Happy Halloween (from an old bat in-training)

As I write this today, I’m beginning to feel like a grumpy old bat though I consider myself in training because I’m under fifty. But I’m grumpy because I feel like kids today are really getting short-changed when it comes to fun.

First off: for the last couple of weeks or so I kept seeing these signs for ‘Trunk or Treat’ on the marquees of schools and churches. Then I finally learned what these events are and I actually saw a couple in action.

Trunk or Treat is when kids go to a parking lot in broad daylight dressed up in their Halloween costumes and go around to people’s cars where they’re given candy out of the trunks of said-cars. Why, I asked myself would anyone think this was fun? Or is it just me being a grouchy old bat in-training?

To me, dressing up in costume to walk around a boring-ass parking lot getting candy from people who only want to be there because they’ve been guilt-tripped by the PTA or the church-council thingy into doing this doesn’t sound like anyone’s having any real fun. Running around a neighborhood after dark trying not to get hit by cars while looking for houses with porch lights on (and ones that hadn’t been toilet papered) was fun. Or maybe that was dumb as dirt to kids today. But there was a sense of adventure back then, of being out after dark running around yelling for candy when someone opened their front door.

Today in suburbia there aren’t a lot of sidewalks so walking around in the dark is riskier, I’ll give you that. And in most neighborhoods I drive around in, there are a ton of parked cars on the street you’d have to dodge, too (though not in the high-dollar places because the HOA’s there don’t want the neighborhood to look all ghetto and shit). Also in suburbia, it’s very important to know what your neighbors might think of you and you have to care about someone you may only talk to once or twice a year (give or take). I’ve heard that so many people these days don’t really know who their neighbors are so why should someone care about what some dumb-ass down the street thinks about them?

I always said if I had ever ended up in suburbia as a yuppie soccer-mom I would have been run out of there eventually because I swore if I ever did end up there I’d wear loud t-shirts, play rock ‘n’ roll music, let my kids stay up late on the weekends, and actually pay attention to my kids’ conversations. I guess you could say suburbia got lucky when I never got there.

Oh, another reason for these Trunk-or-Treat things is this stupid-ass fear perpetuated by Fox News and all the fearmongering right-wing asshole-news sites that candy from your neighbors might be laced with fentanyl. Yep. Now another reason not to trust your neighbors if they’re not Fox-News brainwashed assholes is that is that they’ll feed your kids fentanyl in their candy.

What every right-wing asshole has never understood, or has totally ignored is this:


Drug dealers don’t set up free sample tables like they’re in Costco or your local grocery store. Their product is too damn valuable to give away for free so they’re off in their drug dens (many in rich-bitch suburbia) laughing their asses off at this shit. So, if they take their kids to the local Trunk-or-Treat event they’ve got to be laughing at all the dumb-ass idiots that live around them who buy their product from them behind everyone else’s back.

Many years ago, my father and I were talking one day about the 1970’s minus the double-knit polyester clothes and my dad said: “At least people didn’t walk around like they had a stick jammed up their ass like they do now.” At that time, I thought to myself: it’s official, my dad is now a cranky old guy. But after a few days I realized he was right. He’s right now more than ever. Even people who don’t vote Republican can be more than a little tight-ass at times. It’s why kids today must jump for freaking joy when they go off to college (especially out of state) and realize they can talk to people who are different from them, listen to all kinds of different music, and dress up and act like idiots if they want to.

Kids today are more aware than any dumb-ass adult about how shitty this world is. They’ve done active-shooter drills since kindergarten, get hated on for reading books, and are fighting like hell not to get all their freaking human rights taken from them. Yes, some of them become Young Republicans but not near enough to replenish the ranks of that asshole-squad.

To any young people reading this (young people to me are under thirty):

You’re doing fine. I have lots of hope for you.

Have fun. Blast that music. Do stupid shit. Make mistakes.

And for God’s sake: don’t jam a stick up your ass. And don’t do drugs either.


If you’ve read my writing for any length of time, you know I will inevitably say at some point to anyone reading my words:

Ask yourself why you think and feel the way you do and keep asking until you find all the answers that you can. Though I will warn you that you might not like the answers you find, and sooner or later you will have to deal with them.

So in an ongoing feature here, I’m going to post a question-and-answer session of mine that I’ve thought through over the last few years. Today I’m going to start off with this question:

What quality do I value most in a person?

My answer is kindness. I could have said love or generosity, but the word kindness keeps coming to my mind first. Why? Because I believe kindness is something that can be expressed in both words and actions. Genuine kindness is without judgment, and it doesn’t set a single standard, or an impossible one. I believe kindness means accepting people as they truly are and is born from compassion and empathy without any limitations.

Being kind makes you vulnerable, and that vulnerability comes from the ability to feel both good and bad. Because I believe if you can feel happiness and joy, you can also feel pain and sadness. Why is that? I think it’s because the Universe likes balance. It’s like you can’t have the light without the darkness.

Another question then is why are people unkind, cruel, and why do they embrace hate and openly scorn compassion and kindness? In truth, my answers are mere speculation, but I think they fall into one of three main areas:

1) Sociopathy: a total lack of ability to feel any emotion like kindness, compassion, or empathy. Normally confined to serial killers or abusers.

2) Narcissism: Genuinely believing they’re totally justified in doing whatever they want to in order to get whatever they want, and in turn never believing they’re wrong or accepting responsibility for their actions.

3) By choice, or as my father used to put it, people who turn themselves inside-out mean in order to survive or cope with something. Again, this is just speculation on my part, but I think people do this in order to be accepted and feel loved even if it means being mean or cruel, or openly scorning someone’s compassion and kindness.

For the longest time, I used to think I was an asshole-magnet. I used to think just because I was the person I am that assholes were drawn to me like flies to shit. Now I’m beginning to see it’s because I refused to shut off my emotions even as I tried to hide and silence them. For the longest time, I felt like my isolation and silence were wrong but now I’m beginning to see that was an act of self-preservation. It was my way of resisting turning away from my emotions, from feeling both good and bad.

Being kind and accepting of others is as natural to me as breathing. It’s not something I have to think about or think through. My kindness is genuine and true even if someone tells me otherwise. And though I live a relatively isolated life, I believe in Karma, or what goes around comes around. Many times, I’ve felt like my whole world has been kicked out from under me or will be, then I either get back up on my feet, or things turn around when I need them to. And yes, I believe that in the end, if I stay true to my emotions, to my belief in kindness in the face of raging hatred and cruelty that things will work out for the better. That’s where my faith in the good of this world comes from.

Asking myself why I think and feel the way I do has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But it’s been worth it to find answers no matter how difficult they’ve been to deal with because the clarity and knowledge is priceless. That knowledge and clarity will stay with you forever because those things can’t be taken from you no matter how hard you think someone, or this world in general is trying to take them from you.

Although I’ve taken a lot of shit for being kind, I won’t stop being kind to myself and to others. And to anyone who has felt attacked and bruised and battered for trying to do good in this world, hang in there. Don’t give up. And don’t give in.

Break the Silence

Yesterday billionaire-idiot Elon Musk officially closed the deal for him to take ownership of Twitter. Now to most people this wouldn’t be big news and it isn’t. For those of us on social media, it is. I’m not super-active on Twitter but I do like to make pithy comments and see what people are getting their knickers in a twist over. But I also want to say the following:

People who pack up and leave someplace just because some new idiot has taken over something are the wimps of this world, and one of the reasons shit-history keeps repeating itself.

People are free to do what they want of course, just like the rest of us are free to comment on their choices. I’m sure there are people in this world who would love to tell me how they feel about the choices I make and the things I say. And they’re free to comment to me in any way they choose as I’m free to respond in any way I choose. Because as my late father used to say, freedom is a slippery concept. It’s slippery as warm shit because freedom can go either way, good or bad. That’s the problem I think a lot of people have with it. But here’s another thing I want to put out here about this:

You can’t run forever. You can’t hide from your feelings, from your pain, or from all the awful shit in this world. Sooner or later you have got to face it. And as my late father used to tell me a lot, you don’t know what you can deal with until you’re faced with it. He also used to tell me: you are so much stronger than you will ever realize, too.

My father could be as eloquent and inspiring like no one else I’ve ever known. But he could also be rude and crude with the best of them, too. I learned at the feet of a master, and if my mother were alive and heard me mouth off like I’m doing now she’d tell me I’m my father’s daughter because if my mother swore, that meant she was about to go nuclear on your ass (and I only heard my mother swear maybe half a dozen times so each time was the start of a nuclear countdown).

All my life I’ve felt like if I stepped out of line in some way, usually when I stood up to someone’s bullying bullshit, I got told if I didn’t shut up no one would want to be around me and that I’d spent my entire life all alone. But I’ve been alone all my life as I have never truly felt like I was one-hundred percent a part of anything. And guess what? I’m still here, still alive and kicking. Maybe I’m meant to be alone, but that threat means nothing to me now.

For so long I’ve struggled to put my words out in the world. And though my voice is tiny, it is mine. I know sooner or later someone is going to come at me with some bullshit. But I’m not a scared kid anymore, or an adult staying silent and eating a ton of shit just to keep the peace. I know I’ve said this before, but things have to be repeated in order for them to be truly imprinted on the human brain.

I own this domain of mine here and this site and blog are all mine. And if I get kicked off other platforms (though I honestly don’t see that happening as Elon-the-Twit and the others really don’t know what they’re doing nor do their sycophants either) I’ll have this at least. But this is a larger space for me to let it rip and hopefully any followers I have will read this. And please feel free to tell me what you think good or bad.

As my father would say, it’s time to shit or get off the pot. The clock’s ticking and I know I can’t stay silent or run and hide forever. In this world, I don’t think there is a lot of peace to be had right now. Too many people are tired, scared, and hurt, or have taken all those things and turned them inside-out mean as my daddy would say, too. I won’t turn mean for anyone or for any reason so I’ll say this:

Ask yourself why you think and feel the way you do and keep asking until you find all the answers that you can. I will warn you that you might not like the answers you find, and sooner or later you will have to deal with them.

So to wind this up I want to say to all the right-wing assholes and left-wing cut-and-run wimps I will quote the immortal words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky:

The fight is here.

So from now until doomsday, I’m taking half an hour (give or take) out of my day to do a daily rant or ramble here. It won’t be fancy, and it will be rough as hell at times. Read it and weep or read it and get pissed off. But know this:

I will not be silenced.

Breaking Radio Silence – Lost and Found

Last night I wrote a piece that’s still a work-in-progress about a topic I’ve never been able to write about without it becoming a raging torrent of anger, rage, and profanity. There are multiple reasons why this piece, which is about what I call ‘bad behavior’, came out the way it did and why it has given me a foundation to build on. But the main reasons it came out without the torrent of anger, rage, and gross amounts of profanity is that I have true self-confidence and self-esteem now.

When I started this journey six years ago to sort out my mental and emotional baggage, if you asked me then if I would come out the other side feeling self-confident and not thinking of myself as a worthless piece of shit, I would have told you that wasn’t possible. I would have said my self-confidence and self-esteem were lost along the way, ripped apart and destroyed many years ago and that I would never find either one again inside of me. And I would have said that back then because I used to think I was an asshole-magnet. I honestly thought that if I showed any confidence in myself, if I showed I actually cared about myself and didn’t think I was just piece of shit taking up space where I wasn’t wanted, that people would just come at me and mentally and emotionally kick the living crap out of me.

Now I know I’m not an asshole-magnet. Now I know I’m not a worthless piece of shit just taking up space where I shouldn’t. Now I know I can focus on what I want to do with my life and not give one single shit about what ‘someone’ might think about me. How do I know these things? Simple: so far no one has had the tits or the balls to come at me and tell me otherwise. But if that does happen, which I think is a matter of when and not if, I’ll be ready.

But I don’t let myself think about that last question in the above paragraph very much anymore. If that thought comes into my mind, I kick it right out as hard as I can.

Truly believing that I have self-confidence and good self-esteem has been liberating and healing. I’ve begun to feel like I’m healing from all the garbage and pain I’ve worked through. I’ve worked through the absolutely-wrong idea that my writing is nothing but me calling out bad behavior and not doing anything about it. I am doing something about it by writing because my writing is to show other people they can work though mental and emotional crap and come out the other side. Yes, I believe people can change for the better if they’re willing to do the work. And I’ve done the work, I’ve realized. Now it’s just time to put it all together in written form.

I’ve come to realize my self-confidence and my self-esteem weren’t taken from me, or destroyed but instead, I hid them away in silence. I hid them away to keep people from using them as a weapon against me. I hid them away to try and keep people from telling me I was an egocentric bitch know-it-all for showing any ability to do things or take on responsibility. Putting my self-confidence and self-esteem into silence was a coping mechanism I developed in order to keep going and fulfill my promises and responsibilities. But coping mechanisms eventually fail because they’re not meant for long-term use. And I don’t need to cope, or stay silent anymore, and I will not give in to any demand to stay silent.

Because as I’ve said before, I’m not sharing my story to get even with anyone or as an act of revenge. I’m doing it in order to help people who have been through things like I have and are trying to work through the wounds and heal them. Yes, this does involve talking about things that some people might not be comfortable with, or worse, things that might make people feel guilt and shame when they don’t want to. I’m not responsible for anyone else’s feelings, and I sure as hell am not responsible for pulling someone’s head out of their ass for them.

If you’re reading this and you feel like you have no real self-confidence or self-esteem, you do. Those two things might just be very deep inside yourself in a safe place because you didn’t want to be hurt or have them used against you. But you can take them out and put them in their proper place, and you can deal with people not liking that. You can be calm and respond by telling people to ask themselves why they think and feel the way they do. Or if they try to weaponize your emotional and mental strength against you, you can tell them to ‘fuck off’ and walk away. I used to be scared of either reaction because I’ve always been afraid of burning bridges. But if a bridge is burned simply because I believe in myself and my abilities and I’m doing nothing wrong with them, then that bridge wasn’t mean to survive.

I didn’t think healing was possible, but now I know it is. And now I’m truly ready to tell the story of how I reached that conclusion and belief in myself.

Conversations From the Road – My Reading Mojo Lost and Found

Image by Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I have loved to read for as long as I can remember. As a child, I think I read almost every book in my elementary school library, and I continued to read anything I could get my hands on through junior high and high school. Looking back, I’ve wondered sometimes how my parents were able to keep me supplied with books. Reading for me has always been a pleasure and yes, an escape, too. And the escape is where the problems came in for me.

In my twenties, when I took on a shit-ton of responsibility in taking care of my mother then in my thirties when I became my father’s primary caregiver, reading was how I got away from the stress of what I was doing and the pain I was going through. But I knew there were people who were making unreasonable demands on me and my time that I felt didn’t like me having a respite from what I was going through. I felt like I was being seen as lazy, or worse, like I didn’t truly care about anyone but myself when I took what little free time I had to do something I enjoyed, even if that was something as simple as reading. So, I started hiding my reading, making sure I wasn’t doing it where anyone could see me reading a book. I began to fear people talking shit to me about doing something I enjoyed because in reality, reading a book or watching a movie or listening to music, or writing, were things that kept me from running away from home screaming my head off or breaking down and crying and never stopping.

When my father was in the hospital having a stent put into an artery in his heart that was ninety-percent blocked, I remember sitting out in the hallway by myself reading a Nora Roberts book. I happen to glance up and at the end of the row of chairs I was sitting at to see a young woman like myself reading the same Nora Roberts book. We gave each other a nod then went back to our books. I’m forever grateful to Nora Roberts and all the other authors and creative people who have always been there for me. I know I will never be able to fully repay them for all they have given to me even as I try to pay it forward with my own creative work. Because most of all, I want to be there for other people like all these creative people were for me.

In the last six years, my reading has tapered off considerably at times. At first, I thought it was because of stress and fatigue, then of being hypercritical as a writer. In reality, it was because I have brought up so much shit from the past that my brain began slipping backwards. I began to think I had to deal with all that shit all the damn time and that if I didn’t someone would land on me or just be insensitive and tell me I had no right to take a respite from dealing with emotional shit-storms. Worst of all, I felt like if I talked about enjoying something or talked about anything at all someone would come at me. That hasn’t happened though I do believe it will someday. But if someone does come at me with insensitive, demanding, or cruel bullshit about me and what I do or say, I’m just going to tell them to fuck off. I will not hide nor will I be ashamed or feel guilty for finding joy and pleasure in life, even if it’s just between the pages of a book. And if someone reading this thinks I’m being unreasonable or overly sensitive or some bullshit like that, keep that to yourself because your stupid bullshit is NOT something I need to deal with.

In the last few weeks, I’ve begun to read at a pace I haven’t read at in years. And I’m taking real joy in reading again. I realize that this is a part of the healing process, something I never thought about until just recently. Even as I continue to work through my past emotional shit-storms, I’m on the road to healing. Finding joy and not feeling any sense of shame or guilt or wanting to hide my joy is a form of healing I didn’t realize I needed until now. So, to anyone reading this: savor the joy and respite you get from whatever makes you happy- books, movies, tv shows, crafts, and hobbies. Don’t hide it or feel any shame or guilt over that joy and respite. And practice telling any uptight judgmental asshole that may come at you one thing: fuck off.

Read the books.

Watch the movies and tv shows.

Listen to the music.

Enjoy your crafts and hobbies.

Find joy and respite wherever and whenever you can.

Be strong in these times of joy and respite.

And now for some bonus book recommendations:

Front Page Murder by Joyce St. Anthony (buy here – Amazon) This is a cozy mystery (a mystery without blood and gore) set in May 1942 in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania. The main character is Irene Ingram, the new editor-in chief of her family’s newspaper. She’s been given the job by father who has gone off to be a war correspondent in the Pacific theater. She’s been a writer for the newspaper since she could pick up a pencil as she says and she’s of course having to fight to be respected for her knowledge and experience. When one of her reporters is found dead, she begins to investigate the ‘hot lead’ he said he was following. The book is well-researched and very well-written and yes, there another book coming in this series soon.

Poison in Paradise by Melissa Baldwin (Buy Here – Amazon): I got this one as a freebie but I really liked it because it was very clever and unique It’s a cozy mystery set on a cruise ship docked in the Bahamas and the amateur sleuth is Lexi, a lifeguard and Guest Relations representative on the ship. When a guest is murdered onshore, Lexi starts to investigate to clear the name of her childhood friend, and new wife of the murder victim. I liked Lexi’s determination to do the right thing and follow her instincts in getting people to talk to her.

A Sip Before Dying by Gemma Halliday (Buy Here – Amazon): Yet another cozy mystery, the first in a series set in California Wine Country with amateur sleuth Emmy Oak. Emmy has come back to take over her family’s small winery that’s in financial trouble. When a guest dies at a tasting event at the winery, Emmy works to find out who did it in order to save her winery’s reputation. It’s very clever and also there are recipes at the end of the book (Emmy is also a trained chef who cooks for the events at her winery).

Grounds for Murder and Cold Brew Corpse by Tara Lush (Buy Here – Amazon) Yet another set of cozy mysteries set in the Gulf Coast of Florida starring Lana Lewis, a former investigative reporter turned coffee-shop owner. In the first book, her top barista turns up dead and Lana begins to investigate. What I really like about this series (the third book is coming out soon), is Lana is really good at investigating because of her former job and the author is a former investigative reporter so there is a real good feel of authenticity along with very creative and strong storytelling skills.

And before my cozy mystery kick, I was on a romantic suspense kick with new-to-me author Rachel Grant and two books in her Evidence series, Incriminating Evidence (one of the best romantic suspense books I’ve read in years) and her Flashpoint series, which is one rollicking intense series of books that kept me reading late at night. (Buy Here – Amazon – Rachel Grant Author Page)

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