Ex, music, narcissists, Twitter

The Greatest Love of All…

I remember the very first time I ever heard the song, “The Greatest Love of All”. It was the early 80s, and I was in middle school. There was a talent show, and a young Black boy sang George Benson’s version of “The Greatest Love of All”, a song that Whitney Houston would make famous just a few years later. I remember the boy who sang was quite talented. I enjoyed the song and its message of hope for the future. I later got into Whitney Houston’s music. I loved her debut album, and used to listen to it all the time. Although I quit being such a fan of hers as I got older, I always respected her immense musical gifts, beauty, and charisma. It’s truly sad that she met her end in 2012 at age 48. It’s even sadder that her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, died in eerily similar circumstances when she was 22 years old, just three years later.

George Benson’s version of a song that Whitney Houston made huge a few years later.
Too bad she didn’t love herself enough to stay away from illegal drugs.

When I got older, I stopped liking “The Greatest Love of All” as much. The lyrics started to sound cloying and cliched, and it became the butt of cheesy jokes about schmaltzy songs. And now that I’m a cynical woman of 50 years, the childless second wife of a man whose first wife spews such lofty platitudes as she mistreats people close to her, I don’t view the song with as much idealism. I probably would do well to go somewhere and realize there’s still a lot of beauty in the world, in spite of everything bad that is happening right now.

A year ago, Bill and I visited Slovenia and Croatia, and I was mesmerized and STUNNED by how astonishingly beautiful both places are, especially at this time of year. Slovenia was particularly gorgeous, with its rugged Julian Alps. This time of year, the trees turn so many different colors, all in concert to create a gorgeous backdrop. When I look at such natural beauty, I’m distracted by some of the awful things that are going on today. From rising cases of COVID-19 to political strife to war, things are quite messed up lately. An idealistic song like “The Greatest Love of All” seems kind of “pollyannaish”… unrealistic and ridiculous, even.

So why am I writing about “The Greatest Love of All” this morning? It’s because of Ex. Lately, she’s been posting about a movement on Twitter called My Peak Challenge. I just looked it up. According to its Twitter page, My Peak Challenge is “a global community rooted in the belief that we can all effect positive change in our lives while helping others.”

On the surface, this sounds like a great idea. And for those who take it seriously and actually walk the walk, it probably is an excellent idea. However, I know that Ex doesn’t walk the walk. She presents herself as someone who is misunderstood and desperately searching for safety and security. But in reality, she presents a false image that hides a person who is capable of unapologetically inflicting great pain and damage to other people. I know this from 20 years of living with her ex husband, who is truly one of the kindest, most decent people I know. I know from talking to people in the family who have been her victims. So, when Ex posts stuff like this:

Just sharing what LIFE is all about… LOVE! You, every person & your Creator deserve unconditional love from YOU! It’s not always easy, especially to love oneself, but do it!!

I smell the heavy aroma of bullshit. And I am reminded of the treacly strains of the song, “The Greatest Love of All”, a song that promises that “the greatest love of all” is learning to love yourself. Maybe if Ex didn’t feel so wounded, she wouldn’t be so hurtful to others. I realize that I’m speculating about how she feels… but I think anyone who publicly refers to herself as a “bastard child”, probably doesn’t have the greatest self esteem. She’s a long way from loving herself. And because of that, she doesn’t really love anyone else, either, in spite of all of the flowery platitudes she puts on social media.

Right now, Ex’s Twitter page is littered with pictures of a certain actor from Scotland. She has fixated on a character he plays as the ideal man. She’s made a lot of comments about his looks and demeanor, even though she’s a married woman. I know, from being married to her ex husband, that she has certain ideas about what a man is supposed to be like, and how he’s supposed to behave, particularly toward her. I also know that she tries to mold her spouses into that person. The trouble is, it’s hard work to try to be someone you’re not. It’s even harder to be convincing in that role. Acting is a craft that has to be developed, even if someone has natural talent. That’s why not everyone can be a successful actor. I also know that even when changes are made, she’s never satisfied with the results, and the changes are very difficult for the other person to maintain, anyway. And she’s so ungrateful and resentful that the other person also becomes resentful. She wants her fantasy to be a reality, and that’s just not possible.

I found this recent comment by Ex rather telling:

will ye please grow your hair long again? I can make ‘hair jewelry’. It’s set w/quartz or white sapphire. I’d love to make one with one of yours, Sophie’s, Cait’s & Charles’ curls, woven together. You represent what @Writer_DG meant & can literally save my marriage.

This doesn’t sound too good to me. Of course, it’s not my business… except that if she and #3 are on the skids, it might mean that she’ll be trying to hit up Bill’s family again for help. Because, as far as I know, #3 is the sole breadwinner at their house… unless, of course, older daughter is working.

When Ex posts this kind of thing:

Breathtaking words @Writer_DG ,truly. A turn of phrase that is what everyone needs to hear. “…your place…” ::swoons:: You have a way of capturing that which the human heart needs in order to feel safe, to feel loved. Such simple phrases that can completely alter a relationship.

I am once again reminded of Annie Wilkes, of Stephen King’s Misery. And I wonder if she has lost intimacy in her marriage and is trying to find it in romantic fiction, television, and films. I know from younger daughter that she pushed her kids to be actors. She might not have realized that encouraging her children to become actors might not work for her, because that would mean they would be developing skills that would help them be convincingly fake. She continues, though…

The curls the curls the curls… I would give anything to touch the curls and get a snippet of one!! :: faints at the thought:;

I’ll admit, the actor Ex is gushing about is handsome. But she has a husband. He’s obviously not enough for her, even though he works hard, and has stuck with her for 20 years… in spite of her sheer craziness and abuse. I don’t know why he stays. It could be because he knows that if he leaves, she will suck him dry, and alienate him from his children. Or it could be because he has nowhere else to go. When Bill got away from her, he had a career to return to, and he was still in his 30s. #3 is middle aged, and doesn’t have a high paying job. He has with Ex a daughter in college, and a son who will probably never be able to live on his own. Ex is looking elsewhere for attention, though:

I’m a #peaker also! I won’t intrude, but please consider messaging me. I could use some Peaker support!!!

If she’s serious about wanting to be a force for good, then more power to her. But I’ve been watching long enough to know that this is just a facade. She’s even trying to build a false history… as Ex is from Texas, but lately, she’s been trying to convince people that she’s from Scotland.

See the ridiculous thinking we have to put up with over here? I want to go back to MY HOMELAND of Origin! As Ben Franklin said…”if you can hold onto it.” With each passing election, democracy dies a little bit more in the nation created by it. Remember what King George said…

There’s more, of course. I could post it all, but I’m not going to, because I think anyone who reads this will get the point. I don’t even disagree with a lot of what Ex posts, at least when she’s posting about politics and how awful the Republican Party has become in the wake of Donald Trump. I just know that in reality, she’s not at all the way she portrays herself. Or, she will say it or write it, but she won’t actually mean it… at least not for her. These things apply to other people, not her.

I think Ex is one reason why I find Meghan Markle so oddly fascinating. I don’t like Meghan Markle much, because what I’ve seen of her reminds me a lot of Ex, and all the fake bullshit she peddles. She says things that sound good, but in reality, it’s all fake, and done simply to promote her image. Actions speak louder than words. Talk is cheap. It’s easy to say and write things that sound good, but if you spend all your time bleating out stuff, you have much less time to actually do anything worthwhile.

In any case, having been married to Bill for 20 years, I can say that if he couldn’t make her feel “safe”, no one can. Bill is truly one of the gentlest, kindest, most loving and considerate people I have ever met. We work well together, and I’m not sure there are that many men out there that are as compatible with me as Bill is. So Ex did me a kindness when she decided to divorce Bill. Maybe I could even say that she did something as a “Peaker”, when she divorced Bill. I’m sure she doesn’t see it that way, though. She’s another one of those people who doesn’t see other perspectives too clearly.

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celebrities, lessons learned, music, musings, obits, YouTube

The first day of 2022…

I hope everyone enjoyed their New Year’s Eve 2021. Bill and I had a nice evening, marred only by the news that the great Betty White passed away. A lot of people reacted to the news of Betty’s New Year’s Eve demise with great sadness. She was a remarkable woman who was blessed with so much talent, beauty, and humor. When I think of how many people were touched by her, it almost overwhelms me. This was a lady whose career spanned many decades and generations, and she did it all– singing, dancing, acting, sales pitching, and especially comedy. She was the oldest Golden Girl, and the last one to leave us.

She was such an adorable and hilarious pro! God bless her, wherever she is… I hope she and her beloved husband, Allen Ludden, have finally reunited.

I loved Betty White as an entertainer. I admired her a great deal. However, I don’t feel particularly sad that she died, nor do I think of it as a tragic event. I think, as living and dying go, Betty White did it in grand fashion. As far as I know, she wasn’t seriously ill when she passed. In fact, she was even featured on People magazine’s cover this week, as she planned to celebrate her 100th birthday on January 17th. She was still “with it”, and not bed bound. Yes, it would have been wonderful if she could have celebrated one last birthday, but 99 years is still a hell of a good run. What happened to her eventually happens to us all… and she had the good fortune to do it on relatively favorable terms.

I think this one was my favorite! Betty’s dusty muffins could not be matched.

So no, I’m not totally saddened by Betty White’s death. She died the same year as several of her co-stars on the Mary Tyler Moore show, as we also lost Gavin McLeod, Ed Asner, and Cloris Leachman in 2021. And all of them lived to ripe old ages, having been able to work, play, and be in the world pretty much the entire time. We should all be so lucky… and in fact, I think we’re all lucky that we were alive at the same time she was.

*Giggle* She was so funny!

MOVING ON…

A lot of people were also mentioning how much 2021 sucked. I’m sure it really did suck for a lot of folks. COVID-19 has really screwed up normal living for so many. However, one good thing I have noticed about the COVID era is that some people are reprioritizing their lives. Yesterday, I read an awesome Reddit thread called “Twas the night before my resignation”, about a guy who decided some years ago that he no longer wanted to prioritize his career over his family. He started taking off the week between Christmas and New Year’s. In 2021, as usual, he scheduled that week off.

At the end of the year, a work emergency came up. It wasn’t something that should have affected his time off, and he did what he could to warn his employers that he would be taking that week off. But, as it happens, the company dragged its feet and the emergency, quite predictably, became dire as the guy’s week off approached… For best results, you really should read it for yourself. Suffice to say, the guy pretty much told his boss to pound sand, and was richly rewarded for his moxie. And to that, I say, “Kudos, and fuck those people!” I hate it when employers treat their employees like they own them. It’s nice to see that some workers have been able to claim some control over their work environments. I hope this is a trend that lasts, so that working conditions will improve for everyone.

I know… maybe it’s too much to hope for that there will be less greed and corruption in the American workplace. But I can dream, can’t I? Hell… if I were in the USA now, maybe someone would even hire me!

Bill and I actually had a fairly good 2021, in spite of COVID’s suck factor. We finally resolved our lawsuit, and it mostly went in our favor. I know it may seem like a small thing, but holding our former landlady accountable for her egregiously illegal actions, outright lies, and the really crappy way she treated us, was very satisfying. I think we learned a lesson from it, too. Hopefully, that lesson will carry over the next time someone tries to screw with us and shame us into automatically allowing them to have their way.

In 2021, Bill finally started working with a Jungian analyst, which is something he’s been wanting to do for a long time… and something I’ve felt he’s needed to do the whole time I’ve known him. The sessions have been very healing for him, but they’ve also been immensely rewarding and interesting. I didn’t know anything about Carl G. Jung when Bill and I met, despite my background. Social workers do study psychology, but it’s not really the bulk of what we learn, since social work is not psychology, per se. It’s been fascinating to learn more about Jung, and help Bill learn more. He’s been so intrigued by the process that he even started taking classes at the Jung Institute in Zurich. So far, the classes have been online, but we did get a chance to visit Zurich for the first time last summer. If we manage to stay here awhile, he may get to do some serious work.

As for my own successes… I’ve watched my relaunched blog explode. In 2021, I had over 560 times the hits I had in 2020, which was much more successful than 2019, when I moved my blog to WordPress. It really is picking up, and that’s been exciting to see, even though it took some time.

I felt pretty much forced to relocate the blog from Blogspot, although I had kind of wanted to do it for a long time. It was difficult and a bit depressing to start over in February 2019. I had a decent following on the original blog, even though it was a bit rawer than this one is. Moving the blog meant losing followers, as well as ad revenue. It’s not that I make a lot of money at all through ads, but it was kind of a nice thing to occasionally get paid by Google.

Well… that pretty much ended with a thud when I moved the blog, and for quite some time, I felt really constrained and nervous about writing. I know some people don’t think I have any talent… and some people think writing is a waste of my time, so they think nothing about messing with what I do… and some people just plain don’t like me, and want to cause trouble for me for selfish and dishonest reasons. This blog is NOT my life, but it is something I enjoy creating, and it gives me a purpose. So it was hard for me in 2019, when I experienced the setback that caused me to have to start over.

Two years later, I think my blog is better than it ever was. And I’ve been rewarded with new followers, and yes, more ad revenue. I only monetized the blog a few months ago, but pretty soon, I’ll be eligible to be paid. And I can only expect that this blog will be more successful than the original blog was, in terms of money, and quality content. The travel blog is a bit down in views lately, but hopefully COVID-19 will eventually be tamed enough so we can travel again. And really, I mainly write this stuff for myself, anyway, so anyone who reads and enjoys it is just icing on the cake.

I also found a new person with whom I can do music collaborations. In fact, I even uploaded our latest effort this morning! Music is something I do for fun and relaxation, so this is a rewarding development, too…

He lives in the States. We’ve never met, but we have similar musical tastes.

Another great thing that happened in 2021 was that Bill and I finally got to visit Croatia, and pay another visit to Slovenia. I already knew Slovenia was beautiful, but Croatia was magical. Although we didn’t have an “action packed” vacation in the fall, it was still probably one of my favorite trips yet. Just the sheer beauty of Croatia and Slovenia, as well as the time we spent in Austria (another favorite destination) was so awesome. I guess COVID has also made me a lot more grateful for ANY travel. Thank God for vaccines, too. I will be boosted in a few days, which may cause temporary discomfort, but will likely make my chances of dying from COVID lower.

We got to see a few friends, and make a few new friends… and the old friends who are real friends are still with us. We also didn’t lose any loved ones in 2021. In fact, in 2022, Bill will presumably gain another grandchild. And… our beloved Arran and Noyzi are still alive. Noyzi has even become a real part of the family, right down to loving on me when he wants something and showing up fashionably late to dinner! So that’s a blessing.

I have high hopes for 2022… I hope you do, too. To those of you who have been part of this blog, thank you so much! I especially want to thank my friends who have been here since the beginning. You are all a big part of the success, too!

2021 didn’t suck for us… but I know some people are really struggling right now. I don’t know what words of wisdom or comfort I can share. One friend mentioned how bad 2021 was, and I mentioned that I thought 2016 was worse– at least in terms of lost legends. She responded that she’d had a rough time of it in 2021, and compared 2021 to a few other horrible years she’d experienced.

I knew she’s been having a hard time, so I acknowledged that. And then I remembered one of my worst years ever– 1998. If I’m honest, there were a few times during that year that I seriously contemplated suicide. I was dealing with moderately severe depression, and I didn’t see how I was ever going to escape the situation I was in. It was NOT a hopeless situation by any means– which I clearly proved. But at the time, it felt hopeless… and my perspective was so blurred by depression and anxiety that I couldn’t see beyond the fog of despair and despondency.

But some very good things also happened that year. Yes, I was working in a restaurant job where I was abused daily, and I lived with my parents, who were kind of hostile and disappointed in me. I was young and basically healthy, but felt unattractive and unsuccessful. That year, I backed into some lady’s car in our driveway, because I was so upset… and that accident led me to finally seeing a therapist. Dr. Coe helped me so much, and I was eventually put on antidepressants that changed my life. To this day, I no longer feel as horrible as I did for most of my young life.

I eventually got pretty good at the restaurant job, and was able to make enough money to pay for the therapy and save up for an apartment. I bought a car. I had a terrible setback in November 1998– in fact, that was probably one of the worst months of my life. And yet, two months later, the medication was finally correct, and I started getting my shit together… and by November 1999, I was in a dual degree master’s program, proving to myself that I wasn’t as stupid or worthless as I had felt a year prior. That was also the month I “met” Bill online. By November 2002, we were married! And now, 19 years later, here we are… In 2022, I’ll presumably turn 50, and we will celebrate 20 years married.

So it’s good that I didn’t give in to my urges to off myself back in 1998. That would have meant missing out on some really wonderful things. That “abusive” job also led to meeting some truly great friends and learning valuable life and survival skills. In the long run, that turned out to be a good thing, too, despite the suffering that happened when I was still in that situation.

My point is, sometimes what seems like the shittiest times can lead to some pretty wonderful recoveries. So if you are struggling right now, I urge you to hang on as best you can. It can, and probably will, get better. But I also know that those words ring hollow when a person is really suffering. So just know, there are people who really do care, and have been through it, too… You’re probably more like them than you know… unless, of course, you’re Josh Duggar or Ghislaine Maxwell. Those two probably won’t be enjoying life for awhile.

And, with that bit of “wisdom”, I’m signing off for today… Got a few chores to take care of, and then it’s time to watch movies and concerts.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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narcissists, politicians, politics, Trump, Virginia

It’s nice to be out of the United States on the day after Election Day…

Bill and I woke up to the typical reactions to the results of Election Day. It seems like in the past few years, those reactions have become ever more extreme. It used to be that the candidates running weren’t often that wildly different from one another. Or, maybe that’s just how it seemed to me, back in the day. I think I started noticing the stress of elections in the year 2000, when George W. Bush became president. At that time, I was a Republican voter most of the time. It was what I knew, and it didn’t seem like it was so entrenched with evangelical Christians. I remember when Al Gore insisted that the election was “stolen”. After that, things got wilder and wilder come election time.

Donald Trump ruined the conservative viewpoint for me. I will never look at that party the same way as I used to… and it’s pretty doubtful that I will ever vote for a Republican again. Anyway, Texas didn’t have any really big issues this year, and I don’t really think of it as my home, anyway. I lived there for a year and am legally a resident, even though I live in Germany. Virginia is my home, and it’s sad, but not surprising, that Glenn Youngkin won the governor’s race. I don’t think Terry McAuliffe was a very popular candidate, and Virginia is a very conservative southern state, even if it has been going “blue” recently.

I still have a lot of friends and relatives in Virginia, and most of them still vote Republican, no matter what. So it doesn’t shock me that they flipped back to red. Personally, I like Ralph Northam, but I can see how some of his decisions were extremely unpopular with Virginians. Plus, there was that troublesome past of his, posing in blackface for a med school yearbook photo in 1984. People want to hang on to that issue, not taking account in the fact that Northam was a young man at the time, times were less politically correct, and sometimes, people do change their attitudes, opinions, and behaviors.

However… some people are NOT capable of change. Narcissistic people, like Donald Trump, never change, and usually get much worse as they age. A year after the presidential election, Trump is still trying to fight the results. People are still spun up over him, and the audacity he showed when he baselessly accused the election of being rigged against him. The reason he did that is because, as a narcissist, he is incapable of losing gracefully. And that is one of his worst flaws, because it means that he’ll do anything to win.

Unfortunately, a lot of Americans enjoy that in a leader… and they don’t realize that that kind of bravado is only great until it’s directed at them. Americans love the theatrics, especially when it involves some guy who they think is just like them. But he’s not like them at all, and wouldn’t deign to give them the time of day. And he certainly doesn’t care about America. He cares about himself, and himself alone. I wish more people could see this truth and stop allowing toxic leaders like Donald Trump to influence them, and their choices for leaders.

But people are still spun up on Trump, and they hate seeing things like Confederate statues, erected during the Jim Crow era, taken down. They hate being told they have to be vaccinated against a deadly virus. But they don’t mind forcing women to give birth, even as they take away any resources that might make family planning and management more feasible for parents. They scoff at the idea that people should have any support from the government for the good of the community. It’s every man or woman for themselves… unless the woman happens to be pregnant.

I haven’t been in the United States in seven years… and I can’t say I miss it very much. It’s changed a lot since I was a young woman. There’s a lot more violence and polarization, and people aren’t really free to live as they wish. I used to be a lot more conservative about a lot of issues (although I have ALWAYS been pro-choice), but I don’t see myself going back down that path. Being abroad has changed me irrevocably.

I am glad to be away from the United States today. It’s good to be in Slovenia, a place that used to be forbidden to Americans. It’s so beautiful here, as the featured photo suggests… I’m not sure what we’re going to do today, since it’s raining. Maybe we’ll go to the Aquapark. In any case, I’m going to try to ignore the elections. I’m sure many people I know in Virginia are delighted to see a new Republican governor. I just hope he doesn’t ruin everything good that was accomplished during Northam’s reign. And… I do think Northam did a lot of good things, even if he wasn’t even close to perfect.

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travel

This morning’s hike…

We visitied Slap Savica (Savica Waterfal). It’s supposed to be a 20 minute hike up to the big falls, but it took us a lot longer. It was very much worth the trip, especially since we had some sunshine this morning. I think we’re going to go get some lunch at one of the few restaurants open here, and then I might be back to do some ranting. But for now, I hope you will enjoy some of these photos…

I really felt accomplished after doing this hike… it wasn’t very long, but it was a lot of steps up a very tall, wet, and leafy mountain. But we were rewarded at the top. No one is here, so not only were the trail and platform not crowded, but the experience of being there was also very peaceful and beautiful. November is a great time to visit Lake Bohinj, even if a lot of places are closed. I think if I were an artist, I might be going crazy by how beautiful the scenery is… and how many colors there are.

Not bad for a fatass housewife.

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travel

Now in Slovenia…

We have moved on from Croatia and into Slovenia, where it’s very rainy and grey. We are staying in a large house affiliated with a small hotel near Lake Bohinj. It’s totally deserted here…. We seem to have the whole lake to ourselves.

Even though it’s grey and wet, I think we’ll see some beautiful sights. Or, at least, some different ones. Today’s featured photo is of Lake Bled as we passed it. We were last here in May 2016, but that time, we stayed in Bled. Bohinj is definitely different… and less touristy.

Hopefully, we’ll have some dry time. But if we don’t, I’ll probably start writing blog posts… and rants again.

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