Monthly Archives: January 2012

Get to Know the Uncommonhousewife: What I Do Instead of Blogging

Once upon a time, Darling Husband explained to me that this time of year was referred to as the “Dark Ages” by his college classmates.  The weather typically was dark, cold, and dreary.  Spring seemed a long way off, as did Spring Break.  There was not much about the season to inspire.

So let’s just call this my Dark Ages of Blogging.  My posts have been coming few and far between.  My weeks seem to pass with a pronounced lack of inspiration lately.  Rather than post nothing at all, I’ve decided to let you in on what fills my time in lieu of blogging.

Books: There are always books.  But curling up under a down blanket with a book is exquisite activity for this time of year.  So what is on my pile of books?

     Yes, really.  Romance novels.  Smart women read them, too, you know.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  I may bow out of the neighbor’s Super Bowl party this weekend just to dive further into this one.

After America: Get Ready for ArmageddonI’m still pacing myself with this gem.  Hilarious and sobering at the same time.

 

Music: In my church, it truly has been what I call the Dark Ages of Hymnody.  The wretched Haugen and Haas have taken over the hymn boards.  I sing along unenthusiastically and then throw myself into searching YouTube for examples of great hymns.

“Come Down, O Love Divine”

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“Soul of My Saviour”

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General Time Wasting Educational Exploration on the Web: One thing always leads to another when reading the news or researching for a blog post.  My list of Favorites has grown a bit longer recently as I came across some informative but still highly enjoyable sites:

Oxford Words Blog

Young Fogeys

One of these days (hopefully soon), my cup will overflow with ideas for intelligent, informative posts.  If nothing else, I suppose I could enter the arena of political commentary.  (Heaven forbid!)  In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed the peek behind the curtain.  And what a strange view: historical romances next to classic hymns!  Uncommon indeed.

 

 

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Civilization at its Finest?

Yesterday was the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in America.  It was observed by tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, at the annual March for Life in Washington, DC.  We will never know for certain the actual tally of marchers, nor would Americans hear of the march at all if they only rely on major news outlets which neglect to report on it.  It is safe to say, however, that youth make up a sizeable number of those marchers.

It’s just in the nick of time that young people are waking up to the horror of abortion.  And it truly is a horror.  Michael Stokes Paulsen summed up the situation:

After nearly four decades, Roe’s human death toll stands at nearly sixty million human lives, a total exceeding the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin’s purges, Pol Pot’s killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined. Over the past forty years, one-sixth of the American population has been killed by abortion. One in four African-Americans is killed before birth. Abortion is the leading cause of (unnatural) death in America.

Indeed.  We are, in fact, such a beacon of advanced civilization that our president had this to say in his remarks about the anniversary of Roe v. Wade:

And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

Why, that’s a politically correct bandwagon any young person could jump on, right?  After all, aren’t girls due the same opportunities as boys?   Sure.  Except that Obama’s words sound remarkably and eerily similar to those of a certain nutcase bioethicist, Anna Smajdor, who argues for the “moral imperative” of artificial wombs for the gestation of fetuses. Read for yourself:

In short, what is required is ectogenesis: the development of artificial wombs that can sustain fetuses to term without the need for women’s bodies. Only by thus remedying the natural or physical injustices involved in the unequal gender roles of reproduction can we alleviate the social injustices that arise from them.

When this medical advance is perfected, she argues, society will achieve a state in which women “are no longer unjustly obliged to be the sole risk takers in reproductive enterprises.”  Just like Obama, she emphasizes the requirement for women to

“curb their other interests and aspirations in order to have children at biologically and socially optimal times.”

Have we really come this far–that the President of the United States echoes the sentiments of extremist ethicists that pregnancy is an unjust, barbaric affliction forced upon women?  That abortion is actually a remedy for this injustice??

Youth of America: pay attention.

(Thank you to MercatorNet and BioEdge for getting the gears of my brain turning this morning.)

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Women and Children First

Today SuzyQ is navigating the friendly skies on her own for the first time.  She’s 17, so according to the airlines, she is not considered an unaccompanied minor–even though she is a minor flying unaccompanied.  She is not an inexperienced traveller by any means.  As a family, we have logged tens of thousands of miles across times zones and the International Date Line.  Airport security, running to get to your gate on time, and the perils of baggage claim are nothing new to her.

So why are we–and she– nervous?  Her biggest fear is that she won’t be able to get her carry-on bag into and out of the overhead bin and will hold everyone else up while she wrestles with it.  “Not to worry,” I told her, “Certainly someone will help you.”  Inwardly, I certainly hoped someone would help her.  In truth, you can’t count on help anymore.  You can’t be sure you won’t get trampled in the mad dash to be first in line for boarding.  You can’t guarantee some guy won’t elbow you attempting to get his massive “carry on” into the bin first, leaving no space for anything else.  And you can’t be sure that people in the rows behind you won’t refuse to let you exit in their attempt to be first off the plane.

It’s an ugly world out there.  Just read the accounts of that Italian cruise ship disaster if you don’t believe me.  Could the Captain have been any more of a scoundrel?  I’m not sure where he will have to go to get a fair trial, based on the international outrage at his cowardice.  Equally as disturbing, I think, are accounts of the behavior of some of the passengers, able-bodied and male, who clearly held self-preservation as their highest priority.  Long gone are the days of “The Captain always goes down with the ship,” and “Women and children first.”

Of course, not everyone is cut out to be a hero.  But everyone is cut out for decency.  You know: pitching in to help those around you instead of knocking them over to make your own way to safety.  The problem, though, is that common decency is not a habit in everyday life for many people.  It won’t necessarily emerge in times of crisis then.  If a person is not in the habit of holding the elevator, holding open a door, picking up a stranger’s fallen item for them, or even saying “excuse me,” there is little hope that the same individual on a sinking ship will give up his life vest or spot on a lifeboat.

According to her text, SuzyQ made it safely to her destination and was indeed offered some help retrieving her bag.  This time.

Teach your children well.  Or start watching more survival television shows.

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New Year, New You?!

Do you do New Year’s Resolutions?  I avoid them.  In past years, my attempts at keeping a formal resolution have been abysmal failures.  Maybe it’s because of the formality or announcing at the beginning of the year, “I resolve to…”  It just seems so contrived.  Who makes announcements about their plans?  “Today, I will wash a load of towels!”  I suppose announcing it might increase the likelihood of folks bringing their dirty towels to the laundry room, sparing me from having to round them all up myself.  Probably not, though.  “In 2012, I plan to eat healthier!”  I can hear the groaning from the rest of the family already:  “I still want my Oreo’s!”  “Does that mean you are going to try to sneak pureed vegetables into everything again?”

A lot of the blogs I read regularly have featured posts on resolutions for the New Year recently.  They range from very straightforward To-Do lists to philosophical attempts to frame the entire year around one word, like “inspire” or “breathe.”   I have to wonder if these people spent their whole holiday season trying to come up with their resolutions.  I was too busy with shopping, baking, wrapping, family peace-keeping, a birthday, a funeral, and traveling to put much thought into formalizing my goals for 2012.  Now it’s mid-January, and I’m reading posts wondering how you’re all doing on your resolutions so far.  Just call me Slacker already.

I could rattle off plenty of things I would like to accomplish this year.  There are the home projects: painting, gardening, organizing, de-cluttering.  I would love to figure out how to use my DSLR camera in a mode other than Auto.  Cracking open the Rosetta Stone Italian program that’s been collecting dust for 2 years would be on the list.  And let’s not forget exercising more and dropping 20 lbs., too.

Does publishing those things make me more likely to do them?  Probably not.  It’s more the opposite with me.  A formal proclamation sort of makes me feel shackled.  What if my priorities change?  What if my circumstances change?  I think I’m more of a planner and less of a goal-setter.  I can make and execute a plan to do what needs to be done.  It’s the long-term goals that I have trouble with.

Of course, that’s kind of a theme for me right now.  I’m a woman of a certain age whose role is changing from full-time, homeschooling mom to…  Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?  Perhaps the best resolution for me would be to get more comfortable with the idea of setting goals.  That’s not vague at all, is it?

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On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…a Frasier Fir Hits the Curb

Merry Christmas!!  Is it still appropriate to say that on the 12th day?  In many countries, children look forward to celebrating Three Kings Day, when they will receive presents and treats from the Kings.  Feasts and festivals surround the occasion and often involve the communal packing away of Christmas nativities and decorations.  And in some parts of the world, Christmas will be celebrated tomorrow, January 7th.  Our Orthodox Christian brethren in Ukraine, Russia, Serbia, and elsewhere follow the old Julian calendar, which is 12 days behind the modern calendar.  Thus, their Feast of the Nativity falls on January 7th.

How strange it must be for those Orthodox Christians in the United States, and there are some.  I once worked with a guy who took his Christmas vacation just as everyone else in the office was returning from theirs.  I suppose one would have to become a really early shopper to plan a successful Orthodox Christmas celebration.  Imagine going to Target or Wal-Mart today in search of Christmas gift wrap or ornaments!  You might be able to score something at 75% off, but it would be the leftovers.  My Target, for example, had only hot pink Christmas lights left.  And what about a tree?!  The only way to have a real tree would be to put it up at least 2 weeks early, when the tree lots are trying to unload the last of their stock.  You could only hope it would last this long without shedding every last needle or bursting into flame.

I’m proud to say that my Christmas tree still stands today.  My outdoor Nativity remains lit.  In fact, we are the last house on the block with Christmas decorations still fired up, although my cedar garland didn’t make it this long.  We got lucky this year.  With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Sundays, the municipal trash collection schedule permits us to keep our tree these last days of Christmas.  Sad as it sounds, we are dictated to by the city waste management, which will only collect discarded Christmas trees on the 2 regular trash pick-up days after Christmas.  Miss those and your alternatives are hauling the tree to the landfill yourself or chopping it up into a 4 x 4 pile for pick up with other yard debris.  Tyranny, I say!!

That’s the price we pay for living in suburbia.  In past years, when we lived on the edge of woods, we would drag our tree into the woods, where it would become part of the natural habitat.  We could go the extreme route our neighbors took one year.  They held a tree-burning party in the middle of the cul-de-sac.  Of course, they were lucky no one called the police of the fire department.  You need a permit for that sort of thing, after all.

To any other die-hards out there, a very merry Twelfth Day of Christmas to you and yours!

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