January 29, 2012

Does Miss Austen Truly Regret?

January 29, 2012

Tell me I have done the right thing.  Tell me I was right to change my mind.  Dear God, let me never regret this day.

An outwardly confident but unmarried woman on the verge of her 40th birthday, reflects on her past suitors and the choices she once made while attempting to help her marriage minded niece choose between a number of potential suitors in this tale inspired by the life and letters of Jane Austen. Jane Austen is about to turn 40, but she still hasn't found her ideal man. When Jane is approached by her niece, Fanny and asked to help select the perfect husband for the young girl, the aging spinster begins to wonder why it is that she never found a man to share her own life with. Perhaps if Jane had accepted the proposal of a wealthy landowner she could have saved her family from financial ruin, and what of the handsome young physician who once warmed to Jane after tending to her ailing family members? In this speculative tale, we ponder the potential reasons why the real Jane Austen never found her own Mr. Darcy.

My dearest Fanny,

Nothing could be more intriguing than your latest letter.  Such a description of your queer little heart.  This new young man you adore, is he the one?  If we could only see into the future and know in advance if our choices will turn out to be wise.  Alas, you face the most momentous decision of your life with only your Aunt Jane to advice you.  Come to your  cousin's wedding, prepared to discuss every delicious detail! 

Aunt Jane.

Mme. Bigeon:  (Late at night, both in nightgowns; strong French accent) My friend in Paris has read a wonderful new book called 'Raison and Sensibilite'.
Jane Austen:   Sense and Sensibility?
Mme. Bigeon:   My friend says, whoever the woman is who wrote this book, she knows more about love than anyone else in the world.
Jane:  Like someone who can't cook writing a recipe book!
(She has a good sense of humor)
Mme. Bigeon:  Passion is for the young.  It fades so quickly.
Jane:  (Wistfully)  Not in our dreams!
Mme. Bigeon:  Comfort remains, friendship remains, if you are lucky as I was.
Jane:  Happiness in marriage remains a matter of chance.
(She knows so much for a woman who's never been married before!)
Mme. Bigeon:  But the fuss we make about who to choose.  And love still dies and money still vanishes. And, spinster, lover, wife, every woman has regrets.  So we read about your heroines and feel young again.  And in love.  And full of hope.  As if we can make that choice again.
Jane:   And do it right this time.
Mme. Bigeon:  This is the gift which God has given you.
(Jane Austen looks up sharply)
Mme. Bigeon:   It is enough, I think.

Fanny Austen-Knight:  You like Mr. Haden!
Jane:  He has very good teeth.
(Most Brits have bad teeth.  Orthodontics aren't really that important to them)

Jane: (Reads to Cassandra from the first draft of Persuasion)  More than seven years were gone since this little history of sorrowful interest had reached its close.
Jane:  She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older.   The natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.  She had used him ill, deserted and disappointed him, and worse, she had shown a feebleness of character in doing so, which his own decided, confident temper could not endure. She had given him up to oblige others.
Jane:   She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time,  but alas! alas! she must confess to herself that she was not wise yet.
Cassandra Austen:  I don't know how you say it without tears!
Jane: I don't cry at anything that pays me money!
(I love her sense of humor)

Fanny:  Were you really never in love?
Jane:   The truth is Fanny, and this must be our secret.  You must not tell anyone.  The truth is....... I am she that loved and lost!
Fanny:  Who is he?  Tell me!
Jane:   I loved and lost, and pined and yearned, and then swore myself to solitude and consolations of writing about it instead.
Fanny:   Did you really?
Jane:   You read far too many novels!

Oh, I'll just die on the spot if you were in love with Mr. Plumtree!   I'm weak with adoration already!   Please don't expect a Mr. Darcy!  My darling girl, this is the real world!  The only way to get a man like Mr. Darcy is to make him up!

Girls of twenty are so desperate to be in love.  It's hard to tell if it's real.  Everyone should have the chance to marry once for love, if they can.

My dearest Cassandra,

Do not have imagine I have any real objection to Mr. Plumtree.  I have rather taken a fancy to him that not.  Now, however, I am all alone.  What happiness!  At this present time, I have five tables, eight and twenty chairs and two fires all to myself.  I am mistress of all I survery!  So where should I begin?  Which of my important nothings shall I tell you first?

Aunt Jane.

Jane:    If that's what you think they say, my dear.  Perhaps you should read them again.
Fanny:  What's worse, do you think?  To marry the wrong man or die a lonely old maid?

Jane's answer, as we all know would be marry the wrong man, since she died an old maid.  Lonely?  I don't think so!

All of Jane Austen's novels end in a wedding.

Pride and Prejudice



Sense and Sensibility


Mansfield Park

Northanger Abbey

Of all the love stories filling the rich imagination of Jame Austen, one in particular did not end with wedding bells.  Her own.  Why did the author who embodied the brilliant wit and high spirits of her heroines not take the plunge into matrimony herself?  Therein lies a very poignant tale, as presented by Masterpiece in its bittersweet period drama, Miss Austen Regrets.


January 15, 2012

Morning Rituals

    I hate morning rituals.  Really.  Get up in the morning, turn on the tv to the morning news, take a shower, floss, brush, apply  deodorant, body lotion, face lotion, heat up the flat iron, change, brush and iron my hair, ( If it's a wash your hair day, I would have to set my alarm at 5:30 am just to wash, blow dry and iron my hair which takes a good hour or so.)  Sometimes, I wish I were a nurse so I can just pony tail my hair and go to work with no make up, in my scrubs and rubber shoes.  Those medical workers' got it made!  Now, where was I?  Ah yes, apply make up, apply eye drops, inhaler, put on my shoes, make the bed and prepare breakfast which  consists of toast with butter and jam, 2 slices of fruit, a slice of cheese and a cup of tea.  Read the papers, eat and dump the dishes in the dishwasher and out the door at 7:30 am.
Driving to work takes me 15-20 minutes and this is the only ritual that I do not mind because it's my "me time" and I'm usually listening to my Beatles cd. I currently have 6 Beatles cds in my car and I've been listening to them over and over again since I don't know, August? A few days ago, I was listening to the song "Something" over and over again from the time I left home til I reached work and again from the time I left work and reached home! I fell in love with this song when I was 12 and still love this song at 53!


George Harrison's original  composition of "Something" in his own write!

     My ritual continues when I arrive at work.  I slide open my glass window, flip on the lights and check for God forbid, critters inside the glue traps to the left and right of my desk with a flashlight.  I won't even go there but you can reverse back to my previous blog about "Disgusting Mickey" if you want the full synopsis. 

     I enter the office across mine, unlock the door with my keys, purposely leave my keys in the door knob and leave the door open.  I get my laptop and keyboard inside the cabinet.  I turn on the copy machine because it takes a while to 'heat up'.  As I'm heading out of this office, there's usually someone walking by who'll notice my keys in the door knob and tell me "someone left their keys".  I reply "I know, they're mine."  It's a ritual, don't you get it?  On my way out, I'll grab my keys and march into my office.  Less things for me to carry on my way in.  I set my laptop down, open it, turn it on, unwind the cord around my keyboard and plug it into my laptop, plug the internet cord and lock down my laptop.  I take out my mouse from my right drawer, unravel the cord and plug it in.  This, I have been doing for 5 freakin years day in and day out.  Why do I have a laptop and not a desktop where I can just click the damn switch on every morning like everyone else?  Because my office is only 12 feet from the front doors leading to the street which means anyone can come in and steal my laptop.  That's why I have a laptop that's locked to my desk.  I spoke with the tech guys about this and they said they could bolt down a screen to my desk so no once can steal it.  But I would still have to set up my laptop daily.  I really need to get a larger screen because everything on my laptop is too damn small to read.  Some people say it just gives the thief something extra to ponder and steal before and after work hours.  True! 

I have a nice view but those doors drive me nuts.

Fast forward to Feb, 2012.  Finally got my 19" monitor.  Was hoping for a 24" but I'm happy with this.  Larger than what most have around here.  Why didn't I ask for this 5 years ago?  Also figured out how to set my laptop Beatles slideshow.  Got to add more pics!

    The ritual doesn't end there.  I hang my jacket behind the door and put my purse inside my drawer.  I see the flashing light on my phone and I'm debating whether I should get my coffee first or check my voicemail.  Coffee first.  On to the dining room I head, pouring my coffee, adding milk, splenda, stir, lid and sleeve, throw the packet and stirrir in the trash and head back to my desk.  Then I check my voicemail.

That's around 35 rituals that I do everyday between 6 to 8 am.  No wonder I hate morning rituals.  I bet your morning ritual is no different than mine!

January 11, 2012

Traffic School Online

December 29, 2011

Here I am, during my 9th day of Christmas break and what am I doing?  Taking an online course in Traffic School!  What a bummer!  I'd rather be shopping, watching a movie, getting a pedi, sleeping, or doing anything besides this.  First of all, shame on that cop for hiding on Casey Drive, catching drivers doing a rolling stop.  Wtf?  He should be out there catching real violators cutting people off, speeding, etc.  Nobody else was there on the road, not even a pedestrian, other than myself!  When his lights came on, I was puzzled as hell.  Of course he had to pull me over on Junipero Serra where everybody and their uncle could see me!  I hate that.  I politely asked him what I did wrong and he just answered "Drivers license, registration, and proof of insurance please".  Pulled everything out but was having trouble finding my insurance card.  I tried to talk him out of giving me a citation but I figured my first question to him blew it completely.  You're supposed to admit your error and promise not to do it again and be more careful the next time, smarty pants!  I always figure things out after the fact.  Dumb ass me!

Anyway, he told me to continue looking for my insurance card and hold it up outside my  window while he was back there writing up my citation.  When I finally found it, he walks up to me and hands me the ticket marked "Failure to stop completely at a stop sign and no proof of car insurance".  He then scratches off the 2nd  charge.  Man, you must be way below your quota for the day, huh?

I told him that I thought I made a complete stop (well, sorta, like a nano second) and he invited me to come to his car and view the whole thing which he got on tape.  Do I really want to get out of my car and watch this so everyone driving past Junipero Serra could see me?  I'm such a nut for even being concerned about this.  Instead, I said "Never mind", knowing that I'd lose anyway.  Who is the judge going to believe at this point?  Me or the officer?

This happened back in October.  The penalty is $265.  Had he written a citation for not having proof of insurance even if I were to provide proof at a later date, I would still have to pay $20 processing fee.  What an absolute rip off on all of the above!  I just look at it as a very generous donation to the city where I live.

I can't count how many tickets I have accumulated since I have started driving about 36 years ago.  As a matter of fact, I got my first speeding ticket just one week after my drivers license arrived in the mail.  I tried to beat a red light when the cop stopped me for speeding.  I never told my parents about the ticket and just paid for it myself, figuring they'll never find out.  Several months later, mom came home from the insurance company's office announcing that our insurance rates went up because of my speeding ticket which she found out eventually.  I didn't know about traffic school at that time.  Back then, you can just attend traffic school and the fees would be waived and cleared from your record.  Now, you must attend traffic school and pay the penalty.  Everybody wants your money.

Over a year ago, I was driving on El Camino when I noticed the cameras flashed on me.  Didn't think much of it since I knew I didn't do anything wrong.  About 2 weeks later, I got a citation in the mail with a picture of me behind the wheel.  It said I did not make a full stop before making a right turn on a 4 way intersection.  The penalty was around $400+.  I was furious!  I knew I made a stop but according to their calculations, I only made a stop in a nano second.  But there was no oncoming vehicle at that time!  Now, they've got cameras everywhere on top of cops to get you for any moving violation.  Who the hell thought of this idea?  Must be a millionaire by now.  Why couldn't I have thought of that?

Anyway, I paid our local courthouse a visit to settle the ticket and of course, the line was so damn long.  Imagine my surprise when the clerk took one look at my ticket and informed me that the case has been dismissed.  I said "what?  are you sure?"  She replied, "case has been dismissed.  You can go  now."  I thought I was the luckiest girl on the planet!  A few days later, it appeared in the news that the cameras installed in certain parts of our city did not have the proper permits, therefore, any moving violations caught on camera were all dismissed between a certain period.  Woo hoo!  I was elated!  The law indicates that you are eligible to attend traffic school if your last moving violation is no more than 18 months.  My luck.  Between that camera violation and not making a full stop last October, that would be exactly 18 months.  However, I don't think the camera violation would count since it got dismissed.

To make a long story short (well, not quite since this is practically a novel), I finally finished my online traffic school in what?  3-4 days? And the due date is Jan 9.  Now I'm forced to request a rush handling with Fed Ex delivery which is going to cost me an extra $25.  So the total cost of this moving violation has gone up to $346!  Hmmmm, what could I have bought for $346? 

A new handbag
3.5 months of groceries
My monthly car/property insurance
1 month of gas bill for 3 cars
A ton of new clothes

The list goes on and on.  Everyday, when I drive pass that stop sign where that cop caught me, I make sure I make a full stop and look left to see if there's a cop hiding in the side street.  Sometimes, I forget and make a semi rolling stop and then I stop once more after the fact, just to make sure there's no one out there spying on me.  I wonder if they can still stop you for doing that?

So, my traffic school certificate arrived via Fed Ex on Jan 5 and I made the last minute trip to the courthouse on Fri, Jan 6 to turn it in before the due date of Mon, Jan 9.  Shame on me.  Had I missed the due date, the moving violation would show up on my DMV record and my insurance would be affected.  All on top of paying $346.  That's even worse.  At my age, I should know better to be a more responsible law abiding driver.  Shame on me again!  Happy New Year to y'all and don't forget to make a FULL STOP the next time you run into one of these signs!