Archive for Non Poetry Ramblings

Welcome, 2014!

I, for one, am sincerely happy that 2013 is over.  So many of my friends and family members had a rough year that it seemed that everyday I had bad news.  Sure, there was good news, too — but perhaps I got too overwhelmed in all the Apocalypse madness that I only seemed to focus on the bad.

On the writing front, after a great 2012, I had a slow publishing year.  I sent out a lot of submissions but also got a lot of rejections.  Most of my major accomplishments came out at the start of the year, so I had a long dry spell where my work just didn’t seem grace any journals. I have been actively writing and publishing for about 10 years now, and most of the time I brush rejection notes off the table (or out of the inbox!) But when I get a whole slew of them, I start to have doubts about my talent as a writer.

But 2014 is already showing promise.  To celebrate that promise, I have moved to a real website. Yep, Karen is ready to join the new year.  Besides incorporating links and my general information, I will have a blog on this website.  I do plan to keep The Scrapper Poet up for a while, at least to share links, but for now, you can find me at

(Keep in mind that this is a work in progress.  I know there are dead links and other snafus — but building a website has actually taken me longer than I thought it would!)




Have Yourself a Soggy Little Christmas

Two days ago we had almost a foot of snow on the ground.  As of this morning, it’s all gone, except for a few patches of crusty, dirty snow nestled in the shadows. It’s warm out — and windy. Our backyard is one big puddle of water. We are under Flood warnings instead of Winter Weather advisories, which is what we usually see this time of year.

With the possibility of a White Christmas dwindling, Anthony and I have been busy doing last-minute shopping and baking. (True confession: I do most of the shopping, he does most of the baking.) I am off until the first full week of January, so I am trying to make the best of my free time — catching up on correspondence, cleaning out my files, and reading the stack — no box of books — I have purchased in the last few months including some great poetry collections.  I know that 2014 is just around the corner, and I have some important decisions to make in this upcoming year, but right now, I’m living in the moment.

I will return after Christmas to post my best poetry picks of the year. For now, Anthony and I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!

This is What I Will Be Doing….

Ally Sleeping

…in two more days! As soon as I get my final grades posted, I will take the world’s longest nap inside away from the cold weather and snow.  (In this picture, Ally looks like an Angel, and she is an Angel — when she is sleeping.)

Child Artists for Typhoon Haiyan Relief

Poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil, (and my neighbor to the north) is co-sponsoring a fundraiser to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.  Take a look at the website here, and read how you can not only help the victims, but also help support two young (and excited!) artists.  (In fact, I just looked at the site and the donations are rolling in so quickly that these two young artists are going to be very, very busy in the next few weeks!)

Sniffling in September

So here it is, right on schedule: my yearly Autumn cold.  This past week, we suffered through a heat wave before we experienced a sudden shift to cooler…no cold…temperatures.  In other words, one moment it was very hot and then the next moment, it was not.  I don’t react well to sudden changes in temperatures, so I woke up Thursday morning absolutely exhausted, and then as day progressed, my throat got sore and my nose started to feel stuffy.  Needless to say, I have spent most the weekend curled up in bed, not getting any school work done and certainly not working on my own writing.   I haven’t even answered the pile of emails that have stacked up in my inbox in the last few days.

The good news is that I’m feeling a bit better today, so hopefully I can tackle all the grading, corresponding, and revising of my own work that is piling up around me!

Back to School

Classes start tomorrow, and I’m excited for the new semester to begin!  Of course, this week will bring the stress of the usual first days of the semester including copier breakdowns, lost students, and class roster anxieties (between advising and teaching, I will meet over 200 students this week, and by the end of the week it will seem that most of my students are named Ashley, Brittany, or Michael).  Once this week is over, the semester will fall into a somewhat settled routine, where I can find my office computer beneath the stray registration slips and copies of syllabi, and I can catch up on emails and course lecture material.

Today, Anthony and I are going out and about to enjoy a beautiful Sunday (And yes, the weather always gets beautiful, once school begins!)

Dog Days

We are in the Dog Days of summer here in Pennsylvania — so named because late summer is usually filled with hot and sultry days.   Growing up in a pet filled household, I always thought that the Dog Days were so named because our pets would sulk and mope in the heat.  Nope — there’s a different history to the name — or at least Wikipedia says so!

But the weather has been pleasant and the nights have been cool.  Other people may complain about this weather — but I love it! I’m not a hot weather person at all.

So, it’s that time of year, and I won’t dwell on what I got done and didn’t get done this past summer.  Instead, I’m looking forward to the remaining days of my summer vacation and then, moving on to my Fall Semester.   Besides teaching a course I haven’t taught in over seven years (Newswriting and Editing), I have other projects lined up!  I will be teaching another fiction writing course at our local library, and I also will be giving a brief talk about poetic form to a group of local high school teachers.

And yes, I left a messy office behind in May, so I need to clean and get organized. (Although, anyone who knows me will realize that this organization will last only about a month!)

Summer Hiatus

Charly and Summer Hiatus

Somehow, I lost June.  And there’s no use looking for it.  I won’t find it again until next year.

I’m taking a blog break until the end of July.  Don’t worry — you can still reach me by email or by phone.  I’m not wandering away into the wilderness. So far, in spite of the heat and the sudden, pop up thunderstorms, it hasn’t felt much like summer.  My schedule has been so full, that I’m a bit stressed out — and summer is supposed to be a time to unwind. (Like Charly is doing in this picture) Thus, I’m taking some time off blogging to work on my own writing, something I haven’t been doing in a long time.

See you at the end of July!

Welcome, Ally!


It’s been a busy few weeks! And to add to the summer fun, a new cat has joined the Weyant-Patalano household!  Her name is Ally and she is about 14 months old.  She is a very busy cat and most of the pictures I have taken of her have turned into white and gray blur shots, but here is one where she is still.  How is Charly handling the new addition?  For a few days, there was a lot of hissing, but they have entered into some kind of uneasy peace treaty.  The problem is that Ally wants Charly to play and Charly has no patience for a frisky cat! (Charly is more of a snuggler).

It looks like we will continue to negotiate peace treaties  in the next few months.

Movie Break

Okay, so the English Professor in me wants to see The Great Gatsby (in spite of the lukewarm reviews).  But, the trekkie in me also wants to see the newest Star Trek movie.  (My brothers raised me on the originals — I watched the reruns over and over again while I growing up.  Today, the shows are on Netflix and when I watch certain episodes, I can quote many lines by heart.) And to make the issue more complicated, the comic book geek I live with wants to see the newest Iron Man movie. 

Who knows?  It’s the first week of summer vacation and I need a break — maybe we can catch all three!  (If anyone has a recommendation, please let me know.)

Update: The new Star Trek movie won out, and it was a good choice — even better than the first movie (no spoilers here).

« Previous entries