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Winter is here

Last month my family and I moved to Upstate New York, because my husband’s job, and at the present are experiencing our first Northeast winter. To make things more interesting, we’re are living in a region that experiences “lake effect” snow. This happens early in the winter when air flowing over the lake, in this case Lake Ontario, is colder than the water. Which in short makes it snow a great deal. On top of that, we are far enough North where it can get crazy cold, like below zero cold. We can also pick up Canadian radio stations, and the “energy saver” sticker on our new washing machine, included the Canadian version. Which that’s cool, and…stuff…I don’t know.

Now I know that there are people that deal with this kind of stuff every year, they’re used to it, and that’s awesome for them. I, however, am from Texas, and a winter of this magnitude sounds, well unsettling. The fact that will be experiencing this kind of weather first hand, and also expected to function on a daily basis is, to me, about as sad and scary as watching Bucky be the Winter Solider. Especially when I am reminded that we have lived in this house for less than a month, and this is our third snow storm. Hmm..yeah.

So like many people, I use humor and sarcasm as a defense mechanism, when faced with something unpleasant. Hence the purpose of this blog, to share my thoughts and experiences while living through our first New York winter. The good, the bad, the fun and the unpleasant, because this winter will certainly have a lot of “firsts”.

For example:

My husband and I have had to shovel snow for first time in our lives.

Our kids are wearing snow pants to school, never before have we had to buy them that garment.

Well I can say for certain that it will at least be memorable winter.

Until next time,

The Texan

The Next Amazing Thing

On June 14th, my humble little blog crossed the “been around for 6 months” line. Happy 1/2 birthday “I Write A Little”! My blog has been viewed 414 times, gotten 70 likes, from people all over the world; 21 different countries to be exact, and has gained 20 followers! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, to all my readers; you sir/ma’am are awesome!

Welp, I have officially completed my degree, well not officially really, because my final grade has yet to be posted, so I don’t know what my final GPA is; and I have yet to hold that beautiful piece of paper in my hands. But! All the work has been done. My final paper has been graded. Which by the way, was very well received. My professor used words like; excellent, great details, and very simply, I knew you could do it. He also wrote that he had submitted my paper to the Dean! He could make no promises, of course, but the submission itself is a honor. Which makes me all like….

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For the last assignment, he wanted us to write about our plans/goals, in the forum section, so our class mates could read it as well. Here is what I wrote.

The journey to finally earning this degree began way back in 2006, just a month after I got married. I was taking classes through Southwestern Illinois College, known as SWIC, while still active duty. I was slowed down by babies, moving to Europe, and then back to the states; but here I am, at the end. I honestly have not given much thought to pursuing a master’s degree, just wanted to get this one with my GPA, and my sanity, still intact. I think I have done that successfully, and feel good about accomplishing a long sought after goal. If I were to pursue a master’s degree, it would be in history, most likely the “Public History” program at this university. I would like to work for a museum, or help with historical preservation; either would be awesome. I have also toyed around with the idea of being a historical consultant for movies, you know helping with historical accuracy and such, that would be really awesome!

I learned a good deal about myself throughout this process, have gained some writing experience, come to realize just what I am capable of, and to not settle for my own perceived limitations. I know that I will only go as far as I believe I can, so I need to reach for what I believe is possible, and then go beyond that. I have some creative writing interests that I look forward to focusing on, and by that I mean, screenplay writing. I have one completed story idea, one that is about half done, and a few others floating around in my head. I may succeed, and I may not; but the only way to true failure, is not trying. The dream of writing a screenplay, is something that I have been kicking around since I was 12 or 13, just never told anyone about it. Maybe I never thought I could do it. But this degree, my husband, “Breaking Benjamin” songs, and a book called You Are A Bad-***, have helped to instill some confidence. I look forward to what the future holds, and it is comforting to know that I will always have this degree. Next chapter here I come!

And to also send him a private message about something we learned while researching our chosen topic that we did not previously know. This is what I wrote..

I enjoyed digging a little deeper into this topic, especially the English side of the story. From the start, I was a “team Godwinson” kind of girl, and felt that Harold would have been a good king for England. This time I realized the motivation behind the English people’s will to fight, and just how loyal they were Harold. They were willing to follow him to hell and back, if that meant that they would have a chance to retain their way of life. Even after William won and gained the throne, they were still steadfast to their “Englishness”, or “Saxonness”. I felt inspired by their spirit, because it was that spirit that allowed them to win in the end; the final victory belonged to the people of England. The commitment to hold on to what is important no matter what, that is lesson that I will take with me. Much can be gained from the story of 1066, what that ends up being, depends greatly on who is reading it.

So now that I finished my degree, it time to move to the next amazing thing, for one is not only allotted one amazing thing. My next amazing thing, is to write a screenplay, or 2, or 3; and be involved in the movies. The idea of being in the public eye and achieving some level of fame is a dream that I have secretly harbored for years. My reason is one that I finally said out loud just this morning. “I want to achieve a modest level of fame, in order to use my platform, and money, to serve society in a bigger way.” And to also make people laugh, inspire them, and be the/a reason why they reach for their own dreams. To have an impact, like that, in the lives of other humans, would be well, amazing. It will encourage me to push past any failures or set backs that I will endure, for I know that the road to success is paved by failure. I am committed to giving the world my best, because it deserves my best. And when I feel like giving up, I will stand in front of a mirror and give myself the, “Steve Rogers eyebrows of disappointment”, see below for a visual aid.

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Yep, I am ready to step into the unknown, kick fear in the face, and follow my crazy, amazing, gonna be awesome dream, of writing a screenplay. And there’s the side perk of not only meeting this guy, but working with him. Might as well aim high, right?

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All the while I will be listening to my motivation mix which includes, “Hall of Fame” by The Script, “Failure” by Breaking Benjamin, “It Has Begun” by Starset, “American Noise” by Skillet, and “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.

Alright, the first step has been taken, let the journey begin!

Until next time,

The Texan

Whammies 2.0

A few months ago I wrote a post called “Whammies”. The post was about some the stressors that I had endured during that week which included; husband being gone, school work load, and being sick. All things that filled my time, while also making me not be at 100%; which is something I strongly dislike. Well, the week of whammies has returned. The good thing is that, this time, my husband is home; he’s so good at doing things.

This time my stressors/limiters are:

*Two back injuries in less than a week. I haven’t pulled a muscle in my back in over a year, and I managed to pull two different muscles in five days. The first happened Wednesday night. I fell asleep on the couch while watching “The Golden Girls”, and remained there for over an hour. My upper back let me know the next morning that it did not appreciate the particular position I had settled into. The second happened yesterday while doing a Pilates exercise that I have done a hundred times. For some reason my lower back was not having it.

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*Last night our son threw up in his room, thankfully my husband took care of that one.    : / He seemed fine this morning, so I sent him to school; a couple hours later the school nurse called. Yep, but at least he got to enjoy his first field day before tossing his cookies, again.

*School work. Oh yes, the ever present school work. Although this time its not the large quantity waiting to be completed, but rather that there is not much left. I have less than two weeks before I finish my last class, and my big 21 page paper will turned in tomorrow. This paper was quite the epic under taking, and soon I will hand it off to my professor with the hope that he likes it. And he just had the mention (in the comment section of one my rough drafts) that he sends some papers to the dean, to be reviewed, the ones that are very good. Some of those win awards. When I read that I was like..

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…Did he mention that to everyone, or just ones he is considering. Will he like my paper? Is it serious enough? Will I be just a big fat disappointment? Will I end on a high note? And of course, the biggest stressor is that in only two weeks I will no longer have school work to hide behind. I will be free to be what I say I want to be, which is great, but I also have to get over myself and actually do it. And what I want to do involves offering my heart and soul to the world, and wait to see if they accept or reject my offer.

………………

Nope. Not stressful at all. I suppose the best I can do is take things one step at the time, which is difficult for me because I have no patience and I am very future orientated. I may succeed or I may not; but I’ll only fail if I don’t try.

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If you’ll excuse me, I have a date with my heating pad.

Until next time,

The Texan

Still Fitting in Fitness

I must admit I woke up this morning with no ideas, not a single blog idea. Perhaps it is because most of my brain cells are locked up in that 21 page paper that I have been working on these past few weeks. The good news is that it is all written, all I have to do now is polish it up, and make it awesome. I also got to “blog time” a little later than usual today because I had some extra errands I needed to run, and the electricity went out at the grocery store I usually go to. It wasn’t too big of a deal because the power came back on after about ten minutes of sitting in the parking lot. And luckily, I stumbled upon the Victoria’s Secret undies sale, just a heads up ladies.

Anywho…

Whilst putting the groceries away, I thought, and I thought…

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Then I got an idea. I wrote a post about my exercise routine a couple of months ago, and why I am committed to it; maybe I could write an update. Are you on the edge of your seat yet? I know me too. Or…umm…anyway..

In that post I wrote about the five reasons why I fit in fitness. The first was to achieve my goal of once again being able to do a bunch of pushups. Unfortunately y’all, I totally fell off that wagon. I made it to twenty a day, and then just stopped. However comma, I did add a different workout DVD to my routine that has a lot of focus on the upper body, well and lower body too. Its intense, for real y’all. But it does give me the opportunity to come up with creative swear words like hominy, fujita, homina, and sassafras. The first time I did the routine, I could barely walk, stairs were super fun, but its better now. Another reason was because it gets cold in my house in the winter time, and working out was good chance to not be cold for a while. Thankfully its now summer….ish…or something, anyway its not cold anymore.

Here are the reasons that are still in play:

  1. Bucky’s legs, and looking awesome in yoga pants, which I think is coming along nicely.

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2. Appreciating fitness humor such as…

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and…

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Lol! This is sooo accurate! Good thing I do my workouts at home.

3. Now that the weather doesn’t suck all the time, well its not awesome all the time either. It rained all day today, all day. Today’s rain cancelled my daughter’s field trip and my son’s soccer practice, but at least its not butt cold anymore, but I digress. Now that it is warmer, I have worked in some running. I was a little nervous at first because last time I got a little over zealous which resulted in giving myself runners knee, and the purchasing of an ankle brace. But this time I am taking it slow starting with just one day a week, instead of ummm….three. The last two runs have gone well, there’s some pain and stuff involved but mostly well.

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Lol! Oh well, just gotta keep going right?

4. It has now become a habit. They say it takes 45 days to develop a habit, and I surpassed that long ago. Its now simply a part of my day. So if you have wanted to start working out, or have just begun, stick with it. You’ll be glad you did, trust me.

Well if you’ll excuse me, its about workout time.

Until next time,

The Texan

 

Courage Darling

A couple of weeks ago my family and I took little day trip. We went to the St. Lawrence River, and visited one of the more than 1000 islands that it…has. No, no…that it holds within its banks. Yeah that sounds way cooler. Anyway…

After exploring Heart Island and the Boldt Castle, which I highly recommend if you are ever in this neck of the woods, we drove to Canada to find a place to eat dinner. We stopped in this little Canadian town called Gananoque, and ate at this quirky restaurant called “The Socialist Pig: Food for Everyone”. The food was awesome and the staff were super nice; I also highly recommend this place as well. First off, this fulfilled one of my ten hopes for the year, I believe it was number five or six, “to have been to Canada”. Check! And it added another country to my list of countries that I had gone grocery shopping in, they include; USA, Germany, Italy, Denmark, France, England, and now Canada. Neat huh?

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On the way back home, we drove past a small wooden sign on the side of the road, pretty much in the middle of nowhere that read; “Courage darling, change the world.” It was one of those, did I just see what I thought I saw?, moments. Man that sign hit me right in the fears, but I also felt that it was something that I was meant to see. It also made me wonder, who the heck put up that sign??

Courage can be a tricky thing to grab hold of because it is one of the weapons that we use against the foe known as fear. My daughter, who is nine, has been struggling with finding her courage this week. She signed up for this just for fun talent show that her school is hosting, with the belief that her friend was going to dance to a song with her. Unfortunately, her friend either backed out, forgot, or was told she couldn’t do it. Now as the first practice approaches, she wants to quit. Her reasons being that she signed up believing that her friend would do it with her, she doesn’t want to be on stage by herself, there are too many songs to choose from, everyone will laugh at “the weirdo on stage” (her exact words), and practice is a waste of time. Now she has dance experience, and has performed in six recitals, and one talent show at her other school; so lack of talent is not the issue here. Its fear.

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Last night my husband and I talked to her to encourage her, not wanting her to give up just because things did not go as planned. We told her that we know that if she did go ahead with it, that she would be great; because she always is when she takes a chance on herself. We saw the conflict on her face, not wanting to fail but also not wanting to miss out. We told her that we would stand behind whatever decision she made, but made sure that she knew that we believe that she can do this solo dance and do it well. There is one practice today and one on Thursday, she only has to go to one, so I guess we’ll see what happens; at the moment she is still undecided.

Seeing yourself in your kids can be great, but it can also be not great. I found myself being frustrated with me for having all those dumb traits that my kids are now stuck with as well. And wanting nothing more than for my kids to be better, to be stronger, to be more brave, and to have less fear than I did as kid; or even now. The kids are both too young to fully understand regret, which is something I know all too well, I guess its just one of those things that one has to experience for themselves. They are also too young to fully appreciate the non-tangible rewards that come with working hard or taking chance; they recognize them, the appreciation just is not there yet.

The road to change, or success, or dreams being fulfilled, begins with one step. It can be difficult to see the journey, until the reached destination gives you the benefit of hindsight. Every step is important and each chance taken builds up courage, determination, and bravery; which are all things used to battle against fear. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes.

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“Courage darling, change the world.”

Until next time,

The Texan

 

My Lions

I have discussed fear a little bit on this blog, and on my previous blog as well. By the way, if you’re interested its called “Hope, Faith and Star Wars” and can be found at hopefaithstarwars.com. Fear has always been a big limiting factor for me, I have many fears, and I imagine that I am not alone in that. But eventually one gets to a point in their life when they attempt to find the positive or the good that came from bowing down to fear, as in “how did I benefit from avoiding things that I am afraid of”. If you’re like me, and you too have gotten to that point, you may be struggling to find the aforementioned good.

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Now don’t get me wrong, fear on some levels is good. Fear is a necessary human emotion, because it stops someone from being reckless when they drive or encourages them to be cautious when things look a little dangerous. After all with out fear, the human race would have died out long ago. Fear becomes a bad thing when it crosses into worry, anxiety, or causes the person to give up or hold back. That, my friends, is when fear becomes a big waste of our precious time.

For my final project for my Myth and Ritual class, I analyzed a great story from the Middle East called “The Story of the Prince and the Lions”. The tale is about a prince who in order to prove that he is worthy to be king, has to face a lion; a task that will test his courage. The prince is afraid, so much so, that he decides to run from his destiny and build a new life else where. However, at the first refuge he learns that the surrounding forest is filled with lions and that everyday they attack anyone who is outside the walls of the large estate. So the prince runs again. At the second refuge, he is taken in by a group of Arabs who live out in the desert. A week after his arrival, the prince is asked go to the distant hills, kill a lion, and bring back its skin. This would prove that the prince has courage and would be valuable in a fight should the need arise. Unable to face such a task he runs yet again. At the third refuge, he discovers that the family who has taken him in have a pet lion. This lion is completely harmless, but the prince is so afraid that while listening to the lion walk the halls at night, he breaks into a cold sweat barely able to breath; while hiding in a dark corner. He then comes the realization, that running from his fear has proved impossible because it followed him each time he ran, and would continue to do so. He returns home ready to face his fear, come hell or high water. Much to his surprise, while standing face to face with the lion he discovers that the lion is tame, and even rubs up against his legs like a house cat. When the prince ran from his fear, all he found was more fear, but once he faced it, he got everything he ever wanted and then some. He also found that the task he had been so afraid of, really wasn’t that bad. His motto, which he had put on a sign and hung over the front door of the palace, became “Never run from the lion.”

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This got me thinking about my own lions, the lions from my past, the lions that await me in the future, and ones that I face today. I think that putting something out in the open is a great way to deal with it, to make yourself accountable, and gives you the opportunity to benefit from some else’s wisdom, and encouragement. Today I will share with you some of my fears, with the hope that the act of sharing will encourage you to share your fears with someone, and will allow me to see my own fears in black and white.

  1. To start off a rather silly fear; ferris wheels. This does play into my slight fear of heights, although strangely enough I will ride roller coasters.
  2. Next up an irrational fear, fast moving ceiling fans.
  3. Getting a tattoo. This one is new because I had never considered  getting a tattoo until I watched the Captain America movies and discovered the awesomeness that is James Buchanan Barnes. What would I get? Bucky’s red star on my left arm right where his is. Why am I scared? Because tattoos hurt, and I don’t like needles. For real y’all, I endured the pain of childbirth head on (twice), because I was scared of the epidural needle.
  4. Going to New York City. I have always wanted to go to “The Big Apple”, so much history, so many restaurants, and so much of anything and everything. But its so BIG, and I am weary of big things. I won’t go to Hobby Lobby because its so big.
  5. Wasps, I got stung when I was a kid and it hurt like the devil y’all. Actually, this fear is pretty solid, I see no issues with it.
  6. Another irrational fear, creaky second floors or really second floors in general. A rule in our house is, “no running or jumping upstairs, because it makes Mommy nervous”. Connected to this is my slight fear of tall buildings. My husband and I went to Chicago several years ago, and we visited the John Hancock Building. I almost had a panic attack when I saw that the observation deck was on the 94th, 94th!!, floor. I made it up there, but I walked very gingerly and pretty much felt like I was going to throw up for a good ten minutes. But the point is, I’m glad a went, and I suppose that further solidifies my more than slight fear of heights.
  7. This one is the big one, failure. Fear of failure can prevent a person from, taking a risk, taking a chance, following a dream, and can leave them wondering, “what if?”. If I never ride another ferris wheel again, I won’t be sad, but giving into this fear; I can’t allow that to happen.

Do I know what the future holds? No. What will life after college look like? I’m not sure. Will my ideas for movies ever make onto the big screen? I don’t know. Could my awesome trip to NYC be a big fat disaster? It’s possible. Will that stop me? Never.

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Until next time,

The Texan

I Had a Dream

Y’all I am elbow deep in bachelors degree this week, so I do hope that you will pardon the brevity of this post. But first, a quick update on how my schooling is going. My topic for my capstone paper has been officially approved, and I will be focusing on the English side of things during the events of 1066; particularly Harold Godwinson and the Battle of Stanford Battle. I look forward to writing the paper but also look forward to being finished with said paper, June 25th could not come fast enough y’all.

I was thinking of something that I could write about that would be quick but also amusing, and decided to tell y’all about this dream I had a couple of weeks ago. It involves the People’s Choice Awards, Sebastian Stan, and some brillo pads, it was pretty crazy. Well maybe not crazy, interesting?, thought provoking?, weird?….hmmm…amusing, yeah, we’ll just stick with amusing. Anywho…with out further delay…

So I was at the People’s Choice Awards and I was wearing this dress, I had seen it on an advertisement on Pinterest that day. Then in the morning after I told my husband about the dream, I saw the dress on Pinterest again, and was like, “This is it! This is the dress!” And he was like, “Huh.” So I decided to save the picture.

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I had just mustered up the courage to introduce myself to this guy, which was no small feat I assure you.

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Then I look down and notice that my legs are not only unshaven, they basically looked like someone had glued a bunch of these to them.

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Weird..okay yeah, maybe it was a little weird. I don’t remember anything after that, the shock of having brillo pad legs may have woken me up. By the way, I usually don’t remember my dreams, so recalling this many details is unusual. I wonder what it means…

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Until next time,

The Texan

 

 

 

1066

You’re probably wondering about that title aren’t you? Don’t worry I’ll explain that here in a moment. But first a quick update…my History of Africa teacher was not moved by my words/pleas that I hoped would get me a slightly better grade, but instead provided me with different reason as to why I received the grade that I did. In short, I am hoping that these last classes will prop my GPA back up. Which of course also means that these last two big projects have to be on point y’all. Good thing is that, I’m not worried…okay I’m a little worried. But!, I must keep moving forward because, I’m almost there y’all, almost there.

My Senior Seminar teacher wanted us to submit four topic ideas for our final or capstone paper, as they call it, and he picked the one that he felt would work the best. I will be writing my, gulp, twenty one page paper on the Norman invasion of England in the year 1066. This event is one my favorite historical events mainly because the story is about people, it’s very people focused. So I thought that before diving into my super serious formal history paper, I would like to share the story with you, with my own brand of flare. Now before your brain glazes over, or you switch to a different blog just bear with me, I promise you this will not be boring.

The 1066 Invasion of England, led by Duke William the Conqueror

This is a story about an old English king, a young English earl, a Norman duke, and some dude from Norway. The old English king was called King Edward the Confessor, and in January of 1066 he was near death with no apparent heir to the throne. The young English earl, was Edward’s brother in law, Harold Godwinson. The Norman duke was Edward’s cousin, once removed, William of Normandy. The dude from Norway was actually the king of Norway, and Denmark too I believe, Harold Hardrada, who pointed at some old treaty as to why he should be Edward’s successor.

The story begins in late 1065, the king is old and sick, essentially his days were numbered. In those days the king could chose whomever they wanted to succeed them provided they were apart of the family and had the approval of other English leaders. Now according to William, and many of the written sources most of which are told from the Norman perspective, Edward had told him back in 1053 that he would be Edward’s heir. So as far as William was concerned it was a done deal, all he had to was wait, and England would be his; gift wrapped. However, there was no official record of this exchange, it was basically William’s word against everyone else’s.

Unfortunately for William, on Edward’s death bed he declared Harold Godwinson as being the best qualified for the job. The other English leaders approved because he had shouldered so many royalish duties while the king had been ill, plus he was the leader of the English army. So on January 6, 1066, Harold Godwinson was crowned the King of England, and all was good, until it wasn’t.

Here is the coronation of King Harold as shown on the Bayeux Tapestry, a really long embroidery commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half brother, which shows the events of 1066.  

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Meanwhile in Normandy, William is you know doing his duke stuff and patiently waiting for the English crown to be offered to him. Then one day, someone tells him, “Hey bro, didn’t you hear? Edward died and that Harold dude is the king now.” And William said, “Excuse me, who is the what now?” “Harold is the king.” To which William replied, “Oh hell no!” So he rounded his best men, and they built a bunch of boats, which thankfully was something they were quite good at given the fact that the Normans were descendants of Vikings. He loaded up said boats, with men, horses, and supplies, and set off across the English Channel, to confront….well England basically.

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He landed on the southern coast of England just a few days after Harold and the English won the Battle of Stamford Bridge (fought near York), which took care of that dude from Norway that I mentioned earlier. This distraction also allowed William to land and begin his march further into England unnoticed. Well for the most part, he did encounter some rather confused villagers who had yet to hear that Edward had died. Furthermore they did not care much for this Norman dude with all his horses that had showed up on their doorstep. Perhaps it was the raiding of food stores that caused William to not win their favor, yeah that probably had a lot to do with it.

While still in York, Harold got wind of William’s arrival and he rounded up his guys and headed for London, were he got some new guys. He then marched south and met the armies of William in a open field near the village of Battle. The fighting, known to history as the Battle of Hastings, began around 9am on October 14, 1066, and lasted all day. As daylight faded the Normans began their final assault during which Harold himself was killed, with an arrow to the eye. I know…ouch.

The death of Harold as shown by the Bayeux Tapestry, there are other theories, but this is the traditional story.

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With that victory the English throne was firmly in William’s grasp, and he was crowned William I, on December 25, 1066 at Westminster Abbey. His nineteen year reign was not without its revolts, to which he responded with “Viking flare”, if you get my drift. But nevertheless, the Normans did bring some good things to England, which forever changed the country, and how it dealt with the rest of world.

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Ah history, dontcha just love to bask in its glow. : )

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Until next time,

The Texan