photo by Sheri Dixon

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Quick Thought Before Coffee

There are things wrong with the Affordable Care Act.

Ya'll also know it as 'Obamacare' but that's really not what's written at the top of the page.

Do you know why they have to keep stressing that it's OBAMACARE?
Because it's essentially the exact same thing as ROMNEYCARE- the health care LAW that's working beautifully in Mass.

The main thing that's wrong with is is NOT that it's
-an evil Socialist plot to force us all to get abortions
-an evil Socialist plot to take away our freedoms
-an evil Socialist plot to bankrupt 'Merica (that would be all the wars we are meddling in and letting Wall St. flush all our money down the toilet)
-an evil Socialist plot to (whatever the hell other insane things people tell you)

The main thing that's wrong with it is it didn't go far ENOUGH by offering a true public option; also known as an OPTION, as in CHOICE in where and how we get our health insurance from. I know some of ya'll hate that word 'choice' because it ends up being tossed in with crap about in, "Are you pro-LIFE or pro-CHOICE?" which is a whole 'nuther passle of insanity having to do with people who say they are pro-life also tending to be flag-waving FREEDOM lovers and bible-thumping "God gave us FREE WILL"-ers but that shit is only for themselves, I guess. Not the rest of us.

A public OPTION would be Medicare E- Medicare for everyone and would cover those who CHOOSE it like any other Medicare patient.

Did you know that those on Medicare pay for it? Yes. Yes they do- out of every check, about $100.

Did you know that not everyone on Medicare has to be on it? Yes. Yes they can opt out of Medicare if they have VA or private insurance they want to keep, or even if they say, "Hey- I'm disabled and/or old but I don't need no doctors. That $100 a month will go a long way at the beer store".

See? Choice.


We will, you moron.

The people on it who will be paying their premiums into the largest group insurance in the nation...and we all understand that the larger the group, the cheaper the premium, right? Even those of you with your jaws all slack and knuckles dragging understand THAT MUCH, RIGHT?

The people like me and Ward and everyone who's ever worked and gotten money taken out under the heading "Medicare".


I cannot freaking believe there is still such a push to DEFUND OBAMACARE!!!

How many millions of dollars have been WASTED in the attempts so far? How many children could that have fed? How much REAL health care could've been provided?

But that's not the point at all, is it?

And (this time) the point isn't even that that black man in the White House said the sky is blue so every red-blooded white 'Merican must scream that it's green.


Because they know the awful truth.

They know it's the same thing as their own Romneycare and they know it's working.

They have to kill it before everyone else sees that.

Because if OBAMACARE were the giant pile of steaming disastrous dogshit that they are screaming it will be, the far Right would be backing WAY off just so the country could fall face first in it...then run up with paper towels and soapy water and say, "There, there, 'Merica- let us help you out of that mess- vote for us and we'll fix that right up for ya".

But they're not.

Because it won't.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sheri is Temporarily Out- Please Enjoy This Awesome Book While She's Gone

The next four weeks are gonna be brutal, ya'll.

We are headed to San Antonio on Wednesday and will be home Monday- I'll be collecting 25ish hours of Veterinary Management Continuing Education while the boys lounge around the pool, stroll the Riverwalk and Remember the Alamo.

The weekend after we'll spend the night in Denton after co-op so the Boy can run with his herd and mommy and daddy listen to some live music whilst raising a glass or two.

Then it's off to Missouri from Thursday till Monday for our family reunion. Oh, not blood family- the ones we REALLY love and get along with...ya'll know who you are.

Finally, to Houston for some regularly scheduled appointments- Boy is staying home for that one so it'll be just Gomez and me alone from Sunday till Tuesday. That will be sweet.

*Re-reading that, our next four weeks will not be brutally brutal- like when awful shit keeps jumping out at you and you just can't escape it and stabbing yourself with a rusty spork seems like sweet realease- we'll be seeing people we love and going places we want to but having it all back to back...DAMN*

In between of course are the regular day to days of work, tending the critters and trying to pay enough attention to everyone I love and failing miserably.

School is manageable so far...but I'm sure that'll catch up with me soon enough. I did have the foresight to work as far ahead in assisgnments as I could this past weekend, since weekends are when I have time to do school and weekends are when I'll be gone but that still leaves me with the in-person class on Tuesdays and the accounting class that posts assignments week to week and three exams all during that time frame.

What I'm trying to say is since deciding to go back to school, my dedication to The Blog has become sketchy at best, abysmal at worst.

So know that I love ya'll, and it's totally not's me.

In the meanwhile, here's a touching, funny, irreverent book by a thoughtful, funny and irreverent young woman named Annah.

If you were a semi-wild young thing (as I was myself a million years ago), if you believe in true love and other sappy shit, and if you like to laugh at sometimes horrible things, this is what you're looking for.

But be warned- once you start it, you will have to finish it in one sitting- no getting up from the table till you're done with "Heartbreak for Dinner".

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Lesson We Hate

"Everyone leaves, son. Through relocation or emotional separation or death...nothing stays the same and everyone leaves."

My 13 year old son's dog was only 2 years old. After having given his heart to 2 already aged dogs and having his heart broken when they died, I chose for him a little wild-haired terrier/poodle...because those damn things live forever.

Alec (son) and Aaron (dog) were inseparable. Since Alec home schools that's a literal statement. Outside, they explored our property back to front and side to side and never tired of it. If Aaron got sidetracked by some smell or sound and Alec rode off on his bike without him, you'd see in just a few moments Aaron flying full flat out- ears pumping and tail ruddering after his Boy, short little legs a blur.

Inside, Aaron was under Alec's chair at the dinner table (or ON the chair eating his dinner if he left the table for a glass of milk) or sleeping on the desk chair in Alec's room where he could see Alec at all times. He wasn't a snuggler, but he needed to be within nose's reach at all times. He did love the schnauzer. He couldn't be in the same room as her without humping her ceaselessly until Alec would notice and say sternly, "Aaron- I'm going to have to ask you to stop that."

Aaron wasn't very well housetrained. He and Alec would be outside for an hour, come inside and he'd pee on the (thankfully cement) floor. Alec would sigh and say, "Aaron- you're a terrible terrible dog". And Aaron would wag his tail furiously and gaze at Alec adoringly.

If Alec was away, Aaron would curl up on the bed and nap till he got home. If Alec left him behind and went somewhere on the property without Aaron? The noises that came out of that little dog would put a slaughterhouse to shame.

His wild hair and behavior when separated from his Boy earned him the nickname of Meth Muppet.

You may be thinking, "That sounds like an awful dog" and you'd think so, wouldn't you?

Aaron was long of body and short of legs. He had wiry white hair that was never quite clean. His front feet always pointed a platypus- even when he ran.

His eyes were different sized. Really. But they were serious intelligent eyes. His other nickname was Aaron the Freakishly Understanding.

Alec could balance Aaron upside down along the length of his arm (tail against his elbow bend and head in his hand) and carry him around that way. Aaron would fall asleep like that.

Alec would sit Aaron upright in his lap, dog back against boy chest, and use Aaron's paws to gesture while he talked. Aaron would fall asleep like that, too.

Aaron first got sick back in May. Liver failure that responded to fluids and antibiotics so they thought it was an infection.

We boarded him at the vet's when we went on vacation in July and they re-did the bloodwork just for fun. The liver values were better...but not normal. We realized that Aaron probably had a birth defect that had made it easy for the infection to take hold back in May and he was most likely a dog with numbered days; but from May through last week you'd never know it by his behavior and outward health and we were thinking months, maybe years, but not literally days.

He crashed last Saturday, spent the weekend at the emergency clinic on fluids and not eating with very bad liver values.

Monday he went back to the regular vet and Tuesday he was eating, so we were hopeful- we were sure (even the vet) that he had gotten another infection and would respond as before.

Wednesday he really crashed. Stopped eating and his bloodwork was twice as bad as just four days prior- all organs were now failing. He was retaining fluid in his abdomen and his breathing was labored.

Alec spent almost an hour with him in his lap, and stayed with him till the end.

I know in my heart that he would not have survived the night, and we all know it was so much 'better' for us to have been able to say goodbye...for him not to have been alone.

My six foot tall boy's heart is broken, and because of that so is mine and so is Ward's.

It's not fair. It's not sensible. It's the lesson we hate- that those we love are here one minute and then gone...whether or not we're ready and whether or not we have time to steel ourselves for it.

Our family is not religious, but we believe in science and I personally believe in energy- that little spark, the life spark in all of us that some call a soul. I believe energy can be focused and sent (also known as 'prayer') and I believe the scientists when they say that energy cannot be destroyed- it only shifts somewhere else.

I told Alec that I believe when a companion animal passes on in the presence of their loved one, it's easy- when their life spark leaves the furry body, it attaches to its human...because that's all they ever want- just to be near us.

It's not the same. It'll never be the same. He'll be looking for Aaron and missing Aaron forever.

But he's right there. Balanced in between his elbow bend and hand, upside down. And sleeping.

Alec visiting Aaron at the emergency clinic over the weekend. Rest in Peace, little buddy.

Friday, September 6, 2013

"unimpressive- the inelegant art of just getting by"

This little book is now for sale in Amazon in paperback or for Kindle, or directly from me as a signed paperback.

Like the first two of my fictitious survival stories, this one is unassuming but important, with characters who are ordinary women quietly acting in extraordinary ways without the violent fanfare and trappings of most of this genre.

Where did this one fall in the elusive categorizing process?

Sustainable living...tucked almost as an afterthought at the end of Home and Garden.


Please enjoy this preview- and I'll let ya'll know when it's officially 'out there'.

The leaves rustled imperceptibly. There was no wind to speak of, and the air was heavy with heat.

Tammy stirred fitfully in the tree stand just within sight of the shack.

Back in the day, the previous owners had had a deer feeder just below this stand and had fed the deer all year long. Just before dawn on opening day of hunting season, they’d stagger out of the lease shack after a night of playing cards and drinking beer, loudly shushing each other, pee off the porch and into the weeds, then precariously climb into the tree stand and valiantly ‘hunt’ the deer that had been basically trained to come for breakfast.

The tree stand hadn't been used for many years, and multiple vines (poison ivy, Virginia Creeper, kudzu and greenbriar) had woven up and around it till it was completely invisible unless you knew it was there.

The only reason Shayla had discovered it involved Olive and a stray cat who scrambled up the tree and then tiptoed along the outer edge of the stand, outlining it with every paw-step. One second it wasn’t there, and the next it was in clear view…it was all a matter of perspective and association.

They all took turns off and on during the daylight hours keeping a watch over the shack and those who used it.

The first nine days there was a steady stream of visitors even though their road was not a main thoroughfare; people were taking the back ways out of the area. All were respectful, if stressed.

They were those who had somewhere to go…if they could get there. They used the shack as somewhere to rest that wasn’t the back seat of their car; somewhere the kids could have a semi-normal night’s sleep. Mostly families, some couples, a few single people…all ate the food and drank the water, appreciated the washing basin and soap, spent the night and moved on after tidying up after themselves.

Those who could replaced the food, and a few left a few dollars and a thank you note.

On the tenth day, Tammy tried calling Ray three times before setting the phone in a drawer and closing it with finality. “Well, no more of that”, she said matter-of-factly and with a false cheerfulness. She stared at the closed drawer as though she’d folded Ray himself up and closed him in there and for a minute she wished she had- at least she’d know that he was safe. She’d know where he was.

Ray had made it halfway through Oklahoma before running out of fuel and running out of luck in finding any. He’d traded the truck for a bicycle and a backpack.

After that there were more people on foot than not down their little road, and more people who looked like they didn’t have anywhere to go, but nowhere to stay, either.

More and more of them were women with children, alone.

Monday, September 2, 2013

So. What's It About?

"You've written books? That's amazing! I'd love to read 'em- what're they about?"

I get this a lot, and the clear answer is, "You've just got to read them to find out".

Oh, it's not that I think they're the best combination of 26 letters and punctuation ever to grace a page because they're obviously not. I'm happy with them and proud of them but, yanno.

Here's the thing, though. Two of my books are pretty easy to pigeonhole.

"CancerDance- a love story" is a journal of our family's adventures in medical land- except for a few 'getting to know us' chapters it's written as it was unfolding and so it's all out there- the funny, the relieved, the terrified and the incredibly pissed off; all lying there nekkid and fresh and raw. I love it because it has a happy ending and I love it because it's not written from a 'to God go the glory' perspective or an 'and he taught us so much before he died' perspective (I hate those). We're normal people with average intelligence and limited funds and we just did the best we knew how. Still do.

Easterchicks Gone Bad is a compilation of the first 30ish articles I wrote for so it's just that. Thirty different short stories about all sorts of homesteady things from alternative energy sources to cutting hair to hatching chicks and milking goats. Some of them funny and some torn straight from my heart as we ourselves faced trials and tribulations.

This is where it gets tricky.

When you publish books on Amazon, they ask you to categorize them- non-fiction, fiction, history, fantasy, romance, adventure, health and wellness, etc.

The following books are a clear and resounding 'none of the above'.

Here's what they're not.

They're not your average 'shit hits the fan' book. Not zombie books. Not shoot 'em ups. And yet they all deal with the breaking down of society and the events that would likely take place.

The problem is that none of the realistic scenarios will be historic, fantastic, romantic, adventurous epics.We're looking at the slow, plodding, crushing weight of a systemic collapse- not the astonishing literal earth-shattering explosion caused by one easily identified enemy who looks like a Bad Guy.

The problem is that the other day I perused an online event listing of authors 'getting their books out there' and they were all stuff I'd never read in a million years- vampire books, horror stories, soft porn romance, you know- fiction.

Our house is filled with books. Filled. With. Books.

Easily over 1,000. I'll wager not more than a tenth of those are fiction and 90% of those are classics like Mark Twain and Douglas Adams.

So we're flat not geared towards picking up a book for no reason other than to kill time.

Not that that's a bad thing. We just don't do it. Never have. Even Alec.

We ENJOY the social commentary books, the actual history books, the scientific discovery books.

That's some fun, there.

What that means when I write a fiction story, then, is that it's not pure fiction. It's social commentary and observation using fictitious characters in a realistic setting. Without zombies.

People who've read 'em say they like 'em. They say they're important and prescient and touching and human.

Because I'm a stickler for things like spelling and punctuation and grammar they are reasonably correct and proper. They're carefully crafted and the characters are created to be as real as you and me. Because they could be you or me.

They're not Rambo and they're not the Terminator. In fact, they're not even men. And they're for damn sure not the pistol packing, big-boobed, big-haired 'men with vaginas' who pass for the token females in other 'end of the world' books when women aren't in the story to be raped and killed or sent to the kitchen to make sammiches in between waiting to be saved by some big strong M.A.N...bosoms heaving.

They are courageous and they are survivors. They love men but their choices in life are not 'hide behind a big strong man or die' and they do not automatically give up control and swoon when a man "Oh, thank goodness! Finally!" comes on the scene.

So where the hell do I put these stories when Amazon insists on a category?

Weird as shit spots because I have to be honest. If I put them in with the other SHTF books I'll have more refunds demanded than books purchased, and reviews that'll curl yer eyebrow hairs for being 'naive' and 'too sugar coated' which is bullshit because they deal with homelessness and hunger and death and the FACT that the first ones to be hit the hardest whenever society shifts are the weakest. It's bullshit because I've lived abuse and homelessness and poverty and unemployment and I KNOW bad shit happens. But it's not the norm.

What scares the shit out of me is that people read the road warrior books endlessly and start to think that's the only outcome of collapse. When it's not. Historically- it's not.

But people don't read history anymore.

They read vampires.

So I followed the category list down to the end of the line and

"Almost Invisible- a different kind of survival story" ended up in 'homelessness'. Because that's what it's about. A little old lady with Alzheimer's who's homeless and what happens in her personal world and the society around her.

"American Evolution- adolescence of a nation" dropped squarely into 'alternate history' after being shunted into 'science fiction' because that's what it is. It shows a snippet of the lives of 4 generations of girls- Thanksgiving Day when they're eight years old. So it covers almost 100 years of societal evolution.

These last two are pretty quick reads- more novellas than novels. They're supposed to be. They're meant to encourage independent thought about what society is going through and where we are headed- I want the reader to come to his/her own conclusions and opinions and possible fixes for a broken species. It's not my place to write a 'how to fix shit' book. But I can get ya'll thinking.

Needless to say, they're a slow sell. While the SHTF and zombies and vampires and bosom-rending member-throbbing books are selling like hotcakes, people just aren't typing in 'homelessness' and 'alternative history' when looking for a nice easy quick read.

But I'm tellin' ya.

You totally should.

Sometimes your books should be more than mental chewing gum.

That's what TV is for.

PS- To read any of the above books, please see the big ol' book cover photos at the left of this screen

<-------- right there

and coming soon to an obscure category near you- "Unimpressive- the inelegant art of getting by".

I'm pretty proud of this one as well.

Peace, ya'll.