Togetherness, Ferrealiously*

Well you know, I thought after I wrapped up NaNo, I’d be super-blogg-y and there would still be plenty of time to experience all the wonders of yuletide. Of course, I would spend a quiet evening at the table, writing out holiday cards while bobbing my head to twenty different versions of Carol of the Bells. As a family we’d go downtown to see the monument’s Christmas tree all lit up, get some Starbucks, drive up Meridian to enjoy all the twinkly lights. I’d make something simple for the girls’ teachers. I would make hot cocoa and bake chocolate gingerbread to get us all in the spirit. I’d shop online, sure, but also, The Mister and I would take a day to shop alone. Imagine us, hand in hand, a whole day to ourselves, walking around and exploring gift possibilities. We’d have lunch and maybe we’d even have time for broad daylight sexing. I’d go to the post office last week, mail all the parcels out…

Instead, Ferrealiously *:

“What do you mean you sold the roasting pan I borrow every year?”
One wicked bladder infection.
A week without caffeine or alcohol.
Duct tape, because we really should buy a new tree, but not during kittenhood.
Fevered Moo Motrined-up for a choir performance.
“I didn’t know there would be touching!”
“Maybe they shouldn’t share recorders!”
Free hand sanitizer for any child that touched Moo during the performance.
Four doctor’s appointments, blood draw, urine culture, nose swab, plus the phrase, “Women of a certain age…”
Two boxes of sthuper-sthpecial-sthoft tissthues.
“Put the Eucerin on your nose, or I’ll smack it!”
A fucking Pacers game during the lighting of the tree, traffic most unholy.
Drafty window casing.
A murdered Santa, or at the least, a pantsed one.

"bells are jollier," said cletus

“bells are jollier,” said cletus

A Rosacea flare-up.
“You can’t put a hold on this book, I haven’t finished reading it!”
Two tension headaches.
“Look, my pee is the color of a sunset!”
When people tell you what size their kids are, believe them.
One kid with the flu.
One kid with a cold.
Five new prescriptions, but only one sent to a different pharmacy, seven miles farther.
A migraine.
A husband caught up in finals, group projects, and presentations.
Scheduling conflicts.
Canceled date night.
Ran out of postage in the S’s of the address book.
It’s sad that one whole side of my family is in the Y’s, isn’t it?
I gave the girls’ teachers not one, but two puking kids.

Don’t act like you’re not jealous.

Oh now, some good things happened anyway:

Everyone made the honor roll.
The Mister got promoted.
I bought some of those mint M&M candies I liked so much last year.
But most importantly, none of the other six million bad things that could have happened did, leaving us ample time to count those six million blessings.


It’s been truly hectic over here.
Which is why I am happy to announce…

>drum-roll please<


*cymbals crash*

While some would say it’s been togetherness time all along, I would argue that no one wishes she could spend more time holding back sister’s hair while she pukes, and no one wants to discuss gift ideas through instant messages as the kids hack and snot into their laps…
No, we want some of this. At least until our hips hurt and we can’t feel our feet…


*Ferrealiously is a word Moo invented when she spoke of her love for broccoli.

How has your holiday time been, Ferrealiously?

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“Joey, why did they put the baby Jesus on the cross?”

In case you thought I’d ever run out of stories about how religious education is a tough grasp for children, I won’t.

As I’ve said before, I took care of my nephew Simon when he was a smaller person. As I’ve said before, my nephew Simon is an absolute delight, and one of my favorite people on the planet. Simon was a Why Child. You know, one of those kids who asks why about everything? It only endears him to me more, since I am a Why Adult, and also because it brings out the teacher in me.

One day, when he was four, Simon had a fever. I despise fevers. I freak out when kids get fevers. I just don’t like hot things at all. I wouldn’t let him out of my sight, so we snuggled up for a long day of book reading and Nickelodeon.

At some point, he said we should pray because Mamaw always prays when he’s sick. I’d been praying and told him so, but he wanted to pray aloud. I’m not really a pray aloud person, so I asked him to lead the prayer. He said a sweet little prayer to Baby Jesus, how Mamaw did, and we both said, “Amen.”

Then he asked me why they put the baby Jesus on the cross.
I rolled my eyes to the ceiling heavens.


“They didn’t put the baby Jesus on the cross. When he was on the cross, he was a grown man.”

Apparently, when you’re a preschooler, the span of time between candy canes and chocolate bunnies is literal and cannot be properly charted without a concept of linear time as it passes through the years. The way Simon saw it, Baby Jesus was born in a manger and then he’d only been alive for three short months before they crucified him, and that is a terrifying concept for a child.
Clearly crucifixes have an obvious advantage over crosses, here.

This Christmas to Easter concept is only complicated by Santa, who sees and hears everything and who may not bring you presents if you’re naughty. Or, according to Simon, you could be a very bad baby (Like babies with colic, I presume) and be crucified in a diaper.

I did my level best to clear up this confusion.

A few years later, Beauty Queen called me to tell me she’d seen the most hysterical movie in which grace was said to Baby Jesus.

dear lord baby jesus
I still can’t watch that movie without laughing and snorting my way through the prayer. I always think of Simon, with his wide brown eyes, seriously asking me, “Joey, why did they put the baby Jesus on the cross?”

*shakes head*

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I just read a comic strip about how offensive it is to ask people what they do, so I stopped to wonder whether or not it’s offensive, and I can only say it’s boring.

It’s not nearly as polite, and seldom as interesting, as asking what their hobbies are.
In my parents’ house, talking about work was prohibited on the grounds that it was boring.
Unless you’re at a party to network with others in your field, chances are your job is not a fascinating topic of conversation.

Having said that, some people’s jobs are interesting to me.


Some people have jobs that aren’t easily defined. For almost forty years, my father-in-law worked in jobs that had to do with computers. I’ve no idea what the hell he did.
My son is going to graduate with a degree in a series of words that basically mean something about computers. My nephew will, too, but he was able to tell me specifics about his future line of work, and it sorta made him sound like a superhero, like Simon, The Anti-Hacker!

File illustration of a projection of binary code around the shadow of a man holding a laptop computer in an office in Warsaw

I’ve made friends with Project Manager, Director of Operations, Chief Systems Analyst and several Consultants. Despite having known them for years, I have no idea what the hell they do at work. I understand what Nurse, Editor, and Designer do all day, but we still never talk about it. I admit to sometimes discussing ethics and practices with Lawyer, Teacher, and Banker, but not at great length, and never at parties.

Last winter, I was deeply curious about why an acquaintance was traveling so often in such poor weather, so I finally asked, “What line of work are you in?”
“Sales,” he said.
This did nothing in particular to help me understand the travel. In the hopes of further chatting, I asked how New York was, but he had worked too much to enjoy it, so the conversation ended with a thud.

This also happens when you tell someone the name of the company you work for instead of what you do.

I despise being asked what I do. I don’t mind filling out the occupation blank on forms. I always wonder why the dentist asks. I don’t think it’s any more relevant than my sexual history. I suppose if I wrote down, “Tobacco Spitting Champion,” my occupation might be crucial to my oral hygiene, but seriously, whose job affects his dental health?


No, it’s in a social environment that I hate to be asked what I do. I actually don’t think I control my eye roll anymore.

Answers I’ve given:

I decorate cookies.
I peddle cookies.
I work at a card shop.
I’m a student.
I’m a tutor.
I’m a cashier.
I’m a head cashier.
I’m an office assistant.
I work in quality control.
I work in accounts.
I’m a hardware ho.
I work retail.
I’m in sales.
I sell candles in one of those awful pyramid schemes.
I’m a bank teller.
I’m a legal secretary.
I write settlement brochures.
I edit the law review.
I work three jobs.
I’m a sub.
I deliver pizza.
I’m a teacher.
I teach kindergarten.
I’m a long-term sub.
I stay home with my kids.
I’m a babysitter.
I don’t work.
I’m a teacher.
I’m a barista.
I take care of the house and the kids.
I’m a volunteer counselor.
I’m a freelance writer.
I’m a dependapotamus.
I do volunteer work.
I have 56 jobs. Which one would you like to hear about?
I’m a housewife.
I work for free.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of gardening.
I try to make just enough money to avoid filing taxes.
Oh, I just siphon from my husband’s income.

I’ve reached a point where I can’t even.
And it’s not that I don’t enjoy my life, or that I’m ashamed of my work. I don’t think it’s rude to be asked what I do, but the reactions I get ARE offensive. I can actually see the interest disappear from their eyes. Even when they’re polite enough to feign interest I can see them scanning the rest of the room, ready to move on.

Utter Dismissal.

“I wish I could stay home all day, but I have bills to pay.”

“Don’t you get bored?”

“Well done. What does your husband do?”

“I could never do what you do. I don’t know how you do it.”

“Do you ever think about getting an education?”

“Oh I could never do that. I could never allow myself to be dependent on a man.”

Overall, I would say No, asking what someone does for a living isn’t offensive. Immediately labeling them and pigeon-holing them after their answer is offensive. I always want to lie and say, “I’m really not at liberty to talk about my job.” Then they could imagine I’m a prostitute or a spy or somethin — somethin that proves my value — prostitutes and spies make a lot more money than I do, you know.

What do you think? Do you regret not growing up to do something party-fascinating like royalty, celebrity, or assassin?


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To What End?

Recently, someone from Twitter started following me on Instagram. My immediate reaction was, “So you’re hot.” Wowza! I had no idea he was hot, I just liked his tweets. But you know, I have no intention of offering him anything beyond that, so why would I tell him he’s hot?
But wait! I tell women how pretty they are all the time…and I have no intention of offering anything beyond that compliment, so why do I tell them they’re pretty?
Worse yet, there’s a realization I recently tweeted:

Women tell me I’m pretty and I’m all, “Aw, So sweet! Thank you!”

Men tell me I’m pretty, and I’m all, “I’M NOT SENDING YOU A SELFIE!”

Total Double Standard Me.


Because, I’ve been a woman on the internet long enough to know the order of things. Usually a man compliments you and then he asks what you look like right now, asking you to webcam, facetime him, or kik him, or snapchat, or whatever — and seriously, none of that is going to happen. Usually, I’m called bad names and then I’m blocked. Sometimes men are very persistent and they employ every bit of charm and flattery to get you to give more of yourself. The more effort he puts in, the worse the bad names will be later. Even if you merely say thank you and lol for each message, he will claim you’ve led him on and get mad at you. Simply being a woman means that certain men feel entitled to objectify you and use you for their temporary enjoyment, and when you reject them for any reason, they hate you, you’re a whore, a stupid whore cunt.


The men I like the least are the ones who make openly suggestive sexual comments and then tell me they’re just kidding around, and not to take them seriously, and they don’t mean any harm, they’re actually nice guys.
I disagree.
Nice guys don’t disrespect women.
If you don’t want to get a hotel room with me and fuck me senseless, then don’t offer. You and I both know full well that if I said, “Okay, let’s go!” you’d be down, so take your cowardly sense of humor elsewhere.
I just know these guys are someone’s creepy uncle.


Certain men like to ignore small talk and get the sex requests out of the way immediately.

How are you?
Pretty good, you?
{insert dick pic}

Fuckin really?!?
Imagine how quickly a sexual encounter with an automatic dick-pic’er would pass…

But, hey, at least they’re honest, unlike the guys who feign interest in your cookware and your ear infection in the hopes that somehow this will turn into you offering pictures of your boobs.


It’s persistent enough that you just don’t even want to open your messages and you begin to ignore your @ replies and you really don’t want to talk to men on Twitter, ever. Even when they might be nice guys, there’s just this risk that ten minutes into a chat about a television show, they’ll start telling you how pretty you are and how lucky your husband is. Ew.
So you start to cling to your online relationships with men who treat you with respect. The ones who may go five years without ever mentioning you’re pretty are especially valuable.


So –
A couple of weeks ago, The Mister was talking about a couple we recently met and he was saying to me that he wondered what the wife’s ethnicity is, but how that’s a terrible question to ask someone.
In that moment, I felt really badly for him, because I could walk up to her, and in the midst of pleasant conversation, I could say, “Your cheekbones are just stunning,” and when she says thank you, she might offer me her heritage, or I could ask her, “Is it the Native American in you?” And she’d feel flattered and complimentary and offer me more information than my husband probably wants. I can do this. I’m a woman. I’m inherently non-threatening. Despite the benign motive of curiosity, The Mister cannot walk up to her and tell her how stunning her cheekbones are, or how beautiful her wide almond eyes are, or how her veil of long, ebony hair makes her all the more striking. I can tell her how attractive she is and she won’t question my motives beyond nosiness, but a man saying the same thing to her is another matter altogether. His curiosity is not the first assumption she’d make, and she’s lived long enough to know the odds.

I think all women will relate to this post.  But please, tell me if you’ve had a different experience. Like I’ll even believe you, pffft!

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Letting Go of Como

You may remember that over the summer, I fell in love with this little sweetie at an adoption event?


A week ago, we re-homed her with a woman we met through MIL. She was ready to love a new kitty and we were ready to let her go.
Okay, I wasn’t really ready to let her go so much as I was ready to free myself from the guilt of her self-segregation. She’s such a beauty, but she’s also a love-bug. She’s just a furry bundle of purring, nuzzling, tail-shakin love.

She’d come down the back hallway for treats, or even venture into the kitchen for food now and again. But as soon as she finished, she ran off to solitary. And although she chose this, it wasn’t the same as when my other cats go off to hide and nap. She wasn’t choosing it because she wanted to do normal cat stuff; she was choosing it out of fear. She simply did not like the other cats. She’d growl and retreat even when they seemed not to notice her.

I hated that she chose to be alone in our room, or alone in the laundry room. I hated that I had to lock up all the other pets to have a brief couch snuggle with her. It made me weepy. I felt guilty and angry too often. I know Dr. S said she was happy enough, and I want to believe him. But I don’t think she was as happy as every beloved pet deserves to be. Better than the shelter? Absolutely. Best scenario? Not even close.

So when MIL mentioned her friend Kay had been thinking about adopting a new cat, I asked her to set up a point of contact, so I could introduce her to Como.
Kay had a cat before, and like many of us, she was so heartbroken, she didn’t think she’d want another one again. But time heals. Kay has no other animals. At Kay’s house, Como is the feline queen. She can own the entire house, demand all the attention, and thrive in happiness.

When I go into the laundry room, I’m still sad not to see her perched on the dryer, but I have to believe I fell in love with her for a reason, even if that reason turned out to be that of playing the middle man.

Have you ever had to re-home or surrender an animal?

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I Won NaNoWriMo!

It’s true, I just wrapped up 50,003 words. It’s not an entire novel. It would be, if you didn’t mind reading things out of order and your imagination could fill in the blank spaces…but for now, it’s a start.


I love this work more than any I’ve ever done, and so I’m excited about it, like tremendously excited with three exclamation marks!!!

Here are some things I learned during NaNo 2014:

1. While you’re writing fifty-thousand word fiction on a deadline, each day you think of ten blog posts you’d rather write. I will be blogg-y next month. I could easily do EvDaDaDec.

2. How anyone wrote realistic fiction before Google is beyond me.

3. The thesaurus is still my friend.

4. I do not always have twenty minutes to do dishes, but I always have twenty minutes to do The Mister.

5. I wouldn’t need to sell a single book if I had a dollar for every person who’s said they want to read my book.

6. “I can’t wait to read it!” is just like “We should get together!” Few people mean it.

7. There are surprisingly few writing-friendly foods on the market. Popcorn is alright, as are nuts and pretzels, apples, bananas, cookies, chocolate covered raisins, olives…Most food requires both hands, and there seem to be no foods that do not require me licking my fingers. I have since decided that finger food doesn’t refer to food you can eat with your hands, but more, food you will lick from your hands. (Smacking noises optional.) This reminds me of how my filthy laptop is good for my immune system.

8. Writers have crazy hair because hair washing isn’t crucial to good writing. Since my hair was its own entity most of the month, this must surely mean my work is phenomenal.

9. I don’t like the caffeine, the caffeine likes me. Did you hear that noise? *twitch* I stuck mostly to my decaf regimen, but SOMETIMES I HAD TO WRITE A LOT  and *bites cuticles frantically* I did not spend the hour at church praying no one had broken in and stolen my laptop! I WAS ON A DEADLINE so, Is my heart beating in my elbow? Do you think it’s a tumor? What do you mean this Coke is bad for my anxiety disorder? Why don’t you love me right? I NEEDED THE CAFFEINE!

10. Having an assortment of readers is crucial, because we truly do bring our own experiences on our fiction-reading journeys.

Did you NaNo? What did you do with your November?

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NaNo Excerpt

Although the novel I’m writing is primarily a romance, it’s composed of the heroine’s three story lines  — private, public, and artistic. Here’s a scene from her early home life. It’s short and should be safe for all my regular viewers. It is not particularly edited, and not formatted for WordPress.


      Rainy days at the lake were some of the prettiest days. A multitude of windows shimmered with beads, fashioning thousands of prisms for what light did come through. The front of the basement had a row of sliding glass doors, which Esther liked to open while she was down there. She liked to read to the sounds of the outdoors, especially to the sound of rain. Many times she’d been scolded for walking away and leaving the doors open. Her father shouted down the stairs at her, “We’re not heating the outside!” or “We’re not paying to air-condition the entire cove!” Her mother snapped at her, “Esther, if one more mosquito bites me, I swear I will board up those doors and you’ll never be able to open them again!” She grew ever more prudent about making sure she closed the doors before she went upstairs. Much to their dismay, by the age of twelve, she still hadn’t perfected the closing of doors and the shutting off of lights.

      The worst times were when she left the doors open and her Labrador, Duff, would get hold of a raccoon or a squirrel. He’d capture them at the neck, shaking them to death and then taking them to Lilach in the kitchen, dropping his kill at her feet, wagging his tail, giving a short, happy bark.

      Lilach always rewarded Duff with a biscuit when he brought his kills. Esther could tell she was completely repulsed by Duff’s natural instinct to kill the local critters, but she said you had to reward any animal who brought his kill to your feet. She said it was a display of loyalty, and loyalty was a rare commodity. After fake smiling at Duff, petting his head, and thanking him for the honor of his loyalty in a sing-song voice, she would shoot a glare at Esther, and tell her sternly, “Take this to the ditch and bury it, and close those goddamn doors on your way out!”

This all went awry when Esther’s mother was babysitting a little girl whose mother was having another baby. When Duff wandered into the kitchen with a squirrel in his mouth, the little girl screamed and climbed from her chair to stand atop the table, her shrieks piercing Esther’s ears. Esther stood with her hands over her ears and her eyes squinted shut, until her mother suddenly smacked her bottom. Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Esther registered what was happening as being spanked. It was something she couldn’t remember having ever happened to her before. She opened her eyes to see Lilach scooping the little girl from the table and carrying her away from the kitchen. She turned to Esther and waved her spare arm furiously up and down. Esther knew her mother meant to indicate that she was to give Duff his biscuit, take the squirrel to the ditch, and close all the goddamn doors. She swallowed the lump of disappointment in her throat and swiped her runny nose against the shoulder of her shirt. Through her tears, she made a sing-song voice to thank Duff for his loyalty. From the kitchen, she could see her mother had sat down in her rocker with the little girl on her knee, rocking and shushing her, kissing her tiny red forehead. She saw Lilach held the skirt of her apron, blotting away another child’s tears, and in that moment, Esther had to agree, loyalty was a rare commodity. She gave Duff one of the large orange peanut butter biscuits that her mother reserved for trips to the vet or the groomer. Then she picked up the limp squirrel, its body still warm, and took it outside to bury it in the ditch.

As it often did in summer, the sky had turned sunny before the rain completely abated. The trees made it difficult to ascertain when exactly the rain stopped.  Long after the rain, it still trickled down, limb to limb, recycling drops to an already humid sky. She made her hand into a visor and aimed to find the side opposite the sun. Sunshine had its perks, flitting through the trees, reflecting off the water, creating rainbows. There seemed to be more rainbows at the lake. One could argue that childhood seemed abundant in rainbows, or that children merely had more time to admire them, but Esther truly believed there’d always been more rainbows at the lake.

      Esther never forgot to shut the sliding doors after that day. Forever when she saw a rainbow, she remembered the way her boots sunk into the mud as she knelt over the ditch. She remembered the way she knew her eyes clouded with blistering tears. Rainbows made her brood over the moment she knew her mother, at least temporarily, hadn’t thought Esther was the most important thing in the world.

The end of childhood echoes here, doesn’t it? Do you have a story about markers that now note the end of your childhood?


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I AM The Rock and Paper Beats Rock

While NaNo-ing my fucking brains out, I’ve come to several conclusions, which I will now word vomit all up in this mofo, in no particular order, like I can even think coherently and shit.


People speak in fragments. Fragments are a reality. Fuck you, Word, you’re not a person, you don’t know!

I had to go have another bloody root canal and lost three days in a haze of pain and pain meds. It’s like NaNo didn’t even give me an extension. Normal people go in, get a root canal, take some ibuprofen and go back to work. Not me! I have complications and infections, and come home with tennis elbow in my jaw, you know how I do. I am just that fucking special.

When I get sick, I ask people to help, but they fuck it all up. My kids end up at Lily’s house after school, chicken is cooked with fear instead of love, and Zoe’s pants get sucked up into the brand new vacuum cleaner. I don’t wanna hear anymore bullshit about how I’m spoiled or whatthefuckever because as The Mister says, I am the commanding officer and he is the first sergeant. That translates to I give the orders and he executes them.

Without me, it all goes to shit. I am the rock.

In order to do my best writing, I need to live alone. In order to do superior writing, I need to not have children. In order to write well, I need to stay up writing at night, and sleep while the children are at school.

Everything that is not silence pisses me right off.


*looks at dog*
“I know you do not need to pee AGAIN. Maybe you should slow down on your water consumption.”

Personally, I cannot maintain this level of intensity and still be a good mother. I’m not sayin other people cannot parent well while writing four thousand words a day, I’m just sayin that I am a better mother when I am not writing four thousand words a day.

I’d like to see some stats on which novelists have been the primary caretakers of children while writing their novels.
From three o’clock til now, I have been bothered no less than every fifteen minutes.
I’m going to assume that all blogging mommies and daddies have books inside of them, but they can’t hear themselves think long enough to type them out.

I can’t stand a messy house, and I can’t focus in chaos. Choosing to write prolifically and with dedication means submitting myself to a world where television consoles are dusty enough to write upon, and my husband’s tee-shirts are not folded properly. Eventually, the stress of laundry undone wins, and I cannot write until it’s done.

I saw this meme the other day about how an organized house is a sign of a boring woman, and I’d just like to say, “Fuck you, the neuroses that make me clean my house are the same exact neuroses that make me interesting. If you find me boring, let me know, and I will no longer visit interesting you in your filthy house.”

I could be more productive if I didn’t have to stop to care for other people. I could quite easily subject myself to a life of living in one room, typing away in a frenzy.  With my twenty-two open tabs, my piles of drinks on my table, my ugly unwashed sweater, my glasses with the smudges, and my ever-so-pleasant disposition.

I’d like nothing better than to guzzle down actual caffeinated espresso drinks and chain smoke actual cigarettes and never, ever sleep, but then I’ll end up back in therapy with all the Ativan and all the homework and all the caffeine headaches and all the panic attacks…

OR maybe it’s better to drink nothing but iced decaf with too much Kahlua and vape my six milligrams of nicotine, until I am author-slash-alcoholic divorcee…

SO I’m just doing the best I can with the brain and the situation I’ve got.


I have more than met my mark at 28,447 words for today. After this, I’m going to go take a shower and wash my hair like a normal person.

It has always been clear to me that the life of an artist runs counterproductive to a life of normalcy. If we let the craft take over, then the craft is magnificent and the normal structure of life suffers.
Yes, I am saying I think my NaNo project is magnificent. I have no idea if I’m high on laptop fumes or it really is, but it makes me happy in an angsty sorta way.


Did I mention my hair is dirty? Yeah? Okay then.


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I’m NaNo-ing.
If I’m not around it’s because I’m NaNo-ing.

What is NaNo-ing?

It’s National Novel Writing Month and I am writing a novel. Well, not a whole novel, because I cannot write a novel in a month, and I think fifty-thousand words will barely scratch the surface of this novel.

I”m sorry to say that my novel from 2012’s NaNoWriMo isn’t done, but also, it’s at 89,452.

Last year’s NaNo piece is a fairly good chunk, hanging out around 14k, because I sorta bailed, failed, whathaveyou.

So yes, I have three unfinished novels, and one story I tinker with, as it evolves here and there, and I just don’t know what the hell it’s meant to be.
All I can say about it is that I have excellent initiative — I am really good at starting novels.
Oh, wait! That’s not all!
I am also aware that all of my settings are lakes. I’m personally attached to a lake setting, but I was still astounded when I realized that.

Worst of all, this novel is a fucking love story.
I hate romance.
I gag at romance.
I am about the least romantic person I know. I actually may be the least…I dunno, I’ll think on it.
My husband is romantic, and I endure it, but only because I can make fun of him. Okay, and I love him.

Anyway, I’m writing a fucking romance novel, but it will not, under any circumstances contain the phrases, “taken roughly in the barn” or “pulsating manhood” nor will there be any exposed nipples or windblown hair on the cover.

Fuck All, I can’t believe there’s a love story in me.

I gotta go NaNo s’more.


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It Couldn’t be Fall Without Chubby Squirrel

I didn’t feel like doin a One-Liner today, although if I did, it’d be, “Hang on, there’s a squirrel at the door.”


Yes, Chubby lives on, although as it turns out, Chubby is a female who wasn’t so much chubby as she was “with squirrel.” I had previously thought that there was nothin more precious than a squirrel in my apple tree, just munchin away, but then I saw baby squirrels. *SQUEEEEEE!* Ohmagerd, Soooo Cuuuuute! *SQUEEEEEE!*

For a few weeks, we’ve had an even chubbier squirrel. Given her size, I assume she will birth a litter of giant squirrels, all of whom will scratch on my door for food.

I’m not composting right now, so the squirrels get all my fruit and veggie scraps, plus popcorn dregs and whatever is stale. I have kids, so there are always plenty of smashed up cracker bits and stale cereal no one wanted to eat after they told me they loved it and to buy it FOREVER.
Anyway, of course I feed the squirrels. The squirrels are clearly grateful.

I fed them goodies all summer, here and there, and when I didn’t, they ate bird seed and corn. In September, they ate my decorative squash. Truth be told, I don’t really buy into decorative squash, but it was a gift, so all the better it was eaten. They are raiding the garden now, but honestly, I can’t complain, because we cannot eat the tomatoes at the rate they’ve grown. I don’t know much about squirrels, really, but I do know as winter approaches, they definitely eat more and get more aggressive.

Anything edible which is left on the porch will be eaten.

They drive the dog to madness, because they come right up to the glass door. Everyone watches, and I have the suspicion that if I let Cletus the kitten out, he would play with them, and maybe even groom them, which is his new thing to do, and squirrels groom themselves similarly to cats, only it’s ten times as cute because their paws are much more like human hands.

I cannot photograph them well, because I am me, and not a skilled photographer with knowledge of lenses and stuff, and I don’t even own a fancy camera, because why would I, since I dunno anything about lenses and stuff? I do post a lot of photos of them on Instagram, but it doesn’t make me a better photographer.

Yesterday, we thought Cletus the kitten was playin in the window, but it was actually a squirrel climbing down the window. Yes, on the glass, from the roof. It was one of the craziest things we’ve ever seen.

The Squirrels rule here!


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We Can Just Cut It Off

Whenever I post stories of what I think are normal childhood things, there’s always some person who comments about how horrible it is, or how children shouldn’t be exposed to such things, so let me preface this by saying that if you’re one of those people who thinks playing the “got your nose” game is traumatic for small children, you don’t want to read on.

There’s this thing that parents say, “Let’s just cut it off!” We start this around the age of talking, when children begin to obsess over broken things, or misplaced things, or things that just aren’t fair.

A kid falls down, skins his knee. The parent cleans it, puts some antibacterial gunk on it, applies a bandage and a kiss, le voila!
But it still hurts, so obviously the parent will never hear the end of it, and parents really don’t like whining kids, because life is fulla pain, and skinned knees are really the least of their worries, not that they know that, precious, innocent souls that they are.

“Daddy, my leg still hurts.”
“Want Daddy to cut it off? I’ll get my saw.”
“No. I’m okay.”

“Mama, my knee still hurts.”
“I can cut it off.”
“No. I’m okay.”

I dunno where you’re from, but where I’m from, this is common parental defense.

When Moo was three, she put some hairbands on her ankles.

Moo is always doing things like that. Moo is mayhem. Gets her head stuck in the chair. Climbs to the top of the tree and gets her shoulder stuck. Gets her foot stuck in a sinkhole. Last year, she put my mother’s ring on the wrong finger and it took four broken tools before a doctor pulled out a Dremel and sawed it off.
Really, this hairband incident was one of the earlier Moo moments, when we knew she was more trouble than the others, but we didn’t know it would always be this way.
Unfortunately, Moo was wearing a long nightgown, so until she snuggled up with me, none of us saw the hairbands.
Once I did see them, I helped her pull them off and then I told her not to do that, because hairbands are specifically for hair.

Except, I am a big liar, because as she pointed out, Sissy had hairbands on her wrist.


Yeah. Okay.

Hours later, a gown-removed, panty-clad Moo came to me in tears, with a hairband over her knee, and a substantially blue leg buckling under her. Her leg had swollen and the hairband wouldn’t move, but every time I tried, Moo cried out in pain. She was hysterical. Obviously, I had to cut the hairband off Moo’s leg.
I called for Bubba, who came to hold the baby down, so I could cut it off.

Sassy didn’t handle this so well.

I mean, there I was, one of many adults who’d offered to cut off an ailing limb, and I had scissors in hand. Sissy was holding Moo’s hand, trying to calm her, Bubba was holding her down, and we were talking about how best to “cut it off.”

Sassy began running in circles, screaming in horror, mostly with her eyes shut.



Once it was over, I stood Moo up on the kitchen counter, held up the string that was once a hairband, and much to her relief, Sassy saw that her baby sister, her beloved Moomy, still had both of her legs.

So we don’t joke about cutting off limbs anymore.
But then, the grandbaby doesn’t talk yet, either.


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I’m All About the Little Things

Because I’m a temperamental bitch, I get sick of the domestic bliss I so enjoy. I dunno. I needed a day off like anyone else, I suppose.

I got one.

I got to be a guest.

I hadn’t seen them since June, and I don’t even know when we last had them over. (Must rectify that!)

Being a guest is so nice.

You know that feeling when someone slices you a piece of lasagna you didn’t bake? And then she passes you a bowl of freshly tossed salad, and a basket of garlic bread warm from the oven? Isn’t that wonderful?

Can you imagine what it’s like to be offered a cuppa coffee and then handed a slice of cheesecake and a bowl of sugared berries? I did not see that comin. Gawd, that was amazing.

We talked and laughed for hours and hours and I went home full and happy and unable to stop smiling.


When you love someone, don’t save up all your kindnesses  — sprinkle little things here and there.
Little things mean so much.


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My Terrible Secret

Shhh..I’ll tell you a secret, my terrible secret, but you can’t tell anyone.

We all have secrets, right?

My best secret is that things happen and I don’t blog about them.
But my terrible secret is truly terrible.
Are you sitting down?

I write very bad poetry. I know, you’re like, “Share it! It can’t be that bad!”
I’m tellin you, it’s that bad. I know bad poetry when I read it. I did get a bachelor’s in English, you know. And even if I hadn’t, I’ve still read plenty of good poetry in my life. I can assure you, when I die and people discover bits of poetry tucked here and there, it will not be an Emily Dickinson experience for them. Oh, someone might save one or two, but they’re perfectly suited for recycling.


Badness aside, I don’t share my poetry because my poetry emerges from pain.

I blog with humor, because this blog is about me and my neurotic perspective. Or are my neuroses writing the blog? At any rate, a good sense of humor is essential to living well. Training your inner voice to focus on gratitude and laughter is an important skill in learning to be happy. However, just like this blog, optimism is an effort. I am fiercely controlling what I type, just like I control my mindset.

I put humor in my fiction, too, because art imitates life, or not as much as life imitates art, because maybe you love Oscar Wilde more than tired cliches..but the point being, fiction writing isn’t much good if it doesn’t include a little bit of all that makes up life.

But my fiction humor runs a bit dark.

My poetry is more than a bit dark. I’m perhaps channeling it from the dark side of the moon. My natural melancholy is fuel for fretting and scribbling, but the blogging is much more controlled.

I’m telling you this terrible secret because I had a dialogue about it with another blogger the other day. The answer?
Depends on what I’m writing.

Expression is the main reason. Like most writers, I need to write to get the words out of my head.


I write this blog as a means to communicate the way anxiety is a constant backdrop in the setting that is my life. I’ve gathered piles of coping mechanisms, I’ve completed my homework lessons, and there’s no point in hoarding all the study aids. I hope I help other people understand that they’re not alone, and that their anxiety isn’t imaginary. I hope I’m providing insight. I hope people come to read a different experience, and ultimately learn the importance of laughter and gratitude. I started this blog as a rebellion against renewing my teaching license and pursuing writing instead. I maintain it because it’s good for my mental health and it serves as somewhat of a diary.
I have no idea why people actually read my blog.
I reckon it’s none of my business.


I write love notes to spill my heart’s content.

I write thank-you notes with the intent of conveying how much I value generosity.

I write arguments to win.

I write ads to sell.

I write lists to remember and to feel accomplished.

I write compliments and insults because I mean them.

I write tweets out of the narcissistic need to be adored. Apparently.

I write status updates to keep my circle informed.

I write texts because we’re out of butter.

I write fiction to entertain.

I write dialogue to remember it.

I write out forgiveness to let go.

I write poetry because no matter how hard I work to suppress pain, it oozes out here and there.


To me, poets are the bravest writers, and the good ones are the best.

Do you secretly scribble out bad poetry? Why do you write?

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Miffy & Frank

Earlier this year I came to a realization about dreams: It is not what happens in dreams, but how we feel that determines our reaction.

Maybe you already knew that. Maybe you don’t even remember your dreams. For someone like me, with my non-stop vivid dreams, that was a powerful epiphany.

I had dreamed this ghastly, gory sorta dream, but when I woke up I didn’t feel scared or creeped-out. Given the horror in my dream, I should have been terrified when I woke up, but I wasn’t. I was mildly entertained that I created such a dreamscape, and then humored by the fact that the events of the dream hadn’t even made me flinch. Dreaming me didn’t think it was scary at all, while waking me was rather judgmental and said to dreaming brain, “You are one sick bitch.”

Consequently, a few days later, I had a nightmare about things that are not scary. It’s true. I woke up in a cold sweat, with heart-pounding fear and a sudden desire for my husband to hold me. While I lay there, I recapped the dream and it was so incredibly benign, it could have been television programming for preschoolers, but my feelings didn’t match the content.
In a way, it reminded me of anxiety disorder — the feeling that my adrenaline response is so askew, my brain can’t tell the difference between being chased by rabid dogs as opposed to picking up oatmeal.

scary bunny

frank the scary bunny


not scary bunny

miffy, the not-scary bunny

Once these events happened so close together, I truly came to realize the paradox: there is an importance, and yet an insignificance to dreams. I no longer concern myself with what’s in the dream. I pay attention to the feeling after. Whatever that emotion is, it’s clamoring for my attention, probably being repressed.
And our emotional responses in waking life are similar. Completely irrational, primitive. Triggered often by dramatic events that upset most everyone, sure — and yet, sometimes brought about by mundane events that don’t even bother most people.

People you know are cool as cucumbers, seemingly laid-back, until what? Until they see a clown? Until they lose a game? Until someone calls them the wrong name? Until a black cat crosses their path? Until they misplace something?


What turns Miffy into Frank? What makes Frank seem like Miffy?
Tell me a story.



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Number 1609 – Shay Leigh


This story by Shay Leigh is a kooky cheerful one, right up to the gnarly end!

Originally posted on 13 Stories 'Til Halloween:

ShayThe families living on Wicker Road had an ongoing tradition every Halloween which included best yard decorations, best themed costumes, as well as the best tricks or treats served up to their ghosts and ghouls.

And every year Mrs. Samson at number 1609 won the best yard decorations.

Jealous neighbors whispered that she only won votes because people felt bad for her ever since her husband disappeared five years before, leaving her with two boys to raise on her own.

But in all honesty, she won votes because people were awed by the gory splendor she served up every year, which was followed by a huge bonfire the next evening in which she and her sons burned all of that years decorations.

Each year her yard was filled with a story. Be it a witch trial, Egyptian mummies discovered by an unsuspecting archaeology team, a zombie horde devouring survivors, a…

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One-Liner Wednesday — On Tragedy

“Whoa! How many sad things happened?!?” Moo asked, when she came to find the rest of us crying in a room littered with used tissues.


if you’ve read it or seen it, you know

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill 

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Meh — But There’s a Poll!

I’m in a sorta holding pattern, because my family has been home for their fall breaks, and we’ve been enjoying late nights and sleep-ins, neither of which promote productivity, and so, I suppose I’ve been on a fall break, too.
Yes, it has been relaxing and restful for the most part. Certainly much-needed.

Back to the grind tomorrow. Haha! No, not really, but five-thirty sure comes early, doesn’t it?


Seven hours where no one asks me for a goddamn thing sounds pretty fuckin awesome. It will be hard for me not to bury my nose in a book all day.


I might crank out a post a day until November, since I definitely plan on participating in National Novel Writing Month. As for what to do during NaNoWriMo, I haven’t decided if I want to share old posts, or just peek in now and again, or if I want to take the month off, or if I want to share snippets, or if I should just go with the flow and mix it up…

Wanna vote?


And finally, I really appreciate all of you who subjected yourselves to reading my fiction the other day. Many of you were kind enough to like, comment and share, and I can’t thank you enough for your support.
There will be a new story, by a different author, every day through Halloween, so if you really enjoy the creepy stuff, head on over and read or follow 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween.


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Gothic Revival – Jolene Mottern


This is my scary-not-scary story for 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween :)

Originally posted on 13 Stories 'Til Halloween:

Gothic Revival

Dominic sat in the coat closet amidst the bare bones of his new house, ripping up traces of threadbare carpet. It was the last closet left. He’d started upstairs, and he’d torn carpet out of twelve others. Since the house hadn’t been wired yet, he tried to do the darkest rooms while the sun still shone. If he had been honest with himself, he would’ve been forced to admit he didn’t want to be in the house after dark, regardless of the room or the project.

The first night Dominic had come to work on the house, he’d barely set up his shop light when a millipede scuttled out from the sink’s drain. Dominic stared in awe as it crawled carefully down the side of the pedestal before reducing its body to a sliver and slipping into an invisible slit in the lathe. He’d barely recovered from the sight of…

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The Teaser Trailer that Threatens Terror

Nah, it’s probably not that scary, right? If you’re a lover of scary stories, here’s a teaser trailer for 2014’s 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween:


I’m pretty excited for this year’s stories. Really lookin forward to bitin off all my cuticles and peein my pants! Of course, I’ll be readin with my blanket, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS in the daylight!

Look, a cute seasonal meme! Not scary at all!






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One-Liner Wednesday — Snarky

“Yes, I do like to put my boyfriend away before you come home, if by boyfriend, you mean vacuum.” — Me to The Mister, when he came home early



One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Commercials: Maybe Part One

Sassy and I were watchin television last night, when a commercial came along to entertain us more than the show. I can’t even remember what show we were watchin, but I’ll never forget the commercial.
In the commercial, a school-aged child is blowing through his straw, making bubbles in his chocolate milk, while the baby sits next to him, sayin, “Again! Again!” The big brother blows more bubbles into his chocolate milk, and the chocolate milk bubbles right over the edges of the cup and onto the table, and down the side of the table, and the mother, she just smiles and unrolls some paper towels.


I immediately broke into laughter, and I looked at Sassy, whose eyes had grown big, and her mouth had formed a small circle of disbelief.

“Oh, right! Cause moms do that!” she said.

I love paper towels. I have a thing for paper towels. Paper towels are very, very, important to me. But I am not so besotted with paper towels that I hope my children make intentional messes so that I can use more paper towels.

Let alone the waste of milk…
And don’t listen to the baby, for cryin out loud! If we all did what the baby wanted, we’d live in a tent on the beach and eat nothin but s’mores and slushies for the rest of our lives!


“DADDY! Are you going to the Speedy Speedway for gas? I need to go to the Speedy Speedway for slushies, Daddy! They’re only eighty-eight cents for forty-eight ounces!”

I’m sure commercial dads say somethin like, “Yes, Moo, I always go to Speedway for gas, and you can come, too! We’ll have special father-daughter bonding time over great big slushies!” but The Mister says things like, “It’s forty-seven degrees outside, so how about you have some nice hot cocoa, instead?”


Today at the store, as Sassy and I cruised the pet aisle, she picked up one of those containers of the lightweight cat litter and pretended to hurl it at me, the way they do in a commercial. Honest to goodness, it’s lighter, but it is not an object I would ask anyone to throw my way. Oh, I’m sure The Mister could throw it, but I can’t think of a single reason I would ask anyone to throw me some cat litter. Ever. In fact, the sheer thought of this raises my ire, as I can only imagine dents in my drywall, and we all know that back hallway is the bane of my drywall finishing, painting, trim-painting existence, so no, no one will be encouraged to throw anything down the hall.

“Toss me that litter!” the commercial mom says, so Sassy said it too.
“Right, and when you break the window by tossing it, I’ll just laugh and shake my head, because I’m so happy we’re havin all the fun. Cause that happens.”


I think Sassy and I are destined to commit many more commercial parodies.





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Como: Growly Scaredy Pitter-Pat Cat

Early last week, I packed up Cletus for his distemper booster, and Como, because I wanted our vet to have a look-see and to give me some advice on the whole why-is-this-cat-so-weird? situation. For over a month now, Como has been living in our bedroom. Sure, she leaves our room to make a quick turn into the laundry room for her litter box, and she’ll venture down the hallway now and again. Several times, she’s been spotted in the kitchen, where she knows food preparation takes place.

People who belong to cats can relate; when a cat is hungry, it rubs all over everything associated with food, and mostly, its person. The rubbing is almost like seduction. “I love you, let me rub myself all over your face, so you will remember I am hungry. Look, I’m so cute, rubbing myself on the door frames. Oh my God, can you even tolerate the preciousness that is me rubbing all over your legs while you open those cans? Let me meow to you. I meow only for you, Human.”

This is what I’ve come to understand about my Como cat, but solely from the gut:
English is not her first language — her first language is one I can’t speak, because I’ve tried a few.
Someone once loved her very, very much, probably a man, because she has claimed The Mister as her person. She perches on him every single night, and sleeps at his feet.
She was a solo cat, who probably lived with a dog. She tolerates the kitten, as most female cats will, but she doesn’t like the other cats at all. She’s okay with the dog, always has been.


What the vet assessed from knowledge and experience:
She’s somewhere between the ages of four and ten.
Her teeth indicate a life without crunchy food. He is glad she eats crunchy food now.
She has allergies, which caused cysts of a sort in her ears, which make her ears too sensitive to touch.
She has chin acne. Tee-hee! Did you know cats get acne? I did not.

When I expressed my concerns about why Como doesn’t socialize, why she hides all the time, and how she basically lives in our bedroom, (what am i, nine?) and how I’m not sure, despite my love for her, that she is in the best possible environment, he seemed surprised that I felt this way. The vet assured me that her life is great.

I hadn’t considered the point-of-view he presented to me. She is adopted, rescued, safe, loved, fed, brushed, taken to the vet, snuggled and she has a whole room to herself, as opposed to a cage.

The vet said it’s not uncommon for cats to prefer singular lives, or to hide all day.
He said she may eventually roam the house and socialize, but this may never happen. He said the fact that she eats and uses the box and purrs is all he needs to know. “She’s happy,” he assured me.


I had only looked at it from the point-of-view of my own expectations.

So much of our reaction to life is based solely on our own expectations.

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You Might Like Marketing

WordPress lists blogs you might like based on posts and bloggers you’ve liked previously. Twitter suggests people you should follow based on who you already follow. Netflix suggests movies based on what you’ve liked, which is great, unless your kids use Netflix more than you do, because the chance that any adult home alone on a rainy day would chose to watch Caillou is none. Goodreads does the same. Pinterest emails you to tell you what’s popular right now. Amazon shows you what other people looked at when they looked at what you’re lookin at, just in case you’re missin out, plus related products. Facebook suggests everything and everyone all the time.

By far, I think Facebook’s suggestions are the funniest, because on Facebook, everything is data. Every word you type and everything you click leads to more suggestions.
You liked that one article on colic, so clearly you would like to read every article about babies, right?
Facebook wants to send you to the beds of hot singles in your area, and to college, and on a 6-day cruise, because you wrote somethin vague about lonely scholars on a schooner. Facebook doesn’t know you’re married, or that you have no interest in earning another teaching license, and that you’re terrified of sea monsters. It only knows the antidote for lonely scholars on schooners. When you really think about it, Facebook is actually trying to make you happy, like any clueless but well-meaning friend.
Speaking of, whether you have 150 friends or 15000 friends, Facebook insists you can never have enough friends, and furthermore, Facebook has a knack for suggesting the people you most want to avoid.


Just because you’re 40 years old doesn’t mean you won’t cave to peer pressure, either. “True and 12 other friends like Crochet.” DON’T YOU WANT TO LIKE IT, TOO?!?
“Beefy and Orb are reading Hell House,” DON’T YOU WANT TO READ IT, TOO?!?
So then you just know Pride and Prejudice is bein suggested to Beefy and Orb, and that all of your friends are probably bein told what you like, and they’re makin the same scrunched-up face you make each time it’s suggested you might like somethin you’re absolutely certain you will never like.

mmm, tacos! :P

mmm, tacos! :P

Somehow, my media knows I’m a mom. From my own marketing research, as a target, of course, I’ve concluded that all moms love Jesus, recipes that involve cutting foods into adorable shapes, darling diaper covers, and helpful parenting tips & tricks. Strangely, the moms I know are more into constant prayer to any deity who will listen, getting their kids to eat the food, despite it being shaped as said deity shaped it, crock pot meals, free anything, diapers that don’t leak, and helpful relatives who will take the children away…

Also, my name is Joey, so when I’m not being asked to pin Ten Easy Projects I Can Do While Nursing Hands-Free, my accounts are chockablock full of ads about erectile dysfunction meds and cute chicks who can’t wait to hook up with me.

my youngest is 10, so no i'm not nursing, but i did share an article about nursing...

my youngest is 10, so no i’m not nursing, but i did share an article about nursing…

The coupons dispensed after my grocery purchase tell the story of a woman who buys a lot of dairy products. That’s good marketing.
When I try to order a lipstick that’s no longer available, I like being offered similar choices. That’s good marketing.
When I’m buying a vacuum cleaner and they think I might also like a leather chair, that’s bad marketing.

I’ve accepted that I like a lot of things, and I’m open to a few suggestions, but people are better than bots. Sometimes I even do this old school thing where I say to my friends, “Lemme know if you like it!”

I have eyes and ears which are pretty good sources for what I might like to read, watch, cook, or purchase. Which is why, after not finding Gone Girl in the library the last four times we went, I went to Barnes & Noble to buy it. Imagine my surprise when the receipt included books I might like to read, based on the book I had just purchased.

It’s everywhere now.
May I recommend laughter?


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One-Liner Wednesday — Misspoken

“That hot water scolded me!” — Moo, last week when she used the faucet just after The Mister shaved



One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill 

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If you’ve never driven a familiar route, letting your mind wander off, singing along mindlessly and suddenly realizing, “Oh look, there’s my exit! How’d I get here so fast?” then you probably won’t relate to this post.
I’ve done that for ages. Or rather, I used to.
Then I had to move to Georgia and think about everything all the time until I developed anxiety disorder and decided my driving time would be better spent in vertigo on the edge of panic…but I digress.

In case you haven’t read me for a long time, I should let you know, when we came back from Georgia, we moved to the community my husband grew up in. My community would be included, since we attended the same high school, but my old stomping grounds are north of an interstate ramp, while where we live and where he lived are south of it.

When he lived here, in the L, he lived in a big blue house. We all call it The Big Blue House. Before his parents lived in it, his grandparents lived in it, so you can imagine it’s one of those places that holds memories. I’m not sayin that we’re all sorta attached to it, but we are. I’m not sayin we all pitched a fit when they sold it and moved to the stupid new house, but we did. I’m not sayin that Drew longs to make it her own, but I am. And I’m certainly not sayin that if we possessed too much money, we would buy it for her, but I am.  If, on Fourth of July, we still park there, and walk over to talk to the unwelcome squatter new owner, and she happens to mention she’s thinkin about sellin, we do not all simultaneously think, “Aw, that’s too bad,” and “Oh really?!?”

is it any wonder that bubba loved that show?

is it any wonder that bubba loved that show?

I could not possibly relate how much time I spent in The Big Blue House. My in-laws have been like my second set of parents for near thirty years, so that should give you an idea.

So, a lot of times I am going to the grocery, the vape shop, the park, the DQ, or the post office, and my brain, on autopilot, takes me to The Big Blue House.

I try to avoid a complicated left turn where railroad tracks meet a hill and a curve, so I turn down a smaller road and suddenly there I am, at The Big Blue House. Truly, strolled down memory lane, out of habit.


Of course, when I arrive at The Big Blue House, I realize I have no purpose there, and I grimace and drive on to my destination.

Do you drive on autopilot? Does anything like this happen to you?


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Long Week, Date Night

Mercury went into retrograde today…I guess for a change, I was ahead of the trend.

This week was sucky.
Almost nothin went well, and absolutely nothin came easily.
I am happy to report that most of our problems were First World ones, and could be fixed with a little hard work, some try-try-again, or at the very least, money.

But today is a new day.
A new problem arose, of course, but my HVAC guy’s in Florida, so I decided it’s a great day to start chicken stock

noodles tomorrow

noodles tomorrow

and the perfect day to don fuzzy socks.

i'll take them off before our date

i’ll take them off before our date

None of this will matter soon, when I am sitting in candlelight, with a basket of warm bread, and gazing fondly at The Mister from over the top of my wine glass.

PS: Anyone who caught this post before I fixed it, extra punctuation was provided by Cletus the intrepid kitten ^_^

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One-Liner Wednesday — Punny or Naught

“Turning a loaf of challah into French toast makes it even breader.” — things I say when I’m over-caffed and sleep-deprived



One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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God and the Leopards

One day, when Bubba was seven, we shared an unforgettable conversation.

While I trimmed his hair, he asked me, “Do you know the story about God and the leopards?”
“No, tell me.”
“I don’t understand it, so I can’t tell you. I wanted you to tell me.”
“I don’t know it.”
“Yes you do. It’s in The Bible.”


“Do you mean Daniel and the lion’s den?”
“No. That’s different.”
“Do you mean how God sent the lions to scare and eat people so they would learn to fear Him?”
He looked up at me, wide-eyed with disbelief, “No. Not lions. Leopards.”

I thought long and hard.
“You mean how the leopard cannot change his spots, like man can’t change his skin? Cause that’s really a metaphor.”
I could only think of things like the speed of leopards and scary leopard parts from the monsters of Revelations, which surely they do not cover in Sunday school, even at Mamaw’s church. Right? Right?!?


“I dunno what you’re talkin about. You should ask Daddy. Or like, use the index to find leopards in Bible and then show me.”
(Teacher mommies are always askin people to use indexes and dictionaries like that.)
Well that suggestion only made him mad. Frustrated, he said to me, “God was nice to the leopards, when no one else would touch them or wash them, and they had to live all alone because people were scared of them. God was nice to them and cleaned them.”

I struggled to piece together his story.
Of course, I’m a visual person, so I imagined God with buckets of soapy water and a large sponge, washin leopards like cars…
I thought and thought like mad.

“OH! You mean Jesus and the lepers!?”
“Okay!” I said, relieved. After a hardy chuckle, I explained leprosy, which pleased him no end, because the story finally made sense.

Someday I’ll tell you about the time my nephew asked me about killing babies at Christmas, which is another fabulous Bible story.

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One-Liner Wednesday — That Wasn’t in the Books!

“You mean you have to burp them every single time they eat?!?” — Incredulous me, to my mother, four days after Sassy’s birth



One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Monday, but with Folly

I had such a day yesterday, Tracey compared me to enacting The Comedy of Errors and I couldn’t argue with the correlation.
Dreams and tossing about made sure I slept poorly Sunday night.
6am did not care.
I walked the dog, picked blackberries, fried green tomatoes, did a bit of laundry…
Sadie escaped the fence again. We don’t know how or where exactly, but about a dozen times in the last year, she’s escaped. She doesn’t always choose to escape the back yard, but then, we don’t leave her there often, because we don’t know when she might choose to escape. We want her to enjoy her yard and watching her squirrels and sniffing all the things, but we don’t want her dead in the busy road near our house.
Fortunately, she came running back home as soon as I blew the whistle.
Unfortunately, she had a smell.
Like the smell of a dog who’d rolled around in a week-old diaper pail, but maybe with a hint of something necrotic.
After about five minutes of her in the house, I had to lead her out onto the porch, secure her leash to the front door, and spray air freshener all about so I could finish eating my lunch without gagging.
Obviously I had to wash the dog.
Unexpectedly. On a Monday. Because dogs are gross.

pretty, clean puppy

pretty, clean puppy

I decided to go to the store and pick up a few things.
As I left, my still damp Sadie stood far from the door, giving me the sad face.
I said to The Mister, “She knows, too. Just look at her.”
The Mister asked her, “Is Mama mad at you? Aww, Mama mad at the puppy?!?”
Sadie wagged her tail to him.
“Naughty puppy!” I declared.
She licked her lips and gave me the sad face.
This went on for some time.
She knew I was mad at her.

Off to the store I went.
The local chain grocer uses savings cards. I hate that. When you don’t have a card, they still give you the discounts, even when you curl your lips into a snarl and say, “I don’t have a card and I don’t want a card, thank you,” as if not subjecting yourself to their paperwork is one last bastion against the bureaucracy of marketing.
The cashier said to me, “It will save you a lot of money!”
I thought to myself, no, it will not save me a lot of money. going to a bigger store, where flour costs half as much would save me a lot of money, but she was so bloody sincere and cheerful, I couldn’t bring myself to say it.
I guess they’ve realized they can’t win the I-don’t-have-a-card battle, so the cashier told me to pick a PIN and that would be my card. Super. I saved $1.75. Yay me. Now I can afford to buy five more pounds of flour elsewhere.

Got home, put the flour on the counter, put the yogurt in the fridge, realized my Lysol was in a second bag, left behind at the grocer.
Fuck all.
Drove back to the store.


The cashier of cheer reported that she’d already re-stocked it, but I could go get it. Then she told me a great deal of information about how their computer system operates when things like this happen.
Got my Lysol, drove back home.

As is customary, after shifting emotions through twenty impassioned minutes of the girls blathering on about the dramatic happenings of their days, I gave them chores to do.
They were a bit more hyper than usual yesterday, so I repeated directions several times, and The Mister gave them a powerful speech about minding me.

An important blip in the conversation between Sassy and me:
Me: Put a load of jeans in the washer. Cold–
Sassy: Cold water, permanent press, super load, yeah, I got it.
Me: Don’t forget to put soap in and you don’t need fabric softener, so turn the power rinse off.
Sassy: Right, right, right.

Five minutes later, “What happens if a little bit of bleach goes into a load of jeans?”
Obviously the earth stopped spinning when she asked me this question.

can I not just spray the lysol in peace? shigellosis is goin around, ya know!
I freaked out, pulled a load of wet, potentially bleached jeans from the washer, put them in a basket (flashback to last month’s laundry crisis, also caused by Sassy!) and tossed in white linens instead.

The jeans are all unharmed. I assume the guardian angels of laundry intervened. Sassy’s shirt took a hit though, and had to be thrown away.

Later conversational blip between Sassy and me:
“You are not ready for bleach. Have I ever asked you to use bleach, ever in your life?”
“No ma’am.”
“Notice that as I teach you to do laundry, you are learning one step at a time, and we are still on washing jeans. We will master the art of washing jeans before we move on. One load at a time.”


All I wanted to do was disinfect my house, bake yummy things, and make dinner, but nooo, I had to parent. Gah.

Onto baking!
Baking makes me happy.


And eating.
I like eating what I bake, too.

plum & blackberry galette a la mode

plum & blackberry galette a la mode

So there you have it. Monday, with folly — but also galettes and pies, because I know how to make a bad day better. It’s all in the crust!


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I really am forty. In a two months and a few days, I’ll be forty-one, and hopefully, no worse for wear. I know it’s all the rage to appear to be twenty-nine forever, but I can’t really get down with that. I feel sad for women who think looking young is important, because the undertone of that is that age renders beauty obsolete, whereas I think youth is its own beauty. Old age is beautiful, too. Differently, but not lesser.

Somehow looking young forever has become a desirable goal. I always wonder if the people who think they looked their best at twenty ever considered how much better they looked at age five? Have you seen kindergartners? The whole lot of them, absolutely stunning. Perfect, flawless skin, clear eyes, tiny straight teeth, maybe a dimple here or some freckles there, but always looking well-rested, full of energy, undeniably vibrant.

Having taught kindergarten, it’s obvious to me that each day, we all need to spend two 45-minute intervals outside, running amok and playing. Of course, between those intervals, we need to have some quiet time, where we lie down with blankies and entertain ourselves merely with our own thoughts, be they waking or dreaming ones. We should eat our veggies as if our mothers are watching, and we should do our very best to live our lives as if each task holds the possibility of granting us a gold star.

kindergarten me

kindergarten me

While living kindergarten-ly isn’t always possible, are you even trying?


Because you know, it doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters how you live. You don’t have a lot of control over how you look. Just over a year ago, I was deformed from cellulitis, and two months ago I was in the midst of an atrocious Rosacea flare. Any moment, I could fall victim to some sorta facial burn, crime, or car accident and never look the same again.
So I appreciate my face, at face value.

And I’m GLAD I’m showing signs of age. GLAD. Because 1) I’m still alive and 2) Because I’m tired of being viewed as young.

Let me explain.

At nineteen, I went into my first classroom. I was repeatedly stopped by staff who asked me if I had a hall pass. I wore skirts and blazers with heels, but I looked like I was a middle-schooler.
At twenty-one, I traveled with a family as a nanny. I was repeatedly presumed to be the oldest child of a couple in their thirties.
At twenty-three, a visitor assumed I was the child of my boss.
At twenty-four, I was stopped by a student who offered to sell me some weed. He was mortified to find out I was subbing in his building.
At twenty-four, my date was my father. A lot of them were my father, if you didn’t know better.
At twenty-five, the bartender on the lunch shift delivered all the alcoholic drinks to my tables because she thought I was underage.
At twenty-six, almost every Friday, I was out running errands with two kids and two others I babysat. I was assumed, more than once, to be an unwed teenage mother with at least two baby daddies, and I decided to start wearing my wedding ring.
At twenty-six, the real estate agent believed I was a child bride.

When I was twenty-nine, I went to have my hair done, and the stylist suggested Botox. Specifically, “Bangs or Botox — one or the other,” she said as she pointed to the vertical line running down between my eyebrows. While I could not get over how incredibly rude her comment was, I found myself very pleased. Was this tiny crease between my eyes really making me look older?

When I was pregnant, at twenty-eight, twenty-nine, and thirty years of age, I was constantly asked my age in a way that condemned me for being pregnant at such a young age.
At thirty, I really started getting pissed.

At thirty-three, some Shaggy-lookin 17-year-old at the park asked me out.

No one takes you seriously when you look like a co-ed. You may as well be a kindergartner. 
Not on either side of a parent-teacher conference, not when you’re makin a major purchase, and not even when you’re sure cancer knows you’re 38 and the doctor thinks you’re 25.

me right now

me right now


me, right now, but with moo pullin my hair and sayin, "look ugly!"

me, right now, but with moo pullin my hair and sayin, “look ugly!”

Even now, I get carded by younger waitstaff, I am stopped to be told there is no way these two girls are mine, Why, I could be their sister! I am constantly asked my age.

A few months ago, a woman told me to enjoy my youth.

All this emphasis on youth and beauty really isn’t good for anyone who isn’t profiting from it.
— Like the people who made this software program! So your friend can put your photo into it, and then erase your wrinkles, freckles, and pimples, airbrush you to shiny perfection, add make-up, extend your lashes, whiten your teeth, highlight your hair, shape and fill your brows, and even take the little yellow dots outta yer eyes, until you’re like, “Well she’s pretty, but I don’t even know who she is…” worse than that time you got a makeover at the Lancôme counter.

me with some fancy photoshop stuff my friend did

me with some fancy photoshop stuff my friend did

The people who created this app are surely rollin around naked in a pile of one hundred dollar bills, and most likely, for two 45-minute intervals a day.

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In Other News

I recently became a grandmother. Sissy and the baby are both well, and for that I am extremely grateful. I am also delighted Sissy gave Sassy’s middle name to her son. He’s beautiful, and I’m not even biased, cause I’ll be the first to tell you that Sissy and Moo were NOT pretty babies. He’s chunky and has blonde wavy hair. The Mottern genes are strong in this one. Beyond that, I’m a bit dazed. I don’t feel particularly grandmotherly, but I guess that’s par for the course when you don’t even feel forty most of the time. I’m already sure I’m the bestest Grandma Joey on the planet, because I aim to spoil him rotten, maybe even worse than I do my nephews.


Like many grandmothers *giggles* I encountered some panic-inducing technical difficulties with my laptop last week. I don’t really know what happened, but it seems better now. My wi-fi wouldn’t work, then I’d get the blue screen of death, then pages wouldn’t load. Tracey thinks my wireless card might be on the fritz, and I’m all like, “I have a wireless card?” I installed a malware destroyer, ran virus scans like mad, and ended up using the Ethernet cable for a few days. It was a dark time, that last Wednesday was. Whew.

Then, the following day, my vacuum cleaner died. I’ve got to take it in for repair. First time in six years, so I’d say I’ve been fortunate, what with all the kids and pets we have. In the meantime, I’ve bought what amounts to a Dustbuster on a stick, and for $20, I can say it helps considerably.

The following day, I lost a sock to the dryer vent.
I was sweeping the muck out of the trap with a little broom, when Whoosh! Sassy’s sock fell into the open trap.
The Mister was able to reclaim the sock, and a house fire was prevented.
When I typed, “sock fell” into Google, “into lint trap” popped up immediately. Beware. Household chores are dangerous.

My apple trees didn’t produce this year. Oh, I prolly got a bowl-full, but since they weren’t pruned in I-dunno-how-long before we bought the house, I sorta expected this. Next year should be productive, with pruning and weaning. I am a bit sad, because I so enjoyed my apple pie extravaganza last fall, but then, this leaves me more time to finish painting the trim in the back hallway. (As if I will everrr…)

The squirrel population is booming around here, which I suppose has led to Mother Nature doing her best to cut it down, sometimes via Sadie and sometimes, by using vehicles. Mother Nature is really into roadkill, right? *scowls* It’s with a heavy heart that I must report —  I have very few familiar squirrels left.

My FIL had his ears flushed. It took several trips to his primary physician and to an ENT, but he can hear again. We’re all so desperately proud of him, we’ve literally applauded him. Yesterday, I remarked that we were in the car together for over a half an hour and I never once had to repeat myself. He’s an excellent role model for my husband and I’m not even gonna pretend that this won’t encourage my loudly nagging The Mister about doing the exact same thing.




When it comes to enrollment and consent forms, I’m always the parent who fills out paperwork. I have good penmanship and I remember everything. Well, almost everything. I’m actually really bad at remembering Sassy and Moo’s birth dates, because there are too many zeros. It’s too hard 10-03-02, 12-04-03 — too many zeros! The older kids are far easier. Because I am the one who filled out the religious education form, I was the one who was asked to choose what I would do to help serve the youth. Since the choices were so scary and I had to choose two, I picked the lesser of many evils, and last night I was emailed to inquire whether I would work in the nursery one or two Sundays a month. I wrote that I would cover one Sunday a month, and then lamented to The Mister about it. “Why don’t YOU go work in the nursery? You love babies.” They’re his children, too. He should hafta do stuff.


Although, prolly not in the nursery, because babies don’t need discipline, and every time he holds one, he falls asleep…
Anyway, I think I’ll bring this ‘woman’s work issue’ up whenever anyone at church gives me the slightest opening.

So it’s been an eventful September over here — how’ve you been?



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One-Liner Wednesday — On True Love

“This yogurt is my bae.”
(And other things I say to make my children cringe.)


One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Y’ever notice how passionate creatives seem linked to one another, despite introversion? I’ll tell you how it happened to me. I had about six writer friends, but they had about six writer friends, who also had about six writer friends and now I have nine kajillion writer friends, because I can’t math. Oh I’ve got cooks and painters, designers and quilters, musicians and photographers, but mostly, I’ve collected writers. They span the genres fairly well, but I’d say most of them love what I call “Creepy Shit.” They’re people who love all the Halloween. They love bats and black cats and creepy castles and everything Gothic. They tell ghost stories and they ask things like, “Do you have anything in a skull pattern?”


Of course, I own nothing in a skull pattern, and I hate virtually everything about Halloween, so I just focus on how my writer friends understand my love of coffee and I say things to them like, “The twist at the end of your zombie story was extremely effective. I had to change my pants.”
I hate being scared. Good grief, I’m always scared. I don’t even watch the previews of horror movies. I watch scary things rarely, and always with a blanket up to my eyes. Truth? I haven’t read anything substantially long and scary since the early 90’s.


Do I ever write “Creepy Shit?” Uh… Once. It’s listed in my Public Writing tab. Why did I write this scary thing? Because peer pressure.
Honestly, I’d just completed some ad work, and I was delighted to do something fictional and challenging, even if it meant scaring myself.



I didn’t do it last year, because I was all, “I hafta paint my new dining room and wash my hair, y’all,” but 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween is back and I am participating this year. I could use a good challenge, and I’m always honored to be asked, but honestly, who would rather paint the back hallway instead of writing a story? If you delight in “Creepy Shit” you should go have a look-see at the last three years of stories and poems.

Or, you can totally stay here with my blanket and me, and you know, keep us safe.

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Text to Talk to Introverts

My mother taught me a long time ago, when people ask you questions that are none of their business, you reply by asking, “Why do you ask?” It redirects them to their own motives.
You should know by now, there is always a motive.

The range of motives varies, and they’re all important.

Who likes being asked, “Do you have plans Saturday afternoon?”
Not me.
Not most introverts.

Do you realize how vague that is?
Why would I confess that I don’t have plans?
My brain wants to hear you say that if I’m available on Saturday afternoon, you’d like to bring a box of kittens and puppies over for a few hours. It is much more likely that you’re going to ask me to attend a party or help you move house, so I will ask you, “Why do you ask?”
“I’m hosting a bridal shower and I could sure use some help.”
“Oh, I’m afraid I’ve developed a terrible allergy to people who don’t understand gift registries and those who make cheesy sexual innuendos that barely passed muster in 1950.”

In face-to-face conversation, this exchange would be met with shock and awe, because I’m incredibly rude. In text, this conversation would end with “Haha. So I guess you don’t wanna help me.”

Why texting is better:  Because there are times when not expressing your motive can practically destroy communication lines or allowing people to access your motive too soon can interfere with the outcome.


I’ll give you a few of my own examples.

Sometimes I realize we’re out of butter. I see that it’s fifteen minutes beyond the time that The Mister should be home. I feel conflicted. I don’t want to text him, because he’s probably driving. So, I hafta call.
“Hello Baby.”
I don’t want him to stop and buy butter if he’s right around the corner from home.
“Hi. Where you at?”
“Why, what’s up?”
“We’re outta butter.”
“I’ll turn around.”
Now, I have no idea where he is. I don’t know if he was on our street, or just left work, or has just passed a store, and now I feel guilty for being out of butter, because he hasn’t disclosed his location. I must take it in stride that he’s willing to pick up the butter, regardless.
“Thank you.”

Drew is known for being late. Drew is one of those people about whom it’s said will be late to her own funeral.
Sometimes she’s coming here. She texts me, “On my way xoxoxoxo.”
I have no idea from where she’s coming. You would think it’s irrelevant, but it’s not. She could be three hours away at home, or an hour away at Beauty Queen’s, or fifteen minutes away at The Palace of Rules. So, I hafta call her, cause she’s definitely driving.
“Where you at?”
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! You sound like Mom! I just got on the interstate!”
I don’t want her to feel rushed, or as if she’s unwelcome.
“Sorry. I just wondered if I should put this batter in the fridge and get in the shower, or if I should finish up and then shower. About how long til you get here? Have I got more than an hour?”
“You have time to do whatever!”
“Okies, thank you. DriveSafeLoveYouBye!”

These conversations are totally different in text. And are good examples of reasons introverts prefer text.

“Can you stop and pick up some butter before you come home?”
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”

“On my way xoxoxoxo”
“Where you comin from? I got muffins in and I need a shower.”
“Okies. See you later. Drive Safe and all that. Love you.”

See how that works?
For best results, text to talk to introverts.


Can you relate?

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Bookshelf Tag

I was tagged for this post by Fondly Elizabeth at Breaking the Cycle.  I call her Fondly Elizabeth because the comments she leaves me are these darling miniature letters which begin with Dear Jolene: and end with Fondly, Elizabeth.

I’m supposed to tag people, but I don’t suppose I will. Instead, I hope anyone who wants to will share their answers as well. Inspiration and all that.

1- Is there a book that you really want to read but haven’t because you know that it’ll make you cry?

No, but I must say, after watching Sassy bawl her eyes out after John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, I did move it farther from the top, to be read when I was in a good frame of mind. I bawled anyway, and it was worth it.

2- Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre.

I was at Viv’s one weekend and I picked up The Witching Hour by Anne Rice. I had previously been uninterested in Anne Rice and her vampires. Supernatural shit is not for me. Or rather, it wasn’t. Despite the fact that The Mister is a big Anne Rice fan, I could never get into Lestat and the earlier books, but I did become a fan of Queen of the Damned, Pandora, and The Blood Canticle. To me, none of her works top The Witching Hour series because witchcraft is more believable than vampires, right?


3- Find a book that you want to reread.

A book? A? As in one? I look forward to rereading The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes, Amy Tan’s Saving Fish from Drowning, Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club and The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg, but any book on the shelf is a likely target for rereading when the mood to do so strikes.

 4- Is there a book series you’ve read but wish that you hadn’t?

No. I’m not going to reread Anne of Green Gables, Ramona,  Narnia or Laura Ingalls Wilder, but I can’t think of a series I wish I hadn’t read.

5- If your house was burning down and all of your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back inside to save?

My fear of being burned to death far exceeds my love of books. Books can be replaced. I cannot.
(I’m neurotic, what the hell did you think I would say?)
I was recently asked to name my top ten books on Facebook, and it almost killed me.

6- Is there one book on your bookshelf that brings back fond memories?

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver always reminds me of Beauty Queen, because we read it at the same time, and we laughed and laughed over prayin to the chicken coop and worryin about scarecrows that leer. The book is a beautifully woven tale, which comes with some unexpected laughs. It’s a book I don’t loan out, because what if I need to read it and it’s not there?!?

7- Find a book that has inspired you the most.

I know I should say Hanh’s books or some incredible spiritual piece of literature, but no, it’s Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (The movie is not the book you know.) I moved a lot as a child, and could relate to the idea of not having a home, or running away from home, but never being able to escape home while at the same time being unable to find a home. I could relate to breaking norms and defying labels, to the belief in borrowing of others instead of belonging to them, to the idea of people not just as artists, but people as art, and art making people who they are…If you’ve never read it, you should.


8- Do you have any autographed books? 

Yes, my mother has gifted many of them with love and my name is written in almost all of them.
I don’t really understand book signing. I get it from a value sense, but the only books I want inscribed are those written by my friends, because, well, love.

10- Is there a book by an author that you never imagined you would read or enjoy?

The very-popular-suddenly-in-a-phase, almost to the point of redundancy romance book The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. Having been told I just HAD to read it, and knowing it would only take an hour or so, I did it. And it’s a good book. I’m not an overall fan of romances to begin with, so it didn’t make me swoon or gush, but it was a good story. I just prefer my romances are more like Lolita or Atonement. Something incredibly heart-breaking that leaves you sobbing and choking, unable to carry on. Being in love is devastating, and not the same as having a brief affair with Clint Eastwood.


Have you read any, some, all, or most of these books? Are you inspired to answer the questions? Have I made your to-read list longer?
I’m sorry. Kinda.

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One-Liner Wednesday — Endearing Dedication

“Mommy’s got to go! go! go! cause if I’m late! late! late! people will die! die! die!”

– Single mommy nurse neighbor, as she and her kids ran to the car one morning


One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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One-Liner Wednesday — While Tryin on Moccasins

“You can know how a person feels, but you can never know how it feels to be that person feeling those feelings.”



One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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When I Was a Child

Remember when you were a child, your parents gave you pennies for the fountain?
Remember the secrets you kept when you blew out the candles on your birthday cake?
Remember the lost eyelashes you swept from your mother’s finger?

What did you wish for?

When I was a child, I wanted my parents to be married to one another.
As an adult, I can’t even imagine why they got married.

When I was a child, I wanted a mother who’d be there when I got home.
As an adult, I value the education my mother paid for.

When I was a child, I wanted a pony and a pool and a big sister.
As an adult, all I see there is potential injury and drama.

When I was a child, I wanted to stay up late.
As an adult, I have frequent insomnia.

When I was a child, I wanted my parents to love me even though I was nothing like them.
As an adult, I am grateful I’m so much like them.

When I was a child, I wanted to keep every homeless cat or dog I saw.
I still do.

So on days where I wake up from a nap, surrounded by five animals — Cletus under my chin, Como on my back, Sadie to my side, Clara between my feet, and Catticus perched at the end of the bed, I realize that was one thing worth wishing for.
Child Me is delighted.

i don't have a camera on my ceiling. sorry not sorry!



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Sissy is Muffin, Sassy is Button, Moo is Punkin — Today’s One-Liner Wednesday

While showing my in-laws where I would grow pumpkins, a toddling two-year-old Sassy pulled out her pacifier and shouted “NO! NO MORE PUNKINS!”

button holding punkin

button holding punkin

One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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As for Me and My House, We Will Serve Ourselves

I am well-read on assorted spiritual opinions and sacred texts, the consumption of which I believe to be as crucial as partaking in a wide variety of foods, or listening to a broad catalog of music, or any number of things that enrich life’s journey with diversity.

We are all beholden to our personal truths.

beautiful art doesn't care what you believe. it doesn't even care if you believe it's beautiful.

beautiful art doesn’t care what you believe. it doesn’t even care if you believe it’s beautiful.

When I started this blog, I wrote a 26 Random Things About Me post, wherein I included that I’m a Unitarian.
For a while now, we’ve been attending services at the Unitarian church I attended long ago, and it’s been wonderful.
Every time I go, I can’t help but marvel that I’m in the right place, “Where reason and religion merge.”

flaming chalice

flaming chalice

I don’t want this blog to be about Unitarianism, but I’ll give you a few reasons I love it. It’s an accepting community. It doesn’t discriminate against race or color, sexual orientation or gender identity. Every version of humanity is welcome and valued. Seeking truth is encouraged, which means it promotes education. There’s a respect for all walks of life, all spiritual searches and experiences.
It’s not a place you put on your Sunday best and pretend to be the holiest person in the room. There’s much more to Unitarianism, and if you wish to learn about it, or find yourself screaming, “SIGN ME UP!” you can read about it at your leisure here.

I was led to this decision, to be a church-goer, to give up lazy Sundays, by one important moment.
Sassy, who was feeling rather blonde at that moment, said, in front of MIL, that she feels better about going to the Unitarian church because they don’t think you can only be a Christian or an atheist, like there are only two things to be.
MIL then said, “There are only two gods to serve, one is Jesus and the other is Satan.”
After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I had to stop her, “So you think there’s no room for any other faith?” I asked. She did not.

Remind them that their precious New Testament in their beloved book of My God is the Only God, clearly states that one hundred forty-four thousand from the twelve tribes of Israel are definitely going to heaven, as I’ve heard it preached from the very pulpit they subscribe to.
(Never you mind the assorted non-Jesuit meanings behind the concept of 144,000 or the fact that many Christian writers interpret that to mean the Jews will come to Christ, because you know, as The Mister says, that book is not literal unless it suits you, and it’s open to interpretation whenever convenient to one’s own personal feelings.) I don’t even believe in Heaven, despite popular books telling me it’s For Real.


After that moment of bad chi all up in my entryway, my conscience told me I had to commit myself to being a regular church-goer. I decided the children would benefit from a community of like-minded people, such as one finds at our church. I feel like my children need a kinda vaccination against thoughts of spiritual exclusion.

Besides, MIL is always goin on about some verse from Proverbs, (I guess people had some good ideas even before Jesus.) “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Y’all know how I live to make her happy.


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The Inevitability of Us

Today The Mister and I celebrate our fifteenth year of marriage. Fifteen glorious years of love and happiness…or somethin like that!

The Mister and I have known one another for twenty-seven years, so sometimes it feels like we have been married forever, but it’s an extraordinary feeling, unlike any other.

Not every moment of this marriage has been a pleasant one. There have, in fact, been many rough patches. Trying times for us have been typically stressful ones, like  “These children will be the death of us,” or “Remember when we used to spend time together?” and “Omalord, do we have enough money?” as well as, “Oh, please don’t die from this!”

deployments and unemployments were most terrible, and i no longer care for the word ploy

The defining moments of our marriage seem to be based on enduring. It’s as though suffering is necessary to remind us that we have one another, and often, it feels like we only have one another, and that there is no one else who could possibly understand, and no one else we’d rather have on our side, in what seems to be another batch of IT’S YOU AND ME AGAINST THE WORLD!

“Thanks, Stress, we’re like, super duper good at bein married now.”

The happiness is harder to convey. It’s a bit sickening, I admit, but it is my anniversary, so…
It’s subtle, but completely obvious at the same time. We sorta radiate an aura of ease and intimacy. It’s obvious The Mister and I are still into each other — chemistry, sexual tension, whatever you wanna call it. There’s an honest verve, a no-holds-barred tangibility to our marriage, which I would say is rare.

That vibe between us has been there for as long as I can remember, even when we were kids. We fought then, much more than we do now. But at night, we’d take comfort in the sleeplessness of one another. Most of our relationship was based on nights spent alternating between silently stroking and deep discussions in the dark. Then years of separation, followed by reunion, then years of letters, always followed by those nights, until eventually he was my person and I was his. It took him more than ten years to kiss me. It took a few months after that kiss for me to process the ramifications of said kiss. The Inevitability of Us was clear to others long before it was clear to us.

We didn’t go on a date until our wedding night. Dating is for people who need to get to know one another. We’d been friends for over a decade. This was not love at first sight, this was an evolution.

The Mister and I are both passionate, demonstrative people. We’re both black and white — for us, there is no gray. Our values are shared. We hold integrity and equality high. We both demand freedoms of every kind. We share a love for learning, for personal development, for spiritual growth. The Mister and I don’t actually share many common interests…films, outdoors, travel…
He’s a man of action and I’m a woman of words, so you know, some challenges are built right in!

If you ask me what makes it work, I’ll say “Constant communication. A running dialogue.” If you ask him, he’ll say, “We’re not afraid to work out our fucking problems.” That’s kinda the same thing.
We’re not afraid to work out our fucking problems in front of you, either. We realize it scares some people. We don’t care. We don’t go to bed angry, and would much rather get it over and done with. He who is the most passionate about it wins. Period. Yes, of course someone wins. Neither of us believe in participation trophies.

But after fifteen years, we will gladly accept any and all congratulations, well wishes, etc.

We’re not into crystal, so let’s skip the gifts this year, okay?


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What exactly are the ramifications of loving a man who’s turning into his father, when I don’t get on too well with his father?



One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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Social Media Troubles

1.My laptop has an extremely sensitive TouchPad. When I don’t push FnF5, it’s on, and it results in my typilike this. ng looking, because it changes the actively moving the TouchPadorder of my cursor as I type, even on purpose!though I’m not Sometimes it deletes things, entire I’ve alreadysections written. I’ve never had a keyboard like this, and after three years, it still catches me, like when I’ve been away from it and it’s gone to sleep. Sometimou’ll es y missing letters or words my comments and on that’s why. It’s not because I’m impaired. Promise. I mean, sometimes I make mistakes, everyone does, but a lot of it can be traced to the Evil TouchPad. Many of you suffer similarly from large thumbs and special phones with a heightened sense of Autocorrect, am I right?
*presses FnF5* WHEW!


2. To do well on social media, I must sacrifice some aspect of my offline life, which is why I take long breaks from WordPress and Twitter, although I always catch up on my favorites. If you have a life where you somehow manage to keep your house clean, your family and friends close, and your personal appearance appealing — while also keepin up with your social media, then I declare you are a liar, or you have hired help, or while I’m meditating, you’re shootin your body up with amphetamines, or you don’t sleep, ever. I hafta DO things. Balance is hard. But it’s cool how doing those things gives me stuff to share…

3. Notification Failure. Sometimes WordPress doesn’t give notifications. I guess about a dozen of you wished me well before my trip to the dentist, but I never saw any of them until today. Thanks, y’all. FavStar fails to give notifications sometimes, too. I’ve missed trophies, and had trophies missed. Facebook fails, too, which I’ve known for some time, but I’m somehow always surprised to find someone commenting on a photo from 3 years ago, and seeing questions I never answered. The best part about Facebook, though, has got to be how it loses messages. I know I had True’s new address, but now I don’t. Fun.


4. Check your blog’s spam. There may actually be valid comments in there! Along with that, your Facebook Inbox has a separate box entitled “Other” wherein you may have messages from Not Your Friends. One of them might be your ex, tryin once again to talk to you, but hey, you might have one from that blogger chick you’d like to get to know better.

Tell me your social media troubles? Tell me I’m not alone? 

Posted in Random Musings | 32 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday — On Housewifery

“Never ask her what she did all day, because she will tell you, and boy will you be sorry.”

– The Mister’s response to a man who asked his advice



One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill


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The Anti-Bully

Years ago, when the girls were in first and second grade, we sat in the food court of the PX (Post Exchange) and Sassy said she wanted to go get a drink refill, but she wanted to wait til this other kid wasn’t over there. I asked her why she didn’t want to be around him, and she told me, “That’s Eric. No one likes him.”
“Why not?”
“Cause he’s so weird. He’s always roaming around the classroom, talkin to himself. He wears these patch things on his arm and they’re supposed to help him sit down and be quiet, but they don’t work.”


How I felt was monumentally affected. Sad for Eric is an understatement. Sad for his parents, too. Grievous might be the better word.
“Sassy. That could be a little version of your brother over there. He had the same troubles as Eric, only he didn’t roam around and talk to himself, he just couldn’t focus the way you and I can focus. He was always thinking about whatever wasn’t happening. He would think about what he’d done before, or worry about what else he would hafta do, so he couldn’t pay attention to what was goin on. He didn’t wear patches, but he took a pill every day so he could focus. It was hard for him to make friends because he was so scatterbrained. He couldn’t pay attention to what his friends were sayin, either.”
“Yes, really. Go over there. Right now. Go smile and be friendly and talk to Eric like he is a smaller version of Bubba. Be kind to him. Show him your kindness. He might be as awesome as Bubba is, and no one has even taken the time to find out.”
Grudgingly, she went. There was some awkward smiling, and some chatter before she bounced back to the table, beaming with happiness.
“How’d it go?”
“Good. Now, when you go back to school, you be kind s’more. You be friendly and warm. Make him feel like you really care about him. You can help him just by doing that.”

Now and again, she would share some Eric information, like Eric also liked soccer and drawing. He had a little brother who drove him crazy, just like her sister drives her crazy. Finally, I heard the news that Eric got a good patch that helped him.

Toward the end of Sassy’s second grade year, I was introduced to Eric’s mother at a school function. She was actually a woman I’d met about a year before. On cold metal bleachers, we had sat together for hours in the dark and rain of spring soccer try-outs. I had liked her. I knew she had two boys, close in age, like my littlest girls, but we had spoken mostly about the trauma of deployments and books we had both enjoyed.
She spoke with accolades for Sassy and what a good friend she’d been to Eric.

Driving home, I asked Sassy, “Does Eric have a lot more friends now?”
“Oh yes!” she said. Said the girls all loved him. Said he was so funny all the time.
I told her how Eric’s mother had raved about her. I told her to remember how Eric’s life had changed, to remember you only need one good friend, to remember how one act of kindness can change someone’s whole life. I asked, “Remember how your teacher said if she can get you to do something, then the whole class will follow suit?”
“That makes you a leader. Lead other people to kindness. Be the anti-bully.”

A year later, Eric was quite the popular kid. We went to another school function, where Eric sat in front of us, and girls actually fought over who would sit next to him.

My little girl helped that happen, just by being kind when it was unpopular to do so.

I die of pride, and I have only my son’s atypical brain to thank for that.


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Don’t Be Ridiculous

Today’s prompt for my Photo a Day Challenge is Pet Peeve.
Who doesn’t have pet peeves?

Are yours visually interesting to photograph? I suppose I could snap a photo of your which should be you’re. Fear of seeing one more “Your welcome” makes me not even want to thank some people.

Most of my pet peeves revolve around other people, but I decided on lids that claim to be sealed for my protection. Sealed for my protection means if I can’t slice it open with a knife, I won’t buy your product anymore. Of course, I won’t buy a product without a seal, because anxiety disorder, sooo…

Coffee creamer is the worst one, because morning stiffness.


But you know which pet peeve I really wanted to capture?
Ridiculous People who say Ridiculous Things like, “One day you’ll miss ___.”

One day I’ll miss being pregnant. No. Pregnant? Do you mean when I was throwing up and crying about everything, or when I crawled around on my hands and knees for five weeks because I had back labor from bottom-down breech?
One day I’ll miss them being babies. No. Babies? Like pooping, crying, nursing fiends? No. Ridiculous. I missed a lot of sex, sleep, and meals while they were babies.
One day I’ll miss them being so small. No. Small? As in potty training, eating pet kibble, walking at a snail’s pace, getting into everything? No. Ridiculous. I was still missing a lot of sex, sleep, and meals, while also toting around everything but the kitchen sink — and my back was killing me!
One day I’ll miss this >insert random< age. No. This random age of fighting, lying, making messes, back-talking, and conveniently forgetting? No. Ridiculous. I enjoy a clean and quiet house where people are honest and try their best.


I have memories of good and bad, and everything in between. I was present for all of it.

Nursing was wonderful, and surely the best part of The Baby Daze, because I got to rest and snuggle my happy babies and sniff their little heads and hold their little feet. I liked how Sissy would read to us during nursing sessions, but I would not say I miss it. I enjoy sleeping on my stomach. I enjoy dry breasts and I certainly enjoy not having them milked by machinery.

The building and creating times are also fabulous. Blocks, Legos, K’nex, Magnetix, trains, puzzles, finger paints, pottery, stepping stones, plaster of Paris. You would not believe the things Bubba could build! But oh, you should see what he can do now! Sassy drew a person one day, typical of a three-year-old, with four fingers and a thumb, long toes that looked like talons, a belly button and a smile from ear to ear. It was precious. Now I have to fight off relatives who want her art.

Really enjoy the hilarious things my kids say. I expect they’ll always make me laugh. I rather demand it!

So much good stuff has happened; reading stories, and playing games, and showing and teaching and seeing the world through their eyes — all wonderful, all beautiful memories. But you know what? I’m still making them. We’ve gone from Goodnight Moon to To Kill a Mockingbird, from Chutes & Ladders to Scrabble. We’ve gone from announcing every poop to forging some personal boundaries. We’ve gone from asking why Franklin lied to Moose, to why the National Enquirer is not real journalism.
And I like it!

And there’s no reason to miss the old good stuff when there’s plenty right now.

If you can’t see the world anew through the eyes of your older or adult child, then you need to try harder. They’re still full of insight. I’m not saying wisdom, I’m saying they’re still teaching me. I don’t feel like pining for the past, I just look back fondly. I don’t want to throw them out of the house right now, but I look forward to a job well done.

I like to focus on the positives, like once everyone’s had braces, once everyone’s gotten over acne, once everyone can drive, once everyone has moved out, once everyone has had to shower without hot water…

I’m not going to miss unexpected wet pants, ER visits, suspensions, broken curfews, face cream on the windows, broken crayons, dirty diapers, lost shoes, poorly folded towels, scratched discs, nose suckers, a belly too big to drive, strange substances stuck to the floor, or farting contests.

For some reason, the world does not want you to complain about your children. If your children are drivin you crazy, you should just shut up, because you chose this. It’s peculiar, given that one also chooses lovers, jobs, homes, shoes, glasses — all of which one can exchange. One cannot exchange one’s children. One must endure. Wait and see. Hope it’s a phase.

People tell me, “Oh you’ll miss them when they’re gone.” Well, yes, of course. I miss them often. I sorta don’t ever want to be away from them. Even when I send them away, I know I will miss them.
I’ve not been raising my children to stay home to keep me company, I’ve been raising them to go out into the world and make lives for themselves.

I miss Bubba and Sissy all the time, but you know what? I’ve still got memories, and now and again they tell me good stories or make me laugh or fill my heart to bursting, even though they’re not here.

Another one to get peeved about is “Just you wait!” People are always saying this to parents. I find it odd. Are they competing about fretting over life’s stages? Because I assure you, I have worried my parents at every stage of life, and I think parenting is a frustrating job for anyone regardless of the child’s age. Furthermore, no one would do it if it wasn’t for all the incredible, unfathomable joy along the way.

“OMG Moo’s crawling!”
“Just you wait until she’s walking!”
Yeah? I got three others walking, what am I waiting for? For her to fall down? To trip? To walk faster? To run?

People have got to stop saying Ridiculous Things.


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A Day in the Life of a Justified Person*

Not too long ago, my friend Meg posted the chronicles of her day as an unjustified stay-home mom, and I was so humored and inspired by it, I decided I would post one of my own days. But back to good intentions, she reminded me I hadn’t actually posted it. So here. Here’s yesterday.

4:59 The Mister checks his phone for the umpteenth time during the night. Having been sleepless for the better part of the night, again I ask him, “Is it 5:00 yet?” Immediately, his alarm sounds. We snuggle briefly, while I contemplate that I am, in fact, tired, and how useless lying in the bed has been.

6:10 I pour coffee into my cup and check my phone. The prompt for the day is Grateful. Coffee seems like a good choice.


6:40 Put on yesterday’s clothes. Twist hair into a knot and secure with a clip. Brush teeth. Apply moisturizer. Wonder why my eyebrows are uneven and disappearing, and then quickly remember I am 40 and haven’t groomed them in well over a year.

6:50 Do the girls’ hair. Argue with them about potential hairstyles. Remind them of nit combs, olive oil, and all the hugging they’ll be doing on the first day of school, while their hairs flail about looking for head lice.

6:57 Stare in wonder at Moo, who refuses to wear her jean jacket, because it’s itchy and she’s wearing short sleeves.
“Denim is cotton you know.”
“Too many seams.”
Wait for Moo to get an organic cotton sweater. Briefly question for the one thousandth time whether she has serious sensory issues or if she’s just quirky.

7:00 Head to the bus stop, hoping and praying the bus situation will be better this year.

7:02 Hold Moo, who is cold. Listen to Sassy and Moo’s exchange about gossipy things.


7:11 Kiss the girls and watch them get onto the bus with a new bus driver. Feel delighted.

7:20 Fill bird feeder, feed dog and cats. Monitor the eating. Pet all the cats. Count blessings.

7:45 Iron all the things while Skyping with True. Run out of starch, curse the blue broadcloth shirt and leave it unpressed.

8:20 Dance and sing like no one is looking.

8:40 Refill coffee and make a bowl of Rice Krispies. Eat while playing Words of Wonder until I run out of energy points. Check all social media.

10:00 Drink coffee and Skype with Orb. Spend most of the time disconnecting, reconnecting, and hating Skype.

11:05 Do dishes. Clean kitchen. Rotate laundry. Water seedlings.

12:00 Contemplate fryin the last green tomato and ultimately decide to eat string cheese and a plum, because no dirty dishes.

12:45 Take dog out, wander around the yard. Smile. Count blessings.

1:00 Undress, unclip hair, climb back into bed, set alarm, call dog to bed, pet and rub dog, fall asleep.

2:44 Awaken to find all of the animals are on the bed, except Como, who is under the bed, but comes out to look at me every few minutes. Sort brain from dreaming to reality and question the meaning behind dreams of floods. Dress, clip hair, make bed, rotate laundry.

3:00 Unlock the door, crack open a Coke, sit in the silence. Count blessings.

3:07 Listen to two overly verbose children at once.

3:25 Assign chores to the children. Check social media. Finish the can of walnuts.

4:00 Make swate tay. Note that it is always time to peel potatoes or make swate tay. Somehow manage to break the tea pitcher with a chunk of ice. Blame everything but myself. Curse The Mister for buying enormous bags of ice. Must remember to remind him I am not She-Ra. Curse stupid side-by-side refrigerator, curse broken ice maker. Make half the tea in the lemonade pitcher.


4:15 Nag the girls about the state of their rooms, the fact that their papers aren’t on the counter, their book bags not on hooks, lunchboxes not put away. Insist on order. Cannot allow them to watch tv, read on the bed, or snuggle a blanket, which will all result in sleeping, and then not sleeping at night. Holler about picking up everything that belongs to them.

4:30 A fight ensues. Take shelter in the shower. Count blessings. Shave legs and marvel at how my feet are no longer tan. Smile.

4:45 Decide the house is in order. Put beans in the oven to bake. Pour a glass of swate tay out of the lemonade pitcher. Lament over broken tea pitcher incident again.

5:00 Debate baking a cake, but don’t want to dirty more dishes. Tell The Mister to fire up the grill for weenies.

5:35 Tell The Mister to pull the baked beans out of the oven on his way out to get the weenies. Tell Moo to get out the condiments and potato chips.

6:00 Eat weenie, beans, and chips while reading and while family watches Castle. Get mustard and relish on my shirt. Stain-treat shirt. Change shirt.

6:45 Kiss Sassy goodnight.

7:00 Tell Moo, who has fallen asleep on the couch, to go to bed.
7:10 Tell Moo, who has fallen asleep on the couch, to go to bed.
7:15 Tell Moo, who has fallen asleep on the couch, to go to bed. Kiss Moo goodnight.

8:00 Rub eyes. Think about tweezing eyebrows. Think about making a hot cuppa tea. Feel too tired to get up to do either.

9:15 Accept random compliments and affection from husband, who has stopped studying long enough to notice he is still married. Get butterflies. Smile.

9:30 Rub eyes. Put on glasses. Wish I had baked the cake. Eat three cookies. Note that the generic chocolate and vanilla cookies from Walmart are not as good as the generic chocolate and vanilla cookies from Family Dollar.

9:45 Tidy up. Pet cats. Begin feeling poorly for lack of sleep.

9:55 Clean up kitchen. Begin to tell The Mister that during our unfortunate time of not having a tea pitcher, one cannot pour hot tea into a glass pitcher…and quickly realize he’s turned the coffee pot back on, effectively heating the tea. Almost cry. Rub eyes. Take glasses off. Make tea in pasta pot. Pour into lemonade pitcher.

10:10 Read papers from school, recycle them, set aside the forms out to be filled in.

10:05 Make a glass of tea, ramble through the house in a ritualistic way, fluffing pillows and gathering all my things, noting that while I have a hundred things to do before bed, and am always out of sorts, my husband is fully efficient. Take one Tylenol and one Motrin, because headache. Put on pajamas.

10:20 Get upset that the dvr didn’t record any Murphy Brown episodes that day. Realize Bridget Jones’s Diary is not on a commercial-free channel. Lie in bed watching Will & Grace until husband falls asleep on me. Get up, tell the dog to stay, drink tea, rotate laundry, peek on sleeping babies, pet all the cats, brush, floss, rinse, moisturize, examine eyebrows, sigh. Look at moon. Get back into bed, only to be upset that I’m in bed before Stephen Colbert is done recording, and I’ll have to suffer through commercials. Pet Como for what seems like eternity. Use spare pillow to wipe cat hair off my face. Fall asleep. Turn off tv. Fall asleep again.

I invite anyone to chronicle a day. I’m pretty sure your days are far more eventful and entertaining than mine!

*I say justified, because I don’t think we need to qualify our lifestyle choices

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One-Liner Wednesday — On Potato Soup

“There are too many potatoes in this soup.” — Moo, age 10


One-Liner Wednesdays are brought to you by LindaGHill

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On Vaping

I said I would write this post in like, June or somethin.
Of course, I thought I’d have the trim in the back hallway painted before my parents came, too, so you know, road to Hell, good intentions, blah blah blah…

At the time of writing this post, I’ve been smoke-free for two months, twelve days, twenty-three hours, and ten minutes. By the time you read it, it will have been longer, but I’m not lookin at my Smoke-Free app every hour or whatever, because I don’t miss smoking.

I have effectively replaced my addiction to smoking with an addiction to vaping.

If you don’t smoke, and have never been a smoker, you’re probably rolling your eyes, because now all the vaping people will be taking vape breaks at work and smelling of vape and blowing vape into the faces of newborn babies and vaping at concerts and in front of stores and you’ll be waving the vape clouds away and hacking loudly at vapers, so they know how much you hate all the vaping. Mmhm, I know your kind.


Anyway, it’s an extremely effective “cure” for me. I believe people who enjoy smoking will most enjoy vaping. If someone is merely chained to nicotine, and it isn’t the smoking that they so enjoy, then they maybe wouldn’t like vaping nearly as much.

I’ve stepped down in nicotine, and I don’t even think I’m addicted to the nicotine anymore. If I am, it’s certainly not to the degree that I was addicted to cigarettes. I don’t vape first thing in the morning. I don’t rush to vape after I eat. It’s actually sorta peculiar, because within a few days of vaping, you can easily identify your habits and patterns.

I had a friend who smoked more than me, who started vaping, and after she’d done it successfully for a few weeks, I did some research, presented it to The Mister, and off we went to the vape shop. Initially, it was a little overwhelming. We had to make choices about different sizes and styles of batteries, some with adjustable gadgets, all of which need coils and chargers. Then there were nicotine levels to choose from and literally, hundreds of flavors.

People at vape shops are knowledgeable and helpful.

It is important to note that we had tried the e-cigarettes for some time, with little satisfaction and quite a bit of frustration. Please know that although the two are similar, the personal vaporizer is widely preferred. Do not buy stuff at the gas station. Go to a vape shop.

my black vape. i have a yellow one, too. they come in all kindsa colors and sizes.

my black vape. i have a yellow one, too. they come in all kindsa colors and sizes.

We smoked the rest of that Friday evening, and around 11, I assembled our vaporizers, put the flavors in, and we started vaping. There is no buzz. There’s a throat hit, which smokers love. But there’s no instant hit of nicotine. Eventually your lungs absorb the nicotine, but it’s delayed. I would compare it to caffeine. When you take the first drink, you don’t feel your eyes pop out of your head like a cartoon character, but you know eventually, when you are done, you’ll have a lot more energy. I suppose people who use nicotine gum or patches experience a similar effect. It’s definitely nicotine, which is a stimulant, but it’s merely to compensate for nicotine withdrawal, not enough to make your head spin, even after not vaping for four days, per the instructions of your dentist, who is so glad you quit. (Along with your doctor, who is also thrilled you are vaping instead of smoking.)

It’s enough nicotine, at enough of a rate that smokers don’t feel like they’re dying. If that’s too dramatic, it’s enough to make a smoker feel as though they do not need to slide out of their skin, scream at everyone, hit things and crawl into a hole to die. Oh, right, too dramatic, still. It’s enough to make a smoker feel okay.

The following morning, I took the dog out, made my cup of coffee, and sat down to my computer, where I would normally light a cigarette. ah, but i don’t smoke anymore. i gotta go get my vape. And so I vaped.
And vaped and vaped and vaped.
To say that the first few days I vaped my brains out would be hyperbole, but it’s not far from those days I wish I could have hooked the espresso up via an IV, because I couldn’t possibly drink enough coffee to feel okay.
By the time Monday came, I had settled in. I had figured out how to assemble all the tanks and how to replace coils and I also decided to buy a spare battery. Like my mama always says, “All you need is two of somethin, one in the wash….”
No, wait, that wasn’t about batteries on the charger, was it? but you get it.

I actually did save a cigarette, just in case, but I never did need it, and days later, I realized I’d thrown it away in one of my over-efficient tidiness spells.

Sometime that week, I was watching Moo in the pool, and I yawned — when I swear, an entire section of my lungs opened up. That was pretty spiffy stuff.
Yes, I did experience all the joys of not smoking — like breathing all the air, tasting all the food, being able to run without panting horrendously, holding a longer musical note — all of them, positively delightful.
But the real joy is in not smoking. It’s a certain freedom. A freedom, in my opinion, that non-smokers might even take for granted.

Yeah, maybe I’m addicted to nicotine. Maybe. Don’t know. Didn’t freak out about not being able to vape after oral surgery. Surely do enjoy vaping. Think I might always vape, even when my nicotine goes down to zero. It’s a pleasure. It’s like the pleasure of smoking, only better in so many ways.

I’ll tell you one thing I so enjoy — I never have to finish a cigarette. I know! It’s an odd thing to be so pleased about, but smoking is a timing issue. Once you light a cigarette, you’re committed to it. So sometimes you don’t have enough time to smoke, or people don’t want to stand there as long as it takes to smoke it, you don’t want to waste it, or you have to finish smoking it before doing something else. None of that. The vape, is simply … there.

Within two weeks, most of our smoking friends and family had also quit smoking and started vaping, too. Isn’t that nice?
I still keep an ashtray on hand, since I’ve vowed not to be one of those terrible reformed smokers who hounds people. I will still be a gracious hostess.

There’s really nothin more to it. It’s easy. It’s cleaner, cheaper, and gosh darn it, I like it!

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