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TToT: Living The Life We Want – So Slam That! #NFB18 #10Thankful

It was my first Independence Day in the US (independence being the key word there) and I had an unexpected and unpredicted time away. I owe it all to the CFB, sponsoring me to see what the US’s national convention is all about.

The difference between what exists in the US and what we’ve got here in Canada was hard to miss while I was in Florida all week.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful to be representing Ontario in this national magazine.

July 2018 Issue of The Blind Canadian

I’m thankful for this travel agent.

ANITA PATON – THE TRAVEL AGENT NEXT DOOR

She’s awesome!

I’m thankful for UPS volunteers.

It is a convention, held once a year, and this one had nearly 2500 attendees who used a white cane or a guide dog. All of us were trying to get the hang of a large hotel and conference/convention centre and having UPS volunteers around, to give us a bit of direction now and then was a big big help.

I was so overwhelmed, my first time attending, that sometimes I’d get panicky and have to stop and take a few deep breaths and refocus. I could continue on from there.

I’m thankful for the experience at this convention because it fostered further confidence and independence.

Convention 2018 Agenda

I’m thankful I got to meet a friend, in person finally, whom I’d been speaking with for years online.

He was great to talk to in person. Thanks, Timothy, for the coffee and the dinner and the company. You brought a bit of calm in the storm that that week felt like at times, so wound up, rushing on all around me.

I’m thankful for a still night on a closed pool deck.

Florida was so muggy that I didn’t mind getting to spend almost all my time in freezing cold convention halls. It was not so bad though, when the sun was down.

I’m thankful I didn’t have to change into my dress in a restroom stall.

I had to get it right, being back in the States and in Florida again (my fourth time) that they there were referring to washrooms as restrooms.

We had the banquet on our final night there and I didn’t want to have my dress on all day, through the final business hours. We weren’t staying on site, so I could have gone back to change at some point, but really there just wasn’t time.

So, thankfully, the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
president generously granted me her room and better bathroom to change in.

I’m thankful for a final, early morning solo swim.

We’d been so busy, all week long, that I finally had to wake up earlier than everyone, on our final morning, and go down as soon as the pool opened, at six.

A security guard had to help me find the door out, from the lobby, but once out I had my pick from the lounge chairs and I used my white cane to get the layout of the pool deck.

My chair was straight out from the bar of the stairs into the pool. Once I was in the water, I slowly made my way around and discovered the shape and the depth.

It was just what I needed and totally worth the waking up so early part.

I’m thankful for an inspiring speech in this room. A table full of fun people. A delicious salad and platter of desserts.

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I’m thankful for a flight, gone by too fast.

Life’s full of metaphors, including lift off and landing, and living in the moment are all important.

Here’s to living the life you/we want.

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TToT: A Tapestry of Blue – There Goes June, #10Thankful

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” ~Chinese Proverb

This weekend, I have been here, celebrating Canada Day with family and we have the perfect spot for it, right near all the action of the day’s events.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for our Ontario speeches being posted on Youtube.

I’m thankful to finally be taking an online creative writing class with a writer I admire.

Sonya Huber

I’m thankful for a walk through a downtown, town square, Thursday market.

I could smell fresh fruit/vegetables, garlic and spices, breads, soaps and we stopped, to sit and plunge our hands into the cool water of the fountain.

I’m thankful for fresh cherries.

I’m thankful for three/four person calls.

I’m thankful to live in a country, Canada, with accepting strong parents.

151 reasons why it’s better to be Canadian

I hadn’t even known about reason 118 until reading this.

I’m thankful to be someone’s go-to and trustworthy reader/editor, to look something over.

I’m thankful for a week of peas.

I’m thankful to be a part of a group of people, working for the same goal, even if this means calls to discuss the financial realities.

I’m thankful for a new Florence + the Machine album.

So long June.

I’m not thankful for this heat wave, but that’s why I’m leaving, for a cooler climate.

Wa! Wa! Ha! Ha! Just kidding. It’s Florida.

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Sleep Perchance #ThisIsUs #SongLyricSunday

Milo Ventimiglia came over for dinner…

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In
a dream,
obviously.

Then, since that one, I dreamt I ran into Justin Trudeau, just hanging out.

I asked him, “shouldn’t you be busy, working or something?”

Dream me is super political.

***

You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
‘Cause they fill the open air
And leave teardrops everywhere
You’d think me rude but I would just stand and stare

I’d like to make myself believe that planet earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep ‘Cause everything is never as it seems

Cause I’d get a thousand hugs From ten thousand lightning bugs As they tried to teach me how to dance
A foxtrot above my head A sock hop beneath my bed A disco ball is just hanging by a thread (thread, thread)

I’d like to make myself believe that planet earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep ‘
Cause everything is never as it seems (when I fall asleep)

Leave my door open just a crack Please take me away from here ‘Cause I feel like such an insomniac Please take me away from here
Why do I tire of counting sheep Please take me away from here When I’m far too tired to fall asleep

To ten million fireflies
I’m weird cause I hate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell (said farewell)
But I’ll know where several are If my dreams get real bizarre ‘Cause I saved a few and I keep them in a jar (jar, jar)

I’d like to make myself believe that planet earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems (when I fall asleep)
I’d like to make myself believe that planet earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep ‘Cause everything is never as it seems (when I fall asleep)

Songwriters: Adam R. Young
Fireflies lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

***

I’m asked about what I see when I dream, as most people with blindness are asked at one time or another.

I used to see colours and faces in my waking life. I see a blur now. I don’t even know for sure, as strange as it may sound, what I see when I dream now.

I see so much in my mind yet still. I just liked Owl City’s nonsensical images in his song. Dreams are odd things, whether you see or not.

Who else’s waiting eagerly for the next season of This Is Us?

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TToT: Yes, I Really Really Care – Do You? #AccessibleCanadaAct #10Thankful

I care. It’s right there, in my name (Kerry) if you listen carefully.

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A lot of wonderful things can happen in twenty-one years time. Right Mya?

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for a smooth appointment to mark my twenty-one years.

My creatinine was up over 80 last time, but it’s right back down to 76 and I can’t argue with that.

My potassium seems to be up some, but we’re retesting, to be sure. Strange, but it could be worse.

I’m thankful for once a year.

I was told I can cut back, from twice-a-year visits to the kidney clinic, to now once only, with the other being for only checking my blood.

What is better, after more than twenty years, is that my brother was told the same thing and he’s only now coming up to five years with his kidney, second one for him.

I’m thankful for a wonderful local resource for women in my community.

Women’s Employment Resource Centre (WERC)

From my first call to inquire, to my first intake visit and subsequent ones, I’ve felt welcomed and have been offered wonderful assistance. I am glad I went for it.

I’m thankful for help with my first resume and cover letter, from an expert on both.

I feel, I look younger than I am, and I feel as if I am at least ten years behind in other ways too.

Since I’d taken a career preparation class, back in high school, I’d been afraid to take steps to write a resume for myself. I was in my twenties, depressed, and feeling ashamed that I hadn’t done anything to warrant placement on a resume.

I heard about a particular internship and it required a resume, so I went for it. I found some excellent help to create one. I was intimidated by the visual aspects, structure and formatting and things.

I had help, lots of concentrated help, to bring one into existence. I am so pleased with the results.

For months and months, I’ve built more of a list of publications, but interacting with editors over email was all that was required, until now.

I’m thankful for an eye doctor I can trust to give me his honest opinion.

His soft, steady voice has always calmed me, simply by hearing it.

He saw nothing new, both on the tests (ERG) and from looking in my eyes with his brightest of bright lights.

This is a good thing, of course, but the genetic eye condition I have is so rare and the cells are dying out on my retina and it is nearly impossible to spot the slow decline of sight I’m experiencing, leaving me with less and less as the years pass.

Still, even if there are more and more well discovered gene therapies, none are for me at this time. I trust him. I am still scared, but I trust him, and it takes years to show that level of trust.

I’m thankful I heard back from an editor I thought was long gone.

I’ve got contracts now, writer agreements, and so hopefully it’s a go this time.

I’m thankful for progress in Canada.

Minister Duncan introduces the proposed Accessible Canada Act

I am taking steps toward finding work for myself, but things like this take us one step closer to accessibility and equality for things like employment and much more.

I’m thankful for the return of the pease.

I’m thankful for
Lizzi
and
Josie
and the passing of the torch.

I’m thankful for
Kristi of Thankful Me
and her stepping up to host a place for gratitude.

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TToT: Making A Mossy Rock Start To Roll – Blue and Sparkle, #10Thankful

Music, for me, is like life. It illustrates life, the blue and the sparkle of it. I include three songs, throughout this post, and they range from get-up-and-go (high energy) to somber and reflective of the state and weight of the world. But, first, I start with a celebration.

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Happy 39th you guys.

Something to celebrate, to start things off. And, now, on to the thankfuls.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for my parents and their example of a solid and rooted life together.

I like to think of them (1979 them) and the parents they were to us (growing up) and now the grandparents they are (so adored).

I’m thankful for the lost and the found.

I thought I’d lost something that is important to me. Thanks, to my mom, for finding it.

I’m thankful my team’s paper on the importance of braille is finally out.

Improving Braille Availability in Canadian Public Libraries

I’m thankful Canada has this woman representing and working for us.

Chrystia Freeland wants to Fix the Twenty-First Century – The Walrus

I just love that her name is “Freehand” and she is fighting hard, with the US, over the whole NAFTA thing.

Some of us take a free land, our freedom and land, for granted. It’s existence isn’t necessarily guaranteed to last.

Not everyone agrees on NAFTA or tariffs, but I don’t know where this is heading. All I know is that it’s nice to see a strong female leader, here in my country.

I’m thankful I got to play Legos with my nephew.

I always loved those little blocks. I could be an architect and build a structure, a house, with a backyard and fence. It was one way I could create, with my hands, and make something I could touch and feel.

Great creative outlet.

I’m thankful my niece painted my nails, light blue and a sparkle on top.

She is quite the little artist. I love that about her. She chose my colour with careful thought. She is a pro.

I’m thankful I get to listen and have a conversation with them both.

We talk about eating spiders and other things. It’s the best conversation I’ve had in a long time. It’s nice to talk with little people who know nothing about adult issues and don’t care. They don’t follow the news, like I likely didn’t when I was there age, but my niece is entering the third grade this fall. I can remember back when I was that age.

I loved that my nephew showed me his fish and my niece loves to play with my dog because it just doesn’t make sense for them to get one, with their busy lives.

I’m thankful when my niece takes my hand and leads me somewhere.

I’m thankful for side hugs.

I’m thankful for music. And, especially this week, this music.

It speaks to things we’re all going through.

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TToT: Man Who Ate The World and Other Losses – Dive In and Go Deep, #10Thankful

Well, that didn’t go well – not well at all. A big bust you could say.

Trade war looms as Trump and adviser lob insults and accusations at Trudeau – The Globe and Mail

Britain. France. Germany. Italy. Japan. All their support is welcome, but all good intentions aside, none of them must share a border with a foolish reality TV personality, one whose spokespeople said openly Canada and Justin Trudeau were mocked to look tough for the most serious meeting any president could ever be having.

If I ever wanted #45 to succeed in something, it was now, when the world could possibly end up exploding into nuclear war. The rest of it, if we in Canada had to swallow his insults for that purpose alone, I’d say we could gladly take that on. I fear we haven’t heard the last of it though.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for marking June 5th, transplant anniversary, with a dinner with my dad to celebrate 21 years.

I have my father and I have a working kidney. Makes me the luckiest woman around, I’d say.

All one needs – one of each. Top notch.

I’m thankful for an inspired writing prompt to make us all write better at my writing group.

“Love was a hallowing man with a home and only I knew that.”

And the stories just sort of spun loose from there, from all of us, getting us to write in styles we weren’t often known for amongst that room of our creative peers.

I’m thankful for a delicious vanilla latte and catch up with a friend.

I’m thankful for biscotti.

I’m thankful for the right and access to vote.

The accessibility issue is a different story, but not nearly so bad as it could be. These are the times I wonder if I have the right to complain, to think I should try for betterment.

It was a braille sleeve that the voting card slides into and braille and raised numbers for each party’s offering for my riding, not that I claim to understand all the lingo. So, I was with someone I trusted, to help make sure the card was lined up properly and to let me know the order the names were going with the numbers. I learned later alphabetical. Should have known.

So, I counted down, to the correct number, and made my X in the small cut-out circle provided.

Now, all the strong wording was that Ontario’s possible next provincial leader, if chosen PC/Conservative Party, would basically be giving Ontario its very own copy of the guy put into the Whitehouse. Enough to scare anyone.

Was that all they were trying to do? (Whom I’m not really sure.)

And thus I was lucky to live in Ontario, Canada, where I could vote, where my blindness didn’t prevent me from voting, my right in a democratic society. And some of you will not have known much about this, but the PC was voted in, and he is the brother of deceased Toronto mayer, known around the world a few years back, Rob Ford, who even made it onto the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

What have we gotten ourselves into, I wonder? Is he a #45 wannabe?

He sure feels like it, but as we don’t do anything really to anywhere near as dramatic of a degree as our neighbours to the south, I don’t know if he’s going to be as bad as all that. (See my opening for this week’s post.)

As switching from one party to another often goes, in politics, the Liberal Party had a lot of years to run Ontario and now it’s someone else’s turn. I just hope all the scare tactics were playing on mine and other people’s greatest fears, though sometimes my dramatic side feels totally justified.

I’m thankful for the ocean, on World Oceans Day and every day.

The morning after Thursday’s election, I was feeling low about everything, when it seemed the party to beat had started to seem like the NDP, but no big surprise, as my negative side kept whispering in my head. All I wished for was to be by the ocean.

I’m thankful for Dr. Sylvia A. Earle and her mission.

Mission Blue

I’m thankful for my sister helping me shop for what looks/feels good on me, even without being able to see any of it from my end.

It is the strangest thing, to go by fabric and texture and shape, rather than how a colour looks or how it looks on the body. Again, I’ve learned that yellow isn’t my colour. Shame really.

I’m thankful for documentaries about puffins, grey seals, and the coast of Ireland.

The Parts Unknown host visiting the closest thing to Ireland, this side of the Atlantic.

And travel storytellers like the one that was lost for good.

Anthony Bourdain and the Missing Piece – Longreads

RIP to Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

Anthony Bourdain became one of #MeToo’s strongest allies – The Lily

Earle said to “dive in and go deep” and that’s the way Bourdain seemed to live his life, right up until the end.

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.”

—Anthony Bourdain

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Up and Up, #SongLyricSunday

I’d say, I am mostly, a closeted Miley Cyrus fan.

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However, I couldn’t resist this metaphor, this week:

I’m not ashamed to admit it. May have even used this one before. Must keep better records of the songs I use, as I soon forget.

***

I can almost see it.
That dream I’m dreaming,
But there’s a voice inside my head saying,
“You’ll never reach it.”
Every step I’m takin’
Every move I make feels lost with no direction,
My faith is shakin’
But I, I gotta keep tryin’
Gotta keep my head held high

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down,
But no, I’m not breaking
I may not know it,
But these are the moments
That I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep goin’,
And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on,
‘Cause…

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb
Yeah

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody’s gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Keep on movin’
Keep climbin’
Keep the faith, baby
It’s all about—it’s all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa, whoa, oh.

LYRICS

***

I am not climbing any actual mountains, not in the near future anyway, but I’ve always loved the symbolism of a mountain, for the uphill struggles of living that it represents.

For this week’s
Song Lyric Sunday,
I wanted to acknowledge
a metaphor
and that struggle.

As this has been a particularly horrible week, for celebrity suicides, I know the struggle of depression and the dark times. It hangs around, as the summer ramps up and up.

I feel the resistance of life. I keep taking one step after another, knowing what my dreams are, but finding it hard (most days) to find enough strength to keep a completely positive face.

Some give up and end it all. Then we flail around, in our attempts to help, even when we realize the lateness of the hour.

Some climb actual mountains. I may prefer the sea, but the mountain does stand for something, as cheesy as that sounds. Like those I came upon during my Yukon visit last year, in my many imaginings that I would start an actual climb up one of them, to possibly reach the the summit and discover what’s on the other side of the struggle.

More struggle, even more. Well damn. *sigh*

I wouldn’t look at a mountain as something that’s simply “in my way,” but more as an obstacle that I must look at as being put there for a reason of its own.

Certainly, and yet – I keep on climbing.

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