Archives: The Tudors

Weekly Roundup of Absolutely Nothing


Yup, I’ve got another sinus infection. Shocking, I know.

I am now quite practiced at being sick. They must be getting used to me at the doctor’s office, too, because when I described my symptoms, the doc didn’t even blink when I mentioned the cooing pigeon noise in my ear. Not even a raised eyebrow! Guess there’s a lot of that going around this year: cooing ear pigeon syndrome.

I spent the entirety of last week on my couch. I watched so much public television, I was staring to feel like I could give a dissertation on the Amish, The nuclear disaster at Fukushima, and French cooking.

So…. what’s with Overboard being on permanent repeat on the in-between channels on network TV? Did the copyrights run out on that movie? Did the station just buy it outright and fire their whole programming staff? I think I’ve managed to watch the entire movie in seven minute increments over the span of three days. This is the measure of how sick I was: instead of pressing a few more buttons on the remote and catching up on some of the greats in the world of cinema, I chose instead to watch Goldie Hawn scrub the same filthy log cabin about a hundred and thirty times to the accompaniment of a tuneless banjo.

A few days ago, while coughing, I found a tiny little spot of blood in my phlegm. It was just a tiny spot, no doubt from all the irritation in my throat from all that lovely post nasal drip and subsequent hacking. For a moment, I thought of changing into an ankle-length flaxen nightgown and throwing myself down on the floor dramatically and coughing some more just to make it worth the while. In the movies, it seems, everyone who ever died in the past died of coughing up blood. And they usually did it while stumbling unsteadily through a doorway and dropping whole urns of milk or wine or something that made an enormous, splashy mess when it hit the deck. Also, it provided a nice backdrop against which our heroine could collapse (eyes open, of course), a dribble of the red stuff leaking from one corner of the mouth. Extra points were awarded in my book for the number of women in linen bonnets and aprons who would first exclaim and then lurch towards our heroine before calling to another woman in a different linen bonnet who would be instructed to fetch the doctor for a bleed with the leeches or a poultice in a filthy rag or something.

I was by myself when I discovered the blood, so I calculated the time it would take to change costumes and the distance to the floor and the arthritis in my knees and decided to just toss my tissue in the trash and finish the laundry. It is entirely possible I have been watching too much Tudors.


I have finally joined the world of the living and regular-bathers and have returned to activities that gave me no pleasure but which make it seem like I have “done something” with my day, things like shopping for shoes and paying library fines for no less than what it would have cost me to order the books online. New.

I read an article in Mother Jones (go ahead. I’ll wait for the Portlandia jokes. No, really. Go ahead. I deserve them) about what it’s like to work in a mega warehouse and to have to pack all those boxes full of vibrators and books and also vibrators and ship them FREE! NEXT DAY! to their recipients. Burdy and I recently signed up for an Amazon Prime account and I’m a little disturbed at how fast stuff gets to our door. (Not as disturbed as I am at having to shop under fluorescent lights and be alternately bombarded with standard retail greetings of good cheer when I arrive and ignored when I want to check out, so there ya go).
I’ve been thinking a bit about the issue of privacy lately as it relates to our shopping habits, and especially as it relates to the phones we carry. I’m always amused by the folks who seem to think that privacy still exists in this country. I’ve always thought that so long as you have even as much as a credit card, you’re just a trackable data-generating machine. Of course, the privacy crusaders would probably point to me as Exhibit A for thinking that way. “There used to be a time when privacy existed! And now look! She willingly “likes” ‘Cats Doing Funny Things’ on Facebook for all to see and she doesn’t think twice about it!” It’s true: I am all that is wrong in this country, starting with the fact that I sort of only kind-of believe privacy exists. Privacy is like Santa Claus- amazing when you’re naive enough to think it exists… and when you learn it’s not real, but you understand you’ll still get cool stuff, you’re like, meh, whatever.
To me, my shopping patterns are bizarre and unpredictable. To some machine in a windowless room, they’re probably as predictable as it gets. Let’s see… mid-thirty something American female living in a Northwestern state with the most massage practitioners and cute rubber rain boots per capita… phone records and Google searches reveal she’s been searching for the term “Chondromalacia”… health insurance data reveal that she’s recently visited a physical therapist… If we plug in her age and her salary bracket, recent credit card purchases for organic groceries, cute rubber rainboots, and vitamins, and we gather every other bit of data matching that demographic, we can conclude that, since she was alive and watching Oprah while she was on the air, she will likely ALSO (impulse-)buy a book about CHANGING YOUR LIFE! when she orders that Theraband to do her PT exercises.
I bet they’re just dangling that book over the box waiting for me to press “buy”. See, Privacy-Defenders? I’m as transparent as packing tape. I’d like to think I’m the Snake Eyes of shopping, too, but the awful truth is, I read like a blueprint of a typical overcoming-my-childhood, addicted-t0-shoes health-nut and, since I ordered that book online about JUST LETTING GO OF YOUR PAST TO LIVE YOUR FULLEST LIFE!, I also don’t give a damn.


Last week’s bus ride was an operatic composition. The bass notes were supplied by a large man who sat in the front of the bus in the seats that faced the center aisle. He had his eyes closed and I couldn’t tell if he was snoring or talking, but the noise that came out of him was not unlike that of the monks who can hum two notes at once. This went on the entire length of the bus ride.

On top of that was the conversation of two recently post-pubescent boys who were discussing the merits of Kant, Aristotle and some other philosopher. I didn’t hear the third one because I stopped listening after “Aristotle”. And that’s because he pronounced “Kant” “Kantz.” Plural. It was the audible equivalent of sticking an apostrophe where it has no earthly right to be. I had to restrain myself from interjecting.

Anywho, these two were going at it non stop. And their voices were similar enough, and they talked rapidly enough, that they perfectly complimented Mr. Eyes Closed in his meditative chant/snore. They sounded like a set of piccolos.

On top of this was me, coughing. It was intermittent at first, but then it started to sound intentional. So, I was the accidental rhythm section to this bus-song.

Now, my right ear was all clogged up and I could barely hear out of it. I was starting to think (hallucinations: stage five of the flu) that I had been imbued with a compensating ability to hear (with my left ear) frequencies that no one else could hear. I mean, no one else on the bus seemed to be hearing or enjoying this urban opera but me.

The whole thing seemed less like music and more like noise, however, when the boys started talking about phones.

Boy 1: Have you seen those phones, those big ones, that you can, like, kinda trick people with?

Boy 2: Which ones?

Boy 1: You know. The ones that you can, like, hook up to your real phone. They’re like old fashioned phones? The ones with the curly wire thingee?

Boy 2: Oh, yeah! Those things are so cool. They’re like those phones from the ‘Eighties! I so want one of those!
Alexander Graham Bell and the leagues of people responsible for the evolution of the “curly wire thingee” are turning in their Day-Glo Jams, cuffed blazers, and woven skinny ties right now.

Blame Canada


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.