The Easter Tradition

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Photo by LC Stair

My daughter is cleverer than I am. She coined the family term, “Easter Tradition.” An Easter Tradition is one where a child brings home the stomach bug. Then, everyone succumbs, a few days apart from one another, to shitting and vomiting to the extent of exhaustion and begging for mercy. It’s happened to our family, in our quaint house with one bathroom, for a few springtimes now. Having one bathroom certainly encourages the quick and tumultuous virus to spread like crabs in a drug-dealer’s trailer.

After the first victim, we religiously beach light switches, doorknobs, refrigerator handles, and wash our hands until they begin to look parched. My husband and I silently wait, who will be next? Dry heaves and stomach cramps be damned, will I wake at 2 in the morning or will I beat the odds?

The first time, on a night before Easter, both daughters got sick within an hour of one another. “Save the baby,” I said and called the in-laws in from their camper, which was parked in our backyard for the season. I realized we had the Rotavirus, or worse, the Norovirus in our house. I tied a t-shirt tied across my face like cowboy’s bandana in 1890 Tombstone, Arizona. My mother-in-law took our three-month-old son into the camper and laughed sweetly at our predicament.

While M was vomiting all over the toilet, S cried, humiliated by having to say it, “I have to poop!” I stopped rubbing M’s back and snatched the trashcan from its place. There was no other choice, I told S, “Shit in the trashcan.” She leaned back as though she understood her task. Squatting low, and appearing on target, she missed altogether and her body spew a brown muddiness all across the bathroom wall where it splashed like chocolate milk.

Because I’m inclined to research, I had read all about these viruses on the CDC’s website. I can tell you it’s bleach that kills the virus, and that the virus holder is contagious for a two to three days after they’ve recovered. Thus, my husband and I know the absolute importance of not getting either the shit or vomit in our eyes and mouths and noses.

A few minutes later, still wearing my fashioned facemask having just cleaned up the vomit from the toilet and shit on the wall, we began to make beds for them on the floor nearest the bathroom. He made one pallet and I the other, each of us unfurling blankets. As my hand went up to unfurl, his body came down to adjust – we touched one another – my hand, which had not yet been washed, met his face on the mouth. We instantly knew he would become the next victim of the Easter tradition. I started laughing, “I’m so sorry! That sucks. I’m so sorry!” (He did not laugh.)

Two days later he vomited and shit throughout the night. My son and I made it through unscathed. My in-laws did not; the stomach bug took them to the depths of hell in a 26-foot 5th wheel. They didn’t come out for a few days.

This year must have been the lesser virus because the shitting and vomiting were varied and not as detrimental. So far our nephew, my husband, and my son have had their turns. My in-laws might be next because my son became sick at their house (sorry for that!). Today is Easter, and each moment the remaining of us wait, crossing our fingers, washing out hands, hoping to avoid the Easter tradition.

In progress: Premonitions and Admonishments

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In Louisiana, there is history rare and unsettling. Few are aware of the soothsayers among them, locally referred to as “seer” (pronounced ˈsē-ər). Her boyfriend’s great uncle was a seer. He was an 80-year-old Cajun who told fortunes with a worn deck of playing cards. He read her cards one day. Together they sat at his house while he told her she had lived many lives and in one life she was so evil that today she still pays the price – each of her lives redeeming her past cruelties. He suggested she was herself once a powerful practitioner of the dark arts, Black Magic.

I’ve been published (twice)!

The Brilliance of Stars

“If I were to give my father a name based on an adjective, I would call him substantial.  A man who watched his wife go from eccentric to weird, to paranoid and delusional over the course of our childhood.”

Click here: http://www.gravelmag.com/lc-stair.html

An online magazine by the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

 

 

 

Shaving Above the Knees

“I was impressed by the brilliant lights of what I thought was a metropolitan city that turned out to be a plentiful array of corporate refineries, side by side for miles, espousing stink and pollution. Much different during the day when I realized they were a fool’s beauty.”

Click here: http://lunchticket.org/shaving-above-the-knees/

A literary journal from the MFA community at Antioch University Los Angeles.

 

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Recognizing the Signs of Assholism

Photo on 2015-01-03 at 11.20

Avoid assholes, and most importantly, avoid being an asshole. If you wonder whether you’re dealing with an asshole, chances are you might be. Assholes like to blame everyone else around them. Assholes like to suck the joy out of the day. Assholes like to show you how much of an asshole they are, and they have no regret in doing so.

Do you ever wonder if you are an asshole?

Top Signs You Just Might Be an Asshole:

  1. You honked your horn and flipped someone off for turning too slowly, even though the left lane was clear and you could have just gotten over.
  2. You make an excuse after having apologized.
  3. You make excuses. Lots of them.
  4. You complain when someone does something different.
  5. You judge others, nitpicking how you could have done something better. (I’m guilty of this.)
  6. Your boss provides feedback that you appear overly defensive and unable to accept feedback. And you prove her right—without even realizing it.
  7. People don’t invite you places and you demand to know why.
  8. You think how much you hate people, all the time.
  9. You put yourself above all others, and why wouldn’t you? You’re the smart one.
  10. You imagine beating the faces of people in, and would rejoice at their suffering.

If you said yes to six or more of these, you may just be an Asshole. But do you care? If #’s 9 and 10 don’t resonate with you then there is hope for you.

How to Not to Be an Asshole:

  1. Imagine that your mother is the janitor of the bathroom when you’re about to toss your trash onto the ground. (And don’t throw it on the ground.)
  2. Realize we are all the same, making the same dumb-ass mistakes.
  3. Pretend your child is in front of you when you are impatient and huffing loudly, shifting your feet, in the grocery store aisle because the cashier is slow. (It also helps to pretend your mother is the cashier.)
  4. Want become a better person. It doesn’t feel good to get honked at (see tip # 2).
  5. Acknowledge when you make a mistake; having knowledge of your own inadequacies help you relate to others.
  6. Think and talk about how you could have done something better.
  7. Do it better next time.
  8. Try.
  9. Try harder.
  10. Allow yourself to laugh.

Write what you know.

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It has been said to write what you know. I take this to mean ‘to describe’. So I describe.

Sometimes when I write and describe, it has to do with my childhood, but that makes me feel self-conscious, which to me is like a drink of sour milk or the smell of dog breath. Other times when I write, I break down what I know about a modern moment of my life. I see it as counter balance to all that dreaded history that vomits up like flowers and nails.

I know that I love to listen to music in headphones while I write. I like music loud. I may be sacrificing my hearing in my future old age self.

Practice determination to put yourself out in the world. I write and keep this nonsense Blog to make myself work for what I want and keep on thinking, what’s life if not to live and enjoy every goddamn moment of it. I love to compose words,  so I write.

(The child in me wants affirmation though, but I won’t give in to her tonight.)

Write what I know.

I know I am worried about my dog Tucker, who is as sweet as can be all the time. The sweetest dog on earth, seriously. She is eleven or twelve already and I can tell something is bothering her. With sad eyes lately, she seems slower and in pain sometimes. I’m taking her to the vet tomorrow.

I know that I’m wearing sock that feel like thin and cheap crap. I must have purchased them from Target. I wish nice socks weren’t such an expensive item. It is a small bit of pleasure to have expensive socks that cushion and hug on your feet.

I know that I’ve recently started chilling my pint glasses and drinking beer out of them with a beer koozie. A little class and trash. That’s how I like everything, really.

I know too many ‘I’s’ in a piece of writing is terribly vain and unprofessional. Sorry for that.

100 word stories

14mths

1.

Little boy, you headbang to the right music, even though you are two years old. You play your ukulele like a guitar rock star. Your eyelashes are long and your round body is so fun to hold. Having a chance to experience cuteness almost every second of my time with you, is worth the hard work and effort teaching you. You had a hair cut today. I had a coffee frappe’ with whip cream. You snuck a sip of some off the table where I left it.  I pretended not to notice. We work well together. I love you.

2.

The water was up to my shins. I stood beneath a bright big moon that illuminated the pond around me. I did not like the mud between my toes. Worse was the way the plants brushed against me. I walked toward the river edge where he lay comfortable on the grass with his forearm rested on his forehead. We are so comfortable together that silence isn’t silent, our every glance talks volumes. The way his head slowly looked at me told me he’s happy. The comfort and intelligence I feel from him is inspiring and keeps me calm and wise.