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You Get to Choose


You Have The Power

Face it. People do awful things, some are pros at it. You get to choose who you want in your life. Just because you are related or have until now filled a certain role, you do not have to continue.

It is your life, your choice. Only YOU can change how and with whom you live. Bastards be gone!

Working through these choices can take time, support and courage.

Take all the time you need for change. Take baby steps. Review and adjust and repeat.

This is YOUR life and you get to choose who is in it.

There is a Price to Speaking Your Truth, But Do It Anyway




Tell It Like It Is

Tell it like it is. Speak your truth. Let it loose. Screw pretending, being nice all the time or keeping the peace at any price.

Keeping it real allows you to ride the peaks and valleys of each day and deal with what comes up in the moment. Would you rather address something in a timely manner or hang onto a resentment for years?

Deal with it and be done. Sometimes dealing with it will mean breaking ties or walking away. You get to decide.

Ways I do not speak my truth……..

Remember, not everything is worth sharing. Pick your battles. Stay strong.




Embarrassing shit happens. We all make mistakes and do stupid stuff. Unfortunately, sometimes those things are recorded for the entire world to see repeatedly and forever. Discretion can keep a minor stupidity from becoming fodder for cable comedy routines.

If there are things you would rather forget, can you make peace with yourself about them?

You did what you did then. If the same thing happened now, you would do differently, maybe…

Can you forgive yourself for making the choices you made?

Bad Attitude- If You Have One, Own It


Bad Attitude

Whatever we do, let’s take responsibility.

No doubt, there are times when you want to hurt someone. You are hurt, it is a natural reaction to lash out. There are times when the only good option seems to be a slap upside the head. You can argue it is justified and deserved but IF you decide to take action, be ready to take responsibility.

Face facts-Nobody MAKES you do anything. You choose your behavior. Always.

Accountability- What have you done that you are ready to own?

Introspection-Can you identify your triggers? What sets you off?

Your choice to make-Are you ready to explore these and make some shifts?

Poem for a Sunday

The Broken Place

Go to the broken place. The place of proof of pain.

The damage there is but a hint, a clue of what was.

The collision of experiences, a lashing out and receiver.

There is no one truth but a decision to be made with endless possibility of shading, in each moment another choice.

The shards of glass and rock tell one story, no longer a window to one view.

Set free of space and place, there could be, one day, sea glass.

What am I now, here? Broken, bleeding, swollen, healed or all?

Can bud and bloom be at once? Am I becoming or complete?

What in this moment is real, what I decide or what I can recognize or is it all the same, coexisting or simply my imagining?

Go to the broken place to see and be.

I am in a broken place, one of many, I have lost count.

Not that it matters. The hurt is only real in my mind, my choice of pain.

Are all wounds imagined? Can I heal or is this another illusion?

Is being other than I am unnecessary? Is once or twice imagined no more than never thought?

Real or not, go to the broken place.

Discover, realize, decide.

And once I think I have finished, I see or feel and know there is another journey.

Looking at a Past Self





Spammers are persistent. Once I activated the anti spam filter for Mama Porter, notices started coming from an inactive blog site. I followed a link this morning and found this blog entry, commenting on a Facebook post that a friend shared. I still agree with much of what I wrote. Some comments are a bit, “Nobody’s going to tell me what to do.” In any event, it is like a time capsule, some things still have meaning and others are, ‘what was I thinking?’ I would like to think I am less contrary six years later, but I think I remain opinionated and attitudinal. See what you think.

Picky, Picky, Picky

Tips For A Better Life   They can call their list whatever they want

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk each day. And while you walk, smile.   A bit bossy for my taste. Maybe I won’t want to smile. Maybe I will want to grin. Maybe I’ll sing, hum or chant. I think deciding what you want to do while you walk is very personal.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. No real complaint here but I do think that starting out with a few minutes silence will be challenging enough for anyone just starting out and working up to 10 would be a goal for many.

3. Sleep for 7 hours. I would like to sleep for 10 hours each night because I really do enjoy my dreams and the more I sleep, the more I dream. As it is, I am forced to limit dream time and spend more time in “my happy place” while awake.

4. Live the 3 E’s- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy. I prefer the three C’s- Courage, Compassion and Coffee. Then there are the three R’s I have written about previously.

5. Play more games. How about “be more playful”? I like to spin or to try to skip stones or make mudpies but they are not games. Games bring out the nasty, competitive, win-at-any-cost side of me. That sounds fun, right??

6. Read more books than you did the previous year. I like that. Also, I would suggest to do more of whatever brings you joy than you did the previous year.

7. Make time to practice meditation, prayer and yoga. They provide us with fuel for our busy life. How about an “or” instead of the “and”. I think doing even one of these practices each day can replenish us.

8. Spend time with people over 70 and under the age of 6. There is a lot of wisdom in this. The more connections we can make, the better. I try to spend time with people who are not like me, just to find out how much we have in common.

9. Dream more while you are awake. I have a happy place. I spend a lot of time there.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and less that is manufactured in plants. No argument there.

11. Drink plenty of water. Sounds good to me.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day. I don’t even want to try to explain the crazyville scene in my head right now where I am “TRYING TO MAKE PEOPLE SMILE…GRRRR.” How about if I smile at many people each day and let them decide when they want to smile.

13. Don’t waste precious time on gossip. I will continue to reserve a few non-precious moments for cattiness. I own it. It can be fun and I make sure to acknowledge the bitchiness with a “reeeerrr” when I resort to it.

14. Forget past issues. Don’t remind a partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present. These people are no fun at all. What is the good of having a memory if you don’t share it?? I bring up my own failings and laugh about them. I think any time you make an absolute, it is a mistake. I would not, most of the time, bring up anything from the past to really hurt someone. Acknowledging and admitting frailty creates intimacy.

15. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment. Is English the writer’s second language? You can’t tell me what kind of thoughts not to have. Maybe you meant to write “about” instead of “or”- that would make more sense. I would agree to stay in the moment, that happiness lies in the now.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a price and dinner as a beggar. Trite, but it follows well researched advise. I would prefer to be more aware of my body as the physical vessel of my soul and treat it with consistent respect.

18. Smile and laugh more. Amen.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others. What is with this don’t do this and that? If the feeling of hate comes up, that person is mirroring for you what it is you don’t like or don’t want to face in yourself. Feelings of annoyance and hate are invitations for self work. Of course, it is a lot easier to put in on someone else than to own it

20. Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else does. That just sounds mean. I agree to not take myself seriously in that I am not the final word and authority, that I have a limited knowledge base. I think that most of the time, we don’t take ourselves seriously enough. Who follows all their intuitive feelings? How many times have you not respected yourself enough to say “No”, set boundaries, or pushed yourself to the point where hurting yourself is the only way you can stop doing something? Officiousness, no. Respect, yes.

21. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. How about no one has to win any argument? How about we move from competition to cooperation where everyone has a point with a varying degree of merit? How about shifting from right and wrong to different?

22. Make peace with your past so it does not spoil your present. Agreed.

23. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Don’t compare your partner with others. Amen.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you. Hallelujah!

25. Forgive everyone everything. Including yourself for being human.

26. What other people think of you is none of your business. And you have absolutely no control over it. What they think about others has more to do with how they feel about themselves than with the others.

27. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. Everything changes. When can we get beyond the good-bad thing and simply accept that what is, is.

28. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch. I agree with the staying in touch part. I don’t know about the expectation of care-taking.

29. Get rid of anything that is not useful, beautiful or joyful. YES!

30. Envy is a waste of time. You already have everything you need. Agreed. And how about attracting something as good or better for yourself?

31. The best is yet to come. Excuse me? What about the mindfulness, living in the present stuff? Now is all any of us have. Now rocks, man.

32. No matter how you feel, get up get dressed and show up. Unless you are contagious. In that case, stay home. Alone. In bed.

33. Do the right thing. As best you can judge it in the moment, always strive to do the right thing.

34. Call your family often. Friends, too. Never let love or a compliment go unexpressed.

35. Your inner most is always happy. So be happy. I really don’t know what that means and I have the feeling if I read it over too many times, my head will explode.

36. Every day, give something good to others. Sure, okay. I am trying to not think about the old man giving candy to kids scenario… I think it is the English as a second language thing.

37. Don’t over do. Keep your limits. Sure.

38. Share this with someone you care about. I am not even going there. For now.
And so it is.   Karen

Baltimore After France


Baltimore After France

This was the view from our terrace in Caramany, France. We rented a house for two weeks and it was heaven. The weather was great, the food was incredible, the wine superb and the company magnificent. I must have been exposed to some bad bug on the flight to France because I started with post-nasal drip and a sore throat the third night there. If there is a place to be sick, I would choose France. The codeine cough syrup I needed was available without a prescription. My brother insisted that I was sick because I was not drinking enough to kill the germs. Taking mega doses of vitamin C and homeopathic cold stoppers, I managed to feel up to half day adventures. I read four books and we had several movie nights (I learned that the recordings one makes can be played on all DVD zones while commercial DVD’s are zone specific).

I wrote a chapter about anticipating travel in Live Your Life With Attitude (I added it to the end of this post.) Interestingly enough, I need to follow my own advice AFTER the trip. Re-entry has been slow. The flight home worsened my cough and the remnants of whatever it was have settled in my throat, giving me a croaky cracking voice. Yes, I realize the irony that as President of the Board of Heal My Voice, I am needing to heal my voice.

So this first week back has been low key. No car- older son has been given my car since he now has a full time job that he did not have when we left. Not a big deal since I needed to stay inside to recuperate. I redid the e-book version of ‘Attitude’ so there is a table of contents that links to each section. I cooked and did some binge watching to catch up on TV series.

One of the joys of travel is bringing things home. I used a bouquet garni in a bean soup, opened the ‘black gold’ coffee and have shared a couple olive oil soaps. I will keep and use at least one of the soaps and we will eventually enjoy some very fine wine. Savor, not save. Enjoy where I am, right?

There will be more trips, other destinations. The adventure, however, is in the moment.



Vacations can be fabulous, amazing, and rejuvenating. They can also be stress-filled, over planned and exhausting. Sometimes the anticipation of a getaway is enough to get you through a rough patch. Maybe the trick is to always have something you are happily awaiting. Having a coffee exactly the way you love it, taking a cool shower during a hot day or using the lemon verbena soap you have been saving can feel delightfully luxurious. Stop SAVING and begin SAVORING. Think of how many things you could look forward to and how many ways you can treat yourself to that restorative feeling of a getaway.

Things I have saved for the future…….

Things I have saved that I would enjoy using now…..

Things I can do differently to make them feel special……

Let’s Celebrate Attitude!

Attitude gets us through the day. It got me through years of abuse, post traumatic stress and on to a full life. It has been a very long labor but ALL versions of Live Your Life With Attitude are in the world via Amazon. Here is one of the 52 Attitudes.


State Your Needs

Nobody can read you mind. Suffering in silence is stupid. Assuming that others will anticipate and fill your needs is grandiose fantasy. Just assume that people are stupid and lost in their own thoughts. The world does not know what you need until you put it out there for all to hear. Then there is a chance of getting what you want. Maybe not a big chance, but at least it enters the realm of possibility.

  • What do you want or need that nobody knows?

  • How will it feel when those needs are met?

  • What is the worst that can happen when you ask for what you need?

  • Is it worth the risk right now?


Each of the fifty-two Attitudes is represented by vintage photo collage and smart remark. With each are thoughts, questions and some prompts, inviting you to share and explore YOUR attitude.  There are fifty-two attitudes in case you would like to use it weekly.

The B&W 6×9 version is great for portability and features a blank page opposite each collage. The 8.5×11 Color version is beautiful and the larger format provides space for your entries, thoughts and inspiration. If you choose the Kindle version, most programs used for reading e-books will support note taking so you can have an e-journal.

Black & White 6×9

Color edition

Kindle version




Taking Responsibility


Bad Attitude

No doubt, there are times when you want to hurt someone. There are times when the only good option seems to be a slap upside the head. You can argue it is justified and deserved but IF you decide to take action, be ready to take responsibility.

Nobody MAKES you do anything. You choose your behavior. Always. I know, it’s a bitch not to have someone to blame. “The devil made me do it” doesn’t work anymore, except in groups I don’t want to think about. Taking responsibility, total responsibility for your life and actions is the key to freedom. Sometimes it is the hardest thing to do. It is easier to hide behind blame and victimization but when you do, you give away all your power.

We have all done things that were embarrassing, not prudent, perhaps technically illegal. When we know better, do do better. Live and learn. It’s just good that we survive our stupidity. Hon, I am so glad to be older than technology like flip-cams and instagram or Lord only knows what would be out there.

What have you done that you are ready to own? Do you have a pattern of ‘going off’ on people or in specific situations? If problematic behavior persists, can you begin to identify your triggers, what sets you on the path of destruction? Ready to do some reflection and shifting?




Everything is better at the beach. It is that get-away from everything, experience of relaxation and rejuvenation that you have at the beach, or in the south of France of in your armchair with a delicious read.

I am an Ocean City in the winter kind of gal but I know the ‘everything is better at the beach’ feeling. Sometimes life intervenes and a physical getaway isn’t possible, Last summer, my sister-in-law, Peg was in Johns Hopkins Hospital for most of the summer. They had picnics in the hospital room. I got a lot of knitting done during my days with Peg. When she was able, we talked a lot. When she slept, I knit. Either way, I was there for when she needed something while Dan was at work.

Escape is a key element of the beach attitude. Escape from stress, demands, routine. I worked on Live Your Life With Attitude during two remodels- one bath and one kitchen going on during the same period of time. Working on the photo collages was my escape.

Movies, television and reading can be effective escapes. I do enjoy a good binge watch. It may be detective novels, sci-fi, a trashy romance or rereading an old favorite for you. Maybe it is a special cup of tea with certain music playing. Looking through magazines, taking a long bath, reading recipes, or planning an outing can be fun and relaxing. Naps are amazing. Daydreaming is divine. Be carried away on a wave of sound. Frogs croaking, cicada song, or bird calls can take you to a different place and time.

The important thing is that you take the time for yourself to refresh, rejuvenate, relax, and re-create. You need it and deserve it. It’s one of those things you have to do for yourself. Having someone yell, “Relax. Relax. Relax, goddammit!” will not work. And it is something you can do without cost or permission. Attitude, baby. It’s all about attitude.