Have you got any idea what to have?

This is one thing I would improve in my life, if I could.

Which is stupid to say because, of course I could.

But I just can’t! WAAAAAAaaaaaaaaah!

I mean, seriously, what to have for dinner?

Maybe you know what you’re having… tonight, you ol’ smarty you. But what about tomorrow night? Or the night after that?

I gotcha, don’t I?

It’s the “night after night.”

We actually have a friend, single guy, eats fast food every night of the week that he is on his own. I know it’s not a healthy way to live, and he is not in great shape, but, I get it. Zero thought.

I don’t mind cooking.

I just don’t want to have to have the thought.

Usually, my day starts with a wild run out the door to work, and my under-sung husband is wonderful enough to provide me with a half an egg sandwich (I only want 1/2) and coffee.

Six hours later I am home. When I walk in the door hubs is working, child is in her school a few blocks away, and I need desperately to pee and eat.

Cue two guinea pigs three cats and one dog to all squeal, meow, howl, and whine to be fed, walked, and watered all at the same time.

Finally, I get a chance to eat (pee first!) and I usually throw a packet of tuna on top of some lettuce. Then, some days, on Zoom ’till 5 or later, or grading papers, and pick up child at school. I tend to get hungry, shockers, a third time, and so do the other non-pet people who live with me, but we want to eat now! And no one has had an idea of what t cook yet.

Dinner. It’s so… extra.

One thing I have treated myself to, now that I am back to work, I order my groceries online. I go and pick them up at the grocery store, but that it, about 30 minutes in the car vs. 30 + an hour or more to do the shopping. I hate grocery shopping. At the closest crappy option for groceries, Food Lion, this luxury, of having another human load the cart and the bags for me, costs me $1.59. That’s the service fee. The groceries cost the same, plus a buck 59 to do the shopping. Honey I am worth it!

Yes, I tip the shopper.

I also buy less when I shop this way, and tend to plan what I am going to cook a bit more (a tiny bit). They say some writers are planners and some are pantsers. As a cook and a writer, I am a pantser.

What about you?

What’s for dinner tonight????

PS. Tonight, Dad and daughter are having leftover enchiladas I made last night. I am eating leftover oatmeal! It’s sad.


12 years ago today we (Dave and I) received our first photo or our teeny beany.

Being a mom is pretty great, and I owe it all to her.

My daughter is such a nice person, genuinely kind, easy-going, funny as hell. I love her. She’s great! And I doubt I have anything to do with it.

I know a mom or two who are lovely people, kind, sociable, etc., and their children are people who I can only describe as the people I least want to be stranded on a island with.

And then I know one or two moms who are awful, whiny, self-aggrandizing, and their kids are lovely people, smart, calm, engaging.

So, I mean, it can’t have anything to do with the parents, right?

One young lady I know is so funny, and her parents are as humorous as a tax audit.

How does this happen?

Of course, in our case, Dave is an artist, and so is our daughter. I am ridiculously humorous, just ask anyone who doesn’t read my blog, and so is my daughter. And both Dave and I are as kind and wonderful as the day is long, so I guess in our case it’s nurture over nature.

I know my own parents have affected me more than I ever realized when I was a child, and I do wonder about those adults I know who seem to together, and yet their children are constantly losing it. Maybe Mom and Dad are losing it when no one is around?

Love to hear your thoughts on this one.

Happy Monday!

Today I am lucky because the wonderful writer James Goodridge is going to speak to my creative writing class!


Okay, so, obviously, something about the ABOVE photo says “[A] holiday [sales] season [] [of] record-breaking success.” to the people at Mailchimp.

So, what about that photo says that.

Let’s see… clearly David Byrne just got off work, which for him is a video shoot or a tour. I like the new color in his hair. It works for him, especially with the suit, and I wonder if he is doing a new video where he is a po-mo Santa. I think that must be it.

And he’s just chillin’ on his little Japanese-esque patio, as you do when you finish your po-mo-santa video, and this lovely saleswoman shows up.

“Sit down dearie,” he says, as if he was his own grandma, and pours the unexpected door-to-door saleswoman a cup of tea, and he pours it into orange teacups that do not match the teapot, though, cleverly, they match the book that is close to the saleswoman at the end of the table.

And she does sit down, and whips out her iPad, and begins to try selling David Byrne….

A patio Roomba? That was my first thought.

I don’t know, the photo on the iPad looks as if it may be a close-up of something small, and then like a room photo behind it, like You can use this item in this room. Like, This Roomba will work great on your patio. It is the amazing Lanai Roomba. It hoovers up pineapple bits and small lizards with ease. You need it. It is available in avocado gold and tiki turquoise.

And then there’s something about the patio they’re sitting on. I mean it is pretty open to the elements, big open ends, and also pretty surrounded with books and plants, and those will be a mess when a wind whips up, and, you know, I see Byrne as more of a Roomba than a broom person, purely for the techno aspects of the Roomba. I don’t think he’d be “above” brooming, or what the masses, and probably you, call sweeping; I just think he’d be really down with the funky funky Roomba. Plus, Roomba’s are super-pricey (not that I have priced one. I am happy to broom; I don’t lust after a time-saving mother’s helper Roomba very much), and Byrne could hook that high price up, for sure. He has been very successful.

Byrne can afford a Roomba because of the Talking Heads, and I love the Talking Heads, and I need to check if I have done a long-song post on them yet. They have a few songs that deserve to be a half hour or more. Nice little ditties one could happily broom too.

In the meantime, look at that Mailchimp photo up there at the top. LOOK AT IT! (Just kidding. I’m calm now.) And now, help me, what is the super-helpful holiday sale thing I am missing in that photo? Is it that somebody should send David Byrne one of Devil’s Party Press’ books? OMG! Who knows David Byrne? Send him a book!!! One of our books would look great on that table! WAIT! Is that our book on that table? Is that orange book Halloween Party 2019?

Did I mention that I teach part-time at a few colleges, so, basically, full-time hours and then some for not full-time money? And did I mention that in between teaching those classes and grading those classes and prepping those classes I hang out with my family and work on DPP and its books and that, on the weekends, my husband and I spend like 12 hours a day at the kitchen table working on DPP? So, you know, late, it’s late Saturday night, and I am punchy now. And crunchy. And getting maskne from being back in the classroom, dammit.

So, tell me the sales secret in that Mailchimp photo above. What do you see? Help me figure out the secret to taking DPP to the level where we have offices, with employees, and Roombas!

And someone! Send David Byrne a book! Maybe the one with the swear in the title or Oh! oh! the scary one!

MRS. P.! Can you help ME make MYSELF do my schoolwork?

This is a question I get ALL the time.

And, I guess, I am not the wrong person to ask because I made myself do my schoolwork through 3 college degrees, another college program that I took for two semesters, and a whole ton of teacher-related continuing ed crap that was as boring as it could possibly be. So, yeah, I can make ME do MY homework.

Can I make YOU do YOURS?

This is the answer I just sent to a student:

I understand how hard it can be to make yourself do schoolwork. The first thing I want to suggest is that you not make it a black and white situation:

Either schoolwork gets easy and becomes something I want to do NOW, or I will quit this forever!

The second thing I want to say to you is that there is no one on Earth who can say the thing that will make you want to do schoolwork. It has to come to you, from you.

For every human our jobs are always a priority, because we all need money, and with money we get food, shelter, and etc.

School… doing it on our time off from work, it can feel very difficult to motivate ourselves to do that. Some folks will find a way and some folks will not. And that is why many more people begin college than graduate.

My own thoughts on that are that 

to do the things we want to do, we all have to find a reason that is meaningful enough to us so that we will push past the reasons that we do not want to do it. 

In other words, what will happen in your life if you do not pass a class, or even if you do not pursue college? 

Is that better or worse than what will happen if you do pursue it? 

The reward you get from a college degree:

a career instead of “just a job”

a higher pay rate

those things are not things that you get when you finish a homework assignment.

They are future things, and they can seem like dreams that will never be reached because they are farther away.

And yet, so many things are like that in life. 

For example, saving money to buy a house, we can put $50 into a bank account and tell ourselves to leave it there so it can build up to enough money for a house down payment, but saving enough for the house could take years, and spending that money today would make us happy now, so why save it? 

Well, some people do save the money to buy a house, so they are able to find a satisfying answer to the question,

“Why do something hard (painful, difficult, boring, etc.) today that will not bring me any happiness (pleasure, relaxation, reward) for many more months (or days, or years)?

And so that is our question if we try to go to school, save money, exercise, etc.

So why are you doing something hard and boring and tiring today (going to school) that will not bring you any reward for a few years?

Can I (Mrs. P.) make homework easier for you to do?

My best suggestion is to try to approach work for college in two ways:

  1. Set up a time each day that you will spend 20 minutes on college, whether it is doing some homework, or reading assignments, or checking emails. Set an oven timer, and when the 20 minutes is over, you have permission to be done if you feel sick of it.
  2. Offer yourself a reward after the 20 minutes. You can look at your face in the mirror, and tell yourself you are proud of you. You can take your dog for a walk and enjoy the nice fall weather. You can have a snack. You can play a game on your phone.

What a lot of us do when we do not want to do something that is “good for us” is that we just avoid it. 

We play on our phone, but not as a reward, as a way to avoid.

We need to understand that there is a huge difference between:

  1. avoiding college
  2. setting up a time to do a little bit of work at a time, as I just suggested
  3. or simply saying, “I am done; I chose not to go to college.”

If you do as I suggest (2), and spend a little time each day on college with a reward after, you are controlling your life. You are the boss of you.

If you decide (3) college is not for you, and make a decision to stop going, and stop going, you are controlling your life. You are the boss of you.

BUT, if you (1) just avoid it, say “I know I need to do it/I know I should do it, but I don’t want to,” and just avoid taking control, 

either to do the work or stop the work, 

you are not being the boss of you, and it can make you feel like a victim, which can lead to feelings of sadness or being unsatisfied with who you are, thinking of yourself as a loser, when none of that is true.

A friend and I were in college at the same time, and we both worked full-time in “just jobs,” and my friend was a waitress. And she hated doing schoolwork, and she loved waitressing. After two years of school, she decided that she was not going to go to school anymore, and she stayed a waitress, and she is now in her 50s, and still waitressing, and still happy with it, and still my friend. 

There is no problem to know yourself and know that you want something different. 

For me, as I am the only college graduate in my family, knowing I wanted something different meant going to college even while my family was against it. 

I also didn’t like doing homework, but I knew I didn’t want to waitress for my life-career, and it was important enough to me for me to stay up late, work on my days off, and miss out on fun nights out, etc. to do it. 

My friend felt the other way, and that is fine too.

So the best advice I can offer you is to consider yourself, think about who you are, and what you want, and see if you’re willing to begin by setting aside little bites of time, 20 minutes each day, no matter how tired you are, to do something for school. 

If you do it, you have to be fair, and tell yourself that you did a good job, and that you only have to do 20 minutes and then you are off the hook.  

~ (1) And if that 20 minutes isn’t too terrible, and your goal (a better job, home ownership, whatever it may be) is compelling enough, you learn to motivate yourself to keep choosing school.

~(2) If the 20 minutes is too terrible and is too much, then you may want to consider your goals, whatever they may be, and ask yourself if there is another way you can achieve them that will suit you better.

I just want to suggest that you choose #1 or # 2, and not simply avoid making a choice, because just avoiding college’s work/homework and waiting to fail or waiting for some other situation that takes the decision out of your hands, this will make you feel like a failure, instead of like an adult making choices about his/her own life. 

And then I went on to talk about some personal issue the student had raised, and the all-important tech-support too.


Are you teaching your kids to have stamina? If you give your child music lessons, do you expect, demand, require daily practice (5 days a week; we all need weekends) of 15 minutes or more?

Are you teaching your kids delayed gratification? “You want the phone/iPad/Kindle? Well, you can have it when you fold these clothes and put them away nicely.”

Are you, parents, playing through the pain? “She is screaming and I want her to stop! I will just put on the show she wants to see. He is throwing a tantrum! I will just let him stay up until he falls asleep on his own!” 

How many times have I said to my husband, “Our job as a parent is to listen to the screaming/crying/begging, and still say ‘No.'”




If you don’t know how to do those things yourself, you can, I think, blame that on your mom and dad, but blame and then change. You owe this to your children. NOTHING ELSE you can give them will make them as successful in life as stamina, and the ability to be motivated for delayed gratification.

We are all work in progress on this, but every hard thing is easier to learn when we are young. If your kid is putting away his laundry when he is 3, it will be a no-brainer when he is 23. If your kid is going for a daily walk with you when she is 2, it will be a no-brainer when she is 22.


Things become easy for us to do when we have done them a lot.

It doesn’t happen that kids go to college and magically become good at doing homework.

YOU have to set up the expectation when they are in kindergarten that WITH SCHOOOL comes homework, and EVERY day after school you do some homework, together, whether ii is actual homework, or reading a book together.

If you want your kid to practice her piano or his trumpet, you sit there and you watch them practice, and you smile and act interested, and you do it 5 days a week, for 15 minutes. YOU SIT AND WATCH THEM DO IT each day, for 15 minutes, and you teach them that there are not days off (most of the time) and that you value it (you sit and watch) and that you are proud of them (you offer praise), and that they can live through it.


Things become easy for us to do when we have done them a lot.

I am trying to give myself the gift of an exercise habit now, in my 50s. If my parents had given it to me when I was in single digits, damn. Can you imagine?

They didn’t, and I still want it, so I am trying to get it now.

And so, as a person in my 50s, the thing I want to say to myself, when I do not exercise in the morning like I “want to” and am “supposed to” is that it is okay to have a day where I fail at my motivation and my goal, as long as I find a way to do it the next day. And if putting on my running clothes and running seems too hard, can I throw a hoodie over my pajamas and ride my bike? Can I put on my running clothes and run for 5 minutes? Can I leash up Oliver and walk? 

Am I making a choice to either exercise or not, or am I avoiding the situation, and waiting for the hands of fate to choose for me?

The important thing is to make a conscious choice.

Your fate is NOT in the hands of fate.

Your fate is in your hands.

If you failed at making your kid do his homework or making your kid practice her instrument today, can you try again tomorrow, can you suffer through the pain of the tantrum, or etc., to give your kid that gift? Can you suffer through your own internal tantrum (talking to myself now!) to give yourself the gift of fitness, or whatever goal you want to accomplish?

Remember, Mrs. P. has no magic wand for making school easy, or making green vegetables taste good, or making exercise like watching Netflix and eating chips. If I did, I’d be too rich to be doing this! 

Good luck out there. Give yourself some love today. 



I published this book and wrote one of the stories in it & the introduction.
However, this book is notable, aside from my own motives for selling it, because it contains the last story that is ever going to be published by David W. Dutton, of One of the Madding Crowd fame.
David was my friend, and a wonderful writer, and has recently left us.
It also contains a short story by noted Goodreads reviewer, Jeffrey D. Keeten. Did you know Keeten could do fiction too? You did not!
Any Anne Rice fans? Then you may be interested to know that in this book is a story by Faye Perozich, noted for this work.
If you read comics, then you’ll be interested in the story by graphic novelist David Yurkovich (of Altercations and Less Than Heroes).
And if you follow horror magazine Samsara, then you will already be a fan of R. David Fulcher.
So, my own involvement aside, this book has a lot of plums hidden in it. I bet you’ll love it, and with it’s square shape and glossy cover, it makes a great gift for that brother-in-law who you never know what present he would like. Give him a cool horror book!

One year ago today

Today marks the first anniversary of the death of the legendary legal visionary, who was the first female tenured professor at Columbia Law School and the second woman to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59.
RBG has been called a lot of things: a trailblazer, a role model, the “Notorious RBG.” To us her most fitting description is “feminist icon.” During her life she worked to break down stereotypical gender norms, fought against patriarchy as a whole, recognizing how it oppresses men and women alike, and destroyed misconceptions about feminism in order to uplift anyone who felt marginalized. 

I know that I was horrified when she died, so unprepared for it, and so angry when that Cheeto pushed through a Stepford Wife to replace her.


We will never progress in our gender until women start agreeing to some basic fundamental things, like, our bodies should be our own. Regardless about how you personally feel about terminating a pregnancy, no woman on Earth can be truly free if she doesn’t, first and foremost, have the final say about her own physical body, and her safety in that body. That is the first thing. We MUST own us; we MUST have the final say about us. I am the mother of an adopted child, and I am so grateful her mother carried her to term, but I still support the right of ALL women, everywhere, to be the ultimate owners of their bodies. I have no business telling you what to do with your hair, or your face, or your clothes, or your uterus, or etc. And you don’t have any business prescribing to me, or another women, and ALL those who are not women have even less business telling women what to do.

So, try to come to grips with this one thing: ALL adults should own their own bodies. To be an adult is to, fundamentally, be trusted with yourself. And like everything in life, some of us will do better than others, but that does not negate our absolute right to own our own choices, successes, and fuck-ups.

May Ruth, one of the hardest working humans, male or female, who ever lived, live on in us, in women, and in the starlight that glows over us all every night, and in the bright sunlight that lights our days.

And may Ruth remind me to keep teaching my daughter to be an autonomous woman who knows she can make her own choices and own the consequences of them. And may Ruth remind me to turn my own head back to what is important to me, put my nose on that grindstone, and keep working toward my goals, and working hard. Life is for accomplishing things. You’ll sleep when you’re dead…. lol.


“The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” (by Traffic).

The thing I see, whenever I look this song up, is “What is that song about?”

Well, let’s look at it. I feel like I always got it, but here’s the lyrics to help:

If you see something that looks like a star
And it’s shooting up out of the ground
And your head is spinning from a loud guitar
And you just can’t escape from the sound
Don’t worry too much, it’ll happen to you
We were children once, playing with toys

And that thing that you’re hearing is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys

The percentage you’re paying is too high priced
While you’re living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he’s made on your dreams
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn’t make any noise
But it wasn’t the bullet that laid him to rest, was
The low spark of high-heeled boys

If you had just a minute to breathe
And they granted you one final wish

Would you ask for something like another chance
Or something sim’lar as this
Don’t worry too much It’ll happen to you
As sure as your sorrows are joys

And the thing that disturbs you is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys

The percentage you’re paying is too high priced
While you’re living beyond all your means

And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he’s made on your dreams
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn’t make any noise
But it wasn’t the bullet that laid him to rest, was
The low spark of high-heeled boys (high heeled boys)

If I gave you everything that I owned
And asked for nothing in return
Would you do the same for me as I would for you
Or take me for a ride
And strip me of everything, including my pride
But spirit is something that no one destroys

And the thing that disturbs you is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys

So, what is that about?

I always thought this: Boys (men), in the 1960s and 70s, were openly playing with fashion and gender in a way they never had before, and some of them had long hair and high heels on their boots, and those in bands were being robbed blind (often) by their record companies(the percentage you’re paying is too high) and that, eventually, those bad, judgmental greedy men in suits who buy themselves cars from profits made from the creativity and dreams of the boys are going to be laid low by the spark of genius in these young gender-bending (read as “free”) boys.

There you go. Wasn’t that easy?

And the last verse is just asking lovers and friends to be kind to each other.

This song is about 1/3 of my desired length, much more than the others I have put in this series. Yay! Traffic!

I believe this song can be classified as a fugue.

I think it is absolutely delicious in the way that, rarely, booze of some sort can be delicious. I once had a lychee sake that was like that: perfumed, it hung there on my tongue like a first French kiss…. Then the booze hit my blood, and all my limbs weakened in an utterly delightful way.

“The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” does the same thing. It hangs there, slowly seeping into all your pores, and then it speeds up and moves you along to the next sip. Keep that simmering buzz going.

Once my sweet brother made me a CD that contained nothing but the song “Smooth” by Santana six times in a row.

“The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” is the same. It should be on a long lazy loop through your entire weekend. And you should be feeling your beauty as you listen to it, dancing slowly through your kitchen, knowing that it won’t be a gun that makes things better, but the low spark of genius from you, and those high heeled boys.

Can you dig it?

“Is it Work If You Do it From Home?”

Wow. I hope Nadja doesn’t mind me pointing you to her blog.

This post is just so on point.

I absolutely get her, as I sit here stealing a few minutes to write while Sophie is in an Outschool class.

Man, I wasn’t making it through the last year of homeschooling without Outschool.

And I was just thinking, yesterday, on a walk with the dog (who, since the pandemic, demands several each day, but, hey, how freaking boring is being a dog? I get it, my handsome Oliver.), how there were about 3 times over the last year where I had a “come to Jesus” meeting with my husband and daughter over homeschooling. Sure, Sophie loved practicing her instruments, taking art classes on Outschool, or doing science experiments with Dad. But math or grammar with Mom? Ho, oh, oh, no. “It’s not fair!” I whined. Yet, looking back on it on the walk yesterday, I think that, all-in-all, we did okay.

There’s something about motherhood though; a lot is expected of motherhood, and little is given in terms of respect for it. It’s like “Do the best freaking job at this of anyone, anywhere! And we’ll tell you how much more important what we’re doing is, and, if you screw up even an iota, we’ll tell you that too.” *sigh*

On the other hand, I feel like I am generally doing okay at raising a really nice kid who is truly dedicated to music and art, and can and will practice both independently. As, when I was a child, I wouldn’t practice anything independently (besides hiding well and reading), I think I’m doing a better job than my own, always angry, mother. It’s funny to call it a job, though, isn’t it? It both is, and isn’t, a job.

And I love every minute of being with my daughter, and I also want some minutes without her.

In any case, Nadja did a wonderful piece that I think will truly resonate with you, and her other writing ain’t bad either, as you can see in this piece.


Thank you, Plants and Poetry, for publishing one of my favorite poems I have ever written, “The Itch.” AND if you click on the link (the photo, or poem name) you can not only read my ode to bad gardening, you can hear ME read it to you! There is an MP4 there you can click on just above the poem’s title.

I love love love writing poetry, but poetry is a hard sell, and my poems are long trailing vining affairs, like “The Itch,” and that makes them an even harder sell to publishers and even readers.

I was extra happy that when my poem was accepted the editor wrote, “This poem is much different than others that have been submitted and I really enjoyed it. I like your voice. I think it will make an excellent addition.” I think my poetry is different than most poems that get published, and I am so glad she appreciated it for its difference.

Usually (and I know a lot of authors don’t like hearing this but) there is a fee to submit a poem anywhere, and journals may be themed, which may mean there is only one poem you have that could hit the mark. That can get to be pricey. And there is a lot of rejection.

The best we can do is try, and try, and try again, and, somehow, all by ourselves, keep our hopes up, which, if you read my poem, “The Itch,” is not that different from gardening.

I have had some other poems published online if you’re curious.

How to Swim Under Water. This one I published myself (I mean, I do run a publishing company, so occasionally the boss lets me sneak one in). Because it is collage and poetry combined, you may (fellow eyeglasses wearers) need to click on it to read it clearly.

Good Dog This poem is brought to you directly by slower lower Delaware, where one sees such things on a much too regular basis.

Jackie Don’t You Go This last one was written about two years ago, and revised and hacked at a bit before publication last year. A poem that has a lot of emotion to express can get so big that you have to chop at it and “smallen” it so it is not completely maudlin dreck. It is about my friend, Jackie B. who died at her own hands before the internet was a thing, so I cannot even check the spelling of her name. She was a bit older than me, and just a lovely human being, both inside, and out. I was envious of her poise, her kindness and calm affect, and her physical beauty. She was independent, and I truly thought she had it all figured out. She had none of it figured out, and, all these years later, I am still trying to come to terms with her actions and the loss of her, and how, for the rest of us, we keep ourselves going when we know that we have none of it figured out.

Well, you ignore the rejections, and you celebrate the wins.

Here’s to you having a win soon. Share it when you do; we need to know people are winning.