Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Packing day...

The movers are here packing up all our stuff.  I have responded by throwing up.  I hope this will be over soon.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shit makes the flowers grow...

When I discovered Willie Nelson's "Rainbow Connection", I also discovered the talents of his daughter, Amy Nelson, who is one half of the folk duo Folk Uke.  The other half of the duo is Arlo Guthrie's daughter, Cathy Guthrie.  Anyway, these two chicks are a riot.  They sing and harmonize together on original songs... Amy plays guitar and Cathy plays ukelele to songs like this one...

And they make twisted requests of their male friends with songs like this one...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Willie Nelson and Arlo Guthrie are both quite supportive of their daughters' efforts.  I'm kind of embarrassed to just be finding them now.  I wonder where these two ladies have been all my life, since we seem to be on a similar wavelength.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Rainbow Connection...

Just to prove that I'm not as cranky as I come across in this blog, I thought today I would dedicate a post to one of my favorite songs.  I happen to be a very musical person and I always have a song in my head.  This morning, I woke up with "The Rainbow Connection"running through my mind.  Lots of people have covered this song, but the version that was on my mind this morning was the first version I ever heard, performed by none other than Kermit the Frog...

I listened to it, promptly got all verklempt, and then I remembered another version that always moves me...

I don't know what it is... Willie doesn't sing this as well as he sings other songs.  It's almost as if he doesn't know it.  He's also putting on a few years, so maybe his voice isn't as strong as it once was...  But there is something very special about his rendition of this song.  I always find it very poignant.  Maybe it's because of his haunting guitar playing and the way his voice sounds emotional.

Anyway, I had downloaded Willie's "Rainbow Connection" a long time ago, but today I was inspired to buy the rest of the album it came from.  So this morning, I'm listening to Willie Nelson sing songs for kids. Every once in awhile, a little childlike fun is good for the soul, even for established legends like Willie Nelson.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What the hell happened to Victoria Jackson?

I remember when I was in college, ditzy blonde comedienne Victoria Jackson was at the top of her game.  She was on Saturday Night Live and I had seen her in the 1988 film, Casual Sex? with Lea Thompson and Andrew Dice Clay.  Okay, so it wasn't the greatest film in the world, but it was reasonably entertaining.  I thought Jackson was kind of cute and all...

Fast forward about twenty years, and Victoria Jackson is making news again, mainly for dissing Glee and claiming Barack Obama is a communist.  I watched her spot on CNN where she explains herself for bashing the kiss between Glee's Kurt and Blaine and she comes off as a complete lunatic, rambling mindlessly about how homosexuality is a sin and how shows like Glee are "making kids gay".

After I watched Jackson ramble on CNN, I went to YouTube to see what else Victoria Jackson has been doing these days and found this...

and this...

I know Victoria Jackson is a devout Christian.  On the other hand, I have to wonder if this is more about reviving her career... and looking a little bit like Sally Struthers.  I see the Tea Party folks have embraced her and she's getting more press these days than she has in years.  Is this really about the Bible?  Or is it more about money?

I think it's sad.  She sounds really ignorant.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Asking your husband's permission to cheat...

A friend of mine sent me an instant message this morning.  She wanted to pass along the link to a blog written by a mutual acquaintance.  This mutual acquaintance, a 54 year old woman I'll call Wanda, had just announced that she and her husband of seven years would be getting a divorce.  It is to be Wanda's third split.

Over the years, Wanda had impressed me on several levels.  When I first "met" her online, Wanda weighed about 300 pounds.  Her husband was also a very large man.  Wanda was very open about her sexual preferences; apparently, she and her husband were swingers and had an "open marriage".

Anyway, Wanda made a concerted effort to lose weight the natural way.  She exercised and dieted and stopped eating any white foods.  Come to think of it, that's kind of a clever thing to do.  A lot of white foods are full of sugar and fat.  She stopped eating white bread, white potatoes, white sugar, white flour, milk, cream, white rice... you get the picture.  She ate a lot of protein and stopped indulging in carbs.  And she lost a lot of weight, but not as much as she wanted.  So a couple of years ago, Wanda and her husband both had bariatric surgery.  They both lost lots and lots of weight.  Wanda is now literally half the woman she used to be.

About a year after her surgery, Wanda announced that she had found herself a "boyfriend".  She was still married to her husband, but was hopelessly attracted to a man named "Jay".  She asked her husband permission to date Jay... claiming that she didn't love Jay the way she did her husband, but was intrigued by him.  Wanda's husband apparently told her it was okay to date, though his non-verbal cues were evidently telling a very different story.

So Wanda proceeded to date Jay while remaining married to her husband.  She claimed that Jay was really just a fuck buddy.  She compared him to her gay friends and even said she wasn't attracted to him.  She said Jay didn't find her attractive, either, and that her husband's feelings seemed to range from being okay with the situation to just merely coping with it.  Wanda assured everyone that her marriage was still strong and asked people not to judge her or the strength of her relationship with her husband.

At one point, Wanda told us that her husband had actually said he didn't want her dating.  But even though he had supposedly asked her to cease and desist, Wanda kept up her extramarital relationship.  Just a couple of months ago, Wanda insisted that her marriage was still strong.  But now she's getting a divorce.  Wanda's husband has packed his bags and left.

I think I know what Wanda wants.  She wants validation and consolation.  She wants people to tell her it's not her fault.  She wants people to recognize all she's been through and excuse her behavior.  She feels entitled to the break and she expects people to respect her.  And yet, I don't think she's been very respectful herself.

From the very beginning of this saga, Wanda's husband was not enthusiastic about his wife dating other people.  But like a lot of people, he had evidently been taught not to say that outright.  Or maybe he's learned that telling Wanda "no" would not be met with a very positive response.  Maybe he realized that Wanda was going to do what Wanda was going to do and he just had to put up with it.  Whatever really happened, Wanda's marriage was not as strong as she claimed it was.  It is now over.

It occurred to me that Wanda's mindset seems to be like that of a lot of entitled people.  She seems to think she's different than other people and is entitled to different-- *special*-- treatment.  Perhaps she thinks that no one can understand her or her situation and that she should be free to do as she pleases without fear of judgment or disapproval... because she is entitled to that much.  Somehow, she deserves a pass that the rest of us don't.  

Personally, while I grant that I don't know Wanda's husband or what he's like to live with, I think Wanda's behavior toward him was very disrespectful.  From what I gathered, Wanda's husband was clear that he didn't want her to date outside their marriage, even though they'd been swingers.  He eventually said it was okay-- but it appeared to me that he said that because he knew that forbidding her not to date would not be effective.  A few weeks after Wanda had breathlessly told us about her boyfriend, she said that her husband was "coping" with the dating-- which doesn't make me think that he really appreciated or approved of it.

I think Wanda needed to hear her husband tell her not to date, but she had no intention of honoring his request.  She wanted her husband to tell her he valued her by not giving her permission to date... but she also wanted another man to tell her he valued her by expressing a desire to date her.  And she gave into the other man because the relationship is new and exciting and fun.  Her husband's relationship with her was old hat and unexciting.

Wanda's marital relationship may not be fulfilling or interesting; but why get married if you want to date other people?  Why disrespect the institution of marriage by being intimate with another person?  If that's what you want, you should be divorced or single, which apparently Wanda will soon be.  And you shouldn't expect other people to validate your disrespectful behavior, nor should you excuse your actions by saying "He said it was okay!".  I think Wanda knew very well that what she was doing was not okay.  Otherwise, she wouldn't have told us about it the way she did... with lots of rationalizations and explanations and descriptions...

When it comes down to it, this is Wanda's marriage and her life.  What she does is not my business.  Being disrespectful seems to be Wanda's forte.          

Friday, March 18, 2011

We found a house...

My dear spouse and I have just returned from our househunting expedition.  I'm happy to report that we found a neat little one story house in the country.  It has some land, a view of a pond, wood floors, and a nice sized garage.  I will admit that there are some things about this house that we'll miss, but I think the new place will be fine for as long as we're there.  Maybe it'll be longer than 18 months.

Aside from our new house, I discovered that the city of Fayetteville, NC is probably one of the raunchiest I've ever seen.  Lots of strip joints, pawn shops, and scary drivers.  We almost had an accident a couple of times the other night because of drivers who appeared to be operating under the influence.  I plan to stay away from the Fayetteville area as much as possible.  Yikes!

I also got a chance to see an old friend I knew in high school and her husband.  She's in the Air Force and getting ready to deploy once again.  I'm sad they're leaving the area.  It would have been nice to have people around to hang out with.

We have beautiful weather... it's perfect for starting to get everything organized for vacating.  I'd sure like to get that over with.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I hate moving.

So we're getting down to the wire on this move and last week, our landlord sent a property manager over to take pictures.  Now, mind you, I wasn't too wild about having my furniture in pictures of the house, but I cooperated because the landlords have been mostly okay to deal with.

The property manager, however, is a bit of a dipshit.  He made an appointment last week, then cancelled it at the absolute last minute.  Then a few days later, he called my husband and made another appointment with two hours notice.  My husband had to call me to ask if it was okay... then the guy was a half hour late getting here.

Yesterday, we were sitting on the deck and this asshole shows up unannounced.  Doesn't call or ring the doorbell.  He put one of those real estate lockboxes on the front door and a "for lease" sign at the end of the driveway.  We found them after he had already gone.  I was pretty pissed about that, since the man was supposed to give us notice before just showing up.  Plus, it didn't give me warm fuzzies to think about some guy putting a lock on the door without even mentioning it to us.

Then today, we get an unannounced visit from a family of four.  The property manager apparently told them that the house we're in is already vacant.  Since he was evidently here yesterday, he must have noticed that the place is still occupied.  And once again, no notice whatsoever!

We are making a trip to find a new house.  It really gives me the heebie jeebies to leave right now, knowing that strangers could be showing up while we're gone, peeping in our windows.  I just can't wait until all this crap is behind us and we're settled in our new place.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My husband's ex-wife... a master at ruining family holiday celebrations

My husband and I were eating lunch the other day and, as usual, the conversation turned to thoughts of family.  Before he was married to me, my husband was married to a woman that I feel pretty certain has a personality disorder.  I hesitate to say that too casually, since a lot of people seem to enjoy slapping psychological labels on people.  But based on everything my husband has told me about his life with his former spouse, I really think in her case, the shoe fits.

One recurring theme that I've seen in my husband's ex-wife is her knack for spoiling holidays with staged dramas.  I've been in my husband's life for over a decade now and I've watched her stage these holiday nightmares from afar.  On three occasions, she staged them in another person's home.

Christmas 1999- This was just a few weeks after I met my husband online.  We were just acquaintances, though we were definitely warming to each other.  He had just re-joined the Army a few months prior and simultaneously separated from his ex-wife, who had refused to come along with him.

Ex told my husband not to come home for Christmas.  It turned out she didn't want him home because she had a new boyfriend, whom she had also met online.  New boyfriend was living in the house my husband was paying for.

Moreover, she called my husband's mother, father, and stepmother with a little holiday "message".  She told my mother-in-law that she might not want to spend Christmas with her son because he was a "violent porn addict" and "hated women".  Mother-in-law and Ex had never gotten along, but Ex's warning did give her pause for about five minutes.  After that, she got very angry and advised my husband to get a divorce.

Father-in-law and his wife believed Ex for a little bit longer and things were a bit strained for awhile, especially with my husband's stepmom.  Even years later, she still wondered about her stepson; in 2010, she actually asked me if the things Ex had told her had any truth to them.  Ex had apparently said that my husband hit her and engaged in some abusive sexual practices.  I actually laughed at the notion...  Abusive people don't generally change without a significant intervention of some sort.  I assured stepmom that anything that went on in the bedroom was entirely consensual.  My husband does not have a single mean bone in his body and I have never seen any sign of this violent monster the Ex has described.

But yeah... Ex's brand of holiday cheer sure did affect plenty of households back in 1999.

Easter 2000- At this point in time, my husband and I were online friends.  We had not yet met in person.  He had just told me that he and his wife were separated and living in different states.  I was very single.  In any case, he and the ex decided to take their kids to visit my husband's dad and stepmother.

The grandparents took the kids out for ice cream.  Ex and my husband stayed back to "have a talk".  Ex had made some demands of my husband.  For example, she wanted him to get into LDS counseling with his bishop because she claimed he hated women and was a porn addict.  So she asked my spouse if he had, in fact, gotten counseling for his "problem" (of which I have seen absolutely no evidence of in 8 years of marriage).  He told her he hadn't.

She thrust divorce papers at him.  She had drawn them up herself, using a book.  My husband, being broke and feeling ashamed and desperate, asked "What do we do now?"  He was in tears.

Ex coldly explained to him that she had arranged for a notary.  When he asked her if she thought he was a good father and husband, she said "Maybe to another family."

So my husband agreed that he would sign the papers, even though Ex had really made the settlement punitive.  My husband's decision to divorce apparently took Ex by surprise.  She reportedly locked herself in the guest room and had herself a good cry.  Later, my husband took her hand and held it as they drove to the notary.  He sensed she had been bluffing about the divorce, but he'd had enough abuse and he was determined to force her to live with some consequences.

It was Easter... and they signed the papers.  I'm sure at the time it was horrific for everybody, but now it almost seems symbolic that they split over Easter.  I know that at least for my husband, life has resurrected miraculously.

The divorce was final three months later, just in time for my 28th birthday.  Thanks for the birthday present, Ex.

Christmas 2004- I've already written about this before, but I think it bears repeating because it fits in with Ex's knack for ruining major holidays.

My husband and I had been married for two years.  He was still, at that time, trying hard to be an involved father.  But Ex lived on the other side of the country from us and was being a huge pain in the ass about visitation.  She finally proposed that my husband and I journey across the country to her home for Thanksgiving.  I was absolutely opposed to this, mainly because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I had no desire to spend it with my husband's ex wife.  Moreover, we really couldn't afford such a trip at that time.

Nothing ever really got settled about Thanksgiving, so then Ex proposed that we all meet at my husband's father's house for Christmas.  She claimed that she felt it was important that the children see us united and working as one big happy family.  She added that since she had the children, along with a new baby with her third victim, we should stay in a hotel.  She and victim #3 would stay at my husband's father's home with the kids.  Again, I was very much opposed to such a gathering, mainly because I knew it would be very unpleasant for everyone involved.  We also couldn't really afford it.  After much soul searching, I decided to stay home.

We didn't tell Ex I wasn't coming, though, because we knew from prior experience that she might decide to cancel at the last minute.  We had a feeling that her main purpose for having this gathering was not to visit with the former in-laws, who at that time were still somewhat supportive, nor was it really to get us all friendly and bonded.  What she wanted was to find out about me, see if I could be assimilated into her narcissistic sphere, and test how far her manipulative tactics would go in subduing me.

Her reaction to my absence made it abundantly clear that she wasn't interested in a celebration or a nice visit.  She had also let me know in no uncertain terms that the kids didn't even like me, so I figured I was doing them a favor by not showing up.  As their loving and "oh so concerned" mother, shouldn't she have appreciated the consideration I showed for their "feelings"?   The waterworks came on yet again as she cried to my husband's stepmother that I had snubbed her.

My husband told me that the gathering was a complete disaster and, in fact, that was the last time he got to see his daughters.  So much for us all "working together" and "being a happy family", right?  She certainly never attempted a stunt like that one again, in the interest of family solidarity.  My husband counts that Christmas as one of the worst on record.

What these situations have in common-  Until this past weekend, I never really sat down to think about what Christmas 1999, Easter 2000, and Christmas 2004 had in common.  They seem like totally different holidays, right?  But consider this...

Two "celebrations" took place at my in-laws' home.  One affected the in-laws' at home, even if Ex wasn't present.

All were held on or near major religious holidays.

Two times, the children were present, as were the in-laws.   

All holidays were disastrous and drama filled... with the drama focusing squarely on Ex.  Indeed, she was the one who started everything.

A couple of years later, coincidentally right around Easter 2006, Ex sent letters to my husband, telling him off.  She admitted that she had never actually wanted the divorce and had, in fact, just been trying to force him to rock bottom.  She lambasted me for not showing up at the Christmas debacle and claimed that I was the one who ruined everything.  While I didn't take the time to read her entire rant, I did decide it was time I responded to her.  In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have bothered, but my letter to her did, at least, get her to stop contacting us.  Hey... yet another Easter miracle!

I basically told her that I didn't understand how a loving mother and former daughter-in-law could subject both her children and the in-laws-- whom she claimed viewed her as more their daughter than my husband was their son-- to her repeated dramas.  I wondered how it was justified in her world to stage these dramas in someone else's home over major religious holidays.  I asked her if she had even given a passing thought to her children, who would no doubt be hoping for a nice visit with their grandparents?  I also wondered if she'd given any thought to her gracious hosts, whose home she had taken over with her ridiculous displays.  I told her that I thought she was cruel, disrespectful, and very abusive and I didn't want to know her.

I admit I had harsh words for Ex.  I was completely honest with her and told her upfront that I felt very hostile toward her for the way she treats my husband and his family.  She views people as possessions and extensions of herself.  If one of them dares to cross her, she thinks nothing of punishing them in some way or, if they're lucky, cutting them out of her life.  The only bad thing about being cut out of her life is that she engages in smear campaigns.  But with people like her, smear campaigns can only work for so long.  We've also seen that she eventually changes her tune if the object of her smear campaign has something she can use.  I fully expect that she'll pop back into our lives like a bad penny if it suits her agenda.

Thankfully, neither my husband nor I have since had to endure any ruined holiday gatherings with Ex.  However, I have since started reading an excellent blog called Shrink4Men and this past Christmas, the blog's author Dr. Tara Palmatier addressed how character disordered people can ruin holidays.  Have a look.

And here's a related post from my blog...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Divorce Court: Ungrateful Woman 1 of 2

This is hilarious. Most of this week, I've been watching videos about troubled couples. I ran across this hysterical episode of Divorce Court which involves a woman who wants a divorce because her husband is too good to her. Now I've heard everything! I happen to be married to a good guy like Mr. Lucas and I thank God every day for him.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A "white males only" scholarship...

So today, I was futzing around on Yahoo! and came across this article about a scholarship aimed at white males.  The guys who started this scholarship have a Web site and claim that they aren't bigots, they just want to even the playing field for white males, who don't tend to be targeted for grants and scholarships.

I will admit that I haven't really looked into this myself, mainly because I'm female and my college days are hopefully behind me.  However, I do have to admit to being intrigued by this idea.  On the surface, I don't see anything wrong with it.  There are plenty of scholarships aimed at members of "minority" groups.  No one has the ability to choose which gender or race they are born into.

I don't think this group is trying to be racist, I think they're trying to make a point that seems to be lost on a lot of people.  If we want racial and gender equality in this country, we all have to embrace true equality.  That means we can't give people preference based on their skin color or whether or not they lack a penis.  Certainly minority groups of all walks of life have experienced discrimination... and some groups have experienced it more than others have.  The list of currently and historically oppressed people in America alone is very long and includes blacks, hispanics, native Americans, Irish, Jews, Mormons, JWs, Catholics, women, homosexuals, obese people, handicapped and disabled people, ugly people, nerdy people, short people, tall people, the list goes on and on...

The one group that most often gets blamed for oppressing everybody else is white males.  However, not every white male is an oppressive bigot.  In fact, there are a lot of white guys out there who feel guilty for their "privileged" lot.  On the other hand, there are a lot of folks out there who don't feel guilty at all and don't feel they should have to feel guilty.  Like I said, no one can help their race or gender.  What they can help is their behaviors and attitudes.  And if you're a white guy who doesn't mistreat those who aren't like you, why should you be expected to feel guilty for what you are?  And why should you be expected to feel sorry for what other people are?

While I understand that America has an ugly history, so do most of the other places on this planet.  And most of us agree that it's wrong to be a bigot, right?  So why should we have scholarships that are given to people based on their genders or racial heritage?  Why not give people rewards for their achievements, skills, talents, and productivity instead?  Yes, it's true that some people don't have it as easy as others do, but in this country there should be no reason why anyone can't succeed, despite their race or gender.  We won't get past discrimination as long as we continue to practice it by giving handouts to people for things about them they can't control.  If we really want an even playing field, we need to actually even the playing field... and give everyone a fair shot at success... not just those who happen to be part of a protected group.