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The Descent of the Brag'm

May 6, 2023 - Reading time: 4 minutes

I wrote this epic poem for my oldest son at a time in his life when role-playing games were consuming all of his time. My brother got him D&D when he was eleven and from that point on he was hooked. Some years ago when he and his girlfriend were sitting at home watching Stranger Things he gave me a call. He was taken aback by the scene where the boys are sitting their playing D&D, and the mother's reaction when she learned how long they had played. It reminded him so much of his childhood that he had to call me.

The poem tells the story of my son's campaign, the Brag'm being his own creation. They were vikings who had aligned themselves with a goblin empire and set sail to conquer the kingdom of Dio, later named Dio Dor after the threat was dealt with.

The kingdom of Dio was peaceful and serene,
Where its people lived life in a blessed routine.
Their leader the King was beloved by all kin,
The land prospered under his wise rule from within.

But then came a threat from beyond their keep's wall,
An enemy unlike any that had been seen before.
A scourge of vikings with goblins at their side,
A force so strong it could not be denied.

From across the sea they sailed upon ships of wood,
With weapons in hand and hatred in heart to do no good.
Through fear and dread the kingdom did quiver and quake,
As they braced themselves for what fate might await.

The King rallies his troops with courage and strength,
Ready to protect his lands at any length.
He marches forth to face this dire foe,
Determined to show them he will not let them go.

Steel clashes against steel as blade meets blade,
As warriors fight in spirit never afraid.
The Brag'm forces seem unstoppable it seems,
Sweeping away all who dare stand between.

But still the King refuses to yield nor despair,
And leads his brave men on a final prayer.
His last breath is taken as he falls on that day,
Bringing an end to the Kingdom of Dio in dismay.

Sometime later, his friends asked him to continue the campaign. Thus Dio Dor was created. He asked me to supply him with a new epic, a poem to use as a basis for his story, it was flattering, and I agreed. Those efforts turned into this poem. He told a story about a kingdom in ruin and a group of champions who set out to stop the Brag'm. They had to travel to the evil kingodm, there they learned that the Brag'm king had been tainted by the goblin pince who had given him a goblet that poisioned his mind. When his friends completed the campaign the went on to have several other adventures but I can't tell you the rest of their story, by that time they stopped playing on the kitchen table.

Courage in the Face of Destruction

The people of Dio were worn and spent,
Their victory came at great cost to their kin.
But though hearts were broken and tears were shed,
They kept steady in the wake of death.

With courage and strength they set out anew,
To mend what was lost and rebuild what was due.
Their King gone but never forgotten,
His legacy lives on through what they wrought in.

Forests regrew atop their once barren land,
Plants sprouted where there used to be sand.
Buildings rose strong from the rubble and ruin,
As the kingdom began to heal anew.

Villages flourished with crops so ripe,
And craftspeople crafted goods far and wide.
The people of Dio worked together day by day,
Until finally a new life began to take shape.

The legacy of their beloved king lived on, 
Though his body lay beneath the sod that had grown above it all.
The Kingdom of Dio was rebuilt from its ruins anew, 
A lasting reminder of those who fought for what is true.

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Reunion on a Spring Morn

April 5, 2023 - Reading time: ~1 minute
As blooms awake to life in coming Spring,
The promise of reunion chance will bring.

From distant lives, now echoing through the trees,
A loving call that none can help but seize.

To share the joys once last from out of sight,
Before old wounds had sealed our love with flight.

And for a moment here again we'll be,
Enveloped in this time's sweet mystery.

Our fragile hearts so close and yet apart,
Aching with desire to reclaim its start.

But still these echoes linger on the breeze;
Our bond is strong and ever will not cease.

Forever burnished by this morning's gleam,
We find again a love that's unbound dream.

The two lovers in this sonnet, who have been apart for some time, run into each other by chance one spring and celebrate their enduring love and connection.

Even though they're on separate paths at the moment, the love and connection between them persists. It contemplates the mixed feelings of hope and anticipation that accompany the anticipation of a reunion with a loved one from the past.

As the story concludes, it serves as a reminder of the beauty and strength of love.

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Feminism: The Third Wave

April 1, 2023 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Modern third wave feminism is a movement that advocates for gender equality and equity while also respecting the autonomy of all genders. It is part of the larger feminist movement, which uses tactics such as intersectionality and identity politics to challenge oppressive systems of power such as sexism, racism, heteronormativity, and ableism. Third-wave feminists strive to create a welcoming environment for all people, regardless of race, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, or other social identities. This essay will look at how modern third-wave feminism has evolved from its roots in second-wave feminism, as well as some of the issues it is currently dealing with.

Second-wave feminism emerged in the 1960s and 1970s in response to what was perceived as a need for greater recognition of women's rights within society, including advocating for changes to laws concerning pay inequality and reproductive rights. The emphasis was on a more universal concept of gender equality that included both men and women. Some, however, felt that it did not go far enough in accounting for the various types of oppression experienced by marginalized groups (such as black women).

With the advent of modern third wave feminism, there was a shift away from this universalist viewpoint and toward one that included multiple axes of oppression, or "intersectionality". Intersectionality emphasized the importance of recognizing individual experiences rather than relying on gender stereotypes. Certain forms of sexism, for example, may be more prevalent among working-class women than among upper-class women.

Third wave feminists also challenged rigid definitions of femininity and masculinity by championing self-expression through "body positivity" and challenging rigid definitions of sexuality. This includes recognizing nonbinary genders in addition to male/female binaries and increasing queer visibility within communities.

Despite recent advances, there are still many issues that modern third-wave feminists face today. One issue is a lack of representation among decision-makers; while efforts have been made to increase diversity in government positions, much work remains to be done in this area. Another issue is opposition from certain segments of society who see any progress toward gender equality as a threat to their traditional values or an infringement on their freedoms. Finally, there is ongoing concern about the effectiveness of modern third wave feminism in addressing systemic issues such as poverty or violence against women on a global scale.

To summarize, modern third wave feminism has played an important role in promoting greater understanding of gender-based inequalities, but it still faces many challenges before achieving true liberation. Its emphasis on intersectionality and identity politics has sparked debates on previously taboo topics such as body positivity and queer visibility, while also challenging outdated notions of femininity/masculinity.

Ultimately, we must continue to fight until every person, regardless of background, feels safe being themselves without fear or judgement.

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Little Otter's Big Adventure

March 18, 2023 - Reading time: 2 minutes

When I was yonger my children would sometimes ask me to write them stories. You see, story time was a fun time, we read many books, and we told many differet stories, but the stories we told were gone once they woke up. This was a magical time for all of us, and not many of the stories from that time survived. The other day I was going through some old notebooks I came across this story. It really is just a short story, but it has some impact and I wanted to hare it with you. Maybe you will find the desire to tell it to your children. Who knows. I do hope that you will enjoy it though.

I'd been swimming for what seemed like hours in the ocean, and all I could think about was finding my family. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I noticed something on the horizon. As I got closer, I realized it was a lifeboat containing a small child.

I decided to assist them because the poor little thing appeared terrified and exhausted. I swam up to the side of the boat and pushed against it with my paws until it started moving in the right direction. The waves were still pretty rough, but we made it back to shore eventually.

I couldn't believe this little human had survived such an ordeal on his own when we arrived at land! All of the other sea creatures around us were astounded as well, and soon some caring humans came to their aid. Everyone clapped their flippers together in celebration after the child was saved and applauded me for being such a brave hero.

It felt great to help someone in need, and even though my family is still somewhere out there, this experience has taught me that helping others can bring so much joy into your life. If you ever see an otter stranded at sea, remember: no matter how small or large you are, when you have kindness in your heart, you can do anything!

The last time I read the story to them I think my yongest was about five years old. The others knew it, they had been listing to it for what felt like forever but it had become a classic. Children under five will probably find it the most interesting, since five is that special time when they start thinking they aren't small children, and everything that came before is for babies.

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Grand-parenthood - The Humility of It All

February 13, 2023 - Reading time: 4 minutes

The experience of becoming a grandmother has been one that has brought me a great deal of joy as well as a sense of greater responsibility. When I became a mother, it was different in a lot of ways, but becoming a grandparent was completely different for me. It is a time when you have the opportunity to see the miracle of life unfold in front of your very eyes, and it is also a time when you become a part of a unique bond between generations that can last for many years.

When you watch your grandchild achieve new goals, reach new milestones, overcome challenges, and mature, it can oftentimes fill you with an overwhelming sense of pride and satisfaction. It's possible that your love for your grandchild will overpower any excitement you feel about being a part of their lives. Additionally, grandmothers frequently take pleasure in having a relationship with their grandchildren that is distinct from the one they shared with their own children when the latter were younger.

The moment you find out that your child is going to become a parent is the first moment of pure joy that you will experience as a grandmother. Everything is going to change from this point on. When you become a grandparent, your primary role changes from that of a parent to that of a grandparent, and all of a sudden there is a new little person in your life whom you can indulge and love without conditions. You no longer have the day-to-day responsibilities or worries that come along with being a parent.

However, along with joy and excitement, there is also the necessity for humility. When you become a grandmother, you gain a new appreciation for the rapidity with which things can advance, the volume of information that can be acquired, and the diversity of viewpoints that can be observed within a single generation. You are aware that the world we live in now is vastly different from what it was like when you were bringing up children, but that it is, at its core, essentially the same. The cycle of life continues to repeat itself, bringing about change while at the same time remaining unchanged. When we become grandmothers, we gain a new perspective on our lives and our place in the world. It serves as a reminder that we, too, were once innocent and immature, but that we now have a great deal of experience and knowledge to share.

In addition to these feelings of appreciation for a more holistic perspective on life, becoming a grandmother also results in deeper personal connections and relationships than ever before. This is especially true in the context of family. Grandparents are often looked up to as role models by their grandchildren because of the unwavering support and unconditional love that they provide. This is something that parents, who are often preoccupied with their own lives, may not always be able to give. Grandparents frequently find themselves in the position of advising their grandchildren or instructing them in various skills, such as gardening or cooking, which they may have mastered in their youth but neglected to practice until they themselves became grandparents. This connection between generations helps to maintain traditions while also creating opportunities for growth and the exploration of new interests, which is something that is immensely beneficial to both the grandchild and the grandparent.

Becoming a grandmother is an experience like no other; it is one that is filled with immense joy as well as moments of deep reflection on what it means to continue the journey of life together across multiple generations. In general, becoming a grandmother is an experience that is unlike any other. It enlightens us about our past, gives us reason to be hopeful about our future, and strengthens our personal connections in a way that no other experience could ever do; consequently, it is something that should be celebrated by everyone who was a part of it.

I am grateful that I have survived up to this point. I count it as a gift from God that I was picked to be here to witness it. Becoming a grandmother is one of life's most precious and memorable experiences, and it has the potential to bring an extraordinary amount of joy.

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The Palace in the Clouds

February 9, 2023 - Reading time: 2 minutes
The palace in the clouds, so high and grand,
Shining bright and true like a diamond band.
Twinkling stars each night to light their way,
Majestic view of earth from day to day.

Dreamy art adorn its walls divine,
Like tapestries of time they intertwine.
Beds of snow white linens fill the hall,
Embrace its beauty as if nothing at all.

Stairs that spiral up into the sky,
Carrying kings and queens who pass them by.
Tall towers with flags waving in the breeze,
Remind us mortals of our humble knees.

Peaceful haven for those lucky few,
Fate calls them there where dreams come true.
Serenity calms within this place,
Far away from mankind's own disgrace.

This sonnet describes the palace in the clouds, a majestic and beautiful place that only a few people have the opportunity to visit. It is described as high and grand, with a diamond-like shine and stars lighting up the night sky. Its walls are adorned with dreamy art that looks like tapestries of time, and its hall is filled with snow white linens. The spiraling stairs carry kings and queens with flags flapping in the breeze. The palace provides tranquility and peace far from humanity's shame. It is a place where dreams come true for the fortunate few who are summoned by fate.

The sonnet's first four lines depict a palace in the sky, high and grand, with a diamond-like shine. Every night, the stars guide them, and they have a magnificent view of the Earth from day to day.

The next four lines depict the dreamlike art that decorates its walls like time tapestries. Its hall is adorned with snow white linens and embraces its elegance as if it were nothing.

The last six lines describe the stairs that spiral upward into the sky, carrying kings and queens who pass by. Tall towers with flags waving in the breeze remind us mortals of our meager knees. It is a peaceful haven for the fortunate few, where fate calls and dreams turn out to be true, providing serenity far from mankind's disgrace.