book reviews

My review of Unbreakable by Jelena Dokic, with Jessica Halloran…

January seems to be my month for reading true stories. Early this morning, because I couldn’t sleep, I finished reading 2017’s Unbreakable, the story of tennis phenom Jelena Dokic, ghostwritten by Jessica Halloran. I bought this book a week ago and finished it in less than 48 hours. Part of the reason I finished so quickly is because I’m alone this week, but I also found it a very compelling and interesting book. I don’t follow tennis at all, and had never even heard of Jelena Dokic before I read Unbreakable. But her story interested and frustrated me on many levels. I think anyone who has ever had to deal with a controlling, narcissistic, alcoholic person will relate to it.

Who is Jelena Dokic?

Born April 12, 1983 in Croatia, which was then part of the former Yugoslavia, Jelena Dokic once played tennis with the likes of Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, and both Venus and Serena Williams. But her earliest days in Osijek, Croatia, didn’t lend a hint to the fame and fortune she would eventually attain.

Jelena Dokic’s mother is from Croatia; her father was born in Croatia, but was of Serbian descent. She was an only child until 1991, when her mother gave birth to her beloved brother, Savo. From the very beginning, Jelena adored her brother and saw herself as his protector. His birth was at the time when the Iron Curtain was falling apart, and that included Jelena’s homeland, Yugoslavia, which was really just a conglomeration of different states with different languages and cultures cobbled together.

One day, when Jelena was still very young, she and her father, Damir Dokic, were in a rowboat fishing, when they saw a body floating past. As Yugoslavia was breaking up, people from the different countries were fighting among themselves. Murders were increasingly common as the area became a war zone. The obstetrician who delivered both Jelena and her brother was murdered, prompting the family to temporarily move to Serbia. There, Jelena had to learn the Serbian language as the civil unrest and ethnic and religion based violence continued.

During those early years, Jelena’s father got the idea to see if his daughter could play tennis. Boy, could she… Jelena was a natural talent. From the age of six, she showed everyone that she was born for the game. Reluctant coaches in Serbia didn’t think she could hang with the bigger girls, but she soon proved herself a formidable player. Before she’d hit puberty, Jelena had launched what would turn into a lucrative career.

Enter “Daddy Dearest”…

Besides dealing with the violence of war and the upheaval of moving from Croatia to Serbia, Jelena’s family was poor. For some time, Jelena, her mother, and brother lived in a garden shack owned by relatives. It was rat infested and freezing cold. Meanwhile, her father and other relatives were in Croatia. Jelena’s dad, Damir, came back when it became clear that his daughter had the potential to go far in the tennis world.

The family eventually immigrated to Australia, where Jelena rose in the ranks to become a great tennis player. But she would inspire jealousy among other Aussie tennis players, who weren’t a match for her. Her entire life revolved around winning tennis matches and making money for her abusive father. Jelena’s mother, beaten down by years of abuse, aided and abetted Damir’s tyrannical behavior.

Damir Dokic had a tragically effective way of “motivating” Jelena to succeed. He drove her to train constantly, berated her, called her vile, filthy names, and when she didn’t win on the tennis court, beat her with his leather belt. Damir was also a severe alcoholic with a weakness for white wine and whiskey. He would show up to Jelena’s games rip roaring drunk, screaming at her from the sidelines. Jelena was treated like a commodity. She wasn’t allowed to have friends, and her abusive father would threaten and humiliate her constantly, even when she did well.

Still, in spite of being called names like “whore” and “cow”, and even though her father would regularly terrorize Jelena, and tell her she was a disgrace, the young tennis phenom consistently rose to the occasion. At the pinnacle of her tennis career, Jelena Dokic was ranked number four in the world. For awhile, she was unstoppable, although her father never praised Jelena for her achievements.

But sadly, before Jelena was even twenty-one years old, it all began to unravel. She went through many coaches, endured a narcissistic boyfriend, and through it all, had to face her terrifying father, who leveraged Jelena’s access to her mother and brother to get what he wanted… which was basically ALL of her money and complete control over her career.

A familiar story, yet still shocking…

As I read Jelena Dokic’s story, I was reminded of several other stories of extremely talented and successful people. A couple of years ago, I wrote a review of a book written by Verona van de Leur, a former elite gymnast from The Netherlands who eventually went to prison and then became a porn star. Like Jelena Dokic, Verona was expected to perform and achieve in her sport, mainly because her parents were leeching money from her.

I don’t believe Verona van de Leur ever made as much money as Jelena Dokic did, as Jelena’s father eventually built a mansion with Jelena’s earnings, complete with a wine cellar and stables. He made her agree to keep sending him payments of $200,000, as well as most of her other earnings. Jelena’s father also forced her to sign over her rights to a house paid for with money she won. Naturally, she was also expected to pay the taxes on her winnings, which she soon couldn’t do as she stopped winning. Not winning meant making much less money playing tennis.

I was also reminded of Dominique Moceanu, an American former elite gymnast of Romanian descent, whose father abused her in order to motivate her to achieve. I remember how adorable Dominique was in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. I didn’t know, at that time, the price she was paying to be at the top of her game in gymnastics. I read and reviewed Dominique’s book, too.

Finally, Jelena’s crazy abuse story reminded a bit of Tina Turner, and her story of being mentored by her ex husband, the late Ike Turner. Although Tina is known for being a great singer, she shared the same tragic fate as Jelena, Verona, and Dominique did. All of these incredibly gifted and talented women basically served as “golden geese” for abusive men who exploited and terrorized them to get money and power from them.

Frustrating…

As compelling as Unbreakable is, I have to admit, I found it a frustrating read. Jelena Dokic was caught in a terrible abuse cycle. Over and over again, her father would abuse her in almost every way. He would make her run for miles after exhausting tennis matches or in extreme heat. He would verbally abuse her and terrorize her. Or he would beat her up, kick her with his pointy toed dress shoes, or whip her with his belt. When she became an adult, she would say “enough” and try to leave. But he’d always manage to talk her into coming back for more abuse.

Ditto to other abusers in Jelena’s life. She had a tennis coach who took advantage of her. He wasn’t very experienced in the game, but he was manipulative. More than once, Jelena tried to get rid of him, only to take him back later. She had an abusive, controlling boyfriend of the same ilk who was hard to shake.

On a conscious level, I understand that Jelena was trapped in a cycle of abuse. She was coping the only way she knew how. She didn’t have much help from other people, even though some had seen evidence of her father’s telltale abuse. Jelena was a valuable commodity to a lot of men, and I guess it was easier to allow the blatant terrorism to continue, rather than do something about it. I have had experience with an abusive alcoholic father myself, so I do have an inkling of what Jelena was facing. My dad wasn’t as bad as Jelena’s dad is, either. But still, it was frustrating to read about this very talented and successful woman being horrifically abused, and nothing being done about it. It’s pretty shameful, actually. Fortunately, the story ends well.

Jelena Dokic makes a comeback.

Overall

I think Jessica Halloran did a fine job writing this book. It’s in the historical present tense, which is kind of different. I never got the sense that I wasn’t reading this book from the source, though, which is a good thing. There are some photos included, too.

Like I mentioned up post, I don’t really follow tennis at all. I’m not into sports. But I could relate to and empathize with Jelena Dokic’s story in Unbreakable. It sounds like she’s gotten her life back on track, as she now works as a tennis coach and motivational speaker in Australia. Jelena’s story is horrific at times, but ultimately, she’s triumphed.

Yes, it took a long time for Jelena Dokic to get to where she is… and that may frustrate some readers, who will see her making the same mistakes repeatedly. I notice some comments on Amazon are about how Jelena didn’t ask for help and/or denied the abuse, and the stories of abuse became “tedious” and “repetitive”.

I think it’s helpful to remember that people who are caught up in abuse don’t have the benefit of clarity. They have been conditioned to accept bad treatment from their abusers, who isolate them and swear them to secrecy by using shame, violence, and fear for other loved ones. In Jelena’s case, it was her beloved brother who served as a bargaining chip. If she didn’t cooperate with her father, she would lose contact with Savo. When abuse victims are in that kind of a bind, it can be especially difficult to break free from tyranny. Yes, it’s frustrating to watch obvious abuse when it happens, but getting away from abuse and “stepping out of the F.O.G.” is legitimately hard.

In any case, I think Unbreakable is worth reading. I’d give it four stars out of five.

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

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Ex, music, narcissists, Twitter

The Greatest Love of All…

I remember the very first time I ever heard the song, “The Greatest Love of All”. It was the early 80s, and I was in middle school. There was a talent show, and a young Black boy sang George Benson’s version of “The Greatest Love of All”, a song that Whitney Houston would make famous just a few years later. I remember the boy who sang was quite talented. I enjoyed the song and its message of hope for the future. I later got into Whitney Houston’s music. I loved her debut album, and used to listen to it all the time. Although I quit being such a fan of hers as I got older, I always respected her immense musical gifts, beauty, and charisma. It’s truly sad that she met her end in 2012 at age 48. It’s even sadder that her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, died in eerily similar circumstances when she was 22 years old, just three years later.

George Benson’s version of a song that Whitney Houston made huge a few years later.
Too bad she didn’t love herself enough to stay away from illegal drugs.

When I got older, I stopped liking “The Greatest Love of All” as much. The lyrics started to sound cloying and cliched, and it became the butt of cheesy jokes about schmaltzy songs. And now that I’m a cynical woman of 50 years, the childless second wife of a man whose first wife spews such lofty platitudes as she mistreats people close to her, I don’t view the song with as much idealism. I probably would do well to go somewhere and realize there’s still a lot of beauty in the world, in spite of everything bad that is happening right now.

A year ago, Bill and I visited Slovenia and Croatia, and I was mesmerized and STUNNED by how astonishingly beautiful both places are, especially at this time of year. Slovenia was particularly gorgeous, with its rugged Julian Alps. This time of year, the trees turn so many different colors, all in concert to create a gorgeous backdrop. When I look at such natural beauty, I’m distracted by some of the awful things that are going on today. From rising cases of COVID-19 to political strife to war, things are quite messed up lately. An idealistic song like “The Greatest Love of All” seems kind of “pollyannaish”… unrealistic and ridiculous, even.

So why am I writing about “The Greatest Love of All” this morning? It’s because of Ex. Lately, she’s been posting about a movement on Twitter called My Peak Challenge. I just looked it up. According to its Twitter page, My Peak Challenge is “a global community rooted in the belief that we can all effect positive change in our lives while helping others.”

On the surface, this sounds like a great idea. And for those who take it seriously and actually walk the walk, it probably is an excellent idea. However, I know that Ex doesn’t walk the walk. She presents herself as someone who is misunderstood and desperately searching for safety and security. But in reality, she presents a false image that hides a person who is capable of unapologetically inflicting great pain and damage to other people. I know this from 20 years of living with her ex husband, who is truly one of the kindest, most decent people I know. I know from talking to people in the family who have been her victims. So, when Ex posts stuff like this:

Just sharing what LIFE is all about… LOVE! You, every person & your Creator deserve unconditional love from YOU! It’s not always easy, especially to love oneself, but do it!!

I smell the heavy aroma of bullshit. And I am reminded of the treacly strains of the song, “The Greatest Love of All”, a song that promises that “the greatest love of all” is learning to love yourself. Maybe if Ex didn’t feel so wounded, she wouldn’t be so hurtful to others. I realize that I’m speculating about how she feels… but I think anyone who publicly refers to herself as a “bastard child”, probably doesn’t have the greatest self esteem. She’s a long way from loving herself. And because of that, she doesn’t really love anyone else, either, in spite of all of the flowery platitudes she puts on social media.

Right now, Ex’s Twitter page is littered with pictures of a certain actor from Scotland. She has fixated on a character he plays as the ideal man. She’s made a lot of comments about his looks and demeanor, even though she’s a married woman. I know, from being married to her ex husband, that she has certain ideas about what a man is supposed to be like, and how he’s supposed to behave, particularly toward her. I also know that she tries to mold her spouses into that person. The trouble is, it’s hard work to try to be someone you’re not. It’s even harder to be convincing in that role. Acting is a craft that has to be developed, even if someone has natural talent. That’s why not everyone can be a successful actor. I also know that even when changes are made, she’s never satisfied with the results, and the changes are very difficult for the other person to maintain, anyway. And she’s so ungrateful and resentful that the other person also becomes resentful. She wants her fantasy to be a reality, and that’s just not possible.

I found this recent comment by Ex rather telling:

will ye please grow your hair long again? I can make ‘hair jewelry’. It’s set w/quartz or white sapphire. I’d love to make one with one of yours, Sophie’s, Cait’s & Charles’ curls, woven together. You represent what @Writer_DG meant & can literally save my marriage.

This doesn’t sound too good to me. Of course, it’s not my business… except that if she and #3 are on the skids, it might mean that she’ll be trying to hit up Bill’s family again for help. Because, as far as I know, #3 is the sole breadwinner at their house… unless, of course, older daughter is working.

When Ex posts this kind of thing:

Breathtaking words @Writer_DG ,truly. A turn of phrase that is what everyone needs to hear. “…your place…” ::swoons:: You have a way of capturing that which the human heart needs in order to feel safe, to feel loved. Such simple phrases that can completely alter a relationship.

I am once again reminded of Annie Wilkes, of Stephen King’s Misery. And I wonder if she has lost intimacy in her marriage and is trying to find it in romantic fiction, television, and films. I know from younger daughter that she pushed her kids to be actors. She might not have realized that encouraging her children to become actors might not work for her, because that would mean they would be developing skills that would help them be convincingly fake. She continues, though…

The curls the curls the curls… I would give anything to touch the curls and get a snippet of one!! :: faints at the thought:;

I’ll admit, the actor Ex is gushing about is handsome. But she has a husband. He’s obviously not enough for her, even though he works hard, and has stuck with her for 20 years… in spite of her sheer craziness and abuse. I don’t know why he stays. It could be because he knows that if he leaves, she will suck him dry, and alienate him from his children. Or it could be because he has nowhere else to go. When Bill got away from her, he had a career to return to, and he was still in his 30s. #3 is middle aged, and doesn’t have a high paying job. He has with Ex a daughter in college, and a son who will probably never be able to live on his own. Ex is looking elsewhere for attention, though:

I’m a #peaker also! I won’t intrude, but please consider messaging me. I could use some Peaker support!!!

If she’s serious about wanting to be a force for good, then more power to her. But I’ve been watching long enough to know that this is just a facade. She’s even trying to build a false history… as Ex is from Texas, but lately, she’s been trying to convince people that she’s from Scotland.

See the ridiculous thinking we have to put up with over here? I want to go back to MY HOMELAND of Origin! As Ben Franklin said…”if you can hold onto it.” With each passing election, democracy dies a little bit more in the nation created by it. Remember what King George said…

There’s more, of course. I could post it all, but I’m not going to, because I think anyone who reads this will get the point. I don’t even disagree with a lot of what Ex posts, at least when she’s posting about politics and how awful the Republican Party has become in the wake of Donald Trump. I just know that in reality, she’s not at all the way she portrays herself. Or, she will say it or write it, but she won’t actually mean it… at least not for her. These things apply to other people, not her.

I think Ex is one reason why I find Meghan Markle so oddly fascinating. I don’t like Meghan Markle much, because what I’ve seen of her reminds me a lot of Ex, and all the fake bullshit she peddles. She says things that sound good, but in reality, it’s all fake, and done simply to promote her image. Actions speak louder than words. Talk is cheap. It’s easy to say and write things that sound good, but if you spend all your time bleating out stuff, you have much less time to actually do anything worthwhile.

In any case, having been married to Bill for 20 years, I can say that if he couldn’t make her feel “safe”, no one can. Bill is truly one of the gentlest, kindest, most loving and considerate people I have ever met. We work well together, and I’m not sure there are that many men out there that are as compatible with me as Bill is. So Ex did me a kindness when she decided to divorce Bill. Maybe I could even say that she did something as a “Peaker”, when she divorced Bill. I’m sure she doesn’t see it that way, though. She’s another one of those people who doesn’t see other perspectives too clearly.

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celebrities, lessons learned, music, musings, obits, YouTube

The first day of 2022…

I hope everyone enjoyed their New Year’s Eve 2021. Bill and I had a nice evening, marred only by the news that the great Betty White passed away. A lot of people reacted to the news of Betty’s New Year’s Eve demise with great sadness. She was a remarkable woman who was blessed with so much talent, beauty, and humor. When I think of how many people were touched by her, it almost overwhelms me. This was a lady whose career spanned many decades and generations, and she did it all– singing, dancing, acting, sales pitching, and especially comedy. She was the oldest Golden Girl, and the last one to leave us.

She was such an adorable and hilarious pro! God bless her, wherever she is… I hope she and her beloved husband, Allen Ludden, have finally reunited.

I loved Betty White as an entertainer. I admired her a great deal. However, I don’t feel particularly sad that she died, nor do I think of it as a tragic event. I think, as living and dying go, Betty White did it in grand fashion. As far as I know, she wasn’t seriously ill when she passed. In fact, she was even featured on People magazine’s cover this week, as she planned to celebrate her 100th birthday on January 17th. She was still “with it”, and not bed bound. Yes, it would have been wonderful if she could have celebrated one last birthday, but 99 years is still a hell of a good run. What happened to her eventually happens to us all… and she had the good fortune to do it on relatively favorable terms.

I think this one was my favorite! Betty’s dusty muffins could not be matched.

So no, I’m not totally saddened by Betty White’s death. She died the same year as several of her co-stars on the Mary Tyler Moore show, as we also lost Gavin McLeod, Ed Asner, and Cloris Leachman in 2021. And all of them lived to ripe old ages, having been able to work, play, and be in the world pretty much the entire time. We should all be so lucky… and in fact, I think we’re all lucky that we were alive at the same time she was.

*Giggle* She was so funny!

MOVING ON…

A lot of people were also mentioning how much 2021 sucked. I’m sure it really did suck for a lot of folks. COVID-19 has really screwed up normal living for so many. However, one good thing I have noticed about the COVID era is that some people are reprioritizing their lives. Yesterday, I read an awesome Reddit thread called “Twas the night before my resignation”, about a guy who decided some years ago that he no longer wanted to prioritize his career over his family. He started taking off the week between Christmas and New Year’s. In 2021, as usual, he scheduled that week off.

At the end of the year, a work emergency came up. It wasn’t something that should have affected his time off, and he did what he could to warn his employers that he would be taking that week off. But, as it happens, the company dragged its feet and the emergency, quite predictably, became dire as the guy’s week off approached… For best results, you really should read it for yourself. Suffice to say, the guy pretty much told his boss to pound sand, and was richly rewarded for his moxie. And to that, I say, “Kudos, and fuck those people!” I hate it when employers treat their employees like they own them. It’s nice to see that some workers have been able to claim some control over their work environments. I hope this is a trend that lasts, so that working conditions will improve for everyone.

I know… maybe it’s too much to hope for that there will be less greed and corruption in the American workplace. But I can dream, can’t I? Hell… if I were in the USA now, maybe someone would even hire me!

Bill and I actually had a fairly good 2021, in spite of COVID’s suck factor. We finally resolved our lawsuit, and it mostly went in our favor. I know it may seem like a small thing, but holding our former landlady accountable for her egregiously illegal actions, outright lies, and the really crappy way she treated us, was very satisfying. I think we learned a lesson from it, too. Hopefully, that lesson will carry over the next time someone tries to screw with us and shame us into automatically allowing them to have their way.

In 2021, Bill finally started working with a Jungian analyst, which is something he’s been wanting to do for a long time… and something I’ve felt he’s needed to do the whole time I’ve known him. The sessions have been very healing for him, but they’ve also been immensely rewarding and interesting. I didn’t know anything about Carl G. Jung when Bill and I met, despite my background. Social workers do study psychology, but it’s not really the bulk of what we learn, since social work is not psychology, per se. It’s been fascinating to learn more about Jung, and help Bill learn more. He’s been so intrigued by the process that he even started taking classes at the Jung Institute in Zurich. So far, the classes have been online, but we did get a chance to visit Zurich for the first time last summer. If we manage to stay here awhile, he may get to do some serious work.

As for my own successes… I’ve watched my relaunched blog explode. In 2021, I had over 560 times the hits I had in 2020, which was much more successful than 2019, when I moved my blog to WordPress. It really is picking up, and that’s been exciting to see, even though it took some time.

I felt pretty much forced to relocate the blog from Blogspot, although I had kind of wanted to do it for a long time. It was difficult and a bit depressing to start over in February 2019. I had a decent following on the original blog, even though it was a bit rawer than this one is. Moving the blog meant losing followers, as well as ad revenue. It’s not that I make a lot of money at all through ads, but it was kind of a nice thing to occasionally get paid by Google.

Well… that pretty much ended with a thud when I moved the blog, and for quite some time, I felt really constrained and nervous about writing. I know some people don’t think I have any talent… and some people think writing is a waste of my time, so they think nothing about messing with what I do… and some people just plain don’t like me, and want to cause trouble for me for selfish and dishonest reasons. This blog is NOT my life, but it is something I enjoy creating, and it gives me a purpose. So it was hard for me in 2019, when I experienced the setback that caused me to have to start over.

Two years later, I think my blog is better than it ever was. And I’ve been rewarded with new followers, and yes, more ad revenue. I only monetized the blog a few months ago, but pretty soon, I’ll be eligible to be paid. And I can only expect that this blog will be more successful than the original blog was, in terms of money, and quality content. The travel blog is a bit down in views lately, but hopefully COVID-19 will eventually be tamed enough so we can travel again. And really, I mainly write this stuff for myself, anyway, so anyone who reads and enjoys it is just icing on the cake.

I also found a new person with whom I can do music collaborations. In fact, I even uploaded our latest effort this morning! Music is something I do for fun and relaxation, so this is a rewarding development, too…

He lives in the States. We’ve never met, but we have similar musical tastes.

Another great thing that happened in 2021 was that Bill and I finally got to visit Croatia, and pay another visit to Slovenia. I already knew Slovenia was beautiful, but Croatia was magical. Although we didn’t have an “action packed” vacation in the fall, it was still probably one of my favorite trips yet. Just the sheer beauty of Croatia and Slovenia, as well as the time we spent in Austria (another favorite destination) was so awesome. I guess COVID has also made me a lot more grateful for ANY travel. Thank God for vaccines, too. I will be boosted in a few days, which may cause temporary discomfort, but will likely make my chances of dying from COVID lower.

We got to see a few friends, and make a few new friends… and the old friends who are real friends are still with us. We also didn’t lose any loved ones in 2021. In fact, in 2022, Bill will presumably gain another grandchild. And… our beloved Arran and Noyzi are still alive. Noyzi has even become a real part of the family, right down to loving on me when he wants something and showing up fashionably late to dinner! So that’s a blessing.

I have high hopes for 2022… I hope you do, too. To those of you who have been part of this blog, thank you so much! I especially want to thank my friends who have been here since the beginning. You are all a big part of the success, too!

2021 didn’t suck for us… but I know some people are really struggling right now. I don’t know what words of wisdom or comfort I can share. One friend mentioned how bad 2021 was, and I mentioned that I thought 2016 was worse– at least in terms of lost legends. She responded that she’d had a rough time of it in 2021, and compared 2021 to a few other horrible years she’d experienced.

I knew she’s been having a hard time, so I acknowledged that. And then I remembered one of my worst years ever– 1998. If I’m honest, there were a few times during that year that I seriously contemplated suicide. I was dealing with moderately severe depression, and I didn’t see how I was ever going to escape the situation I was in. It was NOT a hopeless situation by any means– which I clearly proved. But at the time, it felt hopeless… and my perspective was so blurred by depression and anxiety that I couldn’t see beyond the fog of despair and despondency.

But some very good things also happened that year. Yes, I was working in a restaurant job where I was abused daily, and I lived with my parents, who were kind of hostile and disappointed in me. I was young and basically healthy, but felt unattractive and unsuccessful. That year, I backed into some lady’s car in our driveway, because I was so upset… and that accident led me to finally seeing a therapist. Dr. Coe helped me so much, and I was eventually put on antidepressants that changed my life. To this day, I no longer feel as horrible as I did for most of my young life.

I eventually got pretty good at the restaurant job, and was able to make enough money to pay for the therapy and save up for an apartment. I bought a car. I had a terrible setback in November 1998– in fact, that was probably one of the worst months of my life. And yet, two months later, the medication was finally correct, and I started getting my shit together… and by November 1999, I was in a dual degree master’s program, proving to myself that I wasn’t as stupid or worthless as I had felt a year prior. That was also the month I “met” Bill online. By November 2002, we were married! And now, 19 years later, here we are… In 2022, I’ll presumably turn 50, and we will celebrate 20 years married.

So it’s good that I didn’t give in to my urges to off myself back in 1998. That would have meant missing out on some really wonderful things. That “abusive” job also led to meeting some truly great friends and learning valuable life and survival skills. In the long run, that turned out to be a good thing, too, despite the suffering that happened when I was still in that situation.

My point is, sometimes what seems like the shittiest times can lead to some pretty wonderful recoveries. So if you are struggling right now, I urge you to hang on as best you can. It can, and probably will, get better. But I also know that those words ring hollow when a person is really suffering. So just know, there are people who really do care, and have been through it, too… You’re probably more like them than you know… unless, of course, you’re Josh Duggar or Ghislaine Maxwell. Those two probably won’t be enjoying life for awhile.

And, with that bit of “wisdom”, I’m signing off for today… Got a few chores to take care of, and then it’s time to watch movies and concerts.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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travel

Now in Slovenia…

We have moved on from Croatia and into Slovenia, where it’s very rainy and grey. We are staying in a large house affiliated with a small hotel near Lake Bohinj. It’s totally deserted here…. We seem to have the whole lake to ourselves.

Even though it’s grey and wet, I think we’ll see some beautiful sights. Or, at least, some different ones. Today’s featured photo is of Lake Bled as we passed it. We were last here in May 2016, but that time, we stayed in Bled. Bohinj is definitely different… and less touristy.

Hopefully, we’ll have some dry time. But if we don’t, I’ll probably start writing blog posts… and rants again.

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musings, travel

Feeling like the Tin Man this morning…

Anyone got a can of oil for my joints and muscles? Yesterday, Bill and I walked about seven miles at the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. It was a beautiful, but exhausting, experience. The trails seemed to go on forever and I wondered when they would finally end, even though the lakes are incredibly colorful and mesmerizing to look at. It wasn’t the most physically demanding thing I’ve ever done, but I’m not exactly super fit. Still, I am very proud of myself for making it… because I know that I won’t always be able to do this kind of stuff with relative ease.

Today is our last full day in Croatia. Tomorrow, we will pack up the car and go to Slovenia for a few days. Hopefully, COVID-19 won’t be a problem there, although I have to say that here in Croatia, a lot of the precautions against the pandemic seem to be very much an afterthought. I did read that the virus is on the rise, though, so I’m glad we are in a house and doing things that don’t require being close to others. We’ve also been blessed with good weather, once the fog burns off.

So pretty! Worth the trip and the muscle pain.

I posted a few photos on my travel blog yesterday. I didn’t write much, because I was just too tired and cranky. I don’t have a lot of patience for people anymore, either… especially when I’m tired and hungry, like I was yesterday.

We’re going to go back to the lakes today, but we will probably not stay very long. I think we’ll look for a place to have a nice meal and take in some more of the beautiful scenery. Maybe we’ll even use the hot tub. The time changed in Europe overnight, so we have more sunlight and less fog today.

Happy Halloween, if you celebrate…

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