To My Son, the Graduate

My son, my one and only child, graduates this week. So, in the spirit of letting go, I tried to imagine what life will be like for him in ten years. This is what I came up with.  

 

June 1, 2025

Dear Son,

You always told me that you were going to live with us until you were thirty. We would laugh, and laugh, and joke about you living in the basement, but the funny thing is that you weren’t fucking kidding. Here it is, ten years after you graduated from high school, and well, you are pretty much hanging out in the basement all day. Sure, you go to school, but when you’re home, you are downstairs watching that holographic TV of yours, a gift from Santa. Just like when you were a kid, I’m still making you scrambled eggs and coffee in the morning. Well, I didn’t make you coffee when you were a little kid, and I do make pancakes on weekends. So, I suppose I don’t make eggs every day, but you get the point, right?

This is difficult for me, as I do adore doing your laundry, especially when you leave your underwear wadded up in your pants, but you need to get the fuck out. I mean that in a nurturing way, with all of the love in the world. Seriously. It’s time to grow up. I’m not sure why you are failing to launch since I have done everything I can to encourage you to be a mature and responsible adult, but it’s time to sail away from the nest and become a real grown up. So, grab a suitcase or five, and get packing. I can run to the store and get you some boxes, too.

As you are packing your stuff, don’t forget your Batman footy pajamas from last Christmas. Most people buy them as gag gifts, but I know that the Dark Knight makes you feel safe when it’s, well, dark. And they are glow in the dark, in case your night-light burns out. I know how you can’t sleep without some sort of light. Let me know if you need me to get you a bigger night-light.

Take the package of floss from Costco. I know you won’t buy floss if you have to pay for it yourself. After paying thousands for braces, I’m not going to let your teeth rot out of your head. Just let me know when you run out and I will buy you more. I can pick up toothbrushes and toothpaste, too. You can pay me back when you’re a rock star some day.

We, well I, would still like for you to sleep over on Christmas Eve and the night before Easter. As you know Santa and the Easter bunny won’t come if you’re not sleeping in your mommy’s house. It’s a law. You do want presents, right? Make sure you leave your basket and stocking here. It will be hard to find Joker from the Dark Knight Batman movie holiday stuff now. It’s been a decade or more since that movie came out. I loved seeing it with you, even though you ate all of the popcorn.

I don’t mean to make this more awkward than it needs to be, but I just want to let you know that I will continue purchasing your condoms from Costco. Where else can you get a box of fifty grandchild preventers for $22.99? Your current girlfriend is a peach, but we both know the type of trash you have dated in the past. The last thing you need to do is make one of them your baby mama. You don’t want me to have to kill a girl, do you? I’m kidding, of course, kind of. I mean I wouldn’t actually kill your trashy baby mama. I would just threaten her and take my grandchild from her. My grandchildren will not grow up in a trailer park, understand? So, Costco condoms it is.

Sorry about that. I got a little carried away. Anyway, we, well I, want you to keep going to school, so we will still pay your college tuition. That PhD in music production will get you far in life, and it’s worth it. Your dissertation on Quincy Jones will be made into a famous book. I’m certain of it. Just remember to bring me on the Today Show with you. I want to meet Matt Lauer while he’s still alive. He hasn’t looked so hot lately.

I know what you are wondering, and yes, you can have all of the furniture in your bedroom, and the stuff in your upstairs music studio, and the furniture in the basement, and the stuff in the downstairs band practice area. Take it all. It’s yours.

The only thing you can’t take is a pet. I know how you can sometimes forget to feed them. I won’t bring up poor Fifi again, but, well, I guess I just did. Anyway, leave the cats and dogs here. You can always visit them. This way you won’t have to step over their poop when you forget to scoop their litter or let them out to go potty.

Don’t worry about looking for a place. We will take care of everything. We don’t want you renting a nasty apartment with bugs and loud neighbors. So, we will just buy you a condo in a nice building full of retirees. You like old people. They can be like faux grandparents for you. You can pay us rent when you get on your feet. No rush.

There. Won’t it feel good to be independent? In just a few weeks, you will be a real grown up with your own place and your own furniture. I will buy you new sheets and towels and plates and pans and groceries and whatever else you need. Just let me know what else you need, OK? Now, give me hugs and kisses. Mommy loves her little pumpkin.

Xoxo,

Mommy

Here's my little graduate 13 years ago.

Here’s my little graduate 13 years ago.

 

 


Middle School Brothel Culture

When I was typing the title of my blog, I asked my husband if there should be a hyphen in Middle School. He said, “No, and apparently there’s no hymen either.” Yes, he’s right about that, and unfortunately we learned a lot of things about middle schoolers this year that we would really rather not think of. It would be so much easier to stick our heads in the sand with the other parents. So much easier.

Middle School Lisa was NOT having sex.  Shocking, I know.

Middle School Lisa was NOT having sex. Shocking, I know.

When I was in eighth grade, the big rumor was that R and M had sex and used a blue condom.   This was big news because NO ONE IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE SEX IN EIGHTH GRADE EVEN WITH COLORED CONDOMS and we knew this. The girls gathered to talk about M. One girl created a nickname for her, “Butter because she spreads easy.” Well, even then I thought that margarine would have probably been a better name if that was the reasoning. I kept my mouth shut because I was glad to NOT be the victim of middle school ridicule for once, and if you looked at the picture above, you know this was rare. M was called Butter all through eighth grade and high school. No one was high fiving her or R for their actions. We all thought it was weird, really, and not cool. It was embarrassing for both R and M and neither of them bragged about it.

Times they are a changin’.

I have middle schooler and I have learned things that keep me awake at night. I mean, the drug dealing, huffing, and cutting were already horrors for me, but recently I learned that a lot of kids are having sex at 12 or 13.

Yes, you read that right. They are losing their virginity before they develop all of their molars, or brain cells. Here’s the kicker – they are also NOT USING CONDOMS. Here in the corn state, the kids are given the abstinence education version of sex ed. They don’t learn about birth control or STD’s. They are just told basically what sex is and to not do it until they are married. Well, that is obviously working well.

From what I am hearing, kids seem to be having sex wherever they can, even in school. Last week, I heard about two different “couples” having sex in school bathrooms, one in middle school and one in high school.  Last time I checked, the bathroom was a place where people, peed, pooped, and vomited. It’s not exactly a romantic place. Plus, people are walking in and out all of the time. There is nothing not icky about this situation.

Eight grade Lisa.  She really rocked the blue pantyhose.

Eight grade Lisa. She really rocked the blue pantyhose.

It’s a different world. When I was in eighth grade, my big concerns were how white my new Ked’s were or if my mom would let me go to the movies on Friday night. I fully understood that sex caused babies, and most likely a good beating.   There was no way that I wanted either. Now, if you get pregnant when you’re a teenager, you can get your very own TV show and become a “celebrity.”  If I had gotten pregnant, I would have gotten a beating and a trip to the abortion clinic.  I definitely would not have gotten a TV show.  Heck, this was back when MTV still had music videos.

You’re welcome for the awkward photos.

Disclaimer: This was originally posted on my fantastically unpopular Salon.com blog about four years ago. I no longer have a middle schooler and I have finally unclenched my shoulders from 3 years of horror.

The Idiocracy Age

Yep. Seems legit.

Yep. Seems legit.

Some people call this the Information Age because with all of the technology we have, we are supposed to be more informed than ever. You would think that all of this information would make us smarter. You would be wrong. In my ever so humble opinion, we have entered the age of Idiocracy.

If you haven’t seen the movie Idiocracy, please do. To be honest, it is one of the stupidest movies that I have ever seen, even worse than Step Brothers. Yes, there are stupid movies out there that do not star Will Farrell. All stupidity aside, Idiocracy paints a frightening picture of what we as a human race could become if we allow stupidity to be acceptable.

The more I read the paper, watch the news, talk to people, or just observe people, the more symptoms of Idiocracy I notice. Here are just the few that are annoying the piss out of me today.

There are web sites dedicated to showing people dressed as hot messes, usually in pajamas. First of all, don’t take pictures of strangers. That is rude and mean. Second of all, I think it is truly sad, and highly irritating, that people can’t seem to get dressed. Ladies, leggings are not pants. For real? Is this how lazy ‘Murica is now? It doesn’t take much to put on “daytime” clothes, or at least pants that don’t reveal your biological gender.

Football players and other athletes, make WAY more than teachers and fire fighters. Have you ever watched a sports interview? I did once, and that was enough. The sports “hero’s” answer to how he won the game was something along the lines of, “I ketch the ball, and I run and stuff.” Holy hell. This guy probably earns as much as the Kardashians.

The Kardashians are “celebrities.” This keeps me awake at night. I thought it was bad when Paris Hilton had a TV show, but I think even she is more “talented” than the Kardashians. Seriously, they are called celebrities. I feel sorry for Bruce Jenner.

Where have all of the grammar lessons gone? Please sing this to the tune of “Where Have all the Cowboys Gone?” I have had to block several “friends” on Facebook because I don’t know what the heck they are saying. They spell like Prince trying to write a song, and they don’t use punctuation. I see things like this, “Im goin 2 tha stor to by sum new jama pants i think wallmart has them does anyone want 2 go with me” HUH? Get a first grade grammar book, please, and a box of crayons.

Everyone blames the President for everything. I hear people talk about President Obama like he is a dictator. They blame him for certain bills being passed, etc. My favorite is when I hear that he has ruined the country, blah, blah, blah. I wonder if these people made it out of middle school. Because I don’t know about you, but I had a little class called Civics in eighth grade. In this amazing class, I RELEARNED that our government has three branches, and there’s this whole checks and balances system. Amazing. I say relearned because I first learned this in elementary school. The president does not have the power to make drastic changes to our country. I didn’t really like President W. Bush, but I never blamed him for the recession. I blame the fact that corporate greed has led to outsourcing. If you want America to be a wealthy nation, which is still is, keep the jobs and money, um, in America. Just a guess on my part.

That’s all I have for you today. It’s just common sense to me, but it seems like common sense is on its way out. Maybe all of the soda that people are drinking is eating away their brains. Maybe they are spending too much time watching “reality” TV. Maybe the Russians, or the Arabs, or whoever we are currently blaming for the state of our great nation, poured stupidity powder in our water supply.

Confessions of a Rogue English Major

One of my co-workers is taking a call.

One of my co-workers is taking a call.

Way back in the D-A-Y, when there were no hybrid cars and phones had cords, I went to college. Like most college students I had no clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. So, choosing a major was hard. First I tried “communications” and then “broadcast production.” None of those really fit my hermitish personality. Since I loved to make up stories, anytime I needed to take an elective I ended up taking a creative writing class. So, I racked up quite a few English credits. One magical day, after having a sit-down with my advisor, I realized that if I took a Shakespeare, a Victorian literature, and a grammar class I could get out of school with a Bachelor’s degree in English. It seemed legit at the time, so I went with it.

Soon after graduating, I realized if I wanted to actually use my degree and I didn’t want to go to law school or teach middle or high school kids for the rest of my days, I would need a Master’s degree. So, off to grad school I went to get a Master’s in English. I figured, at least I could teach grown-ups then.

I never really fit in at grad school because for the most part I don’t give a shit. I mean, I don’t find a lot of things, like analyzing poetry or formatting a graduate essay, important. Plus, I get bored super easily, especially when I have to listen to lectures. No one talks more than English professors or kiss-ass grad students. So, it was really odd that I became an English instructor. I’m not officially a professor because I ONLY have a Master’s degree, not a PhD. I have no desire to go back to school at 43, um, I mean 28, to get a PhD. So, I will just remain an instructor until I finally keel over from some sort of cat or ice related injury. Even so, in some ways, I still fit the English major mold.

For example:

  • I love to analyze movies and TV. My son shares this gift so watching movies with him is great. We have chatted at length about what the floating feather in Forrest Gump means. Clue: It’s not “just a feather” like my husband says.
  • I’d rather read than do most things. I spent my first year in college at Florida State, a huge party school. I stayed in my room and read while others puked up their bad beverage choices.
  • I like to write. I have always written for fun, or to figure out my feelings. Way back before the Internet existed, I blogged. I did it privately in this paper thing called a journal.
  • I will smack you if you use they when talking about one person. This is my biggest grammar pet peeve. “That person left THEIR book here” is not correct, damn it. Say “he or she” if you aren’t sure of gender.
  • I hate text abbreviations. Just spell out the words. You can even use speech to text on most phones now. There is no excuse for bad spelling. Well, unless we are talking about autocorrect. That is a big excuse.

Other than the above examples, I’m so not your typical bookworm. When my yuppie neighbors see me getting the mail in cat fur lined pajamas at noon, they probably assume I am a housewife. I doubt they think “college instructor.” Most of the time, I’m the most non-professorly English major ever. See, I just made up an incorrect word. I think I managed to irritate myself. Anyway, here are a few more ways I am very non-English major like:

  • I think formatting is the last thing we need to worry about.  I don’t understand why there are so many styles. There’s APA, MLA, Chicago, and a bazillion more. Who cares? Have you written a paper? Have you given your sources credit? Is everything legible? I’m good then.
  • I don’t speak pompous ass. In fact, I would like to smack new grad school graduates who show off their purchased vocabulary. They are the worst.
  • I hate Shakespeare. In my humble opinion, he was a shitty writer. I am pretty sure my college writing professors would have told him his plots weren’t believable. Plus, he wrote in verse. Yawn.
  • Poetry bores me. I have always hated poetry. Just write a normal story or essay and stop trying to be a bongo playing Bohemian.
  • I read crap. I would rather read trashy rock star memoirs than anything called “literature.”
  • I watch reality TV. My husband and I call it Train Wreck TV. We just can’t look away from shows like The Bachelor and Married at First Sight.
  • I’m fluent in sarcasm and profanity. I don’t speak in grad school words. I will gladly talk about someone’s teaching methods, but if you use the word pedagogy I might tell you to stop speaking like a fucking robot.
  • I fear conference presentations. Conferences are a part of academic life, and I hate that. I used to be a stand-up comic. If my audience isn’t laughing at me, I panic. Conference audiences don’t laugh at me even when I crack a joke because they are too busy squeezing their butt cheeks together and thinking of new ways to use pedagogy in a sentence.
  • I’m the queen of homophone errors. Count on me to use their when I should have used there. Always. I’m not perfect just because I went to school longer than most people.
  • I can’t explain grammar rules either. The English language has a lot of irregular rules. I still have to look things up. Einstein said, “Never memorize something that you can look up.” I try to follow that advice.

As you can see, I’m not really your stereotypical leather-elbowed tweed jacket-wearing, pipe smoking professor. I love my job because I help people be a little less afraid of writing, and because I can work in my jammies. Let’s face it; I really like the jammie part. What about you? What do you do for a living? Do you fit the mold for your job? Let me hear from you in the comments. I talk to cats all day and I need some human interaction.

My view at the office.

My view at the office.

Not Missing my Little Boy

As I flip through Facebook statuses, a lot of things make me roll my eyes. There are always super religious posts or political “arguments” on Zuckerberg’s brain suck site. No matter where you fall on the religiopolical spectrum, there is always something to piss you off or make you want to cry. I can deal with all of the usual visual hot air, but nothing makes me roll my eyes more than moms who post about missing their babies.

I’m not talking about moms who have had children taken from them. This is different. You’ve seen it. It usually happens on Throwback Thursday or any number of children’s birthdays. The mom posts a baby picture of her teen with a status about how much she misses her sweet little baby. I always found this to be hurtful. To me, it’s like saying that your current, older kid is not a kind, wonderful person. I always wondered how kids felt about it, so I asked my personal expert on all things teen, my eighteen year-old son. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: Hey, if I put a baby picture of you on Facebook and talked about how much I missed my sweet little boy, how would you feel?

Son: Like shit.

Ok. So, it’s not just me. Think about it. Imagine if your spouse put an old picture of you up and said, “I miss this skinny, blonde person.” That is how teens see this “I miss my baby” nonsense. Teens have so many hormones running through their bodies, which can make them even more sensitive. So, as a mom, I try not to hurt my son’s feelings. Also, truth be told, I DON’T miss the baby and little kid years. I wouldn’t go back in time even if it meant I would drop twenty pounds and about a hundred gray hairs.

I MIGHT have a tiny problem.

I MIGHT have a tiny problem.

I don’t really NEED to be needed. I applaud every step towards independence my son makes, not just because I am a lazy mom who would rather sit on the couch and drink wine and eat peanut butter cups. Well….. Seriously, my main job is to prepare my son to live on his own and not be an asshole. So, every step he takes towards being a sane, kind adult makes me hear a round of pre-recorded 1970’s sitcom applause in my head. There are so many good things about having an older kid.

For one, I get credit for Easter baskets and Christmas gifts. Sure, it was kind of fun to pretend that Santa or the Easter Bunny delivered surprises at night. It is much better to get full credit and thanks for the presents. Also, I can give my son his presents early since he knows that mystical creatures do not enter our home on certain nights. This is great because I would almost burst when I had to keep stuff hidden in my closet until just the right night.

I’m a better parent now than I was in my twenties, when I had my son. I have more patience now. I’m a happier, saner person. I’m happy with my husband, and not going through a divorce like I was when my son was little. I am parenting with love rather than a fear of losing control. I was a screamy yelly mom in my twenties. I got over that.

The boy is no longer a puke fountain. If he has to vomit, he knows how to get to the toilet or at least the sink. No more middle of the night sessions of running the carpet cleaner, the washing machine, along with my expletive spewing mouth.

They can pick you up when you fall on your ass. A few weeks ago, I fell on my ass in the driveway. Damn ice. It’s invisible, slippery, and deadly. I didn’t think I could walk after I hit the ground. My son helped me up and drove me to the ER for x-rays. He could not have done that when he was a toddler.

Really, there is an endless list of things I love about my son. Like most parents, I think my child is the smartest, most talented, funniest person in the world. In fact, I wrote this blog for Scary Mommy about why my son is better than any little kid. Now, this piece is written in Sarcasm. If you are not fluent in this ancient tongue, you might be offended.

So, what do you think? Do you miss your little baby? Let me hear from you in the comment section.

 

 

Atheism 101

Atheist AgendaLast week, I watched CNN Special Report: Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers. I figured it was going to be a serious, in-depth look at atheism. After all, the show has TWO colons in its title. That is serious. While the show was a pretty fair look at atheism, there are some things that just weren’t fully discussed. So, I would like to give you my take on being an atheist.

Atheist Agenda – Some religious folks think that atheists have some sort of agenda to take away religion. This is simply not true. Most atheists do not care if people worship God, or Tinkerbelle, or cheese, they just want God to stay out of their lives and government. In other words, atheists don’t want religion forced on them, and it is in many ways, like:

Worshipping Satan – The CNN reporter kept mentioning that a lot of people think atheists worship Satan. This is beyond illogical. Atheists do not believe in any supernatural being. So, the devil does not exist to them. If Satan does not exist, he can’t be worshipped. Atheists aren’t dark and scary. They would just rather have brunch than go to church. Think of them as your non-praying Belgian waffle-eating friends.

No Morals – I have had religious people ask me how I can have morals without God. This is scary because it tells me that the only thing keeping some people from raping and killing is a belief that there is an invisible man in the sky watching them.   It’s kind of like Santa Claus for grownups. I tend to think more like Katherine Hepburn, who said, “I’m an atheist, and that’s it. I believe there’s nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other.” People without morals are called psychopaths, not atheists.

Angry at God – Now that we have established that atheists do not believe in any supernatural beings, we can probably do away with that whole, “You’re just angry at God” argument. Just like you can’t worship something you don’t believe in, you also can’t be angry at something that doesn’t exist.

Religious Knowledge – The CNN reporter said that she was shocked to see an atheist pursuing a graduate degree in religion because she couldn’t imagine an atheist being comfortable learning about religion. A lot of atheists enjoy reading about all sorts of things, including religion, but they don’t do it because they want to be persuaded to believe in God. Some religious folks think that an atheist just needs to go to church and read the Bible to be convinced.   The parents of an atheist college student in the documentary referred to their son as a dead man, and regretted not forcing him to go to church more. They believe that would have made a difference. More religious education is not going to make God real for atheists. God is just something that feels fake right from the beginning.

Some Splainin – Most atheists are confused and a little bit angered because the burden of proof seems to fall on them, especially in the USA. Why do people WITHOUT an imaginary friend owe an explanation as to why they don’t believe in an invisible supernatural being? This is especially evident by the fact that CNN felt it necessary to create a documentary to look inside the world of non-believers, like they are mystical creatures who must be studied behind glass. It’s really simple. Atheists do not believe in God, any god at all. They don’t believe in Jesus, Allah, Zeus, Jupiter, or any of the thousands of gods and goddesses. They don’t believe because there is no real evidence that gods exist.

Splainin

I am an atheist. I have been an atheist my whole life, even when I was being forced to attend Baptist church by a family friend. I was still an atheist when I opted to get baptized in college because it’s what normal people did. I volunteer at the zoo. I work and take care of my family. I appreciate a good martini. I love Christmas trees and Easter baskets. I am a nice person unless you ring my doorbell and try to sell me something, including religion, or make laws to discriminate against my friends. Then, I’m a bit irritable.

 

My First Bad Book Review

I just read a really negative review of my YA novel, Misfit Academy. I’m sorry I haven’t paid more attention to my Amazon reviews. I had missed this little Christmas time gem because I was doing all of the other things writers have to do nowadays, like:

  • Pin award winning graphics to Pinerest.
  • Tweet ever so funny yet not offensive things on Twitter every 42 seconds.
  • Build a solid Facebook following of loyal readers.
  • Post cat pictures on Instagram.
  • Write a blog at least once a week, if not more often.
  • Cry while reviewing my blog’s Google Analytics.
  • Create a media kit that attracts sponsors.
  • Still work a day job.
  • Take care of the family by cooking, doing laundry, and everything else.

Anyway, I’m not going to use the reviewer’s real name.   Instead, I will call her A, which is her first initial. Yes, the reviewer is a woman. Who else would be vindictive enough to waste time writing a somewhat lengthy review of a book she hated? A man would toss the book in the trash, or delete it off his Kindle, have a beer and watch TV. So, I will call her A. I want to protect her privacy and I think it’s really funny to call a Canadian A. See what I did there, eh?

Though A’s review was harsh, I did learn some valuable things, and of course I’m going to share them with you all. I hope you are fluent in sarcasm. A isn’t.

My main character did not have a name. I thought I had named him Scott Price, but not according to A, “We follow (no name), a bitter teenager is convinced that the world is working against him. He claims to be a victim of bullying.”

Lesson learned. The next time I write a novel in the first person I should make the character refer to himself in the third person, like Bob Dole, so his name is evident even though the OTHER CHARACTERS talk to him and call him by name. In the case of Misfit Academy, “I, Scott Price, drove to school” would have worked. Noted.

A, if you had not read the book at all, and it sounds like you did more of a skim than a read, you could have learned SCOTT’S name from reading the other reviews. Just sayin’.

I might be schizophrenic. According to A, I grew up in a town that does not exist. Yikes. Here is her evidence, “Although, I’m pretty sure she said it was in Florida, but she keeps referencing Hollywood. So I either I misread (which is possible) or geography is an issue.”

In a panic, thinking my entire childhood and young adulthood was one big hallucination; I did a little Google research. BIG sigh of relief. I found that not only is Hollywood, FL real, but Alabama, Maryland, and South Carolina also have Hollywoods. So, it’s not just California. I can cancel my psychiatrist appointment now.

On a related note, I was both shocked and thrilled to learn there is actually ONE Canadian out there who has never heard of Hollywood, FL. When I was growing up, I could have sworn that the entire country of Canada came to Hollywood every winter. This made parking near the beach a real bitch, which is why SCOTT (THAT IS HIS NAME) complains about Canadians a lot in the book. Almost all residents of beach towns like Hollywood complain about the tourists. They are not racists; they just want parking spaces.

Misfit Academy is not Anime. I would likely give A a bad review, too, as she writes some sort of Anime books. Anime is totally not my genre. My book is realistic fiction, so it is totally not her genre. I’m wondering why she bought it, half-read it, and wrote a review. I’m guessing she either lost a bet or A was drinking and Amazoning.

Teens in Canada are WAY different from American teens. Either A doesn’t get sarcasm at all, OR she was a perfectly kind teen with no doubts, hormones, or mood swings. She never had a bad thought about anyone, and she embraced all nationalities like a United Nations on legs.

Buildings are people, too. A gave me many helpful hints, like the fact that I should have developed the school as a character. She suggested, “The author misses out on developing one of the most important characters of the book, the school.”

Wait. What? You want me to make a building into a person. Either you’re doing more than booze or you are actually a Republican member of the U.S. Congress. This sounds a lot like the whole corporations are people thing.

I have 50 Shades of Punctuation going on. According to A, “Writing wise, there’s plenty of comma abuse, meaning she could have used a period and the writing would have been cleaner and less rambling-like.”

I pictured myself whipping poor, little commas. Then, I realized she was talking about the fact that I use a comma before and in a serial list.  Those are OXFORD commas, A. We use those over here in Murica. OXFORD. Also, here’s a free grammar lesson for you. There is a space in a lot. I noticed you wrote “alot” a lot in your review. That’s not a word. Check out this site for more information on a lot.

Teen boys should behave like eunuchs. Good teen boys do not notice breasts or if a girl is good looking. It is wrong to notice anyone’s looks, and everyone should walk around wearing a blindfold.

According to A, “He’s intensely homophobic and objectifies anything resembling the female sex into two categories: sexually appealing or ugly. As long as you’re hot, a woman’s faults are okay.”  Yep. I have created a monster. Scott Price notices when a woman is attractive. That makes him homophobic somehow, even though one of his best friends is gay. Interesting.

MisfitCoverI’m very thankful that A took the time to write the most scathing review of Misfit Academy to date. Clearly, I have learned A LOT about myself as a writer and a creator of schizophrenic, homophobic racist characters.  If you would like to read her entire review, it is located here. Here is a link to Misfit Academy’s Amazon page. If you have read it, please leave a review. I don’t mind constructive feedback. Just be sure to Google things like “Hollywood, FL” if you are accusing me of being geographically illiterate. Hugs all around.

A Letter to my Dead Little Brother

 

ChrislittleDear Chrissy,

Yes, I know you don’t remember this, but that is what you used to call yourself when you were three or so. People would ask you what your name was, and you would smile and proudly shout, “CHRISSY PETTY!!” You were so cute. I didn’t see you often as our father had divorced both of our mothers by this time. Our dad was never one to spend oodles of time with his four kids. So, we hung out with our dad and our two brothers a few times before you and your brother moved to Texas with your mom.

Do you remember that weird church our father took us to? I don’t know why this is such a vivid memory for me. Maybe it is because church has always made me uncomfortable. You weren’t a big church fan either. Anyway, I was about eleven and you were three or four. It was one of those churches that wasn’t in a church really, but some kind of shopping plaza. I don’t remember the service. I just remember carrying you around, and pinching your chubby little cheeks. I loved you to pieces and I wished we had a “normal” family where we all lived with the same mother and father, but our father ruined all of that for us. He just couldn’t be the father and husband type of guy.

I visited your mom and my dad a few times at the house in Miami. One time, I remember he got really mad about something and banged his hand on the counter so hard that the loose change that was there flipped up in the air. I don’t know why I remember that. It just stuck with me. That might have been before you were born. I also remember making a house out of a refrigerator box with your older brother.

Our father lived in a couple of different places when he separated from your mom. I remember the townhouse the best. I remember thinking it was so cool that he had stairs because I had always lived in small apartments. This is the place where we played ET on the Nintendo. I never really got into video games, but you loved them your whole life. You played them until the very end. My son just told me that he chatted with you just a couple of days before you died about the pros and cons (mostly cons) of buying the Walking Dead video game. He liked you and thought you were cool. He really loved that picture you drew of him. Thank you for always treating him like a nephew even though you never met him. It’s amazing how you can get to know people online.

ChriscatThe last time I saw you in person was at our father’s funeral. Like you, he died too young. Though, at forty-nine he lived longer than your brief thirty-five years. Our genetics do not react kindly to obesity. You and your brother, and I say your brother so that I don’t use names here in this public forum; anyway, you guys were running around the funeral home. You were both still so young. I think you were eight and maybe your brother was ten or eleven by this time. You almost knocked over the casket at one point. I didn’t know whether to laugh or scowl. You see; I was fifteen then. So, I was super cool and so above running around. I was more worried about boys than mourning the father I barely knew. I was also busy being rude to people who said, “I’m sorry for your loss.” I would tell them, “Why? Did you kill him?” or “I barely knew the man.” Both of those statements were true, but I probably should have held them in. People looked so uncomfortable when I said things like that. I didn’t give a shit.

I didn’t hear from you for eighteen years after that. Then, one day in 2005, my phone rang. You had found me on the Internet. This shocked me because I had tried “Googling” both of my Texas brothers. Do you have any idea how common your names are? I was so glad you found me. I instantly bought you a plane ticket to come to my wedding. You ended up having kidney stones and not being able to make it. I always wondered if you really had kidney stones or if I had just pressured you to fly hundreds of miles to come to my wedding and you didn’t know how to say no. I’m sorry I was too pushy if that was the case.

I’m also sorry for not being a phone person. There were a couple of times that I did not return your calls. I hate the phone, but I wish I had tried more to be there for you.

Thank you for talking me into getting a MySpace page and a FaceBook page all those years ago. You told me it would help us stay in touch, and it did. It also helped me keep in touch with a lot of other people. So, thank you for pushing me into the twenty-first century.

When I got the voicemail from our oldest brother telling me that you had died, I was instantly stunned. I’ve been stunned ever since. It’s like all of this isn’t real. Just like with our father, I had counted on tomorrow. I was thinking there would be a time when I would finally get to Texas to visit you and the family. I thought I had time. We never really have all the time we need do we?

Wherever you are, whether it is in heaven as the Christians believe, or in another life as the Buddhists believe, or just nowhere, I am glad that you are no longer in pain. You no longer feel any anxiety, or illness. Rest in Peace, baby brother.

Love,

Your big sister

Fat, Forty, and Falling

Ice is my enemy.

Ice is my enemy.

I may have mentioned a few months ago in my Metal Mom piece that I live in a cookie cutter, Wisteria Lane type neighborhood. Everyone notices when something is not right.  When we first moved in, my husband was putting in a raised bed garden in the back yard. The president of the homeowners association came right over and asked us if we were building a “structure.” I wanted to tell him, “Yes, we are building a small home for our servants.” I didn’t say that because I’ve learned that most people don’t speak sarcasm. Anyway, since we got that kind of attention for a garden, I was certain SOMEONE would come to my assistance while I was on my ass in the middle of my driveway mumbling “fuck” and shouting for my son. Certainly, someone would notice a short, chubby woman CRAWLING up her driveway at 7:45am. Nope. Unless your mailbox is the wrong color or you are building a “structure” no one cares. I’m lucky that the dogs alerted my son to my little accident. As much as I hate to admit this, my favorite cats were no shows.

Like an idiot, I attempted to walk down my icy driveway to get that last little bit of trash to the curb before the truck came. I just HAD to get that tiny bag of trash out there. The world may have ended if I had to hold on to it for a week. I walked down the driveway like a moron. Usually, I walk on the grass, through the snow rather than brave the driveway. My only explanation for my moronic decision is I had not had coffee. I remember noticing dog and human footprints on the sidewalk near my driveway and thinking about how it was good that there wasn’t too much snow so that this person could walk a dog. Then, my feet slipped out from under me and I slipped and fell right on my ass in an almost cartoon like manner. It would have been funny if it didn’t hurt so damn bad.

I felt like I would not be able to get up and walk ever again. I hit the hard ground and I felt like my spine broke. It was cold, and I really wanted to get back to the house. I swore and then yelled for my son. Then, I got too damn cold waiting, but I didn’t know if I could get up, and I was afraid to fall again, so I crawled up the driveway. At this point, the dogs that were staring out he front window and barking had alerted my son. He came outside to pick me up and take me to the ER.

Obviously, this was a painful experience that would have been embarrassing if I were the type of person to give a shit about what other people think. I don’t think my neighbors saw me fall, and if they did they should be embarrassed for not helping me. I am grateful for this experience though, because I learned how to be better prepared for sudden trips to the ER.

Be glad you can't see my pits or my legs.

Be glad you can’t see my pits or my legs.

First of all, shave your legs and armpits at least every other day, even in the winter, ladies. You don’t want to look like a gorilla in a hospital gown like I did. It had been a good 5 or 6 days since my last shave. Create your own visual here.

If you have Elvis Presley sideburns like I do (Yes, I am a woman), you want to make sure you keep those things waxed. I’m pretty sure the doctors and nurses were staring at the sides of my face and expecting me to start singing Viva Las Vegas at any moment.

Just wear real clothes to bed. Lucky for me, I had worn sweat pants to bed and I didn’t have to go to the hospital in my snowflake jammies, or worse yet, my Bud Light jammies. (Note: I think Bud Light is vile. The pajamas were purchased for a costume party.)

DO NOT tell anyone that pain pills make you nauseous. You will get sent home with Naproxen instead of REAL pain relief. Naproxen is Latin for “will eat your stomach but do diddly squat for pain.”

Have a son, and make sure he can drive before you decide to injure yourself. A teen son can pick you up off of the floor and drive you to the hospital. A teen girl would look down at you on the ground, roll her eyes, and tell you that she hates you for messing up her plans by making her drive you to the hospital. I love my son.

Don’t be a neat freak. I just couldn’t leave the last little bag of trash for next week. I had to go walking down my driveway to the curb like I was trying to get rid of a bomb. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Try not to have a dog the size of a pony. My Great Dane almost knocked me down again when I finally got into the house. At least the cats didn’t try to hurt me more.

Be ready to pee. They are always going to ask for a urine sample. You could come crawling into the ER with a missing leg and a story about a man with a chainsaw, and they would say, “OK. We will take care of that gushing stub as soon as you give us a little urine.” What do they do with all of that pee? Are they like vampires, but they need pee instead of blood to stay alive. Oh, wait. They usually ask for that, too.

It’s OK to be chubby. I was so glad I had never been able to lose those pesky 20 pounds. My fat ass saved me from breaking my tailbone. At least, I’m pretty sure I didn’t break it, based on my symptoms. There’s no way to be certain, as it’s difficult to x-ray. Well, there is an exam they can do, but I don’t recommend it.

Say no to the tailbone exam. There’s no way to tell if you have a broken tailbone because that involves a rectal exam. There is no way to slap a cast on a coccyx bone, so why bother to be violated like this. I looked around when the option was given, and since there was not an open bar and a plate of roofies, I said no.

I think I’m going to go back to my original plan for avoiding winter injuries – just stay inside until May. If you MUST leave the house, bring ski poles with you and wear golf shoes. Also, wrap yourself in bubble wrap. It will keep you safe and it will make other people stay far away from you, except for those freaks who want to pop you.

So, have you ever fallen on ice? Were you injured?  

Any words of wisdom you can share with us?

Breeders, Thick Soup, and other Pet Peeves

I try my best not to offend people with my writing. I know some of you just shot coffee out of your nose after you read that statement. Seriously, even though most people think I lack a filter, I really do have one. I’m going to remove it and get some stuff off of my chest. Strap yourselves in. This may take a while. In no particular order, here are some things that make me want to move to my own planet.

Cat Haters – If you read this blog, you know that I can’t stand when people say they hate cats. I also hate when people leave their cats outside, even if they live in the country.  Stop it. Don’t adopt pets if you can’t take care of them.  If you think cats are able to fend for themselves outside, put your preschooler out at night, too. Actually, your preschooler is smarter, so that’s not a fair comparison.

Pet Breeders — There are so many of them in shelters and they are already put to death. Get your pet from an animal shelter.  You’re not a pure breed so why does your pet have to be? The Nazis had ideas about purebred humans, and the world did not like that. Why is it different for animals? We breed the “desirable” pure breeds and gas the mutts who do not have homes. Yeah, that sounds like a cool thing to do.

Bible as Proof – The next time someone tells me something is true because “it’s in the Bible” I’m going to pull out Edith Hamilton’s Book of Mythology and tell him or her (notice how I did not use them) that Zeus makes thunder, so there is no reason to watch the weather channel or look at the weather app. Zeus is the reason for thunder season.

They/Their/them – I hate lazy grammar. Even though it has become socially acceptable to use “they” for everything, one person is not a they. Use he or she if you are uncertain of gender. If you say, “SOMEONE forgot THEIR book” I will smack you upside the head with a Dick and Jane book.

Schizo Ignorance—It is 2015. You can Google ANYTHING. So, before you post something lame like, “I’m schizophrenic and so am I” look up the definition of Schizophrenia. If there are two of you, Multiple Personality Disorder is what you have. If you were schizophrenic you would be clipping newspaper articles for the FBI and pasting them on your cat because that guy in the trench coat who lives in your curtains told you to do it.

Chubby Victims – Americans are always trying to figure out why they’re obese.  They blame chemicals. They blame restaurants. They blame medical conditions. They need to look at their portion sizes and compare it to their couch potato time.  If everyone would get up and move instead of watching Honey Boo Boo invades the sketti factory, or whatever other nonsense is on, and maybe ate vegetables without cheese sauce, weight would be easier to control.  Stop blaming the golden arches and look in the mirror.

Fucking Bacon – There is bacon everything. It’s like the fat man’s quinoa. There is bacon wrapped pizza now, because pizza did not have enough salt or cholesterol already. How fat do you want to get, Murica?

Thick Soup – I love soup, but most restaurants don’t have soup on their menus. Sure, then have “enchilada potato soup,” or something else filled with flour, cream, and lard, but they don’t have real soup. Chicken noodle is a soup. Beer cheese soup is the reason you’re on cholesterol meds.

Lifter Pushers — Gym rats can be worse than Jehovah’s Witnesses. They always want to know why you don’t go to the gym. The next time someone asks me, “Do you even lift?” I am going to ask them how many books they have written and how their blog is doing.  We all choose how we will spend our daily 24 hours.  If I could write a novel, while lifting, working full time, and taking care of the family, furry and not, I would. Maybe.

Messy Moms – I LOATHE the good mothers have messy houses myth.  I am always seeing social media memes that say things like “Messy kitchens equal happy kids.” I say some lazy person made that stuff up. I’m a good mother, most of the time. I’m also a type A neat freak.  I have a full-time job, a blog, a novel in the works, four pets, a son, and a husband.  My house is clean and neat.  That’s because my husband, son, and I WORK at it.

Censoring Myself – It seems like whenever someone religious or politically conservative is in the room, people will give a warning. “Oh, watch what you say because Bob is a Christian.” Bob can bite me. I’m tired of worrying about offending the Bobs of the world. I’m done. If someone wants to be offended by my language, religion, politics, or whatever, then that is his or her choice, not mine.

“Don’t Judge” – People are always saying we shouldn’t judge others. I’m calling bullshit on that. If you are walking through life, not paying attention to the actions of others and thinking about whether you want them in your life or not, you deserve whatever you get. Judge everything and everyone. Analyze what people do and say. Pay attention to that little voice in your head that says, “This one is off her rocker.” Learn to use your own gift of fear.

Coughing — If you tuned in last week, you know that I have that damn cough forever plague that is going around. Well, I went to the real doctor on Wednesday and now I’m on a crack pipe—AKA Albuterol inhaler. I’m STILL coughing. I’m hyper as a Jack Russell Terrier, I’m talking to myself and laughing at my own jokes, but I’m still coughing. I’m pretty sure I’m stuck in a Stephen King novel at this point.

LGBTQIA Haters –- It is none of your business. Leave them alone. Transgender and homosexual people are often called perverts or child molesters. Do your research. Most child molesters are STRAIGHT MEN. All three of the pervs who tried to ruin me when I was little were straight men.

Sales Pitches and Surveys – It seems like everywhere I go, there is either an up sell, a survey, or both. I fully expect to start getting a survey from my gynecologist. Massage Envy has been the worst with this. I have a membership, and one day I decided to try a facial instead of a massage. Never again.  They shove you in front of some black light magnifying mirror to show you how horrible your skin is and how fortunate you are to be there where they can fix this monstrous face of yours. Then, as you are trying to relax and enjoy your facial, you are treated to a non-stop sales pitch about every single product that is used on your face. When you go to check out, there are miracle products on the counter for you to buy. Nope.

Shit — My older cat shits on the floor, usually about two feet from one of the THREE CLEAN litter boxes. My Maltese is potty pad trained because I don’t want her little white fluffy ass going out in the dirt, or getting lost in the snow. So, basically, I pick up shit every day. After all four of my lovely pets die, I want a full five years with no pets at all.  I will have white floors and furniture and I will go out of town whenever I want. It will be heaven.

Low Talkers — Even with hearing aids I can’t hear these mumblers. Of course, they usually work with the public. I almost crawled through the pharmacy window to hear what the hell the giggly pharmacy assistant was trying to tell me. If you work with people, speak up.

Jim_Morrison_1969Not Writing –- I’ve spent the last year trying to be a blogger, which includes pimping myself and other bloggers on social media. I’ve turned myself into a zombie whore. Blogging makes me feel like a frantic mute Avon lady trying like mad to sell ugly lipstick. It has eaten my brain. So now, I’m putting novel writing on the front burner again. I will still post here, and I will still share cat pictures and snarky comments on social media sites, but I won’t be in 4,982 blogging groups on Facebook because it is not going to be my focus. I am going to finish a first draft of Lizard King Club by June 1. I will post sneak peaks and observations along the way. So, tune in if you are interested in rock musicians, reincarnation, and the 27 Club.

Thanks for listening. I feel so much better now. Because I was peer counselor of the year in high school (true story), I want to hear from you now. What are you sick and tired of? Leave me a comment. Let me know what pisses you off.

 

 

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