Monday, June 27, 2011

Wed, Jun 27 - Ladislaus of Hungary

Today we drove to Alamogordo to take a sunset hike in the White Sands National Monument. We didn't end up actually going on the hike because it got super windy and the sand was blowing everywhere. Not that fun. But we did walk around for a while before it got too windy. It was pretty neat:

This little guy has adapted his color to match the white sand. He was scared of us, but he finally sat still long enough for me to snap a shot of him.

Today is the feast of St. Ladislaus of Hungary. He was king of Hungary in the 11th century. He conquered a lot of then-heathen lands such as Croatia and parts of Romania and converted them to Christianity. There are many Hungarian folksongs about him which praise his chivalry. Here is the image of him on which my outfit is based:

I actually brought a different outfit than I'm wearing in the pictures. I have my red skirt, and I brought a brown woven belt to wear. When I put it on, though, it looked weird. The shapes didn't go together, and my tank top was too long for the belt and I ended up looking like some kind of weird farmer's daughter or something. So, I went with jeans again. Ah, well. At least the tank top matches.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

St Anthelm

Today is Carlsbad Caverns Day!

It is also St. Anthelm's Day. I don't have a whole lot of biographical information about him, but he was the abbot of the monastery of the Grand Chartreuse which is a very famous Carthusian monastery in France. It still exists and is still a religious house, so no visitors are allowed. Matthew Arnold, the English poet, wrote a poem titled "Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse" when he stayed there as a guest - I guess that was before the No Visiting policy was put in place.

My outfit is based on the liquor Chartreuse which was once produced at the abbey, but which is now produced in a factory nearby.

Proceeds from the sale of the liquor still benefit the monastery, however. Chartreuse comes in two colors - green and yellow. I am going with green today:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

St. Fridolinus

Today is our first day of vacation!!!!!

I have planned saints of the day outfits for everyday, though. It helps me pack!

Today is just a driving day, so I went for comfort. The saint of the day is Fridolinus, and his story involved one of my favorite subjects: zombies! No lie.

He was an Irish monk in the 5th century who travelled around Germany and Switzerland. He converted two brothers named Ursus and Landolph. However, Ursus died and Landolph returned to his wicked ways. Hearing this, Fridolinus re-animated the corpse of Ursus and led him by the hand to go meet his brother. Rather than trying to eat his brother's brains, however, Ursus admonished him for his bad behavior and Landolph repented and returned to following Christ. Fridolinus led Ursus back to his grave, where the corpse rested again peacefully in death.

To remember Fridolinus, I am wearing the colors of the German flag today, plus my memento mori earrings. Please just disregard the wet hair.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

St. Aethelthryth

Saint of the Day: St. Aethelthryth is known by several names including both Etheldreda and Audrey, but I know her as Aethelthryth since we had to read her Vita in Old English. She was the daughter of the king of East Anglia and although married twice, remained a virgin for her entire life. She became abbess of Ely, and suffered from a giant tumor on her neck. She claimed that the neck tumor was a punishment for having worn very elaborate and expensive necklaces in her youth. Throughout the Middle Ages, there was a three-day feast in her honor at which people would wear cheap lace neck ribbons to commemorate her.

So, today, I am wearing my blue and red choker with my "Game Over" T-shirt that my mother-in-law gave me. We are going to visit her today, so it seems appropriate. I've worn this outfit before, so I won't post a new picture. Although, it's like 100 degrees, so I'm not wearing those long sleeves today.

Old English: The Battle of Maldon. Byrhtnoth has just made the horrible blunder of allowing the Vikings to cross over the water so they can fight. The battle begins tomorrow, I guess. Oh, the suspense!

Middle English: Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, Book 1. In which Troilus sees Criseyde for the first time and falls immediately in love. He goes back to his room and faints and sighs for a while until his friend Pandarus - who just happens to be Criseyde's uncle - finds him and offers to talk to her for him.

Contemporary American: Nothing. Still no book. It's kind of been nice having less of a work load, but it's kind of stressing me out, too, since I'm off schedule.

Workout: Maybe when we get back from see the in-laws.

Breakfast: cheese toast, grapes, coffee
Lunch: pot roast
Dinner: leftover pizza, I think
Snack: yogurt

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Paulinus of Nola

Saint of the Day: I don't have an outfit to show, but I do have a youtube video to post that demonstrates the crazy party that is associated with the feast of Paulinus of Nola. Paulinus was the bishop of Nola. He was married to a woman named Theresa whom he credits with his own conversion. They joined a monastery together and had one baby daughter who died just 8 days after her baptism. They were both very wealthy people who gave up their worldly possessions to lead religious lives. It was Paulinus who wrote to St. Augustine of Hippo's friend asking of their conversion. It is widely thought that St. Augustine's Confessions are the answer to Paulinus's inquiry.

On Paulinus of Nola's feast day, there is a huge parade in Nola (and other parts of Italy) which involve a several gigantic towers (gigli) which are carried around town. Here is a short video showing one of the towers and the humongous crowd:

Old English: Today I start The Battle of Maldon which will take several days to get through. So far, the British ruler Bryhtnoth and a Viking ruler are shouting insults at each other. The battle will undoubtedly commence soon.

Middle English: CT - The Parson's Tale and Chaucer's Retraction
The Parson's Tale is really a sermon about the nature of contrition, definitions of and remedies for the seven deadly sins, and types of penance. It was OK. It's in prose, so it was a little harder to get through. There was one passage, though, which was really amusing to me. The Middle Ages were a rough time on fashion. The church really thought it was a total waste of time and even downright sinful to think much about or spend money on clothes. Here's a small excerpt from the Parson's Tale on men's fashion:

"On the other hand, to speak of the horrible inordinate scantiness of clothing, let us notice these short-cut smocks or jackets, which, because of their shortness, do not cover the shameful members of man, and even wickedly call attention to them. Alas! Some of them show the very bulge of their penis and the horrible pushed out testicles that look like the malady of a hernia under their hose; and the buttocks of such persons look like the hind parts of a she-monkey in the full of the moon...As to the hind parts of their buttocks, the thing is horrible to see. For, indeed, that part of their body from which they purge their stinking excrement, that foul part they proudly show to the people in despite of decency!"

If he could only see us now! He would disapprove, I'm sure.

Contemporary American: Still no Caramelo. If it comes before vacation, I'll read it then.

Malory: I got an old reading list from one of my colleagues who took a Malory exam, so I'm going to just copy hers until I get an official reading list from my professor. I'm sure there will be some overlap. I will start reading for this exam after vacation!

Workout: No. I got a massage this afternoon instead.

Breakfast: toast, juice, coffee
Lunch: grilled shrimp tacos at Fuzzy's
Dinner: Beef stew. It's so hot! Why am I making this? Because I have some beef I need to use up before we leave and all the rest of the ingredients, too. It's simmering now and smells delicious!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Saint of the Day: None today. I didn't do the research.

Old English: The Dream of the Rood. A poem about a man who dreams of Christ's cross. The cross talks to him and tells him how it felt to be the instrument of Christ's death. It's good so far.

Middle English: CT - The Second Nun's Tale, The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, The Manciple's Tale

The Second Nun's Tale is a retelling of the life of St. Cecilia. Cecilia was married to a man named Valerian, but she wanted to keep her chastity, so she told Valerian that she had a guardian angel who would kill him if he tried to sleep with her. He didn't believe her, so she told him to go to the Via Appia and find old Urban who would tell him the truth. Valerian went and was converted to Christianity. When he came home, an angel crown both him and Cecilia with crown of white lilies and red roses. Valerian's brother Tibertius comes over and smells the flowers, but he can't see them. He asks where the smell is coming from, and Valerian sends him to the Via Appia as well where he is also converted to Christianity. Not long afterward, the two brothers were martyred and Cecilia was sent for to defend herself. The judge condemned her to be burned in her own house, so the guards locked her in the bathroom and set the house on fire. Cecilia did not burn, however. The executioner came, then, and tried to cut off Cecilia's head. He hacked three times, but did not succeed in killing her, although he gave her a mortal wound. She survived for three more days before succumbing to her wound.

The Canon's Yeoman's Tale is about a tricksy canon who through his wiles convinces a priest that he can turn base metals into precious metals. The priest pays him 40 pounds to teach him how to do it, then the canon skips town and the priest never sees him again.

The Manciple's Tale is the story of how the crow came to be black. He says crows used to be white and could imitate man's speech. The god Phebus had a pet crow who witnessed Phebus' wife cheating on Phebus. When Phebus came home, the crow revealed his wife's adultery, and Phebus killed his wife in a rage. Then he cursed the crow to have black feathers, to lose his power of speech, and to have an awful caw. The moral of the story, according to the manciple, is if you know your friend's spouse is cheating on your friend, don't say anything because your friend will just hate you for it.

Contemporary American: Still no Caramelo. If it doesn't come this afternoon, I'll just have to read it while I'm on vacation. I've read it before, so it's not that big of a deal, I guess. Or I could just start reading the next book on my list and read Caramelo after vacation. I haven't decided.

Workout: I haven't done it yet, but I have every intention of doing it. 45 mins.

Food: This was not a great weekend for keeping to the low calories. Too many social functions where I didn't have control over the food or where I just made bad choices. It's so hard to eat out and stay healthy. I'm planning on cooking at home this week, but I'm eating the last of the leftover pizza tonight.

Friday, June 17, 2011

St. Moling

Saint of the Day: St. Moling was an Irish monk who built several monasteries in Ireland during the 7th century. There are tons of stories about him, but the one I'm focusing on today is the one where the wife of the head builder who was constructing one of the churches asked Moling for some cows. Moling gave the woman two cows, but that night one of the cows was stolen. The wright's wife thought Moling had hired the thief himself and accused him of doing so. Moling knew where the thief was, and said that he could burn him in a fire if she wished. She said no. Moling offered to have him drowned. She said no. Finally, he said that she could go kill him herself, but wanted nothing to do with it. The wife found the thief right where Moling said he would be, and the thief was so startled that he fell into the fire, then jumped in the river and drowned. The cow was dead and already half cooked, but the wife brought it back to Moling who brought it back to life. Its color had changed, however, so that the part that had been cooked was brown while the rest of it was white.
So, my outfit is half brown-half white. I really love this white shirt from Anthropologie. It's soft and comfortable, and I love to wear it. It think this is its last summer, though. It's getting worn and I don't think it will take many more washings - even super delicate hand washings! And, as I said I would, I'm wearing the Jessica Simpson wedges. So comfortable!


Old English: Finished the life of St. George. There was never a dragon in it. And the Lucy story didn't have the eyes being poked out. Those are the most well-known parts of those saints' legends, so I wonder why they weren't in this version. Strange.

Middle English: CT - Tale of Melibee, Monk's Tale, Nun's Priest's Tale

The Tale of Melibee is actually in prose, and it's this really long, didactic tale about a guy whose daughter is mortally wounded by home-invaders. The guy - Melibee - wants to have his revenge on them, but his wife Prudence convinces him to calm down, think it through, and forgive them in the end. It's really long and boring which is part of what makes it funny since it's the tale Chaucer the Pilgrim tells after they won't let him tell his other tale. It's like he's punishing them. Funny, I guess.

The Monk's Tale is just a list of famous tragedies used to explain how man cannot escape his fate. He lists Satan, Adam, Samson, Nero, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and others as examples. He is also interrupted and not allowed to finish his tale.

The Nun's Priest's Tale is a kind of fable about rooster named Chanticleer who dreams that a fox sneaks into the henhouse and eats them all. His chicken-wife Pertelote tells him to ignore the dream. Of course, a fox attacks Chanticleer soon after which shows how seriously you should take the advice of women (!?!). Chanticleer, however, tricks the fox into opening his mouth and dropping him so he can escape.

Contemporary American: Caramelo, by Sandra Cisneros, pp. 1-100. I lost my copy of this book (or sold it back and don't remember), so I had to order another copy, and it hasn't arrived yet. Boo. That is putting me behind!

Workout: Not today. I went grocery shopping. That's good enough for me.


Breakfast: Lean Pocket, Sausage, Egg, and Cheese

Lunch: Amy's Low-Fat Minestrone Soup, Wheat Thins

Dinner: Cassie's birthday dinner