complaints

We’re hoooome… and now to trot out an old chestnut gripe of mine…

Bill and I got home about an hour ago. I’ve already unpacked, and am in the process of doing a load of laundry. In a couple of hours, I’ll get dressed for our big date night at the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt. I don’t plan to wear anything fancy, as the weather is truly rotten today. It wasn’t so bad when we left France, but by the time we got into Germany, it was very wet, cold, and a bit windy. To make things stranger, we had an odd encounter at a rest stop.

I went for a pee break first, having pulled out 70 cents in change. I made the mistake of taking out two five cent pieces instead of a ten or twenty cent piece. The machine wouldn’t accept it, which gave some weird, bearded, French speaking guy enough time to try to engage me. He asked if I spoke French, I said “no”, and probably looked really bitchy. I couldn’t help it, though. I was cold and needed to pee, and wasn’t in the mood to talk to a stranger. The French speaking guy kept trying to engage the Serways (bathroom attendant) guy, who didn’t seem interested in talking to him, either. After I read a sign on the door in German advising me to wash my hands– (it said, “Where have your hands been today?)– I cleaned up and scuttled out of there, not taking a moment to see if there was anything appetizing for sale. I was, and still am, a bit hungry.

Bill went to the restroom next. While he was gone, I looked up and noticed a man standing right in front of our car, facing a field. A second later, I realized he was urinating right in front of me. Now, it’s not that this hasn’t happened before. In fact, it’s happened more times than I can count. People don’t want to pay 70 cents to pee in the rest stop, so they whiz outside. It’s usually men and boys who do it. What I don’t get, though, is why they are never discreet about it. This guy was standing right next to a building. He could have at least ducked behind it to do his business.

Also… it was so cold and rainy outside. I can’t imagine it was very pleasant for him to be publicly urinating in that weather. I’m not a man, but I thought there was a certain issue with “shrinkage” when it’s cold outside. I took a photo of him, because I’m awful that way. I don’t know him at all, and I doubt he would be recognized by anyone… but I just want people to remember that someone is always watching. And while it’s no shame to need to go pee, it is technically illegal to do so in public, even in Germany, where public nudity isn’t that big of a deal. Of course, that rule against wild pissing is rarely enforced here. I guess if someone peed in front of a cop, they’d get a ticket.

I swear, it never fails that I will see someone whizzing at a rest stop. I don’t think it’s a big deal at one of the pull off stops, where truckers stop for a rest, or even when there are free public toilets that are sometimes absolutely disgusting. But I always have a crapload of euro coins to get rid of. Why are these folks so cheap? Or do they just enjoy being exhibitionists? I don’t know… but pissing outside in cold, rainy weather fully in view in front of strangers says a lot about a person… and none of it is good.

The guy looked well dressed enough, though. Seriously? Was it really better to pee in the rain? Maybe I need to have a dick to know the truth about such matters.

Standard
anniversary, dogs, France

Fire and Rain… in Ribeauville…

Today was our second full day in Ribeauville. We were supposed to spend another full day here, but James Taylor has caused us to leave tomorrow. It appears that his Copenhagen show went off without a hitch, which means that Frankfurt will probably be going on, as planned. So, tomorrow, we will pack up and go back to Germany and, in 24 hours, I suspect I will be sitting in a second row seat, listening to James play and sing. I know not everyone appreciates James Taylor, but he has gotten me through a lot.

Today, I thought we might go to Riquewihr, which is not even 2 miles away. But we ended up not going there, Instead, we had a very sumptuous and filling lunch, then bought some wine and goodies for Bill’s daughter and grandchildren. I would have liked to have gone to Riquewihr, only to pick up wine and maybe some Madeleines. Also, last time we were there, we had lunch in this restaurant, where I had the most delicious potatoes. I would have liked to have gone back for that… but I don’t even know if that place is open, since the Christmas markets are just around the corner.

It’s actually nice that it’s so quiet here right now, since we have the dogs. No one else is staying in the apartments, so the boys are not bothering anyone. And they’ve been very well behaved, anyway. Yesterday, they howled for about a minute before they quieted down. And Noyzi finally figured out that he needs to do his business on the leash. This was very important, because it’s the only way he can go on trips with us. He doesn’t mind being boarded at all, but I think he’s liked this outing. There is also every chance that we’ll be bringing him to the USA with us at some point, so he needs to learn that it’s okay to go to the bathroom on a leash.

This will probably be Arran’s last visit here… but one never knows. He’s been really surprising us over the past month. And this town is so easy to visit, especially when we just want a quick break from home. I envisioned a fancier holiday for our 20th, but this has worked out well. We feel at home here. I won’t have a lot of exciting stuff to travel blog about, but it’s been a beautiful visit, just the same. We’ve had lots of rest, too… and, the beauty of tomorrow is, we rented the apartment until Sunday, so there’s no rush to leave tomorrow morning.

I actually felt motivated to write a rant earlier today, but I think I’ll wait until I get home. I don’t want to shave my Alsatian wine buzz… I feel very fortunate that we have this ability, to just go to France when we feel like it, and hang out in one of its most beautiful areas. It’s a blessing, and I don’t want to spoil it with a complaint.

Today, we had sunshine, and we had rain… hence the title of this post… especially since we will (probably) be seeing the man who composed that song tomorrow night.

Standard
dogs, France, travel

A quick hello from France!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Standard
love, marriage, music, politicians, politics

Happy anniversary to us… let’s hope Putin and Trump don’t make it our last…

Last night, as we were having a much too spicy dinner from Lieferando (food delivery), Bill and I read about how a missile somehow struck Poland near the Ukrainian border. A couple of people were killed. Bill, being in the business he’s in, immediately got concerned, since Poland is a member of NATO. This morning, I’m waking up to the news that Biden says the missile was likely not fired from Russia. The missile was apparently Russian, but may have been fired from Ukraine or somewhere else. Still, it raises the fears of people who worry that World War III could be on the horizon. It’s especially bad that this happened in Poland, where there is a US military presence. Three years ago, Bill and I actually went to Poland for our anniversary, because he had to work there for a week. I’ve come to love Poland, and its people.

I’m also learning that– BIG SURPRISE– Donald Trump is running for president again in 2024. Of course we knew this would happen. Trump won’t stop trying to be president again as long as there is breath in his bloated orange body. I just hope he does his part to stop DeSantis from being president. It’s time we moved on from the whole Trump schtick and elected people who are young and smart enough to do a good job, and people who actually care about others, instead of enriching themselves and getting drunk on power.

I suppose history is being made right now. It’s always being made, actually, but some times are obviously more historic than others are. This time will probably be very historic in the future. Maybe it will even be on par with the Hitler era. But I hope it won’t… and I hope we can enjoy our anniversary weekend in France. James Taylor was able to play his show in Stockholm last night, although I don’t know how it went. He’s going to Copenhagen next, then will appear in Frankfurt, if all goes well. I always find great comfort and solace in James Taylor’s music. I always have, especially when I was much younger and suffered acutely from depression and anxiety. I know he had those demons, too, and his actually led to a stay at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts… a place where Ex once stayed, too. I don’t think her treatment was quite as effective, though. In any case, it seems that James is suffering less from mental health issues now, and more from things like COVID… which is another bad thing that makes life more difficult for all of us.

We need to bring back Bobby McFerrin.

I think what helps me to cope is realizing that there have been times that were as bad or worse than now. Or maybe it was always as bad, just in different ways, and the scope of badness depended a lot on where a person happened to be at the time. I’m sure, for instance, that World War II was more horrifying for Europeans than it was for Americans. And the same would be true for World War I. It looks like the same would be true in case of World War III, since it seems to be provoked by Putin. But there were things going on in the United States during those times that would also make life harder. Having a corrupt, incompetent, blowhard fool like Trump in charge again would certainly make things worse for many of us. Those who like Donald Trump are blind and ignorant to who he really is. I just hope there aren’t enough of them to put him in power again. I am optimistic, though, thanks to last week’s elections. We showed that most of us are not that stupid… at least not anymore.

There’s nothing any of us can do about the missile strike in Poland, so there’s no reason to worry. But Bill and I can have a nice time in France, and then, hopefully, enjoy James Taylor one more time. I hope it won’t be the last time… but again, none of us are getting any younger. There’s always an asshole lurking in the midst, waiting for the chance to step into power. I fear Trump less than I do the more polished looking turds who are waiting to seize the chance to get in power. Trump, at least, is brutally honest about who he is. We’ve all been warned. And maybe he will prevent a slicker version of himself from entering the White House. Meanwhile, I hope we can elect someone who can do something about Putin, who really seems hellbent on world destruction. He’s a much bigger threat and danger to the world than Trump is, especially right now.

Anyway… I smell breakfast cooking, and I have a couple of chores to do before we can light out of here for Alsace. I’ll probably write while we’re in France, because we’ll have the dogs with us, and that might limit our ability to do a lot of stuff. But I do look forward to the change of scenery, and some lovely new wines… Maybe we’ll fit in a few tastings.

Happy Wednesday! By the way… this song played on my HomePod last night. It seems almost weirdly appropriate. Wonder what ever happened to Bobby McFerrin… I was in high school when this was a hit. Time flies!

1988… things used to be better, right?
Standard
music, politicians, politics

MAGA meltdowns are hilarious… and don’t tell James Taylor what to do!

It’s been kind of a lazy morning here at Chez knotty… Bill and I had a bit of a “lie in” this morning, even though the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. We were both kind of tired. I woke up early, but then had no problem dozing after doing my morning routine. Arran’s constant ass licking is what finally got me out of bed. Sorry… it’s gross, but it’s the truth. We humans will never know the obvious pleasure dogs get from that particular habit, will we? Well, at least those of us who lack flexibility…

I’ve been enjoying the news for a change, especially the headlines that scream about the Democrats keeping control of the Senate. I love the fact that election deniers, by and large, are being voted out of office. It gives me some much needed hope for the future, and maybe the reassuring knowledge that Republicans got taken down a peg. It’s entertaining to see Lindsey Graham about to burst into tears as he whines about Herschel Walker, too. It’s so obvious that Walker is nothing more than a political pawn for Georgia Republicans. He is not suited to be a politician, and getting him to run is an insult to people of color in Georgia.

Wahhhhh!

I like what Jamal Bryant had to say about Mr. Walker…

I love this! We don’t need a walker, we need a runner…

It’s very entertaining to watch people melting down over the humiliating, history making poor showing by Republicans in the midterms. Trump has ruined the Republican Party, and it’s going to take some doing to fix this. I have said it before that I’m really not a staunch liberal at all, but the MAGA version of the Republican Party is just not going to be a winning strategy. Unfortunately for the Republicans, they got into bed with a notorious malignant narcissist, and he is not going to stop until he’s dead or so disabled he can’t function. I hope they enjoy the bed they made, teaming up with “Trumpty Dumpty”, who probably acted like an ass at his daughter, Tiffany’s, wedding yesterday.

Speaking of beds… It seems that James Taylor has really needed to be in one for the past week. He finally got COVID-19, and was required to isolate and rest. He’s been on a European tour for months, and it is now coming to its conclusion. But thanks to COVID, last week, he had to cancel his shows in Zurich, Berlin, Antwerp, and now, Randers, Denmark. He initially postponed his shows in Zurich and Frankfurt, and he managed to reschedule the Frankfurt show for this Saturday night (the 19th). The other shows, sadly, had to be cancelled, as I guess the halls they were scheduled for were already booked, and James may be booked for other dates.

Bill and I have tickets for the Frankfurt show. We’re looking forward to it, even though we already had plans to be in France. If he’s well enough to perform on Saturday, we will come home early to see James play. I figure he knows what he’s capable of doing. He’s 74 years old, and of sound mind. He doesn’t need my advice on anything, especially regarding his health and career.

You’d think his fans and followers of his Facebook page would respect James’s judgment, too. After all, these cancellations aren’t just about disappointing fans and losing revenue. They also affect a lot of rank and file people with jobs. From the people in James’s band, to the venue operators, to restaurant and hotel owners, a lot of people are hoping for the show to go on. This isn’t just because it’s a showbiz adage, and James loves to perform. It’s because many people are depending on the show to go on because their livelihoods are at stake.

However… with every new announcement of a concert cancellation, more and more people are chiming in about what they think James should be doing. Lots of people have posted that he should just cancel the rest of the tour and go home to his own bed. Some are even posting as if they’re giving him permission. I find that especially funny, since some of the people giving him permission to cancel are folks who already got a chance to see him this year. I’ve seen a few people leaving advice for James… or even sharing their own stories about COVID recovery, and predicting that James will (or won’t) recover in a similar way.

Personally, I think the most appropriate message to leave for James is one that wishes him a speedy recovery. He obviously hates to cancel his shows, and has said as much in a video he posted on Facebook and Instagram, as he walked around Lake Zurich. That video was posted a few days ago, and he looked and sounded pretty good– not as if he’s on death’s door. He’s had excellent and competent care by (probably) Swiss physicians. If one is going to get sick, Switzerland is a pretty damned good place to do it, especially if one is wealthy, as James is. So I think he’s going to be okay… and he can decide what the best course of action is for his health, and the good of his band.

I did see one very angry comment from an American servicemember (or retiree) living near Kaiserslautern. This guy, who was apparently himself a musician, was fuming that the show was postponed again, and commented that James should find someone to “sit in” with him, so the show could go on. At the time that he made that comment, it wasn’t known that it was James who had COVID. He went off about how “wealthy musicians” took money from regular folks, only to cancel or postpone. Lots of people piled on to tell him what a “jerk” he is. I could understand his frustration, although having been a JT fan for so many years, I know very well that he loves to perform. I know he wouldn’t have called off the shows unless he had a really good reason.

When the news came out that James was the one who was sick, fans went freaking nuts! Some even lectured everybody about wearing masks and getting vaccinated. I just don’t see the point of those kinds of posts, especially now. This is apparently James’s first go with COVID, so he’s done pretty well to stay healthy. He even said in his video that he felt guilty for not being “more careful”, although he quickly added that he didn’t think he could have been more careful than he was. The sad reality is, COVID is very contagious, and most of us are going to get it no matter what. And a lot of us are tired of the lectures from the sanctimonious and self-righteous. So I say, just shut up and let the man play, if he’s up to it. If he’s not, he knows what to do. He doesn’t need your advice or input… but I’m sure he’d appreciate good healing vibes. Because even if it wasn’t obvious that James loves to play shows, he primarily does this for the money. So just STFU and let him do his job. 😉 (Yes, I have authority issues.)

That being said… if he can’t play Frankfurt after all, it’s not such a bad thing to spend another night in France, as we planned…

Standard