Bill, musings

One night down…

I can’t think of anything earth shattering to write about this morning. I guess the one thing I can say is that I survived the first night of the first TDY in a year. This isn’t anything new for me. Over the past 18 years, I’ve spent a lot of nights alone. Bill has always had to travel for his job. This particular TDY is longer than most, though. He wont’ be back home until March is more than halfway done.

I think we’re both getting tired of these kinds of trips. I was very fortunate as an Army wife, though, since Bill’s one deployment was for just six months. Granted, he spent those six months with a narcissistic jerk of a boss who made his life a living hell, but he made it home in one piece and, more or less, mentally sound. Having grown up with a father who was tormented by PTSD after the Vietnam War, I am very grateful Bill isn’t similarly afflicted.

I probably wouldn’t be so bitchy about it this year if we hadn’t spent the last several months locked down. In previous years, we’ve been able to go on vacations or even just out to eat. Or we could plan something for the future. The current lockdown is set to expire on March 7, but Angela Merkel is talking about extending it even longer. People are getting PISSED, too. Businesses are suffering, and some are wondering how they will be able to keep afloat. Germans are generally very law abiding and cooperative, but even they have their limits.

Bill was allowed to travel because he’s on business. No doubt, the people who run the little hotel where he’s staying are happy for three weeks of revenue. However, Bill did tell me that last night, he had to wait for the proprietor to arrive and unlock the hotel. When Bill put on a mask, the guy shook his said it was “okay” because he’s already had COVID-19. Um… I’m not so sure that means he’s not still at risk. I did have a chuckle, though, since it just goes to show that even the notoriously anal retentive law abiders of Deutschland will still bend the rules sometimes.

Vaccine roll out has been extremely slow here, too. This is a rare time when I’m kind of glad to be American, because Bill and I will probably be able to get vaccinated sooner on post than we could on the economy. Bill has already told me he will be dragging me by the hair to get my shot… not that I would refuse it. One positive thing I got from being in the Peace Corps is that I don’t get too upset by needles, as long as no one tries to dig for a vein. I’m usually fine with shots.

Last night, I watched a live stream of Vince Gill and Lyle Lovett. I’m a big fan of both of these guys. I saw Vince play with the Eagles in 2019, and Lyle played Stuttgart in 2009 and we attended that show. It was a great show. Both Lyle and Vince were so normal and it was obvious to me that they’ve been friends a long time. I enjoyed the stories they shared and the songs, some of which were ones I hadn’t heard. Vince did one song that was a tribute to John Prine. I loved it. I don’t think he’s released it yet, but it was very witty and kind of poignant… the perfect tribute, really. John Prine was such a gifted songwriter.

I don’t play with quite this much style yet, but I’m getting better by the week.

What was especially cool, though, was the effect watching had on me. At the end of the streaming session, they played “If I Needed You” by Townes Van Zandt. Next thing I knew, I grabbed my guitar and joined them. I went to Chordify, figured out the easiest way to play (using a capo on the 6th or 8th frets), and played along. I did well enough that I might be ready to record it sometime soon. Maybe that will be my goal before Bill comes home next month. That, and finishing reading my latest book. It’s time for a fresh review.

Bill was sad to leave yesterday. I think Arran knew he was going. I got a few photos of them before Bill had to go. Yes, there were tears. Bill made me lunch before he went and had a few tears in his eyes before he kissed me goodbye. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a kind and loving man for my husband and life partner. But you can see why I really miss him when he’s not here. He’s the best. Arran sure loves him. Noyzi is slowly coming around.

I did tell Bill I hope he’ll do what he can to bolster his cybersecurity skills. He earned a second master’s degree in cybersecurity a few years ago, but he hasn’t had a chance to put it to use. It’s a hot field, and perhaps working in cybersecurity might help curb the lengthy separations that exercise planning requires. Granted, he’s in a niche field now, and has good job security, but there’s more to life than money. After 18 years of this, I think we’re both a bit tired.

Edited to add… I was inspired to make a video.

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musings

I did it…

I wrote lyrics to a song called “Three Chords and the Truth”. But now I think maybe I want to change the melody. Maybe I might even make the song all mine, rather than just a parody of someone else’s song. For that, I’m going to need some more time and technique.

I learned a new guitar skill today. It’s a technique that involves the blues. Unfortunately, my hands are still too small and my fingers aren’t very flexible or dexterous yet. I’m still working on it. Learning to play guitar is very satisfying on many levels, although I’ve kind of been neglecting my vocals. Maybe I’ll work on those today, too. The more I work on music, the less time I have to sit and think about what’s wrong with the world.

Bill had to go into work again today, mainly because the Internet is still sucking pretty hard. It’s hard for both of us to work on the Net right now. I don’t know what’s going on with our ISP. Maybe they’re needing to do some upgrades. Anyway, we had a package waiting at the post office, so it’s just as well that he went in.

Not much else has happened today. I spent several hours washing the linens, took Arran for a walk, ran into a lady walking her horses, and did some writing on my travel blog. The writing and laundry took up the morning. I’m glad we went to the Eifel, although we probably aren’t interesting enough for most people to follow, especially in the midst of COVID-19. I’m finding that I don’t have much desire to go through the rigamarole required to visit a museum or some other indoor place, especially when not that many people seem to appreciate my efforts. For now, it’s probably better to blog mostly for myself. I do like to go back and read some of my memories, especially of many of the trips we’ve taken. I wish I were a blogger when we were in Germany the first time. We had some epic times when we were here from 2007-09.

I may take some time to do some music this afternoon… then try to finish my latest book so I can review it. Maybe I’ll think about where we can take our next long weekend, although I have a feeling we’ll be going to Stuttgart next, rather than a place we haven’t yet been. It’s way past time for us to see the dentist.

I guess the one thing I can mention is that SingSnap is about to launch a new Web site, since Adobe Flash is about to be obsolete. I’m not sure I’m going to like it. The Beta version is already available and I don’t like the layout much. People are also bitching about some policy changes that were made toward those who don’t choose to pay for a membership. It doesn’t affect me, since I am a paying member, although I have found that I’m kind of losing interest in the site. It could be because now I’m getting to the point at which I can accompany myself and maybe even play songs I never could before.

If anything good comes from a pandemic, it’s that I finally decided to pick up a guitar and learn how to play it. Now, I just need to learn how to play it well, so I rely less on karaoke and kind-hearted people to accompany me.

I do wonder, though… this is something that has crossed my mind a lot. Do people think it’s wrong to stay home? Do people think it’s wrong to stay home because of face mask requirements? Am I selfish for not going out and gamely supporting the economy? I don’t know. God help anyone who says anything anti-mask, though. Apparently, that’s what’s going to save humanity.

For the record… although I do comply with the mask requirements, I personally don’t think they do a lot of good. They make people feel better. Someone in RfM posted a rant about how they went to get ice cream. The girl who waited on them was wearing a mask and a face shield, but apparently neglected to wash her hands before serving ice cream or wear gloves. She touched her mask and her visor, prepared the ice cream, vanilla with almonds, and then “smooshed” it into the cup with her bare, unwashed hands.

The poster said nothing at the time, but was upset. S/he felt the ice cream was now contaminated. Maybe it was, although probably not by COVID-19, which I don’t think is a food borne pathogen… And, to be sure, it would not have been acceptable to “smoosh” the ice cream with bare hands even before the pandemic struck. But it just brought to mind the fact that a lot of people would not have noticed. They would have noticed her wearing the mask and the shield because it was obvious. But how many people actually watch when food handlers prepare food? That’s mostly why I’m not all that sold on the masks. Most people are simply not conscious of being scrupulous at all times. People get tired and careless, or they fall into old habits. The person who is dutifully wearing a mask might not have changed it in weeks. Or they might have been behind the counter picking their nose… You just don’t know.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for right now. Maybe I’ll be back if I get inspired, but I think I’d rather play guitar.

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A welcome few days off…

Wow… it’s already Friday! This week really flew by, thanks to our trip to Cologne. It was our first time in the city in seven years. We were last there in 2012, when we took our very first Space A “hop” to Ramstein Air Force Base and decided we wanted to try to get a “blind booking” from what was then known as Germanwings (and is now Eurowings). During that trip, we stayed at the Ibis Hotel in the train station. This time, we stayed at the Excelsior Hotel Ernst, which is a really nice property.

Because of our trip, I haven’t had much time to write. It’s not such a bad thing, though. I think I’m just settling back into the routine I maintained before my friend Alexis visited my blog every day and left me comments. Alexis is busy with her medical training, so she doesn’t visit as often… ergo, I have less inspiration to write. Also, some of you know, a few months ago, there was some drama on my original blog. Actually, it was one of a few unwelcome dramas that erupted since we moved back to Germany.

In spite of what some people might think, I don’t like drama very much. I simply like to write what’s on my mind. Sometimes, what I write gets people upset; they send me nastygrams, and it causes angst that I’d rather not have to deal with. It’s never my intention to upset people when I write, even though I know it’s inevitable. I think it would be hard to be interesting if I didn’t sometimes get people upset. However, I would be lying if I wrote that I didn’t care about other people’s feelings, because I do care, and I mostly regret it when people have a negative reaction to my writing. It’s exhausting and stressful to deal with other people’s angst when I have so much of my own.

Sometimes it’s really good to take a few days off, though. I’m glad I did that this week, even if it has knocked me off kilter a little bit. You see, one thing I did while we were in Cologne was lay off the news. I mean, yes, I heard about the headlines. I read about Jessa Seewald’s new baby girl, Ivy Jane (yea for a normal name, Jessa!) being born, and I heard snippets about Trump badly explaining his potential connection to Russia. I’ve seen braindead comments from Trump supporters, who can’t see that their dear leader is a narcissistic whack job. I even got a private message from one– a total stranger– who felt the need to call me “deranged”. Really? I mean, you could call me a lot of things, but I’m not deranged. I think anyone who believes Trump cares about them is deranged. The man is a very obvious narcissist, which means he can’t care about anyone but himself.

And I did see Mitch McConnell’s unfortunate mealy mouthed face in a couple of articles that indicated that he intends to obstruct any progress we try to make toward fixing the United States after Trump’s sorry term is history. I used to really dislike seeing pictures of Paul Ryan, because he always looked so tragic– like he wanted to burst into tears or something while he systematically worked to turn the United States into a right wing utopia. Just seeing Ryan made me want to clock him. Well… I now have the same– perhaps more intense– negative feelings about Mitch McConnell. But he’s not worth going to jail over, so I mostly just stifle them and thank heavens that I’m not in the United States right now.

My Italian friend, Vittorio, has often described American culture as “weird-o-rama”. I didn’t used to agree with him. Now that I live abroad, I can see what he means. It really is a strange culture, where people are so obsessed with forcing women to give birth, yet don’t care at all about the resulting babies born who need food, education, healthcare, and healthy parents who can nurture them. I do not understand pro-lifers who are not actually pro-life as much as they are pro-birth, and pro trying to force women to stay pregnant at all costs. It makes me think more people should read up on Romania during the 1970s and 80s and how the pro-birth attitude ending up working out for them.

On my old blog, I once notably wrote a post about how I dislike it when people attribute quotes to people who never said them. That particular post was about George Carlin, who happens to be one of my heroes. Someone had posted a meme falsely claiming that he said something he hadn’t. It irked me, so I wrote about it and caused a huge drama when the guy got pissed. He thought that I was busting on him. I wasn’t. I was busting on the practice of sharing memes with incorrect information on them. He wasn’t the only one; he just happened to be the catalyst. Well… someone shared another Carlin meme yesterday, but theirs was accurate… and I think it’s a pretty good statement on where we are today, even though Carlin said it in 1996.

“If you’re preborn, you’re fine; if you’re preschool, you’re fucked.”
Yup. He was right. What would he say about our current situation? I think there would be comedy gold.

Anyway, I think I like being a little less visible to people. I like it up here in Wiesbaden, where things are less dysfunctional and Facebook is less important. Stuttgart is a very dysfunctional place, even if it will always have a piece of my heart for being the one place Bill and I have lived the longest. My former blog still gets a lot of hits. I keep thinking maybe I should delete it. What stops me is that, despite the drama, some people find it useful, mainly for the book reviews and true crime posts. As for me, I just want a place where I can be myself, for better or worse.

Well, maybe this weekend, I’ll think of something more specific to vent about. Right now, I’m finishing a very poorly written book about growing up in Christian Science. I’ll probably review it soon. Maybe someone will inspire me to write something with more focus. Or maybe today will be a music day. It’s been awhile since my last one of those.

Hope everyone has had a nice week and a good May.

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