Sunday, 28 May 2017

Historical House Weekend

Polish Pretend Son is in town, and so it is back to cooking and baking, waiting by the doorbell and racking my brains for simple Polish words I was sure I knew five minutes before PPS turned up. Last night's forgotten word was "jedzenie", which is pretty basic, for it means "food,"

The Historical Flat was not in apple-pie order, as I have been working career woman hours, and there were no homemade cookies to offer. However, I rectified this cookie deficit this morning when I made ginger cookies that are "almost keto." PPS has been on a more-or-less strict "keto diet" for over a year, and he is positively glowing with health, one must admit.

Instead of staying for supper with his Scottish Pretend Father and me, PPS merely scattered his belongings from one end of the flat to the other and went out on the town. But that was fine by me as I was working late in my new-style career woman way. And at some point in his carousing about, PPS went either to the bus station or to the railway station and by prearrangement met a  Beautiful Young Lady whose baggage he commandeered and whom he escorted to a dance.

At about 2:20 in the morning, I took the phone call and unset the burglar alarm and pushed the door button and met the happy dancers at the top of the stairs. My Polish was really very good for 2:20 AM, which just goes to show the power of sleep.  I put the BYL in the super-nice guest room and PPS in the linen-closet-turned-library. Then I went back to bed where I tossed and turned before giving up and moving to the sitting-room to read myself into a stupor. At about 4 AM I returned to the matrimonial chamber and at last fell asleep---only to be awakened by the bl---blessed fire alarm at bl---blessed 5 AM.

Why, why, why, why does the fire alarm so often go into fault when there are guests in the house?!!!!

BA rushed out and down the stairs to the controls. I got up and pulled my silk dressing gown over my cotton nightgown--by the way it was bl--blessed 84 degrees Farenheit last night, which is a very rare occurrence in Scotland---and knocked on the BYL's door to reassure her that the Historical House was not really on fire and to give her my ear protectors. Then I went back down the hall to commiserate with PPS, who bounced into the hallway in a state of déshabille rather startling in someone who usually wears so many pieces of clothing all at once.

This reminds me of the day I knew my glamour girl days were good and over, and I was only a Pretend Mother/Auntie sort of person. Gather around for this sad but short tale.

One Sunday our traddy priest announced at Mass that two traddy Canadian girls were coming to Scotland on "on pilgrimage" and would anyone take them in? Naturally I didn't believe this pilgrimage nonsense, but the girls were Canadian, so it was clearly my job to feed and house them. It was also clearly my job to have a little dinner party and introduce them to Nice Catholic Boys although I bet the priest didn't think of that.

The traddy Canadian girls thought that this party was a good plan, so they dressed up in whatever finery they had brought and sat in the sitting-room to await the Trad Catholic Bachelors. The most age-appropriate Trad Catholic Bachelors invited were Polish Pretend Son and Tobias.  (Do you remember Tobias? He eventually went into the seminary and became Seminarian Pretend Son.) When these worthies arrived, I told them that the visiting girls were in the sitting-room and, as if one man, they both checked their hair in the hall mirror.

I had never felt  so old.

Anyway, to return to last night,  PPS stood about in the hallway en déshabille, for the alarm kept on shrieking in his room when it had shut up everywhere else. As I am now a career woman, I did not have another guest bed prepared for such an emergency, so I entreated PPS to sit in the sitting-room until Benedict Ambrose managed to turn off the alarm. Then, unused to seeing quite so much of PPS, I rushed down the stairs in search of BA,and almost bumped into a trio of fire fighters. (The Historical House being so entirely Historical, every time the bl---blessed fire alarm goes off, fire fighters are duty-bound to turn up.)

After informing BA of PPS's very bad luck in having the sole remaining alarm-screams in his room, I went back upstairs and was relieved to find PPS now swathed in a bed sheet. He complained that he resembled "a war child", but I thought this was a much better look for Historical House emergencies. Soon the alarm subsided, and PPS and his sheet went back to bed.

The irony in this story is that at about 2:30 AM, after I had shown BYL her room, a befuddled BA appeared in the hallway in boxer shorts and a T-shirt, and I sent him back into our room for his dressing-down lest he shock the tender young people.

This morning I got up and set out breakfast things and made some lovely żurek (a kind of Polish soup) and the almost-keto cookies. This evening after buying bags of jedzenia for tomorrow's snazzy Sunday Lunch, I made chałka (Christian challah bread) and the dough for a mazurek królewski. I am now sitting up late waiting for the children to come home from a party, which reminds me of my mother sitting up late waiting for me to come home. I always wished she wouldn't, but in this case I have to, as PPS can't have a key, and someone must turn off the alarm, push the door button, set the alarm again, etc., etc.

Incidentally, I will never forget when PPS was born. I was thousands of miles away on the other side of the Iron Curtain dancing with the sons of Yugoslav defectors (among others) at a dance hosted by Brebeuf College School. Of course, this assumes PPS was born rather early in the Polish morning. If he was born later in the day, I was either asleep or busily writing all about the dance in my diary, which is almost the same thing. The next time I see his real mother, I will ask her to clarify the time.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Traddery Meets Polish Politics!

Good heavens. At the end of a tough week, an astonishing alignment in the constellations of my interests:

Polish Prime Minister's Son to Celebrate Traditional Latin Mass.

H/T  My source the Baron.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Lois Lane, C'est Moi

I worked hard all day, producing three articles.

Here's the one that's up. 

If I'm Lois Lane, that makes B.A. Superman! And it also makes Polish Pretend Son Jimmy Olson although I think he would resist being Jimmy Olson. He has probably never heard of Jimmy Olson, however. The Polish resistance to  American pop culture is an awesome and wondrous thing.

On the other hand, if I am Tuppence, and B.A. is Tommy, does that make PPS Albert? I wonder if he would like being Albert. Probably not.

What other youthful sidekicks are there? Every couple needs a youthful sidekick! On the other hand, I've just had a celebratory shot of ice-cold krupnik, and that could be the krupnik talking.

Saffi Rose Died

Quite clearly, anything that inspires the mass killing and maiming of little girls, their mothers and their aunts must be evil.

Here's OnePeterFive on the root cause. 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Manchester Bombing

Everything about it is appalling except the love of the parents for their children.

I wish I had found out about this Grande person in happier circumstances, so I could just have made snide remarks about a woman wearing "Honeymoon Tour" lingerie and leather masks being a role model for eight year old girls.

Apparently she is a very talented singer like Mariah Carey, et alia, and I am trying to remind myself of what it was like to be 12 and a big Cyndi Lauper fan. I would have loved to have gone to a Cyndi Lauper concert. My mother would never, ever have allowed me to go to a rock concert at 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16. I can't remember why, as back then the West was funding Islamic terrorists in their struggle against the wicked Soviets. And as bad as they were, the Soviets drew the line at blowing up little girls at rock concerts in the decadent West.

My first rock concert ever was U2's Zooropa. It was too loud. Bono and the gang were, if I recall correctly, fully clothed.  My last rock concert was the Sisters of Mercy's Holy Guacamole We Goths Are Totally Old and Fat Now tour.  It wasn't too loud. The Sisters of Mercy were also, if I recall correctly, fully clothed.

I am rather peeved at this Grande person for tweeting that she is "broken." She's not broken. The limbless corpses in the morgues and the mangled people fighting for survival are broken.

Anyway, everything about the Manchester attack was appalling except the love of the parents for their children.

Update: I was going to post  the Polish protest song "Janek Wiśniewski", but thought it inappropriate as it is about a guy killed by the State. We could argue that those kids killed in Manchester were indirectly killed by the State, but there's a more immediate killer, isn't there?

One of the appalling aspects of Islamic attacks in Europe is sad, sad people bursting into "Imagine" and "All You Need Is Love." This must make those ISIS dirtbags laugh like drains. What we need is our own protest song, something along the lines of "Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit. To this day military bands break into "Colonel Bogey" whenever Japanese dignitaries set foot so surely we have the guts for to sing an angry song *

*Okay, that was once. In 1980. In Canada. And speaking as someone whose great-uncle survived a Japanese POW camp, I bet they did it on purpose.

Update 2: For the time being, here's Manchester band Oasis's "Bring it On Down."

Monday, 22 May 2017

Not Just British Orphans

A friend of mine won't buy from the Bernardo's charity shops because, early in its history, the children's charity was one of the organizations that sent poor British children to farms in Australia and Canada, where they were treated as slaves. Literal slaves.

"White slavery" used to be a euphemism for prostitution, but throughout history white people have suffered literal slavery. I'm not even talking about the Russian serfs. I'm talking about the people the history books called "indentured servants." Indentured servitude meant working for someone else exclusively, without pay, until a debt was paid off. Or it meant being a little British kid sent to the Colonies to work on a farm, or in a kitchen, often neglected and often abused.

Anne of Green Gables, set in late 19th century Prince Edward Island, is full of examples. (Look for references to "Home child" or "Home children".) Anne herself was adopted into slavery when she was a very small girl, and when Marilla and Matthew applied for a boy, it was not because they wanted a child to liven up their lives: they wanted an 11 year old farm hand.

I once met a former slave--or indentured servant, to be less dramatic. His "employer" had brought him and his mother from Austria after the end of the Second World War and set them to work. The idea was that they were paying him back for bringing them to Canada.

Anyway, here's the staggering story of a slave brought to the USA from the Philippines by the Filipino family who "owned" her. God only knows how many slaves are currently living in Canada, the USA and the UK, and how many former slaves, born in Britain, are still living with sad memories of hard work, neglect and abuse.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

No Man Left Behind

When Benedict Ambrose forgot to add the fish to the fish dish he made last night, the penny finally dropped.

Not at once, however. It wasn't until I typed "cognitive impairment after brain surgery" that all was made clear.

What a relief! The reason he has been acting like he has brain damage is he has brain damage. Finally--an answer!

The stress was just killing me. B.A. would come home from work sad and frustrated abut this or that task he had found challenging, and at one point I shouted, "Am I the only adult around who can see that there is something wrong?!"

Poor B.A. is such a mess physically--muscles aching, weight plummeting--that I have been focusing on that and not on why he can't remember anything and needs me to go with him to the doctor and so on and so forth.

This last week---boy, it was tough. First, I started my full-time job for Life Site News, and I was completely confused by all the new technology: their systems and my ergonomic stuff.

Then my column at the Catholic Register was cancelled. Gurgle, swish! Down the drain. Good-bye, column! Good-bye!

Then I realized I can't lead the Polish-learners Club this summer, that I wouldn't be able to make it to Polish class that night, and that I may never be able to make it to Polish class from now on. Skonczyło się.

Then there was another complication from the time zone factor: one interviewee didn't get back to me until 11 PM my time; great for him in his time zone, not so great for me.

Then last night B.A. made dinner serenely unaware that the chopped fried chorizo was not the main event but the topping for the cod. Which, not remembering why he had put it on the counter, he had put back in the fridge.

What makes it particularly stressful is that we have no family in town. No family. None. Living far away in romantic Scotland sounds all very wonderful--until something goes very wrong, and it is all up to two little people to get through it somehow.

This morning I decided that I would learn to stop walking so quickly. I'm naturally a fast walker. However, if I am walking with B.A., who was always a slow walker but now moves along like a wounded snail, I try to match him, step by step. Before today it was incredibly frustrating. Maddening. But now that I know--really know--that B.A. isn't being lazy or just isn't trying---it was okay.

I also decided that he is going to get the help he needs to get his sharpness back. The fact that no doctor warned us that this would or could happen---I'll let that go. Maybe they did tell us, but we were just so scared he would die, we blanked that part out. That's in the past. We are going to focus on the now and work towards the tomorrow he is healed.

We were introduced to six children after Mass this morning. On the way home I quizzed him on their names. He worked really, really hard to remember. I told him the names and quizzed him again. We played this game on and off all the way home.

"This must be very boring for you," said B.A. as we crept like wounded snails towards the Historical House.

"No," I said. "It's quite interesting, actually."

And now that I know what it's all about, it is.

Update: Here is a guide to caring for real wounded snails.