life

Death of friend, politics invading life, Buffy abusing Spike: Catchall

Dealing with several things all at once:

–1: The death of a dear friend of 30 years, the one in my College Memoirs whom I called “Pearl,” my confidante.  It happened two months ago.  But us college friends, the old roommies and InterVarsity people, the group who shared “Journal” e-mails until Facebook arose–we weren’t told.

One of us got re-married in mid-October.  I went to the wedding, disappointed to see that Pearl was not there.

She died later that week.

We last were on her page in September, when she posted about her child.

The Journal group found out around November 18, when somebody went to Pearl’s FB page and then posted what she discovered.

But that day, I was dealing with all sorts of headaches regarding publishing my books, and wasn’t on FB at all.  So I didn’t find out until a week ago Saturday, when I went to her FB to see what she was up to lately.

It took a moment to process the posts about her death, and once I did, I was just–stunned.  Heartbroken.

We were just coming off COVID quarantine when this happened.  (We’re all vaccinated, so COVID was just a bit of a cold that made the Hubby lose his sense of smell for a couple of weeks.)  I’d hoped to go back to church the following day, only to find this late Saturday night.  Instead, I was basically catatonic.

There was a day of deep grief.  Since then I’ve been hit with this intense midlife crisis, the sense of everyone getting older and older even though I could swear we were twenty just a couple of weeks ago, the sense of impending Death.  Same thing happened after my dad died in 2016; this and COVID have intensified it.  I’ll be fine during the day, then get hit with it in the middle of the night, or when I watch a 30-year-old TV show or look at a recent picture of someone from college.

And through it all I miss Pearl, who just isn’t there anymore.

And I wonder what happened.  The family was vague, just said she had health problems and died in her sleep.  I knew about the rheumatoid arthritis; she had that in college.  But all these years, she’d managed, she’d survived various health scares.  I wonder if it was COVID.  She was vaxxed, but there was the RA.  There are also the full ICU beds because of COVID anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers selfishly refusing to take the needs of their neighbors into account.  Did she die of COVID?  Did she die because she couldn’t get needed care because COVID is overwhelming health providers?  Did COVID take yet another friend/family member?  Or was it something else entirely?

Farewell, sweet Pearl….

 

–2: This part is a bit more lighthearted.  While I was away from church pre-vaccine, we somehow acquired a large group of converts.  They were attracted through studying the church intellectually–the same way I was.  But on Sunday I sat with them and discovered a strong sense of Convertitis and Orthodox Triumphalism.

It’s very familiar.  I suffered from it myself 15 years ago, and shared it with Richard, until I began to discover that people in my new church were human, too.

Until my priest said that River of Fire was too polemic and should focus on what’s good in Orthodoxy and not what’s bad in the other churches.

Until I heard somebody yelling at a parish General Assembly.

Until I saw that most people don’t follow the fast strictly, or care about the organ and pews, or even know a lot about their own theology that the converts find so attractive.

Until I began to see the drawbacks even in following the church that claims to be unchanged since the days of the Apostles.

We have our spats and flirting; we don’t just sit all coffee hour opining about the Filioque or hating on other churches.  You’re more likely to talk about gardening or kids or the next fundraiser.

Our new converts praised the church for being so welcoming, while I remember a time when people said the opposite.

My BFF and I are more likely to wear a Prussian uniform (him–this actually happened) or a Gothy top (me) than a prayer rope or a headscarf.

Part of staying Orthodox after the honeymoon period, is accepting that the people are not perfect.

Nowadays when I talk about problems in other churches, it focuses on harm being done by bad theology, or grifters, or abuse–things like that.  It’s about harm being done to the entire Christian body by certain attitudes.  I came to Orthodoxy not to be better than other people, but to stop worrying that nearly everyone alive was destined to end up in Hell.  I came to find a loving God.  I can recognize the good in other churches that are not Orthodox.  I can also recognize that various churches–including Orthodox–can be so obsessed with doctrinal purity that they don’t accept science or life experiences that prove some of their attitudes are wrong.

 

–3: I’m facing a writing club Christmas party today.  Normally I get into these biannual parties.  The conversation used to be interesting.  But lately, it seems like everyone who shows up is retired and I have nothing in common with them, so we sit and talk about very little of interest, if anything, before the food finally comes.  Well, there’s writing, but nobody talks about that, and half the people are spouses who don’t write.

We have liberal members, but we also have a bunch of people who are right-wing religious and/or Trumpers.  Our club party in July ended with a bunch of people getting into an argument about things like CRT, right-wing talking points being flung around, and me hearing a certain loved one’s disturbing attitudes on cultural issues.

I finally got up and walked out of the house.  I was shaken and upset for days, wondering if any of these relationships could survive.  I was finally able to put it out of my head and move on.

I don’t want a repeat of this.

Then last week, after a club meeting, somebody brought up a transgender issue and I became very uncomfortable.  Frickin’ politics ruining frickin’ EVERYTHING.  It makes you not want to leave the house, except even there it isn’t safe.

 

–4: Over the past several years, since we got Hulu, I’ve been rewatching Buffy and Angel, which I hadn’t seen since one pass of re-runs after they went off the air years ago.

Last night, I got to THAT EPISODE of Buffy.  I was so disturbed that I had to google and see if I was the only one to feel this way: Spike trying to rape Buffy was NOT AT ALL in his character.

Apparently that scene was one of the writers exorcising her own demons, because Joss wanted her to do so.  But it just wasn’t something that Spike would’ve done to Buffy.  Another thing that disturbed me was how Buffy had treated him for the past couple of seasons, especially during Season 6.  I guess the writers wanted us to hate Spike, but instead I was upset with Buffy for abusing Spike.  Spike was hardly a saint, doing his own abuse, but she’d punch him, she’d sleep with him and then say he disgusted her and she can’t love him, etc. etc.  Meanwhile, she’s letting her friends say bad things about him, too.

And yes, other people have indeed noticed this.  I found articles written by women complaining that Buffy had become an abuser.  For example: Defending Spike Part 1 and Kristen Smirnov’s Domestic Abuse and Gender Role Reversal in Season 6: My Letter to Mutant Enemy.

The writers were so intent on making us hate Spike, because he was an evil soulless thing, that they did this rape scene–

when the whole time they’d been showing us Spike on a redemption arc even without a soul.  We saw Buffy falling in love with him.  We sympathized with Spike because we saw that he was in love with Buffy and that it was turning him away from evil.

But after showing us this, the writers got mad at the viewers for seeing it clearly, and accused us of being the type to write love letters to serial killers.  It was gaslighting.  Them having Spike try to rape Buffy was like them abusing US now, along with Spike’s character.  They wanted us to think that Xander’s constant snipes at Spike were Xander seeing the situation properly.  They wanted us to agree that Buffy’s self-righteous abuse of Spike was how Good and Decent People™ behave.

While reading “Defending Spike” last night, I realized that Buffy treated Spike exactly the same as Shawn treated me back in college.  And there in black and white, I saw somebody else confirm that yes, this is extremely abusive behavior.  The writer saw it as abusive when a woman does it, and pointed out that a man doing it is clearly seen as an abuser.  And well, Shawn was male.  So hey.  That explains why I always sympathized with Spike here.

Abusers can so get into your head that for years afterward you wonder if you were the actual abuser.  Shawn and Phil (also in college) both did this to me, as did the so-called “friends” who abused me a decade ago, Richard and Tracy.  That’s part of the reason for my memoirs on both college and Richard/Tracy, to try to get into what really happened and sort it out.  It’s a lot of work and reflection.  And the conclusion is that I’m not the abuser at all.  But they can make you think you are, even 30 years later, even when intellectually you know that you were the victim.

And that’s my very-long catchall catchup post.

We made it onto Colbert!

My city’s public high school made it onto the local news last week.  I hoped it would go viral (and did my best to help it along on social media).  My hopes were finally fulfilled when Stephen Colbert did this segment last night:

Don’t worry: Kai the snake is (according to social media and the principal) very friendly and perfectly harmless.  He’s also been found and returned to his home, where he’s going to stay.

(By the way, that is NOT how to pronounce Fond du Lac.)

This is how the school year began for Fond du Lac high school students: with the principal sending out hilarious e-mails/phone messages about a missing snake.  He didn’t mean them to be funny, but we couldn’t help giggling and sharing them on social media.

For more information:

Missing: Ball python flees Fond du Lac classroom

Fond du Lac High School Snake: Reptile found Friday

My favorite tweet:

 

 

 

Froggie Loves Kitty

Late last summer, a gray tree frog fell in love with our cat Creamsicle.  She’s a beautiful cat, but I never thought she’d inspire cross-species desire:

Froggie Loves Kitty 1

The frog looks and sounds like this:

 

Here are the Facebook posts I made about this last year:

Aug 28, 2018: Last night, a tiny gray frog (tree frog?) hung around on the [living room picture window] windowsill for hours. Kitty went nuts. Once, the froggie even leaned against the window [his “hand” up against the window, very casual-like] and stared at the kitty. Another time, when we were ignoring it, it made some loud chirps. I guess kitty made a “friend” (though she’d try to eat it if not for the window in between).

Sept 4: Froggie’s back, staring into the window at the cat.

Sept 5, after midnight: Froggie chirped at us again, his little throat bubbling up, so I could confirm: This is a gray tree frog.

Sept 5, afternoon: Looks like Tree Froggie left a big present on our windowsill last night. ?

Sept 6: We found Froggie hanging on the screen last night by the usual window. Kitty went crazy, batting at the window until he hopped onto the sill. (The window was closed.) The noise he made the other day while looking at the cat–that’s a tree frog mating call. I may start calling him Kermit for his inter-species crush.

This is actually unrelated, but another cute sight from Sept 6: Saw a fox on the trail today, playing in the sun, rolling around in the dirt, lying in the sun. But he saw me and off he went.

[Which reminds me of what the local newspaper posted on Facebook recently:]

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=527621554431071

Sept 8: We haven’t seen Froggie for a couple of nights. The kitty keeps looking, too. The mowers came through Thursday, so I really hope they didn’t get him.

Sept 12: We haven’t *seen* Froggie for a while, but we keep hearing that chirp nearby.

Sept 15: Froggie’s back, and oh, is Kitty excited.

Then fall/winter came and Froggie went away, hopefully just to hibernate.

But now I keep hearing a familiar sound around the house….Could it be Froggie?

Oh crap my eyes are getting old

I still remember 2001 as if it were yesterday.  I could swear Richard the Stalking Narcissist came to stay at our house last week (it was TEN YEARS AGO!!!  :O  )  I still feel like a young chick (except for the muscles which groan every time I bend over).  And if not for my hair betraying my age with increasing gray (I don’t want to bother with coloring it right now), I’d probably look 30somethingish.  But my eyes insist that I’m past 40.

I’m already so terribly nearsighted that I even need glasses to read.  Now, for the past few years, my eyes have been struggling with the switch from far to near.  It’s become harder and harder to read the liturgy book or–and this can potentially get really embarrassing–the Epistle when it’s my turn to read.  I can focus after a few minutes, but don’t usually have that much time in church.

In Greek School, going from looking at the teacher or whiteboard to my notebook has been just awful.  I have to tilt paper to read it.  And trying to do finances while the TV is on–I can see the checkbook, but I look up at Colbert, then down at my checkbook, and it’s all blurry again.

I’ve been increasing the font on my computer, and when I finally got a Kindle this year (thanks to b-day money and Amazon’s layaway plan), I set it to a big font.  Which meant that Windows 10 really frickin’ annoyed me by changing the settings so you can’t just adjust the size of your icons etc. anymore, and the default setting is Minuscule.  (I fixed that by downloading a program called System Font Size Changer, but I shouldn’t’ve had to do that!)

3 years ago, the eye doctor said I wasn’t ready for bifocals yet.  After 2 years of putting it off, we finally went back to the eye doctor last month, and he proclaimed that yes, I’m finally ready for bifocals.  Hubby already tried them and hated them, said they were like being in a fishbowl, and switched back to normals.  And my eyes are so bad that the slightest change can be very disorienting, such as when my glasses get knocked into a tilt.  So I was wary.  But the doctor talked me into trying it.

First day trying the bifocals was a nightmare!  I couldn’t see anything anymore, except up on top or down below.  I could NOT see the computer, and I spend a lot of time there with maintaining my blog, writing my novel, networking with other bloggers, that kind of thing.  Since my computer is a laptop, I only had a limited range in which to put the monitor.  So–even though I sit at a desk–I finally held it on my lap at an awkward angle, and hurt my neck trying to look at it through the lower half of my glasses.

Everything directly in front of me/my vision was a blur, making it almost impossible to do much of anything.  I couldn’t see to wipe something off the floor; stairs were dangerous; my head was killing me; and no, it didn’t get better after a day.  Some things came more into focus, but there was still that big blur in the middle of my vision.

Yes, they told me about progressives.  But they said the sides would blur, affecting my peripheral vision.  Now, with my bad eyes, everything outside the edges of my glasses is a huge blur, one reason why I prefer bigger lenses.  And I ride a bike a lot, since driving is dangerous with my NVLD.  So I have to look over my shoulder before changing lanes.  With my bad eyes, this is already difficult with normal glasses, because physics force me to look for traffic outside the edges.  I already crane my neck trying to see.  So blurring the sides of progressives–My gosh, I can foretell getting creamed by a car I could not see.  I’d really rather not get creamed, which is why I ride a bike instead of a car in the first place.  And Hubby said progressives were like a fishbowl.

If this is my fate–wearing glasses for the rest of my life which take a minor inconvenience (trouble focusing up close) and compensate by screwing up all the rest of my vision–then I say, screw that fate!

SO–back I go to Shopko next day.  Fortunately, Shopko does not force you to stick with bifocals, like some doctors apparently do.  For a short time, you can get a refund and replace the bifocals with regular single vision.  So I did that, and got myself a pair of prescription reading glasses, since generic reading glasses are just a big blur.

Maybe if, one of these days, I take on some kind of job which requires quick changes from far to near, I can get a pair of work bifocals.  But for now, a pair of reading glasses and a pair for everything else is doing just fine.  And aaaaaahhhhhh, what a relief it is to put on those reading glasses and see in focus again!  The words are big!  I can even read Doonesbury again!  (I’d been reading it with a magnifying glass.)  I can balance my checkbook while watching TV.  I can see the paper at Greek School without tilting it.

I hear lots of people love bifocals, or love progressives.  Apparently they adjust quickly.  Well, I’m not one of them.  And no, I didn’t want to spend a few days or a week or a month adjusting.  But now, I’m happy again.  🙂

 

New Kitty: Creamsicle

About 8 months after our last kitty died, we finally adopted a new one.  I still miss Merry and Pippin, but this new kitty is a sweetie.  I don’t have a picture of her striking eyes–kind of an amber, maybe–but I do have this:

New Kitty: Creamsicle 3

The Humane Society said she’s a year and a half, but the vet records said she’s only a year old.  She’s so tiny that I think a year is more likely.  And she settled right into the house and the family.  Loves affection, loves playing with our son.

 

%d bloggers like this: