Winter Flash-Demented

Jojo and Jimie visited every Sunday for Tea.  Miss Vivienne prepared for their visit with anticipation and precision.  Hair, make-up, dress all just so.  The Tea and finger sandwiches made just the way they liked them.

Vivienne was a stickler for the tradition of Sunday Tea with her sons.

“Miss Vivienne, it’s time for your bath now,” Carol said as she began pulling the chair away from the table.

“Oh, hello dear you just missed my boys they would have loved to see you.”

Carol removed Miss Vivienne’s hearing aids and gently placed her in the tub with the help of Betsy.

“What is wrong with her, I didn’t see any visitors.”

Carol glanced up at the new girl and smiled ruefully.  “Miss Vivienne has been with us a long time.  She is demented as can be, has been ever since she killed her husband and sons fifty years ago.”


It is a new season, time for a Winter of Disturbing Flashes. Flash in the Pan is brought to you by the remarkable Red of M3 fame, to join in the fun read the rules at the link provided and get to flashing!

The word this week isDemented with a word limit of 150. Demented comes in at 150.

Hashtags: #flashfiction #getpublished with @RedmundPro

Choosing Alone

fourwallsI am at a loss; how I am supposed to move through a life I hadn’t planned for and hadn’t intended on living.  I feel adrift and I do not like it, not a single bit.  In fact, I cannot find a single thing I like about this aloneness, not the lonely I expected the lonely and though it horrifies me, I expected it.  It isn’t that, not at all.

It is the aloneness.

It is also my fault.  Entirely and utterly my fault, I have no one to blame but me.  I knew it was happening, I screamed about it.  I fought it, but not hard enough.  This aloneness, this blank space in my life is me, it is all me, it is of my making; it is my agreement to terms and conditions which were unreasonable and hurtful.  I am now exactly where I didn’t want to be, isolated and alone.

I can’t blame him; all he did was demand I choose.  All he did was make me choose him over myself, my nature, my humanness.  All he did was force choices, him or the world, him or me.

Hell, he even made me hide.  Lie by omission simply to spread wings and touch the world beyond the world he wanted to live in, a world of only him and I.  A world so constricted it suffocated me.

Did you know I always chose him?  Even when he thought I chose otherwise I chose him.  My retreat from the world, from friends and even family was because he demanded a choice, because he didn’t need friends only “me”.  He didn’t understand though in making this demand of me, in demanding my isolation from the world he killed something essential inside of me, he was slowly destroying me.  The very thing he said he loved, my mind, my heart, my soul he was killing off each time he demanded a choice.

Now, because I couldn’t slice enough of me away to satisfy him, he is gone and I am left with this gapping aloneness.  Empty rooms, an empty bed, a silent phone; because he is gone but I made choices not to expand, not to reach out.

He has returned to the bosom of his large family who I am certain have welcomed him with open arms and hearts.

He has left me with this chasm of aloneness, of my making because I always chose him.

All I asked let me have something small something that was only me but even that was more than he could bear.  Let me write, let me have the virtual world at least there I can spread my mind and my wings, create a community that would not be a threat to his vision of ‘us’.

That was too much to ask, too big of a threat.  We fought even about this small piece of the world, this community; he could not let me peacefully have even this without comment or intimidation.

So now, here we are apart.  He is where he always said he would be if I made him unhappy.  I am where he always said I would be if I made him unhappy.

The difference, the problem?

He chose for both of us, all along he chose and now he is where he will never be alone and I am so very alone I am frightened.

Winter Flash-Mental

“Say my name.”

George stared at her dumbfounded by the demand.  Say her name; he thought that was what he had been doing all night.

“Say my name, dammit.”


She stared from across the table, steam rising from the coffee mug mingling with smoke from her cigarette.  After a long minute without a single word, she stabbed her half-smoked cigarette out in the overflowing crystal ashtray, her hand shaking.  Rising from the table, she dumped her coffee into the filthy sink and made her way down the narrow hall leaving George staring after her, twenty minutes later she returned dressed.

She stood before him a lost sadness in her eyes, before picking up the heavy ashtray and with precision hitting him squarely across the bridge of the nose.  She watched as his nose flattened and his eyes swelled shut.

“Are you mental?”

“No, but my name is Rose.”


It is a new season, time for a Winter of Disturbing Flashes. Flash in the Pan is brought to you by the remarkable Red of M3 fame, to join in the fun read the rules at the link provided and get to flashing!

The word this week is Mental with a word limit of 150. Mental comes in at 149.

Hashtags: #flashfiction #getpublished with @RedmundPro

Prosperity at what Cost

Do you know what I like best about the New Testament?  The part where Jesus of Nazareth tells his followers to starve children, withhold medical treatment from the ill, turn out on the streets the aged, judge others and find constant fault .  Yeah I really like the part where The Christ told the people to be uncharitable, judgmental and to seek personal wealth at the expense of others.  I also really like the part where he told the priests to build massive edifices to themselves and their own egos and demand the last dime from a poor mother so the minister could buy a new Cadillac.

Those are the parts of the New Testament I really like.  What those parts aren’t in the New Testament?  Are you certain? Surely they must be, those are the Christian values we are legislating. Those are the Christian values our oh so Christian government and their supporters are telling us are the foundation of our Christian Nation so they must be there somewhere, you and I simply haven’t read the Bible correctly.

Pope FrancisIf you can’t find that part of the New Testament either, perhaps we need a real ‘Come to Jesus’ with those who claim Christianity is the framework, no the very foundation of the United States, but fail abysmally to follow any of its tenants.  Maybe it is time for those of us who have a problem with the entire Prosperity Gospel to stand up and hold accountable those who have decimated generations of our people, the very  soul of our nation through their greed and complete lack of empathy. I like this new Pope in Rome, he has turned the fervent followers of the gospel of self, the theology of Free Market on their ears and their asses are thoroughly chapped.  Pagans that is what he called them recently, I like that though I suspect true Pagans might take exception.

We come to the end of another year and we have slipped further down the road to perdition.  You don’t agree with my assessment of where we are today let me give some examples, tell me where I am wrong:

  • Income gap widens between the ‘have’ and the ‘have nots’.
    • The American Dream is out of reach for many today and the once robust middle class is disappearing.
  • More children are hungry and living in poverty than at any time since the Great Depression.
  • More families are homeless.
  • Unemployment remains steadily high, above 7% overall but in some groups above 10%.
  • Education is slipping, we are falling steadily behind other nations in all critical skills;
    • Math, Science, Technology, Literacy
  • Retirement guarantees for those who fought for this nation will be cut, while Congress will keep theirs intact.
  • Banks and bankers, those nefarious organizations and the men who lead them, you know the ones who nearly brought the world economy to its knees and we the people bailed out, they fought and won to remain free to do it again.

That is just a partial list there are worse things we should acknowledge though, things we say only in whispers to each other for fear of the backlash.

The culture war is in play, it is in full force, it is insidious and ugly.  This is a war to win the hearts and minds of those who do not have the wherewithal to discern truth from lies, what they know is their life is getting worse, the American Dream is out of their reach and it is someone’s fault.

The war on women is ramping up; it is insidious and nastier by the month.  We think of this as only the issues on abortion, it is not.  This is across the board; it is rape, violence, education, access to healthcare.  It is how women are portrayed by and in media when it comes to single mothers, poverty and welfare.  It is a host of issues placing women in a harsh and glaring light, forcing us onto a scarlet carpet for a slut walk not of our choosing.

Racism is not a thing of the past; truthfully, racial tensions are high and the ugliness only the icing on a cake that has been slowly baking since the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.  The viciousness spewed daily by those in the media and those hidden behind avatars in social media is nothing less than horrific.  Those who deny the blatant racism within our society are nothing less than willfully ignorant.


Should I continue?  This is simply rubbing the tip of an iceberg I personally find bone chilling.

As the year draws to a close, I wonder what have we done to fix what is broken, or are we instead caught in an endless loop.  Caught simply pointing out the problems, pointing at our dysfunctional government and corrupt elected officials then shrugging, thinking there is nothing to be done.  Have we simply decided to laugh at their stupid, inane utterances, while wondering at the constituency that elected them without demanding change?

Let me help, they are us. Unless we do something, unless we stand up we are that constituency that continues to elect the idiots, the fear mongers, the Hawks, the Free Marketeers; we are the problem even if we don’t pull the lever.

The rich continue to enrich themselves, to serve a God I don’t think most of us recognize.  The rich have convinced a very large part of this nation and many other nations of a number of things that are not true, have never been true and will destroy us, soon if we don’t start speaking up, if we don’t start demanding a change in behavior both public and private.

I leave you with this, a discussion of empathy something we are sorely lacking.

Note: all references to the Bad Bible were a take off on a Twitter comment. For the life of me I cannot find the original Tweet, however my comment is not a copy.

Half a Lifetime

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI promise, you and me, I will not be maudlin through this time of rediscovery.  I might now and then be some of the following:

  • Pissed right off
  • Sad
  • Scared to death
  • Okay, even a small bit maudlin

However, I promise, you and me, I will not allow this change in my circumstances to take over my blog or my life.  Perhaps this is not quite the truth, this change will indeed take over my life it is in fact my new normal and thus instead of being part of a twosome my life is different, I will join the millions of women over 50 who are living alone, by choice or otherwise.

Things you and I should know about me as I begin this journey toward my new normal.  Things that are incredibly difficult to admit.

I have truly been in a long-term partnered relationship or married my entire adult life.

When I read that statement, it sends shivers up my spine.  The sad truth is, I do not know how to be alone, I have always had someone in my life.  I have always been the ‘other half’.  Usually, I have been the half that takes care of things, cleans up messes and ultimately is left holding the bag.

How strange, how very strange.

Since I was fifteen (15) years old, I have not really been alone.  Not really been on my own to determine and decide my own fate without having to consider how my choices might affect others, some of those others have been spouses, while others have simply been those who claimed the title (Texas is funny like that).  In some cases and through my own choice, I remained legally bound to a man with whom I did not share a bed, did not enjoy congress yet continued to shared a roof; I did this so his children would be provided normalcy.  My ‘husbands’ and other partners, in a nutshell;

  1. Beat the hell out of me, nearly killed me more than once and destroyed my ego – 3 years.
  2. Saved me from myself but could not convince me to love him or me – 5 years.
  3. Simply was a stopgap measure to convince myself and others I could marry ‘normal’ – 3 years.
  4. An addict and more, who hid his crimes from everyone far too well, robbed me of money, time and much more; gave me my sons, so I can forgive him all the rest – 14 years
  5. Dearly Beloved, yes he is still this despite it all, the last sixteen (16) years I have given him everything there was in me to give.  I withheld what he told me to withhold, each time he said to me, “I don’t want anything from you”; I withheld a little more if myself.  I honestly thought he was the one I would grow old beside  – 16 years

That is forty-one (41) years of my life in those five (5) men; I am fifty-six (56) years old.  Those five men represent more than half of my life.  Since I was fifteen years old, I have been entangled.  I have usually met the next man before I am fully untangled from all the legal wrangling of the previous relationship; I haven’t stopped to think how vulnerable I might be.

Now to the rest of what I wanted to say about not being maudlin and wanting a new normal.  DB and I separated once before during our marriage in 2010.  That separation was for 6 months, it was hard and he was the one to leave that time also.  Though to hear him tell it he left because I asked him the following:

“If you are so unhappy, why are you still here?”

His answer was to leave.  That six months was hard, it was sad, it was miserable in truth; but, by the end I had gotten to happy, gotten to a new normal where I was starting to enjoy life and my independence.  I should have known when he wanted to come back while refusing marriage counseling and refusing to acknowledge the core issues between us, it was not going to get better.

I have a friend of thirty-five years who says at heart I am a romantic.  I suspect she is right.  I wanted desperately for his, “I love you”, to be the truth without strings.  It wasn’t, it never has been.  But I wanted it and I put my blinders firmly in place and reminded myself of the vows I took, when I flung the door open wide and let my husband back into the home and the marriage he so firmly rejected once already.


My new tattoo, as of yesterday. Yes, Victorious and yes my high-heeled combat boots were the model!

I knew, even then while I held that door open there would be an end somewhere in the future.  I had tasted independence and gotten to happy and it felt light and wonderful.  Don’t misunderstand me, being loved is also wonderful, I want to be loved someday in the future before that happens though I want to try living for me for once in my life.

I have a few more choices to make before too very long.  Choices on where I live.  Choices on how and where I work.

These will wait for a few weeks at least.  For now, I will simply try sinking into the idea of the new normal and how to get through the day.

Yes, it hurts today.  Yes, it will likely hurt tomorrow.  It will not hurt forever though; I know this.  I suspect I will share some of this journey with those of you who want to ride along.  I promise you though I will not change course, I will continue to write about other things that interest me and hopefully you, I refuse to get to mawkish.

Empty Closets

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChoices sometimes are taken out of our hands, taken away from us entirely.  Yesterday I came home after a week away to an empty house.  I knew it was empty as soon as I opened the door, before I opened a closet or drawer, I knew I was alone in every real sense.  One choice taken away, one choice not mine anymore; one fight I no longer had to step into the ring for another round.

I wandered through the house, looking for at least a note a letter, something anything that would say to me; I have loved you for sixteen years but no more, I am leaving.  There was nothing.  No good-bye, farewell, nothing at all to mark the end of a marriage, the end of nearly twenty years.

How do you do that?

How do you not even say good-bye?

How the fuck do you hug your wife on Sunday and then pack all your shit and leave without a word?

Because I have friends and you don’t like it?

Because I called you a jackass when you acted like one?

Because I wanted your contribution to our lives and our home to be more than your presence?

Because, I pointed out to you what you were doing in trying to isolate me from friends and family was abusive?

You didn’t like my anger, especially when it focused on you.  You didn’t like the mirror and sometimes when it was held up you would retreat behind a wall of silence, for day’s even weeks until I would beg for a word.

You would win when I was finally on my knees begging, in tears for the silence to end.

How the fuck do you announce on Facebook you have returned to your mother, knowing I won’t see this announcement until after a five-hour drive, after coming into an empty house.

How do you do this?

How do you tell me the only thing you wanted was my time, when the truth was you wanted it on your terms and to the exclusion of anything and everything else in my life.  Your momentary lapses into kindness were just that lulls in the storm, a means to an end.  They lasted only long enough to give me a false sense of safety within our marriage; they were shorter and shorter after every outburst.

One choice out of my hands, you chose for me.  You crushed my spirit, broke my heart.  Never mind, I will survive this.  Maybe, I will be alone for the rest of my life as you say.  Maybe I will never be loved again, as you say.  Except, I will be surrounded by friends who love me and do not expect me to change to suit them.

I wish you hadn’t done this too me, to us.  I wish you had loved me, us and yourself enough.  I did.  I still do, I suspect this will hurt for a very long time.

Winter Flash-Lunatic

We wandered the hallways, staring into individual rooms and periodically shuddering at the occupants.  The guides voice droned on without inflection describing the different causes for their incarceration; rebelliousness, uncleanliness, voices and worst of all promiscuity.  Now and then, there was a slight rise in his voice when he described the cures, especially for the promiscuous woman kept tied in darkened rooms.

Through the iron door and into the dayroom, the only room with windows the guide led us, the last part of the lunatic tour.  Here sat those who had taken the barbaric cures and were ready to be asked our questions.  The women in the room lifted their heads and stared, some with mild curiosity but most with blankness a dark countenance.

Some of us could not stop our gasps, others giggled at what we had seen.  Our schadenfreude unquenchable in the face of such pain.



It is a new season, time for a Winter of Disturbing Flashes. Flash in the Pan is brought to you by the remarkable Red of M3 fame, to join in the fun read the rules at the link provided and get to flashing!

The word this week is Lunatic with a word limit of 150. Lunatic comes in at 148.

Hashtags: #flashfiction #getpublished with @RedmundPro

Remembering Chris Keith, aka “The Adventures of a Thrifty Mama”

Another woman, a mother and her son touched by violence who ultimately lost their lives, leaving three other children behind. This is the face of domestic abuse. Please read and if you can help, please do so.

Poor as Folk

I “met” Chris through my Facebook page for my personal blog crazy dumbsaint of the mind and I in turn become a fan of her blog Adventures of a Thrifty Mama in the City ‘Stead, and then later we got to know each other outside of blogging. For those  who don’t know how online friendships work, they might be confused when I call Chris my friend. Online friendships are funny things and sometimes it happens that the people you trust online with your experiences  and thoughts are these people you’ve never even had so much as a cup of coffee with.

Chris & I had a lot in common. We were both struggling to feed our families real food on a food stamp budget and defied being stereotyped as “welfare mom living off the system”. We both were striving  to create a sustainable  and secure food sovereignty for ourselves…

View original post 366 more words

Winter Flash – Delirious

Delicious ran newly calloused hands up legs encased in silk, praying she would get the seam straight without a snag.  Slipping on low-heels, she stared in the mirror turning checking her appearance, frowning.

‘I should be just coming in, not just waking’, she thought.

“Delicious, you ready honey?”

“Yes, I’m coming right now.”

“You look great, no one will ever know what you used to be, are you happy?”

“Delirious George, let’s get to church.”


It is a new season, time for a Winter of Disturbing Flashes. Flash in the Pan is brought to you by the remarkable Red of M3 fame, to join in the fun read the rules at the link provided and get to flashing!

The word this week isDelirious with a word limit of 75. Delirious comes in at 75.

Hashtags: #flashfiction #getpublished with @RedmundPro

Choices are Terrible

1343863240_3320_fearFear is a terrible thing.  The stories we tell ourselves of what will happen if we do or do not do certain things can spin out of control in our own heads.  If we have any imagination our internal stories can cause us too cower in corners refusing to take the steps we know in our hearts are right.

What do I fear?


  • Losing everything
  • Never working again
  • Being alone for the rest of my life
  • Never being loved again
  • Dying alone
  • Not achieving any of my dreams

What am I willing to sacrifice so this doesn’t happen?  Apparently everything at least that is how it feels right now, today as I face the nearly untenable return to work in a hostile environment leaving too much unsaid at home.  What is it in my personal psyche that will accept what is indefensible under any normal circumstance rather than take risks that are not grounded in facts.

Yes, some of them are grounded in personal  historical realities.

Yes, some of them are grounded in societal standards and those translate into well founded fears.

Finally, some are simply my own fears, my own personal insecurities built over years of hearing “not good enough”.

Somewhere, somehow there comes a time when it is important to separate what are unreasonable fears from what is simply the truth about choices we make and why we make them.  Is there a part of us that chooses jobs because we think, ‘this is something that makes sense and I can do this; be successful at this.’  Or, as we get older in a market that values youth and beauty do we think, ‘shit thank you Jesus, someone is willing to pay me now if I can only stay under the radar long enough to retire I will be good.’

I wonder about this one, I truly do.  After twenty plus years in an industry that is unkind at best to women, one that I have fought hard to succeed in I find myself on the cusp of antiquity.  I still love what I do. I badly want off the road, badly want to find a ‘forever’ home that will value hard won knowledge and my years of experience.  Truly want to find somewhere to rest myself, on the laurels I have earned through years and 3 million miles in the air.  I still have it in me to work hard and contribute to success.  I still have it in me to mentor and lead.  What I don’t have in me any longer is surviving in hostile environments in silence hoping it will be better tomorrow.  I just don’t have that in me, I simply can’t find the strength or wherewithal to hope next week or this week will be better than the last one when I know the same people will be there and nothing has been done to change their bad behavior.

hazardous-waste-symbolsThe idea of getting in my car and driving four hours to an environment that is so toxic it makes me want to weep or scream every single day makes me weep now.

Funny though, when the environment I am leaving is as toxic it is choosing between two rooms one full of Sarin the other full of Rican.  Which is worse?

Dying alone seems a better choice, it is simply a matter of telling myself this isn’t the worse that can happen.  Never being loved is a silly fiction, I know I am loved it is simply a matter of definitions, love comes as a gift in so many different packages.  Being alone, how much worse could it be than it is right now when I am more alone together than I have ever been.

Losing everything, now this is a terrible one.  Terrible because I have been here before and I am too old to start over again.  Terrible because it is a very real fear, not just one I made up in my over active imagination but one I have lived.  Terrible because it truly does scare the hell out of me and causes emotional and intellectual paralysis.

Love is a sometime horrible state of being, we hope beyond all reason what we love and whom we love will be good for us and that in turn we will be good for them.  We hope, rightly or wrongly we can fix what is broken in ourselves and that our baggage will match theirs so our travels are along the same roads.  We hope we speak the same language, from our hearts and our minds; both are important as we walk along paths no others have medium_diverging_paths-270x180tread dragging our histories behind us.

Sometimes we fail.  Sometimes, despite all our best intentions we fail miserably.  Sometimes there isn’t enough love to fix what is broken inside of us.  Compassion, empathy, humor, self-confidence these have to be part of the mix we bring.  When we try to force another person into a mold, whether it is an image we have of him or her or of how marriage should work we are doomed before we place our feet firmly on the path.  When  we have no flexibility in our personal views, in our vision of the world we have doomed ourselves to a very narrow future and we doom our partner to unhappiness if they don’t agree.

What am I willing to sacrifice?  Myself? My pride?

What happens when we don’t tell, or worse when we do but the other person doesn listen or doesn’t hear?

I have to answer these questions soon.  Choices are terrible things, aren’t they?

I leave you with this from one of my favorite Broadway shows, I think it says what we should all ultimately strive for.

%d bloggers like this: