zaterdag 28 november 2015

An Ode To Romantic Love

Gipsy Trail by R. Kipling:

The white moth to the closing bine,
  The bee to the opened clover,
And the gipsy blood to the gipsy blood
  Ever the wide world over.

Ever the wide world over, lass,
  Ever the trail held true,
Over the world and under the world,
  And back at the last to you.

Out of the dark of the gorgio camp,
  Out of the grime and the grey
(Morning waits at the end of the world),
  Gipsy, come away!

The wild boar to the sun-dried swamp,
  The red crane to her reed,
And the Romany lass to the Romany lad,
  By the tie of a roving breed.

The pied snake to the rifted rock,
  The buck to the stony plain,
And the Romany lass to the Romany lad,
  And both to the road again.

Both to the road again, again!
  Out on a clean sea-track --
Follow the cross of the gipsy trail
  Over the world and back!

Follow the Romany patteran
   North where the blue bergs sail,
And the bows are grey with the frozen spray,
   And the masts are shod with mail.

Follow the Romany patteran
  Sheer to the Austral Light,
Where the besom of God is the wild South wind,
  Sweeping the sea-floors white.

Follow the Romany patteran
  West to the sinking sun,
Till the junk-sails lift through the houseless drift.
  And the east and west are one.

Follow the Romany patteran
  East where the silence broods
By a purple wave on an opal beach
  In the hush of the Mahim woods.

"The wild hawk to the wind-swept sky,
  The deer to the wholesome wold,
And the heart of a man to the heart of a maid,
  As it was in the days of old."

The heart of a man to the heart of a maid --
  Light of my tents, be fleet.
Morning waits at the end of the world,
  And the world is all at our feet!
 
Quoted from here. 

donderdag 26 november 2015

Leave Me Where I Am I'm Only Sleeping...

I dedicate this song to all of ladies of leisure out there - it should be made our hymn:



P.S.Here goes a disclaimer:

 I'd urge my readers to realise that at least half of everything on this blog is written tongue-in-cheek. Housewives are often accused of being lazy bonbon eaters, so I agree and amplify. And I do really love bonbons, though unfortunately, I'm allergic to chocolate. In reality, what I'm doing at home I see definitely as work, it's just different from what my husband does.

P.P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!

dinsdag 24 november 2015

The Freedom To Be Yourself

I have been thinking that though our society promotes "tolerance" and "freedom of choice" it will attack those who are not in line with liberalism just as often as the traditional society attacked those not in line with traditionalism (if not more).

What does it mean for a homemaker? First, you aren't supposed to like to be at home. If you are a mother of small children, it's OK to talk about great sacrifice you made when abandoning your career and how one day you are planning to return back to the workforce or to start your own business or whatever. Or, alternatively, you constantly have to prove how busy you are. You aren't expected to have any leisure time or, at least, not to admit to it publicly.

And, yet, though there are definitely women who enjoy to be out and about and working outside home, there are also plenty of ladies who prefer staying home even without/with grown children. Some of them are into crafts, others have a busy social life, or may be, they just spend their days with a book on a couch. It's really none of our business how they choose to live their life and yet they are constantly under attack, sometimes from their own relatives. This ostracism makes it difficult for an average woman to admit that she actually likes being home.

Another example is clothes. Again, we are considered to be pretty tolerant and yet you are expected to daily wear a uniform of jeans and t-shirts, with may be a rather short skirt in between, but if you try to violate this rule, especially if you are seriously into modest or historical type of clothes, you will be ridiculed or, at least, raise a few eyebrows. Women in the West aren't supposed to be modest, quite the opposite.

When I was younger, I was often hurt by the remarks of others concerning my "alternative" lifestyle, but with years I simply ceased to care. Yes, I will freely admit that sometimes I feel myself  "a lady of leisure", that I brunch or lunch with friends while my husband works long hours to provide, that I like shopping and pretty things, that though I like cooking I seldom spend more than an hour making dinner, that when the day is sunny I will abandon housework and spend a morning sunbathing in a friend´s garden, that I watch silly TV series like Keeping Up Appearances and that I would choose an afternoon with a trashy novel above making Power Point presentations in the office.

I´m writing all this not to try and say that good housekeeping isn´t important. Of course, it is, just like cooking nutritious meals and having a tight grip on your finances. I´m also not trying to insinuate that it´s OK to be lazy. It´s just that life at home is more flexible than the rigid working hours of a factory or an office, and once the children are older, you can afford more time for friends and hobbies, and, unless your husband complains, you shouldn´t really feel guilty about it.

Personally I admire women who dare to come out and admit they like frilly feminine things, those who dare disregard the modern conventions and will, for instance, wear long dresses or spend their days embroidering instead of making money. They are brave enough to live their life in the way they see fit, without asking the approval of others first. It´s actually a crazy thing when a woman will write in comments that she would like to dress more femininely but fears the reaction of others. Life is actually too short to pay attention to this nonsense.

If people claim to be `pro~choice` they should accept that some of us will choose a traditional lifestyle.

zondag 22 november 2015

The Scriptures And Open Borders

Were the borders open in Biblical times? Are border checks and visas a modern invention? Did the countries even have borders back then? I found an interesting article dealing with this issue. Below is an excerpt:

The very positive statements about the treatment of strangers in the Bible, some of which were already quoted, show compassion for the alien in ancient Israel. The defenders of illegal aliens point to these passages as the rationale for rewriting current laws. The problem is that they make a simplistic correlation between the ancient Israelite social law and the modern situation as if the Bible was addressing the same problem. Three important questions must be raised before one attempts to apply Israelite law to the modern situation: 1) Was there such a thing as territorial sovereignty in the second millennium B.C. when these laws originated; 2) Within that socio-legal setting, what was a “stranger” or “sojourner;” and 3) How does one obtain this status? 

If you are interested, read the whole article over here.

zaterdag 21 november 2015

Healthy Foods: Teff






Teff (Eragrostis Tef) is another of the Biblical crops. Though it probably comes from Ethiopia, it was found in the pyramids of Egypt which are 5500 years old.

It's a traditional crop in Ethiopia and Eritrea, but since recently also cultivated, among others, in the Netherlands and the USA. Why such sudden popularity? The fact that it's low in gluten (English Wiki claims that it's completely gluten-free, but I will go with the Dutch version) makes teff attractive for people with celiac disease,  but teff also has a high calcium content, a lot of vitamins and minerals (such as thiamin, magnesium, zinc), a lot of iron and it is also rich in protein and contains all 8 essential amino acids.

When I first saw it in a supermarket I was intrigued and after reading about it, decided to give teff a try. Today we ate it for breakfast. The package you see is actually a mixture of teff, corn flour and rice flour, you have to add 5 to 6 table spoons of this stuff to a cup of cold or hot milk, and your breakfast is ready. It was rather neutral in taste, but it didn't taste weird or something. I found it definitely better than quinoa. Teff is pricy, but it's still cheaper than the instant breakfast made of spelt.

If you are interested, read more about teff over here. 

donderdag 19 november 2015

Homemaking Or Career?

I had some intellectual posts planned but since by now I'm thoroughly sick of all the unpleasantness around, I'm taking down the previous post and leaving you with episode 2 of I Married Joan, a cute 1950s sitcom. Enjoy:


dinsdag 17 november 2015

For My American Readers

I'm getting rather upset by so much misinformation on the interwebz about gun laws in France. I realise Americans love their firearms and consider their possession to be the solution of all problems (though the USA seem to be marching down the cliff together with the rest of the West), but in my opinion, one should always first inform himself on the matter before making statements on the net.

The possession of firearms is NOT prohibited in France, it's regulated. Fully automatic weapons are prohibited, semiautomatics including handguns are subject to licensing, other types of firearms should be registered while historical firearms (according to this site it includes revolvers, while that one denies it) are free for everyone. It's really not that difficult to acquire a license and according to the Dutch site I've linked above many stores don't even ask for it. (More on gun laws in France here and here).

While I'm not sure where they stand on concealed carry, the truth is that people in Europe usually don't take weapons with them while attending a hard rock concert or drinking a beer in a cafe because it's generally safe over here, outside of certain neighbourhoods (though it's becoming less so). People purchase guns to protects their homes and other property (shops) from burglary, they don't go through the day planning on participating in a firefight with terrorists (which may change very soon, unfortunately).

There is really little excuse for so much ignorance in the age of broadband:)

maandag 16 november 2015

R.I.P.

Today Europe mourns for her sons and daughters. May they rest in peace. We won't forget those responsible.

By Popular Demand...

I'm finally going to post the pictures of what I'm usually wearing at home (well, at least, some of the outfits). All the photos were taken the week before last. Please excuse the quality, as there is a couple of not very successful selfies and some pics taken in the evening.






This is a the skirt I knitted recently. Here is a close-up:





The same skirt with a different t-shirt:





The next skirt I found in a second-hand store, it's a Danish brand.





Making dinner:





Going on a visit, with a different shirt:





This dress I bought online:





I'm afraid it's not much, as I usually wear the same skirt for a couple of days, just switching blouses.
I hope it'll cheer you up, after the horrible events of the past weekend! (Not that we ever forget it, though).



zaterdag 14 november 2015

The Battle Of Algiers

Have been wanting to write about this movie long ago, now it looks like a good time for it.

The Battle Of Algiers is an Italian 1966 film which shows both how terrorist tactics were used to reach  certain objectives and how they were dealt with by the French back in the less liberal 1950s. The movie is in French with English subtitles:




WARNING: contains scenes of violence and torture, not suitable for children.

vrijdag 13 november 2015

Just Another Day In France...

Paris shooting:

Scores killed and injured after 'Kalashnikov and grenade attacks' across French capital


donderdag 12 november 2015

Celtic Calendar

Apparently, according to Celtic/Gaelic calendar, it's already winter, since November (Samhain) is the first winter month. It does make sense from the point of view of the days getting extremely short and the general darkness of the season. For about a week already it's been getting dark at around 4 p.m. over here, and even earlier, though today the sun came out and the temperatures are more suitable for spring than for winter.

Samhain was also the name of the precursor of the modern Halloween and it was an important pagan festival, marking the end of the harvest season, as you probably know. It's interesting that in The Hobbit Tolkien mentions something about the old dwarves' calendar where the New Year began in November, so you can see where he got it from.

In ancient Rome, on the other hand, the year originally began in March (September = the seventh month, October = the eighth month, November = the ninth month with December being the last, tenth month and the winter days originally not belonging to any month at all). In the times of Julius Caesar it did already begin in January. Caesar further reformed the calendar, by, among other things, adding ten additional days and thus making the official year 365 days long.

He also apparently changed the length of the week, as in the times of the Republic Romans still were using the original Etruscan system of the 8-day week with one designated market day.

It's interesting that in different countries the year began on a different day. 1 November by the Celts, 1 September in Byzantine Empire, 25 December in Anglo-Saxon England and yet since Julian Calendar became the official calendar of the Roman Catholic Church all the other calendars became eventually aligned with it, (and later with Gregorian calendar) so that the first of January officially became the New Year's Day.

The Ancient Roman civilisation is long gone, but its legacy still survives. Definitely something to think about.

maandag 9 november 2015

The Sacredness Of The Marriage Bond

Heaven knows, I've done my fair share promoting the marriage of convenience which in Dutch is called the marriage of understanding (as in using your brain while choosing the future marriage partner) however, I'd like to stress that in Western Christian tradition marriage has always been considered something more than a mere trade deal.

When you say, "I do", you create something  which has been considered very special from the time immemorial: what God hath brought together let no man put asunder. You create a new family which originally consists of the husband and the wife and later (hopefully) of their children, too. The Scriptures speak highly about marriage and point out that the relationship between the spouses is more important even than the ties between grown up children and their parents:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Quoted from here)

Nowadays this very basic family unit is under assault from all directions. While many Christians get upset about the acceptance of alternative family arrangements like SSM, they often conveniently forget to mention the scourge of easy, no-fault divorce and its wide acceptance both in church and society.

While I think that divorce should not be entirely prohibited, it should be, in my opinion, restricted to certain extreme cases, fault should be proven in court and the other spouse should be able to contest it. As of now, the one who wants a divorce will always get it and the only reason people go to court is when they are fighting about custody and property division.

Divorce is the ultimate betrayal. It tears families apart and creates misery and poverty. Divorce is also oath-breaking, especially if the couple were married in church. For better for worse, till death do us part, becomes for better or never or simply until I get bored and can move on. I'd like to point out that our Germanic ancestors even in pre-Christian times considered oath-breaking one of the most despicable crimes, worthy of torments of Hell. (More on this topic here)

Marriage bond is meant to be the source of comfort for the couple, so when the life gets tough, they can support each other, instead of choosing an easy way out. No-fault divorce creates a situation when spouses start distrusting each other and even suspecting the worst, especially if someone in their circle of family and friends recently got divorced.

It's often especially devastating for the homemaker, who is left without means and forced to search for a job, which can be quite challenging if one spent years at home. Women have always competed with other women for resources which they primarily got through men. Even in our progressive times, most women still rely on their husbands' paychecks to make ends meet and easy divorce takes away any security they can have in their marriage. I'm convinced that no-fault divorce is the greatest threat to the traditional family which exists nowadays.

The other way the marriage bond is attacked is subtle and less obvious but nevertheless, it's a direct assault on the husband's position within the family. Gone are the days when the man was the king of his castle and his wife bore him children. In those days she used to be a housewife/homemaker nowadays, if she stays home at all, she is a stay-at-home mom or a queen bee. It's all about her and her children and the husband exists to function as an ATM and give her foot massages.

Childless couples are often denigrated and the idea that a woman whose children are grown should stay home for the sake of her husband is ridiculed or never even mentioned at all. In fact, I personally know someone who was once told by a church lady that she had no family since it was only her husband and herself at the time. The fact is that your husband is your family, he will stay with you after the children have left home and he doesn't like to feel that the only thing you need him for is his paycheck.

I know that some folks on the right are very cynical about the whole concept of romantic love, and I myself criticised it on this blog and pointed out that "love" alone  was an insufficient reason to get married, and yet, the concept of finding your Prince Charming, falling madly in love and living happily ever after persists in Western culture, the only culture in the world which enforced strict monogamy and thus raised the wife to the equal social standing with her husband and created the notion of marriage being more than just a business deal between familes and an instrument of getting a legal heir.

You may call it emancipation, I call it degeneration

zondag 8 november 2015

Something Positive For Sunday

These pictures were taken last week when we visited a zoo in the North of the country.

Alpaca's:








They are soft and cuddly and children adore them:)

Hudson wolves:









A nice group of predators, a lynx:





a tiger:





and a puma:




two bear cubs:

 and their mother:






some nice birdies:




















and lemurs, who first evolutionary theorists said were our ancestors, but now they are saying they are not. Nevertheless, I find them funny:




That was about all for today, till next time!


donderdag 5 november 2015

Is The Tide Turning?

Here is hope for all the homemakers out there who feel themselves attacked by others, sometimes even their own family, which is very frustrating. As the society is getting more liberal, it becomes increasingly tolerating to "alternative" lifestyles, including, incredibly enough, the families with the traditional division of labour.

So here is an excerpt from an advice column in an American newspaper:


Dear Amy: My sister lives across the country. She has been married for 33 years. They've raised two daughters who are now adults, but she's been living the most boring life ever!
I don't know how she could be happy doing nothing but cooking and cleaning for all these years. And then she has the nerve to criticize me for not having enough time in my day, when she has no clue what it's like to work full time.


There is more in the same style, including this:

I've asked her to write me a list of what she does all day. I've sent her lists of what I manage to accomplish in the three hours I have in my home, but she has declined to provide her list.

It's actually a typical line of attack, accusing a homemaker of doing nothing the whole day.

However, the advice the lady gets is not exactly what she expected, as Amy very bluntly tells her she was being rude and needs to apologise to her sister for criticising her choices:


She doesn't owe you or anyone else an explanation or justification for the choices she has made.
She also doesn't need to provide you a list of her daily activities so that you can pick it apart, looking for holes in her schedule. Your demands — and your assumptions about her — are disrespectful.

You see, placing individual choices above everything else has it's positive side, too!  Like my mother told me recently, it's the current year, you can be anything you want!


Read the whole exchange over here . H/t to Aaron Clarey