Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Joan of Arc survived

On today's date (May 30) 1431, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Or was she? In a Da Vinci Code kind of way, there is an argument that she actually escaped the burning because she was a secret illegitimate daughter of a queen.

According to the alternate theory, Joan of Arc was smuggled out of the city and later secretly married a French nobleman Robert des Armoises. Another condemned witch took her place at the stake. She was much older than Joan of Arc's 23 years.

This theory is in a book published in the 1970s called Joan of Arc and Her Secret Missions. The author, Pierre de Sermoise states that Isabelle of Bavaria (wife of the half-mad King Charles VI of France) had an affair with the king's brother, Louis d'Orleans. Joan was born of this relationship on Nov 10, 1407. Louis was assasinated two weeks later and baby Joan was sent into hiding with the d'Arch (later changed to d'Arc) family in Domremy.

It was due to her royal birth that she was so well educated. The marriage certificate to Des Armoises identifies her as "Joan of France." She died in 1449. The author claims her tombstone is there with her symbol (celtic cross in a circle).

Of course there have been many historians arguing against this theory. Joan was made a saint in 1920. The theory also is disputed by the Roman Catholic church.

From further research, I've found that in 2006, Joan of Arc’s rib and some other relics were reported that they had survived her burning at the stake. Tests were conducted in Paris to find out if the remains were indeed hers, since it seemed unlikely anything could have survived such a fire and there long had been a legend that the ashes were tossed in the Seine. There was no way they could be proved to be Joan’s relics definitively since there was no authentic family DNA to compare them against. In April 2007, the results were the rib belonged to an Egyptian mummy from between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC!

The most favored explanation for all this was that holy relics were required in the 19th century before Joan could be beatified and canonized. What is more interesting perhaps is that the relics were in the possession of the Catholic Church all these centuries. Until recently they were housed at Chinon in a museum owned by the Archdiocese of Tours.

Like the Da Vinci Code story, perhaps this was part of a cover up by the church?

It's definitely an interesting theory. I have the book on order from (cheaper than the ones listed here, even with shipping).

There's a further reason that I am interested in this. If she really did survive, I am a descendant of hers through my maternal grandmother (surname Haderer). Several generations have been researching the link. I recently received an article from 1973 about the de Sermoise book with some papers from my aunt's cousin.

Monday, May 28, 2007

In memory of Laura Alexander

Ruth Stewart died Friday May 18th after battling bipolar disorder. I got the benefit of knowing her for about 10 years. She was the only member of my ex's family I would have loved to keep.

Laura Alexander was her alias. As her disease waxed and waned, she had many grand ideas of writing books and traveling under this name.

As Ruth Stewart, she was a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother and a good friend. She was a firey liberal - one of the few 70-somethings I knew with a "legalize pot" sticker on her car. She was a caring and giving person, often to the point of her detriment.

Several years into my relationship, I had received a phone call from her. She was elated. She had an epiphany. She was the seventh child of the seventh child. She went on like this for awhile. I knew her to be well-educated and funny. I kept waiting for the punchline. It never came. After I had hung up with her, I called my now-ex at work and told him about the conversation. Oh no, he said. She's off her medication. That was the first I knew she had this disorder.

After my horrid split from her grandson, I began to lose track of Ruth. The breakup was really hard on me and I had to distance myself from everything related to him. I had sent a birthday card to her every year (Sept. 1). One year, it came back. Through one of her manic phases, Ruth had fallen prey to a refinance scheme that ultimately took her condo in a foreclosure. She decided to travel after that -- but essentially became homeless. I re-sent the card to a local shelter where she was staying but after a couple of months it too came back.

After time passed, I often wondered about what became of her. Unfortunately the disease changed her to someone other than the person she used to be. This happens too often to those affected by the disease.

The email from my ex came this last Monday on a bleak day I was already suffering my own loss. I felt terrible I had lost track of her but I know the Ruth I knew was gone a long time ago. There was no obituary and apparently no service. I understand the family was tired from dealing with the disease (as I now deal with those close to me with this disease) but she was still a great person and deserves a memorial.

Rest in peace, Ruth.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Furries scurried

Two weeks ago Flounder and her houndies (Sya, Sheena, and Oz) and their humans scurried their way around Washington Park. The day started out looking like cold and rain but managed to stay dry and perfect temp. Whew! Imagine a couple of thousand wet dogs!

Flounder and I raised $750 this year, which is our highest yet. She made the two mile trek but was a little slower this year. Around the curve of mile two, she started to lag behind until Pam mentioned there were frosty paws at the finish. That was all she needed to push her rump into turbo mode. (She ate two of them -- each in mere seconds).

We ended up getting there at 7am because I had woken up really early. This gave us plenty of time to wander the vendors and get lots of freebies. On the way down, she seemed a little confused at the distance of the car ride. But as soon as I parked near Washington Park, she got very excited. Amazing that she remembers the place since we're only there once a year. Her favorite is to check out the vendors because she knows they all have treats. She has perfected the "starving dog" look (even at a rotund 100 pounds).

Hopefully Sarah-dog and I will be able to do the Lucky Mutt Strut in July.

The cats could care less about all the buddy-buddy stuff (although wouldn't mind getting out and about) but they wanted me to post this link of their dreamhouse.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

*Now* I get it ...

Guess you have to see the whole commercial! It's for a Kohler toliet and the guy is frantically trying to back it up and is flushing all kinds of stuff down. (Apparently it's a super flush.) I couldn't figure out why the guy was trying to back it up. But fianlly saw it from the beginning. There's a hot plumber (named "Jo") who just pulled up next door.

They have some entertaining ads.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

ACK! My tongue is black

The following is a public service announcement:

Nothing worse to jolt you awake. I was sleepily brushing my teeth this morning when I noticed my toothbrush was turning black. What the ... I did already have my coffee but that usually is a little bit of brown. This was ink black. Then I opened my mouth. ACK! I look like that chick in Pirates of the Caribbean -- with the ink black mouth. I quickly take stock of the counter top. Nope, definitely toothpaste I am using. Crap! Did I chew on my pen earlier?

I check in with myself. Besides a little sleepy, I otherwise feel fine. Heart's beating. All my limbs are attached.

Then I remember, I woke up about three a.m. with horrible heart burn. Maybe this was part of that? I had taken some chewable pepto-bismol and then went back to bed. So I googled away and found this pepto page.

It says: The active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol contains bismuth. When a small amount of bismuth combines with trace amounts of sulfur in your saliva and gastrointestinal tract, a black-colored substance (bismuth sulfide) is formed. [Lovely!] This discoloration is temporary and harmless. [Unless you count my ego when everyone freaks out when I talk to them.] It can last several days after you stop taking Pepto-Bismol. [Seriously??]

Several days? Yikes. But hey, the heartburn went away...

Weird. I've never had this happen before and I have taken Pepto before (a lot, in fact, which may be another story you don't want to hear).

So there's you little warning!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Eyes on the world

I've become obsessed with web cams. This comes partly from the Macintosh OSX dashboard. I have widgets that allow me to have a bunch of web cams up while I'm working away on my Windows (kind of a screen saver effect for my Mac, without the actuak screen saver process.).

Today Mount St. Helens is intermittent fog (completely fogged out right at this moment), downtown Denver is mostly sunny, the Golden Gate Bridge just disappeared under a fog bank, people are milling about in Times Square NYC, Old Faithful in Yellowstone is mostly cloudy (and actually going off here and there), and the Russian hamsters are in the dark (actually haven't caught them not in the dark yet but the time stamp keeps updating).

The Times Square is actually part of Sloth Cam, which cycles between Times Square, Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, Calhoun Factory - Canada, Abbey Road - London, Broadway - NYC, Vancouver Aquarium Beluga Whale Cam, San Diego Zoo Panda Cam, Daytona Beach, Trafalgar Square, CBC - Montreal, Del Mar Beach - CA, Venice Beach, Parliament Hill - Ontario, CBC - Toronto, Eiffel Tower, Panama Canal, and Sydney Harbor.

The downtown Denver one is from Camlorado (a collection of about two dozen cameras throughout the state). The one I tend to sit on looks west and I can watch the afternoon t-storms roll in.

I've been trying to add my Hawaii cams but they don't seem to be the correct format. Bummer.

But otherwise a fun way for desktop diversion ...