dogs, ethics, Ex, true crime

I’m calling it “puppy love”, and thinking it would be a doggone shame…

Hello from rainy Antwerp, Belgium. I took yesterday off, save for a short post on my travel blog, because Bill and I were having so much fun walking around the town. There was some kind of festival going on in the big square that went on all day, with lots of drinking, dancing, and carousing. It was fun to watch. Bill also rode on a ferris wheel for the first time, ever. That was a pretty big deal. We ended the evening at a piano bar, where we were poorly dressed, but managed to have a good time, anyway.

It’s hard to believe that I’m turning 50 tomorrow. I look back on my long history, and realize that my life is likely over half over. My Granny managed to live until she was almost 101 years old, but I doubt I will live that long. In fact, I hope I don’t. Granny had people to help take care of her. I don’t think I’ll have that. She was also much beloved by many. I know I won’t have that.

I don’t yet have much to say about turning 50. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll have more than a couple of comments. All I know is that my body is a lot more padded than I’d like it to be; I need new glasses and contacts; and sometimes my ankles swell up. They did when we were in Italy. Happily, they’re not doing that in Belgium.

Although we’ve been busy, I did take a moment to check on Ex and see what she’s up to… I have to say, I didn’t like what I saw.

Ex is still howling about wanting a dog for her “severely autistic son”. Under ordinary circumstances, that would probably be okay. Unfortunately, nothing about Ex is ordinary. She’s not your garden variety harmless person who loves normally. She is very likely a narcissist, which is bad news for any living thing in her sphere.

I had to gape in disbelief yesterday, when I noticed a couple of recent tweets by Ex. She’s still going on about getting a dog, and even falsely claims to be a “dog rescuer”. She doesn’t rescue dogs, and never has. As a matter of fact, she had a dog when Bill left– a little elderly poodle named Fifi whom she’d inherited from a relative who died. Bill liked Fifi. She was friendly and sweet. He said that when he visited the kids once, early after the breakup, Fifi still remembered him.

Bill was horrified later, when he heard from ex stepson that #3 got really angry one day and kicked Fifi so hard that she lost an eye. Bill asked Ex what happened, having related to her what heโ€™d heard about Fifi from ex stepson. She got all sarcastic and pissy, and said, “That never happened.”

A few years later, when I stumbled across the evidence of what ex stepson was planning– changing his surname without telling Bill– I looked up #3 in the court system. Sure enough, there was an animal cruelty charge listed for him. I think the fact that #3 kicked a dog so hard that she lost an eye should exclude Ex and #3 from ever having pets again. Ex doesn’t agree, though. Recently, she tweeted this:

How?

Next, she claims she’s always been a “dog rescue momma”… But she has only had one dog that we know of, and that dog lost an eye because her husband couldn’t control himself. Notice that she’s asking for “help”, too. Help with what? Money, no doubt. Edited to add: We have since learned that they did have a dog for awhile, but he died of heart disease.

No, Ex. You don’t need to get a dog. You also have never been one to take suggestions from anyone.

No, you haven’t always been a “rescue dog momma”, Ex. Bill and I have always had rescue dogs.

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t care too much about this. But it’s just another example of the tremendous lies she puts out to the masses. Sometimes it seems like she lies, even when it would be easier to just tell the truth. And she’s still running a crowdfund campaign for a “new fence”, but no one is contributing to it.

I can’t help but notice that, once again, it seems like Ex is kind of emulating me. There are a number of “coincidences” that have come up in the 20 years I’ve known about her. Like, she went to grad school– or so she claims– to get a master’s degree after I told her in my one email to her that she shouldn’t be “diagnosing” Bill as a woman hater. He’s the exact opposite of a woman hater. And she didn’t used to be so excited about Scotland, but then about ten years ago, we started going there, because of my heritage. Now, suddenly, she’s in a famous clan… a famous clan that declined to raise her and put her up for adoption. :/

Now, she’s claiming to be a “dog rescue momma”, when we have not seen any evidence of that. Bill has known her since she was a teenager, and she’s only had the one dog… Fifi. And poor Fifi got abused by #3. Ex is claiming now that she wants a puppy to train as a service animal for her son. And yet, in her crowdfunding campaign, she writes that her son has escaped the house several times, once without pants. What will happen if, while she’s training the dog, it runs out and gets hit by a car? What happens if her son gets super attached to the dog, and the dog becomes a victim of negligence, or her husband’s evident inability to control himself when he’s angry?

I’m sure there’s a psychological name for people who can’t develop their own identities… It seems like she’s an empty shell of a person, always trying to fill the void with new things and new interests. But it never works. I just worry that a dog, who would be helpless against Ex, could really suffer in her “care”. According to reliable sources, Ex isn’t the one who does the heavy lifting, particularly when it comes to taking care of her son. That duty mostly falls to older daughter now, since younger daughter flew the coop… after Ex feigned a suicide attempt.

I do think it would be a tragedy if an innocent dog was brought into the mix. It won’t fix things. And if Ex is disappointed by the hard work, expense, and responsibility of taking care of a dog, it will just end up discarded.

I want to point out one other thing… something kind of sinister. Ex bears a resemblance to another woman… a woman who is now sitting in jail, awaiting trial for the disappearance and death of her children. I recently reviewed a book about Lori Vallow Daybell, and her crazy life. Ex has a few things in common with her. She’s had dealings with the LDS church. She’s been married multiple times and has children by different fathers. She’s big into fantasy… and she has an autistic child. Lori Vallow Daybell’s adopted son, J.J., was autistic and had a service dog. Days before J.J. disappeared and was murdered, likely by Lori’s fifth husband, doomsday Mormon author, Chad Daybell, Lori got rid of the dog. I could see Ex doing the same, when the dog becomes too inconvenient, expensive, or drains too much of her narcissistic supply.

So count me among those who are silently hoping Ex doesn’t get what she claims to want. I don’t think it would be good. Hopefully, any dog people who get contacted by Ex will be wise enough to steer clear.

Anyway… just had to get that off my chest. Time to continue my birthday celebration… which will proceed with a nap. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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book reviews, LDS

By request: Repost of my review of Way Below the Angels by Craig Harline…

Sorry… I know I said I was done reposting book reviews, but my friend Alexis asked me if I’d read this one. I had, so I am reposting the review for her, as it appeared November 28, 2014. And NOW I am really done with the reposts for today!

Here’s yet another book review about a story of a Mormon missionary.  If you read this blog often, you know I am a sucker for stories about people giving up time and money to serve the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Because my husband is an exMormon and has a rather negative opinion of Mormonism (which he has passed on to me), many of the books I tend to read about these experiences are somewhat negative.  This time, I read a book that was mostly positive about the missionary experience. 

Craig Harline, author of Way Below the Angels (2014), served as a missionary for the Mormon church back in the 1970s.  He went from his hometown of Fresno, California to Belgium, one of my favorite places in the world.  There, he made an attempt to learn Dutch, get along with his ever changing companions, and maybe attract some Belgians to the LDS church.  Harline’s time in Belgium was concentrated on Flemish speaking areas, namely Antwerp and Brussels. 

Although he wasn’t all that successful in wooing beer loving Belgians to the “clean living” of Mormonism, Harline seems to have come away from his mission experience with a deep affection for Belgian people.  Given that I went to Armenia for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer and left my service with sort of a love/hate relationship with Armenia, I could sort of relate to Craig Harline’s story somewhat, even though we went away for different reasons.  I think that’s another reason why I like missionary stories.  I am interested in other peoples’ cultural experiences because I have a number of my own.

He writes one story about trying to drive one of the mission’s cars and almost running over a small Belgian man because he neglected to check his blind spot before backing out of a parking space.  Naturally, bystanders who witnessed Harline hitting the old man were shocked and horrified.  And Harline was also horrified and pictured himself being hauled off to court.  But no… it turned out the old man was in a hurry and just wanted to get on his way.  I witnessed a similar event once in Spain, when an elderly lady fell down at the bottom of an escalator.  Many people wanted to help her and get her seen by a doctor, but she was very focused on catching her train!

Like many young men who go on Mormon missions, Harline had fantastic visions of converting people.  He was sure his superior sales training, personal charm, and newly acquired language skills, along with the very appealing Mormon values and lifestyle, would be enough to win him many conversions for the “one true church”.  Reality soon came crashing down as Harline learned that Belgians were mostly fine with Catholicism or atheism or any other belief system that allowed them to drink what they wanted and smoke cigarettes.  What was really pretty cool about Harline’s story, though, is that he was open to experiencing Belgian culture.  He visited Catholic churches.  He made Belgian friends who were kind to him and open to visiting as long as he didn’t talk religion.  He learned to be more humble and, more importantly, be himself.  Those are valuable lessons that so many people could stand to learn, especially when they’re still young.

Craig Harline has an entertaining writing style that is fun to read, though it took me some time to finish his book.  I think the main reason it took so long is because I’ve been gearing up for the holidays and don’t have as much time to read and focus as I usually do.  I tend to be tired and distracted when I go to bed and that’s when I do most of my reading.  And yet, when I was able to focus on Harline’s book, I was definitely entertained.  I write this even though Harline’s writing tends to meander a bit.  His sentences are long and wordy and it may seem like he takes awhile to get to the point.  Fortunately, reading Harline’s long sentences was well worth the effort for me. 

I enjoyed Way Below the Angels and would read it again.  In fact, it might be a good thing to re-read it at a time when I can devote more mental energy and attention to the task.  I think this is the kind of book that needs to be digested in larger portions.  Craig Harline currently teaches European History at Brigham Young University.  Though this is the first book I’ve read by him, I see that he’s written quite a few others.  If you like missionary memoirs, particularly by Mormon authors, I highly recommend Way Below the Angels.   

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