Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer Solstice

It's behind us once again. We passed Midsummer. The days get shorter as we are heading towards Christmas. In Northern Europe and Germany (at least in some places) they traditionally celebrate it. In our city we've had festive activities (though not directly connected to it) for 3 weekends already, the coming weekend will be the last one as the festive season draws to its end and school vacations begin in July. It's actually a pity as I like long evenings when it's getting dark around 11 p.m.. Enfin, we still have about 3 months of nice weather before us:)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

More On Mortgages And Debt

Is debt sinful? Some Christians would want to tell you that yes, it is. Traditionally, Christian Church was against usury, which was defined as lending money with interest charged. In this context mortgage could probably be considered as sinful. Yet who exactly is sinning? The traditional answer would be the person who charges interest, the lender, NOT the borrower.

Strangely, these types of Christians will seldom talk about the problems with modern financial system and whether it's just or Biblical or whether people should be encouraged to go into debt, but they are all too eager to attack their Christian brothers who fall prey to it.

What about personal responsibility, you'll ask. And don't people who take mortgages participate in this system and encourage it? I agree that adults are largely responsible for their own behaviour, yet one should always take into account the fact that not everyone is equally intelligent and has the same degree of agency as others. It's politically incorrect to say it, but it's a fact. The Scriptures say that the law exists for the lawless, the rules of a just society should protect its more vulnerable members from becoming victims to the machinations of others. Noblesse oblige and all that.

As for participating in the system, the only way not to do it for most of us would be to drop out and become hermits living in a forest. Of course, you can always rent, but there is nothing wrong with the desire to own your own home, is there now?

In general, it's a wise thing to try and avoid debt as much as possible. Money-lenders are not on your side, they are in it for profit only. Buy a second hand car and pay cash. Don't borrow money to go on vacation. When taking a mortgage, don't ask for the maximum amount, but rather vice versa. Live below your means. Yet, stuff happens to the best of us. There can be sickness in the family and job loss. I've heard about people having thousands in credit cards debt which could take them years to pay off. It's easy to judge and point the finger. Yet if you feel this urge, point it at the financial elite first.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Home Cooking Saves Money

And prevents you from turning into a bugman:

We found on average, it is almost five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant  than it is to cook at home. And if you’re using a meal kit service as a shortcut to a home cooked meal, it’s a bit more affordable, but still almost three times as expensive as cooking from scratch.

Read the whole article over here. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Price Of Having It All

It's an old article but still relevant:

All over America there are moms in the shadows drowning in their daily responsibilities and turning to the prescription drug Adderall for relief.
Adderall is a drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but these women don't have ADHD; they say they need Adderall to be better mothers. 

And the 1950s housewives are relentlessly mocked still for their supposed addiction to tranquilisers.  Modern empowered women don't always eschew "mother's little helpers", either:

 Several years ago, one of Degree's children was prescribed Adderall, a central nervous system stimulant, for ADHD. In a moment of desperation she stole a pill from her own child and the addiction was almost immediate. 

A super-mom was born:

"I was able to get all the stuff done around the house," Degree said. "I was able to cook the dinner and have everything perfect."
Degree tells ABC News she felt like supermom and would stay up until 3 a.m. doing loads of laundry. She says she thought she'd only take it once. 

In all honesty, it isn't clear whether this unfortunate lady held a job outside home at that moment, but further on the article claims that:
Some women start on Adderall to keep up with the demands of career and home

Hmm, now I really start wondering about all these ladies popping up at homemakers' blogs and claiming how they really have little trouble balancing their careers with domestic demands.

There is a price attached to magic pills though:

"This is a significant problem," said Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer at Hazelden, an addiction treatment facility. "We've got an increase in women using drugs like Adderall ending up in our treatment programs. ... We know from a medical perspective it's dangerous and can cause seizures, strokes, heart attacks, even death." 

The real question is, should a drug similar to meth  be prescribed to children as young as three? 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Some Thoughts On MGTOW

or "men going their own way."

I'd like to put a disclaimer first that personally I don't subscribe to the idea that every single man has "a duty to marry." I also don't believe that MGTOWs present any serious threat to marriage in general, like some on the right state. Most men will continue seeking women to create a family with since it's a law of biological attraction. Also, some of these guys come across as closet cases, they wouldn't be marrying a female  anyway.

This said, there is something I find funny about this whole "movement". For the men going their own way, some of them sure spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing about women. I mean, you would think that a man like this would pursue hobbies and use his free time to do things he enjoys instead of *itching about women on the internet.

 Imagine Person A and Person B (a self-proclaimed MGTOW) having a dialog about recent events:

 Person A: There is a threat of WWIII starting!

Person B: Women!

A: Mid-Eastern situation is currently very unstable...

B: Women!

A: There is a conflict brewing in the South China Sea.

B: Women!

A: Trade wars are heating up.

B: Women!

A: Europe is dealing with a migrant crisis...

B: Women! Women! Women!

A: The president has just declared war on...

B: Yeah, but have you heard what this woman said on the internet yesterday???

(OK, I made the last one up as you understand)

Methinks, this rather unhealthy obsession with women is hardly going their own way.
Any thoughts? 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Christians And Thrift

I hope that the majority of my readers will agree that being a "soulless, rootless" consumer is not the way to go through life:) While the consumerist lifestyle is currently being promoted by the "powers that be", it caused quite a bit of reaction. Some of the opposite trends are minimalism and (extreme) thrift. So I wanted to say a couple of words about it.

There is nothing wrong in itself with being a minimalist/thrifty person. The real problem with minimalism as I see it is that it's often promoted as a pseudo-spiritual movement, a quasi-religion and tends to attract people like vegans, New-agers and the like. Then it becomes another attempt to find a meaning in your life through things, but unlike consumerism, this meaning comes not from accumulating stuff but rather from throwing it away for the sake of saving the Earth or something similar. This should make Christians rather wary since we know that it's Jesus who gives us the meaning (and salvation).

It's a bit trickier with practicing thrift. Any serious Christian will at least give some thought to what the Scriptures say about the family life and labour division. For many of us, especially in the countries like the USA where so many women work full time, giving away half the family income often means a substantial lowering of the standards of living. Plus, such families tend to have more than an average number of children, too. Being thrifty and creative is the only way to go forward for them and I think we should all admire the sacrifices some of them make to live according to their principles and give others an example of it can be done!

Yet, on the other hand, there are also families where the husband's salary alone allows them to live quite comfortably, own a nice size home and even enjoy vacations. I'm afraid that they are sometimes made to feel uncomfortable for not being "spiritual enough" for not adhering to the rigorous thrift routines like not growing all of their vegetables, e.g.

Being thrifty for the sake of thrift isn't really much different from spending money for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses, imo.  People should be pragmatic and shrewd when dealing with money matters. They should plan ahead and not take more debt than they can afford, like taking a huge mortgage which they can ill afford on two full salaries all the while complaining that "the society" doesn't allow mothers to stay home or wasting a student loan of 50.000 on a degree in basket-weaving; however, going the opposite way may turn you into a Scrooge, which is nearly just as detrimental.

I sense a certain streak of Puritanism in some fundamentalist Christians who are, unfortunately, nearly the only ones left promoting traditional family values so that those who may stumble upon them will think that this puritanical avoidance of all nice things in this world is what the real Christian should do. It's right along there with claiming that a mother can't relax in the garden with a nice book but should work at some home business instead, "to be like a Proverbs 31 woman".

I just mentioned mortgages. In fact, I talk quite a bit about mortgages on this blog, because that's what keeps most wives and mothers working. I have pointed out lots of times that houses are getting bigger while families get smaller and that you don't really need a big house to be happy. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with having a big house, either, if it's a financially prudent thing to do. And whatever house you choose to buy, for most of us it will still mean taking a mortgage. So I don't believe that mortgages are evil or sinful and should be avoided all together.

Because for most folks, it would realistically mean that they can't afford a house at all. Of course, you can always rent and save and may be, buy a piece of land and build later or live in a trailer. Realistically speaking, most people will still need to get some sort of a loan and if a trailer is all a young family could afford, may be they should wait a couple more years before getting married.

The same holds true for many other things. I do visit thrift shops and buy second-hand. I also regularly buy new clothes. I wouldn't buy second-hand shoes as you can't make them really clean, but the clothes you can just wash at high temperature. I don't think owning second-hand clothes makes me a better person  or more spiritual. It's just a choice I made. I could choose buying less clothes of better quality but I like changing them often:) We do other things which are probably a bit wasteful but which we can afford.

In my opinion, that's the real key to one income, traditional family living: do only things you can afford and try to save money for eventual hard times. For one family it'll mean only wearing second-hand, for another not going on ski vacations quite that often. We are all different and it will always stay so. And thank Heavens for it!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Equal Pay For Equal Work?

This masterpiece is from DailyMail:

 For centuries, women have been experts at juggling their relationships, careers, children, health and home all at once.

(Just think of all these 13th century career women, working for some multinational. It will warm your heart! Certainly did mine.)

The weight of maintaining this balancing act has increased exponentially over the past two decades,

What could be the reason, after these centuries of juggling, I wonder??? the point that more women than ever are reporting feelings of exhaustion, anxiety and depression.

 Why would it be so??? With all this fun stuff supposedly going on at the office? Read further and you'll know the answer!

A study published by the Australian National University found that the healthy working week for women should be limited to 34 hours, compared to 47 hours for men.

First they told us we are all equal. Now, it's:

'impossible for women to work [the] long hours often expected by employers unless they compromise their health.'

I'm getting rather confused at this point.

So what's the reason behind it all? Could it be that men and women are different? No, of course not, you bigot:

These findings reflect the outside-of-work hours that women lose to traditional domestic responsibilities and care-giving duties.

Men who live alone have "domestic responsibilities", too. They can also be caregivers to their elderly parents, e.g.  Many modern women hardly do anything at home, either, so why this victim mentality? There are also day cares, cleaning services, takeouts and other modern inventions created to make life of working folks easier. Apparently, it's still not enough, though.

Experts recommend that women should work shorter hours in order to compensate for the unpaid jobs they do every single day.
In order to achieve gender equality, working hour limits must be lowered. 

Thus working less hours than men  makes women equal to men. Can you still follow it? By the way, many married women already work part-time, by choice.So what's the point the researchers are trying to make?

In the meantime, Professor Strazdins is calling for fair reward for women who are working close to or above a 38-hour working week. 

Again, I'm puzzled: does she (I think it's a she but not sure) want to say that women should work 13 hours less than their male colleagues so that they could do housekeeping but get paid the same?What's in it for the men? Or will female employees clean their male colleagues' houses, too, while men pick up their slack at the working place? Sounds weird.

Yet, if you as a woman just choose to stay home, raise your family and mind your own business, they'll call you names like sinister,” “authoritarian,” “hyper-feminine,” “racist,” “abhorrent,” ‘red-lipsticked,” “lunatic” “white supremacist”

It's all about choice, as long as it's politically correct, of course. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Housework Takes Time

Here is something to ponder on - housework takes time and planning to be done properly. Many women (and men) who disagree with the whole concept of a housewife, will tell you that you don't really need that much time to clean the house. Of course, when you dig deeper, you'll hear how they vacuum once in 3 weeks or less, how the bathrooms don't need to be cleaned every week, how windows are better washed once a year, etc etc.

That's not the only point, though.Generally speaking, a young, high-energy person with a relatively small family and high standards and working less than 40 hours a week can still cram a lot of housework into her day. The problem is, first, as you get older, you get less energy than when you were 20, and second, if you don't give enough attention to it, you are bound to forget things which need doing. Trying to juggle too many activities also leads to higher than normal levels of stress.

When you start viewing household management as a job, not just a number of unrelated chores which can be divided equally between different family members, but as a whole, complex enterprise, you'll realise that even when at times you do delegate some tasks to others, things work much more smoothly when there is one person in charge.

And it's usually the wife. I could give you arguments from the Scriptures, or point to women wanting to take the kitchen back. I know that for some ideologically committed individuals it won't matter what I or someone else says on the issue, and honestly, I could care less. For those interested, here are some statements from DailyMail:

...from the moment he gave up his job, Richard says Louise, 47, failed to see him as a "man".

In short, having a man whose primary function is not as alpha male breadwinner, but domestic drudge just ain't sexy. 

Divorce lawyer Vanessa Lloyd-Platt says that in her experience, the decision to allow the wife to be the main wage earner will have a detrimental effect on as many as half of these relationships, and that divorce statistics in these cases have risen by at least five per cent in the past two years. 

Here is one more:

 I realised with horror that I'd lost a sizeable chunk of respect for that man behind the door, the one with stubble on his chin and dressed in a scruffy, old pair of tracksuit bottoms, picking two-day-old lasagne off the front of a child's jumper.

With women it's nearly always what we do and not what we say. Many divorces aren't caused by the husband's infidelities but rather by his inability to hold down a job/earn a decent paycheck. But, to return back to the point I was trying to make, sometimes old ways do work the best. If your house is always a mess and you are all stressed out and stretched to the maximum, why not try housewifery for a change?May be you'll like it!

Monday, June 4, 2018

He Will Survive

I will survive - an Italian version (specially for a Monday morning:)

Friday, June 1, 2018

What Is The Real Life Anyway?

"She needs to get a life - she needs to take a job and to socialise with her colleagues instead of her mother/sister/husband/whatever."

Have you ever heard this one? May be, it was even addressed to you. Apparently, a bunch of coworkers is a modern substitute for ties of blood and friendship. Spending a day with you mother or sister or even a neighbour lady, isn't "real life". "Real life" only happens when one is engaged in paid employment, whatever it is. A lady scrubbing the toilets after regular work hours when the company building is empty participates in "real life". A lady taking her children to visit Granny, spending the whole day talking and visiting, doesn't.

Yes, I know it doesn't make any sense. Or, does it? It does when you understand that behind this very real glamorisation of the workplace lurks something sinister: namely, another attack on the traditional communities. They are falling apart at an alarming rate since women started joining paid employment en masse. Because to build and maintain friendships one needs to invest time in them and that's one luxury a modern two-income family doesn't usually possess. You can even be in the position to meet new people through your job but what's the point when there is no time to really hang around, do things together and get to know each other?

It's all fun when you are in your twenties/thirties, preferably single and childless. You still manage to socialise after working hours. As you get older, things change  as you discover that you don't have much energy left in the evening for anything else other than watching telly. And both spouses have chores to do during the weekend...

No time for any extended family. No time for keeping in touch with old friends. Hardly any time for your own children and parents. Etc etc.

When I read 1930s - 1950s books like Miss Silver novels, they obviously describe the fact that many people, and even women had to work. Yet, "life" didn't happen in the office. Life happened at home, when family and friends came together, spent time together, ate together, with even distant relatives keeping in touch and visiting each other.

There is a program on a Belgian TV channel where two not-so-straight-men help lonely women get a boyfriend. Though I detest television, I can't always avoid it when visiting others who don't share my distaste. So I happened to watch one episode. The lady in question was a workaholic, so one of the hosts asked her about her private life. Her answer was along the lines of "my job is great." He kept insisting: "but what about your real life, outside the office." Her answer was: "I don't have any."

She was liberated all right: liberated from all the things which make life worth living like having a loving family, husband, children and friends. "Right-wing" and "left-wing" too often share the same vision of an ideal human: a rootless, friendless, genderless consumer spending hours on end in a cubicle to earn more money to buy more useless stuff in order to create some meaning in their otherwise totally meaningless lives.

If that's the "real life", you can count me out!