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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

by Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com



And today marks the first day of 2015! Wow, how fast they go.

We'll do the traditional thing of singing Auld Lang Syne, but before we do, let's find out a bit about it, shall we?

Everybody knows the first verse and the chorus, but did you know there were five verses? Robert Burns, poet laureate of Scotland, wrote it in 1788 -- at least, he wrote the lyrics. The tune was an old folk tune, nobody knows just how old. According to Burns himself, he didn't write even the lyrics, but took dictation from an elder. So it may all be an ancient folk tune.

And the title, "auld lang syne," transliterates as, "old long since," or as we would say today, "a long time ago." In understanding the song, we need to realize that not only is the English archaic, but the lyrics veer back and forth between English, Scots Gaelic, and Scots English dialect! But in general one may take it as two old friends, having come to a milestone in their lives, reminiscing over a pint. Rather apropos to a New Year's Day, I think.

(If you want a good idea of what is really being said, check out Wikipedia, which actually has a very decent modern translation. I don't usually recommend it as a be-all end-all, but in this case, it's pretty good.)

And now let's have a look at the entire song.

~~~

Auld Lang Syne
by Robert Burns

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And auld lang syne! 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp! 
And surely I'll be mine! 
And we'll tak a cup o'kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes, 
And pou'd the gowans fine; 
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit, 
Sin' auld lang syne. 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn, 
Frae morning sun till dine; 
But seas between us braid hae roar'd 
Sin' auld lang syne. 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fere! 
And gie's a hand o' thine! 
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught, 
For auld lang syne. 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.



~~~

May 2015 bring you blessings and happiness, now and the whole year through!

-Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"A Song for New Year's Eve"

by Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

Today is the last day of 2014. It seems not so very long ago that it was the first day of 2014. I suppose that's a sign that I'm getting old. But I don't feel it, and so let us raise a glass in toast of what has been, and what shall be.

In that vein, here's one of my favorite poems for the day. I've used it before, and I've no doubt I'll use it again. I hope you like it as much as I do.



~~~

A Song for New Year’s Eve
by William Cullen Bryant

 Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay— 
     Stay till the good old year, 
So long companion of our way, 
     Shakes hands, and leaves us here. 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong, 
     Has now no hopes to wake; 
Yet one hour more of jest and song 
     For his familiar sake. 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One mirthful hour, and then away.  

The kindly year, his liberal hands 
     Have lavished all his store. 
And shall we turn from where he stands, 
     Because he gives no more? 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One grateful hour, and then away.  

Days brightly came and calmly went, 
     While yet he was our guest; 
How cheerfully the week was spent! 
     How sweet the seventh day’s rest! 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One golden hour, and then away.  

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep 
     Beneath the coffin-lid: 
What pleasant memories we keep 
     Of all they said and did! 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One tender hour, and then away.  

Even while we sing, he smiles his last, 
     And leaves our sphere behind. 
The good old year is with the past; 
     Oh be the new as kind! 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One parting strain, and then away.

~~~

And the hours count down...

-Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

Monday, December 29, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: A Downturn for Social Media

by Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

Guys, it looks like at the first of the year, I will have to close down all the Facebook fan pages for my books, as well as probably the fan clue group and possibly Lady Osborn's Pub. Reason: Facebook has decided to squeeze us small business peoples dry and will charge for, per my understanding...Every. Single. Post. I make that can **in any way** be considered promotional. This includes simply announcing a new book.

As it's also my understanding that Google is looking to follow, that excludes transferring to G+ as well as Blogspot, where I have my blog. It may be only a matter of time before other social media such as Twitter follow suit.

Here's what the Wall Street Journal has to say about it.

If you are interested at all in hearing about my new books, awards, sales, upcoming appearances, and the like, I'm going to ask you to please go to the link below and subscribe to my newsletter. I try to issue a newsletter no more than once a month, sometimes once every couple of months; now and again important news will urge me to send out a quick bulletin, but that's infrequent.

Subscribe to my email newsletter by emailing me at steph-osborn@sff.net please.

I'm really very sorry about the whole mess; I rather liked being able to put out quick, timely notifications of what was going on in my publishing world. But there it is, and now I must look to see what else can be done. I expect you will be seeing much less of me on social media after the first of the year, and this blog is likely to be moving soon, as well. Meanwhile, after the first of the year, this blog will go on a brief hiatus while I decide what to do about it.

-Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

by Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com


I've worn a lot of various hats in my time. Scientist (of different sorts), rocket scientist, polymath, police officer, personal trainer, storm spotter, author, among others. But one of the most important, at least to me, is licensed minister.

"What?" you ask. "How can that be? Didn't you just say you were a scientist?"

That's right, I did. 

But to me, science and theology are the obverse and reverse of the same coin. One attempts to explain how, and the other tries to say why.

And so Christmastide is one of my favorite times of year. I quite know that Jesus wasn't BORN this time of year. But did you know that, according to the various astronomical data we are given (and there's more than you might think), it is entirely possible that the Magi ARRIVED at this time of year?

And I think that's just...cool.





~~~


And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.~Luke 2:8-14, KJV



~~~
"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." ~"Linus," A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charles Shultz
"God bless us, every one!" ~"Tiny Tim," A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
And so be it -- this year, and every year.
-Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Memories

by Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

The following is taken from my collection of poetry, and is a melange of Christmas memories throughout my life, from childhood to the present day. It is warm and sweet and comforting, like hot chocolate on a winter's day. Merry Christmas.


~~~
The Tree
by Stephanie Osborn
excerpted from Stolen Moments: A Book of Verse, by Stephanie Osborn


The wind blows briskly through the bare tree limbs.
It bites my cheeks, turning them a dusky red.
The lowering clouds spit snowflakes.
We make our way through the harvested field
Brown and sere, toward the clump of trees near the edge.


Cedar trees grow here. Thickly clustered
On the hillside, they are the only green visible
For miles. We circle each one carefully, inspecting
And commenting to each other about this one
Or that. Finally, it is done. The choice is made.


Father glances at Mother. "Are you sure?"
A nod, and he raises the axe. In a few strokes
The living tree has fallen, the scent of cedar
Borne to our nostrils on the crisp December air.
We breathe deep the fragrance of evergreen.


At home, measurements are carefully made
And Father trims the base of the tree,
affixes the stand, and brings it inside.
We oooh and aaah with excitement
Before Mother opens the ornament box.


Fairy lights and tinsel, snowballs and mercury glass
And garland ropes, antique balls and strands
Of silver bedeck the tree in quick order. Each
Of us has his or her apportioned task, and even
The youngest has a special ornament for the tree.


The oldest ornaments, the family reserves for me
To place carefully. They know my love for them
And know I treat them as the treasures they are.
Delicately, I position them on each branch, and smile.
"There," I decide, "perfect. It's all done."


Mother nods, and Father smiles. He switches off
The room lights, and we all sigh with happiness.
Glimmering proud, the tree stands as a symbol
Of love, of family, of tradition, of faith. The room
Grows quiet, as we all settle back to enjoy.

 

Later, the gaily-wrapped gifts will emerge to be
Placed beneath the decorated boughs and enjoy
Their rightful place. For now, the cat slinks her way
Underneath, finds a spot where she can gaze up
Into the multicolored phantasia, and settles down.


Outside, the snow comes down softly. Father
Lights a fire in the fireplace. Mother gets out
The homemade candies and puts them nearby. There is
The sound of mirth, soft laughter, loving conversation.
The season has come to us. Happy Christmas.

~~~


"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night." ~Clement Clarke Moore

-Stephanie Osborn
Christmas Eve 2014