Saturday, October 31, 2015

Male and Female cont. / Why Plath?

Dear Blog:  I am busy.

But just this to counterbalance the previous post:

(from a friend's Facebook Post)

And how did I come upon S. Plath, the poetess?  On the same Facebook page she was mentioned a few times.  I had looked her up once in a while and learned about her life.  I was at Chapters and I bought a book of poems, with my own money--no library loan.

So, now she sits on the fireplace mantle, next to Luther and Walther devotional material.

To counterbalance the whole difficult scene, let's add this one also, from the same Facebook page:

But love, sooner or later, forces us out of time. It does not accept that limit. Of all that we feel and do, all the virtues and all the sins, love alone crowds us at last over the edge of the world. For love is always more than a little strange here. It is not explainable or even justifiable. It is itself the justifier. We do not make it. If it did not happen to us, we could not imagine it. It includes the world and time as a pregnant woman includes her child whose wrongs she will suffer and forgive. It is in the world but not altogether of it. It is of eternity. It takes us there when it most holds us here.
~ Wendell Berry 

We see here, too, that love is much about suffering and forgiving--two sides of the coin.  Marriage is fun and marriage is hard work.  

We have Love Life Conference 10, today, on "Confusion and Repentance in a Sexualized world."  You are invited.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

In memory of Sylvia Plath. For all women. Against gender-neutralism.

In memory of Sylvia Plath.  
(by me)

For all women.  Against gender-neutralism.

YOU were
my sun and shield.

(I have only begun...
and I am crying already.

And writhing.)


my sun and shield.

But not so completely glorious,
or just differently?

Maybe differently.
A mistake in the fabric,
incorporated, made beautiful.

"You adore him far too much,"
my sister said, early on.

We have known what faith and love is,
and still a knife pierces my heart.

There is only one way out.

"I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth.  In pain you will bring forth children;  yet your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you."  (The Lord.)

But is it Art?--Knitting Project

When I was young, my mother got into rug-hooking.

My father was not too enamored with it. When it was time to relax, he would rather not have had her busy with hand work.  Still she got several large and intricate carpets made.  One lies rolled up in my basement still.  We dare not discard them as they are holy relics of her and a different time, especially since she died in her early forties.

One day she talked about a comment made a couple, who were friends and neighbors and fancied themselves somewhat worldly-wise and urbane.  They had inspected her work and told her that is was not "art".

She was somewhat put off by the remark and repeated it to us.

Where is the border between art, folk art and arts and crafts?

Personally, I have always been drawn to the very simple.

Unless, it is a Bach Fugue, then I love the very complex.

Who can say?

Lately, for the love of little children, I have gotten into knitting.  The abundance of Youtube videos can help you along when you are stuck as a beginner.

It seems like art to me.  You can choose your yarn, the color, the texture, the medium.  You choose your needles size and completely determine the look.  There are an infinite number of stitch patterns to try.  Every item is unique.  And then there are all the mistakes you make.  I leave in many of my mistakes.  They should be adding to the charm of the item not having been mass-manufactured in China.

Handmade means that you can make what you want, how you want.  And you say with it something that is beyond words, like a kind of sacrament.

Made for you.
Given for you.
I love you.
Take it.
Treasure it.
Remember me.
Remember my love for you.
Cuddle up in it.
Be safe and warm.
Be comforted.

This is what I have been making.  Old Shale design.  Gumdrop yarn from Amazon. There is a big mistake in it, as you can see.  I will leave it as a special wave through.  It makes a very stretchy fabric in all directions.

Is it art?--Who cares.

Justin Trudeau won the Election

Or rather Steven Harper lost the election, this week.

I sincerely wish Justin Trudeau all the best, and pray for him, as I ought to.

Still, the overriding sensation at this point in time is a wondering what it is we have done.  This cartoon pops into my mind.  It was printed in my history class textbook, when I grew up, I think grade nine, in Germany.

The steady and hand and experienced statesman of eminent common sense and good judgement, both conservative and innovative in matters of state and personal life and security, is simply let go.

It did not turn out well, at all.  It turned out grotesquely disastrously.

Let's hope that the analogy with Bismarck is not good, though it came to mind.

Steven Harper seems serenely resigned to the loss.  He has been in government for a long time.   Maybe it is time.  Our liberals are not all fools.  They have done some important things right.  And even a conservative Prime Minister was no match for the anarchistic supreme court that seems to rule over all.  There was only so much he could do.  Perhaps, a Trudeau can rule it in.

In any case, many thanks are due to Steven Harper, who has been intelligent, conservative, formidable and honorable, governing against many odds, in minority and majority positions, with a steady head and hand, and having grown grey over it. God bless him and we thank him.

The Lord also be with Justin Trudeau, a young man for troubled times.  May he have much wisdom.

Justin Trudeau, prime minister-designate, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper  attend a ceremonial service in Ottawa on Thursday to commemorate last year's attack on Parliament Hill and the lives of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday Morning

Saturday Morning

Where to begin?

The mess in the Kitchen?
--the rum bottle and tea cups,
the plates and wrappers

The Living room?
--the yoga mat,
the wool ball, the knitting,
the magazines and newspaper,
the Bible, Luther's Annotations to Matthew,
Silvia Plath

The I-Pad
--carry on some insane argument,
read some or all of Facebook,
answer mail
watch a debate
put on some wild music to get me going

The Laundry
--on the floor, piled here and there,
drying over the machine

The Windows
--looking streaked
on this sunny day with the sun hanging low,
having been cleaned already for the winter.
How will I put up with this for six months

The Baking
--to bake or not to bake,
everyone is on a diet,
a soup would be better

FIRST OF All, a Coffee
--in the new grandmother mug
on the biggest, softest easy chair,
breathing deeply,
a kind of meditation,
or yoga

It must be a beginning

I already thought about
on my bed,
like David

I thanked him for this day

Monday, October 12, 2015

Thanksgiving 15

For the occasion of Thanksgiving 2015, I had the chance, while cooking and baking, to listen to some lengthy talks on YouTube, mostly by William Buckley, with whose work I am just occupying myself.  One long one was about all his books.  I was hoping to come to a decision about which one of the 41 I might like to read sometime.

I am leaning towards the "Miles Gone By".

The Thanksgiving holiday, and the thinking about my Grandma K., caused me to remember the pictures which hang in my house, in the staircase.

The Thanksgiving display is lovely and so is the idea of photographing it in order to hang the image up in your house.  Isn't it a wonderful thing?

My family never ate the great big green cabbages, like the one in the front.  There were all sorts of vegetables we did not eat, including tomatoes.  We had lots of cakes (and pudding) but few vegetables.  It was a regrettable thing, really.  We did eat fruit and canned fruit. -- As we see, we ate everything sweet--no wonder the sweet tooth. 

The sunflowers summarize to me, somehow, the fleetingness of everything that is summer and luscious life.  We are to God, like one of his sunflowers.  Here today, grown tall and full of splendor possibly, and gone tomorrow.  How many songwriters have picked up this theme.  The old people I sing with love this theme the most:  "Where are the beautiful days?  Where are the sleigh-rides till dawn... Where have they gone?" Or else "Yesterday.  All my troubles seemed so far away."  

Nevertheless, we have been provided for--and gratitude is the sweetest fruit of all, as well as the beginning of virtue (as a Roman orator said).  Thankfulness changes everything. 

Even Buckley wrote a book on "Gratitude."  He made of point of thanking people.
And probably God, too.

... that brings us gratitude, it’s gratitude that brings us happiness

And as Christians, we are awaiting the new dawn.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Oma K

"Halt' dich klein,
Hab' dich rein,
sei gern mit dir und Gott allein."

This is the verse my grandmother K. wrote into my poetry book.
In English:

"Think of yourself as small,
keep yourself clean,
enjoy spending time alone with God."  

It rhymes in German.

This place is where she went to church.

When I went there, with my grandfather, we left much a head of time, as it would take a long time for him to get up the mountain, and also he came early.  When we got there early, the pastor would pray with all those who served that morning, together, the organist, the elder... and me, the tag-along.  I have always appreciated since then, when the pastor has come up early into the organ loft to pray with the organist, etc.  Most of the time, the pastor says at the end.  "Thank you Brigitte for playing."  In general, I find, that I think, that pastors should pray much more with people.

Anyhow, grandmother would start out later, as she was a better walker and she always had some housework to finish up.  I guess that is the sort of thing that happens when you can actually get to church on foot. -- Or else, she was just spending time alone with God while she could.

Here is a picture of the church.  My parents were married, there, too.  The wall that runs just below it, is very old, from the middle ages, say 600 or 700 years old.

In my time, the Americans would fly practice over this mountain, 600 m high rising from the Rhine plane.  On any beautiful day, aiming to do it very low, attempting to undetected by radar.

View of the Rhine plain from one mountain over, with my cousin's daughter.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pudding / in Memory of my Grandmother K.

With all the items in my inbox this morning, ranging from American conspiracies for the Middle East, the shooting of 11 indigenous Christian missionaries in Iraq, the heroic saving of a young woman by a young man at the College shooting in Oregon...  I just want to say a word about Dr. Oetker Pudding.

You can purchase the pudding powered simply packed in thin paper in quantities of three or five, for a good price.  The sugar has not yet been added, which makes the packages smaller, cheaper to transport and therefore environmentally more friendly.

The pudding powder comes in many, many flavors and I buy mine usually at an Italian store that distributes various other European products.  The whole array of the Dr. Oetker pudding line is much superior to, for example, a Jello product, so I want to advertise it, here.

My grandmother used to make me a nut flavored pudding, which I have not seen in stores.

It must exist because it seems you can purchase this one in Istanbul, though my grandmother's wasn't chocolately like this one.

There is also a pistachio flavor:

And one with almonds:

In any case, be it in our house growing up, in my grandparents' house visiting, or cooking for my own family, a simple Dr. Oetker pudding has always been a delightful treat.  My husband, himself, is a dedicated fanatic--here we have a simple way to his heart.  Last night we cooked a caramel pudding.  I make mine in the microwave, which simplifies the procedure and clean-up--no more scorched bottoms of the pot, as in the old days.

But today, I am remembering my grandmother.  I saw her often, but I don't know very much about her.  She had a twin sister, not identical, whom I had only met a couple of times.  She got up early to start the fires in all the little briquette ovens in the house.  She did not like innovation in technology.  She steadfastly resisted all improvements.

She always said that she loved all food--that she had cooked herself.

The other thing she made me was a soup from a stock that came from a tube.  It also was incredibly delicious.

She had long silver hair which she braided and laid in a knot in the back.  My other grandmother did the same thing. She wore sensible dresses and shoes, very decent in darker colors.

She always knew who had lately died, as they were in the demographic.  People were always dropping in, as my grandfather was an elder in the congregation.  They brought boxes of European chocolates and wine, which always lay around the house, and we got into them (--the chocolate, not the wine.)

There were many fruit trees and fruit-bearing bushes around the house.  We would go pick from them, eat them or bring in plate-fulls for the grandparents to appreciate.

The red currents went particularly well with the vanilla pudding.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The fear of the word "flock"/ Hitchens

In watching the video of Christopher Hitchens' last public appearance, before his anticipated death of cancer, with Richard Dawkins (I don't know why I watch all that stuff), I noted his emphasis on the horror of the word "flock".  Being in a "flock" is the worst part of being "religious", he said with a shudder.  He and Dawkins and other people present were "free thinkers", in contrast, that is they are rational beings.  Which I guess makes all the rest of us irrational beings.

I am afraid that the whole affair looked terribly self-congratulatory.  Dawkins praised Hitchens as the most learned of all men he has met, (and he has met many learned men, since he lives in Oxford) --Someone who can quote and adduce references, at lightening speed.  They called each other brothers and sisters and hugged.  Hitchens had trouble speaking and cut himself somewhat short, not wanting to stand between the assembled and their refreshments, the bar and entertainments.

They looked like quite a "flock" to me, birds of a feather all flocked together. The congregation of free-thinkers, in convention, praising themselves.  Sort of the same as other flocks, only prouder. 

Something else, in this connection:

From a Facebook friend:  Atheists celebrating their own ignorance.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

10th Annual Love Life Conference / Edmonton

The 10th Annual Love Life Conference, 
at Concordia University, Edmonton, will be held on Oct. 31st.

Here is the website with all the information.

The theme is:  

"Fix your Eyes on Jesus.  Remorse and Confusion in a Sexualized World."

Douthat and W.F.Buckley

One day, I saw a man, Ross Douthat, make excellent comments on a show on Youtube.  Then I bought his book "Bad Religion.  How we became a Nation of Heretics."   A very good, quick, sensible read, it turned out to be.  Then I bought his book about Harvard University and the Privilege of the Ruling Class.  This also was a fantastic read.

In the end of the book on his Harvard education, Douthat describes his internship at the National Review Magazine, where he rubbed shoulders with William Buckley Junior, (of whom I had never heard.)  He even spent a weekend with Buckley at his house and sailing a large boat, together with another young intern.

Someone I know called Buckley a "formidable" debater and sent me to watch the video of the debate with Mr. Baldwin on whether the American dream was built on the back of the Negro.  I watched it twice.  Since then, I have also watched the discussions with several other notable men on Buckley's TV show, and have started into the apparently famous series of debates with Gore Vidal, (of whom I had never heard, either.)

This debate watching is seemingly becoming an obsession with me.  But! We discover that there is a movie "The Best of Enemies" made about these last debates, and was released only this summer.  I would like to find a place to view this movie without purchasing a DVD.

Rotten Tomatoes gives "The Best of Enemies" 4.5 stars out of 5.  The critics' consensus is:

Smart, fascinating, and funny, Best of Enemies takes a penetrating 

-- and wildly entertaining -- look back at the dawn of pundit politics.

<b>Best of Enemies</b>’ Trailer Brings Heated Debate Into Theaters

I feel like I could watch these debates over and over.  There seems to be so much more verbal skill than we see displayed nowadays.  Not only are we lacking in arguments and verbal skills, many seem to feel fully justified to employ plain insults, arrogance, jihads and violence.  In all sorts of places, the "rational" people demean average citizens who don't share their point of view. As some other people have put it, only "intellectuals" could be so out of touch, harsh, immoral and out in left field.  It is tiresome and I hope we are soon done with this imbecility.

Ross Douthat has another book on American Politics. -- And then there are all sorts of books by William Buckley.  I think I will put Buckley's "God and Man at Yale" on my list to purchase.  My husband would enjoy it, too.  Gene Veith has written much about the influence of the "elites", but Buckley and Douthat seem to be closer to the scene.

I have not been particularly fond of American punditry, news, wars, movies, finding much so very brash and violent, as well as domineering, thinking the world revolves around them, but I have enjoyed the books and the videos mentioned here.

Buckley's "enemies" are also very interesting people.  One can learn much about recent history and how it affects current times by seeing their points of view explored in depth.

Knitted a little hat for our five and a half pounder

Presenting the little peanut with hat by grandma.  Luckily, it fits really well.  58 stitches round, with crochet at the bottom.  The adornment at the top, is a little crocheted, purple flower, the first one I ever made and without using Youtube instruction, as I forgot my I-pad, at work. Baby gained 100 gr. in its first week, eating like a little piglet.

Other than that, I am reading Luther's "Annotations to Matthew", which just came out in English. He was very embarrassed that people insisted on publishing them, even without his permission, as the draft is so very rough--does not bother me.