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TToT: The Luxury of My Breathing – Hammer and Dance #10Thankful

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.

And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

“And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new wats to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
– Kitty O’Meara

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Photo caption: massive flock of swans on a pond at the side of the road. Reminds us of how the world of nature and our environment might have been calling for a shut down of our regularly scheduled programming for a while now and to slow down and learn to value what truly matters, not what certain fake leaders think life’s all about.

And nature also takes a breath, as my favourite Canadian song writer (Jann Arden) says: “good things come from bad things.”

I am full of gratitude for so many things, even though this pandemic rages on across the world, moving in waves, inclines and declines, and I wait at home for news…for something.

Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful

It all starts and stops, begins and ends with breathing.

I’m thankful for every breath I take that’s unimpeded by the virus in question and any other.

I’ve never experienced pneumonia before. I’ve been on ventilators before, during surgeries, but any remaining memories of that sort of thing are super vague.

I’m thankful my family are all safe right now.

Speaking of breathing, my sister has asthma and I’ll never get over the shock when I walked into my brother’s hospital room, after an emergency medical condition had him requiring help to breathe and we’d not had any warning.

I’m thankful for medical advancements in the last one hundred years.

I’ve read and studied a lot about the Spanish flu of 1918 and I know this is different, but the biggest we’ve seen since then.

I’m thankful my two essential worker parents are okay.

My mom looks after people in a group home and my dad drives a wheelchair cab.

People with disabilities already have greater difficulties during these large events because they can not drive and depend on others to do that and more.

Lots about this world isn’t accessible and all the work-at-home modifications being made to keep people working and our economy from total collapse are things those with disabilities ask for normally and are often denied.

Not so much the time to harp on that now, but it’s a valid point.

I’m thankful for the technology I do have in 2020 so I don’t feel so alone, even while practicing social distancing in my home where I live by myself.

I have family and friends nearby and am rather used to spending large amounts of time home.

I’m thankful for all the work being put into fighting this coronavirus thing here in Canada and around the world, all the brilliant minds working and the front line people seeing this covid-19 up close, but I feel intense appreciation I am in this country and not in the US, but I worry for all my friends there during such days as these.

I’m thankful for the message Prime Minister Trudeau sent out to the children of this country.

Trudeau gives Canadian kids ‘special thanks’ for helping fight coronavirus – CBC News

I envy my three-year-old niece, but I wonder if she’ll feel any of these issues going on around her. My older niece and nephews can’t go back to school and I know that will be an issue. I’m okay because I know their parents are there for them, there to explain things when they ask questions.

I can’t imagine running a country during a global pandemic, especially after Sophie Trudeau tested positive for the virus. He isn’t perfect, but better than many alternatives worldwide and I feel safer here than many places I could be right now.

Justin Trudeau: Working at home just like the rest of us – Politico

I’m thankful for a body that knows how to heal itself, at least somewhat.

I went for a walk last week and twisted my ankle and scraped up my knee.

I’m thankful for strange pain pathways that don’t feel how bad my knee looks/feels. I was able to put weight on my left foot and right leg and finish the walk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jO2wSpAoxA&feature=youtu.be

I’m thankful for the beautiful words of children.

I asked my cousin if I could share the following thoughts from her kids. Good place to end the TToT for this week (copied, with permission, from Facebook):

We’re all poets. And have something profound to share. Here’s the sentiments of our sweet Anders and Nevie.

Nev😇
I am happy
I wonder how many animals there are in the world
I hear the radio
I see the lake
I want a pet hamster
I am silly

I pretend I’m an animal
I feel proud
I touch animals
I worry about wildlife
I cry sometimes
I am kind

I understand the way of life
I say I love animals
I dream happiness
I try hard
I hope this virus goes away
I am calm

Anders🥰

I am strong
I wonder about the world
I hear nature calling for me
I see love
I want to have a nice life
I am proud of who I am

I pretend that I can fly
I feel happy
I touch nature
I worry about other people
I cry sometimes
I am filled with love

I understand nature
I say freedom
I dream of the world being saved

I try to be my best
I hope I can listen to other people’s feeling and help them if they’re sad
I am the best, best version of myself

Write them for yourself and your loved ones to stay connected to Self and one another. Stay true folks❤️❤️

I AM
I WONDER
I HEAR
I SEE
I WANT
I AM

I PRETEND
I FEEL
I TOUCH
I WORRY
I CRY
I AM

I UNDERSTAND
I SAY
I DREAM

I TRY
I HOPE
I AM

Try these prompts out for yourself in the comments, as comments, if you want and take care of yourselves.

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Leap #LeapYear #SoCS

LEAP

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The girl with the striking blue eyes. My main image of her now from our childhood, her head framed by a bunch of curled blonde hair, but her smile made her eyes pop, slightly wild with abandon. Two little girls playing Jacks over recess. Next it was Pogs.

“Frogs?”

“No. Don’t you remember Pogs? And try not to step on my toe this time.” Roger tensed up at the mere suggestion of this, but Beverly knew how he could be. It was worth repeating. “Guilty feet have got no rhythm you know? Or hadn’t you received the memo?”

“Quit quoting Wham lyrics and finish the story,” Roger said, rather than answering on the flattened toe thing.

“I just think that some people seem to miss out on the whole adulting thing and stay forever locked in cycles of poor judgment and they’re lost.”

“That’s how life could be for some souls,” Roger said, hoping to put things in perspective. “Our child will soon be here…and life ends and begins again. I don’t mean to come off as harsh, but I’d like to focus on us right now.”

Perhaps, words coming out of his mouth sounding harsh, but his kind brown eyes didn’t reflect it.

“I know,” Beverly relented. “It’s getting harder and harder to dance with this here, have you noticed?” she said, gesturing toward her pregnant stomach.

“So here we are again, four years later,” Roger said, turning the ring on her finger he’d first placed there on their wedding day. “But why we ever chose to get married on Feb. 29th? I’ll never be too sure.”
Beverly knew he’d have picked another day, but she liked the unconventional.

Now here they were again, approaching a Leap Year end to February. “What were the odds that we’d be so close to the baby arriving at the same time.”

Sure enough, within the final days of the month Beverly started feeling the contractions.

“Maybe we’ll make the news,” Roger said as a distraction as they made their way to the hospital.
“You know, like those babies born first in a brand new year or something.”
Beverly squeezed his hand, a little tighter than necessary, but really…?

Once they were all checked in, the doctor popped his head in the room and left again, but that didn’t have to mean there was something wrong. Again, she squeezed her Leap Year husband’s hand and this time, he squeezed back.
But no need to fear. The rest of the labor progressed rather quickly for a first child, and now they could sit back and wait for the media to hear about this special birth.

“I’m going out to make a few calls, but it looks like you could use sleep anyway.”

“So you’re not abandoning me and your first born right?”
Speaking with an added level of drama. She settled back to snuggle the baby, watching him leave with a grin.

“It’s raining frogs out there,” said a voice. It couldn’t be Roger. It was a female voice, not that of her husband.

“Um, you mean cats and dogs.” Though it was snowing, not rain.

“No, I mean actual frogs. I just thought you would want to know.”
All the snow they’d had, did something go wrong, Beverly thought. Did I die in childbirth?

“Is that your first?” the woman asked, a seemingly routine question immediately after announcing that frogs are dropping from the sky.
Maybe this woman had seen Magnolia too many times.

“Besides that, can I just ask, who are you and what are you doing in my room?”

“I came with the frogs and they are my friends. Don’t worry. We’re only here this one day. The scheduling does not let us come even every year, but every four instead.”

“Can I help you with something else then?” Beverly asked, patting the baby gently on the back.

“Every February 29 I come here, with my frog friends, to greet and congratulate new mothers and I even offer newborn cuddle duty.”

Holding her little Leap Year baby, Beverly could certainly see where this friend of the frogs was coming from on that one.

“You don’t recognize me, but I’ve lived with the frogs for a while now and I’m less myself than I once was.”

Beverly glanced from her babies face and with her beautiful brown eyes like her father, and then back up at the stranger in the doorway.

Those eyes, it suddenly hit her.
Then, from over the intercom came a voice all business like:

“I’m afraid we’re locking the hospital down. There’s no need for alarm, but if you look outside, you may have noticed that it has changed from snow to frogs out there. Not safe at this time for us to leave the
prot”ect”ion
of this hospital. We’re calling in our janitorial maintenance team and they are all over it.”

At this, the stranger snapped to attention. “Oh no, my friends.”

Before Beverly could say a word, she was alone again with her child, but again she looked from her baby’s brown eyes to the eyes of that woman who was now off to join her frog friends on this Leap Year night, no longer staring back.

“Sorry I took so long,” Roger said. “Did you hear what’s going on out there?”
He walked to the window to briefly glance out at the scene on the other side of the glass before coming back to her side and gently lifting the baby from Beverly’s arms. “Take a break. You still haven’t gotten any sleep.”

Was he sure, Beverly wondered.
Again, Roger had walked back over to the window, little bundle asleep in his arms. “Wake up little girl,” her father said, slightly, ever so slightly nudging the infant.
“Look, little one,” he said. “All this for you. Frogs arriving to welcome you on this special day.”
Roger didn’t even sound overly concerned about what this Leap Year had brought.
Until… ”Wait, what’s that?”

“What?” Beverly asked, with a sharp intake of breath that hurt. “I don’t know if I can get out of this bed, but what is it?”
She tried to move off the bed, but for a moment she felt dizzy and nauseous.

“Easy,” Roger urged, letting her lean on him while he supported their baby in the crook of his other arm.

“So, what am I looking at?”

Across the parking lot, there could be seen a tiny figure, arms out stretched and twirling as more and more of them just kept coming down.

By March, the frogs had vanished, baby Britney was home with her parents, and all would remain frog free, all the rest of the days of the year, until maybe, when next a Leap Year rolls around, look out your window.

In and out, like a lamb, lion, frogs and their friend.

Twirling twirling. That little girl with the blue eyes and blonde hair, who loved holding newborns and rocking them to sleep while her friends kept on falling.

RIPAG

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TToT: Thirty-six Pick Up Sticks #BlanketSea #10Thankful

Let’s just dive in.

Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful

I am a little older and wiser since the tenth of the month and yet I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m headed. Currently, I am listening to a live feed from a famous pub in Dublin, Ireland with live, Friday night entertainment.

I did turn thirty-six recently and my niece and nephew were so excited to start celebrating with me. We had a cake made and sampled by the time my sister arrived with dinner.

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I am thankful for family on my birthday. Even my nearly three-year-old niece sang. She loves to sing.

I am thankful for loved ones who can bring me smoothies, milkshakes, and oranges to soothe my sore throat.

I am thankful my post birthday cold didn’t last too long.

I am thankful for the nerve blocks I’ve been getting.

I am a little wary of being injected in my head, but in the nerves specifically. I have had Botox to try to treat headaches in the past. Nerve blocks are helping one very specific headache I get.

I am thankful to have written a poetry review for a talented artist’s first poetry chapbook.

You can read it here.

If you like what you hear, check her out.

I am thankful for my core group of three writing women who I get to write with twice a month.

They have such unique imagination in their heads and stories they read out to the group.

I am full of gratitude that they share with me in such a special way.

I am thankful we in Canada are starting to work on healing the deep rifts here between Indigenous groups and the government and your average Canadian citizen.

Canada loves the rule of law (unless we’re talking Indigenous rights)

Okay, well if we’re not doing a great job so far, I at least hope everyone doesn’t give up and keeps talking.

I know things seem particularly rough right now, but at least we’re facing these issues, head-on. When we push them down and hope they won’t make too much trouble, it only prolongs any possible solutions.

I don’t pretend to know the answers, but I feel quite emotional about it all when I think of the history of this land and how it will all progress in future.

The live performance at Temple Pub and they are doing a version of this, one of my favourite songs by The Cranberries, after all this time.

It reminds me to keep on dreaming for myself. I am extremely grateful for dreams, but I remind myself of this lyric often:

“Don’t mind dreams. It’s never quite as it seems. Never quite as it seems.”

I am thankful for February. This winter hasn’t been as cold as some likely have been, but still cold enough for complaints, but I love this time of year better than summer.

I am thankful for anything I can do to distract myself from some of what’s going on in the world these days. I’m nervous that 2020 will be a long, rather scary year in some ways, but that’s why I keep doing all the things that bring me fulfillment and joy to balance it all out.

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TToT: 2020 and Feeling Good As Hell #JusJoJan #10Thankful

Once again, I have been absent from this
Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful
exercise in gratitude and I did mean to join in more, but life got in the way.

I am thankful for
Kristi
and her taking on the TToT and for making a lovely effort to ensure accessibility is as common as possible, even with all the things that are out of her control.

I will go back a few months to start things out – back to 2019.

I am thankful I got to attend an old friend’s wedding back in November.

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It was wonderful having a celebration with good friends and family too. The event wasn’t too big and I danced as much as possible.

I am thankful for a fun few days with friends (both old and new) at Social Media Week Toronto, only a few days after the wedding.

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Caption: Kim, me, Amy, and Victoria

It was a nice getaway to Toronto and it was cold, mid November, but I was mostly thankful for the slight warm up but still cold enough, on my last evening in the city, with the most delicate snowflakes falling as we walked to find some dinner before I had to catch my train home.

I am thankful for the chance to be a guest on a podcast about culture called
Culture-Hacking – “Seeing the World Differently”.

I am thankful for a fun-filled Christmas season with family.

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Caption: I’m with my nieces, watching The Simpsons on the tablet, with the tree in behind us. (Hmm, did I end up posting this photo more than once?)

I am thankful for a speaking gig I had lined up for January.

PROBUS Canada

It was good to get to speak to a room of women from the older generations, to share a bit about my blindness experience, including all the travel I’ve done and some of the obstacles I face, not to mention informing them of the existence of the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
here in Canada in 2020.

That website is where you can go to read the latest issue of The Blind Canadian, November 2019 where I am newly an assistant-editor.

I am thankful I had a meeting with the woman/writer I’m planning to walk the Thames River path with this coming September and with my friend and travel agent who is helping us plan the month long adventure ahead.

I am thankful for this new audio podcast platform.

anchor.fm

We may use it to record and share daily updates as we go and I have started a profile there and have recorded my first two episodes. I will probably make these, as an audio version of my written blog, capturing the months ahead and all the planning and preparing I’ll be doing. It’s a cool site/app I can even add music to my recorded voice and I can do it without having to depend on my audio expert brother all the time. I think this one, it will be nice to be able to do it myself.

And I am thankful, last but certainly not least, for a mostly positive result on a blood level that had jumped in recent weeks for unknown reasons.

I have lived by that number for more than 20 years, creatinine to measure my transplanted kidney’s excellent function. I don’t remember it being more than 70-80 in years and suddenly I received a call that it had jumped up to 110.

On re-test, it did go back down, not down as far as I’d necessarily like it to, but 100 – and I will take that, for now.

I tend to lean into my more negative side with these sorts of things, but the doctor wouldn’t commit to the idea that my kidney is slowly declining. He said, at this stage, it could be that, but maybe 100 is my new baseline level. It happens and there’s no reason, at this time, to think anything further to be the case. I am getting re-tested in April and going back again in June for my once-a-year, usual doctor’s appointment.

But he did seem quite sure I’d be walking in England by September and that nothing renal related would get in the way of that. (Still…one more reason I want to do this walk, to help raise awareness, and to explore the world while I have the chance.)

I am thankful, extra thankful, to that hospital and the transplant outpatient program and the doctors that keep such a good eye on things for me. I am lucky to be living where I am living, as I hear more and more stories of the medical costs in the US that people live with.

To start 2020 somewhere, I was glad to participate in an entire month of blogging with prompts coming from certain participants of the yearly activity, participants such as
Wendy
and the blogger to run the whole thing. Thanks
Linda,
for getting my year started, with writing and blogging and your Just Jot It January #JusJoJan challenge, so I can at least begin somewhere for the year.

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Caption: a Just Jot It January completion badge

I am about to celebrate this blog’s six year anniversary and my thirty-sixth birthday – 2020 and I say “bring it on!”

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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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Late and Possibly Even Lost My Invitation #JusJoJan

I’m late to the party, the farewell January party.

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I was nearly
finished
the month of prompts but I kept on with preoccupation instead. Hopefully that will soon be over.

I go back for blood testing and to speak with the doctor on Tuesday. I’ve been warned that it could end up being a really long day, but I didn’t want to have to wait another whole week to find out if there’s any more to be concerned about with my earlier results.

I was glad to see January coming to an end, as February (along with being my birthday month) feels a lot more positive, most years anyway.

Still, I am not ready for my father’s kidney to be done working. I don’t want to think of what an end to the function of my first transplanted kidney would really mean as far as the possible needed changes in my life.

The year is just beginning, still fresh, and I’m not ready to look ahead with an optimistic, open mind, not as long as I feel this weight that may or may not be lifted. I do appreciate this January writing/blogging exercise, but now that it’s coming to an end, I am again thinking of turning another year older and how I don’t want to let go of the part of my father I am lucky to get to carry around with me.

Silly, self interested thoughts going on over here, as I look to the start of a new month.

Thanks,
Lauren,
for this second-last prompt of the month.

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Can’t Stop Watching #JusJoJan

It’s the best show these days, This Is Us, dealing with everything from racism to mental health and anxiety to struggles with weight and eating disorder to alcoholism and now Alzheimer’s.

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I am not sure why I continue to pay for TV/cable. I do it, holding on to the past because streaming services and watching everything online these days means not paying for expensive cable or satellite, but I haven’t quite given in to this new way of it.

I do choose to watch a clip from The View or Seth Meyers, on their Facebook pages rather than on my TV. I don’t tune in to my
television
for much else, other than local or national news. I could get this online too. Maybe I will eventually go off TV entirely.

The best show means it is really the only good show on television, especially after Anne with an E was canceled even after being such a big hit on the CBC here in Canada. I am watching this season of This Is Us with lots of interest, since learning they’ve decided to add a character who is blind, with an actor who is blind in real life.

I watch this Tuesday night show on my local cable channel which comes along with audio description for the episodes. I can follow along and not miss as much with that narrator telling me the things I need to know, when watching a show that spans multiple generations and over decades. It’s a lot of flashback scenes and jumping from past to present to future. I like the richness of this series and I hope to write more about it in the near future.

Of course, a story with discovery of a couple having a child who is blind and the couple’s marriage won’t survive it. It makes for more drama on a television drama, I get it. This was my fear at certain times, that my own parents would be so stressed by my disability or chronic illness that they’d split up because of me.

I am watching this season of This Is Us with my mom. It’s hard to know, but seeing representation on such a big show is important, but watching this particular storyline with my mom is interesting, as I wonder how my mom and both my parents did cope with things when they learned their baby daughter was blind.

I am hoping to write more of a coherent piece on all this soon, but here, as
JustJot It January #JusJoJan
comes to an end, I am brainstorming and pondering on what this new year might look like and what I might write or have to say by the end of these twelve months through the jotting I’ve been doing all month long.

Thanks,
Barbara,
for this prompt.

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