They say pride goes before a fall. They lie. Pride arrives.

Pride lies too. And it doesn’t show up for everyone.

The last years of my dad’s life weren’t prideful. They were lonely. He said, “It’s a hell of a thing when everyone who knew you young is gone,”

My dad made me proud. Proud of him, proud to be his daughter, proud of myself. If someone like him could love me, I must be good.

Now, I think I reminded him of his favorite sister. His sibling who died youngest of all his siblings. Not first. Just youngest.

His father died when he was seven. His mother died when I was three.

By the time he and I sat around on a weekly basis to chat about higher order thinking skills and gunpowder, he was the only relative of his generation left. The weight of it made him walk with stooped shoulders.

He worried about me. He said I was different. He said he was afraid the world would not be kind to me. He said he was afraid the world would not let me stay kind.

And here I am.

Parents gone. Down three siblings. Two more siblings I don’t speak to. A son who doesn’t speak to me. A husband who has joined me in a mutual truce of silence. A daughter who is trying to make a life with her child, across town. The family home, sold. My career, gone.

I walk with stooped shoulders now. And I am no longer kind.

I could feel sorry for myself. I should probably feel sorry for myself.

But it’s all my own damned fault.

Pride arrived.

George’s daughter was too good to be bullied. She was too important to negotiate for peace when left out of big family discussions. She refused to eat when they attempted to force feed her truths she knew were lies.

But she didn’t see the lie of pride.

Perhaps she wasn’t too good to be bullied. Maybe she hadn’t earned a right to listen and speak at the grown up table. It could be, she should have eaten the shit as it was shoveled, even when it came from her oldest child.

Maybe pride is what makes a person see the beak and hear the quacks and see the flaps and identify the duck when it’s a duck.

Maybe life is just a hell of a thing.

Long Live the Queen. And Kiss My Ass.

Some of the best advice my mother ever gave me was, “I believe it’s time to stop being sad and start being mad,”

And, “I believe those bastards need to be reminded just Who In Hell You Are.”

She would know. My batshit crazy Queen of the Woe-Gathering Depressed Persons fought like a fucking storm trooper.

If I had ever told her, “If you have a problem with my parenting, that’s your problem,”

She’d have told me, “Looks like you need to find another babysitter then,”

Because she never stopped being my mother.

Even when I was 52 and she was 86, she was still my mom.

And even though saying she had big emotions is a huge understatement, she was a good mom.

She meddled.

She manipulated and she was good at it.

She called me on my bullshit.

She made me a good mom.

Even my asshole kids can’t convince me otherwise.

She made me a good person.

Even other asshole humans can’t convince me otherwise.

Every now and then they try to convince me I’m the asshole.

When they do, I refer back to what the Queen would have told me.

“Know when you’re the asshole.”

Then she’d quote Abe Lincoln (well, she said it came from him, with some things I just took her at her word but perhaps I should Google),

“Be sure you’re right, then go ahead,” she said.

The thing is, even if she were wrong, about the quote being Honest Abe’s or about some other bit of wisdom she gave me, I never would have argued with her.

Because she was Queen.

Because she birthed me.

Because she provided free fucking babysitting.

That woman woke up at 5am and came to my house every school/work day to get my kids off to school so I could go to college and continued when I went to work.

She met them every afternoon when the bus brought them home.

She paid my light bill for me when I couldn’t.

She taught me things.

Even after I got my teaching license, she continued to teach me things.

Silly things like, “I know you’re tired. Save your bad attitude until your kids are asleep,”

Things like, “Don’t give all of yourself to your job. Give the best bits to these little brats,”

And I listened.

I still do, even though she’s gone.

I’ve been living sad ever since.

But I think it might be time for me to get mad.

Because there are some people who need to be reminded just Who In Hell I Am.

My mom never had to remind me who she was.

But every now and then, I needed her to remind me who I was.

And there are some little assholes who are about to be reminded.

There are several assholes who have wondered what she got out of the deal.

Why would a woman bother giving all that time and advice.

To them, I’d probably say, because I never questioned her parenting.

I never questioned her grandparenting.

I never questioned her great-grandparenting.

In fact, I even defended her… when she was wrong.

And she was wrong every now and then. She wasn’t a saint for fuck’s sake.

But I waited until she and I were alone to discuss it.

And it was a conversation between her and I, alone.

Because even though her huge emotions could be gloriously embarrassing at times, she was always Queen.

Altitude makes us giddy

So does being together in a car for 1700 miles.

We woke up in Amish country…

to the sound of a rooster crowing.

Iowa does not mean we are used to rooster crowing alarm clocks. That is sad, everyone should have a rooster. (I’d probably change my mind after two mornings).

Then came the wolves.

Lazarus was my favorite.

Lazarus had my personality, willing to stare at people from behind a bush.

We went to sleep in the busiest little town in Massachusetts after eight lane highways, a missed exit and several F words.

The counties in Massachusetts have man names. Well, not all of them, but enough to add a little fun to the scary-ass ride.

Now Entering Otis.

Now Entering Bennett.

Now Entering Otis (again, we’re still not sure why we entered Otis twice. We decided Otis is a bit of a slut).

Now Entering Russell.

So, shout out to Otis, Bennett & Russell. You go, boys!

Today, we have no idea where to start.

Perhaps Ipswich.

Llama, Babe, Grandma, Mama

If I were a llama, I’d be this guy.

Because all the other llamas were just greedy.

An elk, a full-grown male ELK stole The Babe’s feed bucket. Because she didn’t believe us when we told her he would.

She was eventually pacified by the fact she can now tell anyone in the world, “A full-grown male elk stole my bucket,”

This guy (robbing the truck in front of us).

Then we drove through four states to spend the night in a Pakistani/Amish motor inn.

My feet are tired but they’re chilling in a pool. I do wonder if that might have been a sign this isn’t an actual, Amish-run motel.

Do Amish have pools? For non-Amish patrons, of course.

Genealogically speaking, Grandma Thomas’ family came from here. Or near here, in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. She always said they were Pennsylvania Dutch.

I bet they didn’t have a pool.

The water bubbles look like googlie eyes and that makes me happy.

Thank the stars too because this pool is COLD. The Babe splashed me and I inked.

Today is a day for shoes

Because, holy shit, the Cumberland Gap Inn is 1.5 walking miles from Tri-State Peak.

As cute as my feet are, the rest of me is old and out of shape. Shoes could, possibly, save my life.

That 1.5 miles is all uphill. Hence, the word “peak”.

Elevation 1990 feet.

Iowa’s elevation is 571.

The website says the route up will give me a booty workout. The route down might break my ankles.

Why would a fat, 52 year-old Iowa woman even consider this?

Because The Girl, The Grand Girl, Le Grande Belle, is nine years old, fit af and believes, “You’ll be fine, Grandma,”

So, if I die on a mountain in Tennessee/Kentucky/Virginia, make my obit picture my gorgeous bare feet because the rest of me is nowhere near pretty.

F you, mountain. I’m coming up.


On The Road. Again.

And I’m no Kerouac.

I’m more of a Grinch who stole spontaneity and/or desire to travel via interstate fucking highway.

It is 6:23am and I already need Xanax.

It wasn’t supposed to rain. It is raining.

The wifi for the rental isn’t working so my data is getting a good cornholing.

We had to turn around once to take my husband’s keys back to him.

You can’t smoke in a rental car (or around granddaughters) and my nicotine gum is in the bottom of the black leather bag all the way back there near the spare tire.

Let’s take a road trip!

Forget your phobias (highways & storms), forget your addictions (nicotine & caffeine) (no, leave caffeine in there), and hold your water, you fat, broke bitch, we’re driving to Massachusetts.

From BFIowa.

Winter Feet at the Water Park

And wtf.

Sitting here at the water park like a fat bitch.




Ready to fight a skinny broad & there aren’t any.

We’re all fat, cornfed, midwestern hoes.

I’m not even the only grandma.

I am possibly the only grandma who hates everyone but my own two grandgirls & did that kid just drop the f bomb at the oldest one?

Of course he did. She is nine years old & likes to start shit she has no idea how to handle. At least he looks to be about the same age. And he’s skinny so she can take him if he swings.

No, she can’t. Mouthy as she is, that girl hasn’t ever been in a fight. I’m not entirely sure she knows fist fights are a thing.

She just loves her smartass mouth.

“Grandma, can I have a cup?”

“What for?”

“So I can dump it on that kid. He splashed water on me.”

“We’re at a water park.”

“Thanks for taking his side.”

And off she goes.

Welcome to f bomb Iowa, bitches. It’s going to be a long damned summer.