Friday, January 13, 2012

The notoriety of it all.

I've been busy reading. First up on the list was Leslie Carroll's Notorious Royal Marriages, a book I had started before but suspected I hadn't finished. Turns out I did finish it that first time but I couldn't seem to put it down, it was so depressing. Being royal did mean power and money-most of the time-but it also was synonymous with heartache and depression. Henry VIII? Went through six wives and never found true happiness or contentment and worried to his dying day about the state of his soul because of his rift with the Pope (although it seems he never contemplated reversing his decision). Eleanor of Aquitaine, my personal favorite, was imprisoned for fifteen years because her husband, Henry Plantagenet, cheated on her and she had the temerity to be upset by it and to take action. She outlived him, however, and devoted herself to her sons, so I imagine she wasn't completely unhappy (although three of her sons died before she did, including her beloved Richard).

Then there were the modern-day royal marriages. Prince Charles had a girlfriend but she wasn't quite good enough for the royal court (which is rather funny, considering the antics of many of its members, living and dead) so he was instructed to find a proper royal womb. Diana fit the bill, and then millions of people tuned in to watch her walk down the aisle. Problem was, of course, that Charles had no intention of giving up his mistress. Diana could take action, however, something many of her predecessors could not do (although in other courts it seemed to be acceptable to discretely take a lover after the heir was born). She took lovers of her own and then decided to truly get back at the royal family, dishing about all the dirty laundry via the media. I must say I "hurrahed!" at this point, because I rather saw her as standing up for all the other English queens that had no voice (upon consideration I must add that I do not condone that action, but I completely understand why she did it). Then Diana's life came to a crashing halt and Prince Charles was free to marry the love of his life. It appears that there is some friction there, however, because Camilla is finding the life of a royal to be somewhat constricting.

Whew. That was only one modern marriage, but I think it's a good stopping point. That's not the only book I've been reading. I finished Dave Ramsay's The Money Answer Book this morning and my head is brimming full of ideas. It also put to rest most sympathy I had for the "we are the 99%!" protesters who have been sitting around and doing nothing, although they are asking for free money (which is a misnomer, someone is paying for it). Although some undoubtedly are having trouble finding a job I refuse to believe all of them can't find work. Wealth doesn't come easily (unless you inherit), most people have to sacrifice some creature comforts in order to attain it. I think we've (as a country) gotten away from the idea of hard work, pay cash, don't buy things unless you can afford them. I'm always amazed at the people who own nice cars yet live in dump heaps and have cable television yet complain they have no money. You can survive without those things and be happy.

Of course, there is an economic gap, and apparently that is something of concern because a shrinking middle class is not beneficial to an economy. I'm not an economist, neither am I a politician. I am, however, the daughter of an immigrant whose father and mother worked long, excruciating hours at a grocery store to save up enough money to eventually own their own business, several boats, and the latest in electronics and gadgets. On my mother's side I'm the descendant of many people who worked hard, saved hard, and now are wealthy. Right now I work full-time, my husband is ROTC and National Guard and working part-time and, in case that wasn't enough, going for his engineering degree. It's the first semester we haven't taken out loans (although of course that wasn't planned and at first I was really upset by it) and we will survive. Not only that, we will (if we stick to the budget, which is hard to do, I will be the first to admit) be able to put some money into savings. Upon graduation we won't have an increase in our living expenditures, although Damm will be making more than we pull in now. We'll be attacking our school debts, saving up for retirement, for our kids college funds. We don't have cable, we have an old car, we eat lots of rice and beans (although I do include enough variety in our diets to make sure we are healthy and that the kiddos are thriving), we don't go out to eat often and we won't be buying a home until we have enough to plunk a sizable amount of cash down. All that to say: if we can do it and have hope of being debt-free with a comfortable retirement and the ability to assist our kids, so can everyone else.

I will add (because I'm me and can't get away from putting myself in other people's shoes, even when I don't want to) that I don't like people being out on the streets, I don't want kids to go hungry, and I want everyone to find gainful employment. I might have little sympathy with the protesters (who seem to have gone away for the most part) but I do have empathy.

But enough of my sermonizing. Work hard, save hard and give hard. Now "hard" doesn't look like "hard", because I've typed it too many times. Does that happen to anyone else? When you look at a word too long and it looks weird? Anyway, Wulfa out.

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