“I’m having trouble connecting to the Internet…”

Sometimes Siri says that to me when our Internet is dodgy, as it often is.

Alas… this morning, I feel the same way. Last night, I made the mistake of finishing off some brandy. There wasn’t much of it left, but the bottle was taking up needed space on our booze cart. I decided to kill it, so I could reallocate the precious booze cart real estate. Now, I fear, it might be killing me. I feel pretty crappy today.

In retrospect, I probably should have just dumped the last of the brandy down the sink. I think that specific bottle came from a bad batch.

On the occasions I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve woken up feeling unusually terrible, even when I haven’t had much of it. This is not a normal reaction for me, because I’m a seasoned drinker. That particular brandy is a favorite of mine, too, and I’ve never had this severe reaction when I’ve had it before.

Anyway… because I feel yucky today, I don’t feel much like writing anything of substance. The good news is, I do feel much better than I did a couple of hours ago. My head is not quite so achy and my stomach is a bit less distressed than it was when I first got up. Maybe I might soon even be able to face the idea of swallowing a pill without hurling, so I can do something about my acid indigestion.

I don’t need anybody’s sympathy. I should have known and done better. I know it would be best for my health if I became a teetotaler. On the other hand, I don’t want to live to be old, anyway. I’ve seen what happens to the elderly. It’s not pretty.

The good news is, at least that bottle is gone now. I won’t be buying more of that stuff anytime soon.

Bill, mental health, Reality TV

A tale of two big CRASHES!!!!

Mornin’ folks. It’s a foggy morning here in Wiesbaden. The air is chilly and damp, and although it’s almost 8:00am, it’s still kind of dark outside. Yep… time for the time to change back to standard time. Bill came home yesterday, and this morning, when he went to work, I wished him a “good night.” Then I realized, it’s morning, and we still have the whole day in front of us. But, at least it’s Friday.

Arran had his second chemo treatment yesterday. I’m going to write the details of it on my other blog, but I will happily report that he tolerated the treatment just fine. While he’s not in remission yet– not that I was expecting him to be– his blood test results indicate that his body is fighting the cancer. And he is MUCH better this week than he was last Wednesday, the day before we started chemo. He was very happy to see Bill, too.

I was also happy to see Bill, because after two nights of very abbreviated sleep, I REALLY needed a full night’s rest. And that’s what prompted today’s blog post title, along with some news I read this morning. But first, I have to write about the “big crash”, because it’s kind of funny.

As some of my regular readers might know, Bill has been seeing a Jungian therapist for the past year or so. I can’t remember exactly when he started seeing his therapist, but the journey has been fascinating for both of us. Jungian therapy focuses a lot on dreams, which has always been an interest for Bill. And so, his work with his therapist includes a lot of talk about dreams and what they mean.

Because Arran has been on prednisolone for a week, he’s been suffering the side effects. And because he’s been suffering the side effects, so have I. The drug is wonderful in terms of how it helps him with his lymphoma, but it also makes him pee a lot and feel ravenous. So, during the two nights before Bill came home, Arran repeatedly woke me up to let him go outside, and for food. After I woke up the first time, I couldn’t fall asleep again. I was hoping for a nap yesterday, after we visited the vet for another dose of Vincristine, but there was no such luck. Just as I was about to doze off, Bill came home, and there was a joyful reunion between him and the dogs. I had to witness it.

Last night before bed, Bill told me he had some ZzzQuil, and maybe I should take some so I could get some rest. I often take an Advil PM before bed, but I ran out of them before Bill came home. I took a couple of those Zzzquil and, sure as shit, they knocked me out cold. At about 4:30am, Arran woke us up. I was in the middle of a very vivid dream that, apparently, had something to do with pastries and breads. I do remember trying to talk to Bill about the dream, which I thought was real. I was talking about a spinning wheel, made of breads with a bread handle on it. Even as I was mumbling about it, I knew on some level that I was talking about a dream, and yet it seemed very real at the time. I could not get the right words out to explain, despite trying several times.

Finally, I heard Bill say, “I think you’re coming out of a dream.”

I said, “I know… I’m not making any sense right now, am I?”

I tried a couple more times to explain what I was talking about, but then I went back to sleep and was out cold for another two hours. I woke up again at 6:20 when Arran flapped his ears. I know that I had a whole lot of dreams last night, most of which I don’t remember at all. But this is what happens when you finally sleep after not getting enough rest.

After I got up, I went down to the kitchen and Bill gave me some coffee that was vastly superior to what I made for myself while he was gone. He said he measures the beans by weight, rather than tablespoons. We talked a little more about what I had been trying to tell him about as I was recovering from my “big crash”. Then I looked at the news, and read the news about Kim Plath of Welcome to Plathville and her apparent “big crash”.

I’ve written about Kim Plath a couple of times. She’s the matriarch of the Plath family on TLC’s Welcome to Plathville, mother of nine living children, and owner of a dance studio in Cairo, Georgia, which is very close to the Florida border. I didn’t start watching Welcome to Plathville until it had been on for at least a season or two. I think I watched it because of pandemic boredom, and because huge, hyper-religious families are fascinating to me.

Anyway, in watching that show, I heard about how Kim had grown up with a neglectful alcoholic mother and, when she was in college, she partied way too much. Later, she met and married Barry Plath, who is very much a teetotaler. She then became sort of a fundie and, I guess, lost herself in being a wife and mother. During the most recent season of Welcome to Plathville, Kim announced that she and Barry were going to be ending their marriage. She opened a dance studio, then started drinking. I remember in one episode, she’s shown doing tequila shots with her model son, Micah. This was after years of abstinence.

The U.S. Sun was the first paper to report on Kim’s arrest for driving under the influence, property damage, and personal injury on October 20, 2022. She turned herself in at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office in Crawfordville, Florida at 2:08 am. The U.S. Sun reports that Mrskickstand on Tik Tok was the first to report of the arrest, which is not Kim’s first for an alcohol related offense. On April 7, 1991, Kim was busted for having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Sadly, it appears that she’s back to her old habits, but this time, someone got hurt.

@mrskickstand Replying to @aroszkuz #greenscreen #fyp #plathville #plathfamily #welcometoplathville #plathvilletiktok #plath #plaths #tlc #plathvillefamily #plathfamily #tlctv ♬ original sound – The Irrelevant Teen Mom

A link to the Tik Tok about this…

I don’t know a lot about what happened in this case. I haven’t had the chance to read much about it at this point, and I’m sure that people who care a lot more about this will write much more about it than I will. I do want to say that I feel kind of bad for Kim, not because I think there’s any excuse for driving drunk or that she shouldn’t be punished, but because I think she has a lot of internal baggage that she’s never dealt with. I am Kim’s age, and like Kim, I grew up with an alcoholic parent. I have an inkling of what that might have been like for her, although in her case, it was her mom who was the drunk. If memory serves, her father wasn’t around, so she had to rely on her mother to take care of her. And then, after some time being “crazy” during her college years, she hooked up with a man who promoted a lifestyle that would not be alcoholic.

Alcoholism is an illness that leads to a lifestyle that vacillates between control issues and complete chaos. My father was often a very controlling person. He was also very neglectful and abusive at times, and sometimes he didn’t give a shit about things that were very important. When you’re a kid growing up with a parent like that, it’s painful, because while their behavior has nothing to do with you, you’re a child, and you internalize the bad things they say and do. You think there is something wrong with YOU, when really it’s your parent who has the issues and is passing them on to you. I know this firsthand.

This is what happened to me and my sisters. I have seen and heard about it from other people with alcoholic parents. I’m sure there are some exceptions, but I think the vast majority of us with alcoholic parents can agree that this is a common pattern. And it doesn’t really matter if the parent abstains from drinking, if they never actually explore the issues that come from that lifestyle. They still engage in the destructive behavior patterns that a drinker does.

I think it’s possible that Kim was a “dry drunk” for decades, which may account for some of her extreme control issues. But that’s just a wild guess from me, coming from what little I know from her reality show. I think the money from the TV show opened up some possibilities that she never thought she’d have. She dove in, head first, and is now finding that she’s been missing out on a lot. Unfortunately, she has a genetic link to drinking, and it appears that she has gone a bit off the deep end. I hope she gets the help she needs, and people show her some mercy. Because, while I don’t excuse what she did, I see this as a sign that she really needs help. She is clearly in distress. And she still has kids who need her to be around for them.

Lots of people who don’t know me well have negative opinions about me. For a long time, it bothered me a lot. Now that I’m 50, I’m not as bothered about it as I used to be, because I know the truth, and the people who matter to me, know the truth. But I would be lying if I said there aren’t residual effects from growing up in a family system where one of my family members treated me like I had little to no value. I think being raised like that can cause people to turn to negative behaviors that they somehow think will make them feel better. Or maybe it’s just easier to engage in dysfunction than be honest with themselves and face the pain and humiliation of having a parent who is abusive and neglectful, and chooses alcohol over their own flesh and blood.

I’m sure a lot of Kim’s issues stem from this neglect and abuse that she probably endured as a child… and she tried to make people who would accept and love her unconditionally. Sadly, one of Kim’s own beautiful children died due to her own negligence. And obviously, that loss still weighs heavily on her. She probably drinks because of that loss– and the loss of her marriage, as well as her son, Ethan’s, estrangement. She’s trying to find new ways to feel better. Booze is very sexy, but it’s not a way out of that pain. I know this, and write this, even though I drink booze, too.

I suspect Kim is one of those people that has a lot of detractors. I know how she feels, in that regard. It hurts. Anyway, I hope this situation doesn’t result in her having to go to prison for a long time. I think she’d be much better off in a residential rehab, with serious work with a mental health professional who can help her unpack the huge burdens she’s been carrying since childhood. Yes, she absolutely needs to be held accountable for what happened, but it shouldn’t ruin her life. Just my take. Sometimes crashes are beautiful things. When they lead to much needed sleep, or much needed therapy and accountability, they can be life changing for the better.

Well, that about does it for today’s post. I think I will write about Arran’s chemo on the travel blog… then maybe, if the weather stays yucky, record a new song, even if Noyzi demands a walk, like he did yesterday. Have a nice Friday, y’all.

complaints, condescending twatbags

“Alcoholic face”…

Got into an interesting discussion on the Recovery from Mormonism messageboard yesterday. Someone shared a clip of comedienne Chelsea Handler, who was disparaging Mormonism. Ms. Handler was raised in the church by her LDS mom, though her father was Jewish. She was on Bill Maher’s show, and the subject of Mormonism came up. Chelsea Handler said she thinks “Mormonism is really, really ridiculous.” Personally, I agree with her, but I also know a lot of people love the church. I know there are many good people in the church, too. But if you know more than the basic stuff about the church, a lot of it is really ridiculous. It is. And a lot of it is also ripped off from other churches and organizations.

“But they can’t even drink alcohol!”

For instance, yesterday, my sister sent an email and briefly described my uncle’s funeral. Apparently, a lot of people were there to pay their respects. The receiving line went on for over two hours and the Masons, of which Uncle Brownlee was a proud member, came to offer their thoughts. My sister mentioned some of the symbolism and their dress, which I remarked the Mormons have ripped off. That’s because a lot of the early Mormons were also Masons at one time. Mormons have also ripped off traditions from other churches. I won’t get into that right now, though, because I’ve already written extensively about it, and I want to comment on something else that came up in that thread.

A poster named “Jordan” commented that she made kind of an erroneous statement about Mormons and Hell. Mormons aren’t really into “Hell”, per se. They are into “Outer Darkness”, which is a complete divorce from God. But there’s no fire and brimstone Hell in Mormonism… or, at least that’s how I understand their depiction of Hell. Mormons also have three levels of Heavenly Kingdoms. There’s the lowest level– the Telestial Kingdom, which is much better than Earth, but not as good as the Terrestrial Kingdom. The highest echelon of Heaven is the Celestial Kingdom. Chelsea Handler didn’t get into that. She kept her comments generically Christian, probably because trying to explain this stuff on a show like Bill Maher’s would be too complicated and take too long. Most people understand the concept of Heaven and Hell, so that’s where she kept her remarks, even if it wasn’t technically correct.

Jordan, who obviously doesn’t like Chelsea Handler, also made a comment about Ms. Handler’s drinking habits. He wrote, “Going by the appearance of her skin, she has imbibed frequently.”

A few posters took Jordan to task for making a comment about Chelsea Handler’s appearance and drinking habits. He then became oddly insistent that she’s a drunk, and started making other comments about people with “drinking problems”. The tone of his posts were “holier than thou” to the extreme, and it was clear that he was annoying a lot of people.

You know what? Based on what I’ve read about Chelsea Handler and her candid comments about alcohol, I would agree that she probably is a drunk. She even seems to admit it. However, I take exception to people who make judgments about other people’s health, sobriety, and character based solely on their appearances. So I joined in the fray, bringing up the fact that a person’s skin condition does not, in and of itself, indicate that someone is an alcoholic.

Take, for instance, a person with rosacea. Rosacea is known as the “Celtic curse”. People of Celtic descent often have problems with this skin disease, which causes ugly red blotches and spidery veins on a person’s face. Drinking alcohol can certainly make rosacea worse. So can eating avocados, exercising, spending time in extreme temperatures, or eating spicy food. A person can be a teetotaler and have blotchy red skin on his or her face. I have blotchy red skin, broken capillaries, and spider veins myself. I am of strong Celtic descent. I also drink a lot of booze. But my mom doesn’t drink much, and she has the same issues I have with blotchy red skin. It’s in our genes. In fact, when either of us drinks any alcohol, we flush. Many Asians also have this same issue with alcohol, although truth be told, a person can flush or blush for lots of reasons ranging from menopause to embarrassment.

My point to Jordan is that you can’t make a solid determination about a person’s health status or habits based only on one or two physical clues. And even if Chelsea Handler is an alcoholic, why is it anyone’s business other than her doctor’s or her loved ones?

Jordan went on to write this:

Or if you’re an interviewer/employer, lover, business partner, tenant, franchiser, passenger, in law enforcement, a car driver, a landlord and a hundred other situations

If someone’s high functioning they may be able to get away with it, but this phase doesn’t last forever.

And my response was, “The same could be said about finding out if someone is an asshole. I bet people pick up on that about you right away.”

So he wrote this:

Takes one to know one, right?

Totally subjective opinion, whereas alcoholism is a recognized medical condition with physical symptoms.

So tell me HONESTLY. If you got in a light aircraft, and the pilot stank of drink and was unsteady on their feet, would you allow them to fly off with you? Really? Or would that be too judgemental?

Don’t dodge the question this time…

Unfortunately, the thread closed before I had a chance to respond. If I had responded, this is what I would have written.

First of all, I am not in the habit of flying in light aircrafts. If I were, I would not expect Chelsea Handler to be the pilot. We’re discussing Chelsea Handler, right? So what does a drunk pilot of a light aircraft have to do with anything?

Secondly, having grown up among alcoholics, I would tell Jordan that most alcoholics generally hold their liquor pretty damned well. I would expect a novice drinker to “stink of drink” and be “unsteady on their feet” more than I would a functioning alcoholic to present that way. I also would expect a novice drinker to lack the judgment to try to fly a light aircraft while obviously drunk. Alcoholics generally know how to hide the disease pretty well. In fact, secrecy is a big part of the illness. The scenario Jordan presents is pretty unrealistic, although I won’t say it’s never happened. I’m sure it has.

The fact is, we’re surrounded by people with “drinking problems”. Most people would never know the difference unless they happened to live with the person or the person with the “problem” got to the point at which they simply didn’t care anymore and stopped trying to hide it. However, even the simple term “drinking problem” is kind of subjective. To some people, anyone who drinks at all has a problem. To others, a person has to be on skid row, falling down drunk, and about to die of liver disease to be considered an alcoholic. My dad came out of the closet as an alcoholic in 1997 and many people who knew him were very, very surprised about it. In fact, I myself didn’t really know he had a problem until I was in college. To me, his behavior was normal. My mom was very co-dependent and she helped him hide it. Most alcoholics have co-dependent accomplices who help them hide their conditions.

Now, it is true that chronic overconsumption of booze can have an effect on a person’s looks. Too much alcohol can dry out the skin and make it feel rough. Excessive boozing can lead to liver problems, which can cause jaundice– yellowing of the eyes and skin. But so can liver and gallbladder issues from diseases not caused by drinking. Some people do get blotchy skin, broken capillaries, and spider angiomas from drinking too much or vomiting due to drinking… But a person with sensitive skin can also get blotchy skin and broken capillaries from vomiting due to a stomach bug. Sneezing, coughing, and violent dry heaving can have a permanent effect on your skin in the form of broken capillaries. Someone could get spider angiomas from having a high level of estrogen. A person can get dry, leathery skin from all sorts of skin diseases or environmental conditions that have nothing to do with alcoholism. Too much alcohol can make a person puffy, flushed, and fat. But so can eating too much food, taking certain medications, exposing oneself to certain allergens, or having certain medical problems.

My point is, while Jordan may be technically right about Chelsea Handler’s allegedly excessive drinking habits, it’s generally not cool to assume something about another person’s health simply by casually looking at them. Another poster wrote that s/he has rosacea, but doesn’t drink alcohol. Sometimes the rosacea flares up, but Jordan apparently thinks it’s okay to assume s/he has a drinking problem simply based on that skin condition. In that person’s case, Jordan would be wrong. I would hope that if he was hiring for a position that required sobriety, he would do more than simply make an assessment about the person’s character based solely on the appearance of their skin.