FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF, Writing

The Value and the Invaluable, #FTSF

What is it that is priceless about this one, precious life?

Finish the Sentence Friday:

with Finding Ninee

and with guest sentence-thinker-upper

Mardra Sikora.

What is priceless about my violin, about Halloween 2017, and about writing?

My violin rental was my birthday present when I turned thirty-two. I chose to buy it for myself, once I learned how much I loved the challenge and wanted to keep going with it. I found a young woman who had been playing for nearly twenty years, who was a student and could use the twenty dollars a week. I admit, I get a pretty good deal there. She gets to teach me. Feel bad for her sometimes on that. I learn, but it sometimes ends up taking me a few tries, at least.

Buying a violin…hundreds of dollars. A violin lesson…$20.

The feeling of peace while I concentrate and play, the sensation of accomplished determination of practicing, and the sweet and beautiful sound of such an instrument…

PRICELESS.

Halloween this year was full of pizza and plenty of treats. The weather could have been a lot worse. It was cold, but at least there was no rain or snow. My nephew came into my house and immediately removed his socks, as he likes to do. It took plenty of gentle reminders, which turned into nagging reminders that if he wanted to go trick-or-treating, he needed to put them back on his feet.

Candy costs money. Costume making costs his mother hours of time and attention.

Hearing my five-year-old nephew counting his candy, showing up he can count all the way to one hundred (even though he may have counted some pieces of that candy more than once), and the pure innocence and recently discovered joy of the holiday in his voice…

PRICELESS.

Writing is, for me, like breathing. It’s getting to share here, to speak out on the things that matter to me, and all this is, of course, priceless.

All the courses with their enrolment fees, the expensive technological equipment I need to replace the hand/eye connection I no longer have, and the newly sought after paid work I have found and fear I will find no more of.

Writing, as breathing…

(as I’ve said)

PRICELESS.

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Feminism, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Podcast, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Synth Scapes and Ween’s Wit #10Thankful

“A glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain —amethyst, pearl, silver, rose, and smoke-blue. The dews were so heavy that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many-stemmed woods to run crisply through.”

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a parcel of deliciousness from a TToT friend.

Your squares were delicious. It took a little while for the mail to deliver it, but it finally did.

I am thankful for the kind of literature that can be turned, so skillfully, into a television series drama.

I am almost finished watching Margaret Atwood’s story of Alias Grace, turned into a television show.

It is dark and heavy and I feel a lot of things when I watch, being a historical snapshot of the 19th century for women. It was often brutal. I liken it to today, to see just how far we’ve actually come.

A great story, brought to life, should make the viewers feel all the feels when watching.

I can’t wait for the dramatic finale.

I am thankful for one of the more positive and uplifting violin lessons I have ever had.

Again, I missed a week and dreaded my return performance, but it was wonderfully positive and motivating.

I try to imagine the scales and notes visually because my brain still wishes to go there. Who knows…incredibly confusing, or, perhaps a helpful resource left over from what feels like a past life I once lived.

I am thankful for peaceful, soothing music to listen to when I have a bad headache to deal with.

My brother found me a piece on Youtube and it is a performance in Australia’s Sydney Opera House by musician and artist Tony O’Connor.

I am thankful for a place like The Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto for such wonderful care all those years ago.

As I look back, in this 2017 year, I remember the care I received, as a organ transplant recipient, twenty years ago, and then my brother, two years later.

At that time, they did not do kidney transplants on children at any hospital, any closer to where I lived.

It is a special place and one day I will write more about my first time, walking through those doors.

I am thankful for my brother’s perfect pitch.

A gift he was born with. It helps me when practicing my scales. He keeps me on the right note.

I am thankful for the self reflection I experience, come Halloween, now that I am an adult.

I hated putting on costumes and having my face painted or having to wear a mask. I wanted the treats. I couldn’t have one without doing the other.

There was still a frantic bustle in the house on those Halloween nights growing up that I miss. I see it all now, through the eyes of my nieces and nephews.

I am thankful for food shared by neighbours and friends, just stopping by.

I am thankful for the completion of the very first Halloween themed episode of Ketchup On Pancakes podcast.

Tales of Eating Ketchup on Pancakes and Other Scary Stories

Happy Halloween.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, Podcast, Special Occasions

Ketchup On Pancakes: Episode 7 – Tales of Ketchup on Pancakes and Other Scary Stories #Halloween #Podcast

Are you afraid of the dark? Do you believe in ghosts? Did you love Halloween growing up? Why or why not?

I had my issues with it, as a child, but I am finding my own kind of love for it as an adult.. These are just some of the questions we ask, and then discuss, on our first Halloween themed episode of the podcast.

Episode 7 – Tales of Eating Ketchup on Pancakes and Other Scary Stories (Ketchup On Pancakes)

Sit by the fire with us, while we tell a terrifying tale, the setting of which is an old army base, a fort used during the War of 1812 in Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake and British territory at the time of fighting against the Americans.

Or give our KOP Facebook page a like or a share.

We at Ketchup On Pancakes want to wish a Happy Halloween to you all.

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

TToT: Words Don’t Make The Rain Go – And So Forth, #10Thankful

“No dress rehearsal. This is our life.”

Gord Downie, The Tragically Hip

Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie dead at 53 – Toronto Star

A man who was never widely known outside of Canada for his musical abilities is now gone. Maybe, though, he was meant never to have worldwide fame, but instead to be Canada’s musician and to do what he did, to speak powerfully about how we’ve treated Indigenous people in this country, Indigenous youth for more than a century.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful Canada has a leader who can show emotion.

A friend died, a fellow Canadian, and I know people still thought it silly that Justin Trudeau became emotional.

Why not?

He is human, isn’t afraid or so unfeeling and dead inside as to let his emotions out, and I will take that over other options, in other countries, right now and any day.

I am thankful for a comforting and hopeful yet bittersweet mid week medical appointment.

I felt a true disappointment when I realized she was coming to the end of what she, herself, could do to help me.

She is one of the best physicians I’ve ever seen and that is not always so easy to find. She did her best for me and I could sense she felt truly bad that I wasn’t feeling better from any of her treatment ideas. Again, hard to find, feel from some doctors.

So, she is always open to seeing me, if I ever need something, but has given me suggestions for what to try next and where to go.

I really did feel sad when I left her office this time. I guess that is a sign I’ve seen too many doctors in my life.

I am thankful for the ability to go into my local bank and deposit a cheque I earned all by myself, into my account.

This shouldn’t be such a big deal for someone my age, but it is.

That’s just the honest to God truth of it. More where that came from, but my fear is always there that it won’t last.

The pressure now feels compounded, though still thankful, this week anyway.

I am thankful for a writing group evening that started out moodily and ended wonderfully.

I must have been in a bit of a mood, myself, but the personalities of the writers in that room soon brought me out of my funk.

That’s why I go. Sure, it’s nice to write and hear some good old stories, but it’s those minds where the ideas for said stories come from that I am most grateful for, why I keep on going back.

I am thankful I was able to keep up with my first evening of secretarial duties.

We had our first official meeting of Ontario’s chapter of Canada Federation of the Blind.

I wanted an app to record the conference call, but I couldn’t be sure any were accessible and so I took notes. I did better with that than I thought I would.

We have multiple issues I feel are important enough to take on and hopefully tackle, to make even a slight difference.

I may never have a child to leave behind, but I do want to leave behind something. Maybe I can make a difference somehow.

I am thankful for a day of rejection and acceptance.

I pitched to two places. One came back thrilled for me to tell my story and the other had to pass.

I had a feeling on the second one and it hurt at first, but what I have to say isn’t right for every place. It might be the wrong time, though I would like to write about being a woman who may never have a child, not because I don’t want one, but for several different factors.

This writing journey brings both acceptances and rejections, and from what I’ve heard and read, it isn’t always about the writing. Sometimes it’s timing or luck. I’ve been very lucky this year so far.

I do like the lessons I am learning, over and over again, and I hope that sting of rejection will continue to happen and teach me that it isn’t the end of the world and that maybe something else can come along another date and time.

I am thankful for a lovely dinner with family and friends.

My mom went to a lot of work to make everything look nice. She is a lovely hostess. She put coloured peppers in the chicken. She baked a new fluffy casserole recipe for the yams. She put time and attention into welcoming a new friend into her home.

We all had a lot of fun and laughs.

I am thankful for wine.

And the wine I had with the evening didn’t hurt any either. It was nice to be able to wind down, at the end of a busy week, wind down with wine.

I am thankful for a short walk for mail.

I still haven’t been sleeping well and I needed a brief Saturday morning walk in the sunshine, with my neighbour, down the street to the mailboxes.

It was a beautiful morning and I came home refreshed and fully awake for the day.

On a day like that, it isn’t so bad that my mail doesn’t come right outside my door anymore.

I am thankful for the attention a dying man brought to what Canada’s next 150 years should look like.

Gord Downie cared about his country and knew he was leaving it and leaving this life. He wanted to take a step toward bringing us all together before he went.

I watched the live broadcast of the concert he put on a year before his death. It is a sad story, what happened to this one boy and so many other boys and girls and their parents and families for so long.

The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack – Macleans (READ THIS)

Different circumstances of course, but I see it as Chanie Wenjack was a symbol of so many other children here in Canada being forcibly removed and reprogrammed, just like Anne Frank went on, after her death, to symbolize all the children during the Holocaust in Europe during World War II.

I can easily imagine being taken from my home and forced into residential school. What a scary thing, especially if forced to speak another language and be separated from everyone and everything you know and love.

What were Canada’s governments and churches thinking?

RIP Gord, (1964-2017)

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer

Blue and Green, #SongLyricSunday

Music, as a rule and in general, brings me loads of peace.

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Choosing just one song about peace for
Song Lyric Sunday
wasn’t so easy, but here’s the one I finally decided on:

I like to think of the planet from a distance because all you’d see was green and blue and nothing else.

In my own mind, I imagine a row of every human on the planet that is walking (hand in hand) all around the globe, in peaceful silence.

***

From a distance the world looks blue and green,
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.
From a distance, there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace,
it’s the voice of every man.

From a distance we all have enough,
and no one is in need.
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
no hungry mouths to feed.
From a distance we are instruments
marching in a common band.
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace.
They’re the songs of every man.

God is watching us. God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.

From a distance you look like my friend,
even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
what all this fighting is for.
From a distance there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
And it’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves,
it’s the heart of every man.
It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves.This is the song of every man.

And God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.
Oh, God is watching us, God is watching.

God is watching us from a distance.

LYRICS

***

All the things Bette Midler sings about are the things you can’t see from far off, these are things like disease, violence, and weapons.

I simply cannot fathom all the hatred and violence that we humans engage in. Music brings me peace. I wish peace were just that simple, as simple as the music this Song Lyric Sunday is made of.

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Memoir and Reflections, SoCS, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

Hourglass #SoCS

Seasons change, one sliding into another, stretching out, one into the next and so forth. I am in the middle of my favourite one now, this October day cheering my lonely heart, turning from cool and aloof to the warmth of momentary peace and tranquility. Still, I think of the leaves that fall, that crunch underfoot, memories of childhood leaf piles with you.

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I soldier on. I revel in these days, as November and December will, soon enough, bring on cold, whipping winds and the first appearance of those delicate winter flakes drifting down, through the chilled air.

I don’t dislike this season, simply because I know the dark winter days are to follow directly in secession.

I love Canada, my home, and the variety of weather we experience. Many stereotypes exist of our country, but my recent trip to The Great White North, in June, was perfection.

Something is seasonal, like in the world of fashion. I do not wear shorts in the middle of winter, though I am not a big fan of wearing them in summer either. I also do not follow what the fashion world claims is “in season” because I know comfort and style are unique to each and every one of us.

Broadening out from the whole pattern of the four seasons, I think of the seasons of life. Mine have gone by painfully slowly and also, blindingly fast. They have been full of sadness, hardships, beauty and bittersweet memory.

So, as I think of you, of all of it, I hope this next one will be everything you are hoping it will be. Bloodlines aside, if he is your family, then be happy with him. After all, life is often so difficult, to find a little peace, that I strongly believe we must all find our own family where and how we can.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

I wish us all the best during the seasons of all our lives, as the hourglass sand drifts silently down, down, down.

And now my ode to seasons (yearly and throughout life) has come to an end.

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Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, Podcast, Special Occasions, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

TToT: Blood Red Sun In A Smoky Sky – Lucky and Thankful, #FridayThe13th #Podcast #10Thankful

Okay,, I did it again. What week is this, exactly, that I came late to the party and linked up last? I keep this as a priority, but it does end up falling down a point…or five.

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Birthday photos come a week later, first of my time holding my niece, by the swing set she is too young to enjoy just yet. I am still thinking birthdays…my parents and a friend and so on.

But forest fires continue to burn on the west coast and far away there is violence, such that I cannot imagine, and here I sit, writing another list of what I am thankful for in this life.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the best spaghetti dinner ever.

My brother made it. spaghetti has been a favourite food in my family for a long time, since our traditional spaghetti dinner, every Christmas Eve when I was young.

Now my brother makes it so well, as he’s been perfecting it. We went another way with the food in the title of our podcast (the one I was there to make when this meal was made) but, if I could have come up with a clever enough name using spaghetti, I would have.

He now takes care, not to eat sauce from a can, but to make it with vegetables and spices, allowing it to simmer.

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My brother has perfected spaghetti and my sister has perfected cupcakes.

I am thankful for the birth and birthday of a lifelong friend.

We’ve been friends since we were ten. She was one of the few kids to approach me, on that first day at a new school. I had felt like a bit of a sideshow then, but our friendship grew into so much more.

I think of her now, so far away and on a path I never could have guessed at, and I smile and put my hand to my heart.

I am thankful for a long chat with a writer friend.

She writes about science. She is a scientist who loves to write, I suppose it would be better to say.

We talked for a long time, about everything concerning writing, as we are both trying to make it, using our skills, on our own.

Though our lives are vastly different from one another, our thoughts often come back to the same thing, something involving the art and the struggle of being a writer.

I am thankful for a gift of Gummy Bears.

I was working on a piece, on deadline, and someone knew it.

They sent me a treat, even if it was just a picture of that treat, a virtual treat as it were.

Still, to know they were thinking of me, there in that moment, was a nice thing, plain and simply.

I am thankful for superstitions like the famous Friday the 13th.

They have given me something to write about and to think about. They have caused me to challenge what I think and what I believe.

I am thankful for a visit with my neighbour where she helped me figure out how to take action in a few areas of my life.

She is good at narrowing an issue or a particular problem down. She keeps me thinking ahead and on task. Checking in on me periodically has helped a great deal since knowing her.

I am thankful for a delicious lunch/latte with another writing friend.

The wrap and the latte were just the thing for a Friday, as tired as I felt. I like hearing her take on things and I hope to be an ear to listen with for her, someone she knows she can trust.

I am thankful for a challenging violin lesson and yoga session, both within two days.

New poses to strengthen. New parts to repeat and drill into my thick head.

It is all a challenge, but a giant breath of fresh air too.

I am thankful for a friend’s writing getting published and read this week.

Kerra makes her opinions known on CNN.

She is speaking up, speaking out, and writing.

THE PRICE OF REDEMPTION – Panorama Journal

I am thankful we got a 60 minute episode of Ketchup On Pancakes recorded and up on our SoundCloud page.

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 6 – Mom and More

When I think of my mom, I think of growing things, like flowers.

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Apparently, so do others.

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