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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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TToT: Mid April and Easter Update #Easter #10Thankful

“No matter what happens, people need to get their stories out. Sometimes I think this is my life’s work: bearing witness, and helping others to bear witness. Bear witness, expel torment, see the red cardinal in the bare tree.”

–Carrie Snyder, “Red cardinal in bare tree”

One of my favourite writers, Canadian writers, and she speaks on what my writing mentor told me, as I grew more comfortable with my own writer status.

We who write, who call ourselves writers live as such. We are constantly observing the world around us, to write it all down when the time is right.

This week’s TToT is a little or a lot muddled all-over-the-place, kind of like my own life right now.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the chance to see myself in the media.

Check out this commercial. This girl has a YouTube channel and she is a public speaker, on Canadian television.

I believe it is important that the world sees that beauty and these products mean just as much to those of us living with a disability in the world.

I am thankful I could help my sister.

She has stuff to do to get ready for a friend’s wedding next month and she finds it hard to get a lot of it done at home, as she always becomes distracted by stuff that needs to get done around her house.

At mine, I could hold the baby and she could work. Not a bad deal.

I am thankful for yet another helpful violin lesson.

I picked up the second line to Minuet 3 easier than I thought. I really do love this song.

It did require me to use my fourth finger, which is not strong at all. It is difficult to stretch a fourth on the string.

I am thankful for a lovely Easter surprise from my friendly new neighbour.

I was not expecting the gesture of beautifully wrapped chocolates, in tissue paper, with a bow.

She wrote a lovely note with it.

I am thankful for another enlightening episode of Anne.

This one revealed more about characters like Gilbert. This is better than I could have imagined. I love knowing more about people, even fictional people.

I am thankful for the beautifully written verbal audio descriptions on several Canadian television channels, like the CBC when I’m trying to watch an Anne episode.

“The Woman is elegantly dressed and has a kind face.”

I am thankful Canada got something before the U.S. for a change.

Yeah, I said it.

I didn’t realize this one is the same one premiering on Netflix soon.

Either way, it should appear first on Canadian television, as it is our story after all.

I am thankful for women in history who made Canada better.

A novel idea for the 19th century: women are capable of talking about serious issues – Who is Kit?
        
I am thankful I could find out that there seems to be no problem with my plans to try zip lining.

My fear was that they would be hesitant to let anyone try it who is blind. So far, according to the woman I spoke to and her manager, if I will be with a group it shouldn’t be an issue.

I am thankful for the rain and for the warming April weather.

Spring is in the air and you can feel it.

I am thankful for Easter chocolate.

I don’t know what I think about religion. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the world powers, drunk on their desperation for even more. I don’t know what I am doing in my own life even.

I do know I am thankful.

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When We Grew Up #AtoZChallenge

We all wanted to be a lot of things when we grew up. We’ve all dreamt of being many things. I know I did.

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Librarian. Artist. Doctor/ Nurse. Psychologist. Novelist/writer. Bookstore owner. Travel blogger. Author/speaker.

The A to Z Challenge – M is for Marine biology

I now dream of a career in writing, but once I dreamt of studying to become a marine biologist. I loved/love the ocean and all creatures within, so so much, that I wish I could have done better in science and somehow become someone who could study marine ecosystems and make a difference to the oceans and everything living in them.

I didn’t do too well in science and I am afraid of boats. Always have been. I believe I carry a healthy, respectful fear of the sea. Its immensity makes me feel as small as anything else ever could. Yet, I am utterly fascinated by it and everything existing in it.

I want to study jellyfish.

I want to study dolphins, whales, sharks, sea turtles, rays, from the smallest organism to the blue whale. I love it all.

We sometimes must admit that we won’t ever be what we once dreamed of, but I keep the faith I might one day get to write about the ocean, even if I will never study it scientifically.

***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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A Balloon In My Mind #AtoZChallenge

In my dream, the balloons were in the yard, trying to get in the house.

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My grandma once told me of the time she was walking along a beach and came across this blue balloon thing on the sand. She gently reached out toward it. She wasn’t shy, even when she had no clue what something was.

The A to Z Challenge – J is for Jellyfish

I have seen jellyfish in my distant memory, but since I’ve lost more of my vision, the image of what one looks like has faded.

So now, after my grandma’s description and the dream I had, I think of a balloon whenever I try to imagine what a jellyfish looks like.

I have studied them intensely, on the many ocean documentaries I’ve watched in my time. They aren’t something I would like to touch in the near future. I fear walking along the sea or swimming in it, for fear of coming up against one. I hear the stories of stings and still, for some reason, the jellyfish is still one of my favourite marine creatures.

There is a place, an inland lake, somewhere in the south Pacific Ocean, on an island known as Palau. I want to visit Jellyfish Lake, if I could go anywhere, because then I could stop imagining what a jellyfish looks like, and actually swim with a bunch of non stinging jellies.

What might you envision in your mind, if you’d never before seen a jellyfish? Balloon or something else? Balloon with stinging tentacles of course. Such cool creatures, but it made for one hell of a bad dream.

***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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TToT: April Showers and Scoops and Slurs, #NationalSiblingsDay #10Thankful

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

The birds have been keeping me sane all week.

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Their songs, tweets, chirps, and twittering melodies have calmed me, any moment I felt anxious about a bit of a difficult week.

It was Billie Holiday’s birthday. Her voice brings me back to a different time.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a glimpse into an unfamiliar place.

The Colours of Kenya

Love the colours.

I meant to include this last week. Lizzi wrote this incredible story about her time in Kenya. If you haven’t read it, you should.

I am thankful for tall mountain pose.

Someone who knows a lot more about yoga than me found this one. I’ve been trying it out. The woman describes the poses well, though I don’t know I am all that good at following the instructions. The deep breathing is the nice part.

The music in the background is rather soothing, but for the clanging bell sound that makes me think of that warning bell you hear at a train track as a train comes near. Not so relaxing for me. Kind of triggering.

I am thankful for a challenging week.

I have been doing A to Z for the first time and this week has been rather fun. I’ve not put too much pressure on myself with it.

I am thankful for an opportunity to share a little piece of myself.

It Was All a Blur #MyBlindStory

I am thankful for a night out at an author reading which involved some helpful men who showed me through the library and a kind word from an author, on a night I almost missed out on entirely.

It had been a rather bad week and I almost backed out and stayed hidden at home. If I’d received the rejection to a writing pitch I would receive while I was at said author reading, or if I’d heard the unsettling news that would come later on that night involving 45 and missile strikes, I may have chosen to stay hidden. Thankfully, I hadn’t. It was a rainy night, but I am glad I braved it anyway.

“Ann Walmsley author of the Prison Book Club will be sharing her experience of becoming a book club volunteer at men’s prisons in Ontario. This incredible book recently won the Edna Staebler award in 2016. One juror Bruce Gillespie quoted: “Walmsley’s book provides a unique glimpse into the lives of incarcerated men and the transformative power of literature and fellowship.” Featured several times on CBC it is truly a honour to have her come to Woodstock Public Library.”

After the reading, I introduced myself to the author and bought a copy of her book. I spoke to her about being a writer and she gave me a bookmark with her email and told me I could email her if I ever had any questions about writing.

http://www.annwalmsley.com

I am thankful for scoops and slurs.

I have moved on from Brahms’ Lullaby and on to learning a song I didn’t recognize from my teacher’s description, until she played a little of it and a song that came, preprogrammed on my brother’s little keyboard from childhood, it all came back to me. I love the different violin techniques in this one. It will be a challenge, but one I am quite excited about taking on.

There are scoops when playing the violin. Going from one string to another.

Not all slurs are nice, but the one that occurs in this song is a new technique to me.

I am thankful for family members who are handy and generous with their talents and time.

A leak somewhere in my shower, dripping water down through my ceiling and into my living room are a different sort of April showers. Keep that outside my home preferably.

I have an uncle and cousin who do this sort of thing, fixing showers and leaks for desperate nieces and cousins like me.

The machine they had to use up in my ceiling was loud and reminded me of a dentist’s drill. Again, triggering.

Now I have a layer of dust over everything, including my books, but all is well again.

I am thankful for a day of family, an early Easter/birthday celebration.

Family days include fun, laughter, children playing, and scoops of vanilla ice cream.

I am thankful for my siblings and the siblings (my nieces and nephews) who have each other.

My nephew now has a sister, a sibling, and all of them have a friend for life.

This makes my list every year (National Siblings Day) and every year it is more and more true.

This year mine are willing to do something special with me in a few months, zip lining alongside Niagara Falls, to celebrate my twenty-year anniversary of my kidney transplant.

They are the best.

I am thankful for a surprise phone call from a friend.

I was tired, after this week, but it was nice to talk and catch up.

It’s been raining, off and on, all day long. This is April – to be expected. Not so bad.

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I Don’t Like Hockey, #AtoZChallenge

I am proud to be Canadian, but I do not like hockey.

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They’ll be showing me the door any day now, for that confession, but I just had to get that off my chest.

The A to Z Challenge – C is for Canada

This is a preview of any Canada Day post I may still write for July 1st, but it is a bit of a tricky subject, this year especially.

I am staying random, as this is my first A to Z year, but writing about the things I love is a good way for anyone who is new to this blog, for them to get to know me better.

Canada is celebrating our 150th birthday, but not everyone is so thrilled about that.

There were people living on this land before 1867 and they don’t like feeling like before that year of
Confederation
they didn’t exist. I don’t blame them.

My ancestors came here a long time ago, but it simply can’t compare.

I am glad my ancestors came here. I like living here. I need to see more of it.

Canada made the list for happiest countries in the world. We cracked the top 10 and I would have to agree.

World Happiness Report

Lots of people complain, and their lived experiences are probably a lot different than mine. I am one of the lucky ones.

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Lamb vs Lion, #SoCS

This is supposed to be the time and place to just write, whatever it is that comes to miming, through my fingers on the keys.

Right? Yeah. I’m working through it all.

I focus on one month at a time, trying not to look too far ahead of myself in this year that feels vital somehow. It’s 2017 and it’s only the third month in. I still have a chance to do something great.

January was great. January was Mexico. So far, not much can top that. It’s hard when starting a new year with such an adventure, so long waited for, but I try to keep an open mind about the possibilities I could still discover are on the way.

I feel like I want to do something. As the day of that January
march
was taking place, I was not in the crowds of faces, all carrying signs and there to fight back.

I was in a hotel room, in Detroit Michigan and watching it all unfold on the television. I had other things on my mind, as I felt traveling alone was enough of a sign, symbolic that I would not hide away any longer. I would be seen and I would do something for me.

I, as a woman, I had my immediate goal of making it to Mexico by myself, which I didn’t know would turn out so well, not at the time.

I want to do something, since then, all the more. I will take steps, in this month of newness of a season.

With both Women’s History Month and recently it having been the International Women’s Day, I wonder still what we women should be, what we are expected to be from society.

Are we the gentle, feminine lamb or the strong, fierce lioness?

I fear being lost in those crowds. That day wasn’t only an U.S. thing. It was done all over the world. It’s sometimes like the U.S. is the only place that matters, or that’s how the world sees it coming from the centre of North America, but we all want justice and respect.

So, my inability to see my way through such massive bunches of people means I fight in other ways, I march in other manifestations.

I use technology to my advantage. I look to those who have seen more and are working to bring change.

We don’t have to be one or the other. We can be lambs and lions, as this month suggests, even when that scares some of the less enlightened among us.

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