love, marriage, music, musings, nostalgia

“The secret o’ life is enjoying the passage of time…”

Yesterday afternoon, I was feeling kind of inspired, so I decided to record a song in honor of our 20th wedding anniversary, which happens tomorrow. I spent some time looking through the songs I had available and tried a few before I noticed an old chestnut by James Taylor. Back in 1977, James released his album, JT. He was still married to Carly Simon at the time, and they had two young children– three year old Sarah Maria, “Sally”, and newborn Ben. James was transitioning to a new record label, moving on from Warner to Columbia Records. Just a few years after JT was released, James and Carly divorced. However, that album has some really nice songs on it. For the longest time, one of my favorites from that particular release is a song called “Terra Nova”, which includes beautiful vocals from Carly. Years later, Ben and Sally would sing the coda from “Terra Nova” on one of Ben’s songs.

Maybe James and Carly’s marriage didn’t work out, but they sure sounded nice together.

That album also included an actual song for Carly… a love song James wrote called, “There We Are”. Maybe I could have done this one, but I don’t think it has quite the same ageless quality. Also, ultimately, James and Carly didn’t stay married. And I would have had to do it in the original key, which probably would have been hard.

What a sweet song. The sentiment is lovely, but the marriage didn’t survive.

I remember when I first bought JT on compact disc, back around 1991 or so, and listened to the whole thing. I realized that my sister, Becky, had this album on tape and played it when we were living in England. I heard the deep cut, “If I Keep My Heart Out of Sight” as a five year old in 1977, and remembered James’s lyric, “All I can say is I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.” I remember hearing this when I was about 18 or 19 and being kind of shocked by the deep memory. It had been so long since I’d heard the song, and I didn’t realize what a good song it was. The early 90s are when I really got into James’s music, and he helped me get through some very tough times.

A song that was buried in my consciousness for many years.

But one song I never really liked, at least when I first heard it, was “Secret O’ Life”. I don’t know why I didn’t like it. I think maybe when I was 19, I thought it was boring… the lyrics are pleasant, but at least at the time, they seemed kind of banal. It wasn’t until I heard James sing it live that I realized what a good song it is. I still never thought I would have sung it myself, and yet yesterday, that is precisely what I did, after dropping the pitch three steps. And even funnier… this time, I actually videoed myself as I was singing, which I don’t do very often. I can’t be arsed to put on makeup or a bra… and as you can see, I didn’t do that yesterday, either.

That thumbnail is horrifying! I usually make that face in the throes of ecstasy.

Here are the lyrics, written by James Taylor:

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it, there ain’t nothing to it.
Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill.
But since we’re on our way down, we might as well enjoy the ride.

The secret of love is in opening up your heart.
It’s okay to feel afraid, but don’t let that stand in your way.
Cause anyone knows that love is the only road.
And since we’re only here for a while, might as well show some style. Give us a smile.

Isn’t it a lovely ride? Sliding down, gliding down,
try not to try too hard, it’s just a lovely ride.

Now the thing about time is that time isn’t really real.
It’s just your point of view, how does it feel for you?
Einstein said he could never understand it all.
Planets spinning through space, the smile upon your face, welcome to the human race.

Some kind of lovely ride. I’ll be sliding down, I’ll be gliding down.
Try not to try too hard, it’s just a lovely ride.

Isn’t it a lovely ride? Sliding down, gliding down,
try not to try too hard, it’s just a lovely ride.

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.

Maybe it’s not obviously a love song… or an anniversary song. It just seemed perfect, for some reason. After 20 years, Bill and I are very comfortable with each other. And I feel like we’ve had a “lovely ride”, for the most part… and we’ve definitely done some things in style, even if we don’t usually dress in style.

I also thought this was a good song for us this year, because it looks like James might be able to do his concert in Frankfurt, after all. As I write this, James is in Stockholm, preparing for tonight’s show. He shared a video that I think he took himself, as he walked through downtown Stockholm. I heard the trace of a cough and he seemed a little tired, but that’s to be expected. COVID has that effect on people. I’ve never been to downtown Stockholm. I’ve only been to the dock.

It looks like we’ll see him this weekend. Or, I still maintain hope… especially since this might be the last time we get to see him. Or, maybe it won’t be. I know James loves to perform and will probably keep doing it until he physically can’t do it anymore, but things are getting weirder and weirder, and none of us are getting any younger. So, I’m glad I had a chance to try “Secret O’ Life”, and enjoy the passage of time with Bill. May we have twenty or more years together!

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music, videos, YouTube

Fundie Fridays’ annual Halloween special about the Rodrigues family is hysterical!

And a very good Saturday morning to you, readers, as I recover from watching Fundie Fridays’ latest episode about Jill Rodrigues and her clan of kids. Jill Rodrigues, if you don’t know, is a woman who has big blonde hair and wears tons of makeup. She has a huge passel of children, and makes them sing homophobic songs. She has a sister who is quadriplegic, due to a car accident. Her husband has a brother who is paraplegic, due to a car accident. Her daughter, Nurie, and Nurie’s husband, Nathan Keller (Anna Keller Duggar’s brother), were in a car accident last year with their infant son. None were wearing seatbelts or in the appropriate car seat. So far, they aren’t paralyzed, but Nurie is expecting again.

I could go on and on about the many strange features of Jill Rodrigues and her constant chase of relevance and fame. Luckily, I don’t have to do that, because Jen and James of Fundie Fridays on YouTube have made a hilarious video. I just watched it and, I must say, Jen and James are really upping their games. I am in awe of their talent and courage. It’s not easy for most people to risk being funny, because humor doesn’t always go the way you hope it will. But, at least in my opinion, they really hit the mark with their latest video, which I am linking below.

I am impressed by Fundie Fridays. They keep getting better and better!

I especially howled when she showed the Rodrigues kids swimming in a sewer drain. I mean… yeah, maybe it was fun, but it was still kind of shitty… Today’s featured photo, by the way, is Tim, another Rodrigues kid, doing a fully clothed flip into a canal. Tim is famous for stating that if he weren’t related to his sisters, he’d be dating them, because they are so “Godly”. He’s about 25 years old, and laments that he isn’t married yet. I can’t imagine why… /sarcasm.

Hmmm… he’d date his sisters, and his mother is a fundie shill for Plexus. Attractive qualities in a mate… Seriously, though, I know he means that he thinks his sisters are lovely and “Godly”, and he’d like to find a woman like them. His wording is just a little weird, is all.

I don’t really follow the Rodrigues family at all. What I know about them, I know because I follow the Duggar Family News page and because of Fundie Fridays. I might be inclined to learn about them on my own, especially if I was younger, but since Jen does such a good job on that task herself, I don’t see why I need to add myself to the official snarkers. I’m sure if I did follow, it would only offend and upset me, and I’ve got enough of that going on when I read the news sites. So I will leave it all up to Jen and James, who are brilliant, funny, creative, and informative. And I will occasionally post blogs about them, so you can discover their genius, too. They really do have a lot of fun on their channel, and it’s fun to watch them.

Moving on to another YouTuber I watch sometimes…

This week, I learned that Barney the Dinosaur, that damnable purple demon from Hell out of the early 1990s, has a dark side. Or, rather, the woman who created him, and her son, have dark sides. A week ago today, Dr. Todd Grande’s video, “Did Barney Terrorize Viewers for Years?”, appeared on YouTube. I watched it, and learned new things.

Now, in 1992, when Barney was conquering the world with his moronic song, “I Love You, You Love Me”, I was 20 years old. I was too old for Barney. Even if I had been a child in those days, I would have hated Barney. He was highly annoying. But I didn’t know the history of this… icon… until I watched Dr. Grande’s excellent and informative video a few days ago. It’s all about Barney and Friends, a PBS marvel that captivated so many small children, as well as a few adults.

Now the story CAN be told!

I see from Dr. Grande’s YouTube comments that a lot of people did love Barney when they were very little. He was innocent, uncomplicated, and non threatening. I think my disdain for Barney is due to his annoying voice and weird dance moves. But I guess I can see why small children liked him. I just wasn’t one myself when he was a thing. Maybe it’s the same thing as me loving to watch The Brady Bunch well into middle age. It’s escapism to a simpler time, when problems on TV could be solved in 26 minutes. I’m sure people who loved Barney feel somewhat similarly.

In any case, before I saw this video, I did not know that Barney’s story had a dark side. Now, thanks to Dr. Grande’s reporting and analysis, I know more about how this purple dinosaur came to be, and the people who were behind his creation. It is a very interesting tale, especially given that boy who inspired his mother to dream up Barney, went on to a life of crime. You should watch the video for the lowdown on that story.

I’m grateful to Todd Grande and Fundie Fridays, for giving me something to watch besides anti-Trump political rants, analyses of Meghan Markle’s obvious narcissism, and bodycam videos by cops. It’s obvious to me that Dr. Grande and Fundie Fridays are throwing some shade, which is to be expected when one becomes “popular” in any form of media.

And finally…

A couple of days ago, while Bill was still gone, my Aunt Gayle sent me the lyrics to the beautiful song, “Bill”, from the musical, Show Boat. I don’t think she realized that I knew and loved the song, but she obviously could see how the lyrics would fit my own perspective. “Bill” is a song about a plain, everyday guy, who doesn’t seem impressive on the outside, but is actually quite wonderful. I don’t totally agree with the song’s lyrics. For instance, I am often impressed by my Bill’s brain. And I would never sit on Bill’s knees, because I would hurt him if I did that. But yes– the song rings true to me. So I decided to do it. Here’s MY YouTube video… in which I don’t opine or speak or show my face, other than in pictures. It may still provoke controversy, but at least it’s a nice tribute to my husband, who is “just my Bill”.

This is a cool photo, because you can’t tell that I’m missing a tooth. This was taken after I had a baby tooth pulled, and not long before I had my implant put in. I still have a baby tooth that will probably need to be replaced with an implant at some point.

Our 20th wedding anniversary is next month, so I’ll probably make another video for that. But this was a nice song to try. We’ll see how long it lasts, and how many hits it gets. But I don’t make videos for hits. I just like to sing, and that’s my outlet. If other people enjoy my efforts, that’s a nice bonus.

Condolences, by the way, to Carly Simon, who lost both of her sisters this week within a day of each other. Oldest sister, Joanna, was 85 years old and had been fighting thyroid cancer. Next oldest sister, Lucy, had been battling breast cancer for a long time before succumbing at age 82. Carly, herself, has had breast cancer. And the youngest sibling, Peter, died in 2018 at age 71 of a cardiac arrest, but he, too, had cancer. That damnable illness is EVERYWHERE.

Well, I think that about does it for today’s post. Hope you all have a fabulous day. The sun is out here, so maybe if Arran isn’t feeling too icky, we’ll go out for a while and look for some nice fall foliage.

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book reviews, celebrities, love, marriage, memories

Repost: My review of Carly Simon’s book, Boys in the Trees: A Memoir…

I originally published this book review on my old blog on December 14, 2016. It appears here as/is.

I have long admired singer-songwriter Carly Simon.  Having been born in the early 1970s, her music, and that of her ex husband’s, James Taylor, has been a part of my personal soundtrack for many years.  I also enjoy reading life stories, especially by people I admire.  I downloaded Carly Simon’s 2015 memoir on the day it was released, but I’ve only just read it.  I tend to download a lot of stuff that interests me and it sits in the queue until the mood strikes for me to read it.  There was a time when I would have greedily devoured this book days after its release, but I guess I’m slowing down in my old age.

Anyway, Carly’s book is entitled Boys in the Trees: A Memoir.  I like the book’s title, since it references the title song from her 1978 album, which I remember almost wearing out during Christmas break 1991.  I had a month at home with my parents and had always loved the song “You Belong To Me”.  I bought the CD and played it non-stop.  It was a comfort during those bleak winter days when I was 19 years old and hating the semester break at home from college.

Simon’s book starts with her story of growing up in New York, the daughter of Richard Simon, one of the founders of the Simon & Schuster publishing company.  She had a privileged upbringing, surrounded by family and friends.  Her two older sisters were beautiful and talented.  Her brother, Peter, was younger and the son her father had wanted.  Carly writes that she was supposed to have been a boy named Carl, but when she came out female, her father simply added a “y” to the name.  Carly Simon’s father evidently didn’t mesh that well with his third child.  He was the first of many men to disappoint her.

As Simon grew older, her father grew frail.  Sidelined by strokes, he was eventually convinced to sell his interest in Simon & Schuster.  Carly’s mother, Andrea, fell out of love with her husband and had an affair with a much younger man named Ronny.  Starting at age 7, Carly also suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a visiting teenager who had seen porn and wanted to replicate it.

As a teenager, Carly Simon lived in Martha’s Vineyard. James Taylor’s family also had a home there and that was where the two of them met, when they were adolescents. In November 1972, they would marry at City Hall, wearing wedding bands they purchased for $17.95 each, at a Middle Eastern kiosk. The rings weren’t even the ones that had been on sale. Simon had been involved with other men, notably Mick Jagger and Warren Beatty. Taylor had been seeing Joni Mitchell before he hooked up with Carly. But they were destined to be together and make two children, Sally and Ben.

When James and Carly were still married.

Boys in the Trees is divided into three books.  I think Simon was wise to divide the book that way, since her story is not one that necessarily lends itself to seamlessness.  The last book is about her marriage to James Taylor, a man she clearly deeply admires and probably still even loves.  Sadly, James Taylor was apparently not a very good husband in the 1970s.  He had a pretty serious drug and alcohol problem, which Simon references, as well as a penchant for affairs with other women.  They were together when their careers were both smoking hot and, though they were able to make beautiful music together, it wasn’t enough to forge a commitment.  

Simon writes that things really went to hell in her marriage to James Taylor after she’d become a mother.  Suddenly, the children were more important and she could no longer turn a blind eye to Taylor’s dalliances.  I got the sense that perhaps James Taylor resented that.  In any case, she basically makes James Taylor of the 1970s out to be a selfish ass.  Whether or not he still is, I don’t know.

Wow… 40 years ago.

Naturally, whenever I read about another person’s relationship, I wonder a bit about the other sides of the story. And there always are other sides to include the truth. I don’t think Carly Simon is lying about what happened, and she admits to being difficult herself. But naturally, this book skews toward her perspective… not that I think cheating and drug abuse is necessarily acceptable behavior. Simon writes that she still lives in the house they lived in and much of it still bears Taylor’s design marks, some of which were not as inspired as his songwriting.

I think Carly Simon would have made a fine author had she not been a musician.  Her writing is elegant and interesting and I enjoyed reading about the many inspirations behind songs I’ve loved for years.  When she was married to Taylor, the two collaborated a lot on their albums.  It was cool to read about how Carly Simon came up with the ending coda for “Terra Nova”, a gorgeous collaboration on Taylor’s 1977 JT.  I well remember the hit song “Jesse” from the early 80s, which she reveals was actually inspired by her son, Ben.

As someone who has experienced anxiety and depression, I appreciated Carly’s revelations about her own issues with panic attacks.  She writes about one serious attack she suffered in Pittsburgh back in 1981, when she had to call upon the audience to help her.  She writes that she still gets letters from people who were at that concert, many of whom express a great deal of empathy for the situation she was in at the time.  Panic and anxiety kept Carly Simon off the public stage for several years.

Curiously, Simon’s book ends basically with her split from Taylor.  She doesn’t write about her second marriage to and divorce from poet Jim Hart, although she does mention him in her acknowledgments.  She doesn’t write much about her breast cancer battle, nor does she write about how it felt to become a grandmother.  But perhaps those stories will come later.

In any case, I really enjoyed Carly Simon’s memoir, Boys in the Trees.  I recommend it.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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Ex, lessons learned, mental health, music

It’s important to B.S.U.R… exactly who you are… Life lessons from James Taylor

There’s an old song by James Taylor that comes to mind as I type today’s blog post. The song, “B.S.U.R. (S.U.C.S.I.M.I.M.)”, comes from his 1979 album, Flag. Although a lot of critics might not share my opinion, I think Flag is a wonderful album. It’s probably my favorite of JT’s older albums, probably because it’s the one I remember best from when I was very young… my introduction to him, as it were. Yes, that album includes a cringey disco cover version of “Day Tripper” by The Beatles… which, actually, is kind of a guilty pleasure to me. But it also includes several good songs, including James’s wonderful rendition of “Up On The Roof”, which I prefer to all other versions. And it also includes the aforementioned “B.S.U.R.”, which has James’s ex wife, Carly Simon, singing backup, and some very wise lyrics.

Be as you are…

Here are the lyrics to “B.S.U.R.”, in case you’d rather not play the video.

She’s been holding on too long
Hoping I’m gonna change
Giving it up just a little bit more
Each time I come home
Looking and acting strange
Putting her down for putting up with me

Be as you are
As you see as I am, I am
Be as you are
As you see as I am, I am

Do you think you might improve me
Trying to take control?
Watching every little thing I do
Just like a bleeding movie
Just like a leading role
Mama, this ain’t me
And I don’t believe that’s you

Be as you are
As you see as I am, I am
Be as you are
As you see as I am, I am

First you make believe
I believe the things
That you make believe
And I’m bound to let you down
Then it’s I who have been deceiving
Purposely misleading
And all along you believed in me

So, we circle around one another
Playing a guessing game
Strangers at this masquerade
Pretending to know each other
We strain to catch a name
And never see the mistakes we must have made

Be as you are
As you see as I am, I am
Be as you are
As you see as I am, I am

(songwriter is James Taylor)

Just for the sake of context… in 1979, James Taylor and Carly Simon were the parents of two young children. They had been married for about seven years. In spite of the wise lyrics in this song, James was actually in a bit of trouble. He was a notorious drug addict, suffered from depression, and, according to Carly Simon’s book, he had a habit of cheating. It’s interesting to note that the “flag” used for this album’s cover is the international maritime signal for “man overboard”. Indeed, in 1979, James Taylor might have very well felt like a man overboard.

Carly Simon reportedly wanted James to settle down and be more of a family man (another great song by James Taylor). But, as James titled his next album, Dad Loves His Work. He wasn’t going to change. They were divorced by 1983, and perhaps spurred on by the 1981 drug overdose death of his close friend, John Belushi, and the 1983 death of his friend, Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys, James got over his heroin and methadone habits.

But Taylor still struggled a lot with depression and considered retiring from music. He was asked to go to Rio de Janeiro in 1985 and play a music festival, which was recorded and put on an imported CD. I actually own a copy of it, courtesy of one of my sisters who gave it to me for Christmas in 1990. James was so well received in Rio that he got a second wind, and he subsequently released another album called That’s Why I’m Here. I distinctly remember reading the liner notes and saw that he’d dedicated the new album to Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Taylor would go on to consider retiring again, after losing his father and his brother, Alex, on James’s 45th birthday in 1993. Alex was also a severe alcoholic.

So… what’s all of this backstory got to do with “B.S.U.R.”? Well, I just think this song, and its very astute lyrics, offers some sage pearls of wisdom. So many of us try to be someone we aren’t. It’s usually because someone else has told us that there’s something “wrong” or “inadequate” about who we are. Sometimes, there is a legitimate issue that needs to be changed. Like, for instance, getting treatment for an addiction or character flaw– say philandering or lying. I’m not referring to issues like those. I’m referring to little criticisms about things you can’t easily change about yourself, like becoming a night owl if you’re a morning person. Or becoming an obsessively neat person, if you’re naturally more of a slob. Or acting like someone you’re not, simply because someone else thinks they would prefer that alternative version to your authentic self.

This morning Bill and I were talking, as we often do over our weekend breakfasts. Bill was telling me about a dream he’d had this morning. He was typing it out, because he sends his dreams to his therapist, who specializes in Carl Jung’s techniques. Dreams are an important part of their work. Bill has really been enjoying working with the therapist. He’s learning a lot about himself, revisiting decisions he’s made. Some of the decisions he made because he wanted to please other people. He didn’t want to disappoint important people in his life, so instead of doing what was best for him, he would acquiesce to what other people wanted. The end results of not advocating for his own self-interests sometimes led to disasters that affected a whole lot of other people. For more on this, you can read this post.

It occurred to me as we were talking that somehow, Bill got the idea from other people that who he was wasn’t enough. He bought into the idea that he needed to change. When he was growing up, he was often compared to his grandfather, a man he never got to meet, because his grandfather had died when Bill’s mom was 14. Apparently, Bill’s grandfather was a really wonderful man. And Bill was repeatedly told that he was “just like” his grandfather. It was as if some of his family members thought he was reincarnated somehow. It wasn’t enough for Bill to be who he was. He was expected to be like a dead man he’d never even met. It was impossible, and disconcerting. Why wasn’t it enough that he was Bill, a marvelous man in his own right? Why did he have to be someone else?

Later, he married his ex wife, a woman with whom he was completely incompatible and didn’t love the way he should have. He married her because she had him convinced that she was his one shot at having a family. Throughout their almost ten year marriage, he bent to her will and tried to change for her every whim. She criticized everything from his taste in music to the length of his hair. She didn’t like his choice of career and wanted him to leave the military. She wanted to live in a house that was a money pit, mainly because she thought it looked like a house she’d seen in a snow globe. She wanted him to be Mormon. She constantly drove him to “change”. Who he was wasn’t enough for her. Meanwhile, she was just fine with herself as she was and was unwilling to amend some of her own destructive habits, like buying things when she had no money to pay for them.

Bill wanted to please his ex wife, so he worked many hours at low paying jobs that didn’t suit him. He gave in to her demands that he have a vasectomy, live in a town where there were few jobs suitable for his skills, grow his hair, become a Mormon (which included giving up alcohol and coffee and wearing special underwear), leave the military, support his ex stepson as if he was the boy’s father, support Ex’s sister and her child on his tiny salary, let Ex spend his money on whatever she wanted, and let Ex handle the bills… which she handled by not paying them. By the time he cried uncle and let go of the marriage, he had been through bankruptcy and foreclosure and she had him convinced that he was a terrible person… so bad, that she could easily replace him with her next victim, #3.

Wow… if Bill was such a terrible person, why is it that we’ve been so happily married for almost 19 years? Do I seem like the kind of person who would marry a jerk? I have a lot of flaws myself, but I can tell you for certain that one flaw I don’t have is “people pleasing”. I don’t stay with people who make me unhappy. Not if I can help it. I don’t have a tendency to attract abusers. I’m probably too outspoken for them.

In any case, I love Bill just the way he is. I always have. He doesn’t need to change anything fundamental about himself for me. I think that’s why it’s so easy for us to be with each other.

Now… that doesn’t mean that there aren’t habits I’d like for him to change. Like, for instance, I’d like him to say no to me sometimes. I’m not always right. Bill likes to be a leader, but sometimes he gets a little bit wishy washy because he doesn’t want to disappoint me. But what ends up happening is, I end up disappointed anyway. Here’s an example of what I mean.

A couple of weeks ago, when we were in Switzerland, Bill had his heart set on visiting Carl Jung’s house and museum. Jung’s house and museum have very limited visiting hours and one typically has to book tickets in advance. Bill had done that, and we had an appointment to go to the house and museum at 2:00pm. But before we went, we visited a church to see Marc Chagall’s stained glass windows.

Now, I wasn’t particularly wedded to either of these activities. I would have been happy just to sit on the boat cruise and take a tour around Lake Zurich. But because Bill wanted to explore Jung, I was happy to do that with him. However, one thing that is a must, and something that we both know about me is that I need to eat when I’m hungry. I get really “hangry”, and when I get like that, things can get unpleasant in a hurry. So, as our time for the museum appointment approached, I told Bill I wanted to have lunch. He looked at his watch and got flustered. It was just after noon, and he was afraid that if we sat down to have a nice lunch, we would miss our appointment.

So I said, “I guess this means hot dogs for lunch, then?” I don’t really like hot dogs very much, but I could see that’s where were headed. I would have been just as alright with getting fast food.

But Bill hadn’t even decided how we were going to get to the museum. Would we be driving or taking the boat? He wanted to leave that to me, and hadn’t told me ahead of time. He asked me what I wanted to do.

I got irritated and said, “You wanted to lead. This is an activity that you want to do. I’m along for the ride. I know you want to go to the museum, but you know very well what happens when my blood sugar crashes.” I also needed to pee, and that wasn’t helping matters.

So we finally decided to take the boat. Sure enough, the only food available near the dock was the Swiss version of hot dogs… or currywurst or the like. So we had hot dogs and Coke for lunch. Bill was upset, because he thought he’d let me down. It’s true that hot dogs weren’t necessarily what I would have preferred for lunch, but I was willing to have that if it meant I wouldn’t be hangry. But he was beating himself up over the hot dogs. That wasn’t the issue, as far as I was concerned. I just wanted there to be a firm plan so everyone’s needs could be met.

It turned out the boat had concessions anyway, but our trip to the museum was just thirty minutes. It was just as well that we had our sausages. And next time, hopefully, we’ll make plans that are a little more than half baked, especially for something important, like visiting a museum that has limited opening hours.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting a partner to change certain habits like being too much of a people pleaser or being wishy washy. But I do think it’s wrong to ask them to change major aspects of who they are. I do think it’s wrong to demand that they make permanent alterations to themselves– yes, even like having a vasectomy or plastic surgery– if they would rather not do that. I think it’s wrong for a person to think they can change or “fix” someone– mold them into someone else– especially when their idea of what they want changes every day. And with Ex, it seemed very much like her idea of the “right” person was fluid and ever changing. There was always something to criticize, and I certainly don’t think she’s the best judge of what needed fixing in others. She didn’t enjoy Bill for the wonderful man he is. She wanted someone else. Perhaps she wanted someone who only exists in romance novels… I don’t know. But she didn’t want or deserve Bill, and as it turned out, he didn’t want or deserve her.

I think “B.S.U.R” is a surprisingly wise song, even though James Taylor was dealing with many personal demons and, perhaps, even serious character flaws of his own. I do think James has redeemed himself, and done a lot of work to be a better and happier person. It helps to be introspective and seek help to overcome things like addiction and mental conditions like depression and anxiety. He’s obviously not the same person he was in 1979, and that is to his credit.

As for Bill… I have never not loved and appreciated him for who he is. I love everything about him. No, he’s not perfect, but neither am I. We work on these things together. And I am so very proud of him and happy for him that he’s exploring things that interest him, like Carl Jung. He’s learning to play guitar, too, and trying to improve his skills in Spanish and German, because he wants to, and it interests him. Those are things that will enhance the wonderful person he is. I love him the way he is… and I will always advise him to “B.S.U.R.” Because asking anything else of him is asking for certain disaster. Life is hard enough without being married to a person who is constantly demanding that their spouse expend energy to be someone they’re not.

It’s also okay to say “no” sometimes. In fact, sometimes it’s essential, and the initial disappointment will spare everyone a lot of aggravation and grief. It’s okay to sometimes put your needs first… because, as they say before every flight, you should always put on your own oxygen mask, before you try to help someone else. If you don’t consider your own needs, you can’t be of optimal assistance to anyone else. So take a lesson from James Taylor and “B.S.U.R.” It’s easier and more sustainable than being someone you’re not.

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music, YouTube

We did it again…

George Martin and I, that is… my YouTube friend from Scotland. We did a duet of “Devoted to You” by Carly Simon and James Taylor. Pictures are of northeastern France, taken in January of this year, before the coronavirus bullshit.

James and Carly released their version of this song on Carly’s 1978 album Boys in the Trees. A few weeks ago, I suggested this song to George and he kindly learned to play it and sing James Taylor’s part so we could do this duet. It was earlier done by The Everly Brothers.

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