Sunday, June 21, 2015

One Day

“Why would you want to embarrass yourself like that? You know those sorts of things aren’t for girls like you, Emily.”

Emily was standing outside the Piggly Wiggly starting at an almost-florescent yellow flyer in the front window.
            Miss  Marigold Pa gean t

That’s what it said  in comic sans font off-center and weirdly spaced.

Ages 10-13
Come one, Come all
$50 entrance fee
Bring your talent and sign up today

That was the rest of it. Then there was a picture of last year’s winner, Virginia Lashley. Emily rolled her eyes just seeing that smug face staring back at her from the page. That’s when Mama walked up and caught her staring. Mama, with her knockoff designer purses and brand name clothes bought at Marshall’s… Emily would stare up at the ceiling some nights after Mama had been particularly cruel, poisonous words dripping from her wine-stained lips and wonder just why Mama tried so hard to fit in with people that obviously never gave a shit about her in the first place. Shit and words like it were ever-present in Emily’s head, but she didn’t dare utter them aloud. Mama would be sure to backhand her a good one and tell her how unladylike she was being.

“Seriously, child, you aren’t pageant material and everyone knows it. It would be a waste of $50 and send you into your usual fit of tears so come on now. I need a roast for dinner tonight for your father’s favorite birthday dinner.”

The two headed inside. Emily was quiet trailing behind her mom with her eyes downcast as usual. Mama was a talker though. Emily supposed she fancied herself a socialite, but everyone in this place, in this whole town, feigned interest in one another then gossiped about each other in the next breath.

Emily thought this was complete bullshit and spent the entire time she was in the store imagining all the women as big fat sewer rats. Mrs. McMillan was a plump old gray rat with blue hair and spectacles. Mrs. Spencer had orange lips and too much rouge on her brown fur and was way too skinny with a long, way too long, snout. Ms. Sorenson was a taller rat with a flat face like a pug and dark, almost black fur, a mole on the end of her short snout and dead eyes like a shark. And on it went. A ten minute trip to pick up a roast that, if Mama was honest with herself wouldn’t get eaten anyway since Daddy preferred to drink his dinner, took nearly 2 hours.

The only time Emily actually said anything, she asked for an iced molasses cookie from the bakery in the shape of a goofy frog when Mama was picking up Daddy’s cake.

“Now, Em dear, you know you don’t need the extra calories. You could stand to lose a little weight as it is. I refuse to add to your little problem there. And don’t even ask for any of this birthday cake. You won’t be getting it.”

Emily noticed the woman in the bakery looking at Mama strangely but Mama didn’t pick up on the confusion and bewilderment on the baker’s face. Instead, Mama winked and proudly said, “We have to make sure we keep out girls looking fit if they ever intend on getting married, don’t we?” And with that she grabbed the cake and turned away from the counter without waiting for a reply.

The checkout line wasn’t any better. Mama gabbed uselessly about herself as usual. The young girl ringing up their groceries looked like she absolutely could not care less about the great deal Mama got on her exquisite Gucci card case in fuchsia of all colors, so she leaned over towards Emily and asked, “So, little lady, do ya think you might enter the Miss Marigold pageant? I bet you’d look great in a royal blue gown with those brown eyes of yours!”

Emily blushed at the compliment and peeked up at her shyly from behind her mop of brown hair. She blushed even harder when Mama scoffed and said that it would most certainly be a waste of time and money putting a girl like Emily in a pageant with the kind of girls that usually won the Miss Marigold title.

The cashier stood there with her mouth open for a second staring at Mama but then she turned back to her work, shut her mouth, and quickly got them out of there before anything else could be said.

On the ride home, Mama hummed off-key along to one of her country CDs while Emily, in the backseat, stared out the window into the clouds overhead. Sometimes she felt like she lived two lives. On the outside, she was demure and shy, sensitive to her mother’s criticisms and her parents’ drunken fights, always the wallflower. In her head, she was fierce, unrelenting, a force that would stop at nothing to get out of here and live her own life one of these days. She was going to be a biologist. She was never going to wear another pair of Capris for as long as she lived, and she was going to marry a girl.

In a way, she was a caged tiger. From the outside looking in, there was nothing to fear. It was easy to see her as just a scared little house cat. But one day she would find a way out; her real self born from the prison she constructed to make her life with Mama a little easier. Free. It wasn’t like phoenix being reborn from ashes because the true Emily had never really lived in the first place.

One day, she thought, staring into the clouds ignoring the off-key humming. She daydreamed of her future (one without Mama) and allowed herself to smile for the first time since she woke that morning. 


Sunday Confessions today! The prompt this week was embarrassment. I hope you will check out the other submissions on More Than Cheese and Beer. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

19 Tips for Modern Dating

1. Don’t expect a free meal unless you’re willing to pick up the tab the next time.

2. Do have enough money to cover your portion of the meal or activities as well as part of the tip instead of assuming your date will pay unless this is discussed beforehand.

3. Open doors *for each other*

4. Don’t ask a person you meet online or in a bar to feel comfortable enough after a conversation or two to meet you at their house or for directions to theirs. Respect their common sense approach to remaining safe. It isn’t a reflection on whether or not you are a good person. You never know if your date is planning on making a pencil skirt out of your skin until it's to late

5. Do offer to meet the person in public and do not expect that person to get drunk with you in public or not. Do not get so drunk that you spell “I love you” in pee on the sidewalk in front of your date.

6. If your date spells his or her name a certain way, do spell it that way also. You don’t really have a better idea of who your date is than he or she does, I promise.

7. Don’t question your date’s food choices especially if *you* feel he or she is ordering too much, and don’t eat off your date’s plate without asking first. Some people are assholes about that.

8. Don’t spend the entire date talking about yourself and your hobbies especially if your hobby is collecting pogs.

9. Don’t tell your date she owns too many cats and would be happier without cats. Also, don’t tell her you hate cats. If you hate cats, go fuck yourself.

10. Ask questions, engage in friendly banter, keep the topics as light or deep as the person you are with feels comfortable. Also, even if your date is into politics, please keep your libertarianism to yourself.

11. Don’t offer to eat your date’s underwear.

12. Do compliment the person, but don’t say things like “ I want to eat your pubic hair.”

13. Don’t call your date a tease if you don’t get what you want at the end of the night. Respect his or her right to say no and to wait until a more comfortable time to engage in whatever activities you want like when that person wants to do those things too. Sex shouldn’t be one-sided unless you’re at home alone and your pets aren’t watching.

14. Don’t push or try to force the person into what you want.

15. Do follow his or her cues for a goodnight kiss. It is more than okay to hope the kiss includes tongue.

16. Don’t call your genitalia a ding-dong or tell your date you have a badass “Weiner”

17. Do be upfront about what your needs are in life—if you don’t want a relationship, don’t lie and say you’re open to it. If you wanted the nachos as an appetizer, get the fucking nachos.

18. Don’t disrespect your date’s needs—if he or she expresses no desire for a relationship, don’t decide to wait it out and be a good friend until his or her mind is “changed.” That’s not how it works. Friends don’t fantasize about banging their friends all the time. That is something else entirely.

19. And, I suppose, it goes without saying, don’t be a self-serving dick.


Sunday means Sunday Confessions! This week our prompt was "For" so this is where we ended up over here at Climaxed. Not eating underwear or wearing skin suits. So yeah. Anyway, be sure to check out the rest of the submissions at More Than Cheese and Beer

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dirty Little Secret

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

My words are: Instead, Weight, Caught, Perspective and were submitted by the oh so awesome Jenn at


Instead of taking a right turn towards home when she left the bleached and in-need-of-a-paint job parking lot in her office building, she went straight then took a sharp left. A right would have taken her to her life. This way would let her escape domestication for a little while.

At work in that rundown office building adjoined by that disaster of a parking lot, she was a telemarketer selling products to people who couldn’t afford them from a cubicle that looked like millions of other cubicles staggered across the country like cardboard cutout prison cells. Every single day she was roused from dreaming by the shrill scream of the alarm clock. Every day she hit the snooze button until she was almost late to work. Every day she skipped dressing up, she skipped makeup, she skipped doing anything to her hair but pulling it back in a half assed pony tail. She didn’t know when she stopped caring, but she had. She used to wake up ready for the world to light her on fire. Now, she was mostly a fizzling match waiting to be tossed by the wayside. She sat in her cubicle dialing numbers, hating people, hating herself in a whirlwind of monotony that killed her little by little every day. Then she would leave her boring, shitty job, travel the 14.58 miles to her house by the same route (every single day), and warm up the same rotation of Hungry Man meals for her far-too-round husband who couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge her existence.

Once upon a time they were happy. They wed, they loved, they dreamed of a bigger life together. Maybe it was never meant to be. Maybe life happened. Either way, the dreams had shriveled and the love went right along with it. She hadn’t felt wanted in longer than she cared to remember. If she didn’t feed the man and wash his clothes, she’s pretty sure her existence in her life wouldn’t have mattered at all. Over the years, she lost any sense of self she had ever had.

Until she met him.

That day at work had started like hundreds before it. She sat at her desk wishing she were anywhere else, wishing she were someone else, wishing she could stick to a diet, that she could be bothered to do something with herself just to feel some semblance of confidence and hating herself for not bothering. She pulled numbers from her computer files contacting people who either hung up on her immediately or who called her any number of words that made her blush and want to waste away and die just for doing her job. This time she was selling some kind of shitty wireless mp3 headphones from china that probably cost a buck a piece and were being pushed for $49.99. Of course people were hanging up for that. Who needed a fucking mp3 player with everyone having ipods and iphones and other bullshit?

When she got Ken on the phone though, he was immediately different. She started in on her spiel speaking so fast hoping to catch the consumer’s attention before the phone was slammed down in her ear. He was laughing in her ear before her second sentence though. She was blushing and bracing herself for the worst when he said, “Slow down, Sugar. I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”

She apologized then, but he laughed that off, too, and asked for her name. She introduced herself and felt herself smile when he said he liked the sound of her voice. He asked her age. The two of them were only a few months apart actually with her being the oldest. She felt oddly euphoric when he said he wanted to know everything about her, but she told him that she couldn’t talk about that sort of thing on the phone for work, so he wanted to know when she got her lunchbreak and if he could call her then. It was odd, but she gave him her number unable to say no to the kindness she heard in his voice, unable, really, to say no to the butterflies she felt fluttering in her gut. What harm could it do? she thought. It was just her phone number. It’s not like she was meeting a stranger at his home only to end up on the 6 o’clock news when her body was found shoved into a couple suitcases, in pieces, and tossed in the dump.

Eventually, though, she did meet him at his house. It wasn’t until several phone calls, hundreds of texts and shared photos, and a couple of lunch dates later, though. He knew she was married. Unhappily married. He was divorced and after just a few dates said he was failing for her. It was passionate, a chaotic swirl of lust and caring and maybe love—things she hadn’t felt in a long time if ever--and it hooked her right from the start.

She hadn’t slept with him yet, but that didn’t mean she hadn’t thought about it time and time and time again. She wanted it. Needed it. The most that had happened even when she was at his apartment were short kisses that she quickly broke off out of guilt. That hadn’t stopped her from seeing him, though. It hadn’t stopped her from being at his house alone. She knew that no matter how little physical contact the two of them had, it was still an affair, but from her perspective, if things hadn’t been so shitty in her marriage in the first place none of this would have happened. It was just a matter of figuring out where to go from here…if she were honest with herself, though, she could have taken the steps to make this right by now. She had promised Ken that she would, that she was going to leave, that she was going to have *that* conversation at home, and she had had every opportunity to do so, but when it came time to do it, she paused. Every time. She was holding back.

The weight of her secret and the thought of getting caught were exciting in a way. This was the craziest thing she had ever done in her life besides that one time she went into a sex shop and bought a vibrator to keep herself sane. She was scared that taking away the secretiveness, the thrill of it, would take away the very thing that made her feel alive. She was like a junkie begging for another hit so she could feel something more than numb, so she could escape from the consequences of her reality. Then she would trudge home to her apartment that smelled of regret and microwaved Salisbury steak (hard to distinguish between the two) and smile a knowing smile even as she threw Hank’s yellowed briefs into the wash. She would hum to herself when she stood under the hot spray of the shower letting Caress Tahitian Renewal wash away her sins. When she laughed to herself at some inside joke she shared with Ken even while Hank was in the room, she felt free.

In deception she had found salvation. It wasn’t Ken that saved her though he was certainly the catalyst. She had saved herself, proven that she could still take chances and make her own decisions and break the psychological chains that had held her in such an unhappy place for so long.

A phone call may have started it, but in the end, she was the one who determined life was meant for more.

Maybe it wasn’t right. Maybe a lot of people would judge her, but it had been a long time since she felt this good and she planned to hold on to that feeling just a little longer before she decided where to go from here. The only direction she would be going soon enough was up.


I don't necessarily agree or disagree with the character in this story, but I go where the voice takes me and this was the road she and I traveled together this past week writing this story. Now, I hope you will check out the other bloggers who joined up for today's challenge. You can find the links below. And thank you for reading. Baking In A Tornado Spatulas on Parade The Bergham’s Life Chronicles The Momisodes Stacy Sews and Schools Sparkly Poetic Weirdo Eileen’s Perpetually Busy Battered Hope Southern Belle Charm Someone Else’s Genius Confessions of a part-time working mom Searching for Sanity Climaxed Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Note

The note tucked so callously under his windshield wiper blade was anonymous. Of course it was. Who would want to admit to writing it?

“We don’t wont no fucking MOSLIMS in this nayberhood. Get out or pay the price.”

When he saw it that morning before he went to work at the local post office (he was a Saturday rural substitute driver), he thought about calling the cops. But then he thought better of it. As far as he knew, the cops could have been the ones to write it. They hadn’t treated him all that well since he moved here…which was probably an understatement. In reality, he had been stopped no less than a dozen times for various infractions. Going 1 mile over the speed limit. A broken tail light that wasn’t broken before the cop smashed it. Weaving when he knew he hadn’t been. Rolling stops. Failure to yield. The list was ridiculous.

So who exactly was he supposed to report this note, this obvious threat, to exactly?

He had no one.

And heres the kicker (not that it really made that much of a difference), he wasn’t even Muslim. He was Sikh. Sort of. His parents were very strict observers of the Sikh religion. He still practiced Kesh (letting his hair grow to honor the perfection of Gods creation). He didn’t drink (much) or gossip or partake in most of the forbidden acts, but he was a bit more liberal than his parents liked. He liked his hair, though, and his pagri. It was part of his heritage, who he was and where he came from… it was a symbol not only of his belief but of family and tradition. He was proud to be Sikh even while the people around him gave him evil looks and yelled at him to get that rag off his head because THIS WAS AMERICA DAMNIT.

So, it wasn’t really a shock to find that note on the windshield with all its inaccuracies and bad spelling. The very part of his religion that he cherished most—wearing the pagri—was the one that far too many ignorant assholes associated with terrorism, with extreme beliefs. The very sight of a him caused people to essentially turn into terrorists themselves. Every time he walked into a store, people changed, the air stiffened. Every time he sought help even for the simplest things, he was shunned and ignored.

He crumpled the note and tossed it into the floorboard hoping it was yet another tactic to push him out of town and nothing to be concerned about. He had tried hard to ignore it knowing he didn’t have much choice. He had to save up the money to get out of here. He had left home for this tiny town thinking he would like to get away from the hustle and bustle and live somewhere quiet, but he didn’t bargain for this… he didn’t know that moving away from the cranky crowded sidewalks, the couldn’t care less movers and shakers, moving away from the reach of his slightly overprotective parents pushed him right into the hateful clutches of uncultured hillbillies. The sunsets here were amazing, peppered by tall pines and encored by a chorus of crickets and tiny fornicating frogs. The quiet at daybreak wrapped around him like a familiar blanket. Every sight, the slowness, the quiet--it was all perfect. It soothed every nerve…until he had to face the people. So long as he was in his own world, he felt at home in a way he could never get with the honking horns, the smell of exhaust, and the voices warring at all times of the night in the city.

He mulled it over sullenly as he continued on his route for the day. He was making good time. The route he memorized his first week. And he had a knack for remembering numbers so sorting was easy. The people he worked with were actually pretty decent to his face at least, so the job was just another part of what he loved about living here. Even the monotony of driving this same route every Saturday and the days he was called in, it felt good…it felt good to be out in the world, a world that felt far more real than the concrete box he grew up in. He wanted this to work more than anything. He just had to stick it out and show people that being Sikh was all about peacefulness, nothing like the bullshit hyped up on tv.

That determination, the fierceness of it, made his mind up for him about all this. He would be here for the long haul. He would make this work however long it took, no matter what he took. He belonged here.

He finished his route far ahead of his usual schedule. It was a kind of a competition with himself—beating his best time. He dropped off the outgoing mail to high praise from the postmaster, said his goodbyes to everyone, and headed back home.

He noticed smoke on the horizon when he pulled onto his street…dark billowy plumes. He had no idea what could be going on. The land across the street from home had been burned recently. He had never seen anything like it but when he searched online, he read it was normal care to keep out diseases and such. Surely they wouldn’t be burning again but maybe they didn’t get it all done.

He was thinking of all the food he was going to eat once he walked in the house, the nap he was going to take…the way it would feel when he finally got to lay down in bed propped up on the pillows flipping through channels under the cool breeze of the ceiling fan when he saw it. The smoke, nearly black, rose from his own roof. The fire blazed in the windows, climbing the walls, engulfing every bit of life he created here.

He jumped out of the car calling 911 and alerting them of the fire noticing the huge white spray painted words on his lawn.


He sat, the weight falling out from under him suddenly, in the middle of those letters and watched his dreams and determination burn with every semblance of home he had built in this place.


Our prompt today was Anonymous. Hope I was able to do it justice with a difficult subject like this. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out all the other submissions today on More Than Cheese and Beer

Friday, June 5, 2015

And So It Goes

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 16 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

My subject is: Tell the story of a relationship or a friendship that you let go and why you wish you hadn’t.

It was submitted by:


Quality over quantity.

In relationships and friendships, that has always been the most important factor for me—the quality of the connection. I can interact with people who don’t share my values and belief system, but ultimately, the only way I can ever really connect with someone is to share those common beliefs and see in that person a reflection of myself. In a lot of ways, even in friendships I want proverbial soulmates.

Understandably, this makes things fairly difficult at times.

Part of the driving force behind that desire is having been in a family that, most of the time, made me doubt myself and chipped away at me at every turn. When I got old enough to realize the toxicity of a lot of my family relationships, I chose to stop participating in them anymore. I have zero connections to my dad’s side of the family and not many with my mom’s choosing instead to focus on my immediate family and the few close friends I have that I truly do consider family.

But, that doesn’t come without a hint of regret.

When I was growing up, my grandma (Granny) was a constant in my life. My brother and I spent a lot of time with her and my grandfather. We were there almost as much as home learning to cook, making forts, and being scared of bad weather with her. She spoiled us with candy, junkfood, toys, and letting us do whatever we wanted more often than not (like Grandmas are supposed to).

Then, she would turn around and tell us we were fat and needed to go on a diet. Even as young children she would give us a huge bagful of junkfood to take home then comment on our weight. She would play the attentive grandma then turn around and harp on the shapes of our bodies. The older we got, the more she complained about that and other things (like Grandmas are not supposed to).

When I was in 5th grade, my aunt died from a brain aneurysm. It turns out that my grandparents had offered her a not so small lump sum if she lost weight—down to something they saw more preferable. Granted, she was a fairly large woman, but that really wasn’t their concern. Still with her being a divorced mom of two boys who needed college and all that, she decided to take the offer. She had a stomach stapling (vertical gastric banding) to help in the process covered by insurance or worked out with the hospital she worked at or something like that. Afterwards, she would get sick after eating anything even remotely close to the amount she was used to and spent a good chuck of time praying to the porcelain god. That’s where her boyfriend found her one evening—she had gotten sick and the aneurysm ruptured. She was taken in for brain surgery, but things didn’t go well at all, and she ended up on life support, brain dead. My grandparents decided to take her off support not long after.

Essentially, they killed her metaphorically and literally.

If it hadn’t been for their insistent concern about her body, she never would have been so sick. She never would have had the procedure. She likely wouldn’t have needed the brain surgery. It could be that the aneurysm was already in place, but people can manage a happy life for years without ever experiencing the sort of rupturing she did or perhaps preventative measures could have been taken if it began to give her trouble. In many ways, it was on their heads for fixating on something that really wasn’t any of their business in the first place.

Imagine my shock and disgust when the same offer was given to me years later when I was around 19/20.

That’s the kind of toxic presence my grandparents played in my life. My weight was a direct reflection of my worth to them especially to my grandmother. My weight was more important, in fact, than my life. More important than a solid relationship with me. More important than unconditional love and support or any of the things that your family members are supposed to give to you.

My relationship with her (and with him) was strained at best after that. Nothing I did was good enough. Eventually I did lose weight but it was never enough. I was never enough. When my dad was dying with cancer, she would cry to me about how she was going to make it every time I called her, but she never talked about him. She never asked me if I was okay. When my grandfather died in 2009 and my brother and I went through his office just to look at all his old memories and what he kept finding comfort in getting to know him better through the items he chose to keep, through the things he carried from one house to another and one era to the next, she accused us of only being there to look for his will.

That was the final straw of a long string of incidents and a whole lot of bullshit.

I haven’t spoken to her since not that she has ever really attempted to call or seek me out, but it was always on my shoulders to have a relationship with her anyway—I had to make the calls and the visits and request her time never the other way around. I can’t see myself going back into that relationship with all the years of self-doubt and heartache it caused. It isn’t healthy to let someone who was supposed to love me exactly as I am constantly nitpick every fault and flaw she could find, someone who needed every bit of attention from everyone around her… a selfish hypochondriac with a booze problem that turned into a pill problem coupled with a need to put everyone else down to build herself up. Who needs that?

That isn’t to say there is zero regret in this decision, though.

I don’t want her, the person, in my life, but I do feel like I have missed out on having a really rad grandma that could learn to accept the tattoos and the weird hair and my individualized parenting style. And, for that, I do regret the loss of the last remaining tie I had to my dad’s side of the family. There’s a mixture of regret and relief in having let her go that seems contradictory but also entirely warranted given the callousness of the woman in question.

I want that relationship, that familiarity…the comfort in having a family member, even one, from my dad’s side of the family that could just *love* me for me and be fucking okay. But that’s not a possibility, so while I regret the loss of that part of my blood, I had to let it be and move on with my life for my own sake and for the boy’s. The little girl in me wants her Granny, but the woman I’ve become knows it just isn’t worth it.

And so it goes. 


Now be sure to check out the rest of today's participants. Should be amazing!! Baking In A Tornado The Bergham’s Life Chronicles Spatulas on Parade Dinosaur Superhero Mommy The Momisodes Stacy Sews and Schools Sparkly Poetic Weirdo The Lieber Family Battered Hope Southern Belle Charm Someone Else’s Genius Silence of the Mom Confessions of a part-time working mom Small Talk Mama Searching for Sanity Climaxed