Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Back to school

After a very busy summer, our house is a tad quieter. My university age girls have left: one is in Winnipeg studying music at Canadian Mennonite University, and another has begun a Nursing program in Regina. I still have two teenagers at home: one doing online high school courses, and the other in grade 9, which brings me to a rather startling realization-- this is my last year of full-time tutoring. We've had our ups and downs on our homeschool journey--lots of fun and lots of challenges. It's hard to believe that the end is in sight: I'm already having mixed feelings. In the meantime, does anyone need eight years' worth of books and curriculum? If I sold it all, maybe my hubby could retire early. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Happy Anniversary to me

And to my husband. No, it's not our wedding anniversary (32 years in October). But it's our 30th anniversary of parenthood. Good gosh, where did that time go? Happy Birthday, Mrs K! 

Yikes. Time to replace the album. Good retirement project.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

OK, so...the Church abuse crisis

Not a nice topic for a Sunday afternoon. Not a nice topic ever.

I am soooooo angry, and so grieved, sad, horrified--there are hardly words. I can't say a prayer, read a word of Scripture, or hear a Mass reading without thinking of this still-mushrooming scandal. I want to say so much, but a good deal of it is not remotely charitable. Let's just say I find the image of Jesus cleansing the temple, corded whip in hand, somewhat comforting at this moment.

But there's a lot of grief to deal with too. And don't think our Lord isn't feeling it. His Church (his holy Bride) is being ripped apart: figuratively and potentially literally. Not least by wicked, lying, despicable, hypocritical shepherds (may they all be called to account--every last one of them), but also by us. You and me. Because we are all sinners and that's what sin does: divide and destroy.

Have you watched the Passion of the Christ lately? I did last Lent, and it made me cry, especially the scene where Jesus, shaking with pain, embraces his Cross. He is embracing it now. Will you carry it with Him, or will you stand in the street mocking and shouting?

On the Via Dolorosa, he embraced our sins and carried them to Calvary. Maybe we can't do much about the sins that have been committed by our pastors, but we can do our best to ensure that Christ's burden is not any heavier than it has to be. Our only option at this point is sainthood, ie. striving for holiness in every moment of our lives. And we can only do this by remaining in prayer and by staying as close to Christ as possible. I believe the rest will unfold as it should. Justice will be done, if not on earth, then surely in the hereafter.

In the meantime, here's a good read by Fr. Raymond de Souza. 

Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.

This is where I need to be in my prayers.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Today is a good day to start blogging again

And not just because it's the first day of a new month, and a new school year, and my sister's birthday (Happy Birthday, D!) But because there is just so much to say, and do and share. But some of it will have to wait, because today we're moving two of our daughters to university. In the meantime, please enjoy the lovely colours of summer at my house. Hollyhocks, some of my favourite garden babies.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Wherein he extols the virtues of Catholic confession!

I kid you not. He also lauds atonement, redemption and metanoia! The audio is not the best, and there is no video. (You may do as I do, and LISTEN to it as you go about your daily household chores, or your various commutes.)

The wisdom and inspiration in this lecture is off the charts. I truly do praise the Lord for what this person is accomplishing in the world today. There is a reason why the mainstream media is attacking him so viciously, but basically the devil is behind it. Dr. Peterson is improving (and sometimes saving) people's lives, and he's even leading nihilistic, addicted atheists to Christ (see this video/podcast by James Fox Higgins).

Enjoy. Be inspired.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Two of my favourite things

Jesus and vintage. Though the aforementioned is a Person, of course, and what a Person. I especially love the image/statue of Christ the Redeemer as he appears in Rio, Brazil.

I want this!! (Cough, Mother's Day is coming... cough). Available at Amazon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Oh dear; I'm about to go on Audrey overload

For as much as I love Audrey Assad, I have to admit that I don't own ANY of her albums. Isn't that the worst? A Christmas or two ago, I'd bought Fortunate Fall for my daughter. Then I "borrowed" the CD, and still haven't given it back. (She's OK with that, since she ripped the album into her iTunes library.)

To expand my Audrey repertoire, I've been listening to her tracks and playlists on YouTube, and loving everything I hear. Then I went to the iTunes Store and previewed all her tracks from all her albums, and I gotta say, I HAVE TO HAVE ALL OF THEM. That is all. This fantastic song is from her album Heart:

This is a great live version. Want the official video with lyrics? Go here. 

Do not be troubled; His eye is on the sparrow. Have a great day.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Another great low-carb lunch...or breakfast

"What do you eat for breakfast?" a friend asked the other day. I couldn't lie. The answer was, "Coffee and Facebook." Sometimes I'm not hungry in the morning, and sometimes I'm too lazy or befuddled to make something, because I just don't know what to make. Carbs were my breakfast go-to, and now I'm off breads for the time being. So no more English muffins, toast, bagels, waffles, wraps, pancakes, hot (or cold) cereal.

My recent post about the Cheese-crusted Quiche was one solution, but that's not the sort of thing one tends to whip up on a weekday (however, you can save portions and reheat them, which I plan to do at some point with that recipe).

The other day I built myself a cabbage-leaf wrap for lunch. I didn't take any step-by-step pictures (y'all are smart enough to imagine this on your own). Besides, this is not a recipe so much as an idea. You can put virtually anything you like inside.

I removed, washed and trimmed the stem area from a couple of large outer cabbage leaves and laid them on a dinner plate. I lined the leaves with cheddar cheese slices and nuked it all for 1 minute in the microwave. This softened up the cabbage a bit and melted the cheese. Then I added two large slices of turkey breast deli meat, half an avocado (sliced), some alfalfa sprouts, and garnished it with some salsa.

It was really good. So good, I almost don't miss eating actual flour wraps.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I am not on the Keto diet

But since I'm going low carb for the time being, I've been googling Keto recipes, and found this Cheese Crusted Keto Quiche last Saturday morning. I wanted something really delicious and satisfying. What ho! It was incredibly delicious and satisfying. I tweaked the recipe a little bit (of course) because I had no ham, but it turned out really well.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

This isn't even a little bit funny.

It's past the middle of April, and we're into Music Festival week, where I have to drive literally hundreds of km (29 km one way; round that off to 30, then multiply by 15) back and forth to a nearby town for our daughters to compete in piano, vocal and musical theatre. And I don't like winter driving. And what is going on outside at this very moment is winter. I know this is Canada, but even here, we're supposed to have something resembling Spring right now.

In the olden days when people were ignorant and superstitious, they would blame this on the weather gods. But now we have Al Gore.  I'm long past even hoping for a little bit of Global Warming. At this point, I'm praying that our government will let us keep our carbon tax so that we can use it to heat our homes in June. Cuz the planet isn't overheating. Not here. Not even a little bit.

The view out my North patio doors, blocked by the driven snow.

An artistic (blurry) rendering of my patio chairs, buried in snow.
The melting drops on the window in the foreground represent my tears of frustration at Al Gore, and all Global Warmists and politicians who think taxing us will change the weather. 

My "garden."  I use the term loosely. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

I've mentioned this artist before (and I will keep doing it until everyone I know has at least given her music a try), but if you want to be blessed and uplifted and refreshed and energized, LISTEN TO AUDREY ASSAD. This song is appropriate, because it's mid-April, and we are still sitting under three solid feet of snow. So try not to laugh when this video begins with the "Spring" quotation from Shelley. He obviously had never heard of Saskatchewan.

On a somber (and more hopeful) note, the song and video remind me of death and resurrection. I'm thinking of the men, boys and Dayna who "woke up in April" to eternal life, and to the broken hearts they left behind. I am praying for every one of you.  #BroncosStrong.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Hello from the amusement park!

Last post (oh so long ago-sorry!), I said my life was like a movie. Not really. It's been more like this:

I love this classic photo, which has inspired countless internet memes. It's all the more funny to me because the terrified kid reminds me of one of my daughters (when she was little), and the girl holding her hand reminds me of my niece, who is close to the same age as said daughter.

Every time there's a chronological gap in my blogging, I allude vaguely to how challenging life has been, and I more or less hint that I may explain myself in time, but somehow I never do.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

My life is like a movie!

Unfortunately, the movie is Napoleon Dynamite. This actually happened to me recently.

Yes, Middle Age Brain strikes again (actually, I'm past middle age, since I don't think it's likely I'll live past 100, but that's neither here nor there. I still feel too young to call myself a 'senior'). I was at a small-town grocery store, having dashed inside to buy two (literally two) items. $44 later, I zipped open my purse to see... no wallet. Of course. I had put it in the side pocket of my gym bag the previous morning, and had forgotten to replace it. No cards, no cash, no knowledge of how to use my smartphone to pay for stuff (IS there such an app? I don't even know. Probably, but I'm old.)

Luckily, I had my bulging little change purse, and if there is anything I don't do often enough, it's empty my change purse. I decided to pay with "loonies" and "toonies" ($1 and $2 Canadian coins).

I got as far as $37, and that was that. The kindly clerk said she would ring in the entire amount ($44) and that I could bring the rest back the next day. Did I mention she didn't know me from Adam? Or Eve? However, I must have looked suitably pathetic (and trustworthy) because she let me walk out with $7 of my groceries unpaid for. Fortunately, when I got to the car, I remembered hubby also has a little stash of coins which he uses at the coin-op carwash (sorry, Hon). So I ran back into the store to square my debt.

It restores one's faith in humanity. My memory, not so much. Must go put wallet back into purse now.

Scale: our quarters, nickels and dimes are the same size as U.S. coins of that ilk.
So are the pennies, but we don't use them anymore. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

One more quick post

This blog post was written by my lovely niece Anna, who is a mom, designer and seamstress/crafter. She owns and operates Little Plum Tree from her home: beautiful hand-made toys, using local products and materials. I have a couple of her tote bags, and my pet hen, Henrietta, also came from Little Plum Tree.
Henrietta enjoying a prairie summer sunrise from the comfort of the settee

The article is about making one's home beautiful--something with which I have always struggled mightily. Heck, I can hardly keep the place tidy, but it's all part of the same problem. I liked this quotation:
In the past I’ve been tempted to settle for a solution that is functional only, thinking I need to be content with something I don’t particularly like because we need to finish a project, or because it’s superficial to hold out for something that’s more attractive.

Ain't THAT the truth! Mrs Beazly and I have struggled with this for so long, we even came up with a name for our decor style: "Scrap and Salvage" (and not in a good, trendy, hipster, thrift-store kind of way). For a while at my house, we had an old kitchen cabinet standing backwards (doors to the wall) embellished with some laminate shelving and pine "trim," which functioned as a shoe shelf IN OUR ENTRYWAY: you know, the place in your house where guests get their first impression. Before it went to its rightful home (the dump) I photographed it, but it was so ugly, I can't even bring myself to post it. (Like that Legolas guy said after that Gandalf guy died in that movie, "the grief is still too near.")

And I still can't get my hubby to throw away the boxy, non-functioning, fake wood/fake leather stereo speaker from the 1970s that he uses for an end table next to his reading chair. Good Lord! I'm in my FIFTIES: when can I stop living like a college student, and instead have only real furniture in my house? (Yes, I know: First World Problems.)

Anyway, back to Anna and Little Plum Tree. She also has a great eye and is a marvellous photographer.

I think my next acquisition will be this little owl. I'm in love with him. 

Deadlines and other necessities of life

Today is music lesson day. Not much time for blogging. 
So true. It was true in university; it was true for freelancing, columns and speech-writing. It will likely remain true for future projects (evidently).

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fitness update

I'm old, but I'm not that old. Going to the gym, circa 1923
OK, I've now completed three workouts, and I have good news: I DIDN'T DIE! And I didn't even throw up (though after my first one last Thursday, I felt pretty nauseated, and my entire body felt like Jello). But I survived! This took place at the local CrossFit gym. I was inspired by a friend and assured that "anyone" can do it: they scale down the exercises and movements to fit your age, fitness level and any injuries or or chronic physical issues that you may have. So far, so good.

And golly, as a Catholic, how can you not be attracted to something with the word "cross" in it? And believe me, after my first three sessions, the emphasis is definitely on the "cross" -- fit, not so much.

I have to do the "On ramp" beginner's class, before I'll be ready to join the regular fitness classes (well, "ready" is a relative word. I may never feel "ready"; the best I might be able to do is "willing"). My first sessions have definitely pushed me to the edge of my strength and abilities. I had not done any research into CrossFit before plunging in; this was so that I would not get intimidated before I even began. But I'm moderately intimidated now. Not only are the workouts hard, but it also looks as though the cost of regular gym membership might be prohibitive, at least for the present. My writing income has been (*cough*) hovering around zero for the last three years. So until I can find a job or two, and earn a few dollars, I don't see how it will be feasible for me to join a second gym. (Our family already frequents another establishment on a semi-regular basis.)

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Closer to reality
Fantasy--sort of

Today I'm taking the plunge and starting a new fitness adventure. I'm carpooling with a couple of other ladies and going to a gym in a nearby community. Close to the time they were due to arrive, I heard a vehicle pull up outside. "Is this my ride?" I wondered.

No, it wasn't. I hope this isn't an omen.

But with snow. Lots and lots of snow.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Promises, promises

Not that I want to pick on Mr. Gore especially (cough); after all, he's not the only alarmist, but it's possible that he's made the most money off his fear-mongering. (Oh wait, mybad; that's money made from fossil fuels.) And I have just one teeny question to ask him: WHEN IS THE GLOBAL WARMING GOING TO START? and CAN IT START IN SASKATCHEWAN, PLEASE? Pretty please?

Here it is, March, and yes, I know March always has unpredictable weather (heck, so does January, February, April, and so on.  Do my classmates remember the blizzard of '82 that happened on the day of our high school graduation on the last weekend in May?) At any rate, there is such a thing as "normal and "seasonal" temperatures for this time of year, and -26 degrees Centrigrade is NOT IT.

I don't mind the snow--truly I don't, except when it's all over the highway and makes you cancel appointments or makes it dangerous to drive. With the fresh fall of snow, I might even get out to use the snowshoes that I received for Christmas.

But the cold: I can no longer stand the cold. Not in March. Please Mr. Gore, let loose the Dogs of Warming ... or at least open up one of your many vacation homes  to winter-refugees, so we can get away from this chilly misery. Some of us can't afford tropical vacations, because we're trying to keep up with the cost of not freezing to death and stuff.

Too funny not to share.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

We are not on Twitter

When it comes to online communication and/or searches, a single letter, or even a dot can direct you to the wrong (or let us say "different") place. So one must be precise. I was googling our blog name one time, and came up with this lady's Twitter address (or handle, or whatever the Twitterites--Twitterenes--Twitteronians--Twits? call themselves).

I highly approve of this graphic: Mrs Pinkerton

Most in the MSM and Hollywood consider women like me to be just dumb old housewives. #wife #momto5#nebraska #catholic #prolife#conservative #NFP

This is not us we (you must use proper grammar, no mattter how awkward it sounds). This is (as you can see from her description) a wife, mother of 5, who is Catholic, from Nebraska, who is prolife, conservative, and promotes natural methods of fertility awareness. Something tells me we could have a tremendous amount in common with her. But I can't say for sure, as I've not read all of her tweets.  

Here are the differences: we are three ladies (albeit two fairly silent ones, for various reasons--we're slowly rectifying that); we have 16 children between us, and we are not from Nebraska. We are from Canada (SK and ON) and Australia. 

In any event, more power to you, Mrs DOH from Nebraska! Let it be noted (if copyright issues ever arise) that she joined Twitter in 2017, and our blog has been operating under this banner since 2009. And she has 128 followers, and we have 34, so we're evidently doing something wrong. Maybe we should get on Twitter. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Winks or roses?

No, this is not about emojis or online dating. It's yet another observation about yet another Jordan Peterson video that I watched recently. (Yes, I watch a lot of them. It's the only form of TV we have now, and on the whole, it's more edifying and enlightening than HGTV or the Food Channel--and I've lost weight.)

Wisdom's  hint of a smile

The video below comes to us from the Dutch podcast, EindBazen ("bosses") episode #87. The host, Michel Vos, describes himself as a former "militant atheist," who is now struggling to come to terms with the concepts of morality, man's desire for knowledge, and the complexity of the universe. He thinks it's almost "too convenient" how well it all works together. Not to us believers; it's just how God rolls.

He talks about small acts of love, friendship, service etc, that end up having a big impact on people's lives and the wider society. He calls these acts "winks from the Universe," adding, "it restores your faith in humanity."

I think it sounds suspiciously like the way God works, and it reminds me of the spirituality of The Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux, who called it "The Little Way." Find out more here. 

She used to say that after she died, she would send forth a shower of "roses from heaven." They are not really from her, of course, but from the Lord, the giver of all good things. Like all the other saints, she is just a friend (or big sister, however you want to imagine it) who is already there, and praying for us. We don't worship the saints; we just ask them to pray for us, much as you would ask your grandpa, or aunt or best friend to pray for you.

But back to the video for a few more points:

  • heroism is our goal: it shows we are "properly inculturated"
  • "You tend to become what you practice" says Dr. JBP ("Families, become what your are," was a famous quotation by Pope St. John Paul II, in Familiaris Consortio)
  • "getting proactive with your life" is an antidote to misery and resentment
  • they discuss the symbolism of the pilgrimage and how it changes you: the psychology and biology of going outside your comfort zone and meeting goals
At one point, Michel Vos invokes (and approves the wisdom of) The Serenity Prayer, even though he says he's not a very religious person. They also discuss what was variously expressed as "the arbitrariness of evil" or the "randomness of the universe." 

I don't agree, because I think there is no such thing as coincidence or dumb luck or randomness, whether we're talking about good or evil. I believe God is omniscient, omnipresent, all-loving, all wise, and that his will is inscrutable. But he also has given us free will, and that, alas is where the devil so often seems to gain the upper hand. 

On that note, it's interesting that in the video, Dr. JBP discusses the psychological utility of fear.
He tells us that we need more than goals; we need a vision. And not just a positive vision (of future success). He says we also need to fear how bad things could get if we fail to move forward: if we let everything slide or let our worst habits take over. And thus he arrives (I kid you not) at the psychological utility of hell. Michel Vos even refers to the idea of "lighting a fire behind you."

Wow: how LONG have secularists been laughing at us Christians for talking or preaching or wanting to avoid "the fires of hell" -- and now here they are, straight-faced, discussing it as a legitimate motivation for goal-setting. Talk about a vindication for old-timey religion.

"You need a vision of hell;" says Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, "there's nothing like consulting your existential terror."

You don't hear secular professors say that every day. There are such interesting things going on... one might almost envision the Spirit of God hovering over the void.

Something tells me the saints are chuckling--and possibly winking.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest

But I suppose there are various ways to define "rest." One thinks of the phrase, "A change is as good as a rest," and today I will have to hew to that version. After Mass, we're heading north (45 miles) to visit my husband's parents for the afternoon. In the evening, Hubby is going to drive our teens back to the parish for youth group, but I'm staying in town to see Faure's Requiem (woot! All my life I've longed to see that performed). I hope to catch a ride back home with a friend. Fingers crossed that it will all work out, and that the weather will cooperate (yesterday we had a blizzard, so you never know.)

But back to the idea of "rest."  There is this concept of "Resting in the Lord," and it's something we should strive to do on a regular basis, whether it's Sunday or not. Most people I know (including yours truly) seem inordinately stressed a lot of the time; it just seems to be the way life is. And there are no signs of it letting up, especially as postmodern society gets more bizarre by the day. 

We need to "get away," which is, I suspect, why people who can afford it --and even some who can't-- take exotic vacations. Some people of faith take pilgrimages to various holy sites in the world; others go on retreat as often as they can. But sometimes you just can't get away...or can you

The answer is yes. It's called prayer. More specifically, contemplative prayer, which mainly just means sitting still and quiet and focussing on God. Which is kind of hard to do, especially if you are a restless sort of person, or if you have a million things to think and worry about. But my main aid in this pursuit is listening to calm worship music. It's a way to touch and commune with God without leaving your bedroom.

One of my favourite artists is Audrey Assad. If you don't know her music, seriously, look her up. She has lengthy playlists on YouTube (not that I recommend those for prayer, since they are interspersed with annoying ads). I have her album Fortunate Fall, but I'm going to acquire more--in fact all of them. I love her that much. She helps me connect with God, and that is no small feat. 

If you have time today (and please try) sit still and listen to this track. And meditate upon the words. 

Lover of my soul, even unto death...

Have a blessed Third Sunday of Lent. 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

I'm glad wrinkles are in style

Because if there's one thing I am NOT going to do, it's iron tablecloths and sheets. The wrinkles add texture, don't you know! (Makes our faces more interesting, ladies over 40! Remember that.)

This photo is from one of my favourite sites, Nordic Design. There is something so appealing about Nordic design: the coolness, cleanliness, sparseness (this must be my inner neatnick rebelling against my manifest hoarder), the warmth of the wood and other natural elements, and of course THE LIGHT. Read anything on Nordic design and rule Number 1 is proper lighting. That is why (according to the Little Book of Hygge), Scandinavians use more candles per capita than anyone in the world.

I prefer rustic to ultra modern...

...but this couple has managed to blend the two quite nicely (that range and hood/fan!)

More wrinkly bed linens

Happy Saturday. Are you cleaning house today too?

Friday, March 2, 2018

More heaven

This is yet another song that my daughter has been practicing. She accompanies the junior church choir for Sunday Mass, and also when they compete in choral classes in the local music festival. It is for the latter that she is preparing this piece, although (I hope) the choir will also sing it during the Easter Triduum.

I love this song because of its inherent beauty, truth and holiness, but also because it was composed by a Canadian duo for World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, Canada. I will never forget that event, even though I could not attend (having recently given birth, which sort of chartecterizes most years of my life between 1988 and 2004). I watched it on TV, and Pope (now Saint!) John Paul II was of course in his declining years (health-wise), and the Canadian state TV network (CBC, a leftist outlet) were all cynical and critical and "oh he's so frail, he has to exit the plane with an elevator, yadda yadda yadda" and then the Holy Father left the plane of his own accord and WALKED down the stairs and rendered the reporters speechless. It was so satisfying.

The music for the Masses of WYD 2002 was just wonderful. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it, and I still watch reruns on YouTube. It was a moment in history--wish I could have been there.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

I had meant to post this on Monday

But... procrastination. I wonder if I'll ever overcome it? Maybe someday...

As I had mentioned last Friday, I attended the St. Therese Institute  Lenten conference in Bruno, SK. It was a fantastic and grace-filled weekend--all the more so because I was able to experience it with three of my daughters and several other good friends. And, as always, I made some new ones (friends, that is).

Why Identity Politics / Social Justice Warriorism is driving me mad

Genius? Dunces? Him? CONFEDERACY???

Mainly because it's killing satire. What would Jonathan Swift have said to all the craziness going on in North American society these days? Possibly, nothing: he'd have been hauled before some human rights or social justice tribunal for writing Gulliver's Travels (alternately, he'd have been given an award by Planned Parenthood for his essay "A Modest Proposal" wherein he --satirically-- suggests that society solve the "overpopulation" and poverty problems in one go by eating their children.) It is satire. He wasn't serious. You have to explain that these days.

When satire is dead, comedy is dead. Also drama, poetry, song, fiction and film. I avoid Hollywood movies for the most part, because  they are no longer interested in telling entertaining and exciting stories. Most of them contain lame preaching on trendy topics, and thus have become the equivalent of medieval morality plays  (in fact, they're probably far worse, becuase at least back then, people knew how to write).  It's the same reason why some Christian ghetto novels and films are so bad. The story must come first; the moral or lesson must be incidental, not central to the purpose of the artwork. But I digress.

I enjoyed this essay/article by Lionel Shriver. I must admit I had not been interested in her work until I saw her interviewed by Mark Steyn, back when he had a TV show on CRTV. Those videos are also worth checking out.

It doesn’t take much parsing to conclude that protecting all and sundry from the terrible experience of having your feelings hurt is the end of free speech altogether. Since nowadays “you can’t argue with what people feel,” umbrage is freed from rational justification. Given that the better part of the human race is crazy, stupid, or both, there’s nary a thought in the world whose airing won’t offend somebody. Doesn’t Darwin offend creationists? Furthermore, in granting so much power to woundedness, we incentivise hypersensitivity. If we reward umbrage, we will get more of it. We do reward umbrage, and we’re buried in it by the truckload.
If you feed me, I will grow.
Trigger warnings/Microaggressions

More from Ms Shriver:
Yet these days, straight white fiction writers whose characters’ ethnicity, race, disability, sexual identity, religion or class differs from their own can expect their work to be subjected to forensic examination—and not only on social media. Publishers of young adult fiction and children’s literature hire “sensitivity readers” to comb through manuscripts for perceived slights to any group with the protected status once reserved for distinguished architecture.
Good heavens, what hope do aspiring writers have, unless the culture regains its sanity?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Spam files

It's probably an indication that I don't get out enough, but I am so amused by email Spam. Today I got one from "Jose Lawless User Support." Really? You're trying to rip me off and the best name you can come up with is "Lawless"? Is this some sort of reverse psychology? Vizzini, I need your help.

Jose's subject heading was, "You have a private notification." Well, Jose, if it's "private," how did you find out about it? 

Once again, I give you James Veitch. As a writer (and would-be novelist, having dabbled in the medium, to varying degrees of completion), I find this video particularly hilarious. Happy Wednesday and last day of February.


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

From our Killer Headlines files

And my adjective is meant as a sad and tragic irony. I read this article, but I didn't really need to, because the headline says it all.

Deputy Who Didn't Enter Parkland School Defends Himself 

Well, yes, that's rather self-evident, isn't it? He didn't go in because he needed to defend himself, not the kids and staff who died.

Protocol, orders, yadda yadda. Law enforcement is hard; heroism even harder. My nephew and brother are city police officers who have faced danger and threats and death and the whole nine yards. Serve and protect. May God have mercy on those who died, and those who have to live with grief and shame.

Catholics are weighing in on Jordan Peterson

And it's about time. The man is a cultural phenomenon (and IMO, a force for good), and the Church intellectuals should be commenting on anything of that nature. I'm actually a bit surprised by the number of people I encounter who have not yet heard of Dr JBP, but I guess they don't frequent the same news/web hangouts or YouTube channels that I do. (Or maybe they have actual "lives" and "jobs" and such, and don't live online, haha).

 Bishop Barron has written a good article, titled "The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon." It's well worth reading, but here are a few snippets:
The Jungian template enables Peterson to interpret many of the classical spiritual texts of Western culture in a fresh way—those very texts so often excoriated by mainstream intellectuals as hopelessly patriarchal, biased, and oppressive. It also permits him to speak with a kind of psychological and spiritual authority to which young people are not accustomed but to which they respond eagerly.
With all due respect to Bishop Barron, "eagerly" is a bit of an understatement. Dr Peterson is a man who gets invited to SECULAR colleges by SECULAR clubs (such as Free Speech clubs) and he stands at the podium, telling unchurched young people (many of them hardcore atheists) that every action and every thought and every word they say "tilts the world either toward heaven or toward hell." He tells them to "take up their cross and carry it." And he tells them to tell the truth at all times, so that they can build up "the kingdom of God." And they jump to their feet, giving him standing ovations. STANDING OVATIONS.

Which should lead ordinary Christians --especially those of us not very good at evangelizing-- to wonder, "What the heck is going on here?"

Especially given the fact that Dr. Peterson himself is not a religious person. (If the Holy Spirit ever gets a hold of him, look out, I say!) But I'm fairly certain that God knows what he's doing, and I'm content to let the Almighty order things in his own time and way. (As I've written elsewhere, I am not overly concerned about the nature of Dr JBP's personal relationship with God); I'm just glad he seems to be doing wonderful things for Western Civ and helping people, especially young men, change their lives for the better.

Bishop Barron again:
His new book, an elaboration of twelve basic psychological rules for life, makes for bracing and satisfying reading. Peterson’s considerable erudition is on clear display throughout, but so is his very real experience in the trenches as a practicing psychotherapist. His advice is smart indeed, but it never seems abstract, detached, or unrealistic. [...] Peterson tells his readers—especially young men, who have been cowed into complacency for various reasons—to throw back their shoulders, stand tall, and face the challenges of life head on. 
The article is mostly warm praise for Dr. Peterson, but there's a BUT coming. You know there has to be. (Emphasis in red added by me.)
So do I thoroughly support Jordan Peterson’s approach? Well, no, though a full explication of my objection would take us far beyond the confines of this brief article. In a word, I have the same concern about Peterson that I have about both Campbell and Jung, namely, the Gnosticizing tendency to read Biblical religion purely psychologically and philosophically and not at all historically. No Christian should be surprised that the Scriptures can be profitably read through psychological and philosophical lenses, but at the same time, every Christian has to accept the fact that the God of the Bible is not simply a principle or an abstraction, but rather a living God who acts in history. As I say, to lay this out thoroughly would require at least another article or two or twelve.
PLEASE WRITE THEM, BISHOP BARRON! Catholic supporters of Jordan Peterson would love to read them, and perhaps Dr. Peterson would read them too. We need all the information, discussion and inspiration we can get in this battle of powers and principalities. 

For your further edification, here is a discussion between Dr. JBP and Catholic evangelist Patrick Coffin: 


Friday, February 23, 2018

Lent is off to a mortifying start

And I do not mean that in a good way. 
How can I turn it into more than just words? That is the question. 

For one thing, my head still isn't really in the game--and ye gods, it's been Lent for almost 10 days: it's a quarter gone! I was sick Ash Wednesday, so I didn't get to Mass, and I didn't get any ashes. Kind of an ominous beginning. Because of being sick, I lost almost 3 pounds (yay) but really: is Lent just a diet for vain and foolish ladies? No, and I should be ashamed for thinking of it in those terms. What's even more shameful is that I have probably eaten those 3 pounds back on again in the last 10 days, which means my fasting is not going all that well. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

I have embraced the Dark Side

The Master with his Light Sabre of Free Inquiry:
Soon to be joined by Darth Shapiro, Darth Peterson, Darth Rubin,
Darth Rogan, Darth Paglia, Darth Murray, Darth Saad, Darth Steyn, Darth Greenfield,
Darth Fiamengo, and a whole lot more. Thankfully, there is no dearth of  Darths. 

Here is yet another great article, discussing why the mainstream media is failing--or rather, why the new media online is giving it the Vader chokehold. It should encourage those of you who are perennially angry and frustrated about what you see on CBC or CNN or other MSM outlets. "Inside the Intellectual Dark Web" by British author, journalist and political commentator Douglas Murray. Here are a few quotations: 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

You'll get no argument from me, buddy.

Chaos & Order 

This is a really great interview, covering a lot of ground, from psychology to economics. But this part made me laugh when I read the first line (bold emphasis added):
People have been criticizing my association of the feminine with chaos, but that’s not my association; that’s an ancient archetypal idea. They’re also laboring under the misapprehension that chaos itself is “bad”, even though I’ve made it clear, and it’s clear in the Jungian corpus, that the chaotic is also the source of everything new and revitalizing. Order tends to degenerate into deadly, paralyzed stasis. Both are so inevitable that talking about them as good or bad is beside the point. They’re both everywhere, and you have to manage them.
He can associate the feminine with chaos all he wants, because in my case, it's 100% dead-on. If the personalities in my marriage can be described as anything in archetypal terms, "Chaos and Order" fits the bill. And that's OK--not just OK, but indeed, excellent. We've worked through it for over 31 years (we're happier than we've ever been, by the way), and we look forward to many more.  One of the reasons I love Dr. Peterson (in a chaste, Catholic, intellectual way), is that he has helped me sort out so many things in the last year or so during which I've been listening to his lectures and interviews.

This one simple psychological finding, for example (once I had properly unpacked it and meditated it on it in regards to my own life) almost totally eradicated restentment and misunderstanding from my relationship with my husband. That really is no small thing.

"... women are more interested in people and men are more interested in things."

Read the whole thing. This guy is smart. It's no wonder that he's an internet superstar.

One last quotation:
I suggest that people concentrate on the development of their character and leave the ideological idiocy alone. By doing that, hopefully they turn themselves into the sorts of people who are capable of formulating problems, and solving them, and if enough people are like that, then we’ll solve them.


(Going to clean my room now...)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fashion for us fifty-plus folk

I'm not quite ready for this yet. 

So this Yahoo article is titled: "Are you too old for jeans?" And I had to click, because I still wear jeans. So does my dad, and he's 92: if he's not too old for jeans, no one is. I read the article so that you don't have to.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

When you walk into IKEA

Should you feel like a junkie diving into a sea of heroin? Probably not. But I can't help it, because I don't get there very often. And when I do, I never seem to have enough time to browse to my satisfaction. That's probably a good thing, because otherwise I would just spend too much money.

But I did get some nice deals earlier this week, including some lovely 100% cotton bed linens. Such as:
I bought this set for my crafty daughter Miss P #7, who immediately designed and crocheted herself a cute little coordinating pillow:

I also bought myself a small plate rack, and I may get another. This is part of the reason I love IKEA. When we renovated our kitchen, I wanted a plate rack in an open cabinet. It would have cost about $200 to have it custom built (so I was told when we were pricing out kitchen cabinets, years ago). On the other hand, this plate rack kit, available at Lee Valley, was about $40-$50 (now it's over $60).

What you get. 
What it ends up looking like. 

On the OTHER hand, here is my IKEA plate rack. Very simple, I know, but it does the job--and it's portable! Cost: $3.99. Total cost for two of them (to fill the entire shelf): $8.

I'm not sure why this photo is weirdly pixillated.
I also wanted this cute little tray/side table. Very useful for when you have extra chairs out for lots of company, or your spot on the couch is just too far from the coffee table. I'd be using this all over the house, even my bedroom: the way it's currently set up, I don't have room for a night stand on my side of the bed. This would have been handy when I was sick in bed for two weeks.