photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year, New Story...

Third in the six part series is now available for your enjoyment. Happy New Year to you and yours...

Wyrd Justice- Weekends in Dystopia: Book Three- Undead Hunger, Zombies for Brunch


Almost gagging from the overpowering aroma of tea tree oil that permeated the rag tied over her nose, Serratia scurried quickly through the back alleys.

She hated being in here, hated the oppressive atmosphere and the overgrown tangle of neglect that the once-pristine city had become. She especially hated the mounds of maggot-infested clothing lying all around where they had fallen…the people.

Enough time had passed that everything civil and tame was going feral, but not enough for Mother Nature’s clean-up crew to tidy up the fleshy leftovers.

As the virus spread and the people sickened and died, most were buried, but there were still others- mostly the poor without family or friends- who just dropped where they fell, and lay till they died.

So she averted her eyes as though they were aware of their embarrassing and compromised predicament, and thanked Gaia that as pungent as the tea tree oil was, it blocked out more than just the bacteria, but also the smell of its aftermath.

Ducking around a corner, Serratia stopped and removed a wrinkled piece of paper from her pocket. She frowned at it a minute, then stuffed it back into her worn and dirty jacket.

Being the local Healer usually meant positive perks, but every once in a while it meant she was first in line for the really shitty stuff. So now here she was, probably on a Fool’s Errand right into the center of the Freak Show.

All she knew was…he’d damn well better be there.

Peering over the top of the faded red bandana tied bandito-style over her lower face, she found the building number she was looking for, glanced furtively from side to side, and disappeared into the open maw of the front door hanging askew on its hinges.

The air barely stirred and the sun beat down relentlessly. The piles of clothing moved imperceptibly as the white larvae pushed their way silently through the decaying corpses.

On the far side of the building Serratia had just been swallowed by, there was a scraping and a scratching sort of noise as a window was opened just enough to allow a body access…


In the gutter in front of the building, a pile of leaves rustled and shifted, revealing two tiny bright and intelligent black eyes. Quick as a sneeze, the rat darted out of the gutter and into the nearest pile of clothing.

There was a brief interlude of tugging and nibbling, then the sound of Jell-O sliding reluctantly off of a spoon and the rodent popped out the other side with a ‘thwack!’- slick with bodily fluids and running head high…most of a chocolate chip cookie clutched in his mouth triumphantly.

Available on Kindle here

or from my website for a signed copy here

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ho Ho Holy CRAP My Head Hurts

'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Everyone tiptoed and whispered with care
Because mom had a migraine that hurt even her hair.

The day had broke sunny, the cat had been fed
And then BAM just like that, mom was back in the bed.

She downed 2 Tylenol ES, cold washrag applied
And burrowed under the covers, keeping light from her eyes.

A half-hour later she lurched from the room
Looking haggard and deadly- the house filled with doom.

"On Meloxicam! On Diphenatrop! Quick, where's the caffeine?"
And she cursed stupid laws against home IV's with morpheine.

And Gomez and Sparky were filled with concern
If Christmas dinner's on them, how bad would it burn?

For several long hours, time seemed frozen in place
Even the dogs knew to stay out of mom's face.

Then what to their wondering ears did they hear
But the soft clicking of keys on her laptop so near.

And they knew then she'd live and re-enter the fray!
Happy Christmas to's a wonderful day!

The story above is true- names have not been changed to protect the innocent.
I'm off to work and one. Last. Freaking. Errand.
Tylenol, Meloxicam, Diphenatrop and caffeine on board- my head is only throbbing at about a 5, instead of the 14 it was this morning on a "From zero to ten, how bad is the pain?" scale.

Sunny, calm and 50 degrees out...a perfect winter day. The garlic is up, the peas are up, the herbs are still hanging in there- oregano, basil, parsley, cilantro...all reseeded themselves for the umpteenth time.

The boys are wrapping gifts "Don't look, mom!!!" and tonight and tomorrow will be quiet affairs- I'll cook a big dinner tomorrow after doing some baking, and if everyone's feeling up to it, we'll have Joe and Edna over to eat.

I was thinking on Christmases past and how weird it is after several decades of being a kid on Christmas followed by several more decades of having kids on Christmas, that my very last baby (almost 14) announcing this year, "Mom? Just take me clothes shopping- I don't need anything to unwrap" filled me with several emotions.

Sadness of a deep and abiding sort- the sadness that comes when you know something is over. Really over, and won't be back. Ever.

Irritation because I'm not ready for that phase of life to be over yet. I still love the whole gifty wrappy Christmas morningy thing.

Relief that I'm done with letters to Santa, and trying to budget to fulfill the top 5 requests on that list, and the wonderment that my children were always careful to put the really expensive shit on Santa's list...because they knew we couldn't afford them.

Christmas and how we relate to it changes with age and circumstance, like everything else in life and that's not only OK, but it would be creepy if it didn't. It's a very tangible yardstick of how we're growing as humans, where we've been and where we are now.

It's one day of the year that is caught over and over again through the photographs of us as kids, then teens, then adults...the people in the photos changing from one bad hairdo to the next, one ugly holiday sweater to the next, one awkward human phase to the next. Grandparents grow older with each passing year of snapshots and then are simply not in them anymore. Babies suddenly appear and are linked in with the rest of the family chain.

And there you have it. The real reason for the season.

Because whatever mid-winter event brings your family together, THAT. That right there is the reason for the season.

Stop. Look at the people around you- even the ones who make you insane. This is your chain.

If you're alone, remember holidays past and how they were all different from each other if only microscopically- not to make you even more miserable, but to remind yourself that nothing lasts forever- there will be new chains to link into even if your old one is gone for good. I promise you that.

I spent one Christmas Eve alone in a crappy motel outside Lubbock Texas. My alcoholic abusive husband had knocked me around a little, screamed at me a lot, took the car keys, the car and all our money and disappeared into the night. This was before cell phones and I didn't even have a dime for a pay phone to call the nearest people I knew...400 miles away. I can safely say that was my worst Christmas ever.

I will never tell anyone to 'just' cheer up, get a grip, get out there and meet people, stop being depressed, stop being used or abused because no one else is in your head besides you, and no one else knows what living your life has been like or what your exact thought processes are.

Anyone who judges someone else for apparent lack of character or bad decision making is an asshole.

This is also the time of year for the highest rate of suicide.

I have no magic wand, no quick fixes for a heart so broken that it feels like it cannot beat one second longer.

All I can offer is this-

This, the darkest time of the year, the shortest day of the year comes every single year.

And every single year it's not only the darkest day of the year but it's the beginning of the light.

Light always comes after darkness, and we are every one of us stronger than we think we are.

I promise you that.

Just give it another day.

Merry Holiday to my entire human family. I love you all.

Even the ones who make me insane.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

You're Really NOT the Boss of Them

We home school. Alec has been home schooled his whole life and is doing just fine, thanks.

Is it time-consuming? Yes.

Is it expensive? Fairly.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

We started for many reasons- we wanted to keep the freedom we were accustomed to to travel when we wanted to and not be hemmed in by the school year calendar, our local school district has a student/teacher ratio of 25/1 in KINDERGARTEN, and frankly the big "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" banner in the lobby totally freaked me the hell out- I know it was supposed to be comforting but it hit me as really threatening, but the final decision came when we had to spend a lot of time at MD Anderson and I would've had to choose between leaving Alec here with friends to go to school or Ward in Houston in the hospital and neither one of those options was acceptable to me.

The one reason we are NOT home schooling is to 'ensure our child has a Godly upbringing'.

Which is very very rare in this area of the country. This is the shiny buckle of the bible belt and 99.9% of the home schoolers here are doing so to 'keep their children away from the evils of the secular world'.

That would be MY family.

We also live in Texas, one of the most lax states in the country as far as home school regulations.

When we decided to home school Alec before he entered kindergarten, I contacted the school and asked what I needed to do. They said, "Easy- just don't sign him up for school."

And it's as easy as that. Don't sign them up. There doesn't have to be a record anywhere of where children are being taught, or even, after they are issued a birth certificate, that they even exist at all.

Well, surely there is some standard that must be tested against to be sure they are learning...fucking anything.


Wanna teach art class because it's fun but avoid math because it's...math? Knock yourself out.
Wanna teach that Jesus rode dinosaurs back when the earth was first created...less than 5,000 years ago? God bless you.

Honestly, we drive 3 hours one-way every week to be in a home school co-op that believes in freaking evolution. Oh, there's a home school co-op here. A honking huge one that has its own sports league (not just teams), orchestra, everything. But you must sign a statement of Faith to get in. Fuck that shit.

There are Christian home schoolers who are doing a very good job teaching their kids and preparing them for the real future in a real world. They take their self-imposed job as 'teacher' very seriously and work tirelessly to provide their students with the very best educational experiences.

And there are secular home schoolers who are doing so just because they don't wanna get up early enough to take their kids to school and let 'em play video games all day. So this is not merely a rant on the Christians.

This is about possession.

Because it chills me to the very core to read fellow home schoolers' frothing at the mouth at the thought of having to show even the most basic and simple proof of learning on the part of their students.

The argument goes something like this-

"There is NO WAY anyone is going to tell me what to teach MY CHILDREN! Forcing me to adhere to some government-mandated agenda of learning sketchy science and obscene secular literature is a violation of my Rights as a FREE citizen! These are MY CHILDREN and I will raise them and teach them they way *I* want to!"

...and variations of the above.

Except here's the thing.

Your kids are not your property.

Sure you created 'em and grew 'em and you're feeding and housing them and all, but they are NOT your possessions. As anyone who is adamantly 'pro-life' will be quick to tell you, those children are actually 'people'; autonomous beings that have their own little souls and thoughts and rights all their own.

Why the Sam Hell is it wrong for a woman who is carrying 12 cells of tissue to make an informed and usually difficult decision to abort it because "That's a PERSON and not a THING!" but once born into THEIR OWN families, children are possessions to do with whatever floats their holy boat? Deny them access to a full range of education, indoctrinate them into your own belief system, even get out the belt if they (being autonomous beings and all) dare to question your authority?

How can you even deign to limit their options by choosing what YOU think is 'all they'll need to know' about life, or anything? To 'train' boys to grow up to be the 'kings of their homes' and to teach girls only enough to keep a house and family because 'that's what women are made for'- those are both heinously dauntingly passively aggressively abusive.


Our children are not ours.

Our children belong to themselves.

Not some God, not the government, and for damn sure not to you.

It's our JOB as parents, whether or not we home school, to do our level best to insure that our children are exposed to the best the world has to offer, and that's more than a bible as 'the only text book you'll ever need' (on one end of the Bad Parent spectrum) and a stack of video games (on the other end).

Because they will have to live in the world. And the world is a big, scary, dangerous, sinful,glorious place filled with all different kinds of evil-doers and terrorists artists, musicians, thinkers, belief systems, foods, literature, science, nature, history, good gravy...EVERYTHING!

The biggest bonus of home schooling, for our family and the families we know and call friends- is the opportunity to show our children MORE of the world, meet MORE varieties of people- and not just 'more people who are basically just like we are because that's safe and correct' but MORE true diversity.

To learn and figure out for themselves how to be comfortable in their own skins and around people they don't know and in situations that are different from Home, to be eager and willing to learn from and accept without judgment others who are not duplicates of their own families will ensure that our children will be able to travel through life with grace and wonder, respect and compassion.

And to do that with any competence, they MUST have a working knowledge of basic human education- how to speak and write fluently and correctly in their native language, how basic math concepts work and how to use them in every day life as well as abstractly, a foundation of honest history of their own country and the world in general, and SCIENCE. Real science, not 'science as seen through the bible'. Because that's not science, and to teach your children that it is, is willfully setting them up for a life of disadvantage in the real world.

Love those precious angels your god blessed you with? Of course you do.

But they're not yours to keep forever, they're not your possessions.

You're the one who's been tasked to minister to THEM. It's your job to equip them for a life that's better, fuller, MORE than yours.

Put down the damn belt and the bible, and pick up the science book. Go out into the world.

It's pretty awesome out here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Little Between-Holiday-Shopping Reading

Well, the first one was so much fun, I've already finished the 2nd one...and will start #3 tomorrow. Don't worry- they won't go on forever, just for six installments.

Please enjoy the beginning of "Unhealthy Obsession"- Book Two of the series "Wyrd Justice- Weekends in Dystopia".

Their laughter wafted through the smoke-filled room, causing her to involuntarily shudder. Anytime these guys laughed it meant that they were talking about the suffering of someone or something innocent.

They made her skin crawl, but she put on her hardened-barmaid face and approached the table in the corner. “You boys need another round?” she asked with a tired smile, putting her hand on JR’s shoulder with familiarity- hoping her revulsion didn’t show.

“Yeah, yeah- in a second, babe- first you gotta hear this! This is the funniest shit I’ve ever heard- tell her, Dickie! Tell her just like you told us!”

Sighing silently and mentally rolling her eyeballs, Fate turned just a bit to face Dickie and give the appearance of giving a damn.

Dickie puffed all up to his full 5’6” at being the center of attention for once and he squinted as he tried mightily to remember exactly how he had told it so it would come out just as perfectly this time as well. Sweat beaded on his forehead under his unkempt hair hidden under an ancient feed store cap that matched his overalls and torn dirty work shirt.

He smelt rather strongly of perspiration and beef jerky, cheap cigarettes and gallons of beer.

Finally, he opened his eyes and tried to focus roughly in the area of her straight perfect nose. Or maybe her lips; full and soft, yet free of lipstick. Possibly her cheekbones, high and elegant.

But definitely not her breasts. The one man who had stared too boldy and overlong there had encountered first her backhand across his face and then an unfortunate and sudden injury to his manly bits, dropping to the floor as though kicked by a bull, even though she hadn’t moved anything but her hand.

Fate had immediately helped him up and mumbled, “Sorry- didn’t mean to hit you that hard”, but after that all the guys were very careful to stare anywhere but…there.

There were plenty of other nice parts to stare at. Her hair always managed to stay not quite contained up in the admittedly haphazard bun she wore in a hat-tip to the laughable “health code” not even enforced in a corner tavern that served food. Frothy tendrils in hues of precious metals softened her normally guarded expression.

She wore a single coat of mascara on her long lashes; a protective jet black barricade for her brown eyes flecked with green to nestle behind, but that was her only makeup. Her hands were strong and her nails short and clean; neither buffed nor polished.
Her stereotypical ‘barmaid’ outfit seemed designed for her body alone- the low-cut white cotton peasant blouse perfectly displaying cleavage that boys’ fantasies start with, short and tight leather skirt accentuating her muscular and totally feminine buttocks, and the hated ridiculous fishnet stockings ensnared her impossibly long legs; impossible since she was barely over 5 feet tall all told.

She had needed the money badly, so she’d taken the job and the uniform, but had drawn the line firmly at footwear. There was no way she was going to wear 4 inch “knock me down/fuck me” heels on a job where she’d be on her feet for ten hours at a stretch. No way.

Eddie had glared at her. Most women backed down at ‘the glare’, but Fate had returned it unwaveringly, and he’d acquiesced. Her first day at work he had to acknowledge that far from detracting from the desired look, for some reason the sensible soft leather ballerina flats she had chosen to wear only made her look even more sexy.

And that, of course, was what he was looking for. Because he expected his girls to be ‘full service with a smile’.

“DICKIE! Jesus! We don’t have all night!” JR’s caustic voice jolted Dickie back from his ‘looking everywhere but Miss Fate’s boobies’ trance.

He cleared his throat, made a muffled gargling noise and spit onto the floor; a pre-show warm-up.

“Well, Miss Fate- I was just tellin’ the boys here about the damnedest thing. I went out to do chores this morning for my momma and found her two ducks stone cold dead in the water trough. In the water!”

There was renewed chuckling as his audience imagined the scene.

“Yes, ma’am- those ducks had flat drowned! Now how the Sam Hell does a duck drown?”

Dickie looked puzzled and not at all amused- he actually seemed more disturbed by the incident than humored by it, but his comrades were unanimously cackling and hooting thinking about such a ridiculous thing- drowning ducks.

Fate closed her eyes and the images came to her.

Two half-grown ducks in a smallish water trough- not much bigger than a bucket, really. The water was not deep- they could’ve stood up in it easily. One tried to hop out and slipped, briefly going head-under upside-down.

The hapless duckling panicked, causing the other one to instantly be filled with fear as well.

Her mind’s eye watched in hopeless horror as the ducklings pushed each other under the surface over and over again as they tried to clamor out of the water…and then they were still.

“That is weird, Dickie, but you know fear is a powerful force- I hope your mom isn’t too upset losing her ducklings”.

Dickie looked at Fate gratefully and said, “Well, she’s pretty broke up about it, but I’m fixin’ to get her some new ones next time I get a chance”.

And Fate knew she’d be taking Dickie home with her at the end of her shift.

The others were still laughing and JR snorted and sneered, “What the hell? What do you expect of stupid ducks? Fucking bird-brains, right? Nothing to get all ‘quacked up’ about!” and everyone but Dickie and Fate grinned appreciatively at his masterful humor.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Jack Frost, Bless His Heart

Every year we get a bit o' the winter down here and every year those still up north give us a ton of shit about it.

"You call that snow?"

"You call that cold?"

"I can't believe they closed the schools for that!"

"What a bunch of idiots!"

Well, even though I'm a Texan by citizenship, I was born and lived in Wisconsin for my first 34 years. Yes- December 1st I crossed the 20 year mark as a Texan, but I still remember. Oh, hell yes- I still remember.

I remember cold that hurts the minute you open the door- freezes your nose hairs together and makes your eyeballs throb.

I remember snotcicles.

I remember snow so high it's a solid wall of white when you open your door to leave the house and you just calmly close the door and go out the other side of the house.

I remember hauling hay on a sled and never going out to the barn without a sledgehammer to break gates loose and ice off the water tanks...even though there are tank heaters...and they're working just fine.

I remember bringing the hose inside after every use.

I remember having a spare set of car keys and leaving the car running while I was at work, just to be sure it wouldn't be dead from the cold when I was ready to drive home.

I remember driving home at midnight and staying on the road by driving right in the middle of the telephone poles on either side.

I remember being snow blind in a blizzard.

Here's what those still up north don't understand.

Down here there are no snow plows- the snowy streets become packed snow rinks and the icy streets stay icy...until it melts on its own.

Down here the houses, animals, people are not built to withstand intense prolonged cold. Everything is built to withstand intense prolonged heat. Remember when we laugh at ya'll when your thermometer inches towards the century mark in the summer and ya'll are wilting and melting? Pussies.

Down here the road surfaces are actually different than up yonder. The first winter I was here, the first icy day I got in my big ol' Caddy (front wheel drive and totally kickass up north in the winter) and headed for work. The first stop light I gently applied the brakes well in advance of the intersection and...slid straight on through it. Damnedest thing ever.

Here's what I love about winter cold snaps that may or may not include ice, snow and other trappings of actual winter-

It lasts a few days and then goes away.

I can live with that.

And call us idiots all day long- Ya'll are the ones still living where this shit sticks around for months on end.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Forget the Turkey- Pass the Nog

Ahhhh...Thanksgiving Weekend.

The turkey's been picked over, the pies decimated, the side dishes are serving second duty as full lunches of themselves, and now I have a few minutes to give my commie pinko socialist treehuggin' way.

I am thankful that Obama has finally managed to turn this nation into a cesspool of communistic socialism. The proof can be read by the crash of Wall St., the failure of the big banks and the loosened hold of the weakened and gutted power of the corporations.

Oh, wait. Wall St. has never been happier or had numbers quite so big, the big banks are bigger than ever with less regulation than ever and took home huge bonuses after taking home lots and lots of taxpayer dollars so they wouldn't fail, and corporations are still considered 'people'. Don't give me that, "Corporations ARE people, my friend" bullshit- corporations are man-made constructs set in place for one reason- to make money. Their existence remains no matter who is in charge: people die, my friend- corporations don't.

I am thankful that our blessed Muslim Kenyan leader has finally managed to enact a complete and total government takeover of the nation's healthcare and school systems. الحمد الله (That's "Praise Allah!" for you 'Old American' losers).

Oh, wait. The ACA (also known lovingly as Obamacare by those who spit after saying it- I'm sure the sweetness of the word just is too much for their delicate tastebuds)is not anything remotely resembling Universal Health Care, which would have been one health care program for all Americans no matter if they could afford it or not. The ACA isn't a health care program at all- it's a warehousing of private for-profit policies that people can choose from- before this you needed an insurance agent to do that. So the website is really just a guy in a bad suit and gel in his hair. What the ACA does do is make it illegal for the for-profits to do things like deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and offer insurance policies that are dirt cheap and useless as tits on a boar hog. In order to do that, they did something that they borrowed from the insurance companies themselves-

See, the reason big companies like Blue Cross and Aetna can get away with paying hospitals $9,995 for something like a heart bypass surgery while people without insurance have to pay $250,000 is that they went to the hospitals and said, "Look- we're giving you VOLUME so you're going to cut us a deal". The ACA gives the insurance companies volume- a large amount of healthy people to help defray the cost of actually paying for the sick people who need health insurance. It's already working, and would be working a hell of a lot better if the states with Republican governors had actually accepted the free Medicaid expansion that includes all the people not poor enough for Medicaid now, and not rich enough to actually pay full price for a good policy that actually does shit. In Texas that's over a million people Rick Perry is fucking over 'on principle'.

And the schools? From what I've been reading, all this 'common core' hoo ha is trumped up bullshit. I know- shocking, right? Because far from a 'gubment takeover' of the school system, the standards give the desired outcome- what a student should know at each level- and give the states and even school districts (right down to the teachers themselves) full leeway on how to teach it- including what books to read and use as texts. It stresses 'teaching critical thinking skills' though, so I can see where that would be a very real threat to today's conservative bowel movement. Because every state's schools should be able to turn out students as illiterate as they choose as long as they don't teach EVILution.

Well, at least I can be thankful that Literally Hitler Barry Sotero has been able to completely disarm American citizens!

Oh, wait. In spite of the worst mass shootings in our history, in spite of a clear and very vocal majority of Americans wanting stricter gun purchasing and owning regulations (91%...including a majority of NRA members- no shit), the big scary government has done jack fucking shit about it. Jack. Fucking. Shit. But that doesn't stop the NRA and gun manufacturers from whipping their hapless, clueless followers into a frenzy every few months or so. Seriously, dudes- even a mentally challenged dog stops falling for the 'fake frisbee throw' after a while. We're going on six years of OH MY GAWD OBAMA'S COMING FOR OUR GUNS BUY UP ALL THE AMMO whenever the gun manufacturers want some extra dough and a good laugh at your expense (literally). I guess what it boils down to is that our president is actually the Worst Kenyan Muslim Commie Socialist Pinko Treehugging Dictator Hitler Ever.

Sigh. That's OK. I've still got almost a month of "THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS" and "JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON" ahead of me. There is clearly not enough rum in my nog.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Turkey Day Gift To You

Yanno what really kicks off a holiday season?

Being horrified by the sight of gingerbread peeps in the candy aisle along with the candy canes and peppermint kisses. That's always a shocker that says, "Thank god the licorice black cat peeps are gone but DAMN".

Other than that, though.

Betwixt and between the holiday preparations and cleaning and shopping and stressing, the best little way to kick off a holiday season is with a fun, quick, 'escape the overload of cheerful psychosis' book to read. Especially if it's something you can read in one good sitting- long enough to get away for a bit, but not so long that the kids are able to actually pound the door down with their strident yet pitiful cries of "We're hungry! We're bored! The cat puked on the kitchen counter!"

And what better way to finish the year than with the start of a new series of books?

Introducing the introductory introduction to a new heroine- a little bolder than my usual character, a little wyrder and a lot more sexy. And the story line is a little more edgy and more readily points pointy fingers at the actual perpetrators of our societal collapse.

Spoiler alert- it ain't the fault of the 'gun-grabbing godless libtards'. I know. Shocking. Unless you're not deluded in the first place.

Anyhoo- hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Ward said he needed smelling salts, but I think he meant it in a good way.

"Wyrd Justice- Weekends in Dystopia/Book One- Hammered! Pounding it Home for Liberty"
"Butch lowered the Estwing, and turned around slowly- holding his breath as though afraid she’d be gone…just a figment of his imagination.
And yet, there she was- even more beautiful than her reflection. Butch cleared his throat, raised one eyebrow nonchalantly while his eyes played over her from top to bottom and back again…slowly and appreciatively.
Her hair wasn’t so much a color as an aurora of copper and bronze and gold; it moved on its own in undulating waves of sensuality. Brown eyes flecked with green nestled on either side of a seriously straight yet dainty nose and over full soft lips that were devoid of artificial color or moisture, yet pulsed with sexuality. Butch wanted those lips- wanted to feel them slowly exploring every inch of his body and his jeans were suddenly too tight for him.
She was outstandingly fit and muscular, yet soft and supple and just a few inches shorter than he was. Her kid leather vest laced just to the top of her lace camisole. Breasts rising and falling with her slow steady breathing showed only a dew of perspiration; just enough to intensify and carry her scent of leather, and sunshine, and Black Orchid to him where it wafted up into his sinuses and took root in his brain- where he’d never forget it.
Her jeans were cut low and there was just an inch of perfect flesh between the bottom of the vest and the top of the faded and form-fitting Levi’s.
Her feet were bare; her toenails polished blood red in direct contrast to her fingernails, which were as unadorned as her lips- on her ring finger of her right hand was a band of silver set with a single moonstone. She wore no other jewelry.
He was accustomed to being met with blushing breathlessness or offended surprise after his predatory inventories, and was taken slightly aback to lift his eyes and meet her unwavering and slightly amused gaze.
Their eyes locked for one earth-shattering second and then she was gone."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ho Ho Hold Up a Minute...

"So...what happened between the two of you?"

People ask me that question quite often when they find out not only am I not a Christian, but I don't believe in any Supreme Being at all.

Because it hasn't always been this way. I was raised up Lutheran and taught Sunday School for years. I was a good practicing Christian who spent the few weeks between the birth of my first two born and their baptisms in mortal (if mostly veiled) terror that something would happen to them and they'd be sent to hell...because they would die unbaptized.

I'm over that now. Alec is completely free of any contact with holy water.

And that's it in a nutshell.

Over time I just got over the whole religion thing.

There wasn't a defining moment when I dramatically shook my fist at the heavens and denounced the god of my family. No pit of despair that I wallowed in and then determined that There Is No God. Just a slow progression towards...adulthood.

Think about all the terminology associated with the American Christian religion- God's children, Our Father, sheep who need a shepherd...all that stuff that doesn't allow us to grow up and take responsibility for our own lives and the direction they may take.

Of course, there's the whole 'free will' thing, which sort of negates the 'being a sheep' thing, but that's the beauty and mystery of the bible, right?

That's also part of it- the book was written by many different men over many generations and it's not cohesive. At all. But instead of saying, "We piecemealed this together- chew it up and it should taste like Faith", the more fundamental Christians are all about literalism. As in, "The bible is literally word for word the word of god". Which is ridiculous.

Because there's a huge difference between Faith and Blind Faith.

Blind Faith caused the holocaust and every other atrocity mankind has been clever enough to conjure up.

You say, "God works in mysterious ways" and I say, "Shit just happens. Life is a crap shoot".

I like things to be as stable as possible because life is by nature unstable and impossible.

So when Ward would be in the cancer hospital getting better and I heard, "AMEN! To God go the glory! God is so good!" and then sometimes minutes later Ward would be in grave danger of not ever leaving the hospital and I heard, "God works in mysterious ways..." I would not accept that. Because that attitude was demeaning and non-helpful.

If Ward got better it was because of his system and the treatments working together as they were supposed to, and if he got knocked on his ass again something went wonky in that physical actual combination and environment.

To think that there is a man in the sky with the equivilent of a voo doo doll and who randomly stabs needles into it for no damn good reason other than to watch the puny humans either lavish praise on him for allowing them to live or to cower in fear at his wrath is creepy and offensive.

So no. I'm not angry at god. To be angry at someone you have to actually believe they are there.

We were discussing Santa the other day and the wheres and whens of when our kids stopped believing in him.

None of my kids had a problem with it- they just saw holes in the whole concept and figured it out for themselves. The two older ones were going to school so had lots of other kids to bounce this stuff off of and never brought me into it. One day they believed, and the next? Adults.

And it's OK. We're all OK. Life is not horrible and pointless; it's beautiful and precious.

We do good not because there's some man in the sky (or at the North Pole) watching us and taking notes; we're good because it's the right thing to do.

Ward being here after all he's been through IS a miracle- a miracle of science and technology and the miracle of courage and tenacity and deep abiding human love.

God didn't do that stuff- it happened because everything worked out to make it happen. Good things and good people line up just right and good things happen. And they don't line up just right because god orchestrates it- they'd line up that way anyway. That's why sometimes good things happen to bad people.

Bad things trip you up when you least expect them not because you're taking the lord's name in vain or not attending church or not praying hard enough but because sometimes shit just happens.

Presents appear under the tree not because some old fat guy trespasses after stalking children all year but because their parents love them and make financial sacrifices to see the smiles on their little faces.

Seriously- which of those scenarios is what you want to believe in?

The bible is a book written by men to explain things they had no explanation for and to make sense of things that seemed random and senseless to them. They did the best they could with the knowledge they had. It was (and is) also a pretty handy way to elicit obedience from large quantities of people.

Like telling children who are all hyped up about Christmas on cookies and wish lists that they need to simmer down and behave because Santa is watching them.

Same concept.

So what happened between god and me?

Not a thing. I just grew up and stopped believing in him. Like Santa.

When I was 4 I believed in God and Santa.

When I was 14 I believed in God.

When I was 24 I believed in God and my kids believed in God and Santa.

When I was 34 I was questioning God as my kids questioned Santa.

By the time I was 44 both God and Santa were out of my life for good. Literally.

At 54 I'm still more than OK with that.

My apologies to both God and Santa if that hurts their feelers...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Driving Me Insane

No, I did not learn to drive in a Flintstones car, but I've been driving a while. Thirty four years, give or take.

Yanno what makes me crazy?

Feeling something poking my foot from the inside of my sock and taking the sock off eleventy seven times to see what the hell it is- even turning the sock inside out and glaring at it from that side, feeling every inch and not finding anything, putting the sock back on and *poke* there it is again till I take off both socks and toss 'em into the hamper figuring whatever it is will make its way into someone else's socks down the drain and into the universe. That makes me crazy.

But that's not what I'm talking about here.

It makes me crazy to have someone else tell me how to drive.

It makes me INSANE to have someone not even in my goddamn car and who's not only not aware of where I'm going, but who's never seen me before and will never see me again TELL ME HOW TO FREAKING DRIVE MY CAR.

I am speaking of the 'Come on- I have evaluated the situation and you are safe to proceed now, Little Lady' motion that men make to women drivers. I have never seen a man do it to another man and I've never seen a woman do it at all. Ever.

You know what I'm talking about.

Sitting in the driveway of a parking lot and waiting to turn out into traffic there will be this guy waiting to turn in. Doesn't maatter if you're turning right (which would affect what he does exactly ZERO PERCENT) or left, this man will make sure you know when HE thinks you should be turning.

Seriously. If I'm turning right, scratch your balls or something- it doesn't matter to you when the hell I turn.

If I'm turning left, you have no idea where I'm going. Do I need to get directly into the right turn lane from the parking lot after I turn left? Where am I going? How good is the pickup of my vehicle? I fucking promise you I've taken these things into consideration. I am not just stopped there...paralyzed by fear and uncertainty...just WAITING for a BIG STRONG MAN to tell me when it's SAFE for me to turn this big honking rolling pile of possible death out into scary horribles traffic. THANK GOD YOU FINALLY GOT HERE!

And I know you're doing it out of the kind and chivalrous nature of your heart, since I know (and I'm assuming you also know) that even if I'm turning left, I have a stop sign here between the parking lot and the road, and you don't have one in the turn lane meaning you have the right of way, Good Sir. And, ummm...your ridiculous big-ass small-penis-compensating truck is obscuring my view of oncoming traffic anyway so TURN INTO THE FUCKING PARKING LOT ALREADY I HAVE PLACES TO GO.

Honestly, I have great capability (some have even called it a 'gift') towards passive aggressiveness. I know. You're shocked. Shocked and stunned. Shut up.

If there's no one behind me, I will wait out Mr. Helpful. Flat pretend not even to see him, gaze to either side of him, maybe even up into the sky for a moment or three. If I'm feeling especially prone to reinforcing his perception of female drivers, I may even pull down the mirror and apply lipstick. One time I even got out my CD case and opened it up in full view...perusing the contents and trying to decide between Aretha and the Dixie Chicks while Mr. Confederate Flag pickup was having apoplexy in the turn lane. Don't judge me.

And these guys don't even have to have, yanno...a vehicle wrapped around 'em to tell women how to drive.

Last Thursday I was coming up on a red stop light at a busy intersection. There were already several cars stopped in each lane. A man was walking across the road (six lane major road) and, there being no one behind me, I slowed down to let him cross in front of my car. Dude stopped in the lane next to me and MOTIONED ME TO COME AHEAD. Because apparently, even tho pedestrians have the right of way, (I can't even finish his thought process on this one...the light was RED, I wasn't missing anything by letting him cross in front of me. What the hell?)

Yesterday I was backing out of a parking place and a man came around to the passenger side of his truck (so between his truck and my side of my car) and MOTIONED ME TO COME AHEAD. This is a tiny lot with less than ten spaces. I could SEE the entire area, and nothing was moving except his little traffic cop director's hand.

Seriously? It's like they think we need their guidance and permission to move our vehicles because "Women drivers __________".

Here's the thing, guys.

I've been driving a long time.

I've been in four wrecks and none were my fault. Three of those wrecks were caused by men.

So, thanks for your superior judgments and all, but I think I'm good without ya'll.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Congratulations- You Are Free to Play in the Street, Now

Lets get this out of the way right now, because there are people who would love to pounce on a parenting analogy to scream, "THE PRESIDENT IS NOT MY DAD!!! HE CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!! NANNY STATE NANNY STATE NANNY STATE!!!"

So just don't, m-kay?

I'm extremely disappointed in the 'Keep Your Insurance' law that was signed by the House yesterday. Because here's what happened- here's what's been happening all along with the ACA (that's Obamacare, for those who only watch FOX and read World Net Daily).

Because the majority of Americans are aware of how broken and inaccessible and totally fucked up our current for-profit health care system is in this country.


No, I don't lie. America DOES have the best health care in the world. Top hospitals and doctors and technology- we know that, We are intimate friends with MD Anderson in Houston- best cancer hospital in the world. There's a huge difference between 'health care' and 'health care access'. Because at MD Anderson, if you have good, name brand insurance- Blue Cross, Aetna, can be treated and cared for. If you have sub-par insurance (even with a name brand company)or no insurance at all, the amount you need to present in advance at the business office for your first week of consultations (not treatments or drugs or scans, mind you- consultations) is $28,000. No checks. Everything else? Pay as you go, in advance.

And we know that, too- for a fact, because 2 years into Ward being an active treated patient there, he was fired for 'missing too much time off for that cancer thing' and even though he was immediately approved for Medicare disability (you do NOT need a lawyer to get approved- go to the Social Security office first) once you're approved for disability, you must wait a year for Medicare to start up. A year. So he had no insurance for a year. Eight months into that year, he needed a scan because there was a suspicious spot right where his 'locally aggressive and problematic' cancer had been. We called for an appointment, assuming that because we were already current patients, had had insurance for all previous treatments and were GUARANTEED insurance in a few more months they'd offer us some sort of payment plan.

No dice. Payment up front- over $5,000 please. No checks.

When I asked the chickie babe in the business office what we were going to do because we don't HAVE $5,000 lying around, she asked when Ward's Medicare was going to start and I told her October. This was in May. She thought a minute, then said, "Well...he probably won't DIE before that, right?"

Do not speak to me of American Health Care.

*No- he didn't die before October- our loving friends and family kicked in (again) and we presented cash the morning of the scan. Then we had to WAIT over an hour until the business office posted it and UNLOCKED THE ACCOUNT for the lab. I shit you not.

But I digress.

But I have to because otherwise I'm accused of being a sheeple who listens to all that liberal media and eats up everything the Kenyan Usurper dishes out. Which is bullshit. Both the assumption and the fact that I have to justify why I feel how I feel and even when presented with example after example about what a REAL death panel looks like (it looks like a chickie babe in the business office, it looks like a 'treatment/medication not covered by your policy' letter or phone call but it does NOT look like Universal health care) people STILL look at me like I'm lying to them. They'd quicker believe Rush or Sean or Bill before someone they know and see every single day.

And then they ask me, "Why are you so angry and frustrated?"

I'm angry and frustrated because a portion of the American people are fighting tooth and nail against their own interests. They SAY they'd rather 'die a free man' than 'submit to socialized medicine'. You know what I think?

I think they're full of shit. Oh, there are always going to be people so delusional that they'll let their kids die from things that are an easy fix because 'god says so'. But the vast majority of the vocal minority that say they'd rather die than get FUCKING MEDICAL CARE if it's coming from the 'evil government'? Full. Of. Shit. On accounta they really only mean that when it's about other people. When THEY or their families get sick or hurt it's a whole different story, baby.

I'm angry and frustrated that the original ACA had no public option- you see there IS no such thing as 'Obamacare' as in, "Now I'm FORCED to sign up for Obamacare". What the ACA does do is tell the insurance companies that they may not discriminate against, yanno...sick people or people who are in a group more likely to need medical care- children, old people, women. They have to take everyone. The website is a warehouse- to shop around for the best plan for your family.

What the hell? People who will make seventy-eleven stops to get the best buy on bread, ice cream and canned veggies are pissed off that they have to spend some time price-shopping their own health care? Shut up.

And glitches? There is not a program or even a product that comes out perfectly and without glitches. Good lord, every time a new gadget comes out there are glitches and people get pissed but accept that shit's gonna happen and wait for the bugs to work out. Get a fucking grip.

I'm angry as hell that the asinine GOP keeps poking that bear and angry as hell that the President got up and said, "You know- I should've made sure that bear was magical and perfect, even though I'm not an IT guy, I'm the freaking president of the bad". Bullshit.

I'm angry and frustrated and so very sad that people who have truly crappy 'insurance policies' are being goaded (again with the GOP) into clutching those useless-as-tits-on-a-boar-hog policies to their patriotic breasts and fighting like crazy to keep them even though if they actually get sick or hurt those policies will do NOTHING.


See above about what the ACA actually is. Simmer down and look at what subsidies you are qualified for because of the ACA, know that 'fines for not being insured' come to about $90 per year and are uninforceable. I'm very sorry if your home is only worth $90, dude.

Also, those policies do exist. I moved here to Texas and had no insurance for the first time in my life. So I found what I could afford and it was total crap. Low premium, but no coverage at all. It was a 'reimburse' policy- I'd have to pay up front for whatever I needed and IF they decided it was worthy, they'd pay me back a PORTION of it. These are rampant and being sold by the big names as well as the small names and they are the worst type of scam. They are also the vast majority of policies being cancelled because they don't actually qualify as meaningful insurance. Get it, now?

Here are some more fun facts for you-

-Once you choose your plan (and you don't have to get through the website- signing up by phone has been easy and quick according to people I actually know. In person- not those people on the tv) and see what subsidies you'll get and what you'll actually be gaining- seriously- have your current policy in front of you to compare, then get back to me. ***Not with stories of 'people that were on FOX News saying their premiums are now $6,000 a month, either- I want YOUR experience, honest and true. You just might be pleassntly surprised. Don't worry- the president will still be black- you always have that to fall back on.

-About that website. Every state is supposed to have their own, yanno. And states with their own are substantially less glitchy than the big national one (less traffic/less glitches- even *I* know that). If your state doesn't have its own exchange, that means your state has also refused the FREE expansion of Medicaid- that little thing in the law that will ensure that those who are too poor to pay their premiums (lots of people are too poor to afford quality insurance- the answer to that should NOT be 'here- have this crappy policy', the answer should be something like...the ACA) (Actually the lasting answer is to go to universal health care but we're OBVIOUSLY not advanced and intelligent enough going down the slippery slope to whatever hell THAT leads to- RIGHT, SWEDEN???) So if you have no state website your premiums will probably be high. That's not the ACA or its Satan Obama Author you need to blame, it's your selfish bastard GOP governor. Because every single state that is denying FREE help for their uninsured citizens has a Republican Governor sitting in their capitol. A Republican governor who has government health care, by the way, so no skin off THEIR noses.

But these are all old frustrations.

Today's frustration and anger is watching the president say "I'm sorry I lied to you". Because he DIDN'T lie. DOES he lie? Of course he does. He's a politician. I think he's basically a good guy and I wouldn't have his job for all the cocoa in the world, but he's done some things I'd like to slap him upside the head for, and some things that I believe are just wrong, wrong, wrong- things a Republican would do.

It's watching him say, "With the 'Keep your Insurance' law, you'll be able to keep your policy another year".

Here's what that did.

It's allowing people to screw themselves for another year with do-nothing 'insurance' policies. But that's freedom, baby- we are as free to be as stupid as we wanna be, right?

More importantly- and tucked into the back end of the speech and articles is what it does for the insurance companies.

Because the ACA made (past tense) the insurance companies stop selling the crappy policies and actually cover shit. Made them stop denying people for getting sick or hurt or having pre-existing conditions. They can now keep doing all of that- all of it, for another year. It gave the insurance companies another year of fucking over desperate people who cannot afford good insurance. Because not only can current policies continue...they can continue to sell new ones. New crappy policies.

And they screamed for it. They demanded it. The people demanded it.

So congratulations, people who have sorry-ass policies. If and when you need them, you will realize that you should've burned your premium money, even tho it was less than a Ben Franklin a month. Should've flushed it down the toilet. Should've spent it on beer and cigarettes. Because your policy will do squat to help you.

And I'm pre-emptively frustrated and pissed because when people realize this, they'll holler about how the president isn't protecting the 'Merikan people because he 'let' the insurance companies screw them over and why didn't he do something???

So what should he have said?

He should've said NO.

He should've held firm.

He should've told people clutching their shit-policies, "Just look at the exchanges- see what they can do for you- it's going to be OK- because what you have right now is like playing in traffic- I don't want to see the American people playing in traffic and here's a way out of the street".

But he didn't. Because he's human and he's frustrated and angry, too,

So he said, "Fine. Congratulations- you are free to play in the street for another year. Have fun with that".

Yanno what? Just go. Go play in the street. But be sure there's a nice big semi truck coming because if you just get hurt getting hit by a Kia, your insurance will not cover your injuries. And then you'll be in the emergency room mooching off the rest of us RESPONSIBLE Americans who have insurance.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Camo Confusion

I grew up in Wisconsin and migrated to East Texas almost 20 years ago. Even though most of my relations are of the fishing persuasion and not the hunting persuasion, I am not a stranger to the Hunting Culture.

I understand the concept of 'camo'. I can see (or can't see, because that's the point, isn't it?) the benefit of 'breaking up your silhouette' so the deer/turkey/hog/bear/antelope/pheasant/ducks/whatever can't see you right quick.

You're looking for a, "Hey, Vern! What's that moving shadowy broken-up-silhouette over yonder? Looks like maybe a hun..." *BANG* moment of confused consternation from your prey. Just long enough to squeeze the trigger and bring home dinner.

Speaking of Trigger, up north I had a friend with three chestnut horses (also known as sorrel to those quarter horse people). Every hunting season she'd get out the blaze orange spray paint and write H O R S E in big orange letters on both sides of her babies...just to make sure.

Sort of anti-camo, that blaze orange. If I remember correct, hunters are all to wear just a bit o'the orange on their persons so other hunters don't, yanno- shoot 'em dead for thinking they might just be camo-wearing wildlife. Because, "Hey! Somthin's movin' in them there bushes- I'm gonna shoot it!" is totally OK. It just takes so loooooong to be sure that what you're shooting at is your target. Because the beer back at the lease shack won't drink itself, yanno.

Actually, 100% of the hunters I know would never do that. But there are some who would...hence the bit o'the orange.

And here's where I get confused.

Because you wear the orange to stand out, and the camo to blend in.

So how come every damn thing at Gander Mountain is done up in camo?

Regular camo, mountain camo, desert camo, winter wonderland white camo, even freaking pink camo (for sissy woods, I guess).

And not just pants and shirts, boots and hoods, gloves and mittens.

We're talkin' underdrawers and bathing suits, jammies and dinnerware, actual life-sized trucks and dog collars.

I can see (or not, because again...the point) being proud of being a hunter. But there are some items I have a problem with being camo.

Wallets, flashlights and vehicles.

First of all...why?

Are you so damn lazy you're not even getting out of the truck to shoot something? You wanna just park it and shoot from the open window while listening to Hannity?

And how about when you're sitting in your deer stand, and suddenly from over the crest of the little hill there, a huge trophy buck regally minces his way in your direction.

What's the first thing you do?


No. The flashlight and wallet will remain in your ALREADY CAMO PANTS POCKET until you either shoot the deer or he bounds away flashing that pretty white tail.

And here's what I don't understand. I've spent years hiking and living in the woods. Most of my life and I'm pretty old.

If I'm out in the woods and been hiking around a pathless maze of Mother Nature's living room, I'm gonna want all the help I can get to find my ride out of there quickly and with a minimum of cussing and panic. I want to see the truck.

If I'm out in the woods and I drop my flashlight and/or my wallet, the LAST thing I want is for the damn things to blend in and not be seen. I WANT to find my flashlight and wallet if I drop them. I want to find them quickly and with a minimum of cussing and panic. Those babies should be bright, glow in the dark orange.

And speaking of babies.

There are racks and racks of...camo baby clothes.

Think about that.

If there's one thing I want to find quickly and with a minimum of panic and cussing even MORE than my truck and my flashlight and wallet


You know what I saw at Tractor Supply tonight?

Blaze orange toilet paper.

So when you're taking a shit in the woods and go to wipe your ass, another hunter doesn't think it's a pretty white tail twitching in the bushes and literally shoot your ass.

So trucks and flashlights and wallets and babies need to be invisible.

Bare shitting asses must flash bright orange like a glorious Halloween pumpkin.

Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather see trucks, flashlights, wallets and babies.

Guess it's a Hunter Thing.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Devil Made Me Do It

So the Pew Research Center did a little study on stuff people believe in and the results were absolutely mixed.

While it seems that there is an increase in people who have shed their traditional religions (whew), it's troubling to me that there is also an increase in people who believe that a person can literally be possessed by a demon. That the largest increase is among young people aged 18-25 is more than puzzling, it's bizarre.

I mean, what the hell? *Pun most definitely intended*



Now, let me be the first to admit that I believe in many things, both seen and unseen.

I believe in the power of energy- to heal, to lift up, to strengthen, and yes even to harm.

Energy takes many forms- thoughts both positive and negative, spells and curses, prayer- all focused and directed energy.

I believe in lots of things not obvious to most of us mere mortals busily wallowing in our own unimportant dramas- from beings on a different plane than ours who look like ghosts or aliens or angels to other corporeal critters like bigfoot who choose not to be seen because life is easier when the fussy, crabby critters who call themselves human don't know you're there.

I don't believe in any one god.

I believe in spirit. Ours collectively and individually.

But demons?

No way, Jose.

Because in spite of energy and in spite of all the other things that share this existence with us, each of us is still our own person, with our own power of being and who inhabits our carbon-based shell is up to us, not some outsider looking for a soul-sofa to crash.

Some people call it Free Will.

I call it science.

If your own energy (call it a soul if you like) is taking up your body, it's full. Nothing else can come push it out.

Displacement, baby.

Here's what I don't get.

How can you believe in Free Will and still believe in demons?

How can there be a god who must be begged to pay attention to you (unless he's smiting you) but demons can prance in through your nostrils and into your brain?

Of course I believe in the existence of evil. But evil isn't its own person anymore than good is its own person. (And why don't people get possessed of angels? Hmmm?)

Those things come from within each and every one of us.

We cannot be forced to be evil any more than we can be forced to be good.

We may be coerced to ACT evil or good, but to actually BE those things? Only from our own selves.

So to the young people who are backing away from organized religion while still literally believing in the bogeyman... close. You're so close to being grownups.

Question everything. Depend on each other, not on a book that pits people against each other.

We're all we've got. Really.

This life is all we've got- even if we believe in reincarnation, this life is all we have for now, and all we'll remember.

There's no power in the sky or from the pits of imaginary hell that can turn you into anything against your will.

Free Will.

Life is precious and we're only here for the blink of an eye.

Live it freely. Love each other. Help those who can't help you not out of visions of heaven or fear of hell but because it's the right thing to do.

Be not afraid of the dark, for it holds nothing but starlight and harbors nothing but restful slumber.

The monsters are all in our heads.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Shall Not Be Infringed

Tired. So tired.

We've been traveling and running logging hundreds and hundreds of miles and we're not leaving Texas. From Houston to Denton and back and forth and back and forth we're running from homeschool co-op to MD Anderson and back again and repeat. Of course in between there's still the 4 classes I'm taking and work and home.

Then the time changed yesterday and finally in a last act of revolt my body said, "Fuck it" and succumbed to the head cold that Alec has been coughing our way for the last two weeks.

Because I hate the time change. I hate it getting dark mid-afternoon. I don't care if it's dark in the morning- I'm not awake yet and my eyeballs appreciate the lovely dimmed light of pre-dawn.

I got up today and fed the critters then crawled back under the covers till after 1pm. At that point I did get up, shower, and head to town to do what I absolutely had to do- post office, pay a bill, feed store, work for a bit and most importantly, the "MOM- there's no FOOD in the house!" run to the grocery store.

Of course that's untrue. There is plenty of food in the house. Just not what the boys want to eat.

Did I mention that it's cold and rainy? And that we still haven't quite gotten to the home improvement part that says, "pour a load of gravel and some stepping stones where the mire of goose-grease-slick red clay is now...right where the car gets parked"? No? Well, that just added to the charm of the entire day.

I came home, baked chocolate chip cookie bars for Alec and made spaghetti, italian sausage and garlic bread for dinner and came back into the bedroom to be pitiful and snurfly again.

The TV is on, as it always is. I don't watch it, but Ward does.

And I can't help but hear it. Can't help but hear that there's another gunman in another mall...again.

Over the weekend, of course, there was a gunman at LAX.

Those are just the 'big ones' that get the TV coverage. On average, 90 Americans lose their lives to gunfire.

Per Day.


And yet, nothing is being done. Not a damn thing.

All we hear is, "Oh- there are 300 million guns in the US- gun deaths are a tiny percentage of deaths in America! You can't take our guns...NONE of our guns! The Second Amendment SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!"

Shall not be infringed.

That phrase that the asshole at the Sandy Hook hearings screamed over the grieving father's testimony.

Shall not be infringed.

Even though the majority- by a huge amount- of Americans want stricter gun laws, these people believe that owning any fucking gun they want to is their right- they parade around in public with them loaded; a sick public relations spectacle that bullies and mocks and then whines, "Why don't you LIKE us???"

Shall not be infringed.

You know what else shouldn't be infringed upon?

A woman's right to what happens to her own body.

How about that one? "Oh, NO! We know it's her body but there is another 'person' involved! We fight for the right of the innocent to live!"

But not the innocent people who are killed by guns every single day. Ninety of them. Already-born and loved and walking around living- now dead by gunshot. Those don't matter, I guess.

You know what else shouldn't be infringed upon?

The right of children to be fed, the right of people who need help to get it- the right to food and shelter and dignity.

How about that one? "Oh, NO! There are some people who abuse The Welfare! We need to make the social safety net so snug and so tiny and so airtight that only those who are really DESERVING get our hard-earned tax dollars!"

Really. Yanno, changing up the gun laws to make it more difficult for people to get weapons that kill people every single day- universal background checks, mandatory training and registration- that would help ensure that only those who are really DESERVING have these dangerous-by-design tools.

You know what else shouldn't be infringed upon?

Every American's right to vote.

How about that one? "Oh, NO! There are some people who vote a dozen times in the same election! VOTER FRAUD!!! It's the only possible excuse for liberal Democrats to win any election anywhere!"

Except voter fraud is almost non-existent. In Texas, where we are now under the most stringent voter ID laws in the entire nation, there were exactly 18 cases of voter the last decade. That's less than 2 a year. Or .005 per day.

So in Texas we've enacted the most stringent voter ID laws in the entire nation to stop .005 cases of voter fraud per day.

Meanwhile, 90 people in the US die every day by gunshot.

Texas has 26 million people, and a gun death rate of 3 per 100,000. That's 780 gun deaths per year.

780- almost the population of our town, every year- dead. That's 2 Texans per day, every single day. A horrifying amount of them children whose parents leave guns just lying around loaded "in case a bad guy breaks in". I got news for ya, Bubba- you're the bad guy and you just killed your child. Congratulations. Feel safer now?

But we're not worried about that. We're worried about .005 voter fraud.

Maybe it's because I'm crabby about losing an hour of daylight for the next 6 months, or because I have a head cold, or because I'm really tired of driving.

But I've got news for the Second Amendment crowd.

I'm sick and fucking tired of only your rights being sacred.

There are other people in this country, yanno. And we all have rights, too.

So unless you're willing and able to take up your goddamn precious arms to protect the rights of ALL Americans-

-to be there defending women going to Planned Parenthood for their annual physicals (fun fact- most of the protests and fires and bombings and threats at Planned Parenthood clinics are at locations that DON'T EVEN DO ABORTIONS, YOU DUMBASSES)

-to be there stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline from snaking a fetid trail across the nation for exactly zero gain to the average American and billions of dollars for overseas companies

-to demand real social change that will lessen poverty, lighten the load of the oppressed and allow for equality for ALL Americans, not just those who are white, or Christian, or straight

Unless you are willing to do all of the above without stipulation or question, you are merely a selfish asshole who wants your toys. You have absolutely no intention of EVER doing anything remotely resembling what you believe the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment for- to protect the freedoms the other Amendments allowed for.

Unless it's the right to have your guns. Then you're all over it.

And about that.

When asked why you need all those armaments, if you answer at all without getting all buggy-eyed and screaming, "Because it's my GOD GIVEN RIGHT to own 'em!!!" what you'll generally say is, "To protect my family".

From who?

From the government? If something happens and 'the government' really does 'come for the guns and the little people' we're all shit out of luck anyway. They've got more, bigger, badder.

From terrorists? Please. Shut up.

Here's the bottom line.

You think you need your guns to protect yourself from other Americans.

Think about that. Other Americans.

Is there another country on the planet that arms itself so rabidly against their fellow citizens?

What if you took all the time and money and effort you spend on amassing your arsenal and instead direct it towards, I dunno...FIXING SOCIETY? Less poverty, more education, less corporate welfare, more support for the middle class.

I know, that's just crazy talk. Must be the cold medicine kicking in.

Ya'll just go on and gear up for the Zombie Apocalypse. Because that's some real shit there.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

And Another Thing...

...right after Rush was Sean Hannity.

I hate Sean Hannity. He is, if possible, even slimier and smugger and all-around ickier than Rush.

And that takes some doing.

But I listened, because we were still in traffic and I was still tired and needed the hatred-fueled adrenalin that having Sean Hannnity yammering in my ear would provide me.

Apparently, Sean had called the Obamacare phone number to see if he could get through last week. He did get through, pretty quickly, and he chatted with a woman who he said was "charming, patient and gracious" in answering all his questions. His words. Really.

The day after that show, the woman was fired from the private firm that takes the calls for Obamacare. They said they didn't want people talking to the media. So she called Hannity, who was interviewing her as I listened. Sean asked her if she'd signed anything to that effect and she said she didn't think so- that training was a one day affair and there were hundreds of people there.

Hannity apologized and said that it was never his intent to cause her any trouble and that he was going to write her a check for the amount that job would've paid her if she'd stayed at it a year. Came out to about $25,000.

I thought, "DAMN- Hannity is doing something NICE for someone?" and was suspicious.

He then asked her if she'd enjoyed that job and she said she had- that it was different from what she'd been used to doing and he asked what that was. Restaurant work, specifically fast food.

"Well, I'm going to do all I can to help you get back to work" and he appealed to all the affiliate stations in North Florida where she lives to let him know if they had an opening for her- even provided an email address to send replies to.

I thought, "DAMN- Hannity is doing something HELPFUL?" and was still leery.

But he was drifting dangerously close to being, I dunno...almost human.

Then someone called in from her local station and said they'd been looking for a phone answerer for one of the local talk shows- someone to be a sidekick of sorts, and she would fit right in there since she was absolutely at home and likable on air. Sean asked if it paid well. It does. If there were benefits. There are. If the hours would fit with her kids' schedules. They do.

I thought, "DAMN- there you go, baby! Your new start in life!" and was hopeful.

Then Hannity thanked the man and hung up. He reiterated to the rest of the world that what we were looking for is a RESTAURANT JOB for this woman- the stuff she'd been doing...

...even though she herself said she liked the phone work much better.

What the hell???

So if he gives the woman a pile of cash (which was generous) he then gets to define where she goes from this point?

Because the radio job sounds about 800% more upwardly mobile (and interesting) than another fast food job.

But, no. Hannity had it in his head that fast food is where she needed to be.

I give him credit for giving her the money. The rest of it? close. He missed being human by THAT much...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What the Hell is Wrong With People?

So I was driving home today.

We'd just spent 4 of the last 5 days at MD Anderson for tests and appointments and whatnot. Not consecutively- because of how the appointments had to fall we had a few on Monday, and one on Thursday, so we drove down Sunday and came home late Monday and drove down again yesterday and home today. Because it was cheaper to drive it twice than pay for an additional 2 nights in the hotel.

Fiscally sensible, emotionally and physically suicidal.

Therefore, I was fucking exhausted really tired when we left the hospital about 1pm today, so I turned on talk radio to keep me awake till we were halfway home and Ward and I would switch driving.

Now, we don't have any of that new-fangled satellite radio in the car, so we have to depend on AM stations.

There is no such thing as a liberal radio show on the AM stations. None. You gotcher Rush and yer Sean and yer Dr. Laura's and yer bible thumpers. That's the whole show.

Must be that Liberal-controlled media we're always hearing about...

Rush was on.

Now, I admit I listened to Rush years ago when I was a Republican, and even then Rush was ridiculous. My best friend and I would listen every day at work and it was basically a drinking game using whatever 'button-pushing' word he was into that week.

It was a very casual workplace.

Rush is still using 'button-pushing' words- today's was "Regime". As in "the Obama Regime". He used it a minimum of every five minutes. Just darling.

But that wasn't the highlight of the show.

The highlight was a caller who suggested that all the Dittoheads inundate the healthcare website and phone lines...just to mess them up even farther. Because it would be a complete hoot to make sure that no one who is really looking for health insurance options to get prove that Obamacare is a clusterfuck that can't even get beyond the initial phase.

Well, Rush admitted that as fun as that would be, it was unnecessary because it's probably being messed up on purpose to deceive the American people about how awful Obamacare will really be, so that it'll be too late by the time we all realize it, blah blah blah de blah.

But I wasn't really listening to that part.

Oh, ya- because it was all bullshit and smoke and mirrors and the ever-dependable Rush et al ploy of stating the exact opposite of the truth and then saying "Trust me!" But that's not what really upset me- I'm used to all that crap.

Maybe it was because we'd just spent days in the bowels of the cancer hospital...again.

Maybe it was because we've had over a decade of American Healthcare dictating our family life.

But the idea that anyone would think it would be 'a hoot' and justifiable; nay- patriotic behavior to willfully gum up the lines when there are literally millions of Americans who NEED medical care in a very real life or death way?

That's incomprehensible and reprehensible to me.

This sort of thing proves that conservatives are absolutely becoming callous and heartless bastards.

If this were a one-time deal, it would be bad enough but something that could be excused as 'an isolated incident'.

But it's not. It's rampant and pervasive and horrifying.

When discussing healthcare in this country with conservatives over the last decade, the not-so-subtle and important difference is this- if anyone in their families were to need medical care, I'd be right there demanding that they get it- offering to pay for it through higher taxes if necessary. Because it's a human right.

But reverse the scenario? They are very sorry, but will regretfully stand by while my family dies.

That's not an America I'll settle for.

I guess I'm just a shitty patriot.

To read more about my family's decade-plus in the healthcare system- with insurance, without insurance and on Medicare- please read my journal, "Cancerdance- a love story", available signed from me, or on Kindle or Nook. Full of my sunny disposition and colorful language, it's got the best real-life hero ever born as the main character- my knight in shining armor, my strength, my anchor- my husband.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Guess I'm Just Not Cut Out for Management

I get a little worked up sometimes. I'll be the first to admit it.

Most things I've learned to just let roll off my back, but some things get caught right under my shoulder blades- that spot that's impossible to scratch.

We had to read a little missive called "Who Moved My Cheese?" for one of the management courses I'm taking and the assignment was given to us like this would be a good book to read if you were a manager. Yea verily, the first quarter of the book is accolades from CEO's all over the world singing the praises of this little gem.

Except it's awful.

Not just the message and supposed lesson itself; I mean it's written like a 3rd grader crayoned down instructions on not eating paste for a bunch of kindergarteners. Wait- that would've been more instructional and interesting.

Anyhoo, the assignment after reading the book was to answer the following questions about it. I'll be getting my graded paper back tonight. My guess is that there will be no grade on it at all, just a little note saying I should expect Homeland Security's "Socialist Wagon" to come pick me up any minute.

1. “Analyze why organizations around the world would buy millions of these books for their employees”- I honestly didn’t like the book and agree with every bad review on Amazon (I purchased the Kindle version). There are as many bad reviews as good reviews but I tried to read it with an open mind. The story is not a bad thing, but the pre-story chapter and the after-story chapter were actually offensive to me- very poorly written and just blatantly pounded the message home in every angle possible, like the reader would never figure it out for themselves even though the book is touted as a ‘something to ponder and learn from’ fable.
The pre-story chapter was a pre-emptive statement that said, “If you don’t get anything out of this story- you need it the most”. The story itself is only 20 pages out of the 94 pages of the book, and while it’s mostly benign, I found the following passage truly awful-

“Why should we change?” Hem asked. “We’re Littlepeople. We’re special. This sort of thing should not happen to us. Or if it does, we should at least get some benefits”.
“Why should we get benefits?” Haw asked.
“Because we’re entitled,” Hem claimed.
“Entitled to what?” Haw wanted to know.
“We’re entitled to our Cheese”.
“Why?” Haw asked.
“Because, we didn’t cause this problem, “Hem said, “Somebody else did and we should get something out of it”.
Haw suggested, “Maybe we should simply stop analyzing the situation so much and go find some New Cheese”?
“Oh no”, Hem argued. “I’m going to get to the bottom of this”.

The words ‘entitled’ and ‘benefits’ are there for a reason. That’s not accidental.

In the given context- that of Enron and other corporations that went bankrupt- the workers ARE ‘entitled’ to their benefits. No other business relationship would allow such a breach of contract other than the employer/employee one. Will their suppliers get paid? Sure- they’ll sue to lay claim to the owners’ assets. Will the taxes still be collected? Yes, of course they will or the owners will (or should) be jailed.

Example- in 2008/2009 the clinic I manage was extremely strapped for cash due to the miscalculations of the owners regarding the stock market. There were multiple times I held back my own paycheck till the following weekend (our busiest times) to be sure everyone else’s paychecks cleared the bank. I had made a compact with the owners that I could and would run their clinic without asking them for additional out-of-pocket funds, and as a clinic we had made a compact with the employees to pay them for their work on a certain day of the month. Both of these promises needed to be kept. It was my job to make it work- not to ask the owners for more money, or the employees to go without pay.

Honestly, I believe the reason so many corporations buy millions of these is to ‘gently ‘ inform their employees, “Too bad, so sad- don’t ‘overanalyze’ this- just make other arrangements for your health care, retirement, or even your employment- nothing personal…change is exciting!”. It’s a pass for them to behave badly without taking responsibility for actions they’re causing in direct opposition to their compact with their employees.

That’s probably not what I’m supposed to get out of this, right?

2. “How does this reflect on workers losing their pension funds?” It very nicely blames the victims. Even IF they could’ve seen ‘the writing on the wall’ regarding the companies’ financial health, they had a compact with their employers to give X number of hours for X amount of pay and benefits. The ones who needed to change were the employers- every course I’ve been taking regarding management tells us to take care of the employees- without them the company cannot operate. Employees who are empowered to do their jobs and who feel valued will care for the business. To have your entire workforce always looking for other opportunities in case this one turns out to be lying and/or temporary does not make for a secure and productive workforce. Why should they behave with ethics and morals when those in charge tell them flat-out, “Don’t put all your eggs in our basket”?

The main problem is the entire premise of the book is based on the Littlepeople just stumbling upon the cheese. They claim it, use it and eat it without actually working for it. This has zero to do with anyone losing their pension funds. It is in effect saying, “You all just show up to work and we pay you for that- what you’ve done for the company means exactly nothing- there is no value to your labor.”

3. “What would I do if I were not afraid?” I guess I’m doing it. In the big picture, I’m bettering myself and positioning myself in case of a change- yes: In case my husband dies of his health problems and I need to support our son on my own. That’s an unavoidable change and I would surely be angry about it and never emotionally recover, but on the outside I would roll with it like I have many lesser health-related changes. Change caused by mismanagement accidental or on purpose should NOT be tolerated, no matter how Little the People.

So, I read the book on the way home from Missouri last night in the car and am typing this with 3.5 hours of sleep in me. It may come across as pointier than normal, but the feeling and intent are 100% sincere.

On the upside- she's loved all my PowerPoint presentations. I am a PowerPoint Ninja.

A Socialist PowerPoint Ninja.

Friday, October 18, 2013

So It's Come To This

In between work and home and family and school I'm writing a new story.

It's a little different from my other stories.

Not the main character- still a woman.

Not the theme- still individuals having to deal with whatever Life hands out whether that's cancer, homelessness, financial collapse of society or solar storm (you now know the themes of my other stories).

This one is a little more survivalist, a little more dark and a lot more...carnal.

Completely tasteful. Of course. Trust me. Working title of this one is "Hammered- Pounding it Home for Liberty".

See? Totally tasteful.

Please enjoy the Prologue. Hope it leaves you breathless for more.


Fumbling in the darkened smoke-filled guts of what used to be civilization, Butch instinctively found what he was looking for; years of familiarity, use and muscle memory served him well and his hand closed gently yet urgently around what he needed most.

Closing his eyes and focusing inward, Butch let his fingers play along the rock-hard smoothness, hesitating just a moment before his fingertips stroked over the head and he sighed; excitement an electrical current from his fingers to his brain and pulsing back down through his torso.

In his mind’s eye he could see her, hear her, feel her, smell her. The scent of leather and sunshine and Black Orchid filled his head intoxicatingly.

He knew then that he would survive.

His eyes opened and he smiled, gazing lovingly down at the source of his pleasure and his assurance in his skills- seeming to glow with an almost living quality lay his ticket out of here- his beloved Wilton 20.

When he had purchased it, it had seemed like overkill. Thirty six inches long, well over twenty pounds, it boasted a vulcanized rubber and tempered steel rod handle and an enormous seven inch head.

That baby would bust through anything without hesitation and keep going all day long- and all night if necessary.

Grinning in testosterone-filled anticipation in spite of the long odds facing him, Butch grabbed ahold of his perfect tool in both hands tightly and commenced to pounding.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hey, Look! A Scary Obamacare Article!

There's an article that's going viral out there- it's right here. It's called "100 Unintended Consequences of Obamacare" and it's pretty scary...all the horrible things that will be happening once the ACA (also known as Obamacare...because that's a lot more threatening-sounding, especially if you're still tweaked out because our president is, yanno, black)takes effect.

Let's look at some of these and try to ascertain who is REALLY pulling the rug out from under the common folks.

1. IBM
Earlier this month, the computer giant, once famed for its paternalism, announced it would remove 110,000 of its Medicare-eligible retirees from the company’s health insurance and give them subsidies to purchase coverage through the Obamacare exchanges. Retirees fear that they will not get the level of coverage they are used to, and that the options will be bewildering.

Wow. That's really confusing for those employees. Virginia "Ginny" Raffity is the CEO of IBM. Her salary alone was $16 Million last year. Think she's worried? Think they could've afforded to KEEP THE DAMN INSURANCE THEY HAD???

3. UPS
Fifteen thousand employees’ spouses will no longer be able to use UPS’s health-care plan because they have access to coverage elsewhere. The “costs associated with the Affordable Care Act have made it increasingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost,” the delivery giant said in a company memo. The move is expected to save the company $60 million next year.

UPS's net profit for 2012 was $829 Million. That's net. After all the bills are paid. Net. So, ya. Seriously?

4. Caterpillar Inc.
In the law’s first year, the machinery manufacturer estimated before its passage, Obamacare would add more than $100 million in health-care costs. “We can ill afford cost increases that place us at a disadvantage versus our global competitors,” a Caterpillar executive wrote lawmakers, saying that the law would not meet the goal of providing good, inexpensive health care for all Americans.

I don't know where to start with this- the fact that none of the ACA will affect big businesses till 2015 so they have plenty of time to adjust to it, or the fact that the reason it may 'place them at a disadvantage versus our global competitors' is that most of those other countries HAVE SOCIALIZED NATIONAL HEALTH CARE.

6. Stryker Corp.
Stryker Corp., a Michigan medical-device manufacturer, laid off about 1,000 employees earlier this year due to the Affordable Care Act’s 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices. The company estimated that the tax would cost it approximately $100 million next year. “Stryker remains significantly concerned with the upcoming medical device excise tax and its negative impact on jobs and innovation and will continue to work with Congress to try to repeal the tax,” said the company’s CEO.

Poor little Stryker. Their net income was only $1.27 BILLION. There are a thousand millions in a billion, so 10% of their NET profits will be eat up by the tax. Boo-fucking-hoo. Especially since just last week Stryker bought one of their competitors- Mako Surgical Devices for $1.65 Billion.

9. Cleveland Clinic, Ohio
One of the world’s best-known hospitals announced in September that it would slash jobs and up to 6 percent of its annual $6 billion budget in anticipation of costs associated with Obamacare’s implementation. A spokeswoman for the clinic announced that approximately $330 million would be cut, but she did not say how many of the 44,000 employees the clinic would let go. The Cleveland Clinic is Cleveland’s largest employer and the second-largest employer in Ohio.

SLASH jobs! CUT the budget! Oh, details? We don't have any details. We were just told to say OBAMACARE BAD. And please don't notice that according to Billian's Health Data, "Cleveland Clinic (Ohio) is the highest grossing U.S. hospital by net patient revenue, according to the latest CMS cost report data analyzed." Yep. They're really hurting, ya'll.

16. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, New Hampshire
The state’s only insurer approved to offer plans on the health-insurance exchanges in New Hampshire has cut the number of hospitals that will participate in the plan from 26 to 14 in order to reach “affordable premium levels,” according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Really. So they're only letting the residents of New Hampshire go to the cheap hospitals. They must be a very small company that needs to watch costs. Oh, wait-they are part of Wellpoint Group, whose net profits were $2.84 Billion last year. Think they could let the people of New Hampshire go to any damn hospital they want to?

(Insert a lot of other health care companies and schools here- all vowing to cut hours down to less than considered 'full-time' in order to skate by the new mandate...the mandate to actually provide benefits for the people who work for you for (especially in these cases) little pay and who are trusted with the care of the most vulnerable citizens. So what this is really about is not "OH NOES- we are going to be broke if we have to provide for people who give us (in most cases) more than 40 hours of their lives every week taking care of others!" Actually- that is exactly what it's about- trying to work the system to get around doing the right thing for your employees and still protect their own cushy salaries and bonuses bottom line. Which is a total dick move.)

Now look at the restaurants, who are doing the exact same thing. Big chain restaurants, too- not mom and pop places. We're talking Applebees, Starbucks, Burger King- these are NOT small businesses. McDonald's opines that they HAVE to cut hours and avoid supplying health care because the ACA would otherwise cost them $420 Million per year. Yanno, they sell over 550 million Big Macs every year. Raise the cost of a Big Mac 75 cents and do the right thing, you assholes.

And finally, lets look at 'small businesses' this one (and it's actually listed under the 'Small Local Business' category- go look)-

88. AAA Parking, Georgia
Next year, AAA Parking will move half of its 500 full-time hourly employees (out of a work force of 1,600) to part-time employment. “Our executive team has spent extensive time evaluating the impact of this mandate, and the financial impact for AAA Parking is dramatic,” a company memo explained.

Truly? A company with *1,600 employees* is a small business? Puh-leeze.

The truth is that a business with less than 50 employees will not be affected...AT ALL.

What's my point, other than showing that Google is your friend and all you have to do is LOOK SOMETHING UP if it sounds suspect? That even an old lady with bifocals and a barely-finished-high-school diploma can find answers and shit in under a minute with very little effort?

Well, ya. That is the point.

Don't take anything at face value. Look shit up. Don't take numbers out of context- there are some big numbers up there that look really prohibitive till you set them beside the ones that matter- the net incomes and CEO salaries and sheer amount of sales per business.

Perspective. Get some, ya'll.