Bill, lessons learned, love, marriage, musings

Mundane days that will forever change your life…

I saved the featured photo sometime around 9/11/01. I distinctly remember my former shrink, now a true friend, had shared it in an email to his friends and family in the wake of 9/11. It changed my life when he did that, just as my life was changed when I met him…

It’s September 11th again. Ever since 2001, September 11th has taken on a new significance to a lot of people, especially those of us who are from the United States. I remember all too well that day. It was a beautiful Tuesday morning. I was in my last year of graduate school at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. I had gone to my social work field placement location.

That morning, I had Bill on my mind, because over Labor Day weekend, we’d had the most magical visit in Natural Bridge, Virginia. He was working at the Pentagon, having just started there a month prior. We met at my grandmother’s house and had a gorgeous, fun, comfortable, unforgettable weekend. By the end of it, we were in love. It was the first and only time I’ve ever been “in love”. Yes, I had many crushes when I was younger, but I was never in love. And now, I was… I knew I loved Bill after that weekend, and I later found out that he loved me back. However, even after that weekend, we were still calling each other “friends”. Our relationship wasn’t official at that point.

On September 11, 2001, it was a lovely, perfectly ordinary day, just as it is today. I was buoyed by the fact that at age 29, I had finally met someone with whom I could have a romantic relationship. He made me feel so comfortable, and I had never experienced that with anyone before. We just fit together so perfectly. And if you know the story of exactly how and where we met, you might know how unlikely and incredible that is. Or maybe it’s not. Plenty of people who met in church or were high school sweethearts turn out to be completely wrong for each other.

When I heard about what happened at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, I did worry. I wasn’t hysterical or anything. I somehow knew, deep down, that he was okay. But I wasn’t sure, so of course I worried… and I wondered if my intuition was wrong, and he was dead. By age 29, life had already taught me that I should never be too optimistic about anything. Too often, I had gotten up my hopes only to see them dashed. In fact, even though I felt like I was in love, I wasn’t completely sure Bill loved me, too.

Many hours after the Pentagon was struck by a jet airliner, I got a message from Bill. He had tried to call me earlier, but somehow had the wrong phone number. Because he was in the Army, he’d had to work all day and well into the night. Once he finally got home to his apartment, he was able to send me an instant message on Yahoo! Messenger. I had just gotten off the phone with my mom, an experienced Air Force wife. I had just told her about Bill, and she immediately gave me advice. She’d been through somewhat similar things with my dad when he was on active duty, although of course my dad never had to deal with anything like 9/11.

Once Bill contacted me and told me he was okay, I suggested that we tell people we were dating. If something had happened to him, I wouldn’t have known until the casualty lists were made public. On the other hand, if he hadn’t concluded we were in love over Labor Day, he would have had the perfect excuse to ghost me… He wouldn’t have considered doing that, though. Bill isn’t like that, which is one reason why I love him so. My husband is one of the kindest, most considerate, most decent people I’ve ever met. He almost always gives people the benefit of the doubt. I probably don’t deserve him. But then, if I were more like him, we’d probably be divorced by now, because we’d constantly be fighting off exploitive people like Ex.

This morning, as we were having breakfast, I was noticing all of the 9/11 posts on Facebook. I looked back at my memories and realized that in September 2015, we were on a trip I dubbed The Beer and Fucking Tour. I called it that because we went to Austria and visited two beer spas and two areas that incorporated the word “fuck” in them. There was Fucking, Austria (since renamed Fugging after 1000 years), and Fuckersberg, which turned out to be a big field in a very picturesque area.

This sign is no longer posted, because too many people were stealing and fucking under it for posterity… I wonder how many babies were born because of this sign… yet another random thing that could have had a profound effect on someone.

We had an amazing time on that long weekend, just as we did in 2001. We drove my Mini Cooper convertible, and the weather was lovely, just like it was in 2001, so we had the top down. It was fun to go to the beer spa and the beer pool, which we still talk about in reverent terms eight years later. We laugh about Fucking and Fuckersberg. But the most incredible event of that trip happened in a very ordinary place… a place we probably wouldn’t have visited at the right time if we hadn’t decided to visit Fuckersberg, which was out of the way of our onward travel plans.

Because we went to see the big field called Fuckersberg, we hit traffic in Munich. And because Bill doesn’t always want to stop when I really need to eat, we were running late for lunch. I got very HANGRY, especially as it got closer to the witching hour of 2:00 PM, which is when a lot of restaurants close after the lunch service. At the time of this trip, Bill was in an online graduate program. He had a paper due, so he was eager to get to our hotel and wanted to press onward. But I needed food, so we pulled off the Autobahn and went looking for a place that didn’t take a “pause” after lunch.

I remember that we were having a hard time finding a restaurant. I told Bill that he could just take me to McDonald’s or buy me some chocolate. I just needed to raise my blood sugar before I had a total meltdown. Bill was cussing a lot, which was also causing me stress. I don’t usually mind hearing him swear, but when I’m irritable and hungry, it really grates on my nerves. Just as we were about to give up our search and get back on the Autobahn to look for a proper rest stop, I saw a restaurant that might be suitable for lunch. We pulled into their parking lot.

We ended up at this very run-of-the-mill Italian restaurant in a Munich suburb. My mood was decidedly dark as we went into the crowded dining room and took a seat among many large families with loud children. I excused myself to use the restroom, and by the time I returned, Bill had already ordered a half liter of Primitivo (mostly for me) and some San Pellegrino. I was still grumbling as I sat there nibbling on bread and drinking the wine.

I looked up and noticed some cows grazing in a field just outside of the far window. For some reason, I wanted to take a picture of the cows, so I pulled out my iPhone. At that point, I didn’t know how to zoom on an iPhone, so I got a picture that was mostly of the dining room. That’s when I had a very profound experience that I don’t think I’ll ever forget, at least not as long as my mind still works properly.

There’s a stranger in the picture who changed my life.

When I took that photo, I hadn’t immediately noticed the man in the top left corner. It wasn’t until my blood sugar was normal that I saw him sitting with a group of people. He was wearing interesting clothes and clearly wasn’t from Germany. I discreetly pointed him out to Bill, who told me he was a Buddhist monk. I noticed he was with a young German woman who seemed absolutely enthralled and delighted by his company. There were some other locals with him. I watched them give him a pair of what appeared to be hand knitted green socks.

As he accepted the socks, he bowed and smiled, and I noticed that he had this incredibly tranquil aura about him. He had the most serene and gentle countenance I had ever seen. Just looking at him from across the room put me at ease. I was awestruck, even though I never spoke to him, nor do I think he even noticed me. In a blog post I wrote in 2015, I explained it like this:

I mentioned it to Bill who explained what he knows about Buddhism.  I still don’t know much about it, but I was really moved by his presence and how kind and decent he seemed to be.  It’s not often you run into someone with such a peaceful and pleasant aura.  He seemed like a very special person just by his manner.  I didn’t even speak to him, but his body language said enough.  I forgot my initial annoyance and relaxed, truly inspired by just watching the monk interact with his companions.  He left before we did, with the German woman who seemed so enchanted by him.

Edited to add…  My German friend, Susanne, says that the monk is Toyoshige Sekiguchi from Japan. He is rather famous and is currently a guest at a farm in Hohenschäftlarn, which is the town where the restaurant where we had lunch is located.  It turns out the reason I thought the monk was so peaceful is because his life’s work is all about promoting peace and nuclear disarmament.  Of all the places we could have eaten…  How amazing.

Years later, I realize that if we’d been at that place at a different time, or if we’d gone to McDonald’s, I would have missed that experience. Maybe I would have had a different, equally incredible experience, but I would have missed that one. My life would have been different. It probably wouldn’t have been significantly different, but it would not be the same as it is today, because I would have missed that profound moment in time, when we happened to eat at a very ordinary Italian restaurant on a random exit near Munich.

I shared that incredible experience with a man I happened to meet at just the right time in a chat room on the Internet… a man who could have so easily exited my life on September 11, 2001. He was in the wedge of the Pentagon where the plane crashed, but deep enough into the building that he missed being obliterated by the fuselage when it collided. That day changed Bill’s life, just as it changed mine. It changed the trajectory of our lives.

The older I get, the more I think some things were just meant to happen. Even really evil things like September 11th can spawn things that turn out to be good in the long run, if you look at it from a very macro perspective. I think Bill and I still would have gotten married if 9/11 hadn’t happened, but it might have taken longer. We might have taken more time to be sure it was the right thing to do. After what he went through with his ex wife, I could understand Bill wanting to take his time. But that close call on 9/11 made him realize that tomorrow is never promised to anyone.

I think about what came after 9/11… wars in two countries, with countless people dying or maimed. On the other hand, a lot of people were born because of 9/11 and the wars that followed. That event put people in places they might not have ordinarily been. A lot of lessons were learned… some good, and some bad.

Sometimes seemingly innocuous decisions end up changing or even ending your life. It’s on days like September 11th, that I always remember that lesson. You could go to work one day and find out that your undeclared boyfriend has suddenly been killed by a plane crashing into his workplace. Or you could end up in an ordinary restaurant in a non-specific town, watching a Buddhist monk accepting green socks, feeling peace wash over you just noticing his gentle, peaceful aura. Or you could pass a playground, watching small children, just discovering life, running toward the fence, literally cheering when they see the garbage man coming to empty the trash cans (which I did recently witness in my little town). Life is just full of that stuff. You can see it for yourself if you look for it.

Anyway… I figure I’ve prattled on long enough about this topic. I’ve got a neglected guitar that needs a few minutes of attention, and a dog who would love to take a walk. I also want to order some stuff from Aran Sweater Market and Henri Willig. So I’m going to end this post and get on with the day. If anything, I hope anyone who cared enough to read this post will take a moment to think about the little miracles in every day… things that happened and somehow changed your life forever. Maybe it will change your perspective somehow… perhaps even in a profound, life altering way.

Standard
complaints, controversies, social media, videos, YouTube

I didn’t know I was a producer of dirty content…

This morning has gotten off to a very interesting start. I woke up at about 6:00 AM, because Bill decided to take today off work. He has to go on a TDY next week, starting Monday night. Since Monday is Labor Day, he decided he’d enjoy today at home with me.

I was a little hesitant to check my iPad because I was afraid of waking up to a shitstorm on Facebook. Yesterday, I shared a somewhat controversial post that appeared on George Takei’s Facebook page. A minor argument ensued, with no final resolution. I wasn’t wanting to continue arguing about it today, and I was a little worried that other people might have chimed in on that controversial post while I was sleeping. It was a relief to see that there was only one other comment on that post, and it wasn’t contentious.

Then I went to my notifications and saw that I had one from YouTube. There was also an email from them. Behold:

There’s more, but you get the gist.

Mind you… this is not the first time I’ve had content age-restricted. For some reason, the bots seem to go wild in August and September, as that is the time of year when I tend to get these notices. Two years ago, YouTube dinged a video I had posted in 2015 called “Big Pink Dildo”. It was a parody of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” that I did in response to a bunch of uptight military spouses who were upset because someone on a Facebook yard sale page had posted a joke listing for her used pink sex toy. It looked like maybe the thing had been co-opted by the family dog, though.

I thought it was crazy that YouTube age-restricted the parody, since there was no swearing in it, and only one photo of the toy, placed at the very end of the video. Most of the video is black, with my singing over it. Also, the video has been up for years and only has a few hundred hits on it. I appealed, but they declined to remove the restriction. I got over it and moved on with my life. 😉

None of the other videos I’ve posted have ever come close to being “adult content” of any kind. Most of my videos consist of vacation pictures or of me singing a song. When I saw the title of the video that was tagged, I had forgotten what it was about. I clicked the link to check it out, and was flabbergasted to see that it was a video I made in mid August 2016, when Bill and I visited a “Barefoot Park” in Dornstetten, a Black Forest hamlet in Germany.

Barefoot Parks are where people take off their shoes to experience nature and feel different things with their feet. There are a number of them in Germany. They are health promoting, fun, and absolutely kid friendly! But furthermore, I don’t think there were really any kids featured in my video. It’s not even three minutes long, and consists of four clips– Bill cranking a machine; Bill bouncing on a trampoline; Bill walking on a balance beam like log; and Bill walking through mud until he falls on his ass.

We didn’t even curse in the video, although doing so would have been perfectly understandable. So I was puzzled as to why YouTube’s bots decided to age restrict the video, especially since it has about 166 views as of today. It’s hardly a high profile performer that presents a danger to anyone. In fact, it shows what can happen at the Barefoot Park if you aren’t careful when you walk in the mud… You can end up literally hitting mud!

The only potential infraction I could come up with was “child safety”. Below is what YouTube says about that…

But this is a big stretch… Also, I never tag my videos as “made for kids”.

I clicked the child safety link, and then realized that my video is not at all like their description of one that would be dangerous to children.

Hmmm… again, there’s more, but my video isn’t at all like what they’re describing.

I thought about just ignoring the restriction and going on with my life, since no one watches it, anyway. But it’s one of my rare uploads that doesn’t have a copyright restriction, and besides, the bots just plain got it wrong this time. So I asked for an appeal. Happily, within a few minutes, I got one, and the restriction was removed.

I’m glad the appeal was quick and painless, but I’d love to know why it was hit by bots in the first place!

The stuff I put on YouTube is nothing like what I write in this blog. Likewise, my travel blog is mostly not the same kind of content this blog is. I’d say this blog is more “mature themed” and potentially R rated. My YouTube channel is mostly PG rated, at most. And certainly, aside from my “Big Pink Dildo” parody, there’s nothing there there that would make anyone blush.

Ironically, the other day I considered doing a cover of Red Peters’ “The Spelling Song”, which is a bit profane. But I decided not to do that, precisely because I didn’t want to get an email like the one above. If you don’t know the magic of “The Spelling Song”, here’s a link. I warn you, though… it’s kind of raunchy, especially if you know how to spell.

I see it’s not age-restricted here…

Anyway… I do try to be a good YouTube citizen. If you’re curious, below is the now non age-restricted video that prompted today’s blog post… It’s really dirty stuff, alright… LITERALLY!

Me and my “dirty” content! It’s a danger to children, only if their parents are cleanliness obsessed.

The best part about the above video was the round of German laughter when Bill hit the mud with a resounding splat. Maybe that could be considered a form of bullying… I don’t know. Fortunately, we all had the fortitude to recover from that incident without any lasting psychological ill effects.

By the way, after I got my video unrestricted, I visited YouTube, where I was immediately confronted by a video about a 17 year old girl, one month from turning 18, being arrested for running away from a group home. There’s a lot of swearing, screaming, and manhandling into handcuffs and police cars. As of today, that video is not age-restricted. I wonder if it ever will be. Surely that content is more frightening to children than Bill’s spill in German mud…

Or how about the scary news content about Donald Trump, wanting to get rid of the Constitution so he can run the United States his way? I watched a news video about a Georgia legislator who warns of another “Civil War” this morning. He literally speaks of getting out his rifle to “defend” the country from Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis, who is a threat to our country, as he sees it. But that video was unrestricted, as far as I can tell. My seven year old video, on the other hand… much too dirty for kids to see. 😉

Ah well… all’s well that ends well. I’ll try to clean up my act, going forward.

Standard
celebrities, controversies, music, rock stars, social media, Trump, Twitter

The controversy over Jason Aldean’s new right wing anthem…

Today’s featured photo is a screenshot from Jason Aldean’s video for the song, “Try That in a Small Town”.

Folks, I’m going to be honest. I don’t follow Jason Aldean’s career. I see that I did mention him in my blog a couple of times. I believe it was during the pandemic, when he was getting some crap from people for daring to take photos with his family while unmasked. I didn’t agree with him being harassed for that and I said so. That situation provided an example of my conservative leanings. I totally understand why some people get irritated with more liberal folks. Sometimes, people on the left legitimately can be insufferable.

BUT…

I fully support Sheryl Crow’s comments to Jason Aldean regarding his latest “hit” song, “Try That in a Small Town”. The song, which Aldean says is an “ode” to the “feeling of a community” he had while he was growing up, is coming under fire for its video and its lyrics. And Sheryl Crow, who likewise grew up in a small town, posted this on Twitter:

Like Sheryl Crow, I grew up in a small town. I knew, and still know, lots of people who love their guns. I have quite a few relatives who own weapons, and having been an Army wife for years, I know lots of people who carry guns as part of their work. And lots of those folks, like me, were raised in small towns. I know there are some wonderful people in small towns, and there’s a lot to love and respect about most of America’s small communities.

However, I also know that people who live in small towns can be notoriously small minded about a lot of things. Positive changes can come very slowly, even in 2023, when everyone has access to the Internet and 24 hour news. There’s a lot of hatred and gun violence in the world today, and many small towns have made the news because of mass shootings or so-called “good old boys” taking the law into their own hands and killing people.

Jason Aldean has, himself, been involved in a mass shooting. In 2017, Aldean was performing at an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas when a man on the 32nd floor of a building opened fire. Sixty people died, and about 400 were wounded. You’d think after a terrifying experience like that, Mr. Aldean would understand the gravity of promoting violence, even in a song he claims is about “small communities” and how residents look after their own.

I know firsthand that sometimes small communities are hotbeds of dysfunction, and while people can legitimately be kind and supportive toward the people they know, they can also be hateful and closed-minded toward those who are considered different. And sometimes, those who are different somehow end up dead… and those “good old boys” wind up spending the rest of their lives rotting in prison. Or the different person can’t take the harassment anymore and commits suicide.

Last night, I shared an article by People Magazine about Sheryl Crow’s comments. One of my conservative leaning friends took me to task over doing that, claiming that Aldean’s song doesn’t promote violence. This was my response:

Americans are obsessed with guns, and the idea that owning them will protect them from violence. The tone of that song is belligerent. I grew up in a small town myself and never had issues with people owning guns. Hell, my entire class got hunter safety training in the 5th grade, because guns were so prevalent in the 80s. But this attitude that people will protect their mores with gun violence is pretty tone deaf in 2023. Way too many children have died because of gun violence.

I don’t support censorship, so I don’t think his video needs to be censored or yanked. But I don’t think Sheryl Crow is wrong, either.

And I don’t support censorship, especially of artists. There are some messages that should be squelched for being “fighting words” that have no positive effects on society. But I truly believe those messages should be few and far between. I will admit, I haven’t seen Mr. Aldean’s video, mainly because the lyrics of the song have already turned me off. Maybe I’ll try to view it when I finish writing this piece. Edited to add: Watching it now…

Musically, it’s kind of catchy. I’ve heard worse… but I still think it’s a bit aggressive and threatening, and more of that is NOT what America needs. Just my opinion.

My friend continued to be an apologist for Mr. Aldean, complete with laughing smilies…

…agree to disagree. I’m not sure why people feel it’s necessary to try and cancel him 🤣 it’s ridiculous. People have their whittle feelings hurt over a song 🤣I’ve been seeing the lyrics to WAP being compared 😳 and for the record, that song doesn’t offend me either. The attempt to cancel Jason is backfiring in them though. We do do things different I suppose. The rioters who were out to cause violence and crime (not protesters) wouldn’t come to these small towns; because they would get their asses handed to them but it’s not promoting violence. I just find it ridiculously sad that people have to attempt to cancel anything that doesn’t agree with them. His video is powerful actually. At any rate, we’re all entitled to our own opinions because we live in the USA ❤️ i know you don’t right now)

Okay… but saying that rioters would “have their asses handed to them” is kind of a violent thought, isn’t it? And who gets to decide what constitutes peaceful protesting and what constitutes “rioting”? What defines that behavior? Why are people more concerned about protecting property than preserving life– of the already born, that is?

I dare say that most people who would “riot” for Black Lives Matter would rather do so in larger cities, anyway. Why would a bunch of rioters and looters come to a small town, where there’s not much to steal or damage, except for maybe at Walmart?

Anyway, this was my response:

I grew up in southern Virginia among lots of country folks. I do understand the mindset and the issues. I don’t actually care about Jason Aldean one way or the other, nor do I support “cancel culture”. I am just tired of gun violence and macho bravado. It’s never been so bad as it is today.

Like I said, I grew up in a rural southern town. Never had problems with guns when I was growing up. In those days, we didn’t have violent maniacs killing kids by the dozens because they’re mad at the world.I don’t support censorship at all. People should be allowed to make up their own minds about almost all issues. As far as I’m concerned, Sheryl Crow was expressing an opinion, which we should all be allowed to do. You don’t have to agree, and I would never demand that of you.

As for my being out of the USA… I have to say, it’s been very enlightening. I am glad I have had the experience. It’s changed my life, and my perspective on a lot of things. I think more Americans should live abroad for awhile. It’s educational on many levels, and in many cases, doesn’t necessarily end with more liberalism. However, I used to be very conservative, so that doesn’t apply in my case.

One of the many reasons Bill and I have continued to live in Germany is because of the violence in the United States right now. I didn’t really see it when I was living there, even though mass shootings were a problem then. I remember feeling horrified when a Greek woman we met in our last town said that the United States is “too dangerous” for her to consider moving there. But now that I’ve been away for awhile, I can totally see why people in Europe think the United States is full of gun toting lunatics. I think when we do go back, it will be very difficult for me to adjust.

I don’t think a song that promotes the message that someone who misbehaves or does something “disrespectful” in the eyes of the locals will “get their asses handed to them” is sending a peaceful, non-violent message. Even if you argue the song is about being “respectful” of small town values and obeying law enforcement (who sometimes don’t behave lawfully themselves), the message is sent across with a belligerent, threatening, violent tone. That kind of message riles up people on the right wing, who are so scared of “liberals” who aren’t like them, demanding equality for everyone.

So many of these conservative folks are, quite simply, ignorant. They listen to songs like “Try That in a Small Town” and watch Fox News instead of reading books, exposing themselves to other cultures, or educating themselves on topics as basic as the difference between communism and capitalism.

Then, as they listen to Trump’s sensationalist dog whistling, they miss things like the plans by conservative groups to expand presidential power– if Trump wins, that is– and make states’ rights obsolete. They miss the reporting on ideas like overhauling the Constitution so that the country is more fascist, and run by one leader, instead of having checks and balances. They don’t consider the fact that some states’ attorneys general are wanting to track women who leave their states for abortion care. And it doesn’t dawn on them that some of these policies are awfully similar to what used to happen in the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries, back in the not so distant past. They are the antithesis of promoting freedom.

It doesn’t occur to some of these small minded folks from small towns that promoting people like Donald Trump and his champions will eventually mean less freedom for EVERYONE… including them. Because Trump just wants money and power, and to stay in office until he dies. When that happens, his cronies will take over, only some of them will be younger, smarter, and even more charismatic than Trump is.

Come on! Trump incited riots on January 6, 2021. Where were the “good old boys” who were “raised up right” then? Oh yeah… a lot of them took up arms, came to Washington, DC, and screamed about wanting to hang Mike Pence for not doing Trump’s bidding and overturning the 2020 Presidential election! Some of them stormed into our Capitol building and smeared actual human shit on the walls, took selfies in people’s offices, beat up police officers, and– stole stuff! Did Mr. Aldean include January 6th footage in his anthem about respecting small town communities? I didn’t notice it, if he did. Frankly, the violence on January 6 and the prospect of it happening again worries me a lot more than some businesses being burned down or looted over Black Lives Matter… although I don’t support destroying other people’s property, either.

I currently live in what could be considered a suburb of a major German city. Here, we have a good community, too. But our community involves drinking wine, having weekly markets, encouraging our neighbors to buy and plant “bee bomb wildflowers” to help feed bees, concerts, and art shows. I don’t know anyone here who needs a gun to show support for this community. We have a local official who is transgender and cares very much about the history and preservation of our town. While there might be people here with private prejudices, I haven’t noticed a lot of openly hateful behaviors toward the Muslims who live in this town. We’ve got a very nice community here– but it doesn’t involve violence or “tough talk” toward outsiders. Even as an American who speaks little German, I have felt very welcome. 😉

No, it’s not perfect… and I know there are issues with racism and other social ills in Germany. But it’s so different than life in the United States. Frankly, I think it’s MUCH better. I don’t miss much about living in my homeland, although I do miss some of my friends and family members. I really do wish some of the good people I know who think the American way is the best way could come over here and experience things for awhile. I think some of them might change their minds… or at least have more of a perspective as to why so many people find Americans totally insufferable.

Anyway… I can see why Jason Aldean’s song resonates with many people. A lot of people enjoy testosterone fueled power anthems, especially when they are considered “patriotic”. And no, I wouldn’t go so far as to say he should be “canceled” or censored. Music is a form of expression, and I think people should be allowed to use it for that purpose, even if I don’t agree with the sentiments expressed.

But… I gotta say, Janis Ian was right to share this 1968 era gem from Mad Magazine:

I’d be more impressed with a song about non-threatening and non-aggressive reactions to people who have differences. Violence begets violence.

I just want to live in a place where we don’t have to threaten to kill or kick the shit out of people who offend us, even if the impulse is sometimes understandable. Also… sometimes cops do get it wrong. Case in point, Jason…

I’d say these cops deserve to be cussed out, wouldn’t you? Yes, there was a lawsuit, and yes, the guy got $250,000.

So… those are my thoughts on Jason Aldean’s song, and the controversy that is surrounding it. Honestly, I just long for a much more moderate America, where people are free to be themselves without fear of violence or oppression. And I don’t think writing threatening, belligerent songs that glorify guns and fighting is the way to achieve that end. Just my opinion, of course.

Incidentally, I just learned that Aldean didn’t even write this song… and apparently, songwriting isn’t one of his skills or talents.

Standard
complaints, home, housekeeping tips, movies

Like Zack Mayo, “I got nowhere else to go!”

Yesterday, I wrote a post that was a bit peevish, as two guys have descended upon my house, installing new windows. Yeah, yeah, yeah… it’s a first world problem. Nevertheless, it still sucks for me, because I’m used to being by myself most of the time. I like peace and quiet, and being able to hang out at home, braless. I like reading and napping when I want to, and being able to write in peace, without a bunch of power tools and crappy pop music blaring.

I feel displaced in my own home, and it’s got me a bit irritable, even though ultimately, the new windows will make the house a better place to live. I don’t enjoy being bitchy to people, but these guys are kind of pissing me off. I want them to do their work and get out of my life. 😉 I want them to stop acting like my space is their space. I feel like I used to feel when I was watching a movie and my dad would come in and, without a word, change the station to sports or something. Granted, it was his house, and his TV, but he had no regard for me. It was like I was a nuisance to him. This time, I’m actually in my own home, and these guys have just swooped in like a bunch of seagulls and crapped all over my peace.

Yesterday, they spent most of their time upstairs, which is where I usually spend my days. They took over my office, the bathroom, and Noyzi’s room (which is really the “entertainment room” that we never use). Now, the bathroom and the office are done. I’m not sure about my bedroom and Noyzi’s room. I’ve parked myself downstairs with my laptop and AirPods, which at least helps me block out their annoying dance music with the mindless thumping rhythms and moronic melodies. It doesn’t block out the sound of their equipment, but I mind that less, as they need that to do their jobs effectively.

Well… now they’re moving downstairs, so I can’t avoid the noise as easily. I’m not sure if it would be better to go upstairs, or if they’ve still got their shit spread out all over the place. I just checked, and one of the guys is sitting on the stairs, basically blocking the way. I just pointedly closed the door again. I thought I had them trained. SIGH. See… I don’t like having to do that. I’d just as soon stay out of their way completely. But, just like Zack Mayo in An Officer and a Gentleman, “I got nowhere else to go!” So, I have to sit here and endure, just like always. It’s my lot in this military life. 😉

No, I don’t have a drill sergeant screaming at me while I do sit ups, but like Zack, I feel like “I got nowhere else to go…”

Before anyone tries to offer me solutions– and PLEASE don’t do that, by the way, cuz I didn’t ask for advice– I can’t leave the house. My car is dead, and I can’t get my dog in it, because he’s a big monster and I drive a Mini. The only way he’s getting in the car is if I drop the top and somehow manage to lift him into the backseat. I don’t think I’m physically capable of doing that by myself. But, like I said, the Mini needs a new battery. It won’t start, anyway. That’s the next problem we’re fixing to address.

So this is me, complaining again… and trying to focus on how I’ll feel when these guys are done installing our new windows. Maybe it’ll be kind of like this.

Maybe it’s time I invested in a motorcycle…

Looks like they might have taken a set of doors to one of the rooms upstairs. In a few hours, they’ll finish for the day. I might start drinking before then, though.

“Give me the bottle!”

On a more serious note… yesterday, I found myself getting upset. I actually felt, at one point, like I might burst into tears. Why? Because this experience gave me a flashback to July 2013, when Bill and I were moving from North Carolina to Texas, and we had the most godawful movers, ever. They descended on my house like a bunch of hungry nematodes and did an absolutely TERRIBLE job of packing us.

It was very stressful to watch, especially when one of the teenaged boys came into the house like a fucking elephant and busted a hole in the floor. We almost lost our security deposit over that, even though the floor wasn’t correctly installed in the first place and was buckling because of moisture. The moving company, of course, denied responsibility. We complained, and their insurance company paid our former landlord.

The following year, we had to move from Texas to Germany, and we had split movers. One set was fantastic– they packed our stuff for Germany. Bill even did a shot of tequila with the guy– a Mexican and his son. The other set of movers– the ones who packed our stuff for storage– was shitty. One guy was on his phone the whole time, and the other got food poisoning from eating gas station sushi and had to go home early. I’d say the North Carolina movers and the storage portion of the Texas movers were equally terrible.

In both of those situations, I had a crying jag/meltdown/fit. I was about on the verge of another one yesterday. I was that triggered, plus I was hot and miserable. But I managed to survive, just like Zack Mayo did. I have every hope and faith that the same thing will happen today.

An Officer and a Gentleman is one of my favorite movies of all time, by the way. Maybe it’s time I watched it again. Also… when we went through the window exchange in 2014, I was somewhat less bitter.

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transportation, travel

Now, we’re in Bergen…

I’ll probably post more on the travel blog, since we’re currently traveling. It’s good to be out of Germany, although today wasn’t without its hassles. We did get to spend all day on an electric train, which was cool. It would have been even cooler if not for a few minor inconveniences, like the credit card machine going down on the train, and some idiot deciding to stand right in front of our door/window at the most dramatic part of the journey. I must admit, I arrived in Bergen quite cranky. But we found beer in a friendly Irish pub and ate some local seafood at the fish market. Now, we’re somewhat less irritated. Or, at least I am.

Younger daughter was kind enough to send Bill Father’s Day greetings, which he really appreciated. I sent her some photos from our scenic journey. It really is a beautiful train ride from Oslo to Bergen and vice versa. However, it does take a long time!

We’ll be here for four days. I may feel compelled to write about the news, once I watch some. I did hear about the horrible situation at Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria on Friday. An American man allegedly murdered one American young woman and seriously hurt another, in his attempt to sexually assault one or both of them. I would like to write about that, and I probably will, but not until tomorrow… Tonight, I need to relax.

Anyway, it’s a treat to be in Norway. If you want to see some photos, I recommend visiting my travel blog. I plan to dump a few pics there tonight. Maybe there will be a story or two. 😉

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