#FridayThoughts: Free read! And also it’s weird!

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It’s been a WEEK, as you know, so today my only thought is this: Amazon has finally price-matched my short story collection, Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, so grab one! They’re quick, odd, fun reads, just right for a little distraction.

And have a great Friday!

Grab me, I’m FREE! (It’s a link for Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities.)

#FridayThoughts: Wallpapering cracks doesn’t fix the cracks

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I genuinely considered just plugging one of my books today (buy my books) but I think I’d rather get some thoughts out. I’m filled with rage.

Most of it is aimed at Republicans who, even right now, are trying to smooth over an actual, literal coup into something benign, something that is the natural result of people demanding to be treated like people and have access to health care and potable water. Even now they pretend that the lies they’ve been spewing have no connection to the people who committed an act of terror on our soil, at our Capitol, as they screamed those same words.

I want repercussions. I want consequences. I want people resigning, ethics investigations, criminal investigations. I want the rot cleared out from the law enforcement offices that aided these terrorists, who WERE some of these terrorists. I want people held accountable.

We are on the cusp of a new era, and these people only have themselves to blame that we no longer care about their excuses and feelings and epiphanies. What’s done is done, may they be punished harshly by the law and by society.

This didn’t just “happen.” It was planned. There were shirts made. There were weapons and explosives found. They erected a gallows. They brought zip ties.

They killed an officer.

So that’s where I am right now. I hope you have a good Friday and a good weekend, but really think about how we want to move forward. Wallpapering cracks doesn’t fix the cracks.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#FridayThoughts: #Happy2021! And now, “In with the Old”

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Yikes, looking back at last year’s post, there’s so much I didn’t see coming, even as jaded as I was after three years. And now I’m extra happy to see it that year go. So much so, it almost gives this story I post every year a whole different feel.

In any case, I hope you enjoy it, and I wish you great happiness, prosperity, joy, productivity, and above all, health, in 2021.

And, in what is now firmly a tradition, here is a short story from my collection, Better Living Through Gravy and Other Oddities:

In with the Old

“It’s nothing personal,” she said as kindly as she could muster, “it’s just time.”

“But I’m not nearly as used up as they said I would be,” the other one said, “not nearly at all. I’m not wrinkly, or old – I’m kind of in prime time.” She gave herself an once-over, careful not to break her bond with the contraption behind her.

“Unfortunately, we really need the machine.” She sighed and tapped her pen on her clipboard. “We only have a few more hours.”

“We?” said the woman in the machine. “We only have a few more hours? You’re going to install that thing,” she gestured with her head toward the giggling baby making faces at the man in the white coat at the other end of the room, “and go on with your routine. You think don’t have it down by now? Daily dial turnings, just one click. Then you, with that pretend-serious look, yanking that lever. You think I didn’t notice you enjoy those lever pulls? Well I did. And you do.”

“Now come on, Wanda, there’s no need to be this way. You can go out with dignity.” She shot a look across the room to her coworker. He was too enthralled with the baby to get her message for a little help.

“What am I supposed to do now? I was huge, I was everything.”

“You’re sounding like a bad movie.”

“They don’t tell you what you’re supposed to do when it’s over.” She relaxed her grip on the copper handles inside her chamber, her visible gears going slightly slack down her arm toward her shoulder, the teeth just a bit looser. The worker took that as a good sign. She quickly tamped down her encouragement, in case Wanda saw.

“There are always retrospectives,” the woman said. “You know, ‘Best ofs.’ And there’s still plenty to do in the first few months, while people are getting adjusted. You know, rent checks, 18-month calendars, that kind of thing.”

“And then what?” said Wanda. “Then what happens? Where do I go? What do I do?”

“I’m so glad you asked,” the woman said, finally able to return to her script. “You see, we have this lovely facility, all of you go there, you know, when you’re finished. Here,” she slid a glossy folded paper from beneath the clip of her board and held it toward Wanda. “There’s even a brochure.”

The pictures were bright and multicolored, with others sitting and laughing, eating, strolling by the water, the patina of their clockwork innards glinting warmly in the setting sun. It didn’t look too bad. She nearly let go of the handle to take the brochure, to open it, to see what kind of crafts there were, as promised on the cover, when she remembered.

“No,” she said.

“Wanda,” said the woman, her tone sharpening, gaining hardness around the edges, “I’m afraid you haven’t got a choice. It’s time.”

She shook her head as much as the chamber allowed, which wasn’t much. “I’m not going.”

“But what are we supposed to do with him?” She pointed her pen at the baby, who turned, stared at them and burst into a full beam, his tiny gears engaging as he reached his arms toward Wanda. “It’s his turn now. Don’t you want to give him his turn?”

Wanda closed her eyes. It wasn’t fair, she thought. It went by so quickly, her lifetime of usefulness, her purpose, and now she was supposed to retire off with the rest of them, with some anonymous body of water and a dining hall and crafts. Though crafts are nice. But still, this was her machine, it was hers.

The worker had moved away, but she could hear her talking softly, her sentences interspersed with the cluck of her two-way handheld.

“No, no, I’m telling you it didn’t work.” Something unintelligible garbled through from the other side. “No. Clamped on, completely. Like a vice.” Again, soft electronic murmuring. “It’s like Oh-Three all over again.” More garble. “What? She can’t hear me. I’m away from the chamber.” Indistinct chatter. “Fine, fine, Trinity. Like Trinity all over again.” She waited for the response. “That would probably be best.” After a long interlude of murmur, the handheld fell silent.

“Umm, Wanda?” said the worker several minutes later, the ice in her voice retreating. “I’d like you to meet someone.”

“Not interested,” she said, her eyes still closed. She knew the truth, the worker had practically said so herself, with the conversation she thought Wanda couldn’t hear. She was only a number to those people. Oh-Three indeed. “What do you call me when you’re out of the lab?” she said, her eyes still completely shut. “When you’re talking to your buddy over there at lunch or wherever it is you go?”

“Wanda,” the woman said, her discomfort obvious even to Wanda and her closed eyes.

“What do you call me? One-One?”

“Wanda, really, there’s someone here you should meet-“

“Or Eleven? Do you call me Eleven? A number to you, that’s what I am after all this time.”

“I thought she couldn’t hear,” she said to someone, though Wanda wasn’t going to bother to open her eyes to see who it was. “I swear, I wouldn’t have used the technical–“

“Technical?” said another voice, a new voice, a male voice. “Technical? Really? Is that how you’re describing it?”

“Well-“

“Her name is Wanda, you know,” he said, his tone both relaxed and oddly engaging despite the rebuke. Wanda couldn’t help herself, she opened her eyes a crack.

“I’m Oden,” he said with a half-smile. “I’d shake your hand, but I understand your position. Obviously,” he said. His gears were slightly rainbowed with a healthy dose of age. Wanda thought they made him look distinguished.

“Oden,” she said. “So I?”

“Replaced me, yes.” He took a step toward the chamber, careful to keep a distance. “Flip of the switch and it was me in there. And you over there,” he said, and smiled at the baby, a real smile, not a put-on one.

“What did you do?”

“I went,” he said. “It was time. It’s how it works, you know.”

“I know,” she said, looking at her feet, so comfortable in the only spot they’d ever known. She glanced up and met his gaze. “I know,” she said again.

“The place really looks like the brochure,” he said, offering her his hand to help her to step out. She considered it, but didn’t lessen her grip on the handle.

“What about the crafts?”

He took the hand he’d been holding out and dug into his pocket, his gears gliding smoothly along. He pulled out a wallet. “I made this,” he said. “Stitched it myself.” She took in the uneven stitches and frowned. “I’m not a very good crafter,” he added quickly, “but they are fun to try.”

“Hmm,” said Wanda. She glanced at the worker who looked at the clock on the wall and back at Wanda, her face full of cautious hope. Oden set out his hand again.

“The sunsets are every bit as pretty,” he said, “and the best part is there are no more dials, no more levers. No more chamber.”

“But I like the chamber,” she said, scooting back to be further back within it.

“You like the chamber,” he said, “because all you know is the chamber. Take a leap.”

“No, no,” said the worker, “that’s him.” She pointed at the baby.

“You understand you’re not helping the situation?” Oden asked her.

“I do, yes, realize that now.”

“So what do you say, Wanda?”

She gave her chamber and the lab a final look over. She could probably make a better wallet. She could certainly make a better wallet. Maybe they’ll have pottery. Slowly, she released first her right hand and then her left, and placed it in Oden’s outstretched palm. The machine beeped behind her while the worker anxiously watched the clock, the man with the baby leaning, ready to place him.

She stepped out of the machine.

The woman grasped a crank on the side of the box and turned it furiously so that the chamber got smaller and smaller and the arms shorter and shorter. The man, watching the clock rather than her or the baby, placed the baby where she had been moments before but where she would never fit now. The baby giggled.

Without looking back, Wanda took Oden’s arm, and together, they headed toward the door. They reached it and disappeared into the flash of sudden white light.

The worker leaned against the machine, her hands shaking. “Happy New Year, everyone,” she said weakly.


Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.
Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird!
Peruse Montraps Publishing

#FridayThoughts: Happy Holidays!

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It’s Christmas, so a Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and a Happy New Year to everyone. Though I’ll have time to wish you that next week. I wrote originally “next year,” and I hope that’s also true.

It’s cloudlessly sunny today, bright, intense and meaningless sunshine as it’s about 10 degrees. That’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius.

So it’s a yikes.

It’s quiet today, and I don’t know if that means people are celebrating at home or out and about, though the roads don’t seem busy. I hope they’re at home, because we’ve just got to get these numbers down. If you ever wondered what an unchecked pandemic would look like, here it is.

In fact it’s worse than that, because trump and the GOP have encouraged high-risk behaviors while underplaying how dangerous the virus is. But at least this part is nearly over.

So that’s it for me today, I hope you have a lovely Christmas if that’s what you’re doing, and a lovely, relaxing day if it isn’t, and have a great weekend.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#FridayThoughts: Dragging to the weekend

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I am just not fully present today. It started with a coffee mishap, where I forgot entirely to put the cup under the coffee maker, and honestly, even the re-brewed, fully-cupped coffee hasn’t improved things. Oh well.

But it’s sunny today, or sort of hazy, or maybe the weather is also having a draggy day. Perhaps, for once, we understand one another.

Maybe I should make more coffee. I wonder if the weather would like a cup.

The closer we get to January, the more desperate and pathetic trump becomes, perhaps as he realizes how much everything will change for him. What I don’t understand are the people clinging tightly to his nearly-submerged ship.

It makes no sense.

But sense or no sense, come January, there will be a reckoning. Maybe that will perk me up.

I’m going to try to crank myself up to at least half power. Have a fantastic Friday and a relaxing weekend.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#FridayThoughts: Few

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We’re back to gray again, and it’s colder I think, after a pretty warm day yesterday. We may be heading into real winter weather, which, in December, should be happening.

It’s been another wild week of people pushing for insurrection, which is a strange thing to watch the media spin as a point of view. Still onward we go, with the electors set to vote on Monday.

This is the part of the process that is usually invisible, it just happens as we go on, but not this time. Nothing is normal under the trump regime. The short-lived trump regime.

That’s really all I have today, it will be a quick one. But have a wonderful Friday and and a great weekend.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#FridayThoughts: Well we made it

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To Friday, at least. As trump keeps throwing himself on the ground like an outraged toddler told no at the toy store, we’ve discovered just a few of the many, many things we weren’t supposed to know about, like pardons for cash, a surveillance list based on no evidence at all and that trump himself profited from the assistance intended for small businesses.

Fun.

But we are closing in on the end of this awful chapter, and soon he will be gone. Into obscurity, no question, into prison, perhaps.

Let’s hope it’s prison.

Meanwhile it’s a bright sunny day in December, a month after the election that won us our nation back, and I think tonight calls for a pizza. Which means cinnamon rolls in the morning with the other half of the dough.

Yum.

And with that, I’m off. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#FridayThoughts: Sale priorities

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The sales have definitely increased in intensity this week, and I’ve been spending money. More than I should, that’s for sure, but this year I’ve bought very few things. Even clothing sales don’t bring the excitement they did.

Where would I wear them?

I finally got myself a TV large enough that I don’t have to stand in the middle of the room to read things on it. It was a really, really, really good deal and yet it feels wildly extravagant, especially now. But there are few things I will use more in the coming months.

These times are tough to navigate, although now that President-elect Biden has won, the light on the surface is glimmering, showing us the way up. Maybe that’s what my inexplicable spending spree is about, really, that hope, that optimism for the future.

Or maybe I just want stuff.

Who knows. Either way, spend money, don’t spend money, but have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend regardless.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#FridayThoughts: Give yourself a break

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I decided to give myself a break by ordering groceries. The virus numbers are soaring, and while the first time we went through this, there weren’t enough shoppers or deliverers to go around, this time it seems there are plenty.

And it’s amazing how easy it is. No girding resolve to go into a store, no vigilance at remaining six feet from everyone, no treading and retreading aisles.

Thank goodness for the people willing to do it.

It’s been a long week, a stressful week when really it shouldn’t have been. Everything should be settled by now, things smoothly rolling on toward change, but alas, they are not. Instead we are held hostage by the delusions of an incredibly stupid narcissist, who is held up by the people around him pretending his delusions are reality.

Fun times.

So accept that now is stressful and difficult, and give yourself a break in some way, whether it’s taking a routine chore off of your plate, doing something you love for a little slice of time, or buying yourself a present. Be nice to yourself.

That’s it for me today. Have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.

#FridayThoughts: Angry

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Well, we’re heading back into lockdown, and I’m not happy about it. Not in a way like “it’s my freedom to kill other people so I don’t have to stay at home,” but in that I’m enraged that we’re here again and we didn’t have to be.

The selfish stupidity of people is both shocking and deadly, and it’s exacerbated by Republicans who seem to want to watch as many people die as possible. We should be done by now, this whole thing a memory and yet here we are.

It’s not all of us, but there are enough people to get us right back to the beginning, only worse because they’ve seen the consequences.

But at least we won the election. Change will come, but too late for so many. Anyway, have a good Friday and great weekend and remember President-elect Biden is on his way.


Check out  my full-length novels: 
Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   
Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 
Her Cousin Much Removed
The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.
And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s quick and weird!
Peruse Montraps Publishing
Like my political side? Read my opinion pieces here.