musings

More French hospitality…

A bigger organ than Putin’s…

We will be going home tomorrow. I have to say I’m ready to go, not because we haven’t had fun, but because I’m worn out. I am not used to so much hospitality. Today, after we visited Obernai and Saverne, we came back to our room and I promptly fell asleep. Now, I’m up, but only because we booked dinner again in the restaurant. Last night, we did the big tasting dinner. Tonight, I hope for something simpler and shorter in duration. I am ready to go to bed, get up in the morning for one more excellent breakfast, and go home to Germany, so I can write up all of our fun and share pictures… and of course, see my dogs. I have missed them, too. French people love dogs, and they are everywhere.

Right this minute, I’m watching French news about Ukraine. I have a lot of thoughts about that situation. I have a friend whose wife is from there, and she still has a lot of family members who are trapped in Kiev. I get highly irritated listening to Putin and his threats. He really is a nasty character… one of those people who probably ought to be blown straight back to Hell. However, I am very grateful that my husband is no longer in the Army. I have a feeling the Army will be getting involved eventually, although I hope they won’t.

I do get kind of tickled when I notice the difference between French news and US news. A couple of nights ago, I happened to watch the news when the death of a famous French presenter was being reported. The anchor was openly crying as he spoke about it. He kept saying “Je suis desole!”

I notice that they spell Putin’s name “Poutine”. So now, when I see him, I think of a giant deep friend cheese curd.

And tonight, I saw a protester holding up a poster of a hand drawn tiny penis. It had a caption that read, “Putin: 3 centimeters”. I find it outrageous that one, very toxic man, can hold the world hostage this way with his threats. At the same time, while I don’t think Joe Biden is the best person to handle Putin, I do thank God Trump isn’t in office. He’s a moron who thought Finland was part of Russia. You bet your ass he’d just let Putin do what he wants. Putin probably has dirt on him.

It’s a little scary watching this stuff happening in Ukraine. It’s not that far away. I fear it could get much worse. I am old enough to remember the Chernobyl accident… and I remember that the effects from that crossed over Europe. Bill’s first landlady in Germany died because she got cancer from Chernobyl. The fallout affected the whole continent.

But I guess Putin doesn’t care about that. He just wants land and power… and it doesn’t matter how much humans suffer. For once, I think I agree with Lindsey Graham. I hope someone takes him out.

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France, healthcare

Bonjour, France… it’s been too long!

We made it to France yesterday, after a somewhat interesting visit with our dentist in Stuttgart. He always gives me a hard time because I got very anxious when he had to pull one of my two baby teeth a few years ago. We ended up talking about how I have a hard time dealing with doctors, after he asked me if I had any issues with lupus. To my knowledge, I don’t have lupus, but I might have had it for years… I haven’t seen a doctor since 2010.

He asked, because I have an inflamed, red area in my mouth, just under my bottom teeth, that troubles him whenever I visit. He asks me about my health every time I see him. In the past, he’s asked me if I have Chron’s Disease. I’m pretty sure I don’t have that. But anyway, he pressed on the area yesterday and gave me a bruise. I told him a little about why I am so reluctant to go to doctors, and he told me that he, his brother, and their father are all prostate cancer survivors and “everything still works”. Wow… He is half German, half American, and in some ways, is very German.

I ended up looking up lupus and am alarmed that I might have some of the symptoms… which causes me to stress. But then I decided that I need to enjoy France, because it’s been two years since we were last here, and boy have I missed it. I mean, I had no idea how much I have missed France!

And while the town where we’re staying isn’t super exciting or special, unless you’re into Goethe, I did choose a lovely hotel with a restaurant that has a Michelin Star. We have been eating in grand style, too… This morning, we had an insane breakfast with the most delicious pastries I think I have ever had. And then for lunch, we had Moroccan food that left us pretty stuffed!

We did some shopping and walking around… I took lots of pictures. We’re really only about ten miles into France, but it feels like another world. The French are not nearly as anal retentive as the Germans are, so we’ve felt practically free. It’s awesome.

On the other hand, I already miss the dogs. This morning, we saw the most adorable beagle. He was so friendly and sweet and just wanted to talk to us. He even gave me an “arroo!” He reminded me of our sweet, departed Zane, who was super friendly and lovable. I still miss him every day. We also saw some super cute pygmy goats. I have missed the world… especially when it includes friendly animals.

I think tomorrow, we might head further afield to see what else we can see in these parts. I hope we can come back to France again soon and spend more time. I had forgotten how much I love this place.

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Duggars, ethics, law, musings

“If you want the rainbow, you’re going to have to put up with a lot of rain…”

Yesterday, I got the news that after last year’s sad miscarriage, Jill Dillard and her husband, Derick, are expecting another baby. The blessed event is set to happen in July. The happy news was announced on their official Web site. It looks they’re going to get their “rainbow baby”. In the pictures on their Web site, Jill looks radiant. Her bump is already pretty pronounced, at about halfway through her pregnancy.

I must say, Jill looks very beautiful these days. I’m happy for her, and I hope her pregnancy goes well. I also hope she doesn’t attempt another home birth, but I think she’s smart enough not to try that again. It’s not that I necessarily have anything against home births as a general rule. It’s just more that Jill’s first two pregnancies were pretty dramatic at the end, and she ended up having to go to the hospital on an emergency basis. It would not be smart for her to try to birth at home again, given her history.

I still don’t necessarily approve of the transphobic and homophobic comments Derick Dillard made a few years ago. I think part of that was an attempt to cause problems for the Duggar empire, since Derick was allegedly angry with Boob for not paying them for their work. However, knowing how religious Derick supposedly is, I also suspect that he really believes most of the awful stuff he said and wrote about Jazz Jennings. On the other hand, I respect Derick for not putting up with Jim Bob’s bullshit and for, evidently, being a good husband to Jill… and not forcing her to continue to live by Boob’s ridiculous fundie Christian rules.

Today’s post title comes from a little wisdom I picked up after watching Dawson’s Creek back in the late 90s. I was in my mid 20s at the time, living with my parents, and trying to get my shit together after my time in Armenia. It was during that time that the WB network still existed, and I got hooked on 7th Heaven and Dawson’s Creek. It amazes me to think of how long ago that was. The years have flown by so fast!

Anyway, I remember that the character, Jen, played by the amazing Michelle Williams (who does a mean Gwen Verdon impression), had a grandmother who regularly dispensed trite advice. I really only watched Dawson’s Creek during the first season. I was pretty busy at that time of my life, and didn’t have much time for TV. But I do remember the episode that quote came from… as “Grams” was talking to Dawson and said her comatose husband used to say that “If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with a lot of rain.” And then she said to Dawson, “From what I’ve seen of you so far, you better buy yourself a good umbrella.” Sage words indeed, Grams. Hopefully, Derick and Jill and their sons will have a healthy new family member this summer. I also hope Derick has a good job, especially since TLC presumably won’t be there to film the birth.

Tomorrow, Bill and I will be going to Stuttgart to see our dentist. I look forward to being done with that little pesky chore. Afterwards, we will drive just over the border into France and spend the weekend. The dogs will be at the Hunde Pension. Hopefully, they’ll be okay for four nights. I suspect Arran will be annoyed at having to stay there. He’d rather come with us. If it was just him, maybe we would bring him, although he doesn’t do so well by himself and we’re going to dine out. Noyzi takes up the entire back end of our Volvo, so it’s not so practical to travel with him. He loves trips, though.

I’m looking forward to getting out of here for a brief respite, especially since we’re going to France. We haven’t gone anywhere in months. The weather has vastly improved, too. It’s still a little windy and chilly, but the sun has been out a lot. The days are getting longer. Pretty soon, it’ll be time to reconnect the lawnmower and haul the outdoor furniture up from the basement, so we can sit outside.

Although there’s a conflict going on in Ukraine, and it’s very troubling and scary, I can’t help but feel somewhat hopeful and optimistic. I’m not sure why I feel this way. I should be more scared, I guess… but I think the past two years have tapped me out on being scared.

I was sitting in my bedroom yesterday, thinking about how totally awry my life has gone. I mean, I’m very comfortable, but all of the things I planned for myself kind of went out the window. But then, I couldn’t have foreseen all that has happened over the past twenty years or so. Things that were so important back then, don’t really amount to much today. And now that Putin is talking about nukes, maybe it won’t matter at all before too long. So I feel like I just want to enjoy things for now, for as long as I can. Getting too upset about stuff I can’t control is a waste of time and energy.

I did get a little triggered last night, though. I happened across a Reddit Ridiculousness post about a person who accidentally damaged a “friend’s” laptop and offered to pay for a brand new one. The friend with the damaged computer then demanded an extra $500, because she wanted to upgrade… Can you imagine the balls on that bitch? Have a look.

That post was very satisfying to read. The ending was perfect. I can’t abide people who have the stones to try to get over in such a way. I can’t even imagine having the nerve to demand that someone buy me a brand new, upgraded laptop computer, when I negligently put the computer on a surface where people sit down. Good for that judge for holding the computer owner responsible for her own stupidity and carelessness. She probably did that on purpose, hoping to scam someone into buying her a new computer. I’m glad the really kind original poster did not give in to the extortionate demands of the thieving computer bitch. Good on her for letting the bitch sue her, and then allowing the judge to hand the bitch her ass. Serves her right.

As I read that post last night, I was reminded of our ex landlady’s attempt to force us to buy her a brand new awning. I’ve written about that sordid affair a few times and you can read most of long version of the whole awful tale here. The short version is, I had asked the former landlady to have the awning repaired, because it was leaning very low and looked like it was going to fall. She had her husband do the job instead of hiring a professional.

One really hot day, the wind was high, and the heavy awning finally collapsed. I wasn’t outside when it fell, and I couldn’t predict the wind, so ex landlady immediately accused me of being “negligent”, completely ignoring that it was her responsibility to have the thing fixed. She was VERY lucky no one was hurt or killed that day. But she focused on the fact that I wasn’t sitting under the awning when it fell. She claimed that it had been a “stormy” day. If you click the link to my first post about this, you can see that the weather was sunny that day– at least when the awning initially fell. It did storm later, but that happened after the great collapse. In the photos I took right after the awning fell, it’s clearly bright and sunny, with no signs of rain.

The insurance settlement she got from our liability policy was only 300 euros. That wasn’t enough money for her, even though the awning was 17 years old and she hadn’t had it properly repaired. A little over a year later, when we moved out, she came up with a bullshit list of reasons to withhold our security deposit. She wanted 2800 euros to buy a brand new awning. I guarantee you, though, that if the situation had been reversed, and we were the landlords, there is no way in HELL she would have paid for a new awning. I think she knows damned well that’s not how insurance works. She was trying to take advantage of my husband’s good nature, and apparently thought we were both weak and stupid people. I strongly suspect that she’s done this before, to other people… and especially other tenants. In retrospect, we should have held her completely responsible from the beginning, and refused to file an insurance claim, given that she didn’t have a professional fix the awning.

When Bill pushed back and asked ex landlady for a list of bills proving that she’d spent 2500 euros of our deposit to fix the house, as well as proof that we were responsible for the damage, she got really nasty, insulting, and unprofessional. She sent a few bills, including a couple for things that weren’t our responsibility, but were just intended to make us feel guilty for how much money she was spending (on anal retentive things like washing the roof of the carport). She grudgingly gave back about 666 euros or so, out of 3200, and flat out REFUSED to give us more. She falsely accused us of theft, and completely ignored that she did some things very wrong as landlady, as she demanded perfection from us. It was pretty clear to me, at least, that she was determined to take our money, no matter what. So Bill sued her. It took a long time, thanks to COVID-19, but in the end, she had to pay us back 73 percent of what she illegally withheld, and she had to pay our lawyer, her lawyer, and court fees.

In the end, she probably spent over twice what she tried to rip off. She also got off easy, because she didn’t follow several proper landlord procedures, according to German law. If we had been very stubborn, vindictive people, we could have nailed her for a lot more money. But we just wanted to hold her accountable, because we suspect she has a habit of ripping people off. There’s a reason why she prefers American tenants. We wanted proof of her shady practices, so we could provide it to the military installation and have a prayer of sparing other Americans from having to deal with her. Moreover, I was on the receiving end of her verbal abuse for four years, and I figured she had it coming. In spite of that sweet victory, I’m still really pissed off at her. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. I can’t abide narcissistic, abusive people, especially when they fuck with my husband.

Now, of course, we have a much better landlord, and a better house. And, for now, thanks to Putin, Bill has job security. Or, so it seems… I sometimes worry about the future, and where we’ll end up. I try to take steps to make sure we have an “umbrella” prepared for the rainstorms… and hope we’ll see rainbows. So far, we generally do get treated to better times when there are “storms”. But I know that’s now how life always works. I am a bit worried about the world’s problems… but I’m also looking forward to better times. Or, at least a time when problems will be beyond me, because I won’t be around for them. I have always been comforted by the idea that someday I’ll be dead, and I won’t have to care about anything anymore.

I don’t know how much writing I’ll be doing over the next few days. I’ll bring my laptop, making sure not to put it on a couch to be sat upon. But I hope we’ll have the chance to see a lot of stuff, eat some good French food, and enjoy the world a little bit more than we have been lately.

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bad TV, fashion, good tv, memories, nostalgia

The “facts of life” one learns while watching The Facts of Life…

A few weeks ago, I got a wild hair up my ass and decided to buy a few box sets of favorite TV shows from the 70s and 80s. I bought The Bionic Woman, One Day at a Time, and The Facts of Life. I’ve actually only seen a few episodes of The Bionic Woman, since it aired when we lived in England, and I don’t remember it being aired in syndication much. I did used to watch One Day at a Time when I was a kid, but missed the earliest episodes because I was too young when the show started, and then it really jumped the shark. I was a BIG fan of The Facts of Life, which was a spinoff of Diff’rent Strokes.

Most every kid my age loved Diff’rent Strokes, but I guess the powers that be decided that Charlotte Rae should have her own show. So they had her get a job at Eastland School, Kimberly Drummond’s boarding school in Peekskill, New York. Boom… suddenly, we had a successful sitcom revolving around the lives of girls who went to boarding school and wore frumpy uniforms all the time. The Facts of Life started off with a large cast of beautiful young girls with flowing hair… except for Molly Ringwald, of course, and Kim Fields, who played Tootie Ramsey, the token Black cast member. After the first season, the size of the cast was slimmed down, as the girls progressed through puberty and gained weight.

I loved the first few seasons of The Facts of Life. I liked it less when the girls were moved out of the school to work at Edna’s Edibles. Also, as is so common on shows about school, the students didn’t graduate on time. It seemed like they were Eastland students forever. And then Charlotte Rae left the show, and they brought in Mackenzie Astin, George Clooney, and Cloris Leachman. The last couple of seasons were practically unwatchable! I didn’t like it when the plot moved away from the school, though, because the school was so central to the show. Also, I think they made boarding school look like a lot more fun than it probably is in reality.

I kind of find the theme song annoying, catchy as it is. Alan Thicke and his ex wife, Gloria Loring, helped compose it, and Loring belts it out in an over-the-top, obnoxious way… not unlike the characters’ personalities.

But there were a few really good years on that show, I’m in the thick of them right now. The writers took on a number of ambitious topics that were very important in the 1980s. Imagine my surprise this week, as I waded through the third and fourth seasons, realizing that subject matter that was timely in 1981 and 1982, is still timely and important today. In seasons 3 and 4, The Facts of Life tackled:

  • suicide
  • abortion
  • book banning
  • underage drinking
  • rape and sexual assault
  • teen pregnancy
  • breast cancer
  • mental retardation (this is what it was called on the show, rather than one of the more politically correct terms of today)
  • physical handicaps (again, how it was described on the show)
  • racism
  • fanaticism
  • crash dieting
  • religion
  • sexism
  • cross cultural issues
  • bullying
  • adoption
  • marital affairs
  • teenage prostitution

The list goes on, as I have only just started season 4, and there were a total of 9 seasons before NBC finally pulled the plug. But as I was wasting the late afternoon hours yesterday, watching the episode about book banning, it occurred to me that, in some ways, we haven’t really gotten anywhere in the last 40 years. The plot was about how a bunch of parents got upset that their daughters were able to check out books like Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which they felt didn’t promote the right message or values. I was suddenly reminded of the recent controversy surrounding the book, Maus, by Art Spiegelman, which has had the effect of causing a bunch of people to buy and read the book in protest. I read Maus a few weeks ago, passed it to Bill, who finished it last weekend, and just today, he took it to work to lend to one of his co-workers.

If I recall correctly, I believe I decided to read Slaughterhouse Five when I was in high school, in part because it was mentioned on The Facts of Life as a banned book. I knew I liked Vonnegut’s writing, having read his short story, “Harrison Bergeron”, in the 9th grade. Sure enough, I enjoyed Slaughterhouse Five very much. Then later, I decided to read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, because it was a banned book. My love for reading continues today, although it’s not as easy as it used to be, as my eyes aren’t as young as they once were.

Ditto, the episode about abortion, which was about how the character Natalie, played by Mindy Cohn, made up a story about a girl at Eastland who had an abortion. The story had the whole school buzzing, and soon parents were calling, demanding to know who the girl was. Natalie was threatened with expulsion, until a girl told her that she’d had an abortion. Natalie could have told the headmaster the girl’s name and saved her job as editor of the school paper. But she came clean and admitted she’d made up the story, protecting the girl’s identity. As the credits were about to roll, the headmaster said that he was relieved to “know” that abortion wasn’t an issue at Eastland. Of course, the audience knows better. Forty years later, we’re still fighting over abortion.

I even learned something about capital punishment in France, watching The Facts of Life. The character Geri, played by Geri Jewell, is the cousin of snobby rich girl, Blair Warner. She has cerebral palsy, and works as a comedienne. In one episode, she develops a romance with the school’s French teacher. He asks out Geri, and she says something along the lines of, “I don’t want to get my head chopped off.” She was referencing France’s famous guillotine, which was used to execute people. The French teacher says that France did away with the guillotine in favor of hanging.

I was surprised to hear that the guillotine hadn’t been abolished many years ago, so I decided to look up the device’s history, as well as the general history of capital punishment in France. I was very surprised to learn that the last time France used the guillotine was in 1977! I was five years old! The man who was executed was 27 years old and was originally from Tunisia. He was also missing part of a leg, due to a tractor accident in 1971. He was put to death in Marseilles in September 1977 for torturing and murdering a young woman, and forcing a couple of other women into prostitution. Oddly enough, I actually visited Tunisia in 1977. We lived in England at the time, and went to Tunisia to celebrate New Year’s.

In 1981, then French president Francois Mitterrand declared capital punishment illegal in France. It was formally abolished on February 19, 2007. But, up until 1981, the French constitution actually dictated that anyone who was executed in France would be killed by decapitation, or barring that, firing squad. Never having studied French myself, I don’t know much about its history, other than what I’ve seen personally, heard about in the news, or heard from friends. I have had the opportunity and great fortune to visit France many times, which is something I never thought would have happened in 1982. It seems like France was especially popular in America in the 80s! Back in those days, people didn’t travel as much as they do now… or did before COVID-19, anyway.

Even Russia and Ukraine were subjects of The Facts of Life back in the 80s. During the third season, Natalie’s Russian Jewish grandmother, Mona, came to visit her at school. Mona said she was from Ukraine, even though the name of the episode was “From Russia with Love”. In 1982, Ukraine was still part of the former Soviet Union, which, in those days, seemed like it would exist forever. Natalie found Mona overbearing and annoying, but once she and the other girls got to know her, they found out that she was a fascinating woman with many stories to tell. Watching that episode, especially given what is happening in Ukraine right now, and after having read Maus, was surprisingly poignant. Mona references being confronted by a rapey soldier in a corn field in Ukraine, as the Bolsheviks invaded during the Soviet-Ukranian War from 1917-1921.

Seventy years later, Ukraine decided to leave the Soviet Union, and there’s been trouble ever since. I have never been to Ukraine myself, but I have a friend whose wife is from there, and still has a lot of family there. I know that he and his wife and children are terrified for them. It seems that history is repeating itself. At the same time, I have known some fabulous Russian people, thanks to my time in Armenia, which is also a former Soviet Republic. In fact, that’s where I met my friend, who was working there after having served in the Peace Corps in Russia, back when Russia was briefly less menacing.

I remember that The Facts of Life was controversial to some people, especially during its most popular years. My former best friend’s mother would not let her watch the show. I seem to remember her mom was against the show because she happened to see the episode during the first season that referenced marijuana use. The show certainly didn’t promote the use of marijuana, but my ex friend’s mom was very conservative. She didn’t want her kid exposed to anything she was personally against. I seem to remember my ex friend was often doing things behind her mother’s back, and she was a lot more “experienced” in things than I was. My parents, by contrast, pretty much let me raise myself. We used to talk about how different our parents’ styles were, and we agreed that it would have been nice if there could have been a happy medium. My parents didn’t pay enough attention to me. Her parents, especially her mother, were too strict and intrusive. On the other hand, I don’t think her parents used corporal punishment as much as my dad did.

One thing I have noticed about The Facts of Life is that the characters could be very annoying, as well as very funny. My favorite character was probably Natalie, who was quick witted. I used to not like Jo (Nancy McKeon) much, because she alternated between being angry and snide, and being “vulnerable”. Now that I’m older, I appreciate that character more. I used to like Blair (Lisa Whelchel) more, although I still like Whelchel did a good job with her caricature of a spoiled princess. Tootie (Kim Fields) was pretty much always annoying to me, although she was pretty cute in the first season. During the show’s third and fourth seasons, Tootie did a lot of shrieking and whining. Some of the clothes were pretty hideous, too. Especially the knickers and gauchos… they brought back sad memories of childhood fashions.

But mostly, I’ve just noticed that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I really have been surprised by how forty years after The Facts of Life was a hit show, we’re still talking about, and arguing about, the same things. But nowadays, we have many more than than three networks on TV, and audiences are more sophisticated. A show like The Facts of Life probably wouldn’t last today, even though the writers tackled some courageous plots back in the day. Maybe it would be a good thing for today’s youngsters to watch that show. Maybe they’ll learn its lessons better than we did. But really, the best seasons were the earliest ones… as is the case for most long running shows.

Well, I guess it’s time to wrap up this post and get on with my Friday. Last night, Bill made a “stuffed meatloaf”, which is a dish I cooked for him when we were dating. It was one of the many tricks I had up my sleeve that helped me win his heart. It came out of a great cookbook called Virginia Hospitality, which was a gift given to me when I graduated college in 1994. It was put out by the Junior League of Hampton Roads, and since I was born in Hampton, it really is a relic from my hometown.

My husband’s younger daughter is pregnant, and when Bill told her he was making a stuffed meatloaf, she said that sounded so delicious. She had questions about it. So I sent her a copy of the cookbook, which also has a great recipe for cheese souffles. Below is a link for those who are curious about it. It’s definitely my favorite way to make meatloaf. I’m glad Bill learned how to make it, too. I hope she enjoys the book. It’s a gift that is uniquely from her long, lost stepmother. She really doesn’t know me at all, but maybe a cookbook from my origins will be a place to start getting acquainted.

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

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condescending twatbags, controversies, ethics, travel

“I’m not one of the people you should be pissed at, Luna Moona…”

This morning, I noticed a headline from The New York Times about Denmark’s decision to drop COVID-19 rules and restrictions. Bill and I were recently talking about taking a trip to Denmark, precisely because we’re fed up with the ever changing COVID rules in Germany. We’re both triple vaxxed, and we’ve both been “good soldiers”, and we want to spend some money. Of course, lots of people were commenting on the article, many of whom probably didn’t bother to read it. I’ve included the link above, and because I’m a subscriber, I can “gift” it. If you click the link, you should be able to read it for free.

One of the comments that caught my eye was posted by a Dane named Lars Pedersen. He wrote this:

Right on, Lars!

Plenty of people responded to Lars. Some “laughed” at him. Some gave him ugly orange “angry” reactions. One lady really went off the batshit deep end and was citing ridiculous right wing conspiracy theories as she made fun of Lars for encouraging vaccines. She left all kinds of derisive comments about how the vaccines don’t work. A number of very intelligent Danes came on to inform the American commenter about why there are so many people with COVID-19 in Danish hospitals. More than a few pointed out that the people who are in hospitals with COVID are not there because of COVID. They are there with COVID.

I got excited and, against my better judgment, left a comment for Lars. Naturally, I got responses, too…

At this writing, one person, calling themselves “Luna Moona”, left me an orange reaction. I wrote what I think is a very reasonable response. It’s included in the screenshot above, but here it is for those who don’t want to click on the picture.

Funny that one person is “angry” that I’m considering a trip to Denmark. Why be angry? I’ve been good. I’ve gotten my shots. I’ve worn masks when they’re required. I pretty much stay home all the time, and only interact with my husband and dogs. I literally haven’t left my neighborhood in a month. It’s not because I’m scared. It’s because going places isn’t enjoyable. The rules keep changing, and vary by state… and while I have always liked going into town and having a meal at a restaurant, it’s too much of a hassle. So I mostly stay home. I’m not one of the people you should be pissed at, Luna Moona. 

If you follow me, you know that Bill and I have already done some traveling during the pandemic. We haven’t done as much traveling as we normally would. For instance, in the years before COVID-19, we would take long weekends whenever we had a chance. But 2020 was the last year we took advantage of MLK weekend and President’s Day weekend. Last year, everything was locked down. This year, it just seems pointless and fraught with annoyances. As other countries start to open up a bit, Germany seems determined to remain restricted, with ever more requirements for “better” face masks, COVID testing, and rules about who is allowed to frequent businesses and be on public transportation. I don’t want this to be a permanent fixture of society, so I choose not to participate.

Although I did read that many places in Germany are dropping the “plus” from the 2G + rule– that is, being fully vaccinated and either being boosted, or having a brand new negative COVID test– some places are doing 2G ++, meaning you have to be fully vaccinated, boosted, AND have a negative test, just for the “privilege” of entering and spending money. The 2G ++ places, I’ve read, are mainly healthcare facilities. Still, the rules are annoying and onerous, and although I like going out, I don’t enjoy going out enough to put up with irritating rules. I can stay home and drink in my nightgown, and I get to listen to my own cool mix of eclectic music. I’m sure that’s NOT what business owners and restauranteurs want me to do, though. They’d rather I get dressed, dutifully and obediently put on a FFP2 mask (ugh), and spend money in their establishment.

I used to be a very enthusiastic patron of restaurants and bars, and I would write articles about them on my travel blog. I’m not doing that, these days. Bill is becoming an ever better cook and bartender, so why do I need to support restaurants? Especially when I’m going to be confronted at the door about what kind of mask I’m wearing, and proof that I’ve done everything “right”. Again, for the record, I have been compliant. But if another country is going to stop the nonsense, I want to reward them and put some money in their economy. Incidentally, the official tourism site for Denmark reminds everyone that masks and vaccines may still be required by some Danish businesses. And those who want to frequent those businesses should be respectful. That sounds reasonable to me.

Life has to go on at some point. Moreover, since I live in Europe, I have already been able to travel a bit, although I am eschewing flights for the same reason I haven’t been going to restaurants. Who wants to sit on a plane, in tight quarters, with hyper-anal, stressed-out people, watching everyone like a fucking hall monitor to see if they’re complying, to the letter, with mask mandates? That doesn’t sound like a fun time for me. Why spend time and money on that experience, when we can drive to plenty of cool places, and not have to worry about aggressive passengers, seat recliners, power tripping airline employees, baggage fees, security lines, uncomfortable face masks, and the chance of a plane crash? If I have to fly somewhere, of course I’ll comply with the rules. But I am NOT volunteering for it. I’m sure the more local establishments will be grateful for that. It’ll also be somewhat better for the environment, although if we’re driving, we’re still dirtying the air, I guess.

A lot of people are angry these days. Some people are angry about the rules. Some people are angry that people are flouting the rules. And some people apparently think they need to be “angry” when someone says they want to –legally– visit a place where COVID restrictions are going to be relaxed, and have some fun. Why should it matter to them? I’m an adult, and probably more educated than a lot of folks about disease transmission, since I have a fucking master’s degree in public health. I’ve been very compliant and relatively patient the whole time COVID has been an issue. I only got reprimanded ONCE about face mask usage, and that was because I was wearing a medical mask instead of a FFP2. The rules had changed the day before, and the person who chastised me was also wearing a medical mask. She was allowed, since she was an employee. Go figure Bavaria’s rules, which were not the same as Hesse’s at the time.

Bill says Hesse is getting stricter about mask type, too, which means I am not going to go out to eat or shop in any places. Because, fuck that. And fuck the ever changing RULES. I wish they would just come up with a set and make them more uniform, so we know what to expect and what to do. Another reason I don’t want to go out is because I hate confrontations. And the prospect of being hassled about my mask or vaccine paperwork is enough to induce anxiety and stress, even though I am fully vaxxed and boosted and always carry one of the dreaded FFP2s in my purse.

I do not want to go through the rest of my life wearing a coffee filter on my face. I’ll wear the mask if I must– and I will be visiting the dentist next month, so I guess I’ll put one on for that experience. But I will not willingly spend time or money in places where the heavier masks are required. Incidentally, last night, I booked a hotel in France for after our visit to the dentist in Stuttgart. I was originally planning to go to the Black Forest again, like we did in August last year, after seeing our dentist for the first time since 2019. We were going to go to a different area– one that we loved visiting when we lived near the Black Forest and could go there on day trips. But then it occurred to me that Baden-Württemberg has enacted stricter mask rules, while France has loosened them somewhat. Bill and I both love France, and we haven’t been there in two years. Yes, masks are still compulsory there, but at least it’s a different place. And the places I was considering visiting in Germany are only about twenty minutes away, anyway. I picked a hotel that is about as far east in France as a person can get and not be in the Rhein River. 😉

I’m sure some people will have a “problem” with my “bad attitude” about “better” masks. They might think I’m being reckless or cavalier, or maybe they’re just jealous. To those people, I would say, you live your life, and I will live mine. I’m pretty sure the vast majority of us will eventually get COVID-19 at some point. I’ve had three shots and I live a pretty solitary lifestyle. I figure my risk is very low. And if I do get sick and end up dying, at least I will have enjoyed one last experience outside of my bedroom one last time. Everybody has to die at some point, anyway. My liver is probably going to crap out because I’ve been drinking more… mainly because I’m BORED and sick of living like a shut in. Moreover, no one depends on me. Not even Bill. He just likes having me around for the “yuks” and to walk the dogs. 😉

I got a smile this morning from one of the Danes who were commenting on the New York Times’ article. He shared a link to a funny German song about the fucking COVID rules… It’s going to be in my head for the rest of the day!

Go Scooter! I get a kick out of Europeans.

Yeah. It’s time to have some fun again. I have been as responsible as I can possibly be. If I croak, I croak. So Luna Moona, if you want to be mad at someone, be mad at the unmasked and unvaccinated idiots who attend Greg Locke’s book burnings and “church” services in Tennessee. Don’t be mad at the Overeducated Housewife who lives like a fucking nun, right down to the wine drinking… I call this “responsible rebellion”. If I’m gonna bust out and be rebellious, why not do it with fellow blond people who enjoy profanity as much as I do? 😉 I think it’ll be okay.

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