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TToT: Hunters, Fishermen, and Other Liars Gather Here – Of Gold and White Horses, #10Thankful

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,

    And the rivers all run God knows where;

There are lives that are erring and aimless,

    And deaths that just hang by a hair;

There are hardships that nobody reckons;

    There are valleys unpeopled and still;

There’s a land — oh, it beckons and beckons,

    And I want to go back — and I will.

—Robert W. Service

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Then and now.

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My dad and I have both come a long way. I thought such an important milestone deserved the landscape to go with it.

Hard Sun – Eddie Vedder

Land of the midnight sun.

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June was the perfect time to visit.

Ten Things of Thankful (And an extra bonus item)

I’m thankful I got to celebrate June 5th in a miraculous place.

I wanted to shout it from the rooftops – 20 years baby!

YEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHH!

I spent the actual morning of the 5th, standing on a suspension bridge, overlooking a place called Miles Canyon. The day was a perfect temperature for me, wind and sun, blowing my hair all around and warming my face.

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I thought about where I would have been, exactly twenty years earlier. I was so glad to have that hospital and those doctors then. I was so blessed to have all those years of a dialysis free life, thanks to my father. I was lucky to spend that moment, twenty years on, up on that bridge.

I’m thankful for a truly eye opening week.

I thought the Yukon seemed so far out of the way of most of the rest of Canada and thought of it a little bit like the Canada of Canada.

By that, I mean that in North America, to me at least at times, Canada goes somewhat unnoticed or under appreciated by the United States and such. We are here but can feel invisible. We are a small world player, in many ways, not making a whole lot of noise or commotion, but that’s how we prefer it to be. We are here and we are strong.

Then there is a part of Canada that is tucked away, far from what a lot of the gathered population ever sees. I wanted to go out and find this place.

By the end of my time there, I’d learned so much and was blown away by all of it. I heard stories of the people who have lived in that climate (months of mostly all light and then months of continuous darkness) for years upon years. I learned about myself and what travel can mean to me, through seeing places of intense and immense beauty, while not actually getting to experience the spectacular visuals of the north.

I missed out on a to, but I gained so so much.

I’m thankful I had the chance to see a part of my country of Canada, far far from my place in it.

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I have never traveled out west through Canada before, spending most of my time in the central part, the middle area, always curious about what lay in all that northern part. As we flew, I heard about the Rockies as we passed over them.

Though I could not see the snow capped peaks, I felt such a deep sense of wonder as we headed for the west coast. My country is so vast and amazing.

I’m thankful for pilots.

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I am somewhat anxious when flying, but it is a true miracle that a plane can even get up in the air, let alone stay up there and take people so far across the skies.

I hear their announcements on the speaker and they sound like they know what they are doing. I hope, every time I fly, that that is the case.

I really did enjoy my experience flying WestJet.

I’m thankful for local tour guides.

Big bus tours can be fun, like the one I was on in Ireland, but this time we had a smaller and more personal experience with a local tour company I’d highly recommend.

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They have had it in the family for 100 years and the woman in charge and her employees (one being her daughter) are highly knowledgeable about the region and so very proud of their homeland. They know about the environment, the terrain, and the people. They are Yukoners, through and through..

I’m thankful for the chance to learn about culture and nature.

Culture:

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I could smell the wet wood as they worked, using a tool called an adze. They had to keep the wood moist so it wouldn’t cracked as they worked on it. They only had it dug out a tiny amount, with a lot of hours of work still left to go.

It is one of several cultural events and demonstrations happening, there at the riverside, sponsored by the Canadian government and Canada 150 in 2017.

Nature:

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I missed the bright colours of the water. I missed the white caps of snow atop the mountains in the distance. I missed the severe cliffs and vistas.

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I smelled the fresh Yukon air. I felt the wind. I instinctually detected the wide open spaces. I listened to the ripples at the lake’s edge. I compared the silences to the sounds of rapids far down below.

I felt it all in my bones.

I’m thankful for the kindness of strangers while traveling.

I started the trip being given someone else’s seat on the shuttle bus to the terminal and I ended it with a generous gesture by a flight attendant.

When she learned I hadn’t known I had to download a certain update on my phone, one that would be able to work with the inflight entertainment system, she offered tablets (free of their rental charge) so we could watch a movie on the four hour flight.

I watched Beauty and the Beast, the 2017 live action version that I’d been wanting to see since it came out back in March.

Also, there was the politeness of many I met while there, the polite drivers letting me cross streets, and the woman at the glass blowing factory who showed me around and was so helpful.

I’m thankful my mom and I weren’t eaten by bears.

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We stayed down at the roadside, overlooking the lake, while the rest of the group walked a bit up the mountain. They were going up some to get a better look, but it was the two of us that got the show.

My mom was taking a panoramic shot with her camera when she suddenly told me of the mother bear and her cub only forty or so feet down from where we stood. She got a few pictures and then couldn’t see where they went. It was at that moment that she grew nervous and we were glad to have the unlocked van to retreat into, until she spotted the pair once more, making their way along the edge of the water, far off into the distance.

This was a good thing in my mind, as I couldn’t remember what action to take when approached by a grizzly bear vs a black bear.

Was I to play dead or fight back? I’d probably just fall to the ground and curl up into a ball either way.

I’m thankful for the comforts of home after being away from it.

I could choose to feel all down and depressed that I had to leave a place I may never return to or a city I felt at home in, or I could be glad to have my own things back.

I both love going out into the world and exploring what else exists, but I will always love having a home to come back to.

Just hearing a little baby crying on the plane coming home made me miss my baby niece.

I’m thankful for family and neighbours who agree to watch my dog and check on my cat while I explore the world.

I love to travel, but having pets makes that difficult. My dog is very attached to me and my cat is not one of those cats that likes his solitude.

I don’t like to put it on my family to take care of my animals, those I chose to have, just so I can run off galavanting. It’s just that I do feel the pull to wander sometimes, though I try to space it out somewhat. It is a responsibility on them when I dump my dog at their house, but I know our family looks out for each other. We help one another out when and where we can. I would do the same for them.

I’m thankful I got to see my nephew’s baseball game.

He is still learning (Lucky Number 13) and yet he may grow to love it. Only time will tell. They are all so cute though. The coaches and volunteer parents have quite the time, wrangling all those kids, shouting instructions to run or catch or pay attention. They are distracted easily and I can’t blame them. A lot going on.

It was just strange to return to the neighbourhood park where the game was being played. I hadn’t been there in years, but sitting on that bench, by that baseball diamond, it brought back a lot of memories of summer days long gone.

My sister and brother both played in leagues and we’d go to their games often. My favourite part was the snack bar, but being back there now made me remember old times, old friends, and things that felt forever ago, compared to the life I am living in 2017 and my transplant anniversary is a part of that.

“Forever can spare a minute.”

—Belle, Beauty and the Beast 2017

How Does A Moment Last Forever – Celine Dion

“Ever just the same. Ever a surprise. Ever as before and ever just as sure as the sun will rise.”

—Tale As Old As Time, Beauty and the Beast

The people of the Yukon know the sun will rise again. It’s just a question of when and for how long.

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Tongue Tied #Language #SoCS

“Language is your medium and use it to the max.”

—Anne Rice

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

I think about language as I sit in the quiet room of my local library on certain Wednesday nights. I am trying to come up with a bit of story to read out loud at the end of my writing group and I want to use the right sort of words and sentences.

Anne Rice is one who believes in adverbs, even though many so-called writing pros condemn the use of them. Ugh!

How am I supposed to know what is the right way to go?

I’m just glad I’ve managed/mastered the English language this far, when I wish I’d focused harder and done better at learning French when I was in school. I am proud that Canada is a multi-language nation and it can only serve as a benefit.

My family doesn’t all speak Polish or German. I wish we did. My father’s parents didn’t teach him their native European languages, by speaking them at home when he was young. I think they were so focused on learning English, as still fairly new to North America, that they couldn’t be bothered. I hope they didn’t feel any sort of shame surrounding the speak of their birth countries, being recent immigrants to Canada.

My mom learned German, as my grandparents always spoke it, but a certain dialect of the language. My grandpa used to tell me stories of how he didn’t even speak English before going to school. It was always German in his home as a child.

My mom speaks some and understands it. This allows her to speak to my uncle who visits from Germany every few years.

I was recently blown away by the beauty and rhythm of Spanish, as I prepared to travel to Mexico. I tried, for months, to learn some so I wouldn’t be totally lost when I went down there. By the end of my week, I’d gotten better at recognizing what was being said around me, but I would have needed many more weeks there to be able to speak any with much confidence.

Language is hard. It is one of those things that gets harder and harder to learn as you age. I am so set on learning to play the violin, at age 33, that I can’t possibly fit in learning any other language on top of that.

Ah well…there’s always my forties.

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From Apple to Zip Lining: My First and Perhaps Only A to Z

Goodbye April. Hello May.

I did it.

I thought I never would. I completed my first year of
The A to Z Challenge
throughout everyday of the month of April.

I first learned about it shortly after starting my blog, but the particulars sounded hellish to me.

Could I blog everyday? Did I even want to blog everyday?

I went for it on a whim and may never do it again. I went with the simplest of possible themes and that was the theme of randomness. I wrote about things that say something about myself, as the one with this blog. That’s it. No more. No less.

So to sum it all up, for those who couldn’t follow along with what I was doing, or as a handy place to see all 26 days of posts, here it is:

A is for Apple

Where would I be without it? I also happen to love apples, the fruit, as a bonus.

B is for Babies/Bracelets

I’m breaking supposed rules early on with this one. I’m on a roll.

C is for Canada

Happy to be home here.

D is for Diabetes

A family connection that spans the years.

E is for Earrings

How many R’s in that word? When is the right time to get a piercing? Hmm.

F is for Freelance

I’m giving it my all.

G is for Gratitude

It makes my life better. How you ask?

H is for History

Cue the quote about those who forget the past…

I is for Infertility

Cheery topic and just out of reach.

J is for Jellyfish

I’m not odd for wanting to touch one, right?

K is for Kids

Love to love them.

L is for Laundry

Yes, I am writing about laundry. Hold onto your hats.

M is for Marine Biology

Problem is, I’m afraid of water and I am bad at science.

N is for Nutrition

Diets don’t work, right?

O is for Ontario

My home province is a lovely one.

P is for Practice

It makes perfect. I need to practice practicing.

Q is for Quagmire/Quicksand

It’s a trap we all risk falling into. We’d better watch our step.

R is for Rules

Sometimes I like to break them. Find out why and how.

S is for Science

I mark a day of marches and those smarter than I am, doing good for us all.

T is for Taxes

Very little else is guaranteed in this life.

U is for Urination

We all do it. Check out why I think about this bodily function more than many.

V is for Violin

The love of my life.

W is for Witchcraft and Wizardry

I want to disappear into the pages of a book.

X is for the X in XOXO

I needed one and this seemed as good as any.

Y is for Yoga

Check out why I could really use it.

Z is for Zip Lining

Deciding to check this one adventure off my bucket list.

And there you have it. From the mundane to the strange. This is what I am all about.

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Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee #AtoZChallenge

Many people are afraid of heights. I seek them out, to a point.

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This does not mean I mountain climb for fun.

The A to Z Challenge – Z is for Zip Lining

I will admit that being blind means I can’t look out (from the edge of a tower or overlooking a waterfall) and see how high I am. This may detract from some of the fear most people understandably hold.

I may not be able to see it, but my rational comprehension tells me where I am. I will go zip lining at Niagara Falls in June, 2017, twenty years after I went to sleep living one kind of life, waking to a whole new one.

I will do it, surrounded by family and friends, overlooking my favourite natural wonder of the world.

Do not take anything in life for granted. We may not get to all live one way or another. We should be appreciative when we get to experience the things in life that make living so worthwhile.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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I Knew Not #HarryPotter #AtoZChallenge

Wine. Water. Whales. Writing.

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These were all contenders. Nope. None of these. Instead, why not go with a little blasphemy?

The A to Z Challenge – W is for Witchcraft and Wizardry

As in…

Hogwarts: School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Feminists today speak of being descendants of those witches once tried for practicing witchcraft and burnt at the stake.

I see Emma Watson on TV and walking the red carpet with Tom Hanks. She’s doing just fine after playing one on screen for a decade.

I knew very little about witchcraft until I was in my mid twenties. I always heard the word and thought of black magic, frowned upon by God.

I knew not.

Now I picture that giant castle (Hogwarts) and I wish I could have received my letter.

A classic tale of good vs evil, but as the story eventually makes clear, none of us have only, strictly one or the other inside of us.

All those religious groups and parenting groups who protested the Harry Potter books and movies originally thought of evil too, without reading the books themselves, to see what treasures were waiting to be discovered.

Claiming Godliness does not automatically make one an all good person. I think Harry Potter and the many witches and wizards throughout his fictional world can teach valuable lessons about what is right and what true decency looks like.

For fiction, this story was wonderful. It was a magical world, coexisting alongside the non magic world, both containing good and bad. The power of witchcraft had terrible misinformation attached, leading people to judge something without getting to know more about it. Rowling did a wonderful thing, an important thing, in bringing these subjects into the mainstream.

I am particularly affected by the themes in the HP series, as being misjudged is never a welcome place to find oneself.. I don’t want to judge anything unfairly, if I’ve hardly even given it a chance. I would hope all of us could learn from the witches and wizards in the story that J.K. Rowling created.

I sure wish I could wave a wand right now and make things different from what they are, in several areas.

Don’t you?

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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My One and Only #AtoZChallenge

The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was to stay away from you, not to hold you close to me every minute of the day.

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I love you deeply, but lord knows, you don’t make it easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

The A to Z Challenge – V is for Violin

This is a love story of a different sort. Last year I discovered my love for the violin.

It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. From the moment I laid my hands on its body, I wanted to make beautiful music with it. I’d soon find out it wouldn’t be quite so simple as that.

I love everything about it, but it is the most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted, to try and make anything resembling music with my hands, a bow, and four strings. There’s so much more to the violin than I ever imagined.

Angle. Pressure and weight. Force. Technique.

Most times I can get a decent sound from it, if I don’t think too hard, but that’s the trick. I work at just feeling the music, letting it flow through me, but there’s something missing.

If it were easy, I’d be better by this time, one year and counting. If it were so simple, I’d have gotten farther by this point. If I didn’t adore the violin, I’d have taken the easy way out and given up by now, saving myself the pain and frustration.

You don’t make it easy to love you, but I do. After all, some things can’t be explained. Love. When you know something is right, you just know.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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It’s the Only Way #AtoZChallenge

Okay, let’s do this thing.

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I wouldn’t want to fall behind.

The A to Z Challenge – P is for Practice

Does practice really make perfect?

Of course, I doubt this common phrase in those moments when I don’t want to practice, but every time I skip it, I risk the shaky progress I have made with my violin playing.

I’ve been doing it for just over a year now and it’s hard to judge what that progress looks like or should look like.

All I know is that practice does work. I am just no good at a daily, repetitive routine. Anything I have to do every day quickly becomes the last thing I want to do.

We are creatures of habit (I couldn’t come up with more of these if I tried) but it’s true. If I just push myself to take out my instrument, I soon know what the smart part of my head knew from the beginning.

I won’t be having lessons for two or three weeks now and practice is my best bet. The repeat action, practicing a part, a song over and over again, this is the only way I’m going to improve.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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