Inheritances, dead relationships (not necrophilia), and finding resources!

TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE IN CONTEXT OF ADVICE LETTER

A note before I get to today’s advices: Someone contacted me and asked me to remove a name from a blog post. I found the blog post in question and couldn’t find any names in it. (This person said that the blog post was coming up with search results for someone they knew, and they were unhappy about that.) And so I just deleted the whole blog post. I want everyone to know that it’s never my intent to upset anyone with my blog! If anyone out there, whether you’re a friend of mine or a stranger, wants me to modify a blog post or take one down, please feel free to let me know! I don’t mind at all. I blog for fun and can always put up new posts! The person even offered to pay me, but that’s really not necessary! 🙂 It’s all good!

Dear Amy: My husband’s narcissistic father died by suicide three months ago. After over 25 years of our adult life dealing with his childish, nasty, out-of-proportion reactions to our lifestyle and family values, we created boundaries for him within our family.

It infuriated him that he could not control us with money to get us to adore him.

He wrote my husband out of his will and left his estate to my husband’s siblings.

This was a pain that you cannot know unless it is done to you.

Is it naive of us to think that his siblings would each give up a percentage of their inheritance to make my husband whole and even things out?

His father had dysfunctional relationships and rifts with all of his children at different times throughout his life.

It is not about the monetary value of the inheritance; it is about doing what is natural as siblings.

If offered a share, my husband would give his portion to charity.

How do we have a relationship with these greedy people who continue their father’s legacy of manipulation and of dangling money in exchange for adoration?

— Upset

Upset: Based on what you say, these siblings are NOT dangling money in front of you and your husband. They are simply choosing to keep money that was left to them.

I do not think it is particularly “natural” for siblings to share an inheritance with an estranged family member, especially if your husband had completely exited from a relationship with their father. So yes, you are being naive.

You might also rethink your definition of “greed,” as it applies to this situation. Greed is wanting what others have. That definition might apply to you.

Presumably, these siblings endured their father’s mental illness and suicide from a closer perspective than your husband did, and whether their motivation was a financial or filial one — they may feel that they’ve paid dearly for every penny they’ve inherited. 

Even though it is the opposite of your stated intent, you and your husband seem to be letting his father’s money control you.

It’s time to let go.

Having a family member die by suicide initiates a kind of grief like no other; my recommendation would be for your husband to talk this through with a counselor. Coming to terms with his own confusion, anger, guilt and long-standing heartache would be the way for him to become “whole.” (c) Ask Amy

Oh my. I might have to do a line-by-line of this one.

My husband’s narcissistic father died by suicide three months ago. After over 25 years of our adult life dealing with his childish, nasty, out-of-proportion reactions to our lifestyle and family values, we created boundaries for him within our family.

It infuriated him that he could not control us with money to get us to adore him.

I’m on board. No issues at all so far. Great job setting boundaries!

He wrote my husband out of his will and left his estate to my husband’s siblings.

This was a pain that you cannot know unless it is done to you.

Hmm…. worse than the pain of losing a family member to suicide? Or to continuing the struggle of interacting with him, despite his difficult-to-get-along-with tendencies? What’s really sad to me is that it’s easy to vilify narcissists, but this one killed himself. Ouch. And this letter writer doesn’t seem to have considered how much inner turmoil he must’ve been experiencing to have done so.

Is it naive of us to think that his siblings would each give up a percentage of their inheritance to make my husband whole and even things out? […] If offered a share, my husband would give his portion to charity.

Hmm. Naive is the wrong word. Selfish, greedy, and grabby come to mind. Naïveté is more of a lack of awareness of human nature, but this letter writer is the opposite of naive. She’s the scheming equivalent of someone whom a naive person would try to see the best in. But, hey, if she wants to call herself naive, more power to her!

Oh. And that charity line? Yeah, right! Isn’t that exactly what people say when they want something? She’s so full of BS.

How do we have a relationship with these greedy people who continue their father’s legacy of manipulation and of dangling money in exchange for adoration?

And that’s what I think is called a tell. She’s really showing who she is here, because her husband’s siblings aren’t being manipulative and dangling money. Rather, they’re collecting their inheritances. Huh.

Something similar happened in my family with my nonagenarian grandmother. Several years before she died, she traveled to visit my aunt (my dad’s only sibling) and her family. Things went awry, and tempers flared. My aunt wound up getting herself excommunicated. Wait, that’s the wrong word. Sorry. She got herself disinherited.

(As an aside, I love that episode of Frasier where Maris is accused of murder, and Niles is questioned in regard to it. And Frasier says to the media, “If there is any justice in this world, then my brother, Dr. Niles Crane, and his ex-wife, Maris, will be executed! Thank you.” He meant to say exonerated.)

So, anyway, right. However, it wound up working out quite well, because my dad got all the money.

Sorry. I overshot the glib factor there. My dad’s always struggling to make ends meet, whereas my aunt and her family are independently wealthy. That’s why it worked out well. My aunt was accepting of it and glad for my dad to inherit everything, also because my dad and I took care of Granny Smith for years prior to her death, whereas my aunt lives four or five states away from here and had no way to help out, or to visit her several times a week in the nursing home, etc. I’m just saying that I think my aunt had the right attitude about it, given the circumstances. I’m reasonably certain that if she were poverty-stricken, my dad would’ve insisted on sharing the inheritance. But she and her husband are apparently captains of industry.

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I love that comic! “Now read me the part again where I disinherit everybody,” the cranky old man says eagerly. My mom had that on her refrigerator when she lived in the country.

Dear Amy: I am going through my second divorce. My wife wants this — I don’t.

We have been married only seven months, and she has told me she loves me but is not “in love” with me. I don’t want to lose her and our three-year commitment to each other, but she will not talk to me (or a professional) about her issues.

What do you think I can do to save my marriage or possibly rebuild the love she once had for me? We have no biological kids together, but we have three teens in the house: her teenage daughter and my two sons. Her daughter is kind of a wild child, and my boys are grounded. 

She has been going to work early and coming home late. She told me that her career is her priority and that our relationship would just “be there.”

She said she doesn’t want to come home, due to not feeling wanted, needed or loved. She says she feels unappreciated.

I work from home, taking care of the kids, animals, shopping, appointments, my job, the yard work, etc.

Can you help?

— S

S: When your wife said she feels unwanted, unloved, etc., she is saying — something. You should encourage her to expand on all of that — and assume a very nondefensive attitude when she does. The new household might be overwhelming for her.

Some of the clues she is dropping indicate that there may be someone else in her life.

As painful as this is for you to confront, you should ask her about that, too.

Marriage counseling works best when a couple participates, but individual counseling would be helpful for you.

Ouch. This relationship is dead. It bugs me that people could act like this woman by disconnecting and then putting the whole burden of carrying the relationship on the poor letter writer. So not cool. If I had a loving husband, I wouldn’t treat him that way.

We have been married only seven months, and she has told me she loves me but is not “in love” with me.

Okay, so it sounds like she’s chasing novelty. She’s lost interest in the relationship because it’s not new and exciting anymore. This isn’t the sort of thing that should be contributing to the divorce rate, but oh well.

I don’t want to lose her and our three-year commitment to each other.

Sunk-cost fallacy? If they break up (which I fear they will), he’ll be out three years for someone who’s always chasing the next new relationship. I feel for this guy, but he can’t force her to hold onto the relationship when she’s chosen to check out.

But she will not talk to me (or a professional) about her issues.

Because, of course she won’t. She’s not willing to take responsibility for her feelings, like the way she needs novelty within relationships instead of appreciating stability, consistency, support, and structure. She’s rather immature all around. It was an error in judgment for the letter writer to marry her. Ugh. Heartbreaking.

Let’s check in with Annie Lane!

Dear Annie: I need help, but I’m so lost on what to do. Please help with some advice. I’m 52 years old and so broken. My mom passed away on Sept. 14, 2019, at home. I’ve had to live with my brother “Ed” ever since. Or, should I say, he has had to live with me.

I love him, but he can be such a challenge. Life is all about him. He sees a counselor weekly; he is a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser; he is bipolar and high — I mean high — anxiety and needs complete hip surgery.

I am his caregiver, and I’m really not happy. Everything I do seems to be for him. He is going back to drinking after 170 days of sobriety and smoking again after three weeks of quitting. It never ends. He stands and mumbles where I can hear him carry on, usually about me. Ed is very self-centered and spiteful, but he is my brother. I don’t want to just abandon him, but I need a life. I don’t know where to turn. He only gets $794 per month Social Security, not enough to maintain his own place. 

I’ve been single since my youngest was 4 years old. She is 26 now. I would like to find my special someone to spend my life with. What should I do? — Overwhelmed and Unsure

Dear Overwhelmed: I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. I’m sure you still miss her every day.

You have given everything to your brother, and it’s time that he takes some responsibility for himself. Even though he’s carrying a large load, there is no reason he can’t accept some part-time work to supplement his Social Security and get a place of his own. It’s great that he is in therapy, but he should also look into Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous for additional support in his battle with addiction.

As for your own well-being, reach out to your local Al-Anon chapter to meet others going through similar situations with their loved ones. 

Remember that creating distance between you and your brother is not an abandonment; it’s a boundary. You can only give someone else a tow if your own tank is full. If you’re running on empty… well, then you’ll both get stuck in the mud.

Take a deep breath and write down a list of things you’re grateful for. Often, when our lives feel like they’re spiraling out of control, we become so overwhelmed that we feel helpless. This exercise will help put things in perspective. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com

Oh dear. I had high hopes that Annie Lane would offer advice about eviction proceedings, contacting social workers, and so forth. Instead, she went all blah-blah-blah about feelings and gratitude. I’m sorry, but this letter writer deserves to live without her brother. This isn’t the sort of burden she should be stuck with. As a mentally ill person myself, I’m younger than Ed but have spent years getting on the right medications. I live with my dad and am a great roommate for him. I clean the house and am fun to hang out with. My dad’s becoming elderly, and I help him out all the time with internet issues (he doesn’t use internet), document formatting (he uses a typewriter, not a computer), email exchanges with clients (see above), and seeing things (he’s losing his vision but won’t admit it), and so on, and so forth.

Ed, however, sounds like a complete burden because he’s done nothing to fix his own problems. He does get points for going to weekly therapy, but beyond that, he’s difficult to live with, he’s falling off the wagon, and he’s projecting his mental issues all over the letter writer.

Since Annie Lane didn’t give her any real advice, this is what I’d suggest: the letter writer needs to contact a social worker. (How that’s done, I have no clue.) With the social worker, she can discuss getting Ed into rehab, followed by a halfway house. (Basically, as soon as Ed’s in rehab, she needs to change the locks and put his stuff into a storage unit.) Or, maybe he can go directly to the halfway house, depending on his particular needs. Or he could be given other resources, like rent assistance, etc.

It’s going to be hard. Grueling, even. Bureaucratic red tape is painful. But the letter writer needs and deserves to get her life back. An easier option would be to consult a lawyer about eviction, but that option, though easier, would give her a guilty conscience, most likely. But those are some options.

Because I’m a cat!

Today has been boring because Sonya’s been busy. Her to-do list is constantly driving her to an early grave. She spends all her free time writing and editing her novels. She spends the rest of her free time beta reading for her writers groups. She takes a weekly dance class to guarantee that she’ll leave the apartment. I personally think she works too hard and should remember to enjoy life sometimes, but she’s way too dedicated to listen to me!

Oh, I just remembered. Okay, try not to mock me for this. I wrote a 250-word microfiction story for NYC Midnight several days ago, and they gave me permission to share it online at this time. (I have to wait for my entry to be tabulated.) I was assigned historical fiction, the word “high”, and the act of wiping off sweat. All thoughts are welcome!

At Home With Socrates

“Socrates! Have you been listening to a word I’ve been saying? Help me do the wash!” Xanthippe scowled, hands on her hips. She stooped over to scrub the white garments, stopping only to wipe sweat off her face. 

Socrates snorted. “Washing is women’s work. That’s why I married you!” 

“You old coot!” Xanthippe yelled. “You never help out around the house.” 

“I don’t know how!” 

“Mm-hmm. It’s not that hard, genius.” She rolled her eyes. 

Socrates’s expression grew distant and dreamy. “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing… about cleaning.” 

Xanthippe was fit to be tied. “Know this, you philosophizing madman. If you ever want to procreate again–”

Socrates leapt to his feet. “You dare to threaten my carnal desires, woman? Why, you’re an insult to the so-called fairer sex.” 

“We’ll never mate again!” she swore. 

“But… but… an unexamined wife is not worth living… with!” Socrates spluttered. “Ooh, I should write that down before I forget it,” he mumbled to himself. “An unexamined… an unexamined…life?” 

“You should’ve thought of that! Now, if you want sex, you’ll clean the house.” 

“Get off your high horse and give me some love, woman!”

“I don’t want to conceive another child with you, you arse.” 

“No worries, dearest! We’ll use the Socratic method… of birth control.” 

“That didn’t work with our first child, and it won’t work again!” She shook her head. 

As the sun set that night in ancient Greece, everything was right in the world. 

Yeah, I’m screwed. HA HA HA HA! Oh noooo.

Well, anyway, yesterday was a blast, and if you don’t believe me,  I have the video to prove it. Watch that at your own discretion. See, what happened was that I’d been eating vegan for five days (vegetables, essentially), and then we passed a candy shop, and the rest was history. Along with the candy was a slushy and some ice cream. My blood sugar levels never stood a chance. I guess I was acting slightly weirder than normal when we got home, so Sonya decided to roll tape, and God bless her for it. At the end there, I was trying to do that thing singers do where they raise and lower their voice all over the place while moving their hand in tandem for psychological reasons, so they’ll stay on tune. But I can’t remotely account for meowing. I really thought I was a cat. These things happen.

So today, we’ve been cooped up all day long. Sonya said we’d go to the cafe, but she’s being pulled by the lure of her computer, so I’m not sure it’s going to happen.

The guy I like here, Georg, appears to be uninterested in me. Oh well. But you never know!

You know, what’s upsetting is that NO ONE has liked or commented on my video. At least Sonya thought it was worth recording, but still, it’s upsetting when no one likes something involving how I express myself! It’s a bad feeling, like, does no one get me?! I always try to like similar videos. (This assumes that any similar videos exist.) Oh well.

So yeah, yesterday we went to the main area where every building is like a castle with a huge clock on it. Gorgeous. We even passed a sex museum. I asked Sonya about it, and she said they also have a torture museum. I joked that they could’ve just made both into one museum.

And we passed an area where women were giving men massages. Oh my.

But the candy store was the coolest. It was built into a (fake) rock quarry, its cavernous depths filled with candy basins. Having eaten most of the candy, I find I prefer American candy.

Oh! We also passed a really cool arcade! Oh my gosh, it was so awesome: brightly lit games, huge stuffed animals, wild music, and candy machines all made it a shop to remember.

We went in search of souvenirs for my parents, and I bought myself a magnet. It’s really cool. I want to go back and buy this really cool steampunk skull. I might do that. Who doesn’t love steampunk skulls?

Fun commentary today!

Dear Amy: I’m at a complete loss right now.

I am an asexual person in my late-30s. I am in a five-year relationship and am in school pursuing a degree.

About six weeks ago, an adult classmate of mine started pursuing a friendship with me (he has a wife and children). We’ve become really close during that time.

We talk about our feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, etc., and there has been an amazing level of what I thought was honest and healthy communication.

Recently, he caught me off guard with a conversation about how “this relationship will never be anything but platonic” and “we can’t be anything more than friends.”

I know. I was never after anything else.

Amy, I feel like I just got dumped and that really stinks because I’ve been very careful to monitor my friendship with him and not ever push it because I didn’t want him getting the wrong idea.

It just hurts, because I don’t make friends easily, and I don’t know how to fix this.

I don’t even know if I can fix it.

I guess I just need a little help seeing the light. My head knows that I didn’t actually do anything wrong, but my heart isn’t getting that message.

— Adrift

Adrift: I hope my take on this will help to illuminate things for you.

You did nothing wrong. He did nothing wrong.

You have not been dumped. You have been confronted — very awkwardly — with the conflicted thoughts and feelings of a man who (it’s quite possible) cannot fathom having an emotionally intimate friendship without it becoming sexual.

My theory is that your friend has jumped into this close friendship, which doesn’t hew to the usual playbook of his other friendships (with men), where he exchanges greetings and sports scores for several years, before moving on to more personal topics, like the weather.

(I realize this is an extreme exaggeration of the stereotype but bear with me.)

Do you remember the juvenile “comeback” from childhood: “I know you are, but what am I?”

He is now asserting — way too emphatically — that he is not and never will be attracted to you, because his previous experiences with friendship have not prepared him for a unique friendship without a sexual component.

The fact that he might actually be attracted to you is another dilemma for another day.

Talk about it! (c) Ask Amy

Huh. I think Ask Amy overshot on this one, not that I blame her, because the urge to analyze this is strong. Like, what the freak is going on here?!

  1. Is he in love with the letter writer and trying to stave off any sort of marriage-wrecking interactions? 
  2. Is he specifically not in love with the letter writer but afraid she’s in love with him, and so he’s trying to prevent any sort of hurt feelings? 
  3. Is his wife the one with the concern, whereas he has no clue how he or the letter writer is feeling? 
  4. Does the letter have romantic (albeit not sexual) feelings for him? (I’m going on the assumption that you can have romantic feelings separate from sexual ones.) Thus, was the letter writer ashamed at being called out for having feelings for a married man? 
  5. Was the letter writer feeling nothing untoward but felt accused of such? Like, why would you think that?! 
  6. Was the man just trying to clarify some boundaries with her? 
  7. Or, was the man trying to convince himself never to cross the line? Like a chocolate lover saying, “Don’t leave me alone with the chocolate!”  

I have absolutely no idea. However, my advice would be to talk about it. She says she’s not good at friendship. This is the time to develop those skills. 

I’m not a believer in emotional affairs as being a problem. In my opinion, we can never have too many relationships in our lives. I think the important thing, if one party (or both parties) is married, is that the married parties are the closest to their spouses. Like, you and I can have a close emotional relationship, but I’m closer to my spouse. This is a rather simplistic view on my end, though, and it might not work for every situation. 

Dear Amy: My husband and I get anxious as we see pumpkins appearing in shops.

You see, both of our children have late-November birthdays.

They are the only grandchildren/nieces on both sides of our families.

Neither of our families live local to us, so beginning in mid-November, we start to feel a tidal wave of gifts entering our lives.

Last year, both kids ended up with stuffed bedrooms and a mountain of toys in the playroom by the end of the holiday season.

It was overwhelming.

We have decided that in our immediate family, we are going to have birthdays and a Christmas that is more focused on experiences and less focused on gift-giving this year.

My question is: Is there a polite way to encourage our extended family to do the same?

I am not blaming them for our clutter problem, but would love to somehow discourage the tidal wave, especially because it has been such a big project digging out and it feels really good to be more organized.

What do you suggest?

— DeCluttered

DeCluttered: Congratulations on your clean sweep!

Many distant family members actually look for practical suggestions when it comes to children’s gifts. It is not impolite to offer ideas, but you should also anticipate that some family members will not comply.

You could send out a group email, offering direction. Tell them: “The season is upon us, and we are anticipating birthdays and holidays. This year we are trying to reduce the material abundance in our household and are encouraging people to send only one gift per child — or offer them “experiences” instead of material gifts. If you’d like ideas, we’d be happy to supply them, and as always, we are so grateful for your thoughtfulness and attention. Our children are very lucky!”

I’m not one to complain about “first-world problems”, but this sort of rubbed me the wrong way:

My husband and I get anxious as we see pumpkins appearing in shops.

This problem is causing autumnal anxiety?! Seriously? I sincerely hope the letter writer was being glib or dramatic for effect, because if the pumpkins are seriously causing her anxiety due to incoming gifts, then something’s wrong here. 

And this is such an easy problem to solve. Someone (the letter writer and her husband, or their kids, depending on how old they are) needs to make a list of desired books. Kids can NEVER have too many books. And it’s fun to arrange them on a shelf and read them. 

When I was growing up, my parents (who were abusive in other ways) bought me every single book I ever wanted. And God bless them for it! I read voraciously. Of course, this was before that newfangled internet. 

Let’s see what Annie Lane is up to!

Dear Annie: After 32 years of marriage, I still battle daily with what the truth is. My husband, who I have been with since I was 17 (over 36 years), had the “shining star syndrome.”

Many of his co-workers found him to be their go-to guy when having relationship troubles in their lives. Only after being told by some female co-workers who were not in his fan club of his lies, disrespect and family-changing damage did I start to connect the dots.

I’ve had difficult times in my life, such as the diagnosis of a chronic illness, the death of a twin sibling, the death of my mother and a stressful job. It was only after he could not handle the difficult moments that affected me that I realized his behavior was narcissistic. 

My biggest heartbreak was that I thought that I was not good enough, and the same for our children. I am grateful to those who finally spoke up about his friendships with other women. 

I work at saving our marriage every day, and he has become accountable. It took years for him to realize the amount of damage that he caused our young adult children. I will never be completely secure, but I am not a quitter.

I am glad I can stop blaming myself for not handling everyday realities like Superwoman. Any hurt partner should know the truth. It actually saved our marriage and our family. — Grieving Loved Ones and Lies (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com

And wait until you all see Annie Lane’s commentary on this: 

Dear Grieving: Thank you for sharing your letter. So many people feel trapped in narcissistic relationships and need to hear that there is a way out of them and a path to freedom. It’s great that you acknowledged all the people who helped you along the way. Congratulations.

Okay, that’s nice, Annie Lane, but the letter writer clearly hasn’t found the way out to freedom. Instead, she’s hanging in there because she’s “not a quitter.” 

I would quit. 

It’s weird that quitting is seen as being non-virtuous. The only times I see quitting as being wrong are: 

  • If you’ve made a commitment to someone. (And I realize she took marriage vows here, but… no. Just no.) But, like, if you tell someone you’ll do something and then you flake out and lose interest, that’s kind of bad. 
  • If you’ve got a tendency to start projects and never finish them (although that’s not non-virtuous as much as just lacking the follow-through, since it probably doesn’t hurt anyone).
  • If you quit a job without giving two weeks’ notice (unless there are extenuating circumstances). 

But in a broad sense, why is it wrong to quit? If you try something and it’s not a good fit, why not quit? (Wow, did that rhyme?) I tried violin lessons as an adult, many years ago. I’m a pianist, so why not? But it turned out that you have to train your left arm to bend like that as a child, because if you try it as an adult, your arm won’t bend. Also, the teacher confessed to me that she’d lost a lot of her hearing from playing the violin, and I’m already part-deaf. Of course I quit! And there was nothing morally wrong about it. 

On the other hand, if you’re being paid, it’s best not to quit. I told my dad I’d clean out the garage recently, and then I did! Go me. But he made it clear that if I wanted to quit, he’d just pay someone else to get it done, while paying me for my time. So it would’ve been no harm, no foul. 

Another thing he paid me to do was to organize my late grandmother’s estate back in 2012. Oh my goodness. I’ve never been so overwhelmed in my life. He paid me hourly. She had STUFF all over her house. My mom helped out from the goodness of her heart. What we wound up doing was categorizing things. The sewing scraps and supplies all went into one room. Stuff for donation went into another room. Stuff for the estate auction went into one wing of the house. Stuff to be kept by anyone in the family went into another area to await being collected or delivered. Several bags of trash (just little things that no one would want) were collected each day. And that’s how we got it done. Maybe it was virtuous of me to see it through, but hey, I was getting paid. Nothing offers the same incentive as money! 

But why is it so wrong to be a quitter? Within a marriage, one person can’t control how well it will work. Both people need to be committed and, ideally, not narcissistic. I don’t see anything morally wrong with divorcing a narcissist, although it’s best not to marry one in the first place.

I think the letter writer has deluded herself into thinking that her husband is making progress. More likely, he’s pretending to make progress. But even if he is indeed making progress, it’ll never be enough.  

It was always like that with my sister. (I’m not saying she’s a narcissist. I’m not sure what’s wrong with her exactly.) People have always been telling me, “She’s taking baby steps toward becoming a better person,” and I’m like, “Do I look stupid to you? She’s taking you all for a ride that I’ve disembarked and have no intention of boarding ever again.” 

But, anyway, Annie Lane’s response to this letter is mystifying. Congratulations on getting out?! [Facepalm.] The letter writer sounds like she’s grateful to people who’d stepped in and helped with her marriage. Nothing wrong with that, but why isn’t the letter writer getting the heck out of there? 

Oh, right. She’s not a quitter. 

*****

My vacation is going well!! Tonight, Sonya and I are going swing dancing. (My mom believes I keep visiting Sonya because she and I are lesbian lovers. Not true, but I might just tell her that Sonya and I are going swinging tonight.) 

I’ve had plenty of time to catch up on my rest, so it’s been a well-paced vacation. I’m not sure why I need so much rest, but I just go along with it. Rest is essential. 

I hope everyone out there is doing well!! 

Solid ground.

I’ve been musing about lost friendships lately, and it makes me sad. This isn’t about Sonya! I wuvz my Sonya! I’m having a great time with her, as always! Actually, it’s the best time yet. Past times with her have featured my attempted romantic relationships ending in disaster, which she’s very tolerant of. We need more tolerance like that!

It’s just that whenever a friendship of mine fails, I feel miserable. I blame myself, regardless of who was actually at fault: me, them, both of us, or neither of us. I still take it personally and feel devastated.

I’m a huge believer in relationships and can’t handle the fact that they’re not always permanent. Does an ended relationship lose the value it had before it ended? I’m not sure.

I used to devalue myself all the time. I can’t believe I’ve quit doing that, for the most part! I’ve made remarkable progress. I owe a lot of that to my successful relationships, but then I wonder, what if I hadn’t known those people? Then, I wouldn’t have made the progress. So does that mean that the progress has no value, since I needed other people to get me to that point? No clue. But I do truly believe that we should all lift each other up and support each other.

I’m a little sad, but I’m still enjoying my vacation. Sonya is one of my favorite people. She accepts me, and I NEVER feel like she’s going to just drop me as a friend. (And quite frankly, if she were going to, she would’ve done it long ago, I dare say.)

I just don’t deal well with relationship loss. I “collect” relationships with people who are in it for the long haul. I appreciate those people. I’m eternally grateful for them. But whenever a new friend (or worse, an old one) disappears or ends things, I feel a little lost.

I’ve also been musing on acceptance. People give of themselves what they can, and that’s always been my creed. No one can be perfect, and it’s best not to expect such impossible perfection. I guess it’s ideal not to take other people’s imperfections personally or to internalize them.

Sometimes I have self-doubt. I know I’m not perfect, but I feel perfect in the sense that I mean well. Like, I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings on accident or say something stupid, etc. I guess “perfection” really isn’t the word for that, but you know what I mean. What I mean is that I have perfect intentions, even though my behavior itself is probably less than perfect.

So I’m just feeling a little bit blue. But I’m still having a great time. I just awoke from my nap (bad dreams), and Sonya will make dinner soon, and then we’ll take a walk. She’s editing for her other writers group now (the one I’m not a member of), and her submission is due soon.

I might ask her if she has Georg’s email address. I didn’t find him on FB. He wants to get caught up reading my memoir this week, and I need to tell him which page number the group has read to.

I’m not sure why interconnectedness is so important to me, but it is. I need connections! I need to feel a sense of belonging, because I believe that we find each other in relationships. I probably shouldn’t take it so personally when a relationship dies, though. But I don’t understand why others don’t share my values, or they do share my values but fail to connect with me. I don’t know. The issue confuses me.

I just had this sad dream about my former friend, Kristi, a night ago. Sonya cheered me up by pointing out that even though Kristi and I both screwed up our relationship, it was her decision not to stay friends. We were at an impasse of sorts, but it wasn’t my decision to walk away from our friendship. There’s still sadness there and loss. I guess when a friendship ends, you’re forced to look back and realize that it wasn’t built on solid ground to begin with. I hate that awareness. Absolutely hate it.

I’m sure today will get better!

Party at Sonya’s place!

The trip has gone well so far, which I’m afraid to type without jinxing myself, but there it is. Today is a day of rest and recovery, because yesterday’s writers group was an all-day affair, going on for well over twelve hours. I had a blast! So today we’re staying in, ‘cause Sonya has a lot to do, and I’m likely to take a nap. 

Mostly we sat around a table and wrote, so I blogged and worked on my NYC Midnight story. I sent my draft to my mentor, who also participates in NYC Midnight sometimes, and he thought it was crap. However, he was nicer about it than that. Actually, his exact words were, “Is it acceptable to say that it doesn’t really grab me?” which made me laugh because it was so tactful. And I was like, okay, I’m scrapping it. (It only had to be 250 words, and I can go back to the drawing board for anything shorter than novel-length.) 

So I wrote back to him and explained that I was in a great mood but socially overwhelmed, which prevented my writing from being at the level of literary masterpieces. (I was being a bit sarcastic there. I’m not sure I’ve ever written anything that could be called a literary masterpiece, but who knows?) 

Later in the evening, we had a discussion group with me, Sonya, and three men who’ve been reading my memoir and offering beta feedback on it from here in Prague, and I was able to meet them in person, which was awesome. Their names are: Mike, Max, and Georg. (The only Georg I’ve ever known was the dad in The Sound of Music.) 

Mike was sort of egotistical and sexually perverse. He explained the concept of rough… rough… rough something. I can’t recall, but it refers to having sex with someone of a lower class and degrading them because you’re of a higher social class. Yucks. It was hard to take him seriously. 

Max was a very nice man who had a huge head of curly brown hair which was adorable. Very good-looking, but his eyes never met mine, and I wondered if one eye was lazy, not that I’d judge. 

Georg was a total heartthrob, and I’m sort of into him. I felt bad, though, like things were awkward between us in ways that I didn’t intend. He was passionate about my memoir, which was great, and he suggested that I try to write for the market (i.e., write what’s selling) because I’m such a fast writer that I could try to get into whatever’s trendy at the time. It was thoughtful of him to make such great suggestions, but I had to tell him that I’ve tried it, and my books collapse (and never get finished) when I can’t put my heart into them. I hope I didn’t hurt his feelings, because great minds think alike, and I’ve tried it!

He also said it’s great that I have a huge author’s page with loads of books to choose from, saying that if someone were to discover and like one book, they’d have all my other books to buy. And I had to be a Negative Nancy and tell him that no one’s ever bought all my books except for one ne’er-do-well who bought each book in my middle-grade series, read them all quickly, and then returned them all, which made me so irate that I told off Amazon for allowing it. 

“People are assholes,” he said. We all agreed.

Georg is hot! And very sweet and sensitive. At the end of the meeting, he offered to bring us all food next week. I acted enthusiastic about this, but then he offered to bring lasagna, and I can’t lie—I hate cheese. I tried to verbalize this rather awkwardly without crushing his spirit, but I felt bad. 

So then Sonya and I walked home, and I was explaining to her how bad I felt about the cheese thing. I said, “And then it felt like any potential relationship fell apart because I don’t like cheese.” 

And someone who we were walking past on the street, a young woman, said with a perfect European accent, “No cheese.” 

And I was like, “Right! No cheese,” and then Sonya and I kept walking and then burst into laughter. No cheese. 

So then we got home late, and I’d gotten an email from my mentor saying, “I’m still backing you to write a gem,” which I appreciated. So even though it was 11:00 PM and close to bedtime, I wrote a hysterical historical piece that I’ll share later in the week, after NYC Midnight tabulates my entry. I emailed it to my mentor who hasn’t replied to it yet. Either he’s busy or he was appalled. Or both. We’ll find out. 

I was unable to edit the piece, which I normally spend several hours on (off and on) during these competitions. I just whipped it out and submitted it. That’s all I was capable of, but we’ll see how it does. Sonya helped me write it, and she thought it was hilarious. (You’re allowed to have more than one writer work on the assignments.) 

The men in the writers group were really validating about the abuse I experienced while growing up. That was nice. Sonya said she wants to hear my mom’s side of things, like what was stressing her out, and why did she act the way she did? I might call her later and ask. My goal for the memoir as far as portraying her is to make it quite clear that she’s a nicer mother once I’m an adult, but it’s hard for me to articulate what made her change, since it’s a mystery to me any which way I look at it. Yeah, I guess people mellow, and she’s less stressed now, which Sonya pointed out, but you still have to wonder. Huh. Lately she’s been a wonderful mother! And she keeps telling me how much she loves me. (She’s never claimed not to love me. Any verbal abuse was of some other sort.) 

So being here has been a great experience all around! I hope everyone out there is having a great day today! 

Watch out, Prague! Meg is in da house!

Here I am on vacay!! I’m at Sonya’s writers group as we speak. They spend several hours just sitting at the table here, writing, so I worked on a 250-word story for the current contest at NYC Midnight, and now I figured I’d blog. I’m supposed to be beta reading for the other members, but I can’t figure out for the life of me how to work with documents on this device. I’ll ask Sonya at break time which should be… well, now.

Traveling here was fun. The first flight from Louisville to Washington, DC, went well. But I was using the restroom in DC when an overzealous custodian started mopping underneath my door. I’m not freaking kidding. It’s like, I’m in there with my pants down engaging in intimate acts, and there’s a mop coming under my bathroom door with aggressive fervor.

So then when I exited the restroom a few minutes later, I walked right into security tape that said the restroom was closed. It sure hadn’t been there when I’d entered! I decided to be all drama-queen about it for fun, so I stood there with my hands on my hips until a male employee ran over to me and pulled aside the tape, thus freeing me.

The main flight from DC to Germany was interesting. It was the red eye, and by some miracle, I had the whole row of seats all to myself—all three by the window. (I love window seats!) So I put up the armrests and lay down on my cozy travel pillows and got doped up on Ambien. (I used to take Ambien nightly but have gone off of it as of two years ago. However, I still take it for travel or other similar difficulties.)

Ambien causes hallucinations because it’s hypnotic. As in, from what I understand, it hallucinates you to sleep, for lack of a better way to put it. So I was lying there, convinced that one of my long fingernails was on fire and I was supposed to do something with it, like light part of the plane, or something. Then my conscious mind interjected with, Meg, you keep your fingernails—all of them—cut short due to your fingernail phobias. You’re clearly hallucinating. 

And then I was convinced that the people sitting in front of me were talking about me and also trying to talk to me. My conscious mind interjected again, this time with, Meg, there’s only one person sitting in that row, and he’s lying down. You’re clearly still hallucinating, you doped-up idiot. 

Then I fell asleep.

At Germany, they shuttled us across the airport, but it was too little, too late. There was no chance I was going to make my next and final flight from there to Prague, even though I’d had the foresight to have layovers longer than an hour. The second flight had gone way over.

Demoralized, I briefly considered taking up residence in the German airport, but then I decided I wouldn’t be happy with that long-term.

(By the way, Sonya’s device is doing autocorrect, so if you read anything strange, that could be why. I never use autocorrect at home.)

Sadly, I had to “leave” the airport in order to get customer service. Ugh. But I did eventually find the airline’s help desk, and they said I could take the next flight at noon. (I’d missed the 9:40 AM flight.) And feeling duly guilty, they gave me a $15 airport credit for food or whatever.

*****

Okay, we just got back from lunch, during which time Sonya and her friend tried to convert me to their political party. It was fun! And anyone can try. But I don’t have a solid mind for politics one way or the other. Now, where was I?

Oh, right. So I had to re-enter the airport, which meant essentially going through entry security, which I’d already tolerated in Louisville. In Germany it was pretty bad. They frisked me completely, looked down my pants (holy shit! What did they expect to find?), and tagged my bag as having something bad in it. The guy pulled out my camera and said, “Maybe you should’ve taken this out.”

I grunted.

Then he procured my headphones. “And this!”

I sighed.

“What else do you have in here?!” he asked.

I was glad I’d left my shrunken head and modest taxidermy collection at home. “Uh…”

And then he stumbled upon my tampon and panty liners collection. Perfect.

“There’s a trace of something contraband on your camera,” he told me. Because, of course there was. (Like, what the freak?! It’s a camera! I take photos with it!) He then called over the police. No shit. I tried not to freak out. In German, the policeman must’ve told him that it was okay before walking away, because the man then winked at me and told me to have a good trip. I chuckled nervously and tried not to run for it, feeling that that would make me look guilty… of something.

Meg, you know you’re guilty half the time. 

Darned straight. I won’t sit here and deny it. 

So then upon re-entering the airport, I looked at the time. It was around 11:00 AM, and I was still in Germany, and poor Sonya had been expecting me to arrive in Prague at 10:40. Oops. I resolved to find a way to contact her. Hmm… there were no pay phones anywhere. What to do?!

I went to the Lufthansa lounge (whatever that is) and asked if they could place a call for me, or send a text. The two ladies there were nice, and one handed me her cellphone. Not being much of a texter (I always use a full-sized keyboard), I barely managed to type:

Meg arrival 1:00

And this was the woman’s response: “That’s all you want to text? At least put a period on it!”

Well, she told me. And I’m a writer, for crying out loud! So as she wandered away to help someone else, I modified my text thusly:

Dearest Sonya, I hope this correspondence finds you well. I fear I’ve been detained in Germany for longer than expected. I shall arrive at 1:00 PM and hope to find you there forthwith. My heart longs to see the city of Prague once again. In the meantime, I remain your humble and obedient servant, now and forevermore, Meggerz. 

The woman returned and seemed to approve of my modified text message, which she sent for me.

Feeling more relaxed, I went and waited for my flight. I bought $15 worth of snacks at a shop: a large pretzel, two German snack bars (both of which were good), bottled water (I can’t have artificial sweeteners, so when in doubt, it has to be water), and an apple. I ate the food and then boarded the final flight.

On that flight, I wasn’t allowed to keep my backpack with me because I’d been seated in the emergency exit row. Goodness! I was supposed to help in case of an emergency. I can guarantee you that I’d be horrible at that. Fortunately, the plane didn’t crash and burn.

After exiting the plane, I wondered if I’d have to go through any checkpoints, but there were none. And then there was Sonya! She didn’t recognize me at all because of how I’ve cut off all my hair into a pixie, but she was glad to see me! And she hadn’t gotten my text due to cellphone issues on her end. Instead, she’d simply stayed at the airport for four hours, staunchly awaiting my inevitable arrival. Good friends like Sonya are worth gold.

That was Wednesday and Thursday. Yesterday, Friday, I slept all day and all night. Now, here I am at Sonya’s writers group meeting, where we apparently just sit at a table and write. I can do that! But my Bluetooth keyboard that I brought is so freaking noisy that I’m feeling self-conscious.

Also, I’m supposed to be writing a microfiction story for NYC Midnight of 250 words, but I’m too socially stimulated to write anything good. Ugh. The contest might be a write-off for me. (I think I can blog pretty well, but writing fiction is harder when I’m braindead or overwhelmed.)

It’s great being here in Prague. Sonya’s got me on a vegan diet of vegetables and gluten-free bread. And macaroons. I don’t know how she does it—live here independently. She’s from the US like I am, but I don’t see myself being able to move here, learn the language, learn my way around, function at a job, and so forth.

I should go lie down! This writers group location has a loft with a sofa!

I’m done with my room! YAY!

So, I’m leaving town the day after tomorrow!! I’ve been working tirelessly on cleaning my room and rearranging the furniture, and as of right now, it’s all done! I’m glad I tackled it, because it has made the time go by. And it was worth it, because my room looks great right now.

Only one photo came out all that well. Although it looks awesome up here, I’m not great at pictures. Hold on…

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On the left is a small table I made. The larger piece with the TV on it was made by my late grandfather Ed. Now, he had it painted mustard yellow, so I disassembled it, painted it rainbow, and then put it all back together. It used to be a hideous monstrosity in the basement, but now I love it!

Okay, I did some photo cropping:

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Here’s my bed with the bookshelf I made abutting it! The bookshelf has pretty brown floral wallpaper on its back! My bed isn’t neatly made, and this isn’t a great photo, but that’s my favorite blanket! (I’ll let you all try to guess why.) My mom got it for me for Christmas in 2017, if I recall.

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Here’s a sitting area! You can see part of the large dog we have. That’s about a third or a fourth of her.

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I made the white chest (it has interior storage) and the rainbow table next to it! The rainbow table has pipe legs, which is hard to see in the photo. (I certainly didn’t make the legs! I bought them on Amazon and attached them via their plates.) That’s my exercise machine obscuring the other furniture. I’ve had those flowers for twenty or twenty-five years now, so they were definitely worth whatever I paid for them!

So now, after all my hard work, I have a great area up here for writing my NaNovel this November. YAY! So everything’s going great!

I’ll be on here blogging during vacay to capture the fun experience as it unfolds. I bought a bluetooth keyboard and mouse set to use with the tablet that Sonya always loans me. (She said it doesn’t have normal plug-in ports.) I know I’ll be on vacay, but I intend to work on my memoir there. I’ll be meeting and hanging out with her writers group, and I’ll need to edit my submissions for them and beta read their submissions, hence the keyboard and mouse.

It’ll be fun to be at the computer in a different environment. I love Sonya’s apartment. Outside are schoolchildren playing behind a local school. It’s such a pleasant atmosphere. The building’s gorgeous, and so is the street. Last time I visited, she and I took nightly walks through some woods near a restaurant and up a hill. It was always great fun. Sometimes that’s all we did, if she had to work, or whatever. I’m not brave enough to venture out on my own yet, and that’s another reason to be glad I’ll have internet.

I haven’t been getting enough sleep because I’ve been waking up too early. So much excitement! I’m hoping I can stay asleep on travel day until 10:30 AM. Toward that goal, tomorrow I’m going to hit the gym once or twice. If that doesn’t wear me out, I don’t know what will. Today I woke up at 8:00 and was conked. Fortunately, I fell back to sleep. I feel fine now, but I don’t want to be sleep-deprived during travel!

My flight doesn’t leave until 2:45 PM. I intend to arrive around two to three hours prior. I’ll take a shower first, because Sonya’s showerhead is broken. But I like the way she thinks. She’s going to get a man to come over and fix it while we’re both there so we can have someone to flirt with. [Nods.] Nice! She even says you can rent a “husband” for household tasks in Prague. I’d love that!

Well, I hope everyone out there is having a great day!

The day the friendship died.

Dear Amy: My husband and I are retired. We have a good life in a city that we moved to about seven years ago.

We’ve been able to make lots of friends. I’m so pleased by the variety of people in our friend group.

What I’m not pleased about is that one of my dearest female friends, “Marge,” has a husband, “Mike,” who seems to insert himself into all kinds of situations where I would prefer that he not be.

Mike spends more time on Facebook than Marge does, and he seems to be “friends” with everybody in our social circle, which is pretty large.

The problem is that this guy has no filters. He comments on everything, is often loud and inappropriate, and is sometimes vulgar.

I think he thrives on being the center of attention.

I don’t believe there is a mean bone in his body, but there are days when just seeing his name on Facebook makes me want to shut my phone off.

Marge and I are close enough that we have talked a lot about our marriages, and we both agree that our spouses have their good and their bad points. She knows that Mike can be a nuisance.

There is at least one other woman in our social community who had similar feelings about Mike. She told Marge how she felt, and I’m pretty certain it has damaged their long-term relationship.

Do you have any advice for me?

I just don’t know if I have the patience to put up with Mike for the long run.

— Frustrated Friend

Frustrated Friend: Based on how you describe this, it seems that your connection with “Mike” on social media is a regular trigger for you. So, turn off his microphone! If you aren’t exposed to his constant comments and obnoxious behavior on Facebook, you will be able to put Mike on a shelf until you are forced into his actual company again.

Mike is his own man. “Marge” is not in charge of him, and so why did your other mutual friend report her feelings about the man to Marge, instead of responding to him directly? Don’t make the same mistake.

The unspoken rule about marriage is: “I can criticize my spouse, but if you do, I’ll be forced to defend.”

Marge knows her husband is obnoxious and vulgar. He’s the bull in her china shop.

Respond to Mike when you’re in his presence, but continue to develop your friendship with Marge in his absence. (c) Ask Amy

[Editing note: Ask Amy named Mike’s wife “Meg”, so I changed her name to “Marge” for purposes of simplification, since my name is Meg. I generally never alter advice questions and answers, instead printing them as they appear.]

I get what Ask Amy is saying here: the letter writer should deal with Mike directly instead of complaining to Marge. The implication seems to be that the letter writer should unfriend Mike. (Unfollowing him wouldn’t prevent him from posting on her posts, would it?)

Here’s the problem. I once had a similar situation, and I followed Ask Amy’s advice: I dealt with the person directly. It got me burned.

My best friend used to be Kristi, several years ago. Kristi is a nice woman who has two sons who were teenagers back when I knew them all. I went to visit Kristi and her family, and we had a great time.

However, her younger son, who might’ve been fifteen at the time, decided after my visit that I’m not “cool”. (I took out their trashcan with my car, among other things.) I was friends with Adam on facebook, and he interacted with adults regularly through his interest in cross-country biking. He seemed to be advanced for his age, as far as communicating with adults.

So when he quit “liking” my comments on his posts, where I (and all the other adults) would write, “Great bike ride!” or, “Great job making the honor roll again!” I asked him if everything was okay. He gave me a bogus line about spending less time on social media. However, that didn’t explain to me why he kept liking the other adults’ posts and not mine.

Several months passed, and I posted our “friendversary”. He ignored it, even though his mother and my aunt both “liked” it or “loved” it, respectively.

I shrugged it off. Maybe he wasn’t into friendversaries. They were pretty lame, come to think of it.

But the very next day was his friendversary with a woman biker who was also a friend of his family’s. He wrote on it, and I quote, “Here’s to many more years of friendship to come!”

I was through.

Now, whatever reasons the teenagers of today have for not thinking I’m cool, I don’t want to know. It was hard enough not being cool when I was their age. No reason to relive the glory years.

I thought about it and decided not to go to his mother. Adam was a mature young man who interacted with adults all the time. I wasn’t going to get him in trouble with his mommy for ignoring me on FB! So I just unfriended him and continued with my life. And see? This is exactly what Ask Amy is advising here!

Three pleasant days passed. My self-esteem was improving, and I was moving on with my life. Then all hell broke loose.

Kristi approached me. “Meg, did you unfriend Adam?”

I couldn’t think of how to tactfully say that it should be between me and Adam, so I went with honesty. “Yeah, sorry. He doesn’t really like me anymore, so it felt like the right decision.”

“How could you unfriend my son?”

“Kristi, he doesn’t like me. He thinks I’m not cool.” I gave her the evidence.

“He didn’t reply to your friendversary?” she asked. “Hold on.” I waited. “He says he never saw it,” she reported.

I scoffed. “Well, he’s lying. This won’t affect our friendship, will it?”

It affected our friendship.

Now, to be clear, I don’t believe for one minute that Adam was crushed or hurt by my unfriending of him. I never project my relationship issues onto people who are underage, which is why I blithely went along with his flagrant crap about spending less time on social media. I still believe, despite Kristi’s hysterics, that Adam was glad to be rid of me, and that Kristi was in denial about that. I would never have unfriended Adam as a means to hurt him, since he was under eighteen.

“How dare you call my son a liar!” she yelled.

“Kristi, of course he’s lying. He doesn’t want to disappoint you by admitting that he thinks I’m not cool. Put yourself in his shoes. It would hurt your feelings! He’s trying to protect your feelings, that’s all.” I truly believed this and had no real animosity toward Adam.

“No! My son is NOT a liar!”

I groaned. “Look, I don’t see anything wrong with his lying, given these circumstances. Again, he doesn’t want to disappoint you. He doesn’t want to admit that he thinks your best friend is lame.”

“No! I’ve taught my children never to lie!”

Because of course she had. I was screwed.

“Lying is wrong,” she added.

(Personally, I couldn’t disagree more. I’m a big believer in tact, privacy protection, and discretion.)

The sad thing was that this created an impasse. I’m normally a huge fan of backpedaling, but in this instance, for me to say, “I believe you. I’m sorry I called your kid a liar. I know Adam would never lie,” would require me to lie! Oh, the bitter irony! And once I knew how much she loathed liars, I didn’t have it within me to lie to her face like that.

And thus our friendship withered on the vine.

It could happen to this letter writer, too, if she follows Ask Amy’s advice:

Mike: “Marge, why’d your friend Anna unfriend me?” 

Marge: “What?! Anna did what?!” [Flies into a violent rage.]

After all, Ask Amy says it right here:

The unspoken rule about marriage is: “I can criticize my spouse, but if you do, I’ll be forced to defend.”

So I’m not sure that Ask Amy’s approach is the right one, seeing as it destroyed one of my most cherished friendships. And all I have left of it is this great story to tell about the day our friendship died.

That said, Ask Amy’s advice might be good. The whole debacle I’ve outlined here might’ve been Kristi’s fault because she made me answer for unfriending her son, even though it was between me and him, and even though I’d wager anything that he wasn’t upset by it. It could be a sign of how strong the friendship is, if Marge accepts the letter writer’s unfriending of Mike, or if Marge goes postal over it. I guess for me and Kristi, the friendship wasn’t strong enough to survive it. On some level, I’m wise enough not to blame myself for it, so there’s that.

Random updates!

I’ve got a few pieces of good news, but none of this is that exciting!

First of all, I’ve been wearing my hearing aids all the time, and I’ve adjusted to them pretty well. There are a few things about them that I don’t like, but for the most part, they’re great!

Also, I’ve actually been sleeping better ever since I started wearing the mouthguard. I love that thing! It enables me to bite my teeth together, which I can’t do without it because my teeth aren’t remotely lined up. Go figure.

And I went to the bank and put a travel notice on my debit card, and they were freakin’ nice to me and didn’t accuse me of identity theft. How lovely! And the nice man wished me happy travels. My credit card has lost my business that I was going to throw their way by using it primarily in Prague. Oh well! This is why good customer service is essential. The bank has my loyalty now; it’s in, and the credit card is out, points toward LL Bean merch be damned.

I’ve been working myself to death to deep-clean my room. I’m motivated by my upcoming travels, because I want to come home to a nice, tidy, cozy room where I can write a great NaNovel for NaNoWriMo in November.

I’ve still been hard at work on my memoir, and Sonya’s writers group has been incredibly helpful. The only issue is that one beta reader doesn’t like the stream of consciousness writing. I wouldn’t call it stream of consciousness writing. But what she means is that I drift from topic to topic, whereas I should have better transitions or segues; and I need to focus on the larger scenes instead of throwing small random tidbits in there. With that in mind, I’m going to do another whole edit after this one where I highlight subject changes and focus on what to include and what not to include, or what to expand upon, etc.

I’m so excited to travel next week that there aren’t words! YAY! And I’ll get to meet the writers in Sonya’s writers group who’ve been following my tragicomic life story. That should be interesting. I’ll be attending writers meetings in person! The area Sonya holds the meetings is awesome. It actually has a loft in it. I might sneak away to it if I’m sleepy and need to catch up on my rest from travel.

I hope everyone out there is having a great day!

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