book reviews, true crime

Reviewing John Glatt’s The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder…

One good thing about Bill’s business trips is that they frequently allow me to get a lot of reading done. Instead of hanging out with Bill at our kitchen table, listening to music and enjoying libations, I tend to work on my big virtual pile of books to be read. Bill is coming home today, so it’s fitting that I would finish reading my latest book in time for his arrival. This morning, I finished British-American true crime author John Glatt’s 2020 book, The Perfect Father: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder. I’ve had this book in my virtual “to be read” pile for well over a year, having downloaded it in 2021. I have other books waiting that have been queued up for even longer than that!

The Perfect Father is the shocking and tragic story of Chris Watts and his devastating choice to murder his pregnant wife, Shannan, and their two daughters, Bella and Celeste (CeCe), on August 13, 2018. Like so many people, I was absolutely shocked by the callousness of this brutal crime, which left two families shattered and a man’s life ruined. As it is with these kinds of horrific events, evidence shows that the Watts family was headed for disaster for years. It did not have to end in murder. But, unfortunately, this was a case of two incompatible people who desperately needed to admit that their marriage wasn’t working and avail themselves of divorce court. Instead, Chris Watts lost control of himself. Now, his wife, two daughters, and unborn son are gone forever, and he will never again see the light of day as a free man.

I want to make it perfectly clear. I do not, in ANY way, condone what Chris Watts did. He definitely belongs in prison for the rest of his life. However… I do want to state that based on Glatt’s book, I can’t conclude that Watts is a complete monster. His actions absolutely were monstrous. But I like to think that the vast majority of people are better than their worst actions. That’s how I feel about this case, at least with the information I have at this point in time. I can see that I’m not the only person who feels this way.

Todd Grande’s take on this case… He admits it was difficult for him, too. He actually sounds a little shaken as he talks about this. Grande is usually a lot more glib when he introduces the cases he analyzes.

Chris Watts and his family…

Chris Watts was born to his parents, Ronnie and Cindy Watts, in Spring Lake, North Carolina on May 16, 1985. He was a quiet young man who enjoyed cars and mechanics. From a young age, he showed an aptitude for fixing things, and he grew up loving race cars. When he was still quite young, he got a job working for the local Ford dealership, where he developed a reputation for doing great work on cars. He had aspired to work as an elite auto mechanic, but that wasn’t in the cards. For years, Chris settled for working at Ford dealerships in North Carolina and Colorado, and then later for Andarko Petroleum in Frederick, Colorado.

Shannan Rzucek Watts, named after the doo wop group, Sha Na Na, was born to her parents, Frank and Sandi Rzucek in Passaic County, New Jersey on January 10, 1984. She grew up in Moore County, North Carolina, and was known for being a real go getter who liked nice things and the sweet life. By the time she was 25 years old, she owned what some might call a “McMansion”, which she built and decorated herself. Shannan was well known for being very friendly and sales motivated. Besides her human resources job at Anschutz Children’s Hospital in Colorado, Shannan was also a very successful independent sales representative for a multi-level marketing company that sold a product called Thrive.

Chris and Shannan met in North Carolina in 2010. They married on November 3, 2012 in Mecklenberg County, North Carolina. Not long after their wedding, the two decided to move to Frederick, Colorado. Their oldest child, Bella Marie, was born on December 17, 2013, and their second child, Celeste Cathryn (known as CeCe), was born on July 17, 2015. At the time of her death, Shannan was 15 weeks with the couple’s unborn son, whom they had planned to call Nico Lee.

The build up…

By most accounts, Chris and Shannan Watts appeared to be a very solid family. Chris was described as a very nice, hard working, decent man. Shannan was known as extremely successful, goal oriented, and a devoted mother. The couple had a lot of friends, and appeared to be living the sweet life, as they drove expensive cars and lived in a beautiful, spacious, five bedroom home. Most people who knew the Wattses believed they were happy and highly functional. But, underneath the beautiful facade of their family life, the couple’s marriage was crumbling.

According to Glatt, who admittedly wrote his book without assistance from the Rzucek family, Shannan was obsessed with promoting a very successful image. In her opinion, that image must be formed by the trappings of success– a beautiful home, expensive cars, beautiful clothes, and glowing health. Chris Watts, by contrast, was much more introverted and low key. He took pleasure in simpler things, like camping out, long drives, and living more within his means.

From the beginning, it didn’t appear that this couple was particularly well matched to each other. Still, they put forth an image of success and financial wealth, as Shannan developed her business with Thrive. She convinced family and friends to use the health and wellness company’s products, which included transdermal patches. Shannan had a very active social media presence. Although Chris was less comfortable with the spotlight than Shannan was, she would use him to promote Thrive. Indeed, Chris became a success story, transforming his “dad bod” to a much buffer version. Shannan constantly posted videos of Chris on Facebook, even though he wasn’t particularly comfortable with the exposure.

Again, based solely on appearances, the couple appeared to be extremely well off and happy. But there were many problems. Shannan didn’t get along with Chris’s parents, especially his mother, to whom Chris was very close. They both had huge credit card debts. Shannan suffered from lupus, and their two daughters both had health problems that ran up huge medical bills. Yes, they looked like they were on top of the world, but the reality was that they were barely keeping afloat.

Chris and Shannan were drifting apart, never really stopping to be honest with each other to determine what would make the other happy. Shannan seemed to want Chris to take her side in all matters, including those involving his parents– and especially his mom, whom Shannan reportedly didn’t like at all. Chris’s response to his wife was to withdraw from her, rather than have a discussion about their failing marriage. Shannan responded by becoming angry, and involving a lot of unrelated and uninvolved people in their personal issues. Throughout the book, Glatt includes actual text messages, many of which Shannan sent to her friends, as if she was circling the wagons.

In the midst of all of this alienation, Chris met another woman. Nichol Kessinger also worked for Andarko Petroleum, and Chris was instantly attracted to her. He told her he and Shannan were separated, and the two commenced a torrid affair. Meanwhile, Shannan was obsessed with her business with Thrive and her third pregnancy, this time with a son. The couple was drowning in debt and had no love for each other. Chris Watts had moved on, but Shannan wanted to stay together… if only until their son was born.

Murder…

Shannan had handled all of the finances in the Watts marriage, so Chris would usually use a work credit card to pay for dates with Nichol Kessinger. One time, he used his joint card, and Shannan noticed the unusually high charge at a restaurant. Chris had been reticent about his unhappiness for a long time. In the early hours of August 13, 2018, the day Chris strangled his wife, the two had sex. Then she confronted him, and he told her he wanted a divorce.

Shannan’s angry response was the Chris would never see her or their daughters again. Then, Chris strangled her with his bare hands. As her mother lay lifeless, four year old Bella asked what was wrong with her mommy. It must have been then that Chris decided he would kill his daughters, too. Coldly and methodically, he loaded Shannan into his truck, as well as his daughters. It took 45 minutes for him to drive to his family’s final destination in a remote mine field. He buried Shannan in a shallow grave. Then, he smothered CeCe and Bella and dumped both of their bodies into separate oil tanks, where he hoped they’d never be found.

I might explain Chris’s decision to murder Shannan as motivated by rage. But he still had 45 minutes to calm down before he decided to kill his innocent daughters. I read in another source that Chris thought he might commit suicide, but ultimately changed his mind because– crazily enough– he was concerned about workers being hurt in the aftermath.

My thoughts

John Glatt usually does a pretty good job on his books. I think The Perfect Father is a good example of his typical work. This book is well written and researched, for the most part. Of course, it would have been better if he had gotten statements from Shannan’s family, who would have probably balanced out what some readers might think is a fairly sympathetic treatment of Chris Watts. Because the Rzuceks did not participate, this book may seem somewhat one-sided, and possibly unfair to Shannan. She is, quite frankly, portrayed as an abrasive, difficult, money and status hungry person who drove her husband to snap.

Now… God knows I know that such people exist in the world. I write about them all the time in this blog. However, as I mentioned up post, I don’t believe that most people are as bad as their worst actions. Surely, Shannan Watts had a lot going for her that may have been more appealing to a different man. She was legitimately successful as a Thrive representative, even though the couple’s finances were a disaster. And she was a conscientious mother, even if she was portrayed as a potential alienator.

I suspect that if Shannan and Chris had divorced, Shannan might have made things very difficult for him… but I don’t know that for sure. I can only go by Glatt’s description of her behaviors. By Glatt’s account, Shannan Watts comes off as very materialistic, controlling, and potentially narcissistic. If his account is accurate, I can understand how Chris Watts came to be enraged by her behavior. He probably felt despondent, like there was no hope for the future.

None of this means that Chris Watts had ANY right to murder his wife and children. The way he killed them and disposed of their remains was particularly cold hearted and cruel. But, up until he committed his crimes, he hadn’t seemed like a terrible person, at least not by Glatt’s account. Chris Watts apparently didn’t have a history of operating outside of the law. To me, it really does look like he was desperately unhappy, feeling trapped, and simply snapped. He had gone from being a supposedly solid, dependable guy to a cold-hearted, lying, psychopath, completely lacking in empathy and overcome with impulsiveness. I’m sure using Thrive– of which he was using two patches instead of the recommended one– wasn’t helpful, either. He was living an artificial life, that wasn’t the one he’d envisioned for himself. It seemed like there was a perfect storm of many horrific elements from both sides that came together at the worst time.

This is a heartbreaking story on many levels. I see some parallels to the Scott and Laci Peterson case, although unlike Scott Peterson, Chris Watts seems to have some remorse for what he did. And, I’m sorry to say, Shannan Watts did not seem to be as sympathetic a victim as Laci Peterson was. However, many components are similar… murder of a pregnant woman, infidelity, and an outwardly successful and happy appearance before tragedy struck.

It seems to me that the pursuit of the elusive “American Dream” has led to great sorrow for many who never quite get there. Those who are lucky only lose out financially. In this case, there was devastation on every level, affecting so many people. Chris Watts absolutely belongs in prison for the rest of his life for what he did. But I can’t help but wish that he had simply realized that there’s life after divorce and gotten one of those– long before Shannan got pregnant a third time. Or, better yet, held out for marriage to a woman with whom he was truly compatible. I’m sure he wishes that, too.

Amazingly enough, Glatt reports that there’s no shortage of fan mail to Chris Watts from admiring women… He also became friends with Jake Patterson, who kidnapped Jayme Closs after killing her parents, and help her captive for 88 days. Jake Patterson has since been transferred, but they used to be “neighbors” in prison and struck up a companionship. The mind boggles.

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Ex, narcissists, Twitter

Scottish by blood, Ex? Really?

More ragging on Ex. You’ve been warned.

I had kind of a crappy weekend. We had bad weather. Bill had to leave for another weeklong business trip yesterday. Saturday night, I found an enlarged lymph node on Arran, which indicates that the chemo is starting to fail. Arran is still acting like himself. In fact, he let me stay in bed until about 4:15am, when I finally got up by my own choice and asked him if he wanted to eat. He practically leapt out of the bed and danced all the way downstairs. I think we were all hungry, because I didn’t make dinner last night. I was too busy watching Body Cam cop videos on YouTube and drinking beer. I only had two, though, so that wasn’t bad.

I started reading a compelling new book last night. I’m already well into it, because I didn’t sleep well. I woke up at about 2:00am, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I finally dozed off for about an hour, and Bill sent me a private message, which made my watch vibrate. I do love that man… but now I’m feeling kind of cranky and snarky. I see the weather is still kind of yucky, too. So, I might as well rag on Ex again. Why not?

Last week, I mentioned that I found out that I have ties to the Fraser clan in Scotland. Ex also proudly claims to have ties to the Fraser clan. We seem to have ties to different branches of that clan, which fills me with relief. I’m not particularly proud to have ties to the Fraser clan. I don’t know much about them. But, if I have to have ties to them, I’d prefer them to be distant from Ex’s professed ties. She’s not someone I want to share DNA with at all.

Truth be told, according to Ancestry.com, I have ties to quite a few different clans. Make no mistake, though… I am an American. I was born there, and have spent most of my life living there– in Virginia, mostly. Germany is catching up in terms of the number of years where I’ve lived. It’s now in second place. I’ve spent about ten years in Germany– a total of six living in Baden-Württemberg, and so far, four in Hessen.

I’m still an American, though… even though 23andMe has only found a slight trace of Native American DNA. If I were to go only by my DNA, I’d definitely be a Brit… and most likely, a Scot. However, it’s been a few hundred years since my ancestors last lived in Scotland and other parts of the British Isles. Most of them moved to the United States in the 1600s and 1700s. So, I think calling myself Scottish would be impractical, disingenuous, and kind of pretentious.

Sure, I definitely look the part, and I definitely enjoy Scottish humor and libations, and sometimes I wish I could be anything other than a US citizen, especially given the dark road our country has been on of late. But Donald Trump is half Scottish, so that’s reason enough for me to embrace some of my other heritage. 😉

Ex, on the other hand, is convinced that she’s a Scot. And not only is she a Scot, but she’s downright aristocratic. She never misses a chance to brag about it on Twitter, either. She’s a super fan of Outlander, which I just realized is on Netflix. I’ve never seen the show, and before I started watching Ex’s Twitter feed, had never heard of the author of the books or the actors who portray the characters. Ex is apparently obsessed with them, and has now adopted Scotland as her “home”. To my knowledge, she’s never even been there to visit, but she does have an active fantasy life.

A few days ago, she was all excited about Robert Burns…

Thanks for this lovely tribute to Robert Burns!! Sam is a great example of how much we Scots love him and all he does for the heart and soul of Scotland. I for one long to go home to Scotland and just breath… Slàinte Mhath, Tash!! Happy Burns night!!

Um… I’d love to know if Ex even knows the most basic of poetry written by Robert Burns. Oh, maybe she knows “Auld Lang Syne”. I remember the first poem I knew was written by him, but I learned it due to being in a choir. It had been set to music, just as “Auld Lang Syne” is. Below is the version we did in 1991, done by a different university’s choir.

Aw….how pretty. Makes me want to join another choir. I still remember the soprano part and the words. Music is a good partner to the English major.
This version is beautifully done. Better than the one above, in my opinion. The first version is probably more like what my choir sounded like. We didn’t have enough really good male singers.

I’d be surprised if Ex even knows the poem, “A Red, Red Rose.” But maybe she’s gotten into Scottish poetry and reads it in bed, after an Outlander watch party. Bill says when they were married, she was obsessed with Ireland. They even had claddagh rings. Older daughter has an Irish first name, too. It was chosen by Bill, but Ex downplays that fact. Now, she’s obsessed with Scotland…

Funny thing about Ireland. Bill’s surname is Irish, and to me, he really looks Irish. But, according to our DNA tests, I’m more Irish than he is. 😀 My maiden name originated in England, and I’d always assumed we were mostly English by ancestry. Apparently not.

I’d barely recovered from Ex’s crowfest about Robert Burns, complete with fake “Scottishisms”, when someone posted another photo of her dream man, Sam Heughan (who looks a lot like Ron Howard, to me). Ex wrote:

I love this pic on the right. He was out and about when he saw a fan trying to snap a picture… so he flashed them his sweetest smile. He loves the fans and respects them… let’s make sure we ALL reciprocate!

But then she is gently corrected…

It wasn’t a fan, it was paparazzi.

So then she writes:

Ohhh that actually makes me sad, then. I’d heard it was a random fan. I wish the press would leave celebrities alone and concentrate on matters that need our attention, dire or uplifting. Extra pics of our favorites can’t make us love them more after all!!!

Um… she wants the press to leave celebrities alone, yet she’s constantly tweeting at them and asking them to give her daughter an internship. See Mark Hamill, Sam Heughan, Chris Evans, and Diana Galbadon… I guess she doesn’t see herself at the same level of peskiness as a paparazzo. Based on what happened to Bill during his relationship with her, I would say she is every bit as damaging, if not more so.

Next, there’s a gushy post about how handsome Sam Heughan is, and another poster writes:

Today, I told my long time husband, “I apologize for never being slender.” It’s not in my DNA. I said it because I see him perk up at women, who I don’t think are attractive, but they’re slender. Then I said, “You can apologize for not being a 6’3″ buff ‘red’ haired young man.”

Ex responds thusly:

Och aye!

It’d be hypocrisy to objectify @SamHeughan (&@ChrisEvans) best looking men I’ve seen, but I don’t think it’s just looks that make me feel that way. I think it’s his heartfelt philanthropy, genuine desire to help others be healthy, the way he lives his best life.

It seems to me that Ex would be best off not ever meeting her heroes. I doubt they would live up to her impressions of them. I also know that her ideas of the perfect man are constantly evolving. She demands that her men play a role, rather than be who they are. What I think is sad is that she had a truly wonderful, caring, willing partner in Bill, but he wasn’t good enough for her. So now, she’s with #3, who apparently never even bothered to give her a wedding ring. See below:

Yeni… I have been married nearly 21 years and do not have a wedding band.

…I’m totally there with you! The teacher should have returned this and apologized. IMHO!

The above comment was in response to a post someone made about a teacher who had confiscated a love note from a 7th grader who had given it to a classmate. The note quoted When Harry Met Sally. “Yeni” had said she never got something so romantic from her husband, and Ex decided to throw shade at #3, I guess.

She did have a ring with Bill, but they were cheap, gold plated affairs. When Bill and I got married, we bought platinum rings from Mervis Jewelers in the Washington, DC area. That was important to him. He wanted good wedding rings for our marriage, so our marriage wouldn’t resemble a country song…

I don’t think Bill knew this song in 2002, but I think he and Ex actually got rings from a pawn shop.

Next, she crows about a new season of the show, complete with a clear indication of her priorities.. Ex isn’t “from New England”, either. She just lives there right now…

I’m from New England, US. I put it on my family calendar so I would NOT forget to watch & share. I labeled it “Mom Unavailable”. When that popped up on my phone I didn’t know what it was for!

Spent all day trying to remember, how could I forget this:

That actually makes me laugh, because it’s as if she ever is available to her kids. I happen to know that her kids were generally expected to take care of themselves, often to criminal levels. They were also expected to take care of her, too… as in doing all of the cooking and housework. Woe be unto anyone who made a dish Ex doesn’t want to eat, either, even if there’s no food in the house.

Of course, now four of the five of the kids are adults, but they mostly raised themselves. It’s a shame, too, because Bill had really wanted to raise his kids. She wouldn’t allow it. And now older daughter is taking care of her youngest… whom Ex describes, after a tweet about Tyre Nichols:

This terrifies me. I’m mother to a large, strong non-compliant autistic boy. If they told my baby to sit down, he would; but he would run away home the second he could. This beating could have happened to my son, anyone’s son. There is no service or protection here just murder.

Yes… and she uses that “boy” every opportunity she can, to prop up her “caring supermom” facade. Meanwhile, instead of looking after her son, she tweets at more strangers with creepy preludes like this:

I’m only 45 minutes from Boston! We’re neighbors! When the cast comes again, let’s go together!

And…

Och aye!!! I want to come and make your acquaintance!! I’ve been doing my genealogy and have traced my mother’s line to the Frasers du Lovat up in the Highlands!! We’d have so much fun!

And…

Oh Cat, we love you so… love your hat #samwho too btw!! Without Claire, there would be no Jamie to swoon over. I’d say, just as many swoon over Claire and the way in which you play her, as swoon over Jaime and the way @SamHeughan plays him.

I wonder if the actors and authors Ex tweets are weirded out by these breathless, gushing, adoring posts?

I was going to ignore all of this stuff, though. I really was. I keep telling myself that I need to find a new topic to write about. Maybe do something more serious and useful to the general public or something… but let’s not kid ourselves. This is just a blog, right? And I’m just the interloper who married her divorced ex husband, whom she totally screwed over on every level. I decided not to ignore it when I saw this. Yet another declaration of her being Scottish by blood…

She can’t just say she’s disgusted. She has to bring up her alleged fancy Scottish heritage again… to a perfect stranger. LOL… Then she moves on to Lynda Carter’s page, where she swoons and sucks up some more. It’s enough to make me want to hurl. 😉

I’m beginning to feel like H.G. Tudor on YouTube, who has made so many videos about Meghan Markle. I think Ex and Meghan have a few things in common, although Meghan is younger, prettier, skinnier, more famous, and much wealthier. H.G. Tudor would tell me to stop paying attention to what Ex does… but he doesn’t really follow his own advice, because he makes so many videos about people he claims are narcissists. But then, H.G. claims that he’s a narcissist, too.

I don’t claim to be a narcissist. It’s possible that I have narcissistic traits, as most people do. But I don’t have that particular personality disorder. If I did, Bill would be long gone by now. I think I’m just a garden variety eccentric, made dysfunctional by alcoholism and neglect on the part of my parents. I have empathy, especially for Bill. I appreciate him for all he does. I don’t even get crushes anymore. He’s absolutely the right man for me, and boy do I miss him when he has to go away for the week. I will always be grateful to Ex for dumping him.

Actually, as Bill and I were talking about Arran and how he will probably be leaving us, soon, we both expressed appreciation for his original adopters. They kept him for nine months, calling him Marley. Then they brought him back to the rescue. He’s turned out to be a wonderful dog for us. We’re grateful they brought him back to the rescue, even though I know it really hurt Arran to be “dumped”.

Likewise, as disgusted as I am by Ex’s spectacles on social media, and the way she gushes at celebrities and strangers, as she abuses people she supposedly loves, when it comes down to it, I feel gratitude, too. Because when she divorced Bill, she gave me a tremendous gift. He’s the right man for me. I’m genuinely glad he wasn’t “good enough” for her.

Still… I totally cringe when she claims to be a Scot… and I kind of wish many more of my people had hooked up with some French and German people, instead. 😀 Then I remind myself that, yes… I am an American, as Ex also is, and as an American, I should try to be a good example of our people to the Germans I live among today. So I think I’ll end this post and do something constructive… play some guitar and maybe cook a roast, or something. That will make Arran happy, and maybe I’ll be less hangry tomorrow. Ciao.

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condescending twatbags, Ex, family, holidays, mental health, narcissists, psychology, social media, Twitter

Christmas should not be a time for a grand performance…

I wrote a “mushy” post yesterday. It was because I realized how much more I enjoy Christmas than I did when I was younger. Watching my husband put a duvet cover on a weighted blanket he bought for me gave me all kinds of warm, fuzzy feelings. I realized that I don’t care about things. I care about the one person who makes me really happy and loves me for who I am. And Christmas is fun and relaxing for us, because we’re compatible and satisfied with each other. It’s a beautiful thing. Last night, Bill read my post and cried.

I’ve written a lot of posts about Christmases past… ones with my family of origin, and one that directly involved Ex, who is the Grand Poobah of Holiday Misery. Last year, I wrote a post about this topic that I absolutely stand by today. The post was titled “I refuse to let anyone mess up my holidays, and it’s a good policy to have.” It was about realizing that we all get a vote. Christmas is for everyone who wants to celebrate it. It should be a time of peace, love, understanding, good will, and enjoying the good things in life. If you’re Christian, it is, above all, about honoring the birth Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of man.

The religious part of the holiday is not what I want to focus on today, although I know it’s important to many people. What I want to focus on is the stress that inevitably comes from all holidays, but especially THIS one. Christmas is, after all, the biggest holiday of the year. But when it comes down to it, it’s also just a day. It shouldn’t be a day for grand performances, and by that, I don’t mean actual performances involving singing or dancing. I mean people who do things to make a judgmental point, being sanctimonious, or trying to be someone they’re not.

This morning, just before breakfast, I read an AITA (am I the asshole) post on God’s page about a woman whose turn it was to host Christmas. She decided that she wanted her dinner to be “dry”– as in, no booze allowed. When I first saw the title of the post, I immediately had some sympathy for her position. It was, after all, her house. If she doesn’t want to serve alcohol in her house, that’s her prerogative. But then I read the actual post. I note that the Redditors labeled her the “asshole”.

Yup. I agree. She is the asshole.

It sounds like the OP unilaterally decided that there shouldn’t be any boozing in her house. It’s her right to decide that, of course, but her attitude toward her husband’s family is not very kind or charitable. She doesn’t make a polite or respectful request, nor does it sound like she told people a long time in advance about her rule. What would have happened if her sister-in-law hadn’t called to ask about what she should bring? It sounds like that was when she mentioned her “no booze” rule, not when she issued the invitations.

I would have more empathy for the OP’s position if she had stated outright that she preferred the dinner to be booze free, rather than allowing the rule to be spread on the family grapevine. And then, she reveals that she thinks people in her husband’s family are “childish” and need to “grow up”. Those are insulting remarks that aren’t very Christmassy at all.

Her sister-in-law decided to host her own Christmas dinner, which she is well within her rights to do. And the family has decided they would prefer that invitation to the OP’s, who refused to budge on her no booze rule, with no hope of compromise. And she assumes they are going to the sister-in-law’s house because they can’t stay sober for one day, not because she was disrespectful to them.

Sister-in-law even invited the OP and her husband to their house, so there wouldn’t be any booze in the OP’s home. But she’s butthurt about it and refusing to go… and she’s “making” her husband stay home and spend Christmas with her. As if she has the right to dictate where another adult spends their time… I wonder how she would like it if her husband told her she “couldn’t go” somewhere she wanted to go. Some people would call that abusive.

What if the OP had compromised and allowed beer and wine below a certain ABV? Maybe she could have allowed wine only during dinner, or operated a “cash bar” set up, with people paying for libations. The money raised could then be donated to an agreed upon charity, or put in a pot for the next family gathering. Or maybe she could have come up with some other compromise that didn’t involve shame and judgment. That might have cut down on the drunkenness and sloppy behavior, while still allowing adults to have some fun. If she really didn’t want any alcohol in her home, she could have stated it kindly and lovingly, instead of with a judgmental and insulting attitude. Even if drinking alcohol to excess is unhealthy and can lead to obnoxious behavior, offering to host a family dinner and self-righteously lecturing people about their habits on a holiday is very poor form. No wonder alternate plans were made.

And then there’s the “grand performance” intended to put someone in a good or miraculous light.

How sweet.

Against my better judgment, I took a look at Ex’s Twitter page last night. She made several posts directed at Oreo, Betty Crocker, Wilton Cakes, and Spangler Candy. She videoed her supposedly severely autistic son, whom she has said is “non-verbal”, and her youngest daughter. They were decorating cookies and making what appears to be a train made with Oreos, frosting, and candies. She’s presenting her son as “miraculous” somehow, as he reads aloud, reminding everyone again that he’s “non-verbal”. And yet, obviously he ISN’T really non-verbal. Non-verbal would mean he can’t or won’t talk. Obviously he does have the power of speech and uses it. She’s mentioned before times when her son was “trained” to say things (that was her word for it). It serves her when he seems worse off than he actually is, as it gets her sympathy. But she’d rather he not be worse off in reality, because that makes life harder for her… or her daughters, who are evidently the ones who look after him most of the time.

I didn’t watch the whole video, because hearing Ex’s voice was too upsetting for Bill. But she also taught her son a song and dance, which he gamely performed on the video. I was torn between feeling good for him that he was trying so hard and having some fun, and feeling disgust for Ex, because it’s obvious she’s hoping to go viral and, perhaps, score some money from big companies. I don’t think her videos will get that kind of traction, but she plainly has high hopes. It seems to me that maybe it would be better to turn off the camera and focus on her time with her family, rather than trying to pitch her son’s handiwork with sweets to corporations.

@BettyCrocker⁩ Autistic children are amazing, beautiful perfectionists!!! How do you like ***** sugar cookies?

@Oreo⁩ a gift for you from ****!!!

I could see making these kinds of posts for friends and family members, but she only tagged big companies, and it was kind of obvious that she hoped they’d think the display was cute and offer her some kind of sponsorship or endorsement deal. Once again, it looks like she’s making her offspring perform in the hopes of scoring some “easy” (for her) loot. I can see now why a couple of her kids have moved far away from her. Because I have a feeling that this kind of thing is a regular occurrence, especially at Christmas. There’s an image to project to strangers, but very little love for actual family members. I also never see her posting about her husband, who was so much “better” than Bill.

The funny thing is, I’d bet $100 that Bill had a much nicer holiday than they did… And he also got to share messages with his mom and his daughter yesterday. There were no performances or pretenses. It was just everyone being themselves and genuinely wishing each other well. Nobody got drunk or obnoxious or had a meltdown, either. And… everything I bought for Bill is paid for in full. I don’t know if he can say the same thing, but I do know that he can pay for everything if he needs to. Ex can’t say that. In fact, she was recently lamenting about how she had no money for Christmas… but she had lots of money for sweets, which she is now promoting on Twitter. Go figure.

Anyway… it’s not my business. I need to end this post, too. We have a lunch date. Hopefully, steroid mad Arran will stay out of trouble while we’re out… my first time out in a long while. If he stays out of trouble, maybe that will be our Christmas miracle. 😉

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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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controversies, Ex, Police, true crime, Twitter

The art of “being real”…

Happy Tuesday, everybody. Bill got online last night and told me that, happily, he expects to be back in Wiesbaden at around noon on Thursday. He won’t be HOME at that time, of course. He has to turn in his rental car and check in at the office. But it does look like he won’t be stuck hanging out in Bavaria all day. I, of course, will be at the vet’s office on Thursday morning, sitting with Arran as he gets chemo infusion number two. Hopefully, it will continue to cause very minimal side effects for him. The difference in him between this week and last week is incredible. Too bad human chemo isn’t like this. He’s getting enough drugs to make him feel better, rather than trying to eradicate the lymphoma. This will make his glide to the Rainbow Bridge much easier, I hope…

Other than doing my usual chores and taking care of the dogs, life continues to plod along for me, here in Germany. I spent yesterday watching some disturbing raw body cam footage taken during arrests. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by the cop videos. I think it’s because they offer a look at real life in America… stuff we don’t usually see ourselves every day, but have seen dramatized on TV. Body cams are a game changer in law enforcement. Watching the videos allows me to see the frailties of people– not just the people being arrested, but the cops as well.

I was raised to respect the police, even though I grew up in a place where the cops weren’t necessarily much better than the people they were arresting. Now that we have technology, though, cops are somewhat more accountable for their behavior than they used to be. And it’s kind of disturbing to see and read about cops who do bad things and get busted because they were on video. Case in point, yesterday I watched a video out of Jacksonville, Florida involving Brittany Williams Moore, a young Black woman who got very angry at a cop who had parked his cruiser in her driveway to check emails. She threw a spoon at him. It had a green substance on it, later determined to be face cream.

This incident went a lot further than it needed to go.

The cop then proceeded to arrest her for assault. The whole thing blew up to the point at which the woman, who weighed maybe 95 pounds soaking wet, was manhandled into handcuffs. Somehow, in the violence of her arrest, she got hit in the mouth and broke some teeth. The May 2020 incident happened during daylight hours, and it was nightfall before she was finally taken to jail. The poor woman was cuffed the whole time. The charges against her were eventually dropped; and now she’s suing the police department. Alejandro Carmona, the cop she originally had the altercation with turned out to be a pretty bad dude, too. He was later arrested for selling sexually explicit pictures of a minor.

Now… I don’t necessarily approve of the way Moore behaved. Instead of speaking calmly to the cops, she screamed at them, threw a spoon, and at one point, kicked one of the officers. However, I can understand why she was frightened, given what happened to George Floyd in 2020, and Ahmaud Arbery, which I believe Carmona even made reference to as he was explaining himself to Brittany’s relatives. I heard the cops call Moore misogynistic names like “bitch”. I get that the cops have stressful jobs, but that kind of language is not acceptable, professional, or necessary.

In another video, I watched a much more professional police officer deal with a young woman who was not very cooperative at all, as she was stopped for riding her bike the wrong way down a road. She was similarly arrested, but as far as I know, she wasn’t injured. I didn’t hear the cop use filthy language, and her teeth survived the situation intact. That situation happened in Oregon, though, and I think there’s a lot less stupidity in the Pacific Northwest than in the Deep South. Not that I don’t love my southern heritage, mind you. I just think a lot of people down there are still living in the early 20th century.

Again… this went way further than it needed to go.

Watching these videos shows me how easy it is to get arrested in the United States, the so-called land of the free. Also, it reminds me that the longer I stay in Europe, the more insufferable Americans seem to me. It just seems like so many people are uncooperative, unpleasant, and just flat out uncivilized. You can see it in any comment section, particularly when they involve politics. It seems like there are two sides of America that hate each other. It’s sad to me, because it wasn’t always like that. Or… maybe I just didn’t notice it because I lived there.

I think the body cams show “real” America, and it ain’t a flattering picture to me. But then, I’m sure that only the most extreme videos wind up on YouTube. On the other hand, there are a whole lot of body cam channels, meaning there are a lot of videos. And they show people at their worst. I don’t envy what cops have to deal with on a daily basis, but I also think that cops can turn into Olympic class assholes after too much time on the job. Check out this dude from Arkansas. Actually, Bill and I had a good laugh at this guy, even though he called the guy he was chasing a “motherfucker”.

This one is straight out of a Police Academy movie. “I’m gonna Tase you, motherfucker!”

I did have a laugh. I admit it. He’s not very professional, but damn, he’s funny! I don’t think I’d feel that way if he was arresting me, though. Another thing these videos do is remind me that the United States is lacking charm in a lot of areas.

Moving on…

I know I vented about Ex yesterday, but she keeps giving me more material to work with, to include today’s featured photo, which she retweeted (and by the way, she ain’t it). I mentioned yesterday that she presents a “false self” to the world, right? And I come to that conclusion, because the shit she puts on Twitter is so opposite to what people who have actually had to deal with her in person have experienced and reported. But she’s always smoothing the edges of her facade with fake bullshit, and today is no exception. Behold:

Bwahahaha… Ex doesn’t like being around “fake people”. She should stay away from mirrors.
I’ve seen this reaction before… it was when a certain “narcissistic type” from Epinions first met my husband in person. Her tongue came out and she started panting, probably because she could smell the empath pheromones. I think Ex is much the same. This dude better stay far away.

Here’s the funny thing. Maybe I’m unusual, but I don’t have crushes anymore. I don’t want to be with anyone but my husband. I’m not comparing other men to Bill. He gives me all I need and then some. I mean, yes, I notice when someone is attractive, but I’m not interested in them sexually… not even for a hug and a dance. But, that’s just me… I may just be very lucky. Again, as much as I despise Ex, I am glad she dumped Bill. He’s just the right guy for me. She did me a huge favor. I think “real people” should stay away from Ex. She damages them with her lies.

And finally…

Last night, I was about to post a comment on Facebook, when I got an automated message from a bot warning me that my comment looked like ones that had been removed for violating their community standards. It was a comment directed at Marjorie Taylor (Greene), who is a highly divisive, obnoxious, and polarizing political candidate and public figure who would never deign to read the comments about her on Facebook. Meanwhile, they have no problem allowing people to offend the rank and file with all manner of insults. Once again, I am shocked that I’m at a point in my life at which I allow myself to be “disciplined by bots”. I really do need to find another outlet for my angst. But that’s why I blog, right?

Well, it’s time to strip the bed and do another household chore. Have a nice Tuesday. I’ll probably see y’all tomorrow.

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