Things I am good at

In no particular order:

Being a smart-ass
Some cooking and baking type stuff
Editing other people’s writing
Evasive driving
Saying no
Taking portraits
Remembering conversations, word-for-word
Expressing my thoughts and feelings
Putting someone in their place
Dirty looks
Figuring out when a man looks like a morph of two other men
Remembering random trivia
Taking care of Tiny’s curly hair
Saying I don’t know
Wild-ass guesses
Differentiating between offspeed pitches
Catching on quickly
Horror movie screaming


Dan Busta
From “Ghost” Series

Website darksilenceinsuburbia:

Dan Busta
From “Ghost” Series

Website darksilenceinsuburbia:

Dan Busta
From “Ghost” Series

Website darksilenceinsuburbia:

Dan Busta
From “Ghost” Series

Website darksilenceinsuburbia:

Dan Busta
From “Ghost” Series

Website darksilenceinsuburbia:

Dan Busta
From “Ghost” Series







"My body, my choice" only makes sense when someone else’s life isn’t at stake.

Fun fact: If my younger sister was in a car accident and desperately needed a blood transfusion to live, and I was the only person on Earth who could donate blood to save her, and even though donating blood is a relatively easy, safe, and quick procedure no one can force me to give blood. Yes, even to save the life of a fully grown person, it would be ILLEGAL to FORCE me to donate blood if I didn’t want to.

See, we have this concept called “bodily autonomy.” It’s this….cultural notion that a person’s control over their own body is above all important and must not be infringed upon. 

Like, we can’t even take LIFE SAVING organs from CORPSES unless the person whose corpse it is gave consent before their death. Even corpses get bodily autonomy. 

To tell people that they MUST sacrifice their bodily autonomy for 9 months against their will in an incredibly expensive, invasive, difficult process to save what YOU view as another human life (a debatable claim in the early stages of pregnancy when the VAST majority of abortions are performed) is desperately unethical. You can’t even ask people to sacrifice bodily autonomy to give up organs they aren’t using anymore after they have died. 

You’re asking people who can become pregnant to accept less bodily autonomy than we grant to dead bodies. 

reblogging for commentary 

But, assuming the mother wasn’t raped, the choice to HAVE a baby and risk sacrificing their “bodily autonomy” is a choice that the mother made. YOu don’t have to have sex with someone. Cases of rape aside, it isn’t ethical to say abortion is justified. The unborn baby has rights, too. 

First point: Bodily autonomy can be preserved, even if another life is dependent on it. See again the example about the blood donation. 

And here’s another point: When you say that “rape is the exception” you betray something FUNDAMENTALLY BROKEN about your own argument.

Because a fetus produced from sexual assault is biologically NO DIFFERENT than a fetus produced from consensual sex. No difference at all.

If one is alive, so is the other. If one is a person, so is the other. If one has a soul, then so does the other. If one is a little blessing that happened for a reason and must be protected, then so is the other. 

When you say that “Rape is the exception” what you betray is this: It isn’t about a life. This isn’t about the little soul sitting inside some person’s womb, because if it was you wouldn’t care about HOW it got there, only that it is a little life that needs protecting.

When you say “rape is the exception” what you say is this: You are treating pregnancy as a punishment. You are PUNISHING people who have had CONSENSUAL SEX but don’t want to go through a pregnancy. People who DARED to have consensual sex without the goal of procreation in mind, and this is their “consequence.” 

And that is gross. 

(via scullaaay)

How to Fuck Yourself Without Even Trying: A Boring Story

Josh and I got married in 2007, right around the time that he earned his Associates Degree in architectural technology. He wanted to further his education, and planned to attend a school in Illinois where they offered a degree in Construction Management. Unfortunately, his degree wouldn’t transfer completely because it was an Associates of Applied Science*, and not the Associates of Science the university required for the full degree to transfer. Josh didn’t want to take a whole extra year or more of school (which would require more loans). So, he floated this idea to me: what if we started a masonry business?


*Josh was able to get the state of Missouri to pay for part of his college education because he’d suffered a career-ending injury in his previous line of work**. Unfortunately, the state would only pay for more practical degrees. Where things got muddied is that SIU Carbondale had previously told someone at STLCC Meramec that Josh’s degree would transfer in full. Due to the consequences of this communication error, Josh soured on the idea of more school. I was not a fan of his decision.

**masonry, lololol


I took a lot of convincing. And, being the type of person I am, I did some research. I got valuable opinions from people whose business acumen I respect, and all of them were unabashedly enthusiastic about Josh as Entrepreneur. I checked out books about small business and entrepreneurship and started reading everything I could. I took notes. I even wrote a business plan.


Almost immediately, we had problems. Take a new marriage between headstrong people, add a new business, and baby, you’ve got a dysfunctional stew going.


We had a business falling out in 2009 or ‘10 (who cares, really) because he wouldn’t let me participate beyond being his secretary. I wasn’t okay with that and disagreed with many of the choices he was making, so I opted to let him do whatever he wanted as long as all I had to do was reorder business cards and do minor tax preparation duties. Due to a combination of factors, most of them related to his poor decision making timed with a weird industry-wide lull, the business failed. We actually lost quite a bit of money his last year in business.


The last two years Josh owned a business (‘11 and ‘12) we didn’t do taxes. I was too busy with a baby, and he didn’t stay organized enough for me to jump in and easily help. A year’s worth of receipts had to be sorted, spreadsheets created, etc. And then a second year’s worth of receipts…


In 2013, Josh was no longer in business for himself. Within 2-3 months of starting a job he was excited about, Josh (along with 8 other people) got laid off. For 2-3 months, he scuffled for work. He applied for dozens of jobs - jobs he was qualified for, many he was overqualified for, and even a few that he was laughably unqualified for. Through a friend of a friend, he finally got some work as a valet parking attendant. This was obviously not lucrative, but we were at least able to buy food and diapers.

Prior to this, he’d never had a problem being employed, Yes, the economy was now bad. Yes, he’d been laid off and I’m sure that doesn’t look good. No, he’s not the most educated person in the room. But he has years of management experience, years of sales experience, and no employment gaps. He’d put in several years at each of most of his jobs, including the most recent jobs. So he was baffled. This had always been the one thing he hadn’t struggled with. He’d always been employable.


Maybe his prior employability had been a reflection of the better economy. Josh has a felony conviction on his record. He was a minor when the crime was committed, but he had a public defender and was charged and convicted as an adult. He served 5 years of probation, which ended way back in 2003. He has been in no other trouble with the law in that time. He’s completely reformed. But I suspect that his record could be why companies stayed away from him. Why risk it if they’ve got dozens of other applicants without felony convictions?


In August, he finally got somewhere. After beginning the process with a telecom company in June, he was finally offered a job. He was also offered a job selling cars. We were faced with the choice of Job A with the telecom company, which had certain, decent income but also several drawbacks, or Job B selling cars, which had low base pay but the opportunity for much more money, while being less physically demanding. He chose Job B.



Job B was a bust. After a long, slow winter where only a couple guys made any real money selling cars, Josh and 3 other guys were let go. The employer wants him to come back when he’s less financially stressed out, though. Apparently being broke stresses Josh out? Who knew?!  So, Josh has been looking for a job again for over a month. He’s returned to the telecom company where he got to pick up midway through their long hiring process, but we’re still waiting to hear if they want to hire him.


Back to the tax situation. Josh is friends with a tax attorney. Last summer, this wonderful, kind person offered to handle our tax situation for free. Obviously we said yes. I immediately began the process of sorting two years of receipts and constructing monthly and yearly spreadsheets of expenditures and income. It took a few days of nonstop work, but I powered through and we turned everything over to the lawyer. Then we waited. I can’t speak to the process in any meaningful way because Josh has handled all of this on his own. There were phone calls and office visits and paperwork to sign. Eventually, all of our back taxes were filed sometime in late 2013, and 2013’s taxes were filed in March of this year.


However, there was a problem. Someone at the attorney’s office incorrectly transcribed Tiny’s social security number, and Josh didn’t catch the error. The IRS caught it, though! About 6 weeks ago, we started getting letters from them about our taxes from some of the years we filed late or amended, but one year was notably missing. We got the answer as to why two weeks ago. Another letter arrived requiring more information about the initial error which has us mis-claiming a dependent with the wrong social security number. So, Josh had to turn that paperwork over to the attorney’s office. They’re working on whatever it is they have to do to fix this, and then Josh will go in to sign the paperwork on Monday, hopefully after proof-reading it. I don’t understand why the initial amendments to the late filings didn’t clear this whole mess up for both years we filed late, but it didn’t.


Remember how I said Josh isn’t working? Yeah. We’re broke. Remember how I said that we lost money the last year we were in business? Well, we didn’t do so hot the year before that, either. Despite some not insignificant penalties and fees for filing late, and despite owing small amounts of money to Missouri and St. Louis City, we are supposed to get refunds that combine to be several thousand dollars. This money wouldn’t be enough to dig us out of our hole entirely, but it would make this mess so much easier to clean up once Josh has a job. So far, we’ve been waiting basically an extra month for it because someone incorrectly transcribed one digit in Tiny’s social security number. Until a couple weeks ago, we were checking the mailbox everyday for this lifeboat to arrive and rescue us. All we got was cast further out to sea.


We’re waiting on a monolithic telecom company to decide Josh’s employment fate. We’re waiting on the lawyer’s office to fix this mess - again! - so we can wait - again! - for the IRS to send a check for the two years that we waited to file taxes for. Our landlord is waiting another month, maybe two, to evict us. I’m waiting for Josh to stop being the weird person he’s been the last couple years, and Josh is waiting for me to magically like him again. Tiny isn’t waiting for anything and is chugging right along to her approaching third birthday.

There is no clear moral to any of this, and no neat bow to tie off this boring story. But I know that if I wait around a little longer, it can’t be like this forever.


climbing on the x files college au train (society6)

(via scullaaay)


This is a teaser. Consider yourself teased. 

Mouth wide open

Recovery from sinus surgery is pretty damn unpleasant.

I have to mouth breathe because there are splints and blue foam tampons in my nostrils.

I have to take tiny bites of food because my mouth is also my sole means of breathing. I can’t taste what I’m eating, though I can slightly tell the difference between sweet and salty. This is probably a good sign that it won’t take weeks or months for my sense of smell and taste to return.

The pain could be worse. I feel like my nose was rearranged, but it’s not an intolerable feeling. I’ve only taken 2 pain pills, but they made me too sleepy. This wouldn’t be a problem with almost any other surgery, but with sinus surgery, I fear sleep.

I sleep in roughly 30 minute intervals. I wake up when my lips and gums and tongue are completely parched and adhering to each other. I take a tiny sip of ice water and roll it around my mouth, and fall back asleep for another roughly 30 minutes. Repeat until my body allows me to stay awake.

Monday, the splints and packing will come out, though I’ve read that the unpacking can be quite unpleasant and possibly a bloody mess that will require immediate repacking. I might need to take a pain pill before the appointment.

I’ve sneezed 4 times today, I think because my nosebleed has mostly stopped and the tampons are drying out and tickling my nose. The quivering, uncertain moments just before the sneeze are terrifying. But I keep my mouth wide open during the sneezes, as I was instructed, and they don’t hurt. I laughed kind of hard last night and it was painful, so only mild humor from here on out.

My brother is waiting to see how my sinus surgery turns out before he looks into getting his own fixed. I told him to just try using a sinus rinse first, to see if it solves his problems. “The only thing I fear more than sinus surgery is a sinus rinse,” he said. Pfft. The rinses are the easy part! I’m going to avoid talking to him until I’m in a better frame of mind. I don’t yet know how much this is going to help me and my animal brain is still telling me that this was a huge mistake.

Sinus rinses will be part of my daily treatment for at least a year post surgery, and possibly forever. I don’t mind, though, if the surgery is effective. Sinus rinses helped me function the last couple months in a way that Mucinex D, ibuprofen, and Zyrtec couldn’t.

Tiny is stressed. I hope as I feel better, she relaxes a little. Her entire routine has been upended, and she’s pretty exhausted. I wish I could do more.

My nose looks ridiculous. It’s not at all my slender, defined nose. Someone swapped a wide, pugnacious nose onto my face, and I don’t remember consenting to that.

For now, I’m dreaming of a time when I can breathe out of my nose again, a life without daily sinus headaches and frequent migraines, and a nap with my mouth closed. I’m also wondering why anyone would subject themselves to this for purely cosmetic reasons.


I’m sick. I’ve been sick for months, and pretty steadily since the end of 2012. My sinuses are a mess and, well, here. Just look:


That is not normal.

I’ve spent months trying everything. Humidifiers, saline spray, nasal rinses, Flonase, Zyrtec, sometimes NyQuil to help me sleep, plus a constant diet of ibuprofen and Mucinex D. Nothing is helping. The sinus pressure builds and builds. I always have a headache, and those turn into migraines. I even took Topamax to stop the headaches, and that barely helped, plus the side effects were terrible. I was a different person on that dirty drug. It scared me.

To stop the chronic sinus infections and headaches, I need surgery to fix my deviated septum, plus some other stuff. I’m not getting a nose job, though I sort of wish a younger me and been insecure enough about my character actor nose to have one, the way my aunt and cousin were. Then I wouldn’t be dealing with any of this.


Tiny knows that I’m sick. She knows I get headaches, She knows that she has to be quiet some times, lest I get agitated or push on my sinuses in pain. She knows I’ve gone to the doctor a lot, and that I’m trying to get better. She knows that I’m unhappy.

She’s spent the last 5 months, basically, in the house with me, bearing this situation as much as I am. We’re both stir crazy from the weather and from me.

When I decided to have the surgery, I had to talk to her and explain, in a limited way, what that meant.

"Doctor go in your nose and fix it?" was how she summed up what I said.

"Yes. Now I have to talk to you about something else."


"You’ve been hitting Mommy sometimes when you’re upset."

"Sorry, Mommy."

"It’s okay, baby. But when I get home from the hospital, you can’t hit Mommy in the face."

"Alright," she said and hugged me. I hugged her, and then pulled her away and made her look me in the eyes.

"I’m serious, honey. If you hit Mommy’s nose, I could get very hurt and have to go to the hospital. Do you understand?"

She shook her head yes.

"Doctor go in nose, then you feel better?"

"Yes, honey. After the doctor fixes my nose I’ll feel better." 

I hope.


Today has been a bad day. I fell asleep last night with a severe headache. I woke up with one, too. All I can take is Tylenol, but if I take Tylenol I can’t take my migraine meds. So I usually don’t take Tylenol. It’s not going to stop a migraine, and it doesn’t seem to do anything to alleviate my pain. I miss ibuprofen. I could actually feel it kick in and soothe my aching eyes and teeth. My pain and facial pressure would slowly wash away to a dull ache. I even breathed better on it. I can’t take it for 2 weeks prior to surgery, and a miscommunication over this with my ENT has already led to my surgery being rescheduled.

Tiny is potty training. She went #2 on the big potty and she was so proud of herself that I was excited, too.

"Now you better, Mommy?" she asked me. "You feel better?"

"No, honey. But that doesn’t mean I’m not happy for you. Mommy still doesn’t feel well. Soon."


I hate this. It’s probably temporary, but I hate it. I can’t even get on the floor and play with my two year old because the sinus pressure overwhelms me. What a sweet kid. But then I worry that she’s too young to worry like this.


This will be my third surgery in just under 4 years. I am 33 years old. I dread going under because I can’t control anything.

I am coping with several different forms of stress, most of it major, though things could always be worse. I lucked out and landed my dream kid, but I won’t have any more children. This makes me sad, but also a little relieved. I am tired, often lonely, always aware of the ways I am failing.

But I have a shot at making this one thing better, at being the mom I used to be, at enjoying being in the moment with my sweet girl and not just counting minutes until my next dose of medication.

I want to say yes the next time she asks me that question. No. I want it to be so obvious to her that she doesn’t think to ask me at all.

Clairvoyance Test

When I was 22, and Josh and I were newly in love—though we obviously didn’t dare to say that yet, obviously—a very close friend of mine had a party. A psychic party. A numerology party, to be exact.

I was, of course, expected to attend. And even though I have several times experienced, um, unexplained phenomenon, I was loathe to pay a stranger to lie to me about my future in the name of teenage friendship. Yet, that is precisely what I was prepared to do. You see, I had already skipped her recent candle party.

The day of the psychic party, I was in a bit of a time crunch because I had to work in a couple hours. I’d run late on purpose, thinking that I could just sneak in, maybe they wouldn’t have time for me, and I could sneak out. Only, they hadn’t even started. There were several women there, but the only people I knew were my friend and her mom. Everyone was milling about, chatting quietly, eating snacks. I looked around for a barefoot woman wearing a gypsy skirt or something, but there was no one there who looked like that. I sat down and waited. I was going to have to do this stupid thing. And the psychic wasn’t even here yet.

Eventually, one of the guests, a small middle-aged woman with short hair and glasses, stood up and said she was ready to get started. Since it was her party, my friend went first. She asked me to sit in the room with her, so I listened while the psychic told her all sorts of positive things about her job and her fiance, and her future. She slipped in a few minor negative things, but mostly it was You have a bright future; here, wear these shades.

When she was done, her mom went in. My friend and I chatted in a nearby room. She asked me what I was going to ask the psychic. I told her I didn’t know. She told me I should ask the psychic if Josh was The One.

I don’t believe in The One, and I never have. Maybe that’s a byproduct of being a child of divorced parents, or maybe it’s just that I have some understanding of math. Regardless, I believe in The Many. I settled on asking the psychic about college and about whether Josh and I had a future together.

When it was my turn, the psychic lady called me into her makeshift office. She popped a cassette tape into a portable recorder, hit Record, and started taking notes. Then she said the day’s date and asked me to say my name and birthday. From there she figured out my number and rattled off some basic “facts” about people with that number. She barely looked at me.

"So, what do you want to know?" 

On the tape, you can hear how nervous I am. Maybe not nervous. I was uncomfortable, and sort of uninterested. This woman was a total stranger, and she wasn’t even looking at me. She was phoning it in.

I asked her some questions about my education and what career path I should take, and she fed me generic bullshit. I asked about my brother’s health and whether he’d fully recover from all of his injuries, and she was optimistic. I started to talk about my job situation, but she stopped me.

"Don’t you have a beau?"

"Oh, uh, I—"

"What’s his birthday?"

I told her and she gave me his number, one greater than mine.

"How are things with you two?"

"Oh, wonderful. He’s a great guy. He’s—"

"He’s not."

"I’m sorry?"

"Look, I normally don’t do this. And you seem sweet. But I have to warn you, honey." She took off her glasses, and looked right at me.


"He’s trash. He’s a trash baby. Do you know what I’m saying? A trash baby."

"Not really. You don’t know him."

"I don’t need to. I know what I see. This is what I do.” She leaned over the table and locked our gazes, without any malice in her eyes. “He is a trash baby. He will ruin your life. He will wear you down. He will use you up. He will lie, cheat, steal. Get away from this man as fast as you can. Understand? A trash baby.” She punctuated the air with her pen.

I nodded once, and stood up. Wasn’t this supposed to be a dumb little party? She hit Stop/Eject on the tape recorder and handed me the tape.

"That’ll be twenty-five dollars, honey."

I paid her and I left, half shell-shocked, half defiant.


I probably listened to that tape 3 or 4 times between 2003 and 2006 or so. By 2004, it was clear that the psychic wasn’t totally wrong. But she was wrong. Josh went to counseling, he sought help, he did everything I asked of him. Or so I thought anyway.

By the time we were married in 2007, we’d had 2 years of relative harmony. We’d battled adversity. We’d overcome things individually and together. I had serious reservations about the institution of marriage (still do), but I didn’t have doubts about marrying him.

By 2009, he didn’t seem quite right again, but things were nothing like how awful they got in 2004. Again, he sought help. He got diagnoses, and medications, and he’s been diligent about taking them ever since. He showed real, tangible improvement. He evened out and life was good for another 2+ years.

And then in 2011, the other shoe dropped. This time I was pregnant. People tried to explain away our clashes as me being hormonal and a typical experience for couples who are pregnant, but I knew better. I’d seen this all before, except this time I was scared. How would I be able to help him when my real job would be taking care of an actual child?

And I thought about that damn psychic. She wasn’t wrong.  It kills me that she wasn’t completely wrong.


Despite the fact that Josh got additional help for yet another diagnosis, 2013 was an awful year for so, so many reasons. And so I feel worn down. I feel used up. I feel lied to and used and manipulated. 

But all of that is just temporary. No matter what happens between Josh and me, I will get past these feelings. So, she was wrong.

At the very least, she was wrong about me.