– po·et·ry –
dappled with ink
Years etch lines
upon the face of youth,
of living art,
soft and silken
to the touch.
Hands of strength
once fast and sure,
of delicate lace
in the wind,
Eyes once bright
slowly fade to
For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity. President Ronald Reagan – August 19, 1988 Proclamation 5847
One day we will grow old.
Not everyone has the privilege of a life long and well lived, but for those who do, the last chapter should be filled with comfort and care. Sadly, for so many, it isn’t.
Today, on National Senior Citizens Day, I can’t help but think of the alone and the lonely among them. This is a thought that passes through my mind often.
When I was a child, my mother would visit and care for the elderly, she had a gift of patience and compassion and love she willingly gave. She tought my sister and I to do the same. The gift of time is so easy to give.
Today, and every day you can give that gift.
Spend time with elderly family, friends, and neighbors.
Mow their lawns.
Ask if they need anything when you head off to the store.
Read to them.
Listen and learn from them.
Clean their homes
Volunteer at a local senior center.
Teach your children their value, teach them to respect them.
Call for no reason, just to say ‘I’m thinking about you.’
Be patient and kind and compassionate.
Sit and hold their hands.
Don’t forget . . .
One day, we will grow old.
Sesame Street, episode 0276, aired on November 8, 1971, introducing us to a brand new character by the name of Aloysius Snuffleupagus, who quickly became one of the most beloved characters in children’s programming history.
Snuffy, as he is most often called, was loosely based on a wooly mammoth, minus the tusks. Snuffleupagus is not only his last name, but his species as well. Most folks call him Mr. Snuffleupagus, but he’ll answer to Snuffy, Snuff, Mr. Snuffleupagus, or Aloysius [al-oh-ish-uh s], which means, famous warrior, though I’m fairly certain Snuffy is a bit too sweet and snuggly to be a warrior.
Mr. Snuffleupagus may have lumbered his way into our hearts 46 years ago, but he is portrayed as forever 4 1/2 years old. The Snuffy we know today, with the fluffy brown fur, puppy dog eyes and amazing eyelashes looked a bit different when he first strolled his way down Sesame Street. He was quickly deemed too frightening for young viewers and the show softened up his look.
Those young viewers, myself included, were the only ones who ever saw Snuff besides Big Bird, the grown ups somehow always managed to miss him and concluded he was nothing more than Big Birds imaginary friend. But we knew better.
By the 17th season of Sesame Street in 1985, the decision was made to reveal Snuffy to the adults, who for years thought Bird, as Snuff calls him, was simply a scapegoat for mishaps and mischief they attributed to their giant yellow friend. So in episode 2096, the truth became known.
The revelation was based on two factors, the writers were running out of ways to keep the secret going. The grown ups and Snuff had been nearly missing each other for years. There was also a growing concern that the adults refusal to believe Big Bird could have a negative effect on children, specifically, they may get the idea that their parents and other adults might not believe them if they tried to tell them something big.
This decision received mixed reactions. Many of Snuffy’s fans were upset. I was when I heard. I spent my childhood sharing this hilarious knowledge with Big Bird, I felt important because I could see Snuffleupagus. But, I understand their reasonings. I may still be a little bitter about it though.
In honor of the big Snuff’s birthday, here are some fun facts about our favorite Snuffleupagus . . .
His favorite foods are cabbage, spaghetti, sassafras tea, and moss cream cupcakes.
In 1992 Snuff’s parents got divorced, and Daddy Snuffleupagus moved out, but the episode was never aired and in the show, they are still married.
It takes two people to operate the giant muppet, the front operator also voices the character.
Snuffy weighed 572 pounds and 5 ounces at birth.
He wears size 65 triple G roller skates.
He lives in a cave with his mommy, daddy, little sister Alice, and his cousin, Señor Snuffleupago.
His family members are – Mommy and Daddy Snuffleupagus, little sister Alice, Aunt Agnes, Granny Snuffle (from Cincinnati), Cousin Abigail, Cousin Señor Snuffleupagus, and Uncle Abe.
He set a Guinness World record for the longest eyelashes on any puppet in the world.
He has another best friend aside from Big Bird, Snuffleupagus named Rosalyn.
Snuffleupaguses hail from Hawaii. Snuffy and Big Bird once travelled there to seek out Mount Snuffleupagus, or Mount Ihu Papa’a Lo’ihi Nui, which is of course, shaped like a Snuffleupagus.
He loves opera.
His trunk is called a snuffle.
What’s not to love about this furry, sweet, sort of shy, surprisingly unimposing, innocent, and adorable creature?
Happy Birthday, old friend . . .
Is there truly such thing as a perfect poem? What reads like unblemished perfection to one, may not receive the same praises from another. Poetry is a subjective art. There are guidelines a writer can follow which may endear their words to a greater audience of readers. The words of a poem provide the reader sustenance with which they can quell their hunger, but the presentation, the way in which the writer chooses to craft their words upon a blank canvas, is important to a readers palate as well.
A poem needn’t be epic in length, think of the power the words of haiku hold.
Poetry is something which comes from within, composition and form are secondary to the words which will bring meaning and life to the page, but important still. Poetry comes in many forms, perfect to one – nonsense to another. What matters is the author’s voice tickling the reader’s ear through the whispered words of the page.
You needn’t use big words or flowery verse, it doesn’t have to rhyme, and it doesn’t have to be explained; the words and the composition of them should suffice. Writing poetry can be healing, thought-provoking, and at times, profound to both the writer as well as the reader. The perfect poem is the one that touches your soul when you write it, and invites the reader to become one with your words.
The laureate lamented
for her words were skewed,
her altiloquence mistaken
as being quite rude.
Her style clinquant,
her affectation too much,
too many mistakes,
like catchfools and such.
and too many clichés
made all of her readers
turn quickly away.
What she thought
to be eloquent
was really quite fustian;
due to forced rhyme
she lacked any . . . lyricism?
Pedantry ad nauseam,
not even done right,
left the young writer
She vowed to improve,
she promised to change
and pay more attention
how her words were arranged.
Convinced of her talent
she started again,
but was soon held up
She stopped and she sighed,
then she started to cry,
for her poetic juices
had completely run dry . . .
Simply awful with that bit of forced rhyme and the ridiculous use of unnecessarily big words. I must admit though, it was quite fun to write.
Poetry doesn’t have to rhyme. If you cannot rhyme well, you shouldn’t rhyme at all. Forced rhymes destroy what may otherwise be a fine piece of work. Rhymed poetry needs to have a rhythm; it needs to flow seamlessly as it is read. It needs to make sense.
If writing a rhymed piece, ideally each stanza should have the same amount of lines; the rhyme scheme needs to be consistent. There are several ways to craft a rhymed poem, once you’ve chosen your style, remain true to it throughout the piece, the jarring effect of switched up rhyme schemes can throw a reader off.
Every line in a poem does not need to be capitalized; many writers tend to do this, for the reader though, it is often hard to distinguish where one thought ends and another begins. A poem can have commas, periods, and question marks. These details can certainly serve to enhance your work; don’t be afraid to use them.
Poetic beauty is personal passion, as it is with any art. There are those who love and admire the work of Picasso and others who are perplexed and not attracted to it in the slightest, yet both recognize the value of the art itself.
Words never rest,
an endless dance
upon a page.
And because we spoke of rhyme . . .
Stymied by Rhyme?
To rhyme or not to rhyme, if you choose to rhyme, you must rhyme well, for if you don’t, it will sound like . . . Well, you understand don’t you?
From the Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce – RIME, n. Agreeing sounds in the terminals of verse, mostly bad. The verses themselves, as distinguished from prose, mostly dull. Usually (and wickedly) spelled “rhyme.”
When asked about English words without a rhyme, most will quite correctly say orange, purple and silver. There are actually many words in the English language lacking a partner in perfect rhyme.
If it’s true rhyme you’re looking for, you may want to steer clear of the words: anything, January, stubborn, apricot, dictionary and xylophone. Good luck with chaos, angry, hostage, rhythm, shadow, circus, crayon and glimpsed. Angst and empty, depth and width will be tough to rhyme, just like glimpsed and else and diamond and chocolate. Penguin and galaxy do not have any true rhymes, nor does elbow or engine, anxious or monster.
A perfect rhyme, sometimes referred to as true rhyme or full rhyme, is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as; a rhyme in which the final accented vowel and all succeeding consonants or syllables are identical, while the preceding consonants are different, for example, great, late; rider, beside her; dutiful, beautiful.
Pure rhyme can be broken down even further. Words such as dog and log are single pure rhymes. Silly and willy would hence be referred to as double pure rhymes. An example of a triple pure rhyme would be mystery and history.
The longer the word, the harder it will be to find a perfect rhyme, this doesn’t mean they cannot be used in the context of rhyme however. Para-rhymes are defined as a partial or imperfect rhyme, often using assonance or consonance only, as in dry and died or grown and moon. This is also called half rhyme, near rhyme, oblique rhyme, slant rhyme or forced rhyme. This refers to words that do not completely rhyme, but use like sound to form the desired effect. A common example is the word discombobulate, to create a fluid sounding rhyme, three syllables must be utilized, populate would work well as a half rhyme in this instance. Hill and hell or mystery and mastery are examples of para-rhyme.
Masculine rhyme, or monosyllabic rhyme, is among the most common; this technique stresses the final syllable of each word, as in sublime and rhyme, or went and sent. Feminine rhyme differs in that the stress is on two or more syllables such as pleasure and treasure or fountain and mountain. Identical rhyme is simply using the same word twice.
There are various other examples of rhyme; eye rhyme is a rhyme consisting of words, such as lint and pint or love and move with similar spellings, but different sounds. Rich rhyme is a word rhymed with its homonym such as blue with blew, guest with guessed.
Scarce rhymes are words with limited rhyming alternatives like wisp and lisp, motionless and oceanless. Wrenched rhyme is the rhyming of a stressed syllable with an unstressed syllable as in words like lady and bee or bent and firmament.
Internal and external multi-syllable rhymes utilize the rhyming of more than one word, in this example, bleak and seek are internal rhymes; words within the body of the stanza, while night and light are external rhymes and fall at the end of a line.
So she found him
in the bleak of night,
lost on his quest
to seek the light.
Assonance rhyme is the matching of the vowel sounds, feast and feed, fever and feature. In syllable rhyme, the last syllable in each word is matching, pitter and patter, batter and matter. Consonance rhyme is matching the consonants in each word, her and dark. Alliteration is matching the beginning sounds of each word, often used in a series; perfect, poetic, personification.
Many people wrongly assume writing a rhymed poem is an easy task, until they actually try to write one, that is. There is much more to it than seeking words that rhyme, but we’ll discuss it at length some other time.
Crystal R. Cook
NATIONAL I LOVE MY FEET DAY
“You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose!” Dr. Suess
Your feet are amazing. They truly are. Unfortunately, they don’t always get the attention and respect they deserve. Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about those odd looking, flippy-floppy things that carry us through life.
But we should.
I must admit, I have a love/hate relationship with feet. In all honesty, I think feet are weird. They look funny. Some of them smell funky. They are almost always dirty. Feet are also fascinating and undervalued and deserve so much more care than we give to them.
So, in honor of National I Love My Feet Day, I’m talking about feet. Bear with me here, this is pretty important stuff. We need our feet to last us an entire lifetime and let’s face it, life would come to a standstill without them. See what I did there? A standstill? You know, because we need feet to stand . . . maybe it was funnier in my head.
First a Few Fun Facts About Feet
Did you know each human foot is made up of 19 muscles, 26 bones, 33 joints,107 ligaments, and contains 250,000 sweat glands? That’s a lot of pieces and parts in one relatively tiny package!
On average, a person takes 7,500 steps per day, if you kept that level of activity, which is moderate, for 75 years you will have taken over 200,000,000 steps in your lifetime.
One foot is usually a bit bigger than the other. Women suffer from more foot issues than men, high heels anyone? Wearing a 2½-inch high heel can increase the load on your forefoot by 75%. 1/4 of the bones in your body are located in your feet. Toenails grow faster when the heat is high. The bones in your feet don’t completely harden until 21 years of age. Your feet have more sensory nerve endings per square centimeter than any other part of your body.
Like I said, your feet are amazing and strong and in order to keep them that way, you need to pamper them every now and then. Your feet should be a high priority on your self-care checklist. Your feet do more than move you, they are often the first indicators of what could become major medical issues, and when your feet aren’t happy, the rest of your body isn’t happy either.
Aside from daily care and the occasional take your toes to the spa day, you need to pay attention to what those tootsies are telling you. Don’t ignore foot pain or other injuries. Your feet take a lot of abuse, a normal day of regular activity puts tons of force on them. The shoes you choose to wear can be harmful. The germs and dirt and sweat they accumulate can lead to illness and infection.
This isn’t the time to tiptoe around, foot care is serious.
Since your feet are the furthest away from your heart, they are susceptible to damage due to certain heart conditions. That heart of yours is pumping blood to your feet through arteries, and if those arteries become clogged or diseased, that blood supply is being limited, and the oxygen-rich blood your feet need to keep-on-keepin-on isn’t getting where it needs to go.
Your feet are often a good indicator of your overall health. Diabetes, nerve disorders, circulatory issues, and arthritis symptoms are often noticed in the feet first.
Foot care is especially important for the estimated 24 million Americans with Diabetes. Somewhere between 60-70% of diabetics will develop nerve damage, which can lead to lower limb amputation. Extra care is critical for diabetics when they suffer any wounds to lower extremities. Something as simple as a scratch or an ingrown toenail can lead to serious complications.
If you have diabetes, you need to be examining your feet every day for injuries you may not even be aware are there. Check for redness, swelling – any signs there may be an infection present.
Read more about diabetic foot care here:
Love DIY? Check out these homemade foot scrubs! My favorite recipe from this fantastic list uses brown sugar (exfoliates), coconut oil (moisturizes), and peppermint oil (freshens and cools).
If you’d like to see even more tips and tricks for healthy, happy feet, click on the links below. Take some time and research foot care, find out how to baby those wonderful feet of yours . . .
Now that you know how vital proper foot care and health really is, celebrate National I Love My Feet Day by treating yourself to a nice pedicure or mix up a batch of a soothing foot rub and give those marvelous metatarsals of yours a rest . . .
Celebrate accordingly people. Do nothing, read a book, soak in the tub, grab the remote and embark upon a Netflix marathon of epic proportions.
However you choose to honor this marvelous day, just make sure it requires minimal effort.
By the way, today is ALSO National S’mores day, so maybe make one or three, they don’t take too much time or effort, so it shouldn’t interrupt your lazy day inactivity too much.
Personally, I plan on crawling into a book and losing myself in words until the day is done . . .
Jem Bloomfield on culture, gender and Christianity
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