Category Archives: Current Events

Good Riddance

I once had a boyfriend who accused me of cheating. He made a big stink over it, to the point where I dumped him. I never cheated on him, but I found out sometime later that he had cheated on me. While we were dating, my ex-husband once got very angry and went on about “intentions” when an ex I hadn’t heard from in years looked me up and called me out of the blue. Turns out the woman my ex-husband pursued before he met me had a boyfriend. When people make a fuss over things like that, it’s often because they’ve done something similar. They will say they “just know” what someone else’s intentions are, but the reason they “just know” is because they, too, have that mindset.

This is why, to my dying breath, I will maintain that the entire Trump presidency was a fraud owing to Russian interference. Trump has always been, is now, and ever shall be a dishonest man who cuts corners, cheats in his professional dealings, and solicits help from scummy people. His presidency was just more of the same, and this, aside from all of the lawsuits waiting for him tomorrow afternoon, is a very big reason he accused Joe Biden of cheating. Trump cheated, himself—and even then, Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes in the popular vote. He was content with the electoral college then, but when the tides turned, his own sense of the double-standard led him to level accusations of fraud.

The Trump presidency will be recorded as one of the most corrupt in American history, in many ways more corrupt than Richard Nixon’s. His legacy is one of destruction–destruction of peace and unity, destruction of education, destruction of science, destruction of international relations, destruction of health, destruction of the economy, destruction of the environment, destruction of democracy–all of it in the name of personal advancement and egoism. He is a mean, hateful, petty, narcissistic man, one who gives new meaning to the term “ugly American,” and he brought that out in his supporters. By engaging in reprehensible behavior, he gave implicit permission for others to do the same, and by and large, his followers rose to the occasion. If there is one thing about his presidency that we should be grateful for, it is that by casting the nation into darkness, he allowed the racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic cockroaches to crawl out of the crevices they had been hiding in for generations, so now we know who they are, how very sick this country really is, and how much work needs to be done.

So on this, the last day of a four-year national disgrace, I say good riddance, for we are, indeed, better off as a nation to be rid of him. May we never know another like him.

The now-iconic image by Dominick Reuter / Reuters is how I will remember this guy.

Year-End Q & A

Saw this on another site I frequent.

What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?

Let my roots get to two inches long.

Did you stick to any resolutions? Are you making any for 2021?
I don’t remember what resolutions I made last year, but for 2021, my goal is to work on myself and remove negative forces and people from my life.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one close to me, but my niece did.

Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

What countries did you visit?
Not a one.

What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?
Peace and quiet. The pool renovation project outside my window that was supposed to be finished on November 30 is nowhere near done. That is one reason among many that I am moving.

What date(s) from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 13. That was the last day the staff worked in the office before the organization went to telecommuting for the pandemic. November 7, when AP called the election for Biden. People in my neighborhood were all cheering, hooting and hollering, banging pots and pans, and rejoicing in general.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not telling someone what I think of her. Seriously. It was a monumental effort at times.

What was your biggest failure?
Telling someone else what I do think of her. She wasn’t worth the thumb-typing.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Except for the erythromelalgia flare, not really, no. My back bugs me once in a while, but that’s life.

What was the best thing you bought?
A new mattress and box spring. Been sleeping better.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and all the people who marched peacefully in the BLM protests. Not gung-ho about the bad apples who resorted to vandalism, but the vast majority of demonstrators kept it peaceful.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Tangerine Mussolini and the Wicked Witch of the West Wing. Appalled and outraged, though, not depressed. What is depressing is that so many people thought that asshat had something to offer this country and got on board with his hate machine. I am also appalled by the Karens and Chads splattered all over YouTube, the ones throwing tantrums about wearing masks or going on racist rants. I’m not naive by a long shot—in fact, I’m naturally a bit of a cynic—but I lost a lot of faith in humanity this year. Not sure I’ll ever get it all back.

Where did most of your money go?
Aside from living expenses, probably games and other sources of home entertainment.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Biden winning. (Do you see a pattern here?) Moving.

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Neither, but I am more aggravated and annoyed.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Tarot, journaling, writing fiction and poetry, exercise, proper nutrition.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Social media. Getting back to that resolution for 2021, I’m going to be a lot less present on Facebook. Already reined it in. Call it the triumph of cynicism, but I’ve come to realize that I just don’t care for most people’s opinions on anything, and there is a lot of rage-inducing ignorance and bullshit on there that ultimately isn’t worth so much as a skim. Debate me when you know the difference between your and you’re, its and it’s, and there, their, and they’re. If English is your first language and you’re an adult but you’ve yet to master fourth-grade grammar, I can’t take what you say about science, interpersonal dynamics, the economy, foreign relations, and philosophy seriously. Maybe that’s arrogant of me to say, but literacy is a good thing.

Tonight, he dines in HELL!

Did you fall in love in 2020?
Nope.

What was your favorite TV program?
Versailles. The Medici series. Binged all of Breaking Bad, also outstanding.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is such a strong word, so no. However, I have come to regard a few people with disdain and distaste.

What was the best book you read?
Mistress of Rome, by Kate Quinn, the first in her series about Rome. The whole series was great!

What did you want and get?
A release from my lease. A week from today I will be moving. Cannot wait!

What did you want and not get?
Six winning numbers.

What was your favorite film of this year?
I don’t know if I watched any 2020 releases.

What did you do on your birthday?
Nothing. I stopped giving a rat’s arse about my birthday years ago.

What would have made 2020 better?
We could have done without the pandemic.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?
Yoga pants, tank top, flannel sweater, bare feet, no make-up.

What kept you sane?
Books, binge-watching TV, games, jigsaw puzzles, journaling, writing here, exercise, telling my bird exactly what I thought of the people who irritated me. Also, an acoustic series by one of my favorite bands, Poets of the Fall, really helped. It gave me something reliable and consistently beautiful and good to look forward to every month.

Here’s one of my favorites, which blew me away because the original is reminiscent of mid- to late-80s dance synth. I like this one better. It’s a mood.

Who did you miss?
Friends, the people in a city explorers group I belong to.

Was 2020 a good year for you?
Not really, and not because of the pandemic, although some of the things that made me miserable are indirectly related to the pandemic. For example, I might not have had to deal with the absolutely absurd amount of construction noise in my apartment building while trying to work at home if so many people hadn’t moved out because of job loss or classes going remote, thus giving the landlord the opportunity to renovate a bunch of units at once. Not sure if they would have renovated the pool regardless, though I suspect that contractor desperation factored into the decision.

Also, some people need to get a grip on their anxiety and either learn how to manage it or seek help in doing so, instead of putting it out into the universe so that it affects those around them or foisting it on other people as though it’s their responsibility to relieve that anxiety. I dealt with a lot of that this year, and not for nothing, but my compassion stops short when it comes to people using things that happened to them 20, 30, 40, even 50 or 60 years ago to justify poor behavior now. Quite frankly, I think that’s a manipulative, childish, selfish, and shitty thing to do. I remind myself, again and again, that how other people react to things or manage their anxiety is on them and I can only manage my own reactions. But that doesn’t mean I don’t grow weary and resentful of having to do so in the first place, particularly in situations where I can’t just walk away from someone. Not going to lie: Sometimes I want to tell a few people to grow the hell up and deal with it.

What was your favorite moment of the year?
See Biden, above.

What was your least favorite moment of the year?
Having to push back on various and sundry for the sake of my own well-being. There were a lot of those moments this year as well. It blows my mind how much I had to defend my boundaries, my personal space, and the sanctuary of home at a time when increased boundaries, personal space, and time at home are basically being forced upon everyone. I guess some people just have such an immense need to try to control others that when they can’t, they push even harder. The parrying is exhausting, and lemme tellya, that’s going to change in 2021, too.

Where were you when 2020 began?
Home.

Who were you with?
My bird, Inigo.

Where will you be when 2020 ends?
Home.

Who will you be with when 2020 ends?
Inigo.

Did you break up with anyone in 2020?
Nope.

Did you make any new friends in 2020?
Nope, though I made a few acquaintances.

What was your favorite month of 2020?
This will sound terrible because it was during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, but May. I loved sitting out on my balcony with Inigo, chilling with snacks and a book. May is a great month in the D.C. area, warm but not hot, and no bugs yet.

How many concerts did you see in 2020?
None.

Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2020?
Nope.

Did you do a lot of drugs in 2020?
I don’t do drugs. They rot your brain and destroy your health. I have seen entirely too many lives ruined when people who dabbled in recreational use got addicted. No thanks.

What was your proudest moment of 2020?
I don’t know if this is pride, but it did feel good when some of the sources I interviewed for various articles said they loved my work.

What was your most embarrassing moment of 2020?
I didn’t have any. It’s hard to be embarrassed about anything when you’re not around other people.

If you could go back in time to any moment of 2020 and change something, what would it be?
It would be the moment Trump decided to disregard the burgeoning pandemic and instead chose to bullshit his way through it. I mean, I can see why he did it—he has his head up his arse about public health (among other things) and has no earthly clue about leading for the greater good, so it was easier for him to stick his head in the sand and downplay it. But a lot of people died unnecessarily because the U.S. government didn’t take a strong position and lead in a bold and innovative way, and the responsibility for that rests squarely on his shoulders. I consider his behavior throughout the pandemic to be a crime against humanity.

What songs will remind you of 2020?
See the aforementioned acoustic series by Poets of the Fall.

What are your plans for 2021?
I’m going to gather my resources and move on in myriad ways. (She blathered cryptically.)

And Now for Something Not Necessarily Completely Different

Holidailies asks: What new things did you do, see, or experience this year?

I answer: Well, that’s a loaded question! A knee-jerk reaction is to say “a global pandemic,” but it’s really not the first one of my 54-year lifetime. The Hong Kong flu pandemic, which was an H3N2 flu, happened in 1968, when I was 2 years old. Not that I remember it, but my siblings do. Then there was the swine flu pandemic of 2009-2019, which was an H1N1 flu—a new strain of the virus that caused the Spanish Flu and the pandemic of 1918. However, it’s the first time I’ve ever had to adjust my lifestyle for a pandemic, and it’s a safe bet that many people on the planet can say the same thing.

Not all of the changes have been unwelcome. I don’t miss commuting, the morning rush to do hair and make-up, and bras. I’m fairly introverted, so it wasn’t a big deal for me to stock up and stay home, and I have yet to get bored. I do miss happy hours, Sunday brunches, group hikes, and holiday parties, however. Last December was a bit of a whirlwind with holiday gatherings, a day trip for a city hike around Philadelphia, and a party hosted by one of my fellow hikers. It was more social activity than I normally had, and I was just getting the hang of filling up my calendar and then boom, everything stopped. I know I’ll see everyone again, and I look forward to the time we can all whoop it up, although I will probably need to brush up on my social skills first because I’m used to just blurting whatever is on my mind to Inigo.

My little therapist.

Also worried about the fate of democracy in America, which is a first for me. But let’s not get into that, except to say that after I am done moving I would be more than happy to donate my boxes and packing materials for the current occupant of the White House to use when he is evicted.

Ah, this list should have been longer and happier. My New Year’s Resolution for 2020 was to take three trips, with three rules:

  • One had to be purely for pleasure
  • One had to be somewhere I’d never been before
  • New York and Baltimore didn’t count, as I’m from Long Island originally and in normal times I try to get to Baltimore at least once, if not twice, a year for a girls’ night with some friends

I could mix and match—I could travel somewhere I’d never been before for work and I could travel somewhere I’d been before purely for pleasure to visit friends, or any other combination, but one place had to be new to me and one trip had to be just for fun.

For 2020 I figured there would be at least one work trip, one to San Antonio and possibly one to Philadelphia. I’m a little bummed about not going to San Antonio because next week I would have been at La Cantera Resort and Spa, at least during the day, for a meeting that is one of the highlights of my professional year. But after my last experience in San Antonio, maybe the silver lining is being spared another bout of lead legs.

I also wanted to take two pleasure trips, as well, both to places I’d never been before: Either Arizona or Michigan to visit friends (or maybe both), and to Finland to be a tourist and see Poets of the Fall, a band I fell in love with six years ago.

So much for all of that.

And the award for Buzzkill of the Year goes to…

Not sure it will happen in 2021, either. It really depends on how the pandemic goes. I’m not all that optimistic, but at least moving to a less expensive apartment will enable me to put aside a nice travel fund for when the the time comes.

Someday, boys. Someday. In the meantime, I have my memories of ProgPower 2019 in Atlanta to keep me going.

Here’s one of my favorite songs of theirs. It came out in 2017, but this year they’ve been doing one song a month in a special series and they premiered this one on my birthday, so double whammy of yay. I love the message, and it’s so utterly fitting for what we’re all going through with this pandemic. Consider it an aural hug from me to you.