Friday, February 28, 2014

I thought this was the 21st century.

Apparently, some of the members of the Virginia Commonwealth’s legislative branch are still living in the 18th century.

With so many intelligent, worldly and sane residents, I wonder how they can elect representatives with very backwards and strange ideas? The latest came from Stephen H. Martin, a Republican from Chesterfield. His reasoning to outlaw abortions is that pregnant women are simply “hosts” for unborn children.

“. . . once a child does exist in your womb [how endearingly archaic a term is that?] I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s “host” doesn’t want it.”
That reeks of the belief, disproved by science, that a man planted his seed in a woman, completely unaware that his seed couldn’t produce a human being all by itself. Of course, if a man’s seed didn’t grow, it was the woman’s fault. And, it was her fault if she bore a female rather than a male. Remember Anne Bolyen?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Twenty one years ago today . . .

. . . my nephew, Zach was born. His mother, my youngest sister Janet, struggled for many hours to deliver her first son, but he refused to cooperate. He seemed reluctant to leave the cozy, quiet spot he had occupied for so many months. A C-section put an end to that and his beautiful self entered our world.

Time flies is so cliché AND so true. Before our eyes, he has transformed from a cuddly, curious little guy into a thoughtful, caring man. He’s still a gifted cuddler/hugger and undeniably handsome. I get the feeling that, like his Dad, he’s not entirely comfortable with his good looks. I think that adds to his appeal.

Seven years after Zach was born, Alex made a scary entry into the world. He had several serious and potentially deadly health issues. He spent his first three months in Children’s National Medical Center, about 60 miles from his family’s home. His mother and I spent many hours and days with him there. In no small part, Janet’s strong will and faith carried Alex through those crucial months.

Alex may have been fragile during his first couple years of life, but Zach was the one on his support team that encouraged him to be a normal little boy. His loving patience and protection of his brother could have easily turned to resentment over all the attention Alex’s precarious health necessitated. It never did.

Zach has become more reserved the older he gets, however there are still ample opportunities for hugging. The marvelous thing about his hugs is that they are sincere and last as long as the huggee wishes. Not many young men are so open to hugging an older, chubby aunt or his forgetful grandmother.

Can you tell that I’m proud of this guy and love him to death? He has given me so many happy memories: flying kites and picnicking at Hains Point, exploring in Rock Creek Park and Roosevelt Island. He, his Mom and I made several memorable visits to the old Capital Childrens’ Museum, too. Alex joined us once and Zach was a perfect guide for his little bro.

So . . .. happy birthday, Zach. I’m so glad you are in my life!

Zach: Alex's official shoe-tier.

Zach: Poppy's official crab pot look-out.

Best buddies with Grammy and Alex

Monday, February 3, 2014

Another good book about the Norman Conquest

As I’ve confessed before, I love reading historical novels. They put a personal spin on events and breathe life into history not found in straight history books. I just finished another I’d like to share.

Handfasted Wife by Carol McGrath tells part of the story surrounding the Norman Invasion made by William the Conquerer in the 1060s. Something I was previously only aware of as an event in ancient history. It took on personal importance when seen through the eyes of a woman who was personally and deeply effected by it.

Handfasting was a traditional way of marrying among the Celts. The man and woman pledged fealty to each other without the interference of clergy or government. In this story, it proved disastrous for the couple.

When William had almost completed his conquest, he decided that the late king’s wife should marry someone loyal to William. Thus the hand fasting was declared null and void and Edith (Elditha Swanneck) lost Harold, her husband and the father of their half dozen children. He became the new King of England and married his predecessor’s widow. He died at the Battle of Hastings and his handfasted wife had to identify his mutilated body while her son was taken hostage.

The behind the scenes machinations to achieve political and logistical goals are fascinating and some times disturbing. However, the novel reveals how fiercely and intelligently noble women fought against the Norman Conquest, nearly derailing it.