dogs, holidays, narcissists

Sure enough, I was right again about Ex…

Hello to you folks out there in Internetland. I apologize in advance for today’s blog post. This is a tough time of year, though, when there are narcissists in your life… even if they are just on the periphery. Writing about this bizarre stuff is useful for me. It helps me process. I suspect some other people are helped by it, as well. Dealing with a personality disordered narcissistic type is jarring and isolating, at best.

Yesterday, I wrote about my father. In that post, I wrote that I don’t think he was a narcissist. I still don’t think he was. He had issues with alcoholism and PTSD, but there were many times when he had compassion and empathy. He also didn’t deliberately do things to stir up shit, especially during the holidays. It’s just that things would happen frequently in his watch, usually because of his irritability and short fuse, and shenanigans from one of my sisters. If he weren’t an alcoholic and had a chance to work on his demons, I don’t think he would have been who he frequently was. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Ex.

Recently, I wrote a post about Christmas time approaching. In that post, I wrote about how narcissists LOVE to ruin holidays. That wasn’t a new topic for me. I’ve written plenty of times about how Ex has screwed up people’s abilities to enjoy celebrations. Sure enough, it happened again this year.

Yesterday, we received a box from younger daughter. In it, there was a stocking for the dogs. It was full of rawhide treats and a toy. They went nuts for it, although we don’t give them rawhides. I used to give them to our dogs, but have since stopped, because they can break teeth and cause intestinal blockages. Still, I got some really adorable shots of their reactions to the gift. She also sent a framed photo of her family, which delighted both of us– especially Bill. It’s just so nice to finally have one of his kids back in our lives. Just talking to her brings him joy.

Arran was obsessed with the photo, because it smelled like the treats!
The dogs were delighted with younger daughter’s gift!

Of course, Ex isn’t very happy about younger daughter’s reconciliation with her father. She’s upset that younger daughter lives so far away, and resists her attempts to maintain control of her. Recently, younger daughter celebrated her birthday. Ex contacted her at midnight Ex’s time, which is two hours later than where younger daughter lives. Ex wrote that she hoped younger daughter had a good birthday, then wrote a lengthy screed about her life. It was full of the usual complaints and insults, which younger daughter wrote that she could barely stand to read.

Then she went on Facebook and liked every photo in which younger daughter was tagged, leaving her with about 35 notifications on her account. Younger daughter wisely wrote that it looked like Ex was trying to look like she was being a “good mother”. As Christmas day is approaching, I’m betting there will soon be more of the same behavior… lots of drama and actions that are designed to maintain appearances for onlookers.

Younger daughter also had a discussion with older daughter, and my suspicions about her motivation for going back to school were confirmed. It’s for the loan money… although I’m not sure Ex really thought this idea through very well. The program that older daughter is entering will introduce her to courses in psychology that may ring a bell of recognition pertaining to her own fucked up situation. I’m sure Ex will do her best to encourage older daughter not to expose herself in person to people who might recognize her plight and offer to help her escape. That could, however, wind up being exactly what happens. Who knows?

Older daughter also made it clear that she won’t leave her mother’s home, because she’s too worried about what would happen to her little brother with severe autism. If that isn’t a damning statement, I don’t know what is. Here she is, sacrificing her life to make sure her brother is taken care of. Part of me wonders, though, if she’s made this her mission in life because she’s afraid to try living on her own. I’m sure fear is a big part of it– she’s afraid for her brother, and rightfully so. But I think she’s also afraid for herself– engaging in a little “learned helplessness”. So she stays in a hellish situation, living with her narcissistic mother under the guise of “protecting” her brother, who will soon be an adult. Does she plan to stay there for the rest of her life? I don’t know… but sooner or later, she’s going to be on her own. I hope it’s not when she’s middle-aged.

Also… if her brother’s well-being would really be in jeopardy if he was left alone with Ex, perhaps it’s time for authorities to intervene. It would make sense to get him out of the home, too. Older daughter is certainly old enough to file for legal custody of her brother, if she really thinks he’s in danger, although it might not be feasible for her to care for him alone. She’d have to get a job. But there are programs and schools for people like him. It sounds like she’ll probably be taking care of him, anyway. Anyway… it’s not my business… but I do wonder. I know Bill worries about his older daughter, too.

Older daughter also used to enjoy going to meetings at the LDS church. Younger daughter said that she stopped attending, though, because people in the church were trying to help her, and that upset Ex. It was church members who helped younger daughter escape Ex, so now Ex wants no part of the religion, even though she was the one who brought them to church in the first place. The church is a source of outside influence, friends, significant others, and prying eyes that might get Ex in trouble or cause her to lose resources. I often see Ex posting about protecting children, liberal causes, autism awareness, and other “woke” stuff. But the reality is, she doesn’t even take care of her own son, let alone actually do any work that would further the causes she claims to support. Taking care of her son is her older daughter’s job. Ex doesn’t want her to leave, because she’s basically convinced her to be her slave and allow her to exploit her own child. Older daughter is a “stay at home daughter”, not unlike the unmarried daughters in large fundie families who stay home to raise their parents’ children and do chores.

I would stake money on Ex being involved in something illegal. I would not be surprised, for instance, if she’s engaged in identity theft, or something of that nature. She has a history of doing sketchy things, particularly regarding money, especially with those who get closed to her. Unfortunately, no one has ever held her legally accountable. At least not yet. Hopefully, her meeting with karma is upcoming. I certainly pray for it.

Today’s featured photo also made an appearance in my repost of my review of The Sociopath Next Door. I’m reposting it again, because Ex ticks all of the boxes. I hope younger daughter decides to block her mom soon. She deserves to enjoy her holidays in peace.

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divorce, family, love, marriage

The not so wicked stepmonster…

Last night, I did something I have never done before in 20 years of marriage. It feels kind of momentous, especially since I have technically been a stepmom the whole time I’ve been married.

I sent my younger step daughter a birthday card. If memory serves, she’s turning 29 today… although Bill thinks he might have been celebrating the wrong birthday for all these years. I know for a fact that he told me her birthday was on the 6th, but then last night, he said he remembered the day of her birth was on a Wednesday, which he thinks was the 8th. Now, that was a Wednesday in 1993, so I don’t know if he actually remembers the date properly. In any case, I tend to have a better memory about these things than he does, even though I wasn’t in his life when she was born.

I actually sent her an e-card from Jacquie Lawson, rather than a physical card. I like them, because they’re creative, interactive, and cool, and they’re easy to choose and send. Bill’s late Aunt Betsy used to send them to me, so I subscribed to the service, too. And then, as I was about to schedule the card to be sent, I asked Bill if he thought maybe younger daughter might like a gift card. He said she would, so I looked to see what was available.

At first, I thought maybe it would be good to send her one for Cold Stone Creamery, since I know she likes ice cream and she has little kids… Then I remembered we just sent her a box of macaroons from France, and that might be sweetness overload. Then I wondered about movie passes, but I wasn’t sure if she has AMC Theaters near her… Then I thought about getting a gift card to a restaurant, but then I remembered that she mentioned having car problems recently, which could make a date night problematic. I finally settled on a $100 Target gift card. I figured she could use it on anything she wants. If she has a pressing need, and is short on cash, she can use it for that. Or, if she just wants to splurge on something, she can use it for that purpose.

One thing I remember about being 29 is that I was always broke, mainly because I was in graduate school. And I didn’t even have kids, while younger daughter has three! Some of the best gifts I got during that time in my life were in the form of money… so I could pay bills. I remember one year, my sister sent me $100 or so, and I used it to pay my health insurance premium. It was a huge load off my mind and truly appreciated.

Maybe it seems odd for me to feel wonderment about sending my husband’s younger daughter a birthday card and a gift card. But you have to realize, I have never had a chance to be in her life, and for a long time, I never expected I would ever know her. For years, I was very angry with her for the way Bill was treated. And then, once they did finally reconnect, I didn’t want to intrude, as Bill gingerly tried to reconcile with his long lost child. They had a lot to discuss between themselves, and I felt that I shouldn’t get in the middle of that. One thing that I’ve often heard from stepchildren is that they often feel like stepparents, especially stepmothers, interfere and intrude too much. So I wanted to give them space to bond and heal.

I’ve only met my husband’s daughters in person once, and that was in 2003. At the time of our one meeting, Bill and I had only been married for about seven months. After that meeting, Ex determined that I was too much of a “bad influence”, and refused to cooperate with visitation requests. For the next fifteen years, I felt like there were these “ghost children” in the midst. Then, in 2017, Bill started talking to his daughter again. I started trusting her sometime in 2018, when I could plainly see that she wasn’t her mother reincarnated. In fact, she appears to be the complete opposite of her mother, thank God.

Last night I was feeling generous… and then Bill reminded me of how, when he finally got to see her in the flesh back in March 2020, she sent me a beautiful and sincere “Thank You” note for loving Bill. This year, she sent us a lovely card congratulating us on our 20th wedding anniversary. And it’s very obvious to me that in spite of what Ex claimed, back when Bill tried to assert his parental rights, younger daughter never forgot who her real dad is… nor did she ever regard him as a mere sperm donor (don’t even get me started on that). I do think she was afraid to talk to him for a long time. Ex had told her a lot of lies about Bill, but I also think maybe younger daughter worried that he’d be angry with her. She had no way of knowing that her father is one of the most even-keeled, reasonable, decent men there is. All she had to go on were her own memories of Bill, and the ridiculous stories her mother told her.

I don’t expect that younger daughter will ever see me as anyone more than Bill’s wife… but I can, at least, be better than #3 has been, and show a sincere interest in her. I can be a better, saner example than her mother has been. Aside from that, I like to shop, and I’m damned good at it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hopefully, I got the birthdate right. Bill has already sent her a gift, which she accidentally opened sooner than she was supposed to… a Le Creuset Dutch Oven, as well as a couple of other kitchen implements. I’m sure she’ll be surprised to get something from me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I can be full of surprises, you know…

By the way, the featured photo was taken on my birthday last June… We were in Antwerp, Belgium. I’d probably pick a different dessert for younger daughter, as I believe I had a Colonel– that’s citrus flavored sorbet with vodka poured all over it. I suspect that would not be something she would ever order. But I know Bill would look as happy as he does in that photo, if he could be in Utah to help his daughter celebrate in person.

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Germany, music, News, social media, YouTube

Time to change the subject…

Yesterday was quite a day. It wasn’t a bad day, per se. We had beautiful weather, and I was productive, with new posts on this blog and the travel blog. I also made a new music video, which was very suddenly inspired after lunch, as I was listening to my HomePod. The Cox Family’s beautiful version of “I Am Weary, (Let Me Rest)” came on. I like to sing that song and realized that I hadn’t recorded it yet. I also realized that there were three chords in the song and I could play it on my guitar. So that’s what I did…

I think it turned out nicely, even with my amateur guitar work.

Originally, I tried to make a live video to go with this. I even put on makeup! But after four takes, I just couldn’t get the video to look right. I get pained looks on my face when I sing, and I just felt too unattractive and self-conscious. So I used photos of the Rhein River and my dogs who were… resting.

I didn’t share this video far and wide, nor did I really promote it. I did share it on the Recovery from Mormonism board, because there are people there who seem to enjoy my videos. It was kind of disheartening that the first comment was from someone who wasn’t logged in, and they decided to provide links to the original song. I thought about asking the person what they thought of the video I made, since that was the topic I started. Then I realized asking what they thought of the topic at hand would make me sound egotistical and entitled, so I ignored the person’s comment. There was one other comment. It was from the resident legal all knower, who enjoys arguing with people and telling them they’re “wrong”, even on matters of opinion. Her comment was about the Cox Family, too. I kind of wish I could just delete the thread, now. I guess I won’t share links on RfM anymore.

Well, at least Bill liked the video. He was visibly excited when I was done recording. No, he wasn’t “excited” in that way. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The below post from Facebook gave me a good chuckle. I don’t think Planet Earth is where this fellow lives. Why is he so obsessed with looking at other men’s junk?

Religious people are fucked.

A couple of days ago, Bill and I attended a little fest in Hofheim, which I included in my post about it on the travel blog. As I heard about the shootings at the Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, it occurred to me how fortunate we’ve been, living in a country where most people aren’t armed. At that little fest we attended, people were singing and dancing to live music, arm in arm. They weren’t hurling insults at each other, based on their religion or political beliefs. And I never once worried that someone might get shot. In fact, I felt very safe, as the fire brigade was there, showing off their fire engines. We also ran into a very charming gentleman with an organ grinder, playing and singing music to kids and making balloon animals. It used to be that way in the United States. Unfortunately, it’s not like that now.

As the day wore on, I found myself drawn into Twitter again, reading irrational comments from abusive people who compared anyone pro-choice to people like Jeffrey Dahmer and Adolf Hitler. I don’t understand why these folks don’t have an issue with gun toting nuts roaming the streets who open fire on innocent bystanders at parades, but they can’t abide a woman having an early abortion of an embryo, which isnโ€™t yet sentient and has no concept of life, death, pain, or terror. But these folks aren’t known for their brain power or reasoning skills, are they?

I ended up waking up at 3:15 am to go to the bathroom, and when I noticed I had a shit ton of notifications from strangers on Twitter, I decided to delete the app. I’m going to have to make a conscious decision not to visit Twitter often, because it’s far too toxic and abusive, and I have to safeguard my mental health. That’s also where Ex lurks, and while her tweets are good fodder for my blog, they aren’t very good for my mental health, either.

Speaking of Ex… or not really speaking of her, but her granddaughter… The little girl turned 3 yesterday. Younger daughter sent us a video, showing off one of the gifts Bill sent. It was a little pink princess tent, which they had already put up for her. I was the one who suggested the tent. I figured she’s the only girl now, and she might like to have a little tent as she gets a bit older. It will make a place for her to play with her toys, take naps, and read books, if she likes reading. Apparently, the tent was a big hit with big brother, too. He got on the camera and showed off a new toy he got. Bill also bought his granddaughter a little STEM garden toy, that teaches kids about how to garden. It might be a little advanced for her now, but she’ll probably love it when she’s a bit older.

Bill’s birthday is also coming up. I bought him a pair of Keen sandals. He’d asked for them, having worn Keen shoes for years. The Keen shoes are very comfortable, but they don’t breathe. The sandals don’t have that problem. I have worn Keens for over ten years now. They are my favorite summer shoes. I can’t wear their other shoes, though. In the winter, I wear Danskos. So much for stylin’, although neither of these shoes are inexpensive brands. They just aren’t particularly sexy. I dress for comfort.

Anyway… I don’t have it in me to write a screed today. I need a break from the usual topics. I found myself, once again, getting very angry about the lunacy coming from the United States. Sometimes, living over here makes me feel a strange sort of “survivor’s guilt”. I’m really feeling a lot of disdain for the United States now. It’s gotten absolutely crazy.

Another July 4th is down the tubes. July historically sucks for us, so hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come in 2022.

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controversies, healthcare, politics, Twitter, YouTube

Bravo to Mama Doctor Jones, for keeping up the good fight on Twitter!

Ah, June 17th… the day I’ve been waiting for since last month. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Bill and I are leaving town for the weekend, since my 50th birthday is on Monday. Bill decided that we would be celebrating in Antwerp, Belgium, the one major Belgian city we haven’t yet seen. So, after he comes back from taking the dogs to their “hotel”, we’ll load up and head northwest for a few days. It’s just as well, too, since it’s going to be really hot this weekend, and I only have portable air conditioners in two rooms in this house. I’m pretty sure the swanky hotel Bill booked is air conditioned.

I woke up this morning to more commentary about the January 6th hearings. Once again, people are talking about about how Mike Pence “saved the day” by doing his job. I was reminded of how a former friend of mine, a lesbian, took me to task for being “grateful” to Pence for following the law. She seemed to think that I had forgotten about and forgiven him for his despicable views against the LGBTQ population. Make no mistake about this– I do NOT like Mike Pence, nor would I EVER vote for him. But I am very glad he did his job and did not succumb to the tremendous pressure he was under to do Trump’s bidding. I do appreciate that Mike Pence acted like an adult on January 6th, and I felt that it was appropriate to state that. That doesn’t mean I’m a Pence fan. Nevertheless, she canceled me anyway, which is her right, I guess… and it’s also her loss. I’m also sure she wouldn’t appreciate it if I treated her the same way.

A friend of mine commented about Pence, and I very briefly related the story of how my former friend had deleted me because I expressed appreciation for Pence’s responsible actions, even if he would have rather done as Trump ordered. One of my friend’s friends said she “wasn’t surprised” my lesbian former friend was offended, since Pence is so hateful to the LGBTQ community. Once again, I reiterated that appreciating that Pence did his job and acted like an adult doesn’t make me a fan. Aside from that, my former friend blocked me when I wrote that I bought a Donald Trump toilet brush. She said she’d never have anything “Trump” in her house, so I wrote, “luckily, it’s not your house.” For some reason, she took great offense to that comment. I don’t know why. I would never presume to tell her what she should or shouldn’t put in her house, especially on her space.

I could write more about the hearings, but to be honest, I have really only been following them casually. I don’t think I would be able to offer a lot of opinions based on facts, and I don’t have time to do fact checking today, since we’re leaving town. Besides, thinking about that dark day in our history makes me sad, and I don’t want to be sad so close to my birthday. I’m not sad to be turning 50, by the way, although I do regret that I’m feeling my age more and more. But, that’s part of life, and I suppose it beats the alternative.

Instead, I think I’ll write a little about Mama Doctor Jones. I’ve written about her before– she’s a board certified OB-GYN, originally from Texas, but now living in New Zealand. She’s a tireless advocate for women’s health and women’s rights, and she’s made dozens of fact based entertaining videos about subjects like pregnancy, abortion, menstruation, and other “female” health issues. I enjoy her YouTube channel, and lately, I’ve also been following her on Twitter.

Actually, I’ve been using Twitter more than usual, as a whole. It’s taken me forever to get into it, but I do notice myself paying more attention to Twitter than I have historically. I didn’t like Twitter when I first joined, but I kind of like that it seems to be less “friend” oriented than Facebook is. Plus, I’ve seen some pretty wild and entertaining Twitter threads.

Anyway, I noticed that I got an alert from Mama Doctor Jones yesterday. I had some free time (ha ha ha), so I went to her Twitter page to see what was cooking. There, I found her taking on some person who told her she should be “ashamed” of herself.

This person, BillyBahBa, is probably a professional troll. I see the account was started last month and has very little activity. However, there are PLENTY of people out there who think that anyone who thinks abortion is “healthcare” should be ashamed. Personally, I think those who think they need to insert themselves in other people’s very private healthcare decisions should be the ones who are ashamed. I, for one, am grateful for Mama Doctor Jones for doing her part in fighting against these people who want to force people to gestate and give birth against their wills. I don’t know why, but a lot of folks don’t seem to realize that there are worse things than loss of life. Is it really better to make someone stay pregnant when they don’t have the will or ability to see to it that the developing fetus emerges healthy? We don’t force pregnant women to see physicians, eat right, or keep themselves safe, although I worry that if abortion becomes illegal again, that could be on the agenda… as could the abolition of birth control or even things like IVF or other conception procedures. I doubt a lot of the pro-lifers have thought of this, or even give a damn.

But there’s Mama Doctor Jones, setting this idiot straight and letting them know, in no uncertain terms, that they are simply WRONG. And if abortion becomes illegal, it will be the poorest people who will suffer the most. Some of them could even die. Does the pro-life crowd care at all about that? Probably not. Again, I think BillyBahBa is probably just getting their jollies from upsetting others, but there are still others who presume to lecture an expert on women’s health on what the “correct” viewpoint is.

Bravo, Mama Doctor Jones, for setting these people straight. And also for blocking their asses when they don’t take a seat. Because really, who’s got the time for it? I know I don’t.

Naw, guy. What’s weak is your willful ignorance and lack of empathy for people who can get pregnant and might be harmed by pregnancy. We cannot let the QAnon religious right nutjobs take over the country with their anti-woman agenda. And the more people who take them on, the less likely it is that their agenda will stand. I also like that she calls out hypocrites…

I haven’t visited a doctor in years. I haven’t seen a gyno in over a decade. However, I might consider visiting a doctor like Mama Doctor Jones, because I don’t think she would abuse me in the way the one gyno I did see (a woman, BTW) did. I appreciate that Mama Doctor Jones is such a strong advocate who cares for people. Or, at least that’s how she appears to be. I’ve never met her. But I don’t think she’s fake, and that’s really refreshing. And also, I really admire her total ease at being on camera and her sense of humor. I think I’d enjoy knowing her.

Well, I guess it’s time for me to sign off and practice guitar before I put on some clothes and head off to Belgium. I will bring my laptop, but I don’t know how much writing will happen… it depends on if we go to The Netherlands and get me a space cake. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Bill, music, songs, videos, YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now that I think more about it, John Lennon also died much too young. He also died in New York City, as Matt also did. So while “Imagine” might seem a little too “Godless” for some people, I think it might be perfect for Matt. I don’t think he was really that into religion, although I really don’t know how he felt about God. My guess is that someone who exclaims “Christ on the cross!” in annoyance is not too worried about blasphemy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m not being critical about it, either, because I’m not all that religious myself. “Imagine” is a song written by a man who was a bright, shining star. He gave the world so much in his 40 years. And it was “reborn” by another bright shining star, who also gave so much before she died too young. It seems perfect for Matt, who was a shining star and inspiration to so many people– especially the many young people he taught.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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