And now, we pause our regular programming for some shameless bragging

Many of you “know” my daughter Lisa. It’d be hard not to if you’ve been visiting me here for long. But if you don’t, you can meet her here (The Superhero) and here (She Speaks) and here (They Walk).

(Hey, I told you it would be shameless.)

As she was working through her Master’s program (finished last year – hooray!), Lisa gained many useful skills. One of them was how to research.  The need to research for school behind her, she’s putting that skill to work today to create a road map to a healthier lifestyle, and she has a new blog to share the results of her research with us.

Lisa Rounds Healthy Living

Many of us began 2012 with a list of resolutions, and I’m betting a healthier lifestyle was on most of those lists. The journey to a healthy lifestyle is tough, especially if you’re making the trip alone.  Go check out the blog, and join Lisa on the road to a healthier life. I know she’d love it if you shared some of the highlights and roadblocks you encounter on your own journey.

Lisa’s latest series of posts is on skin care, and there is some really useful information there.

…We now return you to our regular programming.



Posted in Lisa | 4 Comments

Remember that party?

You know, the one where you ended up doing the Funky Chicken on the pool table with a fringed lampshade on your head?  Uh-huh, that’s the one.

(Image created by Rodolfo Sampaio and Marco Martins of
Brazil’s Moma Propaganda agency for the MaxiMidia Seminars)

Gives you pause, doesn’t it?


Posted in Humor | 9 Comments

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

(This is a cross-post with my other blog, PattiKen and the Muses.)

Poets United is a wonderful site for everyone who enjoys reading or writing poetry.  Its community of contributors is so talented.

Unbelievably, Poets United has given me the great honor of interviewing me for their “Life of a Poet” series. (I still have to chuckle at that. Me, a poet!)

The interview was published today, and I’m still blushing a little.  I’m a talker, as many of you might have guessed  My dad used to tell me I’d been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. After reading my interview responses, I’m thinking he was right. Oh, boy, I talked. A lot.

Alas, there goes all the mystery…

Posted in True Stuff | Leave a comment

I hope I get it; I hope I get it…

(AP Photo)

Holiday Show Auditions

Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…


Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…


Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…


Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…

Turn, turn, out, in, jump, step,

Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…

Turn, turn, touch, down, back, step,

Pivot, step, walk, walk, walk.

Let’s do the whole combination…

From the top…

Five, six, seven, eight!


Posted in Humor | 13 Comments

A Little Lighthearted Fun, or…

…how to draw a crowd in a department store.


Posted in Fun Stuff | 3 Comments


Posted in Humor | Leave a comment

Singin’ the Poor-Me Blues

I used to love the holidays. I planned and cooked and decorated, and looked forward to a house filled with tradition, good smells, and the laughter of family.

Increasingly, the holidays have become a time of anxiety and loss.

We have a condo in Florida, a sanctuary from the deep freeze that New England usually becomes in the winter. Just after the first of the year, we pack up ourselves and the cats, and head south.  Somewhere around South Carolina, the coats come off, and we say goodbye to the cold for another year.

We have many friends in Florida, people who live there full-time and other snowbirds like ourselves. They all ask why we don’t go down earlier. My answer is always, “we would have a mutiny in the family if we weren’t around for the holidays.” But I’m coming to realize that is wishful thinking on my part.

The kids are all grown and have families of their own. With each passing year, it has become more obvious to me that they want to do their own thing during the holidays, and I suspect they view coming here as an obligation.

Each year, I issue my usual hope-filled light-hearted invitations, and each year, the replies take longer to come. There are excuses and waffling, and though we usually work it out, it’s a painful process.

This year, the invitation to Thanksgiving dinner, tendered well in advance, was met by a definite “No,” an “I don’t know,” and silence.  I know when Christmas planning rolls around, there will be a lot of jockeying to find a date to accommodate everyone. And all the while, my stomach will hurt and my heart will ache.

It was inevitable, I guess, but it’s still hard to accept.

It’s time. Time to let go. Time to move on to the next phase of our lives. And perhaps time to go to Florida in October.

I hate the holidays.

Posted in Arrgghhh! | 4 Comments

Rolling Through the Bay, One Toothpick at a Time

I have to share this. It is utterly amazing.

Using 100,000 toothpicks over 35 years, Scott Weaver created a sort of Rube Goldberg sculpture that pays homage to San Francisco.

At the time the video was made, the sculpture was on display in The Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.


You can read more about artist Scott Weaver here.


I hope you’ll visit me at my place across town, where you’ll find prose, poetry and a little photography. I’d love to see you.

PattiKen and the Muses


Posted in Fun Stuff | 4 Comments


We are all writers. Somewhere around second grade, Mrs. McGillicuddy handed out fat tablets of lined paper and pencils, and asked us to copy the letters on the long, rainbow-colored chart taped to the top of the blackboard.

So we did, and lo! We were writers.

We learned to print our names. Soon we could do it in longhand, which our teacher called “cursive writing.” I, like some of you, perhaps, learned to do it the hard way, looping slanted letters on the familiar lined paper over and over (under threat of Sister Mary Frances’ ruler across the knuckles) until I got it write right.

Most of us learned to spell and punctuate. And some even learned to diagram.

We mastered about the parts of speech, and discovered how to string them together into sentences and paragraphs.

As much as we hated it, we produced essays and term papers (with varying degrees of success). Despite ourselves, we became better writers with each exercise.

Then, book reports opened new doors for us. We stepped into the world of good writing and traveled to exciting places. We discovered that the right words brought together in the right way created magic.

And some of us decided to become magicians ourselves.

After all, we know how to write, right?  Easy peasy.

So here we are. It’s not turned out to be quite as easy as we thought, has it?

Sentences, paragraphs and punctuation come easily now. In fact, mastery of the rules allows the occasional breaking of those rules. But it turns out there is so much more to making magic than stringing words and sentences together.

Plot and sub-plot, characters and their development, place and time: all these must somehow sing in concert to create a story. And it doesn’t stop there, as I suspect you know all too well. Tone and voice, tense and tension, pace and point of view… there are dozens of other elements of writing and style that stand between a boring bunch of words and a spellbinding story. And that doesn’t even take into account all the things a writer should avoid, like passive voice, exposition, Deus Ex Machina. (Yeah, I know, me neither.)

How to remember them all, especially at a time when remembering to feed the cat is a challenge?

The more I write, the better I get (I think) at doing it. The better I get, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize there is so much that I don’t know. The more I don’t know, the more I read to learn. And the more I read, the worse I get (I think) relative to what really is good.

I’m moving backwards so fast, I’m ready to look for a fat, lined pad to practice my loopy letters on.

Maybe that’s the best way to become a better writer.


Posted in Musing | 5 Comments

Temporary Permanence

I think I would be a bit worried were I married by my Uncle Joe. I mean, the words “I now pronounce you…” coming from a total buffoon don’t carry the weight of happily-ever-after with them, somehow.

It’s all the rage now.  Many states will grant just about anyone Justice-of-the-Peace-for-a-Day status.  Is that kind of like Queen-for-a-Day, do you suppose?  Will the title of Husband or Wife (complete with license) granted by Uncle Joe last longer than the knighthood of Sir Whosis (complete with certificate) bestowed by that Queen-for-a-Day?  I guess it must, because the marriage license Uncle Joe will fill out in his own gnarly hand says so right on it.

 THIS IS A PERMANENT RECORD. Use only durable black ink.

(Emphasis theirs)

Still, I’d be worried…


Posted in Musing | 13 Comments