The Weekly Smile for the 20th of March, 2023 #weeklysmile

Hi All! Happy Spring! Yes, despite all of the snow on the ground, today is the first day of spring! The snow is melting fast (well, there was a slowdown yesterday since it never got above freezing…) and I can see the shoots of the flowers coming up were there is no snow. And I do still see some snowdrops (they seemed to have popped through the deep snow right away, and now it is thawed around them). It is easy to tell that this is a mid to late March snow, not a January one!

I did a “signs of spring” post last week. I guess this week will be a “it’s the small things” post.

Despite the snow, I did get a good run in on Saturday (I ran Monday, before the storm as well). I had a few very long walks with Fiyero. He actually likes walking more when it is cooler because he overheats so easily. So some woods, a few big hills, some large fields, etc. And there was music (I wrote a new piece, I just have to find to to record), reading, writing, friends, family, etc. And that bit of spring popping out from under the snow.

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If We Were Having Coffee on the 18th of March, 2023 #weekendcoffeeshare

Hello and Welcome! Come on in and I’ll get you a nice mug of super strong dark roast, a cuppa tea, some hot cocoa or another beverage. A lot of snow still on the ground, but it is melting fast! It was about 50F/10C yesterday and will be pretty close to that again today. That is the thing about a March storm – the snow doesn’t last long. Oh, were are we? Some of you may recognize the photo at the top as being from New Hampshire.

This was a super busy work week with back-to-back meetings all day every day. Next…

We had a little storm that started Monday night and went until the early hours of Wednesday. The official snowfall total for my town was 25″/62.5 cm. The next town up the hill from us had 34″/86.5 cm and there was one town in New Hampshire that had 42″/106.75 cm! That is a lot of snow…

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Chess #writephoto

Photo by KL Caley

Oswald stood at the window, stroking his strawberry blond beard as Eathwing gave the field report.  A casual observer might think he wasn’t paying attention, but Eathwing knew that the king’s mind was taking it all in and planning the next move.  Although known as a hot tempered man, Eathwing knew that this king was perhaps the greatest strategist of his generation.  That was how he, starting as a thane of a small town, now had one of the largest kingdoms on the isles. 

When the report was finished, Oswald swung around, eyes flashing under the flaming red eybrows.

“Gather the knights and let them know we ride at dawn with me at their head.  We will join the siege of Domnall’s sea fortress.  I feel it is about to fall and if I ride there, it will surely topple.  That is the last defence on the sea route, so if it falls, Domnall the White will not be able to withstand our advance.  We will have him yet!”

“A squad of Domnall’s best foot soldiers stand between us and our men on the siege.”

“Those pawns?  My knights will wipe them out!  We will taste victory!”

Eathwing nodded.  “As you wish, sire.”


After talking to general of the king’s knights, Eathwing went down to the deepest dungeon, the one others called “The Wizards Coop”.  Making sure nobody saw, we went into a secret side room.  A giant chessboard was set up, a game in progress.

Eathwing waved his hand.  The red king and one of the red knights lined up against a white castle and three white pawns.

He scanned the board.  Yes, if they took out the pawns and the castle they’d have the white king in check, but could they force a checkmate?

It all depended on how Domnall moved his own men.

Oswald the Red may be on the right track, but this game of chess was not over quite yet.


This was written for the writephoto challenge that is hosted by KL Caley. The photo at the top was given by KL, as well as the key word, “Chess”. Hope you enjoyed :)

No Sense of Adventure!

PHOTO PROMPT © Rowena Curtin

The ally called Meg, or at least the shops called.

Greg said he’d sit for a while in the pub he’d noticed by the docks.

The man with the bottle of whiskey, “Bill” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) was interesting.  In fact, his tale about Singapore was so enthralling Greg barely noticed the knife fight.

Greg waved off the guy with his offers of drugs and the woman who offered more.

When 8 police-members, guns drawn, arrested “Bill”, Greg figured he’d find Meg.

“You should have come,” Meg said as they ate.  “I wonder what happened to your sense of adventure!”


word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by  Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo by @ © Rowena Curtin. If you want to join or see other stories, go to the inlinkz linkup.

Updated Song – I’m Still Here

About three weeks ago I posted a new video. I hated my voice on it, so I decided to do an all instrumental version. Well, I’ve been thinking about it and decided to rerecord the vocals. The results are more in tune (good!), but I am not sure if my voice is better…. Of course, being in tune helps a lot ;)

Before we go on, here is the new version:

(Click here if you don’t see the video below)

Lyrics are on video and also original post. Tech details on original post except the added organ is the Rev 2.

OK, a little info about the changes.

I practiced it a little, which I didn’t do before. Part of it is memorizing the words. I still held the lyrics in my hand (you can hear them rustling in a few places…), but I didn’t have to concentrate on the words as much. I also practiced hitting the right notes. Sounds obvious, but if it is brand new, you are reading the words, etc., well… I played around with interpretation, but when I recorded I found that if I didn’t put 100% into singing in tune, I was just as bad as the original version.

I also added a vocal harmony line on the chorus. It isn’t perfect, but I like it :)

I also added an organ part to the chorus the second and third time through, and another organ part just the third time – that makes the chorus grow each time. To me it makes the entire song less static.

One problem is that I didn’t spend a lot of time on the levels and mix, so there are a few mix issues with that fuller third chorus :( (Technical part – to avoid bad distortion, compressor and limiter change volume, which causes “pumping” in the volume.) But I noticed after I posted the video, so… There are a few places where the vocal was over-recorded, so a little distortion there. Overall, though, I think it is much better. (Singing in tune helps 😉 )

Anyway, I do hope this is better than the original vocal version and even better than the instrumental version.

The Weekly Smile for the 13th of March, 2023 #weeklysmile

Hi All! There is going to be a snow storm that starts tonight and goes into Wednesday. Yeah, not a big smile there. However, it will very much be a March storm – yes, wet and heavy, but it won’t last too long. (I hope – we still have snow on the ground). Despite the return of winter over the last two weeks, I have been seeing many signs of Spring, particularly when I was on Cape Cod.

I first noticed snow drops on Cape Cod, but yesterday I saw some in New Hampshire. I could also see shoots of flowers coming up all over Cape Cod and it looked like only a week or so out before the daffodils would be in bloom. I did see a few green shoots in New Hampshire, but blooms are still a long way out!

Another big sign were all of the red wing blackbirds staking out territory. To me the noise of the blackbirds is a sure sign of spring. Although noticed first on Cape Cod, I did hear some in New Hampshire as well.

I think I saw an osprey! It might have been a hawk, but…

I have seen more signs of life out and about. There is more green, particularly on Cape Cod. Despite the forecast of snow, spring is in the air! I hope ;)

That is my smile, seeing the first signs of spring, not only on Cape Cod, where they are more advanced, but even in New Hampshire as we head into a March snowstorm.

What made you smile?


Come on, I’m sure you smiled at least once last week.  Why don’t you share it?  I hope you can join in!

Here is list of “rules” and guiding ideas.  If you don’t have time to read it right now, just remember that this is an exercise to spread positivity.  Don’t smile about the misfortune of others.  Don’t smile in a way to excludes others.  Make sure a 12 year old can read it.

To join in, write a post to share your smile and then leave a comment on this post with a link to your smile.  Or, if you prefer, do a pingback to this post (pingback = have a link from your post to this one) (Note – pingbacks have been very inconsistent – please leave a comment :) ).   You can post any time until next Sunday evening (to be simple, I will say midnight GMT, which is 7 PM Sunday for me).  Note – I am no longer compiling the smiles into a weekly post as I used to – Sorry, I do not have time.

If we Were Having Coffee on the 11th of March, 2023 #weekendcoffeeshare

Hello and Welcome! Come on in, take off your wet jacket and I will get you a large mug of super strong dark roast, a cuppa tea, some hot cocoa or other beverage. Yuck, it looks like a cool, grey and damp day today! At least it isn’t snowing. And there is no snow on the ground. Back in New Hampshire there is plenty of snow on the ground and there is snow expected during the week for my part of the state (maybe). Oh, if I’m not in New Hampshire right now, where am I? If you don’t recognize the photo at the top and and don’t know where I usually am when not in NH, I am on Cape Cod.

OK, a work week. We accomplished much. The end.

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Meeting the In-Laws

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

125 years ago, the room was filled with Vanderbilts, Carnegies and Rockefellers.  Now it’s a top restaurant. 

I looked forward to meeting my future in-laws there.

The jeans were out of place, as were the comments about the chandelier of broken dishes.  The loud laughter at the sommelier was more embarrassing than them using the wrong forks, as was their pointing at the French Ambassador’s wife’s hat.

When the manager approached, I thought he’d ask us to leave.

To my surprise, he knew Tina’s parents by name.

As we left, “Pops” said, “Next time I’ll take you some place nice.”


word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by  Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo by @ © Jennifer Pendergast. If you want to join or see other stories, go to the inlinkz linkup.

Black-eyed Susan – Video

The other day I posted a video of an orchestrated Art Song/Lieder from the period when I was composing contemporary classical music. I actually did two posts on this before (see here for the one with the most details). Don’t let “classical”, “art song” or Trent’s awful voice drive you away – take listen:

(Click here if you don’t see the video below)

One year I saw far more Black-eyed Susans (flowers) than ever – they were everywhere. Until I went Northern Maine for a week. When I returned, there were no more flowers. A little later, when hiking, I saw some remnants. I wrote this song based on that.

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The Weekly Smile for the 6th of March, 2023 #weeklysmile

Hi All! A few years ago I did a series of posts “Music That Means Something” in which I went through my top five favorite albums (see recap here). Funny, my supposed favorite bands weren’t on the list, but one band had two entries (out of five!) – Pink Floyd. Anyone paying attention may have seen that March 1 was the 50th anniversary of the release of their legendary album, Dark Side of the Moon (legendary = sold more than any other album ever, only album to be on the charts continuously for 50 years). That wasn’t one on the lists, but still one of my favorites.

Yesterday (Sunday, March 5) I went to see a show by a group called “Classic Albums Live”. Yep, they playing classic rock albums as close to as recorded as possible. They don’t dress or act like the band, just try to play like them.

Yesterday they did Dark Side of the Moon.

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