Broken Wall of Color

(Old poem I wrote while staring across from my office window in 2006 at of a graffiti-filled wall)

By: Ash Douglas

Broken wall of color,
how the years have left you behind.

I see your every crack,
I see your every line.

Someone has painted you a picture,
Oh how very humble.

Now you sit and watch the world,
As the banks beneath you crumble.

No one seems to notice how long that it has been,
How long you have sloped how long you have leaned.

But has I gaze out my window each and every day,
I know it will it won’t be long  before you fall away.

For years you did your job and time is not your friend,
Broken wall of color, when did you begin?

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Coffee, Tea…maybe a Latte it be?

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Most people that I know don’t seem to be able to function without the help of caffeine.  I barely manage to get a good morning out of  most until they have received their first hit.  Coffee is definitely a “start the day” type of drink, it certainly does it’s job waking us up,  just the perfect guzzle of gusto as we run around trying  to coordinate our morning routines.  Coffee is a must for a lot of us or it just ain’t happening, our brains don’t seem to function until we we get a breath chilled sip of that beverage of beans, ahhhh.  Drinking coffee in the morning is second only to stepping out of bed, people go crazy for the stuff, I see it every morning with the zombie filled lines slumbering in zigzags and coffee shop parking lots infested with slow moving vehicles as they all jester to be the next to have their order taken and finally get on with their day.  I get anxiety just thinking of having to idle my way through that every morning but eh? I don’t like coffee.

OK I said it, I don’t like coffee so I can’t appreciate the  worldly need for a morning cup of joe.  I like the smell but just can’t get pass the flavour, I have never craved a morning coffee, never had that insatiable lust for a double double.  I drink tea and everyone laughs at me, well no they don’t, but it is a conversation piece where I do have to defend myself (some did laugh).  Look, I grew up with my grandparents so I was having regular tea time as young as I can remember, my grandmother would have one at the ready every night at eight o’clock, I miss that sometimes but I have a lot of fond memories of those days.

If tea or coffee is not your thing, there are a lot of alternatives, way too many to mention.  I have tried some of these other drinks like lattes, espresso’s and cappuccino’s to mention a few and they all have their hook.  The specialty coffees tend to come  at a higher cost but they also come with an assortment of milks, whipping cream, chocolate and there’s this thing that goes “whoosh”.  So many whimsical handles and made up fancy coffee names that distort the fact that you are getting a heroin shot of caffeine, but would you look at that whip cream.  How people get their caffeine has evolved over the years, there are coffee shops popping up all over the place and they all offer a variation of the same arsenal of addiction.  These extended stay java shops are the perfect havens to pull off a good read, write the perfect post or just sit and chat over well, coffee.

Like most things that taste good, moderation is also important, too much can really hurt you and in some cases should’t be consumed late at night, screws up your sleep.  People who suffer from anxiety have attributed coffee or caffeinated drinks as a trigger for episodes of manic or distress.  People will always drink coffee, adults do it all the time but beverage companies have now targeted kids as a market for caffeine and energy drinks are the result.  These drinks with their catchy flavours offer your average teenager a shot of caffeinated adrenaline for their marathon game night or maybe for a long cramming session the day before the test.  It’s not good and parents really need to monitor what their kids are putting in their bodies, too much can really be harmful.

We all start our days differently but one common similarity is starting with coffee, there’s something ceremonial about it, I get it.  Every morning people everywhere wake up and fill the pot, steep the bag or pull the “whoosh” thing, it gives us a sense of realness to our lives.  We all need something that helps us get through the day, help us through a rough patch or maybe something that brings out our best creativity.  Go gather around a good cup of coffee, a cup of tea can make that news go down a little bit better and definitely join a friend for that latte.

Here’s to your morning, and here’s to your routine now don’t forget to put the coffee on.

How do you start your day, any rituals that is an absolute in your morning routine?  Leave a comment and share.

Mom  

(Something I found that I wrote for my mother a long time ago)

Happy Birthday to my mom, to my lovely mother;
your beauty compares, to no other.
 
Your eyes always glow and twinkle when you smile;
I think back at old times and thought for awhile.
 
I’m blessed to have a mom with such a big heart and warm soul;
Every day of my life my love for you grows.
 
I miss you all the time, I wish I was near;
To give you a birthday kiss; to hold you my dear.
 
Another year as gone by, another year has passed;
Some days we have cried some days we have laughed.
 
You’re a special person mother, so giving of yourself;
Happiness is all you seek, more than treasures and wealth.
 
You cared for us all, and always there you would be;
Whether it was the role of a daughter, or a mom to three.

I wrote this today after thinking of you;
I thought to myself what can I do?
 
So read these lines and listen to what I say;
I want you to celebrate your very special day.
 
And remember birthdays are but a number, just one more trip around the sun;
It’s your time now mother so go have some fun.
 
Love Ash

Home is still home…

I’m just now getting around to posting about our holiday back in Harbour Breton this summer and it was everything that we had anticipated, it was a great trip all around.  We took each day as it came and as on the fly as it was we actually got a chance to do everything that we had set out in our minds to do.  Our goal was to make sure to see everybody and do a few things that we used to do when we lived there ourselves, simple as that.  It’s been about three years since we travelled home so we wanted to make sure to make to the most out of it.

One of the first things that I did was take a quick drive by the home that I grew up in.  It feels weird now returning home without my old house to visit, the house although virtually the same had this unknown feeling about it, like my chapter and the chapter of my family there had been finished.

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I took a long look across the harbour, so many memories came rushing back, for a moment it felt like I never left, everywhere I looked evoked emotion.  The rolling hills with the calm shoreline created the perfect backdrop to my moment of reflection, it was nice and a great way to kick off the visit.

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The trip home was a drive and then some so for the first night we mostly just talked, got caught up and enjoyed each others company.  Family gatherings are a cliche without trying to be, you all pile into a common room of the house, energy all around you, everybody talking over each other, we were home.  Kids tugging at your shirt tales, dogs barking at every thud, food coming from every angle, there was a controlled chaos.  We talked until the early morning hours but it was getting late and there was a whole new day before us.  We all began to turn in when it came time to delegate rooms, we snagged the room with the superhero sheets, my inner nerd rejoiced.

A highlight of the trip for me was the fact that I did manage to get to borrow a bike and get two bike rides in, I was so happy that worked out, something else that was on my trip home bucket list.  The first one was an impromptu ride with my nephews, they loved every second of it and I was glad to have the opportunity.  A flood of memories came back as I cruised the streets like I did as a kid, it was surreal, I could almost feel myself back there.

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We were’t sure how long we had for this spur of the moment adventure but you know what? I was too busy reliving my childhood to care, with the kids leading the way we were now heading to the beach.  I must of went down that dirt road a million times as a kid, it was a great ride down memory lane, the trail was not letting me down, what a ride.

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About a quarter of a ways we ran into my uncle in law who is a very talented photographer, we did the stop and talk and he asked for a photo op so we got our picture taken, it’s the one you see below, by the way here’s a link to some of his other work.  With a short walk across the beach we were on our way again, there was just one last leg of the ride to go.

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Bike ride, check, now we were about to take a boat ride for a boil up.  We were feeling quite spoiled as guests and it was only getting better, we all climbed into my brother in laws’s boat and he proceeded to pull away from the dock.

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As we sped down the harbour, with smiles all around, I couldn’t help think of the time I would do the same with my grandfather as we ventured out fishing or beach combing the shoreline.  The two dogs, Max and Major were loving it, you could tell they really enjoyed getting out in the boat and we were glad to be tagging along.

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It was decided due to the wind that day that we would opt for an alternative spot to pull ashore, this gem of a location was second to none, we landed on the north side of Jersey Harbour and right next to the M.V. Home.

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I took a walk with my littlest nephew Brandon and we went berry picking, the berries were everywhere.  It was like our own personal berry drive thru, blueberries to the right and raspberries to the left.  Because of the views all around us, I couldn’t help but to take a moment and reflect upon the fact that people had once lived here some time ago, I was once told that horses once roamed wild and galloped free on the banks of the shoreline, it was indeed a different time, a time I’m sure somebody misses everyday.

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We had scallops by the shore, roasted wieners by the fire and marshmallows because come on, you got to have marshmallows.  We spent the time combing the beach, exploring the wreckage, and skipping rocks as far as we could.

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It was so peaceful there, the ocean  was swaying in and out teasing it’s tides and drawing concern the odd moment from the skipper.  Time seemed to have stood still, the air was warm and the smell of smoke was therapeutic in a way, it was like the rest of the world was put on pause.  Sometimes it’s the small things that give you the most satisfaction in life and it’s unfortunate we don’t take the time to do those things more often.

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It was time to pack up and head home, with Brandon assuring that the gas was topped up we began to load up the boat and begin our venture back.  The return boat ride was just as beautiful as it was when we left, getting to see the harbour again from that perspective as we steamed along was a moment we surely will not forget, day two proved to be quite rewarding.

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What’s one thing that you got to do when  you get home?  Give up? You got to visit the local “best fries south of everywhere” restaurant.  You know, that place with the secret recipe for gravy, no trip home is complete without that.  My fiance and I took a seat at a table that was in a place that look exactly like it did when we were teenagers, it was pretty nostalgic. We had the place to ourselves and just talked about our trip up to that point, it was like we were in a time capsule.  After taking a look around and while waiting for our food we started to share old stories of the place, so many memories triggered by the smell of chicken fingers dancing around your nose and it smells exactly the same.  The food didn’t disappoint and it was just as good as we remembered and now we had the visit to the restaurant checked off our list, so far, so good.

Like I mentioned, I managed to get in two bike rides and the second was by myself, the town was my map and I had no idea where to start.  So off I went, I zoomed by the post office, zipped past the bridge that connected both sides of the harbour and decided to head down toward the area where I grew up.  I got off the bike for a second and took a picture of my street where I grew up.  It looked so small, how could twenty or so kids jam a hockey game in place as tiny as that?  The amount of hockey games that took place in the spot pictured below I couldn’t count, but I can certainly recall the Stanley Cup moments we used to relive, good times.

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I biked virtually the whole community and if it wasn’t for dark I would have kept going, I knew I wouldn’t get the chance anytime soon so I was getting my fill.  It was a beautiful ride and it also proved to be quite the workout as well, there was so much to see and I still didn’t get a chance to see it all.

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The bike ride was fun and I got to retrace some of my childhood steps, it was nice to incorporate my current lifestyle into a visit to the small town where I grew up.  It has been maybe twenty plus years or more since I was biking the old neighbourhood, I’m happy that I made a point to do it.

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On the last night of our trip we went to my brother in law’s cabin, it was about an hour away from the Harbour Breton and for us, it was a hour that we shaved off our trip back to Mount Pearl the following day.  The cabin road was modestly marked by two poles that signalled the beginning of the dirt road leading the way to the cabin which was nestled deep in woods overlooking a huge pond, it was a beautiful piece of land.  As soon as we pulled up you could notice the abundance of berries that were ready to pick, I took a bunch with my first swipe, how convenient.

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As the evening drew near and the sun began to set we started to make a fire, the evening breeze was calm, the flies were staying away and there were s’mores in our future.  As mentioned the cabin overlooks a pond that stretches for miles, a loon call in the near distance reminds you that you’re on mother nature’s door step. That night we sang songs and played music with everyone lending their voice to tunes we knew half the words to. The best times are the times that just happen, much like that night, an impromptu song and dance was all we needed to cap off a wonderful retreat.

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There was a certain calm about being off the grid, no notifications prompting your attention, no status updates, no city traffic, nothing at all to create stress, just a quiet that was very welcomed…thanks Travis and Juanette.

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The morning of the last day of our visit the birds were chirping and the smell of the trees filled my lungs, this was god’s country for sure.  I started to imagined throwing it all down and staying in the country forever and living off the land and turning to a life of the bush people, but quickly realised this was me I was referring to.  Though, I can’t stress enough the need for experiences like these, we need them, it does wonders for the soul.

We left that cabin that morning feeling happy, a little hungover, but happy.  We spent a great night in the woods with our family which had put an great big explanation point our trip home, so with all the goodbyes said, we took to the road and headed back to the city.

When we decided to go home for our vacation this year we had no idea what it would be like, but the one thing is for sure we are so glad we did.  The time was spent with family around us, chats of a time gone by and conversations of what’s to come.  I used to say  that home is relative to where you are, now I stand corrected.  Going home to where you were born and raised, you know, there’s a whole familiar feeling that starts to fall over you.  Of course you can make happiness anywhere you live in the world but spending a subtle moment to return to where it all began has proven for us that no matter what, home is still home.

A change in the air.

It’s the end of the summer of 2016 and already there is a change in the air, there ‘s a certain nip to the breeze, a indication that fall is around the corner.  I took to the bike yesterday and there was a different feel to the evening, it was a good different though for me, I like the fall and a fall in Newfoundland is like no other.  The leaves will soon change, the air smells extra clean, fresh and I seem to get the most inspired.  I can honestly say that the fall is my best time of the year, I just like the look and feel of everything.

The talk of vacations and travel plans start to dwindle and the Christmas chatter begins to make its way into conversations already with the first person to speak of them to be quickly shunned of course.  “It’s too early to talk of those things, didn’t you just get back from summer vacation?”.  That may be the case, but you know yourself that time flies and before you know it.  Just the other day I received my first Christmas party request for a work function, imagine the first of September and I now thinking about gifts.  (Switch topics)

I  took a walk just last night and the air was crisp and clean, it made me think of home and growing up, I thought of school nights spent playing with my friends trying to make the best out of the last days of summer that we had left.  September was upon us and we’d soon be packing book bags and lining up to get the best seat on the bus, dibs back row.  I asked my little nephew Dalton a couple weeks ago about school and before I had the words out of my mouth he goes “don’t even talk about uncle Ash”.  I had to laugh because I’ve been there and there no worst feeling than knowing the sands of the summer hour glass were quickly trickling away, I felt for him.

Speaking of school, my daughter is in town for her first year at university, yup, my little girl is about to start a new chapter in her life and she seems to be taking it all in stride.  She says she’s excited and I know she will be ok but I can only imagine what must be going through her mind.  Ashton, like me, will be coming from a small rural community and I remember it was intimidating to be finally on my own too but I never really felt like I was home sick or never capable of staying the course.  I guess with my friends being around and being that some of them were my room mates I felt a sense of security like there were pieces of home with me.  She will be rooming with a young lady that is also from her graduating class, so at least she will have a little sense of home with her as well. There’s a lot for her to experience and a time for her to start making her way through life, it will be full of obstacles but she is fully capable of taking care of herself.  I can only sit back and watch her become a woman, she will have to learn like we all do, she has a great mind on her shoulders so I confident she’s going to be just fine.  This is just another example of this time of year and the changes it brings with it, the fall is synonymous with beginnings from an academic perspective and this is just her’s, stay tuned.

Now if you not worried about school then maybe talks of the breakdown of patio sets or storing of pleasure boats fill the todo lists conversations. I was talking with a coworker the other day who was taking advantage of this last long weekend of the summer to winterise and lock down her cabin, probably the case for a lot this last hurrah of summer.  I’m sure there are many families tonight sharing the last of the campfire stories and roasting the final spider wiener with the warm season winding down to an end.  I’m glad my family and I had a chance the summer to eat by a fire and take in the beautiful summer night skies, we are lucky to be able to live here.

Nowadays a walk may require a coat, you could very well be rained on more often but this time of year for me is the best, I still like it the most.  Summer is cool but this time of year I tend to write more, I usually pick up reading again or at least have more time for it. Summer is busy, it seems like you always have to be doing something when the weather is good.  Cue September and something as simple a bbq has lost its luster because for the last three months it seems that’s all we’ve been eating, so I’m glad for the change.  Fall is rich in tone, it was my grandfathers favourite season too, he loved it, I remember vividly of the smell of freshly cut trees as he would saw the wood that was needed to fuel the stove for the colds nights to come.  The air would cut through me and the saw dust would get in my boots but there was something about that fragrance of autumn that made you feel good that you were alive, I miss my pop, but that moment makes me smile.

So, wrap your plants, school’s in, and I saw Halloween decorations just two days ago, summer may be over but it’s time to embrace the fall.  What do you like about the fall of the year, any memories come swarming back?, Any projects on your horizon?, leave a remark in the comments below and share.

 

 

A ride through the neighborhood

Went for a ride today, after work and as soon as I got home.  I was looking forward to it and couldn’t wait to get on the bike, but I needed a change, I had to take a new route to keep me motivated.  First I started off relatively the same and was treating the ride as more leisure than trying to get a workout too. The weather was great, it was super warm, so everything was in place for a nice ride.

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Once I was well on my way I decided that I would maybe bike a little within the neighborhood, maybe the streets would provide a change that I needed and provide some new perspectives.  So off I went no route in mind, just wherever the road took me and if I saw something that I liked I would take it as it came.

Right away I was enjoying the ride, I’m not really a fan of the traffic so I opted to take the sidewalks which provided lots of room and allowed me to focus on my pace rather than the traffic that was screaming pass me as people were commuting about.  To be honest I am getting more accustomed to riding the bike than driving my car, it’s a lot less stressful and you get to see more than you would in a vehicle.

Peddling for a bit I came upon this spot where it looked like a path was leading into the inner park that weaves itself throughout my neighborhood so I was curious as to where that would take me so in a heartbeat I veered left and had no idea what I was in store for.  The trail was much like the one that shoulders my street, lots of playgrounds, foot paths and small bridges that interconnected everything and at the same time gave me more ideas of routes for another time that I am in the area.

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I’m maybe fifty minutes in by now so I start to ask myself if I wanted to keep going or shall I call it and make my way back home, but of course I kept going.  After taking the urban trail way for another short ways I then found myself on the street again but now I had a direction in mind so I took the roadway a short stint until I made it to another park entrance and I was bound for Bowring Park , a very beautiful park that is nestled in the St. John’s, Newfoundland downtown area, it’s rich in history and provides for some of the most tranquil and scenic walks.

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I had made it to the park and it was teaming with activity, kids were using the skate park, there were people playing catch and I was surprised of how many people were playing this new mobile phone app game called Pokemon Go, they were everywhere but eh, at least they were outside.  The park was so beautiful and there was so much that I wanted to photograph but I new my time was getting short and had to start to think about returning home, it was a long way back.

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I had a look around and took some more photos but soon started my journey back to home base, the gas tank was getting empty and by now I was pushing a couple hours.  The way back was and is a bit more of a challenge as there is a slight incline the whole way, I had to really focus to get back to a rhythm after my leisurely passage through the park.

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On the way back I happened to pass this little Syrian child that was walking with his mother, he was so intrigued by me and my bike, almost cheering me on, I gave him a quick thumbs up as I passed him and he smiled back at me surprised by my acknowledgement.  I have to say that he was one of the highlights of my trip, his little face was so interested in what I was doing, my own personal little fan club, awesome.

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I was gone for over two hours and it was a route that was pretty much on the fly but those are the best sometimes, never knowing where you will wind up, I enjoyed it.  It was a great workout, got to see some new stuff and stored a bunch of the trails in the whole memory bank for another bike adventure to who knows where.

Until then

I want to ride my bicycle…

Wow it’s been a long time since my last post, just needed the inspiration I guess and I have just the reason to start writing again.  Soooooo, I got a bike, yup for my birthday and since then I have been biking every chance I get since April, it’s become my new passion. As soon as I got on that bike I was instantly hooked, I was even mad at myself for not getting a bike sooner.  So far, having a bike is a plus for me on so many levels, keeps me fit, helps me de-stress and the big one is that I get to take advantage of being outside.  If you are looking to expand your horizons and your fitness portfolio I suggest taking up biking.

I’ve been using Map My Ride as my primary tracking app and it helps me keep a finger on the pulse of exactly how far I’ve gone and certainly a good gauge as to how long I expect my journey to last. The app keeps track of your workouts and I can say that it’s very satisfying knowing exactly what you accomplished.  Actually for me, the journey is the best part, you can go anywhere, no boundaries and all you need is a direction. There’s this trail way network that runs right along my neighbourhood in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and I have been using that mostly so far as I am getting more and more experienced as a rider.  The  trail way can take you east and it can take to west and then some, there are quite a few attractions along the way and plenty to photograph.

I have been usually hitting about 30K each time I go slowly aiming to get further every time.  You would be surprised how far you are capable of going when you put your mind to it.  Most of the time I find myself not wanting to stop, there is so much to see and so many paths not taken that has continued to keep me curious as to where I will end up next.  

I see a lot of people using the trail way, there’s kids playing in playgrounds, people feeding the ducks, some the swans, there was even a group of people heading out for a canoe ride.  The pond was perfect for it and it looked like a lot of fun, they seemed to be enjoying it, it was beautiful on the water.

It was warm and I really had to focus to get going, the heat zapped my motivation pretty quick but I struggled through and it was ok once I concentrated on my pace. Hydration was key, I made sure to drink more to accommodate for the high temperatures and because I was sweating a lot more than usual I made sure to stay on top of my water intake.

One of the best parts of biking is the way it makes me feel, it’s like the kid in me that enjoys exploring the unknown just takes over and there’s no telling where I will end up.  I always wonder how far I would be capable of going if I really tried one day, the one thing I do know is that I intend to find out.  Anybody can ride a bike and I bet if you took a chance and gave it a shot you would agree, for those who already have biking in there arsenal I hope to see you out on the trails sometime, it’s fun ain’t it?

To close I intend to blog about my trips and I aim to challenge a few trail ways in my area.  I am going to make that a goal of mine for the summer and well into the fall.  I plan to document my excursions and post some pictures to diarize my accomplishments, you’re very welcome to virtually come along.

Happy trails

Ash

That old rocking chair

A whistle from another room, a few words of a song,
I would hear your voice and come running along.

I jump into your lap, frighten you with cheer,
You would simply caress my back and say “oh dear”.

“Where are you going?” you would always ask,
“Don’t know my father I just have time to pass.”

“Be careful and steer clear of trouble he would often warn,
Watching over me from the very day that I was born.

Sleeping as he rocked so many times he did,
I would play fun and steal the hat for his balding head.

Not a word of scorn was ever cast my way,
Not at the beginning, not even your last day.

That rocking chair sits still, how I miss your song,
I feel all alone where do I belong?

I know you wish the best for me to live a happy life and do what I can,
Raise a family of my own and be a good man.

You are my true father as I am your son,
I will continue your wishes your every one.

I will be the man you hoped I’d become,
to honor your name I have already begun.

I am beginning to see that your spirit lives on,
So I will dry my tears and then move on.

I’m not sad anymore I feel your right here,
Singing that song, in that old rocking chair.

Dream of better days

Your eyes now cast an empty blank stare,
But I know deep inside that you are still there.

I miss the talks, that we would always share,
When I came calling, you were always there.

I miss coming home to a well-cooked meal,
To a warm embrace, true love I did feel.

Gently caressing my head followed up with a kiss,
Those days are now gone, those days I miss.

How can this be, a woman of strong faith,
Barely knowing where to, hardly knowing a face.

No one truly knows the darkness you live,
Strangers amongst you, not much ever said.

You took me in when times were rough,
You made me a man, you made me tough.

You would always say that I was your boy,
No one now listens and I have to ask why.

What we had was special, something not like most,
But we new all that mattered was that we were close.

I yearn to hear you call my name, if just for one last time,
If this my only wish to be granted, then that for me is fine.

It’s hard mother, with you not here,
I want to kiss you, hold you, I want to be near.

I will move on for it would be your wish, you would want me too,
Memories of our time together will help guide me through.

You’re a saint my dear Theresa, in so many ways,
Sleep my dear mother and dream of better days.

Board much??

I did something last night that I haven’t done in quite some time and that was play a board game, I didn’t need batteries, there were no wires, and I certainly didn’t need to be in WiFi range, just some old school board gaming fun.  Gaming consoles, computers, and hand-held devices usually take precedent over more tradition forms of family leisure that we’ve forgotten how much fun a simple board game can be.  That said, I do know of friends and family members who still make board games a staple in their entertainment arsenal but I bet there are more that don’t.  Growing up I would always have a few board games scribbled down on my list for Santa, they usually would come as a secondary gift or maybe that gift from an aunt or uncle, but like a lot of things over time, I just grew out of playing them on a consistent basis.

Whether you still play board games or not, they do have a certain appeal to them, they are nostalgic, reminiscent of Saturday night battles with your parents for household dominance, and of course the bragging rights that usually lasted a couple of days were the icing on the cake.  Although it takes a lot sometimes to dig them out of the inner bowels of the dingy part of the basement, or maybe the cobwebbed corners of the attic, but once dusted off and all pieces are accounted for, they can create some of the most fun filled nights with the people you enjoy spending time with.  The occasions in which I have spent time playing board games have always been a pleasant experience with friends becoming foes and couples taking jabs at each other all in good fun.  Some games require little to no prior experience as they are familiar to most of us but then there are other newer games that may need a dry run or two, each and all with their own degree of challenge.

Board games are great ways to reconnect with friends and/or family that you haven’t spent time with in awhile, there’s no “what time do we show up?”, there’s no perfect outfit to wear, there’s no “what do I need to bring for food?” none of those typical internal debate type scenarios that come with planning a fun night.   No, you just need everyone sitting around the kitchen table or claiming a spot on the couch in the living room and once you Google pizza, scratch food off the list.  It is that easy, and they make for some of the best nights out and easier on the pocketbook I might add.  Because we have so much going on in our everyday lives that a night out is welcomed in most cases, but like I have said, sometimes a night out can also be stressful as to where to go and what to do.  Unfortunately, an option that rarely makes that list is to simply stay in, that’s right, pick up a good bottle of wine, make sure you have plenty of snacks and oh yeah, don’t block the scoreboard.  My cousin, a game connoisseur, actually makes a point to collect games and from time to time he invites us over for an evening of board game bliss.  He picks the titles at random, once situated he helps us with few turns around the board, but then that’s it, we are now supposedly ready to defend, capture or quiz, all on our own.

Yes, some games are simple in concept but there are others that require intellect, strategy and know how.  If you are a pop culture fanatic, well that’s huge with some genres, patience is a vital asset when determining when to strike or when to make that game changing move that shakes things up.  Consider yourself a trivia buff?  Well, you will definitely be a hot commodity in the team picking stage.  It’s fun watching as couples use their partners as allies or completely throw them under the bus because they didn’t pay attention to the board and now the other has the upper hand, too bad, now it’s their turn, “no do over’s”.

The contents of the games themselves are for me a fun part of the experience, those little pieces are so cool to play with, your inner child just screaming inside.  Elements of the game make the game stand out like play money, meticulously carved game pieces, and the dice, they all give the game character and create that certain type of atmosphere each time you play.  Many games are very educational and are best shared with your children, for them leaning becomes fun, and for you a great bonding experience that lasts forever.

The next time you’re scratching your head and racking your brain for something to do, or you just need an excuse to get together, break out the board games.  Keeping it simple sometimes can allow for some memorable moments with the people you love, and the people you love to beat.  Make sure to stop on the way back from work or school, grab that beverage of choice, leave the wings on the counter to defrost and prepare for a night of “go back two spaces” or “who was Robin Hood’s girlfriend for $400.00”.

Game on!!