The voice in her head

I whisper and she listens
I whisper of her faults , her failures and she listens
I whisper of her fears, her flaws and she listens
I whisper that she is false, that she is fake and she listens
I whisper that she should fade and she listens
I whisper as though I am God, speaking gospel and she listens.



Review: Demon House

Anyone who hangs out with me more than a few times will find out a few things about me. My entire social life revolves around playing Dungeons and Dragons , I love video games and I’m a SUCKER for anything to do with the paranormal. Some of you may have heard or seen Ghost Adventures on TV over the last 10 or so years. Demon house is a lengthy documentardemonhousey done by the guys of Ghost Adventures of a demon infested house in Gary, Indiana. Zak Bagans, the lead investigator purchased this house for the soul purpose of investigating the wild claims. Bagans is highly respected by believers for taking a more scientific approach to the paranormal instead of the emotional approach. I went searching for reviews and found one on a site that devotes itself to all things scary in film and it only increased my excitement to see this for myself.

Demon House 

As for the review itself? I liked it. The person who wrote the review was familiar enough with the TV show to understand what was happening and how this team does their work. The writer did a good job of laying everything out for the perspective viewer while still remaining enthusiastic about the content.

The Loud House



This weekend I went to visit my 5, soon to be 6 year old nephew. He was watching a TV show when I arrived called “The Loud House” We sat and watched a few episodes together and I thought it was a cute little show with some great messages and lessons. However when his mother saw what he was watching she rushed over and turned it off. I asked her why and she gave me a laundry list of reasons why she didn’t want him watching it.
The only one I agreed with was he was perhaps too young to grasp the meaning of much of the plot lines yet. The loud house is a TV show on Nickelodeon of a boy with 10 sisters but the show also focuses a lot of each sister who has a very unique and interesting personality and interests. The father is more of the caretaker, he cooks most meals for the family which is a welcome change in gender rolls. The boy, Lincoln’s best friend has two dads, an interracial gay couple. It portrays so many interesting and modern concepts to kids in an easy to digest and understandable way.
These are all the reasons many people, including my nephews mom hated it. I understand you may not agree with certain things in the world but pretending they don’t exist only creates more problems going forward. Kids are open to most ideas, they are very understanding and compassionate in general. Hate is learned and I’m scared this sweet little boy will grow up with his families prejudices against certain people ingrained deep in his mind.
What do you think? Are shows with ideas like the Loud House good for kids or not?


Discovering the truth about my Grandfather

Some people are not easy to love or even like, their temperament or personality are just too abrasive. When someone like that is in your family, you love them and care about them the best you can, but the relationship is never close. My mother’s father was one of those people. He was cold and distant, generally unpleasant and unkind.
I never knew much about him, I knew he was religious. So much so that when the door to door missionaries came they avoided our house because my grandpa could out talk anyone about God. I knew he had fought in WWII with the army. I knew his father had been a drunk who abused his wife and children brutally before he died when my grandfather was a teenager, leaving him in charge of providing for his pregnant mother and 4 younger siblings. His mother gave birth to her 6th child after her husband’s death, but the baby died at 9 months in my grandfather’s arms.
Growing up he was always just in the background, he rarely spoke to us and if he did it was normally unkind.  According to my aunts, he had always been like this and age had only made it worse. They had no real fond memories of their father and doubted they ever would.

As I got older, I began to be curious about him and his life? What had his life been like? Had he truly always been this way?
We didn’t find out the finer details of his life until he died, his life had been neatly sorted into boxes and folders, bits of paper and written on the back of envelopes. We found the normal things one would find sorting through a lifetime of paperwork, boxes of taxes forms and insurance forms, receipts and newspaper clippings. In his weathered maple desk, we found folders upon folders full of cards and letters, school programs and crayon drawings from his daughters. On the back of each folder, written in familiar shaky hand writing was a memory he had of his children, progressing through the years. We had been so sure that none of the items sent to him or given to him meant a thing but now, we weren’t so sure.
Over the next many weeks, we began to piece together his life in greater detail, slowly understanding him more and more.  Among the things we found among his belongings were bundles of old photographs. It quickly became obvious that these had been taken by my grandfather during the World War II. Many of the photos were scenery shots, or photos of other men in uniform but there were photos amongst these rather mundane photos that gave us a glimpse into a previously unknown part my grandfather’s life.
The photos captured the horrors and misery of concentration camps in Europe. He took photos of the dead bodies littering the ground, the people who had been left to starve when the men running the camps fled and the horrible conditions people had been forced to live in. We had never seen these photos before and perhaps he had hidden them away for a reason. Perhaps he was afraid he’d get in trouble for taking them in the first place.  My grandfather had gone from the horrors of his home life to becoming the provider for his family of 6, to a soldier who witnessed some of the worst atrocities against mankind. All before his 20th birthday.
This cold, mean man from my childhood seems much more human now and his story stays with me. I just wish I could have known who my grandfather was deep down, buried under the weight of the world and secrets he’d carried for 80 years.


Poor in America

Poverty is a struggle many Americans fight everyday. Some get out of the vicious circle, some don’t. Some want to escape, some don’t and you can find yourself there in the blink of an eye. One major event can place you in danger and it’s often things out of your control like getting sick or losing your job that land you there. It’s scary to be so uncertain of what will happen to you.
Will you be able to keep your house? Car? Can you keep your phone bill paid so you can fill out applications and hear back from employers? Will you be able to eat a meal everyday this week? Some people get right back up on their feet after a major life issue  but those who are sick or disabled or old or even sometimes just unlucky have few places to turn when all else fails and when they do get the help they need, they are often harassed and shamed for it.
Politicians have been known to be especially hard and harsh on the poor citizens of this country and seem to lack a basic understanding of what it is like to be poor. They often say that people on government aid are lazy, drug addicts, leeches or stupid. They blame these programs for wasteful spending and accuse those enrolled in the program of fraud.
These harmful stereotypes only make a rough situation harder. The truth is, most people leave these kinds of programs after about 36 months, only a small portion stay on for longer than that and a large percent of those are disabled or sick or elderly who can no longer work and have no one to help them pay for the things they need. These programs are essential  for the people of this country and the people who have never wanted for much of anything trying to tell America differently doesn’t sit well with me.
We need to understand and take care of the people around us, no matter how much or how little they can give in return.



My #metoo story

I started my college career in a community college, for the most part I absolutely loved the staff and fellow students there. I met one of my best friends in my first class, Laura. We were an unlikely pair. She was a bubbly cheerleader type and I was the bookish nerd type but we quickly became inseparable. We tried to take as many classes together as we could, knowing that we could manage anything together So we did. The class in question was taught in two segments. We had a video lecture from our professor on Monday, then on Wednesday he would drive to our satellite campus to do a in person lab.  At first everything was fine but I began to notice that on Wednesday’s when we saw him face to face, he had a problem with my friendship with Laura. Not that we were loud or disruptive….just disliked that we were friends and voiced his opinion about it. He began to act strangely around me. When I worked with a microscope he would get too close and place his arm around my waist. He often called me “honey or baby” in class and once slapped my butt with a yardstick as I left the classroom. It all added up to me being very uncomfortable around him. The worst moment was one evening during a night class (Not his class…another teachers class) he followed from another room out towards the bathrooms which were kinda isolated across the building. He boxed me in against the wall with his arms on each side of my head and his body too close. I told him to please let me go, that I was uncomfortable but he ignored me. As a professor I was scared to really cross him. I didn’t want him to fail me but I was scared of what might happen.  He kept saying how smart I was and that he was sure I’d make the right choices then told me I should stop being friends with Laura because she wasn’t like me. From there he tried to maneuver me into one of the bathroom doors but someone came out of the bathroom next door and he quickly left the area. I never told anyone. I didn’t think anyone would believe me but looking back I wish I had because I worry he did the same things to some other girl and I could have maybe stopped it if I had. I hope I was the only one, but I doubt it.


Fathers (Column)


In this Washington Post piece, a daughter reflects on her relationship and time with her father 30 years after his death.
I’m not sure if it is always true but for me, stories of wonderful loving parents have a way of hitting me hard. I think in one way or another the children of not so great parents feel torn with stories like this.  On one hand it hurts because you never had that kind of relationship with your own family but you also feel hope because it proves that goodness does exist and while it was not shown to you, it thrived somewhere else. There is comfort in it. The story told here was magical to me and I smiled wide even though parts made my heart burn with jealousy. There was truth in it, magic and glorified memories about the man who meant the world to her. A beautiful tribute.


New York Times Opinion Piece

Gun Smoke and Mirrors by Andrew Rosenthal

The gun debate has been reignited since Parkland and doesn’t seem to be losing steam, Trump thinks the answer is in locking away anyone who seems off or has a mental illness instead of taking away the tools used to rack up huge causalities. As someone with more than one mental illness, these statements make me nervous and afraid. The column calls out how terrible an idea this is and addresses that this is all an attempt to redirect attention away from guns themselves and the NRA with claims that it’s the mentally ill to blame, not the laws and ease of access. I enjoyed this column and the stance it took, exposing the mistruths of the statements Trump and others have made and brings the attention back where it should belong.


My father who was in jail, Tim is his name

Looking back, I am pretty sure most of my crazy family stories are about my dad. If it was a stupid idea, he would do it. If it was illegal, he’d probably do it in front of the cops just to spite them. If it involved a good time, he was down no matter the cost. He was an abusive man who drank too much and cared too little about the people around him. He was also a talented artist and pianist, he was funny and charming when he was sober and had the ability to make his kids believe any story he spun but those kinds of memories get overshadowed by all the bad ones. The ones about the cops dragging him from the house as he screamed at your mother, the times you had to call them there yourself because you feared what would happen if he didn’t leave, the times he hurt you but never seemed to remember the next day. However not every bad memory is without humor, and my father got himself in situations that were both sad and highly amusing. Here is a few of my favorites.

After a night of hard drinking, Tim loaded himself into his light blue Nissan and motored over to the next bar in town. This bar was at the bottom of an incline and the lot was higher up. Stumbling out of his car, his breath reeking of Busch Lite he made his way towards the door only to be smacked off his feet by a car. He was furious! Who had hit him? Oh, he’d beat them up for sure! Trying to get up onto his feet, looking for a fight, he was knocked down again! Only this time the car fully rolled over him, then once more. When someone finally helped him, he looked around and realized that the car that had hit him, 3 times, was his own. He had not put the car in park when he had gotten out and got slammed by his own car, 3 times. My mother thought it was the best example of don’t drink and drive that she ever saw.


Once after, you guessed it…drinking, my father was in the bar bathroom and stumbled into someone. The man didn’t say he was sorry or anything, he just stared at my dad. So, he punched him. The man he had seen who had not uttered a word was himself.  It was a mirror and he went to jail.

The time he relieved himself on a car, which turned out to be a police car with a police officer inside of it. He was arrested.

The time he relieved himself while driving into a beer can and threw it out the window of the moving car, but it went back in through the back windows and dumped all over his grandmother on their way to a wedding and she smacked the hell out of him for ruining her plum church dress. The wedding by the way? Was his own. We often wondered if the marriage even counted since he was drunk.

My father usually ended up in jail at least once a month for his various adventures or acts of abuse towards his wives or children. After my mother passed away, I chose to remove him from my life for my own well being but I do hope that wherever he is, he’s amusing and annoying a whole new bunch of people with his lack of judgement and forethought.


Local: University of Nebraska cuts close to home

26734355_1971877979493369_3554930721293442186_nIn 2015 with 6,747 students enrolled in the University of Nebraska Kearney stated that the numbers of enrolling students had dropped for three straight years. Now in 2018 the numbers stand at 6,644 and these numbers are probably going to drop further. With the Nebraska University system faced with enormous budget cuts after years of trimming away and cutting, University of Nebraska Kearney looks to face some years of starvation.

The University of Nebraska Kearney will take 3.4 million in budget cuts and the university is scrambling to make it work. There will be major cuts to sports, eliminating three men’s sports altogether with Men’s Baseball, Golf and Tennis to be cut, resulting in around 342,1894 dollars in tuition and room and board losses, not accounting for merchandise and ticket sales. The University of Nebraska Kearney is also looking at cuts in departments, merging departments and many other losses and changes.

These cuts and losses will lose more students. They will transfer out of Nebraska to get their degrees, meaning the likelihood of them returning to fill Nebraska with skilled workers is slim. How many incoming freshmen will rethink their plans and go elsewhere? If the university cannot uphold the level of education expected for the cost, will this small University manage to survive? Tuition rises and cuts to programs will harm the university in ways that are much less likely for the larger schools in the system such as University of Nebraska Lincoln and University of Nebraska Omaha. UNL stands at about 29,000 enrolled and UNO stands at about 15,050 enrolled compared to UNK’s 7,000. UNK has much fewer students and is saddled with 30% of the cuts. The cuts should have been made via enrollment number so that the losses would not be so substantial.

These cuts to an already drowning system could very well mean the end of the dream for many. 48% of undergraduate students take out an average of $6,175 dollars in loans per year and that amount if going to rise as tuition costs rises for the University.

UNK and the Nebraska University system didn’t have a say in this and unfortunately the Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts isn’t putting his faith in the future of Nebraska’s students. Ricketts has often stated he preferred skill type schooling such as welding to traditional college education. This lack of faith from those in charge is going to stick with students for years to come as this impacts the future of their education. Some may have to look to other places or other options as the leave high school. Hopefully the education system that has helped so many find their path will survive in tact after so much is cut away for so long.

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