160: Dream Big

Scary Jack o’ Lanterns,
Spicy pumpkin bread.
Grand dreams of glory
Filled little pumpkin heads.

“You’re all crazy,”
The big one said
“I’d rather be
A coach instead.”

Happy Halloween, Everyone!


This is my offering for Sunday 160, hosted by Monkey Man.


Friday Flash 55: Simony

Divorce is evil,
But you needn’t despair.
If you made a mistake,
The priest can repair.

You have four kids?
Ah, there’s still a way.
You can still get an annulment
If the price you will pay.

More than one Kennedy did it,
But, beware, it’s not free.
Annulment can be bought.
It’s called simony.


I learned a new word today.

I was raised Catholic, and was taught that remarriage after divorce was adultery, because the Church didn’t recognize divorce.  Over the years, I’ve wondered how people could get their marriages annulled after years of being married, especially when they had kids.

Recently, I read of what has been called “the American Catholic Church’s annulment industry.”  There’s even a “how-to” book.

Now I find out there’s a word for it.  Today's “word of the day” is “simony.” 


This is my offering for Friday Flash 55. If you've got something to say in exactly 55 words, go see The Man (G-Man, that is).


Before It's Too Late

My hair is going gray, and
My knees will soon give way.
I have a chronic illness
That I work to keep at bay.

The body’s showing wear and tear.
Many parts run sore.
I start the day with several pills
And end with several more.

The eyes no longer see too well.
Forward, the future’s not too clear.
Yet looking back into the past
They see things sharp, still near.

I have regrets for things I see, and
I know forgiveness isn’t free. But
How can I pay for all the wrongs
For which you still blame me?

You’re more than twice the age now
That I was the day you were born.
And yet you bear the burden still
Of a childhood you felt was torn.

In your heart you have a book filled
With snapshots saved for years.
Moments when I scarred you   
And filled your eyes with tears.

Oh, it’s not like all I hear are    
Accusations thrown my way.
But every now and then, there
Are things you're apt to say.

“I remember Christmas morning, so
Excited we thought we’d burst.
But you wouldn’t let us open gifts
Until we’d eaten breakfast first.”

This is but one time that I failed. Was it
Really all that bad? I question in my mind.
But the tone in which you say it says
I was a mother of the worst kind.

My seasons now pass quickly,
Autumn leaves are turning brown.
I wonder how much time is left
Before my clock winds down.

I know I wasn’t perfect.
But I did the best I could.
I hope some day you'll forgive me, and
Please, before I’m gone, if you would.


This is my offering for One Shot Wednesday.


160: The Dancer

Overcome with music
She sways in joyous dance.

She cares not where she is
Or what passers-by may think.
The only thing she notices
Is that the muse began to sing.

This is my offering for Sunday 160, hosted by Monkey Man here.


Friday Flash 55: Reincarnation?

Of course, I believe in reincarnation. 

I remember it all like it was yesterday.  There I was, minding my own business like any proper pumpkin and doing my bit for the autumn color show, when along came that bratty Billy Bishop with a big honkin’ knife…

Don’t his parents know kids shouldn’t play with knives?


This is my offering for Friday Flash 55, hosted by that charming rogue G-Man here 


Wondering Why The Sun Goes Down

She wonders why...
her emotions erupt at his every phrase.
his smile makes her sun shine bright.
his glance elsewhere thunders in her heart.

She wonders how...
he can move her mountains with only words.
she could have surrendered control.
it has come to this.

She wonders why...
his approval matters so much.
she worries that she’s losing him.
she ever thought she had him.

She wonders if...
he ever thinks about her.
he knows his power over her.
he knows her at all.

She wonders why...
she cares.


This is my offering for One Shot Wednesday.

She Speaks

This is a repost of today's post on PattiKen and the Muses - Home Away From Home.  I don't normally do this, but this one is important enough to make an exception.

Besides, I'm a proud Mama. ;-)


You have all read my posts in which I told you about my daughter Lisa and her fight against breast cancer.  She is The Superhero I wrote about.

Today, she speaks for herself.   These are her words.

Mine Is Not To Ask Why

This month, a little more than most, I think about what I have been through, what I have lost, and what I have gained. I never ask, “why me?” I am always grateful it was me. I had my mother’s strength and my father’s stubbornness to get me through it. Someone else may not have been a lucky as I was…am.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but for some of us, those like me and our families, every month is breast cancer awareness month.   When you hear those words, “you have cancer,” you are never more aware.   That feeling, the awareness, it never leaves you.

Tonight I sat with my daughter and watched a speech by Kelly Corrigan (breast cancer survivor, author) posted by my mother.  Emily and I held hands and cried together, grateful for what we have gained and all that we are lucky to still have…each other.

Sure, I have been through what some call “Hell,” but I never saw it that way. For me, it was just a journey to get to the other side.  Just one more thing to get past and then move on.  People sometimes say to me, “so-and-so died of cancer.”  My only response can ever be, “I’m not doing that.”

For me, having treatment and getting on with my life was the only choice.  IS the only choice. Surviving is the ONLY choice.

Now, I use my experiences to make others aware of just how a diagnosis of cancer can change your life, even if it’s not you who is diagnosed.   My cancer affected everyone around me: my parents, my husband, my little boys, and my daughter.  Now I spread the word through my writing, my big mouth, and by walking the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer every year and raising money for research and other programs.

Mine is to do.


Pay Back's a Bitch

He gets up from the table and walks to the window and back several times, as though trying to wear a trench in the carpet.  Then stopping to stare down at her, he exclaims,  “You’re kidding, right?  You have got to be kidding.”  He resumes his work on the trench.

“Oh, relax, for heaven’s sake. And sit down. You're making me seasick.” She takes a sip of her coffee and delicately dabs at her lips, careful not to smudge her lipstick. “You know we don't have any choice in this.  It has to be done.  It won’t be for all that long and, besides, it’s the only way.”

He stops his pacing and turns to look at her.  He's pissed as hell, but even so, looking at her is a treat.  She's a fine looking woman.  “Yeah, so you said.  You're probably right.  But I still don’t like it.”


The LPN on duty at the memory-impaired unit of the Oakhurst Retirement Facility sits at front desk updating her daily charts, while keeping one eye on the activity in the living room.  The residents all have their own rooms located along the short corridors running off the center hub like the spokes on a wheel, but most leave their doors open and wander down to the common rooms as if this were home and they were members of a big extended family.  And that’s as it should be, the nurse thinks.

“Hello. I’m Helen Meurtrier.”  The stooped gray-haired woman holds a shaking hand out toward the man seated in front of the television.  Her voice is deep-throated and still rather sexy, much stronger than her body looks to be.  Behind her glasses, there is the hint of a sparkle in her blue eyes.

Startled out of the reverie he’d slipped into as he watched Gene Kelly splash though puddles, John Vendetti draws back a bit.  He looks blankly up at the woman standing between him and Gene.  “Mary?  Mary, is that you?”

John is a tall, reedy, and still quite handsome man who carries himself with the dignity of his former position.  His records indicate he used to be a professor of  chemistry an Ivy League college.  You can tell, the nurse thinks as she watches from her position behind the desk.  He totally looks the part.  A bow tie peeks out from the neckline of his sweater.  Obviously, years of habit outlast any conscious thought as he chooses his clothes each day.

“No, no, I’m Helen.”  The woman withdraws her hand, realizing he isn’t going to shake it.  “What’s your name?”

The nurse watches, ready to step in if need be. She doesn’t feel she knows these two well enough yet to predict how the little social vignette will play out.  The newest residents in the unit, Helen has been here just a few days, and John only arrived yesterday.

“I see you’re watching Singing in the Rain.  That’s always been a favorite of mine.  May I join you?”

John moves over a bit and Helen carefully sits down beside him, resting her cane against the lamp table nearby.  Both turn their attention to Gene Kelly, now doffing his hat to a policeman and dancing off down the street.

The nurse smiles as Helen reaches out and takes John’s hand, and then returns to her charts.


The aide braces herself as she readies the afternoon snack. Things are usually fairly quiet here.  Today, not so much. 

“Who’s ready for a bite to eat?” she calls brightly, then picks up the tray holding a plate of cookies and several glasses of juice and begins serving the residents seated at tables around the communal dining room.

Though she’d never say it aloud, she thinks to herself, oh, boy the inmates are restless today. Maybe they can sense the blizzard that’s coming. Either that, or it's a full moon.

Two of the women are taking turns in a duet of shouts, Marian Butera calling “Help me! Help me! They’re trying to kill me!” at regular intervals and Hazel Johnson demanding “What are you doing?” every time anyone comes near.

Everyone seems especially twitchy, uninterested in the word search game the Activities Director has now given up trying to conduct. The couple who have come to visit Charlie, the husband’s elderly father, look decidedly uneasy as they watch the shenanigans going on around them.  The aide hopes the snack she is serving will bring peace and quiet along with the juice and cookies.


“Oh, my gawd, this place is deadly.  No wonder they’re all acting like whackos.”  His voice drips in sarcasm as he mutters to his wife.  “I feel like I’m in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  How can they stand it?”

She shoots him a quick look.  “Hush.  Who knows, someday you may find yourself living in one of these places, and be glad of it.”

“I rather doubt that, sweetheart,” he answers, smirking.  “I intend to hold on to all my buttons, thank you very much.  I'm not so sure about you, though.”

She gives him a little kick and returns the polite smile to her face.


The aide sets a glass of juice down in front of Hazel and extends the plate of cookies.  “How about a cookie, Hazel?”

“What are you doing? What are you doing?”  Hazel shouts, as her scrawny hand darts out and grabs a cookie.

Sighing, the aide moves to the table where the younger couple are seated with Charlie. She holds out the tray of refreshments. 

“Hi, Folks. Would you like a…”  she begins .

From across the room where he sits with Marian and Helen, John suddenly bellows: “Whoop. Whoop. Whoop. Look at that one. Look at that one. Wow, she’s hot, all right.  I’ve got a big boner now.”  Everyone looks away in embarrassment.  Even Hazel and Marian seem to be at a loss for words.

Helen looks over at the aide and rolls her eyes.   The she reaches over and gives John’s hand a soothing little pat as she empties the vial of slow-acting poison into Marian’s juice glass.” 

Returning the small smile she sees flash across John’s face, Helen leans  toward Marian and confesses in a whisper, “You know, you’re quite right, my dear, we are trying to kill you.  Too bad no one will believe you.”


‘The staff at the Oakhurst Retirement Facility made a shocking discovery Tuesday morning.  When the nurses made their rounds to awaken the residents in the memory-impaired unit, they found one resident dead and two others missing.

“Marian Butera, mother of crime boss Vinnie “The Butcher” Butera, was found in her bed this morning,  dead of an apparent heart attack.  Butera, who has left a long trail of bodies behind him during his criminal career, was recently spared the death sentence he was about to receive for his role in the well-planned Hemmings armored car robbery two years ago.  Both Hemmings Security company employees were killed by the thieves before they took off with over $5 million in cash and negotiable bonds.  Injured in the heist, Butera was the only member of the criminal gang apprehended.  According to sources, Butera’s expected sentence was reduced in a last minute plea bargain.  Butera is reported to have identified his accomplices in exchange for a life sentence.

The two missing Oakhurst residents are John Vendetti and Helen Meurtrier.  Authorities say their disappearance and Mrs. Butera’s death are unrelated.  It is believed that the two residents, both of whom suffered from Alzheimer’s, wandered off during the night.  A search has been mounted in the woods behind Oakhurst, but after the nor’easter that dumped thirteen inches of snow over the area during the night, authorities don’t hold out much hope of finding them until spring.”

This was written for The Tenth Daughter of Memory, where the prompt is "Confession."


160: Beware the Squirrel Bear

Carry your bells.
Be ready to spray.
Or you might make
Some bear’s day.

I can’t claim it’s mine,
But it’s funny all the same.
Remember the warning
From Fish and Game.

(click to enlarge)


This public service announcement came to me in a viral e-mail.  It's too important good not to share.

This is my offering for Sunday 160, hosted by Monkey Man here.


Friday Flash 55: Cannon Fodder

The war is waged.
The fight is on.
The enemy’s engaged.
Their formation is yon.
But we won’t quit until
This battle is won.

It’s almost nine.
Yea, the time is nigh.
The fuse will be lit.
The iron ball will fly high.
And across the battlefield,
Many Red Coats will die.




This is my offering for Friday Flash 55 hosted by the dashing G-Man here.

Autumn Appetites

autumn’s tapestry
draped over summer’s last green
spicy smells float by

hay rides and cider
tiny goblins on doorsteps
piles of pumpkins high

leaves drift like sugar
in air crisp as an apple
my thoughts turn to pie



New Listing! 10 Rms, Gdn Vu

This gem is too good to be true!  
Seller very motivated!

large Victorian family home
filled with charming echoes from years past,
(pay no mind to the screeches, 
moans and thumps;
these old houses often make weird noises 
when a cold wind blows.)

situated on large lot
in peaceful neighborhood,
planted with fruit trees and garden
(blooming with abandon, 
forget-me-nots forgotten).

wide, wraparound front porch
with romantic porch swing, 
built for young lovers
(just bit forlorn, sagging under the weight 
of duplicity and confrontation,
and silent tears shed late at night).

welcoming living room, 
perfect for entertaining,
with large stone hearth fireplace
swept and cleaned
(but littered with ashes of burned trust).

eat-in family kitchen,
overlooking lovely pergola draped with lilacs
(all remnants of pancakes and bacon, 
laughter and love long gone; 
shattered tableware and 
togetherness swept into the bin).

large master bedroom,
newly painted in soothing colors,
mirrored wall reflecting large bay window
(and the ghosts of 
angry words and broken promises).

don’t miss this opportunity!
vacant and ready to sell, 
occupants have moved on
(except for the lady buried beneath the lilacs,
and she won’t be much of a bother at all).


160 Sheets to the Wind

(Photo: Grey Goose Vodka)

Some say Merlot.
Some say Pinot.
But I say cosmo,
And so do I.

Tomorrow is Sunday.
And Monkey Man awaits.
I have to say something.
And so do I.

Got a 160?
And so do I.


At least I can still count.  This was written (while under the influence of having been a wee bit "overserved") for Sunday 160, hosted by Monkey Man here.


Friday Flash 55: License to Fly

The State Trooper had been chasing the vehicle ever since it pulled out of the Air Base and zoomed up the highway.  He finally got the driver to pull over.  Such reckless speeding just couldn’t be tolerated.

He strode up to the window, looked into the driver’s dark eyes, and said “License and registration, please.”


This is my offering for Friday Flash 55, hosted by G-Man at Area 55.


Not Your Average Love Poem

Write me no mushy love poems
Gushing scarlet passion like treacle
And dripping ardor all over my shirt.

Save me from your blaze of yearning
Burning feverishly with hot desire and
Hungrily consuming my lonely heart.

Give me not the fool’s-gold flash of twinkling stars
Long dead before you gift wrap them in poem, and
Pray, leave the moon in the sky where it belongs.

Spare me your furious declarations of devotion, I beg you.
For as they cloak you in your illusions of Lord Byron,
They leave me sticky and longing for a shower.

Give me instead a small bunch of white daisies
Picked fresh in a sweet smelling meadow
Where they grow lazily in the midday sun.

Shower me with candy hearts.
Then kiss away the sweet chocolaty love
That lingers at the corner of my mouth.

Delight me with your wit and oddball views.
Make me groan with painful puns and
Reduce me to tears of laughter.

Caress me with a back rub when the day weighs heavy.
And, while you’re there, scratch that itch in the center
That I can never reach without a fork from the drawer.

Warm me with a scented bath, lovingly drawn,
Served up with flickering candles and hot cocoa, then
Tuck me in with my cat for a night filled with dreams of you.

Poem me this, and  I'll know you love me.

This is my offering for One Shot Wednesday.  Pay them a visit to read what others have to say today.


Kyrie Eleison

Stepping into the dim interior of the church from the glare of bright sunlit sidewalk, Paul pauses a moment to let his eyes adjust. Even before he can see clearly, the familiar sound of the softly playing organ and the lingering smell of incense greet him and remind him of earlier visits.

His eyes adjust, and he crosses the narthex with its pamphlets, hymnals and donation box.  One of last Sunday’s bulletins lies crumpled on the floor. As he enters the nave of the church through the large ornate double doors, years of programming push Paul’s right hand out to seek the holy water font.  The touch of the cool water on his fingertips brings him back to the present, and as if he'd been scorched by the water, he pulls his hand back and shoves it into his pocket. 

Paul spots an open space at the end of a pew near the back of the church, and takes a seat, genuflecting before he does. Old habits die hard.  He leans back to wait,  his eyes taking in the vast space before him, and once again he is carried back. 

His first memories of being here, the only good ones, are filled with color.  His mother often brought him along when she came to St. Jude's for her First Friday novenas or Stations of the Cross.  He'd been enthralled by the magnificent windows.  As it did now, sunlight streamed in through those tall, jewel-like panes and turned the church into a kaleidoscope like the one he had at home.

Though Dr. Abramson had urged Paul to come back, he just couldn't bring himself to return until last week.  The memory of  that visit was filled with color, too. 

The rows of church pews are nearly completely filled with mourners dressed in dark, somber clothes.  The organ plays accompaniment to the soft sounds of weeping.  Every now and then, he catches the murmurs of the people seated around him.  "Such a tragedy.  Who would do such a thing?"  Father Benedict had been beloved by the faithful.  Most of them, anyway.  The flowers filling the front of the church are testimony to that.

Paul hears the doors behind open.  As the liturgical music swells, filling the church with mournful sound, he watches the pall bearers solemnly escort the white and gold satin-draped casket down the long aisle to the altar.  After they have taken their seats, the priest raises his hands toward heaven and begins to lead the congregation in prayer.

Absolve, Domine,
animas omnium fidelium
ab omni vinculo delictorum
et gratia tua illis succurente
mereantur evadere iudicium ultionis,
et lucis æternae beatitudine perfrui.

Forgive, O Lord,
the souls of all the faithful
from all the chains of their sins
and by the aid to them of your grace
may they deserve to avoid the judgment of revenge,
and enjoy the blessedness of everlasting light.

Too late for that, Paul thinks.  Still, it might not hurt to go to confession when all this is over.  

He hasn't been since he was a kid, but he can picture kneeling in the dark confessional, whispering through the little screened window in front of him.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.  It has been thirty years since my last confession.


This was written for The Tenth Daughter of Memory, where the prompt is “Softly-Spoken Bullets; Hardly-Spoken Lips."


160: “It can’t happen to me.”

Ah, but it might. 

This year, 207,090 women (and 1,970 men) will learn they have breast cancer.  3,000,000 women already have breast cancer, and 1/3rd of them don’t know it.

Fight back.  Be aware!

I know this is a far more serious post than my usual entry for Sunday 160, hosted by Monkey Man.  But this is a serious issue, one that’s close to my heart.  Visit my post here to learn why.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I don't usually do this, but this is a cause close to my heart.  I've put up a post over at my get-away blog, PattiKen and the Muses - A Home Away From Home.   I hope you'll check it out.

You'll learn why this is so important to me, read some startling facts about breast cancer, and hear about a wonderful project two bloggers are collaborating on this month.

Raise your awareness.  Go look.


Friday Flash 55: Life Cycle of a Tiger Longwing

Darting, dancing,
Flitting, prancing
From petal to petal, to and fro.

Dipping, skipping,
Tasting, sipping,
My sunlit stripes all aglow.

Whirling, twirling,
Spinning, swirling,
Ggossamer wings putting on quite a show.

Drifting, lifting,
Patterns shifting,
Visiting flowers all in a row.

Flying, shying,
Too soon dying,
A month of life, and away I must go.


This is my offering for Friday Flash 55, hosted by G-Man (a man of strange appetites!) at Mr. KnowItAll.