Whatever I’m thinking is apt to come out of my mouth

Me waving Hi, seated on a low stone wall next to a bridge with my beloved black standard poodle while on a camping trip. Trees and a path are in the background.
Here I am with Bridgie on a camping trip in 2018. Photo by author.

Voracious reader, music and dog lover, wife and mother, former editor at a national healthcare consulting firm. Retired 6/3/20 after 41 years. AKA editor fairy.

First, Reading

My passion for reading comes from my mother. After learning to read at age 4, she consumed every book she could get her hands on. She encouraged me to “read whatever you want” because her parents believed kids should read only children’s books. When Mother’s younger siblings tattled — “Marj is reading something too old for her!” — they snatched it away. She was born in 1916, and I didn’t realize her policy was unusual…

Musings inspired by a fridge magnet

I’ve never been glamorous in my life but love that hair. Any resemblance to Cruella de Vil is unintentional. Photo by Josiah Lewis on Unsplash

My Anne Taintor refrigerator magnet, depicting a mature woman coiffed, made up, and dressed in 1950s fashion, serves as a daily affirmation though I have no desire to attain that level of grooming. This piece is dedicated to Quasimodo, Michael Trigg, and Nancy Peckenham — you’re inspirational, and perhaps you, too, see no good reason to “act your age.”

Hubby, who is 66, likes to listen to a radio show called The Mens Room on 99.9 KISW, The Rock. …


<42 guidelines, tutorials, & other piratical nuts & bolts

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Ahoy, Outlaws new and Outlaws old and bold! Here’s your one-stop-shop index for all things MuddyUm, up to date as of 7/15/2021. You know the drill — clickable links lead to the articles with underlined titles below, which mostly reside under MuddyUm’s Outlaws tab.*** You’ll want to pay particular attention to the distribution advice under Images & Photos and the newest article for Outlaws under Private Notes: “Crickets Versus Piranhas: MuddyUm’s Editorial Difference.”

***Find articles referenced herein in my Outlaw’s Guide to MuddyUm list.

In the writing mood but need inspiration? Check this out!

MuddyUm *ETERNAL* Writing Prompts

Laugh Away…


Personal hygiene for the cosmetically challenged

Don’t touch me! You’ll ruin my makeup. Image by my best in collections — see and press 👍🔖 from Pixabay

Are you tired of being fed “beauty tips” with zero pertinence to your life, such as these?

→ freeze your eyeliner

→ heat your lash curler

→ say goodbye to makeup sponges

If you enjoy that sort of tip, stop reading now.

Listen up! A beautiful woman doesn’t smell bad.

Clean your body regularly. Everyone you meet will appreciate this. Tub baths or showers or nude outdoor activities in the rain, your choice, circumstances permitting.

If you haven’t showered that day, wash your face with a washcloth or by splashing water on yourself, then gently drying off. …


Musings on how to improve my writer’s bio

Why? MYOB. Photo by Robin Toorians on Unsplash

“No woman ever murdered her husband while he was washing the dishes.” — Paul Hossfield

Oh, the pressure I felt as the newest editor of a piratical humor pub. The other editors are funnier than I am. Thank goodness I have Walter Bowne to lord it over now.


You’re getting what you haven’t paid for

MuddyUm doesn’t believe in crickets! Image by Marc Pascual from Pixabay

As a writer who’d barely worked up the nerve to approach publications, I was thrilled when Susan Brearley encouraged me to submit my very first attempt at humor. At best, it’s mildly funny. In retrospect, it’s long-winded.

Kickers were new to me. They’re fun. No ellipses allowed? I can live with that! Though now I’m embarrassed that ellipses dotted my work emails in another life. No parens either? OK. It’s a small price to pay to be an Outlaw. MuddyUm is teaching me to write better.

Then as a new Mudditor, I discovered the fine print of Cap’n Susan’s acceptance…


‘Crazy Rich Asians’ meets ‘Secret Agent Man’

A sexy, bare-chested, muscular Asian man — making a shaka sign with his left hand — looks seriously into the camera.
Why aren’t there more free-use ‘sexy Asian man’ pics like this? Photo by form PxHere (CC0 1.0)

Nick’s family tree is wealthy beyond measure
A privileged guy who doesn’t live for pleasure
To Singapore they go
Now Rachel’s in the know
Odds are that she’s leaving Nick tomorrow

Sexy Asian man
Sexy Asian man
Hey, you’ll have a squillion dollars yet no one knows your name

Beware of family drama that you find
A scheming mom can have an evil mind
Nick, be careful what you do
Or your romance will fall through
Odds are you won’t have Rachel tomorrow

Sexy Asian man
Sexy Asian man
You’ll have a squillion dollars yet no one knows your name


Emulating my role models, Doctor Funny and Phoenix

Three belly dancers performing at an event in Minnesota.
Reminds me of belly dancers I enjoyed watching at a summer festival in Oregon. Image by Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

I’m following in Michael Burg, MD, and Phoenix Huber’s relational and relatable footsteps. “Everyone is odd in their own way” and “We’ve all got almost-cool accomplishments, so let’s flaunt ’em.” Yes! I find lots of pennies too, Michael.

If Phoenix interviewed me, she’d learn about my awkward:

Physical Talents

I have a natural talent for belly undulation, as well as excellent control over my pelvic floor muscles. One of these days I’ll take more belly dancing classes and learn how to shimmy my meager assets

I can raise either eyebrow, both together, or raise one and lower the other. My secret? I’m a Vulcan. I can also make the muscle…


I’m not a slacker yet

Viewer is inside a dark cave looking out to a glorious sunset. Silhouetted are a pirate ship at background right with a dog sitting on a rock at center, attentively watching a pirate bugler at right foreground.
When Cap’n Susan Brearley speaks via Slack, I listen up. Image by GimpWorkshop from Pixabay

Can this old dog learn a new Mudditor trick? I own being an alpha bitch at home but don’t want that reputation editorially! Here’s your chance to make a good-natured quip about old dogs and new tricks.

Dear Cap’n Susan:

I joined your Outlaw crew in January. How exciting! Didn’t envision a Mudditor promotion offer on the May horizon. Silly me, I thought being retired meant I no longer had to learn and use new software. That’s among my least-favorite activities — next to getting up early. Except getting up early is easy.

I would’ve turned you down SPLASH if…


An 1878 poem by Sidney Lanier

A marsh near Jekyll Island, Georgia, with two trees in the foreground.
An inland marsh on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Image by Matrixboy84 at English Wikipedia, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This is a much shorter read than 8 minutes if you don’t care to peruse the entire poem, which follows my quotes and brief reflections.

My enjoyment of this poem’s cadences and imagery doesn’t depend on figuring out what Lanier meant or parsing the poem’s religious aspects. I like to go with its flow — relax into its rhythms — and feel the emotions engendered by its peaceful, natural images and Lanier’s confidence that there’s more to the universe than we can, or need to, comprehend. I hope you can enjoy it that way too.

It’s difficult to pick lines…

Holly J See

Editor fairy & MuddyUm co-editor. “Here’s to those who wish us well … and those who don’t can go to hell.” — Elaine Benes

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