Fiction: Losing the Extra Button

Mollie stood there admiring her work. This has been a custom of hers as of late. Every time she completes a difficult job well, she feels compelled to stand there for a moment and take her success in. another habit she has begun is rather odd but she doesn’t find it so. When she finally gets beyond the planning phase of any “work” task, she purchases a new button up shirt. Modern times have shown that most any new button up shirt needs that extra button that no one ever needs or uses. You know what I am talking about. It is normally fastened inside the shirt somewhere. Normally along the seam, at the bottom of the button row, or attached to that annoying tag inside the back of the shirt. All safe and snug in its own little plastic, transparent envelope (of sorts.) Ironic is it that nothing messy can get into that plastic slip unless you tear it open to retrieve the button. Mollie has never had reason to tear open the plastic. She only hopes to keep it that way. You see, the buttons do have some importance. At least for Mollie they do.

Mollie suddenly remembers the button on this blue plaid number. She was short on funds this time around. When it came time for a new button shirt, she had to surf the clearance rack. No biggie. Even cheap shirts are blessed with that button. Remember we came to find Mollie admiring a job well done. After taking a deep, satisfactory breath, she begins to search the shirt for the button. A constant comfort, those buttons. Always there for her. Without fail. Of course it helps that she ensures they are there before purchasing the shirts. But that is a story for another day. She finds the button and then bites the plastic tie with her teeth to snap it off. Firmly grasping the packaged button in her sweaty palm, Mollie heads for the office where she will put it with countless others. The cigar box she keeps them in has enough to cover the bottom and to begin some depth. She smiles serenely as she thinks of it as a small pool….of button water!

Now the real work has to begin. Mollie goes to the closet in her office. So opens this closet so rarely that when she does pull open the accordion doors, dust floats down into her  hair and makes her sneeze. She grabs some chemicals she obtained while working nights in the hospital. They have this great stuff that gets rid of bodily fluids quite well. Doesn’t even leave a trace. Not even something those nosey forensic professionals can find. This stuff is so great that it doesn’t even leave a trace of itself. A degree in forensic science helped ensure that she was fully informed of all aspects of the task at hand. She returns to the kitchen. Looking at the clock, she knows she has approximately four hours before the love of her life returns from his business trip. Being married to a wealthy executive has its advantages.

Let’s take a step back from the mind of Mollie for just a moment.

Unbeknownst to her husband, Mollie is the daughter of a famous serial killer. She was taught everything from the moment he slaughtered her mother in front of her at the tender age of four. After all, he included her in the clean up process. At that time in her life, she did everything she could to spend time with her Daddy who was away a lot. Instead of being afraid or sad, she was quite happy to help Daddy clean up his mess. That night, he told her she was good at her part of helping Daddy and asked if she wanted to help her do more cleaning. She jumped at the chance and never looked back. The difference between Mollie and Daddy is that Daddy got lazy. Not only did he get lazy. He tried to run when he knew it was time to quit. Not a good idea. In this life, you have to give up when life tells you to give up. Until then, take it and run with it. After the first time, Mollie understood the happiness killing brought Daddy. Same concept. Only, for Mollie, it was to protect her own feelings. Revenge killing is what you and I would call it. Erasing remnants of bad feelings is what it was for Mollie.

This body laying on the table in the breakfast nook of the kitchen was number 19 for Mollie. As she went about cleaning up the mess, she was singing along with her play list she had on her iPod for just this situation. See, the massacre that occurred in this kitchen just hours before was planned. Mollie has known for years that her husband has been unfaithful. Unbeknownst to hubby, it was convenient for Mollie that all of his flings were local. Made the entire process easier. Less of a disaster if something were to go awry. Mr. Mollie’s business trips were just that. Business. Mollie knew this as she followed him out of town and watched his every move. Several times. She even believed it was for him to get a rest from his current fling and his wife at the same time. “Poor guy” Mollie would think. Poor guy.

You see, whenever Mollie found out who Mr. was seeing, she would seek them out. She would find out all she could about them and then immerse herself quietly into their lives. Mr. was fond of socialites so it was quite easy for her to befriend them and stay below the radar. Mollie always struck when Mr. was away on business. Less questions and drama. By the time Mollie would strike, she would have become a close friend to the woman. Right down to knowing what kind of panties she preferred to wear. Close but not close enough to become a topic of conversation with Mr. She would invite them over to the house. It was quite convenient that these women did not know of this house. After all, Mr. had a separate home that Mollie was not supposed to know about. The secrets men will keep. She would invite the women over and, over coffee, she would tell them who she really was and provide proof. After all, there were pictures all over the house of her an Mr. in their happy days. There are none in the kitchen, however. No one hangs family photos in the kitchen. Prior to the woman’s arrival, Mollie would pluck one off the wall and lay it face down on the table. More for bait less for proof.

No two murders are the same. Ever. The clean up is the same. Thank goodness the fishing sink is just outside on the patio. Makes feeding the pigs so much easier. The pen was at the far end of the porch. They little bacon mongers absolutely loved it when Mollie used the fish sink. She would bring out pieces of her fresh kill, prep them by chopping them up and mixing in some fresh fruit. Over the years, strawberries and raspberries became the fruit of choice. Fortunately, Mr. has a thing for short women and this would not take long. After she fed her beloved pets and cleaned up the kitchen, she would make a grand dinner of steak and eggs, baked potatoes and, broccoli. A candlelit dinner for the Mr. at the breakfast nook table. Flawlessly perfect. In every way. Mollie always included the scraps of her new shirt in the pig slop. The button, a commemorative token of keeping someone away from what rightfully belonged to her. Mr. was always going to be hers. Anyone who thought different would become pig slop. A fitting death for a slut sleeping with a married man. Further, she would be there for him in the days that followed. He always became inexplicably sad after his business trips. This always made Mollie happy. This would always be the confirmation that she needed. The silver lining is that things would get better in her marriage. At least until the next short bitch came along….

This just means Mollie has to go find a new shirt. And a new button….

What do YOU think?


A Little Bird Told Me

One of the things that makes DH furious about people is that they tend to walk around with blinders on and tune out everything that goes on around them. I admire my better half for his skill in tuning into the details even when they are irrelevant. Apparently, I was walking around like a people (hereafter called sheeple) today and failed to remember that the world was supposed to end today. I got up, went to the cleaning store to buy cleaning supplies and even took the boys grocery shopping. All the while there was supposed to be mass chaos and doomsday going on all around me. BUT….It was just an ordinary day.

Until I came out of the cleaning store….

I hopped on my bike with my thoughtfully balanced bags and mop pointed out in front of me and proceeded to roll down the sidewalk. About halfway to the end of the strip mall, I noted something in the middle of the sidewalk. I always avoid anything I happen to see in the path of my tires because we all know I am the one to hit it and one of two things will happen. I will either pop the tire AND the tube or, the tire will shoot out from under me and I will find a way to become seriously injured and I fall gracefully to the ground. Bottom line? I just avoid things like that. It was a good thing I did this time too. Why?

There was a tiny little bird just sitting there. He was in the middle of the sidewalk and did not budge when I rushed past him on my bike. I happened to look down as I went by and seen him regard me with a calm regard that made me stop and come back. If he curled in his tail feathers, he would be no larger than a golf ball. He continued to sit there and look up at me as if he was trying to tell me something. I parked my bike and lightly stepped over to him and he was watching me just as I was him. There was zero fear in his tiny eyes. I felt compelled to stand there. Not knowing what to do, I took out my phone and snapped a picture. I always share my “adventures” with my family. Thanks to technology, proof is in the peanuts when telling someone something that could be considered a fish story.

After I returned my phone to my pocket, I was unable to leave him there. It was almost as if my feet were glued to that spot in the sidewalk until I was able to make a coherent decision. As I stood there, I looked around to find something I could use to try and pick him up and move him to safety. It has been my experience that when a bird is un-moving when you are towering over them, they are likely injured. Also, if he was diseased in some way, I didn’t want to become a statistic. I had my DH and the kids depending on me. For the first time in what seems like a millennia, I had nothing in my cleaning supplies I could open or use to pick him up as I had all cleaning chemicals. The mop was a cotton mop but it was a tiny one and not nearly long enough to use to wrap around this little guy. Besides, it might have freaked him out. I took inventory of my surroundings and still found nothing. What was I going to do? If I were to leave him here on the sidewalk, he would surely be killed, eaten by a stray or stepped on. I felt helpless. Further, even if I was able to get him to the safety of the bushes in the parking lot, I felt he would die of the heat. Here, on the sidewalk, it was under the roof of the building and it was cooler in the shade. With it being 8 am and 87 degrees already, it was set up to be a hot day.

While I was trying to think of something to do, and still under the spell of having to stay in this spot, I pulled out my phone and started a video. I didn’t expect anything YouTube worthy but it gave some perspective at just how little this guy was. He listened to me talk to him and just watched me. There was obvious trust in his gaze upon me and he did not flinch when I reached out to him. There were busy city sounds going on all around us and every time he startled, it was due to that and nothing I was doing. He trusted me 100% and, for a fleeting moment, I felt like Snow White. Only, I wasn’t singing to the bird. I was talking to it. Here is my proof:

(Kind of ironic that I said it wasn’t YouTube worthy, and here it is….Ah, but I digress.)

After I recorded that video, again, I returned my phone to my pocket and just stood there talking at the bird. I don’t know if I expected it to chirp, talk back to me, or what but I still felt the need to stay right there. Some lady walked by and looked at it like…oh, well…and kept right on going. Sheeple….I swear. I decided that the best course of action, due to lack of other options, was to push him up to the wall of the building gently with my foot. This way, if he angrily pecked at me, it would be my shoe and not a finger. Slowly, carefully, and easily, he let me gently push him to the building wall where it met the sidewalk. He didn’t freak out or anything. He just let it happen. Satisfied, I turned around to my bike and was preparing to leave. Lo and behold, the little guy started hopping in one spot and fluttering his wings a bit. Quickly, I pulled out my phone and this happened:

I was in the middle of wishing the little guy well when, out of the blue, he flew away. You can tell from my expression in the second video, I was shocked. In that moment, I felt a wave of “everything is gonna be alright” come over me. It was almost joy that I felt as I stood there and watched him fly over the building at the other end of the strip mall. I am not sure why that happened or for what reason. However, when it comes to things like that, I do feel there are forces at work that cause people to go through things like this. Most people shrug it off and move on. However, for me, this was out of the ordinary in my ordinary life. It was special. There were forces at work that I could not comprehend and I won’t stress myself out worrying about them. It was a magical moment one in the same. Treat the world right and the rewards will be bountiful. THAT right there is something I believe.

So, the next time you hear me fuss at DH or one of the kiddos about respecting the planet and loving Mother Nature, you will understand. Even in the middle of the city, Mother Nature finds a way. That bird was there for me. No doubt about it. I may not even understand why. Eventually, I will come to understand. For now, I will revel in the magic that it was and appreciate that something happened out of the ordinary to show me that my life is more than just ordinary. It is special.

What do YOU think?

Stream Of Consciousness on a Sunday

I have been wanting to sit down and write something all day. It has been like an itch that is just bothersome to be noticed and will not go away. I even went to my email inbox for my weekly dose of writing prompts that I never look at. Nothing interesting there. Out of desperation, I even went to the interwebs to try and find something to give me some inspiration or something. Today just seems to be a dull writing day. So, I figured, why not just sit down and write about whatever. The good old stream of consciousness. Gotta love it as a backup plan. Only, right now, the only thing I can think about is just that. **sigh**

On the other hand, I am watching a movie with the Hubby. I love watching movies with him. The only draw back is when I sit still like that, unless I am playing one of my games or writing or something like that, I tend to go to sleep. It makes him grumble a lot. Imagine a bear waking from hibernation a bit early. He is tired, hungry, and not quite awake. The grumbles he must make. I imagine that is what goes on inside my husband’s head when I fall asleep during a movie I promised to watch with him. I can say that if we ever are able to afford a theater movie, I wont fall asleep there.

Ah, here we go…..the movie theater. Wow, have they changed! I remember the hard chairs with the flip down seats and the only way to get truly comfy was to scrunch down in the chair and put your feet on the seat in front of you. You had to share the arm rests with the people next to you and there was always room for someone to come in and watch the movie late. As time moved on, there were cup holders and some even had cushioned seats. Although, they were still sticky and smelled of soda and soured candy. J

Just recently we went to see the Dark Tower movie. Yea, that is a topic for another post But it was definitely a different experience from the last time I went to the theater. Now, we rarely visit a theater because it is too durn expensive. Why do that when movies come out on pay per view so fast these days, right? The first thing that was different was the guy in the ticket kiosk pointed to an LED sign in his window and asked me to choose our seats. Um….excuse me? Yes. We had to choose our seats before even walking into the building! This is new. One of my favorite things about going to the movies was walking into the theater and scanning the room to find the perfect seat from whatever was available. I guess those days are gone.

So we go in and buy our over the top priced popcorn and soda (you KNOW I brought candy for us from the dollar store,) and we go to the ticket guy to direct us to the theater that we are to visit to see our movie. What we seen next was totally unexpected. We walked into our theater and found our seats. They were massive recliner chairs with cushioned leather seats from top to bottom. There were drink holders on both sides and it was quite comfy. I had never had an experience such as that during a movie. To be honest it was pretty great. I felt like royalty.

Speaking of royalty, we went to the mall yesterday. (Weekly dose of Pokemon hunting and we had a video game fix to take care of. Ah, but I digress….) What is it with all of these women and girls wearing tiara’s?  I mean its all good for a little girl to feel like a princess I am not knocking that. But grown azz women wearing tiara’s like it is cute on some middle aged women WITH NO CHILDREN!  Why would you walk around with a tiara on, in the mall, as a grown woman?It makes no sense. WHY?

Know what else makes no sense? HUGE women wearing yoga pants. I mean you are stretching that fabric so far that you can actually see through every inch of the fabric. You are wearing that stuff like it is a second skin. Ok, that is another rant for another day. I talked about tiaras and movie theater cushiness. I think I am done for the day.

What do YOU think?

Through Daddy’s Eyes

More often than not, I will wake up remarkably sad. For absolutely no reason at all. I mean, my life is great. I have my family surrounding me. I have a good job. The bills are paid. This house is ours. We have transportation. Sometimes we even have extra. I just wake up and look at my sleeping husband, (This makes me smile because I love him so much!) and I am just so flucking sad! Ugh. I hate this so much. Don’t get me wrong, as I get up and go about my day, the feeling wears off. However, some mornings it is near unbearable.

Let me back up a bit. I used to not understand why people could be sad all the time and not shake it off. I could not grasp the idea that someone could be so happy and sad all in the same breath. It made no sense. Alternatively, I also become offended when people go on social media and run their mouth about people who commit suicide and say that was the coward’s way out. To that I say this: The next time you are in a car accident or you fall and break your back, don’t be a hypocrite and opt for those fancy pain meds that your doctor gives you for pain. That is the flucking coward’s way out. No, it is not comparing apples to oranges. Their pain is just as unbearable as yours. Sometimes, there is no amount of medication that can fix it so buzz off.

Now. I bet you are wondering why I titled this post as I did. I am getting there. Everything has a back story, yes? Yes. In my Daddy’s last decade on this planet, it was hard for me to be around him. No, it was not because he was old. Nor that he would rather not bathe. Hell, he spent 70 plus years on this planet and if it bothered his back to take a bath then he earned that right to marinate in his own stink. Honestly, the only one it bothered to a great degree was my mother. After all, it wasn’t THAT bad. Jeez. That is not the point though. It was his face. There was always something empty there. It hurt me to see it. He would smile, chatter, and carry on. You would see a small glimmer of sparkle when the kids would do something cute or talk to him. But it would fade just as fast as it would appear. He had it pretty OK. He wasn’t hurting for anything. Despite the fact that it appeared that my mother and he had a love/hate thing going on, he was alive and taken care of. He was able to get around for the most part and was never alone. He just had a hauntingly sad look in his eyes. He even had an official diagnosis from the VA doctors. He had dementia and was depressed. Even had medication for it. Sometimes pills are just not enough.

This morning was an especially difficult one for me when I woke up. Good thing it was my blogging day. On blogging days, I don’t work. I don’t clean house if I don’t feel like it. I just basically read, write, and sleep. I also make this the one day that I give my body a break from chugging my daily gallon of coffee. Yea, I sleep. So what?  **Picks up favorite mug with coffee and takes a marvelous sip because today is different** Ah, but I digress… As I said before, I woke up this morning sad. It sucked. It sucked bad. I have good coping mechanisms right now and am able to function after a little talking to myself so seeing a therapist or getting some sort of diagnosis is not necessary. It just took me a few hours only because I had no reason to get up and motivate other than I wanted to. As I was brushing my teeth and getting ready to face the day, I took a moment and looked at the face that was staring back at me in the mirror.

I had never had a ghost look me in the eye before this morning. (I believe in ghosts. They never look at me. They are always far form arms reach. Just sayin…)

My father was in the mirror. Looking at me. With those hauntingly sad eyes. I froze. I swear I stood there for nearly a minute. Now, there is no clock in the bathroom but I know it was close to that because the song my phone was half over and it was about a 3 minute song. So, yea, about a full minute. It is hard to convey in words what I felt in that sixty seconds. Happiness, fear, recognition, sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, joy, shock……all in one breath. Yes, it is possible folks. (Insert empathy statement here, please!) After I came back to the present, something happened. Every. Single. Thing. that had ever caused me sadness, fear, isolation, depression, failure, etc., came rushing into my brain and was like a roar of a crowd that starts out quiet then comes rushing loud in a crescendo of a million voices. In that instant, I knew how it felt to have depression so bad that the only way to make it stop was to walk off the top of a 40 story skyscraper and not look back. Just to want to embrace the darkness and make it all stop. It was the most horrible feeling I had ever had in my life. I seen my Daddy in the mirror this morning. Not that you can see it because I wear glasses but I have inherited my Daddy’s under the eye bags. I swear you could fit a monthly grocery run in them suckers. Gotta love genes for that huh? Anywho…. It sucked.

I had to sit on the side of the bathtub and collect my thoughts because it hit me like an atomic bomb and it even took my breath away. As I gathered my scruples, I had a premonition. I fully understood what Robin Williams must have felt like for the majority of his life. Or anyone who decided that suicide was the best answer. I just could not imagine feeling like that all day, every day, and still be able to function. I also thought of my co-workers who fight with anxiety every day. How hard it must be for them to be crippled by something that not many people understand. It was very, very clear and my heart goes out to people who deal with crippling anxiety and depression every day. The are true soldiers if they are able to live through another day. I had anxiety attacks a lot in high school and early 20’s. They only lasted a few minutes and I had developed my own coping mechanisms. But, to have that as a constant tap on the shoulder day in and day out must really suck. Seriously.

Not that I am bragging. I have my own coping mechanisms. They work for me. As time goes on, they have to evolve. I can only hope that they will last me. I hate doctors and therapists. I feel its nosey and if I am vertical and not contagious, I should be fine, right? Yea, I have seen two instances this year alone where that line of thinking can end badly but hey, that is not everyone right?

My Daddy visited me this morning. He gave me a message. Things (feelings) could be a lot worse than what they are when I wake up to sadness in the morning. I seen that uncut, vivid and, extraordinarily clear. In the words of the infamous Stephen King:

“We all float.”

What do YOU think?

Bingo is Serious Business

I grew up learning how to count in a Bingo hall. Yes, my mother was (and still is) a Bingo fanatic. I have literally played Bingo all over the country. From a basement place next door to my mothers thrift store workplace to the annual really big Bingo games that happen in places like New Orleans and Atlantic City. I watched the rules change over the years. Eventually, you could not bring kids under 18 into bingo halls in most states while others required everyone to possess a “Bingo pass” to simply be inside the building. I have watched my mother play the game for as little as $5 for the afternoon and watched her drop hundreds of dollars on the game in only an hour. There are other things that I have seen in Bingo halls as well. Seriously! I swear it is stuff that will give normal people nightmares.

Before I get to the point. Let me digress. Like I said, I have seen some really strange stuff in the Bingo hall. I mean I have seen women so big that they have to sit on no less than four folding metal chairs side by side. Imagine walking up behind someone and seeing that! Now I don’t have pictures to prove that and it has been quite a few years since I have been to one of the more serious games. This was back before cell phones or I could fill an entire photo book with the things I could go on about here. There are also people who have all their little good luck charms all over the place. Trolls, nick nacks, voodoo dolls, spells, lighters, even holy water. Yes, I have seen a woman sprinkle holy water on her bingo cards before the evening’s bingo games. I guess you can say I also learned how to cuss in a bingo hall. Call “Bingo” by accident and see how many people will cuss you out. They are serious about their games. Mess up their groove or make them think that you got your number before you got yours….if looks could kill sometimes.

That being said, Bingo is serious business! It is almost like living in a gang world. Be the new person in the bingo hall. You have to learn what is a good bingo and what isn’t. You have to learn if you can use multiple color daubers on the paper cards or not and other things like that. However, that is just the basics. What you have to really know about is where NOT to sit. who has brought their own chair (so you don’t sit in it) and, for the places that have computers, which machines NOT to pick. Why? Do you really want some 400 pound woman screaming obscenities at you because you sat in the spot she has been sitting in for the last 2 years? I don’t think so. Do you want to hear how much of a lowlife newb you are because you chose the number 42 machine that this anorexic biker chick has been playing on every Tuesday night since they came out with them? She will tell you about yourself after every stinking game. And, don’t win on that machine either. She will chew you up and spit you out with her evil, bony glare. Another thing you want to be weary of is that you do not want to sit in the middle of a turf war. Sometimes, people will go to the same Bingo hall that have beef with each other. If you happen to be in the middle of the crossfire, you may be forced to choose sides. This is not something you want to do and you definitely do not want to be in the middle of it either. Also, if you move, you will be a pawn in their issues with each other and they will argue over which one made you move away. Never mind you may have to walk by one or the other to go to the snack bar, restroom, or pull tab table.

While you are playing Bingo to have a good time and just hang out or to do something different. Try not take offense if you happen to bingo when you hear everyone muttering under their breath that they are one number away. Sometimes it is worse than an upset in football, especially during the big games, if a new person wins the final jackpot or a high dollar game all by themselves. You will hear papers crumble, people slam their daubers on the table, and cursing. LOTS and lots of cursing.

Now, if you are able to make it through your first night in a new Bingo hall without any transgressions, you may be welcomed back with open arms the next time you come in, especially if it is as soon as the same night of the week the very next week or so. Unfortunately, every night at a Bingo hall is different and there are different personalities that come in on a regular all week while others come in only certain times of the week.

For the smaller Bingo halls, there are even entire rows of tables where it looks like someone’s personal office. they have brought in an office chair, their sweater is hanging from the back of it, there is a cushion and a back up cushion. They may even be cozy enough for that person to leave their bingo bag on the table to “mark” their spot.  Take my advice, stay away from these tables. The Bingo hall manager will likely ask you to move if this person shows up. The person who normally sits there may also have something worked out where someone else is going to be sitting in their spot in the event of their absence. Further, there are relatives watching their stuff. So don’t try to move it an play innocent. You are liable to be jumped in the parking lot by a gaggle of old ladies armed to the gills with pocket books. They will take you out by the knees then trample you with their old lady shoes of yesteryear.

If you are totally new to the game, staking out a spot near the workers and asking them for help would be your best bet. If you happen to bother a pro during the games, they may become aggravated with you and start snorting under their breath like a bull ready to charge. It is not a pretty sight. I promise.

One final word of advise, if it appears that someone has laid a claim to an entire table, go find another one. It is not that serious to you. However, it is serious business to them. After all, Bingo is serious business.

What do YOU think?

The Most Amazing Flower Girl

My sister was 12 years my senior. It only made sense that she married her first husband when I was a young kid. I was about 6 or 7 years old. She invited me to be the flower girl. I was honored to be such an important part of one of the biggest days of her life. She was my favorite sister and it was an exciting time for me. Elaine lived with us in the basement apartment of our house. She and her husband. I loved that house, ah but that is a story for another time.

This wedding was nothing to sneeze at. There were colors picked, a lacy wedding dress, everyone in the wedding party had to have “fitting appointments for their dresses and such. There were flowers to be ordered, a fancy cake, I mean everything a wedding could be. My other sister was part of the wedding party too and my mom was even fitted for a fancy dress. Now, I imagine that it was her husband’s family who paid for everything because our family could never afford such an affair. It was still everything a princess wedding would be in the imagination of a 7 year old girl. Being the flower girl, I was to lightly drop flower petals as I did the wedding walk down the aisle for the bride to walk upon as she made her grande entrance.

I remember being nervous. I didn’t want to trip and fall (surprisingly, I did not have my klutz card at that point in my life,) nor did I want to mess up. I was terrified of messing up and making my sister mad or just making a fool of myself. I assume these fears were one of the first times I ever imagined a “worst case scenario.” To my delight it was nothing of any of the disasters that my little brain had imagined. However, I did do something that my sisters still talk about to this day. Some 35 plus years later, my oldest sister is still talking about what I did walking down that aisle as Elaine’s’ flower girl. Remember that I said I was nervous? Those nerves were about to make me a laughing stock among the members of the wedding party. You see, I was so nervous about doing a good job and everyone was watching me as I alone walked down the aisle supposedly to sprinkle cream colored rose petals all over the carpet. However, sprinkle was not what I did.

In all of the movies I ever watched up to that point, the flower girl skipped gaily down the aisle happily flinging rose petals into the air with careless abandon. However, this was a stuffy, rich persons wedding and I was told to keep my composure and walk a certain way, keep my head up and calmly drop tiny handfuls of petals to be walked upon in my non existent wake. Obviously this is not what I had envisioned doing and it was not fitting in the image of the flower girl I had intended to uphold. However, I did do as I was told. Literally the march down the aisle was step…pause…step…pause…step…pause. After each pause, I was to sprinkle/drop the petals out of my basket.

I did the walk. I kept my composure. Step…pause…drop….step…pause…drop…etc. Everyone was watching me. It was all eyes on the flower girl. To me it was a vast audience of people, most of whom I didn’t know, waiting for me to mess up. As I neared the front of the room, I seen that everyone in the wedding party (all of whom I DID know) were grinning at me. Almost if they were stifling laughter. Off to the right, where the bridesmaids were, I seen my oldest sister move. She made a motion as if she were dropping a softball on to the floor from her bridesmaid’s bouquet. It wasn’t until after the wedding was over, I overheard adults talking about how I was dropping clumps of flowers instead of spreading them everywhere. I heard someone say it was like I was handling rocks or a softball. What confused me was that everyone thought it was funny. Over the years, I would often wonder how such an important job could be so darn funny.

In hindsight, I guess it was because if you think about it. It was more like connect the dots when I was done instead of a field of petals for the bride to gracefully waltz down. In my own 7 year old defense, I did the best job I could without practice. I mean, we had plenty of flowers growing in our yard I could have practiced with or even with grass clippings. However, I had important imaginary friend stuffs to do in the club house (just a wooden pallet under a tree in the corner of the yard) as well as slugs to collect. Practicing my role as a flower girl was not on my mind at all. I was just to busy! I guess I just thought I would be amazing without having to practice. I guess that set the stage for me to write my college papers the night before without an edit.

Ah, but I (nearly) digressed. The bottom line is, I was a flower girl in a princess wedding. I did the best I could. I was amazing. I HAD to have been. They are still talking about it aren’t they?

My “Middle Name”

When I was in high school. Starter coats were a thing. They were in style. These big, fluffy coats would sport professional league sports logos from all over the country. While football teams were the more expensive and fashionably acceptable coats, there were other sports that would appear as well. Another thing that happened back then, was that there were two expansion teams added to the NFL and Baseball proudly accepted a new team: The Colorado Rockies.

How does this apply to this blurb? Oh, I am getting there. We always have a back story, don’t we?  I was not one of the most fashion forward people in high school. I tended to do my own thing. I was picked on for it, of course, but that doesn’t matter here. What matters is that my mother took it upon herself to buy me a spiffy new starter coat when it came time for winter and the fact that I needed a new coat. Instead of forking out a couple Benjamin Franklin’s for one that she would have to have shipped across the country (I am a Broncos/Seahawks fan,) she found me a Colorado Rockies Starter Coat. This was the 1993 expansion team for Major League Baseball. I liked it enough. What I didn’t like was the attention I got from people who would actually pay attention to the fact that I was walking down the hall.

You see, all over that coat were the letters “MLB.”  Now if you are a baseball fan, you would dismiss that and keep right on going. My initials were MXB back then and not many people knew my middle name. Those who didn’t were always asking me “Oh, WOW! How did you get your initials put on a Starter Coat?” Personally, I was not a big fan of baseball. But I thought Colorado was one of the greatest places on the planet and I assume that is why my mother chose that particular coat for me. I would simply giggle to myself and keep on walking. Obviously my middle initial does not begin with the letter “L” nor was I about to tell anyone that.

I simply thought it was funny that even honor students fully believed that I had access to some fashion guru that was great enough to put my initials all over my coat up to and including the metal zipper pulls that were on the pockets of the coat.

Sometimes you gotta love Major League Baseball.

What do YOU think?

The Light Fixture (Fiction)

“George, I told you never to remove the cover for that light. You don’t know what is up there.” Jasmine nagged. She was always nagging him about something. Whether it was touching the kitchen door knob with greasy fingers or not wearing his shirt right, it was always the same: NAG! NAG! NAG! Ah, but his life would be dull without that hen always clucking about something int he background. Am I right?  Any-who, it was dark in the bedroom and while things that went on in the bedroom were best done in the dark, sometimes you still needed to see. Remember what Mamma always said. “You are going to ruin your eyes reading in the dark like that!” Enough was enough, the light bulb had to be changed.

The house should be mentioned here. It was built around the turn of the 20th century and was suitably registered in the city’s record of historical places. They sure didn’t make houses like this anymore. The only sucky thing was that I had to file an application to paint a damn wall. I own this house, why should I ask permission to do something as simple as change the color of the wall? The world may never know. Now, the changing of a light bulb was something on the ‘have at it’ list and this was exactly what I was going to do. Nagged or not, I am going to do this!

The fixture was an oblong, oval thing that was quite the stinker to get off the ceiling. It was held in place by several screws and was almost a two man job. One was needed to hold it in place while the other was removing the screws. However, if you held you lip right, you could do it yourself. I knew that Jasmine was not going to help me so I did the thing myself. I nearly dropped it. As it was made of glass, it would likely have not survived the fall. However, with luck on my side, I was able to get the thing down unscathed. As I laid the dusty cover on the bed, Jasmine snorted at me something about having to wash the bed clothes now that that filthy thing had touched it. NAG! NAG! NAG! Upon successfully putting the light cover on the bed I looked up. It was almost like looking back in time. The part of the ceiling which was protected by the fixture had withstood the test of time and must have been the same antique yellowish color that the house was originally painted in. There was a hole where the light had come down out of the ceiling and was hanging there, as if held in time. It didn’t even swing with the new air surrounding it. It could have swayed ever so slightly as some of the hot air escaped from the ceiling into our bedroom below it. It had a pungent smell that those of us with attics can only know. While I had only stuck my face up into the attic to see if there were any treasures up there, I found only that wonderful pungent attic smell.

After marveling at the time machine that I had found, I noted that the light fixture inside the cover was just as much as an antique as the rest of the house itself and this two-prong light that I was holding was not going to work. I had to purchase a standard light bulb. With the rest of the house pushed in on the wave of the future, a standard light bulb was not something that I had laying around. “Off to the store wench!” I said in my Scottish voice as I poked Jasmine in the ribs. She giggled and hugged me in only the way my Jasmine can do. She grabbed her keys and off to the store we went. Now, a trip to the store was always for more than what is intended. Those marketing freaks do a helluva job when it comes to enticing you to buy something more than what you went there for in the first place. So, it was going to be a while before we got back. I knew leaving the cover off would stir up some dust but figured it would be alright. I was gonna wrap this project up the minute we got back anyway.

Upon our return, I unlocked the front door. When I opened it a rather LARGE wasp floated out as the door swung into the house. Now, wasps are not small in their own sense but this thing was almost the size of a tennis ball. With concern, I told Jasmine to stay on the porch as I went in to investigate. Another thing that was out of the ordinary was that the dogs were going bezerk. They were put in their cage in the master bathroom just off our bedroom before we left; as per our custom. Thinking about that wasp, I grabbed the broom out of the foyer closet and cautiously made my way to the bedroom. What I seen when I pushed open the door could only be described in a dream…no…a nightmare.

From the light fixture were several of those same wasps hanging on the light bulb as if it were their nest. There were several others meandering around the room in a sleepy, flying gait, which only wasps do when it is this time of year. There were other things falling, no nearly pouring out of the hole in the ceiling. Leeches, bugs and…..turtles? Yes. I am sure of it. They looked like those sea turtles that were all laid back and hippie like in that movie with the blue fish. Funny, in this moment, that movie name escapes me. Weird how we forget things when faced with…things.

These things were all over the room. Upon taking inventory of what I was looking at, all the sound in the world came back to me. However, I could not figure out why. NAG! NAG! NAG! The primal scream which emanated from the hallway behind me snapped me back into reality. Jasmine! I turned to look and found her with inordinate fear written across her face. As if to make it more real, she had her hands up to her cheeks as if they were meant to put that scream in quotation marks. She was screaming “THE DOGS GEORGE! WHAT ABOUT THE DOGS!!??” Immediately I turned and made a vee line for the bathroom. Two of them were barking at the smallest one. She was covered in those leech things. I tried to open the cage and then heard a whisper in my head.

“They’re poison.” I paused for a moment. Where did that come from? Why was I not being touched by the things falling out of the ceiling? I knew I could not touch this dog. I was sad that it was lifeless and un-moving. Save for the pulsating rhythm of the leeches sucking out the last of its lifeblood. However, these animals were like our family and saving 2 of 3 was what I had to do. I opened the cage and while one snapped at my fingers, I was able to snatch the other one out of the cage. The one whom I was unable to catch shot out of the cage and into the bedroom. A moment later, I heard Jasmine squee in delight as she made it to Jasmine. I knew I had to get out of there. I still considered the third dog and grabbed a towel. It wrapped around my arm as I yanked it off the towel rack on the wall beside the shower. Again, I heard that voice in my head…whisperingly…”Nooo….They’re poison.” In that instant, a leech which had found itself on that towel landed on my arm. It sizzled and burned like acid! I scream and stumbled back. Falling into the tub, I grabbed the shower curtain and again, leaches landed on me with their sizzling, burning,. slimy skin. I swiped at them and got them off me. It was instinct. I faintly remember the dog still barking in my arms and she took off like a bolt when I fell into the tub. I remember hearing Jasmine outside call for her. It was likely that Jasmine was outside and seen that the one I had in my arms had made it outside. My turn to flee had arrived.

As strange as it may sound, the idea came to me that it was the house speaking to me. Why was it taking up for me but unleashing this horror into my home? And why turtles? No time for that now, I had to leave. I got out of the tub, nearly falling 2 or 3 more times before gaining my footing and went for the bathroom door. The room had become covered. It was a living, breathing, MOVING room. Bugs give me the willies but in my adrenaline-induced state, I didn’t think about that. However, the brief pause at the bathroom door was likely to be my demise. The more I thought about my fear of the creepy crawlies, the more fear replaced the adrenaline. At this realization, the turtles began to speak to me in that creepy children’s voice…”Come on George! Let’s Play!” (Yea, I now know why I never liked children. Creepy little things.”

It was as if my feet were glued to the floor. I was paralyzed. Unable to move and feeling my throat closing in, I couldn’t even scream. All I could do was watch with horror as the things moving and churning in the bedroom where I spent many wonderful nights with the love of my life seemed to consume first my shoes, then my legs. They were making their way up my lower extremities with that sizzling, acidic touch. The brighter the pain and fear became, the more I swirled into blackness. In a fear induced high, I passed out fully believing I was drunk and was going to bed…for the last time. Funny how things work out when you have your last thoughts. My brain’s last transmission? Well, as the things in the room covered me and left only an impression of their body under their business, you can say it was:

“I was consumed with fear.”

Outside, in the front yard of our back-country home, miles from any neighbors, you could hear Jasmine in that nagging voice….”George? Georrrge?  GEORGE!”  Unbeknownst to her, George was unavailable at the moment. Further, she seen turtles flapping their way out the front door. “Hi Jasmine! Let’s Play!”


Death is not a tragedy for the surviving but a gift.

Back in March, I lost my sister to cancer. While she and I had not spoken in a years, a few months before her untimely death, we did make our peace. I even shared a few pictures of our trip to New Years Eve in Times Square. I later heard that it made her so happy that I included her in my travels. Her death was still a shock no matter how much I mentally prepared myself. Fast forward to June. My brother is diagnosed with cancer. He must have been keeping it from his family, I imagine it was a pretty easy thing because he lived in another state with his son being the closest relative. Not long after the diagnosis, he moved in with our mother and passed away just a few weeks ago. In all my life, I have always had the opportunity to either make my peace or say goodbye. This time, I didn’t. His son set up a service to be held tomorrow.

It is when we experience the death of a loved one that we find ourselves in frequent moments of reflection. If you are fortunate enough to sit and do so without becoming a slobbering, drooling mess, you can appreciate what those moments of clarity can provide for you. My Daddy has been gone for nearly 8 years and I still find myself in moments of reflection at my mind whispering one of his “Dougisms” into my ear.

BET ME!!! He was so fond of saying.

You see we always feel so wronged when someone close to us has come to their time. When they leave this world and move on to the next life, it is the survivors that feel left behind, saddened, forgotten. However we need to look outside the box. We need to seek it out as a gift. We can witness someone a horrible, painful death. Others will simply go quietly in their sleep. Still, others will be walking along and simply just fall away. It all seems so sad to us but think about it. In the days and weeks after someone has died, they enable you to remember. They have touched your life in some way that make you stop and think. In the midst of our busy lives, we pause and reflect. Maybe we even have a shadow of a smile on our face. By remembering some distant memory, we have been effected in a positive way by the imprint of the loved one’s memory. They were a part of our lives for a moment and we are so impressed with the way they touched us that we are able to never forget. It is in these moments that the gift of the dead shine in our hearts.

Death teaches us a lesson that time with friends and family is precious. That every moment we share with another human being is special and should be treasured. After all, tomorrow is never promised. Don’t let the absence of their presence slow you down. They will be waiting for you in the afterlife. I often like to think that my Daddy is sitting on a cloud somewhere sharing a drink with Pepper (a beloved family pet) and my Sister. That they have just welcomed my brother Tom to their fluffy table and that the four of them are watching us flounder around in this life trying to make sense of everything that seems to be real. Of course they are watching over us. They are forever burned in our memories not as the empty carcass of a body they carried in their final days but of some wonderful memory many years ago.

My father has on his jeans that are rolled up 2 inches thick, his slip on canvas shoes, and a white T-shirt and smells strongly of Right guard with his hair combed back. He has that amazing smile only he can have with his teeth in. Of course he has a Pepsi can and one of those thick glasses filled with ice, Jim Beam, and Pepsi. My Sister is up there with her shoulder length wavy hair, a pair of jeans, cute top, and makeup done to perfection. She has a glass filled to the brim with ice and a coke on the table. She loved her ice. Of course she has Mitzie with her. My brother is sitting in some sort of work garb. Looking like he just got off work at a garage or mill somewhere and of course he has a beer with him. My sweet Pepper is next to Dad, waiting for him to put his glass down so he can sneak a lap or two. His fur is shiny and clean, near white, with that funky little flip of hair that used to be between his eyes that drove me crazy.

They are all sitting there, once again enjoying each others company and looking down at us and our follies. Yes, the individual and collective memories of them brings a tear to my eye. However, were it not for each of them, my life would not be what it is now. They were a part of my life and that is the gift they leave me. The legacy they left for me personally.

We all deal with death and grief differently. Once the sadness stops, do your loved one a solid and remember the happy times. It is certain they would love for you to think of them fondly. I know I would.

What do YOU think?



Anastasia Diaries: Shhh…Can you hear that?

The silence. It is so loud.

I am sitting on my couch at 5 a.m. contemplating the mess that my life has become. I am trying to work up the courage to move forward with a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos. The political and social climate we as Americans find ourselves in affects everything the sun touches. We are powerless to ignore. Even those who are proudly, publicly, progressively sitting outside of the world climate are touched as we retreat to our bubbles. I sit in silence….

Prisoner of so many things that are and yet I run free with fear. Can you hear the silence roar? It was so loud it woke me before my alarm and all I could do was sit up and listen. The what ifs, the could be’s the maybe’s. They all dance before me in the still darkness of the living room. I reach for someone I know. A loved one. Seeking the comfort of a warm hug, a reassuring hand to yank me out of this hell and I find nothing.  Do I even exist? Do I matter? The air conditioner wakes and silently caresses my hair with its fake, gentle breeze. I begin to think I am invisible. 

With my screams, I call out, begging…screaming for someone to help me. Yet I open my mouth and there is nothing but silence. In the darkness my mind falters and I begin to question everything. The air conditioner begins to rattle and racket…saying to me…no. Rage is not the answer.  It is hilarious that it is dying on the inside too. It will be 90 in the shade today.  The weather app on my phone silently told me so. At least something is talking to me. 

If I shaved my head would you notice me?

If I took a baseball bat and broke everything would I have your attention?

If I put everything on Social Media would it matter? I haven’t put anything on there for six months…

If I scream and cry so loud the heavens can hear would you listen?

If I cannot fix me would it make you sad? Glue does not fix everything…

Here I sit. Drowning in the silence I find uncaring, unforgiving, uncanny. It envelopes me. Squeezes me so I cannot breathe. The air conditioner finally pauses…and the silence…it roars. I want to jump up in a rage and fight back. No! You cannot do this to me!!! But the coming sunrise peeks through the part in the curtains. Daylight begins to pierce the darkness. To bad it is only the room because it never reaches me.

I take that with what little hope is left and fight the urge to rage and I begin to walk the rut I have paced into the worn carpet. Another day. Another day I will not be me. Another day to be ignored. To feel helpless. For no one to see.

My cries for help remain unanswered and I  going to explode soon.

Would it matter? Would anyone care? ……..,

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