Archive for Friends

He died and I don’t know if I should offer her my condolences or congratulations?

Posted in Life, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by urbannight

I’m trying to process my thoughts and reactions.

Once upon a time in a land far far away a young woman didn’t have a very good home life. As a result, she married someone in order to get out of her parents home. Because back then, you usually lived at home even after school and college if you didn’t manage to get married during college.

So she ends up living on a farm, being allergic to all animals other than camels and llamas (which is why here vet degree turned out useless), married to someone with the same issues she had growing up in her parents home.

She eventually has enough and leave him and moves back home swearing she will never marry again. She has never really shared details of what her home life was like or what finally happened that caused her to leave him. But once again she became desperate enough to leave her parents home that she married again. She said that this husband was better than the first because, “at least he didn’t hit.”

When I met her, her son from her first marriage was grown and she was coming to our stitching group. When her husband would let her. He didn’t like it when she went out by herself. He didn’t like it when she drove. And when they went on trips, he had to do the driving. So she knew something was wrong when he asked her to take over. In fact, she ended up having to take him to the hospital.

For the next 8 years or so, (I don’t think it has been a full decade) he has been ill and needed a great deal of care.

While we don’t know a lot of details about the marriage before he fell ill, we do know he was manipulative and emotionally abusive and a serious control freak. After he became ill, is was worse in some ways and better. On one hand, she could get out a little more. Especially whenever he was hospitalized.

On the other hand, his treatment of her got worse. One day he had her drive him to the bank so he could make sure her name was not on any of the accounts and make sure she wouldn’t have any access to money. He was also contacting a lawyer so she or her son would never get any of his money. He wanted to give power of attorney over to a relative that did not live near them.

She eventually convinced him that this was a bad idea. For the simple reason that she would not be able to pay any hospital bills and if he was hospitalized and completely out of it, as had happened a number of times, she would not be able to okay any treatment until they were able to get the relative to fly in.

One time he almost killed himself because he was taking his medications wrong. She rushed him to the hospital, they got him straightened out. After that they told her that even thought he seems okay enough that he ought to be able to keep track of things like that, he wasn’t really and she needed to keep track of it all.

And then she stopped coming to stitching because the woman she came with started working had worked and her job included weekends. This husband was only okay with my friend going places with this woman. Maybe it was because she was a stay at home mom and wife for so many years that he thought she ‘knew her place’. As the woman is a wiccan, he probably had no idea the amount of support she gave our friend and how much we all kept trying to work on this friend’s self esteem issues.

This woman I’m talking about is a wonderful woodcarver. She calls her style crude primitive but in actuality it is not crude at all. It is slightly on the primitive style but that is a legitimate carving group that refers to a look but not to any lack of skill. She also has a huge heart and spends a lot of her time knitting mittens and hats for someone she knows in the social work field. These get handed out to kids and poor families if they go in during the cold months.

This woman had her sense of self-esteem and self-worth beaten into the ground by her family and two husbands but was not broken. She is stronger than she thinks she is. We always thought she was strong enough to stand on her own but I think, in the end, it wasn’t because she was afraid to try but more because she just didn’t have any idea on how to do it.

She is also a bit of a technophobe and she refused to have anything to do with the internet. To her, a computer is only a fancy word processor. So the other day, she called a mutual friend who owns the store at which our stitching group meets, to inform her that her husband had died. The shop owner then disseminated the news via a media form most of the stitching group would see.

My first reactions was elation. Followed very quickly by guilt that I could feel that way. It turns out I wasn’t the only one. The person who spread the news said that when our friend called her, she didn’t know whether to say, “I’m sorry,” or “Congratulations”.

At that point the other day, our friend was “ecstatic with the idea of just her and Agnes (the cat) sharing the house. She’s also excited that she can go to McD’s any time she wants now without having to plan an excuse.”

How bad does a marriage have to be when that is a woman’s reaction to the death of her husband? From every hint I’ve ever heard, I think this is being freed from a prison or sorts.

The Sad Thing about Facebook, Friends and Politics.

Posted in Advertising, Life, Politics, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2012 by urbannight

I often repost fun pictures or amusing political items.  Most of my political items make fun of just about everything under the sun and are not rampant, hit a person over the head with a cast iron frying pan, propaganda.  In fact, most of the ones I post are more about dialogue and less about propaganda. 

This is not true of some of my friends.  Some of real friends, with whom I was once able to discuss different viewpoints, seem to be drifting  farther and farther to the right and are getting more and more heavy-handed.  They repost extremely emotional and politically charged images and sound like they are simply repeating propaganda learned by rote and no longer really thinking about it themselves. 

I find myself getting more and more offended by the political standpoints of people I really know.  It doesn’t bother me when it is from ‘game’ friends.  I don’t know them.  I just play social games they are also playing.  Therefore it doesn’t make me cringe. 

I will admit that the two pictures that seem to bother me the most are the ones in which toddlers are dressed up in military uniforms.  The captions are placing adult responsibilities on the shoulders of three and four-year old children.  It offends me on the moral grounds that it is a militant indoctrination that seemed aimed at placing unrealistic expectations on small children with a focus on learning to obey people who ‘know better’ than them rather than learning to think for themselves and make a decision about the military for themselves.

I’m also very tired of the posts that basically say that if you don’t support the war that means you don’t support the troops and therefore you don’t support the country and you should get out and go somewhere else.  I can believe in our men and women and not believe in the war and I’m tired of people telling me I am unpatriotic and to move out of ‘their’ country. 

So many of the pro-military posts are getting ‘in your face’ and downright distasteful.  The level of hate in political propaganda, even non-military, has reached vulgar and downright worrisome levels.  Especially when I see it coming from my friends. 

As I get older, I move farther to the left.  I’m told this is unusual.  People often get more conservative as they age.  But I keep telling people they really need to stop this all or nothing attitude.  Example.  A friend reposts an anti-muslim ad, that implies all muslims are bad, without thinking how much it would hurt one of her muslim friends.   All Hispanics are illegal.  All Hispanics must be from another country (apparently, U.S. Territories are not part of the U.S. in some people minds).  And so on.  People are losing sight of the fact that there are lots of points in-between.

The more I read, the more I worry.  I don’t think the next major act of terrorism will come from outside. We have had enough smaller incidents to point to the fact that the next major incident is more likely to come from fanatical right-wing and fanatical left-wing sides.  I’m almost afraid of the upcoming presidential election.  Every four years the tensions and frustrations and stresses seem to get worse and more violent. 

The next civil war with not be one economic section of the country vs another.  It will be the leftists vs the right wingers.  One day, it may even be the bottom half of the economic strata vs the top 1%.

But let’s get back to the friends part of it.  Sometimes, the political things my friends post make me like them less.  Not because I have a different view.  We have always had those different views.  But because it seems like they are no longer thinking about it themselves and instead of engaging in political discourse it seems that have become part of a political propaganda engine.  It is like a certain  far-Right, hate filled, bigoted view has taken over their rational thought processes.

Maybe they were kidnapped and replaced by pod-people.  It is like a strange version of the Stepford Wives in which reasonable, intelligent conservatives were replaced by angry, hateful, bigoted, militant GOP’ers.