The Circus Is Always In Town…

…at Pat Peterson’s house.

And yours too, if you’re a friend.  In fact, after Pat’s last visit I found a mysterious note and a tiny solar-powered circus on my kitchen windowsill.

Finding ways to surprise and entertain is second nature to Pat.

It has always been that way.

And I suspect it always will.

Don’t let the bun and the bifocals fool you.


Pat meets every challenge head-on.

Life is never dull.  She says, “I’m the Crazy Cat Lady your mother warned you about.”

Pat spends hours–sometimes whole weekends–doing what she calls “peddling pussy” at pet adoption fairs, finding good homes for difficult-to-place kitties. If she can’t place them, she takes them in herself.  Which is why her fourteen roommates have afflictions like kitty diabetes, three legs, one eye, not to mention curious names like Bumpus, Baby June, Lucy and Ethel, Bingo, and Rodeo, just to name a few.

Pat is a storyteller extraordinaire. Years ago, before a performance, she came to chat with my daughter Bea, sitting in the front row with a little friend.  When she left to prepare for her show, Pat gave Bea a big box of lollipops. Bea’s friend asked, “Who was that?”  “That was Pat,” said Bea. “She’s…some kind of relative.” Bea didn’t know exactly how, but she knew Pat was family. Even now that my kids are grownup world travelers, Pat still sees them off on every trip with toys, homemade cookies…

…and other necessaries.


Whether sharing folk or literary tales, or her specialty, personal tales drawn from her own life, Pat is the best. For years I’ve been trying to get her to record her stories. She finally agreed to tell/record at a house concert that fell a couple days after her birthday and on the actual birthday of her husband Richard, a retired engineer.

When right brain and left brain collided 54 years ago, sparks went flying…

…and they have been ever since.

After retiring, Richard discovered Train Mountain, the equivalent of Disneyland for seasoned brainiacs. There he builds scale model trains and gets to be the fun kind of engineer. Pat and their son Sam have been sighted there riding the rails with him.

At the house concert Pat shared her signature stories, while storyteller and local Good Guy, John Wasko, recorded them.

I knew she’d close with “The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate” by Margaret Mahy.

So we went with a pirate theme.

We have our Seattle Storytelling Guild audiences trained.

They are not afraid to play dress up.

Festivities opened with a pirate ship pinata.  Someday, when you’re older, I’ll tell you why we filled it with quarters instead of candy.

The doll, created by a friend of Pat’s, is a Pat Peterson action figure wearing the dress from her exquisite and unforgettable personal story called…The Yellow Party Dress.

I think it’s safe to say it was a happy birthday for Pat and Richard, and a Happy Day for everyone else.


For our friend, our auntie, our storygodmother, our beloved Queen Mum of the SSG, may there be many more, with sugar on top!

Copyright 2016 NaomiBaltuck



  1. Carol says:

    What a delight to get to see Pat (and Richard) in a completely new way!

    1. Hi Carol,
      It’s always interesting to see a person in a new context. She is our queen, our star, our taskmaster, and our beloved. Thanks so much for the visit. I will tell her you stopped by!

  2. scillagrace says:

    Great post! That’s one huge personality packed into what seems to be a very petite frame. “Peddling pussy” had me laughing out loud! Many happy returns of the day to Pat and Richard!

    1. Hi Priscilla,
      I think you nailed it! She always makes me laugh, and she’ll do anything for you, as I would for her.

  3. What a fun post, Naomi! Great photographs!

    1. Hi Jill,
      Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m afraid some of my photos are grainy–should have used the flash–but they definitely do show readers who my friend Pat is!

  4. Wonderful story about a Queen of

    1. Thanks, Lisa. Pat is a kick in the pants! I feel so fortunate to have her in my life.

  5. Dorota says:

    Pat sounds even more delightful than you. I guess wonderful people stick together. Thank you for sharing Pat’s life and her and Richard’s birthday with us.

    1. Hi Dorota, Nice to hear from you! Are the kids settled back into school after your trip? I can’t wait to hear more about your trip to Poland. You took some great shots–many of them very familiar to me! Hugs to everyone!

  6. Judith Black says:

    I am left hungry for some stories by Pat!

  7. niasunset says:

    What a great post, Blessing and Happiness to you all, Thank you, Love, nia

    1. Thank you, Nia! All the best to you too! Love, Naomi

  8. Meg says:

    Wonderful story about Pat. An unforgettable storyteller, so full of fun wit and generous hearted. Thanks, Naomi for helping know such a character! M

    1. I’m so glad you got to know her during your visits to Seattle, Meg!

  9. restlessjo says:

    What a lovely post for a lovely lady, Naomi. 🙂 🙂 Nice to catch up!

    1. Thank you, Jo! It’s great to hear from you.

  10. Sue says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post – what a personality! ‘Peddling pussy’ had me laughing out loud!

    1. Thanks so much for the visit–just reading your comment made me smile. Pat has a very large presence, and she makes me laugh all the the time.

      1. Sue says:

        We all need someone like that in our lives!

  11. Naomi says:

    Any friend of unwanted cats is a friend of mine. Once my kids have flown, I figure I’ll have room for more cats. I hope my husband doesn’t mind…

    1. Haha! Oh, you would definitely like Pat then. She is down to only fourteen cats now, although many of them require injections, diapers, special care. There is something very soothing about a purring kitty. Thanks for making me smile!

  12. Loved it, Naomi. Thanks for including us in the party.


    1. Thanks for coming, Janet!

  13. What fun! I think I’ve heard the yellow party dress story — and LOVED it!

    1. The Yellow Party Dress is my favorite!

  14. What a surprise to see Train Mountain here! I spent quite a bit of time there, meeting up with my dad. My regards to fellow model railroading enthusiasts!

    1. I think it is a small world indeed! What’s your dad’s name? I will pass the message on to Pat and Richard. My blogging buddy Carol, it turns out, was the secretary at Train Mountain and knew Richard.

  15. rebecca hom says:

    What a wonderful revealing of all Pat’s facets. Time she was exposed! 😉

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      It was a hoot! I’ve been meaning to feature her for a long time, and this was the perfect occasion. I hope you are well.

  16. Dahlia says:

    What an absolutely heartwarming post. I wish I could meet Pat, she sounds and looks amazing. My best wishes to her 🙂

    1. Pat is a kick in the pants! I do which you could meet her too. Thanks for the visit and the kind word.

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