Friday, July 14, 2017

Past, Present, and Fiction

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: mudpie, sunshine, party, windchimes, wet. They were submitted by: http://Bakinginatornado.com

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I feel lost more often than ever before these days.

Politics and social issues have been something I poured myself into even when things in my own life were overwhelming (as they often are), but what exactly are you supposed to do when you’ve been bowled over by both?

A lot of people in my generation, folks around their late 20s to late 30s, turn to nostalgia to get them through. I don’t mean we pine for the days of mudpies on sunshine-filled afternoons in a diaper and nothing else while Mom’s windchimes twinkle out their soothing tune in the warm breeze, but we do tend to bury ourselves in the pop culture fandoms of our youth or at least act like kids with pop culture obsessions. I do it just as well and as thoroughly as anyone else when I can, but that’s also becoming problematic. One part of the problem is I’m also the kind of person who has to be doing, producing, or bettering themselves or those around them or I tend to slip into depression. Fictional worlds have always been so much easier to navigate than the one we live in now, but there’s so much in me screaming to help change the world, to leave a mark, to make this reality a better one for my child that I have always been almost obsessive about sociopolitical issues trying to at least reach others via social media about the topics that affect others the most.

But that aspect of our nation, even though it has always been hugely flawed and in need of change, has become a circus. And I don’t mean that in the Obama’s-gonna-take-our-guns hyperbolic way. I mean it in the every-other-civilized-nation-on-the-planet-is-laughing-at-us kind of way. We’re divided as a nation. We always have been split more or less along party lines, and those lines tend to divide how we view a presidency and creates the kind of panic that occurs when a Democrat takes office and gun sales go up just in case someone, somewhere takes guns from the average Joe for reasons unknown and unclear. But now we have a situation where there are some who can’t roll with a changing world and want things to be more “simple” like when women were more or less property and minorities weren’t asking for the things they deserve while the rest of us are fighting to exist or fighting for the right for ALL people to have the same rights and a level playing field. That fight becomes exhausting. People get burned out even in better conditions, but the 2016 election cycle and the following ridiculousness has been hugely destructive for a lot of people’s mental well-being.

On top of that, fictional worlds have become too close to reality. Dystopian futures in films and books no longer look like impossible nightmares. Even make-believe hits too close to home for comfort. The Handmaid’s Tale is an all too terrifying peak into the way capitalism abuses those who can do for those who can pay as well as what “traditional values” defined by religion can do to wreck a society and turn it into a terrifying extreme. Idiocracy with its look at an America lacking intelligence, focusing on brands, pushing capitalism over EVERYTHING, and having a celebrity President is just far too close to reality for most people. Corporations pushing their products to “save” the world lead to its impending destruction while the government plays along. Isn’t that where we are? We haven’t reached a point where our individuality is exactly punished as in 1984, but that dystopian landscape is still a little too close for comfort with Fake News being paraded by the President as a valid response to any criticism and so many folks blindly following that. And while dystopian science fiction doesn’t represent the only fandoms in the fictional universe, there’s no escaping commentary that relates in some form or fashion to the world we do live in…

My own personal life is a daily struggle with a chronic disease that leaves me exhausted and compromises my immune system. Sick, beyond exhausted, and often in pain are how I navigate my days, and it’s really no easier for other folks. This generation and the one after it are finding day to day life more difficult than generations before even while technology works to make everyday tasks easier. What we’ve lost in physical work to do things has been more than recovered in the difficulty paying for student loans, inability to buy a home or even save for the future, and a shrinking job market of positions that will actually cover the bills and not leave families absolutely wrecked.

The headlines scream out everyday: Trump Is Incompetent, The GOP Can’t Pass a Bill, Men Are Afraid of Strong Women, Water Is Wet and all you’ll find in the comments are memes and BUTHEREMAILS.

So where does a person turn when fiction is too close to reality, reality is to disturbing to deal with, and personal lives are increasingly harder to navigate?

I don’t really know the answer, so I’m treading water and trying to keep afloat one day at a time. It certainly helps to have a great support network online and in real life, but there’s not a lot of realities, fiction or otherwise, that I and people like me can bury themselves in even partially to help recover from the hard times of the present and attempt to form a positive outlook for the future.

One day at a time, one moment at a time is the best we can do. For now, the little things like puppy slobber, learning to sew (and succeeding), wine with friends, late nights with my favorite person, hot coffee, and sundried sheets are welcome distractions.

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Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/07/bewildered-use-your-words.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/07/exuberant-vacation.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2017/07/gone.html

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/2017/07/14/july-use-your-words-2/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/07/use-your-words-youth-festival-flooding.html

Friday, July 7, 2017

Two Words

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Mad because of toothpaste and toilet seat lids? Think again.

You are volunteering for a women’s charity. Today one lady tells you about her exhaustion and frustration. She feels all the housework, social activities and kids care are on her shoulders, and all her husband ever does is hang out on the couch, play with his phone and expect her to take care of everything. What are you telling her?

It was submitted by: http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/ 

oh boy was I the right person for this one 

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I am fairly certain if any woman comes to me describing a scenario in which their partner is pulling less than 50% of the labor, both physical and emotional, my brain will be in such a swirl of variations of the word fuck that I will at least be momentarily speechless trying to sort through to find just the right iteration for the extreme fuckery going down at their house

Two more words will probably filter through the f bombs.

Dump. Him.

To me, nothing else really needs to be said, but it’s a much more complex issue than those two words make it seem.

For the longest time, marriage was more or less a business arrangement. Wealthier people arranged marriages that benefited each family. Kings and queens rarely loved one another taking a spouse that would create a needed relationship with another kingdom/country or arranging marriages for their children which would do the same. Average folks needed one person to work and one person to tend to the home and children, and in the vast majority of societies, the responsibilities were split with men working outside farming, or, after industrialization, outside the home and women tending the home. It made sense with women needing time to recover after children and being responsible for breastfeeding children. Women’s labor was never as valued as men’s nor were women treated as equals. But that proved to be a mistake in wars that sent increasing numbers of men off to fight and in need of a larger labor force to supply demand for both soldiers abroad and civilians at home. It was women that worked the factories to meet those needs—the same women still at home taking care of everything that needed doing. Women have fought for the right to vote, the right to own property and work, to study whatever they chose wherever they chose to do it, to exist in this world as more than homemakers and objects to be owned and used. The idea of equality between genders has caused a lot of bloodshed with women powering through anyway knowing how worthy we were of those rights.

We’re still fighting for the ability to exist in spaces without being paid less, to get where we need to go without being hounded on the street, to be believed instead of seen as hysterical, to be partners not caretakers for our partners, and to be appreciated for everything we do, and this situation is still far too common in families today. Women are doing 40% more of the household chores, are less likely to be able to engage in sports or hobbies on any given day, and spend twice as much time physically caring for children on any given day. And, at least in American, most people still feel like that’s the way it should be regardless of who works and how much. Even if both partners are working full time, even though more and more women are the breadwinners for their families, people still generally believe that chores, children, and emotional labor belongs almost solely to women. But why?

Splitting household chores is one of the top factors in whether a couple rates their marriage or relationship a happy one or not. Top 3. More than half of people rate splitting chores as very important to succeeding in a relationship. The less balance there is when it comes to responsibilities the more problematic a person might rate their marriage.

Women run households. They make budgets, plan meals, notice the things the family needs, make schedules, learn, delegate. Women are almost always working to better their households or at least maintain them far more than their male counterparts *even when household chores are evenly split.

I would tell this woman that she does even more than either of them realize, and that if she wants her marriage to work long-term, if she can still envision her happily ever after with this person through the haze of resentment and stress this imbalance has caused, then the first step is counseling. They’re in a pattern, a cycle of sorts. They’re locked in, and it won’t be easy to break through it without help to deconstruct the pattern and take out the parts that don’t work anymore. Simply delegating chores more often without discussing why they’re locked in this pattern in the first place could create more resentment on his side and is honestly where the “nag” trope comes in for women—asking repeatedly for the help they need while their male counterparts feel entitled to more free time and freedom from the workload.

I would absolutely tell her everything she is feeling is valid, that there is absolutely no reason why she should shoulder the brunt of the work while her husband lounges even if he is the sole income earner. Sure, that means the workload is trickier to evenly divide, but that division should still be equal. Child care should always be equal. The emotional, invisible labor should be equal.

And if he refuses counseling?

Boy, bye.

Fucking dump him.

Here are some resources on some of these issues:

http://time.com/2895235/men-housework-women/

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37941191

https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/the-difference-between-a-happy-marriage-and-miserable-one-chores/273615/

http://time.com/money/4561314/women-work-home-gender-gap/

http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/psyched-in-san-francisco/why-women-are-tired-the-p_b_9619732.html

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Here are the rest of the submissions. Enjoy!

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/07/secret-obligation-secret-subject-swap.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

The Angrivated Mom http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Not That Sarah Michelle http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Food and Life


All people are emotional eaters to some extent. We eat to celebrate new beginnings, to lament break ups, to get over one of the many hiccups of life. We bring food to families who have lost a loved one and eat together to rejoice in the coming birth of a little one. Dinners with new lovers, brunches with friends to relax on lazy Sundays, and power lunches with the boss to work on that ever increasing network are all par for the course for human beings, social creatures that we are. Even alone, we tie food to emotion. Late night Netflix-and-stress-eat sessions and binging to cure boredom are just as intricately woven into our relationships with food as our social eating. Food has come to represent a kaleidoscope of emotions, of life itself.

It’s no different for me. Candy is usually my go-to when I’m feeling a little down. A gummy bear has never let me down, and taffy is a close friend of mine. But comfort food is something else entirely. To need comfort is to be more than a little down. It’s not just a stressful day with the kids or a bad day on the job or a fight with a partner. To reach for comfort food is a bad week, a bad month, a bad year…it’s wanting to feel alive in a way that the day to day routine tends to dampen. When you reach for food in comfort, you want the combination of flavors on your tongue and the fullness of your belly to take you home, to let you time travel, or maybe to let you remember that life doesn’t have to be all aches and pains. Finding the goodness in the world isn’t ever as simple as eating a crab cake, but fuck if that crab cake doesn’t help remind you that in little moments life can be spectacular.

For me, it’s more than eating, though. To find comfort in food, it has to be something I get in the kitchen and make myself--a recipe of my own perfected over time or even something I’m trying for the first time that brings together just the right combination of textures and flavors. I love to cook, to create, to take an idea I’ve found online, in a show, or in a book and make it mine. Cheesecakes are my go-to dessert specialty, and I fucking excel at it. There’s absolutely no reason for me to even pretend to be modest about it either. Haha. But, those aren’t necessarily what I would consider comfort food. Something savory that is a little on the simple side and definitely has a more than healthy portion of carbs and cheese aligns more closely with what I would call comforting, and the first thing I think of when I hear the phrase or feel the need for something particular to soothe my rough spots is shepherd’s pie.

Typically sheperd’s pie is some kind of veggie mixed with ground beef and mashed potatoes. And when my mom fixed it for my brother and I as kids, it was ground beef, mashed potatoes, and cheese on top. But, of course, like everything else, I do things a little differently. We rarely eat beef around here, but it works with this recipe as does ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer. The key is to use what you love when it comes to both the meat, the type of potato, and the style of cheese, but the goal is to create an umami bomb in your mouth which is what this recipe does 110%.

What you’ll need:

1 rotisserie chicken preferably garlic butter but any will work as will 2 lbs of ground beef, turkey, or chicken.

1 can cream of mushroom

About a cup and ½ of mushrooms (this can be skipped and still be delicious)

1 can of French onion soup

5 lb bag of red potatoes

1 block of extra sharp cheddar (adding some havarti to this is also so good and colby jack also makes a good sub)

2 cloves of garlic or a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic (what I use)

Onion powder

Rosemary

Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp butter

1 large can or 2 small cans of French style green beans (or any canned or frozen vegetable)

I have picky eaters at my house, but fresh onions and peppers are also a good addition if you don’t have to worry about that.

Milk, cream, or sour cream for mashing potatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

To prepare, peel your potatoes and add them to a large pot of water. Add 2 chicken bouillon cubes to the water or use half and half broth and water. You can also add extra garlic to the water. Turn the potatoes on high heat and boil until basically falling apart.

Grate the entire block of cheese (or used shredded if that’s easier).

Add your butter to a large pan on medium heat. When pan is coated well, add mushrooms and garlic to sautee.

Before mushrooms are done add onion powder, rosemary, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste. Begin pulling chicken from bones and adding to the mushrooms. Add your green beans Sautee until mushrooms are done, the green beans are getting soft, and flavors are mixed well. If you’re using ground beef, turkey, or chicken you will need to strain the grease from the meat. With rotisserie chicken, this isn’t necessary. (if you are using fresh onions and peppers you would add them in this step)

Add the entire can of cream of mushroom (fat free can be used without affecting the flavor). Add French onion soup to taste (I add the whole thing) and turn heat down to low.

Mash your potatoes. I aways use butter and milk like my mom did, but this is a personal preference. Do whatever works for you. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Coat the bottom of a large clear glass pan with the chicken and vegetable mixture. Add a layer of potatoes on top of this.

Put the pan in the oven and heat until your potatoes are getting stiff. You don’t want them browning just yet, but close. It takes not quite 10 minutes in my oven, but I’m terrible about remembering to preheat and my oven is wonky. Everyone’s is different right?

Add your cheese and put it back in the oven until melted and enjoy.

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This is part of Sunday Confessions hosted by the gorgeous More Than Cheese and Beer. Sunday Confessions is a weekly blog challenge. We get a simple prompt and each post our take on it on Sunday (or during the week if need be). There's no need to sign up early. Just join in the fun by linking up below! Thanks for reading. Oh and this week our prompt was Comfort Food. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

First Date Jitters

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: cats, candy, turkey, aquarium, rose, coins. 

They were submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

Short fiction! Though it's not out of the realm of possibility. I just wanted to write something sweet instead of the dark fiction I tend to go for. Got to flex those creative wings.

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I stand in front of the aquarium, more nervous than I think I have ever been in my entire life, waiting for Jean. My anxiousness manifests as pacing and knuckle popping. Occasionally, I realize how intense I must look and force myself to still, reaching my hand in my pocket to rub the two coins together I brought. They’re ordinary, these coins, but not at the same time. I mean, I could spend them. But I also spent hours and hours and more hours perfecting a few coin tricks with them from a book I found at the thrift shop 2 blocks from my apartment.

Yeah, yeah…I’m the kind of girl (woman?) who thinks a few coin tricks are more romantic than a rose or a bouquet of wild flowers. Flowers die, but magic is eternal or some shit. Plus, it’s effort, right?

That’s what I’ve been telling myself over these hours spent practicing until I have calluses in a few places anyway.

I also brought pull n peel cherry Twizzlers as a backup in my bag. At the very least, I know this girl loves candy, and she did mention once these are her favorite. If I can’t impress her with my amateur magic hour (I don’t even have a top hat for fuck’s sake), then I can at least win her over with a sugar rush and attention to detail.

And, yes, I have daydreamed about eating a string of Twizzler Lady-and-the-Tramp style with her. Because I am, admittedly, a little bit of a creep. That touch of creepiness isn’t why I’m so nervous, though. I’m not THAT big a creep. Truthfully, there is a part of me that thinks she will, of course, be disappointed with who I am really versus who I am online or in text or on the phone. I’m better in writing, I think. At least at first.

We met on a dating site. I was mostly there as a joke. I’m fresh out of a long term relationship with a guy that was better off my friend than my partner, and even though the split was amicable, it was hard. And it’s difficult to face this change. I didn’t want to be with another man, not now, and I’m so far out of practice flirting with women I feel like some sort of alien wearing a human suit whenever I attempt to approach them. Plus, we all know how those things go—dating sites--especially when you list that you’re interested in men and women. At some point you feel like adding a neon ticker across your profile that reads “NO I DON’T WANT TO BE PART OF YOUR THREESOME EVEN IF YOU INSIST YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS REALLY INTERESTED IN ONE.” We both know she’s not, and more than likely, you’re just testing the waters to see what kind of bite you get.

I had a little blurb on my profile about being a cat and dog person meaning I am probably the most loyal asshole you could ever meet, and that’s how we bonded—lots of shared stories about the dumb shit our cats have done. Then it was sharing pics of our pets via text, late night conversations about politics and movies. I never had one of those moments where I had to ask her “you haven’t seen THAT?!?!” which, for me, is usually the way 90% of my crushes go, and, if I’m being wholly honest, the way quite a bit of them ended too.

Nick Hornby had it right—it is, at least early on, more about what you like than what you’re like.

But I like what she likes and what she’s like which is 2 for 2, and I am definitely pretty smitten.

She’s late, but I expected that. Both of us are chronically late for nearly everything, but I couldn’t stand being in the house any longer, and actually made it here on time. I know who I’m looking for. We exchanged a lot of photos of ourselves, seen each other’s social media stuff. But I still feel her before I notice her in the crowd of people walking my way. Something gripped me and made me look her way, catching her eyes.

My heart leaps to my throat, and for a moment I’m sure I will run, but then she smiles.

I melt. Completely.

She makes her way over to me with a small backpack in tow.

“I packed a picnic if you want to walk a few blocks to that new park after we’re done here, “ she says. “I made a turkey and cheese on wheat with a little mustard and fuck the mayo for you.”

She’s perfect.

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Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/06/i-got-gyped-use-your-words.html

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/2017/06/chocolate-flourless-gluten-free-mug.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com

On the Border http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2017/06/barbeque-and-spirits.html

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/06/use-your-words-cherry-storm.html

Friday, June 9, 2017

Oh What A Day

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Inspired by Seinfeld's "Festivus", create your own holiday. How would you celebrate it and get others to join in?

It was submitted by: http://shannonbutler.org

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I have a friend who is pretty religious. He’s Muslim. I’m not. Actually, I’m not religious at all. I hesitate to use “atheist,” but that hesitation is mostly because of the fuckery associated with the label more so than it not actually applying to my fundamental beliefs. This friend knows this about me and has taken great pains to try to change it. I don’t seek out the debate, but I find myself always trying to defend why I believe what I do, and what is most irritating is that I often end up feeling like this person doesn’t buy that I have ever learned a thing about religion or that I even believe what I say I do. To him, it seems that this belief system I have is more akin to me being a rebellious teenager raging at her daddy and yelling “I hate you!” every time she doesn’t get her way. I’m not resentful over the life I’ve had because it hasn’t been easy, and I’m not the kind of person who makes unfounded decisions based on emotion alone. He, the friend, knows that about me when it comes to anything else, but in this context, about a creator, he just can’t wrap his head around my lack of religion. I despise not being heard. I don’t mind explaining how I arrived at this point and what I do believe, but if I tell you this is who I am, don’t tell me you know me better than I know myself.

BUT, I get it in a way. I do. He loves me, and he doesn’t want my soul to suffer for eternity due to what he believes is a rash decision I made because I was abused as a kid. His intention is good, but that really doesn’t change how frustrating and fucking annoying it is to constantly have to defend my ability to be systematic and rational. It doesn’t change the fact that I would much rather people accept me as I am unless I somehow demonstrate that I want or need to change. And it doesn’t change the fact that I somehow have to prove I have thoroughly researched religion in order to be understood by someone (or many someones throughout my life) who was handed their belief system from birth and never questioned it.

I don’t care what someone believes as long as they’re a good person and are true to the core values of the religion. I’ve had friends of all beliefs, and I never try to force Richard Dawkins down their throat. What I want is the same respect.

I think a lot of misconception about other people’s beliefs, religion or otherwise, hinges on this idea people have that if someone is different than them, they’re an idiot, that they don't know what they're talking about and weren't taught better. Don’t get me wrong—I fully and perfectly understand that many beliefs are rooted firmly in ignorance and hatred, and I don’t mean those. But a lot of the time differences in beliefs don’t necessarily equate to differences in VALUES nor does it mean that anyone is an idiot in need of enlightenment.

Except Trump. Trump is definitely a fucking idiot.

Perhaps a national holiday giving people time off work to explore a belief system other than their own would help so many of us. Atheists already host an Ask an Atheist day which is a good step maybe, but the Internet affords a kind of free-for-all anonymity that ends up ruining every.fucking.thing. Workshops with panels of volunteers who want to talk about their beliefs, speeches, banquets, dinners, bake sales…there are so many ways this could happen that would open up the narrow culture most people tend to have.

Personally, I would be find with Get Your Head Out of Your Ass Day, but I highly doubt that would fly with the general public, and Coexistence Day is a little too flower-child to pass either Ask Me About My Religion day might work, and I’d be fine with it even without a religion.

And if that plan were to fall through, we can always attempt my real dream—Halloween for adults who dress up and trick or treat in friends’ neighborhoods asking for booze and a little weed depending on where you live. Sounds much better than the sad 10% candy tax I get off Evan’s haul each year.

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

Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

Climaxed http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Taking It Back



I’m definitely what society at large would consider plus sized considering I fluctuate between a 12 and 16 depending on how well I’m doing at the time cutting calories down to nothing and doing some kind of exercise in between. It’s been that way since high school. It’s who I am, and it’s been a long, hard-fought war with accepting myself as is and with the fact that I’m never going to be thin. I have this shape and this body, and as long as I work actively to be healthy, I’m okay with it (most days…okay some days). I try, anyway.

But what the fuck is plus-sized anyway?

I’m fine with the terminology, I guess. It helps some people on their journey just like reclaiming the moniker “fat” has helped others while still different folks prefer to say they have fat and are not fat. I just don’t get what we’re actually trying to say with that particular phrase “plus-sized.”

Is it a normal body plus some extra?

An acceptable body plus some pounds?

Plus some extra fabric for our clothes?

Is our fat our plus one on our invites and R.S.V.P.’s?

Plus what exactly?

“Plus sized” has never exactly come with a positive connotation since fat people, women especially, are constantly shamed about even a few extra pounds by men whose egos are overinflated and whose constant struggle in life is calling women sluts who won’t give them what they think they are owed. The more people fight for the right to be respected no matter how much they weigh, a right to take up space and exist without being shamed for something that’s often out of their control, I can’t help wondering what exactly we’re adding on here when we say “plus.”

I. Am. Not. A. Human. Plus. My. Extra. Weight.

I am just a human being with all the complexities that comes with it including a little extra weight over society’s standard definition of “normal.”

I don’t bleed adipose cells.

I don’t have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and it’s no one’s business if I did.

I’m an offense because I exist.

I deserve a space in this world.

So I might just reframe plus sized. I’m a human being plus some extra love, plus extra kindness, plus extra awareness.

I am woman plus fire.

I am feminist plus magic.

I am me plus a raging hard-on to topple the patriarchy.

I am everything your mama warned you about plus a caring, loving mother myself.

I am flawed in so many ways plus a little side of perfection.

I am enough plus a handful of sass and a nice ass. Rhymed intentionally.

I am the universe in one curvy, soft body—star stuff plus wit, sarcasm, and coffee.

Yes, I have fat, but I am not nor will I ever be a human plus your punching bag, verbal or otherwise.

Sit. The. Fuck. Down.



<3

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This was my 3rd time back with Sunday Confessions, a blog challenge hosted by More Than Cheese and Beer. The links to the other submissions can be found below. Feel free to join in--the link is open all week. Our prompt is "plus."

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Vigilante Heroin



Elizabeth shifted her purse from her left to her right shoulder and quietly slipped her right hand inside searching out the cold metal of the handgun she kept there. The weight of it in the bag was comforting, but once she felt the textured grips under her fingers, the world around her calmed.

She was hungry.

She only knew of one thing that would quell her appetite, and he was walking about a block ahead of her.

She had really been curious the first time she followed a man like this late at night, and it was a little unnerving how easily it could be done. She had yet to have any of these guys notice her until it was too late. It was so different than the world she knew as a woman walking with her keys between her fingers even in the daytime if she was at the bus stop for any length of time, having illegal pepper spray because getting in trouble for that was way better than the alternative for not having it… being hypervigilant, keeping covered, never walking anywhere with headphones on or with your nose buried in a book because taking focus from the world could end with death. And that night, the first night, she just wanted to know if the world worked the same for him after she sat in a coffee shop and watched him hassle the barista for her phone number then call her fat when she turned him down. She watched her devolve into a snotty, teary mess after he threw his coffee at her and stormed out. And she followed him. It wasn’t reasonable or rational or a good idea, but deep down, this rage she had never felt before welled up blasting out of her pores. She was angry at him, yes, but she was angrier at herself for being too afraid to step up and say anything.

And by the end of the night, she said a lot.

Back then she didn’t have a gun. That was a new thing. Back then it was just the illegal pepper spray and a rape whistle. At the time, it was enough, though. She followed the guy a few blocks into a parking garage with her pepper spray in hand, and just before he got into his truck (because of course it was a huge truck), she whistled at him from just beyond the tailgate. He turned, and she got him good right in the eyes. She doesn’t even remember now what she actually said to him as he rolled on the ground screaming, but she faintly remembers threatening his life if he so much as thought about doing to another woman the way he did that barista.

The anxiety she felt afterwards was indescribable. Would she get in trouble? Would he be able to track her down? What if the pepper spray hadn’t worked? What if she missed? What if he hurt her? Why did it feel so fucking good and make her feel so goddamned happy? What was wrong with her? She was a writhing mass of emotions that ate away at her like blowfly maggots.

After awhile she couldn’t get the rush out of her mind--that heady feeling from the sheer power and control she had. For the first time in her life, she felt like she had an inkling of what it might be like to be a dominatrix, but she was also getting justice or at least that’s the way she saw it. Vigilante justice, maybe, but it still made her feel good to do something and to fantasize about doing it again. Like some kind of feminist antihero. Like Deadpool but less angry.

So when she was out at a bar a few weeks later and saw a guy grab a girl’s crotch and yell “TRUMP THAT PUSSY” she did it again. He got kicked out of the bar, and she followed, sprayed him, and unleashed a torrent of obscenities about his behavior. It wasn’t long before she had another opportunity, and next thing she knew, it had been a year and she had left probably a half a dozen potential felony charges in her wake.

But the last couple months had been different. She’d been watching this guy up ahead of her for at least 6 months getting to know his habits. He was the boyfriend of her new coworker at the vet hospital. She’d never gone after someone she knew but this was different. She had seen Maven come in far too many times with bruises on her arms, her throat, with too many excuses for black eyes and swollen wrists. The girl was clumsy, sure, but that couldn’t explain the teary mornings, the fear in her eyes when someone raised a hand near her for any reason (and never to hit her, not at work). It couldn’t explain the excuses she gave when they all went out after work for drinks, and it damn sure didn’t give a reason for the times they worked late together when he, Stephen, would call screaming at her and accusing her of sleeping with the male employees.

This was different. This time it was personal.

Maven wouldn’t leave him. They had all talked to her about it last week, had an intervention of sorts. She was too scared to leave. She knew the chances he would hurt her seriously after she left were higher than staying. She had done her research… That’s the thing. She wasn’t stupid, and he hadn’t been this obvious when they got together. She turned a blind eye to the problems when they first happened because back then it was easy to make excuses. Tying their financial accounts together seemed like a logical step, and when he spent their money carelessly then chastised her for so much as buying a coffee, she chalked it up to depression. He’d get help and take medicine then get off it when he felt “fine.” Every time she caught him cheating or in a lie, there would be a honeymoon period that made her question everything. Things didn’t start at this point, in other words. They built slowly until Maven’s life was such a tangled mess she didn’t really have hope of ever getting out of it.

What other choice was there then?

Tonight, Maven would be free, and the world would finally shift in her favor no matter the cost.

Elizabeth was starving for the adrenaline rush, for the sense of good she felt afterwards, and as much as she wanted to pretend this was for Maven, she also, down deep, this had nothing to do with an altruistic need to save. She wanted blood.

Up ahead, Stephen ducked into the parking garage near his side chick’s place.

Showtime.

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This blog post was for Sunday Confessions, a weekly blog challenge hosted by More Than Cheese and Beer. The link up is below. Be sure to check out the other submissions!



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Not So Politically Charged



I’m the kind of person that often makes politics the center of my life. And by “often” I mean like political and sociopolitical issues are my life. But recently, I have had to take some steps back from a lot of what is going on in the United States. Part of me feels guilty for it, but part of me knows that going strong the way I have about other things has made me burned out.

I can’t say the last 8 years when my interests really grew were perfect. Obama wasn’t an infallible leader by any means. Sure he was charming and put forth bills and executive orders that aligned, if not fully mostly, with my core beliefs and values. When I was outraged at something that happened in this country, it usually wasn’t coupled with fear that this IS our country. I might have known that the issue wouldn’t be addressed the way it needed to be, that these things wouldn’t be fixed overnight, but I wasn’t terrified that we, as a people, were devolving, going backward, fucking time traveling back to a time when hate was worn like a uniform out in the open, brazenly, when it was something to be proud of…

All that changed this year when 45 was elected. Being a woman, not exactly a straight one, has put a lot of issues in the public eye that I thought we were moving past as a nation. I mean, who would have thought in 2017 rational people would be like, hmmm, maybe we should let literal Nazis have a platform to speak on college campuses, maybe we should engage them and sway them from actual genocide with, you know, internet infographics and arguments.

But here we are.

Here we are with a President who has given confidential information to another country not exactly known for being, you know, all about freedom and shit. But who cares because at least he doesn’t have a vagina? Amirite???!!?

BUT HER EMAILS, THOUGH. Her fucking emails!

Like seriously, Trump is under criminal investigation for obstruction of justice AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. And I don’t even think it’s the worst thing he’s done so far nor will it be the last investigation. If Trump is impeached or resigns or worse, what then? Pence? That might even be worse. He’s not as hotheaded, but unlike Trump he isn’t in it for the attention and the praise. He has an agenda, and I don’t think we have even half a clue how deep it goes.

So things have changed for me. Where I had room to be outraged, opinionated, and outspoken about big issues like police brutality, systemic racism, feminism, body acceptance under Obama, everything is so insane lately that I’m not sure where to even start. What the fuck do you even talk about these days? Which issue? Which bill? Which ineptitude? Which country he pissed off? Which attempt to cut off rights for people like me?

I don’t know how to keep up anymore, and I know this won’t last forever. Even now I see things here and there that I have to comment on or share, but for the most part, I am trying to live life and focus on self-care. I can’t avoid real life for long, and it’s a privilege to even be able to do so this long, but I needed this vacation from the madness.

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This little ranty thing was part of Sunday Confessions, a weekly blog challenge hosted by More Than Cheese and Beer who has taken a hiatus lately from blogging. I love these weekly challenges with just one word or phrase to twist into something fanciful. This week, the topic was Center. Thanks for reading and feel free to link up yourself with the rest of us below.



Friday, May 12, 2017

I've Got This

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: blue line, stick, bad jibs, forward, barn burner, top shelf
They were submitted by: http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Fair warning, this is a tough subject and I didn't try to go easy on it. This is absolutely fiction in the way that this kind of thing happens way too often, but this exact thing didn't happen to me. Also, trigger warning: sexual assault. 
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I lean forward staring at the little white stick with its lavender-colored cap and will it to have the answer I want, need really. “Just one little blue line please, pretty please,” I whisper out loud in the bathroom. “Just one.”

The tears that have been precariously waiting to fall start flowing then with no holds barred. The room blurs making it impossible to read my future on the drugstore pregnancy test, an off-brand because ohmygodIcan’tevenaffordanEPT. I know without even being able to see the mirror across the room that this is a full on OITNB-Piper ugly cry with earthquake sobs and a flash flood of snot.

I’m not ready for this.

I can’t even handle being in my own skin these days. I can’t shower enough trying to get rid of every last skin cell he touched.” He” being the man who attacked me, the guy I met online who said I was the most beautiful creature he had ever met, that said all the right things. We’d even gone out once before, met in public just to be safe. His idea actually. But the second time, I went back to his place for a glass of wine after out public meet up, and next thing I know I was waking up naked in his bed the next morning.

I know without a doubt that I have no idea what to do with myself right now much less a baby from a night I can’t remember and sex I couldn’t possibly have agreed to…

That next morning after I woke up sore and dizzy, he acted like nothing happened. While I was still coming to the realization that SOMETHING definitely happened to my body, he called me sleepyhead and handed me a coffee. Before I could even run to the bathroom to check myself over, he leaned in to kiss me on the cheek making me gag. He giggled. The man actually giggled at my wretching and asked if I had always been such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol.

I am, was, his to use and also the butt of the joke.

So how am I supposed to make it through this when I can’t even figure out where I go from here? What if the kid is a boy with bad jibs like his…like…what if he doesn’t look like me and every day is a reminder of a night I can’t remember and don’t want to remember. Or what if it’s a girl and every single day I am terrified that she will be hit randomly with a fuzzy memory of a man on top of her, slapping her across the face and calling her a dirty slut? What if…what if I can’t go through with this and have to end it? How can I live with that for the rest of my life? But how can I live with it if I don’t? What if he asks for custody? For fucking visitation rights.

The timer on my phone dings letting me know it’s time to check this thing, my future. I splash water on my face hoping it will at least give me enough of a reprieve from the emotional rollercoaster I’m on for me to see. I grab a towel, dry my face, and search my eyes in the mirror.

I’ve got this.

I reach for the thing where I dropped it by the toilet, frantic and determined.

I’ve got this.

It’s just one line.

IT’SJUSTONELINE

One.

Blue.

Line.

I know sitting there on my knees in front of the toilet that I’m going to have an emotional breakdown. And I also know that I’m going to be fine, and I would have been fine no matter how many lines appeared on this fucking thing, but…BUT, I am also going to throw one hell of a barnburner tonight once I pull myself together. It might end up being just me, but that just means more top shelf liquor I don’t have to share.

I’ve got this.

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Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com

On the Border http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Confessions of a part-time working mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Friday, May 5, 2017

Not Today, Satan

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 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: Mother may I?
It was submitted by: www.notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

I tried to make the best of this subject. It wasn't easy. haha. So here is a little fiction.

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It started with flowers.

And, yeah, I know that sounds awesome and shit, but it wasn't. I would get flowers at work every single day with a card that read "Mother may I?" and that was it. Every. single. day. This has gone on for like 6 months. No weird texts. No messages. No dating scares. (Yet.) I mean, I don't even have a recent ex. It was just flowers, every day, same time, at work, different arrangements every time.

It was cute and mysterious and, eh, kinda romantic for the first couple days maybe, but after the first week, it was old, and that fucking card was the pinnacle of creepiness from the get go. By the second week, I thought it had to be a prank. But then it never ended.

All my friends asked me to call the police, but what do you actually say about it? I tried calling the florist, but they didn't have any information they could give me. The orders had been placed online with a credit card, but the owner really didn't feel comfortable giving me a name since the cards were never supposed to be signed. So. yeah. Throwing away flowers became part of my daily routine for awhile.

Then I started getting comments on Instagram. Every time I posted a selfie, some random account (different ones every time) would be the first to comment , and every time it said, "Mother may I?" The accounts weren't new. Each one had a few hundred followers and random memes posted. Never of photo of themselves, though, and no indication of who might actually be running the account. I set my account to private after a few days of this, but it didn't stop, and I had to shut the whole profile down.

I still didn't take it to the police. How crazy would I have looked telling them about flowers and Instagram photos? Hysterical is the word that comes to mind because it has been used to undermine women forever. And yes I realize that's absolutely cynical, but oh well. Such is life. Maybe they would have taken me seriously, but back in college my roommate went to the cops when she was drugged at a bar, and they wouldn't even take down a report because she couldn't prove she didn't "just drink too much," so, eh, I don't have much faith in the cops. Or didn't. Don't? The jury is still out on that one honestly.

It was when I started getting explicit pictures on my phone by text that I finally went to the police station. Porn gifs, dick pics, images burned into my skull forever and all accompanied by "Mother may I?" The guy was tech savvy, and I say guy because I just don't see too many women having a reason to send me dick pics or call me mother, but who the fuck knows. I could be wrong. I still don't know who it is or why. Anyway, the texts were all coming in from different numbers, burner phones the police said, so I changed my number (I didn't want to before so I would have stored up some evidence) about 3 days ago upon their advice to see if at least the messages would stop.

And they did. For the first two days...

But today... Well, everything was fine. Okay, everything wasn't fine, but I was mostly alright. I kept on thinking, hoping, that maybe it really was a prank. Maybe it was someone's idea of a sick joke. Maybe I had actually made someone mad, and they were trolling me. Today, though.... today, I started getting violent photos, battered, choked women; what could only be described as snuff film gifs; mutilated women's bodies; and things I can't even put into words. Every half hour on the dot starting at 7 a.m. I've been getting these. I called the cops--again--and I was asked to forward every single one of the texts to the guy handling my case. So I'm having to see every single one of these fucking things, and it's terrifying. They're supposed to be using the texts to try and get warrants or some fucking shit, but while I've been waiting to hear back, diligently forwarding each one of these texts and crying all the while, I've had a knock at the door. I looked out the peephole to see someone in a suit wearing some kind of realistic skull mask staring straight into the lens. We made "eye contact" if that's at all possible through a peephole for about 30 seconds before he, she, whoever leaned in and whispered "Mother may I?" barely loud enough to hear through the thin apartment door (or was it my imagination?) before taking off down the hall.

So the cop is supposed to show up, but I keep hearing things at the windows. Why oh why do I have to live on the ground floor?? And now the texts have stopped. Maybe the cop will actually get here and do something, but just in case, I'm sitting in the kitchen floor with the biggest knife I own because not today, Satan. Not fucking today.

_________________________________

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/05/identifying-characteristic-secret.html

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Confessions of a part-time working mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/05/may-secret-subject-swap-cookies-destiny.html

Not That Sarah Michelle http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Friday, April 14, 2017

A New Kind of Blue



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: lively, hop, hands down, give an inch, popular. They were submitted by: http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

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The day before Trump was inaugurated, I lost one of my furbabies (I wrote about it a little before). I’d had Cap since he was just 3 months old, and, at 10 years, he had lived a long, full life for a great dane, but neither of us was ready to say goodbye. Life had other plans though, and after a short battle with a mysterious illness and a 2 year bout with cancer, he took his last breath here at home getting love until the end. It has been (and still is) a devastating loss. Even with all the pets I still live with, the house felt empty. A dog that large with that huge of a personality makes his place in a home. He was part of the family, 100%.

That hurt really took its toll the way that only grief can, and life sort of lost whatever luster it had left especially with Trump taking over, the insanity of our current government, and other life troubles I dealt with at the same time. I was overwhelmed by everything, but not having Cap here to listen to me bitch about it while he looked up at me with those big browns and begged for “rookies” (Scooby doo speak for cookie) left me shattered and feeling those first tendrils of depression taking hold pulling me into the dark.

And then by a small miracle I happened to look on a swap and shop page on Facebook and found an ad for 10 week old great dane puppies. It wasn’t much of an ad--seriously just a woman without a profile picture commenting that she was posting for friends. She didn’t have any idea of the cost (usually this breed is reeeeallllllly expensive, like way out of my cost of living) or how old they were or any details, but she left the number of the owners, and I took a screenshot of it while I mulled over what to do. I mean, let’s face it, buying a dog versus adopting is irresponsible as it is, and my household needs another dog about like we all need lobotomies, but everyone here was hurting, and every dog deserves a good home no matter whether you pay money or adopt one. I know I am justifying here, but every other animal in this house has been rescued and often nursed back from being extremely sick. Just ask my cats. Also, if you have ever been around a dane or live with one, you know there is really no substitute for the giant lap dog mentality and clumsy goofiness, so I figured I would reach out just to see…there’s no hurt in asking, right?

Two days later I traveled down to their house and brought home our new addition, a blue dane we named Rost. Of course I did.

I don’t think I can put into words how much this not-so-little, lively bag of elbows has lifted our spirits. He isn’t Cap by any means, and that’s okay. It’s not a competition or a popularity contest, and I try my best not to compare them, so in no way has he completely erased the hurt and loss I have felt the last couple months, but there’s a new levity here filled with laughs, floopy lips, and doofy ears.

Part of the therapeutic nature of this whole thing is how much attention the little shit requires. Haha. He is absolutely a handful. With him, you absolutely cannot give an inch. One minute you’re folding clothes and the next he is running out of your room with your favorite plush owl in his jowls. Give two dogs the same chew toy and he will throw a tantrum because he wants both. He also throws tantrums when you disturb his sleep or walk in the kitchen (because he doesn’t like the floor and won’t follow you), when you pay attention to anything but him, and when you make him complete commands before he can get a treat. He is a great dane through and through with all their weird, breed-specific idiosyncrasies, but he definitely has his own personality.

He’s been here 6 weeks and in that time, he has mastered about 8 commands, learned to walk on a leash, and potty outside. There is no end to my delight when we’re working on commands, and he hops back into “sit” with those ears still flapping. And the other animals have really taken to him, especially my old dog Georgia. She has played more and gotten more exercise in the past few weeks than she has in months. The two of them are adorable together. Life is adorable, and I’m happier than I can remember being in a while. Hands down, this is one of the best completely irresponsible decisions (out of many, many irresponsible decisions) I have made in my life, and I wouldn’t trade it or him for anything even when he does pretend he hasn’t gotten too big already to lay between the couch and coffee table on top of my feet. These days I cry from laughter far more than the empty weight of loss, and that’s no small victory.










video


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Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/04/cookies-or-jail-use-your-words.html

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

On the Border http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Angrivated Mom http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Climaxed http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Not That Sarah Michelle http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Friday, April 7, 2017

Thanks But No Thanks

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.



My “Secret Subject” is:

You discover you were switched at birth with someone who is now famous. What do you do?

It was submitted by: http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/

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What ifs are dangerous.

Those little creeping thoughts bring with them quite a bit of existential anxiety. You start with “what if” and end up with “I should have…” and pretty soon, instead of actually looking at what you have in front of you or what you can actually accomplish, you get caught up in all the things that could have been had you just made a different decision.

It’s a recipe for disaster—a base of what ifs with 2 cups of shoulds and a half a teaspoon of vanilla extract whipped until creamy pretty much always leaves you with some frothy, peaked existential dread. And, I’m not about that life.

Albert Ellis based his entire psychological theory and career on the idea that living in the past and reflecting on what could have been or where a person “should” be at a certain stage almost always leaves you feeling inadequate, incomplete, and with a host of issues. The point of his kind of therapy is figuring out there really isn’t a scorecard for being a successful human being. Even the definition of personal success varies from person to person. So what if a high school friend was married with his own home and a money-making start-up by 30? What the fuck does that have to do with who you are and what you have accomplished? I certainly try not to compare myself to others on social media that way. Social media has been a contributing factor in anxiety and depression lately because humans, in general, have that tendency to compare in order to judge our own path and with social media you rarely ever see more about that person than they want you to see making your Facebook timeline the ultimate competition. And, for what? No matter how many pics of her smiling baby Jessica posts or pinterest projects she wants to do, we all know she’s changing shitty diapers and banging Levi, her own version of John Bender, even though she’s still married to Brad.

I’m okay with the fact that I’m 35 and still stay up to 5 a.m. most days. So does my child. We’re backwards. We have our own schedule, and I don’t even get a fuck that we get judged for it. No, I didn’t meet the goals I set for myself when I was 16, and I’m finally understanding that it’s perfectly fine—I’m not even close to the same girl I was then. How can I expect myself to want the same things? Life happens and sometimes you just have to roll with it instead of pushing hard to get back where you were. It’s a Sisyphean effort at best. Life is going to fucking bowl you right back down that hill first chance it gets, and there’s not a helmet or knee pads in sight.

So.

What would I do if I found out I had been switched at birth with a celebrity?

Pretty much a whole lot of nothing.

My first question when I received the prompt is what exactly would it change if I had found out news like that…

I know what it wouldn’t change. It wouldn’t at all make my childhood any different. It wouldn’t change the man I was raised by regardless of if he was my actual father or not. It wouldn’t change where I was when I was raped at 13. It wouldn’t take that pain away. It wouldn’t take any of the hurts away, and in reality, someone had to go through that. One of those babies would have lived my life regardless, and I know after living it that I was strong enough to make it through mostly sane. Switching lives wouldn’t automatically mean I would have had it any easier or that I would have ended up famous myself. Would it mean I might have more money than now? That the struggle would be less? Maybe, you know, and I can’t help but yearn some nights that I come into some unforeseen nest egg that leaves me less concerned, but what would I trade for having a little more money? What sorts of struggles would I face that I don’t have to worry about now?

Just leave me with my quiet life. Yes, it’s been hell. But I’m pretty happy standing at my kitchen sink watching the dogs play in the backyard at 5 p.m. still in my pajamas with coffee cup in hand. I’m ok. Some days I’m more than ok. And, I really don’t want to imagine myself anywhere else than right here watching Bob’s Burgers at 4 a.m. with my son and rolling my eyes at his terrible gamer jokes.

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



Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Not That Sarah Michelle http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

A Little Piece of Peace http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

The Angrivated Mom http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

When I Grow Up http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Case for a Temporary Bubble

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:

order ~ cloistered ~ chairs ~ zip ~ great

They were submitted by: http://shannonbutler.org

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Self care can look extremely different for different folks, and that’s fine. We all need to focus on ourselves every now and then, but there’s really no “right” way to do that as long as you feel better about yourself and your station in life after you have done it. There’s nothing wrong with sharing what self care looks like for you as long as you don’t insist it will definitely be of use to someone else, so with that in mind, here are my instructions for creating a blanket fort for escaping adulthood and being lazy for awhile. There really is no specific order to do this, but I’ve managed to get this into steps for added convenience.

Step 1: get rid of your children. No, seriously. Children love forts because, obviously, forts are great, and despite the fact that you love your children, this fort is not for farts and hotdogs. This is *your* effing fort, and you do not need a bag of elbows in your guts the entire time you are trying to enjoy your Netflix binge nor do you need the entire mood to be pleasecouldyounottalkfor30secondsofyourlifewhendoesitend. If you don’t have kids, will you please take mine for a couple months? I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason people ever really scoff at a woman who says she doesn’t want kids—we simply want to force her to share in our collective stress and inability to shower without interruption. My kid is 11, and he still *needs* to tell me something the cat just did while I’m taking a piss.

Step 2: Buy 3 bottles of wine or get whatever you like to drink in an amount that is probably way more than you actually need because fuck it. And also buy snacks. If you’re going to drink, you need snacks. It goes hand in hand. And this is a blanket fort so fuck your diet. No dieting or calorie counting is allowed. That means YES GET THOSE SEA SALT CARAMEL CHOCOLATES AT WALGREENS THAT YOU LOVE AND KNOW WILL GO STRAIGHT TO YOUR ALREADY THICK THIGHS. Thick thighs save lives. Never forget.

Step 3: Unplug. Social media is a suckfest most days. It is drama on top of passive aggressive drama, and right now it is also full of news you probably don’t really want to read. If you aren’t going to let your children ruin your fort time, then, by god, do not let Tabitha from elementary school with the I-need-to-speak-to-the-manager haircut and #MAGA tshirt and her sharing false news that any idiot could see is a lie with a quick look on Snopes ruin your blanket fort either. That bitch is not worth it, trust me. Tabitha is living in her own personal hell as it is. Let it go. Fuck you, Tabitha. You’re terrible and you know it.

Step 4: Gather every single blanket and pillow in your house. You might want to plan ahead and wash some of these things beforehand because you do not want to be stuck in a fort with a blanket full of your child’s chili farts or anything sticky. I’m an adult. You’re an adult. And we can probably admit that we should wash our bed linens more than we do, and we both know that if you aren’t messing up the sheets with sex, you’re smuggling your children’s candy in bed at night. Sour tropical gummy worms in bed is life.

Step 5: I’m going to suggest 5 table chairs, but you can probably get by with less if you want to half ass this. The more chairs, the more creative you can get with this thing, and there’s really no reason to make a blanket fort unless you’re going to put your fucking blood, sweat, and tears into it. If you post pictures of your blanket fort on social media and you half assed it, just know that I will congratulate you with a hefty amount of side eye. Yes, I will judge you. We’ll all judge you. No one ruins a good blanket fort without consequences. If you never do anything else right in this world, let it be this blanket fort. As a wise man named Ron Swanson once said, “never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” This is your thing to whole-ass.

Step 6: get in your comfiest clothes whatever that means for you. I like to sit around the house dressed to the nines for no reason other than I feel more like a human being and less like a reptile wearing human skin while I binge Netflix. So whatever floats your boat, do it. Put on a full face, have a messy bun, wear your godawful sweats that make you look like you’re wearing a diaper and have never gotten laid…whatever it is, just do it. Just be warm and cozy even if it means zipping yourself into your favorite hoodie in the middle of summer and cranking the A/C down as low as it will go. This is the one thing in life you are not doing for the Instagram likes and Facebook comments. Let’s face it—if you are to the point of needing a blanket fort to relax, you’re probably already a hot mess anyway. I know from experience. So it really isn’t going to matter if you dress well to do it. The point is to *feel* good.

Step 7: Use your largest sheets or blankets to make the outside of your fort. Weigh them down with books, that load of paperwork on your counter that you look at every single night and have sworn 5000 times you will go through the next morning, or your crushing self doubt and social anxiety. Spread it out far enough to give you plenty of room inside but still feeling like you have cloistered yourself inside a bubble. Remember, the ultimate goal is to forget the rest of humanity ever existed. Once you have the outer shell of your bubble situated, grab whatever blankets and pillows are left over and make a fluffy bed your cat would happily pee on.

Step 8: Grab your booze and snacks and whatever streaming device you need and proceed to relax. Please, though, remember step 3 and don’t drunk post on Facebook between episodes of your 4th actual run of Parks and Rec.

Also, if you have a snuggly puppy in your house like I do, be sure to bring him/her in with you. Here’s the snuggly pup that I would be bringing with me. Our new addition, Rost:









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Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/03/hello-from-land-of-orange-use-your-words.html

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/2017/03/honey-mustard-chicken-uyw-march.html

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

On the Border http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2017/03/library-crimes.html

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy http://dinoheromommy.com/

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Confessions of a part time working mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/03/use-your-words-leprechauns-mischief.html

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Angrivated Mom http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Not That Sarah Michelle http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dinner Date

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Describe your perfect meal? Who cooks? Where is it? With whom do you eat?

It was submitted by: http://thelieberfamily.com

I took a little freedom with this prompt and wrote a little fiction. I did include my perfect meal (the eggplant, btw), but I don't think I would call any of these other circumstances perfect by any means. Anyway, I just wanted to stretch my fiction wings and see what I could do with this prompt. Thanks for reading. 

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I met him on Tindr.

As much as I want to say that should have been the first red flag, I guess a lot of people must have success with that app, right? I mean, too many people use it still for it to all be bad. Maybe the right phrase here is that I should have been less na├»ve about how wrongly this could go. I should have packed some mace or had a plan to let my friends know where I would be and what time I would be home. Am I victim-blaming myself? Ugh. A little, but that’s so ingrained in who we are as people, isn’t it? If we admit the victim is never at fault in things like this, then we also have to admit we have no control over whether we will ever be a victim, and who the hell wants that? Apparently not the majority of the world.

Anyway, like I said, we met on Tindr, Adam and I. That’s probably not his real name now that I think about it, but either way, that’s all I know, so it’s what I’ll go with. He messaged me first, and I thought his pictures were great. He had a few of him and his dog that, of course, melted my heart. I was more excited about that dog than anything at first if you want to know the truth. Too many dates in my life have gone wrong, but I’ve never met a doggo that wasn’t love at first sight.

We matched or whatever, but I didn’t send a message at first. I didn’t want to seem too eager, and his profile didn’t give me enough to really construct something I could feel good about. Maybe that’s the beauty of Tindr, though. There’s not a whole lot of information to go on when you are looking at profiles. It’s not like some of these other sites where a person has already constructed this quirky outline of who they are that’s almost always a couple thousand words of bullshit that never turn out to be true in any shape or form. It might be who they wish they were, but it’s never who they really are. Not in my experience.

I can’t remember what exactly he said in his first message, but he was pretty chill, and that first day he did let me know that he wasn’t looking for an easy hook-up. He did want to be able to actually meet someone in person which so rarely happened on actual dating site, so his desire ranged somewhere between nameless one-night-stand and committed relationship. We talked for a few days, flirted shamelessly, and swapped numbers. I wanted to go out for drinks right after that (roughly a week or so after we first connected), but after asking twice and getting shot down (he was tired, he was busy, etc etc), I figured he either wasn’t really interested or wanted to ask himself, so I backed off a bit to see how it would go.

He didn’t take it well. When do they ever?

I woke up to a string of messages after I didn’t return his missed call the night before. He called me rude and asked me why I had wasted his time when he specifically told me he wanted someone who would actually meet him, blah blah blah. If at any time there was a red flag, that was truly it, so why was I so stupid? I fell right for it. I felt horribly that I had ignored him on purpose because I knew I was trying to manipulate the situation to my favor or at least manipulate it to preserve my own feelings while trying to sniff out the truth, and it had backfired on me so fucking spectacularly that I didn’t really stop to think in the moment that this reaction was so far out of proportion over just a missed phone call.

I messaged him a long apology by text. I lied. Obviously. But, I still apologized telling him I hadn’t felt well but that I should have just text and let him know that. I didn’t get an apology in return of course, but I was relieved at the time that he seemed to take my excuse as truth and calmed down enough to continue our conversations. We didn’t talk on the phone that night, and he was a little standoffish, but the next day it was like it never happened. He asked me, finally, if I wanted to have dinner with him. I accepted thinking we could meet at one of the little cafes downtown for something light that night, but no. No, he had other plans. He wanted to cook for me, he said. At his house. Way outside of town. Because of course. Of course he did. And of course I agreed like an idiot.

We had already discussed our favorite foods—mine being eggplant parmesan and his being steak (of course it was! Of course!). So he wanted to cook both. Apparently, I have just never had a steak cooked the right way regardless of the fact that I don’t really eat much meat especially beef and pork. You know, that kind of guy. I started getting a little more hesitant then, but I figured I would go through with it. I mean, maybe he was just really proud of his steak skills? That’s what I thought at the time anyway.

That’s not what I think now.

Have you ever seen that subreddit called Let’s Not Meet? Or read one of those craigslist horror stories? This is kinda like that. I got to his house a little early. I knocked, but no one answered. I could smell the grill, though, so I walked around back and found him carving up some kind of animal that was definitely not a cow and throwing pieces on the grill. He was wearing a poncho, had the entire back porch covered in a plastic tarp. He had a lot of tools out there…things I have never even seen before. I screamed. Loudly. He jumped and dropped whatever he was working on yelling at me, “what the fuck are you doing here so early?!”

I froze mid-scream in a panic and watched in horror as he grinned broadly and picked up the cleaver he had been using on the not-cow, “you have been a bad, bad girl. Come over here and get your punishment.”

I ran. I ran faster than I think I have ever run in my life. I heard him jump over the railing of his porch, but thank fucking god, I have a keyless entry car these days because I was in the car with the doors locked and had it cranked before he caught up to me. I threw the car in reverse while he banged on the window with the butt of the cleaver. The window cracked just a little and splintered, but it never actually broke before I could pull off down the street. I called 911 as soon as I got to the end of his street and gave them the address and told them what I saw. The woman dispatcher seemed horrified, but maybe that’s just because I was so horrified. Maybe I read into it? Maybe I was so panicked she couldn’t help but pick up on some of my feelings about it. Either way, she said she would send someone to his house while I drove to the station to make a statement. I did what was asked of me. I gave my statement, showed the texts, and our Tindr messages. I answered all the questions I could and ended up knowing the two officers who were talking to me thought I was being absolutely hysterical and had completely misread the situation….until the officers who responded to the scene called back in.

The house wasn’t Adam’s or whoever he was. It was empty or appeared to be and didn’t have a current lease according to the owner who hadn’t rented it out or even had a question about it in over 6 months. There wasn’t anything at all in the house except a duffle bag with some more tools, another poncho, another tarp, and a handful of driver’s licenses from other women. He was nowhere to be found. No car, no trace, nothing except the bloody tarp in the back, the tools, and the meat which has yet to be identified.

The police have the picture I saved as his contact photo, but his Tindr profile was deleted. I’m guessing all the licenses will come back to missing women and maybe being early for once saved my life… I haven’t been sleeping well—I keep having nightmares that he comes looking for me which I guess might actually not be that far from the realm of possibilities. But at least I didn’t eat anyone. 

Silver linings, y’all.

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Here's the rest of the submissions this week!

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/03/ill-take-half-secret-subject-swap.html

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy http://dinoheromommy.com/

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Confessions of a part time working mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-secret-subject-swap-pay-it-forward.html