disasters, dogs, Ex, music

“I was a fool to care”…

We’re back from our few days of whimsy in France, capped off by a concert by James Taylor. We came home last night from the show to find that Arran made a big mess. First, there was a pile of crap on the rug. I cleaned that up, as Bill discovered the mess he left in the basement, after breaking through the flimsy barrier Bill tried to erect. We keep some food in the basement, because like most German houses, this house lacks a proper pantry.

Arran got into noodles, old taco shells, chocolate drink mix (which he didn’t seem to get much of, thankfully), and graham crackers. There was chewed up cardboard and plastic everywhere, as well as drink powder, smashed pasta, and other assorted debris that we cleaned up at 11:00pm. Then, I discovered a pee spot on the same rug Arran has designated his own private indoor Klo (German for potty). I don’t know why, but he always chooses my favorite rugs to befoul. The funny thing is, it appeared that Noyzi had nothing whatsoever to do with the mischief making. He was in his bed when we got home, apparently long asleep. He saw me, wagged his tail, and asked for a belly rub.

Arran has always done this kind of stuff, given an opportunity, but the steroid meds he takes make him even hungrier and more determined than ever. Fortunately, he seems to be suffering no ill effects today. Bill usually does a very obsessive job of “beagle proofing” before we go out anywhere. He takes everything up from under the counter and puts the stuff in the bathroom or on top of the counter. And he makes a point of putting the most dangerous stuff in cupboards or high shelves.

Arran tried very hard to make up with me after trashing the basement and befouling my rug.

Unfortunately, we had forgotten about some stuff in the basement that’s been there awhile. We don’t have a door to stop Arran from going down there, though we do use a baby gate. He managed to push past it, even though Bill parked a crate of beer behind it. I guess we’re going to have to build a wall… or maybe invest in a Schrank (portable cupboard). It’s a good thing I don’t go out that often.

In spite of his raid on our dry goods, Arran seems to be fine today. He slept through the night and eagerly ate his breakfast. He could tell I was pissed at him last night, and snuggled next to me, because obviously he couldn’t help himself. Poor guy. We got the bills for his last four chemo treatments. They came to about 445 euros. Added to the first bill, which was under 300 euros, I can still say that German chemo for dogs is very reasonably priced. And even though Arran is naughtier than ever, it’s restored him to his old self… at least temporarily. So, we’ll take it and try to enjoy him, even though he really can be a little shit sometimes. But then, that’s part of his charm.

Now, to address today’s blog post title…

As I mentioned last night, Bill and I saw James Taylor perform. This show was originally supposed to happen in February 2022, but COVID numbers were too high at that time, so it was postponed until November 8. Then, James got COVID and had to cancel several shows. Luckily, Frankfurt wasn’t cancelled, but it was postponed. So we went last night and had a really good time. I see from Setlist.fm that James cut a few songs from the show– songs he did in Stuttgart, which was the last show he did before he got sick. Still, it was an excellent concert, and we were happy with the songs he did perform. There was no need for him to do more, especially since I could see that he was probably still a little fatigued from COVID. He still seemed a little pale and shaky to me, but it didn’t stop him from singing, playing, and jumping around the stage like a younger man. And as a fan since, at least, the late 70s, I left the concert hall very satisfied. I was particularly impressed that he took the time to sign a lot of stuff for his fans. I chose not to try for an autograph myself, but I enjoyed seeing how happy he made some of the other concertgoers. James Taylor obviously loves what he does, and that is a joy to see. He’s a lucky man, but we are just as lucky to witness him doing what he was obviously born to do.

One song James didn’t play was one from the 70s called “I Was a Fool to Care”. This song, from Gorilla, an album he released in 1975, was performed at a show in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2015. He looks a bit haler in the video below…

Here, he has a full band. Last night was a more pared down production, but I was in the second row, which was a great experience.

This song is about unrequited love– a man realizes that the woman he loves is not really worthy of his love. She lies and cheats. He’s heard about it through the grapevine, but brushed the warnings aside, even though she’s not a good person. He loves her anyway, even though it’s obvious she’s a liar who is using him, playing him for a fool. I’m not in a situation like that. Thankfully, I managed to find a good partner, and we love and trust each other. However, we both came with baggage… and that includes people on either side of our families who probably aren’t worth so much of our love and attention. It’s hard, though, not to care, if you are naturally a caring, decent person. Or even if you care about other people’s opinions of you…

Recently, I wrote about how my husband’s former wife has “targeted” his stepmother for financial “assistance”. I first noticed it (this time) in the spring. I write “this time” in parentheses, because Ex has a history of using people. She has used Bill’s stepmother repeatedly. In the past, nothing has really been done about it, because Ex has a way of shell-shocking people into being silent. However, we have been on the receiving end of complaints about how ungrateful and unkind Ex is. We have seen, personally, how she has used Bill’s father and stepmother for money and material goods, as well as manipulative tools/flying monkeys against her victims. And now, since he reconnected with his daughter, we’ve heard that this shit has been ongoing with a number of victims, some of whom are elderly and/or infirm.

At least one of the things Ex has been accused of doing is a felony. If she was to be caught and prosecuted, she could be heavily fined and/or spend several years in prison. Ex’s husband works in healthcare, and she has had elderly relatives living with her. She also has two children in the home who have different levels of autism, for whom she receives money from the state. I don’t know if either of them take medication, but I do know that at least one of the elderly relatives was prescribed opiates. And Ex allegedly helped herself to them, which is illegal and potentially dangerous.

As I write this post, I’m remembering that around the time she was bugging SMIL, Ex was also talking about getting a dog for her son. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t cause too much alarm… except that dogs can be exploited for drugs, too. As I was looking up laws where Ex lives, I ran across a 2017 article from the Washington Post about people who use their pets to get prescription meds. I don’t see a gift option for this article, so below are a few excerpts:

Last year in Virginia, a dog owner took his boxer to six veterinarians to get anti-anxiety pills and painkillers for his own use before he was caught, according to Fairfax County police, who said the owner was eventually charged with prescription fraud.

In Kentucky in 2014, a woman was accused of cutting her golden retriever twice with a razor so she could get drugs. And in the early 2000s, a man in Ohio allegedly taught his dog to cough on cue so the owner could get hydrocodone.

Such cases are believed to be rare, but authorities are working to cut off the supply of abused drugs. The Fairfax County Police Department recently published a brochure showing veterinarians how to spot a “vet shopper.”

The clues include: new patients bringing in seriously injured animals, requesting certain medications by name, seeking early refills of prescriptions and claiming that medications had been lost or stolen.

The Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine issued emergency regulations in June limiting the duration of prescriptions that may be ordered for controlled substances. A vet may provide a seven-day supply and a seven-day refill only after reevaluating the animal.

For chronic conditions, the vet may prescribe an opioid for six months but must see and reevaluate the animal before prescribing more.

I absolutely do think Ex is capable of this kind of fuckery. I’d like to think she isn’t– as she comes across as a very nice, reasonable person online, or at least that is the image she tries very hard to project. But again, I know people who know her, and I’ve seen the literal scars she’s left on Bill. I don’t know if she’s abused anyone else in the way she abused my husband, but I do know that people close to her have been burned. She continues to do this stuff, though, because people allow it. It’s easier to look the other way than call the cops.

Some people seem to think there’s nothing we can do about this situation. As I have mentioned more than once, I totally disagree. However, I don’t think I’m the one who should make the report, because I’m not the one who has seen the evidence firsthand. Moreover, SMIL and I don’t have much of a relationship. From the beginning of my marriage to her stepson, she has treated me like a homewrecking interloper. I am neither of those things; however, I am also not a doormat. So I don’t get too close to her, because frankly, I don’t have to, and I don’t really want to. SMIL isn’t my responsibility. Frankly, I find her immature, manipulative, and disrespectful. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care what happens to her. It also doesn’t mean that I never hear from other people who do have a close relationship to her and love her very much. I don’t want to see SMIL being victimized. She isn’t malevolent; she’s just very insecure. And I know that she is loved by many people.

Personally, I think it’s time legal action was taken, but I also know it’s not my call to make. So maybe I am a “fool to care”. Why waste time even thinking about this? It’s not my problem, and some people already seem to think I’m a heartless bitch, anyway. I can’t win, so I might as well do whatever causes me less grief. But because I’m not actually a heartless bitch, I do write about it, which seems to make some people feel like they need to conflate their experiences with ours. These are different people in different states, and what worked or didn’t work for some people might or might not work in this situation. Moreover, it’s just not helpful to tell someone who is concerned about a problem that nothing can be done. Especially when you don’t actually know any of the people involved.

I understand that sometimes, people do this because they’re frustrated, or they tried to do something in a similar situation and were dissatisfied with the results. There’s every chance that the same thing might happen in this situation. Or, maybe it won’t. Or maybe nothing will happen. Anyway, I just don’t think being dismissive or skeptical is useful. I just fear that at some point, what Ex does is eventually going to be egregious enough that someone will be forced to take some action. There could even be a tragedy involved. And if something tragic happens, it’s highly likely that people will wonder why no one ever said or did anything about Ex before the issues managed to get to that point.

We can’t win, can we. So maybe we really are fools to care. Or maybe I am… because it’s not really my problem. So, I think I’m going to write on my travel blog… and then go read more of Michael Cohen’s latest book.

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dogs, France, travel

A quick hello from France!

It’s already 5:00pm, and I’m just now sitting down to post on my blog. I can’t even say it’s been a particularly busy day. Last night, we had dinner at one of the few Ribeauville restaurants we’d never tried. It also happened to be one of the few places that was open right now. Our “host” says that a lot of the local businesses shut down around now, because the Christmas markets are about to start. When the markets start, they will be working very hard, so they take a break beforehand.

Isn’t that crazy? In America, you’d never see half a town shut down because of upcoming Christmas markets. But then, people in America don’t have the same concept of work/life balance as the French do. In a couple of months, a lot of them will shut down again, because it’ll be January and DEAD.

We often come to Ribeauville when it’s the low season. Although this is our sixth time here, we have only been here once when tourism was a thing. I remember we were relegated to a tiny gite, because the one we usually rent was booked. I don’t mind that a lot of places are closed, as long as a few restaurants are open so we don’t starve.

Noyzi took all day to pee. He’s not used to going to the bathroom while on his leash. Bill said it was a two minute stream. He still hasn’t pooped yet. I’m sure that’s coming soon. Hopefully, it will happen outside.

We took a walk this morning, then had a big lunch with a bottle of wine. When we came back in the mid afternoon, I was really sleepy. So I tried to read… and sure enough, I was soon in dreamland. It was a very nice nap, but now it’s dark outside.

Arran has been to this town a few times, although his last visit was in 2018. When we arrived here yesterday, he knew exactly where to go, and was leading the way. I know he has cancer, but you’d really never know it to look at him right now. He’s doing very well.

It looks like James Taylor’s show is going to happen on Saturday, so we will cut this visit short. I think it will be a good thing, if only because Noyzi will probably really need to poop. He usually gets poop zoomies before he goes. He can’t do that here. But he’s enjoying himself, and I think he’s loving seeing a new town in a different country. This is a good place to teach him how to travel. Maybe we can bring him along more often, although he really loves being boarded. Arran, on the other hand, would much rather be with us. I could tell, yesterday, that he was so glad not to be going to the Hunde Hotel.

Ribeauville is a sight for sore eyes. I’m glad we came here to celebrate our 20th anniversary. This morning’s croissant alone, made it worth the trip. I may write something more substantial tomorrow, but today, I just felt like enjoying the break and taking a nap with my favorite boys…

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Bill, dogs, Ex, love, marriage, narcissists

The evolution of true love…

I have a lot on my mind this morning. Our sweet Arran is starting to wear out, and Bill and I are frustrated, because he has to leave town this week and next, and the vet has been hard to reach. I don’t want to be here alone with Arran, because I’m afraid he will decline while Bill is gone. While Arran loves us both, he has a special connection to Bill. It would devastate us if he were to pass while Bill was gone on a business trip.

We did call the vet’s office this morning. Hopefully, she will be able to give us some Prednisone or something similar to tide Arran over until we can try chemo. It’s very frustrating to have to deal with the timing of this now. If this had happened a month ago, we’d be more able to handle it properly. Arran still wants to engage with us, and he will eat, sleep, and take walks. He seems to have more difficulty in the mornings. I think it’s because he likely has a mass in his chest that causes fluid to build up when he sleeps. As I mentioned before, it’s not that we’re hoping for a miracle cure for him. We just want to buy him some time until we can both be there to help him cross the Rainbow Bridge.

I could write more about this, but I was already kept awake by weird dreams and worry. I can’t control the cancer that has, once again, invaded our lives. I love living in Europe, but sometimes I really miss being in my own country, where I can speak the language and feel more comfortable driving places by myself. Bill plans to come home on Friday, so he’ll be here on the weekend before he has to leave again. I generally hate it when he travels, although I mind it much less when our dogs aren’t ailing.

Now… on to today’s topic.

Yesterday, I saw a tweet by Ex that made me do some thinking about the process of love. When she and Bill were married, she used to lament that Bill didn’t love her the way a woman should be loved. She even used music to make her points. To this day, Bill hates the songs “To Really Love A Woman” by Bryan Adams, and “Strong Enough” by Sheryl Crow. Ex would play them and offer object lessons on how men should show love and affection to their wives. I don’t remember him ever telling me that Ex was ready to take criticism on how she “loved” Bill. Personally, I don’t think she’s capable of actual love. Instead, she gets infatuated with people. When that wears off, she’s inevitably disappointed.

Here’s an example of what I mean, once again, courtesy of her very public tweets:

He genuinely nailed it. He looked at her the way a man should look at a woman…with awe. I love this picture! It makes me cry for all of us who will never experience true love. Oh gods, it makes me feel so lonely!!

Ex was reacting to a photo of two actors on a TV show she watches. She gets all starry eyed about actors– people paid to pretend to love each other for entertainment purposes– looking like they are in awe of each other, and deeply in “true love”. In another tweet, she writes:

They still have that way of looking at each other…. Oh how it rips my heart out.

There are other comments about the perfect “love”, and how “beautiful” the couple on TV is… even though they are ACTORS. She has fallen under their spell, lost in the romance of what she assumes “true love” is.

A couple of days ago, I was listening to H.G. Tudor on YouTube. He has a very interesting channel, as he claims to be a high level narcissistic sociopath himself, and he says that makes him able to spot and explain narcissistic behaviors to the unaware. Now… I have mentioned more than once that I don’t know if H.G. Tudor truly is a narcissistic sociopath, working for “good”. I don’t doubt that he has narcissistic traits and proclivities. And, for all I know, he really is what he claims to be. I’ve never met the man. He just seems very astute and aware for a narcissist. Usually, they are so stuck on themselves and their own agendas that they would never think to offer advice to the general public.

But anyway, the other day, H.G. Tudor posted an interesting video in which he was talking about people in the early stages of mutual attraction. Have you ever “fallen in love”? It’s only happened to me once– back when I met Bill and realized that we had something between us. I remember that time to be very exciting and fun. We were into each other. We wanted to be together. We went on exciting dates and spent wonderful weekends together, during which we would do fun things. It was a very intense time, and it made us both feel really good. I think that’s by design, isn’t it? You “fall in love” with someone, which makes you want to have sex with them and, perhaps, procreate? Or maybe not… as I do know that a lot of people, by their own choosing, never have children. I do think there is a biological element to “falling in love”, though.

But then what happens after the relationship is established? What happens when the couple is no longer feeling the need to impress each other with romance and magical surprises? What happens when one or the other person doesn’t feel the need to keep offering “hits” to keep the other person interested?

Things cool off somewhat. Maybe you don’t have sex in every room anymore. Maybe you stop feeding each other chocolate covered strawberries. Maybe there are fewer date nights. Maybe you act more like friends, or even roommates, than lovers. Maybe the honeymoon is obviously over when one, or both of you, feels perfectly fine about performing bodily functions in the open without any shame whatsoever. This happens to the best of couples. My parents were married for 56 years. They had their problems, but I know they loved each other very much. They were very comfortable together.

Bill and I are still “in love”, I’d say. We genuinely love to be with each other. We still do things together all the time. But there’s less romance, and a lot less sex. We’re now a seasoned, established couple… true partners, rather than lovestruck beings consumed with passion. Sometimes Bill does look at me in awe, but it’s usually after I’ve said something particularly shocking or disgusting. 😉 On rare occasions, he looks at me that way when he’s proud of me… like if I record a song that makes him cry, or I offer an insight that he hadn’t considered. But of course that doesn’t happen every day. It would be unrealistic to expect that.

I think Ex somehow never learned that no relationship stays hot and spicy forever. Real love isn’t about being starry eyed and crazy with awe for another person. Real love is settled and reliable and… sometimes… a little bit boring. But it’s dependable and sane. I know my husband has my back, and he knows I have his. We get through things together. I don’t need him to look at me as if I’m some exotic goddess who amazes him every day. It’s enough that he treats me that way by showing me respect and regard. And he doesn’t care if I fart in front of him or tell a raunchy joke. He loves me for exactly who I am, and doesn’t want me to change.

I’ll tell you something else, too. I know my husband is faithful. I am faithful to him, too. Neither of us has any desire to get any on the side. How do I know this? Because he’s almost always with me. When he’s not, he’s contacting me from afar. Maybe he’s a rare individual, but I’d like to hope there are more people out there who are like him. People have tried to tell me that all men cheat. But I’m certain that Bill doesn’t. He can’t be the only faithful man in the world.

Last night, I unfollowed an author I had been following because she was posting some “anti-male” propaganda that I didn’t appreciate. It was basically about how men are all disgusting, consumed with lust, and looking at all women as sex objects. The post was something along the lines of how men don’t realize how awful they are until they become fathers, and they realize that males are looking at their daughters the way that they used to look at other men’s daughters. I do think that’s often true, and it’s based in biology. But I don’t think all men are like that. And unfortunately, I also know that while men much more often sexually assault women, sometimes women also sexually assault men. It can and does happen.

I have seen Ex repeatedly post comments about how a certain male actor warms her heart because he gives her a sense of “safety”. She thinks the actor looks at his co-star with such warmth and regard that there is “true love” there. But they’re actors! Are they actually in love? I would guess not, even if it is technically possible. And somehow, Ex has come to believe that love is always passionate and hot. I have come to realize that real love isn’t like that at all.

Real love is being there when someone is not at their best. Real love is accepting a person for who they are, and not trying to shame or change them in any way. Real love is letting the person show their feelings authentically, and not using books, music, movies, or art to try to “teach” them the proper way to express their feelings. Real love is about commitment, trust, and positive regard. I would say that love often feels like a very deep and trusting friendship, a closeness in which the couple can tell each other anything at all and not worry about being immediately shamed or shitcanned. Even if something terrible has happened– at least the couple can hear each other out without fear. Real love isn’t about that look of “awe”. It’s about a deep and abiding connection, great compassion, and knowing each other very well.

Ex is right that she’s never had “true love”. She certainly never had it with Bill. But that’s not because he isn’t capable of it. I know for a fact that he is.

And just to bring this back around to our beloved Arran, look at these photos and tell me if you see true love. I sure do…

This is a man who loves deeply.
Theirs is a special connection.
I have so many photos like this one. Soon, I will have to compile them in a memorial video.

And yes, sometimes I still catch him looking at me that way, too…

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Ex, narcissists, Twitter

The last full day of our brief trip…

It’s been a bit rainy today, although it’s not been as rainy as it was yesterday. We took a walk down the hill to another hotel in town, which has a restaurant with decent food. We also spent more time at the hotel’s fabulous pool area. I will miss it as we make our way home to Wiesbaden tomorrow. On the other hand, I think we’re both ready to go home and see our dogs. We’re both worried about Arran.

I have enjoyed being at the Bareiss Hotel, but I would have enjoyed it more if not for a canine cancer diagnosis in our sweet Arran. He really is a unique soul, and we dearly love him. Unfortunately, this is just a shitty part of loving animals. If you do it right, you go through this.

I probably shouldn’t write this next bit, but I’m going to do it anyway… because it’s about Ex, and y’all know how I feel about her. I’ll keep it brief.

Ex has been tweeting about General Flynn. In her most recent tweet, she made a comment about broken military servicemembers…

I find Ex’s comments about the military very rich indeed.

Ex says, “…the same US military that says, ‘No man left behind.’ but fills the streets with homeless, mentally broken, physically challenged men and women of honor. Broken things CAN be repaired!” (I took the liberty of subtly correcting Ex’s punctuation.)

When I met Bill, he was very damaged due to the years he spent with Ex. He was barely able to survive on the amount of money he was withholding from his paycheck to send to her, as she shacked up with #3. He falsely believed that he was the sole reason for their divorce, when he was actually a victim of domestic violence. It was many years later when he finally told me about some of the worst things that happened to him during their marriage… things that would have landed her in prison if she were a man, and the abuse was reported. And yet, there she is on Twitter, spouting off bullshit about abused, broken, hurting people.

HA!

In Bill’s case, the military was a SAVIOR. It saved him from being stuck with her. Being at WAR was better than being with her. Safer, too.

I know… there’s nothing I can do about the lies she spews. But it makes me feel better to write about it. It helps me keep things from getting too twisted. Bill has literal scars from his years with her. He has emotional and mental scars, too. She doesn’t see it, though. She thinks he hurt her… and that was justification for ostracizing him from his daughters, trying to sabotage his family relations, and leaving him almost destitute, with shitty credit and a foreclosure and bankruptcy on his credit report.

The cognitive dissonance is astounding. She leaves her ex husbands and children damaged and broken and sends them out on their own with nothing. They’re still better off without her in their lives, even as they are left with significant trauma. She has a lot of nerve commenting on the military. But she is right about one thing. Broken things CAN be repaired. I am proud to be part of Bill’s recovery.

Sorry… just sayin’.

Well… I’ll be home tomorrow, so those of you who like my blog will soon see some new entries. I especially look forward to pumping some life into the travel blog. So, I hope you enjoy your Sunday. See you tomorrow, when I can type on my desktop computer again.

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blog news, travel

Today was a day of rest…

Yesterday, Bill and I had some grand plans to drive out and maybe do some hiking to waterfalls. I have been missing them, since we moved to Hesse a few years ago. But we woke up to steady rain, and it continued for most of the day. We might have gone back to the pool, but I figured there would be a lot of kids there. So we left the room long enough to give housekeeping a chance to tidy up, then we had lunch. After lunch, we came back to the room and I took a long nap.

Tonight, there was a gala dinner that consisted of many courses. All of the ladies were presented with roses, hence the vase of water that was mysteriously placed in our room. The men all got chocolates. Dinner is over now, so we’ll probably go to bed early. We were up late last night after many cocktails.

I hope tomorrow, the weather is nicer, so we can enjoy the area before we leave on Monday. I have really missed our dogs, especially since this is a very dog friendly hotel. Ours would probably make too much noise, though. I am ready to see them. I’ve been worried about Arran, but we haven’t gotten any alarming emails from the Hundepension.

Bill has to go away a couple of times in October for work, which distresses me, since Arran has lymphoma. Other than the James Taylor concert in November, we have nothing else planned. Not even for our 20th wedding anniversary.

It has been nice to get away… but it’ll be good to be home. Every day, we run up more of a bill. 😉

I look forward to writing the story of this trip on my much neglected travel blog.

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