ethics, Ex, family, money

She’s back “on the fence” about things…

This is going to be another frank, and potentially “inappropriate” post. Proceed with care. And if you think I’m a jerk for writing this, you’re probably right. But that may be the worst you can say about me.

It’s Memorial Day, but not in Germany, where it’s a normal workday for German people. It’s not a workday for Bill, though, so he’s home, sneezing because of all the trees having sex, as spring begins to turn into summer. Bill’s big plans today are to get himself on my cellphone contract, at long last, and to pay a visit to the local Telekom and speak to someone about the useless cable box we’ve been renting since late 2018.

A technician came by our house at that time, but was unable to hook up the cable to our television. He didn’t tell me why, other than to say “it’s not possible”. My guess is that it has to do with the phone line, which we don’t use, since we have cell phones. Anyway, we are technically subscribed to German cable TV, but we can’t watch it. I’ve been bugging Bill to do something about it, since his German skills are better than mine are. He’s decided that today is the day.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to recover from my restless night. I am not quite menopausal yet, in spite of my apparently ancient appearance to mean-spirited “pro-life” losers on the Internet. I spent all night having to go to the bathroom, because it’s that time of the month. Consequently, for the second night in a row, I didn’t get much sleep.

Then, when I finally did fall asleep, I had a nightmare about the singer, Anne Murray, and her daughter, Dawn. There were some aspects from my recent life that were in the dream, to include people moving (common in the military community at this time of year), and people committing suicide, which sadly has also been something in our lives recently. But, you know how dreams dissipate when you wake up, unless you’re very disciplined about remembering, like Bill is. He’s been working with a Jungian therapist for the past year, so he makes a point of remembering his dreams. He even writes them down and sends them to his analyst. Then, at their weekly meeting, they have fascinating discussions about what the dreams might mean.

I have no idea why Anne Murray was in my dreams this morning, or why she would be part of a nightmare. I like Anne Murray’s music. Remember, I am a child of the 70s and 80s, so her music was a big part of the soundtrack of my extreme youth. I find some of her songs comforting, even.

Once I was awake, and tried to tell Bill about my bad dream, adorable Noyzi, the street dog, decided to pay us a visit. He still hasn’t figured that he can push open doors by himself. Maybe he’s too polite to try that. It took him forever to realize that he can push open the screen curtain on the back door, which is poorly held together by magnets. Once again, I’m amazed by how different Noyzi is from the beagles we’ve had. He’s very well mannered, and doesn’t try to make trouble. Ironically, I’m sure our former landlords wouldn’t have wanted him in the house, because he’s a big guy. But he’s probably the best behaved dog we’ve ever had.

So, once we were awake and enjoying breakfast, I decided to check in on Ex, to see if maybe she knows about the latest grandchild. I would have expected her to mention it on her very public social media by now. But nope… she still advertises her “4.5 grandchildren”. She was actually pretty quiet over the past few days, but I guess she needs money again, because she’s posted another crowdfund request for people to help fund a fence for her youngest son, whom she’s said has severe autism. Now… I have no reason to doubt that her son has autism. In fact, I’m sure he does have severe autism. However, I have learned to take what she says and writes with a grain of salt. After twenty years of observing her, I have concluded that she’s not a very honest person.

Regular readers might recall that a couple of months ago, Ex was begging people to help her erect a tall fence for her son, whom she says has a bad habit of escaping her home. She’s said she’s been confounded by his efforts to run away, and she’s tried a whole bunch of things to keep him from taking off. All have reportedly failed. So now, she needs the help of strangers to pay for a fence to contain the young man, so he can “play” outside. She also wants to get a therapy dog for him, and that costs big bucks that she doesn’t have, because there’s only one paycheck coming in to her household– my guess is that it’s #3’s work as a certified nursing assistant that keeps their household going.

In March, Ex paid a manipulative visit to my husband’s widowed stepmother, and asked her for “financial help”, which SMIL wisely declined to offer. Then, Ex brought SMIL packing and mailing supplies, in case SMIL wants to give Ex anything to “pass down” to Bill’s MIA older daughter, who still doesn’t speak to Bill, and didn’t have much of relationship with Bill’s dad when he was still living. On the trip to see SMIL, Ex brought older daughter and her daughter with #3. I’m not sure what she did with her “escape artist” son with severe autism, who desperately needs a fence because he runs away. Perhaps #3 took some time off work. I’ve heard that #3’s mother lives with them, but I’ve also heard that she isn’t in the best of health. It seems unwise to have her watch a teenaged boy with autism who runs away.

Anyway, after that visit, I noticed that Ex quietly took down the link to her fundraiser. But yesterday, she put it up again. Or, she put up another one, and tweeted celebrities, begging for money. Looks like she’s leaving Mark Hamill alone this time, but George Takei got tweeted at, as did a couple of actors from a show she watches, and a famous author whose books she reads. This time, she’s asking for $6000, instead of $5500. Last time she did this, she contributed $500 to her own campaign, which didn’t result in inspiring anyone else to add any funds.

You’d think that Ex might try to come up with another way to get the money she claims to need so badly, given that the crowdfunding technique hasn’t worked in the recent past. I know it can be difficult to apply for grants and loans, and I know for a fact that Ex isn’t the most creditworthy person. She says that crowdfunding is her only recourse. But, as someone who has a master’s degree in social work, I call bullshit on that. I think she just needs money, and figures that her son’s situation is the best sob story to present.

Money provided by grants and loans would likely require accountability, or at least paying back the money, plus interest. Ex would rather depend on the kindness of strangers to take care of her family’s alleged financial needs, as she also plays fangirl to entertainers, artists, and authors. Does she access their works from the library? Or does she buy autographed copies of things… or monthly “gift” boxes of trinkets from Scotland? Seems to me she might have more luck funding the fence if she spent more time figuring out how to make the money herself. But… I don’t think she actually wants to build a fence. I think she has bills to pay, or burning desires that she wants to fulfill. And she rationalizes that if nice people who have money to spare can help her out, she won’t have to repay them, and they don’t have to know how she uses the money.

I also wonder what will happen if she actually manages to get a service dog for her son. Does she realize that dogs are a financial commitment? How does she intend to pay for all of the things a dog needs? And what will she do when the dog is more into her son, as is appropriate, than her? She’s not proposing getting a family pet. She claims she wants a service dog. But if they get a service dog, that dog will have to pay attention to the boy. Knowing Ex, I think that might be a real challenge for her.

Anyway… I realize it’s none of my business. I am lucky enough to be wise to her. I think that younger daughter is wise to her, too. I suspect that she hasn’t told her about the latest addition to her family being born. I’m sure that’s because Ex will make it about her, and might even threaten to visit. And I’m sure that younger daughter could use some peace and quiet, not to mention some rest. I do think it’s interesting, though… that the people who were denied access to younger daughter for so many years, are the ones who care the most about her baby being born. And they were evidently the first to know. Meanwhile, Ex is “back on the fence about things”, again. 😉 Come hell or high water, she’s gonna get that fence… maybe by the time her son is legally a grown man.

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book reviews, celebrities, music

Repost: Anne Murray’s life story: All of Me…

I am slowly migrating my book reviews from my music blog to this site, as I will probably discontinue the music blog as soon as I’m eligible for a final Google Ad Sense payout. It could take years for that to happen, but I have about $96 and I need $100 for a payment. The other night, I heard Anne Murray sing a duet with her daughter, Dawn Langstroth, who is also a very good singer. It reminded me that I read and enjoyed Anne’s life story. So here it is, reposted as/is, from my review written in August 2017. Maybe it will give y’all something to read that isn’t as depressing as the news is these days!

She’s had over forty years of experience in the music business, two kids, a divorce, and multiple album sales.  She’s also an institution in her native Canada.  I am referring to singer Anne Murray, who originally intended to be a physical education teacher and ended up as a huge star. 

As a kid, I used to listen to her music.  I would describe it as pleasant, comforting, and tasteful.  I can’t listen to her 1978 hit, “You Needed Me” and not be reminded of moving back to the United States from three years in England, where my dad was serving in the Air Force.  Anne Murray was one artist who never offended and she was one of the few popular singers my dad and I could listen to together.

Although I have pretty broad tastes in music and only have one Anne Murray album in my personal collection, I love a good life story.  I just finished reading Murray’s All of Me, which was published in 2009.  Given her decision to retire from the music business in 2008, it makes sense that she’d turn to books.  This one was written with help from ghost writer Michael Posner, who did an admirable job making the book sound as if it came straight from Ms. Murray’s computer.

Born in Springhill, Nova Scotia on June 20, 1945, Murray was the third of six children and the only daughter of her surgeon father and nurse and housewife mother.  Murray and I happen to share a birthday, which makes me feel kind of special…  of course, we also share that birthday with Lionel Richie, John Taylor (of Duran Duran), Nicole Kidman, and John Goodman, among others.  Although Murray’s father was a Presbyterian, her mother was a devout Catholic and Murray and her brothers were raised Catholic.  Murray went to a Catholic college for a short spell, then transferred to the University of New Brunswick which the intention of teaching P.E.

Murray was also an enthusiastic singer growing up, as is one of her brothers.  She lasted one year teaching P.E. before she was a bonafide professional musician.  Her first big hit was “Snowbird”, which made her a star in 1970.


Anne Murray sings her best known hit.  Those pants are something else.

All of Me is surprisingly interesting, as Murray explains what it was like for her as a woman in the music biz during the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  She includes plenty of anecdotes about other people she knew and performed with, funny stories about life on the road, and some interesting trivia.  I especially got a kick out of her story about taking part in a bizarre TV special that pitted musicians from the East against musicians from the West.  Murray found herself competing with and against the likes of Joan Jett, the Jacksons, Sha Na Na, Boston and ELO!  I was only six years old in 1978, when this show aired, but I can promise you I would have loved it. 

Murray apparently also got confused for being a lesbian more than a couple of times.  One time, a groupie ended up in her bed, thinking Murray was into chicks.  She makes it clear that she’s a straight arrow, having married her ex husband Bill Langstroth in 1975.  The two were together until 1998, when they divorced after 23 years of marriage and two kids.

One thing I noticed about this book is that Anne Murray comes across as a very down to earth person.  She doesn’t seem to have lost her humanity when she became famous.  She stays classy and civil and doesn’t cheapen herself with tawdry comments about others.  As a fellow musician, I also enjoyed reading about the musical side of her business.  I even learned a few things I didn’t know before.

Anne Murray sings “You Needed Me”, another huge hit.

Anyway… although this book is now about eight years old, I really enjoyed reading it.  I would recommend it to Murray’s fans, but I would also recommend it to people who enjoy life stories… especially those who were around during Murray’s heyday.  I hope she’s enjoying her life now, as an avid golfer and proud mother of two grown kids.  And… on a different note… it was nice to read a book that wasn’t very depressing.  So bravo to Anne for that!

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