music, nostalgia, obits

The great Tina Turner has joined the heavenly choir…

Or… I’d like to think that Tina is somewhere incredible now, anyway. She certainly lived in a beautiful, idyllic, paradise like part of Switzerland off of Lake Zurich. A couple of years ago, Bill and I visited Kusnacht, Switzerland, where Tina’s home was located, but we were there because Bill wanted to visit Carl Jung’s home and museum, which is also in Kusnacht.

Last night, just after dinner, Bill blurted out the headline that Tina Turner had died. I wasn’t surprised by the news. She was 83 years old, and had suffered a host of serious health problems at the end of her life. She was also predeceased by two of her sons, Craig and Ronnie. Ronnie passed away just six months ago, which I’m sure was hard for Tina to bear. But, of course, I am only speculating, and I did read that Tina was somewhat estranged from her sons in later years. In any case, as sad as it is for the public to lose a legendary superstar like Tina Turner, I also suspect that the end was probably a relief for her. In spite of her incredible career and worldwide fame, Tina did not have an easy life.

My heart goes out to Tina’s two surviving sons, Ike Jr. and Michael, and her husband, Erwin Bach, who famously donated a kidney to Tina when she went into kidney failure. They had a very long love affair with each other, having started their relationship in the 1980s and married in 2013. That was also the year that Tina gave up her U.S. passport and became a Swiss citizen. I don’t know what, exactly, drew Tina to Switzerland, but if I were to guess, I’d say it’s probably because it’s a very serene place with lots of natural beauty and security. It’s a far cry from Tina’s beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, where Tina was born on November 26, 1939 as Anna Mae Bullock.

Tina Turner’s family of origin was very poor, and she was the youngest of three daughters. Her father was an overseer of sharecroppers, and she grew up helping her family pick cotton. When Tina was eleven years old, her mother, Zelma, ran off without any warning, supposedly to escape an abusive relationship with Tina’s father, Floyd Bullock. According to a passage on Tina’s Wikipedia page:

She stated in her autobiography I, Tina that her parents had not loved her and she wasn’t wanted.[33] Zelma had planned to leave Floyd but stayed once she became pregnant.[34] “She was a very young woman who didn’t want another kid,” Turner recalled.[34]

I have basic knowledge of how that feels, although I do think my parents love(d) me, in their own way. Tina was able to turn that fundamental rejection into incredible success. Imagine, being a tiny child who knows her parents didn’t want her… and then growing up to be such a renowned phenom whose death the world mourns. It just goes to show you that there is endless potential in most people. Tina went through many hardships, but she was also blessed with extraordinary talent, drive, creativity, and quite a lot of luck.

Ike and Tina, and their version of “Proud Mary”…

Still, it amazes me when I think of Tina’s humble beginnings as Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, picking cotton with her family, enduring years of separation from her parents, living with her very religious grandparents, and finding the gift of song in their Baptist church. Then, years later, she met Ike Turner, who propelled her to fame, but used and abused her until she found the courage to leave him. In the years between leaving Ike and breaking out as a rock star, Tina did have to pay some dues in Las Vegas hotels… and perhaps most embarrassingly, on an episode of The Brady Bunch Hour. Still, she always gave it her all!

Tina in 1981, just before her career took off again… that time, as a completely different solo act.
Yikes!
She really paid her dues, didn’t she?

I will never forget the first time I heard Tina’s remake of the Al Green classic, “Let’s Stay Together. I was maybe 11 years old, and had never heard Tina’s hits with Ike Turner. I don’t think I even knew their version of “Proud Mary”, nor was I even exposed to Al Green’s song. To be honest, my first reaction to Tina’s “Let’s Stay Together” wasn’t very favorable. At that time of my life, I didn’t have an appreciation for unique voices. I didn’t like listening to Bob Dylan, either– even though he is an incredible artist and songwriter. I remember thinking Tina had a terrible singing voice!

It took awhile for me to appreciate this song. What can I say? I was about 11 years old… I also liked eating cold hot dogs when I was that age.

But then, the next year, the title song on Private Dancer came out on the radio… Suddenly, I understood what the fuss was all about. I remember that album so well, as I was right in the middle of puberty when it was a hit. I’d see her videos, enchanted by her big, bushy, wild hair (wig), her mini skirts, leather bustiers, high heels and bright red lips. I was shocked to find out she was less than two years younger than my mother! I liked her other songs just as much or even more, and then I became a real fan. Maybe I wasn’t as big of a fan of hers as others were. I never got to see her in concert. But her unusual sound made me want to know more about her.

This song was written by Mark Knopfler, who is one of my favorite musicians… Dire Straits accompanied her, although the recently departed Jeff Beck provided the guitar solo. Mark Knopfler reportedly wasn’t too pleased with Beck’s performance, calling it “the world’s second ugliest guitar solo”.
Tina lent her talents to a very worthy cause…

In 1993, when I was in college, my friend Chris worked at a video store. He got a screener of the movie What’s Love Got to Do With It starring Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. I loved that movie! I’ve seen it a bunch of times over the past thirty years. I never get tired of it, or the wonderful soundtrack with old songs from the Ike and Tina era. What I really love about that movie is that it introduced me to Tina’s past through Angela Bassett’s masterful acting. As I mentioned up post, I wasn’t familiar with Ike and Tina, and it wasn’t until I saw that movie that I started to seek out those old performances that were so different from Tina’s 80s image. I also love Angela Bassett’s work. She is a fantastic actor, and is perfect in her role as Tina Turner.

Angela’s version of Tina.

Tina’s story, as depicted in What’s Love Got To Do With It, was made entertaining, even though she truly went through Hell to get to where she ended up. The truth is, Tina escaped her hellish marriage to Ike Turner and soared into a career of her own that way eclipsed what she ever had with Ike. She served as a role model and icon to so many people of my generation. I heard her collaborate with other musicians, changing classic songs into her own creations.

Holy crap, can Angela Bassett act! And she really channels Tina perfectly in this film.
A very different version of Tina… but just as iconic and awesome.

It wasn’t until the early aughts that I read Tina’s book, I, Tina, ghostwritten with Kurt Loder, which provided a much rawer look at her life story. It’s been many years since I read I, Tina, but I do remember that the book was very candid. I distinctly remember reading about how and where Tina lost her virginity. Tina was just as forthcoming and unbridled in her book as she was in her stage performances. I think I still own a copy of that book– it’s in storage. I shouldn’t be too surprised that the day after Tina’s death, the prices for the first edition of her book are way up on Amazon! Years ago, I wrote a review of that book. I’m not sure if I still have it available. I’ll look and see, and if I find it, I’ll repost it.

Maybe Karen, Olivia, and Tina are reunited in the great beyond…

Not too long ago, I saw a 2021 documentary about Tina Turner’s more recent life. It was called Tina, and it filmed in her home in Switzerland. She spoke candidly about her life, and that was when I heard about her serious health concerns. But even with those health problems, she still looked amazing and spoke with such lucidity and wisdom. I remember being amazed by her all over again. She was obviously destined to be an icon… but even icons have an end. Fortunately, she left behind an astonishing treasure trove of works that will continue to inspire and amaze people for many years to come.

I highly recommend watching this documentary if you’re interested in Tina Turner’s life story.

I know a lot of people are expressing sadness that Tina Turner has died. I think it would be disingenuous for me to be sad about Tina’s death, because she lived a long, full life, and death is something that happens to us all. Instead of sadness about her death, I feel grateful that she lived, and we all got to know aspects of her by watching her perform and hearing her sing. I am consoled that she no longer has to suffer from ill health, or even just the ravages of getting older– the aches and pains that make it harder to enjoy living. Even if there is no Heaven after death, the condition of no longer suffering is a kind of heavenly peace.

Any sorrow I feel is not about Tina’s death, but for those who knew and loved her, and will have to go on without her in their lives. I know she will be missed by so many people– not just her legions of fans, but the people in her life who had the pleasure of knowing her personally. To those people, I offer my most sincere condolences… and to Tina herself, I offer gratitude for the many memories I have of the 1980s version of Tina Turner and the way she served as a positive role model to so many young girls like I was, back in those days. I really wish I could have seen her perform live.

Tina really was a queen for us all…

“I Might Have Been Queen”… there’s no “might” about it.

I’m sharing the link to I, Tina, for those who might not have known it exists. If you purchase through my site, I get a small commission from Amazon. But I don’t expect anyone to pay so much for this book. I recommend looking in your local library for it. ETA: I see a new edition is out and offered at a relatively reasonable price. If you want to know her unvarnished story, I recommend picking it up.

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music, politicians, politics

MAGA meltdowns are hilarious… and don’t tell James Taylor what to do!

It’s been kind of a lazy morning here at Chez knotty… Bill and I had a bit of a “lie in” this morning, even though the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. We were both kind of tired. I woke up early, but then had no problem dozing after doing my morning routine. Arran’s constant ass licking is what finally got me out of bed. Sorry… it’s gross, but it’s the truth. We humans will never know the obvious pleasure dogs get from that particular habit, will we? Well, at least those of us who lack flexibility…

I’ve been enjoying the news for a change, especially the headlines that scream about the Democrats keeping control of the Senate. I love the fact that election deniers, by and large, are being voted out of office. It gives me some much needed hope for the future, and maybe the reassuring knowledge that Republicans got taken down a peg. It’s entertaining to see Lindsey Graham about to burst into tears as he whines about Herschel Walker, too. It’s so obvious that Walker is nothing more than a political pawn for Georgia Republicans. He is not suited to be a politician, and getting him to run is an insult to people of color in Georgia.

Wahhhhh!

I like what Jamal Bryant had to say about Mr. Walker…

I love this! We don’t need a walker, we need a runner…

It’s very entertaining to watch people melting down over the humiliating, history making poor showing by Republicans in the midterms. Trump has ruined the Republican Party, and it’s going to take some doing to fix this. I have said it before that I’m really not a staunch liberal at all, but the MAGA version of the Republican Party is just not going to be a winning strategy. Unfortunately for the Republicans, they got into bed with a notorious malignant narcissist, and he is not going to stop until he’s dead or so disabled he can’t function. I hope they enjoy the bed they made, teaming up with “Trumpty Dumpty”, who probably acted like an ass at his daughter, Tiffany’s, wedding yesterday.

Speaking of beds… It seems that James Taylor has really needed to be in one for the past week. He finally got COVID-19, and was required to isolate and rest. He’s been on a European tour for months, and it is now coming to its conclusion. But thanks to COVID, last week, he had to cancel his shows in Zurich, Berlin, Antwerp, and now, Randers, Denmark. He initially postponed his shows in Zurich and Frankfurt, and he managed to reschedule the Frankfurt show for this Saturday night (the 19th). The other shows, sadly, had to be cancelled, as I guess the halls they were scheduled for were already booked, and James may be booked for other dates.

Bill and I have tickets for the Frankfurt show. We’re looking forward to it, even though we already had plans to be in France. If he’s well enough to perform on Saturday, we will come home early to see James play. I figure he knows what he’s capable of doing. He’s 74 years old, and of sound mind. He doesn’t need my advice on anything, especially regarding his health and career.

You’d think his fans and followers of his Facebook page would respect James’s judgment, too. After all, these cancellations aren’t just about disappointing fans and losing revenue. They also affect a lot of rank and file people with jobs. From the people in James’s band, to the venue operators, to restaurant and hotel owners, a lot of people are hoping for the show to go on. This isn’t just because it’s a showbiz adage, and James loves to perform. It’s because many people are depending on the show to go on because their livelihoods are at stake.

However… with every new announcement of a concert cancellation, more and more people are chiming in about what they think James should be doing. Lots of people have posted that he should just cancel the rest of the tour and go home to his own bed. Some are even posting as if they’re giving him permission. I find that especially funny, since some of the people giving him permission to cancel are folks who already got a chance to see him this year. I’ve seen a few people leaving advice for James… or even sharing their own stories about COVID recovery, and predicting that James will (or won’t) recover in a similar way.

Personally, I think the most appropriate message to leave for James is one that wishes him a speedy recovery. He obviously hates to cancel his shows, and has said as much in a video he posted on Facebook and Instagram, as he walked around Lake Zurich. That video was posted a few days ago, and he looked and sounded pretty good– not as if he’s on death’s door. He’s had excellent and competent care by (probably) Swiss physicians. If one is going to get sick, Switzerland is a pretty damned good place to do it, especially if one is wealthy, as James is. So I think he’s going to be okay… and he can decide what the best course of action is for his health, and the good of his band.

I did see one very angry comment from an American servicemember (or retiree) living near Kaiserslautern. This guy, who was apparently himself a musician, was fuming that the show was postponed again, and commented that James should find someone to “sit in” with him, so the show could go on. At the time that he made that comment, it wasn’t known that it was James who had COVID. He went off about how “wealthy musicians” took money from regular folks, only to cancel or postpone. Lots of people piled on to tell him what a “jerk” he is. I could understand his frustration, although having been a JT fan for so many years, I know very well that he loves to perform. I know he wouldn’t have called off the shows unless he had a really good reason.

When the news came out that James was the one who was sick, fans went freaking nuts! Some even lectured everybody about wearing masks and getting vaccinated. I just don’t see the point of those kinds of posts, especially now. This is apparently James’s first go with COVID, so he’s done pretty well to stay healthy. He even said in his video that he felt guilty for not being “more careful”, although he quickly added that he didn’t think he could have been more careful than he was. The sad reality is, COVID is very contagious, and most of us are going to get it no matter what. And a lot of us are tired of the lectures from the sanctimonious and self-righteous. So I say, just shut up and let the man play, if he’s up to it. If he’s not, he knows what to do. He doesn’t need your advice or input… but I’m sure he’d appreciate good healing vibes. Because even if it wasn’t obvious that James loves to play shows, he primarily does this for the money. So just STFU and let him do his job. 😉 (Yes, I have authority issues.)

That being said… if he can’t play Frankfurt after all, it’s not such a bad thing to spend another night in France, as we planned…

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mental health, obits, psychology

This morning, I learned about the late Norah Vincent… now I want to read her books.

Prior to this morning, I had never heard of the late author, Norah Vincent. Then I read the New York Times obituary that detailed her remarkable life and the books she wrote. Now, I’m going to have to add some of her books to my pile to be read. I wish I had found her in the early 00s, when she was a “media darling” for passing as a man for about 18 months as research for her book, Self-Made Man. The book was an instant best seller. Vincent was a lesbian, and she identified as a woman. Her pronouns were “she/her”. She was not transgender or non binary. She simply wanted to explore what it’s like to pass as a man in today’s world. Or, at least as it was circa 2003 or so, when she was a 35 year old journalist.

Vincent went to great pains to be convincing in her quest to “pass” as a guy. She got coaching from a voice teacher at Julliard, who taught her how to deepen her voice. She bound her breasts with a too small sports bra and wore a jockstrap with a realistic prosthetic penis in it. She cut her hair very short, and learned from a makeup artist how to make it look like she had beard stubble. She even built up her back and shoulder muscles through workouts designed to increase her upper body strength. Then she did hard core “masculine” things, like joining a bowling team, a la Fred Flintstone. During her time posing as a man, she called herself Ned, dated women, went to strip clubs, and experienced being “rebuffed” at bars.

The experience led to a reportedly excellent book, but according to her obituary, it took a toll on her mental health. She was left disoriented and alienated to the point at which she checked herself into a hospital to recover from severe depression. She spent the next year and a half bouncing from hospital to hospital, which resulted in her next book, Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin. That one sounds even more intriguing to me than the first!

More books followed, and people got to know her controversial maverick style. I haven’t read any of Norah Vincent’s books yet, but I can already tell that I’m probably going to enjoy her writing, just by reading her obituary. The author of the obit, Penelope Green, writes:

Ms. Vincent was a lesbian. She was not transgender, or gender fluid. She was, however, interested in gender and identity. As a freelance contributor to The Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice and The Advocate, she had written essays on those topics that inflamed some readers.

She was a libertarian. She tilted at postmodernism and multiculturalism. She argued for the rights of fetuses and against identity politics, which she saw as infantilizing and irresponsible. She did not believe that transsexuals were members of the opposite sex after they had surgery and had taken hormones, a position that led one writer to label her a bigot. She was a contrarian, and proud of it.

Even though I doubt I would agree with a lot of Ms. Vincent’s opinions, I have a feeling I would enjoy reading about them. I admire people who are brave enough to express themselves and do so with intelligence and style. I like reading well considered and thought out viewpoints, even if they don’t agree with my own. I read that she was for fetal rights, but somehow, I doubt her argument is going to be the same as some of the pro-life males’ arguments in any comment section of a mainstream newspaper’s. I doubt her comments will be based on religious or political dogmas, as are most opinions shared by everyday people. I do think it’s interesting that she was pro-fetal rights, especially given the way she exited her life.

According to her New York Times obituary, Norah Vincent died on July 6, 2022, at age 53, having gone to a clinic in Switzerland to end her own life. In my review of Amy Bloom’s recent book, In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss, which was about Bloom’s husband’s decision to end his life at Dignitas, a Swiss organization that helps people commit suicide, I wrote about how people can more easily end their own lives in Switzerland than they can in the United States. I don’t know what reasons Vincent used to justify ending her life. According to Bloom’s book, even the folks at Dignitas have to be convinced that the person committing suicide isn’t clinically depressed. The obituary doesn’t mention a terminal illness, other than mental illness. Below is exactly what Penelope Green wrote in Vincent’s obit:

Ms. Vincent died on July 6 at a clinic in Switzerland. She was 53. Her death, which was not reported at the time, was confirmed on Thursday by Justine Hardy, a friend. The death, she said, was medically assisted, or what is known as a voluntary assisted death.

Having experienced clinical depression and anxiety myself, I have a slight inkling of what may have been tormenting her. Whether or not people want to realize it, mental illness is still medical illness, and it can make living very difficult. It sounds to me like Vincent was an unusually sensitive soul with unique ideas and incredible powers of creativity. Sometimes that combination in a person can be devastating, as the person goes from brilliance to despair. Perhaps her creativity made her experience life on a much more intense level that was just too much to bear. Or, maybe something else was going on that she chose not to disclose, because frankly, it’s no one else’s business.

A lot of people in the comment section, many of whom obviously didn’t read the article, were making wrong assumptions about her. Some were even bold enough to use her story, which they never bothered to read, to support their own theories about gender politics. I wish people would read more. And I wish they would at least read comments by people who have read before they chime in with their own opinions. Alas, people don’t want to spend the money on a subscription or take the time to read. Yet they want to be heard. I would like to know why we should listen to people who don’t bother to listen to others. I think it would be great if, somehow, social media platforms could determine if people had read before allowing them to post. It’s a pipe dream, I know. Especially given our First Amendment rights in the United States, which overall are a good thing.

I still have a lot of books to be read, so it may be a long time before I get to Norah Vincent. But I hope I do, because she sounds fascinating. I wish I had discovered her before she exited life. And the comments about her are equally interesting– from those who didn’t read and assumed she died in the United States, to those who accused her of being “ableist” for the title of her second book (even though she was suffering from mental illness herself).

I don’t know about you, but it really is becoming exhausting keeping up with all of the “ist” labels people throw out these days. You can’t win, no matter what side of the spectrum you’re on. Why do people have to put labels on behaviors the so-called “woke folks” determine are somehow “harmful”? I don’t like the term “snowflake”, because I think it’s become very cliched. However, I do think that constantly judging and criticizing people for their thoughts and opinions makes life more difficult than it needs to be. It’s tiresome and obnoxious. But maybe I’m just getting old and crotchety… and tired of the thought police.

Gonna close this post now, and head over to Amazon to buy a couple of Norah Vincent’s books, which I hope to review in the near future. I’m sure whomever is in charge of her estate will appreciate the sales. If you want to join me, you can click one of the links below. If you purchase through either link, I will get a small commission from Amazon, which would be nice for me. But if you don’t want to do that, that’s fine too. Because I don’t blog for money, in spite of what some people wrongly ASSUME about me. Below are the two I’m most interested in at this point.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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communication, language, lessons learned, love, marriage, relationships

It’s very important to use your words when you have needs…

I woke up this morning feeling oddly quiet. I felt like I just needed to shut up for awhile. And, for the past hour or so, I’ve been staring at the computer screen, wondering what I should write about today. I didn’t really want to write about the topic I’m about to tackle. But then I remember what Bill said to me as he was about to leave for work. He said, “You’ll write about it. It’ll help you process.” Then he gave me one of his meltingly sweet smiles, which never fails to win me over and warm my heart.

Bill and I had a little spat last night. It was kind of a sudden thing, not unlike the brief but intense storm that briefly provided us with a rainbow as the sun was about to set. You can see the rainbow in today’s featured photo, which I took as the rain was falling, but the sun came out. It reminds me of the spat we had last night, and how I feel today.

I didn’t say much to Bill today, when we were getting up. After he got dressed, he came into our bedroom and sincerely apologized to me. I told him I knew he was sorry, and I was sorry for getting so upset with him. I love him very much, and truly don’t want him to feel distressed. He works very hard, and really is one of the good guys. Nobody’s perfect, though.

Bill and I don’t have spats very often because neither of us likes to fight or argue, and we’re usually very compatible about most things. We have tons of chemistry, and seem to get each other remarkably well, even if no one else understands us. But every so often, an issue comes up, and we have a disagreement. There’s a spat– kind of like a storm, or a chemical reaction. And usually, our spats occur in the evening, as Bill is wanting to go to bed, but refuses to just go. He wants me to give him permission, or something.

My husband is very much a day person. He functions best early in the morning. When the sun goes down, so does his brain. Sometimes, he’s much too polite and non confrontational for his own good, and that can cause him to temporarily be a jerk. He doesn’t mean to be a jerk, and sometimes I “overreact”, by many people’s standards. I try not to do that, but sometimes I fail.

Last night, when Bill came home, he casually mentioned to me he needed to write up his dreams for his weekly appointment with Jungian therapist. He also needed to complete his time card for his job. That information went into one ear and out the other, since he always does those tasks without announcing them to me. Consequently, I didn’t realize this was something that was pressing in its importance, nor did I know how long those tasks would take. I’m also not a mindreader.

Most nights, Bill does online German lessons using Duolingo. I used to do those lessons myself, years ago. I quit doing them after a year or so, even though it would do me good to keep studying German. Nevertheless, Bill very diligently does his homework. He’s diligent about most things without input from me. I forgot about what he’d said about the things he needed to do. I assumed he’d already done them.

So, as the evening was winding down, I noticed that Bill was tired. I asked him why he didn’t just go to bed, if he was tired. I’ve told him many times that I hate it when he’s obviously exhausted and continues to sit there at the table, as if I’m obliging him to do so. I find it to be kind of passive-aggressive behavior. He could just get up and go to bed, right? But he insisted on waiting for me to finish my drink, and go upstairs with him. I guess I was taking too long, and talking about some subject that wasn’t interesting to him. Finally, he got up and was turning off lights and edging toward the stairs, backing away from me with a smirk, but still not saying outright that he has things he needs to do, or wants to go to bed. It’s left up to me to officially “call it a night”, as he was non-verbally “calling it a night”.

I said, “What are you doing?”

Bill said, kind of sheepishly, “I told you, I have to write up my dreams and do my time card.”

“Well, why didn’t you just say so?!” I exploded. Much to my surprise, I found myself getting really upset. Like… I actually felt like crying, because my feelings were hurt. And then I said, “This makes me not even want to go on the trip next weekend. I think I’d rather just stay home alone!”

I know that was a hurtful and kind of crazy thing to say, because Bill has planned my birthday trip to Antwerp, and we’ve been looking forward to it, even if it does mean I’m turning 50. But I honestly didn’t want to go anywhere with him for a few minutes last night. I just felt really injured and bewildered… like I was being rejected by someone I never thought would reject me. I know that’s kind of an irrational reaction, but I was honestly triggered by that look on his face, and his non-verbal communication. I legitimately felt disrespected.

I felt like he should feel alright about point blank telling me when he has needs, or wants to excuse himself. I’ve been his wife for about twenty years. I’m not going to be offended. And over the years, I’ve seen so many people giving me that “smirky” look he gave me last night… people who aren’t my husband… people who don’t like me, for whatever reason, and wish I would just shut up and go away. It honestly wounded me to see that look on Bill’s face. So, I got really pissed, and felt like rejecting him in kind. Impulsively telling him I didn’t want to go to Belgium with him was a quick way to do that.

Bill immediately looked extremely sorry as he explained that he had just wanted to avoid confrontation. And then when I asked him why he didn’t just tell me, he said he’d told me he’d mentioned it earlier. But he’d kind of said it in passing, in a matter of fact way. I didn’t realize the urgency of the situation, and for some reason, he couldn’t just use his words to reiterate his needs.

Seeing that pained look on his face upset me even more, because once again, I upset someone for simply being myself. At the same time, I had compassion for him, because I love him, and I’m not a mean person. I don’t like seeing him looking distressed, especially when it’s me who caused the distress. I was still feeling angry, though, so I said that maybe when he got home from work, I’d just stay in our room and watch videos instead of talking to him, since he has so many pressing things to do.

Again… I was hurt, because I really do look forward to talking to him at night. I don’t have people to talk to during the day. I don’t have local friends or family, and at this point, I’m not really inclined to try to make friends with people, because trying to be friendly with people usually ends in disappointment. I have a weird personality and inappropriate sense of humor that not everyone appreciates. Besides, around here, almost everyone’s German, so there’s sometimes a language barrier.

Bill said he didn’t want me to stay in our room and watch videos. He wanted to talk to me. He’d just had a couple of tasks he needed to complete before bedtime. So, again, I said, “Then why didn’t you just excuse yourself? You can tell me that you have stuff to do. I’m not a complete jerk, and I’m not a mindreader. What do I do every morning before you go to work, and I need to take a dump?”

Bill nodded and said, “That’s true. You do expressly tell me when you need a minute.”

Just as an aside… my body is remarkably efficient when it comes to necessary functions. Bill has remarked on it a lot, and has even told me he’s jealous. Most mornings, as he’s about to leave for his job, I have to say goodbye a few minutes early and take care of necessary business. Bill understands this and is fine with it; he doesn’t feel spurned because I have to go to the bathroom. However, for some reason, he doesn’t feel like he can say something similar to me. And I don’t understand why he doesn’t realize that I know he has things he has to do sometimes. Why can’t he simply tell me, his wife, that he needs time to get things done? Doesn’t he trust me, after almost twenty years?

I usually do notice when he’s trying to do something. When I see him with his computer, I don’t intrude. When he’s talking to his online therapist, I give him privacy. But last night, we were just there at the kitchen table, having a chat, and he suddenly gets up and backs away, looking awkward. I mean, if you need to excuse yourself, excuse yourself. Don’t give me that look. It’s not necessary. Just tell me what you need.

This is very much like my husband. He sometimes lacks assertiveness, is exceedingly polite and considerate, and wants to leave decisions up to me. But I don’t always want or need to make every decision, and sometimes I just don’t know what he needs, and I can’t read his mind. At the same time, he doesn’t want to offend or make ripples… and in the process, sometimes he offends and makes ripples. He never means to do that. He always wants me to be happy, sometimes at the expense of his own happiness. And when his needs are about to intrude on my wants or wishes, he’d rather be covert than just come out and tell me what’s going on.

This situation is kind of similar to one we ran into last year, when we were in Switzerland. Bill had expressly wanted to visit Carl Jung’s house and museum. This was the one non-negotiable activity on our agenda. On the other hand, I get very cranky and irritable when I’m hungry. Bill knows this, too. He has a habit of wanting to lead things, but then he gets “wishy washy”. We needed to have lunch, but Bill was focused on us going to the museum, since we had an appointment. And even though this was what HE had wanted to do, he hadn’t even decided if we would be driving or taking a boat, since the museum is on Lake Zurich. He had wanted to leave that decision up to me. But the problem was, I wasn’t prepared to make a decision, because I was just along for the ride. The whole Jung museum thing was his bag, not mine. I needed to eat before we went to the museum, and I didn’t want a hot dog at the dock. But that’s what we ended up having, because there weren’t any firm plans made so that everybody’s needs could be met.

And again, last fall when we visited Slovenia, on the way to Lake Bohinj, I had wanted to eat lunch earlier than Bill did. We kept going, and sure enough, I got hangry, and there weren’t any open restaurants. Bill ended up getting me a chocolate bar, because I desperately needed to boost my blood sugar. That put me in a foul mood, too. He’d wanted to lead, but then kind of failed… and then I had a candy bar for lunch, instead of something that was somewhat better for me.

Anyway, we were able to mend the conflict, and sure enough, I’m writing about it, even though I’d rather write about something else. We had a spat, and it’s over now.

Insightful stuff here… It’s not always a bad thing to be “triggered”.

I saw a really good video yesterday by Kati Morton, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist. It’s not so much about last night’s issue, but it does sort of address my feeling guilty for being “triggered” and overreacting. If I wasn’t triggered, I wouldn’t have told Bill what was on my mind. And as wonderful as he is, he did need to hear what I said. Sometimes, Bill is too nice, takes too much responsibility for other people, is too much of a people pleaser, and needs to assertively express his own needs verbally, instead of being passive-aggressive. These are things that I think would help him across the board, not just in his dealings with his old ball and chain wife. 😉

But then, based on the trauma he went through with his ex wife, I guess I can see why he hesitates. I’ve spent a lot of years trying to teach him that we’re not all like her. It’s an ongoing process that I don’t think will ever end. He’s been scarred by her abuse, much like Noyzi the rescue dog is scarred by his traumatic experiences in Kosovo, before he came to live with us. Noyzi gets better every day, but I think he’ll always have some remnants from that time in his psyche. The same goes for Bill… and the same goes for me. So we’ll keep trying.

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dogs, travel

Heading south… don’t know how much writing I’ll be doing…

But I’m sure you folks can get along fine without a daily dose of snark from yours truly. I am bringing my computer with me, because I’ll probably want to do some writing. It’s what I do to relax and decompress. I expect we’ll be busy, though, especially next weekend, when we plan to be on a wine tasting tour that will be packed with activities. I may be too tired or drunk to write at that point.

I did have a fun time last night, listening to and watching live music videos on YouTube. It put me in the right mood for our road trip that starts today. Hopefully, we won’t encounter any disasters. I did buy insurance for this trip, mainly because of the state of the world right now. With any luck, we won’t have to use it.

If any of you can spare some good thoughts, I’d love for you to send some along to Arran, who is probably going to sulk when he realizes he’s going to be at the Hunde Hotel while we’re gone. He would much rather hang out with Bill and listen to tunes with us… like he did last night. 😉

What can I say? Arran just can’t fight this feeling anymore…

I expect Noyzi will be delighted to go to the pension. He seems to enjoy being boarded, as it’s a chance for him to hang out with other dogs, play, and run. He lived his first couple of years on a farm in Kosovo, so he’s used to the communal lifestyle. He also enjoys changes of scenery more than Arran does.

Anyway, I hope it will be an uneventful break for them. I always miss them when we take trips, and I know they miss us, too. I expect I’ll be pining for them by Monday. But we really do need to get out of town for a break. Bill, especially, needs a vacation pretty badly. He’s wound up like a spring. Last night, he was fretting because I told him he should wash his new t-shirts before wearing them, and he was upset because it would make him late going to bed, which might make him late getting up, and getting on the road… I found myself telling him that it’s just a vacation we’re going on, and he doesn’t need to freak out over time. 🙂 He finally relaxed a little and, as I expected, we’re right on schedule to depart. Hopefully, we’ll be in Switzerland by mid afternoon, checking into our first hotel of several.

Well, I don’t have much else to write about at this point, and it’s about time to load up and go… so please wish us luck. Or, at least try not to wish us ill. 😉 I’ll probably check in while we’re gone.

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