Sunday, February 28, 2016

Doing What's Right Shouldn't Require Applause

My dear husband finally got his reply from his brother over why we were were treated like the Hitler/Stalin/Mussolini family over Christmas. It was a list of offenses I'd supposedly committed. There's just one problem. Neither Jim nor I recall any of those occurrences, most of which took place over the holidays five or six years ago. That particular holiday when the new sister in law was still the fiance and I was meeting her for the very first time, a holiday where I had bronchitis and a 102 fever, where I rarely left the hotel room. When I did leave the room I was barely functional much less fawning over anything or anyone.

So I'm being judged on the few short hours she spent with me over things none of us in this family remember?? How petty and small all the complaints on the list were.

After careful consideration it sounds to me as if she had decided before meeting me to dislike me and take offense at everything I did, my personality, etc. Why? The only thing I can come up with is the possibility that she was intimidated by the fact that I'd been a family member for over twenty five years and being that she's one of those women that loves to control everything she was afraid if she didn't demonize me immediately to her husband and self that I might actually try to control her, or lord gawd himself knows what over her. Which is so not my style at all. That would require me actually giving a rip about the things she considers important that are meaningless and inconsequential to me.

I'd predicted to Jim during the trip that due to the years of his brother blaming him for everything short of WWII that I would likely be the next one blamed for the family dysfunction.'

Passages of the list clearly illustrate that neither of them 'get' the picking and teasing that Jim and I do between us. Which sometimes involves shenanigans, mock outrage, tons of laughter and the rare rude words. But the brother never did get Jim's humor at all.

They claim we're angry, dysfunctional and fighting. Again, they're missing the comedic aspect and silliness we sometimes engage in. But if you are determined to be offended in the first place everything is merely going to piss you off. Particularly a marital relationship not built on a romantic false facade.

Once that insane surge of oxytocin and love fade you better have some other things going on in your marriage, like friendship, companionship, common interests and the like going on or you're going to be pretty miserable. I suspect they may well have hit that point in their marriage and are lashing out at others as a result. Marry in haste, well you know the rest. 

Yet again much of the anger is because we have never fawned over the sister in law and constantly propped her up with compliments and thanks over ever breath she takes or slight thing she does.

Again, you cannot dictate the gratitude of others. Adults push forward to do what's right without expecting cheerleaders.

I was thinking about this in the sunshine of the afternoon as I worked in the yard. The first semi-warm day in the winter found me planting winter primroses and a few pansies that are winter hardy and trimming back some of the deadfall that autumn left. After the planting and trimming I did like I always do after yardwork, I got out a small trash bag, picked up whatever refuse has drifted into our yard, followed by picking up next door neighbor Betty's yard and the lady who's name escapes me who lives on the other side of us. It's just as easy for me to GI their yards when I do mine. One lady is a single mother that works two jobs and is rarely home. Betty has trouble getting around as she's elderly and very heavy. She cannot bend down and pick up things.

So why am I picking up blown in pieces of paper, a styrofoam plate and assorted other trash out of my neighbor's yards? Again, just as easy, plus I know Betty physically cannot do it and the other lady has a lot of her plate. I do it because it's the right thing.

Betty knows I do this and she's never thanked me, not once But I never expected her to and I am not miffed. I know how she is, she's cantankerous and not friendly with non-Catholics. But I still do it. It's not about the thank you.

I also sometimes bring her produce when the garden is overflowing and Jim will shovel her porch and steps after a snow another with the neighbors on the other side of us. Again, it's the right thing to do and if she thanks any of us is her business.

She did bring Jim homemade soup once. We're okay with that.

Back to the sister in law. I think she's trying to make us do what she wants, compliment and fawn all over her. Not happening. In fact I'm not open to anything more than a distant politeness should we all be thrown together at family functions.

I'm going to keep doing what I do to do the right thing without expecting a chorus of well wishers giving me a participation trophy. I am fully an adult. But I am standing my ground on this one.

Oddly enough before this Christmas trip two different people, one I know that is psychic and one I never thought was warned me that the in laws were going to try mightily to bully me this trip and to stand solid and not allow it. I did and I am.

If Jim wants to keep in touch with his brother and try (likely fruitlessly) to have a relationship more power to him. He has to do what he feels is right, which is try to stay in touch with his brother.


Friday, February 26, 2016

On Keeping Short Offense Lists

One of the few useful things I learned and carried out into my daily life from my old church is that you are the one that decides to take offense over things. It's many times a very conscience choice you make and that it's possible to not take offense over so many things.

No matter the ranting I do here, in reality I let a lot of things just roll off my back without taking offense over them. They really don't matter in the long run.

The big benefit of not taking offense is also that you're not dragging around a long list of offenses in your mind. Less offenses means a more serene mind, letting others be responsible for their own actions and having many fewer things to have to forgive others for.

A short list if you must keep a list.

Today I was confronted with a long list of things I'd done to offend someone else, a list that goes back at least five years. Here's the thing, I really do not remember any of those things, not sure how true that list is and I'm left wondering why the list-maker didn't just bother to talk to me about these offenses when they occurred years ago.

Their holding onto this list hasn't hurt me, not at all, I wasn't aware that they felt this way at all. But it has hurt them, created some agitation inside them. That can't be healthy for them, or very comfortable. It's sort of  like that hoary old chestnut of a saying about taking poison and expecting your enemy to die. Offense lists are like that. They harm you, not the person you're angry at.

It's simpler just not to carry around grudges or piles of slights and past hurts. Like Jimmy Buffet says, 'Breath in, breath out, move on.' May you always have the ability to do just that. It was a good reminder to me to keep up my policy of not taking everything as an offense.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Scammers Be Scamming...

As you may or may not know one of the hobbies I used to have before Jim got all frightened that Nigerians would show up at our house and burn it down was that I loved to scam bait.

What's scam baiting I hear you ask..

Simply put it's tying up the time and energy of a Nigerian (or elsewhere) scammer who's seeking to get overtly trusting and super-greedy naive American's to give them moolah. Sometimes they pretend you've won a lottery, or you have some great uncle fifty times removed from your family that lives overseas that has expired. Sometimes it's a Nigerian prince or princess asking for help getting access to funds frozen in a foreign land. Or if you're trying to sell a high ticket item on Craigslist they have some convoluted story about them sending you a check for a certain amount with you cashing it for them to knock the price down or they want to send you a huge downpayment via Western Union up front.

Today I got one of the newer more common ones in my email box. Almost always it's some form of unsolicited email. I got the job come on by one Jean Baptiste Luckenson - who only exists online as a bellboy at a Dominican Republic resort, or a pile of blank Facebook/Linkedin pages or somewhere in Haiti.

Greetings *My Real Name Here,*

I am an HR representative. We have found your CV through employment agency.
At the present time our company needs a full-time Quality Assurance Manager.
The basic payment is $2793 per month +/plus bonuses. An attractive compensation package is provided.

Required:
-Must be aged over 21;
-Careful, upright and dependable person;
-Great IT skills;
-Previous office work experience is a plus;
-Relocation: NO.

If you are rightly qualified for this opening, please answer back. Don't forget to state a phone number to call you.

Requisition code: (LTD-76-429)
You see what he did here. He's dangling a lucrative salary amount not usually found in my crappy small town. He's claiming he found my CV (non-existent- I haven't have one for many years now) 'through employment agency' instead of 'through an employment agency'.

All of these things are suspicious alone. Combined they are absolutely a tip off that this is a scammer. High salary offer, claims of finding me in a way that is virtually impossible and the capper is the odd construction of the sentences, the pigeon English.

Notice also there is no mention of the name of the company, no mention of the company location and a sketchy list of requirements. When's the last time you went on a job interview or someone called for a reference and asked if you were an 'upright' person? Like never.

Some Googling of the email address leads to nothing and the email address name is completely different than the person they are claiming to be. Dead ends. I miss the days when scammers were completely idiotic and used email accounts with traceable headers. Sadly now they've gotten a wee bit smarter.

I miss my scam baiter days. The thrill of stringing one of these guys along and wasting their time. I had a million very dumb aliases, such as Sir I.P. Frehley and O' B. Lowme. Since a lot of these guys have not the firmest grasp of English you could let your imagination run wild, demand ludicrous things, such as proof of their candy bar or their cosmic galactic immigration equation number.

One of the best scam baiting tales I've ever seen was by a guy nicknamed 'Shiver Metimbers' at 419eater.com - Busted! Be sure to scroll all the way down to the photoshopped pictures of the artwork and the masterfully faked documentation. It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

Sadly none of my scam baiting tales even comes close to that. But I did score some pretty funny clearly fake checks. Here, print them off and cash them if you like (no, do not really, they are FAKE FAKE FAKE). The trick is your are going to have to have id proving you are Sir I.P. Frehley to cash them.




Sometimes I miss Sir Ivan P. Frehley. He was always on safari in Africa insisting that those generous people giving him money meet him in person to collect their share. It was always a case of them missing him by minutes or missed communications, or being bitten by a lion so he missed the drop off. Pip pip, tally ho and all that ridiculous British vernacular Sir Ivan blathered on about in his emails.

So the point of this whole thing is this. If someone is offering you some fabulous prize for doing very little it's 99.99% someone attempting to scam you. Amazingly enough millions of dollars is taken every year from people of all ages, races, socioeconomic levels and educational levels.

Monday, February 22, 2016

And I Got Nuttin'

Was going to write tonight about the disrespect and ridiculousness of Ted Cruz and other Evangelicals claiming that gluten-free eating is a fad. But my brain happens to be stuck on stupid tonight. Will have to revisit my arguments on this in the morning.

But I will say this, this is the kind of thinking I ran into in my former faith life, any little medical condition or sensitivity being declared a 'strong hold' or 'demonic' or 'made up' by some of the same folks chugging mixtures containing bleach and/or heavy metals. Not open to new things, yet prone to doing things that will really wreck your health.

Look at Cruz, doesn't he look unhealthy to you? He does to me. Pasty, some pudge with those fetal alcohol syndrome baby eyes. Bet he lives all on processed foods. Such nerve to act like gluten and wheat sensitivities are some sort of fad instead of genuine medical conditions.

Later.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Are You Loathesome Tonight?

Our son Andy stopped by this morning on his way to pick up his car. He's had my car and my gas credit card for a few weeks while his was in a local body shop getting fixed up from his recent wreck. As always it was wonderful to see him, and we got to hang out before going out for lunch and my loading him down with fresh bread and apple pie to take home.

That young man, like his sister Laura, is a joy to see!

After he left I fell into a deep no-sleep and food coma, flaking out on the sofa for a lengthy nap. Trying to catch up on my sleep deficit. Not sure it's going to help me get to sleep tonight.

Once Jim started doing his Saturday night thing, talking to his momma, I have a hint that tonight's going to be another sleepless night. He opened up to his mother about the problems we experienced back at Christmas time with his brother and the brother's new wife. Maw In Law says she's going to ask the brother about it.

This makes me extremely nervous, just like the emails Jim recently sent to his brother spelling out all the ways we were mistreated during the Christmas trip. The brother's only response has been that he didn't have time at the moment to go into it but would respond eventually. That's right, he's kicking the problem down the street again. I predict there will be no response beyond that one.

I'd really rather not have the Maw In Law involved at all. But it is curious that considering the brother lives mere minutes from Maw In Law he's not been to see her in well over a week. I think we need to press moving her here to Virginia. That's just not right.

These are exactly the kinds of things that wake me up, keep me awake and cause the tossing and turning. Which is stupid because if there's one thing I've learned in my 55 years on thise planet it's that you cannot force anyone else to change, or explain themselves, or interact with you once they've decided not to.

I'm still just so done with my brother and sister in law, but I'm not going to stand in Jim's way if he wants to have a relationship with them. It's going to take longer for me to come around.

Another reason to be happy I'm no longer part of my old church because I'd be under tremendous pressure to forgive immediate all this that's been building the last thirty years. Forgiving someone does not mean immediately letting them back into your life to wreck havoc anew. I prefer to forgive yet take a step back to keep from things continuing or escalating even further.

Sublimating Sleepiness Everywhere

Lately we're both had trouble getting to sleep. It goes something like this. I'll crawl into bed with a book near midnight and try to read till I'm sleepy. Used to work like a charm. Not working so well now.

Add in an hour or two and Jim comes to bed. I'm still wide awake or I'm on the edge of sleep and he starts tossing and turning, either waking me up, or preventing me from settling in to sleep.

Or sometimes we'll both get to sleep in his cell phone will start beeping in the middle of the night with messages from his friend Mr. Con Man in Malaysia with newer 'get rich quick' schemes or pleadings to Jim for use to move to Malaysia. This always startles me awake.

Settle back down and can't sleep, start worrying about the kids, or the home remodel, or the mess with Jim's brother or a thousand other things, most of them quite dumb and cannot sleep even more. I've always had a hard time turning off my mind to sleep but lately it's become extremely difficult to do. I almost wish I was a worry-free fundy still, able to sleep by mentally reciting Bible verses or singing worship songs in my mind. Must find a non-religious substitute Jedi sleep mind trick.

Finally, mercifully drift off to sleep around dawn just in time for Jim's other buddy I don't much like, T-Bone, to start messaging Jim and waking me up.

I think I'm going to place a moratorium on cell phones in the bed room until we both start being able to sleep the entire night through.

What happens after sleepless nights are days like today. I stumble around in a fog that not even a pot of Community Coffee dark roast can dispel. I do the least amount of things possible. Instead of my usual Friday house scrubbing I baked bread and a few pies today. You don't have to do any critical thinking when you're baking.

It's on mornings like today that I make silly mistakes updating No Longer Quivering, getting the details of one clueless fundamentalist pastor with another, or make some goofy grammar or word usage slip up, like the whole there, their, they're thing. 

The only good that's come of it is that I've read a huge pile of books since my insomnia started. Just finished up Sue Klebold's book about her son Dylan, one of the shooters in the Columbine tragedy - A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy. I have to say that it's brave, painful and painfully honest look at living in the terrifying aftermath of the tragedy caused by a mentally ill child. I cannot imagine living through such an experience and coming out wanting to help others to prevent any other child slipping through the cracks to harm others.

One of the other books that has been difficult to read but hard to put down on these late nights has been The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller That Corrupted Adoption by Barbara Bisantz Raymond. I have to say this was one of those books covering historical eras and shifting ideas in society in a intriguing way. The author obviously put in many months and possibly years into the research that forms the basis for this book on the history of adoption. Well worth the read. 

Tonight I am just finishing up William Shatner's new book -- Leonard: My Fifty Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man.   I have to say, as much as I knew I wanted to read this book I had serious mixed feelings about putting any money into Shatner's pocket. I've enjoyed many of William Shatner's books, I've loved Star Trek and Leonard Nimoy, but the speed at which Shatner came out with this book, less than a year after Nimoy's death leaves a bad taste in my mouth, like grave robbing or whoring something out. I suspect Shatner's motives are financial more than honoring his friend. If you can hold your nose and get over the idea that you're funding a possibly grifting William Shatner it's a great read. Lots of interesting stories and quotes about Nimoy, and even some deeply intimate sharing over the death of Shatner's third wife and her struggle with alcohol. I didn't know until I read this book how many things Leonard Nimoy himself struggled to overcome, like alcohol.  He was apparently instrumental during Shatner's mourning and recovery over the death of his wife.

Next up is a pile of biographies of Britain's royal families going back many centuries plus some assorted books on physics. Hopefully the physics will lull me to sleep.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Only the Victorious Get to Write the History

This morning was taken up with spelling out in great detail why my ex husband should not have any information on any asset I own, deal I'm involved in, or anything else to both my real estate agent and the title company. I shared with them legal things that even my kids do not know about my former relationship and legal status from my first short disastrous marriage. Stuff I share with no one. My husband knows, my father knew, but not too many others know.

Not going to spill the beans on what it is because it involves a branch of law enforcement and a pretty serious allegation. But sharing the info certainly made the title company very aware as to why I was unwilling and unable to give them the info on him and why no information on my doings should be released to him.

I am still frightened and upset over certain ancient history with him.

One day I'll write a book about our relationship and the subsequent gaslighting I went through after the divorce. Today's not that day. Today is the day when I push through to get this sale to go through. I would feel much more comfortable in my mind if I had a personal financial cushion now that Jim has retired. Things come up. I've had a huge bunch of medical bills from Thumbageddon and I'm going to be on meds for the next year. Still healing here.

It was a good distraction this morning to read through the back issues of our local newspaper, the same one that took their times (4 months) to pay my husband for his writing. They have us still waiting for his 1099-MISC tax form. We keep calling. But I digress...

One of the things that caught my eye and tickled my fancy were the ravings by a local judge's wife. She's upset with one of my new favorite television shows "Mercy Street" on PBS for their portrayal of Confederate spy Frank Stringfellow. She's claiming Culpeper's own Frank never killed anyone like it was shown on "Mercy Street". She and her society friends are clutching their pearls very hard over Frank and how the South is being portrayed on the show.

I feel bad for her that she's so incredibly invested in a historical figure from our area, so invested that she wrote a Civil War bodice ripper that essentially glorifies all the old false tropes of the old South, glorifying the mythology of the gracious and perfect South caught up in a war of Northern aggression. I read her novel, and thought it was pretty bad on many levels. This Amazon review pretty much sums up how I felt about it.

 I laughed and I cried too. I laughed at the glut of fluttering eyelashes, smoldering stares and swishing crinoline. I cried for the po' inconsolable darkies ripped from the loving care of their Ol' Massas, longing for the good old days of comfortable slavery and left to fend for their incompetent selves in a world of cruel, barbarous northern pillagers. I gagged at the representation of the saccharin southern belle whose mind, though amply educated, apparently was occupied solely in her pursuit of "gallant" Confederate trophy officers. One of the reviewers has compared the author of this shameless piece to Allan W. Eckert, whose historical narratives of the American frontiers were incredibly well researched. That is an insult to Eckert. The only redeeming feature I have found in this girly novel is the effort by its author to weave in real Civil War events with some accuracy. I am dismayed at the number of highly favorable reviews, most of which seem to come from Virginians. I have learned thereby that there are many in that commonwealth who haven't healed from their losses in the War of Northern Aggression.

I read many different histories and love the fact that since I received a Kindle as a present I can wallow through the many scholarly tomes from places like Harvard Press and other universities without bankrupting us or leaving my bedroom. The reviews on Amazon save me from being tricked into purchasing novels like this one.

I've been watching 'Mercy Street' from the first night it aired and I'm not seeing anything 'insulting' to anyone. It seems pretty thoroughly researched. If you look at the behind the scenes clips at PBS it is apparent that they have taken much care to be as authentic as it's possible to be in our modern age.

It still astounds me when I run across people in my area of Virginia who still believe that the South should have won the war. It's not always toothless rural folks with Confederate flags flying from the backs of their pickup trucks. Sometimes it's people you would never expect to hold such views, people like women in the local Junior League, banks, doctors, lawyers, judges. Very polite civil-seeming people holding racist views that harken back to the mid 1800s.

I must be naive because when Obama was elected president I was genuinely happy, thinking that it was a big sign that this great nation was post-racial finally, that racial equality was celebrated and embraced. From my childhood in the 1960s until 2008 I'd seen things change from overt open racism to what seemed like a much more accepting climate.

It was with deep dismay when I first heard relatives of mine, friends and others at large in the community spout racist views increasingly as time has passed in the last eight years. It's been the opposite. Racism never ceased, it was just driven underground until Obama was elected.

Okay, wow, I ended up in a very different place than I intended when I first started writing this evening. I'd been trying to decide how much information to put in here about my ex and his crimes and I end up on racism? Time for bed I guess. Sorry if I'm rambled.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Why Early Marriage Doesn't Usually Work

Once upon a time there was a very foolish teenage girl that loved rock and roll and the handsome men in tight pants that played that style of music. She found herself eloping with one of those guys shortly before her 16th birthday. Before you could say abracadabra she was pregnant, isolated and living in a trailer taking care of Mr. Rock N Roll when he wasn't on the road with his band.

The marriage didn't last long. Why did the marriage end? Mr. Rock N Roll wanted her to stay home barefoot and isolated while he played music. She changed, they ended up having nothing in common at all in a very short period of time. Your late teens and early twenties are times of great change, figuring out who you are and what you want in live. The gulf between them just grew too great.

 Having a child forced the feckless girl to try and grow up, in fits and starts, making some bad decisions, some good, flying upside down and by the seat of her pants trying to work, raise her child and go to school. Making do on a very tight budget, cursing the fact that Mr. Rock N Roll was nowhere to be found to pay the child support her owed.

She scraped and saved on her already stretched thin monies and promptly got a divorce, full custody of her child and an order for monthly child support. She never collected penny one on the child support and sometimes went years when Mr. Rock N Roll didn't bother to make any attempts to visit the fruit of his loins.

Lean times. She cursed the day she ever met him and fell for his line of bullshit.

Recently she was very angry at him because it finally dawned on her in her fifties that a certain gynecological problem she had in the first six months of their marriage had actually been an STD. She remembers how oddly the doctor acted about the problem, how that puzzled her, she couldn't figure out what the big deal was, but she did receive treatment and never had that problem again. Perhaps it was her mind trying to keep from her thinking too deeply about the thing she had was likely something he'd contracted because he'd been cheating on her almost from the first day of the marriage.

Fast forward more than thirty years after the divorce and a huge mountain of problems this ex has created through the years for her, even after she remarried, picking a decent, kind, gentle guy that would never cheat on her this time when she was older.

That stupid girl was me and today I got a call from the title search company about the land deal I have going on right now. They wanted all my ex husband's information and would not explain the why. I'm hoping this is just a formality, not an indication that Mr. Rock N Roll is planning some sort of stunt claiming her land is his land too. Feeling rather nervous. Just fired off an email to my real estate agent wanting to know why they need all this information to do a title search. None of this has been necessary in other real estate sales and transactions I've done in the past.

Hoping he doesn't find out about the sale, or is not already stirring the pot.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Four and Twenty Virgins Baked in an Apple Pie

The last three or four days have been rather bizarre, starting with Jim and I going out for an early Valentine's Day dinner on Saturday night through today.

Jim surprised me with roses on Saturday afternoon before we went out for that early dinner. We'd originally planned to spend Valentine's Day visiting our son and daughter so did our dinner the day before. It didn't work out because both Andy and Laura had colds, we stayed away to keep from catching their illnesses. Because of the immunio-supressants I take for my asthma I catch everything coming down the pike. Sort of like that Simpsons episode where Homer went back in time, sneezed on a dinosaur and they all dropped dead. Trying to prevent that from happening, hee.

Saturday night as I sat in our local Mexican restaurant practicing my pigeon bastard Spanish like a true gringo and drooling in anticipate of their Chile Relenos block of fried cheese (take that arteries!) I noticed I had a pile of messages from Vyckie Garrison and Cindy Kunsman, pointing me towards the Apple meme as illustrated by Jeff Woodward, Vaughn Ohlman's pal.

And the rest of the night was gone for me, filled with truly tacky apple puns. See, Cindy made me this delightful apple pie filled with daughters graphic.-

I love it! Thanks Cindy! Reminds me of Mitt Romney's 'Binders full of women' apple pie style.

And the days since have been filled with thinking about the patriarchy and how wrong they are on so many levels. How so few of them have much of a working functional idea of what women are. Women must be so scary to guys in the Christian patriarchy, they aren't men and they have an inny instead of an outie between their legs. A foreign species altogether.

While I've been laughing over the rotten awful apple puns and using the last of my apple pie apples to make pies I've also been sort of sad, starting with that day supposedly in honor of romantic love, St. Valentine's Day.

I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day for the same reason I gag on some theology. It's a fake version of something real. It's like comparing one of those nasty old Tab drinks to a full sugar Mexican-made Coca Cola in a six ounce glass bottle, chilled with beads of sweat running down the glass on a hot day. One day of the year for show is nothing, show me how you feel by your actions the other days.

The patriarchs, the self-proclaimed Good Christian patriarchs are making me feel so grieved by how they limit not just themselves, but everyone around them. 

These guys, they're missing out. Their own limited theology, world views and mind sets are robbing them blind. Robbing them of a happiness that could just be theirs if they only knew. Even by their 'Biblical' standards they are missing out.

Why? How? By thinking that women are somehow lesser beings they have to protect and control, instead of a true partner, someone they can be honest and real with, receive love and support in a safe natural way. A real partner, not lesser or subservient, but standing by your side, loving you warts and all without having to pretend that you're so perfect. There is great comfort in having a partner, not an underling or a boss, next to you.

Look at how Christ treated women in the Bible, as equals, something unheard of in a time when you didn't dare speak to women you weren't related to by blood or marriage. I think of His example a lot, and wonder how some of the disciples deviated so far from that example, setting up millions of folks to be profoundly unhappy without any idea why. It's a bondage that hurts everyone under the guise of 'righteousness'

Don't let it rob you of joy and intimacy in your marriage.

Since leaving my old church that is one thing that has improved immensely, my marriage. I no longer tiptoe around trying not to upset my husband, to be better, to always be happy, to take every responsibility for his emotional state. Gaining the ability to be real with him without worrying about if I'm submissive enough or good enough or Godly has been healing. We talk things over, decide and yes, occasionally disagree. It's much more satisfying than the roles we were trying fruitlessly to fill. It was freeing.

I hope you find that freedom.

Now, my last apple pun... One Bad Apple .. a song I tormented my parents with during my years as an Osmond fan..



Monday, February 15, 2016

Quoted by 'The Young Turks'

Vyckie Garrison's piece on Let Them Marry's Girls Are Like Apple's meme has been traveling far and wide today. Personally I'm glad because the average American thinks that Fundamentalist Christianity and Quiverfull are old fashioned quaint harmless fun - like the Duggars present themselves. This shows the ugly truth underneath all the side hugs and Tater Tot Casserole.

At the same time I kind of hate that this is involved with Von Ohlman, because I may not agree with him on much of anything theology-wise but he's one of the few I've run across in the world that you can discuss issues and theology with where he's not going to go into crazy personal insult territory. There aren't very many fundamentalist Christians open to any sort of discussion in a rational non-personal insulting way.

I feel a strangely chagrined liking for the man sometimes even.

But at the same time Vyckie's 'Apples and Girls' piece has been shared and quoted all over the place. Tonight it was mentioned on one of my favorite shows 'The Young Turks' and I was quoted directly by Cenk Uygur and he actually did the impossible, he managed to pronounce both my unusual first and last name correctly. A miracle!

He did get a number of things wrong. Von is not the head of any official Quiverfull religion, Quiverfull crosses many and none official denominations in Christianity. Von's just another flavor of it.

Vyckie Garrison, not I, is the one that started No Longer Quivering.  I took over the day to day running of the site something like three or four years ago.

Quiverfull does not mean keeping kids from having sex yet marrying them off as soon as their sexual organs function as adults. 

But I can live with Uygur's mistakes because in his mistakes he made the entire Quiverfull genre seem much worse and vile that it usually does in the media. It's all good.



Saturday, February 13, 2016

Women Are NOT Like Apples!

ETA: Correction: Meme created and some of the writing at LetThemMarry.com by one Jeff Woodward. No clue who he is other than Vaughn's partner at the site. He explains his 'Apple Girl Theory' in detail at the site.

~~~~~~~~~

I've been sort of down in the dumps the last few days. It's not from anything negative going on in my life, things are going well In fact, I finally got a buyer for my father's large farm in Louisiana. They have ready cash and want to go to settlement in three weeks. So I think it's hormonal, or maybe I'm fighting off an infection. It's something physical, not emotionally. Maybe it's the stress of the house remodel? Who knows? Phases of the moon? Reaction to the meds I'm going to be on for a long time because of the MRSA? Itchiness of my wool sweater combined with the extreme cold?

But that ended this evening when someone sent me a link to a site titled 'Let Them Marry'. It's a site by Von Ohlman, the guy NLQ quotes sometimes that has a rather unusual view of a father's role in his grown adult children's lives. He even believes in the no courtship model where the fathers pick out the spouses, not the actual people getting married.

Today this really outdid any other ridiculous so not based in fact thing he's said before. Jesus could do some awesome parables. Vaughn Ohlman, hmmm, not so much..


I am laughing here and I was laughing the first time I read through this. It's pretty obvious that Von doesn't know thing one about growing apples. Or women.

I'm not an apple farmer, but I happen to have a mini apple orchard in my backyard. I grow them. I pick them. I make jelly and cider. I understand the basics. I also happen to live in one of the parts of the country where apple production is a huge industry, in the Piedmont area of Virginia, not too far from the apple product maker White House Apples. White House of Winchester has employed singer Patsy Cline and her various relatives through the years - a little crazy trivia.

Apples are big big business in this part of the world. Serious business. I've known a number of apple farmers in this area, guys that make their living doing what Vaughn is suggesting, just with real apples, not daughters as an apple substitute in his poor illustration of the duties of a father.

Let's look at his claims of what the farmer does to 'protect' those precious apples to get them to market unblemished.

Apple growing is a dirty business on so many levels. In the spring when the tree is blooming you have to spray it with noxious chemicals, or risk worms and fungus. The most careful farmer in the world cannot stop determined birds and squirrels, who are always going to taste more than a few apples. When you pick there are always those apples with bird pecks and squirrel teeth marks on them. That is normal!

The thing that is the absolutely funniest bit that Von is so wrong about involves who touches those 'apples', keeping them pure for the farmer to pick. I don't know a soul in this area that picks their own apples, except for the folks with one or two apple trees in the back yard. In the reality of the farmer a crew of itinerant migrant farm workers arrive, most Mexican or Haitian, and they strip that orchard's trees of apples by hand. Feeling all those apples for ripeness with their dirty dirty not-the-farmer hands.

When I had my country store in the shadow of the Shenandoah National Park we'd get the apple pickers coming in to buy international money orders to sent home, or to pick up a few supplies. Most of them seemed like decent hard working guys that were just unfortunate and uneducated. This is what they knew how to do. But I know that in the world of fundamentalist Christianity these guys would be considered 'unsuitable' to have any interactions with those precious daughter-apples up in the tree.

But those aren't even the only men that the Von's of this world wouldn't let near their daughters that handle those apples from the tree. There are men that go through the bushels from the pickers, sorting and grading, separating out those that go for the cider press or vinegar making, from those that would end up at the local market sold fresh.  Even in produce there is judging and categorizing, class ism even.

Another step the apples all go through is a good washing. You would be surprised by the dirt that comes off the apples, all the bird shit, pollution, good old fashioned dirt, soot from nearby wood burning stoves.  After that the best ones are waxed and polished, subjected to even more chemicals before being packed.

Then the apples get packed, some going to be processed, some being wrapped in paper to be packed in a box for market while others get packed away into cold storage. That's a lot of different strange men touching all those innocent apples. Sort of a apple hand gang bang by the standards of Von. The farmer doesn't touch them, much less pick them. All those people that Evangelicals frown upon from other countries do.

Apples are a delicate thing too. You have to hand pick them to keep them from bruising. Not everyone can do it well. My poor husband found that out the hard way this summer while helping me pick our mini orchard so I could make jelly, pie filling, applesauce and a plethora of other preserved apple goodies. You just cannot have any fumbling idiot grasping and groping them.

Jim also learned that not every apple is as good as it looks, that sometimes an apple can be gorgeous rosy red and you can slice into only to find a rotten core. Reminds me of a lot of public loudly-braying Evangelical Christians I know, all shiny on the outside but nasty inside.

Von also seems to think that if you are vigilant enough not only can you avoid pests, molesters, birds, bird crap and apple thieves and all his steps will ensure a bumper crop of perfect apples. Oh no, sometimes apples are at the mercy of the weather. An 'act of God' per se. Let it snow or freeze during the blooming and you will lose most if not all of your future apple crop. It's a critical time. Also some of the intense storms that came crop up over the Blue Ridge and be down in your orchard with hurricane force winds in late summer just before the apples are ripe can rip through an orchard, scattering the ground beneath the trees with almost ripe apples, useless for market. It's not the apples fault and there's not a damn thing the farmer could have done to prevent the apple slaughter.

Mostly I know that his illustration of girl-apples would judge those that naturally fall from ripeness before and during the picking as worthless. Which they are not. The fallen apples make the best apple cider and apple juice if you're careful not to use the ones starting to rot.

But here's the thing, the main point of all this apple discussion. People aren't apples. They are not consumable objects, or a 'crop'. By reducing unmarried girls to apples Von is doing the same thing that the guys that produce and use pornography do, dehumanizing the women to use them.

Again, women are not apples! Not even close.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The HOA That Ate My Brain Finis

Last night we had another HOA meeting, those awful nerve-jangling happenings that I cringe to attend. So much nasty history wrapped around our likely-scamming treasurer who refuses to cooperate with the rest of us. She name-calls and threatens.

About three or four months ago acting on my suggestion the mostly-spineless president turned over the running and management of our HOA to a professional company that only does HOA management. It was a good move placing the monies and being the evil rule enforcers with people who aren't living in the neighborhood at all. At times the contentiousness has gotten so awful that I've had homeowners pounding on my door all day demanding I talk to neighbor so-n-so about their children tearing up their trees, or asking why board member so-n-so hasn't responded to their email trying to reserve the club house party room. None of which is any responsibility of mine.

The meeting last night was to elect a new board of directors. It was almost anti-climactic. None of the board members who are trouble makers or threaten to kick someone elses asses were there at all. None of the more nasty fighting residents attended the meeting. None of the current board members, including me, put forth their names to run for office.

Once it became obvious that they were not going to reach enough nominations to fill the board I sighed and said I'd run for one of the two vacant slots no one seemed interested in filling. Immediately after I said that I'd consider continuing on in my current role, even if I really didn't want to do it this toothless redneck type I've never ever seen before at the meetings nominated himself and so did a couple of others.

Long story short. When the voting shook out I lost, along with the other board members that wanted to stay on the board. Every board member gone. Clean sweep. Jim was voted in and will be taking my slot as secretary. That's fine because I'm pretty burned out anyway. But I have to admit, it stung just a little to be rejected like that. It stung even worse to lose to a newbie who cannot even string together a full sentence. Good luck to the new board. They are going to need it because trying to straighten out any little issue is like pulling teeth in the dark with your hands tied tightly behind your back.

But I was super relieved to be off the board once the short HOA meeting ended and all the new board members had to stay for a board meeting. The HOA meeting was only a mere thirty minutes. The board meeting was two and half hours. Same horrid off-key tune, different set of players. The board meetings were always the worst thing about sitting on the board. I was challenged not to roll my eyes and snore every time.

Once I was tasked with creating a newsletter for the community and three lengthy board meetings later combined with endless revisions that flip flopped back and forth I estimated I'd spent something like two hours creating the newsletter but over 25 hours of meetings and consultations before the board approved the original first version and sent it out.

On a happy note it looks like I finally have the right buyer at a price I wanted for my Louisiana farmland. Changed real estate agencies and it happened quickly. Negotiating now. Just in the nick of time since I'm starting to plan a trip to South Florida and to Panama and a late spring week in Los Angeles visiting old friends.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Open Letter to Ted Cruz

So I've been hard at work answering a fundraising letter from the Ted Cruz campaign. It is my goal to have myself permanently removed from all the Republican mailing lists that my former boss Bitchy Galore signed me up for without my permission.

Most of the Republican mailers stopped after I started using a Sharpie to write out in all capitals my thoughts on their questions, policies and general assclownery. Enough wasting their dimes and they stopped mailing me their bullshit. I hope this letter gets me removed from Ted Cruz's mailing lists..of all the Republican candidates he's the one that really makes my blood boil. Here it is. I'm mean and petty in this so be forewarned.

Dear Ted Cruz, Republican party operatives and unpaid flunky interns running the campaign,

First, please remove my name, forget my address and pretend I do not exist immediately. Don't contact me again begging for money. Cease and desist right now!

Why? Because many years ago, in this galaxy, in the bosom of a small rural town filled with redneck recondites there was a drunken blonde insurance agent that employed me for a few years. When I wasn't attempting to reason with her over the inappropriateness of her plan to pose nude for a Republican-themed golf calender to sell at her country club, or trying to desperately pry the liquor bottle out of her hands, or trying not to listen to her fighting with her fifth or six husbands I was trying to avoid the constant stream of Republican ridiculous spewing from her lipsticked mouth. Her daddy, was head of the local Republican party, and she became extra-determined that this life-long uber-liberal would be Republican as well. I resisted, and the drunken biddy signed myself and my address up to receive Republican literature and pleas for money for all eternity.

After a few years of Sharpie-ing my objections to the dangerous, immoral and disgusting policies of the Republican party on all surveys from the GOP asking for moolah, some genius realized I wasn't not only not a Republican but I stand in diametric opposition to most all things Republican. The surveys and pleadings for funding stopped finally after a sea of ink and forest of trees were slaughtered for the paper used in those surveys.

Clearly you have harvested off my information from an ancient Republican mailing list that my former boss, Bitchy Galore that fine representative of Republican values of booze-divorce-and screwing over the poor, signed my name up for. Take it off, take it off immediately.

Ted Cruz is a new low for the Republican party, he makes Bitchy and pals seem quite reasonable and liberal with his unBiblical Christian Patriarch movement ideas that harken back to the Dark Ages when women were thought to be soulless beings who were not human. His casual joking about beating his wife, his complete one hundred and eighty degree disregard of the words of Jesus while trumpeting out that he is a Christians are bad enough, but when he attended November's conference hosted by Kevin Swanson he cross over from evil and bumbling to Satan's personal cabana boy. Kevin Swanson of Colorado Springs, Colorado who espouses killing gay people, is obsessed with bestiality and has likely ties to the shooter at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting. Not someone I want the future president of the United States to be all buddy-pals with at all. Unless Ted is actually into gay killing and bestiality like Swanson is, of course, which would disqualify him from office along with his birth in Canada.

Give Cruz money? I wouldn't give him a squirt of piss on his face if it was on fire. Even if he does look like the love child of an affair between Satan and Grampa Munster.

I hope he's feeling the Bern right now because he's going to lose and lose big when November comes. Crawl back to Texas, Ted, crawl back.

In summation: Please remove my information from your mailing list and promptly have sex with yourselves. Just don't contact me ever again!

Peace, love and Satan!

Of Paramount Unimportance - Or Be Very Careful Who You Deal With

Today was rush, rush, rush. I'm trying still to assemble things to go to the charity resale shop, about two boxes a week. Plus I'm working through many years of crafting supplies, bringing a couple of boxes of that a week to the children's residential psych treatment center I used to work at. The budget is so tight there that I know that the art therapist is always scrounging for supplies.

I've even taken the step of putting many of the quilting shop sample quilts I've made and not been madly in love with up on Ebay. Yes, yes, I'm trying to pare down our belongings for a possible move overseas in 2017.

Mix in tax season, which means I've already spent too many hours in front of this computer screen and am now waiting for a 1099 for Jim from those idiots at the local newspaper owned by Berkshire-Hathaway plus I'm waiting for a statement from the broker. Everything else is done.

Between the phone calls between myself and my Realtor in Louisiana, who has someone that finally might want to buy the large farm I inherited when my father passed and the things listed above I've been busy today. Busy enough that I didn't get around to the main thing on my list of 'to-dos' until late afternoon. Ironing and rehanging all the curtains upstairs. I washed, ironed and rehung the curtains downstairs last week but the upstairs bedrooms and my office curtains were still sitting in the laundry basket until 3 pm when I started.

But once I started to rehang I found one curtain rod was bent, I had another with a cracked piece of hardware and yet another so old it was starting to have peeling paint. Made a decision that set the uncomfortable tone of the evening, I ran out to the local hardware store to get a few replacements on the rods. Bad decision because after a sunny but chilly day temps had dropped suddenly and the sky had that fuzzy cotton wool look it gets before we get snow.

I ran my errand quickly, got my items and managed to score a throw rug on sale for Jim's office and a beautiful white linen roman shade for the window in his office area too! We're also in the middle of a slight remodel, some painting, replacing wallpapering downstairs with bead board, rearranging, redoing, renewing. But most definitely decluttering and organizing every room in the house.

When I got home I was surprised to see a nice young man in a uniform in our house talking to Jim, trying to get him to set an appointment for an estimate on new windows and a new roof. I had to tell the guy that windows we do not need. When we had the house built 25 years ago we had top of the line double paned windows put in the house. It wouldn't be worth updating them because they still sealed beautifully. We'd investigated the savings last year and decided against it.

But the roof is starting to come to the end of it's life span. No leaks yet, but we're missing more shingles with each big storm. It has to happen in the next year, but it's not an emergency. We've started talking about it to each other. I would love to have one of those beautiful new crimped metal roofs or perhaps a green living roof, but Jim wants the same traditional shingles but in a darker color this time.

This guy was with a company by the name of Paramount Builders and he kept pushing for us to get an estimate. I've already had a few estimates and knew the ballpark that this was going to run. Plus I will not buy a damn thing from anyone going door to door. I've just had too many bad experiences. A child with Girl Scout cookies or a school fundraiser? Sure. Some dude with a freezer filled with cheap steaks? Nope. Some church going door to door for Jesus? Hell no! Contractor trying to sell me a roof? Double hell no!

This roof is something I would only deal with a local guy on. Just like when we replaced the garage door, local guy. Jim gets annoyed with me because I will only use certain contractors and I don't always use the cheapest ones. But I have discovered in the twenty five years of living here and getting things fixed or remodeled that if you pay for a cheap fix or a contractor that cuts corners you get what you pay for. Our plumber is super expensive, but I have never had a problem with anything he fixes, unlike the other plumbers around here I've tried. I want it right the first time.

But Jim, Jim has no inner alarm sense over folks that will likely rip you off, or over charge you. His saving grace is that he is super-tight with a buck so does not get sucked in by encyclopedia salesmen or time shares. The irritating thing is that he will sit and listen to any sales spiel by anyone for absolutely anything! This drives me completely nuts because I lose all patience with long sales presentations and I suspicious of anyone that openly lies to me to make a sale or is high pressure. There's always a catch.

Jim allowed this nice man to book an appointment with the appraiser in about 90 minutes hence, which really brought my scammer antennae up quickly. Are these folks like those gypsy driveway blacktoppers the local news warns about? So I do a little online sleuthing even before the appointment setter guy is out of our driveway and discover so many complaints about this place with a pile of concerns resolved at the Better Business Bureau. But it was the many, many complaints at consumer buying sites that scared the bejebus out of me. Complaints of repairs done wrong, having to have them come out multiple times to fix things, but worst of all were the quotes people were given for roofs, things like an 18K quote to replace a roof on a 1,200 square foot rambler home that should have run no more than 5K tops! Deceptive tactics, high prices and complaints about the work!

Showed Jim all the reports at the consumer sites at and the Ripoff Reports sites and we decided we didn't even want them to do an estimate or quote. But we had no way to contact anyone to cancel the appointment. So we sat and waited and waited and waited and waited.

Finally about an hour and a half after the original scheduled appointment time this older lady, looked to be on the very wrong side of 65 showed up on our doorstep in the pitch black freezing ass cold to do the quote. I was taken aback because I've been used to dealing with actual workers and construction people, not ladies (or men for that fact) trussed up in a fancy suit for an estimate. I told her we'd changed our minds about the estimate because we didn't know them at all, knew no one that had actually used their services and there were just too many complaints about the company online. Well, this saleslady did not take any of that very well, started telling me how dumb I was for not looking at BBB or Angie's List. I didn't bother to tell her that I had read the complaint numbers on the BBB and wasn't impressed.

I pointed out that trying to do a roof quote in the pitch black darkness struck me as the height of foolishness, not even replying to her nasty remark about my IQ. She snapped at me that there was this wonderful modern convenience called a 'flashlight' that would allow her to do the quote. I had to shake my head and chuckle at this. Flashlight or no, we live in a good sized Cape Cod cottage with many different levels of steep sloping roofs and dormers, there's no way she could have gotten a clear idea of what was needed in the dark.

Every time I stated we had changed our minds about the estimate with a logical reason she had a snappy and very insulting answer. Finally I had to tell her I wasn't discussing it with her any longer and to get off my property. I was calm about it, but I was just done with her bullshit. Who shows up 90 minutes late for an appointment in the first place? Followed by openly disparaging the customer's IQ, research skills and being nasty and sarcastic to overcome objections? Didn't give me a feeling of confidence that the company is professional if I had to base it all on this woman's behavior.

One of the things that this company needs to know is that salesmen need to at least treat the homeowner with basic respect if they say no. That no might just be a 'no, not right now' or a 'no, this isn't a good time' or a 'no, I would need to check your company out thoroughly first before I even consider signing a contract with you.' With her behavior she closed the door on me ever doing business with Paramount Builders.

The only thing the appointment setter did wrong was something I picked up quickly when I sold cars and other high end items. The wife is the one you need to appeal to. If the wife isn't included on the decision and you make your pitch solely to the husband your odds of landing the sale go way way down. Jim called me 'The Boss' when it comes to repairs, remodels or buying high ticket items, even when I've told him I am indifferent about something and he should pick what he thinks is the best deal, like when he bought a very fancy and expensive lawn mower at at going out of business sale at a gardening shop in early January. I told him to suit himself, but he insisted I come see the mower and give him my approval first.

Is the company good or bad? I just don't know, but I do know I would never buy something that costly, that important and such an investment that quickly from someone I don't know that is insisting on personally insulting me again and again. Bad business practices.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Mardi Gras Whine, Oops, Wine

Today was interesting and disgusting at the same time. After returning from Spanish class at the local college I went with Jim to a meeting with another member of the church collection counting team. We met at one of the local Italian places. I ordered wine because I knew there was some possibility of whining and a lot of cluster-you-know-what about to be discussed.

Back when Jim retired from his government job the church business manager asked him to help out with the counting team, to observe, oversee and see about stream lining the process. He didn't realize at the time that she'd told everyone else, including the pastor, that he was now officially 'in charge' of that.

Turns out it was something of a dump job. She was struggling to keep up with the mountain of crappy duties that kept being added to her position and had decided to get volunteers to help out. Unfortunately she never communicated that fact to Jim. He thought he was merely a backup.

But in the months since July he's really had a time with the others on the team. This one bitches about that one. No one will follow the officially written up procedures. Some put the funds in the safe, some just shove them into whatever drawer they deem appropriate in the offices. One lady that has been counting the money for many years and struggling to do it in a timely fashion thinks that it should only be done her way. She hates a couple of the others that count on different Sundays. Quite without warning, or being asked, or mentioning it to anyone else she decided she would buy a new safe just for the offering. There is already a perfectly fine almost brand new offering safe in the office that she ignores because she thinks the slot is 'too tiny'. Now she's expecting to be reimbursed the three or four hundred bucks she spent on this unneeded new safe.

So since this is Mardi Gras day and I knew I was about to have to sit through an insufferable meeting over ridiculous peoples actions in church I had a few glasses of wine. Really, if I was home in New Orleans I would have had wine, likely a lot of wine while stumbling around the parade routes.

This whole episode with the childish feuds and behavior by church members just makes me more determined to not participate in 'helping' out or taking much part in the ministries. Back at our old church I did all that, was one of the 5% running the church while running myself ragged. I have endured all the meetings, gossip, stupid back biting, petty power struggles and self righteousness that I can handle in a lifetime. I'm done.

This is Jim's mess to deal with. I told him ages ago he needs to decide upon the rules, announce the rules and then enforce them. Which is what this church board member said to him today at lunch. The lady that bought the safe has to be told that the safe has to go back to the store because it was never approved by anyone on the finance team.

Besides, I have my own mess to deal with on Thursday night. I have a board meeting of the HOA that ate my brain. All seats are up for a vote, and I'm planning on giving up mine. Too much drama of other childish people with nothing accomplished. Now that the HOA is in the hands of a management company I feel pretty confident that things will be done correctly, according to state law and no one will be siphoning off HOA dues money like has happened with a couple of past treasurers.

Happy Mardi Gras!

I'd originally intended to write about a lengthy and strange paranormal encounter that culminated yesterday morn, but I can't. It's Mardi Gras!

Not that we're going to do much here to celebrate. I have a King Cake (just in time to blow my now normal blood sugar levels hee!) and I'm making gumbo for dinner. We've also been watching the parades and crowds just a smidgen at NOLA.com

Makes me miss home. Yeah, I miss South Louisiana. I don't miss the heat, the mosquitoes or some of the dumber attitudes of the locals, but I miss so many other things. Mostly I miss my father, a guy who's very favorite holiday was Mardi Gras. He always had a hotel suite right on the parade route for many years. He lived for this day!

This year because of some of the modesty debate and discussion of sheltering children going on at No Longer Quivering I've remembered some Mardi Gras with my father and other family members when I was in my teens. I would have been damned to hell by the purity crowd for my actions at 14 and 15 years old. One of the things back in those days when I was thin, pretty and young was that guys would ask you for a 'Mardi Gras kiss'. Let's just say I made out on the streets with a pile of super-hot guys.

So now you know what a Mardi Gras lip whore I was...

Hey, at least I never got arrested for public exposure like my step-brother Frank!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

No Pancakes For Me?!

One of the sad things that has happened over the last week or so involves my bouncing around blood sugar levels. Because of the highs I spiked after not reading yogurt levels and consuming three times the recommended amount in one day for weeks on end I've been recommitting myself to controlling my blood sugar. Not as easy a task as this December when I felt like crap and had zero appetite, sad to say.

A few days ago I downloaded an app on my phone to help out. I track everything I eat and the nutrition track does all the figuring for me. It has hundreds of thousands of values preloaded into the app so you can see at any one time how much you're consuming. It's pretty ingenious and much better than my old method writing down everything and looking up the levels.

That's good and that's very bad at the same time. Yesterday evening I started getting the dry eyes and itching finger tips I get whenever the blood sugar levels are high, so I pulled out my cell phone and app to take a look since I'd been tracking every bite and thought I was being very virtuous. Not quite. My diet apparently has great deal more hidden sugars and carbs than I thought.

Today I've been good on the carbs and sugars, but not so good on salt and cholesterol. So when Jim turned to me this evening and started insisting I go with him to a nearby sausage and pancake dinner for charity I had to demur. He just was not hearing it, insisting I go until I had to quite angrily state I was going nowhere that was filled with foods I could not eat. It would be too torture-some to sit there while he ate several plates of pancakes, fried apples and sausage patties. 

No thanks! I'll stay home with my cauliflower, cabbage and lean roast beef for dinner. I would still rather have pancakes however. But I don't relish the idea of having to constantly poke myself with an insulin needle either.


Thursday, February 04, 2016

Hodor!

Been a crazy couple of days. My creative mind is going into some weird spaces as a result.

1 - I made the discovery a few days ago that the reason I was feeling crappy and my blood sugar levels jumped from normal to insane was that I was eating yogurt three times a day. A few weeks ago my new doctor said that while I'm on antibiotics for some months now I should be eating yogurt two or three times a day. I have been, but I slipped and bought Chobani yogurt without reading the labels. Holy cow! In the type I got it has a full days allowance of recommended sugar in one damn serving. I was eating it three times a day for a couple of weeks. Sending my blood sugar into insane diabetic range again. Three times the sugar you're supposed to have in one day!?!?!?... knew I'd hit on the right thing when my blood sugar tumbled 80 points in four hours after stopping that yogurt. Going back to my own homemade yogurt with only a bit of mashed fruit and stevia. Shit you feel weird as hell when the blood sugar levels are zooming around!

2 - Andy had a car wreck. He was unhurt but it was the craziest damn thing. He was driving down the road with three friends to pick up lunch when a woman backed out of the auto body shop and hit him hard. She'd just gotten her car back from her last wreck! He's riding in a rental car and making arrangements to get his car fixed on her dime.

3 - Worrying about Laura because she had to buy four new tires for her car and she's stressing out over working full time and working on her Masters. It's a time and money crunch for her. I don't get to see her as often as I would like. I miss her.

Today we ran around to Costco after walking around the mall and taking phone calls from both Andy and Laura. The good of today is we were both feeling so tight and stressed out that we plumped out the dough to sit in one of those massage chairs in the mall for ten minutes. I need an official medical massage so badly right now for my back. It might have been the mall (which I'm not crazy about in the first place), it might have been the really crappy mall in Fredericksburg, but I was melting all over the chair. I need one of those massage chairs at the house. Tried to get Jim to go with me to get a pedicure so we could sit in their massage chairs for free, but he's not quite brave enough to go for a pedicure yet.

Once we got home tonight and I started the thankless task of hauling, sorting and packing our Costco haul into the shelves in our laundry room I started thinking about this political race. It's sort of like "Game of Thrones", with the exception of no one is literally cutting anyone elses head off with a sword, just figuratively with their tongues. It's so obvious by the media coverage that certain candidates on each side are the frozen chosen of the Koch brothers and the 1% no matter what we peons think. I've never seen it quite so awful and manipulated in my lifetime.

Which led me down the odd path of thinking which candidate is who on "Game of Thrones" and why they are... Here's my first pairing. Look at the facial expressions and tell me it's not similar...

Jeb Bush

and his GoT counterpart     

Hodor



Wednesday, February 03, 2016

A Shameful Joy at Lacking the Housekeeping Gene

Lately I've been faa-faaing around doing very little. The hand/thumb is better but I still cannot write more than two words with a pencil, I cannot use scissors and typing, using a spoon in a pot, a potato peeler, etc is still a challenge.

I finally got around to vacuuming the entire house for the first time since this latest health thing started happening on November 27th last year. Plus I'm spending a load of time mopping. I have been mopping all along (or nagging Jim into it) since getting sick but for some reason when we get big snows like Winter Storm Jonah every kind of road grit, sand, salt and mud ends up being tracked all over the wood floors. No matter how many times you steam them or run the swiffer it's all a smeary mess.

It's not like I love housework at all. I actually hate it, distracting me from important things like quilting or painting. But it is a necessary evil.

During my Fundigelical years I tried to make myself like it, tried to tell myself to be thankful because I have my own home and family. But it never worked. I was never joyfully happy and smiling to be mopping those floors or baking a pile of bread. It's always felt like uncreative drudgery to me. Something to rush through so I could read a book.

You know what, I'm okay with not 'loving' housework, unlike what Nancy Campbell and Debi Pearl insist. Not everyone is cut out for the same things. Ask me to weed the garden or wash the car and I'm there. Ask me to iron your shirt. Hmm, not so much. That's what the dry cleaners is for.

I'm in the middle of a house reorganization, hauling several boxes to the community second hand store daily, no matter if it's something valuable. I'm in merciless mode. So far I've halfed all my kitchen things and am moving on into the bedrooms next. I'm going to half the bedding and in six months do it again. Just do not let my maw in law know that her fancy china is going to the thrift store. I have no use for it.

In many ways it feels like I'm shedding some of the heavy baggage of my days at the old fundigelical church. Especially the day I took the punch bowl, 35 punch cups and 35 fancy dessert plates to the thrift shop. Once upon a time I hosted the church baptism every single year at our pool. It was always a drag and days of baking and making on top of cleaning and making sure I had a huge pile of waiting towels. No one would help and it was always assumed that I would gladly do the heavy lifting so a few kids could be baptized and their families have cake and punch.

I like this, I like living without a punch bowl, too many cups and the expectations of the 'must dos' Since leaving I've learned I can say 'no' when asked to do things for the church. I've learned it doesn't matter if I take time for me to heal and do not dust for a couple of weeks. That the dust bunnies will still be there waiting for me when I get out of the bed.

All those leftover towels are about to be shredded for a rag rug.

The other recent change is in how I handle the ruder members of my former church when I run into them in this small town. When I first started being approached and told I was going to hell for leaving the old church I'd crumble, be devestated by the verbal attacks by them. It hurt badly, death by a thousand tongue lashings.

Then I moved into a phase where I'd reflect a question back to every rude hostile remark. This was particularly effect in shutting up some rude gossiper.

But now I'm finding it merely annoying, not hurtful when I'm approached and receive a hateful screed about hell mixed with a 'come to Jesus at our old church' Now I will usually say some version of 'I don't know what the f*** you're talking about and I don't f***king care' and I walk away while they are still in shocked jaw dropped mode.

My friend Joanie is sweet to them. I've seen her in her Lady Bountiful 'Bless Your Heart' mode. She has that ability. Not me, I just want them to shut up and leave me the heck alone.

This week I was treated to encounters with two former members where I busted out my 'zero fucks' reply. One lady was angrily ranting because I'd spoken to her husband in the grocery store a couple of months ago. I'd been nice to him because I've never received anything but normal treatment from him since leaving the old church. So now his wife is upset that a heathen like me dared have a conversation with him.

The second encounter happened this morning. I ran into Mr. Scammer and he immediately started babbling about how he's been made a church elder at his new Church of the Holy Basement (home church with just a few members) before issuing a 'Come to Jesus at the Church of the Holy Basement. Again, I gave my 'zero fucks' speech. He wasn't rude, he was just humble bragging, not realizing I know about his family trying to scam the company he did work for on a phony workers comp situation, I know about his wife embezzling at two different places she worked and I know all about their borrowing money and other things from various church members and paying zero of it back. I didn't want to pause long enough to listen to him lest he lift my wallet off me.

With the insistence that I 'go back to church' I get, totally ignoring the fact that I do go to church, just another church, and I'm only nominally believing much of anything I'm tempted to make the Evil Eye hand gestures and shout 'Hail Satan' and end by singing Book of Mormon's 'Hasa Dega Eebowai' the next time. But that would just reinforce their views that I'm on a  slip n slide leading right to Hades.

But it might be fun to watch their heads explode.

I'm done taking any guff from them.





Monday, February 01, 2016

When Dangerous Fundamentalist Ideas Creep Into Mainstream Society - "War Room" Movie

Yesterday morning I had one of the most triggering moments post-fundamentalism I've had in a very long time. It took place at the large mainstream denomination church my husband and I now attend. It involved the movie 'War Room', a recent release from the same folks that did the films, 'Fireproof' and 'Courageous'

Back this last summer I had the opportunity to see 'War Room' in the early days of its theatrical run. I went with a few blogger pals who were writing reviews of the film. I'd planned on writing about my impressions of the film for NLQ, but with the long busy days of summer that didn't happen. I went into the viewing not expecting much because so many of these 'Christian'-type movies are sappy, preachy, heavy-handed with the message with very poor production values. It sometimes feels like watching the world's dumbest Lifetime Movie Network movie.  So my expectations were already in the realistic range for the movie before my popcorn had started to cool off.

But by the time the film was over one of the friends I went with turned to the rest of us and uttered quite plainly, 'What the fuck did I just watch?' That phrase pretty much succinctly summed up my feelings about 'War Room' The film was so awful on so many different levels, almost as awful as 'Showgirls' but without the fake breasts, nude female flesh, fancy manicures and potato-chip eating.
'War Room' has in common with 'Attack Killer Tomatoes' and 'Showgirls' one big thing. Every single artistic decision made was the  wrong one. The dialogue is hokey and belabored, one of the main characters is that Hollywood stock character/trope known as the "Magical Negro", the film is preachier than an IFB pastor on speed at a tent revival, filled with simplistic formulas that do not work, and comparing it to a Lifetime movie is an insult to Lifetime. It's much worse than its predecessors in the Christian film genre. Even worse that the cringe-inducing purity ball-esque father-daughter moment that was in 'Courageous'

What makes 'War Room' much more dangerous and awful of a film than 'Killer Tomatoes' is the main message of the film. Which is 'Shut up about your unhappiness in your marriage, about the emotional abuse, submit at a deeper level, start praying hard and your husband will love and esteem you, treating you like the queen of his life.'
 
That's some dangerous thinking that is rampant in Evangelical Christianity that has left a long trail of dead women and children, not to mention the thousands who've silently suffered more abuse under this dangerous idea. If someone is emotionally abusing you it's not that big of a hop, skip and jump to physical abuse, or financial abuse.

It's a very unhealthy idea that to end borderline emotional abuse is to be even more sacrificial. Giving the other person a license to ramp up their abuse of you. How many stories at No Longer Quivering have we had of mothers and wives trying desperately to turn the hearts of their husbands even more to them by being gentler, more kind, quieter, sweeter, by being more submissive only to be pushed to the breaking point by a man who has turned into a petty tyrant over the course of time? So how did that work out? It didn't!

Thinking you can change the behavior of an abuser simply by changing your reaction to them and treatment of them is a good way to end up beaten or dead. Pushing this as the 'Christian' way is simply disingenuously leading women deeper into abuse.

There are no simple formulas to make a marriage work, but some of the things shown going on in this family are red flags of abuse potential. Taking the advice of the elderly 'wise' woman in this film only creates an environment for abuse to flourish.

Back to yesterday. I'm sitting on the platform with worship team when the trailer for this film comes up on the video screens and I find out my very mainstream church is promoting a movie night with 'War Room' I just about fell out of the chair. Later, after the service, I approached on of the assistant pastors I have a friendly relationship with about my concerns that showing 'War Room' is tacitly approving of the lie that at a woman's behavior can change a man. Sadly she told me that the film was the best film she'd ever seen and we'd have to agree to disagree. I came away from our encounter in tears, tears because I know first hand how dangerous this type of theology is and that in mainstream Christianity there tends to be a tone-deafness to the abusive ideas pushed in much of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christianity.

The question that this brings to mind for me is how do we best combat the poisonous ideas of QF that end up being promoted, however innocently, in the mainstream parts of society?  These are ideas that must die if we're to move on to a safer, just and more sane society.