Friday, September 10, 2021

There Is Still Room for Hope

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

daylight ~ see ~ bug ~ collapse ~ woods

They were submitted by:


A lot of us look ahead and see the potential of a societal collapse.

I'm certainly guilty of that myself, but Im trying to get better. Obviously I get that line of thinking, though. We're in a post normal world now. The damage done to our climate and the related side effects from progressing climate change and atmospheric heating cannot be undone. Experts agree now that even if we went to net zero carbon emissions tomorrow, we couldnt erase the changes we are facing (and will continue to endure) before the end of this century, and we aren't even close to any sort of net zero emissions even as many countries are beginning to come together for timelines of when that may happen. Raging fires, ice storms, heat domes, lack of water sources, billionaires looking to space for the answers... it's all here to stay in our life times. Combine that with growing fascism in multiple countries, increasing street violence in those countries, civil wars, our fears about Afghanistan and the Taliban, weaponized unreality, the culmination of decades of science denial for the sake of profit, and a going on 2 year fight against a pandemic, and it's no wonder so many of us cannot see a future that isn't at least somewhat apocalyptic. Add in that it doesn't help when even the more "liberal" parties make promises of going back to easier times, promises that sound so good to many of us in theory but are outright lies in the face of climate change science, and you have a pretty heady mix of negativity. Yes, even without Trump or any of the other shit of even the last ten years, we would still be pretty royally screwed when it comes to being able to live and breathe easily from this point on. And constant promises of returning to a state of normal make it harder for folks to consider bracing for an ever changing future.

What I think we're getting wrong though is an end to everything as we know it being the immutable result of all this. I think, or at least want to hope, we can do better than that.

I live in a hurricane zone so I tend to keep some things on hand for emergencies, but I've made lists even on this blog for resources in case we do experience black and brown outs here and how to live off the land or pack a bug out back if things were to get really rough. I think there's a lot to be said for preparation, for the anxiety relief that tends to come with knowing you can weather most storms with a little know-how, work, and a few tucked away items.

But I think we also have to focus on the potential for rebuilding something new and better and to do that through mutual aid and community building. If there was one strong take away from the last couple of years at least, I would hope it's that we can, in fact, come together to handle most things for each other even while our politicians fight over which party can do as little as possible for the populace and get away with it. We can come together and build communities and mutual aid networks. We can be the hope we want to see in the world.

And perhaps most importantly, we can adapt.

Even if you just consider the changes that have come since 1900 when industrialization here in the u.s. was in full swing, our country grew, we got the automobile industry, plane travel, telephones and tvs and all manner of improved methods to listen to music, space travel, undersea exploration, the internet, computers that were as big as houses with barely any capabilities to computers we carry in our pockets. We've worked on defining human rights and adapting what those should be and who they should apply to. We've survived world wars and pandemics and companies hell bent on profit over people. And while some of us have done so with less grace than others here we are considerably better now than 100 years ago and still changing. It's entirely understandable to look at the last several years at the very least (and much of history for many folks) and feel like the pendulum has swung too far into hate and division and greed and destruction to be corrected, but the future is still wide open, and we could still make it swing the other direction with the right kind of work.

I'd love to run off into the woods and hang out with my pet alligator in a bayou hut far from civilization. I even painted myself one to look at every now and then. But there's still daylight at the end of this tunnel if we choose to make it that far, and I have to believe we can do better. There's no less reason to be prepared, but for all of us and everyone that comes after us, we have to build something different than we have, than we've ever had.

The challenge is in the not giving up, in seeing this through, in doing more than voting and going back to the day to day. We have to build not subsist on the same bullshit we've been fed all these decades. The challenge is in reimagining everything we know to be unchangeable and building something that works and not just a marginal step at best that will be undone every 4 to 8 years. We have to listen to the folks hurt by existing systems and who have always done their work to protect the world, and we have a limited time to stop questioning them and hear what they're saying.

We have to take "impossible" off the table.

There's still more than enough time for the future we have to be one of building a new way forward and not like you know being cannibals that eat each other to survive in a Mad Max landscape of hellfire and water shortages. We don't have to fight each other to the death for a bit of water. We just have to believe in how much better we can be and make it happen.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

Wandering Web Designer

What TF Sarah

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, September 3, 2021

Hero Worship

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This month 5 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

My “Secret Subject” is:

Who is your hero? Why?

It was submitted by:

Friday, August 13, 2021

Can't Stop Us Being Loud and Proud

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

clutching ~ woeful ~ happy ~ stretched ~ hop

They were submitted by:


Ok I'm gonna need y'all to have some discussions with your friends and family who have full on gay panicked over Lil Nas X and every famous gay who didnt make themselves quieter for the straights' comfort before him if we're being honest. 
I hope they stretched real good before all the reaching and clutching of their pearls they've been doing about how gays will corrupt their children and how unnecessary his open gayness is and the devil and HIV and all the other little homophobic things. But now it's beyond ridiculous. Do you have any idea what it's like to wake up in 2021 as a gay, get on your phone, and wade through homophobic rant after homophobic rant? Woeful doesn't cover it, and a lot of this could be avoided if they got a little education.

First of all, if anyone is worried about music corrupting your children let's start with not letting your kids listen to explicit hip hop or any other genre of music for that matter. ALL of them except maybe gospel will have people talking openly about sex. Lucille Bogan's songs from the 30s have made even ME blush, and we all know how my mouth and mind are. There are dozens upon dozens of country songs about sex and sexualizing women. There's an entire subgenre of indie Americana called murder folk. No genre is safe, but these same people are the ones in hundreds of videos I've seen who are happy and think it's funny when the kids are singing along about their broken hearts or honky tonk badonkadonks until it's a gay man doing the singing especially a Black one. What will your kids learn? I don't know. That it's ok to love who you love? That sex isn't shameful? That their parents are wrong? That's the crux of this isn't it. If kids are exposed to gay people making a success of themselves by societal standards, gay people who are happy, who aren't tokens, who love no differently than anyone else, who aren't at all different than anyone else, that proves more than any bullshit lie their parents tell them and then they might think for themselves or *gasp* feel safe to come out themselves.

You can also happily report to them that their christian religion actually says nothing about being gay as a sin. The Bible discusses sexual exploitation. None of the passages y'all's folks point to in order to declare homosexuality a sin are actually about loving relations or consensual sex between same gender partners. These passages are actually mostly talking about assault of minors, rape, and exploitation. Homosexuality actually didn't show up in the Bible until 1946 as a bad translation paid for by christians in America who wanted to demonize homosexuality and knew the best way to accomplish that is through religion (the same happens with different sects of Christianity and abortion too actually). Jesus never once talks about same sex relationships in the new testament. If anyone does it's Paul. Jesus though did say the number 1 commandment, the thing we are to take to heart more than anything else to live the life wanted us living is to love one another. Above everything else he said, love one another was the thing he wanted everyone to practice.

There is no gay agenda to corrupt y'all's kids. I need your family and friends and, hell, some of mine to know that. These kids are coming into a changing world. Gayness is more socially acceptable now than it's ever been at least in some countries and while we still have a long way to go to equality, we have, through hard work and decades of activism, given space to new generations to come out into a safer place, to meet others easily just like them, and with a variety of labels to help specify their needs and wants in romantic and sexual relationships. Society isn't gayer all of a sudden because of some weird gay agenda to corrupt the kids (which is honestly just another facet of satanic panic). These kids have support now that they never knew was there before. They have people accepting and loving them as they are. They're coming into a world where yes they still face bigotry, in everyday society and systemically, but it's improved. Equality isn't now, but it doesn't seem nearly as far off.

That's the only gay agenda there is--that we get to live our lives in peace like anyone else. We want a world where being gay won't get us fired in any state, where we aren't denied adoptions, where homeless shelters for disowned gay teens aren't filled to capacity, where a small town judge can't deny a wedding because of his beliefs (yes it still happens here), where no one is worried about marriage equality being overturned by a stacked conservative court. We want a life that doesn't punish us for being born.

We don't need to corrupt any children to being gay. They already are gay, and they quite often get mentored by those of us who are out because their own parents failed them. They're gay and trans and asexual and fluid and beautiful in all the ways these identities co-exist. Whether you know get to know it or not and get to be a supporting character or a villian in their stories is up to you. And I can guarantee--and be sure to tell y'all's folks this part--hearing you verbally destroy a gay kid with a successful rap career for being unapologetically queer tells your kid a lot about how unsafe you really are and is a first class ticket to being the villian.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

Wandering Web Designer


What TF Sarah Working Hockey Mom

Friday, August 6, 2021

language barrier

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This month 5 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

My “Secret Subject” is:

Pick one person and tell them something you think they need to hear.

It was submitted by: 


I'm typically the kind of person who says what they think and not necessarily bluntly or no holds barred either. If I think your partner sucks, I'm going to say that. If I think
there's a problem between us that we need to discuss, I'm going to tell you and open the floor for that discussion. And that's true for Facebook friends that ask me for advice, people I see every day acting like a butthead, and people I write in prison. If I think it and the friendship matters to me in some way, I'm going to say it. If I think something is important or somehow valuable, I'm probably going to make a post about it. If I want to talk about how much men being whiny assholes makes me enjoy the He-man remake even more, I'm gonna post that too.

But I also have boundaries on that. It's neither productive or useful to say some things to my mom. It's past the point of being useful to wish I could say something to my dad who died in 2006 and honestly the fractured relationship we had said a lot without words. There's not much left to say because it's been his absence from my life that let me find peace with who he was. The things left unsaid and unresponded to helped me find a way to accept the reality of our lives. I am better for the things left unsaid to him at this point in my life. And I certainly no longer drag out arguments with internet strangers for the sake of being right. If they're open to information, sure. I don't think it's productive or at all valuable to do what so many folks online do--tell someone to Google it. I give resources and information and help them understand with my own words. But a stranger? A stranger in the comments of a news story or public page who is hellbent on fake outrage and moving the goalpost and sealioning? Nah. Not worth my time.

And while there's a part of me that wishes I could gather some younger people around me old granny style and ask them what the fuck and request that they please stop using leftist ideologies as brands and for making monetized "content," I also know that generation grew up at a time when 10 year olds could become internet famous and they have to learn certain lessons the hard way. Nothing I could say will stick without personal experience.

So if I could say anything to anyone I think I'd like the opportunity to talk to my dog and have him understand not just key words but what is actually meant by the whole of my statement. And yes I do refer to him as a person as weird as that is. Just ask my kid who always points out when I call any animal a person in this house like I've lost the plot.

"Mother, that dog is not a person."

"I mean, I know but yes he is.

So here's to Fizz:

I did not realize I needed you til you were here. I had my big goofy buddy dog, but you're my anchor. My velcro. In the year you've been here you've grown into such a loving little guy who actually learned some tricks and how to calm down around feet and that humans won't just hurt you then give you up. But I need you to listen to me.

I have to cut your hair. Have you seen yourself without a haircut? I have pictures if you need them. Your hair wasn't cut when you got here, and honestly you could have been an extra in a star wars film. Your poop gets in it. Your food. Buddy, it's gross. You look like a toupee for Andre the Giant and I imagine that's what a toupee worn by Andre the Giant would have smelled like too.

Your nails? Also have to be cut, bruv. You click clack on the kitchen floor like all 3 Billy Goats Gruff, and it's a little annoying. And it will get painful. I'm not going to hurt you, bud. I've done it every month for a year and a half and here you are still alive.

You get ear infections like they're a new TikTok dance to learn, bro. How? And when you get them you do not help matters by being mad about the medicine and the ear cleaning. Got to do it.

Cats are not for humping. Now I know this doesn't happen very much but you know seeing your pup trying to literally raw dog a neutered cat in the middle of the living room doesn't have to happen *often* to be awkward. I know they're your buds and all that but, uh, buds don't hump. Ok some do but not you and the cats.

Yes you need baths. It's not up for debate, buddy, and while we're at it, I need you to know that you have to go outside even when it's hot. I know you'd rather just hold it because you're not pooping and peeing inside either but that's not healthy. Y'all all have to go outside rain, cold, hot, or even when, gasp, the grass is kinda tall.

Sleeping time is not chewing your ass time. I swear to God if you wake me up 5 times a night rocking the mattress to get a better grip on whatever is itching you like I've put 50 cents in a motel bed, there will be a reckoning. And while we're at it, going that hard on your itches is just going to make you more itchy. It's science.

Alright, buddy, I love you. You're doing good. You're my best bud. But you know let's just keep this in mind for the future. There's some chimkins and tacos in it for you.


Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, July 16, 2021

The Beauty in Breaking All the Rules

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

cahoots ~ fox ~ recoup ~ stickler ~ wistful

It was submitted by:


I used to be a big stickler for using proper grammar for even the most casual communication. But then I grew the fuck up a little.

Ok let me say I don't ever think it's a problem if in your personal life you choose to use proper grammar all the time. Most of the time I still do. What changed for me and what I'm really talking about is dismissing and/judging other people for not doing so. A preference is one thing; mocking others over a preference is quite different. I want to talk about both these issues--grammar and preference. And I hope the time you spend reading this is more agreement than eyerolls, but we'll see. I mean it's about to get real geeky in here...

I've been rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation lately (see... Geeky). And besides me developing a weird infatuation for Beverly Crusher, the fox of the future, it's been a fun way to think about people and humanity and social issues. Bodily autonomy, what makes a human different from anyone else, what might society look like without classes... And it is very much a intergalactic world without slang. Beverly do be talking all posh. Oh there's an alien race that communicates using an old epic poem about a battle the entire planet remains wistful about, but that's more or less about not treating someone less than you just because the two of you don't speak the same language at all which is a little different than bending and eroding rules to carve out a spot for yourself in a world where the dominant people carved and eroded societies and their languages in the name of imperialism. (Don't get me wrong, a whole lot of us need that lesson about different langues, too, but I still think that's different than slang and code switching.) It's interesting that on a show with unlimited races of peoples/aliens there is never an advanced culture that has developed localized slang in generations. To the people who created this show, in this world access to standards of grammar and syntax in the English language are equitable. Class is no longer an issue in Star Trek. Those issues have been resolved. And in that way, these creators decided slang would be eliminated. Everyone would have equal access to the same education and the same ability to grasp the written word, and humans, at least, would be more homogeneous when it comes to language as an aspect of culture. I do think judging someone for poor grammar at least in the U.S. is classist and ableist or can be as is the seeming belief of Star Trek's creative team. Our schools' funding is dependent on local taxes. It creates wide gaps in funding depending on the values of property in between the imaginary lines that create a school district, and unfortunately the powers that be have a way of keeping poor folks especially poor folks of color out of schools where a lot of higher class groups send their kids. Teachers already spend out of their own pockets even in some of the more funded districts with no way to recoup their money. So yeah in that way I think Star Trek is right about things. Maybe equal access and elimination of classes does change the evolution of language.

But that doesn't take into account how much fun it is to say fuck the rules every now and then.

Like that. And like that again. I'm not supposed to, according to the rules, use just one sentence in a paragraph. I'm not supposed to start a sentence with a conjuction unless it is following a sentence and makes a complete sentence. And then I followed it with two dependent clauses that should never stand alone the way I left them. We've become a society that communicates almost solely online at times, and because of that, we have learned to write/type with affectations and put fun into it. Words are written in distinct ways that change the tone and connotation of what's being said without it having to be heard. Slang words spread far more quickly beyond the small groups where they begin. Language evolves as we do with the times, with our needs, and because some of us want to have fun with our words when and where we can. That's part of the beauty of language. And that evolution does not mean you can't prefer to use grammar by the rules entirely nor does it mean there aren't spaces where a standard might be necessary so we all understand what is being said and the importance of the meaning behind it. But a preference one way or another outside of those limited situations should never come with judgement about the other person's worth or ability. It shouldn't mean we have to discount what someone has said because they don't follow arbitrary, prescriptive rules. If you can understand what's being said *if* it is being said to your that's all that matters and even if you can't understand, a polite request for explanation is fine. And if it isn't said to you, then it's none of your business anyway.

What I'm trying to convey here is that even if we somehow manage to escape the inherent faults of capitalism and have a classless society where everyone's needs are met, we won't be without slang, without linguistic cultural experiences, without blendings of languages and meaning, without new rules we can joyously break. I think slang is inherently part of existence and has as much value as precise academic speech and purists' opinions. The writers of Star Trek even understood that when writing Picard's detective noir episodes. The slang was part of the experience. As it should be.

So now that we all know we don't have to be in cahoots with the rule makers and justify mockery because of arbitrary standards, I hope you appreciate the more descriptive language around you.

Oh and live long and prosper. 🖖🏻

Friday, July 9, 2021

A Number 4, Hold the Patriotism

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This month 5 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Your “Secret Subject” is:

Are you a fireworks person? How do you celebrate the 4th of July?

It was submitted by:



I feel like I could probably leave it there, but that wouldn't really make for an interesting read, so let me overshare some more of my thoughts and life. Why the fuck not?

I've never liked fireworks even as a kid. Cried over them every time. I startle easily, though--loud noises, someone just randomly coming around the corner or speaking to me when I'm in my own world, the most tame scene in a not even very scary movie. It doesn't take much.

Let me introduce you to my friend, Childhood Trauma. C.T. has been faithfully by my side for as long as I can't actually remember at all because, you guessed it, Childhood Trauma. She's pretty cunning but ever-present in my life. Honestly, she really shaped who I am as a person even this many years later. I don't know who I'd be without her. And the great part is no matter how hard I work at pushing her away, she pops back up at the weirdest times, and it's like she never left at all! And she definitely likes to give me some jump scares.

Seriously, fuck fireworks. I get little snatches of memories here and there about being a kid. There are things I know without remembering specific events, but there are many little blurs of things I can recall, and there are some terrible images of my parents having knockdown physical fights over fireworks especially on the 4th buried in my brain. July 4th is my mom's birthday, you see, and she didn't want my dad using the 4th as a reason to get drunk and shoot off fireworks (and his mouth) and pretend it was for her birthday. We couldn't get very many fireworks in a Georgia legally back then, and I remember crossing state lines to this little hole in the wall shop in Alabama with the tension thick enough it slapped against your body like a weighted blanket so heavy you couldn't kick it off.

So we'd drive back, the car either scarily quiet or loud with the fury of two people who didn't have a clue how to love or understand one another. By the time my dad shot the literal fireworks, the metaphorical ones had ruined the day. And unfortunately my feelings about fireworks are forever associated with those metaphorical ones my childhood was so often witness to. There's nothint but panic and fear and a desire to hide under the covers and pretend it's all okay.

As you can imagine none of this really lays a great foundation for celebrating the 4th, fireworks or not.

I didn't grow up in a very patriotic family. We were poor working folk. Money was a hard topic. We were rural and low class and in this part of America in the 80s and early 90s, that meant something different than it does now. It was outlaw country then, for us at least, real rednecks like the warring for unions kind. And outlaws like the we don't fuck with cops kind. American was just a small part of our identity, the smallest. Everything else was just so much more pressing, right? So this "holiday" that my parents would still have to work on was always more about my dad getting drunk on my mom's birthday than America. America took a backseat to my mom wanting a day for herself in a life slowly killing her and my dad wanting to let loose because being a fucking adult sucks bricks especially when you're killing your body for barely enough money to keep everybody dressed and fed. And as shitty as all that sounds, I'm very glad that on top of all the trauma my childhood gave me, I didn't also get brainwashed into blind patriotism or religion. I feel like it left me open, if I somehow worked through the trauma at least, to bigger, different ideas, to be curious, to ask questions, and to demand better.

What exactly are we celebrating anyway? America is rarely any of the things we were taught in school. And the older I get and more I learn, the more I realize how little there is to celebrate. We won a war for our sovereignty and immediately started doing the same exact things to other people that we started a war for in the first place. I think we have a lot of work to do before it's time to celebrate, but I certainly don't shun others for wanting to use time off or whatever excuse to have a good time with some good food, friends, and family...if you leave the fireworks out of it at least.

And even if somehow I could get past all that, my friend who was murdered back in 2002 had a birthday on July 3rd, and even this many years later, as I always say when I write about him, he stays on my mind. Loss and grief are weird things whether it's the loss of a friend in a tragic, unexpected, and senseless way or the loss of childhood to trauma and pain. They're always there. They're always the same just learn to grow and shape yourself around them.

Halloween is the better holiday anyway.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

What TF Sarah

Friday, June 11, 2021

Crime and Crime Again

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

neon light ~ live stream ~ Criminal Minds ~ BAU ~ chicken and dumpling

It was submitted by: