Armenia, lessons learned, musings

What can you bring to the party?

Yesterday’s post about not having to be a star captured the attention of my friend and former student, Stepan, who is now working for Peace Corps Armenia. Since I’ve been working on writing about my Armenia trip on my travel blog, I thought today’s main blog post should be connected to yesterday’s post. I’ll try to be brief.

Two years after I finished my Peace Corps service, I decided to enroll in graduate school at the University of South Carolina-Columbia. Originally, I had hoped to be a Peace Corps Fellow, but that didn’t work out for me. In retrospect, the fact that the plan didn’t work out for me turned out to be a huge blessing. If I had been a Fellow, it would have altered my life quite a bit. I would have been required to stay in South Carolina for four years after I finished my dual master’s degrees in social work and public health. Since I ultimately got married six months after I graduated, and then moved back to Virginia, it would not have been ideal for me to be obligated to stay in South Carolina for four years.

The Peace Corps Fellows program I had hoped to sign up for went defunct the year I matriculated. Then it was reformed, so that it was really best for people who had served in Spanish speaking countries. While I did study Spanish for several years, I am definitely nowhere near fluent. I’m much better at speaking Armenian than Spanish. There aren’t that many needy Armenians in Columbia, South Carolina.

So, I wasn’t a Peace Corps Fellow, but I did know a couple of other former Volunteers who were in my dual degree program and had become friends. They served in Costa Rica and Guatemala.

One of the courses I took for my public health degree was a health promotion course. It was about coming up with public health campaigns that could be “sold” to people willing to invest in the cause. I remember the professor, a man with the last name of Ureda, presented this idea by likening it to throwing a party. He brought up concepts of planning the party and deciding who should be invited, so the gathering would be fun and successful for everyone.

I took that course in the summer, and it lasted about five or six weeks or so, if I recall correctly. Our class decided on a public health issue to present. We were divided into groups, and we had to come up with campaigns for our “parties”. My memories are a bit fuzzy, but I do remember that our class decided the issue we should address was bulimia. Bulimia, for those who don’t know, is an eating disorder in which sufferers binge on vast amounts of food and then vomit or use other means (compulsive exercise, laxatives, purgatives, etc.) to quickly get rid of the food before they gain weight.

Bulimia is a serious problem, especially among young women. I’m still not sure why that particular topic was chosen for our project. Maybe it was because we were on a university campus, and a lot of the people in the class were young women. In any case, I was pretty tired of writing and talking about bulimia by the time that class was finished. I had to write four long papers about it within the short timeframe of the class. But I managed to do it, and passed the class. And today, I’m reminded of the concept of planning “parties” while coming up with campaigns for helping people.

I don’t actually remember Ureda posing the question “What can you bring to the party?”. He was focused on saying “Come to the party!” But, when it comes to Peace Corps service, and the powers that be within it, I think “What can you bring to the party” is a good question to ask of any Volunteer.

In yesterday’s post, I wrote that I didn’t think Peace Corps should be super “results oriented”. I base that opinion on my experiences as a Volunteer, and how there wasn’t a lot of trust when I was serving. The earliest Peace Corps Armenia groups were kind of like “young pioneers” (see what I did there?) in what has turned out to be a very successful program. But, at the beginning of Peace Corps Armenia’s existence, some ice had to be broken. We couldn’t be expected to just go marching into a classroom or a business and expect everyone to immediately trust us. Building trust takes time, and two years isn’t a super long time to build a lot of trust… especially when you’re struggling to pick up language skills and get the lay of the land.

As I mentioned yesterday, though, almost every person has some kind of strength, talent, or skill… something they’re good at that has some value to other people. As I found out when I was a Volunteer, sharing those talents with other people is a great way to make connections and build trust. I am very fortunate, as one thing I’m really good at is singing. Armenia is a fabulous place for anyone interested in the arts. Whether you’re a singer, or a dancer, or an artist, or you play an instrument or act… all of these skills, as well as just about any other, are valuable and translate well.

Singing, for me, was a way I could connect to my three classes of first form pupils– seven year olds, who didn’t speak English at all and were just learning how to be in school. If I spoke to them, they’d talk over me. But if I broke into “The Hokey Pokey”, “Brown Squirrel”, or “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”, they’d be quiet and we could get some things done. I used music with my older students, too. I remember singing “What a Wonderful World” with several of my tenth form students during my first year.

Using music also worked for bonding with adults. I remember joining some Peace Corps friends at a jazz club near Republic Square and there was a band playing. My friends wanted me to sing with the band, and they were kind enough to oblige. I sang “Summertime”, which was my go to song back then. I don’t remember the last time I sang it, but back in the 90s, I sang it ALL the time. And the sudden collaboration was a success. We bonded with the club owner and the band, and had a great time. That was one of the really GOOD times I had in Armenia.

Maybe your thing is basketball, instead of singing… Whatever you have to offer, you can bring it to the “party”.

Personally, I have found that music is an international language. I’ve connected with people in Germany, too, through the gift of song. But not everyone can sing or play an instrument. Some people have no interest whatsoever in the arts. Maybe they’re good at athletics– something I am definitely not good at! So they play a game with locals, maybe form a team or a club… I remember our training group used to play basketball or softball, and that was a good way of bonding with locals. There was also a guy who served in Vanadzor who formed a band with Armenians called “Snack”. They were great! They played at a lot of our parties! One of the band members married a woman in my cohort. Unfortunately, he passed away a couple of years ago, but he was a really nice guy who knew most of us. Somewhere in storage, I have a cassette tape with Snack’s music on it.

Stepan told me about one of the current Volunteers who dances. Recently, Peace Corps Armenia shared a video of him dancing with the locals. I thought it was really awesome, because they were obviously having a great time and strengthening a bond. Those kinds of activities are not only fun, but they also promote understanding and trust. They help break barriers and destroy stereotypes. This is how relationships are built so that positive changes can happen.

My sister, who was a Volunteer in Morocco, loved to go running. She’d run through her village in 80s era Morocco, creating quite a spectacle, since local women didn’t tend to do that. I remember she said they used to call her Superwoman. I don’t know if any of the locals ever joined her, but she did present an example of someone doing something different… she was someone venturing outside the “box” and presenting a new perspective. This is one way people evolve.

If someone asked me to issue a challenge to today’s Volunteers, I would encourage them to take an inventory of what interests them and the areas where they have natural gifts. What are you good at? What can you share with others? What can you bring to the party? It could be almost anything, as long as it’s legal.

I was known as a singer… and later, I shared my talents in the kitchen, when I got recruited to help some business Volunteers with a dried produce project. I used Armenian produce to create recipes. One of our most successful ventures was using dried tomatoes, onions, and peppers to make pizza sauce. We threw a pizza party that was very well received! Not only was it a potentially profitable enterprise for Armenians, it was also a lot of fun for me. I loved coming up with creative ways to use fruits and vegetables grown in Armenia. I even got to use an electric oven, provided to me by the US Department of Agriculture. That was quite a coup in the 90s. During my first year, I made a primitive oven with a big pot and my kerosene heaters!

Maybe I wasn’t a star teacher, but I was successful in other ways. And after my experiences as a PCV in Armenia, I know that there are many ways to contribute to a community effort. In fact, I learned that it’s a good thing that people have different strengths. If everyone invited brought soda or cake to a party, that wouldn’t be a good thing, would it? It’s much better when someone brings the plates, another person brings the ice, someone else brings beverages, and maybe someone bakes a cake and brings that.

Everyone has something they can contribute to the effort, and that’s what makes the whole party a success, and fun for everyone. Even if you can’t sing or play basketball, you almost surely have something to offer. Maybe it’s just two functioning arms to carry equipment, or a strong back. Never discount or underestimate the importance of those things. Any good project involves some kind of “heavy lifting”– whether figuratively or literally. A strong back and two strong arms can be the critical keys to the viability of any program. So can good critical thinking and communication skills. Maybe you’re not a singer or an athlete, but you are a good organizer. Maybe you’re empathic and good at managing people. Maybe you’re a whiz at budgeting. The possibilities are endless.

Back in the 90s, I lamented that I wasn’t a super talented and charismatic teacher… Or, at least I didn’t think I was. Maybe other people have a different take. But one thing I know I can do is sing a pretty song. I can make killer pizza sauce and bake delicious apple pies. I can write an engaging article– and when I was a PCV, it was I who put together the Peace Corps cookbook, with help from all of the Volunteers who also contributed. I can be entertaining in other ways, too… especially for those who like crude humor. πŸ˜‰ And, let me tell you, when I was in Armenia, I used every one of those skills and more. When it comes to living in a place where people don’t have much, those skills and talents turn into valuable tools that are essential for success.

So ends today’s “sermon”. I think I have two or three more Armenia blog posts left to write on my travel blog. Once those are done, I’ll probably return to my usual blog “programming” on this blog. So, if you’ve been missing my usual stuff here, hang tight. I should be getting back to that material in just a few days. For those who prefer this kind of post, fair warning that I’m not usually this mature. πŸ˜€

Today’s featured photo is part of the spread Bill and I enjoyed with Stepan and his daughter. We also had some killer khorovatz! It was a hell of a party!

Standard
housekeeping tips, money, technology, work, YouTube

It’s new appliance week for us… that means a slightly cleaner house!

The featured photo is a screenshot of what I think is the TV we bought. It’s a LG 43 inch “thin” TV… kinda no frills. Cost about $300. What a bargain.

As most of the United States swelters in a heat wave, I’m sitting here in Germany with the air conditioning turned off and the windows closed. Why? Because at the moment, the temperature is hovering at around 53 degrees. That’s very unusual, even for Germany. In about a month, it will probably get chilly for good until the spring.

We had a lot of rain over the weekend, and on Saturday, our washing machine went out of commission. I was also not feeling very well, thanks to too much vino on Friday night. So Bill stayed in and used a grinder to pulverize some barley for his latest beer brewing effort. I watched videos on YouTube, fuming that the TV was acting up.

As I mentioned yesterday, I ordered us a new washer and dryer, and they should be arriving at some point tomorrow. I suspect they’ll be a nice upgrade for us, as they aren’t super cheap, and they’re a little bit bigger than what we’ve been using. Granted, we’re just two people in our household, but having a small washer is not so great when you have to wash the linens or dog bedding.

We also bought a new TV yesterday. This isn’t super exciting, really… We ended up going to AAFES to see what they had, hoping to find something that would fit in the relatively small area where we’d put the last TV. I was shocked to find that aside from one 24 inch computer monitor sized TV by Westinghouse, AAFES had nothing smaller than 43 inches. And they only had one model, an LG… the very same company that made our soon to be departing washer. Actually, we did get nine years of service from the washer. And although it’s a pain to buy new large appliances, buying them usually does result in a lifestyle upgrade. Still, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t wishing I could get one of the 50 inch TV models they had, with the really good, crisp, clear picture. It seems if you want that level of quality, you have to buy a TV that covers your whole wall!

Seriously, though… I grew up with big, boxy, cumbersome TVs. The one we had at our house for decades was a floor model. It was a piece of furniture, in and of itself. It had no remote control, and to get it to work, all you had to do was plug it into the wall and adjust the antenna. Later, we got a cable box for it, so we could watch HBO and such. But to change the channel, you had to haul your ass over to the TV and change it manually… at least until my parents finally bought a VCR, in 1987, and that could also double for remote control purposes.

My parents had a spare TV in the bedroom, but it, too, was one with dials on it that had to be turned manually. It wasn’t until the late 80s that my dad bought my mom a TV with remote capabilities. And none of our TVs were huge, like they are today. I remember, my first week of college, in 1990, the awful roommate I had for just one week had brought a 25 inch TV that I thought was HUGE. That would be considered positively puny by today’s standards.

The TV we brought home yesterday gets pretty bad reviews. It’s still an upgrade over the Philips model TV we’ve had since 2013, if only because it has a better picture and you can connect it to an app. The app, of course, sucks balls. I knew it was going to be a problem when I tried to input my information into the TV itself and it wouldn’t let me set my home country to Germany. But when I downloaded the app, it knew I was in Germany and addressed me in German… and when I made my account, it gave me a button that said, “return to home”. But when I tried to do that, nothing happened.

The remote that comes with the TV also sucks. I think it’s because they have a different remote that you can buy separately– the “magic remote”, which gets mediocre reviews. I don’t really use the TV remote much, anyway, since I have Apple TV. Still, it’s a pain when I need to use the TV remote to upgrade software, or whatever. With Apple TV, the new television works well enough for my purposes, which is mostly watching downloaded movies, YouTube, and Netflix.

We bought a separate stand for the new TV, because it’s on top of my dresser and it came with two “feet”, rather than one large footprint. The single stand works better, because the TV is at an angle, and my dresser is kind of narrow. We have to angle the TV, because we live in a German house with sloping walls/ceilings… which is also why we had to settle for a 43 inch model. A bigger TV wouldn’t have fit in the space, unless we managed to mount it on the wall. Neither Bill nor I have the tools or the handiness quotient to mount the TV on the wall.

I realize I’m doing a fair bit of whining, here. I should be grateful we could afford to buy the TV and were able to find one in a suitable size, on a Sunday, no less. We have a car that was big enough to accommodate the TV and we were strong enough to carry it into the house and up the stairs to the bedroom. And we did use it to watch Airplane! last night, which was fun to see before bedtime. I never get tired of that movie… and thanks to the new screen, I noticed a couple of things I’d never noticed before in the countless times I’ve see Airplane! since 1980, the year it was made. I used to watch it repeatedly on HBO, back in the early 80s.

I did consider ordering a TV on the economy, or just going to Media Markt to buy one. But at some point, we’ll probably move back to the USA, and the TV we got yesterday is a US model. Plus, I was just in a shopping mode yesterday, and I didn’t want to wait until next weekend. Buying a new washer and dryer put me in the mood for a new TV. Somehow, I suspect the new TV won’t last us ten years… but the one we bought wasn’t all that expensive. It was the very last one AAFES had in stock– the only one that wasn’t huge. And the guy had to go in the back and ask the manager if he could sell it, because it didn’t have any price tags on it, or anything. A 50 inch TV might have worked… but it would have been a tight squeeze.

One good thing that came out of yesterday’s adventures was that I finally had a reason to dust. We cleaned up the furniture in the bedroom and even vacuumed behind my dresser, which really needed an evacuation of the many dust bunnies hiding behind it. I also threw away some trash that had been taking up space.

I may call myself the “Overeducated Housewife”, but I’m not really very good at keeping house. I’m a bit of a slob. I’m not a filthy slob, mind you… I clean the toilets, take out the trash, do the dishes, cut the grass, and do laundry, among other things. But I’m not one for dusting every day, washing windows, or vacuuming more than once a week or so, except for special situations, like yesterday. And I don’t spend more than a day a year doing things like cleaning baseboards, scrubbing drawers, or using a toothbrush to clean the grout.

I’m sure our ex landlady really hated that about me. I think she assumed that since I didn’t have a paid job outside of the home, or children to raise, I should have been spending all day keeping her rental house absolutely spotless. My mom kept our house spotless. You’d think I would have inherited that trait from her. Unfortunately, all I got from my mom besides my looks, dry wit, and practicality, is a flair for making music.

I never went to the ex landlady’s house, but Bill told me it was immaculate. Sorry… I just don’t have that level of obsessive compulsiveness, nor do I think for over 1600 euros a month in rent, that should be expected of me. I do like it when things are neat, but unless I stay very vigilant, at my house, they inevitably end up cluttered again. I just don’t care enough about not living in dust, dog hair, and clutter to spend all day preventing it from accumulating. When you live with dogs, constantly trying to keep things super clean is pretty much a pointless exercise, anyway.

I actually think our ex landlady hated a lot of things about me. It showed in the consistently and blatantly disrespectful way she treated me. I’m sure she saw me as fat, stupid, lazy, and slovenly, while the tenant before me was her ideal… and someone, I think, she once thought of as a surrogate daughter. Interestingly enough, I’m still here among the living, and former tenant isn’t. It wouldn’t surprise me if ex landlady resents that situation, too. She probably feels abandoned and betrayed, because her “ideal” American tenant offed herself, while the ones she liked a whole lot less are still here, in her country, and doing well enough to buy new appliances.

I try not to think too long and hard about that situation, because I find it nerve wracking and upsetting. I mean, it’s the stuff of novels, what we went through… and maybe someday, I’ll write about it. Especially now that former tenant is no longer monitoring my online activities and trying to tell me what I can and can’t write about on my own space. I did enjoy living in our last town. Sometimes, I even really miss it. But I sure don’t miss the constant fuckery, frequent reprimands and lectures, and regular interruptions of my daily routines… or the fact that in exchange for comparatively low rent (for Germany, anyway– not for the US), we also got a few people who would not, and could not, respect our privacy, even though we were very good about paying ex landlady early and not bothering her unless it was absolutely necessary.

Ah well… that’s what I get for writing a blog that isn’t 100 percent as dull as dishwater. If I just wrote about the lint in my navel, no one would care, except the fetishists. And lots of people don’t like me, for a multitude of reasons. Maybe they wish I’d trade places with former tenant, who was very pretty, athletic, accomplished, and well liked, but apparently was also very troubled and, I fear, quite fake. With me, what you get is what you see, right?

Anyway… tomorrow, I hope Bill will be able to stay home until the delivery guys get here with our new washer and dryer, just to make sure everything gets set up properly. I don’t know if we’ll get nine or more years out of these new appliances. It depends a lot on what happens in the next Presidential election, I guess.

Standard
communication, condescending twatbags, dogs, rants, social media, stupid people

Welcome to my block list, fool!

Be warned, y’all. I’m in the mood to rant. There will probably be some profanity, and yes, I’ll be spelling out all the words. I don’t like the practice of using asterisks in swear words. Fuck that noise. Proceed with caution.

Some time ago, I got tired of George Takei’s Facebook posts. I decided to unfollow him, because too often, I’d find myself having hostile interactions with his followers. A lot of Takei’s followers are of the left-wing variety. I’ve got no issues with that, until they try to ram their opinions down my throat. If a stranger responds to my comment with anger, I don’t usually bother to read what they say. Sometimes, I’ll even use my block button.

Now… I’m not referring to someone I’ve directly addressed and pissed off in some way. What I mean is, if I’ve written a stand alone comment and a total stranger immediately responds to me with vitriol or mocking, I consider that offensive. Chances are good I won’t bother to read what they’ve written. Same thing goes for people who respond to me with condescension or derision. It’s poor communication, and I don’t have time for it. Gotta think about my blood pressure. Would rather clean the lint out of my belly button than read that.

Here’s my reasoning for this. I don’t wake up in the morning and deliberately decide to write something that is going to piss someone off. I’m a decent human being and I deserve basic respect. If I leave a comment, most of the time, I’m being serious. I’ve usually given thought to what I’ve posted. So, if your response is to “laugh” at me, or try to tell me off, I’m going to turn off your ability to interact with me. Ain’t nobody got the time for that bullshit. Go troll someone else.

I need this t-shirt.

Somehow, even though I had unfollowed George Takei some time ago, I ended up being resubscribed to his posts (which I suspect aren’t his posts anymore). Like a lot of other formerly good pages, lately George Takei’s Facebook posts now mostly consist of “Am I the Asshole” stories from Reddit. Some AITA posts are entertaining. Some are infuriating.

A couple of days ago, there was a post about a guy whose sister took his kids out and bought them a puppy without his permission. The guy didn’t want a dog and the sister knew it, but she bought the puppy anyway. The kids were delighted, of course, but their father was furious. He demanded that his sister take the dog back, but she refused. She claimed that her landlord wouldn’t let her have another dog. So the guy immediately took the innocent dog to the pound!

I just went looking for the post on my personal Facebook feed, but I couldn’t find it. My original comment for my “friends” is that taking a dog to the pound immediately makes the guy an asshole. But I also think his sister is an asshole for bringing the dog home and refusing to find it an appropriate home. So, in my opinion, they’re both assholes. Maybe it’s a genetic thing. Who knows?

On Takei’s post, I simply posted “Give the dog to a rescue!”

Now… I do understand that giving a dog to a rescue is not always that simple. Sometimes it takes time to arrange that. However, I was reacting to the AITA poster’s very profane and mean comments about the dog, a defenseless creature who was not at fault in that situation. The guy was saying things like “I don’t want a fucking dog.” and “No way are we keeping the fucking dog.” And, then, he didn’t care at all about potentially sentencing that poor creature to death by dumping it at the pound, hence my response that he (or his sister) should find a rescue. It was mainly a comment of disgust, more than anything else. I know the guy isn’t going to read my comment, and it’s too late, now, anyway. Most people are bright enough to understand that, right?

I wonder about the decency of people who dump dogs at the pound in places where they might be euthanized simply because they’re taking up space. In fact, I wondered, given that man’s insane and profane comments about the dog, if he was even a decent parent. He seemed abusive and cruel to me. But I do know that not everyone likes dogs. He was rightfully pissed that his sister had tried to dump a dog on him, so maybe cussing about it wasn’t totally wrong. It WAS wrong to just dump the dog at the pound, though… in my humblest of opinions, of course.

Anyway, a couple of days passed, and last night, I got this comment from some woman who, not knowing a single thing about me, decided I needed a good schoolin’. She left me this condescending lecture response about why contacting a rescue is the wrong thing to do. I didn’t bother to read beyond the first sentence or two, because she was insulting my intelligence, and that was offensive. I was in no mood for that shit, so I gave her the orange emoji and wrote “I know. I’ve rescued six dogs myself. Spare me the lectures.”

Her response to that was to employ the laugh reaction emoji. So I immediately blocked her. I figure, I don’t need to have anything to do with an asshole like that. Ain’t nobody got the time for that bullshit!

Maybe that seems like an extreme response to something insignificant. I know it’s an indication that I need to quit bothering to respond to most things, because there’s always a chance some idiot out there in Internetland is going to feel the need to engage me in a disrespectful way. Moreover, the vast majority of people you run into on Facebook are people you won’t ever again be having any other interaction with at all in life.

On a different day, I might have been more in the mood to politely engage with the woman. Yesterday, I wasn’t feeling up to it, and I didn’t appreciate her ignorant comment to me. If she knew me offline, she’d know that I’m really into my dogs. But she doesn’t know me, and yet she felt emboldened to try to school me. It’s a waste of time, and I definitely ain’t got the time for that.

I don’t know this woman from Adam. She might be the most wonderful person, ever. But I truly didn’t feel like having an interaction with her, because I honestly didn’t think my comment needed her “correction”, and her approach was patronizing and obnoxious. When I responded to her, I was clearly annoyed. Any idiot could see that, based on the orange reaction. Most normal people, when they’re offline, don’t feel the need to keep “poking the bear” when it’s clear the person they’re talking to is irritated. Especially when it’s a total stranger.

ASSHOLE!!

I mean, what the fuck is wrong with that person? I don’t owe anyone a polite conversation, particularly when I wasn’t responding to them in the first place. When I do address people, I try to be civilized, at least at first. Anyway, because the fellow Takei follower mocked me, she took her place with all the scammers, abusers, real life idiots, and MAGA trolls who currently populate my block list.

This morning, I got to use the block button again. This time, it was against someone I don’t know in person, but with whom I have had a few unfortunate past encounters on Facebook. He is a very conservative friend of someone with whom I went to high school. I don’t enjoy engaging with the guy, but because I sometimes comment on my old friend’s posts, I’ve occasionally run into him over the past couple of years. I’ve even blogged about his stupidity a few times. After today, I probably won’t do that anymore, because like the Takei post idiot, he’s now on my block list.

The interaction that caused me to use the block button involved politics. My old friend from school had posted about Mitch McConnell’s apparent “mini stroke”. Someone posted about Joe Biden being a “criminal”. I did not directly respond to that person, but I did leave a general comment that I hate it when people call Joe Biden a criminal when Donald Trump is so much worse. I mean, he just got indicted again yesterday. I’ve lost count of how many times Trump has been indicted by federal and state governments, and yet people still champion him and would love to see him return to power. Why put someone in power who has no respect for the law?!

Anyway, my friend’s conservative “$1.89 gas loving” friend laugh reacted at me. So I decided to use the block button. I ain’t got time for that shit. He wants to laugh at me when I’m being serious? That just shows he has no respect for others. I don’t want to waste time interacting with him. I don’t have time for it. He can stay in his echo chamber with the rest of the red hat wearing cult crowd. I’ll engage with people who still have actual brain activity.

To be clear, I don’t necessarily have a problem with conservatives. I have lots of conservative friends and family members, and for years, I identified as one myself. I value other people’s opinions, because that’s how a person can develop a well rounded approach to living. But a person who laughs at those with whom they disagree is disrespectful, lacks an open mind, and doesn’t value other viewpoints. I take that as a sign of someone with low intelligence. So why bother interacting with them? I figure I’ve already lived half my life. Time’s a wastin’. Don’t need to be trying to mesh with someone who feels the need to mock others.

I mention my school friend’s “friend” because I want to show that I generally don’t block people willy nilly. I’ve had a number of interactions with that guy when I was in less of a “mood”. I’ve repeatedly tolerated his stupid comments about how great Trump is because gas prices were lower when he was the president (presidents don’t control gas prices). I’ve repeatedly read his dogged attempts to sway people to his MAGA cult, yet I’ve really tried to maintain basic respect for his rights to his own opinions. I don’t try to argue with him about his deeply held beliefs. It would be a waste of time, not to mention disrespectful. Even after blocking him, I still believe he has the right to his opinions. I just don’t want to read them anymore. We are not going to be “friends”, so he might as well not exist in my world. πŸ˜‰ May he go with God, and all… and enjoy a fulfilling, fruitful life… far away from my Facebook feed.

To the half dozen or so people I expect might read this, you might be wondering why I have these extreme reactions. Call it a “psychological sunburn”… or maybe it’s more like an allergic reaction. I’m allergic to people who don’t take me seriously. It probably comes from being the youngest child of four, with many years between me and my next sibling. For most of my life, people have treated me in a demeaning way because I’m younger than they are, or I giggle a lot, or I’m female, less conservative, have blonde hair, or some other dumbassed reason. They have failed to realize that I’m a responsible, basically intelligent person with feelings. I don’t deserve to be insulted or mocked, particularly by strangers.

Before the age of social media, I wouldn’t have anything to do with the vast majority of people who find their way to my sphere today. But, because of technology, and my choice to use it, here we are… dealing with idiots who don’t know how to behave with basic decorum. So I use the block button to protect my sanity. Honestly, I’ve gotten this way with my own family members, too. When they are blatantly disrespectful to me, I put more distance between us. Because fuck that. I’ve had my fill of disrespect, thanks.

I decided to write about this today, because I haven’t seen it addressed that much. I found one thread on Reddit by someone who wrote that he thinks people who use the block button are immature. He wrote that he thinks it’s better to just ignore them. But isn’t that what blocking does? If you block someone, you’re putting them on ignore, so you don’t have to be exposed to their bullshit. It’s like a vaccine against aggravation. Nobody owes anyone else access to them, or their sense of peace.

Besides… I doubt the vast majority of people in the world care about having communication with me, anyway. I seem to annoy most people simply by being alive. So I might as well spare them, and myself, the pain of an interaction. Some people think blocking people is weak and immature. I say, if blocking irritating people is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I’ve got enough issues. So, if you want to be an asshole, be one somewhere else. I’d rather go wash my hair.

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first world problems, movies, technology, true crime

The big meltdown…

I thought we were going to get more snow yesterday. A few days ago, the weather gurus were calling for it. I keep the shutters pulled down in my office, so I didn’t pay attention to the weather. It obviously warmed up a lot during the afternoon, because by the early evening, a lot of the snow had melted. That means that when the sun is up, and I go dog poop hunting, there will be a lot to collect.

I kind of hate this part of a snow event. When it all melts, everything becomes really sloppy and wet. But, the alternative is that it stays really cold, and the snow sticks around for ages. It gets all dirty and dog piss stained. I like to watch snow fall, and I enjoy seeing it on the trees and covering the ground, but it can be messy when it melts. It’s doubly bad when it melts and freezes, causing sheets of ice. I’m getting too old to fall on my ass and not worry about injuries!

I hadn’t meant to repost two blog entries yesterday. In fact, I’d had every intention of writing something fresh. Somehow, I just never managed to get around to it. I couldn’t think of a good topic, and then Bill and I watched several movies on our “good” TV. Usually, I watch the TV in our bedroom, which is fine. We also have a really nice television in our “entertainment/Noyzi’s room”. Until Christmas 2022, we only had one chair in there, plus the rugs were full of Noyzi’s hair. But then I got a new office chair (which I put back in the entertainment room) and a new vacuum, so I could clean up the tons of dog hair in there. The room is more comfortable now.

Yesterday, we watched Airplane!, Arthur (1981 version), and International Falls. Of course, we’ve both seen the first two films many times, but neither of us had seen International Falls. I downloaded it some time ago and completely forgot about it, never having watched it. It’s an interesting, quirky, and slightly depressing film. Bill liked it a lot. I didn’t mind it. Watching the 80s era movies in high definition was a weird experience. I was inspired to buy more tech gadgets so we can have better sound in that room. I’d like to get a couch for in there, but I’m put off by the prospect of getting it up the stairs to the room.

I’m also thinking about getting a new TV for the bedroom, now that I’m reminded of how nice our “good TV” is. I’d move it to the bedroom, but it’s too big to fit on my dresser, and we have sloped walls. We have an old TV in our guest room that we bought in 2007, when flatscreen TVs were new. I remember we spent $900 on it. Now, you can get a really nice TV for a third of that price. I think I’d like to buy a new TV; then I realize that buying one will mean more electronic waste. We already need to dispose of several old computers and a broken freezer. And… it’s also about time to get a new desktop, since the one I currently use is starting to have problems.

Sigh… such boring first world problems. I could be writing about the depressing news of the world today. Maybe that would be the more socially responsible thing to do. I didn’t sleep well last night, though. I woke up at 2:00 am to pee, and Arran got up. He wanted food. Then I couldn’t fall back to sleep, so I started reading more of my latest book. Reading the book ultimately lead to seeing the news, which led to reading the moronic comments.

Seriously… it’s so frustrating to see how people always have complaints about everything, especially regarding politics. Nothing ever gets done, especially when it comes to gun violence. The end result is that more people died, thanks to some unhinged idiot with a weapon. 72 year old Huu Can Tran got a bee in his bonnet, for some reason, and took it out on people at a dance hall he used to frequent. Now, ten more innocent people have died, and more are in the hospital. At least Huu Can Tran is also dead. He took a coward’s way out, but at least he won’t be killing anyone else. Sadder still is that, once again, I find myself more apathetic than shocked. Shootings in the USA are much too common these days.

I also found out from my friend, aunt of Abby Zwerner, that some jerk made a Facebook page pretending to be her. The person was probably hoping to scam money from well wishers. It’s too bad that people can’t get fucking jobs, so they might earn money the honest way, rather than trying to steal it.

These things, along with being tired, make me cranky on a Monday morning. But things can always be worse. We have much to be grateful for, in spite of the bad news. Younger daughter sent me a nice email this morning, which was really great. I love getting emails that have nothing to do with business or spending money. πŸ˜‰ Plus, it’s just nice to get to know her, at long last. She’s a lovely person, in spite of everything. She wanted to know more about my days riding horses, of all things.

Anyway… I think I’ll sign off and play my guitar. Then, I think I’ll go back to bed and see if I can catch an hour or two of sleep… or maybe read more of my latest book.

Toodles.

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Duggars

Those shoes!

Bwahahahahaha!

Yesterday, while hanging out in the Life is Not All Pickles and Hairspray group, I read an interesting thread about Jeremy Vuolo, husband of the former Jinger Duggar and father of Felicity, who is almost one year old. The family just moved to California after having spent a couple of years in Laredo, Texas.

While I’m not a huge fan of religion, especially of the fundamentalist type, I do kind of like Jeremy and Jinger… at least for now. I used to like Jill and Derick Dillard, until Derick turned into an obvious dick. So far, Jeremy seems more normal and less dumb when it comes to his image. Except for those shoes…

This is a screenshot of part of a photo that was posted of Jeremy. He was crossing the street, carrying little Felicity. I have no quarrel with anything in the photo…. except for those shoes!

Seriously, they were the first thing I noticed when I saw the picture. They just leapt out at me like little brown beacons. I was reminded of an infamous scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

“Those are great, Dad!”

Well… in fairness to Jeremy, those shoes aren’t quite as egregiously tacky as Clark’s white loafers. They’d probably be okay with different pants and different socks. I guess I was just surprised to see them jump off the page like that. I figured the emphasis was intended to be on a sweet picture of a young dad with his baby. Instead, we got… shoes.

If Jeremy isn’t careful about his shoe choices, he may become akin to another whitebread Christian who became a California transplant. I give you our old friend, Pat Boone, and his trademark white bucks.

Well, in this clip, he’s wearing white jodhpurs. But back in the day, he wore white bucks.

I mentioned it on the thread and so many people chimed in. They’d had the same reaction I did. It was the first thing they noticed. Maybe the manufacturer of those shoes should hire Jeremy to sell them, since they definitely got noticed. On the other hand, I don’t think they were noticed for the right reasons. Some people who are familiar with Los Angeles said that it looked like Jeremy was trying too hard to fit in. He should put on some chucks or flip flops. Given the Duggar women’s love for flip flops, I’m surprised that wouldn’t be a given. As for chucks, I have no idea what those are. I’m not from L.A., and if I were, I doubt I’d have my finger on the fashion pulse, especially since there is no way in hell I could wear what is considered “high fashion” out there on the West Coast. Let’s see what Google has to say about chucks.

Ahh… they are a type of Converse sneaker. How cool. I do think they’d look better with Jeremy’s pants.

All snarking aside, I’m glad to see that Jinger has moved away from the Duggar compound and is living life more on her own terms. I remember when she was a teenager on 19 Kids and Counting and she said she wanted to live in a big city. Michelle Duggar was quick to pipe up that Jinger didn’t “really” want to live in a big city. She just wanted to be closer to Walmart. Apparently, that was an untruth. I kind of wonder if maybe Jeremy had to promise Boob he wouldn’t move Jinger away from Arkansas before they had permission to “court”. Boob does apparently present a huge questionnaire to potential suitors. Looks like most of the guys his daughters have married have been appropriately malleable… especially Ben Seewald, who gets a double dose in that he’s married to Jessa, who is quite assertive for a Duggar female. Jeremy may have been the one who fooled Boob and stole away one of his precious arrows.

While Jeremy is now becoming a pastor, I do hope that he will be one who is more tolerant and that their daughter will not be raised in a hotbed of misogyny. It’s nice to see that he lets Jinger make her own clothing and hairstyle choices. Before you know it, she’ll be taking college classes and becoming educated. Horrors!

Well, I did have a good laugh about those shoes. I hope he keeps them clean and doesn’t step in anything unsavory out there in California.

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