Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer revels

Nutwood spring 2013First, thanks to everyone who expressed support here and on Facebook about my last entry. Knowing that you guys care and hate the BS as much as we do means more than you can imagine.

No worries about us. This is stuff that we’ve suspected for a long time, and having it confirmed is actually a bit of a relief. We know now that we weren’t imagining the manipulation; it really happened. We will keep on keepin’ on, just like we always do! Team Nutwood is strong!

Seeing all the supportive comments made me wonder (even more) about anyone who would consider my friends “minions.” I guess the concept of having true friends is beyond anyone who has to rely on unknown blog commenters as a source of support and friendship. Incidentally, “true friends” is the code phrase used between the blog author and “Stuart” so that he would know the blog author was writing about him. Awww, isn’t that cute? Maybe I should start up code phrases with some of you! [talking out of the side of my mouth] “Don’t eat the watermelon. Mr. Smith says it’s spoiled.” I will respond only if you give me the appropriate counter-phrase. Heh.

Anyway, that’s silly stuff, although still kind of funny. The truth is that this person no longer has any leverage over us. Perhaps that is what is fueling the anger, jealousy, and obsession—they know that they have no power any longer. Hell if I know. But the threats are idle and impotent. We’ll go about our business of having fun and living our lives, and if they continue to obsess over us, then it’s no skin off of my back!

Now...onward to fun stuff! The weekend is only half over, but it’s already shaping up to be a dandy. The weather is wonderful, and while Ken ran some errands he needed to take care of this afternoon, I got my workout in and then got some good outdoor deck time. We plan on grilling both nights. Tonight was hamburgers, corn on the cob, zucchini and onions, all on the grill. Tomorrow will be steak, salads, and potatoes. It seems like the summer is starting to wind down...I’m already noticing that the angle of light on the deck is starting to change. We’re happy to have a weekend at home to just enjoy Nutwood and the great weather. We’re heading up to Chicago next weekend, and soon Notre Dame football will be starting. These summer weekends are dwindling quickly, and I’m trying to soak up as much fun as possible while I can!

During my workouts lately, I’ve been listening to some vintage Green Day. Vintage, like 20 years ago...hard to believe! Yesterday was “Insomniac,” and today was “Nimrod.” It’s been quite a few years since I listened to these, and other than the hits, I didn’t remember many of the songs. Today I was blown away by a song on “Nimrod”: “Last Ride In.”

Anyone who has been reading me for a while knows how much I love surf music. Whether it’s the pure stuff from the ‘60s or the modern stuff from the ‘90s and beyond, I love the whammy and the twangy guitar. Dick Dale or Los Straitjackets, it’s all good stuff. (Oddly enough, I’m not a huge fan of the Beach Boys...but I consider them more of a pop group than a surf band. Some might disagree.) I had completely forgotten about “Last Ride In,” which is absolutely a surf music song, with all the wistfulness and happiness that these songs bring to me. I was pleased to find the video and see that it has a bit of that “summer feel” to it, with some skateboarding and driving around in a super cool car. This song is the soundtrack for my weekend.

I hope your weather is as beautiful as ours is this weekend. If you play this song, turn it up and think sunny thoughts!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Letters…I get letters

well_well_wellI recently got a few verrrrry interesting emails, with a couple of big em-effin’ attachments.

It seems that someone has been quite naughty and telling tales out of school!

Let’s see. How to word this? I got a rather bizarre email from someone saying that they had found my email address through my blog, and they felt they had to write to me and tell me what was going on. It seems this person had stumbled upon a blog that he found interesting due to some common issues, and he began an email correspondence with the blog author. It didn’t take long for him to get an earful about me and Ken.

I didn’t respond much to this person. Mostly just “thanks for the information.” I’m not sure what kind of soap opera was happening there, but I can tell you that I do not dig soap operas, and I don’t like having them dumped in my lap. I also found the tone more than a little odd, with talk of “atonement,” and some stuff about telling me because he was so ashamed that he had sinned by participating in malicious gossip. Whew. Okay, whatever. I did say that since he found my email through this blog, it’s obvious that know...write a blog...and I would be writing about this. He said he understood and that was part of his “penance” (!!!), but please don’t use his real name due to some ongoing legal issues. Fair enough, so I shall call him...Stuart.

Apparently, this blog author told Stuart all kinds of nasty things about me and Ken, and said that I am constantly writing bad things about them and their family. If writing about music, movies, books, and politics is writing bad things, then I guess I’m guilty as charged! Unfortunately for the blog author’s case, they sent Stuart here to my blog, as well as to my Twitter account, and he found my YouTube account on his own. He wrote that he saw a very different picture than what was portrayed to him...that it seemed that I was the one being harassed. He was told that I was following this blog author on Twitter, but I am not; they are following me. I guess ol’ Stuart got a bit of an epiphany after checking things out for himself.

He decided to send me all the emails that this blog author wrote to him. He said he saved them all, something about God telling him to save them. Okayyyy. There were some quite interesting things said, things that don’t exactly jibe with reality.

  • When Ken left, he said that he “didn’t want to be a father.”
  • He took every dime and left without providing any way to pay for housing or food. I guess that $3200 each month just wasn’t enough, and after the blog author remarrying two months later, $1600 a month wasn’t enough either.
  • When Ken left, the blog author “didn’t see another dime (for 7 years) until I took him to court for a child support increase.” See above. $1600 per month. That’s lots of dimes.
  • Ken refused to pay for band fees, new eyeglasses, clothing, his half of one kid’s braces...all complete lies.
  • Ken left them without health insurance. Health insurance was provided through the time specified.
  • After letting one kid use a chainsaw while here (didn’t happen...EVER), Ken told the other kid to go inside and do “women’s work” with me. This is completely laughable. Like I would ever be on board with calling certain chores “women’s work,” or have a partner who felt that way!
  • It was admitted that Ken’s phone calls were never answered...on purpose. Calls were screened, and if it was our number, the phone wasn’t answered.
  • When asked for advice about talking to a child about visitation, the blog author wrote, “If he sees and hears from you that you really don’t want him to go, then he’ll reflect that back.” So this person admits to manipulation of the kids.
  • Apparently, I was a problem from the day that Ken married me...I objected to money being taken out of my “play fund.” Also a complete lie. According to this person, I am “evil and wicked,” and I convinced Ken to leave his faith, switch political parties, and estranged him from his children.
  • The blog author wrote that they were living an “existence of revenge.”
  • It was admitted that the blog author feels hatred for me. Also that they are jealous of us. The blog author feels that I am “always aiming my words” at them. Paranoid much? Egotistical much?

Honestly, I’m surprised that tongue doesn’t just leap out of that mouth and run screaming down the hallway, because this is complete and utter BULLSHIT. And that blog author knows it. I thought the Republican party was the master of revising history, but there’s a new delusional sheriff in town!

This person gave out our full names, our general location, and steered Stuart to my social network sites. Granted, since I have a social network presence, my name and location are out there. But I really don’t appreciate a total stranger being directed to my information. I have to wonder at someone who is so desperate and needy that they feel the need to strike up a personal correspondence with a stranger, but it seems that their appetite for the chance to talk some shit about me and Ken trumped their judgment. It’s a terrible thing to have zero impulse control. If I’ve learned anything from blogging for going on seven years, it’s that you don’t engage with complete strangers, not on a personal level. I don’t have a huge following on here, but I have enough visitors to exercise caution when dealing with commenters that I don’t know. I hope that at least that blog author didn’t give out any personal information, like the kids’ names and ages, or their cell phone number. Oh...wait....

I guess someone forgot how to Internet. Oops!

Prince questions your judgment.

There was also a lot of weird stuff.

  • The blog author still cries, “to this day,” over the loss of Ken.
  • A special “code phrase” so that Stuart would know when the blog entry was about him. Ooo, spy shit! The Fat Man sleeps at midnight!
  • A paragraph about a husband and wife at church, exchanging glances, shushing the kids as they color on the church programs, and coming home to a perfectly roasted leg of lamb, sitting in front of the fire with a brandy...go ahead and look at the Prince thing again. It is applicable for this.
  • One thing they wrote that I can agree with: “Pretty comes from within.” Very true words.
  • Stuart’s emails made the blog author feel like “a young girl on a summer’s day, twirling in a party dress.” Yep, back up to the Prince GIF again. Twirling! In a party dress! Seriously?

I’m going to address the blog author directly here: When you commented on my YouTube video a while back, I suggested that you get help, because you need it. Your response was “Fuck you.” I suggest that you revisit my idea. Your level of obsession and jealousy is out of control, and apparently your own family has questioned your behavior. If you don’t want to get help for your own sake, do it for your family’s sake. If your attitude and obsession is causing problems in your own home, then any person with an ounce of self-awareness would recognize that and take steps to correct it. Especially a “fucking psychology graduate,” as you put it. The fact that you were so willing to engage with this commenter and so willing to tell lies about both me and Ken shows that you have not moved on, in any way, shape, or form. You still seem to have feelings for Ken, and you seem to have an irrational and obsessive hatred of me. Surely you realize that is not normal...right? And you DO realize that Ken paid monthly child support, and never missed a payment...right? You have to remember that, so why are you lying?

You got busted. You got busted BIG TIME. We now know that our fears of you manipulating the kids are founded, and that your bitterness, hatred, and jealousy led you to alienate the kids from their father, or as you like to call him, the “Sperm Donor.” Charming. So there you have it. Good luck with your life. As a good friend of ours once said about you, “She’s bitter and boring. And I don’t do bitter and boring.”

Oh, and one more thing, she said in her best Lieutenant Columbo voice.

115 pounds?

One hundred and fifteen pounds?

What do you say, Dr. Evil?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Beth’s Books: Rebecca

Beth's BooksI recall this being a favorite when I read it many years ago—probably at least 25 years ago. I picked it up as a used book recently, because I thought it would be fun to read again.

I was WAS fun to revisit! But I found that I had a very different reaction to it than I did the first time around. What didn’t change is the beautiful writing from Daphne du Maurier, as well as that it is a great gothic tale of love, loss, and murder. Maxim de Winter remains charming, if a little aloof, and I was reminded of Laurence Olivier’s portrayal of Maxim in the movie. (Which was perfect!) Mrs. Danvers is as creepy and obsessed as ever, and I found myself reading of her obsession with an expression that could only mean “Holy crap, this old broad is batshit crazy!” There is the great story of Maxim falling in love with a young girl and whisking her out of her dreary, working life to his famous estate, Manderley. It doesn’t matter how old you get, it’s still fun to think about being swept off of your feet, don’t you think?

What did change for me was my reaction to the unnamed young girl that Maxim marries. She is the narrator of the book, and I think it’s interesting that her name is never revealed. Maybe there are deeper meanings to that...perhaps it’s to make her somewhat of a non-entity, a minor personality although the book is written from her perspective. I don’t know, but it strikes me as different and unusual. This time around, I found her absolutely infuriating. She is timid, weak, insecure, and paranoid. She spends her time worrying that people are talking about her, laughing behind her back, judging her, and finding her not good enough. She lets herself be intimidated by virtually everyone, and she is certain that Maxim still loves Rebecca, and that she can never measure up to the standards that Rebecca set.

I’m not kidding, I wanted to grab her and shake the snot out of her.

I had to keep reminding myself that this book was published in 1938; that it was a different time; that she was a paid companion to an old bat, suddenly thrust into a situation where she was the lady of a huge English estate. I realized all that...and I still wanted to shake the snot out of her. Of course, anyone who has read the book or seen the movie knows that she finally grew a pair and managed to ditch her inferiority complex. Until that happened in the book, I was constantly rolling my eyes and thinking, “Oh, for Pete’s sake...stand up for yourself!”

RebeccaI found it fascinating that I had such a different reaction this time around. My friend Bonnie on Facebook commented that the book hasn’t changed; I have. That is exactly right, and I think it’s very cool to revisit a book you read when you were younger and see if your perceptions of it have changed. I often hear people mention Catcher in the Rye in this regard; feelings about Holden Caulfield often change as you get older. I wouldn’t know about that, because for some weird reason, that was never a book I read in high school. It totally escaped me. It was only a couple of years ago that I read it, and I found Holden self-absorbed and lacking sympathy for others. I don’t doubt that if I’d read it when in high school or college, I would have found him a rather romantic, rebellious figure. In my late forties, I just found him to be a young prick with feelings of entitlement.

I’m happy to say that I still find Rebecca a ripping good yarn. A good story matters, as does good writing, and the book has both. I’m happy I read it again.

I’m thinking that if I want to revisit another favorite from my youth, I might have to read The Bell Jar again. I read that several times in high school, and I loved it. I wonder what I’d think of it now? I’ll let you know when I find out!

How about you? Are there any books that you loved when you were young and reread as an adult? What was your experience? Did you find your perspective had changed? Did you love it all over again, or hate it this time around? I think it’s really amazing how a few years under your belt can really change your perspective on situations and characters.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Brain That Wouldn’t Shut Up

Busy BrainI had one of those restless nights last night that I think most of us have every so often.

I went to bed early and read for a while. Of course, ‘early’ for me is relative...I was asleep by about 1 AM. I conked out pretty good, but had a lot of weird dreams, including one in which I was in bed and very restless. Never doubt...dreams CAN come true! Then we got a fairly heavy rain, and although that’s usually a soothing sound to me, it served to wake me up this time.

Then it was game on. That damn brain of mine would not shut up.

This wasn’t one of those dark nights of the soul, in which you think about all the stupid things you’ve done, or the things you could have done better, or the things that make you go, “What the hell was I thinking?!”. A few of those thoughts crept in, as they inevitably do, but this was mostly thinking about cards I need to write, stories I want to write, what I’m going to make for dinner tonight, how I need to stop by on the way home from the grocery store and get a picture of that service station that appears to be a Lustron building before they tear it down for the new highway I should get some zucchini at the store because we can probably barbecue this weekend and don’t forget the sangria where’s Sheeba probably in the basement because it’s raining so hard but maybe I could get back to sleep if he came in and snuggled up with medon’tforgettodrythatloadoflaundryinthewasherdon’tforgettounloadthedishwasherhopeitclearsupthisafternoonwhatshouldItaketoChicagomanIreallyneedtovacuumEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE


Total brain overload. When Ken got up to get ready for work, I laid there for a couple of minutes wondering if I could go back to sleep, and Brain said, “Pfft. Don’t even think about it. Get your ass out of bed.” So I did, and that’s how I came to be up at 6:30 AM and posting a blog entry around 8 AM.

It’s not all bad, although my eyes feel tired and red-rimmed. I was able to see Ken off to work, I got a New York Times interview with President Obama read (I’d been meaning to get it read for several days now), I got a good jump on the day, and I should be able to get several things accomplished today. Right now, it’s tempting to curl up on the couch and take a little nap. Thanks a lot, Brain...NOW you want to shut up! But I’m going to putter around here and then get out to the grocery store early and see what all I can get done today.

Just watch...tonight, Brain will keep me up until 4 AM or some shit like that. What a smartass.

Shut up brain

Monday, August 5, 2013

Just The Man keeping 'em down

Freedom mandateA big story in a rather quiet news week was that a conservative group called FreedomWorks is encouraging young people to not sign up for the Affordable Care Act’s health exchanges. Their reasoning seems to be that the exchanges really will work because young, healthy people will sign up, bringing the cost down for everyone and allowing more people to be able to get health insurance. So they’re encouraging them to not sign up and pay the penalty. Ha! Ha! Wouldn’t it be funny if a bunch of young adults did that? They wouldn’t have any health insurance at all! That’


Way to stick it to The Man, kids!


Except the thing is, they’re not just sticking it to The Man. They’re sticking it to themselves. As Jonathan Cohn’s brief article states, you don’t just get to sign up for insurance when you get sick; there are open enrollment periods (just like in every other employer-based health plan in which I’ve participated), and if you happen to get seriously ill or hit by a car or bitten by a monitor lizard, or any of a number of bad things that can happen out there in the great big scary world, and it happens to be in a non-enrollment period, you’re shit outta luck, my friend. You will be stuck with one mofo of a hospital bill, and although most places will try to work with you, they WILL come after you and try to get you to pay. You think your college loans are bad? Try dealing with a hospital bill with three or four—or even five—zeroes after a 6 or an 8 or whatever.

It’s bad enough that there are people out there who are trying to convince young adults to go against their best interests. I mean, seriously...who doesn’t want the security of health insurance? When I was a young adult, I had the usual false feelings of invincibility that most young adults do; I felt like I had my whole life ahead of me and nothing really bad could happen to me. Even so, I never even considered going without health insurance. My husband at the time was in the military, so I got everything free of charge there. (Can you believe that damn government giving me free health care like that?!) When we divorced, I immediately got on the plan offered by the hospital where I was working.

The thought of being without health insurance terrifies me. I saw firsthand over the course of my career how high medical costs are, and how a normally healthy person can be devastated by an unexpected illness. Heart attack, stroke, disseminated intravascular coagulation, a broken leg that throws a clot to your lungs and causes a pulmonary embolism, a disseminated fungal infection in a guy that went out hunting...the list is endless! I don’t live my life in a state of paranoia, but I DO understand that all these things can happen, and often do. Why on earth would anyone be foolish enough to not accept reasonably priced health insurance if it were made available to them?

So it’s bad enough that these FreedomWorks yahoos are encouraging young adults to do just that. What is even more horrible to me is that there are kids that are actually falling for it. I honestly don’t know what they’re thinking, except...well, they probably aren’t thinking. They’re not reasoning it through. They are letting themselves be duped by these special interest groups who are operating on a political agenda. Groups who think that it is a bad thing to have more Americans having the security of health insurance. What kind of a heartless bastard actually thinks that? I’d really like to know.

To those kids who are burning their bogus “Obamacare draft cards”: You aren’t sticking it to The Man.

The Lobbyist Man is sticking it to you.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Another one bites the dust

FootballJust like that, the weekend is almost over!

It was a pretty low-key one for us, and that was perfectly fine. We had planned on going to the local NPR station’s Music in the Gardens Friday evening to hear the Whistle Pigs, but a torrential rain put the kibosh on that. We stayed home and finished Season 1 of “The Walking Dead.”

On Saturday, after our workouts, Ken met up with a former coworker who was in town, then visited his Mom, while I stayed home and enjoyed some time out on the deck and in the sun. It was going to be mostly talking shop, so I opted to stay home. It was a very pleasant day. In the evening, we had a barbecue and watched “42.” I can’t recommend that movie enough. It’s right up there in one of the best sports movies ever, in my opinion, but the main story is Jackie Robinson’s struggle as the first black man in major league baseball. Anyway, it was excellent!

Today was a visit to see my Mom in the afternoon (she’s doing well, and fed us a lunch that put me into a bit of a carb coma), and then back home—top down on the Mustang!—do a few chores (including Ken mowing the lawn) and now some relaxation. And it’s that time of year...pre-season football! YEEEEES! I really don’t care much about pre-season ball, and I don’t care much about the Cowboys or the Dolphins, but just hearing the sound of it, the chatter on the field, the music, those three letters together...N, F, and L...ahhh! I’m a happy girl! Hard to believe that our first Notre Dame game is in less than a month! We’re hoping for a nice day so we can tailgate.

Also mixed in this weekend was me finishing one book (People of the Book) and starting another (’s been years since I read it, and I’m looking forward to seeing if I enjoy it as much as I did years ago). Glad to be getting back into my reading.

I hope you all had as pleasant a weekend! Oh, and I hope President Obama had a pleasant day today, too...his 52nd birthday! I love my President!