Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Cautionary Tale

for young(ish) women.

DISCLAIMER: I realise it's Daily Mail so please bear in mind that I'm commenting on what the article says and that the real facts could be different.

So the article is titled (a short version)
'I was raped, starved and kept as a prisoner': How an Australian woman, 30, travelled to Pakistan to meet the man of her dreams...

The story goes as followed:

An Australian woman who was lured to Pakistan by the false promise of a lavish life with the man of her dreams was instead locked up, beaten and used as a sex slave for months.
Lara Hall, 30, became the victim of a predatory online groomer...

Keep in mind  we are talking about a woman  who is 30 (!) years old, not a girl of 18 not a young woman of 22. Someone of  legal profession as well:

Ms Hall, having completed a law degree at the University of Notre Dame and working in a prestigious position, struck up a friendship on a train with a Pakistani woman called Rhianna in 2013.
 Ms Hall offered to teach her English and over time she became an honorary member of the woman's family who told her how much they adored her and often brought her little gifts.

The Stranger within my gate,
 He may be true or kind, 
But he does not talk my talk-- 
 I cannot feel his mind.
 I see the face and the eyes and the mouth, 
But not the soul behind.

If only her education included studying the classics, she may have been warned...

'I didn't come from a functional family, so it was everything I was craving,' Ms Hall said.

Of course...

One night Ms Hall was on a Skype call to Rhianna's family in Pakistan, and made her first contact with Sajjad, who was a relative...

Sajjad's friendship came at a challenging time for Ms Hall...Despite her burgeoning legal career and strong professional prospects, her troubles mounted to the point where she suffered a breakdown.

In other words, she finally realised that burgeoning career is not all it's cracked up to be, at least for a woman, which kinda makes me sympathetic in a way; however, I strongly suspect there are men in Australia which could offer her the security she craved and wouldn't mind supporting her though probably not at the level the thought she was entitled to:

'He promised a grand, amazing and happy life if I would ever consider him.
'He said he had five houses and showed a purchase contract for a Spanish house he said we could live in and that I could decorate however I wanted - he even sent me pictures of the house.

'I was seduced by the promise of this amazing life with him.

That's what comes from reading too much Pride and Prejudice and similar stories where girls are pursued by hunky millionaires.

'He was very compassionate, empathetic, always there to listen, issuing grandiose promises -like a friend, a very trustworthy person,' Amy said.

Issuing grandiose promises is the first sign the man is lying to you. Honestly, how can a person of this age (her twin sister in this case) be so naive??? I wonder if they are the sort of people who
 believe the emails they get from Nigerian billionaires promising to transfer 200 millions to their bank accounts?

Intoxicated by the promise of a beautiful life and seduced by the man of her dreams, Ms Hall took the plunge and on April 23 last year she flew 18 hours to Lahore.

At this point I guess we all should be happy the lady didn't go on a solo hiking trip in the mountains of Morocco...

'The house was certainly not like anything in the pictures, I was taken back when I arrived,' Ms Hall said.
'There were twenty people living in five bedrooms. He said they were just there for the wedding. It was filthy.

Could have cleaned it for the man of her dreams...Just kidding!

Over the next few weeks Sajjad admitted that he had fabricated the Spanish villa and that he was not the man he had claimed to be.  'All feelings of love died. 

(Emphasis mine). And they say money can't buy you love...

'Sajjad raped me and his brother attempted to rape me on multiple occasions. I was a kept woman, I was denied feminine hygiene products...

Do they even have them in Pakistan?

 I was starved over long periods of time - on one occasion up to 14 hours.

Wow, just wow! 14 hours without food, that must have been tough....I will spare you the gross sexual details which you can read for yourself at the link above and go straight to the next point: the lady's escape.

She managed to contact the Australian consulate and High Commission, thinking her reports of sexual assault would trigger an urgent response.
She was disappointed by their 'lacklustre' attitude, saying she was told to seek safety, but she was scared to go to the police due to her visa overstay and for speaking out against a local man.

Well,  what exactly did she expect? I don't know about you, but personally I am getting tired reading the stories of naive Westerners going adventure seeking in strange lands and then expecting their governments to send  rescue team when the going gets tough. The childlike naivety of grown up individuals keeps amazing me.

The lady did find a local man through Facebook (not some truck driver, mind you - but a chief executive of the elite AFOHS club), and worked up the courage to call the police, something she (and anyone in a similar situation) should have done from the very beginning. 

 'Our youth must learn that the internet is not a safe place- Thirty years old: "youth"...

She had to pay a fine and having no money (!) had to beg local Christians to pay it for her which somehow is the fault of the Australian  authorities:

'The Australian Consulate and High Commission failed to provide any assistance and seemed not to take her plight seriously

Gee, I wonder why???

Consular officials seem incapable of understanding her mental condition...

Well, let's just be charitable here and suppose that they expected grown-ups to behave like grown-ups?

'Why did the Government let me down? 

Should have stayed with the men of your own tribe:

This was my father's belief
  And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf--
  And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
  By bitter bread and wine.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

S*xy German Pear Cake

Why sexy? Well, judge for yourself!

Doesn't it look like something you'd like to eat???

The recipe was adapted from this wonderful magazine:

I used:

2 eggs
3 TBSP hot water
5 TBSP brown sugar
2/3c of spelt + white flour mixture + ab. 1/3c corn starch (must make slightly more than 1c together)
1/2 TSP baking powder
5 (small) pears
apricot jam to taste

Combine eggs with hot water and beat until foamy. Add sugar, then the flours + baking powder mixture, spoon by spoon and mix well. The dough will be thin, more like batter for pancakes.  Transfer the dough into a greased baking pan of your choice. Peel and chop the pears, arrange on top. Cover the free spaces with jam. Bake at 190*C for ab. 35 min. Use the rest of the jam to spread on top the warm cake and let it cool. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Cool YouTube Channel

I'm very much into Bushcraft videos as of late. I find them very hygge, if you know what I mean:) They are especially good watching before you go to bed.

Here is a nice channel by a Danish guy who does solo Bushcraft:

 Rune Malte Bertram-Nielsen

Some of his vids are nearly as long as a movie or at least, a TV series episode, and, he doesn't say a word, which will be probably appreciated by some guys. Hope you'll enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

All The Links On One Page

Here they are!

If you follow the link above, you'll find all of my books on one page, both printed versions and epub/pdf. I will be currently adding the links to my second book on the sidebar.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Online Buying And The Scriptures

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Just like about everybody else, I have bought lots of stuff online and I'm trying to sell my books on the internet, too. Buying online is often convenient and can be a great option for many people. However, I still think the "real", brick and mortar stores are well worth keeping around, just like paying with cash should always be possible.

The latest trend in online buying is groceries. We now have a supermarket in my town which doesn't have any stores. You order online and your groceries get delivered to your house. But, in order to become a customer, you need to create an account first. No account, no groceries. I heard that Amazon has similar plans. Has anyone thought of the implications of this?

Right now, Big Tech is actively purging dissident voices from the internet platforms like Twitter and the like, sometimes for relatively trivial things. Apparently, "private companies" can do whatever they wish in a "free market." Well, an online supermarket is a private company, too.  Now imagine there are no real life stores left any more, the type where you can shop anonymously and pay with cash and you are caught saying something naughty on Facebook? And then your online groceries store just cancels your account because "hate" has no place online?

You know what will happen to you? You'll just starve. Support your local shopkeepers and try to pay cash as much as possible, don't make it easier for the big corporations.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

More About Commenting

After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way you can remove me from that service? Many thanks! on Living On One Income Vs Your Consumption Level

Above is an example of the sort of anonymous comments I usually get. All of them are on the old posts that's why they come into moderation. There is virtually no way for me to know which are genuine and which aren't. An interesting thing is that after I did publish a couple of anonymous comments which were the least spammy, so to say, they stopped coming. Whether the break is temporary, remains to be seen.

Concerning the one above, in case it IS genuine. First, you'll get much better chance of me publishing your comments and replying to them if you add any sort of signature even if you choose the anonymous function. ALL anonymous comments, especially those left on old posts, are subject to arbitrary moderation and most of them will end up deleted. 

Second, I have no idea what you are talking about. Honestly. I'm not sure what you have done and how to undo it. Sorry, but this is something you will have to figure out for yourself. I would be inclined to do more research on the issue if you commented again, this time adding a handle. Regards. 

P.S. I did change the default language on the comment form into English, so I hope that helps. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dating After Being Widowed

There was a time, not so long go, when you were expected to wait before starting a new relationship after your spouse's death. Of course, nobody suggested that you should spend years in mourning dressed all in black, but a certain amount of time had to pass before it was considered decent to start showing interest in the opposite sex again. Something close to a year, or even more in some cases, which is, I think quite reasonable.

Many older women chose to stay widows for life and busied themselves with their families, children and grandchildren, charity stuff and the like. A young(ish) widow would remarry eventually, though not always. One of my grannies, for instance, was left a widow at 36 with three children and she never remarried and never went to work either, as she preferred to live on her widow pension (her husband had been a colonel of the security forces so that her pension was quite sufficient for her needs).

My other granny was widowed at 55 and never remarried, either. She used to say that she would never be able to find such another man as her late husband and that she wouldn't settle for less. Widowers started new relationships easier than widows, but some preferred to stay that way.

Now I'm not at all against widowed folks dating or marrying again. For a woman, especially the one left with small children and little money it could simply be a matter of survival. The Scriptures also teach us that the younger widows should marry and guide the house, and that for the men it's better to marry than to burn. Considering older folks, how many of them get any amount of attention from their children or grandchildren nowadays? In our bugman society, family is the least important of all things, and the elderly are simply left behind. It's only logical that they turn to company elsewhere.

However, it appears to me that there is a trend of some people rushing into a new relationship way too soon after they lost their spouse, like not even waiting a year or so. Am I the only one who noticed it and do you all think it's normal and I'm too prudish? I mean if you really loved your husband or wife, can you even forget them after like 6 months and rush into someone else's arms? What's your opinion on the matter?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Some Exciting News

 No, my cat isn't back yet, though the whole neighbourhood is searching for him. However, life is going on and since the festivities are mostly over, it's time to get back to business, which reminds me... my new book is finally available as an e-pub, which means an instant download for only 4.99$!

Here is the link:

Below is an excerpt out of the 1st chapter of Part 3:

“And so you are going to witness Michael’s wedding, aren’t you? Laura ran her thin musical fingers through Eric’s black hair. “It’s a rare honor, you’ll be one of the few select Southerners present.”

“I don’t see it as such,” replied Eric lazily. “I’m going there as a security officer, that’s all.”

“Oh, really?” laughed Laura. “Am I to believe that our worthy Theodosius will face danger while taking part in a wedding ceremony? Someone else would suffice.”

“He is the Bishop of the Southern Provinces. He can’t have some junior officer in charge of his security,” explained Eric. “So I have to go.”

“Come on, you and His Excellency can hardly stand each other and everybody knows that he wanted his nephew to go instead of you.”

“Is Wiggles really his nephew? Or, perhaps, a closer relative?” inquired Eric pulling Laura’s hair. He was half lying on the coach in her living-room with a big cushion under his head and she was sitting next to him wearing something black, lacy and see-through, with her red hair hanging loose around her. 

“Don’t be nasty,” said Laura. “Of course, he is. Why, the boy isn’t much older than twenty which means that the Bishop was about 45 years old at the time of his birth and must have outgrown this type of sentiments, if he ever had them to begin with.”

“Oh, I believe he did,” stated Eric, “and probably, still does. Take the way he looks at you, for instance.”

“Don’t change the subject,” interjected Laura, her hand left his hair alone and travelled to Eric’s bare chest. “I’m not interested in the romantic entanglements of Theodosius. I’ve never heard that he keeps mistresses anyway. I just want to know why they chose you to go as his security guard.”

“His Highness wanted it,” answered Eric. “I really can’t tell you more than that. In fact, I’m not supposed to discuss it with anyone.”

“Not even with me?” She bent over him with her lips nearly touching his. 

“Not even with you, my dearest Laura,” responded Eric but not very resolutely. “And anyway, I have to go soon.”

 “You’ve only been here for an hour or even less.”

“Well, we used our time wisely, didn’t we? It’s nearly midnight.”

Laura suddenly jumped off the couch and stamped her foot. “Don’t lie to me, Eric Ericsson! You are going there because you are meeting someone. Someone important. Someone who promised Haakon to get Michael out of his way.”

Eric sat up and started collecting his discarded clothes from the floor and putting them on. 

“If you already know everything so well, why ask me?” he said calmly, buttoning up his shirt. 

“Because I don’t want you to go.”

“Strange, Derek White didn’t want me to go, either.”

“He was right,” agreed Laura. “I believe it’s a trap and Haakon is sending you because he wants to get rid of you.”

“Why would he want such a thing?” inquired Eric, putting on his sweater. 

“Because he is afraid of you. You are getting too popular. Then there is Isabella who is in love with you. If you marry her, you’ll have the right to the throne, and I believe there are men in this very city who would support your claim.”

“We’ve been through all of this before,” replied Eric, bored. “You should start writing novels, Laura. You have a talent of making things up.” He found his shoes and busied himself with tying the shoelaces.

Laura seated herself at the piano and started playing, and for some time, neither said a word, but then she turned suddenly and her eyes flashed with strange fire. In fact, there were so many things strange about her that Eric had lost count. Sometimes she frightened him. 

“So you won’t listen to reason, will you? That means you’ll bear the full consequences. Remember, I tried to warn you!”

“In God’s name, what are you talking about? Are you casting spells or something?”

“Oh, yes, I do,” she admitted nonchalantly. “You called me the Queen of Elves once, well, I’m her.”

“I think you drank too much champagne at dinner,” retorted Eric dryly, putting on his shoulder holster. “Good-bye, Laura.”

Her mood changed yet again and she asked him with the tone of a perfect hostess, which nearly made him laugh: “Won’t you at least drink a cup of coffee before going?”

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Problem With Debt

When I read discussions online related to pregnancy and child-rearing, I notice one thing: many working mothers aren't some career-obsessed feminists who want to prove a point and they often complain about how hard it is to combine working with taking care of a family. Some have husbands/partners who are permanently underemployed, while others are stuck up with debt.

Sometimes it's student loans, sometimes it's  credit card debts, or a combination of the two. Imo, there is something very wrong with a society which encourages very young people to start their adult life by taking on huge amounts of debt. Just recently I posted a link to an article talking about advantages vs disadvantages of going to college which mentioned this problem. Today, I'd like to talk about consumer debt.

Believe it or not, but there are few people among our acquaintances who even own a credit card. My husband had to take one when he traveled to America as he was told that in the USA, one needs it. We seldom use it and the bill is always payed next month. There are many people over here who take irresponsible loans and later come into trouble, but apparently the problem is much worse overseas.

Neoliberalism pretends to care about human rights but at the heart of it is soulless consumerism and predatory money-lending practices which turn people into serfs, and now it appears that big credit card companies are behind the attacks on the free speech, too. (Are we really surprised?).

I found an article which explains the whole credit card debt issue in more detail:

The Truth About Credit Card Debt

I hope it contains some helpful information and certainly a warning for all of us. And ladies, you still can be a housewife, as long as you take care to marry a husband capable of holding down a job and avoid debt. 

P.S. OFFTOPIC. Our cat is still missing, please pray that we find him!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Celebrating Epiphany

Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, is usually celebrated January the 6th and signifies the end of the traditional 12 days of Christmas period. The 12th Night (the Epiphany Eve, that is tonight) is also the time to remove your Christmas decorations, otherwise you'll have to keep them till Candlemas  (2 Feb.), otherwise you are asking for trouble!

To quote Wikipedia, Epiphany commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles

Different countries have different Epiphany traditions, here is a good article on this topic.

As you can see, I baked chocolate pepper cookies using an adaptation of the recipe from the magazine featured in the photo.

I got about 36 of them.

I used: 50g butter, 50g brown sugar, 1 egg, +/- 1tbsp of cream, slightly more than 1 c. of flour mixture (spelt, barley, buckwheat, whole grain and regular) + 1 tbsp of cocoa powder, salt, pepper and cinnamon to taste.

First you mix soft butter with sugar, then add the cream and egg, then the rest of the ingredients. Using the dough you just made, form it into ab. 2cm thick rolls, cut them into 2 cm. pieces and form into small balls. Bake at 200*C for ab. 10 min. Enjoy (They won't be very sweet). 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Commenting On This Blog

I have been getting complaints from people who have trouble commenting on my blog, so I'd like to write an explanation of why they might have to deal with these issues. Here is an example of the sort of trouble some folks experience:

 I hope this gets through. A while ago you changed something here and I have had a time getting anything I print to finish and go through here. 

Answer: I didn't change anything at all in my settings, it could be Google doing it, though.

 I do not read anything but English and this is not. :-) 

Answer: Since I blog from the Netherlands, it could be that Google gives the page menu in that language which I honestly don't know what to do about since it's not coming from me, so to say.

 Before I faked it and it worked but now not so..especially if it has to go to the place where I have to choose a picture to prove I am not a robot. I have no idea what I am to do! :-)

Answer: Google has a spam filter installed. By some reason, I'm getting a tremendous amount of spam comments from various from anonymouses. Some are spammed by Google before I even read them, others are manually spammed by me. Google also has a pattern recognition software which means that if you always choose to post as an anonymous, Google may start automatically spamming your comments or giving you picture selections to choose from to prove you aren't a spam bot. 

 Where do I click to make it publish after check comes up! I see nowhere... Clicking publiceren does nothing. Help ! :-)))

Answer: publiceren means publish, I'm not sure why it doesn't work.

Now for a long story:) This blog normally only moderates comments which are older than 10-12 days, and what Google considers spam by its own reasons. I used to get an email notifying me about comments stuck in moderation but some time ago Goggle stopped doing it. As a result, I often forget to check my moderation box and spam filters, some of your comments on older posts and those posted as anon may have never been published by this reason.

Anonymous comments are generally not permitted on this blog, you may choose the Name/Url option instead. If, by some reason, you DO choose to post as an anonymous, please sign your name clearly and in capital letters so that your comment sticks out from the spam comments and makes it easier for me to fish it out of the spam filter. I will probably go back to deleting anonymous comments from bots instead of spamming them, which may help people like Sarah.

Last but not least, I have trouble commenting on my own blog myself! I'm not sure why. It often won't post my own comments, unless I login first. Again, it has nothing to do with my choices, it's just Google weirdness. May be, I should move my blog to Wordpress...Have a nice day, all of you!