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Michaelmas Celebrations

Saturday, September 29, 2012
Today is the Feast of Saint Michael and the fourth anniversary of Benedict Ambrose being received into the Church! It is thus also close to the fourth anniversary of when I first arrived in Scotland.

We are soon going to Mass in the city, but first I will post up photos of the Historical House. So that you don't splatter coffee all over your screens, you should remember that we live in the attic. It is a nice attic, but it is not Downton Abbey.

(Update [Sunday]: Photos removed. I honestly had no idea people would be able to find out my address on the internet just from me putting up the photos! Guess how I feel now. I mean, we have a state of the art security system, but's my home. Live and learn. Thanks to the reader who let me know.)

Update: We have returned from the city! Highlights include one baptism according to the Old Rite, one Mass in celebration of the Feast of Saint Michael according to the Old Rite and one boozy lunch with B.A. in a small French restaurant

B.A.: Daring, your mantilla is stuck to the bottom of your shoe.

Seraphic (boozily): Och! So it is!

I have been pondering Charming Disarray's thoughts on the dark side of Traddyism (which I call Tridism, myself), and it makes me think some boys have Lost the Plot, although all the Trid boys I have met in Edinburgh, Rome, and South Bend are marvellous. I will have a think and maybe come up on a subject of what to do about carnaptious or merely froward Trids/Trads.

Dear American Readers who watch TV...

Friday, September 28, 2012
... please explain "Toddlers and Tiara" and, especially, Honey Boo Boo Child.

My dad's from Chicago. I used to vacation in Rolling Prairie, Indiana. You can tell me. It is safe. I will not sneer or be judgmental. I think girls and women who can rock whatever pudge they happen to bear are enviable, and if that is how confident women in small towns south of the Mason-Dixon line are, that's cool.

I just want to understand.

Seraphic Service

The whole point to adult Christian life is service. Really. If you are a Christian adult, and you are not serving anyone, then what on earth are you doing? And how can you be happy?

I was talking to my pal Andrew yesterday, and he mentioned that although one would think that service would feel like a downer, it really feels like a great privilege.

I think it is that feeling that tells you you are in the right form of service! It has to be a free gift, so if you are already in a service profession, I guess it might be when you go the extra mile, or perhaps when someone great thanks you with real gratitude for what you do.

Sometimes, of course, you are not really in a position to serve in active ways, like elderly and infirm Jesuits who give up their last professional duties with a sigh and say that now their service is to pray for the Society. But doubling your prayers because you no longer have another service to gives is service too.


Wrangler Views

Thursday, September 27, 2012
I know that many of you don't spend a lot of time on Wrangler because it is our beginner trail.  That side of the mountain has some cool views.  Take a tour over there when you get a chance.  You won't be disappointed.

Three Trees Bindery

We've all seen the traditional guest books and albums at weddings - the delicate ivory color, the padded covers, the gold pens. It can get a little predictable, which is why we absolutely love this twist on a classic guest book or photo album by Three Trees Bindery!

Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, designer Michelle Skiba creates unique guest books, photo albums and blank journals, and offers her creations in her Etsy shop, Three Trees Bindery. A small bookbinding studio specializing in wood covered books, albums and journals, Three Trees Bindery creates heirloom quality memory books that can be customized for your wedding or special event.

Using wood and other natural materials each book is hand-bound with high quality papers, Irish linen thread and exposed stitching. The wooden covers are crafted from cuts of black walnut, mahogany, cherry, maple and birch bark. The books can be personalized for your special occasion with engraving, monograms, carving or with names and a date, hand stamped on a silver, brass or copper plate. Elegant and full of character, these books are made to last a lifetime.

Just take a look at the images below and you'll see why we adore these extraordinary bindings!

Images courtesy of Three Trees Bindery. 


Mustard Seed brought up an interesting question about why if men want to talk and talk and talk and let the date go on forever, women should call it a night instead.

And this inspires yet another post in which I compare men to puppies, which might not sound flattering, but I like puppies. Men are good; puppies are good. They both can be really cute, and they bark at scary people and might rescue you if there's a fire. They vie for the title "Woman's Best Friend." Nobody write a snippy little post about how I'm obviously bitter and hate men. Au contraire.

Some puppies, I am told, do not know when to stop eating. They just don't know. You have to dole out the proper amount of food and hide the big bag of dog food, because if you just leave the open bag they will eat and eat and eat until they throw up and then they will eat and eat and eat again.

I think many young men are like this when it comes to early dates or the heady early days of a relationship. Such a young man is having such a good time on a date that he wants it to go on for hours and hours and hours. Or he is so enamoured of a woman, that he wants to see her all the time.

And then, not always but often, strangely and bizarrely, unless you remember my poor bulemic puppies, he feels bored and empty. He's lost that loving feeling. He thinks that that was nice, if ultimately not what he was looking for, and it's time to move on. He might even be surprised and annoyed that you don't see the wisdom in that. After all, you had a good time, didn't you? Why ruin the memories with this tearful scene? Aw, don't be like that.

Many of us Catholic women have sat through chastity lectures where impassioned speakers, their foreheads wrinkled with moral seriousness, tell us that we have to be STRONG for men's sakes, because in some aspects of life we are STRONG whereas men are WEAK.

Many of us swallow this line although others sit there thinking, "Uh-huh, it's a good thing you can't see what's going through my mind half the day, honey." Some of you, I know, have felt outraged because this "Women are strong, men are weak" philosophy seems to give Catholic boys a free pass to behave like barbarians while Catholic girls have to act like the world's snottiest doorkeepers, or else we're trollops and hussies.

So I'm not saying that. What I am saying is that young women are emotionally smarter than young men, and you know not only how you feel now, but how you will feel tomorrow if X, Y or Z happens, and a lot of young men simply don't. They don't know that if they get as much as they want today, they will feel disappointed and bored tomorrow.

And this is why, even if you and Mr Date are both having a great time on your date, you must end the date when you thought the date would end, and not agree to go somewhere else afterwards. And why you should not live in Mr Date's pocket in the first heady weeks of your relationship. Spending all that time with him, will make you--the woman--feel attached and will risk making him--the not-woman--feel satiated and bored.

Women and men are different. To honour men is to honour their differences and to honour yourself is to be rooted in reality.

And yes, it is hard to be that disciplined. It is hard to get up early on a cold morning to go to the gym, but lots of you do that day after day, and frankly, I don't see why it has to be that much of a difference.

Our New Shiny Sponsor Niki Bridal Hair and Make Up in Marbella

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
We are delighted to give a warm welcome to our new shiny sponsor, International Make Up Artist, Niki Lawrence.
Niki currently divides her time between the UK and here in the South of Spain specialising in make up, hair and nails for bridal, editorial, fashion, catwalk, commercial and advertising.
Niki trained at the prestigious London College of Fashion graduating with a BA (hons) degree in hair and make up for the performing arts in 2002.
Since graduating, Niki has worked directly with some of the biggest names in the beauty industry including MAC as a pro artist and resident trainer, Laura Mercier and Daniel Sandler.

Niki has also assisted highly respected fashion make up artists including Val Garland and Sharon Dowsett.


With over 10 years full time experience working as a make up artist, Niki has worked backstage on a host of shows at London and Milan fashion week, regularly works on photographic shoots in the UK and across the globe and is also a regular hair and make up artist for top UK publications including Glamour, Zest and Hello!


Niki offers a bespoke service to suit your individual style including make up lessons, make up master classes, bridal make up, special occasion make up, hair styling, manicures and pedicures. 
Working with top make up brands including MAC, Chanel, Benefit, Laura Mercier, Georgio Armani, Daniel Sandler, Dermalogica, Paul Mitchell and Aveda you can be assured you are going to look fabulous!
Niki's style and approach to individual clients is always professional, calm, personal and ultimately creative and artistic.
I have witnessed this first hand as Niki was one of our clients this year and I was very impressed with her whole wedding party´s make up, it was beautifully done and lasted through the heat and tears of joy :)
Niki is now on our recommended suppliers list and is currently taking bookings for 2013 and is offering an exclusive complimentary manicure with all trials booked before June 2013.
Whilst we have included some lovely photos of Niki´s gorgeous brides, if you wish to view Niki´s complete bridal portfolio head over to Niki´s Marbella Make Up Website
Niki also has a Fashion and Beauty Website and if you would like to contact Niki to make an enquiry or ask any questions please email Niki at

White and Yellow

More snow last night.  The aspens look good.  A little more snow tonight and then a beautiful, sunny weekend.

Postcard from Rome

Dear Auntie Seraphic

We’ve had a lot of talk on the blog about just being friends with other women, moving to new cities, going places and participating in events with others, and it occurs to me that it might be nice to have an informal get-together, a “meet-up” if you will, of seraphic singles in Rome.

I know very few people here, and I’m sure there must be others who read your blog who live in the eternal city. Do you think it would be possible to post my suggestion? I thought of your blog because you mentioned that two readers met in real life through it, and I’d love to meet some fellow readers. (Women, obviously.) It seems like many of us have common interests. Of course, if you wanted to visit Rome, I am sure that that would spark a gathering as well! Rather than my personal email, I’ve started a new account for this purpose that I don’t mind being tossed about the internet:


Well, girls? Anyone in Rome want to meet up with MaryJane? She's studying there, and I know firsthand how absolutely miserable it can be to move to a new city where you don't know many people. And, really, it is very, very difficult to be a Single woman, and a Single graduate student, when you don't have anyone to talk to on a regular basis.

Couple More Hours of Winter

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Today we had another couple hours of winter weather.  I had my first winter driving on Loveland Pass this afternoon.  It was snowing heavily and the roads were wet with just a teeny bit of slush.  A-Basin's Lift Operations Supervisor, David Lee Roth, was at the top of Zuma Lift during the storm and took these photos.  Right now the sun is out and the snowline is just above the base area.

tuesday shoesday

The ca-utest Tuesday Shoesday to hit the blog from the wedding of Dominique & Matt this past weekend at the Peabody! Going to miss this Bride like crazy!

The Pleasure of Your Company

As you know, I get a lot of Auntie Seraphic emails. And I think I must get some of the best-written emails out there because they are usually so crystal clear. They have an excellent narrative structure, dialogue, and lots of detail. I read along quite easily, and my mind says, "Uh huh, uh huh. Mm hmm. Good. Uh huh. Yes. Oh, wait. OH NO!!!!"

Sadly, there is all too often the great train wreck moment, which is all too easy to recognize because of the train wrecks of my own life of dating, which began when I was fourteen. Incidentally, I would never, ever, ever allow my daughter (if I had one) to begin dating at fourteen. My mother decided I could because she had been invited by an upperclassman to the prom when she was fourteen. In 1962 or whatever. Definitely before the world went to hell. Me, I would be like, "Darling, there is no point in you dating until you are of marriageable age. And if you have trouble finding anyone, your daddy will introduce you to historical house loving viscounts of clean life."

I would be the most awesome mother of the 2030s.

Anyway, I won't put the most recent email up yet. Instead I will harp on a theme inspired by its train wreck, which is "Never sound too grateful to have been taken out on a date."

Imagine a purely hypothetical reader--not the writer of this email I am thinking of--who is, say, 22, and hasn't dated all that much. Many of her friends--it feels like most or all--back at her super-religious college got married to their college sweethearts shortly after graduation, leaving her feeling like chopped liver. She is a pretty, intelligent, loyal, chatty, fun girl, so she doesn't know why she doesn't get asked out on dates. (Hands up all who identify with this hypothetical reader.)

However, then something great happens. She gets asked out on a date by an NCB. She isn't sure how she feels about this guy, but he's accomplished, good-looking, has a good character, goes to Mass. So she goes on the date, and it is a great date. They talk and talk and talk. And--huzzah!--they go out on a second date. And they talk and talk and talk and after dinner and the film, the guy still wants to talk, so instead of taking her home, he invites her out for drinks, and they talk and talk some more. And when he finally takes her home, your hypothetical fellow reader gushes, "You know, I never dreamed ever in my life that someone could be so nice to me."

No third date.

"What happened?" wails the hypothetical reader.

"What happened?" wailed my real reader, of her situation.

"What happened?" I wailed several times, of various of my own situations.

All over the world, resounding through the ages, are the voices of young women wailing "What happened?"

I'll tell you what happened. First, there was too much talking. Second, the dates went on too long. Third, the hypothetical reader sounded pathetically grateful, as if she had been lifted out of the gutter, hair matted, wounds festering, flies buzzing about, and bathed clean by Mother Teresa so that she could die in comfort.

That is no way to talk to men, m'kay? Men are horrible savages who are lucky that women pay them any attention at all.

No, I take that back. I love men. Men are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life. But a man who is completely deprived of female company is not the self-sufficient hero of individualism he might pretend to be. He is greatly to be pitied. If there is no-one around to pity a man who cannot get as much as a kind word or a hug from a woman, he pities himself. He is tempted to write bitter misogynist screeds on the manosphere and, worst case scenario, starts plotting to shoot women at his health club.

In short, if a man asks you out for dinner, or to a film, you are doing him a favour by going. He is paying you a compliment, and you are bestowing the pleasure of your company upon him. For up to two hours (maybe three), he has a woman's undivided attention, or at least her presence as you watch a film, play or lecture together. This is a big deal in Man Land, especially among men who can't ask women out, for a variety of reasons, or who have been refused time and time again.

However, this does not mean that men are itching to have big heart-to-heart, three-hour-long chats once a week with the same woman for the rest of their lives. That's what good female friends itch for. And, despite first and even second date evidence to the contrary, men get very bored by hours and hours of chat. It's like they have a limited number of words they can say and (especially) hear, and if you let them use them all up on the first two dates, there will be none left for a third date.

The solution to this problem is to keep early dates short. SHORT. Coffee date = one hour, and then you must dash. Dinner date = two hours max and then you must dash. Dinner and film date = no drink afterwards although you'd love to, but you really must dash.

Another wise thing to do is to keep a lid on your most private and personal feelings and memories. The idea, as in all entertainment, is to keep them wanting more. If Mr Date finds out enough about you on Date 1 to (wrongly, of course) thinks he has you figured out, he might not be curious enough to ask you out on Date 2.

And, for heaven's sake, you must not look or sound pathetically grateful to a man for asking you out because if you do, he will start to wonder if there is something wrong with you. Men look to each other for cues as to how to treat women, so if you give a man the impression that normal behaviour for men is to ignore you, then don't be surprised if he drops you like a hot potato.

This is not an invitation to go to the other extreme and act like a "princess." (Real princesses, by the way, are trained from birth to make other people feel special and happy in their presence.) This is just a reminder that as a woman you are more important to men then they generally want to admit, for fear of looking vulnerable or stupid or whatever, and it is perfectly natural for them to ask you out, if they do. It is a nice compliment to you as a woman, and you are paying them a compliment just by saying yes.

At the same time, you value yourself and your time as so valuable, that you have only so much to bestow upon any man not your kinsman or husband. Your most private thoughts, feelings and stories are for yourself alone, or to share with proven friends, because they are so valuable and you would like others to know you hold them valuable. Capisce?

Take it away, Stevie.

Another Dusting

Monday, September 24, 2012
We have had another nice dusting of snow this morning.  The next few days look kind of wet and cool although not cold enough for snowmaking.  I am fully expecting an inch or two in the base area tomorrow.  Each of these fall storms gets us a few steps closer to .........................

Fritts Rosenow Bespoke Boutonnieres

We are loving these fun, unique and completely original boutonnieres from Fritts Rosenow and just had to share them!

Fritts Rosenow is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Tim Fritts and Erin Rosenow. "I was a florist for many years before these boutonnieres came into our lives," explains Erin.  It started with a croquet themed wedding in 2009, when Erin and Tim decided to make mini croquet mallets for the boys lapels. From there everything went "mini". 

Playing on the interest of the groom, or the groom and his groomsmen, Fritts Rosenow customizes boutonnieres based on those hobbies and interests, giving the groom more personality with his tuxedo or suit. Since the inception, Erin and Tim have created some of the craziest, most awesome boutonnieres you could imagine! They offer almost anything you can dream up, such as personalized pet silhouettes, sailboats, art pieces, guitars and custom states, "which I adore!!", says Erin.

Fritts Rosenow are preparing to unveil a new website where you can order directly from the couple, which will make life a lot easier for their fans. "I think people really like the idea of a hobby being transformed into something they can wear proudly on their special day," offers Erin.

Prices range from $25-65 for pre-made boutonnieres and custom work between $40-75, depending on the project.

Images courtesy of Fritts Rosenow.

Auntie Seraphic & the Blog Requester

Dear Auntie Seraphic!

I would like to say first that I've been reading the blog for a while, and I truly appreciate the wit, humor, and kindness you dispense on a daily basis. Having said that, while I think I am called to marriage at some point in time, that time is almost certainly not now, and I need to not focus on it quite so much. To me, this means, well, not reading quite so many relationship-oriented blogs. As fun as it is to live vicariously through the romantic misadventures of others, it seems a little, em, unbalanced when my primary internet activity is romantic in focus. As I was considering this, I realized with dismay that I really had no idea where to look for good blogs that were non-romantic. (I am convinced that obsessing about romance shrivels you. SHRIVELS.)

This is all to ask: could you possibly ask your readers where they go for online unromantic fun? They all seem like wonderfully interesting people, and I'm sure they must follow some fascinating blogs/sites/SOMETHING/ect. If not, I understand, and I appreciate your patience.

Blog Requester


Well, girls? What cool, non-relationshippy blogs do you read? Please add links!

Pika Place - New Conveyor Lift

Sunday, September 23, 2012
We actually do have a pretty cool project going on in the base area. We are installing another conveyor lift, Pika Place. It will be Southeast of the bottom of Black Mountain Express. The lift will be fairly short with a very, very gentle slope. The site, within our teaching area, is specifically designed for teaching very small children. Over the last decade, you probably noticed the increase in youngsters skiing and riding at The Basin. Many people have discovered just how "kid friendly" A-Basin really is. For the little guys, this lift should speed the teaching progression and increase the fun factor.

The conveyor itself has already been delivery by Magic Carpet Ski Lifts. We are expecting delivery of pre-cast concrete foundations in the next week or so. Installation will likely occur during the first half of October.

Angry in Public is Rarely Good

Friday, September 21, 2012
Another sunny day in Edinburgh--how nice! The sky is blue, there are no clouds, I am full of coffee, there's a party tonight. All is well in Seraphic Land.

I was saying to my neighbour yesterday that when I was in my late twenties I was very thin and high-earning, but I was miserable and angry, whereas now I am in my extended late thirties and plump and make very little, but I am happy. Young + thin does not = happy, and 39+ + plump does not = miserable.

I admit that this happiness has something to do with B.A. and the vastly interesting life he was having in Edinburgh and offered to little me. (Actually, the amount of plump does too. The very air has calories.) But I don't think he would have offered it if I hadn't striven very hard to be as happy as possible in my Single years. I don't think B.A. likes angry people because, come to think of it, we don't know any. At least, we don't socialize with any.

Oh, except me. Because I often get angry, usually at myself, most recently for leaving a plastic spoon to melt on one of the stove elements. But I also harbour grievances towards other people and institutions for this or that, and need to remember not to dwell on them. Particularly in social life.

Righteous indignation is rather delicious, like a martini, and has the same intoxicating effect, but too much of it becomes addictive and takes its toll on your personality and looks. It does add excitement to things like columns in newspapers, so occasionally I trot it out, like here, for example.

Personal unhappiness, though, is an even more dangerous drug, and if you wish to share your personal unhappiness with others, it is very hard to get the tone right.

Can you imagine if I had a "How come everyone has a baby except me?" blog? Shudder, shudder, shudder. Who but ghouls and Dementors would want to read it? I can't even read the fertility message boards; the grief, desperation and icky details seem to leak from the screen and fill the room with a dank fog.

But there is a good tone for expressing unhappiness and frustration and disappointment and all, and I think there is room for that on the internet rather than at parties and dinners and after Mass tea. The internet is still public, though, although you wouldn't know it from the frightening way people express themselves in other comboxes. Yikes.

Recently I defended the Duchess of Cambridge in a combox attached to the online Telegraph, and I was amazed at how people addressed me. I was tempted to reply that I thought the Telegraph was for thoughtful, educated people, but I did not want to demean myself.

By the way, I am always delighted when you tell me how much you enjoy the usually gentle tone of the combox. Once upon a time I felt bad about erasing and blocking comments, but I soon got over that. I think of my blog as if it were a magazine, and of myself as its editor, particularly its letters editor!

Update: Absolutely awesome metaphor for today's theme. "I'm a pirate!" Wah ha ha!

New Sewer Line

Thursday, September 20, 2012
I wish I could tell you we have this amazingly cool new project going on at the ski area.  The reality is that we are replacing a fairly big chunk of sewer line.  Not the sexiest or funnest job you could imagine.  There are times up here we get to ski the best snow, hike the best trail, attend the funnest dinner, etc. etc. etc. and there are times we have to put in a new sewer line.  I guess you take the good with the bad.  At least it is really expensive.  Despite that, another beautiful fall day here.  I savor days like this.  Take care.

Sneak Preview: Fall 2012 Issue Cover

We're so excited to share the beautiful cover of our new Fall 2012 issue!! The entire issue is amazing and we can't wait for you to see more! Look for the Fall 2012 issue on newsstands and in the hands of stylish brides everywhere October through December! You can also order a copy online after October 1st on our website at or via

Visit the Weddings Unveiled Website
Follow Weddings Unveiled on Twitter
Follow the Weddings Unveiled Blog on Twitter
Find Weddings Unveiled on Facebook

Styling and photography: Brooke Thomas. Photographed on location at the DeKalb History Center in Decatur, GA. Hair and makeup: Samantha A. Smith. Fashion assistant: Anne Marie Ashley. Cafe taffeta ballgown with pearl and crystal encrusted bodice by Naeem Khan, $7,990. Crystal Cluster Crescent Earrings, $170 by Ben-Amun.

Anna Karenina

Update: If you don't know the story already, there are plot spoilers ahead.

Yesterday I went with three Single girlfriends to see the new Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley, on the big screen.

I am so glad I did not see Anna Karenina with any male friend. So glad. Soooooooo glaaaad! I would have died of embarrassment forty-five times, each death more painful than the last.

I have not read the book, so all my remarks are confined to what Tom Stoppard left of it for this film which, I should say, was a fantastic adaptation. It was deliciously classic--the clothes!---and sharply contemporary and original at the same time. It was enthralling and devastating. My writer-painter buddy and looked at each other afterwards in the Ladies' with dazed, stricken eyes.

"If that doesn't teach us to be good, nothing will," I said.

And looking just at the film, I say that it is a film about marriage and married people. So it can be embarrassing for a married woman to watch with Single friends, rather in the way it is embarrassing to watch Sex and the City with innocent 19 year olds. This may be because married women can see Anna Karenina from the inside, so to speak, and know what the problems with the Karenin marriage were, and know why Anna would behave so stupidly, and also--shock, horror--why society had to ostracize Anna.

Somewhere or other online I came across one of you freaking out because someone suggested that married people know more about marriage than Single people, but this is in fact true, in the same way that an Olympian knows more about the Olympics than you do, even if your parents were Olympians and you watch them every four years. It is a big, life-changing, psychologically serious deal, quite apart from whether you love your spouse or not.

Love does not make your husband your husband. What makes your husband your husband is two acts (yours and his) of free will, a public declaration and the recognition of society that your husband is your husband. It is more than a personal, private arrangement, and this is not me saying what I think marriage should be, but what marriage actually is. So when Anna tells Karenin, her husband, that "Vronsky is my husband now", she is simply not rooted in reality.

It is really such a devastating story because [in the film] none of the principal characters are wicked or even that annoying. Karenin is a very good, very dignified man. Anna is a loving mother who wants to be good, but after her fatal decision, discovers that she increasingly can't be. (Her passions slip more and more out of her control, as the film brilliantly depicts.) Vronsky, to my great surprise, actually loves Anna. Anna's philandering brother is funny and full of life.

If there is a baddie, it is Vronksy's mother, who thinks it a delightful thing to have affairs as long as they aren't too obvious or taken too seriously. How angry she is when her son takes his affair with Anna seriously. Hypocrisy may be the tribute vice pays to virtue, but virtue is infinitely superior.

Hypocrisy, though, is better than total social meltdown, and that is what Anna seems to want. Anna doesn't just want to love Vronsky; she wants to rub everyone's nose in it. (Everyone's, that is, except her son's.) Anna thinks making plain her passionate love is more important than her husband's peace, her husband's standing in the community, the feelings of her community--which, incidentally, accords her infinitely more privilege than it does, say, the serfs, and her relationship with God.

"I'm damned anyway," says Anna, and yet is wounded when people treat her like the damned. After all, who is she hurting? Oh, yes. Her husband. To a certain extent her son. The feelings of her society. And you.

I don't want to chuck stones at Anna. She married at 18 to someone she didn't love but presumably found impressive, as Minister Karenin is quite obviously impressive, and must have been a terribly good catch. It is unlikely either Anna or her husband had any idea of the importance of eros in the married life when they entered into it, or Anna would not have had her head turned by Vronsky. So I feel awfully bad for Anna.

But I think you can draw a straight line from Anna's behaviour to current Western society, where my readers note that Yes, we now can vote now, yes, we now are equal to men in law, but we now wonder if we can get married if we don't put out first. Sex is no longer for marriage, but something to be indulged for its own sake, either in the throes of romantic passion, or for fun.

And if we don't go along with this, if we want to be as virtuous and cherished as Ekaterina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya (Kitty), we are thought of as anti-sex and mean or crazy. Outside conservative religious circles, there no longer seems to be a distinction, sexually speaking, between wife-material (like Kitty) and escaped brothel-workers (like Masha).

All those women being nasty to Anna in the film were trying to keep the social order at a time when even aristocratic women had very few rights at all. If married women felt it okay to leave their husbands and children, and run about Russia openly with their lovers, and respectable people opened their doors to them (thereby siding with them against the innocent husband) where would it end?

Unfortunately, I think we have all experienced where it has ended--for the moment. I don't think we have yet hit bottom, although Western civilization--inextricably dependent upon keeping the passions under the guidance of reason--seems ever closer to throwing itself under a train.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I grew up talking first and thinking later, so it took me a long time to discover that although I often regretted saying things, I never regretted keeping my mouth shut.

I am not talking about theological and political beliefs here. One of my few treasured memories of my PhD years is my mad rant about sin. It was awesome. Someone in a seminar class--we were all seated around a table--asserted that Catholicism was too obsessed with sin. There must have been some right-on murmurs of assent because I totally lost it and said the problem was not an obsession with real sin but an obsession with demonizing things that weren't really sins, like eating meat, smoking and voting for the Republican Party.

Was there a shudder of horror before my hearers realized I could not, as a Canadian, myself vote for the Republican Party? I cannot tell you, peeps, as I was a theology student on the edge of a nervous breakdown. But I can tell you that today--writing from my bed under the eaves of a Georgian mansion in Scotland--I cherish every moment I was a total pain in the posterior of the powers and potentialities that control American academic theology. Heretics. Where was I?

Oh, yes, keeping my mouth shut.

Right. The stuff I do my best to keep my mouth shut about, since I realized I never regret keeping my mouth shut*, is super-personal stuff.

I am reminded of the poor Duchess of Cambridge, so much in the news this week for having taken off her bikini top when she thought she was completely alone with her husband on the balcony of a French chateau owned by her husband's cousin. She thought she was completely out of view of any other person but her husband, and indeed she would have been, had not a third person been looking through a telephoto lens from a kilometre away.

What happened to the Duchess of Cambridge was a complete violation of privacy, and I am horrified not just as a woman but as a married woman because what happened to the Duchess of Cambridge was also a violation of a private moment with her husband. Indeed, the French magazine responsible for publishing the photos emphasized the marriage aspect in its drooling caption. There she was, feeling safe and happy, all alone with her husband, enjoying the sun, her proximity to him and an aspect of married sexuality. And some time later, while visiting a Muslim-majority country, BAM! The revelation that someone had been watching them, and now the whole world could see that too.

The photographer is disgusting. The editors of the French, IRISH (!!!) and Italian magazines running the photos are disgusting. Whoever ogled those photos is disgusting. The photographer should go to jail, the editors fired and the oglers screamed at by their mothers. But the damage to the Duchess of Cambridge's dignity has been done all the same, and if I were her, I would be wailing, "Oh, if only I hadn't taken my top off!"

(I realize, while I write this, that you people write me personal stuff. If it is super-personal, I wipe it from my email, and no matter what I always do my best to forget who told me what, which is not difficult, given the number of emails I've had.)

As I have said many times before, there is no law that you have to tell people your business, either to "keep it real" or to prove that you are a friendly person. You might chose to reveal something private to a suffering person, if you can rely on their discretion and you are sure it would help--and not oppress--them.

But if its a situation of desperately needing to share, do consider if this is because you are having cocktails with the girls or because you feel like you are going crazy. If it is the first situation, suppress the urge with the same discipline you employ to suppress the urge to eat another doughnut. If it is the second, pick your confidante wisely.

*I did regret keeping my mouth shut when I sat through three writers' club meetings without saying something about the nasty anti-Catholic stuff. But I don't regret it now because A) I discussed the problem with the organizer and B) I only yesterday hit on the exact wording for what should have been said.

It wasn't that I was offended--because as a freedom of speech advocate I shouldn't be using "I'm offended" as an argument--it was that anyone who wants to talk or write about Catholic should actually know something real about Catholics, otherwise they aren't being the thinkers and writers they could be. It took me two weeks to figure out the most charitable response, and so now I don't regret keeping my mouth shut.

Update: I would like to stress that this is advice for women. I have been reading up on suicide (Lithuania is number one) and it would appear that one reason why so many men (compared to women) commit suicide is that they have trouble confiding their emotions in anybody. Hmm.

Beautiful Morning

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Beautiful, crisp morning today.  The forecast for the next week looks like spectacular fall weather.  Most of yesterday's snow is gone.  This week we should be seeing highs in the 50's and lows just touching freezing.  While not quite cool enough for snowmaking, it is an extraordinary time to be in the mountains.  I am not sure if it is just me, but the aspens this fall are especially bright and yellow. 

tuesday shoesday

I have been waiting months for this Tuesday Shoesday.
These are fabulous Christian Louboutin from our
wedding of Nicole <3 Lukas, 9-15-12, this Saturday in NYC.

Friendships with Reserve

Men and women can be friends, but men can't be women friends and women can't be men friends. Let us be clear on this.

I have had some interesting correspondence about the following situations:

1. The man has a crush on a girl. He tells another girl all about it. He gets over his crush on the first girl. He develops a crush on the second girl. The second girl doesn't take him at all seriously.

2. The girl has a crush on a man. She tells another man all about it. She gets over her crush on the first man. She develops a crush on the second man. The second man doesn't seem to be interested anymore.

We could chalk this up as a tragedy of bad timing, or we could posit that there is something unwise in telling members-of-the-opposite-sex friends about our crushes.

If there is one thing I have learned about men, it is that they are not girls. And if they are attracted to girls, they do not appreciate being treated as if they were girls. Sometimes they resist this quite vigorously. But sometimes they do not because, being attracted to girls, they will cut girls a lot of slack. But, in general, they don't like being made to feel like the palace eunuch. Their semi-conscious resentment could be expressed in the parlance of the neighbourhood of my youth as "What am I? Chopped liver?"

Male friends who identify as gay do not seem to mind as much, but even then you really must understand that they are not "just some of the girls" even if they say they are. They are men, with male sexuality, and whereas their advice might be have an internal logic as far as men who identify as gay are concerned, it might make absolutely no sense for women, particularly chaste ones. Whenever men who identify as gay give me or tell me about relationship advice they have given other women ("And I told her, Darrleeng, you should take a lover"), my hair stands on end.

I like my guy friends so much, I don't treat them as if they were girls who might enjoy talking about girl stuff, e.g. my feelings. Possibly I slip occasionally, and bore them senseless, for which I apologize.

There's a fine line between treating all nice young Single men as if they were just Husband Potentials/Impossibilities and treating them as if they were girls. I call it Friendship with Reserve. It's respectful, it's kind, and, if this applies to your state of life, it keeps the options open.


Monday, September 17, 2012
We are going to open........ SOON.

To make snow, we need a wet bulb temperature below 28 F for several hours.  Looking at the forecast right now, snowmaking still appears several days away.  You can be sure that we are watching the weather very closely these days.


It is always great to see that first good snow of the year.

And How Was Your Weekend?

I just met a deadline this morning, so I am not in a chatty mood. Also, I am a wee bit tired from last night's Sunday Lunch.

My church friends tend to have a Sunday Lunch almost every week, and yesterday it was B.A.'s and my turn. This meant a Saturday of meal planning, shopping, tidying the flat, cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen, taking out the recycling (always a chore as it goes way out past the woods), cooking, baking and mild argument.

Sunday morning included carrying two big tables from beyond the woods into the house and setting them up in the dining-room before going to Mass.

The results were, of course, very much worth the effort: drinks and then a sit-down traditional British Sunday Lunch for eleven people, of whom only B.A. and I were married people. Yes, we fed nine Single people (one of them ordained) yesterday, so think about us the next time you suspect all Married people drop their Single friends. Not true.

Meanwhile, we were certainly not setting any of them up together. Setting Single people up together at our parties would never occur to us B.A.; what an appalling idea. At least, what an appalling idea for a Sunday Lunch. Sunday Lunch is about being Catholic friends together without any love stuff to make us blush. Down with love stuff, that's what I say. At least at Sunday Lunch.

Now you. What did you do?

Too Picky?/Settling?

Saturday, September 15, 2012
There's a fine line between being "too picky" and "settling" and it is difficult to describe this fine line.

This chap tries to explain it here, in terms that make a married woman (i.e. me) blink.

Talking about the Single life is much different from talking about the Married life, because when a married person talks about the Married life, the reader cannot help but look past the writer to their silent spouse. This is one reason why I will never have a Seraphic Marrieds blog, peeps! B.A. is really laid-back and tolerant, but there is a limit.

I didn't identify with Quinn's piece because I did, in fact, marry my soulmate.* That is, I fell crazy-insane in love and gave up my Canadian life to live in this cold and rainy (and very beautiful) country with Mr. Perfect for Me.

And when I say Perfect for Me, I mean that. For example, we are both over a certain age, so we no longer possess the radiant beauty of YOUTH. And one night after spending a delightful evening with some radiantly beautiful youths, I came home and looked at unconscious, snoring B.A. and was so thankful that, on top of having the same religious outlook, and sharing a love of art and literature and old stuff and people, we are the same age. He does not look at me and think "Old person." He cannot but look at me and think "Normal."

Living with another person, one who is on other levels extremely different, being male and a Scot, can be challenging, so these moments of gratitude are very important.

But I am a woman and therefore as deep as the sea. As far as what motivates men to marry, if they decide that that way forward is to find a pretty girl who seems nice, make a commitment to her and stick to it, great. Whatever makes men marry instead of flollop around aimlessly or acting as though finding a wife is just like finding the ultimate sound system.

Of course, it is probably not a great idea for them to write arresting pieces describing how their wives are not their soulmates. It might hurt their wives' feelings or decrease their status in the eyes of their peers.

It strikes me as something only a young man would do. But then it would be very unfair if young men possessed both radiant beauty and the wisdom of age, too.

*I am not actually sure of the definition of soulmate. I don't believe that there is only one person in the world you could marry and if you don't find him, it's your fault. That's ridiculous. I think that God might have a person or people in mind for you, as part of His plan for you and for all of us together. It's His job to bring you together, and your job to be good.

Update: You may be thinking, "But what about Hauerwas? He's no spring chicken, and he said it too." And my answer to that is that Hauerwas said it generally, about the random thoughts of married people in general. He did not say "My wife is not perfect for me."

The problem with "I married the wrong person" is not that most married people do not occasionally think this. Of course we do, especially if we are in a very cranky or selfish or lustful mood. (And academia is packed with men who ditched the wives of their youth for their sparkiest, tastiest graduate students.)

It's that sometimes--sometimes--the married people are right. Then the question is if the marriage really is a marriage, in which case you just have to come to terms with it, or if it isn't, in which case you may seek to be released from the false bonds.

Haddon & Co.

Friday, September 14, 2012
We love the full-on adorableness of these bow ties from Haddon & Co. Created by husband and wife team Neal and Lauren Felker, Haddon & Co. neckwear is original and handcrafted for bitsy babies, little boys and big boys too.

In December 2011, Lauren and Neal had their first baby. "Months before, we began the search for cute and classy baby boy clothes. It was not easy. How many shirts can you have that say 'Chicks Dig Me'?' This led to us creating our own clothing and accessories for boys. We now create custom bow ties for special events and every day wear."

All of Haddon & Co. ties are made of high quality materials in an array of colors, patterns and designs. They also have super cute original design printed onesies, all available for purchase through their online store at Etsy. The toddler and baby onesie bow ties are the perfect solution for when your little mister needs to look dapper! They also take custom orders for anything special you may have in mind and there's an amazing variety of bow ties for boys and men. Some of our favorites are the polka dots, retro plaid flannel and seersucker!!

Images courtesy of Haddon & Co.