communication, condescending twatbags, family, healthcare, history, law, politicians, politics, true crime, Uncategorized

Granny’s notes give me perspective on the past…

I had an interesting Thursday, and not just because it was my day to vacuum the house. It was interesting because I did some thinking, and even became a little inspired. My Aunt Gayle sent an email containing a document written by my Granny years ago. The fifteenth anniversary of her death is approaching next week, so Gayle sent out “Granny’s notes”, which was basically a brief history of Granny’s long and fascinating life. Granny was born near Natural Bridge, Virginia and spent most of her life there, though she did have some brief sojourns to other places. She was the fifth of ten children, and the last of the children to die, at almost 101 years of age. Had she lived just 54 more days, she would have made it. But it was time for Granny to go, as she had obviously witnessed a whole lot in her life. I can’t imagine what she would think of what’s happening today.

My grandmother was born at a time when women couldn’t vote, and were thought of as little more than property to their fathers and husbands. She died in the age of the Internet. In her lifetime, she bore nine children, and outlived two of them. She saw a man walk on the moon. She watched cars take over horses and buggies. She traveled to England to visit my parents, my sisters, and me, stopping in Scotland and Ireland, to walk on land where her ancestors lived. What would she think about the way women’s rights are being rolled back today? Granny was a conservative lady, but she was always very smart and practical, and she had a sharp mind until the bitter end of her life. I don’t know what she thought of topics like homosexuality or abortion. I suspect she was more progressive than some people would have liked to have given her credit for being. I say that, knowing that she was born and raised in Rockbridge County, which is a very red part of Virginia.

When I got my aunt’s email last night, I thought of a woman I “met” on 23andMe. She and I are first cousins twice removed. It turns out my Granny’s brother, Ed, had a fling with a young woman who had come from Longwood University (then known as the State Teachers College) to Natural Bridge to teach school. Ed and the young woman conceived a baby girl, whom they surrendered for adoption in Roanoke, Virginia. The girl was adopted by a couple from Roanoke and grew up there, while Ed went on to marry another woman and have a son. I seem to remember hearing that Ed’s son died when he was still in his 20s, although that happened when I was still a glint in my dad’s eye. Ed died a few years before I was born.

The woman I “met” is the daughter of Ed’s “illegitimate” daughter (to use an antiquated term), who was given up for adoption. She is in her 70s now, and has a half sister. They live in Maryland. I hadn’t been chatting with her lately, mainly because after we exchanged information, there wasn’t much else to say. But Granny’s notes changed everything. I immediately contacted her on 23andMe and told her about the document, and asked her if she’d like me to send it to her, since Granny had written about her parents and grandparents– and they were also kin to her. She enthusiastically agreed, so I forwarded the document to her.

Then I thought about the rest of this woman’s incredible DNA story. Her mother had grown up in Roanoke, apparently unaware that she had been adopted from a couple in Rockbridge County. When she became an adult, she moved to Washington, DC to work, and there she met a young, dark haired man who worked for the Ecuadorian Embassy. They had a fling, and sure enough, she got pregnant. When she told her mother, her mother snapped “Just like your real mother!” That’s when she found out she wasn’t her mother’s natural child.

Unlike her biological parents, to include my great uncle and his girlfriend, my cousin’s mom chose not to give her daughter with the “Ecuadorian” up for adoption. So she grew up not knowing her dad, but assumed she was half Ecuadorian, since that was where he was from, and he definitely looked and acted the part. Many years later, when she took her DNA test, it turned out that actually, he was Ashkenazi Jewish! I guess his family had moved out of Germany to Ecuador as a means of avoiding Hitler.

Of course, it’s not lost on me that had this all happened years later, Ed’s girlfriend could have chosen to have an abortion, and I wouldn’t have this novel worthy story to tell. And the truth is, I don’t cheer for abortions. Personally, I like the idea of choosing life over an abortion. But I am against forcing women to give birth, because there are simply too many reasons why having a baby might be the worst decision. And so, I read stories about women who made that tough choice and agonized over it, or even laughed about it, as Alison Leiby has, having written a comedy show about her choice to have an abortion before Roe v Wade was overturned, and women’s rights became even more threatened than they already were.

Yesterday, I wrote about Alison Leiby’s op-ed in The New York Times titled “Please Laugh About My Abortion With Me”. I still think it’s an article well worth reading. I found it very thought provoking, and I think she’s very BRAVE to have written it, given how completely horrible and closed-minded some people are about this topic. For those who missed yesterday’s post and don’t want to read it, here’s another link to the unlocked article.

I noticed that a lot of people on Facebook were commenting on Leiby’s op-ed, but it appeared that very few had bothered to read it. It was behind a paywall, so that’s to be expected. Still, it’s disappointing when someone writes a piece that is thoughtful and interesting, and the masses– who can’t or don’t want to pay for a subscription– feel the need to make irrelevant comments about it. So I posted that I thought Alison Leiby’s excellent op-ed was “thought provoking”, and it’s a shame that few people appeared to have read it. Others who had read it gave me likes, while a few obvious pro-birthers gave me laughter.

Naturally, it wasn’t long before a guy named Steve decided to engage me. He immediately wrote a mocking post to me, asking what part of Leiby’s post I thought was thought provoking. His comment was full of the usual tripe about how Leiby is obviously an uncaring, irresponsible woman who made a poor choice in sexual partners and then cold-heartedly KILLED her baby. I laughed at that and wrote, “Didn’t read the article, huh?” Because I knew that if he had, he would find out that the piece was not about Alison’s decision to have an abortion, but rather how she had processed the experience, the difficulty of discussing abortion with others… and yes, LAUGHING about it. She’s a comedian, so tackling difficult topics with humor is literally what she does for work.

Steve came back at me with more hostility, accusing me of not having read the article, which I actually did. And then he demanded that I defend my pro-choice opinions to him, which I don’t have to do even when people ask me politely, let alone make demands. But I decided I wouldn’t be engaging him at all, when I noticed that in his snarky retort, he referred to me as a “chick”. Imagine that. I’m 50 fucking years old, and this “pro-life” man, who doesn’t even know me, just called me a CHICK! I’m not even a fellow human being to him. I’m a baby chicken who happens to have a uterus (for now, anyway). My Granny used to take care of “chicks” on her family’s farm. And then he expects me to have a thoughtful discussion with him about a topic as complicated as abortion is? I don’t think so.

“Duck you, Steve.”

My response was more or less, “I can answer the questions, but I am choosing not to, because it’s obvious to me that you just want to judge this woman’s very personal decisions. The fact that you just referred to me as a ‘chick’ gives me a pretty good idea about what you think of women. I couldn’t be less interested in interacting with you. Please leave me alone.”

To his credit, he did stop tagging me. It’s a good thing he did that, because if he hadn’t, I could have commented on the fact that not only does he dismiss and dehumanize women by calling them “chicks” when they’re being serious, he also doesn’t respect them when they say “no”. And this overbearing habit that some men have of not hearing the word “no” when a woman says it, is precisely why a lot of women need to seek abortions in the first place!

Fortunately for Steve, he did hear me when I asked him to leave him alone, and he complied with my wishes. Not every guy offline or on social media is even that respectful, so I guess I should be grateful that he knocked it off when I requested it. But it was quite clear to me that he hadn’t read the essay and was betting that I hadn’t, either. Then he had the nerve to try to demand that I interact with him. I wonder if he was ever like that on his dates.

Is Steve like this guy?

Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on ol’ Steve, though. It probably didn’t occur to him that calling me “chick” would trip him up on his path to the idyllic Land of Mansplaining Sanctimony. Like a lot of people, he failed to think ahead. Failure to think or plan ahead, is another reason why some women want or need to have abortions. It’s natural that this happens, and as Steve has proven, it’s not just the women who have this issue.

It occurs to me that Granny, who was a very strong, intelligent, wise, and hardworking woman who bore nine kids, probably had to deal with that kind of shit from men all the time. I know she had to deal with my grandfather, whom she had said was the “nicest man” when he wasn’t drinking. The trouble is, he was “always” drinking, and had a legendary temper. Or so I was told by his son, who was my dad. By contrast, Granny wrote in her notes that her own father was very quiet and gentle. Being married to “Pappy” must have been quite different to her, just as being married to my gentle husband is different for me. Like Pappy, my father was often very nice and kind, but he was also a severe alcoholic who could be brutal. Thankfully, he wasn’t physically abusive very often, although it was often enough.

I think about women who are still, even in 2022, when we have laws against domestic violence, trapped in horrific relationships with men who won’t take no for an answer. I think about women who are on their way to financial freedom, or finally have the achievement of a lifelong dream in their sights, or maybe can’t keep any food down because they have severe hyperemesis gravidarum, or any other medical issue, just wanting to make their own private decision about whether or not to be pregnant. If I had gotten pregnant with Bill’s baby, I would have been very happy about it. But if I had gotten pregnant after being date raped at a fraternity party, not so much (and no, that never happened to me, but it could have). Likewise, I served in the Peace Corps, where female Volunteers have been known to be sexually assaulted. I personally knew of one person who was raped when I was serving in Armenia. She didn’t get pregnant, but if she had, she would have been required to get an abortion at her own expense, or leave the Peace Corps.

And guys like Steve want to frame a narrative about how anyone who wants or needs an abortion is just some loose, slutty woman with no heart or morals, who “got herself pregnant” because she was “irresponsible”. Same guy wants to call me a “chick”, as he demands that I engage with him. I’ll bet he was expecting me to write something coherent and sensible, too, even though he degraded me by calling me a slang barnyard term for a young woman. It’s crazy! Why should anyone waste the time or energy?

That brings me to some other news that has come out this week. That ten year old Ohio girl who was raped and had to go to Indiana for an abortion resurfaced in the news, after certain right wing pundits theorized that her story was a hoax. And then, Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rokita, was allegedly “outraged” that the girl’s doctor, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, allegedly hadn’t reported the abortion— except she HAD, and the story is absolutely true. See below.

I’ll bet that jerk, Rokita, hasn’t even apologized for his mistake, and decision to smear the good doctor’s name. She did a great compassionate service to a CHILD who was raped, not once, but TWICE! No ten year old is, in any way, prepared to have a baby! But Rokita isn’t about to humble himself. Instead, he’s “gathering evidence” to see if he can still nail Dr. Bernard for doing something that was obviously medically indicated. Guys like Rokita just want to put doctors and nurses in prison, don’t they? Misogyny is still alive and well in our country. I wish there was more empathy and decency!

At least in Ohio, some of the politicians are showing some remorse for their mistakes, having initially cast doubt on the girl’s story. But you know how remorse is, when it comes from a politician. It’s often pretty hollow. And Ohio is a state where a MALE legislator wanted to make properly treating ectopic pregnancies ILLEGAL. He wanted to plug and play non-viable embryos– technology that doesn’t exist. What makes me especially sick is that these dumbasses aren’t even learning from their mistakes. Ohio’s MALE attorney general, Dave Yost, was among those who doubted that a ten year old could get pregnant. Yes, they can, and this is one major reason WHY abortion should be allowed… and frankly, kept PRIVATE. There’s no reason why the whole world should have to know about this girl’s hellish torment, even if she is anonymous (for now). This is something that should have been kept confidential and dealt with by medical personnel, social workers, and law enforcement. It should not be a political football. And for Christ’s sake, she should not have had to go to another state to get an abortion done! Way to prolong and increase her pain, Ohio!

Some people, unbelievably, think that poor baby should have been FORCED to birth— and they have even said they would have “hoped” she would come to understand why birthing her rapist’s baby, when she’s ten years old, is the right thing to do. Naturally, it was a MALE lawyer named Jim Bopp who said that. That shit regularly happens in developing countries, not the United States! And even those countries are reevaluating their draconian positions on abortion.

So, you see, we still have a long way to go… in spite of the great wisdom in Granny’s notes and the great progress she personally witnessed in almost 101 years of living. I truly do wonder what she would think of how things are today. Reversing Roe v Wade has opened a huge Pandora’s Box. I really hope we can get this mess straightened out for the women of the future. But at least I know it won’t affect me personally. I haven’t had a period in about two months. I think very soon, Aunt Flow will finally become a guest from my past. And I thank God for that on so many levels.

In other news… Ivana Trump suddenly died yesterday in what appears to be very suspicious circumstances. It was curiously announced by her most famous ex husband, Trump, who disseminated the news on Truth Social, his very own social media platform. It seems curious that she died so suddenly, weeks before Trump is expected to announce another run at the presidency. But I’m sure the details will come out soon enough. Maybe it’s a coincidence, like Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide was. I know that many idiots will still happily vote for Trump, even though it’s very obvious that he’s a liar, a cheat, and unhinged to the nth degree. I think the people who keep supporting him will eventually find themselves on the wrong side of history. I think if he wins again, it will be a disaster. Hopefully, the saner people in the Republican Party will keep him from running for the Republicans. They already know he can’t be controlled… and I’ll bet he’s paid for MANY abortions.

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disasters, ethics, healthcare, history, law, music

Some people seem to want to WHITEwash the past… and send America back to 1950…

This post has more language in it than usual… proceed with caution.

Bill and I had a really beautiful day yesterday. You can read about it on my travel blog. I love that we still have beautiful days, and that I live in a country where I don’t have to worry about gun violence. I love that I don’t have to worry about the government butting into my private healthcare decisions. I love that I’m 50, and I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. I love that I don’t have to be around creepy MAGA conservatives who seem to be hellbent on controlling women. I feel very fortunate to be where I am right now… but I worry about the future. I’m not a German citizen. I’m not even an ordinary resident.

I used to love my country. When I lived in Armenia, I missed the United States. When I lived in Germany the first time, I missed it less, but was still proud of being an American, where I believed I was “free”. I’m sad to say, I’m not so proud of being American today. I don’t feel like I would be “free” in the United States anymore. And I can’t stand how polarized people are now. There’s no more civility or empathy or decency. There’s just violence and wicked insanity perpetrated by people who care more about money, religion, and power than they do human beings. I’ve watched as some people I used to know as “decent” and kind, are now more concerned about high gas prices than they are the well-being of their friends and neighbors.

Word. It’s interesting to live in a country that knows all about this shit that is happening in the United States today.

In the eight years since I last lived there, I’ve watched the United States gradually turning into a dystopian hellhole, where a pregnant 10 year old rape victim was forced to go to an adjoining state for an abortion. She was lucky enough to be able to get the very necessary procedure done in Indiana. If this had happened a few weeks from now, the Ohio child who got pregnant because of some depraved pervert, probably would have had to go even further away than Indiana to get an abortion. Indiana politicians want to force women to birth, too. They just didn’t have a trigger ban law against abortion, like Ohio does. In Ohio, there’s no right to abortion in cases of rape and incest. It’s just so cruel and infuriating… I think the people who denied this poor baby an abortion are the vilest sorts of people who belong in the deepest parts of Hell! There’s no way a ten year old CHILD is prepared to give birth on ANY LEVEL! Cases like this are why abortion must be legal and safe.

My heart breaks for that girl, and all of the other girls who are going to be forced to stay pregnant because of some sick MALE politician! It’s absolutely SICK to me to read that women who have ectopic pregnancies are being forced to wait until they’re near death before a doctor will do anything to save them. It makes me so angry! And it makes me sad. Women will die, and they don’t care.

A little musical wisdom from Joni Mitchell circa 1995… See the lyrics at the end of this post.

In Texas, there’s a proposal to stop teaching children about enslaved people. Instead, the powers that be want to change the language to people who were subjected to “involuntary relocation”. Why? Because some geniuses are afraid of making White children feel badly about their heritage. Last year, Texas passed a law to eliminate topics in school that would make children “feel discomfort”. I don’t think it’s the kids who feel uncomfortable. It’s the privileged White MALE adults who feel that way. They can’t stand to see Confederate statues coming down, and buildings being renamed… So they try to change the culture to one that favors them… as if it were 1950 again, only worse. In 1950, there was a veneer of respectability and civility. Or, at least that’s how it seems to me when I look at footage from that era. But it was really only respectable for White MALES. America was NEVER great for anyone but White MEN. This policy, on its surface, may not seem to relate to forced birthing… but I think if we look deeper, it relates very well. Basically, what these MAGA fuckheads are trying to do, is enslave women and force them back into the home. They are desperately trying to stay relevant.

I’ve been reading about how the mostly MEN in the religious far right are wanting to make abortion even less possible to get, even for people who really need it for their health. They want to make women slaves. They want to pass laws that restrict women’s movements. They want abortion to be banned nationally. They don’t care that women will die because of this. From the Washington Post:

Just moments after the Supreme Court released its decision on Friday, Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) wrote to Gov. Ron DeSantis, urging the Republican to call a special session that would allow the legislature to pass a six-week abortion ban.

The 15-week ban that DeSantis signed into law in April, which allows more than 90 percent of abortions to continue, does not go far enough, Sabatini said.

“The problem is not the governor … it’s cowards in the Republican legislature who have been blocking [the six-week ban],” said Sabatini. Now that Roe has fallen, he added, he is hopeful that the governor and the legislature will “respond to pressure.” (A DeSantis spokesman pointed toward the governor’s statement on Friday pledging to “expand pro-life protections.”)

I HATE these people. I feel nothing but rage and contempt toward the MALES who dare to take privacy and rights away from women. I don’t want to feel this way. It’s not natural or normal for me to feel this toward others. But I am absolutely appalled and offended by the extreme arrogance of these MALES… and I wish I had gone to law school, so I could be a part of the group of feminist lawyers who will make them dearly pay for this stunt. In Missouri, according to the Washington Post:

In Missouri, where abortion was banned almost immediately after the decision came down, state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R) worries that the state Supreme Court may find protections for abortion in the Missouri Constitution, as other state courts across the country have done in recent years. On abortion-related issues, Coleman said, the state courts are out of step with the legislature, with a history of blocking legislation to defund Planned Parenthood facilities.

Right now, Coleman said, her priority is passing a constitutional amendment — by way of a statewide referendum — that makes clear there is no right to abortion in Missouri.

Coleman is also eager to restrict abortion across state lines, an idea she surfaced in legislation earlier this year and is now being discussed by antiabortion lawmakers across the country. The issue is particularly pertinent in Coleman’s home state of Missouri, where, even before Roe fell, thousands of people streamed across the Missouri-Illinois border for abortion care every year.

Coleman’s bill, which failed to pass in the 2022 legislative session, would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident access abortion outside the state, using the novel legal strategy behind the Texas abortion ban, which empowers private citizens to enforce the law through civil litigation. (Mary Elizabeth Coleman should be deeply ashamed of herself. She needs to be drop kicked out of politics.)

Even some younger women are eager to screw over other women by denying them privacy and essential healthcare. Also from the Washington Post:

Kristan Hawkins, president of the national antiabortion organization Students for Life, said she has been in talks with legislators in Missouri, and plans to bring a similar idea to a conference she’s hosting in D.C. this weekend, where over 200 antiabortion leaders will gather to discuss their post-Roe plans.

“I think we can say, ‘Look, if you travel out of state for an abortion, that abortionist can be held liable,’ ” Hawkins said. (Fuck you, Kristan Hawkins! You are a traitor to women!)

I hope that the businesses who have vowed to help their employees access abortion services will put their money where their mouths are, and move the fuck out of these hellhole states where women are becoming second class citizens. That is the only thing that will make these Republican motherfuckers listen to reason. And I hope women of childbearing age who are as angry about this as I am stop having sex with these MALES who want to force them to bear children they don’t want. Either that, or they take the motherfuckers to court as soon as they get pregnant and FORCE them to PAY. How dare they?!

I would expect this kind of thing to be happening in some third world hellhole. I would never expect it in the so-called “land of the free”. But the United States’ MAGA group of misogynistic fuckheads isn’t alone in their campaign against women. In Brazil, a pregnant ten year old was taken away from her family to protect the fetus, after a FEMALE judge failed to convince her to stay pregnant voluntarily. Fortunately, good sense eventually prevailed, and the girl got an abortion a month later. I hope that girl gets the hell out of Brazil someday and lives somewhere more humane.

I’m glad that the Fourth of July is not a holiday in Germany. There’s nothing to celebrate in the United States tomorrow. Our country is getting more and more ridiculous by the day. I don’t think I want to go back there. I know I’ll probably have to, though… and that makes me feel scared. The United States is turning into Gilead. God help us.

Sex Kills (Joni Mitchell)

I pulled up behind a Cadillac
We were waiting for the light
And I took a look at his license plate
It said, “just ice”
Is justice just ice?
Governed by greed and lust?
Just the strong doing what they can
And the weak suffering what they must?
Oh, and the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
Sex kills

Doctors’ pills give you brand new ills
And the bills bury you like an avalanche
And lawyers haven’t been this popular
Since Robespierre slaughtered half of France!
And Indian chiefs with their old beliefs know
The balance is undone, crazy ions
You can feel it out in traffic
Everyone hates everyone
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
Sex kills

All these jack-offs at the office
The rapist in the pool
Oh, and the tragedies in the nurseries
Little kids packin’ guns to school
The ulcerated ozone
These tumors of the skin
This hostile sun beating down on
Massive mess we’re in
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
And sex kills
Sex kills
Sex kills
Oh, sex kills
Sex kills

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Joni Mitchell

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dogs, healthcare, history, law, narcissists, politics, Trump

Now I *know* that I’m not a narcissist…

The past few days have been pretty wild, and I’m still kind of trying to process them. But sometimes, things happen to remind me of the simpler things in life. Yesterday, as I was watching Cassidy Hutchinson testify about how completely unhinged Donald Trump is, I got a private message from Meg, the woman who rescued Noyzi when he was a tiny puppy in Kosovo. She was going to be in our vicinity and wanted to know if she could come visit her long lost dog. Bill and I agreed that it would be alright for her to visit, so she came over with her little black dog, Little Guy.

We put Noyzi and Arran in the backyard, and Meg and Little Guy walked through the house to where the boys were. When Noyzi saw Meg, he immediately went crazy with excitement and unbridled joy. I didn’t even get the best part of their reunion on video, but I did get part of it. Noyzi knew exactly who she was and he was absolutely DELIGHTED to see her. It was probably the happiest we’ve ever seen him.

Then, after about an hour of catching up with Meg, Noyzi came over to me. It was as if he was saying how happy he was to see his old friend, and reassuring her that he was doing great. He obviously appreciated so much what she did for him when he was a tiny puppy. And now he has a home that he doesn’t want to leave. That’s a good thing, because Meg lives in a small apartment now, and Noyzi is a big guy.

I think that visit was healing for all of us. Noyzi was ecstatic to see Meg and Little Guy again. Arran was happy to meet Little Guy and get to know Meg. Meg was happy to see Noyzi, and determine for herself that he’s healthy, safe, and much loved. And we were reassured that Noyzi has bonded with us and is happy to be where he is. When Meg’s visit was over, Noyzi said goodbye and went back to his bed. He didn’t stand at the door, pining for Meg. This is an excellent outcome for a dog rescue. I got a dozen pictures of Noyzi looking absolutely delirious with joy, with a big grin on his face. I also got video footage that will always remind us of how happy we made this one canine soul, who by all rights, should have died on the streets of Pristina when he was a baby. And yet, by fate’s twists and turns, he wound up living with Americans in Germany.

I noticed one other thing as I was watching the scene unfold. I legitimately didn’t feel jealous or possessive when I was watching my dog reunite with the woman who saved his life. Maybe this is a strange thing to notice or mention in this post, but if you’ve been following me for any time whatsoever, you know that Bill and I have had a lot of dealings with narcissists. Bill’s ex wife is a very jealous, insecure person. She was so insecure that she couldn’t allow her kids to know their fathers or me. Her kids probably didn’t dare talk about how much they loved or missed Bill, or were curious about me. Talking about loving Bill would have caused a narcissistic injury, and there would have been terrible consequences. If Ex were Noyzi’s “mom”, she would have been jealous of Meg. But I am Noyzi’s “mom”, and I was really moved to see how much he loves Meg. So at least I know I’m not like Ex in that way.

A narcissistic person would not have been happy to see Noyzi so glad to see his rescuer. They would have felt threatened, unloved, betrayed, discarded… maybe they would have seen Noyzi as a traitor. Narcissists can’t share love, attention, or allegiances. They are very selfish. I often worry that I might be narcissistic, even as I know that wondering or worrying about such a thing in myself is a clear sign that I’m not a narcissist. Narcissists don’t think anything is wrong with them. They don’t check their behavior. A scene involving a rescue dog joyfully reuniting with a rescuer would send echoes of terror and betrayal into the depths of their very souls.

I didn’t experience any of those negative feelings yesterday. You can hear me on the video sounding amazed, happy, elated that our dog was so excited and delighted to see his beloved rescuer again. He remembered her, and obviously adored her, and it was a beautiful thing to see! I hope we can see it again soon. And I know it’s strange to bring up Ex in this… since it doesn’t directly involve her. I guess I mention it because Ex, like Trump, is kind of like a stubborn disease that infiltrates everything. She has the ability to inflict deep wounds and scars. She makes people doubtful and unsure of themselves. But dogs and other animals, who have pure hearts and souls, make people see what’s real.

Last night, I had a weird dream about dogs. It was a mostly pleasant dream that involved the old 80s video game, Q*bert. I think Q*bert invaded my dreams because yesterday morning, as I was barely awake and doing my morning routine, I mentioned something about the game… or, I think I did. I don’t really remember. Bill went off on a very energetic tangent about Q binary coding. I didn’t know what the fuck he was on about, and didn’t care, as I was trying to shit. Sorry, I know that’s too much information, but that’s what I was doing as Bill was crowing like a rooster. He really is a morning person and that’s the best time for him to do almost anything. I am kind of a morning person too, but not as much of one as he is, so I’m often left befuddled by Bill’s sheer energy in the morning. He practically glows when the sun is rising. When it sets, he’s barely coherent.

Q*bert… big fun for us Gen Xers.

I somehow mentioned Q*bert, a game Bill didn’t play when he was young, because he was a legal adult circa 1982 and didn’t have the time, money, or inclination to play video games. I haven’t thought of Q*bert in literal decades. Now I want to play it again. I had a dream about it this morning… and my dogs… and a couple of lesbians. I don’t know what that was about. Maybe it’s because I read a hateful tweet from some misogynistic jackass who said his favorite part of the overturning of Roe v. Wade was that it happened during gay pride.

I’ve read a lot of very disturbing comments from men this week… hateful, mean spirited, homophobic and misogynistic comments from men who are gleeful at this new opportunity to oppress, control, and mansplain to women. They diminish and discount our valid concerns about what will happen in the future, as babies are born to women who don’t want them. And I’ve read some equally hateful responses from women, some of whom are really going to fuck up the worlds of some of these men who think they’ve got us by the pubes. It will be a huge letdown when the consequences of this decision come to light… lots of men will be paying a lot of child support and some of them will go to prison for rape. Other men will be left wanting when women don’t want to have sex with them because they don’t want to risk pregnancy. I think men should be afraid. There are some vindictive women out there who will make them sorry they championed taking away their rights.

I’ll bet Donald Trump never thought a beautiful young woman named Cassidy would be the person who instigated his downfall… and I do think her testimony is going to cause Trump to fall. Donald Trump is a narcissist, and his actions and comments on January 6 prove it. Most narcissists have a pretty horrible downfall when they finally fuck up the wrong thing. January 6 was probably Trump’s biggest fuck up in life. It may be the thing that brings him down… and a lot of otherwise decent people will be left on the wrong side of history. I can see that a lot of people don’t want to admit that they were duped, but there will be a day when Trump supporters will be as ashamed as many of Hitler’s supporters eventually were.

Speaking out against Trump so bravely will cost Cassidy Hutchinson, and I hope she is being protected. The world is watching her, and she delivered, but there are going to be people who will want her to pay for being outspoken. She would be right to be fearful right now, although the world owes her a debt of gratitude for her bravery. I hope that witnessing what she did in the White House will help her realize that she should choose her heroes with much care.

I notice that besides being intelligent and well-spoken, Cassidy is also a very attractive woman. If she had been plainer, she probably wouldn’t have been chosen for her role in Trump’s White House. I know that sounds insulting, but if you look at most of the women in Trump’s domain, they are almost all easy on the eyes… and most of them use that to their advantage. Cassidy Hutchinson obviously has good character to go with her brains and beauty. She’ll go far… if she manages to survive this chapter. I don’t blame her for being a Republican. I was one too, when I was her age… and as she is a graduate of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, which is close to where I grew up, I can understand why being a Republican would appeal to her. Most people in that area are conservative.

I sure would like to see a government that is more centrist and interested in actually getting things done that benefit everyone and don’t get undone in subsequent administrations. Everything has been such a mess in the past few years, and although Bill and I have fared well, it makes me really worry about the future. But it makes me feel good to know that there are still decent people in the Republican Party, like Cassidy Hutchinson. I would be so happy if we could just get rid of Trump’s version of the Republicans. Maybe it’s a pipe dream. Trump is like an unusually recalcitrant sexually transmitted infection that can’t be cured with the usual drugs.

Anyway… I read a very good opinion piece in the New York Times yesterday that brought up some consequences of allowing states to decide about abortion that I hadn’t considered. I will probably write about it later today or tomorrow, if I am so moved. I would like to get those ideas down right now, but this post isn’t the place to do it. This post is a hodgepodge of weird stuff and random thoughts. So it’s time I closed it and got on with the day… It’s Thursday, so that means I have to vacuum. Blech.

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Duggars, family, history, lessons learned

Embracing my “unpopularity”… and a Duggar named “True”…

Hello to everyone. I am now back in Germany, ready to plunge back into my pseudo occupation of writing. Bill and I got home from our vacation yesterday afternoon. We were confronted by piles of dirty laundry in our luggage and high grass in the backyard. It must have rained a lot while we were out of town. I had to turn on the lawn mowing robot three times and use the weed whacker to get the backyard back to a reasonable state. I still need to let the mower run again, but it’s raining today. It’s kind of satisfying to see the grass cut. I wish all chores were like that.

After I write this post, I will move to my travel blog and write about our latest travel adventures in Italy, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. My travel blog used to be somewhat popular, but it’s not so much anymore. After this latest trip, I realize that maybe not being popular is a good thing. There was a time when I cared more about getting people to read my stuff. Now, I think it might be better that I stay anonymous. It’s easier to be honest when I’m less “popular”.

This morning, I was looking at my Facebook memories. I found a post from 2014 that I wrote one night when I was feeling despondent and alone. We were living in Texas at the time, and Bill was visiting his dad in Tennessee. I had stayed home from that trip for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I stayed in Texas because we lived in a rental with a pool, and a pipe had busted. I had to be there to turn the water off when the automatic pool system came on. At the time, Texas was in the middle of a terrible drought, so we couldn’t waste the water. As far as I know, Texas is still in a drought situation today. But there were other reasons why I stayed home.

Bill was also about to retire from the military, and we had to save money. Going to Tennessee with Bill meant more expenses for us at a time when we weren’t sure about his future employment prospects. As it turned out, he got a job offer a month later… on my birthday, no less. Within a couple of months, we’d moved to Germany, where I came face to face with the military community. Ironically, when we lived in Stuttgart, I had more exposure to the military than I ever did as an actual “Army wife”. That includes the time we lived in Army housing on Fort Belvoir. But at the time Bill visited his dad, we didn’t know what the future would hold. It was a pretty scary time, actually.

The final reason I didn’t go is because I know my husband’s stepmother doesn’t like me. I don’t think we trust each other, either. Not that I blame her for not liking me. A lot of people don’t. But I don’t like to be in places where I’m not welcome, and I don’t like to interact with people who are simply tolerating me and my admittedly unconventional personality. I’d rather be at home. So I stayed home, and Bill visited his dad in May 2014. It turned out that was their last visit, as Bill’s dad passed away in November 2020. Thanks to COVID-19, Bill wasn’t able to go to his funeral.

In any case, in May 2014, I was obviously feeling kind of sad. I became one of those attention seeking “insufferable posters” I wrote about the other day, and posted this… which was probably a plea for attention from my own family of origin. I suspect I was drinking wine that night.

I think a lot of my family members disapprove of me… because I am a little on the odd side. But just so everyone knows, I will be weird until I croak. So if you hope I will change because you shun me, rest assured I don’t give much more than half a fuck. I’m weird and profane and will be that way until I kick the bucket… which honestly, I hope happens sooner rather than later. With friends and family like that, who needs enemies?

I still kind of feel like this, although I’ve kind of come to terms with it. After eight years in Germany, I kind of miss Virginia and some of my family members. But, in reality, I’m surprised by how much I don’t miss them. I feel like I’m completely out of touch with most of them. Living abroad can really change one’s perspectives. I used to be proud to be southern. I used to identify as a Republican. I was never a pro-lifer, but I had more sympathy for that view. But now, most of my opinions have changed, and I don’t think it’s wrong that they’ve changed. I have a hard time being around some of the more militant Trump supporters in my family, especially the ones who also claim to be Christians… which includes most of them.

The older I get, the more I find that I am who I am, and I’m not going to change into what other people want me to be. If that means people think I’m “insufferable”, and that makes me “unpopular”, so be it. With all of this talk about pro-life vs. pro-choice, one would think we’d have more regard for people’s differences. So many people seem to think that every potential life should be given a chance. But it seems that a lot of people really don’t… they want conformity and “niceness”, even if the niceness isn’t genuine. When you don’t conform to norms, sometimes you will experience pain in the form of rejection. I’ve been rejected by a lot of people… and for a long time, it made me pretty sad. It was saddest to me when my own family rejected me. In fact, one of the main reasons why I am so pro-choice is because I was repeatedly told that I was a “mistake” when I was a child. It would have been less hurtful to me if my mom had just aborted me, though that wasn’t legal at the time.

Of course, my mom doesn’t say stuff like that to me anymore, and my father is dead. I know my mom is glad I’m here now, since I don’t demand anything of her anymore. I also turned out reasonably okay. I just have a personality that people tend to love or hate. But I really think growing up unwanted had a big effect on my personality. It’s made me stubborn and contrary, and maybe some people think I’m an asshole for any number of reasons. Whatever… I’m going to be 50 soon, so I don’t think I’m going to change. It’s probably best to just lay low and enjoy being unpopular… It’s been my experience that the least popular people tend to be the most interesting. They don’t go with the flow. They don’t follow the crowd. They don’t go along to get along. 😉 What could be more interesting than that?

Moving on…

I noticed yesterday that I had a bunch of hits on a post I wrote last fall, when Jed and Katey Duggar shared their pregnancy announcement… apparently five minutes after they conceived. It turns out they were looking at that post because Jed and Katey’s son, Truett Oliver Duggar, was born on Monday, May 2. I heard that Katey had to be induced, so she gave birth in a hospital. May 2 was also Katey’s due date.

The bouncing baby boy was named Truett (which according to them, means “warrior for Christ”) and Oliver (which they said means “peace”)– and his initials are TOD, which someone in the Duggar Family News Facebook group noticed that those are the same initials for “time of death”. Some people were commenting that the baby’s name was the same as Chick Fil-A’s founder’s name. My only comment is that the names seem to be in conflict… and I’m also wondering if perhaps Jed and Katey aren’t promoting “fractured facts” in their explanation of what the names Truett and Oliver mean.

But anyway… the boy is here and he has a name, and he looks healthy and strong. Good for them! Obviously, he is very much wanted and loved. I like the name Truett, or even True, more than “Spurgeon”, anyway.

Katie Joy’s commentary on the new arrival.

What’s really creepy is that Jedidiah Duggar’s voice sounds so much like big brother Josh’s… and Josh, as we all know, is currently sitting in jail, awaiting his prison sentence for possessing and receiving child pornography. But at least Jed didn’t nap while his wife was in labor, and she didn’t give birth to him on a toilet. These are things that happened on Josh’s watch as his wife, Anna, was giving birth. And, as far as I know, Jed hasn’t been engaging in any illegal activities, although I am not at all in agreement with his political or religious views. Still, the world would be a dull place if we all agreed on everything. So congratulations to this particular branch of the Duggar family. I hope they enjoy this special time.

Well… now it’s time to get going on my travel blog. I hope someone will enjoy my efforts, but even if they don’t, that blog series will serve as a reminder of some of the great stuff Bill and I have managed to do, in spite of my “unpopularity” among the masses…

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blog news, business, history, money

A grateful thank you to all of my readers…

Yesterday was somewhat less annoying than Wednesday was. There were no unexpected visitors; Aunt Flow vacated; I didn’t get involved in any online pissing matches; and as of this morning, I crossed the threshold allowing me to be paid for writing this blog. And so, today’s post is going to be focused on gratitude for everyone who has been reading this rag. Some of you have been surprisingly faithful readers, and I really do appreciate it. I know sometimes I can be cranky, negative, and gross, but it does my heart good to know that some people don’t seem to mind. Or maybe they just read so they can snark. Either way, I make a few pennies when people read, and they’ve now finally added up to enough that I can actually get paid.

Love me some Andrew Gold.

I’m actually impressed by how quickly this happened on WordPress. I moved my original OH blog from Blogger in February 2019. It was one of three blogs I had on that site, and all three were earning spare change through AdSense. During my heyday, I usually made enough money on Blogger from all three blogs to cash out every nine months or so. To do that, I had to earn at least $100. Remember, I had THREE blogs going, so they weren’t earning much individually. The original blog was the fastest earner, but the travel blog was also pretty popular before we moved to Wiesbaden. None of them were making big bucks, though.

At this point, I only have one blog left on Blogger. That would be my Dungeon of the Past music blog, which is mainly about music from the 70s and 80s. I don’t update it very often anymore, and right now, I have almost $98 sitting in AdSense. As soon as that blog earns the last two bucks I need to cash out, I’ll probably discontinue it. However, at this point, earning those last two bucks could take years! I usually only make a few pennies a month from just the music blog. This past month has been an exception. Looks like I made about 60 cents this month.

In July of 2019, when I moved the travel blog to WordPress, I immediately set up ads for that blog only. At this writing, the travel blog has made a grand total of $5.09. That amount is the whole total since the blog was created, having collected ad revenue since July 2019. COVID-19 was pretty devastating to my travel blogging, since we’ve been locked down and unable to go as many places. I suppose I could have been creative and come up with other travel related content, but to be honest, I had kind of lost my motivation. Happily, since COVID restrictions are loosening, I think we’ll be traveling more soon. In fact, next weekend, we will be on vacation. I am delighted to report that the travel blog is now consistently earning more than it ever has.

This blog has only been running ads since July 2021. In nine months, I’ve earned enough revenue to be paid. As of today, the “new” OH blog has made $109.61. That’s got to be because people are actually reading this stuff. So thank you! Writing is really all I ever wanted to do with my life, anyway, and while $109 isn’t enough to live on, it’s still money that I made, doing something I love doing! I do love to write, even if I do complain a lot about first world problems. I probably won’t be getting the $109 payout until June, which is fine. I’ll possibly get it just in time for my 50th birthday!

I didn’t want to run ads when I first started writing on this space. Like most people, I find ads annoying, and sometimes I want to write about topics that advertisers don’t like. But I was curious to see if this blog could make any money, which was why I turned on the ads. At first, I did it as an experiment, but then when I noticed that this blog made a lot more than the travel blog did, I decided to keep the ads going, just to see how long it would take before I made enough to cash out.

I know I have some readers who met me on the now defunct review site, Epinions. Those people are also writers, and they know the pleasure of seeing monthly “income share” come in. I remember my first month on Epinions, I wrote a rant about my cell phone service provider. I was really just looking for a place to vent, because I was pissed. I didn’t even know I could make money writing on Epinions. But when I saw that the review made 19 cents, I decided to write more. I spent almost eleven years writing on Epinions, and I made about $12,000, just reviewing stuff I was using anyway. Considering that I usually wrote in low paying categories like books, music, and travel, I think I did alright!

Sometimes I still miss Epinions, but that site became decidedly less fun as it was dying. I like writing on my own site now, since I can curse with wild abandon, add photos and videos, and don’t have to worry about obnoxious advisors, leads, or just oddball members lowballing ratings or leaving petty criticisms. 😉 That’s not to say that I can’t take legitimate criticism, per se. It’s just that some of them wanted to criticize things like how often I wrote, or disagreed with my review… or, in some cases, they would try to correct me when they, themselves, needed to edit.

I remember one particular Epinionator felt just fine about leaving me a low rating because she felt that instead of using Preparation H on my asshole, I should be using apple cider vinegar. And, as she commented, she signed off with the annoying phrase, “sharing the light”. I ranted about that incident on the original version of this blog. I’ll probably repost it today because, what the hell… I know some readers will get a kick out of that little taste of nostalgia.

Those kinds of comments and ratings were not supposed to happen. We weren’t supposed to downrate because we disagreed with the review; we were supposed to rate based on the quality of the review. Like, the rating was supposed to be based on how informative and well-written the review was, not someone’s personal opinion about the product or the reviewer. Anyway, not long after that “asshole” incident, in which I was advised to use vinegar instead of a soothing cream on my bum, I ran across a review by this particular writer. I gave her a slightly lower rating (helpful vs. very helpful). I think she genuinely earned the rating I gave her. She sent me a pissy email full of excuses as to why her review was the way it was, and why I should give her a higher rating. I couldn’t help but shake my head. A few weeks later, the site went belly up. It made me sad at the time, but then I realized that it was for the best. If Epinions were still going, maybe you wouldn’t be reading my first world rants here, and I would still be dealing with people like that person!

$109 is not a lot of money. In fact, it’s not even enough to pay my subscription fees for this site. But it’s a good start! It feels good to make money again. I do, on occasion, get weird, rude, or mean comments from drive by visitors; but this blog, by and large, attracts far fewer crazies than Epinions did. Like, for instance, the woman who went absolutely batshit nuts because she was posting rubber stamped reviews of her Canon camera under multiple listings and getting tons of “not helpful” ratings. Even though people tried to explain to her how the site worked, she didn’t get it… and she raised holy hell. It caused quite a drama! I don’t think she ever did learn how Epinions worked. After a weekend of rampaging with inappropriate comments and ratings, she was kicked off the site.

Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with that kind of nonsense here. Most everyone who reads this blog is perfectly nice. Or, at least they are basically respectful, which is really all I ask. It’s a bonus when people come back for more, even when I’m in one of my crotchety moods. So, once again, thank you! Thanks for reading and commenting– no need for ratings, here. And thank you all for being a friend. Thanks for helping me turn my opinions into something that has actual worth. It means more to me than most of you will ever know.

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