celebrities, politics, social media, stupid people

My unfortunate encounter with “Audrey Rose” last night… How horrific!

Last night, I read a news article in The New York Times about why so many “moderate” Republican women have abandoned conservatism for the Democratic Party. It seems that a lot of women who ordinarily identify as moderate or conservative are really upset about the erosion of women’s rights championed by the Republican Party, and they have vowed to stop voting for Republicans. Because I am an American woman who quit voting for Republicans, I decided to comment. To the Times’ question, “Will the abortion debate keep moderate women in the Democrats’ camp?”, I answered thusly:

That’s one major reason why I am done with Republicans. Trump is the biggest reason, though.

I noticed I got a “laughing” reaction. It was from child actress turned lawyer/author/conservative pundit, Susan Swift. I had seen Susan Swift leaving outrageous right wing Facebook comments on a lot of articles posted by The New York Times. I noticed she had a blue check mark, which makes her a “celebrity” or well known person. I figured she was some kind of female Rush Limbaugh acolyte, or something. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to her comments, because I found her rude and snarky, and because I don’t agree with her opinions. I didn’t actually realize Susan Swift was a child actress, though, until I finally looked her up to see why I should care about her opinions, and why she had that blue check mark next to her name.

I was pretty shocked to find out that Susan Swift was in a movie I well remember from my childhood.

Susan Swift was Ivy Templeman in the 1977 horror film, Audrey Rose, when she was 13.

I remember seeing that movie when I was a kid. I most recently watched it when Bill and I were first together, about twenty years ago. I remember getting it from Netflix on DVD and watching it, because I remember seeing it on TV and was kind of haunted by it. Susan Swift was good in Audrey Rose, which also boasted Marsha Mason and Anthony Hopkins in the cast. I mean, Mason and Hopkins are heavy hitting ARTISTS, and Audrey Rose was a pretty decent film. It wasn’t a shitty horror flick, or anything. She’s even been somewhat recently interviewed about her acting career and came across as basically okay there.

I was disappointed when I saw that this former child actress turned right wing political pundit was “laughing” at me for sharing my decidedly unfunny opinion on a random New York Times’ article. I don’t know a lot about Susan Swift, other than she went to law school, became a lawyer and author, and was afforded opportunities that a lot of women before her didn’t have. And apparently, she strongly aligns with a political movement that would like to strip women of their rights and autonomy, and thinks it’s cool that our former president throws tantrums, admires dictators, and brags about sexually harassing and molesting women. What a shitty person she must be. I mean, even if you disagree with someone’s politics, you don’t need to “laugh” at them when they obviously haven’t said anything funny. That’s just disrespectful and rude. Before I looked her up online, I decided to block her. And I posted this:

Blocked Susan Swift, because I have seen her making the rounds. She’s one of Trump’s bullies, who thinks she needs to laugh at people because they understandably don’t want to be led by a pussy grabber who admires dictators and throws tantrums when he loses elections.

Because I wondered why she had that blue check mark by her name, I investigated her acting career, which ended in 1995. She was in a fair amount of stuff back in the day. I did truly enjoy her in Audrey Rose… what a shame that she’s turned into such a creep. I mean, a person can be a conservative and not be a jerk, right? I have conservative friends with whom I don’t discuss politics. We have basic mutual respect. I don’t know Susan Swift at all, and I know she’s a “personality”… but don’t “personalities” get popular because they relate to a lot of people? So basically, Susan Swift relates to a lot of really awful people who enjoy mocking people who have a different world view than she has… as she and her ilk speak of “freedom” from government overreach. Why don’t they see that the government is now trying to reach into the most private and personal aspect of women’s lives? Women make up about half the population!

Over the past a couple of weeks, I have found myself becoming even less tolerant of uncivilized people who feel the need to hurl abuse at others, especially when all they’re doing is respectfully trying to share an opinion. Lately, I’ve been exploring Twitter. I’ve had mixed results with it. Some people on Twitter are hilarious and witty, and it’s fun to read their comments. Others are just incredibly toxic, and they think nothing of insulting people they don’t even know for not sharing their world views. I had to change my settings on Twitter, because I couldn’t deal with the poisonous spew that came forth from Twitter users who lack common decency and decorum. It was giving me a very dystopian and distorted view of my homeland. I’ve been blocking a lot of people on social media who can’t behave decently, especially if they’re strangers.

Anyway, I know that actors and actresses are people too, and one can like an artist’s work and not like them as a person. For years, I’ve loved watching The Brady Bunch, but I had to unfollow Susan Olsen on social media, because I couldn’t take her racist screeds against Muslims and pro Trump rallying cries. And I know I have a lot of former friends and family members who don’t follow me because they don’t want to be exposed to my opinions. At least most of them were decent enough to take action quietly and without mocking or outright abuse. My Uncle Ed is an exception… he actually cussed me out, called me a “liberal nutjob”, and reminded me of some of my dad’s most horrible verbal abuse tirades after one of his frequent benders. I don’t have to abide that from strangers at all, and certainly not from a former child actress turned Republican flunkie.

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healthcare, politicians, politics, religion, Trump

Putting my money where my mouth is…

Last night, I did something I’ve never done before. I donated $500 to NARAL Pro-Choice America. Just now, I donated $200 to Planned Parenthood. I decided to make my donations to these two organizations last night after reading insulting, misogynistic, mansplaining comments from men all day. It started with a guy on Twitter who mansplained the effects of pregnancy to a woman and compared it to a hysterectomy. It ended with disgusting comments from a bearded man who wrote several gleeful comments about forcing “loose women” to give birth. By the time I was ready to go to bed, I was seething, and found myself reaching for my credit card.

When I commented on a Washington Post article about abortion rights that I had donated to NARAL, more men came out of the woodwork to deride, lecture, mansplain, and again, ask me if I wasn’t glad my mom didn’t abort me. I blocked every single one of those fuckheads, as well as the women who were complicit in pushing this view that women shouldn’t be allowed to make private healthcare choices for themselves. All of them can go straight to Hell, as far as I’m concerned. This farcical Supreme Court ruling must not stand. People will die.

On Twitter, when I made this comment to the man who had “mansplained” pregnancy and hysterectomies to a woman, I got many likes. I also got a very nasty, angry, misogynistic response from a man who didn’t want me to have a voice. I blocked that fuckhead, too, as well as the ones who decided to use that discussion to make fun of trans people by asking “what is a woman?”. I don’t have time for those people; I don’t want to hear from them; and I don’t want to waste any time responding to their stupidity. They can go to Hell, too.

From yesterday…
To the guy’s credit, he did come back later with a reasonable response… but many more people than the ones reflected in this screenshot liked my post. A couple wrote that they were about to comment the same thing.

Truthfully, I’ve been wanting to donate to pro-choice organizations for a long time. I firmly believe that overturning Roe v. Wade will make American women less safe, and I feel like I have to do my part to help protect women’s rights to healthcare privacy. Women must have competent medical attention exactly when they need it, not when a lawyer says the doctor won’t be sued or jailed. I know that money is powerful. For once, Bill and I have it, and we can use it for something that might make a difference in the world.

When I posted about my donation, I noticed the immediate reactions I got from men who are happy about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Some of them “laugh reacted”. Some responded offensively. Some tried to “reason” with me. I know that their reactions cover up their real feelings that more people might do what I did. They’re counting on those of us who are for choice to be complacent, and politically inactive. Historically, I have never cared much about politics. I’ve never voted in any primaries, and I’m not a member of any particular political party. I have never donated money to any political action. I only follow a few politicians. But last night, something in me woke up. I’ve been reading so much craziness over the past few days, some of which is coming from politicians who literally want to change the United States into a theocracy.

Republican Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado went as far as to tell a church congregation she’s “tired of this separation of church and state junk.” That woman actually wants to allow CHURCHES to dictate US law! She actually said that the church is supposed to direct the government. I wonder which church she means. She delivered this speech at Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, Colorado. It’s a non-denominational church. They hosted Lauren Boebert, who is a well-known gun rights activist and MAGA asshat, and allowed her to spew her political bullshit in their church. That’s a misuse of their non-profit 501 [c] tax exempt status. I think churches that allow these kinds of political statements ought to be heavily taxed. It’s not for churches to tell people how to vote. It’s funny, too, because I just typed “IRS report” into Google, and the first recommendation was “IRS report church”.

As an American, I sure as HELL don’t want Lauren Boebert and her ilk leading my country. Moreover, she’s just plain wrong about what the Founding Fathers were aiming for when they drew up our Constitution. Not that I’m all that impressed with the “slave owners who wanted to be free” that the Founding Fathers were (George Carlin). What Boebert proposes is a Christian version of the Taliban. It’s like we’re seeing Serena Joy Waterford forming right in front of us.

From Father Nathan Monk’s Facebook page… his astute comment regarding Christianity was immortalized by an artist named panhandle_slim_

Even though I am beyond pregnancy myself, and I know that I will never be in a situation in which I will want or need to have an abortion, I think it’s important to preserve reproductive rights for younger people. My husband has a granddaughter who will be turning 3 in a few days. There’s every chance that she might need an abortion at some point in her life. Her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother have all had difficult pregnancies, to include miscarriages, and in her grandmother’s case, dissociating from reality during labor. She should be able to privately access that procedure without interference from an uninvolved person. And as a soon to be member of the LDS church, she shouldn’t be forced to live under laws that are dreamed up by evangelicals and Catholics. We have religious freedom in the United States, and that’s how is should be… that means freedom to practice any religion, and freedom NOT to practice. And no one’s healthcare choices should be determined by laws that are influenced by a specific religion.

So yeah, I’m really pissed off… pissed off enough that I spent $700 to do something about this fucking mess created by Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of that merry band of misogynists. And you know what? It felt really good. We won’t miss the money, and it will go to what I know is a very good cause– that of preventing power mad Republican MALES and clueless women from interfering in and invading the private healthcare decisions of women who want or need abortion care… or any other type of healthcare. Especially since we all know that the message in the below screenshot is so true…

You can count on that and take it straight to the bank. I think Panhandle_slim_ is also responsible for the above sign, which was photographed on the side of a busy street in Savannah, Georgia.
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LDS, politicians, politics, Trump

Rusty Bowers is one decent American… wish there were more of them in the Republican Party.

Special thanks to Gage Skidmore for use of a cropped version of his photo, which appears on Russell Bowers’ Wikipedia page.

I’ve been pretty busy since I got home from Belgium yesterday, and because I woke up feeling a little icky this morning, I needed a nap. However, I did manage to read one article about the Arizona House Speaker and Republican who put his foot down against Donald Trump and his goons, who insisted that Biden won the presidential election fraudulently. Bowers had voted for Donald Trump and campaigned for him. But he was unwilling to violate the law for him by overturning the 2020 Arizona election results. Rudy Giuliani, a man who was once lauded for the way he handled 9/11 as the Mayor of New York City, came to Bowers and tried to convince him to cheat for Trump. Giuliani told Bowers they had “theories” but no evidence, that the 2020 results were “rigged” against Donald Trump.

This is a brave and ethical man. Bravo to Russell Bowers. As Americans, we should demanding that ALL of our lawmakers are more like Bowers than Trump.

Bowers, who is an artist, storyteller, and devout Mormon, declared that he would not be fixing the results of the election in Trump’s favor. He explained that his faith teaches that the Constitution is divinely inspired, and he took an oath to uphold it. He would NOT be violating his oath for Trump, even though Trump was the candidate he supported. When Giuliani and his lawyer, Jenna Ellis, as well as other Arizona GOP lawmakers pressed him, Bowers said no. And when he testified in Washington, DC about what happened in January 2021, Bowers reiterated. According to the Washington Post:

“I will not do that, and,” Bowers testified, pausing to control his emotions. “On more than one — on more than one occasion throughout all this it has been brought up. And it is a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired — of my most basic foundational beliefs. And so for me to do that because somebody just asked me to is foreign to my very being.

“I will not do it.”

Because Bowers wouldn’t cheat for Trump, he was subjected to death threats and protests. People openly ridiculed him, even mocking him in parades. Trump supporters pushed to recall Bowers, passing out flyers falsely accusing him of child molestation and corruption. Bowers’ daughter, Kacey, was dying as her father was being maligned. His wife, a strong, silent, valiant woman, was standing by as people attacked her husband for simply doing his job and refusing to violate his oath. Kacey died January 28, 2021, and Bowers wonders if her death was hastened by the stress of dealing with Trump supporters who wanted him to “win” by cheating.

On August 2, Bowers faces a new election, and it looks likely that he will lose. However, I think even if he loses, he’s already won, by doing the RIGHT thing and not bowing to pressure. Bowers is a man of religious faith, a strong believer in Mormonism, which I know has its problems. But one thing Bowers can rest assured of is that he has integrity and decency. He may not be re-elected in Arizona politics, but he can hold his head high, because Trump supporters WILL be on the WRONG side of history, just as Hitler supporters were. The more that comes out about what was going on in Washington, DC during Trump’s tenure, the more it becomes clear to me that the man is a menace. And there will come a day when people won’t want to associate with him.

When Bowers was testifying, he read from a journal entry he wrote in December 2020:

“I may, in the eyes of men, not hold correct opinions or act according to their vision or convictions, but I do not take this current situation in a light manner, a fearful manner or a vengeful manner,” he said. “I do not want to be a winner by cheating. I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to. With any contrived desire toward deflection of my deep, foundational desire to follow God’s will as I believe he led my conscience to embrace. How else will I ever approach him in the wilderness of life knowing that I ask this guidance only to show myself a coward in defending the course … he led me to take.”

I’m not a big fan of religion, and I’m really not a fan of Mormonism… but I would say that if the Mormon version of God influenced Bowers to do the right thing by his office, that’s certainly one point in its favor as a belief system. I wish there weren’t so many other issues with the church… like the way it treats people who are homosexual, or don’t want to be LDS anymore… divorced and single women, and the way some members feel emboldened to do Baptisms for the Dead for people who clearly had no interest in Mormonism. On the other hand, there were decent people in the church who helped younger daughter escape her mother’s abusive clutches. So my opinions about Mormonism have softened somewhat for that reason… and reading about Rusty Bowers doing the right thing because of his faith is another reason. Also, I see in his photo that he has a nice smile… probably because he doesn’t drink coffee, tea, or red wine. 😉

Personally, I don’t think it was the church that led to this decision. I think Bowers is simply a good and decent man who plays by the rules. I don’t think a person has to be a believer in a deity to be decent or good. But if having strong religious faith helps one decide to do the right thing, I’m all for it. On the other hand, I know there are many men of “faith” who would have justified cheating for Trump as “God’s will”, the same way they justified his election– a man who is about as far from decent and good as a person can get.

I wish Rusty Bowers well… not just because he’s an honorable, honest, and patriotic man, but also because he has the same nickname my beloved pony had. If it turns out he loses the next election, I hope he will go on to do something rewarding for himself and his wife. I’m sure they need time to heal, especially having lost their daughter during that awful time. Maybe now is a good time to jump off the sinking Trump version of the Republican ship.

If there were more Republicans like Rusty around, I might consider voting for them again. Sadly, too many Republicans are more concerned about money and power and not pissing off a narcissistic asshole than being decent and honorable. Shame on them.

Donald Trump is a criminal who needs to go to prison. I doubt it will ever happen, but I sure would vote for it. The more I read about what happened after Trump LOST the election, the angrier I get that he was ever allowed to run for president. We’ve GOT to do better.

ETA: I read that Mr. Bowers would still vote for Trump if he ran against Biden, and I think that’s not a good thing. But I also think people should be free to vote their consciences. Like I said– I don’t agree with his politics or his religion, but I appreciate that he was brave enough and had enough integrity to uphold his oath. That is admirable, given the pressure he was under not to do right by the American people and Arizona.

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law, mental health, politicians, politics, racism, Texas, true crime

Enough pro-life platitudes! Texas Has Its Priorities Completely Screwed Up!

Early this morning, I woke up to the horrible news about Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. It’s another school shooting, this time perpetrated by a lonely, bullied, obviously mentally ill young man named Salvador Rolando Ramos. Days after his 18th birthday, Mr. Ramos legally purchased the weapons he would use to shoot and critically wound his grandmother, and then go on a shooting rampage at the elementary school. Mr. Ramos, who wore body armor and carried a rifle during his deadly rampage, was fatally shot, apparently by police.

At this writing, at least nineteen children were murdered, along with two adults. Both adults who died were teachers; one was Irma Garcia, a teacher with 23 years of experience at Robb Elementary, while the other, Eva Mireles, had taught for 17 years, and had a daughter in college. Many other people have been physically injured, and will forevermore carry the emotional and physical scars from yesterday’s shooting spree. The rest of us– the decent ones, anyway, are injured by yet another senseless school shooting in a country that professes to be “the land of the free”. And this time, the shooting happened in a state that professes to be so “pro-life” that many of its citizens will do almost anything to force women to stay pregnant.

The “right to life” crew, many of whom are men, claim that a developing fetus’s right to be born is more important than anything. The claim that abortion is cruel and inhumane. But at least a developing embryo is completely unaware of its being aborted. Children sitting in classrooms– some of whom were probably conceived with help from modern scientific reproductive methods– were no doubt absolutely terrified when Ramos opened fire on them. For those kids, Texas Republicans offer “thoughts and prayers”, and ridiculous suggestions about arming teachers and “good guys with guns”.

I am technically a Texas resident, although I haven’t lived there since 2014. Every year, when I cast an absentee ballot with my votes, the ballot goes to Texas, which is where Bill and I happened to be living when he finished his service with the Army. I didn’t hate Texas when I left there. I thought it was too hot, and there were way too many religious wingnuts. I didn’t like the extremely right wing politics of people in Texas, nor did I enjoy all the gun toting wackos I saw in downtown San Antonio. But I kind of respected Texas’s free-spirited culture. I enjoyed most of the people I met there, the music, the food, and having temporary access to members of my family, and Bill’s mom and aunt. When we left in 2014, I thought maybe we could move back at some point. Now I know that I don’t want to live there again. In fact, I’m not sure I really want to live in the United States again.

In the almost eight years since we left Texas, I have come to really dislike a lot of things about it. I despise the politics of Governor Greg Abbott and his relentless attack on women, as he also champions gun lovers. I can’t wait to cast a vote against Mr. Abbott. I don’t really care too much about who runs against him, either, which is a pretty terrible place to be. I would like to care about and even like the politics of the people who run for public office. But lately, the people who are running are so incredibly lacking in sense that I find myself voting AGAINST people, instead of for them.

According to the Washington Post, Salvador Ramos was severely bullied by his peers for having a strong lisp and a stutter. He had friends when he was younger, but then started doing self-destructive things, like cutting up his face with a knife “for fun”. Still, his friends said he was a very nice kid– shy, but nice. He’d be bullied for being different, but he had a few friends who stuck by him. Things seemed to go really downhill for Ramos when he shared a picture of himself wearing black eyeliner. For that, he was bullied by his peers and called a derogatory term for a homosexual male. Then, one of the friends who would try to stand up for Ramos, left the area when his mother’s job was transferred. At that point, Ramos began to dress all in black, grow out his hair, and wear military style boots. He quit going to school. At night, he and a friend would drive around and shoot at people with BB guns. He’d also egg people’s cars. He told one new friend that he wanted to join the Marines so he could “kill people”. The new friend became an ex friend after that.

Ramos’s mother eventually tried to kick him out of their home, and Ramos posted about it on Instagram. The incident showed Ramos calling his mom a “bitch”, as police intervened to break up the fight.

Ramos had a wish list of automatic weapons he wanted. A few days ago, he posted a picture of himself with a couple of rifles. There were some people who tried to help him, in spite of his odd proclivity for guns, but Ramos’s home life was terrible. According to a neighbor, Ramos’s mother used drugs. He eventually moved in with his grandmother, who owned the house where Ramos lived with his mom. A few days ago, the neighbor saw the grandmother, who mentioned that she was in the process of evicting Ramos’s mother, because she was abusing drugs.

I read all of this stuff, and I wonder how much help Ramos got from people who could do something for him. Did he ever speak to counselors? Was he encouraged to address his mental health and educational issues? At this point, I don’t know. I don’t want to blame educators, because I know they’ve got enough to deal with every day. And while it would be easy to blame people who bullied Ramos at school, being bullied is not a reason for someone to go on a shooting spree. I wonder what life situations led to Salvador Ramos’ fatal decisions yesterday.

I think these kinds of stress related meltdowns will only get worse, as guns are promoted as a solution to ending violence and maintaining “freedom”, and desperate women are being compelled to be pregnant when they aren’t ready to have babies. How many troubled women will be forced to give birth, thanks to the idiotic bans on abortions? I believe that people like Salvador Ramos evolve because they have very fucked up home lives, and not enough is done to help them make things better. There are too many children being born into situations where there’s substance abuse, sexual abuse, violence, racism, and poverty.

I haven’t even touched on the horrific gun fueled rampage that happened at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York on May 14th. That incident, which occurred at the hands of Peyton S. Gendron, a disgruntled 18 year old racist White guy with a gun, resulted in the premature deaths of ten people and the wounding of three. Eleven of Gendron’s victims were Black. Gendron survived his rampage, and is now in protective custody and on suicide watch. If the police hadn’t stopped him when they had, Gendron says that he would have shot more people. He’d had plans to visit churches and an elementary school. As awful as Gendron’s attack was, at least his victims were all adults. But that doesn’t make it much better, does it?

I’m so tired of violent, thuggish, Republican bullies with guns and big mouths. I’m so angry at people who champion narcissistic cretins like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the usual gang of idiots in the Republican National Committee. No, I don’t think Democrats are perfect, by any stretch. I don’t like extreme left wing politics, snooty attitudes, and lack of common sense some Democrats have. But at least Democrats have something to offer besides thoughts, prayers, more guns, and restrictions on abortion. This news just makes me sick… and it makes me feel an odd mixture of relief that, for now, I live outside of my country, and guilt, that I’m so far away, watching from a distance as the United States I’ve always known turns into a weird dystopia.

It’s hard to believe that a lot of us were looking forward to today, as Josh Duggar finds out his fate. I was also looking forward to finding out more about Tariq Witherspoon, the man who ran over and killed my friend, Matt, last year. He supposed to go to court in New York today. Those were two cases of callous, lawless men facing their crimes. But I sit here and think of how many people have died in the last two years… from COVID-19, cancer, murder, manslaughter and recklessness, and suicide. And we want to bring more babies into this mess? When we don’t even have enough formula to feed them? We can’t offer citizens decent, affordable healthcare, housing, or an infrastructure that doesn’t collapse as the climate becomes less hospitable to humans! Why in the hell would we want more innocent babies born into this hellish reality on Earth?

In a matter of days, Bill’s third grandson will be born. He will join his four year old brother and two year old sister. I worry about those kids, who are going to be growing up in a country that continues to grow more troubled by the year. I know how much their parents love them, and have wanted them to come into the world. I only hope that by the time they’re ready for school, more has been done to repair the serious issues that are causing little kids like them to die when all they’re trying to do is go to school, attend church, shop for food, or just be children, exploring the world.

I’m so glad I never had children. This world is completely fucked. Below is an “oldie but goodie” Facebook post that was making the rounds six years ago, and is sadly still very relevant.

Yeah. I am for shutting down the gun stores.
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family, LDS, music, social media

My life is incredibly absurd…

This is going to be another one of my much too long personal postings… Some people might think it’s “inappropriate” to write this, but it’s what’s on my mind today. This blog is, really, more for me than anyone else. And maybe a few of you out there can either relate, or maybe there are even some “curious” people out there who wonder WTF when they read my posts.

I got a bit upset last night. I didn’t mean to get upset. In fact, the evening had started out relatively well. Bill came home from work with five boxes that were waiting for us after our trip. One of the boxes that came was from Bill’s younger daughter. In March, Bill sent her a box of gifts from our trip to France. Bill’s younger daughter, Catherine, who will be giving birth to her third child within the coming weeks, decided to send us a box from Utah.

Before she sent the box, she wondered what to include in it. Bill requested for her to send us things exclusively from Utah. He meant things like “fry sauce”, or maybe certain types of candy or locally produced products that are specific to Utahn culture. Catherine, who is a devout Mormon, joked that Utah is best known for sugar. We had a laugh at that, since we know how true it is. Since Utah’s population is heavy with people of the Latter-day Saint persuasion, sugar is the one vice in which many people freely indulge.

Sure enough, the box younger daughter sent, addressed to both of us, was full of sugary treats. She did send us a bottle of fry sauce, too. I’m eager to try it, since I’ve heard how good fry sauce supposedly is. Also included within the box of goodies was a Book of Mormon. In fact, when Bill saw the book, he said “We got BoM’ed” (pronounced “bombed”). He was amused, especially since Catherine served a mission for the LDS church and has clearly not stopped being a missionary.

I shared the below photos on Facebook.

The comment I made with this post was pretty banal. I wrote “Bill’s daughter sent us a care package from Utah… complete with a BoM.” I don’t think that comment indicated that I was upset about or threatened by the gift. On the surface, my comment was rather matter-of-fact, but I probably should have clearly indicated that I’m happy to share in receiving this box. The reality is, I am delighted that Catherine is talking to Bill and sharing with him.

It’s true that I don’t like Mormonism, but I understand why Catherine is grateful for her faith. I know that people in the church helped her when Bill couldn’t. And no, I don’t mind that she shared a BoM with Bill, especially since she underlined passages that she finds comforting. This is a way for her to connect with her father, a man whose company she was denied for so many years. He can read those passages and relate to her. They will help him understand her more. I have no concerns that he’ll go back to Mormonism. Even if he did go back to the church, I’d still love him, as long as he didn’t try to convert me, too. I have no interest in being LDS.

Reactions to the post ran the gamut. A lot of people don’t know the intricacies of our story, which is pretty convoluted and, frankly, absurd. I think some folks might have thought I was offended by Catherine’s gift of a BoM. One person wrote, “Well, it was a nice gesture.” I assume it’s because a lot of people would be turned off by getting a Book of Mormon.

Another person wrote “You have to try to look at it as someone sending you their favorite book for you to read. You might not enjoy it as much as they did, but it’s the thought.”

I was initially somewhat puzzled by these comments, but I realize they come from people who either don’t know the whole story, or know full well that I don’t like Mormonism, and figured this gift would be objectionable to me. I think I have good reasons for not liking the LDS church. BUT– I absolutely do understand that there are some good things in the LDS church, and there are also very fine people within the organization. I don’t have to like Mormonism to appreciate Catherine’s gift. I’m just thrilled that she’s reconnected with Bill before it’s too late.

I fear Catherine’s older sister will miss the opportunity to really know her extraordinary dad. I’m torn between feeling compassion for older daughter, and anger that she’s already thrown away so many years with her father. I know this is a choice that older daughter has to make and live with. I still think it’s an incredibly stupid move on her part. It would be one thing if Bill were the kind of guy who didn’t care about other people, but Bill is an extraordinary man. He is so kind hearted, unselfish, and forgiving. He is loving, thoughtful, and brave. I haven’t met many people like Bill in my lifetime. Very few people trigger protective impulses in me. Bill does. He is a rare specimen who, sadly, tends to attract predators who take advantage of his decency.

It’s been heartbreaking to watch the fallout from the dissolution of Bill’s first marriage, even though Catherine, at least, had the good sense to reconnect with her dad. I wish older daughter would wise up, but that’s something she has to choose to do. Once again, I find myself cursing about the fact that Bill spent more than five minutes with his ex wife, who wasn’t fit to wash the shit stains out of Bill’s shorts. That may seem harsh, but it’s the God’s honest truth. Ex is a sick woman who has done some really vile things in the name of avenging her “shitty” childhood. She makes other people pay for her tragic past. Her actions have had devastating ripple effects on so many people, many of whom seem to be blind to the damages she’s wrought until it’s too late.

Last night, as I was pondering the comments left regarding Catherine’s gift to Bill, I chatted with my sister, who reminded me of my own “fucked up” childhood. On the surface, we had pretty normal and fortunate upbringings. My parents were married for 56 years. They came from families where there was no divorce. In my dad’s case, there were many other siblings who loved and cared about each other. My parents always had work, and we never had truly serious worries about finances. I had a pretty privileged lifestyle as a child. I owned a horse, and attended horse shows and fox hunts. I had a car to drive. My parents were even home all the time, because they owned and operated a business out of our house.

And yet, there was so much dysfunction… my sister wrote that she’d sent our mom a Mother’s Day card with a unicorn on it that read, “Keep on doing ‘mom’ things. You’re so good at them.” I knew she was being passive aggressive and sarcastic, because our very talented and beautiful mom was famously not into being a mom when we were growing up. Our mom wasn’t the type of mom who doted on her children, or her friends’ children, or served as a role model to others. She couldn’t wait for us to grow up and get out of the nest. She should not have had four children. But she did have us, and here we are… all four of us dysfunctional and neurotic, in spite of the many privileges we enjoyed when we were growing up.

I don’t mean this as a slam on my mom. Actually, I have generally gotten along fine with her, in spite of acknowledging that she was often pretty negligent and had some screwed up priorities. In my case, it was my dad with whom I had significant issues. He once told me I would never make more than minimum wage. He was an abusive alcoholic, although he was probably more into being a parent than my mom was. He and I didn’t mesh for a lot of reasons, but I do think he was the more caring of my parents. Of course, he also wasn’t doing the “heavy lifting” of parenting. That was a task that fell to my mom, who really wasn’t into the job. In a different era, I’m sure my mom would have made different choices, but she grew up at a time when women were expected to get married and have kids. So that’s what she did. In spite of my seemingly negative comments, I do think she did the best she could, under the circumstances. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that my memories of growing up mostly aren’t idyllic.

So I had a bit of a meltdown last night. Bill came down to me, having just spent an hour talking to his analyst. I was drinking red wine, wondering how I ended up in this bizarre situation I’m in. My life is incredibly absurd. To people on the surface, it seems like I live a “dream”. I don’t work outside the home. I don’t have children. I get to travel a lot to some pretty lovely places. That would seem like a fabulous lifestyle to many people. In fact, last week, a long time friend of mine told me that she envies my life. I didn’t know how to respond to that. She really has no idea… and yet, I absolutely CAN understand that most of my problems are of the first world variety. I do see why some people might feel envious of me. Maybe that’s part of the reason why I feel like so many people don’t like me.

Unlike Bill, I don’t feel the need to try to please others in order to get them to like me. I figure that if people don’t like me, that’s their choice to make, just like it’s older daughter’s choice to throw away her wonderful dad without ever taking the time to try to understand why he had to leave her when she was little. He had to leave, because staying with Ex would have meant dying… perhaps literally, but almost certainly metaphorically. He could not live with his ex wife anymore. If he had been a woman and Ex had been a man, absolutely no one would begrudge him for leaving. Ex is a domestic abuser. Even Catherine realizes that. She even went as far as to send Bill a link to an article for victims of domestic violence, which makes me wonder what she’s witnessed in her mother’s relationship with #3.

Maybe some people don’t see this when they talk to me, but I really am a good person. I am a decent, loving, kind person. I’m not always “nice”, but I am, deep down, “good”. I come by these qualities honestly. I try to do the right thing whenever possible, even if it doesn’t seem “nice”. Last night, I was frustrated, telling Bill about how my life has gone completely off the rails of what I thought it would be before we met. I meant to have a career and children of my own. That ordinary lifestyle was what I had planned for my whole life. But instead, here I am, writing blog posts in Europe, watching my friends and family members with regular jobs, children, and grandchildren… wondering how this happened, and if I make a difference to anyone besides my husband. It’s not a bad life at all, but it’s not what I planned. I also know that some people probably think negatively of me because of it. A few years ago, I was interviewed for my university’s alumni magazine. The person who interviewed me approached me because of an extraordinary experience I had when I was in college. But when he heard the reality of my life, he must have figured there was no story there worth putting in the alumni magazine. I didn’t become “someone”. I am just an “overeducated housewife” with an absurd lifestyle.

I do know that I serve a huge purpose in Bill’s life. But sometimes I wonder if that’s the only reason I managed to be born. Was I just born to keep predatory people like Ex and former landlady away from Bill? Was I born just to encourage him to have fun and travel? How is it that I’ve managed to land in this weird existence, where I feel envious of people with careers and children to worry about, as some of them envy me for my supposed “good life”? It’s absurd, isn’t it? Especially if you know just how totally FUBAR and totally bizarre Bill’s life has been. Even the way we met was very strange and kind of hard to specifically talk about with other people.

This morning, just before I started writing this post, I watched the funeral service for my cousin’s wife, Chris, who passed away last month after a lengthy cancer battle. I didn’t know Chris as well as I would have liked to, especially having heard several well-spoken people sing her praises. Chris was a very beautiful, vibrant, creative woman, who obviously touched many people’s lives. She was much beloved by friends and family, and so many people had stories of how she’d blessed them with her happy, warm, and thoughtful presence. Chris was a devout Christian, as are many of her bereaved friends and family members. I don’t know who she voted for in 2016, but I’d be willing to bet lots of cash that she voted for Donald Trump. I know for a fact her husband, my cousin, did.

I don’t understand how decent people can’t see who Donald Trump is, and why he’s so bad for the country. I know my family members were raised with conservative Christian values, and that means they feel they must always vote Republican. I can respect that on some level. I used to feel the same way. But how can a Christian ever cast a vote for Trump or anyone like him? How can they not see how truly awful and inhumane he is?

I listened to several people extol Chris’s many wonderful qualities as they spoke about her. I know they were a small sampling of many people who were touched by Chris. And please don’t get me wrong. Chris genuinely deserved every one of those accolades. She was a very special person. But I know, that as nice as those people are, they aren’t always as good as they seem to be. They are good to acceptable people within their own communities. I’m not sure they’re as good to people who are in trouble and need help. I don’t mean designing a room or catering a party. I mean offering real help to people who have very serious problems, sometimes arising from so-called “bad choices” they might have made. I mean people who might have done things that crowd would find immoral. As good as my relatives are, they probably think I’m immoral for swearing, drinking wine, and voting against Trump. Some of them might feel like I abandoned my family. I feel like very few of them miss me. If I died tomorrow, my funeral would probably be a pretty lonely affair. I know I haven’t touched people in the way that Chris did. I also know that my extraordinary husband is much better off with me in his life, even though a lot of people probably wonder what he’s doing with me. They don’t see the big picture. I guess I don’t see it either, at least as it pertains to older daughter.

Bill is probably like Chris in a lot of ways. He’s generous, thoughtful, loving, caring, kind, and incredibly smart. I can’t believe he married me. I would love to be more like him, because I admire how decent he is. However, this morning, when we were talking about last night’s little “meltdown”, Bill pointed out to me something I said during my rantings. He said, “you pointed out that you offer a counterbalance to my overly generous, people pleasing nature. If we were both people pleasers, we would be sitting ducks for predators.” And that’s true. If Ex thought she could drive a wedge between us, she would definitely try to do it. But she knows I can see who she is. And she knows not to fuck with Bill, because she will be fucking with me… and I am not nearly as “nice” as Bill is. But I would like to be nice. I would like to be thought of as a light in people’s lives, as my cousin’s wife, Chris, was. I don’t like to be annoying. I certainly never aspired to be a stepmother, or even an “overeducated housewife”. But here I am… obnoxious as the day is long.

I probably will address this video later, because there’s a lot I can say about it.

Which brings me to another point… One of the bones of contention people have with me is that I refer to myself as “overeducated”. I know a lot of people in the military community think I look down on them because of my education. If they got to know me, they might find out that part of the reason I call myself “overeducated” is because I literally am overeducated for what I do. That doesn’t mean I disparage others for not having degrees. In fact, if I had known this was going to be my life, I would not have gone to graduate school. But then, I probably wouldn’t have met Bill, and he was obviously meant to be in my life. I think education is very important, and I am grateful that I had the chance to go to school. The way our country is going, I worry that females may find themselves marginalized as they were in the not too distant past. I realize, again, that I’m fortunate. I just wish I could have used my education in a way that feels more significant. I was taught by my family that I needed to “be someone” and do something important. And I feel like I haven’t, in spite of multiple efforts… even though I know that I have made a huge difference in Bill’s life. But was this the only thing I was meant for? Was I, the daughter of parents who really didn’t seem to want me, and even told me on many occasions, only meant to help Bill evolve into someone who values himself more?

I love this song so much. I relate to it on many levels… although I did manage to find love.

Anyway… as Beau says in the video above, “it’s just a thought”. I would like to close this mishmash of a blog post with the beautiful lyrics to Ron Block’s song, “Someone”. If you ever wonder WTF when you talk to me or read my posts, you might consider these words and apply the context. I really need to hear this song every day. I hope someone reading this post will take the time to listen to this song. Maybe these are words you need to hear, too.

My father was an old man, he worked so hard and long
He asked me to believe that he had all that he could want
Holding up his hands he said, ‘These hands have bled for you
Lord knows you’ve been worth it, too’

He smiled at me sadly as I walked out of his door
I told him once again, just like time and time before
I know that you’re contented but before my life is done
I am gonna be someone’

I set out on my own to find the life I planned for me
I was longing for a high and lonely destiny
Spending all my days on the debt of my tomorrows
Looking for some love but I found none, ’cause I was gonna be someone

It took me years of pain to find what he already knew
Contentment doesn’t come from what you say or what you do
Peace just like a river comes by resting in the sun
And I don’t have to be someone

I set out on my own to find the life I planned for me
I was longing for a high and lonely destiny
Spending all my days on the debt of my tomorrows
Living comes from resting in the sun and I don’t have to be someone

Peace just like a river comes by resting in the sun
And I don’t have to be someone

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