Eco-Friendly Back to School Supplies Guide

Good for you for being interested i learning how to do better for the earth while supplying your kids what they need for their education. We have lot of options now for reusable and/or sustainable school supplies than ever before.

Book Covers

We use stretchy cloth book covers. They have smaller and larger ones available. They stretch easily over my kids textbooks and don’t fall off. They’re washable, reusable, and come in lots of colors and designs. We have several book covers that have been around for several years. I think we’ve had one get a hole in it but they can be easily repurposed into hair ties, hacky-sacks, barbie doll clothes, or whatever you can think of. You can find them in-store at Walmart too really cheap.


Our school allows our children to bring in snacks. We can send them in daily, weekly or for the entire month. Reusable snack bags are not only eco-friendly, but also saves money in the long run. I have 4 kids, I can go through a box of sandwich bags or freezer bags in a blink. Even buying the generic brand it adds up.

There are clear reusable snack bags that look more like the normal sandwich bags and freezer bags. Then there are cloth reusable food storage bags that come in fun designs.


There are lots of options for more earth friendly pencils. There are plantable pencils, pencils made from recycled newspaper, and if you just have to have a mechanical pencils there are even mechanical pencils made from bamboo.

If you’re a pencil snob and just have to have the Ticonderoga brand #2 pencils well Ticonderoga envirostik is your answer. It’s a natural wood pencil from “responsibly managed” forests. And still the #2 designation.


This one seems to be harder to find but not impossible. A company called Onyx and Green make erasers made from recycled rubber.


It seems Elmer’s used to make a natural glue but I can’t seem to find it available anywhere which makes me wonder if they stopped making it. But that doesn’t mean you have to. I found this great recipe for easy homemade glue. You can reuse an old glue bottle or use another similar reusable squeeze bottle. I’m even wondering if a clean, empty mustard bottle would work? What do you think?

Crayons and Colored Pencils

The elementary kids tend to use the crayons more while the teens seem to use the colored pencils more.

There are several choices for environmentally friendly crayons. There are crayons with reduced packaging as well as crayons made from beeswax.

You can even repurpose broken crayons you have by melting crayon stubs down and creating new chunky crayons. For mine I used a mini muffin tin for the shapes.

Onyx and Green comes through again with earth friendly colored pencils made from recycled newspaper.

Just FYI, for markers, Crayola has a program called Colorcycle for schools where schools can collect unusable markers and send them back to crayola for marker recycling.

This post does contain affiliate links. I will get a small commission from sales made through my links. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Ration Book Tour & Giveaway

Ration by Cody T. Luff Genre: Horror

Set in the far future, Ration is an unflinching take on the ways society can both thrive and go wrong as pressure to survive builds. All the girls who live in the Apartments are forced to weigh their own hunger against the lives of the others living in the building. When Cynthia is wrongly accused of ordering an “A” ration, she punished by the other girls. Eventually, she is forced to leave the Apartments along with Ms. Glennoc, one of the former managers who has tormented and abused her for years. Together, they encounter a world of even more scarcity, but one filled with politics and intrigue. Cynthia struggles to return to the Apartments and help the girls who are still there. Forced to reconcile her role in the destruction of these girls with the greater needs of society to find any sustainable source of calories, Ms. Tuttle makes one bad decision after another while she grapples with a mother who is growing more and more impatient with her mistakes. Ration is a dark and forceful book, written in a surprisingly nuanced and accessible way. It combines the darkness and despair of The Road and The Handmaid’s Tale, but has notes of charm like Lauren Oliver’s Replica. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * B&N

Cody T Luff’s forthcoming novel, Ration, will be released by Apex Book Company in 2019. Cody’s stories have appeared in Pilgrimage, Cirque, KYSO Flash, Menda City Review, Swamp Biscuits & Tea, and others. He is fiction winner of the 2016 Montana Book Festival Regional Emerging Writers Contest. He served as editor of an anthology of short fiction with twelve contributors titled Soul’s Road. Cody teaches at Portland Community College and works as a story editor. He completed an intensive MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Cody grew up listening to stories in his grandfather’s barber shop as he shined shoes, stories told to him at bedsides and on front porches, deep in his father’s favorite woods, and in the cabs of pickup trucks on lonely dirt roads. Cody’s work explores those things both small and wondrous that move the soul, whether they be deeply real or strikingly surreal. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads

Cynthia stops eating after the scream finally trails off. The power is still out, and the
smell of her B-ration hangs meaty and dense in the still air of her Apartment. She’s cross-legged
on the rug in the kitchen, her naked feet white even in the darkness.
A deep glubbing sound burbles in the wall; someone flushes a toilet above her. She
swallows and winces as B-ration bits stick to her throat. She waits a moment more, allowing
even the biologic gurgle of the building’s plumbing to quiet before she forks another mouthful
from the plastic ration pouch. Third floor, she thinks. Scream is on the third floor, still above,
just not far above.
After she finishes the last of her ration, the power hisses to life, the ceiling fan jerks to a
spin, the fluorescents in the kitchen click to life, and the little radio she keeps by the bathroom
door retches static. Cynthia stands slowly, her stomach begging her for another ration even as it
disagrees with what she’s given it.
“That’s what we have,” she says. “Hang on to it.”
The door bangs, a flat palm in the hallway slapping the thin wood. Cynthia freezes, finger
covering her mouth.
Cynthia hiccups, belches softly, and sags where she stands. Imeld. Of course, it’s Imeld.
“Cinnie, did you hear that one?”
“Just a second.” Cynthia scuffs her barefoot way to the door, one hand pressed to the flat
of her belly. She pulls the sliding latch and chain, stepping away as Imeld slips into the
“I’m pretty sure that was on the third floor, right? You heard that one, right?” Imeld takes
Cynthia’s hand immediately, her cold fingers like water.
“I heard it,” Cynthia says. She closes the door with her free hand and slides the latch. “I
would say the third floor, too.”
Imeld is small, even for the Apartments. Dark hair that riots away from her brown face in
startled waves. “I don’t know anyone on the third floor. Well, not really. I know Mei and Shuvo,
but …” Imeld pulls her hand away, frowning. She brings her fingers to her nose. “You were
eating,” she says.
Cynthia stands motionless. She does not meet Imeld’s eyes, instead studying her friend’s
stockinged feet. Imeld is wearing the red pair, one brown heel completely nude and wreathed in
worn threads, almost like curled springs. “Yes.”
Imeld does not speak, she doesn’t need to.
“It was a B.”
“Cynthia,” Imeld says, her voice nothing more than a whisper.
Cynthia turns away, pulling her arms to her chest. “What could I do?”
The building hums around them, the newly restored power feeding the other Apartments
in the complex. From somewhere above, a television laugh track rolls uninterrupted, a hair dryer
hisses next door.
Imeld’s fingers find her hands and pull Cynthia’s arms gently apart. “It’s okay, Cinnie.
It’s all right.” Imeld is hugging her, standing on her tiptoes and pulling Cynthia against the sharp
angles of her body. “How long was it?”
Cynthia shakes her head; Imeld’s hair smells of government soap and chicory coffee. “I
don’t know. Maybe three days.”
“Oh, Cinnie,” Imeld says, and they hold each other for a moment, both cold and glad for
the warmth of the other. Without agreeing to, they sit on the little rug in the kitchen, hands still
“I didn’t want to,” Cynthia says.
Imeld smiles, lips tight. “Not true. You wanted to eat; we all do.”
“But not …” Cynthia begins.
“But not a B. I guess that’s right. You do and you don’t.”
“You do and you don’t,” Cynthia repeats. Nothing truer, she thinks. Nothing at all truer
than that. How long have they known each other? Two years, maybe? Cynthia stopped marking
her calendar soon after the two had run into one another in the hallway. Imeld had been the first
girl Cynthia had spoken to in over a month. She’d been smiling, a beautiful, full-toothed smile.
“Well,” Imeld says, squeezing Cynthia’s hand, “I think we should see which one it was.”

Cynthia stares. “You mean now?”
“Yes, now.”
“It’s too soon, Imeld. We don’t know if they’re, you know, done yet.”
A girl calls a name down the hallway, the walls break the syllables into a muddy sound
and both Cynthia and Imeld jump.
“Barbara,” Imeld says. “That was Barbara.”
“Who was she calling?”
Imeld shrugs and both sit for a long moment, listening.
The building breathes its constant hush, distorted voices, touches of static, the deep belly
gurgle of flushing toilets, running taps. It is the dull music of Cynthia’s sleep. It lulls her, and she
closes her eyes. So many nights, lying on her thin mattress in the dark. Smelling the sweat of the
place, old, harsh soaps, unwashed clothing, even the mattress itself holds the odor of the girls
before her. Backs and shoulders carving out the well in the cotton batting she sleeps in. Heels
pressing the gentle craters into the seam at the foot. She imagines all of them, all the girls who
came before, curled around one another in sleep, holding one another for warmth in the dark and
listening to the building whisper its rumors.
“Come back to me,” Imeld says, and Cynthia opens her eyes, her box kitchen flickering
into view. The empty refrigerator, silent and warm, the single gas range built into the counter.
Has she ever used either?
“Where did you go?” Imeld asks as she squeezes Cynthia’s hand.
“Sorry,” Cynthia offers. “I guess I’m sleepy.”
Imeld smiles again, a small flash in the fluorescents. “Eating always makes me sleepy,
A twinge, a gentle reminder that Cynthia has chosen a B ration.
“I’m sorry,” Cynthia says.
Imeld answers with another hand squeeze. “I still want to go check,” she says.
Of course she does. It is inevitable. Imeld is everything Cynthia is not: brave, beautiful,
willful. She doubts Imeld has ever chosen a B ration, although this is ridiculous. Eventually
everyone in the Apartments eats their B. Everyone. “Okay,” Cynthia says.
Imeld does not release her hand; as she stands, she draws Cynthia with her, pulling her
close as she opens the latch and slips into the hallway.
The hallway is very wide, entirely too wide. Cynthia has always hated it. She is the tallest
girl she knows in the Apartments, and even she, with her arms fully outstretched, can’t touch
both sides of the hallway. It would take two of her, and possibly one of Imeld, to create a link
between the walls. A damp, red tongue of a carpet lies stretched loosely in the center of the
hallway, threads bleeding from its seams, peeling away and creating rusty drifts that the girls
sweep up dutifully on cleaning day. Her feet hate the texture of it, hate the cool slickness and
sticky threads. Doors stand opposite of one another the length of the hallway. Twenty per floor,
beyond each, an identical Apartment, identical mattresses, identical, unused burners and
refrigerators. The stairs create a pivot between each length of hallway, also terribly wide, also
tacked with rotting red carpet. Cynthia uses them only when she must, only on cleaning day and
bath day. Imeld pulls her along behind, her own bare feet whickering through the carpet’s shed
“Wait,” Cynthia says. She knows Imeld will not wait, but she has to say it, has to protest
even with such a small voice.
“Come on,” Imeld says as she pulls, and Cynthia follows, watching her friend patter up
the stairs, still connected to her by cold fingers and Imeld’s greater will.
The stairs speak as they climb. Bitter old wood, sour creaks chased by the occasional
sharp crack. Even from her Apartment, Cynthia can hear when girls moved between floors.
“Have you ever eaten a … B?” Cynthia whispers.
Imeld does not slow her ascent. “That’s a stupid question, Cinnie.”
“Oh,” Cynthia says. They turn the sharp corner on the small landing. A ration pouch lays
folded against the stair wall. The large A printed in faded maroon on the tan plastic face of the
pouch stops both girls.
“Somebody just left it here,” Imeld says.
“For anyone to see,” Cynthia whispers.
“They wanted us to see.” Imeld lets go of Cynthia’s hand and bends to pluck the ration

pouch off the carpet and bring it to her nose. “Oh,” she says and the smell hits Cynthia. Warm
spice, meat, ghosts that brought saliva flooding to her tongue.
“Why would they do that?” Cynthia asks.
Imeld opens her mouth to speak and a thin, silver thread of drool slips from her lips. She
drops the pouch and wipes her mouth with a palm.
“I,” Imeld begins, and her stomach speaks a high and needy note. She reaches out to
Cynthia and steadies herself on her friend’s shoulders.
“Are you all right?”
Imeld waits, her eyes locked on the ration pouch at Cynthia’s feet. Another groan courses
through her body, ending in a painfully loud gurgle behind her breastbone.
“How long?” Cynthia asks.
“I had a C four days ago,” Imeld says.
Shame rushes to Cynthia’s face, blood squirms at her temples. “You’re … so much
stronger than I am,” she says.
Imeld frowns, her fingers tightening on her friend’s shoulders. “Don’t say that.”
“But …”
“Please. Just don’t.” Neither girl moves, the fluorescent light bolted crookedly to the stair
wall fizzing unhappily.
“Whoever had the A wanted us to know,” Imeld says.
“Why would they?” Cynthia asks. The last time a girl was discovered eating an A,
everyone on the second floor gathered outside her door. The girl knew, of course. She could hear
them out there, could hear the whisper of their clothing, of their feet. She did not open the door
when the first girl in line knocked. They waited for three hours before the offender had finally
opened the door, resigned to her punishment. They held her down in the hallway, rolling up her
sleeves to the elbow. Each girl in line stomped once, just once, on one of her outstretched hands.
Cynthia had been the one to hold the offender’s right arm, forcing the hand palm down on the
floor. She felt bones break after the first bare heel struck just above the wrist. The offender didn’t
scream until the fifth heal, tears coursing over the cheek that was not forced against the floor.
Cynthia was offered a turn after the line had dwindled to just a few girls, the offender, sobbing
weakly against the floor, no longer needed to be held down, her broken hands curled against her
chest like bloody bicycle spokes. Cynthia had passed. Imeld had watched from down the hall,
she hadn’t even joined the queue.
“Maybe they’re just that mean,” Imeld says. “They want us to know we have to pay.”
“But we always find out,” Cynthia says.
“No. We don’t.” Imeld turns from her, slipping Cynthia’s hand in her own as she does so.
She kicks the ration pouch as they continue their ascent.
The third-floor hallway is much like the second, save the carpet has been worn nearly
through. Great holes lay open to the bare wood beneath like terrible, fleshy wounds. There are
girls in the hallway, all strangers to Cynthia, all draped in shirts entirely too big and bottoms that
pool around their feet like muddy water. Several glance their way. One girl, her red hair fizzing
around her sharp face like watercolor, holds a single finger to her lips. “They’re not done yet,”
she says, her words too round.
Imeld pulls Cynthia over along the tortured carpet, the redheaded girl falling in beside
Cynthia. They stop just behind the greatest concentration of girls in the hallway. Five or six
faces, blank and still, all stare into the open door of the Apartment labeled 19.
“They’re still in there,” one of the girls says.
“We know,” the redhead responds.
From the hollow of the Apartment, Cynthia hears a heavy grunt.
“Now be careful, Ms. Glennoc.” A Woman’s voice, warm and richly spiced.
“I always am, Ms. Tuttle.” Another voice, higher, sharper.
The girls in the hallway draw together; Cynthia’s free hand is taken by the redhead.
“Now there, you see? Not to worry, not to worry at all,” Ms. Tuttle says with a pleasant
open mouthed ah for all.
Another grunt and a quick burst flat, staccato sound.
“Oops, indeed. Say you are sorry, Ms. Glennoc.”
“I say better out of me than in me, Ms. Tuttle.”

A sharp sound, flesh against wet flesh followed by a hissing pause.
“Now, say you’re sorry, dear. Right?”
“Yes, Ms. Tuttle. I am really quite sorry.”
The girls fill the open doorway, Imeld at the center of the group, Cynthia just behind. The
Apartment is deliciously warm, the heating vents somehow alive and generous. The little kitchen
beyond is a mirror of Cynthia’s, the same ragged rug, the same pointless counter, the same
blistered paint. The bedroom/toilet room door stands open, the back of a very tall Woman framed
in the black doorway. She is wearing a beautiful white blouse, pearls stitched into the shoulders,
cuffs kissed with cream lace. Her bottoms are vivid green corded and clutch at her wide hips
greedily. But it is her shoes that Cynthia focused on. Black leather flats, real shoes surrounding
black stockings that look impossibly thick and richly warm. It is the shoes that always catch her
eyes during these rare moments when the Women come.
“Well, we have quite the crowd out here, Ms. Glennoc. Nearly the entirety of floor three,
did you know?” Ms. Tuttle, the speaker, turns slowly, red lips parting into a white blade of a
smile. Blonde hair curls at her temples, parted at the center of her forehead, framing a smooth
face and wide eyes. The flat, blue latex of her gloves diminishes the perfection of her clothing,
long fingers caught in clinging surgical wrap.
“They always come out for a show, Ms. Tuttle. Moths to candles and such.” Another
grunt issues from the darkness of the bedroom.
“Good evening, girls. You all are looking so very well, aren’t you?” Ms. Tuttle sweeps
the group with her eyes, and Cynthia feels the absence of the girls behind her, hears the slap of
their feet and the click of their doors closing. Imeld squeezes her hand painfully. None of the
remaining girls speak.
“Just cleaning up a bit. You know the drill,” Ms. Tuttle says. She seems to notice her
gloves and frowns, thin lines crawling away from corners of her mouth. Another wet sound,
fabric and flesh, issues from the room behind Ms. Tuttle. “You’ll want to give Ms. Glennoc
some room, girls,” Ms. Tuttle says, the frown bending her red lips. “She’s none too steady on her
feet these days.”
“Is that so, Ms. Tuttle?” Ms. Glennoc says from within the bedroom, annoyance
thickening her voice.
“Well, yes, it is. How many times have you dropped her now?”
“A job for one is made simpler still if it is made by two,” Ms. Glennoc says, her form
blooming in darkness behind Ms. Tuttle. The other Woman steps aside and Ms. Glennoc shuffles
into the little kitchen. She is much taller than the already tall Ms. Tuttle, hard shoulders with a
drawn face balanced on a neck corded with sinew and veins. Long, black hair gathered into a
braid falling away down her back. She balances the girl from Apartment 19 on her shoulder.
Naked and wrapped in many layers of clinging plastic, the girl’s mouth visible as a black O, she
curves, boneless, over Ms. Glennoc’s shoulder like a rolled-up rug. The Woman adjusts her
burden with a flat grunt, muscles crawling the length of her forearms.
Imeld’s hand crushes Cynthia’s and she tries to pull away. Her friend’s eyes spark, tears
immediate and heavy. “Mei, it’s Mei.”
“One side, girly girls. I need to get her there before all her uses are dried up,” Ms.
Glennoc’s says, her black brows heavy against her pale face. “We don’t like to waste, do we, Ms.
“No, we surely do not like waste of any kind. Move aside, girls.” Ms. Tuttle steps
forward, shedding her gloves on to the floor of the kitchen. Cynthia imagines the girls of floor
three staring at these on cleaning day. They would have to be picked up, but who can do it?
“She was my friend,” Imeld says and the shock of her voice splits the little group of girls
in the doorway. Some simply leave, others step away, their mouths open. Cynthia feels the
redhead drop her hand, the cold of the hallway immediately replacing the warmth of skin.
“Well, I am sure she was. Which one are you?” Ms. Tuttle smiles again, reaching out and
touching the frizz of Imeld’s hair, plucking at it gently.
“And which Cohort?”
“Floor two, room eleven, Cohort Five,” Imeld says. Her voice cracks on five.
“Oh, I like Five,” Ms. Glennoc says brightly.
“We all like Five,” Ms. Tuttle says as she wipes her hand on the hem of her blouse.

“She was my friend,” Imeld says, and Ms. Tuttle sighs, a soft little puff between
impossibly white teeth.
“Yes, I’m sorry, dear. But friends fade. It looks to me that you have a new one anyway.”
She gestures to Cynthia, and Cynthia steps away, trapped only by Imeld’s grip on her hand.
“Besides, if you wanted to keep your friend, you should know better than to ask for so many A
rations, right? I mean, we all know the rules here, don’t we?”
“You asked for an A?” A voice from the hallway, Cynthia turns, and the redhead peeks
from behind her nearly closed door.
“I did not,” Imeld says.
“She didn’t,” Cynthia says, staring at the redhead through the slit of her door. “We’re
Floor Two, anyway.”
“Well, there were ten As this week,” Ms. Tuttle says, her voice thick with sympathy.
“Ten. Hungry girlies, I should say.” Ms. Glennoc adjusts her burden again, shifting from
foot to foot.
“You should say so, indeed, Ms. Glennoc.” Ms. Tuttle nods.
“I can’t stand here all day, Ms. Tuttle,” Ms. Glennoc says.
“Right. Time to be off, girls.”
Imeld swallows and Cynthia hears the click of dry flesh against dry tongue. “If there were
ten …”
“Then we are coming right back, girly. My back will give me hell even if the next one is
skin and bone,” Ms. Glennoc says.
Ms. Tuttle steps to her companion, hand raised, and brings her palm across the taller
Woman’s face. The sound is like wet cloth against tile. Both Women are still for a moment, Ms.
Glennoc holding on to Mei with both hands, her cheek blossoming into an angry red.
“Say sorry, Ms. Glennoc.”
The Women stare at one another and Cynthia wishes for nothing more than to sink
through the floor and into her own Apartment, to pull the old rug from the kitchen and wrap
herself in it as she lay on her mattress. The thought of the rug causes her to once again find the
dark O of Mie’s mouth through the plastic wrap. She looks away.
“Ms. Tuttle,” Ms. Glennoc begins.
“Make your manners,” Ms. Tuttle says through bared teeth. Again, a moment of silence.
“I say sorry, girlies. I say sorry, Ms. Tuttle. Now, let me by,” the taller Woman says, her
voice thick and clotted.
“Good. Let her by now, girls.”
It is perhaps the smell of Ms. Glennoc that forces Cynthia away more than Ms. Tuttle’s
order. The Woman smells hot, like black oil baking on raw steel. Both Imeld and Cynthia step
away, the rug catching Cynthia’s foot and causing her to stumble. “She took ten As,” a voice
says, the voice leaking from behind a door barely held open. “Ten. That’s two of us.”
Ms. Glennoc moves fast, her legs pumping, and her shod feet heavy against the raw wood
of the hallway. Ms. Tuttle follows. She stops for a moment, reaching out to Imeld, dropping
something small and white into Cynthia’s friend’s hand.
“If things are a little unreasonable, this will help a bit. Off you go.” She pats Imeld’s
shoulder, her hand awkward and loose.
The Women retreat to the stairway, Ms. Glennoc bent beneath Mei’s wrapped body. They
whisper to one another, Glennoc’s voice hot, Tuttle’s voice bitterly cool. The stairs speak
beneath their feet as the Women climb to the final floor.
“You took ten As,” a girl steps from her doorway, her brown face twisted, her own teeth
“She did, I heard Ms. Tuttle say so.” The redhead slips from her own doorway. Within a
moment the hall is filled with girls.
“We’re from floor two,” Cynthia says. “We’re not from three.”
“Maybe they changed the rules,” a girl says. Her eyes wide, poisoned.
“They would have told us,” Imeld says as she glances into her palm.
The redhead holds up her hand. “I smell it!” she says, triumph in her voice. A short girl
with a flat face grabs the redhead’s wrist. She brings the girl’s fingers to her nose. “I do, too.” A
hiss moves through the hallway and Cynthia reaches out for Imeld.
“That was a B, Cinnie had a B. A floor two B. Nothing from floor three.”

“I smell it,” the redhead says again as she stares at Cynthia, “I held your hand and I
smelled it on you.”
“I had a B,” Cynthia says, her voice shivering in her throat.
“She admits it,” a girl says.
“She said a B,” Imeld shouts, and the girls flinch in unison.
“A B is just as bad,” the flat face girl says. Cynthia can see blue veins running the length
of the girl’s thin neck.
“Which one did it?” A voice from the back, fingers are pointed.
“You know what’s coming,” a girl says.
“You smelled a B, just a B ration. We’re from floor two, don’t be so stupid.” Imeld
points at the redhead and the redhead seizes her hand. She sniffs violently at Imeld before
Cynthia’s friend can pull her hand free.
“I don’t smell anything on that one,” the redhead says. The hall grows silent and the girls
turn to Cynthia.
“It takes 25 Bs,” she says, tears breaking her voice. “I just had one. I just had one,” she
says, and the girls move. They are not fast, they don’t need to be. Imeld tries to shout, tries to
pull them away, but just like the girl who hid behind her door, Cynthia knows what will happen.
It’s the same on every floor. It’s the same anywhere.
They push her down, a girl sitting on her back, another holding her right hand against the
floor. A third girl struggles with Cynthia’s left hand, Imeld desperately trying to hold her back.
“Don’t fight, okay?” she says to Imeld. The girls might hurt her, too, might kill her if she
keeps fighting them. “You hold me, okay? Will you let her hold me?”
The girls of floor three look to one another and finally the redhead nods. Imeld is crying
but she holds Cynthia’s left elbow down, her fingers gentle and cool.
“Everybody gets a turn,” the redhead says. The girls begin to form their queue.
“Eat this,” Imeld says, pressing something to Cynthia’s lips. “Ms. Tuttle, she gave …”
The first girl in the queue, the girl with the flat face, misses Cynthia’s hand, her heel
instead crushing Cynthia’s thumb.
Pain, so much at once. Cynthia remembers the girl she held down in the hallway of floor
two, remembers how the girl was silent for so long. She can hear herself screaming and feels
Imeld’s fingers in her mouth.
Bitterness blossoms on her tongue. Slowly, lightning courses down her throat. What was
it? What did Ms. Tuttle give Imeld?
The next blow is muted, still bright, still liquid red, but the bones that break do so at a
distance. After the seventh heel, she is gone somewhere dark, somewhere crimson.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway

School Days Giveaway Hop: $10 Starbucks Gift Card

Welcome to the School Days giveaway hop! This August event is hosted by Savings in Seconds. Host and participating bloggers are not responsible for prizes not delivered by sponsors. Good luck!

I honestly have mixed feeling about sending my kids back to school. I often feel like the oddball mom because I honestly am not looking forward to my kids going back to school. I enjoy having them home. There’s no homework stress, no projects due, no forgetting to pack snacks or worrying about “dress like the 80s day”. Back to school means my life gets hectic. Making sure I get back home on time to get my kids off the bus. Juggling my older boys’ football practice and games with homework, open house, meet the teacher night, and calendars for everyone.

But there are things I do look forward to. I enjoy the fall, I love Halloween, I do find some enjoyment in the 2 hours I have to myself until my kids get home from school. Then there’s fall fashion. I love layering, cardigans, boots, and light jackets. I’m not big on the pumpkin spice train but I do love sitting on the porch with a warm fall drink watching the leaves fall.

I want to treat one of you to one of my fave fall moments by giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card!


School Days Giveaway Hop

Now Check out these other fun giveaways from even more bloggers:

Living with Moderate Ulcerative Colitis – My Story

If you’re reading this you’re either curious, effected by UC (the short way of saying Ulcerative Colitis), or know someone that’s effected by UC. Any of these reasons are ok. Not everyone wants to hear about it. Not a lot of people even know what it is. The truth is, talking about Ulcerative Colitis is not a glamorous topic. It involves talk about managing not curing which is not always appealing to the sufferer or a loved one. It involves bathroom talk which ….let’s face it, not a lot of people want to hear. It involves having to plan every outing, just-in-case. It involves figuring out how to deal with people when the ask “what’s wrong?” but don’t actually want to hear about what’s wrong.

When I First Started Realizing Something Wasn’t Right

I started my path to my ulcerative colitis diagnosis roughly 10 years go. This is where I talk about things that people don’t want to hear. After the birth of my youngest son I started noticing I was getting “gassy” a lot. I constantly felt bloated. I started taking things like Gas-X , Pepto-Bismal and trying to change my diet a bit, but it didn’t help. I noticed I was having more need to excuse myself to the restroom. Even when I did, the relief was only temporary. I started to become uncomfortable in a lot of situations not knowing about what would happen. I was afraid of putting myself in embarrassing situations so I’d shy away from things. After about a year or so of dealing with it, I finally decided to see a GI doctor.

My First GI Doctor Visit

The doctor was nice. He seemed to listen to me. He decided to do a colonoscopy. Honestly the prep was the worst part. I did a follow up visit after the test. Basically he said that he didn’t see anything unusual except maybe some mild inflammation. He gave me some pills that I don’t even remember the name of anymore. I took them for a couple months but they didn’t help. If anything, they made me feel more bloated. I told him this and he told me I didn’t have to take them anymore. It was disheartening to hear that he really didn’t have an answer.

I felt like the pills were just thrown at me because there was no other answer. I wasn’t real confident in going back to see this particular GI doctor so I just didn’t. I tried to manage my symptoms myself. Cutting back on carbonated drinks. Virtually eliminating spicy foods. Staying away from greasy foods. Continuing to take things for bloating and indigestion. Eventually my symptoms got worse.

My Symptoms Started Escalating

I was not having diarrhea along with the bloating, and gas. I was also starting to get abdominal cramps and discomfort in my left side. Still I tried to manage it myself. Trying calming teas meant for digestive health. Drinking more water. Now taking anti-diarrheal medications as a daily med just to make it through my work days and other obligations. So I started asking around about GI doctors. I finally got a recommendation that seemed trust-worthy. I called and made an appointment.

About a week or two before this appointment with the new GI doctor though something happened. I was standing at my sink doing dishes when I got terrible abdominal cramps. They hurt to the point that I couldn’t stand up straight. I sat down in my computer chair in the dining room. I had a strong urge to use the bathroom. I ran upstairs as quickly as I could. But I didn’t make it. I was horrified, how could I have not made it. Until I actually got into the bathroom. I realized I didn’t “have an accident” I was bleeding. It was a lot of blood in my pants and still more in the toilet. I called my dad to come watch my kids so I could go to the emergency room. My husband was at work.

They did a test and confirmed I was bleeding “from that area” and they told me to make sure i keep my appointment with my GI doctor.

THE Diagnosis

So I meet with the doctor. I seem to have a lot more confidence in him. He also schedules a colonoscopy along with a couple other tests. When I woke from the colonoscopy I was still back in the testing room. The nurse told me “Yea there’s definitely something there. You’re fire engine red” So they wheel me back out to a cubicle area where my husband is waiting and the doctor tells us I have ulcerative colitis. It was evident in the colonoscopy. I honestly felt some relief. At least I knew what was wrong with me and we could start treating it. I had high hopes of feeling better soon.

My Disease Progression

I started taking a pill. It began with an “A” I can’t even remember anymore. It helped for a while. After about a year though, it seemed like it wasn’t helping as much. I was having flair-ups. Bleeding, cramps, pain, frequent bathroom visits, etc. So he doubles my dosage. Again, I feel pretty good for a few months, ok for several more months, then eventually it felt like it wasn’t working again. So my doctor moves me up to the next “tier” of drugs. A stronger drug. It requires me to get my blood drawn every so many months. Again worked great for a year, stopped working doubled dosage, yada yada yada. Until now where I was again moved up to the next tier of drugs. I need to give myself a shot every other week. Routine blood work is required again. This one has a risk of causing liver cirrhosis which is why the blood work is necessary. After using that for so long….you guessed it, it seemed like it wasn’t working as well so increased it to weekly shots. When that didn’t work infusions were suggested. I’ve yet to jump on that train though.

Daily Life

I have 4 kids, I work part-time in a hospital. I’m only 39 years old. I’m not stopping. I can’t stop, I won’t stop. Anti-diarrheal is a daily medication for me. Humira shots weekly. Gas-X or something similar occasionally. Always mapping out and planning for restroom visits or the day that “I just don’t make it”. I keep a change of pants, underwear, and a pad in my car. I’m always reading about the newest treatments and progress with Ulcerative Colitis treatment. I’m always considering looking at a new doctor or even alternative treatments. I’m hoping for something to help to avoid surgery or ostomies in the future.

Standing in line at the pharmacy is almost impossible. I’m grateful for mail delivered shots. I’m thankful for public restrooms along my commute to work. I’m thankful for generic anti-diarrheal meds at Walmart. I’m thankful I have an understanding husband. A deciding factor upon going somewhere is if I’ll have access to a bathroom.

My Hopes and My Helps

I’ve realized over the years that, people that aren’t effected by UC in some way really don’t want to hear about it. So it can be hard. People don’t understand why you seem flaky about going out or need to cancel because of a flare up or a bad day. There are several resources and communities out there though.

The Crohns and Colitis Foundation has both support groups and an online community. I’ve found the online community helpful in talking and asking questions to other people dealing with the same issues.

It’s hopeful to see some of the new treatments, new research, and new break through with the treatment of Crohn’s and Colitis.

Educating yourself is half the battle. Preparation is the other half. It’s possible to keep on living your life the way you want to. Maybe you just have to make some adjustments.

If you’re just figuring all this out yourself here’s some things that helped me.

  • Stick to trustworthy sites like Crohn’s and Colitis foundation, Mayo clinic, and other trustworthy medical sites. It helps to seek out other sufferers online via blogs, social media, and online forums like the one on the Crohns and Colitis foundation site.
  • Keep a food log. There are some foods you’ll find you just can’t eat anymore if you don’t want to suffer the consequences. As much as I love popcorn and corn on the cob I know I have to abstain from it lest I pay for it the next day.
  • Talk to your GI doctor, dieticians, other dealing with Ulcerative Colitis, and your pharmacist.
  • It’s ok to try other things in addition to your regular treatment. You may find that a certain diet may help you. Maybe a certain tea seems to help. If you want to try some alternative thing like accupressure, massage, etc most time it won’t hurt. I’ve personally been reading about research with CBD.

This is a journey. What may work wonders for one person may not work for the next. It’s easy to get frustrated but keep educating yourself . Eventually you’ll learn what helps and what doesn’t help for your body.

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