Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Oliebol And Happy New Year

Oliebol is a traditional Dutch food which we eat on the New Year's Eve. According to Wikipedia, oliebollen were traditionally eaten by Germanic tribes during Yule time, to appease the goddess Perchta which was believed to wander about during mid-winter festivities (she had a nice habit of cutting open the bellies of those who displeased her, especially of girls who idled around instead of spinning). Because oliebollen contain so much fat, they were supposed to make her sword slide off the person's body.

This was long ago, and most folks have forgotten all about Perchta, but we still eat oliebollen every New Year! Oliebollen are simply dumplings baked in a deep fryer. Some people make them themselves, I always buy them, together with appelbeignets, another traditional food (containing, as you may have guessed it, apples). I did bake sausage rolls, though, since they are so expensive in the supermarket and really easy to make.

If you want to know more about oliebollen, you can read this Wiki article. It's going to be the last post of 2014, so I'll take the opportunity and wish all my readers and their loved ones


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How Female Employment Skews Female Choices

Men nowadays are forever complaining about women choosing irresponsible guys as their romantic partners and even fathers of their children, which is, at least, partly true. They are trying to explain this phenomenon by female biology which apparently forces women to become attracted to the unemployed alcoholic jerks and violent abusive criminals while avoiding a respectable if boring accountant.

Just like in the case of same sex attraction, science hasn't yet managed to locate the gene responsible for female choices so the biological explanation of women choosing losers is still a theory, not a fact. Biology certainly predisposes people to value certain traits in their mates, but strangely, until recently women didn't appear to be chasing the dregs of society in order to procreate with them. Could it be that the reason for this irrational behaviour is socialising, not biology?

I have at home a collection of ladies' magazines from the 1930s, which feature tons of romantic stories. In one of them, a beginning author has been in love with a girl for several years, but waits with proposal until he can provide her with the same material comforts she had in her father's house. Generally, the stories push the idea of marrying your social equal and the responsibility of the husband to provide. In another story, a man refuses to work to support his family and he is shamed by another man into working.

Now when we switch to modern so-called social romance (as distinct from the fantasy romantic stories about princesses, pirates and medieval knights) we often will encounter a situation when a heroine engages in "missionary dating", rescues a bad boy by her feminine charms, gets involved with her social inferior against her family wishes (think of the movie Titanic) etc etc. This sort of behaviour is often portrayed as heroic, after all, she is fighting against prejudice! What can be more noble???

On the other hand, women nowadays are pretty much expected to work and earn their own income, especially in North America. It's less so in my neck of woods, where most married women still choose to work part-time, thus they pay more attention to the prospective husband's income and social status. However, when the woman is fully economically self~sufficient and expects to stay so throughout her whole married life, naturally, she isn´t much bothered about her future husband´s career prospects. Of course, she may change her mind when the children come, but then it´s usually too late.

If a woman is trying to make a responsible choice though and hence is interested in the man´s status and income, she is more often than not lambasted as a gold~digger. D*mned if you do, d*mned if you don´t.

The point I´m trying to make is that nobody can be two things at the same time. A woman can´t be simultaneously a strong independent career womyn and a sweet submissive Suzy homemaker. Right now the society, including the government, expects all adult women to have a job outside home. The skewed female choices are one of the results.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dinner For One

Some naughty old-fashioned entertainment just to cheer everyone up:)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas...

At least, in my house:

This is supposed to substitute the traditional mistletoe:

The Christmas Choir guys have found another place for themselves:

Here is the close~up:

This year I went for a minimalist (according to my standards) Christmas look, with few seasonal decorations, like this:

And this:

From a different angle:

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Make Him Number One, Part 3

Helen Andelin stresses that the best opportunity to show to a man that he is number one for his wife is when he comes home. Returning home from work should be a pleasant time for your husband. She suggests that all the housework should be done or at least out of the way as much as possible, including such things as craft projects. The wife should look attractive and greet her husband with a smile, and the children should wait until later before they bother him with their problems.

According to Helen: "Such a greeting will make an amazing difference in his life, in reducing strain and bringing peace and rest." (Fascinating Womanhood, Bantam Books 1992, p.96).

Next Mrs Andelin discusses whether the man must make his wife number one. I touched upon this subject in one of my movie reviews, so bear with me repeating myself:) According to FW principles, "it's not always possible or even right for a man to make his wife number one in his life" (idem). The reason for this is that a man's first duty is to provide a living, which means that he often must spend a lot of time away from home and family. Such men nowadays are criticised for being "workaholics", but as Helen points out, "In reality, he is putting you first. He is working for you and your children." (idem).

Men have also another important role to play, that of building a society, "of making the world a better place." (idem). The man fulfilling his duty to society needs a supportive wife who understands his responsibilities, such as Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who accepted the fact that her husband's first duty was to his country and not his family.

When the wife fails to make her husband number one it creates a rift in the marriage (I witnessed it at first hand) and may drive the husband into the arms of another woman. I can't stress how important it is for the wife to give enough attention to her husband, at least if she doesn't want their marriage to end in divorce court. As Helen rightly observes, "...your husband will feel a deficiency" (idem). If he is a liberal and lives in a state of cognitive dissonance he will not object to you pursuing your own career and hobbies at his expense, but "something inside which was always denied for so many years" may cause him to just pack up his things and go with a vague explanation of "falling out of love".

Mrs Andelin illustrates this point further with real life examples of the ladies who nearly ruined their marriages by neglecting their husbands. Luckily for them, they were given a second chance, but these situations don't always have a happy end, that's why it's important to keep it in mind:

Always make your husband number one!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Family Chocolate Cake

I call it a family cake, because it's so huge:)

I made it last week and we have eaten nearly all of it by now. It tastes especially good with a cup of coffee after dinner (or tea if you don't drink coffee):

It's easy to make, too, and what's more important, it's pretty economical!

So what do you need for this great dessert?

For the cake,

2c flour
+/- 2c sugar
2/3c cocoa powder
3tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
2 eggs
1c milk
2/3c vegetable oil (I always use virgin olive oil in all my recipes)
1tsp vanilla extract
1c coffee, cooled (I used instant decaf variety since coffee usually gives me headaches)

For the frosting:

3 oz cream cheese
4 tbsp peanut butter
+/- 2c powder sugar
2tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

To make the cake, combine dry ingredients in a bowl, add eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, beat and stir. Add coffee (batter will be thin), pour into a rectangular baking pan and bake at 175*C (350*F) for ab. 40 min. Take out of the oven and let cool. Meanwhile, make the frosting.

Beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth, add sugar, milk and vanilla, spread over the cake. Keep it the fridge. It's very moist and personally I find it tastes better the next day.

Recipe adapted from a magazine about home cooking which had been discontinued some years ago.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas in Maastricht

It's not Germany, but still...

The market:

Inside the shopping mall:

Street decoration:

Everyone's favourite elf:

It's not London's Eye. but still:

From a different angle:

Getting dark:

Nostalgic merry-go-round:

People having fun:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Men Of Harlech

Some nice music for Tuesday evening. For those interested, here is the version from Zulu.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Make Him Number One, Part 2.

As promised, here comes the second post in the series:

Mrs Andelin devotes a whole sub-chapter to illustrate the ways how children are put first. She discusses the situation where the husband wants to move to further his business, but the wife refuses, because she fears it will disadvantage the children (I know from personal experience that it happens more often than we think. Usually, it goes along the line that the children will miss their school friends/have to learn a new language etc).

Mrs Andelin points out that there is a difference between endangering the welfare of one's children and pampering them so that they would never experience the slightest discomfort. The same holds true for choosing a house. Wives can press their husband to go beyond their means, motivating it as the necessity "for the sake of the children", but, as Helen states, the husband often isn't "inclined to place his children's wishes ahead of his own." (F.W., Bantam Books 1992, p.91).

Another problem situation is when the husband has to compete for attention with his own children. Mrs Andelin states that some wives actually enjoy their husband working long hours away from home, so that they can devote themselves to their kids without his interference. In this case, the poor guy is basically reduced to the paycheck he brings. Helen also warns the wives against buying things for the children the family can't afford and being more interested in one's children than one's husband.

However, children aren't the only thing which the wives tend to put first. Some women are so obsessed with their housekeeping that the husbands feel themselves strangers in their own households, afraid to drop a crumb. To quote the book, "create a home, not a showplace. (idem, p.93), or, in other words, the king is more important than his castle.

Some women ignore their husbands by spending countless hours on their appearance (though every self-respecting person should try and look his best at any occasion, like all other things, it can be overdone), can't cut the apron strings tying them to their parents, or are more interested in their husbands' money and status than in them as human beings. There are also ladies who prevent their husbands from expanding their businesses because they are afraid to lose financial security.

To quote Mrs Andelin: "...when you make a man number one you must also make his work, plans, and goals number one." (p.94).

Next time, we'll discuss among other things, what to do when a man comes home, and whether he should make you number one.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Noblesse Oblige

Noblesse oblige was an idea that social superiors have duties to their social inferiors, such as showing a good example. Unfortunately, it's often not the case anymore, as our "elite" is busy enthusiastically encouraging lower classes to engage in socially destructive behaviours, while largely avoiding them themselves.

However, some members of the upper class can still serve as an inspiration to others, as this lady.  Yes, I'm aware it's practically the third Daily Mail article in a row, but I just had to write about her, not so much because of her passion for saving African wildlife (though these animals  do look cuddly), but because of how gracefully feminine she appears in the pictures.

There is not one photo featuring her wearing pants, though she is obviously busy tending to large animals. Somehow she managed to combine being practical and ladylike. May be, it was only for the purposes of publicity, but still, what an inspiration!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Can Poor People Cook?

The new liberal outrage of the day were the unfortunate remarks of one Baroness Jenkin who apparently cooks her own breakfast which costs only 4p. She stated that if poor people in Britain knew how to cook, they could save money by preparing their own meals, instead of buying fast food and wouldn't have to rely on charity in the form of food banks. Naturally, she was accused of committing crimes against humanity by refusing to blindly accept the dogma that all poor people are saints and their problems are never the consequences of their own stupid decisions.

She was duly chastised for her heresy and promptly apologised. It's noteworthy that if you look at her picture in Daily Mail, you'll see an older woman in good physical shape, in contrast to many lower class women who are often overweight and even obese. According to the statistical data, UK actually leads in obesity rates within the EU. We are experiencing the same problem in the Netherlands, with 4 out of 10 people being overweight. As someone pointed out on a Dutch website, lower class people often don't bother to cook, spend more money eating out and in general, rely on more expensive but less nutritious fast foods which may contribute to the problem.

Well, it appears that the Baroness actually spent some time researching the issue as she was a part to a parliamentary inquiry on hunger in UK, which among other things, stated that some parents would rather spend their money on alcohol, cigarettes and takeaways and lacked basic budgeting skills. In other words, some of those saintly "poor people" who are more often than not on welfare, couldn't be bothered to cook a decent meal for their children and preferred getting drunk to buying nutritious food.

Now, I'm not a saint myself and I do enjoy my glass of wine with dinner and we regularly eat out and order takeouts sometimes, when I had no time to cook a proper meal. However, it's still more an exception than a rule in our household, and what is more important, we can afford it! Now, I don't want to underestimate the plight of genuinely poor people like our elderly and sick who can't pay their medical bills any more, and poverty is a problem in Europe, however if some "poor people" are suffering from being overweight and obesity and would rather buy alcohol than food for their kids, we are obviously having a problem.

Which solution was offered by the British investigation committee? Well, as usual, more of the nanny statism. It's apparently the duty of schools to teach children to cook and the government should restore the welfare state in its fullest glory (who is going to pay for it wasn't mentioned). They did mention parental responsibility, though, so there are some signs of progress.

Since I don't live in UK, I can't state with any certainty that the Baroness is 100 % right on everything but I do know one thing: cooking from scratch IS cheaper and healthier. If you want to save money, learn how to cook!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Make Him Number One

This is a piece of advice from Helen Andelin's famous book Fascinating Womanhood. We often forget how our husbands need our attention, especially when we are busy with children, friends and our own projects. We forget to make our husbands a priority in our life and it can lead to all sorts of marital problems.

As Mrs Andelin points out: "A man wants a woman who will place him at the top of her priority list, not second but first." (F.W., p.67, 1992 Bantam Books, emphasis mine). This desire may be subconscious, but if it's not met it "surfaces violently" and may cause a man "to form bitter resentments towards his wife and even his children." (idem)

This is something we as a society have totally forgotten. Being a devoted wife will more often than not bring ridicule upon one's head. It's still kinda OK for a woman to devote herself to children, but her husband? The stereotypical "Stepford wife" of the 1950s bringing slippers to the man coming home from work is still the object of relentless mockery, even though she has all but disappeared out of the public view.

However, as Mrs Andelin rightly points out, a man is a human being and he doesn't like being reduced to a walking ATM, "a social asset" or "a ticket to security". He wants to be loved for being himself, not for serving as a means to an end (don't we all want it?).

There are many ways a woman can make her husband feel neglected. It's obviously quite common when the wife has a career of her own, but it happens with homemakers, too. In fact, according to Helen Andelin, all women have this tendency and should constantly be on guard against it.

One of the things most often placed in front of one's husband are children. Motherly devotion is undoubtedly a noble feeling, but as Mrs Andelin illustrates with her story of a certain Clara, a husband who is constantly forced to play second fiddle to his own kids will grow resentful and may even grow indifferent towards them.

Helen gives one rule to keep in mind:

Don't put the comforts and whims of your children ahead of your husband's basic needs, and further adds that a woman can "serve both husband and children without conflict" and that a happy husband makes for a happy marriage and a happy home (p.90).

In my next post I''ll write more about this topic. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Are You A Spontaneous Person?

I will admit, I'm anything except spontaneous:) I like things planned beforehand and have special days for cleaning the house and others for hanging out with friends. When I'm out shopping, I have a list Of Necessary Items in my hand and I seldom buy anything which isn't on it, even when it's on sale and I may use it in the future. In the past I have been known to write elaborate schedules and dinner menus.

There is one problem with this way of life, unfortunately. It's all very well when you are alone, but it becomes darn difficult when you have a family, as there are always some emergencies coming which interfere with your schedule tremendously. You simply can't take it for granted that you'll be able to vaccuum your whole house in peace on any given day any more. And then your husband comes earlier from work and suggests you two go out and drink a cup of coffee somewhere. What's a girl to do?

In my opinion, the lack of spontaneity is often connected to the control issue. Making schedules and elaborate shopping lists and planning every appointment two months before is the way to control one's surroundings. It's OK, to a degree, since a housewife is a family manager, but when it's taken to the extreme it will cause frustration both to the lady herself and to the unfortunate members of her household.

Being a control freak is never nice, especially in the relationship with your significant other. There should still be some fun, spontaneous interaction between the husband and wife, even (or should I probably say "especially") as they get older. If he asks you out, just go and let the laundry wait. Tomorrow is another day:)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Breakfast Ideas: Corn Bread

This recipe was adapted from the book called Breakfast and Brunch, author unknown.

You will need:

1c flour
1c corn flour
4tsp baking powder
ab. 1tsp salt
+/-2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
250 ml milk
2tbsp olive oil (or any other)

 In a bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Add sugar and corn flour, mix thoroughly. Add the eggs, milk and olive oil, beat until smooth. Transfer to a rectangular greased baking pan (I always use butter to grease mine), bake for about 25 min. at 220*C.

When ready, let it cool slightly and cut into squares ( I had 16). You can eat it with butter and jam or choco spread and a glass of milk; or serve it as cake, but in this case, you'll probably have to use more sugar as it isn't really sweet. Makes for a good breakfast and is an ideal way to utilise corn flour.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Feminism vs "Social" Feminism

The roots of many things which plague our society go back to the XIXth century. Feminism is no exception, as I have often pointed out in my previous posts on this topic. However, few people know that from the beginning, feminism wasn't a homogenous movement, or rather, that there were basically two groups of people who called themselves feminists.

F. Carolyn Graglia writes in her famous book Domestic Tranquility that some early feminists actually came with a theory of separate spheres for women, though equal in importance, while others, such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman ridiculed this idea and wanted total economic independence for women. Ms Gilman denounced the traditional homemaker as a "parasitic creature" and even a "horse-leech's daughter" with aspirations of "an affectionate guinea pig" (see for reference Domestic Tranquility, Spence Publishing, 1998, p. 103-104).

Her ideas were supported by the National Woman Party which  entered into an unholy alliance with the National Association of  Manufacturers to push more women and children into workforce and abolish all the protective legislation aimed at those groups.

Those who called themselves "social" feminists, on the other hand, objected to the employment of (married) women and mothers and promoted the idea of a "family wage", so that the wives wouldn't be subjected to "the drudgery of a cotton mill" (idem). It was social feminists such as Mary Anderson of the Women's Bureau who fought for the "family wage" so that mothers could stay home and children would be spared from the day care (idem, p.105).

If you remember, one of the slogans of the feminist movement of the 1960 was "equal pay for equal work". They stated that it was the ubiquitous patriarchy which oppressed a working woman with the "family wage" (i.e. higher wages for male breadwinners), even though it was another group of feminists which had introduced it. Does it even make sense to you?

I don't know that much about ´social` feminists, but the way I see it, they at least tried to protect traditional family, women and children, especially those of lower classes who, unlike their UMC "sisters" didn't have a fancy career but were more likely to work somewhere in a sweatshop for the minimum wage; while modern feminists who are overwhelmingly elite women, often with some cushy sort of job are enthusiastically encouraging their inferiors to dig ditches.  I'd say, they should lead by example!

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Use Of Pre-Cut Vegetables

There has been a discussion recently about the decline of chopping with folks wondering why anyone would want to buy pre-cut packaged veggies:) They are supposedly unhealthy and violate the sacred bond between the humans and nature. I don't know about the latter, but it's generally believed that pre-chopped vegetables lose some of their nutrition value, however, I think there is a time and place for their usage, too.

I will admit I often rely on salad mixes (which are often cheaper and include various sorts of salad leaves), however, I mostly chop my own vegetables unless it's something hard and difficult to chop finely, like cabbage, for instance. Again, it depends on what you need it for. If you want to use cabbage for a stir-fry, it must be chopped very finely indeed, so a pre-cut packaged variety comes in handy.

Some things I practically never buy fresh. Take beets, for instance. Why, it takes more than an hour to cook them, and who  has time for that nowadays?:) Pre-packaged foods and pre-cut vegetables or frozen mixes are a sort of convenience foods, but they can be ideal for a busy homemaker.

No offence meant to anyone, but though I like to cook, I think there is definitely a place for convenience foods in the modern kitchen, even for a housewife.  I'm a snob about my bread, though. Never used a mix for the bread-baker, never will. I'm firmly convinced they are unhealthy:) Well, what do you think?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Thoughts On Modesty

I was asked to write about modesty, especially modesty in the church. Now modesty is such a difficult topic, because people tend to take it personally. For instance, if you write that one should probably avoid wearing skirts which don't hit the knee, a woman who wears shorter skirts will more often than not take it as a personal insult and get offended.

Offended individuals then start writing you nasty letters and comments and as a result, few dare to touch this important topic any more, which is a shame. Things get more complicated because we as a society live in the times when anything goes. That is, we can't get a consensus on what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.

A hundred years ago most people agreed on basic things, such as that marriage was between one man and one woman, divorce should be restricted to special cases, dresses and skirts are feminine clothes, while pants aren't and it's better for the children when their mother is married to their father and stays home. However, these and similar ideas have become highly controversial nowadays, and even among self-proclaimed conservatives there will probably no agreement on some of these issues.

If folks can't even agree on what constitutes proper female and male attire, how do we expect them to figure out which clothes are modest and which are not? Add to this the mass media which actively promote attention whoring, especially among the young and impressionable and we get the mess we have now.

So what's a girl to do? First, I'd like to say that modesty begins in one's heart. Modesty is not only about outside, but also about inside. It's closely connected to the desire to maintain privacy. Modesty is the opposite of attention whoring. You may dress like a nun and still be immodest in your manners and behaviour. Our society encourages us to let it all hang out and to discuss the most intimate details of our lives with virtual strangers. It happens in real life, but also on the internet, what with Facebook and stuff like that.

A truly refined person isn't an attention whore. Such a person won't be posting half-naked selfies on the internet or become an emotional basket case in public.  Our previous monarch, Queen Beatrix was famous for never showing her emotions. Once there was an attack on the royal family during a holiday and she appeared on the TV visibly upset. People kept discussing how unusual it was for her. I always thought how she was such a good example of keeping private affairs private.

As for the clothes, first, I'd like to say that one should try to dress according to the occasion. There is formal and casual attire (I wrote about it before and gave examples, if you are interested, search the label style). Second, one should try to dress according to one's age. A short dress on a young girl trying to attract a potential husband is understandable, but not so much on her grandmother. If you are a married woman, dress as such and don't try to copy your teenage daughter.

Those who write about modesty will often point out that certain clothes will promote male lust which gets feminists all upset. They then start nonsensical campaigns, such as infamous slut walks , trying to persuade young women that the way they present themselves doesn't matter. Things don't work that way in real life, however, those arguments always strike me as arguing from pragmatism.

Yes, it's true that we subconsciously divide people into categories according to the way they dress, though progressives may hate it. It's true that a woman who is perceived as slutty will get more attention of a sexual kind and even place herself in jeopardy, but the unwanted male attention shouldn't be your only reason to dress modestly. For me, modesty is first of all, about self-respect. Any woman struggling with this issue should ask herself a question, which image is she trying to project? How does she want to be remembered?

As a mother of the family or as a cougar? As a wholesome young person or as a trashy trailer park type? A lady or a tramp? Remember, that people are visual creatures (TV advertising works) and that first impression is hard to change.

I'd like to point out that it's a good thing not to fall into another extreme (in general, extremes of all sorts should be avoided). You don't have to wear a burqa, generally speaking. Unless you belong to a religious minority with strict modesty rules, such as Amish, you'll be all right by just avoiding too short, too tight and too low cut.

I'd say for me personally it's also important to look feminine. A woman could be totally covered and thus be "modest" but if you have to look several times to figure out whether it's a male or female, I'd say she is doing something wrong. Here, of course, the question of wearing pants comes. Traditionally, starting with our Germanic ancestors, pants were considered male attire. Of course, nowadays women wear trousers for all occasions and you hardly will shock anyone by doing it. I did notice one thing, though. The overwhelming majority of men doesn't adorn themselves with skirts/dresses, and even those Scottish types chiefly wear their national garb during costume parties.

I wonder why is it so?May be, because men are still proud to be men? Shouldn't we then be proud of being women and dress distinctly feminine? It's definitely something to ponder when you make your clothing choices. Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject of modesty in comments section!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Housewives Are Good For The Environment

Traditional housewives are the champions in recycling and thus good for the environment. That all comes with living frugally on one income:)

Take, for instance, this dress:

It is a famous European brand which normally sells for in-between 150 and 250 euros. However, I bought it for 7 euro in a goodwill type store (we have a huge one in our city which sells all sorts of stuff, including clothes, books, computers etc).

Please pay attention to the lamp: it was made by my father-in-law (handwork!), and recently we changed the lampshade to suit our new decor. We found it at the same store for 1.75.

We got this small cabinet for free (someone put it outside to get rid of it). My husband recently gave it a new look by painting it white and green. He also designed and made the side table standing next to it:

Isn't it cute? I bought the drawers very cheaply in Xenos, a Dutch store. In general, I like our new look, and it didn't cost us a fortune.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Life Without Women Would Be Boring

Some frivolous music for Monday morning, just to cheer you up (yes, it's past midnight over here);

A very approximate translation from German is mine:

Friends, I have decided to quit the night life. Let's drink to the earnestness of life and I probably will have to find a job.

I have decided to give up girls,
Not one of them will ever tempt me.
If the thousand hearts break, I don't care...

My decision is taken, it's over with love 
and yet,
Life without women is boring just like
The rose won't blossom without sun...

(What he sings here is somewhat different from the classic version)
I was nearly married a couple of times
But my luck was with me.
Many women dreamed of me as their husband,
However, it was just a waste of time
As I'd rather stay free...
(sings something along the lines that marriage is prison for men)
I was never true to any woman.

(A mental note, Boni is exactly the type of man to avoid, even though as far as I remember he gets married in the end!:)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

More On Sigurd

I realise not everybody shares my interest in Nordic myths, but please bear with me...:)

Just to explain what Regin Smiður is all about. Grane was Sigurd's horse which was the descendant of Sleipnir, the horse of Odin (you can read more about it over here) . Regin the Smith was one of the three sons of the dwarf king Hreidmar, the brother of Otter and Fafnir. When Otter was killed by Loki, Hreidmar asked for weregild (compensation for the unlawful killing) and so Loki had to give him the treasures which he had stolen from the dwarf named Andvari.

However, the greedy king was still unsatisfied and Loki had to give him Andvari's magic ring which had been cursed by its rightful owner. As the result of the curse, Fafnir killed his father, took the treasure and ran away, without sharing with Regin, who swore revenge. Fafnir's love for gold caused him to turn into a horrible dragon and he spent day and night watching over his treasure.

Regin chose to live among mortals whom he taught all kinds of metalwork and he waited till finally he chose Sigurd as the instrument of his revenge. Sigurd promised to help but asked for a sword which wouldn't be broken in any battle. Regin made two swords, but Sugurd broke both of them easily. Regin then remembered about the broken sword of Sigmund (Sigurd's father) which he had received from Odin, and forged a new sword out of the remnants of it.

Sigurd killed the dragon and started roasting his heart for Regin, as the latter had asked him, but as he was testing whether it was ready he suddenly started understanding the birds' language and discovered that Regin was planning to betray him, thus he killed the dwarf and took the gold and the ring (which didn't bring him any good, but that's another story).

BTW, you can see where Tolkien got his inspiration:)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How Men Fought And Died For Palimony

O.K, not really for palimony, but for pensions for mistresses and women's rights.

I have been planning to write about the subject for quite some time, but the sheer gruesomeness of this story prevented me. It all started when someone gave me the Short Version of World History by one J.W. Pik, the edition of 1934.  It was there that I read about Paris Commune and its demise.

Now, of course, I heard about Paris Commune before, but it was long ago and I never gave much thought to it. It was just a historical fact. This time I became interested and checked Wikipedia, which as usual, supplied me with many details of the story absent in the book. Naturally, I was especially interested in the feminist angle of the famous uprising.

So first the short summary of the facts: Paris Commune events happened during and after the Franco-Prussian war, after the Second Empire collapsed and the National Assembly proclaimed the new French Republic. At that time, the population of France was sharply divided between conservative Catholics who chiefly lived in the countryside and various radicals and socialists living in big cities such as Paris. A lot of them supported First International and wanted to make France socialist.

As the war progressed and Germans surrounded Paris, the discontent among the radicals grew and there were several small uprisings. When the armistice was signed, the country held general elections where Catholic candidates won, except in Paris, where socialist took the majority of seats. The rift between the conservatives in the Assembly and the radicals was quickly growing and turned violent as the Paris National Guard refused to return some old-fashioned cannons to the regular army, despite the demands of the lawfully elected national Parliament.

On the 19th of March, 1871, National Guard took power and proclaimed new elections for a city council, which were supported only by 48% of registered voters. For the Central Committee of the National Guard it was enough though and thus Paris Commune came into being.

It started with introducing the old Republican Calendar and the red flag and establishing progressive democracy, which included: taking away the property of the  Church as a part of separating Church and State, pensions for mistresses of National Guardsmen killed in action and struggle against Western patriarchy (represented by Western capitalism).

To get rid of patriarchy, the following was proposed:

gender equality
wages equality
right of divorce
professional (secular) education for girls
erasing of the distinction in status between wives and mistresses, and consequently, their children

While the feminist movement consisted chiefly of women, some of whom even joined men on the barricades, it's obvious that they wouldn't go anywhere far, were it not for men, and all the Commune leaders were male.

The French government sent the troops to suppress the uprising. It's interesting that while the Commune leaders stated that they were against death penalty, when the situation deteriorated they quickly took the law allowing execution of hostages (among whom were many priests). In fact, the law stated that if one person who was on the side of the Commune gets executed by the lawful government, the Commune will execute "a triple number of hostages" in retaliation. The National Assembly reacted by establishing military tribunals.

Among the notable achievements of the Commune was the destruction of the Vendome Column erected to celebrate Napoleonic Victories. The Column was accused of being a symbol of "brute force" and barbarism (and was probably oppressive to women, too, taking into account its shape). The idea came from the painter Mr Courbet.

The Commune was also against military conscription but forced every able-bodied man to become a member of the National Guard, thus creating an army of 200,000. The officers were elected though, and not always according to their capability. As the result, the army lacked discipline and necessary skills. They were hardly a match for the regular army. When it entered the city, the situation quickly became desperate for its defenders who lacked all the organisational skills and distrusted their commanders.

After the uprising was suppressed, the reprisals started. The Wiki article mentions that several women who manned the barricades were executed alongside with men, however, as usual, men bore the brunt of it. Till this day, it's not known how many exactly were killed after short show trials (which mostly included examining their hands for the traces of the gun powder), however the number of casualties during the "Bloody Week" most commonly named is ten thousand.

The leaders of Commune were tried separately, including the feminist leader Louise Michel. Evil French Males refused to give her a death sentence though and sent her to New Caledonia instead where she had to work as a schoolteacher. 9 years later she returned to France and resumed her career in fighting patriarchy by inciting the people to pillage the bakery. She was imprisoned again, then pardoned, then arrested again etc etc, until her death in 1905.

 It's interesting that already in those times, men (or some men at least) were much inclined to admire the ferociousness of women who supposedly fought alongside men like tigresses and set fire to many buildings. Though nowadays the historians believe it to be a myth (why men tend to get obsessed with female warriors is beyond my comprehension), at that time the myth cost some unlucky women dearly as they were accused of arson and murdered.

What conclusion can we draw from the story above? I'll leave it to you, dear reader. For me, it shows how feminism would never take root so to say, without men who aided and abetted it and were ready to fight and die for among other things, women's rights.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sigurd Slays The Dragon

This is the Danish variant of Regin Smiður, a folk song made popular by Tyr:

Grane bar guld af hede, 
Grane bar guld af hede, 
Sigurd svinger sværdet i vrede.
 Sigurd over ormen vandt, 
Grane bar guldet af heden.

Grane carried the gold from the heath, Sigurd swings the sword in anger...
The legend says he came from the Low Lands!

You can read the whole text of the song and the translation (in comments) if you watch the video on YouTube.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Church Ladies On The Mission Field

A friend asked me to write about this topic yesterday. Women who attend conservative churches sometimes complain that they feel restricted since they can't be a preacher or an elder. They feel like all the positions of importance belong to men, and they can't do anything of value.

It's interesting that this has been the complaint of Western feminists for a long time: the idea that the traditional female role is narrow and restrictive and only men get to do things which really matter.

I have always attributed it to envy, though for the life of me, I can't understand why women would be envious of men whose life has always been quite hard and with the positions of authority which they have traditionally occupied, came heavy responsibilities and duties. It's also profoundly not true that women content with the traditional female occupations of being a wife, mother and homemaker are not important and contribute nothing. In fact, God gave women the proper place for their ministry and practicing good works - their own family.

I'm not talking only about taking care of one's own (nuclear) family. The lady at home can practice hospitality, offer friendship and support for those who need it, visit elderly relatives and new mothers, minister to the neighbour children who come to her house to play with her own kids etc etc. She  can influence others with her modest and feminine clothes.

Women at home even can prevent some crimes from happening as they function as a sort of a neighbourhood watch. Everybody knows that  criminals prefer to commit burglaries in the two-income neighbourhoods which are virtually empty during the daytime.

Nowadays, some things are glorified while the importance of others is minimised. When a woman goes on a mission trip to some far-away country, she will be invariably portrayed as a heroine of faith, while wives and mothers at home often are looked down upon. However, if confronted about your choices, you can point out that you already have your own mission field: you are a missionary for the traditional Christian womanhood and your mission field is your home.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Spelt Muffins

The original recipe was from a magazine called LandIdee Christmas 2014 edition, however as usual, I adjusted it.

You will need:

1c spelt (dinkel) flour
1c the mixture of rye, whole wheat and spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
ab. 60 g dried apricots, chopped finely
30-40g walnuts, chopped
3 eggs
5 TBSP brown sugar
150 ml milk + 50 ml virgin olive oil

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, apricots and walnuts. In another bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, milk and oil, then add to the flour mixture, stir until combined. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 200*C (400*F) for about 15 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Yield: 12 muffins.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

How Romantic Movement Destroyed Marriage

Romantic movement (is)...a group of writers, artists etc. who followed their feelings and emotions rather than logical thought or reason...It first became popular in the late 18th century...(Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture, 1992).

The destruction of marriage didn't start in the 1990, and  neither when divorce was made easier in the middle of the 19th century. It started with Romantic movement which prioritised feelings over common sense as perfectly shown in the first novel of Jane Austen Sense And Sensibility.

As most of you probably know,  Sense And Sensibility is a story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Marianne is thoroughly romantic in all her notions and has a disregard for prudence and society conventions. She is totally governed by her feelings and passions with a predictable result of falling in love with a handsome cad John Willoughby who jilts her for a wealthier woman. Elinor, on the other hand, practises quite admirable self-control and restraint.

When Dashwoods find themselves in reduced circumstances after the death of their father and have to move, one of their new acquaintances, Colonel Brandon falls in love with Marianne. He is a rich man of an admirable character but Marianne finds the whole idea ridiculous since he is 35 years old and according to her: "...must have long outlived any sensation of that kind." (p.35, Penguin Books, 1994).

When Elinor points out that Marianne who is only 17 is probably too young for him, but he could marry a woman of 27, the latter remarks that a woman so advanced in years can't hope to inspire affection in any man but could marry for the financial reason. However, in Marianne's eyes: " would be no marriage at would seem only a commercial exchange" (p.36).

In the end of the book, Marianne marries the colonel feeling only friendship and esteem and later learns to love her husband. Their marriage, according to the author, is happy and prosperous and thoroughly refutes the romantic nonsense. This makes the book quite traditional, especially comparing to some of her other stories.

Among other opinions of Marianne was the disapproval of second affections (though her own father had been married two times) and  the idea that money is wholly unimportant when one considers getting married. Elinor, on the other hand, is financially prudent. Since Edward (that's the guy she loves, for those who haven't read the book), is dependent on his mother she realises that they can't marry without her agreement and help, despite their mutual affection.

Marianne shows contempt for the rules of decorum by writing to Willoughby, even though they aren't engaged. When her sister points out the impropriety of it, she answers that she felt herself: "... to be as solemnly engaged to him as if the strictest legal covenant had bound us to each other." (p.181); to which Elinor answers: "I can believe it...but unfortunately, he did not feel the same." (idem).

As you can see, romanticism introduced the idea that legal ceremonies and formalities are of no importance, together with any financial issue which may arise and the only thing which makes a marriage valid is feelings. A couple can marry out of convenience, but it's not really marriage at all and similarly, the society conventions should go out of the window when feelings are involved. Nowadays we have couples living together who declare that they feel they are married even as they totally disregard the established way of doing it.

However, if feelings are the only thing which makes a marriage valid, then obviously when one's feelings change, it should be grounds for divorce. So it's probably not surprising that when the romantic ideas became widespread divorce became easier till finally we got a no fault divorce.

Another pernicious idea of the Romantic movement was the existence of a so-called soul mate. I have written about it before, so I won't repeat myself. I wish, however, to point out that since marriage is obviously all about your feelings and finding a perfect soul mate, then why reducing it to the union of one man and one woman? Why, anyone can be a soul mate, can't they? Why not marrying several of your best friends, your sister or your cat?

 Since it's all about the soul then apparently the body doesn't matter, the marriage doesn't have to be consummated and two persons who are completely celibate should be still considered legally married to each other. Do we need any other proof that liberalism (of which the Romantic movement was the predecessor) is a modern gnostic cult?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lord Of The Rings, A Game Review

I'm not going to write about computer gaming (which I frankly find an incredibly boring subject), this is a review of a board game.


Lord Of The Rings was produced by 999Games, which as far as I know is a German company, though this particular game was marketed for sale in English-speaking countries which probably explains the politically correct "she or he" in the game description. however, besides this small but irritating detail, it is really a great game (I will add that I was lucky enough to find it complete in a Goodwill type store for 5 euro).

LOTR can be played by 2-5 participants, starting by the age of 12. It has rather complicated rules, so it makes sense to read the manual several times before beginning. The difference between it and other board games I played, is that though there is a competitive element present, you don't play against each other, but as a group against the Dark Lord (in the form of  the Eye of Sauron).


Each participant represents one of the Hobbits: Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin and Fatty, each of them possessing some special qualities. The Ring is also present and the one who carries it may put it on and use Its power on certain occasions.

The game has 3 levels (beginners, intermediate and advanced) and makes use of 5 maps: the first one is the corruption path where the hobbits and Sauron every time come closer to each other plus the general journey map from Bag End to Mordor, with 4 additional scenario maps (Moria, Helm's Deep, Shelob's Lair and Mordor), with the group objective being to throw the One Ring into the volcano.


To achieve it, the participants make use of cards, chips and dice. They are allowed to discuss their strategy but cannot show their cards to each other. LOTR promotes cooperation and working together as a group. It's quite interesting and may be recommended to any family with older children tired of spending their evenings in front of the TV or behind the computer screen. Once you know the rules, it takes about 1 1/2 hour to play and is great fun.

UPDATE:I uploaded pictures, as requested.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Weekend Walk In The Forest

The past weekend we had a spell of very warm weather (the temperature was about +18*C in the afternoon) so we decided to spend it outside and went to Hoge Veluwe, a national park. Here are some pictures: