Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vacation Pictures

I have so many that I decided to divide them into groups and publish one by one, so here it comes:


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Crafty Tuesday

After the heat wave of the last two weeks we've got some colder weather, the temperature dropped to about +21*C and it's raining again. Good weather to wear my tunic.

So here is the proof that I didn't spend the whole of my vacation lounging around:

I gave it the last finishing touches today and bought a dress to wear with it. It was on sale and only cost me 7.50! The dress looks cute on its own, too, and is exactly in the style I like, so it was a deal. I still haven't had time to sort the vacation pictures, and this evening we won't be at home, but I'll try to post them tomorrow.

Now my next objective is to finally sew this skirt I have been planning to make all summer:) Well, maybe tomorrow, inbetween shopping, cleaning the house and ironing I'll find some time for it...

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Vacation And Other Things

We had a very nice vacation, only the weather was a bit too hot for my taste, especially the last couple of days!

I'll try to post the pictures soon. Besides sightseeing, I have been reading a book about Mozart and finished my knitting project. I also bought some nice new magazines with great ideas for interior decoration and the garden. I'm going to write about it in more detail tomorrow. Today being Monday, I'm leaving you with this aria from "Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm Back!

Just a short note: we came back yesterday, a day earlier than planned since it was so unbearably hot. During the whole vacation I had no access to internet so I couldn't update. Comment moderation is now back to normal. I'll post more later.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Sewing And Other Things

I finally bought fabric for a new skirt. We have had such cold weather so far that I wasn't really in the mood for summer sewing. Now it's getting warmer and since it's already mid-July I really have to hurry up if I still want to wear it this season. The skirt is supposed to look like this:

I hoped to begin working at the skirt this week, but wasn't able to find time. I have been incredibly busy and tomorrow we are going on vacation.

I still have a lot to do at home so I'll keep it rather short. Comments will be temporarily set to moderation. I'll try to update if I have an internet access, so stay tuned!

We will be back in about 2.5 weeks. See you later!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Advantages Of Being A Housewife

Retro Homemaker has linked to an article called 6 Advantages Of Being A Housewife.

It's amazing, but true: what looks like a mainstream women's magazine published a positive article about housewives! I never thought I'd live as long as to see this:) The times they are a-changing...The article does overall a great job summing up the benefits of the traditional feminine role. I'd like to add my thoughts as well.

The first thing the article mentions is having more time: You don’t have to hurry through life...there is also more time to do things around the house in a relaxed manner instead of being under the scare of a chiding boss.

One of the reasons that so many marriages fail is constant stress which both husband and wife experience daily which leads to all sorts of domestic troubles. It used to be that women had a more peaceful life once the children became old enough to go to school and they could provide their husbands with a place to relax after a day of hard work. Now both husband and wife come home tired and start fighting about whose turn it is to make dinner. The article mentions it as well stating that housewives experience less fatigue:

The fatigue of work stress, fulfilling deadlines, commuting to and fro and the guilt of giving work priority over family are factors that working woman have to bear, unlike their stay at home counterparts.

The author mentions working from home as getting the best of both worlds. This is one point with which I somewhat disagree. Of course, if the family needs money, working from home is much better that getting a job outside it, but if there is no need, let your husband earn the living. I am speaking from the personal experience as someone who used to work from home for a paycheck. There was little time for anything else but work.

The next point the article makes is having more freedom: When you are a housewife, you are your own boss. It is a simple truth, yet feminists keep telling us even now that spending time in the office is liberation, while the women who choose to stay home are slaves of their husbands chained to the kitchen sink. Three cheers for the common sense!

Housewives have also more time to learn new skills and pursue their hobbies, says the article.

It gets difficult and is next to impossible for women who are working as well as managing a family to remove time to acquire new skills or hone existing ones

This, again, is simple common sense. There are but so many hours in a day, and nobody can have it all. The idea of quality vs quantity time is a bogus. Most people come home from work exhausted, especially as they are getting older and the most they are capable of is watching TV, not learning how to make sourdough bread.

Finally, the article mentions being able to watch your children grow:
Housewives are always there with their children and manage to nurture them in a loving manner.
 Unlike many similar articles, this one doesn't make an accent on staying home for the sake of children, in fact, they are mentioned last. All the other 5 reasons can equally apply to all women, also those who are childless or whose children are grown.

It also says that being a housewife in a world where so many women have to work, is a privilege, something which women should enjoy, and I heartily agree. I hope that articles like this one will encourage more women to stay home and that this moronic housewife bashing will finally go the way of the dinosaur. After all, it's so 1970s...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Women As The Property Of Men

Some lies are so often repeated that people start taking them for granted. One of these lies is that throughout the ages women were considered as nothing more than the property of their fathers and husbands. Of course, even in ancient times, when slavery was practised in every society on Earth, the husband couldn't usually sell his wife at the marketplace.

The father of the family sometimes had such a right over both his sons and daughters. That's what Wikipedia says about the authority of the Roman pater familias: "The pater familias had the power to sell his children into slavery; Roman law provided, however, that if a child had been sold as a slave three times, he was no longer subject to patria potestas" (Read the whole article over here ). As the society progressed, the right to sell the children into slavery was severely restricted.

Daughters could be emancipated from their fathers' authority by law, which gave them the right to take legal action on their own behalf. Roman freeborn women had the citizen status and though they couldn't vote, they could own land and write their own will (Read  the Wiki entry on the status of women in Rome). Roman marriage law was somewhat complicated by the existence of two forms of marriage, marriage cum manu when the wife came under her husband's authority, and a more equal marriage when she retained her maiden name and her property rights, plus the existence of concubinage, but it's not my objective to write about it in more detail, it's enough to point out that Roman women could hardly be considered property.

When we turn to the Bible, we have Numbers 30, which deals with the subject of vows. As we can see, while the daughter in her youth is subject to her father's authority, just as the wife is subject to that of her husband, a widow and a divorced woman can act in their own name: "But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her." Numbers 30:9. This Biblical principle became the basis of the distinction in status of married vs single women in the West.

As Thomas Fleming states in his article The Wrongs Of Women Rights II: Coverture: "Under English law a single woman could make contracts, sue in her own name, and manage her own property; however, once she married, such rights were merged into her husband's legal identity." However, women being under their husbands' authority didn't mean that they were regarded as property.

The position of the husband was that of a guardian: "Even in the old Common Law tradition, man and wife were not so merged that women had no legal identity.  The wife’s position was not that of a possession but of her husband’s ward.  She could, for example, maintain property rights, though they were limited by her husband’s authority."

While legally the man was the head of the family, it also meant that he was considered responsible for the welfare of his wife and children: "the husband is bound to provide his wife with necessaries by law, as much as himself; and if he contracts debts for them, he is obliged to pay them.....If the wife be indebted before marriage, the husband is bound afterwards to pay the debt."

He was also held responsible for his wife's wrongdoings: "The husband, at least in law, was the presumed master of the house and, consequently, could be held liable for his wife's torts, including those to which she had been liable before marriage, and for misdemeanors and certain felonies that were performed in his presence and could thus be presumed to be done under his orders.  In criminal cases  the husband's complicity did not have to be proved, and he, rather than the wife, was subject to punishment." (If you are interested, you can read the whole article here)

Whether you agree with such an arrangement or not, you have to conclude that the position of the wife was still not comparable to that of a slave. Coverture hardly makes the case for women being treated as property, and even some modern women desire the return of this legal principle (for instance, the author of this article essentially argues for the restoration of the coverture laws, at least to some degree).

To sum it up, traditionally, women were never viewed as men's property, at least in Western countries. Single women could conduct business, own property and manage their own affairs. A married woman was under the authority of her own husband (not all other men!), but this authority came with obligations, financial and otherwise, which made her position desirable. She was certainly much higher in status than a slave. Managing the household was considered an important job, unlike now. Another myth busted!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Day At Home

There are periods in a homemaker's life when things are more hectic than usual. It can be due to stress or illness, or some other things. Sometimes it's our own fault because we cram our lives with activities to the point that we neglect our domestic duties. There are but so many hours in a day, and as one is getting older, one has less energy and needs more rest.

I remember once reading an article with a title "Your Home Is A Mess And So Is Your Life" and found it to be true, though it's something we often tend to forget. However, it can also be vice versa, when your life is a mess, you have less energy and inclination for housework. On the other hand, housework can have a therapeutic effect as it calms your nerves.

Sometimes, the only thing you need is a quiet day at home without any visitors or appointments which you can entirely devote to housekeeping. I had such a quiet day today and I enjoyed it immensely. My life has been pretty chaotic lately, due to the circumstances chiefly beyond my control (sickness in the family etc), and as things are getting back to normal it feels like waking out of a bad dream.

I came to conclusion that the famous female capacity for multitasking is another feminist myth. Yes, it's true that as women we often have to do several things at once, but in order to have anything done properly you must concentrate on it and have enough time to finish the task, otherwise you'll be constantly frustrated. I also decided that I should stop trying to be a superwoman, like the one I keep reading about on (some) blogs.

You know, the one who simultaneously homeschools five children at a university level, keeps an immaculate house, cooks three delicious meals every day, bakes her own bread, runs a highly profitable home business, grows her own vegetables, and finds time for a daily workout at a gym, too! I keep reading about such fantastic ladies but I have never met one in a real life.

Now, come to think of it, it's mostly certain men's blogs which put forward such an image, which makes me realise how lucky I am that I have a husband who just accepts me as I am, an average 30+ housewife who sometimes fails to cook dinner on time and can spend an hour gossiping on a phone. He even doesn't object to my sunbathing in the garden with a friend (it only happens occasionally though because normally we don't have that much sun in Holland:).

Well, I'm aware that my testimony will probably disappoint some of my readers, because we tend to idealise things and people, especially those we know little about, but so be it:) And now I'm off to make dinner, otherwise it will be one of those days when we have to order a takeout!:)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Little Garden

Just a couple of pictures:

Strawberries. I used to have a strawberry plant but one winter it was too cold so it froze. I bought this one a couple of days ago.

Salvia officinalis. Not sure of its English name.

My husband tells me this one is called Solidago. Here is one more picture of it:

The lantern used to be bright yellow once:)

Some violets (at least, I know their English name!)

This one is a nameless plant, since even my husband doesn't know what it is:)

Lavender (above) and petunia (below)

And the general view of the whole terrace:

With the cat as a bonus!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Taking Care Of One's Husband

My housekeeper quitted today. She is going to get married in a couple of weeks. While talking with her about the importance of marriage I thought how many women forget their husbands' needs which often leads to dire consequences. It gave me an idea for the subject for today's post, so I'd like to remind all my lady readers (I'm not sure if I have any gentlemen readers at this point, but still...): take a good care of your husband! Don't neglect him! Husbands are in some ways like children, they require constant attention:)

When he comes home from work, greet him with a smile and a cup of coffee (or tea, or an aperitif, whatever he prefers:). In the evening, when the children go to bed, don't retire to your own bedroom, stay with your husband and keep him company. Serve some snacks and drinks and chat with him, or just sit close to him and knit or read a book.

Feed him well. Most husbands appreciate freshly baked things like cake and apple pie. Rub his shoulders. Tell him what a great guy he is and how you are the most fortunate woman on Earth to have married him. (Of course, now and then it's useful to remind him, too, what a treasure you are, but that's the topic for another discussion:). Don't get fat, and if you by any reason put on weight, try to lose it. Don't cut your hair short (unless your husband insists on you having short hair, which in my experience, husbands seldom do). It seems that one of the first things a woman does after she gets married is to chop her hair off. It has gone so bad, that a customer at my husband's company was asking him if his wife (me) had hair and congratulated him on marrying a woman who does:). Wear attractive clothes around the house.

The most important thing of all is, never take your husband for granted! He is not a walking ATM, who exists to bring you and the kids his paycheck, he is a human being and he has his needs, sexual and otherwise. If you don't fulfill them at home, some other woman will. Don't kid yourself into thinking that because you have children together, it will stop him. If the man wants to leave, he does. Next time you are nasty to your old man, please remember there are lots of prowling women out there who'd just love to have him.

Marriage is a lot of work, especially nowadays when the family is under attack and the society is utterly decadent. A wise woman is like glue which holds her family together. Please, dear reader, be nice to your husband!