Posted by: penpatience | September 1, 2018





WRITERS WORDS: “I want people to understand gambling is not a bad thing if you do it within the framework of what it’s meant to be, fun and entertaining.” –Michael Jordan





One day this past August after spending some time in Saratoga, New York, I thought about how Saratoga County comes alive every year during the summer months. Its track season at the Saratoga Race Track, coupled with patrons enjoying the popular Saratoga Casino and Saratoga Lake with neighboring townships happily accepting the influx of equine fans and wealthy and not so wealthy gamblers from across the state and country. A lot of gambling going on….

I mused about Kenny Rogers and his famous song, “The Gambler.” Hum along with me with some song words that are—oh so true!

“If you’re going to play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right. You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run… never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table, there’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”

Sage advice in that song and many times not heeded. However, I believe, taking chances is ingrained in our American culture. Who doesn’t like to take a chance now and again? Why not take a chance on the horse with the huge haunches, pretty white marking on his forehead, funky but meaningful (to you) name that you  believe will go the distance?  Haven’t we all received multiple invites from Publisher’s Clearing House to fill out forms that will allow us to win $1,000 every week for life? And who hasn’t experienced the Casinos with the frenzied atmosphere of noisy slot machines, the slap of cards on Blackjack Tables, the whirling sounds of balls spinning in Roulette Wheels amid the clink of drink glasses and lost dollars?

I recall an occasion not too long ago when I visited a Casino with a friend. While my friend went off to a Blackjack table I decided to find and play a slot machine. A twenty dollar bill in my hand, (I am not a high roller) I sat next to a young woman, noticed she had a credit card inserted in the machine (Was she crazy?) We chatted a bit and she advised me she came to the Casino because she was a little “short” on the rent money this month (and I’m thinking, my God, she’s betting with a credit card.) I’m of the belief that computers and electronics have removed some of the fun of playing slots. Many of you might remember how years ago in Las Vegas actual coins fell from the machines in an avalanche of quarters when you won. What an “upper” to gather coins in your hands sometimes picking up spillage from the floor!

I often muse life is one big gamble. Every day we venture out hoping the day’s happenings are what we’ve predicted and try not to be disappointed when they don’t materialize. So hum along with me—one last time with Kenny Rogers:

“Every gamble knows

That the secret to survivin’

Is knowin’ what to throw away

And knowin’ what to keep

‘cause every hand’s a winner

And every hand’s a loser

And the best that you can hope for is to die

In your sleep.”

My Dad used to say, “if your ship is to come in, you must put your oar in the water.” He  was lucky enough to die in his sleep.

And remember, just as alcoholism/drugs and smoking, gambling can easily become an addiction. If you think you need assistance in controlling your gambling, here’s a site that may be of assistance:


Dear Reads & Writers: Don’t gamble on your health and safety!  Be safe and well.









Posted by: penpatience | August 1, 2018


WRITERS WORDS:  “If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.-–Dale Carnegie





Have you ever experienced stage fright when asked to give a speech? When it’s your turn to step up to the microphone and give a presentation, introduce a noted professional or recite your poetry or prose in front of an audience, do you panic?  Are your hands clammy, your heart pounding in your chest and your face wearing a worried frown hoping the microphone won’t malfunction?  Well, you’re not alone. Presenting yourself in front of an audience a first time can be daunting.  I share with you my true story…. (And yes, it was a long time ago)

I was an evening student. I was tired after a long and busy day at work. I headed over to a local college to attend the first night of a communications class. I raced through a Burger-King drive-thru, attempted to scarf down a grilled chicken sandwich and a cup of coffee when stopped at the red lights. It was my experience most times the first evening of a course is easy. Professors usually takes attendance, provides a course overview,  hands out the syllabus and students leave early. Not this time. Students were given five minutes to interview a neighbor seated to their right and give a three minute presentation in front of the class.  When it was my turn I walked to the front of the class and drew a blank. A red blush was beginning to creep up my neck when I finally pointed to my next-door student and said, “What did you say your name was again?”  My classmates laughed and cracked-up—even the professor had a crooked smile on his face.  Was I a success? I still don’t know, but I can tell you I aced the course.

Public speaking was and is a necessary skill not only in the business world but in most everyone’s professional life. Unfortunately, many individuals may be shy, introverted folks and  lack the self-confidence to speak in public, but alas, they must! Do any of you remember Dale Carnegie? Many organizations in the past and present sent reticent staff members in need of these skills to a Dale Carnegie Course.

Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) was born in Missouri, educated at Warrensburg State Teachers College. He was a salesman and aspiring actor, traveled to New York and taught adult communications classes at the YMCA.  In 1912, the world-famous Dale Carnegie course was born. A prominent lecturer of his day and a sought after lecturer to world leaders, he authored several best-sellers. Perhaps, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was one of his most popular and influential books. He founded what is today a world-wide network of over 3,000 instructors in more than 80 countries. (  (Excerpted from a copy of my aged but saved Dale Carnegie Golden Book)

Dale Carnegie training principles have helped many individuals gain self-confidence and interpersonal skills to become successful speakers. During my professional years, I gave many presentations and I would like to say practice does make—almost perfectJ However, there were a few speaker annoyances I witnessed over time:

We’ve all heard a speaker shout “Can you all hear me in the back?” We’ve listened to paper shuffling,  noticed not enough eye contact and finger-linking to turn pages amplified by a microphone. Jokes told that were “questionable” or just not funny. My personal pet peeve was a speaker taking too many questions after the conclusion of a presentation.   Limit question time frame to no more than twenty minutes. Attendees are stiff from sitting and it’s time to head to the bar for refreshment or grab our coats and go home.

Dear Readers, Do you have a speaker tale to share?  My comments page awaits you.


Posted by: penpatience | July 1, 2018


WRITERS WORDS: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact in the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” –Jane Goodall





It’s time–time to send your written masterpiece out to publisher/magazine markets. Many writers breathe a sigh of relief when a project is finally completed believing the remainder of achieving publication will be easier. HA!  Perhaps, but just as writers should study the writing craft (and it’s never over), the knowledge of Copyright, Permissions and Rights also require advance knowledge before submitting your work. Unfortunately, “one size does not fit all,” and yes, “different strokes for different folks” applies to writer markets.

My initial goal was to write stories and articles for magazine markets. I was lucky. My early writing education included an annual copy of “The Best of Magazine Markets for Writers” and a writing class workbook that provided up front, “how to” information assisting me in avoiding many pitfalls that might have been more harmful than any early “rejections” I received.

Magazines request and purchase certain rights to publish manuscripts. Some common rights purchased by magazines may be: All World Rights, All World Serial Rights, First Rights, Electronic Rights, First North American Serial Rights, Reprint rights, One-Time Rights. Definitions referencing these rights are available on many writer sites and too lengthy to define in a short blog, but knowing they exist and checking them out in submission guidelines is very important. That said,

BEWARE of All World Rights: “The publisher purchases all rights to publish your work anywhere in the world any number of times. This includes all forms of media (both current and any that may be developed later). The publisher also has the right to all future use of the work, including reprints, syndication, creation of derivative works, and use in databases. You no longer have the right to sell or reproduce your work, unless you can negotiate for the return of certain rights.”—The Best of Magazine Markets for Writers-2014

Basically you just threw your baby away with the bath water. Your beloved story is no longer yours.

New and emerging writers are often very eager to publish their work; too often pertinent inquiries may be overlooked. Some helpful information:

    • Writing published in the United States prior to 1923 is in the public domain. Material may be quoted without permission but the source should always be cited.
    • When you want to quote another writer’s words in a manuscript you’re preparing, you must get that writer’s permission. Without permission, you could be sued for copyright infringement. Example: My blog posts are copyrighted. No one can copy any of my posts, or part of any post without my permission.
    • Payment methods vary by publication. The most common are payment on acceptance or on publication. Of course, writers prefer upon acceptance. Publication may be delayed, or not published after all. Some magazines offer a “Kill Fee.” If they decide not to publish your article, a writer would, at least, receive some sort of compensation in exchange for the work.
  • So no, a writers’ work is never easy. Fraught with obstacles other than writing a great article, story or novel, there’s all the legal ramifications, submittal guidelines, publishing deadlines, query and cover letters, locating beta-readers and good critique and on and on and on… So why bother writing? Most writers write because they are passionate about their work. They’re not happy people unless they are creating and writing in their favorite genres. Many writers have shared their lives in meaningful memoir (i.e. Jeanette Walls-the Glass Castle) or like the late Stephen Hawkins opening our minds to the mysteries within our universe.


The following sites may be helpful:,, http://www.predators& or

Dear Readers and Writers: Be safe this  4th of July!

A Safety Lecture in 56 Words

It takes one minute to write a safety rule.

It takes one hour to hold a safety meeting.

It takes one week to plan a safety program.

It takes one month to put it in operation.

It takes one year tow in a safety award.

It takes one second to destroy it all with one accident.

                                  –Author Unknown



Posted by: penpatience | June 1, 2018






WRITERS WORDS: “No matter what people tell you, WORDS AND IDEAS can change the world.” –Robin Williams





Greetings! Greeting cards have been a staple in my life since my son colored and cut me a handmade Valentine in kindergarten. Add two daughters and I became the recipient of a treasure trove of handmade birthday, Mother’s Day and holiday greetings many retained to this day.  Years later and before Internet and Telecommunications advancements entered our lives, every birthday and Mother’s Day greeting cards were awaiting pickup in my mailbox. There were humorous ones that made me laugh, thoughtful verses that made my heart soar and I cherish the final birthday greeting Mom gave me before her death with “Love Mom” written in her beautiful cursive handwriting—a special keepsake for sure.

Today, I realize we live in a fast-paced society. Technology changed but has not always been a positive influence in the methods individuals utilize to communicate with each other. What technology has provided is convenient options to keep in touch with out of town family members and friends such as Skype, E-mail, text and cell photographs to name a few. Social media sites now unite people on a world- wide basis—a connective phenomena unavailable in previous centuries.

What I find disheartening is the proliferation of inane trivia, opinionated rants and rampant advertisements polluting what should be an arena for sharing noteworthy events in daily living. Although we have great new tools at our fingertips, I find it difficult to find value in folks continually hunched over cell phones on every occasion and in almost all public places. However, recalling my role as a former safety professional, I champion the expedient ability to reach emergency personnel via cell phones when necessary. Yet, I’d like to think we’d all benefit from the meshing of old and new communications and occasionally step away from the addicted overuse of today’s technologies.

I’m a writer and we pen and pencil wielders spend large segments of time utilizing computers and social technologies that assist in the writing craft. Nevertheless, throwing away pen and pad will never be an option. New story ideas, character names and attributes that surface unexpectedly are quickly jotted down on available pad and paper that most writers keep around for just such “aha” moments. Short poem and verse ideas for greeting cards may also surface when triggered by inspirational sights and happenings. Yes, greeting cards are available online, but, for me, it’s not the same as strolling through greeting card aisles attempting to find just the right card for that special person and time.  And…one cannot include a hand-written note, gift card, or special occasion check in a Face-book or text message:)

Sadly, I sense the tradition of sending and sharing specialty and seasonal hard copy greeting cards is on the wane.  It’s a time consuming task to sit and write greeting cards to local and far away friends when daily activities and Christmas holiday preparations take precedence.  Also, like everything else, the cost of cards and postal stamps has increased in past years. However, think about elderly friends and family that no longer have access or embrace new technology and how a “thinking of you” greeting they could hold in their hand might brighten their day. There’s no better way to express condolences, sympathy for individuals who have suffered grievous losses in their lives—and don’t forget that hand-written note.

Readers, should you have an interest, there are many sites available to assist enthusiastic, talented and creative people in writing poetry and verse for greeting cards. One of my favorite writer sites is Hope Clark’s Fund for Writers. Check out this article:  Also, Hallmark Card Company needs no introduction and accepts submissions: There are many other card companies listed on the Internet but perhaps you might want to design, photograph and write verse for your own original creations.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Happy Father’s Day to Dad’s everywhere!



Posted by: penpatience | May 1, 2018


WRITERS WORDS: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” –Cicero, Roman Philosopher





The birds are back. I heard the varied trills, tweets and calls in nearby trees and bushes along with melting snows and the emergence of perennial blooms pushing up through damp earth. I mused if Mrs. Robin might rebuild her nest underneath my deck again this year. I still recall watching three babies take flight abandoning the now unnecessary abode.

“April showers that bring May flowers” didn’t quite happen as it should this year. The winter thaw in upstate New York has been slower than normal complete with teasing temperatures fluctuating up and down with frustrated residents more than ready to trade snowshoes for sandals. However, very soon in this month of May, if you’re a rabid gardener like me, the call to the outdoors cannot be denied.

It’s time to watch tulips and daffodils bloom and the emergence of day lilies and other spring perennials. Time to plan for planting new species, replace non-surviving plants and dig out the dratted working tools—rakes, shovels, mowers and my beloved garden trowel, an all-purpose tool that’s been my do-all buddy for too many years to count. The trowel and I have both aged. The trowel’s wood handle is worn but the blade still sharp with its owner also worn and hopefully just as sharp:)

If you’ve taken the opportunity to read my “About Me” page, you’ll know that two of my three passions are Writing and Gardening (Golf has temporarily migrated to third place passion).  Well, conflict is not new to writers or gardeners. I recall a statement I read by James Scott Bell, Author of “Just Write” ( and other self-help writer publications: “without conflict there is no story.”  Ah yes, there is conflict in my life this spring. I need, want and must be happily working in my small gardens. BUT, I have already fallen hopelessly behind on writing projects in this New Year, 2018. And what about that first Novella I planned to begin? Add in family and social activities – Yikes!

Always a habitual planner, you’d think the solution would be easy- Nada!  There are times when I follow a whim and “Just do it!” as Nike often intones. It’s difficult to choose between your passions under the best of circumstances but when time constraints must be considered a resolution becomes more complex. And then– an AHA moment occurred. The light bulb in my head lit up!

A few years ago a romance short story titled, “When the Lilacs Bloom,” was published in December 2014 (The Storyteller Magazine) and a narrative non-fiction essay in November 2014 titled, “Throwing in the Trowel” (Mary Jane Farms Magazine).  Perhaps it’s again time to combine my two loves: writing and gardening.

BINGO! My mind raced ahead to a favorite environmental place, The Pine Bush, a National Natural Landmark and Environmental Discovery Center located almost in my back yard.  The writing juices are tentatively flowing. Should I write Creative non-fiction, a mystery fiction short story or an article yet to be determined–so many possibilities! Throw in a heavy dose of self- discipline to insure both outdoor and writing passions are fairly shared in upcoming months–conflict resolved.

Dear Readers, located in my front garden for many years is a weathered wrought-iron garden stake with a lovely poem inscribed on it. It’s a beautiful reminder of blending two loves– writing and gardening:

The Kiss of the Sun for Pardon

The Song of the Birds for Mirth

One is nearer God’s heart in a Garden

Than anywhere else on earth

                        –Dorothy Frances Gurney




Posted by: penpatience | March 31, 2018


WRITERS WORDS: “By the time you’re eighty years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.” –George Burns




Many writers today may not have chosen writing as an initial career but decided to bravely cast their line into the writing waters later in life. Many enjoyed earlier, fulfilling careers before the compulsion to write burgeoned inside them or the writing passion could no longer be denied. Witness a few past U.S. Presidents along with many famous celebrities, who, in later years, have taken advantage of fame and notoriety to pen best-selling books. And don’t forget old Aunt Agatha’s contentious, tell-all family memoir that left her ostracized by family members until her death at age 88!

Seniors today are unlike the stereotyped seniors of former generations. Today, when an individual’s age crosses the “over fifty-five” threshold, this senior status may only be reflected with the receipt of the first of many invitations to join the A.A. R.P. Think about a new attitude epitomized in this fun saying found in an all senior publication titled, “the Whisper Walker” distributed in Southeast Florida: “When I get old I’m not going to sit around knitting. I’m going to be clicking my Life Alert button to see how many hot firefighters show up.”—Author Unknown. As a side note, The Whisper Walker is published, written, edited and distributed by a dedicated group of seniors.

Although it’s difficult and challenging to pursue writing projects at any age, a great article, “Publish Your First Book after 50,” by Scott Hoffman (Writer’s Digest- March 28, 2008 issue) highlights mistakes some mature writers often make. However, regardless of age, writing requires hard work, discipline, research and an ability to endure critique and rejection of your writing projects. Here are a few writers whose hard work and due diligence has brought them success later in life:

Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book, “Little House in the Book Woods,” at the age of 64. “Little House on The Prairie” followed later.

Frank McCourt, his first book, “Angela’s Ashes,” was published at the age of 66.

Raymond Chandler published “The Big Sleep, at age 51.

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas published her famous “Everglades: River of Grass,” when she was 57. (Yes, the tragedy at the Parkland, Florida high school bears her namesake.) She lived to age 108.

Anna Sewell published “Black Beauty,” despite health issues when she was 57.

And, although not a writer, Anna Mary Robertson Moses (Grandma Moses) became a famous folk artist painting in earnest at age 78.

So, Mature Writers, it’s never too late to write that memoir, short story, essay, article or your first book.  Listed below is a short list of publications that might be of interest for senior writers:

Reminisce, Good Old Days Magazine, Today’s Senior, AARP – The Magazine, Reader’s Digest and Senior Times. Persimmon Tree, a literary journal, only accepts submissions from women 65 years old and over ( Ageless Authors, is another interesting publication that might be of interest.

When I sit down to write, I remind myself that age is only a number and the more numerical history in the writer, the more history the writer may write.

 Happy Reading and Writing!

A reminder….April is National Autism Month. Last April 2017, I posted, “Nicholas and Me,” in honor of my wonderful grandson, Nicholas. I invite you to reread it again in honor of all autistic children. And don’t forget to light it up blue in April!


Posted by: penpatience | March 1, 2018


WRITERS WORDS: “Life is always going to be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to be convincing and life doesn’t. –Neil Gaiman, author





Resumes are an ongoing resource for hiring managers. A Human Resources Director for many years, I mentioned in an earlier post resumes may make or break an applicant’s opportunity for consideration. Grammatical, spelling errors and extraneous personal information and, most important, not meeting required qualifications will send a resume into a reject pile with a gracious “thank you but no thank you” response. These basic no-no’s aside, a professional resume is often a key element in securing an interview appointment. Although most resume requirements remain the same today, resumes, like many other documents, have been affected by technology and industry changes.

In the past, an “Objectives” paragraph was a mainstay header in a resume. However, some applicants may alter their personal objectives in response to an advertised position tailoring the paragraph to meet the open position. Today, I believe, in lieu of an Objectives overview, writing a brief professional summary outlining your writing qualifications and history would be a more self-promoting, marketing tool.

A Writer Resume requires the same basic parts as other careers: Qualifications, Work History, Education and Awards- Memberships. Qualifications should include all professional writing experiences, i.e. editing, copywriting, desktop publishing, publications, corporate/business and any other relevant experience. (Hey! Did you write a best seller:) Work History, beginning with the most recent work experience, should include Job Title, Dates and, again, a brief description of writing activities. If Work History includes other employment not relevant to writing, include it. Additional skill sets advises a potential employer of your versatility and employability. Education should include any college degrees beginning with the most recent and working backwards.  Also include previous employer “on-the job,” vocational training, online course studies and any other education that might be relevant. List Military Service, Organizational Membership and Awards as applicable.

Personal information, the ending paragraph within a resume, usually listed a candidate’s hobbies and interests. Today, I feel that a personal information paragraph is passé and suggest including only a personal hobby if it’s applicable to a job posting. Recruiters today research potential candidates through social media and internet sites often locating information regarding an applicant before requesting an interview.  Note: Media sites (i.e.-Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blog Sites) should reflect professionalism. Political or religious rants, negativity, or any other derogatory statements that could be misconstrued or deter a potential employer should never be posted. However, if you’re an artist, graphic designer, photographer, etc., posting samples of your expertise are always a positive addition.

Additional Points to Ponder:

A Resume should be one page, two pages maximum in length.
An accompanying cover letter is mandatory for most employers (include why YOU are the best candidate for the position and how your skills will benefit the organization).
A resume should not be a list of performed tasks. Emphasize your skill sets and how they contributed. (10 years as a competent editor resulting in a promotion to Managing Editor for XYZ Publication).
Brief, concise entries are important. No recruiter wants to or will wade through long, wordy paragraphs and extraneous details.

Should every writer have a resume? What about the novice writer just testing the writing waters, a self-employed free-lance writer, or an unknown writer working on publishing that first completed book?  I’ve always been a firm believer everyone, whether an individual’s background is sparse or extensive, should document their professional history in writing.

The following are a few great writer resume sites:  (Moira Allen-Editor) (writer resume example) and (writer resume template)






Posted by: penpatience | February 1, 2018


WRITERS WORDS: “Do one thing every day that scares you. “ – Eleanor Roosevelt




GEE – Musher command for a right turn

HAW – Musher command for a left turn

MUSH! HIKE! ALL RIGHT! LET’S GO! – Commands to start the team

I have always been enthralled by “The Greatest Race on Earth®” – The Iditarod. The Iditarod is a dangerous race with dogsled teams traveling through rough terrain, mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests and miles of windswept coast in temperatures often below zero. An Anchorage newspaper in 1983 stated “the word Iditarod comes from the Ingalik Indian word Halditarod which was named for the river where the town was built. It means distant place.” Mushers cover approximately 1049+ miles in ten to seventeen days beginning from Anchorage in south central Alaska to Nome, on the western Bering Sea coast alternating northern and southern routes each year. I believe it is the ultimate challenge of man and beast, a race led by a musher (adult male/female racer) and a lead alpha dog in a dog pack comprised of approximately 12-16 dogs.

Why am I so enamored by the Iditarod? Pitting a team of one musher and 12-16 dogs against Alaska’s harsh landscape along a treacherous route with long hours of darkness, through blizzards and gale force winds, over hills, mountain passes and rivers in competition with other talented teams, to me, is mind-boggling.  So much can go wrong and often does. Accidents happen. An injured or sick dog must be left behind at the closest checkpoint “drop-off” and cannot be replaced with another dog during the race. Mushers have become lost or injured and often must also drop out from the race. And without hard, year round work and training, chances for winning the race are slim to none.

I thought about the enormous task of choosing, caring and training a dozen or more dogs. A musher cannot choose any husky (any Northern type dog). Dogs must be chosen for temperament, intelligence, strength and the ability to work together with other dogs as a team. It’s not an easy choice. Multiple dogs put together naturally react to pack mentality and in a pack you must have an Alpha (leader) dog. Although the musher is the true Alpha Team Leader, communication and a close relationship between musher and lead dog is necessary for success. The lead dog must understand musher oral commands to lead the pack and sled in the right direction. And dogs will be dogs. Rivalry and dog fights between two dogs must be resolved with the dogs separated from each other on the team. All breeds (Siberian Huskies are recognized by the American Kennel Club and usually have blue eyes) of sled dogs are working dogs and require special food in large amounts to maintain energy in the race. They must wear Booties on their feet to avoid cuts and sores. Sleds and equipment, food and health care of the team are expensive. Training and care of the dog team is a year-round endeavor. It takes money, time and patience.

What intrigues me the most about the Iditarod? It’s not a dog race (think horse racing at Belmont or Greyhound racing in Florida). It’s a musher and dog team working together overcoming human and nature’s obstacles to win a competition and achieve a difficult and challenging goal. Although there has been criticism from animal rights groups calling the Iditarod dog abuse, I believe most mushers love their dogs, provide good care and cooperate with all necessary health regulations.

Listed below are a few interesting Iditarod facts:

  • The first Iditarod race was March 3, 1973.
  • The largest number of mushers to finish a single race was 77 in 2004.
  • Mary Shields, in 1974, was the first woman to complete the race.
  • Libby Riddles, in 1985 was the only musher to brave a blizzard becoming the first woman to win the race.
  • In 1986 Susan Butcher broke Rick Swenson’s record set in 1981. (Susan was a four time winner: 1986,1987, 1988, and 1990)
  • Rick Swenson, the only five time winner: 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1991 is now the only musher to win the Iditarod in three different decades, a record that will probably never be broken.

Interested readers can learn more about the Iditarod within the following sites:,,


Note: Iditarod fans! The 2018 Iditarod race will begin on Saturday, March 3, 2018!



Posted by: penpatience | January 1, 2018


WRITERS WORDS: “Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” – Tom Stoppard





It’s the New Year again -2018 this time around. The “FA-LA-LAs” of the holiday season are past leaving the great, good, bad and ugly of 2017 behind. Its winter time across our great country and depending on where you live, the weather temperatures have dropped, the days have grown shorter and the homebound work commute is often in darkness. Most residents residing in the Northern states bundle up against the biting cold, shovel endless snowfalls, and whisper “Hail Mary’s” when their vehicles slip and slide over treacherous highways (and yes, it sometimes snows in the Southern states: Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama had snowfalls this past December) These cold, bleak and often sunless days are what I call the January Blahs!

However, it is again a New Year, an opportunity for new beginnings, new inspirations, new plans and renewed hopes for our future as a people and a country. The other day while reading the morning newspaper, I tried desperately to avoid horrific headlines of murders, sexual harassment disclosures, states-wide hurricanes and windswept fire devastations, political unrest, mass-shootings of innocent people and, after reading the comics to boost my spirits, I flipped to the next page and noticed the daily Horoscope.

Although I occasionally read the Horoscope, more for a lark than anything else, I don’t put any credence in the Day’s rating: a 10 ranking being the easiest day and a 0 the most challenging. That particular day the nine astrological signs rankings ranged from 7-9. No easiest 10 day or 0 challenge days were noted. I wondered –What! No 1-6 rankings?  Here were a few statements regarding physical activities under the signs:

“Physical action provides satisfying results.”

“Physical activity is more fun together.”

“Energize your work and health through physical exercise for about six weeks.”

“Back up romantic words with physical efforts.”  ( Hmmm…)

“Pour physical energy into professional endeavors.”


Some other statements across the board:  “You’re making money.” “Make financial plans with your partner.” “Move forward boldly in your career.” “Cash flows with more intensity over the next six weeks” “Give in to romance.” “Clean closets, garages and attics”(!No Way) “Use your power for good.” “You’re growing stronger.” “Collaborate with someone interesting.” “Meditate in Nature.”

For readers who are astrology followers, there is a plethora of online and hard copy historical information available. Here is a very brief overview blurb:

“Astrology,(not to be confused with Astronomy) in its broadest sense, is the search for meaning in the sky. Early evidence for humans making conscious attempts to measure, record, and predict seasonal changes by reference to astronomical cycles, appears as markings on bones and cave walls, which show the lunar cycles were being noted as early as 25,000 years ago. This was a first step towards recording the Moon’s influence upon tides and rivers, and towards organizing a communal calendar.” (….) “Western astrology is founded on the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies such as the Sun, Moon and planets, which are analyzed by their movement through signs of the zodiac (twelve spatial divisions of the sky).  Western astrology is a form of divination based on the construction of a horoscope for an exact moment, such as a person’s birth. It uses the tropical zodiac, which is aligned to the equinoctial points.”  (Wikipedia-12/2017)

While researching astrological information for this Musing, I found it a welcome respite from reading printed traumas. It was pleasant to digress into an entertaining refuge for a brief period of time and laugh at nonsensical numbers advising me whether I should expect an easy or more difficult day. Perhaps it was also subconscious avoidance of facing the ongoing regurgitation of gruesome news that impelled me to seek the more enjoyable columns. Hopefully, the January “blahs” will soon pass and this New Year, 2018, will usher in renewed hope and generate the necessary improvements to put a “Humpty Dumpty” country back together again.

On a positive note, this writer, born in April under the astrological Aries sign, read some encouraging words the other day. “Winter changes provide creative inspiration. Get your message out.  AND “Get into action with writing, publishing and communication projects.”

What a way to begin the New Year…..despite the January BLAH, BLAH, BLAHs!


Posted by: penpatience | December 1, 2017


WRITERS WORDS: “I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”-James Michener




     Once upon a time there was a young girl named Margaret Ellen Weldon. One of ten children, she was born in Indian Territory, now the state of Oklahoma. The daughter of a farmer and rancher, she grew up with a great knowledge and appreciation of nature.  Called “Marge,” she began writing in her high school years, but writing was put on hold after marrying a railroad engineer and moving to Nevada where she raised two sons.

     Marge became a member of our family when her son married my sister and over the years she became a proud grandma of two granddaughters and two grandsons. Later, during her retirement years, Marge moved again to a ranch in Oregon where she resumed writing.

     Time passed. When Marge’s husband died; she sold the Oregon ranch and moved to Phoenix, Arizona to be near her only surviving son and grandchildren. One day, and it was only by chance, my sister was helping her elderly mother-in-law with household chores when she opened a bureau drawer and discovered saved snippets of prose and poetry Marge had written and collected over many years. Enthralled with the find, Michelin and Marge ditched the housework that day and after reading many poems decided they were good enough for publication.

     Marge named the poetry collection, “Random Thoughts,” and her book of poetry, published in 1989, won the Silver Poet Award from the World of Poetry. Her son, Jim, escorted Marge to Sacramento, California where she accepted the award. She was 85 years old.


There will be peace when all is still;

      No Life exists upon the hill,

Nor in the Valleys or Ocean deep

The sun shines on no time to keep.


No records show the winds that blow,

      The rain that falls, or depth of snow.

Ages may roll and leave no trace of the human race,

Upon this earth, or out in space.


Laughing waters may abound,

     No ears exist, there is no sound.

No songs to greet the coming spring,

There are no birds, their songs to sing.


Seasons come and seasons may go,

     There is no one to reap, no one to sow;

No bombs to burst forth in the sky;

No hearts to bleed, no eyes to cry.


No bells to ring on Christmas Day

No happy children’s voices say

     “Merry Christmas!”

For silence reigns upon the hill,

And there is Peace; stark Peace.

     Oh, Peace be still.

Random Thoughts – Dedication Excerpt:

“I dedicate this collection of poems to my parents for their work, love and devotion to the home where they brought up ten children; and for the privilege of growing up in a free and creedless atmosphere—where on festive occasions I enjoyed both my grandfathers who fought in the Civil War, one on the North, the other on the South, and see them gleefully watch their grandchildren skip to the tunes of Yankee Doodle and Dixie Land, and to my children and grandchildren for their effort to provide homes, where inquiring minds are not afraid to ask questions or seek answers.” –Margaret E. Weldon, Glendale Arizona, November 1989

Marge Weldon died in a warm Arizona winter in the year 2000. She was 94 years old and left her family cherished memories and an enduring love of nature.

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year!




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