Friday, February 12, 2016

This Beast

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: 1,2,3 ~ 4-leaf clover ~ 5 a day ~ 7/11 ~ 9 to 5

They were submitted by:

I fully admit that when I got these, I scoffed. Loudly. These were not okay by me. haha. But, a phone call led to some inspiration, and here we are.


She flips through the channels mindlessly. A kids’ show, 2 girls in pigtails jumping rope and counting “1, 2, 3…,” appear and disappear on to the next one.

A commercial flashes on the next channel, an ad for a new energy vitamin. A ripped meathead holds a bottle and points at the screen saying, “Only 5 a day and you can look like this!” She huffs at that wondering just why anyone would think a few pills will get them magically fitter and keeps flipping.

On the next another commercial appears… a little leprechaun with a 4 leaf clover on his hat talking about a blowout March Madness sale at a local car lot. It’s a creepy little thing and she shudders a little before flipping on.

The next channel shows some kids in a 7/11 type store at a Slushie machine, two teens in ripped jeans and faded metal band shirts discussing the cultural relevance of Pantera in some kind of indie comedy. She almost pauses, slightly intrigued, then sighs and changes the channel again.

Movie channel this time. The 1980 classic 9 to 5 and she’s almost tempted to stop. A bit of a feminist tale, of course, and that almost makes her settle on something, make up her mind and stop flipping incessantly with that restlessness she feels inside, that dissatisfaction with everything. Almost. But she flips on then clicks the television off and tosses the remote on the couch beside her.

She feels uncomfortable in her own skin. It’s just one of those days when nothing or no one will fill a space that only she can, when every little thing is an exercise in patience. She wonders if everyone has those days when everything is an aggravation and nothing makes sense, and she realizes that it’s probably true. No one is as perfect as they make themselves out to be on Facebook and Twitter.

The throw she has over her legs is a little too warm on top of the leggings and flannel shirt she wears, so she tosses it to the side unable to really get comfortable today, everything pushing her buttons. She can’t even get lost in her own head, and maybe that’s the problem today… maybe avoiding that safe space has her wound up and unable to relax. There in her inner world is a perfect romance that could never really exist in life. She fell in love with a unicorn, an imaginary beast that was equal parts myth and reality…a beast that would never really be able to give her unhurried moments of unbridled passion that left sheets sweaty and hearts melted. Because life intervenes.

Life intervenes.

Instead, she is here on her couch alone, flipping channels and unfulfilled. Longing for something that she can’t have which is one of those ironic parts of life…wanting what can’t be and not finding fulfillment in what is.

Perhaps the universe really is a troll.

Perhaps she just likes to troll herself.

She pushes off the couch and makes the walk to the kitchen, clicking the light on and surveying the room. She washes her dinner plate, stacks it into the too-full dish drainer and wipes the counters off. She grinds some coffee beans and goes through the motions of making a cup of coffee. The process soothes her nerves a little, the familiarity of it, and the work involved. She pours liquid comfort into her favorite mug—the one with the owl on it. She adds the sweetener and creamer like always and leans back against the counter to take a sip, loving the heat of the mug in her hands.

She shakes her hair out of her face, biting her bottom lip in thought. A phrase she read recently comes
back to her in that moment, “And she grew tired of being asked if she’d ever fallen in love. Like she wasn’t complete otherwise. With a world full of insecurities and short-sighted sheep, she was a wolf with her chin held out high. She took its worst, and she took it with a smile that made the bravest take note. Ask that questions to someone, anyone else. This beast decided long ago that everyday she’d fall in love with herself.”

She repeats the last line of it once again savoring the way it rolls around her mind, and she smiles that knowing smile while she lifts the coffee up to her lips again.

Everything will be just fine.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts: Baking In A Tornado The Bergham Chronicles Spatulas on Parade The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Dinosaur Superhero Mommy Southern Belle Charm Not That Sarah Michelle The Angrivated Mom Never Ever Give Up Hope My Brain on Kids Confessions of a part time working mom Climaxed Someone Else’s Genius

Friday, February 5, 2016

That Lamp Really Ties the Room Together

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 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:

Tell us about something that you have either repurposed or something that you’re currently using but could see repurposing in the future when you’re done with it.

It was submitted by: 


One of the things I like to do most in all the world is get up early on the weekend (early for me) and go hunt for treasures and old vinyl at thrift and vintage shops. Maybe the flea market. I can buy pretty much any record I want or find any particular treasure I may be looking for on the Internet, but sometimes you don’t know you need something until you spy it sitting there on the shelf or in the bin in all its dusty glory beaming at you from its spot and beckoning to you with promises of imperfections and just the right amount of quirk. Something clicks and you just know it has to come home with you. Sometimes I’m even like that with new records. You go digging through racks when you see some miraculously in a store and next thing you know, you are 100 bucks in the hole and 4 more records have been added to your collection. It’s black (and sometimes colored) circular magic of the sort that begs to be bought calling to you with its siren song of nearly orgasmic pleasure and who are you to refuse such magic? 

I, for one, know that refusal is absurd.

It was sort of like that the day I found the bowling pin 
in my favorite vintage warehouse. That’s right… I said warehouse. You can’t see it all in just one trip and the best part is that by the next time you go, so much has been added that you fail to see everything again. No two trips are ever the same even if you go 13.45 days in a row.

So there I was scanning dusty shelves, turning over boxes, checking prices, and getting lost in nostalgic bliss filled with plastic 90s lunchbox dreams when I saw it. It was just a regular bowling pin to the untrained eye. But for me, it begged to be brought home and, under my careful creator's vision, turned into something amazingly necessary.

But what?


A bookend?

A pair of bookends if I find another?
A doorstop?

A lamp?

A fucking lamp.




It was rather genius actually. See, my favorite movie in all the world is The Big Lebowski. Jeff Bridges as The Dude living a serene life of Creedence, White Russians, and weed is about as iconic
as it gets, and I have to admit he is a bit of an idol of mine. Who else could deal with kidnapped trophy wives, cut off toes, harassing policemen, wrecked cars, fucking strangers in the ass, a batshit crazy converted Jew with PTSD, marmots, fucking nihilists, porn, and a pissy rug with such decorum? In the midst of insanity, I want to be able to drink my beverage, man, and to look someone dead in the eye with the calmest of demeanors, my hair partially pulled back to stay out of my drink and say, “This aggression will not stand.” The Dude, El Duderino, His Dudeliness… The man is a testament to appreciating the little things in life and letting go of all the bullshit around you. And I can dig it. So, it’s no wonder one of the first things that popped into my mind when I saw the bowling pin was The Dude himself, the avid bowler and Eagles hater, and that infamous scene where he dives between the lovely legs of some lady bowlers to enjoy the view.

The film itself is a Coen Brothers cult classic that sort of left the critics in shock after the gritty and violent Fargo the previous year. Lebowski had all the portentousness, wit, and quirkiness that the Coen brothers bring to every film they make, but it lacked the violent overtones and splashes of gore. I mean, Fargo did feature a murder by wood chipper scene after all. In place of those, we got a peace loving bowling enthusiast flanked by a weird-looking underdog and an over zealous ball of fury. In a way the two films juxtaposed one another. Fargo seems to be a commentary on the failings of the American Dream in small town USA or perhaps what that dream might look like to the different archetypes found in the middle of nowhere, in Bumfuck. The lengths one man will go to find some modicum of success and the finer things as interpreted by his bumpkin idea of culture is exaggerated as are the accents and the characters, but they still tell an all too familiar story to anyone who knows the struggle of how differently things work in poverty stricken Nowhereville. The story is manic and driven and all about the depths of depravity. In contrast, The Dude is the story in Lebowski. The plot jumps and hems and haws along with very little actual storytelling, but that's not a bad thing. The significance lies with the characters, with the distinct message that no matter how much shit gets thrown your way, you ask for some Kahlua, man, and you let it ride. You still have a hot bath to soak in with a bit of weed and a beverage at the end of the day.

I abide.

And so there are some very distinct Lebowski features in my living room decked out with its movie theme with this repurposed bowling pin lamp being a bit of pride and joy for me especially since I made it by hand. And if you don’t like it… well, that’s just like your opinion, man.


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 The Bergham Chronicles Spatulas on Parade The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Dinosaur Superhero Mommy Southern Belle Charm Not That Sarah Michelle The Angrivated Mom Never Ever Give Up Hope My Brain on Kids Confessions of a part time working mom The Lieber Family Blog Someone Else’s Genius