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Upper Sundance Opens Saturday

Friday, November 30, 2012
Upper Sundance will open tomorrow, Saturday.  Dorse just put the finishing tiller pass on it and I skied it.  It was very good.  Only the upper half of Sundance will be open and it will not be full width.  Since the upper half will feed back into High Noon, we are considering it a "blue, more difficult" trail.  There is still no "green, easiest" trail available from Black Mountain Express.  I think you will enjoy this nice terrain addition.

First thing this morning I went to The Summit.  The snow and grooming was quite good.  I don't think anyone can complain about what is open.  The skiing out there is good.  Like all of you, I am looking forward to the big snow so we can ski the whole mountain. 

God's Handwriting: History

It strikes me that reading God's handwriting in history is much harder than reading God's handwriting in your heart. It is also harder to write about because although one can write about the human experience of conscience generally, history is personal and particular to every single person as well as the general circumstances in which a nation and the the world lives. It doesn't help either than a lot of history is just not God-given. God did not stretch out His hand and prevent Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland, but He did not will it either.

How a good God can allow evil to happen is theologically called "The Problem of Evil" and I'm not going into it now because it would take a long time, and a lot of reading, and my right hand hurts today. What I'll do is talk about personal history and then illustrate the relationship of someone's personal history with the contemporary geo-political events with her life.

Everyone who is reading my blog has a personal history, and even if you are only nineteen, you can look back upon your life and look for both patterns and astonishing, unusual events that have led you to where you are now. You can find people whom you wished to be like, people whom you did not wish to be like, and people who recognized a talent in you for something and told you what it was. I suggest you hang onto the memories of good, blunt teachers who liked you and said things like "You'd make a good journalist" or "You'd thrive in law school" or even "I'll see your name in lights one day" because the Holy Spirit may have been speaking through them.

You might want to pay attention, too, to memories of what you wanted to do with your life when you were a child. Unless they are entirely ground down, children are remarkably uncomplicated about their desires and plans. If they want to marry their kindergarten teachers, they say so. At fourteen, we no longer have that kind of mental freedom. We glance uneasy at the people around us and wonder what they would say if they knew what we wanted and we wonder if we want is in keeping with our image of ourselves and blah, blah, blah.

When I started elementary school, my uncle gave me a little journal with my name embossed in gold. It has a page for every school year from Kindergarten to 8 and was highly organized. It includes pockets for report cards and favourite scraps of schoolwork. For the first few years it asks what the owner wants to be when she grows up. My first answers were "Mother" "Artist" and "Writer."

(Five years later, my uncle was dead. He had no wife and no children. But my oldest brother and I treasure his memory and his few letters to us. And with his gift, he started my lifelong diary and writing habit. He was the first Searching Single I ever knew and loved, and the spectre of his early death occasionally flogs my brother and I into taking batter care of ourselves, into getting up from the computer, and losing weight and eating better. Although my uncle could not have known this, his short life has had an important and lasting influence on his once-little niece and nephew.)

Now you may point out that it was all very well that when I was 4/5 I wanted to be a mother, but I am not a mother, so what was that all about? And indeed that is a good question, one I sometimes ask myself, because by the age of fourteen, I was very good at childcare and quite fond of babies and small children. However (like you) I grew up at a time when motherhood was denigrated in pop culture, and the idea of being a "just a housewife" was horrifying to me. I wanted to be my dad, not my mum, and what I wanted above all else was to learn, talk and write about stuff, to live the life of the mind around artists and intellectuals, in a way compatible with my Catholic faith.

And absolutely nobody told me that this would make getting married and having children much more difficult, or that my fertility might drop dramatically at 35, and actually I think I can see the hand of God in even this. For whatever reason, it would seem that God does not want me to be a physical mother but to be a spiritual mother. When you are over 40, have married twice, love children and young people, write a lot of relationship and spiritual advice to the next generation, and yet have never become pregnant, this seems a logical assumption to make. Yes, it's not over till it's over. But come on: I don't even have the will to chart. We are approaching miracle territory here. (And nobody say naprotechnology again or I will scream.)

Now as this has once again disintegrated into a story about lovely me, let me examine a concrete personal life lived in the wider history of the world. It is the life of a German Jewish girl named Edith who was born in 1891 in a city called Breslau. (It is now Wrocław, Poland.) Her family were observant Jews and her father was a businessman. However, Edith's mother was an even better businesswoman, and when Edith's father died, the mother greatly increased the family finances. From a young age, Edith saw that a head for business is not beyond the capabilities of womankind.

The German universities had recently decided that post-secondary education was also not beyond the capabilities of womankind, so Edith went to university and excelled in Philosophy. However, the universities had not yet decided that women could be professors of Philosophy, so that bit of history put a serious block in a formal university teaching career. However, it also led to Edith teaching in a girls' school, which led to her contemplating what it means to be a woman, and how women should be educated, and what we offer to the professions.

By then Edith had converted to Christianity, an event strongly resisted by her Jewish family and even resented by them because of growing German anti-Semitism. Her family's resistance--particularly her mother's disapproval--stopped Edith from doing what she dearly wanted to do: become a Carmelite nun like St. Teresa of Avila. (Part of Edith's personal history is that she came across St. Teresa's autobiography at a friend's house and it converted her to Christianity.)

Because Edith did not feel she could be a nun, she continued to teach, to write and to lecture. As a Catholic woman intellectual, she felt it necessary to counter the growing tendencies in German society to view German women as either just like men (taught by ordinary socialists) or as baby-machines and providers of home comforts for the Master Race (taught by the National Socialists).

The historic rise of the Nazis led to the end of Edith's career in education, as even Jews who had converted to Christianity were considered a pernicious influence. This led Edith to a crossroads. As she had no other career options, she could either go to America or enter a Carmelite monastery. Uppermost in her mind was how either decision would affect her mother. She decided that it would hurt her mother least if she went into the Carmelite convent in Cologne. When things got so bad for Jews in Germany it looked like Edith might be taken from the convent, she was sent to a Carmelite convent in Holland.

That proved not to be a safe place. Nazi Germany conquered Holland, and although it did not want to alienate the non-Jewish Dutch (who in the Nazi view were also Germanic and master-racey), they began to persecute the Dutch Jews. The Catholic bishops of Holland publicly denounced the Nazis for this. In retaliation, the Nazis rounded up Jewish-Catholic converts and their families, and sent the Jewish-Catholics without families, e.g. the priests, monks and nuns, to Auschwitz. There Edith and her sister Rosa died.

It is hard to see how the horrible death at Auschwitz of Edith Stein (Sister Teresa Benedetta of the Cross), the most important Catholic woman theologian of the 20th century, could be the will of God. However, Edith did not try very hard to escape this fate. In fact, in 1939 she prayed that her death would somehow be a help to her fellow Jews. Meanwhile, in the Dutch barracks where prisoners stayed before being released or sent to Auschwitz, Edith wore her habit and took care of the children whose mothers were too traumatized to do so. Witnesses wrote that the presence of the Jewish-Catholic convert priests, monks and nuns were of infinite comfort to the other Jewish-Catholic converts and their Catholic spouses. They publicly praised their bishops for speaking out.

The lives of saints are very important for us to see how God works even in the most horrible historical circumstances to lead us to our life work and the meaning of our life. Edith Stein was as important as she is for us women because, when she wasn't allowed to teach at a university, she put her energies into teaching girls and writing about women. This work led, though John Paul II, to the writing of Mulieris Dignitatem. When the Nazis ruled she couldn't teach or lecture, Edith Stein decided to stay in Germany so as to become a Carmelite nun and not move too far from her mother. Under obedience, she went to Holland when sent there. And as a Jewish-Catholic convert in Holland she died among other Jewish-Catholic converts in retaliation for the Dutch bishops' protest. At the time, she was a comfort and help to other Jewish-Catholics in danger of Auschwitz. Today she stands as a reminder to Catholics that Jews can be saints and to the world that A) Catholic bishops did indeed protest Nazi persecution of the Jews and B) that when they did, Catholics died for it.

Most of us cannot change the course of world history. Edith Stein could not. But we can see in history how the saints dealt with their own historical circumstances to carry out God's will. Personally, I find it immensely significant that Edith Stein stayed in Europe, a decision that led both to her life as a nun and her death at Auschwitz, because she thought her staying would be the decision least painful for the person she loved best on earth: her mother. That human love, that obedience to the commandment "Honour thy father and mother", led to sainthood.

God's Handwriting: Hearts

Thursday, November 29, 2012
An anonymous commentator (ladies, no anonymous comments!) asked a very good question about how you can learn to read God's handwriting on your hearts and histories. This is the kind of question you could ask your spiritual directors or your confessors, although as "God's handwriting" is my own turn of phrase, they might be a bit confused at first. Maybe the question should be (to non-readers of this blog): How do see in my own heart and life God's will for me?

I am not a spiritual director, but I do have an M.Div. and an STB and, gosh darn it, a diploma in Lonergan Studies, so I will do my best to elucidate what I mean by God's handwriting.

First of all, the image of God writing on our hearts is an old one, and I've heard it most often used of the reason why we know murder is wrong. We all seem to grow up knowing that murder is wrong, and when we try to flush our little brothers and sisters down the toilet or push them down the stairs, we lie about it when caught.

This suggests that God has written other things on our hearts, too, that seem completely natural to us, like deep down loving our parents (even when we are furious with them) or feeling protective towards children or not wanting to sleep with just anybody.

Now one big objection to trusting the inclinations of the human heart is the fact that the human heart can be very selfish and even deluded. And this is why Catholics (for example) talk about "the formation of the conscience." Our consciences are formed by our parents' moral teachings, our teachers' moral teachings, our priests' moral teachings, prayer and Scripture. They can also be formed by reading theology, the writings of great saints, and great literature. And, of course, they can be formed by meeting people who are as unlike us as possible, particularly when they are weak: the very young, the very old, the sick, the refugee, the lonely foreign student, the formerly-middle-class man in a food bank for the first time in his life.

Consciences can also, of course, be deformed. There are a lot of interests out there competing for your conscience. There are people who will try to convince you that things Christian doctrine says are wrong are right, and that things Christian doctrine says are right are wrong. This may very often have to do with their own not-so-private struggles.

For example, England's youngest-ever tran**exual was shown on telly last week, being interviewed for a beauty contest. When asked why he-now-legally-she wanted to compete, the tran**exual said, "I want to educate people." Not win a prize, or have a good time, or show off how feminine a male body can be, or jumpstart a modelling career, but to educate people, in the same sense 20th century communist regimes enjoyed re-educating people. Such education was not to make the lives of the re-educated better, but to forward the triumph of the educators' will.

So pick your conscience-formers wisely. Which reminds me, if you ever feel really enthusiastic about anything I say, run it past your priest, your therapist, your best pal or your favourite aunt. (Just do me a favour and quote me exactly!) Even though I'm a lot of fun, I am just a lady with a blog, you know? I have zero teaching authority. I could be wrong, and if it is about something that takes math skills, I probably am.

If you have a well-informed conscience, and you are sincerely following Christ, then I think you can trust your own most cherished desires as God-given, especially if you often pray, go to church, keep an eye on your conscience (it is a Jesuit practice to run through the day's decisions before going to sleep) and check in with a priest (through confession, for example) or spiritual director once in a while.

Tomorrow I will write about God's handwriting on our personal histories.

Wedding Trends for 2013 Gorgeous Paper Lanterns

Wednesday, November 28, 2012



Here at Reviva Weddings we are well known for our romantic, magical and twinkly settings for our fabulous Mediterranean weddings and parties.  If it twinkles we love it!
As one of the trendsetters here in Spain for creating sparkly, twinkly evenings, we are always looking for new ideas and beautiful products to create charming magical evenings once our gloriously hot sunshine disappears and the Mamma Mia style nights descend!
We are, therefore, delighted to be stocking these gorgeous hand cut paper lanterns in a Moroccan or Vintage floral design for our 2013 weddings. 
These lanterns are magical in the evening when lit and such beautiful decorations during the day suspended from trees or placed around key features such as walls, special tables and candy bars.
A range of colours and sizes can be ordered, even super cute tiny ones, perfect for adding a delightful favour box to your place settings.  We also offer beautifully hand cut circular menus to compliment these gorgeous paper lanterns.
If you would like to order these delightful paper lanterns for your wedding or party and would like more information please do contact us, we will also be stocking a range of these new lanterns in our shop here in Marbella.
Please do note these designs are copyrighted by our fabulous paper designer and cannot be reproduced.

Discernment Stuff

I wrote a long email to someone having a discernment drama today. I hope it works out for her, and in this case I mean I hope she falls in love with a man who is crazy about her, gets married in church and has a lot of little babies. At least two. I sincerely believe that most women who read my blog want to fall in love with a man who is crazy about them, get married in church and have a lot of little babies.

(The big challenge is to marry a man of whom you will be extremely fond years and years after the wedding, when he has gained twenty pounds, lost his hair and watches three hours of TV every night. This depends both on his character, and on yours. As the lovely Irish poem says of the difference between courtship and marriage, "The lover abandons us; the husband remains.")

Of course there are women who say, "No. This whole falling in love with a human man and having little babies routine is great for my friends and my sisters, but I want Something Else. I see young nuns with shining faces, and I want to ask them, What is it? What do you have? How can I get that?"

And there are still other woman who say, "No. The husband, the babies, I can't see it. Religious life, living with many other women in relative comfort and tranquility... I can't see that either. I don't want comfort. I don't want tranquility. As long as the least of my brothers and sisters is suffering hunger and want and loneliness and fear of violence, I want to share it with them. I want to give my life to L' Medicins Sans the Royal Canadian Armed the Catholic Worker Opus Dei..."

And there are even women who say, "I cannot read my own heart. I cannot read my own history. I can't see God's handwriting on either, and so I do not know what or whom I love or what I should do with my life. All I can think to do is wait and pray."

These are all human, good, concrete, human, truthful Christian experiences.

Discernment. Discerners. I think there is something rotten in the state of the contemporary theology of vocation. I am not sure what it is. I just know that a lot of people are made very unhappy by the new culture of discernment. For example, there is a lot of wrinkled forehead argument about whether or not the Single life is a vocation, or whether it was simply tacked on as an "official vocation" when it was decided that marriage was a vocation, too. Theology students can talk about this for hours.

Once upon a time, Catholics believed that the normal way of life was to be single and then to be married and then to die or be widowed, and the only vocation, the only calling, beyond Christ's call to all to follow Him, was out of that ordinary human life into religious or priestly life.

Eventually, i.e. in the 20th century, some married Catholics and priests sympathetic to their point of view got extremely tired of married Catholics being treated like they were second-class citizens of the Church and having perpetually to say "Yes, Father" to the parish priest and "Yes, Sister" to the nuns who taught their kids and (apparently) being treated like wallets and baby-machines. And so there was a theological revolution which led a) to Catholic married people feeling just as confident as Protestant married people that marriage is The Greatest and that religious life a bit of a waste, and b) to a huge drop in the number of Catholic children growing up to be priests and nuns. But perhaps I digress.

At any rate, we now have a situation in which young Catholics, perhaps young Catholics (convert and cradle) whose parents never by word or deed suggested that religious or priestly life was a good and noble thing, try desperately to discern--in the vacuum of your twenties or in the mystery of your unmarried thirties--if it is your job to plug up the gap and save the priesthood/take refuge in religious life. This strikes me as a terribly painful situation. I keep thinking about how lucky it was that my favourite Jesuit classmate, who came from a devout and pro-priest family, signed on with the SJ when he was 18, and is a happy Jesuit to this day.

I believe that vocation is completely mingled up in love and the deepest desires of your heart. I also believe that God writes His will for you not only in the Scriptures but in your personal history. The hard part is learning to read His handwriting.

Other people I know, traditionalists who strive for orthodoxy with might and main, try to convince me that one should "just do it." This is usually around religious life and priesthood because traditionally, and in fact, religious life and priesthood are the superior form of Christian life. Marriage is for weak people, and religious life for the strong, and few of us will be saved, and most of those will be monks. Et cetera.

Call me a crazy, bleeding-heart liberal Lonerganian, but I don't believe that. I am absolutely sure that the change in the state of your life--whether from single to married or from single to religious or from lay to priest should follow upon a falling in love. Although aspects of it may be painful (and being engaged is one of the most stressful periods of a person's life), leaving single, unvowed life should be an embrace of joy.

I would love to encourage young men to join the priesthood, particularly within the community and discipline of religious vows, and I would love to affirm teenage girls and university students in their interest in religious life for women. But I would never encourage you to ignore your own hearts and histories in this matter. Some of you really would be happier married, and some of you already know that, and as hard as it sounds, you must hang onto your faith in God that He will make things right for you.

Lastly, if you have embarked on a mental and spiritual project you call discerning, I urge you to A) get a spiritual director ASAP if you do not already have one and B) stop dating. Don't ask new girls out. Don't introduce yourself to new boys. Try to consider the feelings of other people while you think so obsessively about yourself. It strikes me that, although it may be necessary for people to have a formal "discernment" period (I never honestly had one), it could be fraught with spiritual danger. Honestly, I wonder if it is not best done within the safety of a retreat or vocations discernment house.

Sundance Snowmaking Update

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Snowmaking is going well on Upper Sundance.  We have had 5 fans guns running on Sundance, 1 fan gun at Molly's Magic Carpet, and another fan gun on the Terrain Park near the top of Black Mountain Express.  The skiing today was quite nice.  We usually have a quiet period right after Thanksgiving.  It is a great time to come enjoy the place with just a few people around.  I skied between 9:30 and 11:00 this morning and had  a very good time.  The weather forecasters are saying sunny, beautiful days all week.

The Boyfriend Pillow

Okay, a yahoo article about this just flashed across my screen. (I'm not linking to yahoo; I hate how their news service constantly distracts me and tries to fill the heads of the world with junk.)

I am so disturbed by the concept of the boyfriend pillow that I must pontificate.

First of all, its nomenclature assumes that the fact that women sleep with their boyfriends, not exclusively with husbands, is completely unproblematic.

Second, it reduces men to headless pillows, which although not as offensive as reducing women to blow-up dolls, is still pretty offensive.

Third, who is going to give a woman a headless, one-armed boyfriend pillow? (And what woman would want to buy it for herself?) Someone did once give me a tiny foam boyfriend that you could drop in a glass of water and presumably grow to boyfriend size, but that's more of a funny collectible you never take out of its box than an acceptable bed accessory. Hel-lo.

Fourth, would it not make more sense to purchase a huge woolly toy gorilla with two arms? Or four arms? For one thing, there is nothing immoral about sharing your bed with a big gorilla. As a child I shared my bed with a great blue whale. Oh dear, all of a sudden I miss my great blue whale. Sniff, sniff.

Does no one actually run these ideas past women????

Update: Oh heavens, I just noticed that there is also a headless squashy-breasted girlfriend pillow, too. In pink. To quote B.A., Help ma bob! Assistez-moi Rober'!

Top 10 For Character

There is another nice article in featuring A-Basin.  They list the top 10 ski areas for character.  Again, we are in great company with Whitslter, Alta, Telluride, Sun Valley, Jackson and more.  I like it.  Hope you enjoy the article.

tuesday shoesday

[Sarah Yates Photography]

Madly Busy

Cherubs, I have been busily reading anarchist philosophy, so I have not at all been thinking about the Single state but about governments.

Various Western governments were happy in the past to leave a number of what are now seen to be very important social services in the hands of private benefactors and religious institutions, but now private benefactors and religious institutions are definitely second and third banana to the state. This means that the weakest, poorest people in society, the unborn, children, the elderly and the sick, are at the mercy of the state unless their families advocate on their behalf, and sometimes not even then.

(I think of the three Rotherham children--possibly Polish emigres--who were taken away from their kind foster parents by the agents of the state because the foster parents belonged to the "wrong" mainstream political party. It has been strongly hinted that the birth parents of those children are Roman Catholics.

Now, Roman Catholicism has for centuries has been considered the "wrong" mainstream denomination of Christianity in Britain, and is still so "wrong" Hilary Mantel could get away with saying that it was "no longer a religion for respectable people." There were no cries on the side of the irreligious to strip her of her Booker Prizes for her bigotry, and on the Catholic side I haven't heard calls from the pulpit to burn Wolf Hall in the streets. Indeed Catherine Pepinster of The Tablet merely said she didn't want to be respectable, which is actually the 1963 attitude that inaugurated Britain's moral collapse.

Therefore, it is not outside the bounds of credulity that a mandarin who would decide that members of UKIP were unfit to have the care of European children might decide that believing members of the Catholic Church might be unfit to have the care of children in Britain, particularly if those parents were suspected of teaching those children beliefs the mandarin did not like. The same may hold true of Poles (who usually are Catholics anyway), who sometime espouse views that may sound perfectly reasonable in Poland but could get them into serious trouble should they repeat them in English within earshot of a British mobile phone.

And so not only does there need to be an investigation into the Rotherham Council's decision to remove children from the care of UKIP members, it may also be helpful to re-examine the reason the children were removed from their birth parents. As white foreigners who probably haven't lived here for as much as ten years, the birth parents might not have as much "victim power" as the commentators on the Daily Telegraph might think they have. If they grew up under communism, they might be terrified of the state or terrified of lawyers or simply not know enough about their rights or have enough English to cope against the powers wielded by Rotherham Council. They would not, for example, think of calling up the right newspapers, and indeed those newspapers might not be as interested in them as they have been in a 30 year British Navy veteran and his wife.

Who is to do this investigation, however, is an interesting question because who can investigate the state but either an agent of, or someone contracted in, by the state?)

Amusingly there were quite a number of hits on the blog from Edinburgh yesterday, which reminds me that one of the eavesdroppers complained, with frowns and furled brow, about being called an eavesdropper.

Why is it that when I desperately wanted men to pay attention to me (e.g. when I was fifteen), they didn't, and when I very much don't want them to pay attention to me, they do? I think we must chalk it up to male psychology and more evidence that there is no point in chasing men, for the ones who are most interested in what you have to say will certainly hang around (however stealthily), even if the Hunchback of Notre Dame is scowling at them from a corner.

Those Three Terrible Words

Monday, November 26, 2012
It's rather an irony that your dear auntie is still writing about Single Life after being married for over three years. How dare I, I'd like to know. However, I suppose there is something to be said for looking at Single Life from the other side of the fence. I can see what in Single Life still looks pretty good (e.g. the freedom to go wherever you want when you want) and what looks worse than ever.

One of the things that looks worse than ever is the total drama and potential heartache around "I love you." You can say "I love you" to your family, if you have that kind of family, and your best pals, if you have that kind of best pals, but you can't just say "I love you" to a single man you think is pretty darn lovable (or just really, really attractive) without the risk of massive social upheaval.

And yet it seems so normal and so tempting just to say "I love you" because you feel like saying it, and you gotta be you, and let's just get this on the table, and---Whoa.

First of all, "I love you" can be a lie, like when a guy says "I love you" and you feel terrible that you don't love him, and you think (for whatever reason) that you should love him, and that just saying it might make it come true.

Second, it could actually be a mistake about how it is that you feel. You may think you love some guy, but in actual fact you just think he is attractive and that it would feel soooo good if he said "I love you" back to you.

Third, there are few better ways to derail what may be a promising relationship by dropping the "I love you" bomb on a man who doesn't yet know how he feels about you. Men are not women, so ever if you authentically and unreservedly know that you are crazy about this man and want to have his babies, he might not yet know that he feels the same way about you. It might take him an extra week or an extra month or an extra eleven months, and until he naturally makes the brain-heart connection, you have to keep your mouth shut.

Long-term readers of this blog may vaguely remember that I knew I loved my future husband before he knew that he loved me (absolutely true because I checked later) and I count it as a personal victory that I managed to keep my mouth shut. Possibly it was because the stakes were so high. Possibly because it was because I had been blogging this stuff for years. Possibly because it was only a lapse of three or four days. But whatever it was, I now have my reward because I can say "I love you" every single day to a nice man, and hear him sincerely say "I love you, too", which is basically the source and summit of Post-Searching-Single Life. (I probably could say it twice or thrice a day, too, although four times might be pushing it, especially when he is watching "Master Chef".)

Fourth, as I have blogged before (or just emoted over the phone), it is more important than ever for men to travel uninterrupted through the great adventure called Winning the Girl. One of the Great Seven Plots involves a hero going out into the world to make his fortune and win the beautiful princess through feats of derring-do. There are few stories in which the princess just hands herself over without any effort whatsoever on the hero's part. That would not be as much fun, or psychologically truthful, and frankly I think I would have enjoyed being a fairy tale princess watching all the poor woodcutters' sons, minor princes, et alia, trying to rescue me. At very least, it would have been flattering.

Seraphic (on tower phone): Okay, I know it's really mean and stuff, but I am like so relieved that the ugly bad-tempered looking one fell and was impaled on the thorns.

Seraphic's pal (over phone): Oh, I know. You're like, It's not personal. I don't want you to die, but you're not the handsome prince I'm hoping for.

Seraphic: The writhing in agony thing really sucks.

Seraphic's pal: So don't watch.

Seraphic: I feel bad if I don't watch. If I didn't watch, he'd just die alone in the thorns with nobody there but his horse.

Seraphic's pal: Well, it's not like you asked him to rescue you.

Seraphic: Hmm. That's true.

Anyway, I think it very important for a boy, especially one who generally acts like he owns the universe, to have to take the big huge risk of laying his heart before a woman, not being quite sure if she will pick it up, or just give it back, or even stomp on it. This kind of action makes a boy into a man, no matter what happens. Of course it is sad for a man to have his heart handed back and horrible to have it stomped on, so it is a good idea for a boy to have some indication that his ladylove might actually accept this heart before he gives it.

However, having a good idea is not the same thing as being 100% sure. And it is awful for a man to be 100% sure a woman thinks she loves him when he isn't sure if he loves her. His natural reaction is very likely to be running away and pondering things in his cave, like Grendel. There he thinks thinks like "How badly do I want to get married?" and "Do I really want to get married?" and "Do I perhaps have a vocation to the priesthood instead?" and "Does love feel like this?" and "Why am I sweating like a pig?" How tragic if all he needed was just some time.

Anyway, to roll up this whole post into one sentence, promise yourself not to tell a guy you love that you love him until he says it first. Say he is marvellous or amazing or wonderful or a gift. Say any nice thing you like, but don't say "I love you" first.

Above all, don't tell a guy you love him just to make him say "I love you." Tempting, very tempting, but a bad idea in the long run.

Randonee Dinner

Sunday, November 25, 2012
Last night we had another great feast at Black Mountain Lodge.  It was the Night in Bavaria Randonee Dinner.  We have come to expect extraordinary food and music.  Leon Littlebird did his thing with flutes and the guitar.  Chef Rybak and crew did what they do best.  Bacon wrapped pheasant, North Atlantic cod, roast pork, dill potato soup, Black Forest cake, and apple pancakes just to name a few.

Everything was awesome.  The skin up was especially cool.  While not quite full, the moon was really bright and the mountains just glowed.  I love being out in those conditions.  Where else can you ski or snowshoe in to such an amazing feast.  Very cool.

BML Deck

Saturday, November 24, 2012
I think these guys enjoyed hanging out on the deck today.

Bluebird Day

Sometimes I wonder how many more of these perfect Colorado, cloudless, blue sky days that I can take.  You know, I think I can take a lot more of them.  My first choice of weather is always a big snow day.  My second choice is just like this.  The days have been stunningly beautiful.  The sky is so blue, it doesn't even seem real.  The last few days I spent a lot of time with folks enjoying the holiday.  Pretty cool.

The skiing isn't too bad either.

Victory Counts in Culture Wars

And now for something completely different!

Or is it? Because in almost every post we confront the fact that the sexual revolution of the 1960s changed the social landscape forever, encouraging the naturally modest and the naturally chaste to feel like freaks. Other social trends have discouraged early marriage and encouraged divorce. And other social trends are responsible for the low birthrates in Europe and Canada, and widespread disobedience of Catholics (never mind everyone else) of Humanae Vitae. This is the world in which we live because our spiritual mothers and fathers in the faith lost the culture wars of their times. And woe betide us if our spiritual daughters and sons ask us how we could have landed them in a totalitarian nightmare.

For example, imagine a country where children could be--and are--removed from your home because you support a conservative political party. This shouldn't be difficult because the country I am thinking about is England.

Foster parents 'stigmatised and slandered’ for being members of Ukip

A couple had their three foster children taken away by a council on the grounds that their membership of the UK Independence Party meant that they supported “racist” policies.

Here is the full story.

I should explain for readers who are not British that UKIP is a conservative party that attracts voters and members who feel betrayed by the contemporary Conservative (aka "Tory") party. It dislikes the fact that the UK is now governed, not just by Westminster (and in Scotland also by Holyrood), but by the European Union. It is also the only "respectable" party that wants to stop mass-migration. It is not racist.

It is perfectly possible to object to your country being bossed about by a foreign power whose founder members (Germany, France) were once (twice, etc.) your nation's most dangerous enemies without being "an anti-European racist." (If American, I bet you didn't know white people could be accused of racism against other white people, but this is the UK, where we can and, to be honest, sometimes with justice. But whether it should be actually illegal for Scots to moan about "the English" and for the English to moan about "the Scots" and for both to moan about "the Eastern Europeans" is another question.)

It is also perfectly possible to object to mass-migration without being an anti-"ethnic minority" racist. (If Canadian, I bet you will be astounded to read that as a Canadian living in Britain, I count as an "ethnic minority." My ethnic group is "Canadian"; how nice if we had that sense of Canadian ethnic cohesion in Canada.)

For example, I object to mass-migration, and I am sympathetic to the Eastern Europeans working away like mad and sending money home to their families. (Interestingly, I've heard that Poles living in the UK tend to have more children then Poles in Poland. I would not be at all surprised to discover that Poles living in the UK have more children than ethnic Brits have in the UK. The Poles are the future of Christians in Britain. Take them out and buy them lunch.)

But I'll tell you what I object to even more than mass-migration--totalitarianism. And social workers paid by the government arriving at your house to take away the children that you love and are caring for because you vote for a political party they don't like (and whose policies they obviously haven't read) smacks of totalitarianism. It's extremely alarming.

Incidentally, the council (local government) and social workers of Rotherham have been in the national news before. In the UK, PC ideology trumps the happiness of children, to say nothing of ordinary conservative-minded, old-fashioned British folk, again and again.

Update: Oh my heavenly days. Those children--the foster children taken away from the white British foster parents--are Europeans. And thus white Europeans have been taken from white Europeans on the grounds the the white European adults might be racist against the white European children, despite the facts that the foster parents were learning the children's language, sang their folk songs with them and were prepared to put them in their faith-based school, which probably means that these kids are Roman Catholics.

And that reminds me of another issue.

You know, if I had kids and they were taken from me, I would want them to be fostered by fellow Roman Catholics. But--oh, wait--that's not allowed anymore because--wouldn't you know it--the Catholic adoption agencies were forced to close.

And you know what, I would love to foster Catholic children, but I don't know if I would be allowed to because some jobsworth might need to to make sure I am a-okay with a variety of sexual practices first. It's nuts. The nice couple in Yorkshire were told they couldn't fulfill the cultural needs of the (presumably Catholic) children, and I suspect a Catholic couple wouldn't be able to foster them either, in case the children grow up to be gay.

Update 2: The public outcry has been so loud and furious that it looks like there may be a victory over totalitarianism this time.

Reviva just got Festive!


Here at Reviva we are known for our trend setting, gorgeous wedding designs throughout the summer.

But what girls cannot resist festive glitter and sparkle :)! 

We have added snow to our blog to get into the festive mood and are busy refurbing and filling our pretty shop with many delightful Christmas decorations and festive florals. 
 Our new fabulous Christmas glitter words have arrived, they are super sparkly and perfect for displaying on your mantlepiece or shelves to bring some very glittery festive cheer into your home. 
We are stocking a small selection but if you wish to have a personalised glitter word made for Christmas do pop down and see us or email us at
Our hugely popular vintage style signs fly off the shelves as soon as they arrive so we have just restocked, they make the perfect present all year round.
Next week we start creating fresh advent wreaths and stocking many beautiful Christmas foliages from fresh blue pines, berries, poinsettias and amaryllis.
If you wish to order a beautiful Christmas arrangement or bouquet please do pop in and make sure you are on our order book. 
Our talented styling team also offer a Christmas decoration service.
 Perhaps you want a gorgeous professionally dressed Christmas tree set up in your home, your mantelpiece dressed beautifully for a dinner party or some festive decoration for a corporate event.

 Whatever the occasion, from a private home to a company celebration let us help you decorate and dress your festive event with huge amounts of style!
We stock a range of Christmas cards and gift tags, gorgeous velvet glitter ribbons, (could not resist!) and some very sparkly candle holders all arriving next week as well as the festive month of December arrives!
Along with our beautiful flowers, plants and decorations you can be assured that popping into our shop to see us will be a treat and do hop into the Arte Cafe next door for a warming latte or hot chocolate or treat yourself to delicious breakfast or lunch.  Definitely a Christmas shopping trip worth putting in your diary!

An Auntie's Auntie

Friday, November 23, 2012
Imagine you are a heavily overweight, wrinkled old Englishwoman who smokes, dyes her hair jet black and simply can't walk a mile. You've never married, perhaps never had a boyfriend, and your non-drinking alcoholic friend thinks you are a drinking alcoholic who just hasn't admitted it yet. You break into song whenever you feel like it, you lace your conversation with references to God and the saints, the time you met the Prince of Wales you called him "Your Majesty," and you wonder if people really enjoy having sex because to you it sounds so messy. You live for food and cooking and love to joke about vegetarians.

And hundreds of thousands of people across the world adore you, because you are (the late) Jennifer Paterson, the elder of the Two Fat Ladies.

Yesterday I was feeling rather down, and needed the presence of a funny, aunt-ish person who takes nothing seriously except God, love and food. And so I got Jennifer Paterson's Seasonal Receipts out of the kitchen and took it to bed with me. And there was her soothing written voice introducing a recipe (or "receipt") for "Autumn braised leg of lamb" thusly:

'I shall entice them to eat me speedily.' The writer of these words was St Ignatius of Antioch who had been condemned to death for his faith and was about to be thrown into the arena with the wild beasts. 'I pray they will be prompt with me,' he continued--let's hope they were. It is his feast day on 17 October; on the 18th, St. Luke's, patron saint of artists; and the 19 is the day of St Jean de Brebeuf and Companions who were the first Jesuit missionaries to Canada and North America. Their area was from Nova Scotia to Maryland, but they were captured and vilely tortured to death by the Red Indians who didn't care for their interference--this was in 1642-49. Their death occurred in Auriesville, New York. What a tale. Let us therefore go to the antipodes for some refreshment [...].

This book, by the way, was not published by a "Catholic publisher" but by Headline. And Jennifer (as she is locally known) became world-famous through the auspices of the BBC, not exactly the most Catholic-friendly organization in the UK, and so it was on the BBC that anyone could hear Jennifer suggest to fellow Fat Lady (and Catholic) Clarissa Dickson-Wright that they pray to St. Peter before embarking on a fishing expedition.

I think the secret to Jennifer's success as a media figure (which she may have been of two minds about) was that she was simultaneously a kind decent person and someone who didn't really care what anyone but God thought. She certainly betrays no embarrassment about being a Catholic--a traditionally-minded Catholic who went to Mass at the London Oratory--let alone any of the the-government-out-to-get-us Catholic paranoia indulged in so frequently by yours truly. And she was as likely to burst into a verse of "The Road to Mandalay" as to enthusiastically second Dickson-Wright's suggestion that they toast the Almighty.

I should love to be like Jennifer Paterson--except for the smoking, obesity and virginity--and with luck I will become a lot like her--perhaps the "gypsy witch"* version. I hope so. It would be wonderful to think that people rescue themselves from the Slough of Despond years after my death just by watching me on youtube:

*A phrase used by one of our faithful eavesdroppers to describe my outfits at parties. It may also refer to my uncanny ability to read men's minds and the frequency with which young girls consult me about their love lives. But there, I'm afraid, the comparisons must end. I am mortally afraid of tarot cards, I cannot play the violin and very rarely does anyone cross my palm with silver. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind owning a donkey and an old-fashioned brightly coloured caravan. I wonder under what circumstances B.A. would let me have a donkey.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Molly Hogan Friday

We had another good night of snowmaking on Molly Hogan and the Upper Mountain.  As I said yesterday, the Molly Hogan Lift and Chair will open Friday.  Perfect time to take that friend or relative up to The Basin to learn how to ski.  Over the years, I have come to enjoy watching kids learn how to ski or snowboard.  It is fun watch them grow from just waddling around to become really great skiers

American Thanksgiving Singles Survival Game

It has crept up on me and surprised me at the last minute! Oh my little American Singles, it is the dreaded day of turkey doom, that day upon which you will be asked by random relations you see but once or twice a year the perfidious question: So, dear, do you have a boyfriend yet?

The rules of this game are very simple. You have to pay attention to all references to your long-term single state so that you can report them here. Obviously you are on your honour here, so no padding. Just counting.

And then reporting! Because the best part of the American Thanksgiving Singles Survival Game is telling us all in delicious detail what your Aunt said and then what your Uncle said, and then what your smart-aleck cousin said after that.

In past years readers have reported their own variations on this game, including in-house competitions between sisters.

The beauty of this game is that (like grace) it heals and elevates the stupid So, dear, do you have a boyfriend yet? questions and Don't worry, you'll be next remarks into POINTS! Feel free to bring a piece of paper and pencil to the table. Actually, put a pencil and paper in your pocket right now because sometimes relatives can't walk in the door without immediately saying "So, dear, do you have a boyfriend yet?"

SCENE: A charming family home in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, nestled between cornfields. Ceramic dwarves stand frozen on the lawn in mid-gambol.

The doorbell rings.

Mom: Dear, can you answer that?

You: Okay, Mom.

You open the door and behold on the doorstep Uncle Billy and Aunt Jean from Chicago.

You: Hi, Uncle Billy! Hi, Aunt Jean! Come on in.

Uncle Billy and Aunt Jean come on in.

Uncle Billy: How's my girl? (He seizes you in bear hug.)

You: Great! Ouch!

Aunt Jean: Now, Bill. Leave the girl alone. Let's look at you. My, my. How time does fly. (Her voice sinks.) We must have a proper chat in the kitchen. I want to talk to you.

Uncle Billy (loudly): Uh, oh. Girl stuff. No men allowed!

Aunt Jean: Now, Bill. Don't you start. (Her voice sinks again.) Honey, I read this column in Better Homes and Gardens about Single girls and it made me think of you. Hold on a minute, I'll get it from my purse.

You: I'll be back in a sec.

You rush to your room, seize a pencil and a piece of paper and write a big, thick /.

Mom (yelling up the stairs): Honey?! Why aren't you helping your uncle and aunt with their coats?

You: Coming!

Mom: I don't know what's gotten into that girl.

Aunt Jean: Well, apparently Single girls get a little funny during the holidays. It's the pressure of family expectations. I read about it in Better Home and Gardens.

You write another thick /, making your tally //. You feel a thrill of early victory. It's only three in the afternoon: depending on what's happening on the East Coast and Florida, you could be in the lead!

Uncle Bill: Don't be silly, Jean. There's nothing about that girl a good boyfriend wouldn't solve.


You: I'm coming! Sorry, Aunt Jean.

Aunt Jean: That's okay, dear. I'm all right and tight.

Uncle Bill: She's all right but not yet tight! Where's the punch? It's party time!

Aunt Jean: Oh, Bill. (She turns to you.) Now dear. Into the kitchen with you.

Uncle Bill: Uh oh. Here comes the grilling. Give only your name, rank and serial number!

Aunt Jean: Oh, Bill. Really, that man. You just wait till you're married, hon, and then you'll understand what we all have to put up with.



Let the games begin!

Lula Kate 2013 Bridal Collection

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The Lula Kate 2013 Bridal Collection

Images by Corbin Gurkin Photography, courtesy of Lula Kate.