This morning, I wasn’t feeling that great and didn’t feel particularly motivated to write. After I watched a couple of videos on YouTube, I finally decided I’d start today off with music. Today’s music video was a long time coming… God willing, it will premiere. Maybe some people will even enjoy it.
The blues song I recorded today is called “Women Be Wise”. It was written by Sippie Wallace and John Beach and made famous by Bonnie Raitt. I’ve been wanting to do it forever. I actually love the duet version Bonnie did with Sippie years ago, but a backing track to that version isn’t available yet. I’m a lot more familiar with the live version of the song, though, so that meant I had to learn the studio version.
Then, I was hoping to record it with my usual equipment, and on my old computer. I would love to keep the old computer going for awhile, until I’m more used to the new one and have all my old stuff moved over to it. Unfortunately, my old computer has become a huge pain in the ass to use, even just for playing music. I kept getting disk overload/too slow errors, even though I dumped a lot of data from the machine and deleted some resource hogs that were slowing it down.
The next issue was my microphone. I have a trusty Shure SM58 that I’ve been using for at least ten years. It still works fine, but in order to record with it, I have to have a mic interface. For about three years, I had a PreSonus 68c that worked just fine. But now, no matter what I try, I can’t hear myself when I use it. My vocals are too low. After consulting lots of GarageBand articles, updating drivers, and trying all sorts of things, I determined that the problem is with the interface. So, I ordered a new interface and a new Beyerdynamic mic that got here on Saturday. The new interface was less expensive than the old one, but it works perfectly. The new mic, alas, apparently doesn’t.
Finally, this morning, after one last try with the old computer and getting two disk overload errors, I moved the new interface to my new computer… I was pleasantly surprised by the resolution in the video, even though it’s not perfectly synced. I don’t like looking at myself on video anyway, though… I’m all about the song. It took a lot of effort to get it to a passable level, even though it’s not quite perfect.
So after I got the video made, it was time to upload it to YouTube… and now, I’ve found out that my internet connection today is as slow as molasses in the Arctic circle. As I write this, I have about 37 minutes to on uploading. For some reason, our internet speeds have really sucked lately. Sometimes, I even use my cellphone for a connection, because it’s more stable.
I don’t actually know why I feel compelled to upload music videos. They aren’t particularly popular or anything. I guess I like doing them because I genuinely enjoy making music, and because my song videos mostly aren’t controversial at all. I don’t have to worry about getting much bad feedback on my cover songs… at least not necessarily because of the content. I still don’t have a lot of subscribers, so if I put up something that really sucks, chances are good that no one will see it, anyway. 😉
I do like my new mic interface. It’s a Focusrite Scarlett 212, which is pretty basic. I like it because it’s very simple to use and well designed. I paid twice as much for the PreSonus 68c, which has more mic outlets, but is less straightforward in how it can be used.
I’m expecting a new cable to arrive today. I’ll try the new Beyerdynamic mic again, to see if I can raise it from the dead. It’s disappointing that the thing arrived apparently already dead. It wasn’t a cheap mic, and it’s a real pain to have to send it back to the seller.
One other big thing I purchased over the weekend is a new mattress topper for our bed. I’ve been using feather toppers for a long time, but they tend to get flat and misshapen fairly quickly. This time, I ordered a foam topper, which I hope will be better. We really need a new mattress, but it’s hard to get the right size in Germany, unless we order through AAFES. Ordering through AAFES takes forever and offers a pretty poor selection. Then, we have to deal with getting rid of the old mattress. It’s not actually difficult to get rid of mattresses in Germany. You can just call and have them picked up. The real ass pain is in getting the thing down the stairs and out of the house. I wish I had some friends with teenaged boys who need some extra euros.
Arran is still hanging in there. I think the vet is surprised, since he has a big lymph node that has become pretty obvious. You’d think he’d be a lot more lethargic and less interested in eating. But no, he’s still dancing around, eating, sleeping, playing, taking walks, and snuggling. He’s an amazingly resilient dog, and he obviously still wants to live. Canine lymphoma sure is a strange disease. When Zane had it, it took him very quickly. But with the help of chemo, Arran is still putting up a big fight. I know sometimes, it has to do with the dog’s personality. Arran is one of the most devoted dogs I’ve ever seen. I thought some of his predecessors were dedicated, but he’s kind of put them to shame with his determination to stay with us for as long as possible. It’s astonishing, and kind of inspiring.
Well… YouTube is telling me that my video is almost done uploading. I guess it took less time than the computer estimated. Once it’s done uploading, then I have to wait for it to be processed… What fun.
Here it is… the syncing is a bit fucked up on it, but I don’t feel like redoing it now. The end result isn’t perfect, but it sure took a lot to make this video happen. I recommend not actually watching the video. As the featured photo says… “Screw this shit.”
Here’s a repost of a blog entry I wrote on July 15, 2018. At the time, we were visiting Dublin to see Paul Simon, James, Taylor, and Bonnie Raitt in concert. Yes, they were all performing in the same awesome show! I reread this story today, remembering our fun in Ireland, and the opportunity Bill got to right a wrong.
Like most everyone, my husband Bill has a dark side. Sometimes it comes out inappropriately. I’m usually surprised and amused when he says something egregiously shocking or mean.
Yesterday, after we had dinner and drinks at a local pub, we stopped by the Spar (Austrian mini mart) to buy some water and a bottle of wine. We’d had several beers between us and a couple of whiskies, so we were feeling no pain. As we approached the cash register, a very thin, bearded man standing behind us asked the cashier if the toilet in the store was working.
The cashier obviously lied and said, “No Mate, the toilet isn’t working. Sorry.”
As we left the store, I said, “Well… that was clearly bullshit.”
Bill responded, “Right. He probably should have said, ‘No, I don’t want you shooting up in our bathroom.'”
Just then, as we crossed the street, the guy passed us. He turned and glared at Bill, who was mortified. I don’t know if he heard Bill make that comment, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Bill had kind of blurted it out in a normal tone of voice. The toilet seeking chap did seem to send Bill a death ray with his eyes, which would make it seem like he’d heard him mock him.
It was kind of surprising that Bill was the one who made that crack. Usually I’m the one who says stuff like that. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to think that guy was a drug addict, though, or even homeless. He hadn’t appeared to be homeless to my eyes. In fact, he simply looked like a working person, which Bill and I have both been in our lifetimes.
Poor Bill is wracked with guilt, though. In fact, while we were enjoying afternoon tea today, he said, “I feel awful about that comment I made. I think I’m going to donate to a homeless shelter.” Sure enough, after we finished having tea, we came back to our hotel room and he started researching charities.
So many people would have just brushed off the incident, but Bill feels the need to repent. Actually, I had the same thought that it might be a good thing to do– give to a homeless charity. Maybe it will improve our karma. I’m just glad no one whipped out a cell phone to record the incident and put it on YouTube.
This morning, as we were touring the Jameson’s Visitor’s Center, Bill was telling me how guilty he felt for making that obnoxious comment. I have felt that way before and have made comments I later regretted. Fortunately, I haven’t yet been caught on film. As current events have shown us, though, it’s not hard to be caught having a bad day, saying or doing shameful things. I know Bill isn’t a shitty person, but sometimes he does make shitty comments. Don’t we all?
One time, we were walking into the German city of Ludwigsburg and we passed an enormous piggy bank in front of a bank. The piggy bank has a name, though I can’t remember it at the moment (ETA: it’s Louise). One can go inside of it and/or drop coins in it to be donated to charity.
It was 2014 and we hadn’t yet been back in Germany for long. Bill said, “I wouldn’t want to go inside of that pig. I’d be afraid someone would close the door and turn on the gas.”
Instantly, my mouth dropped open, since we were standing there in Germany, where people had once been rounded up to be gassed in concentration camps. Bill, of course, hadn’t even thought about the concentration camps. He was thinking of some book he’d read where people were killed that way– had nothing to do with Hitler’s era. It was just a thoughtless comment, same as yesterday. When he saw my facial expression it dawned on him that what he’d said was kind of shocking and potentially offensive. It kind of revealed a dark side of a man who is usually one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know.
Almost all of us have a dark side. Some people are less ashamed of letting theirs show than others are. I don’t think Bill needs to feel guilty, though. Everybody fucks up sometimes. And most people don’t feel the need to repent afterwards. That’s what makes Bill such a special guy in my eyes.
EDITED TO ADD…
A couple of hours after I posted this, Bill and I went out into the city. The Dublin area has been experiencing a drought for the past 40 days. In fact, a significant archeological find was discovered recently thanks to the drought. The New York Times reported on it. Today, there was rain. It’s been raining all day. So after we tasted Irish whiskies, we came back to the hotel and had high tea. Then we went to our hotel room, thinking we might not go out again. But then I started to get a little hungry.
At about 6:30pm, we decided we might like to have some dinner. I really wanted a Sunday roast or prime rib or something… but as we walked around the hotel, we found a number of places closed. We thought about eating at a place that advertised tacos, but decided tacos in Ireland might be too weird. So we kept walking and I decided to turn left at the first street we encountered. I figured it would take us back toward the hotel where I knew we could get something.
Suddenly, just as we were nearing the end of the street, the same guy Bill had insulted yesterday popped into our path. Looking more closely at him, I could see that he definitely was a street person. He was very small and slender, with red hair and a beard, and obviously somewhat older than I’d originally thought he was. He looked unkempt and was missing teeth. It’s certainly possible he abuses drugs, but I can’t know for sure. His appearance could be just as easily due to hard times or some other illness. I don’t know if he recognized Bill, but Bill definitely recognized him.
He said, “Do you have any spare change so I can get some coffee?”
Bill said, without any hesitation, “Yes, I do.” And he pulled almost all of the change out of his pocket… about ten euros worth. He said something had told him to carry it with him, while it was I who had decided to turn on that quiet street near our hotel. We could have just as easily skipped dinner or had it at the hotel or the taco place. But fate put us in the path of the guy Bill had insulted yesterday.
The guy was shocked as Bill gave him the change and the guy said, “God bless you,” as he accepted it.
As we walked away, Bill’s eyes got teary and he started to look like Michael Landon during one of his more emotional scenes on either Little House on the Prairie or Highway to Heaven. And then, as if things couldn’t get any more touching, there was a restaurant right in front of us specializing in beef dishes. We stopped in and had a very nice dinner, topped off by a final nightcap in the hotel bar before we head back to Germany tomorrow.
Maybe this story means nothing to many people. I have a weird knack for running into people, though. I always have. And Bill is a very perceptive and sensitive guy whose superego has a tendency to run amok. It’s entirely possible that guy hadn’t even heard Bill’s snarky remarks yesterday, but I think both he and Bill ended up coming out winners in this situation.
Bill still intends to donate to a charity, too. I think this trip will go down as one of our very best and most memorable. I’m looking forward to writing it up, starting tomorrow evening.
I haven’t seen the debates, but I have read a lot of comments… sounds like it was a real shit show. So I decided to sing a song. I may be back a little later with some writing. I need to chill out for now and practice my guitar.
I did add some funny photos… given the fact that Trump apparently made a gigantic ass out of himself last night, I think they’re kind of fitting. Randy Newman wrote this song, by the way. I love to sing it, although I probably do it better when I’m drunk and in a bar.
This morning, I’m listening to vintage Bonnie Raitt. In my enormous CD collection, most of which is in storage in Texas, I own a copy of Bonnie’s 1979 album, The Glow. I was 7 years old in 1979 and didn’t become acquainted with Bonnie’s genius until I was a lot older. She really got popular when I was in college with songs like “Nick of Time” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. But thanks to my work at the campus radio station, I became familiar with her “greatest hits” compilation, Classics. That’s where I got an inkling of what a versatile artist she is. I discovered that I appreciated her bluesy stuff even more than her pop hits. I became a fan. So one day, when I saw The Glow on sale at my favorite CD shop, I bought it.
That album had Bonnie’s funky cover of the song, “I Thank You”, a number that has been done by many, many different artists, from Sam & Dave to ZZ Top. I was most familiar with ZZ Top’s version of the song, but I recognized it when Bonnie sang it. I had that song in mind this morning as I sat down to write this post. But as I was looking for a good video, I stumbled across another song by Bonnie called “Thank You”. It appeared on her 1971 self-titled album. After listening to the lyrics, I decided that it was a more appropriate choice for this post. “I Thank You” has romantic overtones, but “Thank You” is just about pure love and gratitude. And that’s what today’s post is about.
Sittin’ here thinking, baby, about you I’m wonderin’ how I ever got through my life without you Days passed me by and left my life somewhere behind Games I was trying left me old before my time You came into my life almost like you knew The time was running out I came running home with you You taught me how to love you You helped me to believe You could even love me I was all you’d ever need Sometimes when you’re sleepin’ I wonder if its true I’m afraid they’ll come and take away this precious dream with you Then you wake and hold me and love me through the night Then I’ll know that somehow everything will be alright Thank you baby, for giving me my life I love you honey, you’ve given me my life Thank you baby, for giving me my life
Bill came home last night. He was exhausted after many hours of travel that started Monday morning. He boarded a plane in Salt Lake City and flew to Las Vegas. After hanging out in the airport all day, he got on another flight from Vegas to London. That took eleven or twelve hours. Then finally, on Tuesday evening, he boarded another flight from London to Frankfurt. How he was still conscious last night, I’ll never know. I’m glad he took a taxi home.
Arran was delighted to see him. All week, he’s been waiting for his favorite person to come home. There were a couple of nights at about five o’clock, he’d patiently wait in the foyer for Bill. He was disappointed when Bill didn’t show up. When Bill finally walked through the door at about eleven o’clock last night, Arran joyfully ran down the steps to welcome him home. I was delighted to see Bill, too. We enjoyed a long hug and he cried a little. He’s been crying a lot over the past few days.
A few weeks ago, when Bill told me he had to go to Vegas on business, I suggested that he try to go see his younger daughter. They’ve been Skyping for the past three years, but Saturday morning was the first time he’d seen her in the flesh since 2004. I hate it when he goes on TDYs, especially when they’re in a different time zone. I definitely didn’t want to extend Bill’s time away, but I figured it was a great opportunity for him to finally see his daughter in person. It’s not so hard to reach Utah from Nevada.
Bill’s daughter had initially wanted us all to meet up for a holiday visit, but I knew that they needed to have some time together alone, because they had a lot to talk about… stuff that doesn’t involve me. I also thought it would be better if they did it on a regular day, rather than a holiday. Holidays often prompt high expectations that are rarely met. I didn’t want a holiday to be ruined if their meeting didn’t go well. Also, I wasn’t in Bill’s life for the first six years of younger daughter’s life, and though I’ve heard a whole lot of stories from Bill’s perspective, I didn’t know anything about younger daughter’s. I’ve also never met Ex in person, so I have a limited perspective of what she’s really like. What I know about her is reason enough to stay clear of her. Bill and his daughter needed to be able to clear the air without interference from anyone else. Younger daughter’s husband was great about that. He took care of the kids so that Bill and his daughter could bond.
Bill described the meeting. He knocked on the door and she opened it… and they hugged for a really long time. He said it felt like a little girl who was missing her daddy… and there was no awkwardness. As he was describing their first looks at each other, I was reminded of the day I met Bill for the first time. The circumstances were eerily similar. We’d been chatting online for about 18 months. He came to the city where I was studying– again, on business. Knocked on the door. I opened the door and after reaffirming that I was indeed a woman, he gave me a warm, secure hug. (Hey, it was the early days of the Internet and we’d only exchanged a couple of pictures…)
Last night, Bill gave me a thank you note that his daughter wrote to me. It was just two lines. She thanked me for being so good to her dad and added that she could see that he’s happy. And she wrote that she knew I’d helped him. After I read it, I was deeply moved. Then I remembered that Bill gave me a thank you note after our first date. She’s definitely his kid. She’s kind, thoughtful, and extremely empathetic… rare and precious qualities that she shares with her dad.
I remember in May 2001, when we met in person for the first time, Bill and I enjoyed a couple of dates. He stayed in a hotel room and we went out to dinner one night, then had a picnic the next day. In those days, Bill was really broke and couldn’t afford to wine and dine me. He was also a practicing Mormon, but didn’t mind that I wasn’t and wouldn’t be. We drove around Columbia, South Carolina and I showed him where I worked and where I attended classes. At the end of our visit, he handed me the thank you note and said, “It’s going to be so hard to go back to typing on the computer.”
At the time, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about him. I was very inexperienced with men and up to my ass in academics. Over time, it became obvious that I was in love with him. Then he moved from Leavenworth, Kansas to an assignment at the Pentagon. It was about a month before 9/11. Labor Day weekend that year, I invited Bill to come down to Natural Bridge, Virginia. He came down– again, stayed in a hotel– and we visited beautiful Goshen Pass and he met my grandmother, then 95 years old. When he left to go back to work at the Pentagon, Granny advised me to marry him. Then, a week later, 9/11 happened… and Bill was there for it. After that, we decided we needed to tell people we were together. We were engaged a few months later.
When Bill told his ex wife he was going to propose to me, she said, “Well, I guess now I can tell my boyfriend we can get married. He’s asked three times.” Two months later, she was remarried. Two months after that, she was pregnant, and doing her best to break Bill’s ties with his children. Ex also told her kids that Bill had cheated on her with me… even though she had moved her boyfriend into the house that Bill was paying for… and she and Bill were still married. As time went on, the girls became more and more alienated. For a few years, Bill’s ex stepson spoke to him, but that turned out to be more about money than anything else. We worried that the girls would be like their brother– although in fairness to him, he seems to have matured and turned his life around. Maybe someday he’ll reconnect, too.
We really thought the kids would never speak to him again. Younger daughter, especially, was hateful… or, at least seemed to be hateful. After awhile, I got tired of hoping for what seemed to be an impossible happy ending, and I hardened. I didn’t think I’d ever see the day that Bill would reunite with his daughters, and I gave up on the idea. I got angry when younger daughter inadvertently intruded during our much anticipated 14th wedding anniversary celebration in Ireland. Bill had checked Facebook, and she turned up as a “person he might know”. I will never forget the look of shock and grief on his face when he saw his daughter listed as “someone he might know”. I really resented it, because the last we’d heard from her, was basically a Mormon version of “fuck you”. It was, yet again, another intrusion during a special event from people who supposedly hated Bill. I knew he didn’t deserve their hatred and disrespect, and I refused to tolerate it. I just wanted them all to go away, once and for all, and leave us alone.
A few months later, Bill’s dad and stepmother lost their dog to old age. Younger daughter expressed condolences on Facebook. Bill tentatively greeted her. They started chatting and emailing. I was suspicious at first. I worried that she’d be like her mother. All indications before then were that she was like her. We’d already been through so much pain… and Bill had agonized so much for so many years. I simply wanted it to end.
Last night, I told Bill that life with his ex wife must be like an especially sick version of Three’s Company, where everyone operates on the basis of a misunderstanding. She spins everything, triangulates, and makes it impossible for anyone to compare notes and know what’s really going on. It may seem cold of me, but I got to the point at which I just didn’t want to play the game anymore. I have my own baggage stemming from my upbringing, and this was a lot to deal with. So I just gave up hope of connecting with Bill’s daughters out of self-preservation. It was easier for me, since I was never allowed to have a relationship with them.
Fortunately, I was wrong about younger daughter. Turns out, she’s Bill’s kid through and through. She eventually realized that her mother is toxic and, at age 18, was more than ready to move out of her mother’s house. She noticed how many times her mother and grandmother had married… and how utterly screwed up their lives were. And, with surprising courage and resilience, and a lot of help from Mormons, younger daughter moved to Utah and started college. She arrived there with nothing, because Ex would not make it easy for her. In fact… it was much like it was for Bill in 1999, when he and his ex wife split. He left with the clothes on his back. So it was for younger daughter. And, like it was for Bill, she felt a lot better once she was out of that environment, even though she had no money or help from her parents.
Bill discovered that younger daughter had wanted to reconnect with him for years, but she was terrified that he would reject her. Likewise, Bill had been reading younger daughter’s blog and wanted to comment, but was afraid he’d be blocked. Indeed, Ex apparently found out Bill was reading and shut the blog down for awhile. Ex was afraid Bill would try to “steal” his daughters from her. Ex thinks of her children as possessions that can be “stolen”, rather than their own people. She had a similar reaction when younger daughter met her husband. She tried very hard to break them up. This is what happens to anyone in Ex’s sphere. She has to control everything.
I password protected my initial reactions to what Bill discovered during his visit because as visceral and raw as some of my posts have been about this situation, I was even angrier about things that came to light over the weekend. And, because I now have great respect for younger daughter, I didn’t want those very personal and profane words out in the open where her mother could read them. I know she’s read my blogs. I don’t really care if she knows that I think she’s a massive cunt. That’s a given. But I don’t feel that way about younger daughter… and also, I didn’t want to field commentary from those who don’t know the situation and want to blame this whole thing on me. I’ll admit, I’m not always likable and I am far from perfect, but this situation is entirely on Ex. I’ll take ownership of things that are my fault. I have only met Bill’s daughters once, and though I have kept my distance, I have never discouraged him from seeing or talking to them. That’s not my place.
I don’t know Bill’s daughters. I wanted to know them, but they were very convincing when they sent letters disowning him. We had a feeling the letters he received in 2006 were coached, but they were coupled with the way the girls behaved the last time Bill saw them in person. During that visit in 2004, younger daughter would barely look at Bill, let alone speak to him. So we believed her when she wrote that she didn’t care about him and that she preferred her stepfather– her “everyday daddy”– to be her dad. It’s now very clear that the whole thing was bullshit entirely orchestrated by her paranoid and selfish mother.
Bill came home emotionally and physically exhausted… but I think, overall, his visit to Utah was life changing. I’m glad I encouraged him to visit his child… and meet his adorable grandchildren. His grandson looks a lot like him. And… I have to say, I was feeling pretty good about everything, but when Bill handed me that two sentence thank you note from his daughter, it was as if the last seventeen years of pain regarding their situation just melted away. It’s amazing how little it takes to forgive someone when you know they are sincere. I know younger daughter is sincere. It makes me feel so good to know that Bill has passed on his goodness to another generation.
I was so wrong about younger daughter. I’m really glad I was. I hope now we can get to know each other. And now that I know a little bit more about the whole situation– including that of older daughter’s– I have a lot more empathy and respect for them.
I know some people have felt I was overly harsh regarding this situation. I know I was. But you have to understand the person we were up against. I have never met anyone as cruel, destructive, selfish, and ultimately stupid, as Bill’s ex wife is. We simply didn’t know if her daughters were going to be like her, or if they were going to be like their real father. I’m relieved to know that Bill imprinted them more than we knew… and despite what Ex has said, they never forgot him. And, for that, I am thankful. I’m glad we stuck it out and Bill trusted his daughter more than I did. But that’s only natural, because he knows them and I don’t. Maybe someday, we can change that.
Incidentally, it occurs to me that today is Ex’s birthday. I’m glad this year, her daughter gave herself a present by finally seeing her dad.
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