blog news, Ex, love, marriage, musings

Today’s WordPress prompt is… “Tell us one thing you hope people never say about you.”

Not long ago, I wrote a post about how my blog host, WordPress, seems to think I need “special help” with my subject matter. Recently, I noticed that at the top of each new blank page, there’s now a “prompt”– a question or a suggestion on what my topic should be for the day. I think this is a new feature, as I’ve only just started noticing it. I see I can hide the daily prompts if I want to, but I probably won’t bother with that. Although I doubt I’ll need to use the prompts regularly, there are times when I could use a suggestion. Sometimes, even I get writer’s block– like if I’ve got a hangover or nothing exciting has happened. But I usually have SOMETHING I can write about, even if I’m the only one who’s interested in the subject.

Today, for instance, I could write about Donald Trump’s ridiculous “big announcement”, which turned out to be really embarrassing and stupid. He’s selling Trump superhero NFT cards for $99. Jimmy Kimmel put it as “QAnon meets QVC”. Seriously, this is “not a good look” for Trump. I’m sure a lot of his supporters– many (but not enough) of them former supporters at this point– are feeling kind of sheepish and humiliated now, as their former hero who promised “greatness” is shilling more worthless shit to the masses. Trump is legitimately embarrassing on so many levels now. Just like with Ex, whenever I think I’ve heard the worst about Trump, there’s another layer of rot to excavate. It’s unbelievable that so many people fell for his lunacy. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard that one of my cousins bought Trump’s stupid superhero cards. There are too many people who still worship him, though the number is dropping.

How dumb is this?

I haven’t bothered to watch Harry and Meghan on Netflix, because I haven’t been bored enough for that. I am reading Matthew Perry’s book, though. I know I’ve seen him in some things, although I was never a Friends fan– again, it aired at a time when I wasn’t available to watch a lot of TV. I bought his book because I like true stories, and his was getting some good press. So far, I’m enjoying it. Matthew Perry is engaging and funny, though some of his story is sad and scary. I’m four chapters in so far. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on his book soon.

Or I could write about how the dishwasher that was supposed to get to us last night is coming this morning… (ETA: The dishwasher is still delayed) and Bill will be home later today, much to the dogs’ and my relief. I’ve been on the wagon all week, too… mainly because Arran has been getting me up every night , sometimes two or three times, so he can pee and beg for food. He left me alone for 3.5 solid hours yesterday after I yelled at him. He slunk away with a guilty look on his face, as if to say, “Gee mom, I didn’t realize I was imposing that much!” It’s hard to stay mad at Arran, even if he is a little stinker… and he always has been, so this is nothing new. Prednisolone just amplifies the effect. Luckily he’s adorable, sweet, loving, and very loyal. But I really need a full night’s rest! So does Bill.

Yes, I have a lot of topics I could write about, and I don’t necessarily need WordPress’s help. But WordPress has queried about what the one thing is that I hope no one ever says about me. That’s actually kind of a hard question to answer. I’m a pretty forward person, and I’ve never been one to hold back. Lots of people don’t like me, although I don’t think I have too many true haters. Most people just find me annoying for any number of reasons, ranging from my distinctive laugh to the fact that I drink and swear a lot. Most people don’t seem to appreciate the fact that I’m outspoken and opinionated. I’m sure a consequence of growing up with people who repeatedly criticized and disparaged me, often in favor of other people’s kids, is a major reason why so many people seem to think I’m an asshole today.

I suppose a lot of people would be horrified to be thought of as an “asshole” by so many other people. Most people want to be liked. I used to be that way, too. But I found that trying too hard to be liked by everyone was impossible, exhausting, and pretty pointless. Because those who would want you to not be your authentic self for them are not people who would ever be a true advocate. In other words, they’re “dead weight”. I’d much rather have a few loyal, true friends who love me exactly for who I am, than a bunch of “friends” who love me for what I can do for them or a false persona I put on just so I can feel liked and included in a group.

Does it hurt to be– or just feel— disliked and uninvited? Sure, it does. But at least I can wear my jammies when I’m alone, and no one will criticize my laugh, personality, looks, or opinions.

Also, I suspect that even those who feel like others think of them as an “asshole” are overestimating their real impact on other people. I, for one, agree with Eleanor Roosevelt, who said “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” I think there’s a lot of truth in that statement. And, while it may take us aback to consider how little other people actually care that much about us, once you get past that initial shock, the end result is kind of freeing. Because when it comes down to it, people have their own lives, and their own problems… and the truth is, they probably DON’T think too much about you and any “asshole” behavior (from their perspective) you might exhibit.

So… I guess if I’m going to answer WordPress’s query, I would say that the one thing I would hope people never say about me is that I’m a fake. You may not like what you see or hear from me, but rest assured, it’s authentic. I try to be a good friend. I may not always say or do what other people want, but I do things with pure intentions. I don’t intentionally screw people over– which is NOT the same is letting them screw ME over without protest. The one kind thing my dad used to regularly say to me when I was growing up is that I’m a “survivor”. There’s a big part of me that doesn’t feel like that’s true, as I suffer pretty badly from anxiety sometimes. But, when I look back on my life, I realize that he was right. I am a survivor. A lot of times, that means I’m alone. But I am my true self when I’m alone, and I’m myself when I deal with other people. I’m never going to be popular, but what you see is what you get… ALWAYS. Or almost always… because I have to admit, there are times when fakeness is needed for survival. Like, for instance, being polite to an authority figure when you really feel like going off on them.

I feel like I came into Bill’s life for a reason. It was like the universe set it up. Matthew Perry writes about it in his book, about how, against all odds, he got cast as Chandler Bing on Friends. I think I was meant to be Bill’s second wife. I’m here to teach him new things… new ways of dealing with people. Maybe I was a washout as a career or family woman, but I think I’m here for different reasons… if only to show my husband that his voice counts, too. He doesn’t always have to appease other people and strive to be liked. His voice has worth, too. The real him is better than the fake persona he put on for Ex and other people who tried to force him into a place where he doesn’t fit. There’s a place where he DOES fit, just like a puzzle piece. And it’s with me, because I love him for who he is. He rewards me by loving me for who I am. It’s all I could ever ask for. If even one person can do it, it’s enough.

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Duggars, narcissists, politicians, politics, royals, YouTube

The “red mist”, and family ties that bind… and GAG!

Yesterday was an interesting day. I watched the election results roll in, gratified to see that a lot of people made their opinions regarding women’s rights quite clear. Yes, it’s true that Greg Abbott, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Ron DeSantis won their races, but on the whole, the projected “red wave” turned out to be more like a red misting. Honestly, I don’t understand the lack of situational awareness and common sense some extreme right wingers have.

They thought they’d win because of the current high inflation and the cost of living situation. But why didn’t they consider that when people are having trouble paying their own bills, the LAST thing they’d want to be is pregnant?! Besides the fact that the anti-abortion laws are an obvious affront to privacy and bodily autonomy, having a baby is an expensive and potentially dangerous proposition for most women. Obviously, more people, than the Republicans realized, were mightily pissed off at the intrusion into their private healthcare and family planning decisions, but I’ll bet some of them realized that forcing people to have babies will make life even more expensive.

I wish Texas had gone blue, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Now, it’s time for some repercussions. I suspect some healthcare providers will leave Texas and go somewhere they can practice without draconian laws that punish them for doing their jobs. I suspect a lot of very bright women will leave the state for places where they can make private decisions about their healthcare, family planning, and their own bodily autonomy. I suspect some companies will decide not to operate in Texas, or move out of the state, so that their employees don’t have to deal with Abbott’s disastrous laws. It’s hard to attract good talent when the living conditions in a state are unhealthy or oppressive. The anti abortion laws in Texas are very oppressive, and they are going to kill women.

I do think that eventually, the abortion laws in Texas will have to be relaxed somewhat. But unfortunately, that won’t happen until the public is more outraged, and realizes exactly what they’ve wrought when they force people to have babies they aren’t ready for and/or don’t want. And it will take some deaths, too, when women who are denied timely care during miscarriages or other healthcare crises die or get much sicker… again, both propositions that will ultimately cost more on many levels, financially or otherwise. Sicker patients cost more to treat, and take up more spots in overburdened hospitals. They require more care, and take longer to go back to work. Dead mothers aren’t around to take care of their babies or other children. Eventually, I hope some people will understand these truths. I hope it happens before a lot of people actually find out firsthand. But God forbid someone actually exercise some common sense, right? They’ll get accused of spreading misinformation or cheering for “murdering babies”.

I’ll tell you what. I certainly don’t cheer for abortion, but I think early abortions are preferable to the horrors of babies growing up in violent, abusive, neglectful, alcoholic homes… And I think abortion is less traumatic and cruel than the reality of what too many of today’s children experience, sitting in classrooms or church services, terrified as gun toting lunatics storm through and randomly murder anyone who happens to be in their way or looks at them funny. At least abortion “victims” don’t know what’s coming, and don’t fear death or suffering the way already born victims do.

Anyway… I don’t mean to rant about this again. I’m just glad to see that I’m not the only one who sees why safe access to abortion is very important. I’m glad to know that the silent majority realizes that the pro-birth movement is only a good thing when there aren’t any societal ills to worry about. And Americans know that we have a lot of societal ills to fix before we start requiring all babies to be born. A few days ago, Mama Doctor Jones shared the below video on her YouTube channel… The elections are over, but I still think this is a good video. Hope you’ll watch…

These fools need to be voted out of public office.

So now, what’s up with today’s title? It was inspired as I watched Katie Joy’s video about Jinger Vuolo’s new book, Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear, about escaping Bill Gothard’s IBLP cult. Katie Joy says the Duggar parents are “terrified” that Jinger will expose their secrets and hinder their chances of getting back on TV. I think that’s entirely likely, but Jim Bob and Michelle had to know that one day, their children would be adults. I know they hoped the children would all stay under Jim Bob’s authority, and they did all they could to influence them to make those “choices”, uninformed as they might be. But come on… nineteen children… there’s bound to be some rebels in that group. And of course, there will be at least one “truth teller”, who isn’t going to stay silent about what went on, and still goes on, in that family.

I doubt Jinger’s book will be a super revealing “tell all”, but it’s probably going to be revealing enough to get her shunned by her family for awhile. As for whether or not I’ll be reading it… at this point, I don’t know. I don’t have a burning desire to read a book written by someone who escapes one cult, only to enter another. And while I know Jinger used a ghostwriter, I’m not altogether sure her book is one that’s going to excite me much. I did try to watch her video about it, but aside from liking her outfit, I didn’t find her delivery very compelling. I was reminded of when she was younger, and on the show. She was always the one who smiled, gave two thumbs up, and seemed “happy”, even if it was an act. In her latest video, she didn’t seem like the same person. Her eyes were kind of dead to me. Maybe she’s happier now, but I wasn’t convinced. But I’ve been wrong before. Maybe I’m wrong again. Anyway, if you want to see her video, you can easily find it on YouTube, at least at this writing.

I do think that Jinger should have a voice. She should be free to speak her truth. As a “freedom loving” Republican, her dad should embrace his children’s rights to express themselves. That is one of the top Constitutional rights all Americans are guaranteed. But I guess Republicans only care about the Constitution when it promotes their agendas.

The other book that’s about to come out is Prince Harry’s. His book, Spare, reportedly worries his family. The British Royal Family also has a lot of secrets they’d rather keep, and they worry that Harry’s insights will damage the family’s reputation. There’s been a lot of talk about what will happen when the book is published. Many people think King Charles III will strip Meghan and Harry of their titles, and ostracize them forever. If that happens, I will be sad– mainly about the ostracism, not so much the titles. I feel like Harry and Meghan should not use their titles, if they are going to be living in the United States and not working as royals. But… I also think that if this is the path they’ve chosen, they should have the right to express themselves. That doesn’t mean I don’t think they should have to deal with the consequences of their actions. It just means that they have the right to their own thoughts and expression, as everyone does. The British Royals aren’t wrong to be angry, but neither is Harry.

Will I read Harry’s book? I don’t know. I am a little curious about it… but I have a long list of books to be read, and I feel like some of Harry’s behavior has been pretty bad. I don’t like Meghan Markle. I think she’s a narcissist. For that reason, I feel a little sorry for Harry, because he’s caught in a trap. But I’ve also seen the toxic way narcissists affect their victims and make them unlikeable and unattractive. That’s part of the design. When narcissists get their victims to alienate other people, they prevent them from escaping their clutches. Harry used to be very well liked by people around the world. Now he’s pissed off a lot of people, which means that he has fewer places to go for help and comfort as he gets further stuck in the relationship… and as Meghan continues to devalue him until he’s no longer himself. I know some people don’t see this and will disagree with me. And again, I could be wrong. But I’ve seen this many times… and I’m married to a man who was once married to a narcissist. The signs and symptoms are pretty clear to me, even as I also acknowledge that what I see is only what’s in the media. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors?

Well… it’s going to be a busy day. I’ve got to go get the laundry, walk the dogs, practice guitar, vacuum, and take Arran in for his fifth chemo appointment. After today, he’s going to be more than halfway through his nine week protocol before the chemo appointments are less frequent. He continues to amaze us with his resilience. Yesterday, when I walked him, he demanded to go the long way. A month ago, he could barely manage a short walk, and didn’t want to eat the tempting canned food. Now, he scarfs down kibble, jumps up on the bed, and shows us love. So, I’m going to quit blogging now…

Have a good Thursday. If you’re American, I hope the elections where you are went somewhat the way you hoped they would…

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complaints, controversies, LDS, mental health, narcissists, social media, YouTube

Self-preservation and the “gift of fear”, rather than bigotry…

I kind of don’t really want to write this post, because I have a bad feeling that it might be controversial… But I saw something yesterday that annoyed me a bit, and since it’s been kind of a difficult week anyway, I figure I might as well post about it.

Some time ago, someone out there in Facebook Land encouraged me to follow Father Nathan Monk. I think it might have been someone in the Duggar Family News group. According to his “about section”, Father Nathan Monk is a best selling author, “depressive humorist”, and former priest. He often posts things that are wise, funny, and insightful. However, there are times when he’s a little too “woke” for me, and I get annoyed. I know at least one time, I unfollowed for awhile. I think last month it happened, and I took a break for a month. Recently, his posts started popping up on my feed again. I mostly enjoyed them, until I saw the one below…

Naturally, he got many comments from people who completely agreed with his take on why so many people don’t like Meghan Markle. Lots of people were jumping on the bandwagon that people “hate” Meghan just because she’s “black”. I noticed that anyone who disagreed with any part of Father Nathan Monk’s post was immediately piled upon by other posters, seemingly eager to shut up the lone dissenter. People were calling the guy a bigot and a misogynist. Granted, he did turn out to be a Trump supporter from Britain, but even that doesn’t necessarily make him a bigot. I thought his comments regarding Meghan made a lot of sense, his political preferences notwithstanding. To me, it just proves that not all Trump supporters are necessarily crazy or stupid. They just haven’t reached the conclusions that I have, for whatever reason. Like the guy posted, “it’s okay to disagree.” I don’t know why he can easily see Meghan Markle’s issues and not see Trump’s, but then, I don’t know anything about him. Maybe he’s right about Trump and I’m wrong, although I doubt it. I suspect he just cares more about money than I do.

Now, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might know that I’m not one of Meghan Markle’s fans. My dislike of Meghan Markle has absolutely NOTHING at all to do with her racial makeup. I couldn’t care less about that. I don’t care that she’s an American who had the audacity to marry a British prince, either. I think people should be allowed to love and marry whomever they choose. And I also think that Harry should have been allowed to chart his own course in life, as we all should. I watched the interview Meghan and Harry had with Oprah Winfrey, and a lot of what Harry said made sense to me. I’ve always liked him, and when he and Meghan first got together, I was genuinely happy for both of them. I cried when I watched their wedding, especially at this part…

The man who sings the solo never fails to bring me to tears. This is just beautiful. I was even inspired to make my own version of this song based on this interpretation, which is one of so many over the years.

Here’s proof that I watched and loved their wedding, and this song…

When I heard this and watched the wedding, I had high hopes for this union.

What surprises me is looking at the congregation and not seeing that much emotion… but it is Britain. If I had been there in person, I would have been sobbing. That rendition is– indeed– glorious!

Below is what I had to say in late November 2017, when Harry and Meghan’s engagement was announced…

A screenshot from my original blog in an entry posted on November 29, 2017, so you can see that I’m not making this up… On another, unrelated point, I see that the post in question was about 85% about a certain lurker from Colorado. And given that it was late 2017, when we were having serious issues with our ex landlady, I now know it was the former tenant, spying on me and reporting her findings. I had titled the post “Snoopin’ and poopin’,” and that was definitely what she was doing. Sorry… I know I should forget about this, given what happened to former tenant, but it still really pisses me off.

As you can see, I had nothing bad to say about Meghan in 2017. I thought she was pretty, and Harry seemed happy. I did not give a shit about her race, and in fact, the two people I posted about her resembling are famous and beautiful WHITE people. But even if they were Black, it wouldn’t matter to me.

In May 2018, a few days after Harry’s and Meghan’s nuptials, I posted this :

See? Nothing derisive here about Meghan’s skin color.

Also from May 2018, I had written a post about gun violence in the USA, and added some comments about the royal wedding between Harry and Meghan. Again, totally positive and hopeful comments from yours truly.

Are these comments racist?

And finally, two more comments from October 2018, when Meghan announced her pregnancy… Nothing negative or racist here, either. And here’s a link to my post about Harry’s interview with Oprah last year. I had sympathy then, too, even if, by that point, I was liking Meghan less.

I’m not going to claim that there aren’t a lot of racists out there who don’t like Meghan Markle only because of her skin tone. I’m sure there are plenty of small-minded people who think she had no business marrying a British prince simply due to her being a biracial American woman with middle class roots. My point is that not all of us dislike her for those reasons. And just as it’s not right for people to make assumptions about others due to things they can’t help, like their skin color, it’s also wrong to assume that people are racist just because they’ve come to conclusions that you haven’t. I would gather that coming to that conclusion, even if it’s just for well-intentioned “woke” purposes, is just as wrong as stereotyping people due to their skin color is. In other words, people who instantly cry “RACISM” when someone says something disapproving of Meghan Markle are really not much better than the gossip mongers.

H.G. Tudor, who has been notably relentless and snarky in his observations of Meghan Markle’s behavior, put out what I think is a pretty good video. The main idea is that no, we don’t know her… but people who DO know her have spoken about her behavior. How many more people need to speak up before people realize that not everyone dislikes her due to her skin color?

I don’t like Meghan Markle because I don’t like her behavior. She makes my “cluster B” chimes go off. I’m not the only one who feels this way. And we’re not wrong to have these feelings, because we have had exposure to narcissists, and experience has taught us that these types give off signals that are triggering. Once you’ve been around that type of person, you can pick up on the vibes. Even though I get those vibes– mainly those of hypocrisy, fakeness, and self-centeredness– I totally get that I could be misinterpreting. Experience has told me that I’m pretty perceptive, and my perceptions are often right on target.

There’s a reason that people have this “sixth sense”, by the way. It’s part of self-preservation. Back in 2010, in my old blog, I posted about a book I read called The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It was recommended by a YouTuber who called himself Lithodid Man. I blogged about the video by Lithodid Man, and he eventually found the post and left me a comment. Below is his video, which is now twelve years old…

Lithodid Man, who is an atheist, talks about being approached by a very insistent evangelical proselytizer who was trying to wear him down and get access to his minor son. He explains that he had read de Becker’s book, and it opened his eyes to the manipulative techniques the guy was using to get Lithodid Man to agree to let his son go to a church group.
An excerpt of my 2010 post about The Gift of Fear.

Gavin de Becker’s book is about recognizing when your senses are telling you of a threat, and acting accordingly, and in your own best interests, to protect yourself from harm. Our culture often pushes us, through peer pressure, to think one way or the other, to be agreeable and not make a fuss, to not be a “Karen”, to always cooperate and not make any waves… And people who are manipulative, narcissistic, or otherwise up to no good, are only too happy to exploit those pressures we live under to be nice at all costs.

Being nice is not a bad thing, but one shouldn’t be nice simply because it’s the path of least resistance. Sometimes, those instincts are DEAD ON… and tragically, we don’t realize until something heartbreaking has happened. For more on this, read any of my posts about Bill’s ex wife, and what has happened because he was “too nice” and too afraid to upset other people. Granted, it hasn’t been all bad. If he hadn’t married Ex, we might not have gotten married. Some other woman would have almost certainly treated him a lot better and he probably would have stayed married to her, even if the match wasn’t as compatible as ours is. But a lot of people were hurt because Bill ignored “the gift of fear” and didn’t listen to his instincts. He has told me on many occasions that on his wedding day to Ex, he had a voice telling him not to do it. He ignored that voice and suffered the consequences– kind of like Diana, former Princess of Wales, did. He learned a lot of tough lessons. Some of them have rubbed off on me.

Here’s another example. For years, I was quite vocal about how much I dislike Mormonism. I still dislike it, but feel less compelled to speak out about it these days, mainly because Bill’s younger daughter, who is LDS, now talks to him. I know that there are really good people in Mormonism. I knew that, even when I was more outspoken about Mormonism. My disdain for the church had NOTHING to do with the people within it. I don’t dislike people simply due to their religious beliefs. If that were the case, I never would have married Bill, who was still LDS on our wedding day. It was the institution and doctrine itself that I saw as damaging, because it was used as a tool to separate my husband from his daughters. He wasn’t “worthy” to be their father or baptise them, according to Ex and the church itself. He didn’t believe in the church’s teachings, so he was less fit. This, even though Ex was the one who was abusing and neglecting their children, and Bill himself.

So I determined that I don’t like Mormonism for that reason, not because I’m overall a religious bigot. And I also know that the Mormons aren’t the only ones who pull that shit… they just happen to be the ones who have affected us directly. I don’t like the other religions where those kinds of divisive practices prevail, either. In fact, I’m not that big on religion as a whole, but I especially dislike really restrictive, controlling ones where everyone has to believe and think the same way, and criticism isn’t allowed. Does that automatically make me a bigot? I don’t think so. But some people insisted that I am one, no matter how much I tried to explain my reasoning to them. Thankfully, most of them are now out of my life. Likewise, my disdain for Meghan Markle has nothing to do with her skin color or race. It’s because I recognize problematic behaviors that I think are toxic.

It annoys me to read posts like Father Nathan Monk’s, that presume to lecture everyone about being “racist” against Meghan Markle and discounting why people might not like her. First of all, she is a very public figure. She chose to be a public figure. One could argue that making that choice, in and of itself, is kind of a narcissistic thing to do. Yes, there are famous people out there who aren’t really all that “public”. I’ve read and heard about Meghan Markle’s desire for “privacy”, and yet she’s still everywhere.

Sure, I could give Meghan a pass for attending the Queen’s funeral, and even the Platinum Jubilee, but she’s clearly been trying to monetize her association with the British Royal Family. She still uses that title– the Duchess of Sussex– even as she publicly disdains Harry’s family and disowns her own family. This might be easy to ignore if these folks were regular citizens, but they aren’t. The British Royal Family is extremely public.

While I’m not generally a fan of saying, “you knew what you were getting into”, I do think that Meghan had to know that she wouldn’t be living a private life if she married Harry. It’s not even like she was like Diana. Diana was 19 years old when she got married, and didn’t even have a college degree. Meghan was a divorcee in her late 30s when she and Harry got married. And Meghan is certainly old enough to remember Diana, and what happened to her. Moreover, other people who married into royalty have been harassed– Sarah Ferguson definitely was. Camilla Parker Bowles was. Even Kate Middleton was. So, in that sense, she wasn’t alone… and wasn’t really treated that differently, other than the fact that Meghan is biracial and American. I’m not saying it’s right that the press harassed these ladies. What I am saying is that they were all being pursued and treated similarly poorly by the press. Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie, is the only one I don’t remember being messed with as much by the press. Maybe it’s because she was involved in public relations herself, if memory serves.

I don’t know Meghan Markle personally, and almost surely never will. So, the fact that I see her behavior as obnoxious and don’t like it is irrelevant, anyway. It’s not like I’m sending her hate mail, or even posting a lot of toxic stuff about her. I don’t even hang around with a bunch of girlfriends and giggle as we drink wine and trade catty gossip about her. I just pick up on these toxic vibes that I can’t ignore. I still wish Meghan and Harry luck with their marriage, particularly since there are now children involved. And I even hope that the two of them prove me wrong and have a long, successful, and happy marriage. I would be even happier if Meghan stopped seeming so artificial and tone deaf to me. And yes, I will continue to write about my observations of her behavior as I see fit. But, whether or not people believe me, my feelings have nothing to do with Meghan’s race. And to make that sweeping and insulting judgment about anyone who has criticisms of Meghan Markle is pretty lazy, limited, and disrespectful, in my view. People are going to “do themselves”, though… so for the sake of my sanity, I’ll try to ignore the bullshit and drive on.

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obits, royals

Queen Elizabeth II is dead after a long lifetime of service and sacrifice…

I knew we were going to get bad news about Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II when I noticed announcements on YouTube about her doctors advising that she be under medical supervision. Buckingham Palace never makes those kinds of announcements unless something big is about to happen. I soon found myself on Jesus Enrique Rosas’ YouTube channel, of all places. He was having a live stream, talking about Queen Elizabeth’s declining health. Some people in Britain commented that the Queen had already died sometime around 2:00pm, UK time, but they were waiting for all of the family members to arrive in Balmoral before making an official announcement.

How did they know? Some had mentioned that members of the press were wearing black ties. I hadn’t known until yesterday that the black ties were a sign. Apparently, the BBC had regularly rehearsed the announcement of the Queen’s inevitable death for years. I read somewhere that they rehearsed the procedure every six months, and always had black ties on hand for anchormen to don immediately, when they announcement finally came. Below is a video about the protocol that I stumbled across yesterday. It was made in 2017. And here’s an article by The Guardian written on the subject of protocol when “London Bridge falls”.

Very interesting video about Operation London Bridge. I had no idea.
Such a shock… and yes, the anchor is wearing black, as is tradition.

I shed a few tears yesterday when the news was confirmed that Queen Elizabeth had, in fact, crossed the bar at last. My earliest memories are of living in England, although I was not born there. We were living in England when the Queen had her Silver Jubilee in 1977, and my parents bought memorabilia from that event, which was always on display in our home. I always felt a kinship with Britain, and while a lot of Britons don’t care much for the monarchy, I have always been fascinated by it. I especially loved the fact that Queen Elizabeth II was such a big fan of horses and dogs. I have that in common with her.

Queen Elizabeth II has always struck me as a lovely person with a good sense of humor, warmth and consideration for other people, and a remarkable attitude toward service. Just a couple of days ago, she met Liz Truss, Britain’s brand new prime minister. Although this ceremony has historically taken place at Buckingham Palace, because the 96 year old queen had been in poor health and had mobility issues, Ms. Truss visited her at Balmoral, near Aberdeen, Scotland. There were photos of the event, which circulated widely, with the queen smiling and shaking the new prime minister’s hand while clutching a walking stick. Liz Truss is the 15th prime minister to meet the queen, and she is Britain’s third female prime minister. I almost get the sense that Her Majesty waited to do this one last duty before slipping off the mortal coil and meeting her beloved Prince Philip and the countless dogs and horses who predeceased her.

With the Queen’s passing, Britain now has a new King– Charles III– and a new Queen Consort, Camilla. Prince William and his wife, Catherine, have now become the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Rothesay, in addition to Cambridge. They have inherited Cornwall and Rothesay from Charles and Camilla. I suspect that very soon, Prince William and his wife will also inherit the title of the Prince and Princess of Wales, although that isn’t a given, since that title isn’t one that passes automatically. Maybe I shouldn’t care about these things, since I’m an American. But, as I mentioned before, I spent a lot of time in Britain, and had it not been for my ancestors, I would be a Brit myself, based only on my overwhelmingly British DNA.

They are about to be even busier than they ever were.

Prince Harry wasn’t able to get to Balmoral in time to say goodbye to his grandmother before she passed. He and Meghan have been in Europe on a speaking tour. They’d had plans in London, but obviously, those had to be canceled. Meghan is said to have stayed in London, which was no doubt the wisest thing to do, under the circumstances. I’m sure that in time, there will be a documentary about all that went down yesterday, and it will be interesting to see. For now, it just seems so surreal that Queen Elizabeth II is gone. She always reminded me so much of my own Granny, and I’ve always admired her for so many reasons– from her love of horses and dogs, to her colorful sense of fashion and style, to her sense of humor, to the way she always seemed to keep a stiff upper lip, no matter what. I’m glad for her that she was able to pass in the place where she reportedly felt most comfortable– in Scotland. I can’t blame her for feeling that way. Scotland is a wonderful place. It was especially fitting to see that there was a double rainbow over Buckingham Palace yesterday, just after the queen’s passing– even though she passed in Scotland, not London.

Queen Elizabeth II was not born to be a queen, but had that duty thrust upon her. She handled with with grace and sobriety, leading through so many eras during her incredible 70 years on the throne. No matter what one might think of the monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II was an amazing woman who showed great fortitude in good times and bad. I will miss her for many reasons. She was a role model to me, even though I’m not one to follow role models very well. I hope she’s resting in peace, reunited with Prince Philip in paradise… but I realize that no one really knows what happens when death occurs. If she can’t be in Heaven with everyone she’s ever loved, animals included, I hope she at least enjoyed some beautiful hallucinations as she drifted away.

Something else was on my mind yesterday. Just before our walk yesterday, I noticed that the lymph nodes in Arran’s hind legs appeared to be enlarged. I felt them, and they are, in fact, swollen. We just passed our third anniversary of our sweet beagle, Zane’s, death from lymphoma. My first clue that Zane was so sick was noticing that he had swollen lymph nodes under his jaws and hearing him bark with hoarseness. Both Zane and Arran had suffered from mast cell tumors, and lymphoma is a known complication of that disease. We didn’t know Zane was so sick because we had been on vacation in Scotland, of all places, and lymphoma can be deadly very quickly. We lost Zane just one week after we found out about the cancer.

I do worry that Arran might also have lymphoma. He has a vet appointment today, because he’s been acting lethargic. However, unlike Zane, he seems to have improved since my initial concern, the swollen lymph nodes notwithstanding. He wanted to take a walk yesterday, and is eating well, if not a bit slowly. Just now, he went outside, drank some water, and parked himself behind my office chair. Hopefully, the swollen lymph nodes are not caused by cancer this time– especially since they so far seem confined to his popliteal nodes. The right one is noticeably larger than the left, rather than uniform, as they were with Zane. His eyes are bright, and his mast cell tumors have never affected him the way they did Zane. But, just as the queen was, our Arran is quite elderly at about 14 years old. Eventually, we will have to say goodbye to him, too.

One thing I have noticed is that ever since Arran encountered the resident hedgehog in our backyard, I have seen some fleas. Hedgehogs are notorious for having fleas, although the kind they have are breed specific and don’t infest household pets. However, hedgehog fleas do still bite, and Arran did have some blood work done recently that indicated a slightly low level of red blood cells. Perhaps that could be related to Arran’s current state. I gave both dogs baths yesterday, just to see if I saw any telltale evidence of an actual flea infestation. Unfortunately, having grown up in Virginia in the 80s with dogs, I have seen my fair share of the pesky little fuckers. But there weren’t any fleas, nor was there any evidence of “flea dirt” in the bath water. Arran is an old guy, though, so if fleas are biting him, that could conceivably affect his blood work. He doesn’t have the resilience he once had, when he was a young dog. I was worried about him being lethargic, and slow to eat, although he always does eat eventually. Anyway, we’ll see what the vet says. With any luck, we can get him back to feeling like his old self for awhile longer.

Bill comes back from his business trip today. It will be good to see him. I always miss him when he’s gone, but I especially missed him last night, as I heard the news about the beloved British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. It will be interesting to see how Charles carries on as King Charles. His reign is bound to be short, though. He probably won’t even make it to the Silver Jubilee that my parents attended all those years ago, when we lived in Britain. I wish Charles luck. I know a lot of people don’t like him because of what happened between him and Diana, but I’ve always thought of him as sort of a tortured soul. It’s been nice to see him obviously much happier with Camilla, who should have been his wife from the beginning. They are clearly soulmates. So I wish them both the best, as they have a huge undertaking, following the second longest reigning monarch of all time, and the longest reigning British monarch. I hope William is preparing, too… because I suspect it won’t be too long before he’s called upon to follow his father. He won’t be waiting 70 years; that is for certain.

One last thing… I am a child of the 70s and 80s, so I can’t help but remember an infamously rude 1986 era song by The Smiths about the monarchy. The song is called “The Queen is Dead”, and it’s definitely a song of antipathy. I have a feeling it may catch on in the coming weeks, as some people are already making tasteless jokes about the queen’s passing. While I don’t agree with the song’s sentiment toward the monarchy, I have to admit to liking The Smiths… this song included.

The lyrics are pretty damning.
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celebrities, royals, YouTube

Dueling divas… It takes one to know one?

Happy Friday, everyone. I’ve spent the week watching the news in astonishment, as Donald Trump’s legal woes get deeper, and Republicans are starting to realize (too late) that their misogynistic policies and alignment with Trump may very well fuck up their midterm plans for US domination.

I was delighted to see that Sarah Palin lost her bid to get back into politics. I’ll admit, when I first heard Sarah Palin speak– in fact, she was debating Joe Biden back in 2008, when John McCain and Barack Obama were running for president– I found her somewhat impressive. But my opinion of her plummeted when she quit being the Governor of Alaska to become a political pundit. I should also add that I liked John McCain. He was a decent man with a backbone, and he was NOT a Trumper. He was one of the Republicans I respected very much. I’d like to see more like him, instead of people like Trump and his delusional minions.

But as exciting as the many political bombshells have been this week, I just don’t have the gumption to devote a whole blog post to them today. Instead, I think I’ll chat about Meghan Markle, who has finally launched her podcast on Spotify. I don’t subscribe to Spotify myself, so I don’t tune in to Meghan’s podcast, called Archetypes. Last week, her first guest was her “bestie”, Serena Williams. This week, it was Mariah Carey. I watched a few YouTube videos about how the show went down, and it sounds like it might have been entertaining. Mariah Carey basically called out Meghan on her bullshit. I actually heard what Mariah said, too, and the way she said it. It was hilarious! H.G. Tudor did a funny video about it.

At least Mariah actually has something to be a diva about, right?

I don’t love Mariah Carey’s music, but I completely acknowledge how genuinely talented she is. She has an extraordinary singing voice, a huge range, and she has written hit songs. She overcame a difficult childhood, has been through a couple of divorces, and while she may sometimes act like a narcissistic fool, she can back up some of that behavior with actual goods. Meghan, on the other hand, seems to be more of a “poseur“… as we would have put it back in the 80s.

Meghan has tried to be the second coming of Harry’s mother, Diana. That hasn’t worked out at all, and it seems that a lot of Brits find her completely insufferable. So now, she’s bragging about how some South African guy in the cast of The Lion King said that when she married Prince Harry, South Africans were rejoicing in the streets, the way they did when Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. Naturally, people are rolling their eyes at that, too. Seriously? And now, reporters are starting to fact check everything she says. In Australia, they’re being particularly brutal. Check out the below video– just one of several by the Aussies and their disdain for Harry’s wife.

I don’t know if this is how all Australians feel, but the reporters on The Bolt seem to think that Meghan is full of shit.

You can hear Mariah laughingly tell Meghan that she gives us “diva moments”. I can practically visualize Mariah rolling her eyes as she calls bullshit on Meghan’s claims that she’s not really a diva. Mariah’s comments are delivered in a way that is good-natured. She’s laughing as if she’s joking, and she even sounds kind of complimentary toward Meghan, but I can tell Meghan is kind of taken aback by Mariah’s unabashedness. Mariah is an unapologetic diva, though, and sees nothing wrong with it. She even flat out says, “I don’t care.”, as Mariah is pretty proud of her diva persona. Mariah probably figures Meghan ought to just own it, like she does.

Bwahahaha… Mariah sets Meghan straight.
I think Mariah p’owned Meghan.
Meghan’s acting skills failed.

Being called a “diva” likely goes against Meghan’s desired image for herself. She wants to be seen as kind, humble, compassionate, and genuine, as Diana, Princess of Wales, was– even if Diana really wasn’t necessarily always those things. Diana could pull off those qualities, though, because she wasn’t a narcissist. Diana was reportedly a borderline, and there’s a big difference between the two conditions, even if they do sometimes overlap. As Dr. Grande notes, Diana was quite neurotic and manipulative, yet she also had a great deal of genuine empathy and compassion for others. She was one of the very first famous people to interact with people suffering from AIDS, which was considered very brave at a time when many people were confused about how AIDS was spread, and an AIDS diagnosis was considered a death sentence. As Dr. Grande points out, it’s not actually known if Diana really did have Borderline Personality Disorder, although he does notice that she exhibited a lot of the signs and symptoms.

Dr. Grande examines Princess Diana’s life, death, and mental health.

Dr. Grande also analyzed Meghan Markle. Below is a video he made about a recent article that was published about Meghan in The Cut. He seems to be yet another person who finds Meghan insufferable.

Grande’s thoughts on Meghan seem somewhat less charitable than they were toward Diana. He’s pretty droll.

In any case, I think a lot of people were rooting for Meghan when she first came on the scene. I was glad to see that Prince Harry had found a wife, and delighted it was an American woman who had stolen his heart. In spite of Meghan’s convictions that people have behaved in a racist manner toward her, I think a lot of people had high hopes for her relationship with Harry. But it seems like everything went to shit pretty quickly, and I think it’s because she was putting on an act that she could not maintain. Moreover, there are so many stories about her problematic behaviors that it’s getting harder and harder to believe that she isn’t an actual “diva” in the more negative sense of the word.

Jesus Enrique Rosas offers his thoughts on the podcast… He spares no snark.

When most people think of the word diva, it’s not necessarily always a bad thing, anyway. Yes, divas are usually described as entitled, narcissistic, and temperamental. However, they are also often considered extremely talented, especially in music, and very beautiful. After all, a diva was originally the female star of an opera. Diva is the Latin term for “goddess”. And what woman wouldn’t want to be considered a “goddess”? Especially an ambitious person like Meghan, who seems to be very determined to be rich and famous. However, her efforts to social climb have become very obvious and distasteful. Yes, we could ignore snarky comments from guys like Piers Morgan, who doesn’t have much room to talk when it comes to being narcissistic. But I know I started to pay attention when it came out that Meghan had made Kate Middleton cry. Kate Middleton has always been the epitome of poise and grace. Even if, behind closed doors, she’s not actually an extremely classy person, Kate can pull off that appearance flawlessly… and personally, I think she is genuinely an effortlessly graceful and gracious lady. For Meghan, being classy and graceful, like Kate naturally is, is hard work– and it shows.

Meghan takes things very seriously… and I think if she wants to get back into the public’s good graces, she’s going to have to rent a sense of humor, and stop taking herself so seriously. But I don’t think that is going to happen, because narcissists, as a general rule, lack a sense of humor… especially when it comes to their images. And Meghan’s clearly negative response to Mariah’s comments is very telling, in my opinion. Her “slip is showing”… as in, that self-centeredness and perpetual victimhood attitude is coming out and taking a bow. And people are noticing, because they are giving Meghan just what she’s always wanted… ATTENTION. I think she’s realizing that attention is a double edged sword that cuts both ways. She wants attention for the “right” reasons… but she keeps saying and doing things that give her negative attention. While negative attention is better than NO attention, it still causes narcissistic wounds. Unless Meghan somehow learns to control her obviously wounded reactions, as she simultaneously stops spreading ridiculous lies, it’s only going to get worse.

River’s astute observations about the podcast. I find River very entertaining!

But, if you want a somewhat quick and dirty look at Meghan’s most recent shenanigans, you might check out Jesus Enrique Rosas’ 6 Worst Takeaways from her interview on The Cut.

Yikes!

Meghan still has her fans, of course… but more and more, I’m seeing some increasingly vitriolic responses to Meghan’s behavior. Below is a video that actually took me aback, as the guy actually drops the c-bomb regarding Meghan. I don’t think those over-the-top responses are very helpful, as they only lend credence to Meghan’s assertions that the press is hateful to her, even if this dude is just a YouTuber.

Trevor tells us how he REALLY feels.

Well… I’ve been working on this post forever, and I’m getting tired… so I’m going to sign off, for now. I’m sure some people won’t like this post. I know I have a couple of friends who like Meghan Markle. Personally, though, I am pretty horrified by this recent stuff that’s come out… especially the part about Nelson Mandela. It’s just incredibly tone deaf. And I think it’s going to get worse. I can’t believe she’s managed to get herself in the situation she’s in… and frankly, I feel sorry for Prince Harry, because he’s going to have a hell of a time extricating himself from this mess. Especially if he wants to maintain contact with his children. Trust me… I know this from my own husband’s experiences.

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