Friday, December 13, 2019

Where Have All The Forks Gone?

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: climbing, spirits, midnight, brand, diamonds, behind

they were submitted by:

I saw a prompt about hearing a voice reply to you in the middle of the night or whatever and read a cute little story about a person discovering it was their Monster Under the Bed. So I wanted to do my own spin on that for a while, and, well, currently I'm down to 3 forks from like at least 10 so...?


It was late. I’d actually already been in bed for a few hours, but I woke up with a dry mouth from the cold medicine I’d taken and nothing on the bedside table to relieve it, so I dragged myself from bed, took a little wee, then headed to the kitchen for something cold and fizzy. Diet ginger ale was my weakness.

I’d lived in my house for a lot of years already, so I didn’t turn on any lights moving from the bathroom connected to my bedroom to the kitchen. I heard some scurrying claws on the kitchen tile, but I figured it was one of the cats. One or more of the cats. It seemed like they took great pleasure in pretending I was some kind of monster ready to pluck their spirits from their bodies any time I moved around after midnight. During the day, I couldn’t keep them off me or at least from weaving between my feet as I walked to convince me it was absolutely imperative right.this.moment to refill their food bowl that was still, by all accounts, ¾ of the way full.

Oh the horror.

The tragedy.

It was absolute torture.

I guess their weirdness at night was something to be thankful for. Pitching forward onto a floor partially alive with furry and clawed bodies in the dark did not sound like a good time. I might not make it out alive.

So there I was gulping down a drink that felt like TV static in my mouth but made me happy nonetheless when I heard a sneeze. I treat the cats like people more than not, so I didn’t even really think about it when I said, “Bless you.”

“Thank you,” a small, tinny voice said back.

I froze with my can of ale midway to my mouth, held my breath, and listened closer. It was as silent as a house can get with so many cats living in it. There was definitely a late night litter visit happening in the connected laundry room. Ick.

“Who said that?” I ventured. I wasn’t ready to turn the lights on yet just in case.

“No one.” The voice trembled a bit.

“Uh, obviously someone if I can hear you.”

“oh. You’re right then.”

“Are you a cat?”

“What?? No, no way. That’s gross.”

“I mean, yeah, cats are pretty gross aren’t they?”

“Every time I take a fork they drop on the floor, it always smells like their buttholes, and I have to scrub it so many times to get it clean.”

I sat with this thought. And sat a moment longer.

“what do you mean ‘every time I take a fork they drop…?’”

There wasn’t an answer this time. I wasn’t ready to let this go yet. I’d probably gone through 6 or 7 sets of flatware since moving in this place, and it wasn’t because I was just ready for a change. They were forever going missing. It was a million times worse than the stories about missing socks. I kept up with my socks ok. It was the fucking forks and spoons that ran away in droves in this place, as rare as blue diamonds especially when you really needed one to fight the hanger taking over your body and depleting all your patience.


Out of curiosity I turned the light on, my heart rate climbing, and dropped one of the few mismatched forks I had left onto the floor.

Nothing happened.

I looked behind the stove, under the table, in the cabinets…nothing. I saw nothing. Heard nothing. I wondered if I was dreaming or hallucinating or just fucking losing it when a whisper floated my way on the heat from under the fridge.

“Can you…will you turn the light back off please?”


“Can’t see me. Not allowed except in exceptions described in Section 2B of the Code of Conduct for Flatware Trolls.”

“Not allowed by who? What exceptions? Oh my god, did someone slip LSD in my ginger ale????”

“Not allowed by the Ruling Board of Fork and Spoon Collectors of Trolldom. But I am not allowed to tell you the exceptions.. Must be what you call ‘organic.’ What is LSD?”

“Why haven’t we ever talked before then? LSD is a hallucinogenic drug.”

“Only permitted in instances where you speak to me first. No need for drugs. Just forks. And spoons. More forks than spoons though. And an occasional butter knife.”

“oh. The ‘bless you?’ Well I suppose that makes sense. If any of this makes sense, it’s that part. I’m going mad. I must be.” But I turned the light out anyway.

I heard the same scurrying as when I stepped out of my room earlier, a metallic clink, and a satisfied sigh.

“Well, goodnight, I guess.”

“thank you, miss, goodnight.”

And that’s how it went. I bought forks and spoons every time I went shopping. Thrifted ones, souvenirs, plastic (though my little troll wasn’t as fond of those), entire sets in nicer brands when I could afford them so they could have a collection. It was kinda like having a pet I never saw, didn’t have to clean up after, but could talk to. Who responded. That was the best part. And I mean, it’s not like Forker (that’s what I named them but they didn’t get the joke) had any worldly advice to help me with my problems or anything, but they listened. They told me I made them happy, and they never barfed on the couch. We listened to music together. They learned all the words to every Sturgill Simpson song and really got the twang down so much it affected how they talked the rest of the time. They weren’t interested in movies or sports or any of the shows I watched, but I could put on a vinyl and have a sing a long anytime I felt like it.

The years went by like that, and everything was great really…until they got sick. I heard little coughs in their singing and wheezing late at night when I went for a cold drink. It started getting really bad, but when I asked what I could do, I didn’t get an answer. All Forker would say is that sometimes they get sick and die, and that’s just part of things. So I got an answer, I guess. Just not a satisfactory one. I left cold medicine out. I put out some antibiotics I had left over from a toothache that I had been allergic to…. But they wouldn’t take anything that wasn’t flatware not that I even knew if it was safe for them to take really. I just wanted to do something to help. Probably a rule violation in some code somewhere. A few days later, I wasn’t even hearing the wheezing or the coughing, and I had the worst feeling. I sat in the kitchen floor holding a fork and sobbing.

“I wish I could help you. Let me come help you.”

Light flowed from behind the fridge like it was suddenly on fire. It lit the entire room and then some. I watched for a moment wiping away my tears and sniffling then stood up and moved the fridge. There was a little doorway back there big enough for me to crawl through that had never been there in all the times I’d cleaned behind the thing—admittedly not nearly often enough.

The door itself was old and painted olive green. The knob was constructed somehow from bent spoons and turned easily in my hand. I crawled through a small, cobweb covered tunnel. It had a dirt floor and a warm blast of air from the back of the fridge. It only took a moment to get through to the room Forker was in. It was insane. All of it was insane. My whole life had lost any sense. If I ever tried to tell anyone about it, I’d have been locked away…but I LOVED it. I loved every minute of it. And being in that room that was far too big to exist inside my wall, bigger than my entire kitchen, seeing Forker for the first time tucked in their bed made of spoons and blanket knitted from floss (it looked like) with the souvenirs I’d bought them displayed on the walls, every detail made of forks and spoons and butter knives and still piles and piles more everywhere I looked, I felt so alive. Forker was a real life middle earth type fantasy in my every day life, and they gave me something to wake up for, something to look forward to.

I stepped over beside their bed. They were tucked up to the chin in the blanket, but I could see the mauve colored wrinkles of their skin with soft green freckles. They had a little mousy nose and whiskers and watched me with big golden eyes. It looked like maybe some fur existed somewhere judging by the tufts on the sides of their face, but I couldn’t be sure with the blanket in the way.

“Forker? Is it okay that I am here?”

“You wished it to be,” they said before a coughing fit hit them hard and brought tears to their eyes.

Despite their lack of interest in any of the medicine I’d been leaving out and begging them to take, I managed to get some antibiotics in the tea on their bedside table—made of, as you might guess, flatware. A bit bumpy for my tastes really. I didn’t know if it would help, but I had to try something. I couldn’t lose my best friend. That’s what I’d come to realize when they got sick—that I loved this stealer and hoarder of spoons and forks, and I’d kind of come to depend on them to be there day after day. I wasn’t ready to let go.

So every night after work, I’d whisper my wish and visit with some medicine and the best forks I could buy and little by little they got better. Apparently the section 2B permitted me to see Forker if I actually cared enough about them to wish to help them. That’s it. That’s the only circumstance. And it had to be organic meaning it couldn’t be just to marvel at their existence or gawk or get pictures. I had to want the best for them, and then I could be a bigger part of their life. We hung out even more after that. I visited theirs and brought my laptop and FINALLY got them into Steven Universe. We’ve watched them all a couple dozen times now and can’t wait for the last season. They taught me about Troll politics and all the different types. Sock trolls, pen trolls, key trolls…Frustrating little creatures when you think about it.

Funny how a little frustration and a love for ginger ale gave me the best friendship I’ve ever had, and there’s no way I’d ever trade it for having a fully matching set of flatware ever again.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Spatulas on Parade

On the Border

Follow Me Home

Sarah Nolan

Southern Belle Charm

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, December 6, 2019

Cooking with Chronic Illness

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 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:

As you get older do you find you decorate less, bake less and shop more?

It was submitted by:


I don't know if any of this is true for me. Haha.

Am I older? Am I getting older? I don't know. I feel like even with chronic illness I've never been as good as now in my 30s. Mentally. And physically maybe I'm just a tad, a decade or few, older than I should be perhaps.

I guess the point is that, for me, age isn't really a factor in my answer. It's more about my physical limitations and really my budget whether we are talking about every day or the holidays.

I cook often. My house isn't really a sweets house. We don't have dessert often or anything, but I do cook regularly. I can't physically cook a small meal every day so I typically do recipes that can be doubled easily and cheaply and can last several days then freeze what leftovers there are to make a base for something else. If I make taco soup, for example, I always freeze the leftovers to add to rice for burritos or reuse for nachos. This means I can still make exceptionally tasty meals with love that are healthy and all that jazz without it killing me. It's pretty hard to move around the kitchen with a cane. So limiting the days I have to do this really saves me while helping me provide home cooked meals. That's important to me. It may not be a big deal to everyone, and I'm in no way condemning people who can't or don't care about it, but for whatever reason I do. I think it has to do with changes after my parents divorced. My mom went from cooking for us--something we maybe took for granted as kids but felt the love from it all the same--to eating out with my stepdad every night in a relatively short amount of time, and I wasn't invited to go because of how I dressed. So I had to make my own dinners. Cheese sandwiches, egg noodles with butter, or vegetarian tacos if I could get my hands on what I needed. And while my kid can make a few things on his own like that if he doesn't feel like leftovers, I like having food here that I've made that I know he enjoys and that I know has more of the sustenance he needs.

The thing of it is...I can't even eat any of it myself. My chronic illness comes with a myriad of gastro intestinal issues which means the types of foods I can eat without issues is very limited. Sometimes depending on the meal I can make a variation of whatever I'm making that will fit my restrictions, but a lot of times I have to opt for a can of soup or a baked potato for myself. So most of the time he knows I'm making stuff for him that I won't even be able to eat, and I hope he looks back on that with some kind of appreciation even if he doesn't always have it now.

In terms of holiday cooking, my mom hosts so I've only ever made desserts and cheese pennies (basically cheese straws), but since my brother got married, his wife can't stand for anyone else to get any attention whatsoever, so those two just stopped eating anything I brought for dessert entirely and brought their own and got mad if someone didn't eat theirs over mine. Yes, if you're thinking that is absolutely petty, childish, and shitty, you would be right. I don't see much of them anymore or any of the family except holidays now, and it makes the holidays SO MUCH FUN. Family tension really makes the holiday season special.

Living on a budget also has an effect. I can't really afford a bunch of convenience meals that might actually be healthy. It's by far cheaper to make food when I can and excess shopping is out of the question especially since I'm basically homebound. I might get out once a month? Every couple months? And when I do I have to medicate myself to the gills to be able to handle it. Motion sickness meds, anti inflammatory meds, ginger, CBD oil, and pack migraine meds and ginger candy plus another dose of motion sickness meds to take before I leave wherever I'm going. It would be impossible and very hard on my body to do that every couple days or even once a week. So I don't shop more. Maybe I do buy more now that I have more than myself to cook for and can afford better than the poptarts, popcorn, and ramen I lived on when I was first living on my own.

I also can't really afford to shop more than I already did for Christmas. I've had a pretty solid budget for years and luckily my family isn't growing anytime soon. If ever. My child is only 14 and more into boys than girls with zero interest in being a dad so far, so no worries about being a grandma any time soon. And we've hopefully gotten past the point of my brother having a 5th child.

As for decorating...well, it's Halloween all year at my house. I've occasionally put up a tree, but with cats, it's always a disaster and I don't have the energy to clean up the mess every morning, so we haven't done that in a few years. Trust me when I say no one is sad about it either. Haha.

I suppose the one holiday tradition that will never change is how many Christmas movies and specials I love to watch even if I'm not really a person who celebrates. Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, the Grinch, Frosty, Garfield, Elf, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation...I love them all even at my age, and I hope I never grow out of it

Friday, November 15, 2019

Bethany Gets a New Job

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: call center ~ furniture ~ Black Friday ~ turkey ~ rolls

It was submitted by:

Working in a call center on Black Friday wasn’t as bad as it sounded. She got paid by the hour, so she didn’t depend on commissions to make money. It was really just a day of listening to the phone ring and looking forward to the leftover turkey and rolls she packed for lunch. Actually talking to people? That was the worst. Snowy days when people stayed in as much as possible were the hardest. So Black Friday? It was sort of like getting paid for a vacation.

She settled into her cubicle, wrapped up in her shawl because the place was always an icebox, and sipped her first peppermint mocha coffee of the season while her terminal booted up. It was going to be a good day she kept telling herself. She never went Black Friday shopping being the kind of person who avoided crowds, so she wasn’t actually missing out on anything even though most of her friends were already posting about the deals they’d snagged.

Nope, not for me, she reminded herself as her coworkers began to drag in. Black Fridays were a bit of a skeleton shift. Most got the day off, and it was supposedly a lottery of who was chosen to do it, but she’d gotten picked the last 3 years, so…she was pretty sure the powers that be were using it as some kind of passive aggressive punishment. Well, fuck them. She was not so easily perturbed.

She sipped more of her coffee while she waited on the clock to hit exactly 9 a.m. so she wouldn’t get in trouble for being “too motivated” yet again this quarter and stared at the decorations around her desk that always made her smile. She had a Hey! Arnold figure, photos of her cats, a plush toy of Garnet from Steven Universe, and some odds and ends Happy Meal toys she picked up when she forgot to pack her lunch. She was here enough…she might as well make it more like home. Everyone else had photos of kids and spouses and vacations and always gave her weird looks at her little toy collection, but fact is, no one had to grow up entirely, and she probably never would, so they’d have to get over it or be salty. Not her problem.

She was lost in that train of thought when her phone rang.


The phone didn’t really ring here all that much. This wasn’t like some IT help desk place or anything. She sold shit no one really wanted or needed or at least didn’t think they needed until they heard from her how awesome this set of silicone baking dishes were and made an impulse buy to get maybe one or two molecules of dopamine that might boost their mood for awhile. She didn’t leave voicemails or answering machine messages. They weren’t supposed to…just call and hope for the best. So the chances of someone actually calling her without being prompted were slim to none on a typical day.

“Thank you for calling Advanced Commercial Solutions! This is Bethany speaking. How may I help you today?”

She heard fast, shallow breathing on the other end for a moment, then a feminine voice said, “linda? Is that you? Something’s been moving the furniture again. Everything’s out of place. I don’t know what to do! I’m not crazy…please. Can you please come over?”

She was about to tell the person on the other end of the line that she had the wrong number when there was a piercing scream on the other end and a click. The caller was gone.

It has to be a prank, she thought. It sounded real. The caller sounded terrified. But moved furniture? That was fucking absurd. No, it had to be a joke….right?

She went about her morning making calls, listening to the ring, and satisfactorily ending the call when no one gave two shits to answer the phone. Call after call after call ending the exact same way. Not a single answer for her entire first hour which was certainly something to celebrate. It surely beat the screaming and yelling when she interrupted someone watching Good Morning America who didn’t want to be bothered but answered for unknown reasons anyway.

But then the phone rang again. And when she answered, it was a word for word replay of the call she’d taken before.

“linda? Is that you? Something’s been moving the furniture again. Everything’s out of place. I don’t know what to do! I’m not crazy…please. Can you please come over?”

And just like before, it ended with a scream and a click.

She still wasn’t really unnerved. In fact, the repeat performance made her even more sure it was a prank. It had to be a recording otherwise no one could have gotten it so eerily perfect down to the breathing and the sound of the scream. Not a chance. She chuckled to herself about how good this story would be when she told it to her friends over the weekend. They might be enjoying the sales, but she’d have the best story of the bunch by far.

She got up for a quick break to grab another cup of coffee and use the restroom. Prank or not, her heart was beating like mad, and she needed a moment to collect herself before making another round of calls.

By the time she got back to her desk after drinking her coffee and chatting up Jamir in the breakroom, almost half an hour had passed. As soon as she put on her headset and opened up her script, the phone rang again.

And again it was the same exact thing as before: “linda? Is that you? Something’s been moving the furniture again. Everything’s out of place. I don’t know what to do! I’m not crazy…please. Can you please come over?”

That scream seemed so real. She wondered where the recording had come from. It was haunting, joke or not. For a moment she thought about reporting it to the supervisor Kyle, but he’d been here a long time, didn’t care at all about the employees unless they weren’t making sales, and actually yelled at her the last time she had an issue with a problem customer. The guy had been obviously jerking off on the phone, so she hung up on him only it was one of her recorded QA calls, and she got chewed out by Kyle for it. He’d told her he didn’t care if the customer was shitting onto their receiver—she had to finish the call and try and get a sale. So much for no sexual harassment in the workplace, eh?

She really had to start looking for another job.

She hoped whoever it was had gotten a life somehow, and the whole thing would be over. She wasn’t laughing anymore. You can’t hear a scream like that and not be affected by it.

3 calls down with another several dozen to go, she got another call. Only about 15 minutes had passed this time. It was the same exact drill. The same words and the scream. 10 minutes later she got another one. And then another 5 minutes after that. And another a couple minutes later and a minute after that, and then they started coming in as soon as she hung up the phone. One after another after another.

She finally broke down crying and went for Kyle.

Maybe the tears worked on him when her usually stoic fa├žade did not, but he seemed sympathetic as she explained. You could hear the shrill ring of her direct line all the way to his office, so he knew at the very least she was getting the calls, but he assumed, like she had, they were pranks especially after he played back the recordings for her call log and heard, like she had, the exact same words down to the breathing and the tone of the scream. It was eerie.

He went and picked up the line at her desk as it started to ring again and before anything was said, he shouted into the headset, “listen here you little shits. This isn’t funny. It was never funny. You’ve wasted an entire day of your life being absolute wastes of oxygen, and I swear to all that is holy in this world I will find you, and I will make sure you see consequences.” He hung up himself sure that would be the end of things, but when he started to put the headset down, the line rang again. He disconnected the call. It started again. Over and over he would put a stop to the call, and it would ring again until finally he answered.

It wasn’t the recording.

It was a scream so loud and so terrifying that he snatched the headset and threw it but not before it was completely and utterly damaged unable to handle whatever was being put out on the other end.

He looked shaken for a moment, but that turned to rage in a hurry. He would not be made a fool of. She could hear him saying it. He stalked back to his office mumbling about the cops. Of course he would call the cops on some kids playing a prank.

At least she hoped this was still some kind of prank.

A couple cops did show up. She’d gotten a replacement headset and was having to make calls from a different cubicle because her line never quit ringing. They listened to the calls themselves and seemed to think it wasn’t a big deal, but in order to get them stopped, they’d try to figure out where they were coming from and go have a talk with the kids involved. They were positive it was just some kids on Thanksgiving break who were bored and didn’t have any supervision. They took a digital copy of the recordings, the phone number that popped up on the caller i.d. for the computer and said they’d get back to us—Kyle really—later in the day.

It was barely lunch time. The thought of eating her leftovers now turned her stomach in knots.

Kyle powered down the computer at her desk, but the moment he did, another line began to ring. He tried again turning the next one off only to have another one start. He’d gone through every computer in the office before it was all said and done because for whatever reason he couldn’t “let them win.” He should have just let one ring the rest of the day instead with the sound turned down to begin with, but eventually he saw the light on that and turned them all back on figuring they’d pick one and stick with it until the police tracked them down.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

They all rang. Every single line in the office. Every cubicle. No one could get any work done, and Kyle called the number on the card the two cops left to tell them things had escalated. We all gathered in the break room everyone with a theory on what was going on, of course, but no one could have possibly banked on the truth.

Well, we still don’t really know the truth. All we know is the little bit of info the cops gave Kyle on that phone call. He came back to the breakroom, pale with widened eyes. He looked like he was in shock, so we all held our collective breath waiting to see what he might have to say. He stammered, paused, took a deep breath, and started again, “so, uh, the cops traced that number back to a line that hasn’t been used in a few years. Uh. Ok. Well. The last time it was active, it was the account of a woman—someone named Marge--who disappeared around this time of the year not far from here actually. It’s still an open case, so it wasn’t hard for them to get ahold of the info or whatever, and what we’re hearing is basically what her sister Linda reported as their last contact. It was the last time anyone heard from her, but there was never any recording made of the call that Linda knew of. They have no explanation, but someone’s coming by to try to listen in and see if they can get any evidence, I guess.”

Marge is still missing. And Bethany found a new job.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Spatulas on Parade

On the Border

Follow Me Home

Sarah Nolan

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, November 8, 2019

To Say Or Not To Say

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 7 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 subject is: Tell us about a recent time you said something then wished you could take those words back. Were you able to make it right?

It was submitted by:

This is a long rant, and it's something I have discussed on Facebook at certain points, so it may be repeat info, but it's something I needed to get down like this.


Back in May I had a call from a Florida number I didn't recognize, so of course I let it go to voicemail. My entire generation thrives on screening calls and texting, so why would I ever answer the phone for a random? Imagine my surprise when I checked the message left to hear it was family and children services wanting to ask me questions about how my ex husband's wife parents in her home. Just let that sink in. Not how my ex parents. How his wife parents. And why were they calling exactly? What kind of question is that?

I didn't even know why I would be a person for children's services to call. I've never set one foot inside their home and never intended to. The most I'd seen of her parenting was at birthday parties and the few occasions they all came in when it was time to pick up my kid for his every other weekend visits. That's certainly not enough to formulate any kind of real opinion on the matter. I knew how she treated my child, but that's a good bit differently than she treats her own on a daily basis unfortunately, so any opinion I did have wouldn't have been a good one. Why would these people have given children's services MY number as a reference? The whole thing was ludicrous.

So I did what any reasonable person would do I'm that situation or what I would assume is reasonable. I asked my child's father.

I shouldn't have.

I got my answer. That part was fine. Apparently his wife's daughter, my son's stepsister, told her teacher her mom punched her in the stomach. It wasn't the first time she had said such a thing. The last couple times it turned out to be a lie, though, and she had to get state mandated therapy. Her parents opted not to continue it, but apparently she should have because here we were again. Last time she lied she tried to involve my son, and until her therapy was over I didn't let him go to their house. I had hoped this was all over even though I worried every time he was down there that she would end up telling the kind of lie that could ruin his life. It was her thing when she got angry.

So I get the story from my ex, and I also let him know that recently she logged into my son's PlayStation account and told all his friends he is a lazy, gay douchebag. He saw the messages when he logged on, and I wanted to make sure it was addressed. That kind of thing should never happen. None of this should have happened.

That was my second mistake.

The stepmom told my son he was the liar and started aggressively questioning him, and even when his dad proved her wrong, she refused to apologize and dug her heels in. Her kid lied supposedly to children's services about abuse because she was mad at her mom, but it's my son who is the problem? He wasn't happy with the whole situation and how his stepmom talked to him and told his dad he wouldn't be coming down to his house for visits until something changed. His dad said he understood.

He did not.

For 3 months, his dad saw him 3 times for about an hour each time. That's not the limit anyone put on him. That's all the time he would give. It's not surprising. He's barely been an every other weekend father for a few years, and for most of the time we have been separated/divorced, he was barely around at all much less giving financial support until he absolutely had to. Every single time he saw his son during this 3 month period, he fussed at him about making things right (I didn't know this until later). He put all the responsibility of repairing a long damaged relationship between all of them on a 13 year old and yelled at him in restaurants about it. Is it the child who didn't lie who should really be fixing things here?

But then I said another thing.

His dad text me a couple months ago letting me know the child support payment would be late and I would need to have some patience for once.

For once.

I had put up with all this going on for months without saying much, but I couldn't anymore. The child support didn't come at all for years and years, and now that he has to, now that it finally does, it is ALWAYS LATE. Not 2 days late or 4...2 to 3 weeks late every single month without fail, and I never say a word besides asking at the 3 week mark when he will be able to pay because I have to wait on that money to pay my mortgage on a house I didn't want, in a place I didn't want to live, that I got left with in the dissolution of our marriage. I'm never rude. Never demand it. I simply ask what day so I can fill out a promise to pay for the mortgage company, and that doesn't happen every month--only if it was 3 weeks late already with no word from him.

So for 3 months a couple of adults who should be examples in his life who needed to apologize--his stepmom for calling him a liar and belittling him and his dad for not standing up for him and just saying he didn't want to get into it with her--failed him. They failed to apologize. Failed to work it out. Failed to be good parents. Again. They failed his siblings by yet again putting them ahead of him and making that kind of example. They failed in every way imaginable. And it wasn't just those three months. It had been years of it. Years of my kid being treated like a burden. Years of his dad not showing up, not coming through with promises, and not being an actual father. Years of my child being called names like "princess" and his sexuality questioned BECAUSE OF HIS HAIR and then when he did come out even more months of name-calling and added gay jokes. "I thought I had my straight son back for a minute" is NEVER something your child should hear you say. This kid didn't even have a toothbrush of his own at his dad's. No clothes, no shoes, no offer to help pay for clothes, no toys of his own, no space of his own, no privacy, and no respect. For literally nearly a decade during their entire relationship the wife ruled their time together which isn't to say his dad would have put him first on his own either. There has never been a single instance I can recall where he did something with his own kid after our divorce because that's what his kid wanted to do instead of dragging his kid along to things HE wanted to do and calling it quality time. Listen, no kid wants to go on your motorcycle that you repeatedly promised you wouldn't take him on in the fucking freezing ass cold early in the morning to do a poker run you promised your friends you would do without regard to when he would be there. No 3 year old wants to see gory horror movies with you because you don't want to have to watch a baby movie. It's always been awful.

And I get a text asking me to have patience for once.

For once.

So I said no. I said I have our kid full time now and have never had any help outside child support that was always late anyway and no I would not "be patient for once" because I am always patient and I am finally, FINALLY, not going to be anymore. And that he could pay it or we could go to court. I was done with him putting the kid and his needs last.

And then--of course I did--I got a sob story.

"I wish I could see him more."

"What do you mean? You could have seen him anytime you wanted his whole life. And for the last 3 months the only thing he wanted was an apology which he expressed to you multiple times--that he was going to stand his ground and wasn't coming until things changed and yall apologize."

This was my biggest mistake. Because me saying it so clearly and not saying the nice, placating things this man wanted to hear gave him the one opportunity he needed (wanted) to be able to twist this into me wanting to cause drama and not his son having legitimate concerns. All he could say to any of it was "can't we talk this out like adults" which is exactly what I was doing. His definition just doesn't include anything that might make him feel bad. It if isn't praise, it's drama. If it isn't awarding him Dad of the Year or World's Best Dad then it's not being an adult. If it is any kind of criticism at all whatsoever in any shape or form, it's me being "a crazy bitch." And I knew that. I knew that when I said it. I lived with that for 5 years of my life before I couldn't do it anymore. I knew what was coming, and I was just too fucking exhausted to stop myself.

So here we are another couple months later, and he has told his kid he's done with him more than once because all the things his kid said to them about being treated differently was how he felt and not something I made up.

When he pops in to say "haven't heard from you" even though he ended the last conversation with "I'm done with you," nothing has changed. When he pops in to say Happy Birthday, nothing has changed. It wasn't "drama" that can be swept under the rug. And he can't accept that's how his kid feels, and when that is expressed, he's gone again with another tantrum and "I'm done."

So no I can't fix it. There's never going to be a time when I know if it's right to let my 13--now 14--year old stand up for himself with his dad or get involved, but every time I do it makes things worse. Does he need me to back him up? He's in pain over it all. Doesn't he need one parent always in his corner? If I hadn't I don't think the end result would be different. I know his dad. But does he wonder if it would be different? Does he wonder if I made it worse or does he feel proud that I stood up for him?

He doesn't want to talk about his dad just yet.

I can't make his dad be a good parent, and I guess that's the thing. Whether I say anything or not, I still can't ever fix this. I made a bad choice in a partner that I thought would grow with me but never did, and I can't take it back. I wouldn't want to if it meant not having my son. But I wish there was something, anything, I can do to make it right even if it means keeping my mouth shut even when I feel like doing so will make me explode.


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

Spatulas on Parade

Our Prime Years

Sarah Nolan

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Real Cat Lady

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 triumph, trunk, terror, talk, and trust.

They were submitted by:


She stared out at the horde of cats in front of her.

“Toby, Mr Wigglesnout, Sampson, Beverly PurrAngelo, Paula Meowdul, Janet, Lord Buttons, Jesus H. Paws… “

It took her several minutes to finish addressing them all by name, but she knew every single one on sight, knew who was who like she knew her own self, knew all their quirks, their strengths. The pep talk continued.

“…my trust is in you today. We will triumph. We will get the supplies we need to keep going. We will not perish and will celebrate tonight with tins of old anchovies. In oil if you’re lucky. This is the day we succeed, the day we have been waiting for! “

She was absolutely sure of it. They’d been training for ages, she and the cats. Some of the group would get out of control, but Toby was a born leader. The rest listened to him, followed him. If she could keep him on task from the sidelines, everything would be fine. She hoped. They might all perish, her babies and herself, if they didn’t get enough supplies to hide away for awhile.

The world had been full of terror for a long time now. Time, the measurement of time, was pretty irrelevant. The days lost meaning, ran together…there were no watches, no clocks, no schedules. There was only light and dark. Dawn and dusk. Go time, hide time. America’s economy had collapsed under Trump’s second term. And with that so did everything else. No infrastructure, no power grids, no transportation, no Internet…

It didn’t happen in the blink of an eye or anything. It was a slow spiral. When economy tanked, we entered a depression worse than that of the 20th century. People struggled, fought, lost, and died. They preyed on everyone and everything just to survive. Sure, folks banded together near the beginning of the end to try and destroy the government entirely. Rebellions sprung up all over actually, different ideological factions thinking their way was the only way to get us back on course. So instead of having one large group of rebels, we had rebels warring with each other AND the government. I guess that’s where they failed hardest. The military attempted bombing the different groups to prevent coups and civil wars between the different locations each group took over, but the slow spiral had convinced enough people to buy bunkers and arm themselves and to form and train militias. They’d go underground, hide out, strike again when they could. The largest group, The John Brown Union( NOT confederate flag waving assholes. Go figure) tried to set up some new government and named themselves the new leaders, but folks were starving to death. No access to clean water, no hope, no promise of tomorrow. The people kind of gave up, I guess. No one gave a shit what this group tried to do. Out here it was still a very Dog Eat Dog World while those guys were caught up fighting the other factions to retain “leadership.” How could anyone out here starving really care what their promises were? They couldn’t even promise to hold the White House. Probably would have been better than no government at all, but…eh. No one will ever know. Lawlessness is here to stay for now.

She had lived alone with her 3 cats when things started going downhill. She worked at an office supply store that serviced a lot of the Southeastern U.S. Paper, staplers, chairs, copiers…perhaps a dying business, but she had been if not happy at least okay with her life. She didn’t get out much, spent a lot of time Netflixing with the cats, but it definitely could have been worse. The job was the first thing to go. She looked for months for something else, lost her apartment along with nearly everyone else in her building. She had lived in her car for awhile, but living in a car with 3 cats is gross. When things took a darker turn, she took the camper that her parents had stored away in their old barn and made a run for it. It was small, but she could get out of the city and away from most of the chaos. She bought supplies with the last bit of money she had, set up a plot on some hidden away land. She had her cats, a tent, seeds to start a garden, and some food stores that would last awhile.

The garden was still going strong actually, and it kept her pretty well fed, but the food stores had run out long ago. Things had devolved so much that it was never safe to go out at night when people had the cover of darkness to surprise her, and it wasn’t even okay to go out in the day without a weapon. She’d learned that the hard way. But it was either chance it or starve to death in the rv and let the cats eat her body to survive, and as much as she loved them…nah. Not the way she wanted to go. She hadn’t been ready to give up yet.

On most of her runs, she’d see former pets doing their own hunt for survival in the little towns around her patch of land. Or being hunted. People really weren’t choosy anymore. She took in as many cats as would follow her collecting tins and bags of food on her runs. She’d also learned the hard way that starving dogs and a big ass group of cats didn’t mix well without someone getting hurt or worse. She felt like shit every time she left a dog behind with a bit of food she’d found, but it was what she had to do. At least for now.

The group had grown and grown so much it was almost unmanageable at first. All she had was time, though. No job. No Netflix. A few chores. She certainly didn’t have to sweep and vacuum anymore. Or scrub a toilet. So she worked hard trying to train them. She’d use food and treats like sardines and canned oysters that she didn’t want to have to eat. Little by little it began to take hold. Nearly every single one would follow a command. Then she figured out about Toby. Toby had been with her since early on, and she knew all the cats took to him. If he wanted a piece of food, he got it. If he wanted to lay with her, it didn’t matter who was on his lap, they would move. So she worked harder with him than anyone. She noticed that if he did a command every other cat around him would follow.

Now here they were. Ready, she hoped. It had taken a few months if she had to guess. She’d stopped marking days a long time ago. All the while, every small run, she’d noticed a worse and worse crowd in the closest towns. Most slept all day in whatever buildings they were holding or at least seemed to. She’d done a little snooping and could see them in sleeping bags sprawled across the floors through the grimy windows. Others had moved in their RVs and tents. Different groups, though, and the tension was building. She was sure some fighting would break out soon, and any and all hope she had of scavenging in the area would be gone. She’d started to fill a trunk with seeds from her own garden and from the few home stores she’d spotted. She wanted to cram it on this run with more supplies, so they could pack up the rv and move.

These groups in the area would be the end of all of them one way or another, and she’d already waited on this long enough to make sure the cats were ready.

She’d collected a trailer that would fit to her camper awhile back. It was sitting in front of an abandoned home depot not long after she’d made her way out here, and she just had a feeling it would come in handy. Of course at the time, she never thought “handy” would mean stuffing it full of trained cats, but life is strange that way. Or maybe that expression no longer applies. Life is strange in every way these days. She had gas stored for her heaters and stove already. If they could just get food without getting caught, she’d fill better about the whole adventure.

So they set off.

It was fine at first. The cats were darting in stores in their little groups collecting bags of whatever they could find, signaling if it was clear for her to go in with a repeated stamp of their little paws. She’d dash in and grab anything larger while they dropped their goods into the cart she’d wheeled in with her. Things were good. She was sure it was going to be the easiest run of her life.

Of course she should have realized that was actual real life foreshadowing and that nothing in her life went the way it was supposed to…if she had, she wouldn’t have been so surprised when the doorway to the last stop she had planned on making filled with the largest man she’d ever seen.

She didn’t carry guns. She’d never learned how to use them, and by the time she figured out that maybe she might need one out here, most everything had already been scavenged. She found a couple of BB guns that came in handy scaring away scavengers in the garden, but she couldn’t kill a bug half the time much less actually shoot anything. She carried a large hunting type knife that her parents had actually kept in the camper, but…it was in her cart. She was utterly ridiculous.

She stood while he taunted her.

“what ya got there, little lady?”

“you’re a little small to be out here on yer own, honey”

“you look good enough to eat.”

“what makes you think I’m going to let you leave with anything my people could use?”

“What are you going to do about it?”

He was reaching for his belt for reasons to nefarious for her to consider thoroughly at the moment when he screeched and went down on his knees in the doorway. She moved closer to see what was happening. He was blocking the only way she knew in and out of the place. The back had always been blocked by a huge dumpster. That’s when she saw Toby with his claws dug deeply into the man’s back. He growled and howled ferociously for a cat that size, and as she watched more and more of the group showed up all claws and teeth. She couldn’t even tell what the guy looked like anymore when he fell backwards half in and half out of the doorway. He was moaning loudly, still alive, but all that blood…barely. He was barely alive, and maybe not for long.

She jumped over him knowing he wasn’t worth saving and feeling guilty for not helping anyways. She almost made it to the cart when more people started moving in her direction woken up by the commotion of the attack. They looked from the bloodied man on the sidewalk to her and back again.

“what the fuck did you do to him, you bitch?” screamed one of the saltiest women she had ever seen in her life. Her time after the apocalypse had not been easy. Her hair was stringy, greasy and missing in patches. Her face and armed were lined with thick scars like she’d been in a heinous knife attack, and part of one of her ears was missing…

“I…I didn’t do anything to him. It was my cats.”

Laughter surrounded her, but when the tall, lanky man in front of the group wearing the red MAGA hat made a move towards her, Toby jumped between them hissing and ready to strike. He yowled again loudly like he had when he’d attacked the other man, and as both of them watched, cats filled the space between them until you could barely see the street beneath them any longer. Every one of them arched their backs, tails up, hissing and spitting. The groups of them letting these people know they weren’t fucking around any more than Scarface. In fact, the guy on the sidewalk moaned louder still, and when Scarface tried to move to his side, she was held in place by 5 or 6 of the cats that broke away and pushed forward making sure she stayed where they wanted her.

MAGAman took this all in, backing into the group slightly, and frowned. They didn’t seem to have any guns on themselves either. She’d thought long ago that most of the ammo had probably been used up in all the fighting. All that was available to whatever motley groups that formed out here without any real militia training anyway.

“Lady, why don’t you just take what you got in the cart over there and yer cats, and we call it even. This is fucking crazy.”

Toby never eased even as she backed up to the cart and began called them all to her. He stayed until they’d reached the hill leading out of town, and then sauntered off to join them like the badass he was.

She knew they had to pack up and get out of there before those people came looking for their retribution…but she felt a little safer, a little prouder, and like a real fucking cat lady.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Spatulas on Parade

On the Border

Follow Me Home

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, October 4, 2019

Just Say No to Time Travel

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 7 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:

Imagine your life in the 1950s: In what ways would it be different?

It was submitted by:

There's a tough piece of fiction first and then commentary after. 

I'M GAY NOT FUCKING CRAZY is a constant echo in my head while I stand in line waiting for the cup of pills these people are trying to force down my throat. Well, truth be told they do force 'em. I've just gotten really good at sticking my finger down my throat.

The women around me tend to do the same except Joan. She takes them all. She's been here longer than any one of the others I've met and has no hope of getting out. Really. Her dad...well, he'd done things to her for years, but he is also mayor of the town she lives--lived--in, Arlington, and he shipped her up here threatening shock therapy if she don't keep shut up about it all. She had gotten tired of it and told her mom who refused to believe her, and when she told her teacher at school, her parents said she was hysterical and angry with her father about a boy, so they could save face burying the truth then told the school they would take care of it. She's been here since. I heard it's been 8 years. She doesn't have a clue what day it is much less the year.

Anyway, she doesn't want the memories or the nightmares or to care enough to fight off the orderlies, so she takes every last pill and lives in her own little world. Sometimes I envy it. I really do.

The rest of us ain't got there quite yet. Marcy, Barbara, Mary, and Shirley, that's me. We take turns watching out for each other and puking the pills back up in the bathrooms. Technicolor vomit. Sometimes if the wait is long enough for a clear chance, your vision starts to blur and clouds take all kinds of shapes in your mind, so a couple of the us will have to chance a distraction that often leads to punishment, but that's better than the alternative. Otherwise, one of us might end up pregnant through no choice of our own, and that means much bigger trouble. If the man responsible doesn't kill you to cover his tracks and say you charged him in "hysterics", then you face the wrath of the head nurse. And truth is being dead or carrying a rape baby on a mental ward was preferable to her.

She makes it so the lobotomy my parents keep promising me if I don't stop seeing Toni and being a "pervert deviant" so I can get married to a man sound alright. Her name is Bertha, and she doesn't want no marks on her record. It's pristine, she says. No babies on this ward, she says. Two girls have died since I been here from botched abortions so she can keep that pristine record. They got "in the family way" as she says, so she them for a special appointment they never came back from. We may be in a nuthouse, but we ain't stupid. Mostly.

What she ought to do is cut the dicks off those men she has working here instead of always finding time for a flirt or a smoke with them and wouldn't be no problems. But she'd rather see it as our fault for tempting them. We're the fuckups and the whores in her eyes, the troublemakers. Doesn't matter if we scream and fight.

Want in one hand and shit in the other though am i right? She won't ever see it clearly.

I'm not real sure why some of the other girls are here. We've learned already not to trust anyone. Ever. My own parents put me here. I'm 27, have my own job, and live on my own, and they still got me here. I haven't lived in their house since I was 16. They kicked me out. They turned me away. I didn't have no choice in it, but now that people talk about me and Toni, they want to hide me away if I don't live my life their way. They haven't so much as pissed in my direction in over 10 years now... What kind of world are we in where really just about anyone can say you're crazy or a danger, and you minding your own business and paying your own bills can get put in this kind of place? Of course being in love with a woman has something to do with it especially since I don't deny it out there, but not all of these people are gay. Some of these women are here just because they're women.

Mary, for instance. Mary was pregnant before she got here, but something was wrong with the baby, and she had a miscarriage. Wasn't her fault, and she knows that deep down, but she still felt all the things you might expect to feel. What she wasn't feeling though was desire for her husband. Who would? He slapped her around when she wasn't doing the laundry on time or when she didn't have his dinner on the table at the perfect temperature when he walked through the door even though he never came home at the same time. Who would want him? Really I'd like to know. So when she wouldn't put out and beatin' on her got to be more of a chore than fun, he sent her up here saying she isn't right because of the baby, so he can con some other pretty young thing into moving in. So woman loses the only thing she's got in this world bringing her joy, and she's supposed to hop right back on the dick and laundry without a hiccup or she winds up here. Seems real damn fair, don't it? That's the definition of being a wife and sane for the people making the rules, and the rules change whenever they see fit.

My turn in line comes up now. I take my cup with a smile because if you don't smile in this place you have to take smile therapy. It's made up by Bertha. Ain't no therapist or doctor doing the process. She puts you in a chair, straps you down, and puts this thing on your face that makes your mouth spread. I think it might be used by dentists, but she's got her own methods. Her own madness. You stay like that until she sees fit, and then you sign a paper saying you understand the importance of smiling for yourself and the other people on the ward. In other words, fake it or be punished. Fake it or be here. Fake it or die. Fake acceptance, fake love, fake being into men.

Speaking of that whole thing, my parents were too ashamed to tell them here I like women, and I won't be the one to tell them either. It was the best thing they coulda done even if the goodness was unintentional. Bertha gets wind of any gay stuff, and she orders them two pride and joy orderlies to...well, you know...while she watches. Gotta make sure you get what you need to be straight as an arrow, you see. Screw the gay outta these girls. New girl came in about a week after I first got here. Her daddy wasn't holding back at all on why she was being sent here, and within an hour after he left, I heard it. Never heard sobbing screams like that in my life, and until the day I die, I will never forget them.

That's why no one knows about me not even the girls I talk to every day. Sometimes Bertha uses one to get to the other, you see. Most of us don't talk about why we got stitched up here. We only talk about being free, getting back home, or just out of here. We have to fake it. Lie. Hide. that's the only way to stay somewhat safe, and even then...even then...

Sometimes I stand at the window overlooking that creepy cemetery out back with it's tiny, cheap markers, and I long for death. It's been months, and I don't know how much longer I can fake it. I don't know if I can lie. I don't know if I can be the obedient doormat I'm expected to be. And maybe dead is better than a prisoner here or prisoner in a marriage to someone who won't let me work and makes me polish his knob so I can get grocery money. How long can I lie? How much longer until I'm back here, and this time with the truth of who I am out in the open? What kind of life is that anyway?

I'm not sure it's one I want to live.


This isn't something I like to think about. Or write about. It's not a time period I look back on wistfully hoping to get back to the real meat of the family. Any time spent in sociology classes will teach you that things weren't even as bad in the 30s for women as it was the 50s. The 50s brought in this need for women to be perfect Stepford wives in a way not seen in quite awhile. And it was its own animal. 

As a queer disabled woman, the idea of going back to the 50s makes me physically fucking ill. 

I came out when I was in high school. Just recently someone I had a message on facebook from a high school bully. This was someone I trusted who was supposed to be a good friend back then. What he sent me was some half assed apology talking about how he mocked me after I came out instead of celebrating my bravery. It didn't even touch the bullying, death and physical threats, and world shaking distrust that permeates my existence to this day that he and people like him caused. That was the 90s. I went through enough hate in the fucking 90s to last my lifetime, that still makes me nervous in public places, that even recently kept me from going to a concert I really would have liked to attend because it was a country singer at a small bar in Alabama. i didn't feel safe. Even going with a dude I still stick out like a sore thumb. or maybe i don't, but after years of being called "dyke" by perfect strangers, I don't feel like I pass. at all. 

I can't imagine living in a time that wasn't also all about grrl power and riot girls and people coming out all the time even in Middle of Nothing, Georgia. I had to imagine for this prompt... and please understand what I've written isn't an exaggeration. there is plenty of history to explore to prove me right. 

here's the thing...when Americans talk about how things are so much worse than ever under Trump, they're wrong. Yes, he's embarrassing. Yes, he's made things worse than under Obama. Yes, he's probably going to make things even worse before he's done. But the only people who really think these are the worst things have ever been have very little at risk. Marginalized people have lived in a world that we understood a long time ago would never fully accept us. We've always been slowly making progress if at all. we've always taken steps back for every step forward. Times are scary, yes. But they're not at all the scariest they've ever been for marginalized people, and even though I wish I had a pink tiled bathroom and I guess it's funny to think about tuna jello molds, the 50s would have meant my death in a very real way, and I don't want anything to do with it. 

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

Friday, September 13, 2019

I Wanna Be Sedated

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: elections, blue, cows, stars, millennials. they were submitted by:


I haven’t been as into politics this year.

I’m burned out.

I’m burned out on even reading the word “elections.” I’m burned out on the whole “blue no matter who” chant and the finger pointing at millennials for every ending, badly run, overhyped, no longer valid industry and every real, serious, and necessary criticism of Democratic candidates. I’m tired of explaining that wanting and expecting better of our potential presidential candidates isn’t what handed us Trump, and it isn’t going to be what hands us Trump again if it happens that way. The bigotry, willful ignorance, hatred, and selfishness of America is partly what gave us that and what will do it again. The undercurrent that has always been a problem in America gave him to us. Ignoring those issues while we pretend everything is fine is what gave him to us. Always focusing on electability over policy, always excusing racism and sexism and abelism because Trump and his supporters are worse is at fault.

How fucking low are we going to set the bar? We just gonna make racism okay as long as it isn’t blatant Trump racism?

And let’s face it, the inability for so many liberals to face any criticism of the Democratic party gave us Trump, too.

I spent a couple days recently enjoying some episodes of a show (Maude) made in the early 70s that was incredibly progressive for its time and complained, largely, about the same problems we face now only then it was Nixon. And after Nixon, it was Reagan. So many of the same criticisms that Democrats make about Trump and act like it’s all brand new territory are the same things written into this show created in 1972 about some other asshole we thought couldn’t possibly be elected at the time because we underestimated the selfishness and hatred of our fellow Americans but also because we failed to see the problems in our own party and cut off any real discourse about them out of fear. For literally decades, liberals have spent all their time fingerpointing at the other side instead of using losses to grow and make necessary changes.

Who is Joe Biden if not another Hubert Humphrey?

I’m tired of being one of the cows grazing on the pasture of whatever crumbs of progressive policy white liberals use to tease marginalized groups. I’m tired of waiting to be inevitably led to slaughter when those politicians suddenly cater to the mythological moderate Republican who might vote Blue for the right person.

Democrats would be better off spending millions trying to prove leprechauns will give us all a pot of gold if we just remove that scary word “socialism” from the English language. Or is that what we’re doing now? Close enough, I guess.

Spoiler alert: those people don’t exist. There is no large group of voting Republicans that can be courted hard enough to turn the tides of the election while the entire political spectrum shifts further and further right to appease a demographic that has literally never won Democrats an election. The thing of it is the kind of people who can be swayed by a conservative masquerading as a Democrat don’t vote and don’t have a stake in any fight. None of the policies being discussed really affects them or their livelihoods. They aren’t the kind of people who will have to worry about losing protections or being kicked out of the military. There’s nothing to lose and nothing to gain by making such a switch. So why in the ever loving fuck do we leave our most vulnerable out in the cold to cater to people who won’t notice much of a difference and won’t give a shit no matter who wins? What kind of tactic is that and what does it say about the core of the Democratic party?

No candidate is going to appeal to millennial and younger leftists by using slang badly on Twitter and lying about when they used to smoke weed on a podcast. We don’t give a shit. Honestly. I could not care less about who smokes weed as long as they’re keen on making it legal for everyone and easier to get coupled with releasing offenders who were charged with weed related, non violent crimes while rich white people get richer off the industry. I’d like more LGBTQIA+ representation in the government, out and open and proud. But that’s not a trade off for someone who supports Medicare For All. It’s not a replacement for having actual convictions. It’s not a shiny item that will distract us from a history of gentrification and racism. Policy matters. Past voting records and policy initiatives matter. Having a real plan of action and not some super secret healthcare idea matters.

People get stars in their eyes about certain politicians and fail at all to be able to accept criticism of that candidate and join others in pushing for a better version of that candidate. It’s all defensiveness and denial and “DO YOU WANT TRUMP AGAIN BECAUSE THAT’S HOW YOU GET TRUMP AGAIN” instead of any actual conversation about where we can compromise and what sort of past voting records and bills can be forgiven. Instead of examining Biden’s past with the 94 crime bill, his support of segregation and his continued racist comments, any of these points are met with BUT TRUMP IS THE WORST. Sure, ok. But where does that leave us? Doing this in ’68 still gave us Nixon. Twice. Focusing only on criticizing the opposition leading up to the primaries didn’t work then. It didn’t work for Reagan. It didn’t work for George W Bush. And it didn’t work for Trump. So why will it suddenly work now?

Self crit and growth aren’t easy. I get it. Pretending we always have the high ground over the opposition though has made for a stagnant party that continues to push further and further right so that American liberals are conservative in the rest of the world. The younger generations may get on board with a candidate we don’t fully believe in just for the sake of harm reduction for more vulnerable groups, but the longer the Democratic Party does this, the more of us get jaded, the more we feel our votes don’t make a damn, and that means even fewer votes period.

We’re fucking tired. Jaded. Nothing to do, no where go oh. We wanna be sedated.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Sweet Little Lies

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 7 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:

What is a lie that you’ve told that you feel you were right to tell and would do it again if the same circumstance arose?

It was submitted by:


I tell lies every single day of my life.

"I'm good n you?"

"No, no I'm fine. What do you need?"

"The pain's not so bad today."

"Ehhhh, I'm doing okay."

"Sure tell me what helped you feel better. Might as well try everything!"

"We should hang out soon."

I haven't been good in years. I'm hardly ever fine. The pain is always bad, but some days are worse than others. Not doing okay. I really don't want to hear what worked for anyone unless they, too, have cfs or similar because goddamn I have tried so much already. Nothing cures what I have. And I don't get to hang out with anyone. I barely get to leave my house. I'm stir crazy with no energy for going anywhere. I can barely manage my household.

People don't want to hear that though. The questions are pleasantries not serious inquiries into how I really feel, and if I treat them as such and am honest about how bad my day is, the fastest change of subject on the face of the planet happens if not outright silence. No one likes a whiner, right? People complain about complainers and tune out the "negativity." Fuck honesty. Give people what they really want--a lie wrapped in a pretty package that makes everything easier to digest so they don't have to feel bad about trying to flirt or asking me to do something for them because, you know, I'm not working and stuck at home so i must have all the free time in the fucking world.

Yes. Yes, I *am* bitter.

I don't want to have to lie, but I much prefer the lying to the look in people's eyes when I say how I really am or the awkwardness in messages. Why the fuck does anyone ask if they don't really want to know?

I TALK OPENLY AND LOUDLY ABOUT MY ILLNESS ALL THE TIME. And yet people still ask expecting me to do the same as everyone else--be a toxic painting of positivity. Don't be real or genuine. Give them a hollow chocolate bunny--a lie wrapped in pretty painted foil full of nothing but air that crumbles and falls apart as soon as anyone examines it further.

So I lie.

What else can you do when the truth pushes almost everyone away because it isn't rewarding or gratifying and it becomes repetitive. How fucking rewarding and repetitive do you think it is for me when I live it 24/7? Lying doesn't feel good. It's isolating, alienating. But what's even more isolating and alienating is to have people stop asking altogether because they don't care to hear the answer.

I lie, too, to protect my own ego. I put off getting a cane for so long because I didn't want to have to need one. I hate seeing myself with it. I hate having to rest after I shower. I hate admitting ever that I can't do all the things I want to do, so sometimes I do them anyway or don't ask for help when I should. It's easier on me not to see that flash of irritation that says I've asked for yet another thing, and I've become a chore myself, a burden. I die a little every time I see it.

And I lie to protect the people I care about. Who wants their kid to see them crying in pain? I fake a smile way more often than I don't. I hide grimaces and push through schoolwork and chores and cooking dinner no matter how hard it is or how bad I feel. I laugh and make jokes and listen to every news update on every game and help him with his writing and his art. It's not his fault I'm sick, and in some small way, these lies give him a whisper of a normal childhood. I already don't get to take vacations to Disney World or see every new Marvel movie in theaters. We don't get out for hikes and pinterest inspired outdoor projects. No dinners out really. What can I eat? My physical life is fucking absurd, and I just want him to have some semblance of normal memories of his mom.

I lie every day, and I'll keep lying again and again and again. Every single one is a little cushion against the hurt.


Baking In A Tornado          

Wandering Web Designer    

Spatulas on Parade           

The Bergham Chronicles      

Our Prime Years                   

Part-time Working Hockey Mom 

Friday, August 16, 2019

A Different Kind of Hurt

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.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using: fun, funny, family, fracture, and fully

They were submitted by:

CW: pet death


About 9 years ago, we found a family of chupacabras in our crawl space.

Okay, it was actually puppies, but when we pulled them out covered in mud and fleas and spider webs, they were more chupacabra than not. 6 funny looking little things who didn’t even have their teeth yet and eaten up so badly with fleas that our house was infested and yipping like mad because their mom was nowhere to be found. The mom ended up being a neighbor’s dog who didn’t take too kindly to us removing the puppies from her spot, but something had to be done, so there we were with 6 puppies to bottlefeed, clean, and help take a poop every few hours.


No, really. Once we got them cleaned up, dewormed, and got rid of the fleas, it was a great time even if it was a bit stressful. Each pup would sit in my lap for feeding times and take the bottle like it was the best thing in the world with their little ears wiggling and tails helicoptering like mad. I’ve played mom to a lot of creatures, but taking care of puppies was one of the best. They loved eating popsicles and fought in their own poop and made me laugh harder than I had in a long time.

That’s how we got Layla.

Between people I knew at work, friends, and family, it wasn’t terribly hard to find homes for 5 of them, but that was the limit here in this rural area. We hadn’t planned on having another dog at the time, but here she was, an almost solid white mutt with a few small brown spots that had way too much energy to burn and was already part of the family. All the others had been brown and black, so she already stood out from the rest of the pack pretty early on. Truth be told, I was glad no one else wanted her, and here she stayed for 9 years. Until early August anyway.

It was a good 9 years. She was healthy with never any concerns or problems other than a penchant for chewing the tip of her tail when she was bored. She was a handful, though, always. Digging holes, never learning to walk on a leash unlike any other dog who has ever lived here, always barking her head off when she wanted something… One time, she drug me down the front steps so hard I had a bruised ass for weeks. WEEKS. I can’t pretend she was some kind of saint with the years of destroying toys in seconds and holes I can never get to fill all the way, and the tons of mud brought into the house, but she was loved wholly and completely.

Then things changed a bit.

Last year the day before Hurricane Michael hit, we found her woozy and unable to stand. She had recently lost some weight that had me a little concerned, and I had been trying to put some back on. After years of rescuing animals, I have a pretty good handle on things and a pretty good first aid kit, so that afternoon, I tested her blood sugar levels on a whim because of her wooziness and weightloss, and it was through the roof. 533 when normal ranges are 80 to 120. No vets were open because of the hurricane, but I had an insulin dosage to start with and knew what to do, so we headed to town to try and get the supplies we needed. After Walmart shockingly refused to sell the insulin to us because they were closing early (15 minutes after the time we arrived) due to the Hurricane (that wouldn’t be here until the next day), we dropped $150 on a bottle of insulin and got her stable.

It took months though to really figure out how to keep her stable, though. Dog diabetes is really pretty rare in comparison to humans, and a lot of vets don't see many cases of it or know too well how to treat it without involving a specialist, so we couldn't get too many answers there beyond what I already knew to do. We changed food time and time and time again. The amount she needed each dose kept going up, and I was really at my wit’s end with it all. Twice a day dosing, fighting with her to eat…so much money had been spent on supplies and food changes and supplements. She hated eating the new food, and so many tears were shed in frustration that nothing we were recommended to try actually worked. I ended up doing my own extensive research into things. It was then that I figured out that sometimes the type of insulin I was using sometimes didn’t last long enough for dogs, and I tried a new schedule. We moved it up to every 8 hour shots. She had to be pricked and stuck 3 times a day, and we were tied to the house unable to ever really get away because no one else could handle that kind of schedule even for a short while, but it was working. We were kicking diabetes’ ass fully, no holds barred, and it was wonderful. It was a kind of triumph I can’t even describe, and since all this really fell on me, we grew even closer. Who wouldn’t?

She was outside for a little while a couple weeks ago like she does from late morning through at least her afternoon insulin dose. She was always an outside dog, a mud lover through and through. She would pass a fresh bowl of water to jump in a mudhole and lap it up like it was the bestest, tastiest treat in the world. But when I went out that afternoon, I knew something was wrong. She was on the ground, not moving, and I felt my heart fracture right then. I was so confused. She’d been fine even a little while after she went out. Her blood sugar levels were still normal that morning, and nothing had changed. I really thought maybe with my brain fog I fucked up the dose (something I’d never done and always checked and rechecked). I was so ready to blame myself because the diabetes was the only thing that had ever affected her even if it being the diabetes didn’t make any sense.

It ended up being a snake bite.

We found the marks when it was time to bury her. And, honestly, I don’t know how to feel about that. We did so much work to get her back stable and healthy. I gave up so much of my life to making sure it happened, to keeping her healthy and from succumbing to her illness just for something so entirely random and unavoidable to take her. It’s a risk where we live especially with an overgrown field right behind our property, but we haven’t ever seen many. It was never something on the forefront of my brain, that worry. And now, I’m just lost. I still get up the same times I always did, and I check the clock when it’s close to her dose times because it’s what I’m used to. I miss her, and I love her still even with her hardheadedness and muddy paws, even with her care costing way more than I could afford.

If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know that feeling. You love and are loved so intensely and unconditionally like no other friendship you ever have, and then it’s just…gone. It’s a hurt like nothing else that nothing really fixes but time eases, and I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to write concerning family but her. I still have a houseful of fur family to help me through, but it’s not the same without her. Hug your furbabies and feel free to share stories if you can relate.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Spatulas on Parade

The Bergham Chronicles

On the Border

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Impossible Dream

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 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 subject is: What is one thing that you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t yet?

It was submitted by:

Content warnings for mental abuse, fatphobia, bullying, eating disorder talk, internalized fatphobia


I’m scared I will die before I ever learn to love my body as it is.

I don’t remember a time when body image wasn’t an issue for me. Even before I really understood what being “fat” was, my family made comments about my weight and my body. My grandmother forced me to eat salads with next to nothing on them besides lettuce and tomato and told me I needed to diet. My dad would sing “fatty fatty 2 x 4 can’t get through the bathroom door to me” and laugh. Crisco, lardass, fatty… those were constant refrains at home.

The sad part is I wasn’t even fat. My body was softer and rounder because of changes and hormones. That’s all. I look back at photos of me from then and see the roundness of puberty and wonder what the fuck anyone else was looking at. Fat? Everyone around me carried extra weight. It’s built in my genes. It was projection, pure and simple, and a whole lot of internalized fatphobia, but knowing that NOW doesn’t at all erase the voices I heard so much for so long that still plague every single day of my life.

And it didn’t end there. Because I did carry extra weight into my teens and even now as an adult as a response to both trauma and because it’s how my body is and will always be, those voices aren’t just family but peers, friends, people I found attractive that I wanted to be closer to…




               Too fat for me.

                    You’re a fucking joke

                         Fat bitch.

The years I have spent hating my body are a travesty. Honestly. This is the only body I get, and here I’ve been hating everything it was for nearly all of my life. I didn’t love the softness, the curves, the chubby tummy, the stretch marks…but I also didn’t appreciate my strength or flexibility or how it carried me through the difficult life I had without letting me down. Now that it fails me regularly because of my chronic illness, I miss the things it used to do for me, the things that kept me going. Now that I don’t have them I look back and wonder why I couldn’t appreciate them while I had good health.

I failed to see what anyone else claimed to see when they looked at me, anyone outside family that is. It was something to hide and abhor for far too long, and even now it’s a struggle to accept my body as it is much less love it. Compliments never stuck. The idea that anyone could love me as I am, because I hated it all so much, was an entirely foreign concept. I spent most of my life keeping everyone away, keeping my guard up, breaking dates, refusing even after the best of 1st dates to ever go on a 2nd one.

There is such a big part of me that understands I am worth more than my weight or the size dress I wear. I understand that hating myself changes absolutely nothing. I know without a doubt that I really don’t have any business hating my body at this age in my life. I am loved and satisfied and I look fucking fly when I get dressed up, makeup on, and quirky purse on my shoulder. But I can’t get rid of those old voices, the doubts, the lingering inability to accept that this is how I have always and will always look give or take a few pounds.

I see people in fat acceptance/liberation spaces and understand they have bad days too and bad weeks and fight it just like I do. But another part of me sees those photos and longs to be that comfortable in front of a camera in crop tops and bikinis—to smile and lift double fingers at anyone who says a cross word. I envy those carefree moments that I never seem to have enough of. I long for days in a stretch where I can cancel out those ghosts in my head of a former life where those opinions mattered so much to me even while I shouted so loud that I didn’t give a fuck. I want to exist in a state that isn’t plagued by guilt for being what I am and guilt for not loving me as I am simultaneously.

I have struggled with eating disorders and body dysmorphia , dieted myself into sickness, starved, binged, purged… I struggle with the idea that I can fight so hard with these issues and still have a lot of privilege because my body is smaller than a lot in the spaces I find so much comfort. I struggle with the mirror, and I struggle with stopping the incessant calorie calculating. Every. Single. Day. Is. Full. Of. Struggle.

I want the confidence to wear a crop top, to even go out of the house without moments of panic about how I look… what I’ve always wanted is to have peace, to be comfortable, to be able to just accept me as I am at any time in anything for more than a few fleeting moments. I’ve wanted that as long as I remember, and here’s hoping I might finally do that one day.


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

Spatulas on Parade

The Bergham Chronicles

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Our Prime Years

Part-time Working Hockey Mom