el's rabbit trails, family life, Homemaking stuff, just for fun, wife stuff

Friday Frivolities 13: Random moments from the sahm scene.

File this one under “things that made me go hmmm”.

The last ironer in America?

Last week the kids and I were running late getting to “school” so I picked out a no-iron skirt, tank top, and fitted cardigan. Specifically because I didn’t have time to iron. Every where I turned, someone would compliment me, “You look pretty today.” I suspect it’s because the skirt was red. Kinda hard not to notice.

As a few of us were in the kitchen getting coffee (the school building is so quite cold), a few more mothers complimented me, so I said, “And I just grabbed the first thing I could find that I didn’t need to iron.” From there we were off to the races:

“You iron? I can’t remember the last time I ironed!” “I didn’t know anyone ironed anymore!” Several other women shared with me their tips for doing laundry in a way that keeps them from ever having to iron.

Thing is, I iron almost every day, because my husband’s shirts need to look more professional than they can from dryer heat. But my girls all iron their colthes every day -or every other day- also. It left me wondering: “Are we the last ironers in America?” Please, say it ain’t so.

Even with 4 “chefs” in the house, I still cook.

At church one night this week (it was a night the ministry we volunteer in meets to do our work), a woman asked me a question: “I heard your girls can cook. Since they are still at home, that means you hardly ever have to cook, right?’

“Well”, I told her, “not exactly. I actually still cook quite a bit. I get a couple of nights a week off, but I still cook 4-5 days a week. My husband will eat their cooking (he even likes it most of the time), but he prefers mine, and he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for me to get out of practice.”

She actually concurred with that line of thought, unlike many other women would. But then, she was older. Which brings me to my last unimportant but tangentially related point.

Culinary discretion

Yesterday morning when SAM was leaving for work, he opened his bag, tossed a container with a piece of cake in it on the counter and said to me:

“Toss that out, will you? I keep telling them I don’t eat just anybody’s cooking and they still insist on bringing stuff in for me to taste. I didn’t have time to go through the spiel yesterday, so I just took the cake from her. I guess they figure if they keep trying, I’ll eventually eat something.”

My husband is pickier than most about his food, but he’s not the only person I’ve encountered who is wary of taking food from just anybody. I know a woman who decided from a person’s cleanliness habits at work that she would likely never eat anything she brings in.

I’m wondering what others’ thoughts are on that.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

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Black family sues school for refusing to protect their daughter from abuse by peers

Found this one interesting. We raised our kids in an area where none of the schools had high percentages of black students. They too were usually the only black kids in their honors classes. er.

They got their share of occasional digs and comments for being different. Basically, the “everyone has a place in the public school” mantra is more accurately translated, “everyone has a place in the public school so long as you conform to the expected behavior of your group”.

WINTERY KNIGHT

Political contributions by the American Federation of Teachers union Political contributions by the American Federation of Teachers union

I just thought the following story was astonishing. My heart really goes out to this little girl, who is just trying to work hard and make a life for herself.

This is from The State.

Excerpt:

Parents of an African-American girl at Columbia’s Hand Middle School have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Richland School District 1, alleging school officials did little for two years while their academically advanced daughter was physically and verbally abused for “acting white.”

“Hand Middle School students called (the girl) racial slurs and physically assaulted her on numerous occasions,” says the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Columbia by Alex Young, a soldier at Fort Jackson, and his wife, Toschia Moffett, a consultant.

“Although approximately 50 percent of the students at Hand Middle School identify as African American, (the girl) was one of…

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cultural absurdity, healthy living, real living in a virtual world

The Great American Mind Hack.

Irma’s gone -we’re all fine- and wreaked a bit of havoc on some of our extended family farther north. Except for the loss of power and few trees down, they are all fine as well. Floridians south and west of us took much harder hits, so keep them in your prayers and donate money (or not) to whatever charities you will. I wouldn’t however, suggest large doses of media coverage about this storm’s aftermath. I felt the same way about Harvey and was less much anxious about Irma as a result.

All of this brings me to the point of this post: the great American mind hack. It’s real, it’s relentless, and our only defense is awareness and diligence to maintain a firewall against the hackers. This friends, is not easy. At least it isn’t for me. I have been going into overdrive with this one of late, and I still find myself needing to continuously update my firewall.

I don’t have much to add except for a few excellent links I’ve recently encountered on the subject. The first is an article in which Zuckerberg and company pretty much admit they are all about taking away your privacy AND your anonymity as these are vices which allow you to harbor and express your deepest thoughts uncontested and unmolested. Here’s an teaser from How Sillion Valley is erasing your individuality:

To take another grand theory, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has exclaimed his desire to liberate humanity from phoniness, to end the dishonesty of secrets. “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly,” he has said. “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” Of course, that’s both an expression of idealism and an elaborate justification for Facebook’s business model.

In a sphere of anonymous (or at least semi-anonymous) bloggers, that should make you shudder regardless of your ideology. Eponymity for everyone! Which is one of the hundreds of reasons we don’t like Facebook.

In that same vein, this interview with Franklin Foer,  the writer of the first piece, where we see a theme begin to emerge:

And you think we’re being manipulated into giving up our privacy? The book mentions that Silicon Valley libertarianism gets all the attention, but you say that the “collapse of the individual” is actually the guiding ethos. How did you come to that?

To be clear, “Silicon Valley” is a fairly glib and imprecise term, so when I use it, I am referring to its elites, and to its thought leaders, not to the average engineer.

I started just watching every YouTube video I could get of a town hall meeting featuring Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, and so on. I started listening to what they were saying and it wasn’t a lot of screeds against government or celebrations of the heroic individual. What I found was this love of all things social. The network is the most fetishized concept in the valley, and as I listened, I began to think the real danger was the collectivism. They were so obsessed with achieving some sort of new global consciousness, and I found them to be completely immune to all reasonable anxieties about the state of the individual.

If supposed libertarianism is getting too much attention, which attitude do you think we’re not looking at enough?

Monopoly. When you listen to most people in Silicon Valley talk about the network they talk about it as a winner-take-all system. The idea of the network is that you make a bet on the right company and they capture the network and all the other market players disappear. I think that’s a very common way of thinking.

If you listen to the way that people like Larry Page talk about competition, they abhor the idea of competition. They think of it as something that’s almost beneath them. So rather than competing against Apple, or Uber, they would much rather focus on their moonshot ideas and doing something truly transformational, and this replicates language that we’ve heard throughout history.

The last link is a video that Hearth shared with me a few days ago, on which the title of this post is based.  The distinctions he makes betweem pleasure and  happiness, and the result of the conflation of the two and the aggressive marketing of plasure seeking onto the American populace is enlightening. I also appreciated his distinction between marketing and propaganda.

Yeah, yeah, I know none of this is news to most people who read here, but it’s worth a listen because we’ve evolved to the point where technology can provide that dopamine *hit* for many people. I am slightly hesitant to buy into this too much, but only because the word addiction makes me uncomfortable due to its ability to offer cover for people in situations where they really can just dig deep and learn to stop it.

Some food for thought I thought worth passing on.

 

 

Humility is important, Living with other believers, spirit led living, wife stuff

Be appreciative rather than priggish.

Don’t you love the sound of that word; priggish? I assumes it’s where we got the word most of us are more familiar with: prick.

This is a bit of a follow up thought to a conversation my dear friend Hearthie and I have had numerous times over the past few years. This is just one instance. The issue of what she calls “survivor’s guilt” and what I have questioned as an undeserved life of an abundant amount of love.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote:

When I considered my friend’s sincere desire that I not underestimate what I bring to the table, for a split second I wondered if perhaps my near constant desire to exalt him means I am devaluing myself. Then it hit me: No.

Appreciating and relishing being loved by one who is excellent and worthy of praise humbles us, or it should.

My father was that rare combination of unabashed confidence and unquestioned humility. My man is more a combination of unabashed confidence and unrivaled compassion. Both combinations are great examples of people who appreciate that they have worked hard for what they achieved in their lives but without a smug sense of superiority over others.

These are examples I carry close to my heart and as the Scriptures says: Out of the abundnceof the heart, the mouth speaks. When yet another friend says “Don’t discount the good choices you made to have the life you enjoy”, I appreciate those words. It’s not my intent to dismiss them as one who can’t take a compliment

It is, however, much easier for me to accept a compliment on a dress, shoes or my hair than it is to allow myself to to indulge in the thought that I deserve a good life because of my wonderfulness. To take credit for it makes me uncomfortable and opens the door to judgement an a feeling of superiority. Not to mention taking glory for myself that rightfully belongs to Another.

We Americans are addicted to taking credit. I am not immune to it, and I used to like the saying attributed to Bear Bryant: “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.” The longer I live, however, the more joy I get from giving honor to others, even if partial credit for something is genuinely mine.

That isn’t to say we are to lie about what we’ve done good or right. For me, however, the acknowledgement of the contributions of others, no matter how simple, who made it possible for me to do or be a thing is important. It also makes for a higher level of peace. I can’t even express the peace that comes with the prayer: ‘Lord, help me get over me.”

It’s absolutely true that there were times when I made choices that led to a better outcome than other choice would have yielded (sometimes the more righteous choice, even), it’s safer and closer to truth to accede that my imperfect yet often charmed life is more touched by uncommon grace and love from those better than me, than made good through my feeble efforts.

If I have to err in this, I’d rather err on the side of being appreciative rather than priggish.

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
    a stranger, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:2

 

 

 

cultural absurdity, el's rabbit trails, wife stuff

Abuse?

I’ma keep this one short and sweet as this blog is quickly morphing into a “Hmmm. Isn’t that interesting?” type of deal. That may be for the best.

I got this tidbit from Dr. Helen in my feed and once again wondered if I am living in a paralel universe:

We’ve all read the articles and blog posts about how to stop yelling at the kids. But for me, my shouting was aimed in a different direction — at my husband.

So I decided to see if applying the same rules about not yelling at my hubby would yield the same benefits as it does with kids.

I started out thinking I’d simply “not yell anymore.” I managed it for a few days, but as all my projects and hobbies tend to go, it wasn’t long until I slid back into old habits.

You can read the entire referenced article here, but I was dumbfounded.

I cannot imagine yelling at my husband, and not just because it’s wrong even though I’d like to think I’ve grown enough to start from there. But I am, to be honest, a little unnerved and…dare I say it? Afraid of it. There. I said it.

This, even though I know he’d rather die than harm me, and he’s not going to start yelling back at me either. What I will experience, to quote something a friend wrote once, is being:

IMMEDIATELY and unpleasantly corrected. So … ahem. Not really an issue. Never has been.

To many people today, this means I am abused; because I tremble slightly at the thought of yelling at a grown man as if he were a little boy. And even though I can’t imagine feeling more loved and cherished in any other circumstance or with any other person.

 

 

 

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There’s no such thing as hurricane crunchy.

We needed a few minor items, but are mostly good to go in the event  Irma decides to pay us a visit on Sunday.

I popped in the grocer to pick up ingredients for a plaeo barbecue sauce and the lines were snaking through the store as people were trying to get water. We already had water, and one of our girls has an inside track at a retailer that is going to see to it that their employees get first dibs on supplies when the truck comes in, should we need it. My man  always ensures we have the essentials needed in case of the worst, so I was able to avoid the madness to some degree.

However, there is the issue of non perishable food, and right in the middle of my Whole 30! So off I went to buy canned soups, canned tuna, etc. On the soup aisle I ran into a cute old lady who struck up a conversation with me about how the sodium content alone in that food would be a massive problem for her because of a health condition. Her son, who lives in another state, insisted that she stock up nonetheless. I helped her find some low sodium options even as I sympathized with her dilemma. I’m hoping I can just donate the cans to our church’s food bank if Irma misses us and never have to eat them.

It struck me coming home how crunchy our family is about our food. Even my husband is crunchy-tolerant about food choices. Combatting health issues in your child will do that. Other things however, he’s not at all crunchy about. Truth be told, I would be crunchy about a lot of things if my man was crunchy. He is not crunchy however, ergo I can not be crunchy.  Not fully.

If I’m going to wear makeup, he wants me to spend the money for the best brand that is  good for my skin. Good skin care products are also considered reasonable budget items. Ditto hair products and the like. We’re not big shoppers, but when I shop, he wants me to buy good, classic clothes. “Weekend Wife” (his terminology) needs to break out some heels. Like I said, crunchy tolerant on some things, but not all.

Because I’m crunchy at heart, I was glad to learn of a really nice consignment store in a trendy part of town where I’ve gotten some really nice things that even my husband likes to see me in. Splitting the difference, as it were.

When the stom hits though, the priority is eating because there’s no such thing as hurricane crunchy. So if comes to it, we’ll be eating gluten bread sandwiches, mecury lined tuna, and canned soup.

 

Common sense, Life hacks, real living in a virtual world, Uncategorized

Friday Frivolities 11: Proper focus edition.

I was thinking about modern life, and how to enjoy our novel conveniences and creature comforts without internalizing the worst traits modernity opens the door to.

For example, being healthy and fit is good. Health is not a frivolous pursuit. Being obsessed with health and fitness to the point of obsession, however, reduces it to vanity and creates a frivolous pursuit of perfection at the expense of dealing with weightier matters Hearthie dropped a few links in the comments sextion recently which brought this to the forefront of my thinking.

The Dreamstress offered two posts exploring the shifts in what was considered the “ideal figure” in generations past. You can take a look at those here and here. As I read through them, looking at the advertisements and pictures, it struck me that most every one of the body types offered as ideal were within striking distance of most of women simply through eating moderate amounts of real, fresh, food, and eschewing junk food. In addition, by just avoiding a sedentary life; not sitting around all the time.

Today’s ideal however, is out of reach for most normal men and women without copious amounts gym time and usually cutting out whole food groups (cookies are not a food group). In other words, it requires that we spend a lot of time thinking about things that we wouldn’t have had to think about so much in a different time and place.That’s not an indictment of any person’s chosen path to good health. After all I’m starting a Whole 80 myself this month. I am just as modern as the next person, but it still strikes me more and more recently.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is the culture of distraction. It started as I read Magistra’s posts (here and here) on the book Deep Work, by Cal Newport. That book is on its way to my house as I type. I hope. I also picked up The Organized Mind during my recent library trip. I guess it’s obvious that clarity of mind is on my list of things to discover and/or recapture.

In the meantime, Hearthie shared this video with me which -in about 20 minutes- offers a Cliff’s notes version of Deep Work with strategies we can start today:

Have a great weekend!

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Book life, homeschooling, and a solicitation.

Because I’m soliciting suggestions of resources and don’t want to miss anyone who might know some good ones, two posts probably increases my odds of finding what I’m looking for.

El's Reading Room...

I still have a few book reviews in draft, which are being slowed down significantly as we adjust to our new homeschool workload. Sometime over the next two weeks, I expect to post reviews of the following books:

  • Captains Courageous
  • Hillbilly Elegy
  • A Bear Called Paddington
  • Your Man is Wonderful

In the meantime, we are experiencing quite the challenge juggling the demands of homeschooling, the homework and readings associated with the supplemental classes our kids are taking, and regular homemaking necessities.

The positives are that our kids are getting top notch instruction from some amazingly gifted women (and a few men) in subjects I could never have tackled with the same depth of knowledge and enthusiasm. Latin, literature, drama, speech, visual arts, and art appreciation taught by teachers with passion for the subjects, years of studying them, and a wholly Christian worldview are pretty priceless. We are thankful to have…

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