blog news, musings

What the bloody hell is the point of this?

I’ve been doing some thinking about this blogging business lately. I wonder why I bother writing it. Sure, I tell myself I write it for me, and I do… but it’s not like I have any descendants who are going to care about it when I’m dead. Besides, since I’m posting this on WordPress, someone has to pay for it to exist. Once I’m dead, no one will be around to do that.

I think Bill likes the blog, but he’s about eight years older than I am and he’s a guy. So chances are, I’m gonna outlive him. I actually kind of hope I don’t, and given my aversion to medical people, there’s a good chance I won’t. But I do expect to outlive him, because I have a lot of relatives who continue to live for a long time. My mom, for instance, turned 85 yesterday. Even my dad, who was an incorrigible alcoholic, lived to be 81 years old. His mother died at almost 101; my father spent just seven years without his mother in his life, and for most of those seven years, he wasn’t in his right mind, anyway.

Some of my posts are popular, but they tend to be about true crime or celebrities. The deep thinking posts usually go largely unread. At least I know, though, that sometimes even really talented, popular people go through the same thing. Check out this song by Tim Minchin, who is just amazing…

He pours his heart and soul into his music… but people just want to watch kitten videos.

Not that I would ever compare what I do to what Tim Minchin does… he is genuinely and insanely talented on so many levels. He’s a great singer, songwriter, keyboard player, beatboxer, entertainer… I could go on and on. I write silly blog posts that are sometimes serious or helpful. Sometimes, I get paid. Like, I just got a $102 payment from WordPress for ad revenue. That was cool. It took a long while, though.

I guess I write this shit because it’s my way of making a mark on the world. And it’s better to write about it in my blog than on social media, because if I write about it on Facebook, it’s more likely to offend or annoy. I know a lot of people don’t like it when folks get on a soapbox, even when they do it on their own Facebook pages. So, I put this stuff in a blog, where a person has to make a conscious decision to visit. But not that many people do visit most of my posts. The ones that get traffic tend to be about specific subjects, some of which are pretty creepy.

For instance, when I first started writing this version of my blog, I wrote a post about wife spanking. That post gets a ton of hits. I could write more about that to generate more hits, but the types of people who go looking for those kinds of posts are probably not the audience I’d want on this blog. Still, it was an interesting topic to write about once or twice. I was a little creeped out, though, when I noticed people looking at my “about” page after spending several minutes on that post. Yikes!

I also get lots of hits on certain opinion posts, especially if they’re about true crime cases. A few of my book reviews are good performers, although most barely get noticed. It occurred to me the other day that my YouTube channel now tends to get more views than the blog does… I mean, it’s not more popular on a daily basis, because I don’t post videos every day. But individual posts get more views than most of my blog posts do. I expect that if I keep posting videos, my channel– which doesn’t even have a compelling name– will outperform my blogs. Most of my newest videos have well over 100 views, which is a lot more than most of my blog posts have. Because I post more often on the blog, my overall hits are higher here.

I hate to even think about the travel blog, which was legitimately popular for awhile. Yesterday’s post currently has two hits. Why bother with it? I know that there will be a day when I don’t travel so much anymore… at least in Europe. The blog will be a reminder in the future– of the good times and the bad times. But won’t it also be depressing? Isn’t this just a waste of time? Wouldn’t it be better if I did something more constructive?

And then there are the occasional rude, nasty, hateful comments I get… although I will admit that turning on comment moderation helps a lot with that. When I was still using Blogspot, I didn’t really moderate comments. Consequently, I got some feedback that was downright vile. I usually turn nasty comments into blog posts. Sometimes, I even get really creative and turn them into songs! I haven’t done that in awhile, though.

I did recently write about this phenomenon, how failure is a part of trying, and sometimes failure is necessary for success. But hell, I’m getting to be an old lady. Maybe it’s time I took up bowling or something.

I guess it’s a typical Monday, isn’t it? Poor Bill is getting the week off to an unpleasant start. He’s currently at the dentist’s office… not our usual place, but a local one in Wiesbaden. He broke a molar last week and has to have it extracted so he can eventually get an implant. Come to think of it… we were talking about this last night. Bill was irritated because he called our dental insurance carrier and was told implants aren’t covered. I told him to look up the benefits and, sure enough, they ARE covered at 50 percent. But then Bill said, “Hell… it doesn’t matter. I have enough money to pay for the implant outright.”

“But we pay for dental insurance, so they need to pay their part.” I said.

It occurs to me that when we first got married, this situation would be extremely stressful. We didn’t have the money for expensive dental procedures. Bill was climbing out of financial hell, thanks to his marriage to Ex and their subsequent divorce. I was trying to get a job. Now, we have a pretty comfortable lifestyle. So, maybe we’ve done some things right, even though I spend my time writing blogs that people either don’t care about or want to blast me for writing. 😀

Maybe I’ll make a song today, although Mr. Bill will soon be home from his dental visit and will probably want to rest… So, I think I’ll end this post and play with my guitar… or just keep adding new songs to my “funny ditties” playlist while I wait for the laundry to finish drying. And I’ll probably be back tomorrow, even though there’s no bloody point to any of this. 😉

ETA: I haven’t hit publish yet, and Bill is already home… they had to cut his tooth into three pieces because it was below the gum line. Ughhh!!! But he’s okay.

blog news, travel

We’re off the boat now!

What an epic vacation! We are now in Copenhagen, and we’ll be here until Sunday morning. We will fly back to Germany, and then it will be time to do a lot of writing. I am feeling recharged and ready to write… and make some new music videos. After I take a nap, of course… 😀

We had a very good time on our trip. It was the most expensive trip we’ve ever taken, but we’ve had lots of time to see and do new things, interact with new people, and enjoy life. Enjoying life has left me a bit tired, but now I have lots of great photos for my photo stream and plenty of new stuff to write about. And yes, I also plan to get back to my usual mode of complaining about politics and religion.

I don’t know where or when our next trip will be. I suspect it may involve taking in a new furry friend, which we’re both ready to do now. As it is, I’m ready to get back to see Noyzi. I’ve missed him. I even had a nice dream about him this morning. I’m sure he’s been a good boy who probably needs a good brushing.

So, if you’ve been waiting for an update, here it is… and I’ll be back soon with new book reviews, complaints, gossip, and whatever else. To the few of you who follow this blog regularly, thank you for your patience.

The featured photo is of our new hotel room. It’s pretty nice!

blog news, music, politicians, politics, YouTube

A boring post about my Saturday chores… Nothing much to see here.

Happy Saturday, everyone. It’s kind of a warm, but cloudy and windy day here in Germany. I always hope we can go out and do something fun on the weekends, but we often seem to get waylaid by chores and bad weather. The battery in my car died while Bill was away, and he hasn’t had time to charge it. I think he’s planning to do that today. I might go oil the patio furniture again, too, or maybe do a load of laundry.

Bill has already shaved his beard, which is kind of a relief to me. I do like how he looks with the beard, but I don’t like kissing it. And he says it’s kind of itchy, and makes his lips chap. I don’t know how that happens, but I’ll take his word for it. He’s making good use of the clippers I bought him back when the pandemic was in full swing, and I had to cut his hair. 😉

I did just open the window, because it was getting a bit stuffy in my office. The breeze and the smell of ozone are nice. I wouldn’t mind if it stayed like this for more of the summer, but I know hot weather is on the way… perhaps even as soon as tomorrow.

This morning, I’ve been watching videos and moving more of my music catalog from my old computer to the new one. It’s a pain in the ass, but it needs to be done before the old computer completely gives up the ghost. Once the hard drive dies, all of that old content will be lost forever. So, even though it’s frustrating and annoying to have to manually move files, I continue to do it, and clean up the library, too. I probably shouldn’t use Apple so much, since iTunes (which is actually defunct), pretty much sucks. But so much of my stuff is on Apple, than I kind of can’t help it. I refuse to use Apple or Amazon Music, either.

This has also been an unusually expensive month, since we’ve been planning our very pricey vacation. Most of it is paid for, except for dog boarding, hotels, taxis, entertainment, and food when we’re not on the ship. It might be just as well if we don’t go out today, although I have been finding some places I’d like to visit on day trips. Bill is taking a few days off at the end of the month, and we’re planning to do some local excursions then, if we don’t get waylaid by chores again. 😀

Of course I’ve been paying attention to the crazy shenanigans going on in the United States right now. Ron DeSantis grows ever bolder, and Trump mocks him. I suspect their political fights will be a total shitshow. I sure wish we could get someone normal and decent to be our leader. Personally, I don’t mind Joe Biden as president, but he’s getting quite elderly. I think we need someone much more dynamic to keep some of these crazy MAGA extremists in check.

Trump and DeSantis both SUCK and need to go far away.

I also heard about Lauren Boebert’s divorce, from her husband, Jayson. I don’t know why she’s splitting from her husband, whom I’ve heard is quite the asshole (like she is). If I were to speculate, my guess would be that she found someone slightly classier, with more money, with whom to form a marital bond. But I don’t know the real reason… I just think it’s interesting that she and the loathsome Marjorie Taylor Greene both split from their husbands this year, as they tout traditional family values. What a couple of hypocritical hags they are. I hope they both fall out of favor soon and get out of my life. Again, we are in real need of decent people in the government.

Yesterday, I got a new microphone, a Shure Beta 58A. I decided to try it out on a couple of songs, just to see if it’s that different from my trusty Shure SM58. I bought another mic from a different manufacturer a couple of months ago, but was disappointed when it didn’t work at all. The new mic works fine and I think it sounds pretty good. Here are a couple of videos I did yesterday afternoon. Two very different songs…

I just learned this song yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve ever sung this version… which is based on a Renee Olstead cover.
And here’s a fun Amy Winehouse song… I tried it just because it was different.

It’s always fun to get new musical gear! But then, if I had saved the money on the mic, we could go out and have a nice lunch somewhere. We could do that anyway… Maybe we will.

Anyway, I don’t know what the rest of the day will consist of. Maybe we’ll go out, so I can add a post to my “lame” travel blog. But maybe we won’t… It probably doesn’t matter. My allergies are acting up, and my stomach is bugging me again. It’s probably time to visit a doctor, but I can’t be bothered. Did I mention how much I HATE dealing with medical people? Well, I really, really do. I’m sure it will become necessary at some point, or I’ll wind up seeing one under emergency circumstances. Glad I don’t have any children depending on me.

Well… I wish this were a more engaging post, but I’m afraid the well is dry. So I hope you enjoy your Saturday… I’ll go see if I can find something engaging to write about later.

blog news, travel

Just one month to go before it’s time to travel…

The featured photo was taken in February 2018, when we visited the Czech Republic and stumbled across a really cool Soviet era airplane museum. I trust Lufthansa will have more comfortable planes when we fly next month.

I don’t have a lot to write about this morning. Bill and I had a very nice weekend together. It’s great to have him home again. We made a video for younger daughter, and Bill talked to his mom on Skype. I talked to mine a few days ago and wished her a Happy Mother’s Day then.

I meant to watch Eurovision, since we finally got local TV, but I forgot it was on and hung out with Bill in our dining room, where we drank wine. 😉 Sweden won the contest. Maybe I’ll look for it on YouTube, but I find that Eurovision is more fun to watch live. We used to be in the habit of watching every year, even when we didn’t live in Europe. There were a couple of years we happened to be vacationing in Europe in May, when Eurovision airs.

Since today is May 15th, that means that it will soon be time for us to hop on a plane and go to Norway for a week before we get on our cruise in Sweden. Our flight to Oslo is on June 16th. I’m really looking forward to this trip, for so many reasons. If it goes well, maybe we’ll get back into traveling like we did pre-pandemic. Maybe I might even be persuaded to go back to the United States.

I find that I still love to travel, but as I get older, I don’t have the stamina I used to have. It’s too bad, since we have more money now than we did when we were younger. I just find nowadays that I value my alone time more. I think we’ll enjoy the cruise, but I also think I enjoy land based vacations more. We’ll see how we like Regent, though. It’s definitely going to be different for us.

When I told my mom about our trip, she said it sounded great… for us. I know kind of what she means. Mom is going to be 85 years old this year, and I think traveling is exhausting for her now. It’s tiring for me, and I’m only 50. But I love to see new places, try new things, eat different foods, and meet new people (within reason).

Then, after our big trip, it may be time to get a new dog… 😉

Sorry today’s post is kind of brief. I’m still kind of tired this morning. I woke up at 3:00AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. I feel drowsy as I type this, and I think I’ll probably need a nap sooner, rather than later. So, I think I’ll sign off, practice guitar, walk Noyzi, and crash for an hour or so. Maybe I’ll write more later… but I probably won’t. I need some inspiration.

blog news, LDS, mental health, obits, psychology

For some people, Mother’s Day is a “day of infamy”…

Happy Mother’s Day, everybody. I know not everyone loves this holiday, but if you do celebrate Mother’s Day, I hope it’s a nice one for you. I don’t mind Mother’s Day much anymore. My mom and I get along pretty well, and I’ve come to terms that I’m a “mom” to dogs. I don’t really think of my dogs as my kids, although they are kind of my babies. At least I don’t have to send them to college. 😉

I’m kidding about the last part. I think I would have enjoyed sending an adult child to college, even though it costs so much. On the other hand, it’s nice to be debt free… and not having to pay for student loans anymore.

Younger daughter sent us a couple of videos. In one, she talked about how so many people her age are forgoing motherhood. It’s very obvious that she loves being a mom, and she’s very good at the job. I admire her patience and dedication to being there for her children. It’s more than she got from her own mom.

Something surreal happened the other day. I was sitting here looking through old blog posts and I found one in which I mentioned Heather B. Armstrong (nee Hamilton), author of the very popular blog Dooce, and a couple of books. I was never a regular reader of Dooce myself, but I knew about Heather because she was an ex Mormon and had grown up in Bartlett, Tennessee (near Memphis), which is where Bill’s dad lived for years before he passed. I think it might have even been May 9th when I looked at that post, not realizing that I would be getting shocking news about her that very day.

On May 9th, it was announced that 47 year old Heather Armstrong had died by her own hand. She reportedly suffered from depression and alcoholism, which was likely made worse by the toxicity of the Internet. Her writing had enchanted and delighted millions of people. She was even dubbed “Queen of the Mommy Bloggers”, because she was a Mommy Blogger before it was “cool”. At a time when blogs were mostly for people to trade among friends and family members, Heather Armstrong made it a place where anyone could have a voice. took off, and soon, scores of people were reading Armstrong’s thoughts on living, loving, marriage, and motherhood.

But had also excited mean spirited people who harassed her on a site called GOMI (Get Off My Internets), an “anti-fan” blog launched in 2008 by New York based blogger, Alice Wright. I had never heard of GOMI before I read about Heather Armstrong’s suicide, but apparently, a very special class of haters hang out there. They make a habit of reading blogs and trashing the writers.

Aside from garden variety clinical depression and alcoholism, Armstrong also had very severe postpartum depression after she had her older daughter in 2003. It was so bad that she needed to be hospitalized. In 2009, Armstrong published a very well-received book called It Sucked and then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown and a Much Needed Margarita. In spite of her experiences with postpartum depression, Armstrong had another daughter in 2010. Then she divorced her ex husband, Jon Armstrong. She was in another relationship with Pete Ashdown, a two-time Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Utah, at the time of her death.

Heather Armstrong had reportedly quit drinking for awhile before her death, but then relapsed into alcoholism. She continued to write, although her posts– which had been almost daily for years– became a lot less frequent. Some readers were unnerved by the content of her most recent posts, which revealed a downward spiral.

I think a lot of people were shocked and saddened by Armstrong’s suicide. Even though I wasn’t one of her fans, I had heard of Dooce, and realized its success was what a lot of bloggers strive for. Many aspiring writers looked up to Heather Armstrong as a role model, but I think other people just thought of her as a dependable friend. And now she’s gone, and people are left wondering what happened.

I read a few news articles about Heather Armstrong’s death. I was saddened to read that so many comments people left were either clueless or kind of mean. Heather Armstrong will never read those comments, but she was a mom, and her kids can read. Now, it’s Mother’s Day, and their mom is gone forever. For them, Mother’s Day may turn into a “day of infamy”. That’s a day in which a person remembers something awful every year.

Although Armstrong killed herself, I know that her action was caused by legitimate mental illnesses. Many people will say she was selfish to commit suicide, but those people might not understand that suicidal people are often not in their right minds. I write “often not” because sometimes people commit suicide for reasons other than depression. Clearly, in Armstrong’s case, her decision came as a result of deep, unrelenting psychological pain that wasn’t eased by medical treatment. Her death, while brought about by her own hand, was every bit as the result of an illness as a death due to a stroke, cancer, or heart disease is. It’s not like she didn’t try to get well, either. Heather’s depression was severe enough that she even underwent an experimental treatment involving being put into chemically induced comas for fifteen minute sessions. The treatment was supposed to mimic brain death, to see if it might cure extreme depression.

I have suffered from depression myself, and I know how it made me feel. There were times when I was tempted by suicide. But by the grace of God, I managed to resist those impulses. I doubt that my issues were ever as deep as Heather’s were… and although sometimes I get rude comments on my blog, I have never been harassed like she was. I don’t go looking for comments about me, or my blog, so if anyone is talking trash about me, I’m oblivious. But I suspect my blog is too boring for people on GOMI.

I was also never Mormon… and while I know that a lot of people find joy in Mormonism, I also know that a lot of people suffer despair because of it. Armstrong, who had once been a devout church member, left the religion, and reportedly suffered backlash from her family and friends. She poured her thoughts and feelings into her writing, and wound up being fired from her job in Los Angeles. At the time, it was probably awful for her… but then the blog took off, and she was soon earning millions from ad revenue, book sales, and product endorsements.

As a blogger myself, I wonder if maybe Dooce’s success was a source of terrible stress for Armstrong. I know that writing, for me, is kind of therapeutic. But when you become popular, you have to be much more careful about what you write. And when you make money from sponsors, you have to be even more careful, because businesses don’t want to be aligned with controversies or bad press. So then, that “therapy” kind of goes by the wayside, because as a writer, you can no longer be so free with what you express. I would imagine it also becomes harder to stay authentic and interesting.

My own blog used to be more popular. When I was writing it on Blogger and lived in Stuttgart, I shared it a lot more, and I had more readers. I eventually realized that I didn’t really want to be super popular, especially in a military community. Even years since I moved the blog to WordPress and kind of started over, I sometimes run into people who have never even read it, but had a negative opinion of it and me, just because of the name. I try to remember, though, that everyone who becomes popular has to deal with negative opinions and even haters. The most talented, likeable, and famous people in the world have haters.

Heather Armstrong obviously had mental health issues. Writing was a comfort for her… until it was used as a weapon. And now she has two daughters who no longer have their mother on Mother’s Day. I don’t blame Heather for what happened, because I know that the horrors of depression and alcoholism are real. But I do feel for her daughters, who have lost their mom forever. So, my thoughts are with them today, as I am reminded that for some people, Mother’s Day is difficult, at best. And for some, it really is a “day of infamy”.

Wherever Heather B. Armstrong is today, I hope she’s finally at peace. And I wish the most peace and comfort to her survivors, especially her daughters.