Yes, there are those daily and weekly and monthly tasks each of us must do to help maintain our household. My list includes:

  1. Mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.
  2. Bringing in firewood and carrying out the ash, six or seven months of the year.
  3. Vacuuming and dusting. Not in that order. Then washing the kitchen floor.
  4. Cleaning the rabbit cage.
  5. Paying bills.
  6. Taking compost from the kitchen out to the covered container by the woodpile.
  7. Handwashing dishes.
  8. Hauling the green trash bags and our recycling down to the curb.
  9. Picking berries in season.
  10. Making our bed.


What about you? And which of yours do you most dislike?


Oh, to get away from it all! Even if there are no doubt chores here, too. (Sandwich, New Hampshire)


There’s a word for these. Phobias. Maybe you know the particular terms for each one.

  1. You pass a police car sitting beside a highway and automatically look in the rear-view mirror, clueless to any possible offense.
  2. Spiders or rats, just because others in my household freak out at the slightest suspicion.
  3. Any missing item. I’ll go squirrelly trying to find it.
  4. Saying the wrong thing … after the fact. Just what was it, anyway? How could that possibly have been offensive?
  5. I’m going to be late – or even miss it altogether. An airline flight, a crucial appointment, or just a big meeting, maybe even where I’m the featured attraction. But interruptions keep me from getting started out the door. And then there’s the possibility of bad traffic.
  6. Some undiagnosed affliction. Like cancer.
  7. Being powerless or helpless. Especially in the face of bureaucracy or injustice.
  8. Losing my keys.
  9. Can’t find the car. Not just a parking lot, either.
  10. Getting locked out of the house when everyone else is away.


’Fess up now. Add to the list.

Oh, yes, daisies!

Of course, this is totally unrelated to the theme. Just another thing on my mind.


Admittedly, I’m a pretty sedentary guy. I spent my career in an office. And a writer spends hour after hour at a keyboard or researching or reading. So here’s what I do when I’m in full-body motion. And remember, “favorite” here is all relative.

  1. Swimming a half-mile a day, usually in Dover’s indoor pool.
  2. Hiking and walking.
  3. Cross-country skiing.
  4. Folk dancing. New England contras and squares, Greek, and English country, especially.
  5. Singing in a choir. I’ve mentioned the Revels Singers how many times now?
  6. Stacking firewood … there’s an art to keeping it from collapsing.
  7. Shoveling snow … just don’t tell anyone it can be pleasurable in short doses.
  8. Mowing the lawn … love my battery-powered Ryobi.
  9. Collecting seaweed for the garden … yes, it’s a pain, as well. Some things are mixed blessings.
  10. Pushing a wheelbarrow. Usually, there’s an additional chore involved, like trimming the hedges or moving compost.

I hope to get bicycling back on the list. I loved it as a kid.


What keeps you in shape? More or less?

Continuing the poetry parade, see what’s new at THISTLE/FLINCH.


We’ve tried to keep them from getting bored as we swim laps. They’ve done the same. Come to think of it, I doubt that I’ve ever used any of these names in my fiction.

  1. Tynisha.
  2. Caleb.
  3. Hannah.
  4. Nate.
  5. Emilee.
  6. Lexi.
  7. Jess.
  8. Moriah.
  9. Matty.
  10. Alec (plus Alex, as a team).


Dustin Hoffman’s moonlighting job in Stranger Than Fiction almost made the list, but real life wins out on this one. Come to think of it, these could all be movie stars.

Well, how’s that for a prompt? Who do you know who’d you cast in a movie? Turn into a big celebrity, if you could?

Wisps of morning fog on the Damariscotta River, Maine. Tall masted clipper ships built just upstream once passed by here on their way to long trips on the oceans.

Of course, this is totally unrelated to the theme. Just another thing on my mind.


For me, it’s:

  1. Pie, rather than cake.
  2. Really creamy vanilla ice cream.
  3. Or gelato. I’m more open to other flavors here, too. Unless it’s Tahitian vanilla, which comes close to ambrosia.
  4. My wife’s really changed my mind here.
  5. Anything creamy, actually. Tapioca float, panna cotta, custard – she knows the long list.
  6. Crème brulee. Don’t tell me it’s mostly custard, not when it’s done right. And that shattery top is like walking on ice-covered puddles when we were kids. You just love to hear it crackle.
  7. Blueberry torte, as my wife makes it. With our own blueberries, natch. Makes a great breakfast, too.
  8. A hearty red wine accompanying a chunk of dark chocolate.
  9. Or their cousins, creampuffs or eclairs.
  10. Fresh strawberries, as in shortcake. (Well, you wouldn’t call that cake now, would you?) Although actually, I tend to think of this more as starting the day.


What would you add to the list?


Towels and a washcloth await guests in the room across from my studio.

Of course, this is totally unrelated to the theme. Just another thing on my mind.



(Well, almost every morning – and waking up doesn’t count.)

  1. Shuffle down the stairs to the kitchen. Get a big mug of thick coffee laced with milk and sugar.
  2. Climb to my third-floor studio, boot up, check up on WordPress activity.
  3. And then emails and other social media.
  4. Get a round of Duolingo Spanish in. Muy bien.
  5. Return to the second floor. Dental hygiene. Good boy!
  6. Down to the ground floor. Be briefed on the overnight news by my wife. This can’t be happening. Glance at the day’s front-page headlines. Consider the weather forecasts.
  7. Regard the birds at the feeder. The squirrels, too.
  8. Get a second big mug of coffee, perhaps accompanied by toast and jam or homemade yogurt.
  9. Return to my studio to focus on a round of writing and revision. Butt time, as Charles Bukowski so aptly put it.
  10. Back to the bedroom. Dress properly for the rest of the day … and shift gears for whatever’s at the top of my to-do list.


So how do you jump start your day?


Baskets of all sizes and shapes hang from the beams in our kitchen.Of course, this is totally unrelated to the theme. Just another thing on my mind.



I’ve never been a clothes horse, in part because I could rarely get anything that really fit. Let’s say the awareness has come long after childhood. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Wool socks.
  2. My big green terrycloth robe.
  3. My stack of sweaters.
  4. Hawaiian shirts.
  5. Banded collar shirts.
  6. My three custom-cut Jos. Banks suits, back when I was with the newspaper syndicate. Not that they would fit me anymore.
  7. Bell bottoms, back in the day.
  8. And Levi’s, which actually came in my size. Though now I’ve moved on into slacks having more pockets.
  9. Converse sneakers, at least until the fascia plantar kicked in.
  10. Turtlenecks, now that I’ve retired.


So what’s your own favorite attire?

Pussy willows … harbingers of spring.

Of course, this is totally unrelated to the theme. Just another thing on my mind.