Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Man in The Gray Flannel Suit

It took me some time but I finally watched this movie (thanks to Mark from Upon Hope for the recommendation). I actually had to watch it two times before I was able to more or less determine my attitude to the characters depicted in the story.

It's a movie which is rather difficult to review without spoilers, so be warned:) The main character Tom Rath, played by Gregory Peck works at a dead-end job which barely allows him to support his family at a middle class standard and has three children and a nagging wife called Betsy. He served in the army during  WWII and is unable to forget the things he went through, including an affair with an Italian woman he picked up in Rome.

His wife's demands finally push him to apply for a better-paid job at a major corporate network but as he tries to adjust to his new working environment he must face some ethical and moral issues, which present a challenge to him. There is not much "action" in the movie, but it is a powerful drama with some good acting, which could be recommended to anyone interested in the mid-20th century American way of life. 

When I first watched the film I was very much annoyed with his wife's behaviour until the last ten minutes or so. She came across as an ungrateful woman who couldn't appreciate her husband's hard work or sympathise with him and his problems, and constantly wanted more. However, after I watched it again I started understanding her better. The movie is an adaptation of a novel which possibly provided more details, but as far as I could get it, both Tom and his wife came from an affluent background (judging by the house he inherited from his Grandma) and then it makes sense that  Betsy expected him to do better.

Tom's problems seemed  to have come from the fact that he was inherently a decent man. Someone else probably wouldn't be half bothered by the fact that he had to lie to his wife or kill men during the war and certainly wouldn't be worried about the possibility of having a child with a woman who was basically a prostitute.

While being a decent man with a conscience is certainly a positive trait, on the other hand, Tom was too much of what they call nowadays a "beta provider." He allowed his wife to nag and push him around. He hesitated to confront his colleagues and wouldn't take action to confront his Grandma's servant who basically robbed him of half his inheritance until forced to (by his wife, no less). Heck, even his children disrespected him. In the end, he found courage to face his personal demons  risking something which was very important to him - his family, in the process, which was shown as a positive development in the movie.

There is another, minor plot line about his new boss Ralph Hopkins, the network owner, and his family problems, which perfectly illustrates that (some) women are never happy, as my husband informed me:) They complain when the husband brings too little money, but they are also unhappy when he spends his whole time at work. (BTW, Susan, the daughter, was a spoiled brat who deserved to be disinherited).

The movie is true to life in depicting two basic types of men: "the 9 to 5" guys who lack ambition and go back to their family, and those who like Hopkins are driven by their ambition to reach the top of the ladder, whether in business or in politics. In the times past, wives were taught to accept it as the benefits of being married to such a man outweighed the drawbacks. However, as the film shows, mid-20th century wives were rebelling against this arrangement, which probably contributed to the success of the second wave feminism.

It's interesting that Helen Andelin addresses the very same problem in "Fascinating Womanhood" (Bantam Books, 1992, p.96): "It is not always possible or even right for a man to make his wife number one in his life...In addition to making the living, men have always shouldered the responsibility of making the world a better place.They have largely been the builders of society, have solved world problems, and developed new ideas for the benefit of all...If you examine the life of these noble public servants, you usually find a wife...content to take a second place. President and Mrs Dwight D. Eisenhower are a good example of this. Mrs Eisenhower recalls that...her husband drew her aside one evening and said, `...My country comes first, and you second`...and that is the way they lived."

I think the idea behind the story was that you can´t live with lies with which I agree wholeheartedly and also that family is more important than all other things (with which I agree but partly, see above.) Anyway, it was a great movie, and I can recommend it to everyone. 

Watch The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit on YouTube:

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Beginning Of Autumn Links

Some thoughts on modesty with examples of outfits for older women (h/t to Lady Lydia):
Put Some Clothes On, Granny

Mark Moncrieff on the morality of capital punishment:
Why Capital Punishment is Moral

Gavin McInnes shares his opinion on volunteering in danger zones (warning: language):
America's Martyrs

The real life example of which men not to get involved with romantically:
Homeless drunkard doesn't sleep on the street every night

 Vox Day writes about women in combat and the fact that we are ruled by cowards:
The beginning of the end

Another victim of the emancipation of women:
A College Girl Disappears

Lady Lydia gives advice on how to deal with rude people:
Summer Sky Roses

Matt Walsh expresses his frustrations with liberal progressivism:
You are born a man or a woman. You don't get to choose.

For my new readers, the usual disclaimer: my linking to certain sites/blogs doesn't mean that I agree with everything they publish, it's just that I find some of their articles interesting/worth discussing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Summer Is Over

Summer is officially over, according to my calendar the 23rd of September was the first day of autumn (though I have always thought it must be September 21, but what do I know?) The weather changed dramatically and it became cold, rainy, windy practically overnight.

Last weekend we went to look for berries in the nearby forest, but found none, so there will be no jam made this year, which my husband finds a pity...We drank tea and coffee at a historical wine farm instead:

It was all very much in French style, and they had live music, too;

And self-made cake with grapes they grow at that farm. It had a rather unusual taste, but I liked it. In the meanwhile, I finally watched "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit" and I'm planning to write a review of it one of these days.

I hope you are all doing fine and welcome to the new readers! I hardly expected that my post about the lost civilisation of Crete would be the most popular ever on this blog, beating even the one about the advantages of being a housewife.

I obviously must do more historical research:) At present though, duty calls and the sink is full of dirty dishes, so good-bye for now....

Monday, September 22, 2014

How To Evaluate A Prospective Husband

Some time ago someone asked me this question, so here comes:

First of all, I'm not a marriage consultant and don't pretend to have all the answers. If you choose to follow my advice, you are doing it at your own risk. I'm not even going to follow the path of some other lady bloggers who spend a considerable amount of time bragging about what great marriages they have and how their husbands are all super alpha males and the like. I will only say that personally I think I did fairly well:)

One of the most perilous ideas of modernity, is, imo, the idea of a "soulmate" or one person specially designed for you, the only one who can make you happy. Some women keep waiting for their soulmates well into their forties and even fifties while their girlfriends get married and become mothers and grandmothers. Others hook up with total losers but can't separate from them being convinced that the said loser is really their soulmate. (Please notice that I'm not talking about divorce here!).

There is no such thing as a soulmate. Since I don't like gossiping, I'll give you an example from classic literature: Sense and Sensibility. Marianne Dashwood is convinced that the handsome cad Willoughby is her soulmate only to marry Colonel Brandon two years later. The author makes fun in the book of her romantic notions that you can only fall in love once in your life and if things don't work out there is no second chance.

While looking for a husband, there is one important thing to keep in mind: you are not just choosing a romantic partner, you are choosing the father of your children. Since many traits are inheritable, if you choose a guy who is stupid, lazy and violent, the chance is big that your children will be the same. That's why the choice of the marriage partner is one of the most important decisions of your life.

You also should have an idea in mind of what your future married life would look like. If you are ever planning on being a housewife/staying home with your children, you should evaluate the provider capacities of every potential suitor . I'm not saying you must become a gold-digger and marry a man for his income alone, however, the most important lesson I was taught in my youth was to avoid men who are not capable or willing to be breadwinners.

Avoid starving artists, eternal students, mama´s boys,  and lazy unemployed bums. Avoid men with serious financial problems, anyone involved in criminal activities, alcoholics, junkies and the like. Also avoid any man who is psychologically unstable and/or violent. Don´t imagine yourself a Mother Teresa and try and save these guys from themselves. It´s simply not worth it. Aim for a reliable if somewhat boring accountant.

This said, you must take a long look in the mirror and be realistic about yourself and your standards. If they are too high, the chance is that you will spend your life alone dreaming of your knight on a white horse. There are certain things which handicap women wishing to marry well, for instance, being overweight is certainly not a bonus. Another thing which often ruins your marital prospects, is having children outside wedlock, so please don´t do it. I´m not saying it is impossible for such a woman to marry at all, but her choice of marriage partners will likely be smaller (and of lower quality).

Another thing which is practically taboo nowadays is the idea that you should marry someone equal or slightly higher to you in social status/class. We are all supposed to pretend that class doesn´t exist, but unfortunately it does. Most people think that class chiefly refers to the amount of money the person makes, but it isn´t true. It´s much more than this. It´s education, the social position of your parents, your whole way of life, the books you read, the friends you have, the school you went to etc etc.

The problem is that when two people come from totally different backgrounds, their life together will have all sorts of problems, which are best avoided if you aim for your social equal as a marriage partner. The same is true about cultural, ethnic and religious differences. Again, I´m not saying that it couldn´t work, only that it will bring all sorts of difficulties. Ask yourself if you are ready to deal with them before you get `unequally yoked`.

The above relates more to the material side of things, if you are interested in how to evaluate a man´s character, check this post:

Choosing a Mate

And also this one:

Mrs Andelin On Men Who Won´t Earn The Living

Well, that´s about it, I hope it will be helpful!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Book's Review By Mark Moncrieff

Mark Moncrieff is an Australian who promotes traditional conservatism at his blog Upon Hope.  That's what he wrote:

Over at athriftyhomemaker Sanne Wijkers has been keeping busy not just with her website, but also with a short novel, The Long Way Home. I recently finished reading her book and quite enjoyed it. A swashbuckler set in a futuristic setting. Which probably made you think of Star Wars, but don't. The setting is very old fashioned with the space ships simply existing to makes things interesting...

Read the rest over here:

The Long Way Home - A Book Review

Friday, September 19, 2014

Vacation Pictures, Part 2

Here are some more:

Hunting grounds in the German forest (some Europeans do hunt:)

Myself reading a new book on interior decoration which I got as a present from my husband:

And just some village pictures:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pictures Of Limburg, Part 1

Last year we celebrated our wedding anniversary and got a very nice present from my husband's colleagues - two nights in a Bed and Breakfast of our choice. It was quite some time before we were finally able to use it, due to the pressing family responsibilities, but last week we went way for a couple of days to Limburg, where we also spent several days last year, also in September.

Here are a couple of pictures of our trip:

Valkenburg in the evening:

The cathedral of Aachen (in Germany, the one where Charlemagne is buried, this year they are celebrating 1200 years since his death):

Above and below are some books from a huge book store in Aachen, which feature vintage patterns:

WWI memorial in Belgian Ardennes:

I'll post the rest tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Just A Quick Update

I have been away from the blog for some time but now I'm back. My old computer crashed so I'm using my notebook now and though I sorted and uploaded the vacation pictures I didn't have a program to resize them and had to wait for my husband to get back from work and to install it, but since we have an usually warm and sunny weather we decided to spend the evening at the seaside.

I haven't bathed in the North Sea for I think more than two years. The water was cold but I did take a plunge and my husband swam a bit (he is tough:). Anyway, when we finally returned and I attached myself to the computer it became too late to do anything with the photos, so they will now have to wait till tomorrow.

As for our personal news, my father-in-law still experiences serious health problems plus  my best friend is going through a very difficult period of her life (those who are my long-time readers may remember a certain prayer request a month ago).

It's late around here so this will be a short post as I'm off to make lunch for my husband! See you soon...

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Wonderful Progressive Feminist Civilisation And Its Untimely Demise


(image courtesy of Wikipedia)

I have wanted to write this post for some time now, and as I still haven't found time to upload our mini vacation pictures, here it comes: the story of Cretan civilisation and what happened to it.

While doing research about spelt flour and the Bronze Age when it was widely used, I stumbled at a Wiki article describing the lost civilisation of Crete and decided to read more about the topic. The ancient civilisation of Crete (called Minoan civilisation) was apparently a sort of egalitarian paradise, where women occupied prominent positions, the attitudes to sex were "enlightened" to say the least, modesty was thrown out of the window and females had a custom of going around topless.  They were also technologically advanced, urbanised and sophisticated and worshipped the Great Goddess of which the Snake Goddess above is one of the incarnations.

 It's not possible to say if the inhabitants of the island had been like this from the very beginning, however, at the time of the peak of their power, Minoans certainly exhibited feminist egalitarian  attitudes.

Their religion was chiefly worshipping female deities with female priests (priestesses?) and the scientists describe their religion as matriarchal (and we all know that religion is often the reflection of society). Their women traditionally wore clothes showing their breasts. They were pacifist traders uninterested in warfare, had no standing army and apparently only had ritual violence (though they practised human sacrifice which was apparently O.K.)

Minoans enjoyed the high degree of urbanisation, with water and sewer facilities, had highly developed art and built beautiful palaces. They were engaged in highly organised trade, manufactured commercial goods, practised advanced agricultural methods and only ate organic healthy foods. Their whole society (apart from human sacrifice, of course), seems practically too good to be real and is every progressive's dream. So what happened to these wonderful advanced female-worshipping pacifists?

Well, it's the usual story. First, they had to deal with a natural disaster, and then with the invading armies of their less enlightened neighbours who didn't realise the value of being pacifist. They came with fire and sword and established their own, Micenaean civilisation. Their religion was more patriarchal, reflecting the values of the society which advanced by conquest as opposed to commerce and was ruled by a warrior aristocracy, but they incorporated the elements of Minoan worship into their rituals. They also seemed at least partly to have incorporated Minoan female fashions as shown by the Fresco featured in Wiki article (though I may be mistaken about it).

In the end, they succumbed to more patriarchal Dorian Greeks, who were even less enlightened where it concerned female deities, much to the dismay of Wikipedia writers. I will let everyone draw his own conclusions from this story, though personally I see it as a cautionary tale about what usually happens when a culture becomes too wealthy, pacifist and matriarchal.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I'm Back And How Not To Live Your Life

Hi! I'm back. I'll try to post the pictures tomorrow, in the meanwhile, I'd like to draw your attention to this interesting article by Daily Mail:

I left the love of my life because I thought I could do better...

This article supposedly criticises the careerist mentality of modern women and their desire to "trade up" where it concerns men and is meant as a cautionary tale. However, when you read it, you will see that things are not as simple as they appear.

Here are several highlights of the story:

Laughing and dancing with my fiance at our engagement party, I thought I might actually burst with happiness.
Surrounded by our family and friends, I looked at Matthew and felt certain I had met the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.
Quite simply, he was my soulmate...

So why, 20 years later, do I find myself  single, childless and tormented by the fact that I have thrown away the only true chance of happiness I ever had?

Eight years after that wonderful engagement party in 1989, I walked away from dear, devoted, loyal Matthew, convinced that somewhere out there, a better, more exciting, more fulfilling life awaited me.
Only there wasn't.

Now I am 42 and have all the trappings of success - a high-flying career, financial security and a home in the heart of London's trendy Notting Hill. But I don't have the one thing I crave more than anything: a loving husband and family.

Sounds like a standard story of a b***-busting career woman who turned her back on having a family in her youth and now regrets it, doesn't it? But there is more to the story than that. Let's look at the details:

In the summer of 1989, while out for a romantic meal, Matthew proposed properly with a diamond solitaire ring. Two months later, we held our engagement party for 40 friends and family at the little house we were renting at the time.
The following year, we bought a tiny starter home in Grays, Essex, which we moved into...
(emphasis mine)

First, notice how there is no mentioning of a wedding taking place? The couple give an engagement party at the house where they cohabitate, which means that they moved together before they even officially announced their engagement. They later buy a house which they can barely afford and several years later 
the housing market crashed and we were plunged into negative equity.

It's getting worse than that as the lady advances in her chosen career while Matthew is perfectly content to sponge off her and to drift "from one dead-end job to another." It's a simple fact of life that hard-working, career-oriented young women often attract the type of men who can't hold down a job and are perfectly content living off their girlfriends' salary.

There is also a social class angle to the story: as Karen (that's the lady's name) moves more into the direction of middle class she starts resenting her fiance's working class background and lifestyle. However, the main thing that irritates her, is Matthew's inability to support a family:

I began to wish he was more sophisticated and earned more. I felt envious of friends with better-off partners, who were able to support them as they started their families. (emphasis mine)
Eight years after the engagement party, the couple are still not married and have no children which is probably for the best as Karen finally decides she's had enough and leaves,which her parents disapprove of. Her father tells her that she has little chance to find a man who would love her as much as Matthew did. It's a pity though that Matthew's love didn't motivate him to provide for the family and to finally marry his live-in girlfriend aka fiancee (in newspeak). 

Matthew then drifts into another relationship and so does Karen:

Shortly afterwards, I met Richard. It was a whirlwind romance, and within a year we were engaged and buying an idyllic farmhouse in the Norfolk countryside...
I see a pattern over here, don't you? Yet again, Karen moves in with a man she isn't married to, convinced that now it's a "real thing". However, she can't forget Matthew and Richard is unfaithful and finally leaves her for another woman. At this moment in her life, Karen tries to hook up with Matthew again who also split up with his girlfriend but allows her to live in his house. He later marries yet another woman and though he is presumably at least as old as Karen who is 42, "they don't have children yet."

Karen by this time wants children desperately and has another relationship which ends because her partner already has a son from previous relationship and doesn't want "to start over again." So now Karen is 42, alone and childless and regrets leaving Matthew as, in her opinion, it was her only chance to become a mother, yet judging by the fact that Matthew, who is presumably in his mid-forties, isn't that interested in havind kids, either, I rather doubt she is right.

The story of both of them is the train wreck from the beginning to end, which can be said about many modern relationships. Here we also see that Karen's parents apparently encouraged her to study and work hard and to make something out of herself, but didn't teach her about one most important thing for any woman: how to evaluate and choose a husband and father of your children

There are a couple of very simple rules a young girl can follow: first, don't live together before getting married, as you will get attached to someone and this attachment will blind you to his drawbacks. If you later split, you will have a diminished ability to bond with your new partner, as illustrated by the story above. Second, the feeling of romantic love you have for your boyfriend is a poor substitute for his inability to make a living. If you ever want to have children and a family, choose a provider type, not someone who drifts from job to job or is a starving artist/musician, unless you are a career woman looking for a stay-at-home husband (though this sort of guy would probably make a lousy SAHD, either).

If you don't want to suffer from heartbreak, it also makes sense to avoid men like Richard. And finally, this is Daily Mail, so we should take anything they write with a grain of salt:) However, the general principles stand.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September Links

I'm going away for a couple of days and will return on Friday. So here are some interesting links to the articles you can read in my absence:)

Vox Day on the myth of warrior women:
esr calls BS on

Thinking Housewife:
When Women Wore Clothes

Bruce Charlton on the evils of the  MSM:
Advocacy of sin is the worst evil

Patriactionary on women's wages:
No, Women Are Not Paid 77c for Every Dollar a Man Is Paid for the Same Work

What's Wrong With Equal Rights on the necessity of two incomes:
There Has Never Been an Easier Time For Women To Stay Home

The Retro Homemaker on feminist myths:
5 feminist myths

More from Theodore Dalrymple on the modern ugliness trend, this time in architecture:
The Free, the Just and the Ugly

Well, that's about all for today, see you next time!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Specially For My Male Readers

All two of them:) Seriously though, since Captain Capitalism linked to me (thanks, Aaron!) I'm probably getting more male readers than before so I thought I could write a post on a topic which probably interests men more than women: self-defence.

Not that I'm an expert at it, however yesterday I found a quite interesting series of YouTube videos discussing traditional Western techniques of fighting with short blades (daggers and such). I have decided not to embed them as the subject matter is probably too violent for a homemaker's blog, so here are the links to two of the videos which were the most popular:

Introduction, what is the historical Western method?

Fighting with the Reverse Grip

Now you are probably asking yourself a question, why should I as a woman be interested in such things as dagger fighting:) It's really very simple, first, I tend to like everything which has "traditionally Western" as its name, and what is more important, as an author trying to write adventure stories, I never lose a chance to learn something new. It may come in handy in my next novel:) Usually I'm only interested in embroidery and kittens, though...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Healthy Foods

Years ago Lady Lydia had a post about the importance of eating breakfast called Women at Home Save Men's Lives.  Whether or not you agree with her recommendations of eating a hearty breakfast, one point which she makes can't be disputed; the homemaker plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of her family by providing her husband and children (and herself, of course) with healthy, nutritious meals.

Unfortunately, like so many domestic arts, cooking tends to be neglected nowadays and some women are positively proud that they can't so much as boil an egg. As usual, this caused a somewhat extreme reaction, and as a result we got an abundance of magazines and TV programs which promote rather unrealistic standards as an average busy wife and mother in all probability, won't be able to cook at a 5 star restaurant level.

The truth is that meals don't have to be too complicated in order to be nutritious and taste well. An important thing is to know which ingredients to choose and to be aware of the basics of healthy eating. I thought it's interesting to compare the 1950s guidelines for proper meals with the modern ones.

According to one 1950s manual, an adequate breakfast should consist of fruit, cereal + milk and bread and butter.  A full breakfast will add egg or meat. An adequate lunch will feature a main dish, vegetables, bread and butter + fruit, while a full lunch will also have cake, cookies or pudding. As for dinner, an adequate dinner is one consisting of meat and potatoes, green or yellow vegetables, salad (raw vegetables), bread and butter and fruit. Now a full dinner adds to this an appetizer or soup and finishes the meal with pie or cake for dessert.

 It seems rather excessive to me, though I suppose they ate smaller portions. On the other hand, it's interesting to know that you were expected to eat warm at least twice a day, as opposed to the modern system of relying on sandwiches and snacks and having only one warm meal a day. I also noticed that you were supposed to eat a lot of bread. Nowadays there is a discussion going on about gluten-free products as some people have severe allergy to gluten.

Wheat which is commonly used for making commercial sorts of bread is high in gluten content and I have personally read articles which stated that even if you are not allergic to it, it's probably not all that good for you. While I'm not sure if I agree with this claims, I did some research into the alternative to commercial wheat sorts, called spelt.

Spelt or dinkel wheat is an ancient wheat species mentioned in the Bible which was widely cultivated from the Bronze Age to medieval times. It's still used in Germany to make Dinkelbrot. Spelt flour contains less gluten but has a higher overall protein content. It is quite expensive, but can be used in combination with "normal" wheat flour. Spelt bread has a dark colour and nutty flavour (read more about spelt over here). Here is an article on health benefits of spelt flour.

Another product I'd like to talk about today is molasses, a by-product of sugar-refining process, featured in the picture above. Molasses, or blackstrap molasses is a good substitute for refined sugar. It has a rather peculiar taste and is less sweet, but that is something you get accustomed to. On the positive side, molasses has proven health benefits and supposedly is a good remedy against many health problems, including cancer.

As homemakers, we should always strive to do the best for our families, which includes (but is not limited to) learning about the latest discoveries in the field of nutrition as our own health and that of our family depends on it!