narcissists, religion, royals, social media, songs, videos, viral

“Let’s all get loaded and go to a tent revival!”

Last night, I happened to see a hilarious TikTok video on Facebook. Someone shared it in the Duggar Family News groupwhite people having a good old fashioned “praise break”. The TikTok user muted the original music and replaced it with “Linus and Lucy”, by Vince Guaraldi. It’s perfect, if you’ve ever seen A Charlie Brown Christmas. Incidentally, my beagle, Arran, reminds me more of Snoopy every day. Especially at dinner time.

We should all move when the spirit strikes us. Maybe if I did that, my beer filled spare tire would deflate a bit.

Someone in the group wrote:

When I was in college we often would get loaded and go to listen to the music at tent revivals. It was an enlightening experience. We did lose one friend, who while under the influence of LSD went up to be saved. He came back a fews days later…

Bwahahahhaha! I had a good laugh at that. It actually sounds like a great way to spend time with friends. I wish I had thought of that when I was young enough to appreciate the entertainment value of a good tent revival. Now that I’m as old as I am, I know that there’s more to religion than praising a higher power. It’s also a hotbed of corrupt people who want to control others.

Still, what a hoot it must be to watch a bunch of rhythm challenged folks catching the spirit and dancing like… well, very inhibited white guys. I’m not the greatest dancer myself, but I do think that’s something we should all learn how to do. Or, at least learn not to be ashamed when the mood strikes us to bust a move. I know… I’m sitting here laughing at white people dancing in church on TikTok. Maybe that’s hypocritical of me. The video would be much less embarrassing if these folks had not been taught to be so inhibited in the first place.

Sore-y guys. The party’s over.

Dammit, why didn’t I find this last month? Guaranteed to make you smile! That is, if you like banjo… and I do. Someday, maybe I’ll learn to play.

These guys are smokin’ hot!

I’m not sure what got me on this topic today. Currently, I am reading two new books. I don’t usually read two at a time, but one of the books is a good, old-fashioned, honest-to-God book. Bill usually falls asleep before I do, and I can’t read regular books in the dark. A couple of nights ago, after I finished reading Spare, I started reading a new Kindle book. The new Kindle book has literally been waiting years to be read. It’s actually a pretty compelling book, too, and not at all like the physical book I’m reading.

The physical book is a true crime story about two terrible murders that happened in Middlesex County, Virginia, back in 1990. The book is very good so far, although I’m having some trouble reading it, because the print is very small. It’s not available on Kindle, which is surprising. People are still interested in reading about this case. I am personally interested, because I grew up in neighboring Gloucester County. I remember when the murders happened. Hopefully, I will finish the book quickly, both because I’m eager to write about this crime, and because reading tiny print is hard on my eyes.

I will also probably write more dedicated posts about Prince Harry’s book, Spare. Maybe I’ll even do that today. I just decided that my first post of today should be different. A whole lot of people are writing reviews and making YouTube videos about Spare. I watched a couple of them yesterday. Reactions to Spare seem mixed. I would say more people like the book than don’t, with many people sympathizing with Harry and Meghan. However, a significant number of readers seem offended by Spare.

Sky News in Australia seem to think that Meghan Markle can “smell” weakness on King Charles III and is “out for blood”. Personally, I wouldn’t give her that much credit. If the British monarchy crumbles, it certainly won’t be because of Meghan Markle. However, the controversies raised by Harry’s book, coupled with the “woke brigade” and people who think the Royal family costs too much, could spell the end of the monarchy. I don’t know.

Personally, I wouldn’t call myself a royalist. I am simply a child of the 80s, and I grew up watching the British Royal Family because they were always in the news. Also, my earliest memories are of living in England. I will admit, though, that Queen Elizabeth II was an exemplary monarch, and it will be extremely difficult to follow her. She had an incredible devotion to service, and she was mostly very appealing to the public. I don’t think King Charles III can come close to his mother’s popularity. However, I do think William might, which is why I think he will eventually be King. Beyond that, who knows? I’ll probably be long dead by the time George could be King.

Harry’s book doesn’t do William any favors at all. Harry makes William sound like an asshole. He describes his interactions with William and Catherine, at least post marriage to Meghan, as tense and angry. He makes William sound unfriendly and intolerant, and Catherine sounds cold and snobby. I, for one, am taking Harry’s comments with a huge grain of salt, though. Because I think his wife is a liar, and is pushing an agenda. Also, I never heard of any of this type of behavior until Meghan came on the scene. Catherine, in particular, has never put a step wrong in public.

Sky News Australia is notoriously anti-Meghan and Harry. I take what they say with a huge grain of salt, because their coverage regarding Harry and Meghan has been very obviously biased and negative. However, if Meghan is really a narcissist, then we can expect a relentless smear campaign. That’s what narcissists do.

I hope Harry prepares, too. If he and Meghan ever have a falling out, she will use his book to cast him in a bad light. He was very frank in the book, with multiple revelations about mental health issues, drug abuse, and questionable behavior (wearing a Nazi uniform, anyone?). If they split up, and there is a custody dispute, it stands to reason that Meghan will point to that book as evidence that he’s not a fit parent. I hope it doesn’t come to that… but I still hear those pesky “N” chimes.

Well, I suppose it’s time to do some housekeeping chores and get back to reading my new books. In the spirit of getting loaded and going to tent revivals, may you all have a blessed Thursday. I encourage you to dance, but try not to emulate the kids on A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Bwaahahahahaaha!

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animals, Ex, songs, true crime

Powerful explosions, pesky varmints, and pearl necklaces…

Special thanks to SurryJohn on Wikipedia, who has granted permission to share his photo of a marten and provided today’s unedited and unaltered featured photo. I have never actually seen the marten who has been digging in the backyard, but my guess is that it looks somewhat like the one in the photo.

Welcome to Wednesday’s post. I’m pleased to report that although Arran woke us up at about 3AM, there weren’t any other big bangs this morning. I am, of course, making reference to the huge boom we heard yesterday morning at about 3:45 AM. Bill and I were actually awake at that time, thanks to Arran and his Prednisolone urges to eat. Poor guy woke both of us up a few minutes earlier; I distinctly remember looking at my iPad for the time. I’m glad we weren’t awakened by the sound of the nearby explosion, because that would have been pretty scary. Of course, there were also emergency vehicles and their blaring sirens interrupting the peace a short while later.

I mentioned yesterday that the explosion came from the sound of some criminally motivated asshole blowing up the ATM at our local REWE (grocery store). Apparently, that’s a thing in this part of Germany (and probably other parts, too). Certain people have taken to blowing up automatic teller machines, likely in an attempt to steal money. I’m actually sure trying to steal the cash is why they do it… but perhaps they also enjoy playing with explosives. In any case, when Bill mentioned this turn of events to his co-workers, he was told that there were similar explosions in their towns, too. Naturally, the idiots who are doing this do it when no one might be hurt… or be able to describe them to the police. On the other hand, they also cause people like me to lose out on beauty sleep.

Not long after the explosion, I was in the backyard cleaning up Noyzi’s poop, when the ground suddenly gave way under one of my feet. That was when I was confronted with the small sinkhole. I had considered that perhaps a varmint was in the yard, but then thought maybe it was an issue with limestone in the soil. Bill spoke to the landlord, who came over and inspected the deep hole and said he thought it was the work of a marder. Marders, otherwise known as martens, are basically like weasels. They like to dig holes and climb into car engines when the weather is cold. They can do pretty serious damage to vehicles. However, even though they damage property and dig holes, it’s illegal to kill them in Germany. The landlord said he would come over and fill up the hole today. Now that I know there are martens in our neighborhood, I now understand why I’ve been finding strange looking poop near the front doorstep. I found a nice sized pile on the doormat the other day, noticing that it was full of seeds… probably from the bushes in the backyard. I’m now assuming the dung came from our wild, backyard, weasel like resident.

And finally, a word on the humble pearl necklace… This is another R-rated Ex related anecdote, so if that’s not interesting, move along…

Still with me? Okay…

My friend Susi shared this short video from a Facebook page called Johnny Rambo…

I suspect the above video may eventually become unavailable, so here’s a brief description. The woman in the video is wailing about being forced to wear handcuffs. She appears to be a victim of domestic violence of some sort. Or, she is at least claiming that her husband lied and victimized her, and she’s upset that she’s been arrested and is in handcuffs at a hospital. She yells that her husband is the one who’s been in jail, and yet she’s there in handcuffs.

I don’t know a single thing about what happened, other than what I can see is in the clip, and what she yells at the nurse who is trying to help her. The nurse tries to explain that the cuffs are for the safety of the woman, the cops, and the medical staff. I remember reading about how, when she was rescued from her kidnappers, Elizabeth Smart was placed in handcuffs. At the time, I was horrified for her, but now I realize that cops really don’t know what a person’s mental status is. Still, handcuffs are very uncomfortable and, in some ways, kind of inhumane. Last year, I had problems with my shoulder being impinged. I kept thinking about how it would be agony to have to wear handcuffs. I couldn’t reach behind my back or raise my arm without significant pain.

Anyway, the woman in the video, drops to her knees in prayer, then snarls at the nurse who suggests taking her blood pressure, saying that she’s been checked all over. “See if I’m pregnant at 66 years old!” she seethes, as the nurse says that’s a possibility (pregnancy at 66!!!). The woman is very dramatic in an over-the-top way, which tells me that she probably gives as good as she gets. She seems outraged and indignant, rather than shattered.

Then she yells, “I know it is. He’s put it in my ear, face, and put it all over me! How would you like to have cum poured all over you?!”

The nurse tells her to stop talking about that, as there’s a child nearby, and the woman snaps, “Well, maybe that child needs to hear about it”, as the video ends. I notice that the lady is well dressed in a charming pink ensemble and she’s wearing a pretty pearl necklace. I like pearls. The pearl is one of my birthstones. As Bill and I were watching this video short, I was suddenly reminded of a story he told me about his ex wife, back in the day. You see, they both went to the same Houston high school as Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top did.

One day, Ex was talking about the song “Pearl Necklace” by ZZ Top. Apparently, she was a fan of the song. I must admit, although I am familiar with ZZ Top, I am hearing the song for the first time this morning…

Apparently, Ex didn’t know what this song was referring to when she was enjoying it…

She came to Bill enthusiastically talking about how great the 1981 song “Pearl Necklace” is… and Bill started to chuckle, because she obviously didn’t realize that this was a song about something other than actual pearls… See the lyrics below:

She’s really upset with me again

I didn’t give her what she likes
I don’t know what to tell her
Don’t know what to say
Everything got funky last night
She was really bombed

And I was really blown away
Until I asked her what she wanted
And this is what she had to say
A pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace
She gets a charge out of bein’ so weird

Digs gettin’ downright strange
But I can keep a handle on anything
Just this side of deranged
She was gettin’ bombed

And I was gettin’ blown away
And she held it in her hand
And this is what she had to say
A pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace

She’s so cold
As pure as the driven slush
And that’s not jewelry she’s talkin’ about

It really don’t cost that much
She was gettin’ bombed
And I was gettin’ blown away
And she took it in her hand
And this is what she had to say
A pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace

Ex then got a clue and was supposedly horrified by the song’s reference, even though she is quite experienced in such realms… much more so than I am. I have never had that kind of pearl necklace, and Bill would never give me one, even if I was interested. I know… that’s super gross, but I swear, when I saw that video and heard that poor lady in her pearl necklace talking about being cummed upon by her husband, that old story popped right into my sick mind. God forgive me.

Well, that about does it for today’s blog post. May your day be without random explosions, critters who shit on your doorstep and put deep holes in your backyard, or the wrong kinds of pearl necklaces. Oh… and by the way, Facebook let me out of “jail” yesterday, because they realized that the video below isn’t “sexually suggestive” after I complained. However, they evidently don’t have a problem with a guy sharing a video about a woman talking about being cummed on by her husband. Crazy.

Yes, sharing this video got me put in Facebook jail for a day. There is nothing inappropriate about it. It’s just weird.

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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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LDS, music, psychology, songs, videos, YouTube

Putting a face to the voice…

Last week, when I got the news that the great 60s singer Ronnie Spector had died, I decided to try one of her most famous songs. Mind you, I was not one of Ronnie’s biggest fans. I was born in 1972, which was after she was really famous. I didn’t know who she was until 1986 or so, when she and the late Eddie Money had a hit song called “Take Me Home Tonight”. I did like some of Eddie Money’s music, although I wasn’t one of his biggest fans, either. I also got really tired of “Take Me Home Tonight” when it was a hit. It was forever on the radio, and back then, we didn’t have streaming services.

The following year, the movie Dirty Dancing was released, and Ronnie Spector’s big hit, “Be My Baby” was made popular again. I thought it was a nice song, but never noticed how truly joyful it was until last week, when I got it in my head to sing it. So I sang it, and paired it with a video of Noyzi watching fox hunting videos with me on YouTube. I always do that. I don’t like to be on camera. Then I uploaded the video to YouTube.

I don’t share my music videos much, but sometimes I will put a link on the Recovery from Mormonism page. There are some good musicians that hang out there, plus I’ve found that a lot of the posters have really good taste in music. I’ve found several really great artists based on recommendations on RfM. I’ve also found some good books there.

So some people clicked the link and I got some very nice comments. I also got a suggestion. It’s one I’ve heard before, but have always resisted. One person, a guy who is a fellow guitar player and singer, wrote this:

“At this point, I don’t sing and play at the same time, but maybe someday I will get good enough at guitar to do everything at one time.” (quoting me)

Start doing this right away with very simple songs, and recording yourself; maybe use a click track from garage bad or a metronome. It’s good to get the skill of singing, keeping time and moving your fingers to different patterns than your voice is making. Also take video of yourself. Watch what you look like when you play, and practice playing in the dark or not watching your fingers when you change chords or do runs and fills.

You have an excellent voice, viewers on youtube want to see you perform, a good voice with simple backing is much more engaging than singing over commercial backing tracks.

OK enough of my armchair coaching … I needed to take this advice long ago.

I have to admit, I kind of inwardly sighed. It’s not the first time someone has given me unsolicited advice, nor is it the first time someone has suggested that I post a video showing myself. I know he’s right– people like to see who’s singing. I’m still working on feeling competent enough to put more of my guitar playing out there. What I usually do is record the track and pair it with photos, which may or may not have anything to do with the music, or sometimes video. It’s really more about the sound to me, rather than the whole package.

I tried to explain that I get super self-conscious on video. I don’t even like video calls, although those are less anxiety provoking and distracting than watching myself perform. I’m already preoccupied with perfection, but feel even less comfortable with looking at myself. I rarely put on makeup or a bra, and generally can’t be arsed to do so for a video. I’d honestly much rather perform live, with people watching me, than perform on video.

But then a couple of other people added encouragement. I thought about it some more, and realized what the hell? It’s not like there aren’t ugly people on YouTube. And nobody cares what I look like anyway… although that is precisely why I figured it shouldn’t matter if my face is on video. One poster wrote:

We often don’t give ourselves enough credit. I’ve always been the one most often behind the camera. Not only because I feel compelled to record family history but in order to avoid being the subject myself. Same reason – I have had no wish to immortalize myself. My sister sent me a photo not long ago of myself as her bridesmaid, one I’d not seen before. I told her it was the best picture, by far, I’d ever seen of myself. To the point I didn’t even recognize me! She said no, you always look like that. Alrighty then. So that one I’ll keep. πŸ™‚

I think you look lovely in the video, knothead, and your voice makes it even better. I had to laugh – I’ve visualized you all this time as a tall, thin redhead. Why, I have no idea.

You can always put on a bit of slap for the camera once in a while, and about the bra – will anybody care? πŸ™‚ (I’m assuming she means my photo, which is on my YouTube channel. I haven’t shown myself in a video yet.)

I had to laugh at how she pictured me. There have been times in my life when I’ve had red hair, but I’m a natural blonde… short, squatty, buxom, and rather fat. And now, at almost 50, my hair is kind of silvery blonde. It does look nice on my YouTube photo, although that picture is about three years old. But I realized again, she’s probably right. People probably won’t care about my actual appearance… and it might make for an interesting experiment. Not that I make any money on YouTube anyway, so it probably doesn’t matter how many or how few views I get, other than in terms of my ego.

I then realized that even if I wanted to video myself playing and singing at the same time, I couldn’t do it due to my mic set up. Until yesterday afternoon, I didn’t have a mic stand. So I ordered a mic stand, along with dog treats (they’ve gotten so expensive) and new “corn cob” lightbulbs for our new Tiffany nightstand lamps.

I bought the new lamps because the base fell out of my old lamp and shattered on the floor. The lamp still works, but I figured the fact that the base is plastic with some kind of heavy material inside of it to weigh it down enough to support the shade, was a sign that it was time to buy new lamps. And the ones I got, while made in China, are smaller and have 220 voltage and plugs. I am definitely happier with them with the new bulbs that didn’t come with the lamps. The old bulbs were too dim.

The lady who encouraged me to post my visage added this comment:

knotheadusc Wrote:
——————————————————-
> I am a short, squatty, buxom blonde/silver haired
> woman who will turn 50 this year. πŸ˜‰ I spend most
> of my time in my nightgown, sans makeup and
> styling, because I mostly hang out with dogs.

Haha, thanks for the much-needed laugh today.

I wish I had the dogs excuse. I work from home, which I used to enjoy very much, but somehow with the relative isolation for various reasons, it feels empty like it never did before. Lately I have worked in my pink fluffy pj’s all day. The beginning of the end! Even if someone comes to the door they don’t linger and so it’s not a motivation for me to get properly dressed. Make-up, never. Hair, pony. It’s nice and not nice at the same time.

It would all be better if only I could play the guitar. I’ve always wanted to. Never took the time. My jr high band teacher imposed the clarinet on me – no such thing as personal choice back in the day. I didn’t enjoy the clarinet and it didn’t like me. Now, the sax, I love. But my bones are not musical other than to enjoy the talents of others and wish it were me. I recently watched a Welsh Choir Christmas concert online. The lady on sax was amazing and her sax was gorgeous – shining gold in the light. I’ve never seen a gold sax before.

I’ve always thought that music is perhaps the great peacemaker, something we can all come together around, because humans love music. Except then we’d argue over the genre, for sure.

Thanks again for sharing your talent. I really enjoyed your video and this ensuing discussion. As well as the music history videos I found due to your post. It’s amazingly fortunate that that sound has been preserved as well as stories of the lives of musicians we’ve never heard of before but who deserve to be known.

I agree with her about the value of YouTube videos. Lately, I have been so into YouTube. In fact, I probably look at YouTube more than I do Facebook, which is a really good thing. I love watching old TV shows and movies, as well as some of the very talented folks who put themselves out there every day. I still consider myself a writer, first and foremost, but I may decide to put more YouTube content out there. Bill and I have even talked about doing a podcast at some point, so he can put his story out there in his own words.

Anyway, I just read that Meat Loaf died. I was never a big fan of his. I think I’ve written in this blog why that is– it’s mainly due to the fact that his music, especially “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”, always reminds me of a humiliating #metoo moment I had at a party back in the early 90s. However, I recognize that Meat Loaf was talented, and many people have enjoyed his music immensely. So I wish much peace and comfort to his family and friends. Maybe I’ll try “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” today. I don’t mind that song as much.

For those who are curious about my tribute to Ronnie Spector, see below.

First time I ever did this song. It never occurred to me… although I think I enjoyed it enough to try some of Ronnie’s other songs.

Thanks to Putin and the threat to Ukraine, Bill has to work tomorrow. He’ll probably work from home all day, which sucks. I think he has to go TDY at the end of the month, too…

I don’t have any specific chores planned for today. Maybe it will be a music day. Or maybe I’ll watch more dog grooming videos. The possibilities are endless.

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Bill, music, songs, videos, YouTube

Bill’s 57th year has gotten off to a tearful start.

Today is Bill’s birthday. I already gave him some of his presents on Monday and Tuesday, because they came from Amazon and I have no birthday themed wrapping paper. Monday, I presented him with a book about the art of Carl Jung. Bill loves art, and he’s fascinated by Jung, so I figured it would be perfect.

But then I noticed that Jung’s seven volume set called The Black Books were also for sale. I had already given Bill a copy of Jung’s Red Book on request about eleven years ago. The Red Book was basically a refined and condensed version of The Black Books. It’s just one large volume. He left that book in storage because it’s so big, and we had precious little room for extra stuff when we moved to Germany. Bill’s first company only gave him enough money to ship 5000 pounds. Good thing we don’t have kids.

When Bill saw the Jung books, he got all teary. He came upstairs to my office and thanked me. I turned around and he was wiping tears from his eyes, holding the funny t-shirt I also got for him. This was obviously a good gift… especially since he’s also been undergoing Jungian analysis with an American who lives in Berlin and is being trained in Switzerland.

I’ve been bugging Bill to see a therapist for years, not just because he has a lot of trauma to unpack, but because I know from personal experience that undergoing psychotherapy can be a wonderful healing process. It helped me immensely and changed me in so many positive ways. I came to view it as something I did for myself– a form of personal care– like some people get manicures, massages, or have their hair professionally coifed. I thought Bill would see it the same way. Fortunately, he does. Every week, he tells me about new things he’s discovered about himself through dream analysis and art therapy. He and the therapist have a good rapport. It really helps that Bill knows about Jung, since the therapist specializes in the Jungian approach. I’m sure a lot of the therapist’s clients are just looking for someone to talk to. He’s told Bill that he appreciates having a client who understands the Jungian approach. I think they both get a lot out of the work they’re doing.

I wish people wouldn’t think of therapy as a negative thing for “crazy” people or people who are troubled. It’s useful for anyone. Bill is a very functional person who keeps things together very well. But I know that talking to someone other than me is helpful for him. He’s gaining a lot of personal insight that I think will make him a better person… certainly a happier person. He deserves that, as most of us do. I think he appreciates the support, too. On another note, I love that Bill is so smart, and so interested in topics like Carl Jung. He teaches me so much… and every time he talks about art and Jung and other deep subjects, I thank God I married him, instead of some guy who just wants to drink cheap beer and watch football. Not that there’s anything wrong with cheap beer and football– more that a guy like Bill is more my speed.

And this hat is probably more my speed. Bill likes his women a little on the trashy side.

As a joke, I was also going to give Bill the above pictured baseball cap with Mister Rogers giving the finger. I did order it, but I think when that hat comes in, I’ll just keep it for myself. I doubt Bill would want to wear it, even though he’d think it was funny. He’s getting one more book, which is arriving tomorrow. It’s not about Jung or bartending. We’ll probably also make a cherry cheese pie or Bill’s favorite chocolate blackout cake, which I’ve made for him many times over the years. The cake is fantastic, but it takes us forever to eat it, and it’s probably better for the cooler months.

The tears continued after the gift exchange. This time, they came from someone other than Bill.

Yesterday, I was invited to an online memorial service for my old Peace Corps friend, Matt, who died in New York City in May. Some readers might remember that I wrote about Matt when he was killed. Since I live in Germany and, until yesterday, wasn’t in the club, I missed Matt’s first memorial service. Now they’re doing another one for his many friends worldwide. I was asked to sing a song at the event. That doesn’t surprise me, since I was well known for singing in the Peace Corps. I sent a couple of videos to the person who is arranging the event, asking him which song he thought would be most appropriate for the memorial.

The songs I chose were “In My Life” (in the style of Judy Collins) and “Imagine” (as done by Eva Cassidy). I started with “In My Life”, since it’s not known as an atheist anthem and is very accessible to a lot of people. I remember Matt had once told me he was raised Lutheran, but I didn’t know if the religion stuck, although I doubt it did. I also don’t know if any of his relatives are religious. But then I sent “Imagine”, since I do that one well, and it’s popular and very Peace Corps friendly. The guy arranging the event said “Imagine” made him cry, and expressed preference for that one. He says he’ll check with Matt’s cousin to see if he thinks it’s appropriate. If the cousin likes it, that’s the one I’ll probably do… and hope I don’t cry, either.

This video only has 30 hits, but it’s one of my favorite songs to sing.
This did turn out kind of pretty.

Once we started talking about it, it occurred to me that Eva Cassidy also died too young… and became famous after her death. I feel like that kind of happened to Matt, too. He was in the news after his death, because he was so beloved by his community and because the accident he suffered was so incredibly senseless and tragic. Eva also died in 1996, when we were in Armenia. Also, my sister knew Eva because they worked in a restaurant together in the early 90s. My sister waited tables and Eva played there. Or, at least that’s what my sister claims. I think it’s possible she’s telling the truth. She’s lived in the DC area for years, and often made extra money waiting tables, even though she had a regular “day job”.

And now that I think more about it, John Lennon also died much too young. He also died in New York City, as Matt also did. So while “Imagine” might seem a little too “Godless” for some people, I think it might be perfect for Matt. I don’t think he was really that into religion, although I really don’t know how he felt about God. My guess is that someone who exclaims “Christ on the cross!” in annoyance is not too worried about blasphemy. πŸ˜‰ I’m not being critical about it, either, because I’m not all that religious myself. “Imagine” is a song written by a man who was a bright, shining star. He gave the world so much in his 40 years. And it was “reborn” by another bright shining star, who also gave so much before she died too young. It seems perfect for Matt, who was a shining star and inspiration to so many people– especially the many young people he taught.

Then this morning, I got an email from a complete stranger who found a video I made several years ago of the song, “On Heaven’s Bright Shore.” I couldn’t find accompaniment for that song, but I really wanted to try it. So I decided to sing it acapella. I coupled the acapella singing with pictures of clouds, mostly taken from airplanes. A lot of people have played it– or, a lot for my channel, at least. I would like to redo it with guitar, once I get better at playing. I make progress every day, but I’m still not quite ready for prime time.

I hope to redo this one someday, when my guitar playing is more advanced.

The person who emailed me wrote that his son had just died and he wanted to play an acapella version of “On Heaven’s Bright Shore” at his memorial. He said my version seemed to be the best. So he was kindly asking for permission to play my version, and wondering if I required payment. Of course I wrote back that he’s welcome to use the video, free of charge. I thanked him for asking me and expressed condolences for the loss of his son. It’s quite an honor that someone would want to play my version of that song at a memorial service, and it was so kind of the guy to ask me if I minded.

I was pretty surprised to get that email. I have some videos that have as few as four views! I don’t really promote my videos much. They’re mostly just songs I want to try. I get better recording results on YouTube than I do SingSnap, so that’s why I make the videos. But I don’t really have a rhyme or reason as to when I do the songs. I mainly just make videos when I need to for a blog post or when I’m inspired to try something. I have also done a couple by request. Not all of the videos are musical. Some are raw footage from travels– memories I want to preserve– or they’re videos featuring my dogs. I admire people who make successful YouTube channels, but I’m not very comfortable on camera, and I don’t want to deal with hostile comments. So I mostly just stick to blogging.

Bill and I were talking over breakfast and I was laughing about how I have such a raunchy sense of humor, tendency for depression, appreciation for profanity, and great love for obnoxiousness, yet somehow I wound up with this very sweet singing voice. The other day, I was practicing guitar and I asked Bill if he noticed I was getting better at barre chords. He said he didn’t know which chords I was playing, which I would not have expected. But then he said, “You were singing along, too.” And I said, “No, baby, that was Linda Ronstadt. But thank you very much for the compliment.” I’m not quite ready to sing and play at the same time. That’s like walking and chewing gum.

Anyway… I’m hoping the song goes off well. I have a feeling the memorial will be moving and fun. Matt was a special person, and I’m sure there are a lot of stories to be told, as well as songs to be sung. He had a lot of friends around the world and I think a lot of them will come together for this.

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