Category Archives: F-Word of the Day

I am relatively easy-going. Okay, realistically, I am a control freak who likes to pretend I am easy-going. I’ll be real. I do like things my way. But who doesn’t? Honestly?

I do, however, try to play the “Devil’s Advocate” while considering my own feelings, my life, my way of doing things – in contrast with someone else’s. In most circumstances anyway.

One thing I keep telling myself (over and over, while beating myself in the head, over and over again) is “everyone is doing the best they can.” That said, what someone else might consider their “best” is rarely what I would consider my “best.” I get that. Truly, I do.

And on most days, that simple observation and explanation does it for me. Ok, that’s it! My self-indulgent, control-freak, internal conversation and momentary judgmental, psycho attitude is over. Done.

But I am struggling to understand how a parent could routinely and voluntarily leave their adolescent or pre-teen kid(s) at home alone, or with a roommate, so-called babysitter, relative or otherwise – every night or every day, most often both – and not feel even the slightest bit remorseful for doing so.

And I’m not talking for a just the regular 8 or 10 hour workday. That and more, as this person is gone at 7am almost every day of the week, and comes home just long enough in the afternoon to make or buy dinner. After maybe an hour or two at best, they leave the home and the children behind for the night. Only returning a little (or a lot) inebriated, typically sometime during the wee hours of the morning.

Every night, and it is now the schedule they’re used to. At least every other week. You see, these parents share joint custody of these children, on a week on, week off schedule.

Two weeks. Fourteen days and nights each month. That is all that is available to each parent for spending with the kids. That’s it. And school nights go by so quickly, there isn’t much time left to spend doing family stuff.

Realistically, it is four days (two weekends) a month for their parents to spend sharing quality time with them. Not much time at all in my opinion.

Then again, I have (almost) always enjoyed spending time with my kids. Teaching them, playing with them, talking with them, holding them snuggle-bunny style while watching a movie. For me, the more I learn about them as they grow older, as I watch them become the person they will be, the more humble I am; my heart filled with joy and overwhelming gratitude.

And for a parent who is so blatantly ignorant of the children’s needs – quite frankly, pisses me off. And it breaks my heart to see and know the sadness in their eyes, their lonely, heavy hearts, and I know how it feels, as a child almost lost from a parent’s life. My dad was gone most of the time, and even when he was there, sometimes he just wasn’t.

For this parent, any time not spent as taxi driver and/or cook is far and few between.

I just don’t understand, and I don’t want to understand. It kills me, and the control freak in me wants to do something about it. And as I sit and stew, and brew on the reality of the situation, flames in my heart grow hotter.

I believe wholeheartedly these parents love their kids. But spouting off the routine spoken words, “I love you” as they are leaving the house just doesn’t cut it. And it’s certainly not the best they can do. Can’t you spend every other week doing what you do while you’re not doing for your kids? And focus your good energy and attention solely on them during your week? Can you imagine how special that would make them feel?

These children are young, impressionable, vulnerable and lonely. And this is not okay. This behavior is teaching them how to parent, and they will most certainly show this behavior with their own children and families later in life. Get it together.

Parenting is the toughest job on the planet, but ignoring or neglecting your children is not the answer – at any age. If you’re not there to guide them, someone or something else will be.

Our kids deserve the best of us, not the rest of us.

(Getting off the soapbox now) since beating good behavior into someone’s brain is certainly illegal.



P.C. Shoffner – ©2015

Creative Commons License This work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at


Flirting at Forty-Something

The first date was fun, without a doubt. However, after having been married to one man for 15 years, I can’t remember how this works.

While I am certainly not shy, I found myself less talkative than normal. Everyone who knows me knows that I speak my mind – blatantly. My integrity and up-front form of honesty is my trademark. However, as nervous as I was, I felt like I was picking and choosing my thoughts and words before speaking. Imagine that – me thinking before I speak! Ok, so maybe that wasn’t a bad thing.

When he leaned in for the post-date kiss, I quickly gave him a smack on the lips, the cheek, and pulled away. I was so damned nervous. And scared. It was only a short year ago that I found out my (now ex) husband was secretly spending time with “the cockroach” (my heartfelt nickname for the other woman, in his other life).

I don’t want to get hurt (again). I don’t want a relationship, I don’t think. I would however, like to have fun, enjoy common interests and activities – and yes, have sex. Please – and thank you.

And we agreed to see each other again. The invitation for a second date, accepted.

I have decided that I don’t have to do anything I am uncomfortable doing. I am a strong, independent, beautiful, sexy, voluptuous woman – despite still reeling from those last several years of constant insults about everything – but most especially my weight. The last five years were the most difficult, but now I am free. And I am moving on. I am dating.

This particular guy made it a point to shower compliments upon me, and my curves. He thinks I am sexy. Of course, my lower-than-normal self-esteem wanted to believe there was a hidden agenda. Seriously? Seriously!  Then I got to thinking. The conversation with myself went something like this:

Enjoy the hell out of this, Tish! Remember who you are! Forget the past, and the jackass who couldn’t love you for who you are. Move on already! Get your shine on. Be proud. Be beautiful! Be real. And maybe consider this… maybe, just maybe, there are some men in this world who truly appreciate the beauty of the renaissance woman, the Rembrandt. And if one has found you, then at the very least…you’re going to get laid. And if there is a hidden agenda, you’re going to get laid.

Ok, problem solved. I’m flirting my beautiful forty-something ass off. At least that is what we called it when I was twenty-something. I’m not sure what the hell I am doing. And if I could find the word, it would most certainly be a dirty one. Taboo.

Bullshit. Let’s go with mature fun.

First Date

Butterflies. That’s what yesterday brought for me. Butterflies. A forty-three year old woman – with butterflies. Seriously?

It was a first date. My first-first date since the divorce. I was anxious, like a pre-pubescent child waiting for puberty to come and finally make me a real woman.  Yeah, that fucking anxious.

The food was absolutely decadent. The sangria was flowing as fast as the pheromone perfume racing through my blood – both of which, I couldn’t get enough of. His compliments seemed genuine and thoughtful. The conversation was intriguing, reciprocal (and that’s a good thing) easy and playful.

The dinner date ended with a kiss. Wait – that’s a lie… There were many kisses. Sweet. Gentle. Soft. All of which left me wanting more.

Patience Grasshopper…


November 2, 2014 – Source:

Tonight’s F-Word of the Day writing exercise is from the heart, where 24 hours formed new friendships, and we celebrated our moments of glory together. Some of my time spent wishing away the “I can’t believe I just said that out loud” moments.

The Flash It! Online Launch Party consumed every bit of those 24 hours with hardly an idle moment, no opportunity wasted for those of us twitching with the urge to write. Friday and Saturday were perfect, focused on writing, thinking or talking about writing, laughing, eating chocolate Halloween candy to stay awake, while washing it down with mug after mug of strong coffee.

Finally, the end brought a crest of excitement for everyone. Even the neighbors lit up a smoke, fully satisfied with the overall performance and experiences shared.

Dear Members of the Fiction Writers Group, and New Friends:

Our time together was life changing. My soul seems elated and satiated in ways I cannot fully comprehend, let alone try to explain. Just a few short weeks ago, I didn’t share what I have written with anyone other than family. Quite frankly, I published my first blog during a full-blown anxiety attack.

Tonight, thanks to all of you, I am writing with confidence, pride and knowledge gained from winning FOUR brand new books! Someone new emerged from the folds. A better writer indeed. Thank you.

“Don’t be fooled,” Earl whispered to the group. “She was screaming wild banshee when she came out of that closet.”

Creative Commons LicenseThis work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at and  


November 2,2014 – Source:

Today’s F-Word of the Day represents, in large part, the reason I have not posted since October 30th. Does that mean the statement above is fiction? False, a lie? No.

Recently I have been on a writing frenzy (another great F-word) and I am exploring various writing groups, forums, blogs and contests. The one in the forefront of many writers focus now is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Every year, writers commit to writing a 50,000 word novel… in 30 days!

My brother-in-law, typing away at his computer, should have set goals of producing somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 words each day. Amazing!

Having a little less ambition than he, I joined a Fiction Writers Group on Facebook and I am having fun getting to know other writers, exploring the craft and seeking advice from those fun folks, many of whom are much more experienced than me.

Stay tuned, I will return tomorrow with another F-Word of the Day. Thanks for stopping by!

© 2013 – P.C. Shoffner

Creative Commons License
This work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://www.virtuallyselfemployed.wordpress.com 


October 30, 2013 – Source: The Phrontistery

Normally, my F-Word of the Day exercise would get at least twenty minutes from me, but tonight my husband monopolized some of my free time with administrative tasks.

I suppose he considered our marriage package included a famulus, a bonus, in addition to the wonderful wife and mother I am. He frequently offers me the opportunity to take care of his administrative duties.

Apparently, he finds computer work burdensome and frustrating – and considers the twenty dollars I charged him a fair exchange. 

©2013 – Patricia C. Shoffner

Creative Commons LicenseThis work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at and  


October 29, 2013 – Source: The Phrontistery

I got the call from dispatch at 2.56 a.m. Another murder case in the Commons area, close to the state line.

As I lifted my eyelids from beneath the warm comfort of slumber, seeing those numbers on the clock kicked my mental health and stability straight to the curb. I had only gone to sleep two hours ago, damn it.

Every muscle screamed in protest as I pulled myself closer toward a sitting position. As I did, a groaned whimper left my mouth, and an unexpected burst of gas escaped from underneath my back side. None of these physical conditions were foreign to me. I was getting old.

I don’t suppose playing tackle football earlier in the day with my fellow dicks helped matters much. Overburdened by the effort, my head fell swiftly backward, pounding the pillow with brute force and intention. I allowed five more minutes for my eyes to stay closed. I needed to rest. My body and my psyche were now demanding it.

Five minutes later I was up and as mentally awake as I could be considering the time of morning, and my current withered state of exhaustion. No time for a shower. Dressed and out the door in ten and on scene in twenty-five.

Every other cop stood outside the front entrance of the residence, which reminded me of the Bates house overlooking the motel in the movie “Psycho.” Three stories of dark, dank misery stood before me, every bit symbolic of the freak-show horror movie house on the hill that watched over that motel.

Isn’t this something? My curiosity piqued when as I approached the fence my crew remained standing outside the scene .

“Rosenberg, why the hell are you out here? The scene usually calls for you be inside?” My emphasis prompted him to shuffle on his feet. But he didn’t move.

“Chief, the scene…” he paused for a second and continued. “The scene is feculent , sir.”

“What the hell is feculent, Sergeant?” suddenly feeling ignorantly stupid. “Don’t answer that. Get your fat ass over here, you’re with me.”

Smacked upside the olfactory ten feet from the door, I hesitated before going in. Today was going to suck. Entering the house of a hoarder was bad enough. Entering a hoarder’s domain where a body lay rotting, that’s another story entirely. The stench was thick and laid heavy nearer the floor.

As I lumbered one leg over a massive heap, my other leg quickly met another, and another. This scene, covered in feces and reeking of ammonia , scattered soiled laundry, half-empty food containers, trash, cat shit. Yeah, today was going to suck. 

Inside, past the eight piles of shit between the door and the kitchen lay the body of Ms. Samantha Weathersby, my sixteen year old niece.

©2013 – Patricia C. Shoffner

Creative Commons LicenseThis work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at and  

“Horrors in the Halls,”

by Guest Blogger: Miah Shoffner, age 11

Once there was a banal family, they did nothing. Five people in the family. The dad’s name was Jorge. Also the mother’s name was Madison but she goes by Maddie. The couple had three kids. The oldest was 12 and her name was Hanna. She had two little brothers named Johnny and Jackson. But Johnny was four years older.

The family had a grand house. In the house was a long narrow hallway and passage at the end. Nobody dared to enter. Until one day Johnny got home from school, and stared at the endless hallway, then after about an hour later took a step across the line and was dragged about twenty feet in. That boy was so scared out of his mind. Finally he escaped and ran as fast as he could. TO BE CONTINUED !!!!!!

October 28, 2013 - Source: The Phrontistery
October 28, 2013 – Source: The Phrontistery
Miah submitted this story using Fistula as her baseline. Mother and daughter share the F-Word of the Day exercises, and she will make regular appearances in this blog. Way to go, Miah!

“There are approximately 6597 words in the English dictionary that begin with the letter F.”



October 28, 2013 - Source: The Phrontistery
October 28, 2013 – Source: The Phrontistery

Immediately after I entered the house I felt it. A feeling I know all too well but hadn’t experienced in some time. I welcomed the warm embrace of adrenaline. I had missed it, the bubbling in my veins. Charged with paranormal energy, I let myself go for a moment, nearly lost in a flood of voltage pumped electricity. Beautifully coaxed nearly to submission, dominated by raw power and heightened emotion. Every hair on my head stood erect.

As I opened my eyes, I was looking up toward the  imperial ceiling where a Godlike mural stared down upon me. If I didn’t know better, it was feeding from my fluid energy. The intensity calming with every passing second.

A whispered scent of caution traveled from my listening ears through the tiny fistula connecting real sound to the “other” hearing center inside my head, where nothing is ever truly heard, but sensed and felt.

Suddenly feeling cold, my head exploded in protest, flashing hazard lights and warning signs blinding me. I stepped further inside. Here I go.

©2013 – Patricia C. Shoffner, Virtually Self Employed, Reckless Abandon: Life is an F-Word

Creative Commons LicenseThis work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at and