Friday, October 30, 2015

You, Too, Can Live On One Income!

I'm always sorry to hear the news about someone staying home for years and then deciding to go back to work. The reasons cited more often than not are economical. Of course, it may happen that one's husband loses his job or becomes unable to work, but it's not always the reason. Let's be honest, Western economies are not exactly doing fine right now, prices grow higher, various forms of subsidies people in Europe grew accustomed to are disappearing, medical care becomes more expensive, etc etc.

Does it mean that you can't live on one income any more? I'd like to stress that here I'm talking about middle class families. Even a lower middle class man will earn the amount of money which the working class couple normally earn with two of them (since most married women over here only work past-time) , and yet there are enough of these couples having children and living just fine. Which means, if they can do it, you can do it, too! As someone pointed out to me, often it's not really the question of needs unmet, but rather about preserving a certain lifestyle.

When the family finances start going south, the temptation is often strong to try and keep up appearances, even if it means the wife and mother getting a job outside home. Middle class couples often have a certain standard to maintain, which becomes more important to them than anything else. Of course, it's my opinion, that even an average working class couple could live on one income considering the fact that they still qualify for some government freebies, but it would take a great deal of good management.

On the other hand, when money is not so tight, it's easier to become careless and start spending it like water, which will always ruin you in the end, no matter how much you earn. I'll just give you a personal example. I normally received a certain sum of money from my husband for weekly shopping and I managed to save enough that I could afford to get out and lunch with my friends from time to time.

We really didn't need to economise so I asked him to give me more money. My idea was to save it for hobby purposes (yarn, fabric, knitting magazines) and I was quite enthusiastic about it, however, after a couple of months I noticed that by the end of the week I had less money left than before, when the amount I received had been smaller. I just started buying more expensive brands and overall became more careless, which proves that if you don't exercise tight control on how much you really give out, you'll come into trouble.

If the family are committed to living on one income, they should take some tough decisions beforehand, including where they are planning to live, which school the children will attend (commuting is expensive), which car they are going to drive etc.

I remember reading a story in comments section of a newspaper about a guy who said that though his wife was a SAHM, by the end of the month they had more money over than his two-income relatives who were pretty resentful about the fact. He rented while they had a huge mortgage, he didn't need to pay daycare for his kids since his wife was home, he paid less taxes since he was the sole provider and thus lower income, his family didn't eat out so often, his vacations were probably not so luxurious and yet he and his wife were happy while the other couple were bitter. Priorities are everything!

In the end, it doesn't depend so much on what your husband earns, but rather, on what's more important for you. If it's your conviction that a married woman's place is her home, you'll do everything possible to make it happen. If you believe otherwise, well, it's a free country, after all. For those falling in the first category, I'd like to recommend this great article which also gives detailed suggestions on how to reduce expenses so that you, too, could stay home:

How Can I Afford To Stay Home?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Am I The Only One...

Am I the only one who has problems switching from winter time to summer time and back? When the clock goes forward it always feels like they are stealing an hour of your life and you have to run the whole day to catch up. When the clock is getting bad it's kinda easier, but then suddenly it's dark one hour earlier. I realise summer time is good for economy and stuff, but is it really good for human beings? Also the meal times get changed, too.

In other news, World Health Organization came up with the news that red meat could "possibly" cause cancer (but they don't know for sure. Anyway, is there anything which doesn't cause cancer nowadays?). Here is an interesting take on the issue:

World Health Organization, meat and cancer.

Ladies and gentlemen, that was all for today Till next time!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Isolation Of The Modern Life

Our modern society is getting increasingly atomised. When you read old books from 1930s and 1940s, you see that the big families were still very much in fashion and I don't necessarily mean those which had 19 children, though they no doubt, existed. Most people still had something between 2 and 4, partly due to higher childhood mortality, but they counted their extended family as family if you know what I mean.

From stories like Agatha Christie's we know that people kept track of all their cousins and nephews and nieces. If you had no children of your own, you would be even more invested in their well-being and often they would inherit after you. Unmarried sisters would stay in the family and do housekeeping for their single brothers, orphaned nieces would go live with their aunts and wealthy relatives saw it as their duty to support those of the family who were less fortunate.

None of it happens today. Nowadays you are on your own. You hardly ever see your cousins. If you have no children of your own, you are expected to adopt from 10 000 km away, instead of giving anything to your nephews or nieces, or paying their education or whatever. Widowed parents don't move in with their married daughters.  Church community hardly ever exists, especially in the case of megachurches. Most of your neighbours work the whole day, that is, if they even speak your language.

Modern urbanised lifestyle totally destroys any sense of community people had. It turns us into anonymous consumers whose life is determined solely by the stuff they buy and the vacations they take. Children are trained early in the consumer lifestyle. In the times past they were taught that they had a duty to their family, especially to their parents. Now the parents have a duty to them which chiefly consists out of buying the newest gadgets since mothers are encouraged to go back to work as soon as possible.

Homemakers feel even more isolated since the workplaces often organise socialising events so that people can connect to each other like having a drink after you working day is over or going somewhere all together. The only socialising encouraged noawadays is socialising in an institution. I still remember a government official saying several years ago that housewives were shut from participating "in society".

You see, in old books "society" is described as private parties people (especially wealthy people) had in their homes. Nowadays society is the office and the schoolhouse and the daycare. That's where "life" happens. Home is just a place to change your clothes and take a nap. You aren't supposed to spend much time there, especially when you are young.

How did things go so far? Well, part of it is deliberate planning and part of it is due to the changing mindset of people themselves. Welfare state took upon itself a lot of functions reserved for the family and feminism encouraged every woman to go to work and, of course, it was mostly women organising dinner parties and keeping track of the cousins and the nephews.  The funniest thing of it all is that after the liberal governments spent years building various care facilities to free the families from their traditional duties to their elderly, they are now cutting the expenses and closing nursing homes left and right, saying that it's "a family task". Yet "the family" as it was doesn't exists any more.

Liberalism also prevents healthy family formation by encouraging young women to spend their most attractive (and fertile) years studying, climbing the career ladder and partying instead of searching for a suitable husband. Their parents, who used to play a significant role in the process, often have no input at all, and are also hardly interested. The worst part of it is that even if you disagree with the whole thing, even if you try to teach your children differently, the world will still do its best to tear the families apart.

I know it all sounds quite depressing but yet there is a light in the end of the tunnel: this liberal society is not only government officials or liberal journalists or career women or whatever, it's also you and me and the neighbour lady. You can fight the atomisation by showing more interest in your fellow human beings, investing some time in cultivating friendships, visiting your family more often etc etc. Don't wait for the society to change, just do it.

 Fight against the temptation to shut yourself in your own little bubble, connect with others, especially with those like-minded. Offer them your support. Be pro-active, not reactive. Remember that your ancestors had it often more difficult than you do and yet they fought and they survived and they built the most amazing civilisation in the history of the world - the Western civilisation. Be proud that you are a part of it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Barbara Cartland On Women In Trousers

I personally think there is no occasion when a woman looks anything but nauseating in trousers. Women are not the right shape for trousers and never have been. There is some excuse for wearing them on board ship where you may have to climb up and down companion-ways, but when I see women with enormous behinds wobbling across Europe in hideous trousers or standing with their legs apart trying to look masculine, I wonder what they would do if they could see themselves.

A woman should look like a woman, and she is feminine, attractive and alluring when she is wearing a skirt. A great number of restaurants up to two years ago would not admit a woman wearing trousers.

Quoted from her book called Barbara Cartland's Etiquette For Love And Romance, p. 34. Before writing angry comments, please remember: don't shoot the messenger:) 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Life Of Cats

When there is nothing particularly intellectual or sophisticated to write about, blog about cats:)
Now aren't they funny?

And, like, very sweet, sometimes:

For better or for worse, they are none of them like our poor Frodo was, whose chief entertainment in life was fighting with other cats and who virtually knew no fear. Those two are afraid of their own shadow! The little one doesn't venture outside, his eldest "brother" goes out only if there is no one or nothing suspicious around. A whistling postman is enough to cause him vapours and fainting fits.

Enfin, may be it is for the best...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why Feminism Is Nonsensical

Feminism is an ideology which calls people, especially women, to fight for the abstract concept of "women's rights" and claims to defend women's interests. The problem with it as with other similar ideologies is that feminism presupposes that all women on planet Earth have interests and problems identical to each other. It seeks to transcend class, ethnicity and national borders and unite all the women into one common movement, which is illustrated by such examples as, for instance, TV commercials trying to raise money so that some woman in a third world country could get an education.

The truth is that most normal people are more interested in the welfare of their pet hamster than in life of some unknown woman ten thousand miles away and only hypocrites pretend otherwise. However, even within the national boundaries, feminism makes little sense. Take, for instance, the topic of unwed motherhood, which was discussed in the previous thread.

 It may be in the interests of a single mother (and her immediate family who are thus made free from all financial obligations) that she gets a monthly welfare check sponsored by the taxpayer, but it's against the interests of a married mother whose husband pays a lot of taxes to support illegitimate offspring of other men. The married mother is thus forced to share resources which would otherwise benefit her own children.

One of the premises of early feminism was taking away the stigma of being born outside of marriage and giving such children equal inheritance rights, which would seem noble on the surface and certainly it strengthened the position of unwed mothers. However, few people realise that it was also an attack on the position of the married woman and her lawful children. A wealthy man could have only one wife but many mistresses and then disinherit his lawfully born children which was an attack on the rights of his wife and the whole institution of marriage. It's not a coincidence that the movement to make divorce easier started gaining grounds around the same time.

When we move to another of modern feminism tenets, we see the same picture. Equal pay for equal work certainly benefits women, but not all the women. Married women, especially in one income families and their children, benefit from higher wages for men, while single professional women lose.

To make matters more complicated, feminism pits working mothers against SAHM mothers by promoting state-sponsored daycare and attacking the tax cuts for traditional families. We nowadays are in a situation when a family which sacrifices a lot financially to allow the mother to stay home is further punished by higher taxes while a two-income family which is often per definition wealthier, is further rewarded by daycare subsidies.

From the very beginning, modern feminism was about attacking the rights of married women and the traditional Western family model in general. Yet, the adherents of this movement are pretending to speak from the name of all women and promote the mythical "sisterhood" which, if you think seriously of it, is utter nonsense. Why should some strange woman have a sisterly claim on you above those of your own male family members, such as fathers, sons, husbands and brothers. Does it even make sense?

Since feminists are doing their best to lobby on behalf of themselves, traditional women should unite and start doing the same. When you realise that "sisterhood" is just as mythical as a unicorn, it makes putting things into perspective a lot easier.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Rights Of A Traditional Woman.

I'd like to draw your attention to the article called What Rights Do Women Have In Marriage?

Below is an excerpt:

The second right is that of financial support.  A wife should accept and be content with the level of financial support that her husband is able to provide.  With the rare exception of the husband's extreme disability, she should not have to leave her home--and more importantly, her children--behind in order to serve as the primary financial support of the household.

 I remember we used to have a TCM (Turner Classic Movies) channel on the cable years ago, where they were showing vintage movies non-stop. Once I watched an old WWII film about the crew of an American submarine fighting the Japanese. Of course, those war movies were full of propaganda and we should take them with a grain of salt, but I chuckled when the officer was telling his men that things were so bad in Japan that women couldn't stay home but had to work. The guys all gasped in horror and quickly decided to liberate Japan as fast as possible. Now, of course,  it's like totally vice versa. Married women having the freedom of guiding the house used to be as American as an apple pie, and not so long ago.

I'd like to add some thoughts about her third point, which she euphemistically calls "fulfillment". I understand what she means but "fulfillment" is rather vague to my taste, because it's something subjective and thus can't be measured. In the times past, people used to talk about "marital debt" which both husband and wife owe to each other, as in not denying one another in marital bed, or at least, not without a good reason such as sickness. For the rest, a very good article. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Budget "Manicotti"

This is a budget version of the recipe called Mock Manicotti  from an old issue of Taste of Home. 

The amounts I used were enough for 8 of those things (manicotti? manicottis?), but can be easily adjusted. If served with bread, side dish (such as a salad) and a dessert could be enough to feed 4, but depends on how much you eat.

So you will need:

1 pkg (450g) of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained.
1/2 c (or to taste) sour cream
300-400g cubed chicken fillet, cooked 
salt, pepper, herbs to taste

8 lasagna noodles, cooked

1 can (400g) cubed tomatoes or any sort of tomato sauce of your choice

In a bowl, combine the first 3 ingredients; add salt, pepper and herbs of your choice; divide into equal portions, spread one portion over each noodle and roll it up. Place in a baking dish, pour the tomatoes/tomato sauce all over and heat through in the oven at 175*C/350*F for ab. +/- 20 min. (Should not be overdone otherwise the noodles will get too dry). Can be assembled beforehand and popped in the oven just before dinner.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October Links

Will S. on the mainstreaming of pedophilia

Mark Moncrieff on five criteria for conservative parties

Mias Landliv on al fresco living

Vox Day on the invasion of Europe

Lydia Sherman on the happiness of home

A Return to Elegance on wearing skirts all the time

Aaron Clarey on women voting

A Lady's Code on the why bother attitude

That's about all for today. Please keep in mind that my linking to certain blogs and sites doesn't mean I automatically agree with or endorse the contents. I just happen to find some things interesting.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Easy Sunday Dinner With Shrimp

This dish can be assembled beforehand and just put into the oven to warm right before dinner. It's my adaptation of the recipe from Taste of Home

All the amounts are approximate, and can be adjusted for any number of people.

You will need:

Vermicelli or very fine macaroni, cooked
Shrimp (I used a 500 g pkg of frozen wok shrimp)
Onions+bell peppers, to taste (you can add garlic if you wish to)
salt, pepper, sugar, herbs to taste
diced tomatoes
grated cheese, if desired

In a skillet, saute chopped onions+peppers (and garlic), add shrimp and cook for ab. 3 min (or until the shrimp is ready).

In a greased baking dish, arrange the pasta+shrimp mixture, pour diced tomatoes all over, season with salt, pepper, sugar and herbs of your choice. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Bake uncovered at ab. 180*C (or 350*F) for 20-30 min or until heated through. Serve with green salad.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Day In The Life Of A Wealthy Parisian

According to Libelle No28, 14 July 1939

It begins with drinking a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with a warm croissant in bed, then with morning exercises to keep her figure:

Then she takes the shower (here she is in her bathrobe, presumably:)

and goes horse riding where she meets her girlfriends and discusses the last evening party

When she comes home she takes a bath and goes shopping at around 11 a.m.:

Back at home at dinner time (French used to eat their main meal around the midday and many still do), where she changes into an afternoon dress, where there are visitors or not:

After dinner her friend phones to inform her there is a new hat and naturally, she goes to check:

Then changing for the cocktail hour:

Finally the evening comes. Should she go to the opera:

Or choose supper and dancing in one of the fashionable hotels?

While I doubt every woman changed her clothes quite so often (and it surely didn't happen in lower class families), the fact remains that even in the 1980s trashy novel that I possess which describes the life on a farm in South Africa, people did change for dinner.

When I compare it with the way a modern woman dresses and looks I do get an uneasy feeling that we as a culture distinctly lost something...