Adult Warning – Over 18



Awakened, muscles tight and skin glistening from a dream

Your face eludes me

The lingering touch of your fingers though is not unfamiliar,

My skin remembers the touch of you

I feel the tips of your fingers tracing the underside of my breast,

 Your thumb across the tip of my nipple just the way I like it, how do you know

Your lips, soft on the spot where my shoulder and neck meet,

Your teeth bite just hard enough, drawing out first a sigh then a soft moan

I still feel you settling over me, while your hand traces the line of my waist,

With your other hand, you hold my hands above my head keeping me still

Finally, you kiss me forever you kiss me and the world spins away,

My hips unhinge and rise to meet you with that forever kiss and I am undone

Awakened, your face eludes me

Your touch though, when finally we meet I will remember

Valentine 24-April-2014

Stand Down

soapboxpileIt is the small and what some might think are inconsequential things we stumble across that goes to prove just how truly terrible it still is out here. It is easy to ignore the stories, easy to shake our heads at those inconsequential stories we see, thinking they are blips on the radar. The problem with this reaction is it allows them to grow, to sink their hooks in and become part of who and what we are. We have become all too willing to turn away from the ugly and mean, all too willing to think it is someone else’s problem, not ours.

I am telling you, it is ours every one of us. It is not enough to individualize it by saying, ‘I am not prejudice’, or, ‘I am not a racist’, or ‘I am not sexist’. Perhaps that is true, or is it?

It is not enough if the truth is you turn away from the horror that is the time machine of institutionalized racism and sexism our nation, state by state is legislating back into existence. It is not enough if you are turning away from those inconsequential stories as if they don’t matter, as if they aren’t a sign of something bigger.

I have said it before; it starts with each of us. The problem starts with each of us; the solution starts with each of us as well. Each time someone says, ‘we don’t have a race problem’, we need to be ready with examples. The truth is, we do have a Race problem and it looms large over the entire nation, it colors our entire conversation, with denial. We also have a Gender problem, a LGBT problem and an Ageism problem. What we really have, when you break it down to the core is this:

A not like us problem.

Who is us, it is good you asked. It is easy to mistake the us sometimes. We are the us, all of us and any of us who turn away, who fail to speak out, who believe it is happening somewhere else or to someone else. We are the us. It is every single one of us who fail to remember the privilege that accrues to us simply because we were born with white skin or can reasonably pass through stores, police stops and neighborhood watches without fear; we are in fact the problem.

We wring our hands and stand in unity when the assclown heroes of the Right do their terrible acts or say their terrible words, when they suggest slavery might have been kinder than freedom, or young men die in hoodies or for loud music. Still, we don’t shout loud enough, demand strongly enough an end to what is truly killing the American Dream of Freedom, Equality and Opportunity for all members of our society.

What has set me off?

Well first there was this:

Notes left in Easter Eggs

Notes left in Easter Eggs

Then came this:

Fairview Township, PA Local KKK, Neighborhood Watch

Fairview Township, PA
Local KKK, Neighborhood Watch

Then there was this:

Phillipe Holland, killed by undercover cops. Read the story.

Phillipe Holland, killed by undercover cops. Read the story.

And this:

No bathrooms or breaks in Miami-Dade Co. in the coming election.

No bathrooms or breaks in Miami-Dade Co. in the coming election.

Finally, this jackass said this:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

I had enough. When does the rest of the nation have enough? How much is too much? SCOTUS has given the states permission to disenfranchise entire voting blocks and has in essence silenced all but 5% of the populace by placing a great dollar sign in front of speech. The highest court in the land put up a ‘For Sale’ sign and sold out in short and gleeful order.

Our Congress has no shame, none, nada, zero, zilch. They hightail it to every show in town, ready and willing to kowtow to those who will bid high dollars for their services. Whether those bidders are corporations, special interest groups or simply those with personal agendas and piles of money.  All we do is sit back and bitch, whine and complain at our loss of freedom and choice in the direction our nation has gone, the downward slide of our national personality and pride. Just look at the line up for the NRA convention.

nra speakers

This is on us, every last one of us. Taken individually, perhaps these things are not significant though each of them offend the hell out of me. Taken all together these are foreshadowing of the direction of our nation, it isn’t a good direction, in fact it is backwards to a time we fought hard to move away from. Is this truly what we want, truly where we want to go?

This isn’t the nation I want. It is time to stand up, it is time to do more than shake our heads and wring our hands. It is time to say no more. It is time to demand these troglodytes stand down and right thinking people take back the power we own.

Future Performance Anxiety

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are days we can be overtaken, we feel paralyzed by a single emotion and can’t move. Usually when this happens the emotion simply rolls over us, doesn’t really matter whether we are prepared, it comes in and takes over, intelligence is locked up, pragmatism sent to sit in a corner with dunce cap on; we are reduced by our feelings to a primal state.

Do you know what I am talking about, those feelings we get every now and then in our lives? They don’t have to be the terrible ones; just the ones that make us stop everything. As a woman, I suspect I give in to these moments of madness more easily or maybe, it is I admit to them more openly. I am not ashamed I have an emotional life; my heart still beats and still bleeds. It is my hope because I can still be hurt I am also able to feel great joy and someday perhaps great love as well. I am grateful (I think) I live alone right now; this way when I am paralyzed no one is here to witness; that is unless I tell them. Usually I tell, admitting to weakness because I need a good, swift kick in my hindquarters.

Even when everything feels done, it isn’t quite over. Does that make sense? It is the absolute truth. On 13 December last year, my husband walked out of our marriage for the second time. Without a note, a backward glance or a goodbye, he had his reasons and whether they were good, bad or true they were his. At that time, on that day I was paralyzed by grief.

For weeks, I was paralyzed by grief. I mourned the loss of the future I had planned with him, a future I though we had both planned. The sad reality was of course, we were truly traveling on very different courses.

Then I started to see the truth. The truth of our marriage and that future, my grief changed and with it, my paralysis lifted. I started to breathe again. I won’t say it was immediate, I still had days of sadness, moments when the grief would settle on my shoulders. Those days though, they became fewer and the weight of the grief became less.

I rejected his assessment of blame. I rejected his harsh judgment of me. I rejected his assessment of our marriage; it was a false vision of all three. It was in fact self-serving, selfish and cruel.

I did all of those things through pragmatic reason, setting aside my emotional response to the blame game he played and I all too easily fell into.

Until last night, when I asked him to sign divorce papers, divorce papers that would sever our marriage both legally and financially. Allowing each of us to retain debt and assets that were individually ours, no division of any property. Asking him to do this without a fight so our marriage could finally end, using only one attorney which I would happily pay for.

The blame game started up again. Despite where I thought I was emotionally, it hurt. I don’t know why it hurt, my heart cracked a little again and with it, the grief came roaring to the surface. Perhaps it was the memories of before, of those early days.

Maybe it was the memory of the dreams, or maybe it was simply this wasn’t where I wanted to be and now I have to learn all over again how to live in this world without the safety net marriage creates. I admit, there are things I miss and maybe this is part of my fury, part of what I grieve for.

I miss arms around me in the night, holding me as I fall asleep.

I miss someone to talk to after a hard day, someone who listens to my rages and laughs at me.

I miss going out to dinner and talking.

I miss someone to share coffee with in the morning.


I miss cooking for someone who appreciates that I have taken the time.

I miss having a travel partner.

I miss someone to dream big with.

I miss laughing over stupid jokes.

I miss someone to share the hard stuff with, whether it is my physical limitations or simple household stuff.

I miss someone who makes sure I don’t fall out of bed during a seizure, worrying about me when I travel alone.

I miss phone calls just because.

I miss someone telling me I am beautiful even when I am at my worst.

I miss being loved, being made love too and knowing it is real and more than just that minute, just a nut.

The funny thing is, I have been missing all of those things for more than two years. I have been missing every single one of those things not just some of them since the day he walked back in the door from the first time he left the marriage, blaming me for every failure.

I am stubborn and hardheaded; I wanted my marriage to be forever. I wanted to fix what was broken. I did not want this ending. Unfortunately, this is the ending I have written because I am stubborn and hardheaded and I deserve joy, I wasn’t joyful, not for the past two years. There have been brief moments, but not moments of paralyzing joy. That is what has been missing, all along that is what has been missing and until now I couldn’t see it.

So, he has agreed to the divorce. We will proceed and it will be an ending. I was paralyzed this morning. I wept. I suspect those won’t be the last tears. Grief is a strange thing isn’t it. I don’t grieve because our marriage was perfect, I grieve because I dreamed and wanted the dream. Now, I think we can both move forward to different lives, different choices.

285This morning though, I was briefly paralyzed and in pain. Now, it has to be about moving forward again and getting to happy.

Spring Sprung Famdamily

Whatever or however you might celebrate today, Happy Day (Easter or otherwise). Me? Oh, I am just going to clean my house, do some laundry and go for a walk eventually, maybe to the lake. Perhaps I will take my camera and see if the recent rains have raised our water up at all. Maybe I will see if our Bluebonnets are out, who knows there might be something worth taking some shots of this time. I know I have some small buds on my Lavender out back and my fruit trees are starting to bloom also, it is a sure sign Spring might finally be here to stay.

Anyone who knows me knows I do not like being cold. Truly, it is simply not my favorite thing, I like heat all and any kind of heat. I want to be warm, always. The strange thing about this entire issue of being warm, I do not like heavy clothes. I want to be warm without layer upon layer of clothing. I suspect this is why I like living where it is hot most of the time and why when I vacation my favorite destinations also tend to be, well shall we say on the warm side. I am simply warm blooded; I even like food on the spicy side of the flavor wheel; if my eyes water and my ears burn a bit I am happy.

So all this being said, Spring it seems has Sprung and I couldn’t be more pleased. Hell I might even pull the shades and do a bit of a happy dance through the house. I will have to pick something to dance too though; I will put my pick at the end of this if you like you can dance along.

Well, all this being said I am really only sharing my joy and happiness at Spring Time possibly being here to share some fun times with you. I know I don’t often do this do I? Yesterday though I spent time with my sons and their families and my wonderful wife-in-law. We took a slow train ride from Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards and then wandered the Stockyards followed by dinner. Not the day I might have planned for myself, but when you have small children, well it actually worked out well, for the most part.

Pictures from the train ride, strangers and famdamily.

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I must admit the stockyards are a people draw, a great place for people watching. What a strange collection. I wonder why it is people immediately feel the need to throw on their cowboy boots, even if they have never worn a pair in their lives before.

Pictures from the Fort Worth Stockyards, street scenes and famdamily.

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Finally, we all piled into our respective cars and made our way to Uncle Julio’s, a fabulous and popular local Tex-Mex restaurant with a great menu and spectacular Margaritas. We were all sufficiently starving by the time we arrived and so enjoyed great meal and those of us old enough, enjoyed a libation. During the day I discovered a new Tequila which I will be adding to my bar (Herradura Anjejo), it is a magnificent sipping Tequila for those of you who have a leaning in that direction.

Pictures from our night of waiting and dinning.

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Last but not least of all, my friend Christ Hanna of Posture Studios, did another spectacular job and I want to share with you some of the pictures he took of the newest addition to my family. I am so pleased with how these turned out, think my new grandson is so angelic (never mind if his parents aren’t getting sleep). I encourage you, if you are in the DFW area or are planning to be, give Christ a call; he is wonderful and continues to be my hero.

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Now to what I will be dancing about the house too, you can use your imagination as to what in and how.


Lexicon: Wife-in-Law

She and I were both married to and divorced from the same man. She is the mother of my sons. We share a common bond, we love our sons, want what is best for them. We have been part of each other’s lives for better than thirty years and are friends. There is no term for the relationship we have, this one fits.

Pro Ugly

soapboxpileThe announcement by Chelsea Clinton of her impending motherhood later this year brought out the hate, we should have known it would. As I read some of the twits tweeting, I thought to myself, is there nothing, nothing at all off-limits or out of bounds. My other thought was, ‘God people are mean-spirited and ugly’.

How did we get this way?

The argument surrounding abortion is a nasty one. Full of spite, religious rhetoric, name-calling, slut shaming and vitriol.  There is no one, not a single person I know who is Pro-Abortion, only those who are pro-choice; thinking human beings, mature adults who have found the wherewithal to understand there are reasons, sometimes emotional and other times physical a woman may choose to end a pregnancy.

I told my own very personal abortion story in three parts:

Part I is No Bastards No Choice

Part II is Never Again, I Will Hate You

Part III is History isn’t Mutable, But We Are

It isn’t a pretty story, no hearts and flowers there is no happy ending. My personal story doesn’t put a positive spin on choice. It does however; reinforce the need for choice to exist for every woman in this nation, no matter her age, socio-economic or marital status.

This fight, it truly isn’t over ‘babies’, were it over ‘babies’ we would not see children living on the streets, living in cars without enough to eat, without enough to wear in the winter, without clean water. Were this truly about the ‘babies’ we would not be fighting to keep intact programs to provide for born children, for healthcare, education and their overall welfare and well-being.

No this is not about ‘babies’ or children. This fight is about slut shaming and it is about religious imposition. This fight is about smashing a great big red A or S depending on which you prefer on the breast of every woman who demands a life of her own, including the freedom to choose how, when and with whom she will have sex.

A and S extended

The fight over abortion has been ugly; it is about more than abortion though and none of us should ever forget this salient truth. It is about access to healthcare for women and children, as well as, access to birth control for all women and young men too. This fight has extended well beyond the fight over access to safe abortion, it is about whether women have the right to control their lives, not just their reproductive lives, their entire lives including economic, educational and even whom they choose as partners. This fight is about our future as women in this nation, thus it is also about the future of men.

I will not get into the science of when a pregnancy represents a viable human life, we honestly could argue this issue day in and day out and it would break down into name calling and ideology within no more than five comments. I tend to believe what those who have studied human development, embryology and medical science tell me, for a view of the entire process I quite like Visible Embryo I think this site does a superior job of showing and telling the story.

We use conventions to identify the sides of this battle over women, their bodies and their choices. Naming the one side Pro Life is inaccurate and poorly defines them. I do not want to spend time defining the contradiction of the Pro-Life platform with some of their other ideologies, suffice to say it is impossible to align them, at least for me.

This isn’t to say all those who are ‘Pro-Life’ fall into the vehement and ugly ideologies some are truly well meaning with sincerely held beliefs. Arguing with these folks regarding ensoulment is a waste of breath. My preference is simply to accept their beliefs and explain gently I have a different belief and am entitled to it, Constitutionally. I then ask, if you are truly Pro-Life do you support the following and if so how do you align that support:

  • Reduction of SNAP
  • Reduction of Education programs, for adults and children
  • Reduction in funding for after school programs and Head Start
  • Reduction in funding for Free Lunch programs
  • Reduction in WIC
  • Reduction to programs to help disadvantaged neighborhoods and youth
  • Reduction to Planned Parenthood funding, which is sometimes the only source of healthcare for women
  • Reduced access to Birth Control for women
  • Abstinence only education

I have likely missed several programs; these were the ones I could think of off the top of my head that directly affected women and children already born, in this world and needing our help every day.

Getting back to what spurred this entire rant though, poor Chelsea. She no sooner announces the happy and momentous news that she will be delivering her first child later this year the ugly begins. What is it with the The Ninth Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards - Inside Arrivalsopposition; nothing can simply be a happy announcement of a new stage of a young woman’s life. This nation is all turned in and upside down when Kim Kardashian delivers a child or when the royal family has another prince. For these events, we spend hours of bandwidth. But for the daughter of a President, we have nothing but scorn?

All I can say at this point, there is no one I know who is Pro-Abortion. Many I know who are Pro-Choice, without qualification or question. Should there be limitations in the later stages of pregnancy, yes of course, however these are well known and accepted by all right thinking human beings. The ugliness of this argument and how it leaks into everything, even the happy announcement of a young women who is not in the public eye except infrequently is simply another indication of how very ugly this nation has become. It makes me sad.

A good read (short).

My Reserve Nerve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you heard the phrase before, ‘you are on my last nerve’? Most people have, it is a common expression, at least in the circles I run in. These days I am beyond my last nerve all wore out, it is blinking and causing the top of my head to tingle in anticipation of the next stomping. Yes, I am beyond my last good nerve, I have nary a single good nerve left. This is why there are folks about, hanging in the peripheral of my world who have now stepped into the region of MY RESERVE NERVE.

I only have one Reserve Nerve and I think it important I maintain this one in tiptop condition, doing so will prevent me from doing anything stupid or ugly. There are so many reasons I might do stupid, mean, unnecessarily ugly things right now; things that could have either short or long-term effect on my ability to earn a living in fact. I must watch my temper and my mouth; however, it is hard so very, very, very hard.

Before I go any further with my rage against the machine, let me first tell you a little about my real life self and the real life world I live in.

The Short and Not so Sweet

I work in a very specialized part of the IT world called ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). For twenty-two years, I have been working with the SAP product, though I have worked with all the others.

For sixteen years I have worked as a Program and Project Manager, this is even more specialized than simply working within IT.

Since 2008, I have been independent with my own LLC and have rarely been without work for more than 30 days unless it was by choice.

The above being said not to stroke my ego, truly. I simply wanted to establish a baseline for why my Reserve Nerve is on active standby.

My Last Nerve Gone

In 1999, the market blew up with the fear all the computers would stop (remember the millennial clock). All the greatest minds ran to Congress and said we need to expand the H1B program, there aren’t enough qualified Americans to fill the IT demands in the market. This wasn’t true then, it isn’t true now.

So Now to My Last Good NerveNerve Ending 1

I made a decision at the beginning of the year I wanted to change my life; well actually, I simply wanted a life. Part of this change was a career transition. I wanted off the road, out of airplanes and airports and chasing contracts; I want a ‘real’ job with normal hours, a real paycheck and benefits. Yes, working independently has its perks, but not enough anymore. I will tell you it hasn’t been easy, obviously since nearly four months in, I haven’t gotten close and I am beginning to panic. One of the reasons of course is employers are leery of people like me, people who have spent so many years in consulting, people who have been independent for as many years as I have; they think we won’t make the transition. The other reason? Well that goes to a little problem called getting through the RECRUITER.

Anyone know the rules of the H1B? In brief, for a company to qualify to bring a temporary worker into the US on an H1B they must have done the following:

  • Attempted to hire within the US first and be able to prove there are no qualified candidates.
  • A temporary H1B is issued for highly qualified (must have a university degree) in a scarce skill, these include; Engineering, IT, Science and Math

That is the short list. Given the above, tell me why nine (9) out of ten (10) recruiters do not speak English as a first language and have no manners at all? Here are a couple of my favorites over the past week, just to give you a taste.


Me: Hello this is Valentine

Caller: Speak to Logar

Me: This is Valentine, may I help you?

Caller: Logar, I looking for a MM Lead saw your profile on Dice.

Me: Well then, you might have noted I am a Program Manager not a functional lead. I don’t think I can help you.

Caller: You don’t want this then? Click.


Me: Hello, this is Valentine

Caller: Yes, yes speak to Logar is he in?

Me: This is Valentine Logar, he is a she.

Caller: Oh, sorry. Looking for a Project Manager knowing FICO and Development.

Me: Are you looking for a Project Manager that has managed these aspects of a project or one that also does this work.

Caller: No, my client wants the project manager to do the work and manage the project part time. Good rate, all-inclusive $55 an hour.

Me: I am sorry I can’t help you.

Caller: What is your rate?

Me: It is more than that; however, I can’t help you I am not looking for a project at this time.


Caller: Looking for Valentine Logar

Me: This is she

Caller: Looking for Program Manager, long-term project in Detroit.

Me: Send me the specification let me look at them.

Caller: First must establish your credentials, is that okay.

Me: What do you need to know?

Caller: What is your rate?

Me: $85 per hour plus expenses or all-inclusive $120 per hour

Caller: Might be too high I will see. I can get cheaper from India. Are you US Citizen?

Me: No Texas

Caller: Oh, do you have the right to work anywhere in US?


My Reserve Nerve is All I Have Left

Nerve Ending 2If you don’t know, an all-inclusive rate means they expect you to pay your own travel costs. This is fine if you live in the same city the project is, otherwise just no. Yes, they really will just hang up if you say NO. Yes, they really will tell you straight up they can get someone cheaper from India.

I am stupefied by the entire process right now. I do have a few good recruiters, truly I do. The number of calls and e-mails I get daily from random out-of-the-blue, don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground though, well my Reserve Nerve is on active duty. My level of frustration is on high alert, especially as I find myself at the point where I know I will have to consider contracts as a interim solution while I look to make the desired transition.

I am nothing if not flexible! I don’t know why, but it truly does seem to be getting worse out here.

Served Grown Up Please

LVal_Web_smallMy friend Red and I talk often, truthfully nearly every day. Through this recent tsunami, that has been my life I found I have no nearby support system. This has been eye opening; it has also made it very difficult.

Red gets a great deal of credit for pulling me through the worst of it, she dug in and kicked me a few times. There have been a couple of others though along the way, the interesting thing about these others?

My Friends in the Tsunami

  • They are women I have known close too if not more than thirty years, they have been close friends and intertwined with my life in meaningful and happy ways for all that time.
  • They are both in the midst of divorces from long-term partners.
  • Like me, they did not expect to be in this position this late in life.

Where am I going you might ask and so you should. I have been thinking about the position I and others are in at this stage of our lives, the odds are not with us according to all reports. I have been reading blogs by women, some younger and some my age who have been through the devastation of divorce after a long marriage and what it means to be single again. I have been thinking specifically about what it means to me, my life and my future and what I want for myself someday, maybe, perhaps and if I am fortunate.

I Want A Grown Assed Man

I have spent my entire life, every single relationship being the caretaker and provider. Begging for what I need and rarely if ever getting even one quarter of it, then calling myself satisfied. Enough, it is self-defeating and leads to misery. I am no longer willing to settle, not ever again. I don’t want to be anyone else’s second choice, booty call, meal ticket or anything else. Done with all of it, maybe I ask for too much, maybe the dream isn’t out there, nonetheless…..

I Want a Grown Assed Man and This is What He Looks Likemystery-man

He isn’t afraid of who I have been or where I have been; in fact, he is interested in my history, all of it. He wouldn’t think of condemning me for bad choices I have made because he has made some of his own.

He doesn’t shrink from the hard stuff, his own or mine. He knows life sucks sometimes and he isn’t afraid of it. He is grown; he has taken a few beatings and cried a few tears. He isn’t ashamed of it and he can bear up under the tears I might shed in the dark of night or the grey of dawn when I think there is no one there to hear me sobbing. He understands pain.

He wouldn’t think to slut shame me for what was done too me. He wouldn’t ever think to blame me for my past or take advantage of me because I have one.

He is a gentleman; he has manners not just the ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ type of manners but real manners. He knows how to behave in both public and private and it is innate to his person, rather than showmanship.

He makes plans with me and for me; he is respectful of my time and his own. More than this, he thinks ahead and thinks of more than himself and his own desires. He listens carefully to things I love and seeks opportunities for us to do them together. Even when something isn’t high on his list of ‘shit I most want to do in life’, whether it is the opera, the ballet or going to a Lyle Lovett concert, he makes concessions because he is a grown assed man.

He never fails to flirt, with me! Damn, this is important. A simple touch, a cuddle, a kiss on the back of the neck, a meeting of the eyes across the dinner table anything and all the things that send that message he wants me and finds me desirable. Stop looking at your phone for five minutes, pay attention.

He doesn’t think compromise is a four-letter word. It isn’t. Really, see ten letters C O M P R O M I S E; I counted three times just to be certain. He doesn’t beat his chest and say, ‘Me Man, You Woman’, and stomp out of the room as soon as the word compromise is introduced into any discussion, instead he seeks opportunities to balance our relationship and make it easier for us to move forward.

He traces my battle scars with the tips of his fingers in the night, knowing they are an intimate part of my being he loves them for their presence on my skin and my soul.

He never hides me away in the dark; he is not embarrassed by me or his choice of me. He takes my hand and proudly displays me as his partner no matter what anyone might have to say, he defends me in the face of condemnation.

He is not afraid of debate; he welcomes it when it is necessary and never fights dirty. Whether it is politics, religion or whose turn it is to do the dishes, he will always remember I am his partner and he loves me. He is never petulant or childish in a fight, never uses silence or past hurts to win.

He dances with me! Whether in the living room, the bedroom or at a dinner club; he dances with me. He takes me in his arms and dances me around the room. He knows how to hold me and take my breath away when he moves me. He knows how to make me feel beautiful.

He likes himself, is comfortable in his skin and doesn’t need outside affirmation of his manhood. I am enough for him. He doesn’t have to prove his manhood through Neanderthal means. He doesn’t beat his chest when asked to help with household duties, he would never think to say, ‘that is woman’s work, do it yourself or get a maid.’

He knows making love is more than wagging his appendage and hopping on! Nothing more to say on this one.

He is interested in more than himself, he is interested in the world. He reads, he explores and he is willing to try new things; at least once. His mind is a sponge that happily seeks opportunities to absorb new experiences.

He is engaged and active, whether in a single cause or broadly across many intertwined causes. He is at least putting something ahead of himself.

He has his own money. Yes, I went here I had too. I don’t care whether he has the same amount, more or less only that it is his own. I care that sometimes someone else pays, for the theater, the first class plane ticket, the groceries, the clothes, the phone bill, the luxury items. I care that someone besides me cares the bills get paid not just assumes because they always have they always will.

Finally, he loves me exactly as I am doesn’t want to subtract anything from me, doesn’t resent anything about me except I am late coming to his life, doesn’t condemn me or ridicule me, doesn’t want me changed, thinks I am sexy from the inside out and wants to see me naked from the inside out. Will sit in the waiting room when I am having surgery, not asked to be called when I am ready to go home. Will hang out with me when I am getting my next tattoo, not tell me they will divorce me if I get another.

jpgI Want A Grown Assed Man

I bet my list could be longer, I am certain of it. Red says they are Extinct. I don’t believe her, I think they exist and we simply haven’t allowed ourselves to be loved by the right man. I am holding on to hope. Lately I have been posting snippets on Facebook as I think of them, these were two from the past couple of weeks.

What I want….Breakfast in bed (just coffee would be good), phone calls in the middle of the day (for no reason at all), trips to the garden center, window shopping, spontaneous road trips just to take pictures….oh damn I want someone just like me. Oh well, guess I will have to do.


I want to be seen for just me, liked for just me, be wrapped in arms because I deserve it, walked with, taken out for drinks and a movie, danced with in my living room. I want to play cards and billiards, I want to laugh, I want someone to like the skin I am in without wanting to change it. Damn, I just want that.

I was inspired by this:

I realize, I want to be loved for me. I will continue to write about the mystery man I hope is out there, not today and not soon because I am not there, I am hurt right now and feel terribly unlovable and unpretty. But someday I want someone to feel me, my sharp edges, my history, my future and love all of it. I want someone to feel this and say this to me some day.

Justice for Sale

NewJusticeWe were handed a stunning blow as citizens of the United States of America, SCOTUS said our voices were less than those of great wealth, less than the voices of anonymous corporations, less than the voices of those who were able buy our once great Republic. On 1-January-2010, the people of the United States of America were told in no uncertain terms, our voices would count for less and our nation would change to accommodate the will of whose money could buy seats at the table.

We stomped our feet. We complained. We talked among ourselves and pointed our fingers at those we knew were behind the scenes pulling the strings. We rung our hands and cried, ‘woe is us, what now?’

We Blinked

We allowed what we knew was an ethically and morally challenged court to remain seated and continue to hear cases that would change the course of this nation. We watched as case after case went before what we knew were politically motivated justices, in bed with politicians, PACS and lobbyists (in some cases literally in bed with them every night) and we did nothing. Well nothing isn’t entirely true, is it? We whined, we created cute memes and posted them on Facebook hoping they would go viral, we had battles of wits with our opponents on the other side of the divide, we wrote scathing blogs and we wrung our hands. Nevertheless, in fact, we did absolutely not one blessed thing to change the tide.

Meanwhile, ALEC, Heritage Foundation, American Crossroads, American Family, Citizen United, Freedom Watch, Family Research Council, John Birch and Freedom Works; naming just a few of the big ones intent on undermining your and my way of life and our opportunity at the American Dream, have worked hard to get every challenge heard in the highest courts in the land. Their stooges, like Shaun McCutcheon, do their bidding, becoming the face of our diminished democratic processes, the focus of our ire. Meanwhile those truly holding the purse strings gleefully sit back, observing the destruction and plotting the next strike against the Republic.

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Hand Wringing and Weeping

The truth is we could be doing more if we weren’t so stuck on the idea we can do nothing. If our backbone weren’t so weak, so gelatinous we could be demanding the same loyalty of our elected officials with our confirmed moneyed speech the 1% demand of theirs. Rather than hanging our heads and wringing our hands, we should remember we ‘own’ our elected officials; we are the people who stand in line to pull the lever and put them in the position to direct or misdirect our lives through their actions in office. This is true whether they are Red, Blue, Green or Purple. This is a true statement whether they believe it or not. Those officials, from the President of the United States down to the lowest Dog Catcher are beholden to you and I for their seat at the table, they represent us not the special interests who would see our Democratic Republic become something other than a nation for and by the people.

Roberts Court

These are not elected officials

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Consider the problems of this court and then ask yourself does it makes sense.

Justice Scalia, who regularly and publicly castigates the President of the United State, speaks at Conservative forums without shame and shows extreme bias in his questioning from the bench. This is a man who makes no bones about his position and uses that position to do great harm.

“Can’t scare me,” he told a reporter who got on line with audience members to ask a question. “I have life tenure.” Justice Antonin Scalia, Medford, MA Tufts University 10/20131220px-Antonin_Scalia,_SCOTUS_photo_portrait

Next, let’s take a peek under the robe of Clarence Thomas (shudder) and his wife Virginia. Nominated to the bench by George H. Bush in 1991, Justice Thomas was tainted before he was sworn in. Despite the testimony of Anita Hill regarding his sexual harassment, despite the witnesses waiting to testify who were never called Clarence Thomas was passed onto the Supreme Court and continues to serve, for Life. He never asks a question, he also never recuses himself from any case. Prior to his time on the highest court of the land, he represented Monsanto for four years, thereafter moved back into the political arena.

220px-Clarence_Thomas_official_SCOTUS_portraitWhile Justice Thomas has many questionable ethics it is truly who he lays down with every night that should make us all cringe. Not because she is simply mean, but because she has used her association with him to further her own political agenda and they have both benefited by his seat on the bench. A short synopsis of Ginny’s connections:

  • 1985 – 1989 Attorney for US Chamber of Commerce, one of her efforts included advocacy against the Family Leave Act. She was considered highly successful within certain circles because of her personal commitment and passion.
  • 1991,  Legislative Affairs Office of the United States Department of Labor, during this time she argued strong against equal pay for equal work, specifically to close the gender gap. Thereafter she went to work for Congressman Dick Armey ( R ), as a policy analyst until 2009. Though her time in this role raised conflict of interest challenges for her husband during his confirmation hearings.
  • 2000, our Ginny found her calling with the Heritage Foundation a Right Wing Think Tank and lobbying group. Ginny Thomas was at the forefront of the effort to gather and submit resumes for the Bush administration,
    In her glory, Ginny Thomas

    In her glory, Ginny Thomas

    during the time the Supreme Court was deciding Bush-v-Gore. Can you say Conflict of Interest? Many did.

  •  2009, finally Clarence must have had enough Ginny opened her own shop though it went through a couple of make-overs before settling into its current operation, Liberty Consulting, Inc. With strong ties to the Tea Party and no shame in selling her connections in ‘high places’, she is a frequent guest on Fox, including Hannity and others. In addition to her ‘consulting’ company our Ginny is a member of Groundswell2.

Should I say it one more time? Can you spell Conflict of Interest? Yet, he continues to sit on the bench.

I have to ask again, what is wrong with SCOTUS? We have always sought to have ‘our’ guy, meaning the President in office when a Justice retires so we can balance the court in our favor. There isn’t anything unusual in this strategy. Sometimes we win; sometimes we lose and the court shifts slightly. However, currently we have a court so blatant in their disregard for their position as one of the branches of Government, the arbiter of final Constitutional interpretation that slight shift is wreaking our democratic process. The Robert’s court has aligned themselves with the Right Wing of the Legislative Branch and sold our Republic a Bill of Goods with no Return and no Refund policy. Worse, they make no bones of their agenda, with their choice of cases or their questions from the bench.

It is Time to Stop our Hand Wringing and Bitching

A Supreme Court Justice can be impeached; their jobs are not for life. They can be removed if it can be shown they have not acted according to their oaths of office. Article III of the US Constitution says the following:

“The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior…”

These are not elected officials, they do nonetheless serve at our pleasure, they are public servants. This means despite their obvious disdain, they are the people’s servants. It is time for a groundswell of our own, it is time to stand up and demand a change. Not just in Congress, but throughout this corrupt system, including here in the courts even this, the highest court of our nation.

It is time.



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Heartbreak at START

my.operaLast Thursday was Victim Impact with young people in the START (Short Term Residential Treatment) program. This where juveniles land when all else fails, when probation conditions have been broken and less intensive interventions are not working. START is the last stop before full on detention in one of Texas’ lock-down facilities is ordered. The program is 90 days, includes peer-to-peer counseling, one-on-one counseling, group counseling, educational resources, parent inclusion and of course Victim Impact.

I have been doing Victim Impact for years now; you would think it would get easier to tell the story, it doesn’t. You would think it wouldn’t hurt so much; you would be wrong. Some days it is worse than others, there are days when my calendar pops up to remind, ready myself to make the drive to whatever facility I am speaking and my heart clenches, my eyes tear up and I think to myself, “what if I just call and cancel, say I am ill or have had a fatal accident.” I never do though, not once in all these years, no matter how much I didn’t want to stand up and tell the story.

Last week, was one of those days. I didn’t want to stand up and talk. I didn’t want to talk about what happened to my family. I didn’t want to talk about the three young men who ruined their own lives. Last week, I simply didn’t want to do any of it. Last week I found myself hard pressed to find compassion in my soul, the one thing I need when I look into the faces of these young people and tell my story.

Sixteen young men and one young woman marched single file into the room and took their seats. If I had to guess their ages, they were between fourteen and sixteen. None older than sixteen, none younger than thirteen, I have seen them younger but I have never seen them older. These are hard young people; they have seen the world through the prism of indifference, anger, hunger, bad schools, racism, drugs, violence, the foster care system and a host of other things most of us can never imagine, not in our wildest and worst nightmares. This program, it is their last shot before they are permanently marked as unsalvageable and outside of societies care.



Despite the admonishment to sit up straight, they slouched down in their seats staring at their own or my feet. There was a rumble through the introductions; my audience clearly did not want to be in this small cramped room to hear what I had to say. Well, honestly, the feeling was mutual but nevertheless here we all were and we were going to get through this together.

When you look at me what do you see?

Every time I start the same, it breaks the ice and helps me understand how far in the process each group is. Their answers rarely differ much, though sometimes we have some fun. This group, they were more observant than most:

  • Scars, you have had a hard life.
  • Tattoos, a few were showing despite being mostly covered by sleeves and pants.
    • ‘You’re OG aren’t you?’
  • Lots of piercings.
  • You thick (said quietly until I made him speak up) then there was lots of laughter.
  • You dress good.
    • I said well and got blank stares, so I explained.
  • You white.
  • You hard but you smile.
  • You seem like you smart.

That was the list. There were a few more, mostly about my clothes, my hair, my eye color. The list is so they can think about it as I talk and so I can reference it when I am done, so I can make my own list.

The story is always the same; it doesn’t change how could it? Slowly their attention begins to shift from the floor to me. This also isn’t unusual; I am a good storyteller able to speak to them in a language they understand with characters they might have known. The protagonists could be them, the victim not a hero but someone they can see. I don’t hold them for ransom keeping the spotlight all to myself instead I allow discussion throughout.

We talk, I answer their questions; some are silly. Yes, it does hurt to be shot. Some are not silly and I have answered this one more than once, No, I do not regret offering to help a young man I thought was in trouble, though the outcome was something terrible. Some questions are hard though I am asked every single time I speak; No, I do not hate Black people, no I am not afraid of Black men young or old, no I do not even hate my offenders.

Then I was asked a question that broke my heart.

“Do you ever wish you hadn’t lived, with all the pain you have suffered since then; do you ever wish you hadn’t survived?”

The question stunned me. I looked into the eyes of this young man, he couldn’t have been more than fifteen, his eyes held such pain. My heart cracked a little bit as I tried to draw air into my lungs and search for the right answer to give. The real answer was, ‘yes, in the early days sometimes I did wish that.’ This though was my answer.

‘No, I don’t regret living. I don’t even regret the pain; it reminds me I am alive. If I hadn’t lived, I would have missed all the joys in my life. Like seeing, my sons marry and holding my grandchildren, like falling in love, more than once. If I hadn’t lived, I wouldn’t have known what it meant to be stronger than I ever knew was possible, overcoming more than I thought possible, learning to walk again and the great joy of going dancing again for the very first time. No, I don’t regret living.’

In that moment, I felt my compassion finally bloom.

I stared at that young man, but at all the young people in the room. I told them again, they had great worth; they were worth more than they believed and they could choose to be more. I told them again I believed and that was why, even when I didn’t want to, I got there and I stood up and talked to them. They asked how I climbed out of where I started from; I told them I read books. They asked what books, I gave them reading lists. I don’t lie to them, I tell them truth about my life, where I came from and what I did that I was really one of them at one time, ‘A real OG.’

Two hours and some change later, I gave them my list:

  • Mother
  • Grandmother
  • Sister
  • Aunt
  • Friend

When they can see a stranger on the street, see instead of ‘other’ they are the same, then they will begin to understand empathy and compassion. By the end though, that is what they saw in me. They didn’t care I wouldn’t tell them my race or ethnic heritage, only that I told them it wasn’t important. They didn’t care that I wouldn’t tell them my religion, only that it informed me.

In my hour-long drive home, I couldn’t stop thinking of some of these young people, the ones who might make it and those who likely wouldn’t. The ones who fronted to look hard but asked questions that told a different story. I weep, for them and for us. We fail them, each time we cut back on education and services, when a young person says to me his only option is to commit crimes if he and his siblings are going to eat that day, I weep. When a young man hangs his head and repeats my story of delinquency, foster care and running away, holding his head in his hands; I know it is his story. I weep. When a young man begs for a reading list because his school isn’t serving him, hungry for knowledge and way out, I weep.

Argicles.businessinsider Image

Argicles.businessinsider Image


So should we all weep. But when a young man asks if I sometimes wish I hadn’t survived, then my heart breaks because no fifteen year old child should know that much pain. Ever.


Victim Impact the Series:

The Story:

The Commons Revisited

I want to return to one of my favorite political / philosophical places on the map, The Commons. When I first wrote about The Commons, back prior to the second election of our current president it was with some hopefulness ( backstory). Truthfully, most Americans do not refer to the Public Sector, the services and systems provided by government as The Commons. Since January 1981, we have as a nation, been on a mission to destroy The Commons and our memory of how they serve us.

How did we get so damned mean?

Do you ever ask yourself this question when listening to news reports, watching a debate on the floor of Congress or reading the latest memes posted from either side of the ideological debate? I know I do. It seems both sides have sunk to new lows, specializing in simple nastiness and personal attacks rather than solving problems. We cloak it in humor, we laugh at political satire and even excuse those who attack our ideological enemies with terms of gender, race, ethnicity where if these terms were turned on us we would scream bloody murder and demand immediate retribution.

What in the Hell is wrong with us anyway?

As a nation, as a people we cling to our notions and ideologies neither side willing to listen or move from their platforms. The problem is both sides have moved both sides have slid further toward the right, leaving the nation and The Commons in peril of ultimate destruction. We have become a nation of sound bites, ignorance, misinformation and political distractions. We fly willy-nilly off the handle at the slings and arrows thrown by irrelevant talking heads and ignore what is important, critical even to our lives as citizens. We fail as citizens to understand what is important for our future and the future of our nation, focusing instead on immediate gratification as if playing a video game.

The Commons, Safety Nets and the Fall of a Nation

Do you wonder what is the Commons? Many do, they haven’t really heard of The Commons, truthfully many think all the services they receive are simply there, free of charge and might be better if they weren’t, free that is. With this in the back of our mind, let’s consider what are commonly thought of as The Commons:

  • Public Safety – Police, Fire and Rescue
  • Public Transportation – Roads, including local, state and interstate and lest we forget bridges, of which many are considered close to failure.[i]  We also shouldn’t forget in here, the ports, river ways, airways, the list truly does go on.
  • Public Health-  including Free Clinics, Hospitals, Research, the FDA and the EPA to name just a few of the services we receive in the name of our health and well-being.
  • Public Parks – preservation of our wild areas
  • Public Education – from pre-school all the way through university in some states.
  • National Security – Military and that great huge spy apparatus we have and all too often decry.

These are just a few, the list could continue, for pages and pages if truth were to be told.

Then there are the safety nets, no I am not talking about those nets we pay for throughout our working lives but instead the ones we have in place for the weakest of our society:

  • Medicaid (Healthcare, but only one part of the whole)
  • Aid for Women, Infants and dependent children (WIC)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP (aka: Food Stamps)
  • Housing Assistance to families
  • Temporary Assistance to Families in Need, TANF (aka: Welfare)
  • Pell Grants
  • Child Nutrition or School Lunches
  • Head Start and Child Care
  • Job Training
  • Unemployment supplements
  • Energy Assistance (LIHeap)
  • Lifeline (aka: Obama Phone), funny about this one, it was actually started in 1997 but somehow has been attached to our current POTUS.

In their entirety, these programs make up less than fifty percent (50%) of the entire budget, think about that for a moment, ponder it. All the supports, both Common Good and Safety Nets excepting National Defense, make up less than half the expenditure of the federal government. One must ask where does the rest of our money go, why don’t we have a more stable economy and better infrastructure. What are all these fiscally responsible, conservative members of our federal government doing with the trillions of dollars they collect from us and borrow from others? It is a good question, worth asking, isn’t it?

2014 Federal spending chart

Damned Mean and Getting Meaner by the Day

Is it indifference or cynicism that has taken us down this road, allowing us to not see the suffering before us, to not care when a child is hungry or an entire neighborhood falls victim to blight. How do we turn a blind eye as our schools, once the pride of our neighborhoods fall into disrepair, our children once the ‘best and brightest’ are no longer able to read, write or do simple math upon graduation from High School? Why do we find it better to make excuses as our nation drops in every category measuring national success and citizen happiness?

We beat our chests as if illiteracy makes us superior and ignorance of simple science will advance us as a nation. Our failure to advance within the global economy isn’t accidental; we are the only nation with a classification of ‘working poor’, we seem to be damned proud of having added designation, while ripping all security from tenuous hold on hearth and home. A once proud middle class, slips further adrift, families shuffled into parking garages, tent cities and shelters; no longer too proud to beg.

So long as we can point and say, ‘not like us’, we happily run to the polls and pull that lever for the guy who looks most like ‘us’ then wonder why we are losing our jobs, our homes, our cars, our access to healthcare. When we do and there is nothing there to help us when we fall, we still look to the other guy, the inner city guy, the immigrant, the fatherless child, the unmarried mother; we blame them for our fate and cry foul. We look to the guy we elected, we beg and plead and remind them of their promise to, ‘stop those lazy folks sucking on the public tit, not like us hard working folks just like them’. It is only then we might realize we aren’t any different; we also need help but do we get mad at those ‘just like us’ folks we elected who have screwed us into the dirt of our rented land? Hell no, we get madder still at the ‘not like us’ folks suffering right beside us they’re still ‘not like us’ and we are still going to find a way to make them worse off and we are still going to find a way to elect those that are ‘just like us’.

Do we learn though, do we find common ground? No instead, we continue to put the charlatans with their hands out taking money and spinning the wheel to find the next target to focus our ire upon. We would rather put money into the greedy, grasping hands of those who could feed, educate and rebuild this nation with nothing more than the interest paid on the welfare checks they receive from our tax dollars. But we are mean, so long as we have a target we are happy to remain mean, happy to point to the other guy, the guy that isn’t us, that looks different from us and blame them for our misfortune, for our failure to thrive for the failure of The Commons to lift us up from our misfortune.

 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. Matthew 25:45



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