Thursday, June 29, 2006

A woman of worth

I just finished Marie Stopes's Married Love. Hm. Pretty interesting. It is one of those early 20th century books that makes you smile at the outdated ideas and expressions, but still has retained much of its pertinence. I couldn't help smiling at the thought of what would happen if all young husbands would have to read this. You see, the book is exactly what it claims to be, a manual for young husbands. Part medical, part philosophical, part sociological, it is not up to modern day scientific standards, but still manages to convey many basic ideas which are only a little more common now than they were then.

Marie Stopes, daughter of a famous mother, previously unhappily married herself, proposes this to the British young men of 1921 - a union where mutual respect, an understanding of eachother's needs, trust and open mindedness are central. She was the first and one of few to go into detail, without shame and without apology, and one cannot help being in awe of her courage in stating the obvious - that a bit of sexual education never did anyone any harm.

For those who were wondering and can't be bothered with the links, yes, she did remarry later and yes, happily so. The point is, sadly, that nearly a hundred years later only a few of us seem to have grasped, or even been exposed to, all of the positive thoughts in this little old book.

I recommend it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Strange days

Back in front of a computer, well well. It's been a pretty absorbing time, mostly with practical stuff, insurances and paperwork bla bla bla hedges. To answer Evan's question - just plain old boiling water, nothing local. A true freak accident. I went to the burns unit yesterday, and they hurt me with great pain, but it all looks much better now. I'm still in for two to three weeks of bandages (twice a day!) and walking is still slow and a bit painful, but on the whole, I am healing as quickly as could be expected, so I am pleased.

On most of the other fronts things are better still, we have a flat for mid-July, and probably also a honeymoon for late September, so things are looking up.

One of these days my body will stop hurting/itching/playing up for long enough for me to blog about interesting things.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

so much

So much for a nice break in Florida. I had an unexpected encounter with the local medical profession yesterday, and am now covered in all sorts of bandages (well my legs. thighs. whatever). I'm sure to get that rest now. I don't know what it is with me this year, I just can't seem to steer clear of minor(ish) injuries. Meh. Let's see if that insurance works.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A done deed

Sooo...things went really well yesterday. The people at ASTT were exceedingly friendly and wonderful, offering me all sorts of interesting tasks as well as tips and recipes. I think this is going to be a fun, as well as a useful, activity to do.

The other thing, though, was that I went there by public transport, which was an...interesting experience. I have never been stared at so much just for waiting at a busstop. It was a bit of a shock to the system, and for someone who is used to taking public transport a lot, and who is not used to the type of neighbourhoods here, it is strange. Even in Matonge in Brussels I never felt so white or so middle class. Not a pleasant experience, and while it was not threatening as such it was really quite shocking.

However, I should go, as I am in Florida, on a borrowed computer and borrowed time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Today is I have my first official Baltimore activity. This afternoon I am meeting the volunteer co-ordinator for one of the organisations I offered to volunteer for. They organise and provide psychological, as well as practical support for torture and trauma victims. It should be an interesting conversation for all sorts of reasons.

I have never volunteered like this before, and am more than a little nervous at the prospect of working with torture victims. Moreover I am supposed to serve as a French interpreter when I haven't spoken much French lately, and am not that brilliant at the best of times. Hm. Not sure how wise it was of me to propose that. Finally, and perhaps a little trivially, in order for me to get to this interview I will have to figure out both the local geography (and its danger zones) and the bus system.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006


On my time off from being a domestic godess (which yes, does take up a lot of time) I discovered that the laundry room of the this apartment complex (where I was being a domestic godess) houses a copy of Marie Stopes's Married Love. While I knew little enough about Marie Stokes at the time - yesterday morning - I knew enough to be intrigued and besides, anything proclaiming to be a guide for young husbands would have caught my eye. Said book is no on my bedside table, and the only thing deterring me from reading it is the enormous quantity of dust it houses and the fact that I am reading another book just now.


I will bring the book with me on my imminent trip to Florida and will let you all know, whether you want to or not, what I think. Feedback welcome.

On another, somewhat related issue, I posted sometime ago about women and their occasional desires for 50s housewifedom. As I spend more time being, for lack of a better term, a housewife, the appeal only increases, and with a new flat in the offing I can't wait to move in and start decorating. Very odd. Not that I have given up on working (or that I could if I wanted to) but for now I am actually genuinely enjoying the day to day things, shopping, either by myself or with Husband, cooking, doing laundry. Hm. However - I should get on, not with domesticity, but with paperwork...

Monday, June 19, 2006


We are now officially married. We have a paper confirming that we are, as well as two witnesses.

How was it? Rather nice actually, and in, of all places, West Virginia. Well, not the marriage, but the mini-moon. West Virginia is much, much nicer than I would have thought, but maybe that is just because all we know of the state back on the other continent is Country Roads.

I have this really nice ring, and a rather pleasant Husband, neither of which I am quite used to yet.

This marriage business is weird, but fun.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ready to go

And so I am. We are. My clothes are laid out, my backpack is packed. So far neither of us has run away.

Last night, at 4 am, when I was being preoccupied with practical stuff and keeping him awake with that, the Fiance threatened that "If you don't stop whinging I'll wrap a shoe."
TDEC: Wrap a shoe? Why?
F: What?
TDEC: *baffled look* You said you'd wrap a shoe. Why?
F: *gradually brightening puzzled look* I didn't say wrap a shoe. I said ravish you you silly woman.
TDEC: *giggles. giggles some more. laughs out loud*
F: Heavens, I am marrying the weirdest girl.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The new life

So these days I wake up in the US. To be exact, today is my fourth day here. It is also the day on which, if all goes well, the Fiance and I obtain our marriage licence, which makes it a faintly momentous day.

A few practical inconveniences aside, things have been pretty busy and pretty good. We have been looking for flats, since we want to move in early July, and that quest has been surprisingly successful, with a few good options already. As for the relationship stuff, well, that has been going very well. Frankly, if things would be problematic after four days of living together that would be slightly worrying; but they are not, and all is joy, happiness, and paperwork.

More updates will follow, whether you want them or not.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The back of me

So here it is, last day in Belgium. I'm half dead with stress (family stress, travel stress, marriage stress) and will be grateful to arrive in Baltimore and to the Fiancé. I will miss Belgium and my family but it is starting to feel like limbo. Wish me a nice trip.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A funny thing to get in the mail

Here's some things to look out for to avoid mail order bride scams. The question, however, is what sort of man looks for a wife like that?

Don't mind me, I still think that internet dating is usually a pretty bad idea.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Where was I again

My intellectual preferences have always been diverse and intermittent but now that I have a minute to think, a comment from my dad makes me realise that I have no passionate preferences at the moment. Well except the Fiancé, of course. And Sam West.

I don't think about literature, I don't read about politics, I don't watch tennis, I don't write, I don't call my friends.

Instead I pack my things, sort out medical insurance, think about the Wedding, design Thank You cards and read Catalan statistics. Apart from that last item, that list makes me feel like I'm braindead. On the phone to an ex-colleague just now I told her what I was doing and she commented - "you're becoming a housewife already!". She's probably right, and you know what, I'm probably stupid for feeling threatened by that; moreover it was meant in the best sense. My short stint as a housewife will, I'm sure, do me good. The braindeadness will, perhaps, wear off once I get into a more stable situation. Also I shouldn't berate myself for being wrapped up in New Life preparations, or in Relationship Things. *sigh* It's hard for a girl who bases a lot of her self-esteem on her intelligence and independence.

Thanks a lot dad.

PS: Having said that, there is little that half an hour of singing along to Kiki Dee and Stakka Bo won't cure.

Catching up with the news

So I am packing up and also trying to get round to the thank yous for the party. I am doing ok on the bank front and it looks like they may sometime give me back my money, the bastards. Hungary is still not in my good books.

Meanwhile in the news, this nice little ongoing story about my current and my future homes. *sigh*. There is also this story, which reminds me that after all these years I still don't have a clue why I should care about any of it, especially when you consider that there are things like that first story about US prisoners out there.

Oh, and to conclude a depressing selection, there is also this Canadian story. Stories like those are so very damaging to everyone, making all of the extremists more extreme and some the normal people extreme. It would sound silly, this story, if it weren't so serious. It's enough to make anyone take refuge in the celebrity news. Well, almost anyway.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The singing and dancing Swedish army*

Ah yes, the Swedish army. Last time I saw the Swedish army it was looking particularly gorgeous and rosy-cheeked** outside the royal palace in Stockholm. Forget the changing of the guard in London, these people play the Star Trek theme.

However. Nothing could have prepared me for the Swedish Army Drum Band***'s contribution to the Jönköping International Wind Instrument Festival. You see, when we arrived there, they were already singing. I don't know about you, but I don't generally think of drum bands as particularly vocal. Moreover, they (he) were being pretty good at being vocal. As it turned out though, I hadn't seen anything yet. I had noticed the backing vocalists, but when the band launched into All you need is love, ah, then they started dancing. Full on, all out, enthusiastic, thoroughly choreographed and extremely silly dancing.

I have locked the Swedish Army Drum Band in my heart.

Then, my darlings, then they started singing Ricky Martin. More specifically, two of the singers sang She Bangs. Now, I want you all to close your eyes and imagine, say, the British army singing Ricky Martin. Or better still, imagine the US army doing a rendition of She Bangs. Not happening, is it?

They did drum drills too, maybe to make things a little more martial; instead it ended up being terribly cute. And then they did Nine to five, which makes them the campest, cutest, coolest, all round funnest army drum band of all time.

No wonder I think Sweden is my personal Utopia.

* I was first going to post this on Total Drek. Then I changed my mind. Then I changed my mind again, but then I saw that there were two posts up there for today already, so figured I'd post it here.
**They really did look just like that.
***Thanks to Ms. C. for sending the pic, and also for enabling me to attend this most outstanding experience

More of the Motherland

Following my previous post, I should add that for every angry Spanish speaker there is one who is helpful and trying to learn Catalan.

Anyway, so I have returned from the Motherland with a much better knowledge of the history as well as a few books, like this one, which I've already finished and which is great, and this one which I am currently reading. Also, I finally visited on of our/their national emblems, the view from which you see in the picture - I mean, of course, Montserrat. In spite of the cultural importance I had never yet visited this particular Abbey/tourist trap. It is, like anyone will tell you, gorgeous.

It's funny, any time I go to Catalunya I return thinking how beautiful it really is, and how much more patriotic I feel about it than about Belgium. This is no reflection on how I feel about Belgium, but it just hasn't got the scenery or the current cultural struggle that the Catalans have; and I have lived there, which means you just generally don't think about the tourism side of things.