noSleepDear Sleep,

You don’t pay my bills.

You don’t cook or clean.

You don’t finish my manuscripts.

You don’t meet my deadlines.

I don’t have time for your selfishness in my life.

And when I’m with you, I’m thinking about work.

I guess, what I’m saying is…I’m breaking up with you.

Maybe I’ll see you around..

The Wicked

Dear Sleep

If someone tells you love is a feeling that sparks in the gut and blooms into an absolute sense of magical knowing that spurts rainbows around your heart, they are so full of shit.

boys naked at work 1A long-term relationship is the ultimate definition of love. It is a choice. It is work. It is action. It is a job. Trust me. I’ve been working my ass off for over twenty years. But it is a job that comes with incomparable benefits (Yes, let your mind go there. That’s exactly what I mean). More on benefits in a moment.

Every relationship is furrowed with trenches. And guaranteed, you’ll tumble into the trenches and maybe even fall out of love. That’s okay. As long as both of you don’t fall out at the same time, the other will be there, waiting until you find your way back. He/she might even offer a hand to help you up.

Uh oh. Where the hell is this coming from? Well, since I’m writing a romantic manuscript, I’ve spent a lot of time evaluating the elusive concept of love. Real love. Not the culture in romance novels. Not the drugging addiction in the infancy of commitment. I’m trying to capture the real love that can only be found in the back-breaking, sun-spotted, nagging, I’ve-been-doing-this-for-twenty-years-dammit chosen role in a relationship worn by time and apathy.

If you’ve been married as long as I have, you know these trenches intimately. You’re either wallowing in one now, or you’ve recently climbed out, or you’re about to fall and you don’t realize it yet. Yeah, I sound fatalistic. Accept it. Deal with it. And this is how:

hercules-and-omphaleHave lots and lots and lots of sex. Make it the first thing you do when you get home from work and the last thing you do before you go to bed. I recommend the just-woke-up-and-late-for-work sex, too. When you’re in a trench and feeling particularly hateful, drag the source of all the world’s problems into the bedroom. I bet you’re not hating him/her as much twenty minutes later. (And if your partner isn’t cooperating, this is where the job comes in. Seduce him/her, you lazy ass.)

Am I delusional? Probably. But not about this. A friend of mine sent me a message today to thank me for giving her the “have lots and lots of sex” advice a couple years ago. She fell into that impending rut and tackled it by challenging herself to seven days of sex. At the end, she was healed. And whenever the next rut comes, she just recharges with sex. Done. “Emotional issues clarified.” <–Her words. Smart girl.

I have a lot of ideas about why this works. It pulls you out of your unproductive head. It keeps you connected to your partner when all the other messy connections are unraveling. It shows devotion where words and emotions fail. And it’s the most primitive, natural, and intimate thing two adults can do together.

Sex is the fringe benefit, one that is too often overlooked. The job requirements include (but are not limited to): communication, trust, patience, tolerance, open-mindedness…seduction.

So, the next time you fall, lose your connection, and feel like choking him as soon as you look at him, then choke him while you’re straddling him. Oh! There’s the connection you were missing.

Now, tell me. What is love? The best answer wins a Guinness (I’ll drink it in your honor).

Let’s Talk About Sex

If you were gifted with 24 hours, guilt-free and suspended in time, what would be the 6 indulgences dominating your day?

Two restrictions:

  1. You spend it alone (Sorry, kids. Self-pleasure only)
  2. You can’t touch your to-do list

Here’s my 6 ingredient cocktail to 24 hour perfection:

1. 75 degrees of open air capping 360 degrees of undeveloped horizon

2. The Avett Brothers on a continual loop (because it’s impossible to listen to their lyrics and not explode with all things life and love)

3 & 4. My two favorite addictions

5. A Kindle full of inspiration

6. A head–stuffed with stories–connected to ten tireless limning fingers

Your turn. What 6 pleasures embody your perfect space in time?

Go ahead, don’t be shy. I won’t make a mockery of you out here (I’ll reserve that for behind your back).

6 Indulgences to 24 Hour Perfection

Shot my H&K USP .40 for the first time today.

Holy hell. BEST birthday present ever. I love this gun.

Why? The sturdy weight, the smooth recoil, the accuracy, the heavy trigger pull, easy safety/decocker, and it never malfunctions.

And yeah–as you can see in the pic–I totally grin like an ass while I’m shooting it.

I’m so proud of it’s performance, I might just sleep curled around it tonight with my lips pressed to the barrel.

Hmm. The heroine in my apocalyptic novel carries a 9mm Glock. I’m tempted to switch it to the USP .40, now that I know she’d prefer it. Problem is .40 cal is a rarer round. She’s got enough to worry about fighting zombie bugs. I probably shouldn’t give her the added hell of chasing down uncommon ammo. Besides, she prefers her carbine.

Now, because my .40 cal is not a concealable weapon, I’m still on the hunt for the perfect CCW. Therefore, I tried out my father-in-law’s S&W Bodyguard 380.

Thought I’d be annoyed with the long trigger pull (it’s a double-action), but it fired brilliantly. To be honest, I was shocked by its accuracy at 21 feet. I mean, it’s so light and tiny, a breeze can unsteady it.

I want one, but because of its popularity, merchants like Bass Pro can’t keep it in stock.

I said to my father-in-law, “I’m stealing that gun when you’re not looking.”

He arched his brows and laughed. “I keep it in my butt crack.”

Then he turned around and raised his shirttail. There it was, the butt barely protruding from his waistband.

Huh. So, I had to try it, and I admit: it makes a damn fine butt crack gun. Works for me, since I don’t carry a purse.

Here’s a view of our backwoods targets.

2 in the chest, 1 in the head.

I’m shooting a S&W 5906 (still like my USP better).




And finally, matching H&K USP. His .45, Hers .40. (Uh yeah, we have matching watches, too. What a couple of homos.)

My fellow bloggers, what do you shoot? Do you have your CCW license? If so, what do you carry?

40 Cal’s a Girl’s Best Friend

February 14th, 7:00 AM

My black boots clacked along the marble lobby as I strolled to my office. It was a day like any other. With one exception. The reception desk buzzed with the scurry of couriers, each juggling armfuls of a baskets and vases. A kaleidoscope of petals bobbed and bowed from severed stems in premature death.

I rolled my eyes and punched the elevator button. Why did people spend money to romanticize a day? Did they need a holiday to remind them to be passionate?

My husband and I had an unspoken agreement on commercialized love. It was just another day.

7:15 AM

My phone rang. Main Reception showed on the caller ID.

“This is Pam.”

“Mrs. Godwin? This is main floor reception. You have a delivery.”

I knew my eyebrows slammed together. “You sure? For Pam Godwin?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

My stomach leapt to my throat.

7:30 AM

I stared at my phone and drummed my fingers on the desk. They had to have made a mistake, had the wrong Pam. They would call back any minute to apologize for the confusion.

7:45 AM

Blackness drenched my office. I’d covered the motion sensor a year earlier, kept it dark. No flickering artificial lights. No annoying hum of florescent electricity. The light cast from my computer screen was soft enough, the shadows gobbled it up before it touched my skin. The fern in the corner stretched and reached for that small light and failed. My lips twitched over my would-be fangs.

8:00 AM

Good God. Why hadn’t they called back? I responded to emails. Combed through production logs. Kicked off some scripts. Stared at my phone.

8:15 AM

Screw it. I forced my feet into the elevator and pressed L.

The doors opened to the lobby. Quiet hovered over the reception desk. A single vase remained, a dozen fat red roses puking from a mass of green leaves. A wave rolled through my gut.

I angled my head toward the receptionist, shoving the sappy display of someone’s McLove out of my field of vision, and cleared my throat. “Pam Godwin.”

She pointed at the lonely vase and smiled. I cringed, swallowed, and hooked my arm around it.

Then, I began my walk of shame–this is what one colleague coined it as he laughed at my expense. It was fitting because anyone who knew me, knew I wasn’t a Hearts-n-Flowers girl. Knew I’d be embarrassed carrying a bushel of trademark roses down the hall. And the person who knew this more than anyone was my husband. Yet they had to have come from him. He was a dead man.

I hurried to my office, closed the door, dug out the card.

I read it. Reread it. Dropped in my chair. Tried to frown, but my lips wouldn’t work right. They kept pulling up. Damn him.

8:30 AM

I read the card again. And again, many times over that day.

I won’t publicize what it said, but I’ll reveal this: It explained how he searched for black roses in a zombie vase (apparently, this isn’t a popular request). And how his purpose was simply to “crack my smile.”

Well, it was just another day, right? Tell that to the foolish grin I wore for the whole of it. It’s nice to know after twenty years, the man can still shock me till I crack.

Black Roses and Zombie Vases

How does a splatter-gore-horror-obsessed vegetarian celebrate Thanksgiving? With zombie chickens and a slasher turkey, of course.

First on the menu was Poultrygeist. A Troma classic, to be sure. Obscene, offensive, and utterly delicious. Summarizing this Night of the Chicken Dead movie would give it a great injustice. So, I’ll just quote some of my favorite lines:

  • Denny: That’s the thing about a chicken. It’s got dead eyes. Black. Like a sex doll.
  • African-American, Denny, turns into a zombie and says: “Jambalaya! Crawdaddy! Po’ boy! Gumbo God dammit!” Wendy responds, “He’s turned into a Blackened Cajun chicken!
  • Hummus: The chicken has declared jihad on us all!
  • Chicken Zombie: I know its fattening, but I love the skin.

And the best way to end a day of poultry engorgement: Thankskilling. You just got stuffed! How my husband could snore through this movie–and my howls of laughter–is beyond me. My side hurts from doubling-over. I’m still wiping tears of joy. A killer turkey? Who knew it could be so much fun. I want to thank my brother and his girlfriend for staying up till the early morn to watch and laugh with me. ThanksKilling will no doubt become a family tradition.

Gobble, gobble, motherfu%#@rs!


I settled onto the stool beside my first grader and brushed his bangs out of his eye. “All done?”

“Yup.” He pushed his homework assignment over the counter to me.

Two large boxes filled the worksheet. Living Things labeled one box. Non-Living Things labeled the other. The Directions: Draw living and non-living things in the appropriate boxes.

My boy’s whimsical sketches of puppy dogs and various amphibians crowded the Living box. As expected, cars, baseballs and electronics overflowed the Non-Living box.

“Awesome job, buddy.” I ruffled his hair. “But what’s up with this guy?” I tapped my finger on a stick man with long hair penciled between a wheel and an ice cream cone in the Non-Living box.

“Oh. That’s God,” he said.

I opened my mouth. Closed it. My molars clamped on my cheek to prevent a misinterpreted smile from breaking through. I let my pride fill my chest instead. Too big for his britches, that boy. I searched for a careful response, one that would nurture his free-thinking mind. If I was a believer, would I consider God living or non-living? I felt my boy’s stare, waiting.

“Since you don’t think he’s real, mom, I put him in the Non-Living box.”

My gaze snapped to his. His eyes lit with challenge.

“That’s true,” I replied. “I won’t say God is real until I can prove it. Perhaps I’d put him in a different box.”

“Okay.” His eraser pummeled the paper. “I’ll move him to the Living box.”

“Are you sure that’s what I meant?” The box I had in mind for God was stuffed with zombies, time machines and altruistic politicians.

The eraser paused. A little blond eyebrow climbed his noggin. “Which box, mom?”

God occupied many boxes, depending on who you asked. But the assignment implied everything should fit in one of the two boxes. My boy wanted me to give him the answer. I wanted him to think about it. Does a skateboard have a heartbeat? Do frogs breathe? I could answer those questions. Of course, so could my precocious child.

My husband’s frame filled the doorway. “Your mom puts God in another box and I respect her opinion. Just like I’ve got God in a different box and she’s not offended. Some day, you’ll have your own opinion and your own box for God and we’ll respect that, too.”

My boy’s head bobbed in a nod.

“But,” his dad went on, “if you turn that in with God in the Non-Living box, I guarantee someone at school will be offended. Maybe we should leave opinions out of this assignment?”

“Okay,” he said with a smile and a shrug. Under his eraser, the long haired stick man faded from the box of the non-living. As for all the other boxes God inhabits? Well, I look forward to more first grade assignments. In the meantime, post your God boxes here. I’d love to hear what’s in them (because my favorite thing about being agnostic is the incessant journey to understanding the world).

God Box

We, the nerdery, buff and shine numbers to answer the ultimate question. What is that question? It doesn’t matter. The answer is what’s important. In our cabal of hungry minds, the answer isn’t 42. No, it’s much more primal than that.

We swish our mathematical units in drooling mouths. We pinch our hard earned pennies with tight butt cheeks. We may sell low, but we buy lower. And after my fellow nerds and I regress and digress, swallow and digest, we belch, “Kona.”

Kona delivers the Perfect Pairings. Is this the perfect pairing of sushi rolls for $8? Or is it the perfect pairings bouncing on the waitresses passing by? Maybe it’s both.

Now, dining with the nerdery requires commitment. Konavores have rules.

Rule #1: Always order the Perfect Pairings.

Rule #2: ALWAYS order the Perfect Pairings.

Rule #3: When your cabal of nerds ask, “Where do you want to eat?” The answer is always Kona.

Rule #4: When a nerd raises his head from the haze of deflating numbers to announce “Let’s eat,” you stop what you’re doing and go to Kona.

Today, I broke Rule 4. I knew there would be repercussions for my audacity. But I had good reason. In preparation for being out of the office for a week, stress had me by the balls. My bitchiness was peaking new levels. The perfect pairings were not on my menu.

But, I forgot about the free floating ammo. Maybe my obsession with zombies is a little…well, obsessive. Maybe I’ve mentioned the hawt waiter a few too many times. Maybe I’ve whined about never getting seated in the hawt waiter’s section or that I’m old enough to be his mother.

All the same, the consequential photo arrived in my inbox post-lunch. The nerdery dined in the hawt waiter’s section. The proof is in the picture (his shirt is debatable).

If you’re looking for a brilliant photoshopper, my buddy Dave is NOT your guy. Though I admit, this is one of his better attempts.

And Dave? You know what this means. The next post is all ’bout you, brother.

I Heart Zombie Chicks

These fuzzy gray-twilled walls are cramping my style. I clank my coffee mug down on one of the many brown-stained rings swirling on my desk and glare at my colleague. We’re sitting in my 10×10 office cell and he’s going on about how visualization software lacks statistical algorithms.

“Just give me the data,” he exclaims around a mouthful of Cheetos. “I’ll R it up and prettify it for ya…”

Really, prettified data just doesn’t do it for me. The visualization I’m entertaining involves him lurching across the desk as pus drops from the bloody crater that was his nose. The gore lands in my mug with a plop, his fingers an inch from my throat. I dodge his grasp and lock his arm. With a nimble twist, his forearm breaks. A squall bursts from his shriveled lips. I angle the protruding bone into his chomping jaws. He sinks his teeth into the petrified flesh. I have a moment to wonder, “Does working with zombies mean I get to bring my M4 to the office?”

He spits out his arm. “Arghh,” he bellows. “Just for that, we’re gonna graph the correlation between your various blood sprays on a splatter plot.” Flies crawl over his unblinking yellowed eyes.

“You look a little under the weather today. You catch something?”

“About to, beeyatch,” he gurgles and dives over the desk. Or tries to. His feet tangle up in the vicera evacuating the gaping maw where his gut had rotted out. He falls back in his chair.

“You’ve got a little something right here.” I point in the vicinity of my right incisor.

He stabs a jagged nail in his snaggletoothed grill and dislodges a hunk of skin. I use the distraction to slip my letter opener from the drawer. Then I imagine a scatter plot trendline between us and spin the letter opener along that line. It whistles across the desk and pierces his fly-encrusted eye. Boom goes the dynamite.

His orange-fingered hands slam down on the desk in a confetti of Cheetos powder. “Dammit, Godwin. You’re zoned out on zombies again.”

 I flutter my lashes. The letter opener twirls between my fingers. “Just fantasizing about splatt…er…scatter plots.”

Splatter Plot