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Enter At Your Own Risk, #SoCS

I opened the door and walked in to the smell of coffee and the sound of grinding, mixing up the drinks.

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I beg the risk to diminish, with every door I open, sounding dramatic as ever with the use of the word “risk”.

I enter the coffee shop, to meet someone, someone I cannot spot. I wish I could walk through that door, looking as confident as possible, so I wouldn’t stick out as I try to find my way to any available table.

I hear familiar voices and would need to walk toward the sound. Instead, I sit and wait for those familiar voices to come and find me.

Ordering in a crowded shop, I choose to stay put. When I enter into a door like this one, this week, I can never be sure what I’ll find.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

Is it busy or not? Are there any seats free or no? Will people stare at me as I make my way, clumsily by, or is it all in my head, unseen by my broken eyes?

Then I step back out the door, gently nudging someone with my big, bulky winter coat as I go. Oy boy, I wish I hadn’t done that, leaving someone I’m leaving with to apologize to them, for me. It’s enough to make me want to stay at home.

As we exit the door, out onto the street, I walk with another girl, trying to have a normal conversation together as we make our way to the car. Other than the tapping of my cane, as I slowly make my way along the sidewalk, I am free from the finding of doors and the risks within.

We enter the doors to the library and there are two. If I walk slightly off, on an angle in the wrong direction, I miss the next door I’m looking for.

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Ketchup On Pancakes: Episode 9 – What’s An iMate? #Siblings #Podcast

We have big plans and lots of ideas for the coming months, but we start, as we wrap up this second month of 2018, talking everything from artificial eyes to the Olympics:

Episode 9 – What’s An iMate?

Also, follow along on our adventures with
Ketchup On Pancakes (our podcast)
on Facebook.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, RIP, Shows and Events, Special Occasions

Sewing The Seeds, #TearsForFears #Compassion #1000Speak

“Time…to eat all your words…swallow your pride…open your eyes.”

I won’t include a link to TFF’s most well-known song: Everybody Wants to Rule the World, because I am sick of power and reckless lack of humanity.

As we show the next generation the way, we need to show them love, but too many of us won’t admit where we went wrong ourselves.

Though, (both love and hate, as movements/floods), can, instead, be seen as seeds sewn in each and every one of us given the right environment for such strong emotions.

Adults, those who are handed the positions of power and leadership, do your job and LEAD!!!

I am tired. I am not thinking all that straight. I just can’t…

I was pulled in two different directions on this night, just after February 20th, and of equal wonder, though firmly rooted in sadness for everything I wish could be different but isn’t.

First, a group of youth from the Jane and Finch area of Toronto were treated to a screening of Black Panther and given the chance to see a black man as superhero for a change.

Then, I heard recording of the students in Florida, one in particular, speaking out on the BS they see from the adults and those running their country.

I wanted to cheer all these kids on, to believe they would be in history books in years to come and for only the best of reasons, that they would see nothing else but positive role models that might show them some hope somewhere along the way.

I have two sets of nieces and nephews: one set currently attends a school in an urban setting, in a highly diverse neighbourhood, in one of the busiest cities in Canada.

My second set (nephew for the moment, but soon both nephew and niece, or soon enough) who go and will go to school, in a rural area. It’s out in the middle of the countryside, where their parent/aunt/uncles went to school once upon a time, long long ago, where we grew up in a highly sheltered setting.

If I thought, ever for one moment truly, that any of them were at risk of having some angry/out-of-control person walk into their classrooms with a dangerous weapon, able to kill like we all saw in Florida last week…

My chest both constricts painfully and threatens to burst at such a notion as this. I can hear the anger and the pain and frustration in the voice of that young woman on the video, speaking up for her friends and classmates and herself.

I know there is anger and it is justified. I just wish she wasn’t left with such anger in the first place. It seems to be pushing a great many young people, those speaking with such poise for the media and the world to hear, and these are young people who were born around the turn of this new century, barely even born when 9/11 occurred.

Now I am forced to contemplate my own loved one’s voice shake with anger like that, if anything were to ever happen so dreadful as all this, and I don’t want to.

February 20th was the 3rd anniversary of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, the blogging event that a bunch of writers created all the way back in 2015 and of which I was moved to join in on at the time.

More regular violence in places like Syria (those poor babies), (in schools/places of worship) but also there have been changes for the better since 2015 – #MeToo and #TimesUp to name a few.

On this anniversary, with so many horrible things/monumental things having taken place in the last three years, I thought I’d write again on the subject of compassion toward ourselves, each other, and the wider world. Today I was inspired to speak about this, using one of my favourite bands and their lyrics to make my point.

And so, another senseless event, and I have nothing to say, but I find words anyway, but perhaps I am just too naive to know any better. I still believe:

The songs I’ve chosen for this post, from Tears For Fears, they make me cry and they make me keep on hoping, shouting my message of compassion, even in my most furious and pained moments.

As for 1000Speak, this blogging movement for compassion did not continue more than a few years, as I sensed many of its original participants found they eventually couldn’t restate the same things anymore, that they had no more to give to it, no more to add. The fatigue sets in and we ask “what’s the point”?

I get it. I mean, after all, who’s really even listening to my thoughts on all this anyway?

Things change and life goes on, I understand, as sad as that made me, and still does. I feel that same way, but I still write. I don’t give up on compassion. I keep saying my piece. I am glad new voices are always being added though.

Children do need to be where we find hope, where we first look to demonstrate our own humanity, as those who should know better, even if some of us never were shown the way ourselves.

Compassion is a seed that must be sewn and sewn again and again and again.

Thank you to all the hard-working gardeners who keep at it, season after season, year upon year, and throughout all kinds of weather.

As TFF lyrics once put it, as far as compassion and the spreading of it goes: “it’s under my skin and out of my hands.”

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Chameleon in a Room Full of Mirrors – Part Two, #10Thankful

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

– Mary Oliver, Wild Geese

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful my brother and his family got to get away for a week together.

Winters can be long. Sun and sea and family time, no cooking or cleaning or work or school. Who wouldn’t like that?

I am thankful for my chameleon eyes.

I can’t see what colour my own eyes are in the mirror, but even when I had more sight, much more sight than I now have, I still couldn’t see the colour of my own eyes.

Well, every time I’ve ever asked, I’ve gotten varied and differing answers. I didn’t know whom to believe.

I got a new artificial eye made the day before Valentine’s Day and it was done within six hours. Not bad.

No, it’s not made of glass. I will answer all the most common questions, in a piece I’m going to write about the experience, once I get through some of the work I’ve currently got on the go this month.

I am glad the new one is in and I was told when the colour is bluish one day, green another, and hazel or whatever, with flecks of something thrown in there somewhere for whatever reason, that is what is known as the chameleon eye, changing colour, depending on the time asked and the light seen in. I thought it was so funny that I’d heard a saying about a chameleon in a room full of mirrors, which could mean any number of things, that I used that as the title for last week’s TToT and then I find out my eyes are chameleon coloured this week.

Thus…part two.

I am thankful for a single girl’s lunch to celebrate all the different kinds of love that matter.

Fancy old mansion and multiple forks and spoons at every place setting.

Truth is that I don’t know a lot about fancy food and don’t think it all that better, overall, but this was a nice way to spend February 14th, to enjoy a nice meal with a friend, celebrating the benefits of being single, especially on a day when all you hear about is romantic love.

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I am thankful for a local, city library card.

I have lived in the town for ten years and am just now getting a library card. So many books that I feel held back from, many print, though there are more and more ways around that for someone who can’t see to read.

I do think the library is a fantastic public resource that everyone deserves to share in.

More on this another week.

I am thankful for positive feedback on a job I’ve got this month.

I was told, at least, I am on the right track which is always nice to hear and know. I will know more by next month.

I am thankful a yoga session could be squeezed into my day.

So busy lately. I can tell, by how quickly I am rushing through even this week’s thankful list that yoga is very much needed in my life.

I had no meeting. She was stuck on Montreal’s public transit. Still, a lesson worked out and I needed that for my sanity.

I am thankful for remittances.

Still learning about such terms of getting paid for work completed. I’m glad it means what it actually means. I admit, the word didn’t sound so good upon first hearing it. I am happy to know its meaning now.

I am thankful for my arms that learn a new thing (dynamics) on the violin.

I guess this is progress. I was sore after, in my upper back and shoulders, as I must have tensed up in learning such techniques. It involves ways of moving the bow, angles, pressure, and a whole lot more to make the music sound quiet or medium or loud, still learning proper names for each level of volume throughout a song.

More to come on this too, also, in the weeks ahead I’d guess.

I am thankful for the nostalgia of a romantic comedy from the 90s.

I wanted to see a movie from my past, about Paris, about forgetting Paris, about basketball refereeing even and I am no sports fan by any means.

It’s an old one of Billy Crystal and one that didn’t receive enough praise, if you ask me.

I am thankful I managed an ending to the short story I wrote last week.

I wrote it, at writing group, on my oma’s birthday. She would have been 97 this year. It’s fiction, based on the girl she might have been, with a few pieces of the girl she told me stories about.

I wrote most of it, but then my braille display died. So, I now have the ending written and I look forward to reading it at the next writing group’s gathering coming up.

Tired and pondering love/hate/indifference lately.

“A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.”

—Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Love/Hate/Admire #FTSF

When I originally heard this prompt,
this song
immediately came to mind.

This isn’t about that though. If only we could see ourselves like others see us. Or not.

I don’t see it, physically see it, but others do. I feel it, carry it along, and am stuck with it.

Why then would I use that word “stuck” and hope to feel okay about myself?

I have not given birth. If I could look/feel and know I did something so grand, even as I am now, I could accept it. Or, maybe even then I’d feel shame. I like to think I’d have a good reason to be me now, if that version of myself had gone through the miracle of pregnancy and birth. Instead, all I can do is wear my bathing suit without fear that someone might see the long scar, running down the middle of my back.

When it comes to this body of mine, I know by the scars on my chest, abdomen, and back, that I went through some stuff. I don’t try to hide that with expensive creams that promise scar reduction and removal. I feel pride.

I grew, since being so young and tiny, and I put the blame on steroid medications that got me here, though I praise them for the power to keep me healthy. Yet, maybe it’s my own choices that got me here.

I can’t believe I got all this way, just to hate myself for so many things, variables, those I have had a hand in and those I haven’t.

I’ve been sick enough to know that the body is an amazing thing. I’ve hated a body that hurt so much, but I can hold my niece, hug my nephews and niece close. I can feed myself and move a finger or a limb when my brain says so.

I am blessed to have the body I have. None of us like ourselves or others all the time, but we love and we appreciate even still.

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post in its new format. This week is a 5-minute stream-of-consciousness post using the prompt “When it comes to this body…” with
Kristi from Finding Ninee
and her co-host
Kenya G. Johnson
leading the way on a new year and new weekly prompt changes.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, Piece of Cake, Special Occasions, Travel, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Chameleon in a Room Full of Mirrors – Penblwydd Hapus #10Thankful

“You are strong because you are imperfect and you are wise because you have doubts.”

—Clementine Churchill

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This is a reminder of the little girl I once was. My sister found this card in the library book my nephew brought home from school last week.

What are the odds and my first thankful after musing on what it’s like to turn another year older, all while discovering those reminders of the girl you used to be.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the short story I managed to come up with at my writing group, even if my braille display did crap out on me (dead battery) right before I finished it.

It was a short story about a young girl, living in Europe, only a few years before the breakout of World War II and she is celebrating her birthday with a skating party with friends.

I will finish the story and read it out loud at the next writing group night.

I’m thankful for an inspiring first meeting with some new peers living with chronic kidney disease.

We met to discuss how those of us who’ve been and are currently living and dealing with kidney disease can help a new generation of those going through or about to go through it.

Some were on dialysis and some, like myself, were transplant recipients. One was even newly diagnosed and didn’t know where to start. I hope we didn’t overwhelm that person too much.

So much excellent discussion went on. It felt empowering, more than I’ve felt in a long time, as I’ve been off of dialysis for so long that you start to forget what it was like. I have this chronic condition, transplant or no transplant, and may need help from these same sorts of people again one day too.

I am thankful, also, for the guy next to me who got up and brought me a new plastic fork after I broke mine trying to stab a cucumber out of the pasta salad on my plate as the presentation went on.

I hate those cheap plastic forks.

I’m thankful for Apple Music.

Now, for a monthly fee (after the first three free months) I have millions of songs at my fingertips, right on my phone for streaming.

I’m thankful for a surprise right before my birthday.

Native Traveler, awarded gold in the audio story/blogging category from the NATJA

The host submitted the Native Traveler show with my piece on No-limits Travel for the Blind to the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) awards , among a couple of others.   The show won Gold in the radio broadcast category!.

North American Travel Journalist Association awards list for 2017.

I’m thankful for the card, flowers, and butterfly for my keychain, all from my wonderful neighbour.

The card was one of those singing ones.

The butterfly has now become a symbol with meaning between the two of us. I am keeping it with me. I like to trace my fingers around the wings. I used to love to draw bright, colourful butterflies when I was younger.

The flowers were fragrant, but the stalks were so heavy that my mom had to prop up the flowers, using a cooking pot and some cardboard.

I’m thankful for all the well wishes from family and friends, on Facebook and off.

I wasn’t feeling so well on my actual birthday, but it was nice to hear from people. It cheered me up a bit.

I’m thankful for the cake my mother made for me.

Cherry chip with a cheesecake swirl and white chocolate icing.

She is amazing with certain kinds of cake. It was made with love and care. Thanks Mom.

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I’m thankful for a snowy day on my birthday.

I felt unwell, stayed inside the whole day, but I was glad to know what was going on, a snowy world, just outside my window.

It was a perfect February day, even if the next one brought rain and then freezing to produce slick conditions for walking.

Someone on my blog wished me this and I had to look it up, but was super glad they’d said it:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/penblwydd_hapus

I’m thankful I can learn new things, even and especially at thirty-four years old.

Penblwydd Hapus to me.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Song Lyric Sunday

Fickle Flames, #SongLyricSunday

“A golden bird that flies away. A candle’s fickle flame. To think I held you yesterday. Our love was just a game.”

—Cake

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You call and you call and you get no answer:

I love this one. The dial tone is the first sound you hear, then the trumpets and the noise makers and, finally, video game sounds.

HEY!

***

I need your arms around me,
I need to feel your touch,
I need your understanding, I need your love,
So much,

You tell me that you love me so,
You tell me that you care,
But when I need you, (BABY)
Baby, (You’re never there),

On the phone,
Long long distance,
Always through such,
Strong resistance,
When first you say,
You’re too busy,
I wonder if you,
Even miss me,

Never there,
You’re never there,
You’re never, ever,
Ever ever there,

A golden bird that flies away,
A candle’s fickle flame,
To think I held you yesterday,
Your love was just a game,

A golden bird that flies away,
A candle’s fickle flame,
To think I held you yesterday,
Your love was just a game,

You tell me that you love me so,
You tell me that you care,
But when I need you, (BABY)
Baby,

Take the time,
To get to know me,
If you want me,
Why can’t you just show me,

We’re always on,
This roller coaster,
If you want me,
Why can’t you get closer,

Never there,
You’re never there,
You’re never, ever,
Ever ever there,

Never there,
You’re never there,
You’re never, ever,
Ever ever there

LYRICS

***

Rather needy, these lyrics, by whomever sings this. Still, it calls to mind that thing where we expect instant responses. It was always, as long as the phone has been around, the story of infatuation and desperation in “love”.

This whole
Song Lyric Sunday
thing just got a lot easier.

I got myself Apple Music for my birthday and now I have 33 million songs at my disposal, a treasure trove of music at my fingertips to choose from.

It’s both delightful and glorious.

Technology, frustrating at times, but so handy and convenient in this case.

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