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Culture-Hacking and Seeing the World Differently #Culture-Hacking #Podcast

I came across a woman, near the end of last year, who had a strong message in her own story. I reached out to see if she might consider me as one of the first guests on her show:

Episode 2 – “Seeing the World Differently”

On this episode we talk about gratitude and when to speak up. I firmly believe we must share our stories with one another and be proud of the life we’ve lived.

So thank you
twitter daniella young
for this opportunity.

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Covering My Bases #WeRemember #JusJoJan

Okay, so I am nearing the end of this
Just Jot It January
2020 thing.

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This weekend, instead of writing for #JusJoJan, I was too
busy,
with the planning and the thinking and the dreaming.

Trying not to get too far ahead of myself on life, with recent developments, I zoned out a little here recently.

Thanks,
Saumya,
for this one.

I was making a starting, basic plan for an adventure I’m looking to have later this year. It was distracting, as I try not to get my hopes up too high. I want to make a statement with this one!

I wish to
dazzle
the world with this one.

I long to sparkle, to shine, but not me for my sake. I desire to take a chance, take the leap, assuming upcoming bloodwork doesn’t threaten to ruin everything I’m planning before it even has a chance of going ahead.

I want to be always a surprise and a voice for change. I may surprise in my methods of achieving all this, to some, but the main one I’m looking to surprise is myself…and spectacularly!

Thanks,
Debbie,
for this glittery prompt word.

This date always gets me down, in a way, to more of a melancholic level. I think if it, 2020 being seventy-five years since the freeing of Auschwitz concentration camps.

I know this is the day to celebrate, but it’s such a sombre date, I can’t help feeling a bit blah.

It reminds me of too many things, makes me think too many dark thoughts, though I know there’s a more positive tone to strike here too.

And, so since I am working with what I’ve got, what I’ve got is me. Nobody else can live my life for me, I should learn to count on me more because I’m here now and I’m grateful for that, and then to be gracious to all who agree to join in on the journey, somewhere along that way.

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Gloria In Handcuffs Signing The Constitution #JusJoJan

People are protesting, challenging their governments, and more.

And here I am.

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I can come here and I can
publish
my feelings and my fears for our world.

I am approaching my six year anniversary with this blog next month and I can speak my mind in Canada and share it with anyone who comes here. I am not protesting for the world to see on screen, like Gloria Steinem or Jane Fonda are doing, both these high profile women and both in their eighties now. Instead, I keep writing it all down and I don’t quit as times grow tough.

I have the freedom to write about climate change or disability rights as civil rights or about misogyny and the men who’ve run this world long enough and brought us to where we are today. I can say the things I’m drawn to say and publish without waiting for some mighty publisher to look my way.

I can’t control what the government does or what other governments around the world do, but I can write and speak my mind and for this I’m grateful.

Thank you,
Ritu,
for this prompt word, a favourite of mine.

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Ahead by a Century (Recap of Anne with an E, Season Three / Episodes Two and One) #AheadByACentury

Ahead by a Century (Week Two):

(Spoiler alert! Read on, however, for a wider discussion of issues from stories.)

I put off writing this second week’s summery of Anne with an E (of Season Three) because I needed time to think about what I’d seen, but I do wish I could go back to find my summaries of all Season One episodes and I wish I’d taken the time to write recaps for all of last season that I missed. I was distracted, but I’m back and ready to recap!

(Either on Facebook, or here, or both.)

Only into episode two and I’m reeling from the sharpness of the storyline in this new adaptation. It’s not what many would want for L.M.’s Anne Girl character and her world, both at Green Gables and out beyond. It’s harshness is what makes it feel authentic and we can’t hide from that which is true authenticity, no matter what year we’re in.

If you want to escape from our world into the world of a century ago, to forget all our modern troubles, this show does that. The characters ride around in buggies, pulled by horses, and homosexuality isn’t spoken of. Perhaps a certain impeachable US pres’s grandfather is across Canada at this time, making money off of the greed for gold, but that doesn’t mean that this storyline isn’t going to be full of the realities of life that made it so harsh at the turn of the 20th century.

Anne is given permission and a blessing, by her adopted family of Marilla and Matthew, to go to Charlottetown and then to the mainland, Nova Scotia, to look for information on her birth parents. She must be accompanied by Gilbert, which she resents, and he is rebuffed by her moments of irritability as she is too preoccupied to see how much he already cares.

She arrives in PEI’s capital city to meet up with her gay best friend who will go with her to the orphanage she grew up in.

While Gilbert goes off and explores newly discoverable romance with another, for the time being, a whole other strange B storyline, Anne is brought back to some of the worst times from her early life. While Gilbert has a date in a tea room with a snooty young woman, Anne tries to find out if the orphanage has any record of her parents.

Again, I watch and wonder what places like that were really like for all the abandoned and orphaned little ones in the world, while wishing places like these weren’t still existing. Anne says that place is better than some and much worse than others of its kind. Sure, I like to see characters in fiction that I can relate to, blind or disabled or writers or whatever, but I’m also curious about the kind of fiction which explores lives I, myself, have never lived for good or for ill.

The woman in charge is cold and of no help at all, sipping her tea with disdain that Anne would even deem to return for anything. The man on his way out, after admitting he can’t take care of his flesh and blood children since their mother died, makes Anne start to wonder if the stories she kept going along with about her own two parents were really that of truth, that they both died of scarlet fever when she was still newly born. Was she really so loved and/or wanted at all?

Cole sees her starting to pull apart all the stories and her imagination that got her through such loneliness, as she finds old pieces of paper with her own stories written hidden in the bell tower of the building. She wonders if it was all foolishness and he tells her how brave she is to him for doing whatever she had to to survive it all those years.

As they head for the door to leave, mission NOT accomplished, Anne is stopped by a young woman scrubbing the floor. It’s another orphaned girl who once bullied Anne for daring to dream or have an imagination of any kind. She recognizes Anne and angrily shouts about how she isn’t still there, but is now paid to work there, but the whole scene is disturbing and ugly as Anne and Cole leave that place behind them.

From orphanage where children are left without love to the ferry back to the island. Cole won’t let Anne give up, but all the work Ms. Stacy and Matthew are doing to repair the old printing press so the children of Avonlea School can print a newspaper is about to lead to an unsettling ending to episode two when Marilla reads Anne’s article about meeting and visiting the village of the young Indigenous girl.

(Oh, what times these were where the fear in a white, Christian community of the “other” is so intense they refer to that other group of people as “savages” when such a term is so horrible to hear now that 2020 is the time we’re nearly living in.)

**Side note – Interfering neighbour Rachel is a woman of her time, thinking she must find the new teacher a replacement after Miss Stacy’s widowhood, whereas Muriel would be just as happy on her own as to receive any match making help from anyone, let alone Rachel Lynne. Once Lynne sees Stacy with a man, all alone in a barn, even if that man is Matthew, all that talk of impropriety gets thrown in Miss Stacy’s face. How dare she be working, out in the barn, like a man, with a man that is not her husband.

Marilla is afraid of losing Anne, now that she loves her so much, which will have Marilla acting out in all the wrong ways, but she can hear very plainly how much Anne is praying for word that she was loved by her real parents once upon a time.

To top it all off, we have the character of Sebastian (new to this adaptation) having a not so sweet second episode. He has a step son to learn how to handle, one who feels like his mother has found her do-over in new baby daughter and husband, and this young man sees with his own eyes the farm and house where his mother now lives with her new family, including Gilbert, a white boy…away from the black neighbourhood in the area known as “the bog”.

Elijah is not dealing too well with having a new baby sister and stepfather, bringing all his pain and his coping mechanisms, which primarily include alcohol and saying things he doesn’t really probably even mean, throwing insults at his own mother and accusing his mother’s husband of having an alternate plan to get rid of their new white friend and roommate, to take over the land. Sebastian is disgusted by the suggestion and the two almost come to blows.

By the morning, all Gilbert’s tangible, valuable memories of his dead father have been taken from the room and Elijah is gone. This family stuff is hard in any century.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ166DTIV-o

Ahead By a Century:

I am back with my Anne with an E updates (season 3), after skipping this writing ritual for all of last season’s events.

It starts with a girl and her horse, Anne and Belle riding through the snow. … Pine cones. Silver coins. Anne turns 16 and desires to discover her lineage.

I’ve been long drawn to stories like Harry Potter, Frodo in Lord of the Rings, and Anne of Green Gables because the life of an orphaned character is so far from my own reality.

I may wonder sometimes about my ancestors, though at least I know of them, and I have always had present and supportive parents around. I wondered about those who never knew that kind of security and/or love.

It starts with Anne and Bell. It goes into the theme song for the show, a Tragically Hip hit that denotes the time period of Anne, as I sit here in 2019 and love this adaptation of the classic Green Gables story.

Ahead by a Century – The Tragically Hip / Anne with an E-Theme

One year ago this day I was on Prince Edward Island. I miss PEI in September as I watch this first episode of season three, expecting and seeing ads for Find Your Island with PEI Tourism making me recall it all. What a special place, an island (seen visually in red and green for many) but forever trapped in my head and heart as the setting for tragical events in a beautiful place, surrounded by water.

Sad that time moves on, even after the death of the lead singer of song Ahead By A Century, as I watch this series…from a time more than a century ago and I think of Gord’s work for connection with all who share this land before he died.

Anne and the girls watch the boys play hockey on a frozen pond and soon boys are declaring their intentions toward the girls. This is a timeless ritual, though somewhat changed in 100 years. Anne and Gilbert are meant to end up together, of course (poor Ruby), even if now it’s nothing but misunderstandings and awkward teenage encounters in the schoolroom. They will have their time, but in the meantime, brief interactions that mark a future love.

For now, as a newly sixteen-year-old Anne, she is the Bride of Adventure in her mind and that will and must suffice for now.

When season two premiered, we were introduced to Afro-Caribbean character, Sebastian, a new friend Gilbert has made far from Avonlea. Nothing like this exists in the 80’s series so many worship. I love both now, for different reasons, but Representation matters.

Creator of this update:

“I was troubled by the lack of diversity in the book, especially since Canada is such a diverse nation, both then and now,” she said.

And so, of course the novel was written in a different time, but it’s the 21st century now and the changes have only added to an already rich story with a lovely facelift.

Anne meets a young Indigenous girl and visits her community. The white people (Christians) stay separate from other groups then, but this inclusion started episode one of season three off right. I hope the friendship between the two girls continues.

Anne is open to meeting and making new friends and that’s all there is to it. She is supposed to represent the kind of openness of heart and mind that so many lack, then and now.

The scenes with Sebastian (Bash) and his wife Mary and their new baby girl made an already sweet episode even sweeter. Love scene between the still newly married couple made me grin, wanting love for others, fictional or no.

I have high hopes for this new season on CBC here in Canada, (to appear on Netflix in the new year).

That’s it for this instalment of Ahead by a Century, though most don’t have any knowledge or interest in the world of Anne, either Montgomery’s original creation or this re-imagining for a new century, but I’ll keep writing them anyway.

Here’s to all the Anne and Gilbert fans out there. What will this new season bring in the journey of their relationship?

How to be happy and content with oneself and still the possibility of finding true love with another?

I ask myself those last questions, those I posed after Season Three, Episode One, to myself all the time.

Also, I decided to go from most recent episode re-cap to the previous week’s recap here on the blog. I will return with Episode Three next week, here, but I’ve moved from Facebook to this blog because I want to catalog these and yet most people on Facebook know nothing of Anne with an E and could really care less and won’t bother to read, especially the longer my recaps end up being.

Maybe, after reading my recap here and after checking out the scene from YouTube I included above, both fans of the original Anne story and non fans alike might be curious enough to watch an episode. I say, to Anne fans everywhere, give this new adaptation a chance. I didn’t regret it. You might not either.

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What Happened to Holly Bartlett?

Adventures in Low Vision

Podcast artwork shows a headshot photo of a smiling Holly with short blond hair in the upper right with the silhouette of the bridge on the left and title centered low in black text over white background. Word-of-mouth is a great way to receive recommendations. And it’s how I heard of the AMI podcast, What Happened to Holly Bartlett, narrated and written by Canadian journalist Maggie Rahr and produced by Ocean Entertainment. Recently, Toby Ball of the Crime Writers On… podcast mentioned it. I was interested when he said Holly Bartlett was a young woman who was blind and lived independently. Her friends don’t believe she would have ended up unconscious under a bridge near her home without foul play. When Toby said the investigation was affected by opinions of blindness, I knew I needed to hear Holly’s story.

On a night I couldn’t sleep, I subscribed to the show and started listening. I was happy to hear a Scarlett Johansson quality voice–the local investigative reporter Rahr–not a hype-man amateur bumbling around. She wasn’t creating episodes for ad revenue, entertainment, or to take undeserved credit for…

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TToT: March Breaks and Time Straddlers – Design and Procurement #10Thankful

I can’t get the image of all that plastic in that whale’s stomach out of my head. Or the gorilla who was shot and blinded. Or fifty human lives lost in New Zealand last week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yks0RggaluY

But then, I am reminded, we live in a world with rainbows.

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“Watch the rain drop.”

I’m thankful for new Cranberries music. She’s dead, and that’s still unbelievably sad, but this song just released is powerful, even more because of how things are.

I am thankful for a good
classic Irish memoir
to read on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. (All twelve braille volumes of it.)

I’m thankful that another news network put a spotlight on the disability issues radio talk show I do with my brother.

Radio Show About Blindness Promotes Accessibility – CTV London

I’m thankful an interesting documentarian/filmmaker was generous enough to give me a few hours of his time, to ask me several thoughtful questions, to get to know my story a little better. I’m discovering, life’s all in the connections that you make.

I’m thankful for an upcoming Niagara Falls weekend trip with my family to celebrate the start of spring.

I’m thankful for my recent weekend away in New York City with my friend and travel agent extraordinaire, just in time for International Women’s Day festivities.

I’m thankful for rooftops, bars/restaurants/nothing but the roof.

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I stand on one, on a cold International Women’s Day in New York City, with my friend Anita.

I’m thankful for fear that I keep facing.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my fears and not feel so alone. On the stage, the presenter (my “writing mentor” was the presenter) spoke about fear in her talk and then called me up, along with two other ladies, to share what we’re afraid of.

I’m thankful for lovely songs and their singers.

Though I don’t mind winter like some do, I am thankful for this first day of spring.

“Everything is new in the spring,” said Anne. “Springs themselves are always so new, too. No spring is ever just like any other spring. It always has something of its own to be its own peculiar sweetness. See how green the grass is around that little pond, and how the willow buds are bursting.”-
L.M Montgomery, Anne of the Island

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Sounds of the 2018 Season, #AllWomensVoices #SoCS

It’s cold outside. Snow has come, gone, and come again lately. As Christmas approaches in a few short weeks, I love the air this time of year. I love the thought of a silent night, snow softly falling, but then there’s the bright lights and the musical spirit of this season.

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I am not Jewish, but I was listening to an all Hanukkah edition of a radio show my brother likes to listen to, a college radio station out of New Jersey I believe.

I don’t get annoyed by holiday themed music this time of year because it’s really only a short time out of the year. It makes me happy, from older classics to newer stuff, unless the singer goes too wild with their own rendition.

I see all the articles about the banning of Baby It’s Cold Outside, on certain radio stations since this whole #MeToo movement. I have read people’s thoughts and opinions on Facebook and thought about adding mine, but as usual, I am somewhere in the middle when it comes to whether the whole thing should have occurred in the first place.

I know the song well enough and I am not a fan of it personally, but other people have their own connections to the song and are upset that there’s any kind of pulling from holiday tune rotations.

I’ve always found it creepy, but it can be interpreted lots of different ways. Many artists and performers have done their individual renditions and made it sound differently, come off in a unique way, all depending…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpDLpz88V-I

I grew up knowing of Red Skelton from my father and grandparents too. He is a part of my childhood, but kind of from a different time. This song I came across is from the 40’s and things were different than they are in the 21st century we’re living in now.

In one version, the male sings certain parts and the female sings the rest. In another version of the song, there is a reversal in lyrics, in lines.

Is it a song where one person is pressuring another to stay, to spend the night? Is it more about both wanting to stay, but in those times, concerns over what people will think, a purity thing? Or is it a harmless flirtation?

I don’t necessarily think a song should be banned. Many songs, a lot from the 40’s or the 60’s come off, today, sexist and pushy, even inappropriate. People today should be more aware of boundaries and what messages we’re sending. Songs of today can be just as inappropriate, in my mind, but harmless in anyone else’s.

Thursday, December 6th, 2018 was an All Women’s Voices day, in remembrance of the 14 women in 1989, Montreal (mostly engineering students) who were murdered, by a madman who hated feminists and didn’t think women should dare go into the traditionally male fields of study.

On a university radio station near my home,
(for 24 hours straight)
they played and aired all women’s music and interviews with women and girls, about their interests and their fears and the issues they care about, how they’re making a difference.

I was interviewed for this, where I wanted to speak about myself, as a woman who is working for more equitable treatment for everyone in our society. These things weren’t taken into as much consideration in years gone by as it is today. Some still think we’re overreacting.

Again and again I hear about snowflakes and safe spaces. I know people think we’re making too much of things, politically correct as people like to say, far too sensitive for our own good, but this is a tactic of minimizing someone’s lived experiences and a brush off of possible trauma.

I just want people to try and put themselves in someone else’s shoes for a minute. If a song made someone feel uncomfortable, due to experiences they might have had, can we not stop and think about that for a moment at least?

The song Baby It’s Cold Outside is still available. It hasn’t been banned from the earth. If certain radio stations choose not to play it now, can you not just go find it elsewhere?

On the other hand, we’re not going to get rid of everything. There’s been progress, but there’s still so many discussions to be had. I may sound wishy washy, but I prefer to have a stance, somewhere in the middle of the road. I see both sides, but want to respect all people if I can.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

I know of so much beautiful music at this time of year. The song in question is jolly enough, I suppose, but not for everyone.

Not my cup of tea.

My head hurts today, so I think I’ll go listen to some instrumental Christmas music, by the crackling fireside.

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Thankful When Last Month Was Thanksgiving: Drunk and Smokey-eyed (Part 3) #10Thankful

My nearly almost weekly
Ten Things of Thankful
is the third and final in this three-part thankful series, in honour of the US celebrating Thanksgiving this coming week.

The Power of Gratitude (teaching the younger generation)

Personally, I don’t need a holiday (any holiday) to be thankful. The reminder can’t hurt though.

I’m thankful
Radio Western – 94.9 CHRW
has given us a platform to talk about the issues that we face: accessibility, equality, and advocacy.

Outlook – CFB – Tactile Maps

Check us out. Give us a listen.

I’m thankful the program manager at the station asked me to be interviewed for a women’s 24-hour radiothon event on December 6th. We did a pre-record so she can edit to needed length requirements for it to be a piece on the day. She asked great questions, did her research on me, and the interviewed turned out to be super chill and just like two old friends enjoying a casual talk.

I’m thankful for a teacher of the violin who keeps working with me, offering strengthening exercises for my hands, fingers and so on. Also, she’s been looking all around (craft stores) and thinking hard of what kind of tactile sticker might work to place on the violin, under the strings, to mark my first/third fingers in the correct placement. I’m getting there, but a little guidance never hurts.

I’m thankful for good weather for a parade. Santa Claus was silent this year, not so thankful about that, but we had the perfect amount of time there.

I’m thankful for peppermint things, including brownies.

I’m thankful for a successful meeting with a travel agent and friend. We’re traveling together, to a women’s travel festival in NYC in March, on International Women’s Day.

I’m thankful for sunshine and gently falling snowflakes on cold November days.

I’m thankful for a little pre-Christmas weekend celebration with family this weekend coming up. Food. Movies. Celebrations for my father’s upcoming birthday.

I’m thankful I discovered a new Canadian violinist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E79fXH9HjLw

I’m thankful for all my US friends who are about to eat a lot of food in the coming days. Better them than me, as I’ve yet got Christmas to look forward to.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and cheers from Canada.

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Can Hardly Wait, #SecretMission #WomensTravelFest #FTSF

It’s always a good thing –
10 things I’m looking forward to
having something or some things on the horizon.

Ten things I’m looking forward to are:

Getting myself a new pair of jeans.

I have hand-me-downs and old pairs. Time for a nice, new one that fits me just right.

Presentation night at the end of the storytelling workshop I’ve been taking.

We are telling a story from our life, in front of people, and working out how to best present it to keep an audience’s attention. I thought I would take this workshop, to get more comfortable with going from writing to speaking, with amazing results from myself and the other members in the class. On the final night, we are inviting family or friends and speaking our stories to a wider group.

The new Fantastic Beasts movie.

Of course, staying at my local cinema to see this one, my older brother will have to describe what’s going on because there’s no audio description, but it’s Dumbledore as a young man. Exciting.

Starting to complete the final two credits toward my high school diploma.

This one causes me a bunch of anxiety to talk about and embarrassment when I do, but it’s been many years and I don’t want to let my chronic pain win. I will complete these last two credits and then I can get on with the rest of my life.

Christmas.

Some years were better than others, some years harder than others, but I know I’m not alone in becoming a happier version of myself around that time of year. It makes me happy. It just does.

For the second Harry Potter movie (Chamber of Secrets) to be shown nearby, along with an in-house full orchestra.

I saw the first HP film, after missing it the first time round in theatres, last January and loved hearing the live musical score, including the string section.

Women’s Travel Fest in New York City.

Check it out and join me there to celebrate International Women’s Day, 2019.

My secret mission while I am visiting New York City.

I know how much I dislike it when people announce they have something exciting to say/something going on and yet they can’t say what that is, for whatever reason. Unfortunately, this thing I am looking forward to is quickly becoming an important part of my trip to NYC and I am not sure how it will play out. I am doing something big, new for me, but it will make a statement. I’m just not sure if I should go on and on about what it is, as I’m not sure how well it will be received. I may need some help and will need to do some research into a particularly notorious landmark in the city.

And, to finish off on a travel theme, to hopefully make it to the
Canadian Federation of the Blind’s
yearly national convention in Vancouver, British Columbia.

And, the
National Federation of the Blind’s
convention being held in Vegas for the first time.

Really, my 2019 isn’t all that well-known at this time, as I am hoping 2018 will wind down as calmly as possible in the meantime.

Keep making plans and finding things to look forward to,
along with those from Finish the Sentence Friday,
as it does a world of good and helps to boost the mood.

Here we are in November already: 2018 on its way out and 2019 on its way in.

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The Dead Can’t Talk. It’s Time To Listen To Survivors.

Are we infuriated? Of course we are.

Drifting Through

Sexual assault is like a death. A death of who you would have been. Who you were before. It is a violation of the body and the mind, but most profoundly, the soul. Many of us survive by allowing that part of us, the innocent part, to die.

I died many years ago, that part of me. There were moments when I thought he would kill me. And in a way, he did. He killed the little girl who danced instead of walked. He killed the little girl who looked at the world in wonder. I could have held on to her and let her live, but I had to let her go.

This is how I survived what he did to me. I was three, maybe four. I can’t be sure because the details of mundane facts are secondary to the horrors I can’t escape. The date, the season, his…

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