animals, dogs, music, pests, songs, videos, YouTube

Getting rid of “Flea-loaders” with an old fashioned Avon product…

This morning, I ordered a bottle of Avon’s Skin So Soft. I don’t usually use this product, but thanks to the pesky hedgehog who has made a home in our backyard, I feel compelled to buy it. I woke up this morning with a rash around my neck, and I’m pretty sure it came from fleas on the hedgehog and her baby. Hedgehogs are notorious for having fleas.

Arran has been messing with the hedgehog ever since she showed up on August 1, and sure enough, he did get fleas. Now, these aren’t the usual fleas that infest dogs and cats. These are hedgehog fleas, which supposedly can’t infest pets the way they do hedgehogs. The fur on dogs and cats is too soft, or something. However, these little beasts do bite, and while Arran isn’t covered in them, I know that he brought a few into our house. In fact, when he was at the vet’s office last Friday, the vet was looking for an actual infestation. She didn’t find one, but then a flea jumped off Arran’s head. The tech managed to catch it, and they killed it so they could look at it under a microscope. Maybe that’s where Arran’s swollen lymph nodes came from. The vet did tell Bill that Arran’s hormones are fine. I actually hope the swollen nodes are from fleas… because the alternative is probably cancer.

Today, I’m also washing all of the bedding. I needed to do that anyway, and often do it on Wednesdays, but thanks to the blood sucking little fuckers Arran brought into the house, it’s necessary to be aggressive. Both dogs have been treated for fleas. Ordinarily, I would be giving them oral flea preventative as a matter of course, but since Arran is old and has had mast cell tumors, I try not to give him products that might encourage tumors to form. He only gets the most basic vaccines now.

It’s finally raining, which is a huge blessing. We need the rain desperately. I’ve been really delighted to see the grass starting to grow back in our yard. I even used the lawnmower for the first time in weeks a couple of days ago, because there were patches of grass that were looking unkempt. The cooler weather will help get rid of the fleas. The hedgehog will also be going into hibernation soon, if she hasn’t already.

I haven’t had to deal with fleas since the 1980s, before dogs routinely got flea and tick preventative. Our dogs used to get them every summer, and my mom would obsessively find and kill them with her bare hands. I would give the dogs baths to get rid of a bunch of them at once. I gave our dogs baths a few days ago, and all that came off of them, besides a little dirt, was lots of undercoat. Arran, especially, had lots of loose hair coming off.

So how did I know about the wonders of non-toxic Skin So Soft? It was thanks to my days riding horses. My old riding coach used to buy the product to use on the horses. I couldn’t put it on my horse, because he was allergic to the oils in it. I had to use special fly spray on him. However, I do remember my folksy riding teacher talking about how effective Skin So Soft is for getting rid of biting flies, mosquitos, and other insects. A quick Googling told me that the product will also work for fleas. Some people like the way it smells, too; however, I find the scent basically pleasant, but kind of cloying and sickeningly sweet. I will be able to tolerate it, though, if it means the fleas don’t bite me anymore.

There are, of course, more important things I could be writing about today. Lots of news stories that are blogger worthy have popped up on my radar. But I’m just not in the mood to write about such things today, because I’m irritable. Itchy rashes have a way of doing that to a person.

Remembering about Skin So Soft reminded me that sometimes, even the carefree pursuits of childhood can prove useful in the future. I probably would not have known about Skin So Soft if not for my horse crazy days. My mom didn’t use Avon products. In those days, you had to have a supplier. Now, you can just buy the stuff on Amazon. They even have it in Germany, so I won’t have to get it through the APO system.

In other news, I decided to make another music video yesterday. I had wanted to do it last month, when Olivia Newton-John died, but I was having trouble getting the vocals right. It’s not a lyrically challenging song, but the key is right at the part of my voice that goes from chest to head, so it can be hard to be accurate with my pitch. I’m a stickler for pitch, so I held off on recording. Then, when the Queen of England died, I decided it was time to give “Grace and Gratitude” another try. I managed to do it yesterday, complete with harmonies. Took me about two hours from recording to making a simple video.

This song comes from the album, Liv On, which Olivia Newton-John made with Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky in 2016. It’s a very comforting album, especially when a person is experiencing loss. So anyway, here’s my take on “Grace and Gratitude”. I don’t think it turned out too shabbily. I used photos from last fall’s trip to Slovenia, which was combined with our first proper visit (as opposed to a joyriding day trip) to Croatia. Both places are insanely beautiful. I hope to visit again soon.

I really enjoy making music videos… They usually aren’t controversial, and I almost always find singing relaxing.

Just in case anyone wants to know which product I bought… And if you purchase through the Amazon link, I get a small commission from Amazon. But there is certainly no pressure. I’m just sharing the link to be helpful to those who are suffering like I am.

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complaints, music, technology, YouTube

I am, once again, a Facebook inmate…

Greetings, y’all. Today has gotten off to an annoying start. First off, last night I got put in “Facebook Jail” for a comment I made on a friend’s post about Donald Trump. What I wrote was not too terrible, when you consider what people regularly post on Facebook. However, my comment tripped the super sensitive bots, and within a couple of minutes, it got “schwacked”, as Bill would put it. I had a nastygram on my iPad, telling me that I was in trouble for posting “hate speech”.

As usual, they gave me the pointless option to appeal, which I decided not to bother with this time. Then they handed down my punishment… two days of not being allowed to post in my groups. Since I run two groups, that’s kind of a pain in the ass. It also really annoys me that my online activity is being dictated by bots. I’ve been giving serious thought to deleting Facebook, mainly because this kind of crap pisses me off. I mean, people can post all sorts of hateful, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and sexist craziness, and nothing gets done. But I make a simple three word comment about Trump, and I immediately get “restricted” from posting in groups for two days. Granted, it’s not much of a punishment, but that’s not really the point. I don’t like feeling like Zuckerberg’s chump. He has way too much power, and he’s delegated it to bots who don’t understand nuances, and don’t get context. That is BULLSHIT. Way too many of us are tolerating it.

This isn’t a nice thing to post, but it’s no worse than a lot of what of people post on Facebook. Moreover, I think euthanizing Trump would do a lot for the safety and security of the world’s people. Now I wonder what will happen the next time I have to put one of my dogs to sleep. Will I also get punished for posting “He needs euthanasia” in that case?

Anyway, this won’t be a big problem for me, even though I run a couple of groups. I do think, however, that Facebook shoots itself in the foot when it “punishes” people for minor crap like this, but ignores the really personal, toxic shit people post to each other all the time. Eventually, people will move on from Facebook, when someone comes up with something better. You know it will happen, too, because there was a time when people couldn’t live without MySpace. Look what happened to that quaint artifact from the early 2000s. Every time this happens, to me or to other people, I think Facebook sucks more.

Moving on…

I did succeed in making a music video yesterday. I can do it better, though… Bill came home unexpectedly while I was recording, so I wrapped up my session sooner than I would have. Anyway, if you’re curious, here it is. Keep in mind, I literally learned this song yesterday, and I do this strictly for fun and artistic purposes. I’m not a professional in any capacity of the word. πŸ˜‰

It’s a pretty song. Maybe it would be better for me in a higher key, although I do enjoy occasionally exploring the low registers of my voice.

The other annoying thing that has happened so far today is this… I happen to love Beth Nielsen Chapman’s music. I use Apple Music to organize my library. I’m sure there are better options, but I don’t have the time or inclination to look for them. Consequently, sometimes I try to manually maintain the library, especially when I get double entries for the same songs on the same albums. For some reason, when I tried to delete some duplicate tracks, Apple Music inexplicably deleted my whole BNC catalog.

I still had the songs on my computer, of course, but they weren’t being recognized by Apple Music. Moreover, when I went looking for the files, they were all listed individually, instead of in a big file. I ended up having to manually adding over 100 songs back to Apple Music. And I had to do that twice, because when I had the same problem after fixing it the first time, the same thing happened. The positive side of this, of course, is that I got to be reminded of what a great songwriter BNC is, and how many of her songs I love. I continue to improve my guitar skills, so maybe someday, I can tackle a couple of her songs that I can’t find backing tracks for.

One final event that will happen today is that I will be getting a new iPad. The one I’ve been using is getting hard to charge. At this point, it is possible to charge it, but it’s a pain to do it. I decided to go with an iPad Pro, because I use the iPad a lot when we travel, and want the better camera that comes with it. I have it on my phone, and it is superior to what comes with the lower models. I also got an Apple Pencil and a Smart Keyboard Folio, because as long as I was making the order, I figured “what the hell”.

The next big purchase I want to make somewhat soon is a new car… and I want that simply because my old car is 13 years old and has an obsolete stereo. πŸ˜‰ But as I rarely drive, we can definitely wait on doing that.

Because I’m waiting on an expensive electronics device, I have to wait to walk the dogs, which I know will annoy them. But, at least we have some rain, at long last. It’s been so dry lately… I doubt we’ll get much rain today, but whatever falls will be much welcome, if only to cool things off.

And finally… just for my political friends, check out this ad for Ryann McEnany’s conservative dating app, “The Right Stuff”. Ryann is the sister of former Trump press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany. This kind of makes me want to puke… but I’m sure some people will love it.

ROTTEN.

This sounds like a bad idea for many reasons… I recommend listening to Farron Balanced’s video for reasons why this dating app potentially sucks. Generally speaking, I agree with the host’s comments about not necessarily cutting out people with different political leanings. On the other hand, politics has changed wildly in the Trump era.

I never thought I’d swear off voting for Republicans, but yet here I am. I heard Liz Cheney’s concession speech, as she was beaten in her primary race by a Trump devotee. I don’t like Liz’s politics, but she’s at least fair, decent, and sane. I hope she can make a comeback. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of her, especially as Trump goes down in flames. But for the time being, Liz Cheney’s dedication for not championing sociopathic wannabe dictators has cost her. Maybe she’ll run for president, though. So we’ll see.

Well, I think I’ll sign off now, and play some guitar. Hopefully, the new toy will get here soon, and I can get set up with my new iPad while I wait to be sprung from Facebook Jail… AGAIN.

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music, politicians, politics, social media, Texas, weather

“At least I’m not in Texas…” Did I actually have the cojones to say that out loud?

The featured photo comes from Wikipedia and references a popular slogan that tough talking Texans like to bandy around about their (or should I say *my* state)… but Bill tells me it was actually an 80s era slogan they used to discourage littering. This post is full of cussing, so if you don’t like that, you know what to do and where to go… preferably not to Texas.

Yesterday, there was an article in The New York Times about Europe’s current heat wave, which I’m sadly enduring here in Germany. A woman went to the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary, and offered tips on how she stayed cool during her trip. I decided to leave a comment. I will admit, I knew on some level that my comment would probably attract trolls and other assholes, because most comments somehow do… but I decided to leave it anyway, because why not?

Thank God for that! I am a proud native Virginian… which is also where the most famous Texan, Sam Houston, was born. In fact, he was from Rockbridge County, which is where most of my people come from… once they left the British Isles and Ireland. I love Lyle Lovett, anyway… even if he IS from Texas.

My comment was that I live in Germany and I’m so tired of the heat and the drought conditions here. But, “at least I’m not in Texas.” That was ALL I posted. I made no mention of politics. I didn’t bring up the lack of abortion rights in Texas, or any of the other anti-woman or racist policies and attitudes that are so prevalent there. I didn’t post about the crappy power grid and how it failed many Texans during the winter of 2021, causing people to die earlier than they should have. I had no words about the religious fanatics who want to impose their ways of life on the whole population and control everybody. And I wrote nary a word about all the ammosexuals in Texas. All I wrote is “at least I’m not in Texas.”

At this writing, my comment has well over 125 likes, which is unusual for me. It’s also attracted comments from jerks. Or, so I assume, anyway. I only bothered to read one comment, from a guy calling himself “Jay Smith” and claiming to be living in Istanbul, Turkey. He basically made some crack about how Texas isn’t my problem, and I should just enjoy Germany. There was more to it than that, but I’m not going to quote it verbatim, because I don’t want to read it again or see anyone else’s rude responses. The main idea is that I should STFU.

I bet “Jay Smith” of Istanbul talks like this in Texas.

So I responded that while I live in Germany, I am, in fact, a Texas resident, and I still vote there. So Texas actually IS my problem… and I can comment on Texas if I want to (which I’d be allowed to do regardless, as a *still free* person). Then I advised him to fuck off, which I normally wouldn’t do on a Facebook page for a newspaper. What can I say? The heat is making me CRANKY. My house is warm all the time, even when I use the portable air conditioners– which are helpful, but only cool individual rooms. The grass in the backyard is brown and crispy. I sweat all the time. I know that very soon the weather will change, and it will be glorious… but for now, it’s pretty yucky here.

I wonder what made that guy decide to leave me that comment. It genuinely fascinates me. My guess is that he’s probably some right wing turd in a red state– perhaps Texas itself– and he can’t abide anyone making the slightest negative crack about the beloved Lone Star State. Especially when it’s an apparently “liberal” (horrors!) woman who lives in another country. But there’s actually a lot to dislike about Texas, as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t necessarily hate Texas when I lived there for a year, but it’s gotten really weird and dystopian since I left. There were some things I didn’t like about it when I did live there, but I didn’t see it as weird-o-rama as I do now. Ever since Greg Abbott became governor, it’s gone down a very dark and climate challenged road. I sure as hell don’t want to move back, especially if Beto doesn’t win the governor’s seat from Greg Abbott.

But, like I said, I didn’t actually write anything bad about Texas. I just posted that at least I’m not in Texas. For all Jay Smith knows, I was simply posting about the weather there in August. And, in fact, that’s literally what I had in mind when I made my comment. I well remember what August is like in San Antonio. We had a pool in our backyard, but in August, the water was as warm as bathwater. Central air conditioning was an absolute must for a good portion of the year.

We had two air conditioners for the house we were renting, but they hadn’t been serviced in a long while, and the filters were absolutely DISGUSTING. I actually have pictures of how coated in gunk they were when we moved in and changed them. It had probably been years since anyone had done that. Energy prices were insane, too. Just to be comfortable, we had to pay out the ass. And, as my old friend Weird Wilbur sings in his song, “Down in Texas”, it’s always “summertime” down in Texas. I know that’s not actually true. I do remember some chilly days when we lived there. But it’s usually hot and uncomfortable, and not a place where I’d particularly want to endure the onset of menopause, especially when I start having hot flashes (which haven’t happened yet).

My spelling challenged pal, Weird Wilbur’s funny song about Texas… or one of them, anyway. I don’t talk to Wilbur much anymore, because as funny as he is, he’s also a right wing crackpot. I used to have much more tolerance for them, before the days of Trump. Wilbur’s song “Fuck You, Texas”, is the very best, and my absolute favorite Texas song…

All day, I kept getting tagged in more responses. Some of them might have been kind responses, but my guess is that most were probably more like Jay Smith’s, the obvious troll. So I haven’t read any of them. I keep asking Facebook to turn off notifications, but as usual, Facebook doesn’t care about my preferences. So here I sit, deleting notifications, and fruitlessly asking Facebook to stop sending me comments from right wing Trump supporting jerks.

I’m probably a little crankier about this than I ought to be. I guess it’s because sitting over here in Europe, watching how oppressive and dystopian the United States is right now, gives me a weird sense of survivor’s guilt. It’s so much more NORMAL in Europe, all things considered– even with this relatively oppressive heat and lack of cooling systems due to the fact that Germany doesn’t often get this hot. I don’t routinely see people walking around downtown with huge firearms slung over their shoulders, like I often did in San Antonio. I don’t hear or read about people being shot up, or trying to attack the police for doing their jobs. Leaders here actually seem to care about people, and their jobs… or, at least they put on a convincing show of it.

There’s a much better video of this song, but I can’t share it here. If you search for it by using the properly spelled word, “fuck”, you can find it.

But… for all of my grousing about the Lone Star State, I can see why some people like it. It’s huge, and its populace has a certain bravado. My husband went to high school in Texas… but then that’s also where he met his ex wife, and we know how that turned out. Bill’s mom still lives there, as do some of my relatives. I guess it’s a good place if you like BBQ beef brisket, rodeos, margaritas, and Tex Mex. We have a bunch of friends who live in Texas, and none of them are batshit crazy. There’s even some pretty good wine in Texas Hill Country. But… unlike Tanya Tucker, I hope I won’t be in Texas when I die…

Nein, danke… Germany would suit me. So would Virginia. I’m loving Virginia more these days, although I’m not quite ready to move back there. It is a truly beautiful state, though… and decidedly purple, which I never thought I’d see.

Even if Texas was the most progressive, “woke”, politically correct place on earth, I’d still rather be here than there. For one thing, I’m not that excited about woke or politically correct places. I just want to live in a “NORMAL” place, where all people get basic human rights and I don’t have to worry about being shot. But for the main thing– and the most obvious reason– Texas in August is FUCKING HOT AS FOUR HELLS… and I don’t like that kind of heat, or paying for the energy required to have basic comfort in it. So, for that reason, I am glad that “at least I’m not in Texas.” And I should be able to write that in a comment section without having to deal with stupid trolls who try to tell me to shut up. I’ll thank you to fuck off, because I will never be your ass monkey, mmm’kay? Texas is uniformly HOT and unpleasant in August. For that reason alone, Germany is naturally a preferable location for me, especially at this time of year. It’s perfectly logical and acceptable to state that, and I should be able to do it without crap from Jay Smith and his right wing buddies.

In other news…

Marjorie Taylor Greene is a fucking moron. Sorry, it’s not a nice thing to state, nor is it particularly constructive, but she is embarrassingly stupid. And way too many similarly stupid people follow her. There, I said it. Blame it on the heat and my aging reproductive system, which thankfully will NEVER be forced to birth. Yesterday, I became aware of her recent diatribe about the evils of solar panels, wind turbines, and other “green” energy solutions that might help stave off climate change. She made some outright wrong statements, confidently speaking as if she was a comedian delivering an hilarious routine. And it WAS hilarious, but not for the right reasons. Sadly, her audience was into it, and laughed with her, while the more informed of us were laughing AT her.

I’m not going to go too far into this, because a lot of people are already posting about it… but, I live in a place where lots of people have and use solar panels. And there are wind turbines aplenty. We can’t take a trip on the Autobahn and not eventually pass a wind farm. You know what? We very rarely have power outages in Germany. When we do have them, they are usually fixed within an hour. I did not have that experience in several areas of the United States. Moreover, Marjorie’s district actually hosts the largest fucking solar panel plant in the United States! So… she’s out of touch with her community and reality, and she’s leading more people down the dark rabbit hole of ignorance and stupidity. As her hero Trump would say, “Sad…” But at least she’s not in Texas. They’ve got enough problems.

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Ex, music, narcissists, Neighbors, politicians, politics, reviews, YouTube

Lauren Boebert’s family are allegedly not good neighbors… and more!

Happy Sunday, y’all. Once again– lots I could be writing about today, and this post will probably diverge a bit, because I’m not sure I can fill a proper post with stuff about the ever disappointing Lauren Boebert and her raucous clan in Colorado. However, I feel impressed to share the below video by MeidasTouch, which I discovered on YouTube this morning and… sorry, it’s really not funny for the hapless 911 caller, but I did laugh a lot. He made it sound like a scene from any reality TV show. Pure madness!

OMG… Lauren’s husband and sons sound like a bunch of total howler monkeys. I particularly cracked up when the first caller called Jayson Boebert a jackass and told him to get the fuck out of there.

Neighbors from hell are one of life’s biggest nightmares, even if you live in a detached house and don’t have to share walls. The folks in this recording sound like they are at the ends of their proverbial ropes. It makes me appreciate cold passive aggression I have experienced from certain neighbors… and landladies. I’ve said it before– it’s NOT a punishment to be shunned by an asshole. Too bad the Boeberts aren’t the type to deliver the silent treatment. What makes it worse is that they’re heavily armed with weapons, and apparently Jayson Boebert is threatening everyone. We know Lauren is a fan of guns, so anything can happen.

Here’s hoping the Boeberts get what is coming to them, as their orange turd hero, Trump, goes down in flames. Or… so I pray for, as the world finds out that Trump stole highly classified documents and apparently thinks the law doesn’t apply to him. It sounds to me like the Boeberts are cut from the same ignorant, entitled, TACKY cloth.

Moving on…

Yesterday, I watched Fundie Fridays’ most recent video, which was a repost after she was forced to take down an older version. Lawson Bates– a country singer and one of Gil Bates’ many children– hit Jen’s channel with copyright strikes, which she says threatened its very existence. But common sense prevailed, and Jen didn’t lose her channel. Better yet, she was able to repost the below video, which I have to say, made me die laughing… especially at the end when she spoofs a country song, complete with pink cowboy hat, toy horse, and fake guitar playing.

You have to watch the end of this. HILARIOUS. I love Jen’s uninhibited sense of fun and sharp witted humor.

In the above video, Jen talks a lot about the Bates family. Before Josh Duggar’s mighty fall from grace, the Bates were riding on the Duggar family’s coattails. They seemed poised to take over the realm, as Gil Bates comes across as somewhat more pleasant and friendly than Jim Bob does. But– I think Josh’s disgusting perversions and their long affiliations with the Duggars have made the Bates family somewhat more tarnished, so they have also lost their reality TV show(s). The Bates were actually on two networks– TLC and UpTV– and they had two shows, neither of which I ever watched. But I do remember them from the Duggars’ show, which I did watch for awhile, then got bored with, then watched again as the girls started “courting”.

Anyway, the Bates are only an aside to what I want to comment on next. In her video, Jen does a short snippet about purity culture and purity rings. Apparently, Gil presented one of his daughters with a purity ring and told her he wanted to wear it until she found herself a good Christ lovin’, Bible thumpin’, father obeying man to marry. As she was playing that clip, Jen played this schmaltzy sounding music, to which she sang along. She declared the song, which I later determined to be the 2015 song “Always Love You” by a singer-songwriter named Tyrone Wells, “disgusting”. I have to admit, the part she played was pretty cringeworthy. Below is the video, followed by the lyrics.

He has sort of a acoustic pop sound, with obviously Christian friendly lyrics.

In my eyes you’ll always be
Princess and the world to me
Wonderful than any twinkling star
I will guard your innocence
All I ask in recompense is that
You know the truth inside your father’s heart
I hope you remember
Don’t you dare forget
I will always love you
I will always love you

It’s just a simple truth
And what else could I do?
I will always love you

You will grow up way too fast
And leave me wishing for the past
Back when you were still a daddy’s girl
So I’ll hold onto the memories of
The little girl upon my knee that
Little girl that forever changed the world
I hope you remember
Don’t you dare forget
I will always love you
I will always love you

It’s just a simple truth
And what else could I do?
I will always love you

And when your heart breaks
My heart will break
When your dreams come true
My dreams do
It doesn’t matter what you’re going through
I will always love you
I will always love you
It’s just a simple truth
What else could I do?

I will always love you
Oh, I will always love you
Sometimes you will fly
Sometimes you will fall
And till the day I die
Daughter, through it all
I will always love you

I will always love you
I will always love you

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Tyrone Wells

The part Jen plays and sings to is this:

I will guard your innocence
All I ask in recompense is that
You know the truth inside your father’s heart

I agree, on the surface, it does sound gross– like the weird fundie father “purity ring” bullshit that gets pushed. But I listened to the whole song, and on the whole, I disagree that it’s “disgusting”. It has a nice melody, and Wells has a pleasant voice, even if it does sound like most of the other male pop singers out there today. Just as a quick aside– I really miss the days when we had more distinctive singers who didn’t sound so “perfect”. I don’t like autotune, and I hate that so many popular singers are indistinguishable from other singers, with so many electronic sleights of hand and wizardry to completely alter organic sound. But again, I don’t think “Always Love You” is a particularly gross or disgusting song. Just those three specific lines, when paired with video of a weepy Gil Bates giving his daughter a purity ring, are kind of yucky. I mean, I’m married to a man who has a huge, loving heart. No, he can’t sing, but I can see him expressing this kind of love to his daughters. Or, at least the one who speaks to him.

And finally, speaking of Ex…

Apparently, Ex is now an expert on what makes marriages work. I guess, when you’ve had three husbands, and your adoptive mother has been divorced seven times, you do get an education of sorts. I didn’t think this quip was enough to base a whole blog post on, but I did have a good chuckle at this comment she tweeted about married characters on her favorite TV show. Someone had asked if she thought a time traveling couple would have lasted in marriage. I don’t watch the show myself, so I have no idea… but Ex’s comment did make me pause for a guffaw.

I don’t, actually. Frank and Claire had different things driving them. Even if they had a good sex life, it would not have held their marriage together. It takes a deeper, truer love to make marriage work in the long term.

I dunno… from what I’ve heard, she and #3 don’t have a marriage like that. They HAVE been together for 20 years, but it’s probably because #3 knows Ex alienates her children from their fathers; he can’t afford to pay her child support; and she may have actually convinced him that he can’t do better. She almost convinced Bill of that, even though it’s preposterous! As for sex… it’s true that she is adventurous, but it comes at a huge price that can potentially leave literal scars. My guess is that nowadays, she’s too busy watching TV and fantasizing about celebrities to do much rational thinking. As we know, narcissists aren’t really capable of true love, so I think she may be speaking out of her ass again. I remain grateful to her, though, because by divorcing Bill, she gave me the chance to find a deep, true love. <3 And we’ve managed to have that, even without a “great sex life”.

Even if what she says is technically true, in her case, it’s pure book smarts. Because I am convinced that she’s never experienced deep, true love. She has experienced infatuation, lust, and maybe attachment related to narcissism, which switches on and off at the drop of a hat. But she doesn’t know love… and she doesn’t give love. She’s about possession and loyalty binds, and if a person dares think for themselves, they will be cast aside, ostracized, and smeared. Not very loving, is it.

So ends today’s post. Bill is bottling beer today. I feel better than I did yesterday, so maybe we’ll do something. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

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celebrities, music, obits

Grace and gratitude: a fond farewell to Olivia Newton-John…

Just as I was going to bed last night, I got the news that Olivia Newton-John had died at age 73, having spent the past three decades battling breast cancer. I have been an Olivia fan since I was about– oh, I don’t know, maybe three or four years old. I have always loved her very sweet voice, from the time she was an up and coming country star until she was a guest star on Glee.

There were a few interludes in her career that I liked somewhat less. I wasn’t a big fan of the song “Physical” when it was popular, probably because it was such a departure from what she had been doing in the 70s. Also, I got super sick of that song, because it was constantly on the radio and MTV. But, as I got older, I came to appreciate her in almost every incarnation, even when she was doing super sexed up songs like “Soul Kiss” and “Tied Up”. I listened to her less in the 90s, although I know she put out some new age type music then. I also remember she had an Aussie clothing line called Koala Blue.

Then, in 2016, she joined singer-songwriters Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky on the album Liv On. What I loved about that album was that all of the songs were so beautiful, with lyrics that were comforting, grateful, and consoling coupled with gorgeous melodies and harmonies. The trio must have known people would want to sing these songs, since they also released a karaoke version. On more than one occasion, when I’ve listened to Liv On, I’ve found myself choked up with emotion. I’m not sure why they put out an album with so many emotional songs on it. Maybe it was because Olivia had battled breast cancer, as did Beth Nielsen-Chapman. I just read that Amy Sky’s mother also suffered and died of breast cancer, so she has also been very active in raising money for breast cancer research. Indeed, Olivia even opened a research center in Australia to help battle cancer.

I know Olivia was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in the 90s, but she went into remission. In 2013, the disease came back, and a few years after that, it had spread to her spine. I read that the pain was pretty unbearable during this time, yet there was Olivia, so sunny, upbeat, pretty, and blonde. She always looked like an angel to me, even when she was supposed to be sexy, like at the end of Grease, when she traded her plain pink frocks for black leather, satin pants, and heels. Those winsome looks, combined with her beautiful voice, were enchanting to me. She was the one rare singer my dad and I could always agree on when we were in the car together. And I always admired her positive outlook and genuinely sweet demeanor, always delivered with good humor.

My favorite Olivia era is the 70s. I used to listen to three specific albums repeatedly: If You Love Me Let Me Know, from 1974, Don’t Stop Believin’ from 1976, and Making A Good Thing Better, from 1977, which my dad had on 8 track. Years later, I also fell in love with her 1975 album, Have You Never Been Mellow. To this day, I’ll often put on that album when I need to calm down. In fact, in my memories yesterday, I even mentioned that song, as I remembered moving to Texas in 2013, where we would stay only a year before leaving the United States for Germany. I remember being awed by her powerful vocals when she took on big songs like “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.” And I always got a good laugh when I heard her try songs like “Ring of Fire”, which she gave a disco bent flavored with country, or “I’ll Bet You A Kangaroo”, which was no doubt a tribute to Australia, her adopted homeland.

Olivia’s music got me through many rough times. It also helped me bond with others. One of my best friends in college, a guy named Chris, was (and still is) a huge Olivia fan. He even went as far as to get a picture with her and an autograph, which he posted on Facebook yesterday. She was the one person whose albums he would always buy, and pretty much the only person whose music we could discuss without him managing to piss me off (don’t get him started about James Taylor). I loved to sing her songs at karaoke shows, and would often bond with others who liked her music, too. She was always a popular choice!

I even enjoyed Olivia’s forays into acting. I especially loved Xanadu, which was released when I was seven years old. I didn’t see it until a couple of years later, when we had HBO. In the early 80s, that movie was constantly showing on the cable movie networks. It bombed at the box office, but the soundtrack was awesome! And for 8 and 9 year old me, it was a magical film, with so many special effects and fantasy elements. Yes, as a 50 year old, I know it’s a cheesy film with a ridiculous plot, but I still count it as a favorite guilty pleasure. It, too, is something I watch when I need to cheer up. I can always count on Olivia to make me smile and soothe my soul with her sweet, warm, powerful voice.

I probably won’t do her justice, but I’ve decided to try a couple of songs from Liv On, as my own tribute to Olivia. We’ll see how they go. I would like to do some of her early stuff, too, but as it’s early in the morning, I figure my voice will probably hold out better with some of her more recent, more vocally forgiving songs. So watch this space, because this is where I’ll share the results, when they’re ready… which if I know myself, will be in a couple of hours or so.

A pretty song I tried from Liv On… You might recognize the lyrics.

I was going to do a second song. I may decide to do it tomorrow. I almost had it wired this morning, but Arran and Noyzi were demanding a walk, and then I decided it was too hot to try another. So maybe tomorrow… if only for the challenge of it, and the fact that I will always love channeling my inner Olivia.

I finally managed “Grace and Gratitude” a month after I posted this…

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