Time to suck it up, buttercup

Victimhood– regardless of how ‘victimized’ somebody actually is, more often leads to terrorism and genocide.  And we’ve been pandering to, creating, nurturing, and cherishing the politics of victimhood for a very long time.

Top Khmer Rouge leader (ie, murderous tyrant) believed he was fighting for social justice.

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Random Notes On Our Last Month of School

Written back in May:

Down to the wire with the Boy, all we are currently doing is reading some short stories and essays together – about half an hour to 45 minutes in a day, and his father is reading a chapter of Proverbs with him at night (this is in addition to the schooling he has to finish for the private international Christian school where he is a part-time student.  I have a file for the things I want to read with him in my kindle.  That file is called Last Ditch.

Short stories, two each by the same author.  The criteria is I have to have access to them- either they are already on my Kindle or in a book I have here, or they are free online.  When I began I had only two stories and authors in mind to begin – Chesterton and Tolstoy’s What Men Live By because Marvin Olasky of World Magazine says it’s Tolstoy’s best.  Another criteria is that it does have to be a fairly *short* short story.  I won’t use one that will take more than 45 minutes for me to read alous, and I prefer 30 or fewer.  Obviously, then, our selections are really somewhat random, although, as with all good stories, there is a curious cross pollination, a glimmering web of connections and relationships. Sandwiched between the two short stories I have an article or two on literature or life (Good Life and Good Literature is the theme of this short, off the cuff course).   Here are our readings:

Shakespeare and Literature Tickle the Brain (to be honest, I think we read a different article but it was about this same study)

What Men Live By, by Tolstoy (real priorities)

The Oracle of the Dog, by G.K. Chesterton (Men will believe in anything when they cease to believe in God)

Every Trip is a Quest (except for when it’s not), from the book How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

How and Why to Become a Lifelong Learner | The Art of Manliness website

Ben Franklin’s Virtue of Frugality (Art of Manliness website)

The Arrow of Heaven, by G. K. Chesterton (the same judgement for rich or poor)

Three Questions, by Tolstoy- (how to use one’s time- “Remember then: there is only one time that is important–
Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!””)

Leaf by Niggle, by JRR Tolkien (not quite finished, but so much good stuff, doing what you are called to, using your time well, preparing for the future (i.e. Heaven).  Also, I have to share this:

My son.  He’s going over the bit we read yesterday for me to help me find my place, but he left out something I thought was important.
Me: The journey. He’s going on a journey he’s known he had to take for a while, now, right?
Oh, That Boy: It’s Tolkien. There is *always* a journey in a Tolkien story. ———
He’s not wrong.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Reading Tips  (The Art of Manliness website)

There were others, these were the notes I could find at the time.  I enjoyed reading short stories with him in the morning before school.  I don’t know if he enjoyed it, but I certainly did.
I miss him.

 

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Read in August

I read fewer books in August than I have previous months of this year for a couple reasons.
I tried to read more nonfiction, and nonfiction slows me down.
I started volunteering at the high school every day. I work in the library and supervise the study halls, which are mostly in the library. To get there in good time, I need to be walking out the door with the Cherub at 11 a.m. with our lunches packed and my backpack organized with the lunches, a water bottle, a pull-up and change of clothes for the Cherub just in case, diaper wipes an umbrella, my notebook, change for transportation in case I get it, crochet, and a couple handkerchiefs and/or hand towels, plus, sometimes, a change of shirt for me. More often, I wear a cotton t-shirt under whatever I am wearing and take it off when I get to school.

Then we walk. If we are lucky, I can flag a trike after walking for about ten minutes, and I am only sweating enough to use one handkerchief to wipe off my face and neck and one hand towel to pat my hair dry, and we’ll pay 15 to 20 pesos for the ride (.30 to .40 cents). If we are not lucky, we walk all the way. I open up the umbrella for portable shade which drops the temperature from being fried like an egg on an overhot skillet with a blowtorch to finish off the top down to being steadily and aggressively poached. The humidity here is no joke. It takes 20-25 minutes, including a harrowing couple of minutes on a curve with no side-walk so we are in the road and it is a very, very busy road and yesterday a motorcycle came too close for comfort twice. We’ll avoid the water buffalo poop on the sidewalk and the Cherub won’t stomp in a puddle or two or three and splash me with muddy water, if we’re lucky. When I arrive at the school I will have a face like a tomato (No exaggeration, I took a selfie once and posted it and the next week at church a ten year old asked me what was wrong with my face in that picture, why was it redder than a tomato? I-love-children-they-are-so-honest). The sweat is unspeakable. Tropical climates are killer. My hair will be soaked all the way through. The t-shirt I am wearing under my light cotton top is drenched. I look like I’ve been hosed off with something greasy. The Cherub, who has poor circulation and never sweats and is normally cold will be warm to the touch. I take her to the teacher’s lounge and we go in the bathroom, where the air con doesn’t reach, and I take off that wet t-shirt, splash my face, wipe myself down with a diaper-wipe and then the face towel and get dressed again, then I drink 16 ounces of water in a gulp and refill my thermos, and then we go to the library, which is deliciously air conditioned because of the books, and I stay there for the next 4 hours enduring the steady resentment of the majority of the students, with a half hour to 40 minute break when my husband comes and keeps an eye on things while I take the Cherub back to the teacher’s lounge and feed her, and myself if there is time, and take us both to the bathroom and rehydrate.

I could catch a cab after about two blocks, when I am only moderately sweaty, and I can catch a cab pretty much every time, but that costs closer to .80 cents, and occasionally a dollar, for a very, very short ride and it’s hard for me to justify that.

About the resentment: The school had a change in directors this year and some new policies have been implemented for study hall, and none of them are popular, and since I am the face of the enforcement, I am in the direct line of the resentment. I was told I’d be able to read while I worked there, and I tried that the first week, but I really can only do some light skimming because the resentment is a constant distraction as it takes the form of various requests to flout the rules, attempt to surreptitiously break the rules, and so on. It’s honestly not very fun, and I am not getting paid and so I don’t know how long I’ll be willing to keep this up. The funny thing is, I like the kids. I like the kids a lot. They are amusing, interesting, adorable, intriguing. I understand their resentment, but it’s misplaced and burdensome and I do not love all the new rules any better than they do, in fact, in a couple instances I find the rules misguided. So there we are. Less reading.

But on the plus side, a wider selection of books, that, um, I don’t have time to read.

What I read:

Culture Shock! Korea– interesting but since it was published in the 90s (this edition I linked to is newer)), a lot of things have changed.

D.E. Stevenson’s Listening Valley– I really love Stevenson. She writes sweet romances, but she wrotes mostly of home and heart and makes me think. This one has been published in Kindle, which is nice. For a long time it was hard to find any of her books. She’s in a class with Goudge, Miss Read, and Janice Holt Giles. Also, learned a new word:
‘I was a thrawn little devil. I don’t know why.’
“He would not know of the queer thrawn streak which runs right through the British character–the dogged streak, which does not permit the Briton to admit the possibility of defeat.”

John Scalsi’s Collapsing Empire– Scalsi badly wants an editor who will actually edit him. He also needs to work on his characters. They are not real people. They act in ways that real people do not act. He is pandering so hard to the gender is a social construct crowd that to anybody else it’s like his characters are just silly cardboard stereotypes of things the gender is a social construct group wishes were true, but are not. It’s a shame, because he’s not without talent. From time to time I’d find myself reaching a place where I could enjoy the story, he seemed to be in his groove, and then suddenly, he’d push the ejection button and break the story with something ridiculous, like a three to five page long internal soliloquy a main character has with herself while she is in the middle of a private, one on one, politically tense meeting with the most powerful contender for her position, somebody who has attempted to assassinate her and one fraught with potention mis-steps, and this super powerful killer supposedly just sits there twiddling her thumbs while her would-be victim is in a brown study for half an hour. Nothing in the internal monolog of the main character was important to the story, either, it was just a heavy handed political message to the readers and vanity preening. He also ends the book abruptly, churlishly expecting his readers to buy the next 10-12 in the series before they get a completed story. Sequels are one thing, but sequels which don’t solve any part of a plot at all are basically theft and disdain for the reader in my opinion.

Two more Flavia de Luce mysteries- these remain delightful and amusing.

Developing a Worldview Approach to Biblical Integration by Martha McCullough, Amazon doesn’t have this, they have a similar, longer book she wrote. I like what I’ve read of her work. She kind of reminds me of Ruth Beechick, although she is writing for private Christian schools more than homeschools.

A Patricia Wentworth mystery, Lonesome Road

Stranger in a STrange Land by Heinlein. I’ll review this elsewhere but I was disappointed.

The Light Fantastic, by Terry Pratchett- I was disappointed. I found it hard to get into, that puns were a substitute for plot, and there really wasn’t any ‘there’ there, and I wondered if it was me or the book. I think it’s a bit of both. I was relived to discover this was only the second book in the series. That explained a lot.

The Last Dragonslayer by Fforde, this is the first of Jasper Fforde’s first juvenile series. I like it, it was fun, quirky, and amusing.

100 Days of Real Food– not really worth the time. Maybe if you’re totally new to the idea this would be helpful. I found it lightweight and learned nothing new. And this was not her fault, but I find that American recipes are currently essentially useless to me. I don’t have access to many of the same foods, or to the majority of cooking methods. If it’s not made on the stove top or in a rice cooker or possibly wrapped in foil and put in a very, very, very tiny toaster oven, I can’t do it. Nor am I interested in turning on any heat source in my kitchen for more than about fifteen minutes, so ‘simmer an hour’ is right out.

Started by did not finish yet:
Eternity in their Hearts, a reread
How to Read Literature Like a Professor- there’s one chapter I really like. The rest, so far, isn’t that useful.
Lilith by George MacDonald
A Meaningful World, by Wiker
Victory of REason
Proust and the Squid

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Martial Law in Davao City

People ask me what it’s like. It’s hard to explain. I can’t speak for what it’s like for anybody else, of course, and I operate on the periphrases. But here are a couple of things that might give you the flavor of Martial Law here:

I use a backpack for a purse because none of my purses turned out to have a long enough strap for comfort, because I have to have some extra stuff for The Cherub, plus maybe a book to read, and it’s the handiest way to carry groceries at the panlingke (open air market for fruits and veggies). More brick and mortar stores now require me to leave the backpack at the packages area instead of taking it into the store itself. This is a minor inconvenience, and with a modicum of planning, it has become not even that. I have a small handclutch (I think it’s really a make-up bag) which holds my phone and my cash, and pull that out and leave the bulky backpack at the package drop off (like an old coat check place in the movies), saving space in my cart and wear and tear on my back. I’d have to leave the store to change the Cherub in event of an accident anyway. The stores mainly do not have bathrooms (comfort rooms here), they are in the main part of the mall.

There are occasional spot checks of traffic by police officers to check licenses and so forth. Traffic backs up a bit. You’ll notice some motorcycles and trikes (motorcycles with the built on seating to enable them to transport 6 or 7 passengers) pull over or make a u-turn because their registrations aren’t up to date or they don’t have a license, but it’s not a big deal when you live in a culture where punctuality isn’t a huge value anyway.

All the malls, even most stand alone stores (I think basically if the place has air con) will have an armed security guard or two or three at the doors. they check your bags. They might have somebody pat you down a bit- it’s not intrusive, mainly it’s a pat on the small of your back and between your shoulders. I have never had a male officer presume to do this- it only happens when they have lady cops on duty, and then guys go through to be patted down by guys, girls go through the other side to be patted by lady cops. This was true before martial law. The only difference for me is that this happens a bit more frequently, and before, they usually skipped looking inside my bag, and now they usually want to look inside. I prefer that. I was always embarrassed to be waved through without a bag check.

Annd this is my favourite. This is the Philippines. I went to the mall yesterday to do some grocery shopping (all grocery stores are attached to a mall), and to do some reading by myself instead of with the Cherub as my constant appendage. I sat outside a coffee shop (Bluegre’s) and drank a very cold Durian flavored arctic blast coffee drink and read. I was seated where I could watch and listen to the security guards at the mall entrance. There were three, one of them with a k-nine unit. The k-nine was dressed in jeans a t-shirt with his unit on it, the other two guards were in black uniforms, side-arms, handcuffs clipped to back of their belts, boots, very military. I do still love a man in uniform, so I don’t find that a chilling sight at any time. Even if I did… the three guards passed the time in between customers by…. singing pop songs together.

They sounded pretty good, too.

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Aging and bruising

I have a couple of really large, very colourful bruises, and no idea how I got them. One of them in particularly bothers me because I feel sure I *should* know. It’s the kind of thing where i have this vague memory of doing something (what? I don’t know), and saying to myself, ‘Self, that’s gonna leave a mark. You’re going to wonder where it came from, and this is it.” But the important detail of what and when and how this and it occured, that’s missing.

The other one is on my stomach, and it’s nicely green and deep, wine dark purple, and I have no clue at all. It’s longer than my index finger and wider than the space between the tip and first knuckle of that same index finger. How I could have a bruise that large almost in the center of my belly and not know how is baffling to me.

Well, that’s what I thought until just a few minutes ago when I went outside to hang up the laundry. The most direct way out to the back patio which has the washing machine and clothesline is a door partially bocked by an immovable piece of furniture. The door doesn’t open wide enough for me to fit through unless I squeeze out sideways, and the doorknob drags across my stomach, just a bit. It doesn’t even hurt. or rather, it didn’t, the first ten times. Lately, I’ve been taking the out way out, longer and more zig zagging along a narrow walkway, because it’s started to hurt when I squeeze out. Now I realize why.

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