On This Day – March 7th 2016

“Mr. Watson, come here, I need you”
alexandergrahambell.jpg

That Gentle Readers, was the first intelligible message transmitted by Alexander Graham Bell’s invention, the telephone. The patent was issued on this day in 1876 and the message came just three days later. Bell was issued his patent just 2 hours before Elisha Gray, sparking multiple lawsuits over the years. Bell would survive and his patent would be upheld in all of them. His company would grow to the become the telecommunications giant, American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T), that we know today.

 

Hollywood gave us two great events on this day in history. In 1988 the Writer’s Guild of America went on strike, creating panic on televisions everywhere. While a side deal allowed Roseanne to skyrocket to No. 2 on the ratings during this time, the glut in programming perhaps gave rise to reality TV as we know it today. Shows like Unsolved Mysteries and Cops gained market share otherwise reserved for sitcoms. It would seem this would give lead to the rise of shows I greatly enjoy now, such as Criminal Minds and Law & Order, as well as CSI. Thanks Hollywood for arguing over money so that I could watch some great shows. I could do without things like Bachelor/Bachelorette, The Duggar family and their shows, Kate and her 8 as well. American Idol wasn’t too bad in its first few seasons, but it has sadly run its course, ending this year. I haven’t really watched much of it since Simon Cowell’s departure. His acidic tongue made it worth watching.
The second of Hollywood’s contributions to March 7th came in 2010 when Kathryn Bigelow won the Oscar for Best Director for her work with ‘The Hurt Locker’. In her acceptance speech, Kathryn said, “I hope I’m the first of many [women], and of course, I’d love to just think of myself as a filmmaker. And I long for the day when that modifier can be a moot point.” Here’s to you Kathryn. May you truly be the first of many. The film also took in Oscars for best picture, film editing, sound editing, sound mixing and original screenplay.

In the Literary world, Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by the Woods” was published on this day in 1923 by The New Republic. This poem has been an introduction to poetry for many decades of English students with its iconic first line, “Whose woods these are, I think I know. His house is in the village though,”. Frost’s career was launched in 1913 after moving to England when he published A Boy’s Will, a collection of poems. This critically acclaimed work would garner him a publishing deal in his native United States. He would return stateside when World War I broke out. He would continue publishing while he taught at many prestigious universities such as Amherst, University of Michigan, Harvard, and Dartmouth. I think my favorite of his is:

The Road Not Taken

BY ROBERT FROST

 Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
My English class in middle school did a lot of poetry reading and this was a popular one then as it is now. Strive to take the path less traveled my Gentle Readers, for it will make all the difference. Until next time. Live well, write well, be well.

Spell a Day – Feb 14th 2016

Today Gentle Readers is the great celebration of love that is Valentine’s Day. Flower shops and chocolate makers rejoice. Jewelry stores and stuffed animal producers dance a little jig all the way to the bank with the hard earned money of love struck individuals. November sees an increase in births (well, I don’t know about that one for sure but it is still funny). The moral of the spell today is that today isn’t just about romantic love, but also about love of self. Appreciate yourself and, even if you are single, know that you are worthy of love.

For me, today has always had another special meaning. Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She would be 86 today if she had not passed away in 2012. Anyone who has seen previous posts knows that my grandmother meant everything to me. She helped raise my brothers and I. As her years waned I took care of her. Losing her was losing a part of my heart. Most of the time I couldn’t pinpoint my religious beliefs, but I am sure she is looking down on me. I just hope I am making her proud. I have shared poetry inspired by my grandmother before and today will be no exception. This one is a little sadder than the previous ones as today I feel a bit more melancholy.

Just Gone
An emptiness fills my soul
Pain, Blinding, no comfort at all
Seeking something to fill the hole
Left, inside, and my spirits fall
To lose one who was always there
Is a heavy burden to bear

Always supportive, never failing
Constant unchanging, solid standing
How do you go on when they leave
So suddenly you are forced to grieve
Your heart left desperately longing
For one more day, another sunrise to see

They vanish, never to be seen
They vanish, a heart torn all apart
They vanish, pain so deep and keen
They vanish, piercing a battered heart

Where do loved ones go?
When they leave our side
So much still for them to show
Tears flow like a rising tide
My heart, cries out against the truth
Her hand, cold in mine is the proof

 

I hope that you all will take the time today to tell the ones you love how you feel about them. It doesn’t matter if it is romantic love or just platonic. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

Spell a Day – Feb 13th 2016

Today’s topic is special in and of itself, but also because tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, is also my grandmother’s birthday. She would be turning 86 if she were still alive. Not a day goes by that I do not miss her and wonder what she would say about how my life has changed in the last few years since she left us here for the next great adventure.

Parentalia is an ancient Roman tradition where one honors their ancestors in some way. Many would visit the graves, bringing flowers and wine, to commune with their forefathers(and mothers) in a meaningful way. I think this is a lovely tradition. Since my grandmother passed I have tried to spend some time on her birthday to remember the lessons she taught me on the road to becoming who I am today. She was always filled with compassion and forgiveness for others, even when better judgement said the person felt no remorse for their actions. She always tried to see the good in people, especially her children and grandchildren. The world is a darker place for her departure.

I have shared this before but this is a poem I wrote when she was alive and we used to play cards in the morning when I got off from my third shift job.

Spending Time with My Grandma

There are mornings where I have a new pastime.
It involves a visit with my aging grandma.
We sit and talk and play a few hands of cards.
While I talk to her about my work and day,
she listens intently, always with a few kind words,
or a bit of advice to help me on my way.

Staying with my mom, she is right on the way
home from work. This new fun pastime
of mine is sometimes hard to put into words
what it truly means to me. When I visit grandma
she always tells me she misses me every day,
and is quick to bring out the deck of cards.

Her shaking, aged hands shuffle the cards,
everything on the table cleared out of the way.
With school and work I can only visit every few days,
but nothing can take away the joy of my pastime.
The time is precious that I spend with grandma,
and the hours spent is more important than any words.

We pass the time in laughs and exchanging of words,
shuffling, dealing, shuffling, and dealing the cards.
“I am going to beat you this time,” says my grandma,
getting three aces and clearing the cards out of the way.
I think she has as much fun as I do with our pastime.
With excitement I wait for the visits on those days.

When it is time for me to leave at the end of those days,
a sadness creeps into my heart. We put into brief words
the happiness and comfort that comes with our pastime.
The table has been reset, the scorecard and the cards
have been put in the drawer and out of the way.
With a hug I leave, saying, “I love you grandma.”

The time with my grandma on those special days,
will always outweigh the advice or the words,
or the little deck of cards of our favorite pastime.

Spend time with those loved ones that are getting on in age Gentle Readers. I would give up anything to play one more hand of cards with my grandmother.

Spell a Day – Feb 7th 2016

Today, Gentle Readers, is a day of promise, of opportunity. Though Winter still has most of us (in the northern hemisphere) in her cold hands, there is an awakening of sorts occurring. Soon the weather will warm and new seeds will go into the ground. Perhaps in some areas this is already happening in preparation for the upcoming spring.

Spring is a time of renewal, of promise. So revisit those promises you made to yourself and keep moving forward into the new year.

Promise of Spring
The promise of Spring
Bringing forth newness of Life
In upcoming days

Plant your seeds with purpose
Nurture your hopes and dreams
For Life has much to show us
Dancing in moon or sun beams

Plant your seeds with care
With an eye towards your goals
Upon the horizon you stare
Watching as the tide rolls

Back and forth it goes
Carrying you ever on
The promise of Spring

Spell a Day – Feb 2nd 2016

Imbolc, Groundhog day, The Feast of St. Brigid. That is right Gentle Readers, we are halfway though winter. While many of us in the US will be waiting for that little rodent to pop out of his home, I will be wishing for a more traditional Irish celebration. St. Brigid, the Matron saint of Ireland, shares her name and her feastday with the Celtic goddess of Inspiration. There are traditions of feasting and gift giving to ring in the coming spring. As the plow is also associated with this time of year, I read about a tradition where children decorate the plow and take it from house to house demanding sweets. The homes that failed to buy off these young people may find fresh furrows in their front lawns. I doubt we would get away with this today unless you really knew the neighbors. Or they wanted to plant a vegetable garden there.

The awakening of spring as it begins to win the war against the cold harshness of winter leading up to the spring equinox (at least for us in the northern hemisphere) is a cause for celebration and renewal. Today is the day to seek the blessings of Brigid for creativity and inspiration in your life and pursuits. Be they of the musical, artistic or literary ilk, she is especially important and this is a momentous time. Dust off those notebooks or tools of your trade and get back to your passions.

It’s also time to start that spring cleaning and purification phase of the year. Grab some sage smudge and push out the winter spirits to make room for spring. Organize that garage for the upcoming yard sale season, or to donate to charity.

A little springtime poetry. Until next time my friends.

Spring’s Awakening
Stretching to the sun
Seeking its life-giving warmth
Spring’s awakening

Pushing back the cold
Of Winter’s frozen embrace
Shaking off the ice

Relief is coming
From the bitter winds and snow
Of Winter’s harsh reign

Eyes turn to the skies
The sun peeking through the clouds
Spring’s Awakening

Spell a Day – Jan 28th 2016

moneyevil

So, I did a bit of reading and reviewing instead of keeping up with my Spell a Day my Gentle Readers, and I apologize. I hope you will check out the reviews I have posted and will be posting in the next day or so. Today’s topic regards money. Now, the Spell a Day has to do with redefining your relationship with money in order to bring abundance and prosperity. I went in a different direction with my poem this time. I hope you enjoy.

Money = Evil?
Some believe Money
Is the rot of all Evil
But why is this so?

Should we place blame
On inanimate currency
For man’s failings
And passions run amok?

Where is our moral compass
Why is it acceptable to dodge
What we responsibility we have
Because of want of money
Who thought this through?
How have we reached this point
When we can justify genocide
Because of want of money

Gold coins and jewels
Exchanged for dollars and pounds
Classic bait and switch

How does Money feel?
Being blamed for war and death
Throughout history

Spell a Day – Jan 24th 2016

Time to cut ties with what didn’t work in the past Gentle Readers.
Clipart Courtesy of Worldartsme.com
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That’s right, out with the old to make room for the new. We all have experienced that “toxic” friendship, relationship, or perhaps even relative that we would all be better off just cutting ties with. I had to do this with my biological father after repeated attempts to form some sort of relationship with him. He is just a narcissistic sociopath who needs people to feed his ego in order to feel validated. If you question or poke holes in his belief that he is the greatest thing that will ever happen in your life, then you become the bad guy to anyone he can get to listen. Sadly for him, he has lost almost all credibility among the family members I still have contact with. We have all grown tired of his nonsense.

So today I hope you will take some time to evaluate the people or habits you spend your energy on and examine whether or not you are getting a proper return on that energy investment. I am not saying to give up on anyone that needs help. I am just saying to identify that bad ribbon that is pulling you down, and snip it.

Let go the Toxic
Poisonous, Toxic
Dragging you down, sapping up
All your energy

Don’t let fear stay your hand
From removing the poison from your life
For your sake take a stand
And in your first grasp the knife

To make yourself free
From the lies and deceptions
Of the toxic ones

You don’t have to give them your time
Once you free yourself you will see
You don’t owe them a single dime
Stronger for it you will be

Take control, move on
Send them with your best wishes
Let go the Toxic

Spell a Day – Jan 22nd 2016

Good evening Gentle Readers. Well, it isn’t quite February 14th, but today’s topic is love. Specifically about drawing in the kind of love you want and your ideal partner. I guess this is so you are ready on Valentine’s day. I’ve never presumed to know if Aphrodite wants to hear our pleas for love or not, but it appears today is a day to reach out to her. Have you ever made a physical list of the qualities and traits your want your ideal partner to possess? I never was so formal about it but I knew some things I did not want.

If you make a list of what you want and what you don’t want, then you have a road map to go out and find your ideal partner that will enrich your life forever. According to the Huffington Post and New York Times, divorce rates are going down and we could soon see 2/3rds of marriages lasting the long haul, instead of the scary 50% I learned about growing up in the 90’s. This trend seems to be because of people marrying later in life (mid twenties) and that we are past the rough start to the evolution of Marriage being the Male Breadwinner and Female housewife into the more equal partnership it is for many of us, including myself.

I have a beautiful and amazing wife who is truly my best friend. Probably the best possible outcome for a complete geek like me.  I wanted to share a little poem I wrote about her on this day of trying to draw in your ideal partner.

My Wife
The love of my life
My rock, my soft place to land
My beautiful wife

Of all the cliches
I could rattle off them all
There’s one simple truth

Without her I would be lost
My world revolves around her
Her voice, her laugh, her wonderful smile
Without them I’m a ship tossed
Upon the waves of a storm’s anger
No hope, No joy, crushed on a rocky isle

Somehow she manages with my OCD
She even tolerates my oddities
She finds humor in my eccentricities
Though the how is a mystery to me

The love of my life
So smart and beautiful
My lifelong partner

Together we are
Stronger than we are apart
I know that I am

 

So how about it Gentle Readers? Do you have your ideal partner or are you still looking? Feel free to share your stories or hopes in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

Spell a Day – Jan 17th 2016

Snow Queens and Ice Magic. What am I supposed to do with this topic Spell a Day? You are really testing me this time. Perhaps a quick reference to Hans Christian Anderson is in order here? His tale of the Snow Queen should be enough to satisfy today’s post yes? No. That’s not good enough. We need something more.  I got it. A poetic rendition based on the Snow Queen.

Hope you enjoy this little poem.

Snow Queen
Come along and play
She called to the little boy
I am the Snow Queen

In my castle of ice
A game we shall play
A kiss to freeze
A kiss to forget
But death if kissed thrice
My magic will make you stay
Trapped by the snow bees
Who shall never let
You escape

Now be a good boy and spell out a word
Using the ice around my throne
It will be the longest ever heard
Or you will remain here alone

The ice is tricky
It knows what it shouldn’t spell
For Eternity

 

 

Spell a Day – Jan 15th 2016

Today I am going to run straight to the point. My spell a day is about forgetting a bad memory. We all have regrets or experienced things we want to forget. Sometimes the mind is a blessedly intuitive device and we will have selective amnesia regarding these events. The truth is however that these events and memories shape who we are and how we see the world. One’s upbringing and experiences are who we are. While we would like to forget some things, we need to recognize the value of these mistakes and bad memories bring to our life. Now, I am not saying I hope that victims of horrible abuse or crimes should be force to relive those traumatic events. I wish with all my heart Gentle Readers that those people could find peace and solace from their mental, and sometimes physical, scars.

A memory that I wish I could forget, only if it would change the outcome, is the night I lost my grandmother. As my family prepares to welcome a new addition to our household in a few months, I cannot help but wish she was here to see the birth of her great grandchild. Her birthday is next month, she would have been 86 this year. Even though she has been gone several years now, I still shed a tear when I think about the woman that taught me so much growing up. I am ever thankful that I got to spend those last years with her, though I had to be the caregiver this time instead of her.

Somewhat related to the topic of bad memories, here is a poem.

Tears
Tormented nightly
Reliving the day again
When she was taken

So strong an sure all my life
The pain overwhelming my senses
To see her frail and weakCutting deeper than any knife
Into my soul, through my defenses
Even now my eyes leak

Tears of loss
Sadness at her passing
Tears of joy
For the years of laughing
Tears of peace
Now her pain is lacking

Wiping away tears
Shed for all the stolen years
Now just memories

 

Until next time Gentle Readers, I need to find a tissue.