Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pumpkinny goodness!

What is wrong with processed food, in a nutshell? It's not food.

Well, as I was watching this very interesting video about the(mainly American) processed food industry, I was making a batch of Orange Soup. A long time ago a hippie/foodie told me that putting red lentils and sweet potatoes together gives you a "perfect protein". I really have no idea what that means, and I'm not really even interested enough to look it up on Google. I figure he was probably right, however, and that a "perfect protein" was probably good for you. Good enough. Other reading/rumours told me that orange food is good food. If it's got an orange colour, it's good for you. Vitamins and whatnot. So, I invented a recipe for soup in which nearly everything is orange in colour, and that involves an actual orange.


a knob of butter
1 onion,
2 or 3 garlic cloves,
3 large carrots,
1 sweet potato
1/2 a regular potato
big hunk of pumpkin
1 cup of red lentils
1 orange.
tablespoon of curry powder
tsp of cayenne pepper
chicken powder
1/2 pint of milk
125 ml heavy cream

Chop and saute the onion and garlic in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Peel and dice all the veg while it's cooking. When the onion is softened, put in the chopped veg and the lentils with enough water to cover comfortably. Simmer together, and while it's simmering, throw in the curry powder, chicken powder and cayenne pepper. Grate the rind of the orange and chop it very fine, and add it into the soup, then use the wooden spoon to ream out the juice from the orange. Let it simmer about 15 mins or until the veg is soft.

When the veg is cooked, take the pot off the stove and set up your blender with a large bowl, ladle, the milk and cream. Put on an apron, since it's going to make a little mess. About two or three ladles full at a time, pour the soup into the blender and combine with the milk and the cream in batches. Pour the soup into the bowl as you blend each batch, and when you're done, stir it all together, since each batch is going to have a slightly different ratio. Blend a good long while to get a really cloud-like texture.


You will be amazed! Really!


A martial race

Of all the positions in Parliament, he held the post of the ultimate protector of the democratic domain in that place. Yet no one seriously expected that he would have to act on it in such a fashion that he would literally be the one to put his life on the line to protect the institution from any invader.

People nowadays tend to forget that Canada was once a very warlike nation, and our military exploits, particularly in WWII, are still legendary. Canadians in war are regarded as personally unassuming, but implaccably courageous in battle.

Under the new Trudeaupian dispensation, Canadians are, with some justification, figures of fun to the rest of the world. We have funny accents and like hockey, apologise a lot, don't have guns, don't like Americans and get a lot of handouts from the government. We are, collectively, thought of as a nation of easy-going betas.

But there are still pockets of the old Canadian martial spirit that made a reputation for Canadians as a stoic, noble, soft-spoken people who are all but unstoppable badasses in combat. A harsh climate and a closeness to the land among most of the population - what politicians and high school social studies teachers call an agricultural and resource based economy - means men and women used to hardship and self-sacrifice, who appreciate the few luxuries they can afford and who are accustomed to looking challenges directly in the face and, most important, who care for their own, their family, their town and their country.

Yesterday, in the face of a particularly loathsome and seething evil that is growing everywhere almost unchallenged, one of those old fashioned Canadians stepped up.

Thank you, Kevin Vickers, not only for protecting our government, but for reminding us what true Canadian spirit really is.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Good thing we disarmed all the law-abiding Canadians...

Oh wait...


Experiencing mental stress and anxiety

Bad dreams... very, very, very bad scary dreams.

Moving is, I'm told, listed by headshrinkers along with the death of a spouse or child, divorce and loss of a job as the most stressful things we can do.


Laying off the coffee for a while.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What was it like to be in the war?

A journalist friend in Canada has just asked me what it was like to be up close and personal during ... recent events...

I respond:

Have you ever been swimming in the sea on a rough weather day?

It's sort of fun, but the waves just keep coming and coming, and some of them really pick you up bodily and toss you around, and sometimes you land in the same spot and it's still fun, but other times, which are totally random, it drops you in a spot where the water's over your head and then you realise it's not fun any more and you might be in a bit of trouble, but you're in the sea to have fun so you start struggling through the waves back to the fun spot because it's supposed to still be fun, but really, it's the sea we're talking about, which isn't actually a theme park ride but the frickin' SEA and it doesn't care at all if you're having fun or if you're fish-food.

It was kind of like that.

Only with more pizza.



Also, learning some important caffeine lessons. One cup, means alertness and ability to pay attention. Two means jumping around the house every few minutes to burn off excess energy. Three means having your arguments with the internet out loud in high-pitched incomprehensible yelling.

Normal Hilary

Hilary at third cup.


Gettin' outta Dodge

Well, that's two bits of moving news back to back: the moving guy came, looked at my stuff, wrote some stuff down on the clipboard, and said, 1000 E. Which is a little under what I was expecting.

Called Sandro the realtor, and he said, "You-ra 'ouse is a-ready. When-a you come?" It's going to be 1140 E for the flat: first, last and deposit. Then later I have to give Sandro his finder's fee, because the worker is worthy of his hire. I've learned that in Italy, your realtor will often become your biggest helper when you're moving to a new town, and will be your introduction to the whole community, esp in a place as small as Norcia.

My previous realtor, Mrs. Mazzei, the mad, sweet old creature, took a real shine to me, and helped me find a fix-it guy who came and made all my electrical sockets work, for five E. When I said I couldn't do without a freezer, she gave me one she had in her garage. She helped me with legal paperwork to get registered as a legal "guest" at the cop shop, and helped me get connected to the gas and electric and phone and whatnot, and introduced me to all kinds of helpful people. After I moved in and was settled, I made sure to bring her a bottle of something nice once in a while. She retired after year two in this place, but still greets me very warmly. I will miss her and am often at a loss without her when I'm trying to get things done.

Sandro has offered to help me get the paperwork done for a Rezidenza, which means that I would go from being a settled visitor to an actual immigrant, legally and whatnot. I'd have to start paying Italian taxes, but it would mean all kinds of useful official status (including no more annual fees for the health coverage, which is kind of important for me). He also said he knows a place that sells refurbished furnishings and appliances (doubtless his cousin or brother-in-law). This really is the way you have to do things here, and it really does help.

This weekend is the Traddie pilgrimage in thanksgiving for Summorum Pontificum, when Cardinals Pell, Burke and Brandmuller will be saying Masses for the Traddies, and then we all get on a bus and go up to Norcia for a talk from Fr. Cassian.

I told Sandro I'd drop by the office and sign things and give him the rents and deposits. I'm going to ask him if he knows a guy who can get me a gun and a hunting license: it's wild boar hunting season.

Oooo! It's really going to happen! Eeee! I'm excited!

This is the Abbey of San Eutizio, one of the ancient monastic foundations of the Valnerina. Just up the road in Preci.


Monday, October 20, 2014

How to think in three easy lessons

Now my expression, "people who don't know what the jiggety they're talking about" will become famous!

Why is it just nonsensical to say that "doctrine" and "pastoral care" are opposed? Because they are both about the same truth, the Truth, in fact.

Saying "The truth is true" sounds like it shouldn't need saying, but in the last two weeks, we have seen it denied either explicitly or implicitly by many, many people who are supposed to know better.
But what does "nonsensical" mean, really?

"Aristotle wrote: “there cannot be an intermediate between contradictories…This is clear, in the first place, if we define what the true and the false are. To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true; so that he who says of anything that it is, or that it is not, will say either what is true or what is false.”

My first post at Steve Skojec's project 1Peter5

Also, I looked things up to write it, even in a BOOK! So it's a really good one.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.'

Robert Hugh Benson died exactly 100 years ago today.

It's funny, because during the first week of the Synod, I just happened to be re-reading LotW and we were sweltering in some of the most miserable weather I've yet to experience in Italy in October, which is usually our month of relief from the Summer's Awful.

It was (and remains) unseasonably hot, incredibly dense, thick and humid, the kind of weather that makes showering redundant and in which one feels disinclined to breathe too deeply for fear of choking on the water. The air clings to you in a way that makes you wake up from suffocating dreams of being wrapped in a honey-dipped velvet blanket.

Towards the end of the book, when the final confrontation of the Antichrist was coming, Benson wrote of the horrifically and freakishly hot weather that was oppressing everyone and that in the end culminated in a colossal black lightning-riven cloud over half the world...

And then...


Dr. Shaw asks, "Where do we go from here?"

Cue catchy Buffy song which will now play relentlessly in my head until at least bed time.

What we have seen this fortnight is, nevertheless, quite scary. We have witnessed the operation, exposure, and defeat, of a ruthless attempt to manipulate the synod and, through the synod, the whole Church. There is no reason to imagine the threat this represented is going to go away.