Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Guy walks into a bar... or a restaurant? In Utah, now you'll know for sure...

This morning, as I watched the fat snowflakes fall and perused my Facebook feed, one of my exMormon friends shared this article about a new law in Utah.  Starting next month, every restaurant or bar in Utah has to display a sign indicating whether the establishment is licensed as a "bar" or a "restaurant".

This new sign rule is part of a massive overhaul of Utah's famously draconian liquor laws, which include the fall of the so-called Zion curtains, a euphemism for the rule that forced restaurants and bars that sold liquor to prepare mixed drinks out of public view.  Now, restaurants and bars can mix drinks publicly, but they must have a "buffer" where children are not allowed to be.  Actually, I don't think it's a bad idea to keep kids out of bar areas.  I do think forcing bartenders to mix drinks behind walls is a dumb idea and I'm glad Utah finally scrapped that rule.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the new laws, since Utah is chock full of Mormons and Mormons are not supposed to drink alcohol.  I think the signs are intended to help church going people avoid establishments that might put them at odds with their religious beliefs.  Hanging out on RfM has taught me that church members are always watching their own.  There have been plenty of stories about church members who have been caught shopping on Sunday or buying coffee, which is a forbidden substance to members of the LDS church.  Since church members tend to "return and report", I can see why knowing if a place is licensed as a bar or a restaurant might be useful to them.

I shared this news on my Facebook feed and a friend of mine who also isn't Mormon wondered if the Utah legislature didn't have more pressing items to address.  To people who aren't Mormon, it truly may seem silly to mandate restaurants and bars to clearly label what they are.  But if you've had any exposure to Mormons, you understand the rationale.  No one wants to be caught going into a bar by accident.  And if you do walk into an establishment that is clearly a bar and you are a member of the LDS church, it's a lot easier to bust you for breaking the rules, right?

It would be nice if we had fewer states that intertwine church bullshit with laws that affect everyone.  Utah is certainly not the only state where religion figures prominently within a state's legislative efforts.  I can think of a lot of southern states where church people have influenced state laws.  A lot of religious people defend these rules that affect everyone, claiming they are for the "common good".  But not everyone believes in specific religious teachings and it's not the government's place to enact laws that force non-believers into complying with church inspired rules.

I have never visited Utah.  I have heard it's a beautiful state and I have met many exMormons who are from there.  Maybe someday I'll visit... although I won't have the slightest compunction about walking into a bar and giving them some business.  The Mormon church can suck it, as far as I'm concerned.

Sometimes it snows in April...

And, in fact, that is what is happening right now.  Some of it has actually stuck to the trees and ground.  Later, it's supposed to rain.  I guess that means I'll be staying in and making some music today.  I like to do that when it rains.

We still don't know where we're going to be three months from now.  Bill is confident he will competitive for one of the jobs offered by the new company taking over his contract.  If he's not competitive there, we could end up in another German state.  Instead of being close to France, we'd be close to the Czech Republic.  That wouldn't be a bad thing, except for all that goes into a move.  I just don't want to do it.

While I don't love our house, we have good landlords.  That, in and of itself, is an awesome thing in Germany.  While we have been lucky both times we've lived here, plenty of people we know have not.  I would rather live in a house I don't love than have shitty landlords.  We also live in a nice neighborhood with very kind and understanding neighbors who don't give us a lot of shit about our dogs.

Also, I hate the idea of having to go find new places to get the usual services...  a new vet, a new dentist, a new optometrist (which I really need to do even if we stay here)...  I suspect I'll need a doctor at some point, too.  It's easier to do all of that in the Stuttgart area.

I just fucking hate moving.  I don't want to do it yet.  So my fingers are crossed that Bill will stay with the new company for at least another year or two.  Then, I suspect we'll be ready to go back to the States.  Or maybe somewhere else.

We could end up in Italy, too.  There are jobs there that Bill can do.  I love visiting Italy, though I'm not sure I want to live down there.  It's a bit chaotic and the air quality is not the best.  On the other hand, the food and wine are amazing and most Italians are lovely people.  Or we could go to Hawaii at some point, though I don't want to try to do that move with dogs.

Really, what I think I'd like to do is find a nice medium sized town to settle down in, buy a house with a generous plot of land, get myself a horse or two, and enjoy living somewhere I know I can stay indefinitely.  For now, I guess I'll just sit here and watch the snow and contemplate life.

Well, it's pretty, I guess...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chachi is a heartless bastard...

A couple of days ago, we got the news that Erin Moran died at the age of 56.  She was well-known to people of a certain age for playing Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi.  Her love interest on both of those shows was Chachi Arcola, played by chief dickhead Scott Baio.

I just read a very sad article about Baio's comments regarding Moran's death.  Basically, Baio says Moran died due to addictions to drugs and alcohol.  News reports indicate that Moran had stage four cancer that had apparently not been publicized and that was probably why she succumbed.   She was found dead in her home in Harrison County, Indiana.  No illegal narcotics were found in Moran's residence.

At this point, the type of cancer Moran had has not been publicized.  It's true that addictions can lead to other illnesses that hasten death.  But was it really necessary for Scott Baio to say this?

Got any class, Mr. Baio?  

When I was growing up, Scott Baio was sort of a heartthrob.  I see that he's now evolved into a middle aged jerk.  

For some reason, when I think of Scott Baio, I think of this...

Or this...

I just think it was pretty classless for Scott Baio to make those comments about his former co-star's death.  He has no business assuming he knows what killed Erin Moran.  It sounds to me like he hadn't a clue, anyway.  Even if she did die due to drug use, he could have been kinder with his comments.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

SMIL is a liar. Color me surprised!

Last night, after Bill and I spent a couple of hours hanging out with monkeys, we came home and had dinner.  Then Bill called both of his parents.  He told his mother about the drama with stepmother in law and her nasty messages about Bill's dad being angry and not wanting Bill to know when he dies.  She agreed that what SMIL claimed FIL said didn't sound like him.  Like me, she was pretty pissed off hearing about it.

Then Bill called his dad.  I was sitting in the other room watching TV and they were having a delightful chat.  I decided to make sure Bill asked his dad about his stepmother's comments.  I wouldn't ordinarily do something like that, but he had just told me how concerned he was about his dad.  He even asked me if he could have his dad checked by social services to make sure he wasn't being abused.  So I wanted to make very sure that Bill confirmed with his father that SMIL's claims about his not wanting Bill to know when he dies were actually true.  I demanded that he ask him about it.

Sure enough, when Bill asked his dad if he really didn't want Bill to know when he dies, FIL reacted with shock and surprise.  He reminded Bill that if something were to happen to him, Bill's sister would let him know.  Bill's sister is adopted and nineteen years younger than Bill is, but she's a very good person.  She's also a lesbian who has twice been married to women.  Her first wife died of cancer a few years ago.  SMIL used to tell us that she knew her daughter would go to Hell because of her sexual preferences.

I used to try to dismiss SMIL's bullshit as someone who is insecure, immature, and needing understanding.  At first, I really did try to be patient with her, although as the years have passed, my patience has been waning.  But now that I know how much she lies and how far she'll stoop, she is permanently on my shit list.  She can't be trusted and obviously is a big, fat, liar.  Never again will I feel guilty for my negative feelings about her.

Other than the confrontation about the lies SMIL told us, Bill and his dad had a good talk.  Bill asked him to set up Skype so they could talk to each other more easily.  He's going to ask his sister to go over to help their dad with setting it up.  Hopefully, SMIL won't sabotage their efforts.

I am really pissed off about the whole drama.  While our problems are pretty small in the grand scheme of things, no one needs this kind of needless bullshit in their lives.  Besides being completely unnecessary, what SMIL did was just plain mean spirited.  She's just given me yet another reason to dislike her.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Stop trying to be a mindreader!

I really don't like it when people assign thoughts and feelings to me.  Yesterday's post about Bill's stepmother is one example of someone who assumes they know what I'm thinking and feeling.  This morning, as I was checking out Facebook's On This Day feature, I was reminded of an online altercation that got my blood pressure to rise back on April 23, 2012.  I actually wrote very briefly about this incident when it happened.  I also referred to it a couple of days ago, when I wrote about the concept of "projection".

This morning, I'm irritated anew.  Why?  Because of the aggressive way this person responded to me. I had posted that I thought it was interesting that Turkish Children's Day is celebrated on April 23 while Armenian Genocide Memorial Day is celebrated on April 24th.  I thought the timing was curious, given that other countries celebrate Children's Day at other times of the year.

I had initially mentioned it on my former friend's post, but she got really pissed off about it.  It was as if I had rained on her parade.  She was trying to show everyone how awesome Turkey is for celebrating children and I had brought up something negative.  She wasn't happy, so out of respect for her, I deleted my comment on the friend's post and made my own on my page.

In all honesty, I was not angry about Turkish Children's Day.  I was simply making an observation about the timing, which seemed rather suspicious to me.  My former friend offered these comments...

She got a little aggressive and I distinctly remember my temper flaring as I read this...  In fact, it flared again as I read this morning.  I don't like it when people tell me how I'm feeling.

I know I provided a screen shot, but now I'm going to add the comments that really set me off.  There were only a few of them... and they followed her having asked me on her original post what Armenian Genocide Memorial Day had to "do with the price of tea in China".  I guess my point went over her head.  Her comments are in italics and mine are in red.

OK there are a few things you do not know. The children's day was founded by Atta Turk like what 50 over years ago? WAY before the Armenians decided the attack (during wartime) was genocide. And before they made a "day" of it. Another thing you are not considering is that the war was with the OTTOMANS not modern day Turkey! 100 years ago! By your rationale, Jews should still be pissed off at Germans, not Nazis. Do you understand?

First off, how the hell does she know what I know?  We hadn't seen each other since our high school days.  And how does she know what I've considered?  Children's Day in Turkey was started in the late 1920s.  Armenian Genocide Memorial Day has been observed since 1915.  The date for Genocide Memorial Day was not chosen arbitrarily.  There was a verifiable historic event that preceded it.  But really, I was just very much turned off by her aggressive "tone".  People who get "in your face" really annoy me.  I generally try to avoid them.  I'm not impressed by people who try to bully others into accepting their views.  And what the fuck is up with the "Do you understand?" comment?  Is she trying to say she thinks I'm stupid?  

But what you are doing is projecting your anger for the Armenian people, that something that happened 100 years ago, on a children's international holiday that HAPPENS to be in Turkey and a day before. You are taking a good thing and turning it around. Yes, I am very aware of the conflict. And I too, feel bad for the Armenians who died. But I wouldn't bring on politics between countries for something was intended for GOOD - internationally.

Then she follows up by accusing me of "projecting" my "anger".  She is making an erroneous assumption that I'm angry.  I am not angry at Turks for the Genocide.  At this point, I believe most of the people directly involved with the Genocide are long dead.  I don't hold it against modern Turks, although I do wish more of them would acknowledge what happened and try to make peace with the Armenians.  It would be nice if Turkey and Armenia could get along.  But no, I am not angry about this...  I'd say my feelings are more of sadness than anger.  However, it did make me angry that she tried to tell me how I feel.  She doesn't know how I feel and she makes a very poor armchair psychologist.  Moreover, I was not the one typing in all caps and using exclamation points.  So who was really the angry one?

And then this...

Did you ever think that since the children's holiday was created FIRST by an old president, that maybe the Armenians chose this day was politically motivated? I mean, you have to look at both sides here.

Uh... no, because the Armenians observed their day long before the Turks started observing theirs.  This was just a really stupid comment.  I can see that I pretty much gave up at that point because it was like trying to talk to the moon.  She was completely missing my point and wasting my time.

Seriously, I wasn't trying to start an argument.  It was really just an observation, and one that I had not considered until she posted about Children's Day in Turkey.  Then she turned it into something aggressive and obnoxious.  I was actually relieved a few weeks later when she decided to unfriend me.  At the time, her comments really upset me and, I think, were most unfriendly and insulting.  Reading these comments now, I almost wish I had been more aggressive with my former friend and reminded her that she's the one who failed the fifth grade, not me.  But that would have been a very cheap shot.

This theme comes up again this weekend, as Bill grapples with his stepmother accusing him of being "angry" because he's not a mindreader and doesn't know when or how often they want him to call.  There have been times when he's called and his dad will ring off like my mom does when she's busy or not in the mood to chat.  Like, he's more interested in eating lunch than talking to his son who has called him long distance.  But when he doesn't call, they assume he's angry, accuse him of shutting them out of his life, and send hate mail.  

SMIL correctly assumes I don't like her, but doesn't consider that I don't think she likes me, either.  I'm supposed to be kissing her ass trying to win her over and, apparently, it hurts her feelings that I don't.  But she doesn't respond in kind.  She makes no attempt to get to know me or befriend me.  And she assumes I'm mad at her.  Well, I wasn't mad at her before a few days ago, but I am now.  And this kind of stuff is not what wins people over and positively influences them.  If her goal is to get to know me and be friendly, doing this kind of stuff is not the way to achieve it.

Bill and I are not mindreaders... and neither is SMIL, FIL, or my former Facebook friend.  We don't know what other people are thinking or feeling.  We can make educated or uneducated guesses, but there's no way to know what someone's thoughts are unless they tell us... and even then, we probably still won't know for sure.  And really, why does it matter?  Isn't it more important to be in charge of your own thoughts?  Why spend time and energy trying to read another person's mind?  You probably won't succeed and really, all you're doing is guessing.  

That being said, I will admit to trying to predict other people's reactions and guess what they are thinking.  I'm always a human and often a hypocrite.  But I acknowledge that I'm not a mindreader and I don't like to figuratively get in people's faces when they post something that challenges me.  That doesn't mean it doesn't happen periodically, but I mostly try to exercise self control and confine my more aggressive responses to this blog or private conversations with Bill.  *Sigh*...  Someday, I will learn to sign off of Facebook.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Want me to like you more? Learning my name would be a step in the right direction.

Last night, Bill came home from work and read to me the super long text message his stepmother sent him.  It was a pretty rambling thing, mostly full of accusations that Bill doesn't like his dad and reminders that his dad is getting old and will die someday.  And, of course, I was also mentioned in the text.

My husband's stepmother, who was at our wedding in 2002, referred to me as "Ginny" and said she knows I don't like her.  She also claims she doesn't know why I don't like her.  She can't see why I wouldn't find her a delightful person when she sends Bill text messages full of poison.

Okay... well, if stepmother-in-law wants to know why I don't like her, we can start with the fact that I married Bill fifteen years ago this November and she still doesn't seem to know that my name is Jenny... as in Jennifer.  It's not Ginny, as in Virginia.  My husband was married to his first wife for almost ten years.  Her name was Sabrina.  SMIL has no trouble remembering or spelling Sabrina's name.  Why can't she commit my name to memory?

The truth is, when I met Bill's father and stepmother, I thought they were nice enough people.  However, on the occasions we have visited them (and we always go to them; they don't come to us), we have mostly sat around and talked about Bill's ex wife and kids.  I have been told that I have no right to any opinions about what happened to Bill during his first marriage.  SMIL has never seemed interested in getting to know me and, in fact, has at best treated me like an interloper who has invaded the family.  At worst, she's acted like I broke up Bill's first marriage, which simply isn't true.

Another reason I don't like my husband's stepmother is that I think she's very immature.  She has been married to my husband's dad since 1979, yet she still is very bitter and angry toward Bill's mother, who is a truly lovely person.  My husband's mom is nothing like my husband's ex wife.  She never withheld visitation when Bill was growing up.  She never pressured Bill's dad to pay child support.  Even today, she has kind things to say about him.  Stepmother in law seems unable to understand that my husband's mom gave her a gift.  If my mother in law hadn't divorced Bill's dad, where would SMIL be?  Maybe married to someone else or single?

SMIL claims that FIL is the best guy in the world.  But what kind of guy says, "When I die, don't tell Bill?"  Did he really say that?  Or is SMIL creating drama?  Either way, I don't appreciate it when she sends Bill text messages full of emotional blackmail because he then shares them with me and gets me upset.  If FIL really did say something like that, SMIL should not have told Bill.  She could have simply sent a nice text message that says, "Hey Bill, if you have time, could you call your father?"  That would have been kinder and just as effective as her lengthy diatribe about what a terrible and neglectful son Bill is.  Who wants to read that?  And what makes her think that sending it is going to make Bill or me like her more?

I did not have a problem with Bill's stepmother when I first met her and I never wanted to be at odds with her.  But she is a toxic person who doesn't seem to have respect for other people.  And she doesn't even know my name after almost fifteen years of marriage.  She acts like she is the only person who is allowed to be upset about anything.  She wants us to visit and call and treats it like a duty, but she doesn't make phone calls and visits pleasant.  So now I don't like her.  Sending Bill shitty text messages is not the way to get me to like or respect her more.  Meddling in Bill's relationship with his father is no way to inspire goodwill.  And if she has a problem with me, she could speak to me directly.  That would foster respect.  Instead, she's a coward.

Bill did send his stepmother a response that said he would talk to his dad on the phone.  Stepmom responded in a rather panicked way that she hadn't told Bill's dad that she'd sent the message.  That makes me wonder if SMIL made up the whole thing, including the comment about not telling Bill when he dies.  I told Bill that he needs to tell his dad that his stepmother is sending him nasty texts.  If it were me, I would also tell him that SMIL told Bill that he'd asked her not to tell Bill when he dies.  I have a feeling that Bill's dad would not have wanted her telling Bill that, even if he did say it.  She needs to face some reprisals for trying to emotionally blackmail Bill and putting words in Bill's dad's mouth.

There is a name for this kind of communication.  What SMIL is doing is a classic case of triangulation.  She is communicating on behalf of someone else and spinning information.  I have no doubt she's talked to her husband about Bill's response, but put her spin on it.  The end result is that Bill and his dad aren't talking to each other, but they are both upset.  The way to stop that is to speak directly and cut SMIL out of the loop.  She really has no business meddling.  Maybe she's feeling lonely and neglected and stirring up drama is one way she can feel alive again.  

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my husband's father, stepmother, ex wife, or ex kids anymore.  I've finally been moving past all of that shit.  That's why it's very upsetting when someone tries to pull me back into the morass.  I have asked Bill to send his stepmother a text requesting that she leaves me out of her shit.  Otherwise, I will be forced to send her a personal response that I know she won't like.  And if Bill's father should die and SMIL doesn't tell his only son, she will soon find out what it's like not to have any communication.  I have a feeling that Bill would not forgive her.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Making a "mean" lemonade out of people who are lemons...

Today's post is not about mean comments directed at me.  I have been pretty lucky.  I haven't gotten too many mean comments, even though I've been writing online for years.  I imagine if I did live videos or posted more pictures of myself, I might get more mean comments.  People can be extremely cruel, especially if you happen to have severe appearance deficits or are significantly overweight.

I first encountered Boogie2988 a couple of nights ago, when I was watching videos about those people in Maryland who were posting "prank" videos and getting a lot of negative feedback from their viewers.  Boogie made a video about them, which autoplayed after I watched one done by another person.

Since YouTube tends to suggest videos done by the people whose channel you've already watched, I soon found myself getting more links to Boogie's stuff.  One of his videos had an intriguing title...  "Reading Mean Comments".

I gotta hand it to Boogie.  He's really got a good sense of humor.

People are unbelievably mean.  Boogie is a very obese guy, which he is all too willing to acknowledge.  While I'm sure some of these comments are hurtful, he manages to be funny when he reads them.  I admire that in a person.  He truly has a thick skin.

And, as you can see, the success of the first video spawned a second...

I have absolutely no desire to be on camera.  I get really nervous when a camera is focused on me.  But this guy is a natural.  He does voices and is absolutely at home behind a mic.  I used to do radio when I was in my 20s and I was pretty good at that.  But turn a camera on me and I get mental and very self-conscious.  Boogie is friendly, outgoing, engaging, and confident.  That's why he has so many people watching him.

I guess "Francis" is one of Boogie's imaginary friends?

I enjoy people who are able to take something bad and turn it into something good.  Boogie took cruel, nasty, mean-spirited comments and made them into comedy gold.  He's probably laughing all the way to the bank!  Good for him!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A post Easter crucifixion...

Relax... this post isn't about a literal crucifixion.  It's more of a rant about people who climb up on the holy cross of guiltmongering and spread their miserable suffering to everyone in their sphere.

I have ranted about this subject in the past, but it's been awhile since my last plea for my in-laws to get down off the cross and act like adults.  So I'm going to do it today.  No, they probably won't read this, but it'll make me feel better to write this... and it's nothing I would not tell them in person.

This morning, Bill got a guilt laden email from his father's wife.  She does this occasionally.  She'll send a text or an email or post something on Facebook.  Usually, she claims these messages are from his dad, but I would imagine they also come from her.  I don't know why Bill's dad, who is perfectly capable of sending an email, doesn't communicate directly.  Maybe he's just a big wuss.  And really, if he's afraid to talk to his son, who is truly one of the most gentle, decent, kind people I have ever met, he is a wuss of epic proportions.

Anyway... within the email, Bill's stepmother quoted his dad as saying, "When I die, don't tell Bill."

I'm sure there was more to the message than that, but really, I think that's more than enough.  Maybe if this had been the first time she'd sent something like this, I might be shocked by it.  But it's happened so many times over the years that now it just really annoys me.  Bill is a lot more diplomatic than I am when he gets this stuff, although he has come a long way in not responding to manipulative guilt tactics.  But anyway, I naturally had a response that I think was pretty good, although it probably would piss off SMIL.

Shitty guilt trip from SMIL-  "When I die, don't tell Bill..."

My response- You are within your rights not to tell me when my dad dies.  I would hope you would tell me, though, because that is the decent thing to do.  You're not exactly on the moral high ground when you resort to emotionally manipulative tactics to get my attention.  If you want me to pay attention to you and treat you with respect, act respectable.

If Dad has something to say to me, he should speak to me directly like an adult.  If either of you have a request or a need, you should make a clear and respectful request, like an adult does.  

Communication is a two way street.  I will not respond to manipulative tactics anymore.  The next time you send me one of these messages, I will delete it and you will not hear from me at all.  Do I make myself clear?

Of course, this would not go over well, since my husband's stepmother seems to think she is worthy of nothing but deference.  I would imagine if she responded, it would be full of even more guilt, whining, and shaming.  At which point, if I chose to respond, I might simply say "Grow up."

Fortunately for SMIL, Bill is the one who communicates with her.  I'm sure that if I started sending responses instead of Bill, SMIL would be furious.  She would want HIM to respond.  And yet, she doesn't see that Bill would like his dad to communicate with him directly instead of having his wife send emails and texts.  In her mind, this is none of my business.  She doesn't see that it's not really her business, either.  SMIL and I can claim about the same amount of business meddling in our husbands' father-son relationship, which is only about us inasmuch as their mutual angst affects us because we live with them.

My husband's mom has no problems staying in touch with us.  She's on Facebook and makes herself available for Skype calls.  She and Bill use their web cameras, so they can even see each other.  If that doesn't work, they send email.  I adore my husband's mother.  She is a wonderful lady who is kind, mature, and respectful.  She doesn't resort to bullshit manipulation tactics.  And, because she is empathetic and loving in her communications, she hears from Bill very regularly.  Bill's father and stepmother could take a lesson from Bill's mom.  Instead, they wallow in pity and do things that do not inspire him to want to talk to them.

As if we don't already have enough shit to deal with right now...  Christ almighty!

I dedicate this song to my miserable in-laws...