Work, Vampires, Kings & Queens

I've been called to jury duty. I met this summons with a groan but also with a touch of curiosity. I've never been called before; I wonder what it's like. I was alarmed, when reviewing my Juror Information, to read that I should NOT bring any reading material into the courthouse. From what I understand there's a lot of sitting about and waiting during jury selection. I can't possibly be expected to sit around without a book. Perhaps I'll bring a large purse and "accidentally" slip in a paperback.

Another part of the summons amused me greatly. There's a section on what constitutes a "hardship" which would get you excused from duty. The accepted hardships are age (over 70); prior service in the past two years; medical condition. Then there was this line:

"Please note that work is usually considered a hardship for everyone."

Were truer words every written?

Chris has been playing "vampire" with the girls lately. How they love it when he swoops down and "attacks" them. This usually creates much screaming and dashing about and gives me the perfect excuse to leave the room for a while. Anyway, on the heels of this, Phoebe has been very concerned with things that are "scary." "Monsters are scary," she'll say; or, "That's Elmo. Elmo's not scary!" Yesterday she saw a book with a picture of two bats. "Ooh, that's scary, Mommy," she said. "Is it?" I said. "Yes, that's vewy scary." Then she paused and looked again. "Wait a minute. That's a mommy and a baby. That's not scary!" I was pleased with her reasoning.

Just finished reading...two by historian Antonia Fraser.

Marie Antoinette: The Journey - Poor Marie Antoinette, she was much maligned both by her subjects and by history. Fraser's book is quite sympathetic to the woman who never said "Let them eat cake." She was extravagant, yes, and frivolous, but in her defense she'd also been poorly educated (she was the tenth daughter and hadn't been expected to make a great marriage; then three of her older sisters either died or were disfigured by smallpox, moving her up the chain); and royals were supposed to live large; her vast purchases of dresses and shoes and dishes and jewels kept the silk and porcelain and other artistic industries in business. I hadn't realized that her marriage was not consummated for over seven years, in part, it seems, because neither she nor the King knew exactly what they were supposed to do with themselves. She was devoted to her children and it was heartbreaking to read of their separation at the end of her life, and of how badly things turned out for her sole surviving daughter. I was almost moved to tears when the Queen stepped up to the guillotine. I liked the book, and Fraser's style, enough to move on to:

The Wives of Henry VIII -- So Henry VIII - not a nice guy. I enjoyed this book too; one of the most interesting points made was that although men, especially noblemen, especially Kings, were obsessed with having sons to continue their bloodlines, women were often content to remain childless due to the high chance of dying after giving birth. (Two of his wives died of infection, quite in accordance with the given odds.) I hadn't realized (again -- there's so much I don't know! When will I ever learn it all?) that he was married to his first wife for 24 years. Then all the trouble began.

Now I want to read about Mary Queen of Scots and Lady Jane Grey. To the library! (And can I add that I am going to visit Aimee this weekend alone, without children, which means that for the first time in five and a half years I'm going to be able to read a book on the plane! Yay! I'm excited about seeing Aimee but I confess the thought of uninterrupted reading is exciting to me too!)


J&H Noble said...

Sounds like you've been called for federal jury. The rules on reading material are much more strict than county. I had federal criminal jury last December and had to drive to Sherman, TX for 21 days. I ended up going to my real job only 2 days the entire month. Nice, but I was mentally exhausted!!!
A great experience though- enjoy! Oh, and don't take a book. They can kick you out and fine you for disobeying the rules.

aimee said...

Wow. Harsh.

Those books sound great. I love reading the history about people like Marie Antoinette. I read about Josephine and loved it. It makes me sad that just because of their family they were "expected" to do certain things.

How exciting that you get uninterrupted reading time. Be sure and get off the plane though! I want to see you!