Biden, money, politicians, politics, YouTube

I’m intrigued by the timing of Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan…

Yesterday, I wrote about how President Joe Biden has announced a plan to forgive a portion of student loans for many American borrowers. Plenty of people are expressing their opinions about this idea. I’ve seen lots of people laud Mr. Biden for helping regular people who are struggling with student loan debt. And I’ve seen many people who are presumably angry that some people are getting “free money” when they’ve been “irresponsible.”

For the record, I don’t have a problem with Biden’s plan to forgive some educational debt. I won’t be benefiting personally from Biden’s “largesse”, but as I explained yesterday, the timing of my own school loans were fortuitous. I lucked into a low interest rate, which was very helpful for me. It was hard enough to get ahead of the loans even with that low rate. I see that now, a lot of people are paying significantly more in interest than I did. One friend shared the graphic below, which came from a longer, viral Facebook post:

Yes, I know signing for loans is a big deal, but how many 18 year olds– people we don’t even allow to legally drink a beer– understand what this will mean in the long run? Especially when they have been told since childhood how essential college is for a successful life in the United States.
The rest of the post… I think it makes a lot of sense… and cents.

As I mentioned before, I got my loans paid off after years of concentrated effort and gradually rolling larger payments into what I was regularly paying every month. After five years of paying the minimum, which barely covered the interest, I voluntarily started paying more and more. There was no penalty to prepay, and we could afford it, starting back in 2007, when Bill was in Iraq and temporarily got paid more. It wasn’t like I was spending money on anything exciting during that time, so I just rolled the extra money into paying off debts. I paid off Bill’s shitty high interest credit cards, too, and he was soon able to get a much better card. But if I’d had a higher interest rate, it would have been much harder to pay off the debts. I’d probably still be paying.

In any case, I am not upset that other people are getting help with their student loans that I won’t be getting. I’m just grateful that I don’t need the help, and that against all odds, I managed to pay off those loans. It makes no sense for me to be upset about this, either, because it’s a done deal, and there’s nothing I can do about it. There are plenty of other reasons to be angry right now.

For instance, I’m very upset about the fact that as of yesterday, abortion in Texas is virtually illegal. As of yesterday, a trigger law went into effect, making abortion a felony for those who provide the service. Yes, there are exceptions for when the mother’s life is at risk, but because of the political climate in Texas right now– and, oh, maybe the fact that it’s the number one death penalty state– physicians are reportedly committing malpractice and not giving pregnant women who actually need an abortion for medical reasons the care they need. Why? Because they don’t want to go to prison and be fined $100,000.

It occurred to me last night that the timing of Mr. Biden’s student loan assistance package is rather fortuitous, as the midterm elections approach. Lots of Republicans are positively GLEEFUL about overturning Roe v Wade. However, there is also evidence that a lot of people– Republicans included– are upset, worried, or even downright pissed that a political party is taking away a fundamental right from all women of childbearing age, not to mention their right to healthcare PRIVACY. If we learn anything from the results in Kansas, when voters were asked to vote on abortion rights, it’s that this is an issue that affects a whole lot of people. Some of the people who voted for abortion rights were, no doubt, Republicans.

I have also read reports of Republican politicians abandoning their party, because they simply can’t abide the cruel, intrusive, and downright stupid policies that today’s Republicans are pushing. Yes, there are still a lot of people who are vocal about supporting Trump and his ilk, but some conservatives are seeing the light. Some also don’t want to be associated with the likes of shady characters like Matt Gaetz, Ron De Santis, and, dare I say it? Trump himself.

I think that Biden’s decision to offer student loan help may sway some Republicans to vote blue in November. Not only would they be voting for women’s rights, healthcare privacy, and the right to have an abortion, but they would also be voting for much needed financial help with their loans instead of another corporate bailout. You can’t tell me, either, that Republicans who qualify for the $10,000 forgiveness of their student loans won’t take the help. Of course they’ll take it. Some will happily take that benefit as they loudly complain about it. I don’t remember hearing too many people from the Republican Party complaining about the temporary financial assistance Trump offered during COVID-19’s worst months.

Now, I could be completely wrong about this. Maybe the timing of Biden’s student loan announcement is completely unrelated to the cluster fuck being perpetrated by Republicans right now. However, I have a feeling I could be on to something. I also think the main reason Republicans are so upset about this development is because, ultimately, it will help a lot of the people they’d like to keep down… women, minorities, people who don’t identify as mainstream. This help will be useful to people who could use a financial leg up in order to improve their lots in life. For many people, the $10,000 will be a “drop in the bucket”, but some people’s loans will be completely paid off because of this help. And some will have their burdens greatly reduced. That simple fact will make Biden look pretty good to some of them.

On the other hand, the reverse could also be true. Some Democrats might not like Biden’s decision, either because it doesn’t go far enough, or because they agree that doing this “rewards irresponsible people”. However, my guess is that most Democrats who don’t like this plan will still vote blue, because they will still consider Democratic candidates better than the alternatives. I can’t imagine someone who supports progressive, humane, public policies voting for a Republican candidate over something like this. But then, much stranger things have happened, right?

I haven’t even mentioned some of the totally ridiculous and backwards school policies being enacted right now. I will never know why so many conservatives are so much more concerned about what’s in a teacher’s classroom library than they are about kids being killed at school by gun violence. I mean, they’ll do all they can to “save” a fetus from being aborted, even if the pregnant person isn’t ready or wanting to be a parent, but they don’t do anything about those same “babies” being blown apart in a classroom by some unhinged nut with a gun. And what if they happen to be reading a book about a kid with two dads when that happens? Personally, I just think that kids should be encouraged to read. I think teachers should be better supported for their efforts, because it’s not an easy job to educate kids, nor is it necessarily well paid or respected work. Every day, teachers put their lives on the line to see that children are properly educated, but we have elected officials doing everything in their power to make their job harder. No wonder so many good teachers are leaving the field. It seems that many Republicans just want the citizenry to be dumber.

So… kudos to Joe Biden for offering this help, especially at this point in time– as Trump is fighting many legal battles and people are in a tizzy over everything. Experience has taught me that money talks. A lot of regular people are fed up with the way the country is heading, and they want to see some real help and change. I don’t think it’s an accident that this student loan measure, controversial as it is, is being presented now, as Republicans are doing all they can to take away women’s rights, dumb down kids in school, and force us back into the Dark Ages. Some Republicans will appreciate Mr. Biden’s efforts enough to vote blue in November. And some of those people will become permanently former Republican voters, like I am.

Before I go… I want to share these videos I watched by Mr. Atheist yesterday. They were pretty infuriating. I will probably end up writing about “pro-life” activist Kristan Hawkins soon, but I won’t do it today, because this post is long enough. I’ve got laundry to fold and dogs to walk. But I do want to share them with those who read this post and need a new reason to be disgusted. Maybe, if anyone is interested, I’ll offer my thoughts about these videos tomorrow.

Mr. Atheist is right. I legitimately cringed when I heard Kristan Hawkins speak.
Yep… yikes is right.

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Ex, healthcare, law, modern problems, politics, social media, Twitter

The baby depository “drop box”…

Last night, I read a news story about how some conservative groups, post Roe v Wade, have decided that it would be a good idea to have “drop boxes” for unwanted babies to be placed in. These boxes are supposed to give people a way to surrender their babies with “minimal interference”. It’s seen as an expansion of the “Safe Haven laws”, which have already been around in all 50 states for a couple of decades now.

The Safe Haven laws were enacted to discourage people from dumping their babies in unsafe places, such as trash receptacles or public restrooms. Instead, parents who want to give up their babies are encouraged to take them to any emergency room, fire department, or a law enforcement agency. According to the link I provided, in four states, Guam, and Puerto Rico, only the mother is allowed to relinquish her infant. In the District of Columbia, infants can only be relinquished by residents of the District. Twelve states already allow so-called “drop boxes”, which are devices that would trigger a 911 call to emergency services when the box is opened.

Personally, I am not a fan of these “boxes”, mainly because I don’t think that people who are relinquishing a baby should be able to do so anonymously. Some of them simply need help, which they won’t get if they are encouraged to anonymously drop off their babies. I know the boxes exist in other countries and are supposedly “life savers” for the babies. But it seems to me that it would be better to 1. prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place, and 2. provide appropriate healthcare to women who want or need it. Sometimes, abortion is healthcare. Sometimes, it’s the kindest, most responsible thing a person can do. And all the time, it’s an extremely personal decision that should not involve anyone but the already born person who is directly involved. I agree with this point, which was made in the article I linked (and unlocked):

“Is this infant being surrendered without coercion?” asked Micah Orliss, director of the Safe Surrender Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Is this a parent who is in a bad spot and could benefit from some time and discussion in a warm handoff experience to make their decision?”

As I was reading up on “baby drop boxes”, I found this letter to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. It was sent by an adoptee rights group called “Bastard Nation”, which opposes use of the baby drop boxes. I think they make good points in their letter, as these are people who are adoptees and have to live with issues surrounding being adopted. I’m going to have to read more about Bastard Nation later, when I have more time.

Later in the article, Dr. Orliss is mentioned again:

Because of the anonymity, there is limited information about the parents who use safe havens. But Dr. Orliss, of the Los Angeles safe haven clinic, performs psychological and developmental evaluations on some 15 such babies annually, often following them through their toddler years. His research found that more than half the children have health or developmental issues, often stemming from inadequate prenatal care. In California, unlike in Indiana, safe haven surrenders must be done face-to-face, and parents are given an optional questionnaire on medical history, which often reveals serious problems such as drug use.

The article also explains that mothers who abandon their babies and have a change of heart may have a hard time reclaiming their infants. They are also not immune to being subjected to legal sanctions, particularly if there is evidence that the baby they drop off is unhealthy due to drug or alcohol abuse. It’s potentially risky for them. See below:

In Indiana, which has the majority of baby boxes, state law does not specify a timeline for terminating birth parents’ rights after safe haven surrenders, or for adoption. But according to Don VanDerMoere, the prosecutor in Owen County, Ind., who has experience with infant abandonment laws in the state, biological families are free to come forward until a court terminates parental rights, which can occur 45 to 60 days after an anonymous surrender.

Because these relinquishments are anonymous, they typically lead to closed adoptions. Birth parents are unable to select the parents, and adoptees are left with little to no information about their family of origin or medical history.

Mr. Hanlon, of the National Council for Adoption, pointed to research showing that over the long term, birth parents feel more satisfied about giving up their children if biological and adoptive families maintain a relationship.

And in safe haven cases, if a mother changes her mind, she must prove to the state that she is fit.

According to Ms. Kelsey, since her operation began, two women who said they had placed their infants in boxes have tried to reclaim custody of their children. Such cases can take months or even years to resolve.

Birth mothers are also not immune from legal jeopardy, and may not be able to navigate the technicalities of each state’s safe haven law, said Lori Bruce, a medical ethicist at Yale.

While many states protect surrendering mothers from criminal prosecution if babies are healthy and unharmed, mothers in severe crisis — dealing with addiction or domestic abuse, for example — may not be protected if their newborns are in some way affected.

The idea of a traumatized, postpartum mother being able to “correctly Google the laws is slim,” Ms. Bruce said.

But then… the article also points out that some of the babies do well, and turn out to be healthy. I have been thinking, though, that all of this focus on babies being born could lead to less freedoms for potential birth mothers. Are laws going to be changed that force potentially pregnant people to get prenatal care, since their bodies are basically being thought of as akin to vessels now? If a woman doesn’t regularly see her OB-GYN, is she going to be punished? If she does something considered unsafe, will she be at risk of arrest or incarceration? That’s another thing– why are so many Americans so hot on jailing people? We have so many incarcerated people in the United States, and some of the anti-abortion folks just want to put more people behind bars. What kind of life is that?

There’s something really sickening about the fact that drop boxes weren’t acceptable to many conservatives for collecting votes, but they are for babies. It’s like dropping off a book at the library, or something. There should be more to relinquishing a baby than simply dumping off a kid in a box. Maybe something can be done to make the situation less dire for the natural parents so that they don’t feel compelled to abandon their offspring. In any case, I would hope that people are made aware of the fact that there’s a window of time in which the parent can reclaim the baby, if the situation is such that they’ve panicked or had a change of heart.

Anyway, once again, I expressed my opinion. I immediately got an inappropriate laugh reaction from someone I quickly blocked. I noticed two other “laugh” reacts, both from obvious MAGA trolls. Then I got a nonsensical comment from someone. I wrote “huh”, because I genuinely didn’t get what they were on about. That person came back and said they didn’t have the time or crayons to explain it to me, so I blocked them, too. If your response to me is immediate rudeness and insults, I don’t see why I should waste any time with you. If you choose to interact with me unsolicited, and all you have is mockery, then welcome to my block list. I don’t have the energy for it. I wonder, though, is that the overall goal for these people? To be so insufferably obnoxious that they immediately get blocked by strangers on social media? I think a lot of them make rude comments for attention. If they get blocked right off the bat, they don’t get any attention. So what have they accomplished, other than looking like assholes?

I’ve decided to be a lot more aggressive about blocking people who deliberately annoy me. I think the current political climate calls for it. There’s no reason to engage with people who are disrespectful and immediately make personal attacks against others. That doesn’t mean I block people who simply disagree. It means I block people who are sarcastic, rude, insulting, or just plain mean. I don’t deserve to be treated that way. No one does.

This one guy was going on about killing babies in the “whom”. Seriously, that was how he was spelling “womb”, as he sanctimoniously lectured us all about how babies shouldn’t be denied all of the “wonderful and beautiful” things in life. Yeah… like climate change, poverty, housing shortages, inflation, gun violence, domestic violence, political nightmares, rampant crime, extreme debt, and every child’s special hell– abuse. There are worse things than not being born, and I’m so sick and tired of reading comments from pro-life (birth) men, whose lives will never be personally affected by pregnancy or childbirth. A lot of them are only “pro-life” because they are upset about not having the choice to opt out of parenting and resent being forced to pay child support. See this video from a West Virginia legislator for more on that phenomenon:

“Chris Pritt owns his own law practice, Pritt Law, where he specializes in divorce, custody arguments and child support. But standing before the state legislature in West Virginia, his argument was a linguistic pretzel to justify eliminating all child support for the parent who gets custody of a child. According to Pritt, there are fathers who don’t want to be involved in the lives of their children.

It’s not just the men, though. On Twitter this morning, I read some MAGA woman’s comments about how miscarriages that require D&C aren’t abortions. Except a miscarriage is LITERALLY referred to as a “spontaneous abortion” in medical parlance. She also went on about how necessary medical treatment for situations like ectopic pregnancies aren’t abortions. Except they are. If there is a heartbeat in the embryo that is lodged outside of the uterus, and the pregnancy is terminated for medical reasons, it’s still technically an abortion. Abortion isn’t a “dirty word”. But these MAGA people want to term it as “murder”, which it’s not, and refer to it as a specific action involving ending a “healthy” pregnancy. People get abortions for all kinds of reasons that are important to them, none of which are anyone else’s business. Calling abortion “murder” is just a way to rile people up and get them to think irrationally. Murder is a legal term that involves people who have already been born.

I didn’t engage the MAGA woman, but one look at her Twitter page was all I needed to know that she isn’t someone I want to have anything to do with. So I blocked her, too. I considered blocking a guy who was demanding “proof” of a Twitter user’s story about a friend whose pregnancy ended in the 7th month of gestation and she couldn’t get appropriate medical care before she got sick. The guy actually demanded that she “prove” it to him. So, she blocked him. He was whining about being blocked, but other people were telling him that she doesn’t owe him personal information about her friend. Besides, there have been enough recent news stories about people being denied appropriate medical care in deep red states when they are miscarrying. That is a situation that will only get worse. And this is a world we want to bring innocent babies into? Where the females will be obliged to stay pregnant or denied medical assistance when they are in trouble because doctors are now terrified of being sued or arrested? Or the babies can be anonymously “dropped off” in a depository box, instead of handed to a human being? Maybe the boxes have saved lives, but I still don’t like them. I should be able to state that without some stranger laughing at me or calling me “stupid”.

I am all for allowing people to have abortions when they want or need them. It’s a personal healthcare decision, and restricting it causes a whole host of slippery slope situations that will cause big problems down the line, as well as a loss of privacy and freedom for already born people. People don’t seem to realize that forcing people to gestate will result in a lot of social problems that will affect everyone on every level. Because those new babies being born will have many needs… and we don’t meet all of the needs of people who have already been born as it is.

Moving on… a little levity for Monday…

I suspect Ex must be starting a new cycle of abuse, as she posted a picture of a man who appears to be #3 on social media with the following comment:

Oh how this touches my heart. I was adopted; my reunion was like this with my birth father, except he then refused to acknowledge me to his family. I am fortunate to have had a real Daddy to raise me and love me. He’s passed and I miss him so much! Hubby has to fill in on hugs! (interesting how she values her adoptive father, who by Bill’s account, was kind of non-commital to her and was always out at sea, but she denies her children access to their fathers, or replaces them when she gets divorced with inferior models, like #3)

My guess is that she and #3 may have hit a rough patch and she’s now making up with him… the cycle of abuse is starting again. But who knows?

I was also amused to see this comment from Ex, who apparently hasn’t heard of Duolingo… Duolingo does, in fact, offer what she seeks.

[her favorite author] does her homework and makes us do ours!!! I want to learn Gaelic but cannot find a program, not even BABEL has it. Anyone know of a good app or website or person I can learn SCOTTISH GAELIC, not Irish, from?!?! I’m of Scottish descent and want to know my own tongue!!!!

Anyway… Ex was born in Texas, not Scotland. I have lots of Scottish ancestry myself, but I am an American. So is Ex. And plenty of poison has come from Ex’s tongue, whether it’s through speaking, kissing, or giving someone head. So I think she knows enough of her own tongue, and should keep it to herself. 😉

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book reviews

A review of The Family Roe: An American Story, by Joshua Prager

According to Amazon.com, I bought Joshua Prager’s extremely comprehensive and timely book, The Family Roe: An American Story on September 13, 2021. I have a feeling I decided to buy the book because my home state, Texas, had just passed horrifying legislation allowing private citizens to sue anyone who aids and abets a pregnant person in getting an abortion. It also effectively made abortions illegal after six weeks of gestation. Since most people don’t even know they’re pregnant at that point, it pretty much bans all abortions in the second largest state in the Union.

Although personally, I am past the point of having to worry a lot about pregnancy, and I live in Germany, where people are a hell of a lot more sensible and humane, I was, and still am, very upset about this law. I’m also upset that on June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision from 1973 that made abortions legal across the United States. Thanks to the Trump packed Republican leaning Supreme Court, the legality of abortion will be decided by states, and at this writing, about half of the states have made laws restricting it or even outright banning it. Yes, I’m pissed about it for MANY reasons, most of which I’ve already blogged about extensively. I’m not going to get into that in this book review. But now that I know more about the origins of Roe v Wade, I’m even more outraged that so many people apparently value the unborn over the born.

Joshua Prager has written an extremely well-researched volume about the history of Roe v Wade and the people behind the case. Not only did Prager interview a lot of people for this book, he also presented many different angles to the ruling. He includes the story of Mildred Jefferson, a Black woman who served as the mouthpiece for the pro life movement for decades. Jefferson graduated from Texas College in three years, but was considered too young to enter medical school upon finishing college. She earned a master’s degree in biology from Tufts University, and was the first Black woman to enter and graduate from Harvard Medical School. She trained as a surgeon, but it was her anti-abortion work that put her on the map. Prager includes her fascinating story in this book.

Also covered are Texas lawyers, Linda Coffee and the late Sarah Weddington, both of whom were young women in 1973, looking to launch their careers in the age of sexism. The lawyers had little in common with each other. Weddington, who recently died, was a feminine blonde woman with the gift of gab and a good public face. She and Coffee had been law school classmates, although they weren’t friends. More introverted Linda Coffee was the one who found the plaintiff, wrote the initial petitions, and filed the lawsuit. After working on Roe v Wade, Coffee went on to work on bankruptcy cases, and later became very reclusive. She suffered from financial issues and her law license was suspended because she didn’t pay the necessary fees to keep it updated. She eventually quit practicing law, moved into a shack with her partner, and has a SNAP card (food stamps). Coffee’s story is covered in detail, and like the rest of the book, is quite juicy.

The two attorneys met Norma McCorvey, a woman who wanted to abort her third child, whom she had conceived out of wedlock. Norma came from a very poor family where a lot of the women were teen moms, and she was no exception. Besides the Roe baby, Norma had two other daughters: Melissa, who was being raised by her mother, Mary, and Jennifer, who was given up for adoption, and was raised by an Armenian anesthesiologist and his wife. The third baby, Shelley, was not aborted, as the lawsuit was not settled in time for Norma to have the abortion procedure. She was born June 2, 1970, given up for adoption, and raised in Washington State, where she was blissfully unaware of the notoriety surrounding her conception, until one fateful day in 1988, when she was contacted by reporters from the National Enquirer.

Prager brilliantly covers Norma McCorvey’s convoluted and hair raising story, but he also writes about her daughters, who eventually met each other as adults. Norma died a few years ago, and she was a bit of an opportunist and a grifter. She was a lesbian who could be bought by the evangelical and Catholic groups who wanted her to become a poster child for the pro life movement. McCorvey did, seemingly just for the money given to her by the church groups, who also wanted her to renounce her sexuality. Norma’s second child, Jennifer, is also a lesbian.

Also included is information about Planned Parenthood, eugenics, and Margaret Sanger, as well as the history of abortion. But what was especially impressive to me was the way Prager told Norma McCorvey’s story. She was not a particularly sympathetic character, and yet she was very fascinating. Prager calls her a “borderline” (meaning the personality disorder), but frankly I see a lot in common with narcissists I have known. She was strongly motivated by money and prestige, was disingenuous and disloyal to her friends and family members, and never missed a chance to get over on other people. Still, Prager manages to keep her human.

You might be thinking that this book must be long, since it covers so many angles. If you’re thinking that, you would be right. It’s taken me over a month to finish this book, the bulk of which is over 400 pages. There are a couple hundred pages of notes, as well as an extensive bibliography, author’s note, and photos. I worked pretty hard to get through this book, and at times, I wondered if I’d ever finish it. That being said, I can see that it was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, as well as a few other prestigious awards. Having now read The Family Roe, I can see why it got such a good reception. It really is incredibly comprehensive, yet it manages to be a juicy page turner. My hat is off to Joshua Prager’s writing chops. He’s definitely got a gift.

I suppose if I had a criticism to make, it would be that this book was so long… and it was hard to keep every aspect of the stories straight. There were many “moving parts” in this tome, so reading it required diligence, discipline, and considerable patience. Maybe Prager could have tried to condense it a bit, or at least be more concise in some of the information he provides. However, I am very glad I made the effort to read The Family Roe. I think it was time well spent. This book will likely become required reading for some, as Roe v Wade will certainly be studied for years to come. I’m sure some readers, particularly “pro-life” males, might think Prager is biased toward abortion rights. I didn’t get that sense myself, but even if I did think that, I myself believe that abortion is important healthcare that must be preserved. It boggles my mind that some people lament the “loss” of millions of souls that were aborted. I wonder if they’ve considered what the world would be like if those abortions never happened and all of those people needed to be housed, clothed, fed, provided medical care and educated. I wonder if they’ve considered how many women, denied abortion, would have either died, suffered dire health or financial consequences, or been stuck in abusive relationships if they weren’t allowed to make that very personal and private decision for themselves.

The Family Roe is definitely worth a full five stars out of five. But, if you choose to read it, be prepared to be busy for awhile. It’s not a light or easy read, and it will probably keep you occupied for a good spell. On the other hand, I can’t read the way I used to, so maybe it’s just me, and my habit of falling asleep when I try to get into books these days. Anyway, now on to my next book, which will definitely NOT be about abortion.

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fashion, good news, rants, social media

Energy surges… my body is finally kicking the crap out of the virus.

I think I’m starting to feel somewhat better now. I can tell, because when I start getting over a sickness, I get a surge of energy, and I start getting annoyed by little chores that need to be completed. Yesterday, the weather was cooler, so I took the dogs on a much needed walk. I ended up walking longer than I had planned, because there was a lady sweeping the narrow pathway where we usually go when I’m feeling lazy or sick. I didn’t want to get in her way or have to maneuver past her. When we got back to the house, I had every intention of vacuuming, because I always do that on Thursdays. But I was, all of a sudden, so tired that I hosed off the sweat in the shower and laid down on my bed. Before I knew it, I was sound asleep for two solid hours, complete with vivid dreams about a woman from my childhood to whom I haven’t spoken since the early 80s.

I went downstairs after my nap, noting that it was mid afternoon, and I just really didn’t feel like vacuuming. The vacuum remained in the closet, and I pulled a notice taped to my front door, letting me know that the chimney sweep is coming. In Germany, it’s a law that chimney sweeps have to inspect every year, even in homes that don’t have fireplaces. In our old house, we didn’t have a fireplace, but we did have a visit from the chimney sweep every year– a pretty brunette lady who was quick and polite about her business. Former landlady would always show up to “supervise” her work (and be nosey). In this house, we do have a fireplace, but our current landlord doesn’t feel the need to bother us or “supervise”. So I have to wait for the chimney sweep. It’s a good thing we weren’t away, since we got very little notice. Hopefully, I won’t share germs with him.

Bill got home last night at about 8:00 pm. Arran was as delighted to see him as I was. We had a little dinner and beer, and went to bed. I got up a little later than usual, and Bill was making us breakfast. I started a load of laundry. Bill said he thought he’d try to come home early, and I remarked that I hoped he’d be home in time to deal with the chimney sweep. After he left for work, I went up to my trusty iMac and started thinking about what I wanted today’s topic to be. Suddenly, I had an overwhelming urge to vacuum, in spite of a coughing fit. I went to the kitchen, got the vacuum, plugged it in, and briefly considered getting the laundry. Then I realized that I’m so slack about vacuuming, that I could just vacuum and be done with that dreaded chore very quickly. It’s not even 9:30 am, and I’ve already done laundry, vacuumed, and written half a post. I think I still have the energy to walk the dogs, turn on the robot mower, and deal with the chimney sweep! So let’s hear it for strong immune systems! Maybe by tomorrow, I’ll be even closer to my old self. I might even try to weed whack a little.

I still don’t know if this was COVID or a cold. It felt mostly like a cold. I had something similar last month, only my nose ran a lot more, and I didn’t have a sore throat. If it was COVID, it wasn’t bad at all, as sicknesses go. I think that’s proof that vaccines work, even though I know I’ve read comments from people who have said they were unvaccinated and didn’t get really sick with the current COVID variant. Maybe the mild illness isn’t such a good thing, though. Maybe it gives people a false sense of security when COVID doesn’t bite very hard. Then, they get really sick with a different variant. I won’t pretend to know… What I do know is that nothing I’ve had so far as come even close to what I think was swine flu in 2013. That shit knocked me on my ass for a solid week, and I was coughing and fatigued for many weeks afterwards.

Having typed all of that, I now realize that if that was COVID, it was really contagious. I wasn’t in super close contact with anyone last week, except for when we went to the wine stand on Friday, and when we went to AAFES on Sunday, to pick up a few things. We did talk to one person who said her partner had been sick with COVID, but we weren’t that physically close to her. She was probably the source of the sickness, though.

I’m still plowing through my book about Roe v. Wade, marveling at how very comprehensive and well researched it is. Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe) was a very complicated woman, but there were so many other interesting and complex characters in the story of Roe v. Wade. I look forward to finishing the book so I can write about it. I think it will make for an interesting blog post, which will probably parent a few other blog posts. 😉 And while Roe v. Wade may have been a very flawed decision, I still believe, and continue to see strong evidence that overturning the ruling is going to have tragic and devastating consequences for a lot of people. I continue to be saddened by the terrible and ignorant comments people have about abortion. Are Americans really that uninformed about why abortions are necessary sometimes? Do so many people really think that the only people who have abortions are heartless, irresponsible, awful people who are loose and careless? Do people really believe that using pregnancy as a “punishment” is a good idea?

I am genuinely heartsick about it, even though that particular ruling won’t affect me. I did read a comment from a woman last night who wrote that she got pregnant at age 50. Fortunately, she had a miscarriage, because the prospect of being pregnant at 50 was “horrifying” for her. I read a comment from another woman, who at age 51, wrote that she was going to get her tubes tied. Obviously, this is a woman who hasn’t reached menopause yet, just as I haven’t. Some asshole MAN wrote, “I think you’re good, ‘Grandma’.” Seriously? What an inappropriate and tone deaf comment by an ignoramus. I hope no woman ever lets that guy get close to them. He shouldn’t be breeding!

Can I just say I’m so sick of those kinds of rude, dismissive, snarky comments from people? And I’m also sick of people who “react” to things they haven’t bothered to read, or in the case of videos, haven’t watched. Yesterday, I shared a video by this hilarious androgynous person named River. I think River is technically a male, but they present as female– or a princess, even. River often comments on the British Royal Family and fashion, and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are frequent topics. Yesterday, River made me laugh as they shared a pretty pink ring “Second Hand Suzy” purchased. River said that they didn’t have a pink ring… at least not one that one can wear on a finger! I thought that was hilarious and shared the video, which had a title that suggested it would be about throwing shade at Meghan Markle. River is actually quite kind and fair to Meghan, but I still got an “angry” reaction from a friend… who didn’t even bother to check out what she was reacting to. I know it happens constantly and almost everyone is occasionally guilty of doing it, but it’s still annoying. Why not just keep scrolling instead of making erroneous assumptions? Leaving angry reactions to friends, particularly when they aren’t really warranted, is kind of disrespectful.

The reason I shared this is at about 2:33, and my reason for sharing it has NOTHING to do with Meghan Markle.

I don’t like most of the Facebook reactions, anyway, because people use them inappropriately. On the other hand, there are times when I can feel satisfied leaving an angry reaction to someone’s rude comment rather than firing back at them. Sigh… social media is such a mixed bag, isn’t it? Remember the days when you had to communicate face to face or by letter? Seems like life was so much less complicated then. Someday, I hope someone will come up with a better version of social media. Or I’ll just simply stop caring about it.

Well… I suppose it’s time to wrap up this post and walk the dogs, so I’ll be ready when the chimney sweep gets here. I doubt Bill will be home early enough. He has to take the bus home from work, since he had to get a rental car for his overnight to Stuttgart. I need to take the dogs out for their walk… ride this wave of energy while it exists. Because, just as today’s featured photo suggests, sometimes energy surges are tragically fleeting. I’m just glad the vacuuming is done. I hate vacuuming. I need a riding vacuum.

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Bill, complaints, healthcare, law, rants

“Sorry to wake you, darling…”

Those were Bill’s words to me at about 5:00am, as he kissed me goodbye today. He had to drive to Stuttgart again for an overnight business trip. We did a COVID-19 test yesterday, since I’m sick again. It was negative. Bill is feeling alright so far. I don’t know what this bug is. For all I know, my body is catching all the stuff it avoided for the past few years. My sore throat is mostly better now, but I have a stuffy, slightly runny nose, and there’s coughing and occasional sneezing. It’s basically a case of the sniffles.

I still have my tonsils…

It’s really hot here in Germany, which makes me glad we have two portable air conditioners. On the other hand, energy prices are going up, so that may mean I’ll regret making myself comfortable when we get the bill. I didn’t walk the dogs yesterday, because it was so hot, and because I’m sick and don’t want to share it with anyone. Of course, Bill is probably going to share it with his friends in Stuttgart, anyway.

It’s crazy that before June, I couldn’t remember the last time I was sick with a cold. Now, I’ve had two bouts within a month. They’re probably both COVID, but the test isn’t showing that… and I’m not going to keep testing until I get a positive result, unless I’m not getting better. People tell me to keep testing, but why would I want to do that? It’s not like it’s fun, or anything. I may try to do a short walk with the boys today, since they love their walks and the fresh air might do me some good. I don’t usually run into people when we take walks, anyway. And it will give me a chance to see the brand new toilet facility that was erected in our village. 😉

On the bright side, if this is COVID, I’m definitely not super ill. It’s really more of a nuisance than anything else. I don’t feel well, but I’m not deathly ill or even moderately sick. I’m just kind of miserable, and it’s made worse by the heat, and the fact that Bill had to go away again. But he was kind enough to leave me coffee in the jug and a couple of fresh German doughnuts.

Last night, as I was reading more about the state of things in the United States, I commented to Bill that I’m starting to hate men. Then I added, I don’t hate all men… just the ones that have no compassion and espouse misogyny. I’ve been so angry about this Supreme Court decision regarding abortion, and I know it’s only the beginning. I started listing things we should do… like avoiding spending money in states that don’t value women’s healthcare. That means no trips to places like godforsaken Texas, even though I am technically a resident. I hope there’s a mass exodus of smart people from those places. I hope the women there REFUSE to do anything sexual with men, unless they’ve either had a vasectomy, or they are in a loving relationship in which a pregnancy would be welcome. I hope women start suing the hell out of doctors who refuse to give them appropriate medical care when they need an abortion for genuine medical reasons. I hope the men who knock up women start getting sued for child and pregnancy support before the babies are born. I want this decision to be PAINFUL… especially for the men who think it’s a good thing that women are now worth less than their unborn fetuses are. And I hope the Supreme Court Justices who made this decision never see another peaceful day in their miserable lifetimes.

But then I looked at Bill, who is such a kind and loving man, and was actually hurt by a woman who took advantage of being female. I realize that I don’t really hate men. I’m just angry, and I feel helpless. What I really want is fairness and privacy for everybody. And I want things to be less surreal and… horrible. I think another season of The Handmaid’s Tale is about to come out. I’m not sure if I can bear to watch it now, because it’s too close to reality.

It probably doesn’t help matters that I’ve been reading a book about Roe v. Wade. The book is really long, and it’s been slow going trying to get through it, because I fall asleep after a few pages, not because it’s a dull book, but because I literally can’t keep my eyes open. I don’t typically sleep seven or eight hours straight, and I often need a nap in the afternoons, especially if I try to read. It may be time to use Audible, at least until I can get a new contact lens prescription. Last night, I couldn’t even read the instructions on the insert that came with the COVID test. Getting older sucks… except for the fact that I know I’ll never be forced to give birth.

I’m pretty sure this episode of Rachel Maddow’s show was why I got so angry… starting at 13:45. Pregnant women are already being denied proper healthcare because of the fucking imbeciles who want to ban abortion. THIS MAKES ME SO ANGRY!

I always recommend Rachel Maddow’s show, because she’s sharp and savvy, and she has a quick wit. But if you are as angry about the overturning of Roe v. Wade as I am, I encourage you to watch from 13:45 and see what’s already happening to women, not even ONE MONTH after the ruling was overturned. And then, if you’re still curious about who will be harmed by these new laws springing up, have a look at this unlocked article from The New York Times about what happens to children who are forced to stay pregnant. It’s definitely not a pretty sight. Ten year olds are not physiologically prepared to have babies. Their bodies simply aren’t ready. These are people who still need booster seats in the car, for God’s sake!

So yeah… I am sick, hot, tired, and ANGRY. And fed up… I feel a little like Mommie Dearest… although, I’m obviously not as happy as she is in this scene. I just wish I was “raging mad” with the flu, so I wouldn’t even have to listen.

I won’t be winning an Oscar for my rantings.

But since Bill isn’t here, and I’m in no shape to do musical stuff, maybe I’ll get started on that satire that’s been rattling around in my head. Especially since now, there’s no “minder” around to make sure I don’t offend anyone.

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