On Generosity and Kindness

I knew it would happen eventually.

We’ve ridden this twisty, terrifying, and unpredictable roller coaster of her health for the last ten years, and though we had our seatbelts on and were sitting at the top of the hill knowing the brakes would come loose any minute, none of us was prepared for that drop, and it still feels like we haven’t yet caught our breath. I’m not sure we ever will.

On Mother’s Day, May 13, 2018, my mother died surrounded by my father, myself, and my four brothers. We got the call that it was bad. We all rushed to be by her side, and we stood and watched her take her last labored breath.

It was terrible and beautiful all at the same time. I’m so very glad I was there.

I learned a lot about my mom in the last two weeks. I always knew she was a giving person, the kind of person who was everyone’s best friend. I used to joke about how she could make a new friend in line at the grocery store. She knew no strangers.

My friends knew they were welcome in our home. Her table was always ready for an extra seat, and when I was younger, she never seemed put out if one of my friends stayed for dinner, or the night, or the weekend, or even sometimes the week. My parents have adopted all of my friends to the point that they call them “Mom” and “Dad.” In my own self-absorbed world, I never realized the same was true for my brothers.

My oldest brother and I spent more time together in the last two weeks than we have in years. He’s seventeen years older than I am, so by the time I was old enough to matter, he had moved out and was beginning his adult life. It was nice to hear his stories of my mom and how she was the same with his and my brothers’ friends.

A lot of you know she and my father ran a homeless shelter when I was a child. Their giving spirit shaped me into who I am, but what I was shocked to learn was that my mother was so humble about her kindness, that there were countless stories of her generosity that I didn’t even know. She always did so much for others. She was so giving.

My best friend, Kimberly, read something that her mother, Diane, wrote during the funeral. Her mother was my mom’s best friend and was working out of state and couldn’t make it to the service, but she told a story of my mother’s generosity. They moved in next door when I was five years old. They had three daughters, and her mom was pregnant with her fourth child. She said when they pulled into the driveway, my parents came out to greet them. My dad didn’t hesitate and began helping her father unload the trailer.

Three days later, Diane was put on bed rest. She knew nobody and had no family or friends. She called my mom and told her the situation, and my mother took over. She unpacked her things, helped Kimberly’s dad with the kids, prepared meals, and did laundry until after the baby was born. I’ve known this family for 35 years, and my mother never told me that. I don’t see that kind of kindness towards neighbors today, but my mom didn’t even blink. She just helped. And then never boasted about it.

My brother’s ex-wife called me last week to check on me. I told her how nice it was to see her and all of my nephews. We talked about her oldest, Ryan, and I mentioned how much my mom loved what she called her “Ryan day” when he was in preschool. I was a selfish college student at the time. All I ever knew was that my mom spent one or two days a week with my nephew after preschool and that she looked forward to it every time he got to come over. What my sister-in-law told me, something my mother never mentioned, was that she was pregnant with her second child, and my brother had to travel a lot for work, so my mom offered to take care of Ryan a couple times a week so that she could go home after work and nap. She said that my mom would call her to wake her up and say, “Dinner will be ready in thirty minutes,” and then when my sister-in-law would arrive, the table was set, dinner was ready, and my nephew had already been bathed. To anyone who has ever been pregnant and also taking care of a toddler, that kind of break is priceless, and my mom never even told me that. I just knew that Ryan day was special to her.


Death is so final, and even when you’re prepared for it, it’s unpredictable. I don’t know how to grieve correctly or appropriately. I enjoy hearing other people talk about her, hearing stories that I never heard. I miss her terribly, and knowing “Mom” will never flash across why phone again shatters me, but I find comfort in hearing about her kindness, and what is even more extraordinary is she continues to give even after her death.

My mother donated her body to science. She was horribly claustrophobic and said she didn’t want to be in a casket underground, and whenever anyone talked about it, she always said that she wanted to donate her body. She must have said it to me a million times growing up, but I never really took her seriously. The thing with death though is that the first question after the family leaves the room of the deceased is: “What would you like us to do with the body?” We all knew the answer. My mother didn’t just tell me. She told my dad and my brothers. So in her last act of generosity, she is helping to further research into medical science. The thank you card from the medical school says “To give of oneself so that others may live in health and happiness is a truly noble gesture.” This is how she lived her entire life.

She has inspired me and several of my friends to do the same when our time comes.

Mothers always want to teach their children. My mom never really did that overtly. Instead, she lead by example.

She was a damn good human. I only hope I can take her example and continue to shine her light to the world.

If you’re inclined to learn more about this kind of donation, you can find the link here. My parents live in a town with a major medical school, so donation was quick and simple for us, but if it’s something that you or a loved one is interested in, it’s best if it is set up prior to death but if not, it’s important to act quickly.

***This is a brain dump. I didn’t edit or even proof read.***


Mom high school

My Beautiful Mother



Why I Told My Daughter to Kick Your Son in the Balls

There was an article that went around last year that my virtual writer friend Ashley Fuchs wrote called The Reason My Daughter May Punch Your Son. When I read the article, my daughter was in kindergarten. In my mind, she was years away from this kind of harassment, so I read it, and I shared it, but I didn’t internalize it the way some of my fellow parents did. Because I thought I had more time.

Turns out, my time is up.

“Mom, I got bullied today,” she said as we walked home from school.

“Bullied?” I questioned. I don’t like the word. I think it’s overused and thrown around, and I have a hard time thinking that my sassy, very independent little girl could possibly be bullied, so I questioned her a little. She tends to be dramatic, and by the time we got home, she said some boys were chasing her on the playground. I told her not to play with them anymore if they bugged her, and that was that. We went on with our day.

Fast forward to dinner where she brought it up again. We always go through our highs and our lows of the day, and when it was her turn to voice her low, she said, “Some boys bullied me today.” Since this was the second time she brought it up, I probed harder.

“Tell me exactly what happened, ” I said. She went on to say that some boys were hitting her butt on the playground, and when she told them to stop, they called her chubby and laughed at her.

That’s right. Two boys put their hands on my daughter, and when she told them to stop, they called her fat and made fun of her. Let that sink in for a second.

Want to know where they learned that? I have an idea.

Rage boiled inside of me, but I squelched it and asked her what she did next. She said she told the teacher, and the teacher told them to stop, but they didn’t.

The more I listened, the angrier I got. She showed me on my own butt what they were doing, and it can only be described as groping, but she didn’t understand that.


We discussed how inappropriate and unacceptable it was/is, and I commended her for doing the right thing by telling the teacher.

She put her head down and said, “Tomorrow, I’m just going to hide at recess.”

I pulled her into me and lifted her chin up so she could look me in the eye, and I said, “NO. You will not let two boys ruin your free time. You will not allow them to take your fun away. They are breaking the rules. If they do that tomorrow, you say ‘Keep your hands off of me.’ If they do not stop, you tell the teacher. If they continue to bother you, you turn around and step on their feet, or kick them in the shins or their business, and if you get in trouble, go ahead and tell your teacher to give me a call.” I explained that she might end up in the principal’s office and that we would deal with it if we had to, but I made sure she knew that she was empowered to defend herself.

Our boys are learning from us. It is not innate that when a girl says no, they immediately go to calling her fat or ugly. This is learned behavior. Your job as a mother and as a father is to make sure your sons (and daughters) know better. I can tell you that if I learned that my son had touched a girl the way these boys touched my daughter or spoke to another child the way they did, there would be some serious consequences at our home. He knows better. He’s been taught to respect all people, all women, your daughters, so if he steps out of line there, I want to know.

Parents, teach your sons (and daughters) that they are not entitled to touch anyone anywhere, that my daughter’s back side is not for their hands, that if they do put their hands on (MY) child, they will not get away with it because she will defend herself the best way she can.


(To read more of Ashley Fuchs’ articles, visit her page: The Incredible Adventures of the Malleable Mom.)


Strong 2

Photocredit: Stock photo





The Silent and the Not-So-Silent Bully

When I was in high school, every morning a group of guys gathered around their lockers conveniently located right by the front door of the school. As students walked through the door, their torment began. They weren’t too selective. Anyone could be their target. They made fun of shoes, bags, shirts, pants, faces, teeth, hair, anything.

It pains me to say that I was part of their group, not the part that made fun of people, but the quiet part. The group of kids who stood two feet away and did nothing. The silent bullies. The ones who didn’t stick up for the poor kid who couldn’t afford new pants, so his were too short. God forbid. And he never heard the end of it.

I sat at their table at lunch.  I even (gasp) dated one or two of them. *gags* Until one day, I walked into school with my best friend, and we watched these assclowns knocking a kid’s books out of his hands and then making fun of him and tripping him when he picked them up, classic movie bully stuff. My friend and I looked at each other and then went to help the kid with his stuff. As we were walking away amid the echoes of their lame jokes, I said to her, “I don’t need to be friends with them anymore,” She responded with a boss nod, and from that point on, we never looked back.

And then it began.

“Hey, Castle! New shirt?” I heard. Or, “New shoes?” or “New boyfriend?” Yeah, they were quite the cleverless put downers. Just a group of ugly assholes who picked on everyone who wasn’t part of their group, a gaggle of geese constantly giggling like dipshits.

I loathe the term bully and think that, as a society, we are highly over using it. But these guys were bullies, a mean spirited group of trolls, quite literally. Ironically, the meanest boys in school happened to also be some of the least attractive and the most popular.

I remained distant friends with some of that group, but I never sat at their table again. I never went to their parties again. And I cringed every time I saw their mean boy posse. Passing them in the hall and being hit with “Hey Castle” followed by a barrage of their inbred idiot assaults became my daily adventure.

You could say that I quickly went from totally chic to totally geek, and I was okay with that.

Before, I wanted so badly to be accepted that I ignored their bad behavior. I ignored their meanness. I ignored when they made other kids cry. For years. And I wasn’t alone. It was a defense mechanism. I knew if I defended their target-of-the-day, they would turn their mean on me. And I was right. They did.

But they didn’t ruin school for me. I luckily made friends with some of the most brilliant amazing kids who I probably would not have gotten to know had I remained “popular.” And those kids enriched my life. They made me better. They encouraged me and applauded me, and I will forever be grateful for seeing that before it was too late.

So let’s get to the point here.

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of The Donald. Confession, I actually used to like him. But then I saw the way he treated people, how someone’s looks were his first target. Or their intellect. And before you tell me not to listen to the fake news, I encourage you to scroll through his tweets. I now see the same pathetic qualities in him that I did of the douche-canoe guys standing in front of those lockers. A person who is so insecure that in order to make himself look better, he attacks other people.

The exact thing we try to teach our children not to do.

Now he’s president, and I am told over and over that I have to respect him.

But that puts me right back to where I was in high school: two feet away from the bully pretending nothing is wrong. A silent bully again.

And that’s not okay with me. I know the media hasn’t been nice to him and that (in his words) “no politician in history has been treated more unfairly.” Wah. Boo friggin hoo. Hey, man, you get what you give.

He ran a platform of being politically incorrect, and the masses fell at his angry feet. They cheered and chanted and promoted his bad behavior even when he (on multiple occasions) applauded and encouraged violence. And they continue to do so. Until someone is mean to him. Then “everybody should be nice.” Except for him. This is bully mentality y’all. Plain and simple.

Do as I say not as I do. Be nice to me but not to them. Laugh when I say laugh. Cry when I say cry. Cheer when I say cheer.  Make me feel good. Tell me how amazing I am. Listen to me when I cheer for myself. Tell me I’m the best. But by God, don’t you dare say anything negative about me, or I will retaliate.

(I just went to twitter to see if I could find a mean tweet to imbed in this, and THIS IS THE FIRST TWEET ON HIS FEED!!!!!)


I know he’s trying to appeal to a different audience. Maybe he’s even trying to be funny. So is every single bully out there. It’s pathetic, and it’s ignorant. It isn’t presidential. It isn’t modern day presidential. It is infantile, and it is a poor example for us, for our country, for humanity.

Do better, Donald Trump. Do better, America. Don’t be the kids two feet from the bully. Stick up for what is right. We cannot stand back and tolerate something that we wouldn’t allow our children to do.

PS: He did a couple of pretty good things this week in regards to ISIS (hopefully) and veterans, but the media isn’t covering it because Donald Trump is too busy attacking CNN and a couple of journalists, which of course, is getting lots of coverage. Bully mentality y’all. Ego ego ego.

locker bully


Suicide is Painless

Suicide is painless. That’s what they say, right?

In America alone, someone dies by suicide every thirteen minutes.

Let that sink in for a second.

Every thirteen minutes, someone in America takes his own life.

We lost another celebrity this week. The world stood stunned at the news of Chris Cornell’s passing. Suicide. Again.

Today we are talking about suicide. Because of Chris Cornell. And we’ve been talking about suicide for the last month because of the popular Netflix show based on the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. It’s a conversation we need to keep having.

Mothers are clutching their pearls saying they don’t want their children to watch this show. They don’t want them getting any ideas. Schools are pulling the book from the library. It spreads the wrong kind of message. It glorifies suicide.

Let’s get something straight here. Talking about suicide in no way glorifies it, and watching a television show where a young girl violently slits her wrists in the bathtub after being raped, after watching her best friend get raped does not glorify suicide. Exposing the way a mother reacts when she finds her daughter lying dead in the bathtub from self-inflicted wrist wounds does not glorify suicide.

Most people don’t commit suicide as a reaction to something. The girl in the show didn’t commit suicide because one bad thing happened to her. She was suicidal. She did not react to a bad event and decide to kill herself. She was already going to kill herself, and her life experiences only increased the volume of the voices in her head telling her to do it.

Suicide is not a reaction. Suicide is an illness. A mental illness, and it’s more than a grasp for attention or a selfish act as I’ve recently read.

Suicide is not painless. It’s not an escape, a way out. If you crawl into the mind of a person who suffers with suicidal thoughts, you might be enlightened as to what you’ll learn. In his world where suicidal ideation controls his mind, he is in constant tug of war with himself and the inner voices. In his head, suicide is the most selfless act that he can commit because that’s what they tell him over and over and over again

He will no longer plague the world. Everyone will be better off without him, and the voices in his head keep shouting it. Until he can no longer tune them out, until his world is an echo of screams saying, “Do it. Do it. Do it. The world will be better without you in it.”

So he ties a rope around his neck and hangs himself.

And we gasp at our loss and mourn an icon, a singer, a comedian, a writer, and this list goes on. We watch the news and hear about more teenagers taking their own lives, but in most cases, it’s not because of a television show or a book or a song.  We want to blame the book. We want to blame the song. We want to blame something. But the truth is, the only thing to blame is an illness, an illness that takes more lives than cancer.

The country is talking about suicide today, and we need to continue to talk until everyone who doesn’t suffer from mental illness understands that the world of someone with suicidal ideation is different than yours.  The mind of a person who’s plagued with suicidal thoughts, cannot compare to the mind of someone who isn’t. We need to educate ourselves to better understand this population of people so that we can support them the way they need our support.

We need to watch the television shows. We need to read the books. We need to talk to our friends who are open enough to expose their struggles, and we need to break the stigma of mental illness. 

We must keep talking about it. About suicide and depression. About all mental illness. We need to quit throwing around the word crazy like a hot potato. We must stop ignoring the signs. We must advocate for better access to mental health care professionals for people who suffer from this very deadly illness.

Someone dies by suicide in America every thirteen minutes. While you are reading these words, a person sits in her bathroom with a razor against her wrist and quiets the voices in her head, the ones who keep screaming at her, for good.

depression meme


Dear Mom

I didn’t buy you a card this year. I always spend a lot of time looking through all of the cards, humor cards and sentimental cards alike, but this year I couldn’t find one that worked.

Nothing quite put into words the impact you leave on this world, on my world. There wasn’t a card that said, Your laugh is the best sound on Earth. I couldn’t find one that said I see so much of you in my daughter. She’s wild and fierce and brave and strong, just like you, Mom. There were no cards that described the days when I get to talk to you and how they are a little less stressful and hurried, that I’m more grounded and calm when I get to hear your voice. None put into words the way I feel when I come home, when I sit at your table while we have our morning coffee.

I read card after card and replaced each in it’s little bin, unable to commit to one.

Because you’re bigger than a card and greater than someone else’s words.

You’re my mother, which now that I’m a mother too, I understand how important that role is, and I realize how fortunate I am that I get to be your daughter.

Thank you today and everyday for all that you’ve done and do.

I love you.


Mandi and Mom


Can We Talk About Teacher Appreciation Week?

Dear Teachers,

Can we talk about Teacher Appreciation Week?

I promise I didn’t miss it. I saw the nine reminders in my children’s take home folders letting me know that in my town and across all of America, it’s Teacher (and Staff) Appreciation Week, and I think it’s great. I’m all for it. I appreciate the teachers.

I see your tired eyes as May approaches and you are destined to review over and over the fundamentals that will be tested on the upcoming standardized test. I notice how slowly you’re walking into the school these days when, in October, you still had a little pep in your step. I understand that the kids are so over school and learning and behaving that they’ve resorted to bringing those annoying spinners into classrooms thus making the already gray hairs growing out of your overworked heads even longer. I see you at lunch duty barely able to keep your eye roll to yourself as yet another kindergartner asks you to open her ketchup.

I get it. It’s May. You’re done, dreaming about sunshine and pools and sleeping in and not having to listen to thirty students talk all at the same time. I don’t blame you. You’ve worked hard this year. I praise you and all that you’ve done for my children, more than you know.

I am grateful to the PTA who have taken this week on like thirsty travelers stranded in the desert searching for water. Thank goodness for those PTA women who speed too fast through the parking lot during drop off so that they can get their freshly baked muffins into the office in time for you to enjoy them. To those PTA moms, I applaud you (but slow the F down in the school parking lot. Please.)

I think it is fantastic that they (I would include myself, but I only pay my PTA dues and don’t volunteer, so I will give credit where credit is due) have procured lunch for the staff every day this week. I love the new yard art and the big signs when you walk into the school announcing that we, at our elementary school, love and appreciate our teachers and staff. Because we do. We appreciate you. I appreciate you.

In fact, I appreciate you so much that I went through my stack of paperwork to see what my role in teacher’s appreciation week is only to find that tomorrow, my child is supposed to bring his teacher(s) a gift from their “favorites” list. No problem.

Until I started adding it up in my head. My son has three main teachers, three P.E. coaches, an art teacher, and a music teacher. Let’s not forget about his principal, assistant principal, nurse, assistant nurse, librarian, counselor, and crossing guard. All of whom are listed. Ok, the crossing guard isn’t listed, but ALL OF THE OTHERS ARE. Thus making me think I am required to bring a gift for each of these fabulous hard working and well deserved people who touch my child on a daily basis. Who I really really appreciate.

That is fourteen people, and that’s just for my son. Subtract two, and that’s how many hard working, wonderful, fabulous, amazing people touch my daughter on a daily basis. The total number of wonderful, fabulous, hardworking, amazing staff members that require a gift from my pocket book tomorrow is: twenty-six.

Twenty-six gifts if I do as instructed by the note left in each of my children’s folder and “please show our teachers and staff some love with a gift of appreciation from their *favorites list.” I don’t really understand the purpose of the * either, but I’m quoting here.

So let’s do some math – because it’s almost STAAR time. Twenty-six people who truly affect and change my children’s lives on a daily basis should receive gifts tomorrow if I adhere to the rules of the note.

Let’s see what’s on their *favorites list: (just realized I left out the cafeteria lady (listed) who’s a doll and has the best smile, so total is now twenty eight because I have two kids and one kid can’t be the one who gives the teacher/staff member a gift because then the other kid looks like a cheap schmuck and we can’t have that.)

The *favorites list includes things like Amazon, Bath & Body Works, and the ever inexpensive Dallas Cowboys. I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything under $10 with the Dallas Cowboys logo on it, so let’s choose $10.00 as a nice round number.

Word problem: If a mother has twenty-eight people who require a gift from their *favorite list, and she spends $10 on each gift, how much does she spend in total?



Teachers, staff, and crossing guard, I appreciate the hell out of you. I know that your job requires more patience, understanding, continuing education, and overall stamina than I have in me, and I know that I could never do it. You deserve so much more than a $10.00 pencil from the Dallas Cowboys store.

What I want you to give you is higher pay, better benefits (teacher’s health care is ridiculously expensive), more resources so that you do not have to use your own incredibly hard earned money on supplies for your classroom. I want to give you my respect, and my applause for your dedication in changing both of my children’s futures, and my undying gratitude for the sacrifices you make every single day so that my child can have a brighter tomorrow. You are true heroes, their heroes and mine, and there isn’t an Amazon gift card large enough to show our appreciation for you, but I can promise you this:

I will go to the polls on Saturday and every other election day, and I will vote for the officials who lobby against cuts to our public school system. Education and your pension, salaries, etc. will always be a deciding factor when I make my choices.

I do appreciate you, and I promise to choose you and what’s best for your future when I make my selections for the people who make decisions for you because you are paramount in shaping my children’s future, and there is no dollar amount I can offer you to show you how truly grateful I am to you.

Teacher Appreciation


Why Writing Book 2 is Harder than Writing Book 1

I don’t know if you know this, but I wrote a really kick ass book and published it in 2015. It took me about four years to finish it, which really is not accurate because I had two kids under five when I started. One of which was still attached to my breast, so my writing took a backseat to dirty diapers and sippy cups. I squeezed in a few words during nap time and Dora the Explorer distractions, but I wrote. I wrote every day, and I wrote with vigor.

I had to tell the story. The main character, Paige, took over my life, and her voice wouldn’t quiet. She talked to me all day, in my sleep, in the shower, at the gym, so when I sat down to write her story, the words flowed. Though it contained a bit of darkness, I developed a sweet love story, and Paige’s sense of humor weaved its way through the plot. Writing Dear Stephanie (shameless plug) was fun.

Actually, writing Dear Stephanie was life. The characters were my oxygen. The story was the blood that pumped through my veins.

My current WIP centers around the very light and fluffy topic of Human Trafficking. I know. But hey, my first book was about depression and suicide, so bygones. As all good writers do, I spend a lot of my time researching. Imagine reading articles about Human Trafficking. Now imagine reading those articles every day. It’s a disgusting industry, and although I am perfectly capable of going into the dark corners of my mind to write this book, those places are hard to visit sometimes, and I find myself literally (cliche warning) letting out the breath I didn’t know I was holding almost every time I write a chapter.

But that’s not the problem.

What is the problem? You’re probably (maybe not) asking yourself. I’m glad you (didn’t) ask.

Aside from the typical and normal self doubt that the vast majority of artists experience, there’s this other very nagging problem constantly putting pressure on me.

People are going to read this.

You see, when I wrote Dear Stephanie, I had no audience. I didn’t even know if I would publish it. I virtually wrote that novel as practice, to see if I could see it through to the end. When I actually typed “The End,” I was shocked. I probably, over the course of my life, started a dozen novels. But I only finished one. And I only finished it because only a handful of people knew about it. So nobody was going to read it. My family had no idea I spent most of my free time writing. My friends also didn’t know. Writing was my secret, a world where I could be free and write words that offend, words that slice and rip the flesh, words that bury themselves in your soul.

But the words were good, and with a lot of encouragement from my small group of friends who knew about them, I decided to publish. I kept it a secret going to such extremes that I created a special list of people on Facebook so that when I shared anything about the book, I could hide it from this core group of people (that consisted of all of my family and a large number of friends).

But now, everybody knows I write, and people *gasp* continue to buy my book and consistently ask me when my next book will be released, and I have readers. I have fans. And they/you expect another good read. They/you deserve it. And I desperately want to give that to them/you.

Aye there’s the rub.

That’s a lot of pressure.

Can I compete with the first book? Will my next book tank? Am I a one-book-wonder? Do I have it in me to put in the work that is required to publish another book? (In case you’re wondering, it’s a lot of work.)


I will quiet the voices that tell me I can’t. I will squelch the negative noise, and I will write. I will write free, and I will publish this book.

I hope you will read it.

Girls Teaser

Girls Trafficked – coming eventually 




This is Us (We Might Be Confused)

I have four older brothers. Some would say this makes me tough (which is true), but most would say this has affected my intellect (also true). The youngest is ten years older than I am, so my education growing up  was, to say the least, clouded with fibs my brothers told me that I believed the same way people believe everything they read on the internet.

We went camping as a family once (only once). I was very young, maybe four years old. Once we arrived to the camp ground, my mom explained to me that she and I would have to use the restroom outside, or we could use the porta-potties at the campsite, unlike my brothers who could  and did have pissing contests pretty much anywhere they wanted. After she walked away, my youngest brother pulled me to the side and whispered, “If you squat to pee on the ground, there are little tiny snakes that will jump up into your butthole and live in your body, and eat you from the inside out.” His dark eyes widened in a very convincing warning.  I quickly determined the porta-potty would be my best bet and spent the night in the camper dreaming about internal bodily snake infestation.

I have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, so my first experience in a campsite porta-potty resulted in not peeing and lots of gagging. When I came out, my brothers were laughing. The youngest (again)  told me that snakes lived in there too and that I should be very careful because they like to bite little girls’ butts. I decided that relieving myself  was highly overrated.

My mom still tells the story about the time we went camping and I didn’t use the bathroom the entire time. To this day, I don’t enjoy camping, and I have a very healthy fear of snakes, but apparently, I would still fight one because I’m bigger.

As a child though, I looked up to my brothers. I believed them when they told me things, which is why I think carrots are green. That’s weird right? Carrots are orange. I literally almost typed green. Let me explain. I see green as green and orange as orange, but I get the color wrong every time. I say green is orange and orange is green. Why you may ask? I’ve thought about this a lot. You see, three of my four brothers are color blind, two very severely, and I’m pretty sure they taught me my colors. Shout out to mom and dad for letting this one slide.

When my dad and my oldest brother were buying his first car, my dad told him the car was red. He didn’t know it was green until they were signing the final paperwork. When I bought a car in college, my brother told me it was gray. Another said it was silver. It was a gold T-bird and a total POS.

This is us.

My parents have lived in the same house for 35 years. There was a house across the street from us. My friend Jesse lived there. He lived in the green house. The green house across the street. All my life, I called his house the green house across the street. Nope.  Jesse’s house was orange. And nobody corrected me. How did I make it through elementary school with this backassward knowledge?  Thankfully, Jesse’s house is not green or orange anymore because someone realized orange was a terrible choice for exterior paint color.

And this stuff still affects my life.

I told my son this morning to put on his green shirt. He went into his room, closed the door and put on his clothes. He came downstairs wearing a -gasp- green shirt. I said, “Why are you wearing that? That’s not what I told you to wear.” He wrinkled his freckled forehead at me and said, “Mom, this is the only green shirt I have.”

I am thirty-eight years old, and I don’t know my colors.

And it’s all their fault. Brothers.

I won’t even tell you about the time my brother told me my other brother got a tramp stamp. Because I believed him.

What did your siblings tell you that wasn’t true? Do you see orange or green or green or orange?




Coitus Interruptus

The best thing about not having anything to write is when one of my fellow writers does have something to write. Please enjoy the following guest post by my friend, Nikki Mathis Thompson.


The material of the shirt in her hands is soft. Humming a quiet tune, she inhales the floral fragrance, then folds the tiny shirt with care. Strong hands grip her hips, startling her out of her fabric softener revelry. The warm breath at her neck draws a shuddered sigh from her throat. She finds herself moving towards the dark closet a few feet away. The space is confined and stuffy, but when his hand reaches the waist band if her yoga pants nothing else matters. His fingers dip passed th…

“MOM…MOMMY! I need a snack!”

What the what?!?

Aaaand just like that, the John Legend song playing in her head morphs into the shower scene music from Psycho. She shakes herself out of the horny haze, as her husband thrusts behind her still fully clothed. Awe…he hasn’t given up hope that this impromptu session is going to play out the way he wanted. 

So naive.

“I can be quick,” he whispers.

 Good thing it’s dark because the eye roll she gives him is of epic proportions.

“Yah, I know, babe. But, it’s not happening,” she admits, with a defeated huff.

She opens the door to find the light of her life, the fruit of her loom, staring up at her with grateful eyes. The little angel must be starving—he hasn’t eaten since the five graham crackers he devoured ten minutes ago.

Her voice is soft and sweet. “Okay, sweetie. Mommy will get you a snack.”

But in her head…“Enjoy your cheddar bunnies, you little co$& blocker.”

-And end scene.

Sound familiar? We’ve all found ourselves the victim of failed attempts to have an intimate moment only to be foiled by the tiny people inhabiting our houses—leaving both parties frustrated, propagating the whole, “it was your idea to have children,” convo.

Hey, some people might be able to shut out the high pitched whining of a needy child, their sticky fingers scraping on the door like Freddy Krueger.  But for most, finishing while one of our kids hovers a few feet away is about as sexy as Hitler in a thong.

Where does this leave those who still enjoy the recurring dalliance with their significant others? Does this relegate us to scheduled encounters?

“Okay, if we start foreplay at 2:30. If we have insertion by 2:45 and completion by 2:50, we should be in the clear. Timmy doesn’t wake up until 3:00.”

We all know this can be a gamble because, low and behold, that will be the afternoon little Timmy doesn’t go down when he’s supposed to, and when he finally does, he wets the bed right between insertion and completion. You’ve heard the old adage, best laid plans…(no pun intended.)

Where does that leave our sex lives? Silent movie reenactment as you finish like a fish gulping for oxygen—can’t wake up the snoozing offspring down the hall. The occasional romp in the back seat of the Suburban—cheerios lodged in your nether regions, while your husband does his best Cirque du Soleil impression, balancing between two car seats?  Or the saddest scenario of all…Dun dun duuun…no sex at all.

As parents, we know how much energy it takes to raise kids. Some days it feels like our life force has been sucked out of us like a dementor from the Harry Potter books. Seldom will there be a “perfect” time, where empty house and libido align in one majestic event. Kids aren’t the only things that keep us too busy to get busy. There’s a laundry list of things that drain us of that loving feeling. It’s a wonder parents might not be in the “mood,” what with the tantrums, the whining, the cleaning, the conference calls, the lost deals, and the traffic. But daily trials and tribulations aside, physical intimacy is a true gauge for a healthy relationship, as much as respect and communication.

A big mistake we make as parents is expending all energy on kids and work—leaving not even a sliver for our partner in crime, the lover and best friend. How could we treat the person we chose to spend our life with so shabbily? Why is it so easy to give the people who mean the most to us the scraps?

Well, it happens. To all of us. But, it doesn’t have to. It’s like anything else in life. It’s not about having the time, it’s about making the time. Some days it’s easier said than done, but doesn’t it stand to reason that the person we lean on the most deserves a little effort? Yes, when you have kids, sometimes it’s hard to find a moment alone. Even going to the bathroom without an audience seems like a Herculean feat. But, with a little effort and a little creativity, there’s time for quality time.

It seems to be common sense that emotional intimacy leads to physical intimacy, right? And we can rationalize all day long about how one can be had without the other, but the truth is we need both. Not just the wife, not just the husband. Not just me, not just the other guy. WE. We all need it to feel connected. Relevant. And if we’re honest it doesn’t happen spontaneously as often as we would like after kids, if ever. So, that leaves effort, and yeah, maybe a little scheduling. Making the time. Kids…life…obligations…we have to stop using them as excuses. We need to take an active role in the trajectory of our relationships. Without intimacy, we’re relegated to co-parents, or even worse, roommates. I’m not putting up with my man child if I’m not getting an orgasm out of the deal. Am I right?

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Nikki Mathis Thompson spent her formative years singing, dancing and creating her own world of make-believe. From an early age she developed a love of reading that has grown exponentially to near addiction. She has a business degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her degree looks great in the frame, but hasn’t been utilized in years. She gladly left the cubicle life behind to raise her daughter and a son was added to the mix some years later. You can find her devouring a book while drinking a glass of wine, doing her part to save the planet or lip-synching to her favorite songs while running through her suburb. She lives outside of Dallas with her family. Rebound is her first novel.

To connect more with Nikki, please find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.



Beware of Peppa Pig on YouTube

Parents, if you listen to nothing else today, please heed this warning. Peppa Pig can lead to very questionable content on the internet.

Like most parents, my children enjoy watching videos on YouTube. My daughter has been a huge fan of Peppa Pig for years, and aside from the annoying random snorting, I’ve never had a problem with the pig herself or her sweet British family. I often hear her snorting from across the room and typically think nothing of it.

I frequently double check to make sure my children aren’t stumbling upon inappropriate videos their little eyes shouldn’t see. The other night, I was going through my daughter’s browser history on her tablet when I came across a series of very disturbing videos.

Multiple random videos featuring fecal matter and defecation loaded onto the screen. I clicked on not one, not two, but several videos about poop. Literally a load of shit appeared before my eyes.

Disgusted and aghast, I immediately called my daughter into my office and questioned the content.

“I wasn’t watching poop videos, Mom. I swear I didn’t mean to.”

“Well, what is this then? It most certainly looks like you were watching videos about poop.”

“I was trying to watch Peppa Pig. I promise mom. That’s gross. I don’t want to watch anyone pooping.” Who would really? (5.9 million people. That’s who.)

“Well, you cannot watch YouTube anymore, and frankly, if Peppa Pig leads you to these videos, then I don’t even want you watching Peppa Pig at all. Ever.” I ushered her out of my office holding onto the tablet for safe keeping.

Later, I decided to investigate further and asked my daughter to tell me how she managed to watch so many poop videos.

“I was typing Peppa in the search, Mom.”

“You were typing Peppa?”


I sat looking at the videos clearly not featuring an animated pink pig wondering how she could have stumbled upon the videos.

“Did they start off as Peppa videos?”

“No, they were poop.” She wasn’t even being funny.

I thought for a little bit trying to make sense of this.

“How did you spell Peppa, sweetheart?”

She wiped the tears off of her face and looked up at me with her bright blue child eyes, and with 100% certainty spelled out, “P-O-O-P.”

“Mmm hmmmm. What makes you think that’s how you spell it?”

“I asked Kell (big brother).”

“I see.”

And then I promptly grounded big brother from his tablet for a week.

You see, Peppa Pig videos can lead your child to inappropriate content. Particularly if her brother thinks he’s funny.

Consider yourself warned.