Hell's Little Paving Stones, Humor

It’s Not That Time of the Year Without… #WordsMatter

5 Oct , 2019  

…sense memories niggling at the back of your brain like caramel corn and candy apples, or mulled cider simmering on the stovetop. Or that one overused autumn trope that deserves to find its face on a red Solo cup.

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Celebrate Banned Books Week!

23 Sep , 2019  

As a huge fan of our Constitution‘s First Amendment, Banned Books Week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It feels a little like doing battle with the specter of the Dark Ages. Banned books? Is this even a thing in 2019? In America? My daughter and I have a longstanding tradition stemming from […]

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That Which We Tolerate, and That Which We Don’t

22 Sep , 2019  

It’s no secret that I have liberal leanings. I’ve said before that I wish we were “socialist for what we need, and capitalist for all the little luxuries we want,” which oversimplifies, but sums up a “mixed economy” fairly well. I care about people. I believe that, so long as we have it in our […]

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No Drama Llama and His Trusty Steed, Armadillo

Blogging & Social Media Tips

Netiquette in the Nineties

14 Sep , 2019  

Do we really need to regulate the minutiae of human interaction? Or is it enough to warn of the bigger pitfalls – social gaffes that might well start a war?

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Outdoors, Poetry, Writing

A Morning Bath #WordsMatter #WhenItRains

7 Sep , 2019  

The silly squirrel is back – looking as if he’d like to climb right through my kitchen window for his morning bath and breakfast!

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Reviving the Zombie Blog #WriteBravely #WriteTribe

16 Jun , 2019  

It’s a little dysfunctional, this business of killing off my blog once or twice a year, just so I can revive it.

I love a challenge.

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To My Dad, on Father’s Day

16 Jun , 2019  

Thank you, Dad… …for demonstrating the importance of education, and setting a good example; …for letting me play with your monstrosity of a calculator – I would never understand the math (no doubt, to your everlasting frustration), but its resemblance to a typewriter surely had some influence on me; …for your even temper; …for taking me nice […]


Hell's Little Paving Stones, Journal

100 GOOD Things About Me

18 Feb , 2019  

It’s easy to write “100 Things About Me.” But almost nine years ago, I was challenged to write “100 GOOD Things About Me.” Let this serve as an introduction to newcomers, here, as well as a list of affirmations. If you prefer a visual intro, click here. 100 GOOD Things (in No Particular Order, Plus […]

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Consider the Source

14 Feb , 2019  

There’s a little game I refuse to play. It’s called, “You can’t be friends with me if you’re friends with [fill in the blank]!” My stock answer to that is, “Fine, I’m sorry you feel that way. I guess we can’t be friends.” I don’t care if the person saying it is my best friend […]

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Blogging & Social Media Tips, On Writing, Op-Ed

I Write Like…Me. Or do I?

2 Feb , 2019  

My writing is identifiable – it is a redolent of Agatha Christie cookies, with a hint of Stephen King cake, and a healthy side Anne Rice. It is male, with a softer side. European female, maybe. Gender fluid, and ageless as time itself. That’s just a nice way of saying “AI is stupid.” Or maybe I really AM Stephen King…. How would YOU know?

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Travel, Uncategorized, Visual Perspectives

Old Friends, Newly Met

28 Dec , 2018  

I have many friends who live in the little box under my desk. Now and then, I’m lucky enough to meet them, face to face, sometimes decades after cementing our friendships online. In 2016, I posted an interview by my friend Todd Kruse of artist Carl Yoshihara. Those two have taught me to appreciate abstract […]

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Hell's Little Paving Stones

Limitless #WOTY #WOTY2019

28 Dec , 2018  

I don’t like these games. There’s a carnival barker in my head, holding out an enormous deck of tarot cards: “Pick a word, any word, just one word to be your guiding light in the coming year…”  No! I sense a trap. Resist… yes, that’s a good word. The whole idea triggers an obstinate resistance. […]

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A Reading Resolution

27 Dec , 2018  

I talk a good fight, but have not been acting like an avid reader for far too long. I have many books waiting in the TBR pile, longing silently for attention. My husband’s convinced I buy the dead tree kind just to fill up the house, earn the nickname “Book Hoarder,” and annoy him with […]

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Humor, Outdoors, Travel, Visual Perspectives

Free to Be a Beach Bum

19 Dec , 2018  

Blissfully doing nothing while on vacation. Living the dream! Just kidding: swimming, eating, walking, taking photos, drinking mai tais, making nose hats – that’s not “doing nothing” after all, is it?

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Outdoors, Travel, Visual Perspectives

Sacrificing to Pele

18 Dec , 2018  

Molokini. Snorkeling, tropical fish, sea turtles – all that, the main attraction for most, was icing on the cake. For me, it was all about the volcano.

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Outdoors, Travel, Visual Perspectives

Finding the Needle (It Wasn’t in a Haystack!)

16 Dec , 2018  

I might be forgiven for moving it to a whole different island; after all, at nine, I was not in charge of transportation. I could drink it all in with my eyes; I wasn’t driving.

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Outdoors, Travel, Visual Perspectives, Writing

High in the House of the Rising Sun

15 Dec , 2018  

10,023 feet high, that is.

What better way to greet the sun than jet-lagged, well-caffeinated, half-frozen, and accompanied by someone you love?

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Health & Wellness

Hunger: A Systemic Problem #GivingTuesday (and Every Day)

27 Nov , 2018  

Learn more about the cost and consequences of food insecurity, and how you can help.

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Help Renu, a Sewing Teacher, Empower a Women's Sewing Circle

Generosity and Thankfulness

Why Give to Project Why? #ProjectWhyDelhi #GivingTuesday

26 Nov , 2018  

I am pleased and honored to help spread the word about Project Why, and specifically, the Project Why Women’s Centre at Madanpur Khadar, New Delhi (#ProjectWhyDelhi) A number of us bloggers learned about Project Why just a couple of years ago, through our friend Damyanti Biswas (@damyantiwrites). And now, we are helping raise much needed funds for […]

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Humor, On Writing

Choose Laughter

17 Nov , 2018  

Any time you have a choice between tears and laughter, choose laughter. Crying only adds insult to injury by giving you a stuffy nose. Dear Constant Reader, has it really been weeks since we had coffee and a chat? At first, I found the emails vaguely insulting: No fewer than four friends forwarded, to me, […]

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#Inktober2018, Visual Perspectives

Clock #Inktober #Inktober2018

14 Oct , 2018  

The kind of art I aspire to takes patience. Precision. The hardest part isn’t the sketching. And technique can be learned, practiced, and improved. But patience, particularly with myself, is not my greatest virtue. Tempus fugit. Reference Image

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#Inktober2018, Visual Perspectives

Whale #Inktober #Inktober2018

12 Oct , 2018  

I like this one. It’s a peaceful image, isn’t it? I have been craving a swim in the ocean. Maybe not quite deep enough to encounter one of these immense creatures, but I envy this smiling fellow, just a little bit. Reference Image

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#Inktober2018, Visual Perspectives

Star #Inktober #Inktober2018

8 Oct , 2018  

Day 8. A star, eclipsed. I considered everything from a simple pentagram to a Hollywood star on a dirty sidewalk. But today’s prompt came on the heels of my first dip pen and assorted calligraphy nibs. I wanted to experiment a little with India ink, pens, water, a paintbrush, a shotglass… and that’s when this […]

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#Inktober2018, Visual Perspectives

Exhausted #Inktober #Inktober2018

7 Oct , 2018  

Nothing sweeter than a toddler, exhausted from imaginative play, watched over by her beloved bunny while she sleeps. Reference images: https://www.babycenter.com/ims/2015/04/xiStock_10749141_wide.jpg.pagespeed.ic.DAjjMhB2AL.jpg https://www.google.com/shopping/product/16284815929933159048?lsf=seller:2770080,store:1590003140204069138&prds=oid:14605825836135765838&q=floppy+bunny+toy&hl=en&ei=2VO6W5aLPIOEtQX_wJb4Dg&lsft=gclid:Cj0KCQjw3ebdBRC1ARIsAD8U0V5uxfthACqgl4cao_xlODiHt2eDdHiq9E4D9QRuX_mRPwoUV423Z8EaAnpoEALw_wcB

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#Inktober2018, Visual Perspectives

“Chicken” #Inktober #Inktober 2018

5 Oct , 2018  

Cheeky chicken. Too tough to be called “chicken,” and probably too tough to be roasted. Truly, a chicken for our time. Reference image: https://goo.gl/images/HgBaSZ

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#Inktober2018, Uncategorized, Visual Perspectives

Spell #Inktober #Inktober2018

4 Oct , 2018  

For my son… He’ll know why.

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#Inktober2018, Visual Perspectives

Create-ation, an Extended Sort of Stay-cation

30 Sep , 2018  

When you’re fed up with the world, and with social media, but it’s still your “playground,” you have to do something. My “something” this month is #Inktober2018 (it is, to art, what NaNoWriMo is to writing). I don’t expect to rise, fully, to the 30 day challenge of #Inktober, nor do I expect too complete a NaNoWriMo […]


Celebrating Banned Books Week 2018

24 Sep , 2018  

Books expose us to ideas that are not our own, not our friends’, not our neighbors’, not our teachers’ or our ministers’. We are free to see books as sympathetic friends or challenging adversaries. But let’s make sure we’re free to read them, and to make those choices for ourselves.

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Blogging & Social Media Tips, Op-Ed

Repurposing Content or Self-Plagiarism?

13 Sep , 2018  

You could call this post “mental compost,” wherein I throw the mental scraps about reusing content, self-plagiarism, and even propaganda into one post, shake it up, and hope it will fertilize new ideas.

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I Love the Smell of Decomp in the Morning

9 Sep , 2018  

She had a primrose path, a little wooded section, and far to the back, a compost heap that she turned regularly with a pitchfork. It smelled of earth and death and life, and it made rich soil for her wildflowers. She taught us not to waste things, but we were kids and we forgot.

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