Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Category: Personal (page 1 of 45)

Go fly a drone

On Father’s Day this year, my daughter Sarah and son-in-law, Jonathan got me a gift card to
#the Grommet, a website with all kinds of cool stuff. [tnx guys!]
They wanted me to get something for myself that I would normally not spend my money on.
Unlike beer.
Or cigars.
Or bourbon.
I sat on this gift card like a corpulent mother hen waiting for something to hatch and catch my eye.
I saw a ‘spiralizer‘ that looked pretty cool but I knew I’d use it for a month before shelving the bastard.
Zucchini pasta would only satisfy this tummy for so long.
I saw a really interesting ‘smart watch’ knockoff called a Cookoo that sent you Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and text messages ever so discreetly.
It mysteriously disappeared off the site a month after I first saw it.
I forgot about the Grommet for several months (mainly because of a customer service issue which they can contact me about if they wish) until last week when I remembered my Father’s Day gift from June.
It took me a little bit to find the gift card buried in my Gmail more deeply than the undigested red meat in my carnival-like intestinal tract.
Then it was off to the Grommet for a bit of surfing.
I found something called a ‘Klevercase‘, a book bound tablet/Ipad cover.
Already got a case for my iPad.
Surfing some more the ‘little boy’ in me found the Nano quad-copter in the video above.
I watched the video several times.
And then a few more times after that.
It was ‘Hellsyeah’ cool.
I sent my wife a link to each product and asked, ‘Which one do you think I’d like?’
She sent me back a message in a nanosecond that said: Drone
I get my ‘neon orange‘ Nano Drone this Friday.
I feel like that little boy at Christmas.
Yeah, me.
And yeah, too cool.
Christmas is coming early, my friends.
And I also hear they have much better drones.
Hmmm . . .



key, heart, love

There’s a place for you deep inside my heart, a room filled with wondrous things; beryl blues, setting sky purples, soft sunflower yellows, sherbet orange velvets and vivid reds of every hue, a fractal rainbow complete but yet not fully formed, much like you.
There are a billion brilliant stars waiting to be wished upon, rivers to be crossed, oceans to be discovered and stories to be told, bedtime books to be read.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you; think about what the colour of your eyes will be, the smell of your sweet and beautiful innocence, the sheer weight of you resting softly in the safety of my arms.

You were born in love, a love that transcends time and space but still has an unknown and occasionally untimely schedule to keep.
You may not know it but I’ve already made promises to you, hidden secrets that lay bare on the waiting shelves that line this quiet room, a sacred place that whispers your name from the rising of the sun to its dipping into the distant palette of the waiting horizon.
I close my eyes and dream of the things you might be dreaming of right now.
And oh, dear little one you must dream.
My prayer is that my heart is big enough to hold all of you in it, to be a safe harbour that is always clear on even the stormiest of nights.
My heart sings to you with the softest of lullabies, maybe keeping some of the dissonance of life far away from your waiting ears . . . for now.
I realize that’s an unrealistic hope at best but it’s a hope just the same.
When I finally hold you, I also understand that I will never be the same again.
I can only pray to be better. And somehow that’s okay with me.
As A.A.Milne said, “Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
This room is waiting and you are holding the key.


Finding her

beach, love, life, best friend, forever


It was a sultry afternoon in early August that I walked onto the West Dennis beach on Cape Cod
with my wife and my twin sister.
We found a section of the beach that felt right and set out our bent and somewhat antedeluvian chairs down into the sun-bleached sand.
There’s something about the ocean that has always made me more introspective than a gothic statue appears to be.
I sat in my chair and took in the surf, seagulls fighting for the sake of a dirty potato chip, children playing while others sculpted the wet sand into unlikely formations; their monsters, their dreams, their deepest wishes.
I turned to my sister and said, I wish I could be 12 again, oh, the things I would do differently.
My sister paused, looked at my wife and back at me and said, but you wouldn’t have Pamela.
I thought for a moment and said, I’d just find her all over again, that’s all.
That’s really sweet, she said.
But that’s the genuine truth of it.
She’s the one thing I could never do differently.
And maybe that’s what love is, finding over and over again the one true heart in your life that has always been there, forever pulsing to the palpable rhythm of an endless surf.

Supposed 2

I was supposed to do many things in my life that I never did: to sign with a major record label like 36 years ago but I got a major flat tire along the way, to listen to the music my 3 daughters grew up with to understand where they were coming from
(obviously trying to sniff out signs of devil worship, anarchy and drug abuse),
to write books like  ‘Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease’, ‘Moving your parents’, ‘Cooking with the Sneaker’, ‘Starting a blog’, ‘Starting a coal fire’ and on and on.

I was supposed to do so many things.
I did not do any of them.
Life comes stomping in and tells you what you need to do.
Or else.
Your life plans are always somewhat temporary, truth be told.
End of story.
You can heed the call or as Fleetwood Mac says, ‘you can go your own way’.
Stevie Ray Vaughn was supposed to live until he was 101, just like Robin Williams, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Len Bias, Bill Evans, Hendrix, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and the list goes on and on ad nauseum.
I’m writing tonight, so in a small way I’ll consider that a victory.
I’m supposed to write every day.
Do I write every day?
No, I don’t.
Maybe it has something to do with the way my stars are aligned or the fact that I have tomatoes to plant or a client that I have to visit, or a meal that must be made for a special occasion, a song to be learned, a call to be made, an email to be sent, a scratch to be itched, a broken heart to be healed.
I’m never going to figure this thing out so for now I’m just going to take it slow.
One day (stone) at a time.
In writing terms, the ever eloquent Stephen King said it best:

“When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: One stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that motherfucker from space without a telescope.”

Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it.
Tomorrow is another day.
Another chance to just do good.
Maybe I’m supposed to be blessed enough to open my eyes in the morning and see sunshine glowing from inside the dewdrops of moisture on the shamrock green of my lawn.
Maybe I’m supposed to try and make people believe my lawn is actually shamrock green.
Yeah, that’s a definite ‘maybe’ . . .

For Kat

I downloaded an app today called Omm (available for PC/Mac).
It’s a writing app designed for writers to enhance a ‘distraction free’ experience.
I’m sitting on my deck right now and can see how this app could enhance the creative process.
You have control over the background that you write on, and the sounds that you hear (best if you use headphones).
The bottom line is that you write, plain and simple.
There is nothing that takes your mind away from your writing.
You can control the sound your keyboard makes as you type enabling you to enter a rhythm of sorts that immerses you in a pool of sound that ultimately enables you to just write.
I am in no way saying that it will make you write better but after a few minutes of typing, the world seemingly disappears. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of auto-correct for spelling errors but that isn’t the real point of this application.
I love to write and this app let’s me do just that.
Not a lot of bells and whistles but it’s a very earthy and sensitive program.

If you are a writer, please check this program out. The price is what you want it to be.
They set a minimum for a donation of sorts to pay for software updates and maintenance.
I’m writing this post tonight using Omm in remembrance of a friend that I lost yesterday.
She was a  dear friend and a writer of the highest order that always inspired me to greater heights.
In one day, she left us and has left a void that will be hard to fill.

Her name was Kat.
The year was 1999 when I joined an online writers group.
I was just starting to write and wanted some feedback on my work.
After joining the F2K writers group I needed to find a forum to join.
At the time I was confused about exactly what I was writing.
Memoir, Horror, Literary Fiction, Autobiographical Bullshit, it was a basic clusterf&*ck and I decided on a group because of its name; Shadowlands.
After posting a few insignificant things, I got a message from Kat saying ‘hey, I like what you’re doing’ or something to that effect.
It was a connection that lasted for over 15 years until yesterday.
I read that Kat died on my Facebook thread.
Life paused for a moment to let the actual information sink in in.
As of tonight, I’m still gobsmacked and sad. Life moves at a pace many of us don’t understand or comprehend.
Kat inspired me and always offered a creative shoulder that I could ‘cry’ on.
I’ve yet to meet a person that could offer that kind of support.
Although she will be missed by many she will also live on in the many words she wrote, the stories she so skillfully told and the ultimate love she shared with the many friends she so easily made.
I traded several messages with her on New Year’s Eve of last year.
I had lost my job and needed someone to write to one particular evening.
In her own special way, she offered me hope, prayers and brighter days through a Facebook message.
I never had the chance to thank her or to say goodbye.
She’s gone now but in my heart of hearts she knows how I feel.
I pray for angel wings to take her to all the places she would write about, all the landscapes and unearthly destinations that she described to us, all the lovely and breathtaking places that were HER world.
I will miss you, Kat, and I pray that we meet in the great hereafter.
Blessings . . .



writing, bic, words, happiness, stories

It’s been sometime since I actually posted anything of substance here.
Curious if anyone will actually read this as well.
If you do, please leave a comment that says, ‘BIC is good for you. Keep doing that.’
BIC simply means, ‘Butt in Chair’ or ‘Just write’ or ‘Stop your whining, moaning and bitching that you have nothing to write about’.
BIC was first suggested to me by my friend Mira Bartok, writer of the memoir ‘The Memory Palace‘ and many other
publications and books. She is an amazing artist in so very many ways.
I finally submitted some writing today.
The first in over 10 years.
I have no idea. I just felt the need to share something that I created.
My virtual blackboard is covered with thoughts, stories, jokes, people and the stuff that makes life worth living.
I want to find the time to share it, to write it down, to make it real, to make my words live.
And sometimes the only way to do that is to put your Big Butt in the Chair, and write.
Thanks, MiraBee . . .

31 Keeper


You are my heart, my soul, my spirit, my everything.
My BFF, my forever love, my forever everything.
My FB tag for 98% of my posts.
After all these 31 years, you’re an honest and true keeper.
And I’m your knight in shining armor.
Always . . .









Jonrah 1


It was one year ago today that you made a promise, offered up your prayers to Heaven, cried happy tears and
said, “I do.”
One year ago that something wonderful changed in your hearts, your minds, your souls;
something invisible and priceless in the eyes of God and all that witnessed it.
I have such fond memories of that day: Jenna and Hannah’s toast, Aaron and the handsome groomsmen, the gorgeous bridesmaids,
Jonathan and Ken McKenna rocking out on the floor,
the first and last dance, the cigars in the courtyard afterwards with all that blue smoke billowing into the night and
the overall feeling of love that softly draped itself over the entire day.
And then there was the music, oh, the music.
It was the ultimate and unforgettable soundtrack for a new bride and groom – Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Medeiros.
The past year has had its up and downs.
Stay positive . . . ‘knowing that, in the grand scheme of things, we live in a world where rainy days eventually give way to
sunnier skies.’ –R.L. Keith
That’s to be expected but know how very proud I am that you are standing where you are today.
Pamela will undoubtedly echo much of my sentiment in a comment.
Happy 1st Anniversary to Mr. & Mrs. M.
May the coming year bring you a wealth of happiness, the very best of health and more love than your hearts can hold.

Love to you both.


ps. As far as the video, yes, know that a few lyrics got flubbed.
I say that because I know you guys know the words by heart!
Also, count the number of times I say, ‘um’  😉
(your mother already has!)









Pamela, birthday, love, life, time, family, soul


She’s so many things to me and our 3 girls . . .
She’s our best friend.
She’s the shoulder we lean/cry on.
She’s our alarm clock on mornings that we don’t want to get up, on Her we rely on (and mostly bitch at)
She’s the shine in all of our days.
She’s the heart that we’ll never give away.
She’s funny, she’s kind,  but she’s technologically super blind . . .
She’s there when we need her, she’s there when we need, and we’ll always need her. She’s our lady.
Happy Birthday to our best friend/confidante/psychologist/ psychiatrist/ and SO much more.
We love you and we want you around forever.
Have an awesome 39th birthday.
See you for Hibachi on Saturday night.
Mucho Sake for the birthday girl!
But open wide for the veggies!
And watch out for the volcano!!!!!!




13 years after

9/11, amy jarett, love, life, ISIS


It seems like eons ago that I was selling Steinway pianos for a living.
A musician/artist/writer will do just about anything to get by.
It was a gorgeous Tuesday morning on September 11th that I paused outside the door to work.
I looked at the bluer than blue sky, the shining sun, felt the cool but comfortable breeze on my face and thought,
“What a gorgeous day. Sucks but I have to work.”

It was around 8:50am that the phone rang in the store.
I answered it, “Hello, M.Steinert and Sons, how may I help you?”
It was one of our piano tuners calling to tell me he’d just heard on the radio that a passenger plane just flew into
one of the WTC towers in New York.
He thought it was strange and I agreed. We left it at that.
That CAN happen right?

The phone rang again at @9:05.
I answered again.
“Another plane just hit the other tower.”
Same piano tuner, more urgent.
“What the hell, dude,” I said.
It was at that exact moment that the world as I knew it had changed.
We were no longer the invulnerable United States, we were brought to our knees in front of the world.
An attack that could have and should have been avoided.

Are we safer today?
If we are, I don’t feel like we are.
We currently have an administration that has no viable/visible strength, united voice or ultimate power to
condone or publicly defile such despicable acts.
While I’m still ultimately proud to be an American, I fear for all that are out of our international reach.
These days the United States is powerless.
That is a sad truth.
My prayers go out for all those that were lost those 13 years ago.
I will keep Amy Jarret and her family forever in my thoughts.
As we still mourn, we will take comfort in the thought and hope that there’s something better for us out there.
An that maybe someday we will feel safe.









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