Friday, June 1, 2018

The Letter Box Project

Dear Young Person, (of any age!)

Hello, to you on the school bus, trying to find a seat alone to think your thoughts and dream your dreams. To you who had a rough right, no sleep, unsure how to get through this new day. Take a look at your fingertips, examine the whorls and swirls of your prints and embrace what makes you the only you. No one can laugh your laugh, smile your smile, sing your song.

Dear one, you matter.

The future might look like a mountain whose summit hides in the clouds, impossible to reach; or, it might look like a map all planned out for you with no way to change course. No matter who or where you are, believe in possibility and dreams. At every turn, the chances might dwindle or increase, but strive to always offer your best to the world. Don’t let anyone try to take your hopes away.

Now, take hold of this and write it on your heart: you are special, just like everyone else. It’s good and right and noble to be you and not a copy of the crowd, but remember that all the others trod the path just wanting to be loved too. Their smiles, their fears, their gifts, their truths matter. May you try and fail and try and fail and try again. But do it all without crushing others to succeed.

You won’t always win, but you can always be kind.

Dear you, so much goes wrong, but so much can go right. Each moment offers choices. Look beyond what you can’t control and focus on what you can give.

From one who chooses to believe the best in you,

Take Care

Sunday, May 13, 2018



You will find
no better best friend
than your mother in this
world. Believe me.
She knows you more than
anyone does. You are
the flesh of her flesh.
Respect her, cherish
her and love her with all
your heart. She could be
gone one day and you'd
find no one like her.
Source: Lessons Taught By Life

Thursday, April 19, 2018

On this date April 19 in the year 1824, Lord Byron (whose real name was George Gordon) died of a fever. He was persuaded to take part in the Greek War of Independence by an Irish sea captain. He joined the cause in Greece, training troops in the town of Missolonghi, where he died just after his 36th birthday.

After his death Byron was mourned by both the British and the Greeks, to whom he had become a hero of the war. To this day, the name ‘Vyron’ the Greek form of ‘Byron’, continues to be a popular boy’s name, and a suburb of Athens is called Vyronas in his honour.

Lord Byron's heart was removed from his corpse and buried in Greece, and the rest of his remains were shipped back to England.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Epitaph to a Dog

March 25 commemorates the start of the war of Greek Independence in 1821. It coincides with the Greek Orthodox Church's celebration of the Archangel Grabriel appearing to Mary and telling her that she would bear the son of God.

I am sharing a favorite Lord Byron paper to mark the day.

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
Boatswain, a Dog
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one -- and here he lies.

Lord Byron

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ides of February

An ancient Roman fertility festival, Lupercalis, observed annually on February 15 was turned into a Christian feast day. Pope Gelasius set its observance a day earlier in honor of a kindly Bishop executed on February 14, 270 AD. Valentine helped his jailer Asterius' blind daughter. It's said before his execution, he asked for a pen and paper from his jailer and signed a farewell message, "From Your Valentine".

There is no actual record of Valentine's Day before Chaucer's poem in 1375. Parliament of Foules links the tradition of courtly love to the St Valentine's feast day. “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” - he wrote and maybe invented Valentine's Day as we now know it.

In 1868 Richard Cadbury introduced the first box of Valentine's candy. Cadbury's "fancy chocolates"- or assortments as they are now called - were sold in decorated boxes. Elaborate chocolate boxes were much prized as they could later be used as trinket or button boxes. Chocolate box designs ranged from superb velvet covered caskets with bevelled mirrors and silk lined jewel boxes to pretty boxes with pictures on the lid.

Valentine’s Day can be a reminder that you’re not in a romantic relationship, whether you’re single or pair bonded. Looking back on past relationships there were times I felt connected to my partner but those same moments weren’t shimmering images in their mind. This idea of shared intimacy puts a lot of pressure on us whether we’re feeling lonely in love or simply alone.

I find joy in simple pleasures. Taking time out to relax and play a game of Scrabble with someone who is my equal. This and other activities can be done on a shoestring budget. Take a walk or leisurely bike ride together in a pretty neighborhood. If you live in a reasonably safe city, hop on public transportation and get off at a random stop where you’ve never been; wander around and explore!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Fallen Heroes

When Ure Hero Falls - Poem by Tupac Shakur

when your hero falls from grace
all fairy tales r uncovered
myths exposed and pain magnified
the greatest pain discovered
u taught me 2 be strong
but im confused 2 c u so weak
u said never 2 give up
and it hurts 2 c u welcome defeat
when ure hero falls so do the stars
and so does the perception of tomorrow
without my hero there is only
me alone 2 deal with my sorrow
your heart ceases 2 work
and your soul is not happy at all
what r u expected 2 do
when ure only hero falls

I've had many heroes during my 40+ years on this planet.
Each time someone put atop a pedestal, falls back down
to Earth it is shattering.

Individuals like this give wings to our ethereal souls, despite our
inability to literally fly or leap tall buildings in a single bound.
When our role models' hamartia is revealed, our own abilities are
reevaluated and placed on the chopping block.

A disciple is not above his teacher, how can I then hope to attain positive
character traits so ascribed? Or defeat my demons, by mimicking,
when they themselves weren't able to escape something dark or painful?

I'm learning to accept that having disappointed or shown a side I did not care for
doesn’t take away from what they originally brought to the table for me.
Just because I may not like everything about a person, doesn’t take away from that which I love.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Visit From Krampus

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

Stuffed animals were nestled on either side of my bed;
While smores flavored coffee beverages danced in my head;
Both wearing new PJs from Ma and Pap,
Sissy fell asleep in her Santa Claus cap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tripping o'er our last can of Who-hash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a luster of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Santa's shadow with claws and a snear
Reddish hair donned his chin, so wiry and thick
I knew in a moment- This can't be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
To his antlered companions I heard him exclaim:

"Then let us go and be terrible. Burn, smite and bother
These subjects of Odin, who deny the Yule father.
And without their belief Mother Earth will wither
As do we, without our Winter Solstice dinner."

Leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
Holding onto naughty children and my neighbor Frank too-

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Krampus came with a bound.

He was covered in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of sticks he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a schoolmaster opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! His iron rucksack, how scary!
His long tongue tasted the air for naughty children to ferry.
He cared not what race, wealth or parent's position.
He feasted on sons and daughters of harlots to politicians.

His claw picked a bone from between ghastly teeth.
Smoke, it encircled his horns like a wreath.
With a wink of his eye and 180 degree twist of his head
Krampen gave me to know, I had nothing to dread;

Pulling Thor's chariot with legendary might
I heard him exclaim ere they drove out of sight-
"Yuletide is here; make no mistake,
Krampus is coming, not to give, but to take."