Monday, July 24, 2017

Stories like this one make me so glad I don't work...

I just read a completely ridiculous story about a woman whose co-worker reported her to human resources.  Her sin?  She was using a hot water bottle to ease menstrual cramps that weren't being helped by naproxen (personally, I use ibuprofen when I have cramps and it seems to work better than naproxen).

As the story goes, the woman had the hot water bottle against her abdomen when her "sort of" supervisor comes up and asks her if she's cold.  She says she's not; she's using the hot water bottle for pain relief.  The guy looks horrified, then walks away.  Next thing she knows, she's getting a message from human resources wanting to know if she's sick.

After explaining that she has menstrual cramps, the HR worker tells her she shouldn't disclose medical problems to her co-workers because it's "unprofessional".  Next she gets told that if she needs a hot water bottle for pain relief, she should go home.

I'm guessing by the language in this piece that this story is taking place in either England or Australia.  It's actually pretty shocking to me that in this day and age, some guy doesn't understand that healthy women of childbearing age have periods and sometimes they hurt.  Heat helps reduce cramping.  So does masturbation, although engaging in that on the job would be far less professional than simply using a hot water bottle.

What was even more shocking were the comments posted on George Takei's post about this...  All of these were made by men.

Pissing blood?  Uh... no.  And she didn't tell him about the period until he asked what was wrong.  God forbid we expect men to be grown up enough to handle the truth.

All she was doing was sitting at her desk, doing her work.  If the guy hadn't asked her about the water bottle, he would have been spared hearing about her *gasp* menstrual cramps!

No comment.

Manspreading?  Yeah, that's totally the same as a period.  Idiot.

Several other people claimed that menstrual cramps are a "myth".  I can assure any men reading this post that cramps are a thing and they do hurt.  They hurt some women worse than others.  I've been lucky in that mine are not usually too bad.  I am grateful for over the counter availability of ibuprofen, which knocks those prostaglandins on their asses.  Other women are not so lucky and they have pain that is actually crippling and makes them vomit.  I had one friend who ended up in bed every month due to severe cramps caused by endometriosis.  

Evidently, the woman's co-worker is himself a bit of a wuss when it comes to pain.  He's been known to lie on his back during meetings due to back pain.  And he's uncomfortable because his female co-worker uses a hot water bottle to ease her cramps?  I presume she was sitting at her desk and not making a spectacle out of herself.  Seems to me that the co-worker could have just minded his own damn business and none of this would have happened, including his "discomfort" at hearing about her period.  I tend to be against misandry, but I can totally see why women think men are stupid about this stuff. 

No wonder we have so many stupid euphemisms for periods.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Depression doesn't discriminate...

I have to write a quick vent right now, while this thought is in my head.  Depression doesn't discriminate.  Suicide may seem selfish, but so is expecting someone to suffer with the pain and stigma mental illness so you don't have to feel guilty.

This topic comes up in the wake of Linkin Park's lead singer Chester Bennington's suicide.  Someone I know thinks Bennington is "selfish" for killing himself.  Furthermore, he complains that people are so distraught over Bennington's suicide, yet they don't care about all of the veteran suicides.

First off, allow me to say this...  People who are depressed enough to kill themselves are generally clinically depressed.  Clinical depression is a legitimate illness, same as any other physical malady.  A person who commits suicide, by and large, isn't doing it be an asshole.  Suicide is often a desperate act of someone who hopes to escape tremendous pain.  It may seem suicide is "selfish", but the reality is, a person who commits suicide won't be around to see the aftereffect that action has on others.  They just want the pain to stop.  And those who say they are being selfish probably haven't done a damned thing to help them.

Secondly, anyone can get depressed.  Someone like Chester Bennington, who was a celebrity and presumably had a comfortable life, certainly can get depressed.  Imagine what it must be like to be a very talented musician who is fortunate enough to be able to make that talent pay enough to live on.  Now consider that musicians are artists.  Many artists are introverted.  Maybe it seems like it's cool to be famous, but consider that if you are a private person who is inwardly focused, it might actually be exhausting to be so well-known.  A famous person doesn't have the luxury of being able to go out and be a normal person without being recognized.  A famous person has to worry about security and privacy.  A person with a lot of money has to worry about being ripped off.  That person may need help and will likely have to hire someone... and that requires being able to trust them.  A famous person is vulnerable in ways that regular people are not.

Now... this isn't to take away from the serious problem regarding military personnel who kill themselves.  People should be concerned about veterans who come home mentally ill.  We should be doing more to help them.  I simply want to point out that depression doesn't discriminate.  Everyone has problems.  Diminishing someone's problems because they happen to be rich and/or famous is short-sighted.

Life is hard.  It's harder for some people than it is for others.  Still, it's hard to know what will drive someone to desperation.  Everyone has a threshold and everyone has limits.  

I don't know Chester Bennington that well, but I had been clinically depressed before and I had been suicidal.  Depression messes up your thinking and skews your perceptions.  It's mentally, emotionally, and physically painful and it gets precious little respect from the general public.  If you are tempted to say someone is "selfish"for killing themselves, particularly if it's not a friend or a family member, ask yourself if you did anything to help them.  My guess is that you haven't, and you have no right to judge.  

I look at suicide caused by depression as a negative end result of an illness.  It's not so different than someone dying of cancer.

You never know what will trigger people...

The other day, I was watching YouTube videos and I came across this one featuring a young Kristie Phillips doing a floor exercise routine.

This video is from 1986, when Kristie was about 14 and everyone thought she was the next Mary Lou Retton.

Kristie Phillips is my age.  I used to watch her do gymnastics on TV all the time, even though I can't so much as turn a cartwheel myself.  It's weird to see this video from '86 and notice how poor the quality of the picture is.  It doesn't seem like 1986 was that long ago.  Beware kids; time really flies.  I am, by the way, still a fan of Kristie's.  Check her out on YouTube.  She's still doing gymnastics.

Anyway, someone commented on YouTube that Kristie looked kind of naked in the video.  I hadn't noticed before I saw that comment, but sure enough, she kind of does look nude when the camera pans out and you see a shadow between her legs suggesting pubes.  The greyish-white leotard against her really pale skin, coupled with the fuzzy picture from the poor video, does kind of make her look like she's not wearing anything.

I shared the video and commented that Kristie looks a bit naked.  She probably didn't look naked when the video was clear, but a little snow on the screen can distort things.  Next thing I know, I've been unfriended by someone.  It was not someone I have a lot of dealings with; in fact, I just now figured out who did it.

A few years ago, I got added by a bunch of ex Mormons on Facebook.  Gradually, as the years have passed, some of these people have fallen off my friends list.  Usually, they ditch me, but sometimes I drop them.  It happens.  You realize you have nothing in common.  Or you just decide to downsize your list of friends for whatever reason.  Or someone says or does something offensive or is too religious or political and you just can't abide it anymore...

I remember the person who most recently unfriended me had mentioned that she had been abused as a child and is very sensitive to certain subject matter.  Indeed, she was once in my Random Bullshit group on Facebook and left abruptly when I posted this...

Kermit the Frog is in Lego jail...

Apparently, a picture of a Kermit the Frog stuffed toy held down by Legos was too triggering for her and she had to leave our group.  I hesitate to judge the lady for being disturbed by this, though.  I am, after all, disturbed by pictures of mushrooms.  Incidentally, some mushrooms also look kind of obscene.

See what I mean?

Well, after she left my group, we remained "friends" for a bit longer.  I'd say it's been at least a year or so.  And then with a random poor quality video of teenaged Kristie Phillips doing gymnastics in a pale leotard and my comment that Kristie looks naked, she'd finally had enough and vanished.  

I'm not really offended, actually, since it wasn't someone I knew personally.  I have no idea what was in her past that makes her feel so skeeved out over this stuff.  I'm sorry I inadvertently triggered her.  It certainly wasn't intentional.  On the other hand, you have to do what is best for yourself.  There's no doubt that I would have triggered her again at some point, so it's probably for the best that she removed herself from my list.  

Once again, I wish Facebook would let people hide their friend count from themselves.  I don't need to know exactly how many "friends" are on my list or when they've finally had enough of me.  

I noticed yesterday, after I posted my TMI story about Bill's and my "failure to connect", someone unliked my Facebook page for this blog.  It kind of made me feel bad, even though I understand it's not really personal.  Once again, I recognize that my humor isn't for everyone and plenty of people don't like me.  On the other hand, once again, I'm reminded that real friends... the kind who actually know you and your history... are hard to come by these days.  I think social media has made them even harder to find.

At one time, when you made a friend, you usually made them the old fashioned way.  You'd often have to meet them face to face.  Sure, people had pen pals back in the day and some people kept in touch with phone calls and letters after a long distance move.  But, for the most part, having friends meant staying geographically nearby and seeing them face to face on a regular basis.  

Now that we have Facebook, we can be "friends" with people we've never actually met and don't really know.  I do have a few people on my list that I haven't met but still feel like a real friendship has developed.  I have a few friends I knew at an earlier time but feel like I don't know anymore.  And I also have some friends I knew casually twenty years ago, but feel more connected to now.  As always, there are also some people on my Facebook friends list who are now and will probably always be strangers to me.

I don't know what happened to this woman in her past that makes pictures of Kermit the Frog in bondage so upsetting.  There's no way I could know because we didn't actually have a friendship.  On the other hand, I have another friend that I got to know well when we were Peace Corps Volunteers.  We're still friends today.  Once, I upset her by playing George Carlin's routine about rape and his idea that a person can joke about anything.  At the time, I agreed with George.  As I've gotten older, a few topics have come up that are not funny to me, but are to other people.  I suppose I can't expect other people to know what will be upsetting to me, just as I can't know what triggers any one person.

In any case, for any readers who are annoyed or triggered by things I write, please know that I'm really not trying to trigger anyone.  Most of what I write here is spew cranked out by my sometimes unconventional thought patterns.  You can check out any time you like.  I'll probably notice and might feel bad about it for a few minutes.  It's doubtful I'll change, though.  I'm weird for life.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Morning love interrupted by morning love...

Way TMI.  Sorry.

Yesterday, I decided to make a couple of music videos for Joni Mitchell songs I covered.  Early this morning, someone left me a comment saying they loved the video (but they didn't bother to like it and probably didn't view it).  And would I mind following them on Instagram?  I deleted the comment because it was spammy and I don't use Instagram, anyway.

That's how things started off this morning...  kind of on the wrong foot.  The dogs got up and went downstairs and I took the opportunity to snuggle with Bill, despite the fact that it's hot out right now and snuggling is not that comfortable.  We don't often get to be in the bed without the dogs.  They're like chaperones.

After a little snuggling, I said, "Hey Bill... you want to fuck me or what?"

Bill answered affirmatively.  It's been awhile, though, so we had to work up to it.  Just as we were about to commence fucking, our adorable beagle, Zane, decided to jump up on the bed.  He looked so cute and friendly as he came near us, sniffing.  It was as if he was saying, "Thank goodness I got here just in the nick of time!"

Undaunted, Bill continued to try to woo me, but Zane was insistent.  And then Arran showed up, and it was a party.

Bill rolled away.  The mood had obviously passed.  So I said, "Do you want to try this later?"

"Yeah.  Sorry." he responded.

"It's alright.  I'll wash the sheets so they'll be nice and clean and free of dog hair."

Yeah, this is my life.  It's full of blunt comments and unfortunate interruptions... and ridiculous scenarios.  I tend to get a lot of Murphy's Law types of things happening to me.  Like, I meet the guy of my dreams, but can't have kids with him the natural way because he got snipped for his ex wife.

I had parents who never divorced and were always home for me, but not really present. And my mom would say to my dad, things like "Bill (my dad was also a Bill), I've started my period and I need to be near a bathroom!" when he'd want to go somewhere.  But then she'd get annoyed with me for being overly blunt and wondering why I don't have any class.

Fortunately, I've always had a really good sense of humor.  I can usually laugh about these things.

Bill's younger daughter responded when Bill sent her an email letting her know that he was losing his company email address.  She wished him a belated happy birthday.  I was surprised she knew when it was.  She wanted to know if he got any good presents.  Bill told her that I gave him a really nice new Japanese Santoku knife.

I asked him if he added that I wasn't afraid he was going to gut me with the knife.  Of course he didn't do that.  I'm sure his daughter knows nothing about the knife drama between Bill and his ex.  I probably wrote about it here in an earlier post, but what the hell.  I have nothing better to do.

When Bill was in the Army, he had a special Bowie knife that was part of his uniform for when he was serving with the Arkansas National Guard.  It was a rather scary looking knife, but it was an official part of the uniform in those days.

When they were having severe marital problems and headed for divorce, Ex decided that the Bowie knife was scary.  She asked Bill to give it to her for safe keeping.  Not wanting his ex wife to be afraid of him, Bill willingly complied with her request to give him the knife.  She later showed it to her church friends as "proof" that Bill was a violent person.  She said she was afraid he was going to gut her like a deer.  This is from a woman who is capable and actually guilty of sexual assault.  Of course, her church buddies believed her.  Pretty soon, Bill was a pariah.

And then I came along and married this "monster"... and even gifted him with a beautiful new knife for his birthday.  I'm sure Bill was looking forward to our roll in the sack this morning, but we were rudely interrupted by our surrogate four legged kids.  Oh well.  Maybe we'll get around to it later.

But anyway... that kind of shit is the story of my life.  Glad I can laugh about it.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Don't tell mom you don't want to go on a mission...

especially if you're in Bryce Canyon with your TBM mom and stepfather.

LDS Living posted this "testimony" on their site.  They have since taken it down, thanks to the negative feedback.  Here's a link to the cache.

This guy, who has a Mormon mother and a Muslim father, decided he didn't want to be a missionary in Virginia.  He and his family were on a trip to Bryce Canyon and he told his stepfather he didn't want to go on the mission.  Stepdad made him tell his mom, who then promptly dumped his suitcases out of the family van and fucking left him there.

He spent the night and then next day, his grandfather came and talked to him.  Granddad asked him to try the mission and the guy decided to go.  Now he's bearing his testimony.  I guess he's happy to be a mishie now, but I think his mother's response sucks.  She basically forced him into it.

I can't believe this was the response from his mother.  Your child doesn't want to be a missionary?  Dump him in the wilderness.  She's lucky he's still speaking to her.

I see LDS Living has made a new version.  What a crock of shit.

Bill's last day at work...

Well, today is the day Bill stops working for the company that brought us back to Germany.  On Monday, he goes back to the same office, but will wear a new lanyard.  I'm hoping Bill enjoys the new company, which is larger, better known, and pays more money.

This morning, Bill was wearing a polo shirt he got a couple of months ago from his current (until 5:00pm) employer.  They also gave him a really nice windbreaker.  Lately, he's been wearing that shirt on Fridays because it's the only one he has that is short sleeved, has a collar, and isn't a dress shirt.  On Fridays, he's allowed to dress down.  With the new company, I think that will become a thing of the past.  I have heard everybody wears suits or at least ties.

We have to get new ID cards next week.  That's always a pleasure.

Bill enjoys morning coffee, news on the iPad, and Zane on his last day...

The new company also only pays once a month.  He'll get a larger paycheck, but he'll have to wait until the end of next month to get it.  So August may be a little leaner for us.  But in September, things will be pretty rosy because the new job includes a substantial raise.  That will be good, since I will be going to Scotland.  I hope Bill can come with me, but I have my doubts it'll work out that way.

Change is always hard.  Hopefully, this change will work out for the best.  But... at least we didn't have to move, right?  This time of year, Facebook always shows me my posts about moving.  I am happy to stay in one place for a few years while we figure out what to do next.

I suppose I could have written about O.J. Simpson getting paroled or Linkin Park's lead singer, Chester Bennington, committing suicide.  But, truth be told, I am not a fan of either.  Bill was actually upset about Chester's death.  He was especially upset when Chris Cornell killed himself.  It's not my genre of music.  I'd rather listen to Joni Mitchell circa 1971.  I did that yesterday so I could learn the song below.

This needs a little work... but it's worth it.  Maybe I'll do more today.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Phobias are not funny...

Have you ever met someone with whom you immediately clash?  I think that happened to me last night.  Despite my rather funny personality, I don't actually like parties very much.  I have a tendency to get carried away sometimes, especially when I'm in the company of certain types of people.  Not everyone can take my sense of humor and I don't enjoy offending people.  Sometimes I do, despite my best efforts.

Last year, the guy who hired Bill moved on to a new job in Hawaii.  He left behind a huge collection of euro coins, which he donated to everyone he worked with.  The coins were all counted and it came to the euro equivalent of about $800, which was used to pay for last night's gathering at a biergarten (and, in fact, not all of the money was spent).  It was a farewell dinner of sorts, since the company Bill has been working for lost its contract and many of the people who have been working with Bill are moving on to new jobs and/or locations.

We arrived too late to sit at the table that was already started, so we sat at a second table that had been reserved.  Soon we were joined by another couple, the male half of whom will continue to be Bill's co-worker because they were both hired by the new company that is taking over.  The first thing that happened was the guy came up, looked at me, and said "Who do you belong to?"

I answered that I am Bill's wife.  He then made some crack about my being the daughter of the other guy sitting across from me.  I'm not really sure what that was all about.  Bill had told me a bit about this guy being a bit obnoxious and full of himself, so I wasn't that surprised at his comment.  This guy also referred to me as "Jen", when I introduced myself as "Jenny".  That also happens to be a pet peeve of mine, when someone takes it upon themselves to change my name, especially when they've just met me.

I noticed his wife sitting in the corner with their son, whom I had met before.  He is a very bright kid for his age and already speaks German pretty well.  I could tell he is the apple of his mother's eye.  She was doting on him quite a bit.

As the evening wore on, Bill and I found ourselves talking about different subjects, including one of the Space A "hops" we took a few years ago.  Bill told everyone about how we landed in Georgia after an overseas flight from Germany.  We were really jet lagged.  He'd gone out to get us some dinner.  I would have been just fine with something from the nearby Wendy's, but Bill decided to go the extra mile.  He noticed a restaurant across the street and ordered take out.  He brought back steaks, not realizing that they had been smothered with mushrooms.

If you've been reading this blog, you may already know that I do not eat mushrooms.  In fact, I have a phobia of them.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but it's the truth.

So anyway, I opened the carton he handed me and was immediately confronted by this piece of meat covered with 'shrooms.  They were totally grossing me out.  I was pretty exasperated because I was exhausted and hungry.  All I'd really wanted was a sandwich, and if Bill had just gotten something at Wendy's, I could have had a sandwich and gone to bed.  Instead, I was sitting there with what could have been a nice dinner that was rendered completely unappetizing due to the fungus.  Aside from that, I was annoyed that a restaurant would put mushrooms on a steak without advertising that they were going to do so.

Bill was telling this story and people were wondering why I didn't just scrape off the mushrooms.  And that's where the whole mushroom phobia story came in.  Phobias are, by nature, ridiculous, irrational, and perhaps even funny.  However, if you actually have a phobia, it's not really a laughing matter.

My whole life, I've been laughed at for having a fear of mushrooms.  When I was a kid, family members even chased me with them and yukked it up when I reacted with fear.  I can mostly laugh about it now... and the phobia is not nearly as bad as it used to be.  For instance, I no longer scream when I am confronted with mushrooms.  I don't like having them on my plate and I refuse to touch them or eat them, but I won't freak out or anything.  I still have a phobia, though.

I used to think I was the only person with this problem, but then I wrote an article about mycophobia (fear of mushrooms).  In my article, I even referenced an episode of The Montel Williams Show that was about phobias.  There was a woman on that show who was afraid of mushrooms and reacted the very same way I did when I was much younger.  She actually saw my article and sent me an email.  I got so many comments and emails from people who have unusual phobias and happened to read my article.  In fact, a quick YouTube search turns up a number of videos about mycophobia (mushroom phobia).

I was trying to explain this last night.  I will admit, a phobia of something weird like mushrooms sounds hilarious if you don't make an effort to understand what having a phobia is like.  I have been in some embarrassing and annoying situations due to this problem, but I can see why some people think it's funny.

Of course, Bill's co-worker thought my mushroom phobia was totally hilarious.  He was cracking jokes and hysterically laughing at me, as was his son.  I was trying to explain the origins of the phobia, which started when I was a little kid, and he was just having a knee slapper of a time laughing.  I had been drinking beer, so I was feeling my oats.  And I let loose with some really far out insults involving his testicles being covered with fungus.  I'm sure whatever I said was shocking and disgusting.  Sometimes, I have no filter, especially if I've been drinking.

I could tell the guy's wife was horrified and it looked like she was trying to shield her son from the insults springing forth from me.  I wasn't sure if she was horrified by my comments, her husband's comments, or the whole scene in general.  But anyway, they made a hasty retreat.  I'm sure they think I'm an asshole, now.  On the other hand, I thought the guy was being an asshole for outwardly laughing at me and lacking empathy.

Meh... I really think sometimes I should not go to these kinds of parties with Bill.  I'm sure a lot of his co-workers think I'm nuts.  On the plus side, we did talk to a really nice lady last night.  Too bad she and her husband (and their fabulous dog) will be leaving soon.  Also, I gave our waitress the stink eye because she told me that putting a wine bottle upside down in a galvanized bucket full of melted ice is "nasty".  That sounded a bit like bullshit to me, but what do I know?  She was happy when we left, though, because she was tipped handsomely.

Apparently, putting an empty wine bottle upside down in this bucket is "nasty"...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Preparing for the winter...

This morning's post is full of boring health related TMI that may not be suitable for all readers.  Proceed at your own risk.

Yesterday, I took the dogs to the vet.  It was time for Zane's monthly allergy shot and I wanted the vet to check out a couple of bumps that I want to have removed while he and Arran are having their teeth cleaned.  They both seriously need their teeth cleaned.  They are covered with tartar and it's gross.  They also have hideous breath.

I'm actually a little nervous about having the lumps taken off because they could be mast cell tumors.  One was tested last year and it came back a lipoma, but it's a lot bigger now.  The other is tiny, but it shrinks and swells, which is mast cell tumor behavior.  It's also on the side of his paw near his dewclaw, although it's in the skin and very small.  I worry that the vet won't get good margins and he'll end up sick.  Right now, Zane is in good spirits and I hate to mess that up for him.

The surgery won't be until August 10th because the vet who does the dentals is going on vacation for two weeks.  In Germany, vacations are no joke, especially in August.  Everybody gets one.  And most everybody gets their holidays, too.  I kind of like it like that, although sometimes it makes things inconvenient.  Hopefully, Zane will recover quickly, because a month after that, I am going to Scotland, with or without Bill.  Depends on if he can get the time off.

This morning, we're getting our heating oil for the winter delivered.  It's hard to imagine that in a few weeks, it'll be getting cold again.  Our landlords will be coming to assist.  Last time we lived here, we lived in a house that was fueled by gas.  Our landlord at that time would call the gas company and I would deal with the guy myself.  Invariably, the driver didn't speak English and, at that time, I knew no German.  This time, I understand more German and our landlords are retired.  They evidently have plenty of time on their hands and speak perfect English, too.

I think the landlords are getting the oil now because they got a deal.  They order the oil and when the bill comes, they send us a bill for our share.  We use a special form (called the VAT) to not have to pay German taxes on the oil.  I'm actually glad they are so conscientious about this because last time we lived here, we ran out of gas and had no hot water or heat for a few days in April.  April is still pretty chilly in Germany.  It was not fun taking bucket baths under those conditions.  We did at least have a masonry heater, though, which we don't have in this house.

Speaking of healthy environments, this morning, I saw this old PSA on my Facebook memories...

This PSA cracks me up!   

It almost makes the idea of having your colon scoped sound like fun.  I'd love to have a couple of doctors taking care of me who are that funny and thorough... especially if I was drugged into oblivion.

The nasty cough I've had is slowly dying down, just in time for a visit from Auntie Flow.  And this morning, just as one last insult, I had a coughing fit that led to throwing up my coffee.  I'm sure I don't have whooping cough or anything like that, but for some reason, I sometimes puke when I cough.  I used to never vomit, but now it happens relatively often... especially when I eat overripe bananas or when I cough too hard.  It always seems to happen early in the morning.  Too bad the puking doesn't lead to weight loss.

Anyway... hopefully I'll think of something of substance to write about later.  For now, I guess I'll get dressed and walk the dogs.