10 Thing Friday

1. If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, then you know that I spent the past couple of days on a rage rollercoaster over jury duty. I’ve never made it to the point where I was put through the selection process before, and wow what a experience that has been. I could not believe how much time was wasted waiting for people to get there. The judge told us when to arrive and how long breaks were, yet every time there were people who weren’t on time. And we couldn’t enter the courtroom until we were all present. I was not annoyed during the breaks in general because I know the attorneys and judge were taking care of their business while we were out, but the fact that we wasted so much time waiting for people to come back from their 15 minute break was infuriating. And, I get to enjoy it all again on Monday when the trial starts. Yay!

I’m just super pissy because my parents are flying in next week and I took two days off of work to spend time with them, but now I am likely going to be stuck on mother f-ing jury duty with people who think it’s fine to waste large periods of time arguing with the judge about the existence of bias and whether or not philosophically humans in general should ever be on a jury. NOW IS NOT THE TIME.

2. It took me a few times to really get into this song, but now I can’t stop listening to it. If I ever get to go for a run again, then this will be a great one for my playlist!

3. Daylight saving time begins early on Sunday morning! I hate springing forward.

Image result for waking up gif

4. I watched Red Sparrow this week and I was not a fan. It seemed like they got Jennifer Lawrence on board, then someone tried to figure out all the ways they could get her in various states of naked. Scenes that were not sexy at all (rape, attempted rape, and torture) were filmed in a sexy way which made me extremely uncomfortable. Like here’s some generous side boob while we douse her in freezing water! On a lighter note of complaint, the accents were inconsistent and sketchy, and the wig work was SO BAD. I don’t understand how hair pieces are so hard for big budget movies. Her bangs were almost the end of me. Also, she bleaches her hair at home, then GOES SWIMMING IN A POOL right after. Did a woman even work on this film?? I think all the money went to boob shots. This is a movie by dudes for dudes.

Image result for red sparrow gif

5. Ol’ Lyin’ Liar Trump has reversed his promise to uphold the ban on importing elephant hunt trophies after there was an outcry over a reversal in November. As you can imagine, we can thank NRA lobbyists in part for this.

Image result for elephant trophies united states

I like to donate to the Elephant Crisis Fund which funds anti-poaching, anti-trafficking, and demand reduction projects around the world. In 20016, they invested $4.5 million on these efforts worldwide.

6. Jack White’s new song sounds like the backup vocals are by a band of ghosts. Couldn’t you see them singing in A Nightmare Before Christmas?
7. Thank you to Rebekah who alerted me to the confirmation of the Call Me By Your Namesequel. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need an Elio and Oliver sequel for about ever five years of their lives please.

Image result for call me by your name gif

8. Gary Janetti’s Instagram account is still one of the greatest joys of my life.

A post shared by Gary Janetti (@garyjanetti) on 9. I am also SO UPSET about Beverly in Hannibal. I did not see that coming and I am really not happy. Also, Dr. Bloom annoys me a lot. I don’t know why, but I do like all of the green clothing she has.

10. Michael B. Jordan is the first major actor to announce that his company will use an Inclusion Rider on their films. He just keeps getting better and better.

They seem more like good friends, but they sure would make a gorgeous couple and make some truly beautiful babies. THINK ABOUT IT, KIDS.

Madam Mim

I have been especially not into exercising or eating healthy this year. I don’t know what the deal is, but my motivation has been at an all-time low which is really saying something. My issue with my toe gave me further reason to avoid exercising, then I felt blah from not exercising, so then I just lived in happy snack land. As usual.

Related image

I met with my podiatrist again about said toe and we agreed that running long distance is not in the cards for me in the near future, so I officially gave up on my half marathon in May. Ugh. I really want to run through the redwoods! And I know I could walk it, but doing that for 13 miles on a flat road just doesn’t seem like a lot of fun to me right now. I am also sincerely sad to think that running might be out of the picture for me on a more permanent basis. I’m avoiding dealing with that emotionally. That news happened early last week, and I realized that I really needed to get my shit together [again] and stop leaning into cookies to manage stress because it’s making me moody [moodier] and my skin is breaking out.

Image result for madam mim gif

Last week I managed to go to Orange Theory three times, then again on both Saturday and Sunday which felt like a small miracle. I have also gone twice this week, and I already feel mentally and physically better. It is ridiculous how little effort it takes to actually feel an improvement, yet I opt not to make that effort over and over again. I’ve been exercising once or twice per week for basically the past six months (maybe two years?), and that is not going to help me make progress anywhere.

Image result for madam mim gif

I have half a closet full of clothes that I love that are a size smaller than I am now, and I really just want to fit into them again. IT IS NOT THAT HARD, CELY. It’s not even like I’m trying to lose a significant amount of weight or anything. I’ve been carrying around an extra 10-15 pounds since I moved out here, and I just can’t be bothered to eat healthier and exercise consistently to deal with it. And I’m not trying to get down to some ridiculous size that is difficult to maintain, just down to the space I can sustain by having a mostly healthy lifestyle. I keep reminding myself that I am trying to live a more sustainable life, so I should not be buying more clothes. Therefore, MAKE MORE OF AN EFFORT TO FIT INTO THE CLOTHES YOU ALREADY OWN. Now, I just have to focus on responsibly consuming the the five boxes of Girl Scout cookies I just received this week.

Image result for madam mim gif

Shout out to everyone who is feeling very Madam Mim these days. I feel like my life is an endless loop of wanting to be healthier, doing it, then stopping for insignificant reasons, feeling like garbage for a few months, then wanting to be healthy again. Why must cheese be so tasty and laying on the couch be so relaxing? I truly feel like the only time I’m able to calm down is when I’m flopped on the couch completely absorbed in a book or a TV show.

Image result for sword in the stone merlin gif

WTF Wednesday

I really feel for Michigan State and this Richard Spencer mess. It is so hard to explain to students why you have to let someone like him speak on your campus if a reservation is made through the correct channels. I would love to deny someone the ability to spread their messages of hate, bigotry, and racism on our campus, but their right to speak is consistently upheld by courts. And I completely respect the importance and value of free speech (including speech I am vehemently opposed to), but knowing that universities have to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for security and damage that was the result of a speaker who only shows up to cause crazy sucks a lot. Milo Yiannopoulos speaking at Berkeley cost the university $800,000.

Image result for milo berkeley protest

I wish we could just ignore these asshats so that they don’t get the reaction they are hoping for and more media attention. People like Spencer come to a campuses just to prove this completely inaccurate point: “No other group is treated with this kind of hostility. It is only us. Precisely because we’re white. We’re the only ones showing the real crisis in modern America today. There is a silent war going on.” They are betting on people letting their rage at their TERRIBLE beliefs get the better of them, and it works almost every time.

Protestors and supporters of  Richard Spencer clash

I live in dread and fear for the day that one of our student groups finally manages to be able to afford having these kinds of speakers on our campus. It’s going to be a disaster.

OH MY GOD the Hannibal episode where the guy is sewed to the other guy and he has to RIP HIMSELF OFF. I almost vomited. I had to leave the room.

Image result for nope gif

One of my students was talking about getting “moon shoes” for the snow. I could not understand why she wanted these for snow:

Image result for moon shoes

I wanted a pair of those SO BADLY when I was kid. A friend got two pairs (UGH RICH KIDS AMIRIGHT?) and we decided to jump on the trampoline with them which was a painfully stupid decision. Anyway, my student was talking about these:

Image result for moon boots

I don’t follow fashion, so I don’t know if these are a “thing,” but WHY? Can you please explain to me why you would want these? Anyone. Please.

I watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri this weekend and it pissed me off. Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson were great in it, but I loathed the story line. I have significant problems with the idea that because you are in pain, then it is reasonable for you to inflict pain on others. This made me angry when I read and watched Wild because she hurt a lot of people but exculpated herself from the responsibility of those actions because her mother died. I don’t know what it is like to lose a parent, but I do know a lot of people who have been through devastating losses, yet do not go around ruining other people’s lives because of their own pain. Both Mildred and Dixon should have been in jail for their acts of violence, and I am deeply disturbed by how quickly they were both absolved of their illegal and horrible actions.

Image result for three billboards gif

Dixon reminds me of too many people I know who are now in law enforcement or the military and are still horrible, racist, and bigoted bullies. That also gives me rage. And what a waste of Peter Dinklage! He’s such a talented, charming, and handsome human, and I sincerely hope people start hiring him for roles that are not specifically written for a little person. I would LOVE to see him in a romantic comedy.

Image result for three billboards gif

Memory Lane

This weekend was wonderful and I still feel so happy from it. On Saturday, I got to meet up with first best friend, Joby, and her new husband in Napa Valley. Joby and I met in preschool, and were inseparable (along with Stevi) through high school graduation.

Image may contain: 2 people

And, like many friendships after high school, we drifted apart for reasons that were dumb and that we can’t fully remember. She lives in Colorado now, and for the past few years we have been trying to reconnect and rebuild our friendship. Her husband travels to the Bay Area for work frequently, but since it’s mostly during weekdays, I have not been able to take off to visit. Thankfully, this past week they decided they would extend their stay and visit wine country on the weekend, so I got to hang out with them at long last!

We started the day with lunch at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville. I ate there on our first trip to Napa in 2015, and it was just as wonderful the second time around. I forgot I ordered mussels on our first trip, and I ordered them again (they were still FANTASTIC), so at least I’m consistent. I wouldn’t want to branch out or anything. They’re steamed in a saffron, mustard, and white wine broth that I just want to be embalmed with. It was so wonderful. It was all I could do to not pick up the dish and just drink it.

Image result for bouchon napa mussels(source)

Our first wine tasting was at Silver Oak Cellars. We  tasted three different Cabernet varietals (I am not sure that is the right word, but I am going with it), and my favorite was the Napa Valley Cabernet.

It was pouring down rain, so we weren’t able to walk around and check out the winery grounds, but the inside was very pretty.

Our next stop was V. Sattui where we tried a few wines, then bought some cheese and bread to snack on. They really have the BEST cheese selections, so I highly recommend popping by if you’re in the area. I picked a truffled brie that was MAGICAL. I don’t always enjoy the flavor of truffles (I’m low classy, I know), but they tasted great with brie. Joby also got a brie selection which is a perfect tribute to our history. We used to walk to HEB from her house (she lived in town which made walking anywhere seem very cool) and buy brie to eat while laying around watching Daria (my inspiration for life) and My So-Called Life on VHS. Brie was a fun trip down memory lane for us. We were  very much wannabe emo teens (turns out I’m just pissy, not actually culturally emo).

Her husband picked a really tasty jalapeno muenster which was an unexpected delight. Joby’s husband has been to wine country a lot, and he took us to one of his favorite places, Vincent Arroyo Winery.  It is now one of my favorite places, too.

Image may contain: outdoor

We didn’t have a reservation (which are required), but they still squeezed us in which was kind. It was a rustic building and super low-key which was lovely. I often feel like a potato peasant in wine country because many people are so well0dressed and the wineries are so pretty, but Vincent Arroyo reminded me a lot of the relaxed wineries around Fredericksburg. They also had two gorgeous labs running around and a “wine cat” who was available for petting.

Related imageWe took a short tour and tried five different wines. I bought a bottle of their Chardonnay, but also enjoyed their Tempranillo and the Port a lot. I’ve had some bad experiences with port, but this one was delicious without being overly sweet. I hope that we have a chance to visit again when I am back in November with Laura and Scott. After tasting, we sat outside during a brief reprieve from the rain to enjoy our cheeses and visit.

I had such a fantastic day with them and I still feel so happy from getting to spend time with her. I hope we don’t let years pass without seeing each other again.

Marvelous Women Monday

In conversations with numerous folks via Instagram after the second season of The Crown, I realized that a lot of people do not know that Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was a remarkable woman. I know that she was officially titled Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, but I shall proceed by calling her by HER ACTUAL NAME (you can dive more into royal titles and naming conventions here). If you watched The Crown, then you know that his mother was basically presented as a whackadoodle old bat who wore a nun’s habit. And it was EMBARRASSING for all. Nein I say!

Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and was born to Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine in 1885. After noticing difficulty with her speech, Alice was diagnosed with congenital deafness. With the support of her mother, she learned to lip-read and speak both English and German. She also studied French and later learned Greek.

Image result for princess alice of greece

In 1902 she was in London for the coronation of King Edward VII. There she met and quickly fell in love with Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark who was the fourth son of King George I and Queen Olga of Greece. By 1903 they were married and she took the title of “Princess Andrew.” Their wedding was one of the greatest gatherings of royal descendants of Queen Victoria and Queen Christian IX of Denmark prior to the outbreak of World War I. Between the two of them they were closely related to the ruling royal houses of Russia, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, and Greece.

Image result for princess alice of greece young

Prince and Princess Andrew lived in Greece and had five children: Princess Margarita, Princess Theodora, Princess Cecilie (of the tragic plane crash depicted in the second season of The Crown), Princess Sophie, and Prince Philip. Please note that not only is he the baby of the family, but also the long-awaited son. Not to armchair psychologist too much over here, but this explains numerous facets of his behavior (in my never humble but totally unqualified opinion that no one asked for).

Image result for princess alice of greece children

Ah to be young, beautiful, wealthy, royal, and white in early twentieth century Europe.

Image result for princess alice of greece

The Balkan Wars started in 1912 and World War I was right around the river bend. Greece was a hot mess during that time. You can read about it yourself here. During the Balkan Wars, Princess Alice was a nurse, and she set up field hospitals and assisted with operations. Royally speaking, there were abdications, exiles, restorations, and further exiles for the Greek royal family. Most of the family sheltered in Switzerland during the political upheavals, going back and forth to Greece. Prince Andrew was arrested after a revolution and banished from Greece. He and Princess Alice fled Greece with their family aboard a British cruiser.

The family lived in exile in Paris (what a nightmare, huh?) during which time Alice became deeply religious and eventually joined the Greek Orthodox Church in 1928. Soon after, she stated that she had healing powers and was receiving divine messages. In 1930, she suffered a significant nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia shortly after. She saw several doctors, but was eventually forced into a sanatorium in Switzerland. Her physician, Dr. Ludwig Binswanger consulted Sigmund Freud over her condition. He recommended “X-raying her ovaries to kill off her libido” as it was believed at the time that delusions were the result of sexual frustration. Um…

Image result for what the hell gif

Princess Alice repeatedly tried to leave the asylum and asserted her sanity. This part of the story is so awful and it really highlights how completely bitchy the comments about her by the British royal family were. During this time, she drifted apart from her husband, and missed the weddings of two of her daughters. Prince Philip was sent to England to stay with British family members. This included the scheming Lord Mountbatten, better known as “Uncle Dickie.” He is played in The Crown by the endlessly handsome Greg Wise who had the good sense to marry Emma Thompson in real life.

Image result for lord mountbatten the crown

Back to Princess Alice. She remained institutionalized for two years before she was released. She lived incognito for several years, and severed all ties with her family (except her mother) until 1936.

Image result for princess alice of greece

Her daughter Cecilie, her son-in-law, and their children died in the Ostend plane crash in 1937. The funeral is where she saw Prince Andrew for the first time in six years. Also, in case you weren’t completely sure of how big of a Nazi Cecilie’s husband was, Hermann Göring attended their funeral.

Image result for yikes gif

Alice stayed in contact with her family after the funeral, but moved to Athens in 1938 to work with the poor.

World War II erupted which put Princess Alice in a conflicting situation. Her sons-in-law were fighting for the Germans, but her son (Philip) was serving in the British Royal Navy. The majority of the Greek royal family remained exiled in South Africa, but she and her sister-in-law, Princess Nicholas of Greece, stayed in Athens. During the war, she organized soup kitchens for the starving Greek populace, worked for the Red Cross, and flew to Sweden on medical missions to bring back supplies while on the pretense of visiting her sister. She organized shelters for orphaned children and developed a nursing circuit for poor neighborhoods. She completely devoted her life to helping others.

While the occupying Germans assumed she was on their side, she told them “You can take your troops out of my country” when she was asked by a German general if there was anything they could do for her. Sassy. In 1943, the Germans fully occupied Athens after the fall of Mussolini.

An estimated 60,000 to 70,000 Greek Jews had already been deported to concentration camps, with only 2,000 surviving after liberation. Athens was a city of refuge for those who remained in Greece. Haimaki Cohen had aided King George I of Greece (Alice’s father-in-law) in 1913. In return, the King told Cohen that if he ever needed any service the King could perform, then he would offer it. Cohen’s son remembered this offer, and during the Nazi occupation, he appealed to Princess Alice for help. As one of only two remaining members of the royal family in Greece, Princess Alice honored the promise and saved them. She hid Cohen’s widow Rachel and two of her five children from the Nazi invaders.

Despite living in “somewhat squalid” conditions and having nothing more than bread and small rations of butter for months, she kept the family alive and safe. After Athens was liberated in 1944, she hoped to be reunited with her husband. Unfortunately, she learned that he had died shortly after the liberation. They had not seen each other since 1939.

Despite ongoing fighting between Communist guerrillas and the British for control of Athens, Princess Alice continued her work providing rations to policemen and children. Much to the dismay of the British, she disobeyed the curfew and continued her work helping the people of Greece. When she was warned of the danger of being shot by a stray bullet, she said, “they tell me that you don’t hear the shot that kills you and in any case I am deaf. So, why worry about that?” Zing!

Image result for princess alice of greece athens

She traveled to England in 1947 to attend the wedding of Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth. Some of her remaining jewels were used for the engagement ring.

Image result for queen elizabeth engagement ring

I’ll take one too, please. Her daughters were not invited to the wedding due to their Nazi connections and the overwhelming anti-German sentiment in England FOR GOOD REASON. In 1949, she founded a nursing order of Greek Orthodox Nuns, the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary. It was modeled after the convent of her aunt Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna (sister of Empress Alexandra) had founded in Russia. She had visited her aunt in 1908 and had attended the laying of the foundation stone for her new church. A bit of full circle happening here.

In 1952 she returned to England to attend the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. She again wore her nun’s habit and it was a THING for the family. THE HORROR.

Princess Alice was invited to reside permanently with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Buckingham Palace after another coup in Greece. While she was psychically frail, she was mentally lucid in her later years. She asked to be buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (near her aunt). When her daughter complained about the distance to the future grave, she replied, “Nonsense, there’s a perfectly good bus service!” She reminds me very much of my own Mamaw who has no time for your whining.

Image result for princess alice of greece athens

She died on December 5, 1969, and her remains were transferred from Windsor Castle to the Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

In 1994, she was honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” in Jerusalem for her protection of the Cohen Family. Prince Philip attended and stated, “I suspect that it never occurred to her that her action was in any way special. She was a person with a deep religious faith, and she would have considered it to be a perfectly natural human reaction to fellow beings in distress.” If only everyone felt that way. In 2010, she was posthumously named a Hero of the Holocaust by the British Government.

Philip’s visit to his mother’s grave in 1994 was complicated due to the British Empire’s history with Palestine. Prince Charles also secretly visited her grave in 2016.

Related imageImage result for princess alice of greece


Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece by Hugo Vickers (I read this several years ago and highly recommend it)
Princess Alice of Battenberg
Princess Alice of Battenberg, Princess Andreas of Greece