bastard son? Clapping. Someone gets pushed off a horse by a long pointy thing? Clapping. Someone says something clever? Clapping. The king declares war on France? Clapping. I think the casting call must have read something like: "Wanted: extras for period piece. Must be able to endure long hours in corsets must be able to produce consistent clapping for weeks on end. Sorry." (you know... because it's Canadian.)

I also went to the dentist last week to have him fix a botched filling- a botched, painful filling I have been living with for nearly two years. (If I told you why, I'd have to include a long rant about health insurance in America, and well, we're all here to read about the tyranny of a 16th century monarch over a disempowered peasant class, now aren't we? Hey, wait a minute...) ANYWHO. After a week of watching "The Tudors", my brain has sort of imprinted with some of the language of the time. Specifically, I can't stop hearing the word "Majesty". It's a funny word, really, not one you hear much in everyday speech. Nowadays, it's reserved for things like sunsets and cruise boats and purple crayons, but back then, it was what you called royalty. Not "Your Majesty, King Bla Bla Bla". Nope. Just "Majesty". Like it was his name or something.

Anywho, my dental hygienist, after she'd prepped the tools for the filling, told me to hang tight, that "Doctor would be right in". Doctor? I asked. Not "Dr. Friedrich", my actual dentist's name? Just "Doctor", huh? And I thought to myself: in a weird way, this is all sort of fitting, really. Majesty/Doctor is going to pry my teeth apart with some sort of metal spreading device, clamp them into place with another metal device, use a long curved, pointy thing to dig the old filling out, then pack it all back in with some compound. Dentistry seems to be the last place in America where we still address the master and commander by his title alone. Which makes sense, I suppose, since it still sort of feels medieval anyway.


January is finally over. Thank goodness for that. Everyone always presumes that April is the busiest time of year for a bookkeeper, but the truth is that, for a bookkeeper in Washington state, there are WAY more deadlines in January than there are in April. Those same people that are asking me if April is my busiest month are the same people that think they can hand me a rumpled manila envelope full of illegible cash receipts for an eighty cent pack of gum, some dry cleaning, and a seven hundred dollar laptop they may or may not use for business and call it good. This kind of work takes PREPARATION, people. I'm getting ready for April in December. By the time April 15th has rolled around, I've already received copies of the filed federal returns back from the CPAs, packed them away in banker's boxes, and have started making plans to mock your unpreparedness for next year.


The middle of January is usually marked by two things: I get a really bad sinus infection (check) and I turn another year older (check!). All this happens, of course, during the very busiest, most crazy-making, most stressful time of year for me. So, since my birthday usually falls on a workday, and since, right at about that time, I am usually ready to tear my hair out from stress, I take a whole day off and go to the spa and relax. The spa. It feels weird to write that. It's such a common thing up here in the Woo Woo state, but I don't know that I will ever really be comfortable admitting I like it so much. When I think back to where I came from, the blue collar, middle class neighborhood I grew up in, and I think about that little girl dreaming about her future, I can't quite fit "spa experience" into it (but that's mostly because the biggest dream I could come up with at that terribly anxious age went something like, "Please, God, don't let World War Three happen in my lifetime. Also, chocolate milk coming out of a faucet in the kitchen would be SO awesome. Amen".)

Now, the spa up here is not terribly fancy- it's not some exclusive place for celebrities only. As a matter of fact, it's run by some pretty down to earth Korean women, and it's nestled deep in the suburbs. You couldn't find a shot of wheat grass in the place if you tried. The towels are not 800 count Egyptian combed cotton and the massage practitioners and salt-scrubbers and facials-givers are more Russian boxing trainers than Swedish models. So, it's not about exclusivity at all. It's about giving your body a time-honored experience of rest, relaxation, detoxification, and renewal. The spa experience is pretty common in lots of other cultures. I've always wondered why North Americans don't get more with the program. And then I remember: Oh yeah! We hate public nudity. Also, who will buy all the mind altering pharmaceuticals designed for stress reduction if we're all walking around all steamy and relaxed? That Prozac isn't going to take itself, duh.

This year, since my birthday fell on a weekend, I didn't go to the spa. And that meant I didn't take my annual sojourn into the room heated to 145 degrees and sit for the recommended 10 minutes and meditate on the native-inspired mosaic on the wall and ask the Universe to help me have a meaningful year. In past years, I really looked forward to that ritual. But this year, I almost forgot about it. I felt like I didn't really need it. This year just felt different. Old anxieties are falling away and room is being made for other things, other things that don't give me nightmares, keep my adrenal glands pumping 23 hours a day, or keep me awake at night. I feel something akin to relief. I feel like I've been waiting for this feeling for my WHOLE life. That whole thing about "really knowing yourself" in your thirties? It's true. I'm getting much closer to becoming completely and totally unapologetic for everything. And holy crap, it's about time.