Ex, LDS, mental health, travel

Home again, and ready to write up our trip to Antwerp… but first, more on the wild world of Ex.

I’m sure I could write one of my usual testy manifestos right now, but the travel blog beckons. I had a great time in Belgium. and am looking forward to sharing what I learned about Antwerp. But rest assured, I’ll be back to complaining on this blog very soon. 😉

At the very least, I can add some more complaints about Ex, who now claims that she’s a “senior dog rescuer”… but she NEEDS a puppy to train for her “severely autistic son”. And she begs for money to put up a fence, but also lacks the $12,000 she says she needs to train a dog. What will she do when the dog needs to go to the vet? How will she afford to feed it?

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, yes, she did used to have an elderly poodle named Fifi… but Fifi was definitely not better off for the experience, since #3 kicked her so hard that she lost an eye. What’s even scarier is that #3 works as a CNA. Maybe he’s better now, after twenty years. I’d still be leery of him as a healthy person, let alone as someone who needs nursing care. I hope he’s gotten better about controlling his temper.

But anyway, this is what she says…

I wish I could adopt a senior dog; I’ve always been a pound puppy mama. I cant this time. I have to find a puppy for my autistic child that will be trainable to take care of his emotional needs.

😭

I am going to put a fundraiser on PayPal!! I tried once to get help but no replies

Um no, Ex, you’ve not always been a “pound puppy mama”. And your “child” will be a grown man in three short years. You have also unsuccessfully tried to raise funds on PayPal at least twice, not just once. Give it up.

Yes, I know I sound really bitchy, but I think I’m owed. My husband is still trying to mend the relationship he and his younger daughter missed because of Ex’s selfishness and stupidity. We’re losing hope for older daughter, who is still the caregiver of Ex’s “severely autistic child”.

And she’s still stuck on Star Wars, which hardly makes her unique, but maybe if she spent less time tweeting about celebrities and more time earning money, she might not need to crowdfund.

Personally, I am LOVING the attention to detail and the explanations of the backstory of not just Obi-Wan, but Leia and Anakin… just gives us more depth the Vader’s character, don’t you think?

I never got into Star Wars myself. I know it’s very popular. Of course, I grew up with people talking about it all the time, so I am basically familiar. But if I had big goals like building a fence or getting a service dog for my “autistic child” (teenager), I would hope I’d be more focused on that.

One last thing before I move on to happier topics on my travel blog…

Aww Chris, you’re so cute. Ok, you can marry my daughter. There… it’s between you and #keanureeves . Oh wait… there is one more,. His name is on the tip of my tongue. (Will edit when I recall.)

Oh!!! Och aye!!! The third is

@SamHeughan zzzzzzzzz I’m falling asleep!!! Good grief !!

Which daughter does she mean? Her 19 year old pansexual daughter who just started college? Or her almost 31 year old daughter who has basically been working as Ex’s scullery maid? I’d be interested to know… ETA: Not that there’s ANYTHING at all wrong with being pansexual… it’s just that the daughter might have something to say about it, right? Maybe she’d rather date someone without a dick.

Meanwhile, younger daughter still feels alienated because she’s a devout Mormon, a belief system that Ex forced on the family and later abandoned. Ex now ridicules younger daughter for being a believer, even though she’s the one who made her go to church in the first fucking place! And she did that only so she could control/alienate Bill.

Yep… it’s a hell of a world Ex lives in… and I wouldn’t want to visit it. But I would like to visit Antwerp again, so I’m going to head over to the travel blog to explain why. And yes, on Monday, we did enjoy plenty of wine. In other words, it was an ordinary day, save for the flaming torch I got when I had dessert last night. 😉

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nostalgia, travel, videos, YouTube

Pan Am flight attendant training videos are so very entertaining!

A couple of weeks ago, I happened across a YouTube channel for the Pan Am Museum Foundation. Pan Am, for those who were born after the early 1990s, was a much celebrated American airline. I remember flying Pan Am a couple of times in the 1970s, when my family of origin lived in England. Everyone used to rave about the high service standards. In 1988, Pan Am’s reputation took a hit, when one of its fleet, Flight 103, was bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland. 243 passengers and 16 crew members perished. I was sixteen years old at the time. Just a few years after the bombing, the legendary airline went bust, but people still remembered it fondly.

I remember in 2011, there was a television show called Pan Am that was a dramatized series about the early years of the airline. It was kind of a cool show. I was sorry when it was canceled after one season. I also read an interesting self-published book called Pan Am Unbuckled, written by a woman who was a flight attendant for Pan Am. I’m not sure if the author knew about the TV show when she published her book, but I’m sure the show helped her pick up some sales.

The boss giving Pan Am flight attendants a pep talk.

I love to watch cheesy employee training videos, especially the ones that were made in the 70s and 80s. The Pan Am Museum Foundation has a whole bunch of these videos on YouTube, which are great for killing a few minutes and getting some laughs. Most of the videos are rather poorly acted. I can think of a couple that would be considered offensive, or politically incorrect, today. Check out this 50s era video about serving food. At one point, the golden voice narrator adopts a generic Asian accent as he describes serving Asian food.

I have never seen airline food that looks like this…
This one is kind of nice. It reminds me of those hygiene films we used to watch in school!

The videos also remind us of what flying was like in the past. Years ago, it was possible to smoke on a flight, and one of the videos even addresses how to deal with people who light up in the no smoking section! In another, a smoker is yelled at by a flight attendant for sitting in her jump seat, while she smokes a cigarette. And this is deemed perfectly okay!

I like how the passenger is calmly smoking when she gets busted by the flight attendant.
You can’t smoke here! The smoker wants to shop for furs in London, too!

And here is a video about an uppity woman who thinks she should get a free upgrade to first class. It’s really too funny! It’s hard to believe that people want to work on airplanes, especially since most of them don’t get paid until the plane starts taxiing. Yes, when they are greeting you as you board the flight, they are working for free! I did read that that policy is probably going to change, thanks to the hell flight attendants have had to deal with during the pandemic.

I fly Pan Am all the time… you need to treat me like I’m special.

The below video was less interesting to me… But it does remind one of how service used to be much more important than it is now. He shows how to serve champagne and carve roast beef, which they used to do right at the person’s seat. Nowadays, even in first class, flying feels like a lowbrow affair.

I wonder if this guy was this helpful at home.

And here’s a video depicting a rather unpleasant flight attendant confronting other flight attendants. She’s quite testy. I can’t blame her.

Linda doesn’t like a disorganized galley. There’s about to be a cat fight!
Flight attendant listens to a man who is upset about missing a connection.

It really is fun to watch some of these videos, although they are a painful reminder of how old I am. I wish I’d had the opportunity to fly Pan Am more when it was still in service. I very vaguely remember flying them to Tunisia. I think we also flew Pan Am when we moved back to the States from England. I remember their mascot was a panda bear named Pierre, and they gave all the kids cool schwag to keep them busy. In those days, there weren’t a lot of entertainment options.

Wouldn’t it be funny if someone turned these videos into a live acted comedy show? I’ve seen other people write about them, so I’m definitely not the only one who finds them fun to watch. They are also a reminder of a bygone era, never to return. And that IS kind of sad. At least we still have the videos!

Oh my… this is so SOVIET!! It’s awesome! Both the airline and the country ceased to exist in 1991.
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book reviews, travel

Repost: Concierge Confidential: The Gloves Come Off—and the Secrets Come Out! Tales from the Man Who Serves Millionaires, Moguls, and Madmen

Here’s a repost of a book review I wrote for Epinions.com in 2011. I am reposting this review as/is.

As an average American of average means, I have never really considered how a hotel’s concierge services might benefit me.  The most I’ve ever asked of any hotel concierge is directions, or perhaps to order me a taxi.  But hotel concierges do a lot more than give directions or make reservations.  The best ones can pull off logistical feats that would dazzle the average person.  And if you’re in a place like New York City, a good concierge can mean the difference between eating in a hot restaurant at 8:00pm or eating at Sbarro’s.  I never considered any of these things until I read Concierge Confidential: The Gloves Come Off—and the Secrets Come Out! Tales from the Man Who Serves Millionaires, Moguls, and Madmen (2011), a book written by concierge extraordinaire Michael Fazio and co-author, Michael Malice.

The book’s premise

Michael Fazio is the co-founder of Abigail Michaels, Manhattan’s premiere concierge service.  But before he helped found Abigail Michaels, Fazio worked in Hollywood for famous actors and as a concierge at New York City’s InterContinental Hotel.  He admits to having the “service bug”, which I would think one would have to have in his job.  After all, he was routinely asked to do things like get tickets to sold out Broadway shows and score tables at hot restaurants for people who were “nobodies”. 

But aside from helping unknowns who were staying at the hotel, Fazio also had to arrange for some exotic requests from people with more money than they could possibly spend.  Fazio arranged for a bathtub full of chocolate for one client, who was hoping to impress a ladyfriend.  He arranged for a last minute helicopter ride to Atlantic City for a mysterious Russian with a suitcase full of cash.  And when the same people kept coming back to him for help, Fazio and his former co-worker, Abbie, started their own concierge business catering to the rich and famous.

My thoughts

I really enjoyed this book and probably would have gotten through it in a matter of hours had I not been trying to read it on a very small cruise ship.  I have a tendency to get motion sickness, so every time I tried to make progress in this book, I started to feel sick!  Once I was off the boat, I whizzed through it in record time.  I really enjoyed Fazio’s anecdotes and the enthusiastic tone of his writing.  I felt excited as I read about some of his more dramatic exploits in the concierge business.  Aside from telling stories, Fazio also includes some handy tips on how to get what you want from a concierge, book the best restaurants and hotels, and even how (and how much) to tip.

I definitely have a new perspective on the value of a good concierge.  Now that I’ve read Fazio’s book, I might even venture to the concierge desk during my next hotel stay!  Who knows?  I might end up with a completely different experience than I might have otherwise had!

Overall

If you’ve ever wondered what your concierge can do for you, you should definitely read Fazio’s book Concierge Confidential.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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dogs, travel

Heading south… don’t know how much writing I’ll be doing…

But I’m sure you folks can get along fine without a daily dose of snark from yours truly. I am bringing my computer with me, because I’ll probably want to do some writing. It’s what I do to relax and decompress. I expect we’ll be busy, though, especially next weekend, when we plan to be on a wine tasting tour that will be packed with activities. I may be too tired or drunk to write at that point.

I did have a fun time last night, listening to and watching live music videos on YouTube. It put me in the right mood for our road trip that starts today. Hopefully, we won’t encounter any disasters. I did buy insurance for this trip, mainly because of the state of the world right now. With any luck, we won’t have to use it.

If any of you can spare some good thoughts, I’d love for you to send some along to Arran, who is probably going to sulk when he realizes he’s going to be at the Hunde Hotel while we’re gone. He would much rather hang out with Bill and listen to tunes with us… like he did last night. 😉

What can I say? Arran just can’t fight this feeling anymore…

I expect Noyzi will be delighted to go to the pension. He seems to enjoy being boarded, as it’s a chance for him to hang out with other dogs, play, and run. He lived his first couple of years on a farm in Kosovo, so he’s used to the communal lifestyle. He also enjoys changes of scenery more than Arran does.

Anyway, I hope it will be an uneventful break for them. I always miss them when we take trips, and I know they miss us, too. I expect I’ll be pining for them by Monday. But we really do need to get out of town for a break. Bill, especially, needs a vacation pretty badly. He’s wound up like a spring. Last night, he was fretting because I told him he should wash his new t-shirts before wearing them, and he was upset because it would make him late going to bed, which might make him late getting up, and getting on the road… I found myself telling him that it’s just a vacation we’re going on, and he doesn’t need to freak out over time. 🙂 He finally relaxed a little and, as I expected, we’re right on schedule to depart. Hopefully, we’ll be in Switzerland by mid afternoon, checking into our first hotel of several.

Well, I don’t have much else to write about at this point, and it’s about time to load up and go… so please wish us luck. Or, at least try not to wish us ill. 😉 I’ll probably check in while we’re gone.

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condescending twatbags, controversies, ethics, travel

“I’m not one of the people you should be pissed at, Luna Moona…”

This morning, I noticed a headline from The New York Times about Denmark’s decision to drop COVID-19 rules and restrictions. Bill and I were recently talking about taking a trip to Denmark, precisely because we’re fed up with the ever changing COVID rules in Germany. We’re both triple vaxxed, and we’ve both been “good soldiers”, and we want to spend some money. Of course, lots of people were commenting on the article, many of whom probably didn’t bother to read it. I’ve included the link above, and because I’m a subscriber, I can “gift” it. If you click the link, you should be able to read it for free.

One of the comments that caught my eye was posted by a Dane named Lars Pedersen. He wrote this:

Right on, Lars!

Plenty of people responded to Lars. Some “laughed” at him. Some gave him ugly orange “angry” reactions. One lady really went off the batshit deep end and was citing ridiculous right wing conspiracy theories as she made fun of Lars for encouraging vaccines. She left all kinds of derisive comments about how the vaccines don’t work. A number of very intelligent Danes came on to inform the American commenter about why there are so many people with COVID-19 in Danish hospitals. More than a few pointed out that the people who are in hospitals with COVID are not there because of COVID. They are there with COVID.

I got excited and, against my better judgment, left a comment for Lars. Naturally, I got responses, too…

At this writing, one person, calling themselves “Luna Moona”, left me an orange reaction. I wrote what I think is a very reasonable response. It’s included in the screenshot above, but here it is for those who don’t want to click on the picture.

Funny that one person is “angry” that I’m considering a trip to Denmark. Why be angry? I’ve been good. I’ve gotten my shots. I’ve worn masks when they’re required. I pretty much stay home all the time, and only interact with my husband and dogs. I literally haven’t left my neighborhood in a month. It’s not because I’m scared. It’s because going places isn’t enjoyable. The rules keep changing, and vary by state… and while I have always liked going into town and having a meal at a restaurant, it’s too much of a hassle. So I mostly stay home. I’m not one of the people you should be pissed at, Luna Moona. 

If you follow me, you know that Bill and I have already done some traveling during the pandemic. We haven’t done as much traveling as we normally would. For instance, in the years before COVID-19, we would take long weekends whenever we had a chance. But 2020 was the last year we took advantage of MLK weekend and President’s Day weekend. Last year, everything was locked down. This year, it just seems pointless and fraught with annoyances. As other countries start to open up a bit, Germany seems determined to remain restricted, with ever more requirements for “better” face masks, COVID testing, and rules about who is allowed to frequent businesses and be on public transportation. I don’t want this to be a permanent fixture of society, so I choose not to participate.

Although I did read that many places in Germany are dropping the “plus” from the 2G + rule– that is, being fully vaccinated and either being boosted, or having a brand new negative COVID test– some places are doing 2G ++, meaning you have to be fully vaccinated, boosted, AND have a negative test, just for the “privilege” of entering and spending money. The 2G ++ places, I’ve read, are mainly healthcare facilities. Still, the rules are annoying and onerous, and although I like going out, I don’t enjoy going out enough to put up with irritating rules. I can stay home and drink in my nightgown, and I get to listen to my own cool mix of eclectic music. I’m sure that’s NOT what business owners and restauranteurs want me to do, though. They’d rather I get dressed, dutifully and obediently put on a FFP2 mask (ugh), and spend money in their establishment.

I used to be a very enthusiastic patron of restaurants and bars, and I would write articles about them on my travel blog. I’m not doing that, these days. Bill is becoming an ever better cook and bartender, so why do I need to support restaurants? Especially when I’m going to be confronted at the door about what kind of mask I’m wearing, and proof that I’ve done everything “right”. Again, for the record, I have been compliant. But if another country is going to stop the nonsense, I want to reward them and put some money in their economy. Incidentally, the official tourism site for Denmark reminds everyone that masks and vaccines may still be required by some Danish businesses. And those who want to frequent those businesses should be respectful. That sounds reasonable to me.

Life has to go on at some point. Moreover, since I live in Europe, I have already been able to travel a bit, although I am eschewing flights for the same reason I haven’t been going to restaurants. Who wants to sit on a plane, in tight quarters, with hyper-anal, stressed-out people, watching everyone like a fucking hall monitor to see if they’re complying, to the letter, with mask mandates? That doesn’t sound like a fun time for me. Why spend time and money on that experience, when we can drive to plenty of cool places, and not have to worry about aggressive passengers, seat recliners, power tripping airline employees, baggage fees, security lines, uncomfortable face masks, and the chance of a plane crash? If I have to fly somewhere, of course I’ll comply with the rules. But I am NOT volunteering for it. I’m sure the more local establishments will be grateful for that. It’ll also be somewhat better for the environment, although if we’re driving, we’re still dirtying the air, I guess.

A lot of people are angry these days. Some people are angry about the rules. Some people are angry that people are flouting the rules. And some people apparently think they need to be “angry” when someone says they want to –legally– visit a place where COVID restrictions are going to be relaxed, and have some fun. Why should it matter to them? I’m an adult, and probably more educated than a lot of folks about disease transmission, since I have a fucking master’s degree in public health. I’ve been very compliant and relatively patient the whole time COVID has been an issue. I only got reprimanded ONCE about face mask usage, and that was because I was wearing a medical mask instead of a FFP2. The rules had changed the day before, and the person who chastised me was also wearing a medical mask. She was allowed, since she was an employee. Go figure Bavaria’s rules, which were not the same as Hesse’s at the time.

Bill says Hesse is getting stricter about mask type, too, which means I am not going to go out to eat or shop in any places. Because, fuck that. And fuck the ever changing RULES. I wish they would just come up with a set and make them more uniform, so we know what to expect and what to do. Another reason I don’t want to go out is because I hate confrontations. And the prospect of being hassled about my mask or vaccine paperwork is enough to induce anxiety and stress, even though I am fully vaxxed and boosted and always carry one of the dreaded FFP2s in my purse.

I do not want to go through the rest of my life wearing a coffee filter on my face. I’ll wear the mask if I must– and I will be visiting the dentist next month, so I guess I’ll put one on for that experience. But I will not willingly spend time or money in places where the heavier masks are required. Incidentally, last night, I booked a hotel in France for after our visit to the dentist in Stuttgart. I was originally planning to go to the Black Forest again, like we did in August last year, after seeing our dentist for the first time since 2019. We were going to go to a different area– one that we loved visiting when we lived near the Black Forest and could go there on day trips. But then it occurred to me that Baden-Württemberg has enacted stricter mask rules, while France has loosened them somewhat. Bill and I both love France, and we haven’t been there in two years. Yes, masks are still compulsory there, but at least it’s a different place. And the places I was considering visiting in Germany are only about twenty minutes away, anyway. I picked a hotel that is about as far east in France as a person can get and not be in the Rhein River. 😉

I’m sure some people will have a “problem” with my “bad attitude” about “better” masks. They might think I’m being reckless or cavalier, or maybe they’re just jealous. To those people, I would say, you live your life, and I will live mine. I’m pretty sure the vast majority of us will eventually get COVID-19 at some point. I’ve had three shots and I live a pretty solitary lifestyle. I figure my risk is very low. And if I do get sick and end up dying, at least I will have enjoyed one last experience outside of my bedroom one last time. Everybody has to die at some point, anyway. My liver is probably going to crap out because I’ve been drinking more… mainly because I’m BORED and sick of living like a shut in. Moreover, no one depends on me. Not even Bill. He just likes having me around for the “yuks” and to walk the dogs. 😉

I got a smile this morning from one of the Danes who were commenting on the New York Times’ article. He shared a link to a funny German song about the fucking COVID rules… It’s going to be in my head for the rest of the day!

Go Scooter! I get a kick out of Europeans.

Yeah. It’s time to have some fun again. I have been as responsible as I can possibly be. If I croak, I croak. So Luna Moona, if you want to be mad at someone, be mad at the unmasked and unvaccinated idiots who attend Greg Locke’s book burnings and “church” services in Tennessee. Don’t be mad at the Overeducated Housewife who lives like a fucking nun, right down to the wine drinking… I call this “responsible rebellion”. If I’m gonna bust out and be rebellious, why not do it with fellow blond people who enjoy profanity as much as I do? 😉 I think it’ll be okay.

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