Failing Success – UYW March

In between birth and death, every human is tasked with making choices which will directly affect their future. However, we aren’t born with the maturity or wisdom necessary to choose right and guarantee a stable, secure, and comfortable life as an adult. We are given parents to teach and guide us until we are competent on our own. But… not everyone is so fortunate to be born into a family with both parents present, let alone have them be capable of providing the nurturing and support a child needs to tame the wild oats they love so much to sow. This can make a difference in the kind of life one will come to have as an adult.

Sometimes, it’s not even about the parents. Sometimes the child is just too adventurous and independent to be tamed by anyone other than himself. Either way, not everyone has the early foundation put in place to ensure they are prosperous in what they do. Sometimes their fixations with living on the edge will lead them down dangerous or unorthodox roads. When realized sooner, rather than later, it’s much easier to jump back on track and rebuild again. Eventually, though, time catches up with us, as it always does, and the hope for an easy, comfortable life is lost on them forever.

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When one has to learn the hard way about everything, there’s undoubtedly a price to be paid. No amount of begging the universe, praying to a higher power, or wishing on a lucky star will change one’s fate – every choice, every decision, every action that is taken – leads us to where we are. People like to turn a blind eye while promising that it’s never too late, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Take my husband, for example. He was a mischievous little rebel who partied way too hard throughout his teens and twenties. This led to him spending the majority of his thirties battling various addictions, as he only managed to escape one by substituting it with another. From alcohol to prescription pills, excessive exercising/body image obsession to gambling, this man has experienced more layers of Hell in his mind then I even knew existed. He ended up with a pretty decent rap sheet on file with law enforcement, labeling him as a three-time felon, by the end of his wild oat sowing run.

There’s no taking any of it back. He would sell his soul to be able to, believe me, but he can’t. There is nothing more he can do but accept what is because of what was and make the most out of the situation he is in. Life is anything but easy or comfortable. Financial stability, not even security, is a merely a fantasy which will never come to fruition. Job options and opportunities are extremely limited for those like him, for the system was not designed to give anyone a second chance, let alone the benefit of doubt for their change of ways. Our justice system may have been founded on the premise of innocent until proven guilty, but society runs on the opposite line where people are always guilty until they prove, but, also, demonstrate and rescind their innocence for eternity to come. They call this, Democracy. I call this, bullshit.

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No wonder mental health issues are on the rise. No wonder so many people are angry, cynical, and jaded. No wonder poverty is a cycle that sucks in generation after generation after generation of families. There is no wiggle room in the equation necessary to have the stereotypical successful life we are taught to covet through constant subliminal messaging about materialism and image projection. While there’s always an example of an exception to be found, those are merely an aberration formed in the alignment of perfect circumstances which rarely develop for the majority of folks. A stroke of sheer luck, to sound cliche if you will.

As it is, society’s definition of a successful life reads like Darwin’s theory on Survival Of The Fittest and Asch’s Social Conformity experiments merged while a blind eye was turned to the history of humanity which proves, time and time again, how oppressive this structure is for all but a select few.

I will never understand how such a superior animal species became so entirely self-serving and greed-driven. So neglectful and uncompassionate towards the well-being and comfort of their fellow citizens. Why there is only one respected avenue for success for which we judge all others by? To me, it seems, humans are not worthy of the superiority label they have claimed, for our standards of living are more barbaric and inclusive than any other species I have studied during my years of education.

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Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

Your words are:

late ~ job ~ fixation ~ star ~ make a difference

They were submitted by: http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado 

Spatulas on Parade  

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver 

On the Border 

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy 

The Bergham Chronicles 

Simply Shannon   

Confessions of a part time working mom 

Southern Belle Charm 

Climaxed

Not That Sarah Michelle

 

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UYW – June. Losing Out On Grandparents

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Whatever happened to the good ol’ days, when grandparents actually embraced their roles? When grannies were as warm and plump as their freshly baked cookies and hugged you with an embrace so mighty you knew things would always be okay. When poppa’s were full of tales and legends to be told while perched upon his bouncing knee. There was a strong sense of pride found in the continuance of another generation that just isn’t there anymore. Seriously. Grandparents of today are nothing like they used to be.         

When I was a kid, there was still a magical quality about those people we knew to be our parents’ parents. They were mysterious and familiar all at once. I felt loved and wanted when they were around in a way my own loving parents couldn’t fulfill. Having grandparents to dote on me was the best feeling in the world. At the same time, I knew they were no-nonsense people who were to be respected much more than my own folks. My friends would testify that it was all the same way with them, as well. They knew that when it came time see them, it was going to be great.

We were able to just be kids when our grandparents were with us. They put forth an effort to come and see us as often as possible and have us over even more, giving our parents plenty of time for themselves. They played cards with us, teaching us how to play poker to our parents’ dismay, letting us gamble with peanuts and M&M’s. They taught us how to bargain, how to cook, how to fish, how to pray, and how to stand strong in the face of adversity. How to do things better. They even lent a helping hand to their kids outside of occupying their grandbabies; cleaning house, getting the groceries, and doing household repairs. Grandparents welcomed their roles as head of the family.   

Then my generation went and started having kids.

It was after I had become a mother for the second time that I began to see how much time had changed things. At first, I thought maybe it was just me. My parents and I had never been particularly close. Then I began looking at my friends’ families and saw the same thing I was experiencing within my own extended family. The old-fashioned values beheld by the role of grandparent had ceased to exist. This generation of grandparents have left behind the butter soft appearance of older age in turn for the look of chasing youthfulness. In doing so, they have let go of the traditional roles grandparents once played. They no longer offer their unconditional services to their children, no longer find purpose in rearing the next generation of the family tree. Where they once could be found donning an apron or coveralls, they can now be found dressed to impress out on the town or the golf course.

The sense of responsibility for the continuance of an upstanding reputation carrying on the family name seems not to matter any longer. The elders of the family are using their retirement solely for personal gain. Everything else- extended family included- are after thoughts. I realized I was lucky my parents would even return my call and talk to their grandbabies for a moment. They had no desire to bake goodies with their namesakes, teach them how to run game with a smirkless face, or keep them overnight. They do not want to spend any more time being responsible for anything but fun. Unlike their parents before them, they seem to have had enough of giving up their time for everyone else. This generation of grandparents do not find the role of grandparent fulfilling or satisfying.

What they don’t seem to take into consideration is how much the kids are losing out on. While they are off gallivanting around as if they are twenty-one again, their grandkids are at home absorbing the culture that says they need to act that age, long before they are grown. Mom and Dad are left scrambling to balance everything on their own without the wisdom of someone who’s been down the same road to step in and show them the way. Marriages are struggling harder than ever with the lack of experienced guidance stepping in for support and giving them an opportunity to get away every now and again. The unity and loyalty of the family unit is fading fast. Children need their grandparents.

 

***Today’s post was a writing challenge*** This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

Your words are:

seriously ~ groceries ~ butter ~ better ~ call ~ return

They were submitted by: Baking In A Tornado  

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado                        

Southern Belle Charm                                                

Not That Sarah Michelle                                  

Spatulas on Parade                                          

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver   

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                

My Brain on Kids                                

The Bergham Chronicles                     

Confessions of a part time working mom        

Climaxed                                         

 

Summer’s Arrival Is Near – UYW May

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Summertime is creeping in now. The warmth of the sun is heating up the atmosphere, thickening the stale air – warning us that the heaviness of such will feel smothering in no time at all. Another winter has passed, recorded on the books and forgotten. School is wrapping up for the year, the noise of children filling up the quiet neighborhood with an abundance of shrieks, giggles, and squeals. Soon the vibe of this place will change from the rushed pandemonium of the artic chill to the leisurely tranquility urged by the inviting sun.

There are no cheat sheets needed to enjoy this time of year, unlike it’s seasonal counterpart whose frozen misery requires a song and dance to get around. Summer is like a world of its own. It brings life alive. It sprinkles magic into the breeze like the salty air at the seashore, enveloping those it lands on with spellbinding enchantments only summer can offer. Love, camaraderie, nature, and discovery run rampant in the early sunrises and late nights under the stars. Life is waiting around every bend in the river with wonderments that capture our hearts and seize our memories.

We move at our own pace as we awaken our inner-child once more from a long hibernation. The desire to play overtakes the seriousness of the dreary, gray days of winter responsibility. Beaches fill with bodies ready to worship the supernova in the sky bronzing their skin. Water flows in abundance; trickling, dripping, splashing, rushing, spraying…welcomed now in the sizzling heat baking the earth beneath our bare toes. People are drawn to it like a magnets. Nature calls to our souls in the silliness of the heavy air, enticing us to seek out its majestic splendor as our ancestors once might have. Camping, hiking, gardening. Boating, swimming, kayaking. Fishing, biking, playing sports. Everyone is doing. Being. Relishing in the fact they are alive.

Summertime brings people together. Nurtures connections. Communities strengthen as everyone works in tandem to bring enjoyment to its citizens. Carnivals and county fairs spring up. Laughter can be heard for miles around. Rallies and concerts, festivals and regional  celebrations, they unite us in harmony on common ground. We find belonging and acceptance in our tribes. Family reunions are held, giving us time to congregate with our loved ones and revel in the genealogical histories which composes our personal individuality. Friendships grow stronger around bon fires, drinking beer and munching on the melted chocolate-y, sticky gooeyness of s’mores.

I can feel the rustling in the atmosphere growing stronger by the day now. The earth is stirring awake with new life across the bounds – plants are sprouting, trees are blooming, animal families are growing, and humans are abandoning their protective shelters to embrace the season of pure happiness. Bare shoulders are waiting to drink up the sun and bare feet run dirty with the ground they can finally touch again. The time has come for summer once more. A bit of heaven on Earth, if you will. I’m so ready for it…the past nine months have been like sampling a bit of hell.

There is no greater time to be alive than during the long, lazy, sultry, dog days of summer.

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Today’s post was a writing challenge for bloggers. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

MY WORDS: Books ~ Cheat sheet ~ family reunion ~ ancestors ~ chocolate
GIVEN BY: http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/      

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:
Baking In A Tornado                      
Southern Belle Charm                                             Not That Sarah Michelle                                         Spatulas on Parade                                               The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver      Dinosaur Superhero Mommy             
My Brain on Kids                               
The Bergham Chronicles                   
Never Ever Give Up Hope                   
Climaxed                                           
Confessions of a part time working mom    

Save Your Soul- UYW April

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Strong and fierce, you are a pugilist of demons living within, a warrior of self-inflicted pain.

Push, fall, rise, defeat- the cycle never ceases, beating you down under the eternal strain.

An aberration of souls, destined to do battle against your heart ’til your last, dying breath.

Heedless you scramble to rebuild the ruins anew from the forsaken fortress you have left.

You desecrate it over again with raging fits, refusing to succumb to their cachet of milquetoast.

Your own worst enemy, terrorizing, anyone who dare sees past this fragile façade you brashly boast.

Waves wash away evidence of your poison, leeching- infecting those weakened and unsuspecting.

Inhale deeply at the shoreline, for the miasma lingers in the stale, salty air with power unrelenting.

I am, but an aberration myself, though, immune to the evil simmering beneath the hardened surface.

His unholy reign imposing, yet unphasable, as I seek for him a greater sense of purpose.

Performing his exorcism with the saging of the moon- banish the demon he is and end the raging war.

Demolish the fortress, break the bindings, release the poison from his blood- you are free, my love, now and forevermore.

**Today’s post was a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

I’m using: milquetoast ~ aberration ~ cachet ~ miasma ~ pugilist             

They were submitted by: http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com/   

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:                                       
Baking In A Tornado

Southern Belle Charm

Not That Sarah Michelle

Spatulas on Parade

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Someone Else’s Genius

Confessions of a part time working mom

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Climaxed

My Brain on Kids

The Bergham Chronicles

5 Ways My Kids Fail (Miserably) At Getting Out Of School- UYW March

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If you have school-aged kids, this will all make perfect sense. If you don’t, please take notes – this will be on the test one day, before you know it. Best prepare yourself for it, now…

At some point, even your most genius-level teacher’s pet will want a day off school. With four kids, I’ve seen many a tricks tried to get permission granted to skip class for the day. Here are five of the more humorous and creative attempts they have made in their efforts to skip out on the education they take for granted, and my counter-attack strategy for each.

1. Faker, Faker, Belly-Acher – Last night, you put a healthy, happy, giggling child to bed who was walking and talking with no issue. This morning, you have a kiddo walking like a constipated pregnant woman carrying triplets, ooohing and ahhhing with moans as they rub their invisible baby bump. Imaginatively, they have put to good use the fake burping talent your Sunday fun days have been spent supervising the rehearsal of. This sound is supposed to prove how nauseating they feel, scaring you into believing they could retch at any given moment. They won’t, though. Suggest to their sibling that you were planning to serve cupcakes for breakfast and watch your full of baloney child beeline for the table; as if the tummy troubles were merely a figment of your imagination, not their own. Miraculous powers those subliminal cupcakes have…

2.  Who You Gonna Call? Maybe The Ghostbusters.-  Whenever Halloween is in season, one of my kids are bound to try this one again. Like I am not going to remember all the prior years’ hilariously failed attempts. As always, someone’s costume will require face painting of some kind. Knowing my arts and craft skills are minimal, we must do a trial run beforehand so I can get an idea of how bad I’m going to screw up this All Hallows Eve affair. Sometimes, this also coincides with a costume party, trunk-or-treat event, or haunted house fiasco which keeps us out long past our routine bedtime. And sometimes, when that happens, I’m too worn out and angrivated to take the effort and make sure everyone is washed up completely. Next morning, whichever child will claim their abnormally pale skin is really a sign of their imminent death and need to avoid school, than their mother’s laziness. The only call-in I’m going you place is to the Ghostbusters – if my children are THAT pale, they’re likely already long since dead. And they’re NOT gonna haunt me, either. Really. I had no choice in the matter when they were living….

3. Calculated Accrued Sick Time- Yes. That means exactly what you think it means. My oldest child has kept record of his sibling’s taken sick days and believes in The Law Of Relative Fairness. Meaning: everyone should be allotted the same amount of time off, so based on however many days the kid who’s been sick most often has accrued to the day in question, the others should be able to use theirs as they wish. He has yet to realize what an unfair world this really is; what, with all the participation trophies they’ve gathered from everyone’s a winner activities thus far, it’s really a no-brainer to him. I have yet to accept this proposed theory, but he still keeps trying. When he does, I remind him of the Fall-Winter-Spring cleaning I had planned to undertake and how much of a help he will be since he’s not actually sick. By the time I am done divvying up the list, he’s dressed and ready to go.

4. Dazed and Confused: Elementary Edition- “But, Moooom! I didn’t know we had school today. I forgot. How am I supposed to remember these things? I didn’t know it was a school day. So I didn’t sleep good because I thought it was the weekend. And I’m so tired. And you don’t want me falling asleep at school, do you? If I had known, I would’ve stayed asleep the whole night. But I didn’t. I just can’t go today.” My dear child. Dear, dear child. I was not born yesterday. When you asked why you had to take that shower, the one you so loudly protested until my very last nerve almost frayed, I told you, “because, it’s a school night.” You would make a wonderfully bewildered actress on a soap opera one day, though. As frazzled and exhausted as you think you are on this morning, let’s just call today, “A Preview of Life As A Parent.” Then we can call it even for every morning the past eleven years, in which I have woken up feeling quite the same way; only wishing it had been a babysitting gig and you kids wouldn’t still be here, instead. Yet you still are, every damn day. Mommy loves you so much. Now go the fuck to school. Insert a ridiculously cheap bribe they can have after school, if they go, and, just like that *snap fingers*, my kid has fallen for the bait. Whiny kids usually just want attention and nothing says “you’re special” to little kids than a bribe they think is just for them.

5. Demonic Possession- Every so often, one of my children will wake up an aberration of their cheerful, silly, easy-going selves. This replica may look identical in physical traits, but their features are much darker. The pout is spiteful. The eyebrows deeply furrowed and the eyes narrowed into a glare of intense deviancy. Their body language is guarded, but engaged for combat. This evil twin is not budging from his refusal to get ready to go to school and there nothing short of an exorcism will change their minds. Time to pull out your omniscience – down the Super Mom cape and appeal to the Third Eye On The Back Of Our Head. I go about my business without engaging said child directly, yet I act so silly they can’t help but release the demon and summon my kiddo back to reality in a fit of giggles. Or else, I will put on my most ill-fitting bathing suit, pick up that evil child, and head for the car. They will reconsider quickly when they see I am dead serious about taking them to school in such manner. Works like a charm every time on my part-time demon spawn.

***Today’s post was a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
I’m using:    humorous ~ pale ~ nauseating ~ accept ~ bewildered

They were submitted by: My Brain On Kids 

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:
Baking In A Tornado

The Bergham Chronicles 

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver                                     

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Southern Belle Charm

Not That Sarah Michelle

My Brain on Kids

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Someone Else’s Genius

Confessions of a part time working mom

Spatulas on Parade

Climaxed

 

By: Kristina Hammer, aka, The Angrivated Mom

Until You Awakened My Love – UYW February

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Long ago, I used to be, an extraordinarily lonely little girl. I devoured the world around me – seeking purpose and direction in the actions of the people I inconspicuously studied, all the while, taking in every bit of knowledge my mind could gather.

My imagination ran wild, overflowing my glass with tales of love yet to be, from an incredibly young age. Daydreams and fantasies painted themselves across my consciousness, as sweet as lollipops, the instant my eyelids fluttered closed for even the briefest of seconds, disintegrating the moment my lashes untangled; like fingers once intertwined, slipping away from the lover’s hand with a fleeting grip. Endlessly searching for wonders to challenge… entice… inspire… my ever constant drive towards something greater than the tried and true of before.

Fairy tales were only my stepping stones into intense, intricately detailed worlds, hidden deep within me, in the darkness I was dared never to go.

A hopeless romantic before I ever knew what love was, lost and broken before I ever had the chance to embrace life as a whole, and cast into the great divide beckoning for the one fated to her soul. As I continued to grow up, as time continued to pass, ever so painfully, the passions burning within me, multiplied. Puberty added fuel to the already blazing flames within my soul; setting off an explosion within my core. My newfound sensuality brought an new sense of awareness, as my sexuality matured. My lonely, whirlwind, mind craved connections with others – first emotionally, then, physically, but never could I find them happening at the same time.

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I was driven to seek out the one who would ignite all of me aflame, at once, awakening the magic I could feel buried dormant in my soul. The one who would meld against the jagged edges of the hole, sealing my heart and healing my wounds. There were many connections made; tried and failed, lost along the way. Many more never managed to even make a single, wimpy spark- our flicker of commonality fizzled out like a dud, before it ever had began. Some connections I made were simply drawn to the vessel of my being, attempting to fake the emotional and physical bonds necessary for gaining my full attention. I despise those kind of people, wish I could harpoon them, keep them as trophies. There have been, though maybe less than a handful my entire lifetime, of those, whose souls have actually collided with mine, on impact Fusing us, as one, with a fiery burst of emotional recourse. Yet, the pressure which once propelled us together, would eventually pushed us apart, back into orbit.

And, here I am, still searching. Still fighting. Wanting the love I know is out there – the love destined to light up my life as it encompasses the darkness, washing it all back down with a shot of Jack Daniels burning my core.

Thirty-three years of crying myself to sleep listening to the great love songs of the eighties and nineties, wishing on the first star I see at night, and bedtime prayers wanting an angel to hand deliver my price charming-knight in shining armor-rescuer of this damsel in distress.

Rereading epic tales of star-crossed lovers, with pages full of insignificant characters finding their happily ever afters without even trying. Watching sappy romance films of love lost, dying chances, and desires never fulfilled. Images and lyrics penetrate my thoughts, bringing them to life every time I blink.

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I was living with reckless abandonment, teetering on the brink of possibility… vulnerability. Putting myself in bad situations, just because I needed to escape the aching desire torturing my soul to fill in the missing piece so it could finish growing. Looking in all the wrong places for love, fulfillment, and  satisfaction, coming up empty, time after time. Always wondering if it will ever be my turn to fall madly in love and have my dreams come true. Find the missing piece. Awaken the magic.

Until you.

Until you walked into my life – turning it inside out, upside down, and back rightside in, again. Colliding into my soul with voracious force. Awakening the paragon of nirvana buried beneath my soul, dormant for far too long. The waiting is finally over, I can sign with relief. The time has come, at last, to surrender myself to the one engraved upon my core, where we were divided by kismet, once upon a time ago. Separated…ripped apart, as our spirits were cast unto this earth, leaving us empty of our eternal soul mate. Left to wander this barren world, teeming with lust and despair and depraved of rapturous, fervent fidelities. Lost and incomplete without the one, until now.

Until you.

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My body is heightened with the fullest senses it has ever felt. Heart-racing butterflies have broken through time capsule chrysalises, waiting all these years to complete their transformation. My ears tuned to every buzz and beep, hoping for the one alerting me that my presence is strong on your heart and rampant in your mind.

The melody of your words wrapping me in comforting familiarity like my favorite lullaby sang to me as a child. Shivers of lightening race across my skin, anticipating the slight of your hand brushing tenderly across the small of my back, down my hips, then, taking my hand, softly but firmly.

Leading me. Pulling me. Ravaging my thoughts, my aspirations, my virtues – satiating my thirst and quenching the yearning plaguing me for eternity.

The runaway piece of my soul has finally been found – in you. My darling husband, the keeper of my stars, the missing puzzle piece with whom I share my steady heartbeat’s rhythm. I was just an extraordinarily lonely little girl, lost along the midnight journey, weak and weary, looking over her shoulder leery about love…. until you. Until you stepped into my life and brought the universe to my knees. You, my love, complete me.

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~

Today’s post was a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: (Found in bold and underlined in the piece)
Harpoon ~ Tried and true ~ Straight ~ Lollipop ~ Glass ~ Jack
They were submitted by: The Bergham Chronicles           

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:
Baking In A Tornado

The Bergham Chronicles

Spatulas on Parade  

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Southern Belle Charm

Not That Sarah Michelle

Never Ever Give Up Hope

My Brain on Kids

Confessions of a part time working mom

Climaxed

Someone Else’s Genius

By: Kristina Hammer, aka, The Angrivated Mom

A Day Without Electricity in The Angrivated House – UYW January

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Living in a first world country, even when you are closer to poverty level than middle class, we take our way of life for granted. We may struggle to pay our bills, struggle to keep appearances, and struggle for successful careers, but at the end of the day we have all we need to make it through the next. Roofs over our heads. Clothes on our backs. Clean water to guzzle from the faucet. Electricity and natural gas to light up, warm, cook, and power the hooplah and hubbub in our homes. People rarely stop to consider the magnificence of these daily necessities, we take for granted they will be there as faithfully as Ol’ Reliable blows.

Imagine me then, coming off a very long winter break with four children who have not only lost their minds, but taken up secret lessons on how to scream like a Banshee. Set scene.

I am doing my Monday Happy Dance in between yelling for the kids to brush their teeth and get some socks on, because they ARE going back to school come hell or high water. Regardless of any tricks they may try and pull. My sanity has officially left the building. All I can think of are those two and a half precious hours alone, while the preschooler is at school peeking around the bend. The hands on the clock couldn’t move any slower as the time draws nearer.

7:10 a.m.: Shoo the oldest out the door to meet his bus and head off for another rotten day of horrible sixth grade. 7:15 a.m.: Get the two youngest to go get dressed while I clean up the breakfast mess. 7:18 a.m.: tell the second oldest child to find his backpack and always lost shoes, so he’s ready to go when it’s time. 7:20 a.m.: start to brew a cup of coffee on the Keurig. Finally! 7:20 and .04 seconds a.m.: just as I press the brew button and the machine whirls to a start, the whole world seemingly stops.

Everything goes black. The sudden silence is scary and deafening, for a moment, as my senses heighten in panic. Swallowing my fears, I try to assess the situation at hand calmly. There is a contagious domino affect of anxiety rippling through the children, nonetheless, because dawn hasn’t yet broke and the house bathed in artificial fluorescence a minute ago, is now blanketed in darkness. This cannot be happening, I think, as I stumble to the front window and check the surrounding neighborhood. My eyes zoom in and focus on the one house I am sure of which never turns the porch light off. No light. Are you fucking shitting me? The power is out throughout the neighborhood. Meaning there’s no power at school now, because it’s only a block and a half over, on the same power grid. Holy mother of Geebus!

Your phone starts buzzing violently in protest, as text after text from the parents whose kids you shuttle to school come pouring in. “Do the kids still have school?” “Is your power out?” “What is going on with the lights?” Apparently, you are supposed to have all the answers for all the questions, just because you drive a gaggle of children to school with your own every day. If that really were the case, don’t they think you would’ve won Jeopardy for a month straight then moved to the Bahamas for the rest of your life. Alone. Without any kids. I digress. I don’t have all the answers so here I remain, standing in the dark with children screeching and squealing over this travesty of power loss.

After a half hour of wading through the online outage center hidden within the power company’s website, I am ready to rip my hair out and jump off the nearest bridge to my death. Little do I know, this is really only the beginning of a nightmare of a day. The power company’s joke of a website reports their internal system is down, as well. So, while it cannot provide me with a fraction of a tidbit’s worth of useful information – why the power’s out, when it will be restored, what the main cause of the outage was… Or anything else critical for me to figure out a game plan. The only thing I received was a lousy map showing the outage area; as if all the people blowing up my phone, coupled with the ones who did not, hadn’t given me an idea as to the perimeter of the outage area. Thankfully, the school board took to Facebook and notified us parents that the elementary school indeed would be closed for the day and they received a three hour estimate for power repairs from the utility company. They should have said, “guesstimate,” because I had a better shot at winning that Mega Millions Power Ball lottery than my electricity returning.

The sun came up quickly during this fiasco of panicked chaos. The youngest was picked up for preschool, which just happens to be located on the next power grid over… lucky them. The other two settled down with their half-charged tablets, silently criticizing me for reassuring them they didn’t need to search for chargers at bedtime when they can be charged while they were at school.

Besides the fact it was the beginning of January, here in Michigan, and temperatures in the low twenties were bringing a chill into the house as the warmth escaped, it was just like any regular old day now. We became immersed in the screens of our devices – I, trying to get some writing accomplished and, them, playing mindless games and watching nonsense videos. A few hours later and the youngest was being dropped off back home again, before we ever knew it. The power should have been back on a half hour ago, I realize. What in Hell is going on here!?!

The website at least works this time. 1 p.m. is the new estimated guesstimated time given, the cause still listed as unknown. Only, my husband is awake now and someone he works the afternoon shift with called to tell him what had happened. An abandoned factory had some sort of explosion occur, which blew out some major circuit stuff and even knocked down a pole somewhere. Doesn’t seem like too hard of a fix. So we wait some more. Devices start dying on the kids. Cereal and apples are no longer holding them over and being since it’s the day before our next grocery trip, we were down to the bare essentials. AKA, non-kid pleasing foods.

Kids start up a round of the whining game. They begin tormenting one another; the initial joy over a day off of school fizzling out abruptly like a firework dud. Time for me to intercept before they turn my living room into an Elementary Fight Club Scene and something, or someone, gets broken. Santa just happened to stop by Bramma’s house this year, leaving gifts of board games and books galore. Just what they need to do to keep the peace a little longer. The cold was beginning to settle where the heat once cloaked our bodies, providing reprieve from the bitter Winter weather outdoors. Our stove, thankfully, was gas fueled, so I began searching for things to bake with the ingredients quickly warming to room temperature in my refrigerator. I put cheesy drop biscuits and a French vanilla pudding cake in the oven set at a higher temp then called for so the oven door could stay cracked, warming the kitchen and dining area, at least. Then we all sat down around the table for a hand of Uno and a round of Scrabble Junior.

Halfway into our first game, the oldest had come home. The look on his face when he saw his siblings gave me all the forewarning necessary. The “not fair” meltdown was approaching faster than the Bullet Train coming into station in Japan. He drops his backpack and runs to his room, slamming the door for good measure. How dare his siblings get a free, non-sick day off of school without him. I’m the meanest mom, ever, in his book. The lure of laughter from our game of Uno must have been too irresistible. Or the chill in his room too cold to pout properly, because he came to join us minutes later. Still scowling, of course. Biscuits done, cake cooling, we begin to play Scrabble Jr., still hoping the power would return at some point. An hour later, our bellies were full, we were all gamed out, and still…No power.

My anxiety started to build as I got lost in spiraling thoughts of what-ifs, worst case scenarios, and whatever will we do’s. I am losing my mind over a first world problem! Why does this shit always happen to me?! I tell the kids I’m laying down on the couch before I give myself a migraine. The lack of caffeine is really taking its toll on me. As I lay there, wishing I was swallowed into a black hole and put out of my misery, something totally strange and magical happened. Something I never expected or could picture happening in my wildest of dreams….

All four of my children got along like FRIENDS!!!!

That’s right. They came together in this harrowing travesty of epic first world proportion. (I don’t even know if that made any sense, but it sure as hell sounded majestically awesome!) No one picked on one another. They were kind and thoughtful. They helped each other in their dramatic play, and everyone played equal parts, compromising to let everyone win. Their laughter reverberated throughout the quiet stillness. Dusk washed away the sunlight, bathing our house in darkness again. Flashlights were found and even though the boys, the two oldest, would have loved to have felt important being the light keepers, they willingly gave the duty to their little sisters, excited to play with these new toys. Checking the outage center website, I discover it is once again down, withholding any inkling of when normalcy would return.

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With a lot of blind luck and a little prayer, I managed to cook dinner in the dim light of an early winter sunset. Well, if you consider frozen French Fries, buttered parmesan noodles, instant mashed potatoes, hot dogs, canned green beans, fish sticks, and more of those biscuits a dinner. The only real meat I had was something that needed to be cooked in the crock pot for insured consumption by the kiddos, and you can’t crock pot without electricity! After dinner I let the kids frost and decorate the cake, then go back to the Zombie Prison Escape game they had made up earlier just to keep warm with the running around. I tried to use the last juice in my phone to get some answers about the power situation so I could figure out what to do, because we couldn’t stay in this freezing house overnight. The thermostat was reading 56°F for Pete’s Sake! A two hour fix at 8 a.m. had come to the twelve hour mark. The insanity of all this was eating away at the last of my nerves.

Unable to get through on the website or by phone, I texted a friend I know who works at the local hospital. They should have an idea of what’s going on, because any home care patients in this outage area which require any type of life support machinery, would have had to be brought in until the electricity was resolved. Before I could even finish typing, my phone beeped its dreaded warning that I was at 4% battery life. Fuck me! Without my phone I’m totally lost, cutoff from all civilization like a prisoner in my own home. This can’t be happening! Then my screen changed, showing an incoming call from, loll and behold, none other than the lady I was trying to text! She was just checking in to let me know management spoke to the power company and they are saying anywhere between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. because crews were hard to find on midnights and we could go to her sister’s house if we needed to. Gawd damn mother of all Hell!

And, with that, my phone chimed it’s power down sound.

I look up to see my late grandmother’s candle flickering out as it reached the nub, in its hurricane lamp candle holder. The last candle of hers I had had for it. My heart flip-flopped into my knotted stomach as anger welled up within over the last straw to this horrible situation- losing the last of those candles I cherished because only together with the holder was it the physical connection to her I cling to desperately in my grief. Before that anger could bubble to the surface… before I could even begin processing all these events rapidly firing in succession to one another, draining hope from me faster than my kids siphon my energy… The electricity came back on.

The refrigerator buzzed to life. Lights blinded us in an exact opposite manner as the dark had blinded us. The furnace gave its familiar click preceding the roar we eagerly anticipated bringing warmth bank onto our house once more. The kids cheered and shrieked in excitement as they rushed off to plug in devices needing to be charged. And I sighed heavily, thanking my lucky stars for the return of this first world luxury we all, thoughtlessly, take for granted. Take a moment today and give thanks for what you have, because someone else, somewhere around the globe, is praying for it right now.

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now. Check out all the other participating bloggers and see what words they got and how they used them. 
My Words Were: eyes, reverberate, broken, ready, whatever.               

They were submitted by: Baking In A Tornado

 

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts: 
Baking In A Tornado

The Bergham Chronicles

Spatulas on Parade  

Rena’s World

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Not That Sarah Michelle

Confessions of a part time working mom

Southern Belle Charm

Someone Else’s Genius

Climaxed

My Brain on Kids

By: Kristina Hammer, aka, The Angrivated Mom

A Thanksgiving Day Without My Apron

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
My words are: 
turkey ~ corn ~ ships ~ feast ~ gnomes ~ collards
Submitted by: Spatulas On Parade     

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First of all, if I could choose to have any day off I wanted, I would choose Thanksgiving. I love the holiday. I love food. I even love the cooking…and feeding lots of hungry bellies as a result of my culinary success, it is one of my favorite forms of self-fulfillment. But, alas, my PTSD and anxiety disorders sabotage my enjoyment and turn the kitchen into my enemy.

Every year, without fail somehow, I end up in tears over the failed feast. Well, actually…I do know how. I’m horrible at time management. Something gets burned, an ingredient forgotten, and I never get the timing down so everything is done at the same time because I only have one gahd-damned oven rack. Plus I try to be social and keep my kids from killing their grandparents all at the same time. Something inside me clicks somewhere during the process and pressure starts building up inside of me; my entire body feels like it’s in a vice and I can’t escape. My mind gets so overwhelmed I forget what I’m doing as I’m about to get busy. I end up yelling at my kids for getting underfoot unnecessarily, getting bitchy with my husband, and condescending towards anyone who winds up in my path.

Which begs me to say, Thanksgiving is a day I should most certainly take off. There’s no point in stressing over a turkey I will probably undercook and then overcook trying to fix the issue after I labored for an hour the day before to create the most gloriously divine flavor-infusing brine to marinade the bird. Or my husband will simply catch it on fire because he didn’t baste and the juices ran over while I was out of the house a few hours. (True story.) I will reheat the corn in its ceramic serving dish, only to forget to use a pot holder to grab it and drop it on the way to the table. No one likes chunky ceramic sprinkles on their food, this I know. The collards will undoubtedly burn to the bottom of their pot because I’ll be so distracted, the little bit of water necessary to steam them will simmer out before I notice. As much as it pains me to let someone else take over my heavenly puffed sweet potatoes and yummy Alfredo green bean casserole, it’s the only sane choice to make.

Now, if the ships would sail on all the anxiety and stress, I would actually enjoy letting someone else pamper me with as fantastic of a Thanksgiving meal as I would’ve made. I would sit back and peacefully watch my surroundings like the ever-present and all-knowing garden gnomes. Enjoy the kids laughter as they chase each about in some kind of zombie cops-n-robbers game instead being angrivated by it. Cuddle up with the husband to cheer on our favored football team in the big Thanksgiving Day game. My feet would be kicked up as I savor the family time we so very often miss with my husband’s otherwise crazy long work schedule. It would be magical to be present in the moment instead of fighting myself to create the moment for everyone else.

My day off would be so joyous,I wouldn’t want it to come to an end! It’s only been eleven years since my last one, after all. Unfortunately, though, I have another fourteen years under my belt before I’ll ever be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving day off from creating kitchen magic. By that time, it’ll be a few grandchildren from my oldest few kids running about, not my own. As much as I can’t bear the thought of them growing up and leaving my nest, it will be a welcome change to the chaotic, anxiety-laden, and angrivating Thanksgiving’s I have now.

One day far from now, I’ll look back on all I struggled through to make the holiday happen and be grateful I have finally earned my day to kick back and eat someone else’s yummy food. Until then, pass the apron and the recipe book, because this mom is getting a jumpstart on her holiday meal preparation before she squirrels off… or flat out forgets. Again.

*Links to the other “Use Your Words”: Baking In A Tornado
Spatulas on Parade
The Momisodes
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
Southern Belle Charm
Rena’s World                                           
Never Ever Give Up Hope  
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
The Bergham Chronicles
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy
Confessions of a part-time working mom
Someone Else’s Genius
Climaxed

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Day 13 prompt: Describe your ideal day off. What would you do with your time?

By: Kristina Hammer, aka, The Angrivated Mom