SAINT OLGA

SAINT OLGA
MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER, SAINT OLGA, PATRON SAINT OF CONVERTS

Saturday, December 17, 2016

WHAT I AM WATCHING NOW (SPOILER ALERT!)

Florence  Foster Jenkins
(nee Narcissa Florence Foster)
1868-1944

I don't require what you might traditionally call "entertainment" these days, as I find certain types of WORK to be my happiest compulsions; things like genealogy research which leads so naturally into historical research, and the making of hats for the homeless...or the occasional cold mail delivery lady. Writing is terrible work, and I just hate it, but I can't seem to get away from it as it also entertains me, in a grim fashion.

Having been given a television during the last year...and quite a large one (to accommodate my failing vision), I DO watch several programs, but I can't seem to generate much interest in anything more than the news channels, and I watch them all, even Faux News Channel, which seems to give credibility to some incredible things and which gives me anxiety, so that channel gets short shrift from me. Everything else, though, as long as people aren't arguing loudly over one another, I will "watch." Actually, the television might as well be one huge radio because I can't bear to just SIT there and watch it. I must be doing something else besides.

Crochet, painting and house cleaning are good accompaniments, except when doing dishes. I have to keep turning off the water to catch the drift of what's being discussed, now and then.

It goes without saying that there are certain PBS programs that are sacrosanct, and I watch them as if I am in a movie theatre; enrapt in the story line and watching every movement in the actors' faces, as if I am one of those human lie detectors I've heard about, the ones who watch the micro movements beneath the skin of a person's face and can tell when they're lying. When Downton Abbey finished its final season, I felt as if a best friend had died. There was so much about that series that I appreciated!

The beauty of the surroundings, the stately movement of time that became less stately over the long haul and more herky jerky over the landscape of what I consider to be a bad bit of historical geography. Anything later than 1925 is on shaky ground with me. Everything became so coarse after that time, while at the same moment congratulating itself that everything was becoming modern.

The grand dowager, Lady Grantham, if you haven't guessed, was my favorite character, and she took something of me with her when she disppeared from my weekly ritual of Downton Abbey worship. She represented the old guard which, to me, seemed very beautiful and lovely in many of its habits.

Recently, however, I was given a discount coupon from my internet carrier so that I could watch a pay-on-demand movie for free. I could have watched one in "high definition" and used up the whole $6.00 THAT way, but instead I decided to watch two movies in "standard def" so that I could have a double feature on an especially painful evening when I didn't have the energy to crochet or write. I got the first movie for free and then paid only $5.00 for the second one, which means each one cost $2.50 (in my mind, anyway.)

As luck would have it, I had snacks in the house, which is a rare thing. I typically eschew anything that isn't real food; that is to say, bread, eggs, fruits, veggies, meat, beans, nuts, seeds, filtered water. This year, when a friend called me from the grocery store and asked me what I wanted, I asked for "goodies" to share with any of the other old lady neighbors who may drop by. It's usually just my friend Ruby, but you never know. Anyway, I had PIE. It wasn't a very good pie, as it turned out, because it had NONFAT MILK in it, which makes me dreadfully sick, but I didn't know about the nonfat milk until it was too late. Anyway, I got to have my movie night with pumpkin pie that would not blow up inside me until a few hours later.

The movie blew up immediately, however. Forever the anglophile, I chose BRIDGET JONES'S BABY as the first feature. Never mind that the starring actress is actually an American. She did a fair job of ACTING as a Brit in the first film, so I thought she'd be good in this sequel.

Mind you, I am not one of those people that hate sequels. I will give them a chance, especially since I always have trouble remembering the FIRST film of the series, so I don't usually catch the little bumbles. If I happen to be sharp enough to catch a flub in the sequel, I yell to no one in particular, "continuity!" as if I was still in the movie business, watching to make sure that a 1960's timepiece didn't show up in a scene that was supposedly from the 1940's! The dog reacts in amusement whenever I talk to myself like this. He thinks his little human has gone mad...or something.

So, Bridget Jones's Baby immediately slapped me in the face with the most vulgar language and innuendo I could possibly imagine, even to the not-so-vague references to the size of a man's genitals, while all her girlfriends kept telling her, in the most chipper way, that she needed to have sex. This is where I learned that, while the first movie ended on a happy note that led us all to believe that Bridget was, finally, ending up with the equally adorable Mr. Darcy, it had not actually worked out with them, and they'd called it quits after 10 years together.

In this second movie Bridget is the head of a similar department in which she had suffered while juggling her boss and Mr. Darcy in that first movie. She has a vulgar sidekick who is the on-screen interviewer for their news program. Said chipper sidekick  pulls Bridget away for a girls weekend at a spa, supposedly, but has actually booked them into a yurt at some muddy rock festival where extremely short blue jean cutoffs are the costume of choice, despite the grim and continual rain.

Now, mind you, Bridget is, by this time, 43 years old, we are told, and the bloom is definitely off that rose. She's lost that bungling sweetness we loved about her in the first film. The camera keeps zooming in on her tight and trim upper thighs where they meet her bum, perhaps to keep us from looking at her face that wears a pained and rigid expression through most of the film. Or perhaps the cameraman got distracted.

I would suspect botox, except that an entire field of terrified wrinkles moves across her cheek bones whenever she mistakenly makes an expression. You could see those micro-expressions from outer space. I'm not being mean. Wrinkles are lovely when one is SMILING, but I can't tell you what to call that expression that happens on her.

It goes from bad to worse. In an extremely awkward set of scenes, she has sex with a man at the rock festival and then sex with her ex, Mr. Darcy, and ends up preggers, having to string along the both of them until they can figure out who is the father. (She won't submit to an amniocentesis test, with that long needle, and I don't blame her a bit.)

The movie slams from one nauseating scene to another, something like a distressed boat on the high seas during a deep sea fishing trip that's gone bad, with the audience mourning dear little Bridget who has obviously died before the movie began, and everyone is vomiting from sea sicknesses and sorrow.

Actress Emma Thompson puts in a highly credible performance as Bridget's gynecologist and is wryly funny despite the lukewarm jokes they make her say. She's a trooper, that one, and it was a relief to see her every time she popped up.  In fact, she may have saved our lives.

The ONLY laugh I got out of the whole movie was when dear Mr. Darcy was trying to carry this balloon of a pregnant woman through the streets of London whilst in labor. His facial expressions were priceless. The second man meets up with them halfway to the hospital, at which point carrying Bridget becomes a two-man job. We could have used a few more good men to carry this film.

Eventually, while giving birth, Bridget realizes she's still in love with Darcy and holds his hand with both of hers, leaving the other guy to just deal with it on the periphery. It was a clunky, heavy scene, with closeups of the hands involved. 1940's, anyone?

So, finally, I have arrived at my POINT.  Our modern world continues to express surprise that women want love, devotion, and family ties, NOT free-wheeling sexual encounters in yurts at rock concerts. We don't want to wait until we're 43 to have babies and get married. Careers, while wonderful and captivating, simply do not replace what we really want. We are biologically programmed for partnership, love and family. God created us for one another, and we keep pretending that it isn't necessary or that we can put it off until our FORTIES, or, indeed, forever...just fornicating our lives away until we're too old to do otherwise.

The developed world keeps fighting biology. Our prime baby making years are between the ages of 15 and 25, which makes sense, given that we are born with every egg we shall ever have. The older we grow, the older the eggs, and the more chance for birth defects or infertility. Believe me, I have heard all the reasons why couples shouldn't marry young or have children young, but the proof is in the pudding. What we are doing now does not work and is just plain sad.

The bleak and sodden love story that is BRIDGET JONES'S BABY is, in my mind, a cautionary tale, at best. Mostly, it is a bad movie because it is inauthentic. It tries to push concepts that do not work in real life. There are no happy feelings at the end of this movie.

Modern ideas about sex, love, marriage, children and abortion are all engineered and fueled by our hyper-capitalistic society, the corporate obsession with money. In short, it all boils down to GREED, but those of us suffering under the consequences of this soul-killing way of looking at the most important aspects of life are not even the people that BENEFIT from the modern philosophies about family, sex, etc. CORPORATIONS are the beneficiaries of this sort of cultural expression. If the corporations can keep us slaving away underneath them, (making slave wages), then the corporations and the CEOs at the top of the heap can benefit. Oblivious to the way that we are being used, movies like BRIDGET JONES'S BABY act like the Nazi propaganda films, trying to get us all heated about our "right" to kill our children or to put off conceiving for so long that children don't enter into the picture or there are damn few of them.  Bridget Jones is a success!  She is the boss at the news studio, churning out entertainment news, making the guy at the top of the heap very wealthy...and she can STILL have a baby, even though her eggs are geriatric. See, people? We can have it all.

Frances Foster Jenkins is also a movie about love, based upon a true story about a socialite who adored classic music and wanted to sing, sing, sing, but she had a tin ear and the vocal chords of a drunken raptor. I loved that movie, and I don't want to ruin it for you because it gives the payoff that Bridget Jones's Baby never could. I hope you see both movies and you can make your own comparisons.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose



Sunday, December 4, 2016

A MARVELOUS VISION OF HEAVEN



When I was a nun in the Hindu convent in Hollywood, I distinctly remember a short conversation in which the ersatz head nun waxed enthusiastic about how wonderful it would be when she died and just "merged" into God and became part of Him. Without thinking I said, "that sounds REVOLTING!"

It was then that I realized that my true inner knowing and belief was far different than the Hindu-style religion I'd entered in my late 20's. Even though I'd had almost NO exposure to Christianity while growing up, I somehow just knew that God was my creator and not my equal and that, if I was lucky enough to make it to heaven, it would not be a little Goddess on par with the great creator.

Many of these Hindu-based and "New Age" religions believe that the world is a horrible place and that the whole rationale for spiritual practice was to escape the grim and never ending cycle of birth and death. Some Christians, influenced by our pagan culture, believe that everything earthly, including our bodies, is bad and must be overcome. They believe that we are spirit beings stuck in the material world, but this is not Christian theology.

God created this world and pronounced it "good." He created us in His image, which, of course, is automatically good.

When I became disabled, and the illnesses worsened and accumulated with age, I forgot for a short time that the world is good and that our bodies are good. The horrible distraction of trying to get my needs met and my illnesses addressed pulled my mind away from the Lord to some extent. I was sad that my life had "ended up" like this, despite my joy at finding my Lord and experiencing the privilege of serving Him.

Thanks to a mini-series about heaven that I saw on EWTN, I was reminded of the truth, and I snapped out of my depression! My life has not "ended up like this" because my life has no end. My life has just barely begun, in the context of eternity. SO MUCH lays ahead!

In heaven, according to Anthony Destefano, the author of A TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN  our bodies will be transformed into our "most perfect selves-physically, emotionally, and spiritually." In addition to the deep, abiding joy that we naturally expect to experience in heaven, Anthony draws upon Biblical scripture and Catholic theology to fully develop a vibrant, soul-thrilling glimpse into the heavenly realm.

The Amazon.com page dedicated to this book says that heaven is "not only a spiritual place, but also a physical place, a fabulous "luxury resort," more sumptuous than any on Earth. The residents are real, their bodies transformed into their most perfect selves..."

The DVD based upon this book can be purchased at EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network AT THIS LINK: DVD - 3 HOURS - TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN. I found it very entertaining, sometimes charming or funny, and often inspiring. Watching it helped me form a more specific expectation of heaven.

Since 2017 marks the 100 year anniversary of the miracles of Fatima, I intend to devote part of this year to the study of the Fatima miracles, the promises, and the instructions of our Lady. With a little help from my friends, I plan to give out rosaries, books about Fatima, and books about the rosary. Having a vision of heaven under one's belt is a fabulous inspiration to fuel a renewal of spiritual zeal, and is appropriate to any ministry, I would imagine.

Once we learn about the remarkable miracles that were witnessed by 70,000 people, "on cue," so to speak, how can we doubt the words of Christ or his blessed church? How can we not believe that, if we love Christ and follow his words, we are destined for that beautiful place called Heaven, where we will spend much more time than here on earth?

I would like to suggest that you purchase and watch the DVD: "TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN", which is sold through EWTN. Commemorative 100-year rosaries with attached special medal are sold by the Blue Army, otherwise known as the WORLD APOSTOLATE OF FATIMA.

I also recommend perusing the Catholic web websites and pick up anything you can on the Miracle of Fatima. The whole story is a wonderful aid to Evangelization.

If you can spare it, please donate on my website so that I can also distribute some rosaries and books this year. As usual, I have medical needs that are not being addressed, and if you God has graced you with the ability to help with those, I am grateful.

Most monastics have to do some sort of work to support themselves, since the generosity of modern man is limited, and the value of lives devoted to prayer is not appreciated. It is difficult to do this while disabled, which is the reason that most convents and monasteries will not accept disabled people, and some will even throw you our if you become ill while living as a monastic among them. Fortunately, the Lord has graced me with some creative skills.

In future, I may be uploading new blogs for the artworks.  In the meantime, my genealogy business can be found at: SILVER COTTAGE GENEALOGY



Please remember that I have professional genealogical skills, I paint, I write, and I make home-made lace chapel veils. I will be putting up some websites for these when I can, but keep it in mind for the time being. I am disabled for most functions, but I can produce a few items for sale, and perhaps I can make something for you. Christmas is around the corner.




May you be showered with blessings!

I pray for all of you, as I hope you pray for me.

God bless us all!

Silver "Rose" Parnell