Friday, August 28, 2015


Have you ever wondered why man's best friend is a dog,
While diamonds are a woman's best friend?

Dogs are loyal to a fault.
Always happy to see you.
Warm. Soft. Companionship.
Goofy, dorky, fun.

Diamonds are beautiful.
Shiny. Sparkly.
Cold, hard, ornamental.

A dog is a friend.
A diamond is a gift.
A dog is your buddy.
A diamond is your status.

Man's best friend.
Wagging his tail.

Woman's best friend.

Who decided these things?
Who said, this is the way it goes?
Men need companionship!
Women need ornaments!
Men need someone who thinks they are heroes just for coming home!
Women only need something to shine on a hand, or an ear.

Is it an insult to men?
To women?
To dogs?
To diamonds?

Diamonds don't care.
They know they are perfect.
Dogs don't care.
They only want to be loved.
Men don't care. 
They have a dog that loves them.
women ponder these things...

While looking at their diamonds.

Yet beautiful.
Yet dazzling.
Sparkling in the sun.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ummm...I don't think you belong here...

My new workout cycle is heavier in free weights than the last one was so for the next three months I will be spending half of my workout in the non-machine section of the gym. This is not where my comfort zone is. On the machines I can sort of figure things out. Work my way through them. Watch a YouTube video if I need to (which I totally needed to for one of them) and move along my merry way. The free weight section is for the "serious" gym goers. The muscle heads. The So Hot girls. The people who are really fit. Not the middle aged stay at home retired women. That's the water aerobics class that I also don't do but anyway...

It makes me feel more than a little out of my element each time I step over to that section and scout out a bench and some weights. Like at any point someone is going to come up and ask me to leave. That I should probably go back to the machines where I obviously would be more comfortable. And honestly I would. But that's not the program I'm on for the next three months. That was the program I was on for the last three months (with one free weight section that I got around by doing it in the classroom space when no one was there).

Then today as I was doing "Standing biceps curls with barbell" one of the women that works out A LOT was watching me. She's an older lady but it took literal months before I realized that she had to be pushing mid-sixties because she is so fit. So anyway she's watching me and comes over to say something and I'm bracing myself for the "you are so doing that wrong" or "you should leave now" and she says, "I have been wanting to tell you for ages that you have great arms." I laughed that self deprecating I don't really believe you laugh and said, "Thanks." She wasn't buying it. "No, really, I watch you do the lat pull downs and wish I could get that line" and here she pointed to her arm, her incredibly fit but lacking in a full biceps muscle belly arm, "but I just can't."

I smiled at her and told her thank you again and then told her, "That really helps keep me motivated. You are in great shape and that means a lot." And then felt really awkward because I had just basically admitted to checking her out. Which I totally have. I check out everyone in the gym. And give them all really interesting back stories, because of course I do. Then because when you are feeling awkward the best thing to do is just keep talking I said, "Mostly it's genetics. How your muscle fibers are. I have decent arms, they respond well to work outs. My arms, abs and back will always show my progress while my legs just sort of are. I have thicker muscle bellies so I will never get that lovely long and lean look that ballet dancers have. Though I tried for a long time." She told me that she understood completely, she had worked for years to get a six pack and it just wouldn't happen. But she decided that being the best she could be was good enough. I then admitted to her that I decide that too, about 4 times a year, and one of these times I was sure it was going to stick. She laughed and then we went back to our work outs.

And I looked at my arms while I did my second set of biceps curls and thought, "Okay, I belong over here too."

Which lasted right up until swiss curls for triceps where I longed for my machines again...

It's impostor syndrome in the gym. I work out. A lot. Five days a week. Which to be fair was a step up 3 months ago when I started this new system. Before that it was three days a week. And two days at home. But I don't feel like a "gym person." I am never going to be one of those people that loves working out. I love cake. I love tortillas. I love cheese. I love to walk without my knees calling me names. So I work out. It's preventative, for the arthritis and for the cake belly. But it's not something I love to do. But I do it. Consistently. So doesn't that make me a "gym person?"

Where is that line where you really feel like you know what you are doing? When you own what you are and what you do? I haven't found it yet. Not at the gym. Not with writing, (I have been getting better about calling myself a writer but there is still A LOT of internal side eye happening). I never got there with advertising, even when I was handling millions of dollars in business. There is always this piece of me that is pretty sure at some point everyone is going to figure out that I am in way over my head and just making it all up as I go along.

And then when I talk to other people about it, I find out that they feel the same way. That a good portion of us are working our way through life by the seat of our pants. Just winging it day to day. Even the things we are experts in (from the outside) we are just waiting to be told, "you're doing it wrong, you probably should move over and let the real adults take over now." Which probably makes us all better at what we do, right? I mean I worked hard at my advertising job because I was sure I was in too deep and needed to constantly work to be good enough, which then ended up making me really good at it. I write more now because I want to be thought of as a writer and not a "writer" so I try to make sure I put words on the screen more days than not. And I plan my workouts and keep at them to keep from being asked to go....just please go. So at some level I really am all of those things, right?

So here's to all of the fakers, the impostors, the seat of the pantsers! Keep doing what you are doing, I swear you look like a natural to me!

Thursday, August 20, 2015


The tub filled slowly. She dipped a toe in the milky water and took a deep breath. Warm vanilla sugar. Smiling to herself remembering the years of Love's Baby Soft, then Jean Nate, Tresor, Miracle...and now the smell of a warm kitchen on a cold day. How things change.

Easing in to the bath the water creeping over legs marked with old scars. A lifetime of stories in the marks. Tripping over barbed wire at camp now nothing more than a silver line at her ankle. A bump of scar tissue on her knee once the worst thing she could think of now just a mark over an angry joint that complained when it got too cold outside. As the water covered her thighs she smiled remembering the photographer on her wedding day telling her that one day she would look back at the picture of her slipping the garter on and wish for thighs so thin. On that day she had thought how ridiculous, she needed to lose 5 pounds after all. Thirty years and thirty pounds later she understood.

But now she knew they were strong legs. They had walked a thousand miles. Squatted for hours over Lego buildings and chalk drawings. Run to catch a falling toddler and stayed still to let a grown up leave the nest. They were thick. Thin thighs were something for a child to aspire to, She was happy with her strong ones that had taken her everywhere she wanted to go, and held her man close when she didn't want to go anywhere.

Easing deeper in to the bath the water caressed her stomach. Not as flat as it used to be. Crossed with stretch marks that never went away. Soft fold of skin that was left as a reminder of the life she nurtured in her own body. Rock hard abs sound good but a warm inviting lap for a child, a pet, comfort on a bad day, that was better.

Her breasts rocked in the water. Unruly things they had become. They were healthy which was a blessing to her. They weren't as firm as they used to be, but they were full, lush...Silky. Responsive. Hers.

She relaxed and felt the muscles of her face let go. There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead had turned in to there was an older woman who had a crooked line right between her eyes... The first time she had noticed it she thought "where did that come from?" and as soon as she concentrated and her eyebrows dipped she saw...It was her thought line. Like a fault line under the earth's crust it was the line where her thoughts pushed against each other until one came out triumphant. Or that's what she liked to think.

She smiled...crinkle lines around her eyes. Crow's feet. Did you know that crows are the smartest birds? Really. They can figure out puzzles, they mourn their dead. There was a study at a university years ago where this professor and his assistants captured and tagged a few crows then released them. The crows were not thrilled with this, by the way, and started dive bombing and attacking these people when they would walk around campus. Not just the crows they had captured, but all of the crows. And did I mention they were wearing masks when they did the capturing and the masks didn't matter? The crows still knew who they were. And TOLD THE OTHER CROWS. AND THEN THEY PASSED IT ALONG TO THE NEXT GENERATION! I think the results of the test were...don't fuck with crows. So a few crow's feet around her eyes was fine with her.

The eye crinkles, the thought line, those joined the laugh lines she had. More years spent with a smile on her face than a scowl. She would take it. Then there was the one deep groove above her lips. The mark left from her years as a smoker. Lips pursed around a cigarette. It was a good reminder to her to watch herself. What seems like nothing can end up being something later in life. Listen to the warnings. Pay attention to those that came before you. They know. And get out of a bad situation before it gets worse. One wrinkle is better than lungs riddled with disease after all.

Running her hands through her hair. Years of long had given way to short. Her hair had been her vanity until she realized it could be a gift to someone else instead. Then she grew it and cut it with regularity. Up until the silver gray threads went from a few to a few more to how many of you are there? Then she cut it all off and embraced her new glitter. Each sparkling silver hair was a reminder of an adventure. Those times when she ran to catch that falling toddler? Silver hair. The times she had to let him fall on his own. More silver hairs. Time passes and it leaves gifts. Threads of sparkling silver in her brown locks were part of a crown.

Time moves. Bodies change. Muscles soften. But so do rigid thoughts. An expanding mind is more important than an expanding back side any day.

Warm water in a bath tub smelling like a freshly baked cookie.

A body strong and healthy.

Yet soft and lush.

Life is good.

The stories tell of wicked queens bathing in the blood of young virgins to keep their youth. They should have been washing in the essence of grown women instead. Fuller. Juicier. And more powerful than they could have ever imagined.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

We are all hypocrites...

I worked on this blog yesterday for a long time. I was having a really hard time getting it to gel right. I had one point I wanted to make but I kept veering in to another point and I fought it over and over trying to get my thoughts to behave. I had reached the point where I realized they weren't going to and I was just going to have to mesh them together to get this out when I got news that stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly it was all too personal to move forward with, I put it aside and wasn't sure when I would pick it up again.

But the personal nature of it, along with the topic (topics?) of the blog now wouldn't let go and they added to each other so I came back to it today. Deleted most of what I wrote yesterday and started all over again. Knowing that I have a point to make and part of it will be personal, part of it will be political, not all of it will make sense to everyone, and I will have to cry at some point while I write. So knowing all of that I start again...

I titled this blog "We are all hypocrites..." I've touched on that theme a lot over the years, here and on my Facebook feed, and in conversations with people. We all hold beliefs that if we were to lay them side by side on a table would be opposite to each other. And yet somehow we hold on to them just the same. We believe things that don't work across situations. We hold one set of standards for one thing, and a different set for another. We don't like to be labeled while we label everyone around us. And sometimes we don't really believe what we say we believe.

Today we are going to talk about how we don't really believe what we say we believe, not when we start to break it down. Not when we have to realize that we are hypocrites about it. Not when we have to own every aspect of it.

Years ago a friend of mine had a miscarriage. She had been trying to get pregnant. She had two others after that one. Carrying a child wasn't easy for her. But this was the first one. We had been out hiking that day, both of our husbands were in the Navy and both out to sea so it was just us. We had hiked to a lighthouse, had a picnic, hiked back to the car. Good day. Long day. I dropped her off at her house and headed home. I lived about 40 minutes away and as I walked in the door of the house my phone was ringing. "I need you to come back. I think something is wrong with the baby." I made the return drive in about 25 minutes. Flew in to the house and found her in the bathroom. There was a lot of blood. After looking at what she had passed so far I made the call that we were headed to the hospital. After a blood test, two sets of ultrasounds and a somber visit by the OBGYN on call the news came down. The baby was gone. She needed to go in to surgery for a d and c and spend the night there.

We were 21 years old. Exhausted from a very long day. Starving, since neither of us had eaten since our picnic lunch and it was close to midnight. And completely at a loss on how to handle this. So we did the best we could. Which involved convincing the orderly to let me make ambulance noise when we pushed her around the hallways to various tests and when she went in to surgery. Wishing we had a camera with us because when the IV failed and blood backed out of the tubing and over her hand dripping off of one finger on to a puddle on the floor it was the best horror movie scene ever. Telling the nurse on duty that a Big Mac Meal after she came out of surgery was exactly what she needed and if she would play along an extra fried cherry pie might just end up at the nurse's station. And making any number of jokes to make the orderlies laugh and not feel so badly that they were there dealing with a young mother's miscarriage while her husband was out to sea and unable to be reached.

After I got her fed and settled in for the night (morning by that time) I went back out to her place to get clothes for the next day, feed the cat, and to clean up the bathroom. Hoping that we were with it enough when we left to close the bathroom door. I am really strong and good in a crisis but that would have pushed me over the edge I think. Thankfully we had. I got her clothes, took care of the cat then braced myself for the worse task at hand. I cleaned the bathroom. Wiped up the blood and took care of the clots that we had examined the night before. Which meant flushing them away. What else was there to do? We have no ceremony for this. We have no standard that we do when a woman miscarries. Maybe say we are sorry and better luck next time at best. At worst we tell them how it wasn't really anything anyway and it never really happened.

And here is where I am going to get harsher in my language, my thoughts and my tone so you can back out of this blog now if you would like...

We do more for a child's dead goldfish than we do for the loss of their potential sibling.

I wrote here about the bullshit hypocrisy in our abortion laws and now I'm going to touch on the same thing from the other side.

Even if you are staunchly pro-life, we don't really consider a miscarried child in the same category as the death of a newborn child. We just don't. If you really believe that life begins at the moment of conception then you need to follow through with a lot of things that you would find ridiculous. Things like investigating my friend and I after her miscarriage. Were we negligent? We hiked that day, we knew she was pregnant and we hiked anyway. Did that lead to the miscarriage? Was I an accessory to the death of her child because I knew she was pregnant and didn't make her stay home? How about an accessory after the fact because I went back to her place and cleaned everything up? Flushing away evidence as it were. There was never an investigation because that would be ridiculous. The hike didn't cause the miscarriage. She was fit enough to hike, doctors will tell you that unless you are high risk you can keep up the level of activity you always have had as long as you are comfortable. But there was never even an investigation to make sure. Not even after her third miscarry.

When I had a miscarriage when C was little there wasn't ever even a doctor involved. We had just started to accept that I was pregnant when I wasn't anymore. Pretty damn convenient, don't you think? I didn't want another child. I had been very vocal about the fact that I only wanted one child and now I was only going to have one. That's motive right? But it would be ridiculous for there to be an investigation because it was a miscarry. Not a newborn.

We don't make women show proof that they are not pregnant before letting them drink even though it's illegal to serve a minor alcohol. And if you are sharing a blood supply if you drink, they drink. We don't arrest pregnant women for smoking though we would if she taught her toddler how to smoke. We make suggestions for treatment during pregnancy but we don't mandate it because it's a woman's choice what she does. Right up until that child is born, then we can mandate things like no booze, no cigarettes, must see a doctor if they are ill. But before that? We don't. We allow an abundance of embryos to be created for people doing in vitro fertilization, and then we allow them to be put in a deep freeze indefinitely. If you believe that is a child, how are you okay with this being legal in any realm?

We don't investigate miscarriages like we do the death of a newborn.

We don't even mark the death as a significant life event deserving of a funeral.

Because we don't see it the same way.

No matter your stance, you just don't.

I am saddened when a friend miscarries. It hurts my heart. I feel badly for them and I wish I could do something to ease the loss of that dream that they had. But I have to be perfectly honest that it is nowhere near what I feel when someone loses a child. Because as anti-abortion, pro-pregnancy as I am, there is a difference.

I know it.

You know it.

We just don't like to admit it.

Because we are all hypocrites.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How did you know?

She always seemed to know things she shouldn't.

Or maybe not shouldn't so much as couldn't.

She always seemed to know when the phone would ring.

When the knock on the door would come.

When the babies were due.

When they were lost.

Cookies were baked and waiting for the surprise visitors.

Fresh linens were on the bed for overnight guests who didn't know they were staying.

Cards were purchased just waiting to be mailed...congratulations, condolences.

She always just seemed to know.

Her children never tried to get away with anything.

Neither did her husband.

There would be no point in lying, she would always know.

And she would just let you go until you tripped yourself up.

She always just knew.

Until the day she didn't.

When the test results came that surprised her.

When she hadn't seen how the story would end.

When she faced the unknown.

She went home to find...

Unexpected visitors.

Fresh linens.



They just knew.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Shooting stars...

She pointed to the streak of fire in the sky,
"Make a wish!"
He watched the light arc and flare then disappear..
"Did you make one?"

He smiled.
"I wish on the moon, not on the stars."
She shook her head,
"You aren't supposed to wish on the moon."

"Stars flare and fade, the moon is constant.
The moon pulls the tides toward the shore.
The moon is a constant.
I wish on the moon."

She smirked,
"It's not constant, 
It waxes and wanes.
It's there and gone."

He shook his head, 
"Even when we think it's not there,
It is always there.
Just dark or light."

"The moon has no light of its own.
It just reflects the sun.
A star is its own source of heat,
Of light. Wish on a star."

"Now you understand.
Stars don't need our wishes, 
they burn on their own.
Until they burn out.

When we wish on the moon
It gets our wish and gives our wish
Wax and wane.
Tides roll in and roll out."

She leaned back on the grass 
and looked in to the dark night sky.
Another flare lit the sky.
She watched the arc of fire.

He asked,
"Did you make a wish?"
She smiled and took his hand.
"I wish on the moon."

Friday, August 14, 2015

Randoms of randoms...

Okay, since I got the fluffy blog out of the way for Dana yesterday I will do one last sort of ranty, sort of rambling blog and hope that the fiction coalesces over the weekend. Just a few things on my mind right now:

At the gym this morning while ESPN and MSNBC were both on commercial I glance over to Fox and they are talking about some legal case and having the trial moved because the prosecution doesn't think they can get a fair trial where it is. I missed the beginning so I don't know where or what but that wasn't the part that stopped me. It was when the "expert" they were talking to said that getting a fair trail would be hard to come by once people heard the facts of the case.

Well, if you are talking about the actual facts of the case that come out during a trial that you hear while on a jury then why? Facts lead to a fair trial. That's what facts do. Just because they might be found either guilty or not guilty once the facts come out doesn't mean it was unfair.

That's sort of the problem with our society in general right now, right? People get "fair" confused with "agrees with me." I mean that's Fox's entire business model right? They call themselves fair and balanced and call out all other sources of media as biased. When what they really mean is that they will tell you what you want to hear while other sources of media won't. Either because they have their own bias they are working or because the facts don't actually support your opinion. That doesn't make them fair, and it certainly doesn't make them balanced, it just means they agree with you. There is a difference.


There have been two more cases brought from people who say that doing their jobs for everyone is against their religious beliefs and that because of their personal beliefs they shouldn't have to do what they don't want to. They both lost. The woman in Kentucky who didn't want to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and the baker in Colorado who didn't want to bake a wedding cake. Now I will tell you my opinion on the issuing of marriage licenses is she needs to find a new job. She's a government employee so she really doesn't get to say her religion prevents her from doing her job. As far as the bakers go I think they should make cakes for who they want to, as long as they post a sign saying that they discriminate. Then everyone gets the same freedom they want. I don't want to do business with bigots so that way we are even. Though the law doesn't agree with me. The law in Colorado (like in Oregon) says if you are running a business you don't get to discriminate. So they need to make the cake.

I've also got two more points to make on is the people who want to make it biblical. Okay, make it biblical. In Jesus' day and age the Roman soldiers could force the Jews to carry their equipment for a mile. Jesus addressed it in the Sermon on the Mount where he said, "If they say go with me one mile you slam his gear to the ground and sue his ass for religious discrimination..." Oh wait...that's not it. He said, "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." Which is where the expression "go the extra mile" comes from (Matthew 5:41 if you don't believe me) So what would Jesus say to you? My guess would be something along the lines of if someone wants a wedding cake from you, make them a lovely set of cupcakes as well.

The other is for all of the people who don't find the irony when they talk about people being abused by the police and say, "Don't break the law and it won't happen." and yet talk about what a shame it is people are sued for discriminating. "Don't want to be sued? Bake the cake." Try that one on for size...


Target has decided to stop labeling toys, bedding and entertainment by gender. And people are losing their damn minds. It's like somehow they can't separate out the fact that Target now will just have a toy section instead of a girls' toys and boys' toys section from some sort of irrational thought that this means you can't have a boy or a girl child? I doesn't make any sense.

Just a quick heads up, toys, bedding and entertainment don't have genders. They are things not people. There isn't a need for gender specific things. In fact it's all been a giant marketing ploy to get you to buy more things the whole time. Seriously. Making things boy or girl specific has all been a corporate manipulation of your emotions tied to your pocket book. Chew on that for awhile.


There was another one I was going to post but I can't remember it now...

Imagine it here. And imagine it was deep and profound and well written.

Yeah, I'm a genius...

Thursday, August 13, 2015


"....twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen...." She always counted her fluffies as she put them back on the bed. There were 16. She had one for each birthday including her actual birth day. That was until she turned 16 and her mother had declared her too old for such silly things and that was the end of the parade of stuffed toys. So she had sixteen.

And today she could only find fifteen. She counted again. Took a quick inventory, which one was missing? Oh the purple bear from her fourth birthday. It was the one that wasn't there. Where could it have gotten to? She had tossed them off the bed in a bit of a hurry last night so it wasn't that odd that one had gotten misplaced.

She smiled to herself thinking about the reason for the frantic clearing. There hadn't been room for her and all of the fluffies and her company. She had felt a little badly about tossing them all on the ground, she knew it was a little crazy to worry about such things, after all they were stuffed animals, it wasn't like it would hurt them to hit the floor, but she still did. And she had been a little embarrassed when her overnight guest had stepped on one.

"You have a lot of stuffed animals, don't you?"

"I do, they remind me of home and keep me company."

"Well tonight you have me."

She stopped for a minute, had it been Beary Purple he had stepped on? Maybe he had moved him or kicked him. She widened her search area. Nothing under the bed, nothing in the closet. Where could he have gotten to? She hated to leave without having found him but if she didn't she would be late for work.

She remembered what she would have done when she was a child and stomped her foot and quite petulantly said, "Beary Purple, if you can hear me you better find your way to the bed!" then she laughed and headed off to work.


Across town her overnight guest was taking another shower. He had tried cleaning up at her place but the scented soaps and shampoos made him smell like a perfume counter at Christmas so another shower was needed. She was hot and sweet but probably too sweet for him. How many stuffed animals could a grown woman have and it not be weird? He was pretty sure the number wasn't double digits. And he might have been mistaken but he was pretty sure she had growled at him when he accidentally stepped on one of them. Sweet and hot, but maybe a little too crazy to keep around.

He turned off the shower and reached out in to the steamy bathroom for his towel. As his hand closed around it and he brought it in to the shower he formed two thoughts in quick succession, "I don't remember my towels being this fluffyohfuckmewhatthehellisthis??"


Putting her shoes in the closet after work she saw a sliver of purple in the corner by her tall boots.
"Beary! How in the world did you get all the way over here?"

She picked up the beloved stuffed toy and took him toward the bed she looked at his dirty face, you couldn't keep a stuffed animal for that long and expect them to stay perfectly clean, and wondered if it was her imagination or if he really was damp...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Where did that come from?

In the past few weeks I've heard the phrase "in a minute" meaning "not in a long long time" used like 5 times from people and I had never heard it before. Where did that come from? When did it start? How did it spread? I haven't seen that in a minute. I haven't done that in a minute. All of a sudden it's everywhere.

I have to guess there is a TV show or a movie that I missed that a character used it and it spread from there. That's normally how these things start, right? Or some musician. Or other pop culture figure. They use it, everyone says, hmmm...that's kind of cool I will use it too and all of a sudden BOOM everyone is saying it like we've all been using it all along.

So weird.

Which leads us to the real thought...

Have you ever wanted to make up a phrase or a trend? Just start using a random phrase and see how long it takes to spread? Like something totally random? Years ago Big Brother did it as a side game. They had one contestant that was taking direction from viewers (bad idea, screwed his game, but fun to watch) and one of the things they did was had him start saying, "I'd do that for a dollar" at random times. It didn't really catch on, he wasn't a big enough influence in the house at the time, but on different season one player used the phrase "cool beans" just as something they said and after a week or so I was hearing it from a lot of other people. Now cool beans is somewhat common in different parts of the country, but not really big in Colorado where we were so to me it seemed pretty clear it was from the show. Interesting. I'd use that phrase for a dollar...

And I have to admit I have always found this sort of thing to be interesting. My junior year in high school I started a trend just to mess around. My friend Ginger and I were talking shit about people, as you do in high school, and how easily manipulated the masses were. Because, of course, we felt we were above such things. And we talked about how everyone looked the same, dressed the same, followed the same style and had no clue why they were doing it. She was more optimistic than I was about the nature of people while I felt that we could very easily manipulate the masses. So we made a little bet as to how long it would take to spread a trend. The trick was neither one of us was part of the big group of influencers in our school, the preps and the jocks pretty much set trend. We were not those people. But we were both floaters to a certain degree and interacted with them enough that I thought we could pull it off.

It had to be ridiculous. It had to be simple. It had to be subtle. You couldn't tell anyone that it was an experiment. You just had to wear it and see if it would take off.

So we started wearing our earrings backwards in one ear. The right one because I already had a cross and a stud sharing one hole on the left side and at the time it was VERY IMPORTANT to me that I do that, every damn day, for years I did that...anyway... So we decided to do it for a month and see if it would take off.

It took a week before we saw the first person doing it. After two weeks we declared it a success and a failure and stopped doing it. Success because it was spreading and I was right. A failure because we should have used our powers for money making somehow. There was no profit in this piece of manipulation and no credit so we were pleased with ourselves and disappointed at the same time. Ginger and I were complicated people.

And now to the big finish and moral to the story...

By doing that experiment I learned how very easy it is for even an outsider to shape opinion. To change things. Pay attention to the world around you and you will start to spot the people that are doing it on purpose. Repetition is key in forming beliefs. You will hear politicians and certain news channels, and all spin doctors repeat phrases. They will use them over and over and over again until you just stop questioning the veracity of the statement. Just because you say a thing over and over doesn't make it true. But it does make it accepted as common knowledge.

We do it with history. Paul Revere's ride, George Washington's wooden teeth, the Civil War wasn't about slavery, things that people have repeated enough that you start to believe are true. Recent things like Palin and her Death Panels, I still hear people talk about that like it was true, when it was debunked almost instantly. That's the problem with common knowledge, it's often more common than knowledge. Repetition doesn't equal fact. Someone else doing it, saying it, believing it, doesn't make it true.

Keep it in mind as you work your way through the world or you might just find one day you are wearing your earrings backwards and have no clue why.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Just give it up already...

So I wrote the poem thinking that was good enough. But apparently I have more to say on this subject and not just in the form of bad poetry so here we go...

First off you never know where or how inspiration will hit you. This morning it was this picture:

When I saw it on a friend's feed my first thought was "that's nice" then my second was..."hmmmm...."
Because my brain was starting to whirl with things that you do give up to be happy. Or at least that I did.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Joseph Campbell: “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." It's all about giving up.

Just not the giving up we think of normally. Not the quitting. Not the whining "it's tooooo haaardddd..." and stopping. Because life is often hard and quitting each time it gets hard would get you nowhere. But even so, sometimes you have to know when to give up.

I'm as stubborn as the day is long, just ask the people that know me best, and I had to learn the hard way that sometimes you really need to just give it up. Let go. Move on. I also have had the struggle with the disease of perfectionism. I KNOW! It's so hard for a lot of you to imagine since I'm so laid back now...

Stop laughing.

But I really was awful about it for a long time. And it's so not helpful when you are trying to get things done. Perfect is the enemy of good enough right? You are constantly tweaking this one more thing, working on this one more polish, and then you never finish. I did it with writing for decades. I would write something, polish, polish, polish, then delete it because it was never going to be perfect. It's a big part of why I do a lot of speed write/post things on here. This is my area where things aren't perfect, but they are done. I have folders of other things that are in the super polish category, and honestly they aren't much better than the things I write and post in a day.  Which either says something about the quality of my first draft, or the quality of my polishing.

So what have I given up? I gave up thinking that I would ever be motivated by money. Don't get me wrong, I've been poor and I've been middle class. Middle class is better. Not worrying about repo men or grocery trips at the end of the month is wonderful. But when I was working? I never got paid as much as everyone else because I never remembered to ask for a raise. Now, that doesn't mean it didn't piss me off when I found out someone was being paid more than I was for the same or less work, but that was about fair treatment, not the money.

I have been offered lots of money at different times (and lots is a sliding scale in life, as you all know) to do work that I didn't want to do. It never grabbed me. I have worked G.O.O.D. jobs before (get out of debt) and was grateful for them, but as soon as money was covered by Brent's job? I was out of the money making business and on to exploring other things. While I was in massage school it was sort of a joke that I was going to spend two years and a few thousand dollars to get a job that paid less than half of what I was currently making. Money doesn't motivate me. I gave up pretending that it would.

I gave up being concerned with what people think of me. I am what I am. I know I'm not everyone's cup of tea, and that's okay. I can't control what you think of me, I can only control who I am. And the rest is on you. Now that's not to say that there aren't times where I am shocked that someone doesn't like me, or says something nasty about me, or has an opinion of me that I don't think is valid. But the shock is transient. I'm not going to change who I am for you to like me better. If I've done something truly offensive to you then I will examine it and decide if it's my offense or your offendedness that is the problem. But I am who I am. And I really dig me so I gave up worrying about if you do too.

And in that same vein I gave up on relationships that weren't healthy. We've all had that "friend" that really wasn't right? Energy vampires. Negative Nancys. People who needed to put you down to lift themselves up. I don't have time for that. I give up on those people pretty quickly now.

There are other things, smaller things, I gave up buying shoes that don't fit hoping they would stretch. Life is too short for uncomfortable shoes. I gave up buying clothes that I didn't love, just because they were in style, or someone else liked them, or they weren't trashy as fuck, I happen to look good in trashy clothes. It's just the way it goes. I gave up thinking I would wake up tomorrow looking like Cindy Crawford. My legs are never going to get longer and they are never going to be skinny. My butt is never going to be small and I'm never going to be described as petite. But I haven't given up working out and being the best me I can be, that would be giving up vanity (not there) and health concerns (bad idea) and letting the arthritis settle in and make me miserable (fuck that shit) so I haven't given up on that.

And probably most importantly I gave up giving up cake.

I love cake.

(and I could totally Rick Roll you right now and it would fit and be glorious but I'm not going to. So you're welcome.)

I give up...

She was tired.
Bone tired.
Soul tired.
Tired of working and striving for nothing.
Tired of getting no credit.
Tired of the grind.
Of the slog.
Of the pain.

So she gave up.

She gave up shoes that didn't fit.
Food that didn't taste good.
Dreams that were never hers.

She gave up artwork that didn't move her.
Books that bored her.
Music that didn't make her weep or dance...

She gave up hopelessness
And friendships that never were.

She is rested.
Reaching for everything she wants.
Amazed at the world around her.
Striding forward.

She gave up.

Monday, August 10, 2015

What do you hear?

I was reading about the disruption of the Bernie Sanders event in Seattle this weekend by two women who might or might not be part of the official Black Lives Matter movement depending on who you listen to. They are either disgruntled activists who saw an opportunity to reach the mainly white, highly liberal, audience that Sanders draws and point out that just using a hashtag doesn't mean they are doing anything to make things better. Or they could be really misguided people who feel strongly about their cause but are alienating the very group that is doing their best to further those same issues along with a candidate whose civil rights stances are verified and bonafide. Or they could be members of OA 206 who use the phrase black lives matter but aren't really part of the organization Black Lives Matter and are trying for some of the same agenda but in very different ways. Or they might be plants for either the Clinton campaign who is feeling the Bern or secret Republican operatives who are trying to make sure the Democratic party collapses under infighting like it did from the late 60s through well... the male Clinton? Though Carter was in there for a hot second...And then there is the whole idea of where OA 206 actually gets their funding if they are from OA 206 which makes the whole conspiracy theory take another turn... depends on what you are reading on what happened.

I don't know which of these narratives is the right one. I have a hard time believing conspiracy theories. My brain just isn't wired that way. But the people who are talking about that angle make some good points. The fact that a majority of Black Lives Matters activists are distancing themselves from this. The fact that even though there is a really active group in Seattle there were only two women who took the stage. The fact that Bernie Sanders drew almost 30,000 people to a rally in Portland the next day and that has to be worrisome to the Clinton campaign.

I don't know what the truth is. I'm not sure when or if we will know what really led those two women to hijack the event. I'll wait until there is more clear information before I make a judgement.

Another story hitting my radar right now is about Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks. There is a rape investigation against him and so of course there is a 45/45 split of people screaming either that woman is OBVIOUSLY lying because he's a sports star and just won the Stanley Cup for keerist's sake...and the other side screaming that OBVIOUSLY he did it because he's a professional athlete who thinks he can get away with anything he wants to. And then there is a small 10% saying ... ummm... well, we don't know yet what happened. Why don't we do the whole presumed innocent until proven guilty thing we are supposed to do? And I mean that on both sides. Let's not presume she's a (and I quote) "money grabbing whore" or that he is a "rapist bastard" until we get more information. I'm a fan of the Blackhawks. He's a great player for that team. But that doesn't mean I believe he is incapable of raping someone. I don't know that he is capable either. Which is the point. I don't know. Presumed innocent. Both of them.

It's all about what you hear. When you hear a charge against an athlete do you assume they are guilty because they are athletes? Or do you presume they are innocent because you like their team or their talent? When you hear about a rape investigation do you assume the person bringing charges is telling the truth or lying? Do you automatically start discounting the story with the "they shouldn't haves..." shouldn't have had so much to drink, shouldn't have worn that dress, shouldn't have flirted, shouldn't have...whatever. What do you hear?

Which then leads us back to another part of the first story. When the Black Lives Matter hashtag or organization is brought up there are always people who respond ALL LIVES MATTER! Oh holy shit, shut up. That's been my reaction to them. But I read something this weekend that made them make a little more sense to me. See when they read Black Lives Matter their brains fill in an implied "Only" at the front while mine fills in an implied "Too" at the end. I get that when someone says Black Lives Matter they aren't saying that no other life matters, they are saying that black lives matter just as much as all other lives and right now they aren't feeling that. See? There is a difference in what you hear.

Thinking about it I came up with an analogy that works if you had siblings. Not sure the only children would get it but here we go...So you remember when you were a kid and you would be minding your own business and one of your siblings picked a fight? Or you were watching TV and they came in and changed the channel while you were watching something? Or you were in the car riding someplace and they punched you out of the blue? When that happened you yelled and your parent said, "You kids knock it off!" And you were all like...Wait, what?? You KIDS?? I was minding my own business! I didn't do anything wrong!

All Lives Matter is like You Kids Knock it Off. It's a general coverage to a problem that is actually not general. And it's unfair. Of course all lives matter, but right now it's not all lives that we are talking about. Don't be obtuse. Listen for the too at the end of the phrase. Look for the fairness instead of the general. And for goodness sake try to open your eyes to the issues they are bringing up. Just because in your day to day life you don't encounter instances of racism that doesn't mean it's not there. There are people speaking a different language in France, just because I don't hear it doesn't mean it's not happening...

Pay attention to what you are listening to as well as what you hear.

Wait for more information before leaping to conclusions.

Try your hardest to get more than one side to a story.

And realize that sometimes life doesn't come with easy answers.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Writer world problems...

I had a dream this morning that I was in a haunted house. It was one of those dreams that seems fairly normal at first but there is this lurking sense of dread hanging around so you just know it's going to turn bad soon. Now I have had nightmares for as long as I can remember (insomnia and nightmares and night terrors often go hand in hand in hand) and I learned about lucid dreaming a long time ago to combat this problem. Quite often when I realize that a dream is going to go bad, or has gone bad I can turn the dream around.

It's a really great skill to have if you need to sleep without panic.

Except when it pisses the writer part of your brain off.

We were trying to clear this old house of the furniture and belongings so we could sell it, or remodel it or something and there would be these accidents. And things moving that we didn't move. And just...dread...So in the dream I was just starting to figure out (writer me) that the furniture was possessed by Agnes (an Aunt maybe?) and she was watching through mirrors and reflective surfaces and then coming out when she was alone with who ever her intended victim was and horrible things would follow.

Well as the writer part of my brain was going, "Oh cool!" the lucid dreamer part of my brain was like, "Oh no, let's fix this!" and so Agnes was becoming less and less menacing and more and more fairy godmotherish. I was so relieved and frustrated at the same time.

I wanted to see how it would end up. How did we take care of Agnes or did she win? Still living in her house on the hill in her furniture peeking out at the world through her mirrors...but my brain was busy rewriting things so that Agnes wasn't hurting anyone, she was just trying to protect me from people who might not have my best interests at heart. She was a benevolent spirit. Only there to help. Which is great for sleeping and lousy for story potential.

But considering my sleep tracking has looked like a bad joke all week I will take the lucid dreaming stay asleep portion over the wake in a cold sweat with a perfectly written story ready to go.

I guess.

If I have to.

But I still think she's watching....

Friday, August 7, 2015

I know it's early...

I watched both of the Republican debates yesterday. I know it's awfully early to be watching this. The field is still too wide. There is nothing decided. Technically I cannot vote in any primary because I'm registered unaffiliated. But I still felt like I should watch. One of these people is going to get the nomination and I want to hear what they say when they are talking to their base, on their news station, in front of their audience, when they are trying to break through. I don't want to just get introduced to the them when they are trying to appeal to me, but when they aren't.

I also am not a fan of soundbite politics. I knew that the almost 3 1/2 hours of coverage yesterday would get trimmed down to the juiciest of bites today and that those might or might not have anything to do contextually with what was actually asked and even answered so I wanted to watch.

The first debate was quieter. Very small audience so not raucous cheering and booing like we saw in the second. And not a lot of cross talk between candidates. This group seemed to at least be somewhat aware that though they are running against each other for the nomination they are running in the same party.

Things I took from that one:
Rick Perry is doing better this time than last. But he was heavily medicated and recovering from back surgery last time so that's not a huge stretch. He is REALLY interested in border security. That's pretty much it.

Carly Fiorina came ready to throw down. If she could insult a few people or the entire group of "progressives" in her answer she was thrilled. She was also very composed and ready. But I still have to ask why they drop the "in to the ground" part off every time they announce she ran HP.

George Pataki was asked a question leading with "you are the only pro-choice republican candidate..." so pretty much the finish to this is "bye, Felicia..." Sorry, George, not sure why you came out tonight.

Rick Santorum is still Santorum and ready to fight gay marriage, though it seems everyone else is pretty still about that one being settled. But you know, he's not ready to allow the Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage anymore than Lincoln was satisfied with Dred Scott...which actually made me say out loud to the TV, "What the fuck? Seriously? Gay marriage is equivilant with a ruling that black people are property not people? Are you high?" So yeah, Santorum has no shot of getting the presidency. Sorry, dude, but you have to appeal to a wider swath than who ever it is that you appeal to.

Jim Gilmore. Well now I know who Jim Gilmore is. Sort of. I mean, I had to go look up his name just now because I honestly couldn't pull it, all I could think was, "the other guy...used to be a governor of ummm..Virginia?" So yeah, he didn't make a huge impression.

Bobby Jindal. When asked why people should vote for him when his own state can't stand him you sort of understood what Fox believes his chances are. He is trying to take the hardline stance. One of those being that there should be no hyphenated Americans, and anyone who immigrates here should be forced to only speak English, so there was that...

And then there was Lindsey Graham. This man must never make it to the Oval Office. I'm not even super comfortable with him knowing where the Oval Office is to tell the truth. If he were elected president we would be going to war. Like now. And forever. He was very clear about it. Said it over and over again. No matter the question he would pivot back to war. Just scary as fuck.

Over all they are all going to repeal Obamacare (though what they are going to do about the millions left uninsured was left unanswered), tear up the Iran deal (though how they think they are going to get a better one was left unanswered except, we just will), defund Planned Parenthood and fight ISIS/ISIL either by more air strikes or by WAR BITCHES!! CONSTANT ONSLAUGHT OF WAR!

In my opinion if there was a winner it was Fiorina. Perry maybe came in second.

Then the main event and I won't break down each of them. You all were more likely to have watched that one. Just my main takeaways...

Man, Fox does NOT want Trump in the race anymore. They built the monster and are now trying to figure out how to take it apart. He's having none of it. The opening salvo of "take a pledge to support who ever gets the nomination and swear fealty" struck me as awful. Especially when you have some really divergent beliefs over the 17 candidates. How can you say you would support any one of them? Crazy. When Trump makes the choice that strikes me as the least insane and most thoughtful there is a problem in the room.

Scott Walker was asked about abortion and made clear that he is not backing down from his no exception to rape or health of the mother stance. I wrote about that particular bullshit addendum here a while ago, so I wasn't surprised by his stance, but I am surprised he has the fortitude to stand by it. And to then drag Rubio over to it as well. The Planned Parenthood debate rages on...

Jeb Bush seemed a little out of sorts to me. Is it because we all (well most of us) think his brother wasn't the brightest bulb in the box that we now look at Jeb through that lense or is he really not that bright? Like he's barely keeping up with the rest of the class?

The only candidate asked about race was Ben Carson. So that's not racist at all... I mean everyone needs their one black friend to tell them how all black people feel about things, right? Just had to shake my head. The man is a neurosurgeon and seems like a nice guy but he is not ready to be president. Just not. If he wants to be in politics he should maybe start smaller and get at least a little bit ready?

Rand Paul yells a lot. Like A LOT. And he yelled at as many people as he could. He and Chris Christie basically re-enacted the debate Guillani and Ron Paul had last election cycle about surveillance so that's obviously not going anywhere either. He also took a shot at the "hug" from Obama that Christie got during the hurricane Sandy time. That shit makes me crazy. You want to talk about what is dividing the country? It's shit like that. The man was governing a state that just got hit by a massive natural disaster, the President of the United States is there and offering support and the federal dollars that his state needs and you all are upset because there was a moment of friendliness in the face of disaster? What the actual fuck is wrong with you people? Seriously...

Kasich came out well I thought. Seemed thoughtful and like someone who might possibly find some middle ground in issues. He obviously had home-stage advantage too, but the fact that the crowd liked him (unlike Jindal your state hates you from the early debate) so it was interesting.

The candidates were asked about the standards, immigration (BOO! WE HATE IT! BUILD A WALL! Let's watch Bush get uncomfortable because he has a more nuanced take on this); ISIL, (BOMB THEM! Mock the well established fact that people without options are easier to radicalize than people with jobs and opportunities); Planned Parenthood, (Defund them! Investigate them! Make them an excellent fundraising point!); Obamacare, (Repeal and replace the same fucking thing we've been saying for years and haven't done or come close to doing or come anywhere near finding what we would replace it with!); God, (He loves Republicans and not Democrats and will tell us exactly what to do everyday we are president and God Bless America, just look at how we are being persecuted for our beliefs as we stand on this stage invoking God and his blessing on our country and candidacy and nobody finds this odd, see the persecution??).

The things I found most interesting and it was clear in both debates, Fox seems to know exactly who they want the front runners to be and questions (tone and content) seemed to show that. They might have all faced somewhat challenging questions for them on perceived weaknesses but the difference in level was interesting. Watching the first debate they really seemed to want Fiorina and Perry to come out well, and they mostly did. The second it seemed like they really wanted Bush to make a strong showing but he didn't help them out at all. They wanted Trump to flame out not thinking that it's his flame outs that people seem to love. And why is it okay for him to slam Rosie O'Donnell but not Megyn Kelly? You have to be mad when he's an ass to the less attractive lesbian if you want me to take you seriously about him being mad at the smoking hot news-personality. I think Rubio came across well and Kasich. I still think they (and the dems) should be more worried about Rubio than they are. He's young. He's smart. He's got a good back story. He's got Florida. I think he's a challenger.

Oh Huckabee and Cruz were there too...yeah.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

All at once...

This morning as I was on the treadmill at the gym I noticed my heart beating really strong. Just thumping along as I did my workout. But then as soon as I noticed that it was beating harder my lungs were all like, "Hey! Hellllooo! We are really working here too! Did you not notice how hard you were breathing?" So then I started to pay attention to that and not my heart beat. Then my legs were in on the action, "Hey! Dipshit, if it weren't for us you wouldn't be moving at all. Stop paying attention to the glory hogs up there and look at the work horses actually doing the job." So then I was like right leg...left leg...forward...back....lift lower and stopped paying attention the my breathing. And then my stomach was like, "HEY! Talk about glory hogs! If it weren't for us here in the ab muscle department you wouldn't be able to stay upright!" and my back was having none of that, "Oh no you don't! We work just as hard to keep her upright! You can't take all the notice!" So then I was like...Oh right..upright...abs engaged, back strong...and then my boobs were like, "Look at us! We..." and the rest of my body all screamed, "SHUT UP! You always do this, come in and demand the attention! There are so many more important things!" And then I fell off the treadmill and lay dying on the floor because I was no longer pumping any blood, or breathing any air, or able to stand upright let alone walk because how could I if I was only paying attention to one thing?

The part of your brain that you don't even pay attention to is capable of paying attention to multiple things at once. Keeping your body moving. Functioning. Changing through the day. Workouts to meals to typing on the computer and for a lucky few to sleep. It's amazing. All day long. Just whizzing along paying attention to everything. Sometimes one thing more than another. Twist your knee? Guarantee right then you are going to pay more attention to it than you are your breathing but the amazing thing is you won't stop breathing because it will still be there in the background, just as important as it ever was, just not what you are focusing on right that second.

Aren't you glad your brain doesn't function like social media?

I am so over being told what I should and should not care about. What is important and what isn't. It is the exact same thing as the PC police. The outrage stirrers. The insulted masses. Just because at this moment I care about one thing does not make other things not important. Just because my issue is what I am talking about doesn't mean you don't get to care about your own issues. Just because I care deeply about something doesn't mean you have to.

When I care about trophy hunting it has zero things to do with how much I care about veterans.

When I care about Sandra Bland it has zero things to do with how much I care about the war against ISIS.

And the even trickier ones for people to imagine. When I care about a police officer who was shot down in the line of duty that has nothing to do with the fact that I also care about a person who was wrongly shot down by a bad cop. Tough one right? You can in fact care about the police as a whole. Think as a whole that they are good people doing a really hard job AND AT THE EXACT SAME TIME want bad cops to be prosecuted and taken off the streets. I would argue that because I have respect for most officers I want the bad ones taken out of the service even more.

Don't tell me what I should care about or not care about. Don't tell me that because I think a trans* person is brave for standing up and telling their story I somehow don't think a firefighter rushing in to a burning building is also brave.

And being outraged over what someone else is outraged about doesn't make you better than them. It makes you worse. Because at least they are outraged over an actual issue that is important to them, you? You are mad that they dare have feelings.

So unless you cannot breathe and pump blood at the same time don't think I can't care about more than one issue at a time.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Weird where they come from...

I got an idea for a story this morning while I was putting on my sport's bra. It's new and very tight, as sport's bras are wont to be so I was doing the hook it in front spin move to put it on and all of a sudden I had a story idea for a girl in middle school and the hazards of fitting in and I had two vignettes already worked out and now I'm trying to decide how long this story is. Is it just a quick write and post or is it part of something that could be longer? Hey, maybe it's a YA novel and I could write it and and get published and actually have a book...I could totally Judy Blume this bitch!

Oh wait...yeah, because I think things like "Judy Blume this bitch" I'm probably not really destined for the YA market...

So then while that idea is brewing in my head I was reading stuff online and just so over the "my outrage is more important than yours" BS and I thought about writing a blog about that then thought..."Wait, I'm pretty sure I've written this blog before" so I went searching. Didn't find it, but I got distracted when the search turned up an odd line that I couldn't remember writing. So I clicked that blog and read it instead and yep, short story I wrote a couple of years ago that was a quick write and post and I had totally forgotten it. Not going to lie, I read it and thought, "I really like this." Which always makes me laugh. Well of course I like it, I wrote it!

But re-reading that story I thought about a book I recently read that was a re-imagining of the Red Riding Hood story and it was always on the cusp of being really good and how much I like that sort of thing when it's done well and maybe I should write more of those. But is the market already overly saturated with things like that? And would I be able to do them well or would someone some where be reading it and thinking, "Well there was a good idea in here that she danced all around but..."

So while I was pondering that line of stories I had a cross communication with someone that pissed me right the fuck off and I had to walk the line between screaming meemies and being the adult and ending up squarely in between. Which is wholly unsatisfying really but sometimes that's the best you can hope for. When a big knock down drag out isn't going to do any good at all and really what you are fighting about is ridiculous and not worth the time or effort, yet at the same time you can't just walk away and let it go because fuck that shit... So you end up with a watered down version of what you wanted to say and your tongue bleeding from being bitten so hard and yet you are still pissed. Ugh.

And so then I went back to trying to decide about the blog for today and realized...

I have to get a good night's sleep tonight. I just fucking have to....