For Valentine’s Day: The 17th-Century Method for Knowing When Your Heart is Broken

I’ve been happily married for almost 18 years, but my kids listen to enough Taylor Swift (Lord help me) for me to know what a broken heart means in 21st-century America:  It means “breaking down and coming undone,” feeling that “I’m only me when I’m with you” (don’t get me started on how messed upContinue reading “For Valentine’s Day: The 17th-Century Method for Knowing When Your Heart is Broken”

Vile-Hearted Renaissance Peckerhead of the Month: January

If Ambrose Westrop were alive today, he would be considered a Nice Guy™. Why would Westrop be my January candidate for Vile-Hearted Renaissance Peckerhead of the Month if he was such a nice guy? No, he wasn’t a nice guy, he was a Nice Guy™ (Nice Guy definition from GeekFeminismWiki). This is a relatively new coinageContinue reading “Vile-Hearted Renaissance Peckerhead of the Month: January”

Vile-Hearted Renaissance Peckerhead of the Month–October

Happy Hallowe’en!  During this time of unwitting mimicry of ancient ceremony and conjuration of forgotten powers, it seems only appropriate to venture into the world of Renaissance magic for this month’s “Peckie” (short for “Peckerhead,” of course). *** Adopting an alias.  Speaking with angels.  Wife-swapping.  If October’s “Renaissance Peckerhead of the Month” nominee Edward KelleyContinue reading “Vile-Hearted Renaissance Peckerhead of the Month–October”

Ex libris

I believe that most people (or at least the people I want to know) have a special “library place” in their hearts. It’s what causes the smile that breaks when entering a new library; the shiver on catching the familiar whiff of old books; the frisson of anticipation after realizing that stacks and stacks of books can beContinue reading “Ex libris”

Vile-Hearted Renaissance Peckerhead of the Month–September

  While doing research, I often come across fascinating tidbits or though-provoking morsels I want to share.  For example, did you know midwives would sometimes place chunks of nutmeg or cloves on a laboring woman’s thigh, reasoning that the baby would be attracted to the delicious scent and want to make its way into the world?Continue reading “Vile-Hearted Renaissance Peckerhead of the Month–September”