Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. -Churchill

Winston Churchill was a big, brilliant fellow with simple, deliberately comfy tastes and a focus on family and important moments together. I know because I visited his home, Chartwell, last week, and like the nosy, draw-my-own-conclusions-about-everyone-and-everything person that I am, this is what I have to say about that.

Churchill’s home made a lot of sense and agreed with my perception of him. I was really glad to not have my notion dispelled with gaudy buttresses (no idea what those are), crystal toilet seats, and other indulgent fripperies (that my house would totally have), but was instead greeted by heavy wooden beams, a kitchen with a stove the size of my bed, and nary a marble anything. Oh! And we arrived just behind a group of about 567 people who were old enough to have voted for him, so I knew I was in for a treat. The tour took twice as long as it should have because those 567 needed to soak in the details, commiserate, AND I had to give them all piggy-back rides up the stairs. Exhausting for me. Exciting for them. From the embroidery on Lady Churchill’s shams (kidding- I have no idea if those shams were embroidered) to Roosevelt’s signature in the home’s guestbook, no stone was left unturned. But, even though making our way through the house took ages, I actually enjoyed going through with people who had been around during Churchill’s reign

Classic Sir Winston (sans hat)

(both of his terms as Prime Minister…seriously…these folks were not young). It was neat enough to be in his study, where many of his great speeches that we’ve all heard pieces of and maybe even quoted were penned, but to hear the ancients around me whispering to each other things like “Oh, this was when he was in Kent for such and such, ” or “I remember being outside the voting office with my mum when we heard he’d won.” Stuff like that.

I digress.

I wanted to make one quick point here, to reflect back on the quote at the beginning of this post and to put it out there that I may be rethinking the whole “becoming a kinder person” thing, because I think the world needs objective people, and I don’t think that I should be considered mean, simply because I point out the obvious. The reason this came to mind is that Winston Churchill painted. You may have known that, I did not. It was a hobby. Some of his paintings are auctioned off nowadays, and some hang in his Chartwell estate. Now, I totally understand wanting to own something created by the ole Dub, but the thing is…they aren’t brilliant. On the tour, folks were chattering about how talented he was and extolling the beauty of his work, but, poor eyesight aside, there’s no mistaking that there is nothing about a Churchill painting that would blow your skirt up. Google them. Tell me how magnificent you think they are, or are not.

I bit my tongue (another point for me!), and said nothing like, “Glad he had a way to blow off stress, but a chilled SoCo and a Shiatsu work just fine for me.”  But, I stand by my opinion. My criticism, and would like to encourage others to do the same. Not for Churchill’s paintings (who cares what you think about that), but for things that matter. Like your friend’s choice of leggings. Let her know that they don’t, in fact, look good on everyone. She’ll thank you one day. If she ever speaks to you again.

When I ask for someone’s opinion, it’s because I value their judgment. It’s something that separates us from the animals. That and opposable thumbs. I am maybe a tad over judgy at times, so maybe it’s not kindness I need to be working on. Maybe it’s discernment.

Anyway- Here are a few things I believe:

–          I believe babies have no business being in a movie theater. I understand parents need a night out, but you decided to have babies, not me. Grab a bottle of vino and a dvd, ya’ll.

–          I believe that high heels both elongate your calves AND give you the confidence to say anything.

–          I believe that if efficiency experts assessed federal agencies, only 20% of their workforce and budget would be found necessary…let’s make that any public agency. Raise your hand if you’ve ever made it out of the DMV in under an hour.

–          I believe Julia Roberts needs to stop taking on movie roles. Making gobs of money has made her performance-challenged. Think I’m full of it? Watch Duplicity and Charlie Wilson’s War back to back. Also, her eyes are sinking back into her head, and in certain lighting, it makes me uncomfortable.

–          I believe that it’s fine to have Nutella for breakfast.

–          I believe that Lady GaGa didn’t get enough attention as a child. And I’m glad, because she is glorious to behold.

–          I believe that  Brussel Sprouts smell like garbage, no matter how you cook them.

–          I believe that Elizabeth Taylor is intentionally trying to beat some personal goal for number of weddings, but let’s be honest…if we were loaded (in every sense of that word) what better way to indulge than to be a bride again, and again, and….

What do you believe?



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12 responses to “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. -Churchill

  1. Pingback: Getting to the North (or…no one goes to Akron on purpose) « The Becoming Year…

  2. Stephanie

    I believe that there are no better chocolate combinations in the world than milk chocolate and peanut butter, and dark chocolate and mint. I think that white chocolate is an embarrassment to all other chocolates and should change its name.

    • Stephanie

      Can I add one more thing?

      I believe that you should always, always, always google for discount codes and coupons before ordering anything online. I just saved $5!

  3. Acebo

    somehow, i’m suspicious that leggings is code for “white lacy thrift store dress.” 😉

  4. If you find a good way to tell the friend about the leggings I believe you should really share it on your blog. There are too many legging disasters on the streets of London – we need your help!

    P.S. As a parent of a small noisy child who I love more than anything I promise that if I ever make it to the movies again I will be leaving said small noisy child with sitters, back home, so that I actually get to see the movie. In the meantime, DVDs and wine in bottles were invented for people like us. Gotta love the pause button…

    • Obviously, you are exempt from all my criticisms. Teeth, noisy children… And I say that the sofa and a bottomless glass of vino beat out sitting next to strangers in the dark any day.

  5. Audrey Wayne Shelby

    Few Comments:

    1: Parents & kids in movies: agree, kids should stay home,unless it is a movie made for kids . ..having been a parent my kids went to kids movies where noise was expected. ( my opinion)
    2: Churchill’s paintings ? still Thinking on that.
    3: Lady Gaga, simply sustained parental trauma..
    I personally am enjoying about your travel’s.

  6. Anonymous

    Few comments:
    1. Agree with kids & movies, keep them home ,but thing called ammendment rights ( another whole story) having been a parent ,I can honestly say I never took them to movies ;unless made for kids only.If you find away to keep them away ,you got my vote.
    2: Churchill’s tour ; Enjoyed the experience you shared. paintings not so sure .liked the links auto added. enjoing this .Thanks

  7. Celeste

    I believe that I shall read your blog with a regularity that could be quite alarming if it were not for the fact that I totally agree with quite a bit that you have written. Observations are a good portion of intelligence; and you are quite observant.

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