Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Self-control... or, family members who aren't friends.

I deleted one of my cousins off of my Facebook friends list yesterday.  As I write that, I feel kind of stupid.  I am certainly old enough to remember when Facebook didn't exist.  Now it's like my whole life revolves around it and other social media platforms.  There was a time when I didn't see or talk to my relatives for years.  Now I can see them anytime on Facebook and that's bringing me down.

This unfriending action was brought on by my post about the woman who called me a moron because I pointed out that Donald Trump's proposed wall at the Mexican border would be very expensive to build and maintain.  She claimed that the money saved by illegals being kept out would make the wall pay for itself.  I thought that sounded like bullshit and said so, although not in those words.  I believe my comment was a simple "Nope."  And for that, I got called a moron.  My initial comment wasn't even directed at her, either.  She simply decided I needed a good schooling about "them damn undesirable illegals".

I decided to vent about being called a moron on my Facebook page.  The thread was going pretty well, with most people playing nice and being funny.  Then an unexpected political shitstorm argument started.

My cousin, who is a Trump supporter (and one of Uncle Dickhead's sons), decided to chime in with his opinions about the wall, which he thinks is a good thing.  As usual, his tone was overbearing and condescending.  I told him so.  I let him know that I wasn't interested in arguing with family members about politics because it was unlikely that either of us would change the other person's mind.  I asked him to argue somewhere else.

Another cousin had a more reasonable discussion with me about the wall.  I didn't enjoy the discussion much, but at least he was willing to listen to me and respond with a modicum of respect.  The other cousin is just very heavy handed with his opinions.  Moreover, we don't do a lot of conversing anyway, unless it's about some topic that he wants to argue about.  So yesterday, three days after that thread was started, he came back and left me a comment letting me know that he was responding because my stuff was showing up on his Facebook timeline.  In other words, it's MY FAULT that he sees this stuff because until yesterday, we were Facebook friends; therefore, he has the right to keep yammering away for as long as he wants to.

I sat there dumbfounded for a minute.  I mean, this guy has a master's degree and he apparently doesn't know that he has options on controlling what shows up on his Facebook feed.  He could have hidden the post.  He could have decided to unfollow me.  He could have unfriended me.  Or-- here's a thought-- he could have been a grown ass man, exercised a little self-control and restraint, and either not responded at all or taken a less contentious tone.

I have seen some of the nasty political arguments this guy has hosted on his own Facebook page.  A lot of them involve people from his mother's side of the family.  They are apparently a lot more liberal than he is, but they are no less opinionated or obnoxious.  I don't want that shit on my page.  If it does erupt, I don't want it going on for days on end.

So... when my cousin came back yesterday with more pro-Trump drivel and started his comment by blaming ME that my stuff was on his Facebook timeline (which he apparently doesn't know how to manage), I decided enough was enough and I deleted him.  I figure we won't be going to Thanksgiving again anytime soon anyway.  And I'm getting to the point at which I'm pretty tired of a lot of the shit that comes from my family.  It causes me stress.

My initial post on Facebook, which was really about being called a moron simply because of my comment that the wall will cost money, ended up digressing into pointless arguments about Trump's stupid wall with someone who is my relative, but obviously isn't a friend.  How sad that is.

Our president is such a gentleman.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Linda Thompson dishes on loving Elvis Presley, being Bruce Jenner's wife, and being David Foster's wife...

Elvis Presley, the so-called "King of Rock and Roll", died when I was five years old and living in England.  I grew up knowing who he was, hearing his songs, watching movies about him, and not really having an appreciation for why he was considered so great.

Bruce Jenner, now out as a transgender and living his life as Caitlyn, won the gold medal in the Olympic Decathlon in 1976.  I was four years old and living in England, so I didn't see his big win.  I did hear about it, though, and I remember watching him act on shows like CHiPs.  I also remember seeing him on a Wheaties box or two.

David Foster is famous for writing intricate melodies and dazzling orchestral arrangements.  I remember hearing his work on Earth, Wind, & Fire's beautiful ballad, "After the Love is Gone" and Chicago's "Hard to Say I'm Sorry", as well as on countless other projects.

These three people all have the distinction of dating and/or marrying Memphis raised Linda Thompson, a former beauty queen, actress, and lyricist, and the mother of Bruce Jenner's two sons, Brandon and Brody.  Last year, Thompson published a book about her experiences entitled 
A Little Thing Called Life: On Loving Elvis Presley, Bruce Jenner, and Songs in Between.  I think I downloaded the book some time ago, but I only just got around to finishing it.  It was a surprisingly interesting read.

Although I had heard of Linda Thompson before I bought her book, I think I was mostly familiar with her because I knew some of the songs for which she'd written lyrics.  Thompson explains that she's always enjoyed writing poetry and while she was dating Elvis Presley, a musician noticed how well the words flowed.  He set her words to music and sang for her and that was when she realized she was a songwriter.  But before that happened, she was a beauty queen whose brother worked as one of Elvis's bodyguards.  

Elvis Presley was apparently quite taken with Linda and she became his live in girlfriend and caretaker for almost five years.  She was in her 20s and he was in his 40s.  He used a lot of drugs and wasn't entirely faithful.  She lost her virginity to him and several years of her youth taking care of him after he took too many sleeping pills.  She learned how to make his famous peanut butter and banana sandwiches and shares the recipe in her book.  She also took care of his daughter with Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie.

Elvis and Linda broke up less than a year before he died.  He'd already found another caretaker, though, a woman named Ginger, who also has a book.

I was probably more interested in reading about Linda Thompson's relationship with Bruce Jenner.  When they met, he was still married to his first wife, Chrystie, and had a son and a daughter from that marriage.  In the wake of his divorce, Bruce and Linda started dating and married.  She bore him two sons and he secretly borrowed her favorite silk blouse, which he smeared with makeup and stretched out.  One time, Linda was cleaning up around their house and she found an unlabeled video tape.  Thinking it was a film of her sons, she put it in the VCR to watch and was stunned to see Bruce parading around in women's clothing and looking very much like a woman.

To her credit, Thompson did see a therapist about the situation with Bruce.  The therapist wisely told her that Bruce is transgendered and thinks he's a woman.  It was a condition that would not change.  Feeling uncomfortable with the prospect of being married to a woman, Linda decided that she and Bruce should divorce.  She did not ask for child support or alimony... and sadly, Bruce Jenner was evidently an "absentee father".  Thompson repeatedly writes that she did encourage a relationship between her sons and their dad.  She also writes that she feels there is "no excuse" for a parent missing their child's upbringing.  Frankly, I agree.  However, there are plenty of parents out there who don't want the other parent involved and do their best to break that bond.  I'm glad to read that Thompson didn't do that.  Or, at least that's what she claims.

My husband's mother was married to a transgendered female for a couple of years.  He was a good looking man, very artistic, and had a son from a prior relationship.  Pretty soon, it became clear that he hoped my mother-in-law would teach him "how to be a woman".  Naturally, the relationship failed within four years.  While I have a lot of empathy for transgendered people, I also have empathy for people who end up in relationships with them not knowing that they are transgendered.  I also have empathy for Bill, who was abused by his ex stepfather.

After she divorced Jenner, who went on to marry Kris Kardashian and have two daughters with her, Linda Thompson met David Foster.  He was married at the time they met and had children from prior relationships.  He divorced, and he and Thompson started dating.  Thompson writes that Foster is incredibly talented to the point of being a genius.  However, he's also very tyrannical about some things and seems quite narcissistic.  Their marriage lasted nineteen years.  It ended after Thompson forgave Foster for having an affair and then caught him in another lie.  The shitty part of it was that she caught him due to a friend's lack of discretion and it happened to be their wedding anniversary.

I have always admired David Foster as a musician, but as I read about Thompson getting involved with yet another self-absorbed overachiever, I started wondering what it was that attracted her to these types of people.  If you think about it, Thompson's major relationships have involved people who are bonafide superstars in their fields.  According to Thompson, they each repeatedly treated her with disrespect.  She has reaped some benefits from her relationships with these guys.  Thompson is famous in her own right, knows a lot of elite people, and lives very comfortably.  But she has not been lucky in love.

I suppose the main thing I got from her book is that you should be careful what you wish for when you look for a mate.  Would it be exciting to be in a relationship with a famous person?  Maybe.  There's a lot that famous people can offer that ordinary people can't.  For instance, Elvis Presley gifted Linda with a house and took her on trips in his private airplane.  

But there is a price to pay for the trappings of that kind of success.  I think to be a really famous superstar, one has to be somewhat narcissistic.  I don't think every superstar is a narcissist, but I do think a whole lot of them are.  And most narcissists are assholes.

Is it better to live in the lap of luxury yet constantly be disrespected by your mate?  Or is it better to have less material wealth but a mate who loves, respects, and encourages you to live your best life together?  I think all three of Linda's loves did encourage her to some extent-- they weren't total assholes by her account.  There were good times and she has been able to be friendly with them in the wake of their failed relationships.  But she had to go through a lot of pain to get to that point.

Once again, I look at my Bill and thank God I found a guy who's just plain good.  No, he's not rich, famous, or possessing of an extremely rare talent (unless you count profound empathy and kindness), but he always treats me with love and respect.  I love being with him.  I know where he is at night and who he wants to be with.  And that's worth more to me than a mansion.

Anyway, I found Linda Thompson's love life interesting.  There are a lot of tidbits in there for those who like to read about celebrities, too.  She even includes some anecdotes about Kenny Rogers and Michael Jackson.  It's well worth the read if you have the inclination to pick it up.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

The L word...

It's time to go home.  I tried to do some travel blogging yesterday, but the WiFi wouldn't cooperate.  I will have to do it when we get back to Germany.

We have had a marvelous time in France this week.  I feel very fortunate that we're able to go to so many great places so easily.  I have so much to write about after this trip.  It really was a very good time.

Yesterday, while we enjoyed a lovely French lunch in a town called Cluny, Bill told me that his younger daughter had said "we love you." in her generic Facebook post a couple of months ago.  While I don't think her actions have been very loving at all, I will note that I felt a bit more empathy for her when he told me she wrote that.  I'm sure these years haven't been easy for her or her sister.  And while I'm not sure I will ever trust her, I don't feel as angry toward her as I have in the past.  So that's good news.

As Bill told me about younger daughter saying "we love you.", his eyes gleamed with tears.  It made me wish all the more that I could have given him another chance at being a dad.  He would have been a wonderful dad to his daughters had he only been given the opportunity.

Anyway, Bill didn't tell me about the "L word" when he told me about his younger daughter writing to him.  I have to admit, it makes a small difference.  Because I don't think ex stepson ever said that during the few years he was talking to Bill.

So, probably sometime this evening, be on the lookout for new travel posts, if you're interested in that sort of thing.  I also have a new book review to write.

Friday, February 24, 2017

In other news, I got called a "moron" yesterday...

Why?  Because someone posted about Trump's proposed wall and I mentioned that it would cost a lot to maintain.  Some mouth breather from Washington State said that all the "illegals" who were kept out would make the wall pay for itself.

My only response was "Nope."  For that, I got called a "moron".

At first, I was just going to write "Classy."  And that's what I did.  But then I thought about it and all the irritation I have experienced at the hands of dipshit Trump supporters.  So I wrote, "Hey, do you always call people morons if they don't agree with you?  I can see why you're a Trump supporter.  You have the intellect of a Cheeto."

She came back and accused me of wearing a vagina hat and condoning the "killing of babies and selling of their body parts."  Then she called me a moron again.  I swear, I never brought up the topic of abortion.  She brought that up and more.

I decided to have a little mean spirited fun, so I told her I was sorry her mother "hosted" her.  She made some comment about how her mother gave her life and didn't "host" her (obviously, she missed the comments made by one of her beloved Republican leaders).  Later, I told her she was a load that should have been swallowed because she kept insulting me.  It probably went over her head.

In all seriousness, this lady wasn't playing with a full deck.  I probably shouldn't have responded to her at all after she called me a moron.  She went way off the deep end with her comments.  I didn't know this person from Adam and she knew nothing about me whatsoever.  I did end up deleting someone off Facebook because he "liked" that she called me a moron.  I figured that wasn't very friendly behavior.

I find myself with less and less patience for rabid Trump supporters, especially those who are nasty.  One thing I probably should have said, if I had been in a shaming mood, was that I was at one time someone's innocent baby.  She loves babies and thinks their lives should be spared at all costs so they can grow up and be called "morons" by the likes of her.  She's remarkably hypocritical.

Anyway... we're done.  I won't be talking to her again.  She's been cast into Facebook Outer Darkness.  I'd like to think I'm not a moron.  And I think that if that's all you can say to someone with whom you disagree, you don't have much of an intellect yourself.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Uncle Dickhead...

The net is going now... very slowly, but functionally.  So, just for Alexis, here's what happened with my uncle.

A little background, first.  I actually really like this uncle most of the time.  He is my dad's younger brother and he's a lot less uptight than my dad was.  However, like my dad, he is a dyed in the wool Republican.  As he's gotten older, he's gotten more militant.  In fact, last summer, I blogged about a drunken rant he directed at one of my cousins.  You'll forgive me if I don't link to the specific post just now.  I will do it when we have better net access.

Anyway...  this particular uncle has a habit of forwarding political emails to everyone in his address book.  Much of the stuff he sends is offensive.  He's sent racist, misogynistic, xenophobic stuff, for instance.  I usually ignore it because he's old and won't change.  But, for some reason, the other day he sent this email about Pence and I simply responded that I wasn't impressed with Trump or Pence and thought they needed to go.  That's all I said.

My uncle came back and accused me of being a "nut case".  He says that in two years, I'll be "cheering" for Trump.  He assumes I voted for Hillary Clinton.  I didn't vote for Mrs. Clinton, but I would much prefer her to Trump.  At least she's competent and knows enough not to act like a goddamn psychopath on Twitter.

So anyway, being called a nutcase by my uncle pissed me the fuck right off.  So I wrote back to him and said, "No, Ed, I really will not [be cheering].  You need to stop sending me this crap.  Unless you want a verbal ass kicking, you'll take me off your email list."

My sister saw what I wrote and said, "Oh no, now you've done it."  I explained to her that I'm rapidly reaching a point at which I am about to disassociate with people who resort to mean spirited personal insults over politics, even if it's a family member.  She implored me to calm down, probably realizing that since I live overseas and don't miss anyone, it would be all too easy for me to simply drop out of the family fold altogether.

Last night, he responded and once again called me crazy.  He also said "GET OVER IT!"  Just like that.

I wonder, does he really expect me to just "get over it" as it were?  He knows where I come from.  I have a lot of the same qualities he has.  In fact, being outspoken is what makes me a family member of his.

Anyway... I wrote back and said, "Ed, I'm warning you.  Leave me alone.  Stop sending me political bullshit."

He may write back today, after he's had a few belts.  If he does, I will probably shred him.

No WiFi...

Well, we have it, but it doesn't work too well.  So my posts may be very light until we get home.  Maybe that's a blessing!  There will be a lot of posts in a few days, though.  Got stories aplenty.  And there's always my back catalog, too.

I look forward to ranting about my uncle, at the very least.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Burgundy bound...

Today we are packing up and leaving Ribeauville for St. Marcelin de Cray, which is a very tiny place near Macon.  It'll be nice to change our scenery again, although yesterday was fun.

Last night, I finally told my uncle to stop sending me political bullshit emails.  I did do in a rather impolite way, basically offering a verbal ass kicking.  Maybe it was a shock, but dammit, I'm 44 years old and tired of respecting my elders.  My first response was somewhat polite.  He sent me an email about Trump and Pence and I wrote that I wasn't impressed with either of them and would like to see them go.

He wrote back and called me a nutcase.  He also said that I'd change my mind. I responded that no, I really wouldn't change my mind and he needed to stop sending me that shit.  Then I told him to take me off his email list or risk a verbal ass kicking.

I then got an email from my sister, who I think was both shocked and amused by my antics.  I told her I don't care if they disown me, since I have been feeling rather disenfranchised from the family, anyway.  I'm sick of tolerating shit in order to keep the peace.

Ha ha ha...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It's just a cake...

I ripped off this photo from Facebook.  It's been around awhile.  Last year, I shared it on my timeline and got a lot of disgusted comments from people.  Because I like to be provocative sometimes, I also shared it this year...

If this is yours and you want me to remove it, let me know...  But I won't remove it just because it's gross looking.  I have a point to make.

At first blush, this photo is shocking.  The "baby cake" is very realistic looking and it looks like you're hacking up an actual infant.  I will admit, I was grossed out when I first saw this cake.  A lot of my friends were actually angry to see it.

However...  if you stop and think about it, this is actually a really amazing creation.  And it is really just a cake.  You're not hacking up a baby.  You're hacking up someone's artistry.  At least they had the decency not to use strawberry or raspberry filling.

I still probably wouldn't eat this if someone served it to me.  It's disturbing and weird.  However, I admire the creativity that went into this... even if it kind of ranks up there with the tasteless Cake Wreck I wrote about a few years ago.  

Fasching is not felching...

Right now, it's fasching season in Germany.  Lots of very Catholic towns have flags strewn across their streets and parades going on.  In Baden-W├╝rttemberg, where we live, people are dressing up in scary costumes and marching in parades.  I've heard that in Bavaria, where our landlady is from, the costumes are more silly and cute than scary.  Despite having lived in Germany for awhile now, Bill and I haven't yet attended a fasching parade.  I don't know why.  It could be because I don't like crowds.

Anyway, lots of people in the local community are interested in fasching.  There's been a lot of talk about the parades on Facebook.  And every time I see the word "fasching", I think of another word.  It's a word that I don't recommend looking up because it means something really disgusting.  If you don't know what "felching" is and you have a weak stomach, I really recommend leaving yourself in ignorant bliss.  Every time I see the word "fasching", I think of "felching"... which is a lot scarier than people dressed in weird costumes.

You may wonder how I learned about felching.  It's actually kind of a funny story, which is the only reason I'm writing about felching in this blog.  I would not want to engage in felching, you see.

Back in the late 1990s, I worked as a waitress at a really nice restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I had two male friends who were waiters.  One of them was flamboyantly gay.  The other was straight (and even married with a family), but could pass as gay.  They were a lot of fun and got me through many a tough shift.

Anyway, one day I was working with the gay guy and he said sarcastically, "Oh, here comes Mr. Felcher!" as he noticed our straight friend coming in on his day off to pick up his paycheck (which was probably $0 because it was used to pay taxes).

"Mr. Felcher!  That's funny!" I said with a laugh.

"He loves felching." the guy continued.

I didn't realize this was an inside joke between the two men.  I innocently asked, "What is felching?"

By that time, our straight friend came over to say hello and he said, "You want to tell her what felching is?"

So my straight friend told me with a very straight face what that word meant.  Naturally, I laughed about it, but it really is gross.  I repeat, don't look it up unless you can take it.  I mentioned in a local Facebook group that the word fasching made me think of felching and warned people not to look it up.  One guy didn't listen to me and now, like me, he's a little bit wiser about the ways of the world.

Incidentally, after learning about felching, I became a part of the inside joke.  My two guy friends and I used to make up songs about felching and sing them to each other in the kitchen as we prepared bread boats and hot tea.  That made waiting tables a hell of a lot more fun.  Hey... whatever gets you through the night, right?

For those who are curious and want to read an entertaining and informative blog post about felching (that I didn't write), click here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

France is agreeable...

I felt better as soon as we crossed into French territory yesterday.  I don't know what it is, but the more times I visit France, the more I like it here.

We checked into our "gite" yesterday and made ourselves at home.  Then we had a big dinner at a nearby restaurant... lots of comfort food.  I had ham and vegetables and Bill had a baked dish with Munster cheese, bacon, and potatoes.  We had to bring the leftovers back with us!

This apartment is large and there are steep stairs leading to two extra bedrooms.  Bill's mom was supposed to be with us, hence the larger pad.  I think if we come back, we'll rent the bigger place anyway.  It wasn't much more expensive and it's a bit more comfortable.  The dogs are weirded out by the steep stairs, though.

Travel always makes me feel less stressed.  I think this will be a good week.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Beware of dog!

We bought this sign to scare off would be intruders... 

Lately, there has been a rash of burglaries in the communities not far from us.  Although I think it's fairly doubtful that the Eastern European gangs who have been breaking into houses will hit our town this week, we did decide to invest in a "beware of dog" sign for our front door.  

Zane and Arran will be coming with us on our trip this week, but they are around most of the time.  They are loud.  I doubt they would ever seriously hurt anyone, but they are good watchdogs.  So we might as well warn would be thieves.

The sign basically says:


Free roaming dog!

When the dog comes, take off your clothes and wait for help.  When help doesn't come, good luck.

It was the only "beware of dog" sign Bill could find yesterday.  I rather think it suits us perfectly.  

Time to get cracking on my packing.   

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I have reached my weekly quota dealing with stupid people...

It's true.  I've had a week that has been more annoying than most and was somewhat exacerbated by having to deal with stupid people.

It started with the news that Bill's mom can't visit us because she's injured.  That's not her fault and I don't think she's stupid because she hurt herself.  It's just that the event put a damper on the whole week.  For a couple of days, Bill was fretting that his mom might need his help and we're thousands of miles away.  Granted, there are some positives.  Bill's mom doesn't have dementia, for instance, and she has a job.  But for a couple of days, we were actually thinking we'd need to do something drastic to help her out, even down to having her declared Bill's dependent and bringing her over here to live with us.  I think I'd be okay with that, but it would be a major logistical event.  We were genuinely worried as well as very sad that her trip had to be cancelled.

Next, was stress over the dogs.  I was worried because I thought there might be signs that Zane was getting sick from mast cell cancer.  But then Arran started throwing up.  We figured out that the problem was the ricotta cheese Bill bought.  We mix the cheese with fish oil as part of the anti-cancer diet they're on (Cleo's diet).  The stuff Bill usually gets wasn't in stock and he got some that must have been stronger.  The end result was a big mess on my rug and outside on our walking path.

Next came the stupid SingSnap drama.  I'll be honest, folks.  That situation annoyed me a lot more than it should have.  I actually ranted a bit about it last night to poor Bill.  It wasn't so much that particular situation as it is the overwhelming theme in my life that I'm supposed to be "nice", "grateful", "polite", and "stay in my lane".  But other people are apparently free to say whatever they want to me in whatever tone they wish.  If I say something in protest, I'm being a "diva".  If they accuse me of being a "diva", especially if they don't even know me, I'm supposed to smile and go away grateful for the correction.

It's bullshit.  This crap has been going on my whole life and the older I get, the less tolerance I have for it.  And so, because of that, I end up in ridiculous online dramas with people I don't even know over things that shouldn't matter.  But even as I remind myself that I'm getting annoyed over something petty, I realize that I still feel upset and irritated about it and the problem is getting worse, not better.

For instance, today's blog post title was my final Facebook status of the evening.  Most people were pretty funny and asked why I hadn't reached that point by 10:00am on Monday.  My response was that I neither have a job nor children.  But then I got a very "helpful" comment from one of my relatives who advised me to surround myself with "pleasant" people this weekend.

I will admit that the "advice" immediately irritated me.  First off, I have just written that "stupid people" are annoying me.  If that's the case, why would I risk surrounding myself with people who might end up saying or doing stupid things?  Seems to me I need a break from people, not a party.  Of course, most of the people I "hang out with" are online.  So the obvious cure, then, is to go offline for a few days.  But like so many other people, I am kind of addicted to the Internet.

Secondly, like many men, my relative is trying to "fix" the situation.  The situation doesn't really need fixing.  It is what it is.  It's not going to change.  There will always be stupid people around and they will always annoy me.  And telling me to hang out with "pleasant" people is stupid advice.  I'm not feeling very pleasant myself, so why would anyone in their right mind want to hang out with me?  Why would you suggest that I inflict my curmudgeonly attitude on pleasant people?  Nope... I think what I really need is some time meditating somewhere or perhaps a good power fuck.

Thirdly, when I thanked my relative for the advice, he claimed it wasn't advice.  Uh...  here's a screenshot of Dictionary.com's definition for the word "advice".

Seems to me that telling me I need to surround myself with "pleasant people" is advice.

Yes, I know I'm being anal retentive and should be more laid back about this, but that is a symptom of my condition, no?  I'm feeling irritable, edgy, and overwrought over dumb shit.  I'm feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, and bored.  I wish I could be more Christlike, but dammit, I'm human... and probably hormonal.

Which brings me to the last thing that has annoyed me this week.  I just read a story on Today.com about a Utah family who brought their three year old boxer mix to a shelter.  The dog came with a notebook full of notes written by one of the family's kids, who was heartbroken that his dog was being given up.  The family's reasons for giving up their active, healthy, beautiful canine family member?  They have young kids in the house and the dog is "unaware of his size" and "plays too rough with the young kids".  

I want to ask these idiotic parents what they were thinking when they brought a young boxer home.  The dog is only three and they have "young kids".  Did they not realize that young dogs like to play and have a lot of energy that needs to be burned off?  Did they not realize that boxers are big dogs?  Did they not know that they have small children?  Did they make any attempt whatsoever to train that poor dog who lost his family?  What about their little boy, who loved the dog so much that he sent a book full of instructions and notes for the dog's next family (if he is lucky enough to find one)?  They have just taught their kid that family members-- particularly those that aren't human-- are totally expendable.  

But even as I write this and feel somewhat outraged, I know that I'm not familiar with the family and I shouldn't judge them.  There may be more to the story.  Moreover, as heartbreaking as this tale is, the fact that the dog got on Today.com will go a long way in helping him find a more suitable home.  I have two lovely dogs who didn't work out in other people's homes.  Had they not been given up to beagle rescues, I wouldn't have them in my life.  I might have two other dogs, but I wouldn't have Zane and Arran.  I do think it's better for people who can't care for their animals to find a better home for them.  But I also think that when it comes to adopting pets, people need to exercise more common sense.  And maybe that's why I'm so irritable... because there seems to be a serious dearth in common sense these days.  It's frustrating and annoying and makes me wish I could be beamed up for awhile.

Well... at least there's France and we're headed there tomorrow...    

I feel a little like Clark Griswold today.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bill's last Christmas gift finally arrives...

Back in November 2016, Bill told me he was excited about a newly developed high-tech kitchen appliance.  Priced at $129, the Anova Precision Cooker looked like something a geek like him needed to have post haste.  Off I went to order it, but there was a dilemma.  Should I get one for the United States or Europe?  Ultimately, I decided on getting a 220 version, because it looks like we could be living in Germany for awhile (as of today, anyway).

Next, I had to determine where I wanted the thing sent.  Originally, I was going to have it sent to Germany.  But then it occurred to me that if I had it sent to our house, I could be hit with a bunch of customs fees.  I don't mind paying those if I know what they are ahead of time and have the money on hand.  Unfortunately, it's hard to tell how much you'll pay and I don't routinely keep cash in the house.

So then I thought maybe I'd have it sent to APO.  But I couldn't have the thing sent to APO, because the company wouldn't send things to APO.  I had it sent to Bill's mom in Texas instead.

A couple of weeks later, I got an email letting me know that the precision cooker was backordered and it would be a couple more weeks before they could ship it.  The email indicated I could cancel the order if I wanted to, but I knew Bill was really wanting that new tool.  To their credit, the company delivered the cooker to my mother-in-law on December 23rd.

Four days later, mother-in-law put the new gadget in the mail to our APO.  For some reason, she wrote that the box was full of books instead of an electronic item.  It got put on the "slow boat" because it was considered media mail.  Consequently, Bill's new toy just arrived yesterday.  That's February 16th, which I guess makes it more of a Valentine's Day gift.  And it's just in time for us to leave for the next week.  On Sunday, we're packing up and going to France for the week.  We'll spend three nights in Ribeauville, then move on to Burgundy for four nights.  I'm really looking forward to it, even though the dogs will be with us.

Bill's new toy...

Bill also got new beer brewing equipment last week that he can't wait to break in.  I'm sitting here thinking it's time to expand my own interests.  The SingSnap SNAFU makes me think it's time to make music somewhere other than a stupid karaoke site with idiots around.  

Anyway... it'll be fun to see what Bill does with his new toy.  Maybe it's time for me to invest in a new toy, too.  ;-)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Oklahoma politician wants to treat pregnant women as "hosts"...

Forgive me for the title of this post (ETA: I had originally written a much more scathing title).  It just makes me so angry to see misogynistic people in power.  Yesterday, I read the sad tale of Oklahoma Representative Justin Humphrey and his assertion that pregnant women are merely "hosts" who should be forced to stay pregnant.  Humphrey's rationale is this...

“I understand that they feel like that is their body. I feel like it is a separate—what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host,'” he told The Intercept this week. “And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant.”

Except sometimes women who get pregnant didn't get that way consensually, Justin.  And yes, it's the woman's body and her body and its needs should trump (see what I did there) that of a fetus that isn't yet viable.  

Look... I have never been pregnant, so I've never had an abortion.  However, I don't remember my time in the womb at all.  I know for a fact my own mother would have preferred to stop at three kids. I was number four and I suffered for it.  I often wonder how life would have been for her if she'd had an abortion.  It's not like my presence here does a lot for anyone, except maybe Bill and my dogs.  If my mother had aborted me, I doubt I would have known what hit me.  I simply wouldn't have existed.  It would have been one less body for the planet to support.

I find it utterly repugnant that there are men in power in the United States who would term a pregnant woman a "host".  That is just vile.  When I think of a host, I think of parasites, not developing fetuses.  I think if Humphrey wanted to push this agenda, he could have come up with language that doesn't reduce women to mere "hosts", as if they were animals infested with fleas and ticks.  Why do women vote for guys like Humphrey, anyway?  I know some of them must have.  He sees them as mere "hosts".  

And why don't guys like Humphrey tell men that they need to be responsible as to where they stick their dicks?  Why is it always solely the woman's fault if she gets pregnant?  Humphrey also thinks men should have to give permission for a woman to have an abortion.  I can see the loopholes for that bullshit a mile away.  How can they prove who fathered the fetus while it's in utero?  Are they going to take that step for any woman in Oklahoma who wants to terminate a pregnancy?  What about rapists and child molesters?  What will end up happening is women who want abortions will find sympathetic male friends to give them "permission".  It won't solve the problem; it'll just block women from getting the care they need.

This kind of shit makes me sick.  I hate reading it.  I hate that sexist asshole guys like Humphrey are making wrong-headed laws that good people have to obey.  Anyway... if you want to read more about this, click here to go to BBC.  

Tone deaf...

Last night, I ranted on my music blog about a situation that arose on SingSnap yesterday.  The story of what actually happened is on that blog, so I won't rehash it here.  Suffice to say that I dared to complain about some inconsiderate behavior and a few people basically said that I'm "full of myself" and "lack character".  They accused me of being a "diva" because I was offended that someone poorly played a harmonica over some vocals I laid down in a duet.

After reading a few comments accusing *me* of being rude because I dared to speak out about the instrument player, whom I neither named nor linked to, I got even more upset.  You see, on SingSnap, if you post an open duet, many people expect you to go back and actually listen to the end result.  You are also expected to leave a grateful comment of some sort.  Most of the time, I try to do just that, regardless of the other person's abilities.  Sometimes I don't comment on every recording for whatever reason.  Lately, it's been because I've been sick and haven't been hanging out on the site.

Anyway, someone who read that thread totally blasted me for being a "diva", and then went to my page and noticed that I hadn't commented on a couple of duets.  She left me a rather nasty, over the top, chastising comment about how I'm no great shakes and she hoped I hadn't hurt the other person's feelings.  Then a couple of other people chimed in with more of the same.

After some of that, I left a pretty stern rebuttal explaining my confusion about being expected to be polite and grateful when someone sings with me, yet not being allowed to expect common courtesy in return.  In other words, I'm supposed to be humble and fawning when anyone deigns to complete one of my duets.  But I'm not allowed to be offended if someone drowns me out on a duet with crappy harmonica playing.  Saying something about that is considered "diva" behavior.  It automatically means that I have poor character and am too full of myself.  I should simply be grateful.  Hmmm...

It seems to me that common courtesy and respect is a two way street.  If I'm nice enough to post an open duet, you can be nice enough to respect the effort I put into it.  Generally speaking, I will do the same in return.  Moreover, I will usually thank you for contributing, but I don't think I should be required to offer thanks if I don't want to, especially if I'm not actually thankful, but am instead offended.

I realize it's stupid to be this irritated over a karaoke Web site.  I'm totally wasting my time, especially since people tend to be sensitive about their singing.  I know I am.  I guess it's upsetting to me because I participate on that site simply for fun.  It's not fun when someone is inconsiderate, nor is it fun to feel like I'm being forced to interact with people or else be considered rude.  In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter, especially since those people don't actually know me and most of them have never interacted with me.  Because of that, their personal comments aren't actually personal.  In fact, those comments are as tone deaf as some of their musical abilities are.

To add insult to injury, the person who played harmonica over my vocals also chastised me for not turning on my Web cam.  Apparently, I'm too "full of myself" to be on video.

Well... this is all very fine.  I guess I should simply remember that some people have war in their countries.  Sheesh.

Edited to add...  This song is dedicated to all of my SingSnap critics.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My middle finger is getting a massive erection...

There's a guy on my Facebook friends list who feels compelled to argue about Donald Trump every time the topic comes up.  This guy, ordinarily very intelligent, constantly has to point out how corrupt Barack Obama was during his presidency and accuse anyone criticizing Trump as being "hypocritical".

Last night, he got into it with another friend of mine, a very intelligent woman who has a law degree and is an articulate writer.  I posted two articles about Trump and his misdeeds and this guy took the bait on both of them.  And on the second one, he directly engaged my friend.

I don't get involved in arguments with this guy because it's an exercise in futility.  He won't concede his point and I won't concede mine.  There is *nothing* anyone can tell me that will make me have any respect for Donald Trump as president.  As far as I'm concerned, he and his cronies are mostly a bunch of women hating criminals who have no business being anywhere near the White House.  I don't say this about many politicians.  I don't even usually have much of an opinion about most politicians.  Donald Trump, to me, is not a politician.  He's a thug.

Anyway, I read this article yesterday and it included a rather frightening story about Donald Trump when he was married to his first wife, Ivana.  The caption before the story was about Trump's pick for the new Labor Secretary, who is evidently a wife beater.  But my comment was about Trump himself.  In 1993, author Harry Hunt III wrote a book about Trump entitled Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.  As he researched the book, he got ahold of Ivana Trump's testimony from their divorce trial.  It involved a story about how Trump raped her because he'd had an unexpectedly tough recovery after a "scalp reduction" surgery he got to cover up a bald patch.  Ivana had recommended the plastic surgeon, so Trump apparently wanted to punish her.  When the book came out, Ivana supposedly had to remind people of the "context" of her sworn testimony that her ex husband forced himself on her.  This is the same guy who bragged about "grabbing women by the pussy".

I posted about this yesterday, and my friend the Trump supporter started leaving comments about Obama's Labor Secretary pick...  and my lawyer friend responded to them.  My only comment is that most politicians are scumbags, but Trump is scummier than most.  And I am really running out of patience for Trump boosters.  I don't like to ditch friends over their political persuasions, but I'm getting tired of constantly battling with certain people over this.  Is this really just a matter of the press giving Trump a hard time or is there fire where there's smoke?  My opinion is that there's ample proof that the man is unstable and has criminal proclivities.  Arguing about it and/or pointing out that Obama wasn't totally innocent has no effect other than annoying me...  and, of course, giving my middle finger an erection.

This guy is looking more and more like a good president.

Pleasant dreams...

I slept so well last night after our Valentine's Day celebration.  The sheets were fresh and clean and I really enjoyed my sleep.  Just as I started writing about last night's extravaganza, I heard Zane whimper.  He looked like he wanted to get under the covers, but instead, he jumped off the bed and ran downstairs.  I put him outside and he started eating grass, which immediately made me nervous.  An upset stomach is a sign of the mast cell cancer, although he's always had a sensitive stomach.

After several minutes of watching him eat grass and thinking the worst, I brought him back inside.  I got dressed and Zane was dancing around, anticipating his walk.  We started walking and he showed no sign of wanting to eat grass.  He did do a lot of pooping, though... perfectly normal poops.  And that makes me wonder if yesterday, he ate more than usual somehow.

Then Arran started eating grass, let out a belch, and threw up all over the road we were walking on.  Believe it or not, that made me feel better because it's a sign that Zane's issues weren't related to mast cell tumors, but to eating something that didn't agree with him.  Zane, by the way, hasn't puked yet and now seems like his old self.

We had a fairly nice walk and the weather is good today.  Temperatures are pretty mild.  Spring is on the way.

In other news, Bill talked to his mom last night and she said she doesn't have a fracture after all.  Apparently, she has a really bad bruise.  It still means having to postpone her trip, but the situation is not as scary as it was a couple of days ago.

I've just started reading an interesting book that I'll probably get more into later today, if we have no further veterinary issues.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Jessa Seewald's new son has a name...

And he shall be known as Henry Wilberforce Seewald.  Actually, I don't think Henry is as bad a name as Spurgeon is.  At least it doesn't make me think of exploding dicks when I hear it.  And that's seriously about as much as I want to say about the Duggars, who all voted for Donald Trump and helped contribute to the cluster fuck our country is in right now.

It's Valentine's Day and Bill and I have plans to visit a hotel in a nearby city.  No, we won't be staying the night.  We might do that if we didn't have dogs to tend to, but we're just going to have dinner.  There will be a pianist there playing hits from the 1920s, I think.  And there will be a four course meal.  And maybe I will dress up and look swanky if I can squeeze into my pantyhose.  Otherwise, maybe I won't.

I don't know what's wrong with me lately, but I haven't felt the need to do as much writing as usual.  Part of it is because I've been sick and haven't felt like doing much of anything lately.  Part of it is because I'm just overwhelmed by all of the Trump shit in the news.  It's like there's a new fiasco every day and I'm becoming exhausted by it.  Part of it is because I still worry about Zane, who seems to be doing fine, but still itches and has bumps that may or may not be cancerous.  I keep reading horror stories about people who had the bumps removed and ended up with many more of them owing to degranulation of the mast cell tumors.

Bill's mom sent Bill an email last night.  She won't have to have surgery, but will be using a walker for a few weeks.  With any luck, she might be able to see us later in the spring.  That might work out better, since the weather is bound to improve.  I'm still sad that she won't be here this weekend.  I was looking forward to seeing her.

Bill ordered a new brewing kit from the States and it arrived the other day.  Pretty soon, he's going to be brewing beer again.  Meanwhile, I will probably be learning how to make homemade dog food in an effort to keep mast cell cancer at bay for awhile.

I finished a book yesterday, but it was the fourth one in a series.  I don't have two of the three other reviews I wrote posted, so I don't feel like I should review this one.  Anyway, the book was by Brian David Bruns, who has the distinction of being the first American to ever last an entire contract waiting tables on Carnival Cruise Lines.  He later became an art auctioneer, a job he did for three more years until he was on Wind Star, a cruise line that features boats with actual sails on them.  I have never been on one of those cruises because I prefer all inclusive sailings.  I also hate art auctions.

I do enjoy a good true story, though, and Bruns' tales of being on the seas are intriguing to me.  He's also pretty funny and has a very entertaining writing style.  It's descriptive.  Bruns has a weakness for Romanian women, too.  Now I want to visit Romania, but I definitely don't want to work for a cruise line.

Hopefully, I'll have something more interesting to write about soon.  I need to read more news that doesn't involve politics.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mother-in-law can't visit us...

Bill called his mom last night and we got the sad news that she's not going to be able to come see us this week.  She fractured her femur and may need surgery.

I'm sad that she can't visit.  I was looking forward to seeing her and we had some fun plans lined up for France.  Anyway, since the reservation is non-refundable, I guess Bill and I will go back to Ribeauville and see if we can't do some stuff anyway.  We'll just stay in the bigger apartment.

Hopefully, mother-in-law will heal quickly and get to come another time.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My husband, the good egg...

Ever heard of someone referred to as a "good egg"?  I'm not sure where that expression came from.  Maybe Willy Wonka?  Although I never did see that film.  Bill has seen it lots of times.

Anyway, this morning, I was fretting over Zane because he's been farting a lot.  Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, except it's a sign of histamine overload.  Since he has mast cell disease, histamine overload is not a good development.  I was worried and proposed to Bill that perhaps it was time we started making Zane's food.  I bought Bill an Instant Pot for Christmas and this project could be one way to use it.

Bill was telling me about how much he's enjoyed using the Instant Pot, especially for cooking hard boiled eggs.  Every day, he makes himself breakfast and lunch.  It's always healthy and often neatly packed in a Bento Box.  Lately, he's been bringing along hard boiled eggs, which come out perfectly with the Instant Pot and are very easy to peel.

As he was telling me about this, I was watching his face and listening to him explain how his work buddies tease him for the sulfur egg farts that can come in the wake of eating hard boiled eggs.  And I just blurted out, "God, I love you."

"What brought that on?" he asked.

And I said, "I just love listening to you talk about your eggs... A lot of guys are immature and snarky, but here you are taking good care of yourself and me.  Not a mean bone resides in your body.  You're just such a nice, loving, caring person and I feel lucky to be with you."

He smiled and I noticed how beautifully blue his eyes were in the morning sun.  "I can get snarky, you know."

I do know... but even when he's snarky, he's such a sweetheart.  And he feels bad when he gets short with people.  He has a bit of an overdeveloped sense of shame, as do I (about some things).  I still can't believe he's in my life.  He's definitely a good egg.

I don't have this problem.

Right now, he's walking the dogs and later, he's going to clean up the guest room for his mom, (you betcha) who is coming next week.

He's not quite Long Duk Dong, though...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Girls who want to be Boy Scouts...

Before I get started with my rant, let me just say that this post is not about transgendered kids wanting to be Boy Scouts.  This post is about girls who want to be Boy Scouts because then they can go for the prestigious Eagle Scout award.  I just read about the trend on Deseret News, of all places.

Call me old fashioned, but I think there's a place in the world for single gender activities and clubs.  As much as I am for equal rights among men and women, I also think there should be places for kids to be among their peers in a single sex environment.  There are a lot of co-ed groups for young people.  I was myself in 4H for years and there were plenty of leadership and service opportunities in that organization.  We also have Girl Scouts, which has its own high quality programs and awards for young women.

If the truth be told, though, I am not a fan of the Boy Scouts.  If I had a son, I probably wouldn't want him to be a Boy Scout.  I do commend the Scouts for finally making concessions to gay and transgender boys, but it took them too long to make those concessions.  I also don't like that the Scouts are so affiliated with the LDS Church, even as I know that there are troops that are not church related.  I have read too many Scouts related horror stories on RfM involving incompetent leaders and abuse, even as I know that many men have had good experiences in Scouting.

I think a better solution to this issue, and really one that would surpass the idea of earning an Eagle Scout, is forming a co-ed group for those who want a co-ed experience.  Canada has a co-ed Scouts program called Scouts Canada.  Why can't someone come up with a similar program for the United States?  Sure, it would take commitment, money, hard work, and know how, but wouldn't success leave a longer lasting legacy than cleaning up a park or building benches or any of the other projects Boy Scouts do for the Eagle Scout award?

I truly believe that there should be single sex activities available for everyone.  I support diversity.  The Boy Scouts are for boys.  The Girl Scouts are for girls.  You want a co-ed Scouting group?  Why not start one of your own and leave these long standing organizations alone?

An inappropriate product review...

Nothing is coming to mind for a blog post today, so I thought I'd repost an Epinions review I wrote a few years ago.  Those of you who read this blog regularly probably already know that I have no shame and enjoy tackling TMI subjects.  So here's one for you... and perhaps it might even be helpful for those of you with this particular problem.  Incidentally, if I recall correctly, Epinions shut down two weeks after I wrote this, so I never got to reap much of a reward for this review.

I'm pleased to report that this particular problem didn't linger.  Evidently, I don't have hemorrhoids, either.

  • Butthurt? Tucks medicated cooling pads calm down your keister!

    Review by knotheadusc
     in Books, Music, Hotels & Travel 
      February, 11 2014
  • Pros: Cooling. Relieves itching and discomfort around the arse.
    Cons: Cold!  Not very big, so you'll want to be clean down there.
    The dry winter weather has had an annoying effect on me this year. My skin is itchy in unmentionable places, including an area that is known for being both sensitive and dirty.  I don't know exactly why my @$$ is so itchy these days.  Maybe I have hemorrhoids.  Maybe not.  The upshot is that I wanted relief from the annoying and potentially embarrassing itching, regardless of what was causing it.  My husband Bill bought me a forty count round container of Tucks Pads.  He said he'd used them and they'd worked wonders.

    Tucks Pads are little, round, cottony pads coated in witch hazel.  They are intended to relieve local itching, burning, and discomfort associated with hemorrhoids.  They are also supposed to protect the anorectal areas-- from what, I don't know.

    To use these pads, clean the affected area with soap and water; if it's practical to do so.  Gently dry the area with toilet tissue or a soft cloth.  Apply the Tucks Pad externally to the affected area up to six times daily.  Discard the pad when you're finished; you can flush them down the toilet because they are biodegradable.  Call a doctor if you experience rectal bleeding or the condition doesn't improve within a week.

    My experience
    They aren't kidding when they say these pads are cool.  I pulled one out and cringed at how cold it was on my fingers.  Wiping my nether regions with this pad wasn't altogether pleasant, nor did it immediately take away the itching, though I would imagine if there's a burning sensation the coldness would be a good thing.  I did notice the itching was not as intense as it was and the pads are good for keeping things clean "down there".  If you can, you'll want to make sure you're as clean as possible before you use a Tucks Pad.  The pads are small and won't be good for cleaning you up after you take a dump.

    This particular size of Tucks Pads is easy to stow.  You might even be able to slip it in a purse.  The pads are also pH balanced, hypo-allergenic and dye free.


    Anal itching is very embarrassing, but as the folks at Tucks Pads point out, it's a very common problem.  Over twenty percent of adults will get hemhorroids.  I don't know if I have hemhorroids or just a nasty case of eczema, but it's good to have these pads around to help relieve discomfort.  I'm not as impressed with Tucks Pads as Bill is, but I think they're useful.   I recommend them for anyone as butthurt as I've been lately.

    For more information: Call 1-800-223-0182 weekdays 9-5 or visit www.tucksbrand.com.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hammered dirt...

Before I met Bill, I never heard of someone being described as being "dumber than hammered dirt."  And in case anyone is wondering, no one has ever described Bill that way.  It's just one of those funny sayings that floats around the military... or perhaps just among southerners.

Lately, there has been an influx of people who seem dumber than hammered dirt.  Or maybe they aren't necessarily dumb, but they lack common sense.  I'll give you an example of what I mean.

A new person and his wife just arrived in the area.  They are both under 21, which means they aren't allowed to rent a car.  Their own car is obviously not here yet.  They have a cat who is flying in to Frankfurt on Saturday, which is a couple of hours away from Stuttgart.

They have just asked the community what they can do about picking up the cat.  They asked about the train, but they also asked about a ride to and from Frankfurt, for which they are willing to pay gas money.  The best part of this is that their cat's arrival is at approximately 6:00am, so they'd need to leave no later than 4:00am.

Now, I'm sure there are people out there who are kind enough or crazy enough to sign up for such a favor.  Consider this, though...  It's very early Saturday, which for many people is their one day to sleep in (if they aren't churchgoers).  There's not going to be a lot of money involved, since this couple will only pay gas money.  They will be dealing with a cat, who will probably be pissed off after being on a plane for many hours.  And since this couple is new to the area, no one knows them.  Some people are good at making friends quickly and some aren't.

As it turns out, Bill and I are going to Frankfurt on that day because we're picking up his mother.  But we aren't going to be leaving the house at 4:00am.  If we were going to sign up for such a favor, it would mean we'd have to leave the house before 4:00am, since we live a good 30-45 minutes (depending on traffic) from the installations, which is where I gather these people are right now.  Besides, Bill is very allergic to cats, to the point at which his eyes water profusely if he's around them.

Everyone is telling this couple to take the train, which is probably their best bet.  They seem a little hesitant, which I guess is natural.  We in the United States aren't necessarily well versed in train travel (depending on where you live, that is).  But it's one of those life lessons that everyone who lives in Europe needs to learn.  Besides, the train would probably be faster than driving, anyway.

That's the end of my anecdote for today.  I'm feeling even better today than I was yesterday.  I got even more sleep this morning and may even go back to bed and snuggle under the cozy flannel duvet I haven't been using.  I don't know why I didn't use it sooner.  It's a lot nicer than the expensive one I just took off the bed because it's falling apart.  I think I was afraid the flannel would be too hot, but it's actually really comfortable.

Anyway, aside from a little residual fatigue and coughing, I think I might have licked this sickness.  Thank God it's Friday, too.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Feeling better today... thank God!

Although I'm still a bit fatigued and the coughing hasn't totally stopped, I'm feeling better than I did yesterday.  I got a lot of sleep last night, which helped.  The dogs had a very energetic walk this morning, which was nice to see.  Zane was in very good spirits and ran most of the way.  At one point, he even picked up a stick and carried it part of the way.  I love to see him feeling happy and frisky, like his old self.  It gives me hope that he'll be around awhile longer.

Today would have been my dad's 84th birthday.  I caught myself thinking about him last night.  It's still hard to believe he's been gone since 2014.  A funny memory came up on Facebook today.  I posted this in 2011.

And here's another tidbit... my dad actually asked me if I was doing any pole dancing at the local officer's club... I told him that no one-- not even Bill-- wants to see me doing anything like that...

At the time, my dad was suffering from pretty significant dementia that somehow brought out a comical side.  Although we had a complicated history and I didn't always like him, I did always love him.  And now that he's been gone a couple of years, I try to remember the best parts of him.  He was, at his core, a very decent person.

I don't have much to say today that doesn't involve topics most readers are probably tired of by now...   I did read an interesting article the other day about a black guy in Manhattan who got pissed off when his neighbor left him a nastygram about noise he made in the middle of the night.  The neighbor had threatened to call the police, which really upset the noisemaker, who immediately threw out the race card.  

Personally, I didn't see anything racist about the initial note.  If I were living under someone who made a shitload of noise at 2:00am, I'd be upset, too.  But I guess I can also see how a person of color might feel threatened when someone says they'll call the police.  On the other hand, the guy who made the threat had never met his neighbor and evidently didn't know he was black.  And even if he did know, he has the right to peace and quiet... and based on the guy's over the top reaction to the note, maybe a direct confrontation wouldn't have been so good.  

I don't know...  Makes me glad I don't live in an apartment anymore.  Hope I never have to again.  I think if I received the black guy's very verbose and affected response, I'd be beyond offended.  No one should abuse the English language with such pretentiousness.  What an asshole.

I'd write more about this, but I'm hongry-- not hungry, hongry-- and I need a shower.  So toodles to you.  Maybe I'll be back later.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

When pictures on beer bottles remind you of something...

I tasted this beer from Estonia yesterday.

There is a rather suggestive picture of a cocoa nib on the label.  

This beer actually tasted more like coffee than chocolate to me.  So I wondered if what I was looking at was actually a coffee bean...  But then it occurred to me that the picture also reminded me of a mare's vulva (you can Google if you need a photo reference).  That may seem like a weird observation, but remember I've been sick all week.  I also had occasion to look at mare vulvas a lot when I was into horses.

Anyway... I didn't like the beer that much.  It was a little too sludgy for my tastes.  The label was interesting, though.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Popping in for a quick vent...

Yet another extremely TMI post.  Proceed with caution.

So, I have been sick as hell all week.  I start coughing and pretty soon, I'm leaning over the toilet throwing up.  Sometimes it gets violent enough that I need Depends.  That happened today.  But before that happened, I was lying on my freshly laundered sheets.  I had just taken my last dose of Delsym, which is a very effective cough suppressant that has some unfortunate side effects that I'll get into in a minute.

Zane, my assloaf beagle who is causing me much angst lately, was butted up against me, taking up a lot of space.  All of a sudden, I get a private message from a new "friend" on Facebook.  This woman has recently moved to the area and will be living in my town.  She's looking for support.  I don't mind being supportive, but I really don't know her very well at all and felt kind of obligated to friend her, since she was suggested to me by someone I know offline.  I hate it when people play Facebook friend matchmaker, by the way.

Before today's message, I literally had exchanged maybe one message with this person.  She sent me a message saying she was moving to my town and was looking for support.  I welcomed her to the neighborhood.  That was it.  I didn't hear anything more from her until today, after I took Delsym so that I might stop coughing.

And... I happened to be trying to enjoy a little afternoon daydreaming, if you know what I mean.  I hoped to release some healing endorphins and maybe kill some time with a few moments of pleasure.  But Delsym can be a disaster on a person's ability to orgasm.  I was just starting to remember this-- there was a time when I went through many bottles of Delsym when Bill and I first married because I had untreated asthma-- and I get this private message from this woman who wants to get together this weekend for lunch.

Now... first off, if you've been watching me on Facebook or reading this blog, you know that I'm sick and have been all week.  This lady is now a Facebook friend, so she could have seen that I'm sick, but probably didn't bother to look.  Secondly, she wants to get together on the weekend for lunch... and that's time I spend with Bill, who works all the fucking time.  And thirdly, I was trying to masturbate, for Christ sakes!  And I was having a difficult time of it, thanks to the Delsym side effects.  She didn't know what I was doing, but it was still an intrusion just the same.

This is not something I do everyday.  Now that I'm in my mid 40s, my libido is not what it was.  And again, I should have waited until later to take the Delsym, since it's not unlike Prozac when it comes to sexual side effects.  It kind of makes having an orgasm a lost cause.

I think I'm feeling really crabby, though, because I'm slowly getting over this illness, but not fast enough.  And even when I'm feeling good, I am leery about hanging out with people I don't know well.  I'm probably more introverted than I seem.  Anyway... it was not a successful venture on any level.

Not feeling it...

I'm still feeling rotten, although I did manage to clean the bathrooms, do laundry, change the sheets, and take the dogs on a regular length walk.  I'm sitting here feeling icky and fretting over Zane, who got ahold of some beef last night and threw up in our bedroom.  Zane seems to either have a beef intolerance or an allergy.  Sometimes he can eat a little piece and be okay.  Such was not the case last night.  Bill gave him some jus and an hour later, Zane hurled.  Thanks to all my coughing this morning, so did I.

That's about all I have to say.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

The care and feeding of knotty...

I spent most of yesterday either in bed or on my futon, watching TV.  I'm not sure what bug has bitten me.  It doesn't feel bad enough to be the flu.  I'm tired, but not completely exhausted.  I don't have really bad body aches or a high fever.  It also doesn't really feel like a cold.  I don't have a runny nose, although I do have some congestion and a sore throat.  I guess I have some kind of garden variety respiratory infection that is just bad enough to make me not want to do anything.

Yesterday, Bill said he needed to go to the commissary (pretty much the only thing open on Sundays except for the grocery store at the airport) to pick up some stuff.  He wanted to make me chicken soup and rolls.  I didn't want Bill to go because I like spending time with him on the weekends.  But he said, "I don't have anything in the house to feed you."  Naturally, that comment made me laugh.  My husband is the consummate caretaker.

So off he went to the commissary and to fill up my car with gas.  I sat on my duff and watched more Dallas.  I tried to nap a few times, but my dogs kept barging in and hogging all the space on my bed.  Zane, in particular, is pretty obnoxious about spreading out as wide as he can so I end up with about eighteen inches of space on the edge of the mattress.

Bill came home after a relatively quick shopping trip and used the Instant Pot I got him for Christmas to make me some homemade soup.  He did a good job.  The rolls, which he also made from scratch, were a big hit.  I taught him well.

The title of this post was inspired by Bill and his caretaking qualities.  I was reminded of him saying "I don't have anything in the house to feed you."  I realize how lucky I am to have such a nice guy in my life.  He really does look after me and probably could write a book about it.

I do feel slightly better today... not 100%, but not quite teetering on the brink of death.  Good thing, too, since someone is coming over today to check the water meter or something.  It's some German thing where they send someone around every six years to make sure your stuff is working right.  I guess I'll get dressed for that.

Hopefully, this bug will pass quickly and I won't be left with an annoying, lingering cough for the next few weeks.

A look at Linda Gray's The Road to Happiness Is Always Under Construction

Lately, I've been watching old episodes of Dallas.  They offer a flashback to my youth, a time when I didn't care about things like politics.  I was very young when Dallas first started airing and a young woman when it finally went off the air.  So, I guess for that reason, Dallas is a comfort.

Many people know that actress Linda Gray played a pivotal role on Dallas.  She was Sue Ellen Ewing, J.R. Ewing's long suffering alcoholic wife.  Later, Gray starred in Models Inc., an Aaron Spelling spin off of the 90s hit Melrose Place, which was itself a spin off of Beverly Hills 90210.  Models Inc. flopped and was cancelled after one season.  But in 2012, a reboot of Dallas came along and Gray was able to be Sue Ellen again for three seasons.

I like life stories, so that's probably why I decided to download Gray's 2015 book, The Road to Happiness is Always Under Construction.  I finally got around to reading it and finished it yesterday while in my sick bed.  It's basically Linda Gray's life story mixed with the odd recipe, cute anecdotes, and Gray's self help philosophies.  I understand the book was written to commemorate Gray's 75th birthday.  She still looks good.

I learned some new things when I read this book.  I never knew that Gray had polio when she was a child.  She spent several months in bed and almost ended up in an iron lung.  Fortunately, that treatment ultimately wasn't indicated and Gray eventually recovered.  Gray is also the daughter of an alcoholic.  Her mother, who was apparently a very talented artist with a great sense of style, drank to numb the boredom of simply being a wife and a mother.  I'm sure growing up with an alcoholic mother gave Gray some cues as to how she should play alcoholic Sue Ellen.

There are a few anecdotes about Dallas, as well as a couple of funny stories about Larry Hagman, who was one of Gray's dearest friends.  Gray also writes about how she came to capture the part of Sue Ellen.  Although she'd been a model and commercial actress for years, at the time she got her big break, she was married, 38 years old, and the mother of two kids rapidly approaching adolescence.  Her husband had not wanted her to work, but Gray was finding life as a housewife unfulfilling and boring.  She went against her husband's wishes and soon became a star.  The marriage fell apart, but Gray finally found a purpose other than being a mother and a housewife.  She thrived.

I did take notice when California born and bred Gray wrote about learning how to speak like a rich woman from Dallas.  She writes that she met Dolly Parton, who told her to just emulate her.  Gray said Dolly didn't sound "Texan".  She asked Dolly where she was from and claims Dolly said "Georgia".  Um...  Dolly Parton is not from Georgia!  She's from Tennessee!  I guess Gray isn't a fan of country music.  Gray ended up finding a voice coach who taught her some tricks.  She also hung out at Neiman-Marcus in Dallas a lot, to see how rich women from Dallas behaved.

I mostly enjoyed Gray's book.  It looks like she wrote it herself, with no help from a ghost writer.  I think she did a fairly good job, although there are a few small snafus like the one I mentioned in the previous paragraph.  I liked that Gray came across as very normal and approachable.

On the other hand, toward the end of the book, she offers some advice to her readers that I don't think she herself takes.  For instance, she writes about how off putting it is when people brag.  She kind of does some bragging herself.  Not that I wouldn't have expected her to brag somewhat; she is a famous actress who has had an unusual life.  But it does seem disingenuous when an actress tells her readers about how annoying she finds braggarts right after she writes about her "come hither" eyes and "amazing stems" (legs).  Acting is not exactly a profession for people who aren't a little bit self-absorbed (although I am sure there are exceptions).  Self help advice from a celebrity often rings hollow anyway.  A little bit goes a long way.

At the end of the book there are pictures.  Many of them are too small to see, at least on an iPad.

I probably could have done without the self help sections, with the exception of Gray's life "principles", which were cleverly conceived and included funny anecdotes.  She also includes a couple of recipes-- one for a conditioner she uses on her hair and another for some kind of meat pie she made for her kids, which doesn't seem to jibe with her advice to eat clean.

I give this book 3.5 stars on a scale of 5.  It's not bad, and parts are interesting and enjoyable.  But self help advice usually puts me off, anyway.