Monday, December 19, 2016

Year End Review...

So it's time to check in on how I did with goals for the year. I say that knowing full well that I've missed all of them I set. I know what I was targeting and well, I didn't do any of them. It's the first year I've just flat out failed at reaching the majority of my goals.

Or at least that's what I was thinking when I went back and pulled up the blog laying them out. Wait, what is this? Wow... well look at that.

Okay sure, weight/fitness the plan was to keep hitting the gym hard and lose that nagging 10 pounds. Instead I ended up with a bum arm and a summer hiatus. But I got back at the gym and now some home workouts while they are doing a renovation of my gym, but anyway, I kept at the gym. And those 10 pounds? Well I decided that they were mine forever so I gained another 10 to keep them company. *sigh* That is truly my big UGH moment. The reason it's the biggest ugh part is that I still have zero motivation to work at the food portion hard enough to lose the weight. I LOVE to eat. I really do. I LOVE breads. I LOVE cakes. I LOVE pastas. I LOVE BBQ. I LOVE New Mexican food. I LOVE all of the food. Sweets, savories, creamies, crunchies. All of the things. I have a happy dance for truly yummy stuff for fucks sake! But I know that I am too heavy right now. My knees are going to start complaining soon. I am having a hard time finding clothes that fit nicely. All of it. But still UGH. So yeah, I missed on that goal. Or half of it.

And yeah, there was the writing. I was going to submit 6 pieces this year. I submitted...well nothing. I barely wrote to tell the truth. It was the least productive year I've had in ages. And I tried so many things to get unstuck. But I was not in a good place for a long part of the year. Teetering just this side of the abyss. I was honest about it. I told everyone how it was dark and scary. I kept myself on the solid side of that line. But it wasn't a creative place to be for the most part. I really do feel like I've started to turn around. Part of it was forced (my birthday commitment to an awesome 48) part of it being my baseline personality is happy and it fights to get back there. But the writing just did not happen. The win I count for this though is I walked away from the computer on the days where it seemed as though I was just a talentless hack who should delete everything they've ever written. Since it's all still here I won that battle. And you get to read oldie but goodies when I repost them with falsely bright headlines like, LOOK! SEE?? I KNOW HOW TO STRING THE WORDS TOGETHER! And I did write a few things for the blog even if I didn't submit anything. So anyway, I missed that goal. we go. Picture of the Day was a goal! And I stuck with that! Even on days where the picture was of my TV because I didn't have anything to add to the conversation. And even though I thought about dropping it part way through the year because what was the point, really? I mean what is the goddamn point?? But I stuck it out. I even added the #selfiesaturday for the aforementioned 48 is going to AWESOME pact. So hey, there we go! This is a full on check mark, goal met!

AND reading! I was feeling a little nihilistic about this one earlier. Since I wasn't going to reach any of my other goals then fuck this one. I am two short for the year and I was just going to stop. Well stop one short, the other is a library book so I sort of have to finish it, but anyway, even though I am still well withing reach of it, I was going to not make it just because...Fuck those goals, am I right? BUT now that I see I am going to reach one, I am giving myself half credit for one and there is only one full one that I whiffed on? Well hell yeah, I can make this goal!

Now that brings us to the last goal. It was a mindset goal. I was already staring in to the abyss by this point last year and I was really trying hard to not be. I gave myself some guidelines, and I was warning myself about how ugly the coming political season was apt to be. It worked I guess. Though I had no clue that the ugly I thought it would be was going to be no match for the ugly it was. And that it was going to take most of the year to walk away from the edge and turn my back on it. Mostly. So the fact that I spent most of the year going back and forth between okay and despondent I am giving myself credit for a goal met. It wasn't a good year for me in my head. But the people I depend on were here and solid and we had really good times for large chunks of the time. So I am counting it as a win.

I know I sound melodramatic lately and you all know I HATE when people are melodramatic so know that's stopping soon as well. I just want to keep record for myself that yes, it was a bad year. Yes, I spent a lot of it wondering what the actual fuck is wrong with people. Yes, I had days where I wasn't sure what the point was in dealing with anyone other than the five people I could name RIGHT then that weren't making me crazy. And yes, I'm not completely sure next year will be better, the ugly politics ended up with a result that bothers me deeply. We are a little up in the air about something we've not had to worry about in ages. I am taking on remodeling the house and am pretty panicked over the money and worry that it's going to suck when it's done. So yeah, I want record of the things that aren't great all of the time as well. And 2016 wasn't great.

BUT even through all of that, even though it sucked in a few ways, I still hit 3.5 out of 5 goals, so suck it 2016 I WIN!

Now to decide what to do about 2017 because seriously, y'all, Donald Trump is going to be president and I still keep thinking that's a joke without a punchline...

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Good Old Days...

Krampus was bored. He leaned back on his throne and cleaned under his claws. Looking around his chambers he noticed the cobwebs in the corners and the dust on the chains. He let out a loud sigh.

"Archibald! Archibald, come in here!"

An old man slowly walked in to the chamber.

"Yes, sir?"

Krampus waved a taloned hand around in the air, "This place is filthy. Did you notice how filthy it is in here?"

"We are doing our best, sir, but we haven't had a lot of help in recent, well, decades."

Krampus sighed again, "Don't you think I KNOW that?" He rolled his fearsome eyes. "We need to make Christmas Great Again!"

Archibald shook his head, "You've been watching American television."

"What else am I supposed to do? This should be my busiest time of year. I ache to get out there and do my job. But here I sit. Bored. A FEAR DEMON SHOULD NEVER BE BORED!"

Archibald reached out a hand and patted Krampus' scaly knee, "I know. It's not the way things should be done. Have you talked to Nick? He might have some ideas on how you can spend your time."

"Nick? NICK? That sellout. He let them turn him into a joke. An elf for goodness sake. They call him a jolly old elf. He's as much of an elf as I am."

"But at least he's not bored."

"Oh I bet he is. I bet the whole factory is bored. Nobody wants simple toys anymore. They haven't made a handcrafted toy in his shop in almost a century. He doesn't even maintain the lists anymore. At least he used to do that. Though I haven't been able to do my job with them for way too long."

"He still gets around. He gets out and about. I think that is what keeps him from being bored."

Krampus rolled his eyes again. "I'm telling you he is bored. That's why he goes out and does those mall gigs in those ridiculous outfits. At least that way he can pretend he's doing his old job. But it's not like anyone is hiring for me. The one time I tried to do that parade in Germany they turned me away for being too scary looking. 'Krampus is in good fun,we don't want to actually terrorize the children.' NO we do want to terrorize them! That's what I'm all about! When one or two children a year disappeared in to my bag everyone was much better behaved." Krampus looked at the dust again, "And my house was much cleaner."

Krampus got up and started pacing. Archibald knew what was coming next. The coal lecture.

"It all started with the coal!"

Archibald knew his part, "The coal, sir?"

"Yes! The coal! The early warning sign for children to straighten up and fly right. You get a lump of coal in your stocking instead of a toy and your parents knew that you better have a better year next year or I was coming to visit. But no, these modern parents wouldn't hear of that. They saw a piece of coal in a stocking and tossed it out! Not their sweet little Johnny or June. No way. And now it's even worse. You give a kid a piece of coal and they will be on the local news talking about how Santa bullied their little brat. YOUR CHILD EARNED THAT COAL."

Archibald nodded.

"And then they decided that a simple wooden toy, painstakingly hand crafted I might add, wasn't good enough so they started buying expensive things and slapping Nick's name on them. Okay, I'll admit the first time it happened I laughed. The look on his face was priceless. But then when they ignored the coal warning..." Krampus shook his head slowly.

"Yes, sir, it's a real shame."

Krampus walked over to the hooks holding his chains and his bag. "I haven't been able to collect a deserving child in so long I am not even sure I remember how."

"Oh, sir, I am sure it would come right back to you. Like riding a bicycle."

Krampus held his clawed hands out toward Archibald, "Not a skill I ever picked up."

"Understood, sir."

Krampus walked back over and flopped down on to his throne, "I guess we need to call the Merry Maids again."

"Yes, sir, we should. And, sir?"

"Yes, yes, I know, no scaring the help or they charge double. Soft. Everyone has gotten so soft."

"Yes, sir, they have. Shall I bring you some cocoa?"

"With the tiny marshmallows?"

"Of course, sir. And The Nightmare Before Christmas is on tonight. I know how much you love that movie."

"Thank you, Archibald."

"Of course, sir."

Krampus leaned back and resumed cleaning his claws. He was just so bored.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Visits...

She looked out the window at the worsening weather. She really needed to leave soon. With the snow she might have already waited too long. But at least she would be able to blame the storm for being late. She would give him another 10 minutes. It's not like it would be the first time he didn't show up without calling. She couldn't even be mad considering she had done it to him a few times as well. It was the nature of their relationship, sometimes things came up. 

She shivered. The wind was strong enough that she was getting a breeze from standing too near the window. She had tried to sit patiently and wait but waiting was never her strong suit. And it was worse waiting for him. Taking time to question why she was here was never a good idea. Thinking about what she was doing, what she was risking.

Guilt. There was always guilt. 

She had had lunch with a friend and they had talked about guilt. Her friend didn't believe in it. Or at least didn't believe in feeling it for long. "Guilt is an actionable emotion. If you are feeling it, you stop what you are doing that is causing it." But was it that simple? She didn't think so. After all why should she feel guilty? Didn't she deserve this? Didn't she work hard? Didn't she keep everything going and never ask for anything? If what she was doing didn't really hurt anyone then there was no reason to feel guilty.  Especially at Christmastime. There was so much expected of her. Buy all the presents, decorate the house, do the cards, plan the meals, arrange all of the schedules for the school programs, bake the cookies, and always keep the Christmas spirit high!

She deserved this.

If nobody knew then nobody could get hurt.

That's what she told herself.

And it worked.

Until she was waiting and it was quiet.

Like now.

When she knew she should be at home, or at least on her way to the restaurant for one more Christmas party. There was always something else she should be doing instead of this.


She paced. Maybe it was a sign. Maybe she should just stop. It was selfish. It was wrong. Everyone would say so. If there was anyone she could tell, that is, they would say so if they knew. And they would be shocked. She wasn't the sort of person who did things like this after all. She was the picture of normal. Of boring. Middle class, suburban, working mother. Her picture could have been in the dictionary next to "normal." But she had her secret. She smiled. Her one thing that was just hers. The thing that would have shocked everyone. And was that what made it good? The secrecy?  

She looked at her watch again. She was going to have to give up. He wasn't coming. She looked in the mirror suddenly feeling ridiculous in her outfit. She had worn red lingerie and tied a big ribbon around her body. Like a Christmas gift. What had seemed sexy and fun earlier now seemed desperate and sad. She untied the ribbon and took off the red laced bra and panties putting back on her normal underwear. Her practical cotton. She grabbed her jeans from the chair and slipped them back over her hips. Catching a glimpse of her soft belly in the mirror. Why did she think she was sexy before? The body that had carried 3 kids? Sexy was a long time ago. She pulled her sweater over her head and dropped the lingerie and bow in to the trash can. One and done. And not really even one. But she couldn't really bring them home with her. Sexy Christmas packages didn't really play in the 'burbs.

She braced herself for the cold blast and opened the door to the hotel room. There was a large bag blocking the door with a note attached. 

Good Little Boys and Girls get presents from Santa.
Bad Little Boys and Girls get a visit from me.

Merry Christmas,

She could hear the ringing of his chains fading in the distance, she had just missed him dropping off her "gift."

As the blood soaked through the bottom of the bag she knew now why her lover was late, and knew which list Krampus had put them both on.

She was still screaming when the police arrived. 

Friday, December 2, 2016


When you melt down how do you do it?

Oh come on, everyone melts down sometimes. How do you do it?

I am a fairly quiet freak out person. I get smaller and smaller and more contained in myself. Until I reach maximum minimum and then I blow up surprising everyone around me with the level and volume of my freak out. The getting smaller is the early warning but no one really pays attention to it because you don't notice someone getting smaller. Lack of something (unless it's food, sex or air) doesn't really register as much as excess of something.

I have been watching various freak outs over social media recently. There have been the political freak outs. Both sides. The ones freaking out in October because they were sure they were winning to the freak out in November when they lost. The ones freaking out in October because they were sure they were losing to the freak out in November when they won. The people feeling like they've got the freedom to REALLY let loose with their opinions now and people just need to suck it up because #trumpsamerica and those that are absolutely sure that they need to stand even more firm in their liberal ideals because #trumpsamerica.

I've watched people dealing with the news of Fidel Castro's death. I'm an American and a child of the 80s where the Cold War was an actual thing. He was always portrayed as a bad guy in my world. A REALLY bad guy. Learning later about Batista and how he was a REALLY bad guy as well, and how Castro could have been a hero (so close!) didn't really change that. Batista was a US backed dictator who raided his country's wealth for his (and his cronies) own pocketbook. Castro was a Russian backed dictator that did pretty much the same thing. Just with a different philosophy behind it. So as the reports have come out and I've watched people freak out that anyone would have anything good to say about Castro as well as people freaking out that people have no idea who Castro was except for the US tilted coverage I've found it interesting. Like I said I have my USA glasses on where he is concerned. In my world he was a bad guy. But that doesn't change the fact that I can see that there are Cuban people grieving his death so in their world he was something else. The world is a complicated place. Same way I feel about lifting the Cuban embargo. The embargo didn't do anything to help the problems, or sway the Castros. But it did hurt the Cuban people so something needed to change. And people freaked out about that as well.

We have the typical Christmastime freak outs. Not enough time. Not enough money. People not giving you the wish you want in exactly the way you want it, now with the additional flavor of #trumpsamerica WE SAY CHRISTMAS NOW, BITCHES! (Yes, I've seen it. No they don't get the irony in Merry Christmas said in anger.)

We have flag burning freak outs. We have anthem kneeling freak outs. We have peaceful protest freak outs. We have rioting freak outs. We have people freaking out over the thought of all of these things. And we have people freaking out over those people freaking out.

The flavor of most of these freak outs has been nasty. Not all of them. Some of them have been sad freak outs. But the majority have been nasty. Mean spirited. My side is better than yours. You are in a bubble and ignoring me so you are an idiot (while ignoring the fact that they are in a pretty thick bubble of their own.) Watching people freak out over a celebrity having an opinion and daring to share it while a day later they are sharing the opinion of a celebrity who agrees with them.

Have we just reached a point where the baseline is freak out? Where nasty is our go to? Where we are just incapable of dealing with each other in any way outside of total agreement or major freak out?

I cherish my friends that I disagree with who are capable of talking about why they feel the way they do without the freak out. Understanding that a discussion isn't a contest. That the point in having a conversation shouldn't be to make the other person agree with you. That aren't looking for the "gotcha" moment where they can declare you a hypocrite and smugly wander off to freak out at someone else. (You all already know I believe we are all hypocrites in one way or another so this to me is a weak sauce way of arguing a point, I will totally use it if you are bugging the shit out of me, but even then I will know in my mind it's weak sauce)

I'm not really sure where I wanted to go with this blog. I'm not even sure if I have a point. I just felt myself getting smaller over the past few days and knew I needed to get a little bigger or everyone was going to be in trouble. Let's call it a Holiday Gift.


Monday, November 14, 2016

I see you...

Since the results of the election were known the media (social, mainstream, specialty only you believe this boutiques) have all been unified in saying that we failed to See the Trump voter. That we isolated ourselves from their real and true concerns and this is why Clinton lost.

Put aside the fact that in looking at actual voter numbers and turnout Clinton lost because people who voted democrat in the past stayed home. Trump didn't actually get more votes than his republican predecessors, he got fewer total votes than Romney, in fact, and there was no hand wringing over how we needed to See the Romney supporters. Set aside the fact that Clinton lost in key areas because of that lower turnout, but still won the popular vote. The majority of the people voted for Clinton. But we need to See the Trump voters.

Okay. I see you.

In fact I might see you more than you like.

I see you when you like Facebook posts and comment on them. If your friend has their post set to friends of friends or public I see that. It shows up in my feed. So I see you. More than you know.

I see you posting that you prayed for a Trump victory. The same Trump that you called ungodly just a few months earlier. The same one you chastised for not being a "true Christian" when Carson and Cruz were still in the race. Now granted, I left the church years ago (not in small part due to shit like this) but I don't remember the part where God gave a fig about our politics. Weren't you just posting memes about not caring who sat in the White House because God sat on the throne? Oh wait, that was when you thought Trump was going to lose. Yeah, I saw that too.

I see you wringing your hands and being completely upset over protests. I see you remained silent when Joe Walsh (the former congressman, not the Eagle) called for armed insurrection if Trump lost. In fact you didn't really say much when Trump himself said he would only accept the results of the election if he won. But I see you now calling for the babies to quit their whining about the fair results of the election. Only losers who want a trophy for everything contest such things...Though I saw you voted for a man who not only contested the results of the last two elections but the very Americanism of the man who won. I saw that too.

I see that we are not to question if you are a racist because obviously you are not. How could you be? Haven't you been calling out Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for race baiting for years? But I see you are silent on the appointment of a White Supremacist to Chief Strategist for Trump. I see that.

I see you posting how thrilled you are that a woman of "real class" will now be the First Lady. Yet you were, again, silent when people called our current First Lady "Moochelle." Or worse. Our current First Lady who is an accomplished woman in her own right who has made kids and Veterans her causes while in the White House. Who has handled herself so beautifully and so graciously, that the first big speech our next First Lady made was cribbed from one of Michelle's. I see that you equate class with something other than I do and I have to wonder if it's just skin tone. Because otherwise I don't see how you could think one was classier than the other. Now see me for a minute, I don't have a problem with our next First Lady and I do not agree with anyone who tries to slut shame her for posing nude. It's her body and she gets to decide what to do with it. Just don't talk to me about class when what you mean is white.

I see you not understanding why people are worried about the next four years and how they could lose newly gained rights. I see you posting links to articles where Trump says gay marriage is fine, and the settled law of the land because that's what the supreme court decided. But I also see that he is going to appoint people to the supreme court that will work to overturn settled law of the land that has been in place for 40 years, not 2. And I see that our Vice President Elect believes in conversion therapy (shock the gay out of your system) and religious freedom laws (pray in the discrimination) I see you don't have anything to say about that. I also see you slamming people for being worried about the next four years when you are the proud owner of 4 new guns and more ammo than you will use in a lifetime because you were pretty sure Obama was coming for them. I see you.

I see you now liking and sharing posts about Trump when a month ago you were deeply insulted at his casual banter about sexual assault. I see that you now refer to it as salty language or vulgar talk. Pussy. Cunt. Fuckface. Asswipe. Douchcanoe. I can go on, and many of you have seen me do it. That's salty, vulgar talk which I use pretty fucking constantly...I just grab them and start kissing, I grab them by the pussy and you can get away with it too...the word pussy isn't the offensive part in there. Something you knew a month ago but somehow forgot. I guess the republican party just grabbed you by the pussy until you voted for Trump and they got away with it too.

I see you posting that your only reason for voting for Trump was his new found anti-abortion stance. Your. Only. Reason. I see that you trust him to take away this settled law while ignoring other issues of settled law. And that your deep concern over the unborn did not lend itself to deep concern over those already born and living in this world. The refugees seeking safety, for instance. If only they hadn't been born yet, they might have fallen in to your reason for voting. I see that's what only reason means. Do you?

I see you blasting the left wing Hollywood elite. While voting in a reality TV star (and after voting in an actor in the 80s) and sharing Mike Rowe's EPIC TAKE DOWN OF HILLARY SUPPORTERS! I see that your problem isn't with celebrities sharing their political views, it's with celebrities not sharing yours.

I see that you are unhappy with your economic situation and that you voted for him to bring back manufacturing jobs. While he wore clothes made in China, after hiring undocumented workers and using cheaper Chinese steel to build his buildings. I see that republicans are pro business, anti regulations but somehow he is going to regulate and tax businesses back in to manufacturing products here. I see that you believe this but I am having a hard time understanding how both things can be true. Less and more regulation.

I see that you are in favor of a wall. I see that you want to keep our borders secure. That the undocumented immigrants are ruining our country. But the largest increase of undocumented immigrants (or illegal aliens if you are having a hard time following) entering the country right now actually come from Asian countries and just overstay their visas. So why do you think Trump focused on a Wall between the US and Mexico and not on the real issue?

And I see you on my own feed. Liking my posts when I call out the bullshit on the left and ignoring or arguing with me when I call out the bullshit on the right. All the while trying to say you didn't vote for Trump just because of that R. Okay...

So the media wants me to see you. To understand your frustrations. To acknowledge your hurt. Okay. I see you. I've seen you all along. I just don't think you realized how much I've seen. And now you should know that I will keep watching. It's up to you to show me something different.

Friday, November 4, 2016


Had she already missed the turn? She slowed down even more trying to get her bearings. The fog was so thick this morning it made the world unfamiliar. Her normal 15 minute drive had taken 30 so far and she wasn't really sure if she was still on the right road. None of the landmarks she used to guide her way were visible. Was the last street light 38th street or 47th? Was she close to the turn or had she passed it? She peered out at the road again hoping for a glimpse of something familiar.

Oncoming cars appeared out of nowhere. Small pinpricks of haloed light showing for just an instance before the car passed on the other side of the road. She checked the dashboard again to make sure her fog lights were on. She reached over and turned down the radio even more and kept looking ahead. Trying to concentrate on the cotton ball she was driving through. She didn't dare slow down any more than she already had worried that cars behind her wouldn't notice until it was too late.

Was that a neon glow ahead? She strained to see if it was the blue of the new Lebanese restaurant's sign. Yes, it looked like it. This was right. She was still a few blocks from her turn. She hadn't missed it. She kept going.

The only way out of the fog was through it.

She smiled to herself. Yes. The only way out is through.

Her thumb automatically caressed the empty spot on her left finger. The past year had been all about making it through. And she had. You reach a point where you are as miserable as you can get. Where you have cried as much as you can. Where the hurt is all there is. And then you have two choices. You stop there. Frozen forever. Miserable. Or you keep going. Slowly, sure. Making sure you look for signs that you are on the right road. But you keep going. Protecting yourself so you don't get hit out of the blue. But you keep going. And eventually you make it out.

She had kept going.

She waited at the muted stoplight to turn. Her destination now feet away. The glow of the lights in the parking lot a beacon to guide her in.

The only way out is through.



But she had made it safely through the fog.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


He sat across the desk from her watching as she reviewed his paperwork. He was trying very hard to concentrate but she was incredibly attractive and he was having a difficult time focusing.

"I see you have all of your requests listed. The amount of money you feel it will take to further your career. The accolades you wish to receive during your lifetime. And what do you have to offer us?"

"Well, my soul, of course." Kyle stammered out.

"Of course." She said it with such barely disguised contempt it threw him for a loop.

"Yes. My soul." He said it more confidently this time.

She leaned back in her chair, pushing the paperwork forward on her desk. Tilting her head to the side and raising one perfectly arched eyebrow she said, "Why is it that you people seem to think your soul is worth anything? What do you think the barter rate is for souls? Do you think I can pay the property taxes on this building with souls? Do you think these shoes," and with that she stretched out a perfectly shaped leg and pointed to a pair of Jimmy Choos were paid for with souls?"

"Well, that's standard, isn't it? I mean, you give me..."

"We give you wealth and fame and fortune beyond your wildest imagination and you give us your soul. Yes, I've heard it all before."

"Then we have a deal right?"

She laughed. A pure crystalline laugh that sent chills up spine and gave him goosebumps. It was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard.

"No, we don't have a deal. I want to let you in a few secrets. First off, as I said, your soul doesn't keep the lights on, sweetheart. We have bills to pay. Obligations to keep. And nobody wants a soul instead of cash. Or gold. Or pelts. What you all want always changes. And second, the moment you walked in that door willing to barter your soul for goods it was already ours." She spread her hands out palms up and shrugged her perfect shoulders.


"Such a basic concept that seems to get lost on your kind all of the time. If you are willing to trade your soul for goods then it's not a healthy soul and it's already ours. That's really the way the soul exchange works."

"But I didn't get anything for it."

"It's not supposed to be a commodity, idiot! It's your soul! You aren't supposed to get something for it, you are supposed to use it to guide your actions! It wasn't defective when it was installed but you broke it so now why in the world would we buy it?"

"But that's not the way the stories go. People sell their soul to the devil, the devil makes their wishes come true."

"And who wrote the stories?"

"Lots of people have written stories like that."

"Like, oh, I don't know, people who thought they could make this sort of deal? People who might have made other deals and then wrote stories like that to make themselves feel better?"

"What do you mean, other deals?"

"Other deals. I'm not rejecting your application, I'm just saying we need to negotiate terms. I see that you want to be a rock star. Okay. You want to make millions and win Grammys. Okay. You want groupies and adoration from the masses. Okay. We can do all of that. We have the connections to make that happen. Up to and including fixing," she waved her hand in his direction, "this look you have going."

"I like my look."

"And how many record deals do you have?"

He hung his head.

"We can make all of that happen for you. But we aren't taking something we already own as payment. We'll take 45% of all of your earnings. We'll take the edges of your sanity. We'll take a few of your fans at some point in a very spectacular way, maybe an accident at a concert or a mass suicide while listening to your records. We'll take a few members of your future entourage or possibly family depending on who gets the case number and what will amuse them that day. Eventually we will take back your looks and your talent, but we won't let you know they are gone so you will keep parading around acting like you still have them."

"Forty-five percent of my earnings! But if you take 45% of my earnings and the IRS takes 40% and my agent takes 20% I won't have anything left!"

She laughed again. "Of all of the things I listed that is what bothered you, the money, and yet you still thought your soul had some sort of value to us."

"But how will I pay you that much and still meet other obligations? Or wait...are you the IRS? They are evil."

She turned and glared at him, "You think the IRS is evil?  Because they collect the taxes? What about the woman you walked past this morning on your way in to the building. The one begging for a few dollars by our front door. She's collecting, do you think she is evil?"

"She is probably on drugs."

"Or starving. Or cold. Or just broke. Did you even look at her or did you just walk on by, intent on your transaction. Selling your "walk by a homeless person without a second thought" soul."

He at least still had enough decency to look ashamed at that.

"The terms are all lined out," she picked up the phone on her desk, "Rodrigo? Will you bring in the new contract please? Thank you."

"Can I have a lawyer look them over?"

She laughed again, "Sure you can. And then when he gets you committed you can consider all of the mistakes you made today."

"Oh, I guess that's true."

"It is. We aren't liars here. No matter what you would think. We find honesty to much more painful."

At that an incredibly attractive man in an impeccably tailored suit walked in to the office. "The new contract."

"Thank you, Rodrigo. Please call Stephan and Ginger and see if they have time for," again she did the dismissive wave in his direction,"well, everything."

"Of course, ma'am."

After Rodrigo had left the office Kyle shook his head, "Will I look like him when you are done with the makeover?"

"Oh no. You don't have the bone structure. We can only improve on what is there, not redesign the frame! Besides, you don't have to be as good looking as he is, you will be out there, not here."

"Is everyone who works here that perfect?"

"Of course. We are in the temptation business. We wouldn't be very tempting if we looked like...well...that." Again she waved toward him.

"Do you really look like this, or is it just illusion?"

She leaned forward, "Oh no, it's all smoke and mirrors, our true shapes would turn your blood to ice and melt your brain. We are too fearful and terrible for the mortal mind to comprehend."

His eyes got impossibly wide and he leaned as far away from her desk as he could.

She laughed again, "I'm just kidding. Of course this is what we really look like. Have you never paid attention to the stories the other side tells? 'You are made in HIS image.'  We are the original. Now you know how far you've fallen."

Kyle shook his head and then started looking through the contract, "What is this about the forgetting?"

"Oh the forgetting, that's the most important part. You won't remember this deal most of the time. When you are asleep you will have nightmares. When you are very high, or very drunk you will get flashes. But for the most part you will believe you did this all yourself. And as your choices get worse and worse you will feel so much guilt. When you take the drugs. When you ruin the roadie's life by introducing him to heroin. When you lose a fortune in a pyramid scheme, you will think it's all your fault. All on you."

"But if I forget how will you collect the 45%? Isn't that a fault in your payment plan?"

"Did you not listen to me talk about the drugs you are going to do? The heroin? The pyramid scheme? We will get our cut. We don't have you drop off briefcases full of hundreds. Don't be ridiculous. We exchange goods. We just work at a high profit margin. Oh, and one more thing, I wouldn't skip out on the IRS to try and make the payments. So many people try to do that. If you stop paying us, we just terminate the contract. If you stop paying them, well, they take their payment in other ways and as you will see from that clause," she pointed at his contract, "If you go to debtors prison or are thrown in jail for any other reasons your benefits stop accruing until your release."

"Wait, back up, you just terminate the contract if I stop paying? So this isn't binding?"

She laughed again, "Oh, Kyle, you really are a dolt! How do you think we terminate the contract? This isn't a nonbinding agreement. No payment, no contract. No. Contract."

The realization of what she was saying settled in, "Oh."

"Well? Do we have a deal?"

He thought about it for a moment. Looking over the pages of the contract. What all would be taken from him in payment. Then he signed the last page. "Yes. You win."

She smiled, "We always do."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ride or die...

So I know I am really late to the party but I've been listening to the Serial podcast at the gym this week. (I haven't finished it yet so no spoilers!) It's really fascinating and at times I've had to step back from the me I am now and put myself back in to high school me to really understand things.

When you listen to this story as an adult (for those that haven't heard it's about a murder and the main witness is someone who was part of the cover-up) you wonder why in the world were no adults talked to. If you knew a friend had killed someone why in the world would you help THEM instead of calling the police right away?

And then I have to think back to being a teenager.

Is there any other time in your life that you are more ride or die with your friends than those years? Now maybe covering up a murder is a bit extreme, but I know that in my high school years we did things that would have sent the adults in our lives spinning. We did some really stupid things and some flat out dangerous ones. But at no time was an adult called in. And if someone did rat you out? They were cut out. Dead to you. Not literally dead, like in Serial, but socially dead.

Ride or die.

Because of Facebook I am back in contact with a lot of those friends from that time and there is still a bond there. Even though decades have passed since we hung out; since we were part of each other's daily lives; since we were each other's whole worlds. There is still a bond. Still a feeling of them being part of me. And they are. They helped shaped me during those really formative years. So they are a part of who I became. Along with everyone else I've come in contact with over the years, to a certain extent, but there is something about those teenage friends. Like the songs I grew up with. It's part of the fabric of my being.

Which of course leads me to want to write a story. What do you do with the people who know where the bodies are buried?

It's brewing...brewing...brewing...

I just don't want to scare my high school friends too much.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Nathan put the letter and the package on the work bench next to Elizabeth. It had been a long time since she had sat there and watched him work but it was so familiar it felt like no time had passed at all.

"Why didn't we get married?" she teased him.

"I don't recall ever asking you."

Elizabeth looked at him with those impossibly green eyes. "That's right, you didn't. But you did love me. I am not crazy right?"

"No. You aren't. I did love you. Very much."

"Then why didn't you ask?"

Nathan put down his chisel and blew the stone dust away from the marker, "That's not a question a man wants to ask if he's sure the answer will be no."

She gave him her best flirtatious smile, "What makes you think I would have said no?"

He looked at her and she had to catch her breath. She had forgotten the way he could see her. Really see her. He always knew her truth. The coy smile faded away, "I would have said no. But I did love you. That's the truth."

"I know you loved me. But I was going to stay here and take over Dad's shop and Mom's interests. I knew that wouldn't be enough for you. You wanted to go places and do things. You always said so. Marrying me would not have made you happy. And I only wanted you to be happy."

She swung her feet. "Well that didn't quite work out as planned." She took a deep breath, "Did she know about me?"

Nathan shook his head, "No. Not really."

"Why not?" Elizabeth pouted, "I would think I would have been important enough to mention."

"Delphine was my world. For the twenty years we were married she was my all. I wouldn't have wanted her to feel like she hadn't been my first choice for even a second. She knew I had dated other people, of course, and even knew that one of them was you. She teased me about my celebrity girlfriend a few times. But really know about you? To think I would have married you if you had been willing? No. I didn't tell her. We all just want to be someone's first choice."

Elizabeth laughed a bitter laugh, "I understand that. So much." She waved her hand toward the letter and package, "Were you surprised to hear from me?"

Nathan worked on the stone marker for a little while before answering. "I was at first but then when I saw the stories it made sense to me that you would reach out. Though I am surprised you remembered after all of these years."

Elizabeth laughed, "That's not really something you forget now is it?"

Nathan nodded, "True."

She traced her finger along a design carved in the top of the work bench, "Your mother was amazing."

Nathan gave a small smile, "Yes she was. Thank you."

"Did you know I came to see her when she was in the hospital? Did she tell you?"

"She didn't. But the nurses did. They were very excited that you were a family friend." Nathan smiled again; the sad one that always made Elizabeth's heart clench, "Thank you for that. I know it meant a lot to her that you came. She loved you too. Both of them did."

Elizabeth looked up at the ceiling trying to keep the tear from leaving her eye, "I was so sorry that I couldn't make it for your dad's funeral. We were in London and I didn't hear about it until too late. I would have liked to have said good bye."

"You can go visit him while you are here if you'd like. He and mom are together. I made one stone for them. I can show you on the map where it is."

"Thanks, I'd like that. Should I go before you finish or..."

"Yeah. It will be tomorrow before it's done so you will have time to wrap things up here before you leave."

"Okay, thanks. I thought I might go by my folk's old place. And maybe the school. Just see how the town has changed."

"It really hasn't much. A coat of paint here and there, but really small towns are small towns right? We just sort of plug along."

"You haven't changed at all."

Nathan ran a hand through his hair, "A little grayer, a lot more wrinkled, I've changed."

"Maybe. But not in any important way. And the gray suits you. You always had gray in your hair from the marble and stone dust anyway."

He laughed, "Delphine used to say that. 'Are you going gray or just working too much?'"

"Would I have liked her?"

"No. You wouldn't. You never liked anyone who had something you felt was yours."

Elizabeth laughed, "I really was horrible wasn't I?"

Nathan shook his head, "I wouldn't say horrible, but I would say you were possessive. Do you remember how much you hated Claudia?"

Elizabeth covered her face with her hands, "I do. I was awful to her! What a brat I was."

"Yes, you were. And her only sin was dating Peter after you did. Years after you did."

"It wasn't years, it was only 18 months..." Elizabeth caught Nathan's eye, "I know that's not any better..."

Nathan laughed, "It's not. But you are who you are. So no. You would not have liked Delphine. But if it weren't for me you would have. Everyone liked her. She was a good person."

"Do you still miss her?"


"Were you tempted to call me after she died?"

Nathan looked at her, "I would be lying if I said no. I looked you up online a few times. Saw what movie you were making. Saw the two of you traveling the world. I knew that you hadn't changed. I hadn't changed. You were happy. That was enough."

"If only I had known the truth." She put her hand on the letter, "Do you think I'm crazy?"

"I think you are Elizabeth. Passionate. Dedicated. Determined. Elizabeth."

She gave him a half smile, "You didn't really answer the question."

Nathan laughed, "Maybe a little crazy. But it's your choice. You made it. Though you can still back out if you want. You know that."

"Yes, I remember. I remember when your mother showed us. Or I guess me. You already knew right?"

"I did. I always knew. You can't really be like my parents and keep your kid in the dark. Making gravestones is an odd job. Tying souls is even odder."

"Tying souls. I thought it was so romantic sounding."

"It can be. When you go visit them you will see the best version of tying. They chose to be tied to the stone. Dad waited for her there. For me to add her words. Beloved Husband. Beloved Wife. Eternity is not enough."

"And they will stay there until the stone wears away?"

"Yeah. Then they will move on."

Elizabeth smiled again, "What about you? Did you and Delphine choose that as well?"

Nathan shook his head, "No, Delphine and I never had children. The line ends with me. There would have been no one to do the binding. So she passed on to...well, where ever you go when you choose to leave."

Elizabeth looked at the package, "Did you open it yet? Does it have what you need?"

"It does. I checked it out. I just wanted to talk to you first. To make sure you were positive."

"I am. I thought it might fade away. But it hasn't. There were vows made. I took them seriously."

Nathan nodded, "I know you did."

She tried looking at the ceiling again but couldn't hold back the tears this time, "He promised me! He promised to love only me. Forsaking all others. He promised! There were vows made!"

Nathan reached out to wipe the tears away but stopped when she waved him off, "I'm fine. Really. I will be fine. Now."

Nathan went back to his carving giving her the privacy to compose herself.

"Did you see the story?"

"I did."

"Before you got the letter or after? I was hoping you would get the letter first so you would be ready."

"I did get the letter first. I tried calling you. Before. But I think I was too late."

"Yeah, I know. I heard the ring. I knew it was you. But it was too late."

Nathan nodded. "The stone's finished. I need to wait for daybreak for the tying. It's more complicated since you will be tied to a living person and only using the words as a bond. I'll need the sunrise to help."

Elizabeth nodded, "'There is power in the spaces before and after.' I remember your mother telling us that. Use those spaces. I always tried to begin filming new movies at sunrise or sunset. Did you know? I can tell you the ones that flopped were the ones I started in the middle of the day." Elizabeth ran her hands down her legs, "That's when I found them together. The middle of the day. There should have been no power there. But it was enough to destroy me."

Nathan raised an eyebrow at her.

"I'm not being overly dramatic. Stop looking at me like that!" Then she laughed, "God I missed you. Thank you for this. I know you probably don't agree."

"It's not my choice. It's yours. I do feel badly for him." Elizabeth glared, Nathan went on, "Not that he doesn't deserve your ire, but this is a steep punishment."

"There were vows."

Nathan held up his hands in surrender, "I know. I know."

Elizabeth nodded.

"If you are going to take a tour you better leave now. You will need to be back here by ummm, let's say 4:30 so we can be ready for first light."

And with that she was gone.

Nathan picked up the letter and looked it over again.

Dearest Nathan,

I know you will be surprised to hear from me. I am hopeful this letter reaches you before the news of my suicide. I will explain when I see you but I need you to bind me to that worthless piece of shit husband of mine. Till his death do us part now.

I have signed this with my blood and my will stipulates that you should get a package from my lawyer with a bottle of ash from my cremation. If I remember your mother's instructions correctly that should be enough for me to come to you for the binding. I'm enclosing a lock of his hair and a few drops of his blood (don't ask me how I got it) in this letter as well. That should work for his part.

Talk soon!

All my love,

Nathan put the hair and the cotton ball with the dried blood in his mother's mortar. The poor guy really had no idea what he had unleashed. If he thought the tabloid stories about Elizabeth killing herself over his infidelity were bad just wait until he spent every day with her right by his side reminding him of what he did. She did not like people to take her things. And she especially did not like her things to allow themselves to be taken.

He stepped back and looked at the stone. Only one word. It was the only one he would need.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dead like me?

The past couple of years had not been the best for Julie. They had been, in fact, the worst years of her life. Which was ironic considering it all went downhill when she died.

She remembered the moment perfectly. She had been driving to work going over the 1,001 things on her to do list for the day when the semi-truck headed east bound did not see the red light and ran in to her brand new never even made a payment on it Prius headed southbound. As she saw the truck headed her way and heard the squeal of the tires and the blare of his horn she thought, "I am too busy for this shit today!" and then there was a flash of light and she was standing in front of a dude guarding a gate and checking a book that was balanced on a podium.



"What is your name?"

"Julie Fromentheyer."

He ran his finger down the page and hovered above a space, "Essence please."

"Excuse me?"

"Your essence. I need to collect it before you can move on. Just put it in the box right here."

He pointed to a glowing box at his feet. She looked closer. It looked like it was holding swirling light.

"How do I give you my essence?"

"Just drop it in the box. I've told you."

"But where do I get it from?"

He sighed deeply, "For goodness sake, you are holding it in your hand aren't you? Just put it in the freaking box!"

Julie held her hands up, "I'm not holding anything."

"You're not holding anything? What? Don't tell me you left without your essence? You can't just leave your essence behind!"

"Okay, great, but since I don't know what you are talking about you can't really get mad at me about it!"

He wasn't listening to her though. He had picked up what looked like a walkie talkie and was shouting to someone, "WE HAVE A CODE 48! I NEED SOMEONE DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!"

As soon as he had finished speaking there were three more people with him at the podium. There were two in what looked like contamination jump suits and an older woman carrying a very large pocketbook.

"Confirmed. She left her essence behind." one of the jump suited arrivals announced.

"Were you able to recover it?"

"Negative. The shell was still functioning so we were unable to clear the essence." the second jump suited arrival responded.

"Then she's all yours. Good luck." and with that he closed the book and everyone and everything disappeared except Julie and the older lady.

"What in the world is going on?" Julie asked not sure she would get an answer.

"What is the last thing you remember?" the woman rummaged through her purse and pulled out a small notebook and pen.

"I was on my way to work, and...oh crap. Am I dead?"

"Well..." the woman paused from her note taking. "You are mostly dead."

Julie laughed, "To blave..."

The old woman just looked at her.

"Like Princess Bride? I'm mostly dead." the woman just stared at Julie, "Princess Bride. The movie?"

"Oh a movie. That's right. You watch movies down there for fun."

"Down there?"

"Or up there. Or over there. Directions don't really mean anything. Anyway, back to your memory. You said you were on your way to work, what else do you remember?"

"There was a truck coming at me. He ran his light. I couldn't get out of the way. I thought about how I was angry because he was going to damage my car and I hadn't even made a payment yet, and that I was going to be late for work and I was too busy to be late."

"Oh. There we are."

"What do you mean there we are?"

"This happens sometimes. Here have a caramel." the woman reached in to her bag and pulled out a Werther's for Julie.

"Seriously? You are giving me a Werther's?"

"Well, yes, I have seen that people tend to like a candy to make them feel better."

Julie shook her head. But she unwrapped the candy and popped it in her mouth anyway. Her grandmother had always had Werther's in her purse and it actually did make Julie feel better.

"Okay, I have a candy. Now what do you mean, there we are?"

"You are mostly dead. Like I said. But at the moment of death, or should have been death, as your true essence was leaving your body you announced your pure intention that you did not have time for this and so your true essence popped back in to your body to keep going. See? You cannot announce pure intention to true essence and not have there be consequences."

Julie shook her head again, "No I don't see. I'm here so obviously I did die, right? So how can my body keep going. How am I not the essence of who I am?"

"Well you are you, of course, but there is a part of you, the part that drives you, that is your essence. Your essence is what keeps you going while you are there instead of here. For some people that essence is the love of their family. Or their charity work. Or their kindness to strangers. Or their love of animals. Or the fact that they really really hate people. Essence isn't always so good, but we don't see a lot of those people around these parts. We see the very good, the mostly good, the sort of good and the tries really hards."

Julie reached a hand out and the old woman put another candy in her palm.

"But see, dear, you, well your essence seems to be ummm, being busy. So it just stayed behind in your body and kept going. I would guess right about now you are sitting in a hospital room trying to make a phone call to work."

"So what does that mean then? What happens next?"

"You wait."

"I wait?"

"Yes, I'm afraid so. See now you need to wait for your shell to give out and release your essence. When that happens you can grab it and bring it back to the gate and we will go from there."

"The shell to give out?"

"Well yes, the shell." the woman paused for a moment, "Your body! Yes, your body. Where you were and where you essence is now. Your body was supposed to be deactivated by the truck, you see, but since your essence stayed behind it wasn't." the woman rummaged through her bag again and pulled out what looked like a smart phone. She slid her finger on the screen and Julie saw herself there, in a hospital room and yes, it was true she was on the phone.

The woman zoomed in on a medical chart hanging from the end of Julie's bed. "You are a medical miracle. They would have assumed massive internal injuries but you seem to have survived completely intact." the woman laughed, "Well we know that's not true, but in all essence it is!" she laughed again then noticed the look on Julie's face, "Too soon?"

"So now what? If the truck didn't kill me what will?"

"Oh normal wear and tear, even a busy essence filled with pure intention cannot make a shell last longer than, oh 100 years or so. They just aren't designed to last much longer than that."

"One hundred years? But I'm only 32!"

"Well, yes, it might be awhile. If you are lucky though, maybe your shell will have a massive heart attack or suffer from a catastrophic failure like a decapitation or electrocution! That would be much quicker!"

Julie was horrified. "This is me we are talking about!"

"Oh no, dear, not really. Not anymore. But you do need to recover your essence before you can move on. Those are the rules. One essence per customer sort of thing. You turn in the old one, you get to move along. You don't? Well..."


"Well you have a choice. You can wait for your shell to give out and grab your essence and try again. Or you can just give up and stay in limbo forever."

"Like a ghost?"

"Oh no, not like a ghost. A ghost is an essence that got away. Or was released maliciously. From the other help desk. They think that's funny. But no, limbo is you just well, stuck. Never moving along. Never going back. Just here. But not here, here, there is a place they will send you if you choose limbo."

"Why would someone choose limbo? If it's just nothing?"

"Truly? I think it's the people whose essence is laziness. They never did anything when they had their shell and their essence and them all in one place so it's very easy for them to imagine not doing anything for ever. But that's not really who you are is it?"

Julie shook her head, "No, I don't think anyone has ever used lazy to describe me."

"Then I would guess you will choose to wait for your shell to give out and your essence to come free."

Julie sighed, "I guess so. Where do I wait?"

"Oh you will have to wait with your shell. You wouldn't want to miss the moment."

"What do you mean wait with my shell? Do I get to go back? To keep living my life? That doesn't sound terrible."

The woman reached for another Werther's to give Julie, "Oh no, I am afraid it's not like that..."

And it wasn't. Not really. Julie floated along within reach of her shell while it just kept plugging along. Working on projects, meeting deadlines (ha!), making those car payments, always so busy.

Now thirty four years old. Only 66 years to go. Sixty six more years of watching her old body work and go through the motions of life. Sixty six years of nobody noticing that Julie had died and was no longer really there. Sixty six more years of realizing that honestly there wasn't much difference from when she was there. Only sixty six more years...

Julie thought, "Kill me now." and then unwrapped another Werther's.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Waiting Room...

The door opened and she walked through. The room was pretty full. The receptionist nodded in her direction, "Take a seat."

"Do you know how..."

"Take a seat."

"Of course but I was just wondering how long..."

"Take a seat."


The receptionist cut her off with a look this time and pointed toward an open chair.

She took a seat.

"She doesn't know." An older woman said as she looked up from her knitting.


"How long. She doesn't know how long it will be. That's why she wouldn't let you ask. Some people like to pretend they know it all. Instead of looking like they might not know something they'd rather you just didn't ask the question."

At this the receptionist loudly closed a desk drawer and shot a dirty look their way.

The older woman laughed, "Bang all you want. You still don't know."

"How long have you been waiting?" She asked.

"Oh a good long while I suppose. I never go anywhere without my knitting so I've been able to keep myself occupied though so it's not so bad."

She looked around the crowded room. "Are we all waiting for the same thing?"

The woman put down her knitting, "Well now, that's a complicated question really. Or I guess a simple question with a complicated answer."


"If you were to ask everyone in here there would be more than one answer. See that group over there?" the woman pointed with her knitting needles, "They think they are waiting for something completely different than that group over there," she pointed again to the other side of the room, "and all of these people right here? Well they would be surprised at the thought that they were waiting for the same thing as either of those two groups. And then there are a lot of people in here who never thought at all about it, and just walked through the door and took a seat. And yet, here we all are in the same room."

A younger man in a tied died shirt said, "We are all the same, man. All of us. But they don't want us to see that."

The woman nodded, "Yes, dear."

"Wait, who doesn't want us to see that?" she asked.

"Them, man, them." and with that he nodded off.

"Don't worry about him I think he's still a little stoned. But who am I to judge? I knit, he sleeps, we all pass the time."

She looked at the groups sitting together. They were all huddled talking in whispers watching the receptionist's desk and the door to the inner office closely. 

"They are waiting for their name to be called. That group is pretty sure there is a book back there someone is checking. It must be a really big book, or a really slow reader doing to the checking." the old woman laughed again.

"What about you? What are you waiting for?"

"Me? I'm just waiting my turn. But I have my knitting so I'm not bothered. I once flew all the way to Australia to visit a friend and by the time I got there I had a brand new afghan to give her as a gift. This was before they made you stop bringing knitting needles on planes. I would never be able to make that flight now." the old woman laughed again, "Isn't that the truth?" and she laughed even louder. 

She wasn't entirely sure what the old woman found so funny so she sat back in her chair and looked around the room again. There were a lot of people here ahead of her. She wished she had brought a book. She turned to ask another question but the old woman had gone back to her knitting. She noticed the knitting project for the first time. It was a lovely blue green patterned blanket. It must have been about done since it was draped over her lap, and pooled at her feet, and then trailed down the row of chairs, and over the lap of an older man sitting a row away, and draped over the backs of two other chairs to make a blanket fort for a young boy sitting playing with a wooden train set and then it trailed down the next row.

"How long did you say you have been waiting?"

"Oh a good long while. You might want to make yourself comfortable."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Okay so September is almost over and I haven't posted a single blog this month. This cannot stand so today you get a "I need a post, post."

I have written a few things this month, just nothing for here. I also worked on editing a short story to submit for publication. Even though I've pretty much accepted the fact that my sort of melt down completely precludes me from getting those 6 items in this year, there is still a part of me that's saying there are 4 well now 3 months left to get it done. I could totally do it. Maybe. But if I don't then I don't.

Looking at the rest of the year I need to handle a few things. Getting the remodel started. I am at a standstill right now and just need to make a decision. There are two companies in contention, a big one and a small one. The labor costs are less with the small one so I could get all of the work done. The hand holding would be greater with the big one but I would have to ditch redoing the downstairs bath. I am also looking at timing and the smaller company cannot start until later, but that's not that big of a deal because I also need to:

Paint the living room
Replace the carpet upstairs
Fix the fireplace
Sell or donate a bunch of older stuff
Set up the guest bedroom (furniture/decorating/paint)
Decide what to do with the boot room and the room of requirement
Buy a new dining room table
Decide on a grill and/or plants for outside
Figure out Sabbatical plans

I have a lot to do to keep me busy and still keep the house projects moving along.

I also need to get back in to a workout routine. I've had a really hard time getting back to the five days a week at least an hour a day where I was. Why is it so hard to keep up the routine and so easy to drop it? I think I am just going to restart my program from last year, paying extra close attention to if or when my shoulder acts up so I can switch it up before anything bad happens. And I think I have decided to change the way Brent and I are eating. We will see how that goes, but I won't start that until after we get back from Michigan this weekend because...Dimo's.

So October looks to be busy and the months that follow aren't going to lighten up at all until Spring and maybe not until next year this time.

All of that assuming that November doesn't leave me scrambling for an ex-pat situation!

Seriously...that can't really happen can it??

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


"Well that's a little morbid."

"You think so? I guess I can see that, but I always thought it was kind of romantic."

What triggered this conversation? I told Brent I loved him when I picked him up from work.

Okay, so saying I love him wasn't the morbid part. Let me back up...

One day last week when I picked Brent up from work I told him I loved him when I kissed him hello. He asked what brought that on since it wasn't drop off. I had to stop and think about it and asked if I never said I love him on pick up and he said not often, but always on drop off. I replied, "Well sure, always on drop off. That way if something happens during the day you will always know the last thing we said to each other was I love you."

Which he said was a little morbid.


I picked it up from my parents. My Mom and Dad always left each other with a kiss and telling each other that they loved each other. It was the way they lived. And they did it because you never knew, you could get hit by a car and die today. That is actually my mother's go to line. You can make all the plans in the world but you never know, you could get hit by a car. You shouldn't leave things undone because you never know, you could get hit by a car. And most importantly you should never leave someone you love without telling them that you love them because you never know. Her obsession with this came to her in the worst way possible. My brother Mark died after being hit by a truck when he was a little boy. She knew what it was like to have plans for someone and not be able to see them through. So her worry was real. You never know.

But I still think of it as romantic. Not in the flowers and chocolates style of romance. I am not that person, as you all know. But in the taking care of your partner style of romance. If something were to happen, if I were to get in a car accident, or have a heart attack, or any number of sudden death situations, how lousy would it be if the last thing Brent and I said to each other was nasty? This way he would be left with the last thing I said being, "Have a good day, I love you."

Which then after talking about it he said, "I assumed you thought I would be the one to die."

"No, I was thinking me. You are at work, I'm the one out here with all the cars."

I'm not sure if that made it less morbid or not...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A round and a round we go...

A few months ago a friend sent me an intriguing message. He wanted me to participate in a very small experiment he was running. Basically he wanted my take on a niche group. A bunch of people who believe something out of the mainstream. Way out of the mainstream. Flat Earthers to be exact. Go to their forums. Read their arguments. See how they interact with other people. What did I think? And if nothing else I would be able to get a blog out of something there, he was sure.

He was right. I did get a few blog ideas. Of course it was during the wasteland months so the ideas have just been sitting waiting, thank goodness the world is flat so they didn't roll off.

Okay, I'm kidding. I wasn't a convert to the flat earth belief system. But it was interesting to read their arguments why they believe what they do and why they feel they have the science to back it up.

Now here is where I come totally clean. Though I believe in science; I trust science; I think science holds answers to questions we haven't even thought of yet; I am not really good at that type of science. The stuff that incorporates advanced math. I have a degree in accounting. I like that sort of math. Cross footing makes me happy. But when you start adding in letters and imaginary numbers and complex formulas? It all starts to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher in my head. The only thing I was good at in Chemistry was lighting the Bunsen burner.

So understanding that when they would talk about how "of course the earth is flat because of lmnop+qrz-lto=ronger's theorem"* I would hear Waa...waa...waa..waa...waa...But they were convinced. And it looked really solid. And not at all what we were taught is right. So of course I balanced this with reading pages that were put up specifically to show why they were misapplying ronger's theorem** and that clearly it showed that waa...waa...waa....waa...waa...

Even though I didn't understand and couldn't follow along with the math and science on those blogs anymore than I could on the flat earth ones they made me feel better. Because someone out there was showing why they were wrong. Why it wasn't true. Why no matter how much they wanted it to work it didn't. And I took comfort in that.

Which leads me to what my friend was fascinated by in the first place. The interactions with the people in the group. The Flat Earth people are true believers.They really believe the earth is flat. They aren't doing it as a put on or a joke or to be ironic. They firmly believe this. And they will show experiments they've done that they feel prove their point. The religious ones will quote bible verses to show that they are right. The I only believe what  see ones will talk about places where you should be able to see the earth's curvature and cannot so obviously it's flat. The government conspiracy ones will talk about how it's all been set up to...umm..I really was lost here, I'm not sure why it's a big cover up or what the point of pretending it was spherical when it's flat would be, but there were reasons! But the part that really captured my friend's attention was that the people who were hostile and rude and, honestly, ignorant sounding weren't the Flat Earthers it was the people who would go in to their forums and their pages to call them stooopid.

He wondered why that was. Why did people get so hostile? Why were the Flat Earth people so calm? What was going on here?

And it is interesting to see. And totally different than a lot of the science/non-science arguments discussions. You will see the same level of heat and insults flung back and forth between anti-vaxxers and pro-vaxxers. You want to see real venom? Look at climate change deniers and climate change realists go head to head. They will rip each other apart. But not on the Flat Earth boards. The believers were really calm and the interlopers were the rude ones.

And I don't really know why. I have a guess. I think it's because they are so far out of main stream society that the only way to get people to listen is to be calm. To present their science. To show their experiments. And if they are calm then maybe people will listen. And as for why the other side was so angry? So rude? Well they are being told that what they believe, what has been taught to them as pure fact with nobody doubting it since the dark ages could be wrong. And that's a little scary.

See I think it's the people who see ronger's theorem*** laid out on those sites and have a moment of doubt who get the maddest. They are the ones whose foundation has been nudged. Me? I wasn't angry at them because I didn't understand their science anymore than the other science. And my faith is in the fact that there is no way a conspiracy this big with this many people who would have to know could have been kept under wraps for this long. I believe in the power of people to not be able to keep a damn secret, especially a juicy one. So I didn't get mad. I don't believe they are right so they aren't a threat to my belief system.

That's what this experiment led me to think about. Belief systems. Groups. Belonging. Feeling special. Feeling smart. Feeling like we know something that other people don't. That's what I think is behind the Flat Earthers. I think they like feeling like they know something other people don't. That by stepping out of the mainstream and deciding that they are right and everyone else, and I mean EVERYONE else, is wrong they are special. And they have a group of people that feed that belief. That agree with them. That tell them they are right. That everyone else is being duped.

How bad can your day be if you know that you are better than everyone else? That jerk you work with who thinks he's so smart? Well he believes NASA and the big round earth fallacy so how smart can he really be? He wouldn't even understand ronger's theorem**** if you wrote it out in crayon on the back of his lunch sack. But you, you are special. You saw through the bullshit and were able to form your own opinion, based on science you could see yourself. Not the spoon fed stuff in your text books. You are a genius. And part of a very small select group of people who also see the light that is coming from a much smaller and closer sun than everyone else thinks we have.

And it's also why I think you don't see the same calm with the climate change deniers or the anti-vaxxers. They are too big. There are too many of them. They have people they can find easily to stand with them and rage against society. The Flat Earthers don't. And the stakes are different. I don't care if you believe the earth is flat. I think it's odd, but I don't really care. It doesn't affect me. But if you and a hundred of your friends live in my city where my friends are now having babies don't get vaccinated? Yeah, I care. If you are a politician who actively fights against finding alternative fuel sources because the money from the lobbyists   you say the science on climate change isn't there? Then yes, I care about that. If what you are doing has an actual effect on my life or the life of a friend? Then I care on a different level. But if you believe that somehow the world is a disc yet doesn't ride on the backs of elephants who are in turn on the back of a giant turtle then well, okay, you get down with your bad self.

So the stakes are lower. Which means they get left alone, mostly. And the people going in a railing against them give them just enough of a touch of persecution to make them circle in closer. Which is good because we don't want anyone getting too close to the ice edge of the earth.  Brrr... Yes, I'm mocking them a bit, but this is what they believe so...

And if you read all of this knowing what you know about me you can see that I can see a lot of religious group think parallels in the Flat Earth people. They believe something that makes them special. They really want you to believe it as well. They are sure that the world is picking on them for what they believe, and in some cases are absolutely right. Because they can find others who think what they do they feel more secure in what they believe. But they are only on the level of a smaller religion right now. Once they get a little bigger they will want to start legislating what they believe like the climate deniers and the Evangelicals.

And then I will have a problem with them.

But until that point it was interesting. It was different. It shined a bright spot light on an area of my life that I am lacking in education. Not the Flat Earth part, the BIG science stuff. Like ronger's theorem.***** I really should look in to that one.

*not the actual theorem they used
**absolutely not the actual theorem
***still not the actual theorem
****yeah, you know the drill
*****did you really check?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Funny story...

"I've Got Your Dog"

Not, me, personally. I don't have your dog. If your dog is missing I am not sure where it is. I do have someone else's cats. But it's a totally above board and legal having of the cats. No, this is something else.

That's the title to a song that was in my "On This Day" feed. It's by Steve Conn, we saw him when he opened for one of C's bands a few years ago. Really enjoyed his show and that song made me laugh. He opens by telling the background story of the song and one of the things that made me laugh the most was his trajectory.  The situation started out funny. Then it really wasn't funny anymore. It was worrisome. Then it all ended okay so it got funny again. I liked that he saw the humor right away and eventually got back to it.

My problem in life often stems from the fact that my "this will be a funny story someday" time frame is much quicker than most people. I can see the humor in a situation even when I am in the middle of it going terribly wrong. Not just to other people, comedy is when it happens to you, tragedy is when it happens to me, right? But no, I see it as funny even when it's happening to me. I laugh at inappropriate things, not just nervous laughter, though that happens too, but actual "oh my gosh, this is hilariously awful" laughter.

And most people need a little more time.

I've insulted way more people than I care to admit by laughing or cracking a joke while we were in the middle of some catastrophe or another. Because they did not find it funny. I've answered the "Do you find this funny, young lady?" question yes at times when I CLEARLY should have said no. But I can't help it. Life is generally funny. Especially when it's going completely wrong.

 Life has a tendency to do over the top wrong quite often. You know when you have a big meeting at work and the tire goes flat, and it's bucketing rain, then you find out the spare is flat as well, so you call for the tow truck but it's late, and while you are waiting the car battery dies then your boss calls to tell you he really needs you in the office NOW because your client is there early insisting that the meeting was scheduled for 8 not 10. You either laugh or you cry. Sometimes you do both. But come on! That shit is funny. As is finally making it to the office and conducting the meeting while every step you take you hear the squish of the water in your shoes and you are trying your best not to crack up but COME ON you are a mess and everyone is trying to pretend you aren't and why the hell can't we just laugh about this?

And then there are people who NEVER find the funny in a story. And when they are telling you of their woes they do not want you to laugh about them. No matter if it really seems like they are adding ridiculous upon ridiculous just to get the laugh. They don't want it and they really won't appreciate it. But I still tend to do it. Sometimes, and I am really proud of myself when this happens, sometimes I can hold it together long enough to not laugh while I am with them and can either shoot an email to someone who shares my sense of humor or regale Brent with the tale when he gets home from work.

And of course, if it's a really good story it will make it in to a blog. Or a somewhat disguised fictionalized version for a short story. Sorry.  I mean not sorry like I feel badly for it, but sorry that you had the misfortune of being friends with someone who obviously does not share your view of the world as a tragedy just waiting to get worse instead of a joke waiting for a punchline.

And life is so much better when you can see the humor in most things. Not everything, I mean, I'm not a monster, some things aren't hilarious, they are just awful. But quite often you can find that bright spot. That moment of "if this had Yakety Sax playing behind it it would be fucking hilarious." Those moments make it better. They really do.

So my wish for you today is that you see the punchline instead of the tragedy.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Obligatory Birthday Blog...

So let's start with the first disclaimer. I almost didn't write this this year. Up until 5 minutes ago when I sat down and opened up the blog page it was still a big maybe. Truth be told until I hit publish it still is. So that's the first disclaimer. There will probably be more sprinkled throughout.

I've done these recap sort of blogs on or around my birthday for a few years now. It's a good reminder for me as to what has happened, where I am, where I want to go. For the past few years I've taken a few moments on my actual  birthday to do them. Sort of a present to myself. This year I'm doing it early. I'm busy tomorrow and not sure I'll have time and honestly I am so looking forward to this year being over that I don't want to revisit it past today. I can't wait to see 47 in my rear view mirror.

There are years where you can pinpoint what is wrong with them. Deaths. Illness. Money issues. Loss of friendships or loves. All of the above. This year hasn't really had that. In fact we've had friends healing from serious illnesses, babies being born, friends getting married, financial decisions that leave the money in our pocket instead of someone else's. And still...just not a good year.

I'm in a creative wasteland.

I can't get over a nagging injury that is preventing me from doing things I want to.

I am worried about the state of my country for the first time I can remember. Like actually who the fuck ARE these people worried.

I figured out that a few people that I thought had my back, did, but only as a storage place for their cutlery. And even then I can't work up enough of a "mad" about it to do the weeding out that I should. I just get a little ticked when they do something nasty, wonder why they hell they stick around when I'm obviously not someone they like, and then move along. Maybe they know that weeding me out is more trouble than it's worth as well.

I've not been myself for so long now that I'm worried that this is actually who I am now.

Disclaimer #2. I am not writing this to be jollied out of it. Or have things pointed out that are great. I'm writing this so there isn't a gap in the years when I look back on past birthday blogs. I'm writing it so that when the ennui ends I will remember that it comes and goes. So this is strictly for me.

It's not like I'm not aware that I'm not my best right now. I totally am. And it's not like I haven't made some moves to fix it. I've made lists. I've made decisions. I've made plans. I've figured out the issues. I've resolved to fix it. And then....meh. It's too much.  I don't care. Life is fine...really.

Even if I never did get any Christmas spirit last year. Even if my weight has steadily climbed all year. Even if I spend more time biting my tongue than telling people what I think. Even if I don't even have to bite my tongue half the time now I just don't care enough to tell them. Or I just don't believe they will listen. Seriously, people don't even bother looking, reading, listening, to anything anymore to form opinions, they just mold what the headline says to fit their narrative. I told Brent the other day I needed the "That's not how this works, that's not how any of this works" meme changed to "That's not what this means, that's not what any of this means." so I can post it on 80% of the linked articles out there.

Disclaimer #3. My life is great. It actually is. I know this. I have a good strong marriage to a very attractive and intelligent man who tells me I'm pretty and smart and kind, and honestly believes those things. I have a great adult child living his life independently. I have money in the bank. Food in my belly. Clothes on my back. And the ability to get more of those things when or if I need them. So I know my life is great. That's not it.

It's just... My shoulder isn't fixed. I fell down the stairs last weekend and wrenched it again. So even the not as healed as I would like but maybe getting there is gone. I have another MRI to look forward to, and we all know how well that went last time. I am still pretty sure it's going to come back with, "We have no idea why it's doing this." Because my shoulder isn't fixed I am losing strength in my left arm. I'm actually losing strength in both arms because I can't lift weights, but just resting strength is going away. Last week I carried in a bag of cat litter for the cats we are house sitting. This week it took me two tries to get it upstairs to refill the box. I'm actually getting measurably weaker. This makes me insane. Just knowing how hard I worked to get where I was and knowing that I am not in a place where I can start stemming that damage is making me nuts. Disclaimer #4 I know this is not that big of a deal and there are many more people with bigger health issues.

But this was all last year. Tomorrow is 48. Tomorrow starts a new cycle. I will figure out what is wrong with my shoulder and get back my strength. I will get my muse back and my people will all be at the bar waiting to tell me their stories. I will remodel my house, figuratively and literally. I will have a better year. Because Disclaimer #5, I refuse to believe this is just who I am now. Because she's a real drag and I do not need that sort of nonsense in my life.

Happy birthday to me.

HAPPY birthday to me.

HAPPY HAPPY birthday to me.

Monday, August 15, 2016


I used to not eat raw tomatoes. Unless they were in a BLT. That was the only way I could stand them. It was a texture thing. Tomatoes aren't done inside. I think that's why I was fine with them in the BLT. The lettuce and the bacon were both crispy enough to hide the loose tomatoes.

But today for lunch I had a giant salad with at least three different types of tomatoes and just a little bit of cucumber and some bib lettuce. But mostly it was tomato. And it was delicious.

Tastes change.

It happened sometime in my 30s. I am not sure what it was, maybe trying to get C to try new things, or maybe when I started splitting more meals with Brent. Or maybe it was the stretch on Atkins where I ate more cob and wedge salads than you could shake a stick at. I'm not sure what it was but at some point in time I realized I was eating raw tomato. And enjoying it.

Tastes change.

Now there are people out there that if I were to grab a meal with them they would be shocked to see me eat a tomato. Because when I say I didn't eat them, I mean, didn't eat them. Ordered food without them, pulled them out of burgers if the kitchen forgot, moved the chunks to the side in sauces if it was "too tomatoey" and gave the whole wrinkled nose, curled lip, disgusted tone when I would announce, "They aren't done inside." I wouldn't eat them. Not just didn't eat them. It was a thing.

Tastes change.

So those people would, of course, be surprised that I eat them now. They might ask what changed. Why I have suddenly decided that they are fine, even though they are still not done inside. Why that no longer matters and I will eat them on burgers and in chunky in sauces and raw in a salad, and even by themselves.

Tastes change.

But what they wouldn't do is insist that I stop eating tomatoes just because I used to not eat them. That would be ridiculous. They wouldn't feel personally insulted by all of the times that I didn't eat tomatoes in our past now that I am freely eating tomatoes like it was never even a thing that I didn't eat them. They would be like, "eh. She eats tomatoes now. Cool." If they gave it more than a quick, "I thought you didn't like tomatoes? Oh you do now? Okay." Because they know that...

Tastes change.

And I wouldn't force my tomato eating ways on someone who still doesn't care for them. I wouldn't insist that because I now find them to be okay, even with their not done insideness still in full effect, I don't expect them to be okay with it. C doesn't eat chunky tomato sauce and I would not insist that he stop pushing his tomatoes to the side of the plate, though I might steal them for myself now. Because only my...

Taste changed.

But we do this and have this done to us all the time with other things. We put people in these boxes and we want them to stay there. From simple things like appearance. Weight loss or gain. Hair long or short. To bigger things like outlook on life. Political belief shift. Religious conversion or becoming an unbeliever. We have a hard time letting people change. To accept who they are now instead of who we see in our heads. It's done to us. We do it to others. And we shouldn't. It's just a tomato.

Tastes change.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Okay, so we are finally through the two weeks of political conventions.

I really went back and forth about watching this year. Especially watching the RNC. I am not voting Trump. I will never vote Trump. There is nothing that can be said or done that would make me think voting Trump is a good idea. I am in no way shape or form open minded about Trump. I think a vote for Trump is irresponsible. I think it's dangerous. I do not believe he has the temperament to lead our country. I do not want to imagine a world where our foreign policy is lead by a man who, according to his own wife, if you hit him he hits back 10 times harder. Any slight, no matter how slight, he responds to. And responds with unequal measure. If you cannot handle someone talking about how small your hands are without freaking out you should not be left in charge of the military. Just shouldn't. And let's not really even get in to his businesses. I mean, to put it in a Trump sort of way, I prefer to think of good business people as the ones who don't have multiple bankruptcies.

I am going to vote for Clinton. At this point something catastrophic would have to happen for me not to vote for Clinton. My Bernie friends are SCREAMING with outrage over the fix being in. I could argue with them about those emails not showing what they think they show but arguing with a true believer does no good. There is a reason they are true believers. I don't happen to agree with what they agree with so we will not see eye to eye on this one. I will not vote for Jill Stein (and I voted for Jill Stein 4 years ago, she has changed, going after the Berners and the Far Lefters made it impossible for DOCTOR Jill Stein to simply answer Yes to a question about vaccines. It turned in to a mess of an answer including big pharma and Monsanto and weave and bob and dodge.) I will not vote for Gary Johnson. Now I like Johnson. I like him personally. I actually like him politically. To a point. And as a social liberal, fiscal conservative I probably line up with him more than half the people who are protest voting for him. But I don't agree with the Libertarian party on a multitude of issues. And like it or not, a third party is not going to win this election so any vote their way only (as far as polling looks right now) increases the chance for a Trump presidency. And I will not do anything that makes that more likely to happen.

I know a lot of people think it's wrong and somehow immoral to vote for Clinton just because she's not Trump. But to me? It is a solid and perfectly moral choice to make. And in fact, those voting for anyone who makes a Trump White House more likely are, in my opinion, the ones making the immoral choice. Clinton might be flawed, I have said since this cycle started she's too hawkish for my tastes, but she's not even close to Trump as far as flawed goes. Not even close. And either Trump or Clinton is going to win. You want to make change with third parties? Get down with your bad self, I've voted third party for a lot of positions. They are out there. Read your voter pamphlets, hell run for fucking office as a Green Party or Libertarian or Constitutionalist or what ever...but this election? The presidential election? Third party is not going to win and your protest vote means nothing except one step closer to a Trump White House. And at least one, and up to three spots on the Supreme Court. So, please, take your moral outrage and park it in the corner and think of the fact that we just got marriage equity last year. ONE YEAR. It's still fragile. Please look at states dismantling Roe v. Wade by bits and bites. Please understand that Mike Pence was one of the first to sign a religious discrimination...oh excuse me...religious freedom law. I'm voting for Clinton because I'm voting for the Supreme Court. Scalia was put on the bench by Reagan. You know Reagan right? The man who was president before a lot of you were born? Yeah, that's how long a Justice sits on the court. That's how long they sway decisions. That's how important the court is.

So, all of that out there, there was no real reason to watch the conventions. But I like to watch them. I like to hear the rah rah speeches. I like to see the hats. I like to watch the excitement of the people who were chosen to attend. I dig them.


I did not enjoy the RNC. It was horrible. The ugliest convention I can remember ever watching. They were only a few pitchforks short of an ugly mob. "Lock her up!" instead of "Burn the witch!" but very much the same vibe. And the vision of the United States they believe in? Terrifying. No wonder they are so angry. I am not sure how they had the guts to leave their homes and even go to the convention. I mean bands of roving criminals in the street, terrorist attacks around every corner. I am not saying we don't have issues, but come on, we aren't living in Armageddon just yet. We aren't even close. But hey, have no fear, (or actually have LOTS of fear but you know what I mean...) here's your candidate to tell you that HE can fix it. Just him. All by himself. He's the only one with answers. With solutions. And they are the greatest answers. Believe you me. He knows all of them. Including the fact that when he is sworn in we will have LAW AND ORDER! Our streets will be safe again! Which made me wonder, do his voters understand what he just said? They've been screaming about Obama instituting Martial Law for the past 8 years and now they are cheering it? Policing is at the state and local level. Not the federal level. Sending in the National Guard is what he would have to do to restore LAW AND ORDER! Does he know that? Do they? Do they even understand it?

Either way it was a dark, dark convention. His kids did a good job speaking. Though I still wonder if their mothers get tired of everyone giving him all the credit about how well they turned out.

The DNC was a mess at times. Bernie Sanders' supporters yelling down speakers. There weren't as many there by the end, but they were loud. Losing isn't easy. Losing when you are a true believer and you really believe you were robbed is harder. But it doesn't mean I was okay with them being rude. I cannot abide by rudeness. If I had been at the RNC convention I would have listened politely to the bullshit being spewed by a few of those people. Being polite is free. And you might just learn something. But this is actually not anything new with the Democrats and one of the reason I find them as a party to be incredibly frustrating. They are always so worried about being inclusive that quite often nothing gets done. There needs to be a point where you mark you differences and move along.

But overall the feel of the DNC, the themes of the DNC, the atmosphere of the DNC was soothing. It was like a layer of aloe vera on the scald marks from the week before. The messages of America is already great, yes it can always get better, and WE can do that. We. Us. Stronger Together. That was the overall arch. And yes, it's in direct response to the I, Me, Only Me, themes from Trump. And I am okay with that. Showing that this is why it's different is valid to me. The joint messages of being against both bad policing and being bad to police. They are not mutually exclusive. If you believe all lives matter then you should already be holding black lives matter and blue live matter in your heart. Taking care of our military. Honoring our military and the sacrifices they make. It was very patriotic. It was moving. And most of all it wasn't terrifying.

There are big problems in the world that need solved. Scapegoating isn't going to fix them. Finding someone else to blame because you aren't as successful as you wish you were isn't really going to make you more successful. Hate doesn't ever fix anything. Life is complicated. There are a lot of moving parts. We need to fix a lot of things that are broken. But I cannot fix things while hiding under my bed in fear. And I will not hand the keys over to a man who thinks building a building is the same thing as losing a child on the continuum of sacrifices made.

Because that's what Trump did in reaction to the DNC. He talked about how he wanted to punch the speakers. He got in to a spat with the parents of a solider who lost his life protecting those he was serving with. His Vice Presidential candidate and his military adviser tried to pin the blame on Obama and his softness for rules of engagement for the death of Captain Khan. Who was killed in 2004. Let that sink in for a moment. He is now saying that he believes the elections will be rigged setting up not just his story for why he lost but a dangerous foundation for the people following him to try and destabilize our peaceful transition of power we are so very rightfully proud of.

So the conventions this year did nothing to sway my choices. They just reaffirmed why I'm making the ones I am making.

I'm voting for the Supreme Court.
I'm voting to keep the crazy man out of the White House.
I'm with Her because She's not Him.

And that is a perfectly good reason.